Replicating failure

From a comment to the Manhattan Contrarian's discourse on blue basket-case cities whose people-helping warm fuzzy charitable organizations function primarily as vote factories ("a/k/a Tammany Hall poverty pimps"):

Ok, Trump has an unlikeable personality, but his actual record in accomplishing conservative objectives is easily the best since Reagan and arguably superior since he did it in 4 years with the threat of impeachment hanging over his administration from day 1. And your take is that Mr. and Mrs. Middle of the Road or Mr. and Mrs. Traditional Republican would rather vote for a senile, corrupt, and Leftist Joe Biden for the big job because they prefer higher energy prices, higher taxes, Constitution ignoring judges, open borders, bending over to please China, and the threat of Supreme Court packing and two new Democrat states rather than put up with 4 more years of ugly Tweets? Yea that makes a lot more sense than massive vote fraud coming exclusively out of inner city Democrat run districts.
Also, cheerful thoughts from another commenter on why the fraud exploded this year while 2016 kept it down to the usual dull roar:
2016 might well have been the result of Democrats thinking it would be such a landslide, that it wasn't worth the risk of fully engaging 'the apparatus.'
2020 may well be payback along with a YOLO risk mentality, which will hopefully make it possible to nail them this time.

We're waiting


Go back to sleep

 The press is incurious when it gets the result it wanted.  Otherwise, it's insatiable, even if that means poring over your high school yearbook.

Cracking the code

It's all a question of making the words mean what you want them to mean:
When liberal journalists say something is racist or white supremacist, they don’t use the words the way normal people use them. We see now that they detach concepts of whiteness, blackness, etc., from skin color, family, or ancestry and attach it instead to ideology and party.
You’re white if you’re a Hispanic who votes Republican. You’re white supremacist if you’re a black voter who votes Republican. This shows us that racist and white supremacist, coming from these quarters, might just mean Republican or conservative.

Still not a good look

 Kyle Mann edits the Bee.

A Few Red Flags

 An analysis by a former auditor. 

Curious Senate Results

It's odd that the President would out-perform his 2016 numbers and then be beaten by Joe Biden even though the President doubled his cut of the black vote, on which the Democratic Party often relies. It's even stranger, though, that Joe Biden's titanic landslide didn't come with coat-tails:  the Republican Party kept the Senate, and added to the House. 

One explanation for why that might happen is if Republican voters turned on Trump, but otherwise continued to vote for Republicans down ballot. If that were true, you'd expect to see lots of races with Republican Senate numbers well in advance of the President's numbers. But the results don't show that.

What the results appear to show is that Trump and the Republican Senators running alongside him mostly posted similar numbers, as you'd expect if Trump voters were also likely to be Republican voters down-ballot. Biden's numbers are the ones that look weird. In swing states Biden votes are not tethered to the Senate numbers.

Trump: 2,637,173
GOP Sen: 2,630,042
Dif: 7,131

Biden: 2,787,544
Dem Sen: 2,718,451
Dif: 69,093


Trump: 2,432,799
GOP Sen: 2,433,617
Dif: 818

Biden: 2,414,651
Dem Sen: 2,318,850
Dif: 95,801
So one possibility is that somebody's inventing Biden votes on a tight schedule. In Georgia, they knew after Tuesday night counting got halted that they needed around 100,000 votes. Since each one takes time to process, time is limited, and you can't expand your personnel much without running risks of being discovered, they're turning out the Biden votes without bothering to fill out the rest of the ballot. 

In Georgia that will be particularly hard to prove, ironically, because of the voting machines being so terrible. I've been complaining about that for years. It will be ironic if Brian Kemp is now unable to prove a fairly large degree of fraud because of his own failure to upgrade to more secure machinery. 

Another possibility that occurs to me:  at least some of the swamp-creature Congressional Republican leadership is in on the scheme. They've agreed to let the Biden race be stolen in order to get rid of Trump, who is a problem for crony DC types of all parties. However, a condition is that the fraud can't be used to unseat any Republican Congressmen. Those races have to be run straight, or else they'll blow up the game. 

The first possibility is one of a party engaged in fraud, in a hurry, while their party machinery buys them time with delays. The second possibility is of a self-appointed ruling class attempting to purge itself of an unwanted democratic element, and to reassert its control over the Federal government. 

Are there non-fraud explanations that might be plausible? Lots of voters who know only about American politics that they hate Trump, so they showed up to vote in just one race on the ballot? But only in swing states? One possibility is that these numbers are wrong, and that we'll see in the final analysis that there wasn't such a discrepancy; but if that's true, then why didn't the Biden landslide also carry the Senate?

Darn populace

 The Bee.


You can watch the Wisconsin vote tally flip on live TV. Language warning, and if you don't want to sit through the whole thing, start at about 4:30.


"Dude, where's my landslide?"

Steve Hayward at Powerline:
With the GOP keeping the Senate and improving in the House, we have four years of gridlock ahead, and as I always point out, gridlock is the next best thing to constitutional government. Kiss goodbye court packing, ending the filibuster, the Green New Deal, big income tax hikes, a massive blue state bail out (though I suspect McConnell will give them something), and statehood for DC and Puerto Rico. Then look ahead to the midterms in 2022, when the GOP can realistically hope to retake the House.

Tennessee River

The Tennessee is not that interesting, but the Little Tennessee and its feeder rivers really are. The French Broad River runs east and then north, wrapping around the mountains to turn west. It is also joined by the Pigeon river, whose headwaters are in the Graveyard Fields atop the Pisgah ridge. Both join with the Little Tennessee into the Tennessee itself. That goes on to join the Mississippi. 

Not over yet

 Lots to unpack in this Powerline summary.  Also, interesting demographics from the New York Times, though I haven't tried to go behind the paywall to figure out whether this is national or regional:


This Dennis Prager summary of what Democrats hate about Trump personally and what Republicans hate about the left as an ideology is eerily precise in summing up what I heard from my troubled Democratic niece several days ago--almost to the point to using the same words.  He nailed quite a few of my responses, too. 

What a Fine Evening it's Turning Out to Be

Vote Cimmerian

As a rule I've always thought the 'lamentations of the women' line was a bit harsh, although it's a softening of what Genghis Khan actually said. It's also true that a Greek epic poem characteristically includes lamentations by some of the female characters, so the line was apt for a movie that aspired to the epic mode.

If Trump wins, the lamentations of the women opposing him are definitely likely to be epic in character.

Open Thread

 It’s Election Day, as everyone knows from the millions of calls and texts and emails. Have at it. 

By the way, I’ve decided to alter the Hall rules on commenting. Except for open threads, like this one, I’ll begin deleting comments that aren’t on topic unless they’re super interesting. I think I’ll enjoy things more within a more focused discussion, and many of you have privately suggested something like this. 

But this one’s open.  Have at it. 

Hope beckons

 Powerline is trying to keep my spirits up today.  The post contains a short video of a Marco Rubio warm-up speech that I enjoyed more than I expected, particularly the strong ending.

Hands across the aisle

The recent censorship stories got me riled up enough this week to post more provocative material on Facebook than my usual. That yielded some irritable comments from my sister and an aunt, nothing too awful but not exactly conducive to discussion. It's my usual practice to ignore comments from my family rather than try to fight it out in public.

My sister's daughter, however, a lovely young doctor in her early thirties practicing in Philadelphia, who normally doesn't stay in touch, sent me a rather nice text genuinely trying to find out where I was coming from. It turns out she tends to follow my Facebook page, which surprised me, and perhaps was getting a little more information about what I really think than she'd been able to glean before. As in, oh, my goodness, are you REALLY a Trump supporter?

It was not a waste of time. We managed to keep it civil, and she asked me repeatedly in anguish how it was I could support a racist who deliberately lies to conceal the seriousness of the COVID pandemic from a vulnerable public entirely for his personal gain. I tried in various ways to make her understand how differently I view all these things. Possibly I got across the message that, while she may never have thought of it this way, conservatives actually have some of the same misgivings about whether leftists in political office are treating them as enemies and damaging the country. The point is:  we disagree about what damages the country, not about whether it's a good thing to damage the country.  I also tried to reassure her that I don't think COVID is a hoax, but I do think COVID coverage is politically biased and likely to erode public confidence at a time when we can ill afford to do that.

She remains convinced that Trump is a racist and that there's no good explanation why conservatives hide this obvious truth from themselves. Aside from the COVID and racist angles, and a general detestation of his personal style, she doesn't appear to have strong negative feelings about the rest of his policies. It surprised me that the question of conservative judges didn't come up.

It's odd: the post that bothered her the most was something I thought completely innocuous: a chart showing the declining COVID case fatality rate over the last six months in a variety of countries, including the U.S., which I posted without any comment or conclusions. It's obvious to her that concentrating on this kind of news is a dangerous inducement to complacency, particularly given our President's unaccountable urging of the population to pretend there is no virus. She insisted that she doesn't favor censorship of news, but clearly this somehow is different in her mind.

At one point my niece expressed dismay that, although it might be understandable how I could have been snookered into voting for Trump in 2016, I could do it again in 2020 after he's proved how awful he is. I told her as diplomatically as I could that in 2016 I doubted his conservative principles, while in 2020 I no longer do. But what I was thinking was this:

Election Day Prediction: Trump Wins

It is intellectually interesting to be going into an election with such strongly competing information about who is likely to prevail.  All but a few insurgent poll outfits show an easy Biden victory. If these models are in any way accurate, Trump has no chance.

The few insurgents, meanwhile, predict a massive Trump victory.

My sense is that the polls are models, and our ability to predict complex phenomena well enough to model it is quite weak. We think we can because we can model things like physics well enough to put a probe on Mars, or hit an asteroid moving a million miles an hour and millions of miles away. Yet those are relatively simple things to do, because the forces acting on the planet Mars or the asteroid are few in number.  You can model the increasing effect of gravity as the asteroid approaches the sun using an inverse square law we've known since Newton. 

Try modeling which way a small, light balloon will go in a windstorm here on Earth, though, and you can't model it accurately for a hundred yards. The fluid dynamics of the atmosphere are too complex. We deal with turbulence by the application of main force, not by understanding exactly how it will affect an aircraft. 

Our models of complex phenomena are reliably terrible. Viral models were wildly inaccurate; economic models are never any good; climate change theory is based around models we have no reason to trust, and good reasons to distrust if we are honest with ourselves about their predictive history since the 1970s or so. 

So I'm going to found my guess on what I think I know about American politics, rather than the modeled outcomes. What I think I know is this: 

* Americans hate political violence, and political violence by the Left has been ongoing since the summer. Democrats have actively abetted it in Democratic cities, as for example by not prosecuting rioters. Democrat-controlled cities are boarded up today, and everyone knows which side is the danger causing it. Americans will not like this.

* Though the police are having a bad year in terms of public confidence, they're still more trusted than any branch of elected government. Every major police organization has endorsed the President's re-election as a means of quelling the violence.

* Restrictions on freedom anger Americans, and the Biden campaign is promising new lockdowns and mandates if elected.

* Americans hate being told that they are racists, or that America is racist, and love being made to feel patriotic and hopeful. The Left has built its campaign around the 1619 Project and racial resentment, while the Trump campaign has been relentlessly patriotic and has engaged in positive outreach to minorities.

* Americans love economic booms and hate recessions or depressions. Trump presided over a wild economic boom until COVID, and even now we are in a V-shaped recovery that will flesh out into a boom if he is re-elected. Biden is promising economy-killing tax increases and lockdowns (and nobody loves paying more taxes anyway).

* Trump has started no new wars, and has slimmed our footprint in existing wars as far as he can manage. He has avoided creating pools of instability out of which things like ISIS can spring. He has also overseen the development of unheard-of normalization between Israel and Arab states, and economic normalization in the Kosovo region. Peace and Prosperity are hard to beat.

* The intense hatred facing Trump is largely a class hatred, and although this class controls nearly all of our media and much of our government, it is not large. Elizabeth Warren was the candidate of the college educated white women who make up its core, and she didn't even win her own state in the Democratic primary. They will doubtless persuade many voters through their relentless control of information, but many more regard them with scorn.

* Biden's record includes the 1994 Crime Bill, and repeated threats to cut Social Security. Even his own machine voters have to approach him out of a sense of party loyalty rather than personal affection. Trump, meanwhile, draws rock-star crowds everywhere he goes.

For all those reasons, then, I think Donald Trump will easily win tomorrow. Maybe I'm wrong; maybe the experts will prove right, and the models will work for once. 

If so, I'll be surprised. I've been surprised before; I was surprised that Trump won the Republican primary, and again when he got elected. I was surprised when he achieved a major development in Middle East peace, when he didn't start new wars, and when his Presidency was marked by effective outreach to non-white voters rather than a Brazilianization of our politics into racialized factions. 

He's surprised me a lot, in other words, but generally in ways that worked to his advantage. My guess is that the surprise that is coming will be for his opponents, as it has often been.


It occurs to me that the one factor I'm ignoring is the psychological effect of COVID itself. I don't watch TV, but when I speak to those who do it's clear that they're being subjected to an intense psychological operation designed to make this disease seem terrifying and momentous. In fact -- per Worldometer -- there are only ~85,000 serious or critical cases of COVID currently in the entire world. 99% of cases are mild, and even then it's only 11 million people suffering the mild symptoms in the whole world. Almost everyone recovers.

It's not worth our attention, in my view; just one more risk among the many we run every day, and far from the worst one. I'm excluding it from my calculations because I think it's worth excluding, and I'm outside the psychological bubble that constantly reinforces it as a concern. 

If Trump loses tomorrow, it'll be because of that psychological operation combined with the other ones that were designed to hide his accomplishments and play up his mistakes and bad behaviors. That will by itself be remarkable; it will underline that Americans are much more manipulable than is good for a free people. 

Nevertheless, I don't expect it. I think the reason we keep hearing about the tyrannical governors and governments coming up with new restrictions is that most people -- not just most Americans -- have decided to proceed with their lives. They're not going to vote to cast themselves into a new darkness of suffering and poverty to address this annoyance. I could be wrong about that, too, of course; my tolerance for risk is very high.

Ray Wylie Hubbard

While he's not dead yet, let's let him tell the story about the late Jerry Jeff Walker's most famous song.

Going to get the beer was apparently a thing in the old days. "I've been beat up worse than that by bikers!"

Feast of All Souls

It was a remarkable Halloween, astrologically at least:  the first full moon on Halloween since 1944, and a blue moon at that. Mushrooms sprang up here like I've never seen, indeed that I've never seen.

I played chess with a child who is learning the game, and not too badly; he lost of course, but not without showing some class. I saw his mother, an old friend, and gave her a gift that I hope she'll like. Her children brought laughter to a meadow I know. 

Children remind you that we always live in the morning of the world. We grow too old to recognize it, if we don't have them around. But every morning is fresh and new, if your eyes are young enough to see it. Every mushroom is a miracle, and every leaf, and every blade of grass. Chesterton was good on this subject, but reading him only reminds you of the facts. You don't experience it until you see the child encounter it anew and for the first time.

But there's always a new child, and it is always fresh. In the mind of God perhaps it never grows old; as Chesterton put it, "Our father is younger than we."