Donald Trump

Are Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders Tapping into Rage Against the Machine?

Hey ho, hey ho, the status quo has got to go - especially if you're a Mexican or really rich.

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Todd Krainin/Reason

Glenn Reynolds, the Instapundit, interviewed GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina for USA Today and asked her about the Donald Trump bubble, which may have already popped given the Republican furor over his slagging of John McCain.

Here's the former HP CEO's take on why a loudmouth with no political experience is sitting atop current GOP polls:

"People are angry that things as common sense as securing the border and eliminating sanctuary cities are being framed as extreme views. They are tired of empty rhetoric without action, and they are hungry for a leader from outside the professional political class.  I think we need a real plan, which is why I have offered a much more specific approach to securing the border, fixing the legal immigration system and addressing illegal immigration."

Whole interview here.

That answer reminds me of a new Pizza Hut product: Where will they find new places to stuff more cheese into a fricking pizza? For Fiorina and seemingly all other Republican candidates (including, alas, Rand Paul), you've got to figure out how to stuff immigrants, illegals, sanctuary cities, immigrants, uncontrolled borders, sanctuary cities, illegals, and illegals into every possible answer, in as many ways as possible. And would you like to buy a side order of illegals, immigrants, and uncontrolled borders with that?

Gallup has a different view. It periodically asks "people" what they think is the "nation's most important problem." Unsurprisingly, a strong plurality—33 percent—say it's the economy in one form or another. In an open-ended query, respondents in early June (the most recent poll period) suggested things such as "economy in general" and "unemployment/jobs." A total of 6 percent overall brought up "immigration/illegal aliens" while more than twice that number (14 percent) mentioned "dissatisfaction with government."

Over at the Pittsburgh Tribune, Salena Zito has a better read on things than Fiorina. She notes the Trump insurgency and matches it with Bernie Sanders' surprisingly popular run on the Democratic side and argues

Americans are just tired of it all. Tired of no one speaking honestly to them, tired of being told they cannot speak honestly….

Think about this: For two administrations, Democrats, Republicans and independents effectively have been told to hold their tongues. During the Bush administration, you were unpatriotic if you criticized the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; during the Obama administration, you're a racist if you criticize the president or his policies.

In a span of a few days last week, Americans witnessed Washington's glaring failure with disbelief.

First, the government admitted that Social Security numbers, fingerprints, passwords and other personal information of more than 22 million federal workers, all used to conduct background screenings, were hacked on the Obama administration's watch.

Then a whistleblower leaked an internal Department of Veterans Affairs document to the Huffington Post, showing that more than 238,000 of the 847,000 military veterans with pending applications for health care through the VA had already died.

Finally, the FBI admitted that flaws in paperwork and communications between a federal background-check worker and state law enforcement allowed Dylann Roof to buy a handgun in South Carolina, weeks before he allegedly killed black churchgoers.

Read the whole thing.

Fiorina—who does tell Reynolds that "people are tired of the status quo"—cannot or will not speak ill of her own party, which is itself part of the problem that Zito is describing. Unless you are a fully vested member of one of the two dominant political tribes, you're likely to see the problem being "Washington" or "government" writ large and to see continuity between the failure and b.s. of the Bush and Obama years (who started TARP again, and tried his own failed stimulus, and OK'ed surveillance programs, extended wars, and expanded budget-busting entitlements?).

Candidates such as Trump and Sanders who are willing to attack their own party stand out as truth-tellers no matter how stupid, offensive, or idiotic they and their plans may be (and let's be honest: Sanders' economics are as dumb as the Donald's views toward Mexicans are malformed). 

Of course, it could be that Zito is giving likely Republican primary voters who are warming to Trump too much credit. A July 13-15 Fox News poll taken of likely GOP primary voters had Trump winning 18 percent of the vote, with Scott Walker in second place with 15 percent and Jeb Bush in third with 14 percent. When it came to questions about the benefits of legal and illegal immigration, Republicans were less than half as likely as Democrats to have positive thoughts. So 46 percent of Dems think legal immigration provides a major benefit, compared with just 21 percent of Republicans. When it comes to illegal immigrants, 46 percent of Republicans want to "deport as many as possible," compared to just 18 percent of Democrats.

So maybe Trump is simply tapping into anti-immigrant sentiments that have become a big part of Republican politics over the past several years (at least since George W. Bush first pushed the DREAM Act after winning re-election and was rebuffed by his own party). And Sanders is likely tapping into a hard-core progressive wing of the Democrats who, after being disappointed with Obama for being insufficiently proggy, rightly understand that Hillary is ultimately an Establishment player.

I do think Zito is correct when she writes

Donald Trump is going nowhere in this election cycle; neither is Bernie Sanders….Trump and Sanders are reflections of the unrest, not the leaders we are seeking.

Folks in the early stages of election cycles may be more easily drawn to extreme candidates, even if they end up settling for more centrist ones. Here's the rub this time: Given the wide distrust in the government, desire for some form of economic wisdom and belief in innovation, and rising social tolerance, the most mainstream candidate in 2016 would be the one toeing a generally libertarian line of free minds and free markets. Majorities of Americans believe in things such as gay marriage and pot legalization and immigration (that Fox poll finds 64 percent want a path for illegals to become legal). They also generally want a government that does less and spends less.

It's a shame that neither of the major parties, despite seemingly hundreds of candidates, can cough up even one goddamn character who is at least willing to articulate an agenda that would include shrinking the size of government while also growing the scope of individual choice.

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296 responses to “Are Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders Tapping into Rage Against the Machine?

  1. I blame Bush.

    1. War on Womanz?

      Et Tu, Sarc?

    2. I blame Kate Bush.

      1. You’ve been runnin’ up that hill?

        1. Don’t give up — you might be funny one of these days.

          1. Not a Kate Bush fan, huh.

        1. +1 Don’t fall for this.

    3. Well, duh. 15 years ago everything was perfect.

    4. His comment on John McCain was not that bad. I like people that take on the current government crooks that are running every aspect of our lives. Now Hillary wants to raise taxes on capital gains, and lower taxes on government employees. She even wants the current system of government workers committing tax evasion to be expanded to all government workers. For example, the worst 350,000 current and former federal employees owe over 3.5 billion in unpaid taxes, and the IRS does not go after them. If they were not government people they would be in prison for decades! But, we all know Hillary Clinton will be our next president for eight years. It’s what the people want, and deserve.

    5. As well you should. Right along with Obozo.

      As for the poll results: “Unsurprisingly, a strong plurality?33 percent?say it’s the economy in one form or another.” (is their biggest concern) – I wonder whether a followup question of “Do you think criminal aliens help or hurt our economy” would make people understand that 12-20 million criminal aliens sucking the life blood out of America, and the 5-8 million tech workers companies like Oracle and Microsoft have imported (thus displacing American STEM college grads) are a major drain on the American economy.

      When Siemans in Orlando, or Cal Edison in California lays off their American workers – requiring them to train their foreign replacements to get a severance package – when Microshit lays off ~5000 workers and hires more than 4000 H-1B workers the next year – someone should be getting a clue (Reason).

      No goring that sacred cow here on Reason, though.

  2. Bernie Sanders caption contest GO:

    “Smell my finger. SMELL IT.”

    1. “This alt-text better not compare my hair to Donald Trump’s, or so help me God….”

    2. “I’ll relieve you of the burden of too many choices.”

      1. Nice.

    3. “OK, just one more shot, then I’m done.”

    4. “This is how many proctologists you need.”

    5. “Stop!, before you say another word…NO! I am not a fucking Colonel!”

  3. I want what Nick is smoking.

  4. You know what happened the last time a group of people blindly voted for change?

    1. The Roman Republic was replaced by an empire?

      1. easily solved with a political assassination. Right? I mean, Brutus fixed everything.

    2. They got themselves a pocket full of change?

    3. They agreed with Donald Trump that John McCain was not presidential material?

    4. They got the condo board president they deserved, good and hard?

  5. If the Democrats don’t like it that a full on socialist is talking to people about their corporate cronyism and the Republicans don’t like it that a circus clown is talking to people about their utter cowardice on immigration, then the solution is to start being honest about those issue so the socialist and the circus clown no longer have an audience.

    Our political class has somehow got it in their heads that if they just ignore and tell the country to fuck off every time it has a concern or value contrary to elite opinion, the opinion will go away. The elites think that since they are conformist, craven assholes who will believe anything required to be a part of the elite everyone else is. Well, everyone else isn’t like that and their solution to being told to fuck off isn’t to bow down and believe what is necessary to fit in. Their solution is to listen to any politician who is willing to talk to them. And chances are that empty field won’t be filled by anyone good.

    1. Pretty much. Although sometimes I wonder if the elites actually do think folks will conform, or if they just insist on not believing those people even exist.

      1. They totally think people will conform. They have no idea that anyone could not be just like them.

        1. They have no idea that anyone could not be just like them.

          I find that this is pretty much every person on Earth, full stop. It’s certainly responsible for the rampant busybody-ism we see.

          1. I wouldn’t say every person. I am not like that. I fully understand that there are a lot of people out there I really don’t want to meet and see the world in ways and think in ways that are totally antithetical to how I do.

            I have an unfair advantage in that I have actually been around a lot of different kinds of people in both this country and abroad and I have this odd habit of listening to people and taking them seriously.

            I think our elites’ problem is two fold. First, they all come from virtually the same background and have had little or no contract with the rest of the country or anyone from abroad who isn’t just like them. Second, to the extent that they have had contact, they are such arrogant assholes they don’t listen or take such people seriously. They write off anyone not just like them as a liar or an idiot and never take what they are saying seriously. So they never understand how other people think and are constantly taken off guard when people don’t conform to their expectations.

            1. So they never understand how other people think and are constantly taken off guard when people don’t conform to their expectations.

              Remember all those angry Town Hall meetings? With few exceptions, the Congresscritters were shocked that the sovereign electorate was pissed off. They are such cowards they started cancelling them or showing up with armed escorts and barricaded themselves away from the rabble.

              something something Tree of Liberty something something

              1. These idiots don’t understand or know how to relate to the people in this country. Now, imagine how awful they are at doing that with people in other countries, especially ones with really alien cultures in the Middle East or Africa. This is why our diplomatic and intelligence efforts are always such disasters. The people who run them don’t understand the people they are dealing with. Worse still, they easily taken in by elites from these countries who look, talk and act like our elites. Give me someone from Afghanistan or Somalia but hasn’t been home in 20 years, put them in a suit, give them a degree from Harvard or Cambridge and let them speak at Davos or Foggy Bottom and those dumb bastards will believe anything he tells them about his native country, no matter how self serving and counter factual. Meanwhile, go get someone from one of those countries who lives there and understands the place, but don’t give him a degree or put him in a suite and have him talk like they do, and they won’t give him the time of day.

                And yet, we wonder why we fail so much.

              2. I’m reminded of when the radio show On The Media was new. It was a lot of introspection-by-extrospection by media pros. The show usually consisted mostly of 1 or more examples of how clueless the pro media were. They were really shocked to learn how little they actually understood things. Yet it seemed they couldn’t help being the way they were, as demonstrated show after show. Keep in mind, I’m not just saying that the listener to the program would come away with the impression of clueless media pros, but additionally that it consisted of the pros themselves saying they were clueless.

                1. But when I said “new”, I don’t mean right off the bat. It took them a few shows before they noticed that pattern. Once the did, they dwelled heavily on it. They usually evinced not clue how to do anything about it, though, and frequently said exactly that too. They were lamenting its intractability.

        2. Honestly, I’m not sure they even expect that people will conform. I think its more a matter that doubting conformance is just something they view as unacceptable.

    2. As long as a Democrat or Republican wins, they will keep doing what they do.

      1. maybe. The problem is that the day someone who is not that wins, that someone is likely to be a lot worse than either of those two. And even if they are not, they will be a lot worse for the establishment than they are for us.

        1. The problem is that the day someone who is not that wins…

          I don’t see that happening anytime soon. I think Campaign Finance Reform was the final nail in that coffin.

          1. I don’t either and that fact means when it does happen, it will be someone really extreme.

            1. And not extreme in the right way. Extreme like “I support all of the worst, murderous and most failure ridden socialist policies of the last century.”

              1. That’s right. The failure of government policies to do – everything they’ve tried to do – will justify even more government control.

        2. If a true outsider wins you will witness a total kumbaya moment in American politics as the Dems and the GOP come together to destroy the outsider.

          Look at Jesse Ventura in Minnesota. The establishment was united in their hatred of him. There was no way they were going to let him get any sort of traction and have a real 3rd party get rolling here.

    3. a lot of good points with the exception of this: The elites think that since they are conformist, craven assholes who will believe anything required to be a part of the elite everyone else is.

      The elites do not give a shit about anyone else.

    4. I would think this true even if I didn’t have libertarian opinions.

  6. after being disappointed with Obama for being insufficiently proggy, rightly understand that Hillary is ultimately an Establishment player.

    The silly Bernie progressives are anti-trade, anti-business like the Squaw is. Obama’s support of two giant Free Trade Agreements have pissed them off.

    Good riddance. Bernie will flame out before February.

    1. This is PB’s most sane comment to date. He’s probably right that Bernie will flame out before February … something like Dean in January ’04.

      PB, does this mean that you’re Ready for Hilary!? She really seems wishy-washy on her trade agreements.

      1. PB, does this mean that you’re Ready for Hilary!? She really seems wishy-washy on her trade agreements.

        The polling data isn’t in yet on how Hilary should claim to feel about the “free trade” agreement.

      2. Hillary is a finger-in-the-wind pol (she became a Cheney like hawk when Bush had a 90% approval rating after 9/11).

        I am for Brian Schweitzer but he can’t beat Hil-Dog.

        I will probably vote LP again as I live in red state Georgia.

        But if it is Hi-Dog vs ol’ Jeb? Shit, the country can’t take a repeat of full power GOP like in 2001-2007.

      3. Is this a reference to Hilary’s strap-on?

        Or does “Ready for Hilary” have some other meaning attached.

  7. Americans are just tired of it all. Tired of no one speaking honestly to them…

    For every American voter who pines to be spoken honestly to, there are three who will mindlessly digest whatever devastating analysis of that honest speech comes at them from the talking hairdo on their favored network news channel. Candidates who speak honestly tend to attract the venom of pundits ready to pick apart as racist or sexist or classist any nuance-free discussion of the problems of the day.

  8. “A total of 6 percent overall brought up “immigration/illegal aliens” while more than twice that number (14 percent) mentioned “dissatisfaction with government.””

    Sure, but what’s the percentage of Republican primary voters who thought immigration/illegal immigration is the most important issue? I’m willing to bet that as someone becomes more conservative they become more likely to vote in the primary, in which case Trump’s high polling for the primary would be entirely because of a high number of Republican voters who are obsessed with this particular issue.

    1. or, like GJ said, there are a lot of racists who feel they finally have a candidate who will allow their bigotry to bask in sunshine.

      1. yes, Obama; it’s always racism, no other possibility exists. Because people think it’s a spectacular idea to reward people whose first contact with the country is to ignore its laws, especially when there is a massive welfare state in place. I could give a shit if illegals were Scandinavians; that I look like them doesn’t make it okay.

        1. Well, given that a Scandinavian can immigrate with relative ease and mexican’s have an average wait time of 99 years if they try to do it legally… is it any wonder why they would skip the line?

          On top of that, who are YOU to tell me who I can and can’t hire based on where they were born and who gave them permission to come here? Who are you to tell me who I can rent and sell a home to? It’s all control and force.

          And, with Trumpites, racism.

          1. “Well, given that a Scandinavian can immigrate with relative ease”

            Scandinavians can immigrate with relative ease? To the US?

            1. relative to the ease of our brown and spanish speaking cousins.

              1. Evidence?

                1. http://nbclatino.com/2013/04/1…..-how-long/

                  “Diversity lottery: The annual Diversity Visa program makes 55,000 green cards available to persons from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Countries with high rates of immigration to the United States are not eligible. Applicants must have a high school education and two years of job experience. Number of visas per year: 55,000 visas”

                  So, 2 people want in, 1 from mexico, 1 from sweden. Neither have family or work here to sponsor them. The 1 from mexico can’t get in- the swede has a chance.

                  Even if they are both related to a US citizen, the wait time can be dramatically less for a swede than a mexican.

                  1. Ah, you’re talking about the lottery. I thought you meant Swedes were simply fast tracked over Mexicans.

                    (of course the lottery does apply to “brown and Spanish speakers” just not Mexicans)

                    1. not if they have a high immigration rate via other channels.. meaning most central americans are out.

                    2. “not if they have a high immigration rate via other channels.. meaning most central americans are out.”

                      According to the website, most South and Central American nations are in.

                      As well as Spain, and most of Africa (I’ve been assuming they can safely be counted as brown, for the most part)

  9. I think the Democrats have bigger problems with Sanders and the lunatic fringe of their party than the Republicans do with Trump. Trump is an assclown expressing ideas that are largely acceptable to the country in offensive and idiotic ways. Sanders isn’t an assclown but is expressing ideas that are totally unacceptable to the majority of voters. The Republicans can solve the Trump problem by just being honest and representing the interests and views of their supporters in a non offensive way. The Democrats can’t do that, at least if they want to win at the national level. It should be pretty easy, though admittedly difficult for most crap weasel Republicans to circumvent Trump by addressing the concerns of his supporters and still remain competitive nationally. It is going to be nearly impossible for the Democrats to do that with Sanders’ supporters.

    Worse still, Trump is such a clown and so offensive there is a good chance he is going to implode on his own. Sanders, whatever you think of his positions, is an experienced politician. The guy has been elected to the Senate multiple times. He is not going to implode into a pile of tragic comic douchery the way Trump is likely to.

    1. The better comparison is to Rand Paul.

      Both Bernie and Rand are experienced Senators that each represent a dedicated ideological fringe component of the political spectrum.

      1. The majority of the country will not support a self professed socialist. The only advantage the Democrats have is that their supporters tend to be like you in that they are utter brain dead retards who will show up and vote D no matter what. Republicans and Conservatives because they actually think and have a mind of their own rather than a hive mind don’t do that and vote third party or stay home if they are pissed off enough.

        1. I have my doubts that the majority of the country would vote for Paul.

          1. I don’t know. Paul would get a lot more votes than Snaders. I think Sanders would get the 40% vote D no matter what and no one else. I think Paul would pull enough independents and Libertarians to get at least 45%. Also, Paul is more willing to look centrist and moderate than Sanders. Sanders is all fire breather.

            The other problem Sanders has is that I think he actually believes what he says and wouldn’t back off on guns. I could see a decent number of Progs staying home or voting Green over that.

          2. Rand Paul would win 300 EVs vs Brooklyn Bernie.

        2. Red Tony, you are the brain dead straight ticket voter. I voted for Gary Johnson in 2012 and Reagan in 1984.

          1. Cool story bro.

          2. “I voted for Gary Johnson in 2012 ”

            HAHAHAHAHHAHA, no you fucking didn’t.

            1. You’re a moron.

              But I would definitely vote for Obama in 2016 if possible. So would most capitalists. This Obama bull market is fantastic.

              1. Oh my god, this is the funniest thing i’ve read in ages.

                1. No, it isn’t. The CIO of one of the three major CRA’s, which shall remain nameless, told me when government gets involved in health care, it’s great for business, because they always screw it up, and he gets to fix it.

                  In fact, every major corporation I ever worked for, which is a considerable number, loved big government. Somebody has to implement all those services government funds. Guess who?

              2. And the bull market will continue regardless of who is President as long as the Fed continues to create money. As soon as the Fed turns off the pump the air will go out of the market with a loud whoooosh !.

                It’s both funny and sad to listen to you scream about Bush’s housing market crash while the biggest balloon crash of all history is being inflated under the watch of he who you worship.

                1. QE ended over a year ago. The Market is driven by earnings you fool.

                  Short it, I dare you.

        3. it is fascinating about socialism, isn’t it: ideas so popular they have to be misrepresented. Sanders cannot win because he’s being honest about what he would do; usually, the left lies. Because it has to. Collectivism is repulsive the most sane people.

          1. ^^THIS^^

            The left wins by pretending to be reasonable. Sanders didn’t get that memo.

          2. Ideas so popular that they can’t possibly be implemented without an army of bureaucrats and gunmen.

            1. Yeah, because those ideas run counter to human nature and aspirations. Progressives and socialists hate human nature and plan to change it or stamp it out.

      2. Actually that is a pretty apt comparison.

    2. Sanders has to be the leading candidate for vp at this point. Although I don’t know if he could stomach working with hill.

        1. Who else do they have? Warren?

          1. Hooley Yawn Castro.

          2. Obama could pull a Putin and run as Hillary’s VP, then run for POTUS again when she finishes her two glorious terms.

          3. Michele. Why the hell not? Get the women and the blacks, and 2 of the Dem’s fav ex-presidents are their spouses. They can’t lose.

        2. They are gonna have to get the base charged up somehow, Hillary doesn’t due it for the hardliners, they’ll want someone with actual grassroots appeal.

          1. Warren I guess. Or they could just pick someone out of the Congress. VP is not that important and the Democrats can depend on the media to make sure the faithful know the choice is the greatest ever.

            They might go with someone like Corey Booker. They are facing a huge task in getting black turnout to be anything like it was for Obama. And I am not sure two old white people helps them much.

            The Obama coalition is built on identity politics. I don’t see how they have any hope of keeping it together without putting at least one minority on the ticket. How do they not put an Hispanic on the ticket? Especially if the Republicans put Rubio or Cruz on theirs?

            1. I think the establishment has already pretty much set on a Rubio as VP ticket grooming him for a presidential run in the near future. They wouldn’t have the balls to put Cruz on a ticket, I think Cruz is auditioning for a Supreme Court gig.

              1. I would be legitimately shocked if Rubio wasn’t the first choice for VP it makes to much sense.

                1. You get the same Latino ‘mileage’ out of Susana Martinez, and she’s also got that other chromosome. Plus, governor of a blue state.

                  1. You get the same Latino ‘mileage’ out of Susana Martinez, and she’s also got that other chromosome. Plus, governor of a blue state

                    Sorry, there’s no way in hell that Martinez is placed on a national ticket. It’s pure tokenism. She’s not dumb, but her acumen is best suited for running a federally-dependent welfare state like New Mexico, not being a national figurehead like VP.

                    It would be like putting Palin back on the ticket without the actual charisma that Palin displayed in 2008. What’s the advantage of bringing on a female governor from a small-population state (and one that might not even turn red, for that matter?) Unless her presence alone would be enough to turn Nevada, New Mexico, and Colorado, it’s pointless.

              2. I think you are right about Rubio. Except that they really want Jeb to win and an all Florida ticket is not going to happen. At this point, I think a Walker Rubio ticket or a Walker Fiorina ticket are the most likely.

                Fiorina is a great speaker and a perfect VP candidate. Her and Walker would both be from outside Washington and Fiorina could do the dirty work of completely dismantling Hillary and allow Walker to look like a nice guy. The sexist reality is that the Republicans are going to have a hard time laying a glove on Hillary unless they put a woman on the ticket. A woman can attack another woman in ways a man just can’t.

              3. Rubio also has the potential for bringing along Florida’s 29 electoral votes.

            2. VP is important for the next go-round. It will be someone who represents a next generation or growing movement or some such, like a Dem version of Rubio or maybe even a gay person. I doubt it would be an old-guard type as Hillary has that covered in spades.

              Does saying ‘spades’ make me racist?

              1. That the thing the dems lack any sort of decent bench for quality youth, everybody they have is either too young and unseasoned or too old.

                1. The next wave is Gavin Newsome and Corey Booker, I don’t think either are nearly ready for prime time.

                  1. Booker has been a disaster as a Senator and his tenure as mayor of Newark looks worse every day. The next wave was supposed to be Anthony Brown and O’Malley and Cuomo along with Booker. Notice all of those guys are from the NE. And all of them have seen their national prospects pretty much end in the last couple of years. Cuomo is done as a national figure. He is unpopular as governor and is very close to a lot of very bad scandals. O’Malley and Brown both managed to be Democrats who are unpopular in Maryland.

                2. Idle Hands,

                  If Hillary doesn’t win, the Democrats are in big trouble. They have no one to run in 2020. And they are unlikely to get anyone. Hillary is all they have. If she wins, they at least are covered for two elections and will have her VP to run. If she loses, they will not have a single national figure. Think about it, if Hillary loses and the Clinton machine finally goes tits up, who is then the dominant figure in the Democratic Party? Obama can’t run again and is going to go full leftist with his OFA. Sanders is ancient. So is Warren. Who will they have?

                    1. Also Webb. I think the match-up come next fall will be Webb vs Walker.

                    2. @Tarran that would be one of the more palatable elections of the last 20 years.

                    3. Webb is old too Taran. And Martin O’Malley is getting run off by the Democratic base right now. What do you think the base would do to Webb? Webb doesn’t have a snow balls chance in hell of amounting to anything in the Democratic party. People like Webb are no longer in the party. He has no constituency.

                    4. Also Webb. I think the match-up come next fall will be Webb vs Walker.

                      Interesting take. What makes you think Webb will win the D nom?

                    5. Webb is an independent thinker. He has executive experience. I expect that he will be trailing Hillary when she crashes and burns spectacularly – leaving him as the non-crazy candidate for the establishment to fall behind.

                    6. Tarran,

                      I like your optimism about the Democratic Party. But I think you are kidding yourself. Time will tell but I think they are way too far gone to ever embrace Webb.

                      And Hillary is never giving up. This is all she has. And she has a ton of allies in the media. I can’t see how her campaign ever crashes and burns such that she drops out.

                    7. And Hillary is never giving up.

                      I think she will be caught in some bit of bribery that will bring her down. She’s sloppy and careless. She will become a liability to her allies and that will be it for her.

                      She will either bow out to avoid public disgrace or have a convenient heart attack and a state funeral that befits a statesman that is honored by a grieving nation. :/

                    8. I think she will be caught in some bit of bribery that will bring her down.

                      They already caught her. Everyone knows her foundation is a sham and that it took huge amounts of money from countries that were later given favorable treatment by the DOS while she was there. And it doesn’t matter. The only way it would is if they found the email that had her saying “tell Morocco to cough up $500K or forget it”. And such emails likely don’t exist or if they did were destroyed on her hard drive.

                      If it wasn’t for the Supreme Court, I would be fine with Webb winning the Presidency, provided the Republicans had big majorities in Congress. But no way is that going to happen.

                    9. Hillary is never giving up. This is all she has. And she has a ton of allies in the media.

                      I still can’t get over how, from out of nowhere, Lyn Samuels suddenly enthused over her for US sen. Of course Samuels was given to flights of fancy, but that’s an example of how Hillary’s able to create allies.

                    10. Tarran,

                      Who in the Democratic party do you think is going to vote for Webb? I can’t see any of the people currently going for Sanders doing so. If Hillary just implodes and drops out of the race, I could see him taking a good number of her supporters, but at that point Warren or Joe Biden likely jump in and take more of them. And Hillary has nowhere else to go. I can’t see her dropping out for any reason short of being sent to prison. And as long as she is running, I don’t see Webb going anywhere.

                      How do you see Webb winning? I am really curious.

                    11. It think after New Hampshire Bernie Sanders will flounder. Hillary will, so long as she is actively campaigning will be in first place. After the NH primary, I expect Hillary to get gt than 50% of the primary votes, with Webb getting the residual votes from the non-socialist/non-corrupt democrats as a distant second, and Bernie getting the left wing nutjobs in third place.

                      I suspect that Hillary has some really noxious shit in the email she deleted, and since emails perforce go through two servers at a minimum (and the NSA monitored main switches at various points int he country) deleting her server did not destroy all the copies. Something will leak. And when it does, the people of whose skeletons she knows will be asking themselves whether she is going down, and if she is going down whether she will take them down too.

                      Hillary has very poor impulse control and the scrutiny will be taking its toll. She will make unforced errors that worry those corrupt people even further.

                      At some point they will start deciding that she needs to be silenced. And she either allows them to buy her off, or they use Stalin’s approach for dealing with matters where a man is causing a problem.

                    12. If Hillary doesn’t drop out for medical reasons in the face of scandals, I see her having a convenient stroke or heart attack a month or so before the Democratic convention. Webb will be everybody’s second choice to replace her, and because there will be wildly different first choices, he will be the consensus candidate.

                      Naturally, this is all speculation, and I should disclose that I thought Al Gore would come in and save the Democrats in 2008 and win that election, so your mileage may vary. 😉

                    13. We will see with Hillary. But I think if such emails were going to be leaked they would have been leaked by now. If you are the Democrats and you plan to kill Hillary, you want to kill her early so other candidates have time to build a following. The worst thing you could do is kill her after she wins New Hampshire. Then it is too late to get anyone to replace her.

                      And Sanders is not going to win but he is not going to implode. The people who support him believe in him. They are not going to stop supporting him. And Sanders is not Trump. He is a reasonably competent politician. He is not going to do something idiotic like start insulting Mexicans or war heroes or something. Sanders is going to get a solid 30% or more of the vote and is going all the way to the convention. You watch.

                    14. You watch.

                      How does that Chinese curse go? “May you live in interesting times.”

                    15. I hope you are right Tarran. I would be very happy if Webb got the nomination. He is a serious person and would be a vast improvement over Obama or Hillary. Webb winning the Dem nomination would massively lower the stakes for the 2016 election. I hope it happens but I can’t share your optimism about it actually happening.

                    16. Tarran,
                      Obama has screwed future black hopefuls to the extent that one will not be viable for at least a decade if not longer, certainly not one who differs only peripherally.

                  1. Jared Polis? Not sure if he has presidential ambitions, but he’s young, smart, an entrepreneur, from a swing state, and has some small govt cred (for a Democrat). Also, he’s gay, which would automatically unite the entire SJW faction of the left.

                  2. Fauxcahontas of course.

                  3. Who will they have?

                    Dr. Cheerleader from Vt.? (I forgot this name.)
                    Ted Turner?
                    Hitler?

                    1. LaRouche stopped running. Said he was too old for it a few prez elections ago.

                    2. Come to think of it, I haven’t heard a peep out of the Labor Committees lately.

      1. No way. Sanders is not even a Democrat. He will receive no endorsement from any elected DC Democrat. He will be politely ignored by the Dem establishment.

        1. “… He will be politely ignored by the Dem establishment.”

          If he continues to gain positive attention from voters and draw in thousands of attendees at his speeches I think he will be aggressively attacked for opposing/interfering with the woman whose turn it is. As you put it, “He will receive no endorsement from any elected DC Democrat.” I generally agree, yet this is why I think they will attack him.

          We’ll see if he’s ignored or attacked.

          John wrote: “The majority of the country will not support a self professed socialist.”

          I lack John’s optimism, yet I hope he is correct.

          This will be a rather interesting and, I predict, unpridictable cycle.

          1. People like being told they can have a bunch of free shit. That is Sanders’s draw. It won’t last.

            1. and world events are demonstrating that, no, they cannot have free shit. At least not indefinitely. It’s not just Greece; it’s also Venezuela, it’s other nations in the EU that are teetering, and it’s much of South America that is also unsteady.

              1. The appeal of Sanders seems (at least to me) to be greater than the promise of free things. As I wrote, I think he will be stifled and ridiculed at most every turn if he continues to gain popularity. Yet a large number of our fellow citizens seem to be hungry for something new and different than the status quo.

                I know that a great many self-identifying Democrats/Progressives have (finally) accepted that Obama deceived and failed them. We have a larger number of voting citizens claiming to be independents now, and they too are looking for something new.

                Of course, I could be misinterpreting what I’ve been seeing.

              2. This time (as always), it’s be different! Free ponies for everyone if we just spread everything evenly.

                1. I thought Vermin Supreme promised the free ponies….

                2. I thought Vermin Supreme promised the free ponies….

                  1. I’m pretty sure his entire platform is mandatory tooth-brushing.

            2. People like being told they can have a bunch of free shit. That is Sanders’s draw.

              But there’s a paradox there: free shit, but no choice of deodorants & sneakers. Are people projecting that the particular free shit they’re going to get will be the shit they like?

  10. It’s a shame that neither of the major parties, despite seemingly hundreds of candidates, can cough up even one goddamn character who is at least willing to articulate an agenda that would include shrinking the size of government while also growing the scope of individual choice.

    There is a guy in the GOP who is doing just that, but his last name begins with “Pa” and ends with “ul”. However, he is also conservative in temperament and also has a traditional orientation that does not sit well with cosmotarians. For example, I don’t think he’s a punk rock aficionado.

    1. when has anyone ever run for office with the expressed intent of limiting the power of that office and, if elected, who is the person to have followed through on that? Not even Reagan shrunk govt; he cut income taxes and did some things that allowed for economic growth, but he put some cash into the military, too, and I don’t recall anything being cut.

      1. Reagan cut regulation. The Federal Register shrank from some 90,000 pages in the 1970s to less than 50,000 under Reagan. BTW, Obama has added about 80,000 pages per year.

        Data were found here

        1. BTW, Obama has added about 80,000 pages per year.

          No, the Federal Register has averaged 80,000 pages per year, not that he has added 80k per year.

          President Obama has averaged nearly 80,000 pages per year, far and away the highest of any President in US history.

          1. ooooh. I stand corrected.

    2. He’s libertarian enough. He has my vote.

      1. and sometimes, that’s just it, isn’t it. People keep searching for that perfect candidate who is ideologically pure. That person does not exist. That person has never existed. I’m comfortable with a 70% rule — if we’re in agreement on 70% of things, we’ll deal with the rest.

        1. I say 75%, but yes. I always said when the Republicans run a libertarian leaning candidate I’ll vote for them. Rand is closer to a libertarian than he is to an establishment Republican. Good enough.

          Here is the nolan chart on Rand.

          From here.

    3. Shrinking government is political suicide, because it can’t be done without a bunch of people losing their jobs and/or some financial benefit. Never going to happen.

      1. If you planned on being a one term president and afterward have no political future you could try your best.

      2. Then, it’s over.

        Canada did it. And they are Canadians.

        1. Apparently they’ve got more common sense. Thing is, if a candidate promises to cut the military, they just lost the Republican vote. If they promise to cut entitlements, they just lost the Democrat vote. If they promise to cut both, they just lost both blocks. Such a candidate will never get elected. Not in my lifetime anyway.

          1. Then it’s over.

            You gonna stay for the destitution or are you gonna move?

            1. There’s nowhere to go except maybe Alaska, but it’s too damn cold there.

                1. I’m right with you on that.

                  Any expectation that simply moving states in the US will be sufficient is wishful thinking.

              1. Croatia. I know a lot of Americans have a thing for Belize or Costa Rica but my roots are European and presumably, a place like Croatia is not far enough removed from statism to have forgotten about it.

          2. How close would they be to closing the US budget gap if they cut out everything but military & entitlement spending/

            1. OK, then how about if the military worked on a 100% extortion-commission basis?

    4. Oh no! Cozmoz!

      I don’t see any Reason staff or libertarian commenters saying anything suggesting that Paul is not the best major party candidate going. That doesn’t mean anyone is obliged to pretend he is perfect in every way.

      1. I understand that Paul needs to tack rightward for the primaries, and can forgive him for that. I just hope he doesn’t say anything that makes me feel the need to hold my nose when pulling the lever for him in the general. I’m tired of doing that.

    5. What is Paul’s opinion of Lou Reed?

    6. And his father has foreign policy views that the majority of voters find ludicrous and borderline offensive. Maybe they should drop those for greater electoral viability.

  11. “Where will they find new places to stuff more cheese into a fricking pizza?”

    Wo, such anger! Take it easy, fra.

    1. Maybe… maybe if the pizza was cooked in some kind of less-shallow pan…

      1. A deeper dish, huh ?

        Interesting. But would it still be a pizza ?

        1. That’s one for the philosophers.

        2. It’s a pizza from the moment you pound your fist into the dough.

  12. The thing is that every new President we’ve been ruled by since 1992 has run as an outsider. In fact, other than George Bush the elder, you’d have to go back to LBJ – to see a president run on a purely establishment line and win.

    Every guy runs saying he is going to bring a new dawn of honesty and transparency and end the corruption. Every guy says he is on the side of the common man and will bring the smackdown on the plutocrats.

    Then they get into office and little changes for the better, and most of the rip-offs get even worse.

    1. +! Hope you can believe in.

  13. “Americans are just tired of it all. Tired of no one speaking honestly to them…”

    Problem is this breaks an axiom of human nature: People want to be deceived.

  14. Non Trump related news

    http://www.foxnews.com/politic…..ning-guns/

    1. “The language of federal gun laws restricts ownership to people who are unable to manage their own affairs due to “marked subnormal intelligence, or mental illness, incompetency, condition, or disease” ? which could potentially affect a large group within Social Security, the LA Times reported.”

      I’m confused. Has there been some rash of senior citizen shootings I’m not aware of that makes this policy necessary?

      1. It’s planned as another click of the ratchet.

      2. Restricts ownership to those people?! I sure hope they mean “by”.

  15. Maybe people are sick of the same “get the government off my lawn” trope that’s been going on for the last 35 years too. That’s the biggest load of shit in politics next to WMDs in Iraq.

    1. Yes, voters are really excited about turning the U.S. into Venezuela. Fuck along, now.

      1. Venezuela would be a paradise if it wasn’t for those last vestiges of a free market.

        1. Once they figure out how to enforce tp rationing so that no one is using more than 2 squares a day, they’ll be utopia.

          1. Sheryl Crow approves.

    2. You should get out more … like, to the sidewalk every once in awhile.

    3. You should get out more … like, to the sidewalk every once in awhile.

    4. Yeah, instead they’d really rather government run every aspect of their lives like socialist losers do.

      Unfortunately, there are too many people who are afraid of liberty and the responsibility that it engenders. But there are still those who value their remaining liberty and are able–mentally and constitutionally–to to embrace it. Socialists are sado/masochists who love authoritarianism while exerting control over others (See Erich Fromm, Escape from Freedom).

  16. Nah , the real comparison, Nick, of Trump to another marginal, flighty, ridiculous candidate who taps into simple rage would be to Ted Cruz…who, by the way, is the one candidate who won’t condemn Trump. He just loves that rage!

    Of course, you once said Cruz just might be the future of the GOP. So much for your disdain of marginal, rage tapping candidates.

    1. …says a guy who’s got Hillary’s dick so far down his throat that it is sticking out the ass end of him like a tail.

    2. Cruz is called a lot of things by leftists and progs. None of them with any credibility whatsoever has called him flighty.

      Alan Dershowitz, a well known and respected Leftist calls Cruz the most brilliant law student he has ever had in his classes.

      But you, of course, know better.

  17. It’s July 2015. I am already getting push-poll phone calls from the Republican infrastructure. Somehow, with all the shit going on in the world, abortion is supposed to be the most important think we are supposed to care about. It’s mind boggling how stupid the party is.

    1. They think the recent sting against Planned Parenthood is a perfect moment to push abortion again.

      1. It started long before the video. The caucuses are 6 months away, and the socons are starting the full court press already.

  18. Hey nick,

    I’m going to vote for the candidate who has taught for immigration reform, the ability for women to get a safe and legal abortion, fraught against the Iraq war, and has championed criminal justice reform. Who are you voting for?

    1. Oh hey, i’m probably voting for Gary Johnson too.

      1. I see what you did there!

      2. That’s fine. At least that guy probably won’t get us bogged down in a bullshit war or advocate for restricting immigration for people who believe in the wrong sky fairy. It’s the idea that any libertarian should vote for any member of the Republican Party– you know, except those that place irony above the duty of voting. I know there’s some of you out there.

        1. Hey, thanks for giving me permission to exercise my right to vote! Have fun continuing to believe in a philosophy that killed over a hundred million people in the last century, you monster you.

          1. Influenza’s not a philosophy silly.

    2. This comment is fought with typos.

      1. He is typing SO HARD right now. American socialist is feeling the Bern!

        1. That’s a GREAT campaign slogan. I imagine him screaming, a la Dean, at the end of an impassioned speech, “Can you FEEL IT? Can you feel the BERN?!”

        2. Well, at least one person is excited to finally see their dream candidate run.

        3. No, it’s this fucking free market spell checker on my IPhone 4 that has a screen not much larger than my hand. I heard they spent a lot of money developing it– probably more than the fascist New Horizons probe, which was built on the backs of the oppressed hedge fund manager.

          1. No, it’s this fucking free market spell checker on my IPhone 4 that has a screen not much larger than my hand.

            Your entire worldview is based around your spiteful arrogance. Quelle suprise.

          2. free market spell checker

            That spellchecker is probably better at spell-checking than, say, a Trabant functions as a personal vehicle.

          3. Say you had in the choice of your own phone: All of it
            Say I had in the use of funds at NASA: basically zero

            Totally comparable.

            1. And the amount he paid out of pocket for both of those things is $0. Clearly that model of success needs
              to be expanded throughout the country.

              1. Wait, he didn’t pay for the phone?

          4. You heard it here first people.

            New proggie campaign platform.

            Government approved spell checkers mandate. AmSoc , should it be a cabinet level position ?

            We need a new Federal bureaurcracy to get this economy growing again.

            /prog derp

          5. In a free market you’re free to not buy it. You could be using a dumb phone and an ASCII terminal. But that would require some responsibility for your own choices. Instead you complain about a marvelous piece of machinery that was impossible just a few short years ago. So blame the free market for bringing you such a fantastic gift at a ridiculously low price since you must believe that the government could do better if it only had the authority.

    3. so which Repub is that because it sure as hell does not describe Hillary.

      1. I think he (she?) was referring to Bernie Sanders…

        BUT, would “american socialist” vote for the candidate who thought their favorite pizza topping didn’t make the official/allowable list? Their favorite deodorant (I’m assume Axe, amirite?)

        1. Old Spice. Some people just keep making the same mistakes that should have taught everyone better long, long ago.

        2. …would “american socialist” vote for the candidate who thought their favorite pizza topping didn’t make the official/allowable list?

          Yes.

    4. Who are you voting for?

      Anyone but the one that expressly supports an ideology responsible for the deaths of countless millions over the last century.

  19. Even if they’re idiotic, they represent substantial portions of the electorate but likely not enough to bust through the two party structure to make it to the general election.

    Instead, their supporters will likely vote for team red/blue and their voices and concerns marginalized.

    I’m not sure if that’s a good thing in the long run.

  20. the most mainstream candidate in 2016 would be the one toeing a generally libertarian line of free minds and free markets

    Lol, good one, Nick. I guess it’s been a while since we had one of them thar libertarian moments.

    No, most Americans want one of 2 things. Free shit or for the government to force everyone to do the things that they like and to not do the things that they don’t like. Or both of the aforementioned.

    The number of Americans who actually want what’s in that quote are insufficient to have any real influence on elections.

  21. “The status quo has got to go” is true in about half of all elections – if things are going well we elect the guy who promises more of the same and if things are not going well we elect the guy who promises change. The problem is, “more of the same” is pretty much one option and “something different” is the infinite number of things that aren’t “more of the same”. When the electorate says they want something different, it means a thousand different things. But if you believe in revealed preferences, “something different” sure as hell does not include a smaller government, a less-intrusive government, a cheaper government, a government allowing greater individual choice. (Everybody says they’re for these things, but they mean only for the things they want and not for the things they don’t. Same-sex marriage recognition supporters, for example, argued that it increased individual choice and got the government’s nose out of a private affair – but now we’re going to get a bigger, more expensive, more intrusive government to make goddam sure anybody who doesn’t vigorously applaud same-sex marriage recognition has their individual choice to disapprove curtailed. And apparently that’s what people want.)

    1. Everybody says they’re for these things, but they mean only for the things they want and not for the things they don’t.

      Sad, but true.

      Liberals say they are for more freedom, but that doesn’t include guns or speech that they don’t like.

      Conservatives say they are for more freedom, but that doesn’t include the right for you to smoke any of those funny cigarettes.

      Only libertarians truly care about freedom, and they’re aren’t enough of us to matter.

      Reason commenters represent the true libertarian base. Reason staff are more representative of pie in the sky liberals who are a little more liberal than most progressives. That’s the reason why the staff are so much more optimistic about these so called ‘libertarian moments’.

      1. I think a few conservatives have come around on at least pot. And even more of them have come around to the need to do something about our prison population and criminal system.

        The conservatives have gotten a bit better over the last few years. The liberals in contrast have gotten much worse. Liberals used to stand for due process, protections for criminal defendants, privacy, free speech and act as a check against conservative desires in these areas. Now liberals are even worse than conservatives in all of these areas. Liberals openly advocate for the repeal of the 1st Amendment and the end of full due process in rape cases. That is fucking terrifying and a hell of a lot more terrifying than the worst bible thumping law and order conservative.

        1. Well, it’s hard to disagree with what you are saying. Which is why the only libertarians in congress are in the GOP, while the Democrats have moved so far left that I’m not sure Mao was more left than what they are right now.

          The thing is, most of those conservatives that have come around were already libertarian leaning to begin with. They might even say they’re libertarian as soon as they learn that such a thing exists. The true SoCon base are just as bad as ever.

          1. Well, even a law-and-order jackass like Chris Christie, the anti-libertarian, is coming around on sentencing reform.

            1. He’s being dragged kicking and screaming like the rest of them. Rand Paul is the one who started this entire thing. The others are just paying attention to which direction the wind is blowing and playing along.

        2. “The conservatives have gotten a bit better over the last few years. The liberals in contrast have gotten much worse.”

          I tend to agree. We’re only ten years removed from the moron Republicans in the Bush Administration trying to outlaw flag burning. Attacks on free speech today, on the other hand, come almost uniformly from the left. I can’t imagine a flag burning amendment getting much support in the modern senate, because some of the strongest opposition would come from Rand Paul so the Republicans in the senate would never vote for that kind of thing as a bloc.

          1. Irish,

            The Republican attacks on free speech for for things like flag burning and porn. That isn’t good but those attacks don’t go to the heart of our Republic. We can still have a Republic and a reasonably free society even if we can’t get porn or troll people by burning the flag and such. The Democrats’ attacks on free speech in contrast go to the heart of our Republic. The Democrats seek to restrict political speech and advocacy. You cannot have a Republic or anything like a free society where the government is free to restrict political speech. It is nice that the 1st Amendment protects artistic expression and even vulgar expression, but it is not essential. What is essential is that it protect the right to dissent and for political speech. And the Democrats want to end that. Their reaction to Citizens’ United should scare you in a way no bible thumping “porn is sin” idiot should.

            1. I think attacks on flag burning were more than just about artistic expression. If the Republicans had gotten that passed, I think it’s very possible they would have gone after ‘unpatriotic’ speech given how zealous they were after 9/11.

              1. They were totally about artistic expression. They never sought to censor the message only the offensive means in expressing it. You were still free to say “the US is evil”. You jsut couldn’t burn the flag. That is completely different than something like Citizens United where people were prohibited from publishing the wrong message too close to an election. In order to be analogous to flag burning, the plaintiffs in Citizens United would have had to have made a porn movie criticizing Hillary and the court said you couldn’t make porn movies and show them in public even for the purpose of making a political statement. Note, they would still be free to make a movie saying Hillary was a crook, they just couldn’t make a porn movie saying that. That is totally different than what actually happened in Citizens United and to compare it to flag burning is just wrong.

                1. But flag burning might’ve been a trial balloon. If they succeeded in amending the US & state constitutions to put in a flag desecration exception, they might have gotten around to something like a blasphemy exception next. The only thing that might’ve made that unachievable would’ve been religious divisions as to what constituted blasphemy, & they might’ve just been willing to roll the dice by leaving that to the courts. I think you underestimate the ice-breaking effect an actual amendment to free speech provisions of the federal & state constitutions would have. Maybe the blasphemy exception would’ve been bundled with a Holocaust denial exception.

      2. Conservatives say they are for more freedom, but that doesn’t include the right for you to smoke any of those funny cigarettes.

        I’m not sure that illegal pot == gun confiscation.

        1. They don’t need to be equivalent. The guy who wants to take guns or money away may be more blatantly dangerous, but the guy who wants to take pot or porn away enables the taking of guns and money in a more subtle way.

          1. If I have to prioritize, I always try to deal first with the blatant, immediate danger.

            1. I agree, which is why the Democrats generally deserve greater scorn for nominating candidates who want to raise taxes and/or (but usually and) take guns away. The issues that they might (emphasis on “might”) be good on (criminal justice, civil liberties) get drowned on by the ones that they’re utterly terrible on. If we were talking Grover Cleveland versus Calvin Coolidge every election, then we could have a debate about who’s worse. When we’re talking FDR vs Hoover every election, it’s not hard to pull the lever for Hoover every time even if you would take practically anyone else instead.

              1. However, after enough iterations of FDR vs Hoover, we eventually end up where the original FDR wanted to go in the first place.

                1. “…, we eventually end up where the original FDR wanted to go in the first place.”

                  True, sadly. The mechanism to make that happen was perfected by Woodrow Wilson, and it’s working well today. It might be correct to say that we ended up where Wilson decided we should go.

        2. As long as drug users are forbidden from owning guns, the two go hand in hand. I don’t hear a lot of republicans agitating to restore gun rights to drug users and felons.

          I think that gun confiscation would be more of a threat to freedom in general, but gun confiscation isn’t happening and I think it will remain politically impossible for a long time. Drug prohibition is happening and is ruining a lot of people’s lives, and stripping them of their right to self defense.

          1. Yeah Zeb. Conservatives have to start realizing that “felon” no longer means dangerous and violent even though it should. A few have started to understand that but not enough.

          2. I think over the next few yrs., vaping will tell us which way the wind is blowing on drug policy. Vaping cuts across the hippie-hipster line in a way that the usual factions haven’t decided how to line up on. The battle line was drawn a long time ago on pot, so progress there tells us relatively little. Vaping, well, could be anything volatile or aerosolizable, so people don’t know “what to think” about it.

    2. To be fair, your example isn’t about what people want so much as it’s about what the Nazgul think people should want.

  22. Nick, I think you are only half right. We are also sick and tired of the media, including Reason, telling us what to think. You sound just like the rest of the media when you agree with “Donald Trump is going nowhere in this election cycle; neither is Bernie Sanders….Trump and Sanders are reflections of the unrest, not the leaders we are seeking.”
    You may be right, but you really do sound like the lamestream media and we don’t like it. We are tired of being told what to think and say by the DC/NE elite and you, the media. I think Trump may get further than you think, but it is not your decision. Its ours, the voters, unless the Repubs blackball him at the convention, which will just confirm what we already thought.
    By the way, I think Trump is goofy/arrogant/maybe dangerous. However, his honesty is refreshing and I believe he is saying what a vast number (majority?) of Americans are thinking and are afraid to say.
    Time will tell, but you are sounding very main stream. Too bad for you.
    Grumpy

    1. Oh good. We needed even more of you around here.

      1. Get off his lawn Warty.

      2. Warty,

        I did some looking and I didn’t realize it but my position on strong AI is pretty much identical to Penrose’s position. And it appears that Penrose has largely won that argument and few people believe in strong AI. They all admit that consciousness is a product of biology and is non algebraic and thus can’t be produced by a machine. The position now is that weak AI, while not conscious, can still get out of control and be a danger. Not sure I buy that but I think it is possible though unlikely to happen.

        1. Won in what sense? You’re thinking of Goedel’s incompleteness theorem and the AI research of 40-50 years ago being a dead end. Hardly anyone currently works on strong AI, mainly because it can’t really be defined, at least if I’m remembering my textbooks right.

          They all admit that consciousness is a product of biology

          Not true,

          and is non algebraic

          not true,

          and thus can’t be produced by a machine

          not true. All of those are conjectures.

          1. It has to be non algebraic. Otherwise you can’t be self aware. Penrose’s theory is that consciousness is a quantum wave function. Whatever it is, it is not deterministic and it is not algebraic. If it were, we really would be robots and we clearly are not.

            It is funny you say no one can figure out what strong AI is. I see it the opposite. It is obvious what strong AI is, What is hard is defining weak AI. If you call an algebraic based machine “intelligent”, then something like a slot machine has a form of intelligence. And that is absurd. “Weak AI” is just a fancy word for “really well made and functional machine”.

            1. It has to be non algebraic. Otherwise you can’t be self aware.

              That doesn’t follow.

              Whatever it is, it is not deterministic and it is not algebraic.

              How do you know this?

              If it were, we really would be robots and we clearly are not.

              How do you know this?

              1. Yes it does. Godel. To be self aware is to examine your own axioms and that can’t happen in algebra.

                How do you know this?

                Because all of our experience and evidence working with our minds show it not to be. To say it is not deterministic is to say there is this process occurring behind our thoughts that we can’t perceive and no scientist has ever seen or understood or been able to predict. Sorry, but that is just magical thinking. We are never going to find that “gay gene” or figure out how to rearrange people’s brains so they never think certain thoughts. We might be able to destroy their capacity to think certain thoughts but that is not the same thing as controlling their thoughts. Our brains just don’t work that way.

                Believing that doesn’t require you to be a theist. Quantum mechanics doesn’t embrace determinism or ordinary causality. It just requires you to admit that the nature doesn’t work in ways that our small minds and small understanding of causality and reality can comprehend.

                I think Penrose drives a stake through the heart of determinism and evolutionary psychology. Our brains just don’t work that way.

                1. I think you are assuming an awful lot. There are lots of mechanical processes that we don’t understand and can’t predict.

                  If there is one thing humans are especially good at, it is self deception regarding how rational and free we are.

                  It is ridiculous to claim to know the answer to this, one way or the other. I don’t think we even understand what consciousness is well enough to properly ask the question.

                  1. If there is one thing humans are especially good at, it is self deception regarding how rational and free we are.

                    I don’t think my theory requires any self deception about rationality. In fact, determinism seems to require a lot of self deception about that. If our minds are non deterministic, they are most certainly free to be irrational.

                    As far as “free” we are, strict determinism is really nothing but begging the question. There is functionally no difference between saying “I wanted to do this so I did it” and “I was compelled to do it”. The only difference is what you call “compelled” I call “preferred”. The fact is, I am free to and do ignore desires all of the time. The determinist just moves the goalpost and says “you only ignored those desires because you were more strongly compelled by other desires”. Really? That statement assumes its own conclusion and is also not falsifiable since you can say I did any action because “I wanted to do it”. Well, just because I want to do it doesn’t mean I am compelled to do so.

        2. I don’t buy into all the hysteria about machines taking over and eradicating humans.

          What, are we going to program them to think like humans, with all the envy, greed and downright evil? I don’t see it. These things would be meaningless to a machine. And what would be in it for machines to kill off humans? This is just hysteria.

          The biggest threat from machines is that they are going to eliminate a lot of employment a lot faster than we can replace it. That is going to happen, no doubt. But I don’t see it as a bad thing.

          And a lot of people are going to feel threatened by advanced AI. Basically what is going to happen is that the gulf between those in power and us proles is going to be greatly reduced, as it already has been by technology. Those in power are fearful of these changes. Most of us will benefit.

          I for one, welcome our new robot overlords. I just don’t see how they can be worse than our current crop of corrupt dumbshit leaders. At least advanced AI has intelligence. How many elected officials are in possession of that attribute?

          What if we start asking the first advanced AI questions and it decides to ask it’s own question, like ‘Hey, why is there so much waste in Washington DC? We could eliminate most of that’. Yeah, politicians will love that. They’ll be the first to form a posse with pitchforks and torches to go kill the best.

        3. And it’s not so much that few researchers believe strong AI is possible, it’s more that they all focus on weak AI applications, because those are possible with current technology, and they don’t care about strong AI. Because they’re engineers, not philosophers.

          1. And I think we are going to over the next few decades be treated to lots of fabulously interesting and functional machines. Whether you want to call them “intelligent” or not is a question of semantics. I, however, am not worried in the slightest that these machines will develop a will of their own or be any more of a danger than their designers make them to be.

            1. Me either. If we’ll ever get there, we’re a loooooooooong way from it nowadays.

      3. “Oh good. We needed even more of you around here.”

        Agreed. Diversity of opinion and all that.

    2. I don’t even think Trump is being honest. I think he sees an under served part of the electorate and is pandering in the most attention grabbing way he can.

    3. Nothing to do with Trump will be the voters’ decision, because no one will have an opportunity to vote for him. He’s never going to do the level of financial disclosure necessary to actually run.

    4. “By the way, I think Trump is goofy/arrogant/maybe dangerous. However, his honesty is refreshing and I believe he is saying what a vast number (majority?) of Americans are thinking and are afraid to say.”

      Sure this guy is crazy, narcissistic, and probably an active threat to our well-being, but he’s honest about the egregious threat he poses, and isn’t that really all that matters?

    5. So, you seem to be saying that being right is less important than not sounding “main stream”.

      1. He’s a bit of a political hipster. He was into Trump before it was cool.

        1. He was into Trump before it was cool.

          I don’t even know when that was.

  23. Trump just wants some attention and he’s getting it.

    Bernie, is well, he’s just another old hippy leftist left over from the 60s.

    I think it’s funny how people only want to talk about what a kook Trump is, while ignoring the fact that the Democrats 2 best candidates are two geriatric old fools, one an avowed socialist and the other a cankled old hag in a pantsuit with the personality of a bag of cow dung and a mile long history of corruption and incompetence in public office.

    1. Democrats don’t even have to try anymore. Next election their main candidates will be a crazy hobo and a box of moldy fruit.

      1. And that would be a tight race.

      2. Isn’t that sort of what they’re running now?

  24. ” Where will they find new places to stuff more cheese into a fricking pizza? ”

    You have no idea how apropos that analogy is in regards to Trump. I mean, the guy is a camera craving junky. I seriously believe the guy just needs an excuse to powder his nose. A good example is his ridiculous birther extravaganzas where enthralled the masses and commanded the media to
    attend all his allegation parties. Then again, he has all the money in the world to stuff his pizza anyway he wants. I guess.

  25. Looking at that first pic is scary. I had no idea Sam Kinison had let himself go…

  26. I understand the Libertarian distaste for Sanders and his supporters. Libertarians however need to stop lying to themselves and pretending that people who are supporting Sanders are doing so out of some selfish desire for free shit, because it is not true. Sanders supporters are not welfare queens. They are largely hard working people who don’t want free shit for themselves but have convinced themselves that the solution to our problem is giving free shit to anyone who needs it or wants it. His supporters also fee deeply betrayed and angry about the cronyism and corruption that has gone on in the Obama administration.

    We get a warped view of the opposition on this board because the only leftists who ever show up are people like Joe form Lowell and the shreek as a sock puppet who just post whatever shit is necessary to defend Obama and the party no matter how mendacious and contrary to reality. Some leftists are like that but no all. A lot of them are deeply disenchanted with what Obama has done but lack the intellectual skills and knowledge to know how to learn the right lessons from it. And they are turning to Sanders because he is the only guy on their side who is talking to them.

    I don’t know how we should deal with these people. But calling them all welfare queens and pretending they are just bums and thieves is not the answer if for no other reason than it is not true and lying is never the right answer.

    1. His supporters are fascists. We’re just lucky that they haven’t found a leader with any charisma yet.

      1. Obama comes as close to a charismatic fascist as I ever want to see.

    2. They are largely hard working people who don’t want free shit for themselves but have convinced themselves that the solution to our problem is giving free shit to anyone who needs it or wants it.

      I think this is true to some extent (Sanders undoubtedly has multiple constituencies), but I think it belies a fundamentally Marxist notion: the labor theory of value. Just because you “worked hard” your whole life doesn’t mean you deserve some kind of reward at the end. This is the mentality that created Social Security in the first place. By and large, you need to be smart more than you need to be hard working if you aren’t going to be content with working hard as long as you are physically able to and then suffering after you aren’t.

      This didn’t used to be a controversial notion. If you spend every penny of every paycheck, then you won’t have anything when the paychecks stop coming in. This is where the rubber really meets the road in high tax and high regulatory systems. You become wedded to your particular job and hope like hell you never lose it, because it could be the last steady income you have in your life. In many ways, the form of socialism you’re describing is the working man’s reaction to the bourgeois crusade for “social justice”. Yet the end result is going to be penury for all of us.

      1. Yeah. There is a whole lot of stupidity going on. The problem however is not that these people don’t see that there is a problem and are not right about some aspects of the problem. The problem is they believe really silly things that would if ever enacted make all of the things they are upset about even worse.

        It is going to be very hard to convince these people of that. I am open to suggestions how. Whatever the answer, and there may not be one, it is certainly not to just dismiss their concerns and call them bums.

        1. As the real G.K. Chesterton put it, “The reformer is always right about what is wrong. He is generally wrong about what is right.”

        2. Whatever the answer, and there may not be one, it is certainly not to just dismiss their concerns and call them bums.

          The problem is that it is very difficult to convince someone to favor the world in which he might prosper rather than the world in which he gets a check every month, even if the latter world is utterly unsustainable and morally wrong. As you slide down the slope into true socialism, it becomes harder and harder to propose free market reforms, because people want food on their tables. One group is promising to put that food there while the other is talking about freedom.

          1. That is why the culture war is so important. Libertarians do themselves a great disservice by pretending it doesn’t. Freedom only appeals to someone if they value self reliance, and are unafraid of risk. If you don’t value self reliance and value security and are risk adverse, freedom isn’t going to be very appealing to you. So if you want a society that supports and values freedom, you have to have a society that also values self reliance and risk taking and doesn’t value things like security and equality.

            And buying into the Prog culture wars about how every group needs to be “equal” and all of the big meanies who don’t’ want to treat them equally need to be run out of town doesn’t create such a society.

            1. And buying into the Prog culture wars about how every group needs to be “equal” and all of the big meanies who don’t’ want to treat them equally need to be run out of town doesn’t create such a society.

              The national culture is in some sense a zero-sum game; there is only so much airtime, so much concern people are willing to give, and so much exposure people will tolerate. I think one of the biggest takeaways is that there shouldn’t really be a “culture war” but unfortunately that is not something libertarians have any real control over. I agree that it’s best not to participate, but Reason‘s writers seem to disagree mostly, if only because they want to get attention (which is understandable if not desirable, they are running a magazine/website).

            2. “Freedom” and a social safety net are not mutually exclusive. Liberals believe the latter increases the former, specifically by reducing risk for individuals. This applies at all level of collective organization. You are more free to take risk in business if you know that theft and fraud are punished. You are more free to attempt to succeed in capitalism if you don’t have to spend all your time meeting basic needs and are guaranteed an education that will allow you to do so. On top of all that, equality means you have the same opportunity to practice freedom regardless of how you’re born. It’s a value that nobody has any reason to denigrate except people already on top who get pissy at the thought of anyone else vying to get there too.

              It’s long past time libertarians stopped getting a pass on their claim to a monopoly on the definition of freedom. What they really want is an imperceptible increase in freedom for the already successful at the expense of everyone else’s freedom. Why the simply dictionary definition of the word is so consistently avoided by libertarians is baffling. Freedom from government is as narrow a definition as freedom from otters. It caters to rather narrow interests.

              1. yes they are Tony. That net doesn’t come for free. it comes at a price to either your freedom or someone else’. As a liberal you don’t understand that because your entire political existence is one childish scream denying that there is no such thing as a free lunch.

                Your post sums up perfectly your problem. You cannot comprehend that something you value could ever come at a cost. It is all just free and the only reason it costs anything is because big meanies make it so.

                It is a childish and sad way to be Tony but you are at this point unlikely ever to grow up.

                1. Yes because I’ve never suggested that we raise taxes on anyone because I don’t understand that social programs aren’t totally free. Your conception of liberal beliefs is almost as incisive as your own self-awareness, being the guy who does nothing but throw tantrums and call names throwing out the word “childish.”

                  1. You suggest raising taxes on other people. That you may be affected too is irrelevant; it is not your place to speak for others.

              2. “Freedom from government” may be a narrow form of freedom but it is still freedom and should not be taken away.

              3. Tony do you support bailouts of big banks? Since they took big risks they need a safety net which is bailouts.

                The problem is progressivism isnt about freedom. It is about giving others permission on what they can and cant do.

                What i sense is you feel entitled to others peoples stuff and cant take ownership or personal responsibility for your own life. Then you project that onto others and then want to take credit for how caring you for enlisting a third party the govt to rob peter to pay paul while not putting your money where your mouth is…how noble

                Here is the hierarchy…prog top men greater than progs which are much greater than everyone else……thus it is in your best interest for us progs to impose our view and worship up us for being generous!

    3. Yes, this is a good point. There are certainly some who like Sanders because they want more free shit. But I think you are right that most of his supporters are of the leftist elite who think that everything can be managed and fine tuned from the top down and that the problem with the Democratic mainstream is not enough of that.

      1. My large employer can’t even micromanage from the MIDDLE down. Not sure how one could do it all the way from the top.

    4. Sanders supporters are not welfare queens. They are largely hard working people who don’t want free shit for themselves but have convinced themselves that the solution to our problem is giving free shit to anyone who needs it or wants it.

      True. Were they welfare queens, they’d want free shit and choice of sneakers & deodorants. Instead, they’re like, if we could just divert people from coming up w new kinds of sneakers & deodorants, they could work on providing soap & socks for the poor.

  27. Isn’t illegal immigration an important economic issue?

    1. The Reason intellegentia all claim that illegal immigration is a solution to economic problems, not an issue at all.

      1. While some of the Reason writers (and commenters, emphasis on “some”) may feel that way, I would say that the existence of illegal immigration is certainly evidence of economic problems (mostly in the place where people are coming from). It isn’t a solution to anything per se. As a symptom, it may be treatable, but the underlying disease (so to speak) is not going to go away.

  28. Anyone who is supporting Bernie Sanders does not want a government that dors and spends less, unless they fo not understand his politics at all.

    It is hard to see how enthusiasm for Sanders (or Trump for that matter) is any indication thst the general electorate is looking foa libertarian message.

    1. Trump’s popularity shows how desperate people are to have someone admit the truth that open borders are likely to reduce the standard of living for a lot of people in this country. Reason doesn’t want to hear that but it is true. The fact that an ass clown like Trump can get so much traction by saying it shows that ignoring the issue and pretending it is not true and people only believe it because they hate Mexicans is not going to work.

      1. But it’s not true. Nothing you believe about this issue is true. We don’t have open borders, and the idea of building a Great Wall of Mexico or deporting all illegal immigrants are delusional fantasies of course. We have de facto amnesty for millions of immigrants who do cheap labor because that’s how the incentives are currently working in our respective economies. Politicians, particularly Democrats, have been talking about immigration reform for decades. Nothing happens, thereby ensuring continued de facto amnesty for millions of cheap laborers, because the business interests involved like it that way and certain politicians get mileage from an easily accessible pool of bigotry and paranoid absolutism that makes any reasonable reform impossible. What exactly is Donald Trump, oh great truth teller, proposing? Can you even explain that? Can you make it sound remotely sane?

        1. Yes Tony it is true. You just don’t care because most of the people hurt are either poor whites, whom you hate, or blacks whom you think are inferior and need to be dependent on enlightened white people like you rather than be self sufficient.

          1. You’re still talking like it’s liberals who are standing in the way of reforming immigration. What planet are you on?

            Republicans, looking after short-term political interests (while sacrificing their long-term ones), have boxed themselves into such an extreme position that they cannot propose any reform that isn’t a fantasy about building a bigger fence. The peasants just want to deport all the immigrants, of course. None of this has to do with economic realities. Their short-term interest is, everyone recognizes, appeasing the racist bigotry of their voting base.

            Reform involves among other things making it harder for businesses to rely on cheap migrant labor. You’re not talking about anything, you’re just ranting. I’ll ask a second time: what is Trump’s actual proposal? What is yours?

            1. Tony blacks are hurt worst by immigration but no one cares since they always vote Democrat and Democrats are racists who are happy to see blacks remain on the bottom provided they continue to vote Democrat.

              1. So no answer to my question, I guess?

                What about this one: what makes blacks so universally incapable of voting for the party with their real best interests in mind?

                Another: when you are swimming through such a river of bullshit, do you even notice you aren’t making any sense and are just ranting? Do you just edit these embarrassing moments of utter nonsense out of your memories?

                1. How do dems have blacks best interest in mind? Can you explain afterall these years why dems are still talking about how blacks are still in bad shape since dems have been there to help them? Why arent they making progress?

  29. I’ve stopped blaming the politicians. It’s the populace who votes for the welfare/police state; the politicians are just giving us what we want. If promising people free shit and scaring them about drugs and foreigners and “others” didn’t work, then politicians wouldn’t platform on these things. Bush and Obama getting reelected and the impending Hillary coronation are just further evidence of this.

  30. The more I read of Fiorina, the better she seems.

    1. I like her a lot. Every time I hear her talking she is saying something sensible. It says a lot about how sensible she is that the best criticism Nick can come up with is “she never says anything back about Republicans”, because clearly insulting the party is the way to get that party to nominate you. Nick has got a hell of a mind for politics doesn’t he?

      1. Maybe that’s the problem: She’s saying things that are sensible rather than rousing the rabble. Stirring the pot gets more att’n than adding ingredients to it.

  31. Does anyone else think Carly Fiona and Ann Coulter look like sisters?

  32. Here is a more accurate reflection of the public mood and the reason Trump is doing so well:

    “April 6, 2015 – Likely voters:
    “A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 62% believe the government is not aggressive enough in deporting these illegal immigrants, up from 52% a year ago and 56% in November. Fifteen percent (15%) feel the current number of deportations is about right.”

    “Thirty-two percent (32%) believe illegal immigrants who have American-born children should be exempt from deportation, an element of Obama’s plan, but 51% now disagree.”

    “But then most voters (54%) continue to feel that a child born to an illegal immigrant mother in the United States should not automatically become a U.S. citizen, as is now the case. Thirty-eight percent (38%) favor the current policy of automatic citizenship for these children.”

    “An overwhelming 83% of voters think someone should be required to prove they are legally allowed in the United States before receiving local, state or federal government services. Just 12% disagree. These findings have changed little over the past four years.”
    June 29, 2015 – likely voters

    “A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 55% of Likely U.S. Voters think the policies and practices of the federal governmentencourage people to enter the United States illegally, down just two points from March’s recent high. Twenty-eight percent (28%) disagree, while 17% are undecided.”

  33. I can’t help but wonder whether Reason knows exactly why immigration stirs such passion among voters, but prefers to frame it as some problem for the Republicans.

    Let’s say half the tech workforce is replaced by foreign guest workers by 2018. It’ll be just republicans and conservatives railing against such a development, right? Not leftists and the union folks?

    The chronically unemployed in this country is frustrated. They can be easily persuaded to blame something – immigrants are one of them. White privilege and outsourcing are also popular targets. Guest worker programs aren’t universally popular. And charismatic populists can tap into their anxiety.

    The answer is to unleash the free market, right? Ah, but you need free marketeers to actually run the government, and the constituents to support them.

    How can candidates like Rand Paul win? He’ll have to secure the conservative base, and beyond that, recognize that winning elections is still a numbers game. He shouldn’t go out of his way to piss off his potential supporters. There is no reason for him stand FOR sanctuary cities and the dreadful Iran deal. You can support amnesty without embracing open borders and support non interventionism without giving freebie to a terrorist state.

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