Monthly Archives: October 2020

What is at stake

We vote on Tuesday. The win for which we hope is not a final victory; and most likely there will never be a final victory. Rather, the win for which we hope is the prevention of an utter rout in our cultural war.

The book that I have been serializing at times on this website, on the suicide of the West, includes chapters on the totalitarian id and the cultural revolution. Never did I imagine I would see such a catastrophic, stubborn, complete, hysterical, and dangerous break with reality as we have witnessed on the part of the American left for the past five years. The demonization and destruction of anyone who is not in 100.0000000% agreement with the hyper-woke left has been seen in the last century only in the democidal, totalitarian regimes of the Soviet Union, Nazi Germany, and communist China. It should frighten the people who call themselves “liberal”, but it does not.

There seems to be an expectation on the part of the left that they should win all elections all the time. A failure in one election is attributed to Russian meddling (but Chinese meddling is acceptable), or else to the fundamentally deplorable (Hillary), irredeemable (Hillary), despicable (Booker) nature of the majority of Americans. The obvious practical conclusion is that in order for the left to win again, they must scream at us even more loudly, fire even more of us from our jobs, terrorize us in public and at our homes, until we accept their demand to rule over us. That is the behavior of infants, supported by social media and fists.

This recent article summarizes the toxic stew of academic insanity killing our society: https://newdiscourses.com/2020/10/critical-race-theorys-jewish-problem/

It is described…

as “a mixture of postmodernism, postcolonialism, identity politics, neo-Marxism, critical race theory, intersectionality, and the therapeutic mentality,” to which we should add at least a few drops of the Rousseauian assignment of primacy to instinct, emotion, intuition, feelings, and passion over reason and evidence… This ideology is called by at least some of its proponents by the name “Critical Social Justice.”

Please do not laugh at this description. It sounds like something so foolish that only a professor could believe it. Several trends have cooperated, however, to increase the influence of these mad professors. One is the increasing trend towards college attendance, which has not benefited the country, but only some exceedingly well-paid academic officers.

The more general trend, sweeping up most of the population in its grip, is the uniformization of thought brought about by the pressure of social media. Everyone is a reporter, with his or her smartphone camera, and his or her own social media website. Everyone is a snitch ready to report on violations of conformity.

The president of the college where I teach has announced to the broad college community an interest in “equity in STEM education”. So far, this has not attracted any interest on the part of the STEM faculty. This occurs simultaneously with administrative pressure to remove time limits from tests and from assignments, and pressure to replace substantive course content with group therapy sessions exploring how students may have had their feelings hurt years ago. The same college is exploring how to replace required classroom courses with “experiential learning”.

Never have these credentialed activists been troubled by deep thoughts, such as the following: once everyone has a degree, what is a degree worth?

Nor are the activists troubled by practical thoughts, such as the following.

How does calling potential swing voters stupid and evil help me win their votes?

How does killing job growth and opposing school choice help me win minority voters?

How does keeping students out of school forever, and young people prisoners in their homes forever, help me win their support?

How does opposing cheap, safe, and effective medicine like hydroxychloroquine help me save the lives of the voters I am trying to court?

The left has openly proclaimed their glee at watching the murders or attempted murders of police officers, praying for white genocide, praying for the deaths of the first family, and openly calling for the overthrow of the American government. The last item is a crime, and it is not protected by free speech.

The left loots, riots, assaults, batters, threatens, and incites, with absolutely no consequences from law enforcement officers or justice officials. The crimes are violent crimes, corruption, sedition, and treason, and the so-called “Justice Department” will not prosecute such crimes.

The re-election of Donald Trump will not solve our problems, without a real commitment by him to start enforcing our laws, no matter who the perpetrator may be. Social media messages are not enough. Action is needed, swift, certain, and severe.

I will end with a prayer composed by a rabbi in Israel:

https://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/289959

May He who blessed our Patriarchs, Avraham, Yitzhak, and Yaakov, Moshe and Aharon and David and Shlomo, also bless the good name of our President Donald John the son of Fred Trump, in order that he should accept upon himself the duty to sustain and protect the Jews. And his reward for this should be that the Holy One, Blessed Be He, should protect him and rescue him from all his trials and tribulations, and from all suffering and disease; and may the days and years of his leadership be lengthened.

May it be His will that he be granted four additional years of the presidency, and that He send [Trump] blessing and success in all his undertakings that relate to the Jewish People who love him – may this be His will, and let us say, Amen.

Bias in the polls

This is likely to be my final post regarding forecasting the presidential election, prior to the election itself. We are nine days away from Election Day, and it is time to set the closing strategy into place. The Biden campaign has already decided to hide for the next nine days, but I expect the president to be more active.

There are two major sources I examine for state-level polls; 270 To Win, and Real Clear Politics. National polls are irrelevant, because of the Electoral College. Either way you look at it, President Trump is far behind. He cannot win, if the polls are accurate.

We discovered four years ago, however, that there was substantial bias in the polls. Due to intense social pressure, it became risky to identify publicly as a Trump supporter. The bias in state polls has been estimated at 4-6% in 2016.

This year, it is not merely risky, but downright dangerous – even life-threatening – to identify publicly as a Trump supporter. One analyst believes that as a consequence, the understated support for Trump this year is approximately double the level in 2016, which would put it at 8-12%.

Earlier today, I computed the effect of bias in state polls on the results in the Electoral College. The results are shown below.

If the polls are completely accurate, Trump earns about 198 electoral votes, far less than the 270 needed to win. As pro-Biden bias increases, so does Trump’s electoral share. Trump gets to the magic number of 270 once there is at least 5.2% pro-Biden bias in the polls, which is within the range from 2016.

Trump can match his 2016 electoral performance once there is 7.1% bias. Once there is 7.3% bias, Trump can win all his 2016 states, and flip Nevada and Minnesota as well. This would give Trump a 321-217 win in the Electoral College. New Hampshire, worth 4 more votes, is more of a stretch, requiring 9.9% bias to flip. No other states are realistic for Trump.

Here is our final map for state campaign value.

Of the states where polls show President Trump officially behind (assuming no bias), the following are critical for victory: North Carolina, Florida, Arizona, Wisconsin, and any one or more of the following: Pennsylvania, Nevada, Michigan, and Minnesota. If Wisconsin is lost, then the following can make up the difference: Pennsylvania alone; Michigan alone; or Nevada plus Minnesota.

News stories suggest that Democrats will pull every dirty trick to steal Pennsylvania. The Trump campaign needs good legal representation there. However, the election can be won without Pennsylvania.

Returning to my forecast for the national popular vote, it appears that President Trump has about a 94% chance of winning the popular vote outright, by a margin of about 3.5%. When a Republican wins the popular vote, an electoral win is almost guaranteed.

State campaign value, October 18

The same 11 states as last week remain the highest priority for the presidential campaigns. Here is the map, followed by the table.

StatePercent of national total
Florida16.2
Texas8.7
North Carolina8.6
Pennsylvania7.8
Arizona6.9
Georgia6.1
Michigan5.3
Ohio4.9
Wisconsin3.5
Minnesota2.9
Virginia2.5

The news showed President Trump in California, where polls show him more than 31 points behind. This is a waste of time for the presidential campaign, and could only be justified on the basis of helping in specific congressional races.

Of the top 11 states listed above, every one seems a likely Trump win except for Virginia, where polls show him about 11 points behind. While there appears to be extensive bias in the polls based on 2016 results, no poll in that year was more than 10 points biased. We should be cautious in our pessimism; one analyst estimated that the size of the “shy Trump vote” is twice as large as in 2016, due to immense social pressure.

We present a new national electoral forecast based on the model we described last week. It is modified by denying Trump any states where the poll average has him losing by more than 10 points. Even under this restriction, Trump retains his 2016 states and expands his base by flipping Minnesota, Nevada, and New Hampshire, for a 325-213 win over Biden.

The Suicide of the West: The weakness of conservatism

From the presidency of Ronald Reagan through the presidency of Donald Trump, there has been a consensus around the “conservatarian” flavor of conservatism. This is the libertarian version of conservatism, wherein freedom is identified as Western civilization’s highest value. Conservatarianism appeals to free-market capitalists. Conservatarianism is projected back into the 18th century as the political philosophy that America’s Founding Fathers must have espoused, although there is no evidence to justify such a projection. Conservatarianism also serves as a form of outreach from conservatives to the growing constituency of drug addicts.

The identity of conservatism with libertarianism is not axiomatic, however. An important point was raised during the 2016 Republican primary debates, which itself echoed an interesting moment from the 2000 general election debates. In 2000, then governor George W. Bush was asked who his favorite philosopher was, most likely in an attempt to embarrass a man who could not, as a Republican, possibly be educated. Bush replied that his favorite philosopher was Jesus, no doubt scandalizing the reporter who asked the question and his leftist fans.

In 2016, an analogous question was asked of candidate Donald Trump, with similar motivation. The question was to identify of what conservatism consisted. The answer given in an earlier post, on the principles of conservatism, would not have been appropriate in the debate context, which values speed over substance. Mr. Trump replied in the best possible way. He said that conservatism is the desire to conserve something, an assertion I have not heard from any “conservative” politician in my lifetime.

This begs the obvious question: what is to be conserved? The answer is that there must be some form of continuity in society, in its culture, in its civilization. A society that founds its charter on the principle that it stands for nothing will soon become nothing, as some European countries are now discovering.

Libertarianism announces:

though I may disagree with what you say, I will defend to my death your right to advocate for my death;

your right to swing your fist extends all the way up to the point where my nose begins;

freedom means exporting all the jobs in my community to another country;

freedom means celebrating drug addictions, deaths, and family destruction;

freedom means open borders for rapists, murderers, and terrorists;

for the time being, I have the right to disagree with pedophilia and bestiality, provided I do not say so publicly.

Not even Thomas Paine, I suspect, would agree with all these statements. They became part of mainstream consensus conservatism in a futile effort to avoid engaging in the culture wars. This effort was always destined to be futile because the cultural Marxist left will accept nothing less than total victory: the utter dissolution of Western civilization. President Reagan would not attend the March for Life, and President Trump will not denounce same-sex “marriage”. Indeed, today’s Republican party is quite proud of the growing support it is achieving among advocates of sexual perversity. True believers tone down their faith so as not to threaten the “big tent”.

Nowadays, a nominee for Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States is being pressured to reassure the general public that her thoroughly mainstream Christianity will have no influence whatsoever on her jurisprudence. It is, of course, rank hypocrisy to insist that public affairs be conducted according to the anti-theistic religion of cultural Marxism, and not to allow room for advocates of theistic religions, who happen to constitute the large majority of the citizenry, not to mention the founders of the country.

Libertarianism remains a useful component of the conservative’s philosophical palette, because it gives us the opportunity to identify where we may be mistaken. That does not mean that libertarianism is the very goal of life. I want to transmit to the next generation a knowledge of, and grateful appreciation of, absolute truth, goodness, and beauty. This requires a degree of cultural conservatism of which conservatarianism is incapable.

Conservatarianism gazes sadly at victims of the cultural Marxists’ rage, and offers nothing more than thoughts and prayers over their broken lives. The suicides of Professor Mike Adams and Jake Gardner were celebrated by the left, and bothered conservatives no more than to elicit sad shakes of the head and dark conspiracy theories. Indeed, the imagined weakness of their final acts could only be evidence that they failed in their faith; true religious conservatives would pick themselves up by the bootstraps and… start a consulting business! (So I was advised after multiple personal setbacks.)

The libertarian streak in conservatism is described as our pride in individualism. When one conservative is under withering attack, other conservatives whisper their support privately, as I know from repeated personal experience, and they rush forward to… pray.

Prayer is not always the correct response to every crisis in life. This is clear from two biblical passages. After the Israelite escape from Egypt under the leadership of Moses, and the Egyptian army’s pursuit of the Israelites to the edge of the Red Sea, Moses prays to God. God responds in Exodus 14:15: “Why do you cry to me? Speak to the people of Israel, that they go forward.” Action was required, not prayer.

This idea is echoed in Leviticus 19:16: “You shall not stand [idly] upon the blood of your fellow.” That is, when your fellow is threatened or injured, you must do more than whispering your private support. You must speak aloud and act.

Leftists are more muscular in expressing their outrage, and they are more cohesive. This weakness on the part of conservatives will be explained later in this blog.

State campaign value, October 11

With new polls coming in, there are some changes to our national map. Let us go right to the map, and follow it with discussion.

The top 11 states have about 71% of total national value. They are:

StatePercent of national value
Florida12.8
North Carolina9.1
Texas9.0
Arizona6.8
Pennsylvania6.7
Georgia6.5
Ohio5.7
Michigan5.2
Wisconsin3.6
Virginia2.8
Minnesota2.7

Several of these top swing states have drifted gradually to be slightly more favorable for Trump than they were a few weeks ago.

One news report last week claimed that the Trump campaign was pulling resources out of Michigan, claiming the state is not winnable. That would be a mistake. Michigan is winnable and is even improving over the last week. The Trump campaign should not underestimate the resentment created by the draconian lockdown in Michigan this year.

More importantly, a blogger (I forgot who) on Twitter was able to find polling results from Real Clear Politics from four years ago and compare it to RCP polling results today in the swing states. She identified two important facts. First, the polls of four years ago underestimated Trump’s margin of victory by six to ten percentage points, which is well beyond the so-called margin of error. Presumably, this points to a biased sample (the shy Trump voter). Second, Trump is polling better today than he did four years ago. Her conclusion is that Trump should win these states this year even more easily.

My previous presidential election forecast was published one week ago here: https://surakblog.wordpress.com/2020/10/07/presidential-election-forecast-2020/

It was based on two important variables. The first is the 16-year presidential cycle (two Republican terms followed by two Democrat terms), which has not been violated since 1980, and only once since 1940. The second is the year-over-year percentage increase in real disposable personal income per capita, measured in the last quarter of the last full year before the election.

I have now identified a third variable with a strong correlation to the election outcome. This is the relative enthusiasm gap, measured in the following way. For each of the two main parties’ presidential nominees, determine what percentage of the vote they earned in the primary elections, and subtract one from the other. The candidate with the larger share of the primary vote will find it easier to win election.

Incorporating all three variables into one model has improved the model. R-squared (the explanatory power of the model) is now up to a huge 85.6%. The margin of error has shrunk even more, but is still at plus or minus 8.75% (95% confidence).

The new model forecasts a Trump margin of victory of 6.03% in the popular vote, up from 4.43% in the previous model. The boost provided by the Electoral College portends a landslide, with Trump over Biden, 363 to 175. The following map depicts the statewide forecast.

This new map adds Maine and Oregon to the previous map’s sweep. Caution is still advised, as last week; Trump is trailing in Maine, New Mexico, and Oregon by more than 14 points in the polls. Even a 10-point improvement in his favor, correcting for bias, is not enough to win those states. Last week’s forecast 2 seems most realistic, with Trump over Biden 347 to 191.

Civil war or revolution?

A recent article by Don Feder at Front Page Magazine has re-opened the discussion regarding what type of period we are living through: a civil war or a revolution? https://www.frontpagemag.com/fpm/2020/10/elements-revolution-are-all-place-don-feder-0/

The author makes the case that we are living through a left-wing revolution: “Like France in 1789, Russia in 1917 and Germany in 1932…” I would have added to that list the Chinese Cultural Revolution. America’s ANTIFA and BLM revolution resembles all of the above. These five revolutions have in common the absolute destruction of every element of the existing culture; the denial of human nature; hysteria; cruelty; mobs; mass violence; and a snitch culture.

Eric Hoffer’s The True Believer is a compact treatment of the common features of fanatics of the left and the right, secular and religious. I highly recommend this volume, still in print. One of the notable events described in this book was an interview conducted with a Nazi official. He was proud of his movement’s ability to recruit communists. We have been assured that communists and nazis are polar opposites. This official recognized the common element of fanaticism on behalf of a greater cause. We might call that “a higher loyalty”.

Many conservative readers have already accepted the reality of our current moment as a revolution. Our question is how patriots should respond. Will everything be settled by the next election?

Candidate Donald Trump was asked repeatedly and frantically in 2016 whether he would accept the election results – on the presumption that, of course, he would lose. Instead, the next four years – the past four years – have demonstrated the left’s inability to accept the election results. The identical question is being posed this year to President Trump – for the same reason – and it is not being posed to the Democrats, who should really be answering the question. Today’s announcement by Speaker Pelosi of a commission to investigate President Trump’s fitness for office, 26 days before the election, is insulting.

At Natural News, Mike Adams makes the case that whatever the outcome of the election, the country is in the process of being torn apart, by an extremity of hysterical violence the likes of which have not been seen since the 1860s, and perhaps never: https://www.naturalnews.com/2020-09-20-timeline-of-events-sep-20-to-jan-20.html

In other words, the left will not accept even a clear Trump win – but we knew this already from the last four years. Thus: how do we preserve America? Is it through civil war, or revolution?

This was the animated discussion that took place in the comments section of the Front Page Magazine article linked near the top. The majority said civil war is required to subdue the left. I have advocated for peaceful separation. I think a good argument can be made for both sides. I will try to present the best arguments for both sides, and leave it to the readers to contribute respectfully and realistically.

I think the differences between left and right are larger than they have been in the past. I produced evidence of this in my first post on this blog, showing that Republicans have become slightly more conservative, while Democrats have become far more leftist. Our differences are irreconcilable. I cannot imagine Presidents Roosevelt, Truman, and Kennedy at home in today’s Democrat party. The left generally rejects God; rejects borders on our country; rejects our national cultural heritage; rejects property; rejects the biological reality of sex; demeans Christianity and Judaism; demeans whites and east Asians; demeans men; promotes sexuality among children. Some on the cutting edge of the educational establishment state openly that mathematics is racist, and that we need “equity” in STEM education.

Cultural leadership is firmly in the hands of the radical left. This includes: current and former Democrat politicians; teachers, professors, academic administrators, and school boards; the media; social media leaders; high-tech leaders; big business leaders; financiers; government bureaucrats.

This last group, government bureaucrats, ensures that the enforcement of the law is upon one class of people alone. Equal justice under law no longer exists. Law enforcement will invent crimes with which to persecute innocent patriots with paramilitary fervor. Horrendous real crimes committed by the privileged left are not prosecuted. Indeed, the idea of enforcing the written law is seen by the left as cruel. (There is a reason for that, to be discussed in another chapter in my book.) Law enforcement is now politics by other means.

Such a society is not America. A second civil war could bring the radical left cultural leadership under control, I believe, only at the cost of millions of lives. This would be a horror show of house-to-house fighting that would inflict Fallujah on most counties in the United States. I welcome sincerely any explanation of how to tame the radical left cultural leadership without the loss of millions of lives.

I prefer the option of separation. I believe that our government is as powerful and abusive as anything the Americans experienced in the 1770s. The list of charges against the British government rings true – with some changes in detail.

Below, I provide a map of the 2016 presidential election results by county, focusing on the most partisan counties. Counties that voted for Trump are shown in blue; those that voted for Clinton are red. The darkness of the color corresponds to the size of the margin of victory. The counties shown in color are those where at least two-thirds of voters supported one of the candidates. That is, these are counties with at least a 2:1 preference for one candidate.

These are two landmasses that could be made happier by separating from one another. They have roughly comparable populations (the red, Democrat region is slightly more populous). The blue region (America) contains most of America’s food, minerals, and natural resources. I do not see how the red region (Alinsky) survives long on its own, but they are welcome to try. Perhaps after an experience like the conclusion of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged, they will learn a difficult lesson and petition to rejoin America.

Skeptics point out, correctly, that such an arrangement would require borders, fences, walls, and a willingness to shoot to keep out infiltrators. Self-defense is an inalienable right in America, so such an observation does not constitute an objection.

I welcome your respectful and realistic comments.