By Bill Bonner, Chairman, Bonner & Partners

OUZILLY, France – The scalawag or the scoundrel?

The choice is yours, America.

Never in our memory has a race for president brought such consternation.

Nightmare Candidates

The Democrats are dismayed because their standard-bearer is a rich, war-mongering, billionaire-coddling, Parasitocracy-loving retrograde.

In other words, the Democratic candidate is their own worst vision of a Republican.

Last year, the Clintons reported over $10 million in income – which puts them among the richest of the rich.

Republican Party candidate Donald Trump claims Hillary has gotten $48 million in campaign money from hedge funds, while he got only a lousy $19,000.

Hillary is the candidate of the rich, the privileged, and the Deep State.

The Republicans, on the other hand, are dismayed because their candidate is a loose cannon… a nut… and a megalomaniac.

Worse, he’s a man they can’t trust, who may undo all their fixes, their tax breaks, and their sweet, crony deals.

Reckless and undisciplined, Trump, they fear, may send the country into financial chaos… and unleash the populist mobs against the Washington and Wall Street insiders.

In other words, their man is not a Republican at all, but a nightmare Democrat!

Nonsense and Numskullery

The election would be dismaying to us too… if we took it seriously.

But c’mon! This is just an election.

For those with a residual sense of mischief, it is pure entertainment. For the witless masses, it is just an exercise in self-seeking, self-glorification, and self-deceit.

The lumpen electorate are supposed to think they hold in their hands the future of the country… and of the world.

And that they carefully… earnestly… rationally will choose the way forward – weighing the alternatives in a measured, sensible way… after considering all the angles and arguments…

…and, of course, figuring out which side of the bread has the jam on it.

What will really happen is that the campaigning will go on for another three months… we will get great horse-laughs from the nonsense and numskullery from the candidates… the people will vote… and then the elite can get on with the job of plundering the country for its own benefit.

Clash of Myths

But to fully appreciate the next 83 days, you have to realize that an election campaign is not a contest between truth and falsity, or good and evil.

It is merely a competition between different forms of claptrap.

Like the great battle on the Eastern Front in World War II between Soviets and Nazis… or the showdown between rap and free jazz… or between capri pants and sandals with black socks.

There are some fights where the best outcome would be for both sides to lose.

You should also realize that people believe far more passionately in things that aren’t true than in things that are.

The unreality of them demands greater loyalty and more faith… just as it requires much more energy and skill to climb a tree than it does to stand on level ground.

Once they have grabbed ahold of a popular myth, people cling to it so fiercely, you have to call the fire department to get them down.

The most accurate and amusing way to view the election campaign is as a clash of myths.

That is, it’s a matter of aesthetics.

Nobody Knows Anything

Part of the mythmaking charm of human beings is the ability to come up with elaborate confections.

Everything makes sense on the surface, but dig down a bit and nothing really makes any sense at all. They come up with “reasons” why this is so… or “reasons” why its exact opposite is so.

In the end, the reasons don’t matter.

Like the Supreme Court deciding what is and what is not pornography, the voters only really know what they like. They don’t even know why they like it.

Americans think they are choosing their president on the basis of which one will make the better chief executive.

But what, actually, is a good president?

Nobody knows.

Is a good president one who preserves the peace, balances the budget, and protects property?

Not necessarily.

Lincoln is judged one of the best presidents, even though he caused the violent deaths of more Americans than any other in history – over 1 million dead or wounded – the highest U.S. casualty toll in any war before or since.

Good presidents are not objectively “good”… they are just part of the national myth. Lincoln is judged “good” because he “held the country together.”

Quick question: Would people be worse off if the South had been allowed to go its own way?

Nobody knows.

Nobody knows anything – neither what is a good president, nor who will make a good one.

But what about their policies?

Aren’t voters really standing at a crossroads and deciding between two different paths?

What are the policy differences between the Scoundrel and the Scalawag?

Let’s look at those tomorrow…