Electability. How I hate that concept. Unless you are talking about constitutional requisites for holding office, that is. Otherwise, electability is a stupid manipulation. Electability is a self-fulfilling prophecy built entirely on the commoditization of ideas. And vanity. Let’s not forget vanity.
The world didn’t used to look at itself so much. Now that’s all the world does. You go to Facebook and twitter, see what’s trending. Corporations create their products after a careful assessment of marketability, which is another way of saying they’ll make what people buy. They have no concept of the fact that people can’t buy it if they don’t make it. Electability is the barely distinguished twin sister of marketability. It is us looking at the mirror all day to see what we will do. Does that sound like chasing your tail? Diminishing volition? Vanity? Welcome to America.
And electability and marketability have the same consequence: products, I mean politicians, who are all basically the same. None of them are offensive enough to cause a widespread buyer/voter revolt. None of them have any integrity either. Like the products corporations sell, politicians for a particular party serve to extend the power and reach of their brand. That is all.
The most recent case of electability, closely following Rand Paul who follows his father who follows Barry Goldwater, is independent Bernie Sanders. I don’t really care for Bernie Sanders’ politics. But I think he actually believes what he is talking about. That shouldn’t even be an exciting trait in a politician. But in our society, it is unfortunately and increasingly rare. Products don’t need to have opinions of their own when they aren’t allowed to have choices of their own.
Huffington Post (yawn) posted an article recently titled, “‘Bernie Sanders Can Become President’ Has Replaced ‘I Like Him, But He Can’t Win.’” (Double yawn.) This is what I’m talking about. The article goes on to talk about how Sanders can draw a crowd. How Sanders can raise money. How Sanders has loyal supporters. All of that may be true. But the electability demons are still going to put Clinton on that ticket. Or maybe not. If enough people start saying Bernie Sanders is electable, then maybe finally he will be. I’m sure that is the main purpose of good old HuffPo publishing the article.
Because the point is not ultimately whether or not people want this or that product on the shelves of our stores or this or that politician in the halls of our Capitol. The real metric behind electability (and marketability) is control. And good luck getting the civil government to give up any of that.