A Prediction for the SCOTUS and the next GOP trifecta

Let’s assume that Hillary Clinton appoints at least one new net liberal to the Supreme Court during her term in office. In that scenario, the minimal composition would be five center left jurists, one idiosyncratic moderate conservative, one corporate conservative who has a fascination with “sovereign dignitude” and a pair of justices who think Lochner should be good law. The following scenario also works if any of the last four is replaced by another center left judge.

Let us assume that to get to that point it is fairly like that the Senate will go nuclear and abolish the filibuster as McCain indicated (and since walked back) that the Republicans consider a left of center Supreme Court majority to be fundamentally illegitimate even if it resulted from Democrats winning a lot of presidential elections in a generation or more.

Let us assume that at some point in the future there is a GOP trifecta. Let us also assume that a significant chunk of the future GOP’s base will be made up of people who strongly desire either an economically or culturally reactionary court.

With those assumptions, the following prediction is very easy to make.

When there is a GOP trifecta in Washington and a liberal leaning Supreme Court, the Supreme Court will see an increased number of justices equal to the difference between liberal and reactionary justices plus one.

A rolling Constitutional Crisis

And this is Good News for John McCain as it helps him consolidate his Teabagging base.

This is basically saying that any Democrat is fundamentally illegitimate and they are not allowed to do their job. A Senate that is split 51-49 in either direction with Clinton in the White House gives the Republicans plenty of space to haggle over nominees. They could make it clear that nominees X, Y, Z could easily get approved by eighty votes while nominees A,B,C would need either a party line vote (which is a tough vote for Plain state Democrats) or would fail completely.

But no, no to haggling, no to norms, no to anything other than control. This is a rolling Constitutional crisis.

But it is good news for John McCain.

North Carolina update

Just another update from North Carolina’s early voting from INSIGHT US:

Absentee ballots returned in North Carolina

Absentee ballots returned in North Carolina

Democratic and non-affiliated voters are returning their ballots at a rate above 2012. Registered Republicans are not returning their ballots. Even if every incremental independent vote is actually a disgusted Republican vote, the lean GOP vote share for this phase is running 45% behind.

both Dems and independents have posted modest upticks relative to 2012 (107% and 106%, respectively), Republicans are voting at just 55% of their 2012 numbers. And this ‘Trump slump’ fully accounts for the overall decline in ABM voting so far….

Other North Carolina poll-watchers, including HuffPo, CNN, and the New York Times, have already reported that applications for ABM ballots by Republicans are down substantially this year in North Carolina (by 27%, according to the Times). As we show here, Tar Heel state Republicans are lagging even worse in terms of actually voting their ballots.

And yes, it is not all roses. Early voting in Iowa is crashing harder for Dems than it is for Republicans but 15 is greater than 6.

Time to finish the job.

Popcorn and incentive structures

First as a teaser:

Secondly how in the world did the Republican establishment fuck up so badly? I have some odd connections to Republican million dollar donors and bundlers and I know they shovelled tens of millions of dollars to Right to Rise and other places. All of the reporting that has hit Trump hard was either digging out tapes or reporters doing the hard grunt work of reading through tax returns, cross referencing things and pulling the string. It is not the political dark arts. Sticking a couple of College Republicans on “Listen to Howard Stern” and “consume Playboy archives” duty would have paid off massively in the Fall of 2015. And that could have been done with minimal fingerprints.

Finally, there is chatter that the RNC is trying to force Trump out. I want to highlight a post from early August after the Khan implosion:

He does not care about the House, he does not care about the Senate. He does not care about policy outcomes. He has a very limited shadow of the future and a very narrow give a fuck space that barely intersects with Republican insider give a damn space.

What is the gain for Trump to step aside? His brand is underwater as his name is currently toxic. If he is to step aside, his brand (and his ego) won’t recover quickly. His best chance of re-establishing his brand (and his ego) is to double down and win. If he wins the White House in November even if there are 98 Democrats in the Senate and 431 Democrats in the House, he won, and the Republican establishment are full of losers. His brand would take off and he could make odd speeches at golf courses while Mike Pence attempts to govern.

If he steps aside, the party insiders are better off, but his brand is shit and his ego is bruised as he would be the loser genuflecting to the wills of the loses that he beat in the primary process.

Has that changed at all?

Oh yeah, fourth point, Orville Redenbache has to be making a killing as we’re all passing the popcorn.

Be safe as Matthew bears down

For all of our Southeastern US readers, be safe and don’t be stupid as Hurricane Matthew bears down.

Via the Wunderblog:

An 11:03 pm Wednesday fix from the Air Force hurricane hunters found that Matthew had finally closed off its eyewall, and the central pressure had dropped to 959 mb. In its 11 pm EDT discussion, NHC noted that Matthew’s eye–once again distinct on satellite imagery–has contracted to about 17 miles wide, another sign of strengthening. It may take until midday Thursday for any substantial drop in Matthew’s pressure to result in a stronger wind field. NHC predicts that Matthew will again hit Category 4 intensity by Thursday evening. The 00Z Thursday SHIPS model forecast gave an 11% chance that Matthew would intensify enough to become a Category 5 storm again by Thursday night….

Should Matthew continue on its due-northwest track, it would come uncomfortably close to making landfall along the urban corridor from Miami to Palm Beach. Our most reliable track models insist that Matthew will begin angling just to the right before landfall, which would keep the southern part of this corridor on Matthew’s weaker side. Broward County (including Fort Lauderdale) is in a hurricane warning, while Miami-Dade County is in a tropical storm warning. The risk of dangerous impacts, including hurricane-force winds, ramps up greatly from Palm Beach northward. The most recent NHC forecast (see Figure 2 above) keeps Matthew as a Category 4 hurricane as it reaches the Melbourne area on Friday morning and a strong Category 3 by Friday evening just east of Jacksonville.

A reminder, Category 5 is what Andrew and Katrina were.  Big, bad voodoo.  Sandy despite all of her destruction was only a middling Category 1 storm when it came ashore in New Jersey.  Matthew is a big powerful storm so please don’t be stupid, get away from the coast if possible and please don’t go surfing.


The value of a ground game

4Chan, Reddit and large rallies are good at building group solidarity and raising money as well as a mob.  So far they are not a substitute for a boring, grind it out ground game.

North Carolina has some interesting data on early voting:


Registered Democrats continue to lead in the accepted ballots numbers, and are over-performing their 2012 same-day comparison numbers, at 129 percent of where they were in accepted ballots on the same day from four years ago. Registered unaffiliated voters are 128 percent of their same-day accepted ballots, and registered Republicans are 66 percent of where they were four years ago on the same day. Overall, the total returned and accepted mail-in ballots are at 96 percent of where they were on the same day in 2012.

Registered Democrats are running about 30% higher than they did in 2012.  Registered Republicans are running about 30% lower.  If we were seeing equivalent ground games, the Republicans are missing one vote for every vote that has been returned.

Time to keep on grinding away as a superior GOTV organization is worth a point or two in.  And if you are in a non-swingable state, work down ballot as this data suggests that the downballot Republicans in North Carolina are not hitting their early voting marks either.

Update 1: A very good friend of the blog argued via e-mail that the independent/non-affiliated surge is very likely to be embarrassed Republicans and thus there is not a Democratic advantage.  I can see that to some degree.  However if we assume that every vote above last cycle’s non-affiliated vote is effectively an embarrassed Republican vote the combined Republican vote would be about 3% more than the current Democratic registered vote or in horse race turns the Republican adjust lead is 51% to 48% for the adjusted two party vote.  In 2012 backing out the incremental embarrassed Republican vote, the Republicans had 58% to 42% two party vote edge.


APTC Hacks: A comment for meaningful difference improvement

Last night I submitted a fairly long comment (below the fold) to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). My comment is on the initial parameters for the 2018 Exchange year. I and several colleagues think that CMS needs to pay more attention to meaningful difference regulation because the current set of rules allows for too much gaming of the system and minimization of the membership pool via the Silver Spamming strategy. The comment identifies the problem and proposes a viable solution.

I do not know what my expectations are for this comment. I know it will be read. I know some low level analyst will bucket the letter into two or three categories and there may be a response. Beyond that, I do not know if CMS will alter their policy at all on this issue. I hope they do as I think getting to a tighter definition of meaningful difference will boost enrollment while stabilizing the risk pool which is an objective that CMS shares. But I don’t know.

Now I’m going to get on Tim F’s beat — if you see something that the Federal government is doing that either intrigues you, pisses you off or touches on an area of specialized knowledge that you have, comment on the rule making. This letter took me three or four hours to write and revise with the other signers. It will be read, and it will be remembered by CMS technical staff as it engages them and it is not a mindless screaming of rage (from what I’ve heard, the EPA gets the best rage-grams.) Thoughtful, relevant responses that point to possible ways of accomplishing the mission of the agency in question will be read and they will be remembered. So please, do so especially as the comment submission process through Regulations.Gov is much easier than I thought it would have been.

The comment is below the fold:

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