Donald Trump


Also probably not true…

There are several major problems with the idea that Clinton’s Electoral College tactics cost her the election. For one thing, winning Wisconsin and Michigan — states that Clinton is rightly accused of ignoring — would not have sufficed to win her the Electoral College. She’d also have needed Pennsylvania, Florida or another state where she campaigned extensively. For another, Clinton spent almost twice as much money as Trump on her campaign in total. So even if she devoted a smaller share of her budget to a particular state or a particular activity, it may nonetheless have amounted to more resources overall (5 percent of a $969 million budget is more than 8 percent of a $531 million one).

But most importantly, the changes in the vote from 2012 to 2016 are much better explained by demographics than by where the campaigns spent their time and money. Let me start with a couple of simple comparisons that I think pretty convincingly demonstrate this, and then we’ll attempt a more rigorous approach.

  • Comparison No. 1: Clinton spent literally no time in Wisconsin, whereas Trump repeatedly campaigned in the state. Wisconsin turned red. But so did Pennsylvania, where both candidates campaigned extensively. Trump’s margin of victory in each state was almost identical, in fact — 0.8 percentage points in Wisconsin and 0.7 percentage points in Pennsylvania. That strongly implies that the demographic commonalities between Wisconsin and Pennsylvania — both of them have lots of white voters without college degrees — mattered a lot more than the difference in campaign tactics.
  • Comparison No. 2: As I mentioned, Trump campaigned a lot more than Clinton in Wisconsin, and it turned red. But Trump also campaigned a lot more than Clinton in Colorado — it actually had the largest gap of any state in where the candidates spent their time. Colorado remained blue, however, with Clinton winning it by about the same margin that Obama won it by in 2012. The difference is that Colorado has relatively few white voters without college degrees, while Wisconsin has lots of them. Again, that strongly implies that demographics rather than campaign tactics drove the shift in the results.

Regression analysis follows that is of some interest.


I sense a lot of correlation masquerading as causation on both sides of this thread.

I’ve been voting third party for many years mainly because my feelings mimic that of George Washington’s fear of “the baneful effects of the Spirit of Party.” Lately, I’ve been voting for a lot of Libertarian candidates, and on occasion for Green, depending on the office. My view is the long game. Despite some baffling decisions and non-actions by the Supreme Court over the years, I still have faith in the checks and balances to cover our assets until we get there.


That’s too simple. It doesn’t tell my why Obama won vs. the same demographic challenges. Granted, in this case, that may have been the biggest demographic shift in vote. But to me, this article is more telling.

Clinton got about the exact same number of votes as Obama got four years prior. Trump got about 3.5% more votes than Romney. But third party votes soared by 250%. So traditional liberals voted for Clinton, traditional republicans voted for Trump and swing voters voted for Trump or third party candidates. Clinton didn’t appeal to those voters. Bernie did. So I still think Bernie would have won if he had won his primary. Again, that’s just my own (un)scientific polling methodology.


Good analysis. I’m not sure, though, if I would characterize the third group as “swing” voters. For me, that implies people who tend to vote each presidential election but are not strongly committed to either party (I suppose there may be a few left.)

The significantly larger turnout (about 7.5 million votes) suggests that people who have tended to not vote in the past.but voted this year greatly exceeded those who have voted in the past but chose not to vote this year. I think Trump (and 3rd party candidates) drew a lot of support from previous non-voters and Clinton lost support from previous voters.


Beating David Brooks to the punch …


Voters are cynical about many aspects of America’s quadrennial political circus: endless TV ads, superficial media coverage, all those pre-election polls. But that attitude can be taken too far. From building “the wall,” to banning Muslims, to enacting a tax cut three times the size of George W. Bush’s, one striking feature of this year’s campaign is the extent to which some Trump supporters don’t believe he will do what he says he will do.

One example among many: The Wall Street Journal reported that Tom Barrack, a key Trump fundraiser in California, believes that Trump would “adapt and come to logical conclusions” (as opposed to the conclusions he currently reaches). That view is reinforced by the candidate’s own comments: He’s repeatedly said that a President Trump won’t be the same man as Candidate Trump. And reporters spend more time covering Trump’s showmanship—the insult-and-outrage machine he cranks up daily—than his policy agenda.

We’ve seen this movie before. In 2000, the press focused far more on George W. Bush’s compassionate tone and pledge to be a uniter than on the substance of his campaign promises. With the exception of his post-9/11 flip on “nation-building” abroad, Bush surprised many who believed he was a moderate by pushing—and enacting—exactly the conservative policies he promoted when he ran.

Four years ago, Jonathan Bernstein of the Washington Monthly wrote that people who believed Mitt Romney would move left if he got elected were ignoring history. Once in office, presidents almost always try to carry out their pre-election agendas. When they’re unable to keep those promises, it’s usually because of congressional opposition—not because they’ve discarded campaign rhetoric to pursue other goals.

As Bernstein notes, political-science research backs this up: Jeff Fishel of American University wrote a book called Presidents and Promises in which he found that, from Kennedy to Reagan, presidents almost always try to keep their campaign commitments. Gerald Pomper of Rutgers tracked party platforms from 1944-1976 and found that two-thirds of the winning candidate’s policy pledges were at least partly fulfilled after four years. Michael Krukones of Bellarmine College wrote a book, Promises and Performance, arguing that presidents from Wilson to Carter kept about three-quarters of their campaign promises.

Politifact is a Pulitzer Prize-winning website put together by the Tampa Bay Times. Since 2009, it has tracked President Obama’s promises and how much progress has been made turning them into action. It found that Obama has been able to deliver on about 70 percent of his 2008 and 2012 campaign promises (either by achieving exactly what he wanted or accepting half a loaf through compromise). 22 percent of his promises are “broken,” almost all of which fall into the category of blocked-by-the-Republicans. …

Cynicism about campaign promises is a false sophistication—an indication of ignorance rather than understanding.


A slightly different take – How America Lost Faith in … Everything?

It seems like everywhere I turn, I come across another area we’ve all been scammed. In 10 days I’m turning in my VW diesel due to the emissions scam they ran on us (I am getting compensated quite well though). J&J apparently knew for years of the dangers of talc in their baby powder. Jerry Sandusky and Larry Nassar dominate our sports news feeds (because of our ties to PSU and the B1G). Wells Fargo created fake accounts without its customers knowledge. Mylan jacks up the cost of epi-pens. Remington knew for years that one of its triggers was faulty and could fire with a person pulling the trigger. That’s just stuff off the top of my head. If you aren’t at least somewhat cynical, you probably aren’t paying much attention.


Every human institution is flawed and imperfect. Part of what constitutes “civilization” is a shared belief in its “mythology”, or less cynically, a commitment by the vast majority of individuals to trying do the right thing, which results in better outcomes more often than worse, and a commitment to benefit of the doubt about that, which binds us together.

  • VW is a case where they were caught, punished and victims compensated.
  • The talc studies linking to cancer are contradictory.
  • Sandusky and Nassar did bad things, and it’s not certain why those things were overlooked for so long, but the vast majority of people in their enterprises are doing good things (which may contribute to why people didn’t believe the worst about Sandusky and Nassar).
  • Wells Fargo and Mylan (and many/all other companies) push the envelope and worse, but banking and credit are the mechanisms by which the economy grows, and profit-seeking is the engine that drives medical innovation. Where profit is driving malfeasance, or only margin with harm to the body politic (as with big bank financing schemes and excessive rent-seeking in pharma) regulation is called for and eventually enacted (for better and worse) by governments.

(As for Remington, it’s necessary to protect gun makers from lawsuits so that everyone may easily get a gun for their nightstand that they are far more likely to injure themselves with, or others accidentally, or enable a suicide, or used to threaten intimates with than it is to be used to ward off a dangerous person. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 :innocent: )

One of the concerning aspects of Trumpism is that by destroying the foundational belief in America, American Institutions, capitalism and government, he is laying the groundwork for authoritarianism.

That is what this is all about:


Each individual case can be explained on its own. The problem is that there are so many – I just named a few off the top of my head – that everyone is becoming paranoid, cynical, or some other defensive posture to protect themselves. I don’t know the connection to Trump you mentioned - I don’t like to watch video at work since I’m in an open room with 4 others. I didn’t even mention anything controversial (talc I guess is debatable, though J&J lost at least one lawsuit I thought). The government created a food pyramid that was unhealthy to help farmers and the food stamp program (there is some proof). Big Pharma’s giving bonuses to Dr.s for prescribing their pills. It goes on and on.


This is the availability heuristic! We don’t tally up or pay attention to things that are working.

Not headlines:

Millions Received Their Social Security Benefit Checks This Month, and They Helped Them Immensely In Their Old Age

No One Murdered in Your Small Town Last Month - Just Like the Months Before

Your Car, Television and Washing Machine Are Way Better Than Your Parents’, and a Crap-Ton More Reliable

That list can also go on and on.

The idea is that the long-term trend is toward better - or at least how we agree we want it to be. (I find the thesis that it has all been downhill since agriculture was developed to be pretty strong!)

When we believe that, we can act together to fix the things that are not.

When we don’t, we think that “blowing up the system” is worth the risk.


That crap about “a vote for a 3rd party is a vote for Trump” is complete bullsh*t.

I didn’t like either of those pathetic candidates. To me, there was no “less-preferred” option.


I agree with you. But none of this seems to make a dent in anyone’s level of paranoia (or other). People read about Sandsky, etc. and are afraid to let their children out of their site. People are afraid to vaccinate their children because someone found a statistic to link vaccines to autism. People run to the grocery store when it might snow a little bit.

I also agree, at least in part, with the idea that agriculture has been bad for us. More from a health standpoint than social though. But I see that side of it too and could be convinced.

So, how do we convince people to get back on board the better train and act together to fix things?

This, I disagree with (not the theory, just my experience). My parents had the same washing machine for 25 years. Maybe longer. I’ve been through 3 in 16 years. And I’ve had to have my dryer repaired as well.


I’ve had a similar experience with fancy washers and dryers at a friend’s. Should have said my parents! I’ve had a $50 Craigslist washer that does absolutely nothing special that is indestructible. She’s had Bosch and LG supercomputer-powered and has had trouble.

When my parents were starting out, every small town had several appliance repair shops - with storefronts and everything. We haven’t reverted back to that, but the complexity may have made some machines less reliable than a generation ago’s.


Tyler Cowen’s new book is “The Complacent Class”, and I’m looking forward to it.

When my hometown went bad, I left for better opportunities. It never occurred to me that there was another option.

Here is this change in a single number: The interstate migration rate has fallen 51 percent below its 1948–1971 average, and that number has been falling steadily since the mid-1980s. Or, if we look at the rate of moving between counties within a state, it fell 31 percent. The rate of moving within a county fell 38 percent. Those are pretty steep drops for a country that has not changed its fundamental economic or political systems. You might think that information technology (IT) would make it easier to find a job on the other side of the country, and maybe it has, but that has not been the dominant effect. If anything, Americans have used the dynamism of IT to help ourselves stay put, not to move around.

The real assimilation dilemma

The assimilation problem in fact comes from the longstanding native-born Americans, often of more traditional stock. The country around them has changed rapidly, and they do not assimilate so well to the new realities. And since they are not self-selected migrants who know they will face hardship, they are not always so inclined to internalize a “suck it up” kind of attitude. Many complain, others settle into niches of failure or mediocre careers.


[quote]“When Obama put his dog on Air Force One and then told us to give more to help poor people, it was a slap in the face to the entire country,” Chaulk, 60, a graphic designer from Columbus, Ohio, said on Wednesday at CPAC, the marquee annual conference for conservative activists.

Her friend Elaine Kent, 58, chimed in: “And when Michelle Obama and her friends went to Spain and spent millions of dollars on a vacation? They did so much nickel-and-diming of taxpayers."

They are less concerned — which is to say, not concerned at all — with recent reports that suggest President Trump cost taxpayers nearly as much in his first month in office as Obama did in a year. Their sentiments were widely shared here at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where attendees gave a wide array of explanations for why they were outraged by Obama’s travel spending, but not Trump’s.

“Mr. Obama went on so many vacations and played golf every week. The news media can say, ‘Trump went to Mar-a-Lago,’ and their hair catches on fire. But if they will look at this honestly — and I’m all for the truth — they’ll see Trump is just using his own resources and money to take care of things,” Chaulk said. “It doesn’t bother me one bit.”[/quote]

The truth just does not matter to so many people. What a bizarre time we live in.


Yep. I never thought the Obama’s did much in excess because they wanted to take advantage of the system. It wasn’t their fault the secret service has such high cost to protect them. And they should be protected. When people suggested they would spend millions on a vacation, I’d always ask “how much was the vacation vs. how much was the protection?”. The president of the US is probably the most underpaid person on the planet when you consider the job requirements. I can’t fault any of them to date as overspending on vacations.


Also, when they’re on vacation, it’s not a vacation like most of us have. They’re still on the job, they’re just in a different location.

On a similar, but much smaller scale, I always roll my eyes at the Penn Staters who complain about the size of the Schreyer House at the Arboretum. As if they expect the University President to host fundraising events at a townhouse in Toftrees.


The worst of Trumpism, refuted at least as far as urban crime goes. Perhaps there is a wave in the rural areas:

Urban crime rates and the changing face of immigration: Evidence across four decades
Robert Adelman et al.
Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice, Winter 2017, Pages 52-77

Research has shown little support for the enduring proposition that increases in immigration are associated with increases in crime. Although classical criminological and neoclassical economic theories would predict immigration to increase crime, most empirical research shows quite the opposite. We investigate the immigration-crime relationship among metropolitan areas over a 40 year period from 1970 to 2010. Our goal is to describe the ongoing and changing association between immigration and a broad range of violent and property crimes. Our results indicate that immigration is consistently linked to decreases in violent (e.g., murder) and property (e.g., burglary) crime throughout the time period.


He has an obvious agenda by reporting facts. Sad!