And Our Next President Will Be…

I think the next President will be Hillary Clinton. All the political betting websites think so. Her odds are better than all others by a comfortable margin:

http://www.oddschecker.com/politics/us-politics/us-presidential-election-2016/winner

This isn’t an ironclad prediction. She might not win. It certainly seems like public enthusiasm for her campaign has waned significantly. But where people are willing to put money on the line, they’re putting it on Hillary Clinton.

I put far more stock in what the betting sites say rather than official polls. Anybody can say anything in a poll. On the eve of the 2012 Presidential election, the polls were showing a slight Mitt Romney lead. Romney really thought he was going to win. I think Obama was deathly afraid he was going to lose. But Obama never had anything to fear; the betting sites were on his side the whole time. While poll after poll came out showing a Romney victory, the betting sites remained unfazed: they predicted an Obama victory.

This is an application of the Law of Large Numbers. Where millions of people put their judgement together, you can average the responses to an answer almost invariably close to reality. This falls in line with Austrian economic theory, which states that the most useful knowledge in any economy lies with consumers in a free market who put that knowledge to use through purchase decisions and resource allocations. In this case, the most useful political knowledge lies with the people who are putting their money where their mouth is. Anybody can say anything in a telephone poll; but where people are putting their money on the line, you can find useful knowledge capable of producing reliable results. These results are saying that Hillary will win.

On the whole, I am not incredibly interested in the 2016 Presidential election. No matter who wins, I do not expect an enormous shift in policy. I could go gonzo over the election and put signs in my front yard, but why even bother? I don’t expect it to have much of an impact in any positive sense. This is because I do not think much power really lies with the President. I do not even think much power necessarily lies with Congress in this day and age. In my opinion, we live in the Age of the Central Banker. I think most of the power in America is concentrated in the Federal Reserve, and that all of the major players in American politics are going to come out of the Council on Foreign Relations, Trilateral Commission, and Skull & Bones anyway. They are all birds of a feather who flock together, both Republican and Democrat.

For entertainment’s sake, though, let’s talk about the other candidates. We’ll start with Trump.

REPUBLICANS

Trump is a true outsider. The Republican Establishment in Washington hates him. He is uncontrollable, and a loose cannon. The Republican Establishment does not want to have to clean up after him. Loose cannons make big messes.

Donald Trump has run for President before: in 1988 and 1999. In both cases, he was a joke candidate. Nobody took him seriously. Fast forward to 2015: He is being taken more seriously than possibly any other Republican candidate. This is a huge shock to the Establishment. The last time an outsider made inroads in a Presidential election was Barry Goldwater’s bid in 1964. He had traction, for a while. But the Republican Establishment hated him. They were able to torpedo his campaign. But Trump’s campaign is different. He enjoys enormous support from the Republican working-class. This has terrified the Republican Establishment, which I think expected to nominate Jeb Bush easily.

The amazing thing about Trump’s campaign thus far has been this: he is the Teflon Don. Nothing sticks to him. Verbal gaffes that would sink anyone else only seem to add to his popularity. The Liberal media leaps on him with the ferocity of a honey badger at every turn, and Republican rivals rip into him at every chance, but it seems to do no good. The more they hate on Trump, the more popular he seems to get. For the Liberal media, this is a shock. They have no idea what else to do.

Trump has genuine grassroots support. All political candidates love to claim they have grassroots support; but they almost never do. Trump really does have grassroots support, which practically no other Republican candidates have. Scott Walker has some. Ted Cruz, too. But nobody can match the huge working-class Republican outpouring that Trump has received.

None of the other Republican candidates have anywhere near the sort of grassroots enthusiasm that Trump has. Jeb Bush has a lot of money and support from high-powered figures, but nobody is excited for another Bush presidency. Jeb Bush is perhaps the most boring S.O.B. to ever grace the political scene. He is genuinely dull. According to the betting sites, though, Jeb has a strong chance, a little more so than even Trump. A current rule in American politics is this: NEVER discount the Establishment candidate.

Will I vote for Donald Trump, if it comes down to it? Not a chance. But I am interested in his campaign from a purely sociological standpoint.

What of the other Republican candidates? Ben Carson is next behind Trump in the polls, albeit a somewhat decent margin behind. On-the-whole, I do not think Ben Carson is a bad guy. I could see myself voting for him, if he were the nominee. But the betting sites are bearish on his chances.

Ted Cruz and Scott Walker have some support. But they’re looking pretty distant on the betting sites. Scott Walker stuck it to the Teacher’s Unions in Wisconsin, which is a feather in his cap; but otherwise, I think he and Ted Cruz are too closely identified with the Republican establishment.

What of Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina, Chris Christie, and others? Not a chance.

DEMOCRATS

On the other side of the coin from Trump is Bernie Sanders, the socialist senator from Vermont. Bernie Sanders is the pinnacle of a political outsider: he’s running for the Democratic nomination, and he isn’t even a registered Democrat. He has always run as an Independent.

Sanders’ campaign is pretty astounding. A year ago, practically nobody outside of Vermont and Washington knew who he was. I knew him, because I read buttloads of Wikipedia. But he was virtually unknown. Now, he is a serious contender for the Democratic nominee, right behind Hillary. He is without question the farthest-left of any serious Presidential contender since Huey Long. I consider Hillary far-left; but compared to Sanders, she looks downright conservative. He is a real socialist. He has connected the availability of men’s deodorant to starving children, which is genuinely stupid. At least he is true to himself.

I disagree with Sanders on nearly everything. But I’ll give him this: I admire his dedication. He has toiled in obscurity for his entire career. But he has never wavered from his far-left line. Now, in what is surely near the end of his political career, he is getting his fifteen minutes of fame. This is his one shot. He is too old to run again.

Ultimately, I do not think Bernie Sanders can win. He is too far left. Nobody remotely right-wing would ever vote for him, and I think even a lot of left-wing voters would be wary. Furthermore, Bernie Sanders has approximately zero charisma. The people who love his ideas find him charismatic, but only for his ideas. He is similar to Ron Paul, in this sense. Sanders is perhaps the wackiest-looking guy in Congress, and his speaking voice can be described as little else other than “grating”. But he is a serious candidate, nonetheless.

What of the other Democratic candidates? Martin O’Malley? Possibly Joe Biden? Not a chance.

BOTTOM LINE

This Presidential election is the first in modern memory to be nearly dominated by outsiders. Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders do not have Establishment support, but they have demonstrated significant grassroots support. This tells us something: Voters are sick of the Establishment middle. The Establishment middle has dominated every single Presidential election since the Great Depression. Even Reagan had to have Bush Sr. as Vice President in order to even him out. But voters in both major political parties are saying they’ve had enough. They see the seemingly inexorable match-up between Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush, and they are upset. I do not think most Americans understand what they want, but they know what they don’t want: another election dominated by the Establishment middle.

Why is this the case? I would guess it has to do with the economy. After seven years, the economy has not recovered much. It has been the lamest economic recovery in history. I think voters are beginning to exercise a little mandate of heaven and want to see the Establishment middle bucked off the horse.

If this is how voters are reacting now, how will they react when a real recession hits within the next few years? When the stock market plunges by 40% and unemployment surges? I can only imagine how they will react.

The 2016 election is mostly just entertainment for me. I do not expect any miraculous policy changes regardless of whomever wins, so I just enjoy the show. With Trump and Sanders lighting firecrackers under the butts of the Establishment Republicans and Democrats, it really is enjoyable so far. But on a serious note, it is clear that American voters are losing faith in the Establishment middle, of which Hillary Clinton and Jeb Bush are both a part. The Establishment seems to be losing legitimacy for the first time in modern history. This is a positive development.

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