The world’s ins and outs
campaign, neither facts nor reason will dissuade voters with an “out” mindset.
As the Nobel laureate economist Daniel Kahneman recently observed of Britain’s “leave” camp, “the arguments look odd: they look short-term and based on irritation and anger”. And yet they work.
In the US presidential election, the choice between Hillary Clinton, the presumptive Democratic nominee, and her Republican counterpart, Donald Trump, reflects an unambiguous battle between “in” and “out”.
In response to the recent mass shooting at an LGBT nightclub in Orlando, Trump boasted that he had been right all along about the threat posed by “radical Islamic terrorism”.
Clinton, by contrast, offered words of support — in English and Spanish — to the victims, and focused on the community and on the need for gun control.
With his xenophobic rhetoric and fondness for despots like Russian President Vladimir Putin (a demagogue who bullies the neighbours he does not invade), Trump epitomises the “out” mindset: hyperbolic, malicious, pompous and hostile to all who defy or disagree with him (be it the press, which he berates and tries to block, or judges who preside over his lawsuits).
Some senior Republicans, to their credit, have disavowed this Pied Piper’s effort to lead Americans over a cliff of isolation and bigotry. But many others, confronted with his steady stream of insults directed at Latinos, Muslims and women, seem to have walled off their consciences.
Paul Ryan, speaker of the House of Representatives, has called Trump’s comments racist, but continues to endorse him. So does Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and, perhaps most remarkably, John McCain, the party’s 2008 presidential nominee, whose military service Trump denigrated, saying that McCain returned from Vietnam “a war hero” only “because he was captured”, adding: “I like people who weren’t captured.”
Clinton, on the other hand, though widely perceived as a foreign policy “hawk”, is still of the “in” mindset — someone who knows the value of trade, discussion and compromise. She also understands the value of “smart power” — that bombs are not always the most valuable tools to use in pursuit of one’s goals. She would presumably seek to advance the legacy established by President Barack Obama, whose trips to Vietnam, Cuba and Japan this year