“Chet Farmer is a lifelong progressive, naturalized Texan, and obsessive cyclist based in Houston. He and Mr Shiels share a Magnolia origin. Follow him @chetman, or his personal blog at www.mischeathen.com.”
“Chet Farmer is a lifelong progressive, naturalized Texan, and obsessive cyclist based in Houston. He and Mr Shiels share a Magnolia origin. Follow him @chetman, or his personal blog at www.mischeathen.com.”
The title of a recent WaPo article asks a pertinent question: “How many votes will Trump give up by not running a professional campaign?” The whole article is well worth reading, but the article’s conclusion can be summarized in the two words that complete the title: “A lot.” Still, exactly how much is “a lot”? That’s the million dollar question. This diary will attempt to get a little closer to an answer to that question—though we’ll need to wait until election day to know the exact impact of the vast difference the the two campaigns field operations.
I looked at the essay by political scientists Ryan Enos and Anthony Fowler on GOTV referenced in the WaPo piece. Their basic method was to look at segments of adjoining states with a shared TV market, but with one state a battleground and the other not. TV advertising would be the same, but one would see heavy GOTV and the other wouldn’t. The map at the top of this diary shows the areas studied. The areas studied are enclosed in black lines. The darker the area is colored, the greater the likely GOTV effort. One can clearly make out from the map that, for instance, hotly contested NH would likely get lots of GOTV effort, but adjacent VT, MA and ME (all safe D) would not. Similarly, northern NV would get intensive GOTV efforts, but overlapping media markets in CA & OR (safe D) and Utah (safe R) would not. And in fact the darkly shaded areas—the likely targets of GOTV— showed significantly increased turnout over the light gray areas.
The gist of the study is neatly summarized by WaPo:
They show that the effect of the 2012 presidential campaign on voter turnout was quite large, about 7-8 points overall.
Now 7-8 points sounds like an awful lot. But what the study claims is not that one side beats the other by 7-8%, but that EACH side, if they have equal operations, turns out an extra 7-8 by a serious GOTV effort. If so, that would suggest that an awful lot of GOTV effort could be considered defensive—you’ve got to at least equal what the other side is doing, or you’re going to get buried.
So the 1-2% margin we often see mentioned as a GOTV effect might be the difference between an outstanding GOTV effort vs. just a garden variety effort: one side is getting out only an extra 6% and the other is getting out an extra 7% or 8%.
On the face of it, this makes a lot of sense—could all those phone calls and pavement pounding and personal visits really only amount to a measly 1%? It seems intuitively right that this 1% margin would actually the net effect of two operations at work, one just a tad better than the other. 7 to 8% could be considered the gross effect. All of this means kudos to the people working hard in field operations—you’re adding 7-8% to total turnout, and without it, we wouldn’t have a prayer. BTW, Enos & Fowler credit both Obama & Romney with having effective GOTV efforts, so if Obama had an edge, it might well have been in the 1 or 2% range.
But if Enos & Fowler’s analysis of the gross impact of GOTV efforts is correct, then this might suggest that Trump’s neglect of GOTV will have a much larger impact than many people think. Of course, Hillary probably won’t outdo the polls by 7-8%, since the RNC and state party machines have their own GOTV efforts going.
But we might reasonably expect a much bigger effect in the battleground states this year, based on Clinton’s vastly superior operation, than the traditional estimate of 1-2% for a better field operation. Of course, we won’t really know until election day.
But however you slice it, we can regard the present election as a living, breathing experiment in the impact of GOTV. This makes me a bit more optimistic about the possibility of flipping some Senate and House seats that might otherwise might be out of reach. So let’s all keep working hard, not just for that slim 1% but for a potentially much larger slice of the pie!
Seven news battleground polls, seven states where Hillary Clinton holds a lead against Donald Trump.
Those are the results from the latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal/Marist polls, which found Hillary Clinton ahead in Iowa (by four points), Ohio (by five), Florida (by five), North Carolina (by nine), Pennsylvania (by 11), Virginia (by 13) and Colorado (by 14).
If those poll numbers hold with another three months to go until Election Day 2016, Trump won’t have a realistic path to 270 electoral votes to win the presidency.
But there are four other takeaways from the new battleground polling. Call them the four different gaps:
With one exception (Florida), Clinton is leading in every battleground among college-educated white voters, while she’s losing among whites without a college degree. Why is this significant? As the Atlantic’s Ron Brownstein has noted, no Democratic presidential candidate going back to 1952 has won among college-educated whites. (All poll numbers below are among registered voters)
Relatedly, Clinton is drubbing Trump in urban areas and suburbs, while Trump is ahead in rural areas. The problem for Trump: For the most part, there are many more voters in these urban areas than rural ones.
Clinton is winning women by larger margins than Trump is winning among men. And Clinton is even winning among men in Colorado and Virginia.
In all seven states, Democrats are backing Clinton by a larger margin than Republicans are behind Trump – sometimes by wide margins.
PHILADELPHIA — Donald Trump has found an ingenious way to save the Democratic Party. Basically, he’s abandoned the great patriotic themes that used to fire up the G.O.P. and he’s allowed the Democrats to seize that ground. If you visited the two conventions this year you would have come away thinking that the Democrats are the more patriotic of the two parties — and the more culturally conservative.
Trump has abandoned the Judeo-Christian aspirations that have always represented America’s highest moral ideals: toward love, charity, humility, goodness, faith, temperance and gentleness.
He left the ground open for Joe Biden to remind us that decent people don’t enjoy firing other human beings.
Trump has abandoned the basic modesty code that has always ennobled the American middle class: Don’t brag, don’t let your life be defined by gilded luxuries.
He left the ground open for the Democrats to seize middle-class values with one quick passage in a Tim Kaine video — about a guy who goes to the same church where he was married, who taught carpentry as a Christian missionary in Honduras, who has lived in the same house for the last 24 years.
Trump has also abandoned the American ideal of popular self-rule.
He left the ground open for Barack Obama to remind us that our founders wanted active engaged citizens, not a government run by a solipsistic and self-appointed savior who wants everything his way.
Trump has abandoned the deep and pervasive optimism that has always energized the American nation.
He left the ground open for Michelle Obama to embrace the underlying chorus of hope that runs through the American story: that our national history is an arc toward justice; that evil rises for a day but contains the seeds of its own destruction; that beneath the vicissitudes that darken our days, we live in an orderly cosmos governed by love.
For decades the Republican Party has embraced America’s open, future-oriented nationalism. But when you nominate a Silvio Berlusconi you give up a piece of that. When you nominate a blood-and-soil nationalist you’re no longer speaking in the voice of Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt and every Republican nominee from Reagan to McCain to Romney.
Democrats have often been ambivalent about that ardent nationalistic voice, but this week they were happy to accept Trump’s unintentional gift. There were an unusually high number of great speeches at the Democratic convention this year: the Obamas, Biden, Booker, Clinton, the Mothers of the Movement and so on.
These speakers found their eloquence in staving off this demagogue. They effectively separated Trump from America. They separated him from conservatism. They made full use of the deep nationalist chords that touch American hearts.
Trump has allowed the Democrats to mask their deep problems. A Democratic administration has presided over a time of growing world chaos, growing violence and growing anger. But the Democrats seem positively organized and orderly compared to Candidate Chaos on the other side.
The Sanders people have 90 percent of the Democratic Party’s passion and 95 percent of the ideas. Most Sanders people are kind- and open-hearted, but there is a core that is corrupted by moral preening, an uncompromising absolutism and a paranoid unwillingness to play by the rules of civic life.
But the extremist fringe that threatens to take over the Democratic Party seems less menacing than the lunatic fringe that has already taken over the Republican one.
This week I left the arena here each night burning with indignation at Mike Pence. I almost don’t blame Trump. He is a morally untethered, spiritually vacuous man who appears haunted by multiple personality disorders. It is the “sane” and “reasonable” Republicans who deserve the shame — the ones who stood silently by, or worse, while Donald Trump gave away their party’s sacred inheritance.
The Democrats had by far the better of the conventions. But the final and shocking possibility is this: In immediate political terms it may not make a difference.
The Democratic speakers hit doubles, triples and home runs. But the normal rules may no longer apply. The Democrats may have just dominated a game we are no longer playing.
Both conventions featured one grieving parent after another. The fear of violent death is on everybody’s mind — from ISIS, cops, lone sociopaths. The essential contract of society — that if you behave responsibly things will work out — has been severed for many people.
It could be that in this moment of fear, cynicism, anxiety and extreme pessimism, many voters may have decided that civility is a surrender to a rigged system, that optimism is the opiate of the idiots and that humility and gentleness are simply surrendering to the butchers of ISIS. If that’s the case then the throes of a completely new birth are upon us and Trump is a man from the future.
If that’s true it’s not just politics that has changed, but the country.
The Perils of the We/They Mentality
Yes maybe it’s time to remember allies, but widen our definition to reduce the we they paradigm. Why must we assume that Russia, China, Iran must be incorrigible enemies? There are things that can be done with each of these relationships at minimal cost to then US.
Author: Rian Morrissey Date: Monday, July 25, 2016 8:04:27 AM EDT Subject: RE: FILM REACTIONS RELATED TO POSTWAR AMERICA.
I believe as well that America does have a sense of responsibility as a superpower to certain other countries and people. However, if a country is not an ally to ours than where would the obligation be. This doesn’t mean America should act recklessly and cause harm to other countries with no concern. Being superpower can make America seem incredibly powerful. This does not mean whoever has power should necessarily use it to fix every wrong that they witness going on in the world.
Today’s New York Times features the erudite moderate Republican/Conservative columnist, David brooks, offering an even more chilling assessment of Donald Trump than I would have expected. This Blog has been too busy watching but not commenting on events to do justice to the substance of the strangest presidential race in modern memory. But that will change.
Does anybody else have the sense that Donald Trump is slipping off the rails? His speeches have always had a rambling, free association quality, but a couple of the recent ones have, as the Republican political consultant Mike Murphy put it, passed from the category of rant to the category of full on “drunk wedding toast.”
Trump’s verbal style has always been distinct. He doesn’t really speak in sentences or paragraphs. His speeches are punctuated by five- or six-word jabs that are sort of strung together by connections that can only be understood through chaos theory: “They want the wall … I dominated with the evangelicals … I won in a landslide … We can’t be the stupid people anymore.”
Occasionally Trump will attempt a sentence longer than eight words, but no matter what subject he starts the sentence with, by the end he has been pulled over to the subject of himself. Here’s an example from the Mike Pence announcement speech: “So one of the primary reasons I chose Mike was I looked at Indiana, and I won Indiana big.” There’s sort of a gravitational narcissistic pull that takes command whenever he attempts to utter a compound thought.
Trump has also always been a little engine fueled by wounded pride. For example, writing in BuzzFeed, McKay Coppins recalls the fusillade of abuse he received from Trump after writing an unflattering profile (he called Mar-a-Lago a “nice, if slightly dated, hotel”).
Trump was so inflamed he tweeted retaliation at Coppins several times a day and at odd hours, calling him a “dishonest slob” and “true garbage with no credibility.” The attacks went on impressively for over two years, which must rank Coppins in the top 100,000 on the list of people Donald Trump resents.
Over the past few weeks these longstanding Trump patterns have gone into hyperdrive. This is a unique moment in American political history in which the mental stability of one of the major party nominees is the dominating subject of conversation.
Everybody is telling Trump to ratchet it down and be more sober, but at a rally near Cincinnati this month and in his Pence announcement speech on Saturday, Trump launched his verbal rocket ship straight through the stratosphere, and it landed somewhere on the dark side of Planet Debbie.
The Pence announcement was truly the strangest vice-presidential unveiling in recent political history. Ricocheting around the verbal wilds for more than twice as long as the man he was introducing, Trump even refused to remain onstage and gaze on admiringly as Pence flattered him. It was like watching a guy lose interest in a wedding when the bride appears.
The structure of his mental perambulations also seems to have changed. Formerly, as I said, his speeches had a random, free-form quality. But on Saturday his remarks had a distinct through line, anchored by the talking points his campaign had written down on pieces of paper. But Trump could not keep his attention focused on this through line — since the subject was someone else — so every 30 seconds or so he would shoot off on a resentment-filled bragging loop.
If you had to do a rough diagram of the Trump remarks it would be something like this: Pence … I was right about Iraq … Pence … Hillary Clinton is a crooked liar … I was right about “Brexit” … Pence … Hillary Clintons ads are filled with lies … We’re going to bring back the coal industry … Christians love me … Pence … I talk to statisticians … Pence is good looking … My hotel in Washington is really coming along fantastically … Pence.
Donald Trump is in his moment of greatest triumph, but he seems more resentful and embattled than ever. Most political conventions are happy coronations, but this one may come to feel like the Alamo of aggrieved counterattacks.
It’s hard to know exactly what is going on in that brain, but science lends a clue. Psychologists wonder if narcissists are defined by extremely high self-esteem or by extremely low self-esteem that they are trying to mask. The current consensus seems to be that they are marked by unstable self-esteem. Their self-confidence can be both high and fragile, so they perceive ego threat all around.
Maybe as Trump has gotten more successful his estimation of what sort of adoration he deserves has increased while the outside criticism has gotten more pronounced. This combination is bound to leave his ego threat sensors permanently inflamed. So even if Candidate Trump is told to make a normal political point, Inner Boy Trump will hijack the microphone for another bout of resentful boasting.
Suddenly the global climate favors a Trump candidacy. Some forms of disorder — like a financial crisis — send voters for the calm supple thinker. But other forms of disorder — blood in the streets — send them scurrying for the brutal strongman.
If the string of horrific events continues, Trump could win the presidency. And he could win it even though he has less and less control over himself.
DOVER, N.H. (MarketWatch) — I have a confession to make: I can’t keep up.
Am I supposed to hate Hillary Rodham Clinton because she’s too left-wing, or too right-wing? Because she’s too feminist, or not feminist enough? Because she’s too clever a politician, or too clumsy?
Am I supposed to be mad that she gave speeches to rich bankers, or that she charged them too much money?
I’m up here in New Hampshire watching her talk to a group of supporters, and I realized that I have been following this woman’s career for more than half my life. No, not just my adult life: the whole shebang. She came onto the national scene when I was a young man.
And for all that time, there has been a deafening chorus of critics telling me that she’s just the most wicked, evil, Machiavellian, nefarious individual in American history. She has “the soul of an East German border guard,” in the words of that nice Grover Norquist. She’s a “bitch,” in the words of that nice Newt Gingrich. She’s a “dragon lady.” She’s “Elena Ceaușescu.” She’s “the Lady Macbeth of Little Rock.”
Long before “Benghazi” and her email server, there was “Whitewater” and “the Rose Law Firm” and “Vince Foster.” For those of us following her, we were promised scandal after scandal after scandal. And if no actual evidence ever turned up, well, that just proved how deviously clever she was.
So today I’m performing a public service on behalf of all the voters. I went back and re-read all the criticisms and attacks and best-selling “exposés” leveled at Hillary Rodham Clinton over the past quarter-century. And I’ve compiled a list of all her High Crimes and Misdemeanors.
Here they are:
It’s clear: Hillary must be stopped. Hearings now!
From the NEW YORK TIMES May 18, 2016 Bernie Sanders, Eyeing Convention, Willing to Harm Hillary Clinton in the Homestretch By PATRICK HEALY, YAMICHE ALCINDOR and JEREMY W. PETERSMAY 18, 2016 Senato…
From the NEW YORK TIMES May 18, 2016
Bernie Sanders, Eyeing Convention, Willing to Harm Hillary Clinton in the Homestretch
By PATRICK HEALY, YAMICHE ALCINDOR and JEREMY W. PETERSMAY 18, 2016
Senator Bernie Sanders spoke at a campaign rally on the campus of California State University, Dominguez Hills, in Carson, Calif., on Tuesday. Credit Monica Almeida/The New York Times
Defiant and determined to transform the Democratic Party, Senator Bernie Sanders is opening a two-month phase of his presidential campaign aimed at inflicting a heavy blow on Hillary Clinton in California and amassing enough leverage to advance his agenda at the convention in July — or even wrest the nomination from her.
Advisers to Mr. Sanders said on Wednesday that he was newly resolved to remain in the race, seeing an aggressive campaign as his only chance to pressure Democrats into making fundamental changes to how presidential primaries and debates are held in the future. They said he also held out hope of capitalizing on any late stumbles by Mrs. Clinton or any damage to her candidacy, whether by scandal or by the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump.
After sounding subdued if not downbeat about the race for weeks, Mr. Sanders resumed a combative posture against Mrs. Clinton, demanding on Wednesday that she debate him before the June 7 primary in California and highlighting anew what he asserted were her weaknesses against Mr. Trump.
Mr. Sanders, his advisers said, has been buoyed by a stream of polls showing him beating Mr. Trump by larger margins than Mrs. Clinton in some battleground states, and by his belief that an upset victory in California could have a psychological impact on convention delegates who already have doubts about Mrs. Clinton.
But his newly resolute attitude is also the cumulative result of months of anger at the national Democratic Party over a debate schedule that his campaign said favored Mrs. Clinton; a fund-raising arrangement between the party and the Clinton campaign; the appointment of fierce Clinton partisans as leaders of important convention committees; and the party’s rebuke of Mr. Sanders on Tuesday for not clearly condemning a melee at the Nevada Democratic convention on Saturday.
While Mr. Sanders says he does not want Mr. Trump to win in November, his advisers and allies say he is willing to do some harm to Mrs. Clinton in the shorter term if it means he can capture a majority of the 475 pledged delegates at stake in California and arrive at the Philadelphia convention with maximum political power.
Tad Devine, a senior adviser to Mr. Sanders, said the campaign did not think its attacks would help Mr. Trump in the long run, but added that the senator’s team was “not thinking about” the possibility that they could help derail Mrs. Clinton from becoming the first woman elected president.
Continue reading the main story
Bernie Sanders Facing Pressure Over Supporters’ Actions in Nevada MAY 17, 2016
From Bernie Sanders Supporters, Death Threats Over Delegates MAY 16, 2016
A Single-Payer Plan From Bernie Sanders Would Probably Still Be Expensive MAY 16, 2016
“The only thing that matters is what happens between now and June 14,” Mr. Devine said, referring to the final Democratic primary, in the District of Columbia. “We have to put the blinders on and focus on the best case to make in the upcoming states. If we do that, we can be in a strong position to make the best closing argument before the convention. If not, everyone will know in mid-June, and we’ll have to take a hard look at where things stand.”
The prospect of a drawn-out Democratic fight is deeply troubling to party leaders who are eager for Mrs. Clinton and House and Senate candidates to turn to attacking Mr. Trump without being diverted by Democratic strife. Mr. Sanders has won nearly 10 million votes, compared to Mrs. Clinton’s 13 million, and Democratic leaders say she needs time to begin courting the young voters, liberals and other Sanders supporters who view her as an ally of corporate and big-money interests.
But Mr. Sanders has sharpened his language of late, saying Tuesday night that the party faced a choice to remain “dependent on big-money campaign contributions and be a party with limited participation and limited energy” or “welcome into the party people who are prepared to fight for real economic and social change.”
Mr. Sanders’s street-fighting instincts have been encouraged by his like-minded campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, who has been blistering against the Clinton camp and the party establishment. On Wednesday, he took to CNN to accuse Representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz of Florida, the Democratic national chairwoman, of “throwing shade on the Sanders campaign from the very beginning.”
For weeks, some current and former Sanders campaign workers have privately acknowledged feeling disheartened about Mr. Weaver’s determination to go after the Democratic National Committee, fearing a pitched battle with the party they hope to support in the general election. The intraparty fighting has affected morale, they say, and raised concerns that Mr. Weaver, a longtime Sanders aide who more recently ran a comic book store, was not devoted to achieving Democratic unity. Several described the campaign’s message as having devolved into a near-obsession with perceived conspiracies on the part of Mrs. Clinton’s allies.
http://faculty.mercy.edu/pages/309.asp FOR EDITING PURPOSES
||Mercy Home | Shiels | Admissions | Financial Aid |HISTORY/POLITICS|
Non – Civil War
We suspected as much but FOREIGN POLICY (JOURNAL) CONFIRMS IT!
Let’s Try to Avoid Another Nuclear Arms Race, Shall We?
The Republican presidential candidates have no clue how dangerous the current age of nuclear rearmament really is.
BY TOM Z. COLLINA JANUARY 15, 2016l
Let’s Try to Avoid Another Nuclear Arms Race, Shall We?
The Republican presidential debates have covered a range of national security issues, from China, to Islamist terrorism, to the defense budget. But only recently have the candidates begun talking about a key issue: the future of the U.S. nuclear arsenal. That’s the good news. The bad news is how shockingly little they know about the subject.
At the debate on Jan. 14, Ben Carson said he was concerned about adversaries “obtaining nuclear weapons that they can explode in our exoatmosphere and destroy our electric grid.” Rick Santorum mentioned this too, as did Ted Cruz last year. This is a fringe issue, more the stuff of action movies than real life. Hardly prime-time debate material.
But when it comes to the dangers we actually face here in the real world, the candidates don’t fare much better. At the Dec. 15 debate, front-runner Donald Trump tripped over a question about the importance (and budget difficulties) involved in modernizing America’s nuclear triad. In response, he rambled that “nuclear is just the power, the devastation is very important to me,” a statement that plainly showed he hadn’t bothered to do his homework on the issue. In a Jan. 11 interview, Jeb Bush shot back, saying that if Trump wants to be the next president, “the dude ought to try to figure out what the nuclear triad is.”
None of the GOP candidates seem prepared to confront the complexities of our nuclear arsenal. Even worse, they fail to grasp the meat of the issue. Over the last few years, the Obama administration has announced plans to rebuild the U.S. nuclear arsenal, to the tune of $1 trillion over the next 30 years, promising to build 12 nuclear-armed submarines, 100 strategic bombers, about 400 land-based ballistic missiles, 1,000 cruise missiles, and hundreds of upgraded bombs and warheads to go with them. This, from the same president who in 2009 called for world free of nuclear weapons while promising to reduce their role in U.S. national security strategy.
The next president, of whichever party, will inherit this plan, and will have to decide how to implement it. So, at the next GOP debate on Jan. 28, it would reasonable to ask the candidates: Does this plan even make sense?
Consider the fact that the United States still has about 4,700 nuclear weapons in its stockpile. That’s about the same number as Russia, and 20 times more than China; North Korea has about a dozen. It’s safe to say we’ve got far more nuclear weapons than we need. President Ronald Reagan tried and failed to eliminate nukes, but did succeed in negotiating major reductions with Russia, as did both Presidents Bush and Obama. Now, the remaining weapons have aged and we have reached a historic decision point: retire them or replace them? The Obama administration seems to have settled on an answer.
But President Obama’s overblown effort is dangerous. “We’re now at the precipice, maybe I should say the brink, of a new nuclear arms race,” former Secretary of Defense William J. Perry said in Dec. 3 in a speech to the Defense Writers Group. And Perry should know. Serving as Undersecretary of Defense for Research and Engineering in the 1970s and 1980s, he played a key role in the last nuclear buildup, championing such doomsday weapons as the Trident submarine, the B-2 “stealth” bomber and the nuclear-tipped cruise missile.
But now, as the Pentagon seeks to replace its stockpile, Perry and others worry that the Obama administration, without fully debating its options, is rushing ahead to buy out the store.But now, as the Pentagon seeks to replace its stockpile, Perry and others worry that the Obama administration, without fully debating its options, is rushing ahead to buy out the store. Defense planners say the world is a dangerous place, and the United States must rebuild all of its nuclear forces to stay safe. Perry fears this will revive Cold War-era nuclear dangers. “I see an imperative to stop this damn nuclear race before it gets under way again, not just for the cost but for the danger it puts all of us in,” he said.
All of this sends the mistaken message to the rest of the world that nuclear weapons are useful. Why else would the United States spend $1 trillion on them? And if the world’s only superpower wants to invest in new nukes, others surely will want them too.
Moscow will view this as a justification to build new nukes of its own — weapons like the submarine bomb whose design was recently “leaked” by President Vladimir Putin. China, in turn, would expand its forces, as would North Korea, which just conducted its fourth nuclear test. India would react to China, and Pakistan to India. This proliferation only increases the risk that nuclear weapons or materials will wind up in terrorist hands.
What exacerbates the problem are the wishes of the generals at the Pentagon. The Defense Department wants new everything — submarines, bombers, and long-range missiles — despite four years of budget caps. And, so far, it has ignored Obama’s declared goal of reducing the role of nuclear weapons, instead requesting more accurate, lower-yield weapons that might be more likely to be used. Gen. James E. Cartwright, a retired vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told the New York Times this month that “what going smaller does,” for nuclear weapons, “is to make the weapon more thinkable.”
The Obama administration’s nuclear spending plans simply make no sense. It would be like Google investing a trillion dollars in typewriters.The Obama administration’s nuclear spending plans simply make no sense. It would be like Google investing a trillion dollars in typewriters.
That’s because nuclear weapons are artifacts of a bygone era. The greatest dangers to the United States today come from the Islamic State, global warming, and the proliferation of nuclear weapons to other nations or groups. Nuclear weapons play no positive role in countering these threats; deterrence has no impact. France’s nukes did not protect Paris from the recent attacks it suffered. U.S. nuclear weapons in Europe did not keep Russia out of Ukraine, and more or “better” nukes certainly won’t push them out, despite what some analysts might say.
What nukes most certainly do, however, is siphon scarce tax dollars from higher defense priorities. As Perry has said, the United States does not need a new nuclear-tipped cruise missile, nor a new intercontinental ballistic missile. The Navy does not need 12 new nuclear-armed submarines. Such reasonable steps can save tens of billions of dollars over the next decade alone.
The president can begin to set things right by cutting back on the Pentagon’s nuclear wish list in the next defense budget, which is now being finalized. It’s the only way to tell the Pentagon that its “shop ‘til you drop” nuclear spending is over — a message the Republican presidential candidates would be wise to embrace. The Democrats certainly have. Hillary Clinton told a questioner in Iowa on Jan. 7 that spending a trillion dollars on a nuclear reboot “doesn’t make sense to [her].” Bernie Sanders supports legislation to trim billions in fat from the program, while still maintaining a strong arsenal.
Republican candidates say they want to make America safer and reduce federal spending. And yet they support the Obama administration’s nuclear arsenal plan, which threatens to do the opposite. Maybe, as they prepare for the next debate, the candidates should reconsider their thoughts about the future of America’s nuclear force.
Photo Credit: Scott Olson / Getty Images News
From Professor Franklin Jonas, L.I.U. (Long Island University)
Comment: In the NYTimes Sunday review of July 8th, Sam Tanenhaus argues that Donald Trump has performed a service for the GOP by alerting the party (against the will of most of its leaders and thinkers, e.g. George will,)to the alienation of its working class rank and file due to the consequences of ignoring their cries for help. Even if trump is defeated,Tanenhaus argues,the Republican and Democratic elites will have to reckon with the depth and passion of the populism that has been revealed by the victory of
trump in the Republican primary(and ,I would add, the showing of Bernie Sanders on the democratic side).
These developments have nourished the hope of certain “conservative” intellectuals, such as Ross Douthat of the New York times that the Republicans might now seek to become more of a working class party by responding to the widening of inequality among Americans that has taken hold since the 1970s with new programs and polices designed to be of direct benefit to working class families.