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Further thoughts on the election

Summary:
1. Perhaps the best way to summarize the decline of the GOP is that they don’t even know when they’ve won an election. There’s all this gloom and doom and handwringing in the GOP, even though they won. At least they won unless you are one of those people who only cares about the cult of the strong leader, and couldn’t care less about policy (a group that now seems to include most GOP voters.)Here’s Matt Yglesias: The Dems are not going to win those two Senate seats in Georgia, but even if they do it’s now 100% clear that there’ll be no court packing and no end to the filibuster. That means the Supreme Court will remain highly conservative for decades to come. The GOP won! Biden won’t be able to get anything “progressive” through Congress. The GOP won!

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1. Perhaps the best way to summarize the decline of the GOP is that they don’t even know when they’ve won an election. There’s all this gloom and doom and handwringing in the GOP, even though they won. At least they won unless you are one of those people who only cares about the cult of the strong leader, and couldn’t care less about policy (a group that now seems to include most GOP voters.)

Here’s Matt Yglesias:

Further thoughts on the election

The Dems are not going to win those two Senate seats in Georgia, but even if they do it’s now 100% clear that there’ll be no court packing and no end to the filibuster. That means the Supreme Court will remain highly conservative for decades to come. The GOP won!

Biden won’t be able to get anything “progressive” through Congress. The GOP won!

Because the Dems have the presidency, the GOP will pick up seats in the next midterm. The GOP won!

But they think they’ve lost because the modern GOP cares nothing about policy, they just want a low IQ demagogue to “own the libs” with moronic tweets than they think are actually “clever”. That’s literally all they lost.

2. This election cements the banana republic status of the US. In the 20th century, only the 1960 election was viewed as somewhat tainted. (Not correctly; Kennedy won Texas by a pretty solid margin.) In contrast, all 4 presidents in this century were widely viewed as illegitimate. The Supreme Court “stole” the 2000 election. Obama wasn’t born in America, according to Trump and his followers. Trump’s election was due to Russian misinformation campaign on Facebook. Biden stole the election. It’s just never ends. The US has become a banana republic. How much evidence to you guys need before you finally admit that I’m right?

[Just to be clear, I view all four presidents as legitimate. I’m giving you the popular view among a very large minority of Americans

3. On Election Day, I suggested we might have a bad interregnum as in 1933. In early 1933, there were two basic problems. First, FDR refused to commit to the gold standard. This led to a run on gold and the worst three months of the entire depression. FDR also refused to work with Hoover on a bank rescue package, and there was a really bad run on the banks in February. (Back then; the new president took office in early March.)

Today the interregnum might hold up a fiscal stimulus package, and it might lead to a dispute over how to roll out any new vaccine, which slows the planning process. That’s nowhere near as bad as 1933, but I expect some grumbling from people who argue (correctly) that the interregnum is still too long.

4. Over at Econlog, I pointed out that the vaccine that Trump is taking credit for developing was actually developed by the children of Muslim immigrants to Germany. Hmm.

5. A few weeks back I used Bayesian reasoning to evaluate election eve charges of corruption leveled against Biden. I said we knew 6 months earlier with 100% certainty that those accusations would be made roughly a week before the election, so there was no new information to react to.

Similarly, we knew last month with 100% certainty that if Trump lost he’d claim the election was stolen and he’d refuse to concede for some time. Thus the press really should not report these facts in the news. Doing so is an insult to the intelligence of the American public. It implicitly suggests that Americans are not Bayesians, and are too stupid to have already known that Trump would claim the election was stolen and would refuse to concede.

The press should report new information, things we don’t already know.

6. All good Republicans believe:

a. Obama had little to do with the huge stock gains under his presidency.

b. Trump caused a huge stock market boom.

c. Biden’s election gave no significant lift to stocks.

And they are right on 2 out of 3 beliefs. Not bad!

7. Over at Econlog, I have a new post pointing out that Dems are the idea party and the GOP is the “thing” party.

8. There are millions of votes yet to be counted, mostly mail-ins from places like California, New York and New Jersey. The Biden lead will widen significantly. Please don’t put too much weight on the current national vote margin, or (inaccurate) exit polls, when making comments below. I’ll ignore your comment if you do.

Wisconsin still looks like the swing state, but it’s too soon to know for sure.

9. All of 2020, in one crazy headline:

Trump Adviser Leading Post-Election Legal Fight Has Coronavirus

10. So far, no commenter has been able to provide any evidence of widespread cheating. Nor has Trump. But “Questions Have Been Raised!!”

11. The NYT has an interesting map of vote shifts since 2020 (provisional due to some votes being still uncounted.) Here’s my take:

a. The Northeast shifted blue.

b. Much of the area west of central Nebraska shifted blue, with two exceptions. The fracking area of west Texas, and the Mormon areas of Utah and Idaho. The latter reflects the fact that Trump picked up GOP votes because McMullin was no longer running. In an absolute sense, Trump still underperformed in Mormon areas, relative to pre-2016 elections.

c. In much of the South and Midwest, Trump gained in rural areas and smaller industrial towns and lost ground in bigger cities, especially those with higher education levels. Trump also gained in Hispanic areas, a trend that will likely continue in future elections. In the very long run, the GOP’s best hope is to bring in lots more immigrants from Latin America. (Just kidding.)

PS. A few arrows may shift bluer as more votes come in, but probably not many.

Update: This map looks different, as it’s scaled by population.


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Scott Sumner
Scott B. Sumner is Research Fellow at the Independent Institute, the Director of the Program on Monetary Policy at the Mercatus Center at George Mason University and an economist who teaches at Bentley University in Waltham, Massachusetts. His economics blog, The Money Illusion, popularized the idea of nominal GDP targeting, which says that the Fed should target nominal GDP—i.e., real GDP growth plus the rate of inflation—to better "induce the correct level of business investment".

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