Trump Promises to Make Republicans the Workers’ Party

What a great promise.  Here is the link to Politico’s coverage.

And here is the genuine un-retouched photo from the Workers’ Paradise.


“Workers of the World, Unite, you have nothing to lose but the 53%.” — Or is it 99%?

By the way, I heartily recommend this recording now from Smithsonian Folkways, My Darling Party Line: Irreverent Songs, Ballads and Airs.  As the site says:

“This album is for you if you belong to any (or all) of the following categories; (1) present radicals, young or old; (2) former radicals with a nostalgic bent; (3) “Sovietologists,” “Kreminologists” and sundry other experts and students on the Communist movement and ideology; (4) regular readers of The New York Times.” These categories seem somewhat limiting now, as just about anyone is capable of enjoying this collection of music sung by Joe Glazer and his colleague Abe Brumberg.

The policy turmoil in the new GOP “Workers’ Party” might be best reflected in this song from the 30’s Our Line’s Been Changed Again (sample and download).

p.s. My father, a columnist on communist affairs for the Guardian and the Washington Post, was at the launching party of this album in 1968, and the singers indeed dedicated “Sovietology” to him at the party.




Popular Vote Versus Electoral College — More Chaos in the Making

So, if Trump does win (!), here is one stronger likelihood, that there is a split between the popular vote result and the electoral college result.  That is because of the reported massive increase in Latino citizenship and registration, in large part in states that will remain democratic, e.g. California.

That was bad enough in 2000, but image the lack of legitimacy, and potential for god knows what in that situation, although if I am right that check-and-balance institutions are already adjusting to be ready for four years of containment (less if there is an impeachment), the popular vote imbalance would surely embolden them.

Get ready for the ride.



In What Order Should States Hold Primaries — a Modest Proposal

After this years disaster, the Republicans are reportedly considering some retuning of the primary calendar.  What’s on the table seems pretty marginal, see here.

But, if you think that early primary states have the most influence, and you want to win the general, there is actually a simple formula: hold primaries in the order of closness of the most recent general election, and have only open primaries.

If, on the other hand, you want a nominee that reflects the “base” put first the states in which the margin was greatest, and do not allow any open primaries.

Thus, in 2016, under the win-maximization strategy, the first primary would have been FL, and  NC, with OH and VA following.  (Chart here).   Interestingly, these four states were all won by Clinton, and three of the four by Trump.  (Kasich won Ohio, his own state.)  Interestingly, one thing this approach might do is encourage politicians who have done well in their own such “close” states to run for President — not a bad thing, I would think.

Using the loyalty strategy, the first ones would have been DC, UT, HA and WY.  (feels less right somehow.) (Link here.)

It hard to argue with the proposition that “close” states will tend to test the impact of different candidates upon likely general election success, although no system is perfect.  The biggest problem with this system might be if a really large state like CA ended up as a very early primary.  But one of the things Trump showed is that so called “retail politics” may be a thing of the past.




A Call for Help From Modern German Historians

Right now, we are hearing all the arguments about why it is OK, and indeed necessary, for people to “work with” Trump in one way or another.

Does anyone else sense an echo of early 30’s Germany when many, particularly conservatives, industrialists and bankers, also felt that they would be able to manage a Hitler Chancellorship.  You do not have to think that all lying demagogues who make threats of violence are necessarily precisely the same to hear those echos today.  As History Today summarizes it.

He [Hitler] was the most powerful political leader in the country, but was a demagogue with no experience of government and they [conservatives] believed they would be able to bring him under control, while an alliance with the Nazis would bring them the support they needed in the Reichstag.

So, this is a call to those who know how to find their way around German media and archives from the late 20s and early 30’s to look for and collect those kind of statements.  An ideal report would include what happened to the people who made such statements, as well as their organizations.  It would then be helpful to line up those statements with the ones being made today.

In particular, I suspect that many of those statements included the idea that the important thing was to defeat a different candidate.

Please, folks, do circulate this to anyone you know, anywhere in the world, but particularly Germany, who might be, or might know someone who might be able to take on, or who might be able to organize students to take on, such a project, which would surely be easier today with all the online resources easy to access.

Would Brexit Renew the “Brain Drain” From the UK?

When I was a young person in the UK in the 60s, the so called “brain drain,” the loss of educated folks, particularly to North America, was a constant source of anxiety and debate.  Inevitably, the topic pops up again periodically, often in the context of the internal tax debate.

But now, the question is whether a “Brexited” UK, maybe even without Scotland too, would become a less attractive place to stay for a new generation.  My very strong instinct is yes.  Its not just the practicality of the options available in the future to an EU citizen, with the ability to move in an area of a quarter of a billion people even after the exit, versus those likely to be available to an English/Welsh/NI citizen.  More importantly, the basic choice of insularity versus looking outward will have been made, and the message to the restless will be clear:  “This  is a smaller country, determined to get smaller.”  Not the way to ensure faith in the future, particularly those for those who chafe under remainders and reminders of caste and class.

All the ex-pats from the UK I have talked to recently, from a wide age range, are literally unable to understand how Brexit could be a serious question, currently polling close.

A recent article in the Guardian reports research showing that almost half of thos who applied to, or contacted UK universities said that a Brexit would make the UK a less attractive place to study.  Moreover, non-UK students did far better both in and after university than their UK classmates.  Hardly surprising, the voluntarily mobile are usually the risk-takers and achievers, as any student of immigration patterns will tell you.  For an academic who has spent his life studying the economic of such movements, see here.

It is hard to imagine the pro-leave forces being impacted by this analysis, but that’s the point.

Why on Earth is Facebook Dignifying Attacks on Its Alleged Bias With Any Response

The Right is up in arms about supposed bias in the Facebook process for selection of “trending” materials, with a Senate Committee Chair effectively launching the beginnings of an investigation.  Facebook is responding, seriously, making public their guidelines and procedures. The 28 page document is here.

But why are they doing this?  What would the New York Times have done to a similar inquiry?  What would Fox News?  What if the questions came from one of China’s multiple media watchdogs.  As the Council on Foregn Relations points out: ” .  .  . the government also employs a diverse range of methods to induce journalists to censor themselves, including dismissals and demotions, libel lawsuits, fines, arrests, and forced televised confessions.” So now we have another tool suggested to them by the right.

That’s why we have a First Amendment  Of Course, Facebook, Fox, and the New York Times have every right to exlpain, if they wish, how they do their jobs, as they see they see them, and it might indeed be wise for them to do so.  But the government has no more right to investigate those issues than to ask me how I decide what to write about on this blog.

Now, actually, if you think about this, there might be an exception.  If an organization, say, made the advertising claim that “We Report, You Decide,” (just making this up to underline my point, of course) and there was evidence otherwise (just hypothetically again), then maybe if might be appropriate to see if there was a problem of false advertising, but I do not see any such Facebook claim (link to mission statement), (except now, perhaps in response to the attacks!)  (Actually, an attempt to remove intellectual property property protection from that slogan on the grounds of “inaccuracy”failed.

That, at least in theory, underlines the legal as well as constitutional risk in responding.  You may create the doorway (just like Trump denying t.hat he acted as an imposter)

If they want to be biased, that’s their right.



At Last Humor: Coming Soon (Maybe) the Donald Trump Pop-Up Book

Time for a little of the light relief that this blog’s title promised:  The Donald Trump Pop-Up Book.

What would it include?

Well. there’s the Wall, which pops up as you open the book, and where pulling a tab puts on the top the famous TRUMP logo.  Or you could pull a tab to pull those fleeing persecution over the wall — actually two tabs, one for each direction.

There is the Oval Office.  We leave to the imagination his choice of interns.  Or maybe the gold bars of Fort Knox have that an even greater effect on the pop-up.

You could also have a “decorate the Trump Oval Office,” Turning wheels lets you change portraits on the walls to his various heroes, like Putin. (Obama and Lincoln are peering through the window crying — you could even do something to move the tears.

And you could put a photo of you and your friends demonstrating outside the Lafayette Square

The almost penultimate one is tragic:

The deportation pop-up, in which you operate a battering ram on the door of a home in which one member of the family is not documented.  (Maybe you do something to file litigation to stop it, and the kids and parents are back together.)

Of course, the final pair are one in which you vote, and one that lets you calculate the electoral college margin.

On the pop-up of  the voter — the face of the voter on the page is mirrorized so you can see yourself voting.  You can also see a huge line of voters of every kind of rainbow lined up inside and outside the polling place.

Lots of pop-up book graphics possible for the electoral college – a wipe that shows the wave of change since 2012, or a circle that turns the map “upside down,” Or a statistically validated wheel in which you estimate the presidential election percentage, and it predicts Senate and House numbers.  Not to mention the link to

An online version would let you load your photos into his oval office paintings, the view through the windows, you in the demonstrators against the all.  You could put in your voting place and use it locally.  The possibilities are endless.

Conceptual copyright reserved for now — who wants to take this one on, maybe crowdsourced?  Where do the profits go?  Maybe the online one could be an open-source project.

A Spanish language version would be a great citizenship and voter registration and turnout tool.