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I suppose I should have something useful to say about Ross Perot’s death, but I really don’t. I always push back on the myth that Perot cost George Bush his reelection in 1992, when in reality Perot was entering into a very weird time in our politics, where the massive reshuffling of parties led to the extreme partisanship of today, but which was a process still very much in progress. The exit polls demonstrate that Perot drew as much from Clinton and Bush. Perot also demonstrates the weird American cult of billionaire, in which we allow them to do anything. Trump is of course the apotheosis of this, though it really isn’t that different that Cory Booker inviting Mark Zuckerberg in to help run the Newark schools based on the singular qualification of the Facebook’s founder’s wealth. Perot pretending to care about the decline of American jobs through outsourcing and capital mobility also helped pave the way for Trump. Both fundamentally were racist about the situation, demonizing people overseas, even if Perot wasn’t quite as stupid as Trump and at least could articulate why industrialized communities needed jobs. Like most billionaires, Perot was also a weirdo, obsessed with controlling other people’s lives, enforcing his own personal moral standards on his underlings a la Henry Ford and then using private security forces when he got paranoid about everything. Good riddance, for the most part.

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