In all my years of watching politics in the US, never have I seen a presidential election generate such overwhelmingly negative emotions. Everyone hates Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, or, increasingly, both of them. This is creating a severe psychological problem for many people: they want to tell their friends and the world that Clinton is mentally unstable and a crook, but they are conflicted because they realize that by so doing they would be supporting Trump. Or they want to tell everyone what a vulgar, narcissistic, egotistical blowhard Trump is, but they are conflicted because they realize that by so doing they would be supporting Clinton. Some are abandoning the two-party duopoly in favor of minor parties, ready to vote for Jill Stein the Green or Gary Johnson the Libertarian, but are conflicted because voting for Stein would take votes away from Clinton the crook and thus support Trump the blowhard, while voting for Johnson would take votes away from Trump the blowhard and thus support Clinton the crook. There is just no winning! Or is there?
There is a long list of arguments for voting against either of the major candidates, some of them seemingly valid. At the top of the list of the seemingly valid ones are that Clinton is corrupt and a warmonger, while Trump is inexperienced and socially divisive. But there is hardly a single valid reason to be found anywhere why someone would want to vote for either them. Some have argued that Trump is less likely to cause World War III, because his instincts are those of a businessman, and he is primarily interested in making money, not war; but Clinton likes money just as much as Trump—just look at her gigantic private slush fund known as the Clinton Foundation! On the other hand, perhaps Trump will like the idea of peace only until the moment he is elected, at which point it will be explained to him that the US empire is an extortion racket, and that breaking legs (a.k.a. war) is how it comes up with the ink. And then he will like war just as much as Clinton does. None of this makes it easy for a lover of liberty and peace to vote for either one of them in good conscience.
I heard Jill Stein say that people should be able to vote their conscience. Yes, let's concede that voting against your conscience is probably bad for your soul, if not your pocketbook. But this makes it sound as if the voting booth were a confessional rather than what it is—an apparatus by which people can assert their very limited political power. But do you have any political power, or are American elections just a game of manipulation in which you lose no matter how you vote? A 2014 study, “Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens” by Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page conclusively showed how the preferences of average citizens matter not a whit, while those of moneyed elites and interest groups certainly do. Thus, the question as to whether you are the winner or the loser in the game of US electoral politics is easily answered: if you are a multibillionaire and a captain of industry, then you might win; if you are an average citizen, then the chances of you winning are precisely zero.
Sure, there are some cheap thrills to be had for the Furious Sheep—endorphins from jumping up and down while waving mass-produced signs and shouting slogans pre-approved by campaign committees. But if you are the sort of person who likes to have an independent thought now and again, what you are probably looking for are three things:
• avoid psychological damage from having to observe and participate in this absurd and degrading spectacle;
• experience the delicious thrill of watching this system fail and those behind it lose face; and
• regain some amount of faith in the possibility of a future for your children and grandchildren that might involve something actually resembling some sort of democracy rather than a humiliating, sordid, rigged game.
Before we can play, we have to understand what variety of game this is in technical terms. There are many different kinds of games: games of strength (tug-of-war), games of skill (fencing) and games of strategy (backgammon). This one is a game of strength, fought using large bags of money, but it can be turned into a game of strategy by the weaker side, not to win but to deny victory to the other side.
Most of us are brought up with the nice idea that games should be fair. In a fair game both sides have a chance at victory, and there is normally a winner and a loser, or, failing that, a tie. But fair games represent only a subset of games, while the rest—the vast majority—are unfair. Here, we are talking about a specific type of unfair game in which your side always loses. But does that mean that the other side must always win? Not at all! There are two possible outcomes: “you lose—they win” and “you lose—they lose.”
Now, if you, being neither a multibillionaire nor a captain of industry, are facing the prospect of spending the rest of your life on the losing side, which outcome should you wish for? Of course, you should want the other side to lose too! The reason: if those on the other side start losing, then they will abandon this game and resort to some other means of securing an unfair victory. In the case of the game of American electoral politics, this would pierce the veil of faux-democracy, generating a level of public outrage that might make the restoration of real democracy at least theoretically possible.
So, how do you change the outcome from “you lose—they win” to “you lose—they lose”?
The first question to answer is whether you should bother voting at all, and the answer is, Yes, you should vote. If you don’t vote, then you abandon the playing field to the Furious Sheep who, being most easily manipulated, will hand an easy victory to the other side. And so the remaining question is, How should you vote to make the other side lose? This should not be regarded as a matter of personal choice; no need to concern yourself with who is the “lesser evil,” or which candidate made which meaningless promises. You will not be casting a vote for someone; you will be casting a vote against the entire process. Think of yourself as a soldier who volunteered in defense of liberty: you will simply be carrying out your orders. The charge has been laid by someone else; your mission, should you wish to accept it, is to light the fuse and walk away. This should at once motivate you to go and vote and make the voting process easy and stress-free. You are going to show up, subvert the dominant paradigm, and go watch the fireworks.
When calculating how to tip the scales, the political experts employed by the moneyed interests rely on information on party affiliation, polling data and historical voting patterns. To change the outcome from a “lose-win” to a “lose-lose,” you need to invalidate all three of these:
• The proper choice of party affiliation is “none,” which, for some bizarre reason, is commonly labeled as “independent,” (and watch out for American Independent Party, which is a minor right-wing party in California that has successfully trolled people into joining it by mistake). Be that as it may; let the Furious Sheep call themselves the “dependent” ones. In any case, the two major parties are dying, and the number of non-party members is now almost the same as the number of Democrats and Republicans put together.
• When responding to a poll, the category you should always opt for is “undecided,” up to and including the moment when you walk into the voting booth. When questioned about your stands on various issues, you need to remember that the interest in your opinion is disingenuous: your stand on issues matters not a whit (see study above) except as part of an effort to herd you, a Furious Sheep, into a particular political paddock. Therefore, when talking to pollsters, be vaguely on both sides of every issue while stressing that it plays no role in your decision-making. Should you be asked what does matter to you, concentrate on such issues as the candidates’ body language, fashion sense and demeanor. Doing so will effectively short-circuit any attempt to manipulate you using your purely fictional ability to influence public policy. You cannot be for or against a candidate being forthright and well-spoken; nor is there a litmus test for comportment or fashion sense. Politicians are supposed to be able to herd Furious Sheep by making promises they have no intention of keeping. But what if the voters (wise to the fact that their opinions no longer matter) suddenly start demanding better posture, more graceful hand gestures, a more melodious tone of voice and a sprightlier step? Calamity! What was supposed to be a fake but tidy ideological battleground with fictional but clearly delineated front lines suddenly turns into a macabre beauty pageant held on a uniform field of liquefied mud.
• The final step is to invalidate historical voting patterns. Here, the perfectly obvious solution is to vote randomly. Random voting will produce not random but chaotic results, invalidating the notion that the electoral process is about party platforms, policies, issues or popular mandates. More importantly, it will invalidate the process by which votes are purchased, in effect getting money out of politics. You just have to remember to bring a penny into the voting booth with you. Here is a flowchart that explains how you should decide who to vote for once you are standing in the voting booth holding a penny:
If you want to be an activist, bring a pocketful of pennies and hand them out to people while standing in line at the polling place. You won't need to convince that many people to produce the intended effect. Remember, in order to maintain the appearance of a democratic process, the artificial, financially induced margin of victory is kept quite thin, and even a small amount of added randomness is enough to wipe it out. Point out the word “liberty” prominently embossed on each penny. Briefly explain what a Furious Sheep is, and how the exercise of liberty is the exact opposite of being a Furious Sheep. Then explain to them how the pennies are to be used: the first flip of the penny determines whether you are voting for the left or the right; the second—whether you are voting for the major or the minor candidate. Be sure to mention that this is a sure-fire way to get money out of politics. Try the line “This penny can't be bought.” Don't argue or debate; rattle off your “elevator speech,” hand over the penny and move on. The last detail everyone needs to remember is how to respond to exit polls, in order to deprive the other side of any understanding of what has just happened. When asked how you voted, say: “I voted by secret ballot.”
Then you can go home, turn on the idiot box and watch a fun spectacle featuring the gnashing of teeth, the rending of garments and the scattering of ashes upon talking heads. You won’t get to see the behind-the-scenes rancor and the recriminations among the moneyed elites, but you can imagine just how furious they will be, having had their billions of dollars defeated by a few handfuls of pennies.
You might think that random voting, with each candidate getting an equal share of the votes, would be perfectly predictable, making it possible to secure a victory by hacking a few voting machines. But this would never be the case in the real world, because not everyone will vote randomly. You might then think that it would still be possible to manipulate the nonrandom voters into voting a certain way. But how can anyone predict who will vote randomly and who won't? And if every vote is, in essence, purchased, how would someone go about buying random votes, or figuring out which candidate such a purchase would favor? In this situation, buying votes would only serve to further confuse the outcome. Thus, the effect of added randomness on the outcome will not be random; it will be chaotic.
And that, my fellow Americans, is how you can change a “you lose—they win” outcome to a more just and equitable “you lose—they lose” in this particular game of strategy.
Chaos 2016! The Joker would have been proud! EPIC!
I have to admit that this has been one of the best election season in memory. I cheered Trump for dispatching rival fascists like a playground bully. After Jeb Bush spent $130 million and was trounced in North Carolina, his Waterloo, I laughed so hard I feel off my chair. When I watched Cruz and Rubio publicly humiliated I began to appreciate the Donald, more and more. Trump never fails to hit below the belt.
And then the Democratic Convention began with the release of DNC e-mails proving that the DNC worked behind the scenes to defeat Sanders and Debbie Wasserman Shultz was forced to resign before she could even swing the gavel I took heart. When unruly Sanders supporters refused to go along with the script I pined restlessly for even more scandal. When Pedophile Bill gave a macabre speech attempting to humanize Hillary, which Newt Gingrich described as: "A good story that in no way resembles the woman I know." I knew things were going off the rails. When Leon Penetta was shouted off the stage with chants of "No More War!" things were getting interesting. The last two nights though were most telling. When the DNC was forced to bring in paid sitters recorded crowd noise and cheering played through the sound system to make the crowd seem more lively, I knew that the spell for many was broken. The cracks in the system are now like huge fissures.
Like WWF sports entertainments, Trump and Clinton are now going to face off in a do or die extravaganza. It's my fervent hope that in the process they will destroy each other and their respective parties, leaving the political duopoly mortally wounded. This is Shock Doctrine, but instead of the underclass being the victims it's the elites and their puppets on the menu. It's time to enjoy the show!
HeyZeus, I believe you mean Two-Face.
Random Votes Matter!
To corroborate your argument that Money Matters in US elections, a graph from yesterday's ZH.
This post is elegantly logical, but I see things differently. The enemy is the Deep State, which seemingly had its ducks (or sheep) in a row this time by providing us with a non-choice between Jeb and Hillary. When Jeb fizzled and Trump blustered his way into the game it gave American voters a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to vote against the Deep State, and possibly even to destroy one or both of the irredeemably corrupt political parties.
We know for certain that Hillary is owned by the too-big-to-fail banks, which are destroying the world economy, and by the “defense” contractors who stand to profit enormously from any war they instruct their tool in the oval office to start.
By voting against Hillary I am voting against the banks, the weapons builders, and the Democratic Party. By voting for Trump I am still voting against those malign interests, while also voting against the Republican Party, which hates their candidate as much as the Democrats do.
To be sure, there are downsides to this strategy. I will have to hold my nose and sully myself while entering the voting booth to help an odious, ridiculous, loose cannon win the White House. There is no predicting what he may do, that he will last more than a few days before being assassinated by the Deep State, that he won’t get tired of the sport and resign, or that he won’t be successfully co-opted by The Masters.
But no president has ever faced two opposition parties before, and the Founding Fathers provided the other branches of government with all the tools they need to stymie Trump at every wrong turn, if they have the stones to do so.
It is admittedly difficult to see how a Trump presidency can turn out well, but we know for certain what to expect from a continuation of the Deep State’s Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton administration, and, at this junction, that’s certain disaster.
A slim chance at a non-disaster is the best option we have at this point, and it’s the one I will take.
Hilarious! And absolutely correct!
The so called "democracy" always was a fraud, since their creation in ancient Greece. The only evolution in their form is in to bambooze the world's peoples.
Excellent and well humored article, Orlov. You are a rare man to have the capability to think of the box, friend.
And this concept of negate the victory to opponent is a a new concept for me. Somebody said one day; The victory is impossible when the fight is unfair. True words. But, now I understand: Is possible negate the victory. Thank you, partner!
Random or not, in most states we have no guarantee our vote will be counted or counted for the person we voted for. I think there is a case for the Carlin alternative to voting by staying home and masturbating so that you have something to show for it. Nevertheless, I I will go and vote for a non major party candidate for President or leave that part blank and vote for down ballot candidates off my choice.
"But what if the voters (wise to the fact that their opinions no longer matter) suddenly start demanding better posture, more graceful hand gestures, a more melodious tone of voice and a sprightlier step?"
Really excellent. Thank you Dimitri
Every signal has a component of unwanted noise. In cases like a nearby FM radio station the noise component is so small as to be negligible. In the case of GPS signals the noise of the Big Bang swamps the microwave signal from the satellite and you must use a correlation process to extract the information. My question is how much noise must we inject into the electoral system to sufficiently distort the signal? 1% of voters? 2%? 5%?
If we make buying elections unpalatable for the monied class, won't they just "switch stations" and use their money for some other means of social control? If so, we must be at the ready to yell "SSSSHHHH" into that system, too.
Essentially what Dimitry is calling for is an information insurgency. We make the country ungovernable by corrupting the feedback signals the monied elites use to gauge their success. When we've forced their hands, they lose all pretense at legitimacy. What fun!
No pollster/politician is entitled to my opinion. Always lie to pollsters and always change the lie. Good so far. The higher the office the more inauthentic and disingenuous the pol. Candidates don't "tell us their truths" fair and equal dealings call it "reciprocity" requires "tit-for-tat" so lie to the pol/pollster. Uncertain polls require spending more money. Make them spend all their money. I like it. Increased uncertainty results in increased costs to the pols's owners/renters errrr contributors. One little fillip, if I wanted a project to fail I'd put Trump I, not Clinton II, in charge. The man can't do anything right and bankrupts everything he touches. He has a "black thumb". Good at collapsing casinos, collapsing empires may be his calling. Cheers.
Of course "making money" or "business" IS war.
There is no "money" and NEVER was.
7.4 billion people believing in a "thought up fiction" by control freaks several thousand years ago
doesn't change that "money" is a fiction as is the "price system".
There are NO "sides" to chose.
There are NO "states" or "nations" either.
There is the natural world, natural laws and a growing population of humans,
depending on finite resources that got brainwashed into an "eCONonmy"
with the equalization AND conflation of "wants" and "needs".
The "supply demand equation drives humankind" into the ground.
Humankind is a colossal ponzi scheme operating on a meme,
(I'm using meme here as mind controlling thought virus.)
"money" is the manifestation of EGO and nothing more or less.
Of course deconditioning oneself from that "given" fiction is not easy.
If we had a REAL currency, it would have been based on energy from the beginning of civilisation.
Since 2007/2008 that fiction called "money" is evaporating from the "eCONomy" into information.
ZERO SUM-NO WAY OUT
Greetings from "ger-money".
Remove a level in the coin flipping chart. No need making possible even a random vote for Clinton or Trump.
Clinton is going to win; she's already written into the voting machines and election process. (Trump probably was, too.). Trump is going to YUUUGE efforts to lose, because (a) all publicity is good publicity, (b) he wants to clean up $$$ with after-election endorsements and "Political Reality Show Television." (Can anybody interpret Trump's attack on Gold Star parents as anything else but a data point in the trend line that Trump is running to lose, big?)
Trump & Clinton were friends, have connections and ties. If we assume the Clinton's to be as nasty as the conspiracy theories suggest, then such wisdom suggests a fitting revenge in Clintonian Triangularization fashion for impeachment over a consensual blow job is complete decimation of the Republican Party. That's what Trump is bringing to the table. There are no name-brand neo-cons or Republicans endorsing Trump.
The real game to be played here is to prevent Clinton from having a landslide, which in turn would give her a mandate to do bad shit. Therefore, telling people to randomly vote Green / Libertarian removes the margin of her landslide while advancing other voices.
This is why I come to Club Orlov so compulsively. Wonderful stuff! I really hope that you can continue to raise the patience to go on posting and writing, Dmitry. The world will be a poorer a place if you go silent and just sail off into the blue. Sail by all means; but for heaven's sake, keep thinking and writing - please!
As I may have said before, I seem to remember, I for one would be quite willing to pay a pay-per-view charge, just to get reliable doses of the Orlov insight into all things. That's how valuable I think it is.
Regarding money and politics: When is the Clinton campaign going to wake up and realize that massively successful fundraising (so celebrated in today's news) just sounds to the rest of us like pre-election corruption? The more cash raised, the more we expect her to pay back her contributors if elected. And they ain't us.
Fortunately, the more cash raised, the more advertising exposure she gets, and the more out-of-touch with the rest of us she reveals herself to be.
As for Trump's threat to "abandon our European allies", no one seems to appreciate that he said "IF THEY DON'T MEET THEIR obligations, why should we meet ours?" The treaty obligates NATO members to spend 2% of GDP on defense, and it's easy to find the figures that they're typically only putting in 1%. Trump understands CONTRACTS.
If a big ego is the only reason to not support Trumph, then you have a problem. The real question is: does he deserve to have a huge ego? Many people have huge egos but do not rate highly on any scale. Prince, the musician, had a huge ego. He wrote his own music and played every instrument on some of his albums. A musical genius; insufferable in his self-centered ego. Great music.
If the choice is between Hillary the psychopathic criminal liar and Trump the loud and obnoxious. Pick Trump. Hillary has left a trail of bodies in her wake and the count has only increased as she was given more power and responsibility. At least Trump tells it like it is.
Entertaining as ever. Thank you.
My tuppenceworth as an outsider:
If, as I always believed, it is possible to "write in" the name of a preferred candidate other than those listed, the why not look to maximise the unexpected outcome chaos that way? Tech blooming apps must exist to just give a name at no notice....Orlov for Prez? :)
I'll be happy as VP, and so will my chums at DNC.... Keep the Kevlar suit handy, DO!
Brilliant Dmitry! You're a gem.
I have to admit, I wasn't going to bother to vote this year. But I have changed my mind. Thanks, Dmitri.
There Is No Voting Our Way Out Of This.
Trump promises "Law & Order" not "Rule of Law". Big difference.
HC promises ~everything-good. Rule of Law impossible, let alone Justice.
Voting is mostly electronic and subject to tampering in software. Remember County totals for Obama that were 107% of the registered voters? They fixed that now, so their candidate just barely wins without triggering an automatic recount.
There may be local measures of some importance, so vote anyway.
Well, sortition is not a new thing Dmitri, ancient Athens was already using such a method: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sortition#Ancient_Athens
Much more recently, there used to be a vocal guy in France (Etienne Chouard) who was advocating for this kind of method. He had a very active blog that started when the French referendum for or against the EU constitution in 2005 took place. By analyzing the content of the proposed text, he understood what the real game was about and whom our politicians really represented.
Brilliant and funny, as usual.
This media charade has but one purpose, to try and keep the system relevant. It most assuredly is not.
We need to start a "Vote the incumbent out" campaign for all State and National politicians.. Do it this election and every election from here on out.. We don't get them all, but the demographics will be royally screwed up.
"Citizens of the United States do not directly elect the president or the vice president; instead they elect representatives called "electors", who usually pledge to vote for particular presidential and vice presidential candidates."
Sooo... who cares how the sheeples vote? The Electors are free to choose how to pledge their votes, right? And, if I remember well, there has already been at least one of USA Presidential election in which the Electors had a President elected that was NOT the one indicated by the majority of the sheeples' votes...
good idea! Spreading around...
here this article, translated to portuguese >> http://blogdoalok.blogspot.com.br/2016/08/ovelha-enfurecida-por-dmitri-orlov.html
I will give it serious thought to flipping a coin, but only to determine between Jill Stein and Gary Johnson.
Heads or tails voting? A great idea as a first step to bollix the plans of the mighty. The resulting consternation could serve as a great distraction to the expert distractors themselves and buy some time. See, there's hope as the Bernie and Trump insurgencies illustrate. And time is needed for these movements to coalesce and organize.
There's a great deal I don't grok about people's thinking. People draw themselves to a great height and ask sneeringly, what's the matter with Kansas? Why do they cast their ballot for the globalist, off-shoring party and against their own interests?
But it's the same question for blue state voters. What's the matter with them? Why do blue state voters vote for the OTHER globalist, off-shoring political party and against THEIR own interests? Why do Black people come out for Hillary?
The Clintons and the Democrats are globalists. And offshoring millions of jobs while simultaneously on-shoring millions of immigrants caused all wage earners to suffer. There's a commonality of interests here between Black, White and Hispanic.
The Democrats paint themselves as the party of knowledge and enlightenment. "Progressives" they call themselves. They mock Republicans as the reactionary and racist party of unthinking ignorance. The Republicans OTOH paint themselves as pious and patriotic people of self-restraint and self-reliance, not like their morally degenerate opponents.
Hilarious this is and great theater but highly effective in corralling the furious sheep as Mr Orlov calls them. Tell me, what are you? A reactionary racist or a moral degenerate?
There's a lot of foolishness written about Trump and his supporters as incipient fascists. Hmm, as soon as the great unwashed get upset at their own diminishment, the perfumed classes invoke "fascism". What a joke. People that had a taste of actual fascism in the 20th century, as my own family did, laugh at the comparison.
Apparently the lower classes are supposed to acquiesce to impoverishment and degradation with smiling good grace. And then turn the other cheek when their bi-coastal betters hurl insults about their lack of education and fearfulness and closed-mindedness. Is this a reasonable expectation?
Preening "progressives" like to tout "facts and evidence". Well there's some facts that are becoming more and more prevalent, like facts about eviction and empty bank accounts and refrigerators. "Progressives" like their political opposites, threw industrial workers overboard.
We haven't yet seen the hard-men. However as long as the two globalist parties continue to work against the interests of great swathe of the American population, leaders advocating extreme measures could come to the fore. Hunger and need, after all, are powerful motivators. There's lessons to be learned from history.
Trump is the better candidate. I think he is correct, though, that the contest will be rigged. Stand by for a 'surprise' result that doesn't match final opinion polls.
Hillary isn't corrupt in the classic sense with brown bags stuffed with money passing hands in the middle of the night but in the modern neoliberal sense. That is people connected with institutional power, government, NGO, corporate and all the spaces in between, are linked, networked, to help their institutions and thus themselves. Pretty much whatever they do isn't illegal or if it is its a matter of some fine and that's that. Nothing negative accrues to the individuals or the institution.
Political parties are institutions and so it was that the Supreme Court said they could raise unlimited funds from whoever because by the courts reasoning such does not even hint at corruption. It's beyond the comprehension of powerful people that what they do is corrupt. Rather what they do is serve the market and that serves everyone. The market, per neoliberal dogma, is a supernatural information processor which can't be wrong.
Not all parts of the U.S. classify unaffiliated voters as "independent". Connecticut, land of steady habits (including witch burning) still classifies its unaffiliated voters as "unaffiliated".
I'm 52 and have never voted or wanted to vote. I was told I'm an anarchist but never consciously made a decisions to be an anarchist. I just really don't believe most people, get bored very easily and tend to nod and act like I'm listening. So, for me voting is like having to sit through this long winded story of mind numbing minutia that in the end is utterly meaningless. Can you imagine voting for someone who as President did something deplorable only to have to later admit you voted for them? Ouch! Got stung again eh? Well, you might consider the Orlov method to break that losing streak. I might even take up voting myself now as a new hobby. Good luck with your coin toss!
What would happen if we all just voted for good old number one? People used to do that, write in their own names. Who wins then?
Rather than voting randomly, as suggested above, why not systematically vote for minor parties? If the Green/Libertarian candidates received a more substantial vote than in the past, let's dream a bit and say 20% of the total, then wouldn't this create the desired lose/lose?
@Jeff Maxwell: I briefly thought the same, but, while I cannot be sure, I think this post is meant to be fantastical enough to function as a hopeless parody of our inability to get that dream you speak of anywhere but where it has always been. Also, it might represent the point of view of one who is for none of the four candidates mentioned.
What ever happened to voting for "none of the above" as a write in candidate? Sounds like Dmitry might like that approach and if used to mentioned a lot when people were frustrated with their choice of candidates.
Thank you for your hard work Dimitri Orlov.
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