Dumb idea of the week

And this is not even directly related to Trump.

my first response is to ask if Ryan Lizza guzzles anti-freeze for breakfast as this is breathtakingly stupid.

Let’s make a few assumptions that I think are verifiable within reality.

a) Hillary Clinton has in all projection systems been favored to win the White House at all points to varying degrees (except the 538 click-bait now-cast)
b) A Republican appointed or de facto appointed Supreme Court median judge produces significantly different policy and political outcomes than a median Supreme Court justice that represents a typical Democratic nominee.
c) The Clinton campaign is better run than the Trump campaign.

Now let’s make a few more slightly shakier assumptions.

d) The Democratic coalition has good reason to believe it is a dominant Presidential level coalition ( 5 out 6 most recent elections had Dem popular vote pluralities etc)
e) The Republican coalition is a maxed out coalition with significant headwinds due to higher death and lower replacement rates of their core voters compared to Democratic core voting blocks.
f) The Donald is a dumpster fire which excerbates E

In football analytics terms, Clinton is ahead and she can win with a good, productive 8 minute offense of low variance but efficient plays. There is little reason for the Clinton campaign to adopt high variance vertical shots down the field to score when she is already up 9 with a better quarterback and a better defense. Scoring point is nice but running time off the clock and winning field position works almost as well. Interceptions and fumbles would dramatically drop win probability compared to a counterfactual of boring productive plays.

Promising to nominate a typical Republican judge as the median SCOTUS vote in order to try to capture 2% to 5% of the core Republican vote is a high variance play for a Democratic nominee. It could be worth it if the nominee was down 9 points with three months left. But that is not the case. Promising to nominate a Kennedy clone or more likely a Roberts clone may or may not get any Republican votes as a Trump Administration would nominate at least a Roberts if not an Alito clone anyways while it would cause a lot of trouble on the left flank. That could be acceptable if the left flank was legitimately faced with a “this sucks but it is the only chance to avoid the true suckage of four years of Trump” choice but that is not the choice out there.

Therefore this is the stupidest thing I’ve read this week.



Please Proceed, Republicans

More of this please:

The scene on the floor was chaotic when the vote on the convention’s rules was called. The anti-Trump delegates, many of them clustered around the Virginia delegation, began chanting “Dump Trump,” only to be met by chants of “USA, USA.”

Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) made a motion for a roll call vote, but it was announced that the movement had lost the three of the nine delegations it needed to force a vote. [via Tierney Sneed at TPM]

Jheronimus_Bosch_011

A little more detail from Hunter over at DKos:

After the initial uproar, the Colorado and Iowa delegations walking out, the chair left the podium for 5 or 10 minutes. Meanwhile, there was a lot of lobbying happening apparently. The Chair came back, declared that three of the 9 states that had petitioned for a roll call vote on the rules—their chance to basically “vote their conscience” on Trump—had withdrawn their petitions, and the minimum number of states is six. Sen. Mike Lee of Utah disputes that. He says he heard there are 10 or 11 states with petitions, so there should still be enough states to order the roll call.

 



Got to kill em to civilize em

Or asshole of the week award nomination:

Hmm, isn’t he supposed to be a conservative with a respect for institutions that work even if they don’t work well and a healthy suscipian of outsider experts smashing a system and imposing externally solutions that don’t have internal stakeholder buy-in.

Nope, just Col. Blimp at work.



Satire is alone in the corner now

At some point the Irish bookies will establish a line on the probability that Trump’s entire acceptance speech in Cleveland is “The Aristocrats…”



They Are Who We Thought They Were: Georgia Senator Edition

I know that for some people it is literally impossible to get over their core belief:  presidenting while Black is a mortal sin.  But I have to admit that I haven’t lost all of my capacity to feel shock, outrage, loathing, whenever I hear something like this:

“In his role as President, I think we should pray for Barack Obama. But I think we need to be very specific about how we pray,” Perdue told the audience at the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in Washington, D.C. “We should pray like Psalm 109:8 says, that says, ‘let his days be few.’”

 That’s a United States Senator representing a former Confederate state praying for the death of the President of the United States, someone who, it need not and must be said, happens to be the first African-American to hold that office.
Those who get the reference — which would certainly include Mr. Perdue’s audience of ostentatiously and ostensibly religious believers — would certainly get the reference in all its full flavor:

8: May his days be few;

may another take his office.

9: May his children be fatherless,

his wife, a widow.

10: May his children wander and beg,

driven from their hovels.

11: May the usurer snare all he owns,

strangers plunder all he earns.

12: May no one treat him with mercy

or pity his fatherless children.

13: May his posterity be destroyed,

their name rooted out in the next generation.

What kind of person wishes on President Barack Obama death and the utter destruction of his family?

Senator Perdue, that’s who.

It’s not just him, of course. Perdue didn’t come up with this “joke” on his own.  Via Wikipedia:

In 2009, the media has reported more widely on its usage in reference to President Barack Obama,[3] by those such as Pastor Wiley Drake.[4]

In January 2010, a Florida Sheriff’s officer was suspended from his force for circling the passage in a bible and scrawling “The Obama Prayer” beside it.[5]

In January 2012, Kansas Speaker of the House Michael O’Neal sent an email quoting Verse 8 to his Republican colleagues that stated:[6]

At last — I can honestly voice a Biblical prayer for our president! Look it up — it is word for word! Let us all bow our heads and pray. Brothers and Sisters, can I get an AMEN? AMEN!!!!!!

Assholes.  Vicious weasels.  The kind of people who claim the mantle of religion, and yet, as Charles Pierce says of Ralph Reed, are all “future timeshare owner[s] in Hell.”

Hieronymus_Bosch_-_The_Garden_of_Earthly_Delights_-_Hell

Senator Perdue does get a gold star, though:  he’s the most senior Republican elected official to offer up this knee-slapper. Remember him every time anyone tries to tell you that Trump is an aberration; that the Party of Lincoln™ would never truly condone his viciousness and vulgarity.

Trump’s only real diversion from GOP orthodoxy lies in his ill-mannered refusal to use the proper codes when spewing bile.

To echo Deuteronomy.  I do not wish their deaths — not Perdue’s, not the rest of the GOP thugocracy who just can’t seem to get past their fear of this president.

No. This is what I want:

I want them to suffer through Barack Hussein Obama’s brilliant post-presidency — and the reality of his successor’s ability to govern, despite her obvious chromosomal deficiencies.

IOW:  May they experience nether probing by oxidized agricultural implements.  (Which I believe is the central message aimed at falsely religious poseurs in Psalm 151.)  In aeternum.

Image:  Hieronymous Bosch, The Garden of Earthly Delights — Hell (inner right wing), between 1480 and 1505.



Yet another distributional analysis

The Hill has “details” on the latest “plan”-like scribblings of the Republican policy “wonks” on healthcare. There is one thing I want to look at before I start my morning coffee:

The core of the plan is a $2,500 tax credit that any citizen would be eligible for and use to purchase health insurance. The lawmakers say this gives flexibility to people, whether they get employer-based insurance or not, to more directly control their healthcare spending, for example by using a health savings account.

I’m looking at one of the sponsor’s web pages and I get very few more “details”

every American citizen is eligible to claim a $2,500 tax benefit as well as a $1,500 tax benefit per dependent minor. This benefit can be assigned to an employer, transferred to a Roth Health Savings Account, or advanced for annual distribution. With this benefit, individuals and families now have the freedom to use pretax dollars to plan and save for their health care futures.

Let’s look at the distributional consequences of this type of policy.

For people who make under 200% of FPL, pre-tax dollars aren’t too valuable as most of their dollars are minimally taxed.  For people making six figures and only have a kid or two at most, pre-tax dollars are fairly valuable as they are facing a much higher explicit marginal rate.  Worrying about pre-tax dollars is overwhelmingly an upper middle class to affluent problem.

More importantly it is the flat subsidy.

$208 a month is a decent subsidy.  In some regions that will buy the equivalent of a Silver plan with absolutely no out of pocket monthly premium.  That is fine for a healthy and young individual (as underwriting is back with a vengeance).  There are Silver plans for 40 year old non-smokers that cost under $200.  However, that same $200 a month Silver plan with a $3,500 deductible will cost a 63 year old $450 a month.  And odds are that 63 year old will need to use their policy a lot more than the 40 year old.

Furthermore, a flat subsidy is great for people who don’t need help.  I get my insurance through my employer and the visible premium payment is roughly two hours of pay per month for a Platinum like coverage for my family.  I don’t need help.  My family does not need help.  We already have access to good, high actuarial value, affordable coverage.

Families and individuals that are not mid-career professionals and are making under median income will see a far higher percentage of their income go to post-subsidy premiums.  The poorer you are, the higher the premium percentage is for a given level of individual risk.  And that is a major problem as the people who should bear the least risk are the one’s with the fewest available resources to mobilize in an oh-shit scenario.

TLDR: Comfort the comfortable



Trump-proofing the Republican nomination process in the future

This post is speculation. It assumes that Trump will lose and lose big in November and that the Republican establishment as defined by a variety of rules committees has the power and the will to institute changes to the Republican primary process to Trump-proof the process.

The easiest way for the Republican Party to Trump-proof itself is to stop lying to its supporters. The Republican Party elite is fundamentally not trustworthy to its base voters. The core example is the promise that a Republican House and a Republican Senate could force President Obama to unwind PPACA while he sat in the White House. That was not going to happen. Trustworthy elites won’t happen as there is too much money to be made from fleecing the rubes. Once we take policy honesty off the table, rule changes are the next step.

Trump is the delegate leader (and presumptive delegate majority holder once the process plays out) with a low proportion of the total vote.

He benefited from a split field and a rules system that allowed factional plurality leaders to amass delegate strength out of proportion to their actual vote counts. Winner take all elections with more than two candidates have this common failure. There were two sets of winner take all elections in this current Republican primary. The first was state level delegates where the winner of a state received a significant bonus number of delegates and then winner take all at the Congressional District level. The Republicans assigned three delegates to each Congressional District without regard to how many Republicans actually lived or voted in that district.

538 has a good example of how this flat allocation of winner take all delegates by district helped Trump:

If Ted Cruz wins by a huge margin in Milwaukee’s suburbs, as expected tonight, he’ll get all three delegates from Wisconsin’s 5th Congressional District, which cast 257,017 votes for Mitt Romney in the 2012 general election. But in two weeks, Donald Trump could capture just as many delegates by winning a majority of the vote in New York’s heavily Latino, Bronx-based 15th Congressional District, which cast only 5,315 votes for Romney four years ago.

Three weeks ago, Trump won three times as many delegates — nine — at the Northern Mariana Islands convention, which drew just 471 participants.

This is problem #1. The GOP primary delegation process favors plurality winners and it favors candidates who can win in very low turnout environments. There is a massive variance between the minimum number of votes needed per delegate and the maximum number of votes needed per delegate. Some districts are extremely efficient and some are extremely inefficient places to win. The Republicans treat districts like the Senate treats states. The first rule change would be to scale the delegate award to some measure of Republican vote strength.

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