Category Archives: Politics

Trump Rebarbativity Test

This Donald Trump Theme Song Is the Most Upsetting Thing You’ll Ever Hear

I only lasted 16 seconds before turning it off. Feel free to post your stamina score below.

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Donald Trump Game Theorist

Kevin Drum’s latest rumination on Donald Trump reveals “an odd quirk in Trump’s personality”:

He seems to have an ironclad rule against ever attacking someone first. Even Vladimir Putin. Putin says nice things about Trump, so Trump has to say nice things back. Opposing candidates who don’t attack him are “great guys.” But if you attack first, then he has to fire off a nuclear retaliation. There’s an odd kind of chivalry at work here, and I suppose it also provides people with a motivation to leave him alone.

Actually, this is one of the few things that isn’t odd about Trump. Social scientist and game theorists will recognize this ‘quirk’ immediately as the ‘tit for tat’ strategy that Robert Axelrod famously showed was the winning strategy for multiple iterations of the Prisoner’s Dilemma in his book The Evolution of Cooperation.

It seems sensible to think of most political mud-slinging as being suitable to modeling as a Prisoner’s Dilemma game: both sides sling dirt, both sides lose. (There are rare exceptions, such as when Nixon got Johnston to attack him, thus cementing Nixon’s role as the front runner for the 1968 GOP nomination, but those are rare.)

So at least when it comes to invective, Trump appears to be a natural game theorist.

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Florida is the Battleground State

2000px-Electoral_map.svgThe Electoral College Challenge by by Martin Longman at Political Animal paints Florida as key to the next election.

Guess that means a lot of very repetitive TV ads. Good thing I never watch live TV and can fast forward through them all.

Posted in 2016 Election | 8 Comments

John Roberts for President

He could be the savior the GOP Establishment is looking for.

One of the storylines in the current GOP Presidential campaign is that the party establishment has been looking for its candidate.  It was supposed to be Jeb!, he of the $100 million war chest, but he’s cratered. Meanwhile Trump and Carson sucked out the oxygen of the others.  Rubio is still in the tryout phase, and apparently the powers that be are not sure if he has the necessary gravitas, or even any at all.

Things are so bad that stories about the Establishment wanting to draft Romney keep popping up.  Romney polls well in New Hampshire. But I don’t think he’ll do well in the general election, for the same reasons Romney lost last time.

No, what the GOP needs is a fresh face.  Someone articulate.  With gravitas.  With no baggage.  And great conservative credentials.  Who is pro business.  Who won’t scare the horses.

And what better person could fit all those criteria than Chief Justice John Roberts?

Yes, a few die-hards may be angry that Roberts cast the deciding vote to keep ObamaCare alive, but many will forgive him after he guides the Court to strike down the remaining vestiges of affirmative action (Fisher v. University of Texas), to undermine labor unions by destroying their budgets (Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association), to kill Obama’s immigration policy (United States v. Texas (docket 15-674)), and to impose new restrictions on abortion (Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole). If all that that wasn’t enough, Roberts might even be able to say that as a Justice he had to apply the law on ObamaCare, but as President he’d work to repeal it.

Of course, the Chief would have to step down temporarily from the Court, but after he helped create a new Republican majority, surely Roberts’s GOP successor as President would appoint him to the first available opening.

Good thing that when the Chief Justice said recently that he would not run for President he did not take a Sherman.

Then again, Roberts is pretty smart. He may figure he has more power where he is.

Posted in 2016 Election, Law: The Supremes | 2 Comments

Sounds Like a Plan

Mark Graber wirtes,

I have been thinking of declaring myself a candidate for the Republican Party nomination for President of the United States. The centerpiece of my campaign will be opposition to the Pythagorean Theorem. This has got to be a winner in Republican circles, where candidates are judged by their capacity to challenge basic science. Besides something called the Pythagorean Theorem is clearly foreign inspired and un-American.

(There’s more!)

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US Prepared to Elect Social Democrat

In new shock poll, Sanders has landslides over both Trump and Bush. (The Hill)

I’d like to see a poll of Sanders vs. Rubio, Carson, and Cruz next.

And should we stop calling him a socialist? Bernie really is much more of a social democrat (European style) than a democratic socialist.

Still, maybe this is the beginning of the end of the “unelectable” label.

Posted in 2016 Election | 1 Comment

I Was Just Robocalled by Dr. Ben Carson

My first robocall of the ’16 Presidential campaign came about 8:30pm on Nov. 11, 2015.

Dr. Ben Carson offered a recorded update on the state of his campaign — “We’re off to a tremendous start that has shocked political experts …the political class may be surprised but I’m not.” Carson said his campaign is winning because of his positions: “Stop adding to debt” and “deal with terrorism and ISIS” and, of course, “repeal and replace Obamacare so you can make your own health choices.” (A doctor against health care for the poor. Lovely.)

Then came the pitch: “Press 1 to support Dr. Carson’s campaign.” And, “If you do not ant to receive these calls call 1 855 598 2069.” If the call said who paid for it, I missed that part. Maybe if I had held on longer?

Interesting that they are robocalling in Florida already.

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