Wednesday, November 15, 2017

I'm off Twitter for a while, but there are a few things I've got to get off of my chest:

280 characters is the New Coke of social media.

Saturday Night's Alright For Fighting is the same song as Sweet Child o Mine (listen and you'll see)

Until I looked for the next episode this week, I had no idea that was the season finale of The Deuce. If it's not picked up for another season, *please* avoid the obvious pun.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Off the top of my head, here are a few results of last night's election

These are things that have already happened
Now it's ok to be openly racist, assault women, bully the disabled.
White supremacists are emboldened

These are the things that will happen immediately
Obamacare is gone. (22 milion will lose health care)
Paris agreement is gone. (we've lost our last chance at 2c climate of change)
<2c change="" climate="" p="">We've lost the Iran nuclear deal. (Iran is more likely to get/use a nuke)
Supreme court goes conservative again (we could lose roe v wade, various civil rights, what else?)

These are things that are likely to happen
A trade war + radical deregulation causes a global economic depression.
What if he nukes somebody? (the South China Sea, for example,  is a delicate situation that could escalate fast)
What if he doesn't stand up to Putin in Syria and western Europe?
Deportation from the US could be a humanitarian disaster.
Even more guns, even at schools.

<2c change="" climate="" p="">

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Where the US Political Parties Go From Here

Many have predicted that, starting November 9th, there could be a major political realignment in the United States. If this realignment results in a breakup of the two major national parties, here is one way that they may reform:

1)  A European-style Labor Party. The people who were having trouble choosing between Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump might be happy in a trade/labor-focused party. The major question is whether or not the US is still too racist for this. It has been tried here before. Poor whites and poor blacks -- even in cases where their interests are perfectly aligned -- have tended not to trust and accept each other enough to create a political coalition. If they can finally do this, the resulting party could end up representing 40-50% of the electorate.

2) A European-Style National-Front Party. The remainder of the Trump coalition may be happy in an anti-immigration-focused, "law and order", white-nationalist party. Based on the professed beliefs of many of his core followers, there could be a 15-30% coalition here. This is not enough to elect a president, but could easily capture seats in congress and play a spoiler role in national elections, even capturing electoral votes.

3) A Moderate Status-Quo "Republicrat" party. The remains of the Republican and Democratic establishments will not go away. If the above two coalitions emerge as national political parties, it is likely that the Republicans will no longer be competitive as a national party. At the same time, losing the Sanders wing will likely result in a Democratic move to the right. Those republicans who are not now a part of the Trump coalition may find the Democratic party preferable to either of the above two parties. Between them, these groups could represent another 40-50% of the electorate.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Here is what I think about Trump supporters

I'm not trying to insult anybody. I've had a hard time understanding why so many Americans are supporting Donald Trump. It would make sense if he was around 20%, but at ~50%, I need to think carefully about what could be motivating them. This is my attempt to do so. 
  • They may not actually be racist, but they are certainly Ok with a candidate who says a lot that I would consider to be racist.
  • In spite of a lot that I think is good about America, many would prefer to take their chances with a large change whose effect is unknown: a "random restart". It's not clear whether this is due to an honest difference of opinion about which things are good and which are bad, or simply a lack of imagination on their part about how very much worse things could be.
  • They must get a lot of their information through watching video rather than reading. Trump is excellent at using his voice, face and body to convey an emotional message. When you read it, however, much of what Trump says does not make any sense. It's not a matter of just being incorrect. He simply makes a lot of statements that either cannot be interpreted via the rules of the English language or have either no informational content.
  • A surprising number of people who consider themselves to be libertarian are supporting a candidate who is clearly on the opposite end of the political spectrum: authoritarian.
  • I have no reason to call them, as a group, uninformed. They do, however, seem to be Ok with a candidate who has not shown himself to be well informed on a number of critical issues. He often give one of two generic answers: (note that neither of them requires him to have actually even heard of the thing that the questioner is asking about).
    • 1) If it seems like a bad thing: "It's a real mess and the current administration has't done anything to fix it. They have, in fact, made it worse."
    • 2) If he really doesn't know what the thing is at all: "A short time ago nobody was talking about that. Now it's a big deal. Just amazing."