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Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Crime Is Back

In 1992, the Democratic ticket touted its toughness on crime:

MALE NARRATOR: They've sent a strong signal to criminals by supporting the death penalty.
[TEXT: Support the death penalty.]

At Breitbart, Lloyd Green writes:
Murder is up in New York City, New Orleans, D.C., Baltimore and Chicago, just to name a few Deep Blue hot spots.
For Democrats that’s a nightmare. Barack Obama is our President, but he’s their guy, and the cities are their base. Hope and change weren’t supposed to be so bloody, and so dystopic. Yet, sadly they are.
The bad old days have returned, and this surge in death and mayhem guaranties that crime will be a 2016 campaign issue. For the Republicans, the fraying urban landscape is an opportunity in the making. Heck, the GOP and the U.S. have seen this movie before.
In 1968, Richard Nixon rode the riots of Baltimore, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and Wilmington, Delaware – the heart of what was then New Deal America – to the White House. Nixon, the Republican nominee, defeated a sitting Vice President, Hubert Humphrey, as the Democrats failed to win a third consecutive term in office.
Twenty years later, in 1988, George H.W. Bush rallied from 17 points behind, and beat Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis. Bush ads railed against weekend furloughs from prison for convicted murderers and rapists, and Dukakis never knew what hit him.
Right now, it looks like Donald Trump and the Republicans are poised to make the most of the latest spasm of violence, and make no mistake, Trump understands the potency of crime as an issue. He’s not just talking about illegal immigration, Trump is addressing street crime and urban life.
For the Democrats’ upstairs-downstairs coalition, that’s a hard lesson to absorb. You see, the laws that got tough on crime — laws enacted by President Bill Clinton, and then-Senator Joe Biden back in the day — are now the targets of the Democratic base’s ire. When prospective Democratic nominee Martin O’Malley gets booed for saying that all lives matter, our nation has a problem.

Over the past half century, crime has helped elect two Republicans as president. In 2016, crime may elect a third.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Trump: The 1933 Movie

The Washington Post reports:
Sharpening his pitch to what he calls “the silent majority,” Donald Trump presented himself Saturday as the “law and order” candidate in the 2016 presidential race, pledging to “get rid” of gangs and give more power to police officers.
“We’re going to get rid of those gang members so fast your head will spin,” he said, not elaborating on specifics. “One of the first things I’m going to do is get rid of those gang members.”
In the 1933 movie Gabriel Over the White House -- which William Randolph Hearst helped financed and partially wrote -- the Angel Gabriel transforms a crooked president into a champion of the people. The president dismisses Congress, proclaims martial law, and uses military tribunals against gangsters, including an immigrant named Nick Diamond.


See my essay on the movie here.

Ridiculing Trump

Mark Hensch reports at The Hill:
Late-night host Jimmy Kimmel spoofed GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump’s vague policy positions on Thursday with a parody ad.
“Donald Trump has a plan for making the country great again,” the ad said on ABC's "Jimmy Kimmel Live!," riffing on Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan


From The Fix at The Washington Post:
A hashtag has taken over political Twitter of the last few days. It's called #TrumpBible.
The hashtag/meme was launched to poke fun at Trump's failure to name his favorite Bible verse -- even as he says it's his favorite book -- along with his penchant for hyperbole and judging everyone based on his or her business acumen and negotiating skills.
Here are mine:

Thou shalt not steal. Instead, thou shalt use eminent domain.

"You see the multitude thronging You, and You say, `Who touched Me? I'm a germophobe -- don't do that!"

Sunday, August 30, 2015

The Outsider Show

Matthew Dallek writes at Yahoo:
In fact, Trump’s rise to prominence is rooted in a legacy of political outsiders promising to break up the concentration of political power in the capital and destroy the corrupt stranglehold of political insiders. Trump’s ascendance, for all its showy in-your-face appeal, is actually less surprising in the context of our post-Watergate, post-Vietnam political culture than Republicans, Democrats and much of the media have acknowledged.
Jack Torry writes at The Columbus Dispatch:
You have a Trump and Sanders, both appealing to people who are angry and frustrated, although in different ways,” said Merle Black, a professor of political science at Emory University in Atlanta.
The tough-talking, egotistical, anti-establishment candidate is a staple not only of American politics but literature and films.

“It’s an interesting story in American movies, which means it’s an interesting story in American politics in that we like the dark-horse candidate,” said Jeanine Basinger, a film historian at Wesleyan University in Connecticut. “And if the dark-horse candidate is a bit of an outlaw and says what nobody else wants to say and dares to say ... we figure this guy must be honest with us.”

Trump seems a comfortable fit for the dark-horse candidate role. He complained to CNN that “we have people that are incompetent” in public office, adding: “our country's going to hell. We have a problem. I want to make America great again.”

Americans tend to flirt with such candidates, but as the election draws closer voters have second thoughts. President Harry Truman seemed doom to lose to Republican Thomas E. Dewey in 1948 because of the presence of two anti-establishment candidates:— South Carolina Gov. Strom Thurmond and former Vice President Henry Wallace.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

HRC's Bummer Summer Continues

Patrick Healy, Jonathan Martin, and Maggie Haberman write at The New York Times:
Interviews with more than 75 Democratic governors, lawmakers, candidates and party members have laid bare a widespread bewilderment that Mrs. Clinton has allowed a cloud to settle over her candidacy — by using a private email server in the first place, since it was likely to raise questions about her judgment, and by not defusing those questions once and for all when the issue first emerged in March.

With Americans registering their mistrust of Mrs. Clinton in opinion polls, anxious supporters are starting to speak bluntly of fears that she has inadvertently opened the door to a possible challenge for the party’s nomination from Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., and handed Republicans new ammunition for attacks on her character should she become the nominee.
Hillary Clinton took a new tack this week when answering questions about her use of a private email account as secretary of state: She took responsibility and admitted she was at fault.
“It clearly wasn’t the best choice,” Clinton said flatly on Wednesday, as she campaigned in Iowa.

On Thursday, the reason for the change in tone came into sharper focus with a stunning new poll illustrating the extent to which voters don’t trust Clinton to tell the truth.
While Republicans have been test-driving attacks against Clinton for a year and a half, no other line of attack has broken through to this degree. The numbers in a new Quinnipiac University poll are striking: More than 3-in-5 voters, 61 percent, think Clinton isn’t honest and trustworthy. Overall, Clinton’s favorability ratings slipped to 39 percent — her lowest rating since Quinnipiac began polling on Clinton after she and her husband left the White House.
When voters were asked the first word that came to their mind about Clinton, the top three replies were indictments of her trustworthiness. The No. 1 response was “liar,” followed by “dishonest” and “untrustworthy.” Overall, more than a third of poll respondents said their first thought about Clinton was some version of: She’s a liar.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Demographics and the Vote: A Calculator

At RealClearPolitics, Sean Trende and David Byler have a vote calculator:“Demographics and the 2016 Election Scenarios."
The key to operating the tool is the dashboard on top. It defaults to 2012 levels of turnout and support, by racial/ethnic group. Note that we’ve combined “Asian” and “Other,” which was necessitated by the different datasets we’ve used. You’ll also notice that the Democratic lead using the default numbers is about six-tenths of a point larger than the actual result was in 2012; this is demographic change at work.
The left column allows you to adjust the vote share that Republicans win of the various groups, while the right column allows you to adjust turnout by group. For reference, we’ve included a chart after the map that provides turnout and vote shares for the various racial/ethnic groups over time.
First, note the limited electoral impact of Hispanic voters. All other things being equal, Republicans would have to fall to 8 percent of the Hispanic vote before another state flips to the Democrats (they would lose the popular vote by almost 10 points in this scenario). For all the talk of Texas potentially voting Democrat, that doesn’t happen until Republicans drop to 5 percent of the Hispanic vote.
Second, note the impact of a potential reversion to mean in vote share and turnout among African-American voters. While Republicans won only 4 percent of the black vote in 2008 and 6 percent in 2012, the typical Republican vote share is between 9 and 11 percent. Note also that, historically, African-American participation has lagged white participation by about six percentage points: Black participation lagged white participation by five points in 2000 and 2010, by six points in 1998, 2002, and 2014, and seven points in 2004. The gap was 11 points in 2006.
Third, we note that Republicans don’t have to put up a historically good performance among minority groups to win the election. Take the 2014 exit polls. If Republicans win demographic groups at the rates they did in that election, they would win the popular vote by around three points, and carry the Electoral College, 295-243. In this scenario, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wisconsin vote for the Democratic candidate by three points or less, while Colorado and Pennsylvania for the Republican candidate by three points or less.
Finally, this model does illustrate the importance of demographic change. If you take 2012 levels of turnout, and insert Barack Obama’s vote shares among different groups from 2008, his seven-point victory increases to nine points. Of course, just as it isn’t clear that Republicans can easily return to 10 percent of the vote among African-Americans, it likewise isn’t clear that Democrats can easily win 44 percent of the non-Hispanic white vote anytime soon. But it is nevertheless a nice illustration of the changes that really are occurring in this country, even if the rapidity with which those changes are occurring is often exaggerated.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Trump, Perry, a Turncoat, and The Wild Bunch

Jennifer Jacobs reports at The Des Moines Register:
Leaked emails show that the Iowan who is Donald Trump’s new national co-chairman was throwing bombs at him as recently as last month, expressing grave misgivings about the authenticity of Trump's religious faith and his conservatism.
“(Trump) left me with questions about his moral center and his foundational beliefs. ... His comments reveal no foundation in Christ, which is a big deal,” evangelical conservative activist Sam Clovis said in an email just 35 days before he quit his job as Republican Rick Perry’s Iowa chairman and signed on with Trump’s campaign.
In the emails, shared by Perry backers Wednesday with The Des Moines Register, Clovis castigated Trump for his past liberal positions and admission that he has never asked for God’s forgiveness for any wrongdoing.
In The Wild Bunch, William Holden said:
When you side with a man, you stay with him! And if you can't do that, you're like some animal, you're finished!