You may chortle at Michael Rosenblum's prediction
. But even if he's wrong about the next president, he is -- in a deeper sense -- absolutely goddamned 100 percent right
. Take the words below, stir in the name "Roger Stone," top it off with the concept "spectacular dirty trick," and you will understand why I still predict a Trump victory.
(As longtime readers know: I always
predict the worst. Presume the worst and all of your surprises will be happy ones.)
Donald Trump is going to be elected president.
The American people voted for him a long time ago.
They voted for him when The History Channel went from showing documentaries about the Second World War to Pawn Stars and Swamp People.
They voted for him when The Discovery Channel went from showing Lost Treasures of the Yangtze Valley to Naked and Afraid.
They voted for him when The Learning Channel moved from something you could learn from to My 600 Pound Life.
They voted for him when CBS went from airing Harvest of Shame to airing Big Brother.
These networks didn't make these programming changes by accident. They were responding to what the American people actually wanted. And what they wanted was Naked and Afraid and Duck Dynasty.
The polls may show that Donald Trump is losing to Hillary Clinton, but don't you believe those polls. When the AC Nielsen Company selects a new Nielsen family, they disregard the new family's results for the first three months. The reason: when they feel they are being monitored, people lie about what they are watching. In the first three months, knowing they are being watched, they will tune into PBS. But over time they get tired of pretending. Then it is back to The Kardashians.
The same goes for people who are being asked by pollsters for whom they are voting. They will not say Donald Trump. It is too embarrassing. But the truth is, they like Trump. He is just like their favorite shows on TV.
There is one possible flaw in this argument. Rosenblum is right about that "three month rule" involving Nielsen families, but the very fact that people feel obligated to lie about their viewing habits indicates that they still have some vestiges of a social conscience. A voice within whispers: "You really should
be a better person than this." It's the classic battle of Id vs. Superego.
The gravity of a presidential choice may force people to act like a Nielsen family within those first three months.
I like chocolate milk shakes more than I like healthy salads. When impulse takes over, when the Cannon Id overpowers the Cannon Superego, I go for the shake every time. But I know which is better
On the other hand:
Knowing which is better may not suffice.
I don't think that my fellow citizens have stopped caring about what's good for them, but I do think that they've become very skilled at playing the Rationalization Game.
Let's go back to my milk shake metaphor. After about five minutes of research, most of you could come up with a pseudo-scientific argument as to why a chocolate milk shake is actually healthier than a salad. (I'll start you out: "Chocolate is said to ward off heart disease; dairy products provide calcium..."
) The argument need not be grounded in scientific research, and it need not have the endorsement of the majority of nutritionists. The argument needs only to be just persuasive enough
. As long as the argument has a superficial sprinkling of scientific patter, casuistry will win the day: You'll order the shake.
(Hell. I want one now
L. Ron Hubbard believed that tobacco use cures lung cancer. Being a master of casuistry, he was able to mount a fairly involved argument to that effect. As long as you can convince yourself that the establishers of Established Opinion are engaged in a conspiracy to deprive you of what you crave, anything becomes possible.
And that's why a garish, impulsive, unstable con artist like Donald Trump may win.
Rationalization defeats rationality.