• The Dems didn’t exactly get crushed or demolished in the Presidential. Hillary may have won the popular vote by up to 2%.
  • Trump got the fewest popular votes of any GOP candidate since W in 2000 [edit: this was based on early returns, no longer true]. Low approval. Crushed in home states that know him well. Like Waterloo, the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life.
  • But of course Dems have gotten systematically dismantled in Congress, at the local level.
  • Bill and Hillary Clinton moved Dems to center, curtailed redistributionist rhetoric, aligned more with elites. One would think that should have reduced political polarization and instability, right?
  • Then GOP moved to the right, positioned as anti-elite. Picked up some poor whites.
  • Now you have alt-right racist BS, unstable cynicism-inducing dynamic where left is the party of establishment, right anti-elite.
  • Right positions as anti-elite while pursuing policies that in practice, as a first-order approximation, are not anti-elite at all.
  • Trump comes in and fails, Dems return to anti-elite role, restoring a more traditional left-right dynamic, with both parties now on a far more populist axis.
  • When I say ‘fails’, eventually all political movements fail, sometimes they change the world and eventually peter out, sometimes they are disasters from the get-go.
  • But frankly no one has ever been less prepared, more of a political outsider, than Trump. Reagan was a two-term governor of California, had a team of some cronies and some heavyweights, like Jim Baker (picked up from GW Bush’s team), Don Regan, George Shultz.
  • That was the choice, the ultimate insider machine politician (who can’t even fathom why Obama didn’t handcuff Comey) against the ultimate outsider. You have chosen, poorly IMHO.
  • You never know how a President will govern, but Trump is a real wildcard. Can he really ally with establishment Republicans and movement conservatives and cobble together an agenda that doesn’t betray his populist base? Is he really going to let Ryan and McConnell run the country, kill Obamacare, reform entitlements, privatize Medicare and lay it on him?
  • A tea-party / liberal populist coalition? Between improbable and impossible.
  • Ineffectiveness, gridlock coupled with intensifying populist rhetoric seems a distinct possibility.
  • Finding the lost Apprentice N-word tapes and pushing Trump out seems like an avenue some on both sides of the aisle will vigorously pursue…which would inflame the populists even more.
  • On the Dem side, hard to see how anyone who follows the Clintons would not be more populist, anti-establishment like Warren or Sanders.
  • It’s hard to be party of poor whites and poor blacks at the same time, racial resentment effs up normal right-left dynamics. More so in tough times than prosperity.
  • But Trump seems racist enough that Dems will pick up the decent poor whites, the ‘non-deplorables.’ When you don’t repudiate David Duke, guys who taunt reporters about sending them to the ovens, that’s pretty bad.
  • 2-party politics is kind of like the Hotelling problem, or 2 vendors on a boardwalk.
  • The beach tends to have the vanilla lovers on one side and strawberry lovers on the other.
  • The tendency will be for both vendors to position close to each other in the center.
  • Products will tend to undifferentiate, but the one with better strawberry will be on the side with the strawberry lovers.
  • If the two vendors perversely switch places, word might spread on one side that the strawberry is better on the other side.
  • They walk the extra few steps, while maybe the vanilla lovers just go to the closer one. One vendor gets crushed.
  • Or if one just has crappier product overall, everyone goes to the other.
  • Then maybe the crappier one has to move more to the left or right, its natural side, to get any customers at all.
  • And with 3 vendors there is no stable solution. I don’t know what happens in practice, presumably 2 pair up or one goes out of business.
  • Now, I don’t identify as a liberal, I don’t like identifying as anything or joining any movements, I tend to be more of an economic realist than many liberals, but I share liberal values. I think one has to balance economic efficiency with fairness and freedom. And I’m not pleased at this election outcome.

    Trump is a promoter, not an operator. He’s all id and ego, no superego. You just can’t take the politics out of politics. Like “The Wire,” “the game is the game.” The things that breed cynicism are to some degree built into the game. It’s a divided country and the things Trump had to do to get his base more excited than Hillary’s base make it impossible to hire decent people or get anything done, or at least anything that doesn’t piss off more people than it makes happy. So Trump is already running away from his campaign at top speed.

    I’m not really a believer in the “Wall Street Trump bro relief rally.” Some of his proposed policies are highly stimulative, some are highly recessionary (rolling back globalization, tariffs etc.). Crisis could come from a variety of places and the system is fragile. If Trump doesn’t bring the yuge growth and jobs and America winning that he promised, what’s next? Will he get even more populist? If he goes down, how extreme will the true populists be who come after Trump?

    I’m hoping for the best but bracing for the worst.

    A few good links, don’t agree 100% with any of them but worth thinking about: