Days of Change

Fear and the Bandwagon Effect

July 24, 2016

Back in 2012, I wrote about this loser stink attached to Barack Obama. The economy was sluggish at best, foreign policy was a mess and the Tea Party had whupped Democrats in 2010. That taught me about how fear can be used effectively in a campaign, and I don’t mean scaring people about Muslim hoards running the streets.

Democrats have an effective “blue wall” in terms of large cities in swing states they can mine over and over for votes, thanks to the fraud of early voting. In Congressional elections, however, targeting hundreds of districts and statewide races is difficult and costly. It’s easier just to centralize power in the federal government. Those elections are ruled by general targets, White people who aren’t monolithic in their voting.

Voters will no firm affiliation are often subject to the bandwagon effect. This is where the leading candidate also draws people in who want to be part of something. In reality, they want to be normalized into the majority. Because of this, it can be counterproductive to get out the vote trying to tell them a candidate is behind and they need to come out in greater numbers to even the scale.

Let’s go back to the first presidential debate on October 3, 2012. Romney did well against Obama and Obama seemed to lack the information to counter his attacks. Republicans were energized and Democrats were disheartened. However, Obama was still well ahead of Romney at the time.

After Romney’s loss, I came up with a theory. While people who would vote out of a sense of citizenship would be more likely to pick Obama because he was ahead, lazier voters (the Democratic base) might figure Obama would do fine. Of course, Democrats thought they could minimize losses in 2010 but were shocked by the landslide that occurred. My conclusion was that the Obama campaign saw that people might be too complacent and decided to put the fear back into them. Obama throws the first debate and his supporters realize this is a battle and they’d better go vote. The fear of the unknown is very powerful.

The bandwagon also led to Donald Trump’s victory in the Republican primaries. Some of the campaign managers said that Trump’s polling among Republicans had a “floor” of 30%. He generally started with 30% support among primary and caucus voters. The other 8 candidates (by the time primaries started) split the other 70%. Trump drew pluralities in the 20-40% range until the race was down to him, Ted Cruz and John Kasich.

This drew an interesting result. Trump was drawing an additional 30% of people who dropped out. He started getting the higher 40% range and the occasional 60%. Ted Cruz started to be competitive after Marco Rubio quit, but was dragged down by John Kasich. Kasich’s numbers were not good and he became mathematically unable to win the nomination in March. His presence, however, gave establishment types a name to pick instead of Cruz or Trump. Cruz fell between a hopeless candidate and a candidate who was almost certain to win. Primary voters got on the bandwagon.

Even though Trump was the only name in the last 9 state contests, he wound up with just 44% of the popular vote. One would imagine it would be lower if the Democrats who wanted Trump as a GOP poison pill were removed. In this case, fear of a Cruz win by the establishment led to a “winner” who is opposed by some of the biggest names in the party.

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Raising Kaine

July 23, 2016
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The choice of a Vice Presidential running mate is often decided more strategically than it needs to be. In 2008, I was more excited to vote for John McCain when he chose Sarah Palin, but I would have voted for him anyway. Hillary Clinton chose Senator Tim Kaine, who besides being low on scandal, will have his replacement chosen by Clinton administration toady Terry McAuliffe.

We now have two boring White guys, Kaine and Mike Pence, as running mates. That’s probably just as well, since a significant number of voters prefer a meteor of death over Clinton or Trump.

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The Last Best Hope

July 22, 2016
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I had a lot of commentary piled up from the speech last night and I posted up, but it all boiled down to this.

This was all about Ted Cruz.

Cruz ran for Senate in 2012 in a year where the Tea Party was broke and hampered by the IRS. Sarah Palin could have run, but knew that she would be shut out of campaign funding and would likely lose. Instead, she became a savior of the down ticket. Texas would have a Republican Senator, but Palin helped to make sure it was Cruz.

Cruz quickly made a name for himself as someone who wanted to pass Constitutional limits on the White House and promote the conservative agenda. When he decided to run for president, he was probably at the top tier, but he was also a dark horse.

While there were 17 candidates in the media, only 12 entered a primary, 9 actually got at least 1 delegate and only 4 beat single digits. Bush, Rubio, Kasich and maybe Huckabee were establishment. Rand Paul, Carson, Fiorina and Cruz were the rebels. Then came Donald Trump.

I can’t easily define the Republican establishment. Because I don’t support Trump, some consider me within those ranks. There are prominent Republican politicians, reliable campaign donors, state organizers and professionals who win elections. Most of them do not like Ted Cruz. All those things the non-establishment supposedly hates are what Ted Cruz fought against. It doesn’t matter if he was grandstanding or not, at least he was standing.

Donald Trump got in fairly early and blended in like the transfer student who was already left back a grade. His name recognition and dubious celebrity got him 30% of the vote from the start. Even with 6 or so other contenders, it would be difficult to beat that. When Cruz did, Rubio and Kasich were right there to split up the vote. Jeb eventually gave up, as this was not a year for the establishment. Rubio had to salvage his Senate job.

Down to three candidates, Trump regularly got in the 40% range and Kasich sort of hung on as a spoiler. Kasich was part of the establishment and encouraged to stay in the race, which only means one thing. The establishment backed Trump, not Cruz. In fact, Kasich dropped out just hours after Cruz. His job was done.

Ted Cruz had a solid campaign, using data and a strong ground game. Unfortunately, while he may have planned for an establishment headwind, he did not expect their support for a bad human being because Cruz wasn’t chummy enough. This was a party who didn’t believe in the best candidate winning. Much like 2008, their chosen candidate failed and they scrambled for another and ended up with a sociopathic narcissist.

Ted Cruz could not commit political suicide or ruin his career in this GOP. His career was limited to that Texas Senate seat. So, on Wednesday night, he put down his marker for a coalition who doesn’t want some guy pulling authoritarian solutions out of his ass and practicing situational morality that re-calibrates every day. Some might call it a gamble, but he had nothing to gain by propping up this amoral, craven political party.

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You Are Released

July 21, 2016
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The first rule of dumpster fires is that there’s nothing you need to save that’s worth hurting yourself. Trump’s brain vomit of the day (it changes frequently) is that Ted Cruz has violated some sacred pledge about supporting the nominee. What the non-Republicans (the most virulent Trumpsters) don’t understand is that the “support the nominee” pledge is a corollary of The Eleventh Commandment. Trump broke the hell out of that when he called Cruz a liar, re-tweeted insults about his wife and claimed his father was involved in the Kennedy assassination. Plus, Trump waited until he had momentum to even sign on to the non-binding pledge.

Much like taking advantage of winner take all states while whining about small caucuses, the pledge is based on Trump’s situational logic. Everything for Trump is good, everything bad for Trump is evil. Obama is a light worker and Big Brother is the epitome of good. I would break my pledge of keeping the Republican Party safe if it was thrown in a dumpster and set on fire. Especially, if what went in the dumpster was garbage.

Trumpster logic is twisted here as well. In their minds, Ted Cruz was permanently damaged by the campaign and will never be president. So why would he eat shit and endorse Trump? Ted Cruz was essentially told by the Republican Party elite that they would rather have an inexperienced and unqualified ass as their candidate rather than a conservative fighter who might threaten their capitulation agenda. Cruz is betting on Trump’s influence, whether he wins or loses, forcing the party to return to its values of liberty.

It’s also intentionally obtuse to say a vote for X is a vote for Hillary. There’s a ballot, it has names on it. Almost all of them are not Hillary. Now, if voting for candidate X coupled with the fact that Trump’s surrogates and supporters alienated enough people for Hillary to win, maybe the Trump campaign isn’t as good at strategy as they thought.

Ted Cruz ultimately told people to vote their conscience as a way to force Trump to be the kind of candidate lifelong Republicans could vote for. The real problem is that Trump does not want to be held to the standards of liberty and freedom that Republicans have cherished since Ronald Reagan or even Barry Goldwater. Trump wants to run on the principles of winning is everything. I can picture him as president giving the Barack Obama “I won” rebuke to John McCain. Remember, Obama used that to help pass Obamacare.

Cruz offered Trump a challenge; to be worthy of our votes. Tonight, he will likely decline that challenge, offering a lot of angry laid off guy at the bar proposals to bringing back an America where his son isn’t a professional student and his wife didn’t ditch him. Instead of Ronald Reagan, it’s going to be Jimmy Carter.

Ted’s conscience is clear. So is mine.

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The Republican Party is Not Dead

July 20, 2016
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However, the party is extremely sleepy. Yesterday, there was a procession of delegates who rubber stamped the Trump nomination. However, the delegate count for Not Trump was higher than any non-nominee in my voting history. Some delegations, like DC, had their votes converted to Trump because candidates who suspend their campaign are apparently not allowed in that district.

Much like Hillary Clinton and her lies that become non-binding reality, Melania Trump did not plagiarize her speech. Somehow, a speech that was written by her (according to her Matt Lauer interview) was written by a woman who has now offered an apology and a resignation (which in Lewendowski fashion, Trump hasn’t accepted, yet). So, Melania is either a liar and not a plagiarist, or a plagiarist with a ghostwriter. Mind you, this is a 15 minute speech she spent weeks on.  Also, her non-speechwriter speechwriter is a Democrat.

One actual Republican tonight is Ted Cruz. Actually, Scott Walker is as well, but he laid down his arms strategically. It’s why I think Walker is the best choice for president. Cruz, however, is the fighter. His is the speech I will watch on C-Span to avoid the idiotic commentary. I’ll save that for after. I can accept he may have to endorse Trump, or “the Republican nominees.” But I want it to sting a little for the Dullard.

The smell of fear is getting stronger among the Trump humpers. Ted Cruz’s power as the defiant one is reminding them that a fairly small number of holdouts could lose the election for Trump. I don’t have to be Never Trump, though. Trump doesn’t need me and I don’t need Donald Trump.

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Make America Laugh Again

July 19, 2016
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This is the convention where Trump nationalism is king, so every night will be part of making America “great” again. The way Trump humpers talked about Melania Trump last night, last night cold have been make America Horny Again. Instead, it was Make America Safe Again. Both fall in the bottom of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Need. Over the rest of the work, the RNC plans to make America, Work, First and One again. They accomplished this on night one by crushing dissent and pretending a voice vote was in agreement with the Rules Committee.

The media is focusing on a perceived plagiarism of Michelle Obama by Melania Trump. More likely, she has experienced much over her time of being a creature of the night. Seriously, the woman is a vampire. The name Melania means “darkness.” She comes from Slovenia, which is right near Transylvania. I think she already started to turn Donald. That’s why he can’t get his skin tone to a natural color anymore. She may have also turned Mike Pence’s daughter Charlotte.

I’m so glad I can’t take this election seriously.

Update: I just had to add this.

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We’re All Stars Now, In This Dope’s Show

July 18, 2016
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Trump fans are crowing over the latest “Never Trump” delegate fight being voted down by the Rules Committee. The problem is that there was even a fight in the first place. I imagine if this were a revolt by, say, Cruz opponents, the RNC would invent a second set of rule books to allow a delegate conscience clause.

It’s clear that the Republican Establishment Plan B (or C, or maybe W) is to get out of the way of the runaway train and disparage the irrational exuberance of the Tea Party mentality that lost the election for the GOP in spectacular fashion when Hillary beats Trump. There’s a plan if Trump wins, but it mostly involves co-opting his administration or feeding him to the Democrats.

Much like Trump’s promises over a Vice President, policy speeches or veterans’ donations, the convention plan was told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing. Except for the rapid pace of the speeches, the only “news” was getting Antonio Sabato Jr. and Scott Baio. Both had shows on VH-1, so they know how to fake reality.

I have to say, even watching the convention on MSNBC has only left me with occasional fist clenching. I could care less if Hillary beats Trump. I am only marginally interested in Trump winning, especially given his screw you attitude to anyone who thinks he sucks, but might vote for him as an alternative to Clinton. This must be what it’s like to watch a game where you don’t like either team.

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Domestic Terrorism

July 17, 2016
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Barack Obama just loves to talk about not “giving them what they want” when it comes to terrorism. For some reason, Obama thinks they want to be hunted down and killed. I suppose it would cause some international unrest to fight terror. The corrupt politicians of the UN certainly didn’t like Bush’s War on Terror. However, I have an idea of what the terrorists might want that makes sense.

It’s kind of amazing how evil Islam is. Muslims picked fights with Christians (and lost) a millennium ago. They tried to extort the United States in its infancy (and lost). The Nazis took the concept of the Aryan from the Iranians (and lost). Then again, most of the world’s industry is powered by the oil under the sands of Islamic countries. I guess they win that one. Black supremacists started the Nation of Islam almost a century ago. They would recruit from anywhere, especially prisons. That’s how Malcolm X found his way there.

I can’t say I’m surprised that after years of Obama denigrating police officers for being racist, crazy Black people are now essentially commingling suicide to kill law enforcement. I also have a good idea of what this accomplishes.

The Orlando shooting was muddled by typical leftist ideology. The shooter was secretly gay. He had a scary AR-15. He didn’t know any ISIS. Of course, a terrorist drove a truck through that idea last week. The public has little tolerance for gun control talk because those who have guns know that the politicians are speaking gibberish.

What happens when it becomes open season on cops? Now, there is a new look at what it means to have guns in the hands of civilians when the country has gone to hell and there’s no respect anymore. Rather than teaching morals or increasing punishment, the mere tool shoulders the blame. The police have good reason to stop being neutral on guns, even if many are gun owners in their civilian life. The stakes are just too high.

Certainly, the government could get shit done if they could pacify a weaponless population. However, the first thing that would happen is the national expansion of terrorists who wouldn’t have to fear being stopped before they could get their job done.

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You Might Be a Terrorist If…

July 16, 2016
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The pedestrian attack in France this week killed more than 80 people and was committed by one man with a gun and a box truck. The September 11th attack in the US killed nearly 3,000 people and involved 19 terrorists. Regardless of the financial damage, one bad person can kill a comparable number of people to each member of a group planning for years.

ISIS has brought back what might be considered “old school” terrorism. This is when an enemy in the midst commits a globally small but locally horrifying act. It costs little and only requires the kind of insanity that makes someone want to end their life for some vaguely defined goal. Since one of these bastards could kill dozens of people, it only takes about 1 in maybe 10,000 to keep a population in fear.

The logical way to solve this is to go colonial on their asses. For example, a lot of crap happens because of people encroaching on the Palestinian regions. How about some fuel air bombs (after an appropriate warning notice) to eradicate human life, but make the area inhabitable in a short time?

In World War II, the awesome power of the atomic bomb was so unimaginable, the Japanese weren’t sure what it meant. They learned we could do it twice. Most likely, the US or Western Civilization (basically, the same thing) would have to do this a few times. I suggest target #2 be the people who complain or retaliate first. #3 can be ISIS, every ISIS location.

Terrorism is the tool of the tool-less. It’s for people who have no real power or influence that just want to strike out blindly at their sad existence. War is the tool of the advanced civilization. For us, compliance is an achievable goal.

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July 15, 2016
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Usually, when a campaign doesn’t vet a Vice Presidential Candidate fully, the VP embarrasses them. In the case of Mike Pence, it seems to be the opposite.

The Trump campaign looked at many people for the VP slot, including people in office, out of office and some with no political experience. Many experienced Republicans wanted nothing to do with the Trump branded dumpster fire, so most of the short list were either outsiders or people out of office entirely. Best estimates are that Chris Christie, Newt Gingrich and Pence were the top 3. Christie was probably not conservative enough. Newt mostly amplified the brashness of Trump himself.

Mike Pence seemed to be a good combination. He was a Congressman and current governor. He’s compared himself to Rush Limbaugh and Newt Gingrich. He’s a strong conservative. He’s the pro-life governor who prompted the left to make “transvaginal” a buzzword. Plus, he’s in a tough reelection fight and may go back to doing talk radio. Getting media exposure is more of a positive for him at this point.

The issue with Pence is that today was the last day he could pull his name off the ballot for Indiana governor. Under that state’s version of a sore loser law, a person cannot run for two offices (governor and Vice President) at the same time. At that point, it becomes a public record.

According to official releases from the Trump campaign, no decision was made until last night. When Pence looked like the pick, (he flew to New Jersey) some of his less Trump-friendly comments came out. Then Trump postponed his announcement. The problem was that the news would be out as soon as Pence withdrew. It seems a good bet something was going on in the Trump campaign.

Paul Manafort (Trump’s new professional campaign guy) liked Pence. His family liked either Newt or Christie. It would not be a surprise that Trump wavered at the last minute, seeing the negative reaction on social media. Unfortunately, the die was cast and the one normal decision of the campaign was going down the tubes. So, a tweet just before Pence’s filing was the official announcement after everyone knew the result.

I’m waiting for the convention with morbid curiosity.

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