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deletedJan 31·edited Jan 31
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I am going to venture that this is the least important Presidential election of modern times. Both leading candiates are loser hacks. Each hated by a different half of the population. Congressional gridlock will prevent major legislation. (I think is a plus; most of the time the legislature has no idea what they are doing.)

Whoever is elected will rule by Imperial Ukase which can be repealed by their successor the first day in office in January of 2029. The already happened to Trump when Biden assumed office in 2021.

2024 is the last 'Boomer Election'. Millions of us will be gone by November of 2028. At that time a very different America will vote and a new era will begin.

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To the Question you posed: February of 1969, Filmore West, The Grateful Dead. I came home to My People.

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Trump is a media guy. Swift is a media figure/creation. There has already been discussion/rumors how she will be used by the Biden campaign. No idea if there is an "organized" effort among the Trump faithful, but given there is seemingly organized efforts among the Dems and Swift, well...

It is the actions of media and celebs, and talking about it even this much has already bored me.

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I’m not sure how Swift is any different than any other Post WW2 pop culture phenomenon: Beatlemania, Elvis, 90s Boy Bands, etc. I like the parallels to Hooligan Firms to explain how people can get caught up in something that makes them feel good and empowered. I think the article makes a nice tie-in there.

I simply think the Trump camp is overplaying this card, like they overplay everything. As Rod says right away, if you’re going to vote based on a celebrity endorsement, you’ve probably already decided Trump isn’t your man. Move on, end of story. Yes, you have a billionaire pop star with followers who might not like Trump. Who cares? Most people in her class don’t. The Trump crowd does not seem to understand that half the country doesn’t like Trump. I’m likely going to vote for him to kick Joe out, but I’m not happy about it.

Swift is pretty inoffensive as far as pop divas go. By today’s standards her music is pretty clean, not at all violent, and kind of plastic. Perfect for the times in which we live.

I’m dreading the next 10 months. This is an absolutely unnecessary election. Everyone knows how they feel about the two men helming the tickets. I think we conservatives are going to have our head in our hands a lot, and I think it’s going to be gas on the dumpster fire of decline. Swift is the least of our problems.

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Jan 31·edited Jan 31

But weren't the St. George Floyd riots in the same category as the soccer hooliganism? More like the storming of the Bastille, the participants were suffused with a sense of moral righteousness - they were on the "right side of history," which (supposedly) not only explained why they joined the rioting mob - but why the mob was good and virtuous and necessary. Swifties at least don't have that extra justification.

But at the end of the day, conservatives should welcome the Swift-Travis Kelce business. Whatever her politics, she is a conventionally attractive white woman; she is straight, not queer, in a relationship with a white male, a football player of all things. Politics aside, this is the definition of "normal," this is the very thing, the very dynamic the left has been trying to burn to the ground. We should be cheering for them to get married and have kids.

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This comes as no surprise to this ol’ boy. Sure seems like we’ve been sprinting away from all seriousness and decorum for a generation, and accelerating. We may be in the “Weak Men Create Hard Times” part of the national evolution cycle.

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427 Grateful Dead show later, I would have to say my reason to attend all but the first was the sense of transcendence. My first was 1976 and I had run away from home at 14. I didn’t know the band existed but the hippies who picked me up hitchhiking insisted I come along. I stayed on the tour all summer, belonging and twirling. That continued, rather still does into my 60s - differently of course, but like Buford I can name the shows and songs and friends. I wonder how my life would have ended up if I was picked up by a trucker instead. I might never have encountered Robert Mueller, or maybe I would have been on his team.

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The majority of the times I’ve experienced that “sense of transcendence, of ‘absolute completeness’” has been when deeply immersed in nature: fields, marsh, river, forests, mountain lakes. All evidence that the world truly is enchanted, and if you know where to look, you find God.

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It took me a long while to realize that Taylor Swift is an actual musician: I thought she was one of those unholy creations brought forth by Disney and autotune. But then I saw that she had songs with bands such as Bon Iver and The National, which sure got my attention. Like, "Wait, is she indie-adjacent?" So that's how I learned that she writes real songs. I guess she's fine—not gonna listen to the stuff all day, but it's fine. Some people seem to truly hate her for her celebrity and success, which I think is about as wrongheaded as worshipping her for it.

Also, when it comes to playing the media game, I'd wager that Trump probably knows what he's doing. That's who he is, after all—he's in his natural environment. I sort of wonder if he would simply go up in a puff of smoke if no one was looking at him.

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Jan 31·edited Jan 31

"...a crowd creates the leaders who create the crowd...the crowd’s latent desire for someone to create them manifested in those individual figures being propelled to leadership"

My first thought upon reading that it's possible to microwave a cup of water so that it's not boiling when you pull the mug out - the water looks calm, but stick a spoon in it - the boil over is an instant phenomenon. People under heat, like water, sometimes want to spill; each awaits the impetus to do so.

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Re: DeSantis as the Republican nominee would have occasioned a landslide, most likely.

DeSantis might well win against Biden (heck, I'd rate that at better than 50%) As I have said on many occasions there will be no landslides, not for president at least. DeSantis is too far to the Right, especially on social issues*, to rack up more than a bare majority. Also, on things like workers right and middle class entitlements, DeSantis' record is somewhere between Not Good and Abysmal- Florida has still not accepted ACA Medicaid and there are ugly quotes of his that could be exhumed concerning Social Security.

* Six week abortion bans are politically toxic even in red states and come November there's a good chance Florida voters will tank that law in a referendum which will be on the ballot.

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Today's journal entry is one of the most thought-provoking you've done. Your description of your experience at the U2 concert is a good example of that swarm effect. And I think live musical events are where a lot of us have experienced it. But it's a rare thing. I've probably seen over ten thousand live shows, from big stadium concerts to small clubs. Most were good, some were great, but I went to one that I still think about today where what I can only describe as magical happened.

It was around 1979. There was a venue in south Denver called the Rainbow Music Hall, which was really a converted strip-mall bargain movie theater that probably seated a thousand or so. I saw a lot of great shows there: Devo; Tom Waits: Roxy Music, U2 (first US tour!); and a bunch of others. But the absolute best by orders of magnitude was the New Zealand band Split Enz. This is when they had their big hit "I Got You". I wasn't a huge fan, but I had always liked them. The tickets were cheap, so a couple of buddies and I went.

I can't really explain what happened. For whatever reason, literally everything clicked that night. The band played their hearts out and played off each other like I've never seen. And they knew it; you could see them look at each other with this amazed "I don't know what's going on but I hope it lasts forever" look. And us in the audience did the same thing. They ended up playing "I Got You" three times and did five encores, the last of which was an acapella sea shanty accompanied only by the percusionist playing the spoons. When the finally band left the stage, I remember a woman in the row in front of us sobbing because the show was over. It was the must nuts concert I've ever seen. I saw Split Enz again a year later at the same venue, and while they were really good, that show wasn't even a shadow compared the one before. That one night was the only truly enchanted concert I've seen.

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Jerrold Post, who was our nation's preeminent political psychologist, wrote several books on the theme of how it is the followers that create a charismatic leader for their age (and not vice versa). It is a wounded, entitled people, he argued, that call forth a narcissistic leader who will mirror their woundedness that brings forth demagogues to the world stage. His "Leaders and Their Followers in a Dangerous World" is a good book to start with.

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The way celebrity, tribal affiliation, and "trustworthiness" work in 2024, Taylor Swift would likely win a presidential election, if she ran to replace Biden as a "rescue candidate", or in another cycle as a kind of "independent movement candidate".

She would, in effect, be an even much stronger version of Trump in that regard, because she shares many things with him from a characteristic point of view (not in substance, of course -- in substance she's very different, which is why she would be punting for the "other" team).

She has celebrity, and a good deal more of that than Trump had prior to 2016. This is a massive political advantage in today's culture, because it allows one to more or less completely sidestep the vetting and "who is this person" process of our political culture and simply show up in the final round, so to speak, where you will often cut an attractive contrasting figure to the vetted career politicos sharing the stage with you.

She has a massive army of extremely emotionally engaged, viscerally loyal fans that is certainly no weaker than the hardcore of MAGA, and is much bigger.

The core demographic of her fanbase -- young, single, white women -- is already core to the political success of that side, just as Trump's core of white guys is for his side. And her broader appeal to other segments of the female population, including suburban married women (many of whom adore her), would be substantial, and attract those women as swing voters who otherwise might vote Republican.

She encapsulates a powerful contemporary perspective which is not hyper political in an activist sense, but nevertheless is very concerned about political optics (the ability to self-perceive as being on the nice/empathetic "side" of any political issue), while also exemplifying a kind of effortless girlboss vibe that doesn't even need to be articulated, yet remains powerful.

And, perhaps most importantly in 2024, people trust Taylor Swift. They trust her more than they do any politician. And the alignment is therefore even stronger, I think, than the MAGA alignment is, because Trump is often supported simply because he will give libs the finger, whereas Swift would actually be trusted, as a person -- an appeal which is, perhaps, unique in our political system and political culture at present. She therefore has an incredible amount of personal credibility.

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Of course, Swift has no political experience at all. I am not sure that would matter to most voters given the other options on the table. It didn't matter to Trump's voters in 2016. Swift is currently too young to be sworn in, but she would be eligible in January, having turned 35 in December of this year.

Now, do I think Swift will actually run for President? No, I don't, because I don't think she's interested in being President. If she wants the job, though? It would be hard for the DNC to resist replacing Biden with Swift at the convention if his numbers haven't vastly improved by then.

I suspect all of that has a lot to do with why the Trump Camp is going on an anti-Swift tact at the moment. They "get" the threat, because it's so similar to their own guy -- she's a kind of "Anti-Trump" figure -- like him in various ways, but substantively completely the opposite. Yes, that's a potential threat, and a large one, if she ever were to be in a position to be his opponent.

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Jan 31·edited Jan 31

"Think about it: if Joe Biden is re-elected, it won’t be because of anything Biden has done. It will be because Trump is unique in his ability to simultaneously mobilize and polarize. It will be mostly because more people fear and loathe Trump than love him (or at least don’t fear him as much as they fear a Biden second term)."

This is the truth. Thank you. Does the country survive another four years of a divisive figure in the White House? We desperately need someone we can vote FOR, and who can win by a wide margin, and who can challenge us to come together and who will not exploit and divide us. In the 21st Century, only Obama won by a rather wide margin, and not nearly that of Reagan or Nixon.

As for Taylor Swift - who is she? I can't name one of her songs though I've probably heard some of them. But then, I listen to oldies. For sure, Trump should avoid entangling himself with a fight with a young female singer. Who cares what she thinks or says? There was a time when presidents and ex-presidents prudently kept their mouths shut.

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