Very Stable Genius Predictions

Mark Kruger

Late blooming political scientist & historian, Net engineer, programmer, technology expert, bad speler, consultant and business owner.

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165 Responses

  1. Chip Daniels says:

    What do you think daily life is like in authoritarian regimes where democracy doesn’t exist?
    Places like Russia or China, or even the much more common places where democracy and the rule of law exist but only slightly, like most of the Third World nations.

    In those countries, daily life for the vast majority of people is just like here. People get up, go to work and shop and enjoy their lives. Very few people ever see the inside of a jail cell, almost no one personally experiences the fist of government.

    It was always like this. The Holocaust and the Holomodor and the killing fields stand out because they were freakishly unusual.

    Daily life under King George III was actually pretty pleasant for the vast majority of Colonists. I visited East Berlin during Communism and people there just went about their daily life like anywhere else. A friend of mine lived for a time in Argentina during the height of their dirty war, and told me he had no idea it was even happening.

    Life under fascism is pleasant!
    Like, really really nice, for most people. Which is how it becomes so powerful in the first place. Fascist governments dole out rewards to most people, and punishment to only a few.
    American fascism is geared to make life pleasant for people like us here at OT. People who are predominantly white, male, educated. There is almost no scenario under which the police come for you, or me.

    So I wonder, what would be the tipping point for you, what sort of events would have to happen for you to become alarmed and think we are losing our democracy?Report

  2. Jay L Gischer says:

    When Nancy Pelosi announced that the House would be pursuing impeachment, she said it was because they had found evidence that Trump was ignoring their prerogative (to spend money), and she felt if they didn’t push back, “why run for office?” I agree with this logic. They needed to stand up for themselves, and protect their candidate.

    Even if they lost.Report

    • Mark Kruger in reply to Jay L Gischer says:

      This is the “principled” argument. I respect that. The point of my piece is to argue about how Ds might be able to win, not simply make a stand. I know there are those who feel they have no choice but to stand on principle.Report

  3. Jaybird says:

    One big problem that the Democrats have (that they don’t want to talk about) is that there are prominent Progressive Beliefs that are fashionable to hold. There are others that are luxuries. Which, in effect, means that there are some Progressive Beliefs that are really cool to have at time T and really, really uncool to have at time T+1.

    Which would all be well and good if it were limited to “cool” but there seems some bleedover into “moral”.

    And one of my intuitions of “moral” is that there aren’t a whole lot of moral issues that are different at time T than at time T+1. There might be some. (I’d be interested in seeing examples.)

    And the bleedover of some beliefs that are fashionable into the beliefs that are actually moral ones result in an adulteration of the whole thing. There become some things that Just Cannot Be Discussed now that, at time T, were discussable.

    Maybe this is something that can withstand moving slowly but I don’t think it can withstand moving quickly. Too many fashionable moralities that didn’t even exist a presidential election ago sort of give away the game.Report

    • Mark Kruger in reply to Jaybird says:

      The moral argument is always fraught. It becomes a strong boundary that excludes folks outside the camp. Moreover (and this is the point of the piece) it tugs and pulls at the tent pegs. A bunch of groups inside the tent – each with an agenda and experience of their own – will not agree on a single standard.

      The case I’ve stated before is that a party can be cohesive around a well-defined ideology – as the GOP has shown at least up until 2016. Or it can be large and inclusive – based on accepting the preferences of various groups and fitting them into a coalition. That second recipe dilutes cohesion but can be quite successful (with a shout out to Matt Grossman) as Ds have shown up until recently. But if it tries to be both of these things it will tear itself apart.

      I see evidence of that on the D side. It’s almost as if they envy the GOP and want to duplicate their model – but of course they will sluff off a lot of people if they do it and become smaller – stronger and more capable of affecting change probably – but definitely smaller.Report

    • George Turner in reply to Jaybird says:

      I’m currently unsure whether it’s cool to support gay men or whether I’m supposed to denounce them as part of the white oppressive male patriarchy. Heck, I was still trying to get used to the idea that lesbian feminists are actually closed-minded hateful bigots who want to deny equality to people.

      We live in an age when new and absolute moral commandments come down faster then when Moses walked down from Mount Sinai. Every morning I have to check the media for fresh news about what today’s rules are, and who we’re supposed to condemn for moral transgressions. I’m surprised people don’t just give up. I’m not sure if we’re still allowed to laugh at Sarah Silverman, but I know we’re no longer supposed to watch Kevin Spacey movies.

      Maybe everybody should build a spreadsheet to keep score, and someone could write an app to keep them all up to date. At least the Khmer Rouge would broadcast each day’s new moral certainties on loudspeakers, so nobody would miss an update. Our vastly more fragmented media environment makes it much harder to always stay on the correct side of each burning political question, and we’re so connected that missing a dramatic reversal by just a few hours can spell doom.Report

  4. Brandon Berg says:

    Student debt is an issue.

    Not the point of your post, I know, but as I’ve pointed out before, this is a myth. 70% of recent 4-year graduates have student loan debt; among that 70%, the average debt is $30,000. The median college graduate (excluding people with advanced degrees) earns about $25,000 per year more than the median high school graduate. The idea that this constitutes some kind of national crisis is a lie pushed by politicians and the media to advance a political agenda.

    It’s true that there are some people who have unmanageable levels of student debt. It’s also true that there are some people have unmanageable levels of credit card debt, and that some people have unmanageable levels of auto debt. In fact, aggregate student loan debt is only moderately higher than aggregate auto debt or aggregate card debt. When you consider the higher interest rates, credit card debt is objectively a bigger problem than student loan debt. But we correctly identify these as individual problems rather than systemic crises, and nobody is campaigning on a platform of credit card or auto debt forgiveness.Report

  5. Pinky says:

    The lesson of *Obama* was that an incompetent, inexperienced, divisive dimwit can run the country. Anything afterwards is corollary.Report

  6. Stillwater says:

    As of this writing (mid-February 2020) I look like a very stable genius. Democrats fell for a bad bargain on impeachment.

    Hmmm. The implication here is that your *genius* derives from predicting that Trump wouldn’t be convicted in the Senate (so therefore the impeachment “bargain” (strange word choice) was bad) but every human on the planet including the House Dems who voted to impeach knew Trump wouldn’t be convicted in the Senate. So they knew what you also knew yet they did it anyway. Maybe there’s a rationale you haven’t considered?Report

    • InMD in reply to Stillwater says:

      I had not heard the rationale expressed above by Jay previously and I actually find it to be pretty strong despite lack of cable news appeal.Report

    • Mark Kruger in reply to Stillwater says:

      I am using genuis disengeniusely.Report

    • Mr.Joe in reply to Stillwater says:

      I question the bad bargain part. They need to “try” impeachment to show they are “doing everything they can”. The would have been successful too, if it weren’t for “that darn Mitch McConnell”. Now “there is no alternative” but to get out the vote in November. Impeachment was necessary to throw the issue back to the electorate. It seems obvious that the blue team leadership wanted to run the play, let it fail, and move on. If they were serious, the house would have gone after documents and witnesses they had been refused.Report

      • greginak in reply to Mr.Joe says:

        Then the issue would have been tied up in court for many months due to trumps absolute stonewalling. That was the unfortunate choice. Go with what they had or sit around for the rest of the year watching cases go through court. Not a great choice either way, but that is due to trump refusing everything ( also known as obstructing).Report

        • Mark Kruger in reply to greginak says:

          I’m in between on this. Unlike Trump, Pelosi really does play chess. She may have felt that both the fact of impeachment and the outcome were inevitable so get it done so the base can move on and fire up about the election.

          She’s savvy so I wouldn’t bet against her if that’s her rationale. Still, I more often hear the “rule of law” argument than any sort of political consideration – that she had no choice given his actions. I disagree with that argument. Impeachment is first and foremost designed to be political and should involve strategy and bargaining and all the things. But…. I can see where some folks come down on this.Report

          • Mr.Joe in reply to Mark Kruger says:

            Yeah….. Peolsi’s polical judgement is very likely better than mine. Still, we can Monday Morning Speaker here. A lot of Trump positions looked untenable. A few court cases going against Trump would seem to play into the “See he doesn’t follow the law narrative” Also, Beghazi/But her emails did wonders to drag Clinton through the mud and depress her vote while energizing the opposition. Seems like they could get much the same result while playing innocent “we would wrap up the proceedings if he would just stop breaking the law.” This is a lot of press airspace they would get for free.Report

  7. Aaron David says:

    WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sixty-one percent of Americans say they are better off than they were three years ago, a higher percentage than in prior election years when an incumbent president was running. In the 1992, 1996 and 2004 election cycles, exactly half said they were better off. In three separate measures during the 2012 election cycle, an average of 45% said they were better off.

    For the last three years, Democrats have been reenacting Chicken Little on a daily basis. And yet, that sky has never fallen. We saw the powers of a fully operational Star Chamber in the house, which lead to a laughing stock of an impeachment. Which failed due to never getting out of partisan politics, the exact reason it was made so hard to accomplish. And now we hear ex-post facto reasoning of why it was a necessary failure. We have seen the complete and utter failure of vaunted Dem tech saviors; Iowa caucus app, Obamacare rollout. Couple that with the far lefts purity spiral and how it bled into the D’s primary…

    I am putting money on Trump come ’20.Report

    • Mr.Joe in reply to Aaron David says:

      Iowa caucus app failure was not a tech failure, per se. It was shoddy program management and taking the lowest bid. They payed $63k for the app. Just knowing that along with the broad requirements, I can tell you it was crap.Report

  8. Kolohe says:

    The Republican that represents the West Virginia 2nd Congressional district is in fact an ideological carpet bagger from the Acela corridorReport

  9. Saul Degraw says:

    538 tells me that Trump has a 52.2 percent disapproval rating and a 43.3 percent approval rating. These numbers have been consistent through out his administration give or take a point here or there. He has never to my knowledge gotten close to a 50 percent approval rating. His disapproval rating is a bit up from what it was earlier this week and last week.

    Yet horserace pundits and people who want to be horserace pundits seem to think that his approval rating is going to rocket past 50 percent any day now. This assumes a lot of facts that are frankly not in evidence. I really don’t understand this assumption. Donald Trump has always been massively unpopular. Maybe Jesse is right, there is something about a lot of the commentary here that makes every election since 2016 not count or disappear.

    All 47 Democrats in the Senate voted for impeachment. This includes Democratic Senators from reddish to very red states like Doug Jones, Kristen Sinema, and Joe Manchin. It is was a remarkable showing of party unity and I think most Democrats knew that impeachment was not going to happen but supported it anyway because it was the right thing to do considering Trump’s actions and corruption. Do you think Susan Collins and Cory Gardner are going to survive in reelection because of their votes against impeachment?

    Yes Trump is being an emboldened authoritarian because he was not convicted by the Senate but this always causes his popularity to decrease, not increase.

    Help me understand why you think Trump’s popularity is actually rising to significant levels. What does it take to break the Dems in Disarray cliché?Report

    • JS in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      I expect he’ll tighten up to about 46% approval by election day. That’s NeverTrumpers realizing they mean “Any Republican over Trump, but Trump over any Democrat” when they say “Never Trump”. His problem will be if his unfavorables do not drop below 50% in the process.

      46% is, not coincidentally, exactly what he pulled in the national vote in 2016.

      The question that decides the election will be turnout for his opponent.

      On the plus side for Trump, he has an okay economy and the incumbent advantage. On the negative side 2018 showed ridiculously high Democratic turnout that was due entirely to Trump himself, who will officially top the ballot. Note that 2018 also saw very high Republican turnout, but it was massively insufficient, as noted by the swing in the House and various state offices.

      As such, I expect the GOP to spend most of the 2020 campaign demonizing the hell out of whomever the Democrats nominate, trying to drive down turnout and drive up third-party protest votes, while scaring any actual NeverTrumpers into “Never Trump, unless it’s a Democrat”.

      I expect a relentlessly negative campaign, dirtier and nastier and design to turn voters off in disgust as being the core of the 2020 race.Report

      • LeeEsq in reply to JS says:

        For most of them yes, but Joe Walsh recently saw the light and said that he’d rather have a socialist in the White House than Donald Trump and is going to campaign for Democratic politicains.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      The one thing that makes me hesitate is the number of black swans that have been showing up recently.

      Nate Silver strikes me as far less likely to fall for confirmation biases or similar than any other pollster and, hey, when you’re right 52% of the time, you’re wrong 48% of the time…

      But there have been a lot of black swans showing up.Report

      • Mark Kruger in reply to Jaybird says:

        if there are a “lot” of black swans can we really use that analogy? 😀Report

      • Mr.Joe in reply to Jaybird says:

        COVID-19 has the potential to be one hell of a black swan. I don’t even know which way it plays out. Good for Team Trump: we get wartime mentality without the actual war and ability to pin it on Trump being belligerent a-hole.

        Good for Team Blue: Having good national healthcare looks a heck of a lot better in the middle of a pandemic.

        Good for Team Tin Foil: Timing of hitting the largest annual mass migration and one of USA’s largest geopolitical foes. If I wanted to launch a virus based bioweapon at China, manufacturing hub in the center of the country just before everyone goes home for a holiday that closely matches the incubation period is exactly what I would choose.Report

    • Not letting Bloomberg by a nomination and Bernie already out there with the not-so-veiled threat his folks will revolt at the convention if he isn’t the nominee would be good placed to start with breaking “Dems in Disarray” cliché.Report

      • The Bloomberg thing honestly has my jaw on the floor. I suppose they have to let him run, if he wants to run, but the fact that they weren’t able to say “we will accept your donations and we will happily pressure 4-5 of these people, of your choice, to quit in exchange for your donations but we will never, ever, let you run” tells me that there is some serious disarray somewhere.Report

        • Mark Kruger in reply to Jaybird says:

          I hear this a lot (often with regard to Bernie) but how can a party _prevent_ a candidate from running? What levers do they have? As for pressuring folks to drop out – if they could do that we would be down to 2 or 3 by now. 🙂Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Mark Kruger says:

            Well, I suppose Trump demonstrated that there’s nothing that could be done to prevent it. And I suppose Bernie demonstrated that there’s nothing that could be done to prevent it…

            But that seems to be an indication that something has gone awry.Report

            • Mark Kruger in reply to Jaybird says:

              Well yes something has gone awry. Since 68 we’ve made a conscious decision to cut out the middleman and let the voters decide. The (now thoroughly debunked) theory was that collectively voters had some kind of magic that made their choices better. I will be pillaried for saying this, but things were probably better when the parties DID decide.Report

          • Don’t change the rules to let him on the debate stage is a good startReport

            • (This is a very good point.)Report

            • Tough choice. Admit that you didn’t think about self-funded candidates and change the rules, or run the risk that a self-funded candidate will be your nominee without taking part in any of your debates. 538’s national poll tracker today has Bloomberg on the verge of moving into second place. I’m sure the DNC got an earful from the other candidates: he’s crushing us on March 3 spending, and we aren’t getting a chance to to take shots at him on stage?Report

            • George Turner in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:

              You could simply put up a sign, just offstage at the debates, that says “You have to be this tall to proceed.” If challenged, the party could simply point out that the taller candidate usually wins. ^_^Report

          • Aaron David in reply to Mark Kruger says:

            You go back to the days of the party selecting the candidate in the backroom. But, that puts you right back where the D’s were (and some R’s wanted to be) in ’16. With a deeply flawed candidate that lost in a landslide.

            But, in the meantime, don’t let someone buy their way onto the debate stage, and put in a rider that says you need to be a D in good standing for at least a couple years to get up there. With the caveat that this might make you completely miss the what is going on at the ground level.Report

        • Saul Degraw in reply to Jaybird says:

          Bloomberg has 60 billion and can spend lots of money going after Trump and appealing to minority voters in Super Tuesday states. Plus he has more experience than Buttigieg in politics for moderate voters and with a larger city.

          Will it work? We need to wait until March 3rd to see.Report

        • Ozzzy! in reply to Jaybird says:

          If you want to be cynical (and hell, we are talking about mike Bloomberg here) it’s just an acceptable way to fund democratic donations, where the guy doesn’t even care about the tax benefit of donating.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Andrew Donaldson says:


        1. There has only been one caucus and one primary.

        2. There hasn’t been a brokered convention in decades.

        3. Buttigieg has the lead for actual delegates.

        4. I get that following twitter is cheap and easy but the very online are not a majority.

        5. I suspect a lot of Sanders supporters are generally not loyal Democrats.

        6. That being said if Sanders has a significant plurality of the votes like 40-49 percent by the convention, he should get the nomination.Report

        • 1. Agree
          2. Agree, again, and one the record the brokered convention stuff is politico’s wet dream stuff and not reality
          3. Yes he does but where is his win coming from? Polling today has 5th in NV and probably that in SC, and a guy who went 2nd/2nd/5th/5th isn’t going to inspire on Super Tuesday
          4. I am aware.
          5. You are 100% right, they are not, and cannot be trusted to show up in Nov if Sanders isn’t the nominee.
          6. Maybe he should, but this is the crux of the whole issue, isn’t it. He isn’t get to get enough to win it outright even in his best case scenario, so do you see the party giving it to Sanders? Maybe they do, but if its a close choice is that who they are really going with?Report

        • Aaron David in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          “3. Buttigieg has the lead for actual delegates.”

          The fact that this is something the D’s still use shows how much the cries of “Popular Vote!” was utter BS.Report

        • The question in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          I mean if the results from Iowa ever get certified buttigieg has a delegate lead right now but accepting numbers out of Iowa when they were proven math errors and double-counted precincts at this point seems to me just lazyReport

    • Mark Kruger in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Some great thoughts as always Saul. I’ll respond as best I can.

      “Significant Levels” would be a stretch. But you seem to be saying that because he’s unpopular he has no path to victory. 45% approval is not “massively unpopular” as you put it – but yeah he has a ceiling at around 45. Meanwhile a decent economy and a 61% number for the question “are you better off” bode ill for Ds.

      The disapproval number is ugly and has been throughout his presidency. But it certainly doesn’t mean he’s losing. He has a consistent base and a solid chance with all the benefits of incumbancy. Moreover the choice of opponents matters – and matters a lot. Ds have to find a winning coalition. Disapproving of Donald Trump doesn’t mean someone will automatically vote for the D nominee – and their are plenty of folks who’ll hold their nose and vote for him rather than risk upheaval. Meanwhile Ds will continue to beat the “we can’t risk another 4 years” drum and a lot of folks will say, “where have we heard that before.. meh.”

      As for Ds in disarray – I’m sorry but they really are at this point. It’s not irreversible or anything but It’s not media driven either. They most resemble the circus that was the GOP primary season in ’16. Yes I know they hung together for impeachment but what do you suppose the “disapproval” numbers are for the senate and house? Ds are in a real struggle for the heart and soul of the party and it seems plain to me.Report

      • Saul Degraw in reply to Mark Kruger says:

        There has been one caucus and one primary. Despite hardcore online Berniestans, the overwhelming majority for Democrats have already expressed “vote blue, no matter who” for November.

        I think “Dems in disarray” is basically a showing of elephant undies to be honest.Report

        • Chip Daniels in reply to Saul Degraw says:

          “Dems in disarray” is one of those Beltway-isms where it is meant to sound like some objective view from nowhere but its really a criticism.

          Not a criticism of ideas or values, but a criticism that the Dems aren’t savvy and cynical and knowing of the Real Truth that is hidden from the regular folk.

          But of course, that there exists a Real Truth that only the savvy pundits see- that is, the truth of who and what is electable and what is worth pursuing- is utter nonsense.

          The idea that politics should be “in array” is nonsense as well. Isn’t the whole point of organizing to gather, exchange ideas and argue until a consensus emerges? Isn’t democracy the antithesis of being “in array”?

          If you want “in array” look at the Republican Party, where in a bunch of states the primary is basically like one of those Soviet elections where they hand you a card with one name on it.
          And if, like Romney, you dissent, you are told that it isn’t safe for you to come to a party meeting.

          No thanks. I prefer disarray.Report

          • LeeEsq in reply to Chip Daniels says:

            I think people are really concerned about messy democracy in the fight against incipient fascism. Everybody has their idea on who is best to beat Trump and people want a savior to rally around. That messy democracy might not produce somebody so great is causing panic attacks.Report

      • George Turner in reply to Mark Kruger says:

        The risk I see in the approval ratings is that they may be subject to bias from all the moral purity stuff that’s going on. Rassmussen/Ipsos (which is one of the polls Nate Silver is using) is consistently showing 49-49 approval, disapproval, and sometimes 51-49. Their sample size is large, and the gap between their results and the 43-57 type result may reflect a slightly different methodology or the type of person they’re using to make the calls.

        A whole lot of Trump supporters, even hard-core ones, will tell strangers that they can’t stand him, having learned to take the path of least resistance in social situations. When Trump is removed from the question, such as polling about the economy or a person’s optimism, the numbers shift to 60-40 or better.

        One of the problems with these moral crusades and purity spirals is that people become reluctant to reveal what they think because nobody wants to be ostracized, subjected to public condemnation, or get a beat down, so they lie.Report

      • DavidTC in reply to Mark Kruger says:

        The disapproval number is ugly and has been throughout his presidency. But it certainly doesn’t mean he’s losing. He has a consistent base and a solid chance with all the benefits of incumbency.

        You can’t use ‘benefits of incumbency’ to argue that his low poll numbers don’t really count. The ‘benefits of incumbency’ are baked into the poll numbers. There’s not some secret additional effect that will magically appear at the voting booth…the benefits of incumbency are part of the polling.

        You are faced with two options: Either Donald Trump does not have these benefits, or, as George has suggested, everyone is lying to pollsters.

        And the latter isn’t true, as evidenced by the results of every election since Trump having a huge shift towards the Democrats, but I see why Trump supporters have to taken refuge in the ‘lying’ idea…no one can _disprove_ it. Well, until the actual election.

        But unlike the lying idea, there is a really good explanation of why Trump doesn’t have these benefits that previous presidents have: He’s made absolutely no effort to ever, at any point, act as a neutral President. I don’t even mean reach out to the other side politically…he’s managed to fail at stuff every other President has managed effortlessly, like wish everyone a Happy New Year or speak to the Boy Scouts in some sort of nice-ish neutral manner.

        It’s _that_ sort of thing, the President standing in front of everyone and spewing platitudes, the President on the news acting _Presidential_, that grants them the benefits of incumbency in the general election. That makes people go ‘Well, I might disagree with him, but he seems okay as president.’ But…Trump does not seem okay as president.

        The incumbency thing is basically just a context-less judgement of character and behavior. Are they nice? Do they seem like they’re conducting themselves well? Do any scandals seem unimportant? Are they basically _personable_ in a general sense?

        We just never _realized_ this was any sort of test before because we’ve never elected an utter asshole as president before, at least not within the history of modern polling.Report

  10. greginak says:

    The word normalization swirls all around this. People are just used to Trumps crimes and corruption. Since our daily lives haven’t descended into some USSR hellscape that , somehow, means trumpian corruption doesn’t matter. Everything is horse race, so if impeachment doesn’t move polls then it wasn’t worthy. Russia messing with out election or trump scrounging for dirt on foes are giant fishing things as are 20 others things he has done. That our lives stay normal doesn’t mean our democracy isn’t straining. Normal life continued like normal for people in dictatorships most of the time. Trumps tantrum as a jury person yesterday only changed her daily life. Does that mean it isn’t atrocious and again deeply stressing the justice system.Report

  11. Burt Likko says:

    The issue that the OP ignores is the President’s role as a cultural leader. This President signals that it’s good to be beligerrent, bullying, and bullheaded; to cheat and lie; to ruthlessly use your wealth and privilege to stay on top; to blind yourself to truth in favor of bizarre conspiracy theories; to treat the law as an obstacle to avoid rather than an ideal to be voluntarily conformed to.

    It is hard to measure these things directly but they are powerful nevertheless.

    Other arenas where Trump has made a big difference (judicial appointments and foreign policy) are harder for the “lightly engaged class” to feel directly, though they will. When soybean farmers in Wisconsin sell their crop at half price because their best market is closed to them, or when a homebrewer pays an extra dollar per unit for her bottles thanks to tariffs, or when college kids are busted by the Feds for smoking weed, or when a teenage girl has to find transportation across state lines to seek a safe abortion.

    Who the President is, what kind of a person he is, what he does, DOES matter, even if it’s not always easy or direct to see in day-to-day life. This is understood by the public intuitively, despite the difficulty in quantitative framing, and reflected in Trump’s consistently low approval ratings.Report

    • Mark Kruger in reply to Burt Likko says:

      All fair points Burt – and I agree. I have no love for Trump. But saying he matters or will matter eventually will not put the genie back in the bottle unfortunately.Report

    • Is it cultural leader or cultural mirror?Report

    • DavidTC in reply to Burt Likko says:

      Who the President is, what kind of a person he is, what he does, DOES matter, even if it’s not always easy or direct to see in day-to-day life. This is understood by the public intuitively, despite the difficulty in quantitative framing, and reflected in Trump’s consistently low approval ratings.

      This, exactly. I just said above that this is why he doesn’t have the ‘benefits of incumbency’ that he should have.

      Because it turns out: That actually was a test this entire time! A secret test of general likeability.(1) We just never noticed, because all previous Presidents at least vaguely tried to sound likeable in public!

      1) Well, technically, a test of likeability or ignorability. Other elected people can get the benefits of incumbency by being utterly forgettable, so people just have a vague ‘Well, I don’t have any problems with this guy, so I’ll keep him in there’. But the President probably can’t be ignored in modern politics, and Trump couldn’t play that role even if it was possible.Report

    • Pinky in reply to Burt Likko says:

      I have no love for Trump either, but I remember Obama and the Clintons, and that first paragraph seems a good description of them too. I’m aware I’m making a “both sides do it” argument, but if your point is that Trump constitutes a uniquely bad example, that kind of argument is apt. Trump is worse in degree, not kind. And even that is arguable. I can’t think of any time Trump has “ruthlessly use[d his) wealth and privilege to stay on top”. Maybe in the world of real estate, but not in politics. Not like Bloomberg has.Report

  12. Chip Daniels says:

    Courtesy Balloon Juice, a link to Michael Harriot writing in The Root, explaining the willingness of black people to vote for Bloomberg:

    One of the biggest factors in a large number of black people’s primary voting criterion is who they think white people will vote for when the curtain closes behind them in the voting booth. We know Bernie has better policy plans. We know Elizabeth Warren is a better communicator. We have seen Buttigieg’s Douglass plan.

    But we also know white people.

    Donald Trump is proof of what they will do.”

    “For many black people, the prospect of an unchecked, second-term white supremacist outweighs the choice between Medicare for All and a public option. It’s heavier than student loan forgiveness or foreign policy. It’s bigger than all of the economic proposals and tax plans combined. It’s not even that people don’t think the other Democratic candidates can defeat Donald Trump. We just don’t know if they can defeat the overwhelming self-interests of white people.”

    I get this. Like i mentioned about myself, the prospect of a second term Trump has me willing to do things I might never have considered before. And I’m not even the one who would feel the baton.Report

    • Saul Degraw in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      I think there are elements of truth to this but I also think older black voters are more socially conservative than younger black voters. I am honestly kind of pissed at psychological speculation when people you like make decisions you disapprove of. The same thing was happening when black voters went for Biden instead of Warren and Sanders. What is wrong with just admitting that older black voters might be actually moderate instead of radical reformists?

      It is just as bad as false consciousness as an explanation for working class people not voting communist. It is a balm to console the writer or speaker that people disagree with him or her.

      A good ideology can wrestle with its short comings openly.Report

      • Chip Daniels in reply to Saul Degraw says:

        Its also true that the “black vote” is no more homogeneous than the “white vote”. It just appears that way because we aren’t as familiar with black people as they are with us, and the racism of the GOP forces almost all black people into the same tent, even when they aren’t necessarily in agreement with each other.

        Like I said the other day, absent racism, black people would divide between the two parties pretty much like white people do.Report

    • LeeEsq in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      I’m agreeing with Saul here. The only thing this shows is that there is a disconnect between the online African-American intelligentsia and the ordinary African-American voters. Its sort of how the average Democratic voter has different political instincts than the online Democratic voter, who favors Warren or Sanders over everybody else.

      The majority of African-Americans probably believe quite a bit of American political mythology and might not be entirely behind the 1619 Project’s political thesis about slavery and structural racism being the most important fascets in American life.Report

  13. dragonfrog says:

    To nobody at all’s surprise, having been acquitted in the Senate, Trump is now happily admitting to doing the things he was accused of and denied doing last week.

  14. Saul Degraw says:

    Submitted without comment but somehow Elizabeth Warren does best against Bernie Sanders in a head to head assuming a two-person Democratic primary:

    • North in reply to Saul Degraw says:

      Entirely unsurprising: She’d compete better with him for the far liberal constituency than any other candidate and everyone to the right of her would support her pretty much by default.Report

  15. Jaybird says:

    If you were hoping for either Michael Avenatti or Hillary Clinton to swoop in and win the nomination, it looks like Avenatti was just found guilty.

    Still a chance for Hillary though.Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

      Good news!


      • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird says:

        Heh! Drudge got it right.

        The last time this issue came up, everyone repeated the wrong idea that the president and VP couldn’t be from the same state. They can. What actually happens is the electors from that state can’t vote for both of them.

        Which almost has no bearing in practice. First, it doesn’t matter if the state is going to go for the other party…and it doesn’t matter if that state’s electoral college votes aren’t important for the win.

        If all that happens to fall out the wrong way, the electors from just that state would pick a random throw-away VP candidate. Which means no VP candidate gets a majority, and the Senate now chooses the VP, by two-third majority, from the top two candidates.

        I rather suspect that even with the current Senate, there would be large pressure to choose the ‘correct’ VP instead of Pence.

        But even if they try to put in Pence…the Democrats wouldn’t agree, and eventually we’d hit inauguration without a selection, which means…no one ends up ‘elected’ VP.

        At that point, president Bloomberg (Ugh) could nominate Hillary (More Ugh.) as VP, like it normally works when that slot is empty. The Senate can now only choose between VP candidates he puts forward. I mean, they could refuse, forever, but…flat-out refusing to put in a VP looks pretty bad.

        Be kinda funny to have no one _elected_ vice president, and instead the president has to appoint his own ticket-mate, who seemingly won the election with him, because of stupid electoral college nonsense.Report

      • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

        Ok… work with me here:

        “Bloomberg didn’t kill himself” is gonna be lit.Report

      • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

        Wow, the winner for most desperate clickbait of year has a solid contender already.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

        Bold! Brazen! Bizarre!Report

        • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

          Assuming it’s a complete fabrication (which it absolutely *MUST* be), he’s now in a position where he gets to deny it.Report

          • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

            My guess is that it’s not a fabrication, that someone from Bloomberg’s camp intentionally floated this to Drudge. What I can’t figure out is why, since on a first pass it seems like the kind of thing Bloomberg’s (general election) Republican opponent would want him to have to deny.

            But OTOH, assuming the “leak” isn’t true, why would Trump’s camp want this narrative out right now, rather than later? (To block his ascension to the Dem nomination?)Report

            • greginak in reply to Stillwater says:

              There is a 1000% chance this is completely made up just for the clicks.Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

              There are two ways to assume it’s accurate:

              1. A source did say this (but it’s not true)
              2. A source did say this (and it is true)

              If it’s the former, maybe it’s an attempt to make Drudge look bad? “Drudge Report is fake news!”, Bloomberg could say, in an effort to become even more of a weird reflection of Trump.

              If it’s the latter…

              Surely it’s not the latter.Report

              • Aaron David in reply to Jaybird says:

                It’s a trial balloon. Looking back to ’16 and HRC getting a greater slightly bigger share of cast votes, it would make sense to see if that gets a positive reception that is greater than any negitive reactions.

                It has a hecka lower political cost than bringing her onstage after getting the nom and then finding the boos coming out of the woodwork.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Aaron David says:

                One of the other candidates could (risking a potential implosion) try and own Twitter and the edgy youth vote by coming out and saying “Out of an abundance of caution, I too am considering Hillary as my VP choice.”

                Beto or Yang might have been the ones to do something crazy/genius like that, but perhaps Buttigieg would too.

                As an aside, it seems that Matt Drudge is no longer associated with the Drudge Report, but nobody really knows and he’s not talking. He probably sold it for an insane amount of money and signed a confidentiality agreement. I wouldn’t be surprised if the purchaser was Bloomberg himself.Report

          • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

            Or more specifically to your comment: why would Bloomberg think it’s beneficial to his chances in the *democratic primary* to publicly deny choosing Clinton as a running mate?Report

            • Jaybird in reply to Stillwater says:

              It’s an opportunity to talk about how great Clinton is for a couple of minutes before saying “I haven’t picked a running mate yet”.

              Get in good with the powers that be.


              I mean, she almost won 2016. She must have a great many fans… right?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                Here’s a piece of evidence for why it *MIGHT* be true:

                Not because it mentions Clinton, of course.

                But it’s one of those things that, if someone told me about it, I’d have assumed that they were making fun of him.

                You know. Like the Clinton thing.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird says:

                I weirdly have to agree. Bloomberg is indeed the only Democratic candidate I could see being so completely out of touch he thinks Hillary as VP is a good idea.

                This is literally absurd as an idea, but I can see him doing it. That doesn’t mean he did, but…who knows?Report

              • Pinky in reply to DavidTC says:

                Aside from the fact that all of us smart people know it’s absurd, what’s absurd about it? She maybe doesn’t scream “winner” to me, but she’d fill the gaps in his resume, supercharge the female portion of the Democratic base, and potentially provide a sense of continuity that the Biden candidacy was supposed to. I think I read somewhere that she got more votes than Trump in 2016. Sure, to me it sounds like Wall Street money with a side of Wall Street money, but I don’t know why it’s more absurd than any other Bloomberg ticket.Report

              • Ozzzy! in reply to Jaybird says:

                The dumbest part of all this is the Angled, all caps Comic Sans, no?

                that kills his chances with the graphic design and Cleveland cav’s fan voter factions. I hear Ohio is kind of a big deal this time around?Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Ozzzy! says:

                Why would you spell your name in lower-case letters at the same time that people are making short jokes? Why?Report

  16. George Turner says:

    De Blasio endorses Bernie Sanders

    So now when Bloomberg, former mayor of New York City, New York, goes after Buttigieg for merely being mayor of South Bend Indiana, Buttgieg can retort that two out of three current and former mayors of New York oppose Bloomberg. (Giuliani certainly backs Trump).Report

  17. George Turner says:

    This might be very important. The Intercept – The Bloomberg Effect

    Mike Bloomberg is hiring so many operatives, local and state campaigns are starving for help.

    For a swath of voters, there’s something comforting about the money he’s willing to spend. But for candidates across the country — the type needed to hold majorities in Congress and in state legislatures, and to boost turnout for the presidential election — the billions in spending means quite the opposite.

    Progressive groups, local campaigns, and presidential operations are either losing staff to the Bloomberg campaign, or are struggling to hire people because the former mayor has picked so many political operatives and canvassers up, according to interviews, emails, and messages from dozens of people involved in hiring.

    Buying up all the talent is like sucking all the oxygen out of the room for all those down ticket races. This could prove an even worse repeat of the Obama formula, where the Democratic party got wiped out at the state and local level even as Obama soared. The lack of all those local wins then later produces a shortage of seasoned candidates for higher offices.

    It could be that just as Nancy cost Democrats the White House, Bloomberg will cost them the House, Senate, governorships, state legislatures, and city councils.Report

    • Mark Kruger in reply to George Turner says:

      George, this is an interesting angle. I’m not sure it’s possible to buy enough talent to suck the energy out of a race in a particular region (even for Bloomberg) – but you have me thinking.Report

      • George Turner in reply to Mark Kruger says:

        It is indeed interesting. I have to main trains of questions about things it might affect.

        The first thought I had is on the fate of all these lower-level political activists, canvasers, and coordinators. I assume that there’s some normal type of “local ecosystem” where some of those who work on a campaign end up with a government job or government related job that results from their close contact with the politician who got elected. When Obama was elected to the Senate, Michelle got a job as a hospital community outreach coordinator and she had a huge staff. Those staffers came from somewhere, and I assume that many of them had been involved in his campaign, or campaigns for some other Chicago politicians.

        (I have no real knowledge of how that all works, but I’m assuming there is some form of political hiring that’s always been in operation. If anyone knows more, please add your thoughts!)

        But if so many of them go off and work on the Bloomberg campaign, they’re not going to have any ties to the local races. In fact, they might be viewed as having abandoned the local politicians, and thus have big negative marks for loyalty. Only a few of them will find jobs in any Bloomberg administration, in part because Bloomberg doesn’t give a fig about them. So after November, when the pink slips go out, instead of the usual job as County Community Outreach Assistant Coordinator back home, are they going to find themselves working in the Wendy’s drive-thru?

        My other main thought concerned fundraising. If Bloomberg buys the nomination at the convention, how will the anti-Trumpers here feel about donating to his campaign? Whether you like him or hate him, he certainly doesn’t need your money because he’s blowing his own billions, and frankly, how many of you would give your own hard-earned money to Michael Bloomberg? With that thought, how many of you are going to remember to donate lots to your local House or Senate candidate’s campaign?

        Bloomberg can blow as much as he wants on his own race, but he’s still as limited as anyone on how much he gives to any other politician. He can’t fund all those House and Senate candidates, and if you keep your wallet closed because “Bloomberg’s got this”, Democrat House and Senate races will suffer, especially because Republicans will be donating like there’s no tomorrow to stop Bloomberg, Nancy, and the treasonous, backstabbing Congressman that voted to impeach Trump and nullify the 2016 election and rig the 2020 election.

        Normally the local candidate would annoy the heck out of you with reminders that they need money, but this time the people in charge of spamming your in-box or sending someone to knock on your door, well, they’re all off working for Bloomberg up through November. That could become a disastrous problem for Democrats all down the ticket.

        So basically, how does Bloomberg’s actions affect the distribution of jobs and campaign donations?Report

        • Jaybird in reply to George Turner says:

          Here is my dumb question about Bloomberg. I don’t have the ability to look at things objectively in this case and so I need to hear from somebody who might be more objective than I am (and no, George, I don’t mean you).

          Everybody who says nice things about Bloomberg is saying them because they’re being paid to say them, right?

          I mean, that seems to freaking obvious to me that I must be blinded by confirmation bias, right?

          Can normies tell the difference between a passionate person talking about how awesome Bernie is and someone being paid to say how great Bloomberg is?

          There was this great Bruno sketch on Da Ali G show where Bruno was talking to various fashion commentators and they did some free associations. Throw a picture up of So-and-so and the commentator would say “I love her! Look at her shoes! She always has such magnificent footwear!” or something like that and somewhere around the 3rd picture, the trap shut: Paris Hilton. “Oh my god! She’s so boring now! I hate hearing about her!” Bruno turns to the camera and makes the “go down” motion with his hand. He goes sotto voice and explains to the commentators that the Hiltons are, in fact, the main advertisers for his show and so he was wondering if they could re-do that shot. Nods all around. Next picture: Paris Hilton! “She’s still got it! So hot!”

          But their faces communicated stuff. I think. Part of the gag was that you knew that the commentator was lying and so you read their faces differently that time knowing what you knew about their free association from a half minute before.


          I can’t help but think that everybody who says something nice about Bloomberg is being paid to say nice things about him.

          And I wish I knew how to ask whether that sort of thing is transparent to normies without poisoning the interpretation of the person I’d ask.Report

          • George Turner in reply to Jaybird says:

            Well, I think the closest recent example might be Jeb!’s campaign. He was burning through piles of money and utterly failing to get any support in return. Normal folks apparently saw through the esteemed “GOP influencers” who went out and said the obligatory things about Jeb! being the inevitable shoe-in because he had all the right backers, none of whom seemed to pull of a convincing endorsement, based on how people finally voted.Report

          • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

            Whether it is a “dumb question” or not depends on whether you’ve actually spoken to someone who says nice things about Bloomberg, or if you’re just forming an opinion of them based on second and third hand sources.

            I mean, I don’t like the guy, but I know there are plenty of people who do, according to the polls I see.
            Or maybe they don’t like him at all! Maybe they are most just strategic voters.

            But in any case, there isn’t any way to find out without going right to the source and getting first hand data.Report

  18. Mark Kruger says:

    Not only is Bloomberg hijacking the D primary process, but he’s also even hijacking this comment thread. 🙂Report

    • Jaybird in reply to Mark Kruger says:

      This clip is going around now.

      I honestly don’t understand how he’s getting half of the play that he is.

      Maybe it’s nothing more complicated than “he’s buying it.”Report

      • InMD in reply to Jaybird says:

        Money and fear. So much fear that powerful actors keep hedging.Report

      • Aaron David in reply to Jaybird says:

        To Jaybirds point, 400 million spent on ads so far. An order of magnitude greater than the non-billionaires in the race.

        • Mark Kruger in reply to Aaron David says:

          During the time that he has spent that 400 million, his net worth has increased some 8 billion dollars. Order of magnitude indeed.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Mark Kruger says:

            Good gracious:

            Personally, I’d ask for the numbers for what it’d cost to complete a particularly troublesome public works project. Flint’s water, say. (Though I understand graft is a huge problem… but if it is, couldn’t you bring in your own guys and just, you know, do it?)

            And compare the cost of that to campaigning.

            Now, I’ve seen numbers as “low” as $55 million to fix Flint and numbers as high as $1.5 Billion. If the numbers were closer to the low end of that, wouldn’t “I fixed Flint!” be one hell of an ad? You know that NBC/CBS/ABC/NPR would run that add for free on the nightly news for a week or so and intermittently until election day.

            And if $1.5 Billion is right, then surely there’s *SOMETHING* that could be fixed in a swing state *SOMEWHERE* that could get the so-called “news” to run your ads for free for a while.Report

            • North in reply to Jaybird says:

              1.5 Billion doesn’t buy a lot in infrastructure and it most assuredly doesn’t buy it fast. Bloomberg would have needed to have started laying groundwork for his big infrastructure gambit years and years ago for it to be ready to go now.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to North says:

                Fixing potholes! If Domino’s can do it, Bloomberg can do it.

                Colorado Springs had an “Adopt A Streetlight!” thing for a year there where you could pay $400 to have a particular streetlight on for a year (otherwise, it would be off).

                I have no doubt that there were a handful of legit shovel-ready kinda jobs that could have been hired for and implemented.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Jaybird says:

                Crap, you know those school lunch things? He could pay off the odious debt of various elementary schools!

                It’s a feel-good story! Kinda!Report

              • George Turner in reply to Jaybird says:

                Bloomberg sounds more likely to found a “School Lunch LLC” multinational and serve the kids low-sodium, low-fat, processed meat and soy products made in Chinese sweat shops.

                But that’s just my opinion. It could be that he would figure out how to charge the kids interest, or somehow monetize tranches of student lunch debts and then offer them as an investment instrument.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to George Turner says:

                If I wanted to write a commercial campaign attacking Bloomberg I’m pretty sure that I’d be able to.

                The wacky thing is that by running Bloomberg, a number of attack ads that practically any other candidate might run against Trump are off the table the way they were off the table for Clinton.

                Trump has done to the Democrats what Obama did to the Republicans.

                This will take decades to fix, if it’s fixable at all.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                “…a number of attack ads that practically any other candidate might run against Trump are off the table the way they were off the table for Clinton.”

                Why should we think so? Because the logic of the ad might be absurd?

                History has demonstrated pretty clearly that logic and consistency are meaningless in political ads.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                “Don’t vote for the abusive, sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic billionaire! Vote for the abusive, sexist, racist, homophobic, transphobic billionaire!”

                “Actually, vote for the one that doesn’t mind if you drink soda pop.”Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to Jaybird says:

                In 2004 the Republicans urged us not to vote for the guy who wimped out in Vietnam, but vote for George W. Bush instead.

                They urged us not to vote for the very un-patriotic Max Cleland, who lost three limbs in battle.

                Donald Trump urged us not to vote for the candidate who favored big business, but vote for him instead.

                To not vote for the candidate of white collar corruption, but to vote for him instead.

                The philandering lecherous rapist urged us to vote for him so he could welcome Jesus and Santa Claus back into the White House.

                Attacking your opponent on their strengths is actually called a Rovian tactic, after the man who used it to win elections.

                A billion dollar campaign can very easily make Mike Bloomberg the hero of the Woke crowd.Report

              • George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                If woke folks are that easy to buy off, Trump should just go ahead and buy them.

                The trouble with Bloomberg is that he won’t leave woke folks much room to stand on principles, however transitory and situational, because he the embodiment of what so many anti-Trumpers despise.

                Many of the people who would never vote for Trump will also never vote for Bloomberg.Report

              • Chip Daniels in reply to George Turner says:

                The trouble with Trump is that he won’t leave religious folks much room to stand on principles, however transitory and situational, because he’s the embodiment of what so many religious folks despise.Report

              • greginak in reply to Chip Daniels says:

                Counterpoint: bloomers is trash. His well known record would seriously hurt turnout among women and minorities. Yeah his billions would make for a giant shit fight based on acomplishing nothing much that the general liberal/left wants.

                But you are correct that consistency in ads and messaging is overrated.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to greginak says:

                Counterpoint: bloomers is trash.

                Counter-counterpoint: Over 50% of the electorate doesn’t want Trump re-elected and I have it on good authority that they will crawl naked over broken glass to cast their anyone-but-Trump vote.

                I don’t think Bloomberg is trash, though. He’s running a particular type of campaign that is mainly focused on presenting himself as the King Slayer, but it works (and will only work) because the Democratic party is comprised of either bold and deluded progressives or weak “play to not lose” moderates. Bloomberg steps into the breach by presenting himself as an ass-kicking, take-no-prisoners, aggressive, BOLD, moderate.

                Joe! tried that lane, but his rally cry of beating Trump “like a drum” wasn’t a call to arms. It just made people snigger.Report

              • North in reply to Jaybird says:

                Umm… in case you missed it Bloomberg isn’t nominated yet- in fact he hasn’t even won a delegate yet.Report

              • greginak in reply to North says:

                The absolute panic and freak out about him is astonishing. Even for someone who had followed politics and D’s this is just amazeballs. A few polls and people are anointing him the nom.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to greginak says:

                He’s second in national polling, greg. People are freaking out because unlike other candidates they don’t see a clear ceiling for his support. Exciting!!!!Report

              • greginak in reply to Stillwater says:

                They dont’ see a clear ceiling because he is the billion dollar flavor of the weak. Give it a month or two and see where he is. A few other people have been in the lead already. So just calm the spork down. I certainly dont’ want him and he would depress turnout in some key D groups. But we can’t go the rest of the election on full adrenal blast.

                Correction we will go the rest of the election of full adrenal blast and it will be less then fun.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to greginak says:

                Give it a month or two and see where he is.

                OK. I don’t think you’re gonna like it though. 🙂Report

              • Jaybird in reply to greginak says:

                The DNC has also changed the rule to accommodate him.

                Which, you’d think, would be worth freaking out over.Report

              • Stillwater in reply to Jaybird says:

                Weirdly, Dems aren’t freaking out that their party’s National Committee sold the party out (literally) for cash, but instead are freaking out that the media keeps fluffing Bloomberg’s attempt to (literally) buy the nomination.

                I mean, if anyone wants evidence that he could do it, look no further than Tom Perez.Report

              • greginak in reply to Jaybird says:

                Yeah the DNC. They, while very much a net negative, have never been as efficient as people have made them out to be. Lets see some votes before i freak. Maybe he does well and that will indeed suck and blow. But lets see him survive weeks of criticism and scrutiny.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to North says:

                Nope, he hasn’t. He’s put all of his eggs in the Super Tuesday basket.

                And, crazily enough, in the “I’m Neither Trump Nor Bernie” basket.

                And the media, get this, is running with that last one.Report

  19. Jaybird says:

    This got tweeted into my timeline and I think that Pokeypup brings an interesting phenomenon to light.


  20. Jaybird says:

    Holy $#!+


    • DensityDuck in reply to Jaybird says:

      It’s gonna be 2004 all over again, they’ll have a tremendously-disliked President and a popular populist candidate rapidly rising in the polls and they’re gonna say “you know what we should do? Pick some rich old white dude whose entire campaign platform is I’m Not The President. That’ll definitely get the butts in the booths come November.” And they’ll get hammered, and it’ll be Four More Years, and it’ll go down in history as yet another time the Democrats bricked a lay-up.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to DensityDuck says:

        I’m actually more bullish on Bloomberg’s chances in the general than most, I think, for two reasons. One is that he’ll attract voters who don’t like Trump but do like the fact that he’s (scarequoptes) “anti-institutional”. The second is stuff like this:

        Bloomberg’s newly released higher education plan “addresses both quality and cost, in detail. Whatever else you think of his campaign, his approach to higher education is arguably the most progressive of any candidate.”

        Bloomie is presenting himself as authoritarian-type tough; disconnected from existing political commitments so uncompromisable; and progressive (enough) on policy to win the primary. The question is whether BernieBros (they’ve been threatening to sit) or other progressive-types will turn out for him.Report

    • Aaron David in reply to Jaybird says:

      Bloomberg would be the death of Democratic party. He refutes every single thing they have espoused since I was born.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Aaron David says:

        + 1000.

        Bloomberg is a cagey old Billionaire who completely understands that a desire to Beat Trump coupled with Democratic party insiders’ commitment to their own personal grift operations has created an opportunity to buy the election. If he wins, a party on life support will be officailly dead.Report

      • Philip H in reply to Aaron David says:

        Agree totally.Report

        • George Turner in reply to Philip H says:

          I don’t think Bloomberg can win the nomination, except perhaps by buying enough officials at the convention, because almost nobody here will vote for him because they see him for what he is, and for what his candidacy represents.

          OT had Beto supporters, Harris supporters, and Mike was pushing for Tulsi. OT had plenty of Bernie supporters, Warren supporters, Yang supporters, and Klobuchar supporters. I’m not sure about the level of Buttigieg and Biden supporters, but I haven’t seen much strident opposition to them.

          Though some here, such as I think Chip, have been loving all the hard hitting Bloomberg ads, most everyone seems to think Bloomberg is a nightmare, and they really don’t like him. He might be able to squeak past Bernies 20-30% support levels, but can he ever get higher than 30% if 60 or 70% of Democrats stay determined to stop him?

          Judging from the liberals here at OT, he wants to buy the party and they’re definitely not willing to sell it. If that remains true, and I think it will because of all the old Bloomberg quotes and clips that are coming out that make him sound like a monster who is worse than Trump, then his candidacy basically just brings a big dose of chaos and destruction to the primary.

          I would contrast this with the strong early opposition to Schultz (the Starbucks CEO), who was actually very likable and I’d say very viable. I think the difference between the two runs was simply timing. When Schultz floated his candidacy Democrats thought he’d derail all of the many rising stars, since everybody was still thinking that Beto or Yang or Harris or somebody would shoot to the top – unless Schultz ruined everything.

          Now, with almost all the candidates kind of floundering and people hoping for a better option, Bloomberg’s prominence, money, and outsider status seemed more compelling. But unlike Schultz, Bloomberg’s negatives are going to be huge. I think many liberals would be more inclined to support George W Bush’s “compassionate conservatism” than Bloomberg’s iron-fisted law-and-order approach to nanny-state governance.Report

    • Marchmaine in reply to Jaybird says:

      Let me help put out the fire with gasoline:

      "The Democratic Party as an institution is tottering and much closer to being exposed as an empty shell than is typically realized. It's as weak as the GOP was just before Trump launched his hostile takeover bid during the 2016 Republican primaries."— Damon Linker (@DamonLinker) February 18, 2020

      On the one hand, I believed all of you when you said you’d crawl over broken glass to vote against Trump; I just didn’t think you’d have to.

      {And, I should note for posterity, without any real votes for Bloomberg yet… maybe you won’t have to.}
      {But still, seeing what the broken glass looks like and the protective gear being manufactured?…}
      {Of course, there’s still Bernie… who embodies “one man’s treasure is another man’s broken glass”}Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Marchmaine says:

        I remember thinking, at some point in 2015, that the Republicans had a really strong bench.

        And then Hurricane Donald came in and left destruction in his wake.

        I want to say that, in 2019, I could have looked at the Democratic bench and said similar things.

        Look at Harris! Look at Warren! Look at Biden! Indeed, out of the 20 or so people running, there were a legit handful of top-of-the-ticket names on there and pretty much anybody except for Yang and Williamson would have made a reasonable VP partner for most of those 20 people running.

        And Hurricane Mike comes in.

        There might be a problem at the top of both parties, guys.

        Which means that we’ve got a problem.Report

        • Philip H in reply to Jaybird says:

          that snot new news to many of us. I’ve been railing here and elsewhere for YEARS about how far right the Democratic Party has moved both in its embrace of Neoliberal economics AND corporate PAC money. The check books are the same and have been for the better part of two decades best I can tell.

          That’s part of why I am not running from Bernie or Warren. They scare the checkbooks and I like that.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Philip H says:

            Well, I am feeling the Bern and, in the absence of that, feeling the Verm.

            Let’s kick the elite out of both parties.Report

            • George Turner in reply to Jaybird says:

              The thinking of academic and media elites is running the other way.

              WaPo: It’s Time to Give the Elites a Bigger Say in Choosing Presidential Candidates

              Apparently they just changed that headline due to the blow back, but I’m sure the point stands. The problem with the Democratic party is that the unwashed morons won’t vote the way the WaPo editorial board tells them to vote. They’re going to try to fix that.

              The current process is clearly flawed, but what would be better? Finding an answer means thinking about the purpose of presidential nominations, and about how the existing system falls short. It will require swimming against the tide of how we’ve thought about nominations for decades — as a contest between everyday voters and elites, or as a smaller version of a general election. A better primary system would empower elites to bargain and make decisions, instructed by voters.

              Of course they don’t intend to actually listen to voters, otherwise they could just let the voters vote and save themselves all the trouble of “deciding” for everyone.

              Republicans long ago realized that their interests and the interests of the media elites and party elites were wildly divergent. Non-elite Democrats are long overdue for the same epiphany. “Honey bear, the party really doesn’t respect you. I don’t think it even likes you.”Report

        • DavidTC in reply to Jaybird says:

          Bloomberg is nowhere near as interesting as Trump, and won’t get more free media coverage than all the other candidates in his party put together.Report

          • Marchmaine in reply to DavidTC says:

            I’m not sure about that… if Bloomberg actually gets real live votes in primaries north of 15% … the story that Bloomberg got real live votes in primaries and is pulling apart the party at the seams will generate more free media coverage than any other story.

            Plus… free media coverage? Projections are assuming Bloomberg intends to spend upwards of $4B… Trump spent $66M. So the real calculus for Bloomberg is $4B PLUS free Media coverage.

            March 4th will be Day 1 of the next phase.Report

            • North in reply to Marchmaine says:

              I’m still not convinced he’ll get a lot of votes. I mean he’s been buying a mountain of adds so he gets name recognition but people who’ll actually go out in a primary and vote for him? I feel like they’re not going to. That frightens me, of course, as my feelings have historically been awfully wrong when it comes to election predicting.Report

              • Marchmaine in reply to North says:

                That’s a reasonable position to stake prior to the debate and March 3 voting. I have no idea either.

                We’ll have a better idea what all this looks like the day after.

                Could be nothingburger or the recriminations will start over who should have dropped to clear the way for whom.Report

        • North in reply to Jaybird says:

          Odd, maybe my memory is faulty but I could have sworn you’ve consistently described the Democratic bench as weak? I may be mentally crossing you with someone else.

          Be that as it may, I’m none to pleased about Bloomberg’s run. The mans’ just making it more likely Uncle Bern is gonna win by further splitting up the moderate lane. I’d ask what the hell he’s thinking but I presume he’s just being taken for a ride by his circle of grifters who’re gonna become millionaires from all the money he’s throwing out on this vanity project. Bernie should send him a fruit basket.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to North says:

            Eh, it’s a field of VPs. (I’m someone who thought that Clinton/Obama should have run in 2008 and Obama in 2016… but people keep bringing up how Romney would have *CREAMED* Clinton in 2012.)

            Is it weak to have a bunch of people who would make a great VP?

            No, if you have one or two heavy hitters who would make a great president.

            Yes… if a bunch of people who would make a great VP is all you have.

            Well, and Sanders. Who is a category unto himself.

            But look at the Republicans. Trump has hollowed out the Republicans. Who could possibly make a run in 2024? All I see are VPs.

            In the same way, Bloomberg can march in and immediately steal spotlight from a bunch of potential VPs on the Dem side. Who has the ability to wrest the spotlight back?

            Other than Bernie, I mean.Report

            • North in reply to Jaybird says:

              Clinton/Obama would have been fishing amazing and the GOP would have been too busy groping around trying to find their own eyeballs in the dirt in 2012 for Romneybot to have presented much of a challenge. The ’08-’12 era was just begging for a President of Clinton’s cynicism.
              But Mark Penn buried that possibility ten feet deep, damn him to hell, and in the wake of ’16 it’s a good question if HRC would have been as capable a President as I like to think she’d have been.

              As to your comments and questions: I don’t know if the GOP will be capable of mustering a cabinet secretary level of candidate after Trump, let alone a VP level one.
              As for Bloomberg? He hasn’t stolen anything yet- he’s just spent an absolute crap ton of money. The debate will be his first test and then Super Tuesday. Any of the current candidates could take the narrative back from Bloomberg, hell in hindsight whichever one wins will probably seem obvious.Report

  21. Chip Daniels says:

    I’m mailing off my California ballot tonight for Warren.Report

    • George Turner in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      But wait! Before you throw your vote away for free, see how much Bloomberg will pay you.

      Dear Bloomberg staffer,

      I know we all have our price, and why should you shamelessly profit from selling out while I can sell out just as easily, and for less money, too? You know, I’m looking at my beer fridge and thinking that it would look a lot better with a few cases of imported beer in it, and I’m wondering ‘Would Michael Bloomberg help me stock up?’ So I’m thinking the mayor wouldn’t mind hitting my Paypal so I could get some beer, and then I’d tell all my friends at my local free-range organic California liquor store what a great guy Michael Bloomberg is.

      Your truly, etc., etc.


    • Marchmaine in reply to Chip Daniels says:

      Do they let you pick a “second favorite” for when she drops out?

      {I kid, I kid}Report

      • George Turner in reply to Marchmaine says:

        The Vegas line on Warren is 2.2% odds, versus 6% odds that Hillary will win.

        This came up in a Washington Free Beacon article ANALYSIS: Political Pundits Have No Idea What They’re Talking About

        The article makes some good points, and dredges up pundit predictions from much earlier in this cycle to reinforce the point. I really think the average non-political check-out clerk or maintenance guy could give more accurate political forecasts and analysis than most in the media, just based on their own impressions of each candidate and vast knowledge of people who don’t eat free-range organic chicken Asian-fusion fajitas.Report

  22. George Turner says:

    The Federalist ran a very funny but hard-hitting piece where Sean Davis channeled Paul Harvey.

    [Paul Harvey voice]

    And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “I need a tiny, soulless technocrat to tell everyone else how to live their lives.” So God made a Bloomberg.

    God said, “I need a know-it-all Wall Street banker who made more money by getting fired than most men will make their entire lives working an honest job.” So God made a Bloomberg.

    And then he started throwing heavier punches. ^_^

    I think that put together as an ad, that piece alone would doom the man’s candidacy.Report