Monday, November 9, 2020

How Much trump are we here? It seems about 55%

The 2020 election and the individual states

In the prairie, and the high plains, the low population states like North Dakota and Wyoming went wildly for Trump:

Then going Eastward, Trump falls to the 50s in Nebraska and Iowa:

Iowa was no more Trump backing than Ohio this time. If you were to look at counties in those states, you would see that the ones that contain medium size cities went for Biden. In fact Omaha gave one electoral point to Biden. I live in a county that went 50/50 for Trump/Hillary, now going slightly Better, 53% Biden. Out here people seem to not care for the federal government. Especially rural people see the state take care of most things. What do we need the feds for? A US highway or Interstate goes nearby. Some of these states send more money in to the government than they get back. Property taxes are not popular either, and there is endless debate on how to raise revenue for the state. It went badly for Oklahoma when they kept lowering the taxation on oil and gas drilling. (See Rachel Maddow's Blowout book). Texas gave 52% to Trump, Oklahoma much more.

So going South, Trump support goes up to that 65%, higher than in Texas. Comparing to a state in between, Kansas is much like Nebraska, but is going in the Democrat direction. It's urban population is growing. Though Democrats did poorly overall, and did not gain any congressmen in the plains states.

Missouri is similar to its neighbor Kansas, clearly still in Republican country. It is only when you have a really big city like Chicago that the Democrats win over Republicans.

Notes on 2020 election in general, support for Democrats and GOP

The election was on Trump in general, but the red states prevailed in keeping the senators and no major changes took place, outside of the Georgia senate races to come in January.

The Trump supporters were a hard core 40%, another 40% strongly hate Trump. Voters who vote Republican only amount to 40% as there is a large block of independents. Therefore Trump disapproval has been steadily over 50%, and it was 55% in July for various reasons. Black Lives Matter and the coronavirus effort have been the main drivers. Yet, turnout did not reflect the 55% to 42% approval to disapproval. The election was decided by 5.3 million voters. This only amounts to a mere 3.5% of the ones that showed up to vote. Many people voted for Trump even if they disapprove of his handling of the presidency. One can take this in many ways. There is a group that actually think government (and the president) should do not much. Even in a pandemic. Capitalism will solve everything.

Turnout is poor, normally, in the younger voters. Many voters past age 50 are conservative. In this election, young people and African Americans did turn up to vote. But the excitement was all on getting rid of Trump, and ten days after the election he is still getting all the attention. The young folks do not seem to have much effect on the party machine, the grip of Republicans on battleground states and any future direction of the country. Democrats lacked a strong message for change. The battle between the middle of the road Biden supporters and the Sanders AOC wing is still ongoing. It seems we are addressing healthcare and social issues in baby steps. And the reform in police that people were expecting can only happen with co-operation at the state level.

Saturday, October 24, 2020

To Win Elections, You Have To Be Positive

The interaction between a voter and a candidate, such as Trump, is described by a Guardian journalist as a bond. One such voter had a bond with Obama as well, but to her mind, he did not deliver the change for blacks that he promised.

 I won't post pictures of cheering Trump voters, you know what they look like. They all have that bond, and they bond to each other as well. But they would not be there at those airports cheering if there was not hope. They have a chance, now still quite real. I won't get into the technicalities of vote counting and the legal angles. 

You have to keep an overall positive attitude, even as you say rude things and even lies about your opponent. You are going to give them jobs, whereas your opponent is merely going to raise minimum wage and maybe give the people some handouts.

Trump has been making all kinds of threats about disappearing suburbs, crumbling Democrat cities and so on. It goes on forever. He'll also give you shower heads with plenty of water and toilets that flush your poop in one flush.

The attack ads against Trump, cleverly, come from Republicans, the Lincoln project. Attack ads spoken by the actual opponent generally do not work.

Trump has a problem. We have a Pandemic, and he did nothing much in the first months, when federal rules could have accomplished a lot. We never had proper quarantine for air travel arrivals from China and Europe. All American citizens were brought home and "quarantine if you can."

But here we are in October and Trump is packing rallies with mostly unmasked fans. Is it dangerous? Ask Herman Cain. He died after attending a rally in spring. But those times are forgotten. And we have no contact tracing. The pandemic is still going to be with us for a year or so. Trump has tried to downplay it. He can only ignore it. The only positive we remember now is that Trump was positive for the virus. Biden was "hiding in his basement," as they say. Or at least wearing a mask.

The Trump voter is likely to survive, and not be aware of anyone getting sick at the rally. Voters vote by gut feel. There is no logic applied to any of this by the Trump 40% base. They do not feel Biden could ever represent them, so the fans will stay with Trump till election at least, or till they die of COVID. But they will feel positive about Trump to the end.

The Democrat voter may be quite similar in ignoring Trump, but more aware of COVID risks. There is a lot of appeal to basic values. Trump is dividing the country by various means, but mainly by gathering all the white voters he can. The remainder, whites, liberals, foreigners, minorities are going to vote Biden. There is no new issue that could change the election at this point.

Biden can give us some feel good about even the Pandemic. He is going to fix healthcare. Having had COVID, you already have a pre-existing condition. No Trump plan is going to cover you. Even  a possible vaccine will cost something. More likely Biden will give it to you free or at low cost. Other issues that Biden talks about are equality and democracy. We are inclusive. It's a positive feel for most of us. If Biden wins, we were proven correct in our inclusiveness.

Jobs are a little trickier, and it will take a decade to convince more people to take jobs that appear form green power initiatives and even services related to that. When your Tesla dies on the road, you will need different road service. Putting up wind turbines actually is not that different from laying oil pipe line, or worse yet, tar sands pipeline. Those pipelines bring no jobs to your state, other than the occasional clean up when the pipe bursts. Wind power gives some jobs right in the area for maintenance. 

On the whole, the jobs that will recover fastest are the service jobs as we get over the pandemic.

One last thing about these voters that "bond" to candidates and vote on gut feel mostly. Their world view, whether Democrat or Republican or other, seems to consist of being optimistic about pretty much everything. They cannot have anything negative in their life. Thus there is a tendency to deny things that are obviously going the wrong way. Like climate change. They do not need to worry about these things because God will take care of it.

The simple folk gathering at the last week of campaigning are really caught up on this feeling that Trump will make things better for them, that the pandemic is over and that we don't need to do anything, in fact we should not do anything about the pandemic. The economy has to recover for them to feel better. And the only way it can recover is basically to ignore all problems (or label them long term) and recover quickly. 

I don't think we will be going to football games, concerts and all the rest anytime soon. It is quite amazing that we let these rallies go on, as they can only spread the virus. But the rallies will be over soon.

Trump will want to do rallies after he loses as well, all the way to January. He will start campaigning for the 2024 election. But he will have lost the momentum. People will realize very soon that we have to go with whatever leader we have.

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The Belief in Small Government

 I addressed this once before in a column:

Rural Voters and Small Government

On CNN, they allowed a Trump supporter to write an editorial. He is a lawyer, and he actually had some work to do to strip regulation.

On the first day of the Trump administration, I joined 24 other lawyers in the White House, where we were charged with helping fulfill President Donald Trump's promises to the American people.
The President wanted to unleash American ingenuity and stimulate economic growth by rolling back burdensome and, in some cases, crippling regulations that were allowed to run amok during the Obama administration.

Read more here:

He mentions a couple trying to build in Idaho. "Mike and Chantell Sackett, in 2005, purchased two-thirds of an acre on which they planned to build a house. Shortly after they began clearing the land, the EPA issued a compliance order to stop work claiming the parcel was, in fact, a wetland and could not be developed. "

It seems a rididculous situation. However, most land is zoned locally, and the zoning boards are supposed to know how to develop land. it may be that they are corrupt, and they may be paid off by big developers to approve their areas first. That is all local politics. Almost never do you need to go to the federal level.

The federal government is quite different now from the 1770s. It collects taxes, it has complicated structure. The first presidents had no standing army, no currency, a few ships for the navy.

The modern state is complicated. The functions of the government are well explained in the Michael Lewis book:

There are millions of government employees. There is a weather bureau, law enforcement that goes across states, DEA, CDC, nuclear waste, etc. You can get an idea of the book here.

The employees, post office and all, report to cabinet secretaries. Congress has passed laws funding all these departments and defining their tasks. But the cabinet is in fact not even in the constitution. The Founding Fathers did not want a strong cabinet. On the other hand, the constitution does not ban one either. The trouble is that for its continuity, the cabinet department has to have a long term mission. The President in fact does have the power to define these missions or even shut down functions. it makes a big difference who is president. If the president does not know what the weather service does, he can shut it down. "After all, all the TV stations have weather. What do we need the Weather Service for?" Well, find out where the TV stations get their weather data.

Monday, August 10, 2020

There is no Libertarian Solution to a Pandemic


I don't have a pandemic photo this time, just your random patriot. These people with the gun rights and so on tend to be libertarian. And a good number of them voted for the Libertarian candidate before but for Trump in 2016.

Now we are nearly four years into the Trump presidency. Those people really did want Trump to put jokers in charge of departments, so that the government does as little as possible.

Mandates and wide testing, quarantines, those are not for libertarians. They will also not take a vaccination. There are no US wide measures they would agree with. Possibly they would agree to keep foreign travelers out, but that is not of any help anymore.

Now we are in a pandemic. The libertarians are in favor of opening everything. Because they can take care of themselves. That is the key word. The libertarian is not really interested in how you do or how well you survive.

The federal troops That trump sent to Seattle, those the libertarian does not care for. They do not want an authoritarian leader. So the Trump experiment went a little wrong there. But a good portion of libertarians do not live in cities, they live in rural and suburban areas where you have some property to guard and all that. So the riots and Trump gorillas are not the worst. They may vote for Trump again.

The flag I have in the picture, that is part of the libertarian mind set. They do love their idea of the country.

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Why do we still have a pandemic? 150 000 have died!

We can blame the president, states, various people that had the power to sop travel and arrange proper quarantine (Hong Kong, despite little land, does that).

But jut thinking about regular people, we have some 3 million cases now. The recovered have some immunity. Some people never knew they had it. Let us say there are 10-15 million that were affected. That is not enough for herd immunity. Even with vaccinations, we have 25-30 million flu cases every year. (Another roughly equal number was vaccinated.) That gives us herd immunity, and also, flu is seasonal. Coronavirus is not.

We could look at 10 infected people. In them we have 2 older people. They are very careful and alert. They will go and get tested at the slightest symptom. The old person will likely infect their spouse, as most of them live daily under one roof. They could infect one other person, as there is some chance that one of them had contact with some close by person. They wore the mask, but other people around them did not. It probably takes two masks on TWO people to prevent infection at some 90% level.

Some 5 people of various ages are in the group. They are working people, attempting to go about their jobs. Those 5 infected 10 people before they figured out to stay home. Then there are 3 young people. They are not worried. There are less than 300 people dead in the country in the under 24 group. They did infect some 20 people, but mostly young people. If they contacted friends, they had a chance to stop most of the spread to a third person in line. So some 20 people got sick, recovered from it.

How many total got sick from our 10 people? More than 10. Also those passed it on. Otherwise the pandemic would count fewer and fewer new cases day by day.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Our Failure At Social Distancing

Back in April, most of us understood the rules: stay home, avoid crowds, wear a mask if you have one.

Since a lot of businesses closed for several weeks, people stayed home, did outdoor recreation, watched TV and followed the Internet. With the few choices of activity, that worked very well. We all understood and followed the rules quite well for a month. We all did, Biden and Trump supporters all in the same boat then.

It's now failing, because people are interacting normally. They have started group activities, and this may include a number of groups for you, not just the family or close friends. People also started wearing the masks and then believing they are safe. They are not. If a senior walks into a grocery store, and if there is an infected person inside, you are still at risk. If that person is wearing a mask and you are wearing a mask, and you start talking to them, the mask offers some protection, but you are still at risk. The mask also prevents you from playing with your mouth and nose while you are in the store. BUT, you still want to shop as fast as you can. Don't read product labels, you can read them at home and make a note on that product for later shopping.

I wear a mask outdoors when I expect to run into a few more people. It's not because I feel at risk, it is more due to the fact that I am discouraging strangers from talking to me. I avoid eye contact.

People with teenagers have gotten them out of the house. They are doing a lot of sports and similar activities. The risk is low. We have less than 160 deaths so far among people 15-24 in the USA. The documented cases in that group are about 14 000. However, they will still get sick and bring the disease home to you.

There is not a lot of politics involved, but the Trump supporters that deny science, hate rules etc. are obviously the worst violators of the rules. The Black Lives activities produced some crowds outdoors as well. But even in that group (blacks in cities), you are more likely to get sick at church than outdoors.

Some ethnic groups are more touchy feely. It will be difficult to adjust to not doing all that for a full year.

The masks are of use, but the people are having a hard time incorporating social distancing to their lives. As long as they do this, and the great majority goes to work (work indoors), we are not going to get past this pandemic. My prediction is that is will flatten slightly from the strange July peak, but we will be in the much the  situation a year from now.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

New election theme for Trump voters: No masks

Even though it's been shown that masks help stop the spread coronavirus, especially if the infected person wears it, the people are mad. These people will not believe the virus is anything serious, until they themselves are sick.

You can find the video under that name in Youtube, but the school board meeting had to be postponed due to them.

All this is very consistent with Trump voters: deny science, deny global warming, do not get vaccinated. Why? Because the Federal Government is behind it, and somewhere in there is buried a conspiracy, the real purpose being the manipulation of MAGA-hat wearing Americans.

This cannot end well, and my prediction is that large numbers of people in red states, smaller towns and the South will insist on ignoring the pandemic and a good many will survive to vote for Trump. It will be a very divided election, red states going very red, blue states very blue. The other issues in the election will be buried under all this.

With people evicted from rental housing, others losing the exta 600 dollars per month income and those working with the sick making a strong statement (watch MSNBC, CNN) nightly, the fate of battleground states likely will go slightly blue. I predict Trump will not win any rust belt states.

The election will be close, states will have to do recounts, and Trump will not give up. He will only leave kicking and screaming.

Saturday, June 20, 2020

Donald Trump

Presidents, as well as other famous people, used to get a small entry in these one volume encyclopedias that used to be popular when we still had books. Here is Nixon:

I've been having some fun with Trump humor books, finally. I'm optimistic about the November election.

So we are now ready to write one of the "encyclopedia entries" for Trump. Mostly factual. Trump himself has almost no sense of humor, but there is a comical twist to the whole affair from 2016 on. Going in, Trump and fellow libertarians wanted to make a point: we don't need your government regulation and all those emergency functions. We can figure it out on our own. Here we are in 2020, and we do need the government in our current mess.

Donald Trump, 1946-2021, 45th President of the United States

Donald Trump was a reality TV-host and billionaire, who also had a line of failing casinos. His real estate business was run by professionals, Trump was rarely involved in anything but meeting leaders of countries and getting his name in big letters on the hotel. He was basically a brand, sold to anyone he cared to be involved with.

Before we launch into Trump, let us note that much of his support was from voters who hated "the government telling me what to do." This applied to farmers, property owners, mines, the oil industry. After we got Trump, he launched immediately into harassing women and liberals with executive orders. Defund Planned Parenthood etc. A different type of government intrusion. A friend reported going to get a hair cut in the summer of 2020. A male customer was not happy having to wear a face mask. "I don't like the government telling me what to do with my body." The hair cutter (woman) responded: You are lucky you don't have a uterus.

Trump took it upon himself to destroy the legacy of Barack Obama, including the healthcare plan still in use by tens of millions who do not have work related insurance. Trump resented a black man using presidential powers and making a fool of Trump at a correspondents' dinner. Trump had to run for president.

So it was that he also landed in the campaign when a lot of white working class folks had lost their factory and mining jobs. Catching just 100 000 of these people in the right states, Trump convinced them that foreigners, Democrats and the Deep State were at fault. It was a bad time for many, so someone had to be at fault! Trump then captured enough votes in the antiquated electoral college to win the election, as it was. Perhaps Russia and an army of internet trolls helped.

Trump proceeded to go directly into his America First program. He fashioned himself an autocrat. We will build a wall with Mexico. Trump did not realize how the federal government works, or even the presidency. He also did not want it to work, as far as government agencies go. They merely slow down enterprise and give money away to...liberals and the poor. But fortunately for us he failed in many ambitious projects, as he did not work well with congress and really did not understand funding. At first, he seemed to operate only with executive orders, blocking visas from foreigners, in a list of countries that seemed to all be Muslim countries. Except of course Saudi Arabia. We all had to witness a strange ritual of Trump and Saudi royalty with a strange glowing globe. It was a lesson to us all in just how wide the powers of a US president are. Obama tried some of the same, with severe criticism from the right.

The foreigners actually continued to come. Some had lived in Europe before. It turns out we do not have enough college educated people from the US in many fields, from Silicon Valley to the health care industry to engineers to doctors.

Congress two years later changed enough to slow him down even more. Through his four years, Trump did learn that the court system was as difficult for him now as it was when he was just a billionaire. Careful manipulation of courts would need to be put in. "Get me someone who can fix this." It did not help any that Trump attempted to make deals with foreign governments with no state department team involved. Some of these deals benefited Trump politically and personally and were seen as illegal by many.

Trump decided foreign countries were bad for America, aside from Russia.  Also, international agencies were bad. He liked to pull out of everything and cancel anything that Obama signed. He pulled out of climate agreements, WHO and would have destroyed NATO in his second term.

The simple-minded folk who voted for him ( see Just How Stupid Are We? by Rick Shenkman) were in the dark for most of the four years of Trump's only term, never realizing they paid for tariffs Trump placed on goods from China that they buy at Wal Mart. Another thing that Trump was very successful at was interpreting science to his "base." They had been trained by Foxnews and Alex Jones to be suspicious of science. Trump was just the man to explain that coronavirus was nothing really bad, it's like the flu. And you don't have to believe in global warming anymore. Because it's still cold in the winter.

Trump is telling the same stories about Democrats (abortion, Biden etc.) for the fifth year in a row. They still pile in to listen to him. Even with coronavirus in the arenas. Just seconds ago he rambled on to talk about Brazil and the virus and going "herd" (herd immunity) after rambling about stock markets. And Obama is still "giving Iran 150 billion dollars." It was the Iranians' own money frozen in bank accounts.

Almost a year of the Trump "presidency" was wasted chasing real or concocted evidence in Ukraine against Joe Biden and his son Hunter. He was impeached by the House for the attempted quid pro quo (holding off aid to Ukraine for weeks).

Trump was briefly shaken by this disloyalty by his own congress, but finally saved by his Senate where red states still hold power. And things that he failed at always nagged him, even after the bluster in his Tweets about "I won." So he would sick his most skillful and also most crooked Attorney General Bill Barr on assorted enemies, firing officials and judges left and right. Barr never acted for the US, he was always just Trump's survival machine. Trump also had many loose ends in his private matters. The story for four years was that a sitting president could not be taken to court.

The stunts that Trump pulled to stay in power are too numerous to list. Other stunts were purely election tricks. Concerned that statues were pulled down and federal buildings were vandalized, Trump sent unspecified federal troops to cities. The number of troops was too small to achieve "law and order" as he stated, but did indeed provoke crowds to more violence and clashes with Trump and Barr provided troops. Trump immediately went to claim that the "far left" was taking over the country. In truth, all cities had plenty of troops to keep order and arrest the worst offenders. Trump had no legal right to send federal troops to do policing. Even the National Guard, when called to disasters, does not arrest people.

Fortunately for the US, the voters drawn to Trump in 2016 and 2018 were not as dominant in 2020 by election time. Black Live Matter protests brought in a lot of black and Democrats voters who somehow forgot to vote in 2016. And the Trump followers did not care for any Republicans after him trying to cash in on this populist movement. They failed to act dumb and regular while speaking, and appeared pretty much like the politicians that they were.

The election was coming up and Trump was faced with both angry voters and a pandemic. Things did not look good, though denial worked for the 40% that never left Trump: It was a Chinese virus. With bad polling, Trump got his Republican support at state level going at a thing they are usually good at: vote suppression and even fraud. Trump had a brilliant idea: The 40% like me, there are 50-60% that hate me (Trump word: Never Trumpers). Let us stop them voting so we can get their block down to 40%.

The above is not far from the truth. Trump supporters have 40 plus percentage of the vote. Trump haters about the same. A large number is now independent, and the Democrats do in fact have more registered voters than the GOP. The trouble is that Democrats are in big cities. It does not gain you anything to get 62% of the vote instead of 52%. You still win that district.

In November we were done with Trump, though he actually caused a lot of trouble for months after. But he was a one time phenomenon, he was not coming back.

In June of 2021 Trump choked on a chicken nugget at his Mar-a-Lago resort. Secret service failed to dislodge it, when called in to check on him 20 minutes later. He is buried at Mar-a-Lago.

The chicken nugget incident ended the claims by Trump that he won the 2020 election. Vice President Pence also gave up any claim to the presidency at that point.

Friday, June 19, 2020

The Great Revolt: Great Fiction

I was at the book store, where I am now only stopping by every two weeks. Not that it has many clients. I was sick of staring at e-books, so I got something on paper.

Well, don't buy that book. I was barely able to get anything new out of it as far as the mind of the Trump voter. And the revolt itself, well, it really did not materialize. There are several chapters theorizing on the Trump revolution, and even a permanent change in politics, between the people profile chapters.

The people are still angry, and they will vote for Trump. But their actions merely resulted in a populist president. Who has not delivered much to their rust belt. The book gives some useful back ground on the rust belt towns and cities. The economy has changed. The union jobs are not there anymore. But you can read all about that in a book that is not politically slanted:


The thing about the economy is, the US president does not have the power to stop manufacturing jobs going abroad. In a bad economy, the president can bail out industries to survive another few years and to even succeed in a good economy. Both Bush and Obama dealt with that, Obama the better.

The old people (yes, 70s mostly) interviewed are of the same mold:
1 not interested in politics
2 hard workers
3 watch Foxnews for info
4 mostly working class roots
5 they all voted by gut feel and dislike nearly all politicians
6 a smaller set are NRA people
7 one phrase turned many of them: drain the swamp
8 a good portion were finally converted at a Trump rally

There is plenty of theorizing from the authors about these communities, the role of Democrats and of unions. But there is not one person interviewed in the book who makes a sensible argument to prove that the Democrats were at fault for this. Someone or something caused the downfall of the rust belt. I would look to the 1% as the decision makers there.

Was it regulation then, that closed mines? There has not even been an environmental reason for the downfall of coal. It just is not the thing anymore. There is plenty of coal for electricity generation in Wyoming for instance, and fossil fuels have gone elsewhere with fracking. Just brought this up as a possible topic to cover. But no, it is mainly a discussion of disingenuous Hillary and honest "says what he means" Trump. A few times there is a mention of Hillary's lack of a plan. That is actually true, she had nothing new to add, just continue the Obama route. But Hillary is basically a politician, who bends her views with the times to get her party's support. Her personal beliefs may be very close to what she says. However, her calculated way of speaking comes off as dishonest.

Trump on the other hand, I believe, has no opinion on most matters. He just picks on the "vibes" of whatever group he sees as supporting. It is pure acting, a reality TV show. It is difficult to believe the Trump voters continue to believe him genuine. One election maybe, but three years?

Very few of them really understand how the federal government works, or the presidency. The general idea of a "good president" to them is one who completely disregards foreign leaders. Many still believe Trump was taxing china when Trump raised tariffs.

On page 84, a woman named Hutchins, one of the Rough Rebounders, as the authors call them, recites anti Obama text right out of Foxnews: "Oh my god, the end of this can't come soon enough. He keeps doing damage. He keeps doing irreparable damage to our country, financially. We were just out of control and everybody started expecting everything can be free."

You get the idea. There was nothing wrong with the Obama economy. Now we are in a recession. yes, jobs were going from coal and manufacture to service, But that is what they are still doing under Trump.

I had some sympathy for the Ohio pastor that did not hate Obama, but his wife did. There of course the "liberals had gone too far" and provided gay marriage and included birth control in health care. Really? My immoral behavior prevents your religious liberty?

There are relatively few people in the book that required much from the state, except that well over half of those interviewed are on Medicare. The government they hate so much (and Washington) is in fact taking care of them. Republicans have not ended social security yet.

The people in the book are retired, or running a shop or a service. I can imagine being in one of their shops and relating to them on that level. But I really could not have an intelligent discussion with any of them about politics. Reality will hit them eventually. But because of the delay in effects any president has, they will not understand what part was caused by Trump and what by his follower.

I am relieved, though, that many of these people are not true Republicans (though there is some fiddling here with that, many people claimed in the book to have been former Democrats were in fact always Republicans). Many are disinterested in politics, so once this outsider and "populist" is gone, they will not vote again.

I have only read half the book, so there may be some editing to this post as I struggle to the end. OK, the last three of four chapters were just propaganda, no interviews.

The book does deserve some credit in clearly listing the counties that flipped to Trump. It was in fact a Trump phenomenon. The long term drift to the right in the middle of the country is of course an equally strong factor. These states had been sort of DRIVEN to the right by grassroots activism and gerrymandering, such as the case of Kansas:

What's The Matter With Kansas?

Monday, June 15, 2020

Policy Schmolicy! It's all about Trump

There are issues in the election, and Trump has taken the riots to mean he needs to push for Law and Order. The wall with Mexico was getting old anyway. So there are policy issues going into the election. Black lives do matter, and black turnout will be almost the same as 2008. But still, this is a Trump election.

It should be obvious by now that policy takes a back seat to personality. Trump voters vote by gut feel. They may be racist, they may be sick of Federal Government, but these are not people that analyze politics well. The general principles of Trump are good enough for them. Any details of politics they hear are at the Foxnews level. They are following politics more for the entertainment value. These national politics really do not seem to affect them much. Local politics is closer to their heart. Since they are all white voters, the hard line law and order slogan works for them. And black lives do not matter, nor do people in cities. Rural poverty and oxycontin did matter. Trump has done very little about those either. At least he has not prevented opiate crisis actions.

One of these white males that got Trump in is my dentist. He really hates politicians (even his Republicans, he only tolerates those) and does not see the need for them. There is a group of voters whose only goal is to get as much of our tax money back to state. They see the state senators, who have jobs or are retired, as ideal politicians. They don't cost much!

Trump himself has no real opinions on many matters, but he does seem to be in tune with his voters to pick up on opportunities. He does take some news item like the riots and squeeze the most out of it to get support from the Foxnews type of media. "Socialism" and all that is in the news again. But Trump is doing in fact all he can to get re-elected. He cannot change course. His entire presidency has been a type of game show character. He knows very well if he now strays from this and becomes an accomplished Republican, for example, his fans will no longer identify with him. Whether planned or by gut feel, he has kept true to the created character President Trump.