The Phony Campaign

2020-10-11 Update

Our Eye Candy du Jour from Pun Salad's favorite cartoonist, Michael P. Ramirez:


To be clear, I don't begrudge the President his first-class healthcare. I think hoi polloi should have a crack at those meds, though.

It's been a good week among the betting markets for President Trump: they judged he picked up 1.4 percentage points in his win-probability.

Unfortunately, 'twas an even better week for Wheezy Joe, picking up 7.5 percentage points. So, a net addition of 6.1 percentage points to his already large probability advantage over Bone Spurs.

And that boomlet we saw last week for Mike Pence in the betting markets is gone. Sad!

In phony news… well, there is no new phony news. The Donald really has an unchallenged lead there.

Candidate WinProb Change
Donald Trump 32.3% +1.4% 2,460,000 +280,000
Joe Biden 65.4% +7.5% 829,000 +14,000
Jo Jorgensen 0.0% unch 51,400 -93,600
Howie Hawkins 0.0% unch 21,200 -4,400

Warning: Google result counts are bogus.

  • Goodness knows I am not a Trump fan, but holy cow. A bunch of Never-Trump conservatives founded "The Bulwark" a while back, and it has taken to publishing articles like this one from Brian Karem: The Trumpist Death Cult. No, it's not a gentle parody of Trump Derangement Syndrome; it's the real deal. After he describes his experiences in covering David Koresh and Waco…

    H.L. Mencken, unflinchingly clear-eyed, said that every great religion was susceptible to cults. Mystics, he wrote, drive many cults and the “essence of mysticism is that it breaks down all barriers between the devotee and his god, and thereby makes the act of worship a direct and personal matter.”

    David Koresh did that.

    Jim Jones did that.

    So does Donald Trump.

    Trump is, in his own perverse way, one of the greatest mystics of the 21st century. He is a masterful manipulator who told everyone from the beginning of his political career how he could shoot someone in front of witnesses and not lose a voter. He also explained that he calls the news media liars so people won’t believe us and will believe him.

    It seems the Bulwark has lost the ability to make relevant distinctions. As I did with Breitbart years back, I bid it farewell. I'm sure someone will let me know if it starts publishing sanely again.

  • I wasn't paid to watch the vice-presidential candidates debate, so I did not. But it seems that Reason paid Jacob Sullum, and he sums it up for us: The Pence-Harris Debate Was a Model of Civility, Evasion, and Obfuscation. Since our Sunday concentration is on the latter two, Jacob provides a couple of examples:

    [Moderator Susan] Page asked Harris what she thinks California, which she represents in the Senate, would do if Roe were overturned and whether she thinks there should be "no restrictions on access to abortion." Harris' response was mostly about other subjects, although she did say, "I will always fight for a woman's right to make a decision about her own body." That was not an answer to either of Page's questions, although at least it had something to do with abortion.

    Page asked Pence how the Trump administration will "protect Americans with preexisting conditions" so they have "access to affordable insurance if the Affordable Care Act is struck down." Pence said nothing relevant to that question, although he did introduce a completely different but timely issue: If Barrett is confirmed and Biden wins the election, he asked Harris, "are you…going to pack the Supreme Court to get your way?"

    It's nice that Pence and Harris were able to demonstrate a (relative) modicum of respect for each other. It would be even nicer, as Jacob points out, if they were able to demonstrate an equal amount of respect for American voters, who deserve honest and clear answers to even tough questions.

  • Even though the focus has been on other issues, Steven E. Landsburg writes at the WSJ about The Cynicism of Joe Biden’s Minimum-Wage Politics.

    For nearly four years, I’ve looked forward to voting against Donald Trump. But Joe Biden keeps testing my resolve.

    It isn’t only that I think Mr. Biden is frequently wrong. It’s that he tends to be wrong in ways that suggest he never cared about being right. He makes no attempt to defend many of his policies with logic or evidence, and he deals with objections by ignoring or misrepresenting them. You can say the same about President Trump, but I’d hoped for better.

    Take Mr. Biden’s stance on the federal minimum wage, which he wants to increase to $15 an hour from $7.25. Why transfer income to low-wage workers as opposed to poor people generally? Mr. Biden has ignored the question. But even if you’re laser-focused on raising wages, there are better alternatives. The Earned Income Tax Credit increases after-tax wages and gives businesses an incentive to hire more employees—an incentive the minimum wage gets backward.

    The minimum wage is a good way for politicians to demonstrate "compassion" without spending any taxpayer money. Very phony.

  • Say what you will about Wheezy Joe; he's occasionally honest about his contempt for voters, as reported by the Daily Wire: Voters ‘Don’t’ Deserve To Know If I’m Going To Pack Supreme Court.

    Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden told a local news reporter on Friday afternoon that voters do not deserve to know whether he will pack the Supreme Court if he wins the upcoming the election.

    “Sir, I’ve got to ask you about packing the courts and I know you said yesterday you aren’t going to answer the question until after the election, but this is the number one thing that I’ve been asking about from viewers in the past couple of days,” the reporter said to Biden.

    “Well, you’ve been asked by the viewers who are probably Republicans who don’t me continuing to talk about what they’re doing to the court right now,” Biden responded.

    “Well sir, don’t the voters deserve to know—” the reporter pressed.

    “No, they don’t,” Biden responded.

    Seems legit.

  • At National Review, Andrew C. McCarthy looks at it this way (NRPLUS, sorry): Why Biden and Harris Refuse to Give an Answer about Court-Packing.

    What I found most striking about last night’s vice-presidential debate was the contrast between how objectively outrageous it is that the Biden-Harris ticket will not answer the court-packing question and how unabashedly, even glibly, they go about insulting our intelligence while demurring.

    It is inconceivable that Republican candidates could get away with such smugness, even on issues of far less consequence. Here, we are talking about blowing up any semblance of the Supreme Court’s role in our Constitution’s separation-of-powers equilibrium as the non-political branch that decides issues of great importance in accordance with the law, not partisan or ideological considerations.

    To be sure, the Court has done grave damage to itself in this regard. For a half-century, in cases involving the Kulturkampf or implicating constitutionally dubious “progressive” legislation, the Court has acted as a super-legislature. Its liberal members vote as a bloc, shredding — er, I mean, “evolving” — the law as they lock in the desired result, then reason backwards. That said, implicit in the justices’ recent grappling over stare decisis — the presumption in favor of adherence to precedent, even when the precedent is arguably wrong — is a self-awareness that the legitimacy of their institution demands fidelity to something besides sheer political will.

    We're in for interesting times. Way too interesting.

Last Modified 2024-06-03 5:59 AM EDT