Bad Santa

[Bad Santa]

You may be a Trump fan. Or a Biden fan. In that case, just enjoy Mr. Ramirez's glorious artwork.

It's time for our weekly look at the horserace, as judged by the betting markets:

Candidate EBO Win
Donald Trump 39.9% -2.7%
Joe Biden 30.0% -0.1%
Nikki Haley 9.6% +3.3%
Gavin Newsom 6.3% -0.5%
Robert Kennedy Jr 3.2% unch
Other 11.0% +2.3%

The coal lumps are still the betting favorites, although Nikki and "Other" improved their standings some.

Gone missing this week is Michelle Obama, who has dipped (just slightly) below our 2% inclusion threshold. She joins Kamala, Ron, Vivek, and Elizabeth in Probablynotgonnahappenville. My guess is that a number of oddsmakers took a look at the tedious Netflix flick Leave the World Behind, which she and Barack executive-produced, and decided … nah.

Also of note:

  • Leading to the obvious question: is there any smart reason to rally around Trump? Ramesh Ponnuru dismisses one popular one, anyway: Dumb liberal decisions aren’t a smart reason to rally around Trump. Dumb liberal decisions? He's talking about the Colorado Supreme Court decision to disqualify Trump.

    Trump supporters sometimes say they feel compelled to support him as a way to stand up to the illegitimate tactics of his opponents: to preserve their freedom to use the political process to choose him as president even as those opponents try to deprive them of that option.

    This is deeply unwise. It’s self-defeating, because Republicans who react that way are letting the behavior of Trump’s opponents dictate their votes. And although the opponents have taken extraordinary measures, it’s not simply because they dislike his fans or because Trump is a threat to a nebulously defined establishment. Trump poses an extraordinary threat to the Constitution: That’s what created the opportunity for this lawsuit and supplies much of the motivation of those backing it. Voters should consider the conduct at issue in the Colorado suit disqualifying even if it is not the court’s place to say so.

    And it isn’t. The Colorado court followed what jurist Robert Bork called the “heart’s desire” school of jurisprudence. The teaching of that school: If you squint at the Constitution from just the right angle, it makes your fondest wish come true. It works for anyone, regardless of their party affiliation or ideology.

    It's even easier if you close your eyes entirely.

  • Jacob Sullum is not squinting. He has a long article at Reason looking at the logic of the four Colorado justices: Was the Capitol Riot an 'Insurrection,' and Did Trump 'Engage in' It?. Excerpt:

    The justices eventually concede that Trump, who never explicitly called for violence, said his supporters would be "marching to the Capitol building to peacefully and patriotically make your voices heard." But they discount that phrasing as cover for Trump's actual intent. Given Trump's emphasis on the necessity of "fight[ing] like hell" to avert the disaster that would result if Biden were allowed to take office, they say, the implicit message was that the use of force was justified. In support of that conclusion, the court cites Chapman University sociologist Peter Simi, who testified that "Trump's speech took place in the context of a pattern of Trump's knowing 'encouragement and promotion of violence,'" which he accomplished by "develop[ing] and deploy[ing] a shared coded language with his violent supporters."

    That seems like a pretty speculative basis for concluding that Trump intentionally encouraged his supporters to attack the Capitol. Given what we know about Trump, it is perfectly plausible that, unlike any reasonably prudent person, he was heedless of the danger that his words posed in this context. It is harder to believe that he cleverly developed a "coded language" that he knew some of his supporters would understand as a call to violence.

    Nor is it clear how the violence that Trump allegedly intended was supposed to benefit him. There was no realistic prospect that it would actually stop Biden from taking office, and in the end it did no more than delay completion of the electoral vote count. Meanwhile, it alienated former Trump allies (albeit only briefly in some cases), led to his second impeachment, and left an ineradicable stain on his presidency.

    The proper remedy for Trump's reckless and incendiary behavior: impeachment and conviction. Which was tried and failed. Time to move on dot org.

  • Compared to other elections, this election is the electionest. NYPost writer Yaron Steinbuch notes that Kamala Harris serves up another word salad about 'most election of our lifetime'. I hope the good folks at RNC Research are paid well. It can't be easy to pay attention to this stuff:

    Yes, folks: it's yet another Flight 93 election. Further on:

    “I have been fortunate and blessed during the course of being vice president to have many situations where it becomes too clear me that there are people … of every age and gender, by the way, who see something about being the first that lets them know they don’t need to be, um, limited by other people’s limited, um, understanding of who can do what,” she rambled.

    The hand motions make this even more profound.

  • Or the new John Kasich. But let's let Nate Silver explain why he thinks Nikki Haley could be the new John McCain. And what that could possibly mean.

    He's comparing Nikki 2024 with McCain 2000:

    George W. Bush’s lead over his Republican rivals in 2000 was pretty Trump-like, and anti-Trump Republicans can take at least a little bit of comfort from the fact that the race at least wound up being interesting, if not exactly competitive.

    Bush won Iowa by 10 points that year, with Steve Forbes finishing in second. But then he lost to John McCain in New Hampshire — and McCain wound up winning seven states in total. This did have important downstream impacts, boosting McCain’s national profile, which culminated in him being the GOP nominee in 2008.

    Still, Bush was probably never in that much danger. McCain’s appeal was regional; five of his seven wins came in New England, another in his home state of Arizona, and the final one in Michigan, a state that has a long history of doing maverick-y things in presidential primaries.

    You could argue that Nikki Haley is on a McCain-in-2000-like trajectory. Whereas Trump has actually been expanding his lead lately in Iowa, New Hampshire is closer, with a YouGov poll this weekend showing Haley at 29 percent to 44 percent for Trump. Other polls don’t show as tight of a race, but there haven’t actually been any other high-quality non-partisan polls in New Hampshire in the past several weeks.

    As I type, the very latest NH Primary polls have Trump ahead of Nikki by 14, 30, 15, and 27 percentage points.

    Hey, maybe she's like 1992 Bill Clinton. Who lost the NH Primary to Paul Tsongas in 1992, but spun that into a "Comeback Kid" narrative.

    For the record, I think I voted for Steve Forbes in 2000.

  • She's not in it to win it. She' s not in it at all. At the American Thinker website, Marie Hembree explains Why Michelle Obama is as Rotten a Choice for President as Hillary Clinton.

    What's the evidence for that?

    But like Hillary, Michelle had a disqualifying moment that reflected poorly on her integrity, dating from Inauguration Day in 2016.

    It was about her treatment of the incoming first lady, Melania Trump.

    Americans will recall Melania clad in a Jacqueline Kennedy-esque Ralph Lauren light blue pastel coat dress and matching gloves, nervously carrying a light blue Tiffany gift box to graciously offer the departing Michelle Obama.

    But, instead of graciously accepting the gift and making Melania feel at home, Michelle recounted her alleged famously ‘awkward’ moment on the Ellen DeGeneres show this way:

    Shaking her head with feigned embarrassment, Michelle stated she was given the famous robin’s egg blue box by Melania and claimed she had no idea what to do with it. In other words, she attempted to construct the perception that Melania Trump had made the most unprecedented social gaffe in White House history.

    To the delight of Trump-despising DeGeneres, Michelle complained: "So, I’m sort of like, 'O.K., what am I supposed to do with this gift?' and everyone (staff) cleared out and no one took this gift,” the former first lady added. With intuitive, Marxist finessing, Michelle painted herself as a victim of a traumatically awkward $1,000 sterling silver picture frame.

    Marxist finessing! Two words I would not previously have ever conceived being conjoined.

    I wouldn't vote for Michelle, either, but this is pretty weak sauce. Sorry, Marie.

Last Modified 2024-01-16 5:16 AM EDT