Well that’s embarrassing. Saw one guy from Ohio on a news show, saying that when pollsters came to his door or rang him up: “I lied.”

So nobody saw this coming. In a post this past Spring explaining the rise of Trump, i laid out the case of the disaffection, that general political malaise which Donald rode to a win, but i certainly didn’t think it would play to a majority in Pennsylvania or Michigan. The key to a Hillary win, in my eyes, was her +30 points among Hispanics, combined with a higher turnout among Hispanics, offsetting expected lower turnout among African-Americans, compared with 2012.

And that happened like i saw it. Hillary won Hispanics by +30, they did turn out higher, and it was enough to counter lower black votes. Only one talking head on tv Wednesday diagnosed the election correctly. Educated whites in the Rust Belt, Obama won by 16 points. This time, Hillary lost them by 10. The lone correct ‘splainer nailed the reason as a protest vote gone haywire. So many in MN, MI, WI, IA, OH and PA had been fed the line for months that their states were going to go to Hillary and she was obviously going to win, that they saw a vote for Trump not as wasted, but might be used as a protest vote, to let Hillary know that she was on thin ice, that she would have to be more attentive to Rust Belt whites when she got back to the White House.

Trump turned out all his voters, which includes the 2% of Americans who are in the nutjob conspiracy wing of the right, who are normally low-frequency voters because they’re sure the whole thing is rigged by the CFR or  Rothschilds or someone, maybe the lizard aliens. And he got the diehard Republicans, who just hate anything Clintonish for evah. And he got more than expected of casual Republicans, who just love to get out on Election Day and mingle, and they’d vote Trump just because they are there. But those constituencies are not enough in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan or Wisconsin, Iowa or Minnesota. Because cities exist.

The difference in the Rust Belt was whites who had gone for Barack, who didn’t like Hillary, but thought she was going to win. In that case, voting for Trump might be a protest to serve notice to Clinton that she better keep on her toes. For that voter, extending the red line all the way across the ballot looked like a good idea. Since Hillary was going to win, so they thought, a Republican congress would be a good check on her ambitions. That’s why Donald had coat-tails in the Upper Midwest, but not in Nevada or New Hampshire.

What i did not expect was that trend, the Rusty Protest Voter, was not offset by females across the political spectrum. We heard about catgrabbing, we heard about “pig” and “nasty” and we saw him tell Howard Stern that he barged in on 15-year old beauty pageant contestants in the dressing room because as the owner of the pageant “I kinda get away with that.” I expected that tape about Trump trying to bed a married woman, “I was after her hard, I went after her like a bitch” would turn social-conservative women away. It did not.

What i got wrong, was my assumption that women had more self respect. But, as the cosmetics and publishing industries have shown, nobody ever goes broke by underestimating women’s self respect.

After 2016

It’s 3 days until voting starts, or rather, until lines start forming to vote in the US. Early voting, mail-in ballots, absentee votes et cetera have been pouring in for weeks, but the tally won’t be done until November 8th. Despite the media’s glee at a race where they are now using words like “tightening” and “horserace” and even “toss up,” the real political animals know that the race was over last Spring.

But the media needs it to look closer because they die without viewers, so they’re playing up any glimmer for Trump. The rest of us know that there is no glimmer, but Trump voters are the most gullible section of American society, thus they are the most susceptible to stay glued to their screens large and small. But, just in case you are among the gullible, the rest of us need you to know, beforehand, that it was never close. It was never a horserace. It was a mule wandering onto a track and a racehorse whizzed by it. The mule said “Hey, what?”

There’s no problem with that. America needs her gullibles. We need people to read celebrity igs, and to eat a sandwich with 2000 mg of salt just because something in it was once “organic”. We need people who think a cocktail is better when chilled to -273º, just like we need people to do hilarious things on webvids. It’s a social contract. They provide services, and in return they get middle-class money and a right to vote. The only problem is that the gullibles are now being told that a mule really could have beaten a thoroughbred. And, since they’re gullible, they can tend to believe it.

Plenty of non-gullible people have been squawking about how much damage Trump would do to the US and to the international community, if he won. The real problem, however, is that he has already damaged the world and nation. Luckily he won’t do any more damage past mid-November, but unluckily, the damage already done will take years to clean up. The real problem is what to do with a few million gullible people in 2017, the people who really believed that mules could run.

“As God as my witness, I thought turkeys could fly.” –Arthur Carlson

One plan might be to shame them, to heckle Trump voters as “losers” and let your dog pee on lawn signs. Make sure that throughout November and December too, they can’t forget how gullible they were. But that would not work out like you think it would. Failure does not cure gullibility. Pestering former trumpites would only open a door in their souls, where an even nuttier idea can walk right in. Trump TV won’t need any help getting viewers.

Speaking of which, the most predictable thing about his new channel is that they will increase viewership by reporting stories about how current viewers are being persecuted. That’s an old, old story, and it always works on a portion of the population, no matter what century it is. Insert PT Barnum quote here, you know the one.

The other plan might be to shake hands with the trumpites you know, mumble something about Trump’s forthrightness, and say “She won’t be so bad, you’ll see. We’ve had worse, eh?” Accept the trumpites back into civil society, and we’ll lose fewer of them to the online wonderland of conspiracies. Shiny objects, and all that.

But there is a third option, for dealing with the losing side this time around. Deny everything. Deny anything happened. Don’t talk about the election at all, and when asked, just say “Oh, I’m glad that’s over, I was getting tired of the ads.” Act like it was no big deal, it happens every four years, w-ever. Tuesday? Oh yeah, but Wednesday is a favorite show. Or a recent liked restaurant has a twofer on Wednesdays. Any cover story you like, just deflect any suggestion that there was ever an election this year.

After a week of this, former trumpers will start to wonder what they were all worked up over. When everyone seems to be ok with whatever happened last week, and if volcanoes have not broken out all over the world on Wednesday November 9th, then maybe. Maybe they’ll insist that they’ll sit back and suffer for four years, but maybe they’ll have a wider view now. A step back and a fuller picture now: this is America and we do this every four years. We go a little nuts, so sue us. But afterwards we get back to work.

Every time a partisan’s candidate loses, they think it’s a cataclysm. Hound them and they’ll cabalize. Console them and they’ll think they were doing something good, and it went south only on a fluke. But if you pretend nothing ever happened, gullible people will start to believe that’s true too. No news here, move along folks. Look over there, a celebrity divorce!


That’s what to do about the grumpers, but what about the shambles left of the Republican party? Reince Priebus is obviously out of the top chair, it’s a miracle if he hangs on until Christmas. That’s when the real fun starts. The various factions which make up the rightwards coalition now, will all vie for control. If they had compatible aims, there would emerge a consensus faction. Trouble is, there are divergent aims among the rightward factions, which each now blames the others for thwarting.

Who is the rightward today? You have the fiscal conservatives who basically want lower taxes, and see smaller government as logical to get that. Then you have the christian conservatives who would appreciate having the government establish Christian Sharia Law, minus the headgear of course. Then there’s a farther right pocket who wants radical curtailing of federalism to parallel the literal Constitution. And another pocket which wants social programs ended, because black people exist. And others, you know, browns too, most of them fersure.

Sheesh, i know it hurts to say it, but the US still suffers from crappy ideas like that. But here’s the thing, when the south flipped from Democratic to Republican in the late 1900’s, the racists flipped too. Cause/effect, chicken/egg? You call it. The result is that most of America’s real dooshes are more comfortable with Republicans.

Trump didn’t ‘splain ’nuff to gain America’s confidence, but he will peel off one or two of those constituencies to the Trump TV Party. Obviously, the racist wing will be the first of them. The remainder of the Republican party will publicy be glad of the riddance, but internally will be surprised at the number of defections. Who else will switch to the Trump TV Party?

We know it won’t be the social conservatives, because of faith and perseverance and the conviction of conversion. The hard Constitutional fringe is likely to gravitate trumpwards, if only to have a home at last for such a politically nebulous collection. Will it be the fiscals to join Trump? If so, the Republican party splits wide open. It becomes the Trump Party and the God Party, in a threeway slaughter against the Democratic Party.

This fact is not lost on fiscal conservatives, and yet, they can no longer hitch their wagons to the christian wing, because the science of demographics exists. 2016 is the year that the christian right bloc loses power. Either they swallow hyssop and join Trump, or they accept a meek role as Republicans, or they go it alone. In any case, they become a free bloc and whoever they align with will have to become a coalition. The devil’s bargain, religious support is great in local races but a hindrance on larger scales. Again, those pesky demographics.

While all of this is going on, Hillary’s transition team will be massaging the media with gushing positivity. To the general observer it will look like the Republican party is changing were-something on a full moon. In a tragically hilarious completion of a small cycle, the Republicans in the House who have atrophied their muscle of compromise over the last eight years, will be unable to name a Speaker in 2017. That is, until one side asks for the help of the Democrats.

And that’s the flare over the ocean, thence the business wing of the Republican party defects. Just like in 1993, they go blue. The difference between now and 1993, is that there is no backstop. There won’t be a recognizable Republican party to return to. No Plan B. Other difference is that in 1993, there was no Twitter. Instead of being big news, the defection of the business bloc from red to blue will be a peppering of little news.

Trouble ‘Round Midnight Belgian White Ale

Trouble's 'Round Midnight Belgian White wheat ale
Trouble’s ‘Round Midnight Belgian White wheat ale

Another bit of Trouble, the mystery brewery without even a website mentioned on the package or cans. All we can tell is that this is a “Belgian White” at 5.4% alk and a “Belgian style wheat ale”. Had my first wheat beer in the 1980s and have tried a few more over the years, as a category they’re nice but i never got wowed enough to stick with ’em.

This one is hopped a bit more strongly than others, and it’s a classic white ale in color and effervescent behavior. The taste is not too bad, as normal for me with wheat beers, just not a freak for them. Admit that this one is good for its species, but can only give it a 5.6 because it’s not my bag.

Trouble Red Flag Amber

Trouble's RedFlag Amber Ale
Trouble’s RedFlag Amber Ale

More Trouble from the sampler 12, and remember how i called out the Much Info appearing on some beer packaging lately? Well this ain’t that. There isn’t a website, nor an address, not even a lousy phone number on this Pack Of Troubles, nor on the cans. This one is 4.5% alk, and it’s an amber ale, and that’s all we need to know.

Errr, no. We also need to know that this is brewed with honey, which was a fad about 20 years ago, but ran its course about 15 years ago. Not a fan of honey beer here, so this is not recommended for human consumption.

Rating it at 3.3 and enough said.

OMG, it’s the TPP

What the heck? Why are pols and pundits piling on the poo-poohs for TPP? The Trans-Pacific Partnership is not just another trade deal, it is a plan for America remaining in charge of the world for another century. They already call the 1900’s the American Century, and the TPP, if it survives inane banter by know-naughts, will do the same for the 2000’s. Hey, that’s two in a row. Not quite enough to be an “Era”, but two Centuries in a row is on the way to becoming a historical “Period”.

First of all, the TPP is not about trade. The TPP is about geopolitics, and it is a masterpiece of diplomacy. Took 10 years to hammer it all out, and don’t tell the other Partners this, but we got almost everything we were after as far as trade. So as a trade deal, TPP is pretty good. But its purpose is not to lower trade barriers. The purpose is not to enrich corporations and steal American jobs.

The purpose of the Trans-Pacific Partnership is to make China a democracy in 2030.

And it will work, if we’re smart enough to sign it. There are 15 converging reasons why this ploy will work, ranging from simple demographics to a couple fairly complex economic principles. And, it will need a few political nudges in the 2020’s and a handful of military moves too. The TPP is not a guarantee on its own, but with a few nudges, it is a Golden Ticket to a second American Century.

Who are we partnering with? Not China, not North Korea, not Russia. And not the 3rd world. We’re closing deals with the new second world, what Eastern Europe and South America were in the last century. In their eyes, access to the biggantiest market in the world is gonna make them rich. In their dreams, they can get so very rich, that someday they can move their family to America. Errrm, i’d say that’s exactly what we want.

But that’s just a side benefit. Hordes of nouveau riche with trunks of cash are nothing new to America. What the TPP does on a broader scale is let a collection of not-Chinas morph into a viable substitute for China. A wider manufacturing base in East Asia allows the United States to decisively win any trade-war with anyone, anywhere, not just China. Raising that manufacturing capacity from low-tech, to mid-tech and hi-tech, removes China’s single economic advantage: an enormous workforce kept very docile.

Non-China countries in East Asia nearly equal China in human weight. Better access to American markets will light an economic fire under them all. It’s prickly to say it aloud, but that means downward pressure on wages in China. In a repressive society, well, we should know by now that political forces are both more volatile and also more trenched. Even if political forces are universally crappy, it’s much better to have them out in the open than within a silent Central Committee. You just don’t see coups in mature democracies.

The TPP will make South Korea a fully modern, 1st World nation. They’re mostly the way there already. The effect that has on North Korea will be profound, and the effect North Korea’s coup has on China will be leviathan. What we’ll see in South East Asia is similar, the rise of a class of players who have more stake in economic integration than nationalism. Economy requires stable policy, and the mature democracies have proved, by now, that semi-autonomous economic policy, one that is halfway insulated from politics, yields exponential results.

When this happens in most of China’s neighbors, and the results start to become undeniable, well, there’s no way to harness a billion+ people who see greener grass over the fence. They’re gonna want greener grass. I know, China is historically predisposed to be ruled by an emperor, but they have at least had the farce of elections for decades. There is at least a system in place, to be co-opted when the first local counter-revolutions start.

All this, the TPP sets into motion. It’s the final nail in the 1800’s worldview, where nation states rattle gunboats and big eats small. Many opponents of TPP fear a broader reach of multinational corps and devaluation of American workers. Rather, the TPP boosts American know-how by opening more markets for our technical and cultural exports. The jobs may flow out in drips and drabs but the inflow of talent and treasure will ensure that America stays in charge of the world for the rest of the century.

TPP is not about trade. It is about lifting 1.3 billion people from the 1800’s into the 2000’s, although they will likely come kicking and screaming. No prob, d00d, that’s how America did it too. We’ll wait for you. The point is that TPP lets us do the screaming, and less kicking. Reliable elections and a semi-autonomous economic policy throw a wet blanket over punching people.

Abita Big Easy IPA

Abita's Big Easy IPA
Abita’s Big Easy IPA

Normally, you beware when a beer’s label says Easy Drinkin’ on it. But i bought it anyway, because it was on sale at $9 for six. These are the same people who make Purple Haze, a raspberry lager which has nice artwork on the carton but the concept sounds like an abomination. I’m sure it is, and never plan on buying it. The artwork on this one is much less infernally menacing, with a big river steamboat. Folks on the boat are dancing, someone brought their tuba, and i think i spotted the skeleton from the Purple Haze carton.

Again, the neat trend of Much Info on the bottom of the carton, listing the malts, the hops (4 kinds) and Abita even exposes what yeast they used. Bravo, bucko! And there’s more: the water source, style, color, IBUs (40 here), the alk (4.5%), and something called a Lovibond Rating, whatever the hell that is, this beer gets 7 Lovibonds.

And still more, there are 4 kinds of approved glassware and food pairings too. Fish (narrowed down to “most fish”) are suggested, and not one but four kinds of cheese: American, Havarti, MontyJack and Muenster. Really? American cheese? I thought American cheese these days was mostly made out of plastic with colorings and flavorings added. Meh, perhaps i’m wrong about American cheese, but i can’t see it paired with anything other than white bread and ketchup, maybe a slice of some indeterminate meat.

Not going to call this TMI because i like the trend, but one wonders if the next step is full recipes on the bottom of a beer carton? It is definitely a new world for beer.

As for the beer itself, there’s a light beer-body and medium-level hops, the quartet of cones used are perhaps muddying the overall flavor where a trio or duo could have been more effective. The label comes out and admits that they tossed lemon peels into the vat, and you can taste that, and it is good, but that also might be taking some of the precision off the edges of the hops.

Light alcohol, good citrusy taste even if it is a little forced, but it certainly does taste like it’d be good on a hot-hazy-humid day, which Louisiana is simply infested with. I can recommend this for human consumption, rate it at 7.0, and encourage you to give it a go. However, my food pairings would differ: basil/garlic chicken, broiled scallops, or gouda cheese. Skip the American cheese until we determine what it’s made out of.