The Phony Campaign

2020-02-23 Update

[Amazon Link]

Well, that went well. The Nevada Democratic caucus, that is. At least procedurally.

Glass-half-full optimists can take heart from the fact that about two-thirds of Nevada Dems voted for someone not named Bernie.

Pessimists will note: they voted for people only slightly worse.

The Betfair punters deemed Mayor Mike the week's big loser, probably due to his lousy debate performance. Bernie's odds improved dramatically. And so did Trump's, less dramatically.

In the phony standings, Trump maintains his commanding lead over all Democrat contenders. But Bernie has slipped into second place ahead of Wheezy Joe:

Candidate WinProb Change
Since
2/16
Phony
Results
Change
Since
2/16
Donald Trump 58.5% +0.9% 1,930,000 +280,000
Bernie Sanders 23.7% +7.5% 501,000 +74,000
Joe Biden 3.0% -1.1% 475,000 +26,000
Pete Buttigieg 2.0% -0.4% 174,000 -56,000
Michael Bloomberg 8.6% -5.2% 118,000 +34,800

Warning: Google result counts are bogus.

  • The Free Beacon's Andrew Stiles tries to talk some sense into Democratic voters about what they deserve: Democrats Deserve a Younger, Healthier Frontrunner in 2020.

    The Democratic primary has rapidly devolved into a bitter squabble between 78-year-old socialist Bernie Sanders and 78-year-old billionaire Michael Bloomberg. Former vice president and 77-year-old train enthusiast Joe Biden is also technically running. The self-described "party of the future" appears to be doing everything in its power to ensure a second term for President Donald J. Trump.

    The most youthful Democrat with a realistic shot at the nomination is Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of Indiana's fourth-largest city who won't shut up about the time he studied abroad in Afghanistan. He's riding high after strong finishes in Iowa and New Hampshire but is in for a rude awakening once the voting starts in states that aren't dominated by his core demographic of wealthy whites with graduate degrees and West Wing fetishes.

    Andrew's solution to the dilemma may shock and/or amuse you.


  • At the (possibly paywalled) WSJ, James Freeman looks at How Bloomberg and Sanders Made Their Fortunes.

    Michael Bloomberg is a lot wealthier than Bernie Sanders. But there’s a case to be made that Mr. Sanders has been more creative in developing his business model. Who would have guessed that being a full-time socialist in the United States could result in a net worth more than 25 times that of the median American household?

    [Amazon Link]

    Factoid about Bernie's fortune: "Mr. Sanders’ Senate and presidential campaign organizations have spent a total of more than $500,000 buying copies of his books." The campaigns then give the books "free" to contributors.

    That's a pretty good scam, and probably legal. Freeman credits a new book by Peter Schweizer, Amazon link at right.


  • Megan McArdle warns us at the Washington Post: Bernie Sanders is not just a garden-variety social democrat.

    The world of comic books, in which characters are constantly dying and being revived or reinvented for a new legion of fans, eventually had to invent a concept known as the “retcon” — short for “retroactive continuity.”

    You’ll have noticed the phenomenon in film and television even if you never knew its name: “retconning” means altering an already-established past story line, to cover up growing plot holes or simply to free an author to craft a more enjoyable narrative in the present, one unhindered by the back catalogue.

    The term has obvious applications to modern politics. As Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) looks increasingly likely to win the Democratic nomination, left-of-center people are anxious to downgrade Sanders’s self-described socialism into something more politically palatable — like Great Society liberalism, or perhaps, at maximum, a Nordic-style welfare state.

    One problem among many, as Megan notes: many of the Nordic countries that Bernie cites have already tried and given up on the policies Bernie's actually proposing.


  • You may have seen this already, but just in case, don't miss Sean Davis's essay at the Federalist: So God Made A Bloomberg.

    And on the 8th day, God looked down on his planned paradise and said, “I need a tiny, soulless technocrat to tell everyone else how to live their lives.” So God made a Bloomberg.

    God said, “I need a know-it-all Wall Street banker who made more money by getting fired than most men will make their entire lives working an honest job.” So God made a Bloomberg.

    “I need somebody with hands strong enough to carry a stool and a booster seat wherever he goes, but gentle enough to sign the voter registration papers as a Democrat, and then a Republican, and then an independent, and then a Democrat again.

    … and there's more. In case you don't get the inspiration, check out the late Paul Harvey's "So God Made a Farmer".


  • At Reason, Scott Shackford notes the ease with which well-meaning social media rules against deception can become weaponized tools of censorship: Twitter’s New ‘Deceptive Video’ Labeling Plan Immediately Abused To Attack a Silly Joke Ad from Bloomberg. While it's still outside the memory hole:

    In the video, Mike Bloomberg asks if it's "fair" for him to point out that he's the only person in the debate who has started a business, followed by 20 seconds of quick cuts back and forth between the other candidates saying nothing. This is obviously not what actually happened, and the fact that they've edited in crickets chirping is a pretty big tell. But then, the idea that there would be 20 seconds of silence about anything in one of these debates is an absurd, over-the-top concept.

    So the ad is clearly a joke, on that's in the spirit of a lot of political advertisements. You'd have to be a pretty credulous rube to think it's real. But some very loud people seem to think you're a rube—or think pretending you're a rube will help them take advantage of some new rules Twitter is implementing in March. And by take advantage of some new rules, I mean chill political speech.

    Unsurprising: The party that pretty much unanimously despises Citizens United is the party looking to shut down political speech.


  • So one last bit of New Hampshire Primary fallout, as reported by Michael Graham at Inside Sources. Pro-Warren Progressive Group: NH Dems Made 'Terrible Mistake' Backing Klobuchar.

    “So…the voters of New Hampshire just made a terrible mistake.”

    That’s the first line of a press release from the Progressive Change Campaign Committee (PCCC) on Monday attacking Granite State voters for boosting the candidacy of Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar.

    “Exit polls show that Amy Klobuchar picked over 10 points in the final couple days before the New Hampshire primary because of…a couple good zingers in the last debate,” the PCCC said. “Klobuchar has faced no scrutiny this year. New Hampshire voters didn’t know that Klobuchar voted to confirm two-thirds of Trump judges to lifetime appointments -— and has one of the most conservative records of any Democrat.”

    The press release also included a tweet from “a progressive voice:”

    “Time for Tina Fey to polish off that Sarah Palin impression and tweak it for Amy. #NotPresidential.”

    Amy beat Liz badly in NH (19.8% vs 9.2%). But thanks to the "Progressive Change Campaign Committee" telling us that NH Democrats are easily swayed by "good zingers". That explains a lot.

    So the remedy is obviously to beg Tina Fey to come up with… good anti-Amy zingers on SNL. That's an interesting strategy.


  • But speaking of Amy, she had a "gaffe" by forgetting the name of the Presidente de los Estados Unidos Mexicanos. And she forgot it on Telemundo. Doh!

    Speaking of zingers, she was zinged by the recent debate moderator and also Mayor Pete. (Pete and Amy apparently despise each other.)

    But she has an excuse, as reported by the Daily Wire: I Was Too Tired, ‘This Is Not A Game Of Jeopardy’.

    “You were asked to give the name of the president of Mexico, you couldn’t at the time, mayor Buttigieg did know the name, and he says it helps his argument that Washington experience is not necessary to be president. Does it?” CNN host Anderson Cooper asked Klobuchar.

    Klobuchar, appearing flummoxed, stuttered for a moment as she attempted to explain herself. Most impressively, she even managed to lay some of her gaffe’s blame at the feet of President Trump, because she was apparently too tired after being in the “Senate all day” voting on a resolution to rein in his power.

    “Well, first of all I would like to give my greetings to President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the president of Mexico,” Klobuchar began. “When that happened, for what it’s worth, I had been in the Senate all day, we had six votes, including a resolution to be a check on the president so that he does not go to war with Iran. I got on a plane and got there, I think, at midnight my time, and had a fast interview, and then did two forums after that, ending at about two or three in the morning.”

    In response to Mayor Buttigieg’s dig, Klobuchar suggested he stop acting like the election is a “game of ‘Jeopardy.'”

    I'm not a fan of gotcha questions. (Ever since Gary Johnson spaced on Aleppo back in 2016.) But I'd actually watch a Jeopardy!-style competition between the candidates.

    I believe it would strengthen democracy.