Friday, March 11, 2016

Poll: Why Voters Flock to Donald Trump

It is perfectly reasonable that a successful businessman should be seen as best able to deal with jobs and the economy but that may be only the politically correct answer that Trump voters give to pollsters rather than the most basic reason.  Mitt Romney was a rich businessman too -- but he enthused just about nobody

A new poll shows conservatives and independent voters believe Donald Trump is the best-suited Republican candidate to deal with jobs and the economy, and that this factor is a big reason for Trump's wide support.

A net 64 percent of respondents in a national poll said Trump would be best on jobs and economy, according to a Gallup poll conducted Feb. 26-28. Trump received nearly four times more support than runner-up Sen. Marco Rubio, who scored 17 percent on the same issue.

Trump, who is ranked first in the Washington Examiner's presidential power rankings, swept the six-category poll, and took first place by a landslide on five of the issues. The GOP front-runner had 61 percent of voters' support on handling the federal budget deficit, nearly four times Rubio's 16 percent second place finish.

"These strengths appear to be at the core of his support, tying in with the persistent economic anxiety Republicans express on a host of Gallup measures, such as confidence in the economy and their own economic progress," Gallup poll experts Frank Newport and Lydia Saad concluded.



What This Washington Post Columnist Got Wrong in Analysis of Conservatives

Beware of friendly progressives like E. J. Dionne, Jr., who come bearing beguiling gifts like how conservatism can get back on the right track.

In his new book, “Why the Right Went Wrong: Conservatism from Goldwater to the Tea Party and Beyond,” Dionne, a featured columnist of the always helpful Washington Post, argues that because elected conservatives broke their promises to voters to slash federal spending, spark an economic boom, put social issues at the top of the agenda, and restore tattered American prestige around the world, the American public has gone looking for political alternatives and found them in outspoken outliers.

The solution, suggests Dionne, is for conservatives to stop making promises they cannot keep—like shrinking government to its pre-New Deal size—and reclaim the “moderate” conservatism of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. That is the only sensible solution, says Dionne, because after nearly 80 years of the New Deal and its successors, the voters have come to accept and expect a government that gives them Social Security, health care, food stamps, housing allowances, and all the other accoutrements of the modern welfare state. To hew to a rigid Bill Buckley/Barry Goldwater ideology, he argues, is to consign your political movement to defeat and oblivion.

Dionne’s political diagnosis is accurate—conservative leaders in Washington have constantly let the voters down and hard—but his recommended cure would be disastrous for it would require conservatives to abandon the unquestioned political success of President Ronald Reagan and to a lesser extent that of Speaker Newt Gingrich. Let’s not forget the historic welfare reform of 1996, passed twice over President Bill Clinton’s veto.

It would require conservatives to agree with progressives that the eight years of the Reagan presidency were a decade of greed rather than an unprecedented period of economic prosperity that benefitted all Americans, including African-Americans. It is a little-known fact that during the Eighties, black unemployment dropped 9 percentage points, black household income went up 84 percent, and the number of black-owned businesses increased 40 percent.

Dionne warns that the Republicans “must do more than offer a few tax credits and speak warmly about civil society.” It is obvious he has not read House Speaker Paul Ryan’s pro-growth agenda based on free enterprise and government by consent. Nor has he consulted the Heritage Foundation’s Solutions 2016, with its 111 recommendations on everything from Obamacare (repeal it), education (exit the Common Core standards and tests) and energy (reform the process for new nuclear reactor plants) to jobs (repeal the Davis-Bacon Act).

He accuses Reagan of legerdemain and rhetorical tricks to change the political debate without changing the structure of American government. But that is precisely the point. Reagan did not want to change our form of government, he wanted to restore our government to its original form in which “we the people” govern and the checks and balances carefully constructed by the Founders prevent any one branch of government from gaining too much power.

Contrary to Dionne’s advice, conservatives understand that the way to win the electoral debate is to take a strong forward position and stick with it just as Reagan did with his 1981 tax cuts that triggered 90 months of economic growth and his Strategic Defense Initiative which forced the Soviets to abandon the arms race and agree to end the cold war at the bargaining table and not on the battlefield.

Dionne is correct that President Eisenhower presided over a period of comparative peace and prosperity in the 1950s, but his “modern” Republicanism was rejected as “a dime store New Deal” by Barry Goldwater, a prime maker of the conservative movement. What Reagan said in his first inaugural address still applies: “In this crisis, government is not the solution to our problems; government is the problem.”

Contrary to Dionne’s counsel, American conservatism does not need warmed-over Republicanism from the Fifties to get back on track but principled leadership committed to real health care solutions, meaningful spending cuts, tax reform that spurs economic growth and creates jobs, a strong national defense, energy independence, commonsense immigration reform, protection of human life from conception to natural death, and preservation of the traditional family.

That is a sure cure for conservatism’s ills and for an America anchored in family, faith, work and community.



Wisconsin is Proof Positive That Conservative Solutions Work

Scott Walker may have washed out of the presidential election early, but his conservative agenda is saving the state of Wisconsin billions. As Townhall notes:

    "Republican Gov. Scott Walker found himself fighting for his political life when he proposed necessary reforms to Wisconsin’s labor unions in 2011. It prompted liberal forces in his state to mount a recall effort to remove him from office; they failed. Then, they failed to boot him during his 2014 re-election bid. Act 10 is, for all intents and purposes, here to stay–and it’s saved the taxpayers billions of dollars (via Watchdog):

    …[D]espite all the dire predictions, Act 10 has proved a smashing success for Wisconsin taxpayers, according to a new analysis by the MacIver Institute.

    The Madison-based free-market think tank’s report estimates taxpayers have saved $5.24 billion over the past five years, thanks to the law.

    The analysis found that the state has saved $3.36 billion by requiring government employees to contribute to their government-backed pensions, and another $404.8 million by opening up employees’ health insurance to competitive bidding, among other cost controls. The savings have been widespread, across state and local governments.

    Milwaukee Public Schools, for instance, saved a whopping $1.3 billion in long-term pension liabilities, according to the MacIver report. The University of Wisconsin System saved $527 million in retirement costs, the study found. And Medford School District recently realized an 11 percent decrease in the cost of its health insurance plan by opening it to competitive bidding.

    The savings due to Act 10 breaks down to $2,291 for every household in Wisconsin, according to the analysis"

Reforms like Walker's aren't easy, and as the piece notes, they nearly cost them his job. But they provide a template for any committed conservative who's ready to set to the task of taking on the public sector unions that are bankrupting this country.



Minimum Wage Hikes Hose Canadians, Too, Eh?

It’s not just American economists who are waving red flags when it comes to raising the minimum wage. The Canadian-based Fraser Institute recently published a study — “Raising the Minimum Wage: Misguided Policy, Unintended Consequences” — that analyzes the negative regulatory effect of minimum wage increases for Canadians. The executive summary states:

    There is an enormous body of empirical research examining the effects of the minimum wage. Canadian studies are considered of higher quality than US studies because (among other reasons) there is a wider variability in the provincial Canadian minimum-wage variable. The Canadian literature generally finds that a 10% increase in the minimum wage reduces employment among teens and young adults (ages 15 to 24) by 3% to 6%. By making it harder for low-skilled workers to obtain an entry-level position, the minimum wage may perversely hinder the development of human capital and harm the long-term career prospects of the very people it ostensibly helps. Indeed, Canadian researchers have found that hiking the minimum wage has no statistically significant impact on poverty and in some cases can increase it.

Democrats often say that America needs to more emulate other countries, particularly Canada, Australia and Great Britain, because their Big Government boondoggles work. But no matter which country you analyze, the end result — whether we’re talking about government-run health care, generous benefits and entitlements or gun registration — is always the same: failure. Moreover, Democrats never mention the numerous studies like the Fraser Institute’s that completely refute their Socialist make-believe. It seems the only thing to them worth emulating is the rhetoric — not the evidence.



Broken ObamaCare Co-Ops Cheat the System

During his weekly address on June 27, 2015, Barack Obama responded to a favorable Supreme Court ruling from two days earlier on the legality of ObamaCare subsidies by boasting, “This law is working exactly as it’s supposed to — and in some ways, better than we expected it to. … [I]t is time to stop refighting battles that have been settled again and again. It’s time to move on.” If only we could. The reason we can’t (aside from the Supreme Court getting it wrong twice) is because the law is not working, no matter how you spin it. Not only is enrollment tanking, but a new poll shows that very few people are seeing any benefits, and already 12 of the nearly two dozen ObamaCare co-ops have imploded. As for the rest? They, too, are on shaky ground.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services unloaded a bombshell on Congress last week by revealing that eight more co-ops may soon be headed for closure. According to The Washington Free Beacon, “The agency’s chief operating officer, Dr. Mandy Cohen, told the House Oversight and Government Reform committee that the 11 co-ops that remain are ‘being monitored closely,’ and that eight have a corrective action plan in place and are under enhanced oversight. Cohen explained that a co-op is put on a corrective action plan when the agency identifies issues with its finances, operations, compliance, or management processes.” If history is any indication, they won’t last long.

The news gets worse. A separate Free Beacon story published Tuesday says, “Co-ops created under Obamacare reported net assets despite losing millions because they used an accounting trick approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. … In July 2015, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services amended its agreement with co-ops, allowing them to list $2.4 billion in loans they received from taxpayers as assets.” So not only are co-ops closing left and right, but the federal government allowed them to cheat the system, all while CEOs pulled in hundreds of thousands of dollars. If this was happening in the private sector, would Obama claim the system “is working exactly as it’s supposed to — and in some ways, better than we expected it to”?



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Thursday, March 10, 2016


Trump seems to have generated at least as much criticism from Republicans as Democrats, so there is a feeling that a newly-elected Congress will be as obstructive to Trump as they were to Obama.  I don't believe it.  I think Trump will win big and have significant coat-tails -- i.e a lot of Congressmen  will have wins as a result of the Trump GOP brand.  Some will win who would not have won without Trump.  And that will percolate.  GOP congressmen will see Trump as being owed.  He will of course have to compromise with Congress, as all Presidents do, but that should work well to lead to well-considered legislation.

Donald Trump ‘near certain’ to defeat either Democrat in November, says forecaster

THE science is settled: Trump can’t be stumped. The controversial billionaire has an 87 per cent chance of defeating Hillary Clinton in November, and a 99 per cent chance of defeating Bernie Sanders.

That’s according to the Primary Model, a statistical analysis model developed by Stony Brook University political science professor Helmut Norpoth, which has correctly predicted the last five US elections since it was introduced in 1996.

It comes as voters in Hawaii, Idaho, Michigan and Mississippi have their say in the US presidential nominating race, with Trump picking up the latter two states.

The Primary Model relies on the presidential primaries and the election cycle as predictors of the vote in the general election, and Professor Norpoth says early primaries are a leading indicator of electoral victory.

Trump won the Republican primaries in both New Hampshire and South Carolina, while Clinton and Sanders split the Democratic primaries in those states.

“What favours the GOP in 2016 as well, no matter if Trump is the nominee or any other Republican, is a cycle of presidential elections,” he wrote on The Huffington Post.

“After two terms of Democrat Barack Obama in the White House the electoral pendulum is poised to swing to the GOP this year. This cycle, which is illustrated with elections since 1960, goes back a long way to 1828.”

Professor Norpoth says in a match-up between Trump and either Democratic contender, the Primary Model predicts Trump would defeat Clinton by 52.5 per cent to 47.5 per cent of the two-party vote. Against Sanders, Trump would take 57.7 per cent versus 42.3 per cent.

Importantly, Professor Norpoth says that result even factors in Trump’s outrageous comments.

“Winning early primaries is a sign that a candidate has a favourable image,” he wrote in a recent question-and-answer session on reddit. “Whatever past gaffes or scandals might affect a candidate have been absorbed into that image by then.”

Trump was accused of dragging the presidential race into the gutter last week with a reference to his penis size, after rival candidate Marco Rubio made a suggestive comment about Trump having “small hands” at a rally.

“Trump has held pretty steady in the 30s,” Professor Norpoth says. “He does not seem to slip in approval for any stupid, silly, outrageous and offensive remarks. That alone is a new thing.”

This all assumes Trump, who has been hit with an onslaught of attacks from both rivals and the Republican establishment, wins the nomination.

Over the weekend, a secretive meeting of billionaires, tech CEOs and high-ranking Republicans — which included Apple’s Tim Cook, Google co-founder Larry Page and Tesla’s Elon Musk — put their heads together to work out a plan to defeat the real estate mogul.

And in an unprecedented attack last week, former Republican candidate Mitt Romney blasted Trump as a “fraud”. However, a new poll suggests that attack may have actually helped Trump, finding 31 per cent of Republican voters are more likely to vote for him because of Romney’s speech.

Professor Norpoth says he can’t predict the outcome of nomination contest. “But ask yourself, who has not got the nomination in at least the last 60 years who racked as many wins in the primaries as Trump? I can’t think of any,” he said.

In January 2012, Professor Norpoth predicted Barack Obama would defeat Mitt Romney with 88 per cent certainty, and around the same time in 2004 that George W. Bush would be re-elected with more than 95 per cent certainty.

The model pulls in data from every presidential election going back until 1912 — the year the primary system was introduced — to estimate the weight of primary performance.

“That year the candidate who won his party’s primary vote, Woodrow Wilson, went on to defeat the candidate who lost his party’s primary vote, William Howard Taft,” Professor Norpoth writes.

“As a rule, the candidate with the better primary performance, as compared to his or her strongest rival, beats the candidate with the weaker primary performance.”

Applied retroactively, the Primary Model has correctly picked the winner in every presidential election going back to 1912 except for 1960, when John F. Kennedy defeated Richard Nixon.

Professor Norpoth remains cautious, however. “I agree with Mark Twain,” he wrote. “Prophecy is good business, but it is full of risks.”



Michael Needham was stoking fear in Republicans long before Donald Trump

Before Donald Trump began terrorizing the Republican establishment, there was Michael Needham.

The 35-year-old conservative prodigy has spent six years instilling panic in Washington Republicans as head of Heritage Action for America. But instead of pitching himself as the solution to D.C.’s problems, Needham conducts his own slash-and-burn campaign to rid Congress of policies and players he sees as insufficiently conservative — many of them fellow Republicans.

His strategy at Heritage Action is deceptively simple: identify votes that should be important to the conservative base, then grade lawmakers on where they stand. The result has been chaos and gridlock on Capitol Hill, as Republicans rush to side with Heritage Action and avoid the friendly fire of the 1.9 million grassroots conservatives in its network.

Needham, a native New Yorker who has never worked on Capitol Hill, is unapologetic about leading one of Washington’s most feared advocacy groups.

“The anger [from voters] comes from a place that is profoundly right,” Needham said in an interview, referring to Trump’s political success. “I think we [Heritage Action] have landed exactly where the mood of the electorate is. I think that is why politicians are channeling our message. A Trump election or nomination is a complete vindication that Washington needs to change.”

Washington Republicans might panic at the thought of a Trump presidency, but Needham says he does not. He believes that underneath the bluster, the businessman is malleable on specifics — specifics that Needham and his team could provide.

“A President Trump who tries to find policies that address the themes he’s been addressing would be a fantastic opportunity for us to shape the policy agenda,” he said.

Needham has been channeling Trump-style anger at the nation’s capital and his own party since 2010, when he founded Heritage Action, an independent sister organization of the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation. His group isn’t endorsing in the presidential race, but it is known for its close ties to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who shows a similar dedication to breaking Washington from the inside.

Though Heritage Action has failed to achieve some of its larger goals, such as stopping ObamaCare, Needham’s work has had a profound impact on how business is conducted in Washington. The fact that legislative brinkmanship is now routine is no accident: the near-misses on funding the government, raising the debt ceiling and approving must-pass bills are all but ordained in the Heritage Action playbook as ways of extracting policy concessions.

At the moment, Heritage Action is pressuring Senate Republicans to block President Obama’s eventual Supreme Court nominee and House Republicans to lower federal spending targets in their next budget. Both battles will help determine the group’s influence in the final year of Obama’s presidency, and set the temperature of Heritage Action’s relationship with new House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

 More HERE


The Seen and Unseen

By Walter E. Williams

Claude Frederic Bastiat (1801-50) -- a French classical liberal theorist, political economist and member of the French National Assembly -- wrote an influential essay titled "That Which Is Seen and That Which Is Not Seen." Bastiat argued that when making laws or economic decisions, it is imperative that we examine not only what is seen but what is unseen. In other words, examine the whole picture.
Americans who support tariffs on foreign goods could benefit immensely from Bastiat's admonition. A concrete example was the Bush administration's 8 to 30 percent tariffs in 2002 on several types of imported steel. They were levied in an effort to protect jobs in the ailing U.S. steel industry.

Those tariffs caused the domestic price for some steel products, such as hot-rolled steel, to rise by as much as 40 percent. The clear beneficiaries of the steel tariffs were steel industry executives and stockholders and the 1,700 or so steelworkers whose jobs were saved. But there is no such thing as a free lunch or a something-for-nothing machine. Whenever there is a benefit of doing something, there is a guaranteed cost.
A study by the Peterson Institute for International Economics, predicted that saving those 1,700 jobs in the steel industry would cost American consumers $800,000 per job, in the form of higher prices. That's just the monetary side of the picture. According to a study commissioned by the Consuming Industries Trade Action Coalition, steel-using industries -- such as the U.S. auto industry, its suppliers, heavy construction equipment manufacturers and others -- were harmed by higher steel prices.

It is estimated that the steel tariffs caused at least 4,500 job losses in no fewer than 16 states, with over 19,000 jobs lost in California, 16,000 in Texas and about 10,000 each in Ohio, Michigan and Illinois. In other words, industries that use steel were forced to pay higher prices, causing them to have to raise prices on what they produced. As a result, they became less competitive in both domestic and international markets and thus had to lay off workers.
Tariff policy beneficiaries are always seen, but its victims are mostly unseen. Politicians love this. The reason is simple. The beneficiaries know for whom to cast their ballots and to whom to give campaign contributions. Most often, the victims do not know whom to blame for their calamity.
Here's my question to those who want to use tariffs to fight cheap imports in the name of saving jobs: Seeing as back in 2002, the typical hourly wage of a steelworker ranged between $15 and $20, in addition to fringe benefits -- so we might be talking about an annual wage package averaging $50,000 to $55,000 -- how much sense did it make for American consumers to have to pay $800,000 in higher prices, not to mention lost employment in steel-using industries, to save each job?

It would have been cheaper to tax ourselves and give each of those 1,700 steelworkers a $100,000 annual check. Doing so would have been far less costly to Americans than the steel tariffs, but it would have been politically impossible. Why? The cost of protecting those steel jobs would have been apparent and hence repulsive to most Americans. Tariffs conceal such costs.
When Congress creates a special privilege for some Americans, it must of necessity come at the expense of other Americans. Then Americans who are harmed, such as the steel-using auto industry, descend on Congress asking for some kind of relief for themselves. It all reminds me of a passage in a Negro spiritual play written by Marcus Cook Connelly, titled "The Green Pastures," wherein God laments to the angel Gabriel, "Every time Ah passes a miracle, Ah has to pass fo' or five mo' to ketch up wid it."

"I think Congress ought to get out of the miracle business and leave miracle-making up to God.



Socialism in action


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Hatred of Truth as Freudian denial

The following essay is by psychohistorian Richard Koeingsberg.  Psychohistorians are particularly interested in the Hitler episode and rightly see Nazism as a pursuit of the old Leftist dream of an ideal, Edenic society.  Greenies are the chief modern-day exponents of that.  What Koenigsberg says below is very relevant to the furious hatred that conservatives often encounter from Leftists these days

At the 1997 Annual Holocaust Conference, I attended a lecture by Dr. John Weiss on “The Ideology of Death” (he had just published Ideology of Death: Why the Holocaust Happened in Germany).
In the course of the discussion, he mentioned “the hated Goldhagen.” Apparently, the audience understood what he meant—because a substantial conversation ensued about “the hated Goldhagen.”

I wondered what this was about. I’d attended over 100 conferences by then and many presentations—and had never heard academics speak like this. Indeed, the reigning ideology of the time was “Everyone is entitled to his (or her) own discourse.”

Daniel Goldhagen’s Hitler’s Willing Executioners was published in 1996. Apparently, the book generated enormous controversy among academics in the United States as well as Germany. The book became a best-seller.

What was all the fuss about?

I read the book—all 656 pages. It’s the richest, most dynamic book I’ve ever read on the Holocaust—and I’ve read quite a few.

Apparently, people took issue with Goldhagen’s claim that there was a uniquely German anti-Semitism, and that many Germans killed willfully—responding to their hatred of Jews.

I won’t address the substance of Goldhagen’s arguments here. Rather, I’d like to discuss the issue of hatred—why someone might be “hated” for putting forth certain propositions or theories.

Of course, we’ve seen this occur many times. Freud was hated and condemned for his theory of sexuality: his discovery that sexual desire plays a profound role in shaping our lives.

Similarly, people did not take kindly to Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution—showing how human beings have descended from “lower” forms of animal life. Darwin’s ideas, like those of Freud, generated disagreement that took the form of anger, even rage.

It’s not difficult to understand that the theories of Freud and Darwin generated hostility because many people found their ideas disturbing, or painful. People become angry when confronted with truths they find unpleasant. Anger or hatred serves in the name of pushing away—disavowing—certain ideas. Hatred is a form of denial.

This dynamic of hatred as denial is no less operative today than it was a century ago. Each culture (including each academic culture) embraces certain beliefs as if they are absolutes—and reacts violently to ideas that contradict their world view.

Can everyone be wrong? Can entire cultures embrace ideas that have no foundation in reality? Can many ideas that society puts forth turn out to be nonsense? I have found this to be the case.

I often ask people: “How many Jews do you think were in Germany in 1933—out of a population of 65 million?” I get answers of 5 million, 10 million, even 20 or 30 million. The correct answer is: there were approximately 500,000 Jews in Germany in 1933, half of 1%.

I no longer find it fruitful to debate the point that Jews were killed for no reason at all. People have difficulty with this idea. They insist there must have been some reason that the Nazis acted as they did.

There weren’t any reasons. Hitler and the many Germans were embroiled in a shared fantasy. Entire societies can be wrong. Many cultural ideas—that people fervently believe are true—turn out to have no foundation in reality.

On the surface, people challenged Goldhagen because they believed his theories were “wrong;” not supported by the evidence; or because they felt his scholarship was suspect. But why would someone be “hated” for a theory that was incorrect?

At the Holocaust conference, Goldhagen was invited to give the keynote address, “The Holocaust in the Context of the 20th Century.” I arrived early to set up the Library of Social Science Book Exhibit. Enjoying the sights of the Millersville campus, I spotted conference director Jack Fischel walking with someone at a distance. Perhaps he was taking Goldhagen out to lunch?

Ah, I reflected, that couldn’t. The person walking with Jack was a slight, unimposing young man. Could this be “the hated Goldhagen?” Based on the way people spoke about him, I imagined Goldhagen as having a commanding, threatening presence.

Daniel Goldhagen

The young man walking with Jack Fischel indeed was Daniel Goldhagen. I met him later when he came to check out the books in the exhibit room. He was a warm, gentle person. Nothing whatsoever to “hate.”

We began rapping. I explained to him why I thought many people were disturbed by his theories. I gave him a copy of Hitler’s Ideology (no charge). We were having a great conversation.

But then Jack Fischel was at the door. The lecture was about to begin (down the hall from the exhibit room). Goldhagen couldn’t tear himself away. Fischel called his name several times; finally, he departed. Time to go back to work, do his job, earn his fee.



Lakoff rides again

Some Leftists have wheeled George Lakoff out to explain the rise of The Donald.  An excerpt from his latest essay below.  All his theories are just conventional Leftist pap, with no correspondence to reality.  But I have dealt with his theories pretty thoroughly long ago so am disinclined to re-run any of that.  There is also an amusing takedown of Lakoff here

In a world governed by personal responsibility and discipline, those who win deserve to win. Why does Donald Trump publicly insult other candidates and political leaders mercilessly? Quite simply, because he knows he can win an onstage TV insult game. In strict conservative eyes, that makes him a formidable winning candidate who deserves to be a winning candidate. Electoral competition is seen as a battle. Insults that stick are seen as victories — deserved victories.

Consider Trump’s statement that John McCain is not a war hero. The reasoning: McCain got shot down. Heroes are winners. They defeat big bad guys. They don’t get shot down. People who get shot down, beaten up, and stuck in a cage are losers, not winners.

The strict father logic extends further. The basic idea is that authority is justified by morality (the strict father version), and that, in a well-ordered world, there should be (and traditionally has been) a moral hierarchy in which those who have traditionally dominated should dominate. The hierarchy is: God above Man, Man above Nature, The Disciplined (Strong) above the Undisciplined (Weak), The Rich above the Poor, Employers above Employees, Adults above Children, Western culture above other cultures, Our Country above other countries. The hierarchy extends to: Men above women, Whites above Nonwhites, Christians above nonChristians, Straights above Gays.

We see these tendencies in most of the Republican presidential candidates, as well as in Trump, and on the whole, conservative policies flow from the strict father worldview and this hierarchy

Family-based moral worldviews run deep. Since people want to see themselves as doing right not wrong, moral worldviews tend to be part of self-definition — who you most deeply are. And thus your moral worldview defines for you what the world should be like. When it isn’t that way, one can become frustrated and angry.

There is a certain amount of wiggle room in the strict father worldview and there are important variations. A major split is among (1) white Evangelical Christians, (2) laissez-fair free market conservatives, and (3) pragmatic conservatives who are not bound by evangelical beliefs.

Those whites who have a strict father personal worldview and who are religious tend toward Evangelical Christianity, since God, in Evangelical Christianity, is the Ultimate Strict Father: You follow His commandments and you go to heaven; you defy His commandments and you burn in hell for all eternity. If you are a sinner and want to go to heaven, you can be ‘born again” by declaring your fealty by choosing His son, Jesus Christ, as your personal Savior.

Such a version of religion is natural for those with strict father morality. Evangelical Christians join the church because they are conservative; they are not conservative because they happen to be in an evangelical church, though they may grow up with both together.

Evangelical Christianity is centered around family life. Hence, there are organizations like Focus on the Family and constant reference to “family values,” which are to take to be evangelical strict father values. In strict father morality, it is the father who controls sexuality and reproduction. Where the church has political control, there are laws that require parental and spousal notification in the case of proposed abortions.

Evangelicals are highly organized politically and exert control over a great many local political races. Thus Republican candidates mostly have to go along with the evangelicals if they want to be nominated and win local elections.



Trump and the workers

Democrats are terrified of Republican frontrunner Donald Trump- and with good reason. Some polls suggest that he may peel off 20 percent of likely Democratic voters.  Now, it appears that they're starting to take the threat seriously. As Newsmax notes:

    Democrats are getting nervous a general election battle with Donald Trump] at the top of the GOP ticket won't be so easy – worried that his populist appeal could chip away support from the party's stalwart base of working-class voters.

    "For us to take him lightly would be the worst mistake in the world," Connecticut Rep. John Larson, a former head of the House Democratic Caucus, tells The Hill.

    "I've been saying for months that we should never take Trump lightly and that I do think he has appeal, to independents and blue-collar Democrats especially… He comes along and says, 'I'm a deal maker, I'm about getting the deal done.' And they're so fed up of seeing nothing getting done and want to see him [act] on the issues that strike to the core of their feelings."

    It's a far different perspective than has was voiced just weeks ago by Democrats including Vice President Joe Biden, who said in January either Trump or Texas Sen. Ted Cruz on the November ballot would be "a gift from the Lord."

Democrats are right to be afraid. If Hillary Clinton is the nominee, working class voters will have to choose between Donald Trump, a candidate committed to bringing back American jobs, and Hillary Clinton, a candidate who gives six figure speeches at Goldman Sachs. As Bernie Sanders continues to highlight Hillary's high roller hypocrisy, this choice becomes easier and easier.



Numbskull Sanders:  White people ‘don’t know what it’s like to be poor’

No poor whites in his privileged Jewish bubble, I suppose

What’s a Democratic debate without a healthy dose of pandering? During Sunday night’s debate in Michigan, moderator Don Lemon asked the candidates about their “racial blindspots,” and socialist Bernie Sanders promptly declared that white people “don’t know what it’s like to be poor”:

    “When you’re white you don’t know what it’s like to be living in a ghetto. You don’t know what it’s like to be poor.

    “You don’t know what it’s like to be hassled when you walk down the street, or dragged out of a car.”

On the contrary, I think a fair amount of women of all colors know exactly what it’s like to be hassled when you walk down the street. Furthermore, the 19 million white Americans living at or below the poverty line would definitely disagree with Sanders’ assessment.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Tuesday, March 08, 2016

Is Trump like Hitler?

People such as comedian Louis C.K. and Glenn Beck have asserted that Trump is like Hitler  but have offered only an emotional rave in support of that opinion -- with no detailed analysis.

But hysterical claims that Trump=Hitler should remind us all that Leftists also repeatedly said Bush=Hitler.  He wasn't, was he?  I have made a particular study of the Nazi period so I have been looking for a reasoned rather than rage-filled account of the comparison.  I have finally found one: An essay by Professor Noah Riseman, a far-Left American Jew who doesn't know the difference between "rein" and "reign".  See his essay below.

In looking at the essay I will first mention something Noah has got right.  Weimar (pre-Hitler) Germany was a very decadent time with perversions of all sorts rife and a general loss of behaviour standards.  In Noah's words it was "progressive". America today, with its glorification of homosexuality etc. does seem very reminiscent of Weimar Germany. Noah and I agree on that. So it is reasonable to ask if America too will create a Hitler for itself.

And it is understandable that a Jew should be nervous at any semblance of Nazism.  But Noah has very selective vision, in the best Leftist style.  For a start, he realizes that there is a big  hole in his story but makes only a rambling attempt to cover it:  The different electoral systems.

Germany had, and still has, an electoral system (proportional representation) that facilitates the rise of minor parties.  And Hitler used that to bypass the traditional parties of the Left and Right.  The American system is the opposite of that.  It  effectively keeps power in the hands of the two major parties -- the center-Left Democrats and the center-right Republicans.  Under the American system it is most unlikely that Hitler would have risen to power.  So there is a clear structural reason not to compare the present USA with prewar Germany.

With no apparent knowledge of history, Noah also says that "Republican control of the House of Representatives seems all but assured for the foreseeable future".  Up until very recently the Democrats controlled both houses so what has changed?  Noah does not say.  If my electoral history is correct, Democrats have been in control of Congress more often than the Republicans over the last 100 years.  But be that as it may, the American system is clearly good at rotating control of Congress.  Noah is making bricks without straw.

Noah's ignorance also shows in his comments about a Sanders presidency.  He seems to think that Sanders could put his ideas into practice.  To do so would however require a compliant Congress and that would be most unlikely.  A President's job is to enforce the law, not create it.  Obama forgot that and found Obamacare to be the only thing he could actually get through.  His wishes about immigration and global warming were blocked by Congress.  He had to skirt the law via EPA regulations and by refusing to enforce immigration law to get his way to some extent.  Sanders' ambitions are much larger however so he too would be left scratching at the margins of the system.

The only substantial points in the screed below are the ones I have highlighted. Let's look at the points involved:

* Torture: It seems reasonably clear that most, if not all,  administrations have used some form of it on particularly dangerous captives and Trump has said that he will stay within the law in the matter.

* Free speech:  All that Trump has proposed is to widen libel law to encompass political lies.  It should have been done long ago.

* International relations:  It seems likely that Trump will indeed be more assertive with other countries, Iran in particular.  Obama's spinelessness with the mullahs is very dangerous to America's safety.  Iranians have been chanting "Death to America" for decades.  If they get nukes they may well try it on.  For their own safety, Americans should vote for The Donald.

* Muslims:  Trump has NOT "demonized", Muslims despite undoubted temptations to do so.  He has simply proposed a temporary halt to Muslim immigration.

* Latinos:  Trump has NOT "demonized" Latinos.  He has undertaken to stop illegal immigration.  Given the high rate of crime among illegals and their offspring, that would be highly desirable.

Now for the things that Noah leaves out:

Trump's speeches are essentially rambles.  There is very little of the policy wonk in him.  Hitler, by contrast kept on message. He had three major themes: The wickedness of the Jews, a promise of equal rights and the promise that he would be a candidate of peace.

In his electoral promises Hitler was a peacenik.  That he did not fulfil that is of course another matter.  But promises of peace helped get him into power.  Trump is no peacenik and is a demonstrable friend of Jews.  See here.

And Hitler's promise of equality is mainstream Leftism.  Trump has made no such promises.  Below is one of Hitler's election posters from the 1930s in which he offers himself as standing for peace and equal rights.

And finally, there is the matter of style.  Trump's rallies are undoubtedly rambunctious but American political rallies have always been high spirited and lively.  Hitler's rallies and speeches were very different.  As anybody who has seen Leni Riefenstahl's "Triumph of the Will" knows, the rallies were very disciplined, most unlike the rambunctious American performances.  And Hitler's speeches were unique too.  He would start out very quietly and calmly and would gradually accelerate to impassioned shouting.  It had none of the Trump jollity

And the origins of Hitler and Trump could hardly be more different:  The impoverished artist versus the rich businessman

So Noah simply does not know what he is talking about

The more I watch the 2016 election, the more I see parallels to Weimar Germany of the late 1920s and early 1930s. This was a society that was culturally and socially progressive, with Berlin in particular a hotspot for new liberal attitudes towards gender and sexuality.

It was also a period of economic hardship, political gridlock and fragmentation. The economic crisis after the First World War and Treaty of Versailles left many Germans disenchanted with capitalism and the international order.

Throughout Weimar Germany’s entire existence from 1919-33, there were tensions between left and right which erupted in parliamentary debates and in violence on the streets.

The extreme left – in the form of communism and anarchism – became one popular alternative to liberal capitalism. By the late 1920s, the other alternative that promised to make Germany great again was the extreme right fascist movement of the National Socialist Party (Nazis).

By the early 1930s, democracy was clearly broken (if it ever was working in Weimar Germany). Historians and political scientists have written extensively about why the Weimar Republic was so dysfunctional, including a flawed electoral system, the international impositions of the Treaty of Versailles and – what I find most intriguing – the notion that democracy has inbuilt logic designed to destroy itself (read Theorising Democide).

By the early 1930s, there were no working coalitions, political parties would not compromise and the political system reached crisis proportions. In the end it was the Nazis rather than the communists who came to power through the very political system they despised. They only won 33 per cent of the votes in the November 1932 election (incidentally, 2 million fewer voters than they had four months earlier). Whilst not a majority, the Nazis did have a plurality in the German Reichstag.

In January 1933 the president appointed Adolf Hitler as Chancellor of Germany in the hopes that he would stabilise the situation and perhaps even reign in the Nazi Party. A few months later the Reichstag passed the Enabling Law, abolishing democracy and ushering in the Third Reich. I do not need to recap how that worked out.

I look at the United States in 2016 and am struck – indeed frightened – by the parallels to Germany circa 1932. While the causes of the present crisis are different, there are a lot of similar symptoms.

Again, there has just been a major economic recession. Whilst the US economy is improving, people are still angry – and rightfully so – because those who caused the economic crisis have gotten away with it and the political establishment has allowed that to happen.

The political system is not working at all. Congress is so polarised that nothing gets done, compromise has become a dirty word and politicians are willing to let the government shut down just to score points and get their way.

In Weimar Germany one reason for the political fragmentation was because *the electoral system allowed parties with minute percentages of the vote to win seats in the Reichstag*. In the US, political parties controlling the state legislatures have gerrymandered districts so much that now there are only a handful of marginal districts.

Instead, Republicans are fighting Republicans and Democrats are fighting Democrats to win primaries which may as well be the general elections in most electorates.

A serious consequence of the gerrymander is that Republican candidates for Congress often appeal to the hard-right fringe to win elections. Democrats are just as guilty at gerrymandering, except they have not been nearly as effective in most states, meaning that *Republican control of the House of Representatives seems all but assured for the foreseeable future*.

Like in Weimar Germany, a significant proportion of the population is looking for alternatives to the political mainstream. Popular movements on the political fringes, left and right, have manifested in the respective forms of presidential candidates Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump (not to mention Ted Cruz and the entire Tea Party).

I openly admit to being a Sanders fan, and many of his cause celebres (i.e. universal healthcare) are common sense in other developed countries. But in the United States, a self-proclaimed socialist who advocates a revolutionary overhaul of American capitalism is someone from the left fringe.

*A Bernie Sanders presidency* would send shockwaves through the American political system, but it would not mean the end of democracy. Bernie Sanders wants change, but he still believes in the core tenets of the Bill of Rights and the principles of civil rights.

In fact, he would expand the notion of rights to include economic rights. Notwithstanding a groundswell of support especially from young voters, a Sanders nomination for the Democratic Party seems unlikely given the delegate maths.

A Trump candidacy and presidency, however, is becoming ever more plausible, and this truly frightens me. Trump is the culmination of over 30 years of Republicans convincing many Americans that government is the enemy, or what conservative New York Times columnist David Brooks calls 30 years of antipolitics.

As former liberal Congressman Barney Frank argues, in power Republicans have dismantled government programs and regulations in a self-fulfilling prophecy that reinforces the perception of government’s ineffectiveness. Now, to the horror of the Republican establishment, Donald Trump has seized their message and is channelling it with gusto, but with his own warped, authoritarian tinge.

Donald Trump openly talks about implementing torture, undermining freedom of speech and the press and behaving belligerently with other nation-states. What worries me the most is that he scapegoats and demonises Muslims and Latino immigrants with alarming comparisons to Hitler’s rhetoric about Jews

Trump’s populist-nationalism may not mesh with traditional Republican conservatism, but it ticks many of the boxes for fascism.

Until last week I really believed that Trump would never be president. Now I do not know anymore, and it terrifies me. If we look at the outcomes of the Republican primaries, caucuses and polls, it is clear that Trump has a hard-core base of between 30 to 40 per cent of Republican voters.

That is not a majority of Republican voters or even a majority of Americans. But in a broken, fragmented system, that may be enough support to be elected president.

Would a Trump presidency turn America into a fascist state? I like to think that the constitutional system has enough checks and balances not to let that happen. I like to think that Congress would never pass enabling legislation to force Muslims to wear badges or to force the deportation of millions of Latino families. I like to think that the Supreme Court would exercise judicial review and that the executive branch would respect any rulings from the court.

But I just do not know any more. And even if Trump does not become president, I still cannot help but think that Weimar America will never be the same again.


There is a  new  lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- with news from Britain about current idiocies


For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Monday, March 07, 2016

Who made Trump the frontrunner?

There seems to be an emerging agreement that America's Leftist hegemony did.  Obama and the Democrats did -- along with their sycophants in the media, the bureaucracy and the education system.  They have foisted on America so many weird forms of correctness that the ordinary American has been left completely out of it:

Homosexuals are glorious; Men who feel they are women should be allowed to use women's restrooms; Fighting global warming is the main job of the armed forces;  Only Muslims are allowed to pray in public; Christians must betray their faith in the service of homosexuals; little kids must be given lessons about sex; Women should be put into frontline combat as Marines; you must not say anything negative about Muslims or illegal immigrants or blacks etc etc.

All of these positions go against the grain for normal people but it is they who are told they are wrong, not the Leftist establishment.  And if you express your honest opinion you run the risk of losing your job.

And the GOP have been no help.  They just fall in line behind the Democrats on most issues. They agree that you must not say anything negative about Muslims or illegal immigrants or blacks etc etc.  The GOP have been bullied into submission by Leftist shrillness.

Whether Trump has good policies or bad on various things hardly matters compared to the chance he gives of escaping from the Leftist mental straitjacket. His "incorrectness" is his main appeal

And note that his degree is in economics so he is unlikely to do anything foolish with the economy, which would be a welcome change -- JR


A British commentary on the rise of The Donald

Trump’s gains come after he has gone out of his way to alienate the Republican establishment – he has insulted them, pilloried their most recent president (George W Bush), and overturned their orthodoxies on a range of issues. His wins have also overcome extraordinary opposition from the elites of the party. In recent weeks, Trump has been called a racist demagogue and been attacked for not distancing himself from former Klansman David Duke. More and more Republican politicians have announced they won’t vote for him in November, if he is the nominee.

Of course, the contest is not over. Trump’s rivals  did well enough to stay in the race. But Trump is clearly the frontrunner now.

If this was any other candidate, the Republican leadership would say now is the time to unite behind him. And any candidate that excited so many to vote – turnout for the Republican primaries on Super Tuesday was up to 8.3million, versus five million in 2008 – would be hailed as the leader of a movement, like Obama was eight years ago. But instead, the Republican establishment for the most part is recoiling in horror – and appears clueless as to how to stop him. In recent weeks, we’ve seen a last-minute and chaotic attempt to block Trump’s rise. This will become more panicked and desperate.

The GOP leadership’s strategy of coalescing around a single candidate who could go head-to-head with Trump looks very unlikely. Republican rivals to Trump remained divided, and it’s hard to see how Cruz, Rubio or Kasich have any kind of path to become that clear favourite. The party hierarchy now seems set to adopt their version of Hail Mary: try, somehow, to just scrape together enough votes to stop Trump from obtaining a majority before the party convention in Cleveland in July. Then, at the convention, hope that they can cobble together support for a non-Trump candidate (or maybe a combined ticket of say Cruz and Rubio).

Let’s leave aside how, if such a cunning plan ever came to pass, it would mean denying the nomination to the candidate with the highest vote total. The most striking thing is how the establishment’s contingency plans all lack a key component: leaders who can make it happen. We now hear party donors and other elites saying they want to rally around Rubio, their favoured son, in Florida. But while there may be a Republican establishment in name in Florida and elsewhere, it’s in name only. In reality, there is not a coherent group with wide influence in that state, nor do the senior party people there have any loyalty to Rubio, even though he has served as senator for the state.

Likewise, you hear talk of stopping Trump at a ‘brokered’ convention. But the convention cannot be brokered without brokers – party elders or fixers who can knock heads together and force compromise. The ‘party bosses’ no longer exist.

The ineffectiveness of the Republican establishment – or indeed the absence of a true establishment - has been a major part of this contest. As a recent investigation by the New York Times found, ‘The party has been gripped by a nearly incapacitating leadership vacuum and a paralytic sense of indecision and despair’.

From the start, the Republican leadership underestimated Trump – because they overestimated the strength of their own candidates, and the popularity of their own messages. They assumed that, if they found Trump beyond the pale, then certainly their party’s voters must feel the same. They couldn’t imagine that a populist, anti-establishment campaign – a campaign against them – could succeed. Time and again, the party elites have proved to be out of touch. One reporter in New Hampshire interviewed GOP officials and found that they didn’t personally know anyone who supported Trump. ‘I don’t see it. I don’t feel it. I don’t hear it, and I spend part of every day with Republican voters’, said a leading Republican. And yet Trump won big in New Hampshire.

To the extent that the Republican establishment has cohered, it has shown poor judgement in selecting candidates to get behind. First the big money flocked to Jeb Bush (or Jeb!), who was as exciting as a wet noodle. More recently they have moved to support Marco Rubio, who is supposed to be the future of the party. After mis-steps, including a disastrous debate performance, Rubio took the advice of the party’s so-called thinkers and decided to throw insults at Trump. Rubio insinuated that Trump urinated on himself at the last debate, and joked about Trump’s penis size. That’s what the Republicans’ best and brightest has to offer.

The Republican establishment’s ineptitude has proved wrong the view that a big money cabal secretly pulls the strings in American politics (a view popularised by Bernie Sanders, among others). Money hasn’t won the day (ask Jeb Bush), nor have endorsements from prominent politicians mattered very much. The party officials and activists, conservative media (including Fox News) and Republican think tanks – all have been shown to have no power.  

We’re witnessing a hostile takeover of the Republican party. Trump is winning with policies that are either at odds with the leadership (like on healthcare) or more extreme versions of current views (as with immigration). And he has done so by mobilising people - mainly working-class, without a college education – who in the past tended to stay home rather than vote. These are voters who have either been ignored or treated with contempt by the party’s leaders. Trump’s takeover has revealed the Republican party for the empty shell it has become.

This is not just a case of party leaders being flummoxed by an unconventional candidate. The weaknesses of the Republican party are more fundamental, and have been evident for some time. While both right and left got excited about the Tea Party, it is less recognised how small in number, and – more importantly – out of the establishment’s control, these ‘movement’ conservatives are. It is striking how the Republican party is lacking in groups and institutions that can mediate between the leaders/donors and the voters. In this respect, the Republicans are in a worse state than the Democrats, whose elites have successfully rallied around Hillary Clinton (who also advanced towards her party’s nomination on Super Tuesday). Even though few within the Democratic Party are genuinely excited about Hillary, the party does have a wide array of interest groups, like public-sector unions and Planned Parenthood, who will work for them, knock on doors, and so on.

One reason why the Republican establishment is failing is that they have not properly understood Trump’s supporters. It is not the case – as both pundits and party representatives seem to think – that Trump supporters are angry. Just look at Trump’s huge events, which are festive and joking. Labelling Trump supporters ‘angry’ is a way to dismiss them as emotional and irrational. Moreover, it’s not the case that Trump’s fans hate the Republican establishment. They are better described as indifferent towards it – they have zero loyalty, because that establishment thinks they are nothings.

For the Republican establishment, that verdict from the masses is perhaps worse than outright opposition.



An Australian commentary on the rise of The Donald

By financial journalist Robert Gottliebsen

Don’t be shocked by the fact that Donald Trump is now the front runner for the Republican nomination for President of the United States of America.

Instead, understand the forces that have led to his rise and be aware that those same forces are building up here in Australia. In a few years, those forces could well cause either of our major political parties to take a radical turn away from the conventional approach to government.

The business community needs to understand that many of the basic assumptions now being embraced, such as globalisation, free-trade agreements, migration and bad behaviour on sharemarkets (start with shorting and legal insider trading), are now being challenged.

The main force driving support for Trump is that the US middle class is being hollowed out and salaries are not rising. Even worse many are losing their jobs and are being forced to take a salary cut to earn an income. And if the middle class is struggling, it makes it even tougher for low-income people.

At the same time, the whole population is watching appalling behaviour on Wall Street and believes that technology, globalisation and free-trade agreements are pushing the profit share of the US economy higher and higher. If you let that happen in a democracy, then expect a voter backlash. In the US it was simply a question of when and whether the backlash would come from the right or the left.

I have always believed that unless the current US hollowing out of the middle class was addressed, the voter backlash would radically change the presidency in either 2020 or 2024 and could usher in an era of US isolationism.

That still might be right, but we are watching Donald Trump brilliantly handle these issues blaming free trade and migration for destroying the American dream. Trump promises to make America great again.

Remember we are talking politics not whether Trump is right or wrong, so saying Trump is wrong or can’t achieve his goals is irrelevant. This is a sales pitch.

Just as importantly, Trump has isolated another force that may be just as powerful around the world — ordinary people both in the US, Australia and many other places are sick and tired of the political correctness that has infiltrated so many of government bodies and the media. When incomes and jobs were booming it was tolerated. Trump is probably the most ‘politically incorrect’ political aspirant the world has seen since Ronald Reagan.

He has therefore become a folk hero among a lot of people. That does not mean he will win. The Democrats’ Hillary Clinton is a conventional candidate and she is hot favourite to secure the presidency. However, she is already being drawn to the Trump line on issues like the abuses on Wall Street.

Fascinatingly, the Democrats number two candidate, like Trump, has pitched his campaign to appeal to those in the American middle and lower income levels who are being hit.

But whereas Trump’s remedies come from the right, Bernie Sanders remedies come from the hard left.

In the UK, the Labour Party is being led by the hard left, while in Germany the opposition against migration is coming from the hard right. These events are a perfectly predictable response to what is happening in those communities.

In Australia, both our major parties pursue conventional policies and are united on the refugee issue, although there are internal differences within both parties.

But if by 2019 there is still an Australian income recession and the free-trade agreements have not delivered benefits to the middle- and lower-income levels, then the party that loses the 2016 election might well embrace radical polices, either to the left or right. And the Greens have an eye to the gap.

The problem for the US, Australia and all developed countries is that technology is going to replace vast swathes of middle class jobs. Much of Australia’s posterity has come from migration but if we see the current income recession drag on, then Trump- or Sanders-type policies will become popular.

The Business Council is trying to get the government to lower company tax — an incredibly dangerous political move given the income recession and the fact that Australian corporate tax rates after franking credits are not way out of line. What would have been far more sensible for the Business Council in the current environment would have been to advocate allowing companies to start new ventures that are taxed at a lower rate but not to have the benefits of franking credits for the profits of those ventures.

And we are seeing private health premiums rise, which hits the middle class, because governments are simply lazy or incompetent and will not tackle the duplication and waste in the system.

The rise of Trump is an alert to everyone.



For more blog postings from me, see  TONGUE-TIED, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, GREENIE WATCH,  POLITICAL CORRECTNESS WATCH, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, and Paralipomena (Occasionally updated),  a Coral reef compendium and an IQ compendium. (Both updated as news items come in).  GUN WATCH is now mainly put together by Dean Weingarten. I also put up occasional updates on my Personal blog and each day I gather together my most substantial current writings on A WESTERN HEART.

List of backup or "mirror" sites here or  here -- for when blogspot is "down" or failing to  update.  Email me  here (Hotmail address). My Home Pages are here (Academic) or  here (Pictorial) or  here  (Personal)


Sunday, March 06, 2016

Trump Taps Something That's Long Been Ignored

If Super Tuesday proved anything, it’s that a large number of American voters will, indeed, pull the lever for Donald Trump — and for valid reasons.  It’s clear Trump has found a trigger point among many voters. And he’s hitting it with incredible consistency.

“My market is the people in the country who want to see America be great again,” Trump explained. “It’s very simple. That’s a lot of people. That’s not broken down by age, or race or anything.”

While it’s all too easy to judge Trump supporters by the candidate they follow, Trumpmania’s real appeal goes much deeper than political theater — and it’s worth understanding.

As much as we despise politics via class stratification, that’s where we must begin. For it’s working-class Americans — blue-collar, lacking political power and without friends in high places — who believe they have at last found an ally, an advocate, a voice in the man who proudly claimed to “love the poorly educated.”

In an astute explanation of “Trump’s America,” Charles Murray of the American Enterprise Institute writes of “the emergence of a new upper class and a new lower class and … the plight of the working class caught in between.” Populating the new upper class are the elites — politicians, professors, cultural icons, business moguls. They shape policy, wield power, and are heard simply by nature of their status.

The new lower class includes those “who have dropped out of some of the most basic institutions of American civic culture, especially work and marriage.” Meanwhile, the working class is left in the middle. “Trumpism,” Murray writes, “is the voice of a beleaguered working class.” And “the central truth of Trumpism as a phenomenon is that the entire American working class has legitimate reasons to be angry at the ruling class.”

We’ve noted that he is the ace of anger affirmation before.

And indeed, it’s the so-called working class — not the ruling class — that has borne the impact of the exportation of millions of manufacturing jobs and the influx of illegal aliens who now hold many working class jobs.

Peggy Noonan describes it as the rift between the “protected” and “unprotected.” She writes, “The protected make public policy. The unprotected live in it. The unprotected are starting to push back.”

And if today’s “protected” make up the “ruling class” — those who create the world in which the rest of us live — is it any wonder the “unprotected” have grown disillusioned?

As Claremont Institute Fellow Angelo Codevilla writes, “Ordinary Americans have endured being insulted by the ruling class’s favorite epithets — racist, sexist, etc., and, above all, stupid…. No wonder, then, that millions of Americans lose respect for a ruling class that disrespects them, that they identify with whomever promises some kind of turnabout against that class, and that they care less and less for the integrity of institutions that fail to protect them.”

A look at who actually supported Trump on Super Tuesday bears this out. Residents of economically distressed communities were more likely to vote for Trump than voters in prosperous areas.

Need more convincing? Just listen to what a recent caller told Rush Limbaugh: “It’s kind of like a few callers ago said that us guys are low-informed voters. I mean, just ‘cause we didn’t march out of somewhere with a Harvard degree or whatever, I guess we’re not qualified to vote for the president of the United States. I feel like that’s the whole thing. It’s like we’re not important, yet here we’ve been carrying the country on our back with taxes for years and years and we get no appreciation whatsoever.”

We in our humble shop are hearing the same. A reader recently wrote, “The Patriot Post needs to quit bashing the best chance of defeating Hillary: Donald Trump. Support the guy who’s winning over the American People.”

Another says, “I am tired of the elite running my country into the ground. I served a career defending what used to be the USA, only to see the socialist and RINOs take and trash her.”

It’s for this reason Trump boasts, “I’ve brought in millions and millions of people into the Republican party.” That’s true, but with big caveats. As we’ve also argued, Trump’s supporters are right to be tired of the elite., and they’re asking the right questions.

No matter what we think though, the fact is Trump supporters aren’t necessarily voting for Trump because he’s someone important. Trump supporters are voting for Trump because he says they’re someone important. And they’ve been missing that for far too long.



Donald Trump: Defender of the Faith

Charles Krauthammer

What happened to the evangelicals? They were supposed to be the bedrock of the Ted Cruz candidacy. Yet on Super Tuesday he lost them to Donald Trump.

Cruz still did make a reasonably good showing, winning Alaska, Oklahoma and Texas, the latter by an impressive 17 points. But he didn’t have the great night he needed to put away Marco Rubio and emerge as Trump’s one remaining challenger.

Cruz had done all the groundwork to win evangelicals and sweep the South by putting together strong alliances with local pastors and leaders. And yet, outside Oklahoma and Texas, he lost them to Trump by stunning margins — by 21 points in Alabama, 13 in Georgia, 14 in Tennessee, 16 in Virginia and 36 in, of all places, Massachusetts.

How could this have happened? A more scripturally, spiritually flawed man than Trump would be hard to find. As several anti-Trump evangelical voices have argued, Christian witness cannot possibly support a thrice-married man with such an impressive list of sins, featuring especially spectacular displays of the seven deadlys.

These theological arguments are both eloquent and impassioned but, in this season of fear and anxiety, beside the point. This time around, evangelicals are not looking for someone like them. They’re looking for someone who will protect them.

They’ve tried backing exemplary Scripture-quoting Christians — without result. After Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum and considerations of Cruz himself, they are increasingly reluctant to support like-minded candidates who are nonetheless incapable of advancing their cause in a hostile political arena so dominated by secularism.

They have no illusions about Trump. They have no expectations of religious uplift. What he offers them is not spirit but “muscle” (to borrow a word from the notorious former Professor Melissa Click of the University of Missouri).

The transaction was illuminated by Trump’s January speech at Liberty University. His earlier halfhearted attempts to pose as a fellow evangelical were amusing and entirely unconvincing. At Liberty, he made another such I’m-one-of-you gesture by citing a biblical verse in “Two Corinthians,” thereby betraying a risible lack of familiarity with biblical language and usage.

Yet elsewhere in the speech, he described how Christians abroad are being massacred and Christians here at home are under cultural and political siege. He pledged: “We’re going to protect Christianity.”

Interesting locution. Not just Christians, but Christianity itself. What Trump promises is to stand outside the churchyard gates and protect the faithful inside. He’s the Roman centurion standing between them and both barbarians abroad and aggressive secularists at home.

The message is clear: I may not be one of you. I can’t recite or even correctly cite Scripture. But I will patrol the borders of Christendom on your behalf. After all, who do you want out there — a choir boy or a tough guy with a loaded gun and a kick-ass demeanor?

Evangelicals answered resoundingly. They went for Trump in a rout.

The essence of Trump’s appeal everywhere, far beyond evangelicals, is precisely the same: “I’m tough, I will protect you.” That’s why he remains so bulletproof. His lack of policy, the contradictory nature of his pronouncements that pass as policy — especially their capricious eruption and summary abandonment — have turned out to be an irrelevance.

Who cares? His support has nothing to do with actual prescriptions. Tuesday night, the immigration issue ranked low among Republican voters' concerns. Only about 10 percent deemed it their No. 1 issue. The political success of Trump’s draconian immigration stance lies not in the policy but in the attitude — a not-going-to-take-it-anymore defiance.

That’s the reason none of the rhetorical outrages that would have destroyed another candidacy have even left a mark on Trump. He mocks John McCain’s heroism, insults Carly Fiorina’s looks, fawns over Vladimir Putin — nothing. If anything, he gains support for fearless “telling it like it is” candor.

This is a man who three times last Sunday refused to disavow David Duke and the Ku Klux Klan. No other candidate could survive that. Trump not only survives, he thrives. Two days later, he wins seven out of 11 Super Tuesday states and ascends to the threshold of presumptive nominee.

Which is why the only possible way to stop Trump is a full-scale, open-the-bomb-bay-doors attack on the very core of his appeal: his persona of the tough guy you can trust to protect you.

It may be too late. But everything else will simply bounce off the Teflon.



Gov. Scott Walker on How Obama Helped Conservative Movement Thrive

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, said Thursday that President Barack Obama has helped the conservative movement expand during the past seven years.

Since Obama took office in 2009, Walker noted, the number of Democratic governors across the United States has fallen from 28 to 18.

“The only nice thing I can say about this president is he’s been an incredible recruiter for conservative candidates,” Walker said during the 2016 Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, at Maryland’s National Harbor near Washington, D.C.

He cited Matt Bevin’s unlikely win in Kentucky’s gubernatorial race in November as evidence that the grassroots conservative movement has gained momentum under the Obama administration.

Bevin’s defeat of Jack Conway, Kentucky’s former Democratic attorney general, made him the state’s third Republican governor since World War II and one of 31 GOP governors who currently hold office across the United States.

“The reason why we see that kind of change is because Americans are looking for leadership that counters the failed policies of Barack Obama,” Walker said.

Republicans also have seen their party grow in state legislatures. Since 2009, Walker said, roughly 1,000 new GOP lawmakers have been elected to state legislatures throughout the nation.

Walker noted that 27 state legislatures were controlled entirely by Democrats when Obama took office, and eight were evenly split between the parties.

Today, Democrats control 11 state legislatures. Eight remain split.

“The conservative movement is alive and well in states all across America,” Walker said. “Why? Because our policies are working.”

The Wisconsin governor pointed to Indiana Gov. Mike Pence’s success in bringing the unemployment rate down to the lowest it has been since March 2011. South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, meanwhile, has added 30,000 state residents to the workforce who previously were on welfare.

“Positive, commonsense, conservative reforms work on economic policy, they work on fiscal policy, they work on social policy,” Walker said.

Running through Saturday, CPAC offers conservatives across the country an opportunity to gather with fellow activists and leaders for speeches, panels, exhibits, and other activities at Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, just outside Washington, D.C.



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