Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

  • Republicans have no idea what to do about health care (other than the cut taxes part), “repeal and replace” was just good campaign jargon with nothing behind it, and none of the propose plans are better than just leaving the original Affordable Care Act alone. Further, no dramatic improvements to health  are will occur until the issue is discussed in terms beyond insurance, instead with the goal of making health care affordable and accessible to all. (This will probably also require agreement that access to health care is a right, not a privilege.)
  • “Trumpcare” is a stupid name for any of these bills. Trump doesn’t know what are in these bills and doesn’t care. Heck, it seems he might not even know what health care insurance even is. “Obamacare” made sense, as President Obama was heavily involved in the crafting of the bill and shepherding it through Congress to passage. Trump wouldn’t even know how to do this. Call it “GOPCare” or “Republicare” and place the accountability where it belongs (not to say Trump is 0% responsible, he is a Republican after all, just that we all need to start realizing more that our other leaders matter, not just the President).
  • Trump is very ignorant about most subjects but his massive ego doesn’t allow for him to admit (or perhaps even be self-aware enough to even realize) that he is very ignorant about most subjects so he doesn’t bother to try to learn. (The recent New York Times interview can serve as exhibit ‘A’ as evidence of this ignorance.) Further these are bad traits for a President to have.
  • Trump asserting that his power to pardon is absolute should be concerning.
  • Trump’s failure to really remove himself from his private business dealings both domestically and abroad and the conflicts of interest that has created/creates should be concerning.
  • The police shoot too many people and the criminal system is not going to solve this. We as society in this country need to reevaluate what we want policing to be. The current system seems to dictate that police safety comes before all else. Does that mean too many errors are made in the name of police self-protection?
  • What other people do, as long as it doesn’t harm others, is nobody’s business.
  • Our military is way too active and has been since World War II (we call it a defense department rather than an offense department for a reason).

I actually think it’s only a matter of time before the color of the sky becomes a partisan issue.

Last week Republicans discovered it’s a lot easier to complain about how the other side is getting it all wrong than it is to figure out what is right when their own health care plan went down in flames. I think a lot of that is because it’s a lot easier to get people to rally around generic slogans that fit nicely on bumper stickers than it is to agree on the specifics of a plan. Also, the specifics of a plan takes a while to put together and if you haven’t done any of the ground work for that, it’s hard to throw that together in just a couple of weeks.

“Repeal and Replace” makes for a wonderful rallying cry, but it’s not a policy you can implement. Replace with what is kind of a big deal. “Build the Wall” is a great representation that you are going to get tough on illegal immigration, but it’s not an actual immigration policy. “Make America Great Again” sounds awesome! But it’s not an actual plan. “Drain the Swamp” is easy to chant, but what does it actually mean?

That said, I think people heard those things and said ‘hey, Trump and the GOP is going to do something’ and they just either weren’t worried about the details and filled in the gaps with their own details. And you could make the case that why should the average voter be worried about details. Isn’t that why we have a government in the first place, to deal with the details? Meanwhile the Democrats may have better policy detail, they have lousy slogans and bumper stickers.  “I’m With Her” is not really that much removed from “Vote For Me…Just Because”. “Stronger Together” doesn’t really point to any particular policy. More than ever, we are discovering that elections are really all about marketing, period.

The GOP may learn a thing or two from Democrats about policy making. But the Democrats could learn a thing or two from the GOP about marketing.

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After about a month of President Trump, it seems to me that Trump actually cares about very few things and certainly doesn’t have much of any actual policies in mind, so he mostly delegates all that and as long as he gets to pretend to be the big man in charge by making a ridiculous show out of signing things and showing them off, he really doesn’t care much about what he’s actually signing off on. That means in such as policy is actually being driven, it’s mostly being driven by the people around Trump. Here’s how I see the breakdown:

WHAT TRUMP CARES ABOUT:

  • Trump (and the “brand”) – Trump has little ability to see beyond himself. (Plenty of evidence for that, but here’s an example. Trump has already filed his candidacy for the 2020 Presidential election. Why? So he can legally begin fundraising for his campaign. Why hasn’t this been done before? Because by fundraising for himself, he takes away from fundraising for other GOP candidates for the mid-term elections. But of course he really doesn’t care about that.) He desperately wants to be taken seriously (which I believe was his whole point of running for President, not for any particular agenda and vision he had or the nation). So most of Trump’s care is simply to be seen as the most awesomely awesome President (and thus most awesomely awesome man) the world has ever seen.
  • Trump Organization – In as such as he’s interested in using Presidential powers, it’s simply to enrich himself and his organization. So if being President helps him win a long sought after trademark in China, great. If it can help him drum up business for his hotels and resorts and for his daughter’s business, all the better. And that’s my concern with Russia. Trump is not necessarily wrong that good relations between the U.S. and Russia is not a bad thing. BUT, my concern is that we are really talking about good relations between TRUMP and Russia, and Trump is simply looking out for the good of his business in Russia and may be willing to sacrifice what’s best for the nation for that purpose.
  • The Wall – And I mean the wall itself. I’m not sure how much Trump really cares about immigration. But he wants that damn wall…not a virtual wall, a tangible wall you can see and touch. I think this has something to do with the idea that Trump likes buildings and slapping TRUMP on them…it’s almost as though it doesn’t count if it’s not a physical tangible thing. Heck, if that wall does get built, I wouldn’t be surprised if he slaps TRUMP on top of it. Probably thinks it can be a tourist attraction he can sell tickets to see.

WHAT TRUMP AND GOP CARE ABOUT:

  • Hatred of the media – Actually for Trump, not hatred of the media in general. He loves being on tv and craves the attention. Trump hates critical media (defined as anything short of gushing praise for Trump). No doubt Trump can’t even handle the minimum of criticism (not a new development, he never has), and since getting criticism is just part of the job of being President, it is truly driving him crazy (and that’s his one and only concern, how they report on Trump, he could care less about reports on policy and the GOP). But many on the conservative side of the fence have also long tried to discredit the “mainstream” (as they like to say derisively) media in favor of outlets such as Fox News, Breitbart, & Drudge that more actively push their agenda. So I think Trump’s war on the media is very welcomed by many on the right.

WHAT THE GOP CARE ABOUT:

  • Repeal of Obamacare – There will be no policy in regards to healthcare coming from the White House. I mean, I don’t think they have the ability to produce one if they tried, but they also don’t care enough to try. Trump repeated this over and over because that’s simply a box you have to check if you are running as a Republican politician. But anything that actually happens will be the result of the GOP itself. While there’s no doubt that Obama was the driving force behind the Affordable Care Act (so “Obamacare” was apt), the GOP will be the driving force behind anything that happens going forward so the result should be called “Republicare” or “GOPCare”.
  • Immigration Policy – Steve Bannon is who comes up with this stuff. Trump just signs off on it. It’s Steve Bannon’s world view that drove the refugee/immigrant executive order debacle. It’s Steve Bannon’s belief that the United States is being overran by immigrants (both illegal AND legal) that leads to his belief that extreme actions are necessary.
  • Pulling Support From Transgender School Children Bathroom Rights – This has Mike Pence and Jeff Sessions written all over it. In fact, reportedly even Besty Devos was reluctant to go along with it, but Jeff Sessions pretty much made it a ‘either me or her’ situation and Devos relented when it became clear it was either go along or lose your job. While I don’t think Trump has strong views on this, it is important to note when push came to shove which side of the fence he landed. He’s mostly surrounded by far right advisors and he will go along with what they say.
  • Supreme Court nominees – Trump released a list of potential Supreme Court nominees during his campaign which basically mimics lists from the Heritage Foundation and other conservative think tanks. Trump doesn’t care enough to put any thought into this, so copying a list from a conservative group is the ‘easy button’.

I think the bottom line is this, if the issue involves Trump personally, then Trump is driving the boat. If the issue is anything that involves actual policy, then it’s somebody on Trump’s team, like Mike Pence, Steve Bannon, Stephen Miller, Jared Kushner, Jeff Sessions, etc. and Trump is just going along. In fact, that seems to be the deal. The far-right tolerates Trump’s selfish tendencies and in return Trump goes along with their far-right agenda.

So you have a lot of bad here. A selfish President who doesn’t give a damn about conflicts-of-interest. An administration who has far-right viewpoints who don’t get any push back as long as they show their loyalty to Trump. Add to the fact that Trump and his team (which were picked based on loyalty, not knowledge) seem completely incompetent (though at times that probably accidentally works in this nation’s favor, as they are less effective as they could be at implementing their far-right agenda), and we are in for a very messy chaotic few years.

Only on CNN would they debate "alternative facts".

Only on CNN would they debate “alternative facts”.

The things you see on the interwebs….

#AlternativeFacts:

  1. Donald Trump won over 3,000 of the 3,144 countries in the United States.

    I’m not sure why there’s a need to exaggerate this, except for some desperation for Trump and his supporters to find some angle to declare his victory the greatest mankind has ever seen. But just a cursory amount of research reveals that this “fact” is not true, even in Alabama alone Hillary won 12 counties….and goodness knows Alabama is not a politically diverse state! The fact is Hillary actually won nearly 500 counties. Which still means if for some odd reason you want to compare county “wins”, Trump won bigly. That said, it mostly just looks good when you color in a map. But the thing is, a good many of those counties are sparsely populated…meaning you are basically taking credit for winning landmass or something.So Trump won a bunch a counties. Hillary won 2.5 million more actual breathing people votes. Neither matter though, Trump won the Electoral College and that’s what counts.
  2. More people watched Trump’s Presidential inauguration than any other in history.

    Not going to show the pictures again, but of course this is obviously not true. The television ratings are something that are tangible, and they clearly show Trump’s wasn’t the most watched. Which should be ok, if not for Trump’s odd obsession that it has to be the most watched.
  3. The Bowling Green Massacre.

    Who could forget the Bowling Green Massacre…except the darn lamestream media didn’t cover it!!!? Had it happened, I’m sure that’s what it would have been called and it would have been covered, but it didn’t. Just something Kellyanne Conway threw out there to justify the immigration/refugee ban Trump signed in an interview with Chris Matthews. She’s gaslighting. Did she think she would totally get away with it? No, I don’t think so. But she was banking on Chris Matthews not challenging it on the spot, either because he wasn’t confident enough to do or (more likely in my opinion) he wasn’t actually listening. That to go along with a non apologetic half-assed correction that people may or may not even see, and you have successfully muddied the waters of reality.
  4. President Obama totally did the same thing as Trump when it came to Iraqi refugees.

    Except no he didn’t. Nobody was ever stuck in limbo at the airport. In fact, the refugee flow from Iraq never even came to a complete stop. This is related to the item above. Two Iraqi refugees were arrested in Kentucky accused of plotting a terrorist attack. In response, President Obama did ask for more screening for Iraqi refugees as a result. This did slow the processing. But the differences are clear…one it wasn’t a ban and two it was in response to an actual specific situation and thus narrowly defined.
  5. Michigan allows Muslims to sign up to four wives to welfare.

    Apparently people really think this is true. Of course it’s ridiculous. My question for those who believe, even if you believe Democrats would do such a thing (and of course you do, those Muslim loving American hating hippies would so totally do that!) do you really think the GOP governor and GOP controlled legislature in Michigan would allow such a thing to stand?
  6. The United States does not take in Christian refugees from Syria.

    This claim was made by Donald Trump on the Christian Broadcasting Network. But there is no evidence for such a claim. There is a disparity between the numbers (though keep in mind that Syria is 87% Muslim in the first place), but the most basic explanation is that Christians simply aren’t seeking refugee status in the same proportions as Muslims are. The United States have and continues to accept Christian refugees from Syria and there’s no evidence of any extra hoops they have to jump through (however there’s no evidence there are any LESS hoops they have to jump through either, and perhaps that is what is really viewed as the problem for some).
  7. Americans simply do not care to see Trump’s IRS tax returns.

    This is pretty much the standard line from Trump and everyone else speaking on his behalf. The theory goes that since we won without releasing them, no one must care. That seems to fail to account for the 54% of the voters who didn’t vote for Donald Trump. It also fails to account for voters who voted for Trump in despite of Trump not releasing his taxes, not because they didn’t care. Polling data shows that Americans do want him to release his tax returns.
  8. Donald Trump has YUGGE hands!

    No he doesn’t. They are small. They are tiny. They are like baby hands. That’s just facts. 🙂

 

 

 

 

divided

Top Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway had a bit of what I believe was a Freudian slip when she explained that Trump’s press secretary had presented “alternative facts” in a “press briefing” (which as it turns out was more of a press scolding) in regards to number of people who watched Trump’s inauguration. Of course facts are facts, there are no alternatives. But as I see some wonder how Trump supporters can ‘twist themselves in knots’ of logic in order to support him, it occurs to me that the idea of “alternative facts” is actually instructive. I would propose that the typical Trump supporter is not having to twist themselves in knots at all and actually based on the “facts” being presented to them are thinking quite rationally.

So I bit the bullet and watched a bit of Fox & Friends on the Fox News Network. It really didn’t take a big bite though, only about 60 seconds on three different occasions was enough to get the flavor. Now keep in mind that Fox News Network’s hook is that they are “fair and balanced”. But even most that acknowledge that Fox News are biased toward right-wing politics consider Fox News a legitimate news organization. So if you are a viewer, you don’t really have much reason to question the veracity of what you are watching…maybe biased….maybe even fair. Here’s what I learned on those 3 occasions:

  • Day 1: What a four days for Trump! He has had 14 major accomplishments already. 14!!! Also, Trump is going to open an investigation regarding voter fraud. Voter fraud is something that has been reported many times on this network, so it’s about time.
  • Day 2: Is Donald Trump “draining the swamp”? Guest Herman Cain says that all he can say is “wow!”. You betcha Donald Trump is draining the swamp. If he has to assign a grade, it’s A+!
  • Day 3: We totally need “extreme vetting” to protect us from the greatest threat this nation faces today! All Trump is doing is putting a pause on things until we can separate the terrorists from the innocent and not just let people in here all willy-nilly. And besides, the “mainstream” media is making a WAY bigger deal of this than it really is. And besides, this affects so FEW people so we shouldn’t care. And besides, no one really cares, this is just Democrats like Elizabeth Warren stirring up trouble. (The hosts did allow that perhaps the executive order’s implementation could have been done better.) And besides, just look at Germany and what happened there!

Now just imagine if these are the “facts” that you presented with. It’s not hard to imagine that you would wonder why anyone would be down on Trump. After all, 14 major accomplishments is just 4 days? Here’s a man who gets things done, just like he said he would! And why would anyone oppose an investigation into voter fraud? Everyone knows that voter fraud is rampant, I’ve seen it reported many times. And finally somebody is ridding Washington of those insider elitists! Way to go Trump! And finally, the President is putting “America First” and keeping us safe from the terrorists….why shouldn’t we figure things out before letting ANYONE in???!!!

When you consider the above information, the above “facts”, then the resulting opinions are really not irrational at all.

Of course, here’s the flip-side of how I and many others see these facts and resulting thoughts:

  • Trump has signed a bunch of executive orders and made many decrees. These have ranged from the pointless (signing an executive order to “build the wall” doesn’t get a wall built) to the wasteful (ordering the National Park Service to find evidence that the crowd at his inauguration was the largest ever) to the potentially damaging (the executive order implementing was is basically meant to be the “Muslim ban”). But we would be hard-pressed to find a “major” accomplishment (which is kind of silly to think would have happened in only one week anyway).As far as voter fraud goes, there is no evidence that it occurs in Presidential elections and that enough non-citizens voted to cost Trump the popular vote is statistically absurd (to hit the numbers Trump is citing, 15% to 25% of all the about 20 million non-citizens would have had to have somehow voted and then almost all for Hillary). The reason that Trump got fewer votes than Hillary Clinton is that more people legally casted a vote for her than for him (Occam’s razor). Trump’s need to investigate this is more about his insecurities and bruised ego than any actual problem that needs to be investigated and solved.
  • Trump’s cabinet picks are made up of a combination of Wall Street insiders, multi-billionaires, and political establishment cronies, many of whom seem unqualified for the position they are up for. Sure “swamp” has never been explicitly defined. But I think Wall Street insiders, multi-billionaires, and political establishment cronies are what a lot of people think of when they think D.C. “swamp”.
  • We aren’t letting people into this country all willy-nilly and never were. The vetting process for refugees takes two years or more and is all ready designed to separate the terrorists from the innocent. And also placing a religious litmus test on those proceedings appears unconstitutional. And besides, the number of refugee terrorist attacks in the U.S. stands at zero. And besides, even if this was a good idea and even if protecting us from terrorists is the goal, why does the list of nations included not include nations where the 9/11 terrorists and others were from while no one from the listed nations have ever committed a terrorist act on U.S. soil? And besides, why does the order include legal residents of this nation who only want to return home? And besides, those who were on the plane had already received permission from this nation to enter, are we really going to renege on our own word? And besides, no matter what the purpose, isn’t drafting and releasing such an executive order without input from the Department of Justice, State Department, or Homeland Security a terrible idea? And besides, these are people like you and I, moms and dads and grandmas and grandpas and children who just want to be safe. Isn’t America about being the shining beacon that guides freedom loving people everywhere?

Under this backdrop, what is going on doesn’t appear rationale at all and who could support such things?

Not sure how we can reconcile these differing views of the country. It just appears to be a recipe for divisiveness. That may well be the point. Somebody made a comment that with these “alternative facts” to muddy the waters, roughly a third of the people will believe them, a third will say they are lies and the last third will just throw their hands in the air and just decide the truth is not knowable and check out completely. Under such circumstances, you don’t need a consensus of the majority to do anything, just more of a consensus than anyone else that’s actually engaged.

Not sure where this goes. The days where we all get our news from one of three major networks and/or a mainstream newspaper are long gone. Still, I don’t know how we can have honest debates and discussions and dialogues and compromise and consensus building if we can’t even agree on the facts.

  • “Fake News” is now a weapon of the right. So what “fake news” in my mind is actual purposely fake news. It’s not biased journalism. It’s not poor journalism. It’s not even mistaken journalism. It’s the purposeful act of completely fabricating stories by non-journalists in order to generate clicks on Facebook and such while attempting to appear as if it’s from an actual news organization. It’s stories from the “Denver Guardian” or the “Baltimore Gazette” (neither the “Denver Guardian” nor the “Baltimore Gazette” exist, but “news stories” from them spread like wildfire on Facebook).

    But what “fake news” has come to mean is any story you don’t like. The right have been trying to discredit mainstream media for years, and they finally have found traction by declaring everything “fake news”. So for Trump, CNN is now “fake news”. So is the BBC. So will anyone else that prints anything he doesn’t like. Unfair to Trump is anything critical to him. He sent a message by not taking CNN’s questions. Cover me favorably or lose access. It will be interesting to see how the media responds.

  • Trump actually brought a personal cheerleading section to a Presidential press conference. Seriously. There to cheer him and jeer the media. Were they paid? Of course they were (though I guess actually getting paid for work from Trump may be newsworthy in itself!). But he doesn’t have security issues, oh no.
  • Trump likes his props. Look at that big stack of “agreements”. Can we see what is in them? Hahahaha! Of course not! A big stack of folders should be all the evidence you need that this administration is going to be so totally beyond reproach when it comes to “conflict of interest”! Oh, tax returns? Bwhahahaha! I didn’t give those to you when I was a mere candidate, I sure as heck not giving those to you know that I’m freakin’ President! But trust me, it’s all good. I’m giving control of my company to my sons. TOTAL SEPARATION. Everyone knows that the only kid I like is Ivanka. So it’s totally good, what you all call a “problem” is solved! Sure, ethics experts totally disagree, but what do they know? They’re fake news.
  • Not that they think they have to do ANYTHING about “conflict of interest”. During the middle of the conference, Trump’s lawyer took to the podium and she sure spent a whole lot more time explaining why Trump didn’t actually have to do anything (but he is just doing so because that’s how swell of a guy he is). Conflict of interest laws don’t apply…make sure you remember that. Also, getting hotel money from foreign leaders is totally not emoluments y’all. Oh he’s not going to take the money, but be sure to know he could if he wanted to. (There had to be a point to all that. My guess is that it has to do with Trump’s many foreign holdings. Speaking of which, for all the talk of potential conflicts of interest with the Clinton Foundation, the Trump business sure seems to have many actual tangible conflicts of interest.)
  • Donald Trump likes to refer to himself in the third person.
  • Trump says he could totally be both President and continue to run his company and do a good job with both. So I guess he thinks being President is just a part-time job? Or maybe it’s just a part-time job for him, being so super-duper amazing.

 

 

trump-white-house

You know he will put this up if he can!

In one way, I’m not THAT surprised. I had been following Nate Silver’s 538 website’s poll-based statistical modeling of the election which was giving Trump about a 30 percent chance of winning. And while other sites were saying things closer to what I wanted to hear (the guy a lot of Clinton supporters pointed to was Sam Wang, who declared based on his models in October that if Trump got over 240 electoral votes, he would eat a bug…..not sure if that bug has been eaten yet), Nate’s explanations of his model’s assumptions and considerations (including how Hillary’s electoral college position relative to her popular vote position was relatively weak) made a lot of sense to me.

But still, I can’t say that as I watched the results roll in on Tuesday night that I wasn’t in a state of shock. I had taken some comfort that in the last day or so before the election polling had seem to be swing back to Clinton. Besides, errors work both ways and I kept reading about how early voting and Clinton’s superior “ground game” was going to make a huge difference, so maybe Clinton would actually win much bigger than predicted! After all, a guy like Trump….this reality show celebrity unqualified self-centered boor could never actually get enough votes to win the highest office of the land, right?

Yet here we are. Donald Trump won the election, he will be the next President. How did we get here? First things first. This was a very, very close election. In fact, Hillary won the popular vote. Trump won several states (MI, PA, WI) by razor-thin margins. A very small voting shift back to Hillary would have led to a comfortable Clinton electoral college win. Many, many, many things could lead to a mere 1%-2% shift in results, so it’s likely when one person says it was one thing and another person says it was another thing, quite likely both can be right, at least as contributing factors. And anything that contributed at all could be combined with other factors to get to 1% to 2%. Plus factors are not necessarily independent of each other.

Still, in an effort to make sense of it all, I’m going to blog some thoughts….even if it is a bit scrambled, maybe incoherent, and may have jack squat to do with anything. After all, Trump won the votes of 60 million people……..the number of reasons behind those votes rationally have to be just about infinite. So who really knows? Still, I’m confused….so as self-therapy I’m going to write:

  • Candidates don’t matter that much – One thing that a lot of us thought was that Trump was such a historically bad candidate, so apparently unqualified, so offensive, that he would lose traditional Republican voters….not so much that they would vote Democrat instead, though that is something that at least used to be possible. But that they would vote third-party or maybe leave the choice blank. But the polling never indicated any sort of collapse of support, at least never for any length of time. But Trump will end up with just about the same number of votes as Mitt Romney received. In hindsight, I’m not sure that most votes aren’t just set in stone, and we all are now part of team D or team R and most will just support the team. Therefore the baselines for major party candidates may be pretty set and differences in voting may only be at the margins now.
  • Tolerance for ‘isms’ (racism, sexism,heterosexism, etc.) –  These factors had to at least be discounted by Trump voters. Though I have a steady job and am doing well, so maybe it’s easy for me to say that these should be pretty darn big considerations. Perhaps for those who aren’t in a good situation, and feel that the powers that be aren’t doing enough for them, maybe it’s easier to discount the negatives if you think somebody will come in and blow it all up to help you…at some point you just start looking out for number one and are less concerned about the plight of others.Of course, just because Romney and Trump both are going to have about 60 million votes doesn’t mean it’s the same 60 million. Trump had to lose SOME votes for these reasons, and perhaps just made those numbers back up with those who have more racist, sexist, etc. tendencies. Anecdotally, I can say that I did run across a Facebook conversation in which at least two people posted that they didn’t think a woman should be “commander-in-chief” period. As it turns out those two people were women. Attitudes like this really do still exist, and it’s not just men.But Trump didn’t pick up any EXTRA votes. It’s Hillary that’s going to have 6 million or so less votes than Obama, and that’s why the margins are closer. (11/20 edit- They are still counting votes and Hillary is now within 2.5 million votes of Obama. Her popular vote lead is over 1.5 million votes. It’s not difficult to imagine that she may be within 2.0 million votes of Obama before all is said and done. And her popular vote win could well be over +1.5%. Not that any of this matters, but since I mentioned Hillary was going to be 6 million short of Obama, I thought I should make this correction.)
  • Rural versus Urban Divide – Republicans have been winning rural areas for quite some time. But in previous elections, there were some sections were Democrats could pull wins in some rural counties, namely in the Midwest. Obama won Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio, Iowa, and Pennsylvania. But even in 2012, the advantage in these states began to slip. And now in 2016, they pretty much all flipped to Trump. These are all states Clinton lost and it’s because she literally won only the big cities in these states. Whether this is a systematic shift…these are just GOP voting areas now, or whether this is just unique to Trump, that he appealed to the “white working class” voter with his generic anti-trade ‘I’ll bring the jobs back’ rhetoric which at least meant that he paid attention to them (Clinton didn’t even set foot in Wisconsin and only reached Michigan at the last moments) remains to be seen. But it appears there really were voters who voted Obama who voted Trump this time.
  • Voters Vote On Gut Feel – It’s not like voters study for the test. Who has time for that? So there’s probably not a lot of research done. I think nowadays too, we are much more into identity politics. It makes it easier if we just know what side we are on. Then we can just go vote for our side. Plus to the extent we do go for research, we do so based on the same identity politics that feeds into preconceived narratives. Going to Drudge Report, Breitbart, and Fox News is going to give you a much different look at the race than going to Huffington Post, Mother Jones, and MSNBC. It probably really impacts your view of how big of a deal Clinton’s e-mails and Clinton Foundation were versus Trump’s University, Foundation, sexual misconduct, lack of payment of workers, etc. and even if you were aware at all of some of these things. We aren’t all operating on the same information, and that information is incomplete.
  • Elections Are Simply Exercises In Marketing – Clinton had many wonderful position papers on her website, very detailed plans regarding what she would try to get accomplished as President. But that doesn’t win elections. I think Trump almost has no talent. But there is one thing he does about as well as anyone, market the brand “Trump”. Dilbert cartoonist Scott Adams had been arguing all year that Trump was the more persuasive candidate. While he may well have been more lucky than good in his prediction that Trump would win (after all, he predicted a “landslide”, losing the popular vote can hardly be called a landslide win), he probably had a good point that simple superior messaging can hide flaws and make facts matter a whole lot less. Conning people is not admirable, but it is a skill. Clinton could raise the heck out of some money, but if you can’t translate that money into messaging, it doesn’t matter.
  • Other stuff – James Comey raising that they found more e-mails except they didn’t and it was never a new issue anyway but it was reported like it was. The many free hours of coverage that Trump generated meant Trump didn’t have to worry that much about fundraising. That our system is conditioned to make elections close (all incentives, whether it’s media coverage or political advisors all push for close elections). The electoral college allows the possibility to win the popular vote and still lose the election. Minorities may not have shown up quite in the numbers as they had in the past couple of Presidential elections. Hillary didn’t quite win the percentage of minority votes that Obama did. On and on and on…….
  • Black Swan? – I was reminded by a Facebook post (simply put by posting a picture of a black swan) of one more theory. Black Swan events are an idea developed by Nassim Taleb to describe surprise major events that seems rational in hindsight (and what is everything written above if not a rationalization) but never prospectively. Now I think the Trump win was somewhat predictable by the time November rolled around. But I don’t think anyone was calling this two years ago, or really even when Trump first announced his candidacy. (People would do will to REMEMBER this next time they hope a “weak” candidate wins the nomination for the opposition party! You NEVER know! The country is much better served by having STRONG choices from all sides!) – 11/20

Or maybe it’s none of these things. Regardless, what will Trump’s Presidency look like. If you are like me and think Trump is a con man, there’s already evidence pointing in that direction. For all of his anti-establishment rhetoric, the people he is bringing onto his team is in fact the establishment. Also, if you are like me and think Trump was a lot more interest in winning the election than he is in actually running the country, then we need to start thinking about what a Mike Pence presidency might look like as he may be the defacto President (he’s already in charge of the transition team). That would likely mean a very, very sharp turn toward right-wing conservatism.

However I do hope that maybe, just maybe that Trump will actually do a good job. That would be what is best for the country. He keeps surprising me, maybe for once it can be a surprise for the better.