Thursday, November 10, 2016

what went wrong?

Many years ago, when I was a young Programmer thrust into the role of 'Systems Analyst', I had the good fortune to share an office with an old guy (digression: now I'm the Old Guy) whose main working years predated computers.  His profession was called things like 'Operations Research'.

He was tall, white-haired, and skinny and smoked incessantly. He didn't know computers, but he knew Systems and learned quickly.  Even better, I learned a lot from him.

One of his favorite stories was when he was employed by a restaurant, to analyze why it wasn't making money.  This is what he said he learned:

In the restaurant business, you can promote your place as having either a superb atmosphere, superb food, or superb (i.e. reasonable) prices.  If you have one of those, you *may* succeed.  If you have two of those, you will probably succeed.  If you have all three of those, you *will* fail.

In the world of electing a President, you need a great candidate, a great message, and a great organization.  If you have all three, you will probably succeed.  If you have only two, you *may* succeed.  If you have only one of those, you will fail.

The Democratic Establishment had a mature organization, but they decided on the candidate before they decided on the Message.

I was at Bernie's amazing early Portland rally (28,000 wildly cheering fans).  The message was:  Income Inequality and a Rigged System, over the past 4 decades, has left much of America behind.  We all understood this, and approved of his remedies (overturn Citizens United, reign in military spending, build infrastructure, and, above all, care about the masses who have been victimized by globalization).

The Hillary people saw Bernie as an opponent to be quashed, not as a reflection of Popular Voter Sentiment.

Both the Progressive Crowd and the Rust Belt folks understood the damage done by decades of plant-closings and Wall Street shenanigans (i.e. Bernie's message), and the Rust Belt folks, who actually lived with the shattered lives, dreams, and opiates, simply don't see Gender inequality as the Big Issue This Year.

A Sociopath like Trump understood why Bernie was drawing the big crowds.  He didn't need (or even favor) Bernie's remedies.  He only needed Bernie's Message as a basis, and mixed in the usual demagogue tropes (you know what they are) to keep 'em riled.

And here we are.  Just my opinion.