Live from Trumpland: A good article, but I want to protest the both-sideism.

Since 1980... Carter-Mondale, Mondale-Ferraro, Dukakis-Bentsen, Clinton-Gore, Clinton-Gore, Gore-Lieberman, Kerry-Edwards, Obama-Biden, Obama-Biden, Clinton II-Kaine... I count 18 serious candidates who can do the business of government (even though many think Carter did it badly)... and two, um, call them entertainers--people who look good on TV but who we don't think have the administrative chops to actually run the government: Ferraro and Edwards.

On the Republican side... Reagan-Bush, Reagan-Bush, Bush-Quayle, Bush-Quayle, Dole-Kemp, Bush II-Cheney, Bush II-Cheney, McCain-Palin, Romney-Ryan, Trump-Pence... I count 9 serious candidates who can do the business of government, 9 people who are primarily entertainers (Reagan, Reagan, Quayle, Quayle, Bush II, Bush II, McCain, Palin) and two madmen (Cheney, Cheney). There is a large and pronounced asymmetry here. "I have had similar conversations with herbal teabaggers" doesn't cut it here...

Megan McArdle: Voters Want Change. Candidates Disappoint. Repeat:

If you want to understand American elections, read a comic book....

Politics doesn't have clear villains or decisive, powerful action. Politics muddles along on a heavily adulterated biofuel composed of interpersonal favor-trading, compromised ideology, soul-sucking proceduralism, and ponderous interest-group mobilization.... [But] voters rally to get a candidate elected, then call on the politician to stop technological change from tanking the local economy, to give them much more generous health care at half the cost of whatever they've currently got, to cut their taxes without touching Social Security or Medicare because they earned those benefits, to provide large new entitlements paid for entirely by taxing hedge fund managers, to reform the education system so that all the students will be above average, to defuse conflict in the Middle East and maybe leap some tall buildings in a single bound. You know, the usual....

I don't want to pick on conservatives especially; the debt ceiling mess was certainly debacletacular, but I've had similar versions of this conversation with innumerable liberals over the years....

Trump's supporters seem to think that he will somehow escape the constraints that have prevented other politicians from addressing those priorities, because finally here we have a candidate with sufficient will and imagination to unleash the full powers of the presidential Green Lantern ring. End birthright citizenship! Get Mexico to pay to build a wall! Force companies to build more stuff here! How? By being really tough. Don't ask for details....

But... politics is all details. And each of those tiny little details has to be endlessly negotiated.... There is no superhero strong enough to overcome the villain. There is actually not even a villain to defeat, only the unslayable amoeboid agglomeration of 300 million citizens' worth of unenlightened self-interest...

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