Morning Ed: Politics {2016.03.08.T}

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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184 Responses

  1. j r says:

    Half of Democrats, and over a third of Republicans and independents, believe that hate speech should be a criminal offense.

    This is interesting, but it serves to highlight the problem with opinion polls: there are no stakes. This is the same reason that I don’t support most forms of direct democracy.

    If you go up to people, reference some bad thing, and then ask them if they would like the government to make it stop, a good portion are going to say yes. It doesn’t surprise me that a good portion of folks respond yes to a question on hate speech devoid of any context on free speech jurisprudence, law enforcement, or even a meaningful discussion of what exactly would constitute hate speech. Good democratic outcomes requires a modicum of knowledge and a fair amount of deliberation.Report

    • Damon in reply to j r says:

      Well, people ARE stupid.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Damon says:

        One of the problems with the assumption of the stupidity of others is that it generally is not followed with “so are there stupid reasons these stupid people think these stupid things that can be addressed in a non-stupid manner?”Report

      • Art Deco in reply to Damon says:

        People may be stupid, but that’s not what he’s referring to. You ask people something in an idle sort of way, you get an idle and ill-considered answer.Report

        • Damon in reply to Art Deco says:

          “You ask people something in an idle sort of way, you get an idle and ill-considered answer.”

          So answers the stupid. The smart don’t answer knowing the question, possible answers, or the entire event, is carefully staged/managed to generate an outcome desired by the sponsors.Report

          • Kazzy in reply to Damon says:

            “Do you think hate speech should be outlawed?”
            [puff of smoke]
            [maniacal laughter drifting off into the distance] “Suckers!”Report

    • Art Deco in reply to j r says:


      Faux de mieux, referenda are useful for certain things: charter amendments, bond issues, recalls, and decisions on retention of appellate judges. California crazy.Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to j r says:

      That kind of sounds like you’re saying you know the correct answer already, it’s that hate speech should be allowed, and that anyone who disagrees must not have thought it through or they’d agree with you.

      The alternative – that as many or more people of serious mind and good character who have spent time and thought considering the question, have arrived at a conclusion contrary to your own and with what exists in the US, but in line with the laws in Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Chile, Australia, most if not all EU countries, most signatories to the ICCPR, etc. – that’s impossible?Report

      • j r in reply to dragonfrog says:

        That kind of sounds like you’re saying you know the correct answer already…

        As luck would have it, I do know the correct answer: hate speech laws are stupid and, in practice, capriciously enforced. That’s not the point of my comment, though.

        If you took that same group of respondents and gave them some historical context on how speech laws in other countries came to be, some legal context on U.S. free speech jurisprudence, and a quick primer on some of the problems of enforcement and prosecution of hate speech laws, then the number of people responding yes to the original question would decrease by a non-trivial amount. My comment is a prediction about how that poll would turn out with the introduction of more information, My own personal beliefs are beside the point.

        As you point out yourself, most countries with hate speech laws don’t have them because of some groundswell of popular support for those laws. Rather, they have them because governments passed those laws to come into compliance with international agreements and compacts.Report

  2. Kolohe says:

    We got rid of at-large Congressional districts because of disparate impact on minorities. And now the liberal Washington Monthly wants to bring them back?

    I like non-partisan elections for municipal/county level governance (as my state does), but no higher. And even my state, the ‘non-partisan’ elections still essentially have a delegate slate and party backing, the big difference is that there’s no (D), (R), (SG), (LIB), etc next to a candidates name.

    I’m more in favor of legislative term limits than you are, but I agree the proposed ones in the link are too short. Either 10 or 14 years for the House of Reps (to keep the term limit from syncing with the Pres election cycle), and maybe 18 for Senate. Alternatively, no limits for the house of Reps and a twelve year limit for Senate.Report

    • Chris in reply to Kolohe says:

      Ugh, at-large districts is a terrible idea. It won’t just mean non-white people will be underrepresented, but also that wealthy white areas will end up with extra representation. Once again, Vox shows who it is.Report

      • Art Deco in reply to Chris says:

        There are seldom any ‘wealthy’ areas in a metropolitan region of ordinary size. There are suburbs which are more affluent than others and certain urban enclaves. The reason it might mean more representation for the affluent is that (within certain limits) the affluent are more likely to run for office. (If the way it works in my home town is any guide though, people higher on the social scale than rank-and-file lawyers and community college professors seldom run for anything).Report

        • Chris in reply to Art Deco says:

          There are seldom any ‘wealthy’ areas in a metropolitan region of ordinary size.


          • Art Deco in reply to Chris says:

            Heh, what?

            People with personal assets which allow them to clip coupons might make up about 2.5% of the general population. You can find a couple of city blocks in an ordinary metropolis where such people are a majority, not a whole suburban municipality. In my home town, the income levels of the most affluent municipality were about 60% above the metropolitan mean. That municipality has about 3.5% of the population of the whole metropolis. There are an abnormal number of wealthy people there, but most people there are not wealthy. It’s that affluent because its bourgeois and lacks much of a wage-earner population.Report

            • Chris in reply to Art Deco says:

              Pick a city, any city:


              Pretty much every city has wealthy areas, many have more than one. Where they are (outskirts, interior, etc.) depend on a lot of things — the history of the city, how vital or revitalized the interior is, zoning, etc. — but rich folk will live in the city, and they will wield an outsized political influence regardless of whether they’re concentrated in one or two areas or spread out in multiple ones.

              Here in Austin, it’s the west side and parts of the interior, which, under our recently discarded (last November, in fact) at-large system, dominated the city council. In Chicago there are a few regions, as there are in L.A., as there are in San Diego (heh… I’m kidding, they’re all wealthy), or Kansas City, or Indianapolis, or Detro… OK, hehe… not really that one.Report

              • Art Deco in reply to Chris says:

                Pretty much every city has wealthy areas,

                Nope, not of any size. A single apartment building, a city block, that’s it. For an area to be ‘wealthy’, the ratio of wealthy to non-wealthy has to exceed the norm by 40 to 1.

                I suspect you’re confounding assets and income. Physicians are affluent. They’re not typically wealthy until the terminal phases of their career. The physician in my nexus is carrying a boat-load of student debt and is (for convenience) living in a high rent district. I think he owes his partners money too.Report

              • Chris in reply to Art Deco says:

                At some point, does just talking out your ass make sitting painful? Because you do it so much.Report

              • Joe Sal in reply to Art Deco says:

                Well, it appears there are two parameters to this discussion:

                1. Quantum of wealthy population.
                2. Influence of wealth.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Art Deco says:

                New York City has some remarkably wealthy areas. The Upper East Side, the Upper West Side, and most of downtown Manhattan are going to have wealthy and high-income folks far outnumber middle- and low-income folks… and all of those terms are relative to New York (i.e., middle-income folks in NYC would be high-income folks in most other parts of the country). Some neighborhoods in Brooklyn are also approaching this point if they haven’t already arrived. Unlike some other cities, New York neighborhoods are loosely defined as they are social and cultural constructions, not legal or political ones. The boroughs are and Manhattan and Brooklyn far outpace Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx (which is way below the other four). Manhattan even exceeds the wealthiest neighboring counties (including Westchester, NY and Fairfield, CT) in per-capita income… and pretty dramatically so.

                So, I’m not sure exactly what you are arguing @art-deco , but a city of New York’s size definitely has wealthy neighborhoods of more than a building or block.Report

              • Chris in reply to Kazzy says:

                Pretty much every city has some really wealthy areas, though New York’s are freakishly wealthy.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Chris says:

                I couldn’t get that link to work (I got a security warning?) but every city I’ve lived in (New York, Boston, DC) has had very wealthy areas within the city limits. Those are three older east coast cities but they vary dramatically in terms of size and density.

                New York probably had the greatest disparity. DC was interesting in that you often had very wealthy areas right up against very poor areas; the other cities seemed to have more separation and degrees in between. Boston’s wealthy areas are smaller and any analysis of the city is clouded by the sheer size of the college student population.

                All three cities have VERY wealthy suburbs that border them, with Brookline essentially being surrounded on all sides by Boston (most non-residents and even some residents move between the two without knowing they’ve left one and entered the other). With the exception of New York, these areas often serve as residential extensions of the city center. They are serviced by the city’s mass transit/subway system. In Boston, these areas are Cambridge and Newton (in addition to Brookline) and in DC you have Bethesda, MD and Alexandria, VA.Report

              • Chris in reply to Kazzy says:

                Yeah, Boston is weird because the city itself and the population within it are actually relatively small (smaller than Austin, for example). Nashville, on the other hand, is huge, and has some fabulously wealthy neighborhoods that are within the city limits but look like suburbs (though there are fabulously wealthy near the interior, like Belle Meade and areas of Green Hills). In Austin, as I mentioned, the wealth is heavily concentrated in the hills to the west (some of which is within the city and some of which is in little tiny incorporated areas like Bee Caves), though there is a high concentration of wealth in certain parts of the interior (parts of Hyde Park, the areas around Pease Park, and increasingly, the west side of downtown).

                I actually live in a sort of no-man’s land between an extremely wealthy area and a working/lower middle class area, which makes the grocery store parking lot really interesting: run-down late 90s Corolla, 2005 Chrystler 300M, GranTurismo, Fiat 500, Audi R8.Report

              • Art Deco in reply to Kazzy says:

                Per the U.S. Census Bureau, Brookline, Massachusetts has a per capita income which exceeds national means by 2.17-fold. That’s quite affluent. That, however, is a measure of income and not a measure of assets.

                Under what circumstances might you have a municipality with a mean income level that high? You can get close to that level if your town has essentially no wage earners in it, just proprietors, professionals, and salaried employees. In that circumstance, your common-and-garden bourgeois would constitute about half the town’s population, your professional managerial bourgeois somewhat north of 40%, and your patriciate 5-10%.Report

              • Art Deco in reply to Kazzy says:

                The urban glob which is New York has about 18 million people living in it on both sides of the river. In Manhattan, community districts 1 (TriBeCa &c), 2 (Greenwich Village &c), 4 (Chelsea &c), 5 (Midtown, Gramercy, &c), 6 (Murray Hill & c), and 8 (Upper East Side &c) have a population which sums to about 638,000. The Hamptons and adjacent low density areas on Long Island have a population that’s somewhere around 113,000. That amounts to 750,000 people. These are posh areas. Maybe most of the people there are sitting on 7-digit asset piles, maybe they aren’t. Now scale that down to an urban glob of ordinary dimensions (Omaha, Louisville, Dayton, Rochester, Albuquerque). An ordinary urban glob has a dense settlement of about 600,000 people in it, so you get a posh zone in the form of two enclaves with 25,000 people in them toto. Actually, you’d scale it down further, as personal income per capita in the greater New York settlement is around about 37% above national means. That in Omaha is close to national means. Now, where I grew up, the mean population of the dense settlement in a suburban township is about 46,000, so, being generous, you’re looking at a pair of enclaves which together sum to a bit more than half the population of an ordinary suburban township.

                Look, if 15% of the population of your township is sitting on large asset piles, the ratio of your wealthy to your non-wealthy already exceeds that of an ordinary municipality by a factor of 7. Truly wealthy people are too odd to demographically dominate anything but eccentric enclaves, often not geographically defined.Report

            • DensityDuck in reply to Art Deco says:

              Art, this conversation would be easier for you to understand if you just accepted the obvious and unequivocal truth that “white” = “wealth”.Report

    • PD Shaw in reply to Kolohe says:

      My main experience with non-partisan state elections was in Louisiana when David Duke made the runoff for Governor, but lost to the felon. So, I’m very pessimistic about the opportunities it provides.Report

      • Kolohe in reply to PD Shaw says:

        Trump v Clinton will a a racist vs a felon, so it’s not partisan vs non-partisan that’s the issue.Report

        • Road Scholar in reply to Kolohe says:

          I had thought you better than that, K. Care to name the felony that Clinton has been indicted for, much less convicted of?

          As for Trump, I don’t believe he’s seriously a racist. IMO he’s something arguably worse: a demagogue willing to appeal to the racism of a substantial fraction of the electorate for political gain. IOW, a good Republican.Report

          • Kolohe in reply to Road Scholar says:

            Dick Nixon didn’t do anything per se illegal until he was in office, either.Report

            • Art Deco in reply to Kolohe says:

              The most discretely unlawful thing he did was take an unwarranted tax deduction. That he did before taking office.

              It was Nicholas von Hoffman’s thesis that his tax issues were a good deal more offensive to the general public than the doings of the Plumbers and successors or the doings of various parties trying to cover up the doings of the Plumbers.Report

            • Kim in reply to Kolohe says:

              I’m pretty sure calling up pizza joints and telling them that the DNC would pay for 100 pizzas is illegal. Very, very petty, but that’s false representation at minimum.Report

              • Art Deco in reply to Kim says:

                Donald Segretti was active in 1971 and 1972, not 1968.

                As von Hoffman noted, Segretti was prosecuted and Dick Tuck was not.Report

              • Kim in reply to Art Deco says:

                There’s dirty tricks in politics, and then there’s dirtier tricks.

                Messing with the voting machines has to be the dirtiest (see Ohio).

                Maybe the cleanest “dirty trick” is calling in the FBI…

                I know a troll — he works politics, and campaign season is a busy time for him.Report

            • Road Scholar in reply to Kolohe says:

              Actually, he did, and it was a whopper. In the run-up to the ’68 election Johnson’s State department was finishing up negotiations with the the North Vietnamese for a cease-fire, a result which would have ensured his re-election. Nixon sent operatives to persuade the NV to delay the cease-fire until after the election.

              A few years ago a recording of a phone conversation between Johnson and the Republican Senator Everett Dirkson surfaced wherein Dirkson acknowledged the above and that it constituted treason. Johnson, to his considerable credit, kept it all under wraps fearing how such a revelation would tear the country apart.Report

              • Art Deco in reply to Road Scholar says:

                Actually, he did, and it was a whopper. In the run-up to the ’68 election Johnson’s State department was finishing up negotiations with the the North Vietnamese for a cease-fire, a result which would have ensured his re-election. Nixon sent operatives to persuade the NV to delay the cease-fire until after the election.

                Johnson withdrew his name from consideration for the Democratic nomination on 31 March 1968. He wasn’t a candidate for re-election. There’s also a distinction between ‘treason’ as a conversational term and ‘treason’ as a legal term of art. Even if you’ve rendered Nixon’s actions correctly, that would not qualify under the constitutional definition absent a declaration of war. Jane Fonda was never prosecuted for treason (though the spirit of it was there in her activities).

                The notion that anything substantial could have been obtained from North Vietnam in 1968 is fantastical.Report

              • Kim in reply to Art Deco says:

                Treason as a legal term of art has been applied to people unable to fucking vote, who are peacefully protesting their lack of political power.

                FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS, am I right?Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Art Deco says:

                Just so long as it is a clear matter of history, that Nixon deliberately sabotaged negotiations with the enemy just to advance his own political gain, I’m happy to call it “not-technically-treason”.Report

              • Art Deco in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                I doubt he did. I’m certainly not going to take the word of someone who fancies Lyndon Johnson was running for re-election in 1968.Report

              • Road Scholar in reply to Art Deco says:

                FWIW I was eight years old in ’68 so my memory is a bit fuzzy. But it’s convenient to know we can apply a standard wherein any small, inconsequential, error categorically renders any subsequent utterances worthless. It saves time knowing I can resume my previous preference of completely ignoring you.Report

              • Art Deco in reply to Road Scholar says:

                That’s not an inconsequential error, Road Scholar. It pretty much makes a dog’s breakfast of your whole scenario.Report

              • It certainly does. It’s not as if Nixon were running against a Democrat who was associated with the Johnson Administration or its policies.Report

              • Road Scholar in reply to Art Deco says:

                It was a violation of the Logan Act, which is a felony. And while you may be correct that it doesn’t meet the strict definition of “treason” — I mean, I really don’t know since IANAL — it sure strikes me as clearly treasonous in spirit.

                You’re picking a hell of a hill to die on.Report

              • Art Deco in reply to Road Scholar says:

                I’m not dying on any hills. I’m beginning with the assumption that this has about as much reality outside your two ears as Johnson’s ‘re-election’ campaign. (Legal opinions aside).Report

              • Road Scholar in reply to Art Deco says:

                I apologize for the late reply; I was a bit busy with work. You are correct, of course, that Johnson withdrew his name from consideration and it was actually his sitting Veep, Hubert Humphrey, that was running. But of what consequence is that? The relevant fact, as Mr. Schilling pointed out, is that Nixon was campaigning against the policies of the Johnson administration, of which Humphrey was obviously a part of.

                As to the allegations themselves, these have been long-standing, as related by Bruce Buchanan in this NY Times article from 2008, discussing the contents of a then newly released tape of a phone conversation between President Johnson and the Republican Senate Leader, Everett Dirkson.

                I couldn’t figure out a way to make a link but if you Google “Johnson Dirksen tape” the actual recording from YouTube is the first hit. A partial transcript and related info can be found here.

                What I believe lends these allegations legitimacy is the fact that these were private conversations that didn’t see the light of day until after all the relevant parties were long buried.Report

              • Road Scholar in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Thanks, Mike!Report

              • Heard an interesting story that right after he gave that speech of not running, he actually had his staff go talk to Party officials to make sure he’d get the nomination later that year.

                …it’s possible that got scrapped when the negotiations for a cease fire fell through.

                (Also, given the source and who he heard that story from, and WHERE I heard that story, I’m inclined to believe it.)Report

      • Art Deco in reply to PD Shaw says:

        Your problem at that time was the dispositions of the Louisiana electorate, which was willing to give north of 60% of the vote to two men: one a man who’d had no adult occupation other than white-power agitation and producing sex manuals and and the other a skeezy lawyer.

        Ordinal balloting might have helped had about 3/4 of the miscellaneous trailing candidates marked Gov. Roemer as their 2d choice. In that circumstance, David Duke would likely have been eliminated and the election decided between Roemer and Edwin Edwards according to Duke supporters’ 2d choices (or 3d choices, had their second choice been one of the miscellaneous candidates).

        In general, ordinal balloting consequent to a pure petition process for ballot access is preferable in jurisdictions which are non-competitive due to highly imbalanced party preference and in races where you want the candidates to have some distance from party politics (e.g. judges or sheriffs).Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Kolohe says:

      I’d just limit it to 5 terms each (10 years for reps, 30 for Senate )Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        30 years is such a long time to be in one job. Even in the days of so-called ‘lifetime employment’ with a single company, you generally weren’t in the same position for decades.Report

        • Will Truman in reply to Kolohe says:

          I’d also worry that they’d spend their 10 years in the House angling for that senate seat. That’s a problem with short-ish term limits that I’ve seen. Since they can’t stay at their current job, they spend the entirety of their time angling for the next one. That’s part of why I favor a longer span.Report

          • Art Deco in reply to Will Truman says:

            1. Why not replace the Senate with something akin to the councils of colonial legislatures – elected by the assembly to assist the governor?

            2. Why not have rotation-in-office and mandatory retirement in lieu of numerical term limits?

            3. Why not reduce the number of superordinate offices? A feature of a state constitution might be to allow localities and allow the state-wide electorate to set up chartered departments with elected heads, incorporating sunset provision in the enabling legislation which would require the department to be periodically re-authorized by referendum if it was not to lapse and be replaced with an appointive cabinet position. In that circumstance, the Governor, mayor, or (perhaps) county executive would be the only superoridinate offices a legislator would routinely face in a given geographic ambo.Report

          • Kolohe in reply to Will Truman says:

            I’m not inherently opposed for someone using a job to train or qualify for their next job. Getting the Senate term limit to be shorter than the House one, or getting a Senate limit and no House one, will serve to increase the dynamism in the political system, and get more people involved.

            One of the problems now with replacement level reps in mid-sized states is that they cycle back through the revolving door in lobbying world because there’s few opportunities to break through to state wide office because the openings are so few and far between.

            And the Reps that stay clog up the system for local and state-level officials that have done they’re time and would be good for a promotion. When the openings do occur, like with Van Hollen’s 8th in Maryland, it creates a literal gold rush (i.e. Trone and Matthews) to fill the open seat. More frequent openings would mitigate this characteristic.Report

          • gingergene in reply to Will Truman says:

            Why not a combo limit? Max “X” years in the House OR “Y” years in the Senate OR “Z” years in both. Can’t run for federal congress if any of these number has been exceeded.

            I’m thinking X = 14, Y = 18, Z = 20, but those are not deeply-thought out. If you max out your time in the House or Senate, you only have one term in the other left, which I think would reduce the angling for that; lotta work for one term max- especially if your second act was as a Representative.Report

          • …so you’re worried about Bernie Sanders? *Cough*Report

        • Oscar Gordon in reply to Kolohe says:

          If 10 is too short & 30 too long, split the baby & call it 18.Report

      • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Oscar Gordon says:

        I’m against term limits on both philosophical grounds (we have term limits, they’re called elections), knowledge grounds (having a few Senators who have been around forever is a good thing – I don’t agree with Jeff Sessions policies, but the fact there’s somebody around who might actually remember why the Senate did something in the late 80’s), and actual reality (most states who have term limits just have led to more lobbyist control in those states since after all, there are no term limits on lobbyists.)Report

  3. Kim says:

    “For the fifth time, Jeb, you’re NOT WINNING! You’re losing, and you need to do things in order to win”Report

  4. Road Scholar says:

    At-large representation has a well-deserved bad reputation but that’s because, historically, it’s been implemented in such a way as to deliberately disenfranchise minorities. But designed properly, I believe at-large could actually enhance minority representation.

    Basically just two rules: 1) All seats are elected simultaneously as is done in the House, as opposed to the staggered system in the Senate, and 2) each voter casts a ballot for only one candidate.

    There’s really no way for a majority faction to game the system, at least that I can see. OTOH, a minority faction could easily shoot itself in the foot by fielding too many candidates.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to Road Scholar says:

      Do you mean a voter could vote for either an at-large candidate or a legislative district candidate?

      I haven’t thought enough to war-game it out, but I’m skeptical of any claims that it’s hard to ‘game the system’ in any electoral reform proposal. Party discipline is the first thing used to game the system (i.e. putting specific candidates into specific races, and clearing the field of other intraparty competitors.)Report

      • Road Scholar in reply to Kolohe says:

        Nope. There would be no districts under my proposal. All House seats would be statewide offices. So, for example, Kansas has four congressional seats and currently, four districts. Under my proposal we would just elect four at-large reps simultaneously, with each voter casting a ballot for exactly one candidate.

        The best that the majority could hope for is a proportional result. The more likely outcome is actually somewhat anti-majoritarian.Report

      • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Kolohe says:

        I’d be for tripling or quadrupling the number of House seats, then going from there as far as creating multimember districts. Dropping the number of people per representative down to 175k would get closer to the rest of the civilized world.

        (So for instance, there might be 15 ‘districts’ in California with 10 seats in that district determined by proportional representation, so that there’d be Democrat’s even from the deep red farmland areas and Republican’s from the heart of San Francisco.Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Jesse Ewiak says:

          I very much like the idea of repealing the Permanent Apportionment Act of 1929 as well as the Apportionment Act of 1911.

          If we went with the “Wyoming Rule”, (a rule that said that the smallest populated state would get one and that state’s population would be the unit of representation), we’d have something like 550 Congressmen now.

          If we instead went with something like “what was the Congressman/Constituent ratio back in 1910?”, we get an even bigger number. If we go with something INSANE like “what was the Congressman/Constituent ratio back in 1780?”, we’ve got four digits.

          The upside, however, to that last one is that the tactic gerrymandering is destroyed (and not merely John Oliver destroyed).Report

    • Art Deco in reply to Road Scholar says:

      At-large representation has a well-deserved bad reputation but that’s because, historically, it’s been implemented in such a way as to deliberately disenfranchise minorities.

      It’s absolutely bog standard in New York, has been for generations, and has been due to municipal codes instituted when the population of ‘minorities’ outside of New York City was tiny.Report

  5. Saul Degraw says:

    The Guardian article shows that there are lots of stupid people out there. I just don’t know what to make of someone who likes Trump and Sanders except that they make a complete hash out of politics and don’t spend much time thinking about politics.

    I also don’t know what to make about the nihilist.Report

    • Whether Bernie fans like it or not, there is some crossover appeal with Trump and they’re tapping from some of the same voter wells.Report

      • Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

        You’re basing that on what? Which polls?

        Sanders and Trump are running as ‘outsider’ candidates in two primaries, but other than that have little in common. I can see a low-information voter conflating the two because of the ‘outsider’ label, but looking at the breakdowns of their voters (you know, the guys that have actually voted) there only overlap is “white” — and that’s deceptive, because Sanders is “young white” (older white trends more and more towards Clinton. Sanders still does better, but Clinton is closer to parity).

        Trump isn’t knocking it out of the park with the 18-24 white crowd, is he? I haven’t paid that much attention to the GOP polls, but I don’t recall that.

        The only well of voters both seem to be drawing from is those who like the “outsider” label — except they seem to be mostly two entirely separate groupings. Crossover looks minimal (which, given it’s a primary, seems likely. Hard to judge crossover when everyone teamed up first).Report

        • Will Truman in reply to Morat20 says:

          Based mostly on comments in the Guardian article corresponding with things I have been reading pretty consistently by journalists* who talk to voters as well as personal observation.

          Not sure how common a thing it is, but does seem to be a thing.

          * – It started almost as a joke. “Can you believe I’m finding voters who are choosing between Trump and Sanders?” but has transitioned to “Talked to more people trying to decide between Trump, Sanders, and Kasich today…”Report

          • Saul Degraw in reply to Will Truman says:

            I think the gap is still in the anecdote is not data category. Sanders supporters love that he is relatively modest in god finances. He does not get huge speaker fees and what he gets goes to charity. He flies economy and in the middle seat. His clothing is rumpled. HRC’s speaking fees are a huge turn off for many Sanders speakers.

            Trump supporters seem to love Trump’s wealth and showiness.

            They are both seen as candidates who can’t be bought but for very different reasons.Report

            • People like Sanders for all sorts or reasons. People like Trump for all sorts of reasons. Some of these reasons intersect because while I wouldn’t call them similar they do have similarities. It’s not complicated.Report

              • PD Shaw in reply to Will Truman says:

                In particular, Trump is quite vague on policy and as Scott Adams obsessively points-out, this is one of many proven persuasion techniques Trump uses. This one allows the listener to fill-in-the-blanks on what is being sold. (There is also a constant duality where Trump talks positively about a person or thing, while earlier/later talking negatively)Report

              • Stillwater in reply to PD Shaw says:

                In particular, Trump is quite vague on policy

                That’s only a criticism if you think details matter. But lots of people in the GOP are tired of death by a thousand details, seems to me. And I’m not sure that makes them “stupid”: what they appear to be rejecting is the idea that only people who understand nth level analysis and legalistic parsing get to determine policy and norms.Report

              • Troublesome Frog in reply to Will Truman says:

                The ever present, “I’ll vote for X. That will show The Man what I think,” vote comes to mind.Report

            • Kazzy in reply to Saul Degraw says:

              Can I just say that basing your vote on where a particular individual chooses to sit on an airplane is one of the dumber things to base your vote on? Or is that unfair?Report

              • Will Truman in reply to Kazzy says:

                Might be, but people do! Well, maybe not specifically on that data point, but what the accumulation of such things tells us about who a person “really is.” Which is actually kind of important, and rather hard to determine. So you can sort of look at it as “People trying to find water in a desert.”Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                It’s a proxy for other things.

                “This is someone who shares my experiences. He knows what it’s like to stand in line. He knows what it’s like to sit between two fat people who came in 1st and 2nd in the bean-eating contest yesterday. He knows what it’s like to sit down and budget for a vacation and realize that you can’t stay in the nice hotel and you have to stay in the cruddy one. When the time comes to make decisions on my behalf, he’s going to take experiences that are similar to *MY* experiences into account.”

                Dumb? Eh.

                Naive, maybe.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Jaybird says:

                @will-truman and @jaybird

                Fair points.

                During the 2000 election (before I could actually vote!) I remember being sympathetic to the idea that W was a candidate who “you’d want to have a beer with.” I’ve since abandoned that mindset. Not because I’d prefer a candidate who I would not want to have a beer with. But because the leader of the free world should have qualifications beyond “Wouldn’t ruin Kazzy’s buzz.”

                I guess the question I have is how much can we believe about this little tidbits. Do we really think Sanders likes sitting in the middle seat? NO ONE likes sitting in the middle seat!

                It strikes me that Sanders has very carefully crafted an image for himself. And while this image doesn’t seem to be false insofar as it exists in opposition to his true self, it none the less seems intentionally designed to project all that the two of you just shared.

                Which makes him… exactly like every other politician.

                So, ultimately, I put little stock in those sorts of tidbits. Yes, taken together, they can maybe help gain a better understanding of who a candidate is, but I’d probably look more at their life experiences before taking public office or at least lining up for a Presidential run than anything they did during that time.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Kazzy says:

                Do we really think Sanders likes sitting in the middle seat? NO ONE likes sitting in the middle seat!

                But we know that he has sat in the middle seat.

                Hillary does not sit in the middle seat. When was the last time she even sat in the middle seat? The 60’s? The 70’s? Sure as hell wasn’t after the 80’s.

                Bernie did it just last week.

                It strikes me that Sanders has very carefully crafted an image for himself. And while this image doesn’t seem to be false insofar as it exists in opposition to his true self, it none the less seems intentionally designed to project all that the two of you just shared.

                Sure. He may be quietly calculating even as he sits next to me (note: I am not one of the two guys referenced as champions above) as we ride on the airplane together, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that even as he calculates and sits next to me on the airplane, he still has an airplane experience almost identical to mine.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

                As a retail politician, this could be the combination of several vectors:
                1. Retail politicians (tend to) like people.
                2. The middle opens up options to talk to people.
                3. Sitting in the middle when talking to the people next to you isn’t so bad.
                4. “Middle Boy” is also a good image enhancer.
                5. Lots of other little reasons.

                On TV in front of a large crowd, he seems a little curmudgeonly, but one-on-one on a plane? He might be a delight. I have an Uncle even older than Bernie, and he’s a Middle guy – loves the fact that two new people would be on either side of him.

                I am not one those types of persons; I do like beans, though.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Kazzy says:

                Can I just say that basing your vote on where a particular individual chooses to sit on an airplane is one of the dumber things to base your vote on? Or is that unfair?

                It’s only unfair if you think “partisans” are so stupid that the entirety of their support for a candidate derives from their air travel choices.

                But why would you think that? It would be unfair of me to attribute such a lack of intelligence to yourownself, yes 🙂Report

              • Chris in reply to Stillwater says:

                I will say that if someone called him or herself a socialist (Sanders is not a socialist! Sorry, that’s reflexive) and spent his or her time riding first class, or in private jets, that would strongly affect my judgment of him or her. Of course, people riding in first class or on private jets affects my judgment of them even if they don’t call themselves socialists, but it would affect it even more if they did.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Chris says:

                Yes, exactly. It reaffirms, or perhaps even affirms, something already believed about Sanders.Report

              • Chris in reply to Stillwater says:

                I’d respect him even more if he took the bus ;).Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Chris says:

                I could forgive him for the aisle seat — a man that age probably has to get up a few times during the flight, and he’s probably too polite to keep asking the person next to him to let him out. But the window seat is for the overly entitles.Report

              • Kazzy in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                Well, yea, he’d need to get up if he’s drinking all that precious bottled water while the people of Flint drink poison!Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                This is where I’m a ‘to each according to their need’ person.

                Bill DeB? Jeb? George Pataki? Either aisle or window in economy plus.

                Little Marco? Kucinich? Zombie James Madison and Zombie Stephen Douglas? They can give up the leg room for those more in need.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Kolohe says:

                Zombie Stephen Douglas

                Man, did he run against the wrong guy.Report

              • Kolohe in reply to Mike Schilling says:

                This is why we need Common Core – zombies aren’t vampires.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Kolohe says:

                They aren’t? I must have been absent that day.Report

          • Morat20 in reply to Will Truman says:

            That’s anecdotes, not data. We have polling for a reason.

            I met a flamboyantly gay, 26 year old Republican man last weekend. Two of them, actually (married couple). They exist. They’re a thing. They’re Log Cabin Republicans.

            But if I claimed that the you saw a lot of young gay men crossing over to vote Republican or that the GOP had some crossover appeal to young gay men, I’d laugh. Because the demographics of “young” and “gay” trend very heavily towards one party, and it’s not the GOP. Despite the existence of these two fine fellows.

            That’s why I asked about data. Because I’m not actually seeing that crossover in polls, politics, ideology, or anything like that. That doesn’t mean it’s not there — but all we’ve got is anecdotes. I’m more than a little suspicious that Donald “The KKK loves me” and Bernie “Socialist” Sanders have a lot of cross-over appeal.

            It seems far more likely that they’re both labeled “anti-establishment” (which gets a minor, but entirely superficial feeling of crossover) and that’s the sum total of their crossover appeal. And even that I think comes from a rather lazy narrative that it’s an “anti-establishment” election because of…Trump and Sanders.

            Sanders is losing (and the Democratic party, judging by actual polls, seems just as fond of Clinton) and Trump strikes me as a rather unique event.

            But “anti-establishment wave” is, I admit, more common than “Weird semi-collapse of one party’s establishment”. But the actual data (those polls!) show the Democrats, at least, aren’t feeling terribly anti-establishment.Report

            • Will Truman in reply to Morat20 says:

              Numerically, there are a lot of young, gay Republicans! Depending on how you define “a lot.”

              And I’m not sure if there are enough of them to qualify for “a lot”… merely that there is overlap.

              Sanders and Trump both do better with men, among less educated whites, and among lower and moderate income households, and both have support across the age spectrum. The same patterns tend to persist regionally, with the education factor being big in the northeast for both, and less so in the South. Their voting pool may not be concentrated in the same place along other metrics, but when we’re talking about a subsection it’s not clear that they have to be.

              I don’t have any poll numbers to suggest that Sanders voters are specifically more likely to be favorable Trump, but I also don’t have any to say that they aren’t. Intuitively, it actually makes sense that there might be. Sanders has been trying to court some Trump voters away from the dark side.

              This conversation sprang from Saul’s confusion that people would consider Trump and Sanders. I’m saying that’s not wacky. There are, in fact, data points to suggest that there is some overlap because an anecdote is, in fact, a data point*. We just don’t know the degree to which it is representative.

              * – This has become a bone of contention in the whole vaping debate. The anti-vaping argue that testimonies that vaping can help people quit smoking are invalid anecdotes. But they’re not if you are among them. There is a debate over whether or not, in the aggregate, it is an effective cessation aide. There is not a debate that for some people, it is actually effective.Report

            • DensityDuck in reply to Morat20 says:

              Talking dogs are extremely improbable. Therefore we can conclude that if you encounter one it’s a statistical anomaly that can be safely ignored.

              (it’s a mangled Terry Pratchett quote, if you’re wondering.)Report

              • Morat20 in reply to DensityDuck says:

                There might indeed be Trump/Sanders overlap. A lot of it.

                It’s just I’d prefer polls rather than a few quotes in a Guardian article. It’s polling season, after all. Seems a simple question to ask (even if the answer is going to be a bit skewed by familiarity and low-importance. Trump might win, Sander’s isn’t — and as it’s primary season, partisans are quite focused on their own parties candidates and not the others).Report

    • Kim in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Some people aren’t doing Policy, they’re doing Character.

      This, I get.

      I don’t understand how people do not understand that Trump is a narcissist and a sociopath, but I do understand the Republican who votes for Obama over Clinton.Report

      • Art Deco in reply to Kim says:

        I don’t understand how people do not understand that Trump is a narcissist and a sociopath,

        Not everyone assesses a perfect stranger the same way. People put up with Bilge Clinton, who is a more fitting example of ‘sociopath’ than Trump.Report

        • Kim in reply to Art Deco says:

          I’m not certain you understand the definition of sociopath.

          I’m definitely certain you don’t know the type of psychologists paid to analyze politicians.Report

    • Kolohe in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      never has “at least it’s an ethos” reference been more relevant.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      If you ever encounter a problem and one of the answers makes you feel better about yourself personally (whether by building yourself up or in relation to people whom you are tearing down), may I submit that you are engaging in some light delusion and you’d be better off exploring options that don’t end up flattering yourself?

      For example: an answer to something you’re wondering about other people concluding with “they’re stupid”.Report

    • Stillwater in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I just don’t know what to make of someone who likes Trump and Sanders except that they make a complete hash out of politics and don’t spend much time thinking about politics.

      I think that may be because you view politics thru a different filter than they do. Where you perceive a stark contrast they perceive broad similarities: the rejection of establishment-oriented politics and a break from the national level policy consensus. Where you see political nihilism, they see the dissolution of entrenched power structures which will result in better politics going forward.

      A big part of Bernie’s appeal (apart from his policies) is that he’s seen as not only outside the Democratic party establishment (and he is!) but also hostile to it and its interest in preserving misused political power. Same for Trump and the GOP, of course. Insofar as the current election cycle is viewed as a repudiation of establishment politics from both wings by those candidates bases, both Sanders and Trump supporters broadly agree that the source of myriad problems emerges from a bi-partisan national-level governing consensus. A consensus which both candidates are perceived as being hostile to.Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

        There are a number of people who know that it doesn’t matter if Hillary or Jeb gets elected. Nothing will change for this group of people and so it doesn’t matter.

        Some of these people don’t care whether it’s Hillary or Jeb because things will be good for them no matter what happens. Some of these people don’t care whether it’s Hillary or Jeb because things will be crappy for them no matter what happens.

        Enter Trump/Bernie.Report

        • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

          The key problem being that there are differences between JEB! or Trumpy or Cruz and Hillary. That choice does matter. It certainly might affect whether they have health insurance or the direction of the economy or the status of SS. The “nothing changes and it doesn’t matter who is prez” is wrong in many ways.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

            Of course, Greg. I should have included that there are a number of people for whom it matters very, very much if either Jeb! or Hillary! get elected.

            I should have explicitly pointed out that I was not speaking about them.Report

          • Stillwater in reply to greginak says:


            Well, if your frame of reference is the degree to which a candidate WON’T change the status quo, then Jeb and Hillary are pert-near identical.

            If your frame of reference is the degree to which a candidate WILL change the status quo, then Bernie and Trump are very similar.

            So the issue is whether the status quo should be maintained or changed.

            ETA: Admitting explicitly, per Jaybird’s comment, that what one perceives as the status quo will be different for different people.Report

            • greginak in reply to Stillwater says:

              I think status quo is a bit vague. If people want to scream about washington and those bad horrible people there that is fine. But there isn’t one status quo…yeah there will be lobbyists and people in suits and stuff. However the choice of JEB!!!!! or Hills can and likely will have actual concrete differences for people. Maybe not as much as people want and DC won’t be razed and the earth salted, but the inability to see differences makes it pretty hard to make a choice.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to greginak says:

                I think status quo is a bit vague.

                Well, then make it precise enough to render those folks views coherent. The idea that a view is “stupid” (not your word; used upthread) because YOU can’t understand it isn’t much of an argument, seems to me.Report

              • greginak in reply to Stillwater says:

                I prefer “intellectually unmoored” over stupid since it sounds a lot classier. The “they are all the same” is a derivative of the BSDI narrative that some people love. I understand the claim, i just think its weak.Report

    • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Well, a large chunk of Sander’s Reddit contingent are people who were Ron Paul supporters in ’08 or ’12 so they really are frig the system types. Other are people who have been frankly, given the best possible picture of Trump and the worst possible picture of Hillary, so they go from there.Report

  6. Art Deco says:

    Trump’s rise doesn’t portend good things for the Israeli government, which relied heavily on the continued support of his party.

    American aid to Israel amounts to about 1.2% of that country’s gross domestic income. It could be withdrawn tomorrow and the worst that would happen would be a business recession of ordinary dimensions lasting about a year and some knock-on fiscal problems to work out over a business cycle. As of now, Israel’s been sold down the river by the insipid and spiteful character in the Oval Office, so there’s nowhere to go but up regarding the dispositions of the U.S. government.Report

  7. LeeEsq says:

    Trump and Israel is an interesting issue. Many of Trump’s supporters are the type of Rightist Jew-hater that likes to rant about Washington, DC being “Zionist Occupied Territory” or use the KKK created insult Zio, which is currently gaining currency on the Left, to refer to Jews. Trump demonstrated no problem in catering to some of the worst inclinations of his supporters. At the same time, many Republicans are still very fond of Israel. I actually think that Trump’s supporters have a better chance of turning the Republican Party somewhat against Israel than the Further Left has with the Democratic Party because they are more ingrained into the internal Republican political structure. Also Art Deco is right, I don’t think that an end of American aid to Israel is going to be as devastating as Israel’s enemies on the Right and Left think it will be towards Israel, especially considering the disarray of Israel’s neighbors.

    Vox and at-large government districts: This is early just part of Vox’s fixation with technocratic government. From a liberal perspective, all the bugs in the American political system are coming out in force because the two parties are ideologically apart and the Constitution was not meant to withstand ideological distinct parties. Most liberals would prefer to find a way to turn American into a parliamentary republic but realize that this is not going to happen or might even be somewhat dubious about. Hoping that at large districts could moderate Congress is a second best technocratic attempt to make American government function better.

    Non-partisan elections: Absolutely not and non-partisan elections were some of the worst ideas from the Progressive Era. Politics is inherently partisan on many issues and it doesn’t really make sense to pretend otherwise. Its better to admit that people are partisan and have a political system that could deal with this.Report

    • Art Deco in reply to LeeEsq says:

      Many of Trump’s supporters are the type of Rightist Jew-hater that likes to rant about Washington, DC being “Zionist Occupied Territory”

      I’ve encountered precisely one such creature in fora like this in the last eight months. I doubt it’s all that common. The sort of cretin you find in the Unz comboxes commonly figures party politics is an activity beneath the consideration of Mensa members such as himself.Report

    • Joe Sal in reply to LeeEsq says:

      As much as you rail against the right and often associate rightists as racist jew haters, have you ever considered the many Zionists that live in the corn and wheat belt that might be rightists and yeoman that are often in the general direction of yours and Sauls offense?Report

      • Kim in reply to Joe Sal says:

        You fail to understand these Zionists.
        These Zionists, the christian ones, are waiting for the end times, and then a nuclear war that destroys Israel.

        They will cheer for the deaths of my people.

        Of course we take their money, ‘snot a crime to take money from stupid people. I’d rather take money from my enemies, than leave it in their bloody hands.Report

        • Joe Sal in reply to Kim says:

          and to be perfectly clear here, who are your people and who are your enemies?Report

          • Kim in reply to Joe Sal says:

            I am Jewish, and therefore I count those Jews in Israel as my people (as well as jews around the world).

            People of any sort who hope that all the jews die… I’m hardly wrong to call them enemies.Report

  8. In the spirit of making the impossible possible, maybe we should stat considering the possibility that no one can win the Rep nomination. If Trump and Cruz both end up reasonably close in delegates, and either or both K and R stay in and decide to ride the wave of chaos hoping to be the last man standing, multiple ballots could ensue. The whole thing goes on way past any logistics planning and delegates start loosing hotel rooms, have to go back and make a living etc, and at some point, the aren’t enough delegates left to make a decision.

    So does anyone know I Rep part rules cover such a possibility and provide for an alternate process?

    I mean it sounds absurd to float such a scenario with any seriousness, but I think we’re at least in the wings of a Godot-ian stage.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Atomic Geography says:

      That sounds like the 1924 Democratic convention!!Report

    • You’ve had one failed national convention in 184 years, and the issue in that case was slavery. Don’t think it’s happening this year.Report

    • I mentioned this the other day as a vague possibility. I don’t even know what happens. Can states designate their own? The Constitution Party of Montana nominated Ron Paul in 2008. Could something like that happen here? I have to think that some lawyers at the RNC are looking over this now.Report

      • PD Shaw in reply to Will Truman says:

        My gut tells me there is no law here. Maybe faithless elector laws might have some teeth in the first round, and then only as a penalty for faithlessness, not to prevent faithlessness altogether.Report

        • Will Truman in reply to PD Shaw says:

          I’m talking about who appears on the ballot if the convention simply cannot find a majority.

          At some point all of the delegates will be unbound. What happens if they simply don’t achieve a majority? Unlikely, to be sure, but here we are…Report

          • PD Shaw in reply to Will Truman says:

            Sorry, I lost the chain of discussion. I assume each state would have its own candidate then.Report

          • PD Shaw in reply to Will Truman says:

            Just looking at Illinois law, it looks like the state Republican party informs the Secretary of State who its Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates will be within 180 days of the state primary (i.e., after the national convention). Not sure what, if anything, binds the state party to the national decision, but I guess I’m not surprised that a state would not condition its electoral process on the national convention. The 1860 Democrats failed to nominate. Also, the 1836 Whigs nominated four candidates for different parts of the country.Report

    • Marchmaine in reply to Atomic Geography says:

      What is there to stop Cruz/Trump deciding the thing themselves?

      I’m not reading the by-laws of the convention, but couldn’t those two decide on one for the President the other for VP and be done with it? Not saying they will, or what bizarre ritual they would use to determine who gets top billing… but could they?

      In real business dealings, the simple way to access the win is the way that gets done.

      In other words, do all RNC delusions of a brokered convention rest on the biggest delusion of all… that Cruz/Trump won’t decide the game themselves?Report

      • Kolohe in reply to Marchmaine says:

        That itself would be a nuclear option. Cruz is staking his entire campaign on the fact that even though he’s loathed personally by almost all the powerbrokers on the right, (in particular, the elected powerbrokers), he’s nonetheless the one guy with ideological bonafides that can put Trump back in the Pandorica. An alliance with Trump (vice just the non-agresssion pact that they had until Iowa) severely dilutes Cruz’s brand.

        otoh, it does give the Talk Radio wing of the party an out when the Cruz-Trump ticket (or vice versa) loses to Clinton.Report

        • Will Truman in reply to Kolohe says:

          I think it’s not a terribly unlikely results, stipulating that we’re already in the Land of the Unlikely to begin with.

          The biggest problem would be that neither of these men seem likely to want to be VP. Neither is in a great position to be able to convert the VP slot into the presidency. If Cruz accepted the VP slot with Rubio or Kasich, he’d be demonstrating that he’s a team player and that he might be somebody they can work with in 2020.

          I don’t think either would like being VP just for the sake of being VP. I could see Kasich doing that, though, and so if Trump+Kasich were to end up with 1237+, I think a Trump/Kasich ticket is less unlikely, stipulating that we are in the Land of the Unlikely.Report

          • Kolohe in reply to Will Truman says:

            Weirdly enough I could see Trump deigning to take a VP nom over Cruz doing so. Trump is more a ‘team player’ at heart; his main business model in last few decades is putting his name on the letterhead of something and letting others do all the work, And if there’s a job in US politics that’s all show and no substance (by design), it’s the Vice Presidency of the United States.

            For Cruz, it’s existential. If Cruz were already even a little bit of a team player, he’d have walked away with this contest by now.Report

            • gingergene in reply to Kolohe says:

              Hmm, I think your logic on Trump points in the other direction: he’s happy to let others make decisions and do the work but he wants his name on the letterhead. Which means he’d be happy to be the “symbolic” president with VP Cruz actually directing most of the policy, but he’d never agree to second billing.

              In that scenario, the question for Cruz is: is having the power enough, or will he insist on the title as well? His past actions show that getting recognition has been a primary motivator, to the detriment of his Republican colleagues if necessary. So if he was the man behind the throne, would he stay there quietly or would he keep interrupting to remind everyone he’s there and pulling all the strings?

              (Sorry, that was mixed metaphor overload. Hopefully everyone understands what I mean.)Report

          • Marchmaine in reply to Will Truman says:

            Yeah, campaign trail rhetoric is largely symbolic… if you can be VP after dubbing another candidate’s economic policy as “voodoo” then the Cruz/Trump stuff is hardly disqualifying; especially since even in his attacks Cruz is looking forward to collecting Trump supporters in a way the Rubio wasn’t.

            If it comes down to Trump/Cruz vs. the establishment with the establishment angling for something stupid like Jeb!/Romney$/Rubio?/Kasich&/Huntsman* and the rules enable them to cut a deal for the delegates they control… then that’s what they will do.

            My double secret premonition is that Trump would consider the VP slot as his real ambitions were mostly vanity… and the closer he gets to the real thing, a little alarm bell is tinkling in his head that this might blow-up in ways not advantageous to him – striking directly against his vanity project. VP Trump would be sellable to him and by him.

            Naturally, I don’t know the slightest thing about the fellow’s true motivations, so we’ll only know ex post facto if my premonitions were on to something.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

              You know, given the role of VP as “attack dog”, this might actually be something that Trump would be good at.

              Like, for real good at.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

                Yeah, there might be some weird synergies there. I could see Cruz crafting some interesting strategies against Hillary where having Trump cover one of his flanks might just work.

                And VP is really the ultimate prestige job. I read somewhere that Trump was mad at Obama for refusing his offer to re-decorate the White House ballroom. Voila… your first job as VP is…redecorate the Ballroom.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                He would be a good attack dog. He already is.

                I just can’t envision Trump taking orders from Cruz to engage in political battles which he won’t be the main (or perhaps “exclusive” is the better word) beneficiary of.Report

              • Will Truman in reply to Stillwater says:

                Technically, he wouldn’t have to take orders from Cruz. He can’t be fired by him.

                Which is reason to give Cruz pause.Report

              • DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird says:

                He’s also a good meat-shield for the actual President.

                “Oh, you want to assassinate me? You think you’ll be better off with President Trump?Report

      • Alan Scott in reply to Marchmaine says:

        Marchmaine: What is there to stop Cruz/Trump deciding the thing themselves?

        I’m not reading the by-laws of the convention, but couldn’t those two decide on one for the President the other for VP and be done with it? Not saying they will, or what bizarre ritual they would use to determine who gets top billing… but could they?

        The complicating mechanism is that, AFAIK, there’s nothing a candidate can do to force his pledged delegates to vote for a different candidate.

        The rules require that, on the first ballot, each delegate votes for his pledged candidate. And, as befitting the terrible federalism fetish of the GOP, the rules for when each delegate becomes unbound in subsequent ballots vary by state in a confusing and arbitrary manner. But once the candidates become unbound, I think they just vote for whoever they want, not for who the candidate they were originally bound tells them to. So while i think a Trump/Cruz or Cruz/Trump ticket is a reasonable possibility, I don’t think we’re ever going to see a Trump/Kasich ticket, even if that’s what both Trump and Kasich want.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Atomic Geography says:

      If that happens than the Democratic Party will start bouncing with glee. I really hope that the Democratic Party is really planning ahead for the 2016 campaign. Republican disarray could lead to big victories.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to LeeEsq says:

        Heh, I’d wait to see what the pivot to the middle looks like before you start dancing.Report

        • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Marchmaine says:

          This ain’t 1972 more. You can’t “pivot to the middle” anymore unless you start from the middle in the primary. Mitt Romney planned to do that too. Then, the Obama campaign unleashed millions of dollars in ads letting Latino voters about his support or self deportation and working class workers of his prior job history.Report

  9. Hoosegow Flask says:

    I’d first like to see term limits for the Supreme Court. 18 years seems like a good number and makes the math easy. With 9 Justices, a new appointment would be made every 2 years. The Chief Justice would be the most senior, so all would have a chance during their final 2 years. Any unexpected vacancies should be temporary, either for the remainder of the former Justice’s term or possibly only until the sitting President leaves office.Report

    • gingergene in reply to Hoosegow Flask says:

      I like this idea. I’d make the dates odd years, so the president is selecting new justices at the end of the first and third years of his/her term. I’d also consider some kind of poison pill in the process that minimizes the incentive to stonewall a president of the opposite party: something like if the senate doesn’t hold hearings and vote on a candidate within X amount of time, their consent is presumed and the appointment is automatic. Theoretically the Senate could consider and reject candidate after candidate, but hopefully that’s where public opinion breaks in to force a compromise. (Heh, “hopefully”. At any rate, it wouldn’t be worse than what’s going on now, right?)Report

    • Yes, very much in favor of Supreme Court term limits.Report

    • Oscar Gordon in reply to Hoosegow Flask says:

      It would take a lot of the punch out of the importance of the nomination process.Report

    • Jesse Ewiak in reply to Hoosegow Flask says:

      Not pointing to anybody here, but it is amusing how many right-leaning pundits suddenly became enamored with the idea of Supreme Court term limits once it became obvious that 3 to 6 Democratic appointees may be on the court for the next 30 years. Wonder where they all were in 2004.Report

  10. notme says:

    Baltimore Cop Must Testify Against Colleagues in Freddie Gray Case

    But you he takes the 5th.Report

    • Marchmaine in reply to notme says:

      Porter testified at his trial and said he didn’t do anything wrong during Gray’s arrest. He told a jury that it was the van driver’s responsibility to make sure Gray was secured in a seat belt.

      Questions for the lawyers… if you’ve already testified in your own trial, and therefore didn’t take the 5th… can you now plead the 5th?

      My layman’s understanding would be, no…but that’s why you guys make the big bucks.Report

  11. notme says:

    I don’t think he can change the answers he gave in his trial lest he be charged with perjury but I think taking the 5th is a valid answer to any new questions.Report

    • notme in reply to notme says:

      The issue for Porter is that anything he says in this new trial could be used against him in the future by the DA, so I believe he should be able to take the 5th now.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to notme says:

        What if he’s granted immunity?Report

      • PD Shaw in reply to notme says:

        I looked at some background information on the 5th amendment for the Cosby situation and read in a couple of places that taking the 5th is proceeding-specific. I thought that was interesting and not necessarily obvious.

        I do wonder about using Porter’s previous testimony in a subsequent trial though. I think the complaint from other cop-defendants is that his testimony is being read or repeated without the opportunity to confront and cross-examine the witness.Report