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The political landscape according to Whit Ayres

by Crowhill on 25 September 2015

I had the chance to hear Whit Ayres discuss the landscape for the 2016 election today at a Federalist Society lunch. Here are my notes (with a few of my comments).

The Big Picture

The lock the Republicans had on the electoral college in 80s has turned around. Before Bill Clinton, people said Democrats might never win the White House again, but Clinton transformed the Democratic Party by showing a willingness to change welfare (and a few other things I can’t remember), and that set the Democrats on a path to recent victories.

Now the lock is in the other direction. Republicans have a very tough uphill battle to win the White House. Why?

Republicans dominance of the white vote has been pretty constant, and they continue to win about 60%, but the electorate is fundamentally different.

In 1980, 88% of voters were white.
In 1986, it was down to 83%.
In 2012, it was 72%, and the white percentage of the population is declining at an increasing rate. In 2016 it will be even lower. Maybe 69 or 70%.

Romney won better among whites than Ronald Reagan did, but he still lost.

What does all this mean for the next election? For the Republican cadidate, it means that even if he can win Romney’s advantage among white voters, he’d still need 30% of nonwhites.

Candidates who have appear as if they have declared war on Hispanics are guaranteeing a Republican loss.

The numbers are daunting. But the situation is no more daunting for Republicans today than it was for Democrats in 1980. Republicans need somebody who can transform the image of the party.

Quick thoughts on the candidates

Hillary — she is not a very good candidate. Ayres says he has spent much of his adult life waiting for the latest scandal that will take down the Clintons, but it doesn’t seem to happen. Still, she’s very weak.

Bernie Sanders — he’s not even a Democrat. How will he get the Democratic nomination? (Ayres said something I didn’t quite catch about Sanders and the USSR, which might come back to haunt him. It might be something like this.)

Joe Biden — we’ll see. Ayres says that if you look in his eyes, and if you know anybody who has had to recover from the loss of a child, he doesn’t see it happening.

Elizabeth Warren — she’s an obvious choice if HRC collapses.

Dark horse — John Kerry. He’ll probably get a Nobel for the Iran deal. He already has the basics for a national campaign. He’s probably the strongest candidate if HRC fails.

Donald Trump — Ayres says he has no credibility predicting his numbers and admits to being stumped by the guy, especially since the bottom characteristic that people in focus groups say they want is somebody who is confrontational.

“What I know from focus groups is people like what he has to say, ‘he tells it like it is,’ etc., but ‘he really is a blow hard.'”

Ayres says it feels like Trump mania is fading. (I think he’s just hoping. I think Trump has a few more months to go before he starts fading.)

Ben Carson — he has an incredible story, but people who have never run at this level have no clue what they’re doing. It’s so easy to screw up. He’s an amateur in a difficult game, but he could win the Iowa caucuses.

Jeb Bush — he has a good record as a conservative governor, but nobody wants a Clinton Bush race. (Not even Jeb’s mother.) However … he has a lot of money and very talented people working for him.

Carly Fiorina — she came out of nowhere and made a strong showing in both debates. She has the cool and the knowledge. She will be Trump’s biggest foil, but she’ll face the same difficulty as Trump and Carson as a newcomer. Also, she has taken positions she took in California that will come back to get her.

Ted Cruz — smart as a whip. Very good with his base. He’s likely to be a player for a while. His challenge is expanding his coalition. Also, he’s not popular among his colleagues in Senate. Very capable and has money.

John Kasich — he has a strong record in key swing state, but his record is moderate and sometimes sounds as if he’s accusing you of being a bad Christian if you disagree with him.

Rand Paul — collapsed the first day isis cut off somebody’s head.

Chris Christie — not sure his in your face manner will work.

Marco Rubio (Ayres is working for him) — very talented. He beat an incumbent Republican governor against all advice. Do not underestimate this guy. Ayres says he is the most remarkable candidate he has worked for in 35 years. His reaction is always, “How do you know this stuff?” And he recommends watching this interview.

Ayres says Rubio is the guy who can accomplish the transformation Republicans need in this election.

One thing that he said in Q&A was very interesting. He said Hispanics sound like good Republicans in many ways. They’re hard working and believe in entrepreneurship, and they are devout. The only thing that doesn’t make them sound like Republicans is their support for Obamacare.

1 comment  ::  Add your comment  ::  2015-09-25  ::  Crowhill

Are diversity quotas subject to analysis? Should they be?

by Crowhill on 25 September 2015

Wasting some time on Youtube yesterday, I heard a discussion of an effort in England to get more women on corporate boards.

This is part of the “diversity is a strength” meme, which many people seem to accept without any need for evidence. The assumption is that different voices from different perspectives will make boards more effective.

The guy on that video I link claims that the opposite is true, and that studies have shown it — i.e., that companies that put more women on the board actually perform worse. I have no idea if they do or they don’t, but it raises an interesting question. Is the assumption that diversity is a strength subject to refutation, or is it an a priori assertion?

I can see it both ways. As one of the women in the video mentions, it’s possible that even if the guy’s studies say what he thinks they say, that it is a temporary blip that will adjust with time.

For example, let’s say it’s the 1940s and we want to integrate the armed forces, and let’s say that all the evidence shows that it’s a bad idea. Let’s imagine that peer-reviewed studies show that integrated units consistently underperform. Should that derail the goal of integrating the services?

I would say no, and I would attribute such results (remember, we’re just pretending) to a temporary problem that would go away with time.

But what if the results persisted? What if integrated units continued to underperform, 10, 20, 30 years later? (Again, we’re just pretending. I’m confident that is not the case.) At what point does the social agenda have to take a back seat to the military agenda?

This is a thorny question because it sets a practical goal against a social value. What if racist, sexist organizations outperform organizations based on equality?

Some people want to measure morality by results. Someone I know on Facebook said “I can’t define something as the “right” thing to do if it is ineffective.”


1 comment  ::  Add your comment  ::  2015-09-25  ::  Crowhill

Is bluster a proxy for honesty?

by Crowhill on 25 September 2015

It’s no secret that conservatives are sick to death of the Republican leadership. They’re the surrender caucus. They’re ineffectual. And they lie to us.

I think Trump’s bluster — his apparent willingness to speak his mind without worrying about the consequences — is being interpreted as honesty.

6 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2015-09-25  ::  Crowhill

Excellent elevator pitch for Eggs are Expensive, Sperm is Cheap

by Crowhill on 25 September 2015

I met a friend’s mother the other night, and when he introduced me he mentioned my little book, Eggs are Expensive, Sperm is Cheap.

He described it as a defense of traditional sexual morality based on evaluating the reproductive strategy that naturally develops from the fact that sperm is abundant and eggs are the limiting factor.

Or … words to that effect. I wish I’d recorded it at the time. It was a really good one-sentence description of the book.

10 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2015-09-25  ::  Crowhill

Why the pope doesn’t push on abortion, gay marriage and divorce

by Crowhill on 24 September 2015

I think I am starting to understand why there’s a preference among Catholic leaders to push some issues and not others. I think it stems from a view of law and the “freedom of the person” that comes from John Paul II. Or at least was typified and codified by JPII.

Bear with me for a moment here as I try to explain. I’m not an expert on JPII’s work. In fact, I never liked what he had to say very much, for reasons that will become plain below. But I think this is what’s going on.

ISTM that JPII’s work emphasized the freedom of human choices in a way that requires no compulsion of any kind, including psychological compulsion.

If my motives could never transcend my individual self-interest or the collective self-interest of my group, I could never be truly free. I could always be manipulated and compelled to act in specific ways by fear of punishment or hope of reward. (See John Paul II and the Truth About Freedom.)

That quote is meant to typify the attitude, not proof-text it.

This radical sense of freedom seems to downplay other sorts of motivation, like duty and obligation, which is part of why I have always disliked it. I believe in duty and obligation, and I think society is pretty much doomed unless people are motivated by such things.

But Catholics seem to be moving in a different direction. Laws are more like suggestions. The idea is that the individual person has to see the truth for himself and decide to embrace it on his own. “Freely” — that is, without threat, coercion or manipulation.

I’ll gladly admit that such a world would be a wonderful place, where everyone freely chooses to do right because they want to. But such a world isn’t going to happen. I would rather that the thief choose not to steal because he freely chooses the good, but failing that I want him to choose not to steal because he’ll get shot by the homeowner or will end up in jail.

Catholic leadership is increasingly distancing itself from such crude methods.

So, for example, on abortion, the church is pro-life and wants people to choose life. But they want women to choose life “freely” — not because the law compels them, or even because they’ll be judged by others. The whole agenda is to gently guide, not to compel.

So then, why are they willing to speak clearly about the death penalty, or climate change, or the problems with capitalism? I think it’s because those things are seen as collective decisions — as part of a push towards solidarity and community — rather than personal, individual decisions.

What do you think? Does that make any sense?

2 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2015-09-24  ::  Crowhill

Pope Francis, advocate for the global left

by Crowhill on 24 September 2015

He was a little hard to understand. Here’s the text of his speech. A lot of it was just bland nicey nice stuff, with no clear implication in any political direction. But in the few cases where he tried to deliver meat, it was tofu.

In promoting the protection of life, why did he mention the abolition of the death penalty, but not abortion?

And then there’s this.

Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals and society? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood.

Maybe in some cases, but he’s talking to the U.S. Congress. Nobody there is proposing that we arm the Kurds, or the Syrian opposition, or anybody else, so that we can make money off the arms sale.

When he mentioned the family, he didn’t mention same-sex marriage, or the much larger problem: divorce.

IOW, he chose to only imply the conservative values of the church, but to specifically state his positions when they appeal to liberals.

 ::  Add your comment  ::  2015-09-24  ::  Crowhill

Sorry, Pal. Judgment first. And no, I won’t listen

by Crowhill on 24 September 2015

The slide towards total moral bankruptcy continues as the left is putting out little feelers to see how they will eventually find a way to accept pedophilia. (You know they will. It’s just a question of how and when.)

An article in Slate has the subtitle, “I’m attracted to children but unwilling to act on it. Before judging me harshly, would you be willing to listen?”

No, I’m not willing to listen. And neither should anybody else — except your priest, or maybe a therapist. Keep that filth to yourself. There are things that should not be said.

The sexual revolution has been tearing down one barrier after another, but this next hurdle is going to be a tough one. So far they have greased the slide into full-on Emperor Caligula-style debauchery on the back of consent. I.e., consenting adults can do whatever they want. But children can’t give adult consent, so before they can approve of pedophilia they have to change their tune.

Some of you are thinking, “you’ve got it wrong here. They actually do have standards, and adult consent is one of them. Therefore liberals will never approve of pedophilia.”

Just watch.

11 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2015-09-24  ::  Crowhill

Republicans are totally owned by Obama

by Crowhill on 24 September 2015

Congress has the power of the purse, which means that if Congress doesn’t fund something, it doesn’t get funded. If they pass a bill that doesn’t include funding for Planned Parenthood, then Planned Parenthood gets no government funding. It’s as simple as that.

Or, it would be that simple — except that Republicans are total losers. Here’s how it works in their minds.

If Obama has promised to veto any legislation that cuts funds for PP, and the Congress passes such legislation, then it’s Congress’ fault — because they’d been warned.

Republican promises not to fund PP are irrelevant. All that matters is Obama’s promises.

This is why conservatives are furious with the Republican Party. These guys are ineffectual cowards.

 ::  Add your comment  ::  2015-09-24  ::  Crowhill

Why, Rush, is the left — which generally hates religion — fawning all over Pope Francis?

by Crowhill on 23 September 2015

I very rarely listen to Rush. But I had an opportunity to listen to a little today, and I heard an interesting question and Rush’s response. The caller’s question is the title of this post. Here’s my rough transcript of Rush’s reply.

The Democrat party holds religious peole — particularly Evangelicals — in contempt. They consider them bitter clingers. They see them as judging everybody all the time. [Although SJWs are far more judgmental than Evangelicals.] The left hates them.

The Catholic Church is a close second.

This administration has targeted the Catholic Church for humiliation throughout the Obamacare implementation. Thery want to force on the American people behaviors that are antithetical to Catholic teachings.

The Catholic Church epitomizes the people the left hates.

Why then is the left — including Obama — celebrating this pope?

This pope is not perceived by them to be like the elements of the church the left doesn’t like. On some issues he seems to be with them.

Climate change. Immigration. Cuba.

So the pope can come over here and give Obama gravitas. Obama has the sense to recognize the strategic opportunity.

Obama believes he has a fellow ideological soulmate [on some issues] and it helps Obama advance his agenda.

It’s profoundly hypocritical, but the left gets away with hypocrisy all the time, because the left doesn’t have any standards to be measured against anyway.

4 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2015-09-23  ::  Crowhill

Rubio-Kasich or Rubio-Fiorina?

by Crowhill on 23 September 2015

I think Trump and Carson will fade over the next couple months. I’m not sure. Trump seems to defy all the odds, and he’s learning as he goes. But I think people will tire of him.

If that happens, one of the more “serious” candidates will rise to the top. I think it will be Rubio, but it’s hard to say.

Assuming it’s Rubio, who would be the better VP pick — Kasich, who might be able to deliver Ohio, or Fiorina, who might be able to shift the Democratic dominance of the female vote?

6 comments  ::  Add your comment  ::  2015-09-23  ::  Crowhill

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