Monday, August 24, 2015

Cruising the Web

Warren Henry at The Federalist has a perceptive column analyzing who Trump's supporters are. He notes that the profile of a typical Trump supporter matches Pew Research Center's description of Disaffected.While mostly Independents, they are also more likely to be Republicans than Democrats. Their description matches a lot of supporters of Trump.
Disaffecteds are deeply cynical about government and unsatisfied with both their own economic situation and the overall state of the nation. Under heavy financial pressure personally, this group is deeply concerned about immigration and environmental policies, particularly to the extent that they affect jobs. Alienated from politics, Disaffecteds have little interest in keeping up with news about politics and government, and few participated in the last election.
As Henry notes, the Disaffecteds are about 10% of registered voters so they could be double that in a party poll. Henry points out that, since these people aren't Staunch Conservatives, they'd be less likely to be turned off by hearing that Trump has never been a true conservatives. And if Trump were to fade away, it isn't guaranteed that his supporters would go to another Republican in the race. They might just continue to be disaffected from participating in politics.
Even with all of his clownery, Trump won't implode until folks have another choice that satisfies the feelings he evokes.
One or more of the other Republican candidates needs to draw stark contrasts between themselves and Trump, without diminishing the voters' needs and frustration.

They also need to harness the energy he has exploited. To give those frustrated voters a reason to believe they can take the country to a better place, can connect us together rather than divide or marginalize groups of us in order to win elections.

If you look beyond the hype, Trump already has peaked in the polls — at least for now. According to an average of national polls by RealClearPolitics, he was on top on the day of the first Republican presidential debate nearly a month ago, at 24.3 percent; his support softened that day, and his average now is down to 22 percent.

There is a difference between Trump's legitimate populist appeal and his dangerous demagoguery.

Populism is a funny thing, however: You cannot create it on command, and the kind of rage needed to foster it is sustainable for only so long before it fades.

The person who can successfully seize that mantle has yet to emerge — but one will. And if that person is a good leader, then he or she can take this movement and the people over the finish line.
Salena Zito ponders the question of which Republican candidate could grab the populist mantle from Trump.

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Hillary Clinton is having herself a nice, luxurious vacation in the Hamptons, but she's planning to take breaks from vacationing to campaign some more. The NYT portrays that as an attempt to shore up her weakening poll numbers. But she may be wiser not to be out and about in the public. The more people see of her, the lower her numbers go. Maybe if she goes off stage for a while, they'll creep back up.

Of course, reports like this from NBC News aren't going to help her any.

Of course, Hillary's weakness is leading many liberals to try to find someone beyond an oldie, but goldie like Joe Biden.
Some liberals believe Warren would have matched or even exceeded Bernie’s success in drawing crowds and building excitement.

“She’d be doing as well or better than Bernie,” Borosage said, adding that it’s not too late for Warren to change her mind.

“I don’t think it’s too late but I don’t think she will. You can get in pretty late in the modern world because you can raise so much money so quickly with so little effort over the web,” he added. “If Hillary collapsed in Iowa or New Hampshire, somebody could get in and make a difference.”

The Washington Post tries to determine which of the candidates who are running now and have previously served in Congress were most successful in as legislators. Their definition of effectiveness is how many bills a person sponsored that got enacted into law. Some might give as much credit for blocking back bills, but that's a different argument. Of course, the longer someone served, the more bills they might have gotten enacted into law. So Joe Biden, if he were to run, would come out on top. And Clinton and Santorum are about tied for second. But if you divide sponsored bills by numbers of years serving in Congress, the leader might surprise you.
Jindal got 1.7 laws passed for every year he spent in the House, far more than anyone else.

By sponsored bills, he also comes out on top, though John Kasich also had a relatively high percentage of the bills he sponsored in the House see the president's pen.
I'm not sure many GOP voters would care about such a metric, but all those people angry about nothing getting done in Washington might want to take a look.

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Rand Paul has arranged a rather sneaky maneuver to get around the Kentucky law that prohibits a candidate appearing on the ballot for two different offices at the same time - president and senator. He's gotten the state to change from having a primary to a caucus and his campaign will pay for the caucus. Thus, he won't officially be on the ballot. It's all a bit suspect and smells a bit like paying for his own caucus victory - not quite the libertarian image that Paul likes to project.

The WSJ summarizes how the liberals' approach to university education perfectly encapsulates progressive policies.
The arc of progressive politics these days seems to be hoping to benefit from proposing policies to solve the problems their previous policies have created—and hoping nobody notices the cause and effect.

Hillary Clinton and the other Democratic presidential candidates have been proposing new ways for college students to reduce or write-off their student loans. The goal is to win over millennial voters with more taxpayer largesse, while slowly turning higher education into one more universal federal entitlement. Mrs. Clinton’s proposal would cost a hefty $350 billion over 10 years, by her own no doubt conservative estimate.

What Democrats don’t say is that such taxpayer generosity wouldn’t be necessary if they hadn’t done so much to encourage students to load up on taxpayer-guaranteed debt. The Education Department reported this week that some 6.9 million Americans with student loans hadn’t made a single payment in at least 360 days. That’s up 6%, or 400,000 borrowers, in a year.

The Obama Administration took over the student loan market in 2010, easing terms and expanding benefits. Now that the bills are coming due in more deadbeats, Democrats hope to benefit again by handing the tab to taxpayers. They nail you coming and going.
Yup, that's the progressive way.

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Here is one more analysis of why Trump could never win the GOP nomination. Of course, such historic analyses are only good until there is an exception. We don't really have enough samples to generalize from considering that primaries have been only an important part of getting the nomination for 40-50 years and there have been several years when an incumbent has been running for reelection so the primaries really didn't matter for that party. Someone asked me whether the "wackiest" candidate had ever won the nomination. I suppose Goldwater might fit that description, but he wasn't really a "wacky" (my colleague's word) candidate. Otherwise, I couldn't think of anyone except for Ross Perot who wasn't running for a party nomination. There have been unpopular candidates and the Republicans seem to specialize in putting forth candidates that no one much likes, but they have been establishment sorts, not wacky guys.

Well, this is stupid,
CNN’s criteria for its September GOP presidential debate may keep Carly Fiorina off the stage reserved for the top 10 candidates despite her recent surge in the polls.

The CNN debate methodology, released earlier this year, weighs polls from July 16 to Sept. 10.

The use of the earlier surveys will hurt the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard, who barely registered in the polls before the Aug. 6 Fox News debate. But since then, she has seen a significant bounce.

“It acts as sort of an anchor on those people who had done poorly early and a bit of a parachute for those people who have done well early,” said Cliff Zukin, a Rutgers University political scientist and former president of the American Association for Public Opinion Research.

The criteria could also protect Sen. Rand Paul (Ky.) from sliding out of the top 10 despite his recent dip in polls.

Donald Trump now is open to PAC fundraising.
Donald Trump has boldly touted his independence from big donors, in June proclaiming “I’m using my own money” during his presidential announcement speech, and holding forth his multi-billion-dollar net worth as proof that he can’t be bought by the “special interests” that bankroll — and “control” — the campaigns of his rivals.

But even as Trump publicly scorned other candidates’ use of super PACs, he tacitly gave approval to the Make America Great Again PAC by attending a fundraiser the group held in New York last month....

Trump’s previously unreported appearance at a PAC fundraiser is striking, given his frequent criticism of the role of PACs in other candidates’ campaigns.

“Every single person that gave every single dollar is expecting something for that money, every single person. And that’s not good for the country,” Trump said on MSNBC last month of Jeb Bush’s early PAC fundraising.

He added, “Somebody that’s reliant on all of these lobbyists and special interests and donors, they have no power to make a decision, because they feel obligated to all these people.”

On Sunday, he further opened the door to big donor money, saying he would consider taking some sizable contributions for his campaign — so long as there are no strings attached.

“We have a lot of small contributors. I would even take big contributors, as long as they don’t expect anything,” Trump said in a phone interview with host John Dickerson on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”
So if you like Trump because he's self-funding and not beholden to anyone, maybe pause on that.

George Stephanopolous can't believe that the Clinton campaign would lie. I don't remember his being so skeptical ever for a RRepublican.

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Two former Reagan aides aren't buying the idea that there are any similarities between Reagan and Trump just because both were once Democrats.
--In his 1966 campaign for governor of California, Reagan popularized the so-called Republican 11th Commandment, stating, “Thou shalt not speak ill of a fellow Republican.” Calling his GOP opponents (or anyone for that matter) “losers,” “morons,” “dummies” or “idiots” would have been unthinkable for Reagan. Those words didn’t exist in his vocabulary—even for Democrats who called him names. He once wrote a note to us saying we had done “d--- good,” not being able to bring himself to spell out the word “damn.” Meanness was not in Reagan’s soul.

--Yes, Ronald Reagan migrated from being a liberal Democrat to the gold standard for conservative Republicans. But Reagan’s views evolved over four decades’ worth of life experience, a philosophical journey that took place gradually. His conservative credentials didn’t emanate overnight to match the political season. His was a slow and thoughtful transformation from the 1930s to the 1960s. Trump’s appears to be a midnight conversion just in time for the Iowa caucuses.

--Reagan vetted his ideas for governing with the likes of William F. Buckley, Milton Friedman, Barry Goldwater and Dwight Eisenhower. He got his information by studying and reading and listening to a wide spectrum of experts. By all accounts, Trump appears to have no policy or philosophical patrons, characterized by his recent statement that his schooling on military affairs comes from “watching television shows.”

--Above all else, Ronald Wilson Reagan was genial and mannerly. He treated others with respect and courtesy. He was a gentleman whose personal decency was exceptional. On the occasions where he disagreed with our opinions or points of view, he did so without sharp words or rebuke, often apologetically. Yes, his political rhetoric could be tough and partisan, but it was never vulgar or personal. Donald Trump would benefit from the light-hearted humor that Reagan used to advantage in his communication.

--In the 1980 presidential campaign, Reagan also said it was time to “make America great again.” But he did so while reflecting on what a wonderful country we live in, and that even amid the failure of our institutions, our nation’s promise of hope and opportunity stood out. It would have been unimaginable for Reagan to say, “Our country is going to hell,” as Trump regularly claims. Optimism permeated Reagan’s thinking, and we don’t see any evidence of Trump using the uplifting and aspirational language that was so dominant in Reagan’s communications.

--Ronald Reagan was respectful of all people, but even more so towards women, with whom he was warm and courtly. As a person who believed a soft answer turneth away wrath, his approach to Megyn Kelly on debate night would have been delivered with a wink and a smile. He might have even said, “There you go again.” If Mr. Trump, as he insists on being called, wants to be like Mr. Reagan, he needs to replace churlishness with charm.

--Despite the acclaim he achieved in his motion picture, television and political careers, Reagan was never boastful. On election night 1980, as he prepared his victory remarks, there was no trace of gloating or conquest. And on the eve of his inauguration, it was the stirring emotion and spirit of the moment that moved him, not the notion that he would soon be the most powerful man in the world. It was America that was great, not him – a studied contrast with Mr. Trump’s overwhelming self-absorption.

We find no similarities other than both Reagan and Trump came out of the entertainment industry. We knew Ronald Reagan. We served alongside President Reagan. Ronald Reagan was our friend. And, Mr. Trump, you’re no Ronald Reagan.

Here is an ABC report on the local news on my school. Students explain why they like our school and what differentiates it from other regular public school.