Thursday, June 30, 2016

The Time-Tested Foolproof Way to Elect Donald Trump

Coming Soon to a TV and Computer Screen Near You!    

Yesterday I promised some ad copy, texts of ads that would elect Donald Trump president.  The premise is simple and we don't have to predict it because we can remember it: the election of 2000.

Jill Stein is not as famous a brand as was Ralph Nader 100 days before the 2000 election which is a disadvantage for her and that is what these ads are intended to fix.   She has the advantage of a big starting point, the message and insurgency  of Bernie Sanders.   Bernie did not have a career as a Democrat. he was intentionally outside the Democratic Party and this election he ran as a candidate for the Democratic nomination but a critic of both political parties. 

He already sold the premise.  He said modern politics is corrupt, that the campaign finance system is corrupt, that people who work in that environment are fundamentally corrupted, and that Hillary was an adept player in that system and is therefore irredeemably corrupt personally. 

Samantha Bee Show
Sanders voters are a stretch for Hillary, but are lost to Trump, too.  The Sanders message is earnest good uncorrupted government while the Trump message is to smash all those prissy rules and take what's ours.    Sanders hates powerful Wall Street interests who bully American politics while Trump says he is indeed a powerful bully: our powerful bully.

The solution is to get a peel-off of progressive votes in the swing states from "hold your nose and vote for Hillary" to some other place.   Jill Stein is there: a progressive Green Party woman, the Nader of 2016.     Who would pay for these ads?   We will never know because SuperPACs will fund them.  Untraceable money.   If I had fifty million dollars to spend, and I wanted Tump to win, these are the kinds of ads I would put in front of voters in swing states, and I would advertise where young progressive voters would see them: The Daily Show, MSNBC, Samantha Bee, alternative newspapers, and the general media in college towns.   There are hundreds of people in America for whom fifty million dollars is a trifle.   I am not one of them.

AD # 1 Testimonial Ad, 30 seconds:    Context:  A 30-ish man in casual outdoorsy clothes (e.g. North Face jacket, blue jeans, in front of a Subaru hatchback or a Honda Civic or similar fuel efficient car or small SUV, possibly with a bicycle or kayak on the roof).  Find a real Sanders voter , not an actor to do the ad.

"I'm_______ from Boulder, Colorado.  I'm not an actor.  I'm real and I voted for Bernie Sanders in the primary.  Now a lot of people are pressuring me to vote for Hillary, but I just learned she still supports fracking and gets megabucks from the oil industry in campaign contributions. [Shaking his head]  Sorry Hillary.   I'm serious about the environment and I want my vote to go to someone I genuinely like and respect: Jill Stein."   [Fade to photo of Jill Stein with words: "Save the Planet" below]

AD #2 Testimonial Ad, 30 seconds:  Context: A 30-ish woman, moderately attractive but not distractingly so, with little makeup, in casual athletic attire, in front of a non-branded coffee store, holding a coffee cup.  Again, use an actual Sanders voter.

I"'m ________, from Columbus, Ohio.  I voted for Bernie but now I'm casting a proud vote for Jill Stein.  Bernie was right .  Hillary Clinton is part of a corrupt system.  How can Hillary possibly put Wall Street in its place when she personally, and her campaign, and the Clinton Foundation take millions from big banks.  [Shakes her head]  I can't do it.  I'm voting for Jill Stein.  She represents Bernie's values and my values. [Fade to photo of Jill Stein with words: "Regulate Wall Street."]"

The next three ads were suggested by frequent Guest Poster Thad Guyer:

AD #3: [Teacher in grade school classroom, girls more prominent in camera frame.]  I'm Anna Smith, and I'm a single issue voter-- I want to vote for the first woman President. [Then, enunciating slowly and pointedly--]. Win... or... lose! So far Hillary was my only choice. But why should I have to hold my nose to vote? Well, now I don't. Jill Stein is just the ticket I needed to feel good-- [quick glance back at the little girls at play] --about making history!

AD #4: [Wife in kitchen stiring tomato sauce, husband in background washing dishes. As she stirs--] I'm Janet Jones, and my husband over there [nods toward him at sink] asked "how can you vote for Jill Stein"-- ---"a newcomer with no executive experience", he says [imitating his deeper voice]. [Pause with happy whispy little stiring--] Well, I have never regreted my last vote for an inexperienced newcomer named Barrack Obama. Jill Stein could be that kind of leader from outside the establishment. Oh and I told him [playfully nodding toward husband still scrubbing] "LOL, dear, YOU'RE voting for Trump!" [Smiles into camera]. Stan and I-- we go for the outsiders.

AD #5:  [Video of global warming storms, fires and ranging waves against seawalls, with ominous sound track. Text appears in fade in fade out sequence: "Global warming". Fade out. "It's real". Fade out. "Trust Hillary to pick the environment over her corporate donors?" Cut to woman fishing on serene lake alone in her boat in fisherman garb casting her rod, who now answers that question--]
"Yeah right, Hillary will pick us over her donors. I'm Joie Moore, and climate change is my issue. Jill Stein is my solution".

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Progressives: Reform is not enough.

The familiar cycle of reform, revolution, and purge is happening now within the Progressive left.

I witnessed at first hand Republicans do their own purge as I visited with attendees at rallies for Ted Cruz and Carly Fiorina and others in New Hampshire:  Jeb Bush and Chris Christie and John Kasich were RINOs.  You were pure or you were the enemy.  Ted Cruz was the least electable traditional Republican but he was the most pure, so he was the finalist against Trump, who is scarcely a Republican at all.

Ted Cruz supporters drew sharp black and white distinctions against Rubio's policies, and did it with anger and indignation.

Bernie announcement:  Pure and Righteous
Now it is the turn of progressives. The purge is on.   Revolutions upset order which involves teamwork and unity, thus releasing the active participants from the constraints of cooperation and allows them--indeed requires them--to struggle over purity of ideology.  Revolutions burn themselves out by eating their own.  The French and Russian Revolutions are examples familiar to many people.  Some readers will remember the life and death distinctions observed by the "separatists" of Plymouth Plantation who considered the Church of England irredeemably corrupt versus the Puritans of Boston who also considered it corrupt but wanted to reform it from within.

Today Americans are witnessing a reprise of the struggle that dominated Massachusetts from the founding of Plymouth in 1620 through the aftermath of the Salem witch trials in 1693 when the godly Salem residents realized they had gone too far and executed some 20 people.   Oops.

Progressives are early in the purge cycle.   The Democratic Party survived the 1980s, 1990s and 2000s by becoming "New Democrats."  They embraced technology and free trade.  The GOP was still the party of big business for extractive industries like oil and timber, but Democrats made friends in the office suites of the financial and technology industries.   Democrats stayed "left" by embracing identities that faced oppression: women, ethnic minorities, sexual preference minorities.  The result is that Democrats became the party of teachers unions rather than industrial unions, educated tech workers rather than factory workers, urban office workers rather than rural blue collar workers, and women who used contraception rather than men who preferred not to use a condom.

Protest at my house 2 weeks ago.  Even Sen. Merkely is not our enough.
Having become separated from its blue collar anchors the Democratic base voter observes environmental issues like a consumer, not a producer.  They cook with natural gas but hate natural gas pipelines.   They drive cars but hate oil drilling.  They use electricity but hate power generation sources because dams kill salmon, wind turbans kill birds, generation with coal pollutes the air, solar panels and power lines are ugly.  They eat meat--most of them-- but hate slaughterhouses.  They live in wooden houses but hate logging.

Bernie Sanders' campaign had a brutal honesty to it.  Like Roger Williams, he observed compromises and condemned it; he was pushed out of Massachusetts, but he had followers who agreed with him that the mere reformists in Boston were good but not good enough which made them dangerously bad.  

Sanders observed accurately the compromises that establishment electable Democrats have made in order to survive in office.  They compromised with producers, not just consumers.   Hillary Clinton is, as Bernie Sanders noted, comfortable with billionaires and many of them contributed to the Clinton Foundation and to her campaign.  From Hillary's point of view, there are good billionaires, ones who support women, oppose racism, address global poverty.  Sanders does not say that "property is theft" but he does say that billions of dollars concentrated in one person represents theft.   Hillary Clinton has attempted to reform and control Wall Street institutions, not break them up or prosecute them.  Sanders says that the whole system of campaign finance is corrupted and Hillary, as a successful practitioner in the current system, is corrupted.

Activists voters agree with Sanders: compromising Democrats are in the system, and they are part of the problem.  In the past 24 hours I received copies of letters from local political activists sent to Oregon governor Kate Brown.  I received them because I am listed prominently as a sponsor of a fundraiser held for her.   Here are pieces of the letter:

"Many voters, especially young ones, have no strong affiliation with a political party. Simply saying you are a Democrat or that we have to keep the Republicans out of office is, for many of us, no longer enough. In the two-party system, the third alternative is to leave certain races blank if we have not been given strong reasons to vote for a candidate."

He went on, insisting on a kind of "Contract with America" list of exactly what environmental policies she would support wrote:

"I personally am only going to be voting in November for candidates who have made those kinds of commitments, and I think a lot of other voters feel the same way."

But its a TIE with the Libitarian and Green party included

The important thing to note is that the author specifically denies the importance of a strategic vote or a comparison with the Governor's GOP opponent, whose policies are dramatically opposed to the author on both economic issues (minimum wage) and environmental ones (open support for the natural gas pipeline).   Compromise is reform and reform preserves the system and the system is corrupt.  Reformers are not allies; they are just another enemy.

Which brings me to Jill Stein, the candidate with the potential to elect Donald Trump president.  When the Libertarian and Green Party candidates are included Hillary Clinton's lead evaporates to the margin of error.   CNN poll: too close to call when Jill Stein is included

Anecdotal information--conversations with and emails from Bernie Sanders supporters--suggest that a significant number of people consider "reform" simply unsatisfactory.   Reform is not "better"; it is arguably worse because it preserves a system that is, as the Massachusetts separatists understood it, so intrinsically corrupt that it must be destroyed, not improved.

Tomorrow I post the ad scripts that I and other readers have written that might be persuasive when broadcast widely, funded by Koch brothers or other conservative sources who will use progressive voters' desire for purity to elect a conservative.  Progressive purists will be used by others but they will not feel used because the ads will reflect what they really believe: that reform and incremental change is no change at all.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Hillary Needs Someone to Blame

Hillary Clinton needs to sharpen her message.   Who is at fault here?  She needs a villain.

Peter Sage Introduction of a Guest Post:

Today I am writing a few 30 second or 60 second spots to post here, either in transcript form or something I will do for YouTube.   The purpose will be to show what I do not want to see: ads that would be effective in causing my progressive neighbors and friends to vote for Jill Stein instead of Hillary.   As I wrote yesterday, I think it is a threat.
Jill Stein

I do this as a form of civic inoculation.   By showing in advance the mischief a conservative SuperPAC might do--fund a liberal candidate whose views they actually oppose--I hope to make it harder for this false flag subterfuge to work.   The light fever of the cow pox disease gave milk maids immunity to smallpox.   I will be vaccinating America tomorrow.

Many Sanders voters express the view that the political system in America is utterly broken. Both Trump and Sanders have identified the thing they believe ails America: globalism and bad trade deals plus the capture of the political system by powerful special interests.   Trump add in the immigration and radicalized American identity piece while Sanders focuses primarily on the money: Wall Street and its oversized influence.   The Brexit votes suggests there is a significant majority coalition of voters who share the general sentiment that the experts and establishment system fails them.
Sanders has his villain.  Big bad Wall sTreet banks that needed bailing out by taxpayers but which still have risk and who currently exercise enormous power.   He notes that Hillary has rich friends.  She may be a liberal but she is fatally tainted.
In the meantime, Guest Post author Thad Guyer asks the question: who does Hillary blame?   Guyer argues that this is a critical missing piece in the Hillary Clinton message.   Guyer is an attorneywith a practice specializing in defending whistleblowing employees.   He looks closely at the kinds of messages and arguments that are persuasive to judges and juries.

Thad Guyer

Guest Post by Thad Guyer:

I wonder what the polling/voter dynamics are on gender here, where the Green Party candidate is also a woman. It will create an additional front on the "first woman president" narrative for Hillary Clinton to be challenged by Jill Stein. I watched the entire video of the Clinton Warren rally in Ohio (, and it was energizing. Warren was especially uplifting, and her endorsement of Clinton was unequivocal and powerful. Clinton's best moments were her attacks on Trump's character and divisive message. 

So far, Clinton limits her opposition to Trump. But Clinton's message needs a lot of work because she essentially gives a loud call for "change"-- she said we need to change the status quo as to Wall Street, China ripping us off, heavy student loan debt, and jobs and capital being exported. Her message is pretty much cloned from Sanders, but Sanders had a clear enemy set which included Obama and Democrats in league with Republicans-- i.e. "the establishment". Clinton does not name the establishment as a culprit, so it was hard to understand exactly whom she was railing against. 

More disconcerting to me is that her promise to date has been continuing Obama policies, but her message left the inescapable conclusions that (1) Obama failed to win for American workers, and (2) Obama let China rip us off, a point she accentuated with a rousing promise to appoint a "trade prosecutor" to stop the bad trade deals that Obama has apparently allowed-- i.e. the red meat of every Trump rally. She specifically indicted China in Trumpian terms for "dumping steel" in US industrial markets. 

The unspoken question was why did Obama allowed that, and why didn't he establish a "trade prosecutor". Indeed, she made not a single reference to Obama, nor oddly did she attack Republicans. She seemed to have a bipartisan attack on "leaders in Congress" letting the rich profit from an exploitative tax code. She never even mentioned Republican obstruction of Obama's legislative agenda. She sounded as if she is running against the legacy of a Republican administration-- but its been two terms of Obama. She had only a passing reference to Brexit (stock market devaluation) as though the significance of the issue is that Trump wants to profit from a devalued pound. She mentioned the green economy and climate change, but did not mention guns or Obamacare. She had no references at all to the elephant in the room-- border control and immigration.

All in all, while I as a liberal democrat enjoyed her attacks on Trump, I walked away with almost no idea of who Hillary Clinton thinks is responsible for the current economic malaise and domestic terrorism in America. Thus, with Jill Stein claiming corporate profiteering, green energy, climate change, and woman as president turf from Clinton, I was persuaded by the point of your blog that the poll numbers may portend a substantial Ralph Nader type threat of the Green Party siphoning off enough liberal and independent votes to let Trump win. Her narrative will have to more clearly explain how America got in this dark situation that she painted. 

Trump and Republicans are clear on that-- the fault is Obama's. Who does Hillary say caused this mess? She never said. 

Monday, June 27, 2016

Jill Stein elects Trump

Today's Poll:  Clinton 39 Trump 38    

Green and Libertarian Candidates change everything. 

The election discussion focuses on Clinton and Trump.  But there are two other candidates in the race, the Libertarian Gary Johnson and the Green Party candidate Jill Stein.   When they are listed as choices Hillary Clinton's lead evaporates:
Clinton    39
Trump     38
Johnson 10
Stein       6

The GOP is divided over Trump, and the one unifying principle for Republicans is hating Hillary.  Sanders voters are asked to unify to stop Trump.  The campaigns'  focus is on fear and pushing up the negative of the alternative.

On the ballot in states colored green
But there are alternatives:  The Libertarian Party is on the ballot in all 50 states and the Green Party is on the ballot in some 21 currently, with more coming.   These include the swing battleground states of Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Wisconsin, Colorado, and New Mexico.

The Libertarian Party can draw some Sanders voters.   They are openly pro-marijuana legalization.   That will be a draw for some single issue voters.   But the bigger threat to Clinton's prospects is a reprise of the 2000 election, where a Nader-type candidate splits the white progressive vote.    The Sanders campaign has set up this scenario.   He has rung the bell saying that Hillary is essentially corrupted by the current political system and that bell cannot be un-rung.

The Green Party nominee, Jill Stein, has the full suite of liberal environmental views of a Ralph Nader/Bernie Sanders: uncompromising on the environment, anti-corporation, anti toxic waste, anti fossil fuel, universal health, and so on.   She was the Green Party candidate for president in 2012 and is again this year.   If you like Sanders you will love Jill Stein. 
Jill Stein.   No, I did not date her in college.

The purpose of this blog post is to introduce Jill Stein and put her onto the mental radar of my readers.   Stein is a Massachusetts physician and was two years behind me in college, Harvard-Radcliffe 1973.   This blog would be more fun if I could say that I dated her back in 1969 and 1970.   I could have dated her.  I dated a couple of her classmates in the Harvard class of 1973.  But not her.  I cannot report how tidy she kept her dorm room, what we talked about while we smoked pot, whether she sang along to the Beatles and knew the words to Day in the Life.  Nope.  I know nothing.    We may well have been in a class or two together but we never met that I remember.   Sorry.

What I do know is that many of my progressive friends consider Hillary Clinton to be different from Trump but no less dangerous for America, and indeed they consider her more dangerous than Trump.   The thinking is that Trump is an obviously dangerous clown who, if elected, will destroy the GOP as a viable party.   There will be 4 years of chaos and out of the ashes of a GOP disaster could come a new era in politics.   The election of Hillary Clinton, however, would be an affirmation that the current system of campaign finance, of corporate influence, of compromise and incremental change still works.  It needs reform, and Hillary would work at that, but she would be reforming--therefore affirming--the legitimacy of the status quo.

Some subset of those people will want to "vote their conscience" and will not vote for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.   Jill Stein is the nice, clean, uncompromising alternative to Hillary.   

Will she have the money to run a real campaign?   Possibly. 

Bernie's supporters gave millions to him in small amounts.  She might get contributions the same way.  

In thinking of this campaign as a matter of game theory and leverage I consider strategic support for Jill Stein to be a very clever way to elect Donald Trump.

Ask yourself the question:  What would the Koch brothers do?   Or more precisely, what should they do to leverage their money in the post Citizens United world??

There is little need to spend big money to advertise for Trump; Trump is known.   And people who hate Hillary have all the information they need.   I suspect that tens of millions of dollars spent on ads for or against Trump and Clinton would have little value.   No need to pile on to the ads trashing Hillary from the right.

But if the election is anywhere near close in the swing states Jill Stein presents an opportunity.   Conservatives, via SuperPACs with names like "Environmentalist Women to Stop Climate Change" or "Citizens Against Special Interest Money" or "Women against Fracking" might go big in support of Stein.  The money would come from Trump supporters but the ads would appear to be from the pure and uncompromising left. 

A few tens of millions of dollars in ads urging progressives not to waste their vote on evil Hillary and instead to send a message of environmental health and freedom from corporate influence by voting for Jill Stein might well get traction.  Messages like:   Don't compromise!  Or, Cast your vote for the brave outspoken woman who totally opposes fracking.   Or, vote for the woman without contributions from energy companies.

Nader drew votes from environmentalists and Gore's negatives were much lower than are Hillary Clinton's.  Jill Stein can draw votes that Hillary needs to win.   Jill Stein can be the Ralph Nader of 2016. 

It would be a cynical and hypocritical move for the Koch Brothers, if by October they decided they would rather elect Trump than Clinton.   But it would also be a smart and effective move.   Will they do this?   I don't know.   But they could.  

Sunday, June 26, 2016

It's the Identity, Stupid

The Election of 2016 is not about economic anxiety.  It is about anxiety about American identity.

The vote on the British exit from the European Union clarifies what the 2016 election was about all along.    The pollsters look closely at working class white votes and income levels and education levels trying to tease out what the issues are.   They think it is about money and incomes.

The Brexit vote says it is about identity instead. 

Yesterday I posited that what some of us learned in Econ 101 is not just incomplete, but wrong.  The economic model of human behavior (people independently and rationally struggle for their own self interest) misunderstands their real motivation.   The world's first historian, the Greek Thucydides, attempted to explain the cause of the Peloponnesian War.  Athens and Sparta went to war for three reasons, he said: self interest, fear, and honor.  Britons voted to exit the EU in spite of economic self interest.  They did it because they felt fear that the self-worth of British people were being eroded.  The "Leave" vote appealed to their identity, not their pocketbook.  Fear and honor trumped self interest.

Trump's campaign is scattered and undisciplined but the big difference that is shaping up in his contrast with Hillary is all about identity.   Both Trump and Hillary assert identity as important.  When Trump said that Judge Curiel was "Mexican" and would be biased against him Trump was validating the importance of identity.   

Hillary says that the professional and business world is affected by gender, ethnicity, race, religion, and sexual orientation.  They are relevant, with is why affirmative action and anti-discrimination laws are essential.  Trump said essentially the same thing in his criticism of Judge Curiel.  It got him in trouble because he said it so plainly and acknowledging the ethnic biases of blacks and Hispanics needs to be handled carefully, which is not Trump's strong suit.   One can acknowledge the ethnic biases of whites and males because traditionally and historically they have been the beneficiaries of that bias.   Hillary says that the professional and business world is affected by gender, ethnicity, race, religion, and sexual orientation.  They are relevant, with is why affirmative action and anti-discrimination laws are essential.

Hillary can say things Trump cannot, a mixed blessing.   Trump says Judge Curiel is probably biased and is called "textbook racist" by Paul Ryan.   But a great many white voters note the hypocrisy and resent the notion that when whites acknowledge racism they are "racist" but when the disadvantaged classes do it they are heroes of social justice.  Hypocrisy feeds the resentment over "political correctness."

Trump and Hillary agree on the importance of identity although neither could acknowledge this publicly.   The actual disagreement is over who is on which side.   Trump is on the side of "regular" Americans who think that the non-regulars are getting too much special treatment because many of those non-regulars are rapists (Mexicans), terror-suspects (Muslims), or job-stealers (all immigrants, legal and illegal.)   Hillary sides with the non-regulars.
The case for Trump

Trump and Hillary Clinton are each largely locked into their positions and political bases.  Trump solidified his brand by saying newsworthy politically incorrect things, but did so with the cost (and benefit) of appearing out of the box hostile to non-regulars.   He could soften his tone to seem more presidential, so voters could vote for the American Pride movement without the loud and disputatious Donald Trump personality getting in the way quite so strongly.   The Brexit vote suggests the national pride movement may well be a majority vote so Trump may need to be carried along with it.  Trump's campaign has been about him--his wealth, his savvy, his fearlessness, his poll results--not about the movement.   This may be an impossible change for Trump to negotiate.

Hillary solidified her brand by a long history of attachment to women, blacks, Hispanics, gays.   Hillary beat Sanders soundly thanks to  those groups, but without them she lost to him.   Sanders won with whites.   

Hillary is about identity; Sanders is about economic class.   Hillary exemplifies the notion that politics and life generally is dominated by the web of entanglements.  

The Brexit vote is a warning for Hillary Clinton.   White "regular Americans" feel dissed by globalism and the pride and political consciousness of her gender and ethnic allies.   There are more of them than show up in the polls.   They could turn Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin red.

Hillary needs to make this something other than a zero sum game--good for women and blacks and Hispanics mean bad for whites.   Hillary needs to express white American pride. (Hillary is not above cheap pandering.   As a Senator she backed a constitutional amendment to ban desecration of the American flag.) 

Republicans accuse Democrats of shaming whites and apologizing for America.  Romney's campaign book was titled No Apology and I frequently receive email chains from white male readers of this blog asserting that Obama "apologizes for America."  Can Hillary embrace American pride, without offending her base?   It is in her power.  The "immigrant assimilation" story is a good one for her.  The melting pot story can be said carefully--Hillary's strength--and it acknowledges both ethnic pride and American pride. 

Will she do it?  Possibly not.   Hillary has re-callibrated her political positions in the face of the Sanders campaign but she has won the primary by clinging even tighter to her affinity groups.  Melting pot blurs the edges and she has not been willing to do this.   She still represents zero-sum identity politics.   The current poll numbers suggest she can limp across the finish line with 30% of white male vote, 50% of white women vote, and 90% of the votes of black and Hispanic voters.   

There is a bigger undercurrent of white resentment than showed up in polls in Britain.  An electorate in which she wins only 30% of the white male vote represents a fractured America and portends implacable opposition in the Congress if she wins.   She could win white males votes if she re-callibrates her message.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

National Pride

The UK Vote and the American Election

Economists have it wrong.  Humans are not "economic man" we learned about in Econ 101: rational maximizers of self interest.   

We are the humans we learned about in Antro 101: religious culture-bound people with quirky sometimes self defeating customs.

Samuel Huntington's book, The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of World Order was controversial when written, and discouraging.   His former student, Francis Fukuyama had written a book The End of History and the Last Man which argued that with the end of the Cold War humans would get down to the simple business of creating and sharing wealth and prosperity, being too busy as consumers trading with one another to fight over stupid things.  Since we were simply trading partners there would be nothing really to fight about.

Huntington said that the end of the cold war would mean we would fight about the stuff that was really important to us.  Not food nor shelter nor business.   We would fight over language and religion and culture.   It was a grim future, Islam against Christianity, Roman Catholic against Orthodox, Chinese against Japanese.  It was a reprise of every ugly disgusting war of the previous centuries. 
The "west" is blue; Islam is dark green

No wonder people hated the book.   It turns out he was right.

British voters just chose nationalism and sovereignty over economic integration.   They resented the bureaucracy of economic integration and they disliked the free movement of labor which manifests itself as too many dark skinned foreigners migrating into their country.  They wanted to re-assert national boundaries and reaffirm boundaries.   They chose nation-hood (Huntington's elements of civilization (commonality of race, ethnicity, language, customs, food, religion) instead of the economic integration and presumed greater prosperity.

Britons, in the face of near-universal assurance by learned authority figures that a vote to exit the European Union would mean less prosperity voted to re-affirm nationalism and self-determination instead.

Anthropology beats Economics.

Trump congratulated the voters:  they took their country back.    Will the vote serve to empower similar impulses in the US, the people who voted for Trump in the primaries and some of the people who voted for Sanders?   The vote certainly shows that Trump has located a movement greater than simply himself personally.  It isn't just Trump-the-celebrity.  Trump represents a desire to assert nationalism over globalism, America First not America the cooperator.    Progressives may hate it but Trump is on to something that motivates voters.

Trump looked confident and self-assured in his press conference in Scotland, but the mainstream media interpretation of it turned his self confidence into Trump-cluelessness and vanity.   He was apparently ignorant that Scottish voters overwhelmingly wanted to remain in the EU and he was in Scotland, and Thursday's vote may mean the dismemberment of the 300 year old United Kingdom since it will inflame Scottish independence pressures.   It would be as if a Brit came to Charleston, South Carolina in 1860 and congratulated Americans for voting to elect Abraham Lincoln the president.     

This will not translate down to the regular voter but foreign policy elites of both political parties will see this as further evidence of Trump's dangerous ignorance, and some will speak out.  Although, importantly, this may not matter since voters are intentionally rejecting the opinion of educated authoritative elites.   The Scotland press conference is an unusually crisp example of the difference between how differently an event can be read by two groups--elites observing an ill informed narcissist bragging about his luxurious properties in the face of economic suicide,  while the general public sees a strong, self confident man calm and steady amid a gaggle of alarmed reporters.

There was immediate economic damage in America, although it may not be enough to matter.  Trump serenely said that, yes, there might be some short term worry but that in the long run this was good for Britain and the world.  Here in America, stock market investors lost 3% of their money overnight in US stocks, and global funds lost some 8%.   Banks stocks did even worse.  We will see if this is a one day event or something much bigger.  British exit may trigger a European recession which will hurt everyone, including American exporters.   If this is the harbinger of many more days of economic chaos, and if more damage happens and it can be attributed to Brexit and Trump, then this will help de-legitimize nationalistic acting out by voters.  I would expect Wall Street leaders publicly to condemn Brexit, to express reservations about Trump, and to endorse Hillary.   But, again, Wall Street endorsements may hurt Hillary more than help her.

Worse, the British exit could trigger an American recession and reverse the story of the Obama recovery after the Republican economic failure of 2007-08.   Voters will consider economic slowdown a failure of Obama/Clinton, not a failure of Trump-beloved nationalism triggering job killing chaos.    I currently see help wanted signs all over my home town of Medford.  School bus drivers are at busy intersections holding up signs urging people to apply for jobs.   It is harder in this labor market environment to think "immigrants are taking all the jobs."   But the job situation could change and an economic slowdown is more likely to hurt Hillary than Trump since immigrants are a more visible cause of unemployment than are recessions triggered across an ocean.   Trump is the one saying things in America are terrible now.  A recession proves his point.

The economic news of the next few days will help determine whose narrative is the more powerful.   Will the Trump-supported vote for nationalism trigger huge financial loss in America?   If so, Hillary will say it shows that Trump is a risky, undisciplined choice.  Vote for Trump and you destroy your retirement savings.

If the markets rebound and things go back to the status quo ante then it will document that the world can have both economic and cultural nationalism AND steady markets and a strong economy.    Trump supporters should wish for a speedy rebound in markets.

Hillary supporters should wish that their 401k accounts take a big hit and they can blame it on Trump.  Unless, of course, the 401k hit precedes a recession, in which case Hillary is hurt.   

The ideal for Hillary would be for investors to be hit hard, quickly, sending a message that Trump is bad for business, but for the Main Street job market to stay strong so the Obama-recovery story stays intact.    The ideal for Trump is a worldwide recession with everyone pointing fingers but that ultimately voters blame on the people in power generally, and Obama-Hillary in particular.  

Friday, June 24, 2016

Trump Interpretation of British Vote: They took their country back.

Britain votes to Leave the EU

Peter Sage Introduction of a Guest Post

At 4:00 a.m. Pacific Time I watched Donald Trump in a live press conference at the opening of a golf course and hotel in Scotland.   He was at ease and confident.  He defined the British vote as simply a matter of the British wanting to take their country back.  They want borders, Trump said.  They want to control migration.  They want to make their own deals.
Trump in Scotland

The people themselves should decide the direction of their country and I am with the people, he said.    He said it was a forecast of what was happening in America.

He was matter of fact and he did not criticize anyone, except Obama for having stuck his nose into British politics.  He reassured the British that they were still and always a great ally and nothing would change if he were president.   He looked presidential: calm and reassuring.   The British pound fell 10% overnight and Trump said, yes, there might be some short term disruption but the lower valued pound would probably be good for Britain, making their exports more competitive and their tourist industry more attractive.   He was defining the turmoil in the financial markets as "no big deal", not a big deal to be managed.   

I was up early.   Meanwhile some of my readers, living in an Asian time zone, were up responding immediately to the British vote.  Thad Guyer, an attorney specializing in representing employee whistleblowers, had this guest post suggestion waiting this morning in my in-box.

Thad Guyer

Guest Post by Thad Guyer:

Border Defenders Vote Down Liberal Parties Across Europe—Is Hillary Next?

The “Unthinkable” a year ago came to a final tally at about 1:14 a.m. EST this morning.  Citizen border defenders of the most powerful country in Europe decided they had reached the “breaking point” of uncontrolled immigration and seceded from the European Union (EU).  The EU had threatened the UK’s lesser educated working class whites to either tolerate mass migration or suffer the consequences. Liberal and conservative British politicians alike had urged the border defenders to submit to the EU. To mollify them, if not to shame them by a majority vote of their countrymen, Prime Minister David Cameron and his party put mass migration vs. globalist economic prosperity up for a vote.  The multi-partisan “xenophobic”, “Islamophobic”, “under-educated”, “rural”, “blue collar”, “anti-immigrant”, “white nationalist” border defenders, were threatened that should they, by some fluke, win such a referendum, economic curses and catastrophes would befall them, their children and grandchildren.

Then a strange thing happened.  Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), a newcomer to “mainstream politics” in 2013 (see Wikipedia, appealed to these white border defenders to join with him in an organized “Leave” campaign of “Eurosceptics”.  Their message to the EU in Brussels was clear:  If our choice is to suffer an immigrant invasion across the English Channel, or to secede from the EU and live in less affluent British Isles—a ‘fortress Britain’—then we choose secession”. 

One of many British groups advocating against immigration 
Something even stranger still happened.  Boris Johnson, one of Prime Minister David Cameron’s most popular colleagues in the Conservative Party, announced that he was breaking with party ideology to help UKIP leader Farage promote the “Leave” campaign. (See, Wikipeadia,  Cameron tried rhetorically to sound more sympathetic to the border defenders, but his party elites, and social justice warriors, could not help themselves from joining Liberals to ridicule these white working class families as “racists” and “xenophobes”.  Once “Boris”, who is an ultra-urbanite from London, joined the “Leave” side, it began attracting urban, exurban, center-left, and even just enough legal immigrant support.   BBC and NPR made special efforts to interview brown and yellow skinned Leave supporters, only to hear the same message about mass migration—enough is enough.  

Cameron even got Barrack Obama to make a cameo appearance denouncing the Leave campaign, since the President had a readied arsenal of insults for our own white border defenders, whom Obama dismisses as crude white losers.  They are brainwashed by “cable news stations, on right-wing radio, it's pumped into cars, and bars, and VFW halls all across America”, said the President denigrating the Veterans of Foreign Wars.  (See Fox News, “VFW Fires Back at Obama”,  Boris was happy to give Obama a smack-down in the British media, similar to that of another ultra-urbanite, Donald Trump. Indeed, as the polls showed growing support for Leave, the establishment on both the left and right threw everything they had at Boris, including frequent “Trump” and “Hitler” comparisons. 

Mainstream British media, most notably the BBC, joined in not just denouncing the border defenders, but in censoring virtually all news about migrant crimes and the violent riots in camps in France, Greece and Italy during the month before yesterday’s vote.  This just drove the border defenders to alternative media, including Brietbart UK.

Nothing worked. 

By a majority of 52% to 48%, the political toll of uncontrolled mass migration was inflicted on the whole of Europe, if not on all Western economies.  Angela Merkel, who loves the EU and has used it to project Germany’s power in unprecedented ways since World War II, would do it differently if she could now.  She would have paid the $3 billion she paid to Turkey much sooner to cut off the migrant flow-- had she known her “humanitarianism” would so dramatically damage the foundations of collective European democracy that makes such humanitarianism possible.  Prime Minister David Cameron, who will soon resign or be removed, would also do it differently now if he could.

Federal government losing control
Hillary Clinton is facing a strikingly analogous historical and global set of circumstances, political parties and personalities, and policy choices over mass migration to America.  Orlando last week, and the Supreme Court decision yesterday affirming the illegality of Obama’s Merkel-like unilateral power grab in mass migration policy, have laid dry tinder for a political conflagration of the Democratic Party, and of a Supreme Court that will either expand, or limit, the rights of future generations.  

I hope Hillary does not join Merkel and Cameron in wishing she would have handled the mass migration issue differently.