Bouie v Bourdain: Race is important, not all-important

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We’ve all seen it. Someone gets on their high horse to criticize an idea, not even realizing their criticism proves the same idea exactly. It’s 2016 after all; irony knows no bounds. Today we have yet another shining example in the punditry.

Anthony Bourdain, CNN host and global foodie, is being celebrated for a short, but wide-eyed interview at Reason where he addresses political correctness and bubble-dwelling in the Age of Trump.

The utter contempt with which privileged Eastern liberals such as myself discuss red-state, gun-country, working-class America as ridiculous and morons and rubes is largely responsible for the upswell of rage and contempt and desire to pull down the temple that we’re seeing now.

I’ve spent a lot of time in gun-country, God-fearing America. There are a hell of a lot of nice people out there, who are doing what everyone else in this world is trying to do: the best they can to get by, and take care of themselves and the people they love. When we deny them their basic humanity and legitimacy of their views, however different they may be than ours, when we mock them at every turn, and treat them with contempt, we do no one any good. Nothing nauseates me more than preaching to the converted. The self-congratulatory tone of the privileged left—just repeating and repeating and repeating the outrages of the opposition—this does not win hearts and minds. It doesn’t change anyone’s opinions. It only solidifies them, and makes things worse for all of us. We should be breaking bread with each other, and finding common ground whenever possible. I fear that is not at all what we’ve done.

Indeed.

Decentralizing the Federal Workforce is a Great Bipartisan Idea, With a Partisan Twist

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In 2016, the year that #lolnothingmatters, it’s not surprising to find that even staunch ideological opponents share the occasional policy overlap. David French at National Review highlights one policy proposal for the incoming Trump administration that could unite both right and left: decentralizing the federal workforce.

Instapundit Glenn Reynolds suggests that if we can’t significantly reduce the size of the federal workforce, we should at least get them out of Washington.

That would mean that in 8 years, the population of bureaucrats in the Washington, D.C. metro area would be roughly halved. That would make Washington less vibrant, but more affordable — and those bureaucrats working out of offices in the hinterland would be brought closer to the American people. Drain the swamp? Well, it’s a start.

Vox’s Matt Yglesias agrees.

Moving agencies out of the DC area to the Midwest would obviously cause some short-term disruptions. But in the long run, relocated agencies’ employees would enjoy cheaper houses, shorter commutes, and a higher standard of living, while Midwestern communities would see their population and tax base stabilized and gain new opportunities for complementary industries to grow.

It seems like a great bipartisan idea that would benefit everyone. Economic stimulus for widespread areas of the country, government more directly in contact with the population it serves, relieve congestion in the nation’s capital. The benefits abound!

Actually, the polls were right

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After the shocking result of the 2016 election, election data science was on its heels.

How did pollsters get Trump, Clinton election so wrong?

Yes, the election polls were wrong. Here’s why

Earthquake science explains why election polls were so wrong

The polls almost all showed Hillary winning. How did Trump pull it off?

rcp

Because the Electoral College. The polls weren’t wrong; they predicted a 3% Hillary national popular vote win and were only off by 2; they just missed a few key states.

The primary problem is relying on national polls to predict an election that isn’t nationwide. The Electoral College system means that states elect the president, not voters nationwide. Hillary Clinton won the nationwide vote, but she lost the election, primarily because she ran up her margins in diverse major urban areas but lost almost the entire rest of the country.

Yes, Trump voters excused racism. Now what?

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If you’ve been on the internet this week (and you can be forgiven for not), you’ve probably seen this tweet in one form or another:

It’s been shared almost 24,000 times on Twitter alone, not to mention the versions of it floating around Tumblr and Facebook. What it states is undisputably true, but “end of story”? No, this is the beginning of the story, not the end.

The finality of this message and others like it that Clinton voters are voicing online is baffling. Even worse is this one, a revision of a meme promoting unity, now promoting the opposite.

Daniel

I realize Clinton voters are having a hard time understanding how they lost, but this kind of self-segregation from (slightly less than) half the voters in the country is the opposite of the solution.

The staggering hypocrisy of #NotMyPresident

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The world was outraged a few years ago when it was revealed that as soon as President Obama was elected, in a closed door meeting with his colleagues Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell vowed to oppose him every step of the way as a strategy to secure their own reelections in future years and make Obama a one-term president.

The entire media establishment went apoplectic. How could he oppose the new president before he even knew what he was going to do? It must have been racism!

Hogwash. Republicans don’t want Democrats to get their agendas passed or be elected or reelected, and vice versa. This is not horrifying or unprecedented on any level. They work with each other when they need to and oppose each other when they feel they must.

Now, after a year and a half of the most ugly and divisive presidential campaign in any of our lifetimes, the same thing is happening, but on a more base level.

Election 2016: Potential outcomes

If you only watch TV news and know nothing about electoral politics, you might think there are only two possible outcomes on election night: Clinton wins, or Trump wins. Those of us who study these things and have thus been in a Xanax coma for months know otherwise. Here are a few ways the election could go down, with probabilities included.

Narrow Clinton win

narrow clinton

Based on simple state polling averages, Hillary Clinton is likely to have enough votes to be elected the 45th President of the United States on Tuesday night. RealClearPolitics currently expects that to be with 301 electoral votes, well shy of President Obama’s 332-vote majority four years ago, but enough to get the job done.

Probability: 80%

Narrow Trump win

narrow trump

However, if just two key states flip, Trump could actually pull it off. Clinton leads in Florida on average right now, but a couple polls there have Trump leading or tied instead. In New Hampshire most polls show Trump ahead, but one large outlier has pulled Clinton up in the average. If Trump wins just those two states, he could walk away with exactly enough votes to win.

Probability: 20%

Early voting in Louisiana still leans Democratic, but maybe not for long

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Early voting results, which only provides voter demographics and not ballot choices, is often used as electoral tea leaves, to try to divine trends or predictions before election day. Louisiana’s early and absentee voting ended this week, so I took a look at the numbers from the Secretary of State’s office to see who the state’s eager beavers are.

This year, 517,614 people early voted in Louisiana, 31% more than in 2012, and 43% more than in 2008. Early voting is clearly a growing phenomenon, at least here, though there are similar reports of records being broken across the country.

Of those, 38% were Republicans, 44% were Democrats, and 16% were Libertarians, Greens, other parties, or unaffiliated voters. Before you take this to mean Hillary is going to win one of the reddest of red states, let’s take a look at prior years.

Four years ago, early voting was a little bluer. In 2012, 50% were Democrats, 34% Republicans, and 14% other. I shouldn’t need to remind you that Louisiana was still very, very red in 2012. Romney won 57% of the total vote to Obama’s 40%. Even though Democrats had a majority of the early vote, Republicans still took the total vote by a huge margin due to election day turnout.

Four years before that, early voting was bluer still. In 2008, 57% were Democrats, 28% were Republicans, and 13% other. That year, McCain beat Obama 58 to 39.

At least in Lousiana, early voting demographics don’t seem to be predictive of either party’s total vote share. As Republicans have increased their early voting share significantly, by 6-7 points each cycle, their total share of the total presidential vote has remained about the same.

Surprising no one, music festivals this year are anti-Trump

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This past weekend I attended VoodooFest as a music fan. With just over a week until election day, the politics swirling around the event would probably have enabled me to attend with a press pass instead.

Amidst the many tawdry and debaucherous Halloween costumes worn by the mostly Millennial crowd, there were a few Trumps and Hillarys. There were also the obligatory Planned Parenthood propaganda volunteers outside the gate.

While there was no official politicking by campaigns or companies inside the City Park venue, the artists performing on stage didn’t hold back their opinions.

Over the course of the weekend at least two artists, one a rapper, one a DJ, led their jubilant audiences in anti-Trump chants. I wasn’t in either of those audiences myself, but the chorus could easily be heard across the sprawling park.

Why I will no longer wear my “Hillary for Prison” shirt

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Hillary Clinton has broken the law. FBI Director Comey admitted as much when he announced he would not recommend pressing charges against her for mishandling classified information on her records regulation-skirting private email server. I think she should have been charged and faced justice, and so do a majority of Americans.

poll

But there’s a difference between facing justice and political prisoners. We don’t convict defendants based on a majority vote…yet.

In the second presidential debate, Donald Trump said that if he were president that Clinton would be in jail. Shortly before that he said he would direct his attorney general to use a special prosecutor to investigate her. Which is it? Would he investigate her, or would he convict her? The difference is crucial.

He might say that under a different attorney general or FBI director of his choosing, charges would have been recommended and Clinton indicted. That still doesn’t guarantee a conviction or jail time, which he did before a television audience of tens of millions of voters, even if flippantly.

Snowden goes Hollywood, then goes live

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Usually when an internet video feed cuts out, the people watching sigh, grumble, or curse their bad luck. When the live feed cut out from Edward Snowden being interviewed after the Fathom Events early preview of Oliver Stone’s film depicting the last few years of Snowden’s life, audiences around the nation gasped. Had they finally caught him? Did a drone strike take out his secret hideout in Russia, as the movie showed happening to anonymous targets via video in an NSA base?

Fortunately not, or unfortunately depending on your opinion of the now world famous surveillance leaker. A few seconds later when he came back on screen the power of Hollywood was proven viscerally. A simple computer glitch had rendered audiences horrified in the immediate context of such a dramatic film.

And dramatic it was. Stone is undeniably an auteur behind the camera, whether you agree with his perspective of his subject or not. And he chooses those subjects carefully. Snowden himself was portrayed expertly by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who took on his speech, mannerisms, and look brilliantly, sometimes making me forget it was even a fictional portrayal at all.

jgl

In order to add a personal dimension to the cold, heartless world of data analysis and global surveillance, Stone focused on how the things Snowden learned, and hid until ultimately revealing them, affected his relationship with his still-girlfriend Lindsay Mills, played prosaicly by Shailene Woodley, and even his own health. After the film, Snowden himself lamented that the press had treated Mills as an “ornament” in his story, not knowing what else to do with an attractive woman in this kind of discussion. Stone’s film did a lot to give a relatable personality to someone most of us have only ever seen in photos published to add additional controversy to Snowden’s story.


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