The Eleventh Hour

In less then 12 or so hours, barring a recount scenario, the outcome of the 2020 election will be determined. I cannot believe this is happening already. I remember in 2016 seeing the results come in and it looked like Hillary was going to win as expected, and everything fell apart in less than half an hour. So much uncertainty. If Trump loses, will he concede or contest the results? Will there be protests all over America if Trump wins, and if so, how bad? If Biden loses, similar to in 2016-2017, we can expect many more thinkpieces by the center-left about why Biden lost and how democrats failed to learn from their mistakes in 2016. But with Trump’s odds at just 10% according to 538, as of writing this, Trump losing is a real, definite possibility. By comparison, on election day 2016, 538 put Trump’s odds at 28-30% (a true outlier at the time compared to other forecasts), so this is many magnitudes worse than even that.

The silver lining of Biden winning is the possibly the social-justice faction of the left will at least pause their insanity. Reagan derangement syndrome was a thing, and then there was Bush derangement syndrome, and now Trump derangement syndrome.

But if Trump wins, it won’t be so great either, and just as Trump failed to deliver on much over the past four years, save for tax cuts and court appointments, do not expect much for the next four years in terms of tech censorship, immigration, or ‘returning jobs to America’. Similar to Biden winning, stimulus and Covid vaccines will likely dominate the first 2 years of Trump’s second term, leaving him with little time to do anything else. Conservatives been totally ineffectual at actually conserving anything. Consider:

Eisenhower expanded Social Security an other New Deal programs, and signed the Civil Rights Act of 1957.

Nixon opened up trade with China, ended the gold standard, and floated the ‘Nixon Family Assistance Plan,’ which promised a negative income tax (as conceived by Milton Freidman) for non-working Americans, that if it had passed would have been very expensive, costing $6 billion annually (which nowadays is a pittance, but at the time was a lot even by the standards of the federal government,) and expanded the duration of the Vietnam War by invading Cambodia, which lead to the War Powers Resolution of 1973 to limit the power of the president to declare war.

The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986, signed into law By Reagan, granted amnesty to 3 million illegal immigrants. In hindsight, many conservatives now consider this a disaster. And he also signed into law the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act, ensuring hospital care regardless of ability of pay. This has proven to be very expensive, and ‘uncompensated care’ has grown from $10 billion annually in 1990 to $40 billion as of 2014, thanks in part due to increased immigration.

George H.W. Bush signed the Americans With Disability Act into law, which was a boon for wheelchair and ramp manufacturers, but otherwise a determinant to thousands of small and medium-sized businesses everywhere that had to contend with lawsuits and retrofitting costs.

His son expanded spending significantly, in terms of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, a billion dollars in humanitarian aid to Africa, the 2008 bank bailouts, and oversaw expansion of the federal government under the Patriot Act and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. Bush’s presidency, the mostly costly ever at the time, disabused notion that conservatism has anything to do with conserving, at least as far as spending is concerned.

Also, conservative-led movements have a tendency of backfiring by energizing the left in opposition to them. The moral majority and evangelist movements of the ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s paralleled the rise and mainstreaming of LGBT culture, and although it it is hard to say which came first, they both fed off each other for relevance, and no amount of televangelism could turn the tide.

Flash-forward to 2017, the likes of Jordan Peterson, Dave Rubin, and Joe Rogan, as part of the so-called IDW, suddenly found a huge audience online by opposing gender neutral pronouns and by espousing ‘biological reality’ (such as the immutability of differences between men and women). Such obvious yet contrarian observations were (and still are) enough to garner a large audience and a significant income stream. But unfortunately the immense popularity of such content, combined with considerable media coverage, had the unintended consequence of making the mainstream and corporates-left suddenly aware of non-conventional pronoun usage and trans issues, and requiring, as part of widespread changes to ‘code of conduct’ policy at corporations, the use of preferred or neutral pronouns if requested, when this was hardly a consideration before 2017. The left knew that as much as conservatives opposed such usage, that there was nothing they could do about it. Moreover, this lead to the left digging in their heels in regard to trans issues, as the recent backlash and social shaming of J. K. Rowling showed, and all goodwill she had built by being anti-Trump offered no protection from the mobs.

But I am certain that if Biden wins, the left will be less happy 2 years from now than thye are now, in that Biden will fail to live up the the left’s expectations. I think the idea of Biden being president, and thus Trump losing, is more appealing than Biden actually being president. Sure, there will be more stimulus, but do not expect any reform on student loan debt, healthcare affordability, court packing, green deals, or anything else of that nature. Similar to Obama and Clinton, I predict Joe will push a pragmatic, center-left agenda (the so-called ‘third way’). Biden, being a democrat, will do the usual pandering to the social-justice faction of the left, but will not accede to them. Pundits and journalists, who for years could count on a steady paycheck and clicks with ‘orange man bad’ material, will have to find a new schtick. Late night comedy writers will have to devise jokes that do not incorporate Trump. Sanctified groups such as BLM are, as always, off-limits, no matter how stupid and foolish their antics are.

It will be interesting to see what happens, no matter who wins. But I would be lying if I said I would not enjoy a repeat of ‘the meltening’ if Trump wins, but this also means that the left will exact revenge, later, in other ways, whether it is regulation in the workplace (such as code of conduct), social media and tech censorship, or Covid restrictions. In the end, the winners are those who make money and keep their jobs regardless of the outcome, that being the media, political consultants, and of course, the big tech companies.