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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Jerry Brown's Un-dorsement of Hillary Clinton

On Tuesday, June 7, I have decided to cast my vote for Hillary Clinton because I believe this is the only path forward to win the presidency and stop the dangerous candidacy of Donald Trump.

I have closely watched the primaries and am deeply impressed with how well Bernie Sanders has done. He has driven home the message that the top one percent has unfairly captured way too much of America’s wealth, leaving the majority of people far behind. In 1992, I attempted a similar campaign.

For her part, Hillary Clinton has convincingly made the case that she knows how to get things done and has the tenacity and skill to advance the Democratic agenda. Voters have responded by giving her approximately 3 million more votes – and hundreds more delegates – than Sanders. If Clinton were to win only 10 percent of the remaining delegates – wildly improbable – she would still exceed the number needed for the nomination. In other words, Clinton’s lead is insurmountable and Democrats have shown – by millions of votes – that they want her as their nominee.

But there is more at stake than mere numbers. The Republican nominee, Donald Trump, has called climate change a “hoax” and said he will tear up the Paris Climate Agreement. He has promised to deport millions of immigrants and ominously suggested that other countries may need the nuclear bomb. He has also pledged to pack the Supreme Court with only those who please the extreme right.

The stakes couldn’t be higher. Our country faces an existential threat from climate change and the spread of nuclear weapons. A new cold war is on the horizon. This is no time for Democrats to keep fighting each other. The general election has already begun. Hillary Clinton, with her long experience, especially as Secretary of State, has a firm grasp of the issues and will be prepared to lead our country on day one.

Next January, I want to be sure that it is Hillary Clinton who takes the oath of office, not Donald Trump.

With respect,
Jerry Brown
A classic Seinfeld episode revolved around an un-vitation – one that was not meant to be taken seriously.

This is an un-dorsement,  a minimal bow to the inevitable nomination of Hillary Clinton without any real pro-Clinton passion. You will not find the statement featured on his political homepage (www.jerrybrown.org).  You have to click “news” and then click “an open letter.” 

Brown has a long, unhappy history with the Clintons, dating back to his primary run against Bill Clinton in 1992. See the video here: 

Monday, May 30, 2016

Johnson-Weld

Cyra Master reports at The Hill:
Cato Institute Co-Founder Ed Crane told Politico Sunday he’ll revive the PurplePAC to support the Libertarian Party’s presidential ticket.

The announcement from the former president of the libertarian-leaning think tank came on the same day the Libertarian Party nominated its ticket for the 2016 election — with former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson at the top and former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld as his running mate.
Rob Garver reports at The Fiscal Times:
For months, Republicans personally opposed to Trump have been actively, and sometimes very publicly, seeking a plausible alternative to the New York billionaire. So far, no plausible third-party candidate has emerged, and that’s great news for Johnson and Weld, who could well emerge as a safe harbor for small-government conservatives who can’t bring themselves to vote for Trump.
That’s not to say the conversion will be easy. The Libertarian convention had plenty of the moments of absurdity that, over the years, have relegated the party to the fringe in the past. Johnson, at one point, was booed for suggesting that the government has an interest in licensing people to drive motor vehicles. At one point, there was actually a discussion of whether or not blind people ought to be barred from driving. Late on Sunday, a candidate for party chairman demonstrated his commitment to transparency by performing a strip-tease on stage.
In the end, though, the party nominated what is probably its most qualified ticket ever, at least in terms of real experience in government. And for the #NeverTrump element of the Republican Party, that might be just enough to justify voting for them.
And for Trump, whose path to the White House, while real, is very narrow, that’s bad news.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

Most Sanders Supporters Will End Up Voting for Clinton

Some polls have shown that a number of Sanders supporters would not vote for Clinton in the fall.

But if 2008 is any indication, nearly all of them will.

On May 6, 2008, Alexander Mooney reported at CNN:
According to the exit polls, half of Clinton's supporters in Indiana would not vote for Obama in a general election match up with John McCain. A third of Clinton voters said they would pick McCain over Obama, while 17 percent said they would not vote at all. Just 48 percent of Clinton supporters said they would back Obama in November.
Obama gets even less support from Clinton backers in North Carolina. There, only 45 percent of Clinton supporters said they would vote for Obama over McCain. Thirty-eight percent said they would vote for McCain while 12 percent said they would not vote.
Obama voters appear to be more willing to support Clinton in November. In Indiana, 59 percent of Obama backers said they'd vote for Clinton, and 70 percent of Obama backers in North Carolina said they'd support the New York Democrat.
In Indiana, 88 percent of Democrats voted for Obama. 

In North Carolina, 90 percent of Democrats voted for Obama.

Both figures were close to the national figure of 89 percent.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

The Outsiders Are Not Party Guys

Many posts have noted similarities between Sanders and Trump.

At The Washington Post, David Weigel writes:
Little about the 2016 primaries has been predictable, but one exception is Sanders’s antiseptic approach to the party whose nomination he is still trying to win. The longest-serving independent member of Congress has declined to officially become a Democrat while insisting the party must change.

He has also built an army of supporters who feel much as he does — that the primary process has been rigged against him and that Democrats care too much about the 1 percent. And even as front-runner Hillary Clinton expects to clinch the nomination on June 7, the squeamishness of these voters threatens her ability to unify the left. It may be her top challenge as she turns toward her ­general-election battle against Donald Trump.

Asked Monday why he wasn’t telling voters to become active Democrats, Sanders pronounced the question “esoteric.”
...
At the grass-roots level in California, Sanders supporters operate with the knowledge that “Become a Democrat” is a flawed pitch. In a pre-deadline registration video, the loofah-haired comedian Reggie Watts told voters they could register as Democrats or “no party” on “whatever glowing rectangle you’re obsessed with.” Patti Davis, 66, ran a weekend phone bank to nudge non-Democrats to switch parties and found many willing to back Sanders if it didn’t mean a long-term commitment. (Those registered as “no party” can still vote in the primary with a special ballot.)
Also at The Post, Dan Balz writes:
What has been apparent during Trump’s march through the primaries is how little he thinks or acts with the partisan — or party-building — instincts of typical politicians. The constituency he has attracted is certainly more conservative than liberal and far more Republican than Democratic. But the core issues that have brought him to this position — immigration, national identity, trade and jobs — which he projects with the posture of a strongman (or to his critics, a bully) speak to a candidate who looks at the electorate far differently than the typical Republican or Democrat.
...
He suffers from structural problems with the electorate, including a huge gender gap — strong numbers among men and lousy numbers among women — and apparent weakness among Hispanics. But when confronted with evidence that he’s potentially tanking among women and Hispanics, he’s dismissive. He predicts he will do better with those groups of voters than polling suggests, but he’s doing nothing to suggest he has a strategy for doing so. Quite the opposite.

If more evidence were needed that he is either oblivious or willfully disdainful of that approach to winning elections, Trump provided it this week when he attacked New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, the leader of the Republican Governors Association and one of the most important Hispanic women in the GOP. Trump claimed she hasn’t done enough to help her state’s economy. Her true sin is not treating Trump with the respect he expects.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Productivity, Politics, and Populism

Sam Fleming and Chris Giles report at The Financial Times:
Productivity is set to fall in the US for the first time in more than three decades, raising the prospect of persistent wage stagnation and the risk of a further populist backlash.
Research by the Conference Board, a US think-tank, also shows the rate of productivity growth sliding behind the feeble rates in other advanced economies, with gross domestic product per hour projected to drop by 0.2 per cent this year.

The data highlight both the fragility of global economic prospects and pressures on blue-collar workers, who have rallied in large numbers to the anti-establishment message of Donald Trump, the Republican presidential candidate.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Dems Split on Foreign Policy

Pew reports:
Democrats who back Hillary Clinton differ from those who support Bernie Sanders in their views of many foreign policy issues, with some of the starkest divisions on fundamental questions relating to the U.S.’s role in the world, according to Pew Research Center surveys conducted in March and April.
Two-thirds (66%) of Democratic and Democratic-leaning registered voters who support Clinton for the party’s presidential nomination say that world problems would be even worse without U.S. involvement; just 28% say U.S. efforts usually make things worse. By contrast, Sanders supporters are divided: 49% say global problems would be even worse without the U.S. being involved, while nearly as many (45%) say U.S. efforts usually make matters worse.
...
A slim majority of Clinton supporters (53%) favor policies to try to keep the U.S. the only military superpower in the world, with 41% saying it would be acceptable if another country became as militarily powerful. Among Sanders supporters, 49% say it would be acceptable if another country became as militarily powerful as the U.S., while 42% support policies maintaining the U.S.’s role as sole superpower.
...
By a wide margin (47% to 27%), Clinton supporters say they sympathize more with Israel than with the Palestinians in their dispute. By contrast, Sanders backers are divided, with fairly similar shares saying they sympathize with the Palestinians (39%) and Israel (33%).

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

American Crossroads: Backhanded Endorsement of DWS

DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz is facing criticism from Sanders supporters and a primary challenge for her House seat.  American Crossroads is stirring the pot:
Today American Crossroads announced that it is endorsing Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz in Florida’s 23rd Congressional District Democratic primary. Crossroads’ President and CEO Steven Law had this to say about the organization’s rare decision to endorse in a contested primary:
“Congresswoman and DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz has played a critical role over the past several years in the massive Republican gains we have achieved at the state level, in the U.S. House of Representatives, and in the U.S. Senate.
Wasserman Schultz’s leadership has also been a catalyst for the emerging civil war in the Democratic Party this year, ensuring that their nominating process will drag on far longer than that of Republicans.
“Voters of the 23rd District of Florida should know – American Crossroads stands with Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz in her primary against ultra-liberal outsider Tim Canova, and they should too.”

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Senators Running for Sheriff

At Medium, NSRC executive director Ward Baker pretty explicitly declares that it's an all-politics-is-local campaign for his candidates.
There’s no question that the dynamics of a presidential election can create a great deal of uncertainty for downballot candidates — and in both parties, this cycle has created more uncertainty than most. While nearly every observer and talking head spent 2015 writing off Donald Trump’s chances at securing the Republican nomination, we were already working with our Senate campaigns last summer to prepare for every possible outcome to the presidential primary. As the Washington Post discovered, the NRSC began mapping out a strategy for our candidates to run concurrently with any potential presidential candidate last summer.
...
The results of our preparation are already apparent. In a cycle where many reporters like to pontificate about the “Trump effect,” our Senators have successfully navigated tricky waters in their primary contests. Across the board, Republican Senators have outperformed the top of the ticket in raw votes, and Senators like Richard Shelby, John Boozman, Richard Burr, and Mark Kirk scored decisive primary wins that were hardly guaranteed given the mood of Republican voters. In fact, every Republican Senate incumbent has won with over 60%.
In addition to mastering the intricate mechanics of running a modern campaign, we have a very clear messaging strategy. Republican Senators are talking to voters like they’re running for sheriff. Every message is highly targeted and purposefully local. Our Senators are making sure their voters know they’re focused on issues that matter in their states — Rob Portman and Kelly Ayotte are leading the fight against opioid abuse; Roy Blunt is a forceful advocate for mental health funding; John McCain and Ron Johnson are going above and beyond for reform and accountability at Veterans Affairs and VA hospitals. We want to make sure voters are casting votes for Senate candidates based solely on issues related to that Senate race — not up, down, or adjacent on the ticket. We’ve embraced data analytics, new digital platforms and non-traditional message delivery in order to talk to voters in targeted segments amounting to 7–8% of the electorate at a time. The results are self-evident: Portman is running the best field and data program in America and Pat Toomey has been a leader on the digital front with the use of Snapchat to expand his message universe.

Messy

After Bernie Sanders told The Associated Press that the Democratic National Convention would be "messy," the Vermont senator and his campaign have since insisted that the reference was merely to the democratic process and not a subliminal message to his supporters to create chaos in Philadelphia.
"The media often takes words out of context. The context of that was that democracy is messy. That people will have vigorous debate on the issues," Sanders told NBC News' Kristen Welker in an interview aired Tuesday on "Today." Asked whether the convention itself will be messy, Sanders replied, "Well of course it will be. But everything — that's what democracy is about."
Amber Phillips reports at The Washington Post:
In an election cycle in which the progressive wing of the Democratic Party is arguably louder and more powerful than ever, it's perhaps not a surprise that the party's top official has a primary challenger for the first time.
Nor is it surprising that Democratic National Committee Chairman Debbie Wasserman Schultz's primary -- and to a lesser extent the Florida congresswoman's main challenger, law professor Tim Canova -- has the potential to become a battleground for the establishment/grass-roots divide that's playing out at the presidential level.
Case in point: Increasingly defiant presidential candidate Bernie Sanders endorsed Canova in an interview with CNN on Sunday. Sanders, a senator from Vermont, said his views align more with the liberal law professor and added that if he were president, he probably wouldn't have Wasserman Schultz heading the Democratic National Committee. Sanders even sent a fundraising email for Canova ahead of Florida's Aug. 30 prima

Monday, May 23, 2016

Trump Is Driving Up CA Registration -- Among Democrats

Matthew Artz reports at The San Jose Mercury News:
More than twice as many Californians registered this year than in the same four-month period in 2012, according to Political Data Inc., a Los Angeles County firm that tracks state voter trends. The new voters are trending young and Democratic -- two groups more inspired by Bernie Sanders than Donald Trump.
"There is no precedent for this in California since 1980 in terms of the overall surge in voter registration," said Paul Mitchell, the firm's vice president. "The motivation to register is as much to vote against somebody as it is to vote for somebody."
...
From January to April, more than 850,000 Californians joined voter rolls, while another 600,000 re-registered, most likely because they had moved or switched parties, according to figures collected by Mitchell. Then, in a development that dropped jaws among political professionals, nearly 200,000 more Californians registered through Facebook last Monday and Tuesday, when the company stuck a voter registration button on newsfeeds, linking to the state's online registration system.
...
Mitchell said Trump deserved much of the credit for the rash of new voters, although not in the way Republicans would have hoped. Registration often spiked on nights that Trump prevailed at the ballot box in state primaries, but most of those new voters registered as Democrats.

"Whenever the conversation was loudest, you see big spikes in Democratic registration, which is counterintuitive to what you've seen nationally," he said.

Just under half of the new voters who registered through April joined the Democratic Party, which now has 44 percent of the California electorate.

One third of the new voters chose no political party, and only 16.7 percent registered Republican -- far less than the GOP's current 27 percent share of California voters. Nearly two-thirds of the new voters were under 35, and 29 percent were Latino.

That's a boost for Latinos who currently account for 24 percent of the electorate and 38 percent of state residents, but it won't do much to increase their overall voting power, Mitchell said.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

No, Trump Is Not Expanding the GOP

Jon Ward reports at Yahoo:
What is clear is, the data so far do indicate that Trump has not yet significantly grown the Republican Party. There are small numbers of new voters who came to the polls this year, and in one state — New Hampshire — that might be enough to help Trump win. But in several other swing states — Virginia, Ohio and Michigan — if the Democrats can reassemble the Obama coalition, Trump’s new support is not enough to win.
Optimus, the data and analytics firm that worked for Rubio, focused its analysis on a few key states.
In Virginia, there was a stunning turnout in the Republican primary on March 1. More than three times the number of primary voters in 2012 came to the polls, a total of 1,025,452.
Of that total, 18.6 percent, or 190,734, were regular primary voters. But they were swamped by voters who usually only participate in general elections. That group made up 72.1 percent of the Republican primary electorate in Virginia. Younger voters who weren’t eligible for previous elections and those who moved into the state made up 3.6 percent.
Only 5.7 percent of the more than 1 million primary voters were new voters. That’s a total of 58,450 new voters.
...
To go further, Optimus looked at the results of almost 4,000 telephone surveys they did around the time of the primary. Using those responses, they built a model of the Virginia electorate, and found that of the 72 percent of voters who were new to the primary but usually voted in the general election, “the vast majority” were voters who were likely to support a Republican candidate already.

...
The same dynamic occurred when 0ptimus looked at Ohio. The Buckeye State saw 1,988,960 people come to the polls for the Republican primary this year, up from 1,213,879 in 2012 and 1,095,917 in 2008. Of those, some 53.6 percent were regular primary voters, and 36.8 percent were regular general election voters. Only 5.9 percent were new voters, yielding a total of roughly 118,000 votes.
...
The same scenario played out in Michigan, where there were a lot of new voters this year, about 119,000. Even so, Romney lost that state in 2012 by 450,000 votes.

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Feel the Burn Rate

Peter Overby reports at NPR that the Sanders campaign's cash-on-hand fell from $17.5 million in March to just $5.8 million on April 30. 
The numbers were reported in the campaign's monthly filing at the Federal Election Commission.
The drop followed a sharp fall-off in fundraising. Although Sanders has led Hillary Clinton in fundraising every month this year, April receipts totaled only $26.9 million, versus $46 million in March.
Sanders has poured money onto California's costly TV markets, as he fights for an edge in the June 7 primary. His March fundraising — his strongest this year — barely outpaced his spending. And in April, spending exceeded receipts by 43 percent.
Clinton's FEC report shows April fundraising off 7 percent from March — $25 million versus 26.8 million. But she spent relatively little, $23.9 million, and finished April with $30.2 million available. Her cash on hand has been in the range of $30 million on six of the seven reports filed since the campaign began.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Federalist 86

Reacting to news that Donald Trump had pretended to be other people while calling reporters, Roger Stone said: “James Madison, John Adams,Alexander Hamilton — they all wrote under pseudonyms, they all had things they wanted to say and they wrote under pseudonyms.”

Indeed, the John Barron Center of Trump University has uncovered an example:  the long-lost 86th Federalist Paper:
..............................................................................................................

Among the numerous advantages promised by a well-constructed Union, none deserves to be more accurately developed than its tendency to break and control the violence of faction. So if you see somebody getting ready to throw a tomato, knock the crap out of them, would you? I promise you, I will pay for the legal fees.

It is impossible to read the history of the petty republics of Greece and Italy without feeling sensations of horror and disgust at the distractions with which they were continually agitated.  But they did make terrific statues.  Let me tell you, we will bring those statues over here and put them in beautiful fountains.

But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary.  So to hell with angels. Now, our country needs a truly great leader, and we need a truly great leader now. We need a leader that knows the art of the deal.

I'm a uniter. There are three methods of curing the mischiefs of faction: the one, by removing its causes; two, by controlling its effects, three, by putting me in charge. Trust me, you want number three.

A lot of you don’t know the world of economics. Don’t worry. Leave it to me. In political arithmetic, two and two do not always make four.

Forget all this talk, talk, talk about reflection and deliberation. If ever you hear low-energy losers talk about the mild voice of reason, just drown them, okay? Energy in the executive, that's what it's all about.

So what kind of president will the new Constitution give us?  Just listen to what the haters are saying. He has been shown to us with the diadem sparkling on his brow and the imperial purple flowing in his train. He has been seated on a throne surrounded with minions and mistresses, giving audience to the envoys of foreign potentates, in all the supercilious pomp of majesty. So what do you think? Doesn't that sound terrific?  I guarantee you, we will have the classiest diadems and the best minions!

The accumulation of all powers, legislative, executive, and judiciary, into my very large hands would be fantastic.  After all, you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.  So leave it to me, folks, I've been saying this for a long time: everybody will do as I say.


No-Tax Trump

Drrew Harwell reports at The Washington Post:
The last time information from Donald Trump’s income-tax returns was made public, the bottom line was striking: He had paid the federal government $0 in income taxes.
The disclosure, in a 1981 report by New Jersey gambling regulators, revealed that the wealthy Manhattan investor had for at least two years in the late 1970s taken advantage of a tax-code provision popular with developers that allowed him to report negative income.
...
Trump has defended his use of public tax assistance to boost private projects. He said opponents of such government supports, including some conservatives, are out of touch with reality.

“The true conservative philosophy is that a thing like that shouldn’t happen. But they’re in the world of the make-believe,” Trump said in an interview. “The real world is that without certain tax abatements, you have a choice. The job could get built . . . or you don’t have to have anything. It could just go stagnant, and a town can die.”

Trump’s strategy to ease his company’s tax burden has resulted in sore feelings in some communities, where local governments rely heavily on tax receipts from large businesses.

In Ossining, N.Y., home to a Trump National Golf Club, town officials say that a tax break being sought by the company would cost their coffers more than $200,000 a year.
...
Ossining Town Supervisor Dana Levenberg, a Democrat, expressed frustration that Trump seemed to be gaining “at other people’s loss.

“It’s hard to look at someone who talks about their wealth frequently and think they got that successful on other people’s backs,” she said.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Trump and Sanders

Trump and Sanders represent different forms of outsiderism.  Despite obvious differences, they have other things in common, too. Both have third-party backgrounds.  Both make great TV.  And there is more.

Opposition to limited government?  Check.  Rich Lowry writes at Politico:
If the grass-roots movement that Sanders has built will pressure Democrats all the way to the Philadelphia convention and beyond, Trump has arguably done more to pull the country’s politics leftward. He has, for now, managed to do what the Democrats and the media have been attempting for most of the Obama era: to kill off the tea party as a national force.

By dividing it, eclipsing it and making its animating concerns of limited government and constitutionalism into after-thoughts, Trump has neutered a heretofore potent vehicle against Big Government. With or without Sanders, the Democrats were going to drift in a more progressive direction. It was far from inevitable, though, that the Republican Party would de-emphasize its opposition to growth in the size of government. That is entirely the doing of Trump.
Disorder, conspiracy theory?  Check. From The Washington Post editors:
Mr. Sanders’s irresponsibility is sadly unsurprising. He has stirred up populist energy over the past several months with anti-corporate scapegoating and extravagant claims about policy. He has indulged and encouraged hyperbolic feelings that the country is badly adrift, that most of the nation agrees with a left-wing agenda but is trapped in a corrupt system, and that nothing but a political revolution will do. He has attracted some big, passionate crowds. But as he has lagged in votes, he increasingly has questioned the legitimacy of the process and encouraged his supporters to feel disenfranchised. The result is a toxic mix of unreason, revolutionary fervor and perceived grievance.
What is particularly galling about the Sanders camp’s complaints of disenfranchisement is that Mr. Sanders has benefited or tried to benefit from a variety of sketchy quirks of the nominating process. He has claimed support for his cause in caucuses, which are quite exclusive, but he complains about closed primary elections, which are more inclusive. In Nevada, his supporters were trying to game the rules to get more delegates and got upset when they did not succeed. As veteran Nevada politics reporter Jon Ralston put it, “Despite their social media frothing and self-righteous screeds, the facts reveal that the Sanders folks disregarded rules, then when shown the truth, attacked organizers and party officials as tools of a conspiracy to defraud the senator of what was never rightfully his in the first place.”
Knowledge gaps? Fantastic policies?  Check. From the Tax Policy Center:
Presidential candidate Bernie Sanders proposes significant tax increases that would raise $15.3 trillion over the next decade. All income groups would pay more tax, but most would come from high-income households, particularly those with very high incomes. Sanders would also implement new government benefits—notably government-financed single-payer health care, long-term services and supports, college, and family leave benefits—and expand Social Security benefits. TPC finds the new government benefits would more than offset new taxes for 95% of households but the combined tax and transfer plan would increase federal budget deficits by more than $18 trillion over the next decade.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Bernie Bros: Trumpkin Doppelgangers

AT Newsweek, Kurt Eichenwald reports on Trumplike behavior on the part of Sanders supporters in the wake of a Nevada setback:
The unseemly tirade of Sanders supporters was a marvel, the kind of behavior more likely to be seen among British soccer hooligans than people claiming to be interested in politics. A chair was thrown. People screamed “bitch!” at Senator Barbara Boxer, a staunch liberal from California. Even the Nevada state Democratic chairwoman, Roberta Lange, who had endorsed Sanders, needed a security detail just to go to the bathroom in order to protect her from the hypocritical “humanity lovers” who seem to hate everyone but themselves and their idol. 
Afterward, the goons kept up their hostile hysterics. Protesters vandalized the offices of the state Democratic Party. Lange’s personal contact information, including her cellphone number, were posted online, and she has since received thousands of death threats, according to state party officials. One of the text messages to Lange said, “Praying to god someone shoots you in the FACE and blows your democracy-stealing head off!” (Only in the delusions of Sanders-land could democracy be stolen when the winner of the popular vote was winning.) Voicemail obtained by Jon Ralston, the dean of Nevada political reporters, contain such delightful statements as, “People like you should be hung in a public execution.... You are a sick, twisted piece of sh*t, and I hope you burn for this!” And, “You f**king stupid bitch! What the hell are you doing? You’re a f**king corrupt bitch!” And, “You’re a c*nt. F**k you!” And, “You probably just guaranteed fire is in Philadelphia.”

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Trump and Turnout

Shane Goldmacher reports at Politico:
Donald Trump likes to say he has created a political movement that has drawn “millions and millions” of new voters into the Republican Party. “It’s the biggest thing happening in politics,” Trump has said. “All over the world, they’re talking about it,” he's bragged.
But a Politico analysis of the early 2016 voting data show that, so far, it’s just not true.
While Trump’s insurgent candidacy has spurred record-setting Republican primary turnout in state after state, the early statistics show that the vast majority of those voters aren’t actually new to voting or to the Republican Party, but rather they are reliable past voters in general elections. They are only casting ballots in a Republican primary for the first time.
He does, however, seem to be expanding the Democratic electorate. Ed O'Keefe reports at The Washington Post:
Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is spurring a record number of citizenship applications and increases in voter registration among Latinos upset by the candidate’s rhetoric and fearful of his plans to crack down on immigration.
Activists, lawmakers and political consultants around the country say Hispanics are flooding into citizenship workshops and congressional offices and jamming hotlines on how to become U.S. citizens or register to vote. Many say they are primarily motivated by the rise of Trump, who has proposed deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants and building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.
In California, the number of Hispanics registering to vote doubled in the first three months of this year compared with the same period in 2012, according to state data. In Texas, naturalization ceremonies in Houston have swelled to about 2,200 per month, compared with 1,200 before, according to an analysis by the Houston Chronicle. More than 80 percent of those naturalized then register to vote, compared with 60 percent previously.
According to the most recent national statistics, more than 185,000 citizenship applications were submitted in the final three months of 2015, up 14 percent from the year before and up 8 percent compared with the same period ahead of the 2012 elections.

The Ultimate "None of the Above"

From The Richmond Times-Dispatch:
NOLAND, Mary Anne Alfriend. Faced with the prospect of voting for either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton, Mary Anne Noland of Richmond chose, instead, to pass into the eternal love of God on Sunday, May 15, 2016, at the age of 68. Born in Danville, Va., Mary Anne was a graduate of Douglas Freeman High School (1966) and the University of Virginia School of Nursing (1970). A faithful child of God, Mary Anne devoted her life to sharing the love she received from Christ with all whose lives she touched as a wife, mother, grandmother, daughter, sister, friend and nurse. Mary Anne was predeceased by her father, Kyle T. Alfriend Jr. and Esther G. Alfriend of Richmond. She is survived by her husband, Jim; sister, Esther; and brothers, Terry (Bonnie) and Mac (Carole). She was a mother to three sons, Jake (Stormy), Josh (Amy) and David (Katie); and she was "Grammy" to 10 beloved grandchildren. A visitation will be held from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 17, at Trinity United Methodist Church, 903 Forest Ave., in Henrico. A memorial service will be held on Wednesday, May 18, 1 p.m., with a reception to follow, also at Trinity UMC. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to CARITAS, P.O. Box 25790, Richmond, Va. 23260 (www.caritasva.org). - See more at: http://www.blileyfuneralhomes.com/obituary/Mary-Anne-Alfriend-Noland/Richmond-VA/1619230#sthash.0kj2CZHs.dpuf

Monday, May 16, 2016

The Kochs Pull Back

At a February meeting in Wichita, Koch World decided not to take part in the presidential race. Tim Alberta and Eliana Johnson report at National Review:
[A]ccording to interviews with numerous people close to the brothers, including a half-dozen sources with direct knowledge of developments inside their donor network and political operation, the scope of recent changes extends well beyond their inactivity in the presidential race. These sources point to a mounting evidence —reduced budgets, the shuttering and streamlining of departments, the elimination of grants to allied political organizations, and the departure of top executives — demonstrating a shift of resources and attention away from federal campaign activity.
In the months leading up to the Wichita meeting, confidantes and key allies of the Kochs, including some in the room that day, had sensed this transformation was underway. As early as the spring of 2015, some had noticed a change in the brothers’ perspectives and priorities that only grew more apparent as the year wore on. In conversations last year, ‘there was much more an emphasis on getting back to the policy aspect, as opposed to the electoral aspect,’ says one Koch insider.
Concerned about the damage being done to their corporate brand, increasingly bothered by their public vilification, and convinced after Republicans’ 2014 Senate takeover that even significant victories were having a negligible impact on federal policymaking, the Kochs began signaling to their closest allies that they were reevaluating their approach to politics. They had always believed that building the intellectual foundation for libertarian ideas in think tanks and universities — and supporting important public-policy initiatives at the state and local levels — paid greater long-term dividends than spending on elections. And more and more, they worried that campaigns could actually prove detrimental to their educational and advocacy work. The Kochs’ corporate associates and public-relations team had warned them their involvement in politics could sully their legacies, and now they were beginning to agree.
This reassessment, coming from men who had stoically and stubbornly withstood the vituperation of everyone from President Obama to former Senate majority leader Harry Reid, was for some Koch insiders hard to believe. But it was evident: The Koch brothers, who had spent millions of dollars designing an electoral juggernaut that could overpower either of America’s two major parties, were losing their appetite for political campaigns.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

HRC Channels LBJ on Nukes

At The Daily Beast, P.J. O'Rourke writes: "Like a toddler in a home with a loaded handgun, sooner or later Donald will find the briefcase with the nuclear launch codes."

Evelyn Rupert reports at The Hill:
Hillary Clinton took aim at GOP rival Donald Trump while campaigning in Kentucky on Sunday, reviving her characterization of him as a "loose cannon."

"I’ve never heard such reckless, risky talk from somebody about to be a nominee for president that I’ve heard from Donald Trump when it comes to nuclear weapons. For 70 years Democrats and Republicans alike, we’ve done everything we could to prevent more countries from having nuclear weapons," Clinton said at an event in Louisville. "And along comes Donald Trump and says, well, he doesn’t really care, let them all have nuclear weapons. He says he would use nuclear weapons."
Trump has come under fire for suggesting that he would allow Japan and South Korea to have nuclear weapons.

"This is scary, dangerous talk. This is the talk of a loose cannon who is making statements and creating confusion. We can’t afford that. We need to keep the country on the right track and we have to keep the world as stable as possible," Clinton said.
Clinton is channeling the attacks the LBJ used against Goldwater (below).  The trouble is that the 1964 ads aired just two years after the Cuban Missile Crisis.  But 52 more years have elapsed, and memories of that crisis have faded.

Millennials Like Sanders

Gallup reports:
Bernie Sanders is now considered a long shot for the Democratic presidential nomination, but his quest has accomplished one of his main goals -- scoring major points in the contest for the hearts and minds of America's youngest voters. Millennials, the generation of Americans aged 20 to 36, are far more likely to have a favorable opinion of Sanders (55%) than presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton (38%) or her Republican counterpart, Donald Trump (22%).

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Trump Won't Change

Some endorsers may candidly acknowledge Trump’s faults while clinging to the belief that he will grow in office and become a better man. “You can coach Donald,” longtime GOP consultant Charles Black told The New York Times. “If he got nominated, he’d be scared to death. That’s the point he would call people in the party and say, ‘I just want to talk to you.’” Sure, there are some cases of adults undergoing radical transformation: on the road to Damascus, the biblical St. Paul changed from being a persecutor of Christianity to its champion. (Of course, that switch involved divine intervention.) One cannot entirely rule out a Damascus moment for Trump, but it seems unlikely. Trump turns 70 years old in June, and he would be the oldest man ever to take the presidential oath for the first time. People that age tend not to change very much. And why on earth would he abandon the bluster and bombast for which the voters have just rewarded him? As for learning on the job, Henry Kissinger wrote that high office “consumes intellectual capital; it does not create it. Most high officials leave office with the perceptions and insights with which they entered.”
Patrick Healy and Maggie Haberman report at The New York Times:
Mr. Trump, in a telephone interview, compared his candidacy to hit Broadway shows and championship baseball teams, saying that success begot success and that he would be foolish to change his behavior now.

“You win the pennant and now you’re in the World Series — you gonna change?” Mr. Trump said. “People like the way I’m doing.”

He argued that he stood a better chance of inspiring voters in states like Ohio and Pennsylvania if he was his authentic self, rather than shifting from populist outsider to political insider to please a relative handful of Republican elites who are part of the establishment he has railed against for months. He said his huge rallies, where outbursts of violence and racist taunts have vexed many Republican leaders, and his attacks against adversaries on Twitter and in television interviews would continue because he believes Americans admire his aggressive, take-charge style.
MAY 15 UPDATE.  Isaac Arnsdorf reports at Politico:
Donald Trump doesn't need to change his rhetoric or tone to win in a general election, his senior adviser said Sunday morning.
Trump already appeals to a broader electorate, drawing crossover Democrats and independents, Paul Manafort told CNN's Jake Tapper. Manafort said Speaker Paul Ryan, in his meeting with Trump last week, did not pressure the presumptive nominee to act more presidential.

"There's no reason for Donald Trump to change," Manafort said.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Democratic Friction

At Politico, Daniel Strauss reports on continuing Democratic friction:
The most recent flare-up occurred last week, when Sanders publicly released a letter to Democratic National Committee chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz accusing her of stacking the deck against him on the convention's standing committees. “[W]e are prepared to mobilize our delegates to force as many votes as necessary to amend the platform and rules on the floor of the convention," wrote Sanders, several days after a tense phone conversation with the chairwoman.
According to a Sanders official with knowledge of the call, the senator demanded more representation on the committees but Wasserman Schultz would only assure him that he would have representation. A DNC spokesman declined to characterize the conversation and would only confirm that it took place.
For a party that's anxious to unite all its factions behind likely nominee Hillary Clinton after a long slog of a primary, it was an inauspicious — and worrisome — start.
Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, chair of the Philadelphia 2016 Host Committee, had a suggestion for Bernie Bros. Harper Neidig reports at The Hill:
“I think it’s gonna be a great convention, but of course the key to it is the Sanders people. Bernie’s gonna have his name placed in nomination; we’re gonna have a roll call; there’s gonna be a demonstration in support of Bernie; he’s gonna lose the roll call,” he said. “His supporters have to behave and not cause trouble. And I think they will, and I think Sen. Sanders will send them a strong message.”

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Proto-Trumpism

An earlier post looked at the gap between conservative intellectuals and the GOP base. Perhaps Trump is not changing the GOP rank-and-file so much as reflecting views that were already there.

Two years ago, Anne Kim wrote a prescient article at Republic 3.0:
Pew’s survey, which involved more than 10,000 adults nationwide, divides Americans into eight different “political typologies.” Among Republicans, Pew found a split between so-called “business conservatives,” whom Pew describes as “traditional small government Republicans,” and “steadfast conservatives,” who hold highly conservative positions on social issues such as immigration in adding to being critical of government. The major difference between these two groups of conservatives, Pew found, is that “steadfast conservatives,” unlike “business conservatives,” are also “critical of business and Wall Street.”
These differences especially play out on the issue of trade. While 68 percent of business conservatives say that free trade agreements are “good for the United States,” only 39 percent of steadfast conservatives agree. Moreover, Pew finds, these steadfast conservatives outnumber their business conservative sisters and brethren. Pew found that steadfast conservatives make up 15 percent of registered voters – versus 12 percent of registered voters who consider themselves business conservatives. Moreover, steadfast conservatives are more likely to be politically engaged than their business conservative counterparts.
A year ago, Pew reported:
There are wide partisan differences in views of immigrants’ overall impact on the country today. Majorities of Democrats (62%) and independents (57%) say that immigrants strengthen the country because of their hard work and talents. By contrast, just 27% of Republicans see immigrants, on balance, as making positive contributions to the country; far more (63%) say that immigrants are a burden because they take jobs, housing and health care.
Republican views on this question have turned more negative over the last year. The share of Republicans who say immigrants strengthen the country has declined from 42% in March 2014.
In 2013, Pew reported:
The largest partisan gaps are over aid to needy people both in the U.S. and abroad. Seven-in-ten Republicans (70%) say foreign aid should be decreased, compared with just a quarter (25%) of Democrats. Similarly, while 56% of Republicans say spending on unemployment assistance should be decreased, just 13% of Democrats agree.
...
Conversely, while Republicans are more supportive than Democrats of cutting funding for Medicare, Social Security and food and drug inspection, these remain minority positions within the GOP. More Republicans want to increase, rather than decrease, funding for Social Security (35% vs. 17%). And Republicans are as likely to say funding for Medicare should be increased as to say it should be decreased (24% vs. 21%).

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Is Trump Pulling a Clinton Trick?

Trump is refusing to release his tax returns, at least for now, and Mitt Romney says that the only explanation is that they contain a "bombshell of unusual size."

There is an alternative explanation, however.  Suppose Trump is trying to hype the expectation that his taxes reveal something hugely wrong, even though they don't.  As he continues to stonewall, the speculation will keep mounting.  And then when he finally releases them, any problems or anomalies will look pretty small in comparison with what his critics are suggesting.

If this scenario unfolds, credit should go to the original author of this trick: Bill Clinton.  In 1998, he had to manage expectations about video of his grand-jury testimony.  Howard Rosenberg reported at The Los Angeles Times:
For days there had been breathless reports throughout TV, based on anonymous sources, about the coming video showing Clinton folding under pressure like a rattled and red-faced Capt. Queeg. He was depicted by some even as angrily halting the grand jury proceedings from time to time when the questions hit too close.

The president did get a little testy occasionally, as did at least one of his questioners. But lose his cool and bring out the ball bearings? Whatever else Clinton was on the video, he was none of that.
Thomas DeFrank and William Goldschlag reported at The New York Daily News:
In part that may have been due to some clever White House damage-control work. One source said that Clinton spinners had leaked reports that the President was enraged by the questions of Starr's lawyers and stormed out of the room at one point in hopes of making Clinton's steadier demeanor seem more palatable by contrast. "I guess the expectation didn't live up to the spin," the source chuckled.
The lesson for Trump critics:  do not raise extravagant expectations about what the tax returns may contain. Trump may be playing you just as Clinton played his GOP critics in 1998.

Hillary's Lump of Coal

Jonathan Swan writes at The Hill:
Hillary Clinton's campaign gaffe about putting coal miners out of work likely hurt her badly in West Virginia, a primary she lost to Bernie Sanders on Tuesday.
More than 60 percent of voters in West Virginia's Democratic presidential primary who identified themselves as belonging to coal miner households voted for Sanders, according to MSNBC exit polls.

Just 30 percent of coal miner households voted for Clinton in West Virginia's Democratic primary.
It's a big slide for the former first lady, who won the state by a huge margin over Barack Obama in the 2008 presidential primaries. But she seems to have lost a good deal of affection among the state's white working-class voters.
West Virginia has deep economic and psychological ties to the coal industry, and Clinton didn't help herself when she said earlier this year, “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.”
ABC reports:
In West Virginia, voters from both parties in Tuesday's presidential primary are united on two things: They see the economy as the top issue facing the country, and they think trade is taking American jobs.
More than half of voters in both West Virginia primaries say the economy is the top issue facing the country. About 6 in 10 voters in the Democratic primary say they're very worried about the economy and 3 in 10 say they're somewhat worried.
About two-thirds of the state's Republican primary voters and more than half of Democratic primary voters say trade with other countries mostly takes jobs from American workers.
In Nebraska, half of Republican primary voters say trade takes jobs, while about a third say it creates them.
Just 3 in 10 Nebraska GOP voters say the economy is the top issue facing the country. Another 3 in 10 say government spending, 2 in 10 say terrorism and less than 2 in 10 say immigration.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Costly & Simple v. Slighlty Less Costly & A Lot More Complicated

Max Ehrenfreund writes at The Washington Post
Sen. Bernie Sanders has proposed paying for his policies that transform large sectors of the government and the economy mainly through increased taxes on wealthy Americans. A pair of new studies published Monday suggests Sanders would not come up with enough money using this approach, and that the poor and the middle class would have to pay more than Sanders has projected in order to fund his ideas.
The studies, published jointly by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center and the Urban Institute in Washington, concludes that Sanders's plans are short a total of more than $18 trillion over a decade. His programs would cost the federal government about $33 trillion over that period, almost all of which would go toward Sanders's proposed system of national health insurance. Yet the Democratic presidential candidate has put forward just $15 trillion in new taxes, the authors concluded.
Clinton's approach to policy is less expensive but more complex, as David Farenthold explains at The Washington Post:
Clinton’s approach is an extension of the one that both her husband and President Obama used to make change in the face of a balky Congress and hostile states. Instead of handing out money, they handed out tax benefits. Democrats could celebrate the benefit, Republicans the cut.
Instead of simple, universal benefit programs, they engineered complex solutions — like the Affordable Care Act — that were supposed to be customized to fit consumers’ needs.

The result, now, is a government that groans under the weight of its complexity.
The tax code has changed more than 4,000 times since 2004. The overwhelmed IRS expects to answer just 47 percent of the calls made to its help-line staff this year, and it has 923,000 unanswered letters. The broader growth of federal regulation has also caused a boom in the number of professional “compliance officers,” whose entire job is to follow rules: There are 136,000 in the private sector, at last count.
Clinton’s solutions would add complexity to complexity.

Monday, May 9, 2016

Hillary's Bullies

We have seen cyber-bullying by Trumpkins and Bernie Bros.  Now, as Evan Halper reports at The Los Angeles Times, Hillary supporters are getting into the act.
When the Internet’s legions of Hillary hecklers steal away to chat rooms and Facebook pages to vent grievances about Clinton, express revulsion toward Clinton and launch attacks on Clinton, they now may find themselves in a surprising place – confronted by a multimillion dollar super PAC working with Clinton.
Hillary Clinton's well-heeled backers have opened a new frontier in digital campaigning, one that seems to have been inspired by some of the Internet's worst instincts. Correct the Record, a super PAC coordinating with Clinton's campaign, is spending some $1 million to find and confront social media users who post unflattering messages about the Democratic front-runner.

In effect, the effort aims to spend a large sum of money to increase the amount of trolling that already exists online.

The plan comes as Clinton operatives grapple with the reality that her supporters just aren’t as engaged and aggressive online as are her detractors inside and outside the Democratic Party.
The lack of engagement is one of Clinton’s bigger tactical vulnerabilities, particularly when compared with rivals like Donald Trump, whose viral social media attacks are legion, and Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is backed by a passionate army of media-savvy millennials.

Primary Exit Polls: An Overview

What do primary exit polls show? At AEI, Karlyn Bowman, Eleanor O'Neil,and Heather Sims report:
  • Ideology. In every state except Iowa where an entrance or exit poll was conducted, voters in GOP contests have been more conservative than they were in 2008. In every state, voters in Democratic contests have been more liberal than they were in 2008. In Indiana, 68% of voters in the Democratic contest described themselves as liberals. In 2008, liberals were 39% of voters in the state’s Democratic primary. This increased polarization among primary voters mirrors the milder shift we have seen in national polls on ideological identification.
  • Obama’s Legacy. In every state except Vermont and New Hampshire, a majority or plurality of voters in Democratic contests have said the next president should continue Obama’s policies. Still, in all of those contests, a chunk of Democratic voters wanted the next president’s policies to be more liberal. Bernie Sanders won that group in every state.
...
  • The Rich and Wall Street. In 13 Democratic contests where the exit poll consortium asked the question, voters in Democratic contests said the economic system favors the rich. In New York and a few other states with more recent contests, voters in Democratic contests were asked about Wall Street. In New York’s Democratic contest, 63% said Wall Street hurts the US economy; only 30% said it helped. Eighty-seven percent there said they were worried about the direction of the US economy in the next few years. Voters in the New York GOP primary also agreed that Wall Street hurts the US economy, although more narrowly. Forty-eight percent gave that response.
  • A Temporary Ban on Muslims. On the GOP side, in 18 contests where the exit pollsters asked the question, between 63 and 78% favored a temporary ban on Muslims who are not US citizens from entering the country.
  • The GOP and Immigration. In only 2 of 20 states where voters in GOP contests were asked about illegal immigration did majorities favor deporting illegal immigrants working in the US. In 18 states, pluralities or majorities of voters in GOP contests said illegal immigrants should be offered a chance to apply for legal status.
  • Betrayal. In 15 of 16 states where exit pollsters asked the question, half or more of voters in GOP contests said they felt betrayed by GOP politicians, and many were angry.
...
  • Trade. The exit pollsters asked about trade in seven Democratic contests. With the exception of Ohio, where a majority said trade takes away US jobs, voters in these Democratic contests were pretty evenly split on whether it takes away or creates US jobs. They asked about trade in six GOP contests. In every state, a majority of voters in GOP contests said it takes away jobs. In every case, more Republicans than Democrats said it takes away jobs. [emphasis added]

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Trump's Crazy Debt Plan

AP reports:
In the event that the U.S. economy crashed, Donald Trump has floated a recovery plan based on his own experience with corporate bankruptcy: Pay America's creditors less than full value on the U.S. Treasurys they hold.
...

But countries function differently from businesses. Nations usually print their own money and service their debt through taxes, unlike corporations that can sell off assets and equity stakes to manage debt or close up shop. Interest rates would spike if a government refused to pay what it owed as investors priced in the risk of default and became resistant toward lending.

"It would make a bad situation worse and increase U.S. borrowing costs on its debt going forward because we would have lost our credit rating," said Chad Stone, chief economist at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

Publicly held U.S. debt is $13.8 trillion, and taxpayers will devote likely $255 billion to interest payments this year. The market largely sets interest rates on the debt, based in part on Federal Reserve policy.

The yield on a 10-year Treasury note is about 1.8 percent, a figure that would shoot up if Trump pursued this strategy. This would cause debt payments to climb at a precarious moment for the federal budget when Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid costs will likely increase the need to borrow.

"There is no upside," said Douglas Holtz-Eakin, an economist and president of the conservative American Action Forum. "It's a false hope."

Saturday, May 7, 2016

GOP Base v. Conservatism

It may be that the GOP's base never defined conservatism in the same way as the party's intellectuals. 

Peggy Noonan writes:
The Trump phenomenon itself would normally be big enough for any political cycle, but another story of equal size isn’t being sufficiently noticed and deserves mention. The Democratic base has become more liberal—we all know this part—but in a way the Republican base has, too. Or rather it is certainly busy updating what conservative means. The past few months, in state after state, one thing kept jumping out at me in primary exit polls. Democrats consistently characterize themselves as more liberal than in 2008, a big liberal year. This week in Indiana, 68% of Democratic voters called themselves liberal or very liberal. In 2008 that number was 39%. That’s a huge increase.
In South Carolina this year, 53% of Democrats called themselves very or somewhat liberal. Eight years ago that number was 44%—again, a significant jump. In Pennsylvania, 66% of respondents called themselves very or somewhat liberal. That number eight years ago was 50%.
The dynamic is repeated in other states. The Democratic Party is going left.
But look at the Republican side. However they characterize themselves, a majority of GOP voters now are supporting the candidate who has been to the left of the party’s established thinking on a host of issues—entitlement spending, trade, foreign policy. Mr. Trump’s colorfully emphatic stands on immigration have been portrayed as so wackily rightist that the nonrightist nature of his other, equally consequential positions has been obscured.
In my observation it is a mistake to think Mr. Trump’s supporters are so thick they don’t know his stands. They do.
It does not show an understanding of the moment to say Donald Trump by himself has changed the Republican Party. It is closer to the mark to say the base of the party is changing and Mr. Trump’s electric arrival on the scene made obvious what was already happening.
Back in February, she touched upon a key distinction between both parties' elites and the people they purport to speak for:
There are the protected and the unprotected. The protected make public policy. The unprotected live in it. The unprotected are starting to push back, powerfully.
The protected are the accomplished, the secure, the successful—those who have power or access to it. They are protected from much of the roughness of the world. More to the point, they are protected from the world they have created. Again, they make public policy and have for some time.
I want to call them the elite to load the rhetorical dice, but let’s stick with the protected.
They are figures in government, politics and media. They live in nice neighborhoods, safe ones. Their families function, their kids go to good schools, they’ve got some money. All of these things tend to isolate them, or provide buffers. Some of them—in Washington it is important officials in the executive branch or on the Hill; in Brussels, significant figures in the European Union—literally have their own security details.
Because they are protected they feel they can do pretty much anything, impose any reality. They’re insulated from many of the effects of their own decisions.
One issue obviously roiling the U.S. and Western Europe is immigration. It is the issue of the moment, a real and concrete one but also a symbolic one: It stands for all the distance between governments and their citizens.
It is of course the issue that made Donald Trump.
Tom Wolfe wrote in Bonfire of the Vanities: "Insulation! That was the ticket. That was the term Rawlie Thorpe used. 'If you want to live in New York,' he once told Sherman, 'you've got to insulate, insulate, insulate,' meaning insulate yourself from those people."

Wolfe wrote of 1980s New York:  the setting of Trump's rise to prominence.

Friday, May 6, 2016

Base Politics

Michael Barone writes:
There is an eerie similarity between the patterns of support of the two parties' nominees. Both Trump and Clinton got their bedrock support from their parties' most downscale (and in general elections most faithful) constituencies.
Blacks, especially Southern blacks, produced just about all of Clinton's popular vote margin over Bernie Sanders. Non-college-educated whites produced the highest percentages for Trump. "I love the poorly educated!" he exclaimed after winning in low-education Nevada.

It also appears that Trump and Clinton ran worst among groups with high degrees of what scholars Robert Putnam and Charles Murray call social connectedness or social capital. Trump was especially weak among socially connected Mormons and German-Americans and strong in areas with high opioid addiction. Both were weaker in caucuses, which favor the socially connected, than primaries.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Trump and the Republican Resistance

Salvador Hernandez reports at Buzzfeed:
Some Republicans are tearing up, burning, and destroying their voter registration cards after Donald Trump was declared the presumptive GOP presidential nominee Tuesday night.
Pictures and videos of the registration cards were shared on social media and at times tweeted directly at Reince Priebus, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, after he called for the party to unite under Trump’s campaign.
Instead, some voters responded by literally burning down their ties to the GOP.
Laura Litvan reports at Bloomberg:
On a day when Republicans in Congress would normally be rallying around their new presumptive presidential nominee, there was instead mostly silence or awkward tap-dancing around Donald Trump’s triumph.
Senator Susan Collins of Maine told a home-state radio station on Wednesday that she’s holding out her endorsement until she sees whether the bombastic real estate tycoon can behave like a president. An aide to one of the year’s most vulnerable Republicans, Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, told a local news outlet the senator plans to support the nominee, only to later send a media statement insisting that doesn’t mean that she’s endorsing him.
Senator Dean Heller of Nevada didn’t hide his scorn.

“I vehemently oppose our nominee and some of the comments and issues he brought up during the campaign,” Heller said during an interview with Nevada reporters one day after Ted Cruz suspended his campaign and hours before John Kasich did the same.
“Things that he’s said about women and the Hispanic community across the West.”
Asked whether he would commit to voting for Trump, Heller responded, “No, but what I’m committing to is voting against Hillary Clinton.” He pointed out that voters in Nevada have the option of voting for “none of the above.” 
Matt Viser reports at The Boston Globe:
“Hillary is not going to gaffe her way into a nuclear exchange with North Korea. Trump could,” said Fergus Cullen, New Hampshire’s former GOP chairman.
“It’s just going to be carnage,” he added, about this year’s election. “The party has collectively decided to commit political suicide for this cycle.”
Governor Charlie Baker, on the other hand, announced, “I’m not going to vote for Mr. Trump, and I sincerely doubt I’ll be voting for Hillary Clinton either.” [Story, B1.]
“I have concerns about Mr. Trump’s temperament and some of the things he’s said about women and about Muslims and about religious freedom -- I just can’t support,” he told reporters in Jamaica Plain. “At the same time, I do believe Secretary Clinton has a huge believability problem. And this makes this a very difficult election.”
Tessa Berenson reports at Time:
Ben Howe, a contributing editor at conservative website Red State,tweeted before Cruz dropped out, “I am a fiscal conservative and I am a social conservative. That will not change. But I will not vote for an egomaniacal authoritarian. Nope.” And then he followed simply with the Clinton campaign’s hashtag: #ImWithHer.
Mike Treiser, a former staffer on Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, wrote on Facebook: “In the face of bigotry, hatred, violence, and small-mindedness, this time, I’m with her.”
Mark Salter, a former strategist for John McCain, also announced on social media before the Indiana results rolled in that he would support Clinton. “He’s an awful human being,” Salter told TIME of Trump earlier that day. “He appeals to a sliver of the country that mystifies me.” 
Julian Hattem reports at The Hill:
Throngs of GOP foreign policy officials remain unwilling to support Donald Trump as the party's presidential nominee, with many of them preparing for a self-imposed exile from presidential politics.

Many veterans of the Mitt Romney’s failed 2012 campaign, who had once hoped to propel a new GOP candidate to victory over likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton, are now finding themselves on the outside and already looking ahead to the next presidential race in four years’ time.

“I have no intention of voting for Hillary Clinton, and I have no intention of voting for Donald Trump,” said Daniel Runde, who worked on Romney’s team four years ago.

...
One founder of the John Hay group, former Romney adviser and ex-State and Defense official Eliot Cohen, organized a letter now signed by 121 prominent GOP national security officials promising not to support Trump because he would “act in ways that make America less safe.”