Friday, December 23, 2016

If Only...

Hillary supporters have been slow to accept that they simply had a bad candidate who ran a bad campaign. They prewfr to blame outside influences, usually the Russians and the FBI. Let's examine those.

Many are acting as if Russian involvement in the election was a complete surprise. Actually, the White House was sating that the release of DNC emails came from the Russians well before the election. The White House knew about it in July and Congress was briefed in September. No one made a fuss, probably because we've been hacking their emails, too. We've also been influencing elections for decades. Just last Summer, President Obama warned the British to vote against the Brexit.

What are the Russians accused of doing? Making private emails public. They didn't change vote tallies or remove voter registrations. They let us know what the Clinton campaign said in private. What did we learn? Mainly that the Democratic party and the MSM were biased in favor of Hillary Clinton. We also found out that highly-placed people in the Clinton campaign have a low opinion of Catholics and Evangelicals. These groups were already supporting Trump (which is why the low opinion) so that did little damage.

I have a challenge to Hillary supporters: show me which email or set of emails you think did the damage. I want actual proof meaning a drop in the polls after those documents were released or later polling naming the contents of those emails. Without that, then the talk of President-elect Trump being a Russian puppet and the election being a bloodless coup is just silly (I'm looking at you, Keith Olberman).

Remember, the RNC was not hacked. Apparently the Russians didn't try as hard. That may be because they wanted Trump to win but it might also be that they, like the rest of the world, assumed that Hillary would win and wanted to hurt her. Even if they had hacked the RNC, they kept the Trump campaign at arm's length. The Republican establishment was against Trump. Any emails from the RNC servers would probably have helped Trump by showing that the establishment was against him.

As for the FBI, let's remember that the FBI probe didn't happen in a vacuum. We already knew that Hillary had used a private server which was poorly-secured and contained classified information. The FBI investigation was to see if any laws had been broken. It was Hillary's decision to use a private server and to delete 35,000+ emails from it before turning the rest over to the State Department. This tainted her candidacy from the start. If the FBI hadn't gotten involved then Congress would have pressed for a Special Prosecutor and that would have looked worse.

A lot of information leaked about the investigation. The rumor was that agents who worked on it felt that Hillary should have been charged. The private meeting between Bill Clinton and Loretta Lynch just days before the results were given gave the impression that the fix was in. That was Bill's mistake and a majority of the country was unsatisfied with the FBI's ruling that Hillary should not be charged.

Reportedly there was an open revolt in the FBI when more emails came to light. It may have hurt Hillary when the case was reopened but it would have hurt her even more if it got out that there was a trove of letters and they hadn't taken due diligence. The way it played out was probably the least damaging.

Let's face it, Hillary's use of a private server was a terrible lapse in judgement and there was no way it wasn't going to hurt her. If it hadn't been the FBI then it would have been leaks that evidence was suppressed. The only way to stop it would have involved a huge conspiracy including threats of retaliation to whistle-blowers. And wouldn't that be a great way to win the election.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Bubble Bubble

After being told that they live in a bubble, the left's response has been, "Oh yeah? So do you and ours is bigger!" One of the more prominent versions of that comes from WaPo columnist, Richard Cohen. The argument is that the left is more inclusive and multi-cultural compared to the mainly white Christians who voted for Trump.

As with most things about the election, this shows the Left's ability for self-delusion. The bubble analogy fits them far better than it fits the right for two reason.

If you look at a map showing which counties were carried by Hillary Clinton then you see small blue patches surrounded by a sea of red.

It looks like bubbles doesn't in. It's really hard to say that all of that red in-between is a bubble. But that's only part of the reality.

When we say that the left lives in a bubble, we mean a mono-culture. Think of the movie about the boy in a bubble who was shielded from contact with the outside world because of a weak immune system. That's how the Left lives. They cluster in cities and, as shown by their reaction to Trump victory in the election, they want to be protected from the outside world. There are stories of women having their hair cut or the color changed because of the election and of people in an organic food store being distressed at hearing Sweet Home Alabama.

And it's easy for them to avoid contact with the other half. They control most media. Their control of campuses is so strict that pro-Trump statements were ruled hate crimes.

The Right can't isolate itself like that. They are constantly exposed to the Left. All they have to do is turn on any mainstream news broadcast, read a major newspaper, or watch late-night TV and they are bombarded by Trump-haters. The Left even leaves its cities and drives an hour or more in order to find people who don't match their values to hold up for ridicule. (1)

Until the people of the Left recognize how much they isolate themselves they will continue to live in a bubble, happy in their ignorance.

(1) I'm thinking of the time a reporter drove 50 miles and asked a pizza restaurant if they would cater a gay wedding. The owners said that they were happy to serve gays but would not cater a gay wedding because of religious beliefs. This was quickly spread nation-wide earning them death threats. What was not mentioned was that they had never catered any weddings so the chances of it coming up were zero.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

The Democrats in the Age of Trump

Currently the Republicans are at a historic high point and the Democrats are at a low point. The Republican dominance isn't guaranteed. Sixteen years ago Republicans controlled the White House and both houses of Congress. They managed to lose this in wave elections in 2006 and 2008, ending talk of a permanent Republican majority. With Barack Obama's election, the Democrats controlled government and the began to dream of a permanent Democratic majority. There was talk that demographics and a national swing to the left doomed the Republicans to being nothing but a regional rump party. 2010 and 2014 turned into Republican wave elections. The predicted 2016 Democratic wave never materialized. There are different ways of looking at this.

One is that American politics regularly swing back and forth. The White House certainly does. Since FDR, the White house has changed parties every eight years. The only exception to that was Ronald Reagan who defeated a sitting president and whose vice-president succeeded him with a convincing majority.

The party that controls the White House often looses support in Congress during the mid-terms so the Democrats may be one election away from starting to recover. If we assume that the national spirit is sort of a pendulum then it is likely that the Democrats will retake Congress during the Trump administration and will take the White House in 2024.

There is another possibility. Democratic control during the Obama administration may be an aberration caused by anger at the Iraq war in 2006 and the financial melt-down in 2008. In fact, a strong case can be made for this.

In theory the House of Republicans is the most sensitive to public mood. Every member stands for election every two years. In practice, change is slow. The Democrats controlled the House for decades from 195l to 1994. The Republicans began making gains under Reagan and finally took Congress in a wave election in the wave election during Bill Clinton's first mid-term. They held both houses of congress until George W. Bush's second mid-term in 2006. They started making gains again, taking the House in 2010 and retook the Senate in 2016. Looked at this way, the long-term swing has been Republican.

How does this work?

The country has become increasingly polarized. The coasts and cities are strongly liberal and the rest of the country is conservative. America is developing two cultures with little in common with each other. Regardless of demographics that are supposed to favor Democrats, it hurts them to be so tightly clustered. For all the talk about gerrymandering, it's very difficult to draw competitive districts when part of the population is widely spread out and part is tightly clustered.

It's been a truism among the Democrats for more than a decade that the Republicans have moved so far to the right that President Reagan would no longer be welcome. The truth is that both parties have changed over the years but it's instructive how they changed.

Reagan set the tone for the modern Republican party - a mixture of social conservatism and libertarianism with strong national defense. It's widely believed that President George H W. Bush's tax increase cost him reelection so Republicans have been anti-tax ever since. George W. Bush introduced "compassionate conservatism" meaning support for a strong safety net. He was influenced by no-conservatives who were socially moderate and strong on defense. Under Bush, the Republicans abandoned fiscal prudence and spent heavily. The TARP and President Obama's spending shocked the Republicans out of that, giving rise to the Tea Party movement. This was largely a return to the principals that Reagan ran on in 1980 with a heavy dose of social conservatism thrown in. Yes, the Tea Party was unforgiving of the sorts of compromises that President Reagan made but they would have welcomed candidate Reagan. The Tea Party eventually merged with the party in general only to run into Domald Trump's populism. What the results of this will be on the party have yet to be seen.

In contrast to the Republicans zig-zags, the Democrats have had a pretty straight trajectory. Bill Clinton was part of a moderate movement but since his election the Democratic party has moved further to the left than at any point in its history since FDR traded tips with Mussolini. They no longer even call themselves liberals. They are now progressives. This is an important distinction.

During the early 2000s, the Democrats made an effort to recruit moderates. This paid off in the wave election in 2006. But after that they lost the moderates. Some were purged and the rest lost their seats to Republicans. By the 2016 election, the party had moved to far to the left that a socialist was seen as a viable candidate. Hillary Clinton was actually running against Bill Clinton's biggest achievements. The party has moved so suddenly and so sharply to the left that candidate Barack Obama would be unacceptable. In 2008, Obama claimed to be against gay marriage and neutral on guns. Those positions have no place in today's Democratic party. He even made fun of Hillary Clinton for suggesting a manditor health care system comparable to Obamacare.

Today's Democratic Party places environmentalism and identity politics ahead of anything else. It has embraced the Black Lives Matter movement which regularly calls for killing cops. It is willing to put thousands out of work in the name of global warming, even if it's only a symbolic gesture. The hip city-dwellers are contempuous of blue collar workers and their values. They seem to attack every part of American life. Even the concept of gender is being eliminated with 32 or more genders recognized.

The Democrats have embraced identity politics. Individuals no longer matter, all that matters is the group they are part of. The assumption is that they can cobble together a winning coalition by appealing to various ethnic groups, particularly women, blacks and Hispanics. Even after their defeat in 2016, they believe that demographics are the key to their future political domination. This is quite a gamble and may not work. The groups they are counting on came together for Obama but not Clinton. It may well be that the first black president whose father was a foreign national was a once-in-a-lifetime uniter and that his coalition won't be duplicated.

The Democrats have one final problem. They have been too successful. They have a national health care. Obamacare may be replaced but it will not be removed. They also have gay marriage and a number of other achievements. Naturally, they have new goals but those have little support. Free college and an end to gender will not take back Congress. Even gun control has lost its edge since some states like California have enacted strict new gun laws that will blunt the desire for national action.

It is a given that the Democrats will oppose everything that Trump does but it's questionable if the country will follow them or if they will be willing to moderate some of their more extreme positions. Considering that Ralph Ellison, one of the furthest left members of Congress, is the next likely leader of the party, they seem set to follow the English Labor Party's march to the left and irrelevance.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

The Big Problem With Calling on the Electoral College to Elect Hlllary Clinton

Daily I see people urging the Electoral College to ignore the results of the election and select Hillary Clinton as President. The reasoning is that she won the popular vote by over two million votes so she represents the will of the people.

There is one huge flaw with this argument: while it's true that Hillary did get more votes than Donald Trump, she failed to get 50% of the votes. Think about that. We're supposed to throw the Constitution and the Electoral Collage out the window over someone who failed to capture a majority of the popular vote. She only won a plurality.