The Phony Campaign

2019-08-11 Update

[Amazon Link]

Well, Tulsi had her moment. But the punters at Betfair have kicked her winning probability back down below 2%, our cutoff, so she's absent from our table again.

Also with a bad week: Kamala Harris. Her probability dropped by nearly two percentage points. It's hard to remember that just last month she was at 25%. An impressive swoon.

In the phony standings, Google reports that—remember, these numbers are totally bogus—Trump's phony hits more than doubled, and Bernie's hits more than tripled. But Trump maintains his strong lead.

Candidate WinProb Change
Donald Trump 47.8% -1.2% 4,830,000 +2,840,000
Bernie Sanders 6.7% +1.4% 2,920,000 +2,059,000
Pete Buttigieg 2.7% -0.7% 847,000 -100,000
Joe Biden 12.7% +0.7% 560,000 +176,000
Elizabeth Warren 12.0% +1.8% 340,000 +143,000
Kamala Harris 6.6% -1.9% 314,000 +162,000
Andrew Yang 2.3% +0.1% 32,900 +8,500

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

  • Ann Althouse finds an insightful article at the WaPo by Tara Isabella Burton: "For Marianne Williamson and Donald Trump, religion is all about themselves/The conviction that you can shape the world with your mind is an American tradition.". From Ann's excerpt:

    But Williamson has more in common with President Trump than she — and indeed many voters — might admit, and it’s not just that both have used personal celebrity as a springboard into politics. At their core, both are also prime representatives of one of the most important and formative spiritual trends in American life: the notion that we can transform our material circumstances through faith in our personal willpower. Trump’s authoritarian cult of personality and Williamson’s woo-inflected belief in the power of “self-actualization” both come from the quintessentially American conviction that the quickest and surest route to Ultimate Reality can be found within ourselves....

    I believe "woo-inflected" is meant to indicate that Williamson's schtick is basically pseudo-scientific crap.

    And if you want more of that, check our Amazon Product du Jour! A mere eight bucks for the Kindle version! The author, Ursula Wania ("TAROT READER · ASTROLOGER · NUMEROLOGIST / Often copied … never equalled") is from South Africa. Which makes her, unfortunately ineligible to be either Marianne's or Donald's running mate.

  • At the Rolling Stone, Tim Dickinson reports on what I consider to be good news: Trump’s Background Check Pitch Is as Phony as He Is.

    We’ve all been watching the Trump Show for four years now. But a lot of folks, and a shocking number of journalists, still haven’t caught onto the rules.

    Trump will promise any policy he thinks works to his political advantage in the moment. He loves generating headlines for those proposals that break with GOP orthodoxy, but he will eventually revert to the Republican norm.

    Trump has no regard for truth or consistency. Yet the media unaccountably fail to report the essential context: That that the president is often full of shit. So people come away believing the Trump is open to universal healthcare, wants to protect the Dreamers, would raise taxes on hedge fund billionaires, or — in the wake of mass shootings — is open to expanding background checks.

    It’s no mystery why Trump seeks the political benefits of sidling up to these policies — they’re extremely popular. (Universal background checks poll at close to 90 percent.) And because bullshiting is so on brand for our presidential pitchman, Trump never pays a real political price when he later reverses himself. All evidence suggests these flip flops work for the president — low information voters hear what they want to hear (Trump is for what I’m for) and disregard the rest. 

    Dickinson is right that "universal background checks" poll well. But (as Jacob Sullum pointed out back in 2015) they are also ineffective, unjust, and unenforceable.

    Sure, I'd prefer that Trump say that instead. But that's expecting way too much.

  • Something you probably won't see reported in the Rolling Stone, which is why you should read the Washington Free Beacon: CNN Fact Check: Sanders Has Been Repeating False Claim About Health Care Spending For a Decade.

    CNN published a fact check on Friday against Democratic presidential candidate Senator Bernie Sanders (I., Vt.), saying he has repeated the same "false claim" about health care spending since at least 2009.

    Fact checker Daniel Dale said Sanders has falsely claimed multiple times over the last decade that the United States spends "twice as much per capita on health care as any other nation on Earth." Politifact rated the claim "false" in 2009 and 2015, according to CNN.

    Dale said the claim is still false in 2019. While he argued the United States spends more than any "health care per capita of any Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development country," he said they don't spend twice as much as any other single country.

    Well, it's Bernie. Way too old to give up on cherished beliefs. They're "his truth". Which reminds me of a recent Ramirez cartoon about a different aged Democrat…

  • [truth over facts]

    Oh, shoot, you need a reference for that? Well, here.

    Joe Biden, the 2020 Democratic front-runner crowd, left some in the crowd at the Iowa State Fair mystified when he told them: We choose truth over facts."

    The 76-year-old former vice president, who loquacious style and propensity for flubbing his lines endears him to some and draws mockery from others, was ending his speech at the state fairground in Des Moines when he attempted a rousing finish.

    “There is nothing we’ve ever decided to do we’ve been unable to do, he said. "Period. That’s not hyperbole. We have never, never, never failed when we’re together. And ladies and gentlemen, it’s time to get up.

    "Everybody knows who Donald Trump is. Even his supporters know who he is. We got to let him know who we are. We choose unity over division. We choose science over fiction. We choose truth over facts."

    Or if the Washington Examiner is too rightwing for you, how about Slate: Joe Biden gaffes his way through Iowa..

    So maybe that didn’t come out right. (He would get the line—“We choose truth over lies”—correct later in the evening.) But at least, shortly thereafter, he successfully told off a Breitbart reporter who was trying to promote the conspiracy theory that the media had misrepresented President Donald Trump’s remarks after the lethal violence in Charlottesville, Virginia.

    Oh, right, it's Slate. Goodness knows, I'm not a Trump fan, but it's not a "conspiracy theory" that the media misrepresented Trump's "very fine people" post-Charlottesville remarks, it's the simple truth.

    I'm also not a PragerU devoteee, but they do a pretty good job with this:

  • And finally, we have: Elizabeth Warren’s Ferguson Lie. (Christopher Tremoglie at National Review) Specifically:

    This is an outright lie, one day after Warren complained of the dangers of rhetoric.

    Michael Brown was not murdered. Michael Brown was shot by officer Darren Wilson in an act of self-defense. This is why the grand jury declined to indict Wilson for murder or manslaughter, and it was also the conclusion of the Obama administration’s Department of Justice.

    Not what we need right now, Liz.

Last Modified 2019-08-11 10:00 AM EDT