Quick hits (part II)

 

1) Sarah Kliff with a nice summary of how more women in government makes government better (onto the Gender  & Politics syllabus for next time).

2) How about that, Art Pope and Pat McCrory get a pretty good Funny or Die treatment.

3) Chait on the Republic at the brink:

However low my opinion of the Republican Party, it was not low enough. Mostly they have shuffled along or beavered away on Trump’s behalf as though everything is normal. The political apparatus of the Republican Party will not stop him. The response has been chilling in its ordinariness. Trump is an authoritarian but not a fascist, and a racist but not a genocidal one. With that important caveat, read this passage (from a Politico report on the Trump transition team) without thinking of Hannah Arendt and the banality of evil:

Several said they set aside initial alarm over the 2005 video released in early October that featured Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women, as well as the subsequent accusations of sexual assault from a number of women.

The initial shock led some team members to contemplate quitting, but sources said there have been no defections. Several transition staffers said that although they have privately held reservations about their nominee, they felt a duty to help prepare for the possibility that he could be elected.

“We may not like what he said — we may think it was childish or juvenile,” one transition official said. “But then we say, ‘Look, you know, he’s kind of our boss.’ In this town, if you were to bail on every politician who had a scandal, you would not have a long-term relationship with very many people.”

“People have mostly kept their heads down and continued working,” another transition official added…

His capacity to suppress his own moral qualms is chilling. Pence is perfectly representative of the conservative movement and the normal, non-Trump Republican Party, which is why Trump selected him over his personal preference for the more instinctively slavish footman Chris Christie. And Pence’s response to the revelatory Billy Bush audio is a synecdoche for the behavioral response that has allowed Trump to mostly consolidate his party and come within missed-short-field-goal odds of becoming president.

This is not a joke. This is one of the moments in history when the republic is at the brink.

4) Headline, “For Melinda Gates, Birth Control Is Women’s Way Out of Poverty.”  I would argue it should be more like, “for people who understand root causes of poverty, Birth Control…”

5) Interesting explanation of how the exit polls are actually conducted.

6) The case that all the talk of declining Black turnout is alarmist.

First, setting the bar for black turnout at Obama levels was always unrealistic for Hillary Clinton. Barack Obama is a once-in-a-generation political leader. He brought out millions of previously disengaged and uninterested voters in addition to inspiring historic African-American turnout. Nobody, outside of a magical Michelle Obama-Cory Booker ticket, could reach that level of excitement and turnout. 

Despite Obama being a tough act to follow, historically, the black vote is on Hillary Clinton’s side. African-American turnout in presidential election years has gone up every cycle since 1984. In fact, the largest single year increase in African-American voter turnout in the last 20 years wasn’t for Barack Obama in 2008. Black turnout increased a full 8.5 percentage points (from 52.9 percent to 61.4 percent) from the 2000 to the 2004 presidential election, and just continued to rise with a certain former senator from Illinois (69.1 percent in 2008, with a slight dip to 67.4 percent in 2012).

This isn’t to suggest that President Barack Obama didn’t galvanize black voters in a unique way, but history suggests that even with Obama not on the ballot, and in the face of horrendous voter suppression, black turnout may drop slightly, but not catastrophically, for Hillary Clinton. If Hillary Clinton’s African-American turnout numbers settle somewhere between peak Obama (69.1 percent) and John Kerry (61.4 percent) then she will likely win the White House.

7) Adam Gopnik’s anti-Trump takes are as good as anybody’s.

Donald Trump is not normal in any of these ways, and yet we continue to treat him as though he were. Those of us who warned last spring that he was being underestimated and “normalized” by a sinister process of gradual acceptance of the unacceptable turned out, tragically, to be right. Trump is not normal. Nothing about him is. One need only look at his rallies, track the rhetoric they offer and the vengeful orgy of hatred and misogyny and racism they induce, to see just how different he is. His followers are not, shall we say, there to root on their favored libertarian in his pursuit of free-market solutions to vexing social problems; they are there to scream insults and cry havoc on their (mostly imaginary) enemies, to revel in the riot of misogyny and racism that Trump has finally given them license to retrieve from the darkest chapters of our past. (“Not politically correct” means openly brutal to minorities and women.) A ten-year-old screams, “Take that bitch down!” to laughter. One need only track the past month’s series of outrages, each quickly receding into the distance, to recall that he has done not one but almost innumerable things that in any previous election would have been, quaint word, “disqualifying.” His Twitter assault on the former Miss Universe was followed by his confession and boasts of being a sexual predator, which were followed by the confirmation of numerable women that, yes, indeed, he is a sexual predator—met only by his snarling denials, none of them the least bit convincing, and the familiar big-lie technique of insisting that their stories have been “debunked” when they have not even been effectively denied.

 

The truth is that Trump’s “positions” on specific issues are more or less a matter of chance and whim and impulse (Of course women should be punished for having abortions! Ten minutes later: no, they shouldn’t) while his actual ideology, the song he sings every day, the one those listeners and followers gleefully vibrate to, is one anthem, and it is the sound of the authoritarian and anti-democratic impulses

8) Paul Waldman piece on the escalating Republican war on democratic norms is important.  Read it.

9) Some people say, Trump can’t read.  Brilliant Samantha Bee.

10) Well, you don’t fire a Catholic priest, but whoever runs this parish in San Diego needs to be removed from his pastoral role.

11) The artificial pancreas is coming (honestly, I’ve been surprised it’s not here yet).  I’ve got some good friends who will hopefully get huge benefit from this technology before too long.

12) Former head of the CIA endorsing Clinton (like most everybody who actually takes national security seriously):

In sharp contrast to Mrs. Clinton, Mr. Trump has no experience on national security. Even more important, the character traits he has exhibited during the primary season suggest he would be a poor, even dangerous, commander in chief.

These traits include his obvious need for self-aggrandizement, his overreaction to perceived slights, his tendency to make decisions based on intuition, his refusal to change his views based on new information, his routine carelessness with the facts, his unwillingness to listen to others and his lack of respect for the rule of law.

The dangers that flow from Mr. Trump’s character are not just risks that would emerge if he became president. It is already damaging our national security.

13) I think the coming Republican Civil War may well be the most intersting and important feature of American politics in the near future (here’s hoping the white ethnocentrists lose).

14) David Frum makes the powerful case for why true conservatives need to vote for Clinton:

One of only two people on earth will win the American presidency on November 8. Hillary Clinton is one of those two possibilities. Donald Trump is the only other.

Yes, I fear Clinton’s grudge-holding. Should I fear it so much that I rally to a candidate who has already explicitly promised to deploy antitrust and libel law against his critics and opponents? Who incited violence at his rallies? Who ejects reporters from his events if he objects to their coverage? Who told a huge audience in Australia that his top life advice was: “Get even with people. If they screw you, screw them back 10 times as hard. I really believe it”? Who idealizes Vladimir Putin, Saddam Hussein, and the butchers of Tiananmen as strong leaders to be admired and emulated?

Should I be so appalled by the Clinton family’s access-selling that I prefer instead a president who boasts of a lifetime of bribing politicians to further his business career? Who defaults on debts and contracts as an ordinary business method, and who avoids taxes by deducting the losses he inflicted on others as if he had suffered them himself? Who cheated the illegal laborers he employed at Trump Tower out of their humble hourly wage? Who owes hundreds of millions of dollars to the Bank of China?  Who refuses to disclose his tax returns, perhaps to conceal his business dealings with Vladimir Putin’s inner circle?

To demonstrate my distaste for people whose bodies contain mean bones, it’s proposed that I give my franchise to a man who boasts of his delight in sexual assault? Who mocks the disabled, who denounces immigrant parents whose son laid down his life for this country, who endorses religious bigotry, and who denies the Americanism of everyone from the judge hearing the fraud case against Trump University to the 44th president of the United States?

I’m invited to recoil from supposedly fawning media (media, in fact, which have devoted more minutes of network television airtime to Clinton’s email misjudgment than to all policy topics combined) and instead empower a bizarre new online coalition of antisemites, misogyists, cranks, and conspiracists with allegedly ominous connections to Russian state spy agencies?

Is this real life?

To vote for Trump as a protest against Clinton’s faults would be like amputating a leg because of a sliver in the toe; cutting one’s throat to lower one’s blood pressure. [emphasis mine]

15) Orin Kerr has never voted for a Democrat for president.  Until now.

16) Anne Applebaum on Trump as a threat to the West.

17) Interesting analysis clearly suggests “shy Trump voters” will not be deciding the election.

18) Should male college soccer players be crudely rating and commenting about female soccer players amongst themselves?  Nope. But, honestly, this does strike me as pretty typical “locker room talk” that does not rise to the level of canceling the remainder of a season.  Also, I do think it is a meaningful gulf from crude objectifications to “rape culture.”  Suffice it to say I’ve heard lots of female sexual objectification in my male heterosexual life.  And, yet, I’ve truly never heard another man suggest that female consent doesn’t matter.

19) Are there massive policy differences at stake in this election?  Hell, yes.  As Yglesias points out, you’d hardly know from most media coverage.

These stakes are critically important to the future of the country. But they’ve been nearly invisible from coverage of the campaign.

A recent study showed that network television news has dedicated more minutes to Hillary Clinton’s email server than to all policy issues combined. The day after the FBI revealed that it had found some emails that might be copies of emails it had already read but that if they weren’t simply duplicates might be relevant to an investigation of Clinton’s email server, all three above-the-fold New York Times stories were about the new emails, even though there was no information about them.

This dynamic is, currently, hurting Clinton in the polls, though earlier in the year she helped establish it by centering Trump’s temperamental unfitness rather than any policy agenda at the core of her argument.

But regardless of which candidate the policy-light tone of coverage helps at any given moment, it represents a fundamental abdication of responsibility to explain to people what is going on. The two candidates are running on very different policy agendas, agendas that in some ways contradict the media narratives about downscale “populists” versus cosmopolitan elites. And because House Republicans are both unified on policy and entrenched in safely drawn districts, there is a sharp asymmetry in terms of the direction of change.

Trump is nobody’s idea of a policy wonk, but he has signed on to a real agenda, and if he wins he’ll probably implement it. The public should hear about its contents before they decide whether to make him president.

20) Nice YouGov analysis on the few voters actually switching from R-D/D-R from 2012-2016.  Not many switchers at all.  Among those who are, education is very much at the center of what’s going on.

 

 

 

http://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2016/11/1/13351284/america-polarization

Self-loathing women?

How else to describe women who are Trump supporters?  This latest from Brian Schaffner is awfully telling (and, again, not surprising):

 

Quick hits (part II)

1) How Republicans undermine trust in the media and universities:

But a closer look reveals that each party’s relationship to information — and the institutions that produce it — is quite distinct. Republicans aim rhetorical fire at “mainstream” news media and “elitist” experts, whom they view as biased actors surreptitiously working to advance the cause of liberalism. Democrats defend these traditional intellectual authorities, accusing Republicans of abandoning scientific consensus and cocooning themselves in a conservative media universe with little respect for objective inquiry.

A common history lies behind those sentiments: only the Republican Party has actively opposed society’s central information-gathering and -disseminating institutions — universities and the news media — while Democrats have remained reliant on those institutions to justify policy choices and engage in political debate, considering them both independent arbiters and allies. Although each party’s elites, activists and voters now depend on different sources of knowledge and selectively interpret the messages they receive, the source of this information polarization is the American conservative movement’s decades-long battle against institutions that it has deemed irredeemably liberal.

Universities are thus caught in the partisan crossfire but unable to plead nonpartisanship without evoking conservative suspicions. Like journalists, faculty members are no longer regarded as impartial conveyors of information by Republicans; academics seek to conform to norms of objectivity but face a skeptical audience on one side of the partisan aisle. As institutions that strive to inform policy debates even as they remain dependent on support from political leaders, universities confront the difficult task of fulfilling their traditional research role and engaging in more active problem-solving missions while they find themselves increasingly treated as combatants in an ideological battle.

2) Obviously, I’m no libertarian when it comes to welfare, but I enjoyed this take from Mike Munger on the welfare state as a bad polygamist.  (On a related note, I often find Libertarians really make me think about things; Republicans, not so much).

3) Seth Masket says the ballot is too damn long.  Damn straight.  When esteemed political science professor/bloggers have no idea who to vote for in way-down-the-ballot races, you really have to question whether these positions should be on the ballot.

4) Jon Rauch on why Hillary Clinton (or any good politician) needs to be two-faced:

Is it hypocritical to take one line in private, then adjust or deny it in public? Of course. But maintaining separate public and private faces is something we all do every day. We tell annoying relatives we enjoyed their visits, thank inept waiters for rotten service, and agree with bosses who we know are wrong.

The Japanese, whose political culture is less idealistic than our own, have a vocabulary for socially constructive lying. “Honne” (from “true sound”) is what we really believe. “Tatemae” (from “facade”) is what we aver in public. Using honne when tatemae is called for is considered not bravely honest but rude and antisocial, and rightly so. Unnecessary and excessive directness hurts feelings, foments conflict and complicates coexistence…

Often, the only way to get something done is to have separate private and public truths. Behind closed doors, nothing is settled until everything is settled. Until the deal is done, everyone can pretend not to have decided anything. But the moment the conversation becomes public, plausible deniability ceases. Everyone knows I’ve made an offer. Angry interest groups, adversaries in the other party, and even purists in my own party start cutting attack ads and lining up challengers to prevent a deal and defeat me.

5) I think Rubio is a very skilled politician.  As a human being, however, my opinion of him is much lower.  Fred Hiatt:

But as evident as Obama’s mistakes have become with time, it is even more obvious that the 2016 candidate most committed to the values these Republicans claim to cherish is Hillary Clinton. She believes in U.S. leadership and engagement on behalf of democratic allies.

Trump, by contrast, trashes the United States’ allies, speaks casually about the use and spread of nuclear weapons and admires the world’s most odious dictators, including Syria’s Bashar al-Assad and Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

What explanation can there be for Rubio’s support of such a man, beyond placing party over country and self-preservation over self-respect? …

But not so long ago, Rubio understood that even that awesome power is secondary. “I think the most important thing a president will ever do is provide for the national security of our country,” he said a year ago.

“Donald Trump has zero foreign policy experience,” he added as the campaign went on. Trump was a “con artist.” He was “an erratic individual” not to be trusted with the nation’s nuclear codes. He was “a serious threat to the future of our party, and our country.” Trump “praised dictators Saddam Hussein and Moammar Qaddafi, and . . . said China was too soft on dissidents,” Rubio noted. He was “not ready for the test.” His rhetoric “reminds me of third-world strongmen.”

These are not the usual insults traded in the heat of a primary campaign. They represent Rubio’s considered, and accurate, judgment that Trump is unfit to be commander in chief.

6) Great summary of the research on how the lack of women in office reflects women’s lesser inclination to run, based in large part upon their lower political self-confidence and ambition.

7a) Catherine Rampell’s headline nails it, “Want to save the Republican Party? Drain the right-wing media swamp.”

If Republicans truly want to save the Republican Party, they need to go to war with right-wing media. That is, they need to dismantle the media machine persuading their base to believe completely bonkers, bigoted garbage.

It is, after all, the right-wing radio, TV and Internet fever swamps that have gotten them into this mess, that have led to massive misinformation, disinformation and cynicism among Republican voters. And draining those fever swamps is the only way to get them out of it.

For a sense of just how misinformed Republican voters have become, consider a few of the provably wrong things many believe.

Seven in 10 Republicans either doubt or completely disbelieve that President Obama was born in the United States. Six in 10 think he’s a secret Muslim. Half believe global warming is possibly or definitely a myth concocted by scientists.

Among just Trump voters, 7 in 10 believe government economic data are fabricated. Half don’t trust that votes will be counted accurately in the November election.

7b) And a somewhat longer take in Busines Insider arguing essentially the same thing.

8) Do parents violate their children’s privacy when they post their photos on-line?  Ehh, either way, mine will simply have to live with it.  Actually, Evan sometimes asks me not to post specific photos on-line, and I always listen.

9) Nice Op-Ed from Erika Christakis on her Halloween email from last year that set of a firestorm at Yale (I’m so with her).

10) A NYT analysis suggests that GMO foods aren’t living up to their promise.  I’m okay with that as there’s still plenty of reason to believe the promise is there and no reason to believe they threaten human health.

11) Catherine Rampell argues that the Democrats need a stable, sane opposition Republican party to help keep themselves sane and not prone to lazy thinking.  She’s right.  The only problem with her analysis is the implication that it’s only recently that Republican policy-thinking has become nihilist and intellectually bankrupt.

12) Dan Wetzel on Louisville basketball’s escort scandal and the depths to which college sports have sunk.

13) Really enjoyed this NYT Magazine story on the professor who lost her job at a Christian college for wearing a hijab.

14) How Trump hacked the politics of foreign policy.

15) We really can and should do more to ensure that our teacher training programs are doing a good job.

16) Seriously, Donald Trump is just about the worst human being ever (or, at least with a major party nomination for president) and we’ve got a press obsessed with emails that almost surely don’t matter.  David Farenthold on Trump’s “charity” through the years.  The opening anecdote is something:

In the fall of 1996, a charity called the Association to Benefit Children held a ribbon-cutting in Manhattan for a new nursery school serving children with AIDS. The bold-faced names took seats up front.

There was then-Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani (R) and former mayor David Dinkins (D). TV stars Frank and Kathie Lee Gifford, who were major donors. And there was a seat saved for Steven Fisher, a developer who had given generously to build the nursery.

Then, all of a sudden, there was Donald Trump.

“Nobody knew he was coming,” said Abigail Disney, another donor sitting on the dais. “There’s this kind of ruckus at the door, and I don’t know what was going on, and in comes Donald Trump. [He] just gets up on the podium and sits down.”

Trump was not a major donor. He was not a donor, period. He’d never given a dollar to the nursery or the Association to Benefit Children, according to Gretchen Buchenholz, the charity’s executive director then and now.

But now he was sitting in Fisher’s seat, next to Giuliani.

“Frank Gifford turned to me and said, ‘Why is he here?’ ” Buchenholz recalled recently. By then, the ceremony had begun. There was nothing to do.

“Just sing past it,” she recalled Gifford telling her.

So they warbled into the first song on the program, “This Little Light of Mine,” alongside Trump and a chorus of children — with a photographer snapping photos, and Trump looking for all the world like an honored donor to the cause.

Afterward, Disney and Buchenholz recalled, Trump left without offering an explanation. Or a donation. Fisher was stuck in the audience. The charity spent months trying to repair its relationship with him.

“I mean, what’s wrong with you, man?” Disney recalled thinking of Trump, when it was over.

For as long as he has been rich and famous, Donald Trump has also wanted people to believe he is generous. He spent years constructing an image as a philanthropist by appearing at charity events and by making very public — even nationally televised — promises to give his own money away.

It was, in large part, a facade. A months-long investigation by The Washington Post has not been able to verify many of Trump’s boasts about his philanthropy.

Instead, throughout his life in the spotlight, whether as a businessman, television star or presidential candidate, The Post found that Trump had sought credit for charity he had not given — or had claimed other people’s giving as his own.

 

 

Quick hits (part II)

1) This whole Donald Trump book report thing is what the internet was made for.  So good.

2) Really good Zack Beauchamp piece on how Russia has been able to so successfully manipulate our media through Wikileaks:

When you hand over stolen information that’s damaging to Hillary Clinton to a radical transparency group that detests Hillary Clinton (because of her relatively hawkish foreign policy), the result is eminently predictable: That information will be published online for the entire world to see.

At that point, journalists really don’t have any option but to cover the disclosures.

Journalists can’t just ignore information that’s in the public interest because the source might be shady. If it’s important, true, and valuable for the public to know, then journalists really should be covering it. That’s why the New York Times, which resisted publishing information from hacked Sony emails in 2014, ended up covering them once they were made public.

“Is it possible to dismiss the fact that these emails have such tremendous news value? Absolutely not,” Lonnie Isabel, a senior lecturer at Columbia University’s School of Journalism, says of the recent Clinton disclosure. “A lot of the decisions that are made for us in the digital age are made simply by disclosure.”

3) How John Podesta (and Colin Powell were hacked).  Never, never, never click a link in an email unless you are 100% sure it is legit.

4) That was really, really dumb (on many levels) for Hillary Clinton to promise not to add a dime to the debt.

5) Dahlia Lithwick on McCain and the Supreme Court:

It seems to me that what’s causing all the melting messages here is the unforeseen consequence of a decades-long campaign by the GOP to make the composition of the court the only important issue for voters. Whether it was a way to rally opposition to Roe v. Wade, or a means of mobilizing gun rights voters, it’s useful to push the idea that the only thing that matters in a presidential contest is the court. The problem with that argument is that in its purest form it leads precisely to where we are today: Trump’s repeated claims that no matter how odious he may be as a candidate, you’ll vote for him anyhow because otherwise Hillary judges will destroy America.

For some people, that’s a convincing enough argument. Unfortunately for Trump, though, it’s been roundly rejected by anyone who believes that the rule of law is more important than the composition of the court. On the same day Grassley and McCain were ripping the mask off Garland obstruction as blood sport, a list of the most respected constitutional originalist scholars published a devastating attack on Donald Trump, regardless of whom he may name to the court.

6) Evan Osnos on what a Trump loss does to the Republican Party.

7) Frustrating political battle with the Carbon Tax in Washington State.

8) The actual reality of late-term abortion.  Shockingly, it’s not at all what Donald Trump describes.

9) How Republicans have made very fertile ground for Trump’s claim of election “rigging.”

Over the past few years, Republicans in many states took an opportunity — enabled by a 2013 Supreme Court ruling — to pass a series of new restrictions on voting. Critics said the restrictions disproportionately hurt minority voters. But Republican backers, at least in public, have pointed to a single issue to defend the measures: voter fraud.

A previous report by the US Department of Justice captured the sentiment among many Republicans: Rep. Sue Burmeister, a lead sponsor of Georgia’s voter restriction law, told the Justice Department that “if there are fewer black voters because of this bill, it will only be because there is less opportunity for fraud. [Burmeister] said that when black voters in her black precincts are not paid to vote, they do not go to the polls.” Other Republicans, such as North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory and Iowa Rep. Steve King, have similarly warned about the dangers of voter fraud.

Trump isn’t even the first Republican presidential candidate to raise concerns about voter fraud. Back in 2008, many Republicans, with the support of conservative media outlets like Fox News, pushed concerns that ACORN — a community organization that focused in part on registering African-American voters — was engaging in mass-scale election fraud. At the time, Republican nominee John McCain warned that ACORN “is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy.”

10) And, speaking of which, voter fraud reality– with skittles!

11) Chait on the 2000 Florida recount and Trump.

12) County-by-county maps of 2012 and what they can tell us about 2016.

13) Yglesias on the “silent majority” for Hillary Clinton.

14) It’s more than fine to be an “anti-helicopter” parent.  But that doesn’t mean you have to be a jerk about it.

15) Maria Konnikova on how practice doesn’t make perfect.  Honestly, I find it amazing that there are still serious people out there arguing that genetics doesn’t matter in these things.  Time to plug The Sports Gene again.

16) NYT on how the Trump and Clinton Foundations are different (mostly, the Clinton Foundation money mostly goes to helping needy people).

17) Really enjoyed Ron Brownstein on the changing electoral college map:

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…

While the Sunbelt states are growing steadily more diverse, the Rustbelt states are remaining predominantly white, and aging at that: as I wrote earlier this year, the non-partisan States of Change project has projected that from 2008 to 2016 the minority share of eligible voters will rise by more in each of the Sunbelt swing states than in any of the Rustbelt battlegrounds. And data from both the Census Bureau and the exit polls show that whites without a college-education represent a larger share of the vote in almost all of the Rustbelt states than any of the Sunbelt states. Indeed, one key reason Pennsylvania is stronger for Clinton than Ohio is that college-educated whites represent a larger share of the vote there, especially in the exit poll data.

18) And, speaking of demographic trends, not at all surprising that Asian-Americans of all kinds are pretty united against Trump (as the Republican Party is ever more the White People’s Party).

mehta-asian-am-trump

19) I have little doubt that blinding prosecutors to the race of the person charged would lead to more fair outcomes.

20) Great Krugman column on Hillary Clinton:

When political commentators praise political talent, what they seem to have in mind is the ability of a candidate to match one of a very limited set of archetypes: the heroic leader, the back-slapping regular guy you’d like to have a beer with, the soaring orator. Mrs. Clinton is none of these things: too wonky, not to mention too female, to be a regular guy, a fairly mediocre speechifier; her prepared zingers tend to fall flat.

Yet the person tens of millions of viewers saw in this fall’s debates was hugely impressive all the same: self-possessed, almost preternaturally calm under pressure, deeply prepared, clearly in command of policy issues. And she was also working to a strategic plan: Each debate victory looked much bigger after a couple of days, once the implications had time to sink in, than it may have seemed on the night.

Oh, and the strengths she showed in the debates are also strengths that would serve her well as president. Just thought I should mention that. And maybe ordinary citizens noticed the same thing; maybe obvious competence and poise in stressful situations can add up to a kind of star quality, even if it doesn’t fit conventional notions of charisma.

Furthermore, there’s one thing Mrs. Clinton brought to this campaign that no establishment Republican could have matched: She truly cares about her signature issues, and believes in the solutions she’s pushing.

I know, we’re supposed to see her as coldly ambitious and calculating, and on some issues — like macroeconomics — she does sound a bit bloodless, even when she clearly understands the subject and is talking good sense. But when she’s talking about women’s rights, or racial injustice, or support for families, her commitment, even passion, are obvious. She’s genuine, in a way nobody in the other party can be.

So let’s dispel with this fiction that Hillary Clinton is only where she is through a random stroke of good luck. She’s a formidable figure, and has been all along.

21) And last, read this terrific Alec MacGillis piece on how people are increasingly sorting themselves out geographically and politically.  It makes it really hard for Democrats:

More recently, a confluence of several trends has conspired to make the sorting disadvantageous for Democrats on an even broader scale — increasing the party’s difficulties in House races while also affecting Senate elections and, potentially, future races for the presidency.

First, geographic mobility in the United States has become very class-dependent. Once upon a time, lower-income people were willing to pull up stakes and move to places with greater opportunity — think of the people who fled the Dust Bowl for California in the 1930s, or those who took the “Hillbilly Highway” out of Appalachia to work in Midwestern factories, or Southern blacks on the Great Migration. In recent decades, though, internal migration has slowed sharply, and the people who are most likely to move for better opportunities are the highly educated.

Second, higher levels of education are increasingly correlated with voting Democratic. This has been most starkly on display in the 2016 election, as polls suggest that Donald J. Trump may be the first Republican in 60 years to not win a majority of white voters with college degrees, even as he holds his own among white voters without degrees. But the trend of increasing Democratic identification among college graduates, and increasing Republican identification among non-graduates, was underway before Mr. Trump arrived on the scene. Today, Democrats hold a 12-point edge in party identification among those with a college degree or more. In 2004, the parties were even on that score.

Quick hits (part II)

Oh, my a practically 100% politics version.  Well, there has been a lot going on.

1) Ronald Brownstein on Trump’s legacy for the Republican Party:

Minorities, millennials, and white-collar whites have been the most likely groups of voters to reject Trump personally as unqualified and temperamentally unfit for the presidency. But in polls they are also most resistant to his insular agenda. Those voters display particular opposition to Trump’s most racially barbed proposals—including his plans for a Mexican border wall and the mass deportation of undocumented immigrants, and his evolving proposals to bar Muslims from entering the United States—and are most inclined to view Trump as biased against women and minorities. As a new national survey from the Chicago Council on Global Affairs shows, they are also the most dubious about his protectionism on trade—and most likely to view greater global economic integration as benefiting both the country overall and their own living standards.

All of this signals that, even without his personal foibles, Trumpism alienates precisely the electorate’s fastest growing groups, which include minorities, millennials, and college-educated white women. That’s why so many Republican strategists have long feared he was steering the GOP to disaster by identifying it so explicitly with white backlash against demographic, cultural, and economic change.

The challenge those Trump critics face is that his bristling defensive nationalism has struck a powerful chord within the Republican coalition—primarily, but not exclusively, within its growing blue-collar wing. Chen, like many GOP thinkers, believes Republicans can’t simply revert to their old agenda of free trade and smaller government if Trump loses, but must find ways to address the white working-class anxieties that “Trump exposed” in ways that don’t alienate so many other voters.

2) Paul Waldman on what the hacked emails really tell us about American politics.  Nothing we didn’t know:

It takes a mighty effort to turn this into something sinister. But some are trying, though. The New York Times story about it notes:

The private discussions among her advisers about policy — on trade, on the Black Lives Matter movement, on Wall Street regulation — often revolved around the political advantages and pitfalls of different positions, while there was little or no discussion about what Mrs. Clinton actually believed. Mrs. Clinton’s team at times seemed consumed with positioning and optics.

That’s like saying that emails circulating among the coaching staff of the Washington Nationals “at times seemed consumed with how to score runs and prevent their opponents from doing the same.” These are political operatives. That’s what they do.

3) Jay Rosen on how the mainstream media is ill-equipped to properly cover the asymmetry between the parties.

4) Molly Ball talks with disaffected and smart conservative Avik Roy on the problems with the Republican Party.

5) Waldman on how Trump has revealed his loathsome self:

It’s safe to say that commenting, even implicitly, on the looks of his accusers would not be part of that plan.

But think about it: Since this story broke last Friday, have you heard Trump say a single thing that demonstrates he’s even attempting to understand women’s perspectives on this question? Beyond a perfunctory “No one respects women more than I do,” he has been completely unable to express even an iota of sympathy for what women go through every day, the way that harassment and unwanted advances are a reality of life for them. An ordinary politician would do that, or at least try, even if it wasn’t sincere and someone had to explain to him how to go about it. But not Donald Trump.

6) I decided to find some good, simple explanations of Hillary’s email “scandal.”  This Politifact was the best.

7) NC Senator Richard Burr probably picked the wrong time to become an official Trump adviser.

8) And Paul Waldman, again, on Ted Cruz, laughingstock:

The fact that Cruz caved in so quickly and so easily and for such motives might have been a tragedy. The fact that he did it just two weeks — two weeks! — before Trump’s campaign collapsed in on itself and was deserted by one prominent Republican after the next, that’s not tragic. That’shilarious.

And the funniest part of all? There wasn’t a single aspect of this that wasn’t utterly predictable, utterly obvious — apparently to everyone except someone of Cruz’s universally recognized intelligence. I mean, who could have thought that Donald Trump would self-destruct? Who could have thought that some horrible new thing would come out that would finally break the camel’s back? Who could have foreseen this, except anyone who had paid attention at any of the last six months?

If Cruz could have held his nerve for just two more weeks, he’d be looking smart, courageous, and principled. A prescient man, one who could be TrusTed. Two weeks!

There are many, many causes for sadness these days in American politics. Ted Cruz, however, has become a source of mirth. And these days, I’ll take all the comfort I can get.

9) Great Seth Myers clip on Trump supporters denying sexual assault claims.

10) Speaking of which, Brendan Nyhan wrote this two years ago on how social science explains the floodgate of accusations coming loose on Bill Cosby.  Very much applies to Trump as well.

11) Whether or not Trump is an anti-Semite doesn’t matter, because he’s gone full-on anti-Semite in his rhetoric.

12) Former McCain adviser Steve Schmidt on the Republican Party:

As a conservative Republican, I find anathematic the regulatory and tax policies of liberal Democrats. But there’s no question that Republicans — as an institution and what we’re led by — are unfit to run the country, or to govern the country.

You have a massive reckoning coming due that will play out over years on the serially putting party above country. We’ve reached the moment in time that George Washington warned about in his farewell address with the danger of factions. You have basically warring tribes that subordinate the national interest to their tribal interest.

There’s no higher value obviously for most — though not all — Republican elected officials than maintaining fidelity to Donald Trump. What’s extraordinary about that is that in America, we don’t take an oath to a strongman leader; we take it to the Constitution of the United States. And Donald Trump is obviously manifestly unfit in every conceivable way to occupy the office of the American head of state.

13) Excellent Seth Masket on the moral failure of Paul Ryan:

Paul Ryan is the elected leader of the most democratic branch of government. The speaker of the House has a dual mandate — he or she functions as a party leader (and is often elected on a party-line vote) but is also a constitutional officer, serving as the leader of the chamber. Sen. Mitch McConnell, as the leader of a party caucus, bears no such official responsibility to his chamber. (Joe Biden is president of the Senate.) Indeed, it is often the speaker of the House who will push back against accretions of executive power, which can lead anti-democratic outcomes.

But when democratic institutions themselves are under attack, does not the leader of the most democratic branch of government have some obligation to defend it? How can Ryan maintain an endorsement for a presidential candidate who has promised, repeatedly and publicly, to undermine the nation’s democratic traditions?

To be sure, there has been no shortage of statements by Trump inviting condemnation by his fellow Republicans on a broad range of topics. But when democracy itself is at risk, there is no political figure better situated to stand up and defend it than the House speaker. By maintaining his endorsement for Trump, Ryan has failed at this vital task.

14) Nice exploration of the complicated relationships between race, class, and political views in the Monkey Cage.

15) Even Krauthammer cannot take Trump’s “lock her up” talk.

16) This 538 feature that lets you play around with the demographics of states and see how it would affect their voting patterns is so much fun.

17) Loved Barry Schwartz’s Paradox of Choice.  One of those popular social science books that has stayed with me ever since reading it (too much choice is a bad thing).  Here an article on the implications for the dating world.

18) Ryan Lizza’s profile of Trump campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway is good stuff.  This little bit at the beginning real caught me and certainly explained why a woman who thinks like this would work for Trump:

Conway, who is the first woman to run a Republican Presidential campaign, told me that she was proud of the milestone but not hung up on it. “I’ve been in a very male-dominated business for decades,” she said. “I found, particularly early on, that there’s plenty of room for passion, but there’s very little room for emotion.” She added, “I tell people all the time, ‘Don’t be fooled, because I am a man by day.’ ”

19) A 33 tweet long tweetstorm on how impossible it would be to “rig” the election (write a blog post already!!).  I’m sure Trump’s campaign will take this to heart😉.

20) A good explainer on just how absurd Trump’s accusations of libel are.

21) Ezra’s “unified theory” of Trump scandals:

A disciplined politician would have spent the past few weeks executing a strategy that played to Hillary Clinton’s vulnerabilities rather than his own. He would have focused on the WikiLeaks emails, and on his best messages. He would have dismissed accusations against himself as efforts to change the subject, and then moved on from them. He would have worked overtime to shore up support among wavering Republican politicians.

Of late, Trump’s behavior reminds me of the Joker’s epic speech in The Dark Knight. “Do I really look like a guy with a plan? You know what I am? I’m a dog chasing cars. I wouldn’t know what to do with one if I caught it. You know, I just … do things. The mob has plans, the cops have plans, Gordon’s got plans. You know, they’re schemers. Schemers trying to control their little worlds. I’m not a schemer.”

That’s Donald Trump. A dog chasing cars. A guy who just … does things.

22) Walmart discovers that it is actually good business to compensate and treat your employees well.  It’s all about the theory of “efficiency wages.”

23) The fact that I want to believe this so much and that it seems to make intuitive sense with my experience actually makes me skeptical.  But I’ve been reading enough lately without actually delving into this article Mika tweeted a link to.  Here’s the abstract:

Conservatives differ from liberals in a variety of domains, including exhibiting greater fear and disgust sensitivity. Additionally, experimental procedures to reduce reasoning ability lead to stronger endorsement of conservative views. We propose that dual-process models of moral judgements can account for these findings, with conservatives relying on System 1 (fast, emotional) and liberals relying on System 2 (slow, reasoned) processes. To test this theory, we had liberal and conservative participants respond to moral dilemmas under cognitive load or with no load. As predicted, liberals took longer to respond under cognitive load than under no load, indicating a reliance on controlled reasoning processes. Conservatives’ response times were not affected by cognitive load. These differences cannot be accounted for by group differences in logical reasoning or working memory capacity. Instead, as predicted, logical reasoning ability positively predicted the time that liberals, but not conservatives, spent contemplating the dilemmas. These findings suggest that differential reliance on Systems 1 and 2 may be a fundamental aspect of left-right political orientation. They also challenge intuitionist models of morality and politics and suggest a dual-process theory of morality could account for some of the discrepancies in the political psychology literature.

24) Nice interview with the Post’s David Fahrenthold, who has done such exemplary work on the Trump beat.

25) No matter what happens November 8th, how damn well Republicans have gerrymandered this country is depressing in its ongoing long-term ramifications.

26) Fascinating essay from a psychologist who spent his career counseling Catholic priests who fall in love.

27) Paul Waldman on the wave of misogyny Clinton’s election will surely unleash.  When we think about what has happened with racism under Obama, it really is depressing.

 

Quick hits (part I)

1) Nice NYT feature on “what happened to North Carolina?”

But it is also Exhibit A of the partisan self-sorting that has defined national politics in recent decades; a trend that has produced violent mood swings. Its population is divided between the predominantly Democratic metropolitan areas surrounding powerful research universities, corporate centers and high-tech industries on one hand, and majority Republican voters in emptying towns struggling to survive the shuttering of once-dominant furniture, textile and tobacco industries on the other.

The opposing demographics held each other in relative check until after the 2008 election. But after Democrats won the presidential, gubernatorial and senatorial races that year, the national Republican State Leadership Committee coordinated donors to flip the Statehouse. Taking advantage of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, which allowed virtually unlimited private spending on campaigns, this group of donors — led by discount-store magnate James Arthur Pope — flooded cheap, often-ignored state legislative races with attack ads against Democrats.

The resulting Republican majority immediately moved to impose drastic abortion restrictions and curbs on same-sex marriage, along with new limits on voter access — disproportionately and, according to the federal courts, intentionally affecting black voters — and police accountability. These policies have predictably sharpened the state’s partisan divide, but they have also more unexpectedly created a rift between what used to be the Republican Party’s most durable bases: social conservatives and business. The man most clearly caught in the middle is Governor McCrory.

2) Like this take from Ezra– at last, Trump has been un-normalized.

3) Drum takes a look at Clinton’s paid speeches and is unimpressed at what, if anything, we’ve really learned:

In other news, we learned that Clinton is pretty much the same person in private that she is in public. She’s moderate, pragmatic, and willing to work across the aisle. She dislikes protectionism and thinks we should try to cut the budget deficit in a balanced way. She doesn’t demonize Wall Street.

You may or may not like this, but it’s who Hillary Clinton has been forever. There are no surprises here. So while I may have skipped past a couple of small things too quickly on my first read, my overall opinion remains the same: There’s just nothing here that’s plausibly damaging, even when it’s run through the Donald Trump alternate universe pie hole. I guess we’ll find out tonight if I’m right.

4) Jamelle Bouie on Trump’s calls for race-based voter intimidation on election day.

5) Dave Leonhardt on Trump in the 2nd debate.  Honestly, this aspect got far too little coverage:

He lied about a sex tape.

He lied about his lies about ‘birtherism.’

He lied about the growth rate of the American economy.

He lied about the state of the job market.

He lied about the trade deficit.

He lied about tax rates.

He lied about his own position on the Iraq War, again.

He lied about ISIS.

He lied about the Benghazi attack.

He lied about the war in Syria.

He lied about Syrian refugees.

He lied about Russia’shacking.

He lied about the San Bernardino terrorist attack.

He lied about Hillary Clinton’s tax plan.

He lied about her health care plan.

He lied about her immigration plan.

He lied about her email deletion.

He lied about Obamacare, more than once.

He lied about the rape of a 12-year-old girl.

He lied about his history of groping women without their consent.

Finally, he broke with basic democratic norms and called on his political opponent to be jailed — because, in large part, of what he described as her dishonesty.

6) Among the more bizarre things… conservative radio host and Trump adviser Alex Jones thinks Clinton is literally a demon.

7) Fascinating essay (and call for restorative justice) from a woman who discovered her husband was a violent rapist.

8) Benjamin Wallace-Wells on Clinton’s coming struggle with Trump supporters.

9) Though Republicans tend to refer to anything they don’t like as “political correctness” it is a real thing and can reach truly absurd lengths in America’s universities.  This case at University of Tennessee is just appalling.

10) Chait with a thoughtful post asking “would you vote for a sexual predator?”

Donald Trump is a vile human being. He also happens to advocate policies — or, in some cases, policy-esque impulses — that I find dangerous and horrifying. And so revelations about his boasting of sexual assault serve to reinforce my repugnance for this grotesque bully. This makes it easy for people who agree with me to judge the Republicans willing to overlook Trump’s obscene and even criminal mistreatment of women. But what if the candidate I supported were the Trump-like character? And, hence, what if the election of a sexual predator was the only alternative to eliminating health insurance for millions, allowing runaway climate change, submitting to right-wing control of the courts, and so on? Well, then, I have to admit that I would probably hold my nose and support him anyway…

Now, an important distinction has to be made between accepting a leader’s moral unfitness as a necessary trade-off for the greater good and minimizing or justifying the behavior itself. The most disturbing response to the Trump tapes is the casual insistence that his behavior is normal and therefore acceptable. A recent Politico survey of anonymous political insiders provided harrowing evidence of this very belief…

But policy matters an awful lot. Republicans find their policy preferences linked to the triumph of a loathsome man. I have little agreement with those policy preferences, but the dilemma is one with which I sympathize.

11) On the absurdity of Trump’s love for the “new” Russian nukes.

12) And a nice Post editorial on Trump as “Putin’s puppet.”

13) The behavioral economics of recycling.

14) How FIFA soccer video game is actually a useful tool for pros.  Personally, I haven’t really liked sports video games since I had a IBM PC Jr.  I am pretty intrigued by the idea of Football Manager, though.  Any recommendations on it?

15) The Post makes their “closing argument” against Trump.

16) Great tweetstorm from a Republican woman fed up with her party nicely compiled into a post, by Conor Friedersdorf.

17) I must admit I was shocked and fascinated to read this post on racism in academia.  I literally see absolutely zero of it among my colleagues.  We are so happy to have good minority applicants in our hiring pools and look to find more that I find it truly shocking that their are college professors who would look for ways to discount quality minority applicants.

18) I really find it kind of amazing that Samsung engineers simply could not solve the battery-catching-on-fire issue in their new phone and had to give up on it.

19) John Oliver was born to take on Trump’s latest scandal.

20) EJ Dionne on the problems in today’s GOP.

For years, Republicans managed an exceptional acrobatic act: to mobilize right-wing populist anger and white working-class voters behind a program whose benefits flowed to the economic elites. The operation was supported by large expenditures from the very rich. The assumption was always that the base would get the noise and the elites would get the policy.

21) Amazing story of how a drone and a twitter photo led to a NC man being saved from flooding.

22) After supporting him in numerous elections, The Charlotte Observer is done with Pat McCrory:

The Charlotte Observer’s editorial board has endorsed Republican Pat McCrory in every one of his bids for office since 1991. That includes twice for City Council, seven times for mayor and twice for governor. That streak comes to an end today.

McCrory’s term as North Carolina governor is the ultimate illustration of the Peter Principle: that people are promoted based on their past performance and not the abilities needed for the new role and thus rise to the level of their incompetence. McCrory has certainly done that…

McCrory had a notable career in public service. But he has climbed the ladder beyond his abilities. It is time for him to come home.

23) Republican former prosecutors on the amazing wrongness of Trump’s threats to put Clinton in jail.

24) Russell Berman on the wikileaks of Clinton-related emails:

But the leak of thousands of hacked email exchanges among Clinton’s top advisers suggest the same can be said about her—at least in her role as a public figure. They capture a candidate, and a campaign, that seems in private exactly as cautious, calculating, and politically flexible as they appeared to be in public. The Clinton campaign underestimated and then fretted about rival candidate Bernie Sanders, worried about Joe Biden entering the primary race and Elizabeth Warren endorsing her opponent, plotted endlessly about managing Clinton’s image in the press, took advantage of its close ties to the Obama administration and the hierarchy of the Democratic Party, and took public positions to the left of comments Clinton herself made during private paid speeches to Wall Street firms…

The most common thread in the Podesta emails, however, is that they show a political candidate being political. Not much more, and not much less. Clinton is a mainstream Democrat who admires “moderates” and pragmatism. And yes, she did move to the left to defeat an insurgent liberal opponent.

25) Loved this story about a math genius NFL player who knows he’s putting his brain and future at risk with every snap.

America and gender in red and blue

Pretty interesting maps via Nate Silver’s twitter:

Yes, too many men are troglodytes who cannot resist Trump’s alpha male appeal, but, yowza, those women in the deep South.

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