2018 Politicon in downtown Los Angeles would be best described as a depressing analysis of our current political climate.
There were more Trump supporters than past Politicons, and they were exceeding vocal. Kathy Griffin threw out a couple of them because they were heckling. On the whole I would say the Trump people were given more than their share of free speech opportunities, which might be a significant part of the problem. Many panelists tackled the problem with what can you do when a third of the country doesn’t accept basic provable facts. Some speakers thought we should collectively use our vote to silence their inane beliefs by overwhelming voting their politicians into obscurity. Others espoused the path of converting these misguided souls by carefully listening to their problems and forming empathy with them. I suppose debating what to do with idiots is more interesting than debating if things like climate change or reverse-racism against white people is real.
I wasn’t expecting talks with lists of facts to actually change anyone’s opinion and I don’t think this is the right venue for that. Politicon is entertainment and an opportunity to better understand the current zeitgeist. The Trump people were eager to shout their nonsense into the void. The liberals were eager to listen and retort calmly to them just to prove how unlike they were. I wasn’t alive during the American civil war but I feel like our current climate is edging closer to a time when violence was thought to be the only way to handle people who disagree with you. The liberals are the modern Wide Awakes who claim to be fully ‘woke’ unlike their conservative foils who hold onto outdated beliefs unable to find a place in the evolving world.
I am firmly against the whole “there are negatives to both sides” aspect. I may not agree with everything the liberals want to do but at least their platform isn’t a hilarious attempt at veiled racism. I don’t even have a problem with racism, but it’s disturbing how far the conservatives go out of their way to find evidence to back up their beliefs. All the Mexicans crossing the boarder are MS-13 drug peddling rapists. Muslims are all secretly terrorists trying to destroy America and are cheering in the street whenever terrorist attacks happen. If conservatives want to be around white people then just say you prefer white people and let the rest of us have our single payer healthcare and modern gun restrictions.
At Politicon I learned that conservatives can’t do comedy. Conservatives who say verbatim things that liberals believe and would improve the country and expect people to laugh do not understand the policies they lambaste. I wonder what exactly makes it so conservative humor is not humor. Is it their lack of empathy? Do they not understand irony?
Michael Avenatti declared his intent to run for presidency by openly campaigning for president at Politicon. I find his style the most interesting in how similar it is to Trump’s, except with a liberal bent. It’s also clearly all a front he’s putting on to deliberately copy Trump so as to beat him at his own game. I doubt he will be successful since the parallels are not exact. Trump appeals to people because he genuinely believes the same terrible things his supporters do and has no filter in his approach. Avenatti is only good at pulling on the right talking points that liberals want to hear. But still I will be watching him to see his progression while in full campaign mode.
The best part of Politicon is that it is relatively small size. Many of the prominent speakers would mingle with the crowd on the convention floor and see talks other than their own. Carter Page was frequently walking around the floor looking confused as ever. It seems he went to all the panels about Russia, where he quietly sat and watched. I presume it was so he could report his findings back to the Kremlin on how close we’re getting to the truth since he really is a Russian agent. I suspect there are multiple layers to everything in politics and Politicon. Are the Trump supporters being paid to create disruptions? Are we being watched by Russians who are formulating their next attack against the US? Who is delivering all the conservatives the same talking points? Why didn’t Ann Coulter want to debate? You can speculate endlessly on what goes down, but until Bob Woodward writes a book about it, I’ll treat it as the entertainment it is and came away very satisfied.