17 Mar 2016

Scott Sumner Better Not Play “Go”

Scott Sumner, Trump 34 Comments

…because he apparently can’t look one move ahead.

(Folks, cut me some slack. I’ve been out of town for a while and I’m sure Scott misses me.)

Here’s Scott talking about Hit– I mean Donald Trump:

Trump does not seem to understand how democracy works. The whole point of conventions is to deny the nomination to a candidate who has a plurality of the delegates, but not a majority. That’s why we have conventions. It’s just about the only reason to have conventions. Their purpose is to deny the nomination to a candidate who is supported by 40% (many not even Republican), but hated by a group of 60% who split their votes among other candidates. They keep voting until someone gets a majority—those are the rules. We have conventions so that we can stop crazy candidates with mere pluralities of delegates.

If Trump comes into the convention 100 votes short, and gets the nomination anyway, the GOP party establishment (not the voters!!) will have picked him. Actually, 60% of GOP voters will have rejected Trump. The establishment will have forced Trump down our throats despite that rejection. And America will be a country with one legitimate major party, plus the tiny Libertarian Party, and our own version of France’s National Front.

OK, so what if reason and sanity and anti-Adolf sentiment prevail, and the convention does just what Scott hopes? Then we would have, say, Ted Cruz coming into the convention 600 votes short, and gets the nomination anyway, meaning the GOP party establishment (not the voters!!) will have picked him. Actually, 71% of GOP voters will have rejected Cruz. The establishment will have forced Cruz down our throats despite that rejection. And America will be…

Well, you get the idea I’m sure.

STANDARD DISCLAIMER: I think Trump is a jerk and would make an awful president.

34 Responses to “Scott Sumner Better Not Play “Go””

  1. Scott Sumner says:

    You completely missed the point. Of course if candidate X has a plurality then every other possible nominee has fewer votes. That’s irrelevant, you must pick someone. If candidate X wins 40% and is completely unacceptable as a racist xenophobe, then you are forced to pick a mainstream candidate with fewer votes. But the point is that a mainstream candidate will be acceptable to the other mainstream candidates who lose out, whereas Trump is not acceptable.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      I’m not sure that I completely missed the point, as I mirrored the actual arguments you used. And as more and more “mainstream” candidates endorse Trump, you are going to say, “That’s because they’re sell outs, they actually hate him.”

      I agree with you that a lot of people hate Trump, but then again a lot of the people supporting Trump hate the establishment candidates.

      No matter what, millions of Americans are going to have someone they hate shoved down their throats.

    • Bob Murphy says:

      Just to clarify one last time: I do not agree Scott that 100% of the people who voted for a non-Trump candidate in the primaries/caucuses would prefer any non-Trump candidate to Trump. A bunch surely feel that way, but I don’t think you get to assume it’s 100% the way you are (and not even bothering to spell out that assumption in your argument, such is your confidence that it is self-evident). Rubio has dropped out now so it’s irrelevant, but surely many of Cruz’s supporters would have supported Trump over Rubio, because of amnesty, for example.

      • Andrew_FL says:

        Not 100%, but about 40%, which is higher than for the other candidates.

        For whom, admittedly, the number is about 30%.

        The GOP has a problem, in so far as there are multiple, partially overlapping groups of about 2/3 of the voters, for each of which, any of the remaining three candidates is going to make them unhappy, and for about half of each of these “Anti-X” “Coalitions,” so completely unhappy they will flat out stay home in November. No matter what, that’s fatal. Hillary Clinton will be the next President of the United States, but she won’t have earned it.

        A collection of people who cannot stand each other is not a viable political party.

        • E. Harding says:

          “Hillary Clinton will be the next President of the United States”

          -Why so confident? Trump won Florida handily? Are you counting on a Clinton victory in Ohio?

          • Andrew_FL says:

            She will win both. Trump won’t even get Romney’s voters, much less the additional voters he needs.

            But I was waiting for you to show up, E Harding, since I know you’re a big Trump guy. What makes you think he can win? The media can be counted on to swing the needle a minimum of 3 points in favor of the Democrat, and Trump is already underwater against Clinton in almost every poll.

            • E. Harding says:

              “Trump won’t even get Romney’s voters”

              -Who the heck voted for Rmoney? Romney was a terrible candidate; a tool of the capitalist class and the establishment, who had nothing resembling any policies anyone could have found so good, they could have overcome all his other flaws. None of his actions suggested any hint of genuine patriotism or empathy with the common people. I’m surprised anyone voted for him at all.

              Trump is routinely underestimated. He was attacked a crazy amount by the Rubio campaign, and still won 45% of the vote in Florida -more than the polls said he would win.

              The thing about Trump is that he inspires staunch opposition. But there was also a lot of that staunch opposition to Rmoney as well, which helped Obama to win in 2012. Trump will bring out more voters in his favor than either Romney or McCain. It remains to be seen whether Hillary can bring out more voters than Obama. Hillary is not an incumbent. Yet, she has a long record, much of it unfavorable to her. She also is perceived as untrustworthy, has a screechy voice, and is often seen as cold. Trump can also provide a thousand ways to portray her as too liberal to be President, anti-woman, anti-common-man, corrupt, dishonest, weak (see his latest 15-second ad) and as having a disastrous foreign policy.

              There’s also no economic boom on the horizon. 2014 was in 2014.

              This election will test the idea whether the much-hypothesized “Hispanic rage” so often promoted by the media is real.

            • E. Harding says:

              Also, Trump can get Kasich to campaign for him in Ohio and Rick Scott to campaign for him in Florida.

              • Andrew_FL says:

                E. Harding, take it from me as a resident of the state of Florida, having the support of Rick Scott is a negative asset.

              • guest says:

                Andrew_FL to would-be Cuban refugees:

                “Promise to listen to me talk about Austrian Economics, and I’ll make sure you reach the shore.”


              • E. Harding says:

                Having the support of Kasich is definitely an asset, though. He won 63% of the vote in 2014.

                Florida was a toss-up, though, both in 2010 and 2014. If Rick Scott ran during a general election year, he would have lost handily.

                “having the support of Rick Scott is a negative asset.”

                -Even if that’s the case, despite the liability, Trump won every county in Florida but Miami-Dade on March 15.

              • Andrew_FL says:

                I wasn’t aware he and Hillary Clinton were on the same ballot. To be fair, many of the idiots in my county expected him to be on their Democrat ballots.

                guest-As it happens, my employer is the son of a Cuban exile. So yeah, I could see making that offer! Hehehe.

      • Dan says:

        I just spent a few seconds looking it up and the first poll I came across said Trump is the second choice of 17% of Rubio supporters.

        I think Trump would be awful, but I do enjoy watching people squirm over him. I mean, every single one of these republicans and democrats will drop bombs on children, but Trump is super duper racist and that just crosses a line. It cracks me up.

        • Andrew_FL says:

          My anthropological observation, like a man who metaphorically went among the apes, is that the overwhelming sentiment behind libertarian schadenfreude revolves around the single issue of foreign intervention.

          The GOP’s only chance of winning elections ever again might be for the neocons to decide that actually, with Hillary Clinton, the Democrats are pretty hawkish, more than median the Republican voter at any rate. If neocons flip Democrat, it ironically amounts to a net gain for the GOP.

          For what it’s worth I personally sense that the most skeptical of foreign intervention amongst any of the candidates still running is actually Cruz, believe it or not, though clearing that bar is not very hard at all with more libertarian-ish guys like Paul out of the race.

    • Grane Peer says:

      So the best possible candidate can be determined by seeking the one the majority of voters are most nearly indifferent to. Come on boys Meh needs your support.

      • Andrew_FL says:

        Nah, the best possible candidate is an extinction event.


        • Grane Peer says:

          That’s just wishful thinking.

  2. RPLong says:

    “. That’s why we have conventions. It’s just about the only reason to have conventions.”

    Needless to say, Bob has done a good job of highlighting the other reason to have conventions.

  3. Benjamin Kennedy says:

    Trump obviously was using the term “riot” in the figurative sense of “lots of unhappy people”. Not actually violence and looting and so forth. Listening to the actual conversation makes this clear.

    Regarding the convention, nobody expects any candidate to be winning >50% of the delegates of early primaries, unless there are exactly two major candidates. Given that all candidates are in the early primaries, it is problematic to say that a sub 50% plurality is legitimate grounds for taking the nomination away. Instant runoff voting would be a good idea, though with so many candidates it would get unwieldy.

    • Andrew_FL says:

      Oh, well, if it’s obvious

      But supposing that’s true, do his supporters know that? It doesn’t take many.

      • Ben Kennedy says:

        Uh yes, his supporters know that Trump was not calling for violence. In fact, his detractors also know he was not calling for violence, unless they are victims of their own confirmation bias.

        Of course, this will not stop the media from finding some Trump supporter somewhere to say “Oh yeah, I’ll definitely get violent for sure”. It’s easy to find someone who will say anything.

        • Andrew_FL says:

          I’ll hold you to that prediction, Mr. Kennedy!

  4. Craw says:

    Sumner lacks the moral courage to say what he means, retreating behind ‘I cannot name.’ Only a child compares people who say things he doesn’t like to Hitler, with a smirk and a wink.

    • Andrew_FL says:

      As opposed to adults, who do it with smirking or winking, but with a deadly serious look on their face.

      • Craw says:

        Sumner shows his disapproval of Trump calling people names by calling Trump Hitler. But he does it nudge, nudge, wink, wink style: you can’t say I called him Hitler.

        If he really believes Trump is Hitler, and death camps await, then he should say so honestly and loudly. He knows that’s not true. So he just smears a guy he doesn’t like.

        • Andrew_FL says:

          Herp derp what is humor

          • RPLong says:

            Nah, come on Andrew. Craw is right about this. I won’t call Sumner childish, but if you can find the humor in Sumner’s statements, why not Trump’s? Or, if Trump’s chest-pounding is deserving of scorn (and I believe it is) then so, too, ought we criticize Sumner’s version of the same.

            • Andrew_FL says:

              I find humor in my own statement. Apparently went over both your heads.

  5. guest says:

    Everyone is missing the bigger point, which is that there aren’t supposed to be parties picking candidates.

    N-Party Systems are not constitutional, and is a rejection of the Republican form of government to which the Constitution orders government workers to maintain.

    It’s a rejection of the Republican form of government for the same reason as is the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). Political parties are types of unions attempting to usurp the constitutional authority of the union of the several states.

    Not that the Constitution attempts to defend 100% of individuals’ natural rights.

    • Andrew_FL says:

      guest- I get why it’s harmful to the idea of Republican government, but I’m unclear what in the Constitution forbids political parties or unions of government workers?

      I’d like it if there were, but there’s no clause that springs to mind.

  6. Craw says:

    Murphy vindicated, Sumner refuted.

    “Nearly half of the supporters of Ohio Gov. John Kasich would vote for Donald Trump, not Ted Cruz, as their second choice, according to the results of a Quinnipiac University national poll released Wednesday. And more than half of Cruz’s backers suggested they would do the same with their man out of the race.”

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