21 November 2016

The New York Times: “The Right Way to Resist Trump”

Mr. Berlusconi was able to govern Italy for as long as he did mostly thanks to the incompetence of his opposition. It was so rabidly obsessed with his personality that any substantive political debate disappeared; it focused only on personal attacks, the effect of which was to increase Mr. Berlusconi’s popularity. His secret was an ability to set off a Pavlovian reaction among his leftist opponents, which engendered instantaneous sympathy in most moderate voters. Mr. Trump is no different.

We saw this dynamic during the presidential campaign. Hillary Clinton was so focused on explaining how bad Mr. Trump was that she too often didn’t promote her own ideas, to make the positive case for voting for her. The news media was so intent on ridiculing Mr. Trump’s behavior that it ended up providing him with free advertising.

Unfortunately, the dynamic has not ended with the election. Shortly after Mr. Trump gave his acceptance speech, protests sprang up all over America. What are these people protesting against? Whether we like it or not, Mr. Trump won legitimately. Denying that only feeds the perception that there are “legitimate” candidates and “illegitimate” ones, and a small elite decides which is which. If that’s true, elections are just a beauty contest among candidates blessed by the Guardian Council of clerics, just like in Iran.

Luigi Zingales

Sad but true. Twitter is full of outrage against Trump and he hasn’t even been sworn in yet. If people don’t learn to pick their fights, these are going to be a couple of very long and angry years. Not to mention counterproductive: as during the campaign, constant attacks directed at Trump only serve to strengthen his image of outsider, rally his supporters and distract the opposition with a thousand fake causes while he pushes other agenda. The noise is even more annoying as non-American; I’m seriously considering filtering out tweets about Trump (and Mike Pence) from TweetDeck.

A couple of articles are promoting similar advice: “You Are Still Crying Wolf” and “Stop Being Trump’s Twitter Fool”.

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