The Republican Party and the Right After Trump

I don’t know how to explain or quite understand what happened on Wednesday, August 31, 2016. I can give a narrative. Trump was invited down to Mexico by the President of the Country. He appeared at a podium and seemed calm and dignified. Rudy Giuliani wore a hat to a press conference that said “Make Mexico Great Again Also.” After that, Trump gave his immigration policy speech in Phoenix, Arizona which is a state posed to tip from red to blue because of a growing Hispanic population. By all accounts, the speech was the old xenophobic and racist Trump.

What was the purpose of the last week when the news was filled with stories of Trump allegedly softening on immigration? A week where Trump allegedly betrayed Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh allegedly betrayed his fans. What was the purpose of the hat? My only guess is that the Trump campaign is in full-jester, contempt, and rebellion mode. Two weeks ago, Michelle Goldberg described the prime joy of the alt-right as an “irreverent glee in their ability to shock the bourgeoisie.”

This seems right and explains Trump’s alleged immigration actions in the last few weeks. Trump never intended to soften or change his position on immigration. The whole thing was a facade intended to trick a compliant but proper media. The speech in Arizona was basically a “psych, fooled you suckers” moment in which the media was caught with their damned pants-down.

We should not expect Trump to moderate or change his positions. This is a man whose most recent campaign manager considers women’s liberation to be a product of “bull dykes” from Seven Sisters College. (Disclaimer: The author is a proud graduate of Vassar College. As far as he knows, he is not a Bull Dyke.) Bannon allegedly did not want to send his daughters to a private school in LA because of its high Jewish population. (Disclaimer. The author is Jewish and as far as he knows is only whiny when he is tired and hungry.)

We don’t know if Trump will win the election or not Same Wang and the Upshot say almost certainly not at this point. 538 gives Trump somewhat more favorable odds. The question is what happens to the Republican Party and the Right after Trump. Trump is laying forward one of the most openly bigoted campaigns of any political candidate in recent history. We are no longer in dog whistle territory with Trump.

Even if Trump loses and loses badly, I don’t see how the genie gets put back in the bottle. The GOP can institute some super-delegate type rules to prevent future Trumps but Trump made something very clear. A person can win the GOP nomination for President by appealing to 35 percent of the Party that is very into openly bigoted appeals. I used to think the alt-right were just a bunch of anonymous nothings on the Internet. Maybe most people could not tell you what the alt-right or neo-reactionary politics are but I think they are poised to be a loud voice in American politics for the immediate future. A kind of right-wing version of the Yippies.

The Yippies might have help nominate McGovern to be Democratic candidate for President in 1972. McGovern was deeply unpopular but as far as I know, he never attempted a gotcha stunt like Trump did with Mexico. McGovern did embarrass himself over his Vice Presidential pick and dithering but that is not anywhere close to a prank action. I can’t think of a comparable action where a major party candidate appeared to change and then pulled the football like Lucy always does from Charlie Brown.

Trump remains deeply unpopular. As a liberal Democrat, this should make me very happy but I still worry about the forces he has unleashed during this Presidential election. Are we going to see more political candidates try immature pranks while running for President? Trump’s Mexican adventure seemed like it was thought up after one too many drinks.

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73 thoughts on “The Republican Party and the Right After Trump

  1. The GOP can institute some super-delegate type rules to prevent future Trumps but Trump made something very clear. A person can win the GOP nomination for President by appealing to 35 percent of the Party that is very into openly bigoted appeals.

    If the superdelegate-type rules work as they’re supposed to, then presumably a person in the future won’t be willing to win the nomination by appealing to that 35 percent. I do agree with you, though, that the analogy to the McGovernites isn’t a good one. Agree or disagree with McGovern, he wasn’t an extremist or a bigot and he wasn’t trying to appeal to our darker natures.

    As to why a liberal democrat should worry, I can think of one reason, entirely consistent with your parting thoughts here: If someone like Trump can be the official opposition, then that elevates what he represents to “something that is worth debating….” What was before beyond the pale will now have obtained legitimacy.

    ETA: I’ll gladly change “As to why a liberal democrat should worry,” to “As to why a decent human being should worry,”

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    • Good observation.

      I think the rise of the alt-right/neo-reactionaries/far right shows a fundamental weakness and contradiction and problem in liberal democracy. Lee calls it the illiberal problem. Liberal Democracy does not have many tools or tactics to combat those who disregard and don’t care for the norms and standards of liberal democracy.

      Anything I can think to do that would banish the alt-right and neo-reactionaries is quite anti-liberal and anti-Democratic.

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    • If the superdelegate-type rules work as they’re supposed to, then presumably a person in the future won’t be willing to win the nomination by appealing to that 35 percent.

      I’m a bit dubious that super-delegates can accomplish that for the Republican party. Or that the party would go that route, because that seems a pretty good way to *get* another Trump.

      People seem to be assuming that the ‘Republican establishment’ will be the same thing as the super-delegates…but that’s not how those work. There are plenty of state parties that are *entirely* out of sync with the national party. Both state parties where Tea-Party nuts have taken over, and state parties that essentially do not exist anymore because the Democrats control the state…and the only people who care about amassing political positions in a party that doesn’t have any political power are often complete loons.

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  2. A person can win the GOP nomination for President by appealing to 35 percent of the Party that is very into openly bigoted appeals.

    I think this is lumping together the anti-Islam, nativist, racist, anti-immigration, no-insiders, anti-free-trade, and enforce-the-laws sections of the party. This is also underestimating the power of being a celebrity and of raw Charisma.

    Some of these groups overlap, but Trump does actually have a coalition of sorts. You don’t have to be a racist to reach for the “elect a strong man who sounds like he knows what he’s doing” solution.

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      • I dissent on the idea that Trump sounds like he knows what he is doing. He sounds like someone who does everything on the fly. Sometimes it works, often it does not.

        For me the anti-economic arguments are another big clue. But both of us are probably a lot more informed than the typical Trump voter.

        Imagine that you know literally nothing about economics, or history, or technology, and you think the elites have structured things so they win at your expense. All we need to do is break the lock that the elites have had on policy and America of the 1950’s comes back.

        That mindset doesn’t make you “racist”, but I think it’s one of Trump’s core demographics.

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        • And let’s not forget that Bernie Sanders’ economic rhetoric was about as fact-free as Trump’s. There are 30-40% of voters *in both parties* that support this kind of economic populism. So if we had a third party that ran on anti-establishment innumeracy it would be the dominant party.

          >>That mindset doesn’t make you “racist”, but I think it’s one of Trump’s core demographics.

          Why can’t it be both? Trump definitely argues that he can accomplish grand economic goals because he’s not crooked, but he *proves* this by saying fundamentally racist things that an establishment figure would never say. The Mexico trip was actually a very effective example of that: it’s conventional wisdom that Trump’s rhetoric would make him a pariah on the world stage, and that he can’t handle even basic diplomatic decorum. So he flies to Mexico on a day’s notice, gets an immediate hearing with the President, and the debrief is that the meeting was ‘productive’. Totally blew the conventional wisdom out of the water: if you have something they want (and the US still has a lot of stuff) then you can call them whatever the hell you want in speeches, and they’ll still come right to the negotiating table when you say so. Anti-establishment base is satisfied. Then he flies to Phoenix and goes right back to the parade of horribles that immigration has yielded us, handing over the podium to the families of victims of the mongrel horde. Racist base is satisfied too. It’s masterful work if it wasn’t for the fact that he was supposed to spend that week persuading moderate GOP women.

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    • No, no, you must be a racist to support Trump. That is the answer liberals keep telling themslves bc it is an easier answer than looking deeper. Was Clinton a racist when he sounded like Trump back in 1995? Liberals have a short convenient memory. Hillary tries to blame her memory on her fall but I’m not sure about the rest of them.

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3773218/Ben-Carson-insists-Trump-deport-illegal-immigrants-harden-America-s-borders-cites-BILL-CLINTON-up.html

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      • While you’re understandably reading the conversation in the least flattering way for those you see as your enemies, you do have the implication arrow the wrong way ’round.
        It’s not “support for Trump -> racist”, it’s that “racist -> support for Trump”.
        It’s pretty clear that his percentage of support among racists is just about the contrapositive of his support among POC, for obvious reasons.
        I’ve said all along in this discussion – the people I feel sorriest for in this whole sordid business are the people who have genuinely left behind as the people in power (and, yes, BSDI – and legitimately, for once) crafted a recovery that would benefit a lot of people, just not everyone, and a trade policy that would benefit a lot of people, just not all USAnians. And the people in the middle of that particularly hellish Venn diagram are screwed – their jobs are gone and aren’t coming back, ever. And the icing on the cake is that the only political possibilities of actually gaining enough power to get someone, anyone, to listen to them? Anathema due to social/cultural reasons – they’ve been convinced that what is actually their one path out of Hell is actually the path that leads there…

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  3. >>What was the purpose of the last week when the news was filled with stories of Trump allegedly softening on immigration?

    We are witnessing what happens when your campaign is a skeleton crew. That’s why the Trump surrogate is some nobody ranting about Taco Trucks instead of a distinguished fellow from Heritage confidently lying to you about immigrant crime rates. The Mexico trip was a rare lucky break for Trump because he finally got the expectations down so low he could actually exceed them. A competent campaign would’ve had a dozen writers putting together an entire manifesto on that flight back to Phoenix. They would have Trump in photo-ops with attractive, legal immigrants talking about bootstraps. The Pivot had arrived! Of course we don’t have that, and Trump just went right back to being Trump. But the GOP is not the Trump campaign, and I think it’s highly premature to equate the two and lump their flaws together.

    >>Even if Trump loses and loses badly, I don’t see how the genie gets put back in the bottle.

    I’m going to channel Our Tod and say that the future of the GOP is directly linked to the future of Fox News. Here’s one scenario: Trump loses big and all of his boosters take a huge hit. Hannity – who’s also an Ailes stooge – is pushed out of TV by the new leadership. Limbaugh’s audience shrinks and so does his political clout. Ingraham, Giuliani, Christie, Coulter fade out of existence. Perhaps they all go to Trump’s new online media venture, which can compete for relevance with the likes of Glenn Beck’s The Blaze or Erick Erickson’s The Resurgent, or The Federalist, or The Daily Signal, etc. etc. That leaves, who, Milo maybe? Certainly nobody who can revive a movement. Without an inspiring media presence the populists have nowhere to go. FOX, whose median viewer still remembers fondly when there were different water fountains for different people, targets younger demographics with more shows like The Kelly File: corporate and reflexively anti-liberal, sure, but also eager to entice minority viewers and to present a fundamentally *positive* agenda. Paul Ryan is their collaborator in government and they help him salvage his post-Trump image. Mitt Romney is their elder statesman. Without nativist boosters in the media the Trumpers become a niche. The party focuses on amnesty-by-any-other-name, Chamber of Commerce tax proposals, and Silicon Valley psuedo-libertarian “disruption” culture for the yutes. With Peter Thiel-ism the only remnant of Trump to not be purged from the GOP mainstream.

    Put it in the time capsule!

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    • The scenario you outlined sounds like the best potential one to me but it seems unlikely.

      I am not sure what to make of the polls anymore or the analytic sites. Sam Wang and The Upshot remain strong and stead for Clinton. Sam Wang refuses to budge from 90 percent. The Upshot keeps Clinton’s chances between 85-89 percent. However 538 has been having Clinton’s chances decrease steadily over the last few weeks. She is still at a respectful 71 percent according to 538 but it worries me.

      Sam Wang’s track record is better. 538’s model is prone to show more volatility in the polls but it worries me. I suspect some of it is just Clinton’s post-convention bump coming down. Some of it might just be the entrance into a more partisan age.

      We shall see.

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    • A competent campaign would’ve had a dozen writers putting together an entire manifesto on that flight back to Phoenix. They would have Trump in photo-ops with attractive, legal immigrants talking about bootstraps. The Pivot had arrived! Of course we don’t have that, and Trump just went right back to being Trump.

      I decide a few weeks ago that the Trump campaign is attempting to operate by Sirius Cybernetic Corporation logic: They are trying to hide their fundamental design flaws by their superficial design flaws.

      Trump’s inability to pivot on immigration without alienating his…uh…well, let’s just call them certain specific voters. His attempt to go to Mexico to pivot, and then being unable to would be a story…except he did it so poorly, that, in theory, we’re not even sure what the hell is going on or why.

      Buuuuuut….it turns out that this rather odd strategy of random incompetence, like not telling anyone what the campaign’s position is, so we don’t notice the extreme incompetence of Trump painting himself into a corner on immigration, works only in comedy sci-fi novels. It does not work in real life, because the media, apparently, starts *filling in* the gaps of what it seems like the campaign should be doing, but is not.

      And now we’re all not only talking about his lack of a pivot, we’re talking about the fact that it actually seems like he wasn’t trying to pivot, but his campaign let the media wrongly assume, and report that, for quite some time! To be ‘fair’, it was the media playing guessing games at what it was doing, but the media sure as hell isn’t going to explain that.

      Trump’s campaign now not only appears to metaphorically not know what it is doing (In the sense of doing really dumb things for a campaign), it appears to *literally* not what it is doing. (As in, does not understand what actions it is undertaking at any specific moment in time.)

      It turns out you cannot actually mask incompetence with another layer of incompetence. You just look *twice* as incompetent!

      And now, on top of everyone who *wanted* a pivot now hearing that there isn’t one, this almost means that the people who *didn’t* want a pivot just heard a lot about how there *was* going to be a pivot, including Rush Limbaugh, hilariously, outing himself as someone who was glad Trump was pivoting (Aka, as his viewers would think of it, lying.)

      This entire gibberish thing just punched another hole in Limbaugh’s credibility, because Limbaugh was trying to justify a position that Trump actually didn’t have!

      That leaves, who, Milo maybe? Certainly nobody who can revive a movement.

      Oh, *something* will come out of it. The next Breitbart, probably. Or some expanded version of Breitbart.

      The problem is, uh…I’m not quite sure how to say this politely, but Trump doesn’t give a damn if anything he does makes money, or is profitable for investors, or actually changes political opinions. He cares if it makes *him*, personally, money.

      I’m really really hoping all the horrible horrible people who get forced out of Fox News and end up at Trump News end up standing around with stock (They were convinced to invest) worth nothing and not getting their last paycheck, and wondering what the hell just happened.

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  4. Dark Matter:
    Degraw

    Some of these groups overlap, but Trump does actually have a coalition of sorts.You don’t have to be a racist to reach for the “elect a strong man who sounds like he knows what he’s doing” solution.

    I’d say something about how poorly it reflects upon Conservatives that they can listen to Trump and hear someone “who sounds like he knows what he’s doing,” but then lots of liberals love Aaron Sorkin stuff, so I’ll just go pour myself a stiff drink.

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    • I’d say something about how poorly it reflects upon Conservatives that they can listen to Trump and hear someone “who sounds like he knows what he’s doing,”

      Trump has a mostly self made Billion dollars and this vast corporate empire. Those give him serious street cred. He knows about money, business, and management.

      Of course his arguments are totally at odds with how he built his empire and what he knows(?) to be true, but to understand that you have to have some knowledge of economics and policy.

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      • 1. Eh no. He inherited his start from his father and whether he is worth the amount he says he is worth is a questionable shadow. He won’t release his tax returns. We know his projects have gone into massive debt and bankruptcy. I think Trump could be worth less than a billion.

        2. To a certain extent, Manhattan real estate is a zero-sum game:

        http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/20/magazine/what-donald-trump-doesnt-understand-about-the-deal.html?_r=0

        I find it is an interesting test of subjective perception between those who see Trump as a brilliant business guy and ultra-rich and those who question both. I am on the questioning side.

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      • >>Trump has a mostly self made Billion dollars and this vast corporate empire.

        Trump’s net worth has grown about 300% to an estimated $4 billion since 1987, according to a report by the Associated Press. But the real estate mogul would have made even more money if he had just invested in index funds … The S&P 500 has grown 1,336% since 1988.

        ~ http://fortune.com/2015/08/20/donald-trump-index-funds/

        I get that you’re saying this for the sake of the argument, but Trump is not a competent investor. For all the shit the Kardashians get, they far outclass Trump both in terms of branding and earnings.

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        • trizzlor:
          I get that you’re saying this for the sake of the argument…

          True.

          For all the shit the Kardashians get, they far outclass Trump both in terms of branding and earnings.

          Them I know less well, but…

          The Kardashians are a group and can’t all be President. Nor do I see massive management skill; Their income is bigger because they’re bigger celebrities (especially collectively) but they’re basically a group of small businesses rather than one large.

          And even if I’m totally wrong and they have tens of thousands of employees in their vast corp empire, so what? Their accomplishments do no lessen his.

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        • DarkMatter: Those give him serious street cred. He knows about money, business, and management.

          Stillwater: Strange comment coming from you Dark. Usually you’re the cynical one…

          I see no way that he doesn’t know about money, or business, or management. He’s shown this over the decades multiple times and multiple ways, everything from his divorces to his management show to him being a real estate guy who lived through the crash. That’s separate from his PR act which is also impressive. We can measure him by his accomplishments and they’re extensive enough that making him President isn’t unreasonable.

          However there’s this amazing disconnect between all that and what comes out of his mouth on the campaign trail. If he were running on economic sanity rather than economic insanity I’d vote for him, as it is I take him at his word… even though given who and what he is, he *must* know what he’s saying is nuts.

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            • I slighly disagree. He knows business quite well, and HE has been personally successful. But he is not a conventional businessman that builds long-term successful businesses like Henry Ford or Steve Jobs.

              What he does is put together business propositions for others to invest in, and he personally cashes out -via development and management fees for himself- in the origination, conceptualization and development of the project, and then he walks out of them. Many of the ventures later fail, but by that time he personally has little equity in them. He took his money upfront.

              This is the same business model of Rommey’s Bain Capital btw. No one said Romney wasn’t a shrewd businessman. But Romney himself also never built anything that lasted (except perhaps the Salt Lake City Olympics, and Romneycare).

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              • That is, he violates one of the fundamental just-so stories of capitalism, that since transactions are entered into voluntarily they must make all the parties better off.

                Also note that Trump is using the same model in his campaign. The only entities being paid promptly are those owned by Trump.

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              • Many of the ventures later fail, but by that time he personally has little equity in them. He took his money upfront.

                By that standard, Bernie Madoff is the best businessman, believe me the very best, wonderful man!

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                • The difference between Romney and Trump on one side, and Madoff on the other, is that Madoff actually broke the law(s). What Romney and Trump did is legal even if not very nice

                  For those who have forgotten, the Bain Capital business model, as implemented by serious stateman, upstandingly moral Regional President (whatever is the correct name is ) and sunccesfull “Indeed I built this” Mitt Romney was:

                  1- Pick up some boring, under leveraged, poor equity returns, old economy, middlingly competitive existing business (that he did not build)

                  2- Leverage it to the maximum -supposedly to turn the business around- and pay a massive dividend to the new owners (Bain) draining the cash that was just raised.

                  2A – This has the effect that Return on Equity has now jumped through the roof, capturing the interest of potential investors.

                  3- Cut costs by reducing employees and cutting capital expenditures in order to service the debt and to distribute all available cash to shareholders (and management fees to Bain for their services in turning around the company). Keep RoE up.

                  4- Sell the business again in the open market to investors attracted by the high RoE that Bain can now show after the turnaround.

                  5- Company is now hobbled with debt, no cash in hand, very little flexibility, and prey to collapsing at the next hiccup, which happened to several ex-Bain nvestments (Steel Dynamics or Ampad for instance).

                  Trumps M.O. is similar except he deals with new real state businesses. He conceptualizes the deal, gets investors and lenders, pays himself a development fee, builds the project, pays himself a management fee during construction, pays himself a completion success fee, licenses his name to it, and keeps as little equity as he can. Many of his projects later fail, with bond holders kicking him out of his limited equity, but he gets to keep all the fees he made before (*)

                  (*) I’m personally familiar with the Trump Tower project in Panama, which followed exactly this pattern, except Ivanka was the one doing the road show in Panama looking for local investors, at the same time as the Miss Universe took place there.

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              • What he does is put together business propositions for others to invest in, and he personally cashes out -via development and management fees for himself- in the origination, conceptualization and development of the project, and then he walks out of them. Many of the ventures later fail, but by that time he personally has little equity in them. He took his money upfront.

                As I have said before, everything you need to know about Trump you can deduce from the fact he calls himself a real estate developer. (Not to be confused with a real estate agent, or a real estate investor, or anything.)

                Real estate developers make their money from how well they can sell their ideas, *period*. They are all, functionally, legal con men.

                Some of them *do* have good ideas, and people end up making money off them, and others don’t, but *their* income has nothing to do with the quality of their ideas, but, rather, how well they can sell their ideas to other people.

                However, the fact that Trump *calls* himself a real estate developer is rather demonstrative of the fact his ideas aren’t very good.

                Real estate developers who are *actually good* at their ideas will, eventually, realize they could make more money by investing *themselves* in their ideas. They move from ‘real estate developer’ to ‘office building owner’ or ‘casino owner’, because they put their own money in one of their ideas, and own a large-ish chunk of it.

                Trump has notably failed to do this. He actually seems proud that ‘his properties’ can fail and he still made money from them, without realizing that he basically just told everyone he *knew* the entire thing was crap from the start so *didn’t really invest in it*.(1)

                Of course, he *does* own some properties, but they’re mostly stuff he just sorta stumbled into owning. And he’s still identifying as a real estate developer.

                1) This is sorta the same reason you shouldn’t trust someone who wants to sell you a fool-proof method of playing the stock market.

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          • At work my closest neighbors are two commited Republicans.

            When the primaries started going on, I said to them that Trump was my preferred candidate (after Jeb!) out of the 16, because it was the only one that was not either a Cruz/Santorum/Huckabee religious right warrior, a Cruz/Walker scorched earth destroy everything Obama and the liberals touched warrior or a Cruz/Rubio/Kasich kill them all that defy Israel warrior. I preferred him out of all the pack for what he wasn’t, and found him the least dangerous of the pack, someone that, even though he was impulsed by vanity, could act with common sense because he was not wed to a particular worldview.

            Well, I didn’t stick to that opinion for long. By the end of the primaries I thought Trump would be a terrible President. In fact, so terrible that I rooted for him again, under the impression that he would be the easiest Republican for Hillary to beat (*)

            (*)I like Hillary, but thought she would be a problematic candidate because there’s so much long-term animosity towards her. Ideally I would have preferred a less polarizing candidate, but I doubt Biden would have been that candidate. He gave us same sex marriage, and the socons would have had a field day with him.

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            • the socons would have had a field day with him.

              He’s a devout Catholic, has been married to the same woman for almost 40 years, and he’s never given a whiff of sexual impropriety. I can see why the socons would despise him.

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              • Because he was the first high level politician that came forward in favor of Same Sex Marriage, forcing the issue on Obama. The rest is history

                Had he stayed quiet, it’s possible Obama would still be “personally against”.

                If I were against SSM I would not forgive Biden (*)

                (*) see the recent hoopla about him officiating a SSM in his house

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  5. I’m more interested in what happens to the Republican and Democratic parties if Trump wins

    Will the Repubs try to “repeat” similar behavior in an effort to retain the Presidency and what will the Dems do to gain it back?

    .

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        • Hillary’s generals outrank Donald’s generals, and Hillary’s generals include Marines. Though to be fair, in a civil war/insurgency it’s who the colonels throw their lot in with more than the generals (hence, Qaddafi and Noriega)

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      • See, I’m thinking that there will be another civil war no matter who gets elected.

        I’m wondering which candidate will accelerate that process and which will do a better job of kicking the can down the road a ways.

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        • So long as DoD remains loyal, it’s not a civil war — civil disturbance, perhaps, but we’re long past the day when a state can call up the militia and be on equal footing with the pros. One side can level Indianapolis if necessary, the other side can’t.

          No matter who wins the Presidency, they’re from New York, and have given no signs that they’re interested in living in any of the parts of the country normally associated with talk about violent secession.

          I’m the local lunatic who predicts a peaceful partition — 30-50 years down the road — and draws a feasible line where the break happens. The near-term cheap talk about violent secession draws the partition along the lines of this map — which ain’t got a chance in hell of working.

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            • For some reason I cannot download the map Michael linked to, but I don’t see any secession line that doesn’t cut through most of the most important “seceding” (*) states. And in a weird way, being inside the Union gives the seceding states more weight and political power than they might have on their own.

              When people talk with doey eyes about Texas seceding, they are thinking of their sparsely populated, Friday Nights Light fanatic, deeply Red, very white, East or West Texas. They seem to ignore that half of the population and 3/4 of the GDP is in Blue Houston, Austin, San Antonio and Dallas, with the Very Hispanic Rio Grande Valley next in line. An independent Texas would be on its own more purple than present Texas because the Blue Regions economic weight would make their presence more significant. You cannot bring Houston or Austin or El Paso to the ASA without opening yourself for your economic powerhouse to secede.

              Likewise a North Carolina without Charlotte, Raleigh/Durham, even Asheville. Or a Florida without Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Orlando, and the South Atlantic coast. Or a Georgia without Atlanta and Savannah.

              Yes, the ASA can count in full with Alabama, Missisipi or Oklahoma, but most other states are too divided, with the economic powerhouses being quite blue, and getting bluer by the day. The internal conflict inside the ASA would be bigger.

              Whereas inside the USA, Team Red can leverage the over represented power of small conservative states like Wyoming, Idaho, or the Dakotas (places that geographically are not likely to join the ASA) to block policies that probably a majority of the ASA population would actually support.

              Until someone explains to me why they believe the Blue, relatively more powerful cities of the ASA would meekly accept becoming an even Redder country, I remain unconvinced that anyone talking secession or civil war has actually thought it through at all.

              (*) for purposes of the comment, let’s say the seceding states are the Red ones, let’s call them the Amalgamated States of America, the ASA

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              • The map is the 2012 red/blue Presidential results at county level. It makes exactly the point you do: blue islands surrounded by red. Not just Texas, but places like New York, Illinois, and Oregon as well. My hypothetical west-east split would be led by the urban areas that dominate the western population, and the split would not be driven by the current conservative issues.

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                • That map wouldn’t probably be able to show the population differential inside the blue islands, or their economic influence, something like 90% of the 120 plus Texas counties voted for Romney, some wth more than 90% of the ballots, but the 10% that voted for Obama includes 60% of the population and 75% of the GDP of Texas.

                  It would be cool if some millenial with a map making app would do a map of Red and Blue counties weighted by GDP. T would show a more balanc d country than those vast swatches of empty Redness.

                  If I understand you correctly, your partition is more or less across the continental divide. Besides making e unus pluribum (*) I’m not sure what is the political rationale. Care to elaborate?

                  Thanks

                  (*) pig Latin for “out of one, many”

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                  • Now, if I ignore completely the socon arguments for a secession, and focus on economic ties, a three way partition of the country makes sense, where each succesor state would have closer economic integration, and even closer economic/industry attitudes

                    1- the North East/ Great Lakes: Finance, heavy manufacturing, agriculture, labor intensive

                    2- the South: Energy, tourism, communications, services

                    3 – the West Coast from the continental divide onwards: New Economy, IT, entertainment, ports

                    Colorado would be in the South because of its traditional energy industry focus. Most of the Mountain West would be in the West Coast

                    Is that what you were thinking about ?

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                  • @j_a
                    Got a source for county GDP data? I’ve got tools to do either prism maps or cartograms, plus county election results and population.

                    Down the center of the Great Plains, actually. Which turns out to be quite close to the dividing line between the Western Interconnect and the rest of the country — the big empty where transmission/distribution from both east and west peter out. Here’s the first guest post I wrote at this site.

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                    • Thank you for the link to your post. Quite interesting, and so were the comments. I understand your rationale but I find it a bit arbitrary considering the existing economic links. In particular I would have to think more about Colorado, which I see economically tied to the OK-TX-LA oil and gas economic hub as opposed to to the West Coast. The Great Plains states (KS, NB, the Dakotas, would go to whomever is the conduit of their agricultural production: The Great Lakes or the Mississippi Basin (I have no idea – I have never been the Great Plains)

                      I realize now I cheated. I never found GDP by county for Texas, only GDP by Metropolitan Region, and I just added The Houston-Dallas-San Antonio-Austin and El Paso and already got to about 75% of Texas’ GDP. There is county level per capita income (at least in Texas)that can be used as a proxy, too http://www.txcip.org/tac/census/morecountyinfo.php?MORE=1011

                      This link takes you to metropolitan areas GDP for the USA. It can be fun to play with in these discussions

                      https://proximityone.wordpress.com/category/subject-matter/gross-domestic-product/

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                      • Perceptions vary; mine is that Colorado most definitely does not identify with the TX-OK-LA hub. I’ve been playing with the IRS’s interstate moves data — based on that, Colorado is tied more closely to states west of it than to TX-OK-LA. Maybe and can chime in.

                        I found a source (not primary) for county-level GDP data. I have a post in the queue with a prism map and cartogram with GDP plus red-blue 2012 Presidential results. The prism map in particular demonstrates your point.

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    • Damon:
      I’m more interested in what happens to the Republican and Democratic parties if Trump wins

      For the GOP Best Case:
      Trump “leads” by signing whatever Congress puts in front of him and claiming credit.
      He does something for immigration reform in a Nixon-goes-to-China way.
      He drops his economic messages and proves that he really does know management.

      Worse Case:
      Basically the opposite of that. He does for the national GOP what Wilson did for California on immigration, i.e. proves to an entire generation or three of hispanics that the GOP can’t be trusted with power. He tries to implement economic insanity and gets the predictable results. He pulls us out of NATO and lets Russia/China become global cop(s).

      what will the Dems do to gain it back?

      Hopefully nominate someone who isn’t openly corrupt. Maybe they decide they need a celebrity, but getting one would be easy enough.

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  6. The forces that love Trump and have supported him from the git-go are not going away, but if Trump loses in a big way, the Republican Party will have to distance itself from this group. Can they do? Will they do it? I don’t know, but if you lose big, they can’t keep these people at the proverbial table.

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    • I hope for a Goldwater level landslide, but given the current data, I afraid we will see a middling 55-40-15 Clinton victory, a tip of the Senate and a modest tilt but no flip of the House.

      Meaning the Republicans will behave exactly as they are now.

      They know who holds the whip hand in their party, and who can primary them out of existence.

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      • A narrow Trump loss is what will sustain the civil war that is occurring within the Republican party. The PUMA movement which was (mostly) a Fox News fiction when Obama beat Clinton in 2008 is an actual thing this year in the GOP represented by various loud anti-Trump voices. A decisive Trump defeat – or even a Trump victory – would mean that people’s incentives would change, but a narrow loss by Trump, esp with a sizable (10%+)3rd party showing, means nobody needs to alter their preferences or behavior to get different results.

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      • Things can change but I suspect you are right.

        The big issue is that the country was in a more bi-partisan and big-tent heday when Goldwater ran for President in 1964. The Silent Generation was just starting adulthood (the Silent Generation were always more conservative than the Greatest Generation. Boomers seem to split.) Plenty of people still remembered the bad old days of the Great Depression and WWII so interventionist were the norm.

        Both parties had liberal and conservative wings. Goldwater’s main opponent was not another conservative vowing to be more right-wing but the then seen as liberal Nelson Rockefeller, from New York!

        The GOP was only starting to show its crazy edge but it was there. Goldwater’s defeat represented a bit of a setback for the ultra-right wing of the GOP but not one that lasted very long. Nixon’s 1968 run was probably to the right of Nixon in 1960 and to the left of Goldwater in 1964. By 1976, Ford had to drop Rockefeller as his running mate for the more conservative Bob Dole.

        The parties have become more partisan and less big tent. My perception is that the base of the Democratic Party and the party itself as moved further to the left socially and politically but the Democratic Party still needs to make more concessions to be competitive in certain states and regions. The GOP seems fine writing off the Northeast and Coastal West.

        What also seems striking to me is that the red states more likely to go purple are going to take longer than the blue states likely to turn purple or red possibly.

        The polls seem a complete mess to me. I suppose we are entering an age where each candidate can be guaranteed about 40 percent of the vote and Trump’s claim of being able to shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and not lose his base is correct.

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  7. Pingback: Blue Islands and GDP | Ordinary Times

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