Election 2020: On the good ship LolliTrump

We live in fragile times.

We have moved past the “Hope Hicks’ Zeitgeist,” (see Medium, April 28) “Let Trump be Trump,” to the RNC Charlotte show, “On the good ship LolliTrump.”

Except It’s not a tummy ache we’ll get, it’s nausea:


It’s a sweet trip to a candy shop

Wherebon-bons play

On the sunny beach of Peppermint Bay

Lemonade stands everywhere

Crackerjack bands fill the air

And there you are

Happy landing on a chocolate bar

See the sugar bowl dothe tootsie roll

With the big bad devil’s food cake

If you eat too much, ooh-ooh

You’ll awake with a tummy ache


It’s a night trip, into bed you hop

And dream away


  • On the Good Ship Lollypop, sung by Shirley Temple during the movie, “Bright Eyes,” 1934

Admiral Chester Nimitz and his intelligence staff are credited with the first use of “signal detection theory” in modern warfare marking a turning point in US naval encounters with the Japanese during World War II. The core concept behind “signal detection theory” was “redundancy of command.” Rather than have warship movements directed from a central command, Nimitz “distributed” warship movements based on “local information.” Consequentially, each warship would execute decisions, “localizing” command and confusing the enemy as to determining a predictable sequence of actions. Where and when the next barrage and position of each warship could be detected was unpredictable and confounding to the enemy.

Elegantly simple in its execution, command based on “local information” won the day for the US. at Midway and prevented a possible Japanese invasion of California. What the “non-platform Republican platform” has set out to accomplish on Monday and presumably the balance of the convention in Charlotte and DC is to turn local decision making back to a central figure, Trump. There is no “redundancy of command.” There is no platform, no participation; just Trump and only Trump, who understandably, must dominate each night’s political menu.

President Barack Obama in his last term in office cautioned fellow politicians about the consequences of a weakened, principal-defunct Republican “Party.” Without a viable party of opposition, Obama reasoned, there is no check or resistance to the policies and decisions of the party in power. And democracy is the poorer as no meaningful discussion or vision for our democracy can percolate. The risky ideas, the difficult deliberations get buried. Obama was speaking to the “redundancy of command” principle — without opposition, without resistance, “local” command is subverted by a calculation to seek dominance.

Obama was also proposing a vision for the effective role of government, a limited role and one which he and the Democrats will be skewered for during this week’s parade to the nomination of Trump.

The ultimate RNC pitch for Trump to stay in the White House is to have us presume that 4 more years of our collective fragility is worth it, because Trump “gets things done.”


August 24–25, 2020.

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