Milk And Honey And Rockstar

Put the lie to the light, and it shrivels. A conspicuous one this century is that “America was founded as a Christian Nation.” No. That’s a lie. A convenient lie for those nutjobbers who want to float racist ‘identity’ in a rickety canoe of religion. Rather, the first few English colonies were founded as christian refuges, notably by heretics of the day.

But “America” was founded 160 years years later as an explicitly non religious nation. Part of the genius of the enlightened scions, aside from what is obvious crime today, the founding of the USA was a step forward for all humanity. Looks like a baby step from today’s 20/20 hindsight, how lucky are we to have a political system survive so long to have even a shred of it to stand upon, to look back?

We have to keep repeating it until everyone knows it by reflex: the USA is not a christian nation. By original design, it is not a racial Christian Identity nation. It was On Purpose that the US was not founded as an explicitly christian nation.

Reagan’s unholy reach-around with the evangelicals is finally bearing mis-shapen fruit which is unable to propagate itself without depleting the soil it grew up in. Most political movements only need simple manure, but this one now requires outright cheating to survive.

So it will pass. Trouble is, that the nebulous feelgoods of the left are not going to succeed as a replacement. The religious hotheads in today’s America are certain what they want, and although that agenda is anathema to diversity and tolerance, good old D & T are not as eye-catching. You can’t rally behind them. Slogans don’t work: “I Will Accept Only Tolerance!!” Uhhh, what? “There Is No Room For Non-Diversity!!” Riiiight, ok nutso.

And yet, we see it all around us every day, religious hardliners increasingly lusting after political power. Leave the web of beliefs intact but incrementally marginalize it, if you want it to blow up into extremism. This happened last century: petrol multinats used dictators to marginalize islam, and it blew up into a festoon of jackassery. Here and today, there must be a new chord of christianity to accompany the fading of the previous note.

A more productive way, the forward thinking way, would be to cobble together a perfectly reasonable flavor of christianity via synods of perfectly reasonable widely respected church leaders. This is the perfect way to fail utterly. Making a new religion by consulting experts is exactly the right way to make it fall flat on its face, and waste a buttload of money meanwhile.

No, the next religions have to rise organically. And they will. The brightest billboard from the last two communication revolutions, glaring now in our 20/20 rearview mirror, is the profound changes they brought to religion. Writing collapsed polytheism in to mono-. Printing dropped the god –> community relationship down to god <–> me. Obviously, the primary social effect of our current communications revolution will be to rebalance reality and mysticism.

Nobody can stop the new religions, not even a vestigial Asian communist party which can force both Hollywood and the NBA to drop balls. Certainly not a vestigial communist party which has no qualms averse whacking a rival don at mass. Chicago had a Ness, the Big Apple had a Giuliani (wince), so one prelate in St Petersburg with the balls of Thomas Beckett could change that nation more, and faster, than Gorbachev. If only he’d have the balls to die for it… but isn’t that kinda what christianity was all about in the first place?

Replacements are coming, for christianity, for islam, for hinduism, for buddhism, and for liberalism and for conservatism too. There will be dozens of them. Hundreds. But, if history is a teacher, only a handful of them will survive to grow. I predict that none of those will preach: “it’s OK to poison your political rivals and their daughters with polonium.” That strain of evil thought will persist in the dark dreary NrChans of the future, but it’s going to be wiped out from the global mainstream.

How can we be sure? Because the new religions are going to be “new”. Thus all the converts will be new converts. And we all know what that means: zealots. New belief is always the strongest. Born Again sometimes lasts a lifetime, but newborn life is the strongest.

Can’t tell you where the new religions will rise from, the new communication regime makes Zaire just as likely as Zurich or Zanzibar. Can’t say which blends of god/person/science will make it past their first year. No idea what role sex will play in the final handful, nor how that topic will mutate between the prophetic phase and the pontifical phase. Only thing we can see for sure now, is that there will be a lot of them to begin with and we’ll get a spate of miniature crusades while the field winnows itself down. Pity that, but we are just monkeys after all. Messy critters who find inexplicable mirth in poo.


Hiatus, mostly result of astonishment. It’s taken this long to figure out what happened in November 2016. The Electoral College is supposed to exist for one reason only: to put a very important decision in the hands of people who are more involved in the political process than your average snapstagram feeder.

The fear of the Founders and Framers was that direct executive election could open the door to a huckster concentrating on only a few of the 13 original States: Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Thus the will of the majority of the States could be subverted. So they designed the Electoral College, to crutch on the fact that every state has 2 Senators, and thus at least 3 members of Congress, so 3 Electoral votes.

The theory behind this says that natural cultural variations between the Various States would lessen the chance that the whole republic could be duped by one faction at the same time. And the founders tried to reinforce this regional approach to the republic by giving tiny Delaware and Rhode Island equal representation. That was a good solution 230 years ago. But now the Electoral College has proved its worth, and technology has caught up to the goal of counting every citizen’s vote quickly, nationally rather than regionally. 230 years ago, things moved as fast as a horse.

The last gulp of the Reagan Republican Inversion from north to south finally took place in 2010, with a Tea Party midterm just as Census results came in. A Gerrymander here, reduce polling stations there, and now you have a Red Wall. But now it’s a Wall built on controlling local politics to manipulate voting patterns, not on the somewhat more natural political theories, like tailoring the local message to the local demographics.

The Red Wall couldn’t stand against African-American turnout in 2012, on a key-state level, but golldurned if it didn’t entrench a wider base in statehouses and state mansions. The Blue Wall had been built by Big Labor, but that’s inexorably hollowed out by the Rust Belt over the decades. So we’ve got this now. 20 months in, and it’s a verified circus.

The problem isn’t nutty conspiracy theories becoming public policy, it’s the ADHD in the middle. Buoyed by a decades-long procession of listeners, after some decades of frustration about never being taken seriously. The most-recent F2F with a person becomes the current truth, but it only lasts until another agreeable person drops by to talk. After a while, supplicants keen onto the fact that sensationalizing brings results. Root of all nepotism is paranoia, sometimes a difficult combination with Oh look, there’s a spider monkey riding a sheep, haw!

Look, if you want to make America a better place, volunteer time to projects that educate African-American women. That’s really the bottom line. Women hold the power in African-American families now, and the smarter they are, the better they can wield that power. But if your vision is broader, then the best thing you can do for the whole of humanity, is to work for educating women in Africa itself.

The whole complement of African-descended women has been ill-served by humankind as a whole, starting with stealing their men for a few centuries, on to colonial repression, then on through another century of laws designed to keep African families unstable whether in Africa or abroad.

Actually, there are already people doing that work, and more would like to, they just don’t have the money to put everyone to work who wants to work, for the education of women in Africa. If you got a job or a family or a caregiver situation that prevents you from going to Africa and helping to educate women, you can still give money to people who are doing that work.

In a broad sense, education of women in sub-Saharan Africa is the fulcrum upon which rests the future history of the 2000’s century. Yes, the military history is shaping up to be Asia versus Europe and the Americas, again, but that will be decided by the resources of Africa if it’s a cold war, or by the geography of Africa if it’s a hot war.

One thing to consider: if you fight a war for small reasons, then even if you win your war, your world is the same small place. The only way to make your own world larger is to line up behind a larger reason. Educating African women, whether diasporated or not, is the second-last step in lifting all of humanity up the next rung.


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.

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.

Citizens United Killed The GOP

It’s just hilarious how things always even out. If you were all worried about the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case, about unlimited and anonymous money allowed into political election campaigns, you most likely are a liberal or libertarian. Richer people skew conservative these days, so the left side of the aisle thought they’d have more to fear from the Citizens United decision. And they did, it’s true that most of the anonymous money so far has gone to help conservatives.

The height of irony in this caper approaches humor, because unfettering the purses of the wealthy is crippling the Republican party and leaving the Democrats unaffected. Think about the right-leaning wealthy. Who are they? They are mainly business leaders who have big offices in tall buildings. More importantly, how did they get there? Because they’re go-getters, dealmakers and tough competitors, sometimes called Type-A personalities. This sort of person does great at their own business, but tends toward difficulty when working with equals. It’s the nature of the breed.

Already rich and in a leadership role at work, thus accustomed to having people obey them, the newest “donor class” is today the most able to influence politics. Yet at the same time they are uniquely unsuited to coordinate their efforts. Hilarious. So far, the biggest effect of the Citizens United decision has been to fracture the political right wing. Made it larger, yes, but at the price of potency.

A large influx of money has gone to party primaries on the Republican side, something we don’t see happening in Democratic primaries. Add to this another side fact: 2010 was a census year and coincided with a conservative resurgence in state elections. Thus, many states where the census results forced re-drawing the lines for electoral districts did so in a way which ensures conservatives will win until at least 2022. But making those seats in Congress more reliably red has had unintended consequences. As long as it’s going to go Republican as drawn, and if there’s an open fire hydrant of money, now the electoral district’s primary becomes much more important than the general election, and Democrats can’t vote in most Republican primaries. We have a closed loop, often called a ‘feedback loop’.

The outcome is to elevate several people to Congress from state legislatures, in states with a 1-party government, where there is no opportunity to ever learn how to compromise with a political opposition. They’re called the Freedom Caucus in the House, about 50 strong, and they have paralysed the whole of Congress. And they are the direct result of the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court.

The threat of a well-funded primary challenge has cowed a hundred otherwise reasonable Republicans into positions farther rightward than they’d like, simply because their district has been redrawn to always come up red when the coin is flipped every two years.

The other 80 Republican Housemembers support the more centrist national party leadership, because they’re from “blue” states where more extremely conservative positions could flip their seat. And they’re from states where the 2010 redistricting was done via 2-party compromise, so there’s less chance of a strong ideologue getting elected, either from the left or right.

The lesson is an old one: be careful what you wish for. The US Constitution is a very finely crafted thing, and if you try to nail one edge down to your favor, another one will pop up in your face. But that doesn’t stop people from trying.

It’s only natural. More money gets put into safe-seat primaries from donors on one political wing, then the more disjointed that wing becomes. Hilarious.

The Rest Of The 2016 Presidential Race

By now, we can see what’s taking shape. In late April of 2016, we’re headed into what giddy pundits call “Super Tuesday” for a third time, this one on April 26th. Hardly super, but includes Pennsylvania so that’s nifty. Big deal. No further primary elections matter.

On the Red side, the whalloping Trump did in New York was catastrophic to Cruz, as predicted here last month. We still have Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Jersey to come. Trump’s backyard and garage, Cruz is guaranteed to show 3rd in these. Maryland and Delaware are no friend to Cruz either, his “ownership” of the 2013 gov’t shutdown is recalled bitterly by the people of Maryland. Delaware… not many delegates, but the main biz of the state is right up Trump’s alley, so i expect a highly sympathetic electorate.

On the Blue side, mirroring closely, the whallop of the girl over the boy in New York has mathematically ended his chances. Again, as described here earlier, Bernieboy will not quit. He is not in it to win, never has been. He’s in it to go down in history, as the guy who made it possible to elect a socialist president in 2028.

From here on out, we should see the end of debates, and was surprised that there was a final one in Brooklyn last week. Neither frontrunner needs the bickering, since the nominations are locked. But many still don’t see that, so expect to see political money in May abandoning downballot races and flocking to the top in a desperate gambit to deny one or the other candidate a lock.

The idea of a 3rd-ballot moderate emerging at the Republican Convention in Cleveland is a fucking farce. Both major camps of delegates will be conservative extremists, 40% from the Tea Party and 40% from the evangy wing. Ohmygod, they’re going to need splatter shields, even before someone tries to deny Trump the nomination. With this balance of internecine animosity, unique in American politics this century, the Rules Committee will be paralyzed. Expect fantastic antics from the Platform Committee too, as it tries to stave off it’s own obsolescence.

The GOP convention will be hilarious. Scheduled from July 18th to the 21st, but wouldn’t be surprised if it ran to the 23rd. The “old hands” and half the “rising stars” will have power ripped from them, both behind the curtain and on the floor. And truly, as the Candidate Who Must Not Be Named once said, if they deny him the nomination, it’ll be a freakin’ riot. Whatever happens, Reince Priebus is doomed, and after seeing his evolving broadcast persona throughout April, i think he knows it too. The only meaningful thing Reince can do now, is to hire Hell’s Angels for convention security.

In a genius stroke of luck, the Democrats scheduled their convention for 1 week later, July 25-28 in Philadelphia. If it had been before the GOP swapmeet, the Dems would be in a real bind about who to nominate as Vice President, not knowing who the top of the Republican ticket was. If it’s Trump-Carson, then Clinton-Warren might be best. If it’s Kasich-Fiorina then maybe Clinton-Biden has a better chance. Whatever it is from the Republicans, the Democrats have an extra week to mull it over this year.

On towards the Autumn, expect four debates. If it’s Trump as expected, debating him 1-on-1 is much easier than on a 4-person stage. Trump is a mimic on stage, an empath. That’s what makes his stump speeches sound genuine. In a debate, if you treat him civil, you get a civil and reasonable Trump. Debate him hard, and you let out the hard Trump. He’s not particularly eloquent, but chatty and with good timing. The formula for beating him in a debate is easy: chalk it up, don’t talk it up.

Trot out facts and policies and leave them hanging. Whichever ones Donald picks up to contest, his counterpoint will fall flat with the political middle. After a few hours of such debate, it will be painfully obvious which candidate is prepared for the job and which one needs big hands to stroke a big ego. No kidding, halfway through the second debate, Americans will be a fuckofalot more comfortable with Hillary as president. Like magic, in early October, Merritt Garland is confirmed to the Supreme Court. Wow, is Mitch McConnell a dick or what.

The most meta-interesting thing this cycle is that Hispanics will finally become the political force they might have been. Trump’s rise has been on the backs of denigrated Hispanics, so you’ll see a spike in registration in that group. If it’s Clinton-Castro in the general election, the Dems get a 20-year honeymoon with the entire Hispanic-origin population, flipping New Mexico, Nevada, Texas and Colorado to the blue side.

The Rise Of Trump

The problem with political punditry is insularity. You can cliche that to read “beltway”, and perhaps rationalize your favorite pundit’s continuing integrity because his or her show broadcasts from somewhere outside Washington DC. Instead, there is a lockstep between the larger a pundit’s voice gets and their degree of access to sitting politicians and political professionals. A natural, symbiotic relationship. Flipside is that political pros begin to rely more on pundits for feedback as the relationships grow closer.

Take a second and digest that, because it’s the kernel of the rise of Donald Trump in 2016.

There are three kinds of US citizens. One part of the citizenry votes. One part of the citizenry could, but does not vote. And the third portion is people who can’t, or wouldn’t if they could. Some sociologist might quantify the divisions listed here in percentages or octiles, but i’m not smart enough to do that, and not dumb enough to try.

The problem with pundits is that the better they get, the more time they spend with people in the first group. If you surround yourself with habitual voters, then eventually, you start to think that people who don’t vote don’t matter. Not a right-wing or left-wing issue, simply a natural tendency of tweeters who are interested in the same thing to flock together, even if they disagree on that thing.

The failure of this organic gaggle to foresee Trump’s resiliency is thus very explainable and totally understandable. Predictable, even. Neither half of the pundit class “saw him coming”, because the more you think about politics, the more you think about politics. Ground games with turnout machines can mobilize occasional voters, but the more politically active a person is, the less they think about habitual non-voters.

Being no pundit nor donor, i’ve had innumerable chats with people who work hard every day. Once in a while someone will express a political viewpoint, and about 2 in 10 say they vote. But the one viewpoint most common is that same refrain: “Politicians are all the same, so I don’t bother.” This has been going on for 40 years, to my ears. Four decades of people disengaged from politics because both parties agree on only one thing: a stable 2-party system where they are guaranteed to be those two parties, forever.

Ask any polling company. They all have heard it a (literal) million times. People who could vote but don’t all say the same thing: Politicians are all the same so why bother? The amazing thing is not Trump’s rise, but that no pollster nor strategist nor pundit came up with a way to qualify and enroll this widespread political meme before 2015. Both political establishments have been swinging with their eyes closed for 40 years.

It was the None Of The Above movement of the 1970’s. It was the Perot candidacies in the 1990’s. And now it’s Trump. It keeps coming back, and one effect of the internet on political discourse is that it grows the size of the pundit class, but the increase is only among the people who were already in the world of habitual voters. They kept telling themselves that it couldn’t happen, that normal people would know better in the end. Trump must eventually fail, they thought, because all the people they know are smarter than that.

And that’s the point, there’s the kernel of Donald Trump’s rise. All the people who converse back and forth about politics and vote regularly, are on the same migratory path over the political landscape, just in different directions. The dry land they fly over sprouts green every 20 years it seems, an interval just long enough for politicos focused on the future, to forget the present.

Since wonks and bloggers didn’t take Trump seriously last Summer, neither did the GOP establishment. They’re the only ones who could have tackled him early on. It was a false sense of security, because everyone the pundits talk to are party people, and the party people only talk to pundits. And reporters, but only when they have to. Insularity is fatal in politics.

If anyone in either the Democratic party or Republican party tried to truly remake their wing into a populist organization over the last 40 years, they have been squelched, absorbed or squandered. The people who have watched this happen are the habitual “it doesn’t matter” non-voters. Perot voters were “it might matter” voters. They ended up with Bill Clinton. Reagan voters were “it matters” voters, but they ended up with his crazy-quilt cabinet of bickering hardliners.

Trump voters are “this is the last time it might ever matter” voters. The central idea is that both national parties have left this segment uncatered, by dragging down campaign finance reform, delaying ethics investigations, and refusing term limits. And now the bickering. For six years now, the bickering. The Trump voter sees the bickering and 6 years of constant crisis mode in Congress, and sees what he/she always saw, only now it’s come to the point of paralyzing the whole country.

Hahah, and now magically, as if it wasn’t the standard 20 years since Perot’s time, there appears a candidate who claims to know how to put everything back together again. Perot had substance but not much style. Trump comes at it from another way. But they both tapped into the same group of “it doesn’t matter” people, the could-but-don’t voters. Perot got 30% of the total vote. The difference between Perot and Trump is that Perot poached 30% fair and square, and Trump will start out with a dedicated 30% who just hate Hillary’ guts, no matter what color the sky is.

A person might define politics as not the study of actions, but the timing of reactions. A confluence of factors has paralyzed Congress, making Trump’s rise all but inevitable. If it wasn’t him, it would have been someone else. And if it was someone else, the parade of political punditry would have missed him or her as well.

March 15th 2016: The Day We Elected Hillary Clinton

And there you have it, the day American politics changed forever: March 15th, 2016. Obviously i’ve been saying this for some time now, but did not know the exact date it would fall on. The Ides of March indeed!

It can be seen in the speeches made by the four remaining Republican candidates on this day, combined with some easy delegate math, and a bit of not-too-hard scrying. First, the speeches on the evening of this “Mini Super” Tuesday:

Rubio: Still the fidgety characteristics which killed him in the debates. Not sure why people in the early stages of this election cycle called him a master debater, but he… oh, OK, now i get it. Ooops. But any way, the stakes seemed too high for him, his flan is half-baked. In style, he kept missing lines and stumbling over expected applause lines. In substance, it was a glowing Shining City speech, and he dangled his resume out there, since he’s not running to keep his Senate seat this year. Prediction: he replaces Reince Priebus, and his seat goes blue.

Kasich: Humble plus defiant equals respect. Genuine and heartfelt, a good speech from someone who doesn’t miss his lines very much. Keeps the persona going, as a manager who can get the best out of people, and winning at home might just drag out some funding in a post-Marco field. Plus, he ripped his jacket open like he was going all Superman on us. He’s the guy everyone wants to win, and this somewhat rambling speech could just start the money faucet running. Rambling is not bad if it’s homespun, only if it’s nutty.

Cruz: One thing Rubio and Kasich did, was to place teenaged daughters in the camera frame. Instead, Cruz chose his Texas campaign manager. Oh boy, that was a mistake. The looks on that guy’s face face flashed so quickly between different shades of worry, and mind you this is the campaign director in a state where Cruz already won the primary. Out of the gate, Cruz said “Tonight was a good night.” His hometown guy should not be bugging out that bad, if it was good night. Yikes, he just lost 4 of the country’s 12 biggest states, and three of them are 21st-century battlegrounds.

The outward appearance of the speech is summed up by one thing: Cruz had more collar than neck. He has a way of bobbing his head like a turtle when he speaks, and his collar was already starched too high for his actual neck to reach it even when he was not hunched over. Combined with Cruz’s flawlessly soul-less delivery, this made Ted look like a Munster, though not sure which one. Lurch or Eddie maybe, but there’s some Fester in the cadence of his speeches.

The gist of Cruz’s speech was “Hey, I’m what you got left.” Was sad to hear him try to make Nancy roll over by stealing her husband’s “morning in America” line, and even sadder that he mentioned his endorsement by Senator Lee of Utah. Mike Lee is the only one. Cruz works with 99 other Senators, and he’s the last Senator in the race, but the other 98 are so disgusted by Cruz that they won’t touch him. Today, even the far-far right wingnut Senator from Oklahoma, James Inhofe, endorsed Kasich. Yikes, Inhofe may be the only Senator further to the right of Cruz. If he’s going for the remaining moderate in the race, you know Ted’s co-workers despise him something terrible.

Trump: What else can it be but: terrific, really, terrific these people, and more great things, you know, greatest things, really ever, God bless you, Good night.

As things stand now, the primaries are over. Hillary has a 2-to-1 lead over Bernie with 49.9% of the races over, meaning that he’d have to beat her 67-to-33 in all the remaining Democratic primaries. Ain’t happening, so Hillary is our Blue candidate. But Bernie will go the distance. He’s having a ball, and sees his race now as a chance to give America its Socialism 101 lesson. The internet money keeps rolling in, so Sanders can keep jetting around the country, so he will.

It’s not about winning, it’s about the crusade for Bernie now. In his mind, he is now fulfilling his life’s pinnacle purpose: to re-introduce modern America to socialism, after 80 years in the doghouse. For the first time since the end of the Cold War it is now possible to separate socialism from communism in the minds of Americans, and Sanders wants to go down in history as the guy to do that. So he will.

On the Red side, about $200 million has been spent so far, and $180 million of that went down a rabbit hole (most recently the $20 million spent to deny Trump a win in Florida… where he won 66 of the 67 counties). With Rubio gone, the remaining non-Trumpers are STILL fracturing, some holding their noses and backing Cruz, and others plumping up Kasich’s bid for a brokered convention. Trump has a little over 50% of the delegates he needs to reign at the convention, with a little less than half of the primaries to go.

Trump is right on pace for 1237 delegates, as long as the opposition remains fractured, and it looks like it is. A couple meetings later this week, one in Florida and one in Washington DC, are planned to do an autopsy on that wasted $20 million and decide where the anti-Trumpers go from here. Rich donors are meeting in Florida and party “strategists” are meeting in the nation’s capital. The hilarious thing is that there are TWO meetings, virtually guaranteeing that the ensuing non-Trump efforts will be disconnected and, thus, both fail. Anything they decide (separately) will be too late for the round of primaries on Tuesday March 22nd, and judging by their ineffectiveness so far, will fail to tilt anything on the farther group of primaries on the following Saturday, March 26th.

It bears repeating that this is why i do not fear the rise of an oligarchy to power in the United States. Rhetoric from libertarians on the right and socialists on the left notwithstanding, the conspiracy theories almost never prove true. A basic fact of human nature ensures this: rich and powerful people are “type A” personalities, which makes them particularly unsuited to cooperate. This has turned the famous Citizens United decision by the highest court (allowing unlimited political donations) into a disaster for the Republicans. Various competing billionaires have carved up the right wing into political baronies by pouring unprecedented cash into GOP primaries. Predictable results.

Like i said, Trump is on a pace for the necessary 1237 delegates, since primaries in New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York are all coming up. He will flatten Cruz here… in Trump’s own house, his front yard, his back yard and garage. Rubio was the best competition in Virginia, where Cruz wilted… and the Maryland and Delaware primaries are coming up soon too. That’s six more Trump wins, and the only remaining elephant, California, is unlikely to be Cruz Country. This state elected The Arnold, it will nominate The Donald.

The only possible unknown at this point (March 16th 2016), is how much Kasich can be inflated by endorsements and big money donors between now and June 7th (the California primary). If the Ohio governor can surge in April and May, then it’s possible that Trump will not have 1237 by the convention (and neither will anyone else).

But i’ll tell you what: if Trump gets to the Cleveland convention with 1225 pledged delegates and doesn’t get the nomination, then it’s completely curtains for the Republican Party. Trump takes his marbles and goes home, endorses Hillary, and she’ll get a Reagan-esque landslide, maybe as many as 240 in the Electoral College. The newly politicized Trump army will stay home, just like they always have in the 3 decades before Trump. Not only that, but they’ll be bitter about it. They are Trump’s marbles, not the GOP’s, and if he takes them out of play, they’ll stay out of play.

In this scenario, the Senate flips Blue, as blue as in 2008. And the House might still be in Republican hands in 2017, maybe not, but at best with a 5-seat Republican edge. Even if the House stays red, they will not be able to govern, so fractured that only legislation by acclamation will be possible. And a lot more people will be bitter about that too. Finally, the point will get through to the political middle that Republicans are incapable of governing as long as they’re wedded to the twin political fringes of social recidivism and fiscal rigidity.

On the other hand, if Trump does get the GOP nod, the entire political middle goes Democrat, turnout among minorities skyrockets (new registrations among Hispanics doubles their segment), and we have the same results as above: Clinton landslide and a blue Senate, though Republicans are less likely to hold the House, a House they still can’t do anything with if they did. In either case, the Republican Party is left in a shambles (at best), or splits into two parties (more likely). It gets even worse for them in 2020, but that’s an essay for another day.

The American Right Is About To Fracture

Holy pignuts, Batman! I wrote this in July of 2015, and gawldarned if it doesn’t look like prophecy, now in February of 2016. No really, holy crap, this looks like it’s all coming true as we watch. I re-read this over again twice, and it’s just freaky, how right i was 8 months ago…

“Christie’s in, and Rick Snyder’s just about to put his right leg in and do the 2016 Republican party nomination hokey pokey. With Trump running interference, the last possible candidates took their chance to jump in. There really are no others left. There’s Palin, but it’s a zero percent chance she’ll get in. She knows that she’s not smart enough. Give her credit for that.

It’s finally gut-check time for moderate Republicans. They only have one chance left to win the White House before the political right fractures. If they push Jeb to the top of the heap but lose again, they lose control of the GOP. Even though it’s got nothing to do with conservatism, but only that the country can accept a second Clinton before a third Bush. It might only be that simple if Jeb loses. But the farther-right wing gains control of the party and the moderates will never get it back. Cue the exodus, with the right splitting into a nationalist GOP and the other half being a social-middle/fiscal-right, bloc, now homeless.

It’s a gut-check for the moderates, the “establishment Republicans,” because this country is going to elect its first female president. We’ve never had a female politician with a list of qualifications like this one has. No Republican can win. Seems like a paradox, but the only way for the moderate wing of the GOP, the business wing, to hang onto the party is to step aside this cycle. Act happy with whoever wins the nomination, as long as it’s a far-right guy with plenty of inflammatory stump-speech baggage.

If the Republican nominee for 2016 is a moderate who Clinton edges out, then the political right fractures. If the nominee is a social conservative who goes down in spectacular defeat, then the right survives as an entity. Weak and confused, but a single entity. The central idea here is that, no matter what happens, there will be a major putsch in the GOP in December of 2016. If Hillary does not become incapacitated between now and the election, she wins. The only question now, is whether the GOP putsch in December 2016 will oust the moderates or the christian right.

We know what the mantra will be if Jeb loses: “He wasn’t conservative enough.” We’ve heard that for 8 years, and it doubled Fox News’s viewership. Thus, putsch. And we know what the “conventional wisdom” will be if Santorum loses: “He was too far right of the country.” Also thus, a putsch, but it will look less like a putsch from the outside. The view will spread, that arguing social issues will lead to national irrelevancy for the entire political right. They’d be left with only that big “L” across the USA: the middle stripe from North Dakota to Texas then eastwards across the Old South.

What happens when one faction is ousted? That depends on the faction. A newly-defeated moderate wing would almost certainly form its own party after expulsion, socially-centrist and fiscally-sensible, and would quickly become the second party in a 3-party system. But it would be a long struggle in certain states, ensuring a generation of Democrat dominance in national politics. The new GOP would be very difficult to dislodge in places where Republican Statehouses enacted redistricting following the 2010 census, but the surviving opposition congresspeople would be split in half.

If the social-right wing is ousted, it looks very different. The surviving GOP structure would keep trying to placate the evangy wing in words, while acting to remove social policy from the platform altogether. In this case, the only pressing question is how long the social conservatives will tolerate being pushed aside before the program becomes evident. There would be a schism in this situation too, but if managed slowly and deftly by the moderate Republicans, the defection might only be a trickle.

Difficult choice, become the party of far-wing nuts or shake off the wingnuts and lose half of the base. A real gut check.”

That’s what i said in July of 2015, and, like, wow.

Wow, it’s all coming true. The major donors in the Republican base are sitting out the primaries. Jeb’s donors are not flocking to Rubio. Rather, they’re taking a pause, detesting Trump but not risking the ire of an ascendant Trump. There is only one way to stop Trump, and that is to convince both Kasich and Cruz to take a powder by Friday, February 26th. Kasich is reasonable, but good luck with Trusty Ted, hahaha.

In other words, Rubio and Cruz will eviscerate each other even though they’ve declared an unspoken truce as of February 23rd. Even if they’re both attacking Trump, they’ll split the non-Trump vote on March 1st, and hand him 1/4 of the nomination in one day. Mark these words: if Cruz doesn’t quit by Friday February 26th 2016, then Donald Trump is the Republican nominee for President.

We don’t even have to consult the crystals to see what happens next. That future is very, very clear. Hillary Clinton wins big on March 1st, carrying a consensus from South Carolina. In debates with Trump for the general election, Hillary gorges on Donald’s vagueness, ripping spare chunks of flesh off his already-skeletal policy proposals. Between the two, it becomes painfully obvious by September which one is prepared to be President, and which one is just jacking around.

By October, the presumptive President-elect will have enough poll-driven political capital to force the Senate to finally approve Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, and on the day she takes office in January of 2017, Ruth Bader Ginsburg will retire. Goodbye to the center-right Court which the Reagan Legacy built.

The interesting part is what happens to the Republicans throughout November and December of 2016. Obviously, the “business wing” and the Tea Party wing can no longer live together. That leaves the Christian wing, created by Reagan, to decide which cousin they’re more kin to. Odds layed now, by me, say that the evangelicals will invest in the Tea Party wing, united by mutual aversion to compromise.

Now the odd man out, the business wing of the Republican Party has two choices. It can strike out alone as a third party, or it can become the centrist wing of the Democratic Party. Hilarious as it is, the Dems keep moving farther left, so the orphaned moderate Republicans are steadily pushed into being more likely, to form a third party, fiscally conservative and socially pragmatic.

Reagan’s bargain to align government with evangelical protestantism in return for voter loyalty was a masterpiece of political architecture, but as the current Republican Party is discovering, it was a deal with a devil, one that they just can’t shake. To the 33% Left and the 33% Middle, the things Republicans have to say in order to compete in primaries are absurd and often disturbing.

15 years ago, that kind of rhetoric was the proud tradition of protestant pilgrims carrying our national resilience into terrortimes. Now, it sounds like those Christians who are the deepest into the mystical symbolism of prophecy have the loudest political voice in the GOP’s evangelical wing. Need proof? Accusing a Republican Senate candidate of being a witch ruined her campaign. More proof? The 2010 midterms featured a very fired-up GOP base (the Tea Party), and was again proved a potent voting bloc in the 2014 midterms. So what happened in between? What happened in 2012? Romney happened, who happens to be a Mormon. As far as a swath of social-right Christians are concerned, he might as well have been Muslim.

Romney would have lost narrowly, had he been a Christian. But being a Mormon kept a couple million Republicans from voting for him. This week, i read something on Politico which almost made me snort beer out my nose from sudden and unexpected laughter. Politico has been becoming more a voice for Rubio slowly over months (reaching a fevered pitch just after the February 25th GOP debate in Texas), and they gave voice to some Republican operative who postulated that Marco Rubio, as a former Mormon, might do well in Utah-proximate Nevada. That’s making me laugh out loud all over again right now. What this political professional quoted on Politico is ignorant of, is that (to Mormons) an ex-Mormon is the functional equivalent of a demon in human guise. Mormons are so resentful towards their apostates, that some people call Mormonism “Hillbilly Scientology”.

That’s just another example of myopia by the GOP establishment, thinking that an ex-Mormon might be acceptable to practicing Mormons. Hilarious ignorance. Unexplained so far, is how the Republican establishment could have hooked their wagon to devout Christians for so long, and yet be so shockingly unaware of how to manage a religious community. You’d think that by now, they’d have someone in charge of steering the social-conservative movement into softer positions and rhetoric, dangling the carrot of patient incrementalism before the preachers.

This is why the “business wing” of moderate Republicans will be ousted in December of 2016, leaving the GOP as an alliance of Tea Party activists and evangelicals. The GOP establishment just never saw it coming. The old guard is just humming along in lala mode, confident that they could moderate and digest any new clusters of constituency which crop up on the right. They never foresaw the Christian fundamentalists outvoicing the majority of Christian moderates after 9-11. They never thought the Tea Party would elbow their way up to 50 in the House and 5 in the Senate. And they sure as shit didn’t think Trump would take half their deck and start dealing.

So moderate Republicans are out in December of 2016, and the split should become formal in early 2017. The new party will have a whole lot of support among the wealthy and the GOP’s skilled political pros would defect en masse. It would quickly become America’s second party, after a brief 12-year struggle with a socially-conservative residual Republican Party in an electoral death-spiral, remember that big Red L across America. And hopefully everyone in American politics for the next 50 years will think twice about hooking their wagon to this or that brand of religion. Has Queen Cersei taught us nothing?

That will be fun to watch for 15 years, including watching Fox News dither for several years on which faction of the right to favor. Once the political right re-coalesces in 2030, we can see what it looks like. Middle class blacks, self-made hispanics, upper class whites, leaders in the financial and manufacturing fields, and two of the three remaining media congloms in the world. Fun times, i tell ya.