blueollie

Versus Trump (and the Democratic platform committee)

Donald Trump He keeps saying that he’ll get “great people” to do the job. But is senior press representative basically …knows nothing? The interview I saw reminded me of a Chico Escuela interview that I saw on Saturday night live:

Now, we’d like to welcome a new member to our Update team, the former All-Star second baseman for the New York Mets, Chico Escuela. Welcome, Chico. [Chico clears his throat, photo of smiling Chico Escuela in baseball uniform and holding a bat] Chico will be covering the sports scene for Weekend Update. [applause for Chico, a Dominican ballplayer who sits opposite Jane – he has a thick Dominican accent and speaks very little English]

Chico Escuela: Thank you. Thank you, berry, berry much. … Base-ball … been berry, berry good to me. … Thank you, Hane. … [Photo of major league ballplayer Pete Rose] Pete-ee Rose … Base-ball been berry, berry good to Pete Rose. … Three – point – two – million – dollar para Pete Rose. Charlie Hustle, you bet. … Thank you very, very much. [National Football League schedule is shown] In – foot-ball … I don’t know – football. … In Dominican Republic, foot-ball is — how you say, Hane? Um – Oh! — soccer! Your football– [pause] I don’t know. … [Hockey graphic] In National Hockey League … [shakes his head] I don’t know hockey … [applause, photo of smiling Chico again] In base-ball– Base-ball been berry, berry good to me! … Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you very much. [applause] Hane? Thank you, Hane.

Jane Curtin: [genuinely enthusiastic] Great job, Chico. I’m glad that we haven’t hired just another stupid ex-jock sportscaster. …

Perhaps the fictional Mr. Escuela can get a job with the Trump campaign as a press secretary?

So how will Hillary Clinton run against Donald Trump? One conjecture is that she might use a little game theory.
Here is the idea: getting into a twitter battle of insults won’t work. However she can get surrogates to attack him, and choose the surrogates to be classes of people that Trump loves to insult (e. g. Mexicans, women, etc.). Trump can’t resist hitting back when attacked, and in so attacking, he can turn off people from those respective groups.

Democratic Primary Yes, the Democratic primary is still going on, but Clinton is all but certain to be the nominee. And no, the system isn’t rigged against Sanders; in fact the evidence suggests that having so many caucus contests actually helped him (example: consider Washington: Sanders won the caucuses handily and collected the lion’s share of the delegates; however Clinton beat him comfortably in the “beauty contest” primary and the primary had a MUCH higher turnout.

And yes, Clinton is the favorite in California. Sure, a couple of polls that showed a close race made the news. (from here)

californiapolls

The polls suggest about a 10 point Clinton lead; demographic regression models predict a larger win.

Nevertheless, the elections continue on. Sanders has picked his platform committee: 6 appointed by Clinton, 5 by Sanders, 4 from the DNC. One Sanders committee member is Cornel West: yes, he was (is?) a well respected religion and philosophy scholar but has some problems when he delves into other areas:

But West also has a particular critique of the sitting Democratic president that goes well beyond Sanders’s expressions of disappointment. West’s position is not merely that Obama has not gone far enough, but that he has made life worse for African-Americans:

On the empirical or lived level of Black experience, Black people have suffered more in this age than in the recent past. Empirical indices of infant mortality rates, mass incarceration rates, mass unemployment and dramatic declines in household wealth reveal this sad reality. How do we account for this irony? It goes far beyond the individual figure of President Obama himself, though he is complicit; he is a symptom, not a primary cause. Although he is a symbol for some of either a postracial condition or incredible Black progress, his presidency conceals the escalating levels of social misery in poor and Black America.
This is actually not empirical. African-American infant mortality has declined, not increased, during Obama’s presidency [..]

The African-American unemployment rate has fallen to its lowest level since 2008. The African-American uninsured rate has fallen by more than half, and the administration has undertaken a wide range of liberalizing reforms to the criminal-justice system. The notion that Obama has made life worse for African-Americans rests entirely on affixing the blame for the 2008 economic collapse on him, without giving him any credit for the wide-ranging measures to alleviate it, or the recovery that has ensued. This is, in other words, the Republican Party’s method of measuring Obama’s record, and it’s the sort of grossly unfair cherry-picking that no good faith critic would use.

And the man has no political savvy at all.

I focus on him because I liked the man; heck I still do. I watched him speak at Bradley University in the early 1990’s and got to shake his hand. But..he is so….closed minded about what a President does and can do.

May 26, 2016 Posted by | 2016, political/social, politics, politics/social | , , , | Leave a comment

Clinton vs. Trump and the Democratic end game …

I admit that the end game of this campaign (Democrats, 2016) has been fascinating. I was one who thought it would be boring.

Yes, Hillary Clinton is going to win and yes, she remains the favorite for the general election, though the odds have crept back from 1/3 to just over 1/2 (in some books).

24mayoddsuspolitics

There is some worry that the “slash and burn” tactics from the Sanders campaign might hurt us against Trump. Gin and Tacos has a nice summary of the denialism that is going on among Sanders supporters. Paul Krugman provides a summary of the types of Sanders supporters that one encounters: Genuine Idealists (don’t realize how hard genuine change is), Romantics (e. g. hippies), Purists (e. g. Nader voters in 2000), Clinton haters, and “Salon des Refuses” (policy wonks who couldn’t make the varsity (Clinton) team but now found a team (Sanders) where they could become starters; think of the frustrated division I (FBS) football player who finds that he can start for a I-AA (FCS) program). Krugman concludes

So how will this coalition of the not-always disinterested break once it’s over? The genuine idealists will probably realize that whatever their dreams, Trump would be a nightmare. Purists and CDSers won’t back Clinton, but they were never going to anyway. My guess is that disgruntled policy intellectuals will, in the end, generally back Clinton.

The question, as I see it, involves the romantics. How many will give in to their bitterness? A lot may depend on Sanders – and whether he himself is one of those embittered romantics, unable to move on.

Interestingly enough, Charles Krauthammer has a better understanding of the situation than many Democrats. He makes some interesting observations. Here are his comments on what Hillary Clinton is trying to do:

The Trump and Sanders constituencies share one stark characteristic: They are both overwhelmingly white. In the Rust Belt, the appeal is to middle- and working-class voters who have suffered economic and social dislocation. The question is whether Trump can win a sufficient number of those voters, erstwhile Reagan Democrats, to flip just a few states that, like Michigan and Pennsylvania, have gone Democratic for the last six elections.

Which is why Clinton is treating Sanders so (relatively) gently. She wants to be rid of him but cannot alienate his constituency – especially after the ruckus made by his supporters at the Nevada state convention and after his string of recent victories in West Virginia, Indiana, and Oregon, along with the virtual draw in Kentucky. She needs him.

Normally, endorsements don’t matter in American politics. But the Sanders constituency is substantial and very loyal. And rather angry now as they can see the Clinton machine winning the nomination through superdelegates.

She needs his blessing and active support in the general election. If not carefully cultivated and appeased, say, on the party platform and/or vice presidential choice, Sanders could very well disappear after the Philadelphia convention and leave her to her own devices – which are much lacking, as demonstrated in her recent primary losses.

She needs to keep his legions in the game through November. At the very least, she needs him to warn his followers away from a Trump temptation.

And here is what he says about Donald Trump:

Right now, Clinton has the distinct advantage. Flipping reliably Democratic states, as well as lowering Trump’s high negatives, are both very difficult.

But there’s one wild card: events – unforeseen, unforeseeable, yet near inevitable. We are highly unlikely to go the next six months without a significant crisis. In September 2008, the financial collapse cemented Obama’s victory when he, the novice, reacted far more calmly and steadily than did John McCain, the veteran.

This time around, Trump reacted to the terror attack in San Bernardino with a nakedly nativist, shamelessly demagogic, yet politically shrewd call for (temporarily, allegedly) banning all Muslims from entering the country. Roundly denounced by Democrats and leading Republicans alike, Trump watched his poll numbers go through the roof. Turns out that GOP voters supported the ban, 2-to-1.

A candidate with the tactical acuity to successfully deploy such breathtaking, bigotry-tinged cynicism is not to be trifled with. Under normal circumstances, Clinton wins. But if the fire alarm goes off between now and Election Day, all bets are off. Clinton had better be ready. Trump has shown that he will be.

In short: how well will Donald Trump’s simplistic nativist, xenophobic, isolationist attitude sell with the general public? I really don’t know, though I think that I do. And don’t underestimate his charm; he really does have some.

Ending snark: These are two well deserved shots at the more clueless Sanders supporters.

truthintrump

wedontneednorules

May 24, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, social/political | , , , | Leave a comment

Rant: recognizing the limits of what one knows

I’ll admit that I am an expert in a very narrow slice of mathematics. But I am at least an AU from being an international or even a national caliber expert in that narrow field of mathematics.
And yes, I often read about topics that are not in my area; I enjoy popular books and articles on topics from the various branches of science, economics and the like.

Nevertheless, I also realize that when I read such a book or article, or when I attend a public lecture, I am getting a watered down, simplified treatment of the subject. I lack the context and the prerequisite knowledge to appreciate a presentation aimed at the experts.

And there lies one of my biggest frustrations when it comes to talking to people, either on the internet or in person. There are so many who really can’t detect the difference between expert knowledge and what they read (and perhaps half-digested …if that much) from a popular book. It is THAT level of “lack of humility” that makes some unpleasant conversation companions; I am ok with ignorance. After all, I am ignorant of the vast majority of human knowledge. I think that all of us are.

And, sadly, I see this lack of intellectual humility in political or social issues discussion, especially from the “losing side”. It appears to me that being on the losing side of an election (and I’ve been there, many, many times) brings out the worst in people in several ways.

Example: I had someone try to tell me that Hillary Clinton’s popular vote is “within the margin of error”, when one factors in the caucus states.

Of course, that is a dumb statement for a number of reasons.

1. There is a difference between a vote count and a poll count, even though both have a margin of error (remember Florida in the 2000 general election). The margin of errors in vote count is much smaller than it is for a poll.

2. The margin of error for a poll is 1.96 * \frac{.5}{\sqrt{n}} (assuming a 95 percent confidence interval and a relatively close election; this comes from the normal approximation to the proportion distribution. So as n increases, the confidence interval, and therefore the margin of error, decreases. Note: for more on polls, read this wonderful little article written by a physics professor.

3. Hillary Clinton leads by about 3 million votes, even when one counts the caucus votes. The latter doesn’t add much as there are fewer caucus states, and these tend to be smaller states. Anyhow, she leads about 57-43.

4. The person making the claim appeared to not understand that winning a small state by a very large percentage didn’t make up for winning a bigger state by a smaller margin.

Yes, by knowing that Sanders won a lot of caucus states and that there IS such a thing as margin of error puts this individual into the “above average” category. But this person was clearly ignorant of their own ignorance.

There is another factor in play: I really think that desperation makes one dumber. When one really likes a candidate or a person, or even a sports team, it is tough to accept an unpleasant reality. I’ve become acquainted with the latter as an Illinois football fan (“yeah, we have a shot at being Wisconsin!” Sure.)

Desperation can lead to an abandonment of one’s values. Check out the Republican Chairman’s take on Donald Trump

Oh sure, few would be surprised at Donald Trump’s behavior, and I doubt that a certain type of Republican really cares that much (“hey, what do you expect with Trump anyway?”)

May 16, 2016 Posted by | Personal Issues, political/social, politics, poll, ranting, statistics | , , , | 1 Comment

Clinton and Trump: getting it on!

Hillary Clinton: This Los Angeles Times editorial said it well. She isn’t perfect and there are a few things that I wish were different. But:

Clinton may seem inauthentic to some or to lack that drink-a-beer-with-me quality that voters often look for in a candidate. But she has a grasp of the complexities of government and policy that is unmatched by any of the other candidates who ran for president this year — or by most candidates in most years. She is sober and thoughtful, in possession not just of the facts she needs to make her arguments but of a depth of experience that undergirds her decisions. These qualities are reassuring in juxtaposition to a primary opponent who does not offer, at the end of the day, a serious alternative and, and a likely opponent in the general election who is unprepared, unsuited for the job and dangerous.

[…]

Compared to the intoxicating altruism of the Sanders’ campaign, Clinton’s candidacy might seem unexciting. But nominating a candidate for president is, or ought to be, serious business. As Obama himself likely would admit after almost eight years in the White House, there is more to being president than grand promises, whether they are about “hope and change” or a political revolution. We admire Bernie Sanders’ passion for progress and equality, but our endorsement goes to the candidate who is more likely to translate ideals into action.

The whole editorial is worth reading. It does give a fair airing to her faults, and she does have them.

And like it or not, real change, the type of change that might actually make it through a Democratically controlled Congress (which we will NOT get, sans a lot of Blue Dog Democrats from conservative districts) will likely be small and incremental.

Of course, much of what is thrown at her is nonsense, as this article cheerfully lampoons:

Am I supposed to hate Hillary Rodham Clinton because she’s too left-wing, or too right-wing? Because she’s too feminist, or not feminist enough? Because she’s too clever a politician, or too clumsy?

Am I supposed to be mad that she gave speeches to rich bankers, or that she charged them too much money? […]

So today I’m performing a public service on behalf of all the voters. I went back and re-read all the criticisms and attacks and best-selling “exposés” leveled at Hillary Rodham Clinton over the past quarter-century. And I’ve compiled a list of all her High Crimes and Misdemeanors.

Here they are: […]

9. When Bill Clinton was governor of Arkansas, she was a partner in the state’s top law firm, and it sometimes did work involving the state government.

10. She once invested in commodities futures on the advice of a friend and made $100,000, proving she’s a crook.

11. She once invested in real estate on the advice of another friend and lost $100,000, also proving she’s a crook.

12. Unnamed and unverifiable sources have told Peggy Noonan things about the Clintons that are simply too terrible to repeat.

13. The personnel murdered at Benghazi make her the first secretary of state to lose overseas personnel to terrorism — apart from Condi Rice, Colin Powell, Madeleine Albright, George Schultz, Dean Rusk and some others.

[…]

15. She illegally sent classified emails from her personal server, except that apparently they weren’t classified at the time.

16. She may have cynically wriggled around the email law by “technically” complying with it.

17. She once signed a lucrative book contract when she was a private citizen.

[…]

44. She’s really ambitious and calculating, unlike all the other people running for president.

[…]

Read the rest, and think about these the next time your favorite conservative recites her alleged “sins”.

Donald Trump

What more is there to say that, while he is entertaining, he really doesn’t know what he is doing and really does NOT know who the “great people” are:

Meanwhile, however, we can look at the candidate’s policy proposals. And what has been going on there is just as revealing, in its own way, as his attempt to dodge scrutiny of his personal finances.

The story so far: Last fall Mr. Trump suggested that he would break with Republican orthodoxy by raising taxes on the wealthy. But then he unveiled a tax plan that would, in fact, lavish huge tax cuts on the rich. And it would also, according to nonpartisan analyses, cause deficits to explode, adding around $10 trillion to the national debt over a decade.

Now, the inconsistency between Mr. Trump’s rhetoric and his specific proposals didn’t seem to hurt him in the Republican primaries. Neither did the wild irresponsibility of those specifics, perhaps because all the major contenders for the G.O.P. nomination were proposing huge, budget-busting tax cuts for the rich. True, none of them were quite as off the charts as the Trump plan, but such distinctions were probably lost on primary voters — $4 trillion, $10 trillion, who cares?

Having secured the nomination, however, Mr. Trump apparently feels the need to seem more respectable. The goal, I suspect, is to bring the headline numbers down enough to let the media’s propensity for false equivalence kick in. Hillary Clinton has a plan that actually adds up, while Donald Trump has a plan that will cost $4 trillion, but which he claims is deficit-neutral? Hey, it’s the same thing!

Oh, and meanwhile he suggested once again that he might raise taxes on the rich, then walked it back, with credulous media eating it all up.

But what’s really interesting is whom, according to Politico, Mr. Trump has brought in to revise his plans: Larry Kudlow of CNBC and Stephen Moore of the Heritage Foundation. That news had economic analysts spitting out their morning coffee all across America.

For those who don’t follow such things, Mr. Kudlow has a record of being wrong about, well, everything. In 2005 he ridiculed “bubbleheads who expect housing-price crashes in Las Vegas or Naples, Florida, to bring down the consumer, the rest of the economy, and the entire stock market” — which was exactly what happened. In 2007 he predicted three years of “Goldilocks” prosperity. And on and on.

Mr. Moore has a comparable forecasting record, but he also has a remarkable inability to get facts straight. Perhaps most famously, he once attempted to rebut, well, me with an article detailing the supposed benefits of state tax cuts; incredibly, not one of the many numbers in that article was right.

So why would Mr. Trump turn to these of all people to, ahem, fix his numbers? […]

But my guess is that the explanation is simpler: The candidate has no idea who is and isn’t competent. I mean, it’s not as if he has any independent knowledge of economics, or even knows what he doesn’t know. For example, he keeps asserting that America has the world’s highest taxes, when we’re actually at the bottom among advanced nations.

Now this will NOT hurt him with conservative voters. After all, they don’t really care what is actually true; they judge a policy as to how closely it conforms to what they think *should* be true.

And now there is the Trump tax returns, which he won’t release. He noisily said that his tax rate is “no one else’s business”. Paul Krugman gleefully suggested that he is afraid to show that he isn’t as wealthy as he boasts that he is.

trumptax

Greg Sargent of the Washington Post has a different take:

With the battle continuing to rage over Donald Trump’s ongoing suggestion that he may not release his tax returns before the November election, this exchange with ABC News’s George Stephanopoulous, which took place a few moments ago, provides a glimpse into what Trump really thinks about all this:

TRUMP: I fight very hard to pay as little tax as possible.

STEPHANOPOULOS: What is your tax rate?

TRUMP: It’s none of your business. You’ll see it when I release. But I fight very hard to pay as little tax as possible.

Trump’s claim that his tax rate is “none of your business” is generating buzz this morning. But the more important quote is his boast that he “fights very hard to pay as little tax as possible.” He deliberately repeated this, as if to make sure we would not miss it.

In one sense, this is dream fodder for Democratic ads, particularly since Dems are hoping to continue pressuring Trump to release his returns, and to portray his refusal to do so as evidence he’s trying to hide shady or immoral business practices, a line of attack that was probably effective against Mitt Romney in 2012.

But Trump plainly sees this as a positive for him, and that goes to the heart of his whole case for the presidency. In the interview, Trump said that he fights to keep his tax burden low because government “wastes” our tax dollars. Trump’s immediate goal is to undercut the potency of the attack on him over taxes: By openly boasting that he works to keep his tax burden low, he hopes to dispel the notion that he’s hiding something.

There’s more to this, though. With Dems likely to grow more aggressive in unearthing and targeting Trump’s business past, his pushback on whatever revelations pop up will basically be this: You’re damn right I’ve been a scummy businessman. Now I want to be a scummy businessman on your behalf and on America’s behalf. It cannot be overstated how important this idea is to his candidacy, and indeed, to his entire self-created mystique. The idea is that, having long been a member of the elite that has milked the corrupt system for decades, he is very well positioned to end their scam — he knows how it works from the inside — and reform that corrupt system.

That is an interesting angle: if you want to keep yourself safe from sharks, hire some sharks to protect you.

May 13, 2016 Posted by | 2016, political/social, politics, politics/social | , , , | Leave a comment

West Virginia votes today and…and uncomfortable right wing cartoon

The cartoon:

conshaveapoint

Yes, liberals tend to reflexively take the side of the underdog and, all too often, liberals conflate complaints about the more regressive practices of Islam (example) with justifications of anti-Muslim bigotry (which I openly oppose).

I’ll make it clear: saying that Islam (on the whole) enables many regressive practices is NOT the same as opposing the building of mosques, backing noxious anti-Muslim immigration policies, etc.

West Virginia votes today This should be a rather easy victory for Sanders. This would cut Clinton’s lead in pledged delegates from 285 to 280 or so. However, this shouldn’t be like the 2008 blowout where Clinton crushed Obama by about 40 points (and still trailed by 100 delegates or so); the link is to an old Daily Show (with Jon Stewart) episode which had a funny take on it. Of course, I can put West Virginia in the Republican column right now, though it wasn’t always that way.

National Election

Donald Trump is now turning to the Republican Party for funds. So maybe this election will be more conventional than previously thought.

And yes, you’ll hear that Hillary Clinton is trailing in this battle ground state or that one. Reality: she has a good sized lead right now and it will take something special to change it.

And about the election coverage: Gin and Tacos, while giving Nate Silver proper credit, seems annoyed that many don’t realize that what he does is really, at least by academic standards, well, sort of basic. (and yes, Ed admits some jealousy, but what about me? I don’t even have the best blog on the 4’th floor of my building!:-) )

I’ll tell you what I like about Nate Silver: he got his stuff out there, and in 2012, it was a very useful counter to all of the garbage that places like NPR were putting out. My friends who followed the election on NPR were scared to death, even though I told them that the election wasn’t close and showed them the battle ground state polls:

Screen shot 2012-11-06 at 4.38.49 AM

Romney only lead in a few of these and always at “margin of error” levels. There was no hope for him here, though the media constantly reported a “close race”. Silver was the public face against such nonsense; I call the 2012 election as a “victory for the nerds.”

May 10, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, religion, statistics, Uncategorized | , , | Leave a comment

Trump: the end of the modern GOP? Maybe not…

One thing I love about Donald Trump: he sure generates a ton of political discussion.

For one, to the uninformed, he comes across as being informed:

Think of it this way. Say you’re one of those people who is totally ignorant when it comes to cars, and your car is non-functional. I came over looking like the quintessential stereotype of a mechanic from TV – blue coveralls, grease stains, a name across my breast pocket, and wrench in hand. After fiddling with your car for a few minutes – and since you have not one clue about anything car-related, my various taps and fiddles will easily fool you into thinking I know what I’m doing so long as I’m a half-decent actor and I stay in character. I tell you that your car will never run again unless you replace your Pancake Manifold and fill the gas tank with Bensonol. If I’ve succeeded in exploiting your ignorance by portraying myself as a tough, efficient, brilliant mechanic, there’s no reason to doubt me…as long as you don’t know a sparkplug from a muffler.

That’s how Trump’s popularity works. The more he talks, the less anyone with half a brain is willing to support him. But to people for whom the ideas of politics are totally meaningless anyway, every sentence makes them love him more. His ideologically nonsensical ideas aren’t a bug. They’re his best feature.

And yes, his ideas really do not make sense, as Paul Krugman points out.

Truly, Donald Trump knows nothing. He is more ignorant about policy than you can possibly imagine, even when you take into account the fact that he is more ignorant than you can possibly imagine. But his ignorance isn’t as unique as it may seem: In many ways, he’s just doing a clumsy job of channeling nonsense widely popular in his party, and to some extent in the chattering classes more generally.

Last week the presumptive Republican presidential nominee — hard to believe, but there it is — finally revealed his plan to make America great again. Basically, it involves running the country like a failing casino: he could, he asserted, “make a deal” with creditors that would reduce the debt burden if his outlandish promises of economic growth don’t work out.

The reaction from everyone who knows anything about finance or economics was a mix of amazed horror and horrified amazement. One does not casually suggest throwing away America’s carefully cultivated reputation as the world’s most scrupulous debtor — a reputation that dates all the way back to Alexander Hamilton.

The Trump solution would, among other things, deprive the world economy of its most crucial safe asset, U.S. debt, at a time when safe assets are already in short supply.

Of course, we can be sure that Mr. Trump knows none of this, and nobody in his entourage is likely to tell him. But before we simply ridicule him — or, actually, at the same time that we’re ridiculing him — let’s ask where his bad ideas really come from.

Krugman goes on to point out that Mr. Trump is really channeling some of the other nonsense that comes from “more serious” Republicans, but doing so in a less polished way.

Some conservatives are furious. David Brooks decries the decline of competence and the decline of the very idea that compromise is a requirement for responsible governing.

Charles Krauthammer decries the idea that the head of the GOP ticket doesn’t feel bound by the usual trickle down ideas that the GOP establishment loves.

As to that, it is helpful to remember that “more tax cuts for the wealthiest” and cutting back on Social Security and Medicare were always unpopular ideas, even among the rank and file Republicans. Well, Mr. Trump doesn’t need money from the elites.

Nevertheless, there doesn’t appear to be any sort of GOP “crack-up” downticket, though a Trump loss in the general would be a setback.

So, how will the general election go? Obviously, no one knows, but remember that the “data journalism nerds” missed Trump’s rise due to ignoring the data because what the data predicted didn’t meet their “plausibility test”. Well, now the data is speaking:

How will the news media handle the battle between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump? I suspect I know the answer — and it’s going to be deeply frustrating. But maybe, just maybe, flagging some common journalistic sins in advance can limit the damage. So let’s talk about what can and probably will go wrong in coverage — but doesn’t have to.

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. You can already see this tendency in suggestions that the startling outcome of the fight for the Republican nomination somehow means that polls and other conventional indicators of electoral strength are meaningless.

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.

Oh, and let’s not make too much of any one poll. When many polls are taken, there are bound to be a few outliers, both because of random sampling error and the biases that can creep into survey design. If the average of recent polls shows a strong lead for one candidate — as it does right now for Mrs. Clinton — any individual poll that disagrees with that average should be taken with large helpings of salt.

Hillary Clinton has a good lead in the general election and candidates in her position usually win. Of course, there is a ton of time between now and the actual election.

May 9, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, republicans | , | Leave a comment

Trump in the general election…

Workout notes: weights only. pull ups: 15-15-10-10, bench press: 10 x 135, 5 x 185 (strong), 10 x 170 (strong), incline press: 10 x 135. Military: 3 sets of 10 x 40 dumbbell, standing. Rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200 Hammer Machine.
rotator cuff, planks (2 x front/side/front/side), twist crunch (2 sets of 12), yoga leg lifts (2 sets of 10), moving bridge.

Final exams: more to say on my math blog.

So, we move onward versus Trump in the general.
One thing to remember: he is a Republican who attacked the Neocons on Iraq

And his answer to jobs being taken outside of the US is NOT “give them more tax breaks”:

So, there are things to like about him:

Three streams of Republicans are likely to oppose Trump: those to his right on trade and government spending; neoconservatives who oppose his “America First” noninterventionist foreign policy; and the remaining moderates and others in the party alarmed over his outbursts on, among other things, torture, immigration, race, women, Latinos, Muslims, Vladimir Putin and, lest we forget, Obama’s birthplace, Ted Cruz’s father and John McCain’s military service. These honorable and brave conservatives should not lose their nerve under pressure from conventional politicians or the very lobbyists and big donors Trump likes to denounce.

In other words, Daddy Warbucks types want their tax cuts, the warmongers want their wars, and, well, he is just too…well…tacky for the moderates.

Now the race is likely to be dishonestly reported as a “close race” and “both sides have a point” sell well with the media:

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. You can already see this tendency in suggestions that the startling outcome of the fight for the Republican nomination somehow means that polls and other conventional indicators of electoral strength are meaningless.

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.

Oh, and let’s not make too much of any one poll. When many polls are taken, there are bound to be a few outliers, both because of random sampling error and the biases that can creep into survey design. If the average of recent polls shows a strong lead for one candidate — as it does right now for Mrs. Clinton — any individual poll that disagrees with that average should be taken with large helpings of salt.

A more important vice in political coverage, which we’ve seen all too often in previous elections — but will be far more damaging if it happens this time — is false equivalence.

You might think that this would be impossible on substantive policy issues, where the asymmetry between the candidates is almost ridiculously obvious. 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. […]

I’ve already seen pundits suggest that both presumptive nominees fight dirty, that both have taken the “low road” in their campaigns. 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.

Now many were surprised that Trump did as well as he did. What happened to the “data based punditry”? Basically, the nerds refused to believe what their data was telling them; it was too counterintuitive.

Speaking of dishonesty: becoming desperate brings out the worst in a campaign. For example, the Sanders campaign is pointing out that in 2008, many superdelegates switched from Clinton to Obama. That is true, but only a few switched while the race was still on; the vast majority switched after Clinton conceded.

May 7, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics, politics/social, weight training | , , | Leave a comment

Bad run, bad blood, faulty memories …

Ok, the day was beautiful. And I went for an 8 mile run through West Peoria and half of my Cornstalk 8.1 course. And I sucked. It took me 1:31:09 to cover the 8.3 mile course, 43:57 for the first 4 or so, 1:20 for the segment between and 45:51 for the final 4 (slightly more). Wow..no energy, though it was a perfect day. There are days like that.

Politics (what else?)
hillaryvsberniebro

David Horsey talks a bit about the unreasonable attacks on Hillary Clinton from Sanders supporters. Yes, it appears to be that way. And no, the national race is NOT tied, though a poll or two shows “margin of error” gap. Oh, it doesn’t really matter as the race is effectively over. But if you are a Clinton supporter and have any online presence at all, you’ll be bombarded with nonsense of all sorts.

Bottom line: we had an election (just a bit to go) and one side has an insurmountable lead, period. It is to Clinton’s credit that she is winning/has won fair and square. Though this blog article unfairly discounts the strength of Sen. Sanders’ message and his skill in delivering it, paragraphs 2-6 are excellent.

Now that we will be focusing on the general election, it should be noted that both sides have a nostalgia for the 1950’s: the high economic growth rate, relative equality and higher taxes entice the Democrats, and the regressive social order and apparent societal homogeneity appeal to Republicans.

And Donald Trump is being very shrewd in exploiting the Sanders-Clinton rift:

trumptweet1

trumptweet2

I think that Hillary Clinton will eventually win, but we won’t have very many easy breaths between now and the election. This will NOT be easy.

Bad Blood: this Republican tow truck driver refused to help a woman with a Bernie Sanders bumper sticker, though he was the one called to the stalled car on the highway. Sorry, but that is just too much. Legal…but unethical.

May 5, 2016 Posted by | political humor, political/social, politics, politics/social, running, social/political | , , , | Leave a comment

Onward to the general….

Yeah, I know; the Sanders campaign is a bit like:

He might have to be dragged off of the stage as his fundraising is going very well:

Clinton’s lead has shrunk from the 290’s to the 280’s and there are now fewer delegates in play. This is a bit like a football team being down 38-10 in the 4’th quarter and then going on a 5 minute drive..to end up with a field goal. They are closer, but they have a lesser chance of winning after the drive than they did prior to the drive starting.

Now Trump is now the face of the Republican party, at least at the top of the ticket.

So it is probably time to focus on the general and Clinton leads in most of the polls.

Odds: Clinton has gone from 1/3 to 5/12 (ever so slightly worse odds, but still a heavy favorite)

odds4may

And Obama’s job approval is above 50 percent and is roughly where Ronald Reagan’s was at this time in their respective administrations. That will help Clinton, I think.

approvalcenter

May 5, 2016 Posted by | 2016, political/social, politics, politics/social | , , | Leave a comment

Ok, it is Trump vs. Clinton

Oh yes, I know; Sanders won Indiana and took about 5-7 delegates off of Clinton’s lead of about 290-300. And there are 83 fewer delegates on the board, which makes Sander’s chances even more remote.

Let’s get the JV match up out of the way and bring on the varsity game!

Here are two good companion editorials:

Kathleen Parker on Trump’s attacks on women and Dana Milbank’s on Trump’s calculations with regards to these attacks.

This will be an interesting contest on many levels: Democrat vs. Republican, Men vs. Women, conventional politician vs. political novice, celebrity vs. cerebral policy wonk.

May 4, 2016 Posted by | political/social, politics/social | , , | Leave a comment

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