Monday, November 28, 2016

Election: I was wrong. . . and right.

“my prediction that Clinton was a 100% favorite was a glaring miss. My confidence was not partisan spin. It was based on public data, voting history and some sense of the Clinton campaign’s own models. I played with various state scenarios, and even in the most generous outcomes, could not get Donald J. Trump to 270 electoral votes.  [emphasis added]

David Plouffe, manager of Barack Obama’s winning 2008 campaign who oversaw Obama’s winning 2012 campaign from the White House.

It’s not surprising someone would emerge to take on Obama’s elite rule, with all its faults.  I’m surprised Trump was that person.

I expected the polls were right — Clinton up by 3.3% on election day meant Hillary would be president.  If the polls had instead shown her ahead by 1.7%, her current popular vote victory margin, I would have been less sure.

On June 9, 2016 — six months ago — I demonstrated how Trump could beat Hillary in the Electoral College, while still losing the popular vote.  Here’s that prophetic blog post in full:

Conservative John Podhoretz makes the case that Clinton’s path to victory is much smoother than Trump’s. He’s right. We showed how Trump can win, but added that it importantly depends upon Trump holding every state Romney won, plus Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

It’s important to understand that, contrary to normal thinking, Trump has a better chance of winning the electoral vote than the popular vote.  [emphasis added] That’s counterintuitive because Democrats have more big electoral vote states they will likely carry than does Trump.

The size of the unmarried women + minorities + youth coalition, which we first wrote about in 2010 and which keeps expanding with our minorities' population, shows up best in national polls. But the election will be won within individual states, not in a nationwide referendum. 2016 could see Democrats beating Trump by millions, but still losing in the electoral college. [emphasis added]

Here’s our map showing in brown the eleven states that will decide America’s next leader (click map to enlarge):
If you live in the other 40 (including the District of Columbia) states, the ones marked blue or red, your vote won’t really matter this November.

To win, Trump must hold the Romney states of Arizona (57% non-Hispanic white, 26% Mexican-American), Georgia and North Carolina (two “New South” states with transplanted liberals and large African-American populations). North Carolina, which voted for Obama in 2008 and barely for Romney last time, is particularly at risk for Trump.

Trump then must add Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania to win. Pennsylvania, the Keystone State, is THE key state, as was Florida to Bush’s win in 2000 and Ohio to Bush’s re-election in 2004. Obama carried all three twice, and Pennsylvania, 79% white and with its western half the anti-Obama Appalachia coal country ripe to turn to Trump, hasn’t voted Republican since 1988.

Right now, Clinton leads Trump in the poll average for all three, though not by large margins. Trump’s anti-Mexican rhetoric is expected to complicate his winning Florida, which is only 57% non-Hispanic white (however, only 3% Mexican-American).

But if Trump loses Florida’s 29 electoral votes, there is one other narrow path to victory. That path accounts for the remaining five battleground states on the map above.

Race will be very important in this election. Forget talk of non-border states Colorado or Nevada being in play. [emphasis added] Their relatively heavy Mexican-American populations will help send them to Clinton. (Arizona is different because like Texas, Arizona's long border with Mexico means whites there hold together in the face of the rising Hispanic immigrant tide.)

The race issue cuts two ways. If race is big and noisy, heavily white states may vote more Republican, more anti-Obama/Clinton than they have in the past. [emphasis added] New Hampshire (92% white) voted for Bush in 2000, and Iowa (88% white) voted Bush in 2004. The two states are targets for Trump pick-ups.

If Trump loses Florida and wins both Iowa and New Hampshire, victory will depend upon picking up two of three upper Midwest states: Michigan (16 electoral votes), Minnesota (10), and Wisconsin (10). Wisconsin is 83% white, Minnesota 82%, Michigan 76%. All are mining or Rust Belt and variously suffering in the Obama economy.

The go-white election strategy won’t win over white but progressive Maine, Vermont, and Oregon, but every other state more white than Michigan is either in Trump’s column or on our battleground list. [emphais added] A smart Trump would focus his campaign on the 11 states our map colors brown.

Evidently, Trump was smarter than we realized.  He won Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin, barely lost New Hampshire, lost Minnesota by just 1.5%, and won the election.

Monday, November 07, 2016

After the worst election since 1860, is unity possible?

“Come now, let us reason together, says the Lord”

Isaiah 1:18

Social psychologists Jonathan Haidt and Ravi Iyer, writing in the Wall Street Journal, ask if after this election, “Is it possible for Americans to forgive, accept and carry on working and living together?”

Haidt’s and Iyer’s answer, extrapolated below from their essay, is “Yes.”

Why? “Three time-honored quotations serve as guides.”

1. “Me against my brother, my brothers and me against my cousins, then my cousins and me against strangers.”

—Bedouin saying

Human nature is tribal. But this year, for the first time, more than 40% in each party now see the policies of the other party as being “so misguided that they threaten the nation’s well-being.” Something is broken in American tribalism. It is now “my brothers and me against my cousins” all the time, even when we are threatened by strangers and even when there is no threat at all.

We must find a way to see citizens on the other side as cousins who are sometimes opponents but who share most of our values and interests and are never our mortal enemies.

2. “Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?… You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.”

—Jesus, in Matthew 7:3-5

Our tribal minds are equipped with a powerful tool: shameless hypocrisy. When we think with a particular purpose in mind, often that purpose isn’t to find the truth but to defend ourselves or attack our opponents. Psychologists call this “motivated reasoning.” It is why partisans find it so easy to dismiss scandalous revelations about their own candidate while focusing intently on scandalous revelations about the other candidate. Social media, hackers and Google searches help us find specks in our opponents’ eyes, but technology hasn't forced us to acknowledge the logs in our own.

3. “Nature has so formed us that a certain tie unites us all, but…this tie becomes stronger from proximity.”

—Cicero, “On Friendship”

Humans are tribal, but tribalism can be transcended. The key is proximity. Students become friends with the student whose dorm room is next door more than with a student four doors away. People with one friend from the other party are less likely to hate.

But Americans are losing proximity to those on the other side, spending more time in politically purified settings. Democrats pack cities while rural and exurb areas attract Republicans. Churches split over culture. Social life exists online, in homogeneous virtual communities. Meeting the other side anonymously online often leads to extreme incivility.

Yet we have lasted 240 years so far. Both sides agree America is worth fighting for.

Those who would like to let go of anger November 9 without letting go of one’s moral principles might:

a) Separate feelings about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton from your feelings about their supporters. Don’t assume others like or even agree with their candidate on any particular issue. They may be voting out of fears you don’t understand, and if you knew why, you might empathize.

b) Step back and think about your goals. Would you rather change people or hate them? If you actually want to influence people, know that it is nearly impossible to change people’s minds by arguing. When there is mutual antipathy, there is mutual motivated reasoning, defensiveness and hypocrisy.

Open the heart and open the mind. Cultivate personal relationships with the other side. Spend time together, and let Cicero’s proximity strengthen ties.

As our hearts harden, thinking also calcifies, and we become dogmatic. John Stuart Mill wrote in 1859, “He who knows only his own side of the case knows little of that.” So cultivating a few cross-partisan friendships will make you smarter and calmer.

To have a real conversation, approach it skillfully. Open by pointing to a log in your own eye. That signals you aren’t spoiling for combat. Another powerful depolarizing step is praise.

Each of us must decide what kind of person we want to be.  And we must think about the relationship we want with our politically estranged cousins.

Tuesday, November 01, 2016

What to do about the Clinton criminal enterprise?

“Clinton Incorporated-- I think it's a racketeering enterprise.   .   . He does the speeches, they put the money in the pocket, she does the favors in the government. It all links up. Why did they destroy 33,000 emails? Because it shows the link.”

Rudy Giuliani, former New York District Attorney

There is enough evidence to back Giuliani’s claim that “Clinton Inc.” is a criminal enterprise.  In short, the Clinton life story is one of getting away with murder, so to speak.

The best evidence this continues is the Wikilinks detailed memo from the inside, from Bill Clinton’s so-called “body” Doug Band, the man who helped make Bill (and Hill) rich. Read the memo, if you still don’t believe.

By now, we know so much about Clinton criminality (wasn't it all there in “House of Cards”?) that it simply cannot continue.  The Clintons' day of reckoning is at hand.

Conservative guru Michael Barone — pointing to another example — said what I believe:
Success breeds failure. That's one of the melancholy lessons you learn in life. The success of policymakers in stamping out inflation in the 1980s and minimizing recessions for two decades also produced policies that contributed to the collapse of the housing and financial markets in 2007-08.
The Clintons got away with it, and got away with it again, then again.  Now, no more.

So here’s what’s going to happen.  If Hillary wins, her world will turn on her.  The establishment’s perfect solution isn’t “House of Cards.”  It’s “The American President” or “The West Wing” — progressive rule without the impossibly-corrupt Clintons.  Maybe Hillary stays as president, maybe she is forced to resign in favor of Tim Kaine.  But in any case, others will exercise the power.

If Trump wins,  the establishment will hem Trump in and eventually destroy his presidency.  Trump’s latitude for maneuver will be severely restricted.  Trump will enjoy no mandate; he will have won only because he wasn’t as bad as the criminal he opposed.

I hope I'm wrong and Trump does take the establishment down.