Trump Offers More Insight On His Cybersecurity Plans: 10-Year-Old Relatives Vs. 400-lb Bedroom Dwellers

from the every-debate-response-basically-a-banned-forum-user's-posts dept

Smile, constituents: this man may become president.

Look at the mess that we’re in. Look at the mess that we’re in. As far as the cyber, I agree to parts of what secretary Clinton said, we should be better than anybody else, and perhaps we’re not. I don’t know if we know it was Russia who broke into the DNC.

She’s saying Russia, Russia, Russia. Maybe it was. It could also be China, it could be someone sitting on their bed that weighs 400 pounds…

Look, anyone who refers to cybersecurity or cyberwarfare as “the cyber” is probably better off not discussing this. But Donald Trump, in last night’s debate, felt compelled to further prove why he’s in no position to be offering guidance on technological issues. And anyone who feels compelled to portray hackers as 400-lb bedroom dwellers probably shouldn’t be opening their mouth in public at all.

With this mindset, discussions about what “the Google” and “the Facebook” are doing about trimming back ISIS’s social media presence can’t be far behind. Trump did note that ISIS is “beating us at our game” when it comes to utilizing social media. Fair enough.

But Trump’s cybersecurity “plan” isn’t actually a plan. What there is of it has to be compiled from a string of random, semi-related sentences. Apparently, the next cyberwar will pit tweens against 400-lb Russians…

I have a son. He’s 10 years old. He has computers. He is so good with these computers, it’s unbelievable. The security aspect of cyber is very, very tough. And maybe it’s hardly do-able. But I will say, we are not doing the job we should be doing, but that’s true throughout our whole governmental society. We have so many things that we have to do better, Lester and certainly cyber is one of them.

The problem isn’t so much that Trump plainly has no idea what he’s talking about or even the coherency to bluff his way through it. No one expects presidential candidates to be experts on every possible issue that might come up. But this has been the government’s primary focus in recent years, and multiple high-profile hackings have only intensified that.

The problem is that Trump clearly has no interest in discussing these issues with those who can offer coherent, possibly-useful cybersecurity strategies. The more he speaks, the more he exposes his ignorance. Ignorance isn’t unfixable. But Trump has done nothing over the past several months to close these (often significant) gaps in his knowledge. That’s the scariest aspect of his presidential run — the unwillingness to handle the boring but essential work of creating a platform composed of something more than half-formed thoughts and severely misguided jingoism that blames the rest of the world for somehow making America a worse country.

The mitigating factors are these:

Hillary Clinton’s response may have been more coherent but hers suggests we should probably engage in more actual war than cyberwar to handle ISIS — something’s that gone oh so well for the past couple of decades. And she was ready to declare cyberwar on Russia after the DNC hacking, an idea that’s not only stupid (seeing as the entity behind the hacking is still unknown) but an indication she’d be willing to wield government power to avenge embarassment.

Trump’s power in office is likely to be far less than he obviously envisions it. Trump may be a rather extreme form of populist but those popular votes will be about as useful as Facebook likes when it comes to attempts to push his agenda past far more level-headed advisors and legislators.

Either way, voters are faced with choosing between the devil they sort of know and the devil other devils have been distancing themselves from for several weeks. In both cases, we’re going to end up with a president who doesn’t have the technical knowledge to deal with today’s realities.

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Comments on “Trump Offers More Insight On His Cybersecurity Plans: 10-Year-Old Relatives Vs. 400-lb Bedroom Dwellers”

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128 Comments
JMT says:

Re: Re:

The fact that he’s so impressed by what a 10yo is capable of doing on a computer, even if the kid does happen to be of above-average proficiency for a kid, just demonstrates his own utter incompetence. My 8yo can run rings around my mother on a computer or tablet, but that doesn’t make her “unbelievable”, it just makes my mother a typical nearly-70yo.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: get a third

A third-party candidate, Ross Perot, got roughly 20% of the popular vote in 1992, and zero votes in the electoral college. The rules have since been changed to make it much more difficult for third-party candidates to get into the debates; Perot participated in one, and no other third-party candidate has made it onto the debate stage since.

It’s essentially impossible for a third-party candidate to gain traction in a US presidential race, for a number of reasons. Our voting system, between its first-past-the-post criterion for victory and its use of the electoral college to bias vote counts by region, favors a two-party system; any time in our history that a third party has risen to prominence, it has ended up supplanting an existing major party. (The Whigs replaced the Federalists, and then the Republicans replaced the Whigs.) We’ve also got two major parties that have an interest in maintaining their own power, which means keeping third-party candidates from gaining any traction, and news media who either ignore third-party candidates or treat them as novelty acts or spoilers.

It doesn’t help that our current third-party candidates, Johnson for the Libertarian Party and Stein for the Green Party, have their own eccentricities, though I think they’d both be doing much better if they received more media coverage and people started to consider them to be viable candidates instead of protest votes.

But that’s not gonna happen. And neither is the huge, systemic reform we’d need for third-party candidates to have a fighting chance at being elected.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: get a third

3 parties or more would also be too expensive to buy and make the math much more difficult since it isn’t zero-sum communication and while your adversaries lost, you may also lose.

I don’t think it is economically feasible or desirable for the system to have problems of third party candidates. It is bad enough with a few making it into the house…

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: get a third

I don’t see it being worse than the system we’ve got now. The trouble with the lesser-of-two-evils system is that it doesn’t necessarily converge at the center; it can be a race to the bottom. As is quite clear in this election, a race between the most unpopular presidential candidate in recorded history and the second-most.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 get a third

The two things aren’t mutually exclusive, though; an instant-runoff system is perfectly compatible with a party system.

I’m not a fan of political parties but I don’t think there’s any realistic way of getting rid of them. Even if elections ran entirely on public financing, and even if parties weren’t listed on ballots, you’d still wind up with the kinds of coalitions of different interest groups endorsing candidates based on their representation of those interests, and that’s basically what a party system is.

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 get a third

What Thad says. A switch to proportional representation might fix the democratic deficit a little but your problem is the entrenched interests that have no desire to compete with smaller parties.

Thad is also correct that if we get the numbers a new, more popular party could supplant one of the big established ones but the game has been rigged to make that harder. A sustained campaign to open up the candidates’ debates to allow third party candidates to take part, along with media coverage, would definitely be a step in the right direction.

Finally, Thad mentioned publicly financed elections so that no one party could outspend the other, thereby smothering the message of competing parties. It’d take a sustained campaign for all of the above to make anything happen but until the public is willing to agitate for change in a structured, continual manner (remember the push for gay marriage? Same idea), we will just be trading hat tips over the comments section here in TD with anyone else who agrees with us.

Okay, it’s possible. Could we launch, publicise and sustain a campaign for electoral reform in the USA to make elections there more democratic (inclusive and representative of the public will)?

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:5 get a third

I think a lot of it’s going to depend on the millennials (and the generations after them). While Trump and Clinton are historically-disliked candidates, few voters are willing to break and vote third-party — it’s an unusually high amount (at least according to current polls) but still not enough for Johnson or Stein to really break into the mainstream.

Young voters, and former Sanders supporters in particular, are disproportionately likely to say “No, screw this, we’re not playing the lesser-of-two-evils game” and go vote for Johnson or Stein. (Which, cynically, simply broadens it to a least-of-four-evils game, because it’s not like Johnson and Stein are ideal candidates either. You take what you can get.)

The question is, will that still be the case in four years, eight years, twelve years, sixteen, twenty, …? Eventually the millennials will be the major voting bloc. Will today’s independent, anti-partisan streak continue? Will millennials become more cynical/pragmatic as they age and drift more toward the two major parties? Will the major parties evolve and adapt, so that they become more appealing options to voters who currently feel unrepresented by them? Will there be a major shift in the parties themselves, or even a third party supplanting a major party?

These things aren’t easily predicted. I think it’s clear that views and strategies that worked in the past aren’t working as well today, but it’s also clear that there’s a tremendous amount of inertia and it’s going to be very difficult to achieve even modest reforms in the electoral system as it stands.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 get a third

… it’s not like … and Stein are ideal candidates either.

Someone who cares, could inform me whether Jill Stein is indeed an anti-vaxxer or not. Truthfully, I myself haven’t cared enough to check out the rumor beyond learning that there is certainly some substance to it. How much—I do not know.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:7 get a third

She’s basically talking out both sides of her mouth on vaccinations, wifi signals, and other woo-woo health scares, saying things like “this needs further study”. She’s trying not to alienate the anti-vaxx, holistic medicine types or the pro-vaxx, pro-science voters.

I think it’s pretty gross, though Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were both doing basically the same thing back in ’08. (In their defense, the Wakefield study wasn’t retracted until 2010, though there were certainly some doubts about it by ’08.) Gary Johnson opposes mandatory vaccinations as government overreach.

So yeah, I’ve got a problem with Stein on these medical issues, and doubly so because she’s an MD and should know better. I’m still planning on voting for her — like I said, that’s my least-of-four-evils call, and I’m not in a swing state. But if that’s a deal-breaker for you, then I don’t blame you.

Thad (user link) says:

BTW, https://presidentialopenquestions.com/ is soliciting questions for the next debate. Most of the ones getting upvoted are insipid, unfortunately but unsurprisingly.

I’d like to see the Techdirt crowd submit and vote on some questions. I doubt they’ll get the kind of upvotes that Fox News talking points are, but some pointed questions about encryption, copyright, the First Amendment, etc. would be nice.

The Wanderer (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I’m told that 4chan and some of the Reddit subcommunities have campaigns going to upvote questions designed to make Hillary Clinton look bad; on the other hand, most of these questions are unlikely to get chosen to be asked, since the rule is that questions must be suitable to be asked of either candidate (so questions about “your private E-mail server” don’t qualify).

I’ve come up with a question which several people have told me is a good one and worth asking, but unfortunately it doesn’t fit in their submission form, due both to the length limits and to the requirement to choose a particular topic category for the question. I’ve E-mailed the contact address to ask if there’s a way to submit it anyway, but I don’t have great hopes of getting a response.

The question itself is, in not-actually-a-question form, something like:

You’ve spoken out strongly in support of many causes during your campaign, and the polls seem to show that the election is likely to be very close.

Please name at least one of these causes which you intend to continue fighting for even if you lose the election, and explain how you intend to do that.

I think the answers could help shed light on the candidates’ character, temperament, motivations, and dedication, among possibly other things.

The Wanderer (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Unfortunately, I think that does lose meaningful amounts of nuance; without the contextual indication that I’m referring specifically to causes which they have backed during the campaign to date (which carries the subtextual implication that they may have backed some of those causes insincerely, only to raise support), it leaves more room for them to deliver a nonresponsive answer which can be plausibly claimed to address the question that was actually presented.

I have compressed the question itself down to something that’s nearly short enough (the limit is 80 characters), but I’m reluctant to submit it in that form. This is probably related to one of the principles which define my approach to life: “if you’re not going to do something right, you shouldn’t bother to do it at all”. (In practice, that’s a goal, which frequently has to be compromised on for the sake of actually getting things done – but it does sum up my feelings on such matters fairly well.)

Anonymous Coward says:

Tim, I will agree with what you said about Trump. But you do need to stand outside of what you know and look at it from the viewpoint of the average American. Trump has to speak to a base. As much as I would like him to address specifics it ain’t gonna happen. 2 minutes of knowledgeable and coherent speech from either candidate and 90% of the 100 million viewers will be cross eyed with heads exploding.

At least Trump doesn’t just stick to vague party line answers. Still not a lot of comfort.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:

If history is any indication (and it may not be; this is a weird, weird election), the polls are probably going to swing a few points as a result of the first debate. You’re right that most people have already decided how they’re going to vote, and the debate won’t change most people’s minds, but even if it only changes 2% of people’s minds that’s enough to make the difference from Trump barely eking out a win to Clinton winning comfortably.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

But very few of these average people will vote. The candidates in this election are so flawed or outright scary for average people that it may make for a higher degree of voting this time around. But even if the participation is higher it is not giving a higher legitimacy to the winner. The primaries indicated a lot of people being very fed up with the political process if anything. If the insider wins, oh boy, will next election be something! If the outsider wins, oh boy, will next election be something else!

Leigh Beadon (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I don’t understand this philosophy some Americans have of “all our people are idiots and you can’t possibly expect our politicians to speak intelligently.” I mean if that’s really the case you should just burn down the whole country now.

At the very worst, you’ve got a vicious cycle of dumbing down. Substantive debates and intelligent politicians would encourage voters to care about those things, and would eventually come to be expected.

Stop embracing this race to the bottom.

Chuck says:

Re: Re: Re:

There’s embracing something, there’s acknowledging something is occurring without supporting it, and there’s burying your head in the sand and pretending it’s not happening at all.

I put myself squarely in the second category, and I believe the majority (of the minority) of Americans like myself also feel the same way. Just because we recognize that a majority of our fellow citizens can be fooled by a well trained monkey doesn’t mean we’ve given up hope on elevating them to an ever-so-slightly higher plane of intelligence. We’ve just got enough situational awareness not to dive head-long into the tractor pulling, “murica!” chanting, “get your government hands off my Medicare” sign waving cesspool that is the dumber majority of Americans.

I love my country. I am proud to be an American. That doesn’t mean I’m not deeply embarrassed my many, MANY of my fellow Americans. Just because I love what my country stands for doesn’t mean I can’t be disappointed in the non-stop efforts my many of my fellow citizens to ruin it.

So no, I don’t want to burn it down. I want to fix it. But you can’t fix a problem until you acknowledge that it’s broken and understand exactly what is required in order to fix it. Once you do that, if it’s a nation, you require a buy-in from a majority of your fellow citizens to your solution in order to actually fix the problem.

And it’s damn hard to get that buy-in as long as your fellow citizens are mostly idiots.

But no, I don’t want to burn my country down. I want to educate the idiots, get their support, then fix the problems. This isn’t rocket science.

Step 1: Admit there’s a problem.

There’s a problem.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Spot on, but most refuse to admit that they are the problem.

I constantly tell everyone here that “Every Nation gets the Government it Deserves” and then I get labeled for victim blaming.

If you are the perpetrator, how can you be a real victim? We American’s hoist ourselves upon our own petards quickly and frequently while bitching about someone not coming to save us.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Probably because you never get past the ‘the public is the problem’ and move on to ‘and here’s what the public can and should do’, not to mention ignores several problems of the system that make ‘just vote better next time’ a wee bit difficult.

Example time:

Say you’re in a group of ten people, and 9 of them vote to kick you in the shins, with you the only objection. Do you ‘deserve’ to get kicked in the shins? (Majority rule/Winner-takes-all)

Does the result change at all if the only reason 8 of those people voted against you is because the alternative was worse for them, with only one person who really just wants to kick you in the shins? (Defensive voting)

Or perhaps 4 other people vote against kicking you in the shins, making it appear to be a split vote, except the pro-shin kicker was the one who got to decide how the votes were counted, such that you still got kicked in the shins. (Gerrymandering)

Or perhaps you convince 5 people to vote against kicking you in the shins, giving you a majority, but it turns out that your vote doesn’t mean squat if the one who ‘represents’ your group decides different, and they do, leaving you getting kicked in the shins. (Electoral collage)

If the minority that do pay attention and realize that there’s a problem ‘deserve’ the government that the majority foists upon them then you’re saying that in all the examples above you would have ‘deserved’ to get kicked in the shins, something I doubt is the case.

Semi-related, but knowing where that quote comes from makes it all sorts of funny every time you bring it up, so thanks for the laughs.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Semi-related, but knowing where that quote comes from makes it all sorts of funny every time you bring it up, so thanks for the laughs.

“Maistre therefore argued that the legitimacy of government must be based on compelling but non-rational grounds, which its subjects must not be allowed to question. Maistre went on to argue that authority in politics should therefore derive from religion, and that in Europe this religious authority must ultimately lie with the Pope.”

That is amusing! He has also, as far as I’m aware, never responded to any questions about specifics, such as yours about shin kicking and others’ about places such as Nazi Germany (did the Jews deserve that government?) or Darfur.

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 The government we deserve

Yeah, I responded to that phrase. Giving you the benefit of the doubt, I assume you mean something different or something more elaborate than what you’re actually saying.

In the future, I suggest you get specific, or I’ll just assume that you really are endorsing the right of brute force over anything else.

I.T. Guy says:

Re: Re: Re:

Have you walked into a Walmart lately? Juss sayin.
Sorry to say I don’t share your optimism. If the general populace were indeed smart, they’d be screaming for Hills to be brought up on charges and for Trump to STFU and move along.

People are uneducated and don’t really care to be.

“At the very worst, you’ve got a vicious cycle of dumbing down.”
That’s the point.

TimothyAWiseman (profile) says:

Either way, voters are faced with choosing between the devil they sort of know and the devil other devils have been distancing themselves from for several weeks. In both cases, we’re going to end up with a president who doesn’t have the technical knowledge to deal with today’s realities.

Fortunately, those aren’t the only choices. While hardly a computer expert, Gary Johnson does display a level head and a willingness to listen to his advisors.

As between, Trump and Clinton, Clinton’s approach, while too extreme, is still far more reasonable than Trump’s.

Anonymous Coward says:

Don't go after "the cyber"...

Although The Donald exposes his ignorance to all things computers, he does have some good points that illustrate he’s listening to someone who at least partially understands, even if it all gets filtered through The Donald’s ignorance. He’s right that we are far behind where we could be, and that we will never be perfect when it comes to computer security. And when you are used to being called “The Donald,” referring to other nouns as “The Google,” “The Facebook,” and “The Cyber” makes perfect sense. I presume he also talks about “The Wife” and “The Wall” in the same way, and hopes to become “The President” of “The USA”.

And yes, when quoting him, use quotes, and capitalize “The Word” as then his style of speaking makes slightly more sense.

But when you put up The Donald saying “we have to do better, even if we can never be perfect” against The Hillary saying “there’s not much we can do without IT companies fixing our problems by breaking their technology” he starts to sound a bit more sane — just ignorant and bad at putting things in words that actually make sense.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 I'm not picking up a coherent message from the Trump quotes...

And poorly-prepared, obviously.

I suspect you’re giving him too much credit. My guess is he didn’t prepare at all, because he didn’t believe he needed to. And he will believe the same thing before the other debates, and not prepare for those either. After all, admitting he needs to prepare would be admitting that he needs to change something, which would be admitting he didn’t do well in the first debate, and that is just not something Trump is capable of. Just a guess though.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 I'm not picking up a coherent message from the Trump quotes...

I agree. Further, I would add that part of why he won’t change (aside from lack of attention span or self-control) is that what he’s doing got him this far.

Dukakis said something similar, when asked why he didn’t change his strategy when it became clear he was losing in ’88: “That strategy had gotten me the nomination.”

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: I'm not picking up a coherent message from the Trump quotes...

“Trump sounds like a parent asked by a kid how computers work and he’s trying to babble while afraid to plead ignorance or give a stupid answer.”

I’ll concede that.

But I should like to point out that being ignorant and babbling like an idiot, is less dangerous than knowing just enough to be dangerous, and having a personality with a disposition to vendictive behavior.

I’m not trying to draw a caricature here. But I’d like to draw your attention to the bobble head behavior. I’ve seen this behavior a few times in different people over the years. You can watch her debating style going back and it is always there.

You’ll note that she baits a position, and then when people fall into the trap she gets a little grin and bobbles her head, like a matador that just jammed a spear into a bull.

The first time I saw that behavior, I was too young to know what it was, but I had cause to remember it. It took a long time to figure out what it was. Don’t take my word on it. Talk to some people who deal with abusive personality types on a professional basis. They will tell you.

That little bobble and grin, is a moment of personal joy derived from harming someone. It is essentially covert sadism. I’ve seen it manifest a few times over the years. It is an uncommon mannerism, that seems to be unique to a personality type.

Trump is dangerous because of what he doesn’t know. HRC is dangerous because of the kind of person she is. And you can’t fix that.

We’re already mired in her Watergate, and the election isn’t even here yet. The FBI’s decision not to honor it’s oath to uphold the law, has in consequence, deprived whosoever would have been the backup candidate of an opportunity to run. So we don’t need to worry about corruption of the electoral process anymore. That crime has ALREADY been committed.

This is normal for people like this. Shit just follows them around. It isn’t an accident, and it will only get worse as time progresses. Giving somebody like this the ability to declare war, and call up our sons and daughters to duty in foreign theater is INSANE.

And yes, so it is with Trump as well.

Which is why I’m voting for the second party in this election. The Libertarian one. Not that I have any expectation that my vote will actually be counted.

But hope for the best, prepare for the worst…

Uriel-238 (profile) says:

Re: Re: I'm not picking up a coherent message from the Trump quotes...

Voting for Libertarian is essentially abstaining. We’re not going to get anyone except Trump or Clinton.

The way I see it (and I may be completely wrong in this) is that Clinton can be pressured by the lobbies. Some backed by corporate interests and some backed by the people, but she can be pressured by the system.

Trump can be manipulated. Much like George W. Bush, whose advisors learned that they just needed to be super-emphatic around Bush to get what they wanted, some advisors will figure out they just need to convince Trump that those people over there insulted him, and the way to show them is by passing this executive order.

And we’re going to have the same problem, where shadowmen hold the power of the presidency, because the president is too much of an idiot to realize he’s being manipulated. The last time we had massive war profiteering, mercenaries committing war atrocities, torture, burned spies and (so far) the most secret administration in history. Much of the crap blamed these days on Obama were Bush policies first.

So with Trump, yeah, I expect he’ll be the new puppet. With Clinton, I think there’s a chance she’ll be an active participant in the conversation. I think she is aware enough to know who holds the cards.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Voting for Libertarian is essentially abstaining.

Casting a third party vote is actually more powerful than voting for a major player.

In a two party system, you cast one vote, and deprive one vote. In a three party system you cast one vote and deprive two votes. The positions of your competitors are displaced at twice the rate.

You only need 33.4 percent in an even three way race. And there are easily 33.4 percent of the vote that hate both of the Demopublican candidates.

The ROI is as much from depriving the enemies of the Constitution their presumed entitlement, as empowering the party.

Libertarians will win this cycle regardless of the tabulated results. This election will legitimize a third party run in the next electoral cycle.

To say that a third party vote is wasted, is a failure to consider that votes are cast with different intent. Some vote to be on the victorious team. Some vote to change the definition of victory.

And history is littered with the bones of empires who thought they would be victorious, and hadn’t realized that the definition of victory had changed.

If the electoral process is to be assaulted and devalued at a prodigious rate, the definition of victory IS changing, whether we like it or not.

You can keep digging the same hole, and lay awash in the stinking ego-bait of the unholy trinity. Or you can start filling the hole back in; by joining and supporting an organization that will respect and venerate Constitutional liberty.

The Libertarian party is what WE make it. It is a chance. It is a choice. And it is my vote.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Voting for Libertarian is essentially abstaining.

Libertarians will win this cycle regardless of the tabulated results.

So help me to understand the strategy here, please.

The Libertarian candidate, Gary Johnson, favors the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). (As does the current president, Mr Obama. And also the former president, Mr Clinton.)

Now, both major party candidates, Ms Clinton and Mr Trump, publicly oppose the TPP. That’s what they say. On the record. Repeatedly.

It sure looks like Mr Obama (along with the ex-president, Mr Clinton) will work to get the TPP through the House and Senate during the lame-duck session following the November election.

Therefore, the Libertarian party candidate, Mr Johnson, is the true winner of the election. Because, after all is said in done, immediate subsequent to the election, Mr Johnson’s pro-TPP stance becomes the enacted policy of the nation.

You know… That may well be an ingenious strategy there, dude.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Voting for Libertarian is essentially abstaining.

“So help me to understand the strategy here, please”

I am voting to help setup a run in 2020, at which point the Libertarian party will look quite a bit different than it does now. My expectation is that it will evolve in a very positive way between now and then, and if I can contribute to that, I will.

Oh, your being sarcastic. Well then riddle me this wise ass:

Whose the bigger fool? The person knowingly voting against him/herself today. Or the person voting for something imperfect, with the knowledge that they have plenty of time to personally help MAKE that thing better in the future?

There was a time that being forthright was a fundamental attribute of American culture. But that was before Bill Clinton deregulated the media markets.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re: I'm not picking up a coherent message from the Trump quotes...

Voting for Libertarian is essentially abstaining. We’re not going to get anyone except Trump or Clinton.

Well, there are a couple of distinctions here.

One is, third parties’ goals aren’t necessarily to win, they’re to boost name recognition, gain concessions from the major parties, and possibly acquire public financing (5% of the popular vote is required; the Libertarians have a pretty good chance of getting to that level this year; the irony of the Libertarian Party accepting government funding is left as an exercise for the reader).

Another is, if you’re not in a swing state, your vote for President doesn’t make a damn difference anyway.

People told me in 2000 that a vote for Nader was a vote for Bush. Well, I don’t live in Florida, I live in Arizona. A vote in Arizona was a vote for Bush. If every single Nader voter in Arizona had switched to Gore…then Bush would have won Arizona by three points instead of six. 100% of Arizona’s electoral votes went to Bush. How was my vote any more wasted than those of the Gore voters in my state?

By all means, if you’re not in a swing state, I can see why you’d pick the lesser-of-two-evils candidate. I don’t live in a swing state, so I don’t see any incentive to do so. “Look at the math; she doesn’t have a chance” cuts both ways; if you think I shouldn’t vote for Stein because she doesn’t have a reasonable chance of winning the election, then you should acknowledge that the same logic applies to Clinton, who doesn’t have a reasonable chance of winning my state.

(Yes, people are saying Arizona could be a swing state this year. They said that in the last four elections too. I’ll believe it when I see it. Yes, it happened in ’96; one election out of the last sixteen is not a predictor, it’s an outlier.)

I should add that I feel differently about down-ballot races. Everyone should vote, and learn about candidates for Senate, House, state, county, and local office, and about ballot initiatives. Those things get less press coverage than the presidential race but they’re very important, and your vote is worth a lot more in the smaller races than the big ones.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 I'm not picking up a coherent message from the Trump quotes...

One is, third parties’ goals aren’t necessarily to win…

Well, that is rather fortunate. ‘Cause anyone with flea-speck’s worth of sense ought to realize that you can’t run the executive branch of the United States without a cadre of potential political appointees to fill senior agency positions, a slew of heavy donors to exile into ambassadorships, a metaphorical bench of well-connected lawyers ready and able to sit as on the judicial bench, &c, &c… Not to mention the practical necessity of shepherding legislation through the House and Senate.

In short, politics in this country is an organized team sport. It really does require major-party resources to back up any real presidency.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 I'm not picking up a coherent message from the Trump quotes...

As soon as third party running starts to seem viable, you may see something amazing in US politics (cooperating parties, gasp!). It is very unlikely to happen in heavily gerrymandered (relevant only in specific states), first past the post votes with only a single person elected, but in the house, the effect of a few more non-major-party members may be a lot more effective at screwing over the demopublicans fearmongering.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 I'm not picking up a coherent message from the Trump quotes...

Hm.

I would say that a lot of the current gridlock in Washington is down to Republican politicians worried that if they compromise on anything, they’re as good as auditioning for campaign ads next primary season that play spooky music while a very serious voice says “Senator Joe Blow sided with President Obama on resolution 37.”

And it’s purely partisan. If Mitt Romney had been President and proposed the exact same healthcare plan that Obama did, I can guarantee it would have gotten more than zero Republican votes. (And, to be fair, fewer than 59 Democratic ones; partisanship goes both ways.)

A President from neither major party would break the zero-sum, either-or position we currently find ourselves in. If Johnson were President, Republicans would prefer him to Clinton and Democrats would prefer him to Trump; this might make both sides more willing to compromise.

(It’s not so clear that the same would hold true for Stein, on the other hand. Johnson holds some positions that are liberal and some that are conservative; Stein’s basically all liberal.)

Granted, it’s something of a moot point, as we won’t be seeing a third-party President any time soon. It’s interesting to look at parliamentary democracies that have coalition governments, but it’s not really a one-to-one comparison as ultimately even countries like Canada, Australia, and the UK are significantly different from America, in structure, history, culture, and politics.

Ruby says:

Re: Re: Re:5 I'm not picking up a coherent message from the Trump quotes...

Literally no Democrats will support that libertarian nutbag, so don’t even try it.

Here are 12 ways Gary Johnson is a hardcore right-wing radical

Johnson is not a serious candidate and he has no serious policy proposals, and certainly none that will get Democratic or left-wing support.

Also, what is Aleppo?

And, bonus Johnson fail.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 I'm not picking up a coherent message from the Trump quotes...

Literally no Democrats will support that libertarian nutbag, so don’t even try it.

Well, it depends on the issue, doesn’t it? If it’s scaling back the drug war — an issue which the Obama Administration has already put into motion, Hillary Clinton has pledged to continue, and which has some considerable bipartisan support, why wouldn’t the Democrats support Johnson?

On the other hand, no, they won’t support him on, say, TPP or eliminating the Department of Education. Nor should they.

The notion that any party should oppose every proposal from a President just because of who he is is absurd, and a good illustration of why we’re in the mess we’re in.

A radical notion: politicians should support good policies and oppose bad ones, no matter who they came from.

I have some real issues with most everything George W Bush did while in office, but I think he was mostly right on immigration. I tend to share your views on Johnson, but it would be absurd to preemptively dismiss his stance on every issue.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 I'm not picking up a coherent message from the Trump quotes...

“Literally no Democrats will support that libertarian nutbag, so don’t even try it”

I volunteered for Obama. And I would have voted for Bernie. But I will not vote for a Candidate that holds the electoral process itself in contempt. So yeah, I’m voting Libertarian.

It isn’t about philosophical differences anymore. It is about preservation of the Union.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:6 I'm not picking up a coherent message from the Trump quotes...

Dear Ruby,

If your goal is to bring somebody over to your side, generally it helps to not to start out by insulting them.

I understand that the HRC supporters, by and large agree that anyone who doesn’t support HRC is an idiot. This was made clear when you called half of the Democratic party “Bernie Bros” and various other belittling names.

And I understand that you think that the gymnasium debate over the price of cafeteria pizza really made your candidate look like the bee’s knees.

But this isn’t about who is cool. It isn’t about who is more like you. It isn’t about who wears GAP, and who wears Walmart. This isn’t about being liked AT ALL.

This is about whether our sons and daughters are going to get their asses shot off in a ditch in some African shithole. And if you need a basis for what that looks like Bill Clintons Somalian adventure is a good place to start.

The question Ruby, that I would like you to ask yourself is this: “Is being liked, and being on the winning side of a contest of words, more important the the lives of your, or your neighbors children?”

Because THAT is what we are talking about. Trump is oblivious to the responsibility. HRC is a remorseless sadist. I wouldn’t trust either to carry my beer or look after my dog. And YOU think one of them should be giving orders to the United States Army?

WTF are you thinking?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:8 I'm not picking up a coherent message from the Trump quotes...

“The reality is, one of them will be, whether we want that or not.”

So you’ve chosen to concede your vote to a world that is outside of your control? If the answer is “no”, then I beg you to consider, just for a moment, that there may be people who WANT you to feel that way.

And if you look, you will find that it is precisely the people who are offering to be our saviors, who are manufacturing national hopelessness.

The American voter is a passed out teen getting gang raped by a fraternity of psychological market makers. There may be more of them than us, and we may not even like the girl.

But we still have a duty.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:9 I'm not picking up a coherent message from the Trump quotes...

So you’ve chosen to concede your vote to a world that is outside of your control?

I’m capable of understanding the situation we’re in, that’s all.

I beg you to consider, just for a moment, that there may be people who WANT you to feel that way.

Irrelevant, and it’s not a “feeling” or some kind of intuition. It’s a recognition of the consequences of our electoral system.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:11 I'm not picking up a coherent message from the Trump quotes...

Saying it’s irrelevant doesn’t make it so.

Of course not. You can explain why you think it’s relevant if you want. I think whether “people” want me to believe Johnson and Stein have no chance of getting elected is irrelevant because my assessment of the situation is not based on anything coming from people with a vested interest in the outcome of the election. If I had said something like “Clinton’s campaign manager said it’s down to Clinton or Trump” and that’s why I believed that, then yes the fact that that person has an underlying reason to want to persuade people would be relevant. But that isn’t the situation.

So now you can see that that isn’t a point I don’t want to argue, I just didn’t consider it worth expounding upon.

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:12 I'm not picking up a coherent message from the Trump quotes...

No, fair enough, that’ll do just fine.

I do think that third-party candidates are caught in a catch-22 where they can’t win because they can’t win, and I agree with the anon’s assertion that both major parties expend considerable energy on insulting and dismissing anybody who votes third-party as some kind of idiot/pollyanna/traitor to the cause because it’s in their interest to do so.

But that doesn’t mean you’re wrong. I do think that the facts of how we got here are relevant to the conversation, but I respect your point that how we got here doesn’t change where we are.

I think it’s worth supporting third-party candidates for several reasons — in the hopes that it will eventually build them into viable parties; as a negotiating tactic to get concessions from the major-party candidates; etc. But I might be more willing to grit my teeth and vote for Clinton if I lived in a swing state.

Or maybe I wouldn’t. I don’t plan on moving to Florida in the next month, so it’s something of a moot point.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:13 I'm not picking up a coherent message from the Trump quotes...

I do think that the facts of how we got here are relevant to the conversation, but I respect your point that how we got here doesn’t change where we are.

That wasn’t what I meant by the “irrelevant” comment. The facts of how we got here are important. I was just dismissing the AC’s implication that I might have been led to my conclusion by the persuasion of vested interests who are fighting to maintain the two party system, rather than by analyzing the facts.

I think it’s worth supporting third-party candidates for several reasons — in the hopes that it will eventually build them into viable parties; as a negotiating tactic to get concessions from the major-party candidates; etc.

I’m not sure voting third party for president would accomplish any of that. Perot got a lot of votes and I don’t see that it changed much. However, voting third party in local and state elections and trying to build change from the bottom up might work.

But I might be more willing to grit my teeth and vote for Clinton if I lived in a swing state.

I do live in a swing state so I know who I’m voting for.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:10 I'm not picking up a coherent message from the Trump quotes...

“It’s a recognition of the consequences of our electoral system.”

What consequences can there be, for defending a house that is already in ashes? And what consequences can there be, for letting those who burned it to the ground escape?

The Constitution has a couple of built-in backup subsystems. The third party is one of them. The other is quite a bit less desirable. Failing to use the first in time, makes the second more likely.

You take a risk either way.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:11 I'm not picking up a coherent message from the Trump quotes...

What consequences can there be, for defending a house that is already in ashes?

I think you misunderstood me. One of the outcomes of the way our elections are structured is the two party system.

The Constitution has a couple of built-in backup subsystems. The third party is one of them.

What do you mean? The Constitution doesn’t mention political parties at all, let alone third parties.

The other is quite a bit less desirable.

And what’s the other one?

Thad (user link) says:

Re: Re: Re:6 I'm not picking up a coherent message from the Trump quotes...

Adding: if you really think “literally no Democrats will support” a “nutbag”, maybe take another look at just how many Democrats (Hillary Clinton included) voted in favor of George W Bush’s most extreme policy positions.

Joe Lieberman may not be in office anymore (thank God for small favors), but it’s looking like Evan Bayh will be back come January. Support for right-wing radicals is alive and well in the Democratic Party.

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Re: I'm not picking up a coherent message from the Trump quotes...

Trump is dangerous because of what he doesn’t know. HRC is dangerous because of the kind of person she is. And you can’t fix that.

If the kind of person a candidate is is an issue(and I’m certainly not arguing that it isn’t) Trump doesn’t exactly strike me as any better. Petty, vindictive and spiteful aren’t exactly character traits you want in a person with any power if you can avoid it, and he seems to have plenty of all three.

This election truly is the perfect example of ‘Left leg vs Right Leg’ voting, where no matter which you pick you’re still getting shot in the leg.

Wendy Cockcroft (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: I'm not picking up a coherent message from the Trump quotes...

Yes! This is why we need a big popular shift to a third party; at least it would break up the status quo. That’s what all the Trump votes are about. Believe me, no one wants a thick president. What is actually happening is that people want change and will vote for whoever can deliver that change, whatever that change is, as long as it is change. I’m personally hoping the GOP will either win and reset after a crushing defeat in four years’ time or that they’ll lose and reset after a crushing defeat in November. Either way, they need to reset.

Michael Mock (profile) says:

Um, yeah, about that...

“Trump may be a rather extreme form of populist but those popular votes will be about as useful as Facebook likes when it comes to attempts to push his agenda past far more level-headed advisors and legislators.

I’m charmed by the idea that his advisors will be people who could reasonably be described as “level-headed”. I mean, I hope you’re right about that, but I recall similar lines of thinking from just before Bush jr. got elected.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Um, yeah, about that...

Well his advisors will be so levelheaded!
Some of the five on Foreign policy:
A Blackwater executive
A political advisor with vested interests in a good relationship with Russia

Economy:
Best of Wall Street. Seemingly mostly personal friends. Some are arguing for a complete removal of Dodd-Frank and other financial restrictions as well as returning to the gold standard…

Environment/energy:
Trump had appointed a politician who believes the earth is cooling not warming and has vested interests in oil and gas. He has earlier pointed towards an oil mogul as his favourite for advisor.

Etc. Etc.

The level of crazy among his chosen/likely advisors is far worse than his slightly controversial comments.

Anonymous Coward says:

Making fun of Clinton..

The sad fact is the general public doesn’t really care about cyber security. It was an opportunity to strike at Clinton since she constantly blames Russians and others for her own ineptitude in securing computer materials. It was the Russians?, no the Chinese?, no some 400lb guy?, no some 10 year old like one of his kids. It points to the stupidity to discuss this topic with geezers that no little and don’t really care much.

Anonymous Coward says:

But this has been the government's primary focus in recent years,

ummm?

As a perpetrator?

I can think of no other investment in study that has been demonstrated by the state in understanding this problem in any constructive way. Enlighten me if I’m missing something.

Part of the issue here, is that a government made up of pimps, won’t ever respect labor at any level. Technical work, while well paying, is more blue collar that white collar. Even engineers get greasy once in a while.

So while it seems like beurocrats are ignorant, that is largely irrelevant. They regard technical disciplines as beneath them. Their job is to subvert reason in order to keep the prolls focused on anything but working together.

The chaos is by design. That is how they maintain control. They do not view ignorance as pertinent to the duty at hand. Apparently we are just too easy to make into suckers.

So the onus is on us. Not for not working hard enough. Not for not being smart enough. Our failure is in not clearly understanding the nature of the relationship we have with those who presume themselves to be our betters.

But that is a problem that can be corrected.

Anonymous Coward says:

Either way, voters are faced with choosing between the devil they sort of know and the devil other devils have been distancing themselves from for several weeks. In both cases, we’re going to end up with a president who doesn’t have the technical knowledge to deal with today’s realities. Then the two (and let’s be honest here, folks, there are only two) parties have to stop nominating septuagenarians who never so much as learned how to program a VCR. The Constitution itself says you have to be a minimum 35 years of age. So why do they keep putting up people who are twice that?

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