My Audacious Contention

30 10 2014


“War on women” a dud in 2014.

Strap on the seat belts, because  I’m about to make an audacious contention that brings a lot of clarity to stories like these:

“War on women” had very little to do with the way 2012 turned out.

It’s just that Democrats pounded that line into the ground two years ago, and they happened to do well, so they made the usual correlation-causation mistake, and trotted out war on women again this year.

This is all aside from the fact that there is no war on women.

You Forgot Two Words

27 10 2014



Why House Republicans Alienate Hispanics: They Don’t Need Them

Political analysts keep urging the Republican Party to do more to appeal to Hispanic voters. Yet the party’s congressional leaders show little sign of doing so, blocking an immigration overhaul and harshly criticizing President Obama for his plan to defer deportation for undocumented migrants.

House Republican leaders want amnesty legislation badly, but they can’t find a way to con the back benchers into voting for it.  They might “harshly criticize President Obama for his” potential executive order amnesty in public to save face, but in private, they’re hoping he does.  If he does, the Republican establishment is going to throw a really big party in a soundproof room.

The fact that the Republican House majority does not depend on Hispanic voters helps explain why immigration reform has not become law, even though national Republican strategists believe the party needs additional support among Hispanic voters to compete in presidential elections. It’s true that Republicans would stand little, if any, chance of winning the presidency in 2016 if they lost every Hispanic voter. If anything, the Republicans probably need to make gains among Hispanic voters to compete in states like Florida and Nevada.

The fact that members of Congress face election every two years and are more likely to face pissed off voters if their paw prints were actually on an amnesty bill is a better explanation.

But Congressional elections are different. Although the young, urban and racially diverse Democratic coalition has won the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections, that coalition has not delivered House control to the Democrats. Gerrymandering isn’t the only cause, either. It’s the way the population is distributed.

That last sentence is crucial, because I’ll have a link to another story below.

The Upshot analysis found that if not one of the eight million Hispanic voters supported the Republican candidate, Republicans would lose about a dozen House seats, especially in Florida and California. The loss of those seats would make the Republican House majority more vulnerable if Democrats made gains elsewhere in future years. But given the Republicans’ current strength across rural areas and in conservative suburbs, the loss of every Hispanic every voter would not be enough to cost them the 17 seats that would flip House control.

And this analysis is a bit faulty because it relies on two Latin words:  Ceteris Paribus.  They just fiddle with the Hispanic vote without fiddling with the white vote or any other vote.  In the real political world, Ceteris Paribus does not exist.  Everything you do to get one person to vote for you will cost you statistically speaking some decimal number of voters, hopefully for your sake it’s a decimal less than 1.00.  I think that Republican attempts to appeal to Hispanics yields a higher than 1.00 decimal, i.e. they lose far many more white votes with their Hispandering than Hispanic votes they gain, in fact I think the ratio is way way way higher than 1.00.

The Republican lead in the race for control of the Senate, on the other hand, does not include such a cushion. A percentage point could make the difference in several of this year’s crucial contests, and winning every Hispanic vote might be worth a point to the Democrats — even in states with a small Hispanic population. Hispanic voters will represent about 3 percent of the electorate in the Senate battlegrounds.

We did a special run of our Senate model, Leo, imagining that the Republicans lost every Hispanic voter. In this situation, the odds flip — precisely, as it happens. Republicans would have just a 31 percent chance of retaking the Senate, compared with the current chance of 69 percent on Monday. Without any Hispanic votes, Republicans would lose a bit of ground everywhere, but become decided underdogs in Colorado and find themselves in a tight race in Texas.

Yet the Republicans would still have a plausible path to victory — as plausible as the actual Democratic path — because they could pick up the six Democratic seats they needed elsewhere. In South Dakota, Montana, West Virginia, Louisiana, Arkansas, Iowa, Alaska, North Carolina and New Hampshire, there are very few Hispanic voters.

Thom Tillis in North Carolina, sizable Hispanic population, has a better than even chance to lose next Thursday precisely because he’s a Hispanderer and open borders all the way.  He won’t win very many Hispanic votes by doing it (they already have Kay Hagan), and he’ll drive away white votes.  Because Senate races are statewide affairs, the opposite of ceteris paribus being true becomes statistically more crucial, and because Hispanics punch well under their demographic weight even in Presidential cycles and are even less than that in midterms, white voters become all the more crucial with their marginal leverage.

Perhaps most remarkable is that we’re even entertaining this notion. In reality, the Republicans will win millions of Hispanic votes this November. But the House Republican majority does not depend on those votes. Indeed, it could even withstand losses far beyond reason.

Republicans in general this season will do better among the scant few Hispanic voters than the 27% that Mitt Romney did among Hispanics in 2012, precisely because Republicans this season are generally in a stronger position.

To win the White House in 2016 or any future year, the Republicans will need a substantial number of Hispanic votes.

No they will not.  This same newspaper did this same kind of analysis of Presidential votes and the Electoral College in 2012, and found that, ceteris paribus, Romney would have needed to get 73% of the Hispanic vote to win.  No Republican Presidential candidate in my lifetime has ever gotten anywhere near 50% of the Hispanic vote, much less 73%.  The high water mark was Bush’s 40% in 2004.  Then there’s the fact again that ceteris paribus does not exist in the real world.  The more the Republicans try to get Hispanic votes, the way more white people they will run off.

But the fact that the party doesn’t need many of those votes to hold the House makes the Republican effort to appeal to Hispanic voters far more challenging. The Republican Congress has few, if any, immediate incentives to reach a compromise on immigration reform or otherwise reach out to Hispanics.

Hispanic voters don’t have “immigration reform” (amnesty, open borders, border surge) as their huge priority.  They’re mainly social welfare and government giveaway voters.

Now, for the second article:

Early voting has started in states nationwide, and Election Day is drawing near. And when the votes begin to be counted, the Republican Party will have a built-in advantage as it seeks to keep control of the House of Representatives.

The reason? A years long plan by Republican strategists to take advantage of the 2010 census and reshape congressional districts in key states to pack large numbers of Democrats into relatively few House districts, while GOP voters are spread out more evenly.

Gerrymandering, as it is called, has a long history in the United States, ardently pursued by both Democrats and Republicans. But the Republicans’ success was unprecedented and largely out of the public eye.

However, you can read a hint above that this is off base.  In fact, last year, the NYT did a big computer analysis of the 2012 Congressional (House) candidate vote.  Democrat House candidates got slightly more votes than Republican House candidates, but the winners based on those votes were 233 R to 202 D.  Everyone, including me, just assumed that the 2011-2012 redistricting, largely done in state legislatures that were based on state legislature elections of the 2010 red wave, was the only thing that kept the House Republican in spite of a slight Democrat generic voter win.  However, the NYT fed the actual 2012 House two-party voting data into hundreds of possible national House district configuration maps, ranging from seemingly insanely pro-Democrat maps to seemingly insanely pro-Republican maps, and also the current real world map.  It found that only a scant few of the craziest Democrat-favorable maps would have resulted in a Democrat majority based on actual 2012 votes, meaning that almost all of the pro-Democrat maps, all of the neutral maps and all of the Republican maps would have resulted in what we actually got, that is, a Republican majority.  They also found that the real world map is not a wacky crazy pro-Republican map, that it’s about in the middle ground of hypothetical Republican-friendly maps.  That makes sense, because there were some state legislatures that were in Democrat hands in 2011 and 2012 that gerrymandered in favor of the blue team, such as Illinois and California.

The reason is what this first NYT article says above.  As long as Democrat voters willingly clump into tight geographical areas, they will be at a natural disadvantage in Congressional politics.  Not Republican gerrymandering, Democrat self-ghettoization.

Besides, what this AP advisory forgets is that Republicans have a blue team political ally when they do gerrymandering:  Black Democrats and the NAACP.  The Missouri map for this decade which means a 6-2 Republican majority save some sort of drastic turn of events was a map that black politicians in the General Assembly voted for twice, both to implement and to override Nixon’s veto, the NAACP in St. Louis and Kansas City approved, and the then and still two black Congressmen from Missouri, Lazy Clay and Beaver Cleaver, also endorsed.

If the AP is trying to manufacture an excuse for what is pretty much a foregone conclusion, that Republicans will hold onto the House and probably gain a few more seats, something else they’re forgetting is that this year, unlike two years ago, Republicans will almost certainly win the generic House candidate vote, too.

In Case You Were Wondering

10 07 2014

Your Blogmeister’s Desk


I’ve been telling you that I haven’t finished spilling all the beans because certain people have kindly requested that I hold back until the timing is right.  What I knew but didn’t say myself here is that “right timing” meant that Todd wanted to tell his side of the story, and he wanted to do that first.  I highly suspected that his side of the story was going to be in book form.  A theory which was proven right yesterday when a brown truck delivered me an author-autographed copy of this book.

The way I figure, it won’t be long until it goes on sale to the general public that I’ll get the okay to spill the final bean, that is, why he didn’t drop out of the race.  That is something this book does not really cover.  There is a subtle hint on the cover of this book:  The words “party bosses.”  A few weeks ago, I dropped another hint, that is, if you were paying attention.

What it does do most crucially, I think, is show that the huge mistake was acknowledging the remarks at all.  I remember thinking to myself the Monday after that the whole thing would blow over by the end of the week.  I should have paid closer attention to myself; if I would have, I would have yelled and screamed at everyone to ignore this thing, not to say anything about it in public, not to fuel the non-troversy, and it probably would have blown over.  It wasn’t until the middle of November when it was all over anyway that this conclusion of what I and we should have done hit me like a ton of bricks.  Todd’s mentality is that his apology fueled and in fact endorsed the smear and the paranoia, and he’s right about that.  It’s just that I go one step further:  The apology would not have happened without our acknowledgment, and that’s what really added fuel to the fire.

Gerrymandering Schmarrymandering

27 01 2014


Turns out the conventional wisdom parroted by both the political class and yours truly about the 2011 gerrymanders helping the Republicans in the House in 2012 was mostly fatuous. The takeaway is that the study did lots and lots and lots of simulations of the November 2012 Congressional vote based on differing Congressional districts, and found that it was virtually impossible to draw a map that would have delivered the House to the Democrats.

We get a mention:

The results were not encouraging for reform advocates. In the vast majority of states, our nonpartisan simulations produced Republican seat shares that were not much different from the actual numbers in the last election. This was true even in some states, like Indiana and Missouri, with heavy Republican influence over redistricting. Both of these states were hotly contested and leaned only slightly Republican over all, but of the 17 seats between them, only four were won by Democrats (in St. Louis, Kansas City, Gary and Indianapolis). While some of our simulations generated an additional Democratic seat around St. Louis or Indianapolis, most of them did not, and in any case, a vanishingly small number of simulations gave Democrats a congressional seat share commensurate with their overall support in these states.

Except in terms of Presidential politics in 2012, Missouri was not “hotly contested.”  That Romney was going to win it was a foregone conclusion that both the Romney and Obama campaigns drew in the spring of 2012.  If you lived in St. Louis or Kansas City media markets during the fall of 2012, you didn’t see one Presidential media buy.  That’s because those media markets cover three states that were foregone conclusions:  Kansas (Romney), Missouri (Romney), Illinois (Obama).

As far as I know, Indiana wasn’t really contested, either, in terms of Presidential politics.

As far as Congressional redistricting, one big giant X-factor that the author of this piece doesn’t mention is this:  Blacks.  Gerrymandering to help white liberals in order to hurt white conservatives also hurts blacks.  This is why during the 2011 redistricting process here in Missouri, the politics of which took place in the very building in which I am currently writing this blog post, Republicans and black Democrats teamed up to give us our current map, because the current map benefits Republicans and black Democrats.  And besides, why are white liberals bitching?  It’s not as if a black Democrat member of Congress is going to vote against white liberal hobby horse issues anyway.

If the white partisan split in House elections overall was around 51 R 49 D, then the liberal Democrats would have a point about gerrymandering.  But in reality, it’s around 60-40, and that means that even favorable Democrat gerrymanders wouldn’t make much of a difference.


Consider last year in Virginia.  Democrats eked out the statewide offices, but Republicans won 67 of 100 seats in the State House (House of Delegates).  However, considering the generic vote, Republicans got more votes than Democrats, significantly more, when examining House of Delegate elections alone.  The Democrats that won statewide only won because of the big margins they ran up among Federal workers, blacks and immigrants in suburban D.C., Richmond and Norfolk.  But there was probably no way to draw a map of the House of Delegates to engineer anything close to a Democrat majority.


12 01 2014

Arlington, Virginia

The Hill, on the Clinton, Inc. making a list and checking it twice:

When the Clintons sat in judgment, Claire McCaskill got the seat closest to the fire. Bill and Hillary had gone all out for her when she ran for Senate in Missouri in 2006. But McCaskill seemed to forget that favor when NBC’s Tim Russert asked her whether Bill had been a great president, during a “Meet the Press” debate against then-Sen. Jim Talent in October 2006.

“He’s been a great leader,” McCaskill said of Bill, “but I don’t want my daughter near him.”

Instantly, McCaskill regretted her remark; the anguish brought her “to the point of epic tears,” according to a friend. She knew the comment had sounded much more deliberate than a forgivable slip of the tongue. So did Hillary, who immediately canceled a planned fundraiser for McCaskill.

A few days later McCaskill called Bill Clinton to offer a tearful apology. Bill was gracious, which just made McCaskill feel worse. After winning the seat, she was terrified of running into Hillary Clinton in the Capitol. “I really don’t want to be in an elevator alone with her,” McCaskill confided to the friend.

But Hillary, who was just then embarking on her presidential campaign, still wanted something from McCaskill—the Missourian’s endorsement. Women’s groups, including EMILY’s List, pressured McCaskill to jump aboard the Clinton bandwagon, and Hillary courted her new colleague personally, setting up a one-on-one lunch in the Senate Dining Room in early 2007. Rather than ask for her support directly, Hillary took a softer approach, seeking common ground on the struggles of campaigning, including the physical toll. “There’s a much more human side to Hillary,” McCaskill thought.

Obama, meanwhile, was pursuing her too, in a string of conversations on the Senate floor. Clearly, Hillary thought she had a shot at McCaskill. But for McCaskill, the choice was always whether to endorse Obama or stay on the sidelines. In January 2008 she not only became the first female senator to endorse Obama but she also made the case to his team that her support would be amplified if Govs. Kathleen Sebelius and Janet Napolitano came out for him at roughly the same time.

McCaskill offered up a small courtesy, calling Hillary’s personal aide, Huma Abedin, ahead of the endorsement to make sure it didn’t blindside Hillary.

But the trifecta of women leaders giving Obama their public nod was a devastating blow. Hate is too weak a word to describe the feelings that Hillary’s core loyalists still have for McCaskill, who seemed to deliver a fresh endorsement of Obama—and a caustic jab at Hillary—every day during the primary.

And why did all these prominent women break early for Obama over HRC?  Because…Reverse Queen Bee Syndrome aka Female Crabs in a Bucket Syndrome.

As someone who was on the other side of Claire McCaskill’s ledger in 2012, from my vantage point, she got absolutely no help from Clinton, Inc. that year.

Many of the other names on the traitor side of the ledger were easy to remember, from Ted Kennedy to John Lewis, the civil rights icon whose defection had been so painful that Bill Clinton seemed to be in a state of denial about it. In private conversations, he tried to explain away Lewis’s motivations for switching camps midstream, after Obama began ratcheting up pressure for black lawmakers to get on “the right side of history.”

Lewis, because of his own place in American history and the unique loyalty test he faced with the first viable black candidate running for president, is a perfect example of why Clinton aides had to keep track of more detailed information than the simple binary of for and against. Perhaps someday Lewis’s betrayal could be forgiven.

Ted Kennedy (another seven on the hit list) was a different story.

He had slashed Hillary worst of all, delivering a pivotal endorsement speech for Obama just before the Super Tuesday primaries that cast her as yesterday’s news and Obama as the rightful heir to Camelot. He did it in conjunction with a New York Times op-ed by Caroline Kennedy that said much the same thing in less thundering tones. Bill Clinton had pleaded with Kennedy to hold off, but to no avail.

John Lewis is easy to explain — Race race race race race.  Ted Kennedy endorsing Obama over HRC is harder to figure, but I think I know the answer, though it might be an answer he took to his grave so we’ll never be able to confirm in this world — One hint to the answer is the use of the word “Camelot” here.  The only Kennedy that was ever President was John, and only for 1,036 days.  If HRC would have been elected President in 2008, it would have meant that the Clintons would have instantly become more of a credible Democrat Presidential dynasty than the Kennedys, by definition of two different Clintons winning the White House as opposed to just one Kennedy.  If I’m right, look for either an above or below the surface jihad from the remaining living political Kennedys to bring down HRC when the Presidential campaign season begins in the second half of next year going into early 2016.

Other reasons why I don’t think HRC is inevitable in 2016.

Junior Partner

3 11 2013


I’ve never believed the notion that some of our favorite websites have been pushing that Romney picked Paul Ryan as a running mate at the behest of consultants, barnacles and donors.  I’ve tended to the theory that Romney elevating younger “talent” like Ryan up the ladder ahead of what is considered normal schedule was a feature of his managerial style in the world of business.

Drudge today has been splashing heavy this Time expose mainly about what scared the Romney campaign away from Krispy Christie, but in passing, my sensibilities have been confirmed:

Mitt meditated on the choice that now seemed inevitable: Ryan. Beyond all the political pros and cons, Romney felt comfortable with Paul. He reminded Mitt of junior partners he used to work with at Bain: eager, earnest, solicitous, smart and not at all threatening. Bob White had a phrase for these buttoned-down go-getters, which he applied to Ryan: “client-ready.”

That will get missed, but at least the good news is that dirty laundry is starting to show up re Christie.  Not soon enough to keep him from winning a second term as New Jersey Governor on Tuesday, but this will very likely seriously hurt his Presidential chops.

And as a Jeff Sessions guy, that suits me just fine.


Now on the heels of this, Romney comes out and says that Krispy Christie can win the Republican nomination in 2016 and save the party.

Great idea, nominate a northeastern moderate.

If Romney loves Christie so much, why did he pick Ryan instead of Christie?  The first link in this story answers all.

But I Repeat Myself

10 10 2013


Ever since IRSgate broke, I’ve been very skeptical of the theory that it influenced 2012 by depressing Republican turnout.  First off, the TPM was never hot for Romney, second, Romney had plenty of money on his own to do GOTV.  His losing is entirely his fault.  Hell, the Romney campaign’s election day GOTV software base was so bad and untested that the sonofabitch crashed when the Romney campaign tried to crank it up on the morning of election day.

But we have a lame quantitative attempt to “prove” that:

Study finds IRS suppression of Tea Party swung 2012 election

A new study by the American Enterprise Institute — “Do Political Protests Matter? Evidence From The Tea Party Movement” — finds that the movement boosted Republican turnout by three to six million votes in the 2010 election. This effect was blunted in the 2012 election, though, because growth in the movement stalled.

That slowdown happened, co-author and AEI economist Stan Veuger notes, at the same time that the IRS began coming down hard on these groups. He argues in a article that this most likely had a major impact in the 2012 election.

“The founders, members, and donors of new Tea Party groups found themselves incapable of exercising their constitutional rights, and the Tea Party’s impact was muted in the 2012 election cycle,” Veuger said.

He added: “The data show that, had the Tea Party groups continued to grow at the pace seen in 2009 and 2010, and had their effect on the 2012 vote been similar to that seen in 2010, they would have brought the Republican Party as many as 5 to 8.5 million votes compared to Obama’s victory margin of 5 million.”

Given those numbers, it is reasonable to be suspicious of the IRS targeting, Veuger said.

The AEI study was done by Veuger, Andreas Madestam of Stockholm University, and Daniel Shoag and David Yanagizawa-Drott, both from the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard.

The big problem with this study?  As the investment commercials always tell us, past returns are not automatically indicative of future results.

I can believe that the TPM efforts boosted Republican turnout in 2010 over 2008 by a 3-6m delta.  What I cannot automatically be made to believe is that it would have kept on bringing in more voters, 5-8.5m delta on top of that, in 2012 over 2010, had Obama and the RINOs combined not sicked the IRS on it.  What is very possible is that the TPM in 2009 and 2010 plucked a lot of sweet easy low hanging fruit, but there was no fruit to be had any higher on the tree.


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