URLs du Jour

2018-11-07

[Amazon Link]

  • So (as usual) I think everyone I voted for lost. Which (also as usual) means invoking my post-election mantra: "Oh well. I guess I'll just have to be satisfied with being right about everything, all the time."

    However, the two NH Constitutional amendments on the ballot won. And I liked those.

    On that matter, is Amazon's Product du Jour a little too … something? Self-backpatting, maybe? Well, yeah, I wouldn't buy it myself, but if it fits you (in more ways than one), go for it.


  • I can report at least partial success on my election predictions. I thought that the GOP candidates would do better than the UNH Survey Center's Granite State Poll (GSP) predicted.

    • The GSP showed a 49%-49% tie between Republican Chris Sununu and Democrat Molly Kelly. Sununu won (as I, and most everyone else, predicted), with current (partial) results showing him up 52%-46%.

    • IN NH-1, the GSP had Democrat Chris Pappas over Republican Eddie Edwards 54%-43%, an 11-point spread. I thought Eddie would do better than that, and he did, although still losing, 53%-45%. (92% of precincts reporting).

    • And in NH-2, the GSP had Democrat Annie Kuster over Republican Steve Negron 60%-37%, a 23-point spread. Again, I thought the GSP was overoptimistic on the D side, and it was: current results have Annie "only" up by 16 points, 57%-41%.

    This ain't good for the UNH Survey Center. Who would pay them to do political polling, when they consistently err in favor of Democrats? (They showed the same systematic bias in 2016.)

    So, three for three so far. My other two predictions were that the GOP would do better than the "average" FiveThirtyEight modeling showed for House and Senate. Final results are not in, but I'm confident here too.


  • Cafe Hayek's Bonus Quotation of the Day is from Robert Higgs, dedicated non-voter:

    Of course, aggregates of voters may swing an election by voting one way or the other or by not voting. But you, amigo, are not an aggregate of voters; you have only one vote. And how you cast that one vote will almost certainly fail to swing any large election. Why this simple reality flies over so many people’s heads is a bit of a mystery (various explanations may be offered), but if you don’t understand it, you really need to stop and think harder about the matter. Saying that “your vote doesn’t matter” is not the same as saying that “voting doesn’t matter,” although the latter may also be true in a different sense (e.g., elections are only rituals, and the deeper system will persist regardless of electoral outcomes).

    Although I voted myself, I was annoyed by all the hectoring to do so. The cafe's proprietor, Don Boudreaux, goes on to report an airport encounter with an earnest young lady that bordered on harassment. (As in: if it happened (a) on a college campus, and was (b) about sex instead of voting, and (c) the sexes were reversed, and (d) it had been reported to authorities, then someone would have been in big trouble.)


  • But I think Kevin D. Williamson is also perceptive in his late-Election-Day musing: Unserious Voters, Decent Citizens — in America, They’re the Same People.

    The value of voting is that it is the easiest nonviolent means of ensuring a minimum level of accountability among lawmakers and high officials. If we do not like the principal figures in our governments, we can change them. Voting is a practical measure, not an affirmation of every ignorant sentiment and selfish demand from every Larry, Caitlyn, and Avery across the fruited plain. If there were an easier and more reliable method for ensuring accountability than asking 50 percent plus 1 of the people what they think about things they don’t know very much about (there’s no shame in rational ignorance; it is rational, after all), the world would be a better place, at least a better-governed place. But there isn’t. So we vote.

    Voting is not the highest expression of citizenship: It’s the bargain-basement expression of citizenship, an almost entirely cost-free opportunity to step into a private place and say: “This is what I want.” There isn’t anything particularly noble or elevated about “I want.” Every screaming toddler on every airplane in the sky is saying “I want,” and it doesn’t impress us all that much. Every crusty bum on the streets of San Francisco with his hand out is saying “I want,” as is every shrieking women’s-studies major in Portland and every talk-radio caller in Plano. It’s not that this isn’t important: It is difficult to ensure accountability to the governed without asking the governed what they want. But there’s a hell of a lot more to citizenship than that.

    That's just two paragraphs of eleven or so, but (even more than usual) I encourage you to Read The Whole Thing.


  • You will want to go Incognito for this Washington Post article from Megan McArdle: Both Democrats and Republicans are losing this culture war.

    Republicans should be asking themselves how, with unemployment low and the economy booming, they managed to lose control of the House of Representatives. Yes, the president’s party usually loses some seats during midterm elections. Yes, Republicans were suffering from a lot of retirements, which left races open that would have been locked up with an incumbent in the seat.

    But the losses they suffered were out of proportion to the underlying fundamentals. And the wave of retiring incumbents was not a random disaster visited upon them by the capricious political gods; it was a direct result of the president making life miserable for his fellow Republicans.

    Later on, Megan notes the bad news for Democrats.


  • At Reason, Matt Welch reports on disappointing news from the Live Free or Die state (that's us): Party-Switching N.H. State Rep. Brandon Phinney Gets Slaughtered as a Libertarian.

    Not literally slaughtered. That would be much bigger news.

    Until tonight, Brandon Phinney was a model for one genre of elected Libertarian: The party-switcher.

    The New Hampshire state representative, elected to the 400-member body in 2016 as a Republican, switched to Libertarian in June 2017 after watching the machinery of allegedly small-government Republicanism up close. "I saw how they wanted to spend all of our money," he recalled to me in an interview this summer, "and that immediately set off every red flag imaginable." He targeted archaic laws to be stricken from the books, helped effectively legalize visiting bands drinking beer on stage, and prepped for his first election wearing the "L" right there on his sweater.

    For the other two R-to-L party switchers Matt mentions:

    • Here in NH, Caleb Q. Dyer from Hillsborough District 37 also got shellacked, finishing behind all Republicans and Democrats.

    • Out in Nebraska, State Sen. Laura Ebke also got beat by a "moderate" Republican.

    All in all, the Libertarian Party candidate motto is "Live Free and Get Beat Soundly in Elections"


  • And finally, our Tweet du Jour:

    What would we do without CNN Election Experts?