May 25, 2016

Will Trump get anti-Hillary special shows on Fox, in return for Megyn Kelly interview?

Trump is really starting to "go there" on all the topics Roger Stone promised he would -- Hillary intimidating Bill's sexual assault and rape victims so the news wouldn't thwart the Clintons' political ambitions, and the Clinton Foundation being a slush fund for grifters whereby American government access was for sale at high levels.

He's brought these topics up in rallies, interviews, internet ads, and perhaps soon his Twitter feed. This is getting them to trickle into the news cycle, although there hasn't been a full-on attack just yet.

That got me thinking how much more of a spectacle he could make out of them. We know that Stone has started a PAC that will begin hitting Hillary on her intimidation of Bill's sexual assault victims, probably including commercials at some point. Nothing at the moment suggests commercials about the Clinton Foundation.

Still, commercials only reach so many eyeballs and only have so many seconds to make an impression.

Trump could devote an entire rally to either or both of the topics, but again how to make sure that the media covered the entire thing? If they broadcast the beginning of it, they'd soon realize where he was going, and then mute his audio, and rush to the talking head panel.

I was thinking something more like the hour-long interview that he had with Hannity last week, where he launched the first warning shot about Bill being a rapist, not only a consensual adulterer.

Imagine it -- an interviewer or moderator introduces all of Bill's sexual assault victims for a general discussion of the nature and scope of what Hillary did to them to shut them up so that their political path would be clear, and then five or six specific individuals giving in-depth accounts of what happened to them first by Bill and then by Hillary, wrapping up with the take-home message that Hillary is a sociopathic bitch driven by overweening ambition, who would rather ruin the life of a rape victim than accept a rockier road to political office.

Then another special on the Clinton Foundation, and how Crooked Hillary did the bidding of various domestic and foreign interests as a Senator and then Secretary of State, in return for their contributions to the Foundation, very little of which is spent on actual charity work, and mostly serves to line the pockets of the Clintons and their various hangers-on. Some of these toadies would be profiled specifically, and specific incidents of misuse of funds would be highlighted (luxury air travel, doing nothing to help Haiti). Wrap up with the take-home message that if she was that corrupt as a Senator and member of the Cabinet, just imagine how much she'd sell out the country if she became President.

Trump made a large donation to the Clinton Foundation, and therefore has legal standing to sue their asses for charity fraud. Stone mentioned that awhile ago, and Trump himself floated that fact during his West Virginia rally. If the lawsuit has been launched at the time of the TV special, this could be worked in as well.

But how would he get such a TV special produced and broadcast, since it wouldn't be his usual monopoly over the media where he earns it by making speeches and doing interviews? That would be one expensive buy.

I'm thinking he asked for something along these lines in the negotiations with Fox where he agreed to give Megyn Kelly an exclusive 30-minute interview, ending their feud and hopefully lifting her career upward. Unfortunately it didn't work out for her, since the thing flopped with audiences, but not for want of her trying -- it even aired on Fox, not Fox News, so you didn't need cable to see it.

What does Trump get out of that deal? Not "mending his numbers with women," which he knew were already getting much better by that point, and would get better with or without some throwaway interview with Rachel Maddow's bottle-blonde sister. He didn't get access to an audience he otherwise could not have reached -- who doesn't know by now who he is and what he's about?

Part of what he asked for was clearly fairer treatment from everybody at Fox News. They aren't as nakedly hostile toward the Trump phenomenon as they used to be.

But really, what is that worth to Trump winning? The audience itself had already written off Fox News, whose ratings and profits have plummeted in the wake of their Trump-hating programming. Aside from Kelly's ambitions being served, Fox desperately hoped to restore its failing reputation among its target audience.

Something that meant that much to Fox and Megyn Kelly is worth far more than just fair treatment. It had to be something they could make happen that he couldn't do on his own, or could only do at tremendous cost -- produce and broadcast one or more TV specials aimed at Hillary's weakest vulnerabilities, to be aired when the pressure really turns up in the fall, and perhaps re-run a number of times for good measure.

Whatever it turns out to be, one thing is obvious -- a desperate Fox did not get their Megyn Kelly special from one of the greatest negotiators alive without offering something YUGE in return. I can't wait to see what it is.

May 24, 2016

Trump's VP will be Jeff Sessions (reminder, and further analysis)

With the topic reaching a fever pitch lately, let's just make it clear. I've been saying off and on since late February that Trump's criteria for VP, which he has repeatedly gone through to interviewers, lead toward Jeff Sessions.

He's the most similar to the future President on policy, and Trump has said that's the most important thing -- to be a faithful back-up, just in case.

He has decades of experience in the Senate, which experience Trump wants in order to hit the ground running on passing legislation.

He's been working with Trump for over a year, before the campaign was formally announced, meaning they have history and loyalty, something Trump requires.

He doesn't pick up any swing states, but voters are choosing Trump at any rate, not the VP.

He does provide geographic balance, and personality balance, being a soft-spoken Southerner.

Many people thought this as well, so it did not take any brilliance on my part -- just putting two and two together. This recent tweet by Roger Stone would seem to confirm it.

These clues are based on substance (who stands where on which policies), but you could also have figured it out from the showmanship that Trump is also an expert at. Back in late February when Sessions formally endorsed Trump, he was brought out to a massive rally in his home state of Alabama.

Most folks at home aren't political junkies, and would have had little idea who he was or what he stood for. So why was Trump shining such a spotlight on him, and at such an early stage? He wanted us to get familiar with him, something that he's enhanced over the months by naming him as a top policy advisor (gets him into the news cycle), and sending him to do interviews on the cable news circuit.

Why else would Trump want us to get so familiar with Sessions? He wants the VP announcement to be somewhat of a surprise -- hence feeding the gullible media all sorts of red herrings -- but he doesn't want that person to be an unknown, which would disorient the voters and perhaps start us worrying about who this guy is and what he stands for.

Come the Convention in Cleveland, voters will have seen and heard enough from Sessions himself, to feel familiar with the choice.

Trump knows how to tell a proper story and put on a good show, so he made sure to set up the announcement of Sessions as VP way back during the early primary stage, like Chekhov's gun. Notice that the other major endorsements did not receive as much fanfare, and the endorsers have not been a recurring presence in the media to stump for Trump. They have been important additions to the story, but not absolutely crucial like the role of Sessions.

May 23, 2016

The most insightful commercial

 The personification of persistent diarrhea is a stereotypical Millennial:

May 21, 2016

Clinton machine's attacks on Bernie aren't working (bodes well for when Trump faces it)

The schism within the Democrats began to visibly widen last weekend at the Nevada Convention where the Establishment marginalized the Sanders supporters, who raised a great hue and cry at the Convention itself and during the past week.

The DNC and the Clinton machine responded by attacking the Bernie movement on cable news, political websites, and social media. His supporters went too far, they're inciting violence and intimidation, the process is not rigged by Hillary's surrogates, they need to beg forgiveness for acting so horribly, etc etc etc.

Sanders supporters gave the obligatory empty denunciations of violence (who will condone?), and stood their ground against the Dem Establishment. They aren't being transparent, they use arcane procedural rules to circumvent popular participation, they're treating the primaries as a coronation of Crooked Hillary, the major controllers of the process have been in favor of Clinton ever since the beginning, and so on and so forth.

This fight has been going on all day, every day for the past week, with unrelenting media propaganda boosting Hillary and telling Bernie to be quiet, lest the contest damage Hillary too much before she even goes one-on-one against Trump.

What has been the effect of all this anti-anti-Establishment "messaging" on those involved in the primary? Zero -- if anything, it has helped Bernie's numbers.

Reuters polling for the Democratic primary shows no down-turn for Bernie over the past week. In fact, from Monday through Friday his numbers rose day after day, standing now at 44%. Crooked Hillary's numbers have steadily fallen to 38%. Those saying they wouldn't vote for either of them have fallen as well, so the Clinton machine's propaganda has provoked some sitting on the sidelines to choose Bernie.

The past week's trends are part of a longer pattern over all of May, of Sanders rising and Clinton falling. So we can't say that the media shaming blitz backfired and caused his numbers to go up. That was already happening. Still, it does show that it didn't have much of a negative impact, although they didn't totally unload on him, let alone take out attack ads.

Trump will face a higher level of intensity from the Clinton propaganda machine when it's just the two of them. But if they are having zero effect on one anti-Establishment candidate, a higher intensity of zero will still equal zero on the other anti-Establishment candidate. Certainly that was the outcome of all the Trump-hating propaganda during the Republican primary season, much of which did not come from his Republican rivals but from the Clinton-friendly cable news channels and major newspapers and websites.

Trump keeps taunting Team Hillary that they still can't put Bernie away and close the deal. He's making a larger point, though, aside from demoralizing them -- they've proven to be weak and ineffective against a weaker opponent than they will face in Trump.

Trump may have a lot of work to do to persuade voters around the country that he's not the typical Republican candidate, a job he's been working on since the beginning (most notably on trade issues). But he will not have much to worry about from the Clinton machine, who are already proving how inept they are. One less major danger to worry that much about.

Now he can focus more on appealing directly to the voters in each of the states, and not have to do much defense. Onward to victory.

May 20, 2016

Trump would win even if third-party cuck sent election to House of Representatives

The Never Trump crowd is finding out just how small it will be by November. But that isn't stopping some of the more autistic and delusional ones from playing with their electoral tinker-toy sets to show how their Rube Goldberg device just might become reality and send a hardcore right-wing nutjob into the Presidency.

Typical is this recent post by a resident genius from The Federalist:

Heh, you Trumpkins underestimate this 19 year-old
closeted Young Republican at your peril...

We can ignore the quantitative part of his argument, since he can't count (e.g., assumes that all non-Trump voters in early primaries won't vote for Trump in general, despite a complete consolidation by the Convention -- witness the capitulation of Nebraska voters, who are in the heart of the Cuck Belt yet voted Trump at over 60% once he was the only candidate left running).

Instead, let's just grant that by a miracle, no single candidate gets 270 electoral votes in a three-way race between Clinton, Trump, and Cuckenheimer. The election goes to the House of Representatives, where the Representatives vote as a single state bloc, and where 26 states are needed to win. Highly blue states make up a little under 20, in the House.

So, Cuckenheimer might receive as many as 10 states during the first ballot, Trump 20, and Clinton 20. No majority, go to second ballot -- where the 10 cuck states gradually, or all at once, capitulate and vote Trump. No cuck state is going to be instrumental in sending Crooked Hillary to the presidency.

The reason that the House of Representatives would never choose a hardcore right-wing nutjob third party candidate, just because they technically could with a solid Republican majority of states, is that there would be bloody revolution all throughout the land -- beginning with the Representatives themselves. Cuckenheimer would have hardly any electoral votes, few states, and a pitiful share of the popular vote. Everyone would be agin' 'im, and no one fer 'im. To parachute him in through technicalities would trigger our sense of injustice, and we would put an end to it.

Only an insulated nerd like the Federalist cuck can believe in these outlandish scenarios. They live in a "revenge of the nerds" fantasy land, where they never get punched in the face for taunting a crowd while hiding behind legal technicalities.

The only viable solution left for them is to prove how not-racist and principle-driven they are, and relocate en masse to Mexico, where they can assimilate into their "natural conservative" neighbors. Vaya con dios, faggots!

May 15, 2016

The American multi-party system of shifting coalitions, and third party prospects today

The topic of third parties is coming up, what with the empty talk of the Conservative Movement (TM) running an independent candidate, and the more realistic prospect of Bernie running as an independent (or at any rate, his supporters choosing him as a write-in candidate rather than Crooked Hillary).

Many on the progressive side wish there were more than just the two national parties -- "like they have in Sweden," or wherever else they imagine electoral utopia exists.

But America already has a multi-party system -- each of the two parties is always a coalition of several distinct factions. Before the recent disruptions of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, the Republicans were a coalition of the US Chamber of Commerce, the Cultural Right, and the neoconservative warhawks, while the Democrats were a coalition of the US Chamber of Commerce, the Cultural Left, and neoliberal regime-changers.

Even the Cultural Left and Right are coalitions of distinct factions who don't have anything immediately in common, and have to convince each other that there's a bigger cause uniting them all -- pro-lifers, preppers, gun nuts, apocalyptic cults, etc. on the Right, and AIDS propagators, feminazis, aggrieved racial minorities, cosplay environmentalists, etc. on the Left.

"In Sweden" (or wherever), each of these narrowly focused groups might found their own party and run their own candidates. Given how narrow their focus is, they would likely form coalition governments after the election was held.

In America, they form coalitions before the election, and each of these coalitions runs in the general election. It seems better to build the coalition first, so you can hit the ground running if you win the election, rather than cultivate relationships and ties with a coalition government after the election, wasting precious time when you're already in office.

Still, why not three major parties, each of them a coalition as now? Probably to prevent yet another level of coalition-building. With three equally strong major parties, two would probably have to join up in a super-coalition against the third. This would be another case of having to establish links, build relationships, and so on, after the election, wasting time while in office.

And why not just one party? That might work during exceptionally harmonious periods, like the Era of Good Feelings when the Democratic-Republican Party went unopposed at the national level. Otherwise, we're going to need some choice between competing interests.

The other knock against the two-party system is that it encourages ossification of whose interests are represented by the only effective parties. But that's not true either, because the composition of either party's coalition is always subject to change, or re-alignment.

The Republican coalition during the Bush Sr. and Jr. era would have looked utterly alien to the Republican coalition of the Eisenhower and Nixon era. Back then, it was the Democrats who were more established in the Deep South, and who were interventionist warhawks. Likewise the Democrat coalition of the Clinton and Obama era would look totally foreign to the Democrat coalition of the FDR and JFK era -- what happened to the working class and labor unions, the backbone of the New Deal coalition?

Third parties do occasionally achieve national success, but they are short-lived reactions by defectors from one of the two parties, intended to punish the other members of the coalition who have betrayed the defecting group. They realize they will not win the general election as a break-off faction of one of the two parties -- the point is to punish past wrongdoing within the party, and serve as a credible threat against any future betrayal within the party.

Importantly, they are swift responses against the incumbent party -- not delayed grudges.

Nader 2000 was mostly a reaction against the Democrats selling out during the Clinton era of elitist and globalist New Democrats. Perot '92 and '96 was a reaction against both the elitist / globalist policies of the Bush Sr. party, as well as the incipient New Democrats. Anderson '80 was a reaction by former Carter voters who wanted more of a moderate who didn't mention he was a born-again Christian. Wallace '68 and Thurmond '48 were both reactions by Deep Southerners who didn't like where the Democrats were headed with desegregation, during and after WWII, when the Democrat administration desegregated the Army. Progressive Party runs by Roosevelt '12 and La Follette '24 were both reactions against the Republicans for becoming too conservative.

Really the only third-party campaign that consistently broke into single digits with the national popular vote was the Socialist Party in the early 20th C., a social-democratic party that was not a break-away from either the Democrats or Republicans. But with both major parties including the working class in their coalitions -- first the progressive Republicans, and later the New Deal Democrats -- there wasn't enough reason to go outside into a third party based mostly on labor rights, with no broader coalition to build. No broad coalition means no chance at the national level.

So what does this bode for the current season? If anyone is going to break off from the Republicans, it's the Cultural Right / Tea Party. Enough of them seem to be on board the Trump train, though (maybe 50%), that they aren't cohesive enough to make a run of their own. If they did, it would be in the heart of the Cuck Belt, the Plains, a la Ben Sasse continuing to pipe up about a "consistent conservative" candidate.

However, the Republicans haven't held the Presidency for eight years, so it's a bit late to launch a retaliation to punish a betrayal from the '00s. That was the Tea Party Congressional landslide of 2010, and that's already run out of gas, not to mention getting eclipsed by the Trump phenomenon at the national level in 2016.

If anything, it would be progressives bolting the Democrats to punish getting sold out by Obama and Crooked Hillary. Unlike the Tea Partiers, the "Bernie or bust" people still have fresh wounds and a bad taste in their mouths. Whether they draft Bernie to run as an independent, write him in, or flock to the Green Party, remains to be seen. A good chunk of blue-collar Sanders supporters will come around to Trump, another good chunk will stay home, and only a handful will turn out for Clinton.

The progressives, though, are a separate faction within the Bernie coalition. They won't vote for Trump, and they seem too energized to wind up staying home in November, after the superdelegates deliver the nomination to Crooked Hillary on a silver platter. It could be a Perot-sized rift on the Democrats' side, which would help Trump pick up divided blue states that would otherwise be an uphill battle (Colorado, Washington), in the same way Bill Clinton picked up red states that were divided by Perot (Georgia in '92, Arizona in '96).

Everything is lining up for a wipe-out victory for the Trump movement. The only likely third-party rift is on the Democrats' side, and the Republicans are quickly re-aligning to shed dead weight and appeal to a much wider base, who are growing the party in record numbers. The Democrat Establishment is only bent on worsening their own problems -- antagonizing the Bernie crowd (e.g., the Nevada Convention this weekend), defending the superdelegate process, and courting neocons and Wall Street mega-donors from the Establishment Republicans who are leaving the inchoate Party of Trump.

It's gonna be epic.

May 13, 2016

What could go wrong with men gaining access to the little girls room?

From Facebook's news feed:

Expect to see more juxtapositions like this.

May 12, 2016

Commentator confusions about re-drawing the electoral map

Now that the general election phase has begun, people are starting to wonder whether Trump can win enough blue states to put him over the top. See the appendix for a collection of electoral maps from the beginning to present.

Things look so good right now that I'm thinking 400 electoral votes is do-able, with 500 being a reach goal, and guaranteed victory no matter what. Of course others still have their heads stuck in the sand, pretending that we're still in the same old liberal vs. conservative battle which determined the current distribution of blue vs. red states. Those criteria are out -- now it's populism vs. Establishment elitism, and nationalism vs. globalism.

The clueless commentators are asking if the 2016 conservative can win over the 2016 liberal. They begin with the familiar set of swing states. And they use demographic and other trends to predict if the 2016 conservative can win over enough of the familiar swing states.

But what makes a state blue or red is going to change, since it's a wholly different set of criteria -- one which we haven't seen in our lifetimes. Perhaps the New Deal era was the last time that one party was known as the populist party, however that one (the Democrats) was also the one known for foreign interventionism, while the more elite-friendly party (Republicans) was more isolationist.

The point is, we don't have to pretend that people are still in liberal vs. conservative mode. If they were, then Trump would not have had his strongest early showing in both Massachusetts and Alabama, while suffering his biggest loss in Utah.

Everyone, even the know-nothing commentators, have repeatedly expressed their shock about how we seem to be in an upside-down world this time around. Not just about one aspect here or there -- but about so much, day-in and day-out, for nearly an entire year.

And yet when they put on their thinking caps (or ideological blinders, in the technical jargon), they assume that the world is qualitatively identical to the past several elections, and it's only a matter of whether Trump can trim away the tiniest slice necessary of the opposition in the familiar swing states.

It never dawns on them that if everything else has been upside-down so far, then which states in the fall will be genuinely neck-and-neck may be unexpected as well.

Looking at the particular candidates rather than Republican and Democrat, it's the same visceral awareness but conscious cluelessness. Everyone still has trouble believing that someone who has never been elected to any public office, and who's only been a practicing politician for less than a year has already knocked out not just one but 16 professional lifelong politicians, who served at the highest level (Governors and Senators). And -- did that in a landslide. And -- did that far earlier than planned (if anyone expected it to happen at all).

Eisenhower was a military officer who was promoted up the ranks by other government officials, and was chosen as the President of Columbia University. Trump doesn't even have that record of being promoted up the ranks in some kind of election or another, let alone in any branch of the government.

That is a never-before-seen phenomenon, which immediately tells us that we're probably in for even more surprises.

His main opponent is a former First Lady, one-term Senator, and failed Secretary of State (everyone will remember Benghazi, Syria, etc. -- no successes). She failed to secure her party's nomination the last time. And she's a woman leading one of the two major parties -- another never-before-seen scenario. She was born crooked, nobody likes her, and there's a major rift against her among the voters in her own party (the elite is consolidated -- the opposite of the Republicans, whose voters will be united but whose leadership may see a chunk of dead weight get cast off).

But somehow people are going to treat Crooked Hillary Clinton like she's JFK reincarnated in a woman's body. Secretary, you're no Jack Kennedy.

How many more historically unprecedented scenarios do we have to see which heavily favor Trump (not "Republicans"), before the commentators consciously admit that it looks daunting for Hillary to survive the coming tidal wave?

I won't link to any specific commentator taking that approach, since they're everywhere.

I do want to briefly discuss a different point being made by Andrew Gelman and a colleague, since he isn't a moron. In this post, he argues that the electoral map has become increasingly difficult to shake up because each state tends to shift less and less "over time". For the percent of a state voting Democrat (or Republican), he shows that the variation between the previous and the present election has fallen since 1956. He says that makes a "scramble" of the map less likely than it used to be.

But what we're seeing is not a return to higher and higher levels of variation, as though the electoral map were going to become more and more chaotic from one election to the next.

Rather, we could be seeing a transition from one steady state to another steady state. Maybe it'll take a few elections to get there, and maybe the transition will be a little bumpy (state A looked like it would join a certain bloc, but then it winds up in some other bloc). Still, after this brief transition, the map would look different, and it would return to a long period of lower and lower variation, as the wrinkles are ironed out.

These transitions don't happen very often, but then what have we been seeing all along? For decades and decades, the Northern states were solid Republican, and the Southern ones solid Democrats. Then during the New Deal era, most of the states touching the Great Lakes were peeled off into the Democrat column, staying there more or less ever since. And given how much of the population lives in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic regions, that was not an insignificant change.

Unless you zoom out to see the past 150 or so years, you wouldn't see that. In 1900, you'd ask "When will Minnesota ever stop voting Republican?" In 2000, you'd ask, "When will Minnesota ever stop voting Democrat?"

A smaller change has occurred since 1980, whereby the Southern states have gone reliably Republican and look to stay that way during the Trump vs. Hillary election. For 150 years before that, those states were solid Democrat states.

Changes this drastic are rare, but that's what we mean by "historic" changes. And again, by all accounts we are in one of those historic changes. You'd have to be living under a rock not to notice. (See also: TV debate audience size, candidate rally audience size, primary turnout, media buzz, etc.) So who's to say it won't continue for another six months, and we'll begin a transition to a different-looking map?

Finally, there's one less-historic way where Trump wins big-league, including all sorts of states everyone assumed would stay blue, but that this doesn't lead the way toward a different steady state of who's red and who's blue. Maybe it will be a one-time referendum (2016 plus his re-election in 2020) on putting aside this culture war crap, and fixing the economy and government.

Then perhaps after that's done, the map will go back to the Clinton-Bush-Obama map of red vs. blue, only now with the Democrats being Democrats in the mold of the Trump phenomenon, not the descendants of Hillary. And the Republicans will be in the mold of the Trump phenomenon, not the descendants of Bush or Romney or Cruz.

Predicting what's going to happen in 2024 is of no use right now. But it goes to show that even without re-drawing the electoral map for the next several decades, the Trump phenomenon can still win a large number of blue states just this once (and again for re-election).

Regardless of what happens after Trump, it seems increasingly clear that we will at least get to President Trump, and given how weak the competition is, probably in an electoral wipe-out.

Appendix: Electoral map history

Click here to blow up

May 10, 2016

Bernie already doing Hillary's bidding, concedes more ground to identity politics distractions

After his win in West Virginia, Bernie devoted a good chunk of his victory speech to slamming Trump, trotting out all the tired and failing arguments based on identity politics (racism, sexism, xenophobia, etc.), preaching about how diversity is strength, bla bla bla.

While it may make Bernie feel like part of the Democrat in-crowd to whine about culture war topics like it's still the '90s, the irony is not lost on his voters. Bernie beats Hillary where the electorate is white, he performs much worse among women than men, and the homos are all-in for their ideal Fag Hag in Chief.

And who delivered his victory tonight in West Virginia? -- a bunch of black tranny illegal immigrants, or the white working class? I'm sure they appreciate a victory speech calling them a bunch of racist, sexist dinosaurs. Way to rally your base, dumbass.

Fundamentally, Bernie is too insecure about being liked by everyone -- he'd rather lose to Hillary by pandering to "inclusivity", than win by turning out the largest numbers of his natural base as possible.

Bernie knows he will never put a real dent in the identity politics / culture war voters, who Hillary has a lock on. So why bother pandering to these distraction issues, when his whole campaign is about economics and politics per se -- not "the politics of _____"?

I think he's just a wimpy personality who is caving in to the Democrat Establishment that is bullying him like hell into not damaging Crooked Hillary's reputation. He's being used as Clinton's weapon against Trump, which only benefits Crooked Hillary herself. He's already doing her bidding, and she hasn't made any concessions to him at a negotiating table. What a wuss.

Having said that about the candidate himself, I don't think the bulk of his normal-person voters are going to fold so easily. They can't stand Crooked Hillary any more than we can, and they get even angrier about her playing the woman card. Every time she wins a "diversity is strength" state, they go off on social media to the effect of, "Fucking blacks fucking it up again..."

Some of his flaky Lexus liberal voters will fall in line, because they're not interested in restoring America's manufacturing industries, a non-interventionist foreign policy, or getting Wall Street donors and K Street lobbyists out of politics. They just want to signal their moral superiority over the Republican voters. They are the Dem equivalent of the cuckservatives (limperal, abbrev. limp; see also, to limp for).

But it's not those people who deliver his victories -- they're not even a drop in the bucket. The normal working and middle-class whites who make up the bulk of his electorate will gradually tire of him, as he sinks deeper into distraction topics about identity politics. If they wanted that, they'd already be on board for Hillary (as the feminists, fatties, faggies, and foreigners already are).

That's good news for the Trump movement, though, since these folks will start to peel themselves off of what is turning out to be just another culture war campaign, and drifting closer to only candidate fighting hard for the topics to only be the economy and the government. Bernie voters will not be magically swayed by their candidate's change of tune, any more than the Trump voters would if their candidate started blathering on about conservative culture war crap as though he'd become possessed by the ghost of Lyin' Ted Cruz.

I'm still hoping for the far-left protesters in Philadelphia to slam Crooked Hillary, but at this rate, it'll probably soften into empty grandstanding about how offensive Drumpf is. Nothing edgier than a parade of noodle-armed schoolmarms.

Trump can threaten to "out" the closeted Republicans, turning Establishment's own disciplining tool against itself

Reading over recent electoral history, I stumbled upon this tidbit from 1988:

One reason for Bush's choice of running mate, Senator Dan Quayle, was to appeal to a younger generation of Americans identified with the "Reagan Revolution". Quayle's good looks were praised by Senator John McCain: "I can't believe a guy that handsome wouldn't have some impact."

Most men, maybe all, are poor judges of other men's attractiveness. It's not what we usually compete with each other over. We can easily tell who can kick whose ass, but not who the girls will stand extra close to in conversation.

The fact that he doesn't just notice, but verbally ejaculates about Quayle's looks, should have been a tell. Perhaps it just wasn't widely reported. I bet someone at the Republican Convention had a WTF moment, though. After being tipped off by a Trump speech last winter, I looked up old pictures of McCain and determined he indeed has gayface.

Trump has been around these people for so long, often while they were drunk and he was sober, and he has a great memory.

It seems like the '80s saw the infiltration of the Republican Party by the poz squad (Kasich, Hastert, among others). The idea must have been that the Establishment bosses and Wall Street donors could control them by having the ultimate blackmail card. So far, it has worked well for both master and servant.

Now that Trump has no common interest with either side, however, he can turn the closet card against its originators. Either Paul Ryan, Lindsey Graham, et al support Trump's America first movement, or he'll spill the beans. That puts these closeted homos in a bind -- no matter which side they choose to serve, their old master or their new one, the other master will pull the trigger to make good on their threat.

Trump has already mooted the topic of why Graham and McCain are joined at the hip and go everywhere together "like the Bobbsey twins," and has also brought up Huma and Hillary being more than just "friends".

So the Establishment-controlled gays know that at least their new master is willing to pull the trigger, whereas their old master hasn't done so up to this point. My guess is they'll wind up siding with Trump, or at least not obstructing his plans, lest their dirty secrets see the light of day and disgrace them irredeemably with their conservative base.

As in so many other ways, Trump is not building up too much from scratch -- he's simply taking over control of what already exists. He doesn't need his own website, he dominates Twitter. He doesn't found his own TV channel, he dominates the existing networks. He doesn't need millions of dollars of oppo research -- having known the insiders for decades, he's already aware of what skeletons are out there.

Why re-invent the wheel? That would be a far too costly way to win, for the most frugal candidate in our nation's history.

May 7, 2016

With the flop of "Dangerous Donald" line, it's Carter 1980 all over again

In further proof of Team Hillary's tone-deaf and out-of-touch approach, they tried to brand Trump as "Dangerous Donald". The flop of this one only reminds voters by contrast how fitting and funny Trump's brandings are (like Crooked Hillary). It's like a bad SNL skit -- and Democrat voters still watch enough SNL for that association to come to mind.

Trump supporters have already remarked how badass of a nickname it is, and that it's yet another example of Trump hijacking the minds of his opponents and getting them to promote his own campaign, and on their own dime no less.

In fairness, lots of other Establishment butt-lickers have been throwing around the word "dangerous" about Trump this season -- Thomas Sowell, Paul Krugman, the Economist, AlterNet, etc.

We're lucky that our opponents are so clueless that they don't remember recent history. One of the main lines of attack that Jimmy Carter tried to use against Reagan in 1980 was that he would be "dangerous" about nuclear proliferation and related threats to mankind. They kept trying to get the word "dangerous" to stick, including Carter's performance at the Presidential debates, but it never stuck.

Why not?

Well, if someone's dangerous, their track record would reflect that -- one disaster after another. Only in 1980, Reagan had no such track record as Governor of California. No state-level equivalent of nuclear war. Contrast that to the Iranian revolutionaries taking Americans hostage on Carter's watch. Perhaps, the American public thought, impotence was more dangerous than "being dangerous".

And this time around, what track record does Trump have of people being attacked or getting plunged into violence on his watch? Zero. Crooked Hillary, on the other hand... If she even utters the word during a debate, Trump will interrupt her:

"While Benghazi was burning, she failed to [finger quote] answer the phone at 3 o' clock in the morning, and the American Ambassador was brutally murdered by radical Islamic terrorists -- I don't need to hear from this woman about being dangerous."

Trump will also bring up their records on the Iraq War -- she voted for it in the Senate, he was vociferously against it the whole time.

Hillary will want to throw our borders wide open, inviting another terrorist attack, as well as violent crime by immigrants who otherwise wouldn't be here robbing, raping, and murdering. Trump wants to close them up, especially to Muslims. Bye-bye to violent attacks by immigrants.

Hillary has enabled Bill's sexual assault crimes (actual rape, not just adultery), and hounded his victims afterward so that they wouldn't undo the ambitions of the Clintons. Trump has done no such thing.

And who has more of an evil cackling laugh?

The public will understand the "dangerous" moniker to be a case of psychological projection by Hillary, given her record and his record. No different from Lyin' Ted calling someone else a pathological liar.

It hasn't even been a week since Trump effectively clinched the nomination, and he's already getting the other side to write his material for him -- and distribute it using their own "war chest" (suicide fund, self-destruct fund).

It's looking more and more like a 1980 situation, as far as numbers go, even if the faultlines and main themes are different.

Now the only question is how bad Trump will defeat Hillary in the general -- and how much more badly he'll defeat her successor in 2020? There's no way she'd run again, there are no superstars in the party, and the previous VP will be (even more) braindead.

If the woman card and "Dangerous Donald" are the shape of things to come, we are looking at a definite eight years of Trump. It's gonna be epic.

May 5, 2016

Big data junkies still the biggest losers, even though / because they admitted they've been wrong all along

Copying a comment and my replies into a new post, now that the topic of big data and predictions are coming back into the air, as Trump has effectively secured the nomination and likely faces Hillary in the general.

- - - - -

TGGP said:

Since I was predicting the opposite, it behooves me to say that you were right and I was wrong. I really underestimated how much support Trump could get and how much antipathy there was for Cruz in the Republican party. Nevertheless, I still predict he'll lose to Hillary in November, and those who disagree are welcome to bet against me and take my money, as could have occurred earlier.

My response:

Cheer up. The Trump army is going to Make America Great Again, and naysayers casting their hexes in prediction markets are not going to have any more effect than the tens of millions of dollars wasted in attack ads.

In the real world (outside intro stats textbooks), successes and failures are correlated. What failed for the GOP Establishment will fail for the Dem Establishment. They are effectively the same opposition, so one's attack will be a barely mutated version of the other's. And those who got it backward in the primary will get it backward in the general.

As bad as Bush was in the primary, Crooked Hillary will be as bad or worse in the general.

More interesting bets would be -- in which states does she survive? In which ones do write-in Bernie votes outnumber Hillary votes? How big is Trump's margin of victory in Michigan? Etc.

(Again, I'm not interested in robbing people blind over the internet. Just pointing out more interesting ways for the BIG DATA people to spend their time for the next six months.)

To re-iterate a point from this earlier post on "big data being the biggest loser" in this election:

Neither one of us has enough money to make the bet interesting. I would basically require you to risk $1 million, $10 million, etc. Something that would really stop and make you think.

Your idea of "skin in the game" is accepting daunting odds, rather than the absolute magnitude you would lose if wrong.

Not just your idea -- that's the whole approach of prediction markets, which show something like a probability bounded between 0 and 1. No mention of how much the losers stand to lose if they're wrong -- $1, $100, $10 million?

If we look at people who do have a shitload of money to lay on the line, and who normally do so in primary battles -- notice how many of them sat it out. Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers stayed out entirely, and most of the early big donors declined to put any more at risk when it was just down to Cruz and Trump.

Mega-donors staying out of the betting pool is a far more honest signal of how uncertain the outcome was, than whatever number of hundred-dollar or even thousand-dollar bets were being placed on the internet.

I still stick by the statement that it was highly uncertain what would happen. If the process played out fairly, it was guaranteed that Trump would win -- that was clear from last fall.

But what was uncertain was the lengths that any number of actors would go to in order to stop Trump from getting the nomination or the Presidency.

That uncertainty is still with us, of course (assassins, etc.), although much less so than before (RNC has capitulated). That's why some of the mega-donors are willing to help Trump's general campaign now.

May 4, 2016

"The woman card" is Trump appealing to Bernie voters

The talking heads are still wagging their fingers about Trump saying that Crooked Hillary "plays the woman card" to deflect attention from her horrible record throughout her entire career. They are aghast that when they point out this supposed gaffe to Trump, he only doubles down on the claim.

"Doesn't he know that this will destroy his ratings with women?"

First of all, it only boosts his ratings with Republican women, who loathe Hillary and enjoy seeing a man not being afraid to call her out on her shameless pandering to gender politics, when the real issues are the economy, the government, foreign policy, and so on.

But it turns out that exasperation over Crooked Hillary's playing the woman card is widespread among Bernie voters, too. Although I haven't been following the Dem race too closely, it sure sounds like every time she's criticized by the Sanders supporters, she hides behind empty charges of sexism.

Here are just a few examples among the hundreds of thousands for the trending hashtag #DropOutHillary, where the Bernie crowd is reacting to Trump's securing the nomination by arguing that their populist candidate should be the one to take on the Republican populist:

So, Trump's remark about "the woman card" is only echo-ing what the Bernie babes themselves are accusing Crooked Hillary of doing. And they are certainly much angrier about it than Trump, which makes his take on it seem more cool-headed and Presidential.

He doesn't need to court the hardcore Hillary voters. By shaming her for playing the woman card, Trump builds a more and more convincing bridge for the disaffected Sanders supporters to walk across in November. There's more than one kind of material that goes into building that bridge -- it's not just her stance on ruinous trade deals, it's also her entitled attitude while hiding behind being a woman. The Bernie babes can't stand that any more than we can.

How big of a landslide in November? ("You're gonna get sick of winning so much!")

This election is shaping up to be a face-off between Establishment globalism and populist nationalism, with little interest in stale, distracting culture war topics. That change has been clear to Trump fans for awhile, but I mean to the general public, the political apparatus, and the media.

With the way that our economy and government are going, and have been going for 30-40 years, Establishment globalism is going to go over like a lead balloon, especially once Trump and allies have been hammering these points for months and months.

Thus, the question is no longer which states can Trump win? -- but rather, in which states will Crooked Hillary be able to survive the brutal siege? His campaign doesn't fall into the standard Democrat traps of identity politics and the culture war, and will be attacking her "from the left" on the economy, government corruption, and foreign policy. The "it's my turn" candidate from that other latter-day dynasty didn't exactly weather Hurricane Trump for very long.

We've heard for awhile about "swing states" and "threading the needle" for a Republican to win the electoral college. But that landscape was under the old paradigm of liberals vs. conservatives. Now that it is rapidly shifting toward populism vs. elitism, and America first vs. globalism, the blue-red landscape will look different. Some will be heavily Trump, some heavily Hillary, and others will be close races -- swing states still, though not necessarily the same ones that were close races during the liberal vs. conservative era.

And given how much Trump has been emphasizing the theme of unity and getting along instead of polarization and demonization, you can bet that he will start to unveil several policies intended to include the populist / anti-globalist liberals. They're populist and anti-globalist, too, so who cares about liberal or conservative? (Trump keeps saying, "I'm a conservative, but who cares? We've got a country to straighten out, folks!")

He recently said he thinks he'll get a lot of the young people voting for Bernie (Trump does best among older voters, so this would make a nice complement). Therefore one of these positions will be some very big change to how student loan debt is handled. Why not cut to the chase and issue a one-time-only forgiveness of all student loan debt? With the understanding that the higher ed bubble will be popped and not allowed to re-inflate.

The higher ed bubble is mostly a scam, and Trump has said so several times on the trail -- that the students, who don't know any better, are being used as a conduit for federal loan dollars to get sucked into the coffers of the universities. They give the students nothing of value in return -- witness their pathetic incomes despite having a four-year degree.

To pay for the federal loans that will go bust, tell the universities who scammed the immature students to either pay it back, or we'll nationalize your assets and take the cash, sell off those fancy stadiums that they've been building with all that ill-gotten wealth, and whatever else the ruthless negotiator-in-chief can think up.

This would be a purely populist program, and not much to do with the theme of America first. But not everything is going to do with nationalism -- "I don't want people dying in the streets because they're too poor to afford health care".

Crooked Hillary is owned by Wall Street and would never dare try such a populist stunt. She would rather have these impressionable kids who were allowed to rack up tens of thousands in debt by age 20, continue to eke out a subsistence as indentured servants.

Armed with this secret weapon, the welfare-enhancing effects of sending the illegal immigrants back, along with declaring a truce on culture war matters, Trump can steal California and its 55 electoral votes right out from under the complacent and sclerotic Democrat Establishment.

If they thought the Trump army was going to stay away from so-called hostile territory, and only try to chip away at five swing states, they will be caught with their pants down. "How did you let those Trump supporters sway you Californians? Don't you know they're conservatives?!" "They didn't look like either liberal or conservative, so how should we have known? And anyway, who cares? They promised us one-time full debt relief on student loans!"

California, and many other states, are not going to be such hostile territory for the populist America first party.

The key in winning them over will be turning out the large pool of non-voters. That has been the secret of Trump's success so far, and it will continue into the general election phase as well. Things get more quantitative when we talk about boosting turnout, and how big this pool of untapped voters is in different states, so I'll save that for another post.

May 1, 2016

Trump's "loss" in Ohio due to Kasich's machine getting Dem voters to hijack GOP primary

[Updated the appendix to show county-by-county data, with extensive discussion]

I have never really accepted Trump's loss in Ohio, since election day. I knew too many people across a range of geography and class levels who were psyched up to vote Trump, and the economy and history are ripe for a win for the Trump movement. The surrounding states are all Trump wins as well (Indiana will be verified on Tuesday). What gives with Ohio?

At first I rationalized it as the favorite son, popular(ish) sitting Governor getting more of the non-Trump voters to coalesce around him. After all, Trump did get the same percent of the vote as in neighboring Kentucky and Michigan, during a similar stage of the primary season (high 30s).

Now that we're looking toward the general election, with Trump the presumptive nominee, I started investigating whether or not he could flip Ohio from blue to red. Most counties vote Republican, but the ones that vote Democrat have big chunks of the population. So I wondered what the primary turnout was for Democrats and Republicans, regardless of candidate, for some of the highly populated counties that vote Democrat in general elections.

I noticed something very unusual -- in the counties home to the three largest cities, which in 2012 went heavily for Obama, the percent of primary voters casting a ballot in the Democrats' contest was a lot closer to 50%. At first that sounds promising -- if that held in the general election, the Republican nominee could win those three biggest cities and clear a major hurdle in a key swing state.

However, they voted overwhelmingly for Kasich, not Trump. Everywhere else this season, when would-be Democrats turn out in yuge numbers to vote in the Republican primary, it's to vote for Trump. They're the populist and class-oriented Dems, and Trump is the most promising populist candidate of any party that they've seen in perhaps their entire lifetimes.

Nowhere have we seen would-be Democrats turning out in droves for Kasich, on the idea that he's a closeted homosexual liberal Democrat, and let's make sure he wins over that bully Trump. We should have seen that in New England, and yet Kasich didn't come close to taking any of those states. Those disaffected Dems clearly turned out for Trump.

On the day of the Ohio primary, MSNBC had reporters in two locations covering the "Democratic cross-over" narrative. Tony Dokoupil was in, I believe, Mahoning County, home to Youngstown, and part of the Appalachian Rust Belt area of Ohio. He reported that there was a lot of Dem cross-over, and from what he heard from those voters, they were mostly voting Trump. And sure enough, Trump carried the Appalachian counties in Ohio handily.

Then a blonde woman reporter was shown somewhere in, I believe, Cuyahoga County, home to the major city of Cleveland. She said that there was a lot of cross-over there as well, but that those voters were largely voting against Trump and for Kasich.

I didn't think that these Democrats who had invaded the Republican primary just to sabotage Trump could have made all that large of a difference in the big picture, though. Maybe it gave Kasich an extra few points over Trump, but it couldn't have actually decided the primary, could it have?

Well, it did -- big league.

In fact, there's really no other way to explain the outcome than that Kasich, the re-elected sitting Governor in control of the local political machine, "got" a massive number of Democrats to invade the Republican primary to ensure he won his home state, to avoid humiliation. He either bribed them, threatened them with firings (there are a lot of Democrats who work for the government in one way or another), targeted the black Get Out the Vote ringleaders to steer the black voters toward the Republican ballot and Kasich, or some other damn scheme.

That's why Kasich was so confident and matter-of-factly telling every interviewer that "Oh, I'm gonna win Ohio," weeks in advance. The fix was in, on his orders.

The upshot? See the Appendices for the calculations: I estimate Trump should have won Ohio with 45%, and Kasich coming in second with 35%. Those could be off by a little bit and still give Trump the win. And since Ohio was winner-take-all, he just needed to win by a single vote in order to take 100% of the delegates.

Trump should have done better in Ohio than in Kentucky, since there aren't as many Cruz Cult cucks like there are in western Kentucky (which lies south of Indiana, not Ohio). And he should have done better than in Michigan, since western Michigan has a cuck pocket and does not have the stretch of Appalachian territory that Ohio does, and Appalachia is one of the most heavily Trump-favoring regions in the nation. So 45% doesn't sound unreasonable, when he got in the high 30s in Kentucky and Michigan.

I realize that this investigation won't affect the delegate count, number of states won, popular vote, etc. But just so we understand where Trump performed best within the Republican primary, and where Trump can do well in the general, Ohio is clearly Trump country. It was only through a concerted statewide effort by the sitting Governor's political machine, including various degrees of incentives, bribes, and threats, that a huge chunk of the Democrat voters invaded the Republican primary to keep Kasich afloat.

Fortunately, Kasich's shenanigans won't keep Trump from clearing a majority of delegates. And a key swing state now looks much more favorable for the general election.

Appendix 1

There are 17 counties that Obama won in 2012. They ranged from around 50% to 70% Democrat. And yet when you take the 2016 voters in the Democrat primary as a percent of all primary voters, in each of these same counties, they only run from around 30-50%. Within each county, between 10-20% of the primary electorate switched from would-be Democrats to Republicans. (See the county results for Republicans and Democrats.)

That is big in percentage terms (double digits), and also in sheer numbers of voters, since these blue counties are home to the major population centers. In several counties, this amounted to tens of thousands of Democrats posing as Republicans in order to prop up Kasich. Remember, Ohio was winner-take-all by statewide vote, so whoever had the most in sheer number of voters took all of the delegates.

Overwhelmingly this benefited Kasich, who won 13 of these 17 Obama counties, including the major population centers of Columbus, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Dayton, Toledo, Akron, etc. The 4 that Trump won were all Appalachian and smaller in population -- Ashtabula, Trumbull, Mahoning, and Athens.

To weed out the Democrat invaders whose only mission was to sabotage Trump and prop up Kasich, we assume that for a county's 2016 primary voters, the percent voting Democrat should be the same as the percent who voted Democrat in the 2012 presidential election. We apply that percent that should be Democrats to the total primary turnout, and get the number of primary voters that should be Democrats. This is much larger than the actual number voting Democrat, and the gap is mostly due to them voting for Kasich on the Republican side.

So, subtract the size of this gap from Kasich's number of voters, and place them in the Democrat primary (doesn't matter whether they'd vote for Hillary or Bernie). This shrinks Kasich's number of voters, and therefore the number of Republican primary voters. It does not affect Trump's number of voters, since he didn't benefit much from this huge invasion. (He did on a much smaller scale, and mostly in counties that are outside of these Obama counties.)

With this new count of total Republican voters, Kasich voters, and Trump voters, we compute the percent voting for Kasich or Trump in each of these counties. Trump wins every one of them except for Franklin, home to the state capital of Columbus -- perhaps not surprising that the center of the political Establishment would have gone for Kasich even without the Democrat invader shenanigans.

I estimate Kasich would have won Franklin 55 to 28, not so far from the actual result of 64 to 22. However, Trump would have won Cuyahoga (Cleveland) 44 to 40, Lorain (suburban Cleveland) 46 to 38, and Hamilton (Cincinnati) 37 to 36. The other blue counties he would have won by anywhere from 10 to 50 points.

Pooling all of these blue counties, Trump should have gotten 45% to Kasich's 36%. Since Ohio's primary was statewide, winner-take-all, county by county results don't matter -- only the grand pool of all voters. Trump should have handily won these blue counties, and he did handily win the Appalachian counties with nearly 50%. I figure the remaining sparsely populated red counties would have shown a similar correction as in the blue counties -- that Kasich's machine got local government employees mobilized on his behalf.

Even letting those stay with Kasich, though, they don't compare to the size of the populations in the blue counties, and are mostly balanced out by the Appalachian counties.

So, I see no reason to move away from the rough estimate of Trump legitimately winning 45% of Ohio, to Kasich's 35%. In any event, he would have won by single digits and taken all of the delegates.

Appendix 2

To see how huge the change from blue to supposedly red counties was, here are a few relevant columns from the whole spreadsheet.

First column is the counties won by Obama in the 2012 Presidential election.

Second column gives the percent of the vote that Obama got in 2012, from greatest to least.

Third column gives the percent of the 2016 primary votes that were cast in the Democrats' contest rather than in the Republicans'.

Fourth column shows the decline in the percent voting Democrat.

Fifth column gives the end result of calculating how many extra Republican ballots were cast (overwhelmingly for Kasich), on the assumption that the percent casting a Democrat ballot in the 2016 primary should be the same as the percent voting for Obama in the 2012 general election. At the bottom of this column is the total.

County Obama % 2012 Dem % 2016 Change Extra R votes
Cuyahoga 69 59 10 34747
Athens 66 60 6 862
Lucas 64 52 12 12437
Mahoning 63 51 12 8022
Trumbull 60 54 6 3921
Franklin 60 49 11 33553
Summit 57 31 26 58376
Lorain 56 46 10 8149
Ashtabula 55 41 14 3127
Erie 55 44 11 2474
Hamilton 53 41 12 28091
Portage 51 41 10 4134
Ottawa 51 38 13 1589
Wood 51 37 14 4836
Montgomery 51 39 12 16990
Sandusky 50 32 18 3087
Stark 49 36 13 14116


Notice that of these counties that voted for Obama, only 5 or 6 out of 17 were still blue counties in the 2016 primary. Seeing several of the counties in the deep-blue NE Ohio region casting only 30-some percent of their ballots in the Democrats' primary is a big fat tell. We're really supposed to believe that all these Great Lakes industrial counties suddenly turned deep red. Maybe if they were turning red-for-Trump, but not red-for-Kasich. Total hijacking on Kasich's orders.

Trump has won all the major metro areas around the Great Lakes, except for Milwaukee and Green Bay way over in Wisconsin. Detroit, Chicago, Rochester, Buffalo -- all Trump victories. He should have claimed Cleveland and Toledo and their satellite cities as well.

In the last column, notice how many of these counties delivered tens of thousands of votes to Kasich. In total, these blue counties delivered well over 230,000 votes to Kasich that would have otherwise been cast in the Democrat primary. Kasich won the state by roughly 220,000 votes, which is about how many extra votes he coerced out of these 17 counties. Not to mention the other red counties that he got to vote for him.

The 4 counties that Trump won did not show such gigantic numbers of cross-over votes: Athens (under 1,000), Mahoning, Trumbull, and Ashtabula (all under 10,000). Even throwing those out of the estimates since they did not favor Kasich, would not impact the overall conclusion, since they're so few compared to the hundreds of thousands of coerced votes that Kasich got around the state.

April 29, 2016

Trump's post-imperial foreign policy

After a long rise from the early Colonial period, the expansionist phase of America's geopolitical influence peaked sometime between WWII and the end of the Cold War, and no later than the 1990s the Establishment began grasping at straws to create the illusion that we were still a British Empire for the new millennium. As in so many other domains, Trump's goal in foreign policy is to end the wasteful foolishness and get real. (Read a transcript of his recent speech, or watch the video.)

This shift will be one of the main differences between today and the last time a populist Republican led a re-alignment out of a period of laissez-faire economics and open borders -- the election of 1896, won by William McKinley, Trump's closest predecessor.

Back then, America was still expanding: just one year into his Presidency, McKinley presided over the Spanish-American War, through which America gained Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines, as well as a protectorate over Cuba. We intervened in Latin American politics for the better part of the 20th century. In 1896, Utah had just attained statehood, and there were still five states out West left to join (Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska, and Hawaii).

Today, our Union isn't going to get any bigger, and with the prospect of a Puerto Rico bailout, if anything the American people will be open to shrinking it. And we see what we get by trying to maintain a sphere of influence over the entire globe.

"America First" is a great way to transition away from imperial over-reach without sounding or feeling defeated. It's not that the rest of the world beat us, rather we beat ourselves through arrogance and wastefulness. Shrinking our sphere of influence down to the 50 states is no more defeatist than the Roman Empire letting go of the eastern Mediterranean and North Africa. It's not going to be the age of the Five Good Emperors forever. And it's not going to be the age of Teddy and Franklin Delano Roosevelt forever either.

One of the main dangers facing a shrinking empire is getting over-run by migrants -- the Germanic tribes during the decline of the Romans, South Asians being invited into the post-colonial UK, and now the Muslim migration over Western Europe. Peter Turchin identifies the glue holding together an empire as solidarity among the citizenry, or the potential for collective action. When that glue starts to come undone, it will naturally show up in the form of borders not being defended as fervently as in the climate of "we're all in this together".

Thankfully, the Trump movement is working to solve this major problem of post-imperial political life, most of them not knowing anything about the fall of the Roman Empire, and therefore not deliberately "applying the lessons of history". But whether consciously or intuitively, we're largely going to avoid getting over-run by foreign hordes as we shrink back our sphere of influence, once we Build That Wall, deport the illegals and anchor babies and their families, end birthright citizenship, and dial down immigration.

To close on a different topic, it was reassuring to hear Trump use the phrase "Western" values, institutions, and civilization, rather than the phony construction "Judeo-Christian" values etc. that the guru of the Cruz Cult would have used. It's a shift away from the Jewish-influenced neocon agenda of nation-building and cultural imperialism, and setting a more pragmatic and non-interventionist goal of staying true to our (non-Jewish) cultural roots and setting a good example. Whoever wants to emulate us, can try, and whoever does not, will not. Big deal.

When Trump does mention Christians, he's referring to an ethno-cultural group under siege in the Middle East. He doesn't talk about the entire religion of Christianity, let alone as something that ought to be spread around the world in a latter-day version of the White Man's Burden. Leave cultural change to the missionaries, not the politicians. That point generalizes to all aspects of the culture war that has yielded zero results for the would-be conservative theocrats.

Reminder: Anti-Trump rioters are Hillary plants, not Sanders supporters

After Trump's yuge rally in Orange County, CA, protesters outside the venue started trashing a police car, and acting badly enough that 20 arrests were made. Similar to the protests and quasi riots outside of the canceled rally in Chicago.

These crowds carry signs saying "Bernie," they chant "Bernie," and are all Millennial age. And yet unlike actual Sanders supporters, hardly any of them are white, and their slurs are about people being racist and sexist, when the Bernie bros don't care about identity politics whatsoever, but rather populist economic matters (minimum wage, student loans, free health care, etc.). Identity politics and culture war stuff is Crooked Hillary's schtick.

If the black agitators in Chicago or the Mexican agitators in California were truly fans of Bernie, then he would be cleaning up in states with large non-white populations. It stands to reason that these agitators are, if anything, supporters of Crooked Hillary.

Mostly, though, they're just paid protesters, as Roger Stone has said, and as Trump has begun to make clear as well. They're part of, Black Lives Matter, and other groups funded by George Soros, mediated by David Brock, and in general working on behalf of Crooked Hillary and the globalists.

Another of their goals is to sow discord between the Trump and Sanders voters, who overlap on populist economic policies and non-globalist foreign policy (albeit with Bernie being less nationalist, and merely non-globalist). We shouldn't fall for that, since we'll be courting them in the fall, especially in certain states that we need to change from blue to red, like Michigan (which Bernie won, and not because the whole state is blue-haired SJWs with $100K in student loan debt).

Instead, online or in real life, whenever they show these paid protesters with Sanders signs, we should ask the others in the audience, "Oh please, if they're Bernie bros, then where are all the white people at?" It not only unmasks the protests as false flag operations from Crooked Hillary, it also reminds the Sanders voters how their primary season would be going if there weren't so much diversity in America.

April 27, 2016

GOP primary is no longer the Conservatism Olympics

With the Trump army enjoying another week of yuge margin victories in the popular vote, and sweeping yet again nearly 100% of the delegates, the Conservative Movement faction of the old Republican Party is struggling for a way to rationalize their continued utter defeat.

Hey, I know -- "Those states don't count since they're just worthless liberal East Coasters that will never vote Republican in a million years."

Great mindset for winning a general election, dipshits.

Then again, when you look at how the Conservative Movement has been behaving all along, it's becoming clear that they never did want to win the election. If they did, they'd have to find some way to appeal to blue states so that they'd switch at least temporarily to red. And yet they have instead doubled down on hardline rhetoric about the culture war, laissez-faire economics, and neocon foreign policy, which they know will only peel off more red states into the blue column. ("I guess they weren't that red to begin with, then -- good riddance," moans the impotent bitter culture warrior.)

These types -- from anonymous internet commenters, to talking heads, to the leader of the Cruz Cult himself -- are angry that Trump has put so many blue states into play for his brand of politics in the general election. For the right-wing culture warriors, nothing could be more desecrating of their brand than to see Pennsylvania, New York, Michigan, or Massachusetts listed in the same column as Texas, Kansas, and Utah.

The Cultural Right is more disgusted by the thought of New Englanders joining the Republican tent than they are about illegals streaming over the Mexican border, or their Tea Party heroes giving Obama everything he asked for in the omnibus budget.

For these ideological purists, the Republican primary is not supposed to produce a contender for the general election. Rather, it's supposed to serve as the Conservatism Olympics, where the candidates perform in a variety of events -- stump speeches, televised debates, sit-down interviews, in-person pandering, photo ops, etc. -- and are given a Conservatism score by a panel of judges, namely the outcome of the primary or caucus or convention.

Only some of those outcomes matter, though, since we are talking about the Conservatism Olympics -- Texas, Kansas, Utah, they all count, but we can just throw out the results from New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Massachusetts.

The function of the nominating convention, then, is to formally coronate the gold medalist in the Conservatism Olympics. No one expects him to achieve anything in the general election, but that was never the point. The whole point was to stage an elaborate series of games for political athletes, creating a spellbinding spectacle for the right-wing audiences.

The candidates, their managing and consulting teams, the RNC, etc., all get to line their pockets with funds raised to put on the big show. The emotionally driven voters get to enjoy the spectacle. And the donors get to launder a shit load of money, and although getting nothing in return at the national level (their nominee will not become President), they can still enjoy influence at the local, state, and regional level.

None of the actors truly loses if the Conservative gold medalist loses in the general, so why would anything stop this circus from repeating itself every cycle?

In fact, if the contests of ideological purity kept going, pretty soon the Republicans would be glibly writing off every state except for Texas, Kansas, and Utah. "Yeah, well, Kentucky and Alabama used to be Conservative, but then they got drawn in by the Trump phenomenon, so like, nice knowin' ya." And then Texas and Kansas would get demographically replaced by Democrats, and it would be only Utah's caucus (electoral votes: 6) that mattered in the minds of the Conservative Movement.

The old Republican Party -- Wall Street shills at the top, and the Cultural Right as the base -- would have headed in that direction toward greater irrelevance, impotence, and invisibility. So the Trump movement's hostile takeover of the GOP is only saving them a slow and painful death. We are breathing new life into the party, but it is populism and nationalism that is animating the body politic, not Conservatism (or Liberalism, for that matter, on the Democrats' side).

Keep your eyes on the Cruz Cult, and you'll see the profound disconnect between their old failed style and the new winning style. They are plainly dismissive about winning any new states in the general election because that's not the point. The point is to see who scores the most points with the reddest of red states, for Conservative Movement bragging rights.

How about we cut to the chase and formally award Cruz with a gold medal in Conservatism, say at Trump Tower, and he can drop out of the race and let the Trump movement get on with the real-world business of destroying Hillary Clinton (we've already destroyed the Bush dynasty), and then on to making America great again!

April 26, 2016

Trump discouraging transplant-ism: Don't go anywhere, the jobs are coming back

When Trump was touring Upstate New York, he began to recite some of the awful statistics about how all the good-paying jobs have left the metro area that he was addressing -- median incomes down thousands of dollars since 2001, double-digit decline of manufacturing jobs, and so on and so forth.

But he was always quick to reassure the audience not to worry, once he gets elected and starts bringing back those good jobs from their off-shored locations, the people of Rochester or Syracuse or wherever will be able to live a good life in their home town once again.

He knows that many people leave their home town if there aren't any good jobs. Of course, many leave even if there are good jobs, because they want the best jobs, even if it means uprooting themselves -- part of the status-striving trend of the past 40 years. By now, though, most people who are tempted to leave Upstate New York are not careerists causing a brain drain, but those in search of a decent middle class job.

He also made it clear that he understood why, despite all the awful statistics he just got done reciting, the audience had stayed around -- they love their community and their family. For social people, that's a powerful force keeping them in a dwindling regional economy. Only asocial nerds or amoral sociopaths wouldn't feel at least a little guilty leaving their home town relationships just so they can make more money.

It's refreshing to hear such a public figure, and possibly our next leader, restoring the job / life balance in front of a national audience. In contrast to the reigning view that you should change your life however necessary in order to serve the larger goal of continued career success, Trump was saying that the job was just a means to an end -- the goal being staying rooted in your physical community and your family and neighborly relationships.

When decent-paying jobs return to the hollowed-out regions of America, there will be no more trade-offs between seeking a middle-class income and staying where your roots are, just like during the Great Compression of roughly 1920 to 1980.

But in the meantime when there is such a trade-off, notice who Trump is siding with -- those who are remaining loyal to their home town and to their kinfolk, at the cost of lower incomes and less stable job prospects. They could've cut their family and community loose in order to make more money at a New Economy bubble magnet like North Carolina, Utah, Texas, or wherever else.

Trump is saying they're doing the right thing and yet are being financially punished for it -- therefore, we have to bring good jobs back, so they can be rewarded for doing the right thing vis-a-vis the people they're attached to, and who are attached to them.

Make no mistake: he's not just saying that you should work to live instead of live to work. Most people who promote that idea these days are lifestyle strivers who are saying something different -- that you should definitely transplant yourself away from your boring home town, but choose your destination based on how fun the lifestyle will be, and get whatever job you can find locally that will allow you to lead that lifestyle. Are you outdoorsy? Find whatever crappy job you can in Colorado, and go from there. Are you more cosmopolitan? Find whatever crappy job you can in New York, and go from there.

Although this view does put lifestyle above career, it doesn't include community or family in lifestyle. When some transplant moves to Manhattan, they don't belong to a community there, and likely never will. They're just treating the place like their own great big playground, although they come to realize that they have to share it somewhat with others. But a bunch of kids descending on a water park does not make the place into a community. And of course they won't have any family there either, so there goes the other source of organic social roots.

Trump's view of a job not as a means of personal advancement, but as a way of not having to leave your roots, ought to help turn the tide on the transplant phenomenon. While we're killing off the Bush and Clinton dynasties, we're also voting against the broader yuppie movement they stand for. From now on, the populist and nationalist program will seek social stability rather than social mobility. "Bringing back jobs" is a means toward that community-oriented goal, and not so much a form of wealth gospel.