Quick hits (part II)

1) A Philosophy professor takes on the Professor Watchlist.  I checked– I’m not on there.  Yet.

2) Yglesias‘ take on the different groups of Trump voters and who Democrats should be trying to win over:

There’s no particular need to find a magic formula to lift the scales from the eyes of Trump’s biggest supporters or to shatter his stranglehold and Republican Party loyalists. Democrats don’t necessarily need to convince a single Trump fan to stop liking him. What they need to do is find a way to convince the people who don’t like Trump to support their nominee instead.

3)Fabulous essay by Yascha Mounk on the meaning of American and why he still wants to become an American citizen.

4) If we really want to end mass incarceration, we’re going to have to let out a lot of people convicted of “violent” crimes.  On the bright side, there’s a lot of people who’s prison sentences are way too long for violent crimes.  That’s low-hanging fruit.  On the downside, there’s a lot of people’s who’s sentences are way too long.  Good stuff in the NYT.

5) Chait on how Trump has proven liberals right about the Tea Party.

6) ESPN is losing subscribers like mad.  Just a theory off the top off my head, but maybe by paying increasingly ridiculous sums or sports coverage, they are basically killing the goose that laid the golden egg:

The rights to broadcast live sports cost cable companies a collective $16 billion last year, according to a report from PricewaterhouseCoopers — up 50 percent from 2011. That figure is expected to grow another 30 percent by 2020.

7) The economic logic of ignoring fare evaders.  (Monitoring has costs!)

8) Of course Russia wanted trump to win and attempted to manipulate our election.  The CIA makes it official.

9) Recent graph that went viral showing that Millennials basically don’t care about democracy was actually a terrific example of how to lie with statistics.

10) Loved this Lee Drutman piece on the six factions within American democracy.  Here’s the cool summary chart:


11) Donald Trump needs to stop attacking private citizens on twitter.  Seriously.  He is going to get somebody killed or seriously injured.

12) One opponent of the Russian regime says that hacked his computer to make it look like he was into child pornography.  Entirely possible.  Entirely true that Russia/Soviet Union has a history off this type of approach to its enemies.

13) Andrew Gelman with 19 lessons or political scientists from the election:

10. The ground game was overrated. The Democrats were supposed to be able to win a close election using their ability to target individual voters and get them out to the polls. But it didn’t happen this way. The consensus after 2016, which should’ve been the consensus earlier: Some ground game is necessary, but it’s hard to get people to turn out and vote if they weren’t already planning to….

14. Red state–blue state is over. Republicans have done better among rich voters than among poor voters in every election since the dawn of polling, with the only exceptions being 1952, 1956, and 1960, which featured moderate Republican Dwight Eisenhower and then-moderate Democrat John Kennedy. Typically the upper third of income votes 10 to 20 percentage points more Republican than the lower third. This was such a big deal that my colleagues and I wrote a book about it. But 2016 was different. Take a look at the exit polls: Clinton won 53 percent of the under-$30,000 vote and 47 percent of those making over $100,000, a difference of only 6 percentage points, much less than the usual income gap. And we found similar minimal income-voting gradients when looking at other surveys. Will the partisan income divide return in future years? Will it disappear? It depends on where the two parties go. Next move is yours, Paul Ryan.


14) Of course “lock her up” was just for show.  Trump is such a con-man.

15) Incoming NC governor Roy Cooper’s adviser, Ken Eudy, does not stand up at sporting events to honor soldiers because he thinks it’s wrong to honor them to the exclusion of other important public servants.  He’s therefore under attack from the right.  Love his response, “If this is the worst thing that they can find about me, I feel pretty good,”

16) And, while we’re at it, the right’s version of political correctness, “patriotic correctness.

17) Brian Schaffner’s summary of the 2016 election in charts is great.  (Racism and sexism >economic anxiety and other good stuff).

18) Chait argues that Trump has finally killed the “pro-science” wing of the Republican Party.  I would argue that they’ve already been dead.  Either way… sad.

19) John Cassidy on Trump’s cabinet:

Some of Trump’s supporters may have believed they were electing a pragmatic businessman who wouldn’t be restricted by obligations to either party or other powerful interest groups. But he is putting together a cabinet that looks almost exactly like the modern Republican Party: older, white, anti-government, and extremely conservative on virtually every issue. It could have been constructed by the Heritage Foundation, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, or one of the other corporate-funded institutes that have helped drag the G.O.P. so far to the right on issues ranging from taxation to environmental regulation to charter schools…

My own theory is that Trump is being pragmatic, but not in a policy sense. He’s pragmatically promoting his own interests, which, at this stage, are best served by throwing some large bones to the Republican Party. During the campaign, Trump needed the Party’s support to raise money, identify voters, and get them to the polls. In part, what he is doing now can be seen as payback—but I suspect it is more than that.

The one immediate political danger facing Trump is the possibility of a Republican revolt over his refusal to sell off his businesses and resolve the blatant conflicts of interest he’ll have in the Oval Office. (He has indicated all along that the most he would do is hand over day-to-day control of his companies to members of his family.) With the G.O.P. holding just a two-seat majority in the Senate, it would only take a handful of dissident Republicans to make life very tricky for him. The prospect of ongoing dissent from members of his own party, and maybe even public hearings about his business dealings, would cast a huge shadow over his Inauguration.

What’s the best way to keep today’s Republican Party in line? By setting before it the prospect of repealing Obamacare, defunding Planned Parenthood, gutting environmental regulations, upending the Paris climate-change agreement, greatly expanding school vouchers and charter schools, crippling the labor movement, further undermining the Voting Rights Act, and, possibly, even privatizing Medicare and Social Security. The deal doesn’t need to be explicit to be clear. The G.O.P. gets its legislative “revolution.” Trump gets to keep his businesses and further enrich himself.


About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State http://faculty.chass.ncsu.edu/shgreene

11 Responses to Quick hits (part II)

  1. Jon K says:

    1) While I am no supporter of the watch list, I must admit that a younger version of me would have been a strong supporter. That said, I would not think that you would end up on a list like this While you make no bones about your liberal views, you make it clear that all viewpoints are welcome in your classes. When I was very outspoken in my libertarian views I never felt unwelcome or afraid to make a point in your classes. That experience led me to seek you out specifically when I returned to NCSU following my medical readmission. It remains one of the best decisions that I made.

    I have mentioned to you before my experience of being kicked out of a sociology class at ncsu (with police stationed at the door to make sure that I stayed away) for thinking incorrectly about institutional racism and for trying to offer libertarian alternatives to the ideas presented. I also found a particular professor in the PS department to be openly hostile, acerbic, and belittling to any conservative viewpoints being expressed in his classes. He would openly ridicule students who disagreed with him and encourage the class to do likewise. My experience in his classes made me try and avoid him at all cost, and I didn’t take courses that I otherwise would have because he was the instructor. Those are the types of professors I would consider worthy of placement on a watch list.

    • Steve Greene says:

      One of my current students did accuse me of not having a “safe space” for Trump supporters.

      • Jon K says:

        I could not imagine you picking on your students because you disagree with them. I could see you requiring and expecting that arguments remain respectful, remain factually accurate, and on topic.

        Pointing out a student is incorrect when they say things that are clearly false is kind of your job as a teacher. I credit you with showing me verifiable evidence that supply side economics do not work. It wasn’t what I wanted to believe at the time, and I didn’t just take your word for it. I went home after that class determined to prove you wrong. I spent an entire evening trying to do just that. When I could not do it, it forced me to reexamine an idea I had accepted without question for years. I am glad that you did your job that day. I am also appreciative that you did it without making me feel stupid.

      • Jon K says:

        Another good example was when you let me know “more guns less crime” was propaganda and not based on reputable social science. Again it was an instance where you could have really easily made me feel small and chose not to do that. As a result I was actually open to considering what you were saying and learn. That is so much better than being called an idiot in front of an entire class or being removed for thinking incorrectly.

      • Steve Greene says:

        Not everybody is so open to being told what they know is not true. As you know, I’m totally open to students expressing their own opinions. Just not expressing their “own facts.” Alas, in post-Trump world, there are no facts.

      • Mika says:

        JonK, I’d “like” this

        “I went home after that class determined to prove you wrong. I spent an entire evening trying to do just that. When I could not do it, it forced me to reexamine an idea I had accepted without question for years.”

        if I knew how 🙂

  2. R. Jenrette says:

    If you make the Professor Watchlist, we will consider it a badge of honor and enlightenment.

  3. R. Jenrette says:

    #14. OK, I’ll buy the idea that Trump never wanted to lock Hillary Clinton up.
    But I don’t think that’s true of Congressman Chafetz or his rightie buddies. I think they fully intend to investigate the Clintons and try to find something on which to base a criminal case. They can’t let Benghazi and the emails go.
    I think President Obama should pardon Secretary Clinton to protect her from their harassment.
    Maybe a White House or a MoveOn petition is in order.
    Are there any negatives to her in a pardon?

    • Jon K says:

      It is unnecessary as she hasn’t been charged with a crime. Trump has made it clear it is over. Hillary’s political career is over. There is no point in going after her anymore.

      • R. Jenrette says:

        Nixon wasn’t charged (impeached) with a crime either but he was pardoned because Gerald Ford realized the nation had to be healed and knew he had to finalize the matter to achieve that end.

      • Jon K says:

        Right, but there was a high likelihood of prosecution in that case that just doesn’t exist in this situation. The only people who would make noise about this now are hard right nuts. They would do that anyway, and something like what you propose would just unnecessarily rile them up more.

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