Matthew DesOrmeaux

Recent Posts From Matthew DesOrmeaux

What Happens When Two Historically Unpopular Candidates Face Off?

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The presidential election of 2016 is considered by many to be the most important election in our lifetimes. I consider that sentiment nothing more than a cliche. We literally hear it every 4 years, and sometimes in between. Technically every election is the most important one yet.

But this election is the rare open contest with no incumbent, either directly or by succession (VP running after serving 8 years). The last one was just 8 years ago, but before that you have to go all the way back to 1952 to find an election without a sitting president or vice president running.

In all that time there has not been an election that could come down to two equally unpopular candidates. We won’t know for at least a month or two when primary votes are officially cast who each party’s nominee will be, but both current frontrunners are historically disliked.

Hillary Clinton’s favorability rating right now is bad and getting worse. It started dropping the moment she left office as President Obama’s first Secretary of State, and it’s been underwater nearly a year.

Hillary1

As pollster Adrian Gray has shown, such poor favorability ratings even this far out from the election are usually correlated with general election losses, at least since 1992.

Hillary2

Donald Trump is the Democratic version of Operation Chaos

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I have an old friend who attended the Donald Trump rally in Biloxi, Mississippi this weekend. He dressed up in his crispest red button-down, overalls, and white #MakeAmericaGreatAgain hat. He cheered, he waved, he tweeted and posted to Facebook about his excitement for the rally and Trump’s slogan of change. If he were ever called by a pollster, I have no doubt he would enthusiastically register his support for the orange-coifed billionaire.

There’s just one problem. My friend is a Democrat. And polls show he’s not alone. Not only is Trump supported by mostly liberal and moderate Republicans, he also attracts a fair amount of Democratic support.

PPP

We’ve all heard of Reagan Democrats and locally Republicans for John Bel Edwards, the recently elected governor of Louisiana. But my good friend isn’t supporting Trump’s campaign because a great leader has convinced his usual opponents of his worth. He doesn’t agree with Trump’s “ideas” (such as they are) or support his “vision” for America (such as it is). He does all this because he knows Donald Trump is Hillary Clinton’s best shot at the White House. And polls show he’s right there too.

Poll: Significant minority supports religious freedom for some, not all

I’ve previously argued that the current “religious freedom” bandwagon is little more than a smokescreen for Christian theocracy, especially since it seems to have been an explicit reaction to the marriage equality victories around the country. A new AP poll suggests I’m right, but not to the extent I thought.

Eighty-two percent said religious liberty protections were important for Christians, compared with 61 percent who said the same for Muslims. About seven in 10 said preserving Jews’ religious freedom was important, while 67 percent said so of Mormons.

I expected the Muslim number to be far lower, but that leaves 21% of adults who think, like Rick Santorum in a recent GOP debate, that religious liberty applies to Christianity but not Islam.

And surprisingly, the numbers aren’t that different for Republicans and Democrats.

The Electability Argument: Romney 2012 vs Rubio 2016

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It might seem counterintuitive, but losing an election doesn’t mean you weren’t “electable”.

In 2012, one of the main arguments for Mitt Romney as the Republican nominee was that he was the most electable. This point is usually supported by favorability polls and subtle campaign factors like wide, not specific or tribalist, general election appeal.

Romney’s claim of electability in 2012 was based on this data. His favorability varied quite a bit, but was positive from early summer right up to election day. More people liked him than didn’t, in the end. Unfortunately Obama had a comparable favorability rating; he wasn’t the unpopular figure most Republicans assumed he was.

As we all know, Romney lost. He wasn’t as electable as he thought, but he was still the most electable of the Republican candidates at the time. Rick Santorum’s favorability rating was almost never in positive territory. Newt Gingrich was one of the least popular politicians in the country, two weeks after he won the South Carolina primary.

This year the electability argument has come back around again, primarily as a point in favor of Marco Rubio. As a young, well-spoken conservative with minority immigrant parents, a middle-class history, and solid grasp of current cultural trends, his appeal is broader than the Republican party has seen in ages.

No, Donald Trump is not a fascist. He’s something worse.

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Six months ago when Donald Trump announced his candidacy for the office of President of the United States, I had a simple reaction: No. We all knew that no good would come of this.

Three months later after he didn’t seem to have a problem with a supporter’s desire to “get rid of” Muslim Americans, I had a sinking feeling.

But I held my tongue (at least in long-form). Now that everyone else has caught up, I have an even worse suspicion. No, Donald Trump isn’t a fascist. Rather, he’s not just a fascist. He’s a nihilist.

In most previous cases, fascism rose to power ideologically. A strong man with big (terrible) ideas whipped the people into a frenzy behind him and was elected or took power by force with his own heinous vision for the future. A casual look at Trump’s campaign slithering from one outrageous xenophobic proposal to the next has led some to smack him with the fascist label.

But I think most people are missing an important aspect of Trumpism. He doesn’t actually believe anything he says. In fact, he may not have any beliefs at all.

Obama’s “Read My Lips” Moment That No One Cares About

Almost thirty years after he took office, George HW Bush is still remembered as a weak-willed moderate because of six words in his inaugural address: “Read my lips: no new taxes.”

Bush pledged not to raise taxes no matter how much his Democratic Congress demanded it. Just two years later he reluctantly agreed to a budget deal that raised gas taxes and the top income tax rate. His approval rating and overall image never recovered.

President Obama made a similarly strong and explicit pledge, but on a much more vital issue. Beginning in August 2013, as hawks were begging for the US to intervene in the Syrian civil war, Obama said that there would be no “boots on the ground” there.

“Antiabortion rhetoric” is as responsible for Planned Parenthood shooting as Black Lives Matter is for cop killings

That is to say, not at all.

On Saturday someone (see the person responsible above) shot up a Planned Parenthood clinic. As is typical of the proto-fascist left when one of their holy sanctuaries is targeted, the condemnation of free speech was immediate. The Washington Post claims the “link” between “antiabortion rhetoric” is being “dismiss[ed]”. Probably because there is none.

“We’ve seen an alarming increase in hateful rhetoric and smear campaigns against abortion providers and patients over the last few months,” Cowart said in a statement. “That environment breeds acts of violence.”

But you could (but shouldn’t) make the exact same statement about anti-cop rhetoric in light of recent (though dramatically declining) killings of law enforcement officers.

“We’ve seen an alarming increase in hateful rhetoric and smear campaigns against [law enforcement officers] over the last few months,” [someone] said in a statement. “That environment breeds acts of violence.”

Terror Grips Presidential Poll Watcher

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Like most political junkies, I’ve been watching polling data in the presidential campaign like a hawk for a year or more. As Donald Trump and Ben Carson took the lead this summer, my enjoyment of the process began to erode. The one thing keeping me from utter despair is the Washington Post’s Twitter account @PastFrontrunner.

It posts every day where polls measured the national and state presidential primary campaigns in 2004, 2008, and 2012. As the saying goes, it’s still early, and that kind of data can put into perspective just how early it is. But we’re just over 2 months away from Iowa and New Hampshire voting, and things haven’t changed much.

However, on the national polls, @PastFrontrunner suggests they’re still way off. Trump currently leads the RealClearPolitics average, Carson is within the margin of error to tie, and Rubio and Cruz are coming up the rear. So where were we in past cycles nationally?

Here’s Why We Should Take More Syrian Refugees after Paris, Not Fewer

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As of this writing, nine fourteen twenty 27 state governors have issued executive orders or unilaterally proclaimed that their state will no longer accept refugees fleeing the Syrian civil war and Daesh terrorism there. Nevermind that states don’t really have a say in the matter, since accepting refugees is an immigration and foreign policy power exclusively granted to the federal government. The sudden protectionism in the wake of the coordinated attacks on fun in Paris isn’t surprising, but it is exactly the wrong response.

As a timely post at the libertarian Niskanen Center makes crystal clear, there are several good reasons that the US should continue accepting refugees and not abandon desperate, hopeless people because of fear.

1. The Paris attackers were not refugees. [ed: additional link added]

Red Starbucks Cups: A Story of Viral Outrage Marketing

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Everything on the internet is a lie, especially anything you hear about a “movement” or “boycott” or “outrage”. This is one of those.

On November 5, Josh Feuerstein, an Arizona preacher, Facebook vertical video ranter, and Fred Durst-style backwards cap-wearer, basically a Christian version of Howard Stern, posted a 1-minute 18-second video about a red-hued mass-produced beverage receptible. You see, he went to Starbucks to get his morning cup of coffee and was handed a simple red cup. He immediately felt triggered by this holiday-colored but not holiday-decorated design, so he retreated to his safe space of portrait-oriented internet video and expressed this offense to the world.

And horrifically, the world listened. As of this writing Feuerstein’s video has 12,247,900 views, 153,895 likes, 447,838 shares, and 36,094 comments. Normally I don’t recommend reading comments on internet posts, but in this case it’s illuminating.

The first three comments on Feuerstein’s post are from Feuerstein himself. First, he urges his viewers to use a specific hashtag when discussing the issue on social media. That helps people discussing it connect to each other and helps the topic trend if enough people use it.

The second comment is Feuerstein linking to his own blog post at theradicals.com about the topic. That gets people to his own advertising-supported website, putting money in his pocket with each hysterical pearl-clutching click. The third comment is Feuerstein tagging at least thirteen other mostly Christian conservative outrage-mongers like Glenn Beck, Rush Limbaugh, and Breitbart in an effort to get their social media managers to talk about the post and link to his website (*click*click*ka-ching*ka-ching*).

Matthew DesOrmeaux

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married, father of two, atheist, libertarian, introvert.

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