By Les McKeown, CEO of Predictable Success
No, I’m not going to tell you who’s going to win – many more informed commentators than I have already stumbled on that one. I’m not even going to prognosticate on the differences between the candidates – there are canyons of bits and bytes out there for your perusal on that topic, should you have the stomach for it.
What I can and will point you to, is what the Predictable Success model tells us will happen next for the U.S. electoral system – and maybe even the Constitution – based on how the 2016 election plays out.
First, a bit of context: Every entity (defined for our purposes as a group of two or more people trying to achieve common goals) eventually reaches a point where its core decision-making processes begin to collapse under its own weight. Think of your once-vibrant, now stuffy and bureaucratic residents association. Or that book club you once loved, but which now seems to be run by pedants and narcoleptic retirees. Or the DMV. Or your local cable company.
As we saw recently in our commentary on Brexit, countries are no different. The U.S. is an entity just as much as a residents association, a book club or a Fortune 100 corporation. And just like each of them, its decision-making processes (for example, electing a new president) are dysfunctional to the point of collapse.
Here’s the clincher: All the while an entity’s decision-making processes are becoming dysfunctional, the principle of entropy ensures that little or nothing will be done about it until the resulting bad decisions are so bad, so awful, so unthinkable, that they threaten the entity’s very existence. True reform, in other words, will only happen when the status quo is under existential threat. (q.v. the Arab Spring, Northern Ireland, FIFA, Fox News et al.)
The lesson for the U.S., here and now, in 2016? It’s this: the more dysfunction, the greater the possibility of reform. The easier the path to victory for either candidate (think ‘coronation’), the more likely the continuation of the highly dysfunctional status quo.
I’m not a U.S. citizen quite yet (though I likely will be by the time you read this), and I have no dog in this hunt. But unlike many ‘outside’ observers, I’m not wholly despairing of the seeming chaos in the current electoral cycle. Instead, I see a needed shaking of institutional complacency (on both sides of the political divide) that goes far beyond either candidate’s personal aspirations.
The Russian poet Alexander Herzen wrote that after a revolution we are left with “not an heir, but a pregnant widow…a long night of chaos…” in which the old is gone but the new has not yet arrived. Stability between now and November may feel good, but it will leave us unchanged. A few month’s chaos may leave us pregnant with the offspring of real change, no matter who is the winner.