Election 2016, October 9-15

The campaign continues.


161 thoughts on “Election 2016, October 9-15

  1. So I’ve been thinking about the two-party system. There are good reasons why the U.S. will always have a two-party system, as outlined here by Bill Domhoff, whom I admire. It has to do with the structure of the electoral system.


    Yeah. But if we could have a multi-party system, it seems like we should have:

    Republicans, who represent the oligarchs.

    Democrats, who represent the oligarchs but are bright enough to see that they need to throw some bones to the Proles or they’ll have an armed uprising.

    Know-nothings, for die-hard Trump supporters.

    Socialists, for the Proles.

    That would seem to cover the bulk of the folks we’ve been hearing from this election season.

  2. Rocky – Just make a spreadsheet: guns, abortion, free college, capital gains tax rates.

  3. I would also add that I’m very disappointed (thus far) in Trump. I was expecting a good c-world laced rant. I can only assume Hillary has that audio and it will be released in a week or two.

  4. On the topic of college football, Navy’s win yesterday over No. 5 Houston was such a surprise upset that the superintendent canceled all classes on Tuesday, extending Columbus Day weekend to four days.

    I assume that most Totebaggers are horrified.

  5. I believe it means that if you are higher income, you have to hold things for a long time (6 years) to get the 20% cap gains rate. Otherwise you pay a higher rate depending on how long you hold it. And if you are really making a lot each year, you get an extra tax added to that. And the carried interest “loophole” will be eliminated and taxed as ordinary income.

  6. What’s “higher income “? I can’t tell if the column on the left is supposed to be indicating if your marginal rate on earned income is x (28%), for example, then here’s your capital gains rate?

    Also, people should note the proposed limit of 28% for all itemized deductions. That’s going to hurt any households earning over $231k.

  7. I don’t think the table addresses it, but in commentary, households above $400k (not sure if that is AGI, TI, etc). Also, not sure what happens to those between $250k-$400k.

    The 28% cap is a bad idea on things like charitable giving. You should get your full rate. I am ok with it for mortgage deduction, etc.

  8. I hate hate hate that the debate is going to be about sexual assault and not other important things that need to be debated.

  9. No. 5 Houston was such a surprise upset that the superintendent canceled all classes on Tuesday, extending Columbus Day weekend to four days

    What if there was a calculus class on Tuesday!?! Won’t anyone think of the children?

  10. I’m going to need to see some data on how accurate the Tax Foundation’s analysis has been in the past.

  11. Gotta agree with Trump re foreign policy! Obama has just been a disaster on that front so far. Failed foreign policy is hallmark of American polity!

  12. An incentive for high income couples to divorce

    The proposal could also create some very large new marriage penalties for very high-income couples. Both the 4-percent surcharge and the Buffett rule have thresholds that do not depend on filing status. For example, two individuals earning $1 million each would not be affected by the Buffett Rule, whereas they would owe a minimum tax of 30 percent of AGI if they married. They could end up havinga very large tax increase if their income primarily comes fromlightly taxed or untaxed sources (such as long-term capital gains or tax-exempt bonds). The threshold for the 4-percent surcharge is $5 million. Two single people with AGI of $5 million each would owe no surcharge, but if they combined their incomes, they would be assessed $200,000 in surtax.

  13. We’re not in that range. But I would divorce for a 6 figure tax break. Or probably even a 5 figure one. I can make legal documents that secure our family for much less than that and the symbolic value is not worth that much money.

  14. An incentive for high income couples to divorce

    Thank God! I can finally divorce my high-income husband! Oh wait

    sorry, too much wine and debate

  15. I can’t think of a political issue I care less about than if $5m+ income couples divorce! And they are going to give up portability!

  16. The proposal could also create some very large new marriage penalties for very high-income couples.

    Obviously that should be how we judge tax policy. Indeed, the 0.001% should be how we base all our policy.

  17. “Thank God! I can finally divorce my high-income husband! Oh wait”

    If you don’t work, you’re better off married.

  18. I was surprised when he disclosed that he hasn’t spoken to Pence, and disagreed with him on Syria.

  19. I was surprised when he disclosed that he hasn’t spoken to Pence, and disagreed with him on Syria.

    And he admitted he hasn’t paid taxes in 20 years.

  20. “And he admitted he hasn’t paid taxes in 20 years.”

    No, he said of course he used the deduction. And why shouldn’t he? Since he’s in real estate, it was probably some sort of depreciation loss.

  21. No, he said of course he used the deduction.

    Because he’s a catastrophically bad business man. That’s the only explanation.

  22. I think he’s really proud of the no taxes thing. He’s not hiding this when it comes up.

  23. It’s not so much that I care whether high income couples divorce. The Tax Policy Center and Tax Foundation make generally different assumptions about how the behavior of rich people will change if Clinton’s proposals are passed, leading to estimates of $0.5 vs. $1.1 trillion in increased revenue.

    That’s a significant margin of error. It reminds me of the Affordable Care Act estimates number of people enrolled this year (21 million projected enrollees vs. 12 million actual, off the top of my head) and my thought (whatever the actual numbers are) that if my project cost estimates were that far off as an engineer, I’d be fired.

  24. “Because he’s a catastrophically bad business man.”

    Oh please. I wish I could be that catastrophically bad at business.

  25. Oh please. I wish I could be that catastrophically bad at business.

    Just to be clear, you think he’s a good businessman?

  26. A lot of commentators were criticizing Clinton for holding back in the debate and not dealing the death blow. I am not sure that was deliberate strategy, or if it would have even been possible to knock him out, but the last thing she would want is to have him actually step aside. It was an extremely unedifying 90 minutes of my life I cannot get back.

  27. The tax return thing is really a non-issue, as experts have pointed out. Trump is a real estate developer and takes advantage of the provisions of the tax code available to him. Nothing illegal or dishonest about that. The IRS probably audits him more vigorously than the FBI investigated Clinton for her treatment of classified emails.

  28. A cornered, back to the wall Trump is a mean guy indeed. That was one nasty debate.

    Most telling moment for me: complete rejection of Pence’s (and most the of the Republican party’s) views on what to do in Syria. I wonder if he will listen to Pence on anything.

    I also enjoyed his healthcare babble. It was just random phrases kind of mishmoshed together.

    And throw HIllary in jail!! I realize that was red meat for his base, but it is set the entire press corps a-twitter (and I don’t mean the tweet kind)

    My takeaway is that he did what he had to do – he made his base happy. The RNC is now stuck with him. To everyone else, he came off as threatening and mean.

    Unlike everyone else, I am not bugged by the sniffing. I think it is just a dumb tic, kind of like Sarah Palin’s winks.

  29. I can’t be an oligarch because I don’t understand the tax code well enough to do crazy wealth amassing things with my taxes! Plus, I would never vote for any Bush or Romney, who have always run as the candidates of the oligarchy. Although, I do like Bloomberg, so that is definitely oligarchy-ish.

    I definitely am a technocrat but in that Germanh techno-socialist way. Angela Merkel rocks.

  30. If you don’t work, you’re better off married.

    Also, he’s not that high income, and besides that I still like him. I was kind of making fun of the idea that financial incentives to divorce would cause people to run to the divorce courts.

  31. Oligarchs hire technocrats (attorneys and accountants) to minimize their tax burden. They don’t have to master the tax code themselves.
    I think that Trump did what he needed to do. Didn’t spend more than a few minutes talking about the DC hotel and how Sidney Blumenthal started the birther thing. Not sure what Clinton needed to do or whether she moved the needle one way or another for the allegedly undecided. George Washington and Abraham Lincoln must be spinning in their graves along with Patton and MacArthur.

  32. RMS,
    Back in the day, people DID divorce, and then remarry, for tax purposes. The IRS had lots of rulings on that topic, with very entertaining fact situations.

  33. “Just to be clear, you think he’s a good businessman?”

    It’s difficult to say without really understanding his net worth, earnings, businesses, etc. But politics aside, he seems to have successfully segued from real estate developer into brand manager who licenses his name to properties and developments, plus books and television shows, plus his daughter’s clothing or shoe line or whatever she sells. Sure, he got a big inheritance, but a *catastrophically* bad businessman would not have Manhattan penthouses, Palm Beach mansions, yachts, a helicopter, and a plane.

  34. “A cornered, back to the wall Trump is a mean guy indeed. That was one nasty debate.”

    The Clintons are mean nasty people, and he was right about the things he said.

  35. Well, I don’t have one of those fancy tax accountants, and the only time in my life I ever hired an attorney was when we closed on our house (having a lawyer i look over the closing documents is normal practice here). So that characteristic doesn’t work for me either.

  36. It has been pointed out that if Trump had just invested his inheritance, he would have more money now.

  37. Mooshi: We have a tax accountant and an attorney and we’re not rich. I think many Totebaggers do.

    I wish Trump didn’t suck so much because I actually agree with him on some issues, such as a less hawkish foreign policy.

  38. “It has been pointed out that if Trump had just invested his inheritance, he would have more money now.”

    And if you had just invested everything you’ve ever made, you would have more money now. But people who point that out fail to acknowledge that he’s sustained an extremely high spending rate for decades now.

  39. “I also enjoyed his healthcare babble. It was just random phrases kind of mishmoshed together”

    If you paid attention to the two answers on that question — “what are you going to do about rising costs?” — Trump was the only one who actually offered a hint of an idea. Hillary was asked to answer first and wanted to deflect it, then she started her answer about how she would solve the ACA health increases by describing how she presumed Trump would handle it (“he wants to repeal”). She then talked about all the aspects of it that are popular with voters, like remaining a dependent until the age of 26 and preexisting conditions, and she said that we shouldn’t scrap it but keep the parts that everyone likes and simply “fix” the rest. That was the end.

    Trump, while never eloquent, at least offered an attempt or idea at a solution with eliminating the prohibition against selling across state lines.

  40. The brand development ventures if done well, have worked for celebrities. The two Jessicas Simpson and Alba have built successful companies. I think the Duggars need to develop a line of products.

  41. Again I watched the debate with my 17yo. The refusal to actually answer the questions got to both of us. Starting with the first “are you modeling behavior we should expect of our leader (or something like that)?

    And I thought their answers to the last question “name a positive quality in your opponent” were quite telling. She said his children were a positive quality in him; while he said she’s a fighter, not a quitter, and this made him come across as more thoughtful, honest.

  42. The gradual capital gains phaseout was law in Massachusetts a while back, going from 10% tax on short term gains to zero after 6 years. At that time (Taxachusetts days) non bank investment income was taxed at a very high rate in MA. It was not law for more than a few years, because the investment income rate was reduced to the regular flat tax rate and obviously the cap gains phaseout abolished. The top cap gains rate in the Table Two referred to above is just that, the top rate – no one would pay a higher marginal rate on cap gains than on ordinary income. The average person will see no effect from the longer phase out. However, that particular proposal has zero chance of passage.

    We paid something like 14 percent of gross income (including tax free bond income and SS) in fed income taxes, about 4 percent in state income taxes, and it will not increase in the future as long as I roll over the 401ks into IRAs and use the yearly min distributions for my charitable deductions. Mitt Romney pays a lower rate, a real estate developer usually pays zero, some folks live in states without income tax, or without sales tax.

    There is no shame or criminality in using the tax code as written, nor in using the bankruptcy laws. It is shameful to stiff your subcontractors as a regular business plan, with the expectation that the costs of the legal system or the pro-active use of bankruptcy filings will mean that you never have to pay up.

    Trump’s behavior in most ways and for his entire public life is “unseemly”, to use an older term. Milo has repeatedly made a detailed case for actual criminality in Clinton’s behavior throughout the years, so I don’t need to recap her catalog of shame for anyone to pick out the unseemly parts of her biography. But only one of the two is qualified to hold the office of President of the United States.

  43. “The top cap gains rate in the Table Two referred to above is just that, the top rate – no one would pay a higher marginal rate on cap gains than on ordinary income.”

    I’m still not clear, and it’s my fault. But does this apply to me or not?

  44. The debate folks need to find better moderators. Maybe a monk or nun who has been living in a cloister and has no clue who either of the candidates is, won’t deign to argue with them, and will just ring a gong when their time is up until they stop talking.
    Or the Dowager Countess might be even better. She’s very experienced at ringing the bell for tea.

  45. Milo – The 39.6% on short term cap gains is the same as the top ordinary income marginal tax rate. If the 39.6% bracket is taxable income (not AGI) over, say 400K per year (after deductions and exemptions), and your capital gains fall into that bracket, you would pay that on cap gains on assets held less than one year and all of those top rate reductions based on holding period would apply to you. I haven’t read the actual tax proposal, but the rates on cap gains can never exceed even Warren Buffett’s ordinary marginal income rate plus the various high income surcharges, and below laddered AGI threshold (and based on how you describe the Milo family economic situation and early retirement plans you would never be in the relevant highest brackets) you end up with the zero or 10% or 15% rate on all (over one year) cap gains. Cap gain distributions from mutual funds would be defined by statute as to where they fall on the spectrum of long term for the high net worth people to whom the six year phase down applies. The devil is in the details, of course, but that complex cap gains proposal will not be enacted.

  46. I don’t understand tax details very well, but another complexity in raising taxes is how increasing corporate taxes will affect returns to stock ownership, which affects pension plans and individual 401(k)’s. The largest pension plans are, to my knowledge, state-run and any decrease in their return usually has to be made up by state taxpayers. This factor is not included in any of the federal revenue estimates but would need to be estimated for an “overall” estimate of taxes as a percentage of GNP.

  47. “Or the Dowager Countess might be even better.”

    Now *that* is a debate I would watch.

  48. If I had any sympathy for Donald Trump,( and believe me I had), it was extinguished after his performance in yesterday’s debate!

  49. WCE – Almost all serious tax proposals wish to reduce the US corporate tax rate, which in the US is higher than every other developed country and is applied to worldwide income in a fashion that results in large offshore deposits and pays for children’s tuitions and vacation homes for tax accountants and tax lawyers all around the globe. In addition, many countries to do not tax dividend income (the detailed explanation is excessively technical) when received by the individual owners, or capital gains on shares. Government services are funded in great measure by value added taxes.

  50. I think pushing on his not paying Federal Income taxes is a weak case. It is so easily written off – of course he takes advantage off all the rules and loopholes – we all do. He sounded the most sensible in the midst of that line of argument last night – he easily turned it on Hillary for not fighting harder to “fix” the tax code when she was in the Senate, and when he accused her of not really wanting to change the tax code because she & her rich friends like it the way it is. I believe that this is absolutely true.

    I agree with Meme that even his taking advantage of using bankruptcy laws to stiff small business owners who contracted to do work with him is a MUCH more compelling case than to keep harping on how he didn’t “pay for the military” or whatever Hillary is pushing.

    @Kate – I hadn’t seen that, and I really enjoyed it. I am really going to miss Obama.

    This morning, I was listening to the Presidential podcast put out by the Washington Post which I have mentioned before. This week’s is on George H W Bush. He was so publicly boring and staid that it was a really interesting contrast to the circus that we have now. One moment they brought up was when the Berlin Wall fell, and GHWB spent 30 minutes on TV trying to be extremely neutral about the whole thing. It just fed into his “boring” and “unemotional” image, but it was deliberate so as not to inflame tensions and look as if we were gloating. Can you picture either of the current candidates doing that? And – my GOD – Trump.

  51. Ivy – I’ve been surprised at how they both often seem to choose the wrong specifics to attack on. In last night’s debate, as compared to the first one, Trump had his targets lined up much better, but when you can choose from Paula Jones or Juanita Broaddrick, both of whom are sitting RIGHT IN THE FRONT ROW, why is he talking about a criminal case that had nothing to do with Bill for which she was appointed the public defender?

    I also think she could gain more traction by talking about Trump University rather than his tax returns. As my brother put it a few months ago, he was already rich with more money than he could reasonably enjoy. What kind of person, at that point in time, starts a “college” that he knows will just be putting vulnerable people into debt for a worthless degree?

    Anyway, she’ll win unless there’s a Brexit surprise. Worrying about it is pointless and tiring.

  52. I think he chose Shelton and not the others because he had supported Bill back then and called them all ugly.

  53. @Milo – Yes, why aren’t we hearing more about Trump University? I find it puzzling. And why does he continue to push on her starting the “birther” movement? Whether or not you believe that they used or considered it in the 2008 campaign, it is old news – that campaign has been over for almost a decade and she served in the Obama administration. Meanwhile, he has been on TV for 8 years pushing the birth certificate issue. What does it gain him to try to “implicate” her? There are other things to attack her for that are much more valid.

    Anyway – I also find it tiring. I already voted anyway. Can it all go away now?

  54. “I do think this is the right thing provided that everyone in Congress would compromise and not be obstructionists.”

    Donald Trump’s massive unpopularity is the only thing masking the revulsion so many Americans have toward Hillary, including a strong majority disapproval rating and an even higher percent who don’t trust her. I can’t see how Congress will have any incentive to compromise. Obama was reasonably popular, and at least considered trustworthy; they didn’t compromise with him and they were rewarded for it. Why would they compromise with Hillary?

    The other question is what does she even want to compromise on? Meme’s calling her tax proposals dead on arrival. Nobody seems to think that she actually cares about the policy ideas she adopted from Bernie (free college).

  55. “And why does he continue to push on her starting the “birther” movement?”

    Because it is hypocritical of Hillary to tell him that he owes Obama an apology when she and her campaign against him were sowing the same seeds, including circulating the picture of him wearing the traditional Somali garb (on a visit, I believe). Note that she had no response to that.

  56. Milo – I don’t think that they will compromise. That is why I am going straight down the ticket. But in an ideal world, it would be good if we could have people who would compromise. They need to bring back earmarks so that they clowns in Congress will have some incentive to work well with others.

  57. “They need to bring back earmarks so that they clowns in Congress will have some incentive to work well with others.”

    No. I don’t want stupid crap like 50 more destroyers that the Navy doesn’t need just so everyone in Congress can be pleased with each other. If that’s the alternative, I’d rather they fight and threaten to shut down the government every three months. I think I’m OK with obstructionism and do-nothing.

  58. I don’t know the entire tax proposal. But that complex capital gain calculation will be one of the first provisions to go. I mentioned that it was tried out in MA and quickly repealed – too hard to track and as a policy matter capital should move freely to the most productive investment – a fixed one or two year holding period is sufficient to differentiate taxation on the gains from trading or speculative activity and investment activity, and any time length is an arbitrary bright line test – my tax payments for the year were messed up because something I had owned for 11 mos was acquired and I had an unexpected short term cap gain.

  59. That article is total NYT bullshit. The Left still can’t seem to distinguish between illegal aliens and all Mexicans/Hispanics/blacks. They also ignore the fact that the leading candidate has already dismissed about 40% of the country as her “enemies” of whom she is most proud to have made, and tens of millions of Americans as irredeemable “deplorables.”

  60. I thought it was his most well-timed and well-placed comeback, and the audience clearly agreed. He also didn’t actually mean “I’m going to lock you up” as people have since implied. In context, it was a separate idea from his talk about appointing a special prosecutor (not sure if that makes sense), but that’s as far as he promised to go. His comment “because you’d be in jail” to her remark that it’s a good thing we don’t live under laws enforced by someone like Trump was a general statement that under his administration, laws would actually be enforced. It was not a promise to definitely lock her up (he didn’t say “you *will* be in jail.”)

    People have gone to prison for doing far less than Hillary is guilty of. I watched the CNN anchors afterward feign outrage that it’s reminiscent of a banana republic and it was unprecedented, but they of course ignore the fact that it’s also unprecedented to have the opposing major party candidate be under criminal investigation by the FBI for felonies at the same time she’s securing her party’s nomination. So there’s a lot that’s unprecedented.


  61. what list? I read the article once, skimmed it a second time, and I did a CTRL-F search for “Rice” and “Powell” and found nothing.

    What I understand about Rice and Powell is that their violations did not include setting up a private server and specifically directing people to strip classified documents of their markings and intentionally transmit them on an unsecured network.

    But to the larger point, what I remember from the Wikileaks release of Powell’s emails is that he advised Hillary for ways around FOIA in a manner clearly indicative of their widely accepted belief that the rules don’t apply to them, only to the little people. He was very dismissive of SCIF protocol, for example. She, then, of course, went well above and beyond that by setting up her own server, and later, not just deleting emails but purchasing special “bleaching” software to destroy all evidence.

  62. Hasn’t Clinton been under investigation for the emails and Benghazi and nothing has come out of it? I’d think the GOP would have found something by now, right? What would Trump’s special prosecutor do that hasn’t already been done?

  63. “and nothing has come out of it? I’d think the GOP would have found something by now, right? What would Trump’s special prosecutor do that hasn’t already been done?”

    Plenty has come out of the email issue, but what would you have “the GOP” do? Congress doesn’t issue felony indictments or arrest warrants.

    If Bill Clinton’s plane just happens to park next to the Attorney General’s plane (and why does the attorney general need her own plane, anyway?) and he charms and shoves his way on board for a private meeting just a few days before her direct report begrudgingly announces that he won’t bring criminal charges against Bill Clinton’s wife, I don’t think it takes a conspiracy theorist to wonder if the process was not entirely transparent or just.

  64. “of course he takes advantage off all the rules and loopholes – we all do”

    Well, it might be more accurate to say we all try to.

  65. “just ring a gong when their time is up until they stop talking.”

    Controlling the power to their microphones would be more effective.

  66. “I wish Trump didn’t suck so much.”

    I think we all do.

    And many of us wish HRC didn’t suck so much either. Gary Johnson too, for that matter.

    What a dismal set of choices.

  67. “Back in the day, people DID divorce, and then remarry, for tax purposes.”

    My former insurance agent mentioned to me the client couple he had who divorced every December, then remarried every January.

  68. “There is no shame or criminality in using the tax code as written, nor in using the bankruptcy laws.”

    I disagree WRT bankruptcy laws. Living beyond one’s means, then using bankruptcy to stiff others, IMO is shameful.

    “But only one of the two is qualified to hold the office of President of the United States.”

    Which one?

    They’re both US-born citizens over 35yo, which legally makes them both qualified.

    Not being able to hold a security clearance might make one of them practically unqualified.

  69. Why, Mooshi? I watched her for a few minutes in an interview, and FOX News was being very, very nice and cordial :)

    So much so that I kind of liked her until she started talking about energy policy, iirc.

  70. She has exactly the same level of qualification for the job as Trump, which is to say, none. She is nicer, which is a good thing. She shares many of the same views as Sanders, with even less liklihood than Sanders of ever being able to implement any of them (not that he had much chance) because she is so inexperienced. I also have issues with some of the anti-science feel of the Green Party. So while I could have gotten behind Sanders as a candidate even though I had some doubts about the viability of his ideas, I would really have trouble with Jill Stein.

  71. “Controlling the power to their microphones would be more effective.”

    How about sending a small electric shock instead?

  72. She may consider me her enemy, but it looks like Hillary listened to my idea:


    TLDR – Additional, refundable $1,000 per-child tax credit for children four and under.

    “If your goal instead is to offer financial assistance to parents of children, then this is a policy you want to turn to,” Mr. Strain said. He noted that the credit delivers cash to families, letting them decide how to spend it, versus subsidizing child care, which directs the dollars to child-care providers.”

  73. This morning Trump tweeted: “It is so nice that the shackles have been taken off me and I can now fight for America the way I want to”.

    John Hodgman’s response: “I’m glad Donald Trump has cast off his shackles & will finally feel free to say & do whatever the trash bag of bees in his head tell him to”

  74. yeah, he is trash talking Ryan and McCain now. I think he does have a bag o’ bees in his head.

  75. Paul Ryan has destroyed his credibility. I don’t see how he runs in 2020.

    I honestly think the GOP will need to find some new faces, hopefully not Trump-like

  76. There will have to be some new political parties. I already posted Bill Domhoff’s analysis of why our electoral system forces a two-party structure, but the current parties just aren’t cutting it. And it’s not like the two current parties are written into the Constitution. There have been many different parties over the past 200-plus years. George Washington was against political parties, and I tell you what, he looks smarter every day.

  77. It will be interesting to see if the Republican Party will rebuild itself as fiscally disciplined, pro-business with a bit of compassion and socially moderate/progressive. If it does, I’ll jump ship over to it. Otherwise, I will just keep voting anti-Republican straight down the line.

  78. “George Washington was against political parties, and I tell you what, he looks smarter every day.”

    He was also against campaigning, or really even seeking the job, and considered it beneath the office.

  79. Our parties have slowly changed over time, but we always have a two party system. Even though the Constitution does not mention parties, our particular system leads to two parties. Countries with more than two parties always seem to be parliamentary systems – are there any counterexamples? And of course one party countries are usually dictatorships, or very authoritarian places like China or Singapore.

  80. I have never voted straight one party. I come into the voting booth with my choices on a sample ballot. As best I can, I research the candidate for each post and decide whether I like them. Then, I vote.

  81. Kate – That is really astounding. The Male only map is very close to Kerry’s electoral college take in 2004 – that was the year I really understood the blue/red divide – less rust belt MN, WI, MI, PA that went DEM. Add NM in 2016, take away NH (of course). Perhaps that aspect of our bicoastal totebag “bubble” is even more significant than education or income or degree of religious observance.

  82. And Milo, at least Rachel Maddow has picked up on the destroyer being fired on in Yemen, since it happened again.

  83. RMS – I think that the problem for all of these so-called latest revelations about Trump and Clinton (grabbing non-entertainment women’s privates and kissing them, walking into the Ms Teen dressing room vs deplorables, hacked tepid campaign emails) is that they are of the “water is wet” variety – nothing new has been learned. I was frankly surprised that the bus tape had the effect it did – who did the wider undecided and the so called suburban Philadelphia women think he was? Who thought Clinton was anything other than a political insider and an elitist?

  84. “must be attracted to the systematic thought and severely backwards gender relations.”

    As anti-Catholic slurs go, that’s not much.

  85. RMS, it’s worse IMO because it’s so loftily contemptuous.

    Eric Metaxas has some thoughtful comments for Christians who are tempted to sit this one out:

    “What if not pulling the lever for Mr. Trump effectively means electing someone who has actively enabled sexual predation in her husband before—and while—he was president? Won’t God hold me responsible for that? What if she defended a man who raped a 12-year-old and in recalling the case laughed about getting away with it? Will I be excused from letting this person become president? What if she used her position as secretary of state to funnel hundreds of millions into her own foundation, much of it from nations that treat women and gay people worse than dogs? Since these things are true, can I escape responsibility for them by simply not voting?

    Many say they won’t vote because choosing the lesser of two evils is still choosing evil. But this is sophistry. Neither candidate is pure evil. They are human beings. We cannot escape the uncomfortable obligation to soberly choose between them. Not voting—or voting for a third candidate who cannot win—is a rationalization designed more than anything to assuage our consciences. Yet people in America and abroad depend on voters to make this very difficult choice.

    If imperiously flouting the rules by having a private server endangered American lives and secrets and may lead to more deaths, if she cynically deleted thousands of emails, and if her foreign-policy judgment led to the rise of Islamic State, won’t refusing to vote make me responsible for those suffering as a result of these things?”


    Metazas’ book on Dietrich Bonhoeffer explored some similar issues. Terrific read.

  86. None of those accusations against Hillary are true. But we live in a post-truth country.

  87. “enabled sexual predation” – I really don’t get this line of thinking at all.

    It’s basically saying that any woman who went batshit on the ‘other woman’ and yet stayed in her marriage ‘enabled’ her husband’s cheating. Aren’t good Christians/Catholics supposed to honor their marriage and stick with it. Isn’t divorce bad? Isn’t a man responsible for his own actions?

    Completely baffled by this.

  88. Aren’t good Christians/Catholics supposed to honor their marriage and stick with it. Isn’t divorce bad? Isn’t a man responsible for his own actions?

    Divorce is bad. However, it is allowed in the Catholic Church. Since marriage is a sacrament, it cannot be repeated unless certain conditions prevented one party from being able to commit or from committing to the covenant of marriage, in which case the marriage never took place.

    Honoring marriage does NOT involve slandering women that your husband had an affair with or who he assaulted.

    You can tell a person by the company they keep. Standing by one’s husband in the face of abuse of yourself, your children, or another person is not a badge of honor. In Hillary’s case it is an indication that she will overlook anything to stay in power..

  89. And if you feel that way, it totally makes sense that you would vote for Trump. It is good he was able to get his hearing about raping a 13 year old moved to December.

  90. Cordelia – this very question came up when I was 8 (or so) in my CCD class. I took the same view – how on earth could a wife live with a man who cheated on her? She should of course divorce him! A fellow classmate burst into tears because her dad cheated on her mom and there had been talk of divorce but the mom stayed in the marriage. The classmate then proceeded to defend her mom’s actions to me and was really angry with me. The CCD teacher then stepped in and talked about Jesus’ message of forgiveness and love and the sanctity of marriage. Has the Church’s teaching on this changed since I was 8?

    Divorce is indeed permitted in the Catholic church (although one can’t re-marry in the Church etc.) but I find it highly disingenuous to say that the Catholic Church is, or ever has been, OK with or approving of divorce. Come on now, let’s be real here.

  91. The Catholic Church permits divorce, which is not the same as being ok with or approving of divorce.

  92. I’m in the fortunate(?) position in this election that my state will go for Hillary no matter what, so I can freely cast my vote for the candidate who has taken a little too much medical marijuana and thinks contacting space aliens is a good idea.

    Still think he’s a better option that Hillary or Trump.

  93. Cordelia – I think a lot of women would have understood and even admired Hillary if she had divorced Bill (myself included) I am just taken aback by how many Christians apparently feel the same, to the point where I don’t really believe that they do. She was damned if she did, damned if she didn’t.

    My views on divorce have become more nuanced since I was 8, and now I try to respect each person’s choice and so I do give credit to people who try to keep their marriages intact in those circumstances.

  94. Why wouldn’t Christian/Catholic people understand/admire Hillary for refusing to put up with Bill’s shenanigans?

    I think there is a huge difference between a single incident of infidelity and an ongoing pattern of abuse. And part of Bill’s behavior involved abuse of women. That is hugely different from feeling neglected in your marriage and picking an inappropriate way to address it.

  95. “my CCD class”

    What’s CCD in this context? I am guessing it is not Charge Coupled Device.

  96. CCD – it stands for Confraternity of Christian Doctrine though as I kid in the 80’s I couldn’t tell you that is what it meant. I’m glad we’re back to calling it either Sunday school or religious education.

  97. CCD – I forget what it actually stands for, but basically Catholic education class for children. I was raised Catholic, which may color my views of Catholics’ and more generally Christian’s views of divorce.

    It’s hard for me to picture an evangelical Christian or Catholic cheering on Hillary should she have chosen to divorce Bill (while he was President no less). I find it surprising that people with that religious bent are not more openly supportive of her decision to stay married.

  98. Hillary had to make her own decision regarding her husband’s behavior, but that decision was based on political expediency, not her child or the sanctity of her marriage vows. He needed her then, and she knew that she would need him now.

  99. The Catholic Church does not require people to stay in abusive marriages, nor to put themselves or their children in a harmful situation. Whether those marriages are valid under Church law is a separate question that depends primarily on the factors present at the time of the marriage, not necessarily the current toxic circumstances. (Though I think that Pope Francis was right when he commented off the cuff that many Catholic marriages are probably technically invalid, for one reason or another.)

  100. Wow. Amazing. This election is making my head hurt. Charles Krauthammer, of all people, is objecting vehemently to Trump’s “jail Hillary” comments from the debate. I have always pegged him as a far right , security at all costs, law and order, neocon sort.

  101. Scarlett, you have absolutely no idea why Hillary stayed with her husband. And to say she knew she’d need him now sounds outrageous to my ears. I am someone who always thought if my spouse was unfaithful, that would be it. But I have two people I love grappling with this right now. When you’ve spend decades building a life together, and had plans for the decades to come, maybe it doesn’t make sense to dismantle everything. Different people have different things they’re willing to tolerate to keep their vision of life going. But you can’t make up reasons and attribute them, no matter how much you dislike someone.

  102. Yeah, I cheered when I saw Beth Moore come out against him. I don’t have much in common with Moore theologically (I’ve been subjected to several of her video Bible studies where you fill out the workbook as she talks) but I don’t hate her. She’s talked about some of the abuse she’s had to overcome.

  103. It is funny how many religious people judge Hillary (and everyone else for that matter). You have no idea why she stayed. You don’t get to decide these things for people.

  104. It’s not necessary to make up reasons. There are ample observations from those who have worked closely with the Clintons over the decades to support the proposition that Hillary had strategic rather than personal reasons for staying married. I agree that for every other couple who has not lived in the public eye for 40 years, their marriage is a mystery to outsiders.

  105. And if those “ample observations” were about someone you liked, you’d call it what it is: gossip and innuendo.

  106. The truth hurts. When you hold yourself out as a person of solid character, worthy of trust and fit for the nation’s highest office (especially as compared to your competitor), the observations of those who have worked for you over the years are relevant. The consistency of their reports on her attitudes, behavior, and comments are pretty convincing. If we’re supposed to take into account the claims of women regarding Trump’s groping, then we should also take into account the observations of former aides and Secret Service agents.
    Look, neither candidate wins on the character issue. It truly is a question of the lesser of two evils.

  107. Heartwarming stories about candidates are kind of like positive job references – everybody has a few or can manufacture something. In spite of that, the litany of stories from people about how Hilary has touched their lives has lives and advocated for them has been impressive to me. I’m a few degrees of separation away from this one, and had heard bits of the story years ago – https://medium.com/@joslynps/im-with-her-because-she-s-always-been-with-me-5e4220cce71a#.3bjyznig0

    Maybe because my newsfeed has been curated to avoid anything positive about Trump, but I have never seen a single anecdote about him doing any kind of individual kindness, advocacy, quiet assistance. These are the things that reveal character.

    Hilary Clinton didn’t like my dog!! She was rude to me!! And my dog!!
    Donald Trump instructed me to not rent to black people!!

    See, they’re both terrible!

  108. While I wouldn’t bet any money on a Trump victory at this point, if he surprises everyone and wins, the explanation will be a combination of these two analyses:



    The CNBC article talks about the reason polls swing so wildly is not because a corresponding number of people are changing their minds, but rather because the supporters are disheartened and less likely to participate in the survey*. Then a standard polling practice moves down the list to someone statistically less reliable. There’s a selection bias introduced because they’ll keep polling people until they get someone who’s willing to answer, a process which naturally favors the opponent.

    The RCP article points out that the one national poll that has consistently had Trump in the lead (a major outlier), using an entirely different method of only sampling the same group of voters, was also the one poll that accurately predicted the 2012 outcome.

    Just something to keep Rocky up at night…

    *I have to acknowledge my own culpability in this phenomenon, because I get polled CONSTANTLY, and the other night when I was really fed up with the whole election and I saw the “Survey” on Caller ID, I said the Hell with it and let it go to voicemail. Which means that they had to then go on to someone else.

  109. Just something to keep Rocky up at night…

    Thanks, you’re a pal.

    I thought the fact that everyone has cell phones now was also throwing all surveys into disarray.

  110. Yabbut, it’s less clear where the cell phones are located, and the demographics of the respondents are harder to predict.

  111. True, but they build data. They know I’m someone who votes in every election — every year in this state — and therefore a valuable respondent.

    It also means I get a ton of mailers from the NRA, despite my lackadaisicall attitude about guns.

  112. Yeah certain religious person here who is judging Hillary’s moral character and defends Trump also has made the claim in past about had also made comments about how people should not use IVF because God did not really mean for them to have children. I wonder what that posters thoughts are about their own treatment for disease. How does Gods plan work under those circumstances?

  113. I get survey calls all the time on my landline, but have never gotten one on my cellphone. I think survey people have trouble accessing phone numbers for cells

  114. Knock it off Anon at 5:26. That’s really not what we’re about around here.

  115. to HFN. Really? Her comments are extremely hurtful. She has been making comments that are not what we are about here for months

  116. Weird, I have never been polled and vote in every election. I am totally bored of the election now. And that anon isn’t me!

  117. I’ve never been polled. I’ve only lived in a swing state once, and that was when most people still had land lines.

  118. I get calls on my cellphone at least 3-5 times a week from random numbers in small cities. They could be survey callers but I never pick up and they never leave voicemails. I never answer unknown callers on the landline unless they are Indian IRS scammers. And maybe the recent mass arrests will slow down those calls.

  119. I have been getting survey calls multiple times a day (I don’t answer them anymore). I don’t know if they keep calling me because a couple of years ago I did answer a few – the phone and their questions – and I vowed not to do it again. The length of the surveys was 15 or 20 minutes, and they were much more than “for whom are you going to vote?” It was “How do you feel on a scale of 1 to 5 about xyz”, “is the state better or worse because of this or that law?” on and on. It took a while to finally figure out which candidate had initiated the survey.

    Closer to the election I will get calls from our former governor and/or current Lt. gov asking me to vote one way or another.

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