“How Puerto Rico Became White”

By: Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

In 1899, when Puerto Rico became a territory of the United States, Census figures indicated that 61.8% of Puerto Ricans identified as white. By the 2000 Census, however, 80.5% of Puerto Ricans identified as white. In other words, more than four out of five Puerto Ricans were white in 2000.

How did this happen?

There are three possibilities. The first two involve demographic changes. Large amounts of immigration or emigration could have altered the racial balance. Alternatively, life might have been so hard for non-whites that the relative survival rates of whites and non-whites would have been so drastically different as to also alter the racial balance.

A study titled “How Puerto Rico Became White”, by Mara Loveman and Jeronimo Muniz, rejects both these possibilities. Life was and is indeed harder for non-whites in Puerto Rico, but not enough that non-whites were dying at the extreme rates needed to change the racial balance. Puerto Rico also had relatively little immigration throughout the 20th century. Large numbers of emigrants have indeed gone to the United States, on the other hand. Of these emigrants, a far higher share identifies as non-white.

Perhaps this would explain Puerto Rico’s whitening. Or perhaps the higher share of Puerto Ricans living in America identifying as non-white is due to the third possibility: culture. That is, the definition of white shifted to being more inclusive in Puerto Rico. This would allow more people to claim the advantages of whiteness.

The study agrees with this last explanation:

…whitening was not the demographic process that both its advocates and its critics tended to assume. It appears that whitening resulted, instead, from a change in the social definition of whiteness itself. The boundary of whiteness in Puerto Rican society shifted during the first half of the twentieth century, and especially in the decade from 1910-1920. Individuals who were seen to be on one side of the racial boundary in 1910 found themselves on the other side in 1920. This suggests that the story of how Puerto Rico became white may be as much or more a story of racial boundaries migrating over individuals as it is a story of individuals crossing over racial boundaries.

Loveman and Muniz also describe Puerto Rico has having an inverted one-drop rule. While in the United States a drop of non-white blood is (sometimes) sufficient for an individual to not be considered white, in Puerto Rico the opposite occurred. One drop of white ancestry was all that was needed for one to be considered white:

…the specific terms used to describe this one drop rule shifted slightly from 1910 to 1920. Instead of alerting census-takers to be on the lookout for mulattos as “impure blacks” with any trace of black blood (i.e. individuals who were not “really white”), the instructions for Puerto Rican census-takers in 1920 cued census-takers to be on the lookout for mulattos as “impure blacks” with any trace of white blood (i.e. individuals who were not “really black”). The shift in the 1920 enumerator instructions in Puerto Rico, subtle as it was, created more wiggle room in the application of the one drop rule than was possible in the previous census. In both cases, race was construed to be determined by “blood.” But whereas in 1910, any trace of “black blood” was sufficient to keep an individual from being categorized as “white”, in 1920, any trace of “white blood” was sufficient to keep an individual from being categorized as “black.”

There is one final, and quite interesting note, about all this. In the 2010 Census the percentage of Puerto Ricans identifying as white dropped for the first time in more than a century. Whites decreased from 80.5% of the population to 75.8%. Whether this is due to actual demographic shifts (i.e. mostly white emigrants leaving to the United States), or a change in culture, is difficult to discern. It will be quite interesting to examine, in the future 2020 Census, whether this trend continues.



Reforming the U.N. Security Council?

By: Inoljt,  http://mypolitikal.com/

The United States has permanent membership in the Security Council along with the China, France, Russia, and United Kingdom. Each of these countries may veto any resolution they desire to.

There have been occasional calls to reform the Security Council. The most discussed option has been adding Brazil, Germany, India, and Japan as permanent members.

Let’s take a look at each of the current Security Council members:

China – China has the world’s second-largest economy and – probably – the world’s third most powerful military. Its relative influence, however, is still limited. China today is far more of a great power than it was in 1945 (indeed, in 1945 it probably didn’t deserve to be labeled a great power). Moreover, China is indisputably becoming stronger.

France – France has the world’s fifth largest economy and a very modern and powerful military, probably in the world’s top five. On the other hand, its influence is somewhat limited outside the former French Empire. Compared with 1945, France is substantially less of a great power, having lost its empire and fallen under the American umbrella. Indeed, like most of Europe it has been in relative decline ever since 1918 and looks set to continue to decline in relative terms. This is because the Third World is slowly catching up to the First World, rather than any fault of France itself.

Russia – Russia has the smallest economy of the five, barely (or not at all) breaking into the world’s top ten biggest economies. However, Russia’s military is unquestionably the world’s second strongest, and it dominates the region it is located in. Russia fell into steep decline after the fall of the Soviet Union, when it was on par with the United States, and has only recently begun to recover.

United Kingdom – The United Kingdom has much in common with France. Its economy is the world’s sixth largest, and its military is probably in the world’s top five. Nowadays, the United Kingdom’s influence is more cultural than anything else; it neither dominates Europe or the former British Empire. Out of all the powers, the United Kingdom has declined the most since 1945 – losing both its empire and economic preeminence.

United States – The United States has the world’s largest economy and most powerful military. It strongly influences the entire world. It is more powerful than in 1945, with the fall of its great rival the Soviet Union.

All in all the United States, Russia, and China (going in order of their great power strength) definitely ought to be in the Security Council. The case is more questionable for France and the United Kingdom. Europe is still a very powerful entity in the world and should have a permanent member in the Security Council. But having two members in the Security Council – as is currently the case – certainly overstates its status.

The trouble is that by themselves, France or the United Kingdom aren’t powerful enough to have one seat. Nor is the European Union influential or coherent enough to deserve a seat. Under an ideal situation, one-third of a seat each would go to France and the United Kingdom, with the other third going to Germany. This, of course, wouldn’t be feasible in the real world.

Finally, let’s take a look at the countries which some propose adding as permanent members:

Brazil – Brazil has the world’s seventh or eighth largest economy, which is why people propose adding it. However, Brazil has no substantial military presence to speak of. Its influence is limited to Latin America (where the United States is probably more influential). While Brazil has become relatively more powerful since 1945, it is still not in the category of great power status.

Germany – Germany probably has the strongest claim to being added to the permanent Security Council. Germany’s economy is the world’s 4th largest (bigger than the United Kingdom or France), but its military is still quite weak due to the restrictions imposed upon it after World War II. Germany is generally seen as Europe’s first-among-equals; it is Germany, not France or the United Kingdom, which is coordinating the response to the European Union debt crisis. Germany has thus definitely become more powerful after rising from the ashes of 1945.

India – India is similar to Brazil in many respects, except weaker. It has the world’s tenth or eleventh biggest economy. Like Brazil, its military is essentially nonexistent. It has very little influence even in its neighborhood. India has certainly strengthened since 1945, when it was under foreign rule. However, it definitely is not yet a great power. One could make a stronger case for adding Italy or Canada to the permanent Security Council than India (or Brazil, for that matter).

Japan – Japan is a unique case. Its economy is the world’s third largest, which seems to say that Japan ought to be included in the permanent Security Council. Japan’s military, however, is extraordinarily weak. Furthermore, Japan has no regional influence; it is regarded negatively by its neighbors for its crimes in World War II. Indeed, Japan has been bullied quite recently both by Russia and China over disputed islands, with Russia and China getting the better of it each time. While Japan has advanced economically since 1945, its regional influence is still lower. Before World War II, for instance, Japan occupied Korea and much of China as a colony; this would be impossible today.

Out of these four countries, probably only Germany truly ought to be in the permanent Security Council. Brazil and India are still middle powers. Japan, while economically strong, lacks the other qualifications that go along with Great Power status.

Indeed, none of these countries have been able to exert their strength in ways the Security Council Five have in the past decade. The United States invaded and occupies Iraq and Afghanistan, countries half around the world. Russia invaded Georgia. The United Kingdom and France are currently bombing Libya. Perhaps only Germany – and even this is fairly uncertain – can do something similar today.

The world has changed a lot since 1945, but it has also changed a lot less than many believe. The five great powers in 1945 still are, by and large, the five great powers in 2010.



Packing Blacks

This is the first part in a series of posts examining how to create super-packed congressional districts of one race. The next part can be found here.

(Note: I strongly encourage you to click the image links on this post when reading; they're essential to understanding what I'm saying.)

Packing Blacks

In drawing the districts that will elect America’s congressman and state legislatures, race is of paramount importance. This is because of the Voting Rights Act (VRA), a complicated piece of legislation which regulates how race is used in congressional redistricting. The VRA is supreme to almost every other consideration in redistricting, except the stipulation that districts must have equal population.

The VRA prohibits packing minorities. For instance, an 80% black district that weaves through unrelated areas, taking in only the black-majority parts, is illegal.

Let’s pretend, however, that the VRA doesn’t exist. For curiosity’s sake, what is the blackest district you can possibly make in the United States?

This post will answer that question, using Dave’s Redistricting Application – a tool which allows anybody to create congressional districts.

It is both easy and hard to create an extremely black congressional district.

The easy part is that blacks live in extremely segregated areas. In a completely integrated society, every congressional district would be no more and no less than 12.6% black, since blacks compose 12.6% of America’s population.

In reality, however, segregation has left many areas more than 90% black, while their surroundings are 90% white. Take Cleveland:

Link to Map of Cleveland by Race

It is relatively easy to pack all these blacks into a cohesive unit:

Link to Map of Cleveland Partial Congressional District

It took less than five minutes to draw this. This district is 90.9% black.

Here, however, comes the hard part. Notice how there are only 247,777 residents of the district. Each congressional district in Ohio needs to have 721,032 residents. To achieve adequate population, the district must add more than 470,000 people. As the picture makes obvious, adding people from outside the black parts of Cleveland will heavily dilute the district’s black percentage (it may end up less than 50% black as one begins adding 95% white precincts).

The solution is to run the district to other highly segregated black parts of Ohio. Unfortunately, doing this involves going through 95% white areas. This will inevitably dilute the black percentage.

One encounters similar troubles with most inner-city areas that have a substantial black population. Once one runs out of 90% black precincts, the black population dwindles fast.

Concentrated populations of blacks are, of course, not just found in inner-cities. A number of Southern states – places like Mississippi – contain substantial black populations. Unfortunately for a mapmaker, however, many Southern blacks live in rural areas – and these rural areas are much more integrated than places like Cleveland. In Alabama, for instance, the most black a district can get is about 81.5%. In many cities, moreover, the black population is dwindling; in Los Angeles nowadays it is simply impossible to create even a black-majority congressional district.

If only there existed an extremely segregated city like Cleveland, except with enough 95% black precincts to fill an entire congressional district…

Well, welcome to Chicago:

Link to Map of Chicago by Race

In Chicago it is (barely) possible to create a congressional district composed of only the dark blue precincts in this picture:

Link to Map of 94.6% Black Congressional District

This monstrosity is a 94.6% black congressional district, linking together almost all the blacks in Chicago. It is possible to get a ~93% black district without linking the South Side to the Lawndale area; one would simply start adding more 70 and 80% precincts in the suburbs south of Chicago. However, linking the two together makes the district slightly blacker.

It is an interesting exercise to guess how this district voted in 2008. Nationally blacks gave 95% of the vote to President Barack Obama. However, blacks tend to be more Democratic in more segregated areas, so the black vote was probably more Democratic in Chicago than nationwide. Moreover, the non-black vote also tends to be extremely Democratic in inner-cities; in Washington, for instance, 86% of whites supported the president. Finally, given Mr. Obama’s roots in Chicago, individuals of all races would be even more likely to vote for him than otherwise would be the case.

My guess is that this district voted 99% Democratic in 2008. (Edit: Presidential data for Illinois has been released, and it turns out that my guess was right.)

Blacks, of course, are not the only race which can be packed into congressional districts like these. It is possible – and even easier – to do the same with Hispanics. The next post will examine how to pack Hispanics.




Mitt Romney’s Fundamental Problem

By: Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

Mitt Romney has a big problem.

It’s not “Romneycare.”

It’s not his Mormonism.

It’s not his shifting positions on social issues, such as abortion.

All the above are merely symptoms of Mr. Romney’s big problem.

Mr. Romney, simply put, is just not a very good politician. Americans take a look at him, and they just don’t like him on a personal, instinctual level. They then find a reasonable – or perhaps not so reasonable – rationalization to explain why they don’t like him. He’s fake. He doesn’t have much in common with the average American. He’s a flip-flopper. He’s Mormon. Romneycare. Etc.

This is the same problem John Edwards had running for president. There was nothing specifically which Mr. Edwards did wrong; he said all the right things, he had all the right credentials. But voters just didn’t like Mr. Edwards; on some level they felt uncomfortable with him. Eventually the media came up with stories tapping into this gut discomfort: Edwards was insincere, Edwards got incredibly expensive hair cuts, etc.

Back in the 2008 presidential primaries, Republican analyst Jay Cost wrote a revealing post:

[Mitt Romney's] candidacy has been the most transparently strategic this cycle. McCain is up? Go after McCain. McCain is down? Leave McCain alone. Thompson enters the race and seems a threat? Take a cheap shot about Law and Order. Thompson fades? Ignore him. Rudy is up? Go after Rudy. Huckabee is up? Go after Huck. You need to win a Republican primary? Make yourself the most socially conservative candidate in the race. And on and on and on.

If somebody asked me which candidate on the Republican side has won just a single election (in a year that his party did very well nationwide) — I would answer Mitt Romney, even knowing nothing about anybody’s biography. This kind of transparency is, to me, a sign of political inexperience. He’s only won one election, and it shows.

…Romney’s campaign is, I must say, the least authentic seeming of any on the GOP side…Unlike Kerry-Edwards, the Romney campaign knows how to stay on script. That is not its problem. Its problem is that the script changes are obviously induced by its standing in the polls. There is little subtlety to the Romney campaign. Too much of what it does is obviously strategic.

Mr. Romney’s 2008 campaign went on underperform expectations significantly. Mr. Romney promised to win Iowa and then lost to Mike Huckabee. He went on to New Hampshire and then lost again, this time to John McCain. Mr. Romney’s sole victory came in Michigan. After that, his campaign lost yet another contest to John McCain in Florida. On Super Tuesday, Mr. Romney’s campaign promised to sweep the South and win states from California to Illinois to New York. As it turned out, Mr. Romney came in third place in many southern states, and lost badly in states like California, Illinois, and New York.

Were Mr. Romney to be a better politician, none of his current weaknesses would matter. Good politicians can and have overcome significantly more daunting obstacles than Mr. Romney currently faces. John F. Kennedy was a Catholic at a time of heavy anti-Catholic sentiment. Ronald Reagan was exceptionally old. Bill Clinton cheated on his wife – and got caught doing so. Barack Obama was a black liberal from the inner-city. Yet all still were successfully elected president.

If Mr. Romney were a good politician, he too would be able to overcome anti-Mormon sentiment and “Romneycare.” The problem is that he is not.



What Elections Would Look Like in a Mexico-United States Union

This is part of a series of posts examining, somewhat lightheartedly, the electoral effects of adding Canada and then Mexico to the United States.

(Note: This post was written for serious political analysis along with it. It is not meant to offend, and sincere apologies are offered if any offense at all is taken. I strongly encourage you to click the image links on this post when reading; they're essential to understanding what I'm saying.)

The previous post noted that if Mexico joined the United States, and if Mexico voted for the Democratic Party, then the Democratic Party would at first glance seem benefit very much indeed. President George W. Bush would have win Delaware to become president. Double-digit Republican victories would turn into ties.

But this assumes that American voting patterns remain unchanged if the United States joined Mexico.

Imagine how the typical American would react to the last six words in the sentence above, and one can begin to see why that assumption is probably extremely inaccurate.

If the United States were to join Canada, the result would probably be fairly free of friction. The United States and Canada have very similar or the same cultures, histories, income levels, languages and ethnicities. It is impossible to tell a Canadian and an American apart.

None of this is true regarding Mexico and the United States. Mexicans and Americans are truly separate peoples to an extent Canadians and Americans are not. Their cultures, histories, income levels, languages, and ethnicities are different. It is not hard to tell a Mexican and an American apart.

For these reasons, it is pretty simple to predict voting patterns in a union of Mexico and the United States. The typical election would probably look like this:


Link to Image of Typical Election in Mexican-American Union


Adding the United States to Mexico would probably spark an enormous racial backlash amongst Americans. The effect would be similar to that of the 1964 Civil Rights Act in the South. This might not be confined merely to whites; if there is one way to break the Democratic Party’s lock on the black vote, adding the United States to Mexico might be it. Elections would come to resemble those which happen in Mississippi today: everybody from Mexico would vote one way, everybody from the United States would vote another.

This is not just a guess. Many countries today experience similar problems, where two different peoples happen to share the same borders. Tribal voting often happens in Africa, due to its colonial history. Another example is Ukraine, which has an enormous east-west divide. People in the west are Ukrainians, who speak Ukrainian and want to join NATO. People in the east are Russians, who speak Russian and want to re-create the Soviet Union. It’s not pretty:


Link to Image of 2004 Ukrainian Election



It’s not very hard to imagine a similar electoral dynamic playing out in an American-Mexican union.



What If Mexico Was Part of the United States?

The previous two posts in this serious dealt with what would happen if Canada’s electoral votes were added to the United States. This post will examine what would happen if the same occurred with Mexico.

(Note: This post was written for serious political analysis along with it. It is not meant to offend, and sincere apologies are offered if any offense at all is taken. I strongly encourage you to click the image links on this post when reading; they're essential to understanding what I'm saying.)

Mexico is a lot bigger than Canada. Canada has a population of 34 million; Mexico has a population of 112 million. Indeed, it’s one of the most populous countries in the world. The effect of adding Mexico to the United States would have far more of an impact than adding Canada.

One can calculate the number of electoral votes Mexico has this way. The first post in this series noted that:

A state’s electoral vote is based off the number of representatives and senators it has in Congress. For instance, California has 53 representatives and 2 senators, making for 55 electoral votes…

The United States Census estimates its population at approximately 308,745,538 individuals. The House of Representatives has 435 individuals, each of whom represents – on average – approximately 709,760 people. If Canada was part of the United States, this would imply Canada adding 48 (rounding down from 48.47) representatives in the House.

This is a simplified version of things; the process of apportionment is quite actually somewhat more complicated than this. But at most Canada would have a couple more or less representatives than this. It would also have two senators, adding two more electoral votes to its 48 representatives.

Mexico’s population in 2010 was found to be exactly 112,322,757 individuals. Using the same estimates as above, one would estimate Mexico to have 158.25 House representatives. Adding the two senators, one gets about 160 electoral votes in total:

Link to Image of Electoral College With Mexico

This is obviously a lot of votes. For the sake of simplification let’s also not consider Mexico’s powerful political parties in this hypothetical.

How would Mexico vote?

Well, it would probably go for the Democratic Party (funny how that tends to happen in these scenarios). This is not something many people would disagree with. Most Mexican-Americans tend vote Democratic. The Democratic platform of helping the poor would probably be well-received by Mexicans, who are poorer than Americans. Moreover, the Republican emphasis on deporting illegals (often an euphemism for Mexican immigrants, although some Republicans make things clearer by just stating something like “kick out the Mexicans”) would probably not go well in Mexico.

Here’s what would happen in the 2004 presidential election, which President George W. Bush won:

Link to Image of 2004 Presidential Election With Mexico

Senator John Kerry wins a pretty clear victory in the electoral vote. He gains 409 electoral votes to Mr. Bush’s 286 and is easily elected president.

What states would Mr. Bush need to flip to win?

In the previous post, where Canada was added to the United States, Mr. Bush would merely have needed to flip one: Wisconsin. Given his 0.4% loss in the state, this would require convincing only 6,000 voters to switch.

Mexico is a lot harder. In order to win, Mr. Bush needs to shift the national vote 4.2% more Republican. This flips six states: Wisconsin, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, and finally Oregon (which he lost by 4.2%). They go in order of the margin of Mr. Bush’s defeat to Mr. Kerry:

Link to Image of Electoral College With Bush Victory

But there’s a caveat here: in this scenario the entirety of Mexico is assumed to only have two senators. The fifty states have 435 representatives and 100 senators, making for 535 electoral votes in total (plus Washington D.C.’s three). Mexico, on the other hand, has 158 representatives and two senators, making for only 160 electoral votes. Obviously, Mexico’s influence is strongly diluted.

Mexico itself is organized into 31 states and one federal district. Assume that instead of the entire country voting as one unit, Mexico is divided in the electoral college into these districts. Each Mexican state (and Mexico City) would receive two senators, giving Mexico 222 electoral votes instead of 160.

But that’s not all. There are several states in America – Wyoming, for instance – whose influence is magnified due to their low population. The “Wyomings” of Mexico are Baja California Sur, Colima, and Compeche – which each have less than a million residents. Overall, this would probably add three more electoral votes to Mexico.

This means that Mr. Bush has to flip three more states to win:

Link to Image of Electoral Map With Mexican States

New Jersey, Washington, and Delaware go Republican under this scenario. To do this, Mr. Bush would have to shift the national vote 7.59% more Republican (the margin by which he lost Delaware).

One can see that Mexico has a far more powerful effect than Canada; a double-digit Republican landslide has turned into a tie here. That’s what happens when one adds a country of more than one hundred million individuals.

Before Democrats start celebrating however, one should note that this the hypothetical to this point has been in no way realistic. It assumes that the residents of America will not alter their voting habits in response to an extremely fundamental change.

The next post explores some conclusions about what the typical election would look like if the United States became part of Mexico.



More on Fidel Castro’s Blog

The previous post focused on the online blog which Cuban Comandante Fidel Castro writes. It noted that:

Fidel Castro is in many ways a throw-back to the past, back in the days when communism ruled half of Europe and nuclear war seemed a distinct possibility. He is more than 80 years old now, and no longer controls the nation Cuba.

Nevertheless, Mr. Castro still maintains a blog (older articles can be accessed here), in which he writes about the latest happenings in this world. To be fair, the postings are probably taken from some sort of written article; most likely they are put online by a government employee rather than him.

It makes for fascinating reading.

There are several other interesting aspects of the blog, which this post will talk about.

One quite surprising thing is the extent to which Mr. Castro follows American politics. The shooting of Congresswomen Gabrielle Giffords was, for instance, actually given several posts of coverage. This says something about America’s influence in the world. If a crazy man shoots a minor politician elsewhere in the world, nobody would care. But when it happens in America, even Fidel Castro himself writes about it.

Mr. Castro tends to quote speeches and newspaper articles – even those made by his ideological opponents – at length. He then makes brief comments, usually in disagreement. This is quite different from the American style.

In addition, sometimes the wording is not done well or doesn’t entirely make sense, although the general idea is still pretty clear. This maybe due to translation issues into English. Alternatively, Mr. Castro’s age may have led to his writing style deteriorating.

Finally, there are times when the Comandante’s opinions are out-of-whack with even the most radical Americans. The last few articles, for instance, argue that Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi is currently a hero resisting Western aggression.

Then there is his interpretation of North Korea’s sinking of a South Korean submarine:

SINCE the day of March 26, neither Obama nor the president of South Korea have been able to explain what really happened to the flagship of the South Korean Navy, the state-of-the-art submarine hunter Cheonan, which was taking part in a maneuver with the U.S. Navy to the west of the Korean Peninsula, close to the limits of the two Republics, which provoked 46 deaths and dozens of injured.

The embarrassing aspect for the empire is that its ally knows from reliable sources that the boat was sunk by the United States. There is no way of eluding that fact, which will accompany them like a shadow.

Once again, this conspiracy theory goes against the entire educated opinion of the United States.

All in all, Mr. Castro’s writings offer quite a different perspective from the typical Washington attitude. This is a pretty obvious conclusion, but it is worth repeating. It is also very much worth reading what he writes. As the previous post argued:

All in all, I highly encourage anybody reading this to visit Mr. Castro’s website. One’s understanding of the world is always enhanced by reading what one’s ideological opponents say. With the rise of the Internet, it’s quite amazing that anybody can just go online and check out some of Mr. Castro’s thoughts on current events. One should take the opportunity.

--Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/


Reading Fidel Castro’s Blog

Fidel Castro is in many ways a throw-back to the past, back in the days when communism ruled half of Europe and nuclear war seemed a distinct possibility. He is more than 80 years old now, and no longer controls the nation Cuba.

Nevertheless, Mr. Castro still maintains a blog (older articles can be accessed here), in which he writes about the latest happenings in this world. To be fair, the postings are probably taken from some sort of written article; most likely they are put online by a government employee rather than him.

It makes for fascinating reading.

The communist leader actually writes quite similarly to a lot of leftist rhetoric. Were it not for his references to “The Empire” (i.e. America) or occasional meetings with world leaders, Mr. Castro’s column would not be out-of-place on the Daily Kos featured blog list.

Mr. Castro, for instance, is a big fan of environmentalism and stopping climate change. This is somewhat surprising, considering that climate change didn’t exist as an issue for much of the revolutionary’s life.

I could not help but look at how the Comandante views President Barack Obama. On the one hand, he does appear to give Mr. Obama some credit for being the first African-American president. On the other, he views Mr. Obama as the product of American institutions (which he is). Therefore the president is still an “enemy” – “He [Mr. Obama] supports his system and he will be get support from it.”

At times Mr. Castro is quite critical of the president:

When Obama was questioned about the coup d’état against the heroic President Salvador Allende, promoted like many others by the United States, and the mysterious death of Eduardo Frei Montalva, assassinated by agents of the DINA, a creation of the U.S. government, he lost his presence of mind and began to stutter.

Without any doubt, at the end of his speech, the commentator on Chilean television was totally accurate when he stated that Obama had nothing to offer the hemisphere…

Obama now has before him a visit to El Salvador, tomorrow, Tuesday. There he will have to invent a lot, because in that sister Central American nation the weapons and advisors that it received from his country were responsible for much bloodshed.

I wish him bon voyage and a little more good sense.

This is unsurprising, considering just who is writing these words. At the same time, Mr. Castro does seem to have a sense of caution. Before the 2008 presidential election, he wrote:

When these views that I sustain are published tomorrow [after the election], nobody will have time to say that I wrote something that could be used by any candidate to advance his campaign. I had to be, and I have been, neutral in this electoral competition. It is not “interference in the internal affairs of the United States”, as the State Department would put it, as respectful as it is of other countries’ sovereignty.

All in all, I highly encourage anybody reading this to visit Mr. Castro’s website. One’s understanding of the world is always enhanced by reading what one’s ideological opponents say. With the rise of the Internet, it’s quite amazing that anybody can just go online and check out some of Mr. Castro’s thoughts on current events. One should take the opportunity.

The next post will offer more some more thoughts on Mr. Castro’s blog.


Why Donald Trump Is A Joke Candidate

By: Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/

Donald Trump, a businessman perhaps most famous for being rich, has recently rocked the Republican field. His attacks on President Barack Obama have made news in a quiet news cycle. Polls, surprisingly, show Mr. Trump shooting up to second or first place amongst Republican voters.

I have just had the opportunity to watch several of these interviews with Mr. Trump. In general, I have come away decidedly unimpressed. Mr. Trump looks much older and a lot worse outside of his reality show. Indeed, it was actually a shock to see the difference between the image the man exudes (e.g. the pictures one sees of him on google images) and the reality.

Moreover, the interviews also show Mr. Trump is not a very good politician. He gets angry too often (something politicians should never do), for instance. His presentation clearly needs work.

All in all, it is hard to take Mr. Trump as a serious candidate. He is too much like former television star Fred Thompson: a candidate who was hyped as the new Ronald Reagan in 2008, but who in actuality performed far below expectations. It would be quite surprising if Mr. Trump did not flame out.

Let’s be clear on this point: Mr. Trump would be a terrible, terrible Republican candidate – and a terrible president besides. He is probably the only candidate in the Republican field who would do worse than former Governor Sarah Palin. Ms. Palin would probably win states like Kentucky and West Virginia, for instance. Donald Trump, on the other hand, is probably the only candidate in the Republican field who can get Kentuckians to vote for a big-city socialist.

Think about it. What is Donald Trump famous for?

He’s rich, and his favorite phrase is “You’re fired!” That’s not a resume most politicians want.

One reason states like West Virginia used to be Democratic was that populist Democrats could tap the white working-class vein of dislike for rich corporate executives. As the Democratic Party has moved away from that type of populism (see John Kerry, Barack Obama) places like West Virginia have shifted Republican.

But Trump is the very epitome of rich corporate executive, and being famous for firing people is probably not going to endear him to the working class. It’s hard to imagine a West Virginia coal miner ever voting for a guy like Donald Trump.

Whatever the faults of Republican candidates such as Mitt Romney or Tim Pawlenty, they would make far better presidents than Mr. Trump. Republican voters would do well to consider a more serious candidate than the joke that is Donald Trump.



Analyzing the 2011 Wisconsin Supreme Court Election

On April 5th, 2011 Wisconsin held an election to choose a Wisconsin Supreme Court nominee. The supposedly non-partisan election turned into a referendum on Republican Governor Scott Walker’s controversial policies against unions. Mr. Walker’s new law will probably be headed to the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and since the Supreme Court is elected by the voters Democrats saw one last chance to defeat his law.

(Note: I strongly encourage you to click the image links on this post when reading; they're essential to understanding what I'm saying.)

The frontrunner was the incumbent justice, Republican David Prosser. The Democratic favorite was relatively unknown JoAnne Kloppenburg. The two candidates essentially tied each other, although Mr. Prosser has taken the lead following the discovery of 14,315 votes in a strongly Republican city.

Here are the results of the election:

Link to Map of Wisconsin, 2011 Supreme Court Election

For a supposedly non-partisan election, the counties that Mr. Prosser won were almost identical to the counties that Republicans win in close races. There was essentially no difference.

A good illustration of this similarity is provided by comparing the results to those of the 2004 presidential election in Wisconsin. In that election Senator John Kerry beat President George W. Bush by less than 12,000 votes:

Link to Map of Wisconsin, 2004 Presidential Eleciton

It is pretty clear that this non-partisan election became a very partisan battle between Democrats and Republicans.

Nevertheless, there were several differences between this election and the 2004 presidential election.

Here is a map of how Mr. Prosser did compared to Mr. Bush:

Link to Map of Wisconsin, Comparison to Mr. Bush

In most places Mr. Prosser is on the defence. He improves in his areas of strength by less than Ms. Kloppenburg does in her areas of strength. More Bush counties move leftward; fewer Kerry counties move rightward.

The great exception, however, is Milwaukee. In that Democratic stronghold Mr. Prosser improved by double-digits over Mr. Bush. Ms. Kloppenburg almost makes up the difference through a massive improvement in Madison (Dane County), the other Democratic stronghold, along with a respectable performance outside Milwaukee and its suburbs. But she doesn’t quite make it.

Here is a good illustration of the importance of Milwaukee:

Link to Map of Wisconsin, 2004 Presidential Election Margins

As one can see, the two great reservoirs of Democratic votes belong in Madison and Milwaukee. Ms. Kloppenberg got all the votes she needed and more in Madison; she got far fewer than hoped for in Milwaukee.

Much of Mr. Prosser’s improvement was due to poor minority turn-out.

Milwaukee is the type of Democratic stronghold based off support from poor minorities (Madison is based off wealthy white liberals and college students). Unfortunately for Ms. Kloppenberg, minority turn-out is generally low in off-year elections such as these.

Another example of this pattern is in Menominee County, a Native American reservation that usually goes strongly Democratic. In 2011 Menominee County voted Democratic as usual (along with Milwaukee), but low turn-out enabled Mr. Prosser to strongly improve on Mr. Bush’s 2004 performance.

All in all, this election provides an interesting example of a Democratic vote depending heavily upon white liberals and the white working class (descendants of non-German European immigrants), and far less upon minorities.

--Inoljt, http://mypolitikal.com/




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