First Things

20 10 2015

Washington, D.C.

There has been a lot of buzz about this Matt Yglesias (“MY” going forward, because I don’t feel like spelling out his last name) essay in Vox about ZOMG SKY IS FALLING FOR TEAM BLUE LOL~!!!!!1.

Just from reading that first sentence, you can already figure out what I generally think about it.

But I’m going to strap on the scuba gear and go deep diving. So, here we go.

The presidency is extremely important, of course. But there are also thousands of critically important offices all the way down the ballot. And the vast majority — 70 percent of state legislatures, more than 60 percent of governors, 55 percent of attorneys general and secretaries of state — are in Republicans hands. And, of course, Republicans control both chambers of Congress.

Downballot? So what? I’m about to prove once and for all how irrelevant downballot offices and officials are:

Anthony Kennedy versus Kim Davis.

Uh oh…uh oh…

(Drops the mic)

Also consider that there is a severe disconnect between what Republicans are doing with all this power and what the typical voter who made their victories possible expects of them. One of many examples I’ve been harping on this year is Indiana, and its recent RFRA question: The Governor is a Republican, and both chambers of the state legislature are more than two-thirds Republican. Yet, when it was all over, the RFRA bill they ultimately passed was worse than what they started with before they started debating any such bill.

Elections for state legislature rarely make the national news, but they are the fundamental building blocks of American politics. Since they run the redistricting process for the US House of Representatives and for themselves, they are where the greatest level of electoral entrenchment is possible.

State legislatures draw the lines and boundaries and districts that are used for both their own members and for the U.S. House. (Every state legislator and every member of the House) < (The President’s pen and phone slash the Federal executive bureaucracy slash SCOTUS). Also, in legislative terms, if one thinks that matters anymore, the United States Senate is the plutocrat/corporate firewall against any populist uprisings that arise in the lower chamber from time to time, because Senate elections are statewide elections, ergo expensive elections, ergo dependent on the donor class.

Tom Wolf rode a backlash against then-Gov. Tom Corbett’s hard-right policies to victory

Tom Corbett got blamed for Jerry Sandusky, when the reality is that Corbett, while he was state AG, was the first person with public authority to do something about punishing him when he actually found out what he was up to.

One striking fact about this is that the presumption of continued GOP control is so solid that you don’t even get pushback from House Democratic leaders when you write it down. Privately, some backbench Democrats express frustration that the leadership has no plan to try to recapture the majority. In their defense, it’s not like anyone outside the leadership has a great plan either.

Maybe the reason why senior House Democrats aren’t worried is because they don’t have to be worried. Because they know the President will either be a pen and phone Democrat or a squish RINO unwilling or unable to resist the Federal bureaucrats who are largely an eternal fifth estate of the left. Trump being a giant wild card here.

But this isn’t just a parochial issue for the House Democratic caucus. It means that the party’s legislative agenda is entirely dead on arrival at the federal level.

Again, the legislative agenda doesn’t matter, because pen and phone, bureaucrats and SCOTUS.

The GOP, by contrast, has basically two perfectly plausible plans for moving its agenda forward. One is to basically change nothing and just hope for slightly better luck from the economic fundamentals or in terms of Democratic Party scandals. The other is to shift left on immigration and gain some Latino votes while retaining the core of the party’s commitments. Neither of these plans is exactly brilliant, innovative, or foolproof. But neither one is crazy. Even if you believe that Democrats have obtained a structural advantage in presidential elections, it’s clearly not an enormous one. The 51 percent of the vote obtained by Barack Obama in 2012 was hardly a landslide, early head-to-head polling of 2016 indicates a close race, and there’s always a chance that unexpected bad news will hit the US economy or impair our national security.

MY, you need to realize that ZOMG GREAT HISPANIC VOTER TIDAL WAVE LOL~!!!!!1 isn’t real, it’s donor-driven political pseudo-science.

Also remember that the Presidential election is based on the Electoral College, not the popular vote. The 51.1-47.2 Obama-Romney popular vote margin was a 332-206 electoral vote margin, for a 61-39 percent margin. Assuming that the states that were blue in the last four cycles stay blue, even though there is thought that Trump could break through the blue wall in the Great Lakes, that’s 243 guaranteed EC votes for any ole monkey that the Democrats nominate, meaning they start the race with 45% of all EC votes, and 90% of what they need to win.  In contrast, the red all four times states only have 175 EC votes, 32% of the whole universe and 64% of the victory line.  EC-ily speaking, team blue has a lot more wiggle room and margin for error than team red.

Winning a presidential election would give Republicans the overwhelming preponderance of political power in the United States — a level of dominance not achieved since the Democrats during the Great Depression, but with a much more ideologically coherent coalition.

Is MY not aware that the Republican Party is in the middle of tearing itself apart? If by some fluke some RINO Republican wins, s/he would not be leading an “ideologically coherent coalition,” and if Trump wins, he would not be leading an “ideologically coherent coalition.”

Much of the current Republican infighting — embarrassing and counterproductive though it may be at times — reflects the healthy impulse to recognize that the party lacks the full measure of power that it desires, and needs to argue about optimal strategies for obtaining it.

No, MY, that “infighting” isn’t just a rather loud iteration of a police internecine debate, it’s a consequence/clusterfuck of trying to cram two different political parties into one.

On the Democratic side, the personal political success of Barack Obama has created an atmosphere of complacency and overconfidence. If a black guy with the middle name Hussein can win the White House, the thinking seems to be, then anything is possible.

The key word to understanding that is “black.”

Whatever you make of this agenda substantively, there’s no way to actually enact it without first achieving a considerably higher level of down-ballot electoral success than Democrats currently enjoy.

The pen and phone.

When power is accumulating around the center, as it very very long view historically tends to do, it matters who is at the center, people not at the center don’t matter.

Wicked Racial Profiling Trick

29 09 2015

Washington, D.C.

National Journal:  RNC Chair: Iowa and New Hampshire Aren’t “Sacred Cows” After 2016

I stopped there.

You know which blog you’re reading, and you know what my WRPT is.  So you can probably guess what I’m thinking the reason is that Rinse Pree-Bus wants to make this change.

“Because IA and NH are too white, not diverse enough.”

I have news for Rinse Pree-Bus:  Whatever he’s thinking, there might not be a Republican Party in 2020.

Poor Paul

5 08 2015

St. Louis City

Prop One loses, got 61% but needed two-thirds.

I hope Paul McKee has closet full of boxes of tissues.

This Will Make Rahm Sweat Bullets

28 07 2015


I'm running for mayor!!!!

A photo posted by Chief Keef (@chieffkeeffsossa) on

That would be this gentleman:

Backyard Cappin

A photo posted by Chief Keef (@chieffkeeffsossa) on

As in the canceled hologram concert.  BTW, he tried to hold it in Gary, Indiana, but they shut it down there, too.

Though the next election isn’t until 2019, unless there’s a special election before then for some reason.  By then, Mr. Keef will probably be in prison.  Or he’ll just lose interest, or he’ll be totally forgotten; rappers don’t have a long shelf life these days, or sometimes, even a long real life.

Lazy Clay’s Easy Button

21 07 2015

North City and North County


U.S. Rep. William Lacy Clay is one of the most veteran politicians in Missouri, but when it comes to raising money for re-election, he’s also one of the least prolific.

He doesn’t need a dime.

It’s not on purpose, Clay said in an interview, but more of a “structural problem” that speaks to how the campaign money game in Washington is played. And he says he’s proven he can raise less money than an opponent and still win.

Because almost all of the blacks on the Missouri side of the St. Louis area are drawn into his district.  That’s even more so in this decade’s version of his district, as Missouri went down from nine to eight Congressional districts.

According to Federal Election Commission reports, Clay’s was second-lowest amount of cash on hand among Missouri’s 10 congressional members as of July 1, with Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Kansas City, showing roughly $142,000.

Beaver Cleaver is another one that doesn’t need a dime, for much the same reason.  Though his MO-5 has a lot more whites in it than Clay’s MO-1, Cleaver only won last year 52-45, and that was faced with a red wave that will probably never be topped.  But it means that Cleaver may not win his biennial races with landslide margins like Clay does, he still does win, in spite of my prediction when the map was finalized in 2011 that Cleaver’s new MO-5 could really put him at severe risk of losing if the red wave was tall enough.

Clay says he has trouble raising money from Political Action Committees because he represents a “safe” Democratic seat, even though he serves on the Financial Services Committee, whose members often get showered with financial donations from the banking and other financial industries.

“How come they’re not bribing me?”  Because you’re not smart enough to be of value to the people who hand out bribes, Lazy.

“The money has never been an issue, it is how you use it. And I think I use it in a most effective way because I still believe in old-fashioned politics. I know I have to mix technology in there, but we still go door-to-door, we still touch people, we do phone banking, all of that.” —Rep. William Lacy Clay, D-St. Louis.

No, your people don’t even go door to door.  You just rely on them remembering that you’re black and that your last name is Clay and therefore also the same as your eponymous father who held MO-1 for 32 years.

In contrast, Dick Gephardt was one the fund raising champions when he represented St. Louis and vicinity in Congress, but he’s another one who never needed a dime of it.  Not necessarily because of the district, but because of the local media fawning over him and giving him unbeatable name recognition.  Of course, Gephardt’s district no longer exists, and you know why.

Any Thing You Say Can and Will Be Used Against You In the Court of Carlos Slim

5 06 2015

New York City

Nate Cohn, writing in the NYT, on the ramifications for the U.S. House if SCOTUS both finds for Evenwel and applies their rationale to all district-drawn politics.  I slightly disagree with a few things, but I won’t nitpick, and he would have done well to expound on how a ruling for Evenwel would also marginally diminish black political power, because of the lower median age of blacks meaning a higher percentage of them are under 18 and therefore wouldn’t be counted for apportionment and redistricting purposes.

Way down in the paragraph count, he has this startling confession:

The turnout rate among adult citizen Hispanics in these same areas is quite low.

I hope he said this before he was Mirandized.  Otherwise, Carlos Slim is going to call him into his office and read him the Riot Act.  Because the party line is ZOMG GREAT HISPANIC VOTER TIDAL WAVE LOL~!!!!!1.  Carlos Slim’s newspaper is supposed to be spreading the propaganda that the Hispanic vote is that big, that crucial, exercises that much leverage, and is that powerful, in order to cower politicians (esp. Republicans) into throwing the borders wide open (even more than they already are), so that there are whole lots of Mexicans on both sides of the fiction that we used to call a border, but one that still serves Carlos Slim’s business interests, as his wealth odometer rolls up every time someone makes a phone call or wires money between the two countries.

Duhmocrazy Doing What It Does “Best”

29 05 2015



Most Democrats Think Illegal Immigrants Should Vote

That’s no surprise to me.

This is, somewhat:

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that one-out-of-three Likely U.S. Voters (35%) now believes that illegal immigrants should be allowed to vote if they can prove they live in this country and pay taxes. Sixty percent (60%) disagree, while five percent (5%) are undecided.


Fifty-three percent (53%) of Democrats think tax-paying illegal immigrants should have the right to vote. Twenty-one percent (21%) of Republicans and 30% of voters not affiliated with either major political party agree.

The bigger disappointment is that a fifth of Republicans and almost a third of independents agree. But then again, it’s really not a surprise. Because if we’re told that voting as a means to determining who determines public policy is sacrosanct, and we have to deploy National Endowment for Democracy propaganda soft power and sometimes even invade the world military hard power to make sure the rest of the world basks in such “glory,” then how can we morally refuse the franchise to people who are just missing a little bit of documentation?  Colonel Sanders wants you to eat more fried chicken, not the same or less. Likewise, democracies want more voters, not the same or fewer.

Strangely, though:

The U.S. Supreme Court has just agreed to hear a case challenging how Texas sets up state legislative districts. Texas currently counts everyone in the state, including illegal immigrants, before carving up districts of proportional population size, but the challenge argues that only eligible voters should be counted because the current system creates some districts with much larger numbers of eligible voters than others.

Sixty-six percent (66%) of voters agree with the legal challenge and say states should only count eligible voters when setting the size of legislative districts for voting purposes. Just 23% favor the current system in Texas that counts all residents including illegal immigrants. Eleven percent (11%) are not sure.

I referenced this story a few days ago.

At first glance, the 66% who side with Evenwel in Evenwel v Abbott does not necessarily mathematically overlap with the 30% of those who want illegal aliens to vote, but they do add up to 96%, and experience has taught me that there has to be some overlap, maybe five to ten percent. Meaning those in the overlap think that illegal aliens should be able to vote but illegal aliens shouldn’t be counted as voters in apportionment and redistricting matters. Make that make sense.


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,545 other followers