The Fourth Stage of Grief

My absence from blogging (except for a few brief notes) approaches two month. Why the absence? My self-diagnosis is that I am in the fourth stage of Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s Five Stages of Grief:

  • Denial
  • Anger
  • Bargaining
  • Depression
  • Acceptance

I am, of course, grieving about the re-election of Barack Obama, the failure of Republicans to gain control of the Senate, and the resurgence of Obama’s popularity in the wake of his re-election. All of this bodes ill for the nation’s political and economic future — higher taxes, more spending, more regulation, quasi-socialized medicine, and on and on.

My denial came just before the election, when I clung to the hope — despite polling evidence to the contrary — that Obama would lose and the GOP would gain at least a tie in the Senate.

My anger was evident in my first post-election offering: “Secession for All Seasons.”

Bargaining followed, as I began writing about how to arrange a division of the United States between “Reds” and “Blues,” so that those of us who love liberty might be able to have it.

Depression (of a kind) overcame me, however, and I have been unable to muster the energy required to lay out a workable plan for division.

But whatever happens — even if I never post again — I will not advance to the stage of acceptance. Never, never, never. If I must revert to anger, I will, and happily.

A Contrarian View of Universal Suffrage

Timothy Sandefur, in the course of a commentary about Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln, quotes the man himself:

The doctrine of self government is right–absolutely and eternally right–but it has no just application, as here attempted. Or perhaps I should rather say that whether it has such just application depends upon whether a negro is not or is a man. If he is not a man, why in that case, he who is a man may, as a matter of self-government, do just as he pleases with him. But if the negro is a man, is it not to that extent, a total destruction of self-government, to say that he too shall not govern himself? When the white man governs himself that is self-government; but when he governs himself, and also governs another man, that is more than self-government–that is despotism. If the negro is a man, why then my ancient faith teaches me that ‘all men are created equal;’ and that there can be no moral right in connection with one man’s making a slave of another…. I say this is the leading principle–the sheet anchor of American republicanism. [Peoria, Illinois: October 16, 1854]

But there is a good case to be made that the votes of American blacks are responsible for the growth of oppressive government. Take the elections of 2008 and 2012, for example, which enabled the birth of Obamacare, and quite possibly its continued existence.

According to a report issued by the Census Bureau, about 16 million blacks voted in 2008. There is no similar report for 2012, but it is reasonable to assume that about the same number of blacks voted this year, with a somewhat lower voting rate being offset by somewhat larger numbers of voting-age blacks. Of the 16 million or so black votes in each election, 95 percent went to  Obama in 2008 and 93 percent went to Obama in 2012 (according to The New York Times exit polls).

Given the preceding information, and armed with a Census Bureau tally of the distribution of blacks by State, I estimated:

  • the number of votes in each State for the Democrat and Republican candidates in 2008 and 2012, had blacks not voted, and
  • the resulting distribution of electoral votes (EVs) in each election.

Obama might have edged out McCain in 2008, despite losing the popular vote by 54 million to 59 million. Nevertheless, McCain almost certainly would have gained the District of Columbia (yes!), with 3 EVs, Florida (27), Indiana (11), North Carolina (15), Ohio (20), and Virgina (13). Those wins would have brought McCain’s total to 266 — just 3 EVs short of a tie.

There is no doubt that Romney would have won in 2012 but for the black vote. With the addition of DC (3), Florida (29), Michigan (16), Nevada (6), Ohio (18), Pennsylvania (20), and Virginia (13), Romney would have taken a total of 311 EVs. Also, he would have won the popular vote by 59 million to 49 million.

So, I beg to differ with Sandefur and Lincoln. To paraphrase Lincoln, when the black man governs himself and also governs whites by voting almost exclusively for the Democrat-welfare state, that is despotism.

“Redness,” Unemployment, and the Election

“Redder” is better, generally speaking. For many reasons, including economic health. Using Bush’s average margin of loss or victory in 2004 and 2008 as an index of “redness” (and disregarding the anomalous 2008 race), here is the relationship between unemployment and a State’s degree of “redness”:

Derived from Bureau of Labor Statistics, Unemployment Rates for States (preliminary September estimates, issued 10/19/12), and official tabulations of popular votes by State. The correlation, though not strong, is statistically significant (less than 1-percent probability of occurring by chance).

The “outlier” on the left is the District of Columbia. DC, despite its predominantly black population, does not have an exceedingly high unemployment rate because the federal government and its contractors are havens of patronage and reverse discrimination. In any event, the omission of DC would strengthen the correlation, and would yield a more pronounced negative relationship between “redness” and unemployment: y = -0.0386x + 7.6566; R² = 0.1434.

I have seen some “news” stories which suggest that lower unemployment in swing States will help Obama. Such speculation strikes me as wishful thinking by left-biased media. In fact, of the  four States that seem to have swung to Romney — Florida, Missouri, North Carolina, and Virginia — the first three experienced better-than-average improvements in unemployment from a year earlier. A possible reason for this apparent anomaly is that voters know that there has been little change in the real rate of unemployment. Further, they also know that unless Obama is kicked out, things will not get better very soon, if ever.

Osama, Obama, and 2012

Obama did what any president should have done. However, because Osama was killed by U.S. forces on Obama’s watch, much of the glory will redound to Obama. But the glory really belongs to the team of Americans who conducted the raid on Osama’s lair, to the intelligence apparatus that led the team there, and to everyone directly involved in command and support of the operation.

The killing of Osama, at this late date, probably will have little or no effect on the operations of al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. The killing of Obama is a symbolic act of justice, and that’s about all it is. But that, in itself, is worth a lot to any American who abhors the 9/11 attacks for what they were: murderous attacks on innocent persons by cold-blooded fanatics. Anyone who is celebrating today but who said ten years ago that “we asked for it” is a hypocrite who should be wearing sackcloth instead of celebrating.

It remains to be seen whether the almost-certain surge in Obama’s popularity will last. There is much about the man and his policies that deserves deep unpopularity. Yesterday’s events will recede from view before long, and Americans will return to their struggles with unemployment, inflation, intrusive government, and mounting debt. It is those things that most likely will occupy Americans’ minds when they cast their votes in November 2012.

A case in point: Bush senior enjoyed a surge of popularity following the decisive (but incomplete) victory in the Gulf War of 1990-91, but he was nevertheless unable to win re-election in 1992. The third-party candidacy of Ross Perot had a lot to do with Bush’s unseating. But had the election taken place right after the defeat of Saddam’s forces, Bush probably would have won handily. Unfortunately for Bush — and the country — the election took place 20 months later, by which time Americans’ discontent with their economic lot led too many of them to vote for Perot and Clinton.

As Yogi says, “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”

Leading Indicators?

If the political mood of the country (or much of it) doesn’t change markedly in the next several months, don’t be surprised if there’s an anti-Obama insurgency in the Democrat party. The Democrats my lose the White House no matter the party’s nominee for president, but a landslide loss would create an anti-Democrat bandwagon effect that lasts for years or decades.

For the history challenged among you, I point to the post-Civil War succession of Republican administrations from 1869 to 1913, broken only by the two terms of Grover Cleveland — a pro-business, gold-standard, small-government, northern Democrat. Then, there was the reaction to the Great Depression, which yielded Democrat presidencies from 1933 to 1969, broken only by the two terms of Dwight Eisenhower — a middling Republican known mainly to the public as the general in charge of the D-Day invasion and subsequent defeat of Hitler’s armies.

With those precedents in mind, there must be a goodly number of influential Democrats who are thinking about alternatives to Obama. If they are not, they should be. BO’s net popularity index has returned to the slough of despond, after having risen somewhat in the post-election “honeymoon” that followed BO’s cave-in on the extension of the Bush tax cuts:

Each plot-point represents the 7-day trend in BO’s net popularity (or lack thereof). Net popularity is measured as the percentage of likely voters who strongly approve of BO, minus the percentage of likely voters who strongly disapprove of BO. The approval and disapproval statistics are derived from Rasmussen Reports’ Daily Presidential Tracking Poll. I use Rasmussen’s polling results because Rasmussen has a good track record with respect to presidential-election polling.

Then there is Obamacare, which has never been popular, and has just receded to its lowest rating since congressional Democrats committed collective suicide by ramming it through:

Derived from this article and its predecessors at Rasmussen Reports. Poll results before passage of Obamacare represent strong approval minus strong disapproval. Poll results after passage of Obamacare represent strong approval of repeal minus strong disapproval of repeal.

There Is Hope in Mudville

Barack Obama’s achieved his electoral “landslide” in 2008 by grabbing only 9 of the 31 States won by G.W. Bush in 2004. Obama managed his less-than-impressive feat by running against the weakest candidate fielded by the GOP since 1996. (I don’t mean to suggest that G.W. Bush was a world-beater.)

How weak was John McCain? He beat Obama in his (McCain’s) home State of Arizona by 8.5 only percentage points. In 2004, Bush beat John Kerry in Arizona by 10.5 percentage points.

How weak is Obama at this moment? His net approval rating has dropped to -5, the lowest since his inauguration. And he’s less than 6 months into his presidency.

Hint to the  GOP: Stop playing nice and start attacking Obama in earnest: on his foreign policy, his defense policy, his profligate spending, his plans to socialize health care, his Supreme Court nominee, etc., etc., etc. Don’t attack Obama emotionally, attack him on the merits, with facts and figures. Do it hard and do it often, until the message sinks into the minds of all those swing voters out there.

What about 2012? Can the GOP beat Obama? Why not? A 9-State swing would do the job, and Bush managed a 10-State swing in winning the 2000 election. If Bush can do it, almost anyone can do it — well, anyone but another ersatz conservative like Bob Dolt or John McLame.