Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Tag: 2008 Election

These Executive Orders Make No Sense

After weeks of failed negotiations between the House and the Senate, the President is attempting to provide additional stimulus through executive action. The orders are probably unconstitutional–all money bills must begin in the House of Representatives, per the “origination clause”. They will be challenged in the courts, and I doubt they come into force. That said, if the President had ordered a strong aid package, I would be willing to consider supporting a challenge to congress’ spending authority. Congress has neglected its duty to protect Americans from the economic consequences of our anti-coronavirus policies. The scale of the disaster is so immense that I would support trying anything that might help tens of millions of unemployed people stay in their homes and put food on the table. When wealthy senators sit on their hands and deny ordinary people the means of subsistence because they feel offering aid might diminish their “incentive” to take jobs that pay less than $600 a week, they get no sympathy from me.

Unfortunately, I don’t get to make a provocative argument that the President is justified in running over congress, because this President has taken action that doesn’t make any sense.

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What the Midterms Tell Us About How to Oppose Trump

The Midwest is increasingly the critical region in American politics. It is the only region in which large numbers of states flipped from Obama to Trump in 2016, and in the 2018 Midterms the Midwest was once again the site of many of the most interesting results. For me, this region includes Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. I don’t include agricultural red states like the Dakotas or Missouri, which have voted Republican in every presidential election since 1996.

Despite their shift toward Trump in 2016, many of these Midwestern states demonstrated a willingness to support Democrats in 2018. In the Senate, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, Democrats held the line against Republican challengers, losing only in Indiana. In governor races, Democrats retained Minnesota and Pennsylvania, and took Wisconsin, Illinois, and Michigan from the Republicans. The Republicans were able to defend their hold on Iowa and Ohio.

In much of the writing about the midterms, the focus has been on Democratic successes in the Southwest. Observers praise Beto O’Rourke for nearly beating Ted Cruz in Texas and are excited about the Democrats’ performance in the Arizona and Nevada Senate races. But I think this emphasis is a mistake. We are repeating the errors of the Clinton campaign–trying to compete nationally by demographically changing the South instead of creating messages that can win in the Midwest.

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We Must Normalize Trump to Beat Him

Since President Trump’s inauguration, it’s become popular to demand that we not normalize Trump’s presidency. Politically, this means constantly drawing attention to all the things that Donald Trump does that separate him from past presidents. To that end, the left has focused on a suite of character and corruption-oriented issues:

  • Trump’s tax returns
  • Trump’s possible ties to Russia
  • Trump’s tweets and style of communication (rude, bigoted, or post-fact)
  • Trump’s conflicts of interest (nepotism, lack of blind trust, Ivanka involvement)
  • Trump’s history of screwing people over (Trump University, bankruptcies, cost of Trump Tower security & Mar-a-Lago trips)
  • Trump’s untruthful or corrupt henchmen (Spicer, Kushner, Conway, Bannon, Flynn, Sessions, etc.)

This is all a mistake. To beat Trump we need precisely the opposite approach–we must treat Trump as just another establishment Republican president and attack his administration for failing to help the people it promised to protect. Here’s why.

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Barack Obama’s Role in Giving Us the Trump Presidency

The Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius is remembered as a great philosopher and successful military commander, but he is also remembered for picking his feckless son Commodus as his successor, an emperor who infamously cared more about making showy performances as a gladiator than he did governing the empire. Barack Obama is still a popular president–his favorability rating is +10 and his job approval rating is +8. In recent months many pieces have been written lamenting his imminent departure, and many more will likely be written before January. But no matter how likeable Obama is or how well Obama governed while in office, the fact that he could not ensure the election of a competent successor counts against his legacy. How did Barack Obama end up giving us a Commodus? What, if anything, could Obama have done to avoid this?

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Hillary Clinton Started the Whole “Obama is a Muslim” Thing

Over the last week, republican candidates Donald Trump and Ben Carson have been taking a lot of heat–Trump for refusing to deny that Obama is a Muslim foreigner, Carson for explicitly stating that Muslims should not be president. We’ll discuss what both of them said, but I want to remind everyone of something we seem to have forgotten–it was Hillary Clinton who started this, and any person who supports Clinton while criticizing Trump or Carson is at best deeply ignorant of Clinton’s past and at worst a naked hypocrite.

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