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September 29, 2016

Open Thread: Thursday, September 29

  7:00 am

This is the open thread for Tuesday, September 27.

“Dark and disturbed? His whole life revolves around Superman and cereal.

This is a good place to post anything that would be off topic in other threads (articles of interest, polls, etc).


Rasmussen Swings 6 Points

  9:59 pm

Today, Rasmussen turned in a 6 point swing (+5 T to +1 C) toward Mrs. Clinton. Coupled with yesterday’s Morning Consult 4 point swing in the same direction and the new PPP poll showing +4% for Mrs. Clinton, they have improved her position to 2.7% lead on the RACE 4 2016 combined polling average. That was a .6% gain on our average while other aggregator sites showed an average .7% gain for Mrs Clinton.


The prime suspect for this sudden change in the polling direction is Mr. Trump’s debate performance which may not have been as well accepted by the voters as the early reports from click-bait sites indicated. The effects look more like a draw to a narrow loss, but we may have a better handle on it with tomorrow’s results.


There has been a deluge of state polling, so much so that I have been able to expand from 5 to the 6 most recent polls for each state. All but the PPP results are pre-debate.  The newest Race 4 2016  electoral map shows Mrs. Clinton with only a 227 to 198 lead.

There is also a new look for the Leaners and Coin Tosses where they are ordered by probability of a Trump win.



Deming’s Disciple


The Dangers of Hillary in Washington

  2:10 pm

Hillary Clinton is often portrayed as representing the status quo, which tacitly suggests that four years of her as President will look just like the last four. Look at that a little closely and you will see that the nation after those four years will be several trillion dollars deeper in debt than it is now, with thousands of more regulations crippling enterprise and destroying jobs. If those four years are like the last four, many millions of  people will be on food stamps and disability who aren’t on them now.

The obvious problem is that these things constitute a burden on the private sector of the economy. If you keep piling more weight on a beast of burden it will inevitably, at some point, get crushed. There are many indications that the beast is already stumbling under its load, and has been for decades. More businesses are going out of business than are getting started, and this is for the first time in history. More people are renouncing their citizenship and emigrating.

The term “corporate inversion” has been recently coined to depict the growing mass flight of companies to other countries. This occurs largely because the tax burden imposed on them is lower elsewhere, and since we have the highest corporate tax rate in the industrialized world, there are a lot of countries where companies can be more competitive. Ford and other companies are moving operations to Mexico in part because Mexico has more trade agreements intact than we have, so more units can be exported. Under Hillary, look for far more businesses to go under. The lucky ones will find a way to leave.

Donald Trump rants that “we don’t build anything anymore.” Much of the reason for that is that it costs too much money to get approvals from all the agencies required to sign off before actual construction begins, which is why he’s spent so much money buying corrupt politicians like the Clintons to make the process less onerous.

But what of companies who have the resources to actually build what they want to build, but don’t have the money to get the approvals necessary? A few years ago a company wanted to build a large shopping center in San Francisco.  Years later it tabled the project after spending tens of millions of dollars to get just a little more than half of the 64 approvals necessary. The wasted money, time, and effort went down the drain. THIS is just one case study as to why “we don’t build anything anymore.”

That, and the fact that after a company has paid the taxes it has to pay, deciphered the rules and regulations it is legally required to learn, understand, and abide by, projects that are cost effective in and of themselves simply become cost prohibitive. The resources to bring them to fruition aren’t there any longer.

An analysis of merely maintaining the status quo could go on ad infinitum, but the problem is that Hillary will make things worse than they’ve been the last four years. For example, in the early 1990s she formed an ad hoc committee of hundreds of leftists to develop a single-payer socialist medical system. That effort was so unpopular it helped Republicans to take over congress for the first time since 1954. Now, with ObamaCare a universally recognized failure, and with large insurance providers dropping out, she will attempt to replace it with another single-payer scheme and it will be worse by far than ever. As the saying goes: “if you think medical care costs too much now, just wait until it’s free.”

The far greater costs will be borne by companies and individuals who can’t afford it, and by the word “it” I mean the massive cost of additional bureaucracy that will be imposed. Health care will have to be rationed sooner rather than later as costs escalate, and ultimately, Sarah Palin’s oft-ridiculed term “death panels” will become inevitable.

To quote economist Stephen Moore:

The entire Clinton recovery agenda is to spend $1 trillion more on government public works programs, free day care and college education, and expanded entitlements. She would raise investment and personal income tax rates (paid by many small businesses) to finance all of this.

Increasing government spending while increasing individual and business taxes isn’t exactly innovative.  Government beyond a very limited extent is a parasite with no money of its own, and doesn’t produce anything of value. When it tries to, it becomes subject to Friedman’s law: “Any good or service produced by the government is over-priced by a factor of at least two.” What the parasite in question feeds off of is the private sector of the economy, and when it feeds too much it kills it.

The assumptions here are best case. The first is that she will only spend an extra trillion a year, which is a pipe dream. The second is that she offers her program in good faith. The third is that she doesn’t belong in prison for treason.

About that, more will be said later.


Why should Conservatives trust Trump?

  10:01 am

Among the many complaints that Conservatives have related to Donald Trump is the issue of trust. It’s not an unreasonable question, and one that should be asked of ALL political candidates. There are several signs Trump isn’t a Conservative, as he has frequently shifted positions on issues solely for personal benefit. Trump also has a reputation of making promises he didn’t fulfill. Why should Conservatives have any faith that Trump would enact the legislation they want?

The answer is pretty simple, Conservatives CAN’T trust Trump’s words, but despite that, are best served supporting him for President. Why, you may ask, should a Conservative not trust Trump’s words, but trust him to be President?  It mainly boils down to just a few items.  You don’t have to like these reasons, but given the binary choices we have (anything other than a vote for Trump or Clinton is a protest vote of abstention, denial of which isn’t going to make it any less true) it doesn’t change the reality that this is where we are and what we have to deal with.

  1. Trump isn’t a Liberal – I can hear the denials now.  “Trump was pro-abortion before he was against it!” “Trump doesn’t believe in free trade!” “Trump invited Kaitlyn Jenner to his girl’s bathroom!” I’m sure you have your own favorites to throw up against this.  The problem, however, is that he has flipped and flopped his way around these issues at the drop of the hat.  Does he actually care about any of the issues, or is it more about Trump than it is a core set of beliefs on any topic OTHER than himself?  For Trump, it’s been more about gaining support for his bid than about the actual position itself.  This hardly makes Trump a spirited fighter for conservatism, but compared to Hillary, and given that only one of those two will become President, he will be open to a Conservative agenda, and significantly more progress will be made advancing the Conservative cause under him.
  2. Democrats have gone too hard after Trump – Democrats have pushed too hard the themes of -ist and -phobe to allow their liberal base to compromise with a President Trump.  Sure, Democrats may WANT to cozy up to Trump, and there isn’t a doubt in my mind that Trump would be willing to cut a deal with them if it got him headlines and adulation from the masses, despite the various slurs against him.  The problem lies in that, should they actually DO that, their base would turn them out of office for compromising with “the enemy.”  This isn’t to say there won’t be one or two things promoted and passed that Conservatives wouldn’t like, but for the most part, big ticket Liberal ideas won’t get done.
  3. Trump will NEED Conservatives to get things done – Trump is a person who needs to be seen getting things done, and would NOT take well to a term in office where he is endlessly blocked.  He is running on a (more or less) Conservative agenda, why not push for at least some of it when the GOP controls both the House and Senate?  Trump will have sufficient majorities to pass some of it, and it would give him an opportunity to LOOK Presidential in having signing ceremonies.  What sense would it make to Trump, who really doesn’t have an ideological inclination, to run on certain ideas, see majorities in both the House and Senate elected on that basis, and then turn around and do the exact opposite?  Again, he probably won’t push the entire agenda (and would doubtless be blocked by Democrats on several things if he did), but it will be significantly more than if Hillary makes it into office.
  4. Trump will widen the appeal of the GOP – Another argument that I can already hear the dissent on.  “Trump isn’t Conservative, so his bringing in more people will just dilute the Conservative strength within the GOP.  We are DOOOOOOMED!” I guess this COULD be true if you felt none of the people coming in would be open to Conservatism, but I think there is a flaw in that thinking.  Many people who oppose the GOP can actually be quite Conservative, but never hear the arguments they make because of the successful campaign to use labels to prevent them from being considered.  Regardless, a larger tent will make more people open to at least discussing Conservatism, and from there, it will be up to us to win it on the basis of the merits.
  5. What choice do Conservatives have – This is the argument I like the least, mainly because it’s the harshest truth of them all.  I voted for Romney four years ago, primarily because he was the best choice we had.  The stakes were high, and I felt like if he failed, that Pres Obama’s agenda would not be rolled back short of catastrophe.  Well, Romney lost (I’d still not change my vote in 2012), and the situation has become more dire.  The debate about Obama is starting to fade, and the only certainty we have is that if Hillary is elected, his entire agenda will be codified and as unchangeable (except to expand it) as Social Security has become.  You’ll also have the SCOTUS at least at a 5-4 majority, meaning a Pres Hillary would mostly get a pass on any exercise of Executive authority she chose to use to implement the agenda she wouldn’t be able to get through Congress.  A Pres Trump’s incentives and easiest path to “getting things done” will be to at least somewhat go along with the Conservative agenda.

I can understand and respect that people aren’t thrilled about this choice.  I also get that there is a large degree of mistrust in the fact that Trump isn’t a true believer, but a follower of convenience.  However, given the choices we have before us, and that only one of these choices gives Conservatives a chance at anything (and I mean anything) going in their direction, the choice is pretty clear to me.  Hold your nose and vote for Trump, then pull out the torches and hold his feet to the fire.  This is the only chance left to reverse the tide for a generation, let’s not throw it away simply because it isn’t everything we wanted.


September 28, 2016

Open Thread: Wednesday, September 28

  7:00 am

This is the open thread for Wednesday, September 28.

“How would you like it if someone told you the truth?

This is a good place to post anything that would be off topic in other threads (articles of interest, polls, etc).


September 27, 2016

Open Thread: Tuesday, September 27

  7:00 am

This is the open thread for Tuesday, September 27.

“Stopping short? Huh, that’s a good move.

This is a good place to post anything that would be off topic in other threads (articles of interest, polls, etc).


First Debate Did Not Move the Needle

  3:11 am

Call it a draw?

Scoring a debate of this magnitude on points misses the point. While each candidate was able to get in their share of shots – those one-liners the media love to discuss and replay (and reTweet) – that their entrenched partisan bases will love, neither candidate landed a big hit and neither came out unscathed.

Donald Trump had a good start; he was forceful and high-energy, he made Hillary Clinton look like the career politician she is. In an election where the status quo has become wholly unacceptable to a broad swath of Americans, Mr. Trump’s pitch and persona – especially when viewed, literally, side-by-side with Mrs. Clinton’s – could not have been anything other than lustfully-embraced. Mrs. Clinton, however, was slow and steady. That was what she needed to be, at least in the eyes of her cadre of consultants and professional political operatives.

With that being said, after 90 minutes nothing in this race has fundamentally changed, and that is bad news for Donald Trump.

Analysis that views this race through the typical incumbent-versus-challenger lens is off-base. When people are unhappy with the status quo, and poll after poll shows they are (despite President Obama’s positive approval and favorability numbers), they will generally gravitate towards an acceptable agent of change. The problem, at least for Mr. Trump, is that he has yet to cross that threshold of acceptability. And tonight moved him no closer.

Tonight Mr. Trump was himself – coarse and bawdy, unschooled in the minutiae of policy – but that is a large part of his appeal and why he is where he is. Trump can rely on a two-piece constituency that constitutes about 40% of the nationwide electorate; his die-hard supporters and “regular Republicans” who will vote for the guy with the (R) next to his name because he doesn’t have a (D) next to his name.

But Mr. Trump remains unable to pass the threshold of acceptability for the undecided voters, small in number as they are. When these voters close their eyes, they simply cannot envision Mr. Trump at a G8 meeting or delivering a national address from the Oval Office in a time of tragedy the way they can with Mrs. Clinton.

Even with Mrs. Clinton, and, to a lesser extent, her policies, being deppely unpopular, she has the advantage that a huge chunk of the population remains unconvinced that Mr. Trump would not be worse. That dynamic, which underlies this entire race, did not change this evening.

At the end of the day, people will chose the devil they know over the devil they don’t know.


September 26, 2016

First Debate Open Thread

  7:30 pm

Readers can use this thread to discuss this evening’s presidential debate. The debate can be live-streamed for free without a cable subscription login at CNN.

Please do your best to represent yourself and your candidate as well as you can; try to keep the discussion civil.


With Trump There Is More To Fear Than Fear Itself

  2:39 pm

According to a SurveyMonkey poll that came out last Friday of 1051 registered voters, a full 65% of them believe race riots will characterize a Donald Trump Presidency if he’s elected. That includes 35% of his own supporters.

How could they not? He wants to amp up law enforcement to make the streets safe, hire mass quantities of more police, and use them to crack down on street crime. He’s absolutely right, but in the current climate in black communities it will precipitate violent protests on a scale beyond even those of the last few months.

More unsettling, the poll revealed that 46% of all voters, and 22% of Trump supporters believe he would “launch nuclear weapons against foreign threats.” The last time this was done was in World War II and it signifies that in the advent of a Trump Presidency, the unthinkable will have become thinkable.

An article in The Washington Examiner quotes Andrew Weinstein, a former adviser to Newt Gingrich and Senator Bob Dole: “This survey shows that Americans see a Trump presidency as a game of Russian roulette, except there’s a bullet in every chamber.” The paper goes on:

A little over half believed the country would default on its debt under Trump, and 33 percent of Trump supporters agreed. A majority of the registered voters thought Trump would use the powers of his office against a political opponent, order the military to target family members of terrorists and create a database to track all Muslims living in the country.

And 32 percent of the Republican presidential nominee’s supporters believed their chosen candidate would authorize internment camps for illegal immigrants.

Relatively mild in comparison are the fears of an economic meltdown. Mark Cuban told Neil Cavuto at Fox Business just two weeks ago:

“In the event Donald wins, I have no doubt in my mind the market tanks…..if the polls look like there’s a decent chance that Donald could win, I’ll put a huge hedge on that’s over 100% of my equity positions… that protects me just in case he wins.”

For purposes of explication, The New York Magazine notes that Wall Street is freaking out over the prospect of Donald’s assumption of The Oval Office: Literally, that’s the headline.

In short, a Trump presidency is the very definition of what markets hate: uncertainty. “Trump is widely considered to be reckless and Clinton is widely considered to be a friend to Wall Street,” explains Chris Irons, an analyst with the equity research firm GeoInvesting. “In terms of which of the two would shoot volatility into the market, he is clearly it.”

Société Générale analysts call it the “Trump factor.” They argue that the tightening of the polls between Trump and Clinton is a big reason for a sell-off in global bonds in September, which has led to the unease in equity markets, Bloomberg reported on Tuesday. Rates on both long-term Treasury and Japanese bonds have been rising since the polls started tightening, SocGen says.

“If you invested $100 in Trump Hotels & Casino Resorts–a public company– in 1996, by 2005, when the company went private, you’d have somewhere around $4. The same $100 invested in a dart board tied to the stock market would have gotten you $200.

No professional on Wall Street believes a thing Trump says, and his policies–judging by what’s published–are equally disastrous.”

An economic meltdown, race riots, nuclear strikes, a debt crisis,  internment camps, and is there anything else? In an article in The Weekly Standard by Johnathan V. Last, Evan McMullin, a former CIA operative who is on the ballot in 11 states, but hopes to wind up on the ballot in 40 states by the time all is said and done, is quoted to the effect that Trump has flipped on nearly every issue imaginable—from immigration to taxes to abortion; from the Iraq war to his party registration.

 “The one thing Trump will not compromise on is his support for Putin,” McMullin says. “And it makes you wonder why he would be so committed to a man who is actively trying to undermine democracies in Europe and the United States.”

“As a former CIA officer,” he says carefully, “I firmly believe that Donald Trump poses a threat to our democracy.”

So one can add the continuation of our democracy itself to the list. Observe that none of these are predictions by yours truly. These are fears that are out there. I’m inclined to doubt that there will be internment camps, and a debt crisis is imminent no matter who gets elected, and I could list at least as many justifiable fears that realistically pertain to a Clinton Presidency.

But disconcertingly, I could also add to the list of cited fears regarding Trump in office with several more of my own.  The Chinese curse will afflict us.

We will live in interesting times.


The Rockies Move

  1:25 pm

The new CNN poll result moved Colorado into the Coin Flips, which changes the RACE 4 2016 electoral map. Mrs. Clinton still holds a lead but she is now below the 270 electoral votes threshold.


The entries for  RACE 4 2016‘s Debate Prediction Contest closed with Mrs. Clinton holding a 2.1% lead in the combined weighted average.  In four days we’ll pick the winners!


Here are the entrants.


Good luck!

–Deming’s Disciple


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