I remember the discussion of 'identity politics' from the 1980s and 1990s. I've also spent a significant number of years on college campuses. So I'm well aware of the bonfire of the identities you can find in the hothouse atmosphere of academia. But after Hillary Clinton's shock loss to Donald Trump the intra-Democratic debate rapidly set on the idea that Hillary Clinton had run an 'identity politics' campaign when what was needed was a populist economic message which (in the very hackneyed version of the argument) would appeal to working class whites or (in the less hackneyed version) would appeal to middle and working class Americans across the boundaries of race, culture and region that so divide and bedevil our politics. There are realities, real decisions and strategies embedded in these arguments. But without getting too deep into those particulars, what I think is most important to say is that this is an argument mainly based on straw men that say more about the angst of inter-party antagonism and stinging defeat than the realities of what we've seen or face going forward.
The new nominee to lead the Department of Health and Human Services is a longtime member of a far-right medical group with a lengthy reputation for peddling conspiracy theories about everything from the causes of breast cancer to Vince Foster's suicide.
This will get dark, comical and ridiculous. Republicans - particularly Marco Rubio - did significant damage to Obamacare by getting rid of the so-called 'risk corridors' in Obamacare by labeling them bailouts. They were not 'bailouts' but systems to cushion the transition to the Obamacare system, given the inability to make perfect guesses about the risk pools in the system. Now, according to The Hill, Republicans are looking at giving vast sums of money to insurance companies to give them a way to ride out the market collapse that the repeal of Obamacare would likely trigger - that is, ride it out until Republicans can think up something to replace Obamacare with.
Curious story here out of Indiana.
A local news investigative reporter, Rafael Sanchez, who investigated Carrier's plans to move jobs from Indianapolis to Mexico was denied credentials at today's celebration at the Carrier plant with President-Elect Trump and Veep-Elect Pence.
We are only a few weeks into the booyah! boasting phase of the Trump GOP Era. But we are already seeing a central theme emerging, especially on health care policy. Both on repealing Obamacare and phasing out Medicare, Republicans are now realizing they have to ask Democrats for help, despite the fact that they control every branch of the federal government. (Don't believe me. See what The Wall Street Journal says.) This is obviously the case in the Senate if Mitch McConnell maintains the filibuster and thus the need for 60 votes. What's not clear I think is that it remains the case even if McConnell finds a way to push through changes with only 50 votes.
It's important to understand why this is happening.
Here's your semi-recurring update: Hillary Clinton's popular vote lead has now reached 2.52 million votes. In percentage terms that's a 1.9 percentage point margin. It will rise at least a bit more. We can likely be confident that her final margin will be at least 2 percentage points. To compare, that's 5 times the margin of Al Gore's popular vote win in raw vote terms and 4 times his margin in percentage terms. At this point, not only did Clinton win the popular vote. It wasn't even all that close. When George W. Bush had another bite at the electoral apple in 2004 and finally did win the popular vote it was by 2.5 percentage points. Barack Obama's margin in 2012 was 3.9 percentage points.
Whatever else, there are a thousand Carrier employees and their families in Indianapolis today who are looking forward to a much happier holiday season than they were a week ago. Good for them.
So how did Trump do it? One big stroke of luck he had was having a Vice President-elect who is still the sitting governor of Indiana. Governors do deals like this all the time. That was key. But the Indiana Business Journal published a story today which adds the critical detail.
Nearing retirement age? Sucks to be you. One of the Reps whose office made it seem like he might be opposed to Paul Ryan's Medicare Phaseout plan, Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA), is actually clearly in favor - though he says he wants to see the precise details.
On CNN we just heard a law professor who is an expert on professional and government ethics explain why Trump's removing himself from the operation of his businesses is irrelevant in terms of what we now rather quaintly call 'conflicts of interest'. This is true, of course. And Richard Painter, former Bush White House ethics counsel and now a Professor of Law at the University of Minnesota, says that turning over ownership to his children, which Trump has not agreed to do, "would be a very, very good move in the right direction."
This is no doubt accurate, as far as it goes. But it doesn't go very far.