Launching an Urban Republican Rebellion

republican

Mike McQuaide, New York Times

There are heavily populated precincts in places like Boston, Camden, Baltimore and other Northern cities where fewer than ten people vote in Republican primaries. A decades-long influx of Southern Democrats alienated by their party’s support for desegregation has utterly transformed the Republican Party nationally. As a result of this shift in values, Republicans have virtually disappeared from the electoral map in coastal states of the Northeast and West where they once wielded enormous influence.

Where the GOP has died, citizens have lost the political leverage that comes from partisan competition. Governments in Democratic controlled northern cities are increasingly dysfunctional, too weak to hold public servants accountable while hemorrhaging cash.

Reliant on an ever older, whiter, more Southern base, Republicans are losing the language necessary to speak to and hear minority and urban voters. Cut off from dissent, the party has descended into a bizarre spiral of extremism and delusion. The Republican Party is a one-legged stool.

Ironically, this extreme regional polarization has opened an opportunity. Business-friendly urban voters pushed to the margins of both parties have an opportunity to create a new identity for themselves.

By building a splinter party inside the hollowed out remains of the GOP in northern cities, these voters could do more than break their cities’ single-party politics. They could launch a movement toward multi-party democracy in the US.

How could they do this? By running the Dixiecrat playbook in reverse, but with one twist. Instead of trying to ‘take over’ the Republican Party at higher levels, Urban Republicans could create a local brand distinct from the Republican Party and in explicit opposition to many of its positions. In Northern and West Coast cities, center-right voters could launch a challenge to the GOP’s extremist wing from inside the party’s largely empty infrastructure. By taking over what today are hollow local Republican organizations in big cities, we can build a base from which to reform the party.

Urban Republicans (or whatever name makes sense) would work to recruit and elect precinct chairmen inside the Republican Party locally and influence city and county Republican politics. From their urban base they would send delegates (bearing their brand) to state and national Republican conventions. With enough success they would place candidates in city councils, state legislatures, and in Congress. But, those representatives would owe primary loyalty to their sub-party. They would retain a degree of distinctiveness from the GOP at large.

Why must this effort be pointedly hostile to national Republican rhetoric? No one is going to simply persuade the entities who currently lead the Republican Party to adopt a more open attitude toward urban and minority voters. With everything to gain and a fine plan on which to execute, Republicans after the 2012 Election specifically and forcefully rejected minority outreach.

Only by taking an openly hostile position to the Party of Donald Trump and the most extreme wing of the GOP could Urban Republicans establish any credibility with urban voters. And only by setting themselves apart from the hopelessly corrupt, sclerotic Democratic institutions that dominate urban politics in the North could this emerging generation bring modern, effective government to big cities.

How would we run this playbook?

Identify a small team, perhaps no more than 20 or 30 people, who will collaborate on a platform. That platform need not be particularly liberal or conservative, per se. Urban politics, when it works, is pragmatic. The platform must do three things: confront the Republican Party’s disastrous embrace of denialism, confront the Democratic Party’s willingness to place patronage demands above public interest, and be a product of input from minority communities.

Whatever Urban Republicans decide to do about taxes, or abortion, or school funding or any other topic, to win votes in cities those policies must be grounded in reality. A platform that confronts nothing but these four inescapable realities might be enough to set Urban Republicans apart from the national party and earn significant urban support.

It would also be wise to take at least one ‘big bet’ position popular with voters in cities that is distinctly separate from both party’s platforms. Vocal embrace of marijuana de-criminalization stands out as a promising possibility. It’s popular in cities. It’s enough of a head-turner to buy significant media attention. And it has potential to forge an alliance between socially liberal urban white voters and minority communities.

With a platform identified, we would need to decide on target geographies. All politics is local. It’s great to have support everywhere, but that’s unlikely to happen. This effort cannot succeed unless we can take control of weak, existing Republican infrastructure up to at least the county level. The weakness of the state party would be an important determinant of success. In places like Houston, Phoenix, Miami, and Atlanta there might be enough local support to make a hyphenated identity attractive, but extremists dominating the state party are powerful enough there to destroy such an effort before it reaches critical mass.

Baltimore, Hartford, Boston, Trenton, DC, and Newark share these important characteristics: Empty Republican infrastructure, failed Democratic leadership, and under-represented or poorly represented minority populations that are already well organized and politically active. Their state Republican leadership is too weak to stop an influx of new precinct leaders, even if that local leadership is hostile to the party’s status quo.

An initial core of Urban Republicans would recruit participants in the target geographies willing to fill vacant precinct leadership slots. In most of these geographies that process could be accomplished without any resistance. By doing little more than raising their hands they could take on local leadership roles in near-empty infrastructure.

A parallel effort would have to be launched to identify donors and establish a larger, less localized infrastructure. As described in more depth by this series of posts (linked), that effort would include recruiting pundits, building think tanks, and starting to solicit support from alienated Republicans nationally.

Out of a pool of local leadership calling themselves Urban Republicans we would begin to opportunistically pursue local elections. The initial focus should be on city, county and school board races. If an attractive opportunity rose to take a state legislative seat it should be pursued. However, recruits should be strongly discouraged from trying to take a Congressional seat before a critical mass of local races had been won.

A concentrated grassroots recruitment effort should precede high-profile moves like nominating Congressional candidates. Until the critical work is done at the grassroots candidates can’t change anything. The finest surfer in the world has never crafted a single wave. Elected officials don’t shape our political climate. They ride it. Effort has to be concentrated on building infrastructure or that effort will be wasted in high-profile elections.

More importantly, runs for high-profile office will attract resistance that could be fatal in the early stages. A solid base of local support will be critical to survival once resistance builds at higher levels of the party. Run a high profile, semi-successful Congressional campaign without building enough support for a wider effort, and established forces will cut us off at the knees before we can get on our feet. In the early stages this movement can only matter if it can force candidates to come to us.

Once the sub-party has assumed dominant influence in several urban areas and established some local electoral success, it will be ready to start influencing national politics. Within four to six years, Urban Republicans could be sending delegates to the Republican National Convention, still under their own rebel flag, and fielding successful candidates for Congress. With strong local organizations in specific geographies, the national party won’t be able to squash the effort. By then there might be half a dozen other similar efforts underway in both parties, creating enough internal dissent that a new bloc can effect cross-party coalitions to moderate Congressional politics.

Pragmatic, sensible Republicans, sometimes described as “moderates,” have always carried a crucial flaw. In a heated contest, you can count on them to remain above the fray, to assume an air of entitled superiority. They fail to show any passion, any commitment, any fight. And they lose. They have lost so often and so consistently that they only exist at the weakest margins of Republican politics. Nothing will change in the Republican Party until sane people get angry enough to fight.

Elections are the ass-end of our political system. They merely put the results of our investment on display. By the time we step into the voting booth, 99% of the electoral process has already been completed. You don’t change a political system by getting better people elected. You get better people elected by changing a political system.

Until enough good, smart, competent people are willing to invest their political capital on a new direction, until they are willing to take chances and fight, elections will change nothing. We need to raise a flag around which they can rally. If you’re tired of what’s coming out of our elections, then invest more thought, courage, and energy in shaping them.

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Posted in Political Theory, Republican Party, Uncategorized

America’s Parliamentary Future

parliamentAmerica marked a little-noticed milestone last year, as Paul Ryan became our first Prime Minister. Not unlike the head of a European Parliament, Ryan rose to leadership by assembling a coalition with a sub-party, the House Freedom Caucus. That sub-party had unique demands, a distinct (if not well-known) identity, and it’s own goals independent of the GOP. And Ryan must maintain their loyalty to keep his job.

This form of parliamentary organization is unique because Ryan’s coalition partners belong, at least technically, to his own political party. We might be on a cusp of a new era of multi-party democracy, in which numerous sub-entities within each major party compete against each other more openly in primaries and vie for power in Congress. While not quite consistent with parliamentary practices elsewhere in the world, this innovation could help us adapt to the needs of an increasingly diverse electorate, giving voters many more choices and more capable representation.

A particularly bruising election season has exposed the limitations of our two-party system. The structure of our Constitution constrains our options for parliamentary politics. However, the fight over Ryan’s ascension demonstrates a potential opening. Emerging from the growing divisions in both parties, a model of open sub-partisan competition may create a unique form of multi-party democracy within our existing two-party system.

In European systems, seats in the legislative body are assigned on an explicitly proportional basis. Details vary, but in most countries citizens cast a vote for a party rather than for a candidate, or some combination of the two. Parties might or might not publish a slate indicating which candidates they are proposing for each local jurisdiction. A party that wins 10% of the vote gets approximately 10% of the seats in parliament or a state-level assembly. Members of parliament do not necessarily live in the districts they represent. Parties generally send their best (favorite) leaders to parliament, rather than those representatives being directly chosen by voters.

There is no American-style President in these systems. The party earning the largest share of the popular vote gets the first opportunity to build a coalition with other parties and select a Prime Minister. That Prime Minister wields executive power in the government so long as he or she retains support of a parliamentary majority.

One shouldn’t assume a parliamentary model would be more effective or more democratic than our Presidential model. That question deserves a more thorough discussion in another setting. We can conclude with confidence though that our binary system has become far too constrained to deliver meaningful representation in such a large, complex country. We need more choices, but the structure of our representative government makes this challenging.

Americans select their legislative leaders in binary elections for single-member districts. Instead of pooling seats across a wide geography, each seat is decided in a single election with one winner. In theory, a political party could win 49% of the votes in Congressional Districts across a state and, unless they had won a majority in at least one of the districts, seat zero representatives in Congress.

Our founders constructed this system in a calculated attempt to block the emergence of political parties, a specific reaction to abuses they perceived in the British House of Commons. They wanted to build a republic of ‘great men’ elected individually for their virtue. That effort to avoid partisanship had failed before the ink was dry on the Constitution, yet we continue to live within its awkward constraints.

Our system of government is dependent on party politics for its survival. Yet it is structured to make those parties as weak, incoherent, and dysfunctional as possible. There are some very good reasons why none of the countries that democratized after our revolution adopted our system of government. We were an early test case in popular rule. Others have learned from our experiment and refined the model.

A first step toward reform could potentially come from the states. In theory, any state could adopt a proportional system for their legislature tomorrow morning. It might require them to amend their state constitutions, but nothing in federal law would stop them. For Congress, however, the Constitution limits us to single member districts, organized on geographic/population terms. Reform at the state level might produce helpful changes in our political parties, but it wouldn’t change the way we elect Congressional representatives.

Some relief could come from a geographic breakup of the two national parties into sub-parties. True, only one candidate can win in any single district, but there is no law stating that a Democrat who wins an election in Memphis has to be ideologically identical to a Democrat in San Francisco. Emergence of what we’ll call “hyphenated identities” could be at least an interim key to a more diverse, more democratically accountable slate of representatives.

Picture an African-American business leader in Baltimore or Hartford. She may be a Democrat only because the influence of the Tea Party and white nationalists in the GOP has made it very difficult to be a Republican. That same influence from elsewhere in the country makes the Republican brand hopelessly toxic to voters in Baltimore, trapping an entire city of diverse interests under one-party Democratic rule.

What if she launched a run for office under a distinct brand? An organization of “Urban Republicans” with a clearly stated identity distinct from the national Republican Party might be able to offer trapped voters a credible alternative to the two major national parties.

In a place like Baltimore where Republican organizations at the higher levels are so hopelessly weak that they have ceased to be influential, there is little that state or county organizations could do to stop them. An influx of business-friendly minority voters could take control of the local party apparatus in a single election, providing support and cover for an insurgency.

It might sound odd, but its been done before. Until the 80’s there was virtually no local Republican presence across most of the South. Under organizational leadership from fundamentalist churches, an entire generation of Dixiecrats flooded that empty structure, manufacturing a new Republican identity. They were so successful that they haven’t needed to give themselves a hyphen. Today, they own and define the Republican brand.

In a country of 320 million people spanning six time zones, no ‘big tent’ can represent a credible electoral majority while remaining structurally sound. Our parties have grown so weak that even at the top of the ticket Presidential contenders are emerging from outside the parties’ ranks. Neither Donald Trump nor Bernie Sanders are members of the parties from which they seek the nomination.

Imagine a national Republican or Democratic convention in which delegates from five or eight distinct regional sub-parties negotiated to select a single Presidential nominee. Likewise, picture a Congress in which a third or more of the members were elected under a hyphenated brand. No Speaker could be nominated without assembling a cross-partisan coalition that might combine Urban Republicans, Gulf Coast Democrats, and three or four other designations across party lines.

Embracing the emergence of hyphenated party affiliations at the local level could grant our existing political structure the flexibility to adapt to an increasingly diverse electorate. Such a change may already be developing out of the earthquakes shaking our parties. There’s a chance that we might look back on the otherwise unremarkable tenure of House Speaker Paul Ryan as the moment when our multi-party democracy was born.

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Posted in Political Theory, Uncategorized

Economics Roundup

Back in the saddle next week. In the meantime, here are some thoughts on Economics.

Nobel Prize winner Daniel Kahnemann described his first brush with Economics this way in his Book, Thinking, Fast and Slow:

One day in the early 1970’s, Amos handed me a mimeographed essay by a Swiss economist which discussed the psychological assumptions of economic theory…I can still recount its first sentence: “The agent of economic theory is rational, selfish, and his tastes do not change.”

I was astonished. My economist colleagues worked in the building next door, but I had not appreciated the profound difference between our intellectual worlds. To a psychologist, it is self-evident that people are neither fully rational nor completely selfish, and that their tastes are anything by stable.Our two disciplines seemed to be studying different species.”

Guys like Kahnemann are turning Economics on its head. It’s about time. Some previous posts:

Generation 1099, February 2011

Employment as we have understood it for a hundred years is fading away. It is being replaced by what Bush II’s speechwriters called “The Ownership Society.” With each passing year, fewer and fewer us are formally employed and more of us work for ourselves (almost 1/3 of the workforce already), either as full-blown entrepreneurs or as independent contractors.  It may feel scary, but on the whole, this could become a very, very good thing.

Economics is Broken, August 2012

Economics in our time is a philosophy dressed up in equations. That does not imply that economics is worthless, only that is should not be trusted to deliver precision or provable certainty.

Preparing for a Post-Jobs Economy, November 2013

Imagine a country in which everyone can feed themselves, pay for a minimal place to live, and get access to health care. No matter how ill, damaged, or even indolent they may be, their children have an opportunity to earn an education and develop their talent if they so choose. Those who choose to work hard can live a lifestyle we can scarcely imagine. The wealth available to those who are particularly successful is spectacular.

Those who don’t work hard or succeed, for whatever reason, still survive reasonably well. Their children will not be precluded from opportunities to develop their talent by their parent’s failures.

Notes from a Libertarian Paradise, February 2014

The people in Belize are no different from Americans. However, no one in Belize is building the next Google because they are still trying to get reliable access to the Internet. There are stark limits to what private entrepreneurial activity can accomplish without the power of an effective government.

Porn and the Future of Labor, November 2014

The porn business is dying. The forces destroying established business models in the industry offer some lessons about the future of other businesses in an age of accelerating technological dynamism.

A Fourth Era of Capitalism, October 2015

Social capitalism is an economic order in which social and political forces come together to cause market transactions to more competently incorporate formerly “external” costs. Industrial capitalists paid no price for polluting a river or destroying a forest. Under social capitalism, an increasingly equal distribution of power across a society provides methods to force those costs to be factored into market mechanisms. Under social capitalism, the division between labor and capital blurs to near-irrelevance. Meanwhile, an expanded commercialization of nearly every valuable resource leads to a sort of “commodification of everything.”

1957

Were we better off as a country in an era of relative middle-income equality? Establishing some common ground for comparison among eras is as difficult as making comparisons across cultures. In the end, as in any assessment of values, subjective factors will tend to prevail. We can, though, establish a few empirical markers. One of the simplest comes from comparing our almost mythical imagination of 50’s middle class buying power to our present experience.

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Link Roundup for Monday, or whatever day this is

Greetings from tomorrow. Don’t worry, it’s gonna be fine.

Here on the other side of the international date line life is good, but the clock can be confusing. Managed to get a few minutes to check in and thought I’d post a few things that caught my attention.

From here in Indonesia, a fascinating country by the way, a look at life as an openly gay man. To my surprise, it sounds a lot better than life for homosexuals in Alabama or Texas in a lot of ways.

From the Texas Tribune: Speaking of Texas, the lunatics who bring us the Texas Republican Party Platform have just finished scrawling it on the convention center walls. It’s worth reading if you’re into that sort of thing.

From the New York Times: Alabama is swamped with political scandals.

From Esquire: Divers found an amazing Roman shipwreck of the coast of Israel.

From The Atlantic: A dark look at life in Venezuela.

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Dispatch from Hong Kong

Having a lot of fun on the other side of the world. Thought I’d post a few pics. Got a lot of writing done on the plane. After landing I reviewed said writing and realized it was mostly rubbish. Blaming it on altitude. Needs more editing.

We enjoyed a subway ride with a few hundred thousand close friends.subway Really, really close friends. The closest. Nothing could come between us.

Dim sum dinner, followed by a trip through

night market.jpgone of the night markets on Kowloon. Incredible assault on the senses. Noise, lights, smells.

At the Mong Kok market we stumbled across a group of the “yellow umbrella” pro-democracy protestors. There were riots here in the fall, but the movement seems to have cooled. Over their speakers they were blaring a Cantonese rendition of ‘Red and Black’ from Les Miserables. It was pretty horrendous. Not sure if it was the music or the months of arrests, but they weren’t getting a lot of action from the crowd. That guy in the Che t-shirt might be just a tad confused about the “pro-democracy” part of the movement.

yellow umbrellas

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Link Roundup, 5/10/16

It should be quiet around here for a while. However, facing roughly 40 hours of airplane time over the next two weeks, I expect to be able to do some thinking/writing.

Here are a few links that caught my attention today. Hope to have more material in late May or June.

From Sports Illustrated: Who says Texans won’t pay for public education? McKinney launches $63m upgrade of high school football stadium.

From Gizmodo: London’s Museum of Science wants to build a replica of the world’s first robot.

From New York Magazine: You may have heard this before, but “The Democratic Party has slowly begun mimicking some of the characteristics of the GOP.

From Scientific American: Why Malthus is Still Wrong.

From The Atlantic: An update on the fires at Fort McMurray.

And I leave you with a charming twitter rant from Nate Silver:

silver

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Why Trump is Worse than Cruz

rallyJohn Boehner admitted, “I’ve never worked with a more miserable son of bitch in my life” and went on to describe Ted Cruz as “Lucifer in the flesh.” In the Senate, Cruz suggested that fellow Republican Chuck Hagel might be accepting payments from the North Koreans. In his campaign to establish theocratic rule he has enthusiastically pursued measures to oppress religious and ethnic minorities, persecute homosexuals, and subject everyone’s basic civil rights to his extreme sectarian religious views.

And despite these abhorrent policy stances, Ted Cruz was this blogger’s great hope for rescuing the Republican Party from Donald Trump. It’s not as crazy as it sounds.

Ted Cruz as President would be a waking nightmare. He is a man I would never support for any office and would be reluctant to leave alone with my children. Yet, if he had been the nominee I would have felt comfortable remaining a local precinct committeeman active in the Republican Party in Illinois. With Trump as the nominee, and my local party supporting him, I will resign my position and renounce any ties to the party.

Neither of these men ever had a snowball’s chance in hell of becoming President. Until the Republican Party is reorganized or reformed in a manner that renders it reasonably sympathetic to minority voters, demographic factors will keep the White House out of Republican reach. Ted Cruz would make a lousy leader, but he has limited himself to working within the democratic process.  What makes Donald Trump such a threat to the republic is that he doesn’t have to win the General Election to dim my children’s future.

By being accepted and endorsed as the nominee one of our major political parties, Donald Trump will accomplish the existentially dangerous feat of legitimizing white nationalism. Worse, the entire right half of the political spectrum will be burdened more or less permanently by this association. A ‘foot in the door’ compromise Barry Goldwater made with segregationists fifty years ago will finally have ripened into a lethal disaster.

Open expressions racial bigotry and hostility have always been considered low manners and generally avoided. Even Confederates made efforts to veil their racism behind evasive language. Since the Civil Rights movement we have made remarkable strides in our efforts to fully delegitimize racist rhetoric and violence.

Yes, Republicans have been pandering to racists since the Sixties. However, in light of Trump’s appeals, complaints of “dogwhistle” signaling from Republican candidates now seem quaint. When Republicans still felt the need to conceal any racism, we could credibly believe (sometimes with good reason) that appeals to racism were no more than empty posturing. Everyone understood that in most cases the dogwhistle was a cynical distraction. It is precisely that ruse, that failure to follow through on the veiled promise of white supremacy, that so many white voters are now rebelling against.

With the dogwhistle smashed we’re seeing something far more dangerous emerge.  In a pre-Trump regime, it still seemed possible to tackle the racism that infected the Republican margins. With Trump in charge, those margins have become the center. White nationalism is the only coherent policy Trump has outlined for the country. Under Trump, the Party of Lincoln is now the American White People’s Party. Participation in that political organization is a tar that will not wash off.

If this were some sudden departure from the norm, a strange temporary visitation like a meteor strike, it might make sense to stick around and wait it out. Our descent into open racism is not an anomaly. We spent decades building this monster. Trump is just the final, disastrous leap off the ledge.

Republicans’ comprehensive embrace of denialist politics was a loan we took out on our future. The interest payments are now bankrupting us. By rejecting any empirical understanding of reality we destroyed critical firewalls against extremism. Even before Trump, consistent signaling of sympathy toward racists was approaching dangerous extremes. What had been a cynical act was calcifying into a reality.

The GOP will not simply ‘fix the glitch’ with a few reforms somewhere down the line. Absorbing Donald Trump as a nominee means spreading a degree of moral corruption through the organization that is beyond any defensibility. With the dogwhistle tossed aside there is no more room for pretense. To remain in the party under Trump’s leadership means owning and defending white nationalism. Barring overt, public statements by party organizations farther down the chain, there is no way to evade this connection.

This problem extends beyond any simple difference of opinion on policy positions. Party members disagree over policy every day while working together toward shared institutional goals.

Donald Trump doesn’t have any policy positions.

Trump is challenging the basic legitimacy of our representative government. He is not so much a Presidential candidate as the leader of a violent political faction attempting to replace the organizing principles of our republic with a personality cult led by a TV celebrity. We have never faced a threat like this in our history.

If we make him our nominee, we will be supporting a leader who has clearly signaled his intention to disregard legitimate institutions and use violence and intimidation against his opponents. Never mind that he’ll lose. Once the institution absorbs that ethos it cannot be made whole.

One may equivocate and hedge, but there are some damning moral realities in this scenario. On a personal level, participating in Donald Trump’s Republican Party will mean using one’s personal political capital to support violence and intimidation against racial and religious minorities, and the pursuit of extra-legal and sometimes illegal tactics against critics. Save all the “but I don’t’s.” If Trump is the nominee it will be impossible to stop him from changing the character of the party. That’s how this works. For me personally to remain in and support the Republican Party will mean putting whatever personal political initiative I possess, no matter how insignificant, in the service of a political force determined to destroy our basic institutions.

cato

Trump supporters flooded Julia Ioffe with anti-Semitic threats after Trump’s wife complained about Ioffe’s profile of her.

Cruz is not a good leader. He’s probably not even a decent human being. And he’s pretty fiercely bigoted. He is, however, running his campaign within the bounds of democratic civility established and respected for generations. In short, he is keeping his rhetoric within defined norms and refraining from appeals to violence. By doing so, he retains space for others with different views to continue working inside the same institutions toward different goals. Cruz is preserving a basic respect for democratic institutions while pursuing his extreme and batty politics.

Ted Cruz may be Lucifer, but no one has been punched yet at his rallies. Journalists who write stories critical of Ted Cruz aren’t getting voicemails from someone claiming to be Hitler. Not one of Ted Cruz’s supporters, as batty as they are, have assaulted homeless Hispanics and used him as their excuse. Cruz hasn’t been endorsed by the KKK. None of Cruz’s rallies have been cancelled over violence.

Donald Trump is presenting us with a conflict that extends far beyond the kind of policy differences that have traditionally defined our elections. Trump is challenging the civilized norms that sustain representative government and protect basic civility. With Trump as the nominee this November, this won’t be a conventional contest between competing policy platforms. We have invaded foreign countries to depose leaders less reprehensible than Trump. Our 2016 Election will be a referendum on representative government.

A Republican Party with Ted Cruz as its nominee for President would not challenge my loyalty. I certainly wouldn’t vote to send Ted Cruz to the White House. I would, however, feel comfortable continuing to work toward sensible Republican policy goals here in Illinois and elsewhere.

For me there is no possibility of compromise with the party of Trump. The fact that he can’t win offers no shelter from the impact he will have on the party and on our politics at large. There are no “good Nazis.” As the party’s nominee, Donald Trump changes what it means to be a Republican in a manner that carries inescapable moral culpability.

Without a political party it isn’t clear what avenues would remain open for my meaningful political participation. There’s little reason to think that a Democratic “big tent” big enough to accommodate me could very long retain its structural integrity.  Future directions remain to be worked out, but this much is plain – the Party of Donald Trump will not include me.

There remains some possibility that Republican convention delegates will rebel against this outrage. Though unlikely, it makes sense to wait for the delegates solemnize this decision before walking away from a lifetime of political capital. The decision, however, is unavoidable. I can’t stop Donald Trump, but I won’t be culpable for offering him support in any manner.

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Posted in Election 2016, Republican Party, Uncategorized

Link Roundup 5/6/2016

From the Washington Post: SpaceX is converting a wonder into a habit.

From Transport Evolved: Japan now has more electric charging outlets than gas stations.

From Bloomberg: In a feat of vertical integration, Nestle wants to sell diabetes therapies.

From the Boston Globe: Images from the Ft. McMurray wildfires.

From Popular Science: The British government has scuttled the RSS Boaty McBoatface. Hopefully someone was fired over this.

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Well, that happened…

Thanks a lot Indiana.

The race for the delegate count is effectively over. Trump will almost certainly gain the numbers he needs to win on a first ballot – if everyone cooperates in Cleveland.

Odds are pretty good that over the next few weeks most of the #NeverTrump holdouts will surrender. Expect to see a string of comments that start with, “but, Hillary…”

However, there’s still a possibility that a cluster of Trump’s putative delegates will refuse to cooperate on the convention floor. The vast majority of delegates assigned to Trump on a first ballot would rather eat a live frog than vote for him. There’s no sheriff who can force people into line at the convention. We’ll see. Then again, frog can be tasty if properly prepared.

I won’t be going along. If Trump is the nominee and the Republican Party in Illinois lines up behind him, then that’s the end of this Lifer’s term. I’ll resign my precinct position and move on. Time to start thinking of a new name for a blog, or a new interest to absorb my brain cycles.

Posted in Uncategorized

Link Roundup, 5/2/2016

From the Washington Post: What happens when you have virtually no sensible gun regulation or accountability in a nation of 350m people? Toddlers on a rampage.

From MarketWatch: Mexican immigration has been declining since 1999. It has been negative since 2008. Thanks Obama.

From Calculated Risk: The 50-year decline in personal energy costs depicted on a graph.

From FiveThirtyEight: What makes Indiana is so hard to poll and predict.

From FT: Profiling job losses in China due to automation.

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