The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Radley Balko for Supreme Court and other thoughts on the Election

(Don’t worry, gaming content later)

I was speaking with fellow gamers at a convention earlier this year and I was apparently the only person who could see any upside on a Trump election. (I didn’t vote for Trump, despite my pledge that I would vote against anyone named Clinton or Bush with the other major party).

  1. It is my hope that the media will suddenly remember that we have troops overseas in multiple locations where they are in combat, and that not everything the government says about the world should be believed.
  2. It is my fear that the Republicans will forget that they pretend to be fiscal conservatives. (They aren’t, but they at try to talk a good game … at least when obstructing things they don’t like).  Trump never made any pretense towards that end, so Congress may take the lesson that people don’t really care. (I suppose I should take the lesson, since it is apparently true).
  3. It is my hope that people will consider the fact that the President Elect is an obvious Nationalist with a bullying speaking style, and the 3rd most popular person (in the primaries) was a Socialist, and that they will start to wonder if perhaps we should distribute power a bit more, and defer to the highest executive less. Perhaps it’s time to re-read the Myth of the Rational Voter.
  4. It is my fear that nobody will learn anything from this election (I’ll try not to), and that next time around the most prescient voice in the punditocracy will come from the worst artist to ever make a living doing cartoons.
  5. I recall a paper that said democracies main power was like sexual reproduction (as compared to asexual). Sexual reproduction’s power is that it produces a wide variety of subjects that makes it tough for the species to be decimated by a single virus, parasite or competitor and that “Throw the bums out” votes didn’t really get rid of many bums, but did put a short term damper on lobbyists and reduced the overall accumulation of power. That would be nice if it turned out to be true. In fact, this election was really good for getting articles outside the box. I liked Slate’s take on approval voting (and the Arrow Impossibility Theorem is a Tao favorite).
  6. Mrs. Tao’s fear — a credible argument I had not heard anywhere else — was that many of the 3rd Reich’s terrors weren’t necessarily proposed by Hitler (who had some terrible rhetoric, but not much in the way of policy experience) but by people trying to suck up to Hitler. That is a sobering thought, especially for one who believes (as I do) that nothing a politician says should be given any credence, and only policy matters.
  7. My hope is that Trump will appoint 6,000 people who all have varying differences and all the more radical ideas will get lost in Brownian motion that generates nothing but heat. (This was my main reason for seeing an upside in Trump. I believe firmly that all of President Clinton’s appointees would be in lock step, and I oppose that for either party).

Finally — one suggestion for the President Elect.

Radley Balko for the Supreme Court. There’s lots of upsides.

  1. Intellectual Diversity — The Supreme Court doesn’t just answer legal questions for our country, it answers fundamental questions. It would be nice if the Justices hailed from more than two law schools; but it would be even nicer if one person on the Court had a background much closer to the average citizen. As a (non-lawyer) reporter who has been covering abuses and coverups by Police Departments for at least a decade, Mr. Balko would be a sobering counterpoint to the group of eight people who have likely never had an unpleasant experience with an officer of the law, much less a hostile one.
  2. Symbolism — By nominating someone outside of the Republican Party who has worked to expose abuses of government power Trump can assuage the fears of many that he is the second coming of Hitler.  (I doubt it will work, but hey! if that symbolism argument above holds, it may keep his appointees in line). It would also be a powerful symbol after the last 18 months of abuse. Balko was well ahead of the curve.
  3. Precedent — Obviously the Supreme Court holds intense power, and setting the precedent that one can work to right injustice without going to law school or having the ‘proper’ credentials (Harvard Law or Yale Law graduates only need apply) would be inspiring. There is no requirement to hold the office of President, why must we require that every single Congressperson on Justice follow a typical background?

Anyway, I’d love to see that (or someone similar), but I’m not holding my breath. My primary hope is that while the President of the U.S. is the most powerful man on earth, in our day to day lives he isn’t that important. You got through Bush. You got through Obama. Undoubtedly you hated one of them. I suspect we’ll have major press (and Anonymous, and WikiLeaks, and 53% of the country) watching Trump like a hawk. And say what you will about most of his supporters, if he did something truly unpatriotic, I think they’d notice and re-act.

PS — I didn’t watch anything on this last night (Politics as a Horse Race is no longer interesting to me), but in skimming the coverage this morning, I must really say that 538 (a reliably great website) had an election map weighted by electoral votes (natch), but what made it really great was the look. It gave off  a vibe from the old classic game, Supremacy. I really liked it. (Let’s just hope we don’t see any mushroom clouds on the real map).

Here’s the final-ish (as of 1am) map by 538.


Written by taogaming

November 9, 2016 at 9:19 am

Posted in Misc, Non-Gaming

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3 Responses

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  1. Thanks for pointing out that 538 map being like Supremacy. Though I was just enjoying its basic utility, I bet there was some unconscious resonance. I know I looked at that map way too much as a callow youth.

    Jon Waddington

    November 9, 2016 at 9:55 am

  2. These elections are way too goddamn long. It makes my head hurt thinking that we’ll be going through this again in less than 3 years (not to mention midterms). Primary debates in May, six week series of primaries starting in June, conventions end of August, 2 months for general campaigning and debates. That should be more than enough time.

    Mark Delano

    November 9, 2016 at 4:06 pm

    • I damn near drove into a tree (deliberately) when NPR asked “Well, what does this mean for the ’18 midterm elections.”


      November 9, 2016 at 4:41 pm

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