Monday, May 30, 2016

Weekend stuff

*  I reckon Jamelle Bouie at Slate is spot on about Trump:
All of this raises a question: If the media didn’t make Trump popular—if it’s actually done the reverse—then how did he win the Republican primary? One answer is that Trump has broken the rules of politics—he’s killed the dungeon master, changed the character sheets, rewritten American politics into a game of his own making. This isn’t just wrong, it buys into the myth of Trump as a force of will and power who can reshape reality to his liking.

The better explanation, the one that treats Trump like an important force but not a dispositive one, is that Donald Trump won the Republican primary because the Republican Party is broken. Years of disdain—for moderation, for compromise, for governance, expertise, and conventional qualifications—have merged with long-exploited currents of bigotry to produce an electorate primed for a man like Donald Trump. Republicans put a Trump-like figure on the 2008 presidential ticket, backed Trump-like figures in the 2012 primaries, and even solicited Trump himself for an endorsement that same year. It was only a matter of time before Republican voters clamored for the real deal.
If you trace Trump to institutional failure within the Republican Party, then it’s hard to say he can scramble the general electorate like he did the primary one. For all of its problems, the two party contest isn’t dysfunctional; Democrats will fight hard to stop Trump. CNN taking the bait and airing his bluster 24/7 isn’t going to help him.
*  The New York Times has people pointing out that Trump's "energy policy" is just empty sloganeering, with no attention to economic reality.  Apart from the matter of how long OPEC will make oil so cheap that its getting uneconomic to drill for it in parts of the US, there's the obvious contradiction of this:
One major consequence of the surge in domestic natural gas production has been a turn by electricity generators toward gas from coal. That has cost thousands of coal jobs. Yet Mr. Trump has both vowed to increase natural gas production even as he promises to restore coal jobs, scoffed Robert N. Stavins, director of the environmental economics program at Harvard.
“Trump will presumably support less regulation and other actions to encourage greater use of fracking. That would tend to lower natural gas prices,” Mr. Stavins wrote in an email. “And, therefore, Trump’s promised support of greater natural gas fracking would actually have the effect of lowering demand for coal, causing more mines to close.”
Mr. Stavins added, “He can’t have it both ways — talk up expanding natural gas supply when in North Dakota, and talk about bringing back coal mining jobs when in Kentucky!”
* As far as I can tell, Trump is getting more and more popular at Catallaxy threads - a sure sign that his appeal is to aging, sexist, white, mostly male culture warriors who are easily swayed by politicians for all the wrong reasons. 

Perhaps JC, who was getting all excited about the Trump "let the oil and gas flow" policy can explain here in comments the error in the NYT's article.

*  Speaking of stupidity at Catallaxy, here's lizzie, self confessed (actually, self proclaimed) trophy wife; nanny employing, continually jet setting mother for whom I think the term "the vanity press" might have been coined, following the Steve Kates' line:
In the popular mind, anthropogenic climate change, an unproven hypothesis, is looking less and less like a scientific proposition these days (not that it ever did to those with a critical eye), more and more like the green fable that it is.
Yes, even after "the pause" has ended quite spectacularly, Sydney having an unusually warm autumn, the Arctic ice cap looking set for a new record melt, and each year being globally hotter than the previous for - how years now? - it's more like a "green fable".   Nothing will convince her, short of her rich husband having a conversion.

*  It seemed that it was a unusual weekend for lightning in Europe, no?

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