Writing about public policy in Trumpistan

Whatever policy emerges from the federal government in this climate, it will be guided by delusions, written by morons, and crafted to solve problems that don’t exist using mechanisms that don’t work. We are going to live for an extended time under a grand national experiment in Idiocracy. The tough, interesting, intellectually challenging work of crafting useful policy has lost any immediate relevance. Policy only matters to some potential future that looms out beyond the horizon.

Questions for 2017

Happy New Year. Celebrate safely. Thank you for all you’ve done to make this such a thoughtful, smart, challenging community over many long years and into the next one.

The best things that happened in 2016

In short, 2016 was a pretty amazing year. A Trump Administration is dedicated to undoing much of the progress we achieved in the years to come. With a hearty resistance and a little luck, they may fail. Enjoy the holidays.

A couple of thoughts from Fukuyama

Fukuyama’s End of History did a pretty good job of anticipating Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin. It did a pretty good job of anticipating the anomie and aimlessness that might drive people toward self-destructive political choices. Almost thirty years after his original thesis, he still seems to have a better read on our political situation than either the Marxist theorists he was skewering or the emerging culture-warriors like Huntington who most fiercely opposed him. It may be a mistake to dismiss Fukuyama out of hand.

Welcome to your deep-state future

We are well-beyond any Trump vs. Clinton rivalry. We are beyond partisan rivalry. We are now in banana republic territory, in which our fates will turn on the outcome of a potentially lethal standoff between rival deep state bodies. President Trump has signaled his intention to strengthen his supporters in the FBI and police. He earned Russian support for his intention to weaken, if not destroy, our military and international intelligence apparatus. It seems unlikely that the CIA will stand by while an inept goofball in the White House tries to gut their power.

Jeff Pearlman’s Q&A with your humble blogger

Jeff Pearlman reached out shortly after the election and invited me to participate in one of his Quaz segments, a quirky Q&A session. Pearlman is a former ESPN and Sport Illustrated writer who has authored several books. His latest, Gunslinger, is a biography of Brett Favre. His questions were thought-provoking and I liked the format. You can find the final results here. Hope you enjoy it.

Blue Wall mea culpa

There was ample good news for Democrats in the 2016 results, but without some coherent vision it won’t matter. Clinton was remarkably popular in suburbs everywhere, even across the South and especially in Texas and Georgia. Trump is on track to finish this race with a lower popular vote percentage than Romney, and will possible reach McCain’s level by the time the last ballots are counted in California. Republicans won the generic national Congressional ballot with barely 51%. The last two Republican Presidents will have assumed office while losing the popular vote, finishing with 47% and 46% of the vote respectively.

A few reading assignments

We have some time here before the shit truly hits the fan to gather our thoughts, get better informed, and make plans. Along those lines, here are a few things I’ll be reading over the next few weeks.