Trump, the Republican Party, and the logic of bailouts

by on March 20, 2016 at 2:30 am in Current Affairs, Political Science, Uncategorized | Permalink

As the possible nomination of Trump approaches, many Republicans are worried about the Party crashing.  That could occur through convention warfare, a Trump nomination and an electoral disaster, or a non-Trump nomination and an electoral disaster.  Maybe all of the above!

And what is wrong with the Party crashing?  (Please, dear reader, consider this question from a logistic rather than a partisan point of view.)  The Party contains information.  Relationships.  Procedures and processes and established patterns of cooperation.  A well-known brand name.  Organizational capital is lost if those connections are blown up and then go away.  It would cost a good deal to rebuild them, whether through a new third party or through a reconstitution of the Republican Party in some new guise.

Large blocs of voters are in essence needed to help cover those fixed costs.  If you tell too many voters to go away, however that might be done, the fixed costs can’t be paid the next time around and a new organization must be created, backed by some other, partially-overlapping group of voters.  So during “bad times” Republicans still may wish to keep the Republican Party afloat, especially if they believe it is a viable concern over the longer haul.

This, by the way, is the same logic behind bank and corporate bailouts   If the afflicted company is allowed to go under, a lot of organizational capital will be lost in what otherwise might be viable enterprises.  (I am not suggesting those bailouts have zero cost, or are necessarily good, only that there is some associated benefit.)

So if you are a Republican, and considering supporting Donald Trump “for the sake of the party.” you are in essence considering whether a bailout of the Party is a good idea.  Except instead of bailing out a private company with your taxes, or guaranteed credit, you are bailing out a political party with your …[fill in the blank]…

I believe that many of the people who usually claim to oppose bailouts will favor this one.

1 Steve Sailer March 20, 2016 at 2:38 am

Alternatively, pulling strings to nominate Paul Ryan could be considered a bailout.

It would be interesting if Ryan is nominated and then proceeds to lose worse than he did when he was the VP nominee.

Is there much plausibility that a Ryan-Clinton business-as-usual election would result in the Republicans somehow overcoming their traditional 21st Century disadvantages in the Presidential contest, other than something disastrous happening to Hillary or the country between now and then?

A Ryan nomination and loss might be what it takes to persuade mainstream Republican bigshots that there brand is out of date and needs modernizing and that self-destructive gimmicks like amnesty aren’t that.

2 Boris_Badenoff March 20, 2016 at 9:27 am

No one can “pull strings” to give the nomination to anyone, that is paranoid nonsense. A majority of delegate votes is required. If no candidate amasses a majority of committed delegates before the convention, there will be bargaining and campaigning and cajoling by all sides trying to assemble one. That’s not manipulation, it’s simply democratic politics in action.

Talk radio and allegedly conservative pundits have created a fantasy, a straw man opponent to boost their own ratings and income. Their unprincipled behavior contributed heavily to this situation, as has the long decline in public education.

3 8 March 20, 2016 at 11:47 am

The parties are private entities. The DNC awards superdelegates chosen by party leadership. Both the GOP and Democrat Party could choose to have no primaries and select the candidates themselves. The primaries are a super poll to get voter suggestions, but they could count for nothing if the party so chooses. Voting in the primaries is the same as voting for whether there should be a Blue M&M. Mars would be stupid to ignore the people (customers), but if the CEO or Board wanted Purple they could have overruled the vote.

4 Hoosier March 20, 2016 at 12:11 pm

By the letter of the law, you’re right, but why do such a thing? What makes them want not want to reward the man with the most votes? I know the party doesn’t like him, but what is the official reason they’re going to give for dumping Trump?

5 Nathan W March 20, 2016 at 12:28 pm

A few ideas come to mind:

1) Trump’s ignorance on the economy and free trade could lead to a trade war and global recession, such as the one that preceded WWII. And make some rather more credible noise about efforts to consider the interests of the working class who are struggling to compete with global labour, as compared to the cutting edge technolgoy exports which make America rich.

2) Regarding threats to change laws to sue for libel against media who criticizes him, and this being a very dangerous threat to free speech and free media. Taking a welcoming attitude to constructive criticism from the media as a critical input for democracy could be a good line.

3) Speaking against the precedent of scapegoating and fearmongering. With an honest view that they have not been very responsible in such regards in recent years, they could demonstrate commitment to refraining from such strategies, and highlight the risks of a Trump-led presidency in so doing. A “bring America together” sort of argument. This will not appeal to strict nativists.

4) Pointing to Trump’s brash attitude as a major risk for relations with foreign countries – America’s reputation could decline significantly as a result, even among close allies.

5) They could point to the negative example of having a negativity-driven campaign succeed, and make much noise about positiivity, how Americans need to believe in themselves as they compete with the world, and do an about face from the last 10-20 years and become the positive party. In this sense, they could appeal to voters to consider the negative precedent a Trump victory would set, and how hard it would be for even very well meaning politicians to adopt a positive politics strategy in consideration of a victory of such a campaign.

You could expand the list, but it suffices to say that they could fairly easily do so, but mostly only if they’re willing to confront their own demons, which I highly doubt they will be willing to do.

6 Nathan W March 20, 2016 at 2:51 pm

I know you love Trump and cannot tolerate any negative words about him (much like thin-skinned Trump himself), but if you disagree with any of those points, then please feel free to explain yourself.

7 mulp March 20, 2016 at 3:19 pm

“What makes them want not want to reward the man with the most votes?”

Ok, why shouldn’t everyone get to vote in the Republican primary? And also in the Democratic primary? And Libertarian primary? And Socialist Worker primary?

I’d suggest non-partisan primaries with approval voting to select 3 to 5 candidates for the general election giving time for those candidates to campaign and debate. And then the general election pick the official based on the candidate with the most votes in an approval voting election.

That would ensure that the candidate that the most people approve of for the office is selected for the office. Odds are, it won’t be anyone’s first choice if they could only vote for one candidate because the highest vote getter would be the concensus builder who compromises and accommodates to create the fewest losers.

Trump is the candidate who relishes creating losers, because he defines success based on creating well defined losers so he is the winner.

Republican government is philosophically anti-Trump, and anti-Cruz, and those writing the Constitution struggled to find an alternative to democracy.

A system the find republican concensus decision making.

Instead, we have Trump being the angry mod democracy selection who is beating the Cruz angry mob democracy selection.

8 JB March 20, 2016 at 3:20 pm

Due to the particular nature of the non-Trump vote split, Trump has an unusually high ratio of delegates to share of the popular vote.

The Party could say “Trump’s pathetic plurality of votes outweighs his delegate majority, and we are going to recognize the 60% of the Party opposed to him by nominating someone else.”

Not that that makes much sense, but nobody can seriously argue that Trump has some sort of mandate.

9 asdf March 21, 2016 at 10:29 am

In any multi party/candidate system its rare for the ruling party to get an outright majority, especially in troubled times.

Everyone claims that all non-Trump votes are all against Trump. However, there is a huge difference between all the non-Trump candidates. If a candidate drops out some of their support will go to Trump and some will stay home because they don’t like any of the alternatives. Some candidates who have dropped out, like Ben Carson, have even endorsed Trump.

If Trump is at 40% in a multi-party race, why do we assume he would be 40% head to head. Most number crunchers seem to believe that in one on one match ups against the other candidates Trump would break 50%.

10 mulp March 21, 2016 at 7:48 pm

Arguing that Trump with only 40% is opposed by 60% who would support one candidate is like arguing that 40% for Obamacare means 60% want Bernie Sanders single payer, or 60% want McCain, or others ending of employer provided benefits by ending all tax breaks and forcing everyone to buy insurance individually or pay up front before getting medical care.

Trump and Obamacare seem to be the compromised unprincipled middle.

The result is no one can propose a better alternative that isn’t opposed by a larger number of people.

11 Doug March 20, 2016 at 12:14 pm

I generally think the predictions of GOP collapse and/or major party realignment are being overhyped. These types of events are so rare in American history, that current speculation seems driven by epoch-centric thinking. Trump’s impact is much more likely to fizzle out like Ross Perot than permanently shift politics like Andrew Jackson.

In the spirit of Bryan Caplan, I would bet that at even odds that the GOP still holds 40% or more of Congressional seats in the election of 2024. I don’t know how to objectively quantify this, but I’d also bet that the election candidate of 2024 holds positions closer to Mitt Romney than Donald Trump, for any reasonable measure of ideological distance.

12 Mark Bahner March 20, 2016 at 9:25 pm

“Trump’s impact is much more likely to fizzle out like Ross Perot than permanently shift politics like Andrew Jackson.”

Perot was an independent. So he didn’t split apart any party. In this case, it seems like a significant part of the Republican Party will not accept Donald Trump as the leader of the Republican Party.

13 Doug March 20, 2016 at 11:39 pm

Point taken. But the nominee is no more the leader of the party than the Congressional leadership. Maybe even less so. Donald Trump will very likely be nominated. It’s certainly possible he may become president for the next 4 or even 8 years. There may even be well-supported alt-Republican third parties. But all of that is unlikely to permanently shift the two-party oligopoly. It’s more likely that Trump will run for this election cycle and the next, and we’ll see some “Trumpist” Republicans get elected in various positions. But over the long-run we’ll likely revert to something closely resembling the pre-2016 equilibrium.

14 aMichael March 20, 2016 at 2:38 am

What about those Republicans who favored the financial bailout but not the partisan one if The Donald is nominated?

15 Alan March 20, 2016 at 8:51 am

Failure of one enterprise can help competitors survive in a free and competitive market. We don’t have a free and competitive political market.

I favor neither bailout. And hope we end up with a freer, more competitive political market.

( I believe some states alternate by law between the two parties when selecting judges. That would be interesting to watch if D or R went away)

16 prior_test2 March 20, 2016 at 3:00 am

‘consider this question from a logistic … point of view’

Thus spake chairman and general director Cowen, with the sort of perspective that anyone involved with a public policy institute develops.

Especially when it involves the importance of ensuring that the last generation’s worth of carefully constructed and generally well concealed scaffolding involving the Republican party does not come crashing down after costing so much to create.

17 Benjamin Cole March 20, 2016 at 3:13 am

It might be the GOP brand is not worth saving. In such elections as that involving Eric Cantor, we see GOP voters deciding the brand is poisoned. GOP voters have already demonstrated they are willing to vote for nearly anybody besides the establishment GOP candidate.

Odd as it may seem, Trump may be the only thing that can save the GOP brand.

It may be that the voters have decided that our two existing parties have become ossified and institutionally corrupt. And indeed that would be a reasonable deduction. The longer you have stable political organizations, the greater the institutional corruption and ossification become.

18 Stan March 20, 2016 at 10:38 am

“It might be the GOP brand is not worth saving”

And highly probable that we don’t need any formal political-parties at all now.

Why can’t citizens just go to the polls on election day vote for whoever they want, without this huge multi-year campaign circus ?

The American election system is a sorry joke. A large percentage of citizens just refuse to participate in it, out of disgust:

In 2004 Bush assumed his office with the votes of only 30.6% of eligible American voters.
In 2008 only 32.7 % voted for Obama.
In 2012 Obama only got 30%.
(70% of the American Electorate did NOT vote for Obama in November 2012)
Voter participation in lesser American elections is much lower.

We don’t have majority rule democracy now, not even close. The current Party based electoral system is a complete scam on the populace.

19 Walther March 20, 2016 at 4:26 pm

“Through the first 12 primaries of 2016, combined Republican turnout has been 17.3% of eligible voters – the highest of any year since at least 1980.

Democratic turnout so far is 11.7% – the highest since 1992, with the notable exception of the extraordinarily high turnout in 2008. ”

(Pew Research, March 2016)

20 Aaron March 20, 2016 at 11:23 pm

So if you ditch the two-party system (aka first past the post) then what do you replace it with?

The central problem of politics is there’s far too many people who want to be elected politicians than can be properly evaluated by average voters. The parties are essentially large organizations dedicated to vetting and promoting specific politicians, they’re the only way that someone like Obama can rise to prominence.

Without parties it’s not voters selecting the candidates, it’s the media conglomerates who can pump up a candidate with coverage, super-elite who can generate their own media (and organization), and extremists who can motivate a fanatical base to promote them.

You’re basically looking at Eastern Europe where super-rich oligarchs run their own political parties and create regional empires.

21 Nathan W March 21, 2016 at 7:30 am

All you need is electoin financing rules which do not enable oligarchs to single-handedly finance their entry into politics. For example, limiting campaign expenses to $100,000 per district, not allowing the oligarch to spend more than $5k of his/her own money, etc.

I think we can manage to assess 3, 4 or even 5 discrete options quite well. Canadians certainly manage to do so, or at least many do, without excessive reliance on the “information” provided by highly concentrated media conglomerates.

A system where only two parties have realistic prospects at gaining seats will lead to a situation where the majority of the population is holding their nose and voting for the lesser of two evils every time. Not exactly condusive to actually representing the will of the population. America would be much better represented with an electoral system where realistically representation could be achieved for social conservatives in their own party, fiscal conservatives in another party, social progressives in another party, and socialists in another, with some smattering of regional and specific interest groups taking a few seats here and there. Some fear that this would give extremists of various stripes access to representation – a greater concern, I think, is that extremists might hijack entire parties in a system where there are only two options and no prospect for breaking the two-party deadlock without fundamental change to the electoral system and campaign finance rules, neither of which is likely to change because both parties benefit from the status quo.

22 mulp March 21, 2016 at 7:53 pm

California’s election system that has no party candidates other than in terms of identification of people’s views in short hand?

23 Lord March 20, 2016 at 1:21 pm

And that the ones most concerned with saving it are actually those most likely to destroy it.

24 mkbarch March 20, 2016 at 5:08 pm

Destroy the village in order to save it? Make the GOP the party of white identity, instead of specific principles (or well-concealed scaffolding, per prior_Test_2, as you wish)? (I see ‘Lord’ saying something similar below.) In any case, SOME morphing into a white identity party may be inevitable, given the demographic changes underway.

25 Michael Tinkler March 20, 2016 at 3:43 am

I’m really curious how a crashed GOP would play out in the daily partisan workings of Congress.

26 Michael Tinkler March 20, 2016 at 3:45 am

Whoops – submitted too soon.

For instance, slots reserved for majority and minority parties assumes our current two party system. It would be interesting to watch.

27 Ray Lopez March 20, 2016 at 3:56 am

The same logic can be said for any party, and it is sound. Note who founded the Democratic party, a certain populist who I’m sure the old school founders of the USA found repugnant, a certain A. Jackson, who was “robbed” by the elite in 1824 (and who had his own ‘birther’ problem in that some considered his marriage illegal it seems):

(Wikipedia): Jackson’s supporters then founded what became the Democratic Party. Jackson ran again in 1828 against Adams. Building on his base in the West and new support from Virginia and New York, he won by a landslide. Jackson blamed the death of his wife, Rachel, which occurred just after the election, on the Adams campaigners who called her a “bigamist.”

[in 1824] Besides Jackson and Crawford, the Secretary of State John Quincy Adams and House Speaker Henry Clay were also candidates. Jackson received the most popular votes (but not a majority, and four states had no popular ballot). The electoral votes were split four ways, with Jackson having a plurality. Because no candidate received a majority, the election was decided by the House of Representatives, which chose Adams. Jackson supporters denounced this result as a “corrupt bargain” because Clay gave his state’s support to Adams, who subsequently appointed Clay as Secretary of State. As none of Kentucky’s electors had initially voted for Adams, and Jackson had won the popular vote, some Kentucky politicians criticized Clay for violating the will of the people in return for personal political favors. Jackson’s defeat burnished his political credentials, however; many voters believed the “man of the people” had been robbed by the “corrupt aristocrats of the East”.

28 Mark Thorson March 20, 2016 at 4:53 am

As someone who was nearly a lifelong Republican, then switched to Green Party, then Democrat (out of disgust for the way the Republican Party had been hijacked by the Christian Right), I plan to soon re-register as a Republican in time for the California primary so I can vote for Trump. Do I agree with him on the issues or his politcal philosophy? I don’t know and I don’t care. I feel betrayed by the Republican Party, and this is the first and best opportunity I’ve had to throw a hand grenade into their midst.

(Note that California has a semi-closed primary — the parties can decide whether to exclude no-party-preference voters from their primaries. I think they only need like 30 days to give notice whether they will exclude them, and voters have 15 days to state their party preference.)

29 Andre March 20, 2016 at 5:45 am

Who do you dislike more in the Republican coalition, the Christian Right or the big government racist who only want benefits for white people? Must be a frustrating crowd, and to have the war mongers always lurking as well. Bush had them on a bad path, but as soon as they let Palin on the stage they were doomed.

ps I think Tyler’s actual question neglects the damage to our system of government of having one major party collapse like this. One party refusing to govern and stoking doubt in the overall capacity to govern is quite a loss.

30 Art Deco March 20, 2016 at 11:20 am

Just talk to your navel. It won’t leave you disarranged by talking back.

31 Ray Lopez March 20, 2016 at 11:49 am

Out of the ashes of Andrew Jackson’s 1824 defeat sprung a new party, the Democratic Party, still around today. So never let a crisis go to waste…

32 Thor March 20, 2016 at 3:37 pm

Aren’t parties always on the cusp or edge of serious transformation? The Reagan Democrats were a transformation, the Tea Party has tried to be, then there was the near miss when Jesse Jackson threatened to make the Democratic party very pro Black (er, wait, that happened).

Even Bernie Sanders’ success is a kind of insurrection against the (Clintonian) centre.

33 Dan Lavatan March 20, 2016 at 2:53 pm

Which is why we will be fully justified in defeating him at the convention, or through the electoral college process. A large number of people voting for Trump are Democrats trying to be disruptive, but he has no real support within the party and can be easily stopped.

34 Harun March 20, 2016 at 8:14 pm

If I were a Democrat, I’d vote Trump. Sanders or Hillary is fine. Trump is a total loser – how else could you get that very hard 3rd term of Obama except this way?

And its pretty entertaining.

If Trump loses, he should just keep running as a reality show.

35 mulp March 20, 2016 at 6:08 pm

California has no party primaries for any State official including California candidates for Congress.

The California party member only elections are for delegates to the party conventions only, with the primary electing the delegates who are pledged to a candidate, or maybe not.

Otherwise, the primaries are non-partisan, with candidates using party membership and party establishment to recruit voters.

However, in some candidate elections, party establishment excludes candidates, while in other cases, party members refuse to bow to the party establishment. Thus in an election for Senator, 6-8 Republicans run for the two general election slots, while Democrats limit candidates to the incumbant, ensuring that 3 Democratic challengers reduce the votes of the incumbant enough that they not only fail to get the most votes, but even fail to come in second, with two Republicans win one and two with say one-third the total vote while 60% of the vote is split between 4 Democrats who all lose to two Republicans with 16% each.

Of course in Democratic party majority districts with an incumbant, the means general election voters get to chose between a Democratic candidate and a Republican candidate, while in Republican districts, general election voters are picking between two Republicans, with conservatives angry that Democrats pick the more centrist Republican as the winner, instead of conservatives get a right winger by 55% and then counts on voters picking the Republican because the Democrat is way too leftist because the Democratic primary voters picked the most leftist of the centrist. Ie, instead of Democrats selecting the Joe Lieberman, they pick the anti-war Democrat, ensuring a Democratic loss. In California, once Lieberman lost, he’d have no second chance to win with both Republican and Democratic and no affiliation voters.

California’s change to eliminate party establishment control does tend to eliminate the extremes, but the elections should have been approval voting (essentially like voting for at-large). If the primary picked say 3-5 candidates, using top 5 with at least 50%, or the top 3 if none got 50% approval. Then the general election should also be approval voting to allow voting for two out of three or two to four out of five.

Approval voting would drive the right and left wing nuts. To win, it becomes necessary to get the most votes, not create the most negative voting to defeat, ie, Obama is a radical extremist socialist who will take your wealth and give to blacks claiming it’s for reparations for slavery you had nothing to do with, and that he never suffered.

36 James March 20, 2016 at 5:00 am

Organizational capital is lost if those connections are blown up and then go away. It would cost a good deal to rebuild them, whether through a new third party or through a reconstitution of the Republican Party in some new guise.

The French seem to manage it about once a decade – but then they aren’t burger-eating surrender monkeys 🙂

37 Hansrudolf Suter March 20, 2016 at 5:18 am

Italy’s two main political parties, DC and PCI, went out of business in 1991 and 1994.

38 Art Deco March 20, 2016 at 10:45 am

Something analogous would be nice. The thing is, both parties in America have been vessels for the social conflicts of their time rather than reflecting a consistent body of thought, so they’ve persisted for 160 years and 185 years respectively. The Italian parties had had a continuous corporate existence of only 50 years. The Communist Party had a pedigree extending back to 1892, but the previous attempt at promoting Catholic social teaching was in existence only from 1919 to 1925.

39 Handle March 20, 2016 at 5:40 am

The moral hazard counterargument still applies, as does Conquest’s Second Law.

For one, the building up – or even realigning renovation and renegotiation – of organizational capital is a different process performed by different kinds of people than the gradual takeover of established structures by generic high-status people conforming to the latest zeitgeist in the periods subsequent to that construction. The GOPe is no different.

And where is the GOP Dodd-Frank to make sure the change-nothings at the C-suite tier don’t force another bankruptcy by failing to serve a third of their customers again?

40 duderino March 20, 2016 at 5:46 am

This comes off as a petty attempt to intellectualize your contempt for Republican officials who aren’t full throttle against Trump. It’s not even a particularly accurate metaphor. Trump polls well among Tea Party types.

41 Art Deco March 20, 2016 at 10:34 am

I think you’ve confounded the moderators with the more florid (nay, deranged) Scott Sumner. They’re alike in that the North Star is OPEN BORDERS.

42 MichaelG March 20, 2016 at 5:53 am

Is there going to be anything left of the brand or the organization by the time Trump is through with it?

I think he’s damaged the brand already, and it wasn’t healthy to begin with. How much work will future candidates have to do to remove the anti-immigrant, anti-Latino image it has developed?

If the establishment do deny him the nomination, or if they refuse to cooperate and float a third party candidate, what’s left of the organization? If he wins and is a disaster as a president, what’s left of the brand?

If a bad recession, EU breakup, trouble in China or the Middle East are all on the plate, I think the moderate Republicans should just stay home, lose the election with record low turnout, and let Hillary take all the blame for it all.

43 Derek March 20, 2016 at 6:31 am

What is being damaged is the power of individuals within the organization to control it’s direction. The guy who makes the sales consistently and generates revenue and profit is the one setting the direction of a corporation. It wasn’t the extraordinary R&D at Xerox who damned that company, it was the sales department and it’s inability to respond to market realities of to turn the R&D into sales.

I’m not certain that the Republican party is in fact dying. It is a restructuring within the party of the relationships between the coalition groups. This has been going on for a while, and is simply out in the open this cycle. Some will leave, others will join.

The organizational capital in certain companies within the banking sector is what doomed them, and bailing then out doesn’t preserve anything except an infection on the sector and some notion of stability that inevitably will be evidenced in other ways.

44 Jan March 20, 2016 at 7:02 am

Who’s joining?

45 TMC March 20, 2016 at 7:14 am

Blue collar Democrats for one.

46 Jan March 20, 2016 at 7:25 am

True, but that shift has been happening for years. I more mean who do they think will start joining.

47 Derek March 20, 2016 at 7:05 am

By the way a not insignificant number of Trump supporters are disillusioned Democrats. Maybe the real collapse and bailouts are happening in that party.

The ugly situation may be that either the Democrat nominee is indicted or the Democrat nominee is not indicted due to a political decision in the Justice Department.

If I was someone responsible for the well being of a political party I think Trump may be the easy problem.

48 Jan March 20, 2016 at 7:35 am

If it’s the Democratic party that should be worried, why are the republicans freaking out? Maybe Reince should be giving Trump a big wet kiss for broadening the party base and even pulling in some Dems is what you’re saying. Ok.

49 Rich Berger March 20, 2016 at 11:23 am

That’s exactly what Rush Limbaugh has been saying: the Republicans talk about bringing more voters into the party (usually by pandering to Hispanics). Trump is expanding their base and the GOPe hates him.

50 MIkea. March 20, 2016 at 12:10 pm

Trump is the most despised Frontrunner candidate EVER.

If he’s bringing in more voters to the Republican party, its at the expensive of existing voters, and the rest of the unaffiliated populace. This is such a shoddy rationale and is really not worth repeating, but yet I hear it almost every day. He is DESPISED by somewhere between a third and half of the existing republican party. He is viewed unfavorably by a large majority of the general electorate, but because he’s bringing in a few percentage of disillusioned democrats he’s good for the GOP? It’s utterly insane.

51 HL March 20, 2016 at 2:37 pm

Any attempt to give up on immigration and appeal to latinos would do the same. Basic fact of the matter is that demographics are destiny and small government conservatives screwed themselves many years ago.

52 asdf March 21, 2016 at 11:58 am

Republicans are never going to get the Latino vote. Their 20 year highs are still under 50%, you don’t win a lot of elections that way. The only way to compete for majority of Latinos is to become a big government/welfare state/affirmative action party even more so then the democrats. Why even be Republican then?

If the GOP wanted to survive it shouldn’t have imported millions of people biologically fated to vote big government, just as they do back in their home countries. Demographics have reached a point where the old Bush coalition can’t win, Romney 2012 proved that, and now they can either go with the Sailer Strategy of appealing to the Reagan Democrats in the Great Lakes area, or they can “honorably lose” the next few election with close but not quite enough votes just like Romney did.

53 mulp March 21, 2016 at 8:08 pm

Is Rush Limbaugh in favor of expanding Social Security like Trump is? That’s what draws working class Democrats to Trump given Democrats have been willing to cut Social Security in exchange for higher taxes to protect the cut Social Security, just like Democrats did in 1983 with Reagan.

54 Derek March 20, 2016 at 12:08 pm

That is what makes this race ugly. Listen to Russ Roberts interview with the Harvard guy who studies the employment effects of trade. David Autor. He goes into detail about trees with China, and in the interview there is an off hand remark about the same effects arising possibly from technological advancement and lower cost labor via immigration.

Who represents the interest of these people? Not the republicans on a federal level, neither do the democrats. Not does the Federal bureaucracy as we see in Flint. All three gleefully make decisions that will screw them over, and in the culture they are an unending source of amusement and fun.

The Republicans in Washington view these people with the same level of disdain as does Obama.

CBC the Canadian broadcaster has a blurb they play introducing/advertising their news broadcasters and what they use is a clip where Trump says that he loves the uneducated.

Next time you are in a group talking about Trump, it happens all the time here, say something like ‘and Trump said that he loves the uneducated’. Watch and listen to the reaction. This is the fodder that will nourish the Trump campaign till November. What could shock the Democrats is the possibility that this may resonate with other ethnic and minority groups. Whether it leads to victory who knows.

55 Derek March 20, 2016 at 12:09 pm

Trade with China, not trees.

56 8 March 20, 2016 at 12:11 pm

The GOPe is the management of the GOP. The voters have decided the management and all their lackeys in sales and R&D (magazines, think tanks, etc.) are on the wrong path, so it’s time to clear the decks. The nightmare scenario for these people is Trump wins, in a landslide, creating a new governing majority, and they are out of work.

The Rove/Bush/GOPe plan is to win over Hispanic voters by giving up on amnesty and demographic change. Trump is moving in the other direction, turning the whites vote into a block vote. Assume Trump completes the takeover of the white vote, such that only far left whites are not GOP voters, the GOP can win with low levels of minority support for a generation. Beyond that, if the GOP could make inroads into the minority vote (Trump might do that this year, it remains to be seen), it could become a dominant party for much longer. The GOP could either up its minority vote share by a few percentage points in each group, or try to pick off a whole identity group with realpolitik, throwing all ideology out the window. If the GOP could do that, then the Democrats have a harder time each year because they must unify a diverse coalition. Since diversity is concentrated in states such as California, it isn’t hard to image that the GOP in California might become an alliance between whites and Hispanics, enough to swing the state in general elections. The California Senate race this year may be between a Hispanic Democrat vs Black Democrat, so this type of coalition may already form naturally. Sanchez has been saying things that make it sound like she’s openly courting white GOP voters.

The GOPe and Democrats failed to understand demographic transition. They GOPe thought they needed to ape the Democrats. The Democrats thought the anti-white coalition was going to keep together even after whites were a minority. Trump ran against the script and is winning. The worst nightmare of all, for everyone in the establishment, is that Trump creates a party with massive white support and enough minority support to not only win, but reset the political landscape for generations.

57 msgkings March 20, 2016 at 1:03 pm

That’s very interesting and all, but Hillary is going to clobber Trump.

58 Art Deco March 20, 2016 at 2:09 pm

Aye. Sanders polls better than Hellary against all four Republican prospects. Hellary leads only Trump among the four, and not by much (5% points).

59 msgkings March 20, 2016 at 2:39 pm

Y’all are gonna be so dang mad.

60 Dan Lavatan March 20, 2016 at 3:08 pm

A few points. First, while Trump himself is doing well, incumbents are winning all the down-ticket races as usual. Trump supporters don’t even try to participate in the party so all the county chairs and such are all the same. The think tanks haven’t closed under Obama and won’t close under Trump. The best case for Trump is he wins the Presidency with no support at the congressional or state level. Even if he won a second term, there is no Trump II to replace him – nobody else is that crazy, that well known, and that rich.

Racial associations with voting blocks are a consequence of circumstances rather than a cause. The underlying issues – urban vs. rural, economic circumstance, faith, etc. all remain the same. It is true that as Hispanics get rich they will vote Republican more. However, it won’t be possible to pick off entire demographic groups with random and self-contradictory policies.

61 Art Deco March 20, 2016 at 4:03 pm

Disagree. The association between black identity and voting Democratic is much more intense than you’d expect from settlement distributions, income, class stratification, family structure, or occupational preference. The association between Jewish identity and voting Democratic, ditto. The situation is likely much the same re Puerto Ricans and California chicanos.

62 rayward March 20, 2016 at 7:23 am

The Republican Party has long since abandoned the role of a traditional political party. Maybe that’s a good thing, maybe not. But the real problem is disconnect between what the typical Republican voter wants and the policies the Republican Party actually intends to implement and that disconnect is the very reason for Trump’s rise. Republicans and Democrats both mislead their supporters but the Republicans have taken it to a whole new level, convincing supporters that up is down and down is up. The effort has been so successful that Trump’s supporters can’t even see the obvious disconnect between what Trump says and Trump’s actual policy proposals (such as they are), between Trump the snake-oil salesman and Trump the speaker of truth, between Trump the business huckster and Trump the tycoon. And it’s not only Trump, but also the “responsible” Republicans such as Paul Ryan, whose reputation as a policy wonk and deficit hawk are so far removed from his actual tax and budget proposals that Ryan appears to have convinced himself that he can say anything no matter the distance from reality. The Republican Party has become the George Orwell Party, where war is peace, deficits are surpluses, where gutting social security and Medicare is saving social security and Medicare, where even the calendar can be manipulated and George W. Bush became president not in January 2001, but on September 12, 2001, and Obama became president not in January 2009, but in January 2008. The origin of this facade goes back to Nixon’s Southern Strategy, the rise of Republicanism in the South built on appeals to racism. To criticize Trump’s appeal to racism and xenophobia is to conveniently ignore the very strategy on which the Republican Party built its support with a disconnect between that appeal and the actual policies the Party implements once in power. Of course, what the Republican Party establishment fears is not that a President Trump will implement policies that are inconsistent with establishment priorities but that he will shine too bright a light on the disconnect between those policies and the priorities of the typical Republican voter, and like St. Paul the scales will fall from their eyes and they will see the truth. I agree with Cowen that it’s unlikely. Where he and I disagree is over whether this Republican Party, this Republican Party should be saved.

63 chuck martel March 20, 2016 at 9:41 am

The political schoolyard chant of “Racism!” is so yesterday. If there’s a social problem in the country it isn’t racism in the general population, it’s racism being used as an electioneering tool by one particular political group. If there were no blacks to use in the justification of government expansion and election success, some other group would be used, maybe menopausal women, but the blacks are perfect, because, unlike Italians or Jews they’re easily visible.

64 MIkea. March 20, 2016 at 12:12 pm

You can’t seriously look at Trump’s campaign, fueled in part by the enthusiasm of white nationalists and say racism’s no longer a problem in this country.

Spend a half hour on Twitter looking at replies from trump supporters to reporters reporting negatively on him and see how many vile racist comments routinely crop up.

65 Nathan W March 20, 2016 at 12:38 pm

And yet, you are required to provide such corroborating evidence each and every time, or you will be ridiculed by people who say “what? What are you talking about? Trump’s not even remotely racist, and neither are his supporters”. Right, and that’s why black people are ejected from his rallies even when they don’t speak a word, lift a sign, or do anything. All you need is to wait for some of the crowd to start chanting “USA USA USA” and pointing at black people, and Trump will say something like “gettem’ outta here”, possibly with references about how it would be better to use varying levels of violence against them, and for some reason at this point the Secret Service is authorized to eject these people from public rallies.

Na, no racism at all in the Trump camp. Especially not from the top. Trump loves blacks, and that’s why he instructed his NY property managers back in the day not to rent to blacks.

He’ll attack any and anyone on a second’s notice, but ex-KKK Grand Master? Gotta think it through loooong and hard, perhaps for a few long days, before expressing his opinion. Na, not a racist bone in his body.

66 Art Deco March 20, 2016 at 12:40 pm

You can’t seriously look at Trump’s campaign, fueled in part by the enthusiasm of white nationalists and say racism’s no longer a problem in this country.

You cannot seriously look at the commentary on Trump’s campaign and and say that the left is willing or able to discuss the utility of immigration, hence the relentless impugning of the character of anyone advocating immigration control.

67 msgkings March 20, 2016 at 1:05 pm

Actually both can be true, Art. The left can be unwilling to discuss immigration control and also Trump can be a racist.

68 msgkings March 20, 2016 at 1:06 pm

Actually to be fair, Trump himself is not nearly as racist as a great many of his supporters.

69 Derek March 20, 2016 at 2:33 pm

An Asterisk quote comes to mind.

I am neither misogynist nor xenophobic, but I don’t trust that foreign woman!

70 mkbarch March 20, 2016 at 5:20 pm


As Peggy Noonan says, nowdays only ordinary people can see the obvious. And it’s apparently a small percentage of them to boot.

71 Stubydoo March 20, 2016 at 7:55 am

The Republican party’s “organizational capital” was already firmly established to be only deployable for rent-seeking purposes and not for any socially beneficial purpose. Before Trump it was the Tea Party grift where all the action was, before that Cheney and his cronies. If you bail them out you’ll only get some other faction coming along to collect theirs. The prospect of anyone getting their hands on any significant portion of the GOP “organizational capital” to use for any good governance or genuine coherent ideological purpose of any kind just isn’t there whatsoever.

At least some of the bailed out banks proceeded to then get back to doing the stuff that banks are supposed to do. The Republican Party just won’t.

72 Rich Berger March 20, 2016 at 8:05 am

The Republican party has been on rocky terms with a large segment of its voters for a long time, at least back to Goldwater. The GOP establishment, which is that veneer of long-serving officials, advisors and consultants, did not like Reagan, but favored someone like George HW Bush. In Congress, they were content to be a permanent minority until Newt Gingrich shook things up. Left to its own, the GOPe will put up candidates like Dole, GW Bush, McCain and Romney, and the voters have dutifully voted for them. Out of revulsion to the Obama regime, the GOP voters turned the House and then the Senate back to the GOP, and have been frustrated enough by their cowardice in the face of charges of racism.

The GOPe and the Democrats paved the way for Trump, the former by cowardice and the latter by the incessant racist/sexist/homophobic/Islamaphobic bullying. Trump is the guy who won’t be cowed and punches back twice as hard, as Obama recommended. You parties reap what you sowed.

Bailouts stop the process by which inefficient and dysfunctional organizations are swept aside to make room for better arrangements. If the GOP folds, it has been a long time coming.

73 A Definite Beta Guy March 20, 2016 at 10:17 am

Best comment in the whole thread.
The GOP establishment lacks vigor and vision. The Conservative Movement pushed the GOP out of its New Deal-Era minority mentality and into actual governance. Without pressure from the voters, the GOP remains a group of disconnected Country Club losers with no interest beyond political circle-jerking.

74 Ricardo March 20, 2016 at 11:44 am

“The Conservative Movement pushed the GOP out of its New Deal-Era minority mentality and into actual governance…”

Say what? The voters have made it very clear that they like New Deal and Great Society programs such as Social Security, Medicare and the minimum wage and do not want major changes. That is the whole point of the Trump candidacy — he knows what Republican voters instead of establishment elites want and has correspondingly promised to make no cuts to Social Security. The conservative ideologues who denounce these programs as socialist or as “big government” are the ones who are out of touch with the voters.

75 Art Deco March 20, 2016 at 12:03 pm

Medicare has quite a constituency. Almost no other initiative of the Great Society does.

76 Ricardo March 20, 2016 at 2:47 pm

Medicare is a huge and growing part of the federal budget and is also one program that Ronald Reagan once singled out as representing “socialism” and a danger to American liberty. The fact that Medicare is popular with Republican voters is precisely the point I was making: the fixation on the level of government spending and shrinking forms of social insurance belongs to libertarian intellectuals and country clubbers, not rank-and-file voters.

77 Art Deco March 20, 2016 at 5:03 pm

the fixation on the level of government spending and shrinking forms of social insurance belongs to libertarian intellectuals and country clubbers, not rank-and-file voters.

Ordinary voters tend not to have motivating opinions about much of anything other than their property taxes, impurities in the drinking water, and things which directly impinge on their economic security. They’ve done their retirement planning with Medicare and Social Security as part of the context. Doesn’t mean your going to get pitchforks and peasants to defend TANF, Section 8, LIHEAP, WIC, SNAP cards, farm subsidies, federal job training programs, grants-in-aid to states and localities, &c. The constituency for these would be the social work industry, local officialdom, the public employee unions, and the higher education apparat.

78 Art Deco March 20, 2016 at 7:25 pm

Municipal governments where I’ve lived do their own road maintenance, except for designated county roads and state routes, which are maintained by county governments in the former instance and jointly by the state and the county in the latter instance. The people who pay the taxes which sustain those the county government live, predominantly, in country homesteads or residential hamlets.

79 mulp March 21, 2016 at 8:27 pm

Along with Medicaid which even the GOP does not want to end, just “block grant” to the States so the States get to give welfare paid by the Federal taxpayers and T-bills to the voting blocks required for State plus to maintain power.

80 Derek March 20, 2016 at 2:38 pm

The new deal entails far more than social security. The wagner act still defines labor relations, the commerce clause was taken to mean anything anyone does including breathe. Industrial regulation, for regulation, financial regulation.

81 Ricardo March 20, 2016 at 3:24 pm

I haven’t seen Trump opine on any of the things you list but they do indeed seem to be the sorts of things a small number of ideological purists fixate on instead of being pressing concerns for most actual voters. Unionization in the private sector is at an all-time low, for instance. Again, one of the main reasons the GOP establishment doesn’t like Trump is that he has demonstrated that donors care much more about these ideological hobby horses than rank-and-file voters.

82 firingline March 23, 2016 at 12:10 am

The free market ideologues in the Republican Party are parasites riding on the backs of middle class whites and conservative minorities incensed at the New Left’s absurd and idiotic positions championing freaks, malcontents, perpetually aggrieved victims, and other societal detritus. If it wasn’t for the nuisance of these idiots fanatically trying to undermine the middle class’s economic security, it would be the obvious party to vote for.

83 anon March 20, 2016 at 11:06 am

In shoving matches, with shouts of “bully”, you have to unwind to the first aggression.

84 Nathan W March 20, 2016 at 2:59 pm

If you some of the outlandish early statements which attacked entire groups and were not specific acts of bullying, his attacks on Megyn Kelly definitely fit the bill. Basically anyone who asks him a tough question or deigns to criticize him in any way becomes the target of Trump bullying if they are of any particularly relevant stature.

85 Careless March 20, 2016 at 7:49 pm

Oh, she was asking for it with the way she spells her name

86 Nathan W March 21, 2016 at 1:43 am

If so, Trump belongs in kindergarten, not the White House.

87 Ted Craig March 20, 2016 at 8:15 am

Let’s compare this to another election, one in which a demagogue with no real political experience makes outlandish, even racist comments, but wins a large chuck of votes. The debates reached what at the time was a new low. In the end, the mainstream candidate that appeals to many ideologues gets the nomination. In the end, it’s an electoral disaster, with the candidate winning only one state.

The Democrats survived 1984. I’m fairly confident the Republicans can survive whatever happens this year. They might do what the Democrats did and revamp the primaries or take other steps. But they’ll survive.

88 Art Deco March 20, 2016 at 10:51 am

The Democrats made adjustments to their nomination process in 1971 and 1981. Walter Mondale was nominated consequent to the second set of adjustments. Donald Trump is an accomplished man making hay out of a discrete issue which is neglected by the establishment in both parties. Jesse Jackson’s platform could be summarized by the phrases ‘It’s our turn” and “mo’ money”.

89 msgkings March 20, 2016 at 3:14 pm

Same guy with the same platform but with a (D) next to his name and you’d be tearing him apart. Hypocrite.

90 Norman Pfyster March 20, 2016 at 8:45 am

The comparison to a bail-out is rather odd, as the costs and benefits are borne by the same people. It’s more akin to equity owners putting in additional equity into their business. It might be good money chasing bad, but it’s their own money/political capital, so who cares?

91 Chip March 20, 2016 at 8:58 am

The U.S. is really starting to circle the drain. Sure, Trump is a crank but the alternatives are a mumbling socialist and a corrupt, inept criminal husk masquerading as a human.

The greatest country in the world in terms of dynamism and the principles of individual liberty, and this is it.

Sad, very sad. Just when we have so much wealth and technology to really shed ourselves of centralized control, we seem to be careening back into authoritarianism. Left or right, the choice is the same.

God, at least the authoritarians in Asia have some intelligence. The US and European political thugs are complete idiots.

92 anon March 20, 2016 at 10:16 am

If Clinton proves to be Nixon Lite in this election, it will be a low calorie version. Not as tricky, not as criminal, but equally likely to win when the alternative is so much worse.

93 Art Deco March 20, 2016 at 10:48 am

The U.S. is really starting to circle the drain.

Culturally, it was evident we were circling the drain as early as 1998. As far as our political responses to the challenges of the time, we’ve been circling the drain since 2003/05.

94 DJF March 20, 2016 at 9:24 am

“””””you are bailing out a political party with your …[fill in the blank]… – “””””

And the big difference is the voters were given no say in bailing out your banker buddies but they do have a say on who they vote for

95 anon March 20, 2016 at 10:13 am

A few touched on this being a long term decline. A question: If you believe government is the problem, should you even be a political party? The contradiction seems, and is proving itself, insurmountable.

96 DJF March 20, 2016 at 10:18 am

If government is the problem where better to destroy it then the inside?

However I think most people are not against government, but against those who run government.

97 anon March 20, 2016 at 10:26 am

It would be a rational position to say government should run core services effectively, and leave the rest to the private sector – but I think the right wing has come to hate “government” so much that they can’t say anything good about core services, let alone run them effectively.

This is a failure of a political movement centered on opposing government.

Trumpism is the crazy last gasp, as someone above said, a hand grenade, to get it done.

98 Art Deco March 20, 2016 at 12:01 pm

“Core services’ do not include subsidies to grocery purchases, subsidies to rental housing, subsidies to gas and electric bills, educational services via public agency (given that markets for fee-for-service schooling have no trouble coming into existence), tax-code subsides to 1,001 well-connected commercial and industrial sectors, dog-chasing-its-tail subsidies to higher education, dog-chasing-its-tail subsidies to medical care, a frankly abusive regulatory regime in the labor market, &c. Core services do include the military and the police, agencies to which standard-issue Democrats are quite hostile.

99 anon March 20, 2016 at 2:15 pm

Polling shows wide support for a safety net. Thus an outlier argument that there should be none is just that. Outlier. Fringe.

100 msgkings March 20, 2016 at 3:17 pm

Yeah kind of surprised Art is so anti-safety net when he is surely surrounded by folks who use it, including himself.

101 carlolspln March 20, 2016 at 10:55 pm

He eats what he kills.

102 Art Deco March 21, 2016 at 8:57 am

Whatever the public ‘supports’ or does not support, the boundary conditions for ‘core services’ are not going to change. ‘Core services’ are what is peculiarly germane to the state and what seldom if ever emerges from private transactions. Those boundary conditions may be disputed and their manifestation may vary over time and place, but they certainly do not include rental housing, grocery subsidies, or schooling via public agency however salutary or unsalutary people may find these things to be.

And, no, the proposition that Republican municipalities cannot get the roads paved, the snow ploughed, and the sewerage and drainage system repaired is not one you’re ever going to demonstrate empirically, so shut up.

103 FUBAR007 March 21, 2016 at 12:44 pm

@Art Deco: “Whatever the public ‘supports’ or does not support, the boundary conditions for ‘core services’ are not going to change.”

…in which case, the boundary conditions for core services are irrelevant. Thanks to universal suffrage, what government should or should not do is whatever the majority of the voting public thinks it should or should not do.

Until the majority of the voting public agrees with you, your opinion–and that of every other ideologue–of what constitutes core services means precisely jack and shit.

104 Sam Haysom March 20, 2016 at 10:22 am

Ok Obi Wan these aren’t the droids I’m looking for I guess. What a retarded debaters point.

105 anon March 20, 2016 at 10:29 am
106 anon March 20, 2016 at 10:43 am

Or consider the current Republican pledge to refuse any Supreme Court nominee. It is the “any” that should be astounding. The framing is a refusal to participate in Constitutional government.

At least play the game. That’s one step up. “Consider” and reject a nominee, and have the seriousness to name a cause.

107 anon March 20, 2016 at 11:00 am

Or the Post Office. It should be a simple, tidy, Constitionally innumerated, government service. When the Republicans could not eliminate it (crazy) they worked to break it, to prove their case by active sabotage.

108 Art Deco March 20, 2016 at 11:18 am

Erecting the postal service is an enumerated power. It is also, in the world in which we live, perfectly unnecessary to have a state enterprise providing postal services, hence the utility of putting the service up for public auction.

109 anon March 20, 2016 at 11:32 am

Universal, not just broad, mail delivery is necessary for government function. No one else now provides guaranteed universal, last mile, delivery.

It has always been an article of faith by libertarians that someone would. Another contradiction. Markets ration.

110 Art Deco March 20, 2016 at 11:54 am

No one else now provides guaranteed universal, last mile, delivery.

Yes they do for about 99% of the addresses in this country. You want to live in a fishing village in Alaska or a trailer in eastern Oregon, you’re not doing that because you want to stay in touch with people.

111 anon March 20, 2016 at 12:05 pm

They do it now by dumping into USMail for last miles.

But think ahead a few years, without mandate, why wouldn’t some back roads be written off as noneconomic, and then those roads no longer get ballots.

Sure, most people of moderate means would subscribe to some service, but we have left universal delivery behind.

Another case where libertarian dreams become “throw the poor under the bus.”

112 Art Deco March 20, 2016 at 12:42 pm

They do it now by dumping into USMail for last miles.

No, they do not. Stop lying.

113 anon March 20, 2016 at 2:17 pm

What they themselves say: “By utilizing the U.S. Postal Service® (USPS) for final delivery, FedEx SmartPost reaches every U.S. address, including P.O. boxes and military APO, FPO and DPO destinations. You can even use FedEx SmartPost to ship to Alaska, Hawaii and all U.S. territories.”

114 Art Deco March 20, 2016 at 2:26 pm

A grand total of 0.3% of the U.S. population lives in Alaska or in the insular territories in the Pacific.

Spend some time living in country villages in areas somewhere between here and eternity, and you’ll get your U.P.S. and FedEx packages delivered to your door, just like you do in DC.

115 anon March 20, 2016 at 3:29 pm

As I say, this always begins with “private companies can do it” and ends “well forget universal delivery anyway.”

Universal delivery is necessary for democracy.

116 Ricardo March 20, 2016 at 4:11 pm

“No, they do not. Stop lying.”

Art, for someone who bemoans the cultural decline of the U.S., you certainly engage in more than your fair share of rudeness and profanity around here. Copy and paste the phrase “does fedex rely on the postal service” into Google or simply talk to someone who has had a FedEx package delivered recently to gain clarity on the subject. You are simply wrong.

117 Art Deco March 20, 2016 at 4:20 pm

Do they even deliver to your door at your hermit cottage in the back-of-beyond upstate?

They deliver nearly everywhere. He’s referring to co-operative agreements regarding 1st class mail and its equivalents, which UPS was at one time forbidden to deliver by law.

118 Art Deco March 20, 2016 at 4:41 pm

Art, for someone who bemoans the cultural decline of the U.S., you certainly engage in more than your fair share of rudeness and profanity around here.

Find an example of my ‘profanity’.

Copy and paste the phrase “does fedex rely on the postal service” into Google or simply talk to someone who has had a FedEx package delivered recently to gain clarity on the subject. You are simply wrong.

And re-read his initial statements and consider the implications. He did not say that UPS engages in co-operative agreements with the Postal Service or that the Postal Service provides contracted service for UPS or FedEx or DHL. What he said was that the UPS does not deliver packages to your door but relies on USPS. That’s utter nonsense, as any rural resident who’s signed for a package from UPS knows. But let’s give him a mulligan and suggest he was referring to select rural areas. That does not contradict what I said, which was that there are a selection of addresses to which private vendors may not deliver. Ca. 1985, FedEx delivered to 98% of the addresses in the United States. Not sure what it is today. His contention is that we must have a public agency delivering the mail if a small percentage of addresses is not covered by private vendors. (For my own part, you want to live in a cabin in eastern Oregon, no mail delivery is part of the package). You can repair that problem by letting out contracts, if you conceive of it as a problem. No need to have a government postal service.

(What he’s really telling you is that he has a 1st degree relative who’s a USPS employee).

119 Art Deco March 20, 2016 at 10:31 am

It’s a maladroit analogy. Republican voters (and Democratic voters) cast their ballots with a view to the available alternatives. That aside, there’s unlikely to be a ‘crash’. Hellary doesn’t have much of a polled advantage over Trump and she has none at all over Cruz or Kasich. Sanders does, but his chances are fading. Both Hellary and Trump face unexploded time bombs (she over the FOIA evasion and security breaches, he over the real estate seminars).

120 The Engineer March 20, 2016 at 10:54 am

Be careful what you wish for, that is the moral of this story. More power has been devolved from the Republican elite, the people who hold actual positions in the party, and given to the voters through these primaries. Some of these primaries are open, you don’t even need to be a Republican to vote in them. Others, of course, do require you to register as a Republican.

So as the method of choosing the nominee becomes more populist, it should not surprise us that “The People” choose a populist candidate.

The Democrats have also become more populist over the years, but the Superdelegates allow the Democrat elites to keep a hand on the nomination.

121 Secure March 20, 2016 at 11:01 am

And too, if you are a Democrat, and considering supporting Hilary Clinton “for the sake of the party” you are in essence considering whether a bailout of the Party is a good idea. Clinton is in some ways even more vile and repellent than Trump. It really is the season in which women and men of good will and sense must put aside partisan differences and vote Libertarian for the good of the Nation and our children.

122 anon March 20, 2016 at 11:12 am

If you list on a sheet of paper the Clinton negatives, how much of substance do you really get?

The hatred is strong, and reinforces in certain settings, but how grounded is it?

(I personally think Clinton is, as I say, Nixon Lite, but not full Nixon )

123 Rich Berger March 20, 2016 at 11:55 am

At this point, what difference does it make?

124 dbp March 20, 2016 at 11:58 am

I think that Nixon and Clinton shared a kind of moral certainty that they are right and good and therefore the rules do not apply to them.

The difference is that Clinton is deeply mediocre while Nixon was very talented. While everything she has touched has failed, he made huge foreign relations victories. Nixon was only distrusted by a majority after Watergate, Hillary is already distrusted by a majority and this is with the press on her side!

125 anon March 20, 2016 at 12:08 pm

Might a political realist treat these last years of foreign policy as about as good as anyone could do?

Trump promises to magic everything better, but magic was never a policy I could support.

126 Nathan W March 20, 2016 at 3:10 pm

Could’ve spent a few trillion fighting other people’s wars in countries with no viable alternative government in view, necessitating further trillions to maintain an occupation that would make them hate America even more, and virtually ensuring a militant opposition to whoever the Americans allowed to run in the “elections” that followed.

Libya was not well thought out, but roll back the clock, and massive state violence against an unarmed populace was seeming likely. I’m not sure how much of this is mere hindsight (I certainly did not think it through carefully at the time myself), but by the time I was in Mali the next year, it was already obvious to even the politically ignorant and uneducated that Gadaffi’s fall was going to have major negative regional repurcussions, due to the well-armed and -trained militants who were no longer on his payroll and free to go take up whatever cause they would revert to in an vacuum of power.

127 carlolspln March 20, 2016 at 10:59 pm

“Nixon was only distrusted by a majority after Watergate..”

Nixon was distrusted by the military & the CIA.

Why do you think Watergate happened?

128 Art Deco March 20, 2016 at 12:06 pm

how much of substance do you really get?

Nothing but substance, starting with her being fired for misconduct in 1974 before the ink was dry on her law diploma. It’s just that partisan Democrats simply do not care, because in the Democratic Party, the sociopathy goes all the way down.

129 anon March 20, 2016 at 12:09 pm

That is close to zero, and you should know it. Get something solid, or admit it is all derangement syndrome.

130 Nathan W March 20, 2016 at 3:16 pm

Most of the complaints about Clinton are legitimate, if approached rationally. But they are rarely viewed rationally. Like … former Secretaries of State used their own email server – who cared? Clinton used her own email servier – ready the orange jumpsuit! Like, write in a few lines of policy and have the matter over and done with. It should have been a minor news story one day or perhaps two, never to be heard of again. As for the rest, it’s also roughly on par with the status quo, which no, I do not like in the least, but it reeks of desperate partisanship to make such a big deal out of it.

131 Sam the Sham March 20, 2016 at 12:54 pm


-supported the Honduran coup (big blow against democracy in Central America, also a major source of the US’s own immigration problem)

-voted for war in Iraq (really, the war in Iraq/Afghanistan/Libya is a congressional responsibility, not presidential – Congresscritters should get most of the flak that went to Bush, who was merely the cheerleader)

-supported deposing Gaddafi (Libya is a hot mess, thanks to us!)

-wouldn’t call an overthrow of democratically elected leader by the military a coup (Egypt)

-I know Kerry was Secretary of State when we were supporting ISIS in Syria, but I THINK Clinton was backing this move too. A year later, we shifted our support to oppose ISIS, but gosh darn it, we just have to bomb Syria one way or another.

Are these really small issues? If I were a one-issue voter and wanted peace or democracy, Clinton is clearly the wrong choice. This is just from her stint as Secretary of State. I don’t know if it’s possible to convince people from across the aisle that lying about the cause of Benghazi was both an obvious lie or revelatory about her character. Sure, 4 people died, who cares, and heaven forbid you admit you dropped the ball and made a mistake. Heaven forbid she actually take a stance about the Keystone pipeline until it’s already dead, heaven forbid she take a stance about the TPP (is she for it or against it these days?) I can’t imagine she has any love of transparency in government. The only thing I feel I know about her is pro-war and pro-choice. She’s a Nixon on steroids. So was Bush and so is Obama.

If the Republican party collapses (and I think this highly likely), the Democratic party has a lifespan less than a decade. The biggest thing holding the Democrats together right now is fear/hatred of Republicans. As I haven’t been shy about mentioning, the death of the 2 party system is long overdue. I’m surprised Cowen, an economist, isn’t talking about creative destruction – this is a good time to implement election reform. Spread the word about the Transferable vote!

132 Sam the Sham March 20, 2016 at 1:02 pm

Apologies, the vote for the Iraq war was clearly during her stint as a Senator. A position she was on record as saying was not a stepping stone for the presidency. Clinton wouldn’t bother me so much if she could ever speak plainly about her ambitions and mistakes, but she has shown a firm refusal to learn from the past. I am no fan of Trump, but a proven failure vs. a likely failure is not an encouraging choice. I am betting even money 3rd party votes beat 5%… and 1:2 possibly even 10%.

133 Art Deco March 20, 2016 at 2:13 pm

-supported the Honduran coup (big blow against democracy in Central America, also a major source of the US’s own immigration problem)

It wasn’t a coup, it was not a blow against democracy in Honduras much less against anywhere else, and it had flat nothing to do with our migration problem. Honduras has had a crime problem for decades and the children’s migration was induced by political signaling from the administration.

134 anon March 20, 2016 at 2:19 pm

Are you blaming a diplomat for practicing Realpolitik?

135 Nathan W March 20, 2016 at 3:24 pm

I’m pretty sure there was broad bipartisan agreement on every one of those moves, except for the coup in Egypt which was not an American decision but was viewed with relief because Islamists were getting overconfident about their mandate and Copts were getting killed in increasing numbers and various elements of sharia were rapidly entering into the legal framework. I was personally there for revolution round 2 in Tahrir square and surrounding areas, and based on discussions at the time, I imagine a the millions who first took to the street to unseat the military dictatorship were later rather relieved to have that basically same dictatorship replace the Islamists in government.

At face value it looks like hypocrisy with respect to democracy. But democracy runs deeper than elections and majority mandates, and well into rights for freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, basic rights for all groups in a society, etc, most of which would have been violated under the Islamists. (I definitely have nothing in particular good to say about the current military regime, including its patently messed up judicial system regarding political enemies, but it’s hard to imagine how things would have ended up better under the Islamists, who could soon have been imprisoning people for all manner of trivial anti-sharia violations.)

136 Art Deco March 20, 2016 at 4:29 pm

The experience of the Arab world and some adjacent areas suggests pretty strongly that electoral institutions are not sustainable there, certainly not the degree to which they are in South Asia or Latin America, or Eastern Europe. The only locus in Eastern Europe where you’ve seen a complete relapse or a failed state was White Russia. In the western hemisphere, only Haiti and Venezuela have been peculiarly troubled. In Tropical Africa, the Congo’s a godawful mess, but electoral institutions were instituted in about 2/3 of the states on the continent without a disaster on that order. Meanwhile, the Arab spring was pretty much a failure outside of Tunisia.

137 Nathan W March 21, 2016 at 1:52 am

Art – I think the issue is that powerful clerics are too powerful. I tend to believe that separation of church and state is a prerequisite to a functioning democracy (yes, there are some state churches in Europe, but realistically they do not hold levers of political power). In Islam there is supremacy of God over state – I don’t see why this necessarily has to imply that powerful clerics play the role of God’s interpreter on earth and the people cannot, but this seems to be the way that it plays out in practice these days. However, I cite the specific example of Iran raising the minimum marriage age (still too low) as suggesting that radical clerics are indeed willing to set standards higher than the minimums set out in the Qur’an.

138 Art Deco March 21, 2016 at 8:49 am

See Stanley Kurtz on what makes public life a problematic proposition in the Arab world. It doesn’t have much to do with ‘powerful clerics’ or the ‘separation of church and state’, but a great deal to do with people’s sense of the state in a tribal environment. Parliamentary institutions were failing in the Arab world and points adjacent in 1955, when political Islam was an ancillary phenomenon and praetorian and fascist regimes were the order of the day.

139 Ilaine Upton March 20, 2016 at 7:00 pm

NFW the two party system ever goes away. Hard baked because Electoral College. Read the Constitution, do the math. Want to change that? Read about how to amend the Constitution, and weep. Three fourths of states, including flyover country, would have to vote to give up that power. Ain’t gonna happen. Called the Great Compromise. Without it, completely different country. Not changing in our lifetimes, if ever. Just gotta live with it.

140 Art Deco March 20, 2016 at 7:20 pm

The electoral college has no effect on state legislative contests or elections to Congress. You’ve still got a strict two-party system. You’ve got single-member districts and first-past-the-post in Britain and Canada as well, but you still have minor parties in the legislature. The only countries which have strict two party systems other than the U.S. are some small insular states like Barbados. Splits over issue sets are highly correlated in this country and social groups are more in the habit of working within extant archictectures rather than building new ones.

141 AB March 20, 2016 at 12:05 pm

But would they be bailing it out or driving it into the ground?

142 Hazel Meade March 20, 2016 at 12:11 pm

Sadly, what Trump proves is that the alternative to the Christian right, in the Republican party, is the racist labor vote.
What Trump proves is that the Tea Party was every bit as racist as the left said they were. As a libertarian, I’m disgusted and depressed by it. If Trump wins, the Republican party is no longer a home to libertarian policy objectives. So, let the Republican party burn. Let it burn.

143 Art Deco March 20, 2016 at 2:23 pm

As a libertarian, I’m disgusted and depressed by it.

Don’t let the door hit your tuchus on the way out, Hazel.

144 Harun March 20, 2016 at 2:33 pm

The Tea Party was not racist.

There may have been some wackos attracted to it, but it was essentially fiscal conservatism.

Its like saying that the Democrats are communist because ANSWER goes to a Democrat rally.

Also, parties don’t really get to choose supporters. If a bunch of white nationalists decide they like Jim Webb, what can be done? (I use him as an example, because the one white nationalist I know is a Democrat, who likes minimum wage increases, unions, public transport, and Jim Webb, but now looooves Trump.)

Also, I’d wait until Trump actually takes over to freak out. If he loses, those voters may just disappear.

145 Hazel Meade March 20, 2016 at 10:17 pm

At least 30% of the Tea Party is voting for Trump, who demonstrably does not give a shit about controlling spending or limiting the size of government, or any of the other things the Tea Party was ostensibly about.

So how do you explain that?

146 Dan Lavatan March 20, 2016 at 3:17 pm

On the contrary the liberty caucus is doing better than ever. Cruz has endorsed sensible positions ranging from opposition to ethanol subsidies to real social security reform. Trump has no support from within the party, including the tea party. Yes, the anti-gay marriage stuff is annoying, but it is completely unenforceable as the courts have already won that battle for us.

I encourage you to become a state or national delegate and vote your positions on the platform committee. We will crush trump at the convention or through the electoral college. We need to crush him without creating opportunities for Hillary.

147 Art Deco March 20, 2016 at 4:06 pm

Is your other handle ‘Just Another MR Commenter’?

148 Hazel Meade March 20, 2016 at 10:18 pm

Trump has no support from within the party, including the tea party.

The polls show at least 30% of Tea Party supporters are Trump supporters.

149 Careless March 20, 2016 at 9:18 pm

In which Hazel makes really stupid assumptions

150 firingline March 23, 2016 at 12:16 am

“If Trump wins, the Republican party is no longer a home to libertarian policy objectives.”

Good riddance!

151 JJ March 20, 2016 at 12:16 pm

There’s organizational capital that can quickly become an impediment to innovation with a high fixed removal cost. The Imperial China of the 19th century new how to deal with foreign barbarians — and it took too long to realize the old mechanisms wouldn’t work. Late Tokugawa Japan had no friggin clue, and modernized on a dime. If we’re moving towards a world with a new party regime, say, maybe this is a purging forest fire/recession. In other words, because the fixed cost isn’t paid in cash but in kind, the question of the carrying cost of the assets you’re giving up is an important factor. To take it one step further, if there’s a group in the coalition that might impose a higher carrying cost already relative the organizational capital they possess (say, they alienate everyone else in the coalition all the time), the decision gets easier.

152 Harun March 20, 2016 at 12:31 pm

I have a different metaphor: Syrian refugees.

Many Trump voters are white, blue collar Democrats that feel they have been kicked out of the Democratic party as it focuses on minority identity politics. Another subset are alt right white nationalists.

Let’s consider these two groups as political refugees – they have no home, and so are fleeing to a new home, with Trump and the GOP.

Now, some people want to welcome them with open arms. Others are more cautious. They point out the the Democrats just don’t like the SJW parts of their old party and are still Big Government believers. Meanwhile, the alt right white nationalists are racist radicals who taint the brand.

This is like Syrian refugees fleeing Assad. Sure, you theoretically should welcome them, but when you find out they are deeply religious Sunnis who don’t care for women’s rights or are outright Islamist militants, you should take a second look at welcoming them.

GOP would have been wise to have allowed some small policy changes to welcome some of these refugees – enforcement of immigration controls and maybe a focus on punishing cheating on trade deals. Maybe a more non-interventionist foreign policy and fight PC on campus. Perhaps even a slight reduction in legal immigration. This would have “screened” these new voters and they could toss out the white nationalists, for example.

Unfortunately, the open borders people have vilified anything approaching actual enforcement as racist. Thus the pressure builds until Trump comes along.

Another group of Trump supporters come from those appalled at how poorly the GOP Congress has performed. Those are more easily returned to the fold if the party learns some lessons: you have to deliver something. Failure theater is not enough. You can’t just deliver Ex-Im bank, extended copyright for Disney, and 500% more H1B visas and keep your base happy. They don’t care about those corporatist goals.

Congress should have kept sequester, and attempted shutdowns every single budget until it became a non-story. (The public eventually figures out that the sky doesn’t fall.) I know this is not popular with the media and the Democrats, because they rather like being able to remove the power of the purse from the GOP’s hands, but its incredibly unhealthy. Congress also needs to take back some of the power it handed to agencies.

153 Harun March 20, 2016 at 12:38 pm

The reason I focus on shutdown, is that if regular order could prevail, the GOP could actually deliver some thing based on appropriations bills. So, they could stop funding some programs.

Instead, what happens is no budget is accepted so a rushed CR or Cromnibus has to be done at the last minute to avoid a shutdown. Effectively, that removes the power of the purse. This is extremely unhealthy for a legislative body.

If the GOP could have not funded DACA or not funded planned parenthood, they would look far less feckless.

BTW, I’m a pro-choice, pro-amnesty person. But you have to understand that voting blocs in your base that you disagree with personally must be shown something they like.

154 Nathan W March 20, 2016 at 1:19 pm

I’m not convinced that the refugee analogy offers additional insight into what you say (although it helps to create a logical consistency in drawing in one of the issues that is of concern to you, namely, risks associated with refugees) … but it all seems roughly on the mark.

I’m curious about your perspective on fairness of trade with China. I tend to view these as non-tariff barriers which largely arise from the Chinese political system being closed, and hence difficult to navigate for foreign enterprise. This means that only the largest of companies are able to invest the human resources required to navigate that system, and hence achieve market access. Also, because the legal infrastructure in China is very weak you really need those strong personal connections so you can “destroy” anyone who screws you – if you’re a small-medium business on your own in China, you’re prone to getting fleeced and there’s very little you can do about it because the courts are weak and no one owes you any favours.

I’ve spent a decent amount of time in China, but it seems you have rather more experience in business-related stuff. Does it really come across to you as though these non-tariff barriers in sectors which are supposed to be freely traded are actually a matter of unstated policy directives, or might it just be more than Western firms, especially not major firms, might lack the knowledge and connections in Chinese culture and society to feel secure in entering the Chinese market?

In every major Chinese city, you find Starbucks, McDonalds, KFC, Dairy Queen, and Pizza Hut; Coke and Pepsi are available in virtually every corner store; Nescafe dominates the coffee market almost entirely and Lays chips are found throughout the country; iPhones abound in even 3rd tier cities; Windows is the operating system of choice on all computers which are not Apple products; Sony products are available in all major electronics markets despite being from the much-hated country of Japan; European luxury fashion labels enjoy higher name recognition among Chinese children than American adults; Carrefour and Walmart are present in all major cities; foreign-owned educational enterprises and partnerships abound in all sizes of cities throughout the country; and Audis and BMWs are the vehicles of choice for wealthy Chinese. That doesn’t sound to me like a closed market with unfair trading.

I think you are well-poised to understand the challenges of smaller businesses in doing business in China, although I gather more from the perspective of sourcing in China and less from trying to penetrate the market (just consider, in a country where products are basically the same price at the corner store as the supermarket, competition is cut-throat, you need to be cost competitive unless you have a global name or massive resources to build name recognition).

My arugment is this: China is hard to navigate, but not closed for business. If the US wants better market access in China, it should invest more in government relations which can help US firms to navigate the Chinese market.

Am I being naive? And don’t get me wrong, I absolutely know it’s hard to find the right people who are authorized to give the go-ahead on such things. But I don’t think it’s really intended that way structurally – the same applies to non-connected Chinese people too, with the exception that they at least share all the cultural stuff that helps to build the necessary connections to move foward with a project

155 Harun March 20, 2016 at 1:43 pm

My main reason for using the refugee analogy was to suggest that maybe the new voters rushing to change the GOP’s culture may not be a good thing. The realignment is due to these voters fleeing the Democrats, but just because they are fleeing one party doesn’t mean its wise to embrace them.

Maybe the refugee analogy is too cute – I kind of like to tweak the Trumpkins by calling them refugees.

I will reply to the China issue separately, as that is a doozy.

156 Harun March 20, 2016 at 2:17 pm

I would say China is probably far more open for business than before. Often voters concerns are quite delayed from reality. Currency probably was manipulated in the past, but now maybe its the reverse – being overvalued. Chinese wages have risen, so now America wants a $15 minimum wage! Always late!

That said, where the Chinese market is not open for business is instructive:

Facebook, for example. Completely shut out.

Also, be careful in assuming that because you see foreign brands, that means China is an open market. Some of those brands may have spent a lot of money trying to get in or were forced to use local joint ventures. Superficially, its shows openness. Imagine if the US had a law, that imports from China had to go through an American-Chinese 51/49% joint venture. Sure, you’d still see Chinese products, but its not free access.

I think its probably changed in China, so you don’t have to use a joint venture, but it used to be the case for sure.

Luxury products desired by the elite of course will be allowed in to China. How else to show off that you’re rich? But what about catalytic converters? There was a case where Chinese auto plants wanted to import made in USA catalytic converters. Then the brilliant Chinese government stepped in and demanded the car companies use domestic, inferior products. (You know they are inferior in some way, or the Chinese firms would not have wanted to import in the first place.)

You are correct that its possible that some of the problem are just due to internal Chinese bureaucracy that applies to everyone. There are many stupid rules and petty stuff that hurts both Chinese and foreign firms. In fact, I think China would be far richer if they had done actual free trade instead of trying to export everything in the world and trying to build up industries using the state.

Aircraft, for example. Forcing airlines to buy from domestic production, or forcing co-production.

However, foreign firms are definitely at disadvantage in China. Take Taiwanese firms. I know several who were deeply unhappy with China’s government because they made them comply very strictly and pay a ton of bribes whereas locals didn’t have to do as much. (Maybe pay bribes but not have to also comply so strictly.) Imagine a China built factory in Arizona where OSHA visits every day to find some small thing and demand a payment, whereas the local guys only get hit once a year.

But if we focus strictly on trade, China should not be hard to navigate as the importers are local people. The other issues are more related to foreign investment.

Regarding trade, the Chinese government is often mercantilist and wishes to create national champions and made products in China and not import them. The fact that they used to sterilize their surplus by purchasing US bonds should be a prime example of this. US free traders like Don Boudreaux would extoll this as a “great deal” for America, but I think this is short-sided. Why shouldn’t we want China to free trade, too? It helps them, too!

p.s. if making your market hard to access unless you pay-off insiders, then the US should also erect barriers and force the Chinese to jump over them, no? Why not? My wife is Taiwanese and she says that no one in Asia really believes in free trade, they just want market access to the USA and then laugh at us behind our backs. (She’d probably vote Trump!) If this is actually their belief, then its not good.

I’d also like to know the tariff levels in China. I’m not very familiar with China in that regards. We mainly export to Taiwan – I know there, the issue is often non-tariff barriers. Taiwan does try to reform, but it can be insane. To import packaged bird seed to Taiwan from the the USA, it took 18 months to get approval. So long that one regulation actually changed in the process. (At least it changed to become easier to pass!)

Sorry for the rambling reply. Final answer is that China is fairly open in some ways, but barriers exist in others, and past unfair practices still leave a bad taste in the mouths of Americans.

157 Harun March 20, 2016 at 2:26 pm

One point on software and media. It used to be that every windows in China was pirated, and movies, too. Copies of Samsung phones were made.

Now, I would bet people pay for Windows. (You’d know more living there) and my wife’s Chinese movie app makes her pay to get access to some shows = less piracy. Iphones can’t be copied.

So, there has been some improvement in market access vis IP protection. That was not the case 20 years ago.

Where you still see barriers is when the government wants to use domestic firms: thus Facebook is blocked and China uses some domestic substitute, while Taiwan loves Facebook. Same with Google. These are not cases where the product is inferior – they straight up block the product.

158 Nathan W March 21, 2016 at 1:22 am

Thanks. It all sounds quite relevant, although I’ll introduce what I understand to be the Chinese perspective on the matter (how sincere these official perspectives are is more debtable in some cases than others). The view that things are better than they were, but still not good enough, seems roughly accurate to me. I take comment on Facebook, Google, Windows, Joint venture requirements, Airlines, Bribes, Mercantalist attitude and Exchange rate.

Facebook: I was living in Beijing when Facebook got cut. There was much noise about how American operatives were using Facebook to stoke revolutionary interest in XinJiang, and, legitimately, there had been an uptick in terrorist activities in XinJiang. I never discounted the official story line entirely, but I believe the real concern was a) America having full access to the social media networks and communications of a large number of Chinese nationals and b) other side of the same coin, wanting full access to all social media networks and communications of its own citizens. While it doesn’t fit with Western concepts, it’s fairly believable as a genuinely “strategic interest” industry, if you see it through the CPC lens. If you consider “fair trade” as treating domestic and foreign firms by the same rules, the fact that Facebook would never give Chinese officials access to its IT backbone is consistent, if offensive to Western outlooks (well, apparently not any more. We seem to assume that this is the norm in the West too, and there is exceedingly little activism to roll back such changes).

Google: Different from Facebook, but similar in the sense of applying the same rules to domestic and foreign competitors. China wanted access to Google’s algorithms (risky!!! world class IP at stake!) and also the right to filter various search results, I think most likely including state-directed influence on the rankings for many things as well. Of course, this is all very offensive to Western sensibilities, and so to avoid getting labelled as cooperating with dictators to help suppress information, Google protected its “do no evil” brand by refusing to comply. In this sense, China treats all the competition equally, and Google made a strategic decision to exit the Chinese market in order to protect the brand in other markets where it was already dominant, not just a competitor. Google is a patently superior search engine, but China has very different priorities for the role it sees for search engines. Also, I think the matter of not having access to the backbone of Google’s email service was relevant – the fact that I’m able to access Hotmail email service and Yahoo search engine makes me wonder what deals they cut with the authorities. A handy backup for when the VPN isn’t working, but completely destroyed the credibility of these brands in my eyes – it can only possibly remain unblocked if they are cooperating with Chinese officials in areas where Google refuses to bend over.

Windows: If you reinstall, you can still get most editions of Windows reinstalled illegally for just a few dollars. But, I would bet good money that 90%+ of new computers are sold with legal versions of Windows these days. This sounds roughly correct to me, since I do not believe that anyone should have to pay for Windows twice for a single computer, and Microsoft flat out refuses to provide any meaingful access to legal re-installation unless you pay lots of extra money to by a reinstallation disc.

Joint venture requirement: yes, that is a very important counterpoint. I’ve translated some documents on European-Chinese partnerships in autos, and it seems to me that the requirements aren’t so strictly for joint ventures, and more so there is informal pressures (requirements) to partner with domestic Chinese producers in able to get market access for both parts and finished goods. I think European producers are taking huge risks in the sense that technology transfer is virtually ensured as a part of the game, but I think they are not naive and have taken a calculated risk that the benefits of market access outweighs the risks. In the view of one auto sector reporter “the Chinese know the difference between the real thing and the fake, and they want the real thing.” Rules seem to be opaque and different among sectors, but I’m pretty sure that these requirements have been reduced or removed in most sectors.

Airlines: Are you talking about parts, which can be portrayed in the classic sense of strategic industries? Or things like requiring to source meals and other basic services from domestic producers?

Bribes: this all sounds likely roughly accurate. The example of an essentially identical foreign firm facing much higher regulatory scrutiny sounds almost guaranteed to me, even in the absence of any evidence. The Chinese government could require transparency in a top-down sense to crack down on such local shenanigans, if they wanted to. This would be an extremely concerete and actionable point for trade negotiators, and they could defend it as also improving the quality of competition among Chinese producers (less politically connected firms presumably face a degree of this as well). I see a major challenge for US firms in tackling issues with bribery. First, I’m going to ignore that they are many ways to build in bribes that look good on paper. The point is this: US laws have criminal sanction against any US national who engages in bribery regardless of where in the world it takes places. While well-meaning and probably partially effective in a lot of places, this also makes it essentially impossible for them to communicate the extent of the corruption required to maintain market access in any given country, since any evidence would be self-incriminating and mandatorily lead to a prison sentence. Greater flexibility to allow limited amnesty for firms committed to flushing out the problem could be helpful here – e.g., write in a few lines where executives who own up to bribes and partner with US officials to clean things up in order to improve market access for US firms could realistically expect to NOT end up in prison.

Mercantalist attitude: I think as China starts to view the economy more from the perspective of consumers, they will be more persuaded by the broader logic of free trade. The mercantalist attitude has many shortcomings aside from the potential to lead to trade wars – however, in a nascent market, the economy strictly DOES need access to additional capital to expand production potential. I think the mercantalist attitude becomes less relevant when you’re at the cutting edge in many industries, because you rely on technological prowess and want cheap access to low-tech stuff.

Exchange rate: The official line has long been that since they had a large surplus, it just made perfect sense to place it in the most stable store of value globally, the US dollar. They cannot possibly have been naive as to the effects on the exchange rate and what this implied for competitiveness, but taken at face value, the official line is patently sensible – where else would they have put the money?

Close: yeah, in reflection on what you say, certainly a lot of things need to be cleared up. Trump’s 25% import tax obviously deals with NONE of these things and absolutely carries a risk of starting a trade war, ’cause there’s hardly anything more important in China than saving face. More credibly, an extended list of concerns such as the ones you brought up could be brought to the Chinese, saying “fix these or we will slap a 5% tariff on Chinese products until it’s fixed”. However, key here, is that many of the concerns from foreign producers are equally of concern to Chinese producers. While there are clearly too many exceptions, the view that foreign firms merely fail to navigate a system which is ALSO difficult for Chinese firms to navigate should be part of the story in pressing for better market access, in order to mute the extent of irrational or rather ignorant views on the nature of barriers in the Chinese market. In specifying the ways in which Chinese firms also face similar challenges, a) you create a foreign-positive constituency in China among firms that want better access, and b) you’re starting to hone in on precisely the ways in which Chinese officials may informally (or illegally) engage in preferential treatments.

159 Harun March 21, 2016 at 11:21 am

China has a lot of internal issues, too. Every time I’ve tried to buy certain parts/components in one province to ship for final assembly in another, my supplier discourages this saying its very hard to actually do that.

This suggests China has some internal barriers, too.

They have a ton of export regulations as well, which are stupid, like having to declare in advance what you plan to export and how much. Modifying that plan costs money, so I have had suppliers decide not to take up new products because it was experimental and off their approved list. Exactly what you don’t want in regulations. Due to this rule, for example, we couldn’t send a customer 20 extra cartons to replace some that had been water damaged, because the factory hadn’t applied to export cardboard boxes.

160 Harun March 21, 2016 at 11:24 am

For airlines, I meant the actual purchase of passenger planes. The airlines want US or European built plans for safety and marketing reasons. The government often pushes domestic production or co-production. It also used to push Airbus over Boeing and vice versa if global politics demanded it.

161 Harun March 21, 2016 at 11:28 am

Of course, the US might have barriers that are not readily apparent in some fields as well. FDA inspections of facilities for example, at the cost to the factory. (I think I have heard of that.)

Canada is pretty open, except tariffs seems higher than US tariffs, and your corporate income tax is so complicated for foreign firms as to be a barrier, as the market is not that large. I’ve had several years where my Canadian profits were swamped by the $1,200 tax accountant bill needed to file and then pay a $150 tax. Enjoy the pizza party Revenue Canada.

162 CG March 20, 2016 at 1:07 pm

I find this post and the notion of the Republican party cracking up to be irritating for a number of different reasons.

1. Republicans are still dominant on the congressional and state levels. Even if the presidential election is an “electoral disaster” for the party, Republicans will still control the house, probably still the Senate, and the majority of state legislatures. Another loss of the presidency simply means a continuation of the status quo, so not sure how that can be interpreted as the party coming apart at the seams.

2. The Democratic party’s preferred candidate has been significantly challenged by a far left populist socialist, who rode a wave of support to win far more primary votes than was ever initially expected. The main reasons this hasn’t translated to even more electoral success is (1) there was a single dominant establishment candidate for the non-Sander vote to coalesce around (whereas Trump was able to capitalize on the fact that the non-Trump vote was fragmented among many candidates), and (2) superdelegates in the democratic primary allow establishment candidates to garner far more delegates than that candidate would otherwise win through a binding primary (the 720 superdelegates make up about 30% of the 2,383 delegates needed to secure nomination). Yet, everyone seems to assume that the GOP faces the rise of Trump because of some irreconcilable conflict among its base rather than how they’ve run candidates and structured their primary process.

163 Art Deco March 20, 2016 at 2:20 pm

Disagree. While the establishment is an impediment for Sanders, his main problem would be facts on the ground. For reasons obscure, Hellary is the candidate of choice for black voters, notably in the South where blacks make up north of 40% of the Democratic primary electorate. That’s given Hellary a considerable riser on which to stand in an electoral calendar front-loaded with Southern states. Sanders likely has a small advantage among non-black voters among Democrats, but HRC has a 3-to-1 advantage among black voters, giving her a modest advantage overall. It’s not immediately evident why the distribution of preferences is so different between these two subpopulations of voting Democrats.

164 dbp March 20, 2016 at 4:23 pm

Agree, especially on point 2.

Imagine if the Democratic race was between Sanders, Biden and Clinton. Biden and Clinton would divide the establishment vote and Sanders would own the progressive vote and be winning right now.

165 Careless March 20, 2016 at 9:33 pm

Another loss of the presidency simply means a continuation of the status quo

Well, it means the end of the Second Amendment and the freedom of speech and the press, so there’s that

166 msgkings March 21, 2016 at 12:57 am


167 Nathan W March 21, 2016 at 1:38 am

Right, because Obama actually did anything whatsoever to come for your guns, and media outlets are routinely being shuttered and editors shuffled off to prison for printing “wrong” views.

In reality, there has not been even the tiniest move towards taking guns away, and media across various partisan and ideological affiliations increasingly outdo each other in the extent of misleading spin venturing into outright lies. How much so? In a 10 second scan of the homepage of most American papers, you can easily determine whether the paper is pro-Republican or pro-Democrat. Only a handful of reasonably unbiased sources of news exist in the country. And this spin is absolutely constitutionally protected, for better or worse.

168 adana evden eve March 20, 2016 at 1:50 pm

So what do you think the party will be elected in these elections?

169 Ilaine Upton March 20, 2016 at 6:44 pm

Tyler, fascinating. Trump voters hate “establishment”, which really includes volunteers who provide ground game, phone banks, campaign finance, stuff needed to get out voters. Not provided by magic elves. I’ve lobbied for NACBA, National Association of Consumer Bankruptcy Attornies. Impressed at how hard our professional lobbiests work year round to get ears of Congress critters. So many issues, so little time. System very complex. Anyone promising easy answers either naive or lying.

170 Art Deco March 20, 2016 at 7:15 pm

Tyler, fascinating. Trump voters hate “establishment”, which really includes volunteers who provide ground game, phone banks, campaign finance, stuff needed to get out voters.

Come again? The likes of AM McConnell, Tom Donohue, and Kelly Ayotte are not manning phone banks and driving voters to the polls. The people who do are marks for these characters.

171 Floccina March 20, 2016 at 10:12 pm

And is Trump’s success a result of the bank bailouts and the disastrous invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan.

172 David March 21, 2016 at 7:55 am

An excellent analogy, and the underlying argument–that bailouts preserve “organizational capital” (great term!)–is one I had not previously encountered.

However, there is one aspect in which the analogy doesn’t quite work. As I ceaselessly find myself reminding people in these discussions, the choice isn’t between Trump and an ideal candidate, or Cruz and an ideal candidate, or Rubio and an ideal candidate, or Kasich and an ideal candidate.

No. The choice is between whoever the Party selects, by whatever means they select them, and…Mrs. Clinton (or possibly Senator Sanders).

So the pro-bailout argument is not so much about preserving the GOP’s organizational capital, but to avoid giving de facto monopoly power to the competition. In other words, it’s more like propping up the American automobile industry in order to keep it from being taken over by the Japanese.

Now, some might say, who cares? Capitalism knows no borders, and so on. But in the contemporary environment that would have to be seen as naive. Anyone who has seen the effects of cross-border merges and acquisitions in the European Union knows this: when a French company acquires a failing Belgian company, that’s great for the first year: then, when the other shoe drops and the French company announces layoffs, they seem to fall disproportionately on the new Belgian subsidiary (this is all based on an actual event, by the way).

Similarly, it might have been preferable on paper to perform an orderly liquidation of GM. But if they had been acquired by Toyota or (ahem) Daimler…well, you see the point, I assume.

Anyhow, my own position takes the GOP’s history into account: I’ve supported the GOP candidate in the general election since I was eligible to vote. And I therefore will support the party’s nominee this November as well–be it Trump, Cruz, or some as-yet unknown other candidate.

If your company’s going bust and there’s no plausible alternate employer, sitting around at home moaning about the fact won’t help: you still need to go to the plant every day just to keep body and soul together.

173 The Anti-Gnostic March 21, 2016 at 9:47 am

Tyler pauses long enough from cheerleading the political, cultural and fiscal suicide known as mass immigration to plead with his readers to save Ye Grande Olde Party.

Hell yes I opposed the bailouts.

174 ohwilleke March 22, 2016 at 1:14 pm

The potential benefits of party collapse (for either major party), however, are huge.

Our electoral system inherently favors a two party system which makes it particularly rigid, and a political party locks in coalitions that are subsequently very difficult and time consuming to change. Every potential coalition member must chose one party or the other and is effectively then locked into that spot for decades. But, these leads to non-optimal compromises. For example, Muslim voters are on average much more socially and economically conservative than the average Democrat, but overwhelmingly vote for Democrats because Republicans are beholden to more numerous conservative Christian and anti-immigrant factions who at their Trumpist extreme want to treat them like pre-Holocaust Jews. Existential concerns are forced to outweigh mere policy preferences.

Similarly, there are lots of economically moderate, socially liberal folks out there who prefer Republican economic policies, but are repelled by their stances on social issues.

The collapse of either political party instantly puts both political party coalitions up for renegotiation, and the outcome is almost certain to produce coalitions that more evenly divide the population 50-50 and have fewer internal conflicts between coalition members, thereby producing parties that can better reflect the true policy preferences of the voting public. The benefits of having modernized coalitions vastly outweighs the downsides of having to rebuild the political party institutions from scratch.

175 Floccina March 23, 2016 at 10:04 am

I think that it might be a good thing for the Republican party to disband and Democratic party split. Many black and other minority Democrats are quite pro-economic freedom but would never vote republican because of a perception of republicans as racists (thus Hillary beats Sanders by a wide margin among blacks). There are also many blue collar and older republicans, Trump Voters, who are against economic freedom and are not Democrats because of racial and social issues like affirmative action and gay marriage, abortion.

It might be good have a realignment along new lines. Racial voting is a bad line.

176 Pandey March 24, 2016 at 5:57 am

It is important to keep eye on these things to see the next step, I always stay focus I mainly do Forex trading and this is a type of work where one needs to have proper awareness of everything. I usually don’t need to do anything special since firstly this blogs provides with daily reports and then even more broker OctaFX has got this feature with their highly qualified team of experts providing daily updates of the market to make it easy for all traders.

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