Morning Ed: Europe {2017.04.05.W}

As European countries pay migrants to leave, it looks like migrants might be gaming the system for the largest payout.

Well, here’s one reason to get rid of the sanctions against Russia: Maybe they’re not working.

Andrew Lillico writes of the mixed blessing of the Brexit for Euroskeptics.

You took Britain from us, we’ll take California and Texas from you!

It looks like Scots are just ready to move on with Brexit.

Britain’s international reputation is taking a hit, and unexpectedly Ed West is getting concerned about it.

Tom Wheeldon says Fillon can win. I can’t believe we’re at a place where the most risk-averse option on the table is an independent candidate.

A look at the Trotskykite Plot.


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Will Truman is a former professional gearhead who is presently a stay-at-home father in the Mountain East. He has moved around frequently, having lived in six places since 2003, ranging from rural outposts to major metropolitan areas. He also writes fiction, when he finds the time. ...more →

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174 thoughts on “Morning Ed: Europe {2017.04.05.W}

  1. Euro payments: What! People gaming the system? Who’d a thunk it!

    Andrew Lillico nails it: “how it would destroy sovereignty and why a super-independent central bank like the ECB would lead to excessive public spending, damaging levels of debt, destabilisation ”

    “European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker hit back at Donald Trump’s support for the U.K.’s withdrawal from the European Union, saying that he would champion American states that wanted to secede from the union.” Yawn. His action violate the Monroe Doctrine. Bring it. You need us more than we need you.

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    • Someone needs to remind Juncker that the EU has an explicit, unilateral exit clause. States leaving, OTOH, require that 38 states approve. Speaking as someone whose retirement hobby is a particular US partition, I insist that people who push the idea, whether the top dog at the EU or a Russian academic, push versions that make some sense.

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      • Oh hey, I’d forgotten about America-breaks-up-in-2010 theory. It’s particularly amusing to re-read now. Compare the map to the 2016 election results: they don’t seem to have too much to do with each other, do they? It turns out Russian academics who seemingly have never even been to the United States have as little facility in predicting state-by-state cleavages as… well, pretty much any of the rest of us who were predicting a Clinton win.

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  2. I keep seeing Iain Martin linked in these things – can I point out that this guy is about as ultra-unionist and anti-independence as you can get, and so can’t really be trusted with any kind of neutral viewpoint on Scotland?

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  3. Except Junker didnt say California and Texas, he said *Ohio* and Texas, which was deeply stupid. And you know, all those European politician diplomats are supposed to be the smart ones, understanding the subtleties and intracies of the world. Not like those stupid ignorant cowboy Americans

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  4. The big difference between the EU and the US is that the US has no method of leaving except by winning a massive Civil War. Some people tried this once. It did not work out. If anyone tries it again, it will be much worse.

    I don’t quite understand why people like to indulge in useless fantasies. The United States of America is not going to let any state leave the union without a massive fight and it will be a fight with physical violence. We are stuck with each other whether we like it or not.

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      • Yeah, certainly war is not a mandated requirement.

        California or Texas attempting to exit would be very different than, say, Vermont or NH. As says above, it would require a lot of planning and would be a very wonky legal petition.

        Would it succeed? Possibly, it would depend upon the political framing, the quality of the petition, and the nature of the new Free State.

        I don’t think we’re anywhere close to that… but maybe a slow generational shift to disunion might emerge.

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        • California, New York and Texas could survive as independent nations. I think the People’s Republic of Vermonter and the Libertarian Porcupine Paradise of New Hampshire would discover that their lifestyles suffer drastic reduction if they were independent nations.

          Now I am wondering which states could be okay if they were independent nations. Florida? Maybe. Massachusetts? Also maybe. Connecticut and New Jersey? Probably not. Delaware and the Dakotas? No. Kansas and most of the South? Absolutely not.

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          • Nearly every state could probably make it as an independent country. It just might not be at the level of life they are accompanied to. The four big states of California, New York, Texas, and Florida will do all right but are going to have start devoting big parts of their budget to activities done by the federal government like defense and foreign affairs. They are also going to need to decide on citizenship, immigration, and welfare services like social security, and a bunch of social issues like LGBT rights. Somehow I think that California and New York will navigate the transition to nation hood easier.

            Hawaii and Alaska despite their small population would make the transition to nationhood easier than the rest of the United States out of the big four. That’s mainly because their geographically separateness already gives the geography of nation kind of if that makes sense. Setting up shop at nation state might be easier that way.

            The other states can do it but are going to have to make a lot of sacrifices and tough decision compared to the big four mentioned above. Even if they have the requisite population for a nation, they are going to have really make choices.

            Splitting up isn’t going to end the culture wars because many Blue states have Red areas and Red States have Blue cities.

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          • I think TX could make a go of it as an independent state. I’m not 100% on that, but I can’t think of any critical resource that TX must import to survive.

            CA would have to bring WA, OR, and probably NV with it, as a minimum, in order to secure sufficient water and power resources to keep the lights on and the farms working. Ideally, it should shoot for everything west of the continental divide.

            NY would have to leave with most of the Eastern Seaboard in order to have sufficient power, water, and/or food (I might be wrong on water, but IIRC a lot of their water comes from out of state).

            ETA: FL is a wild card, I have no idea what they must critical resources they must import.

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            • All across Europe nation-states trade with each other. Why would the former US states be any different?

              As to a reduction in the quality of life, why? Sure, there might be some small increase in government expenditures as each state expands from a state government to a federal government, but you do have the offsetting decrease in the existing fed govt.

              And finally, why wouldn’t states form new unions?

              If we’re trying to be remotely realistic about this, the only way this happens in the near future is if something goes catastrophically wrong during the Trump administration but the House won’t impeach. Enough states swing Democratic to call a constitutional convention, but the convention stalemates. Jerry Brown calls an emergency referendum and California voters decide to withdraw from the union. The convention reconvenes and amends the Constitution to create a procedure for USexit. California takes the plunge.

              Then what? My guess is that all of New England and the West Coast states go too and form a New American Union. As to the rest of the country, it’s more of a guess.

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              • I’m thinking of it from a position of a new nation not being utterly dependant upon critical resources from a neighboring nation that might not be overly keen (politically) to negotiate favorable trade deals.

                Hypothetically, if CA did a USexit all by itself, and the Federal government was overly butthurt about it (but not enough to roll tanks), then the loss of affordable water and power resources from neighboring states would be quite painful until CA could invest in the necessary infrastructure to make it a non-issue.

                Ideally, such issues would be hammered out prior to an exit, but if CA could leave with WA, OR, & NV, the issues would be a lot easier to manage.

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                  • Lower Colorado Basin vs Upper. Plenty of water in the river for Arizona, California, and Nevada if they didn’t have to share with Colorado, New Mexico, Utah, and Wyoming. (Yes, technically Arizona is both an Upper and Lower Basin state, but their share of the Upper Basin water is less than 1%.)

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                • Where’s your food coming from? Sure you can cut off the 4.4 MAF California takes from from the Colorado (presumably with artillery), but the bulk of that water goes to the Imperial Valley to grow alfalfa (cheap California beef) and tons of veggies.

                  Also, it’s not like the upstream states have the infrastructure (or, for that matter, demand) in place to use all of California’s Colorado River allocation. The Colorado is over-allocated, but it’s not that over-allocated.

                  Let’s not be overly silly about this. California leaves the Union with the consent of the other States, no matter what Gavin Newsome thinks of Donald Trump. If we assert some unilateral right of departure, the other 49 states are just going to point and laugh, and the IRS will still insist that my employer forward my taxes to DC.

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              • Yes on trade. Peaceful partitions work that way.

                Defense savings. Is California likely to think that it’s in California’s interests to play policeman in the South China Sea? Who else are they going to worry about — Mexico? Might want to keep some nukes in hand, though, unless North Korea has somehow become sane.

                My bet is that regional interests will matter. Exercise for students: pick a hypothetical region and make a list of ways that states within that region are like each other, but different from states outside the region. (Side note: I think the interests of the Northeast and the West Coast diverge too much to form one country with 2,000 miles between the parts.) To a point that @j_a makes regularly, much of the rest of the world will be surprised because they think the resulting regions are more alike than different.

                Speculatively, by the time an exit clause arrives (20-45 years from now, since five years ago I settled on 25-50 years), everyone will know what the partition will be, and have decided that it’s in their own interests to do it. That is — and this is just an example — not only will Georgia think California should be allowed to leave, Georgia will think that being in a country without California is in Georgia’s interests in some fashion.

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            • Within not too many years, California’s suppliers for large amounts of electricity will include the western parts of the Great Plains, from Wyoming to New Mexico (LADWP already owns a 1.9 GW plant in Utah). Their natural gas supplies depend heavily on parts of New Mexico and extreme West Texas on the east side of the Divide. For various reasons, I argue that California wants to be the leader of a Western States that matches pretty closely with the current Western Interconnect part of the power grid.

              NY’s water supplies are almost exclusively in state. The biggest problem on that subject if they were leaving by themselves would be what to do about their current obligations on water deliveries to Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania (google Delaware River Basin Compact). My own opinion is that the biggest problem would be that the finance industry wouldn’t survive if the only currency they dominated was NY bucks (or whatever). London and Brexit may be instructive.

              FL effectively imports almost all of its non-nuclear electricity, much of it in the form of coal and natural gas from outside the state. Parts of the state have water issues, which would spread to other areas if AL and GA decided they didn’t have to share any longer.

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            • I can see CA taking NV and AZ along (demographics and LA needs the resources) but not the PNW. The politics might be similar, but it stops there. Adding OR to CA is asking for it…

              (saying that as a Californian until a few months ago, having moved to Oregon [though born in eastern WA.])

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                • Lunatic that I am, I think that when this becomes a sane topic — say in a generation-and-a-half — it will be a matter of choosing up “sides”. Oregon/Washington will choose to go with a group of western states with which it shares issues about population density patterns, fire, water, large public lands, citizen initiatives, renewable energy, etc. Rather than a bunch of states way over there on the other side of a mountain range or two and 500 miles of empty Great Plains with which it shares few of those things.

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                  • Question: when western states secede from The Union, how are they going to get their money outa the big New York banks? Calpers alone has – from what I understand – billions in investment holdings controlled by NY banks.

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                    • Presumably the same way any foreign customer withdraws money from an American bank. I suppose the US government could seize the accounts, but residents of a seceding state wouldn’t automatically lose access to assets held in US financial institutions.

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                    • Move the funds — via a few clicks on a keyboard — to a California-chartered bank.

                      or, more likely, do nothing. If the country is really breaking up, the Confederate states will be the driving force. California and New York will get along just fine. The EU / EEC, its related institutions and its history of various mistakes make a nice model.

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                      • This. What Michael (and myself, FTM) are foreseeing isn’t a butthurt CalExit scenario. It’s multiple regions each – independently or mutually – deciding that they have a much better chance of being the Real America ™ if they weren’t unequally yoked together with each other any longer.
                        So no war, not even necessarily significantly more animosity than already exists today.
                        Banks in the new CSA would deal with banks in Cascadia like they do banks in Portugal or Japan. And life would go on.

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          • There are two reasons to want to secede as I see it.

            One is that those people over there in (Flyover Country|Coastal Enclaves) just suck so bad that you don’t want to part of the same country with them.

            The other is that the rules that bind your state into the country are unfair and unfairly empower people who act inimically to your interests.

            Both are pipe-dream fantasies in the world as it stands, and tend to get inevitably tangled up with each other, but I can usually muster some sympathy for the “unfair rules” argument.

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      • It would seem to require a Constitutional amendment. I’m not even sure the state in question would necessarily need to support it. If 37 states decide they’re really sick of Delaware’s shit, can they just vote them off the island?

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    • And if it’s Texas….well, I might end up the equivalent of a refugee, seeing as I live within 25 miles of what would presumably be part of the war zone.

      (shudders. Previously I had just bitched about “I don’t want to have to get a stupid passport to shop at the stupid Target that’s across the border” but having to flee a civil war in my backyard would be far worse)

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      • Because Red Staters need Blue State money to subsidize their lifestyle and they know it. Blue States won’t leave because there is no mechanism and because they know it will hurt many people stuck in the Red State rump.

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        • I wonder what would happen to the price of “stuff” that comes out of Iowa, North Dakota, Ohio River Valley and all points in between? Could get ugly with competition from abroad, but the largesse of Blue states masks a dose of exploitation. Paying artificially below market prices for food has winners and losers in all directions.

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          • And….”because they know it will hurt many people stuck in the Red State rump.”

            Riiiiiight. And yet they are so concerned about them when they are IN the union. Calling BS on that.

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            • It’s more complicated than that. Take Mississippi, for example. The feds pick up almost 75% of the state’s traditional Medicaid expenses. Under liberal administrations, the feds actively defend civil and voting rights for minorities there. Federal disaster relief disproportionately favors the hurricane-prone. There’s very little question that poor blacks, to pick one group, would be worse off in an independent Mississippi.

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          • I think that markets are fine for distributing resources efficiently, but I don’t think that a market price corresponds to a human value. That is one of the core things that makes me a liberal, and makes me ok with certain kinds of redistribution, such as the redistribution of tax money to some red states (probably not Ohio so much, though, but definitely ND).

            I do not see them as freeloaders, but I do object when they use that language to describe immigrants. All the immigrants I know about work harder than I do.

            That said, I think that, given things like agricultural price supports, it’s possible that food prices would go down in this scenario, not up.

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          • Just to be clear here the “artificial below market prices” for food are due to what? SNAP and stuff like that or the fact that the farming regions are in the same union as the urban built up regions?

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            • Ag Policies including Price Subsidies as DrJ mentions above. In the short term prices would surely dip as the fundamental premise of the policies is max production and there’s no good way to turn that ship around. But in the original counterfactual where the money goes poof due to the break-up… things would adjust. The Ag Policies are distortionary in so many ways I’m not sure we’ve ever fully reckoned all the true costs.

              I know its de rigueur to think that its free money to red-state farmers… but that free money goes mostly to wealthy landowners and businesses and has probably done more to wreck red states than anything dastardly blue staters could dream of.

              And, while there is most certainly an entrenched red state contingent that fights tooth and nail to keep the money flowing… the counter-intuitive thought for the day is that it flows to keep commodities stable and maxed produced for the Cities more than anything else.

              {There’s plenty of reasons why this might be a good idea… so I’m not saying that there aren’t… just that we’re subsidizing some bad outcomes for the sake of some other good outcomes, and I’m not sure we have the full calculus right).

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              • Marchmaine,
                It’s not agpolicies that have killed the small farmer. It’s economic reality.

                You won’t get single hospitals back, no matter what you do, and you won’t get small farmers back either.

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    • The United States of America is not going to let any state leave the union without a massive fight and it will be a fight with physical violence.

      Why do you believe this to be the case? I have no strong opinion on the issue, but extrapolating from one data point over 150 years ago seems pretty dubious to me. I think people are much less inclined to go to war nowadays, and given the circumstances, I think a lot of people would have either be glad to see them go, or wishing them good luck and hoping to follow. I don’t see there being a strong “If I can’t have you, no one will” contingent.

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      • I largely think the threats are a form of emotional venting. I suppose as Marchmaine says above, it depends on the state. Vermont and New Hampshire could probably leave without much fanfare. Other states not so much and there are also vast economic interests involved. Isn’t most of the insurance industry located in Connecticut? How would they react if Connecticut wanted to leave?

        California, Oregon, and Washington provide access to the Pacific, a huge amount of wealth for the United States, and are also home to key military facilities. I don’t see the U.S. reacting well if California said “see you later.”

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        • The military argument is always interesting. I have a bet with that by the end of 2039 the US will no longer be a global conventional superpower (specifically, that we will be unable to manage an Iraq-like action outside of the Western Hemisphere). One of the reasons I think it will happen is that the DoD’s toys have gotten too expensive. Among other changes, the Pacific Fleet will be significantly smaller by then. The economic impact of that will probably be larger on the East Coast, where the carriers and submarines are all built, than on the West Coast where only a subset are maintained.

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        • There’s no reason insurance can’t be sold across national boundaries. A lot of your argument seems to be premised on the assumption that a seceding state would be totally cut off from the rest of the US, but I think the relationship would be more like that of the US and Canada.

          The part about military bases is a fair point, but I think it takes more to get a war started now than it did in 1861. But I could be wrong.

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  5. Gaming the system:

    “A necessitous man is not a free man.”

    “We’re going to needs some serious bank to be free enough to leave this country.”

    ” But….but…..it’s unsustainable!”

    Hahaha.

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    • Oh lord no it’s not about racism or sexism. It’s an attempt at distracting from Trump’s growing scandal. Trump knows the true believers just need a bad person to blame so they can ignore the growing evidence against him and his admin. Tweety and Corn are being silly by yakking about sexism and racism, they are getting distracted and losing the lede.

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      • I think an important subplot in this whole mess is that President Trump has accused Obama and now Susan Rice of committing crimes without presenting any evidence to anyone justifying the claim. Which is, youknow, sorta unPresidential irresponsible. So irresponsible, in fact, it makes you wonder how seriously he takes his presidency responsibilities.

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        • Well yeah. But the Trumpets are going for it so why should he stop. He has always been like this. Throw out wild baseless claims to keep the Daily News or Atlantic City papers excited and just forget them the next day since nobody really took them seriously. All that matters is keeping his base from seeing what is unfolding. That is serious and enough.

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          • That should be something we worry about a lot for subsequent presidencies. So much of the executive’s good behavior is based on precedent rather than explicit rules. We’re currently in the process of normalizing a lot of stuff that would have been out of the question a year ago.

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      • So you are saying that fact that Rice asked that the identities of Americans to be unmasked is not of any concern? Or why she did so? Or what happened to that information?

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        • I’d say it’s worthy of review but unlikely to be anything particularly unseemly. But since the viewing public is unlikely to get the actual classified details, most people will go on believing whatever makes them feel good rather than what makes sense, so in that sense making it about how you were caught with your hand in the cookie jar rather than about why your hand was there seems to be a pretty successful strategy.

          I’m a little disappointed that the right has abandoned the, “It doesn’t matter how we found out, just that the ugly truth has finally been revealed,” position they had when the questions of whether the ends justified the means were about email hacking. At least that position was arguably about the release of true information being in the public interest.

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          • Trump should ask Russia to hack Rice’s personal email account so the truth will finally be revealed for all to see. I mean, it’s not like he has the power to release these documents to the DOJCIAFBINSCIRSFDA or even to a reporter who’d “leak” them to a broader public than David Nunes. He obviously needs help.

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              • Hey, I was just offering suggestions, notme. Trump apparently isn’t capable of accessing, collecting, analyzing and delivering evidence held within the executive branch to law enforcement-type people who’ll proceed with the formal charges. And then it struck me: maybe the Russians could help him the same way they helped him during the election.

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            • Well, It would be kinda funny if they did and the subsequent wikileaks confirmed both collusion with Russia by Trump’s team and Executive Branch political spying. I could see Putin finding that funny too…

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        • It also shows that despite the assertions of some liberals to the contrary, illegals can be deterred.

          I’ve always believed liberals are too strident in opposing a shoot on sight policy, myself.

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        • Certainly some people can be deterred. If anybody argued that some can’t be, then they were wrong. It wouldn’t’ surprise me if people were wrong in just that way. Can all illegal immigration be stopped….oh lord no. If ISIS is intent on sneaking people over the Rio Grande then they will be able to do that. If people really want to get across they will. It will certainly take some time for the Coyote’s to adapt some of their routes and prices will go up but we cannot shut off the spigot. We can turn it down to a degree, but that’s it.

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          • greg,
            Either we turn it off now and come across as dicks, or we turn it off later — when billions are literally starving, and we come across as monsters.

            Bonus! if we turn it off now, we can BLAME TRUMP!

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        • notme,
          Ten’ll get you twenty you’re only looking at the past year or so?
          OBAMA has deported more people than Trump, even on a year to year basis, if you bother to look at more than just the past year.

          So, um, YES, deporting people does do some good. Believe it or not, Democratic Presidents know this, and use ICE a lot more than republicans do.

          Why’s that? GWB was paid by the slave-owners to keep their workers in the country.

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        • The drop in illegal immigration does very little to support your contention that it’s a deterrent effect due to Trump, given its (small) size and the pre-existing trend.

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        • Read Drum’s last paragraph. Consider the nature of seasonal work, particularly in the agricultural sector. (What crops are there to harvest in March? This time of year a lot of our fruits and vegetables come from Mexico.)

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        • I thought the point was pretty clear. If you want to do something and claimed you’ve changed an outcome, your results typically shouldn’t still be falling on the existing trend line. This sounds a bit like every city police chief crediting his or her specific anti-crime program for the decades long nationwide downward trend in violent crime.

          I can’t say I’m particularly excited one way or another since “number of illegal immigrants in the US” isn’t a variable I think we should be spending a lot of time worrying about at the moment, which is why I originally didn’t bother to check and simply assumed you had it right. That was a mistake. Now I have to write, “Always check the headline claims” 1000 times as penance.

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  6. If you’re into book reviews of books that do post-mortems on why Hillary Clinton lost, you should check out this one.

    It’s a skeptical review of a book that is anything but skeptical of Clinton. You’ll see arguments that appeared in the comments here bubble up.

    The best part is that if you read the review, it’s almost good as having read the book!

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    • Hmmm Comparing Hillary to Boleyn seems to a bit to apt given the rather intense feelings some on the right have about her.

      Seems like combining this book with one that does nothing that points out all her mistakes will lead to a good start to understanding it all.

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          • Well, let’s hope that the DNC agrees with you and looks at the various mistakes made and changes accordingly.

            Goodness knows, there are a number of people out there who respond to Clinton criticism with a litany of “But Comey! But Sanders! But the popular vote! But Russia!” and so on. As if the mistakes that Clinton made were trivial enough to wave away in the face of all of the forces allied in unison against her.

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            • Wow its almost like there are two sets of critiques that both have truth in them: she made mistakes (serious) and wrongs (serious) were done to her. But we’re all to smart here to know that is possible. There is one set of True Critiques and those that are fallen and wrong.

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              • The main question, at this point, is “Does the DNC have to change anything or do they only need to tweak a handful of things at the edges” (or, I suppose, merely get a candidate who has charisma rather than one who is skilled, efficient, and qualified for the position).

                I’ve seen the arguments that Clinton won the popular vote and only lost the Blue Wall by 100,000 votes or so and so the DNC doesn’t really have to change *THAT* much, for example.

                On a national level, anyway.

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                • Oh this is a new topic. It’s odd we haven’t discussed it before.

                  The answer is Yes.

                  Given Trump’s flailing, just tweaking the message and having a better candidate is likely good enough for substantial wins. They really should make more then just superficial changes though, significant changes in policy and politics would be better for the D’s in the short and long run. It’s another one of those things where two differing ideas can both be true.

                  I’ll note the D’s have rarely, if ever, taken all the great advice i’ve freely given them.

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                  • Given Trump’s flailing, just tweaking the message and having a better candidate is likely good enough for substantial wins.

                    Yet another thing that we have to wait until 2018 to figure out whether it’s true or not.

                    A handful of things that I suspect:
                    The “mainstream media” (that is, non-Fox media) will do a very good job of running a bunch of stories that will be unflattering to Trump. Like, back to back, continually. Fox will do a good job of alternating back and forth between flattering and unflattering.
                    Trump will continue to campaign for 2018/2020 by holding Trump rallies in the middle of flyover. (According to this, he’s held a dozen since the election.)
                    The lagging indicator of unemployment continues to go down (feel free to give the credit for this to Obama well into 2018).

                    Those three I’m confident on.

                    Stuff that I have no idea about:
                    Consumer Confidence being/remaining high
                    Terrorist attacks at home or abroad
                    War, war, war, and war

                    The first three are advantages that Trump has/is creating for himself (deserved or not).

                    In the face of those things, how much would the Democrats have to tweak (assuming nothing really changes on the stuff we don’t really know about yet)?

                    I’m wondering if the Democrats aren’t currently committed to being an Educated/Urban party to the point where they can’t make significant changes in policy. They can only tweak *SLIGHTLY* at the edges and run with the sufficiently charismatic thing.

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                • “Does the DNC have to change anything or do they only need to tweak a handful of things at the edges”

                  Objection. Question is so poorly posed as to be meaningless.

                  Yes, the DNC recruits candidates and promotes the overall party platform. But it is the job of the candidate, not the party, to deliver a message that can prevail in the particular race.

                  And here’s a funny thing — sometimes you even get multiple candidates from the same party competing for the same seat. what’s the term? oh yeah – a contested primary. We even had two of those in the last presidential election, one each for each party.

                  Is anyone here really competent to evaluate the job that the national committees did? First, you’d have to know what they actually did. Then you’d have to have some baseline of what they should have been doing. Then you’d have to analyze where the committee exceeded expectations (and why) and fell short (and why).

                  So far, what I’ve seen here is Democrats down 1,000 seats nationwide –> DNC bad. Now, it may actually be the case that A implies B, but for me, no one is even close to making that showing.

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                  • Objection. Question is so poorly posed as to be meaningless.

                    Fair enough. Allow me to rephrase.

                    Does the DNC have to change anything fundamental to their party or do they only need to tweak a handful of things at the edges? (Or, a third option, is the only problem that they had an insufficiently charismatic candidate and so they don’t even have to tweak anything, just get a sufficiently charismatic candidate next time?)

                    So far, what I’ve seen here is Democrats down 1,000 seats nationwide –> DNC bad. Now, it may actually be the case that A implies B, but for me, no one is even close to making that showing.

                    I admit, I’m starting from a particular ad absurdum argument:

                    Democrats down 1,000 seats nationwide –> DNC good?
                    That’s nuts. Laughable on its face.

                    But that excludes a middle. So let’s tackle the middle:

                    Democrats down 1,000 seats nationwide –> DNC so-so and merely outplayed by the much more together Republicans?

                    I suppose that this one isn’t laughable on its face, once you get past the “much more together Republicans” thing.

                    Abandoning Dean’s (magnificent!) 50 State Strategy was really, really, really dumb.

                    It’s that third “really” that gets me to “okay, maybe they aren’t so-so”.

                    Which leads me to the conclusion of “Democrats down 1,000 seats nationwide –> DNC bad”.

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                    • Wow, that’s a grossly unsupported conclusion.

                      what, precisely, do you know about the 50-state strategy and the alleged abandonment thereof that allows you to comment thereon with such confidence? I, for one, don’t know because you’ve never shared that knowledge here.

                      What is the DNC’s measure of success? Does it consider publicly-reported likely voter numbers to be reliable? Does it expect, on average, to win and lose equal numbers of D+1/R+1, D+2/R+2 … districts or does it think that it can regularly beat the ‘likely voter’ number? If the latter, why?

                      Or is its job to enroll new voters — to change R+1 to even? I don’t know. Do you?

                      When the Ds were at their height, how many R seats were they up? Are the Ds just regressing to the mean, or are they being actually outperformed? I don’t know. Do you?

                      What is the impact of gerrymandering and population movement over the last 10 – 20 years? Are more districts ‘naturally’ R+ or is it a failure of the Ds to get voters registered? I don’t know. Do you?

                      Is it the DNC’s job to get a candidate in every district or the state’s Democratic Party?

                      How much would it cost to implement the Dean 50-state, every-district strategy? More importantly, what are the opportunity costs of running a candidate in every district? Would it result in lost seats (due to lack of candidate support) or gained (due to a long-term track record of competition)? How sure are you, and what’s the basis of your opinion?

                      Of course, if what we’re arguing about is not the actual facts of the issue, but the impression that the DNC’s failure creates on various voters (including, of course, yourself), please feel free to ignore the foregoing. I doubt that there is any fact I can post or question I can ask that could modify your feeling that the DNC has failed to do its job.

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                      • what, precisely, do you know about the 50-state strategy and the alleged abandonment thereof that allows you to comment thereon with such confidence?

                        Not much. Just the aforementioned losses on a national level and the unsupported assertion that those seats weren’t won by some strange alchemy beyond appealing to “likely voters”.

                        I suppose the position that those seats were examples of the Democrats outperforming and when they went back to the Republicans that that was the country going back to an accurate reflection of it was one that never occurred to me.

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                      • Francis
                        Hey-o! You want answers? I got answers.
                        The DNC was populated by Clintonistas for the past 10 years or so. Their only job (the only one they cared about) was getting Clinton elected President.

                        Donna Brazile and company was asleep at the till during 2010. Losing during a redistricting meant that the Democrats stacked their deck against themselves.

                        You ever watched Colbert? He had on the NJ pizza guy running for congressman. It is CHEAP AND EASY to run a guy everywhere. You basically need some signatures, and voila, he runs! Now, giving him a chance? That’s a different story. But Dems were picking up R+22 district in Idaho because the Representative was so much of an ass that NOBODY including the Republican party wanted him in the office.

                        That’s the game that 50 state plays — the 2 congressmen a term who fuck up so monumentally that you can take their seats despite the idea that you’re playing in a Republican Stronghold (Heidi Heitkamp from ND is a Senator on the same philosophy).

                        What’s the DNC’s measure of success? Depends on the cycle, obviously. Pulling the Senate back and setting up for 2020 for the House is what I want to see (and I filled in my damn survey and they fucking read it, so nyah nyah I win).

                        Population drift is the achilles heel of gerrymandering, and why the Dems could sweep in 2006. A originally 55/45 district, due to population drift, can easily be something you can swing in an election.

                        The DNC has absolutely failed to do its job.

                        If you need me to pull facts on how much it costs to get signatures, I can. But I live in a democratic city, and I do know our last republican candidate left the country in the middle of the campaign (he remained on the ballot).

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                  • Francis,
                    I know what the DNC did last election. So do you, if you read the wikileaks.
                    They blatantly rigged the vote in favor of Clinton (this is legal, it’s a private election).

                    Other than that, they didn’t give a fuck.

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                • This is not, in and of itself, an implausible argument. They may well not need to change anything, or at least consciously change anything, in order to win in 2020. The extremely narrow Trump victory, and the cavalcade of shenanigans that make it possible, do support that argument.

                  Whether there are things that they should change is a different question. The main problem is that a lot of the recommended changes seem to have much more to do with fights over policy and emphasis, with little to do on tactical mistakes, and many of the tactical criticisms are very dubious.

                  You rarely hear, for instance, that the next campaign should be more receptive to input from local and state parties about potential warning signs, and shouldn’t be so “data” focused that it ignores opportunities to engage potential volunteers because it thinks, say, lawn signs don’t matter. Yet those seem to be much more unambiguous mistakes on the Hillary camp’s part than most of the things you do hear.

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                  • If the question is really about the DNC, not the Clinton campaign, then there’s a much better argument that it, along with the DSCC and DCCC, have failed badly over the last 8 years, and should be changed. Cleaning house (as Perez and Ellision are doing) seems like a good start.

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              • greg,
                Funny, I’d like to hear about these serious wrongs done to her.
                Because I have the feeling most of the people speaking have entirely bought into the Clintonista propaganda.

                Is it wrong that a DNC Staffer decided to leak some documents?
                Is it wrong that Clinton’s DNC staff couldn’t figure out when they’d been hacked?
                Is it wrong that Israel had all the private e-mails in 2015?

                Does Weiner’s dickpics somehow wrong Clinton?

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            • Good tactical move. Throw it back on greg to defend himself from your New and Improved accusations instead of saying what you really want to say.

              OK, since you asked, I’ll try: eh-hem “I think the Dems have f***ed up politically, and Dem partisans need to get their heads outa their ass about just how badly they’re f***ed.”

              You can copy that comment and just paste it every time this issue comes up. Save yourself some time. :)

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              • It’s not quite that simple. The pendulum swings, after all, and the possibility more than exists that the pendulum will start swinging back in November 2018.

                Look at the numbers in the House/Senate in January 2009 and compare to January 2011, for example.

                It’s not like the Republicans actually *DID* anything between 2009 and 2010. I mean, other than obstruct, obstruct, obstruct and whip up the base.

                The Democrats are doing a good job of trying to obstruct currently. The Supreme Court thing, for example. That seems to map pretty well to Republicans between 2009-2010.

                Maybe the Democrats will win landslidey elections come 2018 by virtue of the fact that they’re not in power and, unlike the Republicans, can’t even come *CLOSE* to being tarred with the Trump brush.

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                • God help me from saying “this stuff gets tiresome, dude” but really, this stuff gets tiresome, dude.

                  (Conclusion: there is no god?? Or is it that these types of low-information speculations stated with high-level certainty are tiring even to God?)

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                • Actually the D’s haven’t obstructed much at all. Garland is going to get the big promotion…ooops sorry it’s spelled Gorsuch…he is going to go up to the big bench, the D’s can’t stop him. There really hasn’t been much else for the D’s to do except some jaw jaw and take part in the investigations of Trumpworld. In the longer term those investigations will likely be an issue for Trump but for now, it’s not that much.

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                  • Dems haven’t obstructed anything yet. Which is why Jaybird’s claim that “The Democrats are doing a good job of trying to obstruct currently” is so absurd.

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                    • They haven’t obstructed anything yet?

                      I suppose that’s something that is subject to one’s own definitions of “obstructed” (would it be better to say “give principled opposition to”?) and so it might be best to give a measurable definition. (I mean, if we’re not talking about the principled opposition to the executive order dealing with the immigration ban.)

                      Gorsuch.

                      At what point will we be able to say that we’ve moved from “they haven’t obstructed anything” to “okay, they’ve obstructed on *ONE* thing” when it comes to Gorsuch?

                      When/if the filibuster is nuked?
                      Or would it take something like Gorsuch to be withdrawn and Someone Even Worse gets nominated for us to say “okay, the principled opposition has finally begun”?

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                      • Jaybird,

                        I didn’t view my upthread comment as a knock out blow. My mistake was not remembering that you’d view it as a challenge, since your operating principle seems to be that the more words you write defending a view the more legitimate it becomes.

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                        • I’m not defending a view, Stillwater.

                          I’m attacking one.

                          At this point, I’m not particularly impressed with how well it stands up.

                          It makes me suspect that the Democrats won’t be willing to even tweak things around the edges, quite honestly.

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                      • What have they stopped? Gorsuch is going to be a Supreme the D’s can’t stop that. What else has there been? Are we watering down obstruction to mean lots of jawing that doesn’t actually prevent anything from happening. Watering down language really does help a lot of debates. For reference see Orwell, George on that.

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                        • Your perception of false equivalence is evidence of a partisan based anti-equivalence since it’s obvious (a priori!) that the two parties are equivalent, greg. C’mon dude. Get with the program. The governing principle here is this: “subject to one’s own definitions of “obstructed”.

                          You’re talking to a person who isn’t arguing their own views of what constitutes obstruction, but their views of other people’s views of what they think constitutes obstruction. You’re not arguing against a straw-man here. You’re arguing against a ghost.

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                        • What have they stopped?

                          Would the Trump Travel Ban count?

                          Gorsuch is going to be a Supreme the D’s can’t stop that.

                          Obamacare passed. It doesn’t strike me as accurate at all that the Republicans didn’t try to obstruct it. (Which, if you go back to my original phrasing, was the phrase I used: “try to obstruct”.)

                          I’m not trying to water down the language.

                          I’m trying to come up with a phrasing and definition that both of us can agree upon to the point where we could explain it to someone else.

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                            • Fair enough. Then the Democrats haven’t opposed anything yet and their opposition to Gorsuch is, at this point, a Schrödingerian opposition that we won’t know whether it’s obstruction or not until Gorsuch is either withdrawn or seated.

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                          • The TTB: no, why should it. It was the courts that stopped it.

                            During the first couple years of the O admin the R’s required 60 votes in the Senate for almost everything. That prevented some things from passing. That is obstruction. They took an action that stopped something else. Ocare: well if you remember there were R’s that admitted they were dragging things out just to stop. They were negotiating in bad faith ( heck i think you even eventually admitted they were acting in bad faith) and then again Senator Phil E. Buster raised his head. So the actually stopped things. The D’s, so far, haven’t.

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                            • The fact that they didn’t dust off one of the fifteen dozen bills they sent up to Obama repealing Obamacare outright and, instead, haggled over what to replace it with told me that they weren’t negotiating in good faith.

                              So if that’s the bar that “obstruction” needs to overcome, then the Dems haven’t obstructed yet. Not even with Gorsuch.

                              Not that they’ve needed to. The Republican House/Senate keeps stepping on rakes. The best thing for the Dems to do is just step back and not interrupt.

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          • Effective at what? Not news, not opinion, not interviews. He leaves the viewer less informed and frankly with a poorer understanding of the conservative take. People on the left may consider him an enemy, but they shouldn’t think of him as a threat.

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        • I mean, part of my issue with CNN is they do largely that for large portions of their news day, especially prior to Trump – “Obama said the sun is actually a ball of intense energy sending heat to the Earth. Republican’s have claimed that’s a falsehood. Now, here’s four professional arguerers to yell about it for 20 minutes.”

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          • Turning the way we govern ourselves into a faux-debate club spectator sport certainly has had interesting results.

            I’ll concede to that I’d like to see O’Reilly gone because he’s effective, but I hold that opinion of pretty much any of the superstars of bullshit arguments about why the other guys are always wrong. He’s not effective at informing people or getting them to reach conclusions based on careful assessment of the facts. He’s effective at keeping the team pumped up and feeling like a team.

            People who do that for a living are a big part of the reason why there’s a correlation between believing that local government should control education and that global warming is fake, or that the government should care for the poor and that Monsanto is trying to poison us all. There’s basically no reason for those beliefs to predict each other, but they do because of convenient political coalitions and the efforts of professional BS artists who turn those coalitions into sports teams to be rooted for rather than accidental groupings of otherwise unrelated interests whose positions should be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

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              • I’m sure you know somebody who has The Real Scoop on why the publicly available data doesn’t support that claim, but if you’d rather I come up with other examples of positions that shouldn’t be correlated in pairs, I could throw out a few dozen more.

                The reality is that the hodgepodge of strongly held views that most partisans seem to think form a coherent worldview is that they’re not derived from a common source of facts and philsophies. They’re a hodgepodge of political baggage that partisans feel like they have to defend because the other team might score points if they don’t.

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