2:00PM Water Cooler 10/7/2020

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By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Bird Song of the Day

Feeling like a bustard today. I wonder if the world of the dinosaurs sounded like this?


At reader request, I’ve added this daily chart from 91-DIVOC. The data is the Johns Hopkins CSSE data. Here is the site.

Here are the United States regions:

Unmistakable rise in all regions now. Ugh.

Here are the Swing States as I conceive them (see below):

Texas bounces around (more data woes), Wisconsin continues steady rise…

Here’s the global leaderboard, the top 25:

The EU is pretty disconcerting. No Asian countries at all in the top 25 except for the Philippines and Indonesia (though everybody seems to think Indonesia’s reporting is terrible).


“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

“They had one weapon left and both knew it: treachery.” –Frank Herbert, Dune

“They had learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.” –Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord

The electoral map. July 17: Georgia, Ohio, ME-2 move from Leans Republican to Toss-up. Continued yikes. On July 7, the tossup were 86. Only July 17, they were 56. Now they are 91. This puts Biden at 278, i.e. over 270. August 18: Still no changes. August 31: Indiana moves from Likely to Safe Republican. September 9: No changes. September 14: No changes. September 21: No changes. September 22: Ohio moves from Toss-up to Leans Republican. September 25: Ohio moves from Leans Republican to Toss-up. September 30: Iowa moves from Leans Republican to Toss-up. October 3: Indiana moves from Safe to Likely Republican; Iowa moves from Toss-up to Leans Republican. October 6: Arizona moves from Toss-up to Leans Democratic; Iowa from Leans Republican to Toss-up; Indiana from Likely to Safe Republican; New Mexico from Likely to Safe Democratic. For all the sturm and drang, and the polls, the consensus on the electoral college remains remarkably static: Biden ahead, Trump within striking distance. Of course, if Trump is still in striking distance on Election Day, that will count as a loss. Maybe.

Click the map to create your own at 270toWin.com

The election countdown:

Here is an early voting calendar. Maybe we’ll have a whole series of October surprises, since election day is gradually being devalued as an event.

And here are mail-in voting ruies, which naturally differ state by state.

NEW “2020 General Election Early Vote Statistics” [U.S. Elections Project (SlayTheSmaugs)].

“How to Vote in 2020: Everything You Need to Know” [Bloomberg]. “Casting a ballot in the U.S. isn’t always easy, with a complex web of varying state rules governing how and when you can vote. The Covid-19 pandemic has introduced even more complexity in 2020, as many states have made significant changes to allow for more early voting or voting by mail. More changes could come as lawsuits in several states wind their way through the courts. That’s why Bloomberg News is answering these critical questions so you’ll know what you need to do to make sure your vote is counted in the 2020 election.”

Here are is an enormous spreadsheet on voting equipment, so you can check your own jurisdiction (hat tip, UserFriendly. I should really aggregate these onto a map…).

UPDATE https://twitter.com/rmd1023/status/1312710174583533570?s=11

* * *


Trump’s Case of Covid

* * *

Here is my list of Swing States, with votes in the Electoral College and selected ballot initiatives in parentheticals):

  • Arizona (11) (marijuana; taxes(=)
  • Colorado (9) (taxes, lottery, abortion, paid medical leave)
  • Florida (29) (minimum wage)
  • Georgia (16) (declaratory relief)
  • Iowa (6) (Constitional convention)
  • Maine-02 (1) (vax)
  • Michigan (16) (privacy)
  • Minnesota (10)
  • Nebraska-02 (1) (payday lending; gambling)
  • Nevada (6) (marriage)
  • New Hampshire (4)
  • North Carolina (15)
  • Ohio (18)
  • Pennsylvania (20)
  • Texas (38)
  • Wisconsin (10) (crime victims)

Inspired by the thread starting with Arizona Slim’s comment here, I went to Ballotpedia and added selected, hopefully hot button, ballot initiatives, because sometimes they affect turnout. If you live in a swing state, please comment if I got the hot buttons wrong!

I can’t speak for the methodology, but the source comes recommended. Note the qualification:

One obvious moral is that Democrats get a bump when they don’t run a candidate who’s actively hated. That’s probably good for five or six states, at least.

UPDATE “The key swing states of Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin could take longer to report election results. Here’s why.” [Business Insider].

* * *

FL: “Florida Governor Extends Deadline After Voter Registration Site Crashes” [National Public Radio]. “Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has extended the state’s deadline for Floridians to register to vote after the state’s registration website crashed due to a heavy volume of traffic. The crash, which sparked outrage from Democrats, could have prevented thousands of potential voters from being able to participate in the Nov. 3 general election. The outage comes as the state is once again highly competitive in this fall’s presidential race. Former Vice President Joe Biden campaigned Monday in Miami.”

ME: “Sara Gideon and Susan Collins within 1 point in new BDN poll of Maine Senate race” [Bangor Dailly News]. “The results are closer than those in the last BDN poll conducted in August, when Gideon had a five-point lead among likely voters, though both are within the margin of error from each other. The poll also showed fewer undecided voters, with eight percent of voters saying they were still making up their minds down from 14 percent in August. Gideon has led in all independent public polling this year, with the margins varying widely…. Voting is already underway in Maine, with the first round of absentee ballots sent out last Friday and in-person absentee voting available in most towns.”

MI: “Michigan allows limited early ballot processing, but counting still expected to stretch past election night” [Politico]. “Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed a law allowing local clerks a limited window to process mail ballots ahead of Election Day, as election experts warn that the results of the 2020 election may take longer than usual to determine because of the time it takes to process and count absentee votes. The law, which passed out of the Republican-controlled legislature and was signed by the Democratic governor, allows election clerks whose jurisdiction contains at least 25,000 people to start processing — but not counting — mail ballots for 10 hours on Nov. 2, the day before Election Day.”

UPDATE MI: “This Michigan county could tell us a lot about the 2020 election” [CNN]. “Lands represents the archetypal voter from Monroe County, an area that had voted Democrat for decades — including for Obama in both 2008 and 2012 — but overwhelming backed Trump by 22 points in 2016. Unlike other so-called pivot counties, however, Monroe continued its conservative bent in 2018, backing Michigan’s Republican gubernatorial candidate, not the eventual winner, Democrat Gretchen Whitmer… Terry Bowman, the co-chair of the Michigan GOP and a Monroe native, is banking on that change [to backing Republicans] being permanent…. But, he recalled, his father broke with his history of voting Democratic in 2016 and backed Trump, telling his son, ‘I don’t know what happened to that damn party, but it doesn’t represent me anymore.’… Eric Hyers, Biden’s state director in Michigan, has led a campaign that leans heavily on Biden’s work during the Great Recession, highlighting his trips to Michigan and his work with the major auto companies. But even Hyers, who successfully led Democrat Andy Beshear’s campaign in traditionally red Kentucky, admits that places like Monroe, which swung so heavily to Trump four years ago, may be too big of a stretch for Biden to win. To win Michigan, however, Biden just needs to cut into the President’s margin. ‘There is not a county we are not competing in,’ said Hyers. ‘And margins matter. Tactically, you don’t have to win every single county. But tamping down margins where you can and running up margins where you can, that is how you win states.'” • 

PA: “Poll shows Biden with 12-point lead in Pennsylvania” [Axios]. “Biden’s current lead is a significant improvement from his four-point lead in last month’s Monmouth poll.” • Seems like rather a lot. CBS says seven.

PA: “In Pennsylvania, Catholic Voters Are Targeted By Both Sides” [NPR]. “The Trump and Biden campaigns this year are both targeting Catholics, with messages reflecting their differing judgments of how Catholic faith values might push swing voters in one direction or another. In the battleground state of Pennsylvania, it’s a critical effort. Republicans hope opposition to abortion will drive Pennsylvania Catholics to support President Trump…. Catholics outnumber Evangelicals in Pennsylvania by a 2-to-1 margin. In 2016, Trump narrowly defeated Hillary Clinton in the state. This year, however, with Biden as his opponent, Trump is facing a lifelong Catholic and Pennsylvania native who regularly attends mass and carries a rosary… ‘What we want to do is help people understand Joe Biden’s character, his basic goodness, and [how he is] reaching out to people and trying to bring our country together,’ says Kevin Hayes, cofounder of Pittsburgh Catholics4Biden.” • Basic goodness…. s

PA: “Memory sticks used to program Philly’s voting machines were stolen from elections warehouse” [Inquirer]. “A laptop and several memory sticks used to program Philadelphia’s voting machines were stolen from a city warehouse in East Falls, officials confirmed Wednesday, setting off a scramble to investigate and to ensure the machines had not been compromised. Though it remains unclear when the equipment was stolen, sources briefed on the investigation said the items vanished this week. The laptop belonged to an on-site employee for the company that supplies the machines. It and the USB drives were the only items believed to have been taken. ‘We are confident,’ said Nick Custodio, a deputy to Lisa Deeley, chair of the city commissioners, who oversee elections, ‘that this incident will not in any way compromise the integrity of the election.'” • [nods vigorously].

TX: “Harris County can’t send mail-in ballot applications to all registered voters, Texas Supreme Court rules” [Texas Tribune]. “The elections administrator of the state’s most populous county, an important Democratic stronghold, may not send out applications for mail-in ballots to all 2.4 million of the county’s registered voters, the all-Republican Texas Supreme Court ruled Wednesday in a rebuke of County Clerk Chris Hollins, whose office has worked to expand voting options beyond what is available in a typical year…. But the state’s highest civil court ruled Wednesday that Hollins may not put the applications in the mail. The documents can be accessed online and are often distributed by political campaigns, parties and other private organizations. But for a government official to proactively send them oversteps his authority, the court ruled.”

TX: “DCCC gives Siegel Red to Blue nod in TX-10” [Texas Tribune]. “The DCCC is targeting 10 seats this November in Texas, and Siegel is the eighth candidate who has gotten the Red to Blue distinction. But he’s one of the more significant recipients — the unabashedly progressive contender had a cool relationship with the committee during the primary, and while relations improved as he closed in on the nomination, some supporters still questioned why the group didn’t more swiftly embrace him.”

TX: “A bullish Biden campaign invades Trump territory” [Politico]. “Starting this week, a generation of voters in Texas will see something they’ve never witnessed before: a heavy rotation of presidential TV ads. In a move that would have been far-fetched even a few months ago, Joe Biden is set to spend $6.2 million on ads in the state over the next month — attempting to put the state in play for the first time in decades. The latest polling averages show President Donald Trump leading by only 2 to 3 points in Texas, and Biden’s push there illustrates both how much the state has changed and how much the political environment is tilting against Trump less than a month from the Election Day.” • We’ll see if Biden visits. He has visited Pennsylvania and Florida.

TX “Biden makes $6M bet on Texas, ending drought for Democrats who’ve written off state for decades” [Dallas Morning News]. “Biden’s ad buy shows up in data collected by Advertising Analytics, which tracks campaign spending. He could still back out, making this a rather elaborate feint, but Texas Democrats believe it’s just the start. And the state party is simultaneously investing several million for ads aimed at Black and Latino voters — a coordinated assault on a state that Republicans long counted on as unassailable. Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris have yet to put Texas on their itineraries, though Texas activists remain hopeful as polls continue to show Trump mired in a tie with Biden, or barely ahead, in a state he won by 9 points four years ago. Until Monday, Biden had only deployed Texas allies in Texas. Harris’s husband, Doug Emhoff, visited San Antonio and Edinburg, ending a decades-long streak of Texas being ignored by the national ticket.”

* * *

Biden (D)(1): “Joe Biden Gettysburg Campaign Speech Transcript October 6” [Rev]. One reaction:

I linked to Biden’s speech this morning, but I’ve linked to it again here because I’d like your reactions to it; I think I’m gonna have to put on my yellow waders for it. For example, Biden’s theory of the CIvil War seems to be that it was caused by a lack of decorum. Understandable in a liberal Democrat, I suppose, but a little too much of the present moment, perhaps.

Biden (D)(2):

Biden (D)(3):

On masks: Biden’s site is more equivocal: “Implement mask mandates nationwide by working with governors and mayors and by asking the American people to do what they do best: step up in a time of crisis. On free testing: It’s hard to imagine a crueller policy than free tests without free treatment. You get the diagnosis, and can’t afford to do anything about it! On vaccines: Needs to explain what’s more accelerated than Project Warp Soeed, which really has been fast.

Biden (D)(4): “Biden Affirms: ‘I Will Eliminate Your Student Debt'” [Forbes]. The headline is deceptive. You knew the plan is means-tested and has eligibility requirements, and so it does: ‘I’m going to eliminate your student debt if you come from a family [making less] than $125,000 and went to a public university.’ Biden also said, ‘I’m going to make sure everyone gets $10,000 knocked off of their student debt’ in response to economic hardships caused by the pandemic. Biden further proposed giving young people a $15,000 credit towards a downpayment on their first home. ‘This is how people accumulate wealth*,” he said. ‘This is how people get started. We have to recognize you and advance you. You are the future.'” • $10,000 knocked off debt and $15,000 credit towards a downpayment on their first home is exactly what I had in mind with my barbell metaphor: The problem is so bad that never the weak, nor the less weak, can lift it. NOTE * A house is not wealth, if by wealth is meant capital, unless you’re speculating with it.

Biden (D)(5): Forgotten nothing, learned nothing:

Party like it’s 2008!

Trump (R)(1): “Trump campaign discussing plans to appoint its own state electors, no matter the results: report” [Salon]. “[i]n 2000, the Supreme Court held in Bush v. Gore that the states ‘can take back the power to appoint electors.’ … According to a Sept. 23 article in The Atlantic, campaign advisers to Trump, in conjunction with Republican state leaders, are preparing to test this theory. Sources in the Republican Party, at both state and national levels, say that the campaign is considering a plan to ‘bypass’ the popular vote results and install its own electors in key battleground states where the legislatures are controlled by Republicans. Republicans control both legislative bodies in the six closest battleground states: Arizona, Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Of those six, both Arizona and Florida have Republican governors. After the national election, the plan goes, the Trump campaign would cry foul about rampant fraud and demand that state legislators ignore the ballot tabulations and choose their electors directly.” • Here is the Loyola Law Review article that lays out the scenarios discussed in this article and at greater length in the Atlantic.

Trump (R)(2): “Eli Lilly says its monoclonal antibody cocktail is effective in treating Covid-19” [STAT]. “reducing levels of the virus that causes Covid-19 in patients, and also appears to prevent patients from visiting the emergency room or hospital. Lilly had previously released results for a similar treatment using one antibody, which experts viewed as promising. But the new results, of a combination of two antibodies, appear, based on limited data provided in a press release, to be more robust. The results also appear roughly similar to those Regeneron presented last week of its own cocktail of two monoclonal antibodies. Last Friday, President Trump was treated with the Regeneron monoclonal antibodies. Eli Lilly said that in a preliminary analysis the antibody combination reduced the amount of virus in nasal swabs of patients after 11 days. Key data, including the actual viral loads of patients and the makeup of the study population, were not included in the press release.” • n = 112. Gottlieb is a former FDA Commissioner:

Perhaps I was wrong, Trump lucked out, and he has a colorable claim to a vaccine after all!

* * *

Apparently the economic message, even if the economics are miserably inadequate, still works:

I thought voters were too racist to hear it. And that “economic anxiety” was something for the Acela class to mock. Oh well.

The Debates

I will have a live blog post up for the Vice Presidential debate in due course. Here’s the set:


“‘We Need to Take Away Children,’ No Matter How Young, Justice Dept. Officials Said” [New York Times]. “The five U.S. attorneys along the border with Mexico, including three appointed by President Trump, recoiled in May 2018 against an order to prosecute all undocumented immigrants even if it meant separating children from their parents. They told top Justice Department officials they were “deeply concerned” about the children’s welfare. But the attorney general at the time, Jeff Sessions, made it clear what Mr. Trump wanted on a conference call later that afternoon, according to a two-year inquiry by the Justice Department’s inspector general into Mr. Trump’s ‘zero tolerance’ family separation policy. ‘We need to take away children,’ Mr. Sessions told the prosecutors, according to participants’ notes. One added in shorthand: ‘If care about kids, don’t bring them in. Won’t give amnesty to people with kids.’ Rod J. Rosenstein, then the deputy attorney general, went even further in a second call about a week later, telling the five prosecutors that it did not matter how young the children were. He said that government lawyers should not have refused to prosecute two cases simply because the children were barely more than infants.” • Did people name their dogs after Rosenstein too, or just Mueller?

UPDATE “Trump’s spy chief declassified a slew of documents that national security veterans say was part of an effort to boost the president’s Russia claims” [Business Insider]. • Because of course they did. Including a hand-written note from Brennan. Unless it was a Russian forgery, of course. “‘We’re getting additional insight into Russian activities from [REDACTED],’ Brennan wrote, according to the notes, which were first reported on by Fox News. They also detailed an alleged ‘plan’ that a foreign policy adviser to then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton cooked up ‘to vilify Donald Trump by stirring up a scandal claiming interference by the Russian security service.'” • A plan that Robbie Mook carried out the day after the election, if you read Shattered. “After Ratcliffe’s release, President Donald Trump ordered the declassification of all documents pertaining to Russian interference in the 2016 election and the FBI’s investigation into the matter, which included looking at whether members of Trump’s campaign conspired with the Russian government to tilt the race in his favor.” • We shall see.

Obama Legacy

“Mr. Obama Goes to Washington” [David Sirota, The Nation]. From June 8, 2006 (!): “Another area of retreat and equivocation for Obama is his role in party politics. He had previously said he didn’t “want to be the kingmaker,” because “it’s never been sort of a role that I’ve aspired to in politics.” Yet Obama forcefully intervened in a suburban Chicago Congressional primary on behalf of Iraq veteran Tammy Duckworth, the candidate handpicked by Democratic power brokers, against grassroots contender Christine Cegelis, who in 2004 garnered an astonishing 44 percent against GOP incumbent Henry Hyde and who almost beat Duckworth. Wasn’t this the very kingmaking role he’d said he didn’t want to be a part of?… Just as Ned Lamont’s antiwar primary campaign against prowar Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman was gaining momentum, Obama traveled to the state to endorse Lieberman. Like the Duckworth endorsement, Obama’s move was timed to derail an insurgent, grassroots candidate. To progressives this may seem surprising, given Obama’s progressive image. But remember, according to the New York Times it is Lieberman–one of the most conservative, prowar Democrats in Washington–who is ‘Obama’s mentor in the Senate as part of a program in which freshman senators are paired with incumbents.'” • So Obama has form. Elevating Biden over Sanders repeats his earlier patterns.

Realignment and Legitimacy

What will happen to the Never-Trumpers? David Frum has a long thread:

No thought of purging the maniacs who got us into the Iraq War, of course.

Note on The Great Assimilation™. I don’t have “You will be assimilated” in mind. Rather, I had in mind a passage like this from Naked Lunch. There may be others, but this is best I can find:

Later the boy [Lincoln Group] is sitting in a Waldorf with two colleagues dunking pound cake.

‘Most distasteful thing I ever stand still for,’ he says. ‘Some way he make himself all soft like a blob of jelly and surround me so nasty [the Democrats]. Then he gets well all over like with green slime. So I guess he come to some kinda awful climax … I come near wigging with that green stuff all over me, and he stink like a old rotten cantaloupe.’

‘Well it’s still an easy score.’

The boy signed resignedly; ‘Yes, I guess you can get used to anything. I’ve got a meet with him again tomorrow.’

I feel utter revulsion at Bush-era Republican war criminals slithering on board Biden’s juggernaut. And all to avoid appealing to the working class, let alone expand the electorate by bringing in new voters. “Fundamentally, nothing will change” is a phrase Burroughs could have had a lot of fun with.

* * *

“What is ranked-choice voting and why one state is using it for the presidential election” [ABC]. “The state will be the first in the union to decide the presidential and congressional elections through a ranked-choice voting [RCV’s] ballot. Unlike a traditional winner-take-all plurality ballot, ranked choice voters are asked to list their candidates in order of preference and the victor is decided through a process of elimination based on those rankings….. Christopher Hughes, the policy director for the Ranked Choice Voting Resource Center, told ABC News that the system has grown in popularity over the years, because it gives voters more choice and say in their elected officials. Hughes said voters who prefer third party candidates can still have their voices heard even if their candidate is eliminated in a ranked choice voting round. ‘You don’t have that excuse anymore that your vote doesn’t count,’ he said.” • A strong point in RCV’s favor is that both parties hated it, and did everything they could to make sure it never happened. (The article has the details, including an explanation of how the votes are counted to determine the winner.)

Stats Watch

At reader request, I added some business stats back in. Please give Econintersect click-throughs; they’re a good, old-school blog that covers more than stats. If anybody knows of other aggregators, please contact me at the email address below.

Leading Indicators: “03 October 2020 New York Fed Weekly Economic Index (WEI): Index Little Changed Since End Of August” [Econintersect]. “The New York Fed’s Weekly Leading Index (WLI) continues to show an economy that is below the worst seen during the Great Recession. However, this index remains on a recovery trend but the index is only marginally improved since the end of August.”

Employment Situation: “Is The Labor Market Recovery Still Alive?” [Econintersect]. “The August labor report was revised higher from 1.371 million to 1.489 million jobs created, but private sector job creation was revised lower by 5,000 to 1.022 million. That means total government jobs created was revised higher from 344,000 to 467,000. That’s a huge number. Backing that out shows private sector job creation looks fine in September compared to August….. The government was only expected to lose 6,000 jobs because of the census. It actually lost 34,000 from the census, but that wasn’t the main reason jobs fell in the public sector. Instead, the losses came from local and state education which lost 291,000 and 49,000 jobs. Outside of education, local governments added 96,000 jobs. These losses in education are likely temporary which is good news. They were impacted by the late start to the school year.”

* * *

Tech: “‘Smart’ male chastity device vulnerable to locking by hackers, researchers say” [Taipei Times]. “A security flaw in an Internet-connected male chastity device could allow hackers to remotely lock it — leaving users trapped, researchers have said. The Cellmate, produced by Chinese firm Qiui, is a cover that clamps on the base of the male genitals with a hardened steel ring, and does not have a physical key or manual override. The locking mechanism is controlled with a smartphone app via Bluetooth — marketed as both an anti-cheating and a submission sex play device — but security researchers have found multiple flaws that leave it vulnerable to hacking. ‘We discovered that remote attackers could prevent the Bluetooth lock from being opened, permanently locking the user in the device. There is no physical unlock,’ British security firm Pen Test Partners (PTP) said on Tuesday. ‘An angle grinder or other suitable heavy tool would be required to cut the wearer free.'” • Yikes!

* * *

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 48 Neutral (previous close: 44 Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 44 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 7 at 12:07pm.

The Biosphere

“When Plants Go to War” [Nautilus]. Not with each other (though I would think that happens too). This is neat: “Plants also make use of underground networks to warn each other of impending danger. Many species have a symbiotic relationship with a soil-borne fungus, which penetrates the outer layers of a plant’s roots, feeding off its carbon stores and helping it take up vital nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus in return. The fungus grows by sending out long, threadlike branches called hyphae, which colonize nearby plants, forming vast underground webs.”

Health Care

“Can Convalescent Plasma Prevent Severe COVID-19? A Rigorous Trial Is Looking for Participants” [RealClearScience]. “Can the blood of people who have recovered from COVID-19 prevent severe disease in those who have been exposed or are newly infected? A prestigious team of researchers from Johns Hopkins University is trying to find out, and they need your help. The therapy is called convalescent plasma. As somebody fights off COVID-19, their immune system pumps out antibodies to neutralize the coronavirus. These remain in blood plasma once the infection has waned. As researchers have found out with diseases like measles and mumps, antibodies can be harvested from recovered individuals and given to sick people to aid their immune systems. The same could be true for COVID-19. Early studies published in the last six weeks show that convalescent plasma is safe, but despite promising signs, they have not conclusively demonstrated its effectiveness. What’s needed is a large, randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial, and with $35 million in funding from the U.S. Department of Defense, researchers at Johns Hopkins University are providing.” • I thought plasma had been left for dead because Trump mentioned it, but I guess not.

Sports Desk

UPDATE “The Cat-and-Mouse Game of the Modern Penalty Kick” [The Ringer]. “we are now in the age of the gentrification of the Panenka: that is to say, a footballing world where so many penalties are now being given that this once-rare technique is now increasingly regarded as a reliable way of delivering results. The Premier League season is on track to have 271 penalties awarded this season; the current record is 106. There is no question what, or who is to blame for this: The twin villains of a strict handball rule and a VAR (video assistant referee) system that seeks to leave no footballing sin unpunished mean that spot kicks are being awarded like never before. Though this situation has created great outrage and frustration, much of it understandable, it has resulted in just another regular and compelling test of a footballer’s mettle and expertise. It can be argued that Tielemans’s slider—if that is what we can call it—is just the latest iteration of this trend: one in which goalkeepers are now so athletic, so wise in anticipating the wiles of the penalty takers who stand before them, that it takes ever more craft to beat them. For years, goalkeepers have improved their chances of saving penalties by studying the previous spot kicks that outfield players have taken: Now, in those few seconds before they hit the penalty, those outfield players are studying goalkeepers. This is a pleasing irony, a neat inversion of a long-established dynamic, which makes this phase of the game feel truly gladiatorial. Now it really is a shootout in the truest sense: The opponents examine every facet of each other’s body language, in the hope that it will betray them.” • But:

Class Warfare

“I’m a software engineer at Uber and I’m voting against Prop 22” [TechCrunch]. “These experiences have made me realize a crucial factor in the gig economy: Uber works because it’s cheap and it’s quick. The instant gratification when we book a ride and a car shows up only minutes later gives us a sense of control. It’s the most convenient thing in the world to go to your friend’s house, the grocery store or the airport at the click of a button. But it’s become clear to me that this is only possible because countless drivers are spending their personal time sitting in their cars, waiting to pick up a ride, completely unpaid. Workers are subsidizing the product with their free labor. I’ve decided to speak out against my employer because I know what it’s like to work with no benefits. Before joining Uber, I worked a range of low-wage jobs from customer service at Disneyland to delivering pizza with no benefits. Uber is one of several large companies bankrolling California’s Proposition 22. They’ve now contributed $47.5 million dollars to the campaign. At work, management tells us that passing Prop 22 is for the best because it is critical for the company’s bottom line. Yet, a corporation’s bottom line will not and should not influence my vote.” • It would be nice if Harris gave voting against Proposition 22 a shout-out in tonight’s debate. It would have been nicer if she’d joined a digital picket line.

“Encyclical Letter Fratelli Tutti of The Holy Father Francis On Fraternity And Social Friendship” [The Vatican]. From the section “Re-envisaging the social role of property”:

119. In the first Christian centuries, a number of thinkers developed a universal vision in their reflections on the common destination of created goods.[91] This led them to realize that if one person lacks what is necessary to live with dignity, it is because another person is detaining it. Saint John Chrysostom summarizes it in this way: “Not to share our wealth with the poor is to rob them and take away their livelihood. The riches we possess are not our own, but theirs as well”.[92] In the words of Saint Gregory the Great, “When we provide the needy with their basic needs, we are giving them what belongs to them, not to us”.[93]

120. Once more, I would like to echo a statement of Saint John Paul II whose forcefulness has perhaps been insufficiently recognized: “God gave the earth to the whole human race for the sustenance of all its members, without excluding or favouring anyone”.[94] For my part, I would observe that “the Christian tradition has never recognized the right to private property as absolute or inviolable, and has stressed the social purpose of all forms of private property”.[95] The principle of the common use of created goods is the “first principle of the whole ethical and social order”;[96] it is a natural and inherent right that takes priority over others.[97] All other rights having to do with the goods necessary for the integral fulfilment of persons, including that of private property or any other type of property, should – in the words of Saint Paul VI – “in no way hinder [this right], but should actively facilitate its implementation”.[98] The right to private property can only be considered a secondary natural right, derived from the principle of the universal destination of created goods. This has concrete consequences that ought to be reflected in the workings of society. Yet it often happens that secondary rights displace primary and overriding rights, in practice making them irrelevant.

Biden is, IIRC, Catholic…

News of the Wired

Dulce et utile:

Holding a mirror up to nature:

* * *
Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi and coral are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (AM):

AM writes: “Reverse angle of the kitchen garden at Rough Point, the Doris Duke mansion, on July 31. Guess the rich have fancier vegetable gardens along with everything else.” They do, but what an inviting path!

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. zagonostra

    >Trump calls for declassification of Russiagate/military and vaccines

    I might have missed it in the links, but Trump’s tweets calling for the release of all Russiagate docs without any redactions. He tweeted that he “can’t believe these con men are not yet being PROSECUTED.” Well I’m in agreement and I’m certainly no Trump supporter but I fear the permanent State more than I do him.

    One such fear is the military getting into the vaccine business. I haven’t seen much reporting on “Operation Warp Speed” for instance.

    $6 billion in Covid-19 vaccine contracts awarded by Operation Warp Speed have been doled out by a secretive government contractor with deep ties to the CIA and DHS, escaping regulatory scrutiny and beyond the reach of FOIA requests.

    It’s past the point where I give S&%t who wins November, there is a deep rot in the political system that has metastasized to such a degree that it only matters marginally who wins. The 2016 election never ended and we are entering into a state of continual partisan posturing while the ruling elites squabble over the remains of what will soon be but a carcass.


  2. Wukchumni

    Merkins do the work Americans refuse to!

    Driving by Teaser Pleaser last week, Amber Weber noticed the front door of the Buck Owens Boulevard strip club was open and cars were in the parking lot. It made her blood boil.

    With schools closed and churches unable to hold indoor services, how could a strip club be open for business, she wondered.

    “You shut everything else down, and all our little mom-and-pop restaurants are going out of business but you’re going to let a strip club operate?” she said. “I think we need to say, ‘Newsom, you need to do a better job.'”


  3. Henry Moon Pie

    An interesting dissent from the Green New Deal in an article at Resilience.org, “The Green New Old Deal: a New Industrial Policy When We Need a de-Industrial Policy.”

    An excerpt:

    What we face is a country-wide diversity of tasks that no Captains of Industry (if any can be found) are equipped to undertake. And instead of patriotism driving the population to participate, an ecological internationalism seems more appropriate as current motivation. An internationalism, however, that’s grounded on democratic participation at the local level—all over world. The solidarity necessary to transform a profit-driven economy arises from local actions like, to choose one example, the rise of Mutual Aid groups across the world to mitigate the effects of COVID19 lockdowns. People participate in these activities because they are invested in fostering a good life for themselves and their neighbors. There’s no place for Progress here. Or, rather, we need to define progress as the avoidance of imminent catastrophes in pursuit of a life of abundant joy.

  4. Krystyn Podgajski

    “On free testing: It’s hard to imagine a crueller policy than free tests without free treatment. You get the diagnosis, and can’t afford to do anything about it! “

    Nothing new about this! Just this morning I had a chat with a geneticist and metabolic specialist after a serum amino acid test came back all wonky.

    “I can order these tests but their might be some out of pocket costs.” So that’s it. The only clue I have had in my 50 plus years of life and it’s just about money. My life and health is worth nothing.

    I also have dupentyns contracture that would cost $2000 after Medicare that they can’t fix either.

    Doctors love to diagnose but are useless for much else.

    1. Will S.

      My wife has had consistent ear pain and reduced hearing for months; she finally had an appointment with an ear, nose, and throat specialist last month, and they basically told her nothing. Not only did they say nothing seemed to be wrong, so maybe she’s just clenching her jaw, but they “tested” her hearing by playing middle-range sounds in a quiet room through headphones, when her problem is with lower pitches and background noise. The doctor was supposed to call her regarding the results of that and the other tests they commissioned, but never did—instead they just sent us a bill for $150 in the mail, because the way they coded the billing meant our insurance covered $18 of the procedure.

      1. JBird4049

        What? From what you write, I think that they just blew off her complaint.

        Why did they not send her to an audiologist? From my experience from being hard of hearing, a full workup on one’s hearing would require both auditory testing in a silent (soundproof) room and IIRC sometimes a medical device that test to see what range, if anything, is reaching the ear. To the ear from outside, then the brain, and then, finally the processing and understanding of what is heard.

        The full auditory testing with the headphones can be really annoying, even a bit hard, as it can take maybe twenty or thirty minute and covers both sounds and words. All of it being done with a full range of soft to (painfully) loud sound with everything from no masking or background sounds to the background completely overwhelming the words. Just be sure that everyone is rested before the test as alert participation is required unlike many other medical tests. :-)

        One might ask why do you need a full workup when a device can quickly determine if you can hear? IIRC, that only shows that the ear is working. That is just the beginning. Just because you can see light does not mean you are not blind. Think of cataracts. You must not only be able to hear, but to discern and understand what you are hearing, which can be improved with practice or constantly using ones hearing. Think of it as physical therapy for the ear. And the full testing better shows what kind of help one might need.

        I’m just some hard of hearing stranger on the interwebs, but I would suggest making an appointment with an audiologist. I do not think that they could much more than verifying in detail whatever hearing loss she has. At least an audiogram could be used to encourage her regular doctor to do their jobs better as it would should that she is not just some annoying problem child. I have had problems too with doctors taking me seriously. Pain and hearing loss is worrisome. Who knows what is wrong? Too much earwax (it does happen!), stress, an insect, or something worse?

        Thinking on it, she should already have an audiogram from her original testing in the soundproof room. I would ask for it and bring it to the audiologist for a comparison. To me it would show that the original doctors were at least somewhat serious and the audiologist or any other doctor might want the original test results for comparison.

        I don’t know what your financial situation is and of course what your insurance is like, but it really should cost not much more than a few hundred dollars paying out of pocket. If you need them, hearing aids with can costs over 2k to 3, 4, 5 thousands of dollars, depending, for a pair of hearing aids, but there are charities and (a few) governmental programs to help. Unfortunately, treating hearing loss is a growth industry and liked with dental, coverage is often spotty. Testing is not bad, but they really do get you on the aids. The joys of being an American where all you have is the pride of being one and not much else.

  5. petal

    There’s that access word again…. You can come in and look around, but it ends there unless you’re loaded.

      1. petal

        “Access” is one of Biden’s favourite words. He’s been pushing that word since at least summer 2019. During his town hall it was all access this, access that. My eyes ended up permanently stuck in the back of my head from rolling so much. Amazed I wasn’t thrown out for groaning.

      2. The Rev Kev

        It’s like in the book “1984” where it has been explained that words in Newspeak have had their meanings constricted. So in effect you could say that a dog was free of fleas but there was no way that you could talk about the concept of being politically free-


        Access my a**.

    1. ChrisAtRU

      Many lefty #Twitter folks are derisively declaring that Biden had “access to their vote” but chose to abandon #M4A & #GND instead … #IndividualMandatePenalty

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      That $450 billion is coming out of somebody’s pocket, and deaths are only worthy of wailing and teeth gnashing when they can be blamed on covid so……yawn.

    2. jsn

      Think of all the insurance workers and executives!

      You heartless beast.

      Besides, what are you going to do with 70,000 people? s

        1. LifelongLib

          Saw that movie again a while ago. The global warming, dying oceans, Charlton Heston trying not to step on all the homeless people around his decaying apartment building, were all very prescient…

  6. D. Fuller

    Saw a post in the earlier forums about write-in ballots. From Ballotpedia,

    Although a write-in candidate is not entitled to ballot placement, he or she may still be required to file paperwork in order to have his or her votes tallied (or to be eligible to serve should the candidate be elected). A total of 33 states require a write-in presidential candidate to file some paperwork in advance of an election. In nine states, write-in voting for presidential candidates is not permitted. The remaining states do not require presidential write-in candidates to file special paperwork before the election.

    As per the usual disclaimer, please check your official State laws and more importantly – because this is where they will get you – your State Administrative code for the explicit rules of write-in balloting. For example, here is Oregon’s 2016 Administrative Code (which may not be up to date) detailing the requirements for write-in candidates.

    2016 Election Law Summary page 14

    Failure to follow your State Law & Administrative Code can & will result in invalidating all or some of your ballot, depending on your State you live in.

    -May the odds forever be in your favor

    1. Martin

      Hey D

      To add a bit of context.
      I appreciate your concern about my ballot counting.

      Failure to follow your State Law & Administrative Code can & will result in invalidating all or some of your ballot, depending on your State you live in.

      I live in Alabama and i believe that a write-in ballot is a legal choice here.


      But to your point, I voted absentee this past Monday and did indeed write in Bernie, but there were 13 TOTAL offices on my ballot of which 10 were shhoooo ins for the Republican party as the democrates failed to even put up a candidate so i felt good about the cost/benefit of a write-in vote.

    2. notabanker

      How can you possibly have faith in a government that requires you to look up the rules to see if your vote counts? US has lost any semblance of credibility, it like a bad B movie.

  7. Anonymous

    The right to private property can only be considered a secondary natural right, da Pope

    Not the way I read Leviticus 25; i.e. EVERYONE is entitled to a roughly equal share of the world’s arable land and can not lose it for more than 49 years MAX,

    But since when has the Catholic Church felt bound by the Bible? Except to justify its supposed authority?

    Not that Francis seems a bad guy but merely somewhat lame …

    1. Clem

      More Papal bull.

      Why don’t churches sell, or donate, their land for feeding or housing the poor?

      More taxing, why are they exempt, when they so readily get involved in politics?

      1. KevinD

        The psuedo-christian mega-churches. They are a business. Their “preachers” live in mansions and have their own private jets – while the man they purport to “follow” walked around in a robe, wore sandals and owned nothing.

      2. D. Fuller

        Saw some graffiti along a Polish highway. “The Church has everything, the people have nothing.” was the translation from Polish to English.

        1. BobW

          I recall reading about one of the Balkan countries, perhaps it was Bulgaria, where so many people were willing their property to the Orthodox church that it was becoming a fiscal problem, since church property is not taxed.

          1. km

            Odd, since relatively few Bulgarians are religious at all, outside of a vague cultural Christianity.

            Poland is a very different matter. There is a reason that Poland is a favorite pilgrimage destination for a certain kind of hard-right hard-core American Catholic. If you want to meet Poles that subscribe to a certain kind of militant Catholicism, you can easily find them, especially among the older generation.

            Most younger Poles that I have met are typical Eurokids. Most Polish kids could not care less about the Sacred Heart of whatever.

            That also, paradoxically, means that there is a current of anticlericalism in Poland, driven in part by Catholic Church wealth and hypocrisy, and in part by a sense that the Church stands in the way of them having a good time.

    2. Moe Knows

      The Catholic Church is not bound by the Bible and the Old Testament has no bearing what so ever. The church is bound by the teachings of Jesus, as commended by Jesus, the words of the Apostles, and Saints. And Those considered inspired by the Holy Spirit, which includes Popes. You don’t have to believe any of it and it is dangerous to believe in things one doesn’t understand. All follows from – love one another, even if it should case your death. Pope Frank is a Jesuit as am I, this is pretty standard stuff but yet has never been said and time for it is now. And I’ll add everyone everyday decides to be a good person or not, that is what is required – deciding. A non means tested event. Jesuits don’t receive a dime from Rome, one goes out into the world and makes one’s way.

      1. Anonymous

        and the Old Testament has no bearing what so ever. Moe Knows

        Yet Paul says,

        All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

        1. hunkerdown

          What is Scripture and what is Law? In technical writing, it is customary to identify or separate normative text from non-normative (or informative) text. It seems that, without any reliable labeling, the OT and NT are more or less what the authority having jurisdiction says it is, like any other building code.

        2. JTMcPhee

          And Paul is the paradigm of a Bernaysian advertising man. Did one hell of a selling job on the kind of “Christ”inanity that gets preached in almost all the Protestant churches I have ever attended, where the texts Selected by the preachers draw mostly from the meaner parts of the Old Testament and the Paulian dogma from his various Epistles.

          Pretty well recognized that what is passed off as the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth is more properly termed “Pauli’s,” https://www.talkjesus.com/threads/the-concepts-of-paulism-vs-the-teachings-of-christ.40473/

          Not a word about a “jubilee” from these folks, not much about sharing, just obey your hierarchy and in many cases, hey, give money to my megachurch and ya’ll be blessed with Prosperity!

        3. vidimi

          leviticus is the book that proscribes the kosher rules, which catholics do not accept. why do you think it’s relevant?

    3. nippersmom

      You seem to be confusing Catholics with Evangelicals. Catholics believe the New Testament and the teachings of Christ supersede the Old Testament. Quoting Leviticus as an argument against the Pope is a straw man on its face.

      1. Anonymous

        One cannot take the New Testament seriously without taking the Old Testament seriously too since 2 Timothy 3:16-17, etc.

        More to the point, while the New Testament is about MERCY, the Old Testament is about JUSTICE. But BOTH mercy and justice are important according to the Lord Jesus Christ (Matthew 23:23).

        1. hunkerdown

          Actually, I suggest the OT is about DOMINATION, nothing to do with justice. You shall know a tree by its fruits.

        2. Grebo

          Hebrews Chapter 8:

          7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.

          13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

    4. jsn

      “Not that Francis seems a bad guy but merely somewhat lame …”

      The Pope first lost his army to Napoleon.

      Had it back after the Congress of Vienna but used it mostly to impose reactionary internal policies in the Papal States.

      Lost it finally is 1870.

      1. hunkerdown

        Any pope that calls out neoliberalism and its flavor of private property by name… deserves an army of millions at his command. Too bad I’m too old to join that Crusade or I would have reported for duty before replying.

        1. jsn

          I agree and Francis is taking a beating from the Right within the Church.

          He is the only public figure of senior leadership in the West who is legitimately doing most of what he can do to make things better, whatever disagreements I have with the RC Church on the definition of “better.”

          I applaud him.

          1. km

            I get a certain Schadenfreude from watching smug First Things type American Catholics “because Papal infallibility*” call for the fainting couch every time Francis opens his mouth.

            *Yes, I know that Papal Infallibility does not mean that the current Pope is an oracle, or even infallible in everything or at all times. If I didn’t know that already, I sure would have found out after listening to First Things types explain all the reasons that they don’t have to listen to Francis, at least not this time.

    5. garden breads

      Leviticus 25:23 “‘The land must not be sold permanently, because the land is mine and you reside in my land as foreigners and strangers.”

      1. JTMcPhee

        Tell that to the Palestinians. That’s sure not the text the Israel-ites refer to. Of course their forbears, the old guys, wrote the texts they all read from. “Inspired by God,” they say.

          1. ambrit

            “Streamline” the government and give him all of the above.
            I think of this a Norquist’s Revenge.

            1. WobblyTelomeres

              I saw him on Bill Maher. I’m pretty sure Grover would fit in my bathtub. Not saying anything, just saying.

              1. ambrit

                Hmmm. Let us craft this so as to appeal to the Evangelical cohorts. “He who lives by the tub…..”

    1. Laputan

      Don’t forget her niece and stepdaughter to Tony West, Meena Harris, who’s the head of “Strategy and Leadership” at Uber. She must have landed the gig on her own since, you know, we live in a meritocracy and all.

  8. Krystyn Podgajski

    Re: “Encyclical Letter Fratelli Tutti of The Holy Father Francis On Fraternity And Social Friendship”

    It’s a great read and it’s about time the Franciscans started taking over the catholic church.

    Local conflicts and disregard for the common good are exploited by the global economy in order to impose a single cultural model. This culture unifies the world, but divides persons and nations, for “as society becomes ever more globalized, it makes us neighbours, but does not make us brothers”.

  9. Katniss Everdeen

    RE: “In Pennsylvania, Catholic Voters Are Targeted By Both Sides” [NPR]

    This year, however, with Biden as his opponent, Trump is facing a lifelong Catholic and Pennsylvania native who regularly attends mass and carries a rosary…

    IIRC, in 2004 john kerry was forbidden communion or excommunicated or some such by the church for his “support” of Roe v. Wade, which biden ostensibly also “supports.”

    Maybe it’s just that kerry was only facing a human rights-abusing torturer, while biden is facing a Satan / Hitler hybrid evil, the likes of which is previously unknown on the planet.

    Or maybe it’s the rosary.

    At any rate, it appears that concessions must be made. Because Trump.

    1. D. Fuller

      Hillary – according to her own book she wrote around 2004 – did not consider abortion a “right”. However, being a Democrat, political expediency dictated that she support abortion. Goldwater never left the Goldwater Girl.

      Political expediency, also according to Hillary Clinton, resulted in lackluster & ineffective legislation – watered down repeatedly and finally partially repealed by a Republican majority Congress with Democratic support – of Frank-Dodd “financial reform”. Repealed quietly, of course.

    2. Moe Knows

      kerry was not excommunicated, he was required to hold a vow of silence, which is to not argue with the church on this matter. One doesn’t have to Catholic. But if one is, then it is reasonable to belong in a way that has meaning not simple motion.

    3. nippersmom

      As a lifelong Catholic, I find it offensive when war criminals like Biden and Pelosi publicly tout their Catholicism as some sort of proof of piety. Catholics believe we will be judged by our actions, which are supposed to reflect our faith. The Crime Bill and its corollary creation of a private prison system that profits off the enforced misery of others , support for every war that comes along, refusal to even consider healthcare for all, and policy positions that consistently enrich the % at the expense of everybody else, are not consistent with following the teachings of Jesus, imo. Fortunately for them, God is undoubtedly more merciful than I am.

  10. cocomaan

    Was in a wealthy neighborhood in Chester County, PA yesterday (Purple leaning blue county) and seeing 100% more Biden signs than I saw Hillary signs last year. When I say wealthy, I mean it’s some of the wealthiest people in the state. These are kingmakers. They have giant “F-U” money. Lots of Biden signs, a few trump signs, 5 to 1 if I had to count.

    Out in the boonies where I live, Trump is ubiquitous, probably more like 7 to 1.

    In 2016, I drove through the same wealthy areas and saw far less signs overall and when I did see them, probably 3:1 Trump. Out in the boonies, same number of Trump signs.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I spent a good chunk of my childhood in Chesco. This was while the county still had quite a wide variety of people from every social class you could imagine.

      Last summer, I had to go back there because my mother was dying.

      On an almost daily basis, I was reminded of how much Chesco had changed. One day, Mom’s caregiver and I were in the waiting area at the salon and day spa where my mother had her hair done every Thursday. Place was founded as a beauty shop while I was growing up, and the children of the owner turned it into quite the destination for all things beauty and body. Mom continued to go there because one of those owner-kids was a former student of hers.

      While Mom was back with the hairdresser, I was thumbing through a magazine that was aimed at upscale Chester County residents. The magazine was full of ads for private schools. I could almost hear my union card-carrying mother asking, “What’s the matter with the PUBLIC schools?”

      The ad that really bopped me over the head was the one for custom-built wine cellars. Yeesh, I thought. I really don’t belong here anymore.

      When I was growing up, I didn’t know anyone with a wine cellar. Wine was something you’d buy at the State Store, and break out for special occasions.

      So, cocomaan, I fully understand what you mean by “F-U” money. I sure saw a lot of that last summer.

      1. cocomaan

        You nailed it. I live up towards Reading, but had to go down for business. I remembered that you grew up around there!

        This was down near 113 and 100. The Wine Cellar game is strong with these people. If you just turn on Google Maps in that area, float around a bit, the wealth is out of this world. These are the people that donate to campaigns, that keep museums afloat, that basically keep the entire private school business in business.

        Rich Zeoli, the local conservative talk radio host, calls them the “Pumpkin Pancakes Chablis-at-breakfast Brunch Crowd”.

        If you go north or west for about a half hour, you get trailer parks and heroin and Amish and rural poverty. If you go South toward Coatesville, you get post industrial black poverty. So the “Collar Counties” still have economic diversity, it’s just increasing in disparity.

        These folks seemed silent on HRC in 2016. if they are actively advertising for Biden, it means they’re donating in time and influence. Now, Chesco and Montco and the other collar counties have been going Blue for awhile but I think it’s accelerating.

        1. Arizona Slim

          I grew up near West Chester. And when I get back to that part of the USA, I’d like to host an impromptu NC meetup. How does Iron Hill Brewery sound? It’s deep in the heart of West Chester.

          1. cocomaan

            Hey Slim, definitely. I am sure there are other SE PA commentariat too, we had a good group at Yves philly meetup a few years ago and a lot of those folks were traveling from burbs and even NJ.

  11. Pat

    Yes, the BS from the Trumps and that administration is suffocatingly high.

    Sadly, the BS from Biden and his campaign and probable administration is equally high.

    Both are stench from the rotting carcass that is our system. And while I cut Trump a small break for only sponsoring the destruction, Biden has actively worked to create the walking zombie we have.

    Unfortunately most of America has not accepted that BOTH major parties are the problem. I gather Michelle Obama was out warning about voting third party. I consider that just one more reason everyone should.

    Both should lose. We will never be that smart though.

    1. ChrisAtRU

      They will both lose … remember, “did not vote” will probably be the real winner … again

    2. KevinD

      Pat, True for me as well.
      I have heard the same from numerous people. Our choices are dismal. Such sentiments are typically followed by “I wish there was third party”…maybe next time.

    3. RMO

      Trump is a bulls(familyblog)er, Biden is a liar. See Harry G. Frankfurt for an explanation of the differences.

      Were I unfortunate enough to be a US citizen I would find it extremely difficult to vote for either of them – and I would have had the same difficulty with Clinton versus Trump. On the other hand part of me says that once the wings and empennnage have parted company from the fuselage it doesn’t make much difference who you put in the pilot’s seat – and history may well show that the US passed that point back when W got a second term.

  12. Adam1

    Lambert… Arizona is an interesting toss-up. Many assume when marijuana is on the ballot it’s a plus for Democrats, but at least where I grew up that was mostly white poor people they’d vote the same. In 2020 that could be a plus for Trump if rural poor white Arizonans showed up to the poles (or had an easier time voting).

    1. Arizona Slim

      ISTR reading that when (now former) Gov. Jan Brewer was re-elected, more Arizonans voted for legal marijuana than Brewer.

  13. Clem

    Biden‘s speech should be known as the second Gettysburg address.

    Does it start “Twelve score and four years ago…”?

    “Biden has plagiarized speeches from other politicians many times during his career, appropriating passages from the likes of Bobby Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey. The deceitful practice began at least as far back as law school, and continues to this day, with Biden’s campaign just recently releasing a list of policy proposals, many of which were stolen word-for-word from the platform of Democratic socialist Sen. Bernie Sanders”


    Kamala has her own original repertoire: “Racist”-“Mysogynist”-,”I”, “I”, “Me”, “My,””Hmmm?,”Equity”, “The President”, “Trump”, “Me”,

  14. boydownthelane

    This just in… Anonymous sources have revealed that resident President Donald Trump has developed antibodies to the Deep State.

  15. drumlin woodchuckles

    A house is not wealth? Actually, a house IS wealth IF you can turn it into a viable subsistence home-and-yardstead. If the house and yard contains and includes its dweller-thereinners’ own means of production for food/water/heat/cold/etc., then the house is Capital.

    There is an ongoing confusion between money and wealth. If your house is so energy-capturingly efficient that you don’t have to spend any further money heating or cooling the house over ongoing time, that is wealth.

    1. hunkerdown

      Cheesy synecdoche. The house isn’t wealth just because it’s an accessory to the land it sits on/in. You can get the same bang for the buck with a tent and a shed on that lot, if not better.

  16. JohnH

    When it comes to debate Plexiglass, I see that yeoman moderator requires none.

    Knowing what we do about aerosol transmission, how much can that plexi glass do for anyone? Is the debate set itself a form of misinformation? More theatrical value than anything else, and I imagine in the dem’s favor.

    1. ambrit

      The only real way to end “endless” wars is for some supposedly ‘second rate’ opponent to kick the living s— out of the US military on some ‘foreign shore.’
      It’s time for the DoD to stop being the ‘World’s Corporate Policeman’ and focus on keeping the “Homeland” safe. As a twofer, then we could eliminate a lot of those pesky Internal Security Aparats since the Army will be doing their job, and no doubt doing it better.

    2. Arizona Slim

      Excellent site. Thanks for the link. The “do not enlist” video is just over 16 minutes and well worth watching.

    3. neo-realist

      Creating a better economy and educational and career opportunities in the red states for poor and working poor as well as improving those conditions in the inner cities in the blue states for poor POC. Those are the demographics most vulnerable to the benefits offered by military enlistment.

      The middle and upper middles don’t need persuading; They don’t give the military a thought.

      1. nippersmom

        Exactly. the real reason neither party wants free tuition at state colleges and universities is that it would eliminate their biggest carrot for enticing people to enlist.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > The middle and upper middles don’t need persuading; They don’t give the military a thought.

        That’s hardly fair. They go to anti-war rallies (at least some of them).

        Thanks for bringing in material realities.

    4. John k

      Give them decent jobs.
      Course, neolibs do everything they can to maintain a surplus of unemployed, which usefully keeps wages down, profits up, and there’s always lots for cannon fodder.

    5. Glen

      Not so, talking to CONTRACTORS that come back from Afghanistan, they say that the military types have so much money that they contact out EVERYTHING. One guy was on a base of about 50,000 with most of them being CONTRACTORS.

      You want to persuade people to end wars? Restart the DRAFT.

  17. lyman alpha blob

    RE: The Cat-and-Mouse Game of the Modern Penalty Kick

    I had a longer comment that Skynet seems to have absconded with at least temporarily and I don’t have the energy to write it all again, but I really miss the days before way too much tech and analytics turned so many once enjoyable sports into their far less competetive all-star game equivalents. Baseball for example has had a home run derby at its all star game, and now the sport itself has become just one big home run derby due to nerdboxes and their analytics, and all slowed down due to the constant replays.

    Not like it was in the good old days. Now get off my (non artificial turf) lawn.

    1. Wukchumni

      I did a double take on the penalty king Penenka, and for a second there thought it was Adolf from some club team in Buenos Aires.

  18. Youngblood

    “Perhaps I was wrong, Trump lucked out, and he has a colorable claim to a vaccine after all!”

    — Sorry to nitpick, but what Lilly is bringing to market is a cocktail of antibodies, not a vaccine. It is potentially a very helpful treatment, all the same. Just giving your body up front what it might need several days to generate itself.

    1. QuietLife

      I believe “colorable claim” is a nod to a more loose definition of “vaccine”. If a treatment exists that essentially prevents major injury or death (hypothetically), then we’ve arrived at a place in time not too dissimilar to that of one with a vaccine.

    2. notabanker

      making substantial, at risk investments in manufacturing

      I wonder who made the substantial at risk investment in research and development.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        It doesn’t matter, any more than Warren’s goo goo stuff on contracts matters. The only thing that matters is getting a (safe and effective, FDA-blessed) vaccine out to the people, because the alternative is ruin, as Taleb says. The “process Democrats” can do their thing afterwards.

        The tools for the job are horridly corrupt and controlled by vile profiteers. But they are the tools we have.

  19. Deschain

    I grew up in Monroe County MI, mother still lives there. Mix of Toledo suburbs and farmland, for the most part. Overwhelmingly white, fairly religious, culturally conservative, lots of families who at one time might have had union jobs but probably don’t now. Nice people; as I say though, it’s a great place to be from.

    Growing up there is why I thought Trump had a decent chance to win in 2016 when everyone around me (I live in San Fran area) assumed Hillary would easily win. I knew exactly who Trump was talking to.

      1. Deschain

        Trump might squeeze by in Monroe County but it will be much closer, and I can’t see how he wins Michigan overall given COVID/the economy. He barely beat Hillary in MI in 2016 and nobody liked Hillary.

  20. Judith

    I am voting Green, just as I did last time. But as I started facing another day in this pre-election season, I just did not want to think about it all anymore. And I started thinking about the four people running for office and how to judge them as people. Not their gender or religion or skin color or words or jobs or wealth or supporters. Just their essential qualities. And for some reason I started hearing in my head Mavis Staples singing the MLK song. Here are the lyrics (but the song really also needs her voice). Needless to say, they all failed the test.

    If I can help somebody
    As they pass along
    If I can cheer somebody
    With a word or a song
    If I can show somebody
    That they’re traveling wrong
    Then my living
    Will not be in vain.
    If I can do my duty
    As a Christian ought
    If I should sing salvation
    To the world He wrought
    If I can spread the message
    As the Master taught
    Then my living
    Will not be in vain

    Well it really doesn’t matter
    Most of the deeds I’ve done
    It really doesn’t matter
    The prizes I may have won
    I’d like for somebody to say
    I tried to love someone
    When I
    Have to meet my day
    In the crawl for justice
    I helped somebody run
    In the walk for the hungry
    I fed someone
    And in the march for peace
    Tell them I played the drum
    When I
    Have to meet my day
    In the crawl for justice
    I helped somebody run
    In the walk for the hungry
    I fed someone
    And in the march for peace
    Tell them I played the drum
    When I
    Have to meet my day

  21. Yik Wong

    “I won’t waste any time getting this virus under control” Typical Biden, this can be read two ways.

    Meanwhile David Frum doesn’t know “General Franco is still dead”.

  22. JohnnySacks

    Well, the price of starter homes instantly went up $15,000. Any reason I’m missing with my assumption of that’s the way that benefit works?

    1. notabanker

      Oh, you mean like the price of solar panels being 30% higher in the US then anywhere else?

  23. anon

    So is Trump rushing the development of vaccines and treatments (as the media and dems imply) or is he intentionally slowing it down such that we need Biden to accelerate the process? I’m confused.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Not sure how a Biden administration is going to unpoison the well on the results of Operation Warp Speed.

      (I should note that I don’t like Big Pharma any more than anyone else does, but show me the alternative infrastructure.)

  24. Wukchumni

    Vegas is so very done, the kind of place you’d like to short somehow.

    NV Energy told a regulatory body that 68,282 of its residential and small commercial customers were late on their payments as of Aug. 20, with nearly half at least 90 days overdue. At that time, the company had $29.5 million in arrears compared with $6.8 million at the same time last year.


    1. Glen

      I heard on CNBC that NYC is thinking about calling out the National Guard to collect the trash because the city had to lay off so many workers, and the trash is getting out of hand.

      No bailouts for states and that Republican fear of “defund the police” is gonna come true, along with defunding the firefigthers, EMTs, schools, city buses, trash pickup, you name it…

  25. GF

    UPDATE “Trump’s spy chief declassified a slew of documents that national security veterans say was part of an effort to boost the president’s Russia claims” [Business Insider].

    Brennan will be on Bill Maher Friday night. If anyone has access to Maher, please send him the pertinent questions to ask.

  26. Acacia

    It seems Biden is saying the grift for Big Pharma isn’t happening fast enough. Accelerate that money flow, man!

  27. Phil in KC

    Watched the full Biden speech on C-Span, had these thoughts:
    1. Did Obama write this speech? Whoever wrote it, it was well delivered, leading to,
    2. Where has this version of Joe Biden been?
    3. Discussed three major topics: Income inequality/social mobility; racial divisions; and Right-wing hate.
    A tight speech, never wandered away from the main theme of healing our divisions.
    4. Echoes and direct quotes from Lincoln Gettysburg and 2nd Inaugural speeches. Well integrated into the
    body of the speech.
    5. Delivered with sincerity and passion.

    A Solid A. As good a speech as I’ve heard by a politician in my lifetime. I’m impressed, obviously.

  28. The Rev Kev

    “Good morning from inside the site of tonight’s Pence-Harris vice presidential debate.”

    Squinting my eyes, between the tones and the decor it seems to have a very 1860 feel about it. Or at least a cartoon version of what an 1860 set would actually look like. Be funny if Pence said that he suddenly had to go into isolation because of the inroads the virus is making in the White House so that he is sending in a substitute – and in walks Tulsi Gabbard.

  29. grayslady

    Interesting Letters-to-the-Editor headline from my suburban paper today:

    Reader opinion: I would fly my Trump flag, but I fear ‘I would get egged or my house would get burned down’

    Not sure what part of the county this comes from (we’re mostly a blue to blue dog area here with some traditional conservative Repub pockets), but today, while driving into the country to pick up a slew of vegetables from a local farm, I actually saw a huge Biden/Harris banner in one of those wealthier towns that I would have called a Repub pocket. Otherwise, most political signs in my county are for local and state races only. Make of it what you will.

    1. Phil in KC

      In my area, Republicans are shy about putting out yard signs for the top of the ticket, but will put up yard signs for Senate and House Republican candidates. Does that mean they support Biden at the top but Republicans for Congress? Or does it mean they’re afraid of expressing support for Trump? I suspect the latter. A friend of mine whose been a rabid Trump fan no longer wants to discuss politics. My brother-in-law, who is a Republican, is tired of getting crap while defending Trump. These are not positions they just recently adopted.

      Biden signs are everywhere up and down the blocks in my neighborhood.

  30. Stillfeelinthebern

    Lambert, your swing state list, Wisconsin does not have a ballot initiative on crime victims. We actually do not have state wide ballot initiatives.

    What can go on the statewide ballot are amendments to the state constitution and they have to be passed in two separate legislative sessions and then it goes to a statewide referendum. In the April election, Marsy’s Law (which is about crime victim’s rights) was on the ballot and it passed.


  31. hunkerdown

    Apparently Qiui are buying ads on adult social networks: “Trust Your CellMate 100% / Opposed to [familyblog] bondage? Be Owned Remotely Now!”

    Um, being “pwned” was kinda the problem in the first place.

      1. hunkerdown

        “to feel, cause, or be the source of a sharp stinging physical pain or keen mental distress”? That word?

        The lead researcher’s blog includes a timeline of the dialog between the researcher(s) and the company, such as it was. “We don’t know PGP programming” is not a good look for a web service developer. At all.

        The tale proceeds as of a few hours ago, with QIUI founder Jake Guo’s two-page open letter on Twitter stating his case and pleading for mercy. He blames the lateness of API fixes on lockdown, rebuts the researcher’s sensational warning of Hollywood-esque permanent lock-in (customer care still has override, can be safely undone with small hand tools in an emergency), but doesn’t say much about the information disclosure vuln in the API, an especially sensitive point in this category.

        Separately, for the armchair anthropologist, the blog also includes a map of the registered fine locations of some random sample of users, whose distribution nonetheless yields enticing grist for multidisciplinary speculation on contemporary patterns of gender dominance. Amid much confirmation of priors, two surprising features stood out to me: if these devices are popularly associated with female gender dominance, why are Denmark and Norway out-locking Sweden by far? My current leading theory is that they’re used where gender dominance is being plausibly contested, a matter which Sweden has more or less settled for generations and which Latin America barely recognizes as legitimate, but whether the cause and effect more resembles Lysistrata or Hell Comes to Frogtown I do not know. Two, what’s up with those six pins in that alleged open-air prison, Xinjiang SAR, China? Arabian legends and Taliban chieftains notwithstanding, such a thing just doesn’t seem compatible with a male-forward culture. One may well wonder whether it is Western private visitors or Western agents, or whether the alleged forced Sinoification is proceeding apace.

      2. Howard Beale IV

        Naomi Wu has this to say about getting out of the lock:

        Ok yes it sucks but let’s not be ridiculous with talk of angle grinders- that’s 4mm chromed pot metal, a modest size pair of bolt cutters would to the job quickly and safely.

  32. JBird4049

    Biden’s theory of the CIvil War seems to be that it was caused by a lack of decorum. Understandable in a liberal Democrat, I suppose, but a little too much of the present moment, perhaps.

    Having dealt with the trolls online and seen supposed rational people just lose it in public over mild disagreements, I can understand the pushing for civility and even decorum. I certainly can! However, even implying that the Civil War was caused by the lack of decorum is… a poor understanding of the Antebellum period.

    However, this constant call for civility, decorum, in this time for being polite angers me. Somehow pointing to the evil in someone’s acts house is uncivilized, rude, even disrespectful. I well explain more in my conclusion.

    From having a sitting senator almost beaten to death on the Senate floor in 1856, to armed, organized gangs kidnapping and selling into slavery any Black person they could get in the North, to the burning of towns with concurrent the massacres and counter massacres across Kansas and Missouri. People often blame abolitionist John Brown after his massacre of pro-slavery settlers in Pottawatomie, Kansas and his Raid on Harper’s Ferry for raising tensions.

    They also said he was crazy because he let the Blacks eat the same meal at the same time and at the same table with his family. Just like Brown would have done for anyone else. Such craziness. Ignored were the many other murders, arsons, kidnappings, enslavement, and the offering of silver or lead to judges to legalize the the kidnappings by the pro-slavery people. By the time the Civil War started, one side was going to spread the “peculiar institution” and the other was going to stop it with an ever escalating level of atrocity and counter atrocity.

    Of course, we are talking about human beings being treated like legally things, you know, objects with being murder about the only thing being illegal. Think about that. Meditate on it. That person the chair or that one a horse.

    Then think about some of the more discreet brothels in New Orleans that offered very pale, sometimes prepubescent girls and perhaps boys as well. Jeffrey Epstein is not the first child pimp except in the South at the time, puberty was optional, and it was de facto legal. It certainly not unknown for plantation owners to sell their own children; the wives at their get togethers making a habit of trying to discern whose adulterous man fathered which child. I am certain an amount of decorum was used for child rape, not the selling of them that is, was used; most people, whatever their station or beliefs, do not approve of such things being talked about. Might be upsetting to those parties at the the grand plantation.

    What frequently enraged the decorous gentlemen in both the North and South was even implying, forget about just flat-out stating often nauseating truths. The South though was more, let’s say vigorous, in response to such statements. The more the Northern population was forced to see the peculiar institution in their own neighborhoods, what with the kidnapping gangs, the murders and arsons in Kansas and Missouri, and the general increase in real violence, the more they had to decide what to do.

    Ignore and hope it goes away. Forget those images of brutality, rape, beatings, and having husband, wife, children, slaves all, being separately sold to unnamed different places, sometimes different states. And there being no phone, no internet, no car, just maybe the trains just coming in, or the horse or the the riverboat, or more likely one’s feet. (As an aside, for decades after the Civil War, IIRC into the early 1900s it was common to see in newspapers ads by people looking for lost loved ones.) Or face it and a possible civil war. Many people, especially in the South, being the North, thought that the other side would quail and fold being cowards.

    Unfortunately, wars have their own logic as others have said. Four years, over a million dead and wounded with half the country a ruin. However, even at Appomattox, there were officers that wanted to break up the Army of Northern Virgin and go into the hills to fight a guerilla war, which would probably have lasted decades. The leadership just could not let go of the struggle. It would have been doable as there were large gaps between the Union armies surrounding the Confederate one. Also, the Confederates were out of food, which meant that they would have to forage for food in smaller groups.

    Fortunately, General Lee really pushed back on what he thought was very bad idea. There were several other still Confederate armies fighting and their commanders decided to follow Lee. Fortunately. Maybe a hundred thousand really angry veterans could have been fighting a guerilla war… Then there were the Northerners who just wanted to hang everyone, especially the entire Southern leadership, even if they had surrender conditionally. That bad idea got serious push back by the Union generals, those who would have had to carryout the hangings, and those political allies of President Lincoln who agreed with his postwar plans.

    Unfortunately, Reconstruction was a failure for a number of reasons, including the Compromise of 1877 dealing with the contentious presidential election of 1876. The Democrats likely won the election, but who knows. It was real close. The Republican Party got the presidency in exchange of a number of concessions including letting the South handle the Blacks anyway they wanted to. Goodby federal troops. Hello Ku Klux Klan.

    Now the reason I bring all this up, aside from my tendentious love of history, is that this insistence on decorum is just a great way to ignore unpleasant realities. Bring up the vileness that was American slavery? Why that is just rude, perhaps insulting too. Betraying all the Union dead, including the many abolitionist Southerners, and selling out your fellow (Black) Republicans as well? It is uncouth to bring it up like that. It’s just a simple deal. Business. Besides we get the presidency!

    I don’t know about any decorum during the Great Depression, but everyone was completely surprised and overwhelmed. This is why there was mass hunger and even starvation, with the occasional death from it. Nobody was prepared for that first winter. However, the next winter, they were. it was a mix of organizations including people like mob boss Al Capone, but it worked. This winter has been oncoming for months what with its 18% unemployment, increasing hunger caused by people being unable to pay for it and the various charities being overwhelmed. No stimulus for individual Americans, SNAP underfunded, and the food banks empty. So bad that malnutrition among American children is becoming a thing. Evictions, homelessness as well. It’s all so ignored.

    Yet, the Democratic Party is always bringing up decorum, about working for the other side. The “news” is always for balance and politeness except when the algos block mentions of Julian Assange and other problematically stories. One must always give equal weight to each side of an issue unless it is “hinted” not to cover it or the algos hide it. The right words are said to propitiate the apparatchiks, their bosses the nomenklatura, and their bosses, the patróns. The protestors are rioters. The police are besieged. The dead are alleged to have been armed. The Bad guys lost and the Good guys are fighting valiantly.

    When there is indecorous behavior, it is Madam Pelosi doing her pantomime of disgust at one of the State of the Union speeches or whinging piously about the unemployed complaining about the mean old Republicans. Followed by Senator Turtle calling the mildest of aid “socialism” or one of the senior Republican Senators effective calls the unemployed thieves for having too much unemployment.

    Yet, there is this growing chaos, of the center gone away with tens of millions not knowing just what they will eat or where they shall live soon, if not so already, in this ever growing police state. It must be indecorous to bring up such rude truths. At least the newspapers are decorous as is Facebook, Twitter, and Google. All so decorous and perhaps they believe, truly believe, that ignoring it was make it all go away. I think many, many people did not believe that the Civil War would come or at least it would be a modest affair with two separate states going their way or one side quickly surrendering. Any number of people spoke like they did. Then there is the Compromise of 1877, which ended Reconstruction, and ultimately caused the Nadir along with all that strange fruit. Just a nice deal. The Black Republicans generally were in control of the all the Southern state governments until they weren’t.

    Violence, really power, used to live a lie or hide the truth, often to themselves. Lying to themselves about being respectful and working together when really they are trying to convince everyone that this fantasy world is the real one. I love fantasy. I have plenty of fantasy books. Heck, I have hundreds of books, but no book can fill an empty stomach or unless you have a fire, heat you up. While everyone “important” is being decorous, maybe they should wonder when the floor or the roof caves in. I certainly do.

  33. Lambert Strether Post author

    Surprised I’m getting no reactions to the Burroughs quote from Naked Lunch.

    I thought I was testing the limits, but perhaps I was right at the baseline?

  34. Another Scott

    Ranked-choice voting is on the ballot in Massachusetts and has the backing of almost all of the mainstream Democrats. This has made me very, very concerned. I’ve been trying to figure out why. I think there are two reasons. First, it appeals to many of my liberal (not leftist) friends, who are part of the base that decides Democratic primaries.

    This led me to the second reason: it helps ensure that establishment Democrats win the primary. Given the state’s Democratic domination, winning a Democratic primary in an open seat often guarantees decades in the State House or Congress. As a result, many races often feature many candidates, with the winner receiving sometimes less than 20% of the vote. This has helped more conservative candidates win primaries, but it has also helped progressives win. If the primaries shifted to RCV, then voters would need to rank all of the candidates. I think this would help the better known, more mainstream candidates win.

  35. Koldmilk

    RCV has a fundamental flaw: when the lowest first choice candidate is eliminated their popularity as second choice is not taken into account. This is very bad for third party candidates.
    Any voting system that has elimination rounds is flawed, unfair and can violate equal voting weights.
    Approval voting is a better system.
    See, for example, “Disadvantages of Transferable Vote Systems” by Ka-Ping Yee.

    1. John Anthony La Pietra

      The work of Kenneth Arrow (among others) shows that no voting system can grant all our wishes. Wikipedia has an interesting page here of explanations of many possible criteria for jdging voting systems, with comparison charts cross-comparing systems by whether they meet criteria.

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