We Can All Ignore the Next 18 Months

Thousands of articles will be written. Hundreds of millions of dollars will be spent. There will be interviews and debates. There will be speeches and rallies. There will be polls and predictions. Strategies and personalities will be analyzed. Policies will even be discussed.

We can safely ignore it all.

The only question regarding the presidential election in November 2016 is whether we should elect a Republican or Democrat. If you’ve been paying attention at all, you already know how to vote.

Paul Krugman explained why last month:

As we head into 2016, each party is quite unified on major policy issues — and these unified positions are very far from each other. The huge, substantive gulf between the parties will be reflected in the policy positions of whomever they nominate, and will almost surely be reflected in the actual policies adopted by whoever wins.

To paraphrase the differences Krugman points out:

Any Democrat elected will try to maintain or strengthen Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act. Any Republican will try to do the opposite.

Any Democrat will seek to maintain or increase taxes on the wealthy. Any Republican will do the opposite.

Any Democrat will try to preserve regulations on Wall Street and the big banks (she or he might even try to break up banks that are “too big to fail”). Any Republican won’t.

Any Democrat will try to limit global warming and make it easier for immigrants to become citizens. It’s pretty clear that any Republican won’t.

I’ll add that any Democrat will try to stimulate the economy and create jobs by increasing infrastructure spending. You can count on any Republican to protect the wealthy at all costs.

And any Democrat will nominate reasonable people to the Supreme Court. On the other hand, well, how do you feel about Scalia, Alito, Roberts and Thomas? 

Professor Krugman continues:

Now, some people won’t want to acknowledge that the choices in the 2016 election are as stark as I’ve asserted. Political commentators who specialize in covering personalities rather than issues will balk at the assertion that their alleged area of expertise matters not at all. Self-proclaimed centrists will look for a middle ground that doesn’t actually exist. And as a result, we’ll hear many assertions that the candidates don’t really mean what they say. There will, however, be an asymmetry in the way this supposed gap between rhetoric and real views is presented.

On one side, suppose that Ms. Clinton is indeed the Democratic nominee. If so, you can be sure that she’ll be accused, early and often, of insincerity, of not being the populist progressive she claims to be.

On the other side, suppose that the Republican nominee is a supposed moderate like Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio. In either case we’d be sure to hear many assertions from political pundits that the candidate doesn’t believe a lot of what he says. But in their cases this alleged insincerity would be presented as a virtue, not a vice — sure, Mr. Bush is saying crazy things about health care and climate change, but he doesn’t really mean it, and he’d be reasonable once in office. Just like his brother.

There are a lot of big books around the house I’ve been meaning to get to. If you have any time-consuming projects you’ve been putting off, the next 18 months will be a great time to get going.

Krugman’s whole column is here.

2 thoughts on “We Can All Ignore the Next 18 Months

  1. Pingback: We Shouldn’t Completely Ignore the Next 15 Months | Whereof One Can Speak

  2. Pingback: On Ignoring the Next Six Months | Whereof One Can Speak

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