48 Comments
Mar 28Liked by Andy Craig, Berny Belvedere

Great article. I think part of the problem is that politics has stopped being the place we go to express what we want, but the place we go to vilify the things we hate. Trump gained so much traction with conservatives in the first place because he was hated by the right people. Supporting Trump became a way to stick it to the liberal establishment. Likewise, the main thing keeping a lot of voters loyal to the Democratic party is not wanting to be associated with MAGA voters. It's a terrible way to make decisions and it won't end well.

It also mirrors a larger problem in politics where we selectively blame our inability to fix things on whatever group we find politically convenient. Conservatives blame everything on progressives, immigrants and brown people. Progressives blame everything on conservatives and "the rich." When in fact, every bad outcome we're seeing now can be linked to clear collective decisions we've made. Housing isn't expensive because Blackrock bought all the houses. Housing is expensive because we've collectively decided to make building new housing difficult and expensive. Look at education, healthcare, poor infrastructure, all of these failures represent the consequences of our collective choices, but we keep finding ways of reflecting.

Expand full comment
Mar 29Liked by Andy Craig

The NIMBY part of the housing crisis is very real and very powerful.

Expand full comment
Mar 28Liked by Berny Belvedere

I'm delighted to vote Biden/Harris again. No problem here.

Expand full comment

I'm much more convinced of this with respect to Trump than Biden. Lots of Democrats are happy enough with Biden's performance, but worried about his age and electability. They would have preferred that he step aside after one term. But given that he didn't, and the advantages of incumbency, few people wanted a primary challenge in which Biden would prevail but suffer damage along the way.

By contrast, Republican primary voters had plenty of options and went for Trump by an overwhelming margin.

Expand full comment

Biden is obviously the best candidate the Democrats can have, just as in 2020. Kamala Harris is the kind of thing party insiders choose (black woman!). Non-black primary voters would choose an Elizabeth Warren or some other terrible choice.

Biden was the right choice in 2020 and 2024 (the real problem is that the best choice the DEM can put out there is a senile old man that declares Easter the trans day of visibility).

The republican primary was:

1) A bunch of RINOs

2) DeSantis

3) Trump

I get that people here would love one of the RINOs, but lets just assume that isn't how most people in the GOP feel.

DeSantis is an interest case because he seems like a successful governor that as far as I can tell really didn't want to be president and kind of got talked into running. People have commented on his lack of charisma, but he also just had no national political platform at all (talking about being a governor is not a presidential platform). His decision to pass a six week abortion bad was basically political suicide for no particular reason.

Expand full comment
Apr 2·edited Apr 2

Nailed it. Biden is clearly the best choice the Dems had in 2024. That he is the best choice may speak more to future looming problems for the Dems and than to anything necessarily about Biden.

As a Floridian, allow me to comment on DeSantis, because I truly don’t think people understand what socially awkward weirdo he is. He has many of the same character flaws as Trump, only without even an ounce of Trumps charisma or self-confidence, and while he’s the same kind of vindictive bully as Trump can be, nobody DeSantis ever goes after for slights and betrayals ever comes crawling back to serve him like they regularly do to Trump. With DeSantis once that happens the relationship is done and awkward as anything. Frankly his election as governor in 2018 was pretty much an accident brought about by a fractured Democratic Party nominating a bad candidate via a 33% plurality of the primary vote, who still barely lost, and then the Florida Democratic Party promptly completing its 20 year slow rolling crack up and end to any effective Democratic opposition in the Florida. So yeah DeSantis seems popular, as the leaders in one party governed states often do. In reality the state is an exponentially worse than the one I moved to 18 years ago, with DeSantis helping to build and preside over a ticking time bomb without any competent opposition to challenge or hold his government to account. From the outside looking in, he looks great, but then we saw him for real when he ran for president and immediately imploded

Expand full comment
Mar 28Liked by Berny Belvedere

The approve/disapprove polls are pretty much useless in predicting how voters will decide in November. This is especially true because BOTH candidates have high disapproval ratings and low approval ratings. I don't think either one being slightly less disapproved or slightly more approved will necessarily translate into votes.

When real life voters get into the box they will be making the proverbial choice between the lesser of two evils except more so than ever. In the end I am believing that more voters will support an old unindicted geezer who has a clue even if he's wheeling about in a wheel chair than a clueless, criminally corrupt and venal narcissistic clown whose only purpose in getting to the White House is to keep his own ass out of prison and keep all the money he can grift in his bank account.

Nobody may like either candidate but perhaps enough people love our country enough to do the right thing.

Off subject here but the polling question I hate MOST is "Do you think the country is headed in the right/wrong direction?" Even more than the approve/disapprove question there are so many different reasons for the answer none of which taken together can make sense. People on the left, center and right will have entirely different reasons for saying the wrong direction.

Thanks, Andy, for this article.

Expand full comment
Mar 29Liked by Andy Craig, Berny Belvedere

I wish I had written it.

Expand full comment

This column is incorrect in its assumptions and conclusions. With a binary choice, with a polarized electorate, each candidate will always poll at at least 40% so long as they are basically still alive. The problem is far more comprehensive than just the EC; the lack of political options occurs at all levels (that is parties!). This is what explains the low approval rates for Congress, State legislatures and the executives, yet most incumbent continue to get elected. Craig assumes that when people are disillusioned with the top candidates that they ought to vote for other primary candidates, but this is naive in the extreme, the interest of the Party is not Democracy but winning elections! The usual situation outside the US is close to the RFK Jr candidacy. A fails to garner enough primary support moves on to run as an independent, and they sometimes win. This is actually how new movements and parties are created. What you have in the US is there are interest groups that sort themselves in a partisan and regional ways in order to win elections. It is a representative system, but not a democratic one.

Expand full comment

Would some form of ranked choice voting help? It would be complicated to make happen especially for Federal elections. Our Republican government here in Florida has outlawed ranked choice voting from being used by counties and municipalities anywhere in the state because they see it as a threat to the Republican political stranglehold on Florida.

If they are that afraid of it there must be something good about it.

https://rankthevote.us/

Expand full comment
author

It's possible (by no means certain) the use of RCV might have produced a different outcome to the 2016 GOP primary. It would not have changed the outcome in either party in 2020 and 2024. Even in states where he was below 50% (and not by much), Trump was the second choice of enough Ramaswamy, DeSantis, etc. voters that he would have won on a ranked choice tabulation. Nor does RCV much boost the potential viability of third-party candidates in the general election.

RCV has a lot of merits, but more often than not the same candidates will win as under FPTP, including in this case.

Expand full comment

I have doubts that RCV-IRV or some sort of Condorcet method would have produced a different winner in the 2016 Republican primaries, conditional on the same candidate set as in our reality (hard to say for sure, since even with the same candidate set, their game theory and strategies would have been different).

My data to back those doubts up can mostly be found in (Jonathon) Woon and (Peter) Kurrild-Klitgaard - I assume you are reasonably familiar with their methods and theses.

Similarly, I think (I don't know of data that reads on this - do you?) that Clinton was the Condorcet winner over Sanders and (briefly) O'Malley (to say nothing of Webb, Chaffee, and Lessig) across the universe of 2016 Democratic primary voters / caucusgoers. I'm rather less sure that she would have been the *Condorcet* winner in an alternative reality where Biden had run (I'm reasonably sure she *would* have won had Biden run in the then-existing caucus and primary system).

I have no idea about whether there even *was* a Condorcet winner among the 2020 crop of candidates. If there was, Biden was probably it.

For 2024 I don't think anyone could reasonably argue that Trump is not the Condorcet winner for Republicans versus any living person (let alone limiting ourselves to the Constitutionally eligible subset). I am far from sure that is true for Biden and the Democrats**, but there is an insurmountable coordination problem there.

** Part of the problem is that the hypothetical alternatives floated by relatively high-info types, e.g. Beshear, Whitmer, Polis, etc. have low name recognition among the primary electorate in toto.

Expand full comment

Whitmer or Newsom may or may not fare better than Biden in the general, but I am 100% convinced Trump will get more votes for the Republican ticket than any other primary candidates in November. The reason: Trump owns the party and will actively sabotage a republican candidate that’s not him or someone in his family.

Expand full comment

Plus he has Russian active measures on election interference to count on AGAIN. Has not even started yet, strap in

Expand full comment

With Clinton and Obama's help of course. lol Clinton didn't lose because of 'Russian interference', a narrative she fabricated and funded, she lost because no Slavic person will vote for her after unilaterally and illegally bombing Serbia over 20 years ago. Do some research and figure out what percentage of US voters are Slavic and get back to me.

Expand full comment

Dude keep sucking the crack pipe but remember not around the kids, ok?

Expand full comment

When you can't fight with facts, fight with fire. People who think and act the way you do are the real threat to democracy.

Expand full comment

Sure, cool.

Expand full comment

I think most people who say "nobody wanted this" are actually referring to the campaign itself rather than the choices. Everyone is exhausted with 24/7 campaign coverage. Many people don't care about what Trump or Biden said today, or what the talking TV heads say about it, they just wish they could get the whole thing over with and didn't have to wait until November.

Expand full comment

I think if we are a bit more careful we should say: yes, it's true that it's the rematch almost no one wants but they don't want anything else either.

As you point out, it is true that probably a large majority of voters would prefer some third individual to both the current canidates. It's just that there isn't some one individual that is true of.

So the rematch no one wants is kinda technically true but misleading due to the paradoxes of preference amalgamation.

Expand full comment

Really? The unpopulist is now platforming and amplifying Trump? When will it end!!!! 🥳

Expand full comment

This article distorts the situation.

Trump's support -- however substantial -- is limited, but among many of his supporters -- in terms of personal loyalty or enthusiasm -- it runs deep. Biden's support is broader, but (also in terms of personal loyalty or enthusiasm) it's incredibly shallow: What runs deep among Biden's supporters is their hatred of Trump.

I'm no Trumpster -- but meanwhile, here in Oakland, Chinese grandmas keep getting mugged, drivers get carjacked (or "bipped" while sitting in their cars, stopped for a light), and families (regardless of "color") feel unsafe. People travel thousands of miles (bypassing even Mexico City) to crowd the US border, and we're told that they're merely fleeing their countries of origin, seeking "asylum." Voters in multi-ethnic California keep repudiating "affirmative action"....

Then we're told that what we truly need to fear is "white supremacy" or "cisheteropatriarchy" -- and we're insulted by names like "AAPI" or "Latinx." (As a gay male, for that matter, I'm insulted by the term "queer.") So who's touting "grievance" and "hate," and who's banking on resentment and fear?

"And when they come for you..."? Looks like a protection racket to me.

THAT's the context in which independent voters -- especially in the "swing" states -- have assumed such importance this time around. And it's why this is a rematch that nobody wants.

Expand full comment

The Cult of Obama’s Personality begot The Cult of Trump’s Personality begot The Dolt of Biden’s Impersonality

Get ready for Kamala. Veep vs Idiocracy

Expand full comment

Your comments couldn’t be more factually inaccurate if you tried. Do you remember Obama flags, baseball caps, flotillas of boats flying those flags or caravans of pickup trucks flying Obama flags? No, of course you didn’t, because there was literally NO “cult of personality” there. Period.

There was, clearly, a feeling, encouraged by social media, for the darkest, ugliest, and vilest racism to slither out from under the rocks they’d been living under. That hatred of the Black Man As President certainly *did* finds its home in the vile racism of Donald Trump, and he clearly gave everyone “permission” to voice those ugly sentiments out loud.

And you’re part of that Cult.

Expand full comment

Thanks for your comment on my comments Larry….I guess. To quote a fellow Angelina, i prefer clarity to agreement, so let me analyze as I use logic to parse your small d, as in rhymes with rum, factually inaccurate lament….leave aside it should be obvious to all thinking peoples on all sides of the political world I am definitely playing with words and phrases to poke fun of the three musketeers. How soon you forget, as I will not bother to cite any of your Dear Leader’s megalomania, from the phony Roman pillars on center stage in Mile High Stadium, to before he lived up to his own hype he penned not one, but TWO, Bio hagiography’s about….HIMSELF!…To the drooling Sicko fancy of Hollywood celebrities posting You Boob Tube videos literally pledging the obeisance to “The One”….But, to wit, as no good Deeds go unpunished, most disrespectfully, as it is asked for, it is truly, truly despicable of you, let alone all big D Democrats, to imply, let alone suggest, any and all pushback to the cult that was the cult of Obamism had anything to do with him being mulatto (my first introduction to hearing the use of that word was by my best friend in high school saying that of…himself), I mean, what you hilariously call him… “black”.

But speaking of the deeply shallow, as he is “glib” (hat tip Thomas Sowell, not that you know who that logician is, who very literally raised himself up from the hood by his own boot straps) where is he now, the former community agitator, l mean organizer, New American Idol Barack Star Obama megalomaniac that he is (need I quote we are “five days away from” to the egomaniac saying how he will part the seas and stop the oceans from rising…I kid, I kid Larry, jus playin with your Dear Leaders own words, not that you have any self deprecatin sense of humor)…At home with his fellow super rich white trash living in a seaside villa like Americas Mow Biggest Sore Loser Donald J Trump…As you have so pointedly proving a witticism of mine…All men are prejudiced. Hence your taking something I said, and turning it into something I truly do not be lie ve , let alone am a part of….a cult of personality that I not only affirmed its existence of by my jests, but condemn to almighty hell…Forgive me Jesus, Calgon take him away….But speaking of cults, small d rhymes with rum, accuse me of what you want you are definitely a member of a cult that sees the world through a broken prism of race, gender and class…as you no doubt worshipped nearly everything a dolts predecessor said…

Not that you would have been able to infer this from your prejudiced hardwiring, as defensive and offensive your Obama Sicko fancy clearly is, I lament everyday how cosmically unjust it is that Trump has not paid the ultimate price for “Hang Mike Pence” cultists overrunning our nations sacred grounds (Ashli Babbitt still cannot be reached for comment), just as I mock still true believers in a shallow man (and wife who lives a life Marie Antoinette would be jealous of)…when neither of the power couples have ever lifted a pinky to make the world a better place…yet you no doubt, still idolize them Larry. Don’t believe me, then read your own words, and not into mine, speaking of accuracy . Gotta run on.

Expand full comment

🎯💯

Expand full comment

I voted twice for Obama, and if he were able to run now, I'd probably do it again. But (nonetheless, as for cult-like celebrations, just sayin')... Try Googling "Obama victory party Chicago park."

Expand full comment
Mar 29Liked by Berny Belvedere

Perhaps you are confusing "cult-like" celebrations with participation in an historic event? Where was the cult the day after the celebration? How often did the cult gather at rallies to cheer on their messiah?

I know it was fashionable in conservative circles to mock Obama as the "Dear Leader" but there was no reality to that.

The cult of Trump has elevated Trump to the status of "Dear Leader" just as reactionaries in Russia, Hungary, Turkey and North Korea have done. That is the club that Trump would love to join.

Expand full comment

🏆

Expand full comment

Actually it was Obama Derangement Syndrome that begot the Cult of the TEAParty that begot the Cult of Trump.

IF Obama had not made a snide joke about Donald Trump at the National Press Club Dinner, and wounded Trumps ego, THEN Trump might never have run for President.

Expand full comment

Whoa now this is really getting strange. You think Putin cares about Trump's feefees?

Expand full comment

Morning Griff. Hat tip to Jonah Goldberg for one not being much for monocausal explanations of things gone wild, as I contradict my unholy trinity jests…thanks for at least being in on my jocularity…as , to wit, I am surprised at being pushed back by Larry from the left…being new here to this website thanks to The Tracinski letter…nod to Rob whose intellect I admire much more than my own.

So allow me push back a little, not to go on a rant here, as I feel I must kid myself…leaving aside the ego/megalomaniac Trump had already run for the world’s biggest popularity contest before he felt oh so slighted by a fellow egoist future Predecessor…As I find it so painfully ironic that all my former dear friends, still die hard Trump cultist friends, were so hard core Tea Partiers….whose tribal profession of faith in the smaller the government, the bigger the citizen, antipathy to The One had absolutely, positively fing nothing to do with the deeply shallow, as he was so glib narcissist New American Idol Barack Star Obama’s skin tone. In contradistinction to Larry the able guy seeing the world through a prism of race, gender and class….Gotta run on, now I have a real bone to pick as no good Deeds goes unpunished Peace through superior mental firepower

Expand full comment

I have to admit "The Dolt of Biden’s Impersonality" was pretty funny.

Expand full comment

Proving no good Deeds go unpunished…Like the showtime immemorial hilarious Klingons line…in the greatest single episode of Star Trek The Next Generation… “The Chase”…when not just Humanity learns The Truth about the Genesis of the Galaxy: “That’s IT!?”

You prove another of your fellow Angelenos brilliant aphorisms:

Being Liberal means never having to say your sorry

But to Witt, I endeavor to make you think a second time, but even better, to make you laugh 🍺✌️

Expand full comment

If ANYBODY thinks Biden is doing anything other than being used as a puppet they have no idea what they're talking about.

The man can't even walk a straight line. He can't form proper sentences. His cadence when speaking shows he's cognitively impaired.

The United States is quite literally the laughing stock of the entire planet for trying to make people believe that this guy has some form of power. He's a worn out grandpa and this would be considered elder abuse in any other circle.

The Emperor Has No Clothes.

Expand full comment

I’m always curious when someone says “we’re the laughingstock of the world”: has this person *actually* travelled the world and asked everyday folks in other countries what they think? Based upon my own experiences, I’d say they’re parroting remarks they’ve heard and have NO real experience, anecdotal or otherwise, and probably haven’t left the town they grew up in.

Over the last 20 years, I’ve travelled *extensively* for business: all across the US; Canada; Mexico, Argentina, Brazil, Ecuador, Peru; Germany, France, UK, Ireland, Spain, Netherlands; Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Singapore, and more. What I can say is that there is absolutely NO question who has made our country a “laughingstock”: it’s wasn’t Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, or Joe Biden. Categorically, the amount of questions I got like “What were you Americans thinking when you voted him in?” were wholly and completely when Donald Trump became President. Not even close.

And can you remember any President giving a speech to the General Assembly of the UN and having the entire floor break into laughter at a serious statement that President made? If you can’t, let me remind you (spoiler alert), it was Donald J. Trump. The one and ONLY to literally be laughed at in front of a world body. Period.

RD, if you don’t have any valuable information to share, but just want to parrot Fox News or Newsmax partisan propaganda, maybe you should take it to X or Truth Social. They have just as little regard for actual truth as you do.

Or maybe just take Abraham Lincoln’s advice: “Better to be silent and thought a fool than to speak and remove all doubt.”

Expand full comment

I spent my vacations this year in England and the Italy, Greece, Croatia, Albania and Turkey.

Everywhere I went and talking to people casually in the bars and pubs a question that kept coming back was "Why is America so crazy right now?" Even people who are pretty far right and voted for BREXIT find Trump to be a clown and a danger to Europe.

Expand full comment

As I said, the “laughingstock” comment was the dead giveaway that RD likely hasn’t left his little burg ever or not in decades. Anyone who actually *has* travelled over the last decade or two has had experiences quite similar to yours and mine…

Expand full comment

Trump is only a clown to the Left and people who watch Legacy news, which is primarily left swinging. Those who disagreed with the illegal mandates, forced lockdowns, censorship of the media and coercion of many things don't see Trump as a clown. They see him as a savior.

What has happened in the US in the last 3 years is not the last 20 years, and you're living in a goldfish bowl if you don't see what is happening.

YOU may think Trump is a clown but his poll numbers tell a different story, and this has been the case the entire time.

The media portrays one image, reality another and you keep arguing that the media portrayal is reality. It's been proven to be a fabrication of reality and the people aren't buying it anymore.

Expand full comment

Out of curiosity, just where have *you* travelled internationally in the last 3 years, or the last 20? Where do you get *your* information about whom the broader world considers a “laughingstock”?

I’ve talked a LOT with my clients over recent years, all business people and engineering managers internationally, so pretty smart, thoughtful, and informed people. Your information is from whom? I’d love to know what YOUR “goldfish bowl” is…..

Expand full comment

My family is European and I travel for a living. But don't take my word for it, just look at how quickly Conservative movements are growing all over the world as a reaction to the Liberal overreach of the last few years. Across Europe, South America and even in North America (Canada specifically) Liberal regimes are falling and conservative leaderships are rising into power, and this is all a direct result to Liberal overreach. The public has had enough and is lashing back. And if you want a nice dash of spice, just do a little looking past CNN and the other Liberal-captured legacy news and view the massive protests against neo-con "Liberalism" around the world in most capital cities. The trucker protest in Canada, the farmer protests in the Nederlands, Paris, Italy. There is a rising up happening that is unprecedented in human history. You'd have to be deaf, dumb and blind not to see it.

Meanwhile, Biden is being directed like a drunk rock star by his handlers, Kamala speaks like her IQ is below the average public's IQ, the US has porous borders, rising crime in it's most famous cities.

It's time to stop the idealism and start facing reality. The US is starting to unwind and the Liberal experiment of the last few years has failed miserably.

Expand full comment

I am neither a psychiatrist nor a neurologist. However, I have worked with psychiatrists and neurologists, and I have sat through team meetings to come up with care plans for their patients with dementia. I also had the personal experience of my grandmother disappearing into Alzheimer’s beginning in in her 60s and her husband who aged normally and died at 94. From what I can see, former President Donald Trump is following the path of my grandmother and President Joe Biden is aging normally like my grandfather.

Symptomatically, nothing that Biden exhibits looks like anything but the normal aging of an 80-year-old man. His age is a valid concern considering the heavy responsibilities of office, but it isn’t his mental acuity that is the problem.

Trump does pretty well as long as he is reading the teleprompter and sticks to the script, but when he wanders off into ad-libbing, he creates word salads and when compounded with his tendency to fabricate things that are not true he becomes disassociated from reality.

Trump’s speech problems look to me like schizophasia, glossomania and receptive aphasia. These can be evidence of actual dementia.

The media should be doing some investigative work to tell the public why Trump’s speech is so meandering, confused and often incoherent, considering how much time they spend on Biden’s gait, gaffes and word choice since they are unlikely to signify a serious mental disability like dementia.

Expand full comment
Mar 29·edited Mar 29

There are quite literally 100s of videos of Biden being unable to finish a sentence, finish a thought or walk a straight line.

He literally freezes and needs to be prodded to move forward.

Trump has none of these problems.

Nice try.

But consider me amazed that you'd somehow try to make the argument that Biden is more mentally fit for office than Trump. This is exactly the sort of thing the people now see through.

Let's not forget Special Counsel Robert Hur's words about Biden:

Hur’s report made several references to Biden’s "poor memory," writing that his memory "was significantly limited" during interviews with the special counsel. Hur cited that as one reason he declined to prosecute the president.

Hur wrote about Biden’s "diminished faculties and faulty memory" and said Biden couldn’t remember when he was vice president or the year his son Beau died. The president denied these allegations.

And that is coming from a Leftwing factcheck site.

Expand full comment

Wrong.

Expand full comment

Great rebuttal. ;-)

Expand full comment

It's just totally full of shit and tells me that you could not be compelled to sit through the SOTU. That's all. No more energy expenditure required for you.

Expand full comment