May 7 2016 shorts

Topics included:

  1. Truth and Trumpism
  2. The political scientist who saw Trump’s rise coming

Truth and Trumpism

Paul Krugman lists several things that we can expect to be shown in this Presidential election. Writing for The New York Times:

First, and least harmful, will be the urge to make the election seem closer than it is, if only because a close race makes a better story. …

As long as it serves the purpose of keeping people tuned into the election coverage, expect pundits to say time and time again that the polls don’t matter, don’t tell the truth, or have been incredibly incorrect up to this point. It seems to happen every election year.

The truth, however, is that polls have been pretty good indicators all along. Pundits who dismissed the chances of a Trump nomination did so despite, not because of, the polls, which have been showing a large Trump lead for more than eight months.

Another point Mr. Krugman makes is that you can expect media pundits to try to make it look like each side has just as valid of a point as the other and should be treated with exactly the same respect.

… To take the most striking comparison, Mr. Trump has proposed huge tax cuts with no plausible offsetting spending cuts, yet has also promised to pay down U.S. debt; meanwhile, Mrs. Clinton has proposed modest spending increases paid for by specific tax hikes.

That is, one candidate is engaged in wildly irresponsible fantasy while the other is being quite careful with her numbers. But beware of news analyses that, in the name of “balance,” downplay this contrast.

A third point is that each political party is engaging in exactly the same kind of mudslinging rhetoric:

… For the record, Mr. Trump has impugned his rivals’ manhood, called them liars and suggested that Ted Cruz’s father was associated with J.F.K.’s killer. On her side, Mrs. Clinton has suggested that Bernie Sanders hasn’t done his homework on some policy issues. These things are not the same.

And finally we can expect to see the Trump campaign try to varnish over the startlingly disparaging stances that Trump has taken to secure the Republican nomination:

Finally, I can almost guarantee that we’ll see attempts to sanitize the positions and motives of Trump supporters, to downplay the racism that is at the heart of the movement and pretend that what voters really care about are the priorities of D.C. insiders — a process I think of as “centrification.”

That is, after all, what happened after the rise of the Tea Party. …

The political scientist who saw Trump’s rise coming

Vox has interviewed a political scientist – Norm Ornstein – that foresaw the rise of a Trump-like figure in the Republican party for four years or more. It is an interview that should be read if you have any interest in politics, the Republican party, or how things ended up where they are now.

In the summer of 2015, most of the political world still thought Donald Trump’s candidacy was a joke.

Norm Ornstein didn’t.

For years now, Ornstein — a political scientist at the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute — had been arguing that the modern Republican Party is deeply broken.


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I am a writer of words, a thinker of thoughts, a changer of genders, and a queerer of life. I am an antagonist of the ordinary; and while I do tolerate it, I also look at it with contempt.

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