I’m guessing that the people most motivated to watch will be those who already have made up their minds which of the two they are voting for. I have already made up my mind, not to vote for either one of them. And I will not watch. (Note: Peggy Noonan has encountered a lot of people who are undecided. That goes against my experience, but I don’t deny living in a bubble. I remember in previous elections Jonah Goldberg wondering who the heck these undecided voters were. I sympathize with his befuddlement.)
Also, I think that Gary Johnson deserves to be in the debate. The threshold of 15 percent in the polls may have been appropriate when the two major parties were nominating acceptable candidates. However, that is not the case this year. Simply being on the ballot in every state should qualify Johnson to be in the debates in a year when the majority of people have a negative view of both Mr. Trump and Ms. Clinton. I think that the threshold for keeping Johnson out of the debates should be that the polls show that the unfavorability ratings for the other candidates should be less than, say, 40 percent.
While I am on the topic of the election, Tyler Cowen recommends David Brooks. Brooks writes,
We have an emerging global system, with relatively open trade, immigration, multilateral institutions and ethnic diversity. The critics of that system are screaming at full roar. The champions of that system — and Hillary Clinton is naturally one — are off in another world.
There is a strong case to be made for an open world order, and a huge majority coalition to be built in support of it.
In the nearly twenty years since Brooks wrote Bobos in Paradise, coining the expression “bourgeois bohemians,” have the Bobos achieved the status of a “huge majority coalition”? My guess is that Peggy Noonan, based on her conversations with potential voters, would have doubts.
The guardians of the open world order helped encourage a revolution in Syria that became a civil war. The guardians of the open world order were unable to stop this civil war. The guardians of the open world order have yet to convincingly demonstrate that they can cope with the refugee problem created by this civil war.
I am not joining the anti-Bobos here. But I do think that one should not over-estimate the Bobo vote, and where Mrs. Clinton needs help is with people who are not Bobos. If you talk to them about an “open world order,” they are likely to want to know where the “order” part is going to come from.
As a final point, I endorse the view that democracy works best when elections do not matter much. Let us all hope that this election does not matter much, and that the system is robust enough that we can get through the next four years regardless.