Trumpism Corrupts, Newtonian Edition
September 14th, 2016

Boy, howdy, did Brit Hume turn Newt Gingrich inside out last night.


Does Ground Game Matter
September 9th, 2016

I take a look at GOTV operations and what they can, and can’t, accomplish.

Spoiler: Expect Trump to underperform his final poll numbers in battleground states.


The New Atlantis Report on Gender and Sexuality
September 2nd, 2016

I have a short piece on it over here. The long report by Lawrence Mayer and Paul McHugh might wind up being the most important thing published this year.

Also, it’s never too early to start handicapping the Clinton-Trump debate.


Safety Not Guaranteed
August 26th, 2016

It’s my long-in-the-pipeline piece about Yellowstone in the age of the helicopter parent. I don’t want to oversell this thing, but it’s probably top-10 all-time JVL.


Trump Is the Titanic
August 24th, 2016

Money quote:

I’m continually amazed by how many prominent Republicans keep demanding that the party support Trump. They’re like junior officers on the Titanic insisting that the ship can be saved so long as no one uses any of the lifeboats.


Remember when Trump went around telling Republicans that even if they didn’t like him, they had no choice but to vote for him? “If you really like Donald Trump, that’s great,” he said. “But if you don’t, you have to vote for me anyway. You know why? Supreme Court judges, Supreme Court judges. Have no choice, sorry, sorry, sorry. You have no choice.”

Well, if that’s true, then why isn’t the converse also true? Why won’t Trump die-hards have no choice but to pull the lever for a Senate Republican who disavows Trump? After all, Trump supporters have an important, controversial piece of legislation that Trump can’t get passed with a Democratic Senate.

Even if you don’t like Republican Senator X, you have to vote for him anyway. You know why? The Wall. Have no choice, sorry, sorry, sorry. The Wall.

If you really want to stop Hillary Clinton’s agenda, you start by understanding the world as it is. You can continue throwing good money after bad. Or you can try to save some Senate seats and do everything in your power to hold the House.


In Case of Emergency, Break Glass
August 11th, 2016

In which I argue that it’s pretty much time for institutional Republicans and down-ballot candidates to pull the plug on the presidential race.

What I find so interesting about this is that if the nominee was a normal Republican, this wouldn’t be controversial in the least. People within the party would be openly planning the contingencies. Maybe they’d wait four more weeks or so. But if it was a guy that most Republicans liked/quasi-respected, they’d toss him over the side in a heartbeat if they thought it would help them down-ballot. It’s not show-friends, it’s show-business.

But in a weird way–because everything about the 2016 dynamics is weird–people like Ryan and Priebus and Ayotte are more tethered to Trump precisely because they find him so contemptible. They’re worried that cutting bait on him now would make their earlier decision to hold their noses for Trump look foolish, craven, or worse.

Normally, you expect that people who get suckered into throwing good money after bad do so because of sentiment or affection. But in this case, the GOP is doing it out of sheer embarrassment.

Which is fine. Except that it’s going to make it harder to hold the Senate and the House.

Trumpkins spent most of 2015 insisting that their guy was so strong and so amazing that he was going to put Connecticut and New Jersey and New York into play and redraw the map and win in a landslide.

They’re now arguing that if/when Trump loses by 5 million votes, it’ll somehow be the fault of the 200 professional conservatives who refused to get on the train, and that those people will be “responsible for Hillary Clinton’s Supreme Court nominees.”

But we’re way past that point of no return. It’s just as fair to say now that anyone who isn’t bailing on Trump is responsible for every Senate and House seat that flips.

1 comment

Trump and SCOTUS
August 10th, 2016

Why in the world would you trust Trump to give you a conservative justice?


Scott Adams Says A Lot of Things
August 8th, 2016

I don’t know about you, but I like to keep up with Dilbert creator / proto-Trumpkin Scott Adams.

Adams likes to brag about how awesome his political predictions are because he wishcasted Donald Trump to the Republican nomination early on. And good for him!

But just because you make one correct prediction, you probably shouldn’t go getting chesty all over the internet.

Here, for instance, is another prediction Adams made recently that didn’t work out so great:

“I’ve been watching the Democratic National Convention and wondering if this will be the first time in history that we see a candidate’s poll numbers plunge after a convention.”

Oh? Oh.

See, Adams didn’t learn his lesson about predicting from the Republican convention, when he said that Trump’s convention speech “was an A-” that “on a strategic level” “was a strong performance.” Such a strategically strong performance that Trump became the first candidate to come out of his convention speech with people telling pollsters that they’re less likely to vote for him!

But here’s the thing: Adams doesn’t always get things wrong. Because he likes to cover himself with lots of predictions:

February 22, 2016: “To solve for scary, Trump needs Mark Cuban as his running mate.”

Oh boy. That’s a tall order. Because it turned out that not only did Trump not get Cuban as his running mate–Cuban eventually endorsed Clinton. Not that that mattered, because it turned out that Trump didn’t need Cuban at all . . .

April 26, 2016: “By October you will hear that Trump is “running unopposed” for all practical purposes.”

“Running unopposed”? Wow! I haven’t seen that #hottake yet, but in fairness, it isn’t October yet, either. So Adams kept trucking into:

May 19, 2016: “I’m teeming with confirmation bias, but from my kitchen counter, I don’t see how it can go any direction but a Trump landslide from here. . . .”

“Paul Manafort, Trump’s campaign manager, knows how to win. The Clinton campaign doesn’t show the same level of talent, at least in terms of persuasion.”

Got that? Adams “didn’t see how” it could be possible go in any direction other than a Trump landslide–not possible!–because the Clinton campaign team just blows. Well, here we are five weeks later and:

June 28, 2016: “For months I have been saying mostly good things in this blog about Trump’s powers of persuasion, and mostly bad things about how the Clinton campaign does persuasion. And yet Clinton has a solid lead in the polls, assuming the polls are accurate. How can that be? The quick answer is that Clinton’s side is totally winning the persuasion battle.”

But, you see, Adams wasn’t contradicting himself because he was crediting Clinton’s “side” as opposed to her “campaign.” So don’t worry. He’s totally got a handle on the politicky stuff. Nothing he couldn’t master in an hour.

But then he went out with a post on June 28 and dropped a bombshell:

“The Clinton team won the month of June. And unless something changes, Clinton will saunter to an easy victory in November.”

I know what you’re thinking: Wait. What? From Trump “Running unopposed” to I “don’t see how it can go in any direction but a landslide” to “Clinton will saunter to an easy victory in November”? Wtf?

Don’t worry, though. Dilbert’s here to explain: “I now update my prediction of a Trump landslide to say that if he doesn’t give a speech on the topic of racism – to neutralize the crazy racist label – he loses.”

Not confused enough? Adams wasn’t done yet: “If [Trump] makes a case for the value of American diversity – and does it persuasively – he wins in a landslide.”

That’s a . . . lot of predictions. And surely one of them will work out.

Unless, of course, Clinton wins a 4- to 7-point victory because we haven’t had a presidential landslide since 1984–for complicated political and demographic reasons that someone who studied politics for, say, an hour and a half, might understand.

If you ranked all the surprises of 2016, right up near the top would be that the guy who draws Dilbert is a wannabe-PUA herb.