A Normative Debate (Continued)

Buddy, Stickler, Winner and Node discuss what reasons the president of the USA could have to appear on May 21 2020 on nation-wide television without a protective face-mask in Michigan, which was then required by law. Buddy and Stickler already gave their opinions. Winner and Node continue the debate.

Mr. Winner frames the world as a marketplace and assumes that Trump does so too. When considering intangibles like rules and signals, we enter the marketplace of ideas, he knows. Here, market power is a derivative of consumer numbers. Marketplaces are populated by producers who aim to accumulate power, while they operate best (for consumers) on a level playing field. The level playing field is protected by competition laws like the Sherman Act and its updates. The freedom to aim for market power, on the other hand, is the foundation of the American dream (anchored in both the declaration of independence and the preamble of the constitution). Winner is confident that Trump is aware of the pendular motions that a company’s market power does show and that his aim is to consolidate his presidency’s market power over political ideas as long as possible. Refusing to wear the protective mask showed him as a non-run-of-the-mill non-elitist political leader and will have enlarged his idea-consumer base without any extra costs, as the public relations were ensured by the regular media.

Mr. Node agrees that access to and power on the marketplace for ideas is a main concern in Trump’s efforts to expand and consolidate his idea-consumer base (or his power) and that he aims to exploit and broadcast mixtures of consistent and inconsistent ideas to this end. Node points out how incredibly effective Trump has shown to be in this respect: his daily sweeping and provocative expressions (tweets and one-liners) keep the audiences (the press and the opposition) spellbound, while the discontinuation of the white-house press conferences keeps the opposition out of the picture. In this light, Node continues, the protective-mask incident in Michigan was no different from his public statement on February 27: “It’s going to disappear. One day it’s like a miracle, it will disappear” at an African American History Month reception in the White House Cabinet Room.

Mr. Sum takes the floor as he is supposed to mediate the debate. He mentions that all agree that Trump has gained a powerful position in the local, American marketplace for current political ideas. He suggests that it may be worth while to continue the debates and address several subjects: the position of the USA (and the EU, and China?) on the global marketplace for current political ideas, a comparison of the constitutional instruments that the USA and the EU and China have had available to face the coronavirus pandemic, etc., etc. And perhaps even more urgent, a debate on where Trump’s political weaknesses (if any) are.


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