Three Time Losers

I’m sure most of us have many reasons to fervently hope that whichever hairball the GOP horks up for the presidential nomination in 2016 is soundly rejected by voters. But for me, not least on that long list is the hope that a third straight drubbing at the polls might prompt the Republicans to do some serious soul-searching.

Three presidential losses in a row prompted many Democrats to sell out the New Deal and adopt the corporate-friendly DLC bullshit line. Maybe Bill Clinton had to ride the Third Way slide to two-term victory — that’s debatable. We didn’t have to be happy about it, but it was better than another Poppy Bush term or a Bob Dole presidency.

Anyhoo, in this morning’s Wake Up Sheeple thread, I mentioned that losing three presidential races in a row (please FSM, let it be so!) would be a big fucking deal for Republicans. Not everyone agreed. Valued commenter JustRuss made some excellent points in the following reply:

To a party that cared about governing, sure. But “the party” is mostly the money, and they just want the government to stay the hell out of their way. And with the IRS and EPA being starved, TPP and other trade deals in the hopper, Citizen’s United, fracking bans being overturned left and right, they’re doing fine. Sure, it would be nice to have a Bush in the White House, but they’re getting most of what they want regardless. Having a Democrat in the White House gives them someone to blame when things go sideways and is a great focus for the rage their constituents are addicted to.

I’m not saying you’re wrong, but I’m not convinced you’re right either.

Those are all great points, and if the GOP could ride the current status quo forever, I’d agree that they could just disregard presidential losses indefinitely. But I don’t think they could maintain the status quo in the face of a mounting string of losses at the presidential level, even if they managed to keep winning in mid-term and state-level elections for a while.

Presidential elections in this country (maybe everywhere else too — I don’t know) are about a lot more than a transfer of specific powers; they’ve morphed into an absurd, trillion-dollar reality show spectacle, with the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Politics is a team sport.

And people don’t like losing over and over. If it keeps happening, they swear off the sport or find another team. Oh sure, some diehards will stand with their shitty loser team through thick and thin (maybe 27% or so). But the fan base won’t have a healthy growth rate, and the less committed will slink off to sulk at home or maybe even join another bandwagon.

That’s my theory, anyway. What do you think?

Gray power and death bets

The midterm electorates have been +17, +20 and +25 points old people versus young people.  Old people want their Medicare and Social Security untouched or enriched, and don’t give a fuck about birth control as they are no longer in the childbearing cohort, and have minimal direct stakes in costs that are only incurred in fifteen or twenty years from now.  They are making a death bet that the costs of their good times today won’t be borne by them as they’ll be dead when the bill comes due.  It is a rational bet.

The younger cohort has been steady in their mobilization.  The fascinating and scary thing to me is the increasing mobilization of the post-60 crowd.  Some of that is natural demographic growth as the Boomers are steadily adding to that cohort every day, but the percentage of possible voters to actual voters seems to be increasing at a higher rate as well.  Throw in the fact that the oldest voters in 2010 were slightly more Democratic leaning than their younger cohorts, and the older Boomers replacing them are more Republican this is a bad sign for the next couple of mid-terms for Democrats.

We have a presidential electorate where the young participate and issues with a 15 year pay-off  horizon are on the table, and then we have an off-cycle electorate that assumes that they’ll be dead in 15 years, so let the good times roll.

Fables of the Restoration

As Election Day nears, the battle for King Shit of Turd Mountain, i.e., the contest between Charlie Crist and Rick Scott for governor of Florida, has produced a shit-storm of negative advertising. Commercial after commercial projects images of the combatants in sinister poses and evil lighting, accompanied by strained voiceover accounts of their misdeeds in office.

Obviously, the Crist Photoshop team has the cushier job: I don’t think there’s a photo in existence of Rick Scott where he doesn’t look like an alien creature from a reptile off-world come to foreclose an orphanage and grind the inhabitants into feed-paste.


But yesterday, there was an ad I hadn’t seen before featuring former Governor Jeb Bush excoriating former ally Charlie Crist as a career politician only interested in personal aggrandizement. The stones. The fucking stones on those Bushes.

Bush 2016: The Restoration is apparently a thing. Here’s a puke-inducing paragraph from a NYT article published yesterday about the alleged upswing in Jeb Bush’s political prospects:

Just six years ago, at the end of the last tumultuous Bush presidency, this would have been all but unthinkable. But President Obama’s troubles, the internal divisions of the Republican Party, a newfound nostalgia for the first Bush presidency and a modest softening of views about the second have changed the dynamics enough to make plausible another Bush candidacy. And while Jeb Bush wants to run as his own man, invariably this is a family with something to prove.

Unpacking that paragraph is like opening a rancid diaper pail, but let’s brace ourselves and give it a go: “President Obama’s troubles?” Yes, he has them, mostly traceable to Stately Bush Manor and exacerbated by the Bush-aligned vandals in Congress.

“Internal divisions of the Republican Party?” Oh, you mean that GOP rebranding campaign gone awry in which the Republican Party nominated scads of pekoe-huffing troglodytes who lost winnable races and turned the GOP presidential primary into a crackpot bake-off?

“Newfound nostalgia for the first Bush presidency and a modest softening of views about the second?” Bush I is a doddering old fart who occasionally weeps with shame in public over his fuck-up namesake. He will be forever overshadowed by the half-wit he served as VP, and his son empowered a cabal of sociopaths to complete the cycle of destruction Poppy’s boss set into motion.

And now we’re seriously being asked to countenance another Bush run at 1600 Pennsylvania? Just shoot me now. (You can get away with it here in Florida — thanks to Jeb’s partnership with the NRA.) I can’t be objective because I utterly despise them all. But is there really a Bush restoration movement afoot outside of the Bushies, their minions and political columnists? Y’all help me out here: I haven’t seen any evidence of it.

God, that article. “This is a family with something to prove?” Fuck them. “The Bushes, Led by W., Rally to Make Jeb ’45’?” From the current generation until the sun goes supernova and vaporizes this planet, fuck the Bushes, and fuck the putrid media hacks who enable them by framing the ambitions of that clan of psychotic leeches as if writing a human interest piece on a sports dynasty.

When the Obama administration decided not to pursue its vile predecessors for their ghastly war crimes and corruption, I understood the rationale, even if I didn’t agree with it entirely. It would have paralyzed the government in the midst of a cascading global crisis.

But the question of justice denied aside, this spectacle of the Bush family rehab alone is evidence that the dirty fucking hippies were right: We should have driven a stake through the fat black heart of that bunch when we had the chance.

Fundamental divergence; oddity or realignment

There have been two interesting news stories on elections in the past week as well as an interesting inside baseball geek out concerning how to model and predict Senate elections that could be either interesting outliers, or harbingers of change.

The two interesting stories are the Democratic Parties of Kansas and Alaska happily seeing their preferred candidates for Senate and Governor respectively drop out of the race. There were no mysterious revelations of hookers, blow, green balloons, or toe tapping in the restroom. There were no plane crashes, there were no children of the candiddates being diagnosed with cancer.

Instead, the candidates dropped out in Kansas and formed a fusion/unity ticket to allow independent candidates who are polling well to be the primary opposition to Republican incumbents in deep red states. The basic thrust is that Senator Roberts and Governor Parnell are reasonably unpopular with the general electorate but could very easily cobble together a coalition of 43% of the voters. 43% is usually more than enough to win a plurality in a three way race, while 43% is a big loss in a two way race. The bet is that the independent candidates have a much higher probability of putting together a plurality or even better a clear majority coalition against the incumbent.

The basis of the bet is that both independents are former Republicans who look at the deep-red strains of the Republican Party and think they are sufficiently bat-shit insane that it was worth running against Republican incumbents. In Kansas, this has been a long tradition where the electorate has been split into nearly even chunks of Teabaggers/extreme conservatives, moderate Republicans and then a wide array of Democrats of various flavors. Democrats could win state wide office with good candidates who could pick up a good chunk of the moderate Republicans who were momentarily disgusted at the Teabaggers. It is a long and successful strategy. Democratic success in Alaska in the past generation has either counted on a felony conviction (later overturned) or a split Republican Party for any state wide wins.

If Democrats can successfully engage in a strategy of being the party of the sane and continue to pick up former Republicans (such as John Cole) without losing significant elements of the current Democratic base, is that the start of a realignment?

The other big, and geeky debate that I’ve been paying attention to has been the poll aggregating and prediction site differentials. Read more

Hillary Clinton…for Governor

Rick Scott, the current Republican governor of Florida, amassed a huge fortune by bilking Medicare and then spent $73 million of his personal cash to buy the governorship. His election was a fluke, a catastrophe made possible by the teaturd wave of 2010 and the Democrats’ dumb decision to run a Bank of America executive against him when feelings about the bankster class were a bit raw on the left.

Scott is a disaster, and virtually no one — Republican or Democrat — can stand the creepy reptilian sumbitch. He’s ripe for defeat. But our former Republican governor turned Independent-turned-Democrat, Charlie Crist, is the presumptive Democratic nominee, and the polls are really tight, especially when a libertarian kook is added to the mix to suck up all the contrarian voters. Fairly or not, Crist is probably the only local politician whose trustworthiness is as questionable as Scott’s in the minds of voters.

Here’s the thing: Scott must be defeated. Florida is a shithole in many ways, but even Florida does not deserve Rick Fucking Scott, okay? Charlie Crist is fine with me, but he’s not a lock, at least not according to recent polls. So maybe it’s time for someone else to step in. A big-name Democrat who is itching for an executive position. Someone who could deliver the crushing defeat that Scott so richly deserves. Someone like Hillary Clinton.

I can hear the objections already. Objection #1: Hillary Clinton doesn’t even live in Florida. So? Most people who live here come from somewhere else. She can just go rent a condo. Jeb Bush and Rick Scott aren’t from Florida either, and that didn’t stop either of those pricks from becoming governor. And besides, Hillary wasn’t from New York and didn’t have a long residency before she became their US Senator.

Objection #2: Hillary Clinton wants to be president. Well, maybe. But she’s been through a hideously grueling campaign already, and maybe she doesn’t want to go through that meat-grinder again. As her first run proved, there are no guarantees. Except this one: She would utterly crush that vile cretin Rick Scott and become governor of Florida.

Objection #3: Hillary is the only person who can defeat whatever heinous hairball the Republicans hork up to run for president in 2016. I’m not convinced of this. At all. If it’s true, by all means, run, Hills, run. But why not get a epic electoral crushing of a revolting Republican shitstain and a year-plus of executive experience under your belt as Florida governor first?

Think about it, Hillary. That’s all I’m asking.