Committing suicide in slow motion

Naturally I’m referring to the Democrats. Have you ever seen a political party so bound and determined to lose power?

1. Bloomberg has an article on how the Democrats are trying to destroy the highly popular and effective charter school movement.

With this year’s midterms looming and control of Congress hanging in the balance, Republicans are making inroads with voters by focusing on education, portraying Democrats as out of touch with the concerns of parents and captive to teachers unions.

Unfortunately, the Department of Education risks playing into their hands with a proposal to restrict funding for public charter schools that’s bad politics and even worse policy. It’s critical that the White House intervene before it’s too late.

As if voters weren’t already disgusted with the Dems for shutting down the public schools for far too long during Covid.

2. Josh Marshall points out that the Dems are missing an opportunity to hang Ukraine around the GOP’s neck:

But the first, second and third most important thing about this poll is that this is what you get when you’re not reminding Americans every day — and I mean every god-damned day — that the GOP has spent the last 7 years boosting, allying with and even conspiring with Russia. . .

This is so obvious I don’t see the need to even rehearse all the details and the bill of particulars. This is just losing the game because you didn’t put a team on the field. Political messaging, political storytelling isn’t a one and done or binary thing. You don’t seize on the silver bullet message and then the waters part in front of you. But there’s only so many hours in the day. In a setting like this, when Republicans are attacking Democrats 24/7 you need to carve out some of those hours for Republicans to explain why just three years ago they were helping Presidents Trump and Putin conspire against Ukraine and the United States. Only four years ago eight Republican Senators decided to spend July 4th making fealty to Vladimir Putin in Moscow. The list is endless.

I recall seeing videos of conservative groups literally chanting Putin’s name.

3. Matt Yglesias points out that the Dems are failing to go after Trump on the corruption issue:

4. Meanwhile, Biden keeps promoting policies that raise the cost of living, at a time when inflation is the number one issue. I warned you people that Biden was a buffoon.

Political parties are large organic groups of people with a life of their own. There is no central direction–they evolve according to murky social science laws that no human understands. For some unknown reason the Dems are sleepwalking into electoral suicide, and there doesn’t seem to be anything that anyone can do about it.



35 Responses to “Committing suicide in slow motion”

  1. Gravatar of sd0000 sd0000
    22. April 2022 at 10:00

    Scott – somewhat unrelated, but have been wanting to bring this up:

    I’m having a really hard time getting my head around the fact that U.S. inflation is much higher than other countries, but also the USD is strengthening against other currencies. What does that mean in practical terms?

    The most extreme example is virtually no inflation in Japan but Yen collapsing vs. USD. Though you see it in Euro countries as well…

  2. Gravatar of John Hall John Hall
    22. April 2022 at 11:10

    Lots of good points here. Move to some kind of jungle primary system is probably one of the best political reforms I can think of.

  3. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    22. April 2022 at 11:22

    I see no reason to single out Biden here. The whole Democratic Party has been dead from the neck up since the 80s, with the exceptions of Bill Clinton and Obama, who were obviously rockstar politicians. Their good intentions are swamped by stupid approaches to policy and politics. It’s unbelievable how dumb and ineffective they are, almost always.

  4. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    22. April 2022 at 11:39

    It’s not like the Democrats are total morons, I bet they know exactly why they’re not following Josh Marshall’s advice. It’s probably not a winning issue for them.

    The German Social Democrats (Sozialdemokraten), for example, are the most similar to the American Democrats, and this party, the SPD (and its voters) have a lot of “understanding” for poor Mother Russia, to say the least. I assume it’s similar in the United States. As I said, the Democrats will know what they are doing here.

  5. Gravatar of LorenzoFromOz LorenzoFromOz
    22. April 2022 at 13:04

    Prestige opinions among media, activists and connecting networks. They are locked into a status strategy that motivates, coordinates and justifies.

  6. Gravatar of Harry Heymann Harry Heymann
    22. April 2022 at 13:08

    How much of this is because Democratic leadership is almost entirely composed of geriatrics too far past their prime to be good at this sort of thing? I’m guessing…..a lot.

  7. Gravatar of LorenzoFromOz LorenzoFromOz
    22. April 2022 at 13:10

    Also, I wonder if some of them want Trump to be the GOP nominee, as he is an electorally weak candidate who underperformed his Party’s congressional vote twice.

  8. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    22. April 2022 at 13:46

    sd0000, I’ve wondered about that too. A great time to visit Japan!

    Lorenzo, Yes, siloing is a problem.

    Harry, Some of the old ones are out of touch, but some of the younger Democrats have horrible ideas, like rent control and cancelling student debt.

  9. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    22. April 2022 at 14:04

    The dollar-yen exchange rate was in this range in 1992, 1997, 2002, 2007, 2015, 2022. Maybe it’s not that special, and maybe it’s some kind of cycle.

  10. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    22. April 2022 at 14:08

    While I mostly gave up on my claim that running the economy hot was a good idea after the pandemic, I have not entirely given up. While it seems unlikely that supply-side issues would keep real GDP down and inflation up for 5 or more years, it’s not impossible. Perhaps we’re in for a much longer period of supply-side inflation than most think, while real growth will surprise on the upside in the long run. That would certainly be consistent with the continued rise in the dollar index, for example.

    On the other hand, perhaps the expectation of higher fiscal deficits plays a role.

  11. Gravatar of Spencer Bradley Hall Spencer Bradley Hall
    22. April 2022 at 14:09

    Biden is an agent of the Devil.
    Link: Industrial Production: Mining, Quarrying, and Oil and Gas Extraction: Oil and Gas Extraction (NAICS = 211) (IPG211S)

  12. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    22. April 2022 at 14:12

    Democrats think the Ukraine war is a negative issue with no positive associations. They think the more they talk about it the worse, no matter what the exact content is. Democrats think domestic politics is way more important for their voters.

    They don’t think along the lines of: let’s intervene, let’s defeat Putin, a war you win is the ultimate re-election booster, and then against the arch-enemy Russia. It doesn’t get better than that.

    Democrats don’t think that way. They think: the risk, the money, we could lose, let’s be cowards, because yeah, cowards get re-elected????

  13. Gravatar of steve steve
    22. April 2022 at 15:13

    I stopped reading on charter schools years ago when it was clear it was all selection effect. Is there some new data showing they actually work?


  14. Gravatar of Sean Sean
    22. April 2022 at 17:03

    Bash Dem day nice.

    1. This is correct
    2. There’s no play attacking Trump on Ukraine. Will just get lost between partisans. But Americans aren’t stupid and somehow the Trump administration (perhaps deep state) helped Ukraine get prepared. Also he yelled at Germany for their energy policy and in Trump fashion of saying everything and anything he did warn Putin he would bomb Moscow if they invaded. Regardless this area will just partisan chamber.

    3. Kush probably shouldn’t have taken Saudi money. Back scratching their but they’ve been investigating trump for years and never found anything that could stick. And well you’ve got Hunter. This just partisan chambers too.

    4. Agree. Almost always agree with you on pure Econ things.

    Dems just have a terrible coalition for governing. And twitter might make it worse as it just provides their echo chamber for the GOP to exploit.

    Investigating Trump would be bad for the Dems. Their best hope in 2024 is Trump on the ticket. And if Desantis is VP if Trump does something dumb they might get to tar him too as a national candidate.

  15. Gravatar of John John
    22. April 2022 at 18:15

    All good points, as always, but I wonder if #2 is really a solid strategy politically. I share some of Sean’s concerns above. Any Republican who CURRENTLY supports Russia of course should be denounced and mocked for that stance, but in general, most Republicans are vocal supporters of Ukraine now — if anything, many are criticizing Biden for not doing enough — and Dems would really just be making the point that some of them were naive previously in cozying up to Russia, or allowing Trump to do so.

    I’m not sure voters would find that attack line very compelling because, for most sitting Republicans, voters wouldn’t see clear evidence of bad faith, just a mistaken prior judgment — and voters arguably would care more about whose policy seems right *now*, an area where traditionally hawkish Republicans might have a natural advantage. Ukraine has been complaining that weapons deliveries from the US (and many other nations) are too slow. While that criticism might be unfair, that might not be obvious to voters — who could conclude Biden/the Dems aren’t doing as much as they should.

  16. Gravatar of dtoh dtoh
    23. April 2022 at 01:08

    To me this just seems like the standard two party political cycle. One party has political success, the extremists in the party get control, which causes the voters to punish them and elect the other party (which promptly begins to get taken over by their own crazies.) In the meantime, the first party purges their nut-jobs, and tacks back to center.

    It’s as certain as the tides and works that way by design. This time though, the Dems seem bent on alienating their African American and working class supporters, so they may be dead for a while.

  17. Gravatar of Ben Ben
    23. April 2022 at 05:51

    The Dems are clearly betting the house on the Jan. 6 commission findings this summer. But everyone already knows what happened and nobody’s views are changing. The DOJ’s lack of guts on prosecuting Trump & Co. is baffling, there’s literally a recording of Trump calling Georgia officials to throw the election, what more do they need? I’m sure they rationalize their inaction by thinking there’d be no way they’d get at least one Trumper on a jury trial that would ruin even a rock solid case, but their lack of action is starting to look cowardly. There’s literally a pretender president running around the country doing rallies after everyone knows he led a coup attempt for the first time in American history and the Dems response is…. a thousand page Jan. 6 report nobody’s going to read?

  18. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    23. April 2022 at 06:15


    is 100% spot on. He said what I wanted to say but couldn’t. There is no good play attacking Trump on Ukraine. What would be the play? There is no play. Democrats shy away from this topic like the devil shies away from holy water, and most likely for good reasons. They know their voters best.

    In addition to Sean’s excellent points, one could also mention Biden Hunter’s laptop (again, I know), where even certain left-liberal media outlets have admitted a few days ago that the handling of this story before the election was improper.

    Let’s remember that services like Facebook and Twitter have even removed and censored links to reports about this story. And former officials have said, backed by Biden himself, that the laptop’s leak was a Russian plot, and that the data presented was not real.

  19. Gravatar of Lloyd Lloyd
    23. April 2022 at 06:32

    3. Don’t forget Mnuchin got 1 Billion from the Saudis, too. Does he also get off scot free with the theft of by some accounts hundreds of billions of PPP money that was under his administration while he was Treasury Secretary? Kinda a big deal that nobody cares about. What is the threshold for criminally incompetent administration of public funds? Was it really necessary to shovel money asap to the professional class-who were by and large the biggest beneficiaries of the program-so as to also allow an open spigot to fraudsters world wide?

  20. Gravatar of James L Hudson James L Hudson
    23. April 2022 at 08:03

    “I warned you people that Biden was a buffoon.” Your warning was not needed.

  21. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    23. April 2022 at 08:07

    Christian, That’s the nominal exchange rate. It’s the real exchange rate that is the major puzzle.

    Steve, You asked:

    “Is there some new data showing they actually work?”

    Parents like them.

    (And I disagree with your premise—there are studies showing they work.)

    Sean, “they’ve been investigating trump for years and never found anything that could stick.”

    LOL. Ukraine bribe? January 6? Trump hotel?

  22. Gravatar of Sean Sean
    23. April 2022 at 11:39

    The Ukraine thing to me looks like normal DOJ investigation . You do know Hunter is still under a DOJ investigation. It just gets messy with them both being politicians.

    I haven’t seen anything he did more to an incite a crowd then countless “free speech” statements by many Dems. Maxine Waters has gone much farther.

    I’m not in the never trumper news twitter so never heard of the hotel. I seem like $3.6 million in some foreign government money I’m guessing for hotel stays. Complicated because he owned the hotel pre-presidency. If he banned everyone who had a political job from a DC hotel then the hotel would be bankrupt.

  23. Gravatar of Ricardo Ricardo
    23. April 2022 at 14:25

    My Cuban father always tells me that the American left sounds identical to Castro. First and foremost, the left seeks to create division. There has to be an enemy within society. In my grandfathers case, the division was obviously rich and poor. In your case, the enemy is the conservative thinker, the white straight male, the merit based system, or the very concept of individualism. Once they can convince people these things are oppressors, they can wage their war against the “problem” and replace this fictitious oppressor or oppressors, with their regime. As we just saw, Obama is now calling for the internet to be “controlled”, in an effort to silence people he doesn’t like.

    Trump, for all his personal faults, is a much more rational and intelligent candidate than Biden. Trump respects individual rights. He doesn’t think about individual rights intellectually, but his instincts are such that he respects others enough to not place them into groups.

    Despite numerous allegations and years of investigations there is no proof that Trump is corrupt. The “establishment figures” you cite in your article; however, do appear to be corrupt. For example, McConnell has been under federal investigation for kickbacks between special interests and Elaine Chao’s transportation company (his wife). The senior most “establishment figure” on the other side of the aisle, Nancy Pelosi, has leveraged her relationships in the Tuna industry to achieve remarkable profits.

    There is also Hunter Biden. Hunter’s dealings are akin to what we generally see in my country: that is, the son or daughter starts an NGO, a financial company, a shell company, or some other means to funnel funds via special interests. In the case of an NGO, I think up to 35% can be used for “administration expenses”. This is the path the Clintons took to achieve their immense wealth. I would say “the establishment” you seem to have respect for is considerably more corrupt than Mr. Trump is. And that is probably why they don’t like him! If someone is not an “insider”, then the insiders generally try to destroy the individual’s character, because they are afraid of the status quo changing.

  24. Gravatar of JHE JHE
    23. April 2022 at 15:32


    Well, sure you can say “no proof,” but the opposite examples you’re giving are anything but airtight. Trump and his orbit have been just as eager to benefit from influence peddling, probably even moreso in dollar terms when you consider the Kushner Saudi deal.

    As for Trump, as President he basically implemented the Republican Party’s regular policies, with a few deviations that were either on peripheral issues (trade) or fake (e.g. claiming to oppose foreign entanglements while sending more and more troops and bombs to Afghanistan). Where he was abnormal was in trying to execute a plot to steal an election.

  25. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    23. April 2022 at 17:29

    Okay, Scott,

    what’s the puzzle? Japan still printing quite some money and the US are contracting a little bit. Wouldn’t that explain what we see? Maybe weird that we don’t see that between EU and US as well, but Lagarde has reduced a little bit, not like the US, but I assume more than Japan. I’m thinking too simply again, aren’t I?

  26. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    24. April 2022 at 16:10


    On the Dollar/Yen nominal versus real exchange rate, this is something you’ve commented on for many years. It seems, based on posts like the one below, that you’re casually comparing inflation rates for both countries going back to the early 90s:

    My questions are:

    1. Have you tried to look at just tradable goods instead?

    2. Have you considered the possible role of tariffs and other government policies in detail?

    3. Have you considered a role for wage/price adjustment that is routinely slower than expected?

    4. Have you considered that the real exchange rate is an imcomplete model that doesn’t fully account for forex demand?

  27. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    25. April 2022 at 08:32

    Sean, You said:

    “I’m not in the never trumper news twitter . . . ”

    Translation “I’m in the Fox News pro-Trump epistemic bubble, so I have no idea what’s actually going on in this country.”

    Trump literally tried to overturn a democratic election and install himself as dictator. What is it about that you don’t get?

    Christian, The puzzle is the real exchange rate, not the nominal rate.

    Michael, 1. No. 2. Tariffs don’t explain it. 3. Sticky wages don’t explain long run trends. 4. The real exchange rate is not a “model”, it’s a data point.

  28. Gravatar of MIchael Sandifer MIchael Sandifer
    25. April 2022 at 08:53


    1. I don’t see an answer to number 1. Typo? I would think you’d cover this point for yourself, but just checking.

    3. I know you reject the idea that wages and other prices could be sticky enough to account for a 3 decade puzzle, but given multiple overlapping negative nominal shocks over that period, it would be also explain excess volatility in stock prices, for example.

    4. It was poor wording on my part to call the real exchange rate a model. A better way to word the question would be be whether you’ve seriously considered whether the model you’re using it in is incomplete, or otherwise wrong. You seem to have confidence in the PPP concept, for example, but empirically, the law of one price doesn’t hold.

  29. Gravatar of sean sean
    25. April 2022 at 12:29

    I see about an hour of FOX News a year.

    And I read the report that the NY AG released on Trump and their was nothing in it. Read the whole thing. Some overstated valuations but thats not unusual in Real Estate to put a pretty picture on your numbers.

    And some truly insane trying to indict on quanitity of accusations stuff. Like calling it fraud because he said in a document he could build like 4k houses on a plot of land but only had 2k permits so far. Which doesn’t contradict his numbers. You should start reading into what they accuse him of and not just trust the experts.

  30. Gravatar of msgkings msgkings
    26. April 2022 at 08:00


    Experts are not required to recognize that Trump tried to overturn the election and is still trying to promote the Big Lie with every rally.

    Or as a Nobel laureate wrote: “you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows”

  31. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    26. April 2022 at 08:08

    Michael, You said:

    “You seem to have confidence in the PPP concept”

    I have no idea what you are talking about. Care to explain?

    And I did answer your first question.

    Sean, If people don’t want to see the truth, I can’t force them.

  32. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    26. April 2022 at 12:15


    Okay, I’ll just tell you how I see it, from a perhaps naive perspective. It seems to me that looking only at differential inflation rates is only looking at the currency supply side. You need to look at differential RGDP to consider the currency demand side, where forex is concerned. From this perspective, there is no mystery, and the Dollar/Yen nominal exchange rate is exactly where one would expect it to be.

    Since 1995, Japan has had close to a zero average annual inflation rate, as you have pointed out (.07% core CPI). The US mean annual inflation rate over that period was about 2.43%. But mean annual RGDP growth for Japan has been only .72% compared to 2.38% for the US.

    Here are the numbers I’m using:

    US mean RGDP and inflation rates almost exactly cancel out, so you’re just left to consider Japan’s RGDP growth rate over the period. That would suggest the Yen should be about 21% higher against the dollar than in 1995, which is roughly where it is.

  33. Gravatar of Michael Sandifer Michael Sandifer
    26. April 2022 at 12:22

    For convenience, here’s the historical Yen/Dollar spot exchange rate:

  34. Gravatar of Sean Sean
    26. April 2022 at 14:53

    I think a lot of people see the truth that Trump is a bad person.

    But criminal cases seem either (a) things never prosecuted – issues with selective prosecution – some inflated values on financial documents or (b) not illegal

    And a lot of people myself included saw the writing on the wall that it was better to rally around Trump than let the Democrats run wild which has proven true.

  35. Gravatar of Josh Josh
    2. May 2022 at 14:18

    The Democratic party is not foolish. They need the teacher’s unions to win elections. The unions are very active in elections and are key.

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