Clinton took Michigan for granted, non-Russsian source reports

If you want to know how the Democratic Party is both not wrong and not likely to win an election ever again, consider this sentence from a recent letter to the Missoula Independent:

Blaming the Democratic Party for the election of Donald Trump excuses the real culprit: the uninformed electorate.

If you programmed a computer to identify Yogi Berra aperçus, this one might fool it. It’s not my fault I lost; they were the ones who didn’t vote for me. Anyway, Beth Taylor Wilson of Missoula is right: on every issue, Hillary compared to Trump as sense compares to nonsense, and the Democratic Party put up a progressive platform this year. They were also the only major party not to nominate a walking personality disorder. And yet they lost. They lost even though the admittedly uninformed electorate did its job and picked Clinton, by a margin of three million votes.

My question for the B.T. Wilsons of the world: How is it the voters’ fault that Hillary lost the electoral college? Perhaps some share of the blame lies with the professionals who spent nearly one billion dollars in donations to get her into office. Like you, I assumed the Democratic Party attracted the canniest politicians in America. Then I read this Politico story about how they campaigned in Michigan. Here’s a morsel:

The only metric that people involved in the operations say they ever heard headquarters interested in was how many volunteer shifts had been signed up — though the volunteers were never given the now-standard handheld devices to input the responses they got in the field, and Brooklyn mandated that they not worry about data entry. Existing packets with notes from the volunteers, including highlighting how much Trump inclination there was among some of the white male union members the Clinton campaign was sure would be with her, were tossed in the garbage.

I don’t want to be a negative Nancy Pelosi, but this is the second time Clinton has blown a sure thing. Sure, it’s mostly Russia’s fault. But sometimes I wonder whether Democrats are overestimating how many people are still with them. They might even be taking some of their constituents for granted. That’s easy to do when the Republican Party has gone berserk and nominated a Batman villain for president. Only an idiot would vote for that, obviously. It was so obvious that here we are, now, a nation of idiots without even a smart lady to lead us.

“The voters were too dumb to pick Clinton” might be true. It sure looks that way from a certain perspective. But if that is your perspective, “it’s the voters’ fault” is a poisonous idea. If you believe electing Trump was a mistake, as I do, then you have to consider how the Democratic Party allowed that to happen given the electorate we have. Democracy means the customer is always right.

Friday links! I declare weekend edition


It’s almost noon in the one true time zone, so it’s basically the weekend. And not just any weekend—it’s the weekend of Memorial Day, a holiday of pure enjoyment uncomplicated by any depressing overtones. It must be party time, because my neighbors have put a smoker in our shared yard, right next to their grill, their fire pit, their canopy tent, their second grill, their chairs, their woodpile and their broken-pieces-of-palettes pile, amid the general distribution of their beer cans. Today is Friday, and I can’t escape my home office quickly enough. Won’t you bang something out and knock off with me?

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Hanauer: It’s either pitchforks or a police state for rising inequality

Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, panting softly

Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean, panting softly

If you are unfortunate enough to know me in real life, I have probably already tried to make you read Nick Hanauer’s Politico piece on how rising inequality is not in the best interest of the very rich. If you haven’t, you should read it now. I’ll wait here and look at fourth-quarter economic projections cat videos. Hanauer essentially makes the same argument that Henry Ford made in his defense of so-called “welfare capitalism:” the people who make Ford cars are the same people who buy Ford cars, so it’s good for business to pay workers a higher wage. The case for welfare capitalism is a case for a strong middle class, and it’s particularly relevant in a consumer economy. I’m more interested in Hanauer’s other argument, though: if inequality continues to increase, the inevitable consequence will be either revolution or a police state.

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How funny does satire have to be?

Jonathan Swift: hilarious

Jonathan Swift: hilarious

A. Ron Galbraith recently brought to my attention this post in Politico arguing that The Daily Currant is not funny. You may have heard of The Daily Currant in connection with this mistake by the Drudge Report, or possibly this one by the Washington Post. According to founder and editor Daniel Barkeley, the Currant produces a “style of satire [that] is as old as literature itself, but hasn’t recently been applied to news articles.” Apparently one of the satirical conceits over at the Currant is that The Onion doesn’t exist, but that is orthogonal to our discussion. Barkeley’s position is that several of the Currant’s satires have been mistaken for news because what he’s doing is so new. At Politco, Dylan Byers’s argument is that Currant articles keep being taken for real because they aren’t funny. Which brings us to an important question: how funny does satire have to be?

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House Republicans mull shutdown

"So the priest says—hang on. If you want to hear the rest of the joke, give me ten dollars right now."

“So the priest says—hang on. If you want to hear the rest of the joke, give me ten dollars right now.”

According to a Politico report that has scared hell out of the nation and briefly thrown me into agreement with Ross Douthat, a substantial number of House Republicans are considering refusing to raise the debt ceiling. The plan is to use the threat of default and/or federal shutdown to force Obama to agree to spending cuts—cuts he has repeatedly refused to make. That part of the story should be eerily familiar from last year, when maneuvering over the debt ceiling ended in the downgrade of the credit of the United States. Everyone agreed that was a disaster, both for the union and for the Republican caucus. This year, though, will be totally different. Alarming quote after the jump.

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