The Real Drivers in this Election

10b3foBookworm posted yesterday about how polarized this election has become. It’s something we’ve all noticed, although most of us haven’t thought about it, or how we got here. Here’s some of it.

A Progressive friend is relentlessly pushing “Trump is awful” stories on me. I, a conservative, invariably counter by pointing out that Hillary’s list of sins and failures is infinitely worse.

I realized yesterday that my arguments are irrelevant. My friend will never vote for someone who is not 100% pro-abortion, pro-socialized medicine, or pro-open borders.  Given a choice between a rotting dead body that is pro-Abortion and a genuine angel from Heaven that is pro-Choice, he’d vote for the rotting body every time.

Even as we endlessly talk down the other side’s candidates (because few people are really comfortable talking their own candidate up in this bizarre election year), what really matters is the ideological divide underlying this election. The following list might help you decide on which side of that divide you live. Once you decide, do remember that you will never get people to accept your candidate, no matter how flawed their own candidate, until you get them to accept your ideology.

National security

  • Conservatives believe that America and her allies are safest when America projects military strength that acts as a deterrent to predatory actors around the world.
  • Progressives believe that America is itself a predatory actor and that it and, indeed, the rest of the world are safest when it is passive and weak.


  • Conservatives believe that guns’ defensive benefits far outweigh their ability to kill.
  • Progressives believe that guns have no utility other than killing and that only police should be allowed to carry them.


  • Conservatives acknowledge that, among America’s approximately 1.5 million state and federal police, there are individual bad actors, including racists, but strongly believe that the vast majority are decent men and women who routinely put their lives at risk to keep the American public safe.
  • Progressives believe that America’s police are inherently racist and corrupt and that they must be kept on the shortest leash possible, especially when dealing with the inner city black community (but that they and private bodyguards to celebrities should still be the only people allowed to have guns).


  • Conservatives try to heed Martin Luther King’s dictum to look past the color of people’s skin in order to judge them by the content of their character.
  • Progressives believe that race is of paramount importance in that it determines both how people act and how others act towards them.

There is considerably more, it’s all good, so you should read the whole thing!: Progressive v. Conservative ideologies, not the candidates, are the real drivers in this election *UPDATED* – Bookworm Room

Honestly, I don’t have much to add to this. She is completely right, in my judgment. This election has turned us into bitter-enders and on both sides. I don’t know what’s going to happen, and yes, no matter what it is, I’m worried.

But as always, there are rhymes in history. I like many of you tend to see this as the most important election in history but is it? My friend over at Practically Historical reminds us here of the rhymes.

Americans have a need to inflate the importance… of the times in which they live.  This is best illustrated by the hyperbole we attach to each Presidential election.  Every four years we are confronted by “the most important election in a generation.”  Each succeeding election contains events “never seen before.”  The election of 2016 has been especially unheralded- two candidates resoundingly distrusted by the electorate-  a truly unprecedented political event…. or is it??

Hold your nose and vote

Hold your nose and vote

1884 was just such an election… Republican James G. Blaine and Democrat Grover Cleveland were both equally distrusted by the American people.  Blaine admittedly took bribes from railroad companies, while Cleveland confessed to fathering a child out-of-wedlock.  The campaign asked the American people to decide which candidate was least objectionable.  October found the two troubled candidates in a virtual dead-heat.  1884 also introduced us to that most predictable election year phenomena, the October surprise.

Ma ma where's my pa?

Ma ma where’s my pa?

A week before the General Election… Samuel D. Burchard, a teetotaling Republican reformer, addressed a gathering of the Republican National Committee.  His fiery speech included the infamous attack on Democrats and their association with “Rum, Romanism, and Rebellion.”   In one rhetorical flourish, he linked Democrats to the three most divisive issues of the day- alcoholism, Catholic immigration, and memories of the Civil War.  The clumsy effort to purify his own party galvanized his opponents and sent them to the polls in record numbers.

He’s right, of course, there very little that is completely new in history. So we’ll see what happens, always keeping in mind that Adam Smith wrote that “there is a lot of ruin in a nation”. We should be grateful that it is so.


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One Response to The Real Drivers in this Election

  1. the unit says:

    Progressive friends? Not anymore! Done with that.

    Liked by 1 person

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