Vox Populi Nevadae

 

99 peercent

Politico, Sanders eviscerates the conventional wisdom about why he can’t win: In Nevada, he exposed his main rivals as weak, divided, and grasping at increasingly tenuous arguments about their viability:

Nevada exposed his four main rivals as weak, divided, and grasping at increasingly tenuous arguments about how they can still win. …

The race is Sanders’ to lose. He’s the best funded non-billionaire candidate. He has the best organization. He is winning the broadest coalition.

Politico Would Like You to Know that Louisiana Gave Trump a Big Old Shiner

Louisiana delivers Trump a black eye: The president lost two of three gubernatorial elections in conservative Southern states, raising questions about his standing heading into 2020:

President Donald Trump campaigned hard in three conservative Southern states this fall, aiming for a string of gubernatorial wins that would demonstrate his political strength heading into impeachment and his own reelection effort.

The plan backfired in dramatic fashion.

he latest black eye came on Saturday, when Trump’s favored candidate in Louisiana, multimillionaire businessman Eddie Rispone, went down to defeat. The president went all-in, visiting the state three times, most recently on Thursday. Earlier this month, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin lost reelection after a similar presidential effort on his behalf. Of the candidates Trump backed, only Tate Reeves in Mississippi won.

The losses raise questions about Trump’s standing as he heads into what will be a grueling 2020 campaign. By throwing himself into the three contests — each in states that Trump won by double-digits in 2016 — the president had hoped to gain a modicum of political momentum at a perilous moment of his presidency. …

Trump’s activity in the Louisiana contest was particularly extensive: In addition to the rallies, he called into conservative radio stations on Rispone’s behalf, recorded get-out-the-vote robocalls and videos, and sent out a stream of tweets savaging Edwards. On Saturday, the president wrote several tweets encouraging Louisianans to cast their ballots for Rispone.

Trump’s political operation also invested heavily, with the Republican National Committee spending $2 million on the race. The president took a personal interest in the contest, quizzing aides and allies about developments.

During an appearance on a Louisiana radio program Friday, Vice President Mike Pence remarked that “the president and I have left it all on the field.”

Trump and Pence left it all on the field, and the folks in Louisiana didn’t want to pick it up. Looked like bullshit. Smelled like bullshit. Probably, they concluded, it was bullshit.

And now, ladies and germs, in tribute to our Cajun brethren and sistern, let’s hear Jambalaya once again, this time in Swedish.

Politico Would Like Insiders to Know that Trump is Riding a Rubber Ducky into Allegator-Infested Waters

rubber ducky

Nancy Cook and Ben White, ‘They are riding a rubber ducky into alligator-infested waters’: Trump faces a contracting U.S. factory sector, a narrow path to trade victories and investors spooked by recession risks — all before an election year

You should probably read the whole thing, but here are some choice bits:

Moody’s Analytics chief economist Mark Zandi said the U.S. will fall into a recession if the president keeps escalating the trade standoff with China, including another round of tariff hikes in December. “The president has until the end of the year to turn it around with China,” Zandi said. …

Current and former administration officials acknowledge the ultimate fate of the tariffs against China lie solely with the president, who has not been swayed by the pleas of business leaders, or even his own advisers, to cut a deal with China.

And here’s the nub of it:

A former senior White House official said Trump does not view a protracted trade war with China — even if it means reduced manufacturing and another summer of farmers slammed by retaliatory tariffs — as a political negative.

“Frankly I don’t think he really understands any of this,” the former official said of the economic impact of the trade fights. “The manufacturing slowdown, the lack of corporate investment, what’s happening to confidence — all of this was totally predictable based on what he’s done. But he sees it as a political advantage, that he can tell people he got tough on China and needs to finish the job.”

The official added that there are few senior advisers left in the White House who will push back strongly on Trump’s pugnacious approach to trade. “The sad reality is that in the first 1,000 days of his presidency he managed to get rid of everybody who would tell him the truth or anything he didn’t want to hear.”

So, Plutocrats, How’s That Faustian Bargain Workin’ Out for Ya?

As the man said, it was totally predictable that taking a sledgehammer to the international trading system would cause economic chaos.

And ya know something else that was totally predictable? That putting an idiot into office would lead to idiotic economic policy.

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Yesterday’s readers came from Canada, Hong Kong, India, Kenya, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Spain, Thailand, the UK, and the US. Lot o’ stuff going on in Hong Kong. Lot ‘o stuff going on in Britain. So thanks for making time to check out the blog. And welcome to the reader in Papua New Guinea. I hope everything is peaceful and copacetic where you are.

Some Say the World Will End in Fire

end in fire

Apropos of the big climate change report, the girls and boys over at Politico jump immediately to the burning issue. That would not be, how soon are we all going to die? Rather, the key point for the Politico pundits is that Trump’s dire climate report hands ammunition to Democrats.

So one might hope, but I tend to doubt it.

Ever since our ancestors climbed down from the trees and began to walk around the savanna on two legs, those who accurately perceived what was going on in their environment, and who took appropriate action based on their perception. tended to live, whereas those who could not grasp reality tended to get eaten for lunch.

More recently, though, some forty percent of our fellow ‘Mericans have been marinating their brains in Faux News, and seem to have lost the capacity to detect obvious lies.

Science has improved everything in the 21st century. Professional baseball players hit more home runs. We all have smart phones. And manipulators have perfected the art of manipulation.

As a consequence of the latter achievement, we have managed to reverse evolution, so that vast swaths of our population have embraced ever increasing ignorance.

Robert Frost proposed two alternative mechanism for the apocalypse. fire and ice. Permit me to add a third option: pig ignorance.

These Things I Know

Fell

I don’t know how the election will go next week, so I will wait until the votes are counted to offer a purported explanation. But there are a few other things that I do know.

The Luxury of Trauma

It’s amusing that Politico solemnly informs us today that Democrats traumatized by 2016 are having pre-midterms nightmares. I suppose that is probably true of many. But this I know: when you are in the fight of your life, you cannot afford to be traumatized.

Trump’s Inexplicable Behavior

Meanwhile, Ross Douthat is, I think, on much sounder ground in lamenting The Luck of the Democrats: Trump could have flattened liberalism. Instead he’s given it an opening.

I deplore Douthat’s desiderata but believe he is probably right, or almost right, in his analysis of some plausible counterfactuals. But something important needs to be added to Douthat’s analysis this morning. Remember how, in his dubious book, Michael Wolff told us how Trump didn’t want to be elected president? If you bear that in mind, the best explanation for the Trump behavior that Douthat finds inexplicable is that Trump does not actually want to lead a governing coalition.

And so here’s another thing I know. I know that when your adversary seems to be crazy, there are three and only three explanations: (1) Your adversary is actually crazy. Or, (2) your adversary has figured out something that you haven’t figured out, and isn’t crazy at all. But don’t forget the third possibility: (3) your adversary seems to be crazy because he isn’t actually pursuing the goal he tells you he is pursuing, or the goal you would expect someone in his position to be pursuing. So, given his real goal, not his presumed or expected goal, he actions are appropriately attuned to his end.

Women’s Reactions to Asshole Male Behavior

Finally, on an optimistic note, this Daily Kos headline: Midterms 2018: Women are ready to win the fight.

This I know: though there are exceptions, by and large women are much, much, much less tolerant of assholery than we Y-chromosome folk. Probably because they suffer more assholery than we men have to put up with.

So I know something that Trump does not know: watch out for the women.

Fooling Fewer of the People, Less of the Time

misrule

In a poll conducted in November, after the election, 56 percent of respondents told Quinnipiac that they believed Trump to be a “good leader”; 38 percent said they were of the opposite opinion. That means a fair number of Hillary voters bought the Trumpster’s act, and accepted his claim to be a brilliant businessman who knows how to manage effectively.

By January the 56 percent figure was down to 49 percent. Earlier in February it was 47 percent. Now it’s down to 42 percent—which means that a nontrivial portion of those who voted for Trump in November have now grasped that he is not a “good leader.”

The fans are slowly getting up and leaving the clown show.

This info from Josh Barro, Trump has a problem: Americans increasingly think he’s incompetent.

In Trump’s ‘Apprentice’-style hiring is upending Washington Politico enlarges on the incompetence of Trump’s hiring decisions:

Trump can plan to pick one person one minute and change his mind the next. He can think of a name and immediately tell advisers he wants that person for a particular job. There is no discernible rhyme or reason or formal vetting process to many of his hires, allies and aides say, with no formal questionnaires or protocols — and several Cabinet appointees’ confirmation struggles brought the downsides of such an approach into stark relief. He cares, above all, about appearance, loyalty and strength — a word he often uses. …

“It can be very random,” one person who has been heavily involved in a number of the searches said. “You can mention a name, and he will want to hire the person. Or he can veto someone, and you’re not really sure why.”

The descent into madness continues.