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19 September 2016

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MRW

For the first time, since I was eligible to vote at 19 years of age, I am sitting out this election.

If you would permit me to intervene in your private decision: I think you are wrong. I believe you need to look at this in terms of numbers, and how your canny participation can have a marked effect.

Suppose a hypothetical district has 125,000 legal voters. If 100,000 make your decision out of disgust or anger, personal protest, only 25,000 vote.

Let’s suppose 10,000 of that 25,000 vote for Candidate A. 15,000 vote for Candidate B. Candidate B wins.

Candidate B rolls into DC claiming he or she has a mandate. A 60% mandate. In terms of who voted, that’s true. And that’s all the winning party cares about.

However, what if all 125,000 voted? But left a particular race blank (president, congressional, senate)? Or wrote in a candidate? (Not Donald Duck or Mickey Mouse, a real person so the vote isn’t pitched.)

What does that show?

125,000 felt strongly enough about getting into the booth and registering their distaste.

Now Candidate B only has a 12% mandate.

Do you honestly believe the “winning party” is going to run that candidate two to four years from now?

Do you honestly believe Candidate B is going to be sitting in his DC office secure in his belief that lobbyists and donors in the heady power magnet of DC will get him re-elected back home in his district?

Not a chance. His win was a fluke; furthermore, his party will be noticing. They’re going to be running a primary. He’s going to be living with a four-foot cube of Charmin®.

Your vote, or dramatic lack of one, has tremendous power even if the wheels grind slowly. Don’t waste it.

MRW

Too little has been written about the New York real estate world that Trump inhabits.

What does that have to do with the price of fish? We’re electing a president, not voting on NYC real estate.

he will sell you to the highest bidder and get a tax-break to boot.

NYC real estate is highly regulated, and the finance is extraordinarily complicated. Do you understand Internal Revenue Code Section 1031? If you don’t, you have no clue how the tax benefits pile up. Any mortal engaged in commercial real estate in Manhattan can take advantage of it. Your remark shows frightful ignorance of the basis you wish to claim. It’s jejune.

crf

Clinton will win the Presidency, and the Republicans will retain the Senate and House. Why would I make that prediction? I can't see either Clinton or Trump appealing to any cross-party or swing voters. It will be a low-turnout election: just core-support voters. More like a mid-term election than a Presidential election.

So a heaping spoonful of More of The Same.

The Republicans blew this election. It's like they don't even want to lead the country.

Allen Thomson

Well, there's all of October for October surprises, but as of 19 September, my crystal sphere says

- GOP keeps House, of course
- GOP probably keeps Senate, but not by much
- Hillary squeaks through, but maybe not

I'm watching and voting in TX-23. The incumbent and challenger/former incumbent are both fairly inoffensive examples of their type and the result might hinge on general political trends in TX.

Outsider

Sometimes during the American election campaign we see Trump supporters, particularly “white working class” supporters. characterised as “fascist”. I’ve seen academics join in, with PhD theses circulating, complete with surveys and tables of results, showing a correlation between “personality disorders” and supporting Mr Trump; though I suppose one could argue that any American who doesn’t contract a “personality disorder” after experiencing the Beltway in action must be either a saint or unconscionably rich. Comparisons are even drawn between Trump’s appeal and the appeal of Hitler to the German people in the 1930’s. I don’t know whether any Americans truly believe all that, or whether they just brush it off as another of the PR attacks that enliven American politics, but that and similar attacks obscure what this election is really about.

White working class voters, if that category has any real meaning nowadays, don’t appear to be seeking a Fuhrer, nor most Americans. If you look at the stories coming out of America that show how the more active of the dissatisfied and the disadvantaged are conducting themselves at present you gain quite the opposite impression. From the Bundy ranch to the Occupy Movement they are on a different tack altogether. Each in their own way – and to an outsider some of those ways do admittedly look pretty idiosyncratic - the dissatisfied and the disadvantaged are after the same thing. Far from seeking a Fuhrer they’re trying to cope with the ones they’ve already got. Maybe most of the American electorate, Trump supporters or not, are trying to do just that as well.

We should look elsewhere for the explanation of the strange course American politics is taking. “It’s the economy, stupid” isn’t the only key to electoral politics but without it no others work. So it is here. Americans are waking up to the fact that their jobs have been outsourced, that this outsourcing is now hitting higher and higher up the income scale, and that this process is occurring at a time when automation is rapidly losing them jobs in any case. They are waking up to the fact that the orthodox economic model not only doesn't work, it can't work. In this and in so many other respects they are waking up to the fact that the shining City on a Hill is derelict.

They have two options. There are no others. An anti status quo candidate, or at least a candidate who claims to be so. That’s Trump, now Sander’s gone, though it’s always possible that this first option might lead to the Obama trap – voting for a candidate who offers hope and change but finds himself unable to deliver. Or they can vote for the mixture as before.

That’s certainly one more option than we’ve had in UK Parliamentary elections over the last few decades but even so it’s not much of a choice. An uncertain and unspecified future under Trump or more of the same under Mrs Clinton. Up to the Americans, you might say, and outsiders should hold their peace and let them get on with it.

But of course it is legitimate for an outsider to offer an opinion. American foreign policy after the election will continue to shape the world all of us live in. For many thousands of people it’s going to determine more than that. It will determine whether they live or die.

That is no hyperbole. When the dust has settled and the historians of the future are picking over the evidence they will conclude that what we are seeing done by the Western powers at present is comparable to the evils committed by the regime of Nazi Germany. Only the means are different. We are deliberately using the techniques of hybrid or proxy warfare to destabilise and destroy countries throughout the Middle East. We have done the same in the Ukraine. We may do yet more if the opportunity offers, from Serbia and Macedonia up through to Kazakhstan and the Chinese border. At no time do we stop to consider that the squares on the chessboard are occupied by real people, men and women who, it is true, are easy enough to stir into conflict but who die like flies when the conflict starts.

We don't know how many deaths our interventions have caused - not up to Holocaust numbers, let alone the other grim numbers of that time, but it's rising fast. Nor do we know how many communities have been destroyed. But as far as those victim communities are concerned the devastation is as great as that suffered in Eastern Europe and in Russia during the Second World War,

The data is in on this now. This is no longer a "point of view" or an "interpretation of the facts". This is what happened.

And is happening. That is the point. Trump, just maybe, will turn away from this evil. It's only a maybe but with Clinton this evil will continue. Of course the UK, and France and Germany, bear equal or in some cases more responsibility for the carnage but it is America, with its overwhelming military power. that has the say.

The lives of several millions of foreigners will therefore hang on the forthcoming American election. Trump, and some of them may live and the rest remain undisturbed. Clinton and they probably will not.

It’s only a chance that’s on offer– when did we last see a President able to hold to campaign assurances? - but any chance is assuredly better than none.

Outsider.


JMH

Smacks of desperation, he should just be happy that he got his eight years.

Allen Thomson

P.S.: Somewhat related to the topic, I continue to be fascinated by the question of what the GOP plutocratic core/donor class is doing about the election or will do if Trump wins.

This is probably a discussion for a separate thread, but it might bear on the events between now and 8 November and the outcome thereof.

Tyler

Lars,

Huff into your paper bag a little harder and you'll sound less panicked.

Tyler

Dante,

"Here's my mind reading of Trump"

Then

"No one can predict this".

Pick one.

Tyler

Mike,

Exhibit A for liberal_projection.txt as well as stuff that never happened.

May I remind you which candidate gave a speech recently railing against a cartoon frog?

Dave Schuler

Clinton wins narrowly, Republicans hold the House and Senate.

Secondary prediction: if Clinton wins and there have been shenanigans a la 1960 it will be taken much, much worse than it was in 1960.

Jack

While I have a decent track record of analyzing and forecasting the financial performance of manufacturing and technology companies, I really have no competence in analysis of the voting intentions of my fellow citizens. Having said that my forecast is based purely on anecdotal evidence.

I live in a Democrat liberal state. So, the outcome in my state is preordained. However, I am seeing among my extended family and friends a great apathy driven by a deep dislike for the Borg Queen. Those who normally vote Democrat and lean liveral are either voting third party or leaving it blank. At the local working class watering hole I see a lot of enthusiasm for Trump. Among my traditionally independent close friends and family I see an even split between Johnson and Trump. Among my Republican friends I see some enthusiastic about Trump and others voting him because they cannot think about the Clintons in the WH and a reprise of their dramas. I work with a lot of companies in the Mid-West and the Rust Belt as well as Colorado and the South -East. Here I find that by and large the workers are enthusiastic about Trump while the bosses are split between holding their noses to vote for him and outright despondency and indecision as they can't countenance both major party candidates. Now this a limited sample of voters and skews heavily to white people. So, when I add my feeling that Millenials and minority turnout will be lower than 2008, at this juncture I have to assess that Trump will likely win the electoral college. Looking at the recent polls in the battleground states Trump is now running even in several states and ahead in others. He's definitely got mo after Les Déplorables and the "pneumonia".

kao_hsien_chih

The undecideds this time around are a bit different from the usual:

On the Republican side, the undecideds are the affluent, educated whites. If HRC sounds sufficiently like Mitt Romney, their support for Trump, already weak as it is, will wane. Some, especially younger women, might even vote for HRC in some numbers, as polls already indicate as a possibility.

On the Democratic side, everyone who is not "wonkish" is undecided between HRC and not voting (at least for not for her). Very few (except possibly union Democrats--but there are not that many of them left) are "undecided" between Trump and Clinton. For Clinton, moreover, trying to gain the Republican "undecideds" will likely ensure that she will lose these voters.

Among the rest of the voters, not especially clear who the "undecideds" really are. I maintain that, while Trump has had the potential to make inroads by demonstrating that he is not like those bums inside the Beltway, he has failed to make good on this potential by being able to go beyond a lot of jumbled prevarications and pseudomoralistic posturing. People who already like Trump might like his sermons, but to those who are unsure, they are likely to be turnoffs. There will be still be some people who will be willing to listen (probably not that many, but probably enough to make things happen) because they recognize that Trump is different, but will need to be given a "good reason" that satisfies them to actually push them into actually voting for Trump (rather than not voting). This will be tricky, and I am skeptical that Trump will be able to deliver on this (because he has shown no indication of an ability to go beyond his existing support base, in terms of rhetoric and this kind of credibility does not materialize out of thin air).

Still, it seems like a reasonable enough bet that Trump will be able to win back many of the currently "undecided" Republicans while Clinton will flop in her attempt to win them over and alienate many potential Democrats along the way, without the "true" undecideds becoming a factor, though. Clinton is trying to do something very difficult for anyone, and she is too flawed a candidate to pull off that balancing act, I think.

Margaret Steinfels

"NYC real estate is highly regulated."

You bet it is--by the real estate industry itself and its lobbyists and representatives in Albany and at City Hall.

You're electing a president who learned everything he knows in NYC real estate.

kao_hsien_chih

Outsider,

What Trump is doing is what exactly pretty much every successful "democracy activist" in (allegedly) authoritarian countries do. The people in those countries know that the status quo is corrupt and/or failing. They throw their support behind those who seem competent and/or honest enough. Most of these "democracy activists" tend to be showmen (defined broadly) rather than capable political leaders who know what they are doing, though, usually with serious problems of their own, and most "democratization" movements fail. If lucky, things settle for a "reformed" version of the old status quo (Poland, Czech Republic, Taiwan, South Korea, maybe even Russia.). If not so lucky, things get far worse without a good chance of getting better (Russia under Yeltsin being a singular big example but there are far worse ones throughout the developing world).

I don't see most--if any--of the alleged fascism that the left is harping about. I do see plenty of signs that Trump could be the American Yeltsin on that tank. (I suppose that makes Clinton the old Soviet apparatchiks--an apt metaphor, I guess). It sure feels nice to see someone stare down the corrupt old geezers, but he does not seem to have a program worth mentioning.

Fred

Kao,

" what's left of the union voters"

What happened to those voters, they certainly didn't all drop dead? Perhaps some of them might be interested in things in addition to wages - like being pro-life or pro-gun? Thus there's an incentive not to vote straight line democratic, or perhaps not vote democratic at all.

Swami

Opinions are great but I'm more of a fact person myself. Based on evidence currently available, Clinton with ~300 EV. Of course this would depend on how well each side gets out the vote, and assumes no black swan events.

This is a great place to track the (science-based) forecasts:
http://election.princeton.edu/

herb

Nothing fundamental has changed since late August.

This race was always going to tighten, as I have long said. Even with the race tightening, Trump's numbers stay between 39 and 44% in nearly every poll except the outlier LA Times poll. This is exactly where they have always been. The race has gotten tighter as undecideds and weak Clinton support have migrated to considering Johnson. Her numbers and Johnson's are the only ones that move. Nobody is moving from Clinton to Trump, and nobody ever will. Likewise, nobody is going to move from Trump to Clinton: there may be some "undecideds" left but almost everybody who has decided to grasp the Trump nettle has already done that loud and proud. I said long ago that Trump may just win if Johnson pulls enough of Clinton's support. That still may happen, but I doubt it, Johnson is more of a flake than I ever knew.

Stein managed to get herself arrested in North Dakota. She is out of the picture. That also helps Clinton, God knows she needs it, because she is a horse-shit candidate. Trump is doing everything he can to boost her turnout, and she keeps finding ways to tamp it back down.

The 50% of Trump's supporters like (((Tyler))), that Clinton fairly called "Deplorables" are lashing out (see above) and dreaming of sparkle ponies. Nerves will do that. And what is with the PC sensitivity? Can't people say what they think anymore? Do you Deplorables need a trigger warning? Sure looks like it. A quarterback takes a knee at the wrong time and their brains melt. Talk about sensitive.

The House certainly will stay Republican, and almost certainly the Senate will as well.

herb

epublican friends. Most of them are PISSED that Trump was nominated, and that the party is run by ineffective and incompetent fools. If there was ever a time to cement an 8-year run, it was this election cycle against the awful Candidate Clinton. You are right, it's almost as if governing is an inconvenience. And, even if you think Trump is all that and a can of Spam, the fact still remains, he wasn't the Republican party's choice, and they blew it.

In Minnesota, the R party couldn't even follow their own rules or the law to get Trump on the ballot, the Supreme Court bailed them out by saying their wasn't enough time to investigate. That is how bad it is.

Bobo

The Senate looks interesting and will come out a draw or 51-49 but not sure which party. Does not matter too much as not much change.
The House remains Republican though their lead is whittled down a bit
Donald overtakes Hillary by 1/2 percent and ekes out an Electoral win with Rhode Island and that part of Maine with one vote going his way. Now should Hillary do the collapse again "Katy Bar the Door". Only concern is that he may be peaking too early.
Best thing to occur will be the MK breakup as Mika will not be able to handle it and takes a rest while Joe knows he has gone too far out on the limb. Willy survives to continue with Plagerist Mike but they need some Gravitas so I propose the Colonel.

Mac

Colonel,

Nor sure of the latest numbers, but I could forsee the gentleman from NYC winning the popular vote, yet losing at the EC.

Thoughts on that outcome?

Mac

Bill H

We knew BHO was hubristic, but "African Americans have to elect Hillary in order to preserve my legacy" is simply awesome.

jerseycityjoan

His comment reflected poorly on him, I agree.

I voted for Obama twice -- and the second time my vote was made with a lot of disappointment, I can assure you.

I get mailings from the Democrats that ask me to sign "Birthday Cards" for both Mr. and Mrs. Obama. I am disgusted every time I get one of these and delete them right away. I am not friends of the Obamas and they are not my friends, either.

I see the President's statement here as a further evolution along this new and dangerous line that people have a personal relationship with office holders.

No, they do not.

The public owes President Obama nothing in the way he claims here.

It is funny to see how eager the professionals persuaders are to turn whatever screws they can on us voters while they and the professional politicians, lobbiests, etc. show us every day that they don't put our interests first or care about what we want or what's good for us.

We are supposed to "care" about them now? Baloney.

Laura

Eric..."detailed policy positions" compared to what? A piece of paper with a slogan written on it and blank on the reverse side?

It's fine that you are voting for him but, please, don't go all hyperbolic on his policy positions. Have I missed something brand new? I checked the website and it is pretty thin.

jerseycityjoan

After the most recent round of bombs, shootings and stabbings, I feel less certain that Clinton will win the popular vote. She is not popular with me personally but I will vote for her.

While I agree with some of what he says -- I believe that Trump is unfit to be president and I hope he doesn't get anywhere the nuclear codes.

What I feel surest of is that Trump, if elected, would not complete a four year term. I do not know what is more likely: that he'd be impeached or otherwise forced out by his own party or that he would resign to escape.

A lot of his views are not conservative; some are not Republican; the uproar he'd cause both Republicans and Democrats in Congress would start immediately and never stop.

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