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Three More Reasons Trump Will Be The Nominee

Let's face it. Nothing is ever a certainty in politics before it's done. But not since 2000 and probably not since long before that has there been more evidence that the GOP frontrunner would end up being the nominee. For months people were comparing Donald Trump's poll dominance to various one-month wonder 'frontrunners' back in 2012. But the reality is that not in any race since 2000 - and again, probably not since well before - has any frontrunner so consistently held a lead in so many different states and nationwide.

Here are some key data points from today that drive the point home.

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Defining Derp Down

Despite the elegance and intuitiveness of the theory, a good deal of fairly rigorous analysis has shown over the last two decades that the so-called "broken windows" theory didn't turn out to be valid, at least not in terms of reducing the most serious crimes by taking a more vigilant approach toward enforcing laws against petty crimes. (For keeping your dorm room livable, it's probably fair to say the theory has been infinitely validated.) But the 'stand off' at the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in Oregon is turning out to be a validating case study: the reluctance of federal authorities to enforce the law has triggered a slow but measurable growth of law breaking which was likely latent in the white rural male culture of violence but held somewhat in check by law enforcement.

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So THAT Explains It

The vast difference between NYC and DC responses to big winter storms doesn't come down to per capital spending on snowfall removal, it turns out. Per capita is about the same, at $9, according to the AP. The big difference is in dollars spent per "lane mile:"

The District has 4,400 lane miles to clear, budgeting $1,400 per mile. New York has to clear 19,000 lane miles and budgets $4,000 per mile, almost three times as much.

So there you have it.

The Silent Death

A couple months ago I wrote about a controversial study which reported the rising mortality rates among middle aged whites - a trend which broke the model of ever-decreasing mortality rates across racial groups in the United States and all wealthy industrialized countries worldwide. I argued that, whether it was principally cause or effect, it was critical to understanding contemporary US politics. The leading driver of this rising mortality was drug overdose, chronic substance abuse (liver disease, etc.) and suicide. Subsequent critiques of the study appeared to show the trend was somewhat exaggerated in the original study and more concentrated among white women. Still, the overall findings held up.

Since then I've been reading more about the rising rates of drug overdoses themselves. The numbers are truly stunning. The number of people now dying from drug overdose is comparable to the number dying annually from AIDS during the peak of the AIDS epidemic in the mid-90s. Now, this isn't a perfect analog, certainly. Drug overdose goes back either centuries or millennia depending on how you want to define it. AIDS was a totally new disease in the US starting in the early 1980s. But it does provide a sense of scale.

50,000 American died of AIDS in the peak year of 1995. In 2014, just over 47,000 people of overdose.

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Hillary

If you're watching this Democratic townhall and this question to Hillary about enthusiasm and honesty, at first I thought she was going to bobble it. But, man, she brought it.

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