February 28, 2016

Bernie cannibalizing campaign with identity politics instead of class (Good news for Trump turning blue states red)

I thought Bernie had a halfway decent shot at a majority of the pledged delegates, but after seeing how he ran things leading up to South Carolina, he looks to be finished. His forte has always been matters of economics -- class system, trade, inequality, debt, Wall Street, etc. -- and government -- campaign finance, corruption, revolving doors, etc. He represents the left's version of breaking away from identity politics and the culture war, to return to economic and political matters per se.

Hillary is continuing the culture war loud and clear, which mostly means race and ethnicity. (Women do not form a voting bloc, so only throwaway references are made to feminist topics. Homos are even smaller in number, and she isn't making a big stink out of sodomy.)

In the mostly-white early states, these two approaches to left-wing politics were not in conflict -- there were no minorities to pander to, so Bernie did OK and then won. Even in Nevada, with its larger share of minorities (Aztecs), Bernie did respectably. He was still focusing mostly on class issues.

However, once the huge voting bloc of blacks started approaching in South Carolina, he faced a crucial decision -- to continue emphasizing class, albeit by tailoring it to black economic concerns, or to put class on the back burner and take up identity politics. He either didn't want to appear racist, or got deluded into thinking he could compete in the culture war, or just plain choked. All of a sudden, he started talking about police brutality, institutional racism, driving while black, the prison-industrial complex, bla bla bla. And he lost SC big-league.

He allowed Hillary to dictate which arena the battle would be fought in, and he got slaughtered where he has no comparative advantage.

He might not have won SC if he had stuck to class issues, but he would've done better than a 50-point blowout. Not only would it have shown independence to his supporters and to the Democratic Establishment by hammering economics over and over, it would have forced a major choice among the black voters -- can we really afford the luxury of jerking off to the culture war anymore?

Sheeeit nigga, ain't nobody got time fo' identity politics -- I got biiillzzz 2 pay.

Unfortunately he seems to be writing off the black-heavy states going forward, rather than put that choice to them and bring over as many as possible. He's retreating into his comfort zone of economic-oriented whites in more progressive-friendly states.

Contrast this with Trump trying to win over every major group, including the Republicans' form of identity politics -- evangelical Christians. Trump's campaign has little to say to religious matters, or social and cultural issues generally. But by urging them to vote for the best President who can fix our mess of a country, rather than imagining the election giving us a Pastor in Chief who resonates the most powerfully with evangelical values, he's managed to win them over -- at least, back East of the Mississippi, where identity politics is weaker and folks are more open to class politics.

Bernie's doom will ultimately play to Trump's advantage, since the legions of Sanders supporters will most definitely not be turning out for Hillary in November. If she'd only won by a small amount, OK, maybe they suck it up and vote for whoever won fairly. But from what I've read from them, the Sanders supporters feel like she and her voters are robbing them blind. After getting so demoralized and disgusted, they won't vote for her in the general -- they'll either write in for Bernie, vote third-party, switch to Trump, or most likely not vote at all.

That will be even more true if Bernie ends up getting close to Hillary in the pledged delegate count, but gets swamped by her superdelegate spoilers -- a 15-point ace in the hole. Best case scenario for the Trump movement is Bernie wins 45% of all delegates (pledged), Hillary gets 40% of all delegates (pledged), but then adds her 15% of all delegates (super), and robs Bernie 55 to 45.

With a far smaller turnout of Democrats in the fall, Trump will have an even easier time of winning. More importantly, these demoralized Sanders supporters will be concentrated in the blue states that Trump is trying to switch to red -- New England and the Midwest. And in those regions, there won't be a huge pool of blacks to make up for the disgusted whites staying home. If there's record low turnout of Dems in South Carolina, that does nothing for Trump, since it will go Republican no matter what. But with record low turnout of Dems in, say, Wisconsin and Michigan, Trump is poised to turn them red (in addition to his courting their vote directly through class politics).

You can pursue identity politics, or you can pursue issues of economics and government. Not both. Sanders started out on the right foot, but through some form of personal weakness, surrendered his economic-oriented campaign and is trying to be everything to every Dem. Trump has steered clear of wading into the culture war, and he has already pulled away from the rest of the old-guard pack on the Republican side. In a time of realignment, you have to keep your eye on the ball.

February 27, 2016

GOP Establishment pondering an independent run for one of their own, too dumb to see it would guarantee Trump victory

In further examples of how ass-backwards the Establishment is thinking and acting in our climate of realignment, this post at Politico says that members of the donor class have started to research the feasibility of running a candidate not named Trump on a third-party ticket, in the increasingly likely case where Trump gets the GOP nomination.

Forget the details of their plan. Just step back and ask: where would this cuckservative candidate pick up any of the popular vote at all? In heavily red states, where the most hardcore Old Guard Republicans can be found in any decent numbers per capita. Mostly the Plains and the South, and if the primaries so far are any guide, more so in the Plains (Iowa going for Cruz) than in the South (South Carolina going for Trump).

And therein lies the irony -- even if the third-party Establishment candidate siphoned off a non-trivial amount of would-be Republican voters, there is so much slack left in these deeply red states that Trump's chunk of the electorate would still clear 50% and give him all the electoral votes, while the cuck would get 0.

There's no way the cuck could convert any of the state's Democratic voters either -- he would be the very definition of outdated Republican baggage.

Let's just play with a few numbers to see how futile their efforts would be. Most would-be Republican voters are going to vote Trump if he's the nominee. I'd be surprised if even 10% of the state's Republican voters were so bitter and puritanical that they'd vote for a sure loser just to spite Trump for his "hostile takeover," i.e. democratization, of their precious party, in the hopes of sinking Trump for this cycle and starting the war all over again for the GOP nomination in 2020.

We'll just go with the percent of the state that voted for Romney in 2012, and carve away 10% of it for these hardcore cuck voters, leaving 90% of those who voted Romney. (This is an underestimate, since Trump will be getting a good level of defection from the Democrats.) Where would "90% of Romney's vote" still put Trump over 50%? Where Romney's share of the vote was at least 55-56%. This includes:

North Dakota
South Dakota
West Virginia

This is the Mountains, the Plains, and the inland part of the South. It does not include the red states or the neither-red-nor-blue states in the Midwest and along the Atlantic coast.

But that works out perfectly for Trump. In the states where the cuck constituency is most likely to be found, their defection would not rob Trump of the electoral votes. And where a defection from Trump of 10% would endanger him, the cuck voters are far less numerous and wouldn't even come close to 10% of Republicans (Rust Belt, southern Atlantic).

Moreover, Trump could use the presence of a third-party made up of bitter old-guard Republicans to even further enhance his appeal to independents and Democrats in blue states, in order to turn them red for Trump. It would even more vividly distinguish him from the cuckservative losers who the Dem voters associate with the GOP.

Folks, I understand -- you don't want to be saddled with the baggage of the old Republican Party. If our movement hadn't taken it over, honestly, I'd call it 'The Failing Party of the Bushies' -- no, think about it. But look who you're talking to now -- I'm the guy who eviscerated the Bush dynasty in front of a debate hall packed with Establishment hacks and donors on national TV, and still won the popular vote in that state. Along with 100% of the delegates that really matter, but these are minor details.

With Trump, folks, you aren't gonna have to worry anymore about maybe possibly choosing to vote Republican. I know, before you guys in the blue states, you would've been embarrassed, but all that... garbage... that you're reacting to has been flushed right out of the Party, and they're now running their own pathetic third-party ticket. I call it 'The Circling the Drain Ticket" -- no, it's true! It's true!

The last thing this country needs is another Clinton, or another Bushy. Those people are not going to lead you into the Promised Land, that I can tell you. Stand with Trump, and together we will make America great again!

The fact that the elites can't even tell that the barrel of this third-party gun is bent right back toward their own faces, is further encouragement that they are so out-of-touch with the changing new world that they are going to be trivial to knock over.

It's no different from what we saw in Bloomberg's potential third-party run. He, too, is too dumb-from-insulation to realize that his best chance would be in a world where Clinton and Bush/Rubio were the nominees, revealing popular demand for Establishment candidates. Instead, the clueless rat thinks his best chances are if Sanders and Trump are the nominees, where he would hope to corner the market on Establishment voters -- despite their near invisible numbers in a population that chose Sanders and Trump.

Insulation must be the most intelligence-corroding force in the universe. Good news for the Trump movement.

February 25, 2016

Huge non-citizen populations give states unfair boost in Congress and Electoral College

In the roughly 10 years that I've been reading about immigration issues, I don't recall hearing about this one. If it has been covered before, it has not been hammered enough to be one of the facts that everyone knows.

Each state sends two Senators to the upper house of Congress. The number that it sends to the lower House of Representatives is proportional to its population -- we've all heard that before.

But what we didn't realize was that all residents count toward this population measure -- including illegal immigrants, foreigners legally here on student visas, and any other group of non-citizens, none of whom can vote for the Representatives or for President. It's simply how many people wake up and go to sleep in that state, regardless of their citizenship status.

The Census' website has a FAQ that admits this openly, and even has a separate question just about illegal aliens, saying that they do indeed count toward the population estimate that determines how many Representatives that state will send to Congress.

It gets worse: the number of Electoral College votes that a state gets is equal to the number of Congressmen they have. Each state gets 2 for their Senators; the variable number of Representatives is what makes one state's vote for President weigh more or less heavily in the final count.

Thus, states that have large non-citizen populations wield a disproportionate influence in the House of Representatives, and in the Presidential election. And because the number of Representatives is fixed (at 435), when a foreigner-heavy state gains more influence, it must take influence away from other states that are light on foreigners.

It gets even worse: this creates a positive feedback loop, whereby a state brings in hordes of non-citizens, which gives them more Representatives in Congress and greater power over choosing the President. They wield this greater influence over government to change the laws and their enforcement so that more and more foreigners flood into that state. Which boosts their population further, which gives them more influence, which they use to bring in more foreigners, etc etc etc. Pretty soon California and Texas control the entire country.

Here is a map of Congressional districts by degree of non-citizen presence (red means foreigner-heavy):

The entire West, beginning with Texas, has been stealing influence from the citizen-heavy areas back East, with the exception of the highly urbanized Atlantic coastline. Appalachia and small-town New England have taken the biggest clobbering; the Midwest and non-urban South have been pretty well robbed also. If you've been wondering why these places seem less and less influential in national politics, that's why.

It's not just that California has a large population -- between 10-15% of it is non-citizens. They wield 55 votes in the Electoral College now (far more than any other state), and that should be closer to 45 -- still reflecting the large population of actual citizens there, but discounting the hordes of cheap foreign labor they've brought in, along with massive numbers of foreign students at their many colleges, the legal H1-B visa workers taking white-collar jobs from Americans in Silicon Valley, and so on and so forth.

The WP article that the map comes from discusses an open Supreme Court case (Evenwel v. Abbott) about how the Congressional district lines ought to be drawn -- to include a similar number of people in each district, should they count all residents, only citizens, etc.?

They are not challenging the larger point, though, that huge numbers of non-citizens give the state an unfair number of Representatives and Electoral College votes. According to the 14th Amendment, population is reckoned only by the number of "persons" -- not "citizens". In its original context of the mid-19th Century, there were no hordes of foreign non-citizens. There were the white citizens and the citizens who were newly freed slaves.

Fast-forward to now, where several Sun Belt states have over 10% of their population as non-citizens, and it's a whole 'nother ball game. We need a Constitutional Amendment to make Congressional apportionment (and therefore Electoral College votes) a function only of the citizen population.

Otherwise we're back to the Three-Fifths Compromise that was repealed by the 14th Amendment. During the nation's founding, the Southern plantation owners didn't want their slaves to be able to vote or enjoy other benefits of citizenship, but then that would shrink their state's influence in Congress and in voting for the President, since so much of their population was slaves. So a deal was worked out where the slaves would not be citizens, but they would count toward the population used for Congressional apportionment, at three-fifths of their actual number.

That gave the Southern states undue federal-level influence, especially over matters related to slavery. It was win-win for them -- non-citizen labor, but greater control over the federal government. Eventually that tension led to the Civil War, and in the aftermath the Three-Fifths Compromise was replaced by the 14th Amendment, where every person counted toward the total population, but where they were now citizens allowed to vote.

Today, the immigrant-heavy areas are like the old slave plantations -- the local elites enjoy cheap labor from foreigners who cannot vote and are not citizens, yet these laborers beef up the population totals and allow the local elites more national power. It's even worse than the slavery system, since the slaves were only counted at three-fifths their number -- today the non-citizens count at 100% of their numbers.

The other logically consistent but socially suicidal solution would be to give amnesty to the non-citizens. Then their numbers would legitimately count toward how much influence their state gets at the national level.

We keep seeing attempts to push through an amnesty, always led by the immigrant-heavy states. I'm starting to think that they don't actually care if it goes through or not, though. Remember, the elites in a foreigner-heavy state are like the slave-owners of the old South -- they get all that extra influence in government, without having to treat the foreigners as citizens.

In particular, that means that the politicians won't have to learn how to appeal to a new constituency of amnestied immigrants. Maybe they could do it, or maybe they couldn't, and would be replaced by more immigrant-savvy or ethnically-connected rival politicians. Who knows how the newly enfranchised immigrants would vote on all manner of things, potentially re-shaping the political landscape and making it a nightmare for the established elites to find their way through.

It's better for the politicians and their elite constituents if the political ecosystem stays predictable and "more of the same". They can keep their jobs and won't have to learn new tricks. But by boosting the overall population (through more and more non-citizens), the national policies they pursue will have an even greater weight behind them.

Importing hordes of foreigners is a force-multiplier at the national political level that does not entail any extra political costs at the district or state level.

Therefore, I don't think the goal of the immigrant-importing politicians, and the elites they represent, is to "replace the American electorate" with foreigners, who will be more favorable at the voting booth to the immigrant-friendly politicians. I've heard that a lot, and it makes some sense, but only if the immigrants get amnesty and then turn out to vote for those who gave them amnesty.

And yet the amnesty hasn't gotten through over all these years (not since 1986), and these politicians surely know that the Mexicans and other groups do not bother voting even when they are citizens. Politicians stand to gain almost nothing at the voting booth from illegals by giving them amnesty.

Rather, the goal of the elites and their political representatives is simply to keep to politics as usual, only with a great big force-multiplier behind it. Increase total population while not drawing qualitatively new groups into the electorate. Then you won't have to worry about how millions of Mexicans, with Mexican sensibilities, may vote down a California law protecting the environment.

This would seem to explain why there's a constant back-and-forth over amnesty, with no victory for the immigrant-heavy states. They must have an understanding on all sides that the amnesty battle is purely symbolic, empty, and ritualistic. They'll fight over it, stalemate, and each side goes home declaring victory. The anti-amnesty side gets to gloat over preserving the rule of law to their constituents, while the pro-amnesty side gets to gloat over their force-multiplier remaining intact without the system being disrupted by masses of new citizens from a different background coming into the electorate.

Long story short, we need to deport the illegals, anchor babies, and their extended families that were brought in under false pretenses (uniting with a "citizen," i.e. the anchor baby). Build the wall, enforce the border. That would solve most of the problem right there -- then the immigrant-heavy states would lose huge numbers of their total population, and would lose many of their Representatives and Electoral College votes, while the citizen-heavy states would gain them back.

But that's not a permanent solution. We don't want to be in a situation 100 years from now, when the pro-immigrant side has gained the upper hand again, and there are 15% of Californians who are non-citizens, with the Sun Belt wielding disproportionate influence all over again. We need a simple Constitutional Amendment that says Congressional apportionment is to be based on the number of citizens, not just persons or residents.

Only then can we have an American government for the Americans.

February 24, 2016

Talking heads still largely clueless about Trump phenomenon (better that they can't figure us out)

Watching CNN's coverage of Trump's sweeping victory in Nevada, I was amazed that most of the talking heads are still going on about his personality, his branding of himself, his appeal to anger, etc., and no awareness of the actual positions he represents. Indeed, whenever the matter does come up, they all flippantly say that he has no real policies, no specifics, other than building the wall.

It's not because they lack the intelligence to see the patterns (populism and nationalism vs. elitism and globalism), nor are they cynically trying to portray his campaign as a great big clown show anymore. The talking heads on CNN are generally more open-minded and curious about what's going on and what makes people tick, and aren't the dour snarky ideologues that you see on Fox News or MSNBC. They really want to understand, but they're like a colorblind person squinting and tilting their head at a Fauvist painting, and wondering what it is that draws so many spectators to it.

The basic points of populism and nationalism are simply so far outside of anything they've ever been exposed to in their lives, whether personal or professional, that there's nothing there for them to see in Trump's campaign. It's not that they've had experience with it, and reject it -- they have only ever experienced the elite-centered and globalist-centered set of beliefs, discussions, and policies. It's an entire range of wavelengths of light that they've never been exposed to, and remain colorblind to.

Not to be too hard on the talking heads, the entire Establishment group of politicians, donors, voters, and onlookers cannot see what's going on because they've been insulated from populism and nationalism throughout their personal and professional lives.

This bodes well for the general election, obviously, since Hillary couldn't be more immersed in elitism and globalism. But beyond that, it's encouraging that the entrenched incumbents in the economy and the government will not be able to do anything about the Trump phenomenon because they can't even understand it at the simplest level. Trump is like the Predator stalking his victims while cloaked from their vision.

Re-shaping the society back to a healthy state will take a long time, but each necessary action will not be a bitter war of attrition. It's going to be like shooting fish in a barrel.

February 23, 2016

When manufacturing returns, consumer prices may not rise; rather, stockholders may see lower profits

We've never off-shored entire fundamental sectors of our economy before, nor have we taken them back. So we have no history to consult when we try to figure out what might happen once the Trump administration begins to bring manufacturing back to the United States.

Certainly the company's labor costs will be higher -- cutting costs on labor was the main reason they sent the jobs overseas in the first place. Why pay an American who expects $20 an hour, when a Mexican or a Chinese will do it for $5?

But if a company tries to pass that higher labor cost onto the consumer in the form of higher prices, they risk pricing themselves out of the market. After all, there will be other companies in that sector who will raise their prices by a smaller amount in order to grab the customers. This competition creates a race to the bottom, where they won't end up passing on much of the higher labor costs at all.

If they want any business whatsoever, they're just going to have to get by on smaller profit margins than they had been enjoying during the era of off-shoring.

This assumes there's a healthy level of competition, but for most of the stuff we're talking about -- clothing, tools, appliances, electronics, furniture, etc. -- there are already numerous companies competing against each other.

We can dismiss any hysteria about the profit margins already being so razor-thin -- that's more for retailers, not the producers themselves. We know that the smaller profit margins are sustainable because that's how the economy worked for decades and decades before the stock market boom that only began in the 1980s. Labor costs were high because companies paid good wages, yet profits were not very high as seen in the low level of stock market value. It must have been that prices to consumers were not outta-whack with what we see today.

It's striking to look through old ads and adjust prices for inflation -- cars, scissors, power drills, all kinds of stuff doesn't seem to have been much more expensive back when it was made in America, and when labor costs were therefore higher than today's junk made with cheap Chinese sweatshop labor. (This is not even counting how much greater the quality was when it was made in the first world.)

All sorts of other things have gotten much more expensive than even the overall rate of inflation, like housing, health care, education, and more recently energy and food. These are subject to bubbles of one sort or another, unlike garden-variety consumer products like silverware, screwdrivers, and sweaters.

Most of the scaremongering about higher prices if we return manufacturing to America seems to come from those with a lot of stock market wealth that could evaporate if higher labor costs, combined with a competitive mature industry, means that profits will start to tank for shareholders. That's all for the good: they only got all that wealth since the '80s because off-shoring jobs allowed shareholder value to soar. They got rich from dismantling our economy, so they can lose their ill-gotten wealth in order to restore our economy.

Restoring a healthy economy will lower the top, which has been shooting off into outer space over the past 30 to 40 years, and will raise the bottom, who have been scraping by on stagnant or declining real incomes.

This form of narrowing inequality does not involve taxing the rich and handing out goodies to the poor. It simply removes the ability of elites to leverage a decision about off-shoring into massive wealth to stockholders, which also has the effect of providing good-paying jobs to the bottom layers of the pyramid. This way does not stoke class war in the way that Robin Hood policies would -- some degree of those might be fine, too, but only after making these structural changes that are not an overt form of class war.

An entirely similar line of argument shows the effect of deporting the illegals in the American labor market, and even curtailing the ranks of legal immigrants in our workforce. Whether the foreigner who steals the American's job lives in his homeland (off-shoring) or has been brought here (scabs) makes no difference.

Getting rid of illegals will increase the labor costs to the companies who must now employ Americans, but in any competitive industry these will not be able to be passed on very much to the consumer as higher prices. Rather, the company will simply make less in profits and their stock won't be worth as much.

Very well -- most of us don't own that much wealth in stock, and if you do treat the stock market as a great big casino, you have to accept the possibility of getting burned big-time. You should have invested your money in a more responsible way than in the disgraceful dismantling of your own country's economy. It's far beyond time for the 1980s stock market bubble to burst for good.

February 22, 2016

News for Cruz: Culture war doesn't play back East, even with evangelicals

One of the most refreshing outcomes of the South Carolina exit polls was that Trump won handily over Cruz with evangelicals, reversing his loss among that group to Cruz in Iowa (really the only group there that he didn't win with).

A hilariously poorly researched article at -- where else? -- National Review attributes Trump's success with Southern evangelicals to their lower rates of church attendance, while Cruz does better with the supposedly more frequent attenders in the Plains states.

One problem: the Bible Belt is in the Southeast, not the Plains. The blog poster (a Millennial) only alludes to "data compiled by the Association of Religious Data Archives" to support his claim that the Bible Belt is in the Plains, and that "When it comes to church participation, many parts of the South fare no better than liberal enclaves in in the Northeast".

Data from the General Social Survey show what everyone already knows, that the Southeast is the Bible Belt, and the Plains less so.* Even casual browsing of the Wikipedia entry on religion in America provides not only a map but also a table of values showing that the Southeast is indeed the Bible Belt, with the Plains states coming in a distinct second place. Here's the map of attendance:

Here is a map of "adherents," meaning those who are simply affiliated with a church, regardless of how frequently they attend services:

Now it is the Plains states that are in the lead -- but not for attendance. In the Religious Congregations & Membership Study, "adherents" include children, and fertility rates are higher in the Plains states, so it's possible that their higher level of "adherents" is simply due to larger family sizes there compared to the crowded Southeast.

The bogus narrative about Trump only winning among fair-weather evangelicals was meant by the lazy NR blog poster to suggest that Trump's religious supporters, like Trump himself, are weak Christians at best. They may identify with a church, but do not attend often.

No shock that NR is dead wrong yet again about Trump's supporters. You don't find more frequent church-attenders than in the Southeast. If anything, it's the evangelicals in the Plains who are more into Christianity theoretically than in the butts-in-pews manner -- part of the general airy-fairy mentality out west of the Mississippi River.

The thumping that Trump gave Cruz in a state seemingly tailored to his evangelical appeal reveals a divide within evangelicals that we see within the general population, religious or not. Folks back East are more pragmatic, emphasize common sense (along with religion, in the South), feel more secure in their environments, and generally have their social and emotional needs met. Southerners are famously cheerful.

This makes them less susceptible to the razzle-dazzle charms and incantations of a snake oil salesman from out West, where folks are more idealistic, prize the counter-intuitive over common sense, feel insecure in their environments, where they're prepping for the apocalypse, and are more loners and paranoids who are socially and emotionally starved (and not stereotyped as always full of good cheer). That group is ripe for being spellbound by a cult guru like Cruz.

For evangelicals back East, church life is part of overall social life. They don't try to make such a big show about it any more than they do about their family lives, however intensely they may be involved in both. Because they see their family and community lives enduring healthily into the future, they see their church life doing so as well. It's not very apocalyptic, where the ways of the world are on the verge of being turned upside-down.

Evangelicals out West, on the other hand, could not act more holier-than-thou, self-righteous, and vainglorious. It's not so much a part of their social lives (which are not as rich as they are in the Deep South), as it is part of their personal or household-level preparation for the apocalypse. The federal gubmint is out to get you, Satan or the Anti-Christ is out to get you, somebody or other is just around the corner, ready to unleash all Hell upon Earth. Time to prepare for basic survival and the final moral judgment, lest you perish in the imminent chaos.

This also relates to the difference between status contests based on career striving vs. lifestyle striving, where folks out West make a bigger contest out of their lifestyles, while those back East focus more on their careers. Going to church, and carrying out various other religious practices, falls under lifestyle. And just as athletic people in the Southeast don't preen about some overly complicated fitness routine, the evangelicals are less likely than they are out West to treat religion as a battleground for one-upping their rivals in the status contest.

Cruz and his cult are in for a rude awakening when they cross the Mississippi, if they think their apocalyptic freak-out happenings are going to play with the local audiences, just because the preacher has a slight drawl. Texas is not part of the South, any more than Minnesota is part of the Northeast. Southerners are too polite and hospitable to break the Texans' hearts directly, but they're not going to extend their sympathy when it comes to the voting booth, where they're sending the Cruz cult a loud and clear signal to don't let the door hitcha where the good Lord splitcha.

* The GSS uses Census regions, where "South Atlantic" includes Maryland down through Florida, so to estimate Georgia and South Carolina we simply bump the numbers up a bit since Maryland and Florida are less frequent attenders. And "East South Central" is Deep South already -- Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, and Mississippi. The Plains states fall under West North Central and West South Central.

Bush / Kasich / Carson supporters may just stay home rather than vote Cruz or Rubio, which helps Trump

Now that Jeb is out of the race, people are talking about where his support goes. He had 8% in South Carolina -- perhaps that could be added to the Establishment favorite Rubio, and suddenly he's at 30% and within striking distance of Trump. Ditto for Kasich's support when he drops out. Carson's support would more likely go to Cruz.

Trump has already said that some of that support will go to himself. It's not as though the supporters of non-Trump candidates are so overwhelmingly anti-Trump that they won't vote for him, even when he's so clearly the front-runner in the polls, popular vote, and most importantly the delegate count. There will be an "if you can't beat 'em, join 'em" bloc that will boost his numbers, too, not just those of his rivals.

But what if a good chunk of them don't even bother voting, with the departure of their favorite candidate, and even entire class of candidates -- the Nice Guys (TM)?

Think of what a hardened fringe group they are -- to be holding out for Jeb this late in his abysmal campaign. They are not merely Establishment voters, they are so deluded that they thought Jeb of all people was their one true prayer for victory. Anyone more pragmatic, who might have been juggling Jeb around back in July, should have already moved on to Rubio.

Let's consider their choices.

They won't go for Kasich or Carson since these are niche candidates, and the former Jeb supporters already tried a niche candidate that didn't work. If they choose anyone at all to support now, it'll be one of the main three. (And even if they did go for another niche candidate, that simply delays the inevitable for when the last niche nice guy drops out.)

They could try Rubio, but if they were delusional for Jeb, they probably can't get past Rubio's lack of experience, lack of pedigree, lack of avuncular personality, etc. Plus Rubio stabbed his former mentor in the back, and that mentor was their favorite pick. They might not be able to forgive.

They would probably not go for Cruz -- he's part of the Establishment, but from the evangelical wing rather than the financial elite wing. Like Rubio, he has little experience, doesn't come from a proven dynasty, and has a creepy personality, all of which matter to Jeb supporters. He's too slimy for all but the most hardcore apocalyptic / evangelical voters.

And they could go Trump, if only to support the winner.

None of these three seem awfully likely, so perhaps these hardcore Jeb supporters will simply not show up to the polls this year. They prize candidates who have lots of political experience, some level of accomplishments to point to, probably with executive experience, politically connected, not a creepy weirdo personality, niceness and decorum matters more than substance, and so on. They might just write off the 2016 GOP race, as it exists now, as a clown-filled circus with no more appealing choices left.

More or less the same conclusion can be reached for the former hardcore Kasich supporters. And similarly for the hardcore Carson supporters, with Cruz being the only hopeful recipient. However, just like with Jeb supporters having trouble forgiving Rubio for stabbing Jeb in the back, hardcore Carson folks might have trouble forgiving Cruz for lying about Carson getting out of Iowa and stealing a good number of his votes.

So maybe a good amount of these supporters will simply not vote at all. Remember, they're not just "the kind of people that Jeb / Kasich / Carson appeals to," but those who were so devoted to their niche candidate that they stuck it out far beyond any realistic chance they had. These supporters all wanted a niceness candidate, and they're left with the tough-toned Trump, the weasel Cruz, and the slippery foam party backstabber Rubio. "It's become too much of an impolite circus, I won't be dragged down into the mud, so I'll just sit it out this time."

If these former supporters of niche candidates decide not to vote, it benefits Trump in two ways.

First, if Jeb / Kasich / Carson supporters don't join some other candidate's supporters, then the numerator for each remaining candidate stays the same. Nobody gains, nobody loses. Trump benefits by the others not gaining new supporters (numerator).

Second, if Jeb / Kasich / Carson supporters are no longer included in the total count of all voters, they shrink the denominator, which is now made up only of Trump / Cruz / Rubio supporters. When the denominator gets smaller, the fraction gets larger. Trump's share of actual voters (not hypothetical voters) rises a little bit. So does the share for Cruz and Rubio, but not by the same degree because Trump has the largest numerator.

A simple numerical example:

Say there are only 10 supporters in a state, and that they could vote for Trump, Cruz, Rubio, Kasich, Carson, and Jeb. And suppose their support was similar to the polling and early primaries -- 3 for Trump, 2 each for Cruz and Rubio, and 1 each for Kasich, Carson, and Jeb.

Suppose that the niche supporters are so demoralized and disgusted by the remaining viable candidates that they simply don't bother voting.

Then that leaves 3 for Trump, and 2 each for Cruz and Rubio. Same numerators as before. But now there are only 7 voters in total, not 10. Smaller denominator.

With all six candidates to choose from, Trump's popular vote would've been 30%, 20% for Cruz and Rubio, and 10% for the three niche candidates.

With the niche candidates dropping out, and their supporters leaving in disgust along with them, Trump's popular vote share is now 43% (3/7), with 29% (2/7) each for Cruz and Rubio. All of the major candidates increased their popular vote share, but Trump gained 13 points while the other two only gained 9 points. Before, Trump enjoyed a 10-point lead over the other two, while he now enjoys a 14-point lead. Finally, Trump is now much closer to the majority threshold of 50%.

There are two ways in which Trump could come closer to getting a majority of the popular vote -- by converting more of the former niche supporters than Cruz or Rubio could convert, or if they simply dropped out of the electorate.

If you know anyone who's supporting one of the niche candidates, do your best to resonate with their hopelessness of the clown show that the primary race has become, and ask rhetorically is it even worth voting in the primary with only these three weirdos left to choose from? Maybe just sit it out until next time, or the general.

Getting them to sit it out will be much, much easier than trying to convert them to Trump of all candidates. Remember, these are the hardcore "niceness" voters. And it has the same effect -- boosting Trump's share of the actual voters.

It will be hard to evaluate how likely the niche voters are to stay in the electorate, and if so, who they're switching to. But I suspect a decent amount will be so demoralized by the prospect of choosing a tough guy, a weasel, or a backstabbing robot, that they may just sit out the primary this time around and hope for better choices next time. That only helps Trump climb his way toward 50% in the popular vote, which is crucial for the many proportional states where 50% wins all the delegates.

Usually it's the Trump supporters who would be sitting out the primary and the general, which boosted the numbers for the Establishment candidates. Now that we're coming out of the woodwork, it may be having the same effect on the Establishment supporters, sending them to sulk on the sidelines. They deserve it for all the decades they've crowded out a majority-friendly candidate and electorate, and moved farther and farther toward extreme niche positions -- whether on the country club yuppie side or the doomsday cult side.

February 21, 2016

Unstoppable: Trump has twice the share of delegates as his share of the popular vote

Now that Trump has crushed yet another primary, there's lots of concern trolling going around about how he still can't win with "only" 35% of the vote. And there's even wimpy depressive supporters (probably from out West) who are falling for it. Do not snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

The trouble for this scare story is that the nomination does not go to whoever gets a majority of the popular vote. It is who gets the majority of delegates to the national convention, and these delegates are sent from each state. These delegates are what is up for grabs in the state's primary or caucus.

Some states have proportional representation, and other states have winner-take-all. Some delegates are won through the vote at the statewide level, and others through the vote at the level of each Congressional district. See this table for how many delegates each state has (total, statewide, district), and what the rules are for securing them.

On Super Tuesday, there are a bunch of proportional contests, where Trump will clean up, although not as totally as he did in South Carolina, where there were winner-take-all rules for both the statewide and district delegates. While not winning over 50%, Trump still won every Congressional district and the state overall, so he got 100% of the delegates at stake.

After Super Tuesday, more of these winner-take-all states come into play, including ones with a yuge chunk of delegates up for grabs, like Florida and California, although most of their delegates are at the district level. Still, when you add up all the smaller and medium states with winner-take-all delegates, it looks very favorable to Trump, even if he does have a ceiling below 50% of the popular vote.

Let's just check the difference between how much of the popular vote a candidate has won, and how much of the delegate pool that has translated into:

Popular %, delegates %

Trump___: 34, 70
Cruz____: 22, 11
Rubio___: 21, 10
Kasich___: 09, 05

Trump has twice as large of a share of the delegate pool as his share of the popular vote would have gotten him under a purely proportional system. Each of the cucks has only half of the number of delegates that their popular vote numbers would have gotten them.

Sure, as we get into states west of the Mississippi yet inland from the Pacific, the apocalyptic cult guru will pick up a larger share of delegates than he currently has. And there will be Establishment bastions on the West Coast and throughout the Northeast that will go for the foam party robot.

But Trump is already at 70% of the delegate pool, and there simply aren't enough delegates up for grabs for the other two -- the frontier preppers only show up in decent numbers in Texas (which is not winner-take-all, so they can't leverage a narrow plurality into a total sweep), and the country club yuppies are only dotted around the major cities. Reminder: foam party robot won the two Establishment stronghold cities in South Carolina (Columbia and Charleston) but still lost the districts that they belong to.

The cucks are also in for a rude awakening about how non-Establishment the Republicans are in the Great Lakes, Northeast, and Mid-Atlantic. Today's Establishment hails from the Sun Belt and reflects its laissez-faire, anti-government norms. Trump's highest level of dominance over the other candidates is found in the Rust Belt and New England, where the cucks are naively assuming that just because they're blue states, they'll mostly go for Rubio. Fat chance. With such overwhelming support in the Northeast, even in the proportional states it's possible for Trump to clear 50% and take all the delegates.

Who knows, perhaps Trump's delegate share will decline -- but by 20 percentage points? Doesn't seem too likely, especially with each victory making wishy-washy voters less anxious about voting for someone "who can't win".

That said, we shouldn't rest on our laurels, since winning by the largest margin will provide the most compelling mandate -- ditto for the general election. We need to leave no doubt in the Establishment's minds that the elitist and globalist ways are over with, and now it's all about populism and nationalism.

Go back to Univision, Jeb


February 19, 2016

Ossified habits of mock-elections prevent Establishment from consolidating in new environment of real-election

An earlier post took a look at how the current climate of hyper-competitiveness is keeping the individual Establishment candidates from coalescing around just one of them, while the others fall on their swords for the greater good of their Establishment team.

"Why do I have to fall on my sword? You do it!" "No, you!" "No, you first!" "No, you first!"

"I'm the obvious choice for taking on Trump, my polls are better than your guyses." "Oh, those polls mean nothing this early. I've got the most endorsements!" "You two losers can't raise as much money as I can!" "C'mon folks, we're trying to stay relevant in 2016 and none of yinz guys has ever been to a gay wedding n'at? Jeez-o-man..."

Etc etc etc, while Trump sails on unchallenged.

There's something else going on, though, where the candidates have become so accustomed to the phony campaigns of the past several decades, that they can't adjust to today's environment where there's a genuine candidate running.

According to business as usual, the Establishment favors a variety of initial cucks, they duke it out in a rehearsed and ritualistic way for the Party's nomination, where nothing is really at stake because whoever wins, the Establishment wins. The only open question is which cuck will prove most popular -- or least unpopular -- with voters, since after all they do want to win the election. The empty mock-combat during the primary is only carried out to winnow the field down to the team's best chance of winning the general election.

Trump has mentioned several times how bizarre it is after the debates, where the other candidates, who have been taking shots at each other for two hours, immediately get all chummy with each other when the debate is over. It's clearly a mock-debate, and there's a sense of sportsmanship among teammates -- may the best cuck win.

Because Trump is not part of the club, does not know its ways, and does not participate in its rituals, the Establishment candidates all ignore him. It's no different than a bunch of guys playing baseball, and excluding the guy who, for some unknown reason, acts as though the game is football. In their minds, he's a wannabe and therefore not worth their attention, not worth their mock-attacks. True, he keeps interjecting his football plays into their baseball game, but that only deserves a dismissive "get off the field" response -- not an actual counter-attack. "Refs, seriously? Remove this confused wannabe player, so we can get back to our regularly scheduled game."

That was very evident during the debate that Trump skipped in order to bring Fox News to heel, and to raise money for veterans' groups at his own rally. By all accounts (too boring; didn't watch myself) it was what should have been taking place all along. With the real candidate gone, they could at long last get around to their ritualistic mock-debate.

This mindset and behavioral style has extended to their campaign trail strategies as well. Because Trump is just a wannabe who doesn't know how the game is played and isn't willing to learn, they all ignore his rallies, interviews, and so on, as though it were a mere shadow campaign by the kid who didn't get allowed into the stadium where the actual game is being played by the actual politicians.

With Trump being out of sight and out of mind, they spend most of their time, money, and effort taking shots at one another. They don't see it as friendly fire because, in their minds, there is no common enemy that puts them all onto the same team. Oh sure, there's that pseudo-candidate who hates all of us, but it's all make-believe, so we don't have to "consolidate" around a single hashtag Establishment candidate.

You see this every time they're forced to remark about Trump's campaign during their rallies, interviews, and so on. They're so irritated at having to take a time-out to deal with a streaker who's burst onto the field. It's like, "Why do they keep asking us about that pretend-campaign going on? Sigh, OK, I'll respond: he's a blustering carnival barker with no specifics who cannot insult his way to the Presidency. There -- is five seconds enough of a response? And now back to my regularly scheduled attacks on a fellow cuck."

But isn't that friendly fire? "C'mon folks, let's get POZ-ITIVE. No matter which one of us cucks wins, the Party wins."

Having been trained as puppets who engage in only sparring-campaigns for their whole careers, insulated from real challengers who hit for real, they cannot help but go through the same old motions. These choreographed wrastlers now find themselves face-to-face with a genuine tough guy in a no-holds-barred street fight, and with no experience to guide them, they fall back on their routine of dancing around with each other, while he advances and puts one after another of them in the hospital.

I think this is what got the Establishment into such deep trouble in the first place. My earlier story about their hyper-competitiveness is more relevant to what has happened after the alarms had been publicly sounded by everyone in the Establishment -- other politicians, the donors, the pundits, everyone -- and they were ordered to perform better as a team by consolidating around just one of them. Then, their overweening ambition has gotten the better of them.

And the rest is history: the unified will destroy the fragmented.

February 18, 2016

Court schmourt: Men with guns enforcing deportation of immigrants (Operation Wetback)

The initial hysteria about replacing Scalia on the Supreme Court seems to have already subsided. Still, let's remember who really enforces policy -- not the courts but the executive branch. One of the major cases lined up for the highest court in the land has to do with Obama's executive orders for the Border Patrol to more or less stand down and let the whole third world flood over our borders.

First, notice where the weakness is coming from -- the executive branch, whose chief officer is not only refusing to enforce our borders, but is actively ordering them to step aside. It's not as though we had a resolute executive and legislative branch struggling to defend our borders against invaders, but that dang unelected court just insists on usurping Presidential and Congressional authority. Already we see how irrelevant the judiciary has been in getting us to where we are.

More than that, though, is how things will change back toward strong borders -- a determined President Trump will send out teams of men with guns to round up whoever has to go, and will escort them over the border. Other men with guns will be stationed along the border to make sure no one comes back in. Along with the soaring Trump Wall that will also be built through executive action, not through judicial opinion.

In the earlier post on the impotence / irrelevance of the judiciary's opinions, we learned about Governors of several Southern states sending in their state militia (National Guard) in order to block the desegregation of their public schools, which the Supreme Court had already found to be unconstitutional in 1954. We saw pictures of how that was countered -- by the President sending in the Army. There were no protracted court battles: the federal men with guns had more power than the state-level men with guns, so the federal level got its way, and desegregation went through in the South.

In that vein, here are some pictures of the deportation of Mexican immigrants during the 1950s. These immigrants were not responding to a judicial decision, but to men with guns who rounded them up, put them on trains, and pointed guns on them if they tried to flee or sneak back across the border. This was part of Operation Wetback, which was ordered by the head of the INS and carried out by armed officers of the Border Patrol. Both the INS and Border Patrol belonged to a federal executive department (Justice) -- no role for the legislature or the courts.

This gives us hope even in the worst-case scenario for the Supreme Court's decision about immigration. Just suppose that Obama nominates a hardcore open-borders Justice, who is then confirmed by the Senate, and the new Court delivers an open-borders opinion. We will still win against them if we elect Trump as President. He will control the men with guns who actually enforce the borders -- both at the border, and rounding up illegals already within our borders. Let the Justices opine all they want: when it comes to enforcing the laws, it is still, as always, the President who holds ultimate authority.

February 16, 2016

Switch to class politics succeeds most where identity politics is about freely chosen groups (achieved vs. ascribed status)

As voters begin to shift out of the identity politics / culture war paradigm of the last generation or so, and back into one about political economy, anti-Establishment candidates like Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders are exceeding everyone's expectations.

In contrast to the Democrats' side, the rise of populism has been unlimited among the Republican side, because their form of identity politics -- evangelical Christianity -- is a form of achieved status rather than ascribed status. That is, they aren't born into their identity group, or otherwise drafted into it involuntarily. They deliberately choose to join it, usually with that choice being front and center -- they had a "born-again" experience during their own lifetimes, not that they're just going along with whatever their parents went along with.

With ascribed status, the person's membership is beyond their control, such as racial or ethnic group, sex, homosexuality, and so on. These kinds of identity groups make up the identity politics crowd among Democrats.

Because membership in the evangelical identity group stems from a deliberate personal choice, it is hard for them to argue that they are being treated unfairly as a group, and therefore harder for them to nurse a grudge and form an identity politics agenda. In the public's mind, evangelicals bear the consequences of their actions, namely choosing to belong to a group with less-than-popular beliefs about how society ought to be. If, on the other hand, someone is treated on account of belonging to a group that's beyond their control, it's more likely to strike the mind as unfair.

So, the average person is OK with excluding evangelicals from influencing school policy, because they could choose to change their beliefs to align with the mainstream, but are sticking to their guns. For the same reason, and on the other side of the political spectrum, the average person would be OK with excluding Communists or anarchists. It is not so much the people, or the identity, that is being targeted for exclusion, but the beliefs that its members choose to base their identity on.

It's the other way around with ascribed status. The average person would not be OK with excluding blacks or women from influencing school policy, because they can't change being black or being a woman, in order to satisfy the gatekeepers and wind up on the school board after all. Here, it would seem to be the person or identity themselves that were being targeted, and not just a set of views.

Therefore, blacks, women, and gays will be more likely to play identity politics motivated by the belief that they're being treated unfairly because of belonging to a group that they can't change. Evangelicals may think they're being treated unfairly, but they don't get as fiery about the unfairness aspect because they realize that they're not being discriminated against for something beyond their control. Fundamentally, they are just another ideological group. They may be angry that their ideology is being excluded in favor of a different, opposed ideology -- but not because of something they can't help.

In short, when identity is innate, it fires up identity politics to a much more fierce and stubborn game of chicken. We can't change that part of our identity, so either the other side goes or we do.

With a far weaker form of identity politics, the Republican side can leave behind the culture war much more easily -- worst comes to worst, "Render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's". (That was Jerry Falwell Jr.'s appeal to evangelicals who may worry about Trump's personal life or faith.) There still has to be a powerful enough economic motivator, but when the economy is doing as awful as it has been for lower and middle-class people, the shift out of identity politics and toward class is all but inevitable.

On the Democrats' side, there's a similar shift but it's softer and halting. On basic economic matters, blacks have done horribly, so they ought to be rallying around Sanders. But he's not peddling that much in the way of feel-good identity politics, and has largely side-stepped the culture war. And their identity as blacks is innate, unlike being an evangelical Christian, so the lure of identity politics is more salient and tempting.

Ditto for women -- if they're young and saddled with student loan debts, they want to vote for Sanders, but then again the appeal of Hillary to their innate identity gives them some pause and some of them will blink. Generally, though, women do not form an organized political bloc because men and women have to help each other out, whatever the political goal is. So even though sex is every bit as innate as race, it's not as natural of a political fault-line (unlike race, which is more obviously tribal), and class-minded women are finding an easier time writing off Hillary than are class-minded blacks, Hispanics, etc.

This also explains why the gays are so all-in for Hillary -- there is no class angle to sodomy. There are any number of "intersectional" topics about blacks unemployment, black imprisonment, black housing, and so on and so forth. Likewise for women having maternity leave, equal pay for equal work, promotion rates, etc. Having one foot in a class topic allows members of an identity group to put aside the culture war for a moment and focus on getting a decent material standard of living.

There is no such thing on the political battlefield as gay employment, gay imprisonment, gay housing, gay income, gay debts, etc. Oh sure, they can try to make stuff up -- "gay discrimination in ads for housemates," AKA "I don't want some creepy fag spying on me in the shower". But everyone recognizes it as bullshit and does not treat it as the Next Big Moral Panic in "intersectional" identity politics. It's simply much more difficult for gays to face any kind of discrimination because they're harder for the average person to spot and to target, compared to blacks, Mexicans, women, etc.

The closest it gets is their anxiety about indulging in so much filthy deviance and having the public foot the bill for the doctors to clean up after their hedonistic mess. But that's minor in the overall scheme of the political economy.

With only born-this-way identity politics on their minds, the gays are rallying 100% around the culture war candidate, Hillary Clinton. They could not be more flabbergasted by the appeal of the class candidate, Bernie Sanders, for the young college crowd. It turns out that all those homo-enablers in the undergraduate student body will cut the culture war loose and vote for the class-oriented candidate when they have more important things to worry about, like crushing college loan debts.

I'll take that as the silver lining of the student loan bubble -- at least it's getting airheaded young people to vote on class rather than affiliation with fudgepackers and AIDS mummies.

February 14, 2016

Supreme Court is distraction issue during death of culture wars

Because we're in a period of profound political realignment, we probably ought to be suspicious of the usual suspects having the usual hysterical reactions to the death of a Supreme Court Justice and the vacancy that will be filled. That goes for both conservative and liberal sides.

Having these hysterical reactions, and blindly rallying around the political figureheads, has achieved nothing so far during the culture wars, so why continue with their impotence and irrelevance? The culture wars are finally fading out, so the hysteria will resonate even less broadly and persuade fewer people than before.

Indeed, one crucial aspect of the culture wars has been the over-emphasis on the judiciary branch of the government, as though it issued the ultimate reckoning on any matter. Reminder: in a democracy, the government has a monopoly on the legitimate use of force, and that is ultimately what decides which way the nation goes. No men with guns to back up a policy? Then there might as well not be a policy.

Consider one of the most vivid examples of the government changing the way the country works -- desegregation during the 1950s. In school we all learned about the Supreme Court's 1954 decision to overturn legal segregation, but given how hostile people were to the change in the segregated parts of the country, what were the nine gray-haired Justices going to do about it? Nothing -- nothing whatsoever. All they do is render a verdict, an opinion.

What actually desegregated the South was the sending of men with guns to move aside hostile white citizens, and escort the black students into the school building. In 1957 at Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, the governor had called out the National Guard to prevent desegregation. He did not bother having state-level judges issue contrary opinions to the Supreme Court -- he called out the state militia. Men with guns have a more persuasive effect on getting what you want.

Did President Eisenhower respond by fighting a legal battle over whether the Arkansas state militia was allowed to forcibly prevent desegregation? He wasn't an idiot, so no -- he escalated by sending in the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army. National military vs. state militia -- checkmate. Desegregation followed. A few stark images say more about how things truly changed than reading about the Supreme Court's reasoning:

When President Kennedy faced similar problems, he simply nationalized the state militia and told them to beat it. Sometimes local police served as escorts for the black students, but at any rate it was always men with guns.

Perhaps an even more dramatic example of government-driven societal change was the ending of slavery. Nobody paid any attention to what the Supreme Court thought, one way or another. Armies on one side and the other side lined up, killed each other, and ultimately the side with the stronger military got its way. During the era of Reconstruction afterward, the Northern / Republican policies of enfranchising the freed slaves and giving them jobs was dependent on the presence of the U.S. Army. They could only push through such policies after the Army took control over the Southern states, and when the Army was withdrawn in 1877, those policies fizzled out.

None of that has changed. The local police, state militia, and federal military are still under control of the executive branch of the government. If there is going to be a major showdown over some hot-button political topic, it will be decided when the men with guns are called in to favor one side or the other -- or, what amounts to the same thing, if they are not called in, giving an implicit pass to the situation unfolding as it already was.

Consider abortion, the most popular culture war distraction issue. The Supreme Court has little chance of overturning Roe v. Wade anytime soon. But even assuming they did, you can bet that the abortion clinics would continue to operate, albeit with more caution and security measures taken for both the staff and the patients. If you think the whole abortion sector of the hospital industry is just going to roll over because the Supreme Court said so, you're hopelessly naive.

Rather, it would take the executive branch to send men with guns to apprehend abortion doctors, to block abortion-seeking patients, and so on. Once it escalated to the President sending in the Army, there would be no more discussion or protest.

The same goes for gay marriage. Whether an individual wants to preside over or prevent two homos from getting married, ultimately they will go along with whatever policy that the men with guns have been sent in to enforce.

Ditto for immigration and border security. If the local border patrols want to defy Obama and check immigrants as usual, perhaps the Army would be sent in to hold back the border patrol officers. Then again, perhaps the Army would decide that was crazy and mutiny against the President. On the other hand, if the President (like Trump) wanted to really beef up border patrol, he could send in the Army and not leave it to local officers who might be threatened by local politicians, employers, and the like.

I think conservatives have the most realistic picture about who really makes changes when it comes to the 2nd Amendment. They aren't so afraid of the Supreme Court issuing an opinion that is at odds with owning firearms. What really disturbs them is the prospect of men with guns showing up at their door to forcibly remove whatever firearms they've been sent in to remove, where the individual would either go along with the removal or show down against the police / state militia / U.S. Army and get martyred.

Whether those policies originated as laws passed by Congress, or as executive orders signed by the President, would make no difference. It would still be the executive branch that held ultimate power over the men with guns -- the most central aspect of a democratic form of government. Without that, allowing citizens to vote wouldn't matter, since local strongmen could make things turn out however they wanted.

In moving out of the culture war period, we ought to worry a lot less about what opinions the Supreme Court may or may not deliver. Ultimate authority rests with the President, so we need only worry about getting Trump elected, and not be distracted by who he would or would not consider for the Supreme Court. Cruz already tried to play that hand last night at the debate, warning that Trump would nominate liberal Justices -- a lie, but also irrelevant. Thankfully that appeal to culture war fervor has failed just as pathetically as his attempted attack about "New York values".

Now that the culture war is evaporating, we can all wake up from our collective delusion that the appointment of a Supreme Court Justice is akin to the birth of a god who will divinely intervene in all aspects of society for the rest of their godly existence.

February 13, 2016

"Cuckin' for the 'Witz" (parody of Conservatism Inc.)

In the spirit of parody songs for the era of Trump, here's one about the failure of Conservatism Inc., sung to the tune of "Puttin' on the Ritz".

"Cuckin' for the 'Witz"

Glenn Beck's through, and blew his show,
Now must blow Jews -- why don't you blow
Now, call it quits? Cuckin' for the 'Witz
Old-guard hype that values gay
Views, George Will tripe, and throwaway
Views of misfits. Cuckin' for the 'Witz

Jeb is mute on million-job off-shoring
Greeted by a five-person outpouring
Snoring, boring!
Politics, where bed-a-fellas
Con the hicks. "Enjoy favelas!" --
Hypocrites. Cuckin' for the 'Witz

Have you seen the bow tie crew, acting like their blood is blue?
Talking heads for laissez-faire, with their la-di-da eyewear
Sly stats from lightweight scholars, trite brats and blogpost scrawlers
Pardoning GOP slime, "Homo sex is no crime!"

Glenn Beck's through, and blew his show,
Now must blow Jews -- why don't you blow
Now, call it quits? Cuckin' for the 'Witz
Old-guard hype that values gay
Views, George Will tripe, and throwaway
Views of misfits. Cuckin' for the 'Witz

Jeb is mute on million-job off-shoring
Greeted by a five-person outpouring
Snoring, boring!
Politics, where bed-a-fellas
Con the hicks. "Enjoy favelas!" --
Hypocrites. Cuckin' for the 'Witz

Jeb is mute on million-job off-shoring
Greeted by a five-person outpouring
Snoring, boring!
Glenn Beck's through, and blew his show,
Now must blow Jews -- why don't you blow
Now, call it quits? Cuckin' for the 'Witz
Cuckin' for the 'Witz, cuckin' for the 'Witz
Cuckin' for the 'Witz

Gotta prance!

Glenn Beck's through, and blew his show,
Now must blow Jews -- why don't you blow
Now, call it quits? Cuckin' for the 'Witz
Old-guard hype that values gay
Views, George Will tripe, and throwaway
Views of misfits. Cuckin' for the 'Witz

February 12, 2016

Sanders may hurt in the South, but could clean up in the Rust Belt

Since Trump's victory in South Carolina and elsewhere in the South seems fairly secure, let's continue checking in on the Other Side of the 2016 realignment.

The story all over right now is that in the deeply red states of the South, the handful of Democrats are mostly black, giving them more influence over the nomination down there.

First, they could be in for an upset with Gen X and Millennial blacks, if this report from NPR is at all accurate. Maybe Hillary will still win, but perhaps not by the presumed landslide. That matches what I've seen from the talking heads -- all the black Hillary supporters are Boomers and Silents, still stuck in the identity politics framework, while the Gen X and Millennial blacks are more likely to be either ambivalent or Sanders supporters, interested more in jobs, student loan debts, etc., and less in culture war topics.

Even if Hillary sweeps the South, though, the populist candidate may have better luck in the Rust Belt.

With all the superdelegate shenanigans going on, I looked up a table of how many delegates each state has who are chosen by voters vs. superdelegates chosen by the Establishment for Hillary. It's actually not as bad as I'd thought -- "only" about 15% of all delegates are superdelegates, who will go for Hillary. I thought they were even more corrupt, with a majority of delegates being out of the voters' hands.

To see where he would face the least amount of entrenched corruption, I looked to see where Hillary has less than half of the state's superdelegates already in her pocket. I also restricted it to states with at least 50 regular delegates. He could pick up smaller states, but let's just focus on the bigger ones he could win.

Most of these states are in the Rust Belt -- Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Kentucky (in decreasing order of delegates). These have been either blue states or swing states, not solid-red states. So, the Democrat electorate there will not be a small handful of blacks, as in the South, and pandering to racial topics (whether from a cultural or economic standpoint) will not play much of a role in the outcome.

This region is largely Trump country, so if Sanders keeps hammering away at how our trade deals have sucked so many jobs and entire sectors of the economy overseas, and how important it is to bring good jobs back to America, he could swing a good size of the voters. Identity politics does not resonate here, which is the main reason why it went mostly for Hillary in 2008 -- compared to the down-low half-black from the far West, she was the relatively lesser identity politics candidate (woman, semi-crypto-dyke).

Of course there are legions of college students with dim economic prospects, as everywhere else, and they'll go all-in for Sanders.

There are 686 delegates up for grabs in these six states, compared to 513 in the Black Belt states of the Southeast (east of the Mississippi). Worse, North Carolina should be taken out since fewer than half of their superdelegates are in for Hillary. Even adding in Florida, the Southeast is still 620 delegates -- about the same as in the six Midwestern states above.

I'm not sure that Sanders can do as well in Michigan, etc., as in New England, but it's worth remembering that even if he gets clobbered by the black vote in the South, he can still rebound with the white working class vote in the Rust Belt -- assuming he's willing to go to the mat with Hillary about NAFTA, TPP, free trade uber alles, and the rest of it. He's been incredibly wimpy so far, but perhaps the voters will go with the guy who stands at least some chance of doing something about off-shored jobs.

Outside of the Midwest, where else are there large-ish states with less than half the superdelegates already in Hillary's pocket? North Carolina has already been mentioned. It's more of a blue / swing state nowadays, what with all the East Coast carpet-baggers pushing the Bos-Wash Corridor further southward, in hopes of cheaper housing and living expenses but still with good white-collar jobs (Research Triangle). Even the Appalachian part of North Carolina is home to Bernie-friendly college towns like Asheville. So the Democrat electorate won't be so heavily drawn from blacks.

Then there's Texas and Louisiana. Heavily red states, the Democrats will be more heavily minorities, although as with South Carolina blacks, there could be an upset among the under-50 minorities if Sanders emphasizes jobs over culture.

Arizona is more or less the same story, only now with Democrats drawn more heavily from Mexicans specifically, not blacks. Not much luck.

His one final hope of an easy win outside the Rust Belt is Oregon, a deep blue state where there are no minorities, and where SWPL capital Portland is home to legions of underemployed and debt-saddled college students and grads.

These are only the states that have at least 50 delegates; he could pick up smaller states too. And there are other states who have already given at least half of their superdelegates to Hillary -- that suggests local corruption that will be hard to overcome, but not impossible. Even if he loses a big state, he still may get a good-enough share of the delegates (I'm not looking up which states are proportional or winner-take-all for the Democrats, since Wikipedia doesn't say).

My hunch is that his best chances at overcoming the stacked deck of superdelegates are in the upper Plains and Mountain states, where Obama did well (and not by pandering to blacks), and where the Clintons are not so firmly entrenched. These places are also full of transplant strivers loaded up with student loan debt, and to the extent that identity politics matters to them at all, it's tilted toward the SWPL crowd that Bernie represents, and not blacks / Mexicans / feminists / Sodomites.

Sanders is certainly going to have an up-hill battle, though don't count him out just because he might not do so well among blacks in the South or Mexicans in Nevada.

Trump will be President, but we need Sanders to dethrone Hillary on the Other Side so that the Establishment gets the loudest possible signal that we're done with the era of laissez-faire economics and politics, and done with distracting culture war bullshit.

February 11, 2016

Sanders supporters, the new populism, and the higher ed bubble

One of the defining features of this election season is the decline of the culture wars. If this were eight years ago, the Democrats were still solidly a party based on identity politics. The only question was which identity group would prevail -- a black man on the down-low, or a white woman on the down-low? This time around, though, the Sanders supporters are trying to bring the party back to focusing on class, economics, and the nature of government.

I've mentioned before that it's a mistake to think of the Sanders movement as one of the working class, since it is primarily young people who have gone to college, racked up student loan debts that they won't be able to pay off, and want some kind of government relief. It is a movement of failed middle-class strivers, who couldn't care less about bringing well-paying blue-collar jobs back to America from all the places where we've off-shored our once mighty manufacturing sector.

It is the Trump movement that is the clear working-class party -- he does the best with low-income voters, and declines in popularity up the class pyramid, and ditto for his support by level of education.

Still, Sanders is the clear populist candidate on the Democrat side. He's no different in this way from the original populist firebrand, William Jennings Bryan, who oddly enough ran against (and lost to) William McKinley, who is Trump's clearest earlier incarnation, including being the champion of the working class and domestic manufacturers alike, against the laissez-faire anarchy of the Gilded Age. The 2016 election is a major realignment, most closely repeating the 1896 realignment election, as the nation left behind the Gilded Age and moved into the Progressive Era (to be dominated by Republicans; it was the later New Deal era that was dominated by Democrats).

Bryan's main bloc of supporters was not the working class either. Rather, they were the frontier strivers who took out huge loans from banks to start up a farming enterprise or mining operation out West, but who made nothing back because the niche had become overcrowded. Wave after wave of new transplant strivers had visions of getting rich quick by colonizing open farmland or hitting the mother lode, hopefully with no competitors around. They wanted to get bailed out of their debts by having the government accept silver as a form of legal currency (bimetallism), and in particular at twice its going market value. Cut your business debts in half overnight -- not a bad way to become solvent.

Sanders' main bloc of failed strivers are not so easily blamed for the explosion of their get-rich-quick scheme -- "going to college". They're only kids -- technically in their 20s, but they're Millennials, so cognitively and emotionally around 10 or 11. They were lied to by their parents about the value of "going to college," as well as by their teachers, college brochures, the media, the government, and any other supposedly responsible and knowledgeable adult. They only found out too late that it was a con job designed to inflate the higher ed bubble, and that they wouldn't be getting anything valuable out the other side of graduation, while being saddled with unpayable debts.

If they were adult speculators in farming, mining, or real estate, then sure, tell them tough luck that their gamble didn't pay off. But these were naive, immature kids whose brains haven't fully developed. And going to college isn't one of those natural parts of life anyway, so it's not as though given enough time they'd learn that going to college was just a con job.

Part of being raised from childhood into adulthood is being taught about the ways of the world, how you get by and earn a living. In a hunter-gatherer society, the father teaches his son that they get food by tracking prey, killing it, and cooking it over a fire. Then he begins teaching him how to read animal tracks, how to prepare his bow and arrow, how to aim, how to follow a wounded animal, and so on and so forth. After adolescence is over, the son is ready to be a real hunter himself, earning his own living rather than only being provided for by his father or other adults.

Today, children still come into the world not knowing how adults earn a living, and what training and preparation they'll have to go through to earn a living of their own. However, today we live in a great big bubble -- the higher ed bubble, which began inflating with the Me Generation of the 1970s -- a phenomenon that does not exist in a primitive society. What the hunter father does, so will the son.

In a bubble, only the early entrants will be able to earn a living -- whatever they acquire from the bubble activity will be in short supply (they're the first to get it), and it will probably be of good quality (the highest-quality stuff gets picked first). Parents and grown-ups in general who teach the young generation that "the way you get ahead in life" is by participating in the bubble, are unwittingly dooming them to failure. They're foolishly assuming that the late-comers to the bandwagon will do just as well as the first arrivers.

So, when a high schooler is planning out life after 12th grade, they take the adults' advice to heart -- why would everyone be lying or at least mistaken, especially your own parents? Off to college they go. Yet, after 40 years of the inflating higher ed bubble, what they get out of it is no longer in short supply, since nearly everyone their age will have a college degree of some kind, and it will no longer be of high quality because all these new-comers are not "college material" and will be accommodated only by low-quality "universities" who ask nothing of the students other than tuition dollars and give nothing other than the piece of paper itself.

Now, some of these Sanders supporters are contemptible, thinking that just because they majored in business or communications at some school no employer has ever heard of, they ought to be able to leap-frog everyone already in some industry and get a good job straight out of college. But most of them were just doing what they were told by literally every responsible-seeming adult during their entire high school career. How were they supposed to know any better? It's as though the primitive father had taught his son the value of hunting prey, and then when it's his turn to earn a living, it turns out there's no prey left to hunt, and he has to learn how to plant and harvest crops instead -- while trying to pay off an impossible loan.

How will we get out of this great big mess?

Back in 1896, the Democrat populist lost (and again in 1900, also to McKinley). The United States did not adopt silver as legal currency (McKinley put us on the gold standard), let alone make it worth twice its actual market value. The get-rich-quick schemes out West quickly evaporated, but with tariffs and other protections in place, there were good honest jobs to go around.

I think we'll see a similar path forward for us too. Trump would win over Sanders, and he's not going to just let people pay down their student loan debts at 50% of what they owe. By curbing immigration and threatening tariffs if jobs go overseas, there will be plenty of good honest jobs here, so that kids won't need to go to college to earn a decent living, and the ones with massive debts will be able to pay it off. But the higher ed bubble will finally blow up, and won't be inflated again.

The only major difference this time around is that the bubble is more the result of con artists perpetrating a fraud on mostly naive and innocent children, and clueless other adults reaffirming what the con men are selling. Given how appalling the greed and bad faith has been by the higher ed sector, I wouldn't be surprised if we do see some kind of yuge forgiveness. Maybe not an outright jubilee, but Trump re-negotiating the terms of those federal loans so that only those made in clear good faith will be kept as they were -- a small size loan going to a kid admitted to the Ivy League, not a gigantic loan going to a kid who scored under 1000 on the SAT and attending a degree mill.