Radical Moderates




I hesitate to write often about politics, given my bona fides on the topic are precisely zero. What I do have is a highly developed bull crap detector and a rigorous analytical framework for identifying faulty logic, misinformation, biases and general nonsense.

That BS detector lit up last week while watching FinTV; in my analog days, “pinning the needle” was an expression describing something that was pushed to an extreme. (Think analog audio VU meters).

Something similar was experienced while watching/reading about the primaries, especially, the Biden vs Bernie saga.

I want to be informed; I want facts, and if someone has unique insights, I wan that also. What I get instead is something else entirely, depending on the media outlet: Propaganda,  speculation, bias, false equivalencies, motivated reasoning, gross oversimplifications, and wishful thinking.

It is annoying in political coverage and expensive in market coverage.

The world is much more nuanced and complicated than they way it often gets portrayed in MSM. But a few thoughts get coming back to me as I watched the South Carolina and Suoer Tuesday primaries:

1. National polls are meaningless in an electoral college system. Look at 2016  where the winner lost the national polls (aka popular vote) by almost 2,868,686 votes.

2. Let me remind you: 7 months in electoral politics might as well be 7 years. The past month, hell, the past week, should have convinced you of this.

3. The Dem 2018 40 seat swing in Congress showed the importance of Women, Suburban voters, and Moderates (“Disaffected Republicans in affluent suburbs“). That dynamic has apparently carried forward to 2020. If that trend continues into November, the candidate that polls well with these demographic groups should benefit; It appears voters are assuming it is a necessary (we don’t know if its sufficient) for electoral success.

4. A broad coalition-building candidate who attracts independents and liberal Republicans in swing states seems like a strong contender against a divisive incumbent disliked by many in his own party — especially its establishment — but beloved by its core base.

5. Do not forget that the incumbent narrowly threaded a needle to win in 2016. About 100,000 votes in 4 swing states out of 150,000,000 cast is what decided the 2016 electoral college.

4. If I told you a President had record high stock market and record low unemployment, you would guess their approval ratings would be in the 70s or 90s — not stuck under 50% That is informative about broad voters views on DJT — and his core vulnerability

5. The Corona-virus is a wild card; so far, it has hurt, not helped the incumbent’s image. If it gets worse — and that’s a genuine possibility — I expect this to become a larger campaign issue. If it goes away as the weather warms, it helps the incumbent;

6. Given a choice between a political revolution or a return to normalcy, it seems lots of center left voters are choosing the latter. Indeed, the center left seems to be where most of the Democratic voters are located.

Those are my Super Tuesday observations.

I have 9one last thought: The incumbent is a Bernie Bro, because he perceives that battle as the easier challenger versus Biden, gaffes and all.

If Biden is the nominee, brace yourself for a repeat of “But Her Emails” — only this time over Burisma, with Fox News (once again) as Trump’s enabler.

The tell, the grand reveal, was the sheer silence from Trumpland on Ukraine once Trump’s preferred opponent, Bernie Sanders, became the front runner.

Now, that Sanders looks to have a tougher road to the nomination, watch for the 2020 equivalent of “But Her Emails” returning. Even more Burisma/Ukraine noise will be forthcoming.

If Team Biden — with an assist from the Bank of Bloomberg — hopes to defeat the incumbent, they better have several powerful responses in the ready. They may even want to start testing them now.



UPDATE: March 4, 2020 1:05pm

That was quick: Republicans lean into Biden probe as he surges in Democratic primary.




Re-Engineer Your Media Diet (February 2, 2017)

Reduce the noise levels in your investment process (November 9, 2013)

Lessons from the 2012 election (November 10 2012)

The Tragedy of the Obama Administration (November 2, 2010)

The Tragedy of the Bush Administration (November 2, 2004)

Trump the Revealer (November 4, 2018)


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