The symmetry

I’ve written plenty about the significant asymmetries between the Democratic and Republican Parties and how there’s a knee-jerk tendency to just say “both parties.”  No, the Republicans really are worse in a number of objectively definable ways.

But that doesn’t mean there’s not important symmetries.  For example, both sides are going to have plenty of knee-jerk, logic-free, and knowledge-free supporters.  I’m going to go out on a limb and say that in the Democratic Party, a majority of these types are backing Bernie.  Here’s what a PS Professor friend of mine posted yesterday:

I shouldn’t even post on the primary because it’s effectively over, but this article has some interesting thoughts about the debacle at the NV convention. What concerns me more is stuff I see in my newsfeed. Literally today a Sanders supporter I am friends with (yes, I’m singling you out) posted in all seriousness that “there are still valid and serious questions about whether Clinton played a role in the murder of Vince Foster.” Another person I know posted about how the real winner of the 2000 election was Ralph Nader (who is burning in hell for eternity as far as I am concerned) because he made his point. And apparently now there is a petition going for a federal investigation of whether Clinton “stole” the KY primary from Sanders. Sanders has lost, though he seems intent on launching all of his ICBMs to make his point. I am rapidly losing any respect I had for him because he’s not lifting a finger to stop this tinfoil hat, “we lost so we’re going to take the entire team down” nonsense.

And Drum on the ire he drew after criticizing Bernie:

I know you can’t draw any conclusions from the cesspool of social media. And I’m not a woman, so I escape the worst of this stuff. Still, this is the kind of barely literate nitwittery that I get from the tea party types when I write about Benghazi or the IRS. Full of passion, for sure, but not a whole lot of idealism. Just rage and lame middle-school insults.

Would I get the same quality of stuff from Hillary supporters if I wrote something negative about her? In the past I haven’t, but my criticisms of Hillary have been more targeted. Plus she’s winning, and that makes it a lot easier to let criticism wash off your back.

Now, of course most Bernie supporters are not like this.  But I’d reckon that more than their fair-share are from what I’d call “the knee-jerk left.”  Where the asymmetry exists is that these types are pretty much driving the Republican Party (hello, Tea Party) whereas on the Democratic side they are very much outside the establishment and the vast majority of elected politicians (hello, Bernie supporters).

While I’m at it, some other good stuff I’ve read recently from liberals who’ve just had enough of Bernie and his most zealous supporters.  I’ve got to include this quote from Wonkette:

But if your “revolution” includes disinformation, aimed to rile up your supporters, that would make Pravda and Ronald Reagan blush, you can make like your healthcare, and keep it!

(Also, if you consider Barbara Boxer, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Dolores Huerta, Planned Parenthood, Emily’s List, Barney Frank, Harry Reid and John Lewis to be Enemies of your State, you probably need to sit down with a mug of Ovaltine and give your animal farm and Four Legs Bad Two Legs Better a super double plus good unthink.)

Quick hits (part I)

1) Expert tax reporter David Cay Johnston on the real problem with Donald Trump and his taxes.

2) Your computer and TV screen are showing you way less interesting colors than they should be.

3) There’s been plenty written about how the Golden State Warriors have revolutionized, but this particular statistic really blows me away.

What amazes fans even more is the location of those shots. NBA players shoot an average of 28% from 27 feet or beyond. Most players don’t even take them unless the shot clock is running out. Mr. Curry has taken 253 such deep shots this year and made 47% of them. [emphasis mine] The result is that defenders have strayed even farther from the basket to guard him, opening even bigger spaces for his teammates.

4) Careful with what browser tabs you have open when posting screen shots.

5) How HB2 is impacting the NC tourism industry.

6) What I found most interesting about this NYT story on research using drugs in dogs to combat the aging process (with intended lessons for human longevity) is that a primary focus is rapamycin, which has been found to be particularly effective in treating my son’s genetic disease, Tuberous Sclerosis.

7) Changing just how dark Obama’s skin is in experiments changes people’s support for conservative policies.

8) In a test of science and engineering skills, 8th grade girls outperformed 8th grade boys.  Good for them.  Let’s figure out what’s happening after 8th grade and do something about it.

9) Dylan Matthews on the failure of the TSA:

The TSA has never presented any evidence that the shoe ban is preventing attacks either. “Focusing on specific threats like shoe bombs or snow-globe bombs simply induces the bad guys to do something else,” Schneier tells Vanity Fair’s Charles Mann. You end up spending a lot on the screening and you haven’t reduced the total threat.” …

The solution is clear: Airports should kick out the TSA, hire (well-paid and unionized) private screeners, and simply ask people to go through normal metal detectors with their shoes on, their laptops in their bags, and all the liquids they desire. The increased risk would be negligible — and if it gets people to stop driving and start flying, it could save lives.

10) Drum on the absurdity of Republicans wanting to impeach the IRS director.  And the Post’s Lisa Rein on the conservative war against the IRS.

11) Honestly, the craziness of Donald Trump pretending to be his own PR guy is 1) truly hilarious; 2) way under-reported.  Seriously, imagine if any other major political figure had done something like this.  It would be a lead story for a week.  Trump has so successfully lowered the bar for appropriate behavior.

12) I like this Gawker take on Trump’s strategy for attacking Clinton, “Donald Trump Hoping You Hadn’t Heard About Benghazi or Monica Lewinsky.”

13) A nice Politico analysis of Trump’s support:

Donald Trump likes to say he has created a political movement that has drawn “millions and millions” of new voters into the Republican Party. “It’s the biggest thing happening in politics,” Trump has said. “All over the world, they’re talking about it,” he’s bragged.

But a Politico analysis of the early 2016 voting data show that, so far, it’s just not true.

While Trump’s insurgent candidacy has spurred record-setting Republican primary turnout in state after state, the early statistics show that the vast majority of those voters aren’t actually new to voting or to the Republican Party, but rather they are reliable past voters in general elections. They are only casting ballots in a Republican primary for the first time.
It is a distinction with profound consequences for the fall campaign…

“All he seems to have done is bring new people into the primary process, not bring new people into the general-election process … It’s exciting that these new people that are engaged in the primary but those people are people that are already going to vote Republican in the [fall],” said Alex Lundry, who served as director of data science for Mitt Romney in 2012, when presented Politico’s findings. “It confirms what my suspicion has been all along.”

14) Greg Koger on why the Republican Party was too weak to fight off Trump.

15) Apparently a lack of resilience in college students is a growing problem.  Honestly, I have not noticed any differences in recent years.

16) No, it wouldn’t really solve our campaign finance problems if politicians spent way less time dialing for dollars.  But, that doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea. 

17) Derek Thompson on the inter-relationship between racism, economic anxiety, and Trump support.

18) They are razing a famous/infamous building at NC State.  It’s round!  Most everybody I know hates it, but I loved having my Intro to American Government in Harrelson 207.  Only lecture hall I’ve ever had where I felt like I could truly connect with the students in the back row.

Roughly 85 percent of N.C. State students at some point attended a class in Harrelson, which accommodated up to 4,500 students in 88 circular and windowless classrooms.

Harrelson was the most-used academic building in the UNC system for decades and became known for its uncomfortable seating, loud heating and cooling system, lack of natural light and pie slice-shaped bathroom stalls.

19) Pre-sliced apples have been a huge boon for the apple industry.  Honestly, I’m not surprised.  I eat a whole apple every day at work, but I do much prefer the sliced apple I make myself when I’m home.

20) Nate Silver explains how he got Donald Trump wrong.  Lots of really good stuff in here.

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