Friday, December 1, 2017

Grumpy Dual Citizen and Canadian Hot Takes

The past couple of days have hit a button for me--that Canadians have expressed views on the US that seem both smug and wrong.  Sure, I am vulnerable right now because the US is doing incredibly harmful stuff to everyone at home and abroad.  But getting things wrong probably doesn't help.

So, yesterday, Stephen Gordon, a Canadian economist I respect a great deal said:

This is wrong in so many ways, so let's count them:
  1. The Republicans have lost the popular vote in every Presidential election except for 2004 since 1992.  
  2. The Democrats have been in majority in Congress far more often than the Republicans since the Great Depression.  Recency bias is a problem, I guess.
  3. The Republican victories have been unnatural: Trump via Comey, Russia and all that, House via Russians (yeah, that is one reason they are not investigating) and a combo of gerrymandering plus voter suppression (#voterfraudfaud) and Dems tending to waste votes by living together. 
  4. In the last several elections, the Dems have done far better among younger folks--which is bad for today since they don't vote as much but is great for tomorrow since the GOP's future may be bleak.
  5. The United States is diverse, the GOP is not.  So, the GOP is only the natural governing party of whites.
  6. If you look at the polls on most of the issues, including highly "divisive" ones, the Democratic position is more popular.  Gun control?  Yeah, the iron fist of the NRA is a problem, but more Americans favor background checks and the like.  Abortion? More Americans favor women having access.  LGBT?  The Democrats have won, even as the GOP fights some battles that are alienating the younger folks.
The economists may think that preferences equal outcomes (sorry, can't help myself), but institutions matter and so does other stuff.  So, no, the GOP is not the natural governing party.  Especially since ... they suck at governing.   Burning things down? Great.  Governing? No. And then folks will choose Democrats as they did last month all across Virginia and even in some mighty red parts of places like Oklahoma.

I get it--folks want to say the American chose this and they need to suck on it a while. Well, yes and no.  As an American, I am deeply embarrassed by what Trump is doing and how he is undermining the US at home and abroad.  I recognize that there are three hunks of Trump voters: those who voted for him because they love his white supremacy and his misogyny and all that; those who voted for him because party id is a hell of a drug (factor in Hillary hysteria); and those who don't call themselves Trump voters anymore.  But they were less than one third of the population, so they aren't America.

Indeed, this is a big hobby horse for me--Palin referred only rural places as Real America as if places with big spaces and few people count for more than smaller places with many people. Yes, the lines favor the former, but Real America is the diverse America of the cities and increasingly of the suburbs. 

The hot take today that pushed my button:

Sorry, but let's have some perspective.  Biggest political explosion in US history???  Let's count again:
  1. Pick your Revolutionary moment: Lexington and Concord, the real Tea Party, the Declaration of Independence.
  2. Firing on Fort Sumter or the election of Abraham Lincoln.  
  3. The election of 1932 since that changed the landscape of American politics
  4. Pearl Harbor since World War II re-made the US in a big way.
  5. The assassination of Martin Luther King as it led to cities burning.
  6. 9/11, which ushered in a few forever wars, increased executive authority and more than a little repression.  
I could go on.  The other problem with Gilmore's piece is that he thinks that Flynn's flipping will lead to the end of Trump. I actually think that if the GOP passes the tax cut, that will a bigger deal for everything--because the GOP will have thoroughly alienated much of the country to help their donors and it might make them feel as if Trump fulfilled his role.

Again, impeachment is not happening anytime soon--will Flynn flipping cause the GOP voters to stop supporting Trump?  Since we live in two media worlds (a real one and a fake one led by Fox and Brietbart), I am not sure they will.

I will write tomorrow about what I think Flynn's flipping will do--it is a huge deal and I am most happy.  But the biggest political explosion in US history?  Only for those who have a very short memory.

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