I saw headlines briefly this morning that Associated Press has put out a story that Hillary Clinton has the required number of delegates supporting her candidature for Democratic nomination. Then, in my taxi ride to the city in Singapore, without any backing or evidence, Radio 93.8 FM in Singapore also noted that President Obama was all set to declare his formal support for Ms. Clinton. If anything, the President’s office appeared careful not to commit prematurely and did not want to be seen as influencing the voters in the primaries one way or the other.
What Clinton’s campaign team is doing is good tactics at one level. At another level, it is hollow and smacks of desperation too. Can backfire, actually.
That is what many folks who are against Britain leaving the European Union and who are against Donald Trump becoming President are failing to or are refusing to appreciate. Their certitude on the superiority (moral and intellectual) of their judgements is not accepted by the ordinary folks. They come through as hollow and self-serving. Past patterns suggest that public good is not usually the motivation in these desperately arrogant and condescending campaigns. You can see the Twitter handles of many folks to understand what I am saying. Their arrogance of certitude is quite breathtaking, actually. This is just one example.
Larry Summers’ comment that a recession would come within 18 months of a Trump Presidency makes one laugh. The U.S. economy is overdue for a recession. It may well happen regardless of the Presidency. How does one establish causation? If they are so sure about their logic, why are they afraid that Trump would win? They should be very confident of convincing the public of the soundness of their logic. Increasingly, they sound shrill and desperate and out of touch.
If they are not so sure because people seem to think rather differently, then isn’t the onus on them too to think of what they are missing? Even after repeated failures, the arrogance of the elites surfaces and failures do not seem to instil them a sense of humility about their own fallibility. One honourable exception, lately, appears to be Nicholas Kristof. He calls his ‘fellow Left travellers’ cocky and narrow-minded. See his recent pieces here and here. At least, there is one person on the Left with an open mind. That is as good an oxymoron as any, I think.
Forget about arguments. Even as tactics go, these methods are stupid because they are patently counterproductive. Just see the sample of comments under Summers’ article in FT.
Demonisation of Narendra Modi did not work in India in 2014. Yet, it continues even now. How is that for stupidity?
Vivek Dehijia makes this point and other good ones in his piece for the MINT.
(p.s: Summers’ piece reminded me of Subramanian Swamy’s letter to the PM on Raghuram Rajan.)