Benjamin Studebaker

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

Tag: Mitt Romney

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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?

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

Mitt Romney is No Captain Hindsight on Ukraine

Since I last wrote about Ukraine, the Russians have occupied and annexed Crimea, a region that has a 70% majority ethnic Russian population and a major Russian naval base. The United States and the European Union have done even less than I anticipated in response–sanctions have been confined to a few figures in Putin’s administration. At this point, the armchair generals are beginning to come out of the woodwork, with Mitt Romney going so far as to tell us what he believes he would have done had he been elected in 2012. Unfortunately, Romney is no Captain Hindsight, and his proposals only serve to illustrate what a poor choice the American people had in 2012.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

The Tea Party Remains Potent

Since the government shutdown, many have been claiming that the Tea Party is a spent force. They point to evidence that the Tea Party is, on a national level, less popular than ever. However, these analyses are making a critical error–the Tea Party has never enjoyed and does not require majority support. All the Tea Party needs to remain effective is a strong base in the districts it controls, and the evidence does not suggest any weakening in support for the Tea Party in these critical regions.

Read the rest of this entry »