It is a strange, fascinating oxymoron of American politics that magic and rationality coexist, no less than in our politics. Political scientists have been trying to capture this with reference to emotion; others with reference to religion in politics. None of this has seemed particularly convincing to me; this morning, though, I read Arjun Appadurai’s post on the Immanent Frame, which captures at least the magic side very nicely.
That said, this post too doesn’t seem to grasp the oxymoronic character of it — oxymoronic in the techical sense, as a contradiction that is meaningful, not just wrong. Both campaigns, both candidates, all ideological approaches combine a kind of transcendence and a kind of paean to rationality here.