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2016 election revisited

Hey, it’s been a year, and we’re still banging out a coherent picture of what happened. A pair of graphs, one of which is central, the second for adding much needed context.

The first, coming from NBC via NC :


Keep in mind, as always, that presentations grouping votes into counties are going to emphasize the rural over the urban. Nevertheless, it’s clear that the midwest was special. Either they loved Trump, or the Clinton campaign messaging managed to alienate them big-time. I think it was the latter. [ UPDATE / See-Also: 2016 campaign stops ]

The next one is a chart I made a year ago this week. (The last blue line was based on Clinton’s prelim numbers at the time so it should be a bit bigger).


Anyway, that shows the historical pattern. Trump and Clinton were both average candidates for their party. Given Trump’s obvious handicaps this is surprising. But still, neither was really close to the most successful of their party, namely Obama and Reagan.

At the end of the day, the election is decided in roughly a dozen states, known reliably ahead of time, or roughly 5% of the voting age population ~15 million swing voters – but considering only some states matter, the real number of swing voters is probably more like 4-5 million. In my not-so-humble opinion, the choices in 2016 did not offer them very much. I hope the quality of the choices improves in 2020.


Vote on Tuesday / NY State ballot items

UPDATE – prop 1 does not pass. NY Times link and analysis.

Just a reminder to vote on Tuesday.

NY State residents: There are 3 ballot initiative items to look at, in addition to any local races that may be happening where you live. These may or may not be on the back of your ballot, so check if your ballot says it is double sided.

Proposal 1:

The constitutional convention (aka “Con-con”). This is the major item this year. Voters are asked, by referendum (i.e., this ballot initiative), to trigger a state constitutional convention. Originally intended by the drafters of the state constitution to happen every 20 years. If the proposal passes, there would be an election to select delegates to the convention, and those would then have the power to amend the constitution via a process that is considered “easier” than the “regular” process for doing amendments piecemeal. Critics of this proposal argue that in the current political climate, the convention process would be dominated by the special interests / sausage-making process that is the state legislature. In particular, unions seem to oppose the con-con, because one of the amendments on the agenda would be repeal of the state’s constitutional protection of public employee pensions, in light of budget pressures. Personal opinion – vote no.

Proposal 2:

Public officers (i.e., state legislators) could have their state pensions revoked if convicted of a felony. No opinion on that one.

Proposal 3:

Amendment to law protecting the Adirondacks, basically saying the state will add 250 acres of new state forest land, in exchange for the same amount of existing forest land which will be allowed to be allocated for roads, utility lines, bike trails etc. No opinion.


musical interlude CCCXLIV

smth a little more peaceful

2 party system [Ted Rall]

Our Two Parties, Explained


The noise level is still too high to really go at this, but just a reminder… If you want one of the 2 “main” parties to do anything you have to develop 3rd parties as viable competition – otherwise they’ll have no incentive to reform.

RELATED: It seems implementation of Maine’s RCV referendum is facing a setback:

Reminder – Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) , aka Instant Runoff Voting (IRV), together with proportional representation, via either multi-seat legislative districts, or at-large seats,  are necessary features of a democratic voting system, to prevent the so-called spoiler effect and the resulting two-party-lock-in dynamics.

Clinton controlled DNC finances since 2015 [Donna Brazile / Politico]


Donna Brazile jumps ship in spectacular fashion, writing a powerful confessional piece on behalf of the DNC. Simultaneously is probably the best bit of fund-raising copy I’ve ever seen. (UPDATE: and, building buzz for her book release next week.)

Executive summary:

DNC was starved of funds (huh?) between 2012 and 2015. One of Clinton’s slush funds bailed them out, in exchange for Clinton having control over staffing and flow of money (during the primary). Deal was made by Robby Mook (huh? he was like 36yo then) at the beginning of primaries.

UPDATE – equally interesting commentary below from the Atlantic.

Key point there – the meat of Brazile’s politico article, Clinton commanding the DNC, isn’t really news (though making it a subject of discussion is). Nor was the contractual relationship between the DNC and the Clinton campaign a secret. Around ~April 2016, the Sanders campaign vocally complained about it, dropped a couple of since-forgotten articles in the press.


Man, I have to wonder what was going on behind the scenes of this one. I figured there would be retaliation for the Manafort indictments, perhaps this was released to preempt same info coming out via a hostile source.

Some tangential notes that were hit:

  • Russian hacking (taken for granted), actually revealed this all and prompted the “investigation” in the trail of money
  • Tacit confirmation that Clinton manipulated the primary process in her own favor (no kidding?)
  • It wasn’t her fault – that is, Brazile, and she’ll make it all better now once we can put this unfortunate mistake behind us, and she’s cool with Bernie Sanders and he’s ok with her
  • Throws Obama under the bus, for underfunding DNC
  • Really throws Wasserman-Schultz under the bus
  • Robbie Mook as well



When People And Societies Change [Ian Welsh]


[via Naked Capitalism]

An interesting exploration of some things I’ve been wondering about. Inevitability of a change away from neoliberalism (towards???) – Maybe too soon to say. The ingredients are most certainly there.

musical interlude CCXLIII

See, gentlemen? That’s why you gotta keep the stove clean!

Youtube comments say tune is based on a Hindu prayer. Apologies for any sacrilege.