Donald Trump and the polls

According to Andrew Prokop at Vox, it’s now time to start taking polls seriously. And, it seems this spells trouble for Donald Trump.[1]

But even following Prokop’s logic, his conclusion that Donald Trump is in trouble in the polls is a bit less meaningful than he makes it seem. First, while polls allegedly become more meaningful at this point in the campaign, they’re barely on the cusp of doing so. Which means they’re still in that fuzzy area between alleged meaninglessness and alleged meaningfulness. But second, as Prokop noted, there’s still much that can happen.[2] And in a campaign season as unusual as this one, that introduces a great deal more uncertainty. Pundits have been wrong a lot more often this time and we probably can expect that they will continue to be so. Read more

  1. [1]Andrew Prokop, “Donald Trump has collapsed in general election polls,” Vox, March 31, 2016,
  2. [2]Andrew Prokop, “Donald Trump has collapsed in general election polls,” Vox, March 31, 2016,

The New York Times gets it badly wrong on so-called ‘free’ trade

Today, the New York Times, apparently sensing a threat to its endorsed candidate for the Democratic Party presidential nomination, mounted a defense of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which came into force under Hillary Clinton’s husband’s presidency.

To understand much of what’s going on here, it’s important to understand the theory of comparative advantage. Think of it as a national or regional version of specialized labor. Read more

The art of the intolerable

It’s really beginning to look like the general election contest will be between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

There’s still a lot that can go wrong. Hillary Clinton might, for instance, be indicted for mishandling classified material on her home email server. Conservatives, especially authoritarian populists, seem convinced this will in fact happen. Democrats, especially those in Clinton’s entourage, seem just as certain that it won’t.[1] And the one thing I can promise you is that if Clinton is elected president, we won’t stop hearing about her, as Bernie Sanders put it, ‘damn emails’[2] for as long as she’s in office, any more than we’re finished hearing about Benghazi. Read more

  1. [1]Ben Kamisar, “The chaos scenario for Democrats,” Hill, March 19, 2016,; Wesley Pruden, “Hard times for the Nixon of the Democrats,” Washington Times, March 10, 2016,; Douglas E. Schoen, “Hillary the Shaky Favorite,” Wall Street Journal, March 16, 2016,; Kimberley A. Strassel, “Hillary’s Other Server Scandal,” Wall Street Journal, March 11, 2016,; Jonathan Swan, “Clinton on being indicted over emails: ‘It’s not going to happen,'” Hill, March 9, 2016,; Jonathan Turley, “Clinton Declares That She Will Never Be Indicted And Insists That Her “Predecessors Did The Same Thing” On Emails,” March 10, 2016,
  2. [2]Jonathan Easley, “Sanders rips Trump, but Dems say problems run deeper,” Hill, December 14, 2015,; Alan Rappeport, “Bernie Sanders Fans Push Back, Saying He Came Out on Top in the Debate,” New York Times, October 14, 2015,

Absolutely, there is a bug

It was a terribly wrong turn my father steered me on as he encouraged my interest in computers. I can say that with confidence, now that I’ve bounced out of the high technology field three times and landed hard on my ass each time. It’s simply not the right field for me.

But I did learn something about technology and I keep something of a hand in by hosting my own web sites, email, and other services to the maximum extent I can manage. One of the more important lessons is that there are patterns of thought applicable with computers that are not applicable elsewhere; in my personal experience, the sequential and binary logic intensely needed for programming was incompatible with normal human conversations with normal human beings. I lasted about six years before burning out and I’ve heard this is typical: Programmers need to be promoted to higher-level positions to remain productive; instead, I wound up out on my ass. Read more

Updated (again and again and again): Damnation by faint praise: Sanders claims to be more electable than Clinton

Based on early polling, supporters of Bernie Sanders in the 2016 primary campaign claim that he would be more electable than Hillary Clinton in the general election.[1] Such polling may not be a reliable indication of general election outcomes for a number of reasons,[2] but it’s getting hard to keep track of all the reasons why Sanders’ claimed advantage in electability may merely be damnation by faint praise and even as the mainstream media seem to be dismissing Sanders’ chances,[3] progressives and even some not-so-progressives are pushing back with arguments[4] that amplify and add to the points I began making with this post on January 10, 2016 (updated on January 29, twice on February 29, and on March 6). In addition, while Clinton enjoys considerable support among Blacks, a few have cast doubt on her deservingness of such support.[5] Read more

  1. [1]Brent Budowsky, “In new shock poll, Sanders has landslides over both Trump and Bush,” Hill, November 11, 2015,; Jesse Byrnes, “Poll: Sanders more electable than Hillary against top Republicans,” Hill, December 2, 2015,; Kyle Cheney, “Sanders: I’m more electable than Clinton,” Politico, January 10, 2016,; H. A. Goodman, “Almost Every Major Poll Shows Bernie Sanders Challenging or Defeating Clinton and Republicans. Here’s Why,” Huffington Post, August 5, 2015,; Zaid Jilani, “Latest National Poll Shows Bernie Sanders Beating Scott Walker, Donald Trump, Jeb Bush,” Alternet, July 27, 2015,; Real Clear Politics, “2016 Presidential Race,” n.d.,
  2. [2]Jeff Stein, “Bernie Sanders fans insist he’s more electable than Hillary Clinton. Are they right?” Vox, March 4, 2016,
  3. [3]Adam Johnson, “Hillary is anything but ‘inevitable’: The political press is lying to you about her delegate lead,” Salon, February 25, 2016,
  4. [4]Maria Bustillos, “You don’t have to be a bro to support Bernie Sanders,” Los Angeles Times, February 10, 2016,; Maureen Dowd, “When Hillary Clinton Killed Feminism,” New York Times, February 13, 2016,; Liza Featherstone, “Hillary Clinton’s Faux Feminism,” Truthout, February 28, 2016,; Donna Smith, “An Open Letter to Hillary Clinton from One Progressive Woman,” Common Dreams, January 23, 2016,; Eliza Webb, “Hillary Clinton has a race problem — and it’s resurfacing at a dangerous time,” Salon, February 26, 2016,;
  5. [5]Michelle Alexander, “Why Hillary Clinton Doesn’t Deserve the Black Vote,” Nation, February 10, 2016,; Charles M. Blow, “‘I’m Not a Super Predator,’” New York Times, February 29, 2016,; Ta-Nehisi Coates, “Against Endorsements,” Atlantic, February 10, 2016,; Eliza Webb, “Hillary Clinton has a race problem — and it’s resurfacing at a dangerous time,” Salon, February 26, 2016,; Cornel West, “Why Brother Bernie Is Better for Black People Than Sister Hillary,” Politico, February 13, 2016,

Donald Trump would (and probably will) be the president the establishment deserves

Right now, it’s the Republican Party establishment (functionalist conservatives) that’s tied up in knots over an increasing likelihood that Donald Trump will win the party’s nomination for president in 2016.[1] Though the writing has been on the wall (clearly the wrong way to pass a message to those in power) for a while,[2] they’re only now beginning to figure out what’s gone wrong. Read more

  1. [1]Michael Barbaro and Ashley Parker, “The Party of Bush Yields, Warily, to a New Face: Donald Trump,” New York Times, February 20, 2016,; Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman, “‘Never Trump’ Movement Dealt Setback After Super Tuesday,” New York Times, March 2, 2016,; Josh Marshall, “Time to Face Facts,” Talking Points Memo, February 20, 2016,; Susan Page, “CPAC chief: The odds of Trump’s nomination? 75%,” USA Today, March 2, 2016,; Ben Schreckinger, “Is Trump now inevitable?” Politico, February 20, 2016,
  2. [2]Jeff Stein, “Here are 9 times Donald Trump’s campaign should have imploded,” Vox, February 9, 2016,