The Unbridgeable Republican Split

As a chronicler of the Republican Civil Wars I’ve gotten a lot of entertainment value at watching the various factions come apart at the scenes.  One day, this will make a great PBS special narrated by Keith David.  Until then, I’ll do my best to jot down my observations in the hopes that screenshots of my blog will be shown while Mr. David narrates.

So I was listening to the Ricochet podcast and they were interviewing Avik Roy, a Republican health policy analyst who was with the Romney campaign and has written extensively on Obamacare. The subject was his recent interview with Vox about the soon to be death of the Republican Party.  That’s certainly a provocative and legitimate case to argue, but in this case I found it extremely self serving.  Roy blames nationalism, which he conflates with white nationalism as the reason for the GOP’s decline. Roy recounts one of the founding myths of the identity politics left; the “southern strategy” going all the way back to 1964 and the nomination of Barry Goldwater.  This leads him to the conclusion that the bulk of the GOP electorate is motivated by white identity politics rather than conservative principles.

As someone who’s been on political forums for years, the subject of the southern strategy comes up every few weeks as providing the imprimatur that Conservatives in general and Republicans in particular are racists, motivated by race, and thinking of nothing other than race.  Considering that’s a good description of the left, there is a lot of projection involved, but this is standard fare for the left.  What’s new is it becoming standard fare for Republicans.

Or should I say a certain type of Republican, the #nevertrumpers who’ve fought Trump all the way to the nomination, in a way they’ve never fought Obama or the Democrats.  But nothing seems to bring joy to the #nevertrump crowd like calling their fellow Republicans racists. So establishment types like Roy, who didn’t seem bothered by either the southern strategy or Goldwater’s nomination until the past year, are reaching for the same racial playbook that the left has used.  Now they can finally call someone racists, and if they’re lucky, win the approval of teen writers at Vox or some MSNBC reporter.  Roy isn’t the first GOPe who’s decided to throw the entire non-establishment GOP under the bus as racists.  Paul Ryan, Erick Erickson, and Senator Ben Sasse among others also tossed out the racist charge against fellow Republicans.

Noted anti-Trumpist and National Review writer Jonah Goldberg doubled down on Roy’s nationalism=white racism thesis last week in ‘New Nationalism” Amounts to Generic White Identity Politics.  Goldberg, a writer I’ve often admired and enjoyed his witty writing style, boils down his argument into probably the dumbest thing published in NR (not counting anything written by Katherine Timpf).  The argument basically boils down to observing that Trump’s support is mostly white.

That’s it.

Now it’s interesting to note that for both Roy and Goldberg (among many others) the keyword here is “Nationalism” as in nationalism being just another code word for white racism.  It’s almost mind-blowing that these arguments are coming from ostensibly conservative pundits. So I’m really unclear on what basis these two sides ever come back together again.

Imagine a scenario in which Trump loses and loses big, say more than Romney’s defeat, with a voter percentage of over 4% and an electoral blowout where Trump wins less than 200 electoral votes.  Will the #nevertrump crowd cackle with glee and then reach out their hand to everyone they’ve called ignorant hate filled racists for the past year and say, “On to 2020?”

Or imagine a scenario where Trump loses narrowly by #nevertrump margins such as Trump losing the vote in Utah due to Independent candidate Evan McMullin.  When it’s clear that the margin of victory was lost due to Republican establishment intransigence, on what basis would the people who voted Trump and really wanted to win this year, ever forgive those who spent a year trying to not only sabotage his campaign but denigrate his supporters?

Or this:  Trump wins.  The establishment and #nevertrump is discredited, but now that Trump has won they want to jump on the bandwagon.  Again, you have people who not only tried to sabotage victory and called everyone racist to boot, but now want to resume what they feel is their God given leadership roles in a movement they tried to destroy.  Is that going to be forgiven?

My feeling is whatever the electoral scenario; there is a divide in the GOP that is now permanent.  In 21st century America, calling someone a racist is throwing down the gauntlet. Politicians are used to hurling invective at each other and then hammering out deals, but these are attacks on the voting public; by presumably the same side. How are commentators like Roy and Goldberg ever going to support anything having to do with the GOP again when they’ve just smeared the majority of its voters as white identity racists?  And more to the point, why would they want to?  They’ve just identified the GOP as the racist party after all.

So whatever happens on Election Day, in a certain sense it’s over between these two factions of the GOP.  These are factions that, bad names and invective aside, have polar opposite policy goals.  The GOPe wants amnesty, open borders, and unlimited “free” trade; no matter how many US jobs are lost.  The Trump faction (which is numerically the far bigger faction) wants exactly the opposite. Where do they meet in the middle on policy?

These issues seem so fundamental that it’s hard to not see a major political realignment coming out of this clash.  The Republican establishment could find itself fleeing to the Democrats, turning it into an overtly free trade party.  Or maybe the Republican Party just splits into two parties (although I find that unlikely due to the US’s first past the post elections). Maybe the old left/right paradigm is breaking down into a new globalist/nationalist one.

Florida is Glowing Blue on the Electoral Map

Michael Tomasky had an interesting piece in The Daily Beast called Is Florida Even a Swing State Anymore?

“You will also hear them say a kajillion times until Election Day that Florida is a swing state. Well, yes. It has been historically. But the combination of massive demographic changes since 2012 and Trump’s anorexic performance among college-educated whites makes me wonder if Florida is a swing state this year at all. And while the Republicans might nominate a normal candidate in 2020, the state’s demography is galloping away from the GOP.

In sum, 2016 could be the year that Florida stopped becoming a swing state.”

Blue Florida

Although it’s more bad news for Trump in particular and the GOP in general, it’s more confirmation for me that I was right on that particular score.  As I wrote back in February:

“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.”

But I think Florida has had a couple of things going for it that made that less obvious.  First, an unusually large retired population.  Old people vote at a higher percentage and they tend to skew Republican. This has been a buffer against the 40% minority population of Florida, which otherwise should have thrown Florida into a permanent blue zone years ago.

Of course that 40% isn’t as clear cut.  Tomasky is right that younger Cubans lean strongly Democratic and Puerto Ricans lean about 80% Democratic, however election time in Florida usually leads to some interesting radio ads, in which a Spanish surnamed Republican may find himself opposing a Spanish surnamed Democrat for the same local seat.  Although I’m a firm believer that demography is destiny, there are some local gator sized hiccups in that.

On the state level, the timing of Florida elections leads to some counterintuitive outcomes.  As I noted in reference to the Medical Marijuana Amendment:

“Florida’s governor’s race is on what are nationally off year elections.  Although nationally this is an off year election since no President is on the ballot, in Florida, we elect governors.  Since the turn out for off year elections tends to run older, whiter, and more Republican, it’s no surprise that Florida gets a bit schizophrenic, turning red and electing a Tea party backed governor and senator (Marco Rubio) during off year elections like 2010, and re-electing President Obama and Democratic senator Bill Nelson during a Presidential election year.”

Of course this year is no off year election.  This is a full on Presidential year which means at least 50 million more voters will turn out; the classic low information voters who only turn out in Presidential years because that’s the only race they are aware of, and that’s only when one of the NCIS shows gets pre-empted for a Presidential debate.

So I find it hard to imagine a scenario in which Florida goes red for Trump this fall.  There may be one, but the default for 2016 for me was always that Florida was going blue in 2016 and right now I see nothing to change that.

 

On Making Predictions

Watching the breaking news of the terrible terrorist attack in Nice, during Bastille Day celebrations, I felt a morbid interest as the casualty count marched upward.  After the initial shock on hearing of the news of the attacks however, I skipped over the part about mourning a senseless tragedy, or whatever the current buzzwords are.  As I described last November after the Paris Attacks, I’m over it.  Europe would rather have regular terrorist attacks than recognize why they have regular terrorist attacks.  No, my interest was in the causality numbers, 30, 40. 70, and then finally it went over 80.

“I win.”  And I say that with no satisfaction.

On January 1st I listed these following predictions for 2016 on a forum:

The Syrian government will be in a better position than today against the IS and the other rebels, thanks to Russian help. Also Assad will still be in power.

There will be another terrorist attack in the US resulting in the deaths of at least 10 people.

Oil will be back over $40 bucks a barrel.

Trump gets the Republican nomination.

Hillary will NOT be indicted.

And finally…

There will be another terrorist attack in France resulting in the deaths of at least 80 people.

So with the Bastille Day attack, the last open prediction I had came true, and we’re only half way through the year.  Of course you could argue that the year is still not over and something could still happen to Assad’s government, or there could be a convention coup next week to put Jeb! Back on the Iron Throne, but if I had to call it now, I would say every prediction I made almost 7 months ago was right.

I don’t think this makes me a super forecaster, like the ones being sought for the Good Judgment Project, a crowd sourcing website for predictions.  But amateurs often beat the experts on these kinds of things.  My accurate prediction that the Supreme Court would uphold Obamacare had nothing to do with my (limited) legal knowledge, or the disastrous oral arguments, even though multiple “experts” declared Obamacare dead after the Solicitor General stumbled and fumbled his way through them.  My view was more holistic, and simpler: The left leaning judges will always vote left, regardless of the law or the Constitution.  With the right leaning judges, it’s more of a crapshoot.  They actually peek at the Constitution and case history.  And as Judge Roberts demonstrated, they can be intimidated by media pressure.  That’s why the Burwell case on the Obamacare State Exchanges was easy to predict.  No knowledge of the law was required, only the knowledge that the right leaning judges could crumble under media pressure.

And as for gay marriage, that was about the easiest prediction I’ve ever made.  Who didn’t know that as soon as it hit the Supreme Court, they would find a way to make sure love is love?

I applied the same holistic thinking to Presidential elections.  I called the 2012 election for Obama by the end of summer, and after the 2014 midterms, which was a huge Republican success; I went head and predicted that Republicans would lose both the Senate and the Presidency in 2016.  Again, I took a holistic approach.  I didn’t think I needed to know each county’s voting history, aka Michael Barone.  I just knew that overall demographic trends, media bias, and the increased tribalism of American politics favored the Democrats.

But I couldn’t anticipate Black Swan Events, and that very much describes Donald Trump’s impact on the 2016 election.  Minus Trump, this election would have gone pretty much as I had predicted it would in 2014, one of the other 16 primary candidates would have won the nomination, they would have run an honorable campaign, and would give what everyone would later acknowledge as one of their best speeches when they conceded on election night. But Trump was a wildcard not only in showing how Republicans could beat the media’s political correctness game, but he pushed the Overton Window on Immigration and single handedly threw out one of the Republican Party’s golden platform planks on trade.  By doing so, he changed the calculus on which votes he might attract.

So when it comes to predicting this year’s race…I’m out.  I think Trump could win if his campaign confiscates his twitter account, keeps him on a steady diet of prepared speeches, and Muslims continue to be Muslim.  However all of the default conditions that make me think the Democrats have a natural advantage in Presidential years are still in play.  If nothing else, this particular black swan has made this the most interesting Presidential race in my lifetime, and who could have predicted that?

 

Make Selective Service Selective

A funny thing happened a few months ago while the entire country was in shock and horror at the terrorist attack in San Bernardino.  Secretary of Defense Ash Carter took the opportunity to announce that all combat roles would be open to women.  As this administration is known for never letting a crisis go to waste, the DoD took advantage to announce a controversial policy that would have generated a great deal of news coverage, much of it negative, under cover of an ongoing American tragedy.  You can’t say that they didn’t have great timing.  The story was, as planned, lost in the greater story of terrorism on US soil.

I had previously expressed both my opinion (unfavorable) and prediction (it was going to happen regardless) on women in combat arms military occupational specialties here. So I knew that studies would show that putting women in combat arms specialties would be a bad idea, and that the military was going to make it happen anyway even if they had to jiggle the standards to make it happen.selective service 1

So there really isn’t a reason to go over the same arguments again as to why women in combat arms fields is not just a dumb idea, but a dangerously stupid one that at some point will cost many lives and drastically impact military effectiveness.  We’re too far gone for studies, or reason.  The country is running on pure PC approved ideology now.  Facts are for bigots.

But that brings up the next step in the post “women in combat” debate.  What to do about selective service? Should women be forced to register, and therefore be eligible for a future draft?  Feminists of course try to have their cake and eat it too by supporting women registering for selective service but at the same time think that the draft is wrong and selective service should be eliminated…now that they are suddenly asked to sign up. The issue even came up during the Republican Primary debates.

selective service 2

I’ve given this some thought, and recognize that we’re not going back on women in combat (until of course it blows up in our faces but by then it’s too late), so accepting the inevitable, I think I figured out a way to make feminists happy as well as more traditional minded folks like myself.

Make selective service voluntary.

The truth is, even if some massive emergency required a draft, we’re just not going to need every young person between 18 and 25. We wouldn’t be able to process and train that many people and currently most young people would not be eligible for the military; mostly due to fatties, druggies, dummies, and various tattooed freaks with criminal records. Do we really need to waste time processing, and rejecting, these losers in a national emergency?

Making it voluntary cuts out a lot of people who wouldn’t qualify for the military anyway and it eliminates the possibility of any future legal challenge to the draft. The Supreme Court has already ruled that a military draft doesn’t violate the constitution, but that was a century ago.  In an age when court decisions are based more on if it feels good do it rather than stare decisis, having a strictly voluntary selective service would go a long way to nipping in the bud future court challenges.  After all, if you are knee deep in an alien invasion, do you really need the Supreme Court issuing a stay on further conscription until they review the case next October?

Of course the question that comes up is; if selective service is voluntary, is who would be crazy enough to actually volunteer for it and sign up?  I’m glad you asked…

Currently, if you are male, you are required by law to sign up for selective service. But also, you are required to sign up in order to be eligible for federally backed student loans.  Do you know who isn’t required to sign up for selective service to be eligible for federally backed student loans? Females.  So right now, women are free riders on the student loan train, but if we’re changing the law to allow women to sign up, we naturally, in the interest of equality, should require women to sign up to be eligible for student loans.

A pool of potential draftees in the selective service database who are volunteers makes for a smaller, but better quality pool of people. The logic of limiting eligibility for federally backed student loans to just those who volunteer to be called to military service if the need arises seems clear.  Of course, not all of those people would be qualified for military service anyway, although the current student loan rules that disqualify anyone convicted of a felony drug charge doesn’t hurt separating the wheat from the chaff.  But we could do better than that.

Michael Bloomberg, take notes.

Since one of the largest disqualifiers for military service is weight, why not require a weigh in every year to ensure that the prospective student/draftee is within their BMI? The logistics and cost of a full military physical to make sure these young people are qualified for military service might be unrealistic, but a simple weigh in wouldn’t be.  Having one at your doctor’s office or at a local recruiter would make sure that when the balloon goes up, we don’t have tens of thousands of college kids who’ve sucked at the teat of government largess for years suddenly show up at the recruiters in stretch pants, riding their Hoveround scooters, looking like an audition for “People of Wal-Mart.”

Some people might argue that this is nanny-statism, however if you are getting a benefit from the government, what’s wrong with having requirements for it?  Nothings free in this world, and the sooner the entitled generation learns that, the better. And is it really that onerous a requirement to be healthy?  If you can’t keep the pizza and ice cream away from your pie hole long enough to pass a weigh in once a year, I have doubts on your ability to demonstrate the self discipline to complete college anyway.

And there are downstream benefits of requiring a healthy weight for beneficiaries of federal benefits.  Even if a fair portion of graduates, upon getting their last student loan, decides to celebrate with a pizza a day, the fact that they had to maintain a healthy weight for a couple of years will benefit them health-wise years later and will benefit the country overall in reduced healthcare costs.  And who knows, maybe some of them will decide to maintain a healthy weight through their lives?

And…if you really don’t like this idea, then we shouldn’t have decided it would be neat to have mothers of young children as infantrymen.  That’s a much worse idea.

 

Godwin’s Law Repealed

For the past few months, I’ve seen an incredible amount of media attention comparing one of the Presidential candidates to Adolf Hitler. Although that used to be considered a totally inappropriate comparison to…well anything; most commentators on TV are now unafraid to draw that conclusion.  Even normally bland conventional wisdom minded commentators will come right out with the Nazi inference.

And for good reason.

Bernie Heil

There is a spectre haunting America’s college campuses, artesian bakeries, hookah bars, and Whole Food’s organic foods departments.  That spectre is Bernie Sanders.  In speeches to overflowing crowds as he crisscrosses the country, the stern old man often raises his right arm to exhort the crowd of mindless followers. Promising assorted benefits if they vote for him, and taken from minority communities that Sanders names as enemies to the country, he preaches a chilling intolerance to his amped up crowds.

 

It’s a crowd, by the way that does not look like America.  The Berniejugend are quite monochrome in their whiteness.  With eye colors from gray to hazel, and hair color from bleached blond to streaked brown, they appear to be a single Volk, united in their subjugation to Sander’s harsh diatribes against those he points out as enemies.  Just think of a few comparisons we can draw from history…

Bernie Heil white crowd

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ominous Parallels

Bernie Sanders lives in almost all white State.

Hitler lived in an almost all white country.

*

Bernie Sanders is a socialist.

Hitler was a national socialist.

*

Bernie Sanders supports national healthcare.

Hitler supported national healthcare.

*

As a youth, Bernie Sanders was arrested protesting government policies.

Aa a youth, Hitler was arrested protesting government policies.

*

Bernie Sanders blames a small minority engaged in finance for the nation’s problems.

Hitler blamed a small minority engaged in finance…well you get the idea.

 

Be afraid.  Run to the closet, shut the door, and cover yourself with a blanket.

Oh and bring a flashlight, because the lamps are going out in America.  We may not see them lit again in our lifetimes.

RINO’s in Winter

Mitt Romney went insane earlier today, launching an attack on GOP front runner Donald Trump, in an effort by the Republican Party to sabotage its own front runner and ensure a humiliating defeat this fall for a party that has fetishized defeat as a noble virtue.

Or at least that’s how it looks to me.  Apparently GOPe has decided that they would much prefer another President Clinton to the possibility of actually winning anything, and will take down their own party to make sure they cruise into the November election to a humiliating Goldwater-like defeat by splitting the party.

And for what?

It’s hard to grasp this split is simply over policy differences. Position wise, Trump is a moderate Republican.  In spite accusations to the contrary, Trump is no right wing zealot.  Instead he, as an analysis piece in the Washington Post points out, he is a “textbook moderate.” The weird thing is, if you break it down issue by issue, Trump is a RINO, the exact type of Republican the establishment should love, and the exact type they’ve foisted on the Republican electorate in the past, and the exact type that they’ve always said was the only electable choice.

So what’s different? Except for trade, Trump is running on Romney’s 2012 platform. Now before you say, immigration, Romney ran on “self deportation.” The health reform plan that he released today is almost identical to the one Romney ran on. I can’t remember when a candidate has ran on a platform so identical to his failed predecessor. Is giving up bad trade deals that important to them? Or is it just a matter of style? Trump is a “short fingered vulgarian” after all. Or is it just that he’s running without any donor support and needs nothing from the GOPe?

Inquiring minds…

In the meantime, important GOP establishment “thought leaders,” inspired by Mitt Romney’s bout of suicidal mental illness, are planning their own vivisection of the Republican Party.

I can think of a name for the new party; the Whigs.  The future of the Republican Party is starting to look like it’s past.

 

 

Why Trump?

Forget Super Tuesday.  The Florida Republican Primary is March 15th and I cast my absentee ballot for Donald Trump, and nobody is more surprised than I am.  If you had told me a few years ago that he would have been my candidate, I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t…couldn’t have believed it.  The loudmouthed TV guy; the birther?  That’s my candidate?  Clearly a lot of things have changed in the past couple years to lead me down this path.

First of all, Trump isn’t a perfect candidate; far from it.  Prior to his entering the Presidential race, I was aware of who he was, but wasn’t otherwise interested in him or his mixture of business and celebrity; the Trump brand, or his show, The Apprentice.  And I particularly wasn’t interested in his birtherism.  I hate conspiracy theories and I hated the fact that a PUMA inspired Democratic conspiracy theory from the 2008 Democratic Primary race got pinned on Republicans.  Too be sure a lot of people on the right fell for that malarkey, but Trump garnered a great deal of publicity by promoting it and playing it as if it was a well crafted publicity stunt, which I suppose to him, that’s exactly what it was.

Trump has continued to say things that are ridiculous on its face even this far into the Presidential race. Trump’s claim during the CBS debate that Bush lied about WMD in Iraq is absurd.  However Rush Limbaugh’s theory, that it was a play for Democratic votes in an open primary state, does, have a ring of plausibility.  In any case, I don’t regard it as a factually correct statement and that debate highlighted much of the criticism of Trump as legitimate, that he’s a thin skinned hot head who shouts before he thinks.

But…in spite of all of those flaws and many others, I voted for Trump in the primary.

The reasons are multiple, but I can jot down a few bullet points:

Trump might win; no other Republican can: For Conservatives, it’s over.  I’ve noted multiple times that the demographic time bomb has gone off and all things being equal, Republicans won’t win another Presidential race.  Donald Trump is the rare bolt of lightning that might actually flip that script. He’s bringing new voters into the primaries and has a good chance of doing that during the general election.  He also has a platform that has cross party appeal. Would I like to have a more standard conservative to vote for? Sure, but we’ve already crossed the Rubicon on the ability of such a candidate to actually win a general election. It’s not a choice between Trump and Cruz, it’s a choice between Trump and Hillary.

If I ever want to see what a Presidency by someone who owes absolutely nothing to donors, this is my only chance. Given the freak out of GOPe, it’s obvious that many in the Republican establishment would much prefer a Hillary to a Trump.  With Hillary, you get the same old same old, but with Trump, he owes no one in the establishment anything.  It’s a totally unprecedented state of affairs in the political world; a President who actually owes nothing to the donor class.  Imagine, ambassadors and other appointees selected because of qualifications instead of donations?  We’ve never had anything like that, and are unlikely to have that again in my lifetime.  So just once I would like to see how that would work in real life instead of fantasy.

Economic Nationalism. When Trump declared his candidacy, his political platform blew me away.  He actually had a platform that was popular, and was untouched by any of the other multiple candidates; no amnesty and protecting jobs from bad trade deals.  It seems a program ripe for cherry picking by one of the other candidates, yet no one did, because, as I predicted, there were no donors who were going to fund such a campaign.

No Amnesty, no how. I’m done voting for amnesty supporting Republicans. Sorry Rubio, but I’m not giving you another chance to betray me.  Ted Cruz might not betray me on amnesty but he also would never be President.  If through some miracle he were to get the nomination, he would go down in Goldwater like flames in the general election. But Trump bet his campaign on immigration, so I think he means it.  I want the wall, and I don’t care if it has a giant T on it.  The Cucks won’t build it, but Trump might.

I’m sure a Trump vote will be a hard vote to swallow for many conservatives, but think about this:  What have conservatives actually conserved?

Nothing.

They’ve lost every battle, for decades.  We’ve had multiple Republican Presidents and Republican lead Congresses, yet government is bigger, more controlling, and more expansive than ever.  No promise Conservatives have made has lasted beyond Election Day.  So I’m really not risking anything.  Look at the Republican Congress and Senate I helped vote in.  They’ve been busy as bees helping pay for Obamacare and fulfilling President Obama’s budget requests.  So if that’s what I get with a Congress with a larger Republican majority since before the Great Depression, I don’t see that I’ve got anything to lose.

But potentially a lot to gain.