Braden, Ritche and Mike, dropping off the edge in Black Creek Rapid, Salmon River, ID, 2016
Judging from my Facebook feed, lots of folks seem to be confused that, with the nomination of Hillary Clinton as the Democratic nominee for President, former Bernie Sanders supporters might make the jump to a Libertarian candidate like Gary Johnson instead of realizing supposed topical shared interest with the Democrats. As I’ve said before, that’s the problem with attempting to understand events based solely on topical information. Topical information does not show intent, nor trends. In order to do that, you have to understand the v-Meme structure of the organization or society, as well as the people involved.
What does that mean? National elections in the United States are clearly for electing officials to a tricameral Legalistic system — the Legislative, Executive, and indirectly the Judicial Branch. All three branches have prescribed powers, as well as checks and balances written in both the Constitution and generated law since then. What elections mean, however, is how those laws will be used to evolve or devolve society, up or down, in a v-Meme sense. How elected officials view agency, as well as empathy, and its desirability or lack thereof, is the real, resonant force in an election.
But how does this process work? The easiest understanding of this is what a law does to a society when it is passed. The law is legal code. Yet is its interpretation designed to give more control to Authority? Is it designed to improve Performance of the system? Let’s take a law that is designed to control Wall Street corruption, like the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Sarbanes-Oxley, or SOX as it is known in the corporate community, put restraints and criminal accountability on corporate boards for malfeasance. Controlling corruption certainly makes for a higher performance society — when people can trust each other more easily, and the institutions that represent them, information can flow more quickly. But at the same time, dependent on the make-up of the staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission, a law like SOX can also be used to target certain sectors for heightened scrutiny, creating bias against sectors that perhaps did not support the election of certain officials. So, with almost all laws, evolution can go up or down.
V-Meme recognition in voting communities inherently acknowledges this, and voters seem also to intrinsically respond to cues directed from candidates. I already made the point in this post that Trump and Sanders were both resonant with individuals looking for more independent relational modes, while Cruz and Clinton were counting on status and prestige from past titles to carry them over the top. If one had to characterize Libertarians — at least the ones I know — it would have to be more along the lines of Performance-based Authoritarians, with a dominant suspicion toward any Legalistic v-Meme candidate. In the eyes of the political pundit class, the explanation might be ostensibly because of Sanders’ continuous attacks against the large institutions dominating Wall Street, as well as the obvious revolving door between the U.S. Treasury Dept. and the various major brokerage firms.
But I’d be willing to bet anyone a beer that less than 1% of the population can tell me who, or what, Warren-Pincus is, or what Obama official is now formally associated with that name. (It’s Timothy Geithner, former Treasury Secretary, who is now the CEO of that private equity firm.) People trust their v-Memes for a reason — they simply don’t have the explicit, left-brained knowledge of the details of operation. They only know their cousin lost their house to a big bank during the Countrywide mortgage collapse, and that the government wrote the Street a big check. That’s the kind of trauma that creates some serious neuroplasticity toward increasing agency, and contempt of government control.
And it should surprise no one that the Republicans nominated a candidate who states he is about an increase in agency (and no, I don’t want to argue if this is true — I’ve already written about that!) while the Democrats squeaked out a candidate favoring the establishment. They already occupy the White House. But the closeness of the race on the Democratic side shows how the current system is not holding up to evolutionary pressures. Otherwise, how could Sanders have raised as much money for his political campaign as he did?
And spectacles like this during the convention also surely don’t help. This woman taped her mouth shut, and alleges she was threatened with eviction from the Democratic National Convention. Regardless whether she is telling the truth or not, the status quo of the Democrats creating an environment where such a message dominates isn’t too smart in an election year with the dynamics previously prescribed.
If this election is about anything in the minds of the voters, it is about this battle for agency, who gets to be the benefactor of this, and perception of trajectory. And as the U.S. devolves deeper along the Spiral in all its institutions, my one prediction is that the behavior of the electorate will become more and more impulsive — not less so — with a profound edge to the candidate arguing in principle for more agency — regardless whether they deliver. So far, my analysis has been spot-on. If you want to understand the electorate, don’t follow the issues. Follow the v-Memes.
Someone needs to coach Sarah on the v-Meme/agency issue. I volunteer!