Quick hits (part II)

1) Andrew Prokop on why the failure of populist Democratic Senate candidates should makes us skeptical of Democratic populism.

2) Nice interview with Brendan Nyhan on Trump and the erosion of Democratic norms.

3) I was initially concerned when a person I don’t know all that well posted, “5 reasons not to vaccinate your kids.”  But then I read it and all was well.

4) Interesting Forbes feature on how Jared Kushner helped Trump win.

By June the GOP nomination secured, Kushner took over all data-driven efforts. Within three weeks, in a nondescript building outside San Antonio, he had built what would become a 100-person data hub designed to unify fundraising, messaging and targeting. Run by Brad Parscale, who had previously built small websites for the Trump Organization, this secret back office would drive every strategic decision during the final months of the campaign. “Our best people were mostly the ones who volunteered for me pro bono,” Kushner says. “People from the business world, people from nontraditional backgrounds.”

Kushner structured the operation with a focus on maximizing the return for every dollar spent. “We played Moneyball, asking ourselves which states will get the best ROI for the electoral vote,” Kushner says. “I asked, How can we get Trump’s message to that consumer for the least amount of cost?” FEC filings through mid-October indicate the Trump campaign spent roughly half as much as the Clinton campaign did.

5) Dana Goldstein on Trump’s threat to public education.

6) Democracies— including our own– maybe not as stable as we thought.

7) The man running  for school board on a platform of ending high school  football:

Davis doesn’t think that football should be outlawed, any more than boxing or mixed martial arts are illegal. If a parent wants to send their child to a private gym, or enroll that child in a private football program, well, it’s a free country. Only don’t ask schools to sponsor a concussion delivery system, and don’t ask taxpayers to pick up the tab. Beyond abolishing high school football, Davis’s platform calls for banning heading in soccer, instituting concussion protocol training for coaches in every sport, and forbidding Clark County teams from playing against outside schools that don’t follow the same standards. “Schools have a mission of educating kids and protecting their welfare,” he says.

8) Trevor Noah on Trump’s lies.

9) James Fallows on Trump’s lies:

  • Unlike other public figures we’ve encountered, Donald Trump appears not even to register the difference between truth and lies. He lies when it’s not “necessary” or even useful. He lies when disproof is immediately at hand. He shows no flicker in the eye, or “tell” of any kind, when he is caught in a flat-out lie. Richard Nixon looked tense and sweaty when saying “I am not a crook.” Bill Clinton went into his tortured “it depends what the meaning of is is” answer precisely because he was trying to avoid a direct lie.
    Trump doesn’t care. Watching his face for discomfort or “tells” is like looking at an alligator for signs of remorse.
  • Thus the media have to start out with the assumption that anything Trump says is at least as likely to be false as true. He has forfeited any right to an “accurate until proven to be inaccurate” presumption of honesty. Thus a headline or framing that says “Trump claims, without evidence, [his latest fantasy]” does more violence to the truth than “Trump falsely claims…”

10) Raise your hand if you are the least bit surprised that Texas wants to use an unrealistic definition of “intellectually disabled” so that they can execute more people.

11) Big federal court decision requires NC Republicans to re-draw state legislative districts and hold a new election next year.  Typically classy response (to a unanimous decision):

“What the Fourth Circuit court put forward (Tuesday) would be the single largest disenfranchisement of the voters in North Carolina history,” asserted the Executive Director of the NC GOP, Dallas Woodhouse. “We would go from somewhere around 5 million people voting on legislative elections to probably 300,000. And we’re going to overthrow one full year of a General Assembly. And we’re going to throw out the legally cast votes of 4.5 million people in North Carolina. What the Fourth Circuit court has suggested is nothing but a banana republic kangaroo court that would disenfranchise 4.5 million people from districts that were precleared by the U.S. Justice Department and have had now three elections in them.”

“All of a sudden you have one circuit court,” Rucho joined in, “the most liberal, that has decided that they don’t believe in following legal precedent; that they don’t believe in following the constitution; and they use their own, let’s just say, their own fabricated law and interpretation of the constitution. This will be handled by the United States Supreme Court,” Rucho promised. “I think we have a rogue court there right now, and it needs to be addressed by the U.S. Supreme Court.”

12) Adam Gopnik’s take on Democrats and identity politics.  A rare time I do not agree entirely with Gopnik (I just don’t think you can ignore the economic angle).

13) Ivanka Trump has written a few books.  Apparently, she is as self-delusional as her father:

Ivanka Trump’s 2009 self-help book, “The Trump Card,” opens with an unlikely sentence: “In business, as in life, nothing is ever handed to you.” Ivanka quickly adds caveats. “Yes, I’ve had the great good fortune to be born into a life of wealth and privilege, with a name to match,” she writes. “Yes, I’ve had every opportunity, every advantage. And yes, I’ve chosen to build my career on a foundation built by my father and grandfather.” Still, she insists, she and her brothers didn’t attain their positions in their father’s company “by any kind of birthright or foregone conclusion.”

The cognitive dissonance on display here might prompt a reader who wishes to preserve her sanity to close the book immediately…

This messy argument comes with correspondingly messy metaphors. “We’ve all got our own baggage,” Ivanka writes, before explaining what she means by baggage: “Whatever we do, whatever our backgrounds, we’ve all had some kind of advantage on the way.” Ivanka compares herself to a runner positioned on the outside track, whose head start at the beginning is just an illusion. “In truth, the only advantage is psychological; each runner ends up covering the same ground by the end of the race.” Soon, though—by page nine—she has grown tired of pretending to be her reader’s equal. “Did I have an edge, getting started in business?” she asks. “No question. But get over it. And read on.”

14) Steve Saideman on Trump’s over-reliance on generals.

15) Speaking of generals, I don’t know all that much about James Mattis, but the stuff I hear is good.  Makes me wonder why he wants to work for Trump.  Here’s Mattis‘ take on being “too busy to read” (of course, Trump never reads anything):

The problem with being too busy to read is that you learn by experience (or by your men’s experience), i.e. the hard way. By reading, you learn through others’ experiences, generally a better way to do business, especially in our line of work where the consequences of incompetence are so final for young men.

Thanks to my reading, I have never been caught flat-footed by any situation, never at a loss for how any problem has been addressed (successfully or unsuccessfully) before. It doesn’t give me all the answers, but it lights what is often a dark path ahead.

16) Perhaps the House “Science” Committee (which re-tweets climate change denying articles) needs to re-name itself under present Republican leadership.  Just depressing.

17) Art Pope-funded NC conservative Civitas Institute is suing to throw-out votes based on Same-day registration.  Still would not let McCrory win, but mostly, just so wrong:

Civitas wants the more than 90,000 SDR ballots removed from the statewide count in the governor’s race until all counties have verified the voters’ addresses. The group estimates that 3,000 of these ballots will be thrown out. But even if that estimate is correct and all of those ballots were cast for Cooper, McCrory would still trail by roughly 7,000 votes…

Hall said the McCrory team, Civitas and Woodhouse have “an elitist perspective on elections” that hearkens back to the pre-Civil War era.

“If they can no longer require property ownership as a prerequisite, then they’d like to require documentation that favors voters with long-term residency, plus identification attached to property, such as a Department of Motor Vehicles license,” he told Facing South.

18) John Cassidy on the victims of an Obamacare repeal:

Of course, there’s no guarantee that Price’s plan, or anything close to it, will end up being enacted. Indeed, despite his selection for a Cabinet position, there is still a great deal of uncertainty about what sort of health-care legislation Trump and the Republican Congress will actually pass. Repealing Obamacare might appear straightforward as a general principle, but the details are immensely complicated. At this stage, about the only thing we can say for certain, or near certain, is that the big losers in whatever legislation might emerge will be the poor and the sick. [emphasis mine]

 

Give up already

Just what is Pat McCrory trying to prove?  And, no, I don’t think he’s counting on the legislature keeping him in office my  legislative office.  At this point, I think he has been so insistent upon fraud and the need for a recount that he wants to go through with it to save face.  Of course, the longer he drags this out, the worse he looks.  The Charlotte Observer:

Pat McCrory, it appears, is going through the five stages of grief. First came denial, then anger. Right now he’s in the bargaining stage. That, thankfully, means that depression and finally acceptance should not be far behind.

Such a cycle may be normal, but what the governor has done since the Nov. 8 election is anything but. In a razor-close race, he has gone way beyond asking that every vote be counted before a winner is declared. He and his fellow scaremongers have disrespected democracy and honest election workers of both parties while slandering innocent North Carolina citizens by recklessly accusing them of felonies. In doing so, he has further tarnished his already-stained legacy and will be remembered always for the lack of grace he showed in what may be his final election…

et us be clear: There is no widespread voter fraud in North Carolina or America. In a state with 6.5 million registered voters, there may be a handful of wrongly registered felons or overzealous get-out-the-vote volunteers. But there is no evidence that thousands of N.C. voters are voting in two states, or that legions of dead people are voting. Almost half of the 43 people McCrory’s camp accused of voting as a felon were not felons at all. And the 101-year-old World War II veteran living in a Greensboro senior living home did not vote in two states, no matter what McCrory’s campaign alleges. There’s certainly not enough fraud, in any case, for McCrory to make up the more than 9,000 votes he would need to overtake Democrat Roy Cooper…

What he doesn’t have a right to do is malign innocent voters with claims that he either knows are mirages or doesn’t care enough to vet. The state board of elections – which, like all 100 county boards, is majority Republican – issued an order Monday effectively dismissing all 52 of McCrory’s complaints.

They know voter fraud is not a real problem in North Carolina. And, down the road, voters shouldn’t allow the myth that McCrory foments to provide cover to overzealous lawmakers – in Raleigh or in Washington.

McCrory has also not escaped notice of the NYT Editorial Board:

Mr. McCrory, a governor who brought disgrace and financial loss to his state by championing a bill to discriminate against gay and transgender people, demanded a recount and began scouring voting rolls for evidence of fraud. It was a hard-fought, acrimonious election, decided by a slim margin, but as provisional and absentee ballots were added to the tally in recent days, Mr. Cooper’s lead surpassed the 10,000 threshold that bars Mr. McCrory from requesting a taxpayer-funded recount.

Mr. McCrory has refused to concede, and despite having no path to victory, he has been engaged in an all-out assault on the integrity of the election system. His fight appears likely to serve as rationale for a renewed effort in the legislature to make North Carolina’s voting laws and regulations even more onerous…

“It’s scandalous that they would malign innocent people to poison the larger public’s trust in the election system,” Bob Hall, the executive director of Democracy North Carolina, said in an interview. It’s dishonorable for Mr. McCrory to promote voting fraud myths and add fuel to voter suppression efforts as he’s going out the door.

Yep.  I don’t hate Pat McCrory.  I’ve mostly thought he was somebody decently well-meaning who was not that bright and ended up  in way over his head.  But now I think he is a sad little man who just cannot face reality.

Did voter suppression decide 2016?

Not likely.  One easy way to gauge the impact would be to look at rates of change in Black turnout in states that passed laws making it harder to vote versus states that did not.  I assume somebody has or will do that.  For now, though, I found this recent tweet from Nate Cohn interesting:

Quick hits (part I)

1) Loved “The Arrival.”  This review captures it pretty well.

2) Excellent NC State Senator Jeff Jackson with his take on how Democrats should try and talk to working class voters.

3) Oh man, Alec Baldwin as President-Elect Trump is the best yet.

4) NYT with a great case study on how a totally false tweet blew up huge on right-wing media.

5) Emily Badger on the persistent and pervasive rural bias in American politics.

6) So Pope Francis has continued a waiver to let a priest, and not necessarily a bishop, absolve a Catholic of the sin of abortion.  What I cannot figure out–and have tried– is if this is actually a harsher standard than for murder (of which I always assumed you could just confess to a priest).

7) SurveyMonkey’s post election poll suggests a substantially less diverse electorate than the official exit polls.

8) Brendan Nyhan on the institutional failures that led to Trump.  From 9 months ago.

9) Yglesias with a fascinating psycho-analysis of Jared Kushner.

10) The amazing irony of Trump claiming he would “drain the swamp.”

11) Italian Economist Luigi Zingales on how to resist Trump (based on Italian experience with Berlusconi)

12) Interesting Vox feature on the inter-generational transmission– and inter-generational mis-understandings– of political attitudes.  Much to my dismay, though, nothing on the role of genetics.  Fortunately, Thomas Edsall had a nice round-up of that a while back.

13) The Democratic government in Delaware with a template on how to succeed based on economic policies benefiting the working class.

14) Rick Hasen on the claims that somehow electoral fraud led to Clinton’s loss.  And, no, I haven’t taken this seriously for more than a second.

First, I continue to be inundated with messages from people advancing the most extreme legal and political theories to try to change the results of an election that many on the left see as a threat to American Democracy itself. People want to believe there is rigging, or some magic legal way out, to change the outcome of the election. All of these theories should be approached with extreme caution. Most are a combination of wishful thinking and dubious reasoning. That was true the theories that were put out there using exit polls to try to show that Ohio’s 2004 results were rigged against John Kerry. Some people still believe this even though there is no good evidence of it (as Rep. John Conyers concluded in his report).

15) The comments on this Amazon page for a Trump hat Christmas ornament are great.

16) Nice post from the Lindsay Wagner at the awesome AJ Fletcher Foundation on some of the problems with public money going to private schools:

As I outlined last week, consider the following scenarios that apply to private schools receiving public dollars:

  • Private schools receiving tax dollars don’t have to meet any generally accepted accreditation standards.
  • Teachers don’t have to be licensed.
  • Schools are free to deny admission to anyone, such as those who don’t declare their support for Jesus Christ or those who are LGBTQ.
  • Schools don’t have to adhere to any sort of curricular standards and are free to use teaching materials that draw heavily on biblical teachings.
  • A criminal background check is required only for the schools’ top administrator.
  • A nationally-normed standardized test must be given to students yearly (and report those findings only if enrollment is more than 25 voucher students). The test doesn’t have to be the same, or comparable, to the tests administered in public schools.
  • Only if a school receives more than $300,000 annually is it then required to conduct a financial review by a CPA (only three of the 330 schools met the criteria last year).

So while these recently-closed private schools may have shut down due to financial problems, it’s impossible to know if other factors were at play.

17) Really interesting post on how fake news is not the problem, so much as propaganda getting covered as real news.  Great case study of Hillary Clinton’s health.

18) Just what we need– a registry of liberally-biased professors.  I wonder how long before I’m on it🙂.

19) Just concede already Pat McCrory.

20) Yes, some felons have inappropriately voted in North Carolina.  But it sure as hell ain’t anywhere near 7000.  And some people who are allowed to vote have been wrongly challenged as felons.  Including McCrory voters.

21) I like Drum’s take on Bannon:

 

So even if we give Bannon the benefit of the doubt on racism, he’s still presided over a website that deliberately indulges in race-baiting, presumably to build its audience. Is that better or worse? You decide.

I’ve written about this before, and I’ve already decided: It’s worse. The David Duke version of racism may be repugnant, but for that very reason it’s fairly easy to fight. There are just too many people who are put off by it.

The Steve Bannon version is far more effective. Partly this is because, yes, critics will overreach and discredit themselves. Partly it’s because his more subtle attacks on “political correctness” don’t put off as many people. Partly it’s because he assures people they can have racist attitudes without actually being racists. And partly it’s because his sub rosa approach is just plain harder to expose.

22) Also a really interesting interview with former Breitbart writer Ben Shapiro.  And, yes, Bannon basically does have no moral compass.

23) Not the least bit shocked for a child psychologist to argue that fears of childhood screen time are overblown.

24) Another good Monkey Cage piece from Michael Tesler on how racially resentful working class whites have been fleeing the Democratic Party well before Trump.

 

Burning down the house on the way out

What the hell is Pat McCrory doing?  When virtually all the votes are counted but for a few stray absentee and provisional ballots and you are losing by 6000-8000 votes (probably the higher number, but reports vary), you have lost.  Sure, Pat McCrory is legally allowed his request for a recount with the margin under 10,000 votes.  Fine.  He and his minions, however, sure don’t need to go around undermining confidence in elections and our democracy by making utterly baseless allegations about voter fraud.  Are there some ballots with irregularities and potential issues?  Sure.  You bet.  Millions of votes were cast; this is normal.  Yet, there is not one scintilla of evidence for any kind of systematic voter fraud.  Yet, we get this:

“Why is Roy Cooper so insistent on circumventing the electoral process and counting the votes of dead people and felons?,” Diaz said in an emailed response. “It may be because he needs those fraudulent votes to count in order to win. Instead of insulting North Carolina voters, we intend to let the process work as it should to ensure that every legal vote is counted properly.”

Seriously?  What the hell.  Are there some people who early voted then died before election day?  Likely.  Throw their votes out.  Ummm, 8000 or so who voted for Cooper, I don’t think so.  Again, or any evidence whatsoever that there’s widespread intentional fraud in this regard?  Hell no.

This quote from McCrory’s strategist really killed me, too:

Chris LaCivita, McCrory’s campaign strategist and an ex-Marine, tweeted on Sunday night: “You never ever give up a fight until your out of ammunition.”

No, no, no!!  That’s not true.  You give up the fight when you have plenty of ammunition left for all sorts of reasons– to avoid civilian casualties, to avoid utterly needless losses of your own troops, to regroup and try again later, etc.  But, damnit, no, you don’t just fight no matter what.  There are consequences.  And the consequences in this case are confidence in elections and democracy.  Alas, it seems NC Republicans have been taking too many pages from Trump’s playbook.

And here’s the odious Dallas Woodhouse in a Politico article:

“Roy Cooper thinks he’s the Governor-elect of what? The voting dead? Roy Cooper should respect the process to ensure all legally cast ballots are counted before measuring the drapes,” said Dallas Woodhouse, the state’s Republican Party executive director, in a statement Monday. “Despite partisan lines, we want to make sure the man with the most votes wins this election, and it’s a shame that Roy Cooper doesn’t want the same.”

You want a legal recount?  Again, fine.  Though, really, are there any cases in modern times of a recount over-turning a 8000 vote margin?  I sure as hell doubt it.  (Just give up with dignity already), but that’s sure no reason to make this invidious insinuations about dead people voting.

Meanwhile, a Slate article yesterday suggesting that the NC Legislature could install McCrory after a “contested” election with no judicial check, seems to have drawn huge attention.  I talked to both NBC and CNN on the matter today.  Short version– not happening.  Why in the world would they even consider such an absurd political step (“beyond nuclear” as a wise follower of the legislature termed it to me), when they’ve got their damn supermajority? Exactly.   And, just checked, and pleasantly surprised to see my condemnation of McCrory’s irresponsible allegations made it into the NBC story:

“I say, not as a Democrat but as a political scientist, that it’s entirely appropriate to condemn McCrory’s actions,” Steve Greene, political science professor at NC State University, told NBC News. “This is not how we do things here.”

 

Quick hits part II

1) This call to action for Political Scientists from Jennifer Victor is great:

EDITORIAL: It’s time for political science to update its disciplinary norms about public engagement. We can value neutrality, science, and objectivity while passing judgment against actions and proposals that jeopardize democratic institutions. These are not in conflict if we agree on basic values…

For example, threats to lock up a political opponent violate the due process clause in the Fifth and 14th amendments; encouraging voter suppression and intimidation violates the democratic standard of universal suffrage; questioning the independence of the judiciarythreatens the legitimacy of separation of powers and checks and balances; intimidating journalists violates the free speech and free press provisions of the First Amendment; calling for the proliferation of nuclear weapons threatens national security and our position in international treaties.

2) David Leonhardt on the Democrats real turnout problem.

3) Yeah, of course parents matter most, but some good evidence from a study comparing US and UK that public policy helping out kids helps cognitive outcomes.  (Obviously, it’s the UK with public policy benefiting kids).

4) Do Working Class Whites really vote against their interests?  No, says Kirk Noden (I still say they do, no matter how much Democrats love corporate America).  That is, unless their interests are expressing white identity.

5) Paul Waldman makes the case for the do not cooperate with Trump camp:

It’s important that Democrats keep reminding the American public, every day for the next four years, of who’s sitting in the White House and what that means. Trump ran one of most vile presidential campaigns in American history, one based on racial and religious hatred, resentment and fear. He sought to normalize toxic misogyny. He celebrated violence. He mainstreamed white supremacy. His election has spurred a wave of racist intimidation and hate crimes, as bigots across the country have become emboldened by his victory to act out their most despicable impulses. He’s a demagogue and a dangerous fool, and while Democrats aren’t going to question the legitimacy of his presidency the way Republicans did with Obama, he shouldn’t ever be treated like an ordinary president with whom Democrats just have some substantive disagreements.

So, absent an incredibly powerful reason to cooperate with him on any particular bill, the last thing Trump should get from Democrats is a clean slate and a hand extended in cooperation.

6) And Josh Chafetz on why even a Republican Congress might block some of Trump’s agenda.

7) And Drum on the difficulty of doing something about NAFTA.

8) Harry Enten makes the best case that shy Trump voters really weren’t a thing:

The second reason to be skeptical of the “shy” theory is that Republican Senate candidates outperformed their polls too. The theory behind the “shy” phenomenon is that voters are reluctant to admit support for particularly controversial or politically incorrect candidates. Yet mainstream Republican Senate candidates such as Ron Johnson, Marco Rubio and Pat Toomey — hardly examples of bomb-throwers like Trump — all did better than the polls indicated they would. They weren’t alone. A look across Senate races reveals that most Republican Senate candidates bested their polls.

9) Tim Noah’s nice takedown of the contemporary horribleness of the electoral college.

10) Blame Trump’s victory on college-educated whites.  Yeah, I’m actually pretty sympathetic to this argument.

Perhaps, then, these Trump voters are the most deplorable of them all. They’re not suffering or desperate, and have no concrete reason to hate the status quo or to feel like they are in decline. They understand that Trump is manifestly unprepared to be president, have heard his many lies and insults, yet voted for him anyway. And without them, Trump wouldn’t have won. The media ought to focus on their motivations, too—and reporters won’t even have to fly to Youngstown to find them.

11) Late-deciding voters seemed to have broken pretty strongly for Trump.

12) Sadly, one of Trump’s most important flaws, is that he does not get the best people, but the worst.  Or as Chait puts it, “building a team of racists.”

13) Trump is a really, really unpopular President-Elect.  Yglesias.

 

14) Trump’s policies are a disaster for the environment and he will be able to enact most of these.

15) Donald Trump settled for over $20 million for using his name, Trump University, to defraud people.  And what is the media totally focused on?  A tweet about Hamilton.  Ugh.  There’s your damn media bias.  Yglesias:

The Hamilton blow-up — because it’s easy to understand, bizarre, and connects with a pop culture phenomenon — has naturally ended up getting the bulk of the news pickup. One potential reason is that Trump’s tweets are public, whereas it took diligent reporting by the Washington Post to get the hotel story. The idea is that other prestigious outlets may be disinclined to pay attention to a story the Post “owns” and to give due credit to its significance.

Meanwhile, a second-order controversy even broke out among the people I follow on Twitter as to whether the Hamilton audience booing Mike Pence in some sense played into Trump’s hands.

But the truth is that nothing about the Hamilton story — not Pence’s decision to attend, not the crowd booing him, not the cast of the musical directing some respectful criticism in the direction of I his boss, not Trump’s tweets about what happened, and not the subsequent second-order controversy — is in any way important to how he runs the country.

By contrast, foreign governments directly putting money into Donald Trump’s pocket is very important. The fact that these attempted bribes are being paid to a man who is also paying out millions of dollars to avoid standing trial for his corrupt business practices is very important. The fact that citizens are calling members of congress to ask them to do something about this is also very important.

16) Interesting and not-at-all sympathetic review of Pope Emeritus Benedict’s new book.

17) Get used to the term Emoluments.  Trump will quite likely be in violation of the Constitution the day he is inaugurated.  Seriously.

The Constitution’s “Emoluments Clause,” provides that “no person holding any office of profit or trust under” the United States “shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.”

The diplomats’ efforts in seek Trump’s favor by staying in his hotel “looks like a gift,” Painter told ThinkProgress in an email, and thus is the very kind of favor the Constitution seeks to prevent.

18) Interesting essay on what to do about Trump:

The first, and most obvious, is this: Treat every poisoned word as a promise. When a bigoted blusterer tells you he intends to force members of a religious minority to register with the authorities—much like those friends and family of Siegfried’s who stayed behind were forced to do before their horizon grew darker—believe him. Don’t try to be clever. Don’t lean on political intricacies or legislative minutia or historical precedents for comfort. Don’t write it off as propaganda, or explain it away as just an empty proclamation meant simply to pave the path to power. Take the haters at their word, and assume the worst is imminent.

Do that, and a second principle follows closely: You should treat people like adults, which means respecting them enough to demand that they understand the consequences of their actions.

19) Michael Tomasky on another reason Bernie would not have won the general election– Michael Bloomberg would have likely run as an independent.

20) A Yale History professor with 20 lessons from the 20th century.  Good stuff.

21) I really like this take on Trump and the party system from Dan Balz:

Trump took the elements of an independent candidacy — the lack of clear ideology, the name recognition of a national celebrity and the personal fortune needed to fund a presidential campaign — and then did what no one seemed to have thought of before. He staged a hostile takeover of an existing major party. He had the best of both worlds, an outsider candidacy with crosscutting ideological appeal and the platform of a major party to wage the general election.

22) Pat McCrory has so lost the NC election.  Every day he trails by more votes.  That’s fine that he doesn’t want to concede yet, but, hey, why not try and undermine faith in democracy and elections while you are at (with utterly baseless allegations), Pat?  Pathetic:

McCrory campaign spokesman Ricky Diaz disagreed.

“More than 80 counties have postponed their canvas meetings until next week, so let’s be clear: The counting is not complete and there is still no certified outcome. Roy Cooper is making presumptuous statements based on piecemeal results from a handful of Democrat-leaning counties in order to deflect attention away from serious voter fraud concerns that are emerging across the state.

“The real question people should be asking is, why is Roy Cooper fighting to count the votes of dead people and felons?” [emphasis mine]

23) Harry Enten uses actual voting data to make a pretty compelling case that (somehow!), Trump really did out-perform Romney with Latino voters.

24) Mark Lilla on “the end of identity liberalism”

It is a truism that America has become a more diverse country. It is also a beautiful thing to watch. Visitors from other countries, particularly those having trouble incorporating different ethnic groups and faiths, are amazed that we manage to pull it off. Not perfectly, of course, but certainly better than any European or Asian nation today. It’s an extraordinary success story.

But how should this diversity shape our politics? The standard liberal answer for nearly a generation now has been that we should become aware of and “celebrate” our differences. Which is a splendid principle of moral pedagogy — but disastrous as a foundation for democratic politics in our ideological age. In recent years American liberalism has slipped into a kind of moral panic about racial, gender and sexual identity that has distorted liberalism’s message and prevented it from becoming a unifying force capable of governing.

One of the many lessons of the recent presidential election campaign and its repugnant outcome is that the age of identity liberalism must be brought to an end. Hillary Clinton was at her best and most uplifting when she spoke about American interests in world affairs and how they relate to our understanding of democracy. But when it came to life at home, she tended on the campaign trail to lose that large vision and slip into the rhetoric of diversity, calling out explicitly to African-American, Latino, L.G.B.T. and women voters at every stop. This was a strategic mistake. If you are going to mention groups in America, you had better mention all of them. If you don’t, those left out will notice and feel excluded. Which, as the data show, was exactly what happened with the white working class and those with strong religious convictions. Fully two-thirds of white voters without college degrees voted for Donald Trump, as did over 80 percent of white evangelicals.

The moral energy surrounding identity has, of course, had many good effects. Affirmative action has reshaped and improved corporate life. Black Lives Matter has delivered a wake-up call to every American with a conscience. Hollywood’s efforts to normalize homosexuality in our popular culture helped to normalize it in American families and public life.

But the fixation on diversity in our schools and in the press has produced a generation of liberals and progressives narcissistically unaware of conditions outside their self-defined groups, and indifferent to the task of reaching out to Americans in every walk of life. At a very young age our children are being encouraged to talk about their individual identities, even before they have them. By the time they reach college many assume that diversity discourse exhausts political discourse, and have shockingly little to say about such perennial questions as class, war, the economy and the common good…

We need a post-identity liberalism, and it should draw from the past successes of pre-identity liberalism. Such a liberalism would concentrate on widening its base by appealing to Americans as Americans and emphasizing the issues that affect a vast majority of them. It would speak to the nation as a nation of citizens who are in this together and must help one another.

Quick hits (part I)

1) Love this NYT feature on voter turnout and demographics (from back in September), but it’s been an open tab for too long.

2) Continuing with the theme of clearing out some really good open tabs.  Loved this Lee Drutman on race and identity as a central dividing line on American politics:

For Democratic Party leaders, there are three benefits to maintaining race and identity as the primary dimension of conflict in American politics.

The first reason Democrats want to make politics about race and identity is that they probably hold the majority position, at least if the 2016 election cleavages hold. And going forward, the electorate is only going to grow more diverse and more highly educated, which means that if Democrats get to be the party of tolerance and cosmopolitan social values in a politics organized around these issues, they will be in a strong electoral position.

Obviously, there is danger here. Democrats could go too far in supporting the rights of minority groups to the point that whites completely abandon the party.

A second reason is that Democrats are increasingly split internally along class lines. If economics were dominating this campaign, you’d hear a lot about how Hillary Clinton and Tim Kaine are selling out the Democrats by cozying up to corporate elites for money and endorsements. But by keeping the campaign about Trump’s racism, these divisions have been silenced.

And finally, Democrats are more and more a coalition of identity groups, all with their specific policy demands. But all these groups can get behind a politics about inclusion and tolerance and anti-racism, since such a politics serves them all well.

This election (and Republican dominance on the state level) suggests that perhaps such a politics is not serving Democrats well.

3) Yglesias‘ excellent take on Bartels and Achen’s book on the irrationality of the American voter.  I like this part on how it interacts with our presidential system:

Bartels and Achen don’t have Trump in mind in their book (recall that despite its May 2016 publication date, the research is much too old to address him explicitly) and are concerned primarily with academic theory rather than practical reform.

Their message, however, is loud and clear: It is simply much less likely than one would hope that the voters, in their wisdom, will prevent flagrantly unqualified candidates or people with terrible ideas from obtaining high office. Partisan loyalties are largely built up from fundamental group identities rather than based on profound ideological commitments, and swing voters swing in large part for no good reason at all — maybe because of a recession, but maybe because of a swing in global oil prices or because the Steelers lost or almost anything else.

To the extent that democratic political systems work — and they mostly do work — it’s because these electoral impulses intersect with important aspects of elite control. A given state or congressional district may choose to be represented by someone unsuitable for office, but to make a big difference as a legislator you need to be able to collaborate effectively with others.

Most successful democracies have parliamentary governments — often backed by proportional electoral systems — leading to a politics that reenforces this tendency and avoids tipping points. In the American system, small shifts in public sentiment can lead to drastic changes — either Bush or Gore, either Clinton or Trump — whereas the Dutch or German electoral systems ensure that a small change in voting behavior leads to a small change in the composition of parliament. Any given party could put a fool or a knave forward as leader, and he might still win votes. But to exercise meaningful power he would need to negotiate with other coalition partners, which is hard to do if you’re a fool.

The American system has no such safeguard. If a fool or a knave secures the nomination of one of the major political parties, he has a pretty good chance of becoming president, at which point all bets are off.

4) John Oliver’s great post-election take.

5) John Cassidy on Trump’s bait-and-switch.

6) On how the Electoral College was maintained with the 12th amendment in 1803 to serve the interests of slave states.

7) Emily Crockett on how sexism explains Trump’s victory:

To understand how sexism played into Trump’s victory, first you have to understand that there are two basic types of sexism — “hostile” and “benevolent” — and how they work together.

If you have some “hostile” sexist attitudes, you might mistrust women’s motives and see gender relations as a zero-sum battle between male and female dominance. You might agree with statements like, “Many women get a kick out of teasing men by seeming sexually available and then refusing male advances,” or “Most women interpret innocent remarks or acts as being sexist.”

If you have some “benevolent” sexist attitudes, you might endorse positive — but still patronizing — stereotypes of women. You might agree with statements like, “Women should be cherished and protected by men,” or “Women, compared to men, tend to have a superior moral sensibility.”

In the context of Trump, a benevolent sexist might hear the “grab ’em by the pussy” tape and say that he’s horrified because he has a daughter — which suggests that his first instinct is to paternalistically shield his female relatives from harm, rather than to see sexual assault as an objective moral horror no matter who you’re related to.

Meanwhile, a hostile sexist would claim the benevolent sexist is overreacting — that the tape doesn’t actually describe sexual assault, just normal male sexual aggression.

These attitudes might seem diametrically opposed to one another. But they’re actually two sides of the same coin, Peter Glick, professor of psychology and social sciences at Lawrence University, told Vox. People can hold both of these sexist views at the same time, and they very often do.

“It’s how men can wear ‘Trump That Bitch’ T-shirts at a Trump rally, and then go home and say, ‘I love my wife and daughter,’” Glick said.

Trump expresses both hostile and benevolent attitudes toward women all the time. When he likes a woman, he praises her in a patronizing way (usually focusing on her physical beauty). When he doesn’t, he viciously insults her.

Benevolent sexism is the carrot, Glick explained, and hostile sexism is the stick. If you’re a “good” woman who meets expected gender norms — who has warm feminine charms, who maintains strict beauty standards, whose ambitions are focused on home and hearth — you will be rewarded with affection, protection, and praise. But step outside those norms, and you risk being labeled as one of the “bad” girls who are abused and scorned only because they deserve it.

It’s a tidy little cycle. Benevolent sexism is supposed to protect women from hostile sexism, and hostile sexism is supposed to keep women in line with the ideals of benevolent sexism.

But while benevolent sexism may put women on a pedestal, Glick said, it’s a very narrow pedestal that’s easy to fall off of. This is the whole reason that our age-old “Madonna versus whore” dichotomy exists in the first place: If women can be separated into good girls and bad, and only bad girls get punished, it justifies male dominance and absolves men of blame for treating women unfairly.

And it’s why Trump, despite the long list of sexist words and deeds to his name, can insist that “nobody respects women more” than he does — and why some people, including women, actually believe him.

8) Kathy Cramer on the politics of anti-elite resentment in rural America.

9) Take that political correctness!

10) Not quite getting arrested for a library fine, but it is absolutely insane that any jurisdiction anywhere thinks it is a good use of public resources to put out arrest warrants for people who bounce $10 checks paying off library fines.  Insane!

11) Really interesting dialogue on the election between Theda Skocpol and John Judis.

12) Yglesias on how praise for Reince Priebus as Chief of Staff is really lowering the bar for Trump.

13) There’s simply no way that NC Governor Pat McCrory is going to make up the 6000 votes he’s behind.  My already low opinion of him has sunk far lower, not that he is flinging around baseless accusations of voter fraud in his desperate attempt to hold onto office.

14) Michael Tomasky’s “muted farewell” to Hillary:

She ran a good campaign. People—in some ways liberals in particular—loved to carp about what a lousy candidate she was. Well, no. She won a primary in which she never trailed. She led pretty much the entire way in the general election. She oversaw a very successful convention. She won all three debates, two of them by a mile. She had better TV ads (the ads were fantastic). She had better field operations.

It’s hard to do all those things. Candidates who do them almost always win.

But she lost.

I submit she didn’t lose for anything she did as a candidate. She lost for two main reasons. One, the email server decision. Yes maybe it got over-covered, and yes, Jim Comey probably killed her on Oct. 28 (and Anthony Weiner, whom I saw referred to on Twitter last night as the Steve Bartman of this election, didn’t help her).

But she skirted the rules. Before that story broke in March 2015, her approval and trust numbers were above water. Within a couple months, they were not, and they stayed underwater ever since. I can’t agree with other liberal writers that, hey, bosses often skirt rules, no big deal. She wasn’t a private-sector boss. She was a public servant. Public servants should obey the rules in a way that makes common sense to regular people. If she had, she’d be the president-elect today, I have little doubt. She’ll have to spend her life waking up thinking about that.

 15) Confessions of a fake news writer.

16) How much should Democrats cooperate with Trump?  Not at all says Jamelle Bouie:

Supporting a Trump-branded infrastructure initiative as a discrete piece of policy where two sides can find common ground only bolsters a white-nationalist politics, even if you oppose the rest of Trump’s agenda. It legitimizes and gives fuel to white tribalism as a political strategy. It shows that there are tangible gains for embracing Trump-style demagoguery.

17) Bouie’s colleague at Slate, Jim Newell, disagrees:

I don’t have any nifty Actually! reply to this. If an infrastructure bill passes, and Trump’s approval rating goes up as a result, it would still seem … undeserved. But I also don’t think it’s tenable for Democrats—especially if Democrats were to advertise it as their strategy!—to keep their hands off every single thing that might make Trump look good, especially if the things that are making him look good include people getting good construction jobs and improved access to child care.

To whatever extent Democratic senators work with Trump on these proposals, they should work extra hard to block the rest of his agenda. They should fight mass deportations, hard. They should fight appointments, like Jeff Sessions’ for attorney general, hard. They should walk out of Congress if Trump moves forward with a “Muslim registry.” They should use all the leverage they can possibly muster in the appropriations process to block rollbacks of the social safety net. If they do it right, they can show that they’ll work with Trump on areas where he meets their interests, on their terms, while also making it known that they’re not, in any way, interested in seeing this president serve a second term.

18) Heartless state legislator (shockingly, a Republican) with some choice words for mom of kid with Type I diabetes.

19) Because poll-based forecasting models got the election wrong does definitely not mean Political Science got the election wrong.

20) Dahlia Lithwick on how Democrats should play as hardball as they can on the Supreme Court (it’s a complete travesty what the Republicans have gotten away with here).

21) UVA students ask university president to stop quoting Thomas Jefferson (the founder of the university) because Jefferson, you know, owned slaves.  Heck, you know what, a bunch of the signatories of the Constitution owned slaves, we should probably not even bother with it.  Also, Abraham Lincoln said some really horrible things about Black people by modern standards, so I’m done with him.

22) Thomas Edsall on the Anti-PC vote.

23) Some brand names are horrible.

24) Important Yglesias piece on how Trump could truly corrupt our form of government and how we need to fight to avoid it.

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