Gaming Iowa

The final Des Moines Register poll has been released and there’s both joy and consternation across the land. The anti-Trump folks are going one of two ways on it. Some have resigned themselves to the inevitable and are exploring various forms of suicide. Others are denying physical reality and following in the steps of Dorothy Martin and her UFO cult. Back in 2012 we saw the same thing in the week prior to the general election.

The Trump supporters are a bit sanguine about it. They are happy to see their man pulling into the lead, but they fear it is a false dawn. After all, all of the experts have said that this is an impossibility. So conditioned to accept expert opinion, they cannot believe that the unicorn they are seeing is real. I can’t blame them for it. I’ve seen a lot of weird stuff in my life and this is pretty weird. I still can’t get over Jerry Falwell endorsing Trump.

When gaming these things out, it is important to remember that Iowa is the not always a good barometer. Of the last seven contested GOP campaigns, Iowa picked correctly three of seven times. The Democrats are not much better. Iowa has picked correctly five of the last nine contested Democrat races. I’m just looking at the Wiki page going back to the 70’s, which is a good enough sample to see that it is a coin flip as to whether Iowa matters.

If the polls and prognostications are correct and Trump wins Iowa, he goes into New Hampshire with a massive (edit: I have a poor sense of direction) tailwind and a good shot at running the table. He’s already a big favorite in New Hampshire and he leads in the later events. Iowa was thought to be his weakest state for him, so a win and he probably sees his numbers jump everywhere.

The question is how the rest of the field will respond. There’s clearly a good portion of the GOP electorate who has been trained to hate Trump by their keepers in the Conservative Industrial Complex. Will we see the rest of the field lock shields, pick a champion and launch an anti-Trump counterattack? That’s a good possibility, but history says these efforts fizzle due to the fact the factions hate one another as much as they hate the bogeyman they share.

So, we have one possible outcome. Trump wins and we quickly see some sort of stop Trump effort coalescing around a single candidate. The betting now has Trump as a 49% chance of winning so let’s give this scenario the same chance. Next week we have a Trump victory and the beginnings of a CIC organized stop Trump campaign around one of the losers.

The next most likely outcome in Iowa, according to the numbers, is a Cruz win in Iowa. Barring something close to an asteroid strike, it would also mean Trump comes in second and Rubio third. Cruz has the best “ground game” in the state and we’re told that means a lot, but the data suggests maybe not all that much after all. Thirty years ago the number of volunteers and endorsements was a proxy for voter sympathies, but that’s not true today. Otherwise, Trump would not exist.

A Cruz win means he goes into New Hampshire with some momentum, but he is not very popular there and the rebel vote is solidly behind Trump. How much of a dent it puts in Trump’s support is unknown, but his vote is not going to the party men so in this scenario, not much changes for Trump.  On the other hand, it makes mounting an anti-Trump campaign impossible. The party hates Cruz too. That makes this scenario the nightmare scenario for the CIC.

We have a 49% chance of a Trump win and a 40% chance of a Cruz win, both are bad news for the CIC. Reading the propaganda organs, their hope is Rubio wins, thus launching both a javelin at the heart of the rebels and launching a new crusade for the men in modestly priced suits who make up the Conservative Industrial Complex.

Having a bisexual Cuban amnesty fanatic knock off the evil ones would be for them what Obama was for the other side of the managerial elite. Wednesday in Washington would be an unofficial holiday as the locals partied into the wee hours.

Once sober, they would pull the plug on the rest of the field, train their guns on Trump and we would get a replay of 1992 where a wall of sound would hit the public, declaring Trump out of bounds. Trump’s support would collapse down to the core 25% and he would look for a way to exit the scene.

Finally, there’s the man from nowhere scenario. Rick Santorum won last time, even though no one gave him much thought. The reason he won, the reason the CIC refused to acknowledge at the time, was that Romney was terrible. Santorum was the “none of the above” option. The only guy who could plausibly play that role this time in Ben Carson and he is not looking too good. I’d give this a one percent chance of happening.

There we have it. There’s a 49% chance Trump wins and sets off a real old fashioned civil war in the party. There’s a 40% chance Cruz wins and delays the civil war or even prevents it. A lot will depend on how New Hampshire goes in this scenario. Then there is a 10% chance the CIC destroys the rebel alliance and reasserts its control of the process. Finally, we have a 1% chance of something crazy happening that tells us nothing.

The Media Fix

Back before Al Gore, peace be upon him, gave us the internet, I maintained quite a few magazine subscriptions. National Review, The New Republic and The Atlantic were on my list from the time I was a teenager. I would cycle in others like Harper’s, The New York Review of Books and even Granta and Ploughshares. I spent many a night drinking at the pub where the later was founded.

Now, I have exactly zero subscriptions. I take what I can get on-line and there’s so much on-line I see no reason to pay for it. The fact that I can, with a few clicks, catch up on the news in Borneo or check in on the doings of Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow and his fight against hooliganism is truly a miracle. Educated men of a century ago would be gobsmacked by the amount of detailed information I can include a single blog post.

There’s a downside to this wonderfulness. In the olden thymes, my subscription meant something to the people running those magazines. They needed it to pay their writers, so it was important to the writers as well. Today, these publications have no reason to care about me or my opinion of them. They just need to generate enough traffic to show their donors, who don’t care about me either.

In other words, as the financial relationship has changed, the intellectual relationship has changed. These publications are now on-line and they don’t have a direct financial link to their readers. Instead, they depend on wealthy donors and support from the massive nonprofit establishment. The result is an operation like National Review went from appealing to readers to lecturing them.

A similar thing has happened with TV news. In the olden thymes, the three networks were certainly preachy and biased, but they also had to get viewers and that meant keeping it between the ditches. The batshit insanity of a MSNBC would never be permitted. Those fruitcakes were relegated to local access and shortwave because no one could afford to indulge them.

That all changed with cable. MSNBC gets $0.70 per cable household per month, whether anyone watches or not and is overwhelmingly not. That means they collect $70 million per month even though no one watches. Fox, CNN, ESPN et al have similar or better deals. When you get a billion dollars for just showing up, you can indulge in just about any sort of reckless behavior you want, even letting mentally unstable lesbians host a primetime show.

The cable rackets have had another impact. They rely on writers and bloggers out of the Commentary Industrial Complex. Fox hires boys and girls from National Review and The Weekly Standard to be guest on shows. MSNBC hauls in people from progressive publications. PBS uses the NY Times and Washington Post as their farm system.

Put it all together and we now have a mass media that is not only unresponsive to its viewership and readership, but also openly hostile. The old periodicals that used to peddle ideas and culture to the public now lecture the public on behalf of the managerial class. The low-brow mass media of television can now indulge all of the excesses of progressive fanatics, making sport of anything and everything normal people find useful.

The worst part of this is that unplugging and dropping out has no impact. Until tens of millions of households unplug from cable TV, these media operations are immune to public discontent. Cord cutting will have some impact, but most people will never take that step. The massive nonprofit industry will keep on financing the news and opinion operations. Rich guys like Carlos Slim and Jeff Bezos will backstop big news sites.

The North Koreans are fond of installing loudspeakers in villages to blast propaganda to the masses. In America, they install them in your living room and your pocket. The communications revolution was supposed to threaten the media monopoly of the prior age. Instead, it has created a special force, shock troops, who man the megaphones on behalf of the managerial class.

I suspect that much of what’s going on in the Republican primary is due to a realization that the people on talk radio, Fox News and your favorite news site are not playing it straight. Not so long ago they were explaining why you had to hold your nose and support Romney, because winning was too important for principles. Today, they are saying principles are too important to vote Trump, even though he is looking like a winner.

One of the things I’ve noticed in my life is people seek to break free of the transactional life. Retail is looked down upon, I think, because people naturally hate the clarity of it. When you sell direct, you have to do so in a way that people like. Every lost sale is an indictment of you and your product. It’s why the toughest, smartest guys in most business are the sales guys. They have no illusions about themselves.

The media has sought to break free from the retail relationship. Selling ads based on circulation and viewership is a daily confirmation of your worth, or lack thereof. The result of this drive, on the one hand, has been the thoroughly corrupt cable TV market where content providers get a free shot at your wallet.

On the other hand, a massive, taxpayer subsidized nonprofit system has been created to fund writers, newspapers, journals and even academics. Look around a think tank and these people are calling each other “fellow” and “resident scholar” as honorifics. It’s no wonder C-level joke writers like Jonah Goldberg have developed massive egos. Everyone calls him “fellow” down at the institute!

Back in the 1990’s when newspaper circulations were collapsing, I read a story about a paper in Dayton Ohio. They hired a consultant to tell them why they were losing customers. The consultant pointed out that their food section was running stories on haute cuisine while their readers ate hamburger helper. In other words, the product sucked so people stopped buying it.

That’s much tougher in the current moment. The product certainly sucks, but people are not dropping TV in big numbers yet. Similarly, the tax-exempt rackets face no threat from Congress. There are plenty of billionaires willing to finance papers like the NYTimes and Washington Post. Maybe the only response is for voters to support the candidates the media hates the most.

Trump – Cruz 2016: They are as much fun as chemotherapy, but they are what you need to fight the tumor that is the media.

You Wreckers!

I could not bring myself to watch any of the debate. I flipped over to see Trump for a minute or two, but I was not all that interested in him either. These debate shows are a good example of what’s wrong with American politics. They are talent shows for the managerial class where we get to see inside the conference room of the bipartisan fusion party headquarters.

One of the stranger things about the modern mass media age is how much of it is make believe. I can think of exactly one debate that truly mattered and that was Nixon – Kennedy in 1960. How much it mattered is debatable. Otherwise, debates are like football games. People tune in to root for their team. Few minds are changed. At this stage, no minds are changed as they have been doing these shows for six months.

That said, I enjoy reading the commentariat the day after. They put on their serious face and lecture the rubes about what really happened in the debate. Because their true motivation is to burnish their class status, they personalize their analysis in the hopes of elevating their status in the club. It’s silly parlor politics among men who have made a career of telling the women what they would do if they had the chance.

This one caught my attention.

Finally, this debate was a fascinating glimpse into what might have been absent the disrupting force of Donald Trump. Bush was far more at ease without one of the candidates hurling middle school insults at him, and the debate itself was substantive — showcasing the GOP’s most effective communicators. This is why people said the GOP had a “deep bench” in 2016. Absent Trump, the three-man contest likely would have been between Bush, Rubio, and Cruz. But might-have-beens are irrelevant, and in this evening’s audition for the best alternative to Donald Trump, Marco Rubio won the night.

That’s their complaint in a nutshell. The big meanie, the bully, has wrecked their fun. It’s not fair. Without Trump, panda men of the managerial class could have had tea and calmly discussed the really important stuff, like how to best rearrange the commas in the regulatory code. Instead, that vulgar dirt monster and his populism ruined it!

Mark Steyn the other day made the very good point that these pusillanimous popinjays make excellent money scribbling for popular websites and chattering on TV. Being right or even being popular does not factor into their thinking because it has no impact on their lifestyle. The guys and gals who spent a year selling Mitt Romney still had jobs after Romney lost what was a very winnable election.

Once you decouple the paycheck from performance, the performance collapses. In the dreaded private sector, this is well known. Go into a UPS office and it is a model of efficiency. Go into a US Post Office and it is a sclerotic nightmare of bureaucratic asshattery. The reason is in the former, performance and pay are linked, while in the latter the pay remains the same no matter what you do.

It’s an interesting thing we are seeing with our media. The cable rackets and the donor system have conspired to populate the ranks of journalism with ball washers and yes men. In an attempt to turn the media into a megaphone for the ruling elite, they have emasculated it.  Worse yet, their insularity has made them vulnerable to even a mild breeze of discontent.

I’m reminded of this from H. G. Wells:

‘It seemed to me that I had happened upon humanity upon the wane. The ruddy sunset set me thinking of the sunset of mankind. For the first time I began to realize an odd consequence of the social effort in which we are at present engaged. And yet, come to think, it is a logical consequence enough. Strength is the outcome of need; security sets a premium on feebleness. The work of ameliorating the conditions of life—the true civilizing process that makes life more and more secure— had gone steadily on to a climax. One triumph of a united humanity over Nature had followed another. Things that are now mere dreams had become projects deliberately put in hand and carried forward. And the harvest was what I saw!”

It was not so long ago that you could not afford to make enemies in the elite media, if you wanted to have a public life. The old saying was, “never pick a fight with people who buy ink by the barrel.” People like Mark Steyn, Ann Coulter, Steve Sailer and many others are getting on fine as enemies of the state media. Now, Donald Trump is doing well as an enemy of the state parties. Those who are deeply invested in the state have good reason to fear the wreckers.

Ruling Class Blues

One of the more enjoyable aspects of the current insurrection is watching the popinjays in the Conservative Establishment writhe in agony at being cast as establishment men. Their utter astonishment at the little people, the hoi polloi, giving them the business about their perfidy and cronyism has been a blast. In the Bush years I developed a healthy dislike for many of the more oleaginous charlatans in the commentariat. My heart feels like an alligator.

A theme around here is that the panic in conservative media is due to the sudden rush of dis-conformation washing over them. For the longest time, they have believed they are the vanguard of a popular revolt against the Progressive establishment. Suddenly, everyone has joined a different revolt, a revolt against them. These putative champions of the people are like the character in the supernatural mystery film that suddenly learns he is the villain.

Here’s an interesting piece on the same theme. I wonder if this guy is a reader.

Once upon a time, in the immediate postwar years, the elites who ran the country’s two major political parties were part of the country’s broader political establishment, which included the owners of The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Time magazine, the heads of the three national television networks, and the directors of a small number of leading political, cultural, and religious institutions.

This establishment was dominated by an ideology of liberal centrism that one of its key figures famously described as “the vital center.” It fostered, cultivated, and presided over a broad consensus in favor of the New Deal at home and the Cold War containment of communism abroad.

From the beginning, the modern conservative movement thought of itself as an insurrection against the liberal establishment and its representatives at the head of the Republican Party. One of the movement’s formative, galvanizing events was the 1955 founding of National Review by William F. Buckley, Jr. as a place where right-wing intellectuals could work on fashioning an anti-liberal governing ideology. Less than a decade later, the magazine championed the populist candidacy of Barry Goldwater in the hopes that he would depose the reigning liberal consensus and pursue a policy of rolling back both the New Deal and the Soviet Union.

The effort failed. But by the mid-1970s, the movement had been joined by a new group of intellectuals. In addition to uncommonly sharp polemical skills and a training in policy analysis, the formerly liberal neoconservatives brought to the movement an awareness that to succeed it would need foment a counter-establishment, both to help overthrow the liberal establishment and to serve as an alternative to it once an electoral victory had been achieved.

I’d add that the so-called neoconservatives never abandoned their technocratic impulses. They just rejected the dovishness of the New Left, preferring a more muscular response to the Soviets.

This counter-establishment tasted power for the first time with the inauguration of Ronald Reagan 35 years ago, and since then it has grown massively in strength and influence. Today the counter-establishment simply is the conservative and Republican establishment.

And yet, because its ideological outlook was formed when it was out of power, this establishment seems incapable of thinking about itself as an establishment. And so we get the editor of National Review, a regular fixture on TV, saying (presumably with a straight face) that his magazine, which has been closely read among leading members of the Republican Party for decades, isn’t a part of the Republican establishment.

I’ll note that an integral part of Progressive mythology is the struggle. Despite being in charge for close to a century, Progressives still think of themselves as an insurgent minority at war with their oppressive overlords. Elizabeth Warren is worth millions, yet she spends her time in the Senate ranting about the one percent. Her neighbors in the one percent cheer her on. It’s false consciousness.

Another theme around here is that the two sides of the American political elite are two sides of the old Yankee elite. Yankeedom came to dominate America after the Civil War and has occupied the commanding heights ever since. The old Yankee sense of being a soldier of God in a fallen world morphed into a worldview where they are always the heroic underdog of their story. Both sides of the ruling class see themselves as noble warriors fighting the good fight against the ruling class.

Otherkin Rights Now!

A decade or more ago I heard the term “otherkin” for the first time and subsequently have waited for an otherkin rights movement to start. There has been an on-line “community” for them since the 90’s, but it is a mixed bag of people who are pro-elf, elf-curious and beings that are part-unicorns, part-gryphon, part-dragon, angelic or a demon. There are combinations too so the otherkin “community” looks a lot like Yugoslavia in the 1970’s.

All of this sounds insane and it used to be considered as such, but we live in an age where the line between reality, insanity and fantasy is arbitrary. As soon as something is declared arbitrary it becomes a social construct and those are just about the worst things imaginable, except Hitler. He remains the worst, but social constructs and those yesterday men who traffic in them are down there with Hitler too.

Not to sound sanguine about it, but I’m old enough to remember when my general indifference to homosexuals was considered good form. I once hired an obviously gay man and my peers thought nothing of it. Not noticing or discussing it was just what you did. Now, my failure to celebrate it on Facebook, Twitter and the company e-mail system would probably get me sent off to sensitivity camp.

When you live in such a bizarre age, the bizarre feels normal. The lack of weird feels, well, weird. That’s why I think we’re going to see the otherkins finally get to fly their flag on the community piety pole. Stories like this one are just the first rumblings of what’s coming down the road.

We probably all feel a bit like a sleepy housecat when we have to get up for work in the morning.

This Norwegian woman has taken that feeling to the next level. Nano claims she realised she was a cat when she was 16 years old, and has adopted feline mannerisms since.

The 20-year-old has opened up about her life as a puss, describing how she has a superior sense of hearing and sight which allows her to hunt mice in the dark.

She made the revelation in a YouTube video, which has been viewed over 100,000 times.

Nano claims to possess many feline characteristics including a hatred of water and the ability to communicate simply by meowing.

That hatred of water would suggest that Nano smells like low tide by now. Judging from the pics, I’m guessing she has found a workaround.

The young woman shows off her cat characteristics by wearing fake ears and an artificial tail. She communicates by meowing.

“I realised I was a cat when I was 16 when doctors and psychologists found out what was “the thing” with me. Under my birth there was a genetic defect,” she explains in the video.

As they walked through Oslo’s central station, the presenter asked Nano what she could hear and see that a normal person might not.

“Suitcases rolling on the ground,” she says, “Keys clinking in pockets. People with ice under their shoes.”

Then all of a sudden, she lets out a hiss and takes a step back.

“There is a dog over there,” she explains. “Sometime I hiss when meeting dogs in the street. It’s because of their behaviour and my instinct automatically reacts by hissing.”

The cat woman wears a pair of pink fluffy paws with which to groom herself, and feels especially like doing so when she is in contact with water.

When asked if she was born as the wrong species, she said: “Yes, born in the wrong species.”

Anti-Otherkin bigots used to label these beings as mentally disturbed. There was a other-ist slur they used, clinical lycanthropy, claiming this was a form of delusion. We know now, at least you better soon know, that this is hate-think. What matters is what they think and we have to respect that. After all, if a man can wear a sundress and become a woman, a girl can put on a set of mouse ears and be a rodent.

This will present some complications. We had to go around and change the bathroom signage to accommodate the additional “genders” so I guess this means installing fire hydrants and litter boxes in the train stations for some of the otherkins. I’m not sure what sort of facilities elves, unicorns, gryphons, dragons, angelic or demons will need, but I’m pretty sure I would not want to follow the demon after his morning constitutional.

Otherkin Rights Now!

Twitter Police

One of the many annoying distractions to percolate from the right side of the managerial class is their fetish over speech. Read the popular conservative rags and they are always droning on about free speech. Anytime the left side calls for new speech laws, the right side starts howling about how important free speech is to a free society. They sound like a bunch of hippies from the later sixties.

Usually, they throw in some version of “I may not agree with you, but I will defend to the death your right to make an ass of yourself.” The fact that this was uttered by a degenerate comic never seems to give them pause. It’s all about waving around their banners and initiating a fundraiser about defending free speech. The latter bit is the most important part. Got to make the cash register ring.

What you will never hear them defend is freedom of association. They would sooner cut out their own tongues before uttering the phrase, much less voice a vigorous defense of freedom of association. I won’t say the name, but I once had an exchange with a National Review writer about speech. I raised the freedom of association issue and he stopped, blinked, and then walked away, not uttering a sound.

The reason for this is they fear nothing more than being called a racist. They know the other side the managerial treehouse will roll out the racists taunts as soon the issue of association comes up and they have no answer for it. Having long ago conceded that the worst possible thing a person can do is be a racist, there simply is no way to defend freedom of association. Rather than admit it, they ignore it.

The trouble with that is you cannot have free speech without free association. As soon as you lock people in a room, regardless of how they feel about one another, you better police what they say. Otherwise, you end up with blood on the walls. You see that in this story from Germany.

BERLIN (AP) — The German government on Wednesday banned a far-right Internet platform that it accused of spreading “racist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic, homophobic and anti-Islamic content,” and federal prosecutors said two people were arrested.

The ban on the Altermedia Deutschland platform is “a clear sign that the rule of law doesn’t allow hate crime,” Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere said.

The prosecutors’ office said that two Germans, identified only as Jutta V. and Ralph Thomas K. in line with German privacy rules, were arrested on suspicion of founding a criminal organization and incitement. Three other suspects weren’t arrested.

Raids were conducted in homes in four German states and the northeastern Spanish town of Lloret de Mar.

The two arrested people were the administrators of the Altermedia website and therefore responsible for its content, which included banned Nazi slogans and the denial of the Holocaust as well as incitement of violence against foreigners, the prosecutors’ office said.

The German government has decided to flood the country with people a lot of Germans really don’t like. The only way to keep this from turning into a blood bath is to make sure no one says anything that can offend anyone else. This is practically and theoretically impossible, so they go for these sorts of stunts. As the Chinese say, sometimes you need to kill the chickens to scare the monkeys.

The fascinating bit here is the German government will move heaven and earth to nab a couple of weirdos who spend too much time on-line, but they can’t be bothered to attack the wave of rapes and assaults being carried out by Muslim invaders. It’s an example of the bully tactics of the managerial state. They always go after the weak, hoping the strong will go for the bluff.

The same nonsense is going on elsewhere in Europe. Hilariously, the Dutch police are going door-to-door telling twitter users to tone it down.

In rare instances, Dutch police are knocking on social media users’ doors and asking them to be careful writing posts about refugees that could lead to real-life violence and, ultimately, to charges of online incitement.

One example is Mark Jongeneel, a small business owner in the small city of Sliedrecht who tweeted his reaction to asylum plans in his city:

“The college of Sliedrecht has a proposal to receive 250 refugees in the coming 2 years. What a bad plan! #letusresist”

Hours later, his mother (with whom he lives) contacted him to say local police had visited her house and were now on their way to his office.

“I asked them what the problem was. And they said, ‘Your tweets,'” Jongeneel told DW. “And they asked me to be careful about my Twitter behavior, because if there are riots, then I’m responsible.”

The logic of this is obvious. As soon as you force people to be around people they don’t like, you better be prepared to chaperon them 24×7. Otherwise, words will be exchanged, tempers will flare and before long you have a riot or worse. The logic of the solution, is to bully the weaker side hoping they will roll over and take it.  Given the degraded state of European culture, that’s not a bad bet – for now.

What’s happening on a large scale is the managerial class is turning the police into the modern version of the Praetorian Guard. The “security forces” will be refereeing the tribes over whom the managerial class rules. In the short term, they will make sure the natives don’t object too much to the importation of barbarian populations from over the horizon.

But, diversity is our strength. With just the right amount of vibrancy, how could things possible go wrong?

The New Normal

In 1992 I was watching television at friend’s house and Bill Clinton was on denying something about his draft dodging. I forget the details of what he was saying, but I recall being a bit flabbergasted at the answer. Everyone knew he gamed the system to avoid service. Lots of ambitious young men thought that was the way to go. They thought, in addition to being dangerous, the draft was a bad career move. Given what was happening in the country, that was not an unreasonable assumption.

I really could not see how being honest about avoiding the draft was going to be a terrible setback to his campaign. A big chunk of the voters were in his age group so they knew perfectly well what he did as many of them faced the same choices. Plenty of Republicans had done the same thing. More important, most of the press at the time was his age and they too had gamed the system to avoid the draft. Even so, he chose to lie and lie poorly.

Sitting there with my friend watching it, I said something along the lines like, “I just can’t see why he chooses to lie when the truth would be better for him. I can’t believe people will vote for a guy who is such an obvious liar and so bad at it.” We both agreed that there was no way Clinton would win the nomination or beat Bush in the general. That’s not the first time I was wrong about politics, but the first time I was that wrong.

What I did not see back then was that the world was changing quickly. There was a demographic change as the Boomers took over the country. There was also the end of the Cold War. Like everyone at the time, I had grown up with normal being the US and Russia, armed to the teeth, wrestling for control of the world. Frivolous men like Bill Clinton had no place in national politics, because no one would risk it.

The point here is that even when logic and history are on your side, you can believe things that turn out to be totally wrong. In retrospect, Clinton winning in 1992 makes sense, but at the time a lot of people, not just me, thought it was preposterous. On the other hand, a lot of people were sure Clinton would win, once he was the nominee. They turned out to be right, even though their arguments at the time were mostly wishful thinking.

That’s why I have never discounted the Trump phenomenon or the Sanders campaign. Things are the way they are until they are not and you never really know change is happening until it is on top of you. That and a country that would elect and re-elect a ridiculous person like Barak Obama simply because he is black and has a funny name is capable of anything.

Looking at the GOP race heading into Iowa next week, everyone seems to be certain, but no one agrees on who will win and what it will mean. Nate Silver has been calling the GOP side for Cruz, but he has been wrong a lot lately. Silver missed the Trump phenomenon so badly, it is not unreasonable to think it is due to animus. I don’t follow him enough to know, as I find him to be an obnoxious twerp, who needs to be punched in the face – a lot.

The professional anti-Trump faction is sure Trump will lose in Iowa and they are carrying on like it is a certainty. You can be sure the chattering skulls are ready to race off to the nearest TV station to shout, “I told you so!” The National Review special “Trump Lost!” edition is already in the can. Jim Geraghty has been out talking about how the polls must be wrong because Trump is going to lose. As to who will win, they are all over the map.

The thing is, when nothing goes to form, it’s a good idea to start contemplating the unthinkable. Jerry Falwell just endorsed Trump. That’s on par with the Koch brothers endorsing Bernie Sanders. It’s not just a one-off either. Polls show that Trump is doing very well with Evangelicals so I guess the better analogy is the Libertarian Party putting Bernie Sanders up as their nominee.

That’s the other lesson of the 1992 election. When things change in the culture, everything is up for grabs in politics. The other way to look at it is when the politics are suddenly a scramble, it means the culture is undergoing a structural change. After ’92, we saw the rise of global finance, mass migration and a communications revolution. If Trump wins Iowa, it’s time to start thinking about what the new normal is going to be like.

The Multi-Culti Wonderland

A big blizzard blew through my little slice of heaven over the weekend. The snow started Friday afternoon and lasted into Saturday night. Depending upon who is doing the measuring, we got anywhere from 20-inches to 36-inches. I was standing in waist high snow next to my vehicle and I’m six feet tall, but drifting snow makes it hard to gauge. Everywhere I walked was at least thigh high, so we got close to 30-inches.

I’ve written before about snow in the ghetto. We have had an influx of foreigners so the demographic of my part of town is different of late. We have a quiver of Indians from the southern end of the subcontinent. An intrusion of Muslims now lives down the block from me. The Spanish population seems to have grown, but the black population feels smaller for some reason.

In years past, snowstorms were just white guys out clearing snow and black guys walking in the middle of the street. Go into cities like Baltimore, Washington or Philadelphia after a snow and you always see a bunch of black people walking in the streets. We still had some of that, but we’re much more vibrant now so the mix of responses to the snow is more diverse too.

Watching the Indians deal with snow has been one of the more enjoyable things over the last twenty-four hours. They suck at snow removal. Now, America tends to get only upper caste Indians, so they are probably not used to physical work, but mastering a shovel is not that hard. Watching ten of then work one shovel, smoking and gibbering to one another made me feel like Charles James Napier.

One of things I’ve noticed about South Asians is they tend to confuse activity for work. South Americans do this and have made it an art form. It’s called the Latin Way. South Asians will put a lot of effort into looking busy and explaining what they will be doing as soon as they start doing it. I don’t know their tongue, but I imagined they were discussing the shoveling process, while not actually shoveling any snow.

The Muslims were interesting. They look North African to me, but I’m not sure. They keep their women in garbage bags so they could be from the Gulf. They smoke like chimneys, so I just assumed they were North African. Regardless, they did not even attempt to clear out their cars. Instead, they walked around in groups, muttering to one another in Arabic. Unsurprisingly, the most clannish people tend not to be very neighborly.

That’s the reality of the multi-culti paradise. No one gives a bleep about anyone outside their tribe. I shoveled out some old people and a handicapped guy. Me and a couple of young guys teamed up to clear our parking areas. A couple of older white women brought coffee and we made what is a tedious task into something enjoyable. I did not know any of them, but we fell into the work naturally. As you can guess, not a lot of diversity in our group.

The strange thing about Hispanics, something you see in a situation like this, is they work hard, but they are not industrious. These are all young men who could make money shoveling drives, clearing cars and so forth. Instead, they were drinking beer and enjoying the day off from wherever it is they work. Some were probably called in by the construction outfit that imported them, but most just sat around.

In fairness, it could very well be their otherness that keeps them from hustling. When I was out shoveling, a few walked past clutching beers. They probably would have been happy to help for some cash, but they were not going to offer. I’m as alien to them as they are to me. But that’s the problem in a nutshell with the multi-culti paradise. Everyone is a stranger in a strange land.

Another interesting thing I noticed is that eventually, the Indians struck a deal with someone to clear the snow for them. A white guy had a crew of Hispanics he was renting out for quick shovel jobs. The site of upper caste Hindus hiring Hispanics to shovel their snow was like seeing the future. A generation from now, the South Asians will be at least a rung higher than the Mexicans.

It’s the Lee Kuan Yew rule. “In multiracial societies, you don’t vote in accordance with your economic interests and social interests, you vote in accordance with race and religion.” I’d take that further and say you self-organize according to your race and religion. No one can be an individual because all groups interact with one another at the group level.

The small intrusion of Muslims do not have the numbers to be anything but on the fringes so they just milled around hoping for spring. The Hindus have numbers so they can deal with the Mexicans and whites collectively, at least to get their snow shoveled.

That brings to mind another famous quote from Lee Kuan Yew, “I think we were progressing very nicely until the surge of Islam came, and if you asked me for my observations, the other communities have easier integration – friends, inter-marriages and so on – than Muslims… I would say, today, we can integrate all religions and races, except Islam.”

That’s the issue faced by the West. America can handle an inflow of Hispanics and Canadians, because they are balanced off by South and East Asians. There’s no balancing out the Muslims. As soon as their numbers increase, the ghetto goes Muslim and the rest of us flee to higher ground. That’s fine for the ghetto maybe, but as we see in Germany, they soon overflow their ghettos and then all hell breaks loose.

Jocks & Nerds

Years ago I had a conversation with a young attorney about a business issue. The topic was about a company relying on vendors, marking up those vendor invoices and then billing their clients. The attorney was shocked by it and thought it was probably going to be a problem for his client in the case. I had to explain to him that it was normal practice because that’s how a business makes money.

In this case, the company used a combination of contractors, vendors and their own employees to deliver a service. All of it was billed under a standard rate contractually set between the company and the customers. The customer never saw who was doing the work and they probably did not care. The attorney could not understand why they would charge more to the customer than the vendor was charging them.

I did my best to explain it, but I suspect he was never fully convinced. Even when I carefully explained it using his billing hours as an example, he looked skeptical. He was not a dumb guy. He just did not know about business. Like most lawyers, he was sure he knew everything about everything. You can’t blame him for that. Up to that point, he was probably sure he was the smartest guy in the room most of the time.

I thought about that reading this excellent column by Roger Simon, regarding the National Review meltdown. I’m still chewing over this bit:

Ideology should function as a guide, not a faith, because in the real world you may have to violate it, when the rubber meets the road, as they say.  For those of us in the punditocracy, the rubber rarely if ever meets the road.  All we have is our theories. They are the road for us.  If we’re lucky, we’re paid for them.  In that case, we hardly ever vary them. It would be bad for business.

Trump’s perspective was the reverse.  The rubber was constantly meeting the road.  In fact, it rarely did anything else.  He always had to change and adjust.  Ideological principles were just background noise, barely audible sounds above the jack hammers.

When National Review takes up arms against Trump, it is men and women of theory against a man of action.  The public, if we are to believe the polls, prefers the action.  It’s not hard to see why.  The theory has failed and become increasingly disconnected from the people.  It doesn’t go anywhere and hasn’t for years. I’m guilty of it too. (Our current president is 150% a man of theory.) Too many people — left and right — are drunk on ideology.

There’s a lot to agree with there, but I come up short with the “man of action” line as it strikes me as a veiled reference to fascism, or at least what the commentariat has come to think of as fascism. The argument about Hitler was he did not offer a coherent vision, but he was seen as a man of action, willing to break a few heads to get things done.

Maybe I’m imagining things, maybe not, but I think he is correct in thinking his fellow chattering class members are seeing it that way. Bill Kristol has a hissy-fit posted over at NR today that sounds like the nerdy kid telling the jocks to stop picking on him. That’s where Simon has it right, I think. His people are offended by Trump coming into their safe place. Trump is micro-aggressing the bleep out of them right now.

That explains one part of this, but what about Trump supporters? I was in New England last summer when Trump was just starting to campaign. I was in a bar in a nice, generally liberal town and was struck by how captivated people were by Trump giving a speech somewhere that was being shown on the bar televisions. Something was going on.

Similarly, in the first debate, the snarling bimbo went after Trump about giving money to Democrats and he responded by pointing out that he had to do business in New York and that meant greasing the pols of both parties. I was struck by the look on the faces of the moderators. They were as baffled as that young lawyer I described at the start of this post. Trump may as well have been talking about attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion.

Here’s the thing, most everyone watching that answer from Trump understood what he was saying. Anyone who owns a business knows the drill. Those who are in decision making positions for a company know the drill. In the real world, you do what you need to do to push the rock up the hill. Trump’s honesty about that was refreshing, thus making the contrast between him and the rest even more stark.

Mark Steyn has it right, I think.

The movement conservatives at National Review make a pretty nice living out of “ideas, ideology, philosophy, policy, and so forth”. The voters can’t afford that luxury: They live in a world where, in large part due to the incompetence of the national Republican Party post-Reagan, Democrat ideas are in the ascendant. And they feel that this is maybe the last chance to change that.

Go back to that line “When Reagan first ran for governor of California…” Gosh, those were the days, weren’t they? But Reagan couldn’t get elected Governor of California now, could he? Because the Golden State has been demographically transformed.

The public is looking for the candidate that can fix the issues of greatest concern to them. They look around and feel like guests in their own country. The two parties want to spend all of their time debating how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, while millions of foreigners pour over the border. I suspect most Trump supporters would like a better candidate, but they will go with Trump if that means addressing their top concerns.

Reading the comments on Trump stories, I see two camps. In one camp are those having fun watching their guy give wedgies to the nerds. For the first time in a long time, they feel like the guy running for office knows something about their life. The other camp is in shock, believing that if they just huddle closer together, the storm will pass. They appear to be heading for a Dorothy Martin moment.

Hail Caesar!

Political parties seem like a permanent feature of modern Western societies, but there’s no reason to think they are permanent. At the founding of America, parties were looked down upon as a potential problem for a self-governing republic. In Federalist 9 and 10 Madison argued that the proposed constitution would guard against factionalism and was essential to preventing partisan government.

In the 19th century, political parties made a lot of sense simply for organizational reasons. The only way you can stuff the ballot boxes and intimidate voters is with a well-organized ground game. No matter how rich the candidate, he could never overcome the army of poll workers, ward healers and bagmen that the party could deploy in every election. If you wanted to run for office, you had to do so as a party man.

That reality has been with us for a long time, so it is proper to think it is just the way it has to be. Independent runs for president have all ended in tears, mostly because the parties own the system. Attempts at creating third parties in America have failed because the resources involved in pulling it off are just too great. Ross Perot probably came the closest to pulling it off. Maybe the Green Party. Both efforts failed when their famous leader left the stage.

I wonder if what the Trump phenomenon really portends is an end of national parties or at least the decline of the parties as king makers at the national level. Trump is a surprisingly capable politician, but his success is remarkable given that his party and its media operation is blasting him relentlessly. The coordinated assault against him this week is a curious thing in that it looks like they are pushing all of their chips into the middle of the table.

They may be doing exactly that. Trump is spending his own money on local political operators in Iowa and New Hampshire so he can compete at the street level, but without the massive overhang of the consultancy and their party patrons. If Trump manages to win the nomination, and it is looking like a certainty right now, a lot of other rich guys are going to wonder if they could do the same.

One of those is the filthy rich former mayor of New York City, who is thinking about an independent run. Unlike Trump, Bloomy would run as a third party option, but he has a ton of cash and a lot of connections in Progressive circles. It’s not unreasonable to think he could siphon off a lot of the Democrat Party organization for his effort. Given the options on the Democrat side, it’s not unreasonable to think he could do well.

As an aside, how unreasonable is it to think that National Review and The Weekly Standard would come out and support Bloomberg over Trump and Sanders? They agree with him on more issues than they disagree and he would be down with the invade the world/invite the world paradigm. More important, he’s their sort of people.

Anyway, we have billionaires launching rockets into space, planning a Mars voyage and creating robots that promise to become aware and unleash terminators on humanity. That’s all cool stuff but being in charge of the Imperial Army as the temporary Emperor is way cooler. You can be sure they are looking at what Trump is doing and thinking they could do the same thing.

In the past, what has kept rich guys from running for office is the hassle of dealing with party politics. In order to get in the game, you had to suck up to a lot of twerps and losers who have burrowed into the system like weevils. If you can blow past that and assemble your own temporary campaign machine that does all the stuff the party does, but without all the party nonsense, why not do it?

Of course, this is a form of Caesarism, but updated to the modern mass media world. Instead of a cult of personality and bully-boy tactics, it will be mass media strategies and the bribing of interest groups. Americans are used to experiencing elections in the same way they consume talent shows. Having a bunch of rich guys staging these things without the hassle of political parties is not a great leap.

That’s certainly part of what is unnerving Conservative Inc about the Trump campaign. If this crude rich guy can buy his way into the game and then shove aside the commentariat on his way to the nomination, why will anyone bother catering to them in the future? While I think most of the tantrums, we’re seeing are just a way to get attention, some of them are smart enough to see the threat.

The parties will still have a role as the legislative bodies are regulated to the benefit of political parties. As dangerous as Caesarism sounds, the American system allows for the legislature to claw back its authority in hurry if it cares to do it. Maybe the specter of billionaires buying the White House is what’s needed to slap the political parties to their senses and maybe is what’s needed for the Congress to reassert its role in government.

Or maybe we’re doomed.