Thursday, May 12, 2016

Response to The Impossible Reconciliation

(See: Just Above Sunset: The Impossible Reconciliation)

I think some people are surprised to see how amiable Donald Trump turned out to be, in reaction to Paul Ryan's insistence that the two get together to talk things over before he announces any endorsement. The truth is, Trump's media surrogates can talk all they want about how he doesn't need them as much as they need him, but Donald may be remembering something that they've forgotten:

As of today, more people did not vote for Trump in the Republican primaries than did. According to The Green Papers, accessed moments ago as I write this, Donald Trump has a total of 10,994,897 votes cast for him, which is just 40.64% of the 27,052,068 votes in all the Republican state primaries, caucuses and conventions.

And that, of course, does not include those either who voted for Democrats, which is 22,596,354, of which Hillary Clinton received 12,647,631 (55.97%) and Bernie Sanders 9,570,525 (42.35%), or, for one reason or another, didn't vote for either party, a number I don't have. Independents who couldn't vote? Those who would have voted but couldn't find a candidate they could see themselves voting for? Who knows.

The point here is that, while Trump has obviously shown himself to be enormously popular, there are more people who voted for someone else than voted for him so far -- that is, 78% of the total 49,648,422 who have voted for either party so far did not vote for Donald Trump. My guess is, while many of those might vote for him in the general election, many more of them will not.

And I'm also guessing that Trump suspects the GOP does not need him more than he needs them -- that, in fact, there are probably plenty of Republicans who would rather just sit this election out than turn the party over to a maniac.

So what choice will people -- even Republican people -- have? At this point, probably Hillary. Yet, there's a problem with that: Hillary is hated almost as much a Donald. (No, really! I'm serious!)

The question is, why? Here's Adam Gopnik, in the New Yorker:
NeverTrump is a meaningless slogan unless one is prepared to say ThisOnceHillary. 
Some may be waiting for a third choice to emerge, an honorable if improbable idea, but too many seem hobbled by a disdain rooted less in rationality than in pure habit to see the reality of the circumstance. ... 
What would Hillary Clinton be like in the White House? Well, she was in the White House, once, and helped preside over a period of peace and mostly widespread prosperity. One can oppose her ideology (to the degree she has any), be unimpressed by her record (as contradictory as it may be), or mistrustful of her character. 
God knows, it is bitterly hard to defer to a long-standing political enemy, but it is insane to equate a moderate, tested professional politician with a crypto-fascist. Doing so is possible only through a habit of hatred so distended that it no longer has any reference to reality at all.

Hating Hillary has become, over the years of our hearing her alluded to with negative speculations, a habit that has lost any reference to reality. Didn't we read somewhere that she and Bill were involved in some shady land deal in Arkansas? That she had the entire White House Travel Department fired so she could replace them with friends from back home? That she had been romantically linked to Vince Foster, whom, along with her husband, she later had murdered?

Didn't we hear that she encouraged her husband to go out and get nooky in their open marriage, and then she blamed the women? And that she refused to supply expanded security for State Department staff in Benghazi, then slept through the 3:00 AM call from them when they needed help, and then lied to the families of those who died, and also the American people, saying it wasn't terrorism but just an innocent demonstration against an anti-Muhammed video that got out of hand?

Also, didn't she do something wrong with some emails or something?

Wow! You hear all these things that, even when found either unsubstantiated or plain lies,  must have at least a grain of truth to them; otherwise, there wouldn't have been so many of them! After all, where there's smoke, there's fire -- while, in fact, in the case of anti-Clinton propaganda (and also, anti-Obama), if we look for the fire behind the smoke, we instead always find some Republican, blowing it. As a class of people, while they may not be very good at governance, they've really shown themselves to be skilled at dirty tricks.

But it's not just Republicans who would rather not vote at all than vote for Hillary, there's also Democrats, and even liberals, as shown in this Daily Kos piece by MotoCat, entitled Why Do People Hate Hillary Clinton So Much?:
As a liberal with lots of liberal friends I am used to seeing all sorts of negative stories about Hillary Clinton in my social media universe with regularity. The question that irks me is why? I can clump the negativity toward Hillary into three main arguments.   
1. She is untrustworthy (liar, disingenuous, doesn’t mean what she says, etc...) 
2. She isn’t really liberal 
3. She is “bought” by Wall Street (or owes them some sort of favors)       
I’m a data nerd (worked in analytics in the past), and I have been paying close attention this election cycle so I thought I would unpack these three statements and see what sort of evidence there is for them. 
He (she? whichever) examines these three one by one, starting with "untrustworthy", and without my going into all the detail, he chooses to "disregard all unreliable statements based on personal observation such as 'she just looks phony', or 'you can tell she is lying'", instead decides to take a look at the comparative findings of Politifact on Hillary vs Bernie:
As you can see, It’s not exactly obvious from this data which of the candidates is the “honest” one. Clinton has a much higher “true” rating at 26% vs. 16% for Sanders. Sanders however, has more “mostly true” claims. Regardless, I’m not seeing any backup here for a narrative that Clinton is a dishonest politician on the stump.
He also includes a New York Times "infographic", comparing the truthfulness of almost all (I don't see John Kasich) the 2016 candidates, along with a few other random politicos (Cheney, Biden, Obama and Bill Clinton), with Donald Trump taking second-highest "Percent of Mostly False and Worse", at 76% (just behind Ben Carson's first-place 84%), and with Hillary taking fourth-from-last-place, at 28%, just above third-from-last Bernie, at 26%, followed by Martin O'Malley's 25% and Bill Clinton, the least untrustworthy on the list (despite his famous "I did not have sexual relations...") at 24%.

Hillary's not really a liberal? Actually, the article cites a "" graphic that shows Bernie to be as "left-liberal" as one can get, with Hillary way over there with him, and only slightly to his right.

MotoCat also references another Daily Kos article, by someone else ("Phenry"), that found Hillary Clinton to be the 11th most liberal Senator while she was there, with Bernie Sanders being the first-most. (Incidentally, MotoCat adds this: "According to the data presented in Phenry’s diary, conservatives are MUCH more conservative than Clinton. It’s not even close.")

And as for Hillary owing Wall Street big-time, MotoCat does cite "" with the information that 3.9 percent of her contributions come from people who work on Wall Street, but also notes that 25% of her income comes from speaking fees, which is a lot. Still, he argues:
I think making the logical jump from campaign donations and speaking fees to favors owed requires overlooking some big inconsistencies. 
1. If Hillary Clinton has indeed been trading favor to Wall Street for donations, then why is her record so consistently liberal despite receiving donations from those same Wall Street companies for her entire career as a Senator? That would require one of two things to be true. Wall Street executives may actually be asking her to promote liberal policies, or she has been playing an incredibly long con where she has been collecting money for decades while advancing a liberal agenda as a cover with the sole purpose of eventually becoming President of the United States and returning those favors. I’m not sure I can imagine either of those scenarios being true. 
2. If dollars donated and paid for speaking fees is equivalent to favors owed, what happens when different donors interests collide? Do the Boys and Girls club and Goldman Sachs have the same agenda? 
3. If she is in fact in the “pocket” of Wall Street, why would she be advancing a platform that could be argued to be more restrictive than any other candidate on Wall Street? This is a matter of debate of course, but if expert economists cannot agree on whose plan is more restrictive on Wall Street then they are probably both pretty restrictive in their own ways. 

And by the way, does she, as Trump charges, play the "women's card"?

According to a Gallup poll released in March of 2014, "Americans say the best or most positive thing about a possible Hillary Clinton presidency -- if she were to run and be elected in 2016 -- would be her serving as the first female president in the nation's history." The next top choices were, "Experience/Foreign policy experience, Best choice, Capable/Competent/Qualified, Intelligent/Smart/Educated", and "Bill Clinton would be back in White House/Help her".

And she probably knows that. In fact, after the first Democratic debate back in October, Huffington Post reported it this way:
Clinton largely avoided playing the gender card during the 2008 presidential campaign, but famously declared in her concession speech to Barack Obama that her candidacy had put “18 million cracks” in the glass ceiling. If there was any question of how much she’d focus on gender this time around, it was answered repeatedly on Tuesday night. 
The former secretary of state delivered one of her strongest lines on the issue right out of the gate, saying during her introductory remarks that with her in the White House, “finally fathers will be able to say to their daughters, ‘You, too, can grow up to be president.’” 
Asked how her presidency would be different from President Barack Obama’s, she quickly responded, “Well, I think that’s pretty obvious. Being the first woman president would be quite a change from the presidents we’ve had, including President Obama.”
So yeah, I guess I agree with Donald, that she plays that woman card. Still, who really cares? I know I don't.

Yep, she didn't play that card back then, and nor did Obama play the race card. Moreover, I didn't vote for him because he'd be the first black president, I voted for him because he was the the smartest guy in the room -- and like many others, I won't be voting for Hillary because it will make her the first female president, I'll be voting for her because she's the smartest guy in the room.

Trump says it's about the only thing going for her, and that she knows many will vote for her solely based on her gender, and that if she were a man, she'd probably be only about 5% in the polls.

Okay, so when you think about it, Trump similarly seems to be playing the asshole-card.

He must know that a whole lot of people are pulling for him simply because he acts like such a huge asshole, and that if he were to stop being an asshole, he'd probably be at about 5% in the polls.

Think about it! Being a giant asshole is the only thing Trump's got going for him! Take that away, and he'd be nothing.

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