Category Archives: #hillaryclinton

How Trump Won

So this was Joe’s funeral. It was filled with Deplorables. They danced to Steve Earle.

No one who went to Princeton could do that…Well, except Kim, but she is very gifted indeed.

Most of elite thought is focused on the activities of other members of the elite. Dancing to Copperhead Road is not in the lexicon. More’s the pity.

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She Skates?

Grrrr….

There is just so much wrong with this: http://nypost.com/2016/11/22/trump-wont-pursue-charges-against-clinton/

First off, it is not Trump’s decision to make. The basic principle is that the Attorney General makes the call as to whether and when to appoint a special prosecutor. That is designed to prevent politics from getting in the way of the operation of law.

Second, sending your ex-campaign manager off to deliver the news is entirely wrong. If you are serious you need to appear serious. Either Sessions or Trump himself should have dropped this particular bomb. Coming from Kerryanne Conway it is not in the least clear what, in fact, was decided. Does this mean there will be no investigation ever? Or is it the current view of the incoming administration subject to revision in the light of new evidence. Does it just include Hilly or does the “stay” include the Clinton Foundation, Huma, Cheryl Mills and so on?

Third, what does it say about the idea of the rule of law? It is all very well to talk about “healing” but not at the expense of having a justice system which operates differently for elite players.

I completely understand the impulse to be gracious in victory and to avoid even the appearance of trying to jail your political opponent. At that level it is a political decision and one which might be defended at a political level. However, at a process level and a legal level, this is exactly the sort of seat of the pants decision making which creates contempt for the Office of the Presidency.

Not smart Trump, not smart at all.

UPDATE: 

“I’m not looking to go back through this,” he explained to reporters at the New York Timesoffices on Tuesday.

When asked if he was taking prosecution off of the table, Trump said “no,” but he appeared eager to move on.

“My inclination would be for whatever power I have on the matter is to say let’s go forward,” he said. “This has been looked at for so long, ad nauseum.“

Trump argued against prosecuting the Clintons, suggesting that it would be better for the country and his administration if they moved on.

“I think it would be very, very divisive for the country,” he said. breitbart

That leaves the door open but it is still a lousy way to deal with a question of law. Nice as it is for Trump to have an “inclination” the correct way to proceed is to leave the door wide open until Sessions is confirmed by the Senate and has conduct of the file(s).

Part of the reason for electing Trump was to restore some semblance of the rule of law and respect for process. Short cutting that process is not helping.

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Magnificent Deplorables

Just waiting for the call but AP calls PA. But not the networks.

We’re done.

Hillary is such a useless tool that she is not even going to show up at the Javitts Centre to concede. Podesta is truly revolting. Still counting…yeah, right.

She’s racing to the plane to which ever lair she has prepared.

Donald Trump has won the most remarkable victory in American political history.

And now it is official. A classic Trump speech. Good for Hilly conceding. Trump was gracious but he was Trump.

Let’s go.

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Inept

Hillary, losing election, rain

Melting….

Hillary Clinton needed to do only a few things well to beat Donald Trump. She needed to put the email scandal to bed. She needed to motivate black voters to show up and vote. She needed to stay out of Trump’s way as he bumbled and lurched along the campaign trail.

A few days before Election day it is not at all clear that she has succeeded in doing any of these things.

A thoroughly professional political operation would have made it its business to know where Hilly’s emails might be. Not where they probably were, rather where they might possibly be. Weiner’s laptop is an odd place for 650,000 emails to have ended up but it was certainly a machine which should have been considered. It wasn’t.

As importantly, the HRC campaign never really came up with a solid message on the emails. Especially the deleted emails. Blaming Russian hackers never got to the bottom of why Hilly caused so many emails to be deleted when they were subject to a Congressional subpoena. And the campaign had to have realized that some of the erased emails would probably be found on other machines. Given that vulnerability it made no sense at all to break the law by having uncleared lawyers vet the trove. What would have made more sense would have been to turn over all the emails – yoga classes and wedding plans and all. Why was this not done? Realistically, because there are some emails in that trove which are ugly if not actually criminal.

No question that the Comey intervention pretty much destroyed the HRC campaign attempt to move on after Comey’s earlier non- exhoneration. But the campaign itself needed to tell a better, more complete, story from the go and it didn’t. That hurts among the undecided because it gives substance to the “Crooked Hillary” narrative. It also hurts in the ranks of committed Democrats. Not because they will suddenly vote Trump, rather because they lose motivation to vote Hilly.

Black turnout is part of the story. The nice white lady was never going to have black turnout numbers anywhere near America’s first black President’s; but to win Hilly had to see a fairly minimal drop off. Early indications are that black voting numbers are down but it is not clear by how much. And some of the polls are suggesting that the black people who do go to the polls are not universally voting for Hilly. Sample sizes are tiny but I think it fair to say that low black turnout will be a thing to watch on Election Day. Whether, if it occurs, it will be reported by MSM is an interesting question.

It would not take much for Trump to do better than the last two Republican candidates in terms of attracting black support. Roper reported 93% to 6% for Obama in 2012. Hitting 10% would be a big step forward for Trump. The Washington Post (as of October 13) reports Hilly as holding 79% of the black vote. Which leaves 21% up for grabs.

Hillary’s ability to get out of the way while Trump defeats himself was deeply compromised by two things: first, the spotlight swinging back onto her reckless emailing practices, the Clinton Foundation pay for play outrages, and the ongoing revelations of what a nasty bunch of people correspond with her campaign chair John Podesta. Second, Trump has figured out a script he can stick to in his well attended rallies. Somehow he has managed to avoid chasing squirrels and shiney objects and focus on his message.

All of which is beginning to suggest a total absence of any sort of preference cascade in Hilly’s direction. At best whe can hope that claiming that Trump is “literally Hitler, a Nazi, a fascist, a KKK supporter, a woman hater and a groper” will scare enough voters into voting for Hilly. But I doubt it.

The question is whether people who are no longer fightened of Trump will vote for Trump. There are a good 40% of the voters who actually like Trump and want to vote for him. This election was never about those voters any more than it was about college educated suburban mums.

If there is going to be a landslide, and I think there will, it will be because Hilly’s support is soft and Trump’s is growing as more and more voters realize Hilly is a crook and, long before she is in office, will be the subject of an active FBI investigation. Not voting for Hilly is not the same as voting for Trump and that is why his current strategy of repeating a sunny vision of an America, Great Again, at rally after rally makes a lot of sense.

The people at the rallies are true believers. Many of them have already voted for Trump. But, as the rallies are covered and the message re-inforced by paid media, the possibility of voting for a positive vision of a strong America is going to be more and more appealing to the undecided voters. If you are undecided the choice between voting for someone who is pretty certainly a crook and someone who offers a positive vision for the country is not that difficult. Especially as the attempt to demonize Trump hit peak effectiveness a couple of weeks ago.

Throughout this campaign the Clinton campaign has spent a lot of money on advertising, most of it negative, and not much time putting their candidate in front of the public. My suspicion is that the HRC internals are saying that the more people see Hilly the less they like her. But you can’t beat a populist with a “front porch” strategy. Especially if buckets of mud from your own back yard are constantly being hurled at that porch.

Even with the MSM carrying barrels of Hilly’s water she has not managed to shed her scandals or, more importantly, connect with the American people in a positive way. She might win but I doubt it. Far more likely is Trump winning one of the great upsets.

 

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When bubbles collide

It is pretty easy to live online without being aware you are in a bubble. If all you read are liberal or conservative sites your understanding of the current American Presidential election is likely to be deeply distorted. There are even different sets of polling numbers depending on which side of the aisle you are getting your information from.

Whether you are in the “Literally Hitler” bubble or the “Most corrupt presidential candidate ever” bubble, you can pretty much avoid contact with any information which does not reinforce your views. But, in six days, the bubbles will collide and one of the narratives is going to collapse in the face of actual electoral results. The other bubble will take its victory as confirmation that its narrative was right all along and that the people who did not accept that narrative are either stupid or evil.

Which means that one group of Americans are going to wake up on November 9 disoriented, stunned, angry and feeling a deep sense of betrayal. Unlike previous elections where there has been at least a veneer of objectivity and non-partisanship in the media, in this election, the major media has been all in for Hillary. Which, in the post-election period may make it even more difficult for the losing side to understand and accept its loss because the “talking heads” will either be completely at a loss themselves or will spend their time congratulating each other on their perspicacity.

The collision of the bubbles will be especially nasty if, as I suspect it will be, the election is not even close. A tight win for either side will allow the other side to console itself with just how close it came. But a romp will bring into question the entire narrative of the losing side.

For Trump supporters a loss, especially a large loss, will bring up the dark underside of American politics: vote fraud, rigging, Soros controlled voting machines, a rigged media, the failure of the FBI to indict when it had the chance. But, realistically, many Trump supporters have already baked this into their narrative and their understanding of the Trump phenomena. They want to win but, grimly, they expect to lose.

Hillary supporters faced with a big loss will, I suspect, resemble the losers in Brexit who were in shock that a bunch of provincial yahoos could somehow destroy the metropolitan consensus. Supporting Hillary is regarded as something of an IQ test by her supporters. It’s pass/fail and if you fail you are obviously not the sort of person a Hillary supporter would want as a friend.

A Trump landslide would suggest to Hillary supporters that America is on a forced march back to the dark ages of the 1950’s where women stayed home and “negros” knew their place. It is not an America they are prepared to accept. Worst of all, hardcore Hillary supporters expect to win as of right. After all, they got the top marks, went to the right college, have the responsible jobs. As a class Hillary supporters see Hillary winning as an affirmation of their own status as the leaders America needs.

On Tuesday one of these bubbles will burst. If Trump comes up short I expect his supporters will accept the result and look forward to the indictment of Clinton and her enablers. But if Hilly loses I am afraid we can look forward to a very long, very loud, whine and about a million words in print on “How America Lost Its Way.”

Trump’s people are cynics. They have been beaten too many times, ignored all too often, taken for granted by their own party and despised by the other party. They don’t expect to get a fair shake and will be astonished and elated if they, somehow, manage to break through. They will not be in the least bit surprised if Trump loses.

Hillary’s people are true believers. They can trace the great, progressive, wave in American politics all the way back to FDR and have been taught to regard the Nixon and Reagan Presidencies as aberrations and Bush I and II as abominations. Elections in which the Democratic candidate loses are historic mistakes, disastrous deviations from the path to righteousness laid down in the sixties and seventies. Hillary’s defeat is a falling away from this great procession to the liberal city on the hill. For Hilly supporters defeat, especially defeat at the hands of a New York rube billionaire, is a repudiation not only of their crooked candidate but also of the New Deal and the Great Society and whatever it was that Obama stood for. It is “The End”.

Now, personally, I don’t much like Trump but, the happy thought of Hillary’s awful, self-entitled, elite supporters bawling their eyes out and saying really pompous things about the end of the American Project, fills me with dirty delight. There are plenty of reasons for my American friends not to vote for Hillary, but a vote for Trump will not only “drain the swamp” it will also annoy all the right people. Worth doing just for that.

 

 

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What does Comey know?

11 days before the General John Comey announces to Congress that there have been emails turned up in another investigation (Weiner’s sexting a 15 year old apparently attracted FBI attention) which “appear to be pertinent to the investigation.” of HRC’s private server.

Comey is not an idiot. If these were emails about yoga arrangements even if they came off the Clinton private server, he would not decide to continue an investigation he effectively, if incorrectly, ended a couple of months ago.

Realistically, these have to be significant. Exactly how significant will emerge as the investigation progresses; but I suspect they are significant enough that:

  • the investigating agents could make a clear case that they might change Comey’s earlier conclusion
  • that if further investigation was not triggered and the emails came out the FBI would be deeply compromised – even more deeply than when Comey took his dive
  • there was no way that they would not be coming out

Comey is an experienced Washington insider. He is not going to launch a torpedo at the good ship HRC 11 days before the Election unless he absolutely has to.

All of which leads me to conclude that whatever the FBI found on Weiner and Huma’s devices is utterly and irrefutably damning. Or it could be wedding planning. Sure it could.

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Preference Cascade

A few months ago I wrote that I believed that the American Presidential election would be a landslide but I was unsure which side of the mountain was coming down. Wiki-leaks hurt Hillary by exposing the sheer cynicism and routine corruption of Clintonland; but Trump talked about groping women a decade ago so the big guns of the media ignored Wikileaks and concentrated fire on Trump’s sex life.

But today the first boulder of the landslide came crashing down the mountain:

The FBI will investigate whether additional classified material is contained in emails sent using Hillary Clinton’s private email server while she was sectretary of state, FBI director James Comey informed Congressional leaders Friday.

The announcement appears to restart the FBI’s probe of Clinton’s server, which previously ended in July with no charges. The explosive announcement, coming less than two weeks before the presidential election, could reshape a campaign in that Clinton, the Democratic nominee, had been leading in public polls.

In a letter to congressional leaders, Comey said that the FBI had, in connection with an “unrelated case,” recently “learned of the existence of emails that appear to be pertinent to the Clinton investigation.”

Comey wrote that he had been briefed on the new material Thursday. “I agreed that the FBI should take appropriate investigative steps designed to allow investigators to review these emails to determine whether they contain classified information, as well as to assess their importance to our investigation,” he wrote. washington post

Two weeks to election day the FBI re-opens its investigation into Hilly. That is something the MSM cannot suppress and it is something that the average voter can take onboard.

Politically the minutia of Wiki-Leaks was gaining traction but, realistically, probably too slowly to reverse Hilly’s momentum. Trump – contrary to the consensus polling – was, in my view keeping the election close. But he was not able to break through and start running up the score in the states he needs to win. The FBI re-opening its investigation will knock the HRC campaign back on its heels. Now Trump’s far greater positive appeal has a chance to create a genuine landslide.

 

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Political Landscapes

To make accurate models you need data. Lots of data. Building a model of the American electorate – whether for polling, advertising buys, or for Get Out the Vote efforts – is an exercise in Big Data with huge reams of the stuff being processed by very smart people. As I mentioned in the comments in my last piece, the polling in this election has not “herded” so much as clumped. The preferred MSM narrative has Hilly ahead by quite a bit and is based on a set of polls which are aggregated at fivethirtyeight.com. The “outliers” to this – USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times “Daybreak” , IBD/TIPP and Rasmussen – consensus position has the race tied or Trump a bit ahead.

Plenty of ink has been spilt trying to explain the clumping as an artefact of the differing methodologies used by the different polling operations: the different samples, different weightings, different measurement techniques. I suspect there is useful information to be gleaned from this sort of comparison but not enough to actually explain what is causing the clumping. For that you need to look at a larger picture.

If you are building a model you have to make some basic assumptions and the most important of these is about what relationship the present has to the past. Put another way, one question you have to ask is how closely the electorate you are looking at right now resembles the electorate of, in this case 2012 and 2008. What’s the same, what’s changed?

Eight years ago America was in the throes of what turned out to be a huge economic crisis. It was offered the chance to elect its first black President. The word Millennial was just entering the lexicon. The iPhone had arrived the year before. So had Netflix as a streaming service.

A few numbers

Traditional media was hanging on in 2008. Newspapers still had readers, advertisers and staff. But that changed a lot in the eight intervening years.  The three big TV networks saw their viewership decline. In fact, overall television watching dropped.

Along with declining “reach” mainstream media also saw trust in media drop to new lows in the last eight years. Only 32% of people surveyed by Gallup September 2016 said they great deal or fair amount of trust and confidence in mass media as compared to 43% in 2008. (Actually, only 7% said they had a great deal of trust.)

The number of people of “prime working age” in work in the US – a measure which discounts things like retirement and immigration – was at 78.8% in September 2008 and very nearly the same at 78.0 in September 2016. But during that period it dipped to 75.0 in the aftermath of the 2008 crash.

In the second quarter of 2016 homeownership fell to 62.9% down from 68.1% in 2008. 

And, one more number: there are now more Millennials than Boomers.

Competing Landscapes

The raw material for modelling is the same, those numbers and hundreds of other time series: so how can you have the variance implied by the poll clumping?

If the data was just the data there should be very little variation. But, in fact, each of the data sets I’m citing and many, many others, represent actual human experience. If you owned a house in 2008 and lost it in the housing crisis, you have a particular sort of experience. If you had a job in 2008, lost it in 2010 and have only recently re-entered the labour force you have had a particular sort of experience. If you are a Millennial rather than a Boomer, your lived experience is very, very different. The job you lost in 2009 may have been your first and only job. The job the Boomer lost maybe the very last job he’ll ever have. As a Millennial the job you lost in 2009 may have been your first and only job. The job the Boomer lost maybe the very last job he’ll ever have.

Polls tend to work by adjusting their samples to reflect demographics and an estimate of a given demographic’s propensity to actually vote. On a toy model basis, you can think of it as a layer cake with each layer representing an age cohort. So, for example, if you look at younger voters 18-29 you might find that 90% of them support Hilly and 10% Trump. If there are 100 of these voters in your sample of 500 a simple projection would suggest 90 votes for Hilly, 10 for Trump. The problem is that it is difficult to know how many of those younger voters will actually go out and vote. As a rule of thumb the older you are the more likely you are to vote so now you have to estimate voting propensity.

There are two ways to get a sense of voting propensity: ask the people in your sample or look at the behaviour of people the same age but in the last couple of elections.

And now the landscape begins to shift. In 2008, nearly 50% of voters aged 18-29 voted. In 2012, 40% voted. In both elections, the youth vote was heavily pro-Obama. If you were designing a poll at this point, what sort of weighting would make sense for youth voters? Making that call will change the landscape your poll will reflect. If you want your poll to tilt Hilly you can believe that the prospect of the first woman President of the United States will be as motivating as Obama was and assign a voting propensity of 40-50%; alternatively, if you don’t see many signs of Hillary catching fire among younger voters, you can set the propensity number at 30% and create a tie or a slight Trump lead.

(The results of this are even more dramatic if you look at the black vote and turnout. In 2008 black turnout was 69.1%, 2012, 67.4% with Obama taking well over 90%. Will the nice white lady achieve anything like these numbers?)

One the other side of the ledger, the turnouts of the less educated have been low for the last two elections. 52% in 2008 and a little less than 50 in 2012. There is room for improvement. Now, as any educated person will tell you, often at length, Trump draws a lot of support in the less educated cohorts. But that support is easily discounted because these people (the deplorables and their ilk) barely show up to vote.

Build your model on the basis that lower education people’s participation in 2016 will be similar to 2008 and 20012 and you will produce a result in line with the 538.com consensus view. But if you think that the tens of thousands people who show up for Trump’s rallies might just show up to vote, you will have a model tending towards the LA Times view of things.

Pick Your Landscape

If you, like me, cannot stand Hillary and think she belongs in prison, you are going to tend towards a view of the landscape in which the black vote collapses and the idiocracy figures out how the calendar works and shows up in all their bumpkin splendour. If you think Trump is a giant orange racist/groper/fascist, the Millennials will all serenely leave the coffee houses where they serve in honour of their women’s studies degrees and student debt and nobly vote for Hilly despite really wanting Bernie. Black people will embrace Hilly and give Obama a great send off by voting for the nice white lady.

What will determine the actual political landscape is who actually shows up to vote on November 8th. The danger which the 358.com consensus poses to Hillary is that her own, not terrifically enthusiastic supporters, may assume the election is in the bag and binge watch Orange is the New Black, on Netflix, on their smartphone. Because, after Trump’s measured performance in last night’s debate, the wind has gone out of the “literally Hitler” sails. Voting against Trump is no longer quite like hiding Anne Frank in your attic.

For Trump the last three weeks of campaigning are all about getting his people, his deplorables to believe, against all past experience that their votes matter. His rallies, his Tweet fights, his advertising all have to pound home the message that ordinary people’s votes matter.

And then, of course, there are those “events” which are beyond the candidates and the pollster’s control.

Final thought:

Gallup Poll, Oct 26, 1980, Two Weeks Before Election:

REAGAN 39%, CARTER 47%

 

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Presidential

I admit I wanted Trump to thump Hilly tonight. I wanted him to call her out on lying to the FBI, to Congress, to the American People. I wanted him to hit her on the corruption infecting the Clinton Foundation. I wanted him to nail her on her campaign paying professional agitators to disrupt Trump rallies.

Now, he did all that but not the way I wanted him to. No roundhouse punches, no swinging for the fences, instead Trump played to win. Which made for dull television but, I think, may have locked it up for him.

I wrote a couple of days ago that if Trump could go for the father/grandfather thing, look sane and competent, he’d pull the votes he needed. That was the route he took tonight.

Hilly was in there fighting. But she wandered off her own points. Extolled the Clinton Foundation, rambled on while both the very good moderator, Chris Wallace and Trump tried to get a word in edgewise. Tried to own the minutes like she was the challenger rather than the gal with the big poll numbers.

Trump leaned back. He made his points but he managed to project a sense of self-assurance I had not seen before.

I think he won on points but, unlike the first and second debates, he seemed easy in himself. Some of the annoying swagger was gone. He let Hilly run on about her set pieces without letting her get under his skin. If anything he was a bit too mellow, a bit too measured. He was running up points but he was not fist pumping every time he scored one.

Hillary certainly scored sufficient points that the MSM will be able to tout the debate as a Hilly win. But, if she had scored no points at all, the MSM would score it exactly the same way.

For Trump tonight was largely about showing the undecided voters that they have nothing to fear in a Trump Presidency. I think he did that. Draining the hysteria was job #1, scoring points, which he did well, was a distant second.

Hillary now retreats to her bunker – although she now has some event scheduled between now and the end of the month – and Trump keeps his show on the road.

The other thing which happened tonight is that Chris Wallace ensured that he would be struck off the party lists of all sorts of establishment types. He brought up Wikileaks, he brought up the Veritas videos, he asked about Hilly giving a quarter of a million dollar speech. He asked Trump some tough questions too, but it was refreshing to see a degree of even-handedness. And it put Wikileaks and Veritas and Hilly’s speeches into play.

Trump had a great night, Hilly had an OK night, but the final three weeks are going to be more about her corruption than Trump’s buffoonery. Which means that, net, Hilly got killed.

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Pre-Game

Whoever wins, a very large part of the electorate–perhaps more than a third–will believe that the government lacks legitimacy. We have not had circumstances like this since the Civil War. If Trump loses, his voters will blame a corrupt oligarchy and its allied media for electing a criminal to the White House; if Clinton loses, the minority constituencies of the Democratic Party will respond as if the Klu Klux Klan had taken over Washington. There has never been anything like this in the past century and a half of American history, and it is thankless to predict the outcome. Nonetheless I will: Trump will crush it. Clinton, the major media, the pollsters, and the mainstream Republican Party have badly misread the insurrectionist mood of the electorate.

David “Spengler” Goldman

The whole Goldman piece is worth a read.

Goldman is about the last person one would expect to foresee a Trump victory. He is smart, connected, deeply Jewish and very much at the intelligent patrician end of the vast right wing conspiracy. But Goldman understands that this election is a referendum on whether or not the American People are willing to put up with another four years of corruption on both sides of the aisle or if they are willing to “drain the swamp”.

Goldman sense that the Americans have had enough.

I think he’s right. But I have ben disappointed before.

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