In art class, students learn about “negative space,” how positively one can react to artistic representations and indications of absence, of the space between objects, “blank” space. This land of shadow and reified Absence can have a powerful impact on our perceptions.
Well, behold, the piece of work that is major-party politics in America, 2016.
Usually we pretend that our elections are about what we approve of, about who and what we are for. But this year, with Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton the likely nominees of their respective parties (Ted Cruz having pulled out after being trounced, Tuesday, in the Hoosier State, and John Kasich, likewise, yesterday morning), the positive spin on negativity will ramp up to new levels. As Anthony L. Fisher observed primary night on reason.com, Trump and Clinton are the most- and second-most hated major party politicians ever, polling the negatives “even higher than 2004-era George W. Bush.” (Who won.)
With the negatives of both candidates looming so large, is it too obvious to take note of the high likelihood of an extremely negative campaign coming up?
Maybe we should gamble on the terms of opprobrium that will be let loose:
Traitor, incompetent, corrupt crony-pushing insider, harpy of modish feminism….
Buffoon, racist, corrupt crony capitalist, chauvinist of the vulgar tongue….
Into this negative space we can expect a rush of interest in minor-party challengers, Libertarians and Greens. Protest votes could hit new heights. And they might make a difference.
But can anyone really profit from such negative space? Color me dubious.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
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