We’re a couple of months out from Election Day and the polls that people have either been citing or disputing are making a turn for the worse. Each side has been looking for a blowout. One was hoping for a massive, Reagan-style wave where America wanted to go in a different direction. The other was looking for a massive repudiation of a flawed candidate to give their flawed candidate a reprieve. Then there are the ones who want an epic loss to change their own party.
Regardless of wishful thinking, there may be very little daylight in this election. What we see in the polls is reality setting in. Party affiliation is getting near 90% in both parties, meaning that if you are a Democrat or a Republican, you have decided that you want your party’s or ideology’s candidate to win the election, even if you’d rather seen them fall down a manhole in the street a month ago.
Once the polls get within 4% between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, it’s going to be a tie for all intents and purposes. That’s when the real contest begins because everything starts to change on a daily basis and only the groups doing constant polling and data collecting will even try to game the system. Or they could just hack the voting machines.
Around 2000, John McCain was considered the favorite Republican of Democrats. The media also liked his presidential campaign because McCain would answer any and all questions. When George W. Bush started to pull ahead of McCain, the media pointed to racism being used by Bush’s supporters to spread rumors about McCain.
It was all crap.
As soon as John McCain ran away with the nomination in 2008, the media realized that they didn’t like McCain anymore. In 8 years McCain suddenly became a feeble old man who couldn’t work a smart phone. Of course, it’s hard to work a smart phone when the Vietnamese crush your hands a few times.McCain may have been tortured and stuff, but Obama really suffered because some White people might have been mean to him at his Hawaiian prep school.
Bush was more aware that the media wasn’t exactly in the business of focusing sunlight on Republican ideas. They were more likely to put them under a microscope, in the same way one might put ants under a magnifying lens. McCain and Romney may not have been cautions enough about that.
If there are reasons not to vote for Trump as a Republican, no one should bother using the reasoning that the media will like the GOP if we got a “better” candidate. While the attacks against Donald Trump are customized (slightly) for him, they are designed to apply to any Republican. Hillary Clinton’s association with Robert Byrd, for example, doesn’t count because 1. Byrd has been dead a long time. 2. Byrd renounced the Klan and 3. most hilariously, the KKK of his time was more of a social organization and not a racist one. That’s similar to the excuse that Obama joined a Black Liberation church not because he didn’t like White people, but because it was a networking organization for Blacks in Chicago.
One way the attack is backfiring is that racism charges against Trump include Blacks and Hispanics as one group. Essentially, the Democrats are now in a position where they are treating two very different ethnic and cultural group as some underclass that needs their protection. This is exactly the kind of message Trump is building a defense for.
No, this isn’t a post from a couple of months ago. Gary Johnson got the Libertarian nomination for the second time this year. After that, he seemed to run on a platform where he emulates Bernie Sanders, except with more pot. Libertarians are anti-war and anti-intervention. They also don’t care about moral objections to things like abortions. But now, Johnson is using that and breaking some other Libertarians stances in what appears to be a desperate attempt to get the Bernie vote.
Last week, Johnson had to walk back the idea of a carbon fee, which he said was not a tax. That couldn’t get any more Obama if he said “let me be clear” first.He also has expressed sympathy for Black Lives Matters in a way that ignores the fact BLM only promotes Black criminals shot by police and not obviously innocent Black victims.
Is conservatism dead if no one wants to talk to it? In 2008, McCain spent his campaign trying to court PUMA Hillary voters and lost. Romney was supposedly looking at Democrats disillusioned with Obama, but spent too much time trying to win back Tea Party voters pissed off at him over the primaries. He lost. Donald Trump is going after a base of people who don’t like Obama or Clinton. Hillary is probably going to use the Obama data operation to badger just enough people to vote for her in swing states.
What happens when Gary Johnson gets 6% of the vote? That’s my prediction, by the way. Will we end up with the naked guy from the convention? How about the guy wanted for murder in another country? Maybe we’d get the guy who thinks we should be free to sell heroin to 4 year-olds. Maybe Rand Paul will take a shot with a party that technically believes some of what he does.
It’s gonna be a two-way race.
I’ve considered the end of the blog a couple of times. I was hoping to end it in 2012. I don’t think I can continue past 2017 no mater the outcome of the current election.
I’ve made a couple of small changes. I removed blogs that were long dead or became news toilets (Breitbart.com) and added a couple of new ones. And while I may not like polls, I still obsess over them and added a widget with the current presidential status.
With my comment activity and viewership at a low, I think I’m good for another couple of months here.
Gawker: One who stares stupidly.
Gawker was a site that started before Breitbart.com and will apparently not outlive it. It reveled in the scandal of the rich, powerful and famous. Then again, it also destroyed the lives of the not famous. The titles were weirdly conversational. Instead of “John Doe Accused of Sexting Teenage Girl” it was “Hey, John Doe Just Found Out Snapchat is Forever and Not for Old Dudes.”
Most of the Gawker media empire was decidedly liberal. Business Insider, part of Gawker, cross posted an interview of Andrew Breitbart where he was misquoted and, in Gawker fashion, headlined with a picture of him in mid speech, making him look like he was yelling. Ironically, the interview was over the launch of Breitbart’s Big Journalism site. That site then spent days going after Business Insider and Gawker for misquoting him. When they claimed it was on tape, he asked for the tape to be produced. The tape suddenly went missing and Big Journalism got its first scalp.
Gawker went dark this week (although the satellite sites remain) because of a $140 million judgement over a video of Hulk Hogan they placed on their site. The founder and other writers fully blame Peter Thiel, a billionaire who they decided to out as gay just because they thought it was “cool” that a billionaire could be gay. He helped support lawsuits, that while meritorious, were expensive for the average person (and the Hulkster, apparently). For them, they weren’t pushing their luck, their fate was rigged by a rich guy with a petty vendetta. Here’s one interpretation on the closing day.
Gawker always said it was in the business of publishing true stories. Here is one last true story: You live in a country where a billionaire can put a publication out of business. A billionaire can pick off an individual writer and leave that person penniless and without legal protection.
Thiel could have bought Gawker Media like Larry the Liquidator or just taken over its debt or some other clever business trick. Ironically, he used the thing that kept him in the closet: stealth. He helped other people who were wronged by Gawker, but did not have the means to take them on in court. Gawker tried a new kind of “journalism,” but in the end, it also had rules and they broke them. They had hurt so many people in their years in business, I doubt they ever thought much about Thiel after the outing, until they learned he was bankrolling Hogan.
They were so callous, they never felt the knife going in. That’s how such a glory seeking site ceased to exist.
There is a truly amazing correlation between population density and party affiliation. many have noted this before. There’s a graph in this article that basically says between 800 to 1000 people per square mile, a United States Congressional district goes from being likely Republican (low density) to likely Democrat (high density). This is pretty apparent when you look at places like Alaska and Wyoming, big, sparsely populated and deeply Republican. Then you have places like New York, increasingly controlled politically by densely populated New York City and Washington DC, basically a city that has never voted Republican.
You can read into the reasoning in different ways. My take is that self-reliance is required when you don’t live near a lot of people or not in an apartment building. Here’s something I used to wonder about. What does it do to people who live in big cities?
At the start of the American experiment, we were part of an agrarian society. The majority of people were farmers. For people in cities, farm to table wasn’t a concept, it was the way to keep from having rotten food. Infrastructure and mass production eliminated the need for multiple small farms and people started to move to cities to be near work. This often involved factories. Apartments sprung up to support a growing population. Other people were able to open small businesses selling food and other goods to the people working in the city.
Over the last 50-60 years, big cities have been synonymous with danger, poverty and social breakdown. Much of that has either been attributed to the race of the people living there or to institutional racism. However, there is a theory that the population density itself is a problem. That and what Democrats did to encourage population density.
An animal behaviorist named John Calhoun created a number of utopia environments for rats and mice during the middle of the last century. The most famous is probably Universe 25, or what Calhoun called “mouse heaven.” He created a contained ecosystem that had various rooms and a common area. Food and water was always available, and the box was cleaned regularly. He started on day 1 with 8 mice, four breeding pairs.
The mouse population increased in that environment every few weeks until it reached about 600 in less than a year. The environment could support 1000 mice effectively, but the population growth started to slow. Still, in another 5 months, the population peaked at a dense 2200 inhabitants.
During this period, mice became less like mice. Female mice abandoned their young and eventually stopped breeding altogether. Males found that being territorial was useless because there was no territory left. The majority of mice collected in the common area where they waited for food. They occasionally turned to homosexuality, random fighting and eventually asexuality. A small number of mice with an aversion to other mice segregated themselves into smaller rooms where they spent their time eating, sleeping and grooming themselves away from everyone else.
Calhoun deemed this activity “behavioral sink” and it spelled the beginning of the end. Mice no longer bred and as the population died off, the ability to replenish was not even attempted by the mice left. The results of this and other experiments were published and became fodder for the media in the 1970’s. Other psychologists became famous supposedly disproving Calhoun’s conclusion about this applying to man, mostly with short, meaningless experiments with college students.
It’s pretty easy to draw parallels between rat heaven and the massive rates of abortion, joblessness and sloth in the inner city. While population density is not a good thing, Calhoun did something that may have been even worse for rat society. He gave them all their material needs without any responsibility. Every socialist in history has predicted the freeing of the human spirit when the need to put food on the table is eliminated. Instead, the human spirit is destroyed. In Universe 25, rat society was destroyed around the same time as the average lifespan of a mouse. After long enough, young mice had no elders who had been outside the universe.
I made the comment the other day that Donald Trump is actually only 5% of the vote short of flipping all the states he needs to win the Electoral College. This is true, but right now the only reason Trump in only 5% (now 8%) behind in states like Florida is that the Hillary Clinton campaign is redeploying resources toward a 50 state strategy.
I felt the same way about Mitt Romney in 2012 that Trumpers want me to feel about their candidate. I thought Romney was going to lose the general election, but when he became the nominee, I went all in. I won’t do that now. Donald Trump is a horrible Republican who burned down his primary opponents so personally and unnecessarily that most of them want nothing to do with Trump.
In my Romney days four years ago, the candidate had Obama down to a 27 Electoral Vote margin of victory and only needed a 3% shift in the voting population to win at this point in 2012. At least you could plausibly argue that Romney was within striking distance. The pinnacle of the campaign may have been October 4th, when the news media scrambled to downplay Obama’s embarrassing debate performance the night before. Ultimately, it may have only taught Obama’s base that they would need to fight for victory.
In a primary election, all the candidates are on a sort of even playing field. Go to a state, meet some people, do some ads or a debate on TV. Wait for the results. Repeat in another state. This pattern works until you get to Tuesdays with multiple primaries in bigger states. You either have to have bid data, big get out the vote or big media. Donald Trump had big media without the big check usually required.
During the presidential election, this all goes out the window. The only rallies that really matter are the three you hold before election day. Among the undecided, your first real introduction is during a debate a month from Election Day. You can’t win every state one by one. Everyone votes on the same day. The ones who don’t are why there’s big data.
Democrats used the results of 2000 and their anger that Bush bested them again in 2004 to create a system where Democrats had the maximum number of opportunities to vote. When Democrats talk about giving a vote to the “disenfranchised,” they always seem to make it more difficult or impossible for American military deployed overseas to get their votes to count. Besides greater access to absentee ballots, people off the street are allowed to vote for weeks before the election and have the opportunity to register the same day they vote, opening the door to rampant fraud.
We all know about polling, targeted polling and targeted advertising. The Democrats are also using data to see who voted early, find Democratic Party voters who haven’t voted early and harass them until they vote early. Then they take buses into densely populated neighborhoods and chauffeur people to the polls until they have a margin of victory in a swing state. Mitt Romney only won a single state by less than 6%, North Carolina. All the others (7 with a 5% margin or less) broke for Obama.
Donald Trump and probably Stephen Bannon are seeking validation rather than valid data. Trump loves big rallies because he can see lots of people cheering him. He likes fancy rented jets and big, gold-trimmed apartments in buildings he only partially owns because they are things he can see and sit in. I think he really doesn’t understand how Hillary Clinton can win when Trump has more people at his rallies.
Elections are a long game and a Trump loss will give me a new respect for the measured strategy of the GOP. However, they also need to understand that results and not promises are the way to keep conservatives. As of today, Trumps’ electoral map looks a lot like McCain’s on Election Day 2008. Ironically, on this day in 2008, McCain was within 14 Electoral Votes of beating Obama.
Note: This is final part in a series on what happened to the Breitbart name and legacy after Andrew Breitbart’s death.
Glenn Beck is the competition.
Beck created a TV network after putting it online first, something that hasn’t happened before. Beyond that, he is ready for the transition from linear television to a subscription-based online content creation and distribution. He’s already doing it. His radio show is a simulcast of video on his network The Blaze and his 5 pm show is the continuation of his 5 pm show when he was on Fox News. His website rivals other online aggregaters like Breitbart.com.
Glenn Beck was the only major “conservative” Andrew Breitbart attacked publicity. Besides making accusations toward Breitbart, Beck had hired Breitbart.tv people away for his site The Blaze in 2011. Beck himself had essentially put himself in another sphere by then by broadcasting private communications between him and Sarah Palin which subsequently ended all communication. Every couple of years, Beck predicts (promises?) some global calamity that will only be survived by perseverance and faith. I mentioned earlier a modified historical tale Beck recycled.
Over the last few years, Fox News has gone from the source of fair but conservative news to a mainstream news operation that hires increasing numbers of left-leaning personalities and upsetting more ideologues. The visionary behind the network has resigned in disgrace. Now, we have an aging Bill O’Reilly, a ridiculously biased Sean Hannity and Megyn Kelly, who has been shown to be useless outside 9 pm.
One theory is that an unholy alliance between Trump, Stephen Bannon, Robert Mercer (the only big GOP donor who wants to donate) and a rumored Roger Ailes helping with debater prep want to form a right-wing network that will push propaganda down America’s throat. This, of course, presupposes that Trump will lose.
If Trump wins, Bannon becomes the new Karl Rove (or, gulp, Valerie Jarrett) and the Mercers are the only ones Trump owes loyalty to. A Trump win will shake up the paradigm of the political campaign, even if the actual presidency may be a hot mess. The Republican Party may never be the same. Plus, Sean Hannity’s contract is up this year.
Either way, my only hope is that the name Breitbart is put to rest in its current incarnation. More and more, different people are claiming ownership of Andrew Breitbart’s supposed thoughts and beliefs on a matter. Even I played clips to prove points. No matter what happens, I fear my beliefs will be in the wilderness again.
Note: This is part 4 in a series on what happened to the Breitbart name and legacy after Andrew Breitbart’s death.
Lazy bloggers probably still have links to Big Government or Breitbart that no one uses. I just looked, and I have one as well. I used to go to the site every day and I put the link on my website so I could jump right to it after editing or posting on my own page. I also felt a sort of duty to continue looking at Breitbart.com after its founder’s death. That didn’t last very long.
I still see links to Breitbart on other blogs, especially by Trumpers who love validation of their own opinions. I rarely click because the site is loaded with margin ads, pop-ups, autoplay videos and enough visual noise to qualify as a Homer Simpson website.
I used to mock the ads on sites like DailyKos that needed the revenue to keep the owners in Cheetos. In fact, most conservative sites have a fair share of ads, but Breitbart takes the prize for most revenue sucking while locking up your browser. Are they in that much financial distress?
When there is no breaking news, networks with 8-9 hours to fill with live anchors cause something called a “news hole.” When that happens, the repetition of content goes up while the quality goes down. Breitbart.com is a veritable news toilet, where the content is similar to that of a toilet, except the frequency and consistency is less reliable.
On the Friday night following the Bannon announcement, Breitbart.com featured 4 stories rehashing Clinton outrage, one story trashing Glenn Beck for being against the Trump campaign and two stories praising Breitbart employees. One is about the winning strategy of Steve Bannon that was all of 20 hours old and one about the popularity of Milo Yiannopoulos, the gay alt-right icon who says racist and sexist things to increase his media profile (except on twitter, where he is banned for life).
It is literally unbelievable how much Trump could lose on Election Day this year. It is so hard to believe, especially this early, that Trump supporters don’t believe it. In alt-reality, Trump is within the margin of error in all the states he needs and people who support Trump are shrinking violets who won’t talk to pollsters, but will show up in droves on Election Day. Add the fact that the media is skewing all the polls by 10% and hiding the fact that Hillary Clinton has several degenerative neurological disorders. It’s a wonder they even worry about the failed loser NeverTrump crowd supposedly costing them the election.
With a new message and a media empire behind Trump, supporters will have fewer sites that actually promote the inevitability of Donald Trump. Most likely, they will have to upgrade their laptops and open Breitbart.com for their safe space validation. Bannon has to hope he’s gotten to them before they all turn off theelectronics that shake them from their delusion.
Note: This is part 3 in a series on what happened to the Breitbart name and legacy after Andrew Breitbart’s death.
2012 was a tough year. The Tea Party had multiple Republican contenders for the nomination, but none really caught fire. Unbeknownst to most people at the time, Tea Party donations never materialized due to IRS stonewalling and vultures starting “victory campaigns” to take donations and give about 5% to an actual candidate. Mitt Romney seemed anointed and locked up the nomination by April. One man who was especially unhappy about that turn of events was Stephen Bannon.
While it is primarily a cat video aggregator, Buzzfeed did manage a story featuring an exchange between Bannon and Ben Howe, a former Breitbart employee and current punching bag of the website.
On May 29, 2012, conservative filmmaker Ben Howe emailed Steve Bannon a video he was planning to debut that day on Breitbart TV. The stylized web ad featured Andrew Breitbart — the site’s piratical founder who had died unexpectedly earlier that year — delivering a speech in which he urged conservatives to rally around the Republican nominee to “fight the progressive left.”
“I will march behind whoever our candidate is, because if we don’t we lose!” Breitbart was shown preaching to an audience of activists.
Bannon, the inheritor of Breitbart’s web empire and appointed keeper of his legacy, hated Howe’s video — and he told him so in a series of heated emails that were recently obtained by BuzzFeed News.
“Couldn’t disagree more,” Bannon wrote. “Romney has gone out of his way to show complete contempt for the tea party…and u r acting like a bootlick.”
“Are we not going to push for an Obama defeat?” Howe asked in response.
“No Ben,” Bannon shot back. “I’m pushing for conservatives to have a fu**ing place at the table … What don’t u get about the running gun battle we have had with the republican establishment over the last 3 months[?}” In a later email he added, “This is about power Ben, and who is going to exert it.”
That certainly puts a different spin on the Bannon-led attacks on Howe for being NeverTrump. Bannon was NeverRomney and Romney actually had a chance to win.
The current Breitbart staff has little connection to four years ago. People like Howe and Dana Loesch, who lasted six months there after Breitbart’s death, were among the first . Compare the photos of Breitbart regulars at a memorial service in this Slate article with the picture of Bannon’s Bulldogs today from Bloomberg. Alex Marlow is the only person in common. Those like Loesch and Ben Shapiro, the former editor-at-large, had public falling outs.
Steve Bannon has stepped down as the head of Breitbart.com to avoid the incredibly obvious appearance of collusion and only project the merely obvious reality of total agreement between the two. He will be the man whispering in Trump’s ear, telling him to be Trump. Or maybe not. Trump almost apologized in a speech Thursday.
Campaign managers have some experience in creating a battle plan that gets their client to victory. Not all of them are good at it, and many of the ones working for Republicans work hard just to make sure they get hired in 2 years. Manafort was already at the bottom of the barrel in the profession. Now, we have a guy who was editing wild animal footage into news video of conservative figures just a decade ago.