Friday, February 07, 2020

Election 2020 Update: #coronavirus, #DemDebate, Iowa, New Hampshire ...

Will the contagion wreck the global economy?  What about the US economy; the issue Trump expects to win on?  There are as always multiple moving parts, and I'm obviously not an economist.  So take this news for what it may be worth.  Food for thought ... or empty carbs.

China announced on Thursday that it will halve additional tariffs on $75 billion worth of US imports, as the world's two largest economies continue to step back from a years-long trade war that has hurt both countries and dented global growth.

The move comes as China is grappling with the escalating coronavirus outbreak. The disease has killed 565 people, mostly in China, and infected more than 28,000 people in over 25 countries and territories.


(Asian economists) have warned that the coronavirus outbreak could dent China's economic growth this year and have knock-on effects for the global economy.

When the outbreak hit, Beijing took the extraordinary step of placing major cities on lockdown in order to contain it. The government also extended the Lunar New Year holiday, effectively bringing factories around the country to a standstill as workers have been ordered to stay home. Millions of people have pulled back on consumption, as they hunker down indoors and avoid public spaces.

I can tell you anecdotally that the same is true in this country.  There is low-grade fear -- that's the proper word -- among Americans that matches the description of the Chinese in the last sentence in the excerpt above.

Oil is crashing because demand is in free fall.  This could be very bad, obviously, for Texas oilmen  and Texas Republicans (a redundancy) and Sheldon Adelson -- who owns casinos in Macau, now a ghost town -- in the short run.  And all of that by extension bad for Trump.  Ironically, things might just rebound in time for the November election to save his fat, lying ass.

The Wuhan coronavirus outbreak is already scuttling supply chains and wreaking havoc on companies around the world that do business in China, but if analysts' projections are correct, the rebound from the virus could help propel the U.S. economy to new heights right around the time of the 2020 presidential election.

Why it matters: With President Trump touting the stock market's performance and jobs growth as key accomplishments, that bounce-back could play a major role in the election's outcome.

What's happening: S&P Global expects the outbreak to "stabilize globally in April 2020, with virtually no new transmissions in May."

And most economists predict the world will get back to business as usual by the summer -- and make up for lost time with accelerated economic growth in the second half of the year.

The economy will do whatever it does.  My POV is that there is much more to worry about with the flu.  I got my shot four months ago.  And I am not changing my behavior or buying any face masks or cutting Asian restaurants out of my dining options.  YMMV.

But on that note ... do you think these fears dampened Iowa caucus turnout?

Campaigns were expecting high turnout in Iowa, but it didn't happen -- and that has to be worrying for Democrats.

The closing campaign events were all packed. And yet, turnout was more on par with 2016 than the record-setting 2008 campaign. About 172,000 turned out this year. It was 171,000 in 2016, and 239,000 in 2008.

It very well may be that undecided voters stayed home and are fine with whoever wins. But Democrats were hoping to show just how enthusiastic their base is to turn out and beat President Trump.

In this first contest, it didn't happen.

That was Takeaway #4 from Domenico Montenaro at NPR about Iowa.  Number 5 -- you probably could have guessed it -- had to bash Bernie.

The Sanders campaign points to polls showing that he beats Trump in a general election. And that's true.

But his performance in Iowa didn't help make his case. Sanders promised turnout would be north of 239,000. It wasn't. And he didn't turn out new voters. In fact, the percentage of first-time caucus-goers went down this year, even compared to 2016. In 2008, the percentage of first-time caucus-goers was 57%; in 2016, it was 44%; this year, it was just 35%.

Sanders has a massive base of support with voters under 30, but he didn't appear to expand beyond that. Sanders won the raw-vote total, but losing in rural areas cost him delegates. Sanders' votes came from urban areas and college towns. That's not where Democrats need to show strength.

So with moderates splitting the vote, and Sanders beating out Warren in Iowa, he looks stronger today for the nomination than he did before Iowa, but he didn't do much to help his argument that he's best to beat Trump.

A reasonable enough argument, but conclusions drawn from one state -- where 92% of the caucus-goers were white -- and a counting process so fraught with errors that most news organizations refuse to declare an outright winner, make this premise watch-worthy, not predictive.

(A sidebar about Iowa: there's been an awful lot of crap -- not a pun -- Tweeted about the sad display of incompetence at best, and corruption at worst, of the convoluted tabulation.  I just don't care to refry those beans.)

Hawkeye results are showing us once more that they have always been about media spin and momentum, almost to complete exclusion of any other value.  To that end, I can certainly agree that Uncle Joe is gasping for oxygen, and that Elizabeth Warren desperately needs to finish ahead of Buttigieg.  New Hampshire can reinforce Sneaky Pete as a front-runner or dispel that notion.  See Takeaways 1, 2, and 3.  If Klobuchar finishes fifth again she should really drop out.

Meanwhile, Yang reboots:

... Andrew Yang's campaign laid off staff Wednesday after a dismal showing in the Iowa caucuses and with the New Hampshire primary less than a week away.

The bulk of the layoffs came in the digital and communications departments, as well as in policy, according to a source familiar with the move, who described the result as an abrupt surprise to staff. Yang had garnered only about 1% of Iowa's state delegates as of the latest results, released Thursday.

He had a nice moment in his town hall Wednesday night ...

... and he'll be debating tonight, having missed the last one.  Yang is a cypher; an intangible when it comes to electability.  I have no idea what his end game might be at the moment.  Here's the news only the paid political consultants care about.

By the end of 2019, Yang's campaign had an 87% burn rate with $4.2 million in cash on hand, according to FEC filings.

-- Speaking of the "E" word:  IMO only #MayoCheat is not electable.  As applied to Bernie and Warren (as a democratic socialist and a woman respectively, duh) it's foolish.  Biden's electable but he can't beat Trump.  This is a difference, not a distinction.

BootEdgeEdge's biggest problem isn't that the US electorate will not vote for a gay person.  That finishes second to his invisible support among African Americans.  A larger-than-expected number of Black men and women are already empirically demonstrating that they won't turn out to vote for Democrats.  Why any Democrat who wants to defeat Trump -- irrespective of skin pigmentation -- would cast a ballot for Pete strikes me as the epitome of ignorance.

For the moment let's put aside these socially uncomfortable truths.

Pete Buttigieg is too inexperienced to be president of the United States.  He got one vote when he ran for DNC chair against Tom Perez and Keith Ellison a few years ago.  He lost 62.5% - 37.5% when he ran for Indiana state treasurer.  In the two elections he won -- elected and re-elected South Bend mayor -- he did so with a grand total of 10,991 and 8,515 votes respectively.

And to put it more diplomatically than I wrote above: despite his showing in rural Iowa, his biography is simply too problematic in culturally conservative counties and states that Democrats must recapture in 2020.

The highest government office Pete Buttigieg is qualified to be, today, is VA secretary.

-- That leaves Steyer and Money Bags.  One of these is better than the other.  One is in tonight's debate and one is not.  One has had exceptions made on his behalf, to the dismay of candidates who have left the race, so that he can appear in the next debate.  One has more momentum than the other, especially in Texas.  That giant sucking sound you hear is blue lips all over his ass.

“I like that he is here. I strongly believe we have a chance to deliver the state’s 38 electoral college votes to the Democratic nominee. But it won’t happen of its own accord. It’s going to take a massive level of organizing and a significant investment. … The fact that he’s willing to do that bodes very, very well for the state, and may bode well for his candidacy.”

Who said it?  No peeking.

Hard pass, Lillie.

-- Oh yeah, the debate.

Vox's take suggests that Warren may have to get after Bernie again, Biden might jump on Pete, and a few other incendiary possibilities.  I'll Tweet some tonight and post a wrap-up tomorrow.

-- Here's your Socialist Workers Party ticket.

SWP vice presidential candidate Malcolm Jarrett, at left, joins presidential candidate Alyson Kennedy on autoworkers’ picket line in Arlington, Texas, during GM strike last fall. Right, Kennedy discusses politics, SWP program with 
Jason Denton on his doorstep in Dallas, Jan. 25, 2019. Photo credit: The Militant

Alyson Kennedy grew up in Indianapolis, where she was attracted to the massive battles she followed on TV against racist cops and KKK thugs across the South that tore down Jim Crow segregation, strengthening the whole working class. After she move to Louisville, Kentucky, she joined the fight to desegregate public schools there in 1975.

Today she works at Walmart in Dallas, where she organizes with other workers to press for higher wages and better working conditions and builds support for other struggles in the interests of working people.

A socialist and trade union fighter for more than four decades, Kennedy, 69, is a member of the Socialist Workers Party’s National Committee and was the party’s vice presidential candidate in 2008 and for president in 2016.

It's not clear to me whether the party's candidates will be on the Texas ballot even as a qualified write-in, if that.  Kennedy was supposed to be a challenger to Ted Cruz in 2018, but failed to appear.  I tried to contact her campaign several times that year without response.

Malcolm Jarrett, Socialist Workers Party candidate for vice president, 49, works as a cook at a catering company in Pittsburgh. He was attracted to working-class struggle as an African American youth in eastern Missouri, as his family joined in the defense of the Black community in Cairo, Illinois, from assaults by cops and vigilantes. In these struggles, he gained a real appreciation of the support from farmers in the area. Jarrett was also influenced by the popular revolutionary movement that overthrew the apartheid regime in South Africa.

He joined the SWP while organizing protests at Southeast Missouri State University to oppose Washington’s war against Iraq in 1991. Today he stands in solidarity with protests by workers and youth against wars promoted by both Washington and Tehran in Iran and Iraq.

SWP has also announced US Senate candidates, including Texas.

-- Joe Walsh falls by the right-hand wayside.

-- Snark, anyone?

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