The traditional election day post – always, but always, vote against the incumbent

This electoral wisdom is brought to you by PJ O’Rourke.

All politicians are dumb. All politicians are thieves. Thus, on election day, vote against the incumbent. It’ll take the new guy some time to work out how to steal your money and who knows, there might be another election by then and you can vote the bum out before he gets it.

In this election Hillary is the Continuity Candidate, as close as there is to an incumbent.

Trump really doesn’t seem to know very much about how government works.

It’ll take Trump longer to work it out.

Thus you know what to do.

But there is a serious point to clear up here. Americans? What the Fuck? Seriously, what the fucking fuck? There’re 320 million of you and this pair is what the binary choice comes down to?

Jeebus.

I’m 3,700 miles away and I’m staying here.

87 thoughts on “The traditional election day post – always, but always, vote against the incumbent”

  1. It’s going to be interesting looking back in four years. I wonder if popular acclaim will have convinced Trump to go for a second term?
    But, then, I can remember being told the election of Reagan was a complete disaster.

  2. And I’m old enough to remember when JFK & Jackie were crowned. Best thing he would have achieved was to get himself shot. If his legacy hadn’t been LBJ.

  3. Why is Trump supposed to be a bad candidate? He is obviously a highly successful businessman and chief executive. This seems to me to be a far better qualification than a lifetime of politicking and government service.

  4. With the Rs controlling the House of Reps and probably the Senate (and I suspect this is unlikely to change – Hillary isn’t bringing any warm fuzzy feeling for the public) , a vote for Hillary is a vote for the Federal Government not doing much for a while beyond squabbling.

    She generates the same feelings Cherie Blair would if she stood for office.

  5. Mr Black: He’s hardly a successful businessman. He’s managed to run his casinos into bankruptcy four times.

  6. Bloke in North Dorset

    “Why is Trump supposed to be a bad candidate? He is obviously a highly successful businessman and chief executive. This seems to me to be a far better qualification than a lifetime of politicking and government service”

    The jury is still out on how good a businessman he really is. Starting with a vast fortune and not losing it all is an achievement in itself but not anywhere near the same scale as building one from scratch.

    And being a successful businessman isn’t necessarily a good grounding for running a large sprawling organisation where if you want to get anything done you have to work with not just your political opponents in the Senate and House but also with the bureaucracy.

    Whether or or not he can achieve anything significant in office I suspect we’ll never find out.

  7. Bloke in North Dorset

    “But, then, I can remember being told the election of Reagan was a complete disaster.”

    Reagan was underestimated by his opponents and wasn’t a disaster for a good reason. He was well read.

    One of his jobs was to give moral boosting speeches to GE employees at their various factories. At the time he was a Dem and one of the things that he was taken aback by was the number of complaints he got about Government interference, and this was from the workers.

    As he travelled by trading he started to read economics and politics books and eventually became a small State Rep.

    He was also a decent guy who had respect for people including his opponents.

    History will look kindly on Reagan.

  8. It occurs to me that practically all politicians tell us that their opponents are awful.
    Then they seem surprised when the public agrees with both sides, at least on that point.

  9. Prediction – clear Trump win.

    I’d actually quite like to see Clinton win, as this would be much funnier for much longer.

  10. History will look kindly on Reagan.

    Reading an article online somewhere I saw one of those silly links you always see at the bottom of page, the title “The ten stupidest presidents” with a picture of Reagan.

    It’s as if the media consists entirely of stroppy teenagers wearing CCCP badges.

  11. History will look kindly on Reagan.

    History isn’t written by the winners. It’s written by the people who still care enough to edit the Wikipedia page.

    A lot of American leftists hate Reagan. They’re the ones who’ll go on writing books lamenting his impact and who’ll shape posterity’s view of him. Sure there’ll be heterodox histories, but the mainstream view won’t be as positive as it might be.

    Economic histories may be rather different. It’s interesting to compare the Wikipedia page on Salvador Allende and the Wikipedia page on Chilean economic history. You get a slightly different idea of what sort of president he was.

  12. A few months ago someone on here mentioned that PJ has totally lost it. The linked article above seems to prove this. Even his writing has gone to pot.

  13. A few months ago someone on here mentioned that PJ has totally lost it. The linked article above seems to prove this. Even his writing has gone to pot.

    Me, a few weeks ago. I loved his early work and then I bought Holidays in Heck. He’s grown up, gotten married (twice) and has a toddler and that is now the centre of his life. There are reasons why bachelors are often more interesting and funny that middle aged family men.

  14. He’s long past middle age. 65 or more now. And the toddler was some time ago too.

    There was one absolutely superb line though, when he announced that he had cancer. He actually got caner of the anus (same thing that killed Farah Fawcett) and he announced something along the lines of no one being all that surprised that O’Rourke had a malignant asshole.

    But I agree. Eat the Rich (late 90s) was superb, not much since then that I’ve really enjoyed (Eat the Rich is really one of the best economics books ever. And he really did manage to get Moscow right. He was covering the time I was there and it’s spot on. Even to the point of eating in two restaurants I knew (Uncle Gully’s and Starlight Diner, both owned by a friend of mine in fact) and if I ever got one of those Ritchie jobs as a Prof it would be on my course as essential reading).

  15. “Vote against the incumbent” is good advice. But it can be shortened to even better advice: “Vote against.” Never vote for anyone. None of them deserve it.

    If I had to vote for Trump or Clinton, I couldn’t. Choosing which one to vote against is far easier. I’ve come to the conclusion that, though they’re both fucking awful, Trump is awful by himself whilst Clinton has a history of corrupting large swathes of government and the state and everything else around her. A vote for Clinton is a vote for hundreds of corrupt and vindictive politicians. Trump is just one borderline fascist.

    Which, as Tim says, is a really shite choice.

  16. Trump is terrible. Hillary is worse.

    The only good thing about a Trump win is the BBC, Guardian, and a 0.7 prof from Ely going into complete meltdown. The prof will most likely explode.

    It will be a joy to witness, which is why I shall be staying up all night tonight in hopeful anticipation.

    Also, Eat the Rich is a great book.

  17. So Much For Subtlety

    Squander Two – “Trump is just one borderline fascist.”

    If only. That would be an improvement. But he isn’t. He is a mainstream Democrat. He hasn’t been hiring thugs to break up other people’s meetings. Hillary has. He hasn’t been intimidating opponents. Hillary has.

    It is sad to see the decline of O’R. To endorse Hillary is insane.

  18. I think you are being a touch harsh on PJ.

    I’ve been reading him since the late eighties (since I was 14), and- without question- his pace and tone have cooled since the days of cocaine, whisky and fast cars. He’s calmed down as he’s aged, and he’s also stopped trying to be Hunter S Thompson. Holidays in Heck wasn’t great (but he’s no longer touring death squad body dump sites in the Philipines- what do you expect), but he’s as incisive as ever.

    His digest of The Wealth of Nations was good, and (as he says) he’s read it, so you don’t have to. Or at least he’s read the original, and made it accessible.

    On the accusation he’s not as radical as he used to be- two things: Who is (Ecksy aside) as radical as they used to be at 65? And how can breaking from your orthodoxy and advocating for the opposition because your bod is useless not be radical.

    (Having said that, if I was an American, I’d be writing in an appropriate candidate. PJ O’Rourke, I think)

  19. If he wins, I look forward to seeing Matt Frei’s head explode.

    I’ve recently made the mistake of watching Channel 4 news, for the first time in I should think about a decade. Last night, Frei outdid himself: he did the whole angry white man routine on Trump’s arse in a millenarian tirade on a theme of the Two Minutes’ Hate. And, among other things, I thought to myself, if the usual bien pensants saw the likes of Trump or Farage, their faces similarly engorged and distorted with hate and fear, their voices thundering imprecations, in the way that Frei – a ‘journalist’, remember – was, we’d never hear the end of it.

  20. The Inimitable Steve

    Trump’s an awesome choice tho.

    Sure, he’s a cad, a bounder, a scoundrel, a rogue, a rapscallion, a blackguard… but if he has any weaknesses, I’m not aware of them.

    Dunno what people expect. A saint wouldn’t stand a chance of becoming president. He’d be martyred long before the end of primary season. Jesus isn’t on the ticket this year. Mr Smith left Washington donkeys years ago.

    Trump beat (what was it again, 15 or 16 of?) the best professional politicians the Republicans had to offer. Including a wheen of governors, senators and so on.

    To a man and lady, nearly all proved to be dickless wonders, autists, cardboard cutout puppets of donors, hopeless cases. If it hadn’t been for Trump, this would be a contest between Jeb! and Clinton to see who wants to abolish America the fastest.

    It took a big-mouthed Noo Yawk billionaire to blow the bloody doors off. What a time to be alive.

  21. I shouldn’t be a bit surprised if it turns out that the polling had failed to allow for “shy” Trump supporters in much the same way that “shy” Conservative supporters emerged last year to give David Cameron a majority.

    After all, not everyone wants to denounce themself as a “deplorable” to a polling organisation or publication perceived to be batting for Clinton.

    There’s not long to wait now but, as with the Brexit vote, so many deserving heads are earmarked for spontaneous combustion if Trump wins that you would have to be mad not to wish him well.

  22. The only good thing about a Trump win is the BBC, Guardian, and a 0.7 prof from Ely going into complete meltdown. The prof will most likely explode.

    Facebook will spend the next three days lying on its back, twitching spasmodically and screaming.

  23. > I shouldn’t be a bit surprised if it turns out that the polling had failed to allow for “shy” Trump supporters in much the same way that “shy” Conservative supporters emerged last year to give David Cameron a majority.

    Yes, but I think there’s another factor, caused by having such bloody awful candidates. I think there will be lots of people who will go to the polls fully intending to vote for their candidate but then, when it comes to it, won’t be able to go through with it. And they’ll already be in the polling booth, so, since they’re there, why not vote for someone else? I think both candidates could benefit from that. I suspect Trump might benefit more.

    I have no data here. Hey, it’s a theory.

  24. @TMB,

    I suspect there’s a lot of that going on. Particularly with pollsters “adjusting” their methodology to favour Clinton to make her appear in the propaganda as a “winner”, and the violence meted out by the “tolerant left” to Trump supporters. I suspect it might have the opposite effect.

  25. Business owners have to deal with the ins and outs of politicians, administrators, different departments etc.
    Has any of his businesses at any time done well? Even the best business can in time go under, and there are times a business can be required to go under.
    I don’t like the guy, I cannot say he has achieved nothing however.

  26. Has any of his businesses at any time done well? Even the best business can in time go under, and there are times a business can be required to go under.
    I don’t like the guy, I cannot say he has achieved nothing however.

    Well, he’s no Will Hutton, that’s for sure.

  27. The weirdest example about media bias against Trump I can remember is the insistence on Twitter/Faceberg etc that Trump is going to start some sort of nuclear war with Russia five minutes after being elected.

    Even though Clinton is the one who wants to enforce a no-fly zone over Syria, presumably by shooting down Russian jets. Trump doesn’t want to go anywhere near Syria.

    So the mediaBorg have taken Clinton’s policy and projected the consequences onto Trump, subconsciously. I’m sure they actually believe it.

  28. There is one flaw in this advice with the current pair of presidential candidates. Clinton is corrupt. Trump is a protectionist. Corruption is less harmful to the economy than protectionism. Clinton is better for the economy but Clinton brings the additional baggage of continuing Obama,s authoritarian, illiberal progressive policies. What an awful predicament the USA has got itself into and by association the rest of us.

  29. Never mind “shy” voters, what about “shy” members of the electoral college? Are there no Sanders-inclined Dems who will decline to vote for Hellary?

    Adopts journalistic pomposity: but of one thing we can be sure, America will never be the same again.

  30. Anyone who has followed P. J. O’Rourke over the past 25 years or so cannot be unaware of his intellectual decline. His endorsement of Clinton is simply another example of that decline. He’s old, he’s made his pile, and he’s spent enough time living on the East Coast that Toledo is a distant memory… He’s morphed into another complacent, enervated Republican fat cat who has lost touch with Flyover Territory.

    Met the man twice back in the ’70s at a couple of student writing seminars. He went to Miami University and was taught his craft by a couple of English professors (Weigel and White) that I took classes from. Back then he was usually drunk, mostly obnoxious and an obvious mess. I miss the old O’Rourke. He wasn’t necessarily fun to be around, but he did keep things interesting.

  31. I think there will be lots of people who will go to the polls fully intending to vote for their candidate but then, when it comes to it, won’t be able to go through with it.

    I think that will apply to Hillary but not Trump. I think Trump will get lots of people making huge efforts to turn out to vote for him, whereas a lot of people who might otherwise vote for Hillary will stay at home. I spoke to a Bostonian woman who went to Wellesely the other day, obviously a Democrat. She’s abstaining. I’ve yet to meet a “natural” Trump supporter who is abstaining, but I’ve met borderline Democrats who have said they will vote for Trump. All ancedata, of course.

  32. dearieme: That’s a good point. I’ve got a gut feeling the Electoral College vote will be different to the declared States+DC tally. Not enough to change it, but there.

  33. “He’s long past middle age…”

    Excuse me, Tim, but I believe 65 is what’s euphemistically referred to as “late middle age”.

  34. Re: Andrew M
    “always vote against the incumbent – Jezza for PM in 2020?”

    In our case, the LibLabCon is the incumbent.

  35. Prediction: IF trump wins, violence. If Clinton wins, no violence.

    Violence if Trump wins? Perhaps. But not as much as you might think. We ‘deplorables’ tend to carry firearms. It’s one of the things that makes us deplorables in the first place.

    These days I’m carrying a Ruger LCR revolver chambered in .38 Special. It is loaded with five Hornaday Critical Defense 110 grain FTX bullets. If some smelly hippy wants to get physical with me over my voting preferences, I think he isn’t going to have a nice day.

  36. Dr Evil,

    I put $5 on Trump what seems like years ago now when the odds were really good. My reasoning was that if I happen to get stuck with President Trump at least I’ll get something for me as well. The payout for a Clinton victory has never been high enough for me to consider it a good investment.

    I still voted for Johnson(and Clifford for Senate) though. Even though 330:1 odds are good I expect to lose far more than $1650(I still fail to see why I have to pay more taxes on the money than if I had bet on Solyndra) with either a Trump or Clinton win.

  37. Bloke in North Dorset:

    Reagan majored in Economics in college, though a different sort than espoused later, especially after becoming President.
    But, even the youthful Reagan “stood out.” Over 7 years (15 to 21 years of age), during summer vacations as a lifeguard, he was credited with saving 77 people from drowning, a record still standing in Guinness. He was the leading sports- caster in the Midwest–very well-known even before going to Hollywood.

    It’s not clear when he became interested in theories of those forming the basis of libertarian persuasion but, in newspaper interview between terms as Gov (of CA) inquiring as to his reading habits, he explained,, due to massive amounts of reading in his job (as Gov), he’d given up reading for pleasure and instead, concentrated on works of Von Mises, Rothbard, Bastiat, Hayek, etc. His first “event” as President was a dinner party for Von Mises’ widow.

    It also bears mentioning that he circulated his Berlin speech
    to 22 advisors, all of whose remarks were unfavorable and every one of whom advised most strongly against Reagan’s
    ultimate line: “Mr. Gorbachev–tear down this wall.”

    On vacation at his CA ranch, he was busy at a favorite job–chopping firewood, while his Secret Service “minder” sat on a chair on the porch of the ranch-house. Another Secret Service
    fellow opened and stepped out of the front door, announcing that “the President’s lunch is ready.” Reagan stopped chopping and asked “The President is coming here? Could I get to meet him?”

  38. “Trump is ahead in Florida.”

    Is it real – what we call “like for like” – or are there lots of Dem strongholds still to be reported?

  39. The panhandle usually reports last and it’s more likely to be Republican, so if it’s even now then Trump is probably ahead.

  40. Odd. The TV station has more recent results(36% reporting) than the state website that publishes them(26%). I’d love to know how that works.

  41. Lib Yank – at 3.08 GMT the Beeb are showing Florida as 98.9% of voting distrincts counted (?), with 49.2% – 47.7% to Trump? Unless I’m not following?

  42. Florida is done. Trump’s lead there can only get bigger.

    Ohio has been called for Trump, Michigan and Wisconsin could go either way, though Trump is a long way ahead of Romney so far.

  43. Clinton should be able to pick up more votes in Bucks(25%) and Chester(50%) counties. Statewide we are at 77.62% so I think her slim lead will hold.

  44. It appears both parties are waiting to release their ‘key’ results. Wyoming county is in play leaving Lawrence as the last key red block. If they don’t hurry we’ll know who is president before they get to make headlines once again.

  45. The reds spent Lawrence Co. Trump has a 20k lead but there are still blue strongholds left to call.

    Why can’t my state party officials at least try to make it interesting? They’re like the Cleveland Browns of political hacks.

  46. Bucks County early results showed a resemblance to 2012 when Obama won with 57%. Clinton is virtually tied with Trump. I don’t think there are enough votes in the remaining D areas to overcome the difference.

  47. CBS news has Dow futures down 6% with the current results. It looks like Wall St was banking on a Clinton win. Are any Brits still interested in the colonies? We seemed to have crashed the house of cards.

  48. “I don’t think there are enough votes in the remaining D areas to overcome the difference.”

    Looks to be on a knife edge from this angle!

    Trump

    2,655,960 votes
    48.2%

    Clinton

    2,653,551 votes
    48.2%

    Others

    195,683 votes
    3.6%

    After 95.6% of voting districts

  49. Going to risk grabbing a couple of hours kip now, as it seems to be going the way I expected (see 10:18 post above). Fantastically entertaining.

  50. PF,

    I am not sure where these numbers are coming from. They don’t match what the official state web site(linked previously) has. I can easily see Lebanon Co is voting 65% for Trump.

  51. I should have added…

    At least that is what the government is saying. It’s hard to know who to believe right now.

  52. So anyway, how much do ya’ll need to get Skylon up and running for crew?

    We have cargo launch capabilities that just need commoditized. If we can get the people up safely on your system who cares if the rockets have occasional RUDs.

    Note: Hopefully we don’t have a Dewey moment.

  53. LY

    That is slightly odd – the BBC (link above) seem to be running marginally ahead (but totals only) of the state web site…

  54. PF,

    I find this to be very concerning. It suggests that the media is not using official data in their reporting. I first noticed it when CBS(the local CBS affiliate is the station I trust the most) reported 36% and the state only showed 26%. I can see using algorithms to make estimates but this difference is unacceptable.

  55. LY

    Unless the state are running slightly behind simply in putting all the info on to the web site – say because the totals continually have to tie in with the county numbers (ie takes more time to provide the analysis) – I’m making that up, no idea if it’s true? Ie, it’s electronically available, bit the state are taking longer to upload it.

    FWIW, I did notice a little earlier that when the state numbers caught up with the BBC totals, they were in the same broad quantums?

  56. It appears that the media has had access to data from specific districts before the dame data is available on the state site. I’ve been watching Lebanon Co all night and the votes in that area now generally agree from both sources. The options I see are that TPTB want a drawn out drama, but there aren’t many ads so I’m not sure how they are profiting, or that something fishy is going on.

    I really hope it is as simple as someone trying to make a profit. That’s not a hanging offense in my book.

  57. The good news is that it appears we are moving the state mandated retirement age for judges from 70 to 75. Since judges have to face an election anyway I see no reason to have an age limit at all.

  58. I am calling PA for Trump. I really don’t mind that he managed to vanquish Clinton. Ecksy, just remember I couldn’t vote for him because he was good. Hopefully everyone here understands my “Don’t blame me, I voted for Kudos” F-shirt.

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