Today’s Round Up

1. Why did the US business community not stop Donald Trump
While a substantial amount of effort has been expended on discussing why and how Donald Trump came to be propelled to the GOP nomination by the GOP base, one topic that has attracted little comment is that, compared to the previous GOP candidate Mitt Romney, who was heavily backed by big business (being a long-established businessman himself, he had plenty of friends in high places in corporate America), Donald Trump is regarded with fear and suspicion by the majority of leaders of large businesses in the USA. There are even one or two business leaders, most notably Meg Whitman of HP, who have publicly backed Hillary Clinton instead. That would have been unthinkable in 2012. At this point in time, it seems that Hillary Clinton has done a better job of gaining big business support than Donald Trump, who has instead focussed his appeal as a smasher of the current system. This was never likely to appeal to big business, which prides itself on being at the top of the system.
There are a couple of business leaders who are backing Trump, most notably Sheldon Adelson and the Koch Brothers. However, they seem to operate largely independently of the overall big business consensus. This article explains why the big business consensus that existed until recently has more or less disappeared. The net result has been a loss of influence by big business over the direction and policies of the Republican Party, which may not be a good thing.

2. The influence of the conservative media on the direction of the GOP
One of the often-remarked-upon features of Donald Trump’s campaign has been the violation of previous norms governing the tolerable level of bullshit in a campaign. Trump’s utterances and policy statements have been over the map, but they contain an astonishingly high level of total bullshit and deception.
As this article explains, the conservative media, by consistently tolerating a “parallel universe” narrative of GOP policy that is already based on bullshit, has legitimized bullshit to the point that increases in the overall bullshit level are not being detected and rejected. The article concludes (depressingly) that the process itself is to blame. In other words, even if the current collection of commentators (Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity et al) were to vanish in a puff of smoke, replacements would show up uttering the same level of bullshit, because many information consumers are locked into a worldview that, to be sustained, requires continuation of an equivalent level of bullshit lest cognitive dissonance kick in.

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