26 October 2013

Our Fake Plastic President

Not exactly news, but:

Among influential U.S. political tweeters, President Barack Obama is the undisputed king of the fake followers. A MailOnline analysis ranks his sizable Twitter following as the most deceptive total among the 21 most influential accounts run by American politicians: More than 19.5 million of his 36.9 million Twitter followers are accounts that don't correspond to real people.
The four phoniest accounts in the sample, which included Democratic and Republican Party leaders in Washington, D.C., were those belonging to President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, first lady Michelle Obama and the White House communications shop.
Of the president's 36.9 million Twitter followers, an astonishing 53 per cent – or 19.5 million – are fake accounts, according to a search engine at the Internet research vendor StatusPeople.com. Just 20 per cent of Obama's Twitter buddies are real people who are active users.

It shouldn’t really be surprising that Obama and his wife and VP are total phonies.  This is politics after all, and political victory in modern America is about establishing maintaining the image of success.  As was noted in the primaries last year, Democracy is actually bullshit, as elections do not actually reflect the will of the people, what with voter fraud and all that. (For the record, the GOP was the worst offender in trying to force party members to vote for Mitt Romney.)

Voting is important as a symbolic act; it makes the voter feel that he is part of a team.  Yes, his vote is meaningless—not only probabilistically, but also because of fraud—but what matters is that he feels that he has made a choice, and with that choice he becomes committed to being part of the team he has tacitly endorsed.  Thus, while half The Great and Noble Clown’s followers are fake, they serve their purpose of convincing people that they are on the winning side.  The best part is, it doesn’t doesn’t even matter that they are fake.

Politics is tribal, and it is important to be part of the winning tribe.  As the current democracy inevitably yields to oligarchy, voting simply becomes a symbolic act, no different to reciting the pledge of allegiance, or singing the national anthem.  The outcomes of elections are already decided; your vote only matters because it is important that you show you are part of the winning team.  Even if the team is largely imaginary.