I completely understand the desire to make big changes. I don’t find the current system sufficient. (The term closest to describing my political sentiments is “anarchist”.) That said, I can’t stand by the idea that a “middle finger vote” is justified, particularly when it’s unlikely to result in real change; breaking down a complex and resilient system like a government requires a strategy.

If you want someone to tear the system down, you will probably want to elect someone like Gary Johnson: he has a clear idea of which parts of the system he would like to remove and how to remove them.

Trump is unlikely to tear it all down. He has no reason to want to perform major restructuring; he doesn’t have enough understanding of the current structure to know how to disassemble it; even if he did, he probably couldn’t keep his attention focused on the task of tearing down government for long enough for it to happen. A Trump presidency will be comparable to that of Bush: more of the same, but with more mistakes.

To tear a system down requires more than bringing in an unpredictable wildcard. While someone like that is unpredictable in the short term, the distribution of their behavior is predictable at scale: a random walk seldom goes very far and often returns to the center, not despite but because of its randomness.

With regard to the negative sides of the status quo, I think even this favors Clinton. She will avoid war and torture whenever possible — after all, they have bad PR — and to the extent that she condones them at all she will do so very carefully. Trump will not avoid war: he will act in accordance with momentary displays of dominance, rather than in accordance with risk.

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Resident hypertext crank. Author of Big and Small Computing: Trajectories for the Future of Software. http://www.lord-enki.net

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