Who can explain Donald Trump’s popularity in the current election?

Iowa Republicans love Donald Trump, it seems, slightly more than two seemingly far more plausible candidates combined (Nikki Haley and Ron DeSantis). Who can explain to me why this incredibly old guy is more successful with voters than Haley and DeSantis?

In some poll data from Iowa, it looks as though oldsters are the ones who love Trump. Just as here in Florida, it is the young people who love DeSantis the most:

Trump had a few successes before coronapanic overwhelmed his younger self, but what exactly did he accomplish that so many Republicans want him back?

(I haven’t been following the debates, etc., too carefully. Has anything happened that should alter my opinion that, though DeSantis is more aligned with my smaller-government political philosophy Haley is more likely to win a general election? (Americans overall seem to want a planned economy.))

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Who has ordered a January 6 medal from the Biden administration’s U.S. Mint?

I didn’t notice this until last summer, but the Biden administration created a medal to commemorate the victory of truth and goodness over deplorability and evil:

Congress, especially the Democrats therein, actually authorized the medal, but the design specifics were left to the Biden administration and the choice of selling medals to the general public was left to Biden’s Secretary of the Treasury.

Readers: Which of you paid $160 to display a 3-inch version of this medal in your own home?

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Gavin Newsom is the best-qualified governor to serve as U.S. President…

…. because he has experience with running a government at a structural deficit, something that states are theoretically not allowed to do.

California has been in the news lately for its forecast $68 billion budget deficit, about 30 percent of total spending by the state government and about $7,000 per significant taxpayer (in just one year) if we assume that only about 10 million Californians are earning enough to live an unsubsidized life. The report that is the basis for these media stories has a more interesting figure, though:

Like the federal government, the California state government is set up to spend more than it collects in tax revenue. California can’t print money the way that the Feds do. I’m wondering what their theory is for how they can run deficits indefinitely. Do they believe that the U.S. is in a huge slump right now and better economic times are around the corner once another 10 or 20 million undocumented cross the border? And that migrant-fueled economic boom will increase tax revenue to move the state back into surplus? In the previous version of this report, the analysts said that the budget had to be balanced every year (but reserves can still be spent to allow a deficit?):

What’s the near-term solution that the legislature’s analysts propose? Cutting spending on education! I can’t see a proposed long-term solution in these documents, though.

Oh yes, let’s also look at how good the best and brightest humans are at economic prophecy. The previous year’s report forecast a deficit for 2024-5… of about $17 billion.

Related:

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What we can learn from Claudine Gay’s PhD thesis (when Blacks are elected, whites should move)

I found Claudine Gay’s PhD thesis, which has been in the news recently, on ProQuest (locked down tightly so that peasants can’t get access, but free to academic elites… and me). Here’s part of the abstract:

The last part is interesting, if true: “Where African-Americans enjoy political prominence, race becomes the primary lens through which blacks and whites, alike, interpret and experience politics. The end result is an electorate polarized in attitudes, in political preferences, and in political involvement.”

The thesis was completed in 1997. Can we at least give President Gay credit for being a successful prophetess?

What’s in the conclusion?

The only certainty in regards to [Black] constituents is that when it comes to winning the black vote, black incumbents always secure a larger proportion than do other incumbents.

At least some Americans vote purely based on candidate skin color. This supports my previously stated theory that Republicans should run only Black female candidates if they want to win elections. Gay suggests that Democrats, at least as of 1997, could do best by picking white progressives:

The significance of black congressional representation is best measured in white constituents alienated from politics, and white votes lost to Republican challengers.

A white stooge could do everything that Black Americans might want, but without causing white Democrats to stay home on election day or, worse, vote for a Republican. I’m not sure that this is true in 2023, however. First, we have the phenomenon of Barack Obama, which shows that 21st century white Americans, including Republicans, are more than happy to vote for a candidate who identifies as Black. Second, we have vote-by-mail, which requires only a slight amount of engagement for a vote. But perhaps Democrats are being guided to some extent by Claudine Gay’s thesis. Joe Biden and his fellow senior citizen Senator Ed Markey both appear to be white, yet they advocate for discrimination against whites far beyond what, according to the Supreme Court, the Constitution allows.

Part of the conclusion doesn’t make sense to me. The U.S. is huge, far larger than the people who dreamed up our political system could ever have imagined and with the central government in D.C. taking a much bigger role than was ever imagined (via the magic of the Interstate Commerce clause). Except for some billionaires, nobody in the U.S. has representation at the federal level.

For whites, black congressmen compromise the representational experience: they are considered less sympathetic and less helpful to the constituent, and less active in serving the district. Even white constituents who share their representative’s party affiliation are unhappy with the quality of representation they receive. The disapproval only increases over time….

In a country of 336 million (or 346+ million?), any peasant who says “my congressman/woman cares about me” is delusional and that was also true in 1997 (population 273 million; all of the increase due to low-skill immigration). Still, if what was true in 1997 is still true and if we believe Claudine Gay (and/or the sources from which she drew), white people can make themselves happier by moving out of places where Blacks dominate politics. Instead of trying to fit in at an Ayanna Pressley rally in Maskachusetts, for example, a constituent could move to tax-free New Hampshire and be represented by Chris Pappas, Harvard graduate and white guy:

(saves 5-9% income tax and 16% state estate tax, resulting in children who are 40% wealthier)

The #Science of DEI says that it is important for people in victimhood groups to be surrounded by authority figures who “look like me”. Claudine Gay’s PhD thesis found that this is also true for white people. When possible, based on Wikipedia, they should move out of California and New Jersey due to high tax rates combined with Black senators, and out of Al Green‘s Houston district and up to The Woodlands.

Loosely related…

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How did Ron DeSantis do in the debate with Governor French Laundry?

Americans have so few shared values or interests (see my favorite Harvard analysis on why we can’t agree on whether open borders are good or bad; low-skill immigrants are great for the rich and terrible for the working class) that they can watch different political events even while watching the same political event. Was last night’s debate between Gavin Newsom and Ron DeSantis an example of that phenomenon?

Based on a casual sampling of Twitter, every account with rainbow flags, #FreePalestine banners, etc. declared that Newsom was the winner while all of the conservative accounts tweeted how impressed they were with Ron D. Here are two that happened to show up adjacent:

Readers who watched: How did Ron DeSantis do? Is it time for me to switch allegiance from Nikki Haley?

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Checking the COVID-19 Olympics scores for Florida and California ahead of the DeSantis v. Newsom debate

Governor French Laundry and Governor Science Denial are debating this evening. Let’s do a little pre-debate fact-checking. Americans have agreed that all of a society’s success can be measured by the society’s score in the COVID-19 Olympics. A society that achieved 0 COVID-tagged deaths by pushing all of its citizens into Hamas-style tunnels for 10 years (until a vaccine-style vaccine became available that definitively reduced deaths on a population-wide basis) would, for example, be celebrated as the best of all possible societies.

Lockdown-champ California starts off in the lead in the COVID-19 Olympics by having a lower COVID-19-tagged death rate. Once you adjust for the percentage of the population over 65, however, the death rates are about the same and the excess death rate may actually be higher in California (the CDC makes these data available, but somehow doesn’t bother to make it easy to compare states).

Where is SARS-CoV-2 having a field day right now? The CDC’s wastewater page:

The Science-denying Republican strongholds of Minnesota and Vermont are seriously plagued (God hates Republicans and loves #Science). California is moderately plagued and the plague level in Florida is “low”. In other words, if we accept that current Scientific dogma that humans, especially politicians and bureaucrats, are in charge of viruses, Gavin Newsom’s lockdowns, mask orders, forced vaccinations, school closures, etc. have resulted in a higher rate of SARS-CoV-2 infection than the Team Sweden approach that Ron DeSantis adopted in the summer of 2020 (see Ron DeSantis and Coronapanic for excerpts from the not-so-great man’s book).

I continue to maintain my position that Nikki Haley would be more likely to prevail over Joe Biden in November 2024 because Ron D doesn’t have the soothing optimistic tone that Americans love. For example, Americans want to believe that someone who hates Jews and loves jihad will do a 180-degree flip once exposed to suburban life in Michigan or Minnesota. Ron just says “no”:

(Possible influence for Ron D’s rejection of Immigration Dogma: Florida is where, in 2016 (prior to Ron DeSantis assuming the governorship), first-generation Afghan-American Omar Mir Seddique Mateen killed 49 people at a gay nightclub. Mr. Mateen came from a “moderate Muslim” family and had spent his entire 29-year life in the land of Diversity is Our Strength (TM).)

Loosely related:

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Gun violence is a “public health crisis” and “urgent”, but Maskachusetts won’t pass a gun safety law this year

“Mass. Senate’s gun bill won’t bow until 2024, top Dem says” (MassLive.com, October 27, 2023):

The state Senate’s version of a much-anticipated gun violence reduction bill won’t make its debut until January — even as the chamber’s top leader has acknowledged “the true sense of urgency” around the issue.

That’s the word from Senate President Karen Spilka’s, D-Middlesex/Norfolk, office.

“It’s a very complex issue. The House struggled with it, they took their time as well,” Spilka said, according to Politico. “But we recognize the true sense of urgency here.”

The House passed its version of the bill after a marathon debate on Oct. 18, MassLive previously reported.

“Mass. House passes updated gun violence reform bill” (October 18, 2023) is the referenced story:

Since July 1, there have been 90 separate shootings in the Commonwealth, which have left 40 people dead and 86 injured, Day said.

“We are in the midst of a public health crisis and it is unrelenting,” he said. “‘Thoughts and prayers’ are not enough.”

The revised measure makes slight modifications to where people can carry firearms, expands the state’s assault weapons ban to include firearms developed after 2004, and aims to stem the flow of illegal firearms.

The bill also includes language that prohibits someone from bringing a gun into schools or government buildings and polling locations.

A major focus of the bill is also cracking down on “ghost guns” or untraceable firearms, by registering them with the state. As ghost guns are becoming more common Day said he hopes that serializing these firearms will help police trace where they are coming from and who’s putting them out on the street.

The updated legislation requires receivers – the part of the gun that contains the firing mechanism – to be serialized, but not the barrels or feeding device.

The House bill has been met with praise from gun safety advocates and lawmakers who’ve been pushing for the Legislature to act on Day’s bill since it was first proposed.

(It didn’t meet with praise from a gun enthusiast friend who still lives in Massachusetts. “I can possess normal magazines and ARs but won’t be able to carry magazines over 10 rounds. And they have to be stored at home both in a safe and also unloaded. And I will no longer be able to pick up my kids at school with a gun.” (I didn’t ask who needs to be shot in the pick-up line.))

So… politicians agree that we are in a crisis and there is urgency. It’s a one-party state so there is no political opposition to whatever Democrats might agree to do. People are dying and this new law will prevent those deaths. But there is no need for the Senate to act, e.g., simply approving the language already passed by the House, so that the new law can take effect.

And from the southeast part of the state…

And in the west-central part…

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What the authors of our modern immigration policy believed that it would do

“The Hard Truth About Immigration” (The Atlantic; paywalled, but included with Apple News subscriptions) has some interesting quotes from the people who authored our current immigration policy. This is not about the asylum policy that has effectively opened the border to anyone who asks, but the official immigration policy that has resulted in most of the population growth in recent decades. From Pew:

The author of the article is a New York Times journalist, i.e., from a team of cheerleaders for open borders. So perhaps we should be skeptical of any claims regarding the benefits of low-skill immigration to natives (see this 2016 Harvard analysis for how elites benefit and the working class gets destroyed financially), but I think that the quotes are likely accurate.

What did the best and brightest of the 1960s predict?

“This bill that we will sign today is not a revolutionary bill,” President Lyndon B. Johnson said as he put his signature on the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965, at the base of the Statue of Liberty. “It does not affect the lives of millions.” All that the bill would do, he explained, was repair the flawed criteria for deciding who could enter the country. “This bill says simply that from this day forth those wishing to immigrate to America shall be admitted on the basis of their skills and their close relationship to those already here.”

Edward Kennedy, the 33-year-old senator who had shepherded the bill through the Senate, went even further in promising that its effects would be modest. Some opponents argued that the bill would lead to a large increase in immigration, but those claims were false, Kennedy said. They were “highly emotional, irrational, and with little foundation in fact,” he announced in a Senate hearing, and “out of line with the obligations of responsible citizenship.” Emanuel Celler, the bill’s champion in the House, made the same promises. “Do we appreciably increase our population, as it were, by the passage of this bill?” Celler said. “The answer is emphatically no.”

How wrong were they?

Johnson, Kennedy, Celler and the new law’s other advocates turned out to be entirely wrong about this. The 1965 bill sparked a decades-long immigration wave. As a percentage of the United States population, this modern wave has been similar in size to the immigration wave of the late 1800s and early 1900s. In terms of the sheer number of people moving to a single country, the modern American immigration wave may be the largest in history. The year Johnson signed the immigration bill, 297,000 immigrants legally entered the United States. Two years later, the number reached 362,000. It continued rising in subsequent decades, and by 1989 exceeded 1 million.

How did they get it so wrong? The miracle of chain migration, which Donald Trump tried to end:

The most consequential nonquota entries proved to be family members, including extended family. The law declared that immigrants who were coming to join relatives already in the United States would not count toward the quota. That loophole was not wholly new. But it had not mattered much before 1965, because the overall system was so restrictive. The new law opened the doors to the entire world without solving the nonquota problem.

Didn’t anyone foresee how the U.S. would be transformed?

The critics’ predictions—that annual immigration might soon triple, as one conservative congressman forecast, and eventually surpass 1 million, as another anticipated—ended up being more accurate. The advocates of the 1965 law also incorrectly promised that any increase in immigration would come from white-collar professionals filling specific job shortages. Willard Wirtz, Johnson’s labor secretary, went so far as to tell Congress that the bill offered “complete protection” against increased labor competition. In truth, many arrivals have been blue-collar workers, admitted as extended family, seeking a broad range of jobs.

The Harvard analysis that I cited above was considered hate speech in 2016 when Hillary was running for the Presidency that she so richly deserved. The author of this Atlantic piece presents the same conclusions, with the implication that we’re only figuring this out right now:

The decades when the American masses enjoyed their fastest income gains—in the middle of the 20th century—were also the decades when immigration was near historic lows. The 1965 law ended this era and caused a sharp rise in the number of immigrants entering the workforce. Shortly afterward, incomes for poor and working-class Americans began to stagnate. The 1940s, ’50s, and ’60s were a time of low immigration and rapidly rising mass living standards. The period since the ’70s has been neither.

The post-1965 immigration wave has had both benefits and costs. On the plus side, it has probably accelerated economic growth, mostly by expanding the labor force. With a larger population, the United States has been able to produce more goods and services. Immigration also appears to have benefited many high-earning, native-born professionals. The costs of immigration for these workers have been fairly low because they face relatively little competition from immigrant workers. Few of the highly educated immigrants who come to the U.S. are lawyers or doctors, partly because some professions have created barriers that restrict entry. In medicine, foreign doctors are required to complete a multiyear residency program in the United States, regardless of their prior experience. Professionals who have enough political influence to shape labor-market rules, like doctors, understand that a larger labor pool can reduce incomes.

(When I lived in Maskachusetts and a cardiologist would talk about how the borders should be open, how no human was illegal, how much Trump needed to be hated, etc., I would ask “Should a cardiologist from Switzerland or the UK be allowed to come here and practice?” The answer was inevitably “No.”)

After acknowledging that low-skill immigration makes the working class poor, just as the Harvard nerds said in 2016, the author explains that “racism” is why working class voters oppose open borders:

Racism, of course, is part of this story. In both the United States and Europe, right-wing politicians like Trump have tried to raise fears of immigrants by using xenophobic stereotypes and lies. This racism can be anti-Latino, anti-Asian, anti-Black, or anti-Muslim, depending on the time and place. The tactic has proved distressingly effective at winning working-class voters.

Related:

  • “Effects of Immigration on African-American Employment and Incarceration” (NBER, 2007): For white men, an immigration boost of 10 percent caused their employment rate to fall just 0.7 percentage points; for black men, it fell 2.4 percentage points. … For white men, a 10 percent rise in immigration appeared to cause a 0.1 percentage point increase in the incarceration rate for white men. But for black men, it meant a nearly 1 percentage-point rise. [This study is not cited in the Atlantic article by the NYT writer!]
  • “A price tag to reject migrants? It’s not the only fight threatening a reform package” (Politico EU): Negotiators are haggling over a per-migrant fee — somewhere between €10,000 and €22,000, according to numerous people involved — to charge a country if it declines to take in asylum seekers. [We are informed that low-skill migrants make a country richer, which means each migrant should be valuable. Instead, the price within Europe is negative and countries will have to pay to unload a migrant.]
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The right wingers who fund Gavin Newsom’s lockdowns, DEI programs, gun safety laws, and welfare schemes

I’ve got my mother’s AOL account password and try to log in every day or two to clear out the spam, unsubscribe her from all of the scam mailing lists that she’s on, etc. Considering that mom says she’d vote for Joe Biden even if he were a mental vegetable and/or dead, it is a little strange that she is on rightwing.org‘s mailing list:

The folks behind this are bravely defending “the American way”:

Where are these rightwing warriors based?

Glendale, California! In other words, every day they are paying taxes to keep Gavin Newsom’s lockdowns, DEI programs, gun safety laws, and welfare schemes going.

I find this even harder to understand than my mom being on their list!

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Did anything interesting happen in the 2nd Republican primary debate?

I can’t bear to watch politicians, but I found a transcript of last night’s Republican debate.

A few sections…

HUME: Forty years after Reagan’s landslide reelection, the Republican Party faces critical questions: What does it mean to be a conservative?

VIVEK RAMASWAMY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We fight for the truth.

GOV. RON DESANTIS (R-FL), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: We are not going to worry about what the left and the media say about us.

Nobody else answered? Vivek’s answer seems crazy. Which truth is he fighting for? His truth? I can’t believe this guy is polling higher than my favorite, Nikki Haley. DeSantis’s answer is terrible in my opinion. Shouldn’t a conservative be able to exist without the “left” (whatever that might mean in America’s incoherent politics) and the media?

Should I be worried that I agree with Chris Christie?

During the Trump administration, they added $7 trillion, $7 trillion in national debt. And now, the Biden administration has put another $5 trillion on and counting. They have failed, and they’re in the spot they’re in now because none of them are willing to tell the truth; none of them are willing to take on the difficult issues. They just want to keep kicking the can down the road.

DeSantis basically says the same thing, but works in low-skill immigration, which drives up costs for everything that the working class might want to buy, e.g., housing, while feeding the elites:

DESANTIS: The people in Washington are shutting down the American dream with their reckless behavior. They borrowed, they printed, they spent and now you’re paying more for everything. They are the reason for that. They have shut down our national sovereignty by allowing our border to be wide open.

Now, I can tell you this as governor of Florida, we cut taxes; we ran surpluses; we’ve paid down over 25 percent of our state debt. And I vetoed wasteful spending when it came to my desk. And as your president, when they send me a bloating spending bill that’s going to cause your prices to go up, I’m going to take out this veto pen and I’m going to send it right back to them.

I rate this last statement “partly false” because the U.S. president doesn’t have a line-item veto as most state governors do. I guess a hypothetical President DeSantis could have vetoed coronapanic spending and massive spending programs authorized by individual bills, such as the “Inflation Reduction Act”.

More from Vivek:

Look, I have a different view on this. I think Trump was an excellent president. But the America First agenda does not belong to one man. It does not belong to Donald Trump. It doesn’t belong to me. It belongs to you, the people of this country. … When we rallied behind the cry to make America great again, we did not just hunger for a single man. We hungered for the unapologetic pursuit of excellence.

He raises an interesting question: What are Republican voters voting for? “Pursuit of excellence” doesn’t seem right. Given the chance to sit on the couch and collect money from others who work, most Americans grab the deal with both hands. (My favorite recent example: police officers in a San Francisco exurb who got paid about $300,000 each while sitting at home suspended due to being investigated for criminal activity. One moved to Hawaii! (Mercury News). None of them chose to pursue any kind of productive employment or education during their suspension.)

Readers who watched this live or on video: What struck you as interesting? Does this format make sense? It didn’t seem as though any of the candidates had enough time to utter a coherent policy point of view.

Maybe the November 30 debate between DeSantis and Gavin Newsom will be more interesting:

If Biden on the union picket line is the senile version of AOC, maybe Gavin Newsom is fairly characterized as the young edition of Bernie Sanders, i.e., someone who can articulate a vision of vastly expanded government presiding over a miscellaneous collection of humans that has been vastly expanded via immigration.

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