September 2, 2015

Will The Pig Like It?

  2:12 pm

George Bernard Shaw:  “Never wrestle with pigs. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.”

So far in the campaign, Rick Perry, Lindsey Graham, and Rand Paul have all gone after Donald Trump. None have fared well, to put it mildly. After weeks of Donald smearing Jeb Bush, Jeb ran his first counterattack ad this week, and to quote Trump: “Will Jeb sink as low in the polls as the others who have gone after me?”

The reason for Trump’s seeming obsession with attacking Jeb is obvious. Donald’s campaign is essentially a reality show and every good reality show needs an enemy. Jeb is the obvious choice, for a campaign based on the exclusion of Hispanics, to characterize as the enemy. He’s married to a Mexican immigrant, fluently speaks the language of the undesirables, and has even said that the motivation for Hispanics immigrating to the United States is love.  Besides, most major prognosticators consider him the odds on favorite to win the nomination.

Ana Navarro of CNN said “Knowing Jeb, I’m sure he’d prefer to be talking about policy proposals rather than trading verbal jabs with Trump…but what: Is he going to do? Let the guy mischaracterize his record and positions and attack him daily? Enough is enough!”

Bush associate Tim Miller observed that “there’s no path for success in cowering into a corner and hoping for the best. When he released his ad, Jeb said “He attacks me every day with barbarities. They’re not true. What we did today was to put out in his words to show that he’s not conservative.” The ad signaled that he will try to take Trump down in the coming weeks. The debate on the 16th should be interesting.

Josh Kraushaar in the National Journal notes that fundamentally, Trump’s attacks on Jeb have been on his personality. “He’s a very low energy person” he charges. Translation: He won’t fight for you, but I will. “He’ll find out it’s not an act of love.” Translation: He’s about to pay big time for his coddling of Hispanic immigrants.  Even on his wife:  “Jeb Bush has to like the Mexican illegals because of his wife.”  Translation:  What would you expect from someone who would marry one of them.

So it’s on.  Under similar circumstances Mitt had to take out Gingrich after Newt won the South Carolina Primary, and he obliterated Gingrich in the Florida Primary debate, and in the primary itself as it shaked out.  Kraushaar, in his article in the Journal article entitled “Jeb Bush’s Donald Trump Distraction” says that Jeb’s real adversary in the campaign isn’t Trump, it’s John Kasich and Marco Rubio.  He has to get past them to emerge as the establishment candidate before gong on to win the nomination.  It’s inconvenient that Donald is in the race, but there it is.

You might think that Jeb going up against Donald is like David going up against Goliath, but Ed Rogers in the Washington Post disagrees:  ” I think Jeb Bush wins this exchange.”  He reasons that in the long term it’s beneficial to the Bush campaign for Trump to acknowledge that Jeb is his chief competition.  And Trump’s recent anti-Jeb ad linked Jeb’s “gentle tone and practical approach to immigration reform” with “the actions of a few horrific murderers everybody knows Bush would actually send to the chair if he could.”

Rogers  goes on:  “Trump and his campaign probably don’t get this–at this stage in the game, the Republican Primary race is actually composed of a relatively small number of informed observers and participants.  Most Republican activists  won’t buy the message that this ad is selling.”  In fact Bloomberg did a focus group featuring 10 Trump supporters that ultimately revealed that only 2 of them would actually vote for Donald when push comes to shove.

The Primary will determine whether Jeb’s coming battle with Donald will achieve what Mitt achieved in his battle with Gingrich, or whether it’s a kamikaze mission; one where you destroy the target and die in the process.  But whatever happens the pig will enjoy it while it lasts.

He lives for that stuff.

 

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September 1, 2015

Race 4 2016 Weekly Readers Poll (Re-Post)

  1:42 pm

Since it had dropped off the front page and I wanted to re-post the weekly readers poll for anyone who has not yet had a chance to vote.

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Hello Race family. Below is a link to our weekly readers poll. There are 12 questions this week and you have to be logged in with Google to vote.

Last week we got a whopping 141 responses! Thanks to all who participated.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio continues to lead the pack among Race readers for their top choice for the Republican nomination for president. Mr. Rubio garnered 27% support, Kentucky Senator Rand Paul placed second with 21.3% and Ohio Governor John Kasich received 12.8%. Governor Jim Gilmore and Senator Rick Santorum were the only candidates to receive zero support in this week’s poll.

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina (40.4%) and businessman Democrat Party contributor and Planned Parenthood supporter Donald Trump (21.3%) were the top two vote-getters when respondents were asked whose campaign has been the biggest, positive surprise this cycle. Mr. Trump and Mr. Paul (18.4%) were listed as the biggest disappointments while Governors Jeb Bush (17.7%) and Scott Walker (14.2%) also reached double-digits on the “biggest disappointment” question.

Mr. Trump was the candidate who the most Race readers, 66.4% to be precise, said they could NEVER support. Mr. Santorum (52.2%) was the only other candidate who a majority could never support. Only 17.9% said they could never support Mr. Paul and 18.7% said likewise about Mr. Kasich.

Taxes/fiscal policy/government spending appears to be the most important issue to Race readers with 79.4% responding that such issues are “very important” to them and only 2.8% said the issue is “not very” or “not at all” important to them. 55.3% said foreign policy is very important, 26.2% said the same about social issues (though it is worth noting that the exact same number listed social issues as “not very” important) and 25.7% said illegal immigration was “very important” to them. Unsurprisingly, 73.3% of those who chose Mr. Trump as their first choice said illegal immigration was very important to them.

In a hypothetical general election match-up featuring Hillary Clinton (D), Rick Santorum (R), Bernie Sanders (G) and Donald Trump (I), Mr. Santorum won a small plurality (29.8%) while Mr. Trump was picked by 22.7% of respondents. 23.4% of us said that, when faced with such a putrid roster of candidates, we would pack our bags and move to Canada.

Race 4 2016 Weekly Readers Poll

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August 29, 2015

Looking at the Rise of Trump in Terms of Social Media Aggressiveness

  11:59 am

Anne Applebaum discusses the rise of Trumpism, together with some thoughts on how social media nastiness has entered the political arena. Well worth reading, regardless of your views on Trump.

The language of online political discourse is now so extreme, and often so far divorced from reality, that Trump’s words fit right in, especially when they make no sense.

Trump’s defenders — and I know because they tell me so online — say they admire him because he is allegedly “anti-establishment.” They are wrong: He isn’t anti-establishment at all. As a vastly wealthy man — one who can invite an ex-secretary of state to his wedding and expect her to come — he lives at the very heart of a certain slice of the establishment. But of course he is different from other politicians in another sense: He is the only presidential candidate who uses, on television, the kind of language normally found in the comment section of a celebrity Web site or the more aggressive Reddit forums. […]

Trump thinks the “real” unemployement rate is 42 percent? They aren’t bothered by the nuances of statistics, either. And there we have it: Long left out of a national conversation that focuses on dull things like budgets, legislation and foreign policy, now, at last, the birthers, truthers and trolls have a voice, too.

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August 27, 2015

The Alternative to Trump

  4:05 pm

In today’s Quinnipiac poll, in a 3-way race between Hillary Clinton, Jeb Bush, and Donald Trump:

  • Clinton 42
  • Jeb       24
  • Trump 24

The takeaway is that if Trump runs 3rd party,  say hello to a 3rd Obama term.  The interesting thing is that the Democratic coalition holds together so nicely.  In a 2-way race between Clinton and Jeb, Clinton is at 42 and Jeb is at 40.  Translated, Hillary only loses 2 points when Donald is added to the race.  Jeb loses 16.  This meshes with Trump’s assertion that Perot’s 1992  vote came almost entirely from George H.W. Bush.  It’s also in tune with  his observation that Bill Clinton would only be a footnote in history if it wasn’t for the Perot run.  Meanwhile, in a 2-way race between Hillary and Donald, Clinton wins 45 to 41.

The good news is that this is August, more than 14 months away from the general election, and nearly 10 months from the nominating convention.  The rise of Trump in the polls is due to the fracturing of the GOP.  The race at this point is essentially between Donald and whoever emerges as the ABT (Anybody But Trump) candidate.  Either Trump will win or the ABT finalist will win.  Polls make it clear that most Republicans favor one of the ABT candidates.  The question is, when such a candidate emerges as the dominant ABT representative, how many who prefer one of the others will go to Trump?  We don’t know, but that will determine who the party’s nominee will be.

There is time yet to determine who the alternative to Donald will be, but not as much as one might think.  As soon as a dominant alternative surfaces, the sooner Trump’s monopoly of media airtime will end and the more time there will be for a genuine debate on issues of importance.  Issues like reforming the tax code, moving toward a regulatory policy conducive to economic growth, making America not just energy independent but also an energy exporter, putting people on the Supreme Court who will enforce The Constitution and uphold the law as written, and  forging  a rational foreign policy that will keep Russia and China in check while preventing the Middle East from blowing up.

Quinnipiac breaks out some significant general electorate perceptions that suggest the alternative will be Jeb:

  • He is the #1 Republican in the category of being “Honest and Trustworthy.”
  • He is the #1 Republican as to who “Cares About People Like You.”
  • He is the #1 Republican about who “Cares About the Needs and Problems of Women.”
  • He is the #1 Republican on the most important issue of all, the category of having “The Right Kind of Temperament to Handle an International Crisis.”  Actually, he’s #1 among candidates of both parties and by a sizable margin.
  • He’s #2 among all candidates, next to Trump, when it comes to “Strong Leadership Qualities.”

These poll responses boil down to asking voters who they see as being the most presidential.  Asked to name the first 5 words that come to mind when asked about a particular candidate, the first 5 words about Jeb are “Bush,” “Family,” “Honest,” “Weak,” and “Brother.”  By contrast, the first 5 words regarding Trump:  “Arrogant,” “Blowhard,” “Idiot,” “Businessman,” and “Clown.”  People who use words like that to describe a candidate don’t see him as their president.

Of course, Donald will have as much money as he needs, and is willing, to spend.  That’s not true of anyone else, but it is a lot more true of Jeb than any of the others.  Resources will be a major factor in who becomes the ABT.  That’s objective fact.  What’s subjective, perhaps, is the perception that his campaign team is a lot stronger than anyone else’s.  But that’s to be determined.

Caveat:  Trump seems determined that Jeb will not be the President and will take him down with him if necessary.  Right now he has the power to keep the GOP from nominating anyone he doesn’t want the party to nominate by threatening to run 3rd party.  If that is still true by the time the primaries are held, it suggests that if Jeb wins the nomination, Trump will be more likely to run 3rd Party.  If he would only do that if Jeb wins the nomination, I’d switch to Marco Rubio.  That needs to be monitored closely because it’s all important.

But right now, if immigration is all important to Donald and not just a ruse, he would probably run 3rd Party if Marco is nominated as well.  If his intention is simply to elect a Democrat, he can do that by running 3rd party regardless WHO the ABT winds up being, and none of this matters.  Then America goes down the drain.

 

 

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August 26, 2015

How Badly Can Trump Lose The Hispanic Vote?

  4:13 pm

After the 2012 election Mitt Romney’s postmortem focused on the size of his loss among Hispanics. Hispanics gave Obama 10,973,582 votes. They gave Mitt 4,183, 299. In other words Obama got 6,790, 283 more Hispanic votes that Mitt.

In the overall race Obama’s margin of victory was 6,059,707,  less than his winning margin among Hispanics, which tells us that if we want to win in 2016 we need to do better among Hispanics.

As if the 2012 race wasn’t illustrative enough, the demographic is actually a lot more important than it was 4 years ago. In the first place, it’s the fastest growing voting bloc in America, and that’s something that’s projected to continue long past 2016. In the second place, Hispanic turnout was 48%, lower than that of any other significant group. It could have been a lot worse.

It’s clear that Obama getting 71% of Hispanics in 2012, a significantly larger percentage than Democrats normally get in a national election, was largely because of Mitt’s self-deportation statements. His stance on immigration might have increased the enthusiasm of Ann Coulter even more, if that’s possible, but it cost us millions of votes….and the election.

Note that Mitt wasn’t talking about mass deportation. He knows enough about economic reality to know that it would cost hundreds of billions of dollars to implement and would require a significantly larger government to boot. What he WAS talking about was E-Verify and increased border security measures, things every Republican candidate is for. His unique sin was using the ‘D’ word. It was enough.

Now, enter The Donald saying things like “They’ve got to go.” He even wants to deport citizens fully legal under the 14th Amendment to the Constitution.

The result is that, as Matt Coulter noted in his post yesterday titled “Surprise, Hispanics Hate Trump,” Trump’s minus 51% in his favorables among Hispanics. Jeb Bush, of course, had the highest favorables in the demographic with a positive 11%. Marco was second with plus 7%.  This, according to Gallup.

There are two major reasons why things are even worse than Trump being upside down so badly on favorables.  Number 1, his talk of mass deportation, including a lot of children who are citizens, will stoke very high intensity that will cause Hispanic vote totals to go a lot higher than the 48% that voted in 2012. Number 2, Trump wants a process to let “the good ones” back in the country to become citizens, making him the stealth amnesty candidate in the race.  Half-way intelligent Americans will recognize the boondoggle that kind of new bureaucracy will become and they will stay home, vote 3rd Party, or vote for the Democrat in the race.

Let’s say you’re living in America and everything you have is stored in your house or apartment, and someone comes along and says he’s going to use the force of the government to send you to far off lands where you don’t own a house or apartment and MAYBE you might be allowed to come back some day if he likes you. In the meantime you may not have the money to move all of your worldly possessions to another country or have a place to put them even if you did.  Are the millions of Hispanics who CAN vote going to vote for YOU if you want to make your friends and neighbors, and maybe your family, leave the country? If it were to happen, do you think there might be some violent resistance to going?

What Hispanics want more than handouts is respect due them as human beings and as Americans, empathy, and the opportunity to achieve a better life in the future. A better educational system and school choice, such as Jeb achieved in Florida, can become a major wedge issue in the campaign.

The Gallup numbers suggest that Trump could come a lot closer to losing Hispanics 90 to 10 than to losing the traditional 60% to 65%. Something that would cost us an otherwise very winnable election and negatively impact any chance we might have in the future.

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August 23, 2015

Race 4 2016 Weekly Readers Poll (re-post)

  1:31 pm

Since had it fallen off the first page I just wanted to wanted to re-post the link to our weekly Race poll for anyone who has yet to participate and would like it.

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Due to my responsibilities at my day job, I have decided to change posting the weekly readers poll from Mondays to Wednesdays. So here it is. We have 9 questions this week and you have to be logged in with Google to vote.

Last week we got only 79 responses, lets try to do better than that this week! Florida Senator Marco Rubio continues to lead the pack with 32.9% of respondents naming him their first choice. Senator Rand Paul came in second with 24.1% while Governor John Kasich and Senator Ted Cruz tied for third place with 7.6%. Governors Chris Christie, Jim Gilmore, George Pataki, Rick Perry and Senator Rick Santorum all failed receive a single vote.

Rubio and Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina were the top pick for the “who is your second choice” question with 17.7% each. Kasich came in as the second most popular second choice. Please note, that respondents who listed the same candidate in the first- and second-choice questions, had their votes on the “second choice” question discounted; there was one such instance for Rubio and eight instances for Paul.

Nearly half (49.4%) of respondents said that the Fox News debate did not change either their first or second choice for the GOP nomination but 27.8% said the debate changed their second choice. Of those, 45.5% named Fiorina as their second choice, mirror the businesswoman-turned-presidential candidate’s nationwide surge in the polls.

A plurality of respondents (42.3%) said Paul won the exchange with Christie over governor surveillance while 24.4% chose Christie. The Race family seems to be split on where they think Donald Trump will be for the debate that will occur four weeks from today; 30% expect him in the top three, 27.8% in the top five, 15.2% expect The Donald to remain in first place and just 6.3% think he will plummet out of the top 10 and be relegated to the “JV” debate. One can only hope….

Race 4 2016 Weekly Readers Poll

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August 22, 2015

Open Thread and Saturday Miscellany

  5:00 am

This is the Open Thread for Saturday. This is where all comments should go if they would be off-topic on other threads. This is also a good place for new polls or articles you think might be of interest.
(Hit ‘More’ to see the Miscellany items).

(more…)

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August 21, 2015

It’s The Economy, Stupid!

  3:22 pm

(Most statistics taken from Mort Zuckerman in The Wall Street Journal.)

One weeps that the issue most on the minds of the GOP base is immigration when every poll shows that the number one issue on the minds of actual voters is the economy and jobs.

Has anyone noticed that Obama has no plan to increase economic growth? Trillions of dollars of Keynesian quantitative easing and near-zero interest rates have accomplished practically nothing. The relative lack of economic growth has fostered the breakdown of society and the intense anger of so much of the electorate.

In the last 5 years the U.S. has added 11 1/2 million new jobs, but the number of full-time jobs is 0.7% lower than it was when Obama took office. The number of part-time employees is 84% higher than the 2003-2007 average. The broadest measure of the unemployment rate factors in the number of people who are employed part time but want to be employed full time. Use that measure and the unemployment rate is well over 10%.

The labor participation rate has dropped to 62.6% despite the fact that many in the prime of their working life years having given up on trying to find a job. Any plan to increase growth to 4% or higher has to motivate employers to increase hiring full-time workers.

It also has to lead the way to increasing wages. Wage growth has been nearly nonexistent despite our economy being in a supposed recovery. Business investment is down and, as a result, labor productivity is down. In the real world, wages can’t rise without productivity increasing.

Add to this continued and massive budget deficits, the fact that Social Security payments are about to exceed payroll tax deductions, with the entire system slated to go bye bye in less than 20 years, and astronomical projections for medical care spending in the foreseeable future as more and more baby boomers reach retirement.

What we need to increase economic growth and restore The American Dream:

  1. Lower and broader-based tax rates for businesses and people. To avoid increasing deficits, that also means dramatically cutting government spending and waste
  2. Reduce the cost, currently estimated at approximately $2 Trillion a year, of business regulations.
  3. Tort reform. Tort expense to the business community currently costs a trillion dollars a year. Most of that expense can be eliminated.
  4. Add more Right To Work states and move toward the elimination of public sector unions. Unions are intrinsically anti-productive.
  5. As Jeb says, we need to “embrace the energy revolution.” Part of that is getting the EPA out of the way of energy exploration and development.

The good news is that all of our candidates at least pay lip service to a “fairer and flatter” tax system. Some of our candidates, such as Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio have detailed tax reform proposals that are superior to the status quo.

Most also at least mention the need for regulatory reform. What’s especially needed is applying cost benefit analyses to every existing regulation and terminating the ones that do more harm than good.

Numbers 3, 4, and 5 will be part of any comprehensive plan to generate economic growth that causes GDP to rise by 4% or more. That is Jeb’s primary focus, but listen for economic specifics from all the candidates.

The economy and jobs will cause us to win the presidency if we propose strategies to increase growth, and that make sense.

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August 20, 2015

Voodoo Economics, Trump Style

  1:20 pm

To quote from a recent Wall Street Journal article, entitled Trump’s Defective Economics:

“To hear Donald Trump tell it, China is run by a cabal of geniuses who outsmarted the United States last week by cutting the purchasing power of their fellow Chinese citizens with a devaluation of the yuan,

Trump: They’re KILLING us. Now they’re going to take more jobs….I mean it’s RIDICULOUS!”

So, what sparked these histrionics? China let its currency slip 2% against the dollar. Donald’s notion is that the Chinese and Japanese and other nations that devalue their currencies are wealthier and more competitive every time they debase their currency, and, concomitantly, we’re weaker. China, in Trump’s view, gets away with this master stroke because “they have no fear of us.” The implication is that they couldn’t get away with anything this dastardly if HE, The Donald, was in charge.

Let’s analyze this. In fairness, there have been many protectionists before him using the same arguments, and devaluation is definitely a form of protectionism. If you weaken your currency, citizens in your country lose purchasing power and can no longer afford to buy as many better quality goods from other countries. Lowering the value of your money is the equivalent of slapping on a higher tariff on imported goods. It diminishes trade and deprives your citizens of goods that they could otherwise afford to buy.

In other words, when you devalue your currency you move to impoverish your citizens. If devaluation worked to make your country stronger, Argentina would be the economic power house of the world economy and not the economic basket case it is.

Of course, his idea is that the weaker your currency, the cheaper your exports, and the more you export the more jobs are created in your export industries and that stokes the economy and everybody’s happy.

Let’s look at how that would play out if the U.S. devalued the dollar. Right now we have a strong dollar, meaning that it’s appreciating vis a vis most other currencies. King Dollar, as Larry Kudlow terms it, means we are still the major reserve currency on the planet. So central banks around the world keep mass quantities of dollars on hand to store value and use to support international trade and buttress their own currencies if there’s a run on them. Also, many private citizens hold dollars to make sure they have a stable supply of savings; money that they can use when necessary; money that others will take in payment no matter what the circumstances are.

When we send dollars abroad to be used for these purposes we get paid in real money in return. This is money we can use to buy things with. In other words, we send them paper to put in vaults or stuff in mattresses and they send us goods and services. You can’t beat a deal like that. But if our currency were to get shaky, i.e., were to get devalued, foreign banks and other citizens will send those goods and services to other countries to use their paper as a reserve currency.

The problem with Trump’s policy of beggar thy neighbor, something that’s been Trump’s life work, is that eventually you run out of neighbors to beggar. Hence the consensus view of economists that the Smoot Hawley Tariff was a major cause of The Great Depression.  Some say THE major cause.

What we need to work our way out of deficit and job problem is growth, preferably 4% or more a year growth, and, to quote Larry Kudlow: “Trump’s agenda of trade protectionism, dollar devaluation, and immigrant deportation is completely anti-growth.”

The economy is completely globalized. The United States has to compete in the global market for capital and labor. Trump’s policies don’t fit. To grow our economy, we need to trade, maintain a strong dollar, and build a new legal immigration system.

Trump, the economic illiterate, is the wrong man for the job.

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August 18, 2015

Love Thy Neighbor, Trump Style

  4:28 pm

The following excerpt is from NBC, via The Fix:

 

TRUMP: “the executive order gets rescinded. One good thing about…”

TODD: “You’ll rescind that one too? You’ll rescind the Dream Act executive order, the DACA?”

TRUMP: “We have to make a whole new set of standards. And when people come in, they have to come in…”

TODD: “You’re going to split up families. You’re going to deport children?”

TRUMP: “Chuck…No, no. No, we’re going to keep the families together.”

TODD: “But you’re going to kick them out?”

TRUMP: “They have to go.”

TODD: “What if they have no place to go?”

The question is whether deporting the currently estimated 11.2 million undocumented aliens in our country is a recipe for a majority in the electorate. If it is, Donald is our next president.

But according to Gallup, only 31% of Republicans want to deport all illegal aliens. According to a poll by The Public Opinion Research Institute, 57% of Republicans favor a path to citizenship. That would suggest that a Republican who favors a path to citizenship has a higher ceiling than Donald.

One can argue that, according to this data, Trump’s ceiling in the GOP primary is approximately 31%. He hasn’t reached it yet, but that’s about as high as he can go.  Jeb favors a path to legal status, which obviates concerns about illegals voting en masse for Democrats because only citizens can vote.  Others have suggested a path to citizenship, with varying requirements to qualify.  Donald wants to send them all away, and then let some of them back.  How exactly is that done?  I’ve seen cost estimates for the process of anywhere from $200 billion to $400 billion.  No one knows, but it wouldn’t be anything remotely close to free.

If you’re still not Trumped out, what do YOU think?

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