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News: Cast your Ballot in the 2016 Mock Election

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126  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2020 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Will 2020 be a landslide either way? on: December 29, 2016, 04:08:51 am
He may have gotten a Kennedy-like win of the electoral vote.... but he is definitely not JFK. He's not even John Forbes Kerry.

He is able to convince only people impressed by the 'realism' of speech at the elementary-school level or of someone barely literate. Democrats have a very solid 48% of the vote awaiting them in 2020 because he can do little to please people so0lidly opposed to his reactionary agenda. He is a brittle target for protests and demonstrations intended to make him look bad on issues.

We are going to see equivalents of Tea Party rallies all over America, this time by and for the Left.

Bare winner with huge flaws, including extremism and a lack of political acumen -- he goes down to defeat unless Republicans can rig the 2020 election with intimidation, violence, or dirty tricks.   
127  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Dylann Roof Wants the Death Penalty on: December 29, 2016, 03:45:01 am
I'm not sure that he believes in the racist cause that puts him at risk of execution. He may now feel much guilt about what he did. Those were fine, upstanding people that he murdered, and I am sure that they have been so described in the courtroom.

I think that his victims thought that they could convert him from his racist beliefs. At most an amateur psychologist I can only imagine what went through his head as he killed people at that church...

These black people have something to believe in, and what does he have? He loses whatever identity he has because his identity is wrapped up in his alleged superiority as a white male. He might have to deal with some of his inadequacies.

Just imagine how scary it must be to face that. Rather than dealing with the falsehoods that owned him, he murdered people trying to help him. Talk about cowardice!
128  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2020 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Will 2020 be a landslide either way? on: December 29, 2016, 01:10:14 am
Basically --

If the Republicans rig the election by ensuring that Democrats have no chance to win more than about 100 electoral votes while keeping about 35 Senate seats, they will have a landslide no matter how bad things are.

If Donald Trump brings about an economic miracle that requires few sacrifices (the working people work fifty hour weeks so that the rich can be exempt from taxes) then he might get a bare win. "Life may be harder, but at least I have a job; there is more security in being overworked and underpaid"... expectations are that low. 

Bare loss? A marginal shift in public opinion occurs because Americans start to find him or his successor Pence offensive, and they are willing to take it out at the ballot box. A weak Democratic nominee (maybe some big-city mayor) can defeat Trump or Pence.

Marginal landslide, like Obama 2008 for the Democrats?  The Democrats nominate someone slick who can take advantage of a few problems, like corruption or a faltering economy.

Democratic landslide, parallel to FDR 1932 or Reagan 1980? In such a case the Republicans have big problems -- widespread strikes, riots, or demonstrations, a war going badly, or an economic meltdown. Democrats have another Obama. Michelle, perhaps?   
129  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Overall Opinion of Trump's Cabinet/Senior Level Adviser Picks to Date? on: December 28, 2016, 12:58:19 pm
Horribly one-sided government awaits us. The people that he has selected wil act as if those who voted 'wrong' no longer have relevance and can be ignored.

This is a political disaster that we cannot yet measure.
130  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2020 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Julian Castro takes shots at Trump: 2020 talking points? on: December 28, 2016, 01:53:23 am
There's much more talent among ethnic minorities in politics than the Right might want to think. These people honor formal education, and after having four years of a President who talks as if marginally literate, Americans might want something different.
131  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2020 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: 2020 Election what if Trump unpopular on: December 28, 2016, 01:46:50 am
A historically-bad election for an incumbent President is best marked in 1932  (Hoover having no clue about how to deal with the worst economic meltdown possible at the time) or Carter (inflation and the hostage situation in Iran). 

Hoover got 59 electoral votes, then 11.1% of the electoral votes available.  That is roughly 60 electoral votes today as a percentage.

Carter got 49 electoral votes.  For the mean between those.... let's see how he gets 54 or so electoral votes.

This is a mathematical model and not a prediction. The scenario? He or Mike Pence, his successor, faces economic or military distress. Protests, strikes, and riots are seemingly everywhere but strongly-Democratic states.

132  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2020 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Election 2020 - Trump Landslide Map on: December 28, 2016, 12:43:57 am
Highly-successful President, mends all fences, weak Democratic nominee from a non-swing state... or a rigged election.   
133  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Are you reading Donald Trump's daily tweets? on: December 27, 2016, 10:26:41 pm

Those who voted for Trump wanted an entertainer-in-chief and not necessarily a president of the country, so sometimes you get what you wish for.

In an office comparable in power to the Presidency of the United States -- Roman Emperor -- the three greatest entertainers as Emperors are three of the most reviled men in antiquity -- Nero, Caligula, and Commodus. This may be mere coincidence, but maybe it isn't.
134  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2020 U.S. Presidential Election / Bloomberg - Trump on: December 27, 2016, 02:04:26 pm
Michael Bloomberg (D) vs. Donald Trump (R)

Here we have one plutocrat against another. It's your imagination on how conditions are. I will add a poll to this thread.

135  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2020 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Texas in 2020 on: December 27, 2016, 02:00:00 pm
Really hard to say on Texas. It has been so long since a Democrat won here at any level, even for statewide office that it is difficult to visualize it actually happening as the GOP seems to have a pretty solid 52% of the vote that will stick with them come heck or high water. Past winning Democratic maps like Lloyd Bentsen's in 1988 or Ann Richards' in 1990 (to say nothing of Jimmy Carter's in 1976) don't bear much resemblance to what a winning Democratic map would look like now. Like much of the South, Democrats lost Texas for good once the rural parts of the state abandoned them.

But if the major metro areas start voting more like major metro areas in the North do, then Texas will be competitive. There were definite signs of southern metro areas in general starting to behave more like northern ones this year (Dallas, Houston, San Antonio, Atlanta). A big reason why the South in general is so GOP is due to the fact that Southern cities and especially Southern suburbs are so Republican compared to cities in the rest of the US.

One reason for the reason for the South being so Republican is that the South is so much more rural than the rest of America.  Florida and Virginia are much more urban than other traditionally-Southern states, which makes them much more Democratic.  North Carolina is getting huge numbers of people from the Northeastern quadrant, and those voters are heavily Democrats.

The other is that the suburban areas are much newer, with relatively new infrastructure that does not have great costs for maintenance as one might expect in Illinois. Add to this, the housing stock is newer, so we aren't seeing 70-year-old tract houses being torn down for the building of apartment complexes with people who have little stake in political conservatism.

...Americans will be getting a hard lesson in civics as the populist Donald Trump gives way to the corporatist Donald Trump and goes from campaigning like Hugo Chavez to governing like Miklos Horthy. Lots of states will flip D in 2020 if they can if Americans see nothing more from Donald Trump than more hours of toil under harsher conditions for lower pay.     
136  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2020 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: The most Republican state in the Southeast... on: December 27, 2016, 10:32:32 am
What's so tough about spelling Alabama -- unless one is tempted to use doubled consonants? As polarized as Mississippi, but with a smaller black population.
137  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2020 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: 2020 swing states on: December 27, 2016, 10:30:11 am
Should Scott Walker lose in Wisconsin in 2018, then Wisconsin leans Democratic.
138  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Is Donald Trump functionally illiterate? on: December 25, 2016, 12:24:08 pm
Our new president (is functionally illiterate)!


(This is a video link, and the video is necessary for explaining some of the observation).

Oh. My. God!!!!!!

Functionally-illiterate people pretending to be literate have always been butts of jokes. Maybe the President-Elect is simply dyslexic, which would be excusable. Even so there are books on tape/record/disc for blind or dyslexic people who have some curiosity about Ovid, Goethe, Dickens, Hugo, Dostoevsky,

The Right has often attacked President Obama for using a Teleprompter, but at least one must admit that he has had some editorial control over what goes on it. So he doesn't want to miss a critical detail or subject. I can imagine what sort of advice President Obama can give on how to use a Teleprompter... and why it is appropriate to use one. But if someone is functionally illiterate it is as fruitless for him to use a Teleprompter as it is for a penniless fellow to use a credit card.

I have consistently noticed that people do not think or speak better than the material that they read. There is a huge gap between people who barely read (the market for the National Inquirer) and those who read richer, more demanding material. I can just imagine what President-Elect Trump cannot understand -- like the Constitution or the Geneva Conventions.

One does not have the excuse of 'being too busy', unless one works 80 or so hours a week. 
139  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2020 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Which states that were close this year are unlikely to be close in 2020? on: December 25, 2016, 12:08:48 pm
I don't think North Carolina and Wisconsin will be particularly close.

Should Gauleiter Walker be defeated in 2018, then Wisconsin will go Democratic. Republicans can still have a huge stench in North Carolina, which will hurt a Republican nominee.
140  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2020 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: What is a scenario where a solidly Democratic state would flip? on: December 25, 2016, 12:06:09 pm
1. Really-bad Democratic nominee on the scale of Walter Mondale or George McGovern.

2. Rigged election (much more likely in 2020). 
141  Presidential Elections - Analysis and Discussion / 2020 U.S. Presidential Election / Re: Trump: 4 years or 8 years? on: December 25, 2016, 11:15:35 am
i think Pence becomes president before the end of the first term

Yup. I also think Pence has good odds of winning in 2020

Mike Pence is the ideology of Donald Trump with an air of fundamentalist Christian piety. He is Gerald Ford without the geniality and capacity for compromise.

Donald Trump is definitely not JFK except for womanizing and Mike Pence is not LBJ... unless America undergoes mass conversion to right-wing Christian Protestant fundamentalism, Mike Pence will offend the sensibilities of too many Americans to win a free and fair election.

We have an even bigger question to ask: will the 2020 elections be free and fair? Or will they be like those of Commie states in which people get to vote but have no meaningful choice?   
142  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Fake News on: December 24, 2016, 01:47:28 pm
I think what you are saying here is a good illustration here of what the philosopher Quine called the 'web of belief'. Any individual's beliefs do not simply exist in isolation from one another but  form an interlinking network or 'web of belief'. Some of these beliefs are more central and some less central. The reason why different people will respond to the same new data differently is that there isn't a simple one to one correspondence between the individual point of data and the individual belief. Instead new data must be integrated into the web as a whole. It is obviously easier to do this by adjusting the more peripheral than it is to adjust a more central belief (whose adjustment would require more extensive adjustments of surrounding interlinked beliefs). This can particularly be the case when there is an emotional attachments to a particular set of beliefs that have become central to a persons 'belief web'. Because different people will hold different beliefs and hold them less centrally or more centrally than others then they will necessarily interpret the same data in quite different ways.

I would be interested to hear what basic premises (in other words what central parts of your 'web of belief') you hold that you think I reject and that you think are the necessary basis for you to conduct a debate with someone.

The main thing is we don't agree on the basis of validity of the news articles we read. I place some faith in the NYT, CNN, CBS, ABC, news media, reporting, the Atlantic, Fox News, and the like. I have very little faith in Breitbart News or InfoWars, or Alex Jones' show. I think you place far more credence in these outlets and thus, we can't really come to terms about debating the issues of the day.

A bare minimum for journalism is fact-checking, an unglamorous activity, but one that prevents news outlets from falling for conspiracy stories, spin, hoaxes, and outright propaganda.  A second minimum is that the journalist must not become the news. Obviously if someone hostile to the reporting of a story assaults a journalist for doing his job, then that is a legitimate news story; thus if a Klan-sympathizer during the Civil Rights struggle beats up a photo-journalist, then the attack is legitimate news. Third, journalists must report without bias -- and their organizations must allow the report to reach the airwaves or newspaper without concern for political consequences. FoX News fails at that much as Pravda did in its day.  FoX reporting is clean enough; it's when FoX decides that it can twist a story to hurt or harm one side of the political spectrum that FoX News becomes shaky in its credibility. Fourth, news media must avoid creating the news, as by sponsoring political causes. Yes, the media can expose dirty tricks with impunity (or had better have the implicit right to do so) because the dirty tricks can hurt democracy.

The most reliable news source remains the AP wires which cannot be spun. Speed in reporting prevents deceit by a reporter. 

What I find interesting is why its so important to many educated liberal professionals, so emotionally important to them and so central to their 'web of belief' to place a high level of trust in professional liberal news sources like The New York Times, the Washington Post, NBC, Politifact etc. I think it is to do with how such people gain their social status.

Journalism has been greatly debased in recent years. Computers, mini-cams, and the Internet make it easy for people to have the technological proficiency of NBC News in the early 1960s (I pick NBC because it had color in contrast to ABC and CBS in the early 1960s). But we are not getting the Edgar R. Murrow types.

Multitudes are doing journalism. Most of those multitudes are doing shoddy journalism, and not due to any  technological inadequacy.

I'm sure many educated middle class professionals have looked at Trump over the last 18 months and thought to themselves "If I had publically said half the outrageous things he said I would have been sacked, my career would be over and I would have lost all my social standing amongst my peer group" This is no doubt true. his is because although this social group tend to have an above average income and social status in western societies this status is somewhat precarious. It is based on education, qualifications, experience, employment and professional reputation. These forms of 'qualifications' are therefore very emotionally important to this class of people (why so many were focused in the election on Hillary being more 'qualified' than Trump).

Educated middle-class professionals are above all else rational. It is their rationality that allowed them to get into and graduate from first-rate or even second-rate institutions.  Rationality may not preclude bias, but it can allow one to avoid troubles that less-rational people get into.... and get oneself out of trouble should one make an honest error. Racial and religious bigotry, anti-feminism, ambiguous (and likely deceptive) slogans, and rhetorical violence are obvious warning signals to people who find that their rationality has gotten them into elevated positions. One need not be so rational to do machine-paced work. 

The social status is also dependent on following, within certain parameters, a broadly liberal, politically correct line. It can range from a more conservative liberalism to a more radical liberalism but it has to be within that range. Step outside that range and a persons reputation can be ruined and their career wrecked. The bureaucratic structures that rule both in within the government sector and within publically traded corporations will not tolerate stepping outside this ideological range.

The various constituencies of the Right have their own version of political correctness. "Taxes are too high". "Wages need to be cut".  "Who needs broad learning when technical proficiency is adequate for making a good living?" "Drill, baby, drill!"

Some old manifestations of liberal political-correctness have been discredited, like the old idea that crime is the result of economic hardships and lack of opportunity instead of character. Crime is often a one-perpetrator wave; catch one burglar or mugger, and the crime wave stops. That view that economic hardship creates crime faults the good people who live in bad neighborhoods. We will have new manifestations of a right-wing PC, and they too can implode to the detriment of the Right.   

Someone like Donald Trump (or like the insurance tycoon Brexit campaigner and donor Arron Banks who has a similar reputation in the UK for saying unPC provocative things) is able to defy this because they do not answer to any bureaucracy. The Trump Organisation (like Arron Bank's GoSkippy Insurance) is privately owned. Trump doesn't work for the government (until next month, of course), he's not answerable to any shareholders, there is no board of directors that can remove him. He has been to an Ivy League college but it wouldn't really matter if he hadn't (Arron banks, like Nigel Farage, never went to University).

But deeds have results. I predict that the Trump ideology will attempt to curtail human rights and create a Constitutional disaster. His economics are likely to make even more of a mess than the good that they do. His statements of racial and religious bigotry will not be forgotten unless he does theatrical renunciation, which will show that he was either a cynic, a fool, or a liar. I have serious questions of his character. 

So trump is not restricted in the same way that middle class professionals are. Which brings to the high esteem in which many professional educated liberals hold professional liberal new publications. Such people know that they are required to tow a liberal, politically correct line o maintain their reputations. it is the job of 'high reputation' news outlets like the NYT, Politifact, WaPo etc to give people the 'party line' and the 'acceptable range of opinions' on what to think. This requires, for the self respect of the professional worker required to adhere to this 'acceptable range of opinions' the belief that he is freely gaining information from objectively good sources rather than just keeping his head down. questioning the veracity of these sources challenges that self image.

One can choose one/s opinions, but one cannot choose the truth.
143  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Are you going to watch Trump's Inaugural Address? on: December 24, 2016, 10:54:08 am
I will be satisfied with reading the transcript.
144  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The Official Trump 1.0 Approval Ratings Thread on: December 24, 2016, 10:53:23 am
Those aren't bad numbers for Trump. 45% of the country will always disapprove of any Republican, no matter what.

These are horrid numbers. Donald Trump will need to backtrack on some incendiary, insulting statements from the campaign. He has nearly half the public hating him instead of hoping for good results. But if he backtracks on those incendiary statements, will those to whom he apologizes accept it?

The rise and fall of Dubya in the polls indicates that people who expect the best out of a politician has nothing to do with partisanship. Donald Trump has fanatical support from about 40% of the electorate.

It's unlikely to get better. Fanatical support is unlikely to stay when people find that his idea of employment is to get people to work more hours for lower pay and under harsher management. Sure, it's possible to get the industrial jobs back -- but that will require a return to the sweatshops that went out of vogue in America but appear in countries in the early-industrial stage of development. Does anyone really want to work 60 hours a week to live in a fetid slum and have hunger as a companion?

People don't want work so much as they want pay.

...Donald Trump wants the sort of housing bubble financed with predatory lending  that Dubya sponsored. Because everyone now links the housing bubble with the predatory lending of the Double-Zero Decade to the worst economic meltdown since the Great Depression, such a bubble will never succeed to the take-off stage. That is a failure waiting to happen.     

145  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The Official Trump 1.0 Approval Ratings Thread on: December 22, 2016, 04:50:12 pm
Mike Pence? At some point (erratic or criminal, as in "war crimes" behavior, or blatantly un-Constitutional), and we might see the Joint Chiefs of Staff take action for cause. If Mike Pence is complicit, then the process that takes our Donald Trump also takes out Mike Pence.

Only one of these states (Virginia) is a legitimate swing state. 39% favorability does not reliably translate into approval... but don't count on him getting anything much above 45%, which is just about what he got. This is a very flawed President by historical standards, and he is already doing very unpopular things.

Don't fool yourself: a military coup would be nasty. Think of Pinochet overthrowing Allende in Chile. That nasty. 
146  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Trump: We need more nukes on: December 22, 2016, 03:14:51 pm
It's all about the profits of arms merchants.
147  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: GOP proposes details of disastrous Social Security Reform - Massive cuts etc on: December 22, 2016, 03:13:39 pm
Social Security needs to be quasi-abolished and replaced with mandatory private savings. The problem with Social Security is not that the government is evil or corrupt, but that the government does not have the freedom to do what is best for the people. Any pension fund that is only allowed to invest in Treasury securities is doomed to mediocrity and failure. Other countries invest their public pensions in the market, but there are many reasons why that is a bad idea in the US. I'm not opposed to a payroll "tax" on businesses and individuals as part of the social contract, but we need to make sure this money actually helps secure Americans' retirements, instead of going into a program that has no chance of long-term success. For people with long-term disabilities or who face extreme financial hardship, we can find a way to take care of them without trapping everyone into a failed system.

Social Security has a better pay-out than private savings when one considers SSDI.

Banks and insurance companies are bloated bureaucracies.

...Would you rather that the Social Security fund had invested in real estate in the Double-Zero Decade? Social Security, by ensuring that elderly people could live on what they got, may have mitigated the ensuing crash.

Mandatory savings are a form of tax. 
148  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: Are you going to watch Trump's Inaugural Address? on: December 22, 2016, 03:10:19 pm
Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith...  suggesting the death of a democracy.
149  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: The Official Trump 1.0 Approval Ratings Thread on: December 22, 2016, 03:07:44 pm
Quinnipiac poll of New York, conducted Dec. 13-19:


favorable 31%
unfavorable 59%

By region...
NYC: -46
suburbs: -23
upstate: -14

I take it back on no large state being unable to so hold Donald Trump in disdain as Virginia in its most recent poll . Sure, it is New York, but nobody is going to win re-election against a reasonably-competent opponent in a free and fair election for President  while having approval that low in New York State. Of course, approval is the acid test, and Trump will need at least 35% approval in New York to have a chance of winning nationwide.  Trump will lose New York even in a 400-EV landslide, but he is not going to lose the state by 30% and win nationally.   

Red is for a Democratic advantage, and blue is for a Republican advantage.


Probably our best approximation until about March.


Not likely useful until March.

Even -- white

Blue, positive and 40-43%  20% saturation
............................ 44-47%  40%  
............................ 48-50%  50%
............................ 51-55%  70%
............................ 56%+     90%

Red, negative and  48-50%  20% (raw approval or favorability)
..........................  44-47%  30%
..........................  40-43%  50%
..........................  35-39%  70%
.......................under  35%  90%

Colors chosen for partisan affiliation.  
150  General Politics / U.S. General Discussion / Re: EC Discussion thread and the final EV count on December 19th? on: December 19, 2016, 03:45:18 pm
Cue music, "Imperial" March from Star Wars.

"So this is how liberty dies...with thunderous applause." -- Padmé Amidala, Star Wars III: The Revenge of the Sith
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