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How it hurts to lose a presidential election

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UPDATE: Titled updated so that it makes sense.

Tom Miller, in an article to which James Fallows linked, writes of what Trump is going through:

. . . The death march to an inevitable political loss is an emotionally taxing slog that is harder to psychologically deal with than I think many people appreciate. Having been on the losing end of a number of races (seriously, check my LinkedIn — ouch), I have seen the many different ways that candidates and staff handle these losses. It is one of the great tests of character that I have seen up close.

Every utterance is judged for signs that you are acknowledging defeat, every supporter you talk to either needs a pick-me-up or wants to offer advice, every tweet or article you read about yourself or your campaign is caked with the stink of impending defeat.

In some ways, it must be akin to being the quarterback for the 0–6 Browns and having to suit up for 10 more games knowing that there is no hope for the playoffs, let alone a Super Bowl title. Except there are no days — or even moments — off, no chance to get meaningless wins to spare your bruised ego, no next season to look ahead to. Or maybe it is more like being dumped by your significant other, but having it broadcast on every channel in the country, with commentators dissecting all the things you did to deserve public humiliation.

The first losing candidate I worked for was a Marine vet, and he compared the final losing stretch to boot camp. He said to me, “Tim, I thought when I signed up for boot camp that I could handle anything for 12 weeks. But I never realized how long 12 weeks could be until I lived them one second at a time.” . . .

But that’s just an extract. Read the whole thing.

I’m not sure Trump has the wherewithal to withstand that sort of psychological toll, narcissist or no. Counseling would be a good idea, but his narcissistic nature blocks him from admitting a problem, much less seeking help. I cannot imagine how he is going to resolve this and how it will affect what he does in the future.

It raises a pool-ready point: When (date and, if possible, time) will his self-denial crumble? When will he finally see it for what it is? With a narcissist like Trump, one might say “Never,” but (as Miller points out so well) the pressures of a death-march presidential campaign are the quintessence of psychological pressure. So we have an irresistible force (the daily constant impact of the death march) meeting an immovable object (the narcissistic self-denial that consists of thinking he’s the greatest, he’s always a winner, never a loser, and if he did lose somehow, it certainly would not be to a WOMAN! So he cannot be losing, and all those polls are wrong.

As the song says, “Something’s gotta give.” I would say the odds favor the immovable object in this case.

Written by LeisureGuy

19 October 2016 at 11:49 am

Posted in Election, GOP

Why it hurts to lose a presidential election

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James Fallows has an excellent column with some very interesting links, well worth reading in its (and their) entirety. From it, let me just quote this story, slightly edited:

After his 1984 landslide loss to Ronald Reagan, Walter Mondale asked George McGovern “when does it stop hurting?”, referring to McGovern’s landslide loss to Richard Nixon 12 years earlier. “I’ll let you know,” McGovern replied.

The context:

When a politician loses a race, most of all for the presidency, it is all-out public failure on the biggest possible stage, leaving a mark that never really goes away. … And in a race for the White House, it’s an all-or-nothing outcome. On one side, four years with Air Force One and the attention of the world. On the other, four years of working off campaign debts and traversing the country for second-tier forums.

Bearing defeat is all the harder when you can see it coming, as McGovern and Mondale did, and as now seems very likely for Trump. And hardest of all if you have the emotional maturity of a child.

And from the Max Boot column that Fallows linked to:

. . . Their stance is as incoherent as that of Sen. Marco Rubio, who said Trump could not be trusted with the nuclear arsenal and then, without retracting that grave (and accurate) accusation, endorsed Trump anyway. So now Rubio thinks that the nuclear codes should be given to a man who cannot be trusted with them?

Rubio is part of the vast majority of Republican officeholders who have refused to abandon Trump even as disturbing details of his behavior toward women have come to light, on top of his already well-known racism and xenophobia and his ignorance, avarice, and dishonesty. Those still endorsing Trump include Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, though the latter has tried to have it both ways bysaying he would not campaign for Trump. Long known as the champion of principled conservatism, Ryan looks increasingly opportunistic. . .

It’s fair to note that Max Boot is a conservative columnist, who I’d say is pretty far right.


Written by LeisureGuy

19 October 2016 at 11:10 am

Posted in Election, GOP

Donald Trump Is Running Some Really Insecure Email Servers

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Joseph Cox writes at Motherboard:

In what might be one of the more delicious cases of irony to ever grace a presidential election, a researcher has found that a number of email servers linked to Donald Trump’s hotel and others businesses are running horribly out of date software which receive no security patches, and are lacking other precautions for keeping hackers out.

The findings come at a time when cybersecurity is a crucial topic in the presidential election, with hackers dumping documents from Hillary Clinton’s campaign online, and Trump and his supporters continuing to criticise Clinton’s use of a private email server.

“Running outdated software and operating systems for your publicly facing email infrastructure is problematic, especially when you’re a high profile organisation,” security architect Kevin Beaumont, who highlighted the issues with Trump’s servers, told Motherboard in an email. “During an election where cybersecurity is such a big issue, I was a little amazed at what I saw.”

A number of mail servers for, a domain registered to The Trump Organization, are using end-of-life software, according to Beaumont. Those include the operating system Windows Server 2003 and IIS 6.0, which comes shipped with it.

“IIS is a webserver, and it’s particularly dangerous to run unpatched,” Beaumont told Motherboard. . . .

Continue reading.

The guy can’t manage his own businesses, his own campaign. How does he think he can be president?

Written by LeisureGuy

18 October 2016 at 2:12 pm

People Magazine Corroborates Trump Attack Story

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Kevin Drum has an interesting post, though in a way it’s irrelevant: Trump supporters would disbelieve the women even if there were videotapes of Trump kissing and groping a woman. Indeed, on some level Trump supporters know that Trump did indeed have the experience he bragged about, a “star” being able to grope a woman with impunity—apparently, he even believed married women were within his grasp, so to speak. And he has the sociopath’s freedom from guilt or emotional involvement and the ability to lie easily. Denying what you think of as reality is second nature, because for the sociopath, the reality is what they are painting, trying to pull you along.

I write this having just recently attempted a discussion with a Trump supporter. It was heavy sledding and I gave it up. For one thing, it apparently is taken as a basic premise that nothing in the mainstream press (NY Times, Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, etc: i.e., all legitimate press with track records that we can check)—nothing in all that reporting is to be believed (apparently, not even the videos of Donald Trump saying something that he subsequently has denied he said: the video is right there, him saying it, and the Trump supporter wouldn’t even look at it, because… mainstream press. And Hillary lies (implying, “And I want a candidate who is truthful, like Mr. Trump”)).

At any rate, one of the victim’s story has been fully corroborated, but that doesn’t faze the Trump supporter: “They’re all lying. They’ve all been paid off. It’s reported in the mainstream press so it is ipso facto fictional.” (and yes, he called the press “fictional”; I asked for links to fictional stories, which by his account would be easy to find, and he said “They’re all fictional.” Not a man to get bogged down in specifics.)

:sigh: But read the column. It begins:

Donald Trump’s response to the tsunami of women saying he groped or attacked them is to flatly call them liars. The problem with this strategy is that it motivates his victims to defend themselves, thus keeping the stories in the news even longer.

Take Natasha Stoynoff, the People writer who accused Trump of attacking her after a photo shoot at Mar-a-Lago in 2005. Trump’s response? “She lies! Look at her, I don’t think so.” As a result, this week People is running a second story quoting six colleagues and friends who have corroborated Stoynoff’s account. That’s 3 million readers who will see this story again, plus another gazillion or so who will see it from the inevitable follow-up on every gossip show and website in the country. And this helps Trump how?

If you read to the very end, Stoynoff gets in the final dig:

Stoynoff admits there’s a chance Trump simply pushed her own incident from his mind. “It’s possible he just doesn’t remember it,” Stoynoff says. “It was over 10 years ago and I assume I am one of many, many women.

In other news 21 days before we go to the polls, President Obama took on Donald Trump over his repeated remarks about the election being rigged:

Obama accused Trump of “whining before the game is even over” and described Trump’s remarks as “unprecedented.”

“I have never seen in my lifetime or in modern political history any presidential candidate trying to discredit the elections and the election process before votes have even taken place,” Obama said….The president, clearly troubled by Trump’s claims of a fixed election, quickly decided not to hold back.He described Trump’s allegations as a threat to American democracy and to the “integrity and trust” of the country’s civic institutions.

And it’s not just Obama. Even Republicans are getting spooked by Trump’s talk:

Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), . . .

Continue reading.

I would think there eventually will be lawsuits, just as with Cosby (though that lawsuit is for but one vicitim among many, but the decision of that lawsuit will be permanently attached to Cosby’s name.

Melania defended Trump, saying that the women were, one and all, liars, but she provided zero evidence showing that they were liars. When pressed for how she knew they were liars, she explained that she could tell because she believed her husband (and thus any statement contrary to what he said is ipso facto a lie). Notice how having simple definitions simplifies thinking: “Donald says it = it is true. So people saying something different are lying. And remember: the mainstream media are fictional.”

And since mainstream media are all fictional, the account in People magazine, telling of people who corroborate the story, must be fictional, too. See how neatly it fits together? No seams, no holds, no way in at all. That’s one tough memeplex, and you see it elsewhere: in certain fundamentalist religions sects (Christian and Islam), in other cults (indeed, it’s practically the defining characteristic of a cult, to be a turtle memeplex), in political systems like North Korea’s: the memeplex evolves a thick shell, like a turtle evolving a thick shell to protect it from its enemies. These turtle memeplexes have tried to block all invasion points, but of course that’s slightly more difficult with the internet (which is why so many of those turtle memeplexes want to have control over the internet and its content). Look at how the Mormon Church finally explicitly addressed Joseph Smith’s hoax translations of Egyptian hieroglyphics (which has some obvious implications regarding his earlier work, the Book of Mormon) simply because they couldn’t avoid it: Mormon teenagers and younger could just go online, do a simple search, and read all about it. It does lead to questions, of course, and an even bigger question is raised if the response is, “Don’t ask questions.” That really does give the game away.

So the turtle memplexes face a problem with the internet. I doubt that there will be an extinction event (no more turtle memeplexes) but the measures to prevent competing memes from invading will have to become more ingenious and probably more overt and intrusive: “No computer can be connected to the internet.” The internet memeplex has already made the internet an essential component of a modern computer (how else now can you update your OS?).

When the communication blockage is so obvious, some will inevitably wonder why—what’s so attractive about it that we can’t even try it? Won’t we immediately see how false and wicked it is?

An old story:

God did say, ‘You must not eat fruit from the tree that is in the middle of the garden, and you must not touch it, or you will die.’”

“You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

When the woman saw that the fruit of the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eye, and also desirable for gaining wisdom, she took some and ate it. She also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves.

Genesis, in Chapter 3

It occurs to me that a non-turtle memeplex could evolve, but it would have to be able to take in other memes rather than blocking them out: no shell. It could do this by operating at one remove, as it were, looking at the meme as a meme rather than looking only at the content: be able to take any content and deal with it.

Science is a memeplex that has been fairly successful at this, though one can spot turtle memeplexes within science—for example, one name: Ancel Keyes. Or the resolute pushing away of the meme of tectonic drift.

But science has an ace in the hole, beyond human control: reality. Take in any meme and measure its content against observable reality. If the meme’s content is inconsistent with observable reality, then the meme is ignored. This in effect is a meme immune system that eventually and in most cases will protect the memeplex and kill meme-viruses that arise.

It will be interesting to see how various memeplexes fare as reality imposes its own test: climate change.

UPDATE: One of the problems (though perhaps the least) with making Donald Trump the definer of truth is that he is mortal and it will all fall apart. Better to have a memeplex that can survive any individual. For example, many corporations have a definite character and ethos, and that can extend for many generations of employees: it’s a memeplex that does not depend on specific individuals in it to survive: the individuals are to some extent interchangeable, and that gives the memeplex a long life (cf. Catholic church).

Science is a memeplex that is a system and not individual specific, which is why it’s been around so long. Memeplexes that rely on individuals are necessarily short-lived, but they are fairly numerous.

Written by LeisureGuy

18 October 2016 at 12:31 pm

The absolutely epic trolling letter Jeb Bush’s leadership PAC sent to Donald Trump’s lawyer

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By all means, read it. Wonderful!

Written by LeisureGuy

17 October 2016 at 1:52 pm

Posted in Election, GOP, Law

Ayn Rand’s description of the US becoming more popular with the GOP: Now Ryan’s doing it

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Note, as Paul Krugman points out in his excellent column, those stark, dark, despairing profiles of the US in Atlas Shrugged were her impressions of the Eisenhower years. Good grief.

From that column:

. . . [C]onsider the portrait of America Mr. Ryan painted last week, in a speech to the College Republicans. For it was, in its own way, as out of touch with reality as the ranting of Donald Trump (whom Mr. Ryan never mentioned).

Now, to be fair, Mr. Ryan claimed to be describing the future — what will happen if Hillary Clinton wins — rather than the present. But Mrs. Clinton is essentially proposing a center-left agenda, an extension of the policies President Obama was able to implement in his first two years, and it’s pretty clear that Mr. Ryan’s remarks were intended as a picture of what all such policies do.

According to him, it’s very grim. There will, he said, be “a gloom and grayness to things,” ruled by a “cold and unfeeling bureaucracy.” We will become a place “where passion — the very stuff of life itself — is extinguished.” And this is the kind of America Mrs. Clinton “will stop at nothing to have.”

Does today’s America look anything like that? No. We have many problems, but we’re hardly living in a miasma of despair. Leave government statistics (which almost half of Trump supporters completely distrust) on one side; Gallup finds that 80 percent of Americans are satisfied with their standard of living, up from 73 percent in 2008, and that 55 percent consider themselves to be “thriving,” up from 49 percent in 2008. And there are good reasons for those good feelings: recovery from the financial crisis was slower than it should have been, but unemployment is low, incomes surged last year, and thanks to Obamacare more Americans have health insurance than ever before.

So Mr. Ryan’s vision of America looks nothing like reality. It is, however, completely familiar to anyone who read Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” as a teenager. Nowadays the speaker denies being a Rand devotee, but while you can at least pretend to take the boy out of the cult, you can’t take the cult out of the boy. Like Ms. Rand — who was basically writing about America in the Eisenhower years! — he sees the horrible world progressive policies were supposed to produce, not the flawed but hopeful nation we actually live in.

So why does the modern right hate America? There’s not much overlap in substance between Mr. Trump’s fear-mongering and Mr. Ryan’s, but there’s a clear alignment of interests. . .

Read the whole thing.

Written by LeisureGuy

17 October 2016 at 1:08 pm

Worth reading again: The lawyer’s letter from the NY Times responding to Trump’s threat to sue

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It’s worth another look. The background is in this NY Times article by Alan Rappeport.


I think the letter is well stated. What’s strange to me: When women whose encounters with Donald Trump exactly match how he stated he treats women (saying he can get away with it because he’s a “star’), some people immediately say the women are lying, that they must have been paid to say it, that if it did happen they are sluts. It doesn’t even occur to them (apparently) that the women’s reports are totally consistent with what Donald Trump said that he does. They also wonder why the women did not speak up immediately, apparently not connecting a reluctance to speak up with what happens if they do: accused of lying, accused of being paid to make false claims, accused of being sluts. No wonder women are reluctant to speak up.

Written by LeisureGuy

17 October 2016 at 12:28 pm

Posted in Daily life, Election, GOP, Law

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