In November, 2016, the American people will have a clear choice. It won’t just be Republican or Democrat. That happens in every election, and sometimes it’s not much of a choice at all. If Sanders gets the nomination, and I am confident he will, it will be a choice between liberal and conservative. If Clinton gets the nomination, it will be a choice between conservative and insanely conservative.
Whoever gets the nomination, though, it will be a choice between smart and stupid. As much as I dislike Hillary, I’m not doubting her smarts. Bernie Sanders is also obviously a bright guy, and it seems O’Malley is, too.
On the Republican side, Ben Carson is still standing strong, after a string of lies, nonsense and weirdness that, historically, would have wrecked a political campaign. Howard Dean’s presidential ambitions were ruined after one moment of unguarded enthusiasm. Ed Muskie shed a little tear during an emotional speech complaining about Republicans slandering his wife (they haven’t changed much since ’72, they’ve always been sleazy. They’ve just become more extreme), and for poor Mike Dukakis, it was one unfortunate photo-op. But, Carson’s still in.
Donald Trump is still in, and just yesterday suggested a boycott of Starbucks because their cups aren’t Christmasy enough.
Jeb Bush constantly reminds us he is just as dumb as his brother, and we had 8 years of finding out how dumb that is. The years from 2000 to 2008 will be forever remembered in American history as ‘the stupid years.’
But, in last night’s debate, Marco Rubio might have let the cat out of the bag. His biggest applause line was “We need more welders and less philosophers.” First of all, it should be ‘fewer philosophers.’ Philosophers are countable. Somebody running for president should know that.
But, let’s think about what he said. I’ve got no objection to more welders, although I was unaware there was an actual shortage. It’s the attack on philosophers that’s key. The applause from the audience wasn’t from people who want more vocational training in schools because they’ve seriously thought about the issue. They were just happy that somebody finally had the political courage to attack philosophers.
Philosophers are the root of our problem, they think. Philosophers are smart. They don’t like that. Get into an argument with a conservative, and it will often end with the brilliant retort “You think you’re so smart!”
They see a world with lots of problems, and they figure (mistakenly) that smart people must be in charge, therefore they resent smart people. So, they want to elect a stupid person.
Which is stupid. But they think it’s smart. I’m not sure how we can break this cycle.