The convenient “whitelash” thesis

From Mark Lilla in the New York Times:

Finally, the whitelash thesis is convenient because it absolves liberals of not recognizing how their own obsession with diversity has encouraged white, rural, religious Americans to think of themselves as a disadvantaged group whose identity is being threatened or ignored. Such people are not actually reacting against the reality of our diverse America (they tend, after all, to live in homogeneous areas of the country). But they are reacting against the omnipresent rhetoric of identity, which is what they mean by “political correctness.” Liberals should bear in mind that the first identity movement in American politics was the Ku Klux Klan, which still exists. Those who play the identity game should be prepared to lose it.

Trump is the change voters wanted

Virginia Postrel hits the nail on the head at BloombergView:

Trump’s coalition certainly includes an element who are tired of being told that they’re worthless and awful — Won’t it be great when stupid white men are put in their place! — and are punching back, sometimes in deplorable ways. For them, voting for Trump is a way of combating political correctness. But it’s also a positive vote for someone they believe is proud of them and proud of their country.

Liberals want to turn Trump’s victory into an endorsement of racism and misogyny. That’s a dumb strategy if you’re against those things. The liberal belief that half the country is made up of horrible people is a big reason Trump got elected, and the more Democrats keep repeating it, the more likely their worst fears are to come true.

It is possible to support Donald Trump and not be a bigot

It is possible to support Donald Trump and not be a bigot.

The widest political divide in America right now is between those who believe this is true and those who do not.

What’s worse – what makes this divide wider – is that those who believe it is true and support Trump and are not bigots are hesitant to publicly support him. I was, until now. Why? Because I was once called a bigot for merely hinting that the fact of his appeal.

I’m not a bigot. The above statement is true. People who support Trump aren’t merely seeking a bigot to put in the White House to enact bigoted policies that reflect their bigoted views. Instead, let a man far wiser than me, who adamantly opposes Trump and almost everything he stands for, explain their reasoning:

These folks are not monsters. They are not all racists, sexists, and xenophobes. They are your neighbors and friends. They go to your house of worship. They are the cashiers you exchange pleasantries with at the grocery store.

What many of them are, I suspect, is tired of being told that they are racists etc because they do not completely buy into the (liberal) elite agenda. They are tired of being called backward because of their religiosity or their gun ownership. They are tired of being told others know better how to raise their kids than they do. They are tired of working hard, raising their kids, participating in their communities, and then being told they are the problem. And they tired of empty promises that they could keep their plan and see their costs go down.”

This is Hillary’s Waterloo

Isn’t Hillary the most capable person on the planet of “putting it all out on the table,” as she’s demanding of Comey and the FBI with regard to the renewed investigation into her emails? These emails are either hers or her personal aide’s. Why wait for the FBI to couch the situation in their terms, scandalous or not, versus get ahead of the announcement and anticipate what the FBI will find?
 
I would bet money that the reason is she knows there is damning evidence lying around, but she doesn’t know for sure if the FBI has found it. She cannot say, like any sensible public relations pro would advise, that she’s confident the FBI will find nothing seriously wrong – that there is nothing to worry about or, at the very least, that Huma is on leave until this matter is settled, and that she will be fired if she is found to be in violation of the law. There is, frankly, no way Huma doesn’t know what’s on the devices she failed to turn over. If I’m wrong, then it simply shows gross negligence on her part – yet another Hillary operative who will be forced to resign.
 
There is a lot going on with regard to this investigation, if only you are willing to consider that possibility. I’m talking to my liberal friends who openly support Hillary on Facebook daily yet have made almost no mention of this scandal whatsoever, or have spun it up to be a political move on behalf of Obama-appointed Comey. Consider that House Republicans have yet to move in response to several concerning emails revealed by Wikileaks or several FEC violations exposed by James O’Keefe. You may not like those sources, but their documents and video are real, and they’ve led to resignations. The reason Republicans have yet to move on these is because they are waiting – if Trump wins, they drop it; if Hillary wins, investigations commence immediately. This is such an obviously advantageous course of action for them – I think any intelligent person can understand that.
 
Consider Comey’s letter in light of that. If you really believe he was politically motivated and working with DC Republicans, then why would he do this now, when House Republicans and the DOJ obviously are not interested in investigating Hillary? Why not wait until after she wins (unless you believe he wants Donald Trump to be the President – a fair enough position)?
 
I don’t believe Comey was politically motivated. In fact, I’m more inclined to believe he was influenced not by Republicans, but by Democrats who are concerned about what will happen after Hillary wins – what new rigorous investigations into the plethora of new evidence that has yet to be brought up will reveal about Hillary and how she won. This would be devastating for Democrats in 2018 and beyond.
 
The biggest issue here, though, is that I think those with real influence believe Hillary is done. I think Obama, Biden, Senate Democrats, Comey, etc. believes she’s done, win or not. She’s become a joke, and her supporters are not enthusiastic. Of course, some of her supporters love her, but the fact is that her rallies are tiny. Her running mate is canceling rallies because of low attendance. She is generally disliked, even by a large portion of those who plan to vote for her. This is indisputable. And she has unfortunately shown no ability to refresh her connection with the American people – her speeches have become very stale, she rarely takes questions, she appears sickly. She will enter office as one of the most disliked people in America, and if history is any guide, her approval rating will go only south from there. She’s called half the country “deplorable” – millions of people she expects to govern. She has made some big mistakes that, whether she wins the vote or not, have irreparably damaged her ability to govern effectively. And this new email scandal, about which her campaign is so obviously worried, is the final blow.

Fact: Obamacare is failing

Some sad facts on Obamacare (that is, this isn’t up for debate):

Average premium increases above 25%, roughly one-third of U.S. counties projected to lack any competition in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) exchanges next year, and enrollment less than half of initial expectations provide strong evidence that the law’s exchange program is failing. Moreover, the failure is occurring despite massive government subsidies, including nearly $15 billion of unlawful payments, for participating insurers. As bad news pours in and with a potentially very rough 2017 open enrollment period ahead, the Obama administration signaled on Friday that it may defy Congress and bail out insurers through the risk corridor program.

More from the Mercatus Center.

Hedge funds love Hillary

From yesterday’s Wall Street Journal:

Owners and employees of hedge funds have made $122.7 million in campaign contributions this election cycle, according to the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics—more than twice what they gave in the entire 2012 cycle and nearly 14% of total money donated from all sources so far.

The lines around what constitutes a hedge fund aren’t always clear in the data, or in the financial industry. But the numbers are stark. The top five contributors to pro-Clinton groups are employees or owners of private investment funds, according to federal data released last week and compiled by OpenSecrets.org, the center’s website. The data show seven financial firms alone have generated nearly $48.5 million for groups working on Mrs. Clinton’s behalf.

The total for Donald Trump: About $19,000.

My 2016 election predictions

Last June I predicted Hillary would win the Democratic nomination. Also predicted that Bernie would come close. Also predicted Scott Walker would bore, struggle in the debates, and get nowhere. Also predicted Christie would “either shine or bomb” (funny enough, he sort-of did both).

All of that was correct.

I also predicted Jeb would win the GOP nomination. Oops.

Got lots right, but one big thing wrong. That said, here are my updated predictions.

  • Trump will win in November.
  • We’ll look back and see last week’s FBI statement as the beginning of the end for Hillary. She’ll never poll higher than she does right now.
  • Trump will pick Democrat Michael Flynn for his running-mate. This creates a “unity ticket” that will win over 5-6% of Democrats and seal the deal in several swing states.
  • Of the swing states, Trump will win FL, GA, NC, VA, PA, OH, IN, AZ and NV.
  • Trump’s cabinet will include prominent Democrats and his policies will be generally moderate. He’ll slow down military spending, cut taxes, and travel the world trying to make “deals.”

In general, I’m optimistic on Trump–both his odds of winning and his presidency. I don’t agree with his policies, but I do think he’ll be wildly successful.

I also think Trump is serious about being a “unifier.” My reasons have to do with a speech he gave in Mara-a-Lago after winning super Tuesday. In it, he said this:

I am a unifier. I know people are going to find that a bit hard to believe but believe me, I am a unifier.

Simple. Straightforward. He says stuff like this all the time, right?

Actually, no. Here is Trump being, for the only time ever, fully transparent. That’s significant. When he says “I know people are going to find that a bit hard to believe,” he reveals that he is very aware of how he comes across. He’s aware of what people think about him. He’s not insane. He’s playing a game and has a strong grasp of how he’s perceived.

He never revealed as much before, and, to my knowledge, never revealed as much since. Part of his game is mind-games–he wants to keep everyone questioning. That’s what good negotiators do, right?

Now, if Trump is aware that it’s”hard to believe” he is a unifier, that means he’s going to do something about it. He’s going to make it easier to believe. His Mike Flynn VP pick at the GOP convention will begin that process.

Do I think Trump is an act? That he’s playing everyone, conning the GOP, and lying all around just to win? Yes. But isn’t that what any winner does? Those who truly want to win?

Just some random thoughts. This is me being very transparent–I could be totally wrong and ruin my credibility on these things forever.

Not that I have any credibility on these things to begin with…

On speaking clearly

Gosnell’s behavior was terribly wrong. But there is no reason to believe that an extra layer of regulation would have affected that behavior. Determined wrongdoers, already ignoring existing statutes and safety measures, are unlikely to be convinced to adopt safe practices by a new overlay of regulations.

This is the liberal Supreme Court’s argument against more abortion regulations. Ironically, it’s also conservative’s argument against more gun control.

In general, I think this type of confusion happens when people talk too much — when they go on and on about their position, using every possible reason to defend some ideal. We end up far from our original position, saying things we don’t really mean.

Better, and more effective, I think, to stick to one line — to get to the bottom of things and stay there. Why pro-choice? Because every woman has the right to control her body. Why anti-gun control? Because everyone has the right to bear arms.

And instead of pile argument on top of argument, dissect just one. Get hermeneutical. Explore the philosophical underpinnings of your fundamental position and dig deep into its history–even to pre-modern or ancient originators. Commit to speaking clearly and basically about what you know, and remember that fruitful debates are not combative, but investigative, and even exegetical, in nature.

No one needed stuffed animals

From the Facebook page of Steve Horwitz:

Isn’t it interesting that Bernie Sanders (and GOOD FOR HIM for doing so) can give a speech at the religiously conservative Liberty University, where his views are absolutely noxious to those students and where being pro-choice effectively makes him a supporter of mass murder in their eyes, yet no one protested, and no one said they were unsafe, and no one was triggered, and no one needed stuffed animals to feel comfortable with this wicked man on campus?

There’s something seriously wrong with the students at elite colleges when Liberty University is a more liberal, open, tolerant, and civil place, not to mention having students who are better able to engage with intellectual diversity, than the Ivy League or the top liberal arts colleges or the top public universities.

[Yes, maybe those students are just more passive in general, but if you read accounts of the speech, they actually asked good questions and engaged him intellectually. You also don’t see THAT enough when the roles are reversed.]

It rests on faith

From Philip Giurlando’s review of Mein Kampf:

This sad historical episode reveals an important point: that any moral system that rests on equal human dignity cannot flow from the scientific observations of biologists. In other words, universalist moral systems, like liberalism, socialism, or the United Nation Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) rely on assumptions that are not scientific. The idea that all humans have equal worth is a statement of value that is not verifiable according to the standards of science. Rather, it rests on faith, but this does not make it less true. It means that a strictly scientific materialist worldview is insufficient for the belief in universal human equality. One could even assert that human decency is inversely proportionate to the distance that we create between ourselves and the dictates of nature. The natural world indeed operates in a hierarchical, predatory, and ruthless fashion that ensures the survival and reproduction of the strongest. Hitler not only recognized this, he celebrated and derived his morality from it, as did eugenicists. Universal moral systems like the ones mentioned above can accurately be characterized as attempts to use human agency to overcome these ruthless processes of the natural world. Therefore, attempts to derive moral systems from nature, or to ascribe some transcendental moral agency to the earth, should be taken with a grain of salt.