Wednesday assorted links


Item 3, Subsection Friedman:

I was asked by a Bernie supporter why Hillary did not choose him for Vice President. I answered that I trusted the Democrats to do a professional, data-driven campaign. In such a campaign they never go after any vote they own. Instead, it is to use the old word, triangulation. They speak to the voters they want and think they can swing.

I expect that their computers are telling them that they will win with a suitable margin on a specific set of policy points.

Don't give ideological demands to a number cruncher.

Note that Friedman and Cowen imply a model, but they do not have the big data that HRC inherits from Obama.

(Even if the Republicans have good data, Trump is not visibly triangulating. Or he is anti-triangulating.)

Well, she's supposedly been talking with Meg Whitman for several weeks. I don't know that any pro-business messaging will come out of that but Hillary obviously sees opportunity in courting moderate pro-growth Republicans.

That's totally a character play, and yes I think it will continue to be effective. This election is Leslie Knope vs .. I don't know, Charlie Harper?

3. Friedman: "Clinton should be reaching out to them with a real pro-growth, start-up, deregulation, entrepreneurship agenda and give them a positive reason to vote for her." And Thomas Friedman is totally correct: the world is flat. And he is a bonehead. Please, Professor Cowen, don't latch on to Thomas Friedman nonsense.

It's a thing. A few days ago Ross Douthat said more or less "I can never vote for Trump, now Hillary should give me something."

Perhaps I am just more of a realist? I know that if I cannot vote for Trump, there is no reason for HRC to give me anything. She doesn't even need to speak to me.

Her incentives are on her voter map, not in any pundit's essay.

The Douthat argument is a bit more nuanced than that. It's more "I can never vote for Trump, but I still have no intention of voting for Hillary. I'm in play, but being anti-Trump isn't enough to make me pro-Clinton yet if she wants my vote."

He wants real change like the tax cutting and deregulation of Reagan and GW BUSH who each delivered two recessions plus a massive real estate bubble that popped taking down most of the banking system requiring TARP, and giving people like Trump amply opportunity to profit from the suffering of the working class. Except, this time, Republicans win the White House for the next century.

Obama has screwed the Trump's by failing to cause real estate bubbles, massive unsustainable debt that leads to defaults taking down banks leading to huge profit opportunity for the rich.


Obama hasn't produced a blowout bubble that ends in catastrophe (unlike Bush who did). However, the Obama administration is an economic failure by any plausible standard. Check out Fred series "Real Median Household Income in the United States (MEHOINUSA672N)" and "Real Median Family Income in the United States (MEFAINUSA672N)". The data is obviously cyclical. The peak-to-peak and trough-to-trough comparisons show that real household income fell under Bush and has continued falling under Obama. The family income data shows a tiny gain under Bush and a large fall under Obama.

If Hillary is elected in the fall, by 2020 we will 20+ years of declining family and household incomes (under both parties).

It's not all about bubbles. Bubbles are a disaster (when they inevitably burst). However, the long-term structural data is deeply negative.

Didn't Both Reagan and Bush inherit a recession from the previous administration? Why yes they did.


"Didn’t Both Reagan and Bush inherit a recession from the previous administration? Why yes they did."

According to the NBER, the U.S. was in recession from January of 1980 to July of 1980. By election day, the Carter recession was over. Reagan had his own recession from July of 1981 to November of 1982. After that the Reagan economy expanded relatively quickly. H.W. Bush had a recession from July of 1990 to March of 1991. The next recession was from March of 2001 to November of 2001 while G.W. Bush was in office.

The subsequent Bush expansion yielded essentially no gains in family income and household income declined. The next recession started in December of 2007 and continued to June of 2009. The Obama expansion has failed to yield any gains in family income or household income. Both have declined (measured peak-to-peak or trough-to-trough).

Many presidents have inherited recessions (ask FDR). Some have presided over massive subsequent expansions. Since Bush, the expansions haven't really offset the downturns. By some measures the next recession is starting now. Easy prediction. If Hillary is elected, she will be the third failing president (measured in economic terms).

OK, but for a professional campaign, it is still data driven, and what voting block can be gained/lost by what position.

The right wing intellectual block is not too large these days. They are the ones who might actually respond to a dangled idea. Rank and file small business Republicans? They might feel better with a group identity approach from Tim Kaine.

Of course, I am an amateur, and don't have 10 years of micro-polling at my finger tips.

That still doesn't suggest Clinton should do anything to get Douhat's vote. He would have voted GOP. Now he isn't voting at all. In a FPTP system any non-vote for Trump from someone who would otherwise vote GOP is just as good as voting for Clinton. She needs to win 50%+1 of people who vote (in each state essentially). Not 50%+1 of the population. It's not like if she fails to reach a certain threshold of votes from the population at large she can't be President.

49 Trump votes and 50 Clinton votes due to 1 abstaining Republican still matters, because there are many more voters. 51-49 is much different than 50-49, if multiplied by a million and there are still some tens of millions of ballots to count. Double the lead.

Since the Republicans who might come over to her will still vote for Republicans down ticket so unless she needs their vote to win she will be better off in the long run if they stay home.

Exactly. Clinton should not give them anything so they just stay home.

Hopefully you understand why a vote for Hillary is better for Hillary than a vote for Gary Johnson

Fair enough, but is Gary Johnson more of a problem for her than Jill Stein?

There's no way Douhat gets what he wants.

Not really as long as the Johnson voter would have normally voted for the GOP candidate.


You're not correct.

Usually the losers wait until after the election to say that the winners should "unify the country" by implementing a bunch of the losers' ideas. That it's starting in August is way ahead of schedule.

'Please, Professor Cowen, don’t latch on to Thomas Friedman nonsense.'

It's unavoidable when you share taxis.

That's the best thing you've ever written pt

"don’t latch on to Thomas Friedman nonsense.”

I've got to agree with Rayward here. The Friedman piece is nonsense and wishful thinking.


"“Clinton should be reaching out to them with a real pro-growth, start-up, deregulation, entrepreneurship agenda and give them a positive reason to vote for her.”

Is nowhere close to the Clinton economic plan. It's nearly the exact opposite.

People tend to see the candidate they want and not the candidate they have.

Sure, but to be that far off requires a Steve Jobs sized reality distortion field.

No one's going around saying: "If Trump would just embrace higher taxes, a more aggressive foreign policy, open immigration and sign the TPP, I'd vote for him."

Oh yeah, it's completely nuts. I'm agreeing.

Exactly correct. Friedman's piece is about as logical as saying, "Evangelicals are uneasy Trump supporters. Hillary should reach out to them with a pro-life, pro-religious liberty agenda that recognizes the genuine concerns many Christians have about the direction of our current legal system and promises to respect their values and their freedoms. That would knock Trump out of the race."

Yeah. It's annoying when a "helpful" observer suggests that the no-brainer plan for winning is to abandon one's platform and adopt that of one's opponents. Usually I see this the other direction: "If Republicans were smart, they would become liberals", etc.

It doesn't matter.

Crooked Hillary reflexively lies. Her economics likely will be more Obama: consistent budget deficits, growing national debt, more regulations, more untoward/wasteful spending, higher taxes, slow growth, minimal or negative capital expansion, . . .

She'll say anything. You never can tell what she will do. And, then two hundred and fifty thousand academics and media guys, like Cowen and Friedman, swear to the lies.

It's going to be no fun watching Hillary either melt down or suffer a massive stroke early in her regnum. Are you girls ready for a President Tim Kaine?

6 -- seems unlikely as that would then put the costs as much on the people of China who like the K-wave entertainment (and it's not clear the domestic alternatives would be sufficient substitutes) as it would impose costs on the ROK population.

There's also the appearance that China is punishing neighbors who are implementing defensive systems to protect themselves.

"2. Should the World Bank bookstore close?"

"More than 1,300 have signed an online petition begging the bank’s bigwigs to keep the shop open."

I suspect that the bigwigs would be far more impressed if those 1,300 went in and actually bought a book.

I wonder how many William Easterly titles they have in stock there.

I visited the World Bank bookstore many years ago. I bought several books but then promptly lost them on the Metro (back then, DC had a functioning metro)

2) A part of me doesn't understand why the World Bank should run a bookstore (a library for its staffers would make sense), but I confess I would like to be there, it must be great (incidentally a famous Harvard-educated Brazilian administrator says the best hamburger he ever had -- and pretty cheap, too-- was at the FMI's cantina. I hope the bean counters don't shut it down too).
"But our mission is not on the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and 18th Street. It is in the health clinics and schools and rural villages in the poorest corners of the world."
Give me a break, will you? It is always the schools and villages the reason we can't have nice things...

I don't think enough people can be made believe Clinton beats Trump when it comes to business for Mr Friedman's idea to work.

3. This is the same argument as we saw from Ross Douthat a few days ago. "The Republicans have nominated a dangerous, unprepared sociopath for the presidency. In order to avoid him winning the election, the Democrats must capitulate to the Republicans on the issues". This always seems to be the argument from the Republicans as their base gets crazier. Solve for the steady state here. It doesn't work out for the Democrats to take this advice. And I say this while largely agreeing with Friedman on the merits of deregulation. The only way to responsibly advance this agenda is to fix the Republican party. Things are not looking good, though the Roger Ailes departure is good news.

"This always seems to be the argument from the Republicans as their base gets crazier. "

The idea that 40%+ of the country is "crazy" is a classic example of living in your own bubble.

Regardless, why on earth would Hillary cede anything to the Republicans now?

She has to be worried about the white vote, who are skeptical that "free college" etc, will ever apply to them. But there are probably better ways of addressing that then moving to the center. Playing up Trump's problem with women and his potentially reckless foreign policy seems better. Although the latter is hilarious coming from her.

Trump has no foreign policy. He just says whatever will get media attention. And no credible foreign policy expert wants to work with him.

This is a man who says he knows more about ISIS than the generals. Who would want to work with someone like that?

This is a man who says he knows more about ISIS than the generals. Who would want to work with someone like that?

I don't know, I never noticed Obama having problems getting staff.

Quality has been pretty lacking though.

The Republican base is not anywhere close to 40% of the country. Only 28% of US aduilts even self-identify as Republican and an even smaller percentage make up the "base."

Self-identified Republican's would be the "base" for any normal use of the word.

But sure 28% works for me. If you think 28% of any very large group is "crazy" then you are living in a bubble.

FWIW, I don't think Trump's support is the base of the Republican party. He's pretty far from the base on immigration and trade. Now, those policy beliefs are definitely attractive to people who've been marginalized in the party, but they aren't base stuff. He's moderately left on social issues and not a big business candidate. The base is awfully conservative on foreign policy issues - Trump is brash. Are you really convinced he'll bring you lower taxes? Maybe lower relative to Clinton, but lower than they are now?

A lot of the base is engaged in "Stop Trump" efforts. But I don't think mp meant to call that crazy. I suspect he just hasn't looked closely at what's going on.

I don't disagree with any of that. And certainly some of Trump's support comes from independents and a significant portion of self-identified Republicans are backing Clinton.

But the critical point is that Trump gets a significant percentage of the vote. Those voters aren't "crazy". They are acting in a rational model from their point of view. Trump may be a flawed candidate, but so is Hillary Clinton.

Whenever anyone starts seriously classifying a large group of people as "crazy", I generally assume that means the person is just ignorant of the situation. To be ignorant of the current situation, you've got to be living in a bubble.

I can respect the point of view that Trump is an unacceptable candidate from any given person, but not the view that Trump is unacceptable and therefore his supporters are crazy.

Indeed, it's exactly that kind of living in a fish bowl mentality that has us debating about the two most disliked candidates in modern American politics. Nixon was far better than either of these two. He was probably better after Watergate.

Again, I agree. I made a similar comment a week or so ago when msgkings, who's usually pretty reasonable, objected to Trump in a similar fashion.

But I don't think the Republican base is the group we should be counting for this purpose. They have some overlap with Trump supporters, but aren't the same thing.

Yeah, of course, they aren't crazy in a non-political sense. What I mean is that they have collectively developed a preference for a political movement that represents absurd ideas about policy and also takes a destructive approach to governance. It's formally unsound, but I think that most people are comfortable with 'crazy' as a short hand for this concept. The base has gotten 'crazier' as they have collectively increased their preference for this platform. Maybe you're some kind of bland exception, but most people will call various political movements in the world 'crazy', though they usually sit on the opposite side of the political spectrum from their own preferences. Greece comes to mind here as the other side of things. It's not important to my original point though.

By the way, I realize that Trump enthusiasts do not represent 100% of the party, but I would maintain that the preferences a majority of the Republican voters have been expressing over the past decade and the rhetoric/focus/action of various party elites have played a substantial role in the success of Trump's candidacy. Even for many elites who are currently backing away from Trump. The Trump phenomenon isn't a complete aberration given recent development on the American right.

Not all Republicans are crazy, but there is this thing.

The thing where in early primaries Republicans vote for off the wall candidates. The thing where this time, they voted for an off the wall candidate all the way to nomination.

If there was ever redemption for the indictment of "crazy party," this is it.

"Yeah, of course, they aren’t crazy in a non-political sense."

Ok, fair enough. There are so many partisans that actually seem to believe their own rhetoric, it's hard to tell.

JWatts, I am aware that I am being a bit harsh when I hear you saying "Republicans just nominated Donald Trump, but that doesn't make them crazy!"

Harsh, but I think fair. It is indeed a test of the mental health of a party who they can bring to an election. Sarah Palin was a failure at the VP level, and rather than an end-point she was just a precursor.

Trump is not far from the base on immigration if you look at polling. Actually a majority of the entire population agrees with building a wall if I recall correctly.


"He’s pretty far from the base on immigration and trade."

If you define the "base" as the party elites... You are correct. However, the polling data has long shown that Republican voters are much more hostile towards trade and immigration than Republican elites. The polling data (Pew, CFR, etc.) goes back years, even decades. Actual Republican voters are the group most suspicious of "free trade" and Open Borders.

The Democrats are partially the reverse. Elected Democrats are much more hostile towards trade than Democratic voters. Elected Democrats have tended to oppose NAFTA, CAFTA, the WTO, the TPP, etc. Actually voting Democrats tend to be pro-trade.

Why do the elites of both parties oppose their actual voters? Elected Democrats tend to be very liberal/left and union oriented. "Free trade" is an anathema. Actual voting Democrats tend to be minorities who don't care about trade (much) or upscale elites who are religiously pro-trade. By contrast, elected Republicans think that "whatever big business wants, we want". Ordinary voting Republicans tend to view "free trade" and Open Borders as threats (which they are).

Like it or not, Trump is the "base" when it comes to immigration and trade. Like it or not, Hillary's combination of economic neoliberalism and racial identity politics is the "base" of the Democratic party.

Combining Goldman Sachs and BLM isn't pretty, but Hillary intends to make it work.

The problem with Trump is he says everything in the Republican platform for the past half century so plainly that everyone is aghast at what the Republicans have said to trick people into voting Republican. Each part is to be said to only 1% of voters, never to the other 99%.

I saw a comment that Clinton needs to really be gung-ho unions to win white working class voters. The same union working class voters who voted in a landslide for the biggest union buster in US history in 1984.

Reagan never told the general public "workers are paid too much". And he lied about Social Security to the conservatives, unless he lied to the general public when he said Social Security was a great American institution he was preserving for all time.

Everyone knows Democrats cater to all sorts of different factions with conflicting interests. Everyone knows Democrats are constantly compromising in attempts to please almost everyone. Everyone knows the Democratic platform tries to be all things to almost every person in the US whether the even vote or not.

Trump is not supposed to reveal the Republicans have tried to do the same to get 51% of the voters.

What you mean to say is that the media never reports on the pandering lies that Democrats tell to their fractious base.

They're only now starting to report on the multiple inconsistencies within the pandering lies that Republicans tell to their fractious base.

When the right wing media gives inordinate air time to such burning issues as whether Obama is a muslim or a citizen, this is what happens.

I am not sure who first said that "Democrats are a coalition party, and Republicans are an ideological party" but the last few weeks have driven it home for me. Look at this election. Yes, Clinton is appealing to a coalition. But Trump in his every action does not, he hopes to form a single ideology to bind them together.

As an independent I certainly don't buy everything Clinton sells, but as I say elsewhere, her message is not designed for me, or for any single person. Her message is indeed designed for 51%, or more accurately for 51% of the electoral collage in a big data analysis.

Trump isn't even professional enough to attempt that. Throwing out babies is not about getting 51%, not is insulting the silent mom of an American hero.

The real story of the World Bank bookshop story is buried deeply. It is another story about the growth of the D.C. bureaucrat class: "Some World Bank employees told me that they heard it would be used for offices, allowing the bank to move staff out of rented buildings. The Washington City Paper reported it will be used for events."

I'm starting to see the Kpop industry as the canary in the coal mine when it comes to US-Chinese relations. If the Chinese and Korean entertainment industries formed close ties so that, say, 20 years from now there was a Chinese wave, on the one hand that would thoroughly undermine US "soft power", but on the other this might also lead to more domestic resentment of the CCP. The assumption I'm making: it's just not possible to have a first-rate entertainment industry, one which grabs the attention of the world, without empowering plutocrats, scalawags, artists, bohemians, iconoclasts, etc.

Putting a buffoon in charge of the country

She is such a bad candidate, she may do the same thing here.

Which candidate is going to buy all of the millennial votes with student debt relief? Seems like this could turn a large (though low turnout) group on a single issue. Ive half expected Trump to do it to grab ex-berners

Asking for a friend...

"I want to announce my new plan of 100% student debt pay off for every graduate. Except those with a Law Degree, of course. And Government sponsored ultra low rate financing for a NEW car. Because every recent graduate needs a new car!

And I'm going to pay for it by taxing the Hell out of Wall Street! This is going to be Huge people. We are going to make America Great Again!" - D. Trump

#3. Of course Hillary won't do that. If she knocked Donald Trump out completely, people would jump ship and she'd be running against Johnson. She needs Trump the mentally ill fascist to be the demon alternative that makes her the lesser evil. The same way Trump needs Clinton the crook to make him the lesser evil. Each side depends on running against someone crazier on the other side, and as long as the nutjob over there looks worse than you, you can be more extreme than you otherwise would be. Why destroy a system that is working?

LOL, you do make a good point.

This morning, in response to "if Trump quits" stories in the news, I thought "I could vote for Romney this time"

So Republicans, there is your chance.

Paul Ryan could have been president so easy if he was running vs Clinton

#3...And he said he will bring taxes “way down” and rebuild the country’s infrastructure.
“Her number is a fraction of what we’re talking about,” Trump said, referring to Clinton’s $275 billion rebuilding plan. “We need much more money than that to rebuild our infrastructure. I would say at least double her numbers and you’re gonna really need more than that."

Is this what Friedman was talking about?

I'm shocked that Paul Krugman isn't strongly supporting Trump's plan of massive government spending paid for with deficit spending. It's right out of the Krugman play book. /sarcasm

I think he did in his column just recently. Highlighted it as the only thing that makes sense in his entire platform, which of course has the Republicans finally turning on him.

It's right out of the Reagan and GW Bush economic strategy book.

Deficits don't matter.

Every single President back to Ike.

#5...Good news for Kosher shops unless people really want to pay that tax.

A tax on burritos and tacos could pay for the Wall.

There aren't going to be any kosher shops to buy halal meat from because there are not going to be any Jews in France in 10 years.

It is actually more likely that, in 10 years, the percentage of people in France who are publicly willing to say anything bad about kosher shops will be approximately the same percentage as the number of people in France in 1955 who were publicly willing to say that sure, they supported the servile Petain back in the early 40s.

It is not easy to go through a military career (mine was 20 years - active duty until the Clinton years, inactive for 8 years, active for the rest of the 20 after the election of Bush over Clinton's minion from that DC hotel) without making major mistakes. Many of the most spectacularly heart-breaking dreams that any of us humans have ever experienced must have been the dreams that the elderly servile Petain dreamed, in which it was again a year before the calamitous year of 1914, and he was again a newly commissioned officer, and the other actors in the dreamscape flatteringly spoke to him of the bravery he would always show - absent very unfortunate circumstances - to match his newly commissioned uniforms and the promise of bravery he must, at many points in his life, have felt sure he would be enough of a man to never fail to stand up for. I respect the young Petain; like me he wanted to stay true to his youthful hopes of a lifetime of bravery. The elder Petain was what he was, and the old man dreams he dreamt at night were beautiful, and no matter what he may have done to disgrace himself, none of us should rejoice at the utter dejection and disgust he must have felt upon waking from those dreams. Anyway, the point of this little prose-poem of a comment is to make one wonder what the dreams of Petain must have been, in the years after he made an indecent and unempathetic mistake that many of us could have made, no matter how brave, in those evil circumstances. God help us all.

A tax on halal food could finance free air tickets and generous resettlement grants for muslim immigrants willing to go home and not come back. When the ex-immigrants return to their homes they will find plenty of mosques waiting for them there.

3.3 "HRC and Haiti".

Some real interesting parts, especially on their president Michel Martelly. Did the US really force his appointment, or was that one of those international consensual errors like WMD and Erdogan?

They mention Chelsea Clinton's email and I clicked through-- wow! Good diagnosis, good report and strong self-criticism for one so young. Sad to see early onset of political caginess ("invisible soldier"? Why not loud critic?), but it's a quibble. Also enjoyed her interview with Laurer where she levely fought off his deranged Trump hatred with skill and class. Good for her and her parents.

1. A couple of criticisms:

First, capital is labor cost. It is idiocy to buy "capital" for a price higher than the labor cost of creating a substitute equal or better in a "free market". Apple products are not in a free market, but in a highly government protected set of monopolies. Thus if you want an iPhone you must pay a high economic profit to Apple which wastes your resources, the wages from your labor capital and labor time, on productivity reducing consumption.

Second, Wikipedia is capital created primarily by human capital and human labor at a price of zero in order to provide knowledge capital services at a price of zero. As you claim value equals price and price equals value, to be consistent, you must argue Wikipedia has zero value. And given it has destroyed the market in encyclopedias and destroyed the jobs of door to door salesmen, destroyed the jobs of book printers, and destroyed the jobs of writers and editors whose productivity increased with technology in the number of new pages per year sold in larger numbers per year for centuries, ie, with higher productivity measured in wages, dollars per hour, per pages sold, Wikipedia has slashed productivity. Britannica still exists but it is far less productive, with a small fraction of the revenue and thus a fraction of the investment which limits innovation, even after slashing marginal cost to the labor cost of what today is a small amount of capital compared to the computer systems and network of Wikipedia.

Only if you impute a price of say $50 or why not $500 per hour on each hour of free labor and then impute a price on each query based on 5 times the imputed labor cost of the knowledge capital spread over all queries do you capture in that 80% profit margin the massive boost in productivity of Wikipedia.

On the other hand, you ignore the massive labor investment in capital in China. China has mandated real short term partnerships with Western corporations where China will build factories to replace US and EU factories that are better than their previous factories on the condition the Chinese workers get to understand what they are building. In effect, China supplies the labor to build capital and global corporations provide knowledge capital, and then China will product stuff in the finest, most innovative factories in the world, for the global corporations. But now china's workers will build new even better factories to produce more of the factories built by global corporations.

From the global corporation standpoint, there has been no slow down in innovation because the global rate of investment has not slowed, and might even have increased.

It is Chinese government policy to grow and innovate and grow by innovation.

In high speed rail, China partnered with several global corporations on all aspects of the system, and then improved on everyone of them. China increased the degree of prefab on rail far beyond what has been done elsewhere, and has offered to increase productivity of building hsr lines in the Americas for a price, and has proposed they be allowed to build rail all the way to Africa and then build an African rail system.

China has gained this by paying lots of labor costs, which is consistent with the party mandate to increase China's aggregate labor costs enough to raise everyone out of poverty to grow gdp by demand to twice, then three times, then more than four times US gdp.

And China will be doing so much investing they will be the global leader in innovation because each new factory or construction job or product needs to be just slightly better than the last.

Meanwhile, the price of decaying US bridges is going up as the commerce depending on them increases, but the productivity is falling because higher price does not mean more trucks passing, and only when the bridge falls into the river will innovation be possible. Contrary to Tyler's claim, great innovative bridges can be built in the US real fast, on one condition: someone pays workers to build it.

Unless Tyler is willing to tell the contractor he hires, tear down the entire house and re-landscape when his house needs a new roof, his new roof will take a lot longer and cost more and probably be not as good as putting a roof on a new building. That's why bridges and the Big Dig take a lot of labor. It would have been a lot faster and cheaper to improve traffic if a couple hundred acres of Boston had been razed, and Disneyland recreated historic Boston for the tourist, as long as all the old stuff had been priced at "its centuries old so it's worthless".

China hasn't been paying a lot of labor costs.

Household consumption is a low percentage of China's GDP has been low/falling for many years.

3.2 Friedman:

Is this not mood affiliation on Tyler's part? He favors center-right economics, so he wants to believe that Clinton would be best served by moving to those policy positions?

One thing we know about center-right voters: They have been remarkably inelastic in their voting preference, given the plethora of gaffes coming from the Trump campaign, as well as his well-known lack of specific policy positions. If these voters seemingly do not care about specific policies and seem to be mostly backing Trump regardless, why would a policy shift help Clinton win?

In normal elections, the argument is to move to the center, when you face much tougher opponents who are less obviously unqualified.

In this election, when it's clear that Trump is grossly unqualified and so bad that even parts of his own party are saying they won't vote for him, the argument is... do the same thing as before? It seems that no matter the situation, the answer is always to move to the right on economic issues. And that sort of thinking bears a striking resemblance to mood affiliation to me.

"Is this not mood affiliation on Tyler’s part? He favors center-right economics, so he wants to believe that Clinton would be best served by moving to those policy positions?"

No, it's not mood affiliation on Tyler's part. He said: ", but she won’t do it." He's arguing that Hillary should adopt centrist-right policies, not that she will.

"He favors center-right economics, so he wants to believe that Clinton WOULD BE best served by moving to those policy positions?"

How is that mood affiliation? Mood affiliation is usually associated with ignoring the facts that don't agree with your world view and emphasizing the ones that do agree with it.

TF said: "With the right pro-growth economic policies, Clinton would have an opening to not only enlist them to help her win, but to build a governing coalition for the morning after."

That's hardly a controversial statement. He's simply stating that moving to the Center (much like Bill Clinton famously did) would help create a governing coalition.

Tyler agrees, but points out that She won't do it. Which is almost certainly true. Thomas Friedman may well be guilty of mood affiliation if he actually thinks Hillary Clinton would do such a thing, but Tyler clearly isn't.

Tyler's mood affiliation bias is that he agrees with Friedman. He thinks she _should_ do it. As opposed to advocating for a policy position that doesn't suit his own personal mood (the existential fear of an out-of-touch Washington intellectual that wants very badly to be praised and protected by the political class that puts food on his table).

Let's go back to what mood affiliation is--

Mood affiliation is sort of like confirmation bias-- it's about latching onto things which tend to confirm and conform to your core beliefs. In this case, it would be Tyler latching onto Friedman's view that Clinton should move to the right on economic issues. Whether Clinton does or doesn't adopt that proposed move is completely irrelevant.

OK, she should move more right because she's winning anyways. As it is, I doubt she'd even want to go much at all left, even if she could.

"OK, she should move more right because she’s winning anyways. "

Of course she should. She won't loose the Left at this point and she'll gain from the Center. But I agree with Tyler that Hillary Clinton won't move to the Center as far as Thomas Friedman suggests. That would put her where Bill Clinton sat and Hillary was always further to the Left than her husband.

I'm already going to win, ergo i should go in the opposite direction of what I want?

Aside from the fact that 50%+1 is just as good a victory as 55% or 60%, others have pointed to the fact that she might not actually want moderate Republicans to show up for the vote, because they'll vote her into the president's office with additional votes she doesn't need, while voting Republican in Congress, which would stuff up her legislative preferences.

"Of course she should. She won’t loose the Left at this point and she’ll gain from the Center."

Uh, I did very specifically lay out some thoughts in my original post about how a move to the center might lose her votes from the left while not gaining any votes from the center/right.

Are we just ignoring those?

Also, this is a very interesting position to take: your current strategy is winning, which indicates you should... change strategy?

she can and will lose the left (they'll stay home, rather than vote for her opponent) if she moves to the center.

As soon they smell a whiff of electoral defeat conservatives always appeal to the Democrats to go further right and be nice and bipartisan, but even a contested victory like GWB's leads them to proclaim the death of leftist or even centrist ideas, e.g. we got a 'mandate' for wars and tax cut for the rich and privatization of SS &c during the Bush Jr. era.

Idiot 'both sides do it' centrists like Friedman are only too quick to support this game..

"The Scottish accent’s incompatibility with modern speech recognition systems has been well documented." Dear God, when did Scotland get reduced to having only one accent? And why?


There's the problem. WhenIwasbutalad the local pronunciation was leev'n. As in ten, leev'n, twal ..... But then it started as yin, twy, thry, ......

Someone needs to do an anaslyis of what 3 months more of this election will do to us. I just had my first wave of pure dread, and the election seems far off in the distant future. Couldn't we move it up? I'm begging you.

Go to the mountains for a few days, catch some trout. It helps.

Read the reply #35,287 to Piketty´s hypothesis, this time from the IMF

If you are Clinton do you really need to rope these Republican voters into your tent? Why not let them stay home and sink the rest of the Republican ballot? If they vote for Clinton at the top of the ticket and then Republicans down the line none of these congressmen are going to be willing to work with her no matter what she campaigns on.

Paul Ryan is the person that has the opportunity. He could throw the tea party overboard and pass a bunch of stuff through the house with the Democrats and set himself up as the center right candidate for 2020.

21 months in jail for treason? This guy should never see daylight again.

A naturalized Chinese citizen is a spy? Huh, who would have guessed?

Why is a guy that fits that profile ever allowed to work for the FBI? That's idiotic.

Unless Israel says otherwise, obviously. I, for one, find it stupid to argue which traitor is worse or which racial background makes treason worse. I say, shoot them all. Shoot them and their families and let God sort them out.

#4 The one thing I notice her team has in common is they all think more government is the answer to every issue.

Never heard that one before.

Hold no brief for Trump. But Friedman -- re Hillary:

"She ignored it and stayed on her message. That’s what adults do".

No Tom (and Tyler) -- that's what sociopaths do. Especially the adults among them.


The Fishermen wi' courage high,

Seized on the Monkey for a spy,

"Hang him" says yen, says another,"He'll die!"

They did, and they hung the Monkey O!.

They tortor'd the Monkey till loud he did squeak

Says yen, "That's French," says another "it's Greek"

For the Fishermen had got drunky, O!

any claim that Thomas Friedman is correct about anything at all is evidence that you're overdue for a psych eval.

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