Morning Ed: Cities {2017.02.15.W}


Will Truman

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

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191 Responses

  1. Avatar Saul Degraw says:

    Why is it wrong or bad that cities have a leftward tilt? The right wingers have a centuries long hate of cities in the US. There used to be GOP cities but those were abandoned long ago. The fight for 15 is being driven by workers who want a decent life on their terms. Plastic bags cause a lot of waste and the article stated that North Carolina’s homophobia cost the state hundreds of millions of dollars. Would this be less true if suburbs moderated city liberalism? I don’t think so.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      It’s not wrong for cities to have a leftward tilt. Most urban counties do as well. It’s just that I think it’s good for their to be moderating influences. Not just (or even mostly) for city governance, but for partisan composition. The fall of the urban wing of the GOP (itself at least partially a result of their suburban voters being detached from cities) has been bad for the body politic as a whole. (It actually ties in to my opposition to the electoral college, which encourages partisans to disregard large swaths of the population.)Report

      • Avatar North says:

        Question: if you did away with the EC then wouldn’t electioneering simply contract to the high density population swaths in the country? West coast, Bosh-wash, Chicago and Florida-Texas?Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          That’s one of the arguments against it, but I don’t find it convincing. It would lead to more campaigning in suburbia and smaller cities at the expense of campaigning in Bum Farm Ohio, but I don’t see much wrong with that. I think concerns the concerns are overblown.Report

          • Avatar North says:

            Sounds good to me. Anything that undermined the built in advantages for ruralia would find favor in my eyes. As a practical matter it’s not gonna happen of course.Report

            • Avatar Joe Sal says:

              The battlefield has moved from rural to the suburbs and soon to be at the core.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                The battlefield has always been the suburbs. Which makes how we talk about elections being “Urban vs Rural” kind of funny. We’re excluding the biggest and most pivotal group!Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                It’s drifted over time, rural used to have a much higher population, but as it’s been drained toward the cities, the battleground shifted now to the suburbs, if it continues it’s drift it will reach the core.

                If my estimates are correct, liberals only make up approx. 20% of the core, that has about 80% of the core population in a state of flux.Report

              • Avatar North says:

                How much do you estimate is conservative? How much libertarian?Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                At this point in time it’s hard to tell. It’s even more a mess when you start parsing types of conservatives and types of libertarians. It ends up with spectrums running in both the x and y axis.

                You throw centrists in the mix, there is a lot of potential uncertainty there.Report

        • Avatar Mo says:

          You can’t even win the states of the largest cities by winning those cities alone. The top 15 metros: NYC, LA, Chicago, DFW, Houston, DC, Philly, Miami, Atlanta, Boston, SF, Phoenix, Riverside, Detroit and Seattle. If you win NY, CA, IL, TX, VA, DC, MD, PA, FL, GA, MA, AZ, MI and WA you get to 283 EVs. If just winning the 15 largest gets you their states, that’s enough to win under the current system. And that’s without including NJ, CT and RI. If you add those 3 in, you could win all of the states listed above and lose TX. If winning metros was destiny, the current system doesn’t stop it

          If focusing on metros isn’t enough to win states, I don’t know why it would be enough to win a country.Report

          • Avatar North says:

            Ah but I didn’t say focus on the metros. I see it more like focusing on regions. Basically elections would turn much more into population/advertising markets. The polls would go and pander where the people are which would be the sprawling media regions I listed and would generally ignore or only offer token effort towards the rest of the country.Report

            • Avatar Mo says:

              But that’s sufficient to win now. In fact, the states I listed are Bos-Wash, West Coast, FL-TX plus Chicago. The EC doesn’t protect you from this.Report

              • Avatar North says:

                For sure, and the only reason it’s competitive is that the Fl-TX axis is as reliably red as the west and east coast are blue and the EC makes it regionally winner take all. Toss that out and you’d suddenly get a lot more bang for your buck as a conservative campaigning on the east/west coast for conservatives or as a liberal campaigning along the gulf. They wouldn’t be camped out in Ohio or much of the Midwest anymore.Report

              • Avatar Mo says:

                So you’re saying that politicians would campaign where there’s a lot of people instead of where there’s a lot of empty land. And this is bad because ….?Report

              • Avatar North says:

                From my point of view? Not very. But from the point of view of conservatives who get a lot more support from and are more common among people who live in less densely populated areas that’s a really big deal.Report

            • Avatar Joe Sal says:

              That may work if regions remain sorted, but if the progression is atomization, regions become unsorted. There doesn’t appear to be a good tactical/strategic solution for the Dems against atomization of population centers.Report

      • Avatar Saul Degraw says:

        I think you will discover that in the age of Trump, the culturally leftward tilt of cities along with their economic power is going to be a good defense. Possibly the only defense against creeping authoritarianism and right-wing nationalism.

        The GOP never really had an urban wing except in a few areas that are deep red and even then that is rare.

        I am not a fan of the electoral college but it is going to take a lot more than banning the electoral college and encouraging city-county merges in order to moderate things. There are a fair number of places where the county is larger than a big city in it like LA County, Cook County, and Dane County. It usually seems to result in a right-wing DA that is hard on the city (and minorities!!) and easy on the suburbanites. I don’t see why this is good.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          I don’t think systems should be designed for a particular president in place. It’s true that in general distributed power does help mitigate off-kilter national leadership as a general thing, but that usually has me siding with the right (yay federalism!) rather than the left (#BanStates).

          Republicans were never super-strong in the cities, but they did have the mayoralty of two of the four largest cities and were within spitting distance of a third. They found ways to compete. It wouldn’t be a bad thing if they had more incentive to. (We can say “But Giuliani and Riordan weren’t typical Republicans!” but atypical members are not a bad thing for parties to have.) They have the mayoralty of San Diego and a special relationship with the mayor of San Antonio (though she is a D). Notably, those are two large-footprint cities (and two of the top ten in the country). They also have Jacksonville, which has the largest footprint in the contiguous US, and recently had Indianapolis which also has a large footprint.

          Most of the counties are still D, but that’s itself partially a product of the current state of affairs. It’s unfortunate that crime is one of the areas where the right makes inroads, but that’s democracy for ya.Report

          • Avatar Mo says:

            Partisan mayors are the exception, not the rule. At the end of the day, a mayor’s job is to get things done on a tactical level, where partisan politics are less of a factor. FedGov and state government is more strategic, where partisan politics and ideology can play more.Report

            • Avatar Saul Degraw says:


              Right. What a lot of Republicans and right-leaners don’t understand is that in deep blue cities, the fights are always mini versions of HRC v. Bernie and most of the time, the HRC establishment Democrat wins. This has been true of every city wide election I have observed in SF and often the Board of Supervisors elections as well.

              A lot of people were angry at Scott Weiner for suggesting “maybe guys shouldn’t walk around naked in SF” and for writing a medium essay that stated that the laws of supply and demand apply even in SF but he still won his election against Jane Kim who ran as the further left candidate. David Chiu beat out the more progressive David Campos, etc.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                Back in Colosse, there was a big of a mini-scandal involving annexation and race. The mayor was alleged to say something like “We need to annex Thessalonica because we need white voters.” The mayor denied it and, since he was really popular, the matter was dropped.

                If he said that, what he would have meant was that the city needed more conservative voters. He was a moderate Democrat who spent more time in conflict with the liberal Democrats on City Council than the Republican ones. In addition to wanting the tax revenue, he may have been concerned about the city going further to the left than he was comfortable with.

                The annexation went through, and whether he said it or not it worked out. The voters in Thessalonica hated it, cursed his name, voted against his chosen successor, but then quickly proceeded to vote precisely as he likely would have wanted. There was a “conservative” majority (some Republicans, some moderate Democrats acting as a bloc) on City Council for a while after that.Report

            • Avatar Will Truman says:

              The elections are non-partisan (as they should be), but the officials themselves aren’t and their party affiliations are well known.Report

              • Avatar Mo says:

                But even then, the driving issues are much more operational than strategic. Mayors are store managers and presidents are CEOs. Overarching strategic philosophy matters much less for the former than the latter.Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                I think this is true, but it’s less true than it used to be and becoming less true even still. There have always been lower taxes versus higher taxes issues, spend on police vs spend on metro, sanctuary cities, and so on. But things like the minimum wage, green initiatives, and so on are increasingly in play. A lot of the things liberals are presently (and at least sometimes with justification) complaining about states pre-empting.Report

            • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

              I’ve even noticed (although not quantified) a difference in the presidential primaries between how governors behave and how senators behave. Senators often seem to have a big advantage in the “Who is willing to be the biggest partisan nutbar,” and I think it’s because they’re never really accountable for what they do. They’re almost never the sole decision maker, so they can cast symbolic votes and introduce doomed legislation until the cows come home. It’s possible to be a senator who does nothing but say crazy stuff and have effectively zero influence on legislative outcomes while still being a well-known media star.

              Every governor has had to make at least some real decisions with practical consequences for which the were the sole decision makers, so they just have to own the fact that they’re adults with real responsibilities. “Yes, I did that thing that wasn’t popular because I had to and couldn’t hide behind my colleagues in the senate.”Report

  2. Avatar Damon says:

    City Limits: Just have far are you willing to go to call a suburb part of the city? I’m 30 miles from the nears city of size. And given the piss poor mngt of cities in my area, why should the suburbs even support this, other than the taxes that are already siphoned off to fund said cities mismanagement? My county, allegedly has great public schools. Why would allowing the admin of those schools to be folded under the control of a city admin that cannot teach their own kids prove a reason to agree to such an idea?

    Flooded City: Annapolis is where the State Legislature holds court. It’s a nice historic old city that also houses the naval academy. Yes, everyone is just going to pack up and leave. For what? Baltimore?Report

    • Avatar Kolohe says:

      Yeah, Will, I know you have some master plan to move the US capital to Omaha or something (I’m not opposed to that really), but high tide floods still just inundate the low lying stuff next to the waterfront. Most of the ‘real’ city (including the US Capitol and Annapolis Capitol buildings) are on higher ground

      (Although, Damon, the capital of Maryland could move to Frederick if it needed to – it has in the past)Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw says:

      Would you be in favor of a voucher program with transportation so kids from the cities can attend county schools with superior school admin?Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        I’m not sure I understand the question. If you’re talking about county-wide vouchers, the answer is probably yes.Report

        • Avatar PD Shaw says:

          My question was to Damon as he was talking about how great his county schools were vs. the city schools, and assuming that’s true, not just a reflection of the student demographics, shouldn’t city students get that choice?Report

          • Avatar Damon says:

            If the city of Baltimore wants to come to an agreement with my county to pay for the costs of my county educating the city kids, in it’s entirety, I have no problem with that. The entire Baltimore school budget can be used to bus those kids to the suburbs. I think you’d find that the parents of those city kids might have some issue with that. And I’m sure that the county parents would as well. After all, the suburb parents pay a lot in taxes to educate their kids outside of the city….intentionally outside the city.

            Of course, it makes more sense to actually get the city to, you know, educate the kids in their own locality.

            And I’m not claiming my county has excellent schools. I said “allegedly has great public schools”. That’s what’s claimed by the teacher’s union and the county administrators. I have no personal knowledge one way or the other.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman says:

            Sorry. The dangers of using the WordPress app.Report

    • Avatar Pinky says:

      What does it mean to say that Annapolis had 37.9 flood events per year from 2001-2015? It must mean almost nothing.Report

      • Avatar Damon says:

        It means the city averaged 2.5 per year. Neither of those numbers reflect whether or not people WANT to relocate or whether or not the residents of the state are WILLING to pay to relocate their gov’t.Report

        • Avatar Pinky says:

          I should have been clearer. I’m wondering what the criteria are for a “flood event”. People aren’t bailing out their basements every tenth day. Is there a percentage of land that has to be covered to count as a flood? Does it mean that the water laps onto a low-set dock somewhere? People aren’t needing to move from Annapolis because of the water – at least no one I’ve heard of. I know people who live in and around Annapolis, and they don’t need sandbags around their property. If the standards for a flood event are trivial, then the article serves no purpose when it predicts more of them. If it predicts meaningful flooding, then it should say so.

          I once survived the acqua alta of Venice. “Survived” is a strong word; I actually stepped in a puddle. It was raining, and there was a puddle around a drain. It looked like the water wasn’t flowing down. And “puddle” is too strong a word; it was a wet sidewalk. But the sidewalk was wet from the water coming up, not down. Now, the acqua alta can be a big deal, when it gets knee-high, or neck-high. But most days there isn’t any acqua alta, and the majority of events you wouldn’t even notice. The majority of the ones you would notice, you need to wear boots for a half a day. You need to count significant flood events, not just flood events.Report

  3. Avatar notme says:

    Major Blow to Obamacare Mandate: IRS Won’t Reject Tax Returns That Don’t Answer Health Insurance Question

    All this drama about replacing obamacare is unnecessary. Help it die a slow death and folks will have to replace. That way it won’t appear that Repubs are trying to kill it.Report

    • Avatar North says:

      Most leftists would happily agree with you. Follow that route and you’re on the fast track to single payer because there won’t be a single private insurance company left in business if you leave the community rating in place but undermine the mandate.Report

  4. Avatar Kolohe says:

    Cities aren’t as left dominated as their reputation (they are on the cultural axis, but not on the economic axis). But besides that, the city-county mergers wouldn’t have an effect on the core issue of the article which is state vs muni governance. (and one of the examples they give is the Asheville water supply, which is, while as state vs muni gov fight politically, the outcome is a regional merger of the water supply – something that would happen in a suburb annexation as well.)

    The article does a significant disservice by strongly implying that the Dillon rule applies to all states.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      I agree that my #BanCities is tangential to the article, but the Warsaw article got me thinking about it. (Otherwise the blurb would have been a reiteration of my view that California applying a high minimum wage and Alabama preventing Birmingham from raising the minimum wage are procedurally very similar.)

      On the other part, it is true that even lefties have bills to pay. It’s possible that mergers would actually just have the effect of giving them a bigger tax base to play with. I’d still support it.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        City-county mergers are usually a good idea. City annexations used to be the default, for the most part, until the 1960s where they came to a screeching halt for, um, reasons.

        City annexations and mergers were always about the tax base, but it was also about hooking up to the utility and transportation grid, an issue that basically went away after WW2, and thus, much less incentive for people to go ‘please annex us’

        My own instincts on this are admittedly skewed on this, as I spent half my life in Virginia, queen of independent city governance.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          In small city Deseret, the outlying areas still want to be swallowed up, and the cities are saying “no.”

          Coming from the south, where (as in most places) it tends to be the opposite that was weird to see.Report

          • Avatar Oscar Gordon says:

            Up near Everett, there’s a small cluster of unincorporated suburb that for the longest time, no one would annex. Crime was high, as was blight, and no one wanted that mess on their budget.Report

            • Avatar Pinky says:

              You’re pretty much describing the reasonable solution to the DC statehood question. It should become part of Maryland. Guess how popular that idea would be in Maryland.Report

        • Avatar PD Shaw says:

          I’m pretty sure in the Midwest annexations were driven by water and sewage around the turn of last century. States began requiring any city once it reached a certain size to provide sanitary sewage, and for many it made the most economical sense to join with the major city’s services and the city had the leverage to require annexation. Outlying areas that wanted to avoid merger usually were able to call on more resources. OTOH, some cities saw expansion as requiring more expenditures than the taxes that could be procured. This is why St. Louis seceded from the County to form an independent city in 1876. Ferguson’s main problem is an 1876 decision.

          This may be different in Virginia where a lot of the major growth is more recent. By the early 1970s, the Clean Water Act required sewage to be provided by special sanitary districts, which helped to decouple sanitary services from city functions.Report

          • Avatar Will Truman says:

            Back home, small towns tended to rent city services from other states. My own town shared a police department from one town, rented the fire department from another town, our school district was in another county, and so on.

            Harder to do that with sewage, of course, which requires infrastructure. That was handled by an independent water district. Which does incent large numbers of small municipalities.Report

            • Avatar PD Shaw says:

              It gets difficult to tell what small city services constitute any more. Where I currently live there are a few small villages inside the donut and a series of police scandals rocking one of them has raised the question of why they exist. It appears that they initially formed during the Great Depression when people wanted city water and annexation was not being demanded, but full recoupment of costs was. So the villages incorporated to take advantage of WPA funding to build the infrastructure and negotiate a better deal with the city. Today, it appears the primary service is policing; the sort of intensive policing where you know the officer’s name and feel free to call him to ask for help when you’re locked-out. And they cannot afford it anymore.

              I have mixed feelings about annexation in those circumstances, because I think their infrastructure is crappy, the housing is lower income and likely to be a net loss tax-wise. But a failing village within the boundaries of the city is not good either.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain says:

                Here in Colorado, cities are required to bring infrastructure — water, sewer, etc — up to city code in areas they annex, and can’t make special levies against just the annexed areas for that purpose. My western Denver suburb annexed an odd strip and paid to run (initially unused) water and sewer mains in order to control development along the southern edge of the former Rocky Mountain nuclear weapons site.

                One of the features of the American West often noted by scholars is that the big metro areas tend to fewer but bigger suburbs. When you look at Denver (pop 660,000), you see inner ring suburbs like Aurora (350,000), Lakewood (149,000), Thornton (130,000), Arvada (113,000) and Westminster (112,000).Report

              • Avatar Will Truman says:

                One of the features of the American West often noted by scholars is that the big metro areas tend to fewer but bigger suburbs.

                Yeah. Seattle proper has fewer people than El Paso. Salt Lake City proper has fewer people than Lubbock.Report

          • Avatar Kolohe says:

            Yeah, it’s an issue that I probably don’t have enough real historical knowledge, and just based on places that I’ve lived. (which are a diverse bunch, but not canonical and probably not even representative)

            And then there’s essentially the three types of counties – the historical legacy counties of the Atlantic seaboard, the ‘rational’ counties of the midwest and the deep & mid south, and the sprawling Western counties where boundaries were set according to population density patterns that are mostly inverted from what they are nowReport

  5. Avatar Francis says:

    First of all, the expression “abolishing city limits” is just terrible. To abolish city limits is to abolish the city and merge city government with county government. (Oddly enough, this exists in California. The municipal government of San Francisco exercises the power of both a city and a county). Mostly that’s a terrible idea. City governments wield very different powers from county governments, and rural issues are very different from urban issues. You might also note that throughout the country there are counties that have more than one city in them. Are all these cities getting washed away and put into a single county government? How in hell are you going to allocate voting power in that county?

    What you really mean is annexation. And boy oh boy is that a hard issue. Witness, for example, Ferguson. The Justice Dept report found that the local government preyed on its poorest citizens for revenue through escalating series of fines, largely because the govt had no other source of revenue that it could get approved by the voters.

    Throughout the country, states have wielded their power of drawing municipal boundaries to disempower, disenfranchise and disconnect their poorest and most despised communities (ooh, can we talk about structural racism too?) from the rest of their citizens. You expect that suddenly that trend is going to change? Why? Even the bluest city might be alarmed by having its urban boundaries suddenly expanded to cover a community with decades of different government, taxation systems and infrastructure investment.

    Also remember that not long ago a daily link was posted to an article about the problems of suburban taxation and infrastructure needs. While I think that the article was a little too strong in its conclusions in places, it did fairly raise the issue of whether suburban communities facing the need to make major investments in their water and sewer infrastructure have the tax base to cover those costs. (I strongly suspect that that issue is very site-specific.) Sweeping those communities into the nearest city might provide that tax base, but the urban voters might be none too pleased.

    Finally, this issue allows me to tout one of the more unusual assignments I ever had as a lawyer: understanding the law, procedure and policies of the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) of a California county. LAFCOs, you see, are the public agencies within California empowered to draw the lines defining every local agency (including cities) within that county. The Cortese-Knox Act is one of the most challenging pieces of legislation I’ve ever had to read.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      Annexation is place by place, City A brings in Land B. That lends itself to the same problems as the proliferation of townships. My preference is that all but the most minor things are run at the presently-a-county level. At least, as a starting point. From there it might make sense to start dividing counties up or putting them together.

      No, it’s not something I expect to happen any time soon. It’s a statement of preference as much as anything, along the lines of people saying they want to abolish the Senate.Report

    • Avatar PD Shaw says:

      Ferguson’s boundaries were set over a hundred years ago, and didn’t have anything to do with race. What has happened is the City of St. Louis has failed and has become the text-book example of a city that has hollowed-out. People looking for jobs, lower crime, and better schools have migrated out from the city. Since the federal government subsidized housing projects in Ferguson beginning about 20 years ago, it quickly became home to the highest concentration of low-income housing in Missouri. Housing policy should not promote concentrated poverty in small communities without the tax base for the increased demands placed on public services.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        Housing policies shouldn’t concentrate policies but middle and upper income people tend to raise a big fight when the policy tries to disperse lower income people and housing throughout a region.Report

        • Avatar PD Shaw says:

          Yeah, that’s true. But there are other issues, most of the suburbs lack an adequate public transportation system and property costs may provide less bang for the buck.Report

      • Avatar Francis says:

        A mid-west township’s boundaries being set in 1915 had nothing to do with race? Possibly, but the burden of proof is on you.

        White flight is entirely my point. Will seems to be arguing that we can ignore what voters have done for the last 50 years and simply sweep everyone together into larger political entities. Carving up people who want to be together and jamming together people who don’t want to be together is precisely what the West did in the age of imperialism and I think the evidence is in that it didn’t work so well.

        LeeEsq, below, points out that Western European governments don’t have the same governance issues. I don’t know enough to comment, but here in the US the response is: federalism, state and county size, and race.

        This link as to the populations of the various California counties is, I think, interesting. Should all these counties have the same governance structure?Report

        • Avatar Damon says:

          Well, I can’t speak for the mid west, but where I grew up, there was no way race could play a role, given that the local population was 100% white.Report

        • Avatar Will Truman says:

          Imperial West? Really? We’re not talking about warring tribes with hundreds of years of distinct (and/or) antagonistic histories.

          I don’t see a reason that all of the counties have to have the same government structure. Cities don’t.Report

          • Avatar Francis says:

            “We’re not talking about warring tribes with hundreds of years of distinct (and/or) antagonistic histories.”

            oh yes we are. Did you read TNC’s piece in the Atlantic about red-lining? Or any of the recent pieces about Appalachia?

            Here’s my very simple point. Millions of Americans so actively despise each other that they have used the power of state government to isolate and shun various communities. The evidence is right there on the maps. Or in Damon’s point above. Or in the history of white flight.

            Now, as a die-hard good govt liberal, I might think that sweeping all of the sales taxes, property taxes, school districts, sewage districts and infrastructure obligations into a single entity might be the best way to solve massive deficits suffered by the poorest communities in every county.

            But I also know that that’s a really good way to make government utterly dysfunctional. People will rage against the distant government which serves the interests of “them”.

            And I have no idea whether the existing county shapes, sizes, populations, and economies are particularly well-suited to handle these new responsibilities. Re-draw the lines first, then change powers.Report

            • Avatar Will Truman says:

              I’ve seen an area involuntarily annexed… no bloodshed. Places that have dealt with actual tribal warfare would probably not see it as especially familiar.

              I’m amenable to shifting boundaries here and there, whenever we can do so relatively simply and straightforwardly. I use “county lines” partially as an easy-to-understand concept (especially since consolidation there is not unbeaten path). But if an existing city spills over into another county, or if a county needs to be split or merged with another, that’s reasonable and in some cases likely necessary. My main concerns are (a) reopening the map from scratch makes an already difficult task even more difficult, and (b) too much latitude and we’ll run into many the exact same problems we have now.

              A long time back, when I first heard of New Jersey’s attempts to get (or, as some wanted, to force) its tiny towns to consollidate. Seemed awful. Like annexation was awful. Seemed crazy, really. But in the intervening years, I’ve decided it’s less crazy than a lot of what I take as normal.

              I was raised in East Oak. Next to East Oak is West Oak. The two towns (each with about 4k) shared an elementary school and a police force. There was talk of merging, but West Oak had apartment complexes and East Oak wanted nothing to do with apartment complexes. But really, it might make even more sense to take both Oaks and combine them with Claymore (pop 8k), the town from which they get their fire service. The arguments that they should remain separate are pretty flimsy. But really, the same can be said for those three and another larger one. And really, really, Colosse is the anchor to it all anyway and they’re kind of freeriding on having an access to a major city without having to pay for it and each able to keep varying standards of unacceptable people out.

              I understand why they want what they want. But though it would get me disowned by my mother if she heard me say it, I don’t see good reasons that it should be accommodated. But it’s steeped in class and race and is at best a necessary evil because democracy and to keep from giving demagogues an issue.

              Which brings me back to my basic view, which is that county lines may be kind of arbitrary, but it also gives them a bit of neutrality relative to city limits, which were drawn with sharper motivations. So start with the county lines.Report

              • Avatar PD Shaw says:

                Illinois might be odd in that it has more units of govt. per capita than any other state, a legacy of adopting both New England township government and Pennsylvania traditions of special units of government. There has been a lot of noise lately about dissolving townships into cities or counties, and the townships mobilized lobbying efforts and it looks like its going nowhere.

                If you live in a city of 100,000 or so more, townships become coterminous with the city and most of their functions are transferred to the city (they don’t dissolve), and as far as I can tell their main remaining function then is to see to the distribution of social security checks and federal assistance. I think this is an example of a government benefit that few people enjoy or even know about, but the minority is vigorous in its defense and the majority doesn’t even know there is an issue being discussed.Report

        • Avatar PD Shaw says:

          The City of St. Louis seceded from the County of St. Louis in 1876 to avoid further expansion at a time when it thought its natural territorial limits were about to be reached and it didn’t want to share power or tax revenues with rural whites living outside the city limits. The implications and shortsightedness of this decision have been discussed for generations as a source of St. Louis’ decline, most large Midwestern cities continued to grow prior to WWI and they stopped because they were hemmed in or they didn’t find the cost/benefit of supplying city services worth it. Had St. Louis continued to grow similarly, Ferguson (inc. 1894) would be in the city limits.Report

    • Avatar LeeEsq says:

      I’m going to disagree with this. In Europe, many local governments control both urban and rural areas with in their boundary. There isn’t really an official break in local government for rural and urban areas. It doesn’t seem to cause any problems. A typical European municipality will consist of a central urban area and a decently large swath of rural areas. Its been this way since the Roman Empire. A Roman city consisted of an urban area and about as much as the surrounding country side that made sense. It seems to work.Report

      • Avatar Kolohe says:

        LeeEsq: Its been this way since the Roman Empire

        Hmm, according to the Revolutions podcast, the governance structures for (at least) ancien regime France and the Holy Roman Empire were mind boggling complicated.

        There were breaks in governance in every level, and enough so that there nearly seemed to breaks between any two individuals.Report

        • Avatar LeeEsq says:

          To make things more modern, ever since the French Revolution, local government on continental Europe and in Latin America tended to combine urban and rural areas.Report

    • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

      Mostly that’s a terrible idea. City governments wield very different powers from county governments, and rural issues are very different from urban issues.

      Are we talking about rural counties, or even partially rural counties? Come to think of it, are we talking about major cities only, or all municipal government? I’m not sure. If we are talking about major cities, there are several where the city and the county have merged. San Francisco has been mentioned. Philadelphia City and County merged in the mid-19th century. Baltimore City split off from Baltimore county at roughly the same time, with Baltimore City being effectively a different county, including county functions such as a sheriff’s department.

      Taking the example of Philadelphia, when that merger occurred the county encompassed not only the city of Philadelphia but other towns such as Germantown (which I believe was a borough) and quite a lot of open farmland. Nowadays it is all solidly urban. Goodness knows Philadelphia has its problems (including a historically awful baseball team whose record makes the Cubs’s record look good) but these aren’t due to the absence of two levels of local government.

      I’m not sure any discussion can really be coherent, because patterns both of urbanization and of county boundaries vary so wildly. I used to live in San Bernardino County, California: a county larger than Connecticut and Rhode Island combined. Compare this with George counties, which are about the size of a handkerchief. San Bernardino is forty times the size of Fulton County. If the idea is to declare the county to be the level for local government, how do you compare those two counties as being anything like the same level?Report

      • Avatar Will Truman says:

        Massachusetts went the other way and abolished a bunch of counties.

        Some counties are certainly more difficult to compare solidly than others. Some may be impossible, as they are presently drafted.Report

        • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

          My understanding, which might well be wrong, is that Massachusetts and Connecticut counties have always been pretty weak, with the town being the important level of government going back to witch-burning days. I don’t know the story of the recent reforms, but it seems plausible that the county level institutions were easily replaced.Report

  6. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Speaking of cities, did you know that Paris has had rioting for the last few days?

    One of the problems of Trump is that he sucks all of the oxygen out of the room.

    Anyway, if Le Pen wins, it means that we’re that much closer to that global conflagration that everybody’s deliberately not talking about.Report

  7. Avatar notme says:

    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: How ‘La La Land’ Misleads on Race, Romance and Jazz

    I thought everyone liked the movie, I guess not.Report

    • Avatar j r says:

      I thought everyone liked the movie, I guess not.

      You could have at least read the first paragraph:

      As someone who finds La La Land bold, daring and deserving of all its critical and financial success, I can also admit that there are a few elements that warrant closer examination


  8. Avatar LeeEsq says:

    I’m not sure why Republican voting suburbs would find it to be desirable to be joined to the core city of their metropolitan city. Most of them don’t want to be associated with the city in question and don’t want their money to help the city. Control of the state legislature allows them to stymie left-leaning cities enough for their purposes.Report

    • Avatar Will Truman says:

      Yeah. Most of the resistance to the idea is going to come from the conservative suburbs.Report

      • Avatar LeeEsq says:

        It doesn’t even have to be on a culture war issue. A few years ago the Tennessee legislature blocked either Memphis or Nashville from using their own money to create a bus rapid transit system. As far as I can tell, the state legislature just wanted to inflict pain on a Democratic voting city and did so on a pure infrastructure issue that Memphis or Nashville was prepared to spend it’s own money on.Report

        • Avatar Richard Hershberger says:

          Since when is mass transit not a culture war issue?

          A few years back there was some discussion of mass transit in my semi-rural/semi-exurban county. It was really two discussions: one of improving bus service within the county and another of linking to the Baltimore system. A regular columnist in the local paper wrote against it, conflating the two issues [1] and warning of “urban problems.” This is, of course, classic race anxiety, about making it easier for the wrong sort of person to get here, thinly disguised in euphemism. The kicker was he closed the piece by patting himself on the back for his courage in speaking openly. That would have been more impressive without the euphemism. He is now one of my state legislators. I couldn’t be more proud.

          [1] He is a lawyer. I wondered at the time if his briefs also conflated separate issues, or if he were purposefully deceiving his readers.Report

          • Avatar LeeEsq says:

            It seems to be a regular transportation issue everywhere in the world and the Memphis or Nashville case is particular egregious example of transit as a culture war issue because the city was going to be spending it’s own money with in it’s own municipal borders. No suburbanite or country dweller needed at all.Report

          • Avatar Morat20 says:

            Yeah, mass transit is not only a culture war issue, it’s often a race issue to boot.

            There are several towns around Houston that have no access to Houston’s mass transit system because they voted on that in the decades back, and the campaign was pretty explicit: Blacks would use buses to get from the horrible crime-infested city to your lily white town. (And by “lily white” I mean “within my lifetime there were towns that had signs informing people that the police would escort anyone of the wrong skin color out of town at sunset”).

            Cities that incorporated later — in the 90s and 2000s? They tended to opt in (park and ride is pretty heavily used, for instance). But even today there’s a real issue with expanding bus service into a lot of areas, precisely because it would allow ‘the wrong sort” (who seem to also be the “armed thugs” Texans arm themselves against when going to Denny’s) would use them to travel into town.Report

  9. Avatar notme says:

    I meant to post this a few days ago when it first appeared. We had a discussion about the gun issue in Chicago when Trump tweeted that Rahmbo should ask for help. Someone told me that baring marital law the feds couldn’t do anything. I said that the ATF could beef up their numbers and create a task force. Imagine my surprise surprise when I turned out to be right.

    ATF seeking sharp increase of agents in Chicago

    • Avatar Mo says:

      You explicitly denied that he wanted to send in armed forces and said he was talking about money. Also, that “sharp increase” is 20 agents*. I’m sure they’ll make a huge difference in a city with 12,000 officers.

      * Granted it is a 50% increase of the 40 currently in Chicago, but tiny in the grand scheme of Chicago law enforcement agent count.Report

      • Avatar notme says:

        Was that you that objected, Mo? I believe that I said that Trump had several options to help Chicago. One option that I think that I explicitly mentioned was the ATF. No, I don’t think Trump wants martial law. Whatever the number agents, I was right and you were wrong.Report

        • Avatar Mo says:

          My specific complaint about bringing in the ATF is that the number of officers they could bring to the table is minimal in the grand scheme of things. Judging by the number of ATF officers being moved to Chicago quoted in the article, I stand by my earlier statement. If Rahm announced that he was hiring 20 new officers to solve the murder problem in Chicago he would get laughed off the podium.Report

    • Avatar Mo says:

      Liberals like the insurance companies?

      Insurers are complaining loudly about the uncertainty surrounding what will happen in the coming years, even though many states’ exchanges have showed some signs of stability. Several major insurers have said they cannot begin to decide whether to offer coverage next year until the government clarifies if and how it plans to change the rules.


    • Avatar Francis says:

      Actual liberals with actual knowledge in this area are actually pointing to Humana’s own incompetence. See here.Report

    • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

      Boy, that top-secret Trump plan that’s going to cover everybody and be super cheap and have no mandates but cover pre-existing conditions can’t some soon enough, amirite? That’s probably the next thing on the agenda. Any day now.

      But seriously, markets is markets and players will enter and leave. It’s interesting if it’s a trend, but the major question is what’s available at what price, not which sellers are selling, and I don’t think we’re seeing much indication of that collapse everybody is talking about. Humana wasn’t a big player in the individual market, so I don’t think we’re going to see major ripples in the overall numbers. But I could be wrong.

      Or that secret plan could make an appearance and fix everything. Or the Republicans could repeal the ACA without a replacement and no doubt everything will just get better on its own.Report

      • Avatar Stillwater says:

        That’s probably the next thing on the agenda. Any day now.

        It’s a double whammy, really, one that I can’t blame entirely on Trump. The GOP made a bunch of very, very cynical empty promises for very cynical political reasons, and now that the reality of “replace” is staring them in the face their convictions are indicting their character. Trump, on the other hand, probably really DID believe a replacement plan was easy to construct, which constitutes an indictment of his intelligence level (in addition to his (ignorant) cynicism).Report

        • Avatar Troublesome Frog says:

          True, Trump probably really did think that it would be a snap to come up with something that would do all that. I suppose if you live your life taking whack after incompetent whack at things and more or less landing on your feet, the impression you get is that things will work out.

          This is something I see in a certain percentage of top executives I’ve worked with. Many are intensely sharp, thoughtful people. A handful are not very bright and among those people, almost all of them are reckless risk lovers. They’ll dive into anything without thinking it through with the utmost confidence.

          My theory is that there are millions of people like that and most of them end up in ruin, but the laws of probability being what they are, a small percentage of them will take several big, ill-conceived risks in a row and have them work out, eventually advancing way past their real abilities. And of course, the lesson they learned that drives their management style is, “Everything is easy. Doing the first thing that pops into my head always works out.”Report

    • Avatar Autolukos says:

      This is the problem with government: the TSA finally does something to make some people happy and the DEA has to step in and screw it up.Report

  10. Avatar Jaybird says:

    Remember when Great Britain said something to the effect of “hey, Brexit isn’t just a referendum, it’s not official until it goes through the Parliament!”?

    The EU (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill was passed by 494 votes to 122 in its original, unamended form.

    I’m not sure we’re reading the tea leaves about what Trump’s going through this week correctly.
    I think we’re in a bubble.Report

    • Avatar Autolukos says:

      Glad that they decided to do things the legal way.Report

    • Avatar Stillwater says:

      I’m not sure we’re reading the tea leaves about what Trump’s going through this week correctly.
      I think we’re in a bubble.

      Elaborate? I have no idea what that means. (Or who “we” refers to, unless you mean “you”. 🙂

      Also, the fact that the EU told Britian that they couldn’t back outa exiting without extreme prejudice mighta swayed Parliament’s decision-making when it came to a vote.

      I really have no idea what you mean here….Report

      • Avatar Jaybird says:

        Well, way back when, it seemed like the courts deciding that Brexit would have to go through the Parliament rather than through the referendum was seen as a roadblock to Brexit rather than an inevitable rubber stamp. As it turns out, the members did a good job of lining up and representing “the will of the people” in *HUGE* numbers. Like, 4-1 voted for Brexit. (Brexit passed, you’ll recall, only something like 52-48.)

        The whole “Deep State” thing getting in a fight with Trump won’t work if it looks like the Deep State is in a fight with Trump. If the Media looks like it’s Trump vs. the Media and the Deep State, then that’s a recipe to get people involved and engaged who didn’t used to be.

        As bad as Trump is, there’s a lot of really weird dynamics with him being taken out by the CIA/FBI rather than by The Process.

        I expected Brexit to stall out by the time it got to Parliament.
        Instead, it accelerated.Report

        • Avatar Stillwater says:

          Speaking of, don’t you think the EU Deep State had a hand in how this played out?

          As bad as Trump is, there’s a lot of really weird dynamics with him being taken out by the CIA/FBI rather than by The Process.

          Do you mean by assassination? Impeachment? Drip, drip, dripping?Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            As far as the tea leaves that I can read go, the EU Deep State is currently wondering why the refugee crisis isn’t working out the way that the Turks moving into Germany after WWII worked out and, I’m guessing, is freaking out about such things as Le Pen and Petry and Meuthen.

            I don’t mean by assassination (good god, would *THAT* be a mess) but by looking for an impeachment attack surface that Congress would play ball with and getting there via drip, drip, dripping.Report

            • Avatar Stillwater says:

              Of all the Trump/Russia stuff we’ve heard about over the last few months the one thing that really perked my ears up – more even than Flynn and Manafort – was a report that during his meetings with Abe Trump encouraged Japan to have friendlier relations with Russia. That, to me (if the account is true!!), sounds exactly like the actions of a puppet. That ain’t good.

              My guess is that Trump is gonna get razed by TPTB, perhaps not fatally (in the political sense), but very uglily, over this Russia stuff. And I wouldn’t be surprised at all if it ends in impeachment.Report

        • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

          The whole “Deep State” thing getting in a fight with Trump won’t work if it looks like the Deep State is in a fight with Trump. If the Media looks like it’s Trump vs. the Media and the Deep State, then that’s a recipe to get people involved and engaged who didn’t used to be.

          This just sounds like Politico-level “View From Olympus” savvy.

          “Won’t work” with whom, and why? You, or some wise cabby who speaks to Tom Friedman, or a Real American in Indiana or what?

          What would “work” even mean in this context?

          I mean, it seemed to work brilliantly in getting rid of Flynn and rocking the Administration back on its heels, so what is the hidden danger we all are missing?

          Or is this just one of those slippery slope arguments where this is fine, but leads to a bad place, etc?

          Who are these people who are not engaged, but will engage if the Media decides to combat Trump?
          What authority supports your asserted predictions of their behavior?

          …there’s a lot of really weird dynamics with him being taken out by the CIA/FBI rather than by The Process.

          YA THINK?

          I wanna embed that scene in MIB where Tommy Lee Jones asks Will Smith, if he thought anything about that tentacled birth seemed weird, and Smith replies that the entire scene was a 9.5 on his Weird-Shit-o-Meter.

          This entire Administration is a 9.9 on my political Weird-Shit-o-Meter. Being taken down by leaks from the CIA seems like the most normal thing about it.Report

          • Avatar Morat20 says:

            This does actually follow the proper chain for dealing with unethical behavior, law-breaking, etc for government.

            As best I can tell it was elevated to the heads of multiple agencies, then elevated to the President (Obama at the time). A multi-agency working group was established, and Congress briefed. (McConnell reportedly told Obama that if even a whisper of the Russian connections leaked, they’d treat it as Executive branch interference in an election and as a massive abuse of power).

            When Trump came in, he was briefed. He then fired the person who briefed him a few days later, then took no actions. Spokesman openly lied about it, included the Vice President (who may or may not have known he lied). Congress did not act, despite Congress having been briefed on some of the issues.

            At that point, aren’t you supposed to whistle blow? Turn to the people proper, when unethical, illegal, or even treasonous behavior goes unchecked and the “checks and balances” have failed?

            Of course it’s massively irregular and incredibly abnormal. But this whole situation is. But from what we do know, it appears the various three-letter agencies tried very hard to do this through proper channels.

            For months. And it seems raw partisan politics, on one side, trumped it. (After all, how much leaked about this from the Obama White House before the election? Or even after? Somewhere between “little” and “nothing at all”)Report

          • Avatar Jaybird says:

            What would “work” even mean in this context?

            At this point, I’m using “work” to mean “would end up in a result where Trump wouldn’t get re-elected”.

            I mean, it seemed to work brilliantly in getting rid of Flynn and rocking the Administration back on its heels, so what is the hidden danger we all are missing?

            Sure, sure. What is the hidden danger we all are missing? The second it seems like the media is not reporting what’s happening but is weaponizing spin against Trump, then the media loses moral authority and we enter into “Alternative Facts” for real.

            Who are these people who are not engaged, but will engage if the Media decides to combat Trump?

            The non-voters who non-voted out of disgust, apathy, or hopelessness.

            What authority supports your asserted predictions of their behavior?

            None whatsoever. This is just me reading tea leaves.

            Being taken down by leaks from the CIA seems like the most normal thing about it.

            The unintended consequences of this being done obviously (as opposed to subtly) strike me as pyrrhic.Report

            • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

              The second it seems like the media is not reporting what’s happening but is weaponizing spin against Trump, then the media loses moral authority…

              But, isn’t reporting just the facts exactly what happened here? What spin is going on?

              It seems like a bigger worry is a lack of ability to get out of the “Views of the shape of the Earth differ” sort of reporting, where obvious lies are stenographed verbatim.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                But, isn’t reporting just the facts exactly what happened here? What spin is going on?

                It’s fine if you don’t see it.

                I’m suspicious that the people who are not in the beltway (or spiritually so) will see it.Report

              • Avatar gregiank says:

                “Not in the beltway” So the entire rest of america isn’t’ going to dig all this negative reporting on Trump???? Only those nasty elites will hear any of it.

                Hard core believers will almost never change their minds. Some people thought Nixon got a raw deal decades later. Those ears are closed. Plenty of other people are open to hearing and seeing all that is going on.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                No Greg, I was talking about, let me cut and paste this, “The non-voters who non-voted out of disgust, apathy, or hopelessness.”Report

              • Avatar Mo says:

                Here’s the thing Trump can’t rely on. Hillary Clinton will never be his opponent again. Unless Traficant, Weiner or Blagojevich somehow win the primary, Trump will be unable to find a candidate as fatally flawed as Hillary to oppose. He got to run his first campaign on easy mode, now he gets to run for reelection, granted that makes things easier, having to point at things like accomplishments and without a candidate within a country mile of his level of corruption and mendacity.Report

              • Avatar Kolohe says:

                Mo: Trump will be unable to find a candidate as fatally flawed as Hillary to oppose.

                Challenge acceptedReport

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Unless Traficant, Weiner or Blagojevich somehow win the primary, Trump will be unable to find a candidate as fatally flawed as Hillary to oppose.

                Given the recent inability of the Democrats to consider Hillary Trump fatally flawed, I’m not confident that you’re right on this.Report

              • Avatar El Muneco says:

                He’ll be the insider running against an outsider.
                Incumbent fatigue will probably not hurt him, but won’t help this time.
                Fundamentals were actually slightly R in’16 – unlikely to repeat.
                His approval will be below where it was. Hell, it might be that low by April.

                Even if we don’t lose a carrier task group in the South China Sea between now and then, the presidential map doesn’t look alarming.

                I’m more worried about what effect voter suppression will have on downballot races and redistricting efforts. Especially since D voters only seem to get excited about the headliner and forget about the opening act…Report

              • Avatar Mo says:

                Also, the coy “I’m going to say I’m not a Donald Trump supporter but I’m going to defend him against any criticism no matter how minor” game is quite annoying and pretty transparent at this point.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                My position is not one of “I am a Trump supporter” but “I see Trump succeeding and the attacks against him failing in new and interesting ways” and the argument that I need to agree with you about how awesome his opposition happens to be is pretty played out in my mind.

                If labelling a Trump supporter strikes you as being an important part of this process, then knock yourself out but if, in a few weeks, it turns out that the press has shot itself in the foot, then whether or not I have some deep and secret allegiance to Trump should have nothing to do with that.

                So, if it helps, in the future consider me a full-throated Trumpist.

                If nothing else, that can get us past the whole “I think you secretly support Trump” argument that seems like such a freaking home run to you.Report

              • Avatar Autolukos says:

                What successes do you think Trump has had?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                After getting elected?

                My suspicion is that he’s successfully creating a dialectic between “so-called” “biased” judges and his (secretly?) popular travel ban. Depending on which polls you want to believe, he might have done that.

                That’s one.

                I’m suspicious that he’s creating dialectics left and right. If so, those are others.Report

              • Avatar Autolukos says:

                He’s been President for nearly a month, so I’d hope he has something more to point to than getting elected.

                The travel ban polling seems to consistently indicate that a lot of people support it and a lot of people oppose it; it seems to entrench the status quo. That’s not terrible for him (he did come out on the right side of polarization once, after all), but it’s not much of a success.

                Meanwhile, he bowed to pressure to remove a major staffer and just had to withdraw a Cabinet nomination because his party’s Senate majority couldn’t hold together 50 votes…Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I’m not saying that he hasn’t taken hits. The argument that he’s done awful is one that makes sense to me.

                But he’s not close to defeated and I’m wondering if many of the victories we’re seeing against Trump aren’t, in fact, similar to (let’s bring us back to this) the victory against Brexit that was the Judges deciding that it had to go through Parliament.

                The example that got me knitting my brow in the first place.Report

              • Avatar Autolukos says:

                Awful overstates it in my view; he just seems to be sort of spinning his wheels. He has at least two more years of a friendly (well, at least same-party) Congress, of course, so that could change in a hurry, but the kind of voters who ask “am I better off than I was four years ago” are unlikely to be swayed by an old fight with judges when November 2020 rolls around.Report

              • Avatar Mo says:

                Is there no great sign of strength than throwing a self-described campaign rally less than a month after inauguration?Report

              • Avatar Mo says:

                in fact, similar to (let’s bring us back to this) the victory against Brexit that was the Judges deciding that it had to go through Parliament.

                The example that got me knitting my brow in the first place.

                Did any serious analyst who understood British politics think it was likely that Parliament would overrule the referendum? It was a statement that process matters. Also, the court win means that parliament gets a say in the structure of the exit, rather than it being run by May. That is what the fight was about. You’re focused on the trees, not the forest.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Did any serious analyst who understood British politics think it was likely that Parliament would overrule the referendum?

                You’re not understanding my argument. Ask this question instead:

                Did any serious analyst cheer the judges’ ruling as a victory for the Remainers?

                Edit: Or even more accurately: Did any serious analyst cheer the judges’ ruling as a defeat/setback for the Brexiters?Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                You expect an awful lot for just one month. I guess he hasn’t won a peace prize already.Report

              • Avatar Autolukos says:

                “I also can’t name any successes” would have been shorter.Report

              • Avatar notme says:

                I suppose if he were the the dictator some librurals think he is had have done something extraordinary in a month. It seems that he’s gotten some companies to keep jobs here. What did magic did Obama do in his first month?Report

              • Avatar Mo says:

                Signed ARRA (stimulus package) and Ledbetter laws.Report

              • Several of his appointees have not yet had to leave in disgrace.Report

              • Avatar Autolukos says:

                Rarely has “yet” done so much work in a sentence.Report

              • Avatar Mo says:

                Trump may very likely come out of the travel ban situation with courts reducing existing executive power for the first time in my lifetime. That’s a win for the American people, but not for Trump. Thus far, Trump’s policies have either been pure marketing copy or rendered DOA by the courts. Right now Trump’s EOs are the equivalent of Obama’s EO closing Gitmo. By this time in Obama’s admin, he signed the Ledbetter law and ARRA.

                Also, even if you look only at the most generous polls of the travel ban, they garner a plurality or a 51% majority, at best.. Which is far from “popular”. By comparison. the most recent approval ratings for Obama have him at around 60%.

                So how has he been surprisingly successful? He didn’t soil himself on live television?Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Trump may very likely come out of the travel ban situation with courts reducing existing executive power for the first time in my lifetime.

                That’s how you see this playing out?

                That’s optimistic.

                Also, even if you look only at the most generous polls of the travel ban, they garner a plurality or a 51% majority, at best.

                I suspect that there are shy people being polled. “Omegas”, I believe was the term you used.

                So how has he been surprisingly successful? He didn’t soil himself on live television?

                “Surprisingly successful” is your term.
                I suspect that he’s laying groundwork in, let’s bring us back to this, the same way that Brexit laid the groundwork for Brexit making it through Parliament… despite everybody cheering that Brexit got waylaid by the courts a mere few months ago.Report

              • Avatar Mo says:

                That’s how you see this playing out?

                Considering people on the right, who support the policy are begging Trump to pull the EO and start over rather than take it to the SCOTUS, lose and set precedent, yeah. If he fights the 9th, I think his odds are not good.

                I see Trump succeeding

                I guess I added surprisingly, but you labeled him as succeeding.

                Shy people being polled is a fantastic excuse for when polls don’t go the way you do, despite the average of the election polls and the Brexit polls being basically dead on. If you take an average of the travel ban polls, rather than the most generous ones, assume that due to error they are on the far negative side of the error bars, the travel ban still polls underwater.

                Oh, if you want to look at real numbers, Anne Neu (R) won MN House special election tonight just 53-47. Good for the GOP! However … Trump won there 61-32. And low turnout special elections typically favor GOP candidates.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Shy people being polled is a fantastic excuse for when polls don’t go the way you do, despite the average of the election polls and the Brexit polls being basically dead on.

                It’s so weird how we’ve got two entirely different sets of memories of both the Brexit referendum and the Trump election.

                Because I remembered the polls all being wrong to the benefit of the side that lost.

                It wasn’t that there were a bunch of polls that said Trump and a bunch of polls that said Hillary and it was a coin-flip.

                Same for Brexit.

                And rewriting the story of what happened so that it wasn’t a surprise is, seriously, weird.Report

              • Avatar Mo says:

                We went over this yesterday. You even conceded that the polls were right. The polls had Hillary winning by 2% and Hillary won by 2%. Brexit final polls had Remain +2%, it ended up leave +2%, well within the margin of error. Were Obama voters in 2012 shy? The RCP average had Obama +0.7%, the actual was Obama +3.9%. So the error in 2012 was about the same as the error in Brexit.Report

              • Avatar Mo says:

                It has nothing to do with being a home run. All around these here interwebs, there are a bunch of people who say, “I’m not a Trump supporter, but…” and I find it exhausting and annoying. It’s an Omega move. Have the courage of your convictions enough to admit it. It’s like being a closet case with avant garde artist parents living in Chelsea in 2016. Everyone knows, no one cares, just admit it, get it over with and move on.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Sorry I’m not alpha, bro.

                I’m not a Trump supporter, but neither am I a Trump opponent and I understand how that can be confusing to people who are on the side of the angels.

                But if it will get us past the whole “but I want to point out that I am morally superior to you!” bullshit, feel free to put me in the basket of deplorables.

                Edit: just saw this, it made me laugh:


              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                I don’t really care to place you in a basket.

                I just find the argument of “I am a disinterested observer with no partisan leaning whatsoever, but watch me knit my brow with concern that Team Blue is making a strategic error because they are not as plugged into the beliefs of the silent majority as I am” as unpersuasive here as it is when Tom Friedman or Bobo makes it.

                There is a reason why people mock those guys and it isn’t because they are bad people. That posture of savviness IS the very essence of Beltway bubble thinking.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Then don’t find it persuasive.

                I was merely raised in the evangelical church and the whole game of “if you don’t believe, you must either be ignorant *OR* a Satanist… and I know you’ve heard the message!” is a game I’ve played before.

                I don’t believe in your god, dude.

                That doesn’t make me a Satanist. Neither does it make me “above it all”. It merely makes me a nonbeliever.

                But I appreciate how, to a Christian, that seems like a completely impossible position.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                Yeah, I know what its like to be in a state of transition, having left one camp yet not part of another.

                But the thing about being in a state of transition is that you don’t actually gain a higher perspective where you can look down with clarity and perspective.

                Even though you can view each side with distrust, that’s not the same as clarity. You’re still down in the trenches of smoke and fog.

                More bluntly, your lack of belief in either tribe’s gods doesn’t allow you to conjure up your own imaginary tribe.

                When you speak now, the only authentic voice you have is your own.

                Is Trump playing some 11 dimensional chess, is he tapping into a surging tsunami that will mark a watershed moment, or is all this the last back eddy of a dying tide?

                Hell if any of us really know. We’re just swinging our sword at the guy in front of us.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Manichaeism is a hell of a drug.Report

              • Avatar Chip Daniels says:

                I gotta say, that after decades of Fox News, and more recently Brietbart, the notion that the NYT asserting that “Flynn had many more contacts with Russia than previously known” is somehow the bit of fact free partisan propaganda that will destroy all faith in the media quite…unpersuasive.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain says:

                Indeed. Let’s make it a bet. Tomorrow AM, how many of the online front pages of the major papers in Seattle, Portland, SF, LA, Phoenix, SLC and Denver will lead with a Trump story? I’ll take three or fewer, for the microbrew of your choice.

                (I probably can’t look myself, so will trust you. Have to take the wife to the podiatrist and see how serious whatever went “Pop!” in her foot yesterday is.)Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Seattle, Portland, SF, LA, Phoenix, SLC and Denver?

                I’ll take that bet. 4 or more will lead with a Trump story.

                (How are we going to measure that? No matter. We’ll figure it out.)Report

              • Avatar Mo says:

                Looks like an 0fer or maybe 1 if you count the LA Times story.

                LA TImes: Top story is Tillerson going overseas. Mentions Trump in headline, but the subject is Tillerson
                Salt Lake Tribune: Swallow trial
                Arizona Republic: Local restaurants closing for “Day without Immigrants”
                Portland Tribune: Racial profiling, “driving while brown”
                Denver Post: Story about immigrant woman taking sanctuary in a church
                San Francisco Chronicle: Oroville homeless
                Seattle PI: Either Pudzer or Port TownsendReport

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Checking them now (in order). I’m just googling “city name newspaper” and clicking on the link of any recognizable newspaper that shows up on the first page (no weeklies). I’ll click on the homepage and just look at the headlines.

                Opening The Seattle Times, I see the following headlines that strike me as being Trumpy (though if we say “no, Trump has to be in the headline!, that’s cool):
                Do feds have evidence that detained Dreamer is a gang member beyond tattoo?
                Labor nominee Puzder withdraws amid GOP doubts

                For Portland, I have both The Portland Tribune and The Portland Press Herald. The former:
                The latter:
                Analysis: Dysfunction bogs down Trump’s White House

                For San Francisco, I see The Chronicle, The Gate, and The Examiner.

                President Trump’s most significant tweets since taking office
                Rift with Trump: UN and Arab heads endorse 2-state solution

                LA has the LA Times and the Daily News
                The Times:
                Tillerson heads on first overseas trip for Trump, trying to find his voice
                Daily News:

                Seems to just have the Arizona Republic (aka AZcentral):
                McCain Opposes Trump Budget Pick Mulvaney

                That one is in small text off to the side, though.

                SLC has the Salt Lake Tribune and the Deseret News:

                The Tribune:
                Trump slams intel officials, media over Flynn and Russia; Chaffetz requests investigation of leaks
                AP FACT CHECK: Trump’s iffy grasp of autism research


                And Denver!
                As you know, Denver has the Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain News.
                But neither of them have anything.

                So that seems like the Tribune, the LA Times, and the San Francisco Gate strike me as not being a stretch, the other ones would be a stretch.

                So let’s not stretch. It’s 3.

                I’ll get the beers at some point in the future. We can hammer out the details later.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain says:

                I had a chance to look earlier, but not to comment. Between 8:38 and 8:45 MST, the WaPo and NYT both led with stories about how screwed up the Trump administration is. OTOH, Seattle led with the Boeing workers in South Carolina rejecting a union, Portland and Phoenix with local human interest angles on DWI, SF about possible tolls for Lombard Street, LA with Oroville, SLC with the Swallow trial, and Denver with a local pollution story.

                Of course, I picked seven western cities on purpose. It takes a lot for an “East Coast” story to be the lead online piece in those places — and even the federal government gets treated that way. Discuss whether that’s good or bad.Report

              • Avatar Joe Sal says:

                Just out of curiosity, how are you fellas Google News bubbles filling out?

                Mine is pretty heavy on the Trump stuff.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                4 out of 4 of my “top stories” are Trump (the next two aren’t, thought).

                But right now, after today, might not be particularly representative of much.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Of course, I picked seven western cities on purpose. It takes a lot for an “East Coast” story to be the lead online piece in those places — and even the federal government gets treated that way. Discuss whether that’s good or bad.

                After today’s presser, I’m tempted to ask “double or nothing”.Report

              • Avatar Kazzy says:

                This is… curious… to me. The original bet, as I understand it, was predicated on the notion that the media was spinning things and that certain people saw the spin and certain people didn’t.

                I don’t really understand how simply noting whether or not a Trump related story was featured tells us anything about whether or not there was any spin.

                And I really don’t understand how doubling down on that bet after a day in which the President held an extended press conference will get us any closer to determining whether or not the media is spinning things.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                I don’t really understand how simply noting whether or not a Trump related story was featured tells us anything about whether or not there was any spin.

                Well, I think the argument is that if the story doesn’t involve Trump (like on any level), then there is no way that the story can be spun, one way or the other, to Trump’s benefit or detriment.

                And so if the papers weren’t running stories about Trump, then the papers weren’t spinning stories about Trump.

                And that was proven.

                And I really don’t understand how doubling down on that bet after a day in which the President held an extended press conference will get us any closer to determining whether or not the media is spinning things.

                Well, if the media goes another day without talking about Trump (at least in the Western part of the country), then, once again, it will be proven that, hey, the media (at least in the Western half!) isn’t spinning because it’s not even talking about him.

                But Brother Michael Cain’s point was well-made by showing me exactly how little “The West” can be affected by beltway kinda stories by just having me go and look at the webpages of Western cities and see for myself that they’re talking about local issues and not stuff that BosWash cares about.

                And that only cost me a beer.

                Best beer I ever bought. Will have bought.Report

              • Avatar Michael Cain says:

                Yesterday evening you would have won. As of shortly after 6:00 MST this morning, you’d lose again. LA and SF are leading with Trump stories, none of the others are. The SF story is about how the base is sticking with him, the LA story about how Congress is starting to seriously fret about him. The WaPo and NYT are, as expected, heavily Trump-oriented.Report

              • Avatar Jaybird says:

                Absolutely NUTS.

                Well, if you find yourself in the Springs, you’ll get the beer nigh-immediately. If that’s not possible, we do wander up to Denver from time to time. I will see if we can’t work a trip into sooner rather than later.Report

          • Avatar Kolohe says:

            Chip Daniels: I mean, it seemed to work brilliantly in getting rid of Flynn and rocking the Administration back on its heels, so what is the hidden danger we all are missing?

            Speaking of easy mode, Flynn is the Glass Joe of political infighting.Report

        • When did “Deep State” become a thing? I’ve only been hearing it from people who aren’t complete lunatics for a few months.

          Anyway, as far as I can fell, “Deep State” means the government employees who aren’t political appointees, e.g. the ones who know what they’re doing and keep things running no matter what the idiots at the top do. (Oscar Gordon: think Henry Kiku). In other words, at this point, they’re our only hope. (Yes, I do see the lunatics calling anyone who isn’t a Trump appointee an “Obama holdover”. That’s part of what makes them lunatics.)Report