Patterico's Pontifications


“National. Hispanic. Christian. Three. Great. Words.”

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:00 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Donald Trump’s pre-recorded message to the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference:

We’re gonna do a lot of things if I get elected president. We’re gonna bring back jobs and that you understand. The world is taking our jobs and we’ve gotta stop it.

We’re gonna take care of minority unemployment. It’s a huge problem, it’s really unfair to minorities, and we’re going to solve that problem and it’s going to be solved once and for all. We’re going to create good schools, and I mean, in some cases, hopefully, great schools. And really save communities because our communities in many cases are not safe, which is really unfair to Hispanics, and frankly, everybody else.

We’re gonna do massive tax cuts, especially for the middle class, and people that are poor are going to pay nothing. They’re struggling, it’s tough, and under my plan which is filed under you’re going to see it’s nothing. Absolutely nothing… You’re going to start paying taxes after you’re making a lot of money and hopefully that’s going to be soon.

We’re going to stop drugs from pouring into our country. We’re going to strengthen our borders. People are going to come into our country but they’re going to come in through a process. They’ll come in legally but we’re going to stop the drugs and we are going to curb our debt. Our debt is a disaster, we owe right now $19 trillion, it’s gotta stop. By the way, the $19 trillion is going up to $21 trillion very, very soon. So we have to curb our debt and we will do that.

I just want to thank everybody, we’re going to be working very hard. It’s not going to be easy, but I’m going to win and we’re going to take care of everybody…

National. Hispanic. Christian. Three. Great. Words. We’re going to take care of you, we’re going to work with you, you’re going to be very happy, you’re going to like President Trump.

If this is Trump’s first step in an effort to win over Latino voters, he might want want to up his game, because given the latest polling data, it’s going to take more than him treating these voters like small children who need to be taken care of by him as he reads them a story of tired talking points. Who’s your daddy indeed.

The poll found that 62 percent of registered Latino voters would head to the ballot box for Clinton in November, while only 23 percent would support Trump on Election Day.

In terms of job performance, Hispanics said the former secretary of state would represent their views better than Trump (72 percent to 14 percent), making decisions about nuclear weapons (65 percent to 20 percent), nominating the next Supreme Court justice (66 percent to 24 percent) and making the decisions about using military force (60 percent to 29 percent), among other issues.

Clinton leads in every demographic group particularly among Latina women (68 to 17 percent) and among Mexican-Americans (the largest Hispanic group in the nation) 67 to 21 percent.


Weeding The Garden Of Ignorant Voters

Filed under: General — Dana @ 1:27 pm

[guest post by Dana]

Last year, when a lot of people still believed Donald Trump wasn’t really a serious candidate and would drop out any day now, Thomas Sowell, who couldn’t wrap his mind around the fact that after enduring 8 years of Obama, voters were “turning to another glib egomaniac to be his successor,” wrote:

Despite many people who urge us all to vote, as a civic duty, the purpose of elections is not participation. The purpose is to select individuals for offices, including President of the United States. Whoever has that office has our lives, the lives of our loved ones and the fate of the entire nation in his or her hands.

An election is not a popularity contest, or an award for showmanship. If you want to fulfill your duty as a citizen, then you need to become an informed voter. And if you are not informed, then the most patriotic thing you can do on election day is stay home. Otherwise your vote, based on whims or emotions, is playing Russian roulette with the fate of this nation.

David Harsanyi, senior editor at the Federalist, opens his op-ed at the Washington Post echoing Sowell:

Never have so many people with so little knowledge made so many consequential decisions for the rest of us.

A person need only survey the inanity of the ongoing presidential race to comprehend that the most pressing problem facing the nation isn’t Big Business, Big Labor, Big Media or even Big Money in politics.

It’s you, the American voter. And by weeding out millions of irresponsible voters who can’t be bothered to learn the rudimentary workings of the Constitution, or their preferred candidate’s proposals or even their history, we may be able to mitigate the recklessness of the electorate.

No, we shouldn’t erect physical barriers to ballot access. Let’s purchase more voting machines, hire additional poll workers, streamline the registration process, mail out more ballots for seniors and produce more “Rock the Vote” ads imploring apathetic millennials to embrace their civic duty.

At the same time, let’s also remember that checking a box for the candidate whose campaign ads you like best is one of the most overrated obligations of the self-governed. If you have no clue what the hell is going on, you also have a civic duty to avoid subjecting the rest of us to your ignorance.

Unfortunately, we can’t trust you.

Harsanyi then goes on to suggest that the way to weed out ignorant voters is to have everyone take the citizenship civics test. After all, if prospective citizens are required to know about our nation’s history, the Constitution, and the government, wouldn’t it stand to reason that the people actually deciding the fate of our nation also be equally well informed? And obviously, with the internet, all the necessary information is readily available to study up on. In other words, there is little excuse to remain uninformed.

And in light of some awful statistics he cites, it’s clear that at the very least, brushing up wouldn’t be a bad thing:

When Newsweek asked a thousand voters to take the official citizenship test a few years back, nearly 30 percent couldn’t name the vice president. More than 60 percent did not know the length of U.S. senators’ terms in office. And 43 percent couldn’t say that the first 10 amendments to the Constitution are known as the Bill of Rights.

Only 30 percent knew that the U.S. Constitution is the supreme law of the land.

Further, only one-third could name all three branches of the U.S. government!

Harsanyi also addresses the inevitable accusations of elitism and unfairness to minorities and the poor:

Unlike the many who depend on ignorant voters to wield and secure their power, I refuse to believe that working-class or underprivileged citizens are any less capable of understanding the meaning of the Constitution or the contours of governance than the supercilious 1-percenters. I believe this despite the widespread failure of public schools to teach children basic civics. It’s still our responsibility as voters.

Of course, we also must remember the ugly history of poll taxes and other prejudicial methods that Americans used to deny black citizens their equal right to vote. Any effort to improve the quality of the voting public should ensure that all races, creeds, genders and sexual orientations and people of every socioeconomic background are similarly inhibited from voting when ignorant. For the good of our democratic institutions.

The comments left at his op-ed are priceless and about what you would expect.

Amusingly, an incredulous Jake Tapper asked if this was serious, and Harsanyi answered:

@jaketapper well, actually: yes-ish.

A sampling of questions on the test, which Harsanyi describes as running from the “very easy to the preposterous”:

“If both the President and the Vice President can no longer serve, who becomes President?”

“There were 13 original states. Name three.”

“What is one right or freedom from the First Amendment?”

“What is freedom of religion?”

Whether Harsanyi is poking fun at the Washington Post readership or not, many commenters here have previously suggested something similar. It’s interesting to consider who may or may not have ended up in the White House over the past 20 or 30 years if a something like this had been in place.


“The Dangerous Acceptance of Donald Trump” (Or of Hillary)

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:23 am

This piece is flawed in some ways, but these passages are spot on:

One can argue about whether to call [Donald Trump] a fascist or an authoritarian populist or a grotesque joke made in a nightmare shared between Philip K. Dick and Tom Wolfe, but under any label Trump is a declared enemy of the liberal constitutional order of the United States—the order that has made it, in fact, the great and plural country that it already is. He announces his enmity to America by word and action every day. It is articulated in his insistence on the rightness of torture and the acceptable murder of noncombatants. It is self-evident in the threats he makes daily to destroy his political enemies, made only worse by the frivolity and transience of the tone of those threats. He makes his enmity to American values clear when he suggests that the Presidency holds absolute power, through which he will be able to end opposition—whether by questioning the ownership of newspapers or talking about changing libel laws or threatening to take away F.C.C. licenses. To say “Well, he would not really have the power to accomplish that” is to misunderstand the nature of thin-skinned authoritarians in power. They do not arrive in office and discover, as constitutionalists do, that their capabilities are more limited than they imagined. They arrive, and then make their power as large as they can.

Author Adam Gopnik forgot giving illegal orders to the military and expecting them to follow them, but that’s otherwise a pretty good summary of Trump’s illiberal tendencies.

Ted Cruz called Trump a pathological liar, the kind who does not know the difference between lies and truth. Whatever the clinical diagnosis, we do appear to be getting, in place of the once famous Big Lie of the nineteen-thirties, a sordid blizzard of lies. The Big Lie was fit for a time of processionals and nighttime rallies, and films that featured them. The blizzard of lies is made for Twitter and the quick hit of an impulse culture. Trump’s lies arrive with such rapidity that before one can be refuted a new one comes to take its place. It wasn’t his voice on that tape of pitiful self-promotion. O.K., it was—but he never mocked the handicapped reporter, he was merely imitating an obsequious one. The media eventually moves on, shrugging helplessly, to the next lie. Then the next lie, and the next. If the lies are bizarre enough and frequent enough, they provoke little more than a nervous giggle and a cry of “Well, guess he’s changed the rules!”

He’s not Hitler, as his wife recently said? Well, of course he isn’t. But then Hitler wasn’t Hitler—until he was. At each step of the way, the shock was tempered by acceptance. It depended on conservatives pretending he wasn’t so bad, compared with the Communists, while at the same time the militant left decided that their real enemies were the moderate leftists, who were really indistinguishable from the Nazis. The radical progressives decided that there was no difference between the democratic left and the totalitarian right and that an explosion of institutions was exactly the most thrilling thing imaginable.

The writer (a leftist writing for the New Yorker) has a solution: defeat Trump by working for Hillary. I can’t agree. He sees no downside — because, among other things, as he admits further down, he is against the Heller decision that protected our Second Amendment rights. I disagree — obviously. And while the most ardent Never Trumpers maintain that Trump Supreme Court justices would be just as bad as Hillary’s, I continue to maintain that they probably would be much better — because Trump doesn’t understand the Court and doesn’t care so he will leave it to others who do. That’s why I agree with Ed Whelan, who says:

The possibility, whatever weight you assign it, that Trump would make good Supreme Court selections is perhaps the best reason for conservatives to hold their noses and vote for Trump. (Whether it’s a compelling, or even a sufficient, reason to do so is another question.)

To me, it’s not. But it’s a good enough reason to advise against voting for Hillary.

So, as I say, I am a spectator and nothing more. With Trump, we save the Court, our economy goes to hell, and we may end up in nuclear war. And it will be “entertaining.” Until it’s not.

With Hillary, we lose the Court, our economy goes to hell, and we’ll probably end up in some kind of conventional war. Congress will at least fight her to some degree. But we’ll have to hear that shrill laugh.

Neither will respect the Constitutional limits on their power.

There are no good options.

Hillary Loves Democracy

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:01 am

Screen Shot 2016-05-21 at 12.00.21 AM

Sorry about the shocking nature of the graphic. It’s just, that’s what she looks like.

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