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Tuesday, October 04, 2016


Opportunity costs

by Tom Sullivan

"TRUMP" truck I spotted yesterday downtown.

Donald Trump likes to blast rally goers with "You Can't Always Get What You Want." That sentiment may be sinking in with some Bernie Sanders supporters as well. A Sanders activist still opposed the "neoliberal warmonger" is nevertheless distributing Clinton yard signs here this week. (Campaign veterans can take the yard signs discussion offline.)

Maybe the "TRUMP" truck got to him.

Perhaps it wasn't Hillary Clinton's debate performance last week, but Trump's, that is closing Hillary Clinton's "enthusiasm gap." Polls out yesterday show Clinton opening a national lead of five points (CNN/ORC) to six points (CBS/NYT ) over Trump. CNN reports:

Clinton's boost in the race stems largely from gains on Trump among men (from a 22-point deficit with that group in early September to just a 5-point one now) and sharply increased support from independents, who broke heavily in Trump's favor in the early September poll but now tilt Clinton, 44% to 37%.
Although the CNN poll may not have capture reaction to the Trump tax leak, news that Trump may have avoided paying taxes for nearly two decades will not help him. CNN again:
Voters are in near-universal agreement, though, that paying taxes is every American's civic duty. Nearly 9-in-10 feel that way while just 12% say they see taxes as an unnecessary burden to be avoided. Even among Trump backers, 79% see them as a civic duty.

The poll, conducted entirely after last Monday's presidential debate, finds Clinton's supporters increasingly enthusiastic about voting for president this year (50% are extremely or very enthusiastic now, up from 46% earlier in the month), while Trump backers' enthusiasm has ticked downward, from 58% to 56%.
Real Clear Politics averages yesterday morning when I saw the TRUMP truck showed Trump ahead in North Carolina by 0.3 points. By dinnertime, Clinton had moved ahead by 0.2. In the "newly insane state of North Carolina," you can't always get what you want and, sometimes, you take what you can get.

Yes, there are those among us that want to "send a message" with out votes (whether or not anyone can hear it). Brian Beutler noted how after stating plainly that Donald Trump is unfit to be president and Hillary Clinton is "undeniably capable of leading the United States,” the Chicago Tribune nonetheless endorsed Gary Johnson, the Libertarian, hoping "Johnson does well enough that Republicans and Democrats get the message." About something.

Some may see the election as an opportunity to "send a message," but may miss their chance to send the right one. Beutler writes:
One downside of the Tribune’s pox-on-both-houses argument is that if Johnson has a strong showing in November—say, 17 percent to Clinton’s 41 and Trump’s 40—that would send a message that a coin-toss between a fit and unfit candidate is an acceptable risk for the country. But the most important downside would be the opportunity cost of denying Trump the ass-kicking he deserves.

The Republican Party nominated an ignorant, bigoted, authoritarian candidate to be president of the United States. The best message that the country can send with the popular vote is that if you try to win the presidency by stoking race hatred and promising to degrade the Constitution, you will lose and lose badly—that a fascist does not have an even-odds chance of becoming the most powerful person in the world.
Amen. To that end, one Bernie activist here is trying to send that message ... with 2,000 Clinton yard signs.