Benjamin Studebaker

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

Tag: 2012 Election

Four Horses of the Apocalypse 2016 US Presidential Election Sim

A few people have asked me what would happen if Bernie Sanders ran as an independent or on a joint Green Party ticket with Jill Stein, or if the Republican establishment ran their own candidate against Donald Trump. Some people want to know what happens if both parties split and we get an extremely messy 4-way race. These questions are difficult to answer, but I’ve put together a very basic election simulation to try to give you a sense for what might happen.

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Why Bernie Sanders is More Electable Than People Think

A few days ago, I wrote a popular post about the ideological differences between Bernie Sanders, the egalitarian committed to shrinking the financial sector and boosting consumption by raising wages, and Hillary Clinton, the neoliberal committed to protecting the interests of finance capital. I explained the history of the Democratic Party and how it came to be captured by neoliberalism–the same economic ideology espoused by Ronald Reagan and many of his successors in the Republican Party. Many people found that this clarified the differences between Bernie and Hillary for them. However some people expressed concern that even though they think Bernie’s ideology is more desirable, he may still nonetheless be unable to beat a republican in a general election. A republican victory would be awful for the left–even a neoliberal democrat is still noticeably to the left of a neoliberal republican, especially on issues like climate change or LGBT rights. However, I think there are good reasons to think that Bernie is at least as electable as Hillary, and possibly significantly more so.

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Why the Republican Establishment Cannot Recover This Time

For the republicans, this has been a weird election. For most of the race, the leaders have all been rebel candidates deeply unacceptable to the party establishment–Trump, Cruz, Carson–and with just a couple weeks to go until the Iowa caucuses, there’s no sign of this changing. If you’d asked me in the summer, I would have told you that sure, a few extremely kooky republican candidates might spend a little time making ephemeral runs in first place, but sooner or later an establishment candidate has to win out, just like Mitt Romney did in 2012 and John McCain did in 2008. Herman Cain had his month in the sun, but no one ever took him seriously, right? Sooner or later everyone converges around a Jeb Bush. It looks like my summer prediction isn’t going to come true, and like any good politics PhD student, that has me wondering what I got wrong. Over the past month I’ve been pondering this, and I think I’ve figured it out.

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Why Donald Trump is Still Leading

Over the last week, Donald Trump‘s presidential campaign has taken a dark, foreboding tone. First, he discussed with a reporter the possibility that he might watch mosques and consider shutting some of them down:

Well, I would hate to do it [shut down mosques] but it’s something you’re going to have to strongly consider.

I want surveillance of certain mosques if that’s OK. We’ve had it before.

You’re going to have to watch and study the mosques. Because a lot of talk is going on at the mosques…Under the old regime [Bush administration] we had tremendous surveillance going around and in the mosques in New York City.

And then later in the week, Trump suggested that a black lives matter activist who disrupted one of his rallies deserved to be “roughed up”. Perhaps in the coming days we’ll see Trump’s numbers fall, but so far he continues to maintain his lead:

In 2012, 2008, 2004, 2000, or 1996, this stuff would not fly and Trump would be done. What’s going on? Why is he still here?

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Trump’s Tax Plan is Regressive and Unrealistic, Copies Bush and Romney

I was disappointed to read Donald Trump‘s tax plan today. In recent weeks, Trump has been talking a pretty progressive game on taxes. Many of us, myself included, speculated that Trump might be a bit left wing on this issue and might be attempting to shift the Republican Party a to the left on economic issues. Unfortunately, this appears to have been wishful thinking. Trump’s new plan is almost precisely the same as Jeb Bush‘s and Mitt Romney’s. This still puts him to the left of flat tax and fair tax candidates (Carson, Cruz, Paul, Huckabee, Perry, Walker all explicitly endorsed one or both, while Rubio and Kasich have expressed interest in ultimately going to a flat tax), but it puts him to the right of Hillary Clinton and far, far to the right of Bernie Sanders. So let’s talk a bit about how the Romney/Bush/Trump tax plan works, why it’s so disappointing, and what the differences are between the various versions of the plan.

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