Electability

Jim Geraghty at the Morning Jolt and Neo have some thoughts on “electable”.  The Jolt comes as an email so I don’t have a link but Jim says:

A Trump rival — in either party, really — could make a completely different argument. The argument would focus upon promising to deliver the same results that people like from this presidency without all of the endless circus, controversy, erratic decision-making, chaotic staff turnover and gleeful antagonism that comes with this president.

We are with Jim that we would love such a person.  But Neo reminds us that we don’t know what electable really is.  She discusses some previous candidates and then goes to 2016 and The Donald:

I can’t even characterize where he seemed to stand politically prior to the 2016 election, but I don’t think there’s anything especially “moderate” about him as a personality, and his presidency has played out in a way that’s further to the right than most people expected. [Emphasis added]

We are not convinced on the bold statement.  He ran on tax reform, tariffs, and serious judges.  Perhaps he has been more effective than people expected but he has not veered to the right like his predecessor veered to the left.  The Donald had a mixture of left (no entitlement reform) and right in his campaign and has stuck to it.

So are we looking for a moderate personality or a moderate candidate?  We think The Donald is a moderate candidate but not, as both Jim and Neo say, a moderate personality.  We think that given The Donald and the 44th president that the electorate is looking for a moderate candidate without a moderate personality.  We wish it were otherwise but that is how we see it.

Fixing Things

It has been a boring time.  Has there ever been anything more boring than impeaching The Donald?  Yes, the House is going to do it.  No, the Senate is not going to convict.  Now it has become even sillier, if that is possible, where the House might or might not send it to the Senate.  Killing Soleimani has been more partisan bickering.  Instead of worry about that you should read VDH to get updated on the Middle East.  Jay Ambrose has the right idea:It is 2020 and let’s start fixing things.  We agree with his list of no action things:

  1. Green New Deal
  2. Electoral College
  3. Fascism in the US

We are not as impressed by his action list

  1. Longevity
  2. Public Schools

He is right that longevity in the US has gone down but we are unconvinced that Big Pharma is the cause or that government can do much about it.  The solution to public schools is simple.  There needs to be competition.  Of course, the left is very much against that. So it is another partisan logjam.   Jay identifies an additional problem at public schools and universities:

Our public schools, meanwhile, also don’t teach patriotism the way they used to; I live near a school, for instance, at which teachers were telling students not to stand for the Star Spangled Banner at ball games.

It’s true, too, that too many professors at too many universities bend too many student minds to their leftist ways of thinking in which Western Civilization is the source of all evil and America’s exceptionalism is a grotesque sham.

We would be equally worried if the right were to require, as Jay seems to want, the teaching of patriotism in public schools and universities.

Instead let’s look at the five biggest problems facing the US:

  1. The deficit
  2. Medicare and Medicaid
  3. Social Security
  4. International relations (yes we could divide this several times)
  5. Immigration

There is one problem that sticks out as we could fix it in 2020: Social Security.  And there is one action that could improve all of them: support fracking and related infrastructure like pipelines.

Means testing is the key to fixing Social Security.  Unfortunately, any congress critter that votes to stop payments to millionaires will be portrayed as throwing granny over the cliff.  That means that a solution will probably need to include higher payments to low earners.  We are OK with that.  Let’s do it.

Fracking is great.  It fuels economic growth in the US which means more revenue for governments that will help reduce the deficit and pay for entitlements.  As VDH says:

The United States does not need Middle East natural gas or oil. Europe does. China does even more.

Certainly, it may be in the larger economic interests of America to keep moderately priced oil flowing from the Middle East. But disruptions, cartels, and embargoes do not matter to the United States in the degree they did during the last half-century.

Fracking is the primary cause of this joyous set of relationships.  It is a great help to the US in resisting the oil powers from Iran to Venezuela.  It might even help with immigration in the unlikely event the US can convince Mexico and elsewhere to allow this technology to enrich them.  We may not be able to convince our congress critters to have the gumption to fix Social Security but can surely stop them from restricting fracking.  The new decade really starts in 2021.  Perhaps we will be more ready to start fixing things after the election.

 

Another Williamson Lament

When you belong to the smallest of fringe groups, capitalistic orphans, it would seem unwise to split the group but we are going to do it today.  Fellow orphan Kevin D. Williamson has an article at NRO, Trump isn’t A Nazi.  He’s A Failure.  Kevin says:

Which is to say, on the core issues of economic growth, trade, and immigration, President Trump is a failure by his own criteria. [Emphasis added.]

We wish that capitalistic orphans were a bigger group and that economic growth was a core political issue.  Economic growth is obviously not a core issue for Democrats.  All the major Democrat candidates for president in 2020 want to ban it or restrict it.  Most of those favoring restriction want substantial restriction on fracking.  Foolish is a really kind word to describe such policies.

Why does Kevin think The Donald is a failure?  He says:

In 2016, Trump promised Americans sustained 3-percent economic growth, but the economy has not met that standard. He promised a shrinking trade deficit, but the trade deficit has grown. He promised to build a wall along the southern border and to make Mexico pay for it, which he has not done.

Fair enough, 2.86 is not three.  Of course, us capitalistic orphans don’t care about the trade deficit but The Donald campaigned on it.  We agree with Kevin that

A more intelligent approach for Democrats (and for us lonely few anti-Trump conservatives) would be to concede that the president’s positions on issues such as illegal immigration and trade speak to concerns that are genuine and legitimate while pointing out that his actions have been in the main ineffective or genuinely destructive.   [Emphasis added]

Kevin agrees with us that hoping for a more intelligent approach from the Democrats is futile at this time.  Republican alternatives are equally bad.  Where we part company is on the bold item, in the main,  that we are willing to support The Donald because he has done things to support economic growth (and some foolish things like trade wars) and restricting illegal immigration.  As Kevin well knows, changing the course of the federal government is incredibly difficult.  The Donald is far from perfect but he is currently the best on offer.  We think he is worth supporting in 2020.

What Us Worry?

We do not have the same pronouns as Alfred E. Neuman.  We like to go plural.  We have also had a couple of sick days so we are even more behind than usual.

We have said, we think, that Kamala Harris will be be the next president.  Were we worried that she has dropped out of the 2020 race for the Democrat nomination?  No, we just said that she would be the next president.  As you know, there currently is a president who is eligible for re-election.  In addition, the Democrats rarely nominate the runner up from last time.  What do you think the odds are on The Bernie as the 2020 nominee?  We don’t think he is a likely outcome.  So the Democrats nominate somebody other than Kamala in 2020 and The Donald wins.  That is both our hope and prediction for the next year.  That makes Kamala well placed for 2024 Democratic nomination because she left the race early.

We are starting to understand how climate predictions work.

Considering Never

We are not a fan of Never-The-Donald and the folks of that ilk.  Recent events have led us to a better understanding of them even though we still support The Donald.  Jim Geraghty was trying to explain it at NRO.  We are sure there are folks that support The Donald that meet his description:

And then one day in 2015, this outlandish celebrity came along who seems to agree with you most of the time. He’s a bit of a jerk, but you kind of like that; he treats everybody who disagrees with him with contempt, the same way the other side treats you with contempt. As time goes by, you realize he’s perhaps more than a bit of a jerk, he’s a raging narcissist and maybe a maniac, but you still like the way he responds to everyone you don’t like — the mainstream media, Democratic politicians — with this constantly erupting volcano of scorn. You feel like you’ve been mistreated for decades; now turnabout is fair play.

It is not us.  We suspect there are fewer folks like us than like the ones Jim describes but we are not sure.  We think it is a reasonably accurate description of The Donald but it is not why we support him.  We supported him because he dominated his opponent in 2016.  The things that we didn’t like about The Donald like tariffs and bad behavior but those were points of agreement between Herself and The Donald.  The Donald had no philosophy and, as Jim points out, he acts like a Democrat but he promised to do things like reduce taxes and regulation and nominate serious judges that were at odds with his opponent.  By and large he has kept his promises and the next Democrat nominee seems unlikely to be much of an improvement over Herself so we plan to support The Donald in 2020.

On the other hand, the two senators making noises for 2024 GOP nomination fill us with dread for 2024.  If Marco or Josh is nominated we will need to consider joining the never folks.  Why?  We will explain more in the coming weeks but it may take some time with Thanksgiving and all the family birthdays coming up.  A summary is that The Donald is an ad hoc guy.  We buy many of the things on his list with no serious unifying theme or philosophy.  Marco and Josh claim to have a philosophy.  We don’t buy it.  Thus, we can’t agree with them and don’t trust them.  We don’t know if we can get to never on either one because the opponent is part of our decision process.  Marco and Josh help us understand Never-The-Donald folks because we can see choosing to lose to the left rather than have either one of those as president.

The Post-The Donald Sweepstakes

We know we are not politically unique.  Yet it is disappointing that the pollsters never have a category for MWG.  The closest we have come so far is being the opposite of Rod Dreher’s Crunchy Conservatives.  We got that feeling again despite the fact the guy is right on our wavelength.

The guy is Matthew Continetti at the Washington Free Beacon.  He asks: What Do Republican Voters Want?  It has the subtitle: Rising GOP Stars Play Pin The Tail On The Elephant.  Matthew is on the same wavelength as us in that:

[Marco] Rubio and [Josh] Hawley are the standard-bearers of a shift against markets among some quarters of the right. They want to integrate the lessons of 2016 into a policy agenda for the years after [The Donald] leaves office. They point to a possible direction for American conservatism.

We should note that Matthew published his connections at 5:00 AM this morning while we slept later so he can rightly claim to be first with The Donald-Marco-Josh connection.  As we said earlier, we agree with Matthew that Marco and Josh are positioning themselves for 2024 and disagree with Marco and Josh on the particulars.  Matthew gets into the polling details by dividing the GOP into four parts: Market skeptics, core conservatives (traditional Republicans), country first conservatives (isolationists?), and new era enterprisers.

Sidebar: As always these categories seem designed to exclude us.  Again, we would only defined by opposition, in this case, opposition to market skeptics.  End Sidebar.

Where we disagree with Matthew is where he goes next.  He looks at how Marco or Josh might appeal to all these groups and wonders how they will get full support in the primaries.  We disagree because as we see it each presidential candidate tries to create a path to the nomination and then the general election.  We expect the primaries in open years to continue as they have.  In 2020, an open year for the Democrats, there are lots of potential nominees and we doubt that there will be a candidate that wins a majority of the primary votes.  Thus, the path for GOP nominee in 2024 will likely have many candidates and the winner will get a plurality just like The Donald earned.  Then the nominee will need to find a path to winning the general election.  Each nominee strives to find a winning Electoral College majority by getting strong turnout from their own party, winning some of the independents, and picking off some of the other party.  Most candidates have different strategies.  His opponent helped The Donald consolidate the GOP.  Perhaps Marco and Josh are counting on that.  We are firmly opposed to either Marco or Josh in the primaries in 2024 but we don’t share Matthew’s opinion that they do not have a path to the nomination.   Subject to the Democrat nominee, Marco or Josh might present a harder choice for us in the general than The Donald did.

No Surprise

David Harsanyi at NRO is covering the senior senator from Florida who recently made a speech on Common Good Capitalism at Catholic University and the text of it showed up at NRO.  David’s review is titled, “Marco Rubio’s Bizarre Turn Against Capitalism.”

We agree with just about every word David wrote except for bizarre.  You should read every word.  Since David takes care of the issues, we will restrict out comments to the trends.  Marco is for sugar tariffs and industrial policy.  As we see it, folks like Marco and Josh Hawley are expanding upon The Donald’s ambiguous support for capitalism.  Why are they doing this?  Because they think it is good politics.  We hope they are wrong but fear they are right.  Why might they be right at a time when capitalism has done so much for so many people and the alternatives have done so badly for so many people?  To pick up on David’s word, it is bizarre that we are even having this discussion never mind that there is a chance of losing the vote.  Why?  The left hates capitalism.  The right doesn’t trust the left but many folks on the right don’t embrace capitalism unless it has a modifier.  Here is a story from earlier this year where the right (National Conservatism Conference) endorses industrial policy.   Thus, the way to a majority is to create something like “Common Good Capitalism.”  It is way worse than Compassionate Conservatism from earlier in the century.

The Donald is not a capitalist but in office he has done some sensible things like reduce corporate taxes and reduce regulation.  He was in the general election of 2016 and will be again in 2020 the least bad presidential choice for us capitalists.  There is every reason to be concerned that the least bad presidential choice in 2024 general election will not be as good.