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October 30, 2014

Comments

KPOM

Once again Tomi is posting what he wants to happen, not necessarily what will actually happen. Hillary is the favorite because no serious Democrat is going to challenge her, but 2008 shows she is far from inevitable. She actually is not a very good campaigner and never faced a serious electoral challenge until 2008, when she lost to a relative unknown, albeit one who was a very good campaigner and used data analytics like no one before or since.

2016 is a fundamentally strong year for Democrats, but so was 2000 when Al Gore campaigned. The economy was strong and Bill Clinton was popular, so Gore should have coasted. The GOP, after having thrown away very winnable races in 2010 and 2012, seems to have gotten the message and will likely vet their prospective candidates accordingly in 2016.

KPOM

@ Tomi, the Democrats are the party of rich white men.

Winter

@KPOM
"Tomi, the Democrats are the party of rich white men."

Not by voters. Remember the "slut vote" and "They said what about rape?" jokes going around in 2012. The GOP is strong among (rich) old white male voters and weak everywhere else.

I think Tomi's predictions are most vulnerable to panic gripping the GOP when they realize the above scenario is going to happen.

That might bring them to do the UNTHINKABLE. The GOP might be driven to field a credible candidate. Say, a very bright female (Hispanic) candidate from their ranks.

Say, a ticket with one or two from Condoleezza Rice, Susana Martinez, Ana Navarro?

We might laugh now, but panic can do strange things to people.

B.J.I.

The war on women has been fabricated for exactly this reason, but the believers jumped the shark and are now creating a serious backlash. Hillary has a lot of money and X chromosomes, but she also has a string of failures and no notable successes to her name. Maybe if the election was right now, just being a woman would be enough, but I doubt it will shield her going forward. You take that she is a strong candidate as a given, when it is anything but. You don't even present the history of Obama's administration honestly for exposition on how Hillary will learn from it. This is political fanfiction, but kudos on you for having the gumption to stake your reputation on a prediction so bold, especially one so far outside of your expertise. If it comes true, I will take your opinion seriously again. Until that day, take care.

Richard Martin

Will she be alive in 2016?

I think her health issues will force her not to run.

Wayne Borean

Yep, demographics. It isn't just Hilary who would benefit, but yes, she is the likeliest candidate (like you I assume Michelle Obama will run for lower office first).

Think you've nailed it Tomi.

Only one quibble - could you please spell/grammar check your posts? You've got words like 'spouce' and you used 'then' instead of 'when' a couple of times...

Sorry. I get paid to do editing, and I tend to really notice stuff like that.

Wayne

KPOM

@Winter, in current polls, the GOP has closed the gender gap considerably. Plus, Hillary is "old" and "white." Condi Rice is probably too tarnished by the Bush association. Susana Martinez would be interesting, but if she were interested, she'd probably have put her name in for the VP nomination in 2012 (my guess is Romney would have picked her instead of Paul Ryan).

The GOP establishment has thought about the exact scenario that Tomi describes, and is doing its best to prevent it. That's why there are no Todd Akins or Christine O'Donnells this time around on the GOP side. The most extreme example of this is what they did in Mississippi, when they actively courted African Americans to vote in the GOP primary to prevent a Tea Party challenger from winning the nomination. In any case, they are as aware as any that they don't have a very deep bench, but will do what they can with what they have.

Rubio and Christie are far less damaged than Tomi thinks they are. No one cares about "Bridgegate" and the investigation hasn't turned up anything. Odds are still with the Democrats in 2016, but Hillary isn't blowing anybody out. 2008 shouldn't have been close. Hillary should have had the nomination sealed by Super Tuesday but was outmaneuvered by David Plouffe and David Axelrod. It also helped that Obama wasn't burdened by a vote for the Iraq War, so he got the "progressive" wing of the party that is oddly suspicious of Hillary because they don't like Bill (though they do like his ability to raise money).

Tomi also overestimates what Hillary (or any next president) could actually do. Just because Bill Clinton was a centrist dealmaker who was able to get things done with a hostile Congress doesn't mean that Hillary would be able to do the same. Heck, Bill let Hillary run his attempt to reform the healthcare system and that ended up going down in flames and taking down the Democratic Congress with it. Her Senate career was mostly unremarkable. She tries to talk up foreign policy, but that generally doesn't win elections, and she was part of the administration that's perceived as having been asleep at the wheel on issues like ISIS and Ukraine.

The next president's biggest impact is going to be on SCOTUS. Chances are pretty good that before 2020, Ginsburg, Scalia, Thomas, and Kennedy will retire (almost certainly by 2024). The GOP has a tendency to nominate a mix of reliable conservatives (intentionally) and moderates (accidentally). The Democrats (even centrists like Bill Clinton) nominate reliable liberals. The current court has 4 liberals (including Ginsberg), a moderate in Kennedy, a weak conservative in Roberts, and 3 reliable conservatives (including Scalia and Thomas). We could have a 7-2 liberal court, a 6-3 conservative court, or something in between, depending on who gets elected in 2016. I'd much rather take my chances with a GOP president since liberal courts generally let the federal government run wild. I'd prefer more Kennedys on the court.

Tomi T Ahonen

Thanks guys!

Am dead from very long day here in Ecuador, but will return to chat about these things. I know it was hideously long but I just ran out of time to try to edit it down further. So I appreciate it that you guys read it and are commenting.

Pls keep the discussion going and I'll get you replies now over the weekend (from Bolivia... a James Bond country...)

Tomi Ahonen :-)

R

My father is a very fundamental conservative, so I hear an interesting alternative interpretation of events.

In particular, Obamacare, based on Romneycare, is in no way a conservative thing. It mandates particular conditions on insurance plans (Boo! Hiss! Regulations!) and for unprofitable plans it has the government pick up the slack (Boo! Hiss! Welfare!). I'm currently underemployed, so I tried applying for California's version of Medicare, and only next month, almost a year after I applied for it, the health plan is being approved and I can start ruining the nation's economy with it.

I don't like Obama as Supreme Court Justice, after all his lies about mass surveillance.

The Republican Party is in seriously bad health. Nobody likes being called crazy, and even the big-business leadership of the party is calling the Tea Party crazy. The Republican Party is already the nation's smaller party, and I don't think it can win any elections being formally split apart.

I have personal distaste for this whole system of coalition parties that stand for nothing, with candidates that carefully flip-flop for particular voting blocs. The outcome I would like to see is for the Republican Party to shatter apart, and some new party rise out of the ashes being principled for something. Like how the Republican Party displaced the Whigs based on their stance on slavery. I think this is very unlikely, but a person can dream.

KPOM

@R, as you point out, the parties are odd coalitions of groups that have little in common. The Republicans historically were a mix of affluent pro-business types out East and in the Midwest, "rugged individualists" in the West, and a decidely liberal wing in the Northeast. After the 1960s, social conservatives and evangelicals in the South left the Democratic party and joined the Republican Party. Reagan successfully wooed socially conservative lower-middle class voters (the "Reagan Democrats").

Democrats historically were a mix of socially liberal "progressives," the "working class," ethnic minorities, and union workers. Members latter three groups often actually very socially conservative.

There was much more overlap between the parties. In particular, the Northeast Republicans had much more in common with the "progressives" in the Democratic party on social issues (though they parted ways on fiscal issues) than they did with Southern Republicans, while Southern Democrats had much more in common with the evangelicals and a lesser extent the pro-business types in the GOP than they did with the progressives.

What has happened is that the overlap has shrunk quite a bit after successive wave elections in the 1990s through today (1994, 2002, 2006, 2010). Many Southern Democrats either were defeated by Republicans or switched parties. This election threatens most of what's left of them (though Michelle Nunn may pull out a victory, and Kay Hagan will likely survive, having run a virtually flawless campaign). Most of the Northeast Republicans were defeated in the 1990s or switched parties. Romney is a mix of the pro-business and Northeast liberal wings (no surprise since his father was governor of Michigan and he's lived most of his adult life in the Northeast).

By and large, the GOP Establishment is mostly the pro-business wing, while they depend on the votes of what's left of the "Reagan Democrats" and their descendants (who are now mostly Republican), and the evangelicals. The latter two groups generally are socially conservative and are suspicious of foreign labor (particularly the "Reagan Democrats"), which puts them at odds with the Establishment. The Reagan Democrats are generally suspicious of high taxes and government waste, but are perfectly fine with entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare, which they view as insurance programs that they "paid for" through their taxes. The Tea Party started out as an economic reaction to the bailouts that briefly united all wings of the party, but was quickly co-opted by the evangelicals and social conservatives, and thus more closely represents the "Reagan Democrat."

It's getting harder and harder to reconcile or paper over the divisions in the GOP. The pro-business types would love to make an immigration deal with the Democrats, perhaps in exchange for a cut in the corporate tax rate. It would be a win-win for them. But that would anger the Tea Party types.

I need to run, but my next post will focus on divisions within the Democratic party.

Troutwaxer

Tomi, I think your prediction is pretty much a pipe-dream, and I'd have to go a little further and note that it is a pipe-dream based three issues. The first issue is a very reasonable, very justifiable anxiety. The second is a clear misunderstanding of how the American media operates. The third is a deep misunderstanding, both of Hillary Clinton and how Ms. Clinton is perceived in the U.S.

FIRST, With regard to the anxiety, the current crop of Republicans is so very, very deeply insane that the idea of a Tea-Party Republican as President getting everything he/she wants from a Tea-Party Congress is deeply frightening. These are people who could do any number of horrible things, both nationally and internationally, including the appointment of Supreme Court justices who will overturn every single law that doesn't acknowledge the supremacy of white, male heterosexuals.

In the event of a Republican win in 2016 we're looking at renewed war in the Middle East, possibly including the use of nukes (against Iran,) a renewed cold war with Russia/China, and a horrible chilling of relations with Europe. On the national front we're looking at the end of all gains made by women, people of color and gay/bi/trans people. We're looking at the end of environmentalism and the end of any further efforts against global warming. We're looking at a surveillance state far uglier than our current surveillance state, and that surveillance will apply internationally, complete with all the thuggery and blackmail a surveillance state implies.

If the Republicans win control of the Senate in 2014, you'll get a good look at how crazy they are. I suspect that the first thing we'll see is an attempt to impeach Obama and to destroy every member of his administration.

It is completely understandable that someone from a country with good schools and a functioning news apparatus will go into deep denial about the possibility of Tea-Party America.

SECOND, I don't think you understand how worthless our news media is when it comes to communicating with the American people. As you probably know from polling data, most registered voters agree with liberal ideas when polled about these issues using neutral language which is divorced from politics. However, a substantial number of those who agree with liberal ideas don't vote that way. That's because our press is 90% owned by huge media companies with conservative agendas and most reporters are spouting bullshit. This goes from the largest television news outlets to website to magazines to newspapers; it is impossible to get a clear view of which candidates correspond to the positions a single citizen actually agrees with.

Most of our news media practices "responsible" reporting, which means they don't explain in clear terms that Sarah Palin is crazy, that the Tea Party is a deeply racist, male supremacist institution, or that global warming deniers are fundamentally ignorant. "Responsible" reporting also includes the idea, or at least the implication, that Hillary is a communist, terrorist, socialist, Muslim feminzai, and a surprising number of our voters aren't even capable of understanding that the idea of someone being both a communist and a Muslim is deeply self-contradictory.

THIRD, I don't think you understand either Hillary Clinton or the way she is perceived in the United States. The first thing to understand is that Hillary is not a liberal. This cannot be over-emphasized. Hillary Clinton is not a liberal. She is, at the very best, a centrist. She is deeply tied into the business community and she will be getting millions of dollars in donations from that business community. She will represent the "sane" portion of the business community and will occasionally throw the social liberals a bone. Don't expect her to effectively work against global warming, the financial community, or big coal/oil. It isn't going to happen. (Remember that her husband signed the bill that killed Glass-Steagal.) If Hillary is "Liberal" it is only because these days an American "moderate" inhabits the same political terrain as Ronald Reagan or Richard Nixon.

As to how Hillary is perceived... there are very few Liberals or Progressives who actually like her. She's much too far to the right for any Liberal to work terribly hard on her behalf. She tends to treat the right with appeasement rather than opposition and this does not endear her to Liberals. To be blunt, most Liberals see her as a wolf in sheep's clothing. Some actively hate her.

To the right, Hillary may as well be Eva Braun. The average Tea Party Republican regards Hillary as Satan's Handmaiden and any moderate Republicans that remain are deeply suspicious of her. Outlets such as Fox News or CNN will report any new half-sane accusation against her as "serious" news and less "responsible" right-wing journalists will happily report that she keeps young Baptist virgins as sex-slaves for the UN Black Helicopter pilots in her Super-Secret Islamic Volcano Fortress. If she does run for President in the general election, expect to see the ugliest propaganda campaign since World War II.

Will Hillary win the election in 2016? It's possible, but it certainly won't be a blow-out. It will be an uphill battle against both the Liberal and Conservative wings of American politics, both of whom dislike her for their own reasons. If she does win, I'd expect very poor results for Democrats in the down-ticket races as Americans hedge their bets.

KPOM


@Troutwaxer, calm down buddy. The Tea Party is a minority component of the weaker of 2 parties, and the GOP establishment is doing its best to marginalize them. That's why there are no Christine O'Donnells or Todd Akins running on the GOP side this year.

I'm far more concerned about the Elizabeth Warren wing of the Democratic party. They are just as nuts as the extremists in the Tea Party, but their views are becoming mainstream within the Democratic Party. How has it come to it that not wanting to pay for someone else's birth control is tantamount to wanting to "ban contraception and abortion"? Why is Hillary out there saying that businesses don't create jobs? And politial correctness has run amok. The left is far more intolerant of dissent than the right.

Wayne Borean


Tomi is Finnish. I'm Canadian. We both have experience with 'Functioning Democracies' which the United States most definitely is not.

Part of Tomi's analysis depends on the mi or fact that the United States is effectively a one party country. The Republicans and the Democrats are separate wings of that party, trading power every so often.

No other advanced country has such a limited political landscape. In Canada we have five different parties represented in the House of Commons, our legislature. Tomi can tell you how many parties are in the Finnish legislature.

Under that set of circumstances, Americans really don't have any choice in their leadership. And that is going to kill the country.

Winter

Here is a site with some beautiful pictures of gerrymandering in action:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/05/15/americas-most-gerrymandered-congressional-districts/

and here another rendering:
http://pjmedia.com/zombie/2010/11/11/the-top-ten-most-gerrymandered-congressional-districts-in-the-united-states/

These district shapes are pure art.

KPOM

@Wayne, the number of parties isn't a reliable indicator of how functional a democracy is. Germany in 1933 had 11 parties represented in the Bundestag and we all know how that turned out. The proportional representation system gives too much power to minor parties. If we had that here in the US, the Tea Party and Greens would be potential kingmakers in red and blue states, respectively. We'd be even more polarized.

RottenApple

@KPOM:

" If we had that here in the US, the Tea Party and Greens would be potential kingmakers in red and blue states, respectively. We'd be even more polarized. "

Instead you get an entire party being eaten up by those cancerous elements so the minority is not just 'kingmaker' but will eventually become the kings and dictate policy.

The only reason they haven't been sent into the desert is your two-party system because without the crazies the Republicans would lose all power they have.

The system is completely and utterly broken right now - but what baffles me most is that some (presumably sane) business types still support this hodgepodge of insanity, actually believing it'll benefit their agenda.

I agree with Wayne Borean, this will eventually kill the country and possibly tear it apart if some extremists like the Tea party gain power.

The American political system was fine when it was created in the 18th century, but it was never really modernized since them, most of its archaic idiosyncracies are still fully present and make abuse far too easy.

KPOM

@RottenApple, the GOP establishment is weeding out the Tea Party elements and even appealed to Democrats in Mississippi to overcome a primary challenge. The only Todd Akins and Christine O'Donnell's this time around are on the Democratic side (e.g. Mark "Uterus" Udall, Alison Lundergan "I support a minimum wage increase while my family's restaurant pays their servers $2.13/hour" Grimes, and Bruce "Senator Grassley is just a farmer from Iowa" Braley).

Meanwhile, the anti-business "progressive" wing is slowly taking over the Democratic party, and no one seems to care. Even Hillary (supposedly a "moderate") is out there campaigning with Elizabeth Warren saying that businesses don't create jobs.

Look at Israel if you want a modern example of how a proportional government works. The two major parties would have signed a peace settlement years ago. But particularly the center-right parties wind up having to form coalitions with some hardline parties to form working coalitions. Grand coalitions between the center-right and center-left fall apart.

Matches

It's laughable the way leftists here, there and everywhere call the people on the other end of the spectrum "crazy". I don't call Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders crazy. I call her wrong.

Hillary strikes me as the Romney of the Democrats. A chameleon, she will shift her external behavior and views to however the wind is blowing. Assuming no further-left candidate upstart steals her thunder again like Obama did in 2008, she's going to get a decent amount of the base out. Let's not rule out third party (Green) candidate siphoning off her votes if she's painted as too cozy to business and not enough of a dove for the socialist-pacifist base.

On the Republican side, it's wide open. KPOM may be right, in that the GOP is trying to quash "Tea Party" elements, but Ted Cruz is not shutting up, and Rand Paul (who is painted with the same brush but absolutely is not in the same boat as what the Tea Party became) is also getting a lot of run. Cruz wouldn't have a chance. Rand Paul would, since he can change some of the demographic shift with his appeal to the youth. Paul could successfully paint Hillary as a continuation of the disingenuous Obama administration whose CIA spies on your phones, reads your emails, has sent arms to god-knows-who in the middle east, etc.

Romney was a mediocre candidate. Obama was the first black president and hadn't quite yet been exposed. Still the difference in vote was less than 4%. The reality is that the U.S. is still very much split down the middle in terms of affiliation. Any competent Republican candidate should fare at LEAST as well was Romney did (47.2%) which means definitely no landslide as Tomi predicts.

R

The US is not split down the middle, exactly. It's more like ranging from 30-30-40 to 25-25-50. The last number represents the people who can vote but do not. There are various reasons for this.

I know I would be much less motivated to vote if I didn't live in San Francisco, California with all these fun initiatives to vote on.
http://techcrunch.com/2014/11/02/so-you-want-to-fix-the-housing-crisis/

Ronin8317

US Republican have just recaptured the Senate majority. Turn out is around 40%, even the best voter identification database in the world cannot force people to go out and vote.

John McIntyre

Good of you to edit the article title in your favour, Tomi, since you were so wrong about the mid-term elections.

What you don't know (about politics and other matters) is voluminous

John Phamlore

@Tomi,

Literature and media on European and American blindness the past few centuries leading to disaster in the field can be summarized as: Failure to accurately assess local conditions leads to catastrophe. This blindness I think has been intensified by the horrible analogy that just because software can be reduced to bits and infinitely copied, so can systems that rely on software.

Well like saying in various forms goes in the US, "It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so."

What someone who isn't from the United States needs to understand, and this used to be taught in the schools, is the American system of elections is intentionally broken. Any attempt to understand it as a rational process will lead to nonsense that just ain't so.

Let's think about a rational process that would empower as many people as possible to vote. Voting days would be national holidays, but they would not occur often. The ballot would be kept short and simple so that even illiterates could vote, perhaps just by choosing a color. Registration to vote should be allowed close to the election.

Every so-called reform to voting in the US has gone opposite from simplicity, in a way that I am afraid someone from outside the United States simply cannot understand without a thorough and sympathetic immersion such as done by de Tocqueville. Voting days are not national holidays, but they can occur as much as twice a year. The US ballot is the long ballot where one must vote on offices down to who is serving on the water board, almost literally requiring voting on the dog catcher. And this is hardly a recent development, with many of these reforms promoted by the Progressives almost a century ago to try and crush the urban political machines.

And United States political parties are not like political parties almost anywhere else. In particular, excellence in one candidate's organization is not necessarily exported to other candidates' organizations.

Now let me make a tech analogy: Africa solved and killed traditional money and banking using mobile tech back in 2007. No wait, Kenya solved and killed traditional money and banking using mobile tech in 2007 with M-Pesa. It's not like it was invented from scratch in Kenya, but according to Wikipedia what occurred was a local student software development project started the process of pulling everything together for an actual solution.

But that didn't mean that M-Pesa could simply be photocopied even to neighboring African countries and achieve the same success it had in Kenya, let alone the rest of the world. Local conditions triumph over blind attempts to impose uniformity in the name of rationality every single time. Remember that.

Millard Fillmore

Hi Troutwaxer,

"the idea of a Tea-Party Republican as President getting everything he/she wants from a Tea-Party Congress is deeply frightening."

a little more than a year ago the tea-party types were gleefully prepared to wreck the economy of the world by having the USA hit the debt limit and default.

--

millard "slavery is when you own me, freedom is when i own you" fillmore

Winter

After the mid-term elections, the Republicans now have an opportunity to show that they are adults that can bring the US forward and balance the budget. They can reach out to women, Latino's, and African Americans and show them the GOP will also protect their interests.

After you have stopped laughing, we can look at how the Republicans are now going to show the US voters how far they have moved away from being a responsible party that heeds the interests of "Common Americans" (i.e., including those that are not old rich white men).

Personally, I think the GOP will concentrate to suppress the votes of those who might vote for Hillary.

Millard Fillmore

hi KPOM, you said "The only Todd Akins and Christine O'Donnell's this time around are on the Democratic side"

Joni Ernst is a rather unsettling character on the far right. also, this oddball chap won a local (state) office, as described in crooksandliars.com: "Far-right Christianist zealot Gordon Klingenschmitt was elected to the Colorado House of Representatives." it IS local, but hey, he has national potential!

my hot-buttons center around justice, and policy is usually secondary. for example there are many proposals from the right to cut food stamps and welfare, but nothing to keep a lid on company executives that carve large bonuses out of employee pension funds. i would expect that the party of "take responsibility for your actions" would be screaming loudly that crooked banksters should be going to jail, yet that is not happening. this is deeply disappointing. it should not be a left or right issue, but is it?

a final practical question ... there are many places around the world where small and medium businesses face few regulations, no minimum wage laws, no unions, no safety rules. one can look at Indonesia, Philippines, or much of Africa for live examples. these qualities are frequently praised by Republicans. but these are poor third world countries. are there any First World examples where Republican policies have worked out well?

i just thought of one. New Zealand dumped its farm subsidies a few years ago and is doing quite nicely. trying to get that through congress here, even if the "libertarian" tea-party gets to be in charge, is a non-starter.

--

millard "libertarian: let 'em buy their own cake" fillmore

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