Tag: election 2016

Other Candidates Got Your Down? Hoist Yer Stein!

 

American Stein HoistPolitics is a dirty game and nobody has to like federal funding of elections to be resigned to the observation that it’s unlikely to go away anytime soon. Given this observation, what might we do with it? The virtue of strategic, rather than principled, voting – or rather, the assertion that strategic voting is, in reality, the only form of principled voting – has many champions among the Ricochetti this year. Nonetheless, even if we grant that the odds of one’s vote being decisive are large enough in swing states that swing-state voters should feel morally obligated to choose between the two lead candidates (those odds are around one in ten million), many of us live in states so far from swing that they’re not even on the playground (our odds are more like one in a billion).

As of this morning, my state has around a 0.2% chance of tipping the election, and is one of 20 states whose voter power index is under 0.1 (a vote in New Hampshire is more than 50 times more likely than mine to decide the election), according to FiveThirtyEight. (If you don’t like Nate Silver’s methodology, feel free to substitute whichever prediction system you trust most.) Meanwhile, Gary Johnson is polling at around 8 percent nationally. Now, it’s common for polling to overestimate the share of votes third-party candidates will get. Nonetheless, if Johnson is polling at 8 percent now, he has a serious chance of crossing the threshold necessary for the Libertarian Party to receive FEC funding, which is 5 percent of the popular vote. Moreover, as @matt.corbett put it in his recent OP,

As a matter of good public choice theory, sitting out or voting third party (or advocating either) is entirely defensible as part of a long-term strategy. The great paradox of voting coalitions is that the least reliable members have the most influence… Influence can only be re-established with credibility, and credibility can only be re-established by action. An election where “your” candidate is openly contemptuous of you and is most likely a loser anyway is the ideal time to protest vote.

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Voting started today in North Carolina which may be as important a state as Ohio in determining the outcome of the election. How is this a thing? Because in a state with no voter ID laws and reports of people voting and voting often (including the deceased), Democrats win the early vote. Maybe someone can explain how […]

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Dennis Prager has long been one of my favorite conservative radio hosts and pundits. While I certainly don’t agree with him on everything, his deliberate and sober analysis on topics ranging far from politics has always brought far more light than heat to the debates of the day. Above everything, it is Dennis’ willingness to […]

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President Obama may be one of the greatest speakers of our time. Forget the substance for a moment; he nailed his speech to the Democratic National Convention in both tone and inflection. It is the rare speaker who talks incessantly of himself, and yet makes narcissism sound, and feel good. However, those of us who […]

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Trump: Putin’s Manchurian Candidate?

 
The Daily Beast

The Daily Beast

In light of the DNC hack (which digital signatures point to Russia), we would expect the Democrats to divert attention from their embarrassing emails confirming Trump and Bernie’s accusations of a ‘rigged system’. Schadenfreude for the Right, indeed.

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As I was driving to the liquor store to buy some champagne to assuage my dismay on the current state of the polity, I happened to catch a rerun of the old Art Bell radio show. Evidently, this episode was just before the 1996 election, the election where the GOP nominated Bob Dole as the […]

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There’s been a lot of talk lately about voting 3rd party.  Without getting into the back-and-forth of whether this is a good idea or not (Heaven knows there’s been enough of that already), and assuming a viable 3rd party candidate or two exists, what are the questions you would want answered in deciding between leaving […]

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Rise of the Un-Intelligentsia

 

shutterstock_321867719It’s not fear of Donald Trump’s becoming president that causes me despair. There are plenty of safeguards and limitations — not only of the office, but of public attention-span — that makes the scariest of his statements (not coincidentally, this category overlaps with those most-desired by his constituency) extremely unlikely to come to pass. For me, it’s having to face two facts that I am always aware of, but can usually safely ignore. First, that we share this country with a super-majority of people who have a multitude of incorrect worldviews and opinions. Second, that when a republic becomes democratic enough, those people may make their voices heard. Seeing Trump supporters’ views being validated is what causes me despair.

In the rush to stamp down the rise of Trump, many people alluded unthinkingly and superficially to the likes of Hitler, Mussolini, and Pinochet. A much more apt comparison is that of the modern European Right. Not so much the most reprehensible versions like Greece’s Golden Dawn or Hungary’s Jobbik, nor the more respectable ones like Britain’s UKIP, but probably something more like France’s National Front, with it’s combination of protectionism, immigration-skepticism, and (small letter) national socialism. As things currently stand, we run the risk that the two major political parties become the Democrats and an American-European Right. With no natural home for classical liberals, I fear we may become more like Europe than Obama and the Democrat’s wildest dreams.

Some seem to think that Trump is devastating the politically-correct culture; that is, if nothing else, political correctness will be forced to retreat. But it seems more likely to me that Trump’s ability to get away with saying things will not trickle down to greater freedom of expression for Joe Everyman. The media is happy to cover Trump’s daily outrages because they’re good for ratings; the rest of us will just be bigots. If Trump doesn’t complete the American transition into a European-style social republic, he’ll be an aberration that will evaporate as soon as he’s gone.

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First a movie recommendation: I finally watched The Big Short (I know, I’m behind) which detailed several risk-hardy investors who, in 2007-08, bet against the housing market. Since I watched the movie, I am now of course an expert who can share his opinion about the financial crisis. One of the takeaways was how obvious the signals […]

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Out of Chaos Comes Order (?)

 

HillaryEven Werner Heisenberg would be shaking his head at the unpredictable mess that is election 2016. And consider this; we may not have seen anything yet. In today’s New York Post Charles Gasparino offers this tidbit:

FBI chief James Comey and his investigators are increasingly certain that presidential nominee Hillary Clinton violated laws in handling classified government information through her private email server, career agents say. “You don’t start granting people close to Clinton immunity unless you are seriously looking at charges against your target,” one former official told me. [… Some] FBI staffers suggest the probe’s at a point where Comey might quit in protest if Justice ignores a recommendation to pursue a criminal case against Clinton.

If Hillary is criminally charged and is required to suspend her campaign, the internal strife for Democrats will make the current GOP family squabble look like a meditation circle.

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The family and I saw Hamilton a few weeks’ back, and I’m happy to report it’s well-deserving of the hype. Yet for all Hamilton’s innovation and genre-crossing score, there’s another, lesser presidential musical that nails our current political zeitgeist, with lots of raunchy humor and surprising feeling. Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson premiered on Broadway in […]

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If your candidate won tonight, congratulations. 34 states have yet to vote but math is math… It doesn’t lie. We have our presumed nominee. A relatively small group of folks in three handfuls of states have determined what’s best for the entire country. I respect, while disagreeing with their choice. Without a voice I can […]

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Libertarians Should Help Save the Most Libertarian Part of Government

 
640px-US_Supreme_Court_Building

SCOTUS by Duncan Lock, Dflock – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0.

Libertarians rarely get many outright victories in our political system. The median voter is a moderate socialist statist and Congress is filled with law-makers, not law-repealers. The president and Congress are — more often than not — in a symbiotic rather than an adversarial relationship, with calls of “bipartisanship” almost always working against freedom.

Water Polo and the Judge

 

131007_DX_ScaliaIsMean.jpg.CROP.promo-mediumlargeThe whistles from both sides of the Olympic pool blew hard. The white clad referees each pointed to the defender in front of my son and held up the four fingers representing his number, and then pointed to the side. The player was done. Kicked out. The blood oozing from my sons nose was finally enough proof the other kid used his elbow too many times.

Not wanting to mollycoddle, but suitably concerned, I remained standing in my position, clapping and cheering him on as the teams went back to their respective corners. The coach checked on my son. This wasn’t just any game; they were deep into a qualifying tournament, just a feat to be there at all, which if they medaled would provide an invite to the Junior Olympics.

For the past few minutes the phone was furiously buzzing in my back pocket. It was Saturday afternoon. No business today, I thought, and left alone whatever was going on in the outside world.

Hands off the Nomination Process

 

HandI believe the prediction markets are correct and that the Democrats are more likely than not to win the presidency again this year. This has less to do with the Democrat’s talent than is has to do with the Republican brand’s failure to sell in national elections.

Republicans and Democrats have opposite problems this round: they’re running on the fumes from two generations ago; we’re too young and untried. Our talent was especially too young the last two times around and, this time, they are like those college athletes who “go pro” a year too soon. Our deep bench looked good from a distance but reality shows that our side is still very green. And what about the governors? My guess is the governor model of nominee sourcing has become too parochial. What appeals in Wisconsin, New Jersey, or Texas may not generalize to the rest of the country. But despite all this — and the likelihood that we’ll miss one of our best chances to meaningful strike down Obamacare– I’d rather be in our position than theirs.

As for our nomination process, the results so far are more a symptom than a cause of the Republican’s woes. Despite our two-party system, we really are a set of two multi-party coalitions. And new “parties” are spontaneously created without name or explicit organization. The Trump voters were always there and they aren’t any smarter or dumber than they were in the past; what’s new is the they had someone to coalesce around. If we’re going to have any hope of healing the coalitions’ wounds without Trump, he has to be beaten legitimately.

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Now, I usually enjoy The Federalist website, but this piece by Gabriel Malor is simply awful. I hope that I see the senate display some backbone and block any Obama appointment to fill Scalia’s seat. We owe it to his legacy to ensure that Obama is not able to name his successor. However, the article by Malor would […]

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In the past two weeks I have read or heard no fewer than six editorials claiming that the so-caled Trump Ceiling is a myth. These have come from long-established sources such as James Taranto in the WSJ and Sean Hannity’s radio show. Every one of them makes the same claim: In the voting booth, conservatives […]

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Let’s play a game. Picture we were back in the days when the nomination process was a cryptic affair. We vote (or caucus) on delegates based on their wisdom and not on which candidate they promised to back. Then they all are sent to the convention with nothing decided before hand. Potential nominees would put […]

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