Monday, May 2, 2016

4 (Quick) Additional Thoughts on the Sanders Campaign

  1. Voter turnout: Everyone knows that when turnout is high, Sanders wins, right? Wrong. It's exactly the opposite. Of the 17 states Sanders has won, 12 of them have the lowest voter turnouts among the 40 states that have already voted. The mean and median turnout rates for states where he's won is lower than that of Clinton's.
  2. Closed / Open Contests: Everyone also knows that Sanders wins when the contest is open, right? Wrong. He's won 39% of open contests and 40% of closed ones.
  3. The Undemocratic Winner: There's nothing democratic about caucuses. They have the lowest turnouts during the primary season. In Minnesota, you don't even need to be registered to vote in order to participate in the Democratic Caucus and turnout is still low! In Wyoming, there are 41,314 registered Democrats, but only 280 votes cast in their caucuses, which is just a 0.68% participation rate. That's not something to be proud of. Sanders has won 11 out of 13 caucuses, making him the Undemocratic Winner of 2016. These state parties need to end the undemocratic caucus process.
  4. Bad Math Sanders: Another variation of the Sanders campaign rhetoric on super delegates, is that he should take all of the super delegates in states where he's won. Yet, he's primarily won in small states and when you tally up the numbers, he still loses! Apparently they've cut back so much staff, no one is vetting these arguments before they're made public. Every time he falls short of the margin he needs to win by, the margin of the remaining states increases, making his math even more ridiculous.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

6 Thoughts on the Current State of the Sanders Campaign


  1. Popular Vote: The Sanders campaign has alternately suggested that the super delegates should support the popular vote or that in states where he's won he should be leading in super delegates. I mean to douse this flawed argument. As it stands right now, Hillary leads the popular vote by a margin of 3.18M -- yes, I'm actually tracking this with a spreadsheet -- and clearly more people want Hillary to be the Democratic nominee. The intention of voters can't get much clearer than that.
  2. Math w/o Super Delegates: The Sanders campaign has stated that Hillary can't earn the nomination with pledged delegates, and therefore the convention will be a contested one. Not true on four counts.
    1. If she wins with roughly 72% of the votes in the remaining contests, she could win the nomination on pledged delegates alone. His math is flawed but his logic is worse, as he faces an even higher hurdle than she does, having passed the point last week where he can no longer win the nomination on pledged delegates alone. The irony, you see, is that for Sanders to actually win the nomination, he would have to rely on the Establishment!
    2. The math in the primary process: A candidate must win 50% + 1 vote, of the delegates, in order to win the nomination. The only way Sanders' nomination pencils out, is if the super delegates go against the will of the people -- Clinton leads Sanders 57.5% - 42.5% -- see popular vote argument (1).
    3. Hypothetically if you eliminate super delegates from the nomination process and then apply the 50% + 1 vote rule, Clinton would need to win just 40% of the remaining votes in order to capture the needed delegates. This is critically important because the Sanders campaign is critical of the role of the super delegates, which is why they continually demand that the media ignore the super delegates in the nomination math.
    4. There is no contested convention, no matter how the Sanders' campaign wishes to portray it. On the first ballot Hillary wins, plain and simple. If she doesn't win on the first ballot, then it is a contested convention. Just because the Sanders campaign thinks his nomination is a viable outcome doesn't make the convention a contested one. But in case it isn't obvious to the Sanders campaign: If you go against the will of 57.5% of voters, there will be riots and you will be vilified in history books.
  3. A Con Man: A few journalists and psychologists consider Bernie Sanders a con man. What I can't figure out is whether he's conning others or himself. For instance, he insists that he can pass his policies, yet he also insisted that African-American reparations is politically impossible -- most people could easily discern that either both are possible or both are impossible, but unlikely contrary to each other. The same thing comes to the delegate math and his anti-South rhetoric. Is he conning himself into believing this fantasy, or is he trying to con voters? Perhaps a bit of both. Seeing as young people are the only ones gullible enough to buy into what he's selling, he's certainly conning less experienced Americans. But when he offers up hypocritical arguments on the viability of his ideas and his candidacy, he's surely conning himself.
  4. The White Male, and Youth Candidate: I've mentioned this before, but Sanders' viability rests solely on white males, and the youth vote. In every other demographic, he loses. He loses Asians, Blacks, Hispanics, Men of other races and Women of all races. The sole age group that he's completely captured is 18-24, by roughly a 75% - 25% margin. He holds a very marginal lead in the 25-29 group, but then loses all other age groups by wide margins. It's neither reflective of America nor of the Democratic Party. As I said last year, Bernie represents going back to old white men, and having gotten a taste of the alternative I think most Democrats would prefer to diversity rather than return to old white men. 
  5. The Better Candidate: The Sanders campaign likes to point to hypothetical general election polling to suggest that Sanders would perform better against any GOP candidate than Hillary. Yet in the nine Democratic exit polls where voters were asked who they thought would be better at beating Donald Drumpf, every nine of those polls said Clinton was stronger than Sanders, by an average margin of 67% - 30% (range = 58% - 73% for Hillary, 20% - 39% for Bernie). And it makes sense that people would vote for the candidate they thought would be the stronger candidate, right? When it comes to voting, people put their vote where their mouths are, as opposed to hypothetical general election polls, making Hillary the obviously better candidate.
  6. Hillary's Guilty of Something: If you read enough Bernie Bros, you come to realize that the Bernie Bros all think that Hillary is guilty of something. Or put it this way: WhitewaterVinceFosterTravelgateBlueDressMonicaLewisnkyEmailgateBenghaaaaaazi was one big conspiracy. When confronted on Hillary's emails, they rely strictly on innuendo of a worst-case scenario, not what the facts have so far revealed. So self-assured they are that the worst-case will come to pass, that they give Republican nutjobs a run for the money when it comes to accepting conspiracy theories. And they won't shut up about it. They're dangerous echo-chambers of the rightwing nutjob propaganda.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

I've sent my Oregon ballot in.

Got it, sent it back already. The sooner you send it back, the faster those political mailings stop, except of course, if a campaign decides to not pay for the ballot return lists.

Here are some of my decisions:
  • President: Hillz and Billz. History actually teaches us that revolutions are messy. Mao infamously supported the idea of periodic revolutions, but all you need to do is look at modern China to understand how messed up they'd been for decades. The sort of revolution Bernie speaks of, is a cultural one, and that does not start within politics! Cultural revolutions start from the ground and up, working into the political class supporting the popular will. Plus, Unicorns aren't real.
  • Senator: Ron the Terminator Wyden. The guy is the perfect mix of liberal and libertarian, plus, he's gotten a lot done for Oregon, by way of the passage of various laws helping out various Oregon groups. He effectively put the clamps on James Clapper when he got Clapper to offer up a lie that was later revealed with the Snowden files.
  • Multnomah County Dist. 1: Brian not a singer Wilson. I had settled on three names: Eric Zimmerman, Brian Wilson and Sharon Meieran. Doing some research turned up some recent difficulties in Zimmerman's life and while I wouldn't normally hold that against a person, it concerns me that he might have to spend more time dealing with personal issues over the county's. I was about to vote for Meieran, but then I pulled up her endorsements and I found Novick and Fritz on it, which was a nonstarter for me. By elimination, Wilson got my vote. That doesn't mean he's the least qualified, but that he had the least red flags of the three.
  • Portland Mayor: Jules not Verne Bailey. This is a no-brainer for one simple reason: Bailey is an Economist. You see, an Economist thinks about greatest efficiency to achieve policy, and you'll notice that he's pushing for a lot of smart policies to address affordability except rent control and anti-gentrification laws. Ted Wheeler on the other hand, has pushed for anti-gentrification laws that would actually cost Portlanders more, over time, in rent rates, and kill development of affordable housing. Rent control is a dead end, literally. Rent control serves as a disincentive to make seismic upgrades, and is just a taste of things to come if Portland embraces rent control.
  • Portland Commissioner #1: Ann the hair do Sanderson. There was no way I was going to vote for Amanda Fritz after she tried to force the homeless camp R2D2 into a lot under the Broadway Bridge ramp. She attempted to unilaterally force this move against the neighborhood board's stance, and hardly gave a damn about the conditions these homeless folks would be living in. Sanderson fought against the Novick-Hales plan to unilaterally impose a street fee, and that was huge.
    Portland Commissioner #2: Stuart not so little Emmons. Architect, need I say more? Architects are part of a group of thinkers who problem-solve all day long. I trust that his solutions are well-considered. Plus, his advocacy to keep Memorial Coliseum is a value I share.
  • 26-174, 5 year Oregon Historical Society levy: Yes. It's a very tiny cost to document and maintain Oregon's history and culture. I can't imagine why people wouldn't want to spend money to preserve that.
  • 26-173, 4 year Fuel Tax for Street Repairs, Safety: Yes. We can't have nice things if we're not going to pay for them. Now, while it's true that they could cut elsewhere to fund these programs, I actually support higher gasoline prices to increase efficient transportation use. It's only 4 years, anyway.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

5 Thoughts for April 26, 2016

  1. Deflategate: It's back, and this time it'll stick. A 3-person appeals panel (by 2-1 vote) overturned Tom Brady's case, in effect reinstating Roger Goodell's 4-game suspension. Brady's options are to ask for a rehearing by the same 3-member panel that overturned a lower judge's ruling, or a rehearing en banc (the full appeals court), or for a writ of certiorari with SCOTUS, but none of the options seem likely to occur. It shouldn't have been overturned in the first place, since the players themselves granted the commish wide leeway, for better or worse, in doling out punitive measures. The only means of arguing that the commish's punishment was overly harsh, is to identify bias. But whereas it's easy to find Patriots hatred among the other NFL team owners, it's hard to find bias in a commish who had a tight relationship with Patriots owner Bob Kraft, prior to the Deflategate kerfuffle.
  2. The Bernie Bros: I'll point out two of them. H.A. Goodman and Seth Abramson. They contribute to Salon and Huffington Post, and both write nonsensical things on the race, manufacturing an alternate reality where Sanders is somehow winning. Their condescension is spectacular while their arguments tend to require no less than 1500 words -- basically, *yawns* all around.
  3. Bernie Sanders Demographics: It's called White Males. Of the 30-something primaries and caucuses already completed, there were just 13 with exit polls that analyzed gender-race. Having spent an inordinate amount of time looking over the data, it was striking to discover that in 12 out of these 13 states, Bernie Sanders won the White-Male demographic. Aside from that, his only demographic win was in Illinois where he won the White-Female demographic. Hillary won the rest, and her demographics resemble that of the Democratic Party.
  4. The Acela Primaries: Drumpf swept all five states (CT, PA, MD, DE, RI) and is now projected to take enough delegates to be within 210 of the nomination. All he needs to do is win California and New Jersey. Meanwhile, Hillary took CT, PA, MD, DE. The votes are still being counted so not all of the delegates have been appropriated, yet, but this might be the nail in the coffin for Bernie. Bernie just passed a critical juncture where he can no longer win out and claim the nomination w/o a single super delegate. The flip side of that, is that were all 712 super delegates to pledge support to Hillary right now, she would have the necessary number of delegates to win the nomination. Assuming the remaining super delegates all support Hillary, Bernie would have to win the remaining contests with 84%. Assuming all 712 super delegates split along the popular vote, Bernie would have to win out with 64%. Every time he comes up short of those percentages, they increase.
  5. Google Fiber Portland: Psst. There's a live page for the Portland Metro area. If you input your address, it'll tell you if your neighborhood is currently being considered. After inputting your address, one of two messages will appear; (1) "Be among the first to know when we have more to share"; (2) "Google Fiber isn’t available for this address". I've tested some addresses, and there's a noticeable trend (which I won't disclose). GTK when you're shopping for homes / places to live, don't you think?

The Way, Way Too Early Electoral College Map

I'm about to wade deeply into the waters of self-indulgence and possibly self-delusion. There are very limited polls at the state level, matching up Hillary Clinton and Donald Drumpf, and it's premature to call Donald the presumptive nominee, but...

Nonetheless, here's my way, way too early electoral college map:



Clinton, with 340 electoral college votes, easily surpasses the 270 needed to win the election (as indicated in blue). This is my middle of the road view, BTW.

I think it's possible that a Clinton-Drumpf matchup could produce some crazy results, where several red states will flip blue (shaded in tan).

The swing states of Florida, Colorado, and Nevada have huge Latino populations and appear heavily motivated to vote against Drumpf, which is why I have them in Clinton's corner.

Virginia, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin are sometimes swing states, but because Clinton leans moderate, I think she easily picks up these states. Plus, she actually does have a strong advantage with women voters, particularly when matched up against Drumpf.

It is utterly ridiculous to make this early prediction since the candidates haven't been formally decided, and 6 months ahead of the election is completely detached from anything proper and real. But here it is, and won't your mind be blown away if it is even remotely accurate?

Thursday, April 21, 2016

RIP Prince

Prince is dead.

My top-10 favorite Prince tunes:
  1. Kiss
  2. Raspberry Beret
  3. Controversy
  4. Erotic City
  5. When Doves Cry
  6. 1999
  7. Delirious
  8. Let's Go Crazy
  9. 7
  10. Let's Pretend We're Married
Other than the top two, it was not easy building a top-10 list because it meant leaving out some great songs. Purple Rain, for instance, is a classic but it wasn't in my top-10. I love Alphabet St, Baby I'm A Star and Sign O' The Times, too, and they're in my essential 33 Prince songs playlist, but not in my top-10.

Point is, Prince made a lot of great music (and some really awesome videos!)

It's a shame that Prince tightly controlled his digital music, such that the only means of streaming his music online is via Tidal. Otherwise, I would have built a publicly-accessible playlist.

Long live Prince.


ADD: Favorite song and video, Kiss.

video

Creepy Ted Cruz.

Times like this, it's difficult to describe one's feelings about Ted. In emoji terms, it's:
😂 + 😜 + 😲 + 😖 + 😒 + 😠