Days of Change

Preference Arcade

May 29, 2017
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Even though frogs are cold-blooded, they will not just sit around in hot water just because it is heated slowly. By the same token, the power of a preference cascade is dubious as well. Around 2012, Obama opponents were hoping for a significant change in attitude that would lead to Obama failing to secure a second term. He did end up losing millions of votes relative to 2008 (while Romney gained a million over McCain’s totals) but still won a second term.

The left has has lost their sense of reality, mostly manufactured, where Republicans were either a permanent minority or had to drop all the conservatism they embraced over a decade earlier. Donald Trump found success doubling down on border walls, torture and scorched earth toward anyone standing too close to a terrorist. Then he crushed the left by succeeding with old-fashioned rallies and personal attacks on Hillary Clinton. Mostly, the left could not conceive of being bad at running a campaign, the thing that ultimately lost Clinton the election.

Elections have consequences, but the left is used to eliminating score-keeping, enforcing speech codes and tearing down statues that commemorate things they deem bad history. They are now trying to create a preference cascade where people are either afraid or disgusted enough with Donald Trump that demands for an impeachment would be accepted. The problem is that another preference cascade got in the way.

A mob of people don’t suddenly wake up and decide to overthrow a dictator. People get progressively disheartened and worried for the way of life for them and future generations. Eventually, an event or series of events provides an opportunity. Conservatives did pretty well on that front in the 80’s and 90’s but stalled out by 2006. After Bush’s War on Terror victories, the GOP tried to maintain majorities by keeping the same people in office for a second decade.

A liberal made a movie about how her dad was “brainwashed” by Fox News and talk radio into being a “racist” conservative. In reality, Democrats who have been in the party since the Kennedy era have seen a party that has changed their ideology and priorities. Still, they held on through Bill Clinton and even voted for Ozone Man Al Gore. What started to change affiliation, not belief, for Clinton Democrats was the War on Terror. Hillary Clinton voted for the war, which should have been enough for her to beat Obama in 2008. Instead, it was the point where Clinton parted ways from her husband. She prioritized affirmative hiring and denying Muslim terror at the State Department.

The preference cascade for Donald Trump was significant, if not very large. He ended up with just under a million more popular votes that Bush got in his 2004 reelection win. This did, however, prove that what the candidate says or does may be more important than their political prowess. Also, people are not frogs.

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The Most Dangerous Game

May 14, 2017
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Donald Trump is not a great president. He reminds me of the kind of self-promoting guy at work who makes a big deal out of ordinary accomplishments and slacks off on the day to day drudgery everyone else has to pick up. Rather than draining the swamp, Trump has only proven that the swamp has been in charge for decades.

Since the swamp runs the country, the guy sitting at the big desk is mostly ballast. Barack Obama is a good example of this. His two biggest and worst accomplishments have been to transfer one trillion dollars to Democratic Party interest groups and to preside over a health care law where insurance companies conceded to giving preexisting conditions a pass in health care cost to individuals. That genie is unlikely to go back into the bottle and it will eventually cost everyone else.

Otherwise, there were no FEMA camps. Terrorism is closer to home, but is costing fewer lives overseas. Immigration is about the same and it will be years until we see if Trump’s tough talk leads to action. Obama was a lousy president and that gave us a Republican majority and a Republican president.

The legacy will be the deciding factor in Trump’s success. In terms of action, he has mostly reversed Obama’s Executive Orders with his own and appointed a Supreme Court Justice almost any other Republican might have. What his supporters love is his attitude toward the media, both threatening, dismissing and bypassing them as much as possible. Obama poked at his opponents, too (“I won”) and that hurt the Democrats. Could Trump instigate a bloodbath for the GOP in 2018?

I was looking through my old posts from 2012 and the harsh criticisms of Romney. Like Trump, he wasn’t as ideologically conservative and he attacked his own party’s contenders; qualities I don’t like. However, I also criticized Romney for not taking on the Democratic nominee as much and not being as steadfast in his beliefs. Also, I have thought for years that no party has been tough enough on immigration.

If you look at the 2008 landslide where Democrats cemented their majority and briefly got a 60 seat majority in the Senate, the media started telling stories of a “permanent majority” and the death of the Republican Party. Instead of demoralizing them, it alerted opponents of Democrats that they may only have one shot to change the narrative. However, the GOP still lost the presidency.

in many cases, the media will prefer a Republican presidential candidate and give him better coverage. When he’s a talkative candidate, they can then use everything they say against them in the general election. The problem is that every Republican since Nixon has been Satan and when everyone is Satan, you can’t tell who is actually good or bad.

Trump became the choice of the media because he would do every interview and he was blowing up the Republican field. Every victory was an upset and every debate was an event. Eventually, the Left could just talk about him not paying workers or dodging taxes and knock him out of the general election.

It was a dangerous game and the Left lost. Since the only good Republican in the one who loses, they could not conceive of a “best” candidate to become president from the GOP. Trump was media savvy and chose to cut off communication with the non-Fox media after the nomination, choosing instead to do a number of big rallies which served as free infomercials from the media.

Obama proved he was able to excite the media into promoting him. Trump was able to use the media to promote himself. Obama’s coattails vanished after less than a year in office. Trump’s coattails were nonexistent in 2016 and may be less so in 2018. If that’s the case, he’d be the one to lose the game.


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Obama Changed the Game

May 7, 2017
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Most of the slogans about health care plans in the government involve the term “access to quality health care” or some variant. Obamacare tried to focus on access only and did very little about quality. However, it created a series of mandates for who gets insurance and that has changed the discussion of health care.

The reason we don’t have a “risk pool” in government health care is not because Democrats care so much about everyone, but because it was not part of the Senate bill for Obamacare. Back in 2010, the election of Scott Brown made it impossible for the Congress to pass a joint Senate / House bill. The Democrats ran out of time. Instead, they chose to let the House, still run by them, to pass the Senate bill, which had been passed already. It was devoid of a risk pool for the people who couldn’t get insurance, otherwise known as the “public option.”

I wrote about the fact that health care legislation has done little to address the $7,000 per person that health care costs in the US. The costs were shifted slightly, but the larger number of people paying premiums has been overtaken by the increased number of people getting health care. While the law allows for plans for people with preexisting conditions, they still have to pay for it.

Of course, everyone thinks there’s an answer to health care. For this country, the answer is that many of us pay a lot without getting much. Some people have the misfortune of getting more than they put in, which usually means they are pretty ill. Some people get crappy government health care like Medicaid and the VA and some people can’t afford insurance. The only difference is that now, politicians are afraid to stop giving free insurance to people. Welcome to the risk pool.


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