Monday Assorted Links

1. Strangers on a strange election. Good piece.

2. Clinton and Haiti

3. Too stupid to rule

4. Maybe bad debates really do affect the polls

5. McMuffin is not a true conservative as he will refuse to appoint justices that will repeal Obergeffel

6. Too stupid to rule

It turns out my pumpkin was vandalized by squirrels. Nasty creatures.


Why did Spain, the Netherlands and Britain Conquer the Philippines, Indonesia, and India? Where was China?

By 1850, Britain controlled the coast of India, Spain controlled the Philippines, and the Netherlands controlled Indonesia. Where was China? Japan was a small power, very poor and isolated, so it couldn’t have done much then. But China was a state of over three hundred million people, it had an economy larger than all of Europe, and, had its government the will, it could have easily ousted the Europeans from India, Indonesia, and the Philippines in the centuries before 1800.

Much for the same reasons European powers didn’t conquer each other. Chinese military technology was too its neighbors for China to be able to have done so if it tried. Plus, if China conquered India, it would not have had the same type of gains from trade, tribute, and specialization Britain had, as China, like India and unlike Britain, was very rural and abundant in goods India and Southeast Asia produced. For Britain, the marginal benefit of more tea, clove, and rice imports was high. This was even true for more agricultural countries like Spain and Portugal. For China, it was very low, indeed. India didn’t have much to offer China, but it had much to offer to the West.

If the the Philippines, Indonesia, and India had substantial silver reserves, the situation might have ended up much different, with China having a much greater incentive to conquer them. Throughout the 18th century, China was a large net importer of silver, and had constant problems with low nominal GDP.

Sunday Assorted Links

1. Blade Runner in MS Paint

2. Ignorance is powerful

3. One family has the fastest Internet in the world

4. Trump in Colorado. Good rally.

5. Eric Margolis says the truth about the Islamic State

6. Syrian Army and Kurds again make a deal over the future of Aleppo

7. Douthat on Trump’s risks. The first is a legitimate concern, the second is bollocks- yes, President George Wallace would have been great for civil peace- and the third is, frankly, ridiculous. Jackson’s foreign policy, despite his hawkish inclinations, was unremarkable, with some very Trumpesque deal-making with France.

8. Sailer on the recent turmoil in South Korea


How badly is Trump doing in Nevada? To hear Jon Ralston tell it, losing by 5-6 points. The actual partisan turnout gap for the first week of early voting (both in-person and by mail) is 7.35 points. How bad is this for Trump? The recent Marist poll has Trump and Clinton tied in Nevada, assuming a 6-point gap in partisan turnout. So Nate Silver (Clinton leading by 1.7 points) seems to be almost exactly correct for this great state in the early vote so far.

The recent Remington poll assumes a four-point partisan turnout gap and has a three-point Trump lead, so it’s also very much consistent with a 1-point Clinton lead in the early vote so far.

The numbers will look better for Trump and the GOP in the coming days.

Gary Johnson Finally Falls to Below 5% in National Polls

He was at 6% less than a week ago. The closest he got to prime time was getting 10.7% on July 17.
Here’s what the electoral map would look like today if Gary Johnson’s numbers were added to Trump’s in the FiveThirtyEight model (obviously, the popular vote would then be tied):

Reasons for This?


This is the first election mailer I’ve received this year. There are three possible explanations I can think of for this mailer, apparently sent out to all GOP primary voters in MI.

1. They want to help the GOP in the state and Federal House elections. Healthcare is always a winning issue for Republicans everywhere. The GOP revolutions of 1994 and 2010, both of which resulted in massive GOP gains in the House and in state legislatures, can both be directly attributable to popular anger over unpopular Dem-backed health care reforms.
2. They have a budget, and this feels like the sort of stuff they should be doing to keep their jobs. They don’t expect it to have any real effect.
3. They think Michigan can become a swing state. This is hardly impossible, as Trump will certainly do better in MI than Mitt, as well as win more counties. MI is slightly less reachable than PA, I think, but not by much.

In any case, it shows local GOPes are hardly abandoning the presidential race at this point, even in blue-ish states like MI.

Saturday Assorted Links

The worst-case scenario for the Dems in North Carolina is one of the lower Black turnout (by the roughly 7 points’ worth of the electorate we see in the early voting now) continuing in the next few days and a White vote more Republican-voting than that in 2012, with unaffiliateds staying just as Republican as in 2012, registered Republicans staying just as large a percentage of the White vote as in 2012, and registered Dems becoming a much lower percentage of the White vote. In that case, Trump wins North Carolina by 8 points. Registered Republicans growing to as large a percentage of the White vote as in 2012 is plausible; unaffiliateds staying just as Republican-voting as in 2012 isn’t.

The most plausible scenario we see on November 9 (accounting for the FBI reopening its investigation, Trump likely gaining support in polls from now until November 8, etc.) is one of lower Black turnout (by approximately 5 points’ worth of the electorate) and a White vote somewhat more Democratic-voting than in 2012 (though not as Democratic-voting as that seen in the early vote now), leading to a four-point Trump win in NC.

The scenario seen now in the early voting is one of lower Black turnout (by 7-8 points of the electorate) and a nearly equally Democratic-trending White vote to offset it. If this remains the pattern of the early vote relative to 2012’s from now until election day, with no Trump polling improvements whatsoever, Trump wins North Carolina by 2 or 3 points. Romney won by 2.

The worst-case scenario for Trump is Black turnout returning to 2012 levels and the White vote staying as Democratic-leaning as it is in the early vote now or becoming more Democratic-leaning. In that case, Trump loses by four points.

In none of these circumstances does the Upshot scenario of a Trump six-point loss in North Carolina appear even remotely plausible. A six-point Trump win under realistic assumptions is certainly plausible. A six-point loss isn’t. The Upshot’s assumptions about the unaffiliated vote are not even remotely realistic.

It seems that the NC voters who voted this year, but not in both 2012 and 2008, are, even adjusted for higher Black turnout in those years, slightly less-Democratic-registered than those who voted both in 2008 and 2012. But, overall, it’s a wash with the new non-Black voters relative to the old ones, and Black turnout is the biggest driver of Republican success relative to 2012 so far in NC.

If North Carolina is representative of the entire country, Trump is much more likely to win Florida than FiveThirtyEight says, but the Black vote is not nearly as important in other swing states.