The Second American Revolution - What Then? - Dilbert Blog

The Second American Revolution – What Then?

“Give me liberty, or give me death!” – Patrick Henry

Patrick Henry is one of the founders of the United States, and here we see him using a high-ground move and making his listeners think past the sale. Patrick Henry was a Master Persuader and a patriot. So were the other founders. And they built a government from scratch.

In a few days, the patriots of Iowa will decide if they want to fire the government of the United States. A convincing win for both Sanders and Trump would be a good start. It seems we are heading in that direction.

The media has led you to believe that this is a presidential contest between Democrats and Republicans. But Sanders is barely a real Democrat and Trump is barely a conservative Republican. If Bloomberg jumps into the race, we will have three candidates with ambiguous party affiliations. So maybe there is a more helpful way to frame this contest.

Naval Ravikant calls it The American Spring, and points out that social media has become the real conduit to power. That’s a revolution. We the People are on the brink of replacing the entrenched powers and their monied interests. If the patriots in Iowa, New Hampshire, and the other early primary states put both Sanders and Trump in commanding leads, they will be – in effect – firing the government. But they would also be firing the system of government that was created by the Founders. Direct democracy via social media – chaotic and ugly – is about to replace the Republic. No longer can a strong leader ignore the will of the people when it is pounding on every door and tapping on every window. The Republic was designed to give elected officials the power to decide for the people. But the elected elites have lost their legitimacy and The People are on the brink of taking back power.

As they should.

But demolishing the government is only half the job. Someone has to rebuild it. That’s a big problem. Look at the options.

Sanders: An idealist who is bad at math.

Trump: A deal-maker who is bad at science and empathy.

Bloomberg: A competent centrist with no hope of getting elected.

Obviously I am over-simplifying, but the point is that that we have an exceptional group of patriots who are willing to break the government – with the help of the people – but we don’t have a good plan for what happens next. The Iraq wars reminded us that breaking is easier than rebuilding.

So what do we do?

This is where things get interesting. 

I propose that the answer is right in front of us, but our brains are so conditioned by our history that we can’t see it. You’ll laugh when I explain the solution, and you know by now that your laugh might be a tell for persuasion. I’ve decided to come off the sidelines and get involved, for the betterment of the country. I hope you do too. We might never again have this type of opportunity.

Warning: If you continue reading this post, it will likely change your mind about the upcoming election. Regular readers know I’m a trained hypnotist. This is not a joke. If you keep reading, you will be persuaded, if not today, perhaps later, when it sinks in.

I will start my persuasion by reminding you that I wrote a book about how systems are better than goals. What follows will make more sense to those who are familiar with the concept. The basic idea is that systems are something you do on a regular basis to improve the odds of a good outcome, but you might not know exactly what the outcome will be. That gives you the most ways to win. A goal gives you exactly one way to win – the goal itself – and that’s not always the smart way to go when the environment is complicated and unpredictable.

In simple situations, goals are great. You know exactly what you want and you know what you have to do. But the world is no longer simple. It changes faster than you can write your goals. In this environment, we need systems that give us the most options and the best odds. That’s the reframing I’m bringing to this topic.

You are probably thinking that a year from now we will have a leader named Sanders, Trump, or maybe Bloomberg. Stop thinking that.

We can have all three. We just have to ask.

Individually, the candidates are flawed grandfathers without the necessary tools to get the job done. But they are also patriots more than they are politicians. All three men have reached the point in their lives in which they are focused on giving back. I say we take them up on the offer. I want all three of them.

The ideal arrangement for a new government – and one that requires no change to the Constitution – would feature a President Trump running weekly televised meetings (yes, like The Apprentice) to decide the big issues. And sitting in every meeting should be Bernie Sanders and Michael Bloomberg, supported by their experts, arguing their cases.

If you imagine healthcare as a topic, Sanders has a vision of universal coverage. But how? The how would be the topic of the meetings. I want Sanders to show his work, backed by independent experts, and I want to watch Trump challenge the assumptions in real-time. I want Bloomberg in the room as the voice of reason and the promoter of other options. I can think of no better way to educate the public. Ratings would be huge, no matter how you spell that word.

Are you worried that Bernie Sanders’ plans don’t pencil out? Let’s see him show his work. Let’s see some options.

Are you worried that a President Trump would ignore climate change science? Let’s make that a meeting topic. I see little risk of Trump ignoring science if he has to wrestle with the topic in front of the public. Let’s watch him roll around in the science while we watch, and see what sticks. 

Immigration too. Let’s see some real plans on how to build a wall, and how to deal with illegal immigrants in a way that doesn’t split the country in two. Let’s see some options presented to the president right in front of us and see how he deals with it.

Also keep in mind that Trump’s priorities are more of the tourniquet type. Trump wants to plug the holes in immigration, renegotiate some Chinese deals, and kill the money-snakes in government. That’s near-term stuff to stop the bleeding.

Sanders is more of a long-term visionary. His ideas require some planning, some sort of transition, and definitely time. A Trump presidency would shine a light on those plans and perhaps improve the odds. I don’t believe most citizens disagree with the idea of universal healthcare; we just need to figure out how to pay for it and how to keep it simple. The details are where the disagreement happens. So let’s see the details in a live forum. Maybe we can figure out a way to move in the right direction.

If you look at Sanders’ other socialist ideas, they all sound good except for the part where we have to pay for them. The details matter, so let’s build a political system where we can see those details.

To be perfectly clear, I support a Trump presidency ONLY under the following conditions:

1. Trump commits to regular televised meetings on key topics.

2. Both Sanders and Bloomberg are on the team.

3. Trump adds women and minority leaders to the televised meetings, as needed, so we hear all voices.

That’s what a system looks like. It gets us away from the ridiculous process in which voters try to decide which candidate is doing the best job of lying about how easy it will be to achieve his or her goals.

All we need for this vision to happen is Trump agreeing now to offer both Sanders and Bloomberg key spots in his administration’s future televised policy debates.

If you are worried that a President Trump would turn into a dictator, I remind you that his core supporters are the most well-armed, freedom-loving citizens in the country. They wouldn’t like it if Trump goes dictator. And Trump wouldn’t enjoy being the leader of a country where he can’t go outdoors in public. You’re safer than you think.

In the United States, we might never get another chance to fire the government. We can do this.

Update: Congress stays the same in this model. All that changes is that citizens are better informed and can start leaning on their representatives. You still need the deal-maker in chief to do his thing, but Congress still has the final say.

Cognitive Dissonance Alert: Look for commenters arguing in the weeds about healthcare expenses, socialist policies. That is “goal” thinking and misses the point of the post entirely. A systems approach puts the smartest people from all sides in the same room and shines a light on it. Let the best ideas win.