Category Archives: Campaign Beat

bernie sanders frontrunner

Is Bernie Sanders the 2020 Democratic Front-Runner? Not Yet.

Elizabeth Warren’s presence means there is no early front-runner.

Vox’s highly talented Matt Yglesias wrote a provocative and persuasive piece explaining why he believes Bernie Sanders stands as the Democrats’ 2020 front-runner.  To be sure, Sanders has a lot going for him: The 2016 runner-up has established a national brand with high name ID, rabid supporters willing to donate and volunteer, and a continued foot in the political circuit as he tours the country holding rallies for like-minded politicians and in hopes of advancing his primary legislative goal, universal healthcare.

However, Sanders also suffers from lasting animosity churned up during the 2016 campaign.  A number of Clinton supporters blame Sanders, at least in part, for Donald Trump’s upset victory.  They chastise him for not leaving the primary in the early spring months and not working hard enough to prevent his supporters from either staying at home or casting a third-party ballot on election day.  These critics hold some truth — Sanders should have eased himself from the national stage following Super Tuesday — but other points miss the mark.  Regardless, tensions exist.

But on top of lasting 2016 anger, old-age (he’ll be 78 come 2020), and policy ideas still to the left of many Democrats, Sanders is not the 2020 front-runner for one simple reason: Elizabeth Warren.

Warren running would complicate matters for Sanders

Naturally, we don’t yet know whether Warren will run, but her actions show someone interested in running for president.  She’s become a constant thorn in Trump’s side and has released a book and traveled the country promoting it.  Her standing among Democrats remains quite favorable.  From Warren’s actions stems “nevertheless, she persisted,” a ready-made slogan for Warren allies to promote a nascent candidacy.

Warren endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2016, but largely remained aloof of the primary.  As such, she earned no hatred or ill-feelings from members of the competing camps.  That would work to Warren’s benefit if Democratic primary voters hope to put 2016 behind them.

Building on that point, Warren could be seen as a compromise candidate.  Warren’s considered more moderate than Bernie Sanders, though her congressional voting record actually places her to the left of the proclaimed democratic socialist.  She appeals to the fervent Sanders supporters; more moderate Democrats would likely prefer her to Sanders and be willing to accept her as an alternate to more establishment Democrats such as Cory Booker or Kirsten Gillibrand.

If Warren runs, she would fracture the Sanders coalition while also putting pressure on moderates.  Her lane would be that of compromise: Peal voters from the middle and wings.  By nature, that would preclude any one candidate from becoming a front-runner as the ideological lanes would become blurred as the moderate, left, and compromise candidates draw similar numbers.  Sanders would be especially hurt as the party’s left-wing does not yet claim a majority of primary voters — unity would be essential to mount a victorious campaign.

Without Warren, Sanders would be the front-runner

Should Warren choose not to run, Sanders would indeed be the front-runner.  His lane would be clear from notable challengers.  The logic also works the other way — if Sanders decide to forego another run, Warren would assume front-runner status, largely by virtue of name ID (Biden would pose another challenge, but his centrism would likely alienate too many voters despite his endearment to the party).

It should be no surprise that two years before the 2020 campaign enters its first leg we have no front-runner.  Nor will we have one until early 2019 when Warren, Sanders, and others decide whether to jump into the race.  Until then, jockeying will continue as party leaders try to establish their brand and win the invisible the primary.

2017 elections

The 2017 Elections Bode Well for Democrats

Democrats made large gains in the 2017 elections

The 2017 elections have seen a large swing to Democrats vis a vis their results just one year ago.  Special House of Representatives elections held in ruby-red, long uncompetitive districts have seen Democrats come tantalizingly close to major upsets.  While Democratic wins remain elusive, victories only tell half the story: The near-20 point swing towards Democrats in the 2017 elections indicate that 2018 may very well be a landslide year.

Chart 1 shows that the Republican margin in each district fell, on average, by 17.7 points.  Democrats dramatically improved upon their 2016 House showing, due in part to an energized base, an unpopular Republican president, and a national swing to Democrats, as evidence by congressional generic ballot polls.

2017 elections
Chart 1: Though Republicans won, the 2017 elections show a definitive trend away from Republicans.

Kansas 04

Donald Trump clobbered Hillary Clinton by 27 points (60-33) in the 84 percent white district.  Since 2002, the closest congressional race saw the Republican candidate win by 22 points.  Clearly, Democrats are traditionally not competitive in this R+15 state.

Yet Democratic candidate James Thompson lost to Ron Estes, then the Kansas State Treasurer, by only 6.8 points, a dramatic turnaround from both the 2016 presidential and congressional results.  Overcoming a 15 point structural disadvantage would be incredibly difficult — clawing back some 9 points and forcing high-profile Republicans to make campaign appearances deep in the GOP’s heartland shows that Donald Trump’s historically low approval among the American people can make competitive safe seats.

Montana At-Large

Montana has a weird dynamic: It happily elects Democrats as senators and governors, but opts for Republicans at the congressional and presidential level.  Since the state has one district, the constituencies are the same at each level.  In 2016, it elected a Democratic governor while overwhelmingly voting for Donald Trump and then Representative Ryan Zinke.

Thus, when Greg Gianforte, who lost the gubernatorial race in 2016 decided to try again in the 2017 elections, he stood as the overwhelming favorite.  His opponent, Rob Quist, had no political experience and was not a particularly gifted candidate.  But the race soon tightened, prompting Donald Trump Jr to venture to the state in hopes of propping up the millionaire Republican.

On Election Day eve, the race took an unexpected twist when Gianforte assaulted reporter Ben Jacobs.  This act of violence threatened to tilt and already close contest to the Democrat, but Gianforte survived due in large part to the early vote: Around 2/3 of Montanans had voted before the incident.  A poll taken on Election Day showed movement towards Quist, but not enough to overcome the already-cast ballots.

Still, the race showed Democratic competitiveness well away from diverse urban centers, which, along with the KS-04 results, portends a diverse House battleground in next year’s midterms.

South Carolina 05

The race to replace for House Freedom Caucus member Mick Mulvaney flew under the national radar.  Mulvaney won the district by 21 points in both 2014 and 2016; Trump underperformed Mulvaney but still won by 18 points, better than his numbers from South Carolina as a whole.

Yet Democratic challenger and political novice Archie Parnell nearly pulled a dramatic upset, falling just shy of defeating state representative Ralph Norman.  Parnell benefitted from the race remaining local, allowing the candidates to compete without millions from outside groups being spent or with visits from high-profile officials.  The non-nationalized race shows an energized Democratic base and a Republican base in need of massive investments in time and money to be driven to the polls.

Georgia 06

The most expensive House race in history drew extraordinary national attention and saw a campaign season last longer than many countries’ national elections.  Democrats pinned their hopes on former congressional aide and documentarian Jon Ossoff whereas Republicans opted for Secretary of State and former gubernatorial and senatorial candidate Karen Handel, a well-known politician.

For once, high turnout hurt Democrats.  Ossoff failed to improve on his Round 1 results because turnout in the R+8 district that in 2012 voted for Mitt Romney by 23 points.  He did, however, dramatically improve upon his 2016 Democratic predecessor, meaning he attracted some Republican support to pull 48% of the vote.

When a heavily Republican district experiences general election level turnout for a special election, Democrats suffer.  The other 2017 elections show that Democrats are energized to vote — lower turnout in GA-06 likely would have meant Republicans staying home.  Instead, Republicans spent tens of millions of dollar and sent Trump administration officials to the district to spur turnout.  And given there are more Republicans than Democrats in GA-06, it follows that more voters would mean more Republicans voting for Handel.

What do the 2017 elections mean for 2018?

The 2017 elections may leave some Democrats discouraged, but they needn’t be.  Across the board swings towards the party coupled with high base turnout and lagging Republican turnout indicates that 2018 will be a swing year.  If the 2017 elections Democratic swing is applied to all districts, Democrats will walk away from the midterms with a hefty majority.

Of course, such a pronounced swing is unlikely to happen.  But the results largely echo the aforementioned generic congressional ballot polls.  Taken together, Democrats — as of this writing — may well see a 6-10 point swing across all House districts.  That would be enough to make them the majority party.  Furthermore, the competitiveness of the 2017 elections in a diverse swarth of districts shows that Democrats will have many battlegrounds in their quest for 2018.

Conclusion

Don’t be discouraged by losses.  Recognize the political environment and the pronounced swings to the Democratic Party.  Be encouraged for the midterms.  Keep organizing, mobilizing, and persuading.  These results point to a great election ahead.

georgia's sixth district

Georgia’s Sixth Special Election Prediction

Ossoff the Slight Favorite in Georgia’s Sixth

My model projects that Jon Ossoff will receive 50.14% of the vote on Tuesday’s special election, which, when factoring the model’s margin of error, translates to a 51.00% chance of victory.

The model relies on a few variables — Donald Trump’s low approval rating, generic congressional polling the currently favors Democrats, Georgia sixth’s partisan voter index (PVI) as calculated by the Cook Political Report, and 2016 district presidential election results.

georgia 6 2016

This aligns with recent polling that has Ossoff a couple of points ahead of Republican challenger Karen Handel and with analyst consensus that Ossoff heads into the election as the favorite.

Ossoff has raised more than $23 million in his attempts to win the seat vacated by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price who, in 2016, won the district by 23 percentage points and once held by Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.georgia 6 education

Georgia’s sixth congressional district is the most-educated district to be represented by a Republican; it has transitioned from a Republican safe seat to the most obvious example of evolving political coalitions: As the educated become increasingly Democratic, suburban districts throughout the country now offer Democrats a narrow pass to the House majority.

georgia 6 race

An Ossoff victory in Georgia’s sixth would be a further example of a national shift towards Democrats that could lead to a strong midterm showing in 2018 unless President Donald Trump improves his presidential approval rating.  It might also scare Republicans from similar districts long unworried about reelection races (other vulnerable Republicans may be encouraged to retire if Ossoff wins).  At its extreme, an Ossoff win might push Republicans into taking a harder stance on Trump and the man scandals surrounding his presidency.

Of course, that the race is competitive and has become the most expensive House race in history points to new national battlegrounds and Trump-caused problems for Republicans.  A victory or narrow Ossoff loss doesn’t change that; a victory would, however, drive media coverage and hand Democrats a much-desired win for their resistance movement.

An Electoral College Proposal

An Electoral College Proposal

The Electoral College gives undue weight to small states – the method of apportioning Electors, senators plus House members, results in state Electoral vote shares unequal to their population percentage share.  For instance, California is 12% of the nation but only 10% of the Electoral College; the relationship is flipped for small states as their Electoral College vote share exceeds the percent of the country that lives within their boundaries.

Furthermore, and more importantly, the winner-take-all (WTA) Electoral Vote allocation leads to outcome quite far removed from popular vote realities.  Take 2000: A margin of a few hundred votes (out of nearly 5,000,000 cast) resulted in George W. Bush receiving 25 Electoral Votes and Al Gore zero.  The WTA systems prevents elections from being thrown to the House of Representatives – a noble goal – but in doing so, fails to reflect vote choices by denying Electoral College representation to large factions.

Proportional representation within each state would ensure that Electoral outcomes reflect state wishes.  Federalism would still thrive because the election is not determined by the national popular vote.  Large states would not bully small states as margins would not be 55-0 as they are now in California.  Candidates would campaign across the country to drive out turnout even in states they will lose in order to boost Electors at the margins.  This would create a truly national campaign where no people are forgotten.

Here is my proposal: 1,000 Electors divided between the states in accordance to their population percentage, found by simply multiplying a given state’s population share by 1,000 and rounding to the nearest whole number.  Each state’s Electors are then proportionally allocated to all candidates receiving at least 15 percent of the vote in the state (thus preventing extremist parties from denying a candidate an overall majority, plunging the election into the House of Representatives).  Electoral votes would be divided based on vote share of viable candidates – in other words, should two third parties receive 5 percent of the vote each, viable candidates would earn Electoral Votes based on their share of 90 percent of the vote (100 percent lessed nonviable votes).  Rounding would be to the nearest whole number and vote distribution would match, as closely as possible, a 1:1 ratio.  In the case that conventional rounding results in a distribution greater than the number of Electoral Votes a given state has (ie, candidate A would have 12.8 Electors and candidate B 6.9), rounding up priority will be given to the state victor with the lowest-placing viable candidate rounding down.  Similarly, if the sum of the rounded numbers is lower than the state’s Electoral Votes, then the state’s victor gets the Elector.

Under this plan, the Electoral College distribution would look like this:

electoral college

And the 2016 results like this:

electoral college 2016

Such a setup would create truly national elections with candidates traveling the country to persuade and mobilize voters in all states in order to win Electors at the margin.  Federalism would remain intact while still ensuring that results match the national popular vote.  Close state results would reward both candidate rather than unnecessarily punishing a candidate who loses by hundreds or thousands out of millions.  It creates a fair system where, for the most important election in the country, “one person, one vote” defines the voting system.

vichy republicans

Vichy Republicans

Republican elected officials claim to be leaders.  They claim to believe in American values and principles.  They claim to believe in the betterment of our beloved country.  They claim, above all, to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America.

So, when an authoritarian-minded, conning fraudster, demagogic charlatan whose cult of personality and policy beliefs (insofar as he actually holds coherent policies) define him as a proto-fascist, rose to power, what did these alleged leaders do?

The people charged with protecting and promoting our collective interests cowered in fear, unable to muster the courage needed to confront the short-fingered vulgarian.  Republican officials allowed, condoned, encouraged, and empowered the very figure our Founding Fathers warned could create a constitutional crisis or otherwise destroy our Republic.  The Republic for which the GOP leaders claim to stand.

Trump’s Reich – from his blatantly anti-Semitic language that has motivated and mainstreamed neo-Nazis to his belligerent rhetoric towards Muslims – has turned once respectable elected officials into Vichy Republicans acting as puppets controlled by the strongman.  They may claim independence from the Fuhrer and argue they will effectively control his agenda, but what in their utter and complete acquiescence to his rise makes us believe their statements of legislative control?

These pawns of the Fuhrer had their opportunity to take on their party’s cancer before he became its central node.  But instead they watched in denial, claiming repeatedly that he simply could not and would not win.  Except they did nothing to ensure their prophecy came true.  The Vichy Republicans let their organization get overrun by a man with values antithetical to the Constitution.  They let what could have been the mischief of a small faction become a major force in American politics who know-nothing nativist mischief will continue to hound our politics and nation for years to come.

Vichy Republicans overlooked the labelling of an entire subset of people as rapists.  They issued hollow statements when the Fuhrer announced that his administration would ban all Muslims from entering the country.  And while the condemned the Cheeto Jesus’ assertion that a judge’s ethnicity meant he could not do his job, the Vichy Republicans still vowed to support, vote for, and campaign with the nominee.  Actions have always spoken louder than words and these Vichy Republicans made clear that while our Founders decried the electoral appeal of demagogues, defying one and risking electoral backlash simply would not be a high priority.

And so these Vichy Republicans have abandoned the principles of their party and the values of our country.  They succumbed in terror to an existential threat to the Republic.  They have no ideology except that of self-preservation.  They are puppets of an ignoramus Fuhrer.

Fascism doesn’t come to America solely from a family aspiring towards a First Reich.  It comes through the sheer cowardice of anointed leaders; it comes from their utter and total willingness to accept a man whose ideas they have labelled as un-American and unconstitutional.  It comes from leaders who put preservation over betterment of the country.  Vichy Republicans are but enablers, not men and women of principle and respectability.

Does Lawmaker Ideology Influence Trump Defection?

Over the weekend, a number of GOP lawmakers un-endorsed Donald Trump, with some going as far as calling on him to drop out of the race.  What role did ideology play in the decision-making?  Below is a chart that maps out the ideology (in the from of DW-NOMINATE scores) for the entire 114th House GOP caucus and whether the MC supports Trump (a value of 1 indicates support for the nominee while 0 means the lawmaker does not support the top-of-the-ticket).  Data regarding support is found from this spreadsheet, compiled by @Taniel.Screen Shot 2016-10-12 at 11.32.07 AM

Moderates abandoned Trump in greater numbers than conservatives, though a few strong conservatives also walked away from the nominee.  Another consideration comes into play — district competitiveness.  Lawmakers hailing from competitive districts (who tend to be moderate) might risk electoral defeat at the hands of appalled independent voters if they continued to support Trump; those from solid-GOP districts, on the other hand, might risk alienating Trump voter and thus inviting a future primary challenge or, at worst, encouraging voters to skip down-ballot races, perhaps imperiling a reelection bid.

The below chart compares lawmaker ideology to the Cook Political Report’s district Partisan Voter Index — the evident trend of increased moderation as a district becomes more competitive (a PVI close to 0) is a well-documented phenomenon.   Interestingly, a few lawmakers from safe districts have decided to un-endorse Trump.  However, by and large, condemning and refusing to support Trump seems to be but a calculated political move dependent upon reelection, not party health or policy principles. Screen Shot 2016-10-12 at 11.47.44 AM

Put Your Children First and Vote for Hillary Clinton

For your children’s sake, you ought to vote for Hillary Clinton.

Elections tend to focus around economic issues and this year is no different — according to Pew Research, 84% of voters say economic issues are “very important” when deciding their vote (making it the most important factor in vote choice).  Gallup similarly found that “the economy” and “employment and jobs” are two of the four most important issues for Republicans and Democrats this cycle.  Voters want a candidate who will create jobs, both for current and future generations.

It’s for precisely the latter goal — creating well-paying jobs for our children — that voters should choose Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump.

The economy today is very different than it was a half, or even a quarter, century ago.  Twentieth century America saw manufacturing dominance with factories employing millions of workers with high wages and generous benefits.  But in the last 20 years, those manufacturing jobs have been evaporating.  They will not return, for one simple reason: Automation.

New factories are capital — not labor — intensive, meaning that production is done largely by machines rather than workers.  This allows factories to increase productivity while keeping costs low, savings that are ultimately passed on to consumers.  In other words, even if companies decide to move production back to the United States, there will not be a manufacturing jobs boom.  It simply will not happen and anyone promising otherwise is immune to the economic reality of automated production.  No comparisons can be made to manufacturing’s heyday because automation was at that point but a fantasy.

This is not a uniquely American phenomenon.  Throughout the developed world, manufacturing employment has been steadily declining over the past 40 years.

donald trump manufacturing

In fact, as a country gets richer, manufacturing’s share of national employment tends to drop rather sharply.  This is true across the world.donald trump manufacturing plan

With manufacturing’s steady (and largely irreversible) decline, economic salience increases as voters wonder whether, where, and how their children will find employment.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS),  among the jobs seeing the greatest increase in demand between 2014 and 2024, and thus those likeliest to employ our children, are:

  • Registered nurses, 16% increase, median wage of $67,490
  • General and operational managers, 7.1% increase, median wage of $97,730
  • Accountant and auditors, 10.7% increase, $67,190 median wage
  • Software developers, applications, 18.8% increase, $98,260 median wage
  • Computer systems analysts, 20.9% increase, $85,800 median wage
  • Management analysts, 13.6% increase, $81,320 median wage
  • Market research analysts, 18.6% increase, $62,150 median wage

What do these jobs have in common?  They all require a college degree.  That is no surprise: According to the BLS, those with a college degree have exceptionally low unemployment rates and earn wages well above the American median.  As the economy continues to specialize, requiring specialized skills and education, this gap will likely continue to grow.

hillary clinton college plan

To ensure your child will find a job, you must vote for the candidate that will make college accessible and affordable to all.

Donald Trump’s website doesn’t mention education.  He has no plan for college affordability and his given no indication that he’s willing or able to help families give their children a world-class education.

Hillary Clinton, on the other hand, has outlined and detailed a plan that would allow all students coming from families earning less than $125,000 a year.  Under her proposal, 80% of all students would attend college for free.  Furthermore, no taxes would be raised on middle- or working-class families in order to pay for near-universal college.

College is necessary to thrive in the new-age economy.  With a degree comes very low levels of unemployment (ie, very good chances of finding a job) and high wages.  Only Hillary Clinton will help students get the education they need to thrive in the 21st Century.

Put your Children First and vote for Hillary Clinton this November.

Bernie Sanders Fundamentally Misunderstands TPP

As Bernie Sanders’ quest for the Democratic nomination for the presidency winds down, he has set his sight on other lofty ambitions: influencing the Democratic Party’s platform.  Recently, that’s meant vehemently condemning the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which Sanders decries as unfairly forcing workers to compete against “low-wage countries who earn pennies an hour.”

Sanders stands against TPP for economic reasons, though his arguments largely miss the mark.  TPP will likely not affect the American economy.  A U.S. International Trade Commission study predicted that the trade agreement would “lift U.S. gross domestic product by a small amount – 0.15%, or $42.7 billion, by 2032 – and increase employment by a net of 128,000 full-time jobs.”  The effects are not spread evenly.  Business services and agriculture would each grow by around $10 billion; manufacturing would decrease by around the same amount (per the ITC study).

Criticizing the TPP on economic grounds is not the right line of attack.  The approach ignores evidence to the contrary and, more importantly, fails to analyze TPP’s geopolitical ramification, the agreement’s motivating factor.  Sanders’ TPP disparagements therefore shows that he fundamentally misunderstands the multinational trade pact – TPP is much more a strategic foreign relations move by President Barack Obama than it is a free-trade pact designed to affect the domestic economy.

China’s influence across Asia is growing.  Its development as a country and increasing international clout threatens America’s standing as the world’s sole hegemon.  The spread of Chinese political thought – illiberal, totalitarian governance coupled with a quasi-capitalistic economic system – threatens America’s commitment to liberal democracy.  TPP comes at a time when “China is…pushing to accelerate the transition to a new order in Asia – one in which China itself has greater influence over the United States, Japan, and other smaller states in the system.”  The trade agreement seeks to contain China by boosting America’s image in Asian and Southeast Asian countries, some of whom, like Vietnam, already view China’s rise with weary eyes.[1]

And it’s easy to see how TPP will accomplish that goal.  A study done by Peter A. Petri and Michael G. Plummer of Brandeis University estimates that the economies of Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, and Singapore will grow by 8.1, 7.6, 5.9, and 3.9 percent, respectively, by 2030.  There’s no better way to ingratiate America to the people of these countries than through economic and income growth.  Both will increase the standard of living for people throughout TPP member states and, coming from American action, will pull those countries away from Chinese influence.

Lowering trade barriers, apart from creating prosperity for the involved countries, fosters a culture of openness and togetherness.  Member nations must work together to establish rules by which all must abide.  Doing so creates the long-sought society of states where countries coexist in a peaceful, stable order that builds wealth and promotes the general welfare of all those involved.  TPP creates that society, headed by the United States, in a region where an aspiring hegemon hopes to overpower American interests.

What’s more, if successful, TPP could induce China to apply for membership.  Though such an action is not imminent, President Obama mentioned that China has “already started putting out feelers about the possibilities of them participating at some point.”  Their membership would hinge on “major changes to its economy, international diplomacy and attitude toward free trade.”  In turn, that would ideally lead to China further accepting capitalistic reform and the political liberalization that usually accompanies market reforms (this on top of the benefits accrued from China entering a society of peaceful states).  Distant, perhaps infinitely so, the possibility of China entering TPP and working with America on equal grounds is worth mentioning as a TPP plus.

TPP poses the best means for America to curry favor with Asian and Southeast Asian countries while containing Chinese influence.  As such, opposing TPP on pure economic grounds not only fails to accommodate research findings, it displays international ignorance.  Sanders embraces a position that simply does not make sense and, in fighting TPP, he demonstrates that TPP’s true benefits and design eludes him.  As Michael J. Green and Matthew P. Goodman stated, “The opponents of TPP have offered no better pathway to [the aforementioned] beneficial future.”

[1] In a sense, TPP fights fire with fire: China expanded its sphere of influence largely through the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.  Soft power often yields the best results in foreign relations.

Donald Trump is an Anti-Semite

Donald Trump has risen to power through a message of xenophobia and overt racism.  Hidden among his racially-charged rhetoric is another lurking beast: Antisemitism, the likes of which should immediately disqualify him from office.  Courting Neo-Nazis and other white-nationalists — and, through Trump’s frequent retweets of their messages, granting them a large, eager audience — should not be accepted in a major party’s nominee for president.

Here are but a few instances of Trump’s antisemitism, played out for all to see:

1) Trump Retweets, with Startling Frequency, Antisemitic, White-Nationalist Accounts

Twice Trump has twice retweeted @WhiteGenocideTM, a user who claims to live in “Jewmerica” and links, in his profile, a site promoting a documentary that urges viewers to “think differently” — sympathetically — about Adolf Hitler.  The account frequently retweets Neo-Nazi propaganda and greets all profile clickers with this lovely image, directed towards non-whites:

donald trump kkk

Trump also retweeted a now-deleted antisemitic account that put together a blatantly false, altogether racist meme regarding crime statistics.

donald trump racistApparently,  the meme’s origin from a Neo-Nazi account that praised Hitler appealed to Trump and instinctively earned his trust.  He didn’t bother to fact-check the image.  Here’s the account’s profile:

donald trump anti-Semite

In case it isn’t painfully obvious, the “Austrian chap with the little moustache [sic]” to whom the account claimed we should have listened is Adolf Hitler.

2) Trump refused to condemn, on national television, renowned Klansman David Duke

The incredibly painful interview:

Trump, who claims to have “the world’s greatest memory” apparently couldn’t remember the details about David Duke or Duke’s endorsement, despite Trump having talked about Duke in the days leading up to the CNN interview.

Duke, in 2003, penned a book seeking to expose quests for “Jewish Supremacy” and has called Jews the “real problem” facing our country.

3) Trump Told Republican Jews They Wouldn’t Support Him Because They Couldn’t Buy Him

This came after he told the Republican Jewish Coalition “you just like me because my daughter happens to be Jewish.”

It’s hard to spot notable differences between Trump’s argument here and those espoused by David Duke.

4) Adopting “America First” as a Slogan

Trump decided to up his nationalist appeal by unraveling a spiffy new slogan: “America First.”  The phrase, designed to conjure up xenophobia (American should be for Americans, not colored people!), has its origins in a group of Nazi sympathizers.  That Trump chose it for his presidential quest is no surprise or coincidence.

The American First Committee arose at the beginning of World War II, before America’s entry into the affair.  It advocated remaining neutral in the war and treating the Nazis as a legitimate political and governing party, one with whom the United States should do business.

However, the Committee, already on the wrong side of history, furthered its foray into antisemitism when Charles Lindbergh, the face of America First, revealed his deep-seated antisemitism, calling Jews a great threat facing the country.

Henry Ford, a prominent anti-Semite, and Avery Brundage, “the former chairman of the U.S. Olympic Committee who had prevented two Jewish runners from the American track team in Berlin in 1936 from running in the finals of the 4×100 relay,” also originally sat on America First’s executive committee.

America First’s ugly history, one tainted with the foul stench of antisemitism, is of course conjured up by Trump’s use of the slogan.  It can be no surprise: Trump’s campaign had long involved antisemitic tropes before adopting “America First.”

The slogan is just another in a long list of antisemitic activities by the aspiring tyrant.

5) Linking the Star of David with Corruption and Greed

Most recently, Trump sent out an insulting image that combined Hillary Clinton and the Star of David with images of money, representing greed, and the inscription “most corrupt candidate ever!”

donald trump antisemitism

It’s origin?  8chan’s /pol/, a message board dominated by white-supremacists, anti-Semites, and Neo-Nazis.

The Trump campaign claimed it lifted the image from a Twitter user (who has since deleted his account) who again espoused antisemitic and Neo-Nazi viewpoints.

Either origin means that campaign staffers perused alt-right, Neo-Nazi feeds for images they could use to attack Hillary Clinton.

Jewish leaders and Republican officials quickly moved to condemn the meme.  The Trump campaign offered a second defense: They claimed the star represented a sheriff’s badge, not the Star of David.

For those curious, a sheriff badge has rounded corners.

donald trump sheriff badge

Whereas the Star of David has sharp corners.

donald trump star of david

There’s little doubt as to which the meme references.  Rather than own up to its mistake, the Trump campaign continues to lie and mask its blatant antisemitism.

Unacceptable Antisemitism

Does any of this come as a surprise from a man and campaign who accepted a white-nationalist to be a delegate to the Republican National Convention?  It shouldn’t.  For months Trump has been displaying, even touting, his antisemitism.  It’s time Republican leaders pushed back against Trump’s hatred and bigotry by refusing to lend him their support.  Voters need to take heed of Trump’s actions and recognize that their beloved candidate may very well be a modern version of Adolf Hitler.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

donald trump free trade

Trump Embraces Mercantilism

Today, in the battleground Rust Belt state of Pennsylvania, Donald Trump spoke against free trade agreements and the globalized economy; today, Donald Trump took a firm stand against capitalism.

Capitalism, the most prosperous economic system ever devised, one which brings wealth and rights to nations across the globe, requires the free movement of goods in order to function.  By attacking trade, Trump is attacking a fundamental axiom of capitalism: comparative advantage.

A state has a comparative advantage when it can produce a good at a cheaper cost than all competitors.  All nations have a comparative advantage regardless of their economic, political, or social development.  Trade allows states to import cheap goods while simultaneously exporting the good or service in which they have a comparative advantage.  Products remain cheap, jobs are created throughout the world, and economies stress efficiency and innovation to maintain comparative advantages.  That leads to higher standards of living domestically and abroad as new goods are exported.

Thus all nations benefit from trade.

But Trump ignores 300 years of economic teaching and instead embraces an old and failed philosophy — mercantilism.  His many claims to bring American manufacturing back to our shores demonstrate his economic illiteracy and proclivity to lie to American voters.

First, it is impossible to bring back manufacturing jobs.  The ones that have returned to our shores are capital — not labor — intensive.  This means that even when factories come back to the states, they employ few individuals.  Automation will ensure that trend continues.  Unless we decide that the time and cost saving benefits of robots and other mechanized processes ought to be destroyed (they absolutely should not be), they heyday of American manufacturing is gone, a fond memory resigned to our collective pasts.

That isn’t a bad thing.  It’s how a capitalist economy works — growth through destruction.  Old industries move offshore or die as new technologies supplant them.  The death of American manufacturing frees human capital to explore more efficient and better paying labor opportunities.

Voters should rail against failed fiscal policy that refuses to help those displaced by technological advancement.  We should be funding vocational training and other continuing educational studies so those hurt by creative destruction can quickly rejoin the labor market and thrive.

Voters should call for reform within the system, not it’s total destruction and a regression back to the 17th Century.

Second, Donald Trump is lying about his ability to bring back manufacturing.  Assume he does pull out of all free trade agreements; assume he does erect destructive tariffs that isolate us from the world.  Prices for all goods — especially manufactured goods — would skyrocket because we would not tap into comparative advantage.  Rather than importing goods from those able to create them most cheaply, we would be buying them domestically from incredibly expensive producers.

When price increase dramatically, consumers cease to spend.  When consumers cease to spend, businesses must layoff workers to prevent bankruptcy.  When businesses layoff workers to prevent bankruptcy, fewer individuals have disposable income with which to buy goods.

We would get caught in a vicious cycle that encourages high prices and high unemployment.

We would be in a depression.

Mercantilism, the philosophy of an isolated and protectionist domestic economy, failed.  It encouraged the destruction of environments, continual oversea military conquests to establish colonies then plundered for resources, and animosity between states.  Mercantilism’s assumption of finite global wealth inherently means that the standard of living cannot rise — one nation’s benefit comes directly at the expense of another.

Capitalism believes in infinite wealth, that a rising tide lifts all ships.

Mercantilism believes in tariffs, whose burden is passed onto the consumer.

Capitalism believes in free trade that allows all to thrive and pursue fulfilling, productive, prosperous work.

Mercantilism believes in colonial conquest and bellicose attitudes between states.

Capitalism believes in international cooperation and peace.

Mercantilism believes in a statist economy maintained only through an authoritarian government that restricts the natural rights of its citizens.

Capitalism accompanies democracy and embraces the fundamental rights of all.

Mercantilism comes with joblessness and depression.

Capitalism comes with prosperity.

Donald Trump believes in mercantilism.  You should not believe in him.