Potpourri of Political Stuff
Perhaps the most frequent question I get is how do I come up with all this political stuff? Well the answer is sort of two-fold: heavy caffeine consumption and a desk the size of a rowboat. The caffeine gets the synapses firing in all the wrong directions thus facilitating the lost art of truly weird juxtaposition and the giant desktop is the repository of scrofulous paper fragments that remind me of this and that.
Sometimes I get tired of the same old political stuff on the desk and I have to get rid of it to make way for more political stuff. This usually results from a synapse failure, as I have been unable to combine this with that in sufficiently unusual ways.
But when the accumulated political stuff seems kind of interesting, sometimes I try the potpourri approach.
Cost of Campaigns
I have a torn out page from a glossy pamphlet that shows AIPAC President Robert Cohen and AIPAC National Political Chair, Michael Tuchin on one side. Apparently both have gotten behind on their Dollar Shave Club bills because they are sporting varying degrees of trendy stubble, but I am happy to report they are up to date on their eyewear and dental bills. Thank you Obamacare but even “Feel the Bern” seems unlikely to get others to pay for the heartbreak of trendy stubble. I don’t think that is the reason the glossy page is still on my desk.
The other side of the page includes both good news and bad depending on who you are. It tells us in both charts and figures that the cost of a successful Congressional campaign has increased from $864,880 to $1,689,580 in the 20 years from 1992 to 2012. For a Senate race, the equivalents are $5,211,453 and $10,476,451. These doublings are called “political inflation” and AIPAC donors are told they must “keep up.”
Political inflation is bad news for donors because trendy stubble-istas will become even more demanding in their shakedowns. Of course it is excellent news for the consultants, pollsters, data analysts and campaign hangers-on who will still elect precisely the same number of Senators and Congress people albeit at twice the price. And these are not even new and improved Senators and Congress people. They are, if anything, worse than before but more expensive.
Depending on the details of the AIPAC comp plan, President Cohen and Political Chair Tuchin might not be displeased by this outcome either.
First, get it right; you’ll be the only one who does. The G is hard like God not soft like Jesus. Hearing someone say Jerrymander is like fingernails on a blackboard even if nobody knows what a blackboard is anymore.
Here is an article on the practice and its history, and it is now much in the news because President One-Year-to-Go brought it up in the State of the Union Address: “we have to end the practice of drawing our congressional districts so that politicians can pick their voters, and not the other way around.”
Republicans might be better at this than Democrats but neither side is lacking in skills. All you have to do is control the state legislature and perhaps the governor’s mansion to make things much better for your side.
Of course, there is also the possibility of choosing campaign promises that would be more attractive to a diverse group of voters than to a homogenous one. Like clearing off my rowboat sized desk, at least we’d be told new lies rather than the boring old ones we have heard for years.
There would be no impact on actual legislating, as elected officials do not do that. Their proper role is limited to fund raising.
The Trump Voter
Well, now we know that Sarah Palin likes The Donald or is being paid to like The Donald, but who else does? According to the polls, lots of people, but who are they?
This article says that Trump’s voters are those who have fallen out of the middle class thanks to globalization. They are the ones whose incomes are at the top of the bottom quarter of all Americans and they have been left behind by everyone around them including those at the bottom of their quartile who have been looked after by the government.
They don’t like China because that is where their jobs have gone and they don’t like immigrants because they are thought to drive down the value of the jobs that are left. “Now, when you add it all up, it turns out that nobody has done worse the past 30 years than the working-class in countries like the United States, United Kingdom, and France. Their inflation-adjusted incomes actually fell over this period.”
Now ask yourself a question: if Donald Trump has figured this out, how did the expensive political strategists not figure it out? According to the article, “Liberal parties can’t connect with these voters because they speak to them economically but not culturally, while conservative parties can’t connect with them because they speak to them culturally but not economically.”
Sounds like somebody should try both.
I thought a potpourri was supposed to smell good.