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Dr. Jack

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Member since: Fri Jan 20, 2017, 02:43 PM
Number of posts: 610

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Long standing democracies that have become dictatorships?

We certainly hear a lot about how the US could be trending towards an authorization dictatorship under Trump. While he certainly has strongman ambitions and a total disregard for the rule of law, I find arguments that the US in general is ready to just give up and let Trump do whatever he wants to be rather dramatic. I think if push comes to shove, Americans would quicky rise up and put an end to any attempts by Trump to declare himself some kind of dictator.

And that has made me wonder if there have ever been long standing democracies that have become total dictatorships before. Yes, we have plenty of examples of democracies becoming 1 party states ruled by authoritarian dictators. Germany in the 1930s is a clear example. But when that happens, including in Germany's case, democracy was a new thing. The democratic system in Weimar Germany had only be around for like a decade before it was reverted back to a dictatorship. Or there are "republics" in history that have descended into autocracy but that was usually where only like 5% of people were allowed to vote, like in Rome a few thousand years ago.

All of this has me wondering if there has ever been a country that had a well established, stable democratic system for centuries, like the United States, that suddenly just let a dictatorship happen pretty much out of nowhere. I can't think of any time in history where that has happened.

The betting markets have lost all contacts with reality

I'm not sure why I regularly check the betting markets when it comes to politics since they are rarely correct. For example, after Biden lost New Hampshire this year, they predicted that Sanders would win every remaining primary. Obviously that wasn't even close to what happened. Also on the day Harris was picked as VP, they had Susan Rice at upwards of a 90% chance of being picked and Buttigieg was surging even though there was no evidence he was ever even considered to be a VP candidate by Biden.

But over the last few weeks, the betting markets are in rare form, even for their general batshit assessments about the world. Since the beginning of August, Bidens overall lead over Trump has gone from about 7.8 to 9.1. Biden is now very close to his all time high in his lead in the polls with voting starting in some states in just a few days. However during that time, Biden has gone from an average of about a 60% chance of winning the election, according to the betting markets, to a 50/50 toss up. There are days where every national poll coming out will show Biden up by 13 points (this happened a little over a week ago) but his odds of winning according to the bettors dropped 3 or 4 points in a single afternoon.

If anyone can tell me what in the absolute fuck these people are thinking, I am all ears. Because the only thing I can come up with is some kind of shared delusion on the part of people betting on the election

The MAGA crowd is more delusional and agitated than usual this morning

I sometimes like to check on what the other side is thinking and feeling, so go to the cesspools where they hangout online. That also includes the betting markets, which I can tell everyone right now not to bother checking for actual odds since the predictions are almost never correct.

Anyway, the red hats seem to be in rare form today. We have 538 showing Bidens average national lead over Trump jumping to 9.1 points, nearly tied for his all time high over there, as well as data showing the RNC had low ratings, and reactions to Trump's speech last night ranging from "very boring" to "worst acceptance speech in modern history. But you wouldn't know that from the comments from the Trumpets. They are buying up Trump shares on betting sites (meaning they think he is going to win) with their welfare checks (I assume) at a volume I haven't seen in a long time. They are also predicting Trump will not just win but win in a landslide (a landslide is a double digits popular vote win) because Americans are sick of black people committing crimes and "communism". They are also speculating whether Biden will drop out soon because it's clear that his nomination has been a disaster for the Democrats.

The best way to describe the current mood among Republicans is as a manic, delusional level of energy right now. I don't know if they are lost in their echo chamber or if they are desperately trying to convince themselves and each other that everything is just dandy but I can say the comments are actually so far detached from reality that it is genuinely frightening.

I think Republicans in the House and Senate are on the verge of abandoning Trump to his fate

Hear me out here. Back in June, Vanity Fair had an article about how McConnell told Trump that if he didn't turn his polling numbers around by Labor Day, which is like a week from now, that they would leave Trump to his fate (i.e. do nothing to stop him from losing) and try to salvage the Senate. One argument they were going to make is that having the Senate in Republican hands would be a check on a Democratic House and Presidency. Seems like they are starting to ramp up that message as McConnell just said in an interview that keeping the Senate Republican would be a firewall against Pelosi's agenda.


Is Trumpism the death throes of Nixon style racism?

I have thought a lot of about Trump trying to emulate Nixons 1968 campaign and I think I know what it's all about . I think Trumpism is the death throes of Nixons style of systemic racism in the US and not a new resurgence of racism or new found popularity of white supremacy. With Nixon in 68, his entire campaign was the death throes of Jim Crow and segregation. He squeezed as much as he could out of the racist vote, which was pretty effective at the time. And he created a new normal that conservative whites could live with. Instead of full blown segregation, they did things like prevented forced busing and had racist housing policies. Also the entire war on drugs. Lee Atwater said as much.

The Nixon style racism is dying off, as it has been for decades, and that is what Trump is all about. The country is becoming more inclusive and tolerant, which makes white conservatives uncomfortable. Obama being president really freaked them out, as did gay rights, and any other little culture war issue we heard about in the last decade. In 2016 Trump squeezed as much as he could out of the scared racist vote, which caught a lot of people off guard. And he is doing that again in 2020. The difference between 2016 and 2020 is that in 2016, a lot of people were blissfully ignorant about the racial issues still present in this country and about the dark underbelly of racism that still exists in some corners. Now it is all out in the open and it has been a real wake up call to a lot of Americans. I don't think any of this was planned or something that Trump sat down and thought about. He just came long with the right message at the right time for certain people.

In the end, Trump isn't ushering in a new era of racism. He is just launching one last desperate attack on behalf of the scared white conservatives against progress and it will end up failing. And will likely in the long run make the process of tolerance and equality come about faster.

Are we about to have a streak of 1 term presidents?

The U.S. has only had 3 two term presidents in a row twice. Once way back in the early 1800s and again with Clinton, Bush, and Obama. We have never had 4 in a row which is one of the many reasons why a 2nd Trump term would be highly unusual. And since things tends to revert to the mean after a long, unusual period like we had with Clinton, W., and Obama I do wonder if we are going to swing in the totally opposite direction starting with Trump. Now yes, I know the election isn't over yet and vote and all that good stuff but objectively Trump appears very likely to be heading for defeat or in other words, a one term president. Which would lead us to President Biden. Biden has given many indications and logic would say he almost certainly wouldn't run for reelection in 2024. That would give us 2 one term presidents in a row. And let's be optimistic and say VP Harris would be the likey frontrunner in 2024 and would more likely than not win. But by 2028, after 8 years of Dem presidents, the GOP would probably have the leg up. We all know Americans don't like one party in the white house for too long, potentially givings us 1 term president #3.

Who knows what would happen 12 years from now but is there not a case to be made that we are likely heading for a streak of 1 term presidents between 2016 and 2028 or 2032?

Why is the media suddenly acting like the election is a tie?

I feel like all day I have been reading news stories, Twitter posts, betting markets, and online comments about how the polls are tightening and that it seems like the election is up in the air. Yet all of the polls seem to be showing Biden with the same 8.5-9.0 average lead that has had for 12-18 months? Where is this collective impression that Trump is surging and that the election is suddenly a nail biter coming from? I cant find any evidence that anything has changed at all.

Cat propaganda posters

This is one of those things that I randomly found while looking for something else and now I am obsessed with. I feel the need to share this very exciting discovery. Here are a few of my favorites that I uploaded on imgur


Biden really is held to a way, way higher standard than Trump

I was reading a tweet by Nate Silver today. He is talking about how one poll came out where Biden still has a massive lead over Trump but it slightly decreases his overall average, therefore, Biden’s odds in the 538 projection have gone down. There are discussions in that thread about what Biden has to do in this state or with this group to shore up support. Also talk about how he’s not leading quite as much as he was a few months ago and what does that mean for his campaign and blah blah blah blah blah. And this kind of shit really does hit home how Biden is held to a way, way higher standard than Trump. Trump can be down by double digits for 12 straight months, have an approval rating in the gutter, write off entire groups of people as “unamerican” and entire states as shit holes, and yet Biden dropping from being up by 8.9 to 8.6 we get “is Biden slipping, why can’t he hold his lead, why can’t he win over this group?”.

It is absolute horse shit. We can think of 1000 examples, like Trump’s frail physical health and no one cares but if Biden sneezes we get “does he have Dementia!?”. Trump can run around, pissing off 60% of the country, letting hundreds of thousands of people die, rambling through speeches and talking about being president for life but “he still has time to turn things around and his appeals to these voters might help close the gap”. This double standard is insane to watch. Trump can fuck everything up constantly and people still say “don’t count him out yet”. Biden loses 1/10th of one point in his lead in the averages and we get 200 articles about how Biden is having trouble in his campaign.
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