Tag Archives: election2016

Trump ≠ Conservatism

“Somehow an explanation of Donald Trump’s political success has to incorporate the fact that Trump won a higher share of the Latino vote and black vote in the presidential election of 2016 than Mitt Romney did in 2012.”

David Frum argues that Trump’s ascendancy is less about something old (racism, nativism, protectionism), than about something new (discouragement, political exploitation).  Do you agree?


Do Voter ID Laws Actually Matter?

A longtime partisan cliché is that voter identification laws (such as those that require government-issued picture IDs to prevent fraud) are designed to support Republicans, because those citizens who are more likely to not have such IDs are also more likely to vote Democrat: minorities and the poor.

However, the above groups are less likely to vote at all, and it has also been attributed to the “costs of cognitive participation.”  This refers to the time and mental energy required to stay informed on current events, and to plan for and set aside the time and resources to cast a vote, which is obviously more involved for those who lack fixed home addresses, easy transportation, or a forgiving work schedule.  But on aggregate, demand for voting is more inelastic than Dems care to admit–people who  value voting  are more likely to accomplish it.

Get Out the Vote (GOTV) is, and should continue to be, the winning strategy for Democrats.  However, there is not any evidence that voter ID laws hurt turnout.

Another thought is that Voter ID laws are correlation without causation: states more likely to institute Voter ID laws are also likely to have low minority turnout because of other cultural or economic barriers, which may, or may not, have anything to do with public policies.

ModCon believes Dems should give up the battle against Voter ID laws because the potential gains of avoiding fraud are more than offset by the victimhood mentality that can turn off swing voters.  Even when Voter ID laws are politically motivated, they are not racially motivated.

Why Clinton Lost in Michigan (and Elsewhere)

Michigan highlights the campaign problems that repeated all over the Midwest: an inability to react to changing facts on the ground.

“Trump won the state despite getting 30,000 fewer votes than George W. Bush did when he lost it in 2004.” Now re-read that sentence.

“(The national campaign plan) was very surgical and corporate. They had their model, this is how they’re going to do it. Their thing was, ‘We don’t have to leave [literature] at the doors, everyone knows who Hillary Clinton is,’” said one person involved in the Michigan campaign. “But in terms of activists, it seems different, it’s maybe they don’t care about us.”

Some pieces of the article sound like petty he-said/she-saids, with unverifiable anecdotes. However, the fact that TV ads in Michigan were nearly nonexistent does indicate support was taken for granted.

“Brooklyn’s theory from the start was that 2016 was going to be a purely base turnout election. Efforts were focused on voter registration and then, in the final weeks, turning out voters identified as Clinton’s, without confirmation that they were.”

Nonetheless, the official reasoning for the Dems’ loss is that key states’ numbers went south during the week leading up to the election, after FBI Dir James Comey used his position to very publicly raise suspicion about Hillary’s emails and integrity.

In either case, this chapter can serve as a lesson for what campaigns CAN control–the dangers of sole reliance on centrality and bureaucracy. The fact that liberals (who by definition more heavily favor federal control over the states)  suffered by this fallacy is perhaps poetic justice.

Why do educated, charming, well-balanced young Americans almost exclusively pursue careers outside of governance?


Last week, the Obamas hosted Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi  as their final state dinner honoree.  Dubbed, “the Justin Trudeau of Italy,” he is the youngest prime minister (age 41) since Italy became a unified nation in 1861.

Fun fact:
At 19, Renzi was a contestant on Italy’s version of “Wheel of Fortune” and appeared on five episodes until he wrongly guessed “navi” (ships) instead of “neve” (snow) — a mistake that bugs him to this day. The show’s host teased him mercilessly, but Renzi walked away with more than 48 million lire, about 25,000 euros or $27,500 today.
Source: The Washington Post

Italy is coming to be known for its young politicians. Virginia Raggi, now 38, is the first female mayor of Rome.  Her platform was anti-corruption, and she opposed Rome’s 2024 Olympic bid, believing it would worsen the existing debt. Can you remember a country not wanting the Olympics? A bold choice from a bold woman.

La candidata M5s a sindaco di Roma Virginia Raggi durante la conferenza stampa nella sede dell'Associazione Stampa Estera, Roma, 25 febbraio 2016. ANSA/ MASSIMO PERCOSSI

She may or may not have been a contributor to this summer’s public trash woes, but absolutely no one has been able to keep up with the Mafia’s successful sanitation.

I bring these politicians to your attention to emphasize the contrast between most current US politicians, and the glamour and vibrancy possible in the future.

How did we get here–where the presidential candidate of public desire is a spry 68?  Is government navigation really so dependent on “life experience” that high mileage of scandal and drudgery is the job prerequisite? Can you name a respected national politician under 40?

Perhaps more to the point, why do educated, charming,  well-balanced young Americans almost exclusively pursue careers outside of governance?  Why is the career so repulsive to the normcore? And for the few moderate people who do attempt to be elected, why do they fail?

Is it the media’s fault, for creating an unbearable burden of interminable prying and spin?  Partly.  But foreign media and paparazzi is possibly more salacious than ours.

The voting-public’s?  Well who is that exactly?  To quote an idol, there is no such thing as society. There are only individual men and women.

As a conservative, it concerns me that those who give millions to candidates (and/or lead the businesses that give millions to candidates) pick our small pool of viable potential presidents, senators, and congressmen for us.  Why are the very wealthy such poor judges of character? There must be something about delusion and the ability to accumulate wealth that go hand-in-hand.

Unless and until we reform US campaign financing, our candidates will likely continue to be subpar.

Debate Grades: Trump C, Clinton A, Wallace A

This was the debate for intellectuals.

Sec. Clinton A: She was nearly flawless.  As poised as we’ve ever seen her, she had a well-thought-out answer to every question, and took every attempt made to rattle her to instead demonstrate her superior IQ.  She never flagged during her 90 minute slayage.  Also, the white jacket was bomb and the whole suit was impeccably tailored.


Trump C: He showed how little his range of points is.  Everything about America is a “disaster,” he is still sore about Bill Clinton’s NAFTA, and is victimized by women who supposedly want to be famous for having been groped by him (as Michael Che aptly said, it’s “every little girl’s dream.”)


Wallace A: Showed us how moderation is done.  For the first time in any debate this year, he actually held up his hand and said “No” to someone trying to talk out of turn. He also forced the candidates to answer the questions at hand, and addressed factual errors from past debates. This was a major credibility win for Fox News.


Debate Grades: Trump F, Clinton B, Cooper A, Raddatz B

Trump  F: Total dodge of The Video–kept dismissing it as “locker room talk,” (which would make it inoffensive to everybody?) after being given every chance to just apologize for a lapse in judgement.  Instead he talked about how ISIS is medieval in hopes of making us forget.

His pacing behind Hillary came off as menacing.

Was sarcastic and totally unfocused.  Kept referencing a time when Bernie Sanders said that Hillary had bad judgment.  Is he pursuing Sanders fans or…?

Most of his off-topic, non-answers made one think, “Yes, and?”  He was clearly grasping at straws by vaguely attacking Clinton’s friends, donors, and husband, instead of her.

Also, why are so many Republicans turning away just now?  Because the concentric circles are closing in on the WASP establishment.  “All women” (as opposed to minority ones) hits too close to home.


Clinton  B: Got smug, but was mostly sharp, studied, and intelligent.  And answered the questions.


Cooper  A: Came closest to living out all our fantasies of calling lies out on the carpet, and in a respectful way.


Raddatz  B: Had room to better escalate her language, rather than just repeat that we want to move on.




VP Debate Grades: Pence B, Kaine D, Quijano A

Assessment of Tuesday night’s VP debate:

Pence   B: Repeatedly went big picture, and thus successfully avoided defending Trump’s indefensible statements.  Cultivated an air of sanity and even-keeling.

Kaine  D: Was shamefully defensive and combative.  Blindly kept walking into Pence’s trap of attempted out-classing, going above, and “there-you-go-again” rebukes of being an old saw.

Quijano   A:  Fair, firm, kind–Quijano gracefully tisked the candidates for speaking over one another, and advocated for the viewer first and foremost.  A model performance.