The Phony Campaign

2019-07-28 Update

[Amazon Link]

As feared, the Betfair oddsmakers have now judged the probability of us saying "President Andrew Yang" with a straight face in January 2021 to be less than 2%, so we've dropped him from this week's table. They have also up-bumped Trump to slightly better than even odds.

I hear a couple of debates are scheduled for the upcoming week, and that could mean big changes, especially if Wheezy Joe starts babbling even less coherently than usual.

I also learned that if you Google "Democrat debates", Google will chide you:

Did you mean: Democratic debates

Shut up, Google. I know what I meant.

Despite losing 5.73 million hits over the past week, Trump still is in a commanding phony lead, with a nearly three-to-one advantage over Bernie, his closest competitor:

Candidate WinProb Change
Donald Trump 50.1% +2.5% 2,980,000 -5,730,000
Bernie Sanders 4.0% +0.3% 1,030,000 -40,000
Pete Buttigieg 3.6% -0.3% 859,000 +82,000
Joe Biden 9.8% +0.9% 321,000 -165,000
Elizabeth Warren 10.1% +0.8% 173,000 -73,000
Kamala Harris 12.5% -1.0% 114,000 -59,000

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

  • [Amazon Link]
    At Patterico's Pontifications, JVW does an excellent job of visiting the candidates' websites and Rating the Campaign Swag. Recommended because it is funny. Sample:

    Julián Castro cartoon portrait stickers
    In perusing Secretary Castro’s online store, I see that he makes heavy use of the diacritic (acento in Spanish) over the “a” in Julián, turning it into what I guess is supposed to be a flame. They also feature a bunch of merchandise with a theme of Adiós Trump He’s selling Obamaesque stickers which the store refers to as a lotería, a word I only know to mean “lottery.” Is there another translation of the word that I am unaware of? I guess we can’t ask Mr. Castro himself, since he doesn’t actually speak Spanish, acento notwithstanding.

    Sample acento-style sign available from Amazon, at your right. $15.99 quantity one, but (incredible deal) $49.99 will get you ten! Because your neighbors will be ten times more persuaded by ten signs than they would be by one!

  • Mr. Ramirez has a toon comment on the Donald's past promises. What else is Growing with our national debt?


  • A bit of Bernie news caused much amusement among minimum wage skeptics. Some (salaried) campaign workers were able to do enough math to determine they were being paid less than $15/hr. Horrors!

    But that caused Bernie to do the Honorable Thing and raise their pay cut their hours.

    And if you want to know how deeply in the tank Newsweek is, check out their headline: Bernie Sanders Campaign Responds to $15 Minimum Wage Controversy with Better Hours for Staff.

    Yeah, "Better".

    Unionized workers planned to send a letter to campaign manager Faiz Shakir which read that "many field staffers are barely managing to survive financially, which is severely impacting our team's productivity and morale." Some employees, they said, had even left the campaign as a result of the low pay.

    Note: the workers "barely managing to survive" will still be barely managing. But they'll have more leisure time to contemplate their socialist misery.

  • [Amazon Link]
    Andy Puzder (former CEO of CKE Restaurants, which includes Hardee's and Carl's Jr.) found himself on Bernie's Enemies List. Because he's against the $15/hr minimum wage. So (naturally) it was difficult to hide his glee when he penned this WSJ op-ed: Sanders Belongs on His Own ‘Enemies’ List.

    At any rate, I don’t hate Bernie, and there’s nothing personal about my disagreements with him. In my recent book, “The Capitalist Comeback,” I note that we got along pretty well the one time we met and I was impressed by his willingness to discuss issues on which we had some common ground, such as worker training and trade.

    There are signs Mr. Sanders and I are even closer in our views than I thought. I believe people should take pride in meeting the needs of others. It is the essence of capitalism that individuals benefit personally from doing so. The result is prosperity and abundance. Socialism’s redistribution discourages them from aspiring to create more, causing poverty and want.

    In an April Fox News town hall, Mr. Sanders seemed to agree. Asked about his personal wealth, he said: “If anyone thinks I should apologize for writing a best-selling book, I’m sorry, I’m not going to do it.” He was adamant in his defense of capitalist virtue: “If you write a best-selling book, you can be a millionaire, too.” What a great system!

    I say: the system is rigged in favor of old socialist blowhards! Prove me wrong.

  • At Reason, Nick Gillespie shakes his head in sadness at another self-contradicting Democrat: Mayor Pete Wants To Destroy the Gig Economy in Order To Save It.

    South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, wants to destroy the gig economy in order to save it. That's the takeaway from the Indiana mayor's new proposal, "A New Rising Tide: Empowering Workers in a Changing Economy."

    "It's time to help our nation's workforce become more resilient, inclusive, and flexible, and more easily adapt to our dynamic, ever-changing economy," reads the plan, but its focus is to force more regulations on employers and increase unionization among workers, neither of which is likely to make it easier for the economy to grow or the workplace to "more easily adapt" to the needs of suppliers, workers, or consumers.

    Wanted: a candidate who will forthrightly say: "I've never actually run anything, except my mouth. So as President, I would be unwilling to demand, or even suggest, that businesses bend to my sovereign will."

  • At Reason, Nick Gillespie read the documents and tried to find out what Senator Warren's proposed breakup of big tech revealed. Alas: Warren's Proposed Breakup Of Big Tech Only Reveals Her Hypocrisy. There's a lot to wade through, but I appreciated this vignette (warning: pseudo-math in first sentence):

    Warren’s vehemence correlates inversely with her coherence. Back in 2014, the Heritage Foundation worked on a coalition that would reach across political divides to end the Export-Import Bank. The bank is essentially a welfare program for Boeing, with a minor side hustle of lending to small businesses. Heritage contacted the famously anti-corporate Warren as a potential ally.

    As Reason quipped, “Looks like the joke is on Heritage.” Said a spokesman to Bloomberg, “Sen. Warren believes that the Export-Import Bank helps create American jobs and spur economic growth, but recognizes that there is room for improvement in the bank’s operations. She looks forward to reviewing re-authorization legislation if and when it is introduced.”

    She has had that opportunity, and has supported reauthorization without improvement at every turn. In 2017, President Donald Trump appointed Scott Garrett to lead the Ex-Im Bank. Garrett served in the Congress that voted not to renew the bank’s authorization a few years ago, but he pledged to the Senate’s banking committee to carry out the reforms that Warren has long claimed to want.

    During testimony, Warren badgered him for “doing what was politically convenient.” She accused him, as a congressman, of costing Massachusetts “real jobs.” Warren’s melange of anti-corporate, pro-jobs, reformist, and anti-reformist sentiments come together with all the philosophical rigor of a pot of spaghetti.

    Why it's almost as if she's just interested in getting political power, and will say anything, no matter how self-contradictory, to get it.

  • But as another amusing data point on that general topic, from the Daily Beast: Sen. Elizabeth Warren Fellowship Applicants Say Campaign Program Was a ‘Great Scam’.

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has built much of her political career as a champion of workers and consumers against the deceptive and exploitative practices of corporations and employers.

    But as she navigates the latest chapter of that career arc—a run for the Democratic nomination for the presidency—the Massachusetts Democrat faces criticism from several of her own supporters who said the lowest tier of her campaign structure doesn’t match the image she projects.

    Two early converts to Warren described the process for entry into her campaign’s volunteer fellowship program as deceptive and at times exploitative in interviews with The Daily Beast. They said they were pushed toward unpaid positions over paid ones, misled over the availability of financial assistance, and asked to sign highly restrictive nondisclosure agreements that worker advocacy groups concede are irregular. Both applicants verified their accounts with emails and text messages from the Warren campaign.

    I am sorely disappointed completely unsurprised when Democrats run their campaigns more abusively than the businesses they deride.