So Bernie Sanders gave Hillary Clinton a beat down yesterday. I figured him to win, but 22 points!? That’s not a shake-it-off loss for Team Hillary; that’s a get to the ER and make sure she’s OK loss. When a self-identified socialist beats anyone by that much, even in curmudgeonly New Hampshire, something is up. Let’s turn to the exit polling. With a majority of voters, Sanders was found to be “honest and trustworthy,” by a margin of 95% to 3%. This comes in the face of voters overwhelmingly agreeing that Hillary has much better odds to win in November and far better experience for the job than Bernie. I think that tells the tale pretty convincingly. People were not voting issues or competence, they were voting on perceived credibility.
Credibility, which is closely related to honesty, flows from character. This result seems to be in direct contrast to our discussion yesterday of no one caring about Cam Newton’s character provided he wins. But does Bernie really have better character than Hillary? Yes, he is more honest, but that is an awfully low bar when you are dealing with the Clinton’s. The “charity” that seemingly underlies socialism would also appear to be an indication of character, but only if you ignore the confiscatory, some might say thieving, nature of the other side of the socialist transaction. “Stealing from the rich and giving to the poor” is a sympathetic stance, but that whole stealing thing makes it an act of pretty questionable character.
But the word “sympathy” starts to hint at what I think is going on. This election cycle is very visceral. Sympathy is something you feel, not something you reason about. But I think it is more deeply visceral than sympathy, I think this election is about shame. Continue Reading