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Posted by on Jul 12, 2016 in 2016 Presidential Election, Economy, Politics | 23 comments

Smart Republicans Want Clinton To Win

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All presidential elections are consequential. But, some presidential elections are more consequential than others. 2016 is shaping up to be of the less consequential variety. Yes, the majority in the Supreme Court is in the balance for civil libertarians like myself and for social conservatives who still believe Roe v. Wade will be overturned if enough wingers  take to the bench. Other than the Court, though, this election doesn’t hold much promise as decisions of consequence go.

Whoever is elected president will likely have a failed one term presidency. Whatever one thinks of Obama, we have enjoyed a lengthy run of modest economic growth and job creation. Yeah, I know, now let’s all whine about income inequality and wage stagnation. Done whining? Good. Let’s move on. Here’s the ugly truth. After seven years of economic success, the U. S. is due for a correction. You can call that a downturn or even a definable recession. Most likely that correction will start in the second or third year of the next president’s term and continue into the election cycle of 2019-2020.

Economic cycles aside, the president elected in 2016 will be handcuffed in attempting to accomplish anything of meaning given the clogged toilet of partisanship between parties, and the intra-party pie facing among Republicans, that currently defines Congress and its progress [humor intended] toward governing. Whichever party holds the White House from 2016 to 2020 will almost certainly not hold the White House after 2020. Indeed, whoever holds the White House from 2016 to 2020 will likely hand the opposition party a wave election victory in 2020.

Enter the smart Republicans, the long thinkers, the strategists rather than the tacticians. Unlike 2016, the presidential election of 2020 will be one of considerable consequence. It is a census year. Remember what that meant in 2010 when the Republicans last enjoyed a wave, followed by a decade of control of the House of Representatives resulting from the gerrymandering that the wave brought about. Those who play the long game understand this. To sacrifice a short term win for a long game strategic play will pay off with interest. More so when the short term offers only Trumpian angst and governance failures multiplied by his ignorance and incompetence at the art of guiding a government.

Not only is 2020 a census year, a wave election could add majorities in the House, Senate and state houses to a presidential win. The floodgates of conservative wish-list legislation can open and be sent to a Republican chief executive. Endure four years of Clinton futility and the dessert cart will be wheeled to the Republican table to select from the pies, cakes, cookies and sherbets of political success earned through patience. Don’t believe for a minute that thinking Republicans haven’t figured this out. And don’t think for a minute that smart Republicans aren’t already playing the long game.
photo credit: Hillary Clinton via photopin (license)

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  • Sal Monela

    I’ve also thought that a recession is overdue and that the next president will have to deal with it. However, what will determine it’s effect on the 2020 election is the timing of the recession and it’s depth. No one can predict this for certain, so assuming that Hillary will win, and that there will be a long deep recession that she will be blamed for, may be a long shot. Bush got reelected despite the recession that broke out after 9/11 and Obama still won in 2012 despite the slow pace of recovery from the 2008 meltdown.

  • Very interesting speculation.

    Just a couple of thoughts — one serious, one not so:

    1. I do believe that Conservatives — Republicans in general — are obsessed with not letting Democrats “appoint” a liberal ninth (perhaps even more) Supreme Court Justice and perhaps for that reason alone want to regain the presidency at all costs — even a Trump cost. Albeit, even with a Democratic president a Republican controlled Senate could still nix such Democratic ambitions.

    2. Do we really have smart, “long-thinking” Republicans? 🙂

    • Slamfu

      Do we really have smart, “long-thinking” Republicans?

      Those seem to have been largely run out of the party ages ago. The ones currently calling the shots seem to have to toe the party line in all things no matter how absurd, at least until they retire and can then return to sanity, as John Boehner seemed to have done.

  • So, I guess this means David Robertson Is not a smart Republican?

  • ELIJAH SWEETE

    Part of what I love about TMV is how “smart” the comment threads are. A few reactions:
    1. Yes, my view is speculation, though I like to flatter myself by thinking it is informed speculation.
    2. To Sal, you make some good points, but I would distinguish Obama, who carried tremendous good will in 2012 to Clinton who suffers from a lack of good will, even among many D’s.
    3. To Dorian, yes there are many R’s who want the Oval Office, even if Trump, for Court appointment purposes. That’s mostly pandering to the religious right, IMO. And yes, I do think there are R’s who play the long game. At the risk of being a little controversial, I think R’s play the long game better than D’s on average.
    4. To Ballard, believe it or not I appreciate the “balance” that views like those expressed by David Robertson bring to TMV. I should also say that I always read your posts and regard them as consistently well informed; to the extent I have not let you know before, I apologize.
    5. I wish our old friend casualobserver, an actual Republican operative, were still commenting here. His view would be most interesting. Just my view.

  • KP

    Much appreciated, Elijah Sweete.

    Your view into the future is about as accurate as one can get given today’s set of circumstances.

    I agree, there will likely be a recession or correction or both. Recession meaning jobs and decrease in family income // or // correction meaning stock market ~ 15% decline. As you know they are not the same even if there is a correction in ‘wealth’ due to retirement or home values.

    This past six years are a great example of the 1% kicking but and most of the rest of us dog paddling to stay above water and survive; or a altering lifestyle due to declining standard of living.

    I agree with you about 2020 being a critical election year. But that’s what I heard from many in 2012 about 2016. And we could go back and back ….

    Again, my two cents, I don’t think the SCOTUS appointments are as critical as some others do. They are not always predictable. Roberts is an example.

    I defer to you on this issue.

    Having said that:

    Do you think there are there any Dem long term thinkers and strategists who want Hillary to lose this time around?

    • KP

      EDIT: I did not see your comment at 9:59pm before my comment. Please excuse any redundancy.

      • ELIJAH SWEETE

        Thanks, Kevin.

  • JSpencer

    The 2016 election is one of lesser consequence? Seriously? Sorry, I’m not in agreement that it’s fated to be a single term run either. The political right will do what they always do, this much can be counted on, but my hope is that people are beginning to wake up enough to figure out which side their bread is buttered on. I know, hope springs eternal, but surely there must be a limit to the ineptitude of our electorate.

    • ELIJAH SWEETE

      Sorry we disagree about the extent of consequence for 2016. But, I do believe that 2020 is of greater consequence. 2016 could elevate to greater consequence if one of two things happens. A) Clinton wins and D’s take over both the Senate and the House…then something could get done in terms of governance…I regard this scenario as extremely unlikely, or B) Trump wins – because his presidency could be historically cataclysmic…a form of consequence I do not wish on our country.

      But, if the expected happens…Clinton wins and at least the House stays R…it will be relatively inconsequential gridlock for four years with Clinton being blamed for any issues, economic or global, during her first term.

      • KP

        Agree “A” and B”.

        We are in for a disappointing four years.

      • JSpencer

        Yes, I understand what you’re saying, and agree that Clinton will get blamed for everything (including the assassination of JFK) but there are worse things than gridlock. As we know, one moment of bad decision can change the course of history, and both of us can probably name several such moments. I guess it’s hard to predict what will be consequential and what won’t; we just find out as we go. In any case, I respect and enjoy reading your points of view, most of which resonate for me.

  • GrantS

    A recession is not inevitable. Obama’s run has been slow steady growth, and perhaps that is planned. Failures only on smaller scales, while preventing scandalous big bank type recessions gives time for the economy to adapt. Ultimately increased interest rates applies brakes, and done properly (as opposed to Greenspan style laissez faire irrational exuberance) can allow for more time for adaptation. There is room for wages to go up, and with it will create demand. Retraining for high skilled, high pay work requires time. Companies failing to hire low skill workers due to already low unemployment will further greater worker productivity or bring the not-to-be-feared introduction of robotics , which also gives a near full-capacity economy the necessary time to adapt.

    Recessions are not inevitable, but letting them grow too quick does not allow the necessary time for it to adapt. This economy still has some slack which will run out in a couple of years, but whether the next president hires the right people to prevent big bank scandals or can transition a full capacity economy is worthy of a debate.

    • ELIJAH SWEETE

      Well, I’m no macro economist that’s for sure. But it seems to me historically that presidents have less influence over economic upturns and downturns than advertised…though they get blamed or praised inordinately. Simply as a historical function, economic boom and bust cycles within the American scheme of regulated capitalism appear well established.

      I also observe that some downturns can be caused by international events, e.g. Brexit upsetting the Euro economy or a Sunni/Shii war impacting world oil supplies. Wherever it comes from, the president will still get blamed, IMO.

      You may well be correct, of course. As JSpencer says we cannot predict the future; we only present our most earnest speculati

  • dduck

    EJS, I always enjoy your views, some I actually agree with, but I think you are too logical on this one.
    My view is your long thinkers are few and very far between. My speculation is that both parties are stumbling around in the dark and play things by ear mostly. They want, they don’t think, they react instead of preparing, and most of all they try to get elected and as soon as they do, they start running to get reelected. I joke a lot, because I am pessimistic, but
    I don’t see a change of horses, and certainly not a Pegasus, in 2020; the die is cast.

  • Evan Sarzin

    I see it differently. A Democrat President and a Democrat Justice Department brings a one person-one vote case before the Supreme Court, now with a Democratically appointed majority. The Court invalidates the gerrymandering tactics in place after 2010. The 2020 Congress will probably have Democrat majority.

    • ELIJAH SWEETE

      Hmmm. And people say that I’m speculating. 🙂

      Still, as speculation goes, your scenario of the Court forcing a move away from gerrymandering and toward nonpartisan redistricting is a dream worth dreaming.

      • JSpencer

        Amen Elijah.

      • Bob Munck

        a move away from gerrymandering

        Redistricting should be done entirely by a computer program, developed and maintained as “open source” to prevent partisan tricks.

        Unfortunately making that happen would require a Constitutional amendment, and that’s an impossibility under the current (gerrymandered) system. Catch-22. We need a more gradual path toward that goal, the way DADT was a step in the direction of gays serving openly in the military.

  • Slamfu

    Are we really “due” for a recession? From what I can tell, there are three things that lead to them.

    1) Bubbles of some type. And not just bubbles, but bubbles that are then leveraged massively to fund large scale secondary and tertiary economic agendas, which then also collapse when the assets of the bubble collapse.

    2) Large reductions in govt spending. There is an almost mirror like correlation between govt spending and GDP output. Govt spending being one of the, if not the, largest contributor to GDP.

    3) Lack of disposable income among the “consumer class”, or middle America, or whatever you want to call it. Consumer spending powers about 2/3rds of the economy, and when there is wage stagnation, when people can’t buy stuff, recession.

    From what I can tell, the only one of those that might apply right now would be #3. But there isn’t any hard data I can find that find out as to what share of the economic pie not in the hands of the consumers correlates to a recession, but given that wealthy inequality is now about where things where in 1929, we’ve got to be pretty close to it. Unemployment has been below 6% for some time now, and frankly I would have expected wages to rise as a result over the last few years, but that hasn’t happened. We still seem to be muddling along, but basically I think the breaking point will be when consumers run out of money to buy anything other than just the basics.

    • KP

      Number three is already present.

      From Pew: “Fully 49% of U.S. aggregate income went to upper-income households in 2014, up from 29% in 1970. The share accruing to middle-income households was 43% in 2014, down substantially from 62% in 1970.”

      http://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2015/12/09/the-american-middle-class-is-losing-ground/

      As well, the stock market is kicking butt due to artificially low interest rates. Where else would the 1% or us grunts put their money?

      Of course ‘savers’ (responsible people) are not helped, especially after being frightened out of the market after 2008 or having cashed out by necessity when they went under water in their homes (lost wealth) and missed the rebound in real estate and the Dow Jones and/or S&P.

      Interest rates will change someday, as will inflation; and if Bernie’s vision of the future is realized, there may be a serious correction in the stock market (loss of wealth on paper again).

      Interesting that Millennials are not investors, and they now outnumber baby boomers (wow!). Their saving grace is that baby boomers acquired some wealth and will be passing it on. But again, if progressives remain calling the shots 50% of that wealth will be confiscated by the federal government’s death tax. That is a massive loss of wealth taken from baby boomers and their offspring.

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