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Losing the Zero Sum Game

From The Federalist, Why The Resistance Is The Best Thing That’s Happened To Donald Trump by David Harsanyi

That’s the choice #TheResistance — whose mantra, let’s face it, has synched with the national Democratic Party — has created for many moderate Republicans, right-leaning independents, and movement conservatives concerned about Trump. Which is to say, they offer no choice whatsoever. They offer plenty of hysteria, hypocrisy, and conflating of conservatism with Trumpism for political gain.

It’s true that Trump doesn’t exhibit prudence, reliance, or inherited wisdom. Yet — and I know this is exceedingly difficult for Democrats to comprehend —neither does the alternative. If liberals were serious about convincing Republicans to abandon Trump in toto, they’d have something better to offer than Donald Trump.

What seems to most vex critics of the anti-anti-Trump contingent (and I am mentioned in the Atlantic piece) is that conservatives aren’t appropriately agitated about the world that liberals see — a world that has turned out to be far less apocalyptic in the early going than they imagine. But if it’s a zero-sum choice they’re offering, that includes picking Neil Gorsuch over Planned Parenthood; tax cuts over teachers unions; Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over Iran’s Holocaust deniers; deregulation of the bureaucratic state over legislation, or forcing progressive cultural mores on everyone. And so on.


If 40% of the voters identify as Democrats and 60% of them favor radical obstruction and #resistance then they only represent 24% of the voters.  If the radical efforts to please 24% of the voters just further alienate the rest then this is a losing strategy.

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No Influence Left To Peddle

from The National Review, The Clinton Global Initiative’s Ignominious End by Jim Geraghty:

Why would foreign governments suddenly lose interest in the charitable work the Clinton Foundation purported to do? They wouldn’t, unless the Clinton Foundation and CGI had existed to give foreign governments and businessmen a way to curry favor with a future president from the beginning. The April shutdown, then, makes complete sense: Why keep operating if there’s no influence left to peddle?

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Hacking Ironies

Russian intervention in the election is the latest addition to the growing list of excuses as to why Hillary lost. It does not seem that they hacked into the voting system and caused false votes, but that they released incriminating information from confidential files about Hillary and her accomplices.  While hacking of private files should not be tolerated, it does appear that the most damaging information about Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Donna Brazile and their efforts to undermine the elections were accurate.

John Podesta’s password was – password- or to be more accurately ‘pa$$w0rd’. There is a bit of irony that the tolerance for Hillary’s reckless handling of confidential files and her file server, clearly intended to obscure her activities actually became a critical reason she and her associates were hacked.  Her supporters should have been half as concerned about her sloppy handling of information as those who voted against her.

While she expresses dismay at the gall of the Russians to interfere, which to restate was to send out true stories illegally obtained, one should also consider the hypocrisy coming from one who laughingly murdered the leader of a sovereign nation:

We should also note the veiled threats Obama used to influence the Brexit vote in Britain, or his active role to defeat Netanyahu in Israel. Is such intrusion any more justified because it was blatant?

The more buried the Democrats get into their excuses the less they see the need to change their course. Judging by their post-election decisions on leadership they will suffer more from their own excuse mongering.  The more outrageous the demonization of the victors the more they lose the marginal Trump supporters for good.


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Ideas Need Competition

from Michael Salon at The Wall Street Journal,  What 1980 and 2016 Have in Common,

Since 2008, the largest developed economies, in an effort to build financial stability and economic prosperity, have engaged in unprecedented coordination of financial regulation, monetary policy and business taxation. What the G-7 nations got instead was the weakest economic growth, the largest surge in government debt, the riskiest monetary expansion and the gravest deflationary pressures of the postwar era.

The rescue failed because growth wasn’t the ultimate goal. In late 2008, President Obama’s new chief of staff Rahm Emanuel said that “you never want a serious crisis to go to waste.” He was signaling that the White House saw an opening to use the crisis to expand the role of government. Where America led, others followed. Long after the crisis had passed, G-7 authorities pursued debt and monetary expansion along with command-and-control powers. The governments won but their economies, currencies, investors, savers and workers lost.

With President Obama making the world safe for governments to overtax, over-regulate and overstimulate, money has lost its freedom to flee from government excess. As a natural result, such excesses have surged.

Because they feared that centrally coordinating taxes, regulations and monetary policy would lead to abuse, America’s Founding Fathers limited federal power. They intended a union where most regulation and taxation was done by the states, with a hard currency backed by gold. Competition between regulatory and tax systems forced government to serve people’s needs or risk triggering a shoe-leather response. Where federal laws did apply, they were specific prohibitions, not broad grants of arbitrary power.


This article provides an answer to the question of why this revolt against central planning and elites was a global reaction. Extending the regulatory authority left fewer options, leaving rejection the only alternative to moving.  Competition is critical to progress and ideas need competition the most of all.

Central planning is the opposite of the competition of ideas.

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Thoughts on the Electoral College

The Electoral College was carefully designed to fulfill a similar purpose of the constitution, to apply a break on majoritarian tyranny.  The framers understood that democracy and demagogue had the same root.

To the greatly disappointed Democrats who lament the second election in memory where their candidate lost while having a larger popular vote, I offer three thoughts to consider.

Expand your time horizon.  A wise politician once warned that you should be wary of endowing any political power to any position unless you can envision that power in the hands of your worst nightmare.

That would apply to the executive power of the president, or the legislative creep of the Supreme Court.  It all seems so palatable when they reinforce your preferred view, but you must remember that political power is a fleeting thing in America.

After the 2004 election Karl Rove spoke of a permanent Republican majority. Two years later the GOP lost the House, two years after that they lost the Senate and The White House.  The Democrats assumed a mandate they did not possess, marginalized any opposition, passed the ACA with no bipartisan support and alarmed us with other extremely partisan agendas. Two years later they lost the House. Two years after that they lost seats in the Senate, two years after that they lost the Senate and more House seats, and two years after that they lost both houses of Congress and we have Donald Trump in the White House.

Fully one third of the Democratic House seats are from three states: California, New York, and Massachusetts. While the Democrats may control these populous states and that may have given them the popular vote, note the trends.  California and New York are losing populations and businesses to southern states like Texas.  At the same time, demographic trends towards Hispanics and minorities are growing in many southern states and the GOP majorities will be threatened there if they do not attract a broader demographic base. You may live to respect the electoral college.

Secondly, it should be hard to ignore the color of the electoral map. The map is overwhelmingly red.  The blue vote is largely focused in large urban coastal centers. Not only are the Democratic House seats narrowly focused the Democrats have weak political power among the states. Of the 50 states, only 18 have Democratic governors, and only FIVE have the trifecta of a Democratic governor and both houses of the state legislature. This compares to 27 states which have a GOP trifecta, and 18 states with divided power.

This explains why the Democrats have such a weak back bench.  The states are the training ground for future national leaders. The alternative to the deeply flawed Hillary was a 75-year-old socialist.  The Republicans had a broad bench of young elected leaders, whose names we can all still remember even though we are also trying to wrap our heads around the reason Trump was the ultimate victor. Rather than deplore the electoral college, however, the Democrats need to address their utter failure to relate to the vast majority of the country. This hurt them far more them the failure of the Republicans to reach minorities.  While it has become politically correct to contemptuously decry white privilege, there is one privilege they retained and that is the vote.

The final thought is the power of contempt.  It is a strong negative emotion.  The voters remember the contempt of the Elizabeth Warren statement, “you didn’t build that.”  They remember the statement from Jonathan Gruber about the need to lie about the ACA because of “the stupidity of the American voter.”  They are tired of constantly being talked over, shouted down, degraded as anti-intellectual, anti-science, racist, and stooges of Fox and oil companies. They are concerned about the intellectual intolerance of the left on our college campuses.

It is intellectually lazy to demonize rather than understand. Unfortunately given the horrified responses to the election this lesson is not being learned.  In spite of Trump’s clumsy and stupid statements that have incited such response, the voters who supported Trump are not the racist troglodytes they are made out to be. Effort to make it so just reinforces this ‘contempt’ factor that helped elect him.

The most productive aspect of the Trump victory may be a rediscovery of the Constitution and the incredible wisdom in it, including the electoral college, that we should be extremely cautious about overturning.