2016 is Totally Normal; We're nuts.
One of the continued tropes of this cycle is the fact that 2016 is unlike any other year. What was once true is no longer. There's never been a matchup like Trump vs. Clinton. The normal rules do not apply. While perception would leave you to think this is true, 2016 is no more or less crazy than any other moment. What technology and media have done is mutated our concept of normality. Politicians have always been people like Clinton and Trump. Americans have always been disenfranchised from government. The sooner we accept that human beings are nuts, the better our political process will become.
American politics has seen many a familial dynasty. In fact, every nation whose structure of government has been around for more than 100 years does. Human beings crave community. They want familiarity. Our society is one in which we incentivize individuality while expecting the expression of individuality to fit into a collectivist norm. And then, when the expression of individuality violates the norm, we recoil in fear and freedom.
This does not mean we should reject the concept of freedom. All of our presidential candidates do that for us. It means that we are all too often confusing freedom FROM something with freedom TO something. We are, in theory, a free society. That doesn't mean that we are free to do whatever we want. It means that we have freedom FROM the government telling us what to do. It doesn't mean that we can do whatever we want; it means we can do whatever we want to while not violating the rights of others.
As far as 2016 goes, our candidates are pretty normal. Both sides want to destroy a foreign Muslim avatar. Both want to support the auto-immune disease ridden entitlement programs we have. And both of them don't actually give a fuck about you. The sooner you accept it, the easier it is to realize your impact on the political system.
The last debate did nothing to change this. It continued the exchange of insults we've seen for almost 2 years now. It was the same tired talking points about Obamacare. Hillary, whose positions on healthcare haven't really changed since 1994, spewed the same infections idea that there are parts of Obamacare that work. Trump, to his credit, at least acknowledged that it's a complete disaster. Unfortunately, his plan is much more reminiscent of Hillary's goal than anything that would come from true market oriented reforms outlined by people like Michael Cannon of the Cato Institute. To act like it's working is nuts.
And if anyone thinks that W was the President who started unconstitutional foreign interventions, they have not read any book on American history. Trump is the unknown here, Hillary loves using military force when it suits her interest. It seems her masculinity is so fragile.
But the big moment of the debate that stuck out was the idea that Trump would prosecute Hillary if he became president. The feigned fear that we'd be electing the next Kim Jong Un assumes that with anyone-but-Clinton would lead to an immediate and complete erasing of all institutions in government. Dana Bash said how it truly scared her and reminded her of totalitarian nations. The appropriate response to the threat came from Hillary herself: laughter. Even if Trump wins, it looks like the Senate will flip to Democratic control, he'll have no buy-in this or any of his other policy proposals.
The people in politics are just like everyone else: human, fallible, and will make decisions based on incentives. We've created a world where we incentivize quick sound bites, memes, and GIFs as signs of a job well done. We've created a world where Hillary says she keeps hot sauce in her purse and Trump is the Republican nominee. It's not 2016 that's totally nuts, it's that we are.