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A Neoliberal, a Nationalist, an Anarchist, and a Libertarian Walk into a Bar: Candidate Analysis 16
The presidential campaign is upon us and everyone and their mama is writing an analysis, so I figure that I will too.  I included this chart because it is my rubric for deconstructing the candidates and their political philosophies and here they are in no particular order.  The x-axis of the chart is a measure of how individual or collective the candidate's philosophies are and the y-axis is the scope of the state (government).

1.  Donald Trump (R) - Authoritarian Populism (7) - Trump is actually pretty far to the left in terms of thinking more collectively or individually, but Trump's collective is narrowly defined as Americans.  While it is overly simplistic to call this simply racism, it does entail more than a tinge of racial overtones and uses many nativistic metaphors.  It is also an excuse to use the state for more protectionist type policies that would help American workers and American industries.  This is a stark contrast to Clintonian neolberalism that promoted free trade as good for everyone.  While this philosophy is new to the states, it has been used with some success globally, particularly during times of economic crisis.  Trump will use a strong, centralized state to enforce a particular type of nationalism that while not completely white nationalism is its close cousin.  Trump's foreign policy will focus on American interests over all others and the overarching theme of his campaign will be jingoistic and nationalistic.  Trump's strength will be with the white working class.

2.  Hillary Clinton (D) - Neoliberalism (13) - Clinton is clearly to the right of Trump as far as individualism vs collectivism, but the hallmark of a Clinton presidency will be market fundamentalism.  Not only will the state use the market to create economic growth, it will also be used to solve social problems.  As an example, affirmative action is a market-based solution to racial disparities that creates an alternative labor market for people of color.  Her husband, Bill Clinton, reformed welfare into a market-based solution for poverty by requiring the poor to enter the labor market to receive benefits.  Often called the third way, neoliberalism is highly en vogue in urban management with cities adopting entrepreneurialism to solve a wide range of problems from economic growth to use of abandoned properties to poverty alleviation.  Clinton's strength will be with people of color, women, and urban areas.

Now for the two non-contenders.

3.  Jill Stein - Anarcho-syndicalism (24) - Anarcho-syndicalism is basically a decentralized state with interest groups forming syndicates that govern.  This is usually thought of in terms of labor or worker's councils, but, in Stein's philosophy, it also includes identitarian sorts of groups such as people of color and women.  The particular contrast between both Stein and Gary Johnson (below) is a strong anti-state or at least anti-centralization of the state stance.  Both have a strong stance on self governance with Stein's philosophy being particularly about self governance.  Interestingly, she is closer to Trump than she is to Clinton (or at least the same distance) and presents a starkly different vision for the country than either Trump or Clinton and a vision which has little historical rootedness in the United States except for vague and fleeting political ideas of the late sixties.  She is strongest with young people, left-wing political radicals, and in progressive urban areas like San Francisco and Seattle.

4.  Gary Johnson - Libertarian (20) - Johnson is actually a more anti-state and a more individualistic version of Hillary Clinton.  Like Clinton, he believes in market fundamentalism and a very small scope of the state.  Libertarians go further than market fundamentalism and argue that the market is a state of nature and should not be interfered with in any way.  This leads to some strange conclusions such as that the state should not bail out anyone, that it is just a market correction, while at the same time, arguing that the private sector and the market can solve all problems sociocultural and economic alike.  Johnson shares the anti-war and anti-interventionist point-of-view with Jill Stein, but couldn't be more different than Donald Trump.  If there is a polar opposite to Donald Trump it is Gary Johnson.  Gary Johnson is favored by young, often successful men, especially white men.

Clinton is the most middle of the road of all of the candidates and represents the governing point of view of both parties for much of the last 50 years.  Trump's populism has existed in American politics, but much below the surface and this is the first time since George Wallace that there has been any form of legitimate populism and Trump is probably the most successful right wing populist in the last 100 years.  Stein and Johnson represent the strong anti-state bent to much of American politics, one from the left wing and one from the right.  Overall, this is probably one of the most interesting presidential elections in recent history because candidates have basically been arguing for different versions of neoliberalism and this one offers a real, if somewhat terrifying, option.

Punch Line:

The nationalist buys a Budweiser, but just carries it around and doesn't drink it, walks to the end of the bar punches a Mexican in the face and then hires him to clean his house.  He then walks to a table of rednecks playing poker, tells them how great they all are, and takes all their money.  The rednecks can't seem to stop talking about what a great guy he is.

The neoliberal buys a Bombay gin and tonic, never says a word, but the owner of the bar whispers something into her ear and slides her a briefcase full of money.

The anarchist buys a well rum mojito with organic cane sugar and organic mint and prattles on for four hours about sustainability before she realizes no one is listening to her.

The libertarian doesn't drink, but goes out back and smokes a joint with the bus boy.  It's the bus boy's joint.  Alex Jones walks in and they both strip naked and do some sort of rhythmless dance while jabbering a bunch of incoherent nonsense about the government.  Everyone in the bar believes that they are crazy.

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