Fauxcahontas to Head B-Card Debate


A random drawing has placed Elizabeth Warren as the only candidate polling among the top five on the first evening of the upcoming Democrat debates. Corrie Booker, Robert O’Rourke, Amy Klobuchar, John Delaney, Tulsi Gabbard, Julian Castro, Tim Ryan, Bill de Blasio, and Jay Inslee are scheduled to join her.

The A-Card debate the following night includes Joe Biden, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Pete Buttigieg, Kirsten Gillibrand, Michael Bennet, Marianne Williamson, Eric Swalwell, Andrew Yang, and John Hickenlooper.

New Voters


When a governing elite begins to lose the support of an electorate, one solution that can be applied is to fire the poorly performing voters and replace them. If that can’t be done, then another possible solution can be to hire scab voters to swell the roles and vote as the elites wish. The Washington Free Beacon reports that the House is planning to vote on an immigration amnesty bill that would put around 2.5 million illegal immigrants (read, potential registered Democrats) on the path to citizenship by giving them green cards. The bill has essentially no chance of passing in the Senate, and if it did, it certainly couldn’t be passed over a presidential veto. The vote is another virtue-signaling waste of time by a House that has accomplished next to nothing.

Even if the rest of these illegal immigrants who aren’t already voting in our elections could be added to the roles, if might not change the end results of our elections. You see, they’re concentrated in blue districts in blue states. While their votes might insure great margins of victory for Democrats in local and congressional elections, they unlikely to tip the red state/blue state balance in the Electoral College.

Now, I’m not complaining about the House wasting time. Given the present makeup of the House of Representatives, the country is better off with them doing nothing.

Congress, the Supreme Court, and Impeachment


President Trump has remarked that if the House were to pass articles of impeachment against him that did not properly charge him with a crime (Orange Man Bad isn’t even a misdemeanor), he might go to the Supreme Court seeking to have the impeachment quashed. Various pundits and academics have tut-tut-ed and stated that the President doesn’t understand how impeachment works. Do they?

Alan Dershowitz has a piece over at The Hill suggesting that the President may not be too far off base.

Were Congress to try to impeach and remove a president without alleging and proving any such crime, and were the president to refuse to leave office on the ground that Congress had acted unconstitutionally, there would indeed be such a constitutional crisis. And Supreme Court precedent going back to Marbury v. Madison empowers the justices to resolve conflicts between the executive and legislative branches by applying the Constitution as the supreme law of the land.

Recall that when a president has been impeached by the House, the Supreme Court’s chief justice presides at his Senate trial and the senators take a special oath. This special oath requires each senator to swear or affirm that “in all things pertaining to the trial … [to] do impartial justice according to the Constitution and the law” (italics added).

If the House were to impeach for a non-crime, the president’s lawyer could make a motion to the chief justice to dismiss the case, just as a lawyer for an ordinary defendant can make a motion to dismiss an indictment that did not charge a crime. The chief justice would be asked to enforce the senatorial oath by dismissing an impeachment that violated the words of the Constitution. There is no assurance that the chief justice would rule on such a motion, but it is certainly possible.

No one should criticize President Trump for raising the possibility of Supreme Court review, especially following Bush v. Gore, the case that ended the 2000 election. Many of the same academics ridiculed the notion that the justices would enter the political thicket of vote-counting. But they did and, in the process, weakened the “political question” doctrine. The case for applying the explicit constitutional criteria governing impeachment is far more compelling than was the case for stopping the Florida recount.

So no one should express partisan certainty regarding President Trump’s suggestion that the Supreme Court might well decide that impeaching a president without evidence of high crimes and misdemeanors is unconstitutional.

Read the whole thing.

When Labour Doesn’t Work


Australian Claire Lehmann has an essay over at Quillette with her take on her country’s recent elections and how they fit into some broader trends. Labour did reasonably well in some cities, but lost in rural areas.

The swing against Labor was particularly pronounced in the northeastern state of Queensland—which is more rural and socially conservative than the rest of Australia. Many of Queensland’s working-class voters opposed Labor’s greener-than-thou climate-change policies, not a surprise given that the state generates half of all the metallurgical coal burned in the world’s blast furnaces. Queensland’s rejection of Labor carried a particularly painful symbolic sting for Shorten, given that this is the part of Australia where his party was founded by 19th century sheep shearers meeting under a ghost gum tree. In 1899, the world’s first Labor government was sworn into the Queensland parliament. Shorten’s “wipe-out” in Queensland demonstrates what has become of the party’s brand among working-class people 120 years later.

She goes on to take note of the fact that the parties of the Left have two natural constituencies who are not necessarily natural allies.

Picture a dinner party where half the guests are university graduates with prestigious white-collar jobs, with the other half consisting of people who are trade workers, barmaids, cleaners and labourers. While one side of the table trades racy jokes and uninhibited banter, the other half tut-tuts this “problematic” discourse.

These two groups both represent traditional constituencies of mainstream centre-left parties—including the Labour Party in the UK, the Democrats in the United States, and the NDP in Canada. Yet they have increasingly divergent attitudes and interests—even if champagne socialists paper over these differences with airy slogans about allyship and solidarity.

Progressive politicians like to assume that, on election day at least, blue-collar workers and urban progressives will bridge their differences, and make common cause to support leftist economic policies. This assumption might once have been warranted. But it certainly isn’t now—in large part because the intellectuals, activists and media pundits who present the most visible face of modern leftism are the same people openly attacking the values and cultural tastes of working and middle-class voters. And thanks to social media (and the caustic news-media culture that social media has encouraged and normalized), these attacks are no longer confined to dinner-party titterings and university lecture halls.

So now, the Left is having to deal with a revolt of the Deplorables. Coal miners in Queensland and West Virginia and oil and gas workers in Alberta and on rigs in the North Sea who don’t want any part of a Green Nude Eel are but one example of the split occurring on the Left. However, much of the leadership on the Left seems clueless about why some of their traditional voters might want to keep their jobs or be able to raise their families within cherished traditions. As Jonathan Haidt observed in The Righteous Mind, we humans view moral questions multidimensionally with “liberals” and “conservatives” placing different stress on different attributes. Often, folks on the Left aren’t placing any value on moral questions that are important to other people.

No centre-left party in the Anglosphere has adapted to the ongoing class realignment. Indeed, they lack even the vocabulary to explain what such adaptation would entail—which is why the left’s recent election losses, from Alberta to Adelaide, are blithely chalked up to voter xenophobia or ignorance (a response that, of course, only serves to make their brand problem worse). Until the left finds a way out of this endless loop of toxic pre-election posturing and post-election blame-shifting, such supposedly “shocking” results as was witnessed on Saturday are going to remain a regular occurrence.

Read the whole thing.

Democrats v. Barr


Those of us who live in the DC area can listen to WCSP-FM, the radio station operated by C-SPAN. Yesterday, I had the Barr hearing playing in the background while I was working. It went pretty much as I expected with the Democrats on the committee grasping for straws that might be found in Mueller’s just-released letter complaining about the Attorney General’s initial summary of his report not having a desirable effect on press coverage.

Meh.

Of all the pixels spilled commenting on the Democrats’ behavior, David French’s piece over at NRO may have the best analysis of their real dilemma.

Opinions about Donald Trump are remarkably consistent. While there are significant events that might move the needle between now and the election — a recession, a bungled foreign crisis, irrefutable evidence of major crimes — public opinion is largely set, and each new incremental revelation of dishonesty, impulsiveness, or incompetence simply doesn’t move the needle. If Bill Barr had released Mueller’s summaries instead of his own memo, we’d be having exactly the same debates, impeachment would be just as implausible (and imprudent), and Trump’s approval rating would be unchanged. Trump’s public standing is one piece of stability in our otherwise unstable times.

And it’s driving the Democrats even more crazy.

Better, Faster, Cheaper—Choose Two


That phrase is a rule of thumb that encapsulates a Real Word limitation faced by engineers. When trying to optimize performance across multiple considerations, at least one of them will wind up having to be compromised in order to maximize the performance of the others. It’s clear that whoever wrote Democrat presidential candidate Robert O’Rourke’s climate change plan didn’t understand that Reality requires such trade offs.

Here are a couple of examples of his nonsense.

Strengthen the clean air and hazardous waste limits for power plants and fuel economy standards that save consumers money and improve public health, while setting a trajectory to rapidly accelerate the adoption of zero-emission vehicles …

If the vehicles are going to be zero-emission (tail pipe only), then that’s theoretically possible by switch to electric motors, but such a change has the possibility of creating a terrific hazmat problem related to the recycling and/or disposal of the noxious materials in worn out batteries. If the the vehicles are going to be truly zero-emission, then all forms of combustion used to provide the energy in the mining and processing of raw materials and used to build the vehicles will have to be eliminated. Given that systems such as blast furnaces for steel making run 24/7/365, wind and solar power can’t carry that load. Does this mean more nuclear plants? Higher prices? What?

Set a first-ever, net-zero emissions by 2030 carbon budget for federal lands, stopping new fossil fuel leases, changing royalties to reflect climate costs, and accelerating renewables development and forestation …

More trees is not a bad idea per se, but I wonder if whoever wrote that understands that the principal reason there are now more trees in the industrialized world than there were two centuries ago is that the economy switched from burning wood (a renewable resource) to coal and natural gas (fossil fuels).

Maybe someone who thinks carbon dioxide is a pollutant should stop wasting his breath.