Election observations12th November 2018
A few observations on the election:
1. Focus on the referenda. Marijuana was legalized in Michigan, by a fairly wide margin. This suggests that it’s only a matter of time before other Midwestern states follow suit. Legalization failed in North Dakota, which doesn’t bode well for . . . South Dakota? Voters approved medical marijuana in Missouri and Utah. Minimum wages continue to be highly popular, even in red states, while expanded rent control failed in California by 62-38. Go figure. I actually voted for a tax increase (on gasoline), and it was approved.
2. Conservatives continue to push for expanded Obamacare, as three more deep red states voted for Medicaid expansion, which was part of the original Obamacare. The GOP insists that Obamacare represented the socialization of health care, but somehow forgot to repeal it. And now it’s growing with support from GOP voters.
3. Colorado voters rejected progressive income taxes. Voters in other blue states like Massachusetts and Washington had previously rejected progressive income taxes. Progressives should just give up; it’s a bad idea. Instead, institute a progressive payroll tax.
4. The election was not actually a referendum on Trump, although it’s being interpreted that way. The Dems won the popular vote by about 9%, which suggests the public opinion polls were broadly correct. Betting markets don’t show much change in the odds of Trump being re-elected (currently 38%.) I actually don’t think Dems should be all that pleased with those odds, as the leading Democratic possibilities at Betfair all look like losers to me. (Except Biden—and I doubt he’ll get the nomination. He would have won in 2016.) They need to nominate someone who can win Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
5. I voted for a left wing Democrat in CA-45 district, who appears to have lost. But I’m fine with that, as I only voted for her to get a House that would investigate Trump—the only issue that mattered to me. I don’t like the idea of a President who is above the law, as has been the case since Trump took office. I recall how the GOP was willing to hold Nixon to account back in 1974, and am disgusted by the spinelessness of the modern GOP.
It would actually be doing Trump a favor for Congress to subpoena his taxes, allowing him to fulfill his campaign promise to release the tax returns. The Dems may pass some bad legislation, but if it becomes law I’ll blame Mitch McConnell, who now has tight control of the Senate. After doing nothing to fix our country over the past 8 months, I’m expecting a bunch of foolish big government legislation from the GOP Senate.
6. I was glad to see Brat lose in Virginia. In retrospect, his upset win in 2014 was a signal of the GOP’s descent into Trumpism. Sad to see Steve King re-elected by the voters in Iowa. A state that voted strongly for Dukakis in 1988 (when California went for
Gerald Ford Bush) is now so right wing that they elected a white nationalist anti-Semite with views too noxious for even the National Review. Also glad to see the GOP’s most notorious Putin supporter (in my very own Orange County) likely went down to defeat.
7. Only 13 districts voted for both Romney and Clinton, and I live in one of those districts. I’m pretty sure that you’d find the more numerous districts that went Obama then Trump are on average dumber that the Romney/Clinton districts, even though both types are swing (purple) areas. There’s a logical explanation for going Romney then Clinton. There is no logical explanation for going Obama then Trump.
8. The Dems need to adopt a “patriotism, not nationalism” theme. I associate nationalism with European politics: protectionism, authoritarianism, xenophobia, and bigotry against Jews, Roma and Muslims. In America, the bigotry is usually directed against Mexicans, Muslims, and blacks. A true patriot supports Americans of all ethnicities, and favors free trade and expanded immigration. Imagine where America would be today without all the immigration of earlier decades, which was opposed by the nationalists of the 19th and early 20th century. David Brooks has a recent column where he claims to be a nationalist, but he’s actually describing patriotism:
Donald Trump says he is a nationalist, but you can’t be a nationalist if you despise half the nation — any more than you can be a good father if you despise half your children. You can’t be a nationalist if you think that groups in the nation are in a zero-sum conflict with one another — class against class, race against race, tribe against tribe.
Perhaps Brooks is not familiar with how the term ‘nationalism’ has actually been used over the past 100 years. It’s all about zero-sum thinking, us vs. them. Reminds me of millennials who say they favor “socialism”; you know, like in Denmark.
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