Brexit Denial

A number of articles out there citing the fact that the Brexit referendum wasn’t actually, technically legally binding are arguing that, therefore, it won’t actually happen. Most of this, I think is wishful thinking. The UK still has a tradition of more honorable politics than most places—though Jeremy Corbyn refusing to resign appears to be defying that.

But what I find the most odd thing is that commentators on both sides of the Atlantic are trying to batter the side that won with immigration->racism as the issue. Even David Cameron told the EU that that was the motivating factor of the referendum.

But that’s not entirely correct. Exit polls show that a significant portion of the electorate voted on the issue of sovereignty. And why not? The UK has the world’s oldest functioning constitution. It’s a legitimate issue. And something like 25% of Leave voters cited that as their reason. That’s more than enough to change the outcome if you remove them. So, it is a necessary, though not sufficient cause.

Because there is no single sufficient cause, you cannot logically isolate one thing as the cause of Brexit. The combination of factors—Britain’s independent streak, the EU’s blunders with austerity, the Euro crisis, and, indeed, the refugee crisis, and perhaps a series of other more minor issues like the Lisbon Treaty—all have to be assigned part of the blame alongside immigration.

So why give the immigration issue this much power? Why make it a self-fulfilling prophecy? Because the Remain folks want to be right and they want to bludgeon the winners more than they want to break the fall at this point, and that’s sad.

I can’t believe I’m about to type this, but, yes, Boris Johnson has it right. The UK should end up in a Norway-like agreement with free movement preserved. But asserting that the will of the people is entirely expressed in the immigration issue makes this result seem undemocratic.

Poorly played.

The Rout Is On, For Now.

A new series of polls show Hillary Clinton with a huge lead over Trump, including one showing her with 51%. Berniecrats are coming over faster to Hillary than 2008 Hillary supporters did to Obama despite Bernie’s continued presence in the race.

Trump is trying to #unskew the polls on Twitter by complaining about failure to weight by party ID, but ask President Kerry about that.

To consolidate these gains, Hillary needs to continue to present Trump’s lack of qualification, pick a solid running mate, and start talking about the economy. So far, her advisors haven’t failed to pick the right course.

US Danger in Brexit Lies In Liberal Reaction

Social media is full of Americans sighing that “fear won” in the Brexit vote. “They voted against their best interests.”

It’s true, but a vote is a vote. The same can be said of Trump voters (and to an extent Sanders voters). Fear about trade deals and immigration doesn’t disqualify you from a vote.

The British reaction from Remain folks (noticeably absent of claims of it being “rigged”) along the lines of “old people shouldn’t vote” betrays the totalitarianism lying beneath people who think they are “right.”

The problem with Brexit isn’t that it will destroy the world order the way an article in Vox claims; rather, that it’s likely a fraud, at least partially. To the extent it was driven by resentment of Intra-European immigration, the most likely outcome is that the UK, as part of the EFTA or EEZ will still have intra-European free movement of peoples. Of course not everyone voted on that issue alone, but maybe 3.8% did.

In other words, I’m skeptical much will change for a UK already not in the Eurozone or part of the Schengen agreement.

However, I must say I think that the EU is a failed institution and its imposition of austerity post 2008-crisis is what drove this at its core—along with the refugee crisis.

Anyway, the lesson is, you can be “right” but still lose elections. You could be “right” about refugees and the people who are “wrong” will still vote. Too much immigration is always going to spawn nativist resentment. Americans retain their complaint about Latinos, but Latinos have always been here and already have established communities that aren’t shocking the conscience the way Muslim immigrants are. Granting, of course, that most Muslims are closer to “model minorities” than it appears, fears are irrational and as long as they are there they will create votes.

Going forward, Hillary must be very careful to understand the difference between being “right” and winning or else UK out will pale in comparison to Trump in.

The Inverse Politics of Supreme Court Decisions

There are exceptions to the rule, but in the short term, it is usually the loser of a Supreme Court case that accrues political momentum. I guess this is because grievance motivates better.

Today there were two decisions. Affirmative action lives another day and immigration reform is held back.

The likely politics of this? Latino voters get the message loud and clear once again that a vote for Republicans is vote against them. To be honest, I’m not even sure how much this pushes the margins since Latinos who will vote will already likely vote against Trump, but it may help with turnout and/or downballot.

But Republicans will be allowed to continue their assault on affirmative action, which, while a bit stale and perhaps not as personal as the immigration reform issue is, still plays into the politics of white grievance.

To be clear, I’m not talking about what the good outcomes were or ought to be. I’m looking at everything through the lens of the Presidential election. Which, though perhaps a bit cynical, is relevant here since the winner will tip the balance on the Court itself.

 

Wow! Dems Just Did Politics!

I’ve been harshly critical of wimpy Dem politicos over the years. Especially, during the Fear Years, they were downright pathetic and spineless in their opposition to the Bush Junta.

Today, perhaps coincidentally, the House Gun Violence Sit-In knocks Mr. T’s big anti-Hillary speech off of the lead and all to put forward the proposition that it should be not so easy for terrorists to buy guns.

For once, pretty good Dems, pretty pretty, good.

Crime, cont.

It’s not a coincidence that the context of the Clinton Crime Bill is lost on younger folks. After all, they have enjoyed a massive drop off in crime since (coincidentally or not) the time of that bill. They don’t remember what the older generation remembers and apparently dismiss what they read in books about it as the construct of a racist system.

The problem is not addressing crime, I would contend, is more harmful to more minorities. You see, they are disproportionately the victims. This is why so many black leaders, for example, not only pushed for Clinton’s Crime Bill but for the higher sentences for crack versus powder cocaine which later came to be seen as racist. There is simply no denying that the crack epidemic was like setting bombs off in inner cities. The fact that more of the offenders were minorities was secondary to the problem.

The same could be said of guns. I imagine if there is a major crackdown on guns, that too will come to be seen as having a disparate racial impact even though we associate “gun people” with working class whites.

It would be helpful to look not only at who is impacted by penal measures but who is helped. In the end, is there any denying that the dramatic drop in crime that has revitalized so many cities served to benefit those city’s residents the most?

On lower crime, not so fast

One of the interesting debates in the Democratic primary that needs a thorough post-mortem is the issue of crime. It came up when somehow Sanders was able to attack Hillary Clinton for Bill Clinton’s crime bill—which she couldn’t vote for but Sanders did vote for—and has been a theme for a while. We hear about “mass incarceration” and “militarization of the police” among other things.

This debate has always struck me as a sure way to give the Republican Party a lifeboat when they should be thrown an anchor. While it’s true that crime has declined since 1993, no one is really sure why. This interview today talks more about culture and dismisses the abortion and lead theories. This means that letting lots of people out of jail, especially violent offenders, and worrying too much about “militarizing” the police should lead to a rise in crime rates. There are already some incipient evidence that crime rates are going up in response to taking our foot of the gas on crime.

It sure sounds to me like a classic case of “if ain’t broke don’t fix it.”