Hobson's Choice Is No Choice At All

[It's lemmings and sheep, all the way down.]

Of course, there's always the Libertarian Party. So Mr. Ramirez should add "… or raving loonies" to that speech balloon.

The betting market has some actual interesting movement, as of this morning:

Candidate EBO Win
Donald Trump 32.2% +3.0%
Joe Biden 31.9% -0.1%
Gavin Newsom 6.6% -0.5%
Michelle Obama 4.5% +0.1%
Robert Kennedy Jr 4.5% +0.4%
Ron DeSantis 3.7% -1.4%
Vivek Ramaswamy 3.6% -0.3%
Nikki Haley 3.4% unch
Kamala Harris 2.8% -0.1%
Other 6.8% -1.1%

Yes, the punters are favoring Trump over Biden. Slightly.

But the top two candidates are … by far the top two candidates. Which means that all of America (generally) and Steven Greenhut (specifically) is plaintively asking: Do we really have to relive a Trump-Biden election?

My favorite religious movie hands down is Groundhog Day, the 1993 Bill Murray comedy where an arrogant TV anchor is forced to relive the same day thousands of times until he fixes his attitude and learns to care about his neighbors. He can’t move on with his life until he graduates from his purgatory in Punxsutawney, Pa. It’s a brilliant allegory for our spiritual journey as individuals and, apparently, as a nation.

Yet here we go again. Whatever Americans tell pollsters, we’re locked in a partisan grudge match that shows signs of escalating rather than abating. This remains one of the freest and most prosperous nations that’s ever existed, and yet Americans are angry, pessimistic and don’t seem to like their fellow Americans very much. We can’t even agree on a basic set of facts – and virtually no one cuts their opponents any slack.

And gazing down the list… yep, Nikki's still my choice. Even though I roll my eyes somewhat when she talks about China.

Also of note:

  • From the UNH Survey Center, so it's a cloudy window. Noah Rothman takes a look through it anyway: New Hampshire Poll Gives Us a Window into 2024.

    New Hampshire occupies a valuable position on the political calendar. As one of the only early primary states that is also a contested swing state in the general election, the Granite State provides political observers with some indications as to how an ongoing primary race will shape the contours of the general election to follow. The latest poll of New Hampshire voters via CNN and the University of New Hampshire does just that, cutting through the clutter of too-early surveys of the national electorate and clarifying the state of the presidential race ahead of 2024.

    Candidates for the White House have devoted time and resources to this state, unlike many other states. The campaigns are on the air broadcasting both positive introductory messages about themselves and, perhaps more importantly, negative ads against their opponents. Many of the candidates on the GOP side are campaigning in New Hampshire, acquainting themselves with voters and building voter-contact operations. Likewise, Joe Biden’s incumbency ensures that the state is fully appraised of his conduct in office, even if his campaign isn’t broadcasting there yet.

    That dynamic allows us the first glimpse at what the electorate will look like next year. The first impression to which readers of this CNN/UNH survey are privy is that New Hampshire voters, having marinated in each candidate’s messaging, have come away from that experience with a dim view of everyone in the race.

    Yes: a dim view through a cloudy window.

    Skimming through that 46-page document of survey results definitely lends credence to Greenhut's observation that "we can’t even agree on a basic set of facts." Even in New Hampshire. Example: in response to the query "Who do you believe won the 2020 presidential election?"

    Voting Registration Biden Trump Don't know/
    Not sure
    Democrat 97% 2% 1%
    Republican 27% 54% 19%
    Undeclared/Not registered 62% 27% 11%

    It would be nice if more of my fellow registered Republicans were not wedded to alternative facts.

  • Hope springs eternal. Michael Graham sees it glimmering: Nikki Haley Is Having a Moment in New Hampshire.

    Donald Trump’s prohibitive lead in the GOP presidential primary is undeniable, and he continues to dominate the headlines. But there is another conversation Granite State Republicans are having: “What are you hearing about Nikki Haley?”

    The former South Carolina governor and U.N. ambassador has been generating buzz among GOP activists and insiders, and the volume ticked up this week — along with her numbers in two new polls.

    In the CNN/UNH Survey Center poll that dropped on Wednesday, Trump had 39 percent support, but that was down from the 42 percent he had a few months ago. Meanwhile, Haley surged over the summer from five to 12 percent in the Granite State, enough for third place behind Vivek Ramaswamy (13 percent). Ron DeSantis had fallen to fifth place.

    I'm encouraged, but 12% is still … 12%

  • Nor should anyone else. Nathanael Blake suggests that Pro-Lifers Shouldn’t Trust Trump.

    Former President Donald Trump has broken his deal with pro-lifers. The bargain was that pro-lifers would provide Trump political support in exchange for Trump giving the pro-life movement political wins. And it paid off. Trump got to be president, and pro-lifers got originalist Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe v. Wade.

    Now as Trump seeks the Republican nomination for a third time, he is making it clear that the alliance is over. Pressed on abortion in a recent interview, Trump blasted his rival, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, for signing a law banning abortions after the baby has a detectable heartbeat. Trump declared, “I think what he did is a terrible thing and a terrible mistake.”

    Trump is being honest. There is no reason to doubt that he said what he really believes: that restricting abortion to any meaningful extent is a terrible mistake and that he has no will to fight to protect human life in the womb. Before denouncing DeSantis (and, implicitly, every other Republican governor and state legislator who has protected babies from being killed in the womb, along with the voters who supported them), Trump insisted he would be able to cut a deal with Democrats to bring “peace” on this issue. However, in promising this peace he refused to commit to even a 15-week limit on abortion.

    My guess is that Trump's calculation is simple: political expediency; DeSantis's action was "terrible" because it will cost him more votes than it gains.

    Trump has no discernable position on the moral issue. Moral issues are just not on his radar.

  • The Case of the Purloined Documents would have been a pretty good Hardy Boys title. And Jacob Sullum would be a good choice to write it, judging from his take on Trump’s Preposterous Defense in the Purloined Documents Case.

    In May 2022, Donald Trump received a federal subpoena demanding all the documents with classification markings that remained in his possession at Mar-a-Lago. At that point, SiriusXM talk show host Megyn Kelly suggested in an interview with the former president last week, he was legally obligated to surrender those records.

    "I know this," Trump replied, then immediately corrected himself: "I don't even know that, because I have the right to have those documents." That startling response epitomized the lazy arrogance that Trump displayed in January 2021, when he removed thousands of presidential records from the White House, and during the ensuing year and a half, when he stubbornly resisted efforts to recover them.

    In addition to 32 counts of willfully retaining national defense information, that pattern of defiance resulted in eight obstruction-related charges, which may pose the most serious threat to Trump's continued freedom. While the other three indictments against Trump face formidable obstacles, including controversial legal interpretations, complicated narratives, and difficult questions of knowledge and intent, the story behind the documents case is relatively straightforward: Trump took a bunch of stuff that did not belong to him and refused to return it.

    And (once again) note that Trump has a lead in our weekly odds tabulation.

  • To be fair, this doesn't distinguish him from other Democrats. John Hinderaker points out that RFK Jr. Is a Crazy Left-Winger.

    Some conservatives have an unreasonably positive view of Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., based on the fact that he sounds sensible on two or three issues. But in fact, he is nuts, as manifested most grotesquely in his conviction that Sirhan Sirhan did not murder his father. Beyond that, he is, on the large majority of issues, an unreconstructed far left-winger.

    Hinderaker takes particular note of his demand to ban fracking. Part of his "10-point plan to fix the plastics pollution crisis". Which is generally Stalinist.

Last Modified 2024-01-28 3:06 PM EDT