Attempting to draw historical parallels is usually perilous, especially when the person doing so clearly does not understand the period he is seeking to draw a parallel with. Such is the case with Arthur Levine in the New York Daily News:
On Election Day, the United States voted for the past over the future. In 1896, at the height of the Industrial Revolution, there was a comparable election. It was a time of transition in which clashing visions of America — one agrarian and waning and the other industrial and rising — battled for the soul of the nation. It was a period of dramatic demographic, economic and technological change, producing deep political and social divisions, growing concentrations of wealth and gridlock in government.
William Jennings Bryan, the defender of agrarian America, and William McKinley, the champion of industrialization, contested for the presidency. McKinley won.
In the 2016, presidential election, the reverse happened. Donald Trump, the contemporary Bryan, won.
The context is similar. Once again, America is in the midst of an economic, demographic, technological and global transformation as the country transitions from a national, analog industrial economy to a global, digital information economy.
As in 1896, the country is divided, pained and angry. The poor are poorer and the rich are richer. The number of have-nots is expanding and the number of haves is shrinking. The manufacturing and Industrial Age jobs, demanding no more than a high school diploma, that promised salaries, dreams and hopes sufficient to support a family, are vanishing.
In their stead, there are now knowledge-economy jobs, requiring the highest levels of education in history. The college education required to get those jobs leaves our children with massive student-loan debt.
At the same time, as in the previous transformation, the nation’s social institutions — government, education, media and the rest — appear to be part of the problem rather than the solution. Having been created for an Industrial Age, they are outdated and seem to be dysfunctional. They need to be redesigned for a global, digital, information economy.
As in 1896, the 2016 election gave Americans a choice of restoring what had been lost or building on the changes. It gave them a choice of attempting to repair the existing institutions or replacing them. The nation chose to restore the past and replace our leadership, electing for the first time a candidate who had never held political or military office. Continue reading
(If faithful readers of the blog will permit me the indulgence of resurrecting this post from March 2 of this year.)
Hattip to commenter Ernst Schreiber for the idea behind this post.
As faithful readers of this blog know, I am a strong opponent of Donald Trump. I view him as an ignorant blowhard, a Democrat in a skimpy Republican disguise, and a disaster in the making of epic proportions if he should be elected President. I will not vote for him if he is the Republican nominee, an easy call for me since if Illinois is in play Trump is heading for a landslide win in any case. However, unlike many Trump critics my opposition to him does not have anything to do with his electability in the fall. If Clinton is the Democrat nominee I think it likely that Trump will win. Here is why.
1. Clinton Smear Machine-Unlike most candidates I think Trump is largely immune to smears. Throughout his career he has been subject to a largely bad press. Except for cannibalism and incest Trump has been charged with every crime imaginable and with some that truly do tax the imagination. I doubt if there is much more that could be revealed to harm him. Like Huey Long, the Kingfish of the Depression Era, he thrives on bad press and attacks.
2. Colorful Career-As loathe as I am to admit it, there are elements in Trump’s career that will probably play well with the voters, including this incident, go here to read it, where Trump intervened to stop a violent mugging in progress.
3. Wrong Clinton-I always said that Clinton had preternatural political skills, however that was Bill Clinton, who could probably have won an election after being discovered in bed with either a live boy or a dead girl. His spouse on the other hand is a miserable politician who got beaten like a drum by Obama in 2008 and who has struggled to beat an elderly socialist this year.
4. Empty Promises-Democrats have thrived over the years on making empty promises to voters with a straight face. No one can out empty promise Donald The-Mexicans-Are-Going -To-Pay-For-The-Wall Trump!
5. Outsider-This is clearly a year when the voters want an outsider. Trump, the croniest capitalist, would seem to be the consummate insider, except when compared to Hillary Clinton. In the primaries Trump has been able to paint himself as an outsider, and compared to Clinton it is not quite so laughable a claim.
6. Scandals-Beltway pundits clearly underestimate public anger over Benghazi. Tie that in with the e-mail
crime scandal, and doubtless a lot of juicy tidbits being excavated by Trump’s opposition research, and Clinton will be on the receiving end of endless negative attack ads that would have bounced off her husband but likely will do damage to her.
7. Jugular-Republicans frustrated by a too gentlemanly form of campaigning by their candidates will have nothing to complain about from Trump. He will begin with throwing the kitchen sink against Clinton and proceed on from there. Continue reading
Lots of commentary out there about what happened in the elections, most of it rubbish. However, one of the better short pieces is by John Podhoretz, one of the more vehement Never-Trumpers:
The nation’s cultural and political elite has been handed its walking papers by the American electorate.
What just happened is the most momentous shift in American political and cultural life in our time. There’s no way to digest the meaning of Donald Trump being on the verge of victory. Understanding it is the work of a generation.
Of course, we’re seeing desperate and pathetic efforts to declare the results illegitimate. For example, Paul Krugman of the New York Times said last night that Hillary Clinton’s loss was due to conscious efforts to suppress the African-American vote.
That idea is beyond preposterous and intellectually deranged. What we saw was a national wave that turned blue states red, not a case in which voter ID laws and efforts to restrict early voting changed the balance of a state or two.
We saw the populaces of America’s rural counties and exurbs — places Donald Trump visited and said had been neglected and forgotten and mistreated by America’s leaders — rise up practically in unison and vote for someone who said he would be the vehicle of their anger and the tribune of their restoration. Continue reading
The poll, published by CNN, shows 23 percent of Americans who voted this election season identified themselves as Catholic, while 27 percent said they were Protestant, 24 percent “Other Christian,” 15 percent “No Religion,” and three percent “Jewish.” Of the Catholics who voted, 52 percent voted for Trump and 45 percent voted for Clinton. Continue reading
For the might of the gentile,
Unsmote by the sword,
Hath melted like snow
In the glance of the Lord.
Lord Byron, The Destruction of Sennacherib
If I have learned anything over this wildest of Presidential campaigns it is not to underestimate Donald J. Trump, or rather I should say President Elect Donald J. Trump. With all of his manifest flaws, he has triumphed in a pursuit of the Presidency that I at first thought was a bad publicity stunt. After he took the nomination I grudgingly concluded that in this odd year, against a status quo candidate like Hillary Clinton, he would win. However, his achievement should not be underestimated. Against a biased, and proud of its bias, media, against the entertainment industry, against big business and big unions, with a divided party, and spending much less money than his adversary, he won. To be sure Hillary Clinton had her problems, but she also had the Clinton political machine behind her and a media intent on covering for her as much as possible, with a corrupt establishment fully in her corner. Trump’s defeat of all that power arrayed against him is unbelievable, and a tribute to him and his hard core supporters. I have predicted that Trump will be a bad President. May that prediction be mistaken. May we all join in this prayer for him and for us that is adapted from George Washington’s letter to the States of June 8, 1783:
Almighty GOD; we make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection, that thou wilt incline the hearts of citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States of America at large. And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of The Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication, we beseech thee, through Jesus Christ Our Lord.
As usual, TAC will have an open thread for election night. In regard to the presidential contest, most of the polls show Clinton with a three to four point advantage. However, two of the most accurate polls from 2012, the Los Angeles Times Daybreak Poll and IDB, show Trump ahead by three and two points respectively. Additionally, while national polls were placing Clinton ahead yesterday, most electoral college projections showed Trump’s position improving, with him nipping at Clinton’s heels. This really does not make much sense, but that is par for this skunk-fest of an election. My hypothesis is that the polls have been off because of an inability of most them to accurately gauge Trump’s support. We shall all find out soon enough.
Things to watch for tonight: If Trump takes Florida and Ohio he will likely need just one or two blue states to win, assuming that Iowa and the Romney states from 2012 fall to him. There will be likely a titanic contest in the upper Midwest tonight over Michigan, Wisconsin and, perhaps, Minnesota. The Dems also seem worried about Pennsylvania. If Trump flips one of these states, than he can likely start calling himself Mr. President. New Hampshire and Maine 2 could be absolutely critical if the contest is close and Trump does not flip one of the states in the Upper Midwest or the Keystone State. In such a scenario, assuming that Trump takes Florida, North Carolina and Ohio, they set him up to win if he takes Nevada or Colorado. Additionally, keep your eyes on Oregon. If there is one state I think might shockingly flip from blue to red, in defiance of all the polls, it would be that one.
In regard to the Senate, it could be a nail biter to see which party controls it. In the House the GOP is expected to hold, but the margin in the House could be critical over the next two years.
It promises to be an exciting election night if not an edifying one! As always, put your comments in the comboxes.
All times are Central Standard Time
6:30 AM-Just got back from voting. One of the perks of living in a small town is little waiting in order to vote. It seemed to me as if the polls were less busy than in 2012 and 2008.
5:05 PM-First polls close in an hour. Lots of exit poll chatter that I won’t bore you with due to my conviction that exit polls tend to be unreliable.
6:00 PM- Vermont called for Clinton. Indiana and Kentucky called for Trump. Too close to call: Virginia, Georgia and South Carolina. Georgia and South Carolina being too close to call is not good news for Trump.
6:30 PM-West Virginia called for Trump. North Carolina and Ohio too close to call. Republican Senator Portman of Ohio has won re-election.
6: 45 PM-Go here to see the latest vote tallies for states whose polls have closed.
6:50 PM-South Carolina called for Trump.
7:00 PM-Missouri, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Tennessee called for Trump. Illinois, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware and Massachusetts called for Clinton. Democrat pickup in Illinois in the Senate where Tammy Duckworth unseats Mark Kirk.
7:07 PM-Rhode Island called for Clinton.
7:15 PM-Marco Rubio has won re-election to the Senate from Florida.
7:25 PM-Young beats Bayh for the Senate seat in Indiana. An important victory in the Republican attempt to retain control of the Senate.
7:30 PM-Alabama called for Trump.
7:35 PM-The Republicans will retain control of the House.
7:50 PM -One can never be sure about anything when it comes to Presidential elections in Florida, but it looks like Trump is going to have a narrow win.
8:00 PM-New York is called for Clinton. Donald Trump sweeps the states of the Great Plains and Texas.
8:05 PM-Arkansas called for Trump.
8:22 PM-Connecticut called for Clinton.
8:40 PM-New Mexico called for Clinton and Louisiana is called for Trump.
8:57 PM-Virginia called for Clinton.
9:00 PM-Montana called for Trump.
9:10 PM-Burr, the Republican Senator in North Carolina has won re-election. Likely that the Republicans will retain control of the Senate.
9:25 PM-Ohio called for Trump. Colorado called for Clinton.
9:30 PM-Florida called for Trump.
9:45 PM-The New York Times now projects that Trump has a 92% chance of winning the Presidency. Right on cue North Carolina is called for Trump.
9:50 PM-Republican Senator Ron Johnson has won re-election in Wisconsin. Grand! One of my favorite conservative senators!
10:00 PM-California, Washington and Hawaii called for Clinton. Idaho called for Trump.
10:10 PM-Utah called for Trump.
10:25 PM-Oregon called for Clinton.
10:30 PM-Wisconsin called for Trump. That is the blue state he needed. Iowa called for Trump. I’m calling it. Trump is going to be the 45th President of these United States. In the year of Brexit and the Cubs, the improbable was probable. The ladies have been waiting to sing this song in celebration of the defeat of Hillary Clinton:
10:40 PM-Georgia is called for Trump.
11:24 PM-Nevada called for Clinton.
11:40 PM-My bride’s reaction to the election results:
12:07 AM-Maine called for Clinton, but not Maine 2 with its one electoral vote.
12:25 PM-Roy Blunt, Republican Senator from Missouri has won re-election.
12:27 PM-Pat Toomey has won re-election in Pennsylvania. Hurrah! It is certain that the Republicans have retained control of the Senate.
12:50 PM-Pennsylvania is called for Trump. Trump will have at least 290 electoral votes, and quite possibly he will end up north of 300.
With that, I will be turning in. Much analysis tomorrow and in the days to come. The Democrats had a very bad night, and the Republicans find themselves in control of the Congress and the Presidency, although admittedly Trump makes an odd sort of Republican. I will end this night’s blog coverage with this observation that I have made on other election nights:
After the 2008 elections many on the Left, giddy with victory, predicted that in future the Republican party would be only a rump party of the South, doomed to wander in the political wilderness for 40 years. Typical of this commentary was a piece written by frequent commenter Morning’s Minion:
For look at what the Republican party has become in recent years: a rump party of the south and the plains, mired in an anachronistic culture that has little resonance with the modern world and with the younger generation.
Of course this commentary betrayed a fundamental misunderstanding of American political history. In that history there are no final victories and no final defeats. The great issue in contention since the days of the Federalists and the Republicans, the role of government in the lives of a free people, has remained with us no matter what names the two parties call themselves. When a party dies, the Whig party for instance, a new party steps forward to carry on the fight. The parties themselves shift and change, but the large issues involved tend, at bottom, to remain the same. Kipling wrote long ago:
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
That is sound advice in American politics, no matter if an election is good for your party or bad for your party.
As faithful readers of this blog know, I am no fan of Donald Trump. I think he will be a bad President. I view him as a man of low character, a man who has amassed a large fortune utilizing frequently methods of dubious morality, and whose sexual morality would offend honest rutting pigs in a mud sty. His lack of basic knowledge regarding so many aspects of being President is alarming. His born again conversion to conservatism I find highly suspect. His pro-life protestations ring hollow to me. I finally agreed, very reluctantly, to support him solely due to the abortion issue. While I doubt Trump’s sincerity in regard to his claim to now be pro-life, I do not have any doubt of the sincerity of Hillary Clinton in being a pro-abortion fanatic, who would attempt to bring the weight of the Federal government against pro-lifers. For me, that is enough. However, I have concluded that there is another strong reason to favor Trump.
Ross Douthat, who is a conservative and a pro-lifer, argued yesterday in the New York Times for the defeat of Trump:
A vote for Trump is not a vote for insurrection or terrorism or secession. But it is a vote for a man who stands well outside the norms of American presidential politics, who has displayed a naked contempt for republican institutions and constitutional constraints, who deliberately injects noxious conspiracy theories into political conversation, who has tiptoed closer to the incitement of political violence than any major politician in my lifetime, whose admiration for authoritarian rulers is longstanding, who has endorsed war crimes and indulged racists and so on down a list that would exhaust this column’s word count if I continued to compile it.
It is a vote, in other words, for a far more chaotic and unstable form of political leadership (on the global stage as well as on the domestic) than we have heretofore experienced, and a leap unlike any that conservative voters have considered taking in all the long years since Roe v. Wade.
Go here to read the rest. Douthat, in short, views Trump as a danger to the Republic. Douthat is correct that there is a candidate who is a danger to the Republic this year, but it isn’t Trump. If Trump is elected next Tuesday he will start his term in office with most of the media, academia and the entertainment industry against him. He will have few firm allies in Congress. Many of his supporters, and I will be firmly in that category, will cast a jaundiced eye on him, ready to oppose him instantly for any hare-brained or wrong-headed ideas he tries to implement.
Now let us contrast that with Hillary Clinton. Her entire career, and that of her odious husband Bill, has been a testament to using raw political power to escape the consequences of one’s actions. They have committed felony after felony, amassing a vast fortune in the process, selling out the public interest time and time again for personal profit. What has been the reaction of the political establishment of both political parties to this? Are the Clintons regarded as pariahs, moral lepers? Why no, these two transparent crooks are regarded as members in good standing of the comfy Club of elites that run this country. This was underlined by the news that both Bush 41 and Bush 43 plan to vote for this villain. For members of the Club the political stances they embrace are, at bottom, mere shams, to most of them at least, that they recite in election years in order to gain political power and not really to be taken seriously by other members of the Club. What is to be taken seriously is some outsider, like Trump, who threatens the comfy world of the Club. If Clinton is elected, either Obama or she will use the pardon power to relieve herself and her associates from legal liability for their manifold crimes, and the destruction of any notion of rule of law in this country will be gone, with it having been made utterly clear that there is law only for people outside of the Club, and that our ruling elites may do as they please. She will do this to the enthusiastic cheers of almost all of the media, the entertainment industry and academia. Democrats in Congress will applaud her. Republicans in Congress will huff and puff and, most of them, then go about business as usual, recalling their outrage only in election years.
Enough of this Kabuki theater of our elites that is destroying what the Founding Fathers bequeathed to us. It is highly ironic that Trump the crony capitalist, the ultimate insider, may be the instrument to destroy the cozy world of the Club that is rapidly transforming our Republic into an Oligarchy, at least on the Federal level, but such is the case. Vote for Trump to send a message to the members of the Club in both parties that we are not all totally fools, that we see what is going on, and that this Republic of the people is not going down without a fight.
Want a sign that the Clinton campaign is getting desperate? Look no farther than Daisy Ad 2.0, featuring the little girl from the old ad, now all grown up and doubtless just as much an expert on thermonuclear war as she was in the 1964 ad. The Daisy Ad in 1964 was regarded as over the top and only ran once. The Johnson campaign, and most of the media, portrayed Goldwater as reckless and a crypto Nazi. Ironically it was Johnson who was planning to ramp up the Vietnam War. This led wags to opine that they were warned in 1964 that if they voted for Goldwater that the US would go to war, and sure enough they voted for Goldwater and the US went to war in Vietnam! In regard to Trump and Clinton, Clinton is the one itching to lock horns with Putin. If anything my criticism of Trump would be not that he is too bellicose, but that I think he would bend over too far to avoid foreign conflicts.
Due to closing polls and the reopening of the Clinton e-mail investigation, big money is beginning to flood into the Trump campaign, twenty-five million from one donor, and the Trump campaign is flooding the battleground states with ads. For the first time in the campaign, Trump will be spending more on ads than Clinton.
I promised you a wild finish in this oddest of all election years and I believe the FBI has furnished it! What does it mean for the rest of the next nine campaigning days before election day?
- Negative Coverage-Most of the media has been on a crusade against Trump. However, now Hillary will be receiving a larger share of the negative coverage than she is used to. Most of the media has underplayed, or simply spiked, negative Clinton coverage this campaign. This is not an option now, especially with the Anthony Weiner involvement, since salaciousness in the media is the one thing that regularly trumps ideology.
- Stink Bomb Coming-I assume that the Clinton campaign has one or more negative stories about Trump they were reserving for next Friday. I expect them to be rolled out next Monday instead to distract from the reopened FBI investigation.
- Anonymous Sources Say-Expect to hear details about the ongoing investigation from anonymous FBI agents and Department of Justice officials. I expect these accounts to differ radically.
- Republicans Coming Home-This should gain Trump at least another ten percent of the Republican vote, say a solid three point gain, and more of the independents he was already winning, say two to three points.
- Sanders Brats-This latest news confirms the worst of what Sanders supporters thought about Clinton, and I expect one or two points of them to switch to the Green candidate.
- Republicans for Clinton-I think this shoots that movement in the head. Subtract another point.
- She’s a Crook- It is one thing to suspect the candidate you are grudgingly voting for is a crook. It is another thing to have them under criminal investigation. Most Democrats would vote for Satan if he had a D after his name, but not all. One to three point loss.
- Time to Cocoon-This whole business increases the stink of what has already been a skunk fest of an election. I predict relatively low voter turnout which I suspect benefits Trump.
I have never seen a stronger case for Trump than that made in the above video by internet celebrity Pat Condell. An Irishman, and former comedian, living in England, Condell is an outspoken atheist. I used to watch his Youtube videos to find out what the New Atheists were up to. However, over the years, on politics, I found myself agreeing more and more with Condell. He recognizes the danger from radical Islam and understands that the current days of welfare state liberalism are drawing to a close. He values freedom above cant, and in that, above all, we are in hearty agreement.
The polls are tightening and Trump seems to have momentum. The Washington Post tracker poll is down to six, Clinton advantage, from twelve over the weekend. The Fox poll, released last night, is down to a three point Clinton advantage from six last week.
The Los Angeles tracker today has Trump up one. The IDB tracker has Clinton up by one today and Rasmussen has Clinton up by one today.
My gut reaction is that currently this is probably a three point race, Clinton advantage, plus or minus one either way. I think a two point race is a danger zone for Clinton, as the greater enthusiasm of the pro-Trump/anti-Clinton voters might overcome such a gap. We shall see.
Christopher Johnson at Midwest Conservative Journal quotes Michael Moore who truly seems to understand the angry wave that Trump is riding:
Broken, morbidly-obese, planet-sized clocks are right twice a day. Mike Moore on Trump:
“Whether Trump means it or not is kind of irrelevant because he’s saying the things to people who are hurting. And it’s why every beaten-down, nameless, forgotten working stiff who used to be part of what was called the middle class loves Trump,” Moore told an audience in an Ohio theater during the one-man show that served as the basis for Michael Moore in TrumpLand.
“He is the human Molotov cocktail that they’ve been waiting for,” Moore added. “The human hand grenade that they can legally throw into the system that stole their lives from them.”
“So on November 8th, the dispossessed will walk into the voting booth, be handed a ballot, close the curtain and take that lever, or felt pen, or touch screen and put a big f___ing X in the box by the name of the man who has threatened to upend and overturn the very system that has ruined their lives: Donald J. Trump.
“They see that the elites, who ruined their lives, hate Trump. Corporate America hates Trump. Wall Street hates Trump. The career politicians hate Trump. The media hate Trump, after they loved him and created him and now hate him. Thank you, media. The enemy of my enemy is who I’m voting for on November 8th.
“Trump’s election is going to be the biggest ‘F___ you’ ever recorded in human history,” Moore adds. “And it will feel good.” Continue reading
TV doesn’t get better than the confrontation between Fox News host Megyn Kelly and Newt Gingrich last night. Kelly has had a vendetta against Trump since their clash early in the campaign. Rumors are rife that she is leaving Fox soon and is now basically auditioning for a slot at CNN or MSNBC, and is tailoring her show to reflect the prejudices of her next employer. Newt Gingrich, love him or hate him, never suffers in silence media bias and he let Kelly have it yesterday. (It should be noted that while Gingrich supports Trump he has been forthcoming about problems in the Trump campaign and has publically criticized Trump on numerous occasions.) Note that while she was ready to call Trump a sexual predator how defensive she became about rapist Bill Clinton. Bravo Mr. Gingrich!
Scott Adams, the creator of Dilbert, has been one of the more interesting observers of the current race for President. He is clearly now fed up, and I can’t help but wonder how many voters quietly share his sentiment?
I’ve been trying to figure out what common trait binds Clinton supporters together. As far as I can tell, the most unifying characteristic is a willingness to bully in all its forms.
If you have a Trump sign in your lawn, they will steal it.
If you have a Trump bumper sticker, they will deface your car.
if you speak of Trump at work you could get fired.
On social media, almost every message I get from a Clinton supporter is a bullying type of message. They insult. They try to shame. They label. And obviously they threaten my livelihood.
We know from Project Veritas that Clinton supporters tried to incite violence at Trump rallies. The media downplays it.
We also know Clinton’s side hired paid trolls to bully online. You don’t hear much about that.
Yesterday, by no coincidence, Huffington Post, Salon, and Daily Kos all published similar-sounding hit pieces on me, presumably to lower my influence. (That reason, plus jealousy, are the only reasons writers write about other writers.)
Joe Biden said he wanted to take Trump behind the bleachers and beat him up. No one on Clinton’s side disavowed that call to violence because, I assume, they consider it justified hyperbole.
Team Clinton has succeeded in perpetuating one of the greatest evils I have seen in my lifetime. Her side has branded Trump supporters (40%+ of voters) as Nazis, sexists, homophobes, racists, and a few other fighting words. Their argument is built on confirmation bias and persuasion. But facts don’t matter because facts never matter in politics. What matters is that Clinton’s framing of Trump provides moral cover for any bullying behavior online or in person. No one can be a bad person for opposing Hitler, right? Continue reading