Bad news for Trump supporters

For weeks Trump supporters have been defending all of Trump’s most outrageous positions, often in my comment section.  They scoffed when I pointed out that his positions were absurd.  I’ve got some bad new for you guys; Trump’s starting to realize that I was right, his positions are loony:

Though for many weeks Trump has been telling crowds he would bring back the practice of waterboarding and other forms of torture that are “a hell of a lot worse,” he sent a statement to the Wall Street Journal on Friday promising to stay within the bounds of international law.

“[I would] use every legal power that I have to stop these terrorist enemies,” he said. “I do, however, understand that the United States is bound by laws and treaties and I will not order our military or other officials to violate those laws and will seek their advice on such matters. I will not order a military officer to disobey the law. It is clear that as president I will be bound by laws just like all Americans and I will meet those responsibilities.”

Less than 24 hours previously, Trump was on the debate stage in Detroit doubling down on his vows to kill civilian families members of terrorists, use waterboarding to get information out of prisoners, and bring back other forms of torture banned by international law. When debate moderators told him that former military and intelligence leaders have suggested that the U.S. military can and should refuse to carry out such orders if Trump becomes commander in chief, Trump responded: “They’re not going to refuse me…I’m a leader, I’ve always been a leader, I’ve never had any problem leading people. If I say do it, they’re going to do it.”

That’s not how his hero Putin would behave.  What happened to the macho tough guy?  I almost feel sorry for him, having to backtrack like a dog with its (undoubtedly very large) tail between its legs.

Perhaps if Trump’s supporters realize that he’s not going to kill the innocent children of terrorists, then there’s really no reason to vote for him.  After all, weren’t those absurd positions and that tough guy image what drove up his poll numbers?  I hope Trump doesn’t let us all down now.

PS.  And since when does Trump care about legal niceties?  Is he really going to back off from torture just because it’s illegal?  If so, then how can we trust him to put tariffs on Mexican products?  After all, even NAFTA critics think that plan is illegal:

“That 20% tax would be an absolutely straightforward violation of probably every trade law the United States has with any other country,” Joshua Meltzer, a fellow in global economy and development at the Brookings Institution, told msnbc.

“All of our existing agreements lock us into lower tariffs,” Claude Barfield, a scholar at the American Enterprise Institute who supports lowered trade barriers, told msnbc.

“Absolutely illegal,” Robert E. Scott, director of trade and manufacturing research at the Economic Policy Institute and a strong critic of past trade agreements like NAFTA, told msnbc when asked about Trump’s 20% import tax.

And then there is this:

“It’s absurd,” Scott said.

But I already told you that, didn’t I?

I keep having a nagging doubt that this is all a Pat Paulson-style scam.  Surely we are going to wake up some morning and Trump will tell us that he was just kidding, and had no intention of being President.  Or that he’s actually a Democrat, just pretending to be a fascist in order to get the GOP nomination, because he thought that’s what GOP voters wanted to hear.  After all, isn’t Trump acting more like Paul Krugman’s vision of what Republicans are like, than an actual Republican?  Even worse, might Krugman be right?

PPS.  I checked the county results in Massachusetts, the state that gave Trump his largest victory.  It turns out that he won by huge margins in even the most affluent counties of booming Massachusetts.  Trust me, this is not about economic hardship. What’s the matter with Kansas?  Apparently nothing.  Those low income Kansas Republicans are far smarter than their Massachusetts compatriots.

Update:  It’s happening:

Amid the sparring and free-flying insults of Thursday night’s Republican presidential debate, Donald J. Trump said he wanted to expand the number of visas available for highly skilled immigrants.

His remarks caused shock among some supporters who have seen Mr. Trump as a bulwark against an influx of foreigners taking American jobs.

Just as I predicted, he’s a Democrat pretending to be a fascist.  There’s a reason he supported Hillary in the past.  Picturing the “shock” among his supporters brings a big smile to my face.  I’m going to receive great joy watching how this thing plays out.  

What happened to the guy who tells the truth?

But on Thursday, responding to a question from Megyn Kelly of Fox News, one of the debate moderators, Mr. Trump said: “I’m changing. I’m changing. We need highly skilled people in this country

Got that, Trump supporters?  You low-skilled unemployed factory workers don’t fit into Trump’s grand plans to Make America Great Again. Greatness comes from smart Asian immigrants, not American students who don’t do their homework.

 


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127 Responses to “Bad news for Trump supporters”

  1. Gravatar of jknarr jknarr
    5. March 2016 at 18:23

    Interesting picture of trump voters. Not idiots, scott. Just fed up with the corrupt one party state.

    http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/mar/03/secret-donald-trump-voters-speak-out

    p.s. Trump is the only guy calling for a full audit of the Federal Reserve. I’m calling you out on that one, Scott. Where do you stand on auditing the Fed?

  2. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    5. March 2016 at 18:35

    jknarr, The Fed is part of the government. Who’s going to audit them, the government? Seriously, I couldn’t care less, it’s a phony issue. What do they expect to find?

    I am promoting a rules based approach, unlike the empty symbolism of Trump (who we now learn doesn’t mean anything he says), a rules based approach actually means something.

    And why would you even care what Trump thinks on any issue? Are you so naive that you actual believe that he means what he says?

  3. Gravatar of mbka mbka
    5. March 2016 at 18:40

    Scott,

    I’m afraid that’s his method and it makes him even more dangerous. Create a big stir, make everyone look at you, start with extreme positions as bargaining chips. Then gradually step down from those extreme positions to get the mainstream on board (“see, he’s nod so bad!”) etc. Then claim having gotten the best deal with your method, of course in a win-lose zero sum frame. His supporters won’t mind, many have claimed form the beginning that he’s just using all of this as a negotiating tactic.

    Nothing to cheer for here of course. To him, everything is negotiable, including all and any principle or value. And, he seems to believe that all economics works like his idea of negotiation, as zero sum.

  4. Gravatar of Steve Steve
    5. March 2016 at 18:52

    Kansas and Nebraska joined Oklahoma, Colorado, and Minnesota (and un-stolen Iowa) in voting for Bernie Sanders.

    Mid-westerners don’t like con-women. Or con-men.

  5. Gravatar of jknarr jknarr
    5. March 2016 at 19:06

    Have an outside auditor, then. Happy to oblige that request. Or, just have the GAO publish it all to GAPP standards. Not a big deal, clearly.

    Still, many people think that the Fed is an important institution, with vast powers, that just might call for a bit more oversight. So by your reasoning, no government should ever conduct any audits. What do they ever expect to find?

    Tally ho with your blessed rules, Scott. Best of luck, chum. Over the top, last one to DC is a rotten egg.

    Constants and variables, Dr. Sumner, constants and variables. All politicians are liars, constantly. Everything you’ve ever written about Trump can be equally applied to Obama and Clinton, with the same scathing conclusions. Politicians are a constant, not a variable.

    At least there’s a chance, however modest, that Trump is not wholly and corruptly bought and paid for. Have some small sympathy for the anti-oligarch vote, Scott. It’s your freedoms at stake too.

  6. Gravatar of Steve Steve
    5. March 2016 at 19:07

    You should have looked at the towns. Trumps WEAKEST towns were:
    1) Amherst
    2) Cambridge
    3) Lincoln
    4) Concord
    5) Brookline
    6) Wellesley

    https://apps.bostonglobe.com/election-results/2016/primary/republican/massachusetts/?p1=BG_election_results

  7. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    5. March 2016 at 19:12

    @Steve

    -Yes; rich suburbs and college towns. Everyone knows college kids are generally insufferable Berniebros (or, in this case, Establishmentbros).

    That’s not how his hero Putin would behave.

    -Oh, yeah?

    https://www.reddit.com/r/russiadenies

  8. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    5. March 2016 at 19:19

    “Perhaps if Trump’s supporters realize that he’s not going to kill the innocent children of terrorists”

    -He totally will. Obama killed Abdulrahman al-Awlaki with no regrets, didn’t he? Protip: in matters of national security, noone cares about the law.

    “Even worse, might Krugman be right?”

    -Krugman was way more prescient on Trump than you were back last summer. Even though he’s a partisan hack, and you’re nonpartisan.

  9. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    5. March 2016 at 19:24

    Scott Sumner:

    I think Krugman made some compelling points in his last column about Trump, and that is what the GOP establishment is afraid of is loss of access, and federal slush.

    Trump only says what the GOP has said for years, without the fig leafs–with the possible exception of immigration. The GOP establishment wants lots of cheap illegal labor, without voting rights. Trump probably does too, but for now he is saying reduce or eliminate illegal immigration. The GOP might be afraid something would actually get done on the border.

    BTW Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), now suddenly a genius and touted about as an anti-Trump, said he visited the Texas-Mexico border and was “shocked, shocked” at how wide-open it is. Yeah, we are monitoring terrorists so closely but anyone can walk into the United States. You know, sometimes the silliness is squared or cubed, or….infinite. Yachts can sail into nay number of US harbors too, no inspection etc.

    But why is it people are so alarmed about threats to free trade, and not other huge structural impediments, such as property zoning and the criminalization of dense housing or mobile homes; or occupational licensing (especially law); the gigantic archipelago of rural subsidies (including ethanol); or the home mortgage interest at tax deduction, or the routine criminalization of sidewalk and push-cart vending?

    Do I detect one universal constant in all of these topics?

    What is it?

    Class bias perhaps?

  10. Gravatar of Steve Steve
    5. March 2016 at 19:24

    The networks called Louisiana for Trump based on a 30 point margin in the early votes.

    however Cruz is only down 5 with 60% in. So Cruz tied Trump among today’s voters.

    I guess Trump said “I have a big dick” and voters heard “I am a big dick.”

  11. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    5. March 2016 at 19:31

    “I guess Trump said “I have a big dick” and voters heard “I am a big dick.””

    -I have little doubt that quip raised Trump’s standing in the polls among both men and women. It’s just the fact that closed primaries and caucuses are traditionally favorable to traditional conservatives.

  12. Gravatar of Steve Steve
    5. March 2016 at 19:37

    “It’s just the fact that closed primaries and caucuses are traditionally favorable to traditional conservatives.”

    No way. There is a 25 point delta between the early votes and today’s votes in Louisiana.

  13. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    5. March 2016 at 19:45

    mbka, Well at least we won’t have to listen to his supporters telling us “he’s the only guy who tells the truth”. I’m glad you think all his supporters claim to know he is lying, but I find it strange that they themselves lie when asked whether they think he is telling the truth.

    Is the world made up of nothing but lies? I believe what I say here, but then I’m a midwesterner.

    Steve, Thank God there are still people in the midwest who are not completely cynical.

    And those Mass towns are full of intellectuals. The point is that he did well in affluent areas. This is NOT about economic hardship, Massachusetts is booming.

    jknarr, You said:

    “At least there’s a chance, however modest, that Trump is not ”

    He just told you he’s a liar, and you still want to believe his audit the Fed nonsense? I find your faith in Trump to be rather touching. Why not just admit he’s a con man, and vote for him because you like his personality, if you must? To pay attention to what he says on the issues is crazy. His entire economic plan is obviously a joke, so who cares what tax rates he proposes, or what spending levels, or what tariffs? Have you looked at his tax plan? Why am I wasting time even answering your comment?

    You don’t even know what audit the Fed means. It just sounds good to you. What will the GAO audit that is not already being audited?

    Ben, You said:

    “Class bias perhaps?”

    Yes, unlike Trump supporters I actually care about the poor in China and Mexico.

    Steve, I noticed that too, as did Nate Silver. It will be an interesting night. It’s odd that people say Trump is running away with it, and yet not only did he not get 50% of the votes today, he didn’t even get a plurality–Cruz got more in the 4 states totaled up. I would love to see how the future primaries would go if it were one on one. Could Trump beat Rubio or Cruz in a one on one race? Trump’s only around 30% to 35 % in states like Michigan, Illinois, North Carolina. Many of the other GOP voters hate him.

  14. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    5. March 2016 at 19:52

    Trump will win Louisiana, and probably Kentucky, but the latter state is getting tighter by the minute.

    In Kentucky it was “Establishment GOP” 63%, Trump 35%.

    The failure of the establishment to unite behind a single guy is an almost perfect storm that is making Trump look stronger than he actually is.

    In Kansas it was “Establishment GOP” 75%, Trump 23%.

    And Trump is running away with the nomination. Weird.

  15. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    5. March 2016 at 19:54

    “Yes, unlike Trump supporters I actually care about the poor in China and Mexico.”

    -Classic example of Steve Sailer’s high, low, middle.

    “No way. There is a 25 point delta between the early votes and today’s votes in Louisiana.”

    -And? That isn’t good evidence for or against anything I’m arguing for.

    “It’s odd that people say Trump is running away with it, and yet not only did he not get 50% of the votes today, he didn’t even get a plurality–Cruz got more in the 4 states totaled up.”

    -Which is why Rubio and Cruz have now reversed positions in Betfair. Good. I’d much rather have Cruz President than Rubio. Of course, this is an artifact of closed primaries.

    “I believe what I say here, but then I’m a midwesterner.”

    -So am I.

    “Is the world made up of nothing but lies?”

    -Ask yourself, follower of Rorty.

  16. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    5. March 2016 at 19:57

    “In Kansas it was “Establishment GOP” 75%, Trump 23%.”

    -You’re forgetting one thing, Sumner: Cruz isn’t part of the establishment. No one in the Senate likes him. He’s a traditional conservative. The one neoconservative left in this race is doing very badly.

    Trump was bailed out in Kentucky by poor Appalachian Whites.

    “And Trump is running away with the nomination.”

    -New York, Mississippi, North Carolina, and West Virginia haven’t gone yet.

  17. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    5. March 2016 at 20:00

    Everyone, Check out my update. It’s happening.

  18. Gravatar of Gary Anderson Gary Anderson
    5. March 2016 at 20:05

    Hey, Scott, Trump is consistently awful. He said that the Connecticut Indians didn’t look like Indians way back in 1993. Once a pigster always a pigster.

  19. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    5. March 2016 at 20:08

    This is from Trump’s Twitter account:

    https://www.donaldjtrump.com/press-releases/donald-j.-trump-position-on-visas

    And literally the only advantages Senator Ted Cruz has over the Donald among Republicans are his stance on abortion, his temperament to be President, and his status as a True Conservative:

    http://www.gallup.com/poll/189731/economic-issues-trump-strong-suit-among-republicans.aspx

  20. Gravatar of mbka mbka
    5. March 2016 at 20:13

    Scott,

    ” I’m glad you think all his supporters claim to know he is lying, but I find it strange that they themselves lie when asked whether they think he is telling the truth. ”

    I’d love to see his supporters disillusioned. And I never said “all” of them claim he is just exaggerating to bargain better – but it has been mentioned apologetically. Still, I am cautious. His supporters have stuck with him through some incredibly illogical acts before.

  21. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    5. March 2016 at 20:21

    “It’s odd that people say Trump is running away with it, and yet not only did he not get 50% of the votes today, he didn’t even get a plurality–Cruz got more in the 4 states totaled up.”

    -We don’t know that yet. As of now, it’s very close.

  22. Gravatar of Steve Steve
    5. March 2016 at 20:46

    Fox is in the tank for Trump. They see him as a NY money man who is one of them, and will pull away from the ridiculous things he says once he realizes they are ridiculous.

    In contrast, they view Cruz as an unrelatable evangelical, and therefore someone no Northerner will vote for. CNN has had more impartial coverage.

    My predictions:

    Rubio-Kasich-Cruz-Trump, Trump wins
    Kasich-Cruz-Trump, splits equally
    Cruz-Trump, Cruz wins
    Kasich-Trump, Trump wins

    The risk is party chooses (Kasich-Cruz-Trump) to produce a contested convention and a Kasich nomination.
    Then Cruz has a choice of betraying principle (allowing Kasich), or throwing in with Trump out of disgust for the party.
    The potential for shenanigans is huge.

    It’s still a huge crapshoot because it feels like people are voting for the candidate they best relate to, rather than the person who would be the best president. The Fox wisdom is there aren’t enough evangelicals for Cruz, but that lower income people will relate to Trump just fine.

    The Maine results are interesting though, because there’s a glimmer of hope that people might coalesce around someone who doesn’t check all of their personal boxes.

  23. Gravatar of Jason h Jason h
    5. March 2016 at 20:54

    A pivot to the center by trump should be a nightmare for trump haters.

  24. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    5. March 2016 at 20:57

    Sumner: “***Just as I predicted***, he’s a Democrat pretending to be a fascist.” – (emphasis added).

    You did not predict this. Though your writings are ambiguous, as is befitting an economist, you gave the distinct impression that you thought Trump was indeed a fascist. In fact, you were quite alarmist about it, despite being told the opposite by your readers. Can you please point to a sentence confirming your prediction?

  25. Gravatar of Nathan Nathan
    5. March 2016 at 20:58

    @ E. Harding

    The difference between early and late voting in Louisiana is actually very strong evidence against part of what you are arguing – that Cruz’s stronger performance today was because of the closed contests. On early vote, it was looking very much like other southern states, like Arkansas or Alabama. The difference suggests that something has changed and Cruz has substantially expanded his supporter base in the last few days. If that’s the case, he’s going to seriously challenge Trump going forward.

    I would argue that what changed was Super Tuesday. Cruz emerged with a much more credible performance that Rubio, and that probably demonstrated to voters looking to stop Trump that he was the guy to back. It’s also possible that today will accelerate that trend, by (even more) clearly establishing Cruz as the non-Trump alternative.

  26. Gravatar of Steve Steve
    5. March 2016 at 20:59

    I’ve been pretty confident Trump isn’t running a ‘scam’. He has a small network of influencers around him, who have believed similar things for a long time. You can’t invent that out of thin air.

    Trump is more like the weird uncle, who rants about politics at Thanksgiving but isn’t terribly well informed beyond a few blogs. Except that Trump has billions of dollars.

  27. Gravatar of Steve Steve
    5. March 2016 at 21:04

    I also think Cruz benefited from Ben Carson dropping out.

    I can’t imagine any Ben Carson supporter voting for Trump.

    In contrast, I think most Christie supporters and some Bush supporters went to Trump. The former, for personality, and the latter, for ideology.

  28. Gravatar of Don Geddis Don Geddis
    5. March 2016 at 21:10

    [Trump’s] a Democrat pretending to be a fascist.

    Yes, of course! That seemed obvious to me from the beginning.

    Consider just his anti-abortion platform. Necessary, to be a GOP candidate. But do you think that a 69-year-old alpha male who has had multiple marriages, dated many models, owned multiple beauty pagents (Miss Universe, Miss USA) … hasn’t, in his personal life, already taken multiple advantage of the legality of abortion in the US? It’s essentially impossible that his anti-abortion platform could be part of some deeply held, life-long belief.

    And that’s just one topic. He’s been a public figure for decades, expressing lots of opinions, often on the record. His core beliefs are nowhere near his current persona.

  29. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    5. March 2016 at 21:17

    Harding, Yes, I may have jumped the gun on plurality, it was almost even. Cruz seems to have gotten more delegates.

  30. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    5. March 2016 at 21:23

    “I would argue that what changed was Super Tuesday.”

    -Very reasonable. Rubio had much greater losses from early voting to the election day vote in Louisiana than Trump did. His support halved; Trump’s went down by six percentage points.

    And, yes, most of the Ben Carson vote is likely to go to the blatant demagogue Ted Cruz.

  31. Gravatar of jknarr jknarr
    5. March 2016 at 21:36

    “It’s not the voting that makes a democracy, it’s the counting.”

    Long time problems with Kansas republicans.

    http://madisonvoices.com/pdffiles/2008_2012_ElectionsResultsAnomaliesAndAnalysis_V1.5.pdf

  32. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    5. March 2016 at 21:37

    @ssumner

    “Harding, Yes, I may have jumped the gun on plurality, it was almost even.”

    -Yes, you did. It seems Trump won 228 votes more than Cruz in the four states combined.

    “Cruz seems to have gotten more delegates.”

    -Yup. Cruz won 36; Trump won 31.

  33. Gravatar of Steve Steve
    5. March 2016 at 21:51

    “not only did he not get 50% of the votes today, he didn’t even get a plurality–Cruz got more in the 4 states totaled up”

    Taken literally, Cruz won by over 10,000 on votes cast TODAY. He lost by a roughly equal margin in the early votes.

  34. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    5. March 2016 at 22:44

    OT–from Adair Turner’s new book, ‘Between Debt and the Devil’. Note the metaphysical ‘expectations’ assumption, which, by its own logic, Sumner’s NGDPLT could fail if the public expected it to be temporary. Thus, if it does fail, Sumner would simply say: “my plan failed because the Fed was not credibly irresponsible enough, to print money”. This sort of logic is internally consistent but completely unscientific and untestable. – RL

    \\ Buiter (2014). See also Galí (2014). Galí provides a formal analysis of money-financed stimulus under both classical and new Keynesian frameworks and compares it with the effects of a more conventional debt-financed stimulus. He concludes that “under a realistic calibration of nominal rigidities, money financed fiscal stimulus is shown to have very strong effects on economic activity, with relatively mild inflationary consequences” (Galí 2014, p. 1).
    The only possible reason money financed deficits might not stimulate nominal demand is if agents (i.e., companies and households) expected that the money finance would be reversed in the future, with a government running budget surpluses and withdrawing from circulation the money it had initially created. If anticipated in advance, this could negate the stimulative impact of money finance in the same way that Ricardian equivalent-type anticipation can in theory negate the stimulative impact of bond-financed deficits. Indeed, in theory the impact of all monetary and fiscal policy stimuli depends on expectations as to future fiscal / monetary authority actions; see Turner (2013a) for discussion of the numerous possible variants of expectation effects. But even in a world where households and companies did attempt to generate rational expectations of future government / central bank action, there is almost certainly a crucial signaling difference between money finance and bond finance: the use of money finance signals that it is the authorities’ intent that the stimulus will be permanent and the money never withdrawn; conversely, the use of bond finance signals that it is the authorities’ current intent that the bonds will be repaid, potentially offsetting the stimulus effect.
    . Alternatively, a government could, if the long-term stimulus turned out to be more than desired, run primary budget surpluses and retire money, as discussed in note 17. This indeed was the offsetting contractionary policy that Milton Friedman (1948) envisaged. And as note 17 discusses, the anticipated possibility of such “future withdrawal” could in theory undermine the initial effectiveness of the money finance stimulus: but it would only do so if the anticipated “future withdrawal” was so great as to offset not only the excessive and unintended element of stimulus, but also all of the stimulus.

  35. Gravatar of Jerry Brown Jerry Brown
    5. March 2016 at 22:49

    “He’s a Democrat pretending to be a fascist.”

    Scott, is it really necessary to insult Democrats in this way? As a Democrat I “disavow”. I disavow. I already disavowed, how many times do I have to disavow. Check my twitter- I disavowed right away.

    Trump isn’t just pretending to be a fascist either. I know he’s no conservative, but he is definitely not a liberal. Don’t try to blame Democrats for him. There is a reason he chose to run in the Republican party, and there is a reason he is winning in the Republican party. And that reason is not that he is Democrat.

  36. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    6. March 2016 at 00:46

    Question: why such differences in voting patterns from state to state? I understand home-state favorites. But the candidates appear to be much the same except in regards to personality. So why Kansas to Cruz but Louisiana to Trump? Or Massachusetts to Trump?

    Is it open v. closed primaries?

    I see no regional “issues,” such as Trump is “for” the oil industry or Cruz told wheat farmets bigger subsidies on the way….

  37. Gravatar of Benjamin Cole Benjamin Cole
    6. March 2016 at 01:17

    Add on: what is a Kansas caucus? I went to the GOP Kansas website, but the 11 pages of rules daunted me.

    Both Louisiana and Kansas are closed primaries. Trump wins big in Louisiana, but Cruz wins in Kansas, a caucus state.

  38. Gravatar of Nathan Nathan
    6. March 2016 at 02:24

    @ Benjamin

    Trump didn’t win “big” in Louisiana. He won by a margin of 3.6%.

    In comparison, Cruz’s 25 point victory in Kansas was definitely a big win.

  39. Gravatar of Anand Anand
    6. March 2016 at 03:20

    Two points.

    Firstly, many of the plans by other candidates running (on either side, and not just this election) don’t have much chance of succeeding. Recall when Obama and Clinton were making noises about NAFTA, while Austan Goolsbee was reassuring people in private that it was just for public consumption? Guess what happened when Obama came to power?

    Secondly, even by the standards of political lying and incoherence, Trump is a con man in a class by himself. For instance, Trump’s tax plan is a huge tax cut for the wealthy, but his base consists disproportionately of people who support labour unions and support higher taxes on the rich. That means either (a) voters don’t believe what he’s saying or (b) they are misinformed. (See this RAND survey: http://www.rand.org/blog/2016/01/rand-kicks-off-2016-presidential-election-panel-survey.html)

  40. Gravatar of Postkey Postkey
    6. March 2016 at 03:28

    Bad news for Clinton supporters?
    “I’m keeping this short to put a very simple idea into your head. Because of the way the Democratic Party voting calendar is structured this year, Clinton’s largest lead will occur on March 15. After that, most of Sanders’ strongest states will vote.
    What this means is simple:
    Hillary Clinton will grow her lead until the March 15 states have voted.
    Bernie Sanders will erase that lead — partly or completely — after March 15.
    How much of Clinton’s lead he will erase depends on your not buying what the media is selling — that the contest is over.
    In most scenarios where Sanders wins, he doesn’t retake the lead until June 7, when five states including California cast their ballots.
    March 15 is the Ides of March; a good way to remember the date. The message — gear up for a battle after the Ides of March, and don’t let the establishment media tell you what to think. They won’t be right until the last state has voted.”
    http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2016/03/clinton-will-build-her-biggest-lead-on-march-15-sanders-will-erode-it-after-that.html

  41. Gravatar of Anand Anand
    6. March 2016 at 03:30

    One point I do wish to make: the appeal of Trump’s rhetoric against immigration is among people who think low-skilled immigrants “take our jobs”. They won’t care too much about his position on high-skilled immigration. Most of the “illegal immigrants” are not high-skilled.

  42. Gravatar of TravisV TravisV
    6. March 2016 at 06:15

    Any explanation for th extraordinary surge in inflation expectations over the past three weeks?

    https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=3GOW

    https://research.stlouisfed.org/fred2/graph/?g=3GOX

  43. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    6. March 2016 at 06:19

    Jason, You said:

    “A pivot to the center by trump should be a nightmare for trump haters.”

    I’m loving it. Now we can laugh in the face of Trump supporters who claim he’s not an ordinary politician, he’s a big bold truth teller. Once it’s realized that he lies every time he opens his mouth, what’s the point?

    From the beginning I’ve said the problem is not Trump’s positions on the issues, which are too loony to take seriously, but WHAT HE IS.

    jknarr, You said:

    “Long time problems with Kansas republicans.”

    Given that Trump is a birther, and worries about that pillow on Scalia’s head, and thinks he was persecuted by the IRS for being such a strong Christian, I 100% guarantee that if he loses he’ll claim it was stolen. Indeed didn’t he already do that in Iowa? His whole movement is full of delusional paranoid fanatics.

    Jerry Brown, You misunderstood that comment, it did not have any bad implications for Dems, indeed I’m also pro-choice and anti-torture. I also want to see more immigration. Those are good things. The comment was directed at Trump pretending to be a fascist just to get GOP votes.

    Anand, Yes, I’ve pointed out that his tax plan is a dream come true for the hedge fund industry, and yet Trump insists he’ll go after the hedge fund industry. From the beginning I’ve said his tax plan to too loony to be taken seriously. Look for that to change soon, in the direction of higher taxes. Trump’s actual views are similar to Hillary’s, the rest are lies.

    Anand, You said:

    “One point I do wish to make: the appeal of Trump’s rhetoric against immigration is among people who think low-skilled immigrants “take our jobs”. They won’t care too much about his position on high-skilled immigration. Most of the “illegal immigrants” are not high-skilled.”

    If you look at the county by county vote totals in Massachusetts, he’s getting huge support from affluent areas, presumably some are worried that their high tech jobs will be taken by immigrants.

    In any case, he’s also going to change his positive on the low skilled—he won’t expel them, it would hurt the economy and prevent America from being great again.

    Elsewhere (before running) Trump said outsourcing jobs overseas is a good thing, because it helps American companies. Those are his actual views.

  44. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    6. March 2016 at 06:21

    Travis, Actual inflation has been trending upwards. It’s clear that we have supply-side issues that will result in even very low NGDP growth leading mostly to inflation. Housing is one example, which Kevin Erdmann talks about a lot.

  45. Gravatar of zephito zephito
    6. March 2016 at 08:05

    I’ve always had a corner of my brain thinking that Trump’s whole candidacy was nothing more than a practical joke being played on the GOP.

    Sumner, you fraud, earlier you said:

    “Why do they treat us like children, telling us that Rubio and Cruz are neck and neck for second place in the race for the nomination. It’s a two person race between Trump and Rubio…the other candidates should just get out. The main question of interest now is who would win between Trump and Rubio on a head to head, with no one else in the race.”

    How dare those media figures try to pass off Cruz as a viable nominee! They must think we’re two years old! Either that, or they themselves are stupid! Only a stupid person thinks that Cruz has a chance! Or a two-year-old!

    Stop predicting things Sumner, you goofball. Everyone should stop relying on markets or pundits or their own intuition for this race. No one knows what’s going to happen at this point.

    So I’ll just give my prediction: Trump has delegate lead at convention, Cruz second, Trump P, Cruz VP. If Cruz leads, Trump is out and bolts the party.

    BTW, I felt as you did about Trump v. Rubio earlier, so I’m also a fraud.

    Also, I watched my first debate last week. How could anyone watching this even plausibly consider voting for Trump? He obviously doesn’t know what he’s doing up there.

  46. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    6. March 2016 at 08:11

    Given that Trump is a birther,

    Trump raised questions about BO’s refusal to release his long-form certificate. That’s quite weak tea compared to the fantasia in which birthers (especially residual birthers) engage (when they’re not in “I say it’s spinach” mode).

  47. Gravatar of Steve Steve
    6. March 2016 at 08:15

    Make the President a Great Narcissist Again!

    http://www.americanthinker.com/articles/2016/03/donald_trump_and_narcissistic_personality_disorder_an_interview_with_sam_vaknin.html

    This pretty much nails it, much more precisely than Scott has done.

  48. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    6. March 2016 at 08:36

    @Steve

    http://blog.dilbert.com/post/139910704581/how-to-spot-a-narcissist-trump-persuasion-series

    zephito, great point. Ted was never dead.

  49. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    6. March 2016 at 08:45

    Sumner: “Given that Trump is a birther, and worries about that pillow on Scalia’s head” – first, the issue of who is properly an American by constitutional right to run for president is not so cut-and-dried. There are legal scholars on both sides of the issue on whether somebody born in Canada to American citizens can run for president. The consensus is ‘yes’ but it’s not a slam dunk; according to originalist thought (of which Scalia was one), it’s probably not proper, but that’s a minority opinion. Second, do you think it’s natural for an old person to have a pillow on (not under) their head?

  50. Gravatar of Jim S. Jim S.
    6. March 2016 at 08:51

    Scott,
    For someone that claims not to be a conservative (I would guess you would identify as a libertarian) you seem particularly invested in the Republican Party. As I said before Trump is what the Republican Party deserved for its past sins, and in the end I suspect he will be good for the Republican Party.

    One point about your belief in the superiority of consumption taxes over income taxes; Trump (like all wealthy people) gains a great deal of value from his wealth without having to consume much of it. When you read biographies of fat cats in the past (Vanderbilt, Morgan, Rockefeller, Carnegie, Ford, Jobs, etc.) you can see that people were always asking for their opinions on the issues of the day. And in the light of history, one can see that their wisdom was limited to making money, and not much more. Without taxing income and without death taxes I could see us creating a well-entrenched ruling class. Trump is a pretty good argument for Piketty’s wealth tax.

  51. Gravatar of Steve F Steve F
    6. March 2016 at 09:26

    The media, consultant class, and GOP (and the markets that arise from their opinions) have not been bullish on Cruz at any point (except today) because they have no clue what they’re doing. That may sound a little harsh and arrogant, but it is absolutely true; they really do not understand electoral politics.

    It’s not unlike how so many otherwise wise economists lose their marbles when they enter the political space. It’s where what people *want* dominates their better judgment.

    Cruz may not win this nomination, but he is a juggernaut that the Washington bubble cannot see on account of the bubble. They think unfounded silly things like conservatives are unelectable even though the evidence shows the opposite. They hate Cruz because they think his anti-Gang-of-8 stuff doomed the GOP to losing the WH even though they provide exactly zero sound reasons for how that could be.

    Head-to-head, Cruz would dominate Trump (or Rubio or Kasich). It’s not even a question. Washington is an ostrich factory. They think that just because their heads are in the sand and that they don’t like liberty conservatism it must mean that people who make a living doing things other than expressing frivolous opinions have their heads snug in the sand too.

  52. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    6. March 2016 at 09:51

    @Art: So Trump is/was NOT a birther? Again, it’s really disappointing to see who I thought was an intelligent person just totally spread his legs for Team Red. If Trump was Team Blue (which he kinda is, or at least was) you would be savagely tearing him apart for an array of personal and professional and tonal deficits. But because he’s nominally a Rep, you shill for him everywhere and hand wave away his obvious traits: vulgarian, pro-choice, birther, embarrassment, narcissist, congenital liar….you call out Dems for that stuff all the time and are often correct to do so. But Team Red can do no wrong.

    You are a world-class hypocrite and blind partisan. Sad really.

  53. Gravatar of Negation of Ideology Negation of Ideology
    6. March 2016 at 09:57

    I just noticed on the election odds site, Kasich is now ahead of Rubio both for the nomination, 8.9% to 5.7%, and for the general, 4.0% to 2.2%.

    What I’m not sure of is what caused the flip?

  54. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    6. March 2016 at 09:59

    @Jason: actually a pivot to the center will be a nightmare for Trump lovers. Is that what the people voting for him thought they were voting for?

  55. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    6. March 2016 at 10:01

    @Negation: Rubio had a terrible night, he has even less of a plausible road to the nomination that Kasich now. Kasich has very little shot too but it’s slightly more, based on winning Ohio and getting some momentum from Rubio dropping out, etc.

    It really looks like a contested convention is coming, which will be a ton of fun. That’s why Ryan and Romney have non-zero chances in the betting markets

  56. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    6. March 2016 at 10:18

    @msgkings

    -It will mostly be a shift in emphasis, not policy.

    Agreed Art is a blind partisan.

  57. Gravatar of Matt Waters Matt Waters
    6. March 2016 at 11:43

    On high-skilled immigration, could Trump at least promise to change h-1b’s to not make visa-holders indentured servants to their employers?

  58. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    6. March 2016 at 11:50

    Zephito, If you are going to call me a fraud, don’t you need some evidence? What did I lie about?

    Ray, You said:

    “Second, do you think it’s natural for an old person to have a pillow on (not under) their head?”

    Perfect! You are a conspiracy nut too. Thanks for not disappointing me.

    Jim S. You said:

    “For someone that claims not to be a conservative (I would guess you would identify as a libertarian) you seem particularly invested in the Republican Party.”

    Not at all, I have no plans to vote GOP even if Trump is not the nominee. But we have a two party system, and I’d rather not see one of them become the National Front. Most of all I want Trump stopped, that explains all my posts begging the GOP to get their act together, before they commit suicide.

    I’d be thrilled if this destroyed the Republican party, and something better came along. The real problem is the two party system, we need at least 3 or 4 parties.

    You said:

    “Trump is a pretty good argument for Piketty’s wealth tax.”

    Just the opposite, The rich hate Trump, but even all their billions they are not able to stop him. The groups with power are lawyers, doctors, teachers unions, farmers, etc.

    Steve F, In fairness, in all previous GOP elections going back to 1965, the Cruz and Trump types never won in the end. Reagan was perhaps the closest to an outsider, but not on the scale of these two, not even close. So bettors naturally relied on historical precedent, as did I. It just didn’t work out this time. But in worked in 2012, when the economy was in far worse shape, and an extremist might have been expected to do better.

    BTW, I bet money on two elections, and won both times, what’s your track record?

    Negation, I’d guess that Kasich has more chance in Ohio than Rubio in Florida. Rubio’s constantly suffering from being everyone’s second choice. He does better than the others in head to heads with Hillary, but probably can’t get the nomination. BTW, I’m not a Rubio fan, I was just pushing him as I thought he had the best chance of stopping Trump. I’m for anyone but Trump (similar to Romney)

    Msgkings, I have to admit that a contested convention would be fun. I seem to recall that in the old days they’d sometimes go 50 or 60 ballots. Is that right?

  59. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    6. March 2016 at 11:51

    Matt, I’m pretty sure that Trump likes the idea of “servants”.

  60. Gravatar of A.Orange A.Orange
    6. March 2016 at 11:56

    Fascism properly understood is a phenomenon of the left.

  61. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    6. March 2016 at 12:09

    @A.Orange

    -Exactly the opposite of the truth.

    @ssumner

    -Didn’t you realize zephito was pulling your leg?

    “But in worked in 2012, when the economy was in far worse shape, and an extremist might have been expected to do better.”

    -The problem at the time: bubble candidates. Bachmann, Perry, Cain, Gingrich, Paul, Santorum, etc. If T-Paw had stayed in, he would have had his chance after Gingrich.

    The Trump phenomenon is unique to Trump. Cruz ended up being the most traditional conservative that was brave enough to stay in the race despite adversity (unlike T-Paw and Walker).

    Fortunately, this race did not suffer from bubble candidates (except maybe Rubio and Carson).

    “But we have a two party system, and I’d rather not see one of them become the National Front.”

    -Is the National Front worse than 1980s PASOK? I don’t know much about either.

  62. Gravatar of Steve F Steve F
    6. March 2016 at 12:20

    Scott, I disagree that Reagan wasn’t an outsider on the level of Cruz. In fact I think he was an even deeper outsider. He primary’d and nearly beat the sitting GOP President. I wasn’t around back then, but I could only imagine how the GOP of today would loathe him even more than they do Cruz. It can be said that Ford may have lost to Carter because of Reagan, yet it was a piece of the puzzle of the Reagan Revolution, which while not perfect, was essential to the resurgence of the United States.

    I disagree with most comparisons of Cruz and Trump. They’re as unalike as water and oil. Cruz is a liberty constitutional conservative whose majority of enemies are Washington insiders; Trump is a left-liberal strongman whose popularity emerges from disaffected Clinton Democrats who believe the main problem with government is not the institution itself but the weak knees of its leadership. This being the crux of Trump’s support can be seen in how he has no real policy positions yet his supporters have faith that what he *really* thinks is what they think.

  63. Gravatar of Steve F Steve F
    6. March 2016 at 12:51

    I forgot to address the electability of conservatives.

    There haven’t really been that many grassroots conservatives since Reagan. I honestly can’t think of any that reached some level of prominence. Guys like Huckabee and Santorum are not grassroots conservatives as much as they’re evangelical populists with a measure of national socialism.

    The GOP brass thinks conservatism is unelectable for the main reason that they just don’t understand it. They’re creatures of Washington culture, where, not unlike Hollywood, to be in the “in crowd” you have to embrace the progressive narrative. For example, because Washington culture imbues the idea that a requirement to be liked and to win elections is to give special treatment to various minority groups, the Washington GOP views Cruz as its biggest opposition to winning the White House due to Cruz’s nearly single-handed halting of their immigration plan. Cruz’s behavior looks “anti-Hispanic” to them, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. The GOP would gain no Hispanic support by giving special treatment to illegals, yet would gain a good deal of support by following Cruz and rewarding those who follow the rule of law. Legal immigrants-made-citizens vote and they benefit from constitutional conservative principles like lawfulness and liberty just like everybody else. Career politicians in the GOP have lost their understanding of constitutional conservatism just like how if you move to Hollywood and want to make it in the big pictures you have to act like King Social Justice and Queen Government Knows Best.

  64. Gravatar of A.Orange A.Orange
    6. March 2016 at 13:01

    Fantastic refutation.

  65. Gravatar of Steve F Steve F
    6. March 2016 at 13:16

    A.Orange is correct.

    The underlying political divide through the history of Europe is stoicism for the state vs liberty from the state. Fascism and communism are both national socialism which ultimately derive their philosophical roots from Roman (and Catholic) stoicism. The movement against this emerges from Enlightenment philosophy that includes Adam Smith and Protestantism’s move towards individualism and liberty.

    Given the current left-right vernacular, it is correct to put fascism on the left along with its communist and national socialist buddies, and to put conservatism and libertarianism on the right.

  66. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    6. March 2016 at 13:17

    Steve F, In fairness, in all previous GOP elections going back to 1965, the Cruz and Trump types never won in the end.

    The only candidates of consequence vaguely resembling Trump in the last 70 years were Ross Perot and Steve Forbes. Perot never ran as a Republican and both were more focused than Trump and had fewer distracting personal issues.

    The only candidates of any consequence resembling Cruz were Barry Goldwater, Ronald Reagan (4x), and Rick Santorum. You had some others with a roughly similar policy perspective (Pat Buchanan, Alan Keyes), but these men were not working politicians. Reagan’s name was placed in nomination at the 1968 convention, but there was no Reagan campaign prior to that, so we’ll put that aside. Reagan was the uncontested incumbent in 1964, so we put that aside as well. That leaves you with 4 competitive donnybrooks (1964, 1976, 1980, and 2012). In two cases, Cruz-type candidates won the nomination and in two cases they were the runner up.

  67. Gravatar of zephito zephito
    6. March 2016 at 13:40

    Boo, you’re no fun! Everyone enjoys Monday-morning quarterbacking. As stated, I agreed with you about that post regarding Trump vs. Rubio, and I don’t consider you a fraud in the real sense; it was just teasing. I suppose I could say that you indicated the other candidates had no chance when the markets indicated a greater-than-0 percent chance, which you were aware of. Would that count as a “lie?” Anyway, sorry to offend.

    I do notice, however, that you didn’t get mad at me calling you a goofball :)

  68. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    6. March 2016 at 13:44

    The GOP brass thinks conservatism is unelectable for the main reason that they just don’t understand it.

    That may be, Steve F. However, if you want to understand why you’re not getting the candidates you want, I’ll offer a two part explanation: (1) they don’t run; (2) people do not vote for them when they do run. After Mr. Reagan’s last campaign, you’ve had 13 men who competed adequately for the Republican nomination of whom 5 managed encores. You’ve had two men who might be fairly called opportunists for whom issues were fungible (G. Bush the Elder, M. Romney), two Capitol Hill fixtures (R. Dole, J. McCain), four non-professionals rallying a constituency (Pat Robertson, Pat Buchanan, Steve Forbes, Alan Keyes), a political scion who has commitments but not convictions (G.W. Bush), a gadfly / newsletter impresario who got himself elected to Congress but has more in common with the columnist crew than other elected officials (Ron Paul), and one fellow who is just sui generis (N. Gingrich). That leaves you with the two chaps you just described (rather maladroitly) as ‘evangelical populists with a measure of national socialism’ (M. Huckabee, R. Santorum).

    Here’s a suggestion: not many working politicians are motivated to try to sell what you want to buy, and your’s is a niche market anyway.

  69. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    6. March 2016 at 14:36

    I seem to recall that in the old days they’d sometimes go 50 or 60 ballots. Is that right?

    Not typical. One Democratic convention was hopelessly deadlocked (1860) and a half-dozen others (during the peri-bellum era and the span of years just before and just after WWI) ran to dozens of ballots. The Republicans have had only a few conventions with a two-digit population of ballots, the last in 1920.

  70. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    6. March 2016 at 15:22

    @Ray

    “You [Scott Sumner] gave the distinct impression that you thought Trump was indeed a fascist. In fact, you were quite alarmist about it, despite being told the opposite by your readers.”

    That’s exactly what I was thinking.

  71. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    6. March 2016 at 15:40

    Yes, Christian, Sumner has self-contradictory opinions about Trump, all thought up with the intent to smear him.

  72. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    6. March 2016 at 16:03

    And what happend to:

    “Why do they treat us like children, telling us that Rubio and Cruz are neck and neck for second place in the race for the nomination.”

    I was one of those children who thought Cruz is second after Trump no matter what these so-called prediction markets said.
    (Like E. Harding said: They don’t predict anything.)

    Scott, you are a great anti-mascot. Could you please “predict” that Hillary is going to win?

  73. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    6. March 2016 at 16:24

    Trump says he would follow the law, but would like it to be expanded to allow waterboarding:

    https://youtu.be/2xgJoEsC6BA

    And, in all honesty, President Trump will torture and kill terrorists’ families, whether the law allows it or not. Decades of precedent have shown this.

    @Christian

    Did I say prediction markets don’t predict anything? I don’t remember this. After looking at their behavior at some time, I think it’s clear that they don’t take into account expected future information well (except on Super Tuesday) and are too recent-past-minded. They had Cruz at 1.4% (not a typo) while he was polling at a consistent second place. It’s now 10x higher. At one point, they expected Ted Cruz to win Kentucky. He didn’t. They didn’t even remotely expect Cruz to win in Oklahoma. Which major states did they expect Rubio to win, anyway? Shouldn’t that have been an important indicator of what chance Rubio had of becoming the nominee?

  74. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    6. March 2016 at 16:25

    It’s also interesting how bizarrely the markets interpreted South Carolina and Nevada. That was a bit of madness, surely.

  75. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    6. March 2016 at 16:29

    Y’all are gonna be so mad when Hillary wins the presidency. Maybe even madder than when Obama got re-elected. How are such things even possible?

  76. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    6. March 2016 at 16:39

    I wasn’t mad when Obama got re-elected; I wanted him to be re-elected. Then he re-created the Islamic State to destroy Syria, Iraq, Libya, and parts of Lebanon and Afghanistan, and I started to seriously regret my support for Obama in 2012. At least we have a Republican congress, which we wouldn’t have gotten had we had Romney victory 2012. Trump 2016! Don’t vote for political dynasties!

  77. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    6. March 2016 at 16:54

    Trump says the truth! General Patton would have had ISIS down in about three days! That’s exactly what I’ve been saying since mid-2014! Remember Panama! Remember Libya!

  78. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    6. March 2016 at 17:41

    Watching #DemDebate now. Sanders sounds far scarier than Trump. Hillary is a very capable woman (though she sounds like a hag -seriously, her voice is pretty ugly, uglier than her face, which looks like a skeleton, especially when she’s shouting). These calls for resignation wouldn’t be happening if this happened under Granholm. Clinton is good at canned responses and at saying nothing while speaking for minutes. Man, her voice and face are ugly as heck. That should seriously hurt her in the general. Trump’s voice and face are ten times more attractive.

    I can see why Sanders is unpopular among Blacks- he sounds like a Jew speaking White socialist thoughts, which are simply unattractive to anyone but White socialists.

    BTW, the level of lead poisoning in Flint is the same as in 2007. By any objective standard, this is a minor issue. Was Flint 2007 so bad? As the joker says, “nobody panics when things go according to plan”. That’s why the Republicans rightly paid little attention to it.

    Sanders is advocating Trumpian trade policies. Fun.

    Sanders suggests Wall Street runs Flint satirically. He seems to think of government as a reflection of the people and Wall St. and the corporations as apart for them.

    Hillary’s face needs to be just a little uglied up to be unelectable. Did I mention her voice?

    Sanders points out the U.S. is the wealthiest country in the history of the world four times in thirteen minutes.

    Blacks cannot relate to tirades against “wealthy campaign contributors”. This is a liberal White issue.

    God, there’s so little intellectual diversity on the Democrat side.

    “I will go far”

    Response:

    “Well, I will go twice as far!”

    Hillary name-drops Obama to appeal to Blacks.

    Hillary sounds sickly.

    Way too much about Flint for twenty stinking minutes. Hillary sounds like she’s about to choke.

    Sanders’ vocabulary is almost Trumpian now.

    Finally, a non-scripted question from a purple-lipped blonde-haired-dyed Black woman.

    Did I mention how sickly Hillary sounds? Audience claps at “women and minority-owned businesses”.

    “When a company decides to leave… I’m going to claw back these benefits”. Again, Trumpian.

    “They’re going to have an export fee”- very, very Trumpian.

    Sanders digs in on Clinton “religion on this issue”. NAFTA, normal trade relations with China, etc. He was all against this. Socialist-nationalist.

    “Don’t need a Ph.D. in economics to know Americans shouldn’t have to compete with Mexicans or Vietnamese”.

    “Invest not in China, not in Mexico”.

    Sanders was against the auto-bailout, which Obama was for, Clinton points out, to appeal to the ignorant. Clinton strongly condemns Sanders for opposing the auto bailout.

    Sanders condemn Clinton for voting for Wall Street bailout and for trade agreements.

    “Excuse me, I’m talking”, says Sanders.

    BTW, I’m for NAFTA. It was very good for Mexico, but it needs internal reform.

    Clinton says she voted against CAFTA. Everyone’s fighting to be more anti-trade. The hag is harsh. She would complement Trump well, less so Cruz.

    “Hard choices”.

    “I went with Barack Obama”.

    Sanders is a one-issue candidate. “Wall street” repeated over and over. Makes good point about bailout.

    Sanders mentions Obama for first time.

    Sanders talks too much about middle-class for Blacks.

    Both candidates’ voices sound terrible.

    Sanders is taller than Clinton.

    “Release the transcripts!”

    “I’ll only do so if others do so.”

    “I (Hillary) asked for a moratorium on foreclosures” and called for changes in CEO pay.

    Obama took more money from Wall Street than anyone?

    Dodd-Frank, Hillary says, was toughest since Great Depression.

    The Hillarian cackle (in response to Sanders saying he doesn’t give expensive speeches to Wall St.)!

    Sanders is first to mention “broken criminal justice system”.

    Sanders points out Detroit was once rich and harshly condemns trade policies for cutting some manufacturing jobs’ pay 50%.

    Hillary distracts by pointing to future, but remembers the past, which she wasn’t responsible. She sounds sickly. Points to Ex-Im.

    These guys would have defended the Soviet Union if they were Russian. The Republicans would be thinking forward if they were Russian.

    Sanders condemns Ex-Im just because it helps corps, and says they exploit poor people.

    Sanders stands with Ted Cruz, Cooper points out. Sanders says Democrats aren’t always right.

    Clinton: other countries subsidize! Why shouldn’t the U.S.!

  79. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    6. March 2016 at 17:45

    Hillary espouses pop-internationalism. Krugman would be all over these pols if he was the same as that in 1995.

    China hate is popular here, and Clinton appeals to it.

    Democrats offer all the disadvantages of Trump, but without the benefits (except with Snowden).

    Dems are so narrow-minded.

    Sanders mentions healthcare and proposes Medicare for all.

    Hillary mentions Obama again and says we have 90% coverage. This is popular.

    Another Clinton cackle.

  80. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    6. March 2016 at 17:46

    Clinton is good at appearing populist. Sanders is good at appearing Jewish, White, and Socialist.

  81. Gravatar of Mark Mark
    6. March 2016 at 17:57

    Scott, I think Occam’s razor is against your notion of Trump having his *real* views, then pretending to be something else to win votes. Simpler explanation (and the one in keeping with his demeanor) is that he doesn’t have many core beliefs and what he expresses is tailored to the audience. And not out of cynicism, either. I think we’ve all known some individuals in our lives who would just emphatically agree with whoever they were in a room with. They’d rant and rail against whichever bogeyman their company feared most, the government, the rich, the foreigners, whatever, just because they’re a trifle narcissistic and yearn for approval and like hearing people cheer them on. That is Trump. He’s no Hitler or Mussolini. They had clear, stated goals from the beginning, and being utilitarians, they lied to get into position to accomplish them. I see little evidence that Trump has any clear goals (other than ‘keepin them for’ners from takin’ our jerbs’). He hasn’t taken many positions at all that he hasn’t contradicted. As far as what he’ll actually do, that may well just be like playing a slot machine with 4 years of federal policy at stake.

    “I’d be thrilled if this destroyed the Republican party, and something better came along.”
    Careful what you wish for. If both parties collapse together, that’d be great. But if one party collapse while the other consolidates, you just get a one party system. If the GOP falls apart, it won’t be replaced by something else, but by many something elses. That’s why it’s kind of falling apart, after all; it would just splinter into a bunch of different sects, and the Democrats would have room to move almost as far lest a they’d like. The next socialist they run will win the primary easily because, with only scattered factions opposing them in a winner take all system, they wouldn’t even have to worry about electibility. Each party’s main function is to stand in the way of the other party’s tyrannical ambitions, in my admittedly pessimistic view.

  82. Gravatar of Steve F Steve F
    6. March 2016 at 18:03

    I’d like to note that I think Cruz would be at >50% probability to take at least one of Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Those states have droves of rural and suburban voters who can embrace the message of liberty and a messenger of integrity. They’ve been voting Democrat for a while because the GOP candidates have written them off. Cruz would not do that. He’s better at politics than his contemporaries.

    It’s funny, being a reformed lefty, I used to loathe Cruz and came into this election not really thinking much of it. But it was seeing how incredibly smart his electoral politics is that I started seeing something more.

  83. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    6. March 2016 at 18:20

    Now, to the subject of crime. Beginning with Kalamazoo.

    90 people a day by gun violence? Doubtful?

    And she completely breaks the requirement of the question!!!!!!!!!

    Okay, now she gets back on track.

    Mentions D.S. Roof. She’s good at appealing to Blacks.

    They need to cut off their microphones if they go over time!

    Crime is nowhere near just about mass shootings and guns (say I)!

    Everyone claps at suing Remington!

    Clinton has a dominant voice, though gets screechy.

    Everybody rails against conservative enemies (e.g., the NRA).

    Clinton condemns gun manufacturers’ “corporate greed” with epic applause.

    Clinton appeals to the myth of “systemic racism”. There is no systemic racism in America.

    “You’re not talking about me, are you?” -good humor, Sanders.

    “My church and my youth minister” “inner city” -[facepalm].

    Not exactly the Third Black President, but half of it.

    Repeating questions! The Republicans don’t do that!

    This debate is such a wank-fest!

    Sanders gives a much better response to the racial question.

    “Current year”.

    “We will end institutional racism”.

    “look like the communities they serve” -would you trust police in any Black-majority country?

    “universal pre-K” -[facepalm].

    Clinton is better at evasions and pandering to Blacks than Trump. But she sounds hoarse.

  84. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    6. March 2016 at 18:24

    I wonder: might this election season be the Republicans’ 1988? Handpicked successor, battle for the soul of the party not in the White House, strong defeat for the party that had the battle over its soul?

  85. Gravatar of Steve Steve
    6. March 2016 at 18:42

    “Sanders stands with Ted Cruz, Cooper points out. Sanders says Democrats aren’t always right.

    Clinton: other countries subsidize! Why shouldn’t the U.S.!”

    This is exactly what I wrote yesterday. Establishment econs flip out over tariffs, but they looovvvvve to give subsidies to their favorite political insider businesses.

    Oh, and Scott didn’t analyze the MA results very well. Note that Hillary cleaned up in the rich towns of Lincoln, Lexington, Concord, Newton and Wellesley, while Bernie took 2/3 of the vote in west and central MA.

    Wellesley you say? Of course they voted for their woman alum for president. Except that Northampton (Smith) went the other way, 62% Bernie. Even Cambridge, with the college kids, went for Hillary thanks to the rich vote.

    So it’s basically the same pattern as Kasich v Trump, with a few racial differences.

    https://apps.bostonglobe.com/election-results/2016/primary/democratic/massachusetts/?p1=BG_election_results

  86. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    6. March 2016 at 18:46

    “how we treat children and elderly” is too abstract for Blacks.

    Detroit has a lot of money. Too much of it.

    Grr. Quality childcare and pre-K.

    “We’re going to have the best public school system in the world”. LOL.

    Sanders repeats false talking points, just like Trump!

    “Return control to the people of Detroit”! Lol!

    Clinton is a strong speaker, though her voice is by no means as good as Trump’s. She’s good at egalitarian rhetoric.

    “Don’t want to put the money”? LOL. Porto Rico and Detroit have a lot of money.

    Clinton definitely feels like more of a fighter than Bernie. Sanders is the very vision of slave morality.

    Sanders does not support fracking, supports CO2 tax. He is a climate alarmist.

    This is the lamest debate ever. No insults, no defenses of penis size.

    Clinton cackle (“fossil fuel industry”). Clinton mentions Obama again.

    Clinton papers over contradictions. Trump overlays one on top of another.

    Sanders insults Republican candidates as mentally ill.

    Clinton supports constitutional amendment to repeal Citizens United. Obviously she wants censorship of Hillary: the movie.

  87. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    6. March 2016 at 18:50

    Steve, the patterns are quite different. Sanders’s support in Massachusetts is almost precisely inversely related to population density. Trump isn’t popular only in rich suburbs and college towns. Quite different patterns.

  88. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    6. March 2016 at 19:03

    Trump’s “bigotry, bullying, bluster”.

    Sanders says “Communist” is a nice thing.

    “Sanders, do you believe that God is relevant”?

    -“Yes”. Golden rule. Slave morality. “Veterans who are sleeping out on the street”.

    “I am very proud to be Jewish”.

    “My father’s family was wiped out by Hitler in the Holocaust.”

    Trump is annudah Shoah, people (Sanders almost, but not quite, says).

    These stupid religion questions weren’t in the GOP debate.

    “I am a praying person”– yes, for militant Islam.

    This was the lamest debate ever.

    Sanders grew up poor, therefore, he knows a lot about economics. Man, this Jew… [sigh. grr.]

    Sanders has a good closing statement.

    “realize its potential”. “Economic barriers”. This is total nonsense. Fiction of systemic racism.

    Clinton had a good debate. Started out poorly, but finished well. A bit old. She will get into the gutter.

    Sanders’s worst part was on gun control.

    I will gladly vote for Donald J. Trump on Tuesday, especially if it means beating those losers.

  89. Gravatar of Steve Steve
    6. March 2016 at 19:30

    Bernie wins Maine!

    30 point margin of victory, another Sanders/Cruz state

  90. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    6. March 2016 at 19:44

    The Maine results are worthless. Maine has an easily manipulated barely-attended caucus. More votes were cast for Rubio+Kasich in the Saturday Maine Caucus than were cast for Hillary+Bernie in the Sunday one.

  91. Gravatar of Ray Lopez Ray Lopez
    6. March 2016 at 20:19

    @E. Harding- you’re out of control again, stop the verbal diarrhea. At least my posts, when OT, are informative, concerning economics, and not just opinions.

  92. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    6. March 2016 at 20:31

    Your opinion of yourself is wildly self-inflated, Ray.

  93. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    6. March 2016 at 21:42

    Maybe Trump is America’s Shinzo Abe. Reduced freedom of the press, lower tolerance for national apologies, desire to make country great again. It works, I guess.

  94. Gravatar of collin collin
    7. March 2016 at 06:55

    Just as I predicted, he’s a Democrat pretending to be a fascist.

    No is a modern Dixiecrat with lines back to George Wallace in 1968 and 1972. And realize George was doing well in the 1972 Democratic Primaries before he was shot. He would given McGovern (who won with less than 30% of vote.) a good run although I suspect Nixon still wins.
    With the Clinton/Obama coaltion, the Democratic Party is a lot different and HRC is still on the road to the nomination. (I see Bernie Sanders is starting to campaign heavily against trade with Michigan and Ohio coming up.)

  95. Gravatar of Laura Laura
    7. March 2016 at 07:50

    Scott,

    I’m looking for Trump + Sanders => strong third party Bloomberg and congress picks the president.

    The trouble so far is that Hillary scared the good candidates out of the race from the beginning. Instead we’re getting
    0) Cronyism coupled to a new hard-left tax regime that will run the country into a ditch, or
    1) Wacky socialist policies (governemnt will nationalize 20% of the economy for starters) that will run the country into the ditch, or
    2) Wacky fascist policies (government will run your business for you) that will run the country into the ditch, or
    3) A brilliant but bible-thumping Cruz Missile.

    What a choice.

  96. Gravatar of collin collin
    7. March 2016 at 09:49

    Got that, Trump supporters? You low-skilled unemployed factory workers don’t fit into Trump’s grand plans to Make America Great Again. Greatness comes from smart Asian immigrants, not American students who don’t do their homework.

    We might like Trump’s run for the President but there are significant problems of the emptying Rust Belt towns. (And most HB-1 are lowering wages for US college graduates not for people who people who did not do their homework.)

  97. Gravatar of TallDave TallDave
    7. March 2016 at 09:52

    As I predicted months ago, senior military officials are starting be seriously worried about the possibility of illegal orders from The Donald.

    And Trump also said he uses seasonal immigrant labor because he can’t find Americans to do the work. Maybe he’ll leave them a door in his vaunted wall?

  98. Gravatar of TallDave TallDave
    7. March 2016 at 09:55

    jknarr

    At least there’s a chance, however modest, that Trump is not wholly and corruptly bought and paid for. Have some small sympathy for the anti-oligarch vote, Scott. It’s your freedoms at stake too.

    Just because Dad had a couple glasses of wine with dinner doesn’t mean we should ask the cat to drive the family home.

    The most salient attribute of Trump voters remains a total lack of self-awareness. Elect an oligarch to end the oligarchy? Vote for the one guy virtually guaranteed to be lying about his positions? Uh, sure.

  99. Gravatar of TallDave TallDave
    7. March 2016 at 10:12

    I’m going to receive great joy watching how this thing plays out.

    It would almost be worth Trump winning the nomination to watch his supporters contort themselves into knots of cognitive dissonance as Trump flails around trying to out-socialist Hillary or Bernie in the general election, even as his loony-fascism has already made him radioactive to independents and all his former suckers are paraded endlessly before his current crop.

    We might all get to graduate from Trump University together this fall.

  100. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    7. March 2016 at 10:30

    Actually, TallDave, a fifth of Democrats are willing to switch to Trump, not to mention independents. Trump is no fascist. Rubio might be.

    “We might all get to graduate from Trump University together this fall.”

    -Yup.

  101. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    7. March 2016 at 10:58

    Maybe Trump is America’s Shinzo Abe.

    Or maybe Trump’s just Trump: inconsistent, improvisational, the bearer of a half-dozen artifices at any one time, and with a focus on ‘winning’ (which may prove problematic inasmuch as political life has no equivalent to balance sheets and profit-and-loss statements).

  102. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    7. March 2016 at 11:00

    even as his loony-fascism has already made him radioactive to independents and all his former suckers are paraded endlessly before his current crop.

    In TallDave’s mind, immigration control = ‘loony fascist’.

    The most salient attribute of Trump voters remains a total lack of self-awareness.

    Contextually, that’s pretty funny.

  103. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    7. March 2016 at 11:13

    Trump’s not a loony fascist, he just plays one on TV. Trump has no ideology whatsoever, obviously.

  104. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    7. March 2016 at 11:50

    “As I predicted months ago, senior military officials are starting be seriously worried about the possibility of illegal orders from The Donald.”

    The guys from the institution that is involved in kill orders by the President and until very recently was involved (most likely still is involved) in torture methods like deafening noise, sleep deprivation, deprivation of food, drink, withholding medical care for wounds – as well as waterboarding, walling, sexual humiliation, subjection to extreme heat and/or cold, confinement in small coffin-like boxes, and repeated beatings – are now worried about illegal orders? How very funny.

    What would The Donald do? Would he give “double” kill orders?!

    “Ey US Army! After you killed this terrorist guy, you know what you gonna do? You kill him a second time! And then you dump his body in the ocean! And then you recover the body and dump it again! Because I’m twice as evil. Har Har!”

  105. Gravatar of Anthony McNease Anthony McNease
    7. March 2016 at 13:47

    The conspiracy theory making the rounds now (actually it started some months ago but went silent for a while) is that Trump is just a stalking horse for his old friend Hillary and supported by their media friends in NYC like Les Moonves.

  106. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    7. March 2016 at 14:00

    @Anthony Mc: wouldn’t surprise me one bit. Trump is such a mess, that scenario is very plausible. Or maybe he started out that way and once he saw he could win the nomination he started playing for keeps? It’s all in play with that clown.

  107. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    7. March 2016 at 14:35

    “He is a man totally unique. He lives life at a 100 percent pace. I have never seen anything like it,” Gingrich said on Fox News Thursday evening.

    Gingrich has also undertaken the role of peacemaker between Trump and the Washington establishment, telling The Daily Beast last week that the hour for party unity is approaching.

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/2016-gop-primary-live-updates-and-results/2016/03/newt-romney-speech-vitriolic-and-nasty-220358

    It’s like Gingrich says. The Republicans should align themselves with Trump now. It’s too late to fight him now.

    If they continue to fight like this it will destroy the GOP. The real enemy is Hillary not Trump. And the only person who got a (small) chance left to beat Hillary is Trump. Cruz can not beat Hillary and Rubio is way too damaged.

  108. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    7. March 2016 at 14:46

    Even though I wonder how you can live life with less or more than 100% pace. Unless you can manipulate time of course.

    I also don’t get why “msgkings” said Trump is unpresidential. I found George W. Bush to be very unpresidential in 2000. Sometimes when he talked very slowly you had to wonder if he was mentally handicapped and/or learning-disabled. But people still elected him because Gore was extremely arrogant.

    So long story short: The people decide if somebody is presidential or not. If you are elected you are presidential by definition. And it wouldn’t be that weird because compared to Bush Trump is Augustus and Napoleon combined.

  109. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    7. March 2016 at 15:03

    @ssumner

    “I’d be thrilled if this destroyed the Republican party, and something better came along. The real problem is the two party system, we need at least 3 or 4 parties.”

    Great idea. Why learn anything from the Weimar Republic? It was so much fun.

  110. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    7. March 2016 at 15:05

    And the only person who got a (small) chance left to beat Hillary is Trump. Cruz can not beat Hillary and Rubio is way too damaged.

    Again, Rubio polls slightly better against Hellary than does Cruz, who polls slightly better than does Trump. Cruz had a notional lead against Hellary in the four most recent public polls of this hypothetical, while Trump was a few points behind HRC in the most recent polls. A bigger challenge might be Sanders, who polls better than Cutthroat Bitch against each of the leading Republicans.

  111. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    7. March 2016 at 15:11

    @Art Deco
    Those are just polls. And I assume it’s also just the popular vote. Everybody knows I’d prefer Cruz. But he’s way too conservative and way too unflexible to beat Hillary.

    Rubio is a bit like Trump: Very flexible. Rubio says anything to get elected. But Rubio’s debating skills are way inferior. He would lose in the debates vs. Hillary – not to mention that he’s not even good enough to win the GOP nomination.

  112. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    7. March 2016 at 17:03

    Those are just polls.

    Polls are not very reliable. They tend, I think, to be more reliable than your speculation about how Rubio will perform in a debate with Mmme. Post-concussion Syndrome.

  113. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    7. March 2016 at 17:05

    Art, what’s your big problem with Billary?

    I will naturally be voting for Donald J. Trump tomorrow.

  114. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    7. March 2016 at 18:44

    Art, what’s your big problem with Billary?

    Pretty much everything. From a distance, I’d say Billy Vote is more empathetic and not so graceless as the current incumbent. Beyond that, I cannot think of a congenial thing to say about him other than he had the sense not to trash the economy. As for his ghastly wife, the less said the better.

  115. Gravatar of Scott Sumner Scott Sumner
    7. March 2016 at 18:58

    Steve, Ford was the only “sitting President” who was never elected either President or VP.

    Zephito, Goofball is a compliment compared to what I usually get over here.

    Christian, It’s obvious that Trump is running a fascist style campaign; any idiot can see that. If you mean did I predict he’d become a dictator and tear up the Constitution, then no, the country is strong enough to survive him.

    It’s like when I call Sanders a socialist, I don’t mean he’s a socialist in the sense of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. If I use a Hitler analogy, it doesn’t mean I think Trump will be another Hitler.

    What you missed is that I clearly said Trump’s political positions were a joke, not to be taken seriously. They were laughable. I said that frequently, and now we know it’s true, as he backs away from them.

    Mark, I’ve been saying for years that America’s two party system is a mistake, and now we see why.

    Steve, I was analyzing the GOP race in Massachusetts, not the Dems.

    Laura, Nice idea, but Bloomberg’s probably going nowhere this year.

    Collin, But Trump did best in highly educated, affluent Massachusetts.

    Talldave, Well put.

    Anthony, I mentioned that theory a while back. I suppose his ego’s too big. But it’s really the only explanation that makes sense, as he’s clearly helping Hillary. Polls show Rubio beating Hillary, and Trump losing. He even trails her in North Carolina, a state Romney won, while losing the overall election by 4 points.

    Christian, You say Trump has good debating skills? Talking about how big your penis is may work with GOP voters (which is odd, as they tend to be quite religious), but against Hillary I really don’t think that approach will work. The general public is very different from Fox News viewers.

  116. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    7. March 2016 at 19:29

    Christian, It’s obvious that Trump is running a fascist style campaign; any idiot can see that.

    Any idiot who is comprehensively unfamiliar with the history of interwar Europe can see that.

  117. Gravatar of Mark Mark
    7. March 2016 at 20:23

    Scott: “The general public is very different from Fox News viewers.”
    Not really. The reason they do so well compared to the other major networks is because they’re closer to the median (from the right) than the other stations are (from the left). And he’s benefitted enormously from all the negative attention he’s gotten on CNN and NBC. In a CNN hosted debated may pull his penis out onstage and pretend it’s the one doing the talking and it would benefit him much the same I think.

    He is definitely Hillary’s best friend right now though. I wonder how many Democrats are thinking about hedging their bets and going with Hillary instead of Bernie just because she’s more likely to win the general. That’s what a rational voter would do, vote for the safe choice to keep the greater evil out of office. But I wonder, maybe the opposite will happen? Maybe Trump’s extreme rhetoric will aggravate Democrats and push them leftward as a kneejerk reaction and actually help Sanders? A less rational response, but more in keeping with history, as leftists and rightists tend to feed off each other and rise and fall concomitantly it seems.

  118. Gravatar of Niklas Blanchard Niklas Blanchard
    7. March 2016 at 23:01

    I think you’d benefit from reading Scott Adams on Trump. But here is a quick summary of the idea:

    Trump has realized (as has Hillary Clinton) that you can say literally anything you want in a primary. The underlying mechanics are that very few people follow the nuances of a given narrative, or care about hypocricy. Sure, many people might bluster about the ideas, but that is just noise.

    Let’s take two groups of 100 people with a normalally distributed mix of center-right policy positions. Trump addresses group A on Monday, knowing from possible research that trade is a hot button among them. He goes on a racist tirade against trade. On Wednesday, he addresses group B, which is pretty liberal on economic issues, but leans socially conservative. Trump says he supports free trade and targets his racist rhetoric elsewhere (possibly drugs or gangs).

    Now, out of those two groups, there may be a total of 10 people that will follow the narrative…but there are 10 each (total of 20 people) who are undecided…with the rest leaning Trump either way. Lo! He touches on the pet issues of each of the 20 people and flips them Trump. In the process, he completely alienates 10. That’s a net of 10 Trump voters.

    And then the Red Sox win the world series using a sabremetric model.

    Trump isn’t particularly stupid. It’s that he’s playing the political game solely for the prize of winning, and has no real interest in governing. Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if he resigned voluntarily…and that isn’t speculation, that comes straight from the Donald himself: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/book-party/wp/2015/07/30/i-just-binge-read-eight-books-by-donald-trump-heres-what-i-learned/?tid=a_inl

    Anyway, I know you’re a fan of Scott Alexander, and he highly respects Adams’ analysis of the political landscape. You should check out his (admittedly otherwise kind of wacky) blog: http://blog.dilbert.com

  119. Gravatar of Art Deco Art Deco
    8. March 2016 at 05:24

    I wonder how many Democrats are thinking about hedging their bets and going with Hillary instead of Bernie just because she’s more likely to win the general. That’s what a rational voter would do,

    No, it isn’t. It’s what an uninformed faux-rational voter would do. Bernie doesn’t have Hellary’s baggage, and he polls better than she does against Rubio, Cruz, and Trump for that reason.

  120. Gravatar of Jose Romeu Robazzi Jose Romeu Robazzi
    8. March 2016 at 07:59

    From 30.000 feet, Trump is obviously moderating his speech in order to gain the moderate republicans he needs to win the general election.

    This is the same everywhere, here in Brazil in the 2002 election, Lula, the radical leftist (and already a con candidate), moderated his speech (becoming “Lula, love and peace”), wrote the “Letter to Brazilians”, committing himself to maintain sustainable policies and upholding the law, etc. He ended up winning the election.

    Wait for more of these speech moderation signals from Trump, which is smart and only makes him more dangerous. The radicals are already in, they will try to get the moderates in order to win.

  121. Gravatar of J Mann J Mann
    8. March 2016 at 08:09

    Most of the reasonably successful candidates for president do some version of the ambiguity dance. (“Yes, Obama/W/Hillary/whomever is saying some stuff you don’t agree with, but it will all be all right because he/she is lying to get the votes of other, dumber voters, and/or is so smart or well advised that he/she will surely come around to your position. After all, you are so smart and well advised and obviously right, how can a smart person of good character NOT end up agreeing with you? And anyway, the other guy is worse.”)

    I’ve got no use for Trump, but I assume that’s how his supporters rationalize their support.

    I also seriously worry that Sanders’ and Trump’s success is a bad sign – as the party machines get weaker and the grassroots gets more activated, we’re seeing both parties move toward nominating whoever is willing to promise more.

  122. Gravatar of Morgan Warstler Morgan Warstler
    8. March 2016 at 08:31

    Sorry Scott, I was right, and you were wrong.

    WALL = Trump sees US a Country Club for top 5% of Earthlings. US low skill natives get the best service sector jobs on Earth.

    —–

    Just say, “Morgan was right” and you will be forgiven Scott.

    —-

    IMO, I suspect that Trump ALSO wants property rights in Mexico… New Florida is his Louisiana Purchase.

    This one I’m less sure about Scott, so you don’t have to adopt it as fact… yet.

  123. Gravatar of H_WASSHOI (Maekawa Miku-nyan lover) H_WASSHOI (Maekawa Miku-nyan lover)
    8. March 2016 at 11:01

    Oh.. Maybe I will make America great again, sorry.

  124. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    8. March 2016 at 13:00

    Niklas, Thanks for the tip.

  125. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    8. March 2016 at 15:30


    What you missed is that I clearly said Trump’s political positions were a joke, not to be taken seriously. They were laughable. I said that frequently, and now we know it’s true, as he backs away from them.

    That was a no-brainer from the beginning. I don’t think anybody here ever said you should take Trumps words literally.

    In fact most Trump supporters said that politics is not about politics. It’s not about the issues. Your approach to politics is too autistic.

    Obama did not win because he had detailed plans. The less details the better. The more hogwash you promise the better (see Obamacare). The more catchy slogans you use the better. Like “Change”. That was basically Obama’s whole campaign against Hillary: “Look I’m the new guy, my skin is black, I’m anti-establishment, I’m a good debater, I’ll promise change, isolationism and free healthcare for everybody, elect me.”

    Another example: “It’s morning in America” by Reagan (you really need to watch the ad if you don’t know it. That’s pure Trumpism – “Make America Great Again” was also used by Reagan first. It’s really no invention by Trump.

    That’s what politics is all about. It’s all about what people see in you. It’s about persuasion. It’s about dominating your opponents in the debate. It’s about presenting yourself as a leader.

    You might find this really stupid. You might think you are way smarter than the average voter. This point really interests me because I don’t really understand how EMH supporters often say voters are so stupid? How do both theories go together? I don’ think they go together well. I think voters are not stupid. I think their approach is quite smart. Issues change. Facts change.

    What does not change are personal abilities like persuasion skills, intelligence, a certain flexibility, communication skills, the ability to make good deals and the ability to lead. I think Trump is a master of persuasion, a master of good deals (for himself) and a leader (unlike Cruz and Rubio). He is so aware in the debates (I still think you haven’t seen a single debate). Scott Adams und Gingrich are right: Trump awareness and skill-set in debates is really unique.

    I assume that’s what a lot of Trump voters are seeing in him. A persuasion artist, a dealmaker. Someone who could really make better deals for America. Someone who could really make America great again.

    Obama did not keep his promise of reaching across the aisle at all (unlike Reagan). That’s another reason why we got Trump now. He is the only GOP candidate who could really reach across the aisle.

  126. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    8. March 2016 at 15:53

    I also wonder if there’s a former friend of Trump who’s really mad at him. So far I only heard from celebrities who said that he’s such a nice guy in private and that he was such a good friend during hard times.

    Celebrities and organizations you wouldn’t really expect it from endorse him – like Mike Tyson, Terrell Owens, Tom Brady and the National Black Republican Association of the GOP.

    At this point you would normally expect that Trump’s opponents dig up an old friend who’s denouncing Trump. Even his ex-wives seem to support him. There must be an old friend that feels betrayed that the media or Team Cruz/Rubio/Hillary can dig up?

  127. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    9. March 2016 at 10:00

    Christian, What he’s like in private doesn’t matter. If elected, he won’t be a private president, he will be a very public president. And in public he’s obviously a crude, obnoxious, jerk. Even that might be OK if his political views weren’t so anti-libertarian, but unfortunately they are. There is absolutely nothing good about Trump from a political perspective, his private life doesn’t matter.

    When you started to try to compare him to Reagan, I knew it was a sign you were a bit delusional.

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