Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Explaining the Gut Punch

Okay… cue background music. Robert Palmer’s “Women are smarter in every way.” Our anthem for tonight. And perhaps for four years.

And so let us continue with more unconventional and alternative perspectives on the election.  But first, just a few words on the frenzied protests in our cities. 


Oh, I’m sympathetic to the revulsion, and appreciate raw passion. (Crisis hotlines are helping people cope.) Still: “Did all you folks in the street vote? Did you precinct walk and knock on doors? Did you try to engage (and even listen to) a few of your red neighbors, this round? What is it you expect raucous demonstrations to accomplish? Other than give opportunities for street trolls (learn the French term agents provocateurs) to draw camera attention, by burning flags? I’m curious.


Oh, I can dig the sense of desperation. Among those clasping for straws, one fellow begs Warren Buffett to offer to pay any fines incurred by any members of the Electoral College who cannot stomach the duty before themOver 4 million have signed the petition on Change.org for the Electoral College to make Clinton president on December 19, using the excuse that she won two million more votes than Mr. Trump.

Hm. Not impossible, in theory, but that ‘salvation’ ain’t gonna happen, and indeed probably shouldn’t. Though the glimmering possibility could help explain why Donald Trump is keeping mum and making pleasant sounds, wanting no scandals till after the Electoral College vote. 


A more tasty fantasy... For the electors to pick Tim Kaine as Vice President. To serve as a caution, always lurking at DT’s elbow. But also to deter Paul Ryan from ever betraying Trump by trying this trick. Yeah, right. 

The least implausible and most eloquently argued Electoral College Gambit is this one put forward by E. J. Xavier. Force House Republicans to Elect Trump.” 

Huh?  Read that again. It’s not a fantasy about reversing the election results. That’s not happening, folks. But getting enough electors to abstain, so that no candidate gets a majority? That would throw the choice to the U.S. House of Representatives. And what would that accomplish? Paul Ryan’s majority-of-states there would then choose a Republican, and it would be Trump. So what’s the deal? It would force them to take full responsibility for Trump. Read Xavier’s essay. It is persuasive enough that thirty or so Republican electors might… well…

Nah. Sci Fi can be fun and we’ll return to fantasy politics later. But now it’s time to dive into that turbid sea of rationalizations for what actually happened. How did we get punched in the gut?

 First from fabulators of the right.

== The Bushite Establishment Rationalizes ==

Those who concocted this mess, who egged on the lobotomization of the Republican Party – especially Glen Beck and George F. Will – have been seen moaning imprecations in every direction except toward the nearest mirror. They, along with Rupert Murdoch, Roger Ailes, Dennis Hastert and the Fox Elite, created the frothing creature we all witnessed at those rallies. DT merely leaped into the saddle, toppled the appointed jockeys, and expertly grabbed the reins. But you did this, fellahs. We aren’t interested in your fairy tale excuses, boys. Or Megyn Kelly’s.

A more interesting conservative source is John Mauldin’s newsletter, which offers up some choice justifications. For example, international financier Charles Gave targets the globalist “Davos Men,” citing Trump as a reversion to basic nationalism: “Trump’s election victory is a clear indication that the majority of people are not interested in a world government, but want to return to a classical, local democracy.”  

Good try, Charles. As if ‘world government’ was even remotely on the minds of the Trump electorate. And as if ‘democracy’ was the visceral goal of a putsch whose principal outcomes - every policy goal shared by Trump and the GOP -- will favor oligarchy, all the way down till we reach 1789.

His father, legendary money-mover Louis Gave, starts out much wiser by citing Alexis de Tocqueville, who wrote the following of American democracy:

“The election becomes the greatest and, as it were, the only matter which occupies people’s minds. Then political factions redouble their enthusiasm; every possible phony passion that the imagination can conceive in a contented and peaceful country comes out into the light of day… As the election draws near, intrigues multiply and turmoil spreads. Citizens divide up between several camps each of which adopts the name of its candidate. The whole nation descends into a feverish state; the election becomes the daily theme of newspapers, the subject of private conversations, the object of every maneuver and every thought, the only concern of the present moment. It is true that as soon as the result has been announced, this passion is dispelled, all returns to calm, and the river which momentarily overflowed its banks returns peacefully to its bed.”

Perspective, indeed.  Alas, Louis doubts things will settle down this time. Far more on target than his son, he writes:

“Back in 2004, John Kerry had made the theme of his campaign the problem with the “Two Americas”. And of course, back then Kerry referred to the rich and the poor. But this vote illustrates that the US really is dividing into two countries as the gulf in voting patterns widens along income, education, gender, class, and urban/rural divides. Increasingly, Americans seem to live in self-reinforcing echo-chambers where they solely interact with people who hold the same beliefs and values. Combine this new reality with the news filtering capacity provided by social media algorithms and it is clear that growing parts of the country will never have to confront uncomfortable facts, or opinions.”

And yes, I predicted this Echo Chamber Effect long ago, in Earth (1989). And its possible, catastrophic outcome, in The Postman.

John Pavley, Sr. Vice President at Viacom, takes this thought farther, talking about how these new media are causing social breakdowns. moreover, this lobotomization is familiar, from history.

Remember, the first effect of the printing press was to exacerbate intolerance... till printed books later empowered people to fight against it. Or ponder the way 1930s radio first wrought fanaticism and horror before it fostered empathy. Likewise, Pavley talks about how monsters are using the new media more effectively, before they can increase our reasoning ability and empathy:

“The broadcast technologies of the pre-social media world coerced us into consensus. We had to share them because they were mass media, one-to-many communications where the line between audience and broadcaster was clear and seldom crossed. Then came the public internet and the World Wide Web of decentralized distribution. Then came super computers in our pockets with fully equipped media studios in our hands. Then came user generated content, blogging and tweeting such that there were as many authors as there were audience members.

“Here the troll was born…. Every time you share a link to a news article you didn’t read (which is something like 75% of the time), every time you like a post without critically thinking about it (which is almost always), and every time you rant in anger or in anxiety in your social media of choice, you are the troll.”

Max Read argues in New York Magazine that our ‘echo chamber’ mentality, to gather in likeminded swarms online, may have been a crucial factor this year. Polemically fervid-uniform ’nuremberg rallies”... and there are (yes) some on the left, too.

“All throughout the election, these fake stories, sometimes papered over with flimsy “parody site” disclosures somewhere in small type, circulated throughout Facebook: The Pope endorses Trump. Hillary Clinton bought $137 million in illegal arms. The Clintons bought a $200 million house in the Maldives. Many got hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of shares, likes, and comments; enough people clicked through to the posts to generate significant profits for their creators. The valiant efforts of Snopes and other debunking organizations were insufficient; Facebook’s labyrinthine sharing and privacy settings mean that fact-checks get lost in the shuffle.”  


Yes to much of that. Fretful over how social media are being blamed for the Echo Chamber Effect, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg published a response to accusations that “fake news” on Facebook influenced the outcome of the U.S. election, and helped Donald Trump to win. Oh, if only he were interested in simple ways to make this a win-win.

== An amputation we cannot afford ==


Of course this relates to the decline of professional journalism, which endangers us all. Each year, we train thousands of ambitiously dedicated young people -- some of our very best -- overflowing with curiosity, to go forth and ask questions of the widest variety of sources. The profession has many lapses and can fail at times, but it happens to be one of the three dozen or so that deal most avidly in those things called facts. And hence, journalism -- along with science, teaching, medicine, civil service, economics, diplomats... and let me repeat, above all science... have all been declared enemies by Fox, the alt-right and trumpism. They share this, down to the marrow.


But journalism is being undermined even more powerfully by one flaw in today's internet! By the Net/web's astonishing over-reliance on advertising to pay the bills. A business model that has worked far longer than I ever expected it to. But by sucking away the revenue source of old fashioned, fact-centered investigative news media, this business model has harmed us all.


In this series of articles at the bold Evonomics website, I make the case for micropayment systems for online content, offering the "secret sauce" that could make them (at last) work.  And possibly save professional journalism. And possibly thereby... all of us.

(Advertising Cannot Maintain the Internet -- Here’s the “Secret Sauce” Solution and Beyond Advertising: Will Micropayments Sustain the New Internet?)

Alas, even as we discuss the Internet's real design problems – recalling that every new medium since glass lenses and movable type has rocked society and done harm, till we learned to use it well -- Louis Gave and John Pavley and the others are still pointing to a surface phenomenon. 

An exacerbating tool or symptom, rather than the disease.

What disease? Alas, Americans know no history, or the context for all of this should be blatantly obvious -- that this patterned illness has struck before! Many times. In its most violent manifestation it was called the Civil War – lately “culture war.” 

And – manifestly - it’s been deliberately re-ignited

Moreover, we’ll see that this is the only model for recent events that actually fits every single thing that happened.

== A pause for the Sci Fi perspective ==

More of these rationalizations in a moment. But let’s pause, at intervals, to try striking a lighter – if cynical – tone.

The most compellingly science fictional interpretation? If Nate Silver was our Hari Seldon, then Donald Trump is the Mule.” Some of you get exactly what that means. If not? Then save it for another time.  (Late addendum: This fellow took the same comparison and put it to lyrics: ‘The Mule’ — An Anti-Trump Power Ballad'.)

Or take this from my blog’s comment section, where A.F. Rey related... ‘My wife said first the Cubs win the World Series, now Biff is in charge. It's Back to the Future coming true.’

Oops. And we left Jennifer sleeping on the porch swing. Biff. Oh sweet lord. Are there any differences?

Ah, but now we’ll never know if Bill Clinton would have been called “First Laddy.” Or if she’d have given him a cabinet appointment, to keep him both busy and close… or an ambassadorship to keep him far. (Sweden, if she still liked him; Afghanistan, if not.)  Now? We can only speculate.

Enough comedy. Back to work.

== Finally… more chillingly plausible sci fi ==

There’s so much material.  So let’s put it aside for now and post what we’ve got.  Except for this final thought.

The ‘Prediction professor’ who called Trump’s big win also made another forecast: Trump will be impeached. 

Allan J. Lichtman’s book, “Predicting the Next President: The Keys to the White House 2016,” was among the few that forecast successfully the results of this election.

Lichtman also puts forward a forecast that’s similar to a “what-if” that I issued, months ago, based on a obvious fact — that the Republican establishment “don't want Trump as president, because they can't control him. He's unpredictable. They'd love to have Pence — an absolutely down-the-line, conservative, controllable Republican. And I'm quite certain Trump will give someone grounds for impeachment, either by doing something that endangers national security or because it helps his pocketbook.”

Adds Lichtman: “The Democrats cannot rebuild by pointing fingers at Hillary Clinton and her campaign, which as the Keys demonstrated, were not the root cause of her defeat,” he said. “The Democrats can rehabilitate themselves only by offering an inspiring progressive alternative to Republican policies and building a grass-roots movement.”

Oh, I will talk about that. As if anyone listens.

===


-- return to Part I: We are in it, all right, but "figuratively" or "literally"?
or continue to Part III: Might some zillionaire save us?

100 comments:

Anonymous said...

Seriously Dr. Brin: Run for office. Even if just for CA State Senate, I will volunteer my time (on the weekends) for your run. It is clear that we need more engineers, scientists and other educated professionals to sacrifice their career goals for the longer term good of having these voices Up There. You are qualified and could very well win an election in this part of California. Any lack of "charisma" would easily be countered by the novelty of running as a highly respected novelist. We could use dozens more Sci-Fi authors in the Halls of Power.

-AtomicZeppelinMan

Deuxglass said...

I will be looking closely at Trumps’ infrastructure bill and it will probably be the first thing he does. Trump comes from that industry and he knows it from the inside. He knows the methods they use to rip off the government and their clients. If the bill is well-thought-out enough to close those loopholes then I would have to conclude that he is sincere and that he knows what he is doing on that particular subject. In that case I would support it. Just because he would be doing right on that issue does not mean that I would support him on all other issues. It is a case-by-case approach and I would use the same criteria when it comes to modifying Obamacare. Let’s see what he serves up. If some people see this as dealing with the Devil then so be it. I don’t care.

A handful of mega-coastal cities does not a country make. At the time when the Constitution was written the two most populous states were Virginia and New York and the other states did not want all the shots being called by Virginia slave-owners and New York financiers and in that sense nothing has changed. A state has the right to apportion their own electors by district if they choose to and Maine and Nebraska have done this however none of the populous states have modified-the-winner-take-all basis and for reason. It would dilute their clout. California has 55 electors and they all voted for Clinton however there are several parts of the state that went for Trump. If California used the same system as Maine then then it would have only 45 for Clinton and 10 for Trump. Since California is dominated by the Democrats the last thing they want is to dilute their clout. Nevertheless the Californians would want swing states to be like Nebraska and Maine and apportion their electors by district all the while refusing to do the same thing in their own state. This smells of hypocrisy to me. You can come up with slick legal arguments but I won’t swallow them unless the populous states take that necessary step but they won’t.

sociotard said...

Dr. Brin, I wondered if you could respond to this comment from a politically moderate friend of mine regarding the Blanket Primary system in California.

You are confusing proximate and ultimate causes here. Republicans aren't creating voter ID laws to mindlessly discriminate against blacks, latinos, and other groups. They are doing it to prevent Democratic voter turnout. If even for a moment a Republican law-maker thought that they would get 60% of the black vote (as opposed to ~5%), such laws would find themselves out in the cold. And that is the real concern from the Democratic party. The proximate effect is that certain minority groups find it harder to vote but the the ultimate effect is that the Democratic party gets less votes.

In California, they have created a situation that is designed to limit Republican turnout through disenfranchising them. By extremely curtailing an already limited group they have left the state without a vocal opposition during the election. You get your choice from Blue or Navy. They even eliminated the option of a "protest vote". The only protest vote allowed people is the protest of not voting at all. And guess what. We just saw the biggest "protest vote" for Senate in at least my voting lifetime for California.

Democrats in California have found a way to ensure continued power, lower Republican turnout on all down ballot initiatives and somehow aren't being call out on purposeful voter disenfranchisement.


In essence, by creating situations where the choice is sometimes "light blue or Navy blue", California has not enabled conservatives to be pragmatic and at least get a more moderate representative, but actually removed conservatives right to protest vote.

Now I wanted to deny it, but data does seem to bear him out. Since 2010, Californian voter turnout has just gone down. It has gone down compared to the national average and the blue state average.

Year California National Blue States
2014 30.7% 36.7% 36.4%
2012 55.7% 58.6% 59.6%
2010 45.9% 41.8% 44.7%
2008 61.7% 62.2% 64.2%
2006 41.2% 41.3% 43.3%
2004 59.6% 60.7% 62.6%
2002 37.3% 40.5% 42.0%
2000 56.6% 55.3% 58.3%
1998 44.7% 39.3% 44.0%
1996 55.0% 51.7% 55.7%
1994 48.2% 41.1% 45.9%
1992 61.6% 58.1% 62.3%
1990 43.5% 38.4% 42.7%
1988 57.5% 52.8% 57.7%
1986 44.4% 38.1% 41.1%
1984 58.9% 55.2% 60.1%

Taking the Difference between California and National, and California and Blue
2014 -6.0% -5.7%
2012 -2.9% -3.9%
2010 4.1% 1.2%
2008 -0.5% -2.5%
2006 -0.1% -2.1%
2004 -1.1% -3.0%
2002 -3.2% -4.7%
2000 1.3% -1.7%
1998 5.4% 0.7%
1996 3.3% -0.7%
1994 7.1% 2.3%
1992 3.5% -0.7%
1990 5.1% 0.8%
1988 4.7% -0.2%
1986 6.3% 3.3%
1984 3.7% -1.2%

Deuxglass said...

The fact that Google and Facebook have captured 90% of advertising revenue within a decade that formerly supported local and national newspapers is the most dangerous development for democracy in the US this century.

TCB said...

I only broached this issue at the ragged end of the comment thread on the last post, and risk becoming dreary and repetetetetive, but I consider the topic of election theft important at this moment; I shall make it my "Carthago delenda est" refrain from now on, far past the Malauguration of Usurper Trump:

Exit polls indicate that the Republicans stole this election, in North Carolina (my home state and scene of the HB2 uprising, and therefore a place where a Trump victory still feels very very wrong), Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Florida; exit polls were considered nigh-infallible indicators of a tainted election result until after 2004, when John Kerry's surprising loss gave rise to the new legend that "People lie to exist pollsters."

I ask again: has anyone here seen evidence that this is true? Not vague anecdotal excuses, but real and verifiable evidence? I know it would be hard to prove voters are lying to exit pollsters in numbers great enough to skew results. I know evidence would be hard to come by.

But who really bears the burden of proof here? The exit poll denialists, or those who still trust them? I say it's on the denialists to prove it if they can!

Especially when the people who have the most to gain from the exit poll denialism are the same GOP extremists who lie about so much else.

I assume President Obama and many others are fearful of opening the election-theft can of worms, urging us to accept the result, just as in 2000 when the Republicans stole Florida and the Supreme Court, and in 2004 when according to exit polls they most likely stole Ohio. Even if the United States then declared the 2004 Ukrainian election fraudulent because the exit polls did not accord with the official tally!

The just-accept-it idea is that to do otherwise would tear the country apart; this seems reasonable.

Until we see that the victorious fascist/Confederates will tear it apart anyway, on their own terms.

And so, Coniurandi delenda est.

http://www.alternet.org/something-stinks-when-exit-polls-and-official-counts-dont-match

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

Oh, I’m sympathetic to the revulsion, and appreciate raw passion. (Crisis hotlines are helping people cope.) Still: “Did all you folks in the street vote? Did you precinct walk and knock on doors? Did you try to engage (and even listen to) a few of your red neighbors, this round?


The liberal columnist, Eric Zorn (Chicago Tribune), said pretty much the same thing last Sunday. But I wonder if both of your invective is misplaced. The protests he was talking about were in Chicago. It's likely those people did vote for Hillary, and even if not, Illinois went Democratic, not just for president, but for senate and many congressional and state legislative seats. So what more could those protestors have done politically?

Your complaint sounds a bit like a stand-up comedian (or a Canadian comic writer-heh) yelling at his audience about how few of them showed up. The ones who are there to hear you are not the problem.


donzelion said...

Sociotard: "Democrats in California have found a way to ensure continued power, lower Republican turnout on all down ballot initiatives and somehow aren't being call out on purposeful voter disenfranchisement."

That's one possible theory. Then look at county-by-county numbers: what's the largest county in California with less than 50% turnout? Um, Los Angeles. A Democratic stronghold. Why would they ever take steps to suppress their own partisans?

http://vote.sos.ca.gov/returns/status/

Here's a better theory that fits the evidence: elections are hard, and a lot of people don't vote when they could. Period. Registration is the first step; there's a lot more needed, and registration databases aren't automatically updated by, say, a DMV filing changing address or something comparable - and with a large influx of non-English speakers, who are also among those least likely to vote, we should expect a drop in turnout until steps are taken to reverse that. (Many such steps have been taken - more are needed.)

When California adopted a nonpartisan blanket primary, it was reviewed by Chief Justice Roberts (who is certainly not a liberal Democrat), deemed constitutionally adequate by the Supreme Court, as it remains a variation of the system currently used in certain Louisiana and Texas elections (hardly Democrat-dominated states). The precise system used in California was proposed in Oregon, backed by Bloomberg (hardly a Democrat), but failed there. There is no evidence of voter registration purges, no evidence of partisan control, and fairly strong efforts at reining in gerrymandering (the largest of which was also backed - and succeeded - by Republican stalwart Charles Munger Jr. in 2010).

So either all these Republican figures, appointees, and financiers are in on the game and consciously trying to suppress Republicans - or there simply isn't voter suppression in California.

Now North Carolina has a very different story...

Jumper said...

TCB, I am in NC also. Please read this and look up the exact statute in NC law. (an out-of-state website tells about NC law here.)
http://www.ceimn.org/state-audit-laws-searchable-database/states/north%20carolina

I'm trying to find out about this "random selection" and not gettin much info from my local people, although I'm in Charlotte where we generally go Dem.

David Brin said...

AZM thanks. But I have said too many intemperate and deliberately provocative things to run for office. My contrarian orneryness makes me offensive to all extremes. But the great news from my own district is that Col. Doug Applegate but the fear of Beezelbub into Darrell Issa! Maybe the dems will learn. Recruite lots and lots of sane Marine colonels!

Sociotard: “In essence, by creating situations where the choice is sometimes "light blue or Navy blue", California has not enabled conservatives to be pragmatic and at least get a more moderate representative, but actually removed conservatives right to protest vote.”

Sorry, this is entirely and 100% wrong. The recent Harris Sanchez fight showed an entirely different scenario. When the top two are democrats, they each suddenly discover… “hey, there’s a species here that has 1/3 of the votes, called “republicans.” Maybe I can win some of those votes by LISTENING to them and trying to adapt to a win-win.

Sanchez, a liberal democrat, spent gobs of time in GOP areas. Yes, listening, as such voters were never listened to before.

One recent for the accelerating decline in the GOP in CA? Californians despise fanaticism. They see it taking over the GOP… while the DP in California has been earning cred as stunningly pragmatic, hard-working and mostly moderate.

TCB you are right that arguments should often parse around “burden of proof.”

Those who claim all scientists are conformist shills bear the BoP.

Those who see the stench of relentless GOP overt cheating bear a BoP that it does not extend to voting results, themselves.

Russell Osterlund said...

Thank you for being a source of comfort at the start of a long, cold, dark winter. Your writing generates what little humor exists after the disaster of 11/8.

TCB said...

Dr. Brin, you are indeed a light unto the darkness, and thank you.

@ Jumper, I just spent about thirty seconds scoping out the link you provided re: NC election audit information.

Jeez, that's thin gruel! From the linked site:

"State Summary

"Signed into law in 2005, North Carolina's audit law requires that only one election contest per election be audited. It is one of only a handful of states that requires that the size of the audit sample be chosen in consultation with a statistician to ensure that the sample is statistically significant for the given election. The audit results are binding upon the official election results and may lead to a full manual recount.

"Unless otherwise noted, all information below comes from the NCGS 163-182.1(b)(1).
Transparency:
No statutory reguirement that audits be conducted publicly
No statutory requirement that audit results and data be made public
No statutory guidance allowing observers to verify ballot marks

(End quote.)

Whillikers! We get to audit only ONE election contest per election? WHICH ONE? Who decides which one? No public audits? Etc. etc. etc.

I bet most other states are little better. Anyway, I followed the link to the actual law, to see if I could unpack it any.

http://www.ncga.state.nc.us/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/HTML/BySection/Chapter_163/GS_163-182.1.html.
Got a 404. Nobody here but us pigeons.

http://www.ncleg.net/EnactedLegislation/Statutes/PDF/BySection/Chapter_163/GS_163-182.1.pdf
Better. But the referenced section doesn't really say much of what Jumper's link says, except to say that the presidential election shall be the one reviewed by hand-to-eye count, if there's a presidential election in that cycle. Jumper, if you really want to stay up all night reading, here's the relevant Chapter 163 of the NC General Statutes.

http://www.ncleg.net/gascripts/statutes/StatutesTOC.pl?Chapter=0163

David Brin said...

Does anyone know the Latin phrase for some kind of private consultation... that uses something like "in pectorum"? Pecto, something/

LarryHart said...

Deuxglass:

Since California is dominated by the Democrats the last thing they want is to dilute their clout. Nevertheless the Californians would want swing states to be like Nebraska and Maine and apportion their electors by district all the while refusing to do the same thing in their own state. This smells of hypocrisy to me. You can come up with slick legal arguments but I won’t swallow them unless the populous states take that necessary step but they won’t.


Why do the Democratic-controlled states have to dilute their own power first and then hope the Republicans will do the same, when history says they won't? Which states have signed onto the interstate compact to apportion their electoral votes to the winner of the national popular vote? The populous Democratic states. When will red states follow suit? I'm guessing never. So much for "Throw down your weapons first, and then we'll drop ours."

Tacitus2 said...

TCB

If I am getting details correctly in my quick skim, you are in NC. Surely a state where the political fervor was just about the highest. I make some allowances on that basis. And I understand why you are upset.

And make no mistake, this election is bad news for the Democrats. Outside of the NE, the West Coast and Illinois they have been clobbered but good. The "farm system" for developing the future candidates for Congress, Senate and President has been nearly destroyed. Supreme Court nominations for at least four years are out of their hands. Their willing assistants in the traditional media have been per Wikileaks, shown up as shills. I actually think this is not a good thing for the nation, as my unease at "Unitary Power" by any party is considerable. Trump and co. need close watching.

But lets consider your stolen election theory.

David posits that because Republicans are by their nature poopies that this is exactly the sort of thing they might do and therefore we should assume that they did it.

This is Kubler Ross 1/2 thinking, a mixture of denial and anger.

OK. To steal the election on this grand a scale...my God Clinton barely squeaked out a win in Minnesota! - would not be a matter of a few hacks to the old Diebolds. It would require a sizable conspiracy. The vote totals were surprising across most of the nation. So, is there some sort of Secret Lair where Naughty Sec.s of State get together and chortle? If this election has shown us anything it is that you can't keep secrets. But I guess, it is barely possible.

OTOH, when did Exit Polls become your standard?

They pick a small number of districts that they feel are bellwethers. They might guess poorly.
They hand out questionaires. More than half those approached decline. They try to eyeball the decliners and figure out...hmmmm, Republican or Democrat? Even those who do respond may or may not tell the truth. I suspect most actually are honest responses, its the first two fudge factors that are the issue.

The decliners are likely to be disproportionatley Trump voters. I mean, how long can you call people Deplorable, Beyond Redemption, Racist, Homophobic, Transphobic, Islamophobic etc before they don't want to discuss their politics at all. With anyone.

If you have proof, then you also have a duty to bring it forward. Otherwise you do your country and your own political movement a disservice by trying to deligitimize the result of a free election. Republicans were far more gracious when Al Franken tipped control of the Senate in 2008 by a margain of 225 votes. It was so close that there was actual discusion of how to allocate a write in vote for "The Lizard People".

Tacitus

Berial said...

I don't really care if we can prove any fraud (and I'm NOT trying to say that happened at all), but the standard for most Republican's wrt Voter ID has been if ANY fraud is happening then we MUST STOP IT! If that's the case then WHY oh WHY do we have totally electronic voting machines with no paper trail? I don't care if it's 'cheaper' it's TOTALLY hackable. How is that acceptable to ANYONE?

Tony Fisk said...

If you haven't already picked up on her, I'd recommend following Sarah Kendzior.
Her basic take: where Uzbekistan has gone, Trump's America will follow, swifter than you'd believe. Don't imagine you will have a chance to correct this in four years, or even two. I'm sure there's a contrarian response to that assertion (eg the deeply rooted affiliations of American institutions like the JCS), but it's worth following the logic of a student of central Asian politics who saw Trump rising a year ago, which is more than many of us did.

The street protests offer a sense of unity of purpose. They will let off some of the steam arising from the frustration of a shock defeat. Beyond that, however, you can't maintain rage at that level for four years.* I think this is Obama's point when he says don't expect to hear much from him before Thanksgiving. What I do recommend is not to accept the 'normalisation' that is starting to be seen in mainstream media. Trump came to power on a rhetorical tsunami of bigotry and division. I see no reason to assume anything different about his stated intentions, and no reason to accept it as normal. It's up to him to make the effort to make a break. Americans probably don't need telling this, though.

* However, snap protests can be a gut punch in themselves, as seen with this failed experiment in totalitarian toe dipping.

TCB said...

@Tacitus2: Sure, I'm ahhhhh upset about recent electoral events in North Carolina, so all of a sudden I'm frothing irresponsibly about how the GOP stole the election because I just heard of the notion.

Oh, wait. Why did I drive all the way to Washington in January 2001 with a large banner in the trunk of my car which said FRAUD?

Point being, these matters have been all over my radar for over fifteen years while everyone around me acted like nothing weird was happening.

You want to shut me up? How about this?

Keep ALL the raw data from EVERY US election right down to dog catcher, available to ANYONE for inspection and RETAINED for DECADES.

The Library of Congress could handle it without breaking a sweat.

See, the real problem here is that the elections are supposed to be honest and fair and accurate, provably and beyond doubt. Technically, it's a freakin' cinch to do.

But politically it's... impossible? Because that would threaten the powerful?

And as for exit polls: here's the USAID manual which explains how they are used to keep elections honest.
http://pdf.usaid.gov/pdf_docs/PA00KGWR.pdf

Don't tell me I'm deligitimizing the result of a free election. You cannot prove to me that it was a free election. And yet, it would be easy to prove if the people running them wanted it.

LarryHart said...

Dr Brin in the main post:

The most compellingly science fictional interpretation? “If Nate Silver was our Hari Seldon, then Donald Trump is the Mule.” Some of you get exactly what that means. If not? Then save it for another time.


Even before the Mule's forces invade, the Trantor government had become a heredetary monarchy (three generations of Indburs) full of corruption. And I especially remember the debilitating despair which finally overcame Trantor as the Mule's forces invaded. The Foundation, already dispirited, was defeated without a shot fired because they were so depressed they just gave up.

Any of this sound familiar?

BTW, I sort of soft-spoiled the middle book of the Foundation trilogy above, but if you don't want it completely spoiled, don't click on the link from the main post, as that article just gives away the Mule's secret identity.



David Brin said...

Tony — I do believe that John Roberts and Samuel Alito will side with us, if it gets too blatant. They are sellouts and oligarchy-tools, but they do not want to think of themselves that way. There is one justice who, of course hates us with a desperate passion.

Tacitus, your gloat about the distaster to the DP is fine. Enjoy. Except for outright filthy lies like the following: “Their willing assistants in the traditional media have been per Wikileaks, shown up as shills.”

Sir, you know nothing about Journalism, as it seems that no republican knows a thing about science. You are rationalizing, by declaring than an entire profession of the most curious and vigorous question askers in society are all lemming, dogmatic shills and sellouts.. You cling to a smugness of ignoramus hatred of the smart. You'd not last a week in their business.

As for the election, I have never claimed that voting machine fraud actually tipped some states, though it would not take much or many. What I claim, and you know to be true, is that the Republican Party is consistently, always and egregiously cheating, at all levels and all the time. Monstrously and endlessly. And they feel no shame at all or even reason to mention the fact that a majority of the people voted against them for both president and congress.

For you to quibble on this or that sapling is to frantically, desperately ignore the forest. A corrupt forest of utter … yes… poopies. I am immune to your snark because you never, ever answer with any facts. Because facts no longer are currency in GOP land.

Let’s check it out. Push for a national election commission that has real power! Push for money limits. Push for Nationally certified voting machines. A national ID card so no one can be disenfranchised.

A BIG whistleblower reward system, to lure henchmen into betraying cheaters. The Kochs offered giant ones for scientist defectors from climate change, to no avail. But that was because they were asking honest men and women to lie. This would be different.


Flypusher said...

If impeachment is indeed in the cards, the Dems absolutely can make sure that the House vote is entirely on the GOP. A simple majority is needed there, and all the Dems could vote "abstain" couldn't they? Since the Senate needs 67, I wonder what the GOP Senators would be offering.

donzelion said...

Dr. Brin: "Push for a national election commission that has real power!"

The Federal Election Commission actually has quite a bit of power: the dark pools of money in American politics are almost entirely untainted by foreign money and influence (as even the oligarchs are leery of drawing scrutiny into their war chests). 'Citizens United' may have wiped out campaign finance reform a la McCain-Feingold, but it left intact all the controls in place (which actually have existed for decades) with respect to foreign money.

Foreign money simply cannot penetrate the system without extreme and expensive controls, the like of which makes money laundering operations look like child's play - and which, if unearthed, would seriously hurt the oligarchs typically controlling the pools (gaining them nothing compared to the rewards of doing this themselves - and these aren't people accustomed to taking bad bets with minimal payoff).

Foreigners interested in manipulating American elections do explore alternative means - e.g., fake news stories, tampering, leaks - which have the advantages of being dirt cheap, self-disseminating, difficult to trace, and resistant to refutation.

"A national ID card so no one can be disenfranchised."
That comes up from time to time, but Republicans generally nip that one in the bud before it even sees discussion (the only times I've encountered it in Congressional hearings was in the context of how to ensure that this would never be discussed, no money would ever be spent on the discussion, etc.).

Marino said...

"In pectore"

locumranch said...


Of course, not "all scientists are conformist shills", yet neither are they iconoclastic death-defying renegades who are immune to peer pressure, praise, paychecks or selfish gain. They remain human, bound by all of the same unspoken rules of human interaction, including the proverbial "Whose bread I eat his song I sing". To argue otherwise smacks of an excuse.

Do you know the difference between an excuse and an explanation?

An excuse is a causality-denying rationalisation. It is magical thinking; It is an emotional statement of irresponsibility; "It just happened -- it's not connected -- I didn't do it -- we intended otherwise"; and it is implied in a pseudo-logical construct like "Mussolini was a bad man (statement) BUT at least he made the trains run on time (excuse)".

In contrast, an explanation represents the acknowledgement of causality. It is an expression of responsibility; it is mature, reasonable and unemotional; it is "I did A which led to B because A leads to B; therefore, I will avoid A in the future if B is undesirable"; and it is self-evident in a construct like "Mussolini made the trains run on time (statement) because he was a bad man who scared others into timeliness (explanation).

David avoids explanations, prefers excuses and appears to practice 'shouldism'. He excuses potential electoral college fraud (nullification) as justifiable in the event of an undesirable outcome; he excuses HRC's election loss by blame-shifting it to a cheating GOP; and he excuses globalism's many failures by minimising them. He never accepts any causal responsibility for these failings because he believes they should not have failed.

Yet, the democratic consensus is that these have failed. At least from a first-world perspective. Nullification (secessionism) is either justifiable by all concerned or it is not; HRC lost the US presidential race because enough of its state-weighted citizens believed themselves disadvantaged by her progressive policies; and nationalism, both in the US & EU, owes its causal resurgence to globalism's many failures.

Shouldism rears it's ugly head again in multiples:

The "decline of professional journalism" should not be related to the internet-dependent Age of the Amateur, David argues, denying causality. The real problem (as far as David is concerned) is the internet's 'astonishing over-reliance' on filthy advertising lucre. This is a poor excuse, one that David himself must be compelled to reject, elsewise it might confirm that the above-cited proverb might just apply to all human beings, regardless of profession.

That would be inconceivable! It just should not happen! No journalist, artist, politician or scientist worth his salt would compromise his professional ethical code because peer pressure, praise, paycheck or selfish gain. Should not happen, could not happen, would not happen. Plus it is forbidden.

If such professional lapses are both 'inconceivable' and 'forbidden', then please explain the following:

Why do professional ethical codes exist in the first place if not to minimise, caution against & prevent normal human failings??


Best
______
What would happen to the random Climate Scientist who, after receiving his degree, publicly announced that "Climate Change isn't so bad"? More or less the same thing that would happen to a physician who publicly betrays his Hippocratic Oath. He would be shamed, condemned by his peers, stripped of credentials & enjoined from practice. He would never work as a climate scientist again. And David would label him as a thought-criminal & denier.

Jumper said...

Great post, except the end. Such a scientist would be immediately hired at astonishingly good pay by numerous benefactors.

Jumper said...

(If there was any actual proof other than mere bullshit.)

David Brin said...

Thanks Marino.

Oh, and Tacitus I know you did that on purpose and I apologize for taking the bait in anger.

locum your attempt to soft shoe to some middle ground is still malarkey. The top grad students and postdocs know they can always get a position with some enemy of their boss, if their boss is offended. You just do not get it. Scientists are vigorously competitive. And now universities help them patent and get rich, too. You simply cannot grasp the flat out fact that the smartest people are also vastly better competitors, more honest and extremely varies and spectacularly wiser than you and your monotonous-uniform-conformist cult.

"What would happen to the random Climate Scientist who, after receiving his degree, publicly announced that "Climate Change isn't so bad"?"

Well, he'd be an idiot, for one thing. But ask about what if a scientist asks difficult, skeptical QUESTIONS about Climate Change? You mean like Freeman Dyson? Or UC Berkeley's Richard Muller? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_A._Muller

Sure some colleagues got miffed at them and others confused their questioning with denialism. But they make the distinction clear -- as I do here.

Oh but note! You squirrelly-lying cultist. You have stopped denying warming is happening and you've stopped saying humans aren't causing it. Moving the goal posts again, you are now chanting tha latest line... "I love it warm!"

You are a raving ninny, sir.

David Brin said...

As I make clear here: http://www.davidbrin.com/climatechange2.html

forgot to add the link.

Ricardo Montachio said...

There was an article by Cracked's David Wong that I think add a good perspective about the politic of humiliation's role in this election.

Rural, poor white people simply got tired of being thoroughly humiliated by liberal, PC elites that preach tolerance and love out of their mouths but have nothing but scorn and hate for what they call 'White Thrash'.

France shouldn't have humiliated Germany after WWI, should it? When the dog bites you back in the butt it hurts a lot.

Tim H. said...

I'm thinking the GOP will misread this victory, that was won because of the Democratic party largely abandoning the New Deal coalition, offering half loaves, which a GOP congress reduces to a couple of pieces of dry toast. If Trump cannot deliver more than toll roads and Pence emboldens the alt right, what then becomes possible in 2018 or 2020 may leave us all aghast.

LarryHart said...

Flypusher:

If impeachment is indeed in the cards, the Dems absolutely can make sure that the House vote is entirely on the GOP. A simple majority is needed there, and all the Dems could vote "abstain" couldn't they? Since the Senate needs 67, I wonder what the GOP Senators would be offering.


Dr Brin frets that the impeachment would be Democrat-driven, with Republicans quietly acquiescing the minimum and then later howling at Democrats for (twice!) impeaching GOP presidents. What you (and I) suggest is that Democrats are not idiots, and will make it clear that Republicans are impeaching their own.

There is precedent for this--when the Dem-controlled congress decided to acquiesce to then-president Bush's emergency demand for 700 Billion dollars of tax money to bail out the banks in 2008, they made sure that Republicans voted for the measure in roughly equal numbers, including presidential candidate McCain, so it could not later be claimed that this was a Democratic idea that Republicans bravely opposed.

LarryHart said...

donzelion:

"A national ID card so no one can be disenfranchised."
That comes up from time to time, but Republicans generally nip that one in the bud before it even sees discussion (the only times I've encountered it in Congressional hearings was in the context of how to ensure that this would never be discussed, no money would ever be spent on the discussion,


Y'know, I've often wondered why Republicans, who favor voter id laws and "papers, please" police authority are so violently opposed to a national id card. Is this exactly the reason--it would essentially give all citizens the equivalent of a passport and make it that much harder to keep them from voting?

LarryHart said...

You know how you never get feedback from a job interview or a rejected romantic overture that lets you know exactly what you are doing wrong?

Likewise, when you know you've done the reCAPTCHA puzzle correctly and it fails you, there's no clue as to what it's expecting. Is a real-estate advertisement really a "street sign"? And does it want the signposts or doesn't it? Inquiring minds want to know.

Tacitus2 said...

David

No apology necessary. Yes, I did allow myself a bit of snark. It was unseemly and something I rarely stoop to.

I do worry about and regret the apparent implosion of the Democratic party on a national scale. I admire most of their principles and we need them.

It is not as if I don't bring facts to these discussions. It is that they are generally dimissed as "anecdotes". Regards journalists as shills...

Supplying a campaign in advance with questions due to be asked at a Town Hall meeting.
Sending drafts of articles to a campaign in advance.

The interconnections between Party and Press have gotten quite cozy. In many instances they literally are in bed with each other:

http://ijr.com/2014/10/186620-6-white-house-network-news-relationships-will-make-shake-head-media-bias/

And on the less comedic side, how much of Donald Trump's early ascendance came courtesy of free media attention. Some was warrented as he is an oddity and can be counted on to say something quotable. But some I suspect was with the idea that here at least was a candidate that HRC could easily beat.

Even the negative things on Trump such as the disgusting locker room diatribe appear to have been held back for strategic deployment. Should a responsible press do this? They don't seem to be the puissant* force they once were but getting everything, good and bad, out there promptly seems to me to be their job.

Well we move on. I do have my perspective and it is different from the average here. Let me give you a ground level view of very local politics. It struck me as an interesting microcosm.

An open State Assembly seat. A D and an R candidate. Small communities being what they are I peripherally knew both. Not bad people at all.

The Republican was a political rookie. He was a small businessman. He came around knocking doors not once but twice and spent as much time as I wanted answering questions. I could see he was hedging a little on some tough ones but I can understand that.

The Democrat did not come around. One of his supporters, again someone I know, did stop by and we had a nice talk. This candidate had been fired/resigned from a government administrative job. I asked about that. Blame was assigned to the politicians above him. He is suing for a million dollars. I asked about that and was told that this was an example of sticking up for the rights of workers unjustly fired. "But don't worry, they have insurance to cover this so it won't cost tax dollars". The issue of transparancy in government came up. I asked about the John Doe investigations in which gag orders prohibited those under investigation from defending themselves while the prosecutor's office leaked damaging information like a sieve. I asked why nobody had been fired over this breach of public trust. No answer.

So I had the choice between two decent guys. One at a minimum did not always play well with others and was quite willing to deploy the legal system to get satisfaction. His stance on the most contentious issue in state politics today was crickets and platitudes.

Pen in hand, ballot in front of you. Time to pick.

Tacitus

*maybe puissant is what Trump actually said. I doubt most J school grads even know the word! Sorry, snark buffers still a bit glitchy...

LarryHart said...

Richard Montachio:

Rural, poor white people simply got tired of being thoroughly humiliated by liberal, PC elites that preach tolerance and love out of their mouths but have nothing but scorn and hate for what they call 'White Thrash'.

France shouldn't have humiliated Germany after WWI, should it? When the dog bites you back in the butt it hurts a lot.


By the same token, then, there are also consequences to humiliation of minorities and women, or the put-downs of urbanites as something less than "real Americans".

But no, there is a latent but underlying assumption in the national consciousness that assigns Republicans the patina of authority in this country. Thus if Democrats humiliate Republicans, they should expect quick and hard retaliation. But if Republicans humiliate Democrats, that's just the way the way things are supposed to be. Likewise, electoral fraud committed by Democrats is seen as an attempt to gain power they don't deserve, whereas electoral cheating by Republicans is just an extra layer of protection for the way things are supposed to be. Democrats "just want power", whereas Republicans "just want what's right for the country." Democratic USSC justices are "activist", whereas Republican USSC justices are "constitutionalist". Etc.

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

I do worry about and regret the apparent implosion of the Democratic party on a national scale. I admire most of their principles and we need them.


I wonder. The Democratic party seemed dead when W was re-elected and Republicans held all three branches of government. In 2006 and then 2008, Republicans seemed like toast. By 2010, that had radically changed. This year, we all expected the Republicans would have to drastically re-define themselves to survive, and in an eyeblink, the shoe is on the other foot.

This is starting to resemble my observation about election coverage, that whenever one candidate gets too far ahead, the media narrative shifts to bring it back to a nail-biting horse race. I'm starting to conclude that God intervenes * to keep one party from dominance. I offer the fate of Antonin Scalia as exhibit A.

* No, I can't say I really "believe" this. But as Dave Sim once explained a similar argument, "The part of my brain which doesn't believe this can't convince the part of my brain that does believe it to change its mind."

Flypusher said...

'Moving the goal posts again, you are now chanting tha latest line... "I love it warm!" '

Wouldn't it be great if it got so warm in New York and Michigan that people didn't have to retire to Florida and Arizona?? Never mind that Florida is underwater and Arizona is becoming a blast furnace.

A flat out denier scientist could probably find work with the Koch brothers or any other wealthy denier, I suspect.

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

The interconnections between Party and Press have gotten quite cozy. In many instances they literally are in bed with each other:

Isn't that true on the right-wing side as well? I'm not saying that excuses anything, but there's a big difference between "The media collude with their candidate of choice" and "The media are biased in the liberal direction."


And on the less comedic side, how much of Donald Trump's early ascendance came courtesy of free media attention. Some was warrented as he is an oddity and can be counted on to say something quotable. But some I suspect was with the idea that here at least was a candidate that HRC could easily beat.

Bottom line, Trump was good for ratings. "Trump might be bad for the country and bad for his party, but he's great for CBS News." Well, we'll see now, won't we?


Even the negative things on Trump such as the disgusting locker room diatribe appear to have been held back for strategic deployment. Should a responsible press do this?


Wasn't that "Access Hollywood" or some such tabloid tv? I don't think of them as "responsible press" to begin with.

And again, you have the same strategic timing of releases on the Republican side. James Comey? The obvious fact that Rudy Giuliani knew exactly when that revelation was coming?


They don't seem to be the puissant* force they once were but getting everything, good and bad, out there promptly seems to me to be their job.


Likewise the FBI.

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

So I had the choice between two decent guys. One at a minimum did not always play well with others and was quite willing to deploy the legal system to get satisfaction. His stance on the most contentious issue in state politics today was crickets and platitudes.


Point taken on the local race. It doesn't explain why, at the national level, your fellow Wisconsinites voted for the candidate described to a T in the paragraph above.

Tacitus2 said...

LarryH

I have not been able to find as much on White House/Media connections during the W. admin. Although back in 05 there was criticism about journalists apparently being paid to pass along content generated by the admin. The quid pro quo looks to have been real but indirect.

I don't understand the unprecedented FBI stuff. It might be best to wait and see if more information comes out. I wonder about an FBI-Justice Department rift but that is only speculation.

I entirely agree that the Democratic Party is not dead. They will be ascendent again. If 16 has shown us anything it is that you can't always believe in established political reality anymore.

What I meant was that the Democratic "bench", the places where candidates for the highest offices get their experience, has been severely culled. If there is a need to address the issues that seem to have brought us to a (gulp) President Trump, then the next person the Democrats run should be a Midwestern state multi term governor who is popular on both sides of the aisle. A seasoning of legislative experience, perhaps a term or two in Congress or as leader of a State Legislature would be a plus.

Does such an individual exist in 2016? (I could only come up with Mark Dayton of Minnesota but he seems an unlikely dark horse)

Tacitus

Flypusher said...

"Does such an individual exist in 2016? (I could only come up with Mark Dayton of Minnesota but he seems an unlikely dark horse)."

If you want to expand your map, there's Hickenlooper of Colorado. But the Dem "farm system" does need restocking, and it's their fault for not tending to that more during the past 8 years.

raito said...

LarryHart,

I've long believed that picture-based CAPTCHAs are not-so-sectretly training.validating a neural network somewhere. Imagine a widely-distributed training function.

This is particularly true in the cases I've experimented with where I deliberately chose 'incorrectly', and my answers were accepted.

LarryHart said...

Tacitus2:

I have not been able to find as much on White House/Media connections during the W. admin. Although back in 05 there was criticism about journalists apparently being paid to pass along content generated by the admin. The quid pro quo looks to have been real but indirect

I don't know about direct payments, but I do recall that the Bush administration tended to shut out reporters who didn't take the administration's word at face value. That was when I first noticed the Orwellian language which described journalists doing their job of skepticism and investigation as "biased against Bush", and "objective" meaning unquestioning belief in White House press releases.


What I meant was that the Democratic "bench", the places where candidates for the highest offices get their experience, has been severely culled. If there is a need to address the issues that seem to have brought us to a (gulp) President Trump, then the next person the Democrats run should be a Midwestern state multi term governor who is popular on both sides of the aisle. A seasoning of legislative experience, perhaps a term or two in Congress or as leader of a State Legislature would be a plus.


Vermont is not "midwestern" except in the New Yorker's View Of The World, but Bernie Sanders is probably as close as we're going to get to that description. Unfortunately, the number of midwestern Democratic governors is approaching zero, if it's not already there. It might have to be Democratic mayors instead. I realize that a big city mayor would exacerbate the urban/rural divide, and you'd think one would have no appeal to the disaffected small-town/rural working class. Except that they just voted for Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and (until recently) Chris Christie.

LarryHart said...

raito:

I've long believed that picture-based CAPTCHAs are not-so-sectretly training.validating a neural network somewhere. Imagine a widely-distributed training function.

This is particularly true in the cases I've experimented with where I deliberately chose 'incorrectly', and my answers were accepted.


I've suspected, though can't prove, that when you have to select all of the images containing a certain characteristic (mountains, trees, grass, etc), that some of the images are "maybes", which are intentionally ambiguous, and the app will accept your response if you do or do not include that image.

Anonymous said...

Learn to use mediums well? When did that happen? Spengler and Toynbee early in the decline of the West[1] point out various problems with the what was then called press lord, no different today when legions of ditto-heads line up for the liberal trough and then are amusingly surprised when their thus blinkered reasoning has sundered them from reality.

[1] Huntington, Samuel P. The clash of civilizations and the remaking of world order. Penguin Books India, 1997. (Chapter 4, in particular, for the decline in population, territory, economic control (confessions of economic hit-man aside), etc.)

Ioan said...

I know I'm viewing this election in terms of race. If you want me to stop, please let me know.

http://www.star-telegram.com/news/politics-government/election/article113723174.html

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2016/11/20/magazine/donald-trumps-america-florida-latino-vote.html?_r=0

It seems that support for Clinton among minorities varied by state. A pity, since the electoral college is still in play. I am not doing this for every swing state. If someone else wants to do this research, please let me know.

Berial said...

All numbers from the FEC.Gov site except this year, which it doesn’t have numbers for yet.
This years numbers I got from CNN and they don't have total vote lists or numbers for third party candidates.

2000:
Bush (R) 50,456,002
Gore (D) 50,999,897
Nader (I) 2,882,955

Total: 105,405,100*

2004:
Bush (R) 62,040,610
Kerry (D) 59,028,444
Nader (I) 465,650

Total: 122,295,345*

2008:
McCain (R) 59,948,323
Obama (D) 69,498,516
Nader (I) 739,034

Total: 131,313,820*


2012:
Romney (R) 60,933,504
Obama (D) 65,915,795
Johnson (I) 1,275,971

Total: 129,085,410*

2016:
Trump (R) 60,948,836
Clinton (D) 61,993,136


(*Includes Independents not listed above)

Going simply by the numbers above, it seems like starting around 2012 a lot of people stopped voting, and those people that stopped voting were mostly voting Democrat. Why is this happening? Is it laziness, lack of enthusiasm, voter suppression or all three? Unless there was a BIG upsurge in third party voting this year, there are 4-8 MILLION FEWER voters than in 2008.

THAT is the story of the election cycle.

dennisd said...

@locum

You are making shit up. A climate change denialist would not be stripped of her credentials nor would she be 'enjoined from practice' for questioning climate change. Would the denialist be 'shamed'? Probably. Would she (or he) be 'condemned by peers'? Yes, but so what? Science depends on critical review in order to thrive. Some even call it a contact sport. Can it get personal? At times, you bet. But this is the world of grown-ups. We argue, debate, bicker and sometimes even sit down with our opponents and get work done.

donzelion said...

LarryHart: "A national ID card so no one can be disenfranchised." [except discussion is always blocked, and the only discussion is about how to block any federal spending on any projects that might be used for discussion]

Historically, it's often had more to do with (1) federalism (a national ID would give extensive powers to the federal government), (2) Christian doctrine (esp. militant Christians who believe that such ID is the work of world-government in Revelations)(and yes, this group is extremely powerful in Republican circles), (3) gun control (a nationwide ID would make gun limits far easier to enforce than state ID) (this came up in the original Patriot Act discussion, and at the time, was a reason Helms & Friends insisted on a ban on any federal money spent on discussion - I believe that was simply posturing though, since Bush certainly wasn't advocating tougher gun controls).

But you may be right. If so, this would be a relatively new reason for them to oppose it. In many countries, a voter ID is the basic national-issued ID.

Jerry Emanuelson said...

Berial, here is some general information about third party voting (and total votes) this year.

According to the Libertarian Party, as of November 14, Gary Johnson had 4,167,740 votes (3.26% of the total for President). (The Libertarian Party retained or gained ballot access in 38 states plus D.C. This is huge for the LP because the LP has historically spent a lot of its time and money each election just petitioning for ballot access.)

This statement would put the presidential vote total for 2016 at about 127,844,785.

Jerry Emanuelson said...

I should add that presidential election vote totals are going up significantly every day. One source that appears to be reliable already has it over 134 million as of today.

Jumper said...

In any case, climate scientists don't evaluate the economic impact of crops, disaster relief, storm surge, and migration of populations. So any climate scientist who started yammering about it would rightly be seen as any other pontificator outside their realm of expertise.

Berial said...

@Jerry if your numbers are right then we're looking at closer to 4 MILLION fewer voters than in 2008 despite the population at large increasing every year. (Better than 8 million but still WTH is going on?)

Berial said...

@Jerry Emanuelson

And I didn't see your last statement. Sorry. If 134 Million is correct then we're back to expected numbers of voters.

matthew said...

Someone at Slate reads this blog:

Arguments for a stronger Mexico - http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/foreigners/2016/11/donald_trump_will_soon_learn_that_america_needs_mexico.html

Using iron in the ocean to fight climate change - http://www.slate.com/articles/technology/future_tense/2016/11/how_dumping_iron_in_the_ocean_can_help_fight_climate_change.html

Both of these topics are rare enough stances that I'm pretty sure we have become a resource to be mined.

Susan Watson said...

re 'Someone at Slate reads this blog'

... or reads the National Review. I couldn't find the Mexico peice, but this was the ocean one:
http://www.nationalreview.com/article/376258/pacifics-salmon-are-back-thank-human-ingenuity-robert-zubrin?pmpWLFF08MrO0Pja.01

Jeff B. said...

From last post:

Larry Hart:
I could see the US breaking off into India, Pakistan (west coast), and Bangledesh (northeast coast). Especially if the red states try to call a Constitutional Convention and rewrite the rules entirely. Unfortunately for me, Illinois and Minnesota aren't contiguous with anything except each other and Canada (if you count the great lakes as a bridge)

I'm admittedly weird but I think about these "future history" scenarios all the time. The analogy doesn't quite carry, since of course the precedent has the giant between two lesser powers, but it does raise all kinds of interesting speculations. Would "Pacifica" and "Atlantica" be able to feed themselves? Would "Hinterland" have sufficient non-ag economy to prosper, esp. given the low pop density through most of it? What about isolates, like possibly AK, HI, IN, or FL?

I wouldn't worry too much about the land of Lincoln being cut off, though. When the chips are down I can see all of the Upper Midwest opting to stay w. the NE except maybe IN, and "Atlantica" extending to embrace NC and IA.

Berial said...

@Larry Hart
I've seen lots of "Let's join Canada" posts from friends on the West coast. Usually accompanied by pictures of Washington, Oregon and California the same color as Canada while the rest of the US is a different color.

Kinda weird to see the left talking secession after the right doing it for so long, but it's there.

Anonymous said...

An idea for someone for a talented writer who writes near future SF. I got this idea from seeing German Chancellor Angela Merkal described as the new "leader of the free world" while watching an episode of "Man in the High Castle" on Amazon Prime.

Scenario: A future refight of WW2 with Germany and Japan (as the last true liberal democracies - they are now the Good Guys) fighting America, Britain, France and Russia (led by the likes of Trump, UKIP, LePen and Putin are right wing authoritarian nations - led by the UK they are also surveillance states - and are now the Bad Guys).

Instead of anschluss and Munich, Germany protects Austria and the Czech republic from an aggressive right wing Poland (which has banned press freedoms) when NATO falls apart like the League of Nations after America's withdrawal from the alliance.

Instead of a "China Incident", Japan meanwhile acts to give humanitarian aid to a China that has collapsed due to ecological disaster and helps South Korea reunify the peninsula after North Korea finally falls apart.

An incident with Poland leads to a general war in Europe with German high tech versus superior Allied numbers. The result is Blitzkrieg 2.0. Shortly afterward, America and Japan clash over islands in the South China Sea and the Philippines and a high tech Japanese "Pearl Harbor" takes out America's fleet and most of its strategic assets.

The Germans and Japanese have a high tech advantage over the Allies due to America preferring to teach Creationism instead of science. As they advance, most of the populations greet them as liberators. Everywhere they advance, the Germans and Japanese uncover detention camps for Gays, Muslims and Hispanics with those responsible being brought to justice after the war.

Jeff B. said...

(Trying to catch up...)

Tony Fisk:
If you haven't already picked up on her, I'd recommend following Sarah Kendzior.
Her basic take: where Uzbekistan has gone, Trump's America will follow, swifter than you'd believe. Don't imagine you will have a chance to correct this in four years, or even two. I'm sure there's a contrarian response to that assertion (eg the deeply rooted affiliations of American institutions like the JCS), but it's worth following the logic of a student of central Asian politics who saw Trump rising a year ago, which is more than many of us did.


But, but, but... sure, parallels, but the former Soviet Central Asian states have never, ever had anything remotely like a Democratic tradition. Even with threats to stability, the English speaking states do, and that's all the difference. Trump will have his day, (hopefully short if impeachment is more than wishful thinking) but divisions with Congress, traditional Republican inertia, the courts, and widespread and loud demonstrations will provide enough checks to keep them from going too far.

My larger concern is afterward- we've wobbled before, but might this time be enough to eventually set the stage for the sort of dynarch we fear Trump to be, 20, 30 years down the road?

LarryHart said...

Jeff B:

I wouldn't worry too much about the land of Lincoln being cut off, though. When the chips are down I can see all of the Upper Midwest opting to stay w. the NE except maybe IN, and "Atlantica" extending to embrace NC and IA.


I was going to offer Illinois as the potential breadbasket of the New Democracy (tm). We're not just the Chicago metropolitan area--we've also got a whole lot of prime farm land. Illinois and Minnesota would also be the only currently-blue states with Great Lakes access. Cutting the Great Lakes off from the St Lawrence Seaway would be a major disruption of water traffic not seen since 1803. So would cutting the Great Lakes off from the Mississippi, which is one reason I would never have voted for Jill Stein, as part of her party's platform was to essentially build a wall between Lake Michigan and the Chicago River.

Berial:

Kinda weird to see the left talking secession after the right doing it for so long, but it's there.


There was some talk like that during the Bush years, but that was driven more by dislike of policy. I think this time, there's more naked fear involved. I need somewhere to go when the pogroms begin.

The confederacy keeps threatening to secede of course (like that Geico commercial--"If you're the confederacy, you secede from the union. It's what you do."), but like Quebec, or like certain of our regulars here, they never get around to actually leaving. Of course, there's a line in Hamilton that's appropriate:


Winning is easy, young man.
Governing's harder.

Jumper said...

Will they kill the ethanol subsidy?

matthew said...

No, they will not kill the ethanol subsidy. Too much money to be made there in corn-land.

And, the real wealth of America stems directly from the Mississippi drainage. It was access to the ease of transport given by the Mississippi that ensured the USA would be a major power.

Cascadia (not Pacifica,btw - there is an established nomenclature for a West-coast exit) would have the most productive farmland in the (former) US, which is mostly drained by the mighty Columbia. I worry not about breadbasket issues and more about who gets the nukes and the debt.

David Brin said...

Tacitus how I wish such races were about the people. That’s the way it is starting to go in CA where the electoral laws weakened the parties. But for now, one of the parties is criminally insane and sending one more person to join its caucus is self-destructive.

ANonymous… Wow! What a bizarre WWII take-off story! An amazing one, too. Flesh it out and email me, maybe I can find you a collaborator.

David Brin said...

Ricardo M, thanks for chiming in, except sir that you both lie and hallucinate. All my life, the loudest culture war screams have always been about the decadence and immorality of cityfolk. And how the more you know, the less wise you become, compared to good old, ignorant-but-wise down to earth types. It was endless and a tsunami. Moreover you know it.

Blue America gets infusions of the best and brightest kids from red america, and hence we do get insights to those neighbors. Whatdoes red america get re city folk? TV and movie exaggerated turpitude... plus seething anger that they lose their brightest kids to city lights and universities. Even watched the film Idiocracy?

Values? Shall we try values? If we subtract outliers like Utah and Detroit & Chicago, name a metric of moral and healthy living that is not worse in Red America, from teen sex, STD and pregnancy rates to obesity, dropouts, divorce and domestic violence, gambling and so on. Name... one... exception.  Other than abortion which is a disagreement over fundamentals.

“nothing but scorn and hate for what they call 'White Thrash’.” No I have scorn for outright liars. The only ones using “white trash” are a few lefty idiots but mostly the good old boy on the Red Neck Comedy Tour. You fail to note the BIFURCATION out there in Red America…

Indeed, one can feel for the rural(ish) trauma that happens every June, when the local High School -- center of all life in most towns -- holds graduation... and the teens who are the pride of the community hug and cry... and ALL of the best and brightest then streak out of town as fast as their legs can carry them, heading toward the city strongholds of The Enemy.

That implicit rebuke happens every single year and it must wear on the souls of those who stay behind, who thereupon decide to create a mythology of the city-as-Mordor. A cesspit of iniquity, lacking all the wholesomeness of small town America...

...despite the real truth. Red America tells us they are SO much more moral... yet has higher teen sex, teen pregnancy, domestic violence, divorce, STDs, unwed mothers, dropouts... and if you leave out a few truly dismal cities, higher crime rates.

The remainder of Blue America pays vastly more taxes, gets less back (yet whines far less) while Red America net-vampires and suckles and sucks net benefits, and then dares to bitch about taxes.
Oops! Facts are inconvenient to the narrative . And hence...

...fact-based thinking ITSELF becomes the enemy.

Jeff B. said...

Tacitus:

What I meant was that the Democratic "bench", the places where candidates for the highest offices get their experience, has been severely culled.


Larry Hart:
Unfortunately, the number of midwestern Democratic governors is approaching zero, if it's not already there.

We'd offer PA Gov. Tom Wolf if he we're the last bastion against insanity here. Calm, collected, tough negotiating... but probably too understated (and perhaps less charismatic than demanded) for the national stage. Same goes for Sen. Bob Casey Jr.

Jeff B. said...

Matthew,

Re: nomenclature, yes, I deliberately used "Pacifica" because of the balance and synergy with "Atlantica". Two vast blue oceans surrounding the red sea.

I've no doubt the West Coast would do well solo, at least for a while, but over the longer term I'd be concerned about the effects of climate change. Although desertification might well claim most of the midwest as well. But "Atlantica" would perhaps be more vulnerable, unless MN, WI, MI, OH, and PA joined in.

Y'know, future history speculation is fun- until it starts to seem remotely possible...

Jumper said...

On the Electoral College, with quotes from Hamilton and links to the Federalist Papers from which they came:
http://thefederalist.com/2016/11/15/electoral-college-didnt-steal-election-trump/

There's more to it than states' rights.

Duncan Cairncross said...

Hi Jumper
except that is NOT why there is an Electoral College

The reason for the electoral college is simple - it was the “bribe” that got the southern states to sign up as part of the USA
The electoral college has a voting strength according to population - this means that the slaves who did not vote were counted (at 3/5th each) as part of the population giving the southern states more influence than a simple count of actual voters would have given them

Simple - they would not have signed up without it

Alfred Differ said...

@Jeff B: (from last thread)

Considering how much some of us who require clearances to work loved having our information dumped to who-knows-where when OPM was breached, I wish you well and good luck in making it all better. Guys like me notice. 8)

My experience with participatory politics is that you shouldn’t wait for an invitation. Just start showing up at their meetings. Unless they kick you out, hang around and learn who is who and what bothers them. Volunteer a little at the informal, but not doing direct campaign work. Help someone beat what bothers them directly so they attach your face and name to the solution you give them.

Insularity won’t go away for any large group, though. It is human nature for the people at the top not to be told everything going on at the bottom. Some want to hide things. Some simply don’t think to say or don’t think someone at the top wants to know. There are lots of ways for information to be blocked from trickling up including the ancient not-invented-here syndrome. Assume it will happen and arrange for robust processes if you can. If not, arrange for mops and brooms to clean up quickly. 8)

Jumper said...

What Hawking thinks about:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Supernova#Effect_on_Earth

Jumper said...

Duncan, who am I going to believe, Hamilton or you? (kidding) Interesting too that at the time of its compromise the second runner-up got the VP job.

Kal Kallevig said...

Tacitus
OTOH, when did Exit Polls become your standard?
It is true that exit polls got the headlines, but the story linked to in the previous thread was mainly about disenfranchising citizens. The Election was Stolen. The exit polls were also discussed but are certainly not the only issue.

donzelion

foreign money simply cannot penetrate the system

I suppose that depends on how you define foreign money. Profits in a controlled group of companies flow wherever upper management decides they should go. Once they have safely landed in an American company they are no longer foreign for legal purposes. Had they landed in some other country your statement would be correct. What is the difference?

--

During the primaries I saw a ranking of candidate negatives with Trump at the bottom and Hillary immediately above him. My comment at the time to a Hillary supporter was that she had a chance of winning only because he ranked worse. Obviously it was not enough. Maybe we can find some candidates on the dem side that are at least neutral?

David Brin said...

" Maybe we can find some candidates on the dem side that are at least neutral?"

Not a chance. They had nothing on her, whatsoever, yet she was Satan. We need to accept that is how confeds operate.

locumranch said...


The Evil Blue City States have demanded the best & brightest of Red State children as annual June Tribute for generations. In desperation, the humble Red State villagers turned to an unknown hero, a simple Billionaire of questionable parentage, who arrived at the RNC one sandal short of a pair. He had many adventures, there among the Republican Club-men, Bandits & Deceivers, defeating them handily in their own idiom. He challenged their greatest hereditary champion, the Neuter Jebbekon, only to humiliate him on his own Procrustean moral bed. Armed with unpredictability, he then entered the maze-like City State. slew the hideously progressive Cow-Faced Maneater (rumoured to much prefer carpet) & kept her malevolent pantsuit as a memento. He sailed on & away under Black Sails, striking terror into friend & foe alike.

He has been given an advantageous place to stand; his lever is the knowledge that even the most arrogant Blue City States remain entirely dependent on Red State tribute; and he now has the power to plunge those foolishly interdependent Blue City dwellers into darkness, chaos & poverty (rioting in 3 days; starving in 7) with the mere flick of a switch or the twist of a valve. The goods will NOT flow if he so chooses, and this gives him the power to reorder the universe.

The Legend of Thedonald continues.


Best
_____
Narratives are a bitch once you lose control of them; Facts are a matter of perspective; and History is written by the winner.

David Brin said...

Silly very silly person,

greg byshenk said...

What is actually a bit amusing is that many (most? not sure of the breakdown) of the rural folks don't actually go directly to the "Evil Blue City States", because that's not where most of the big universities are. Instead they go off to places like Champaign and Bloomington and Athens and Iowa City. But then after they receive an education, they don't want to go back home again. (How you gonna keep 'em down on the farm....?)

Anonymous said...

Hey Locumranch,
You can actually be funny! Good to know.
Twominds

Jumper said...

You forgot the part about the magic scrotal ring placed on the monster by the fowl trickster the filthy sodomite Bannono who works in secret from his foul stinking caves.

LarryHart said...

locumranch:

History is written by the winner.


That only works when the winner can read and write.

raito said...

greg byshenk,

Champaign - presumably Illinois. Champaign County went for Clinton.
Bloomington - if you mean Illinois, then McLean county went for Trump. But I doubt you mean the town of Illinois State and Illinois Wesleyan (I have a professor friend there, specialized in cryptography and other high math)
I suspect you mean Bloomington, Indiana, where Indiana University is. Monroe County went for Clinton.
Athens - presumably Georgia? Clarke County went for Clinton.
Iowa City - Johnson County went for Clinton.

So by your examples, yes, they DO go to the "Evil Blue City States".

Kal Kallevig said...

They had nothing on her, whatsoever, yet she was Satan.

Yes, there was no substance to the negatives, but 30 years of negative publicity is a lot of baggage to try to overcome. It is also clear that the right will throw a lot of mud during the campaign, but mud layers on and the fewer layers the better. Obama had the race negative when he started but not much else and he was able to win.

locumranch said...



I enjoy being silly, yet especially David knows the primal importance of myth.

He does this professionally, creating a mythos for his NWO, one that perpetuates the Apex Fallacy by casting our top scientists (and/or our elite intellectuals) as new & improved 'commoners', while simultaneously transforming statistically-average commoners, low intelligence yokels & conservatives into the worst kind of monstrously anti-science deplorables.

This is the irrationally optimistic mythos (wherein average human intelligence, tribalism, emotionalism & our otherwise basest impulses are considered curable through the generous application of education, majority shaming, false sexual consciousness & unrestrained corporatism) that has created the prideful progressive Echo-Chamber of Self-Deceit, leading directly to both the anti-science backlash & HRC's massive fail (and fall) in a causative fashion.

Of course, the Political Right is not without sin: It has created its own empowerment mythos (wherein 'Thedonald' becomes the rough equivalent of Theseus & HRC corresponds to Medusa, the Minotaur or both), leaving them equally (if not more) vulnerable to the negative consequences of their own Echo-Chamber of Self-Deceit.

The sad truth is that BOTH ends of the political spectrum have abandoned empiric reality in favour of mythos, even some of our best & brightest would-be scientists, leaving humanity's future jeopardy, while our increasingly unpleasant reality approaches us on little cat's feet, sight-unseen, in order to deliver a reality adjustment of apocalyptic proportions.


Best

A.F. Rey said...

David, I just wanted to congratulate you on your efforts to defeat Darrell Issa in the 49th District. I noticed that he lost in San Diego County, 52.95% to 47.05%. Great work!

Pity Orange County went to Issa 60.79% to tip it to his balance, but hey, you didn't canvas up there, did you? Next time, get a bigger gasoline budget. ;)

donzelion said...

Kal: I believe my full quote was -
"Foreign money simply cannot penetrate the system without extreme and expensive controls,"

I didn't say that it cannot penetrate the system. Opensecrets lists the $16 million in 'foreign-connected PACs' in the 2016 election cycle (but again, these PACs are financed 100% by American citizens and green card holders). In a $2-4 billion cycle, that's a drop in the bucket.

You can read the Federal Elections Commission's rules on foreign PACs here - http://www.fec.gov/pages/brochures/foreign.shtml#PAC_Contributions

Note however that when a PAC has any foreign money, if it donates that money, then the recipient is also bound to the same reporting obligations - these special rules flow through to any recipient. Hence, most PACs simply blanket exclude such 'support.' They don't need foreign assistance, don't want it, and won't accept it (different story for 501(c)(3)s and others, however).

I'm not aware of any claims arising from breach of these rules, let alone systemic abuses. If you know of any such claims, please post as I'd like to learn more. But the costs are extremely high for oligarchs who play that sort of game, and for any intermediaries who help them play it. I do not believe it is a major concern.

Contrast that with rampant fake news, hacking, voter suppression, gerrymandering, and other less sexy but quite real concerns.

David Brin said...

AFR thanks. Yeah, Applegate put a total scare into that SOB Issa. Maybe the dems will learn a lesson for 2018. Recruit and run retired colonels. Lots and lots and lots of retired colonels.

donzelion said...

Kal - as for "what's the difference" - the rules are as follows:

A domestic subsidiary of a foreign corporation may not establish a federal political action committee (PAC) to make federal contributions if:
(1) The foreign parent corporation finances the PAC's establishment, administration, or solicitation costs; or
(2) Individual foreign nationals:
(a) Participate in the operation of the PAC;
(b) Serve as officers of the PAC;
(c) Participated in the selection of persons who operate the PAC; or
(d) Make decisions regarding PAC contributions or expenditure.

Now, you might think "I can walk right past those rules and bypass them." There are some reasons why that doesn't tend to happen all that much.

Within a company, if anyone discovered this sort of violation, you would quickly find yourself either a target of a whistleblower (unlikely), or subject to extortion by someone inside the company who would threaten you after you did something illegal (far more likely - indeed, that is extremely common practice).

Outside a company, any intermediaries who assisted in bypassing these rules who get caught (and have the same internal dynamics as any other firm) may lose their licenses and registrations to lobby or act as intermediaries - and will invite scrutiny.

So that's the difference. There are many. All these things survived "Citizens United" because foreigners do not have First Amendment rights in America quite the same way citizens do. (See Reno v. American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee for more on that...)

donzelion said...

Dr. Brin: Hope Applegate hasn't called it quits just yet; would welcome a call to go monitor the count. OC isn't all that far for me and I'd love to meet him and his people.

Stefan Jones said...

There's something you can and should do right now.

The House Oversight Committee is taking a tally of requests to have the house review President Elect Trump's financial statements. Given his numerous overseas business dealings, something could come up that causes him trouble.

The number is:

1-202-225-5074

You will most likely get a voice box. Leave a message along the lines of:

"Hello, my name is __ and I am a United States Citizen. I would like the committee to perform a full review of President Elect Trump's tax returns and financial records."

If you get a busy signal, try again. I managed to get to the voice mail system the first time. Please, keep trying.

The more people call, the better a chance they will do an audit.

* * *
I am about out of hope. I've written my reps and senators, wrote two letters to the editor (one printed). Right now I'm just sick and tired.

Trump is nominating hateful monsters and courting wall street insiders, and the GOP establishment doesn't seem to have the stones to question them. Trump lies shamelessly about saving an auto factory from moving to Mexico (there were no plans). Talking heads on Fox News speak glowingly of relocation camps for Muslims.

This is not normal.

If Trump isn't disqualified from the presidency in the next few weeks, we are likely doomed to a period of strife, kleptocracy, and incompetence, made worse and prevented from getting better by self-serving lies and weaponized fake news.

The only real question is how we as individual cope with the insanity. Do we join the protests? Put our lives on the line to prevent pogroms and lynchings.

* * *
Old red/blue joke:

"Kansas. Where life begins at conception . . .

. . . and again, when you are old enough to move to one of the coasts."

Robert said...

Concerning the prediction that Trump will be impeached... I'm good friends with at least one Trump supporter (the other likely Trump supporter has a nonaggression pact with me reinforced by his wife in that we do not discuss politics, even if I'm agreeing with her husband on local politics (Democratic politicians in Mass. are the primary reason I'm anti-Democrat, even if I am even more anti-Republican). When I tell him about the predictions that Trump will be impeached, I'm told in no uncertain terms that Trump Supporters will march on the streets in that case. And they will be clutching their guns while they march.

That said, a recent news article had me realize the Republican Party is determined to pull the switch and commit suicide this time around. They plan on privatizing the Third Rail of American Politics - Medicare. They've wanted to do this for a long long time. And now they see this as their one chance to follow through with their promises.

My feeling is that while Republicans will go for an initial stimulus, it will be so padded with pork and conditions that it'll be ineffectual. If Trump does get kicked out of office, the resulting turmoil will likely drop the country into a recession. The moment recessions hit and Republicans control all aspects of government? Look for Austerity Measures to come into play. And that will deepen the recession.

Come 2020 you will see Republican State legislatures suddenly start to swing Democrat just in time for the Census. And I don't see Democrats as being unlikely to take advantage of the situation and gerrymander Republicans into a no-win situation.

The question is: can Democrats find a young Black-Latino candidate to unite behind to draw in a huge portion of the minority vote and devastate Republican chances.

Rob H.

Rob H.

donzelion said...

Stefan: "If Trump isn't disqualified from the presidency in the next few weeks, we are likely doomed to a period of strife, kleptocracy, and incompetence, made worse and prevented from getting better by self-serving lies and weaponized fake news...The only real question is how we as individual cope with the insanity. Do we join the protests? Put our lives on the line to prevent pogroms and lynchings."

Yes, we join protests. Yes, we put our lives on the line to prevent pogroms and lynchings. Yes, we resist, defy, destroy attempts to register and wrongfully incarcerate anyone based on religion, ethnicity, or other measures. Yes, we stand up for rights, with anyone we can mobilize to do so, but on our own when nobody else will rise up, hoping they may, but holding to principles we hold dear. Yes, we hold those accountable where we can, and yes, we step in and intervene where they drop the ball.

Every pogrom ever occurred in the face of a torrent of fake stories (the Protocols being among the ugliest and most enduring - many others have been promulgated). We must be antibodies in defense of truth. We target those publishing any such filth, we target those financing the publishers, we financially support those who reject such garbage and expose it for what it is. We find those who may need our help.

This is what individuals can do. A group of lawyers I joined last Wednesday grew from about a dozen attorneys sworn to serve and fight to over 100,000. I will join many such groups, as many as I can. No more keyboard activism; the time for action is come.

Daniel Duffy said...

"(rumoured to much prefer carpet)"

As Stupid as loc is, his remark does reveal the real reason for Hilary hatred. The Right hates Hillary for the same reason it hated Eleanor Roosevelt - they assume that she is a lesbian.

TheMadLibrarian said...

My parents bought a second home in Arizona when Ohio winters got to be too much for them. Now I wonder if by the time I'm ready to retire I'll wish they had sold the AZ property and kept the Ohio house. That is provided Mom didn't have to sell both.

I started writing a short story about what climate change might mean to a small farmer in Michigan. Dead fruit trees and pines, but squash, beans and corn, and flooded subdivisions on river flats.

From the previous thread, both sides of my European origin family have been here on this continent more briefly than many African-Americans and other PoC. No cause to be throwing stones here.

TheMadLibrarian said...

Robert, maybe it's time to rewatch the last season of The West Wing and hope. Problem is, that the Republicans don't have anyone as honorable and charismatic as Alan Alda's character.

David Brin said...

Stefan, we've missed you here. Hang around and cheer up. My next blog posting covers several of the angles you were talking about. Though the chances of a Congressional investigation of Trump are likely nil.

RobH. offers us a cheerier note. Oy.

LarryHart said...

Robert:

When I tell him about the predictions that Trump will be impeached, I'm told in no uncertain terms that Trump Supporters will march on the streets in that case. And they will be clutching their guns while they march.


Which is why Democrats have to make it absolutely clear that Republicans are impeaching Trump. Make sure those weapons get pointed in the right direction.



David Brin said...

Okay guys. You'll like the next one. Lots & lots of unusual thoughts.... comment if any of them make you chuckle.

onward

onward

Thomas Day said...

As for the advice that you run for some political office, I can assure you that would be a miserable experience and anyone who believes that people do this shit because they are liberals conspiring to create a New World Government is so delusional that they need sedation. Our political system is a sewer because so many voting citizens are crap. There are two reasons to run for political office: 1) for power and greed (Republicans) and 2) because you feel an obligation to your children and grandchildren to leave them a better world (everyone else). Group 2 has been beaten into submission by the post-Reagan mess our conservative, corporate media has become. After the last election, I'd be amazed if anyone decent ever opts for political office again.

Daniel Schwartz said...

As much as I don't like him, Glenn Beck has been pointing at the mirror when trying to find someone to blame. He really does seem shaken by Trump's success.

Maids of Warwick New York said...

24 states bind electors. If electors vote against their party, they usually pay a fine. And people get mad. But they can vote however they want and there is no legal means to stop them in most states.

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