The Atlantic for Hillary

The Atlantic Monthly has only endorsed presidents twice before in it’s history.  Abraham Lincoln and LBJ (in response to Goldwater).  Now, thanks to Trump, it’s three.  The whole Clinton endorsement is well worth reading, but here’s my favorite parts:

Today, our position is similar to the one in which The Atlantic’s editors found themselves in 1964. We are impressed by many of the qualities of the Democratic Party’s nominee for president, even as we are exasperated by others, but we are mainly concerned with the Republican Party’s nominee, Donald J. Trump, who might be the most ostentatiously unqualified major-party candidate in the 227-year history of the American presidency…

Donald Trump, on the other hand, has no record of public service and no qualifications for public office. His affect is that of an infomercial huckster; he traffics in conspiracy theories and racist invective; he is appallingly sexist; he is erratic, secretive, and xenophobic; he expresses admiration for authoritarian rulers, and evinces authoritarian tendencies himself. He is easily goaded, a poor quality for someone seeking control of America’s nuclear arsenal. He is an enemy of fact-based discourse; he is ignorant of, and indifferent to, the Constitution; he appears not to read…

In its founding statement, The Atlantic promised that it would be “the organ of no party or clique,” and our interest here is not to advance the prospects of the Democratic Party, nor to damage those of the Republican Party. If Hillary Clinton were facing Mitt Romney, or John McCain, or George W. Bush, or, for that matter, any of the leading candidates Trump vanquished in the Republican primaries, we would not have contemplated making this endorsement. We believe in American democracy, in which individuals from various parties of different ideological stripes can advance their ideas and compete for the affection of voters. But Trump is not a man of ideas. He is a demagogue, a xenophobe, a sexist, a know-nothing, and a liar. He is spectacularly unfit for office, and voters—the statesmen and thinkers of the ballot box—should act in defense of American democracy and elect his opponent. [emphases mine]


Good journalism in seven words

Now, this is how you do it, damnit.  The sad thing is that this completely factual chryon will be taken as evidence of CNN’s “liberal bias” by so many.

Photo of the day

Yes, this is too cute.  From In Focus photos of the week:

A giant panda cub falls from a stage while 23 giant pandas born in 2016 are displayed at the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding in Chengdu, Sichuan province, China, on September 29, 2016.

China Daily / Reuters

The case against Gary Johnson

I get that Libertarians like Gary Johnson’s policy, but right now there’s surely plenty of people who are supporting Gary Johnson in the polls just because he’s not Clinton or Trump and seems like a decent-enough guy.  All well and good, I suppose, but especially for those liberal voters dissatisfied with Clinton, it’s worth thinking about how poorly Johnson looks when you actually hold him up to scrutiny.  Derek Thompson does just that:

Johnson’s chief advantage in this election is the possession of a surname that isn’t Trump or Clinton. The two major parties are now led by the two most unpopular major-party candidates in modern history. The cases against Clinton and Trump are well known, but the case for Johnson requires, well, a case for Johnson. And on this score, the third-party candidate has done little to distinguish himself—and quite enough to establish that, at least in this contest, America’s third-party lockout doesn’t deserve its historic breakthrough in five weeks…

Take Johnson’s bungling of foreign affairs. His level of expertise would be appropriate for an amiable CEO of a medical-marijuana company, but it’s several standard deviations below the minimum viable threshold to be commander-in-chief of the world’s most significant military power…

But far from “centrist,” the Libertarian candidate’s economic ideas are so radical they make Trump seem downright moderate. He would abolish federal income taxes, replace the current tax code with a more regressive national consumption tax, cut Medicare and Medicaid by 40 percent, push for a constitutional amendment to forbid the U.S. to run deficits even during downturns, ban federal bailouts of states, and seek to eliminate the Federal Reserve.

This is worse than fiscal irresponsibility. These ideas aren’t politically or even morally responsible. Taken together, they could trigger a recession by taking hundreds of billions of dollars out of the economy, handcuff the federal government’s ability to stabilize the private sector, and throw millions of adults off health insurance, creating a needless economic crisis while whistling under the banner of economic freedom and choice. “Johnson is proposing an immediate fiscal tightening of 3 percent of gross domestic product,” the Washington Post’s Matthew O’Brien wrote. Without the Federal Reserve to buttress the downturn, O’Brien projected that the ensuing recession could push unemployment back above 7 percent.


The changing balance of the swing states

I’ve been doing a ton of interviews lately and everybody wants to know why North Carolina is so close.  Well, actually we’ve been super close for a while– the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections.  But what’s really interesting is how North Carolina is moving closer to the center of political gravity of being able to swing an election (as states like Ohio seem to fade in importance).  Love this piece from Ron Brownstein that looks at how demography explains the changing of the state battlegrounds.  Basically, the core of the Democratic coalition is now better represented in sun-belt states than in industrial Midwestern states.  Brownstein:

In the campaign’s final weeks, Hillary Clinton’s position now looks stronger in Florida than in Ohio; in Virginia than in Wisconsin; and in Colorado and even North Carolina than in Iowa.

In other news, the sun today rose in the West.

With Trump advancing in Rustbelt states dominated by older and blue-collar whites and struggling in Sunbelt states that contain more younger, college-educated and minority voters, these starkly polarized patterns of support are reconfiguring the Electoral College map by accelerating long-developing trends rooted in changing demography and shifting partisan allegiance. From the mid-1960s through the early part of this century, this pattern of relatively greater strength for Clinton in the Sunbelt than Rustbelt would have been unrecognizable to Democratic strategists. Now, The 2016 race is explosively fast-forwarding changes in the campaign map that many political professionals had expected to unfold more gradually over the next decade…

The demographic and geographic trends reverberating through 2016 could produce a electoral alignment unlike any since the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act shattered the Democratic hold on the “solid South.”

This reconfiguration largely leaves the same states at the center of the electoral deck, but shuffles which party looks to which state for a win. It’s a shift symbolized by Clinton’s clear decision to focus more effort on Florida and even North Carolina than on Ohio, the state traditionally considering the tipping point in presidential elections…  [emphases mine]

 That new geographic pattern is rooted in the race’s defining demographic trends. In the six major national polls released just before last week’s first presidential debate, Trump led among white voters without a college education by resounding margins of 20 to 32 percentage points. But he confronted deficits of 40-50 points among non-white voters, and was facing more resistance than any previous Republican nominee in the history of modern polling among college-educated whites: five of the six surveys showed him trailing among them by margins of two-to-eleven percentage points (while he managed only to run even in the sixth.) The race is on track to produce the widest gap ever between the preferences of college-and non-college whites, while Trump may reach record lows among voters of color.

Yep.  These have been trends in the making, but it certainly seems that Trump’s candidacy has accelerated them.  It certainly will be interesting to see what happens with these trends in 2020 and 2024.

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