Who Allowed Stumpf to Be Liz Warren’s Pinata? Epic Elite Collective-Self-Interest Fail…

I just watched Elizabeth Warrren chew up Wells Fargo CEO Stumpf.  Its good theater.  But who allowed this guy up there?  Why give her a pinata?  She’s only going to beat it!  Brilliantly too (see below).

This is the elite failure that’s crept in over the 2000’s.  Bringing us all a lot of trouble.

Collective self-interest mandates that Well Fargo’s CEO Stumpf resigns loudly and bloodily after a scandal.  A Bugs Bunny opera death all over the TV news.  That would serve his own class’s interests, but not his own pride (and notably absent sense of shame).

In the good old days, the collective self-interest would have prevailed.  The boys down at the Metropolitan Club would have sat Stumpf down and delivered the hard truth.  He would have been given a moment to collect himself, left in a locked room with a loaded revolver, and immolated in an appropriately cinematic funeral pyre.  He NEVER would have gotten in front of her committee except as a “broken man deeply remorseful for his shameful actions.

Of course,  3-6 months later, he’d be back from the dead.  Serving on a few boards.  Enjoying his riches-minus-a-token-show-of -monetary-remorse.  Golfing with the guy who handed him his resignation letter.  Good sports one and all.

This is the elite breakdown that will, eventually, break down the current elites.

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Elite Cynicism – The Most Valid (And Worrying) Brexit/Trump Parallel

I still think Hillary wins, but I’m incrementally more worried.  Its not the latest polling.  Its the absence of rational, principled opposition to Trump from people who should (and privately do) know better.  This is the most worrying parallel to the BREXIT debacle.

There was a lot of ink spilled over parallels between the BREXIT vote and Trump’s support – rage of the underclass, xenophobia, racism, etc…  There was remarkably little said about a more direct, valid connection.  The cynicism and cowardice of the elites who started that ball rolling, egged it on, lost control, and ultimately ran their country in the ditch.

The BREXIT vote might have been take over by an angry mob, but the campaign was begun by a cynical, self-serving, gaggle of self-aggrandizing politicians.  Most notably Boris Johnson pursuing his dreams of becoming Prime Minister.

The monster got away from them.  Their (deeply cynical) plan was for “noble failure.” Counting on the sensible center to hold while they postured and pandered on the right.  But there was no-one left in that “sensible center.” So Boris found himself facing the poisoned chalice of becoming PM only to negotiate an actual BREXIT.  A chalice he wiggled his way out of taking – proof of the cynicism underlying it all.

The monster got away from them.  This is worrying me more as the weeks go by.  Anyone with a claim to rationality knows Trump would be a dangerous, potentially disastrous president.  And they also know that Hillary would be, at worst, merely objectionable.   Yet they keep lying in public to avoid saying what they know in private…

  • Why hasn’t John McCain renounced Trump?  The excuse was he was waiting to win his primary.  But he’s won it!  So where’s the promised pivot to the center?  This goes for almost all elected “country club” Republicans.  Paul Ryan where are you?  Are they waiting for one last, epic Trump provocation?  I’m less convinced now.  They are clearly cowards (or they would have stepped up months ago).  But they are quite possibly too cynical to step up.  Deserting their posts in that “sensible center” they pretend to uphold.
  • Why haven’t more business leaders stepped up?  Where is the Chamber of Commerce?  Where are John Chambers, Jack Welch, and Jamie Dimon?  They know Trump would be a disaster.  They also know he’s a sociopath.  Can they really believe a sociopath is a better alternative to Clinton?  Or are they just hoping someone else does the heavy lifting?
  • Why is the media elite not weighing in more heavily?  I don’t expect Fox News to step up, but CNBC?  They totally rolled over during a Trump interview on Monday.  WTF?   Is it just muscle memory reflex support for “their team?”  Are they just that brain damaged by years of soft news?
  • Is this just the end game of politics-as-team-sports?  The equivalent of Penn State fans sticking up for a convicted child abuser and his (proven) enablers out of some sick tribal loyalty?

The dynamic of that cowardice are clear if indefensible.  No-one wants to step up to the bully.  To step up to the mob.  Hoping that “someone else” will do the heavy lifting.  While we all slide toward what “everyone” agrees will be disaster.  And “no-one” steps up.

What is most worrying is that the parallels echo back beyond BREXIT to a whole string of recent “Elite” failures.  Facing tough choices, “everyone” looks for “someone else” to step up to what “no-one” ultimately does.  And disaster ensues…

  • The housing crisis
  • The 2008 financial crisis, bailouts, and subsequent flubbed response.
  • The Euro Crisis.
  • The absence of meaningful fiscal stimulus.
  • The Fed’s flounderings
  • etc….

I am still mostly hopeful.  I don’t see America actually electing a madman.  But I am dismayed that so many with claims to respectability are just standing aside in the face of such clear and obvious danger.  Is it cowardice?  Cynicism?  Just pig-headed magical thinking in service of tribal loyalty?  Does it matter?  They are just colored different shades of shameful.

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The Fed Is Not Going To Raise Rates In September….

Why no rate rise in September?  Because there is a US Election in November.  An unwritten Fed commandment is “Thou shalt not appear to overtly meddle in politics.“**  Without a gun-to-the-head turn of events, they will put it off until December.

What I am still trying to figure out why we keep getting these saber-rattling hints from various Fed governors trying to keep the idea of a September rate rise in play?  They mostly serve to diminish the Fed’s already-battered credibility.  So what is driving them?

  • The internal debate played out on a public stage?
  • An effort to keep the markets on edge?  To what end?
  • Some sort of “talk-tough before we raise the inflation target to 3% whilst raising rates” strategy?

My hope is that the more consequential Fed news was the SF Fed governor’s recent piece questioning today’s (totally arbitrary) 2% inflation “target.  2% has become a de facto ceiling – as “targets” are wont to become.  Which has condemned us to 1%-2% inflation.  Which is pretty obviously too low.  Why?  See “negative interest rates, general malaise, and Donald Trump…”  I’d have though that was all obvious enough, although clearly a lot of people haven’t grokked it yet.

The SF Fed’s paper is short and worth a read.  Excerpts and a link below.  My takes are…

  • It is hopefully a sign of a shift as much as a plea for it.  Does the Fed shift to a 3% inflation target post election?  He certainly suggests they should.  Because the target has become a ceiling (as predicted by many), 3% really means about 2%-3% inflation vs todays 1%-2%.  2%-3% would be in line with the original idea of 2% as the mid-point target of the inflation range, not the cap.
  • This is about as close to a Fed Governor begging for fiscal stimulus.  Message to Congress etc… “stop diddling around with the politics already!.  We’re out of bullets and this is deadly serious!
  • The other sub-text is “We all know nothing will happen until after the election but we need to get teed up on this messaging shift now!
  • He is right IMHO.  Especially about fiscal policy and the Fed being out of bullets.
  • The market’s recent pep might be a sign we resolve this intelligently and positively.  Which would be a pleasant change…

** Note that its OK for the Fed to meddle in politics by NOT doing anything.  See Greenspan’s quiet contribution to Bush II’s re-election by leaving rates too low for too long.  Remember that the Fed leans Republican (see “regulatory capture“).  That was pretty obvious “action,” but in a passive aggressive way that didn’t risk blame.  Just a subsequent housing bubble and financial crisis…

Monetary Policy in a Low R-star World Excerpts Below

The critical implication of a lower natural rate of interest is that conventional monetary policy has less room to stimulate the economy during an economic downturn, owing to a lower bound on how low interest rates can go. This will necessitate a greater reliance on unconventional tools like central bank balance sheets, forward guidance, and potentially even negative policy rates.

In this new normal, recessions will tend to be longer and deeper, recoveries slower, and the risks of unacceptably low inflation and the ultimate loss of the nominal anchor will be higher (Reifschneider and Williams 2000). We have already gotten a first taste of the effects of a low r-star, with uncomfortably low inflation and growth despite very low interest rates.

Unfortunately, if the status quo endures, the future is likely to hold more of the same—with the possibility of even more severe challenges to maintaining price and economic stability.

To avoid this fate, central banks and governments should critically reassess the efficacy of their current approaches and carefully consider redesigning economic policy strategies to better cope with a low r-star environment. This includes considering fiscal and other policies aimed at raising the natural interest rate, as well as alternative monetary and fiscal policies that are more likely to succeed in the face of a low natural rate.

Taking each of those in turn, I’ll start with policies aimed at raising r-star by affecting its underlying determinants.

  • One potential avenue is to increase longer-run growth an d prosperity through greater longterm investments in education, public and private capital, and research and development. Despite growing skepticism and endless column inches questioning whether college is worth the cost, the return on investment in post-secondary education is as high as ever (Autor 2014, Daly and Cao 2015). Likewise, returns on infrastructure and research and development investment are very high on average (Jones and Williams 1998, 2000, Fernald 1999).
  • Turning to policies that can help stabilize the economy during a downturn, countercyclical fiscal policy should be our equivalent of a first responder to re cessions, working hand-in-hand with monetary policy. Instead, it has too often been stuck in a stop-and-go cycle, at times complementing monetary policy, at times working against it. This is not unique to the United States; Japan, and Europe have also fallen victim to fiscal consolidation in the midst of an economic downturn or incomplete recovery.

One solution to this problem is to design stronger, more predictable, systematic adjustments of fiscal policy that support the economy during recessions and recoveries (Williams 2009, Elmendorf 2011, 2016). These already exist in the form of programs such as unemployment insurance but are limited in size and scope. Some possible ideas for the United States include Social Security and income tax rates that move up or down in relation to the national unemployment rate, or federal grants to states that operate in the same way. Such approaches could be designed to be revenue-neutral over the business cycle; they also could avoid past debates over fiscal stimulus by separating decisions on countercyclical policy from longer-run decisions about the appropriate role of the government and tax system. Indeed, economists across the political spectrum have championed these ideas (Elmendorf and Furman 2008, Taylor 2000, 2009).

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What Did I Get Wrong On Trump?

I didn’t think Trump would win the nomination.  What did I get wrong?

What did I expect?  A wall of Money to coalesce around a single alternative.  Probably Rubio.  Like one of those ugly goal line football plays.  Standing him up and pushing him across the line on mass alone.  Probably at the cost of deep voter dis-enthusiasm.  The result would have been a similar “battle of the unpopular” we’re seeing now, but with a better chance of success for the Republicans as a whole.

What did I get wrong?  I misjudged…

  • …The cohesion of the “money wing” of the party.  Enlightened self-interest should have led to the scenario above.  But they couldn’t coalesce.  Which is the clearest sign of the party’s deep fractures and likely fragmentation.  I under-estimated how fractured things are.
  • …The relative impotence of traditional media.  We all know about traditional media’s declining legitimacy and authenticity, but wow!  Although I should have figured this out.  I can barely stand to track the race except via comedy outlets myself….  Others have made this point better/deeper elsewhere so not going to belabor it.
  • …The Boaty McBoatFace phenomena (the joke name a flash-mob “voted” for a British research ship).  Part of the general “de-legitimization of the elites” problem.  Dis-empowered mobs doing what mobs do when they feel dis-empowered.   This is the clearest (and probably only) useful connection between the Brexit vote and the US election.  This problem is going to be with us for as long as the Internet is.  Its going to be interesting to see how “serious people society” adjust and(eventually, hopefully) cope with this.
  • …When Trump would implode.  I was pretty sure he would.  And his (eventual) disastrous reception by Suburban Republican women was pretty darn obvious.  But the narrative shift happened AFTER the nomination, not before.  I should have called this given media dynamics etc.  But I didn’t.

With that I am going to turn my attention more to other exciting things like Productivity, Fiscal Policy, the Senate Races, what happens after the election, and etc….  The presidential race is pretty done and dusted.  The main risk is that consensus leads to lower turnout by the anti-Trump vote.  But I think the “no Trump at all costs” voters will still turn up in greater numbers than the “I hate Hillary and maybe Trump isn’t really a racist sociopath” voters…  Sigh.

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Trump Has Peaked…

Trump has peaked.  Why?  Because he’s not making any new friends; just new enemies.  We’re at that moment of weightlessness at the peak.  Before the slide really begins…  I think it ends in a crushing defeat.  Trump is like a “story” stock.  They run up big.  Whoosh!  They fall big.  Splat!

Remember that Registered Republicans are only 26% of the electorate.  The “crowd” that voted Trump in the Primaries are only a sub-set of that 26%.  The other 74% of the country – undecided/uncomfortable/unsettled – aren’t going to break Trump’s way.

Sure, “Republican leaning” is at 42%.   But how many will pull the lever for Trump?  In particular, watch suburban, college educated Republican women fade away.  They might not vote Hillary, but they just won’t vote.

The election is becoming a referendum on Trump (sorry Hillary).  More on that later.  And the answer isn’t likely to be “Yes.”

The real campaign hasn’t really started.  Most Americans are still tuned out.  Wait for the ad campaigns after the Olympics.  A barrage of ads – “greatest hits of Trump insulting every voting group except white under-educated males.”  Trump has furnished an insult or snide remark for nearly every demographic out there.

The “likely voter” problem will skew polling toward Trump, which will help feed a landslide loss.  An effective ad barrage will drive new registration AND new turnout among the @60%-70% of the American electorate that Trump has alienated.  Republican no-shows will likely spike too.  NEITHER will show up in “likely voters” polls and predictions.  They will show up at the ballot box.  The Democrats’s will be working to make it seem like a close race…   They need the turnout.

The real game is the Senate races.  If Trump skews turnout enough, the Dems win the Senate.  3 Supreme Court Justices and a string of “uncomfortable” Warren/Sanders Senate hearings later, we’re living in a very different country.

We’re even seeing hints of the Democratic “stretch goal” to take the House.  Less likely, but Democratic gains will mostly unseat Republican moderates.  So the House, the only “national” face of the Republican party, will have a higher concentration of the wackiest wackos.  That is a road to ruin…

FYI, I drafted this on Sunday (before recent polls showed Trump tanking).  Really!  🙂

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Trump Will Lose Big. He’s Peaked.

Barring some major “Black Swan” event, Trump will lose and lose big.  That’s a Strong View Not-So-Lightly Held (grin).  What convinced me?  Among other things, see this photo I took Tuesday (after both conventions).

Not a single TRUMP sign...

Not a single TRUMP sign…

Note what isn’t in the window – no TRUMP signs.  In a Michigan county that put the “jerk” in “knee-jerk” Republican.  Prime Trump country.  Plenty of White, no-college voters and a fading manufacturing economy.  If the Republican party here can’t get behind him…

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Why I Don’t Think Warren Would Take the VP Job…

Lot of speculation that Clinton might pick Elizabeth Warren for VP.  It doesn’t seem likely…

  • Warren’s dream job is head of the Senate Finance Committee.  A platform for her message and brand.  Hearing after hearing with her patented pointed questions.  All the dirty laundry…  Plus personal payback for all the nasty things they said about her.  Hmmm… maybe the smart money on Wall Street should be begging Hillary to make her VP to avoid that?  Instead they’ll probably pour money into the Senate races to try and prevent a Democratic takeover.  And risk going down swinging….
  • Warren doesn’t need Hillary’s spotlight.  She is already powerful and influential as an independent force.  Becoming VP would diminish her stature not increase it.  Note how she withheld her endorsement until AFTER Hillary won enough delegates.  That’s the act of an independent power broker.
  • The real fight now is for Democratic control of the Senate.  Hillary’s better off with Warren out there fighting for Senate control.  And Warren is more effective doing that as an independent.
  • Senate control argues against Hillary picking ANY sitting senator.
  • Warren doesn’t seem to particularly trust or like Hillary.  Although that could be said for @55.7% of the country if you believe the polls.  🙂
  • The first “gotcha” VP debate question would link Hillary’s now infamous Goldman Sachs speeches to Warren’s position on the ticket.  Warren doesn’t (and can’t) have a good answer to that one…

My guess is Hillary goes for a Latino.  Why? Latinos now are energized and pissed off by Trump.  Hillary will want to start digging a Democratic-leaning groove into that nascent voting habit.  And voting habits tend to stick for generations….

Latinos have been the jump ball of US politics for a while now – low voting rates but increasing population numbers.  Socially conservative, but friendly to government.  And deeply wary of present-day Republicanism (NASCAR fans,  “dog whistle” bigotry of anti-immigration talk, and the general bad taste of the “Southern Strategy”).

If that Democratic voting rhythm is established, Texas and Arizona go purple and then blue over the next few election cycles.  And losing Texas alone is a mathematical death-blow to Republican presidential hopes.

Unless the Republicans drastically renovate the party.  Lets hope they do.  Dysfunctional wacko-ism does no-one any good.

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Whither the House? A Legislative Golden Age? Possibly. Even Greater Wacko-ism? Definitely.

I just read a Bloomberg column by “conservative” writer Ramesh Ponnuru (AEI, National Review) all but awarding Democrats the Presidency AND the Senate?!?  “Republicans accept the conventional wisdom that Hillary Clinton is favored to win the presidency, and they know that her election would probably end their majority in the Senate. But in a year that has upended political expectations, they have clung to one comforting assumption: Their hold on the House is secure.”  He goes on to question the hold on the House.

I’ve been musing around the same, but when did this become “the conventional wisdom?”  It seems a bit premature to award the Senate this early.  Maybe this is best read as a gauge of the despair?  Rational conservatives finally acknowledging “their” party’s take-over by the NASCAR fan base.  I’m guessing a guy named Ramesh Ponnuru doesn’t feel so welcome in the thick of of a NASCAR crowd (or at a Trump rally)…

But he’s right.  The House is definitely the most interesting question out there now.  There are two scenarios.

  1. The Democrats win the House outright.  That seems unlikely.
  2. The Democrats remain in minority, but take a bite out of the Republican majority.  This seems likely and a LOT more interesting…  Oddly enough, it might also usher in productive era for American politics…

Why?  Democrats will ONLY pick off Republican moderates.  The wacko wing of the House comes from districts that will never flip.  That’s why their elected Representatives are wackos – QED.  So any Democratic gains will come in “swing” districts voting out less-than-totally-wacko Republicans.

The end result is (probably) a smaller Republican majority with a larger percentage share of wackos.  As we have all learned in the last few years, that wacko wing is allergic to the actual business of government.  Cue a nihilistic procession of government shutdowns, tilting at windmills (voting down Obamacare) and general grandstanding.  Anything to avoid the actual messy, compromise-laden (ew! ech!)  duties of governing a diverse country with its cross-currents of interests.

So why is a larger wacko wing a good thing?  Because the beleaguered, non-wacko rump of the Republican could start doing deals across the aisle vs dealing (and failing) within “their” own party.  That has arguably already happened.  Very little real governing gets done in the House without Democratic votes these days…  De facto coalition government with Paul Ryan as the pivot point…  

And why could that be a productive era for American politics?  Paul Ryan is a twerp, but he is inclined to actual governance.  He will do deals.  A legislative balance between a resurgently Liberal Senate and a Right-of-Center-But-Not-Wacko coalition in the House.

Whatever passes muster through both Paul Ryan’s and Elizabeth Warren’s meatgrinders is probably going to be finely ground,well seasoned, and reasonably tasty political sausage.  Appetizing to political centrists at least.  A fix to the corporate tax code?  Some obvious tweaks to Social Security?  Real infrastructure investment?  The possibilities seem endless after so many years of obstructionism…

Or the House wackos just take over the asylum.  Then the legislative engine simply grinds to a halt.  Almost today’s status quo, but increasingly damaging if it goes on.  Those roads and bridges will still keep on rotting away….

  • The Democrats could pick off so many Republican moderates that there is no rump wing left to do those deals….
  • The wacko wing could de-throne Ryan & Co in the leadership.  They will most certainly try.  But that could result in a House “Majority” leader elected with votes from the House Minority party.  That event would take today’s de facto coalition government out of the shadows.
  • Ryan’s gets “primaried” and his constituents vote him out a la Eric Cantor.  Also a very real risk….

All interesting, but perhaps overly hopeful.  What is certain that November will yield a MORE extreme, ideological, nihilistic, “Ultra” Republican House.  More wackos, fewer moderates…  The wackos will go deeper into an impotent, foam-flecked rearguard battle against an increasingly diverse, tolerant, and urbanized America.  A battle they are already losing.  NASCAR peaked years ago…

The wackos will also be “the” national face of the Republican party.  Compounding the damage Trump will do to the Party’s standing.  All bad news for thoughtful conservatives out there.  For they will truly lack a home.  They have my sympathy.  But there is no deliverance from a deal with the devil.  The bill for Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” has come due.

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I (Still) Think Stocks Go Higher… A Wall of Money vs a Wall Of Skepticism. The Money Wins…

The last few days of selling notwithstanding, I think the market is more likely to  “melt up.”  Past its prior highs and up to Lord knows where.

As that last phrase implies, I don’t think “valuation” per se is the main driver.  Or even a useful way to think about it.  Per prior pieces, its pretty hard to figure out a “fair” value for anything in a world of negative interest rates (getting paid to borrow).  The only certainty is that past analogues, patterns, and rules of thumb are useless.  They depend on a positive rates dynamic that doesn’t currently exist.

So we are left stumbling along in a foggy world where North has shifted  to someplace unknown on the compass rose.  That dead reckoning and inference are deeply discomforting.  But its smarter than seeking comfort from a map that is guaranteed to yield garbage coordinates.

So why do we go higher?  Because the money has to go someplace.

Fighting that wall of money is a wall of skepticism.  It is dressed up in a lot of reasonable sounding arguments about valuation and ya ya ya.  But much of that “analysis” is just recycling the past to avoid facing a discomforting future.  They are navigating off maps where North is still where it “should” be.  And/or shouting loudly for the gods (ie the Fed) to move North back to its normal place.  Anything to avoid facing the reality of uncharted waters.

I think the wall of money will win.  And Lord knows where we end up.  There is probably a very ugly reckoning ahead somewhere.  But only after the skeptics become enthusiasts…

Anyway.  Going camping in the Sierras this weekend.  At least the maps still orient to North out there…. 🙂

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Silly Season Starts, But Hillary Still Wins…

We are into silly season for the election.  We “could” be having a substantive national conversation about the Senate races.  But that’s a more-than-two-horse race and requires explanation.  Besides, when was the last time we actually had a “substantive national conversation?”  So its time for weird polls and wild theories.  The story of the moment? Hillary might actually lose!  Stay tuned!  Keep watching!  Please we need the ad dollars!

Hillary is still going to win.

Why?  Look at how today’s disaffected will line up come Nov. 6.

  • Disaffected Democrats will still show up.  Lefties shifting to the center.  They are energized, angry, and (rightfully) suspicious of Hillary’s bona fides. It is telling that the Koch brother prefer Hillary to Trump…  But they will still show up to vote for her.  They have a sense of civic engagement.  They fear Trump.  And Bernie and Elizabeth Warren will have camped out in those Senate swing states getting out the vote.  With the powerful message that a Democratic Senate is the best way to keep Hillary’s crony capitalist Davos buddies in line.  A powerful message because it is largely true….
  • Disaffected Republicans will stay home.   Centrists who’d rather lose than endorse the extreme.  Remember the Sarah Palin effect?  A LOT of Republicans just couldn’t bear that vote on their conscience.  The courageous, civic-minded ones voted for Obama.  The other 95% (grin) just found something else to do on election day…  Trump will have the same effect.  Suburban, college educated, non-partisan Republicans (especially women) will abdicate and let their districts tip Democratic.  The Republican establishment will be begging them to turn out in those same Senate swing states.  But who’s the Bernie or Liz of the Right?  Who rallies the troops….  Paul Ryan?  Hah!  He can’t even rally the House….

Actually, the Republican elite’s pivot to a defensive stand for the Senate validates the above in three ways.

  1. The smart money has already given up on the Presidency.
  2. Senate control is the real key to control of the national agenda…
  3. The elites preference for Hillary + a Republican Senate validates the Bernie supporters’ mistrust of her.  And the argument for a Senate overthrow.

Point 3 is a subtle one, but I’d expect it to be made over and over again by Bernie and Elizabeth.  Make sure we’re there to keep her and her cronies’ feet to the fire.  Sander’s base is educated and activated enough to grok that.

The opposite argument – vote Republican to save the crony capitalist oligarchies! – doesn’t have quite the same ring to it.  Vote to keep those lefties out! would work better.  But it risks energizing/validating the left’s turnout efforts.  And vote for gridlock! probably doesn’t play well after the last 8 years of increasingly churlish obstructionism.

As a final factor, there are Trump’s lumpenproletariat supporters.¹  One thing that probably does come out of the next few months’ news cycle is something truly despicable , ignorant, and viral that slumps “thinking Republican’s” even deeper into despair.  Although arguably Trump’s been delivering that for some months now….  But it can always get worse.

So take a break for the next few months.  Watch the Olympics!  Amateur sports!  Clean, noble, un-corrupted by elites and rivers of hidden cash…  Hmmm.  Scratch that…

¹ “Lumpenproletariat is a term that was originally coined by Karl Marx to describe the layer of the working class that is unlikely ever to achieve class consciousness and is therefore lost to socially useful production, of no use to the revolutionary struggle, and perhaps even an impediment to the realization of a classless society.


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