Saturday, November 17, 2018

Two Friday dump opportunities have passed since the election and Mueller has not announced any new indictments

Maybe Mueller wasn't sitting on a bunch of indictments and just waiting until after the midterms before he announced them?

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Have we reached peak-local incentives for business relocation?

I'm really curious if the backlash against Amazon in the communities that won the Amazon HQ2 sweepstakes is going to start a broad political movement against local governments giving excessive incentives to businesses to set up shop in their community.

Those incentives rarely pay off (that is the cost to the local community is not made up by the new jobs in the great majority of instances). What seems to have happened is the nation-wide competition for those kinds of incentive drives the benefits that local communities offer way high. The only way to compete when hundreds of other localities are clamoring for a business to relocate there is to make the incentives so generous that they will end up being a net loss. But communities do it anyway because the local politicians who put together the incentive packages get the immediate political benefit when a company announces they will relocate to their community, but the politicians will probably be out of office by the time the long term costs of a twenty+ year tax break becomes clear.

The only way the absurdity of these bidding wars will stop is if there is a real and sustained public backlash against them. Are we finally there?

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

A man can dream

I highly doubt that Whitaker will recuse himself from the Mueller probe, but it would be great fun to watch Trump totally lose his shit if he does.

It Begins

I realize we are already SIX DAYS into the 2020 presidential election season and I haven't even mentioned it yet. Shame on me. But today is the day. After reading this article, I thought it would be fun to rank my order of preference of the people listed in this poll as of this moment so in a year I can look back and marvel at what an idiot I was.

I should note that I am not on team-anyone at this point. I am forcing myself to rank the candidates, so the #1 on the list is not "my candidate" in any sense because I don't have a candidate yet. Also, I only have strong feelings about a handful, and I know almost nothing about a few names on the list. I'm still going to rank everyone, but the rankings are subject to change (and they surely will). Some of the people on this list I like, I just don't think they should be the Democratic nominee for president in 2020. The ones with the asterisk are the ones that I don't know very much about (and they are all clustered together, really as one big 4-way tie because I don't even know enough to rank them against each other). But most of the ones without an asterisk I need to learn more about too, as I'm sure I will if they actually run. Finally, I am only including the people listed in the Politico article. There will be others who throw their hat in the ring who aren't on the list, and there are some people who have some "s/he's running" chatter who are not on the list (e.g. Clinton), so they are not in my rankings.
  1. A. Klobuchar
  2. C. Booker
  3. K. Gillibrand
  4. D. Patrick
  5. S. Brown
  6. E. Warren
  7. B. O'Rourke
  8. K. Harris
  9. J. Castro
  10. E. Garcetti
  11. E. Holder
  12. G. Newsome*
  13. S. Bullock (Steve not Sandra)*
  14. H. Shultz*
  15. J. Delaney*
  16. B. Sanders
  17. J. Biden
  18. A. Cuomo
  19. M,. Bloomberg
  20. M. Avenetti
Looking at the list, I see that my top five are pretty interchangeable (if you asked me to do this list again in a few hours, those five could be in any order). I basically have three tiers, with #1-5 in my top tier. #6-11 in the second tier, and #16-20 in the bottom tier (people I do not want to run). The little knowns (#12-15) could be reassigned to anywhere on the list if I ever find out enough to form a real opinion.

Friday, November 09, 2018

There was a blue wave

Democrats won 226 out of 435 House seats this month (with 12 still undetermined), and this is in a House made up of heavily gerrymandered states, most of which favored the GOP. They won 23 out of 35 Senate contests (with two--AZ and FL still up in the air). There are a net increase of 7 Democratic governors and they gained control in 7 state legislative chambers around the country.

Sure, there were definitely Democratic losses, and they did not win enough to control the Senate, but that was only because their very strong showing was not strong enough to overcome the massive odds against it. I definitely had my expectations outpacing what ended up happening. But if you just look at the results by the numbers, how was it not a wave?

White House Surprised that Making an Unqualified Never-Been-Confirmed Guy Known Primarily for His Involvement in a Scam of Consumers and His Criticism of the Mueller Probe to be Acting Attorney General Might Spark Criticism

Trump issues illegal regulation to increase the number of the undocumented

Yesterday Trump issued a regulation which effectively stated that his administration would not process asylum applications unless they were submitted as official border crossings. In my opinion, the regulation is clearly illegal, as Section 208(a) of the Immigration and Nationality Act states that any alien who is present in the U.S. may request asylum and specifies that the alien may request asylum "whether or not at a designated port of arrival" and "irrespective of such alien's status." Also, the Trump Administration issued the regulation to be effective immediately, thus bypassing the normal notice and comment period that is normally required under the Administrative Procedures Act (maybe there is a basis for bypassing that requirement, I am not enough of an Admin Attorney to know for sure). So I expect the regulation will be blocked by the Courts any second now.

Put putting aside the validity of the regulation, won't this just increase the number of "illegals" in the U.S.? Let's think this through. Imagine a family fleeing gang violence in Central America who makes their way across Mexico and over the U.S. border intending to ask for asylum. Before today, the family would turn themselves in to immigration authorities so that their asylum application could be processed. If the application is successful, they get to stay. But if not, they can be deported. If that same scenario happens with these new regulations in effect, they just won't turn themselves in and will become another undocumented family. It's not going to stop them from coming. It just will keep more people outside the system, which means more undocumented.

(Oh and I continue to update this post. What fun times we live in!)

Redistricting is coming so we should start paying more attention to state legislatures

As the redistricting that will come after the 2020 census draws closer, what happened in state legislatures in this week's elections is really important. But there has been almost no coverage. Even here  in my home state commonwealth, there has been a lot more coverage of the national races than what will change in our own legislature. David Weigel, at least, gives a summary for each state.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

More optimistic about 2020 than everyone else

I guess I don't share others' pessimism about the Democrats' 2020 Senate chances. First, a lot can happen in two years. Specifically, I continue to think that: (1) Trump's approval rating will finally go below the high-30s when the economy turns South, and (2) the economy is very likely to go South in the next two years given Trump penchant to impulsively slap tariffs on important trading partners.

And looking at the 2020 Senate map once again, I see a ton of seats the GOP will have to defend and relatively few difficult to defend seats for the Democrats. Sure, they will probably lose Alabama (Doug Jones was a beautiful fluke), but there are plenty of red states on the map that sometimes elect Democrats and would be a good chance for a pickup if we assume that Trump's popularity falls in the next two years. I'm looking at ME, NC, IA, CO, SD, and MT. Given this week's close contests, I don't think that TX and GA are definitely out of the running either. (WV might be. I don't think we can replicate another Manchin)

Wednesday, November 07, 2018

Feeling bad About the Senate?

Just look at the 2020 Senate map. It's like the 2018 map that was terrible for Democrats (Dem had to defend 26 seats while the GOP only had to defend 9), but flipped. In two years the Republicans will have to defend 21 seats to the Democrats' 12.

If Beto doesn't try to run for President, I wonder if he will try again for the other Texas Senate seat.

Someone should do a survey of Dennis Hof voters

Every once in a while a candidate dies before the election but after it is too late to take him/her off the ballot. And it isn't unheard of for the dead candidate to win. It happened yesterday in Nevada when deceased Dennis Hof won a seat in the State Assembly.

Whenever a dead candidate wins I wonder: did his voters know he was dead? Did they just not know or were they like "yeah, I'm voting for the dead guy!"

The mortem, it is post

We didn't get the repudiation of the President I was hoping for, but the Democrats won the House! Just a few years ago the prevailing wisdom is that sucker was so gerrymandered a Democratic House would not be possible under after the 2020 census. So there's that.

The weird thing about this morning's results is that they were pretty much what 538 had been predicting for the past 1-2 months. The map I see today is what I expected for weeks. And yet, as long as the votes hadn't actually been cast, there was always the chance that things could turn at the last minute, or the polls' model of the electorate did not apply in the age of Trump, etc. There was a little flicker of hope that still saw a Democratic House and Senate as a real possibility, with Ted Cruz defeated by a real progressive in Texas (Texas!), the first African-American governor in Georgia and Florida, et cetera. The pain of this morning is not things didn't turn out as expected, it is that the hope of a different possibility is now extinguished.

That said, there are plenty of shiny gems to look at this morning. The Goggle-Eyed Homunculus Hired by Koch Industries to Manage Their Midwest Subsidiary Formerly Known as the State of Wisconsin lost. So did Kris Kobach and Bruce Rauner and Claudia Tenney and Dave Brat.

Man, I was really hoping that Steve "not Stephen" King and Devin Nunes would be on that list. Better luck next time.

ADDING: How could I forget the shiny gem of Dana Rohrabacher going down?