More Red States?

Gallup had a party affiliation analysis  that purports to show there are now more red Republican States than blue Democratic ones.  Good news Republicans!  From their study:

“Gallup’s analysis of political party affiliation at the state level in 2015 finds that 20 states are solidly Republican or leaning Republican, compared with 14 solidly Democratic or leaning Democratic states. The remaining 16 are competitive. This is the first time in Gallup’s eight years of tracking partisanship by state that there have been more Republican than Democratic states. It also marks a dramatic shift from 2008, when Democratic strength nationally was its greatest in recent decades.”

On paper, this does seem like good news for Republicans.  Certainly the divisive Obama years have eliminated almost the last of the Blue Dog Democrats and gave the Republicans their largest majorities in the House and Senate since before the Great Depression. At the State level, Republicans have made a 900 seat gain in State legislatures since 2010.  In strictly office holder terms, the Obama years have been good for the Republican Party.  So smooth sailing to November 2016 right?

I noticed two anomalies on the map that struck my eye.

First Florida.  Since it’s my home State, I have a familiarity with the state that may not show up in polling.  First the obvious: Florida went for Obama twice in a row; in 2008 and 2012.  Is there something that’s going to break that pattern?  A lot of things could, except that the State used to be a red State, now, according to Gallup, it’s “competitive.” But there are trends that are moving Florida from red to blue, and that’s demographics. As NPR helpfully points out, Puerto Ricans have been pouring into Florida.  Although it’s part of a long term trend, it’s exacerbated by the financial crisis in Puerto Rico.  Although Puerto Rico can’t vote in a Presidential election, Puerto Ricans can, the minute they leave Puerto Rico.  And again as NPR hopefully shows, Puerto Ricans predominately vote for Democrats.

And secondly, just looking at that State map from Gallup, when did Texas go from solidly Republican to leaning Republican?  I wonder what could be causing that?  Demographics maybe?

Texas has 38 electoral votes.  Once that State moves from leaning Republican to “competitive” it makes a Republican Presidential win extremely “problematic” as a leftist might say, no matter how many State Houses Republicans win.

Republican wins on non Presidential years are not reflective of Presidential years.  Quoting myself:

There is a big difference between the number of people who show up to vote in the mid-terms and those who show up in Presidential years. Based on the numbers I’ve seen this morning, turn out for this year was even lower than in 2010, which was another big Republican year. So you have a 76 million voter turnout for this year, but in 2012 you had 129 million voters.  That’s about a 50 million voter difference between the midterms and the Presidential voting years.

So all things being equal, we should see Democratic Presidential wins from here on out. Of course, I caveat that by saying that sometimes all things are not equal. Wars, terrorism, or a financial crisis could flip the script; as could an off the wall Presidential candidate that has cross party appeal.  But Republicans shouldn’t take much comfort that some there are more red States on a Gallup map now.  That sort of information, like Hillary Clinton’s support, is miles wide but merely inches deep.

 

The Slow Death of Conservatism

It’s more with sadness than with anger that I note the passing of movement conservatism.  It had a good run boys!  But alas, it was sabotaged from within and without both the conservative movement and the Republican Party, the allegedly titular “conservative” political party, which had been running a pretty successful shell game with conservatives; at least until recently.  “Hey just elect us and tax cuts, balanced budgets, strong on defense, rinse and repeat…”  So Conservatives dutifully voted Republican.  And they did a pretty good job at it too.  The Congress hasn’t been this Republican since before the Great Depression. And just look at all the conservative initiatives that have made it through Congress…

Oh yeah.

Mark Steyn wrote a sobering piece about just this thing, The World They Made. I highly recommend it.  Steyn riffs of a Rush Limbaugh monologue about an article from The Week which detailed an eerily prescient article by an old Pat Buchanan advisor who predicted the rise of Donald Trump, or at least Trumpism.  It’s unclear if he had a specific person in mind. But the author, Sam Francis wrote in 1996:

“…the globalist elites seek to drag the country into conflicts and global commitments, preside over the economic pastoralization of the United States, manage the delegitimization of our own culture, and the dispossession of our people, and disregard or diminish our national interests and national sovereignty, a nationalist reaction is almost inevitable and will probably assume populist form when it arrives.” 

Pretty good guess for a 20 year old prediction, and as I noted last July after Trump announced, the signature item of note from his agenda was nationalism, specifically a kind of put-America-first old fashioned economic nationalism. That’s finally taken root to the extent that, as Steyn notes:

“Rush’s view is that “nationalism and populism have overtaken conservatism in terms of appeal” – ie, that there are insufficient takers for conservatism. It comes to something when the nation’s Number One conservative talk-show host is putting it that way, but you can see what he’s getting at.”

And in the still not getting it department comes The National Review.  I have a lot of affection for the National Review.  It was one of the first conservative publications I stumbled across in college, and I’ve read and occasionally subscribed to it since then.  But the spasmodic reaction to Trump over the past 6 months makes me wonder how I can have a better understanding of the conservative movement, and what the attraction of economic nationalism is then “Professional” conservatives who are supposed to be well inculcated into the movement.  How could they not see this coming?

 

Now the magazine has gone into full scale attack mode against Donald Trump, featuring a special issue dedicated to attacking Trump.  The charge of course is that Trump is not a real conservative, which is surprising considering how many moderates the magazine has endorsed for President because “we want to win.”  This time, to Conservative Inc and GOP Inc, losing looks like the far preferable option.

I’ve never seen anything like this.  History will record this as a major battle in the Republican Civil War, but there may not be any winners in this war.

At least on the Right.

 

A Prediction for Europe

Most of the time (and by most I mean 99% of the time) discussing politics on an online forum is a waste of time and effort.  I still plead guilty however.

Ehhh…it’s a hobby.

But occasionally something worthwhile turns up.  I was discussing the future of the West with a Sunni Muslim from the Middle East who has a view of Western decline very similar to a Pat Buchanan style Paleoconservative; the decline of religion and morality in the West will chip away at Western institutions until they crumble.  He has his own version of a life boat, Ta Da!  Islam will ride in and save the day!   I don’t think Islam is as much riding in as boating and walking in.  Nor do I view it as saving the day. That’s more like my version of dystopia, as if Charlton Heston looks up from the beach and sees a giant Minaret.

But before Islam establishes its glorious new world order in Europe, he envisioned a  “bounce back” and revival of Christianity; however briefly.  I was surprised at his theory, because it parallels one that I’ve had for years regarding the future of Europe.

Basically what I’ve envisioned is this:

The demographic and Islamic conversion in Europe will continue, but as the percentages of Muslims grow they will flex their political muscle and slowly remake their societies in an Islamic image. Muslims are about 5% in the UK and about 7% in France, but what happens when they’re 25 and 27 percent?  Either one or more of the current political parties will Islamicize or there will be new Islamic political parties that will share power (if you are at all familiar with the plot of Houellebecq’s Submission you basically know how that will work).

Eventually Europeans, and by that I mean the native peoples who are by and large Christian, whether devout or not, will have a WTF moment, and realize that if they don’t do anything to stop the trend, the outcome is becoming a minority in their own countries, with all the joy that being a non Muslim minority in a Muslim majority country brings.  That’s when you have civil war.  Imagine Yugoslavia, spread out across the continent.

But I can’t imagine that happening until it’s too late to do anything about it. And I don’t think it will necessarily bring a rebirth of Christianity with it, although it could.

Do I think anything could put a stop to this sort of future?  I think that moment has passed. Very notable with last week’s Trump proposal to ban Muslims, European politicians criticized Trump on that, something I think is pretty much unprecedented for European politicians to do; criticize an American Presidential candidate who hasn’t even won the nomination yet.  The fact that they would do that is more than just signaling how morally upright they are, it’s a political signaling too to their own constituencies.  For Europeans, it’s already too late to ban Muslim immigration.  They are already too large a part of the European electorate.  President Hollande vowed to take in even more Syrian refugees.  That will show ISIS!

So long term, eventually you have a Muslim Western Europe, at least as far as political power goes.  That doesn’t mean that even the majority in those countries would necessarily be Muslims, but it seems unlikely they could unite in any meaningful way. Those things only seem to become possible and thinkable when it’s already too late.

 

 

Trump’s Muslim Ban Had a Beta Test

Donald Trump’s call for a ban on entry of Muslims, even if never implemented, has been worth it due to the hysterical reaction to it from his political foes.  Words like Hitler, Fascist, and Racist were bandied about, as well as calls that he has disqualified himself from running for President.  And that’s just from the Republicans.  The Democrats are even more upset!

Meanwhile, a lot of people are wondering why the heck we didn’t do this right after 9/11.  The truth is that we did start to set the groundwork for it. The National Security Entry-Exit Registration System was set up in 2002.  It required extra screening, biometrics, and interrogation of people traveling to the US on visas from several category countries (i.e. Muslim) based on level of threat.  Visa holders from these countries were required to register at ports of entry and ports of departure.

So for a while, the government actually did what it was supposed to do. The program was mostly suspended in 2011 but it provided a guide that the government could actually do what it should have been doing in the first place. Unfortunately almost 3000 Americans had to die in a horrific terrorist attack committed by visa holders to take it seriously.

But frankly I lean more toward Trump’s idea. That goes the NSEERS program one better. Why allow any Muslim immigration to the US?  What is the argument in favor of that?  The reason to oppose it seems obvious.

Primarily, Islam and Western Civilization are incompatible.  I can’t think of a single Western nation that’s benefitted from Muslim immigration; quite the contrary. Nor can I think of a single Muslim nation that is open to Western values.  Turkey did try.  I’ll give it that.  Ataturk made a real effort to Westernize Turkey, but the call of culture, blood, and Allah was too strong for it, and now it’s sliding towards an Islamist regime.

The NSEERS program provided a guide to how to do it.  I would resurrect the Country categories:

Group 1: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan or Syria

Group 2: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bahrain, Eritrea, Lebanon, Morocco, North Korea, Oman, Qatar, Somalia, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen

Group 3: Pakistan, Saudi Arabia

Group 4: Bangladesh, Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Kuwait

Resurrect the screening for tourist and student visas and basically prohibit any other visa categories, including fiancé K-1 visas.  Based on what happened in San Bernardino, if ever there was a case of looking for love in all the wrong places that was it.

 

The San Bernardino Shooting Might have been stopped

The political firefight over the San Bernardino shooting terrorist act started almost before the event was over, with President Obama calling for gun control even while the suspects were still on the loose.  Morning Joe seemed to think this was another Sandy Hook and peppered all of their interviewees with gun control related questions.

But for me, the take away of this event is the utter failure of “see something; say something.”  As reported by CBS:

A man who has been working in the area said he noticed a half-dozen Middle Eastern men in the area in recent weeks, but decided not to report anything since he did not wish to racially profile those people.

Americans have been taught, and have learned the lesson, that it’s better that multiple people die horribly than to be thought of as racist.

Political Correctness kills.

The Wall Street Journal Finally Gets It

After months of confusion, anguish, insults, and bitter tears, the Wall Street Journal is finally beginning to understand the appeal of Donald Trump.  They’ve come a long way from last August when the Wall Street Journal Editorial page declared, “If by now you don’t find Donald Trump appalling, you’re appalling.”

Now, William Galston is singing a new tune in Trump Rides a Blue Collar Wave. Right out of the box he observes something that the working class picked up on back in July:

…Mr. Trump is the staunchest champion of the white working class that American politics has seen in decades.

… Among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, 39% of the white working class backs Mr. Trump, twice his share of white college-educated voters. Fifty-five percent of his supporters are white working class…

… Among Mr. Trump’s white working-class supporters, the demographic group most likely to back him is composed of men ages 50-64, with no more than a high-school education. 

And what do these non subscribers to the Wall Street Journal think about some of the Editorial Board’s favorite causes?

these men are the least likely to believe that immigrants strengthen the U.S. and the most likely to believe that illegal immigrants are taking jobs away from American citizens.

These voters are least likely to say that government is looking out for the interests of the middle class or of white men…

But now working-class voters are in full revolt against policies—trade treaties, immigration reform and crony capitalism, among others—that they see as inimical to their interests.

For the WSJ, this counts as major progress.  They’ve recognized the problem, but…

Establishment Republicans, caught flat-footed, are left hoping that this is all a bad dream from which their party will awake in time to choose a nominee who shares their economic views.

…as does the Wall Street Journal.  Please stupid working class, go away or vote how we tell you!

What’s weird is that liberal writers started figuring this out months ago. Back in August, Matthew Yglesias in Vox…Vox of all places!  Figured out some real truths about the electorate in The Conservative Establishment is in Deep Denial about Donald Trump’s Appeal.  Simply put, polling wise, reducing immigration, as well as more left wing views on issues like Social Security, are popular across the broader electorate, including Republican voters, but no one is making much of a go for these positions because donors are uninterested in them.

So if you find a candidate that strings together popular views on reducing immigration and trade deals, and express concern that those two issues are working to reduce jobs for Americans, you have a broadly popular candidate, just like…well Trump.

The fact that it took the WSJ so long to figure this out, and the actual GOP establishment is still struggling with it, confirms the Republican Party’s status as the Stupid Party.