Thoughts on the election

by New Deal democrat

About an 2 hours ago, Hillary Clinton pulled ahead of Donald Trump in the popular vote, 59.2 M vs. 59.0 M.

If this holds up, it will be the second time in five elections that the democrats have won the popular vote but lost the electoral college.

I have been saying for months that the economy forecast a narrow popular vote win for the incumbent party, on the order of 51%/49% (although with the recent good GDP and employment reports, I did up that to 52%/48%). Again, if the current numbers hold up, that will have been pretty close. As of this moment, the percentages are:

Clinton 47.7%
Trump 47.5%
others 4.8%

Closer than my personal prediction, but certainly consistent with the plodding economic expansion.

The Electoral College system favors candidates with broad, decent appeal over candidates with narrower overwhelming appeal. The current democratic coalition is focused on blacks and latinos, with narrow overwhelming appeal. The GOP is focused on the Bible Belt and Reagan Democrats (by now their descendants), and has broader decent appeal among the majority white population. This is the problem the democratic party needs to overcome. Nominating a Happy Warrior (like Bernie Sanders, Bill Clinton, or Barack Obama) instead of milquetoast centrist policy wonks (Hillary, Gore) would be a good start. Demographics may yet rescue the democrats, but after four years of Trump I’m not sure it is going to matter.

There is a nontrivial chance Trump bungles into WW3. But even if he does not make use of nuclear weapons, think of all the damage:

Russia and China are the new global hegemons. The post-WW2 consensus that states do not make land grabs is done. Sucks to be Japan, Ukraine, and the Baltic States. Courtesy of France, the EU has had a contingency plan for NATO going awry called the “European Defense Force.” If I were an eastern European State, I would be asking for EDF troops right now. And goodbye Iran nuclear deal.

Goodbye Obamacare. BTW, great presidents do not have their signature accomplishments repealed two weeks after leaving office. Obama will go down in history as a noble failure.

Goodbye Roe vs. Wade.

(Probably) goodbye gay marriage and quite possibly Lawrence vs. Texas.

(Probably) goodbye Social Security and Medicare in their present forms.

Goodbye Dodd-Frank.

If there is another successful terrorist attack on US soil, goodbye civil rights.

Goodbye to some of my Latino friends.

Goodbye Civil Rights Acts de facto if not de jure.

And there will be a recession. Neither Trump nor the GOP Congress will be equipped to fight it. A relatively minor downturn could cascade into a major disaster if there is actual wage deflation (which I very much fear), because the government won’t act.

The US has just elected Emperor Caligula. The next four years will be about trying to protect the basic Rule of Law in a Republic. Good luck to all of us.