The Phony Campaign

2019-07-21 Update

[Amazon Link]

The Donald enhances his grip on the top phony spot, with an eightfold lead in phony hit counts over his nearest competitor, Bernie.

As far as our Betfair-derived probabilities go, the Donald was also most-improved this week, continuing his flirtation with coin-flip probability at winning next November.

Poor Andrew Yang is flirting with elimination, right at our 2% threshold. Is it a coincidence that Google finds him to be the least phony candidate? Interesting link below.

Candidate WinProb Change
Donald Trump 47.6% +1.1% 8,710,000 +6,590,000
Bernie Sanders 3.7% -0.5% 1,070,000 -50,000
Pete Buttigieg 3.9% unch 777,000 -313,000
Joe Biden 8.9% +0.9% 486,000 -408,000
Elizabeth Warren 9.3% +0.8% 246,000 +45,000
Kamala Harris 13.5% -2.4% 173,000 +44,000
Andrew Yang 2.0% -0.4% 21,300 -7,900

"WinProb" calculation described here. Google result counts are bogus.

  • A refresher course in the authenticity of our current candidate crop, garnered from the first page of Google hits:

    But the best I could do for Yang? From Politico, wondering: Is Andrew Yang for Real? Andy seems to be immune from anyone actually calling him out for fakery.

    But I want to say something about Yang before he joins Beto, Tulsi, Kirsten, Cory, Julian, et. al. in the "Don't Know They're Doomed" category. So I looked at this Rolling Stone article: Andrew Yang’s Wild Ride and the Search for a Freedom Dividend. What does the author find disturbing about the Yang candidacy?

    In February, Yang appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience. Rogan has a massive platform with the second-most-downloaded show on Apple Podcasts in 2017 and 2018. Now in its ninth year, Rogan draws millions of viewers an episode on YouTube. Some of his most popular interviews — Elon Musk, conspiracy theorist and nutritional supplement peddler Alex Jones, bestselling author and alt-right icon Jordan Peterson, Steve-O from Jackass, boxer-turned-cannabis-entrepreneur Mike Tyson — give you a flavor of Rogan’s bro-ish brand of libertarian politics.

    Episode No. 1245 featuring Yang has 3.3 million views (and counting) on YouTube, a modest success by Rogan’s standards. For Yang’s campaign, it was a turning point. His Twitter following skyrocketed. Donations flooded in, including one from Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey. (Actor Nicolas Cage had given $1,000 in early February.) Within weeks of the Rogan podcast, Yang hit the 65,000-donor threshold needed to qualify for the first debate.

    But in the process, Yang has also developed a following in the more rank corners of the internet, like 4chan, an uncensored version of Reddit where misogyny and anti-Semitism flourish, and Discord, a chat app used by the alt-right and white supremacists to organize online. White nationalist Richard Spencer tweeted favorably about Yang; the neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer took an interest in his campaign.

    Which raises a tricky question: How much of this was Yang’s doing, and how much of it was beyond his and his campaign’s control?

    There's no hint of cognitive dissonance experienced by the Rolling Stone writer when he tries to claim that white supremacists like the Asian dude. But I encourage you to Read The Whole Thing, if only to get a sense of how coastal lefties are trying to buy the votes of the great unwashed Rust Belt masses.

    We live in funny times.

  • Legal Insurrection reports on the latest poll from St. Anselm, and their headline focuses on… those folks with no credible shot at the Oval Office, unless they join a tour group: New Hampshire Poll Has Williamson Polling Ahead of Booker, Gillibrand, and O'Rourke.

    [Bernie] dropped a whole 6 points [compared to April's poll], putting him in the middle rung with 10%. As we’ve blogged before — Bernie was a novelty in a tiny field. In 2020, he’s just a (very) loud old man yelling at clouds compared to the younger, equally as progressive crowd he’s battling.

    Just wondering: when did "progressive" come to mean that your worldview is stuck in the early 20th century?

  • In an "NRPLUS" article, Kevin D. Williamson notes that Mayor Pete was targeted by a New Republic writer, but the tables were soon turned: The New Republic’s Mayor Pete Problem.

    The pitchforks are out again — are they ever really put away, anymore? — and this time the mob is calling for the head of the editor of The New Republic, who turns out to be Chris Lehmann, a name that requires a little looking around to find, editor of The New Republic being a rather more low-profile position today than it was in the days of Andrew Sullivan or Michael Kelly.

    The offense is the magazine’s decision to publish “My Mayor Pete Problem,” a sophomoric essay by Dale Peck, a gay writer who finds the gay mayor of godforsaken South Bend, Ind., not quite gay enough. Pete, sniffs Peck, never had a proper gay adolescence, publicly acknowledged his homosexuality only a few years ago, and — angels and ministers of grace defend us! — got married without acquiring a very long or varied curriculum venereae. How could such a man ever hope to shoulder the burdens of leading the free world? The author suggested that “Mary Pete” be adopted as the homosexual answer to “Uncle Tom.”

    Not exactly Montesquieu — or even Andrew Sullivan.

    Indeed. I suppose it's "progress" when a gay candidate is criticized for not being the right kind of gay.

  • The WSJ editorializes on Impeachment Phonies.

    So much for high crimes and misdemeanors. Faced with a resolution to impeach President Trump on Wednesday, House Democrats blinked. That was the smart move politically, but what does it say about the courage of their conviction that Mr. Trump is a clear and present danger to the country and Constitution?

    The resolution was offered by Texas Rep. Al Green, who has been calling for impeachment almost since Jan. 20, 2017. He used the uproar over Mr. Trump’s Twitter attacks on four House Democratic women to offer his resolution on the House floor.

    Even former Republican Justin Amash voted to table, as did both New Hampshire reps. I guess they'd rather grandstand.

  • An amusing Tweet. from Mark "Venn Diagram" Perry:

  • And Wheezy Joe knows how to assuage the fears of the masses: Joe Biden to Run on Obamacare, Repeats Lie About Keeping Your Plan.

    While speaking at forum for AARP in Iowa this weekend, Joe Biden revealed his plan for healthcare, which would be based on Obamacare. At one point, he told the crowd with a straight face, “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.”

    Biden actually repeated the Obama line Politifact declared the “Lie of the Year” in 2013.

    Big government policy changes generate winners and losers among the populace. Successful policy-selling involves hiding the ball from the losers. Joe figured that out sometime in the 1970s. But he hasn't figured out how to do it with convincing subtlety.

  • At the Bulwark, Robert Tracinski deems Joe to be The Man in the Middle. That's not an enviable position.

    Yet the woke brigade, by virtue of being activists and donors, have a disproportionate influence in the primaries, so Biden feels the need to appease them. The most notable example (so far) has been his cave-in on the Hyde Amendment. This is an old political compromise from way back in 1976, named after Henry Hyde, a then-prominent Republican congressman. The compromise was that Congress did not ban abortion, but it banned the use of federal funds to pay for abortions.

    A lot of people on the religious right these days are bad-mouthing the “libertarians,” but this was actually a pretty straightforward libertarian solution: government won’t ban it, but it won’t make you pay for it with your taxes. Yet for everybody else, the Hyde Amendment was always just a compromise, one that has survived for so long only because neither party has been politically strong enough to move the issue their way.

    Joe Biden was around for the original Hyde Amendment, and because he is a creature of compromise, he has supported it ever since—until a month ago, when he hastily reversed himself under pressure from the left.

    This in itself will not be a problem for him politically. Few people who are not already partisans even know what the Hyde Amendment is, and this flip-flop is happening so early in the election cycle that the average primary voter will have no knowledge of it by the time the voting really starts.

    The danger to Biden is if this becomes a pattern: if he keeps staking out what used to be the “moderate” position, then keeps caving in when the far left screams. If he keeps doing that, then what’s the point of a Democrat voting for him in the primaries when they could just vote for one of the candidates who are actually calling the ideological shots?

    Or: why vote for a phony at all, when you can vote for … Andrew Yang!