Tonight’s primaries– the quick take

1) Good, good night for Hillary.  There’s was a lot of thought that the Michigan result could augur real problems in Midwestern states.  Yet, at latest count her Ohio margin is almost as large as her (as expected) substantial margin in North Carolina.  Barring a major unforeseen shock to the race, it is truly, truly hard to see how Bernie manages to overtake her.  I fully expect him to continue to put on a good show and win states with favorable demographics to him, but there’s more reason than ever to believe Hillary will be the Democratic nominee.

2) Really, really good night for Trump. He won a ton of delegates (Nate Silver points out that he is well on track to pick up an absolute majority of delegates), but I actually think Kasich winning Ohio is, again, a good bit of strategic fortune.  Rubio is gone.  Ahhh, poor Marco.  I am guilty– along with so many others– of expecting so much more from him.  But Kasich will now, obviously, stay in.  If it was just Trump and Cruz, just maybe Cruz prevents him from achieving a majority of delegates.  But with all three, I see a future of Trump winning pluralities and huge delegate hauls in winner-take-all states.

3) Related to above, I was thinking earlier today… surely Republicans move to all proportional delegate allocation in 2016.  Allowing Trump to win so many delegates with pluralities is a large part of this ongoing Republican trainwreck.


More reasons Trump would make a truly horrible president

Long-ish, but really, really good piece from Ezra Klein (all emphases mine):

“All I know is what’s on the internet,” Trump said.

The comment launched much mockery (and raised the existential question: If Donald Trump reads someone calling him an idiot on the internet, does he believe it?). But it’s actually worse than it seems. There’s plenty of good information on the internet. Trump has a repeated habit of choosing bad information, both on and offline.

His tendency to solicit, repeat, and retweet self-serving falsehoods served up by sycophants and hangers-on should be taken seriously. Among the most important tasks the president has is knowing what to believe, whom to listen to, which facts to trust, and which theories to explore. Trump’s terrible judgment in this regard is one of the many reasons he’s not qualified for the office…

One of the dangers of the presidency is that it’s easy for anyone who controls nuclear weapons to insulate himself from hard truths and unpleasant critiques. But good decisions require difficult conversations. Presidents often have to hear things they don’t want to hear — that an idea isn’t good, that a strategy has become unworkable, that a policy doesn’t add up, that a trusted subordinate is underperforming, that a particular strategy won’t survive public or judicial scrutiny.

A good president needs to surround himself with people willing to stand up to him, people who aren’t cowed by the trappings of the office. But Trump didn’t even choose a personal physician unintimidated by the trappings of his wealth. A good president needs people around him who will say things that might make him angry. But Trump has managed to surround himself with people who will say the exact things he wants said, in the exact way he would say them…

When you ask Donald Trump how he’ll achieve any of the absurd things he’s promised, his answer is always the same: He’ll get the best minds in business — they’re good friends of his, you know, great people, really great people — and they’ll help him do what these dim-bulb politicians can’t.

For instance, when Scott Pelley asked Trump on 60 Minutes how he would make good on his trade policies, Trump said, “I have the smartest people on Wall Street lined up already,” as if that served as an answer.

But Trump doesn’t have those people lined up. His campaign is not thick with endorsements from the smartest minds of the business world, much less the political or policy worlds.

Nor does Trump’s business background suggest he would be able to line those people up. Trump is better at being a celebrity than he is at being a businessman

What we’ve learned about Trump throughout this campaign, though, goes further than that: He has a lousy bullshit detector, he doesn’t gravitate toward the smartest people on any given topic, and he doesn’t much care about finding the best information. Worse, verifying the information he receives just isn’t a great passion for Trump — he believes the information he wants to believe, and he’s not particularly interested in learning that he was wrong. His knowledge of policy has remained thin, and, despite being burned again and again, his credulousness toward online sycophants has persisted.

These are bad traits in a candidate, but they would be disastrous traits in a president. America can’t entrust its future to someone who thinks “All I know is what’s on the internet” is a sufficient response to repeating falsehoods for the umpteenth time. America can’t hand over its nuclear arsenal to someone who will believe any conspiracy theory he’s presented with as long as its confirms his priors.

We need to do better.

Amen.  It needs to be clear this is not just partisan politics against the likely Republican nominee.  Donald Trump presents a genuine threat to American democracy as we know it.  I may loathe Ted Cruz, but you know I would not make that preceding statement about him.

Trump’s “big government” ideology– for white people

We hear a lot about Trump being “populist” because of his heterodox economic positions– especially on health care, social security, etc.  Trump wants a far more active government than his opponents.  It is about the nature of that action and the perceived beneficiaries.   So, why is Trump outside of the Conservative mainstream here?  Because this mirrors the positions of his white ethnocentric supporters.  Excellent piece by Yoni Applebaum:

Donald Trump is running on a platform that calls for a more active role for government in nearly every sector of American life. And they’re for it.

“The Trump voter wants action,” one supporter recently wrote to The New York Times. And that’s precisely what their man promises. Trump does things. Big things. Impressive things. And now, he wants to do them for America.

A vote for Trump is a vote for action. For a wall along the southern border: 35 feet tall. No, 40 feet. Is Mexico complaining? Add another 10, and hand them the tab. There’s nothing cost-effective about megalithic structures, which is their whole point. There are cheaper ways to constrict the flow of migrants across the border. Instead, Trump backs a big-government project. Ayuuuuge­ government project. And the crowds are eating it up…

But on issue after issue, Trump vows to use government as a tool to improve the lot of his supporters, and address their anxieties. He’d interfere in free markets, imposing tariffs to punish companies that move factories offshore, and countries with abusive trade practices. He’s pledged to preserve Social Security. He’s proposed, at various times, registering Muslims and banning them from entering the country.

There’s a common theme dividing the government initiatives Trump supports from the ones he opposes. He’s speaking to his core supporters: working-class whites who identify not by ethnicity, but simply as American. And he’s promising to defend their interests. He’ll protect their jobs from spotted owls and immigrants and offshoring; he’ll keep them safe by keeping terrorists abroad, and troops at home; he’ll buffer them against shifting economic fortunes with robust social-insurance programs…

It seems unlikely that Trump has read the political-science tract, Us Against Them: The Ethnocentric Foundations of American Opinion, but his campaign sometimes seems devoted to proving its authors correct. They used extensive polling data to argue that white, ethnocentric voters vigorously oppose means-tested programs they believe directly transfer wealth to racial minorities—food stamps, welfare, TANF. On the other hand, those same voters are also more likely to support universal social-insurance programs like Social Security and Medicare.

These are Trump’s voters…

For three decades, the Republican Party has promised white working-class voters that it will trim bureaucracy, pare back government, and allow markets to flourish—and that broad prosperity will follow. It has told them that government is a root cause of all that ails them…

And now? Along comes Trump, promising to make America great again by having government do big things again. By putting it to work in the defense of the white working class. He’s defying party orthodoxy. He’s not a true conservative. And here’s the rub. It’s possible that this is what a plurality of Republican primary voters wanted all along.

Yes!  All this.

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