Judge Neil Gorsuch is technically correct to say this afternoon that we do not live in Caligula’s world. Bad news is that we live in the Emperor Elagabulus’s world. You can look it up.
For a long while I used to feel I didn’t have enough money that voting Republican could possibly make any sense. Now, though not much wealthier or poorer, I feel I have just enough to lose that the very idea of voting Republican makes zero sense. Is that sensible? I sure hope that enough voters feel they have enough to lose that we can keep a choleric, petulant, hormonal man like Trump off Air Force One.
An economy with slow and unequal growth is not fun for people whose futures feel stagnant or precarious. Thus Trump has tried to make loss aversion work for him by claiming only he can set things right, “drain the swamp,” and restore the glory days. It’s no accident that Trump has tried to demoralize African-Americans by yelling at them that they have nothing to lose, implying at the same time to white voters that old hierarchies will be put back in place.
Despite the perhaps uncharismatic and uninspiring alternative to Trump, do we really feel safe taking what we have for granted? Do we really have so little to lose, are we so oblivious to risk, and so unable to value our own freedom that we would let ourselves be ruled by a guy who combines in himself the worst of Biff Tannen, Gordon Gekko, Captain King Kong, and Stalin’s “useful idiot”? Did I mention Alcibiades and Elagabulus? Quite a ruler, that Elagabulus! Think you have little to lose–search for Elagabulus and imagine President Donald E for Elagabulus Trump. (Hat tip to Ross Cardinal Douthat of the NYT)