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Quick thoughts on the Democratic debate

December 20, 2019

1) None of the candidates addressed corporate money and lobbying, which do indeed corrupt politics, without also sounding as if they were damning corporations and business profit per se. I wish any one of them, in discussing that, had said that corporations are an essential part of our capitalist economy, that their pursuit of profit is what we expect and want from them, that those who create and run businesses are making an essential contribution to society, and that the problem of corruption arises when we let businesses exert their corporate influence in the political arena. And yes, it is a pretty obvious thing. But political candidates often have to state the obvious. It is an important prelude to explaining what kinds of anti-corruption steps are desirable, and why those steps are pro-democracy, not anti-business.

2) Whether it is from the candidates themselves, explaining why they are the one most fit to win the general election, or from supporters saying that, or from critics asserting different, all such claims mostly are stupid. There are no good models of electability. Despite that, every election season, there are many who claim to support or reject some candidate on that basis. Which happily coincides with what they happen to like otherwise. And such claim is dried bullshit, without any attempt at data collection or correction. At least from the candidates it is understandable, since they are running for a job. From anyone else, it is just nonsense glitter. Support who you like. Argue for or against candidates on the basis of your own values and preferences. But if you want to pretend you have some deep foresight into elections, shut up, spare us your speculation, and instead, go to the prediction markets and make your fortune. If your foresight is even in the ballpark, that would be easy.

3) It was Klobuchar’s night to shine.

4) The format is bad, and most of the questions are designed to generate fights or trip up the candidates, rather than to show who they are. The end result is soporific.

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