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Will the GOP Ever Win Another Presidential Election?

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A graduate school colleague pointed me to a piece by Daniel Altman headlined “Why I Hope to Vote Republican in 2024” and with the subhed, “Face it: Hillary Clinton will be a two-term president, and I’ll vote for her. But a Democratic stranglehold on the White House is bad for America.”

While I was intrigued by the major point I was distracted by the notion that Hillary’s election, much less re-election, was a foregone conclusion. As I noted on my friend’s Facebook page, we haven’t elected presidents of the same party to four consecutive terms since FDR-Truman, and those were unique circumstances.

As it turns out, the pithy subhed misserved Altman, who made exactly that point and went well beyond it: it’s incredibly unusual in any functioning democracy for a single party to control the executive for a decade. Looking at the Economist Intelligence Unit’s index of democracies—of which only Spain, Belgium, Japan, and Costa Rica are rated as less functional than the USA—none currently has had a head of government from the same party for more than nine years running (Uruguay, Mauritius, and Germany are all tied at that number). Indeed, of the twenty-five countries on the list, only nine (the aforementioned three plus the USA, South Korea, Austria, New Zealand, Canada, and Sweden) have a current chief executive whose party has held the post for as many as six years.

The reasons democracies tend to experience regular party turnover are varied but, essentially, people eventually get tired of the party in power. The party tends to run out of ideas, having either implemented their programs or failed to do so. The programs become unpopular. The economy tanks. Scandals erupt. A bold, charismatic leader from the other party emerges, transcending platforms. And, of course, the other party tends to change its platform in response to repeated loss at the polls.

While I’ve never been a fan of Hillary Clinton, going back to the 1992 campaign, she has undeniable strengths. She’s unusually smart and disciplined. While her path to power was unusual, she’s got real experience as a White House insider during her husband’s eight years, six years in the Senate, a failed presidential campaign, and four years as Secretary of State. At the same time, she’s not a natural politician. To say that she lacks her husband’s charm and ability to appeal to the masses is both a gross understatement and an unfair standard; few meet that bar and we’ve elected many presidents who fall short of the Bill Clinton bar. But we haven’t elected one in my memory—going back to the 1976 campaign–who’s as much a cold fish as Hillary.

Then again, you can’t beat somebody with nobody and Altman is right: the GOP platform no longer meshes with the demographic realities of the country.

White men, the mainstay of the Grand Old Party, represent a shrinking share of the American population. Republicans thought they had a chance to recruit Latino voters because of overlaps on some social issues, but their candidates’ apparent allergy to immigration may have destroyed that possibility. The Republicans have been able to control the House of Representatives by aggressive redistricting through state assemblies, but that advantage may also be on the wane.

Only a sort of pendulum reaction by young people disillusioned by the Obama administration — though they are probably as open to other Democrats as to Republicans — offers any hope now. But young voters are among the Americans most concerned about inequality, which many Republicans refuse to take seriously. Moreover, as younger voters begin to appreciate the benefits of health insurance, they may find new faith in the Democratic Party.

As for Altman, while he’s arguably concern trolling, the sentiment here is right:

I want to vote Republican because I think that more than one party can propose a viable plan for the country’s future. The idea that policy can take only one direction, corresponding to a single platform or set of beliefs that isn’t better served in any way by any other party’s platform, speaks more of ideological zealotry that pragmatic realism.

Policy issues are not all black and white or arranged along a single spectrum; they can be multidimensional and require complex solutions. 

Though neither party in the United States seems prepared to give the other credit for good ideas, voters can be more discerning. In the last presidential campaign, I preferred a few of Mitt Romney’s views on trade and foreign aid to those of Barack Obama. I’ve also liked some of what I’ve heard on taxes from Rob Portman and immigration from Marco Rubio. I still voted for Obama, though — not because I abhorred Romney so much but because I worried about the people who would surround him.

I wouldn’t always have had such fear. When I was a kid, I heard my friends’ parents described as Reagan Democrats. At that time, the gap between the parties on social issues, in particular, was much smaller. You could vote for a presidential candidate without fearing that his party would force him into a much more extreme mandate. That’s less true now. George W. Bush was seen as a centrist before his election; some commentators even wondered whether there was much to choose between him and Al Gore. In the end, Bush became the servant of one of the most warmongering and economically corrosive strands of so-called conservatism that the nation had ever seen. Gore, meanwhile, became the environmentalist antihero of big business’s nightmares. Today, whether through one man’s pliability or the other’s embrace of a signature issue, the difference between them is clear.

Now, I happen to think the Bush-Gore example a poor one. Yes, they were both relatively centrist politicians when they ran against each other in 2000. But Bush spent eight years governing the country and Gore went off to find a new path. It’s highly unlikely that Gore would have directed his energies to environmental issues had he picked up a couple hundred more votes in Florida.

Nor did Bush govern as a right wing ideologue. While he was a deeply committed evangelical Christian and never made any bones about it, he didn’t attempt to roll back any significant social advance made under Clinton. And some of his platforms—No Child Left Behind, Medicare expansion, and Millennium Challenge and other foreign aid programs—were arguably quite progressive. No, he became unpopular mostly because of the Iraq War, with a little help from Katrina and the global financial meltdown.

For that matter, in the two post-Bush presidential elections, the GOP nominated relatively centrist candidates in John McCain and Mitt Romney, both of whom easily defeated much more hard core challengers.

Still, there’s no denying that the party is stuck in the past on both social and economic issues. The Tea Party wing seems to have lost some of its vigor, as seen in the most recent round of primary contests, but they still maintain a veto power on governing in both Houses of Congress. Further, while there’s no obvious “it’s his turn” candidate for 2016, nor is there someone on the horizon who’s obviously a Big New Ideas guy, either.  The party is still running on autopilot from Ronald Reagan’s 1980 campaign despite vast changes in the landscape since then—including the fact that the GOP seems to have permanently won the battle for low top marginal tax rates.

And, again, while Altman is likely concern trolling here, he’s right here:

I would much rather that Democrats’ time in the White House ended because of a strong Republican alternative than because of their own debasement and decay. Hopefully, a worthy Republican candidate — and a more centrist, up-to-date Republican Party — will be able to sway me by 2024.

The GOP has no choice but to bring itself up to date on the social issues, in particular, if it wants to be more than a regional party. But, at the national level at least, there are no signs that it’s trying to do so.

The bottom line, then, is that while I can’t see the Democrats winning four presidential elections in a row, I don’t see who the Republicans will nominate in 2016 or 2020 capable of broad enough appeal to garner 270 Electoral votes. If Romney had managed to win Florida, Virginia, and Ohio he’d still have been four Electors short. There were no other Blue states within two points of going Red. And the demographics are not moving in the right direction.

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About James Joyner
James Joyner is the publisher of Outside the Beltway, an associate professor of security studies at the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and a nonresident senior fellow at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. He has a PhD in political science from The University of Alabama. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Kylopod says:

    it’s incredibly unusual in any functioning democracy for a single party to control the executive for a decade.

    There is actually nothing unusual about a 12-year period of one party controlling the executive in the US. It happened 1981-93, and it came close to happening in 1960, 1976, and 2000. Before that, there was the 20-year period of FDR-Truman, and before that, Republicans held control of the White House for periods of 12 years (1921-33), 16 years (1897-1913), and 24 years (1861-85). It’s true that a lot of this was a result of cataclysmic events like the Civil War and the Great Depression. Still, in the modern age I would not say 12 years is at all extraordinary in US politics, so a Hillary win in 2016 is not in any way against the normal course of things.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 0

  2. PJ says:

    superdestroyer bait

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 39 Thumb down 1

  3. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Yeah, Bush-Gore is a really bad example for what is going on now. Also, as far as I am concerned, Romney would have been an absolute disaster, never mind the people around him. His business success was mostly the result of tearing companies apart and selling the pieces to the highest bidder. To me, that does not sound like a good economic blue print for the country. And that is the centrist GOP.

    After him, what we have left on the GOP bench are a bunch of psych ward escapees. The Tea Party has thoroughly eviscerated the last vestiges of sanity from the party. Compromise has become a mortal sin punishable by stoning and to refer to someone from south of the Rio Grande will lead to inevitable excommunication. How bad has it gotten? Just look at Kansas where Brownback has been such a monumental disaster that a Democrat might very well become the Gov of this very conservative crimson red state.

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  4. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Correction:

    to refer to someone from south of the Rio Grande as a human being will lead to inevitable excommunication.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  5. jd says:

    The newly acquired rights of my LGBT friends and family often hang by a thread called Executive Order. No, I don’t want a Republican in office anytime soon.

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  6. jukeboxgrad says:

    I don’t see who the Republicans will nominate in 2016 or 2020 capable of broad enough appeal to garner 270 Electoral votes

    Yup. The GOP lost the popular vote in 5 out of the last 6 presidential elections. The states that have voted D at least 6 times in a row add up to 242 electoral votes. Add FL and you get 271. Obama won FL twice. Last Democrat who did that: FDR.

    The importance of FL is why they need immigration reform, but of course that is going nowhere.

    Every poll shows Clinton leading in Ohio. Number of times that a Republican has become president without winning Ohio: zero.

    The nutty base is just going to keep getting nuttier. And even though they are a small part of the overall electorate (I figure 10-15%) they will remain a key force in GOP primaries, since there is so much money to be made by keeping them in a high state of arousal. So the conservative media complex will keep doing that, even though the nuts are an anchor dragging the party down. This is what a death spiral looks like.

    And it’s a sublimely just ending for this movement, because a selfish drive for profit is the core value of conservatism, and the swindlers killing the party are just being faithful to that value.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0

  7. michael reynolds says:

    I can’t work up any enthusiasm for Hillary. But I’ll vote for her and contribute some money. The GOP alternative is simply unacceptable. I’d no more vote for a Republican than I would a communist, a national socialist or a NAMBLA member. And I’m a moderate, strong defense Democrat who is either 1% or 1%-adjacent. When your party has zero appeal to a guy like me, they have zero chance to win.

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  8. James in Silverdale, WA says:

    Not this GOP. no. As constructed, the current GOP can only continue to lose states on the electoral college map. And there really isn’t any whiff of what comes after at this point, though yet another failure to regain the Senate this Fall could bring that picture into focus sooner rather than later.

    The GOP base has been trained that rank exclusion is the pathway to victory, and “victory” actually means “more fundraising.” This infects both parties, and leads to no governing, and instead to oligarchy. The money in American politics is utterly unspeakable. It attracts the worst sort of person, and a mindset antithetical to governing.

    They need to be sent home, the money drained out, and lets try again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  9. Shirt says:

    The republican party is NOT the conservative party. I’m not sure if we have one, anymore. It is a Fascist party in all but name. Review http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Definitions_of_fascism and post the points of disagreement if you think otherwise.

    Fact of the matter is the Nation does need a conservative party but republicanism isn’t it. The body politic is figuring that out but that is why symbolic lightweights like Hillary are so successful.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 3

  10. bill says:

    of course they will, they just need to find a charismatic leader who’s faults will be minimized by the media.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 5

  11. James Joyner says:

    @Kylopod: None of that was in the modern, television-driven era. And much of that happened in the days when party machines were running the process.

    Moreover, to be clear, I’m not arguing that it’s unlikely a Democrat will win in 2016. I think that’s likely, given the fields. I just think winning a fourth straight election—that is, the 2016 winner getting re-elected—is extremely unlikely. At the same time, I haven’t the slightest idea who the Republicans would run to derail the Democratic train.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  12. JKB says:

    Let us presume the near-term assessment is valid and Hillary wins in 2016. Does anyone really think she’d get a 2nd term? That is highly unprecedented. Especially, since to do such she’d have to gut the criminals now in the mid and lower ranks of the Obama administration (presuming the top ranks are already sent to think tanks just to put her stamp and vacate Obama). So now, she’s alienated the “next tier” Dems. Perhaps by appointing an AG with marching orders to “drain the swamp” after the IRS, NSA, VA, etc. scandals. Nothing grand just some ritual sacrifice to try to gain some legitimacy for her governance.

    So, now, in 2020, she’s got to run with a split party who consider the Republicans an after-thought. Some coalitions in the DemProg party may have seen they are on the outs long term, I’m thinking Asians. Maybe they took the intervening years to seed the Republicans and alter its trajectory. Perhaps a non-social conservative Rep in the pipe now sees the opportunity to run on the economy, foreign policy, etc?

    My point is no any specific change but it is naive to think that, if the Republicans are out, the DemProg coalitions will remain in the corral. I’d expect to see one or more look for opportunities outside the old White guys and gals that the Dems have on offer in the top ranks.

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  13. JKB says:

    @Shirt: republicanism

    You need to look up your words before you use them. Do you have something against a republican form of government where the head of state is a representative of the People?

    At least use a capital “R” for your new word. One hopes you don’t also associate the Democratic Party with being democratic. If so, I suggest you review some of the votes at the last Democratic Party convention.

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  14. Jr says:

    As long as the Democrats can field competent candidates, then no I don’t see the GOP winning the presidency for a while. The GOP have a major problem, this isn’t like what the Democrats had in the late 70’s and 1980’s when the Democrats were seen as out of touch, because they still had a strangle hold on the minority voters that was only going to grow in the coming years.

    The GOP’s base is literally dying and the Democrats seem to have a strong hold on the other growing demographics(young people and minorities). The only way I think they can even the field is to starting running to the left of Democrats on issues like privacy, pot, foreign policy. Issues that Democrats are at odds with the their own base.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 1

  15. superdestroyer says:

    The Democrats can win 242 electoral votes, The Blue Wall, without spending a dollar. That means that for any Republican to win, the Republicans must nominate someone who can win every swing state. That is not going to happen in the future.

    There is not a conservative involved in politics that has the skill set to revivie any form of a conservative party. There is currently not a major Repubican politician who can stand in front of a crowd and describe his political philosphy in a coherent manner, let alone convince others that he should lead.

    What everyone should be concentrating on are the Democatic Primary. For all of the description of the Democrats being a “Big Tent” party, there is little room for a variety of political view points. All of the major possible Democratic candidate for President in 2016 have very similar view points and have skill sets that are incredibly similar. Thus, the Democratic Party primary season will be decided on name recognition, likability, charm, and charisma.

    If Hillary Clinton wins in 2016 and decide to run for election in 2020, there will likely be no real opposition candidate. That means that 20024 will be in next open election for president and I doubt if there will be any viable Republican candidates by then and I seriously doubt that the Repulbicans in Congress will be in the majorty after the redistricting of 2021.

    If a wonk or political scientist wanted to write a forward thinking book, they should concentrate on what the establishment Republicans will do after the final collapse of the Republican Party: will they somehow find a savior with the skill set to return the Republicans to relevance or will they move over and just start running as Democrats. Given recent political elections in Mississippi, it makes more sense that eventually most Republicans will just move over to the Democratic Party in their pursuit of power.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 3

  16. superdestroyer says:

    @JKB:

    No block inside the Democratic Party is going to walk away from all of the automatic Democratic Party voters. The Democrats could run a child abusing felon for president and that candidate would have received 45% of the vote in 2012. By 2020 or 2024, the percentage of automatic Democratic Party voters will be well over 50% of all voters and the Democras will have won state house control in enough states to redistrict the Republicans out of existence.

    Remember, when 95% of the Ivy League students are Democrats, I doubt if any saviors are going to be available for the Repulbicans and I doubt if any of those Ivy Leaguers are going to ruin their careers by try to form a Green Party to the left of the current Democratic Party.

    The genius of David Axelrod is instead of concentrating on a path to victory, he figured out a method so that all outcomes lead to victory for the Democrats.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  17. superdestroyer says:

    @PJ:

    I was hoping that James, since he is a college football fan, would make a post about the NCAA rule changes that were announced on Thursday and the verdict in the O’Bannon case that was announced of Friday. Both issues are very complicated, the sports media is doing a horrible job on their analysis, and the discussions on the sports blogs quickly degenerate to post about someone’s favorite team and how they will be affected.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  18. george says:

    @Shirt:

    The republican party is NOT the conservative party.

    Certainly not by any normal definition of conservative. Merkel in Germany is conservative. Harper in Canada is conservative. Both are actually to the left of Obama on many issues (including public health and military). The GOP is radical right wing; they’re not trying to conserve, they’re trying to create an America that never existed anywhere except Hollywood and TV shows. It’s not fascism (the social conservative component especially is quite different), its a completely new thing.

    A bad thing in most ways I’d add. And interestingly enough, the moral component involves a much bigger government involvement in people’s lives than America has ever had before, which makes their claims for small gov’t especially ridiculous.

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  19. JKB says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Interesting that you assume Ivy League for President. That is a recent fallacy and one quite deeply inhaled by the DemProgs. Of course, our greatest Presidents have not hailed from the Ivy League. Even our most recent great President, Reagan.

    But no matter. Your presumption highlights the “inequality” in the DemProg coalition. It also promote my thoughts that the Asian demographic will be the breaking faction since the Ivy League, and other “elite” colleges, purposely discriminate against Asians in enrollment. That could easily be seen not only as the racial discrimination it is, but also as a concerted DemProg effort to keep Asians from high office. And, remember, Asians are discriminated against the “Progressives” because they blow the curve, not because they need extra “grade balancing”.

    BTW, please identify which party has the most prominent politicians, with Indian subcontinent ancestry?

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  20. Kylopod says:

    @James Joyner: The problem with saying it’s unlikely she’ll win reelection is that you’re basing your conclusion on very little information beyond broad historical patterns, which can be misleading. For example, it’s been noted that having three consecutive two-term presidents, as we’ve had with Clinton, Bush, and Obama, hasn’t happened since the early days of the Republic. Patterns hold, until they don’t hold.

    In about the last half century there have been three elections where a party came within a hair breadth of holding the White House for three consecutive terms–1960, 1976, and 2000–but only one in which they actually did–1988. That is simply too limited a data set to conclude that holding on to the White House for four terms is unlikely. What we do know is that it’s harder to hold on to after 8 years than 4 years, but there isn’t sufficient evidence to conclude that it gets progressively harder with each additional term. In fact, Nate Silver concludes, based on analyzing margins of victories in past races, that after you get past one term there’s no increasing advantage for the out-party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0

  21. The GOP is going to have to adapt. The issue is how long will it take? Also: what will be the impetus for change? Right now I have a very hard time seeing the party win in 2016 for sure.

    I will say that while on paper Romney and McCain were “centrists” after a fashion, that they did not fully run centrist campaigns (and McCain blew his credibility with me when he picked Palin).

    Back to the party changing: the xenophobia in the party has to stop and at the moment it seems to be ramping up.

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  22. Tillman says:

    Before reading article: Please don’t go superdestroyer on us. Oh pleeeaase!

    After reading article: Not quite one-party state.

    I don’t like to say, “I can’t see someone coming up in the next four to eight years capable of challenging the Democratic lock on the presidency,” because that is a long time in politics. While some have tried to follow the Obama model of rapid ascendance and failed (looking at you, Rubio), Obama is not horribly unique.

    No, what I’m going to be looking for is someone who bucks the Tea Party openly in debates and appearances, someone who takes on the media complex openly, and gets rewarded for it. Not all Republicans are teabaggers, and most new Independents were formerly Republican.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 1

  23. stonetools says:

    The Republican Party got itself in this mess by embracing and nurturing the crazy in a process going back to 1960 ( Rick Pearlstein has a series of books chronicling this). Now they are in a stage where they can’t free themselves from the monster.
    Still, it’s WAAY to early to start celebrating the demise of the Republican Party. They have a lock on the US House and the state legislatures until 2020 and a fighting chance to regain the Senate. And they have the Supreme Court and the majority of the federal judiciary.
    Based on all that, yeah, the Dems can probably win the Presidency in 2016 but that won’t mean liberal nirvana.
    This was the mistake liberals made in 2008. Everyone thought, ” Now that we won big, the war is over. We’re 100 days away from passing the liberal legislation of our dreams!” Six years later, about all we have to look forward to is to protect the important but rather meager legislative gains of 2009-2010 and to appoint the next couple of Supreme Court justices ( hopefully replacing a conservative with a liberal).
    The good thing for the Democrats is that the Republicans are plumb out of ideas and appealing spokes-persons. The lack of ideas is especially crippling. Their ideas on economic and social policy have been tried and tried and proven wrong. Now liberals have been unable to capitalize on that, and conservatives have been great at obfuscation, but eventually the general public will figure it out. The most important success will be the ACA, where people will finally figure out that it actually works and the Republicans have been lying all along. Still, I can foresee only slow but incremental progress for the Dems from here on in. I agree with James that only a 2016 win is likely. Predicting the 2020 election is like trying to predict what the weather will be like in DC in 2020-its a Silly Wild Ass Guess. If I had to do so, I’d bet that HRC-if she wins in 2016- will retain in 2020. But my confidence level would be 50-55 per cent-within the margin of error.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  24. Tillman says:

    Though neither party in the United States seems prepared to give the other credit for good ideas, voters can be more discerning.

    It’s not as if the signature healthcare reform legislation of this president’s administration was based on a conservative idea proposed in the ’90s and enacted in Massachusetts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1

  25. Ron Beasley says:

    @jukeboxgrad: I agree about the right wing media. Talk radio, Fox News and other right wing media outlets are what is destroying the Republican party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2

  26. stonetools says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    BTW, Steve, what do you think of Rick Pearlstein’s series? I’m thinking of picking up Nixonland. I’d be interested to hear what the resident political science expert’s take is on Mr. Pearlstein’s project.
    Be great if James could chime in also. After all, series chronicles that transformation of the Party at the time James became a Republican ( I believe).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  27. anjin-san says:

    @ JKB

    You need to look up your words before you use them.

    Kind of funny coming from the guy who made up his own definition of the word “socialist” because the actual meaning of the word did not properly support his bizarre ideology.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  28. Stan says:

    @JKB: On Hillary winning: “… since to do such she’d have to gut the criminals now in the mid and lower ranks of the Obama administration…”

    Name them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  29. Stan says:

    @JKB:I’m not sure there’s an Asian-American vote, particularly since Asian-Americans are so diverse. But I’m willing to bet they react the same way that other minority groups do to bigotry, even if it’s directed against somebody else. Every time Steve King and Michelle Bachmann open their mouths about the horrors of Hispanic immigration they win votes for the Democrats from everybody who feels his group has been discriminated against.

    Among the witticisms attributed to Oscar Wilde there’s this one, involving Wilde and an unsuccessful author:

    “There’s a conspiracy of silence against me, Oscar. What should I do?”

    “Join it,” replied Oscar.

    It’s good advice. If the Republicans followed it, John McCain would now be finishing his second term.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  30. wr says:

    @stonetools: ” I’m thinking of picking up Nixonland.”

    Nixonland is brilliant. I’ve just started The Invisible Bridge, and it looks pretty great, although I don’t know how much Reagan I can stand.

    Oh, but don’t forget, the fact that he used the name “Reagan” makes him a plagiarist… because the Name of the Great One is forbidden to any but his acolytes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0

  31. superdestroyer says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    Are you really going to argue that the Republicans were better off before cable television when the three network along with the Washington Post, and NY Time set the agenda and decide what was and was not relevant? Yes, it would be nice if there were competent conservatives who could discuss issues from a data driven POV and had staffs that were capable of preparing them for media appearances. However, the last thing that the media is going to put on television, radio, or any other form of media is a data driven conservative.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 4

  32. superdestroyer says:

    @Stan:

    there is a theory that the overt religious nature of the Republican Party is another factor in alienating Asians. I have heard many Indians/Pakistanis being openly hostile to conservative politics while actually living their lives in the manner that conservatives would suggest. I have always concluded that Asians believe that they are clever enough to take advantage of big, progressive government while being clever enough to avoid most of the downside. See hos Asians deal with public education as a good example of this.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 5

  33. Jr says:

    @Stan: The bigotry isn’t what turns Asian voters away from the GOP, it is the anti-intellectual platform that the GOP runs on that turns them away.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  34. george says:

    @superdestroyer:

    However, the last thing that the media is going to put on television, radio, or any other form of media is a data driven conservative.

    Where do you live that the media is a uniform entity, and how long will you have to wait until you get the Internet there?

    I’d argue the current situation isn’t one of a monotone media delivering a single message, but of a thousand sources of information putting across a wild range of messages, and people using confirmation bias to only listen to the one that tells them what they want to hear.

    Seriously, its one of the reasons for polarization – everyone can find a source which mirrors what they already believe, and on an incredibly wide range. Want to think the moon landing was faked? Birtherism? Trutherism? Any of a hundred flavors of who killed JFK? Its all out there, and except for perhaps you and a few of your friends, everyone knows exactly how to get what they want in terms of news, and do so.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 1

  35. JKB says:

    @Stan:

    You misunderstand. If the Republican lose another Presidential election, these individuals who’ve had the national stage will not remain on that stage. Nor will most of the so-called Establishment in DC. The party will be ripe for take over.

    No need to worry about “bigotry” as you say if the individuals can’t elect candidates. Then some other group will swing over and take the reins, or create a third party that will draw off the disillusioned and the independents.

    My point is that the hypothesis of a 4th Dem term relies on the naive assumption that the Reps will remain the same after a 3rd loss. And that, having no viable threat, the internals of the Dems won’t churn as the external threat evaporates.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 4

  36. JKB says:

    @Stan: Name them.

    Far to many for that. But we could start with the admitted violators of the Federal Records Act by deleting their official email correspondence. Or perhaps those who perjured themselves, or perhaps contempt of Congress. Perhaps those who use the IRS for political ends. Or those who violated the Hatch Act.

    Do you think Hillary will keep Eric Holder in place as AG to forestall investigations and prosecutions.

    But look at practicality. Whomever wins the next Presidential election will need to signal that “things have changed” even if they don’t change those things. To not sweep out the refuse will start their Administration under a cloud. Besides, reports are there isn’t a great love between the Clintons and the Obamas. When leaders change, their mafia take it in the head, whether that leader is a president, CEO, government office director, etc. It is the way. To leave low-level people loyal to the predecessor/rival is to invite disaster.

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  37. Andre Kenji says:

    I don´t see in the polls signs that show that Hillary Clinton will be unbeatable in 2016. I do agree that the Democrats have an advantage in the Electoral College, but it´s too early to argue anything about that.

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  38. Andre Kenji says:

    To me, the problem is that it´s very difficult to find any party that´s largely similar to the GOP outside the United States, other than some fringe far right parties. This year, Piers Morgan tried to argue against the UKIP with an UKIP official using talking points mostly used against the GOP, and the official simply denied all his claims. One could argue that the UKIP or the France´s National Front are moderate when compared with the GOP.

    So, it´s natural that immigrants, even immigrants that vote for Conservative parties in their home countries, are not going to support the GOP.

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  39. Stan says:

    superdestroyer and JR — Regarding Asian-Americans and how they vote, I’m not sure enough of myself to make predictions. But based on the analogy with American Jews, my group, I’ll hazard a few guesses. First, I think that Asian-Americans, like everybody else, vote on the basis of emotional needs as much as on economic self-interest, and when they see a screaming mob in California panicked at the thought of Hispanic kids spending a few weeks in a local detention facility, they see themselves in the bus along with the kids rather than in the mob. In this context, note that the Republicans who have the most to say about immigration are Steve King, Michelle Bachmann, and El Rushbo. They’re not the kind of people who appeal to a Chinese-American engineer. Second, many Asian-Americans, like many Jews, are well educated, and find it impossible to believe that 97% of American climate scientists are crooks who identify global warming as a serious problem just to get federal grants. And finally, I think that many Asian-Americans see attacks on Barack Obama, the kind that see him as a Kenyan rather than an American, as motivated in part by racial prejudice. What I said earlier still goes. Get King, Bachmann, et al to shut up, and you’ve gone a long way toward solving the GOP’s problem with Asian-Americans (and Hispanics).

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  40. Stan says:

    JKB, regarding the malefactors of great stealth in the Obama administration, I’ll bet you a billion bitcoins that none of them go to jail for their misdeeds, even if Ted Cruz is our next president. Governmental misdeeds, like private ones, are caused more by incompetence than by wickedness. Incompetence is not a crime. If it were, virtually everybody who had a hand in planning and executing the second Gulf War would now be in some white collar correctional institution.

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  41. anjin-san says:

    @ JKB

    Far to many for that.

    In other words, you have nothing.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  42. @stonetools: Unfortunately, I haven’t actually read the work in question, so can’t comment.

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  43. steve q says:

    Jr says:
    Sunday, August 10, 2014 at 15:44
    @Stan: The bigotry isn’t what turns Asian voters away from the GOP, it is the anti-intellectual platform that the GOP runs on that turns them away.

    You’re both right!

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  44. Schmoe says:

    George, could you expand briefly on this component “(the social conservative component is quite different)”? From my perspective the dislike of minorities/”others”/gays and the “family values” components, each of which was prevalent in 1930’s Germany, seems quite similar.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2

  45. george says:

    @Schmoe:

    George, could you expand briefly on this component “(the social conservative component is quite different)”? From my perspective the dislike of minorities/”others”/gays and the “family values” components, each of which was prevalent in 1930′s Germany, seems quite similar.

    Its nowhere near as extreme as what went on in Germany (I assume you don’t need me to go into detail on this – unless you’re a holocaust denier it should be obvious). If just having dislike of minorities is enough to be considered the same as fascist Germany, then 90% of societies in history meet that criteria, many much more so than modern social conservatives. There’s racism in just about every society in the world (whites travelling to Japan or China are often shocked to experience it for instance). If that makes Japan and China fascist then the term means almost nothing.

    Nor is what went on in Germany nearly as religious based (yes, there was a component, but it was much smaller).

    Its like comparing modern civilian casualties in war to what went on in WW2 – there’s a difference of an order or two of magnitude, and it weakens the valid criticisms of today’s actions by making ridiculous comparisons to extremes in the past. That’s the whole point of Godwin’s Law – two systems can share some traits but be orders of magnitude apart in application and in other traits. Putting the same label on both is generally an attempt at marketing (ie putting the evil label on it), and is generally ridiculous.

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  46. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @superdestroyer:

    the last thing that the media is going to put on television, radio, or any other form of media is a data driven conservative.

    Well, they might if one actually existed. Problem is, as soon as a “conservative” becomes driven by data and not doctrine, they cease being a “conservative”.

    PS: I put “conservative” in quotes so as to differentiate between an honest to dog conservative, and what passes for one today.

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  47. Moosebreath says:

    James,

    “Though neither party in the United States seems prepared to give the other credit for good ideas, voters can be more discerning.”

    Well, except for Obama explicitly adopting Romney’s health plan for the nation at large, and Republican cap-and-trade as environmental policy (both of which became anathema for Republicans once they were adopted by Obama.

    “Nor did Bush govern as a right wing ideologue. While he was a deeply committed evangelical Christian and never made any bones about it, he didn’t attempt to roll back any significant social advance made under Clinton. And some of his platforms—No Child Left Behind, Medicare expansion, and Millennium Challenge and other foreign aid programs—were arguably quite progressive.”

    You are eliding over something here — Bush’s policy to transfer wealth upwards through the tax code, which remains Republican dogma.

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  48. Schmoe says:

    George, thanks for clarifying your comment and to the extent you mentioned that the difference relates to specific acts versus the underlying attitudes, I generally agree.

    You’re point regarding all societies or groups suffering from some form of xenophobia is hard to disagree with, although I believe there is a similarity between “traditional” fascist vilification of minorities/”others”/ etc. relative to the rhetoric of far right republicans with respect to minorities/”others”/ etc. since both are used for political gain, and describing these parallels does not weaken the comparison provided that the parameters of the comparison are clearly enumerated. I’m especially troubled by comments with respect to muslims by the far right compared to terminology used with respect to minorities in Germany in the 1930’s (no, I’m not drawing any parallel to the Holocaust itself),and am intensely uncomfortable that some in this country jump onto the “Islamophia” bandwagon when I believe the death toll from US-citizen muslims committing terrorist acts is likely less than 20 over the past 15 years. US-domiciled Islamists have nothing on US-domiciled white guys when it comes to mass killings

    Not that it matters, but for the record, I am a straight SWM.

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  49. Grewgills says:

    @James Joyner:

    None of that was in the modern, television-driven era.

    The 80’s and early 90’s weren’t in the modern television-driven era?

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  50. superdestroyer says:

    @Moosebreath:

    First, the Republican who originally proposed cap and trade was interviewed on television and said that his proposal was very different from what the Obama Administration planned. Cap and Trade currently exist for things such as SOx, Nox, CO, and particulate matter and is easily described as purchasing the right to pollute. Of course, it has benefited from de-industrialization in the U.S. since there are now fewer emitter and no one is going to build a factory in a non-attainment area.

    However, the greenhouse gas (carbon dioxide) was designed that a company had to purchase the right to petition the EPA for a permit. That is very different. In addition, under NESHAPS current system, the emission volume is discounted during each exchange. Thus, there is no secondary market for such pollution rights.

    Second, If I were a progressive, I would not be using anything that GW Bush did as an example of what conservatives should do in the future. GW Bush and his advisers were incapable of understanding how issues were related, how Democrats can benefit from supposedly conservative programs, and how deficit spending is always a win for Democrats and a loss for Republicans.

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  51. superdestroyer says:

    @James Joyner:

    Given the demographic changes of the U.S. winning a fourth presidential election in a row should be a shoe-in for the Democrats. When has the last time a Republican was competitive in Chicago, in DC, or in any of the CBC Congressional Districts. If the demographics are correct, the Democrats will be in a position that they cannot lose no matter how bad the situation is (See Detroit, DC, Baltimore, Chicago).

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  52. DrDaveT says:

    No, he became unpopular mostly because of the Iraq War, with a little help from Katrina and the global financial meltdown.

    It’s a tangent, but I need to quickly point out that it’s extremely disingenuous to imply that the global financial meltdown was an exogenous event like Katrina, as opposed to one that was directly fomented by the policies of GWB and his anti-regulatory predecessors.

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  53. Stan says:

    @superdestroyer: “However, the last thing that the media is going to put on television, radio, or any other form of media is a data driven conservative.”

    I suggest you read Tyler Cowen’s economic writings in the Sunday New York Times, Russ Douthat’s more socially conservative columns, also in the Times, and the many conservative columnists in the Washington Post: George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Michael Gerson, et al. Except for Cowen they aren’t data driven in the same sense as Paul Krugman, but they’re all highly articulate and highly conservative.

    It’s now your turn. Name a liberal columnist writing in the Wall Street Journal.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  54. TheoNott says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Hey super, does it ever occur to you that we post-1965 Americans might support the Democratic Party because the majority of us agree with their policies and believe them to be better for the country than those of the Republicans? We are not “automatic Democratic Party voters” any more than rural Southern whites or Mormons can be said to be “automatic Republican Party voters”. In both cases, different groups simply weighed their own interests and those of the country and came to different conclusions. The first election I was old enough to vote in was the 2010 midterm, and get this, I went for the Republicans, because I believed in what they said about the deficit, the stimulus, etc. My views have evolved since then, and now I support the Democrats, but my point is I am not a “automatic X voter”. This arrogant, self-serving assumption that you and so many conservatives have that anyone with less than a milky-white complexion just votes Democrat because they are looking for a handout blinds you guys, and prevents you from even thinking about why your agenda and rhetoric don’t appeal to anyone outside the GOP’s demographic base. After all, if you just assume that Group X will vote Dem, why even consider the reasons why they vote the way they do? I don’t pretend to speak for every Asian-American or Hispanic-American (well, I’m not Hispanic in any case) but I know that my own reasons for supporting the Dems are far more complex than “Give me benefits!” and suspect that’s true for most non-white voters.

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  55. Grewgills says:

    @JKB:

    You misunderstand. If the Republican lose another Presidential election, these individuals who’ve had the national stage will not remain on that stage. Nor will most of the so-called Establishment in DC. The party will be ripe for take over.

    I hope you’re right about that, but cynical me says it will take longer, particularly in the House.

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  56. wr says:

    @superdestroyer: “First, the Republican who originally proposed cap and trade was interviewed on television and said that his proposal was very different from what the Obama Administration planne”

    Yes, and he was right. The Obama version was proposed by a black guy. Completely different.

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  57. anjin-san says:

    some of his platforms—No Child Left Behind, Medicare expansion, and Millennium Challenge and other foreign aid programs—were arguably quite progressive.

    And not funding some of them was arguably quite conservative.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1

  58. Ron Beasley says:

    @superdestroyer:

    Are you really going to argue that the Republicans were better off before cable television when the three network along with the Washington Post, and NY Time set the agenda and decide what was and was not relevant?

    In a word, YES!

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  59. Scott O says:

    @superdestroyer:
    Super, I think you worry about these things way too much. “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change” as a pledge for the troubled advises. Besides, you’ll be dead from Ebola in a few weeks. Do you really want to spend your final days fretting about one party government?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  60. superdestroyer says:

    @TheoNott:

    You can act as self-righteous as you want but the next presidential election will have a starting point that the Democrats will get around 45% of the popular vote no matter who they nominate, will get 242 electoral votes without spending a dime, and jus needs to win a couple of swing states to win the presidency. The Republicans start the election knowing that they wil get around 40% of the vote no matter who they nominate, will be around 170 electoral vote no matter who they nominate, and must win all of the swing states to win the presidency.

    The Republicans know to not waste a dollar on a campaign in California while the Democrats know to not spend a dollar in Texas. If you read all of the election/campaign wonks, they all write about how the Democrats will eventually start winning in Texas due to demographics and not because of candidates, issues, or anything else that you just wrote about.

    When winning elections is about changing the demographics or trying to get people to not vote, then elections and politics is mainly about automatic party voters.

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  61. superdestroyer says:

    @Stan:

    None of them are data driven. Look at the issues that they write about and how hard they work to avoid data. Tyler Cowen is different but he is also driven from the point of view that demographics is destiny and that white America will eventually fade away.

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  62. superdestroyer says:

    @Ron Beasley:

    Cosidering that the Repubilcans went 40 years while being irrelevant in Congress and that Nixon should be considered to the left of President Obama, I doubt if many other would consider politics better when it was dominated by a few media outlets. As a good example, does anyone really believe that President Kennedy would have behaved the same if president today versus 1960?

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  63. James Joyner says:

    @DrDaveT: Deregulation started under Jimmy Carter for goodness sakes. What did Bush deregulate that Bill Clinton wouldn’t have given more time? The chief economic difference between Bush and his Democratic predecessor was on taxes, and even there the practical differences were small.

    @Grewgills: I’m talking about instances of a fourth straight term, not a third. Reagan’s popularity and Dukakis’ ineptness as a campaigner led to a GHW Bush landslide in 1988. Even a relatively well-run administration and our first major military victory since WWII weren’t enough to carry him to re-election.

    The one possible counterfactual is quite recent. While he ultimately lost the Electoral College, Al Gore won a plurality of the popular vote for the Democrats a third straight time. It’s possible that he would have been re-elected.

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  64. Kylopod says:

    Reagan’s popularity and Dukakis’ ineptness as a campaigner led to a GHW Bush landslide in 1988. Even a relatively well-run administration and our first major military victory since WWII weren’t enough to carry him to re-election.

    Oh, so I guess the state of the economy had nothing to do with either election?

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  65. @Kylopod:

    Oh, so I guess the state of the economy had nothing to do with either election?

    But isn’t that part of the point: that there are other factors that influence these races?

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  66. PJ says:

    @James Joyner:

    The one possible counterfactual is quite recent. While he ultimately lost the Electoral College, Al Gore won a plurality of the popular vote for the Democrats a third straight time. It’s possible that he would have been re-elected.

    So, you think he would have survived Republicans impeaching him for 9/11?
    Or do you think that 9/11 wouldn’t have happened if Gore had become President?

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  67. gVOR08 says:

    @superdestroyer: Lordy. I find myself agreeing with SD.

    Yes, it would be nice if there were competent conservatives who could discuss issues from a data driven POV

    Yes, it really would be nice. But there aren’t. And it isn’t the fault of the media that there aren’t. Face it, Ross Douthat was the best the NYT could find.

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  68. gVOR08 says:

    @Stan: Generally the argument is that Asian-Americans are natural Republicans because they are hard working and entrepreneurial. The problem with that argument is that it accepts the Republican framing of “47% – makers and takers”. Many of the rest of us simply don’t see the world that way.

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  69. humanoid.panda says:

    @superdestroyer: So, by data driven you mean ‘race realist.’
    ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’ ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’ Alice was too much puzzled to say anything; so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again.

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  70. humanoid.panda says:

    @superdestroyer:
    So, in essence, by “data driven” you mean race realist.

    ‘The question is,’ said Alice, ‘whether you can make words mean so many different things.’ ‘The question is,’ said Humpty Dumpty, ‘which is to be master — that’s all.’ Alice was too much puzzled to say anything; so after a minute Humpty Dumpty began again.

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  71. Stan says:

    @superdestroyer: Regarding data driven conservative writers in the main stream press, you’re right, there aren’t many. There also aren’t many data driven liberal writers. The American press, including the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, has largely gotten out of the business of writing about policy.

    As an example, in 2008 I was confused about the differences between the health insurance systems used in Europe, Japan, and Israel. I wasn’t alone. A number of conservative analysts — Megan McArdle and Marty Feldstein, for example — didn’t know the difference between France’s system and Germany’s. The liberal writers in the print media weren’t much better. It took a youthful blogger, Ezra Kline, to explain the subject in detail. Similarly, I was unable to understand why Americans spend so much more on a per capita basis for medical care. Eventually I stumbled on Uwe Reinhardt’s journal article “It’s the Prices, Stupid”, explaining that Europeans get more health care than Americans but that our prices are much higher, probably because the American insurance industry is more fragmented than its European counterpart and consequently has less bargaining power.

    I think you’re being paranoid about the liberal press. American papers don’t cover policy because they think their readers aren’t interested. It’s been that way for as long as I remember, and I don’t expect it to change.

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  72. humanoid.panda says:

    @superdestroyer:

    that Nixon should be considered to the left of President Obama,

    So, in a world full of automatic Democrat voters where Whites are driven to the back of the bus, liberals are somehow less powerful, and in fact, quite to the Right of where their predecessors been when America was ruled by White, self-sufficient, racially pure middle class folks.
    Something here doesn’t compute, does it?

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  73. humanoid.panda says:

    @Stan: The problem is that for a conservative, people like Klein and Reinhard are liberals who dare to point out that the US doesn’t have the best healthcare system in the world, so their data is suspect. Then again, if you start with the premise that the United States has the best health care system in the world, you cannot be a data driven journalist, so conservatives cannot be that. Same applies to, say, economics at times of recessions and climate science: one can be a data driven conservative, but one cannot be a data driven AMERICAN conservative. The few who do, like Josh Barro and David Frum on economics, get thrown out of the tribe..

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  74. superdestroyer says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    Nixon was the president of wage and price controls, establishing the EPA, creating affirmative action, and increasing the power of the presidency. If Nixon had gotten his start in politics in the 1990’s, he would have been a Democrat. If Nixon was getting his start in California politics today, he most definitely would be a Democrats and actually, a liberal Democrat.

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  75. superdestroyer says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    The way that Europe spend less on healthcare is that it rations and it pays its healthcare workers much less than they are paid in the U.S. That is why I believe that eventually there will be a big push to pay healthcare workers less. Of course, it will be described as increased efficiency but it will result in less pay. Lowering the pay could be considered a good thing but is not something more writers, including Klein, want to talk about.

    As I have said before, it whole point of the government policies that people like Klein support is to increase the quality of life for freelance writers in Burlington, VT. However, most people will experience a lower quality of life.

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  76. TheoNott says:

    @superdestroyer:

    While it’s true that demographic changes are currently working to the benefit of Democrats, that is because present Republican policies do not appeal to the fastest-growing groups. It is not hardcoded in the brains of Latinos that they must vote Democratic. A majority of Hispanics vote Democratic because the majority of them agree with the POLICIES of the Democratic Party. There are policy changes Democrats could undertake that I think would win them more white votes, and there are some that Republicans could undertake that would likely win them more Latino and/or Asian votes.
    While I will concede that no Republican presidential candidate appears to have ever won the Hispanic vote, there has still been meaningful variation in the GOP percentage, and Asian-Americans were being won outright by the Republican Party as recently as 1992, while Obama won them with a 73% majority. The Asian vote swung about 40 points against the GOP over the course of 20 years. Clearly, something changed.

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  77. superdestroyer says:

    @TheoNott:

    Thank you for noting that the Republicans have never won in the Latino vote and in reality, the percentage of Latinos that have ever voted for Republicans stay within a narrow ban. The problem is that Latino voters like a big taxing, big spending government that gives them set asides and quotas while promising to tax the rich (read Gringos) to get the money. For the Republicans to win a significant percentage of Latinos and challenger to win 50%, the Republicans would have to throw middle class and blue collar whites under the bus by promising amnesty, higher taxes, more government spending, more ethnicity based government, and more ethnicity based education programs. By guess is that trying again to win Latino voters will lose the Republicans more votes from current Republican voters than it would gain from Latinos.

    The Asian vote is a different manner and demonstrates the failures of the Bush Clan to understand the long term consequences of their policy decision. When the Republican in California decided to commit suicide by supporting amnesty in the 1980’s, it set the conservative party on a path to lose the Asian vote. The over religious nature of too many Republicans and the refusal to actually be fiscal conservatives gives Asian no reason to vote for Republicans.

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  78. george says:

    @Schmoe:

    You’re point regarding all societies or groups suffering from some form of xenophobia is hard to disagree with, although I believe there is a similarity between “traditional” fascist vilification of minorities/”others”/ etc. relative to the rhetoric of far right republicans with respect to minorities/”others”/ etc. since both are used for political gain, and describing these parallels does not weaken the comparison provided that the parameters of the comparison are clearly enumerated.

    The similarity is true enough. It’s also true for most historical societies throughout history (when in trouble at home, find a minority to get the majority mad at is a time honored political maneuver), and of just about every political system. So in effect you’re saying that just about every society in history was fascist. I’m not sure how helpful that is.

    I’ve no use for the modern GOP. But saying they’re like the German fascists is either ridiculous (if you mean in what was/is done), or pointless (if you mean they’ve some similarities which are shared by just about every other society).

    And most people will, on hearing such a claim, just roll their eyes and decide all criticism from that source, including valid ones, are similar hyperbole.

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  79. wr says:

    @superdestroyer: “When the Republican in California decided to commit suicide by supporting amnesty in the 1980′s”

    I wish you would stop pretending you know anything about California politics. Republicans were quite competetive in this state, holding many legislative seats and frequently the governor’s office — until they decided to push Prop 187, a ludicrous attempt essentially to punish Mexican immigrants and their children that was immediately ruled unconstitutional. At that point the entire Latino population in the state turned against them and they’ve been dwindling ever since. Not because they “supported amnesty.”

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  80. humanoid.panda says:

    @superdestroyer:

    As I have said before, it whole point of the government policies that people like Klein support is to increase the quality of life for freelance writers in Burlington, VT. However, most people will experience a lower quality of life.

    Since people who work in the healthcare industry are actually not the majority of the population, the process that you describe of squeezing them would actually increase the quality of life of most people, no? Especially of people with families on low income, very much not the profile of the dreaded writer in Vermont…

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  81. humanoid.panda says:

    @superdestroyer: You are making my point for me. If at a time when Whites were above 90% of the voting public, politics was way to the left of where it is now, your argument that race and demographics correlate with the growth of the state and the decline of conservative policy, then your model of American politics cannot possibly be correct.

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  82. humanoid.panda says:

    @superdestroyer: And of course, the process that you are endorsing has a name: rent seeking. The medical profession is basically a cartel with price setting powers. Anyone but the hardest-core of libertarians (And they oppose things like licensing and support open immigration of healthcare professionals) agree that in such cases the government has the right and duty to minimize the adverse effects of catrelization.

    To put it otherwise: if doctors elsewhere are paid not as well as American doctors, our policy of limiting immigration of, say, French, doctors is a hidden subsidy to American doctors. If their business model is based on this subsidy, why should the government supply other subsidies to their patients, or indeed limit the size of the rent this subsidy allows?

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  83. superdestroyer says:

    @wr: The Cheap Labor Repulbicans in California support amnesty in order to lower the cost of labor in their state. Those same Republicans refused to think about the long term costs of adding millions of third world immigrants to the state rolls and what amnesty would do to immigrant Latino fertility rates. Thus, after they passed amnesty, they decided that they did not really like the idea of paying more taxes to fund social services for those immigrants. Also, the Republicans did not like the idea that the new immigrants were eligible for quotas and set asides such as affirmative action for admission to the University of California system.

    Committing to amnesty while refusing to think about the long term demographic consequences can and should be described as political suicide for conservatives. What Republican got out of amnesty in the long run is more automatic Democratic Party voting Latinos, higher taxes, and a state that whites have been moving out of for 30 years. Look at NYC has replaced Southern California is the place that ambitious Americans want to move.

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  84. gVOR08 says:

    @humanoid.panda: There are people in health care and people in health care. As I understand it, the nurses, orderlies, techs, whoever have already been squeezed pretty hard. The doctors on the other hand are very well paid compared to other countries.

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  85. Janis Gore says:

    http://youtu.be/CAQTuE0eVFI

    I’m telling you, those sock-hops at my elementary school were hell on a white girl.

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  86. Stan says:

    @superdestroyer: Apart from improving our lifestyles, which isn’t very easy to do, and making our health care system more efficient, also not easy, the only ways I can think of to lower our medical costs are pure laissez faire, so that medical care becomes a luxury item, or lowering the pay of people in the health care industry. I favor the second alternative. I’m fond of my physician relatives and I think they deserve earning five times the national average income (more in my niece’s case, if my brother is to be believed), but enough is enough. A good first step would be to allow Medicare to negotiate prices with health care providers and with pharmaceutical firms. But perhaps you disagree. In that case, what’s your solution?

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  87. superdestroyer says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    Considering that healthcare is a career field where people can currently move into well paying jobs without having to attend an Ivy League or work as an unpaid intern in NYC or Silicon Valley, then eliminating it as a field with well paying jobs will not help many people. How does it help the middle class to cut off the career field that leads to good paying jobs in order to help the poorest Americans. However, it does help the person with the MFA who lives as a freelance writer in Burlington VT. Someone else pays for their healthcare and someone else has to live around the poor people.

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  88. Robert Levine says:

    it’s incredibly unusual in any functioning democracy for a single party to control the executive for a decade.

    I would guess that most of your counter-examples are from parliamentary systems, where the separation between executive and legislative is far less rigid. It’s possible that, in an era of widely publicized gridlock, voters don’t hold the executive quite as responsible as they might otherwise.

    Those theories of elections that focus on fundamentals suggest that any incumbent party can lose a presidential election; it just takes the right factors to line up. It’s almost impossible to win re-election during a recession, for example. While I think Republicans ought to be disheartened by the fact that they’ve lost the popular vote 4 of the last 5 elections, 5 of the last 6 or 6 of the last 7 are not inevitable.

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  89. superdestroyer says:

    @gVOR08:

    You do realize that the nurses, admin staff, and lab people at your outpatient clinic are paid out of the physicians reimbursement from the insurance company. The physicians and other direct care providers generate the income that is used to pay the rent, payroll, and overcosts of wherever they practice. Very few physicians work in a job where they receive a salary independent of their workrate.

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  90. superdestroyer says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    What I argue is that the current demographic trends in the U.S. will eliminate the ability of voters to band together and try to limit taxes and spending by the government. The original tax revolt came out of California in the 1970’s because of inflation, high taxes, and the relevance of Republicans in California. Given the demographic of California today, there is no chance that spending will be cut or that taxes will go down. As shown in just the last year, California has become a battleground where different ethnic groups are beginning to fight over entitlements, who gets them, and who pays for them. All of the fighting is taking place inside the Democratic Party and little of it is being reported at the national level.

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  91. superdestroyer says:

    @Robert Levine:

    Given the demographic changes in the U.S., it is inevitable. When one sees that more than 90% of the Ivy Leaguers are Democrats and usually very liberal Democrats, there is no reason to believe that savior will come along for the Republicans. When the percentage of children born to unwed mothers nears 50%, there is no reason to believe that a conservative party can exist in the U.S. So, the real question is whether the U.S. becomes a one party state such as Maryland or California or that two liberal parties will exist in the future where the fight will be about personalities, charisma, and charm?

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  92. wr says:

    @superdestroyer: Everyone wants cheap labor. Just ask the all the Californians who hire presumable illegals to mow their lawns, clean their pools and watch their kids.

    The difference between the two parties is that Democrats tend to believe that we as a state have an obligation to pay at least some of the real costs of this cheap labor. They understand that if you bring people into your community to do your dirty work for you at cut rates, you also have to provide them some necessities of life that their meager wages can’t and won’t cover — thus, allowing their children into schools, providing basic healthcare and the rest of those services you like to denigrate as “welfare.”

    Republicans like to pretend that we can bring in people to work for less than subsistence wages and let them rot on the streets.

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  93. wr says:

    @superdestroyer: “What I argue is that the current demographic trends in the U.S. will eliminate the ability of voters to band together and try to limit taxes and spending by the government”

    In other words, the majority of the citizens of the USA will choose a different set of priorities than yours, and you find that to be somehow nefarious.

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  94. al-Ameda says:

    A graduate school colleague pointed me to a piece by Daniel Altman headlined “Why I Hope to Vote Republican in 2024” and with the subhed, “Face it: Hillary Clinton will be a two-term president, and I’ll vote for her. But a Democratic stranglehold on the White House is bad for America.”

    I suppose it could be bad for America, but the current alternative (Republican “governance”) is worse. I never thought I’d see the day when one of our two major political parties would seriously attempt to leverage their political demands against a default on American debt securities (not once, but twice.)

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  95. DrDaveT says:

    @James Joyner:

    Deregulation started under Jimmy Carter for goodness sakes. What did Bush deregulate that Bill Clinton wouldn’t have given more time?

    Um, who are you arguing against here? I didn’t say anything at all about Republicans or Democrats, or Presidents vs. Congress. I said “anti-regulatory predecessors”. I chose my terms carefully, but you ignored them so I’m not sure why I bothered.

    The history of anti-regulatory legislation over the last 40 years is complicated. It gets even more complicated when you look beyond legislation to willful non-enforcement of existing laws. Both parties are culpable. Not equally culpable, given that one party was driving the bus and the other was riding along, but both culpable. GWB, in particular, was more notable for hollowing out existing enforcement regimes than for signing legislation that eliminated them. His handlers also strongly resisted recommendations to extend traditional banking regulatory systems to cover the shadow banking system.

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  96. TheoNott says:

    @superdestroyer:

    I agree with you that Latinos currently support the Democrats because they tend to favor a larger government than Anglo-American whites, but I am not sure this can be reduced to them wanting the “Gringo’s” money. After all, just look at the white vote, in the South at least, poor, working-class whites are a solidly Republican constituency. Clearly, crude self-interest is only a partial predictor of people’s voting behavior. Jewish-Americans are likely net losers from the redistributive state but they lean resolutely Democratic nonetheless. Poor Hispanics aren’t just trying to rob their white neighbors at the ballot box.
    The problem with your analysis of the country is that you seem to assume, against plenty of evidence, that Americans of Latin American descent are somehow perpetually locked into a socioeconomic status below that of the white native-born. This is nonsense, and frankly racist, I suggest you read some of Ron Unz’s writings. It’s easy to look at Hispanic voting patterns now and project them into the future, and conclude that Republicans will never ever win a majority of their votes. But of course, you could have made the same prediction with Italian-Americans in the 1940s. Of course, what happened with Italians was that they assimilated, rose in status and became more “American” and eventually felt more comfortable voting for the “American” party, the Republicans, especially as the GOP abandoned it’s opposition to the New Deal and moved to the left. The same thing will eventually happen with Latinos, there is no such thing as permanent one-party state in a democracy. It just doesn’t work like that. The GOP will become more liberal along with the country, and eventually Hispanics will assimilate to the point that nobody talks about the “Hispanic vote” in the same way nobody talks about the Italian vote anymore.

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  97. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Joyner:

    Reagan’s popularity and Dukakis’ ineptness as a campaigner led to a GHW Bush landslide in 1988.

    Man, you’re just committed to your mythology, aren’t you? Reagan’s average approval rating during office was about 52%, which wasn’t spectacular, and it sank to as low as 35% at some points. He wasn’t especially popular in his second term, especially after the revelations of his criminality during Iran-Contra. A third of Americans wanted him to resign during that scandal.

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  98. Rafer Janders says:

    For that matter, in the two post-Bush presidential elections, the GOP nominated relatively centrist candidates in John McCain and Mitt Romney, both of whom easily defeated much more hard core challengers.

    See, this is why I can’t take James that seriously as an analyst of American politics. He’s several times argued with me that Carter, Mondale and Dukakis were, in his own words, “hard left” candidates — while simultaneously categorizing McCain and Romney as “relatively centrist.” James’ Overton Window is shifted so far to the right that he can’t do reliable comparative analyses of the parties’ positions.

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  99. James Joyner says:

    @DrDaveT: Fair enough. I read you as blaming Bush when you blamed Bush “and his anti-regulatory predecessors.”

    @Rafer Janders: I don’t think I’ve argued any time recently that Carter was a hard left candidate. In the global scheme, neither were Mondale or Dukakis but they were clearly ideologically out of sync with the country.

    In “relatively centrist candidates in John McCain and Mitt Romney, both of whom easily defeated much more hard core challengers,” I’m clearly comparing McCain and Romney to the Republican field. But both McCain and Romney were widely considered moderates well before their presidential runs and neither ran as hard core Social Conservatives or, really, as anything other than Establishment Republicans.

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  100. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Joyner:

    I don’t think I’ve argued any time recently that Carter was a hard left candidate.

    Yes, you did. You argued that the Democrats fortunes turned around in 1992 after twenty years during which they nominated “hard left” candidates. Do the math.

    In the global scheme, neither were Mondale or Dukakis but they were clearly ideologically out of sync with the country.

    As were McCain and Romney, both of whom lost.

    You seem to have a mental system whereby if a Democrat loses, it’s proof that he’s “clearly ideologically out of sync with the country” and can be tagged as “hard left” but if a Republican loses, he’s not out of sync and is not “hard right.”

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  101. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Joyner:

    But both McCain and Romney were widely considered moderates well before their presidential runs and neither ran as hard core Social Conservatives or, really, as anything other than Establishment Republicans.

    Mondale and Dukakis were also both widely considered moderates well before their presidential runs and neither ran as a hard-core social liberal, or, really, as anything other than Establishment Democrats.

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  102. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Joyner:

    In the global scheme, neither were Mondale or Dukakis but they were clearly ideologically out of sync with the country.

    Mike Dukakis’ percentage of the popular vote: 45.7%

    John McCain’s percentage of the popular vote: 45.7%

    Man, that Mike Dukakis was sure ideologically out of sync with the rest of the country compared to the centrist McCain, wasn’t he?

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  103. James Joyner says:

    @Rafer Janders: Mondale won one state and the District of Columbia. Dukakis won 10 states plus DC. McCain won 22 states.

    Further, after two consecutive Electoral College drubbings, Democratic leaders got together and formed the DLC specifically to make the platform more appealing to a wide swath of the country. Clinton and Gore came out of that process, winning three straight popular votes after having lost it five of the previous six outings.

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  104. Grewgills says:

    @James Joyner:
    Your original comment said for over a decade and the comment you responded to said 12 years. It has been quite some time since 4 straight terms, 3 not so much.

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  105. Grewgills says:

    @superdestroyer:
    Which would indicate that if the Republicans changed their policy preferences from more progressive to less progressive and could easily change again while still remaining Republicans, contra your continuous ranting.

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  106. Janis Gore says:

    I crazy about this sister. She’s a scientist now:

    http://youtu.be/yrotsEzgEpg

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  107. Grewgills says:

    @James Joyner:
    Why do you think that the number of states won is a better indicator of being in sync with the populace than the popular vote totals? That doesn’t make much sense to me. The EC totals would be better than number of states (including the likes of the Dakotas and Wyoming), but both seem worse as a gauge of being in sync with the populace than the popular vote total.

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  108. humanoid.panda says:

    @gVOR08: You do have a point, but its a limited one. The people who form the cartel are not the orderlies and techs and nurses, but doctors and pharma and insurance and medical manufacture and hospital chain executive. A move to squeeze out savings from the system would harm the former to an extent, but its impact would be limited because
    a) like every segment of American labor, these people had been squeezed and I seriously doubt if there is much slack among their ranks
    b) to the extent that yes, jobs will get lost if we conduct less harmful MRIs, there will also be benefits, as , for example, corporatinos will spend less on healthcare and will have more capital for wages and expansion.
    c) some of the reform measures offered in order to bring prices down, for example letting RNs and dental hygenists to conduct simple procedures, will shift income down from doctors to the medical proletariat.

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  109. humanoid.panda says:

    @superdestroyer: But that doesn’t explain at all while in this period of demographic change, Democrats had moved to the Right on economic issues, both nationally and in California (Brown for example, conducted a series of rather harsh cuts to public services during the recession); This clearly indicates that whiteness of the electorate does not correlate with growth of super-liberal policies.
    You could make a better argument if argued that both Whites and non-Whites are more prone to support big government as their economic status erodes, but that’d would require you to stop thinking in racial terms, and it is pretty clear that your concern for and willingness to defend the middle class extend only to White people. Among other things, it leads to severely misunderstand how American politics work.

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  110. humanoid.panda says:

    Considering that healthcare is a career field where people can currently move into well paying jobs without having to attend an Ivy League or work as an unpaid intern in NYC or Silicon Valley, then eliminating it as a field with well paying jobs will not help many people

    Oh this is precious on so many levels.

    First of all, as I explained to Stan above, squeezing the healthcare cartel, does not mean to hit the people you are thinking of, and in some cases means redistributing ncome from doctors to nurses and other non-doctor practicioners.
    Second, the vast majority of people in the healthcare field are nurses, orderlies and other semi-skilled laborers, who are quite closer to “poorer Americans” than to doctors and engineers and executives who form the healthcare pricing cartel in terms of market and wage power. For this reason ,the unions who represent them are huge supporters of the health reform you are arguing against.
    Third and most important, your argument boils down to “sure, lots of medical acitivity is result of market inefficiencies, but those inefficiencies allow people to live middle class lives, so lets let them stand.” I’d willing to wager good money than it comes to any other segment in which people form cartels in order to raise wages and living standards beyond those which the marker allows, i.e labor unions, especially public unions, you are clamoring for their destruction. Same of course is true for entitelments and minimum wage laws and the coverage guaranttee provisions of the ACA: by producing a floor under which one can’t sink, they all reduce he supply of labor and raise wages (or, at least, stop them from deteriorating further), and yet you are on the record on opposing such things. Why the disrepancy?

    If your answer is because people in healthcare field are workers not moochers, think again: first of, people in labor unions are by definition workers, and second, if European nations get same quality of healthcare as the US while paying less money to the healthcare sector ,then the wage bonus of a US professional in the healthcare field is product not of labor, but of rent. Laws of economics don’t stop working when they benefit whatever argument you are pulling in defense of the white race, you know.

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  111. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Joyner:

    Mondale won one state and the District of Columbia. Dukakis won 10 states plus DC. McCain won 22 states.

    So what? They had the same percentage of the popular vote. We’re talking people, not geographical area.

    Weak, James, very weak.

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  112. Rafer Janders says:

    @Grewgills:

    Why do you think that the number of states won is a better indicator of being in sync with the populace than the popular vote totals?

    Why does he think so? Because it’s the only way that what he said makes any sense at all….

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  113. Rafer Janders says:

    @James Joyner:

    Mondale won one state and the District of Columbia. Dukakis won 10 states plus DC. McCain won 22 states.

    There are ten voters in a house. The house is divided into four rooms. Each room votes for a candidate by room. Six people live in Room 1, two people live in Room 2, and one person each lives in Rooms 3 and 4.

    The six people who live in Room 1 vote for Candidate A. The four people who live in Rooms 2-4 vote for Candidate B.

    Which candidate is more ideologically in sync with the populace of the entire house — Candidate A who won only one room, or Candidate B who won three rooms?

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  114. Janis Gore says:

    http://youtu.be/95kCv10duFw

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  115. Kylopod says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    But isn’t that part of the point: that there are other factors that influence these races?

    That may be your point, but it wasn’t part of James’. I was responding to a very specific claim of his about fourth terms, when he said, “I just think winning a fourth straight election—that is, the 2016 winner getting re-elected—is extremely unlikely.” So far he hasn’t supported this claim very well. His only line of evidence is the fact that no party has held on to the White House for four consecutive terms since FDR-Truman. The problem with that argument is that just because something hasn’t happened in a while doesn’t imply that it’s intrinsically improbable.

    Moreover, since 1960 there have been four elections in which one of the parties came very close to holding on to the White House for three straight terms. (I already mentioned 1960, 1976, and 2000; I forgot about 1968.) What this shows is that there’s nothing “extremely unlikely” about a party winning three times, even though it’s been mostly narrowly avoided in the modern age. If winning three times isn’t “extremely unlikely,” then how can James say that four times is? Presumably his answer would be that the longer a party stays in power, the more vulnerable they become to electoral defeat. But that’s nothing more than an assumption. It may seem intuitive to some, but there simply isn’t enough evidence from modern elections to determine whether it’s true or not. There has only been one modern election in which the ability of a party to hang on for a fourth term has even been tested, and that was the Republicans in 1992. They failed, but one example does not constitute a pattern. And by neglecting to mention that Bush presided over a recession, James made it sound as if his defeat was somehow mysterious. It was not. Bush was defeated for the same reason many other presidents have been, not because of some mysterious fourth-term curse.

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  116. superdestroyer says:

    @Grewgills:

    The Republicans could come out for reparations and open borders and would probably not get one more black or Latino vote than they get today. The idea that if the Republicans changed their positions they would gain more minority votes than they would lose in conservative white voters in laughable.

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  117. superdestroyer says:

    @humanoid.panda:

    Nurses , RN’s, make well above the national average. I always love telling college professors that the average pharmacist has a starting salary at a national drug store of near or above $100k.

    And no, there will be no redistribution from doctors to nurses or technicians. Doctors have to be at the top of the pecking order. If you cut the income (not salary since so few physicians work for salary) to physicians, then everyone who works for them also gets to take a pay cut.

    And as I pointed out, many people will see the income reductions of all healthcare workers as a good thing in the macroeconomy but it will really hurt many town and cities in the U.S. and leave many of the people working as nurses and other healthcare providers will a lower standard of living.

    As I have pointed out before, progressives seem to be motivated to make the quality of life for freelance writers better by lowering the quality of everyone else who works for a living. I am amazed that progressives are telling middle class whites to either go 100% tiger mom on their children or give up the idea of having children since there will be so few paths to not living among the poor in the future.

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  118. @superdestroyer:

    The idea that if the Republicans changed their positions they would gain more minority votes than they would lose in conservative white voters in laughable.

    Since you think this is true, why do you even bother commenting on this stuff? You think that demographics is destiny, so why discuss destiny? From your point of view you might as well be ranting about gravity.

    I really wish you would take your racism elsewhere.

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  119. wr says:

    @superdestroyer: “As I have pointed out before, progressives seem to be motivated to make the quality of life for freelance writers better by lowering the quality of everyone else who works for a living. ”

    So I guess “freelance writers” has entered your Tourett’s lexicon along with “one-party state” and “higher taxes.” Good times.

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  120. superdestroyer says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    At least I do not assume that all voters are middle class white voters and will be motivated by the same factors.

    Maybe there should have been a few political scientist back in the 1970’s who anticipated the the racial and ethnic alignments of the two political parties and how it would affect policy.

    I saw Dr Vincent Hutchings on MSNBC this weekend and he has the best explanation for the racial alignment of politics and hinted that it is very likely to be lasting. http://www.lsa.umich.edu/polisci/people/ci.hutchingsvincent_ci.detail

    When the vast majority of non-whites are automatic Democratic Party voters, then it automatically means that anyone who opposes the Democratic Party is a racist. That means that anyone who wants to have a future in politics will become a Democrat (See the current crop of Ivy League graduates) and the viewpoints that are allowed in politics will become very limited. Taken to is easy to see conclusion, the U.S. either becomes a one party state or somehow finds a system where two parties can exist when there are few, if any, policy or governance differences between them. I just assume that the one party state is the more likely based upon the large number of one party jurisdictions that already exist in the U.S. I also realize that teaching about political science and government is a one party state will probably be boring.

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  121. Janis Gore says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: His cardinal sin is that he is a bore.

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