Monday, December 5, 2016

Trump Surge Builds on Obama’s Recovery

After the boom market in 2007 when 1000 points was added to a 14000-point DOW in 49 days, it was four years before a similar 1000-point rise in May of 2013. The DOW went up 257 points on Wednesday after the election (Election Day the DOW was 18332). The DOW crossed 19000 on November 22. It took more than a year to get there, from 18000 registered back in December 2014. A very slow slog, at least partially related to oil prices, which now seem to be headed above $50 a barrel. Barack Obama can take some credit for the economy from 2009. The DOW today is 19191. If the rally continues, 20000 is definitely in sight by January.

The stock market was neither anticipating a Donald Trump win nor was encouraged by the possibility. The market declined after the first Comey email announcement on October 28(273 points in the following week) and rebounded nearly 400 points on the Monday prior to Election Day after the Sunday news that there was no legal issue to pursue.

Pundits and investors were both wrong in their prediction of the election result and wrong about the market reaction.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Can Democrats Hold the Colorado Governorship?

Hillary Clinton’s defeat has changed a host of political careers. John Hickenlooper was going to Washington. Now, it appears he will serve out his term and possibly be active in the first truly open and contested gubernatorial election in more than a decade. He could, of course, get a tempting offer to run something interesting in D.C., New York or elsewhere.

Both parties approach the 2016 prospects optimistically. In the 2014 off-year election, Republicans won all the statewide constitutional elections except governor. And their best vote getters, such as Cory Gardner and Mike Coffman, won in spite of the state’s slight shift to the left in recent years. In the 2016 presidential election, along with Coffman, Republicans won a contested statewide CU Regent race and held onto State Senate control while Clinton won the state by 136,000 votes.

Democrats’ optimism begins with history. They have controlled the governorship, with the exception of Bill Owens’s eight years, continuously since Dick Lamm’s first term beginning in 1974 (Lamm, Romer, Owens, Ritter, Hickenlooper).

Also, if the 2018 election holds true to form, it can be difficult for the presidential party. Ronald Reagan in 1982, Bill Clinton in 1994 and Barack Obama in 2010 all lost significant numbers of House seats. George W. Bush was an exception in 2002 due to 9-11, which strengthened the position of most incumbents. Does Donald Trump overreach? Does the economy not surge? Does a crisis of his making erupt overseas? Or conversely, is his first year seen as a success and opponents perceived as divided and ineffectual? The answers to these questions will largely shape Colorado’s race.

Presidential popularity is the key factor as presidents with approval ratings below 50 percent suffered major losses. Will Trump be popular in 2018 or will he and his era produce some new metrics to observe?

Read Politico: Democrats look to 2018 governors races for rebuild

Democratic Party’s Risk in Moving to Left

From the new head of the Democratic National Committee to the Democratic leadership in Congress, Democrats may shift to the left as they absorb the loss of the presidency and continued minority status in the House and Senate. Democratic Party state chairs are meeting in Denver today. They are, no doubt, thinking most closely about what will help in their 2017 and 2018 elections.

In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Senator Elizabeth Warren made it clear she intends on opposing the new Trump administration as representing Wall Street, K Street, banks and corporations. She is the primary champion of the pro regulation, anti-tax cut approach. Is moving to the left on regulation and taxes a good 2018 midterm or 2020 strategy?

It is too early to determine the level of support for the left-liberal position. Much will depend on Donald Trump’s success the first year, but history would suggest caution. Democrats have a host of Senate seats to hold in 2018, many in pro Trump or competitive states. Also, the effort to rebuild their gubernatorial ranks after the losses during the Obama years will require candidates who are less ideological and more common sense. Defaming Wall Street and corporations or promoting federal regulation may not be especially in favor during the next election cycle. Also, it seldom works in competitive states that require appealing to centrist voters.

The Democratic Party’s move to the left after 1968 produced few gains in House or Senate in the 1970 midterm and a historic presidential level loss in 1972 with George McGovern. He carried Massachusetts and the District of Columbia.

Warren’s Wall Street Journal interview was particularly hostile to business and pro-regulation. She sounds so “2016”:
Class Warfare
The clearest point that comes out of this election is that the American people do not want Wall Street to run their government. They do not want corporate executives to be the ones who are calling the shots in Washington.
Anti-D.C.
Whether people were voting for Hillary Clinton or whether they were voting for Donald Trump, they weren’t voting for Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan’s deregulatory mix—let guys do whatever they want to do, let giant corporations do whatever they want to do.
Massachusetts politicians have a poor record of leading the Democratic Party to the White House – Ted Kennedy, Michael Dukakis, Paul Tsongas and John Kerry. Ms. Warren’s resume of tenured Harvard law professor is not a currently popular job description.

Colorado Policy Priorities

Colorado voters, when asked to prioritize a series of public project and program improvements in Colorado, including considering that public funding may be required, put K-12 education at the top of their list. The University of Denver/Crossley Center pre-election survey offered five program areas and K-12 education led the list with 66 percent of voters rating it a top priority. In second place, ten points back was “improving the health care system (56% top priority).

Leading the second tier of improvements was the state’s water system, which had nearly half the voters (48%) rating it a top priority. Higher education was in fourth place with only 42 percent rating it a top priority. And the state’s transportation system, which generates considerable commentary and criticism from elected and appointed officials, came in last place with only 39 percent of voters ranking it a top priority.

Examining the geographic pattern of opinion shows that improving K-12 education is the priority of the metro area whereas it ties with health care on the Western Slope. Water is the issue of highest priority on the Eastern Plains.

The University of Denver/Crossley Center for Public Opinion Research survey was conducted by live interview telephone calls with 550 likely Colorado voters. The Crossley Center is a part of the Josef Korbel School of International Studies. The survey was in field from October 29-31, 2016 by Floyd Ciruli, Director of the Crossley Center. The sample was selected by random probability design from a list of registered voters from the Colorado Secretary of State and included 258 landlines and 286 cell phone respondents. The data was weighted based on likely voter statistics for age and ethnicity. Overall, the survey’s margin of error is plus or minus 4.2 percentage points. The margin of error for subgroups is larger.

"The Russian Bear is Getting Bolder"

The Washington Post joins national editorial pages and foreign policy experts to warn of the Russian bear.

Read the article: Beware: The Russian bear is getting bolder

See also my blog: "Sergeant, I hope you like vodka"

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

"Sergeant, I Hope You Like Vodka"

After America’s military and foreign policy elite make the obligatory wave off of a new Cold War with Russia, or more specifically with Putinism, they will usually admit that Russian behavior since January 2014 when they lied about the seizure of Crimea constitutes a profound, relentless strategy of aggression against the West and especially the U.S.

But the most consequential act of Russian aggression was against American democracy starting in March 2016 and intensifying during the last month of the campaign with the well-timed released emails from WikiLeaks. Unless we just choose to ignore it, Russian intelligence directly intervened in the U.S. election and tilted the result toward Donald Trump. And given Mr. Trump’s professed friendship with Vladimir Putin, we should all get more familiar with Russian preferences, or as the Sergeant said in War Games, “I just hope they don’t make me eat none of them damn fish eggs.”

Admiral Michael Rogers, head of NSA, describing the WikiLeaks attack:
“There’s an ongoing investigation. I’m just not getting into the specifics. I still think there shouldn’t be any doubt in anybody’s mind. This was not something done casually. This was not something done by chance. This was not a target that was selected purely arbitrarily. This was a conscious effort by a nation-state to attempt to achieve a specific effect.”
WarGames (1983)

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

The Year of the Women Did Not Happen

Hillary Clinton
Hillary Clinton hoped the historic nature of her candidacy would propel an extra high turnout of women who would vote for her at extra high margins. That strategy appeared to be well-conceived as the statements of Donald Trump, especially in the Access Hollywood tape, and accusations from numerous women of his past behavior generated massive coverage and criticism.

And, indeed, there was a historic gender gap between the preference of men and women voters (24 points). But, the gender difference was a wash as she won women by 12 points, but lost men by the same percentage. In fact, her 12-point advantage over Trump was not much better than Barack Obama’s in the 2012 election (11 points over Mitt Romney). Nor was turnout higher than 2012.

Also, she lost white women by 10 points according to the exit poll. The poll confirms the significant difference the level of education makes. White women with degrees favored Clinton by 7 points, but she lost non-college graduates to Trump by 28 points.

The real gender advantage was with Trump. He won white men by 32 points, white men with college degrees by 15 points and white male non-college graduates by 49 points.

In each category, Clinton did better in Colorado. She won women by 16 points and only lost men by 8 points, providing a net positive gender difference for her of 8 points. Also, she won white women by 6 points and only lost white men by 12 points. Although the trends were similar to the national data, across-the-board she did better in Colorado and he did worse.

Also read:
Newsweek: The presidential election was a referendum on gender and women lost
FiveThirtyEight: Clinton couldn’t win over white women