Moore Loses

Right now, the AP and other organizations are projecting Doug Jones to win the Alabama Senate race. While I have my issues with Jones (and the Democratic Party), I can’t help but be relieved. Having that Constitution-shredding theocrat in Washington would have been a nightmare.

It will be interesting to see what happens now. This was a clear rejection of Trump, Bannon and the radical wing of the GOP. They managed to blow a Senate seat they should have taken by 30 points. If the GOP doesn’t shape up, they are looking at losing the whole shebang next year.

The Death of Daniel Shaver

In early 2016, pest-control specialist Daniel Shaver was a in a hotel drinking with two friends he’d picked up and showing off a pellet gun he used for his job. Someone saw him at the window and called the police. What resulted was a police officer shooting Shaver to death. The officer was acquitted last week and the judge released the body cam video of the shooting. If you can stomach it, here it is:

If you can’t watch — which I understand — I’ll tell you what happens. Shaver — drunk, scared, crying and begging the officers not to shoot him — is trying to comply with the barked orders of one of the officers, which are often contradictory and confusing. As he begins crawling toward the officers, he reaches back — possibly to pull up his pants. At that point, the officer with the camera shoots him five times, killing him. The officer who shot him was removed from the force at least in part for etching “You’re Fucked” in the barrel of his rifle.

Patterico, a prosecutor, gives as good a defense of the shooting as can be given here, citing videos that were often deceptive as to what was happening. It’s a fair analysis but I disagree with it. There were multiple officers at the scene; there was no indication of a second gunman; telling Shaver that if he moved the wrong way he’d get shot was a grossly unreasonable demand to make. Patterico’s analysis illustrates, once again, the underlying problem with police-civilian confrontations: untrained civilians are expected to react perfectly and not make a single mistake; trained police officers are allowed leeway for mistakes and errors. We’ll break down shootings like the Zapruder film to illustrate “mistakes” the victim made that justified the shooting; but we won’t hold officers to the same standard.

What we see in the video is the result of the aggressive training police officers have been getting in recent years (one of which is literally called “Bulletproof Warrior”). They are told to see every movement as a potential attack — this at a time when shooting of police officers and assaults on officers are at an all-time low. And they react accordingly.

The reason for the acquittal is that juries have been told, based on Supreme Court precedent, that a shooting is justified if the police are in fear of their lives. Note that there’s no requirement that the fear be reasonable. Or that the fear not be a result of their own previous actions. If police needlessly provoke a confrontation that results in a civilian getting shot, all the jury needs to consider is what was going on at the moment of the shooting, not all the mistakes that led up to that. In the Tamir Rice incident, for example, the fact that the police roared up in a car, jumped out and opened fire was considered irrelevant. All that mattered was that Rice made some motion that could possible be interpreted as dangerous (the avoidance of which would have required superhuman reflex control on his part).

This, again, is not a standard that applies to civilians. Had Daniel Shaver shot an officer under similar circumstances, he’d be on death row. Had Shafer needlessly provoked or confronted the officers, he’d be held responsible.

I don’t know what we can do to stop this. Over a thousand civilians are killed by police every year, accounting for one-third of the stranger killings in the US. Granted, sometimes those a unavoidable; there are people who decided to attack cops. But over and over again, we see avoidable shootings for which no one is held responsible.

(One rare exception was the Walter Scott shooting. Officer Slager was recently found guilty of murder and sent to prison. But this is hardly a vindication. Slager was caught on cell phone video shooting a fleeing unarmed man in the back. Before that video emerged, he was well on his way to acquittal, claiming that he shot Scott when the latter grabbed his taser (even falsely claiming to have performed CPR). Had it not been for the civilian taking video, I doubt he would have even been charged.)

We need a serious change in how we approach policing in this country. Our methods are designed to deal with crime rates of 30 years ago, which were double what they are now. No, scratch that. They were designed to deal with a supposed wave of superpredators and monsters that never emerged. Until things change, people will continue to die and distrust of the police will continue to grow.

RIP the GOP

I wrote most of this Saturday morning but have let it set for a few days so that I could cool off and read more sober opinions of the GOP “tax cut”. Reflection has not changed my opinion much so the post now goes, largely unaltered except for the paragraph slamming the Democrats.

On Friday night, the GOP engaged in act of legislative chicanery that makes Obamacare look like the Magna Carta. Early in the morning, they passed a half-baked, half-assed “tax reform” bill that literally had hand-written corrections on it. This bill had no hearings, had not been read and rewrites a massive section of the US economy.

What we do know about it makes it one of the most irresponsible pieces of legislation I can remember. It purports to be “tax reform” but it doesn’t actually reform taxes very much. It doesn’t eliminate any rules — in fact, it expands them. It has some good changes — faster expensing and depreciation, better child tax credit, putting some Obama Admin regs into writing. But mostly it simply cuts tax rates and uses various pieces of gimmickry to get the hole it blows in the budget down to $1.5 trillion. And that topline number is largely garbage. It is unlikely that future Congresses — Republican or Democrat — will allow the planned tax hikes on the middle class to occur. I would estimate the cost of this tax cut as “more many than you can shake a stick at”. And this is when we are already facing trillions of dollars in future deficits. As I have said many times, a tax cut that runs up debt is not a tax cut. It’s simply a shell game, moving the burden from current taxpayers to future ones.

That’s apart from the other things that the bill does. Reconciliation may change things but the current iteration would hit higher education with taxes, hit high-tax states and hit students loan debtors. It repeals the Obamacare mandate, which will result in millions of people losing in insurance and probably tip insurance markets into a death spiral (since community rating and pre-existing protections are still in place, people can now wait until they’re sick to buy insurance).

You can see, in the smoldering wreckage, the vision of real tax reform. One that eliminated loopholes and cut the rate down to its actual effective rate of 25%. One that had the Rubio-Lee Amendment to give more money to families with children (our fertility rate has now plunged below replacement level). But in their rush to pass anything, the GOP put together this Frankensteinian monstrosity.

The defenders of this bill are citing all kinds of debunked horse manure to try to pretend that it’s not that bad. Just to address a few of these:

  • Tax cuts do not pay for themselves. In theory, this might work when marginal rates are very high. But in practice, we are well on the downslope of the Laffer Curve. Reagan’s tax cuts did not pay for themselves, which is why he had to raise taxes multiple times. Bush’s did not, which is how we ended up with the nation’s first trillion dollar deficit.
  • A lot of people are dragging out the “starve the beast” line, that decreased revenues will force spending cuts. This idea is pure garbage. It doesn’t work in theory. It doesn’t work in practice. If anything, starve the beast encourages more spending because the public gets the idea that government spending is free.
  • The stimulating effects of this tax cut on the economy are, at best, unclear. While tax cuts can stimulate the economy, broad rate cuts are a less than ideal way to do so. And this bill does nothing to eliminate the deadweight loss of the tax system since it doesn’t actually simplify the tax system.

We are on a dangerous fiscal course right now. Trump and his policies will eventually bring Democrats back to power. Democrats, being nearly as useless as Republicans, will not only not reverse the tax cuts, they will massively increase spending. As the debt soars out of control, the economy will be hurt and we will find ourselves facing down a financial crisis the likes of which we have never seen. If the trip to bankruptcy started with Bush and continued through Obama, it has now been given a jolt of gas from the GOP. After years of holding Obama to flat spending and cutting the deficit by two-thirds, they’ve thrown everything out the window. This year’s debt alone is slated to be around $800 billion.

The thing that I realized Friday night is that the GOP I knew and was a part of for so long is dead. This is now the party of Trump. Trump is financially irresponsible, amoral, filled with imagined resentments and doesn’t give a damn about anyone other than himself. That is the GOP now. They’ve blown another hole in the debt, are about to elect a child molester in Alabama, spend their time raging against “liberal elites” and no longer care about the debt as long as they get their damn tax cut.

I’m done with them. All the real conservatives are leaving the party. I’ve long been on the other side of the road, but this is where I burn the bridge.

I won’t vote Democrat, since they are almost as bad. One need only see the response to the GOP tax cut to realize that. Cries that it is a “war on America” or that “millions” will die as a result of it are not the statements of a sane party. And their alternative to GOP fiscal recklessness is … more fiscal recklessness.

There is no longer a conservative party in the United States. There’s the dumbass liberal party and the dumbass populist party. I will not be part of either of those.

The Steinle Verdict

Yesterday, a jury acquitted Jose Inez Garcia Zarate of both murder and manslaughter charges in the death of Kate Steinle, while convicting him of a gun charge. Zarate was a seven-time felon who had been deported five times from the United States. ICE asked San Francisco to detain him but San Francisco is a sanctuary city. As he was neither facing a violent felony charge nor had violent felony convictions, he was released. While in the Embarcadero district, he picked up a gun and either fired it or had it accidentally go off. The bullet ricocheted and hit Steinle in the chest, severing her aorta and killing her. She was 32.

Naturally, there has been a lot of anger at the verdict, led by the Baby in Chief. But there are two very separate issues here.

First, I believe that the jury delivered the correct verdict. The death of Steinle, while horrifying, appears to have been an accident (or at least could not be proven one beyond a reasonable doubt). Zarate didn’t deliberately shoot her. And under California law, a voluntary manslaughter charge requires a deliberate act.

Second, there is the debate over sanctuary cities, multiple re-entry illegals, the wall and “Kate’s Law”. To me, this debate should be going on independent of the verdict of juries. We need to be thinking about the future, not trying to prevent the past. I’m mixed on a lot of this. I’m not happy with sanctuary cities which defy federal law for political reasons but many of the proposed solutions to his problem cross me as unconstitutional. Kate’s Law — which would impose mandatory minimum’s — strikes me as a potential disaster:

I’ve never seen any credible evidence that more prosecutions or higher sentences deter aliens from returning after deportation. Certainly an alien with a criminal record who is sitting in federal prison is not, at that moment, returning after another deportation and committing more crimes, but the system lacks the resources to make a statistically significant impact through such incarcerations, unless you’d like to pay a lot more in taxes, which you would not. And while you are incapacitating criminal aliens through mandatory-minimum incarceration you are not using those prosecutors, judges, or jail cells to incapacitate other criminals, including domestic criminals who offend at a higher rate.

Mandatory minimums, if applied rigorously, would therefore dramatically reduce federal immigration prosecutions. Of course, they wouldn’t be applied rigorously; they almost never are. Instead, the likely outcome is this: Congress would pass mandatory minimum laws covering some illegal reentries. Federal prosecutors would retain discretion of whether to charge aliens under those new statues or under existing statutes without mandatory minimums. Federal prosecutors would use that discretion the way they usually do — to coerce cooperation and guilty pleas. So the length of sentences for aliens returning after deportation wouldn’t increase; there would just be more prosecutorial power and discretion and somewhat quicker pleas. The impact of the law would be the opposite of how it is sold to the public.

Ultimately, what we need is comprehensive immigration reform. Streamline the immigration process for legal immigrants while improving enforcement of those laws. We’ve known this and needed this for 15 years. But every time it comes up, Republicans scream “amnesty”, Democrats scream “racism” and a compromise becomes impossible.

This is a bit personal for me. Many years ago, a close relative — who I’ll call Liz — was T-boned at an intersection by a truck full of illegal immigrants who blew through a red light. Her car careened into a telephone poll. She was not wearing her seat belt. The accident broke one of her high cervical vertebra. Fortunately, her spine was not severed or she would have died on the spot or been quadriplegic. But the injury has dogged her and will dog her for the rest of her life. The illegal immigrants vanished, leaving her insurance to cover the cost.

You can talk all day about how immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than American citizens or that they’re just here to work, etc. But those words mean nothing to someone who has had a loved one injured or, God forbid, killed by a person who should not have been in this country in the first place. Their anger and frustration over that is not racism. It’s not bigotry. It’s not white supremacy. It’s a normal reaction to tragedy that could have been avoided.

People are saying Kate would still be alive if we’d had a wall or if Obama had not been “weak” on immigration (this about the President who set records in deportations). Maybe. But I would rather think about the future and what we can do to prevent other tragedies. A wall by itself will only stimulate the Mexican ladder industry. But a comprehensive approach would allow law-abiding people to come here, would allow us to know where they are and what they’re up to and free up resources to keep people like Zarate out of the country.

Unfortunately, I see no chance this will happen. Our Congress is useless, our President is clueless and our media are chasing their own tails.

The CFPB Slap Fight

There is a bizarre power struggle going on with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The former director has resigned and we currently have two acting directors claiming to be the head of the CFPB. One is the former deputy director, Leandra English. The other is a Trump appointee Mike Mulvaney. National Review breaks it down:

What has happened is this: The director of the bureau, Richard Cordray, has resigned. President Donald Trump has named his budget director, Mick Mulvaney, acting director until a permanent director can be confirmed by the Senate. But Cordray’s deputy, Leandra English, has attempted to block that appointment, offering a very novel interpretation of the bureaucratic rule holding that the deputy director operates as acting director in the event the director becomes unavailable. She is arguing that the director’s resignation makes him “unavailable” and hence makes her acting director. But a resignation doesn’t make a director unavailable — it makes him no longer the director.

Only the most gullible liberals are taking English’s oddball legal argument seriously. English is being represented in the matter by private counsel, the bureau’s own general counsel having concluded that the Trump administration has the better case, with “better case” here meaning “plain statutory authority.” The CFPB is established in law as an “executive agency” and the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 explicitly empowers the president to name an acting director when there is a vacancy in a position requiring presidential nomination and Senate confirmation. The law is not ambiguous on the point.

A federal judge has now ruled in Mulvaney’s favor. Needless to say, the Democrats are taking English’s side and proclaiming that … something … in the law that created the CFPB enables English to proclaim herself Defender of the Faith. Ultimately, this fight is not necessarily about who heads the CFPB but about who the agency is accountable to. The Republicans want it to be accountable to the President. The Democrats want it to be accountable to no one. This is why the Court of Appeals declared the structure of the CFPB to be unconstitutional. Because federal law does not allow for regulatory agencies to declare themselves as independent fiefdoms.

You can probably tell I’m with Trump on this. Having a federal agency beyond executive control is not only unconstitutional, it’s a terrible idea. This is illustrated perfectly by the terror Democrats have of what it will do under a Trump appointee’s control. We have enough problems with federal agencies acting like feudal lords, issuing regulations and laws without any approval of Congress. Having one that can appoint its own leadership is a bit too far. Trump’s Acting Director should stand (although Trump should submit a nominee to Congress immediately). Presidents have long had the power to appoint acting heads of departments following resignations. There is no reason for the CFPB to be different.

This nonsense and the hand-over-heart tear-streaked cries of support of Democrats for English illustrates all that is wrong with the “Resistance”. Trump is going to appoint a CFPB head at some point. So this Acting Director stuff is just temporary at best. It’s provoking a needless, silly and ultimately futile fight for no reason other than to virtue signal. It’s inside-the-Beltway crap and will, frankly, only strengthen Trump’s hand with the general public. I understand why the Democrats are choosing this fight — they want the CFPB to be independent. But it’s a stupid, pointless and damaging fight to pick. If you want the CFPB to reflect liberal values, then maybe nominate someone for President who is not so personally, ethically and politically challenged that she can’t beat an incontinent hamster.

In other words, elections have consequences. This is one of them.

NBC Takes Out The Trash, Oh, And Our President Is Still A Dope

Wow, Matt Lauer, an NBC staple for 25 years, was unceremoniously fired yesterday over the offence de jour of late, not respecting sexual boundaries;

Matt Lauer allegedly sexually assaulted a female NBC staffer during the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014, sources told Page Six.

An NBC insider said Lauer’s alleged victim complained to HR on Monday: “This happened so quickly. She didn’t go to the media, she made a complaint to NBC’s human resources, and her evidence was so compelling that Matt was fired on Tuesday night. The victim says she has evidence that this has also happened to other women, but so far we don’t have evidence of that.”

Another source tells us that the decision to fire Lauer was made late Tuesday night by NBC News chairman Andy Lack.

Lauer’s firing comes amid rumors that several news outlets were working on stories about his alleged sexual misconduct.

The carnage of late is staggering; Roger Ailes, Bill Oreilly, Harvey Weinstein, Charlie Rose, Louis CK, Mark Halprin, John Lassiter. They say that with great power comes great responsibility, but apparently it also comes with an over eager sex drive and a total disregard for sexual propriety. On the flip side, me thinks that there also exists a gaggle of men who equally felt discomfited at a butt cheek pinch (or bicep grab) from a female higher up, but dismissed it because either, well, that’s what men do-shake it off, or because it would seem pretty girly to complain about such a thing to HR.

But I am troubled by a few things here; the mob mentality that now seems to permeate our social discourse, and the lack of circumspection when it comes to political figures.

I have no love for Lauer, a typical progressive shill just like 99.9% of all MSM personalities, but I wonder what happened to due process here, and how quickly the mob said ,”off with his head”, and the NBC suits complied. I mention this from a position of ,”I don’t have all the facts”, and freely admit that. Maybe, after this solo revelation, several other NBC co workers came forward with equally disturbing statements, maybe after calling him in he admitted everything, maybe the local authorities are ready to drop a criminal complaint on his ass and NBC was taking preemptive measures. But the article says the victim reported it on Monday, and he was fired on Tuesday, no ,”We are suspending Lauer pending our own due diligence”, nope, it was as simple as ,”She said this, we believe her, and that is that”.

The other interesting point is that with the media, it is all about ratings, but with politics, it is all about votes. A sad state of affairs, TV personalities must have character, must exhibit qualities the average man must emulate, must be honorable, respected, and wholesome. Politicians, OTOH, its all about ,”What he can do for me?”. Conyers, Franken, Moore (and Trump for that matter) still alive and kicking. We don’t care (or don’t care enough)that they are pigs, he is our pig and will due our bidding.

Getting shamed in the court of public opinion, bad enough, but getting fired at a gig you had for 25 years (Oreilly can relate), that is really bad, and done at supersonic speed. I hope Lauer has a good lawyer. If allegations can be proven and fall within criminal boundaries, bring it, but there will be innocent fall out over this current push to clean house and get rid of the perverts (and they made fun of Pence when he said he never is alone with any female not his wife). I hope any man, Lauer included (maybe a stretch) who falls victim to the avalanche of the sexual protocol police, and is innocent, sues the holy hell out of not only his accuser, but his employer if fired. Yes, deviants, need to be identified and ostracized, but knee jerk indignation (another awful shooting, more gun control is needed, there, now I feel better) without due process is nobody’s friend.

Swiftly Moving Toward Insanity

One of the things I despise about our modern political era is that everything — and I mean everything — has to be politicized. I’ve lost track of the number of things I’m supposed to be boycotting or buying in defiance of a boycott. I get bored to tears by the entirely unoriginal political rantings of celebrities. We can’t even go the store without being asked to save the whales.

But probably the worst part of this is the tendency to castigate those who refuse to engage in this bullshit. I blogged last year about Jimmy Fallon being criticized for a softball interview with Trump. And the latest target is Taylor Swift, whose refusal to get political apparently makes her a fascism enabler. This reached peak insanity with an unsigned editorial from The Guardian:

In the year since Donald Trump was elected, the entertainment world has been largely united in its disdain for his presidency. But a notable voice has been missing from the chorus: that of Taylor Swift, the world’s biggest pop star. Her silence is striking, highlighting the parallels between the singer and the president: their adept use of social media to foster a diehard support base; their solipsism; their laser focus on the bottom line; their support among the “alt-right”.

Yes. Because no other celebrities use social media or talk about themselves or are concerned with the bottom line. And that some obscure Alt-Right idiots have declared Swift to be their “Aryan Goddess” means … something.

By focusing only on her own, extremely profitable, business, Swift appears at first glance to be an apolitical pop star, keen to attract people of all leanings. She began her career in country, a genre whose fans have historically identified as Republican (early on, she wrote that “Republicans do it better”, though after Barack Obama’s victory she said she was “so glad this was my first election”). But these days, even heartland country singers are mocking the president. Her silence seems to be more wilful: a product of her inward gaze, perhaps, or her pettiness and refusal to concede to critics. Swift seems not simply a product of the age of Trump, but a musical envoy for the president’s values.

Let me just say that I’m really glad the UK has socialized medicine. Because I would hate to think that anyone could contort themselves into such an excruciatingly idiotic position and be unable to get the healthcare necessary to recover from it. I’m no fan of Swift but this is balls-out insane. Mining Swift’s music for clues that she’s actually a secret Trumpist? What’s next, finding secret fascist symbols in her dance moves?

If they wanted to argue that Swift and Trump are both reflections of a culture that is getting increasingly narcissistic … they’d kinda have a point, albeit an oblique and meaningless one. But by trying to tie this to some kind of political philosophy, they fall flat on their face. Why is Swift’s silence on politics self-centered, but self-aggrandizing celebrities jumping on the political bandwagon is not? We have an entire slate of late-night talk shows devoted to C-list celebrities talking politics and talking it stupidly. Every sitcom has to virtue signal by making a joke about Trump’s tweets (and bad ones at that). Hell, look at me. I blog and tweet. What the hell is that other than, “Look at me! Wheeee!”

Not everything is about politics and not everything is about Trump. Stop pretending that it is. For the sake of our mass sanity. As far as I’m concerned, Taylor Swift’s eschewing of politics is the best thing about her.

Turkeys and Drumsticks 2017

For ten years running, I have taken advantage of the Thanksgiving Holiday to give out my awards for Turkey of the Year and Golden Drumsticks. The latter are for those who exemplify the best traits in our public sphere. The former are for those who exemplify silliness and stupidity. I rarely give them out to someone who is evil; they are reserved for those who regularly make me shake my head and wonder what they’re thinking. It’s a sort of “thank you” for making blogging easier.

Read more… »

The Alabama Shit Show

I knew things were going to be bad when twice-defrocked theocrat Roy Moore won the Republican nomination for the Senate. But I didn’t imagine it would be this bad. I’ve been tinkering with those post for days, but things keep happening. I’ll assume you’re mostly up to date, so I’ll just highlight a few thoughts.

First, while Moore is obviously innocent until proven guilty, I find the allegations against him both credible and disturbing. He has admitted to dating high school girls when he was in his 30’s. There are reports that his creepy behavior was well-known in the area. The original WaPo article interviewed at least 30 sources. And the two women who have accused of non-consensual acts both crossed me as truthful. Innocent until proven guilty is our standard for criminal proceedings. But for someone who is going to be a Senator, someone who is going to wield real political power, someone who could, at some point, hold the fate of the country in his hands, I think a higher standard is required. People should not vote for Moore. And if elected, he should step down.

Moore is still leading in the polls and I expect him to win. A lot of people are rallying to his side and some have said the allegations make them more likely to vote for him. I want to be clear: this is not because people approve of his behavior; it’s mostly because they think this a Democratic Party dirty trick. That hasn’t been helped by a slew of garbage fake stories about how the yearbook signature is both too good and not good enough, how the restaurant Beverly Young Nelson worked at didn’t exist, how the women were paid money. It’s included things like faking a letter of support from 53 pastors and an obviously robocall from a “Bernie Bernstein” claiming to be looking for dirt on Moore.

With that caveat, I have read people saying that a pedophile would be preferable to a Democrat. This is deeply deranged partisanship. It’s not like Doug Jones is a lunatic or something. He’s a law-and-order mainstream Democrat who supports gun rights and defense spending. His big claim to fame was prosecuting the Alabama church bombers. Yes, losing that seat will hurt the GOP’s agenda. On the other hand, holding it has done exactly zilch for their agenda. And if the GOP’s governing ability comes down to whether a deranged, creepy bible-thumping hypocrite like Moore is in power, the party is deeply lost.

Given the rash of sex abuse scandals that have erupted lately, I’ve seen a number of Democrats saying that they should have taken the allegations against Bill Clinton more seriously. I’m glad to hear that but their mea culpa is a decade late and a billion dollars short. It’s easy to be intellectually honest once you’ve got nothing to lose. If Hillary were President right now, they’d still defending Bill. Hell, they’ll probably go back to defending him again come, oh, December 13.

American politics is broken and our parties are broken. If our parties were functional, we would not have seen the Clinton-Trump fiasco of last year and we would not be seeing the Roy Moore fiasco of this year. All three disasters would have been nipped in the bud. But the leadership of both parties is now filled with people who think politics involves scoring points on Twitter and raising oodles of cash from special interests. The practical aspects of politics — building constituencies, recruiting good candidates, defusing opposition — has gone out the window.

I’d like to say the electing Moore is the apotheosis. But things can always get worse.

Bad Night for the GOP

I try not to read too much into off-year elections but last night’s was a debacle for the GOP. The Virginia governor’s race was a wipeout and, as of this morning, the state legislature may tip to the Democrats. At minimum, Virginia Democrats will now have veto power for the first time in over 25 years and had their biggest night in four decades. The New Jersey governorship and New York mayoral race went against the GOP. Other state legislative races and mayoral races went against the GOP. It was bad night for them, a clean sweep by the Democrats.

Trump’s popularity hasn’t changed that much since election day. He’s still got most of the GOP behind him and most of the Democrats against him. Moderates have shifted against him but he’s still polling in the high 30’s, lower than election day but not drastically so. I’ve noted before that Trump’s performance in 2016 was terrible. It was the worst performance in a post-incumbent election in American history (i.e., an election where a two-term incumbent President is retiring). Now we’re seeing what would have happened had his opponent not been almost equally despised. With a meh candidate, Virginia shifted almost five points to the Democrats, enough for the gubernatorial election to become a rout and the legislature to tip. The Democrats won young people by nearly 40 points, a huge shift from 2012 and even 2016. An advantage of even a tenth that size would have given Clinton the election.

Here’s another thing: the Democrats are not popular. Their approval rating is the lowest in their history. So this was not a stampede toward Democrats, much as they’d like it to be. This was a backlash against Trump without the tempering influence of Clinton hate.

The implications of this for the GOP have to be frightening. Without Clinton as a foil, Trump’s unpopularity could completely sink the party. Over the last few weeks, we’ve seen solid conservatives like McCain and Flake leave the party. Now we’re seeing decent Republicans run out of office because people hate Trump so much.

If this keeps up, the Republicans will be dead in the cities, dead in the suburbs and only alive because of rural support. We will see a shriveled husk of a party devoid of conservatives, devoid of moderates and comprised entirely of Trumpist populism. This would be a party unable to stop the Democrats from going Full Metal Socialist. Their only accomplishment would be ranting on raving on Sean Hannity’s show, which is apparently now the apotheosis of political achievement for Republicans these days.

Trump is not going to change course in response to this election. His response to the election was to immediately stab Gillespie in the back and I’m sure he’ll stab every Republican if he feels the need. He’s not a Republican. He only used them to vault into office. If the Democrats take Congress, he’ll claim credit then happily sign off on single payer healthcare as long as it had his name on it (as shown by his spineless deal on DACA).

Yeah, it’s just one election. We’ll see what happens next year. And, come 2020, the Democrats are going to need an actual Presidential candidate, who might be a fiasco in his or her own right. But you can’t help but be alarmed by where this is going. In 2016, Warren Meyer said the Republicans had chained themselves to a suicide bomber. It may turn out that it just took a bit longer for the bomb to go off.