Monday, January 28, 2019


Staggering insight from a meeting of great minds:

Zito said this to Hewitt on his radio show today. Media Matters has the transcript. These two are the Lennon and McCartney of wrongheadedness.
HUGH HEWITT​ (HOST)​: ​You've written great pieces in the Post and the ​Washington Examiner, Salena. I want to focus on whether or not, again, you mention Beltway elites miss stories. I ​think they are missing​ ​Howard Schultz, ​and I think they are missing Venezuelan Spring, and they don't understand Americans always rally to freedom. And they don't understand that Howard Schultz represents something new​ and different, and maybe not the last war that they're fighting. What​'s​ ​your reaction? To both.

SALENA ZITO​ (NEW YORK POST)​: I absolutely agree. ​I absolutely agree. Yesterday, ​I ​just ​retweeted his announcement ​about running,​ saying that he was considering a run, and the amount of people on the left, not the right, because I think people on the right get it because they were drawn to someone outside of political​ sort of​ orthodoxy, they were so dismissive of his chances. And not even chances, but why would you run, nobody wants anyone​ that's​ outside of politics,​ so​ you'd never stand a chance. I'm like, my God, you still don't get Trump, let alone someone else​?​
Nobody on the left is dismissive of Schultz's chances because he's "outside of political​ ... orthodoxy" -- he actually isn't, of course. (Deficit hawks with liberal ideas on social issues? They're a dime a dozen in the commentariat.) If he's unorthodox, it's because he's not a politician -- but we all know that non-politicians (Donald Trump, Mike Bloomberg, Rick Scott) can win elections, especially if they're billionaires. Many of us believe Oprah Winfrey would be competitive in the Democratic primaries if she were serious about running.

If we think Schultz will "never stand a chance," it's because (as I've pointed out recently) no third-party presidential candidate has won even a single state since 1968, and the only two third-party candidates to win states in any election since 1924 were the segregationists Strom Thurmond (1948) and George Wallace (1968).

We've told you exactly why we're angry at Schultz: because we believe he'll take far more votes from the Democrat than from Trump and could potentially help Trump win reelection. We're not worried about our party. The party can survive that. We're worried about the country, which might not.
HEWITT: They're so threatened by Schultz. ​Now, Democrats -- ​he's threatening​ in​ the way that Trump threatened the ​Republican establishment, Schultz threatens the Dem​ocratic​ establishment, ​and ​they​'re so threatened that they​ won't admit​ the information in that​ there​ i​s a path for someone like this.
He doesn't threaten the Democratic establishment for the simple reason that -- ideologically at least -- there is no Democratic establishment. This past year was, perhaps, the Democratic Party's equivalent of the GOP's Trump apocalypse, or at least of the first year of the Tea Party -- but Democrats, an assortment of gradualists, socialists, and people vaguely in the middle, didn't fight so much as agree to let a hundred flowers bloom. We backed Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and we backed Abigail Spanberger. We rooted for Andrew Gillum and for Gretchen Whitmer -- and hell, many of us were sad when Heidi Heitkamp and Claire McCaskill lost. The Democratic Party has moved to the left, and that's a good thing, but it's still a fairly capacious tent. We could accommodate Schultz, although this year we'd reject him if he were running in the primaries. He's the one who's threatened by us, not the other way around.

In any case, what Democrats are doing right now is working. We've moved to the left (as has the country, on many issues, in the wake of the Great Recession), but without imposing a rigid orthodoxy. This worked well in 2018. If it's ripe for disruption, why did it connect with the public last November?

And now here's my favorite bit:
​HEWITT: ... I don't know how much of the Republican Party is up for grabs, ​but it's got to be 25​ percent​​. And I don't know how much of the Democratic Party is up for grabs if they go left, but it's got to be 25 percent.

​ZITO: I agree.​

​HEWITT: ​That leaves Schultz with 50​ percent​ and the other ​two​ with 25​ percent​.
Math is hard! Sorry, but if one party represents half the country and you have the potential to grab a quarter of it, and the other party represents the other half of the country and you have the potential to grab a quarter of it as well, you don't add a quarter and a quarter and say you could potentially control a half. That's not how numbers work, as any reasonably proficient schoolchild could tell you. If you believe these cockamamie estimates, Schultz threatens to seize a quarter of the electorate overall -- that is, unless Hewitt and Zito are arguing that there's a big chunk of independents and he's going to win 100% of them (a prediction as wildly unrealistic as the 25% prediction -- remember Ross Perot in '92 won only 19% of the vote, and he's the strongest third-party candidate in terms of overall vote totals in the past century).
ZITO: Yes, absolutely. And ​you know ​you're absolutely right, it is sort of threatening their tribe, if you will. You know, threatening their existence. And it's incredibly dismissive, and I think it's sort of dangerous in the sense that they're unable to accept change. And ​I​ think that's funny because they made fun of the people that supported Trump​,​ because they believed that they were unable to accept change. And I thought they were the ones ​that were most willing to welcome it.

​HEWITT: Absolutely.

​ZITO: It is different.

HEWITT: Yeah, disrupt.
What's puzzling to me is that the two Trump cheerleaders seem to believe that the Donald "disrupted" the GOP, yet a quarter of the GOP is still open to disruption by Schultz. Is that really what they believe? That Trump hasn't become the God Emperor whose status as party head the voters will defend to the death? Do Hewitt and Zito believe GOP voters want to live in a state of perpetual revolution, imagining themselves Maoists or tech bros? They delighted as Trump led a revolution and now they'd be delighted if someone led a revolution against him? (I guess all the evidence that the Trumpers are a personality cult that mercilessly polices the GOP for apostasy should be taken seriously but not literally.)

By contrast, we Democrats are portrayed as just a bunch of stick-in-the-muds defending a sclerotic establishment -- except that we're the folks who voted for Hillary Clinton two years ago and now root for wealth taxes and Medicare for All. We're the ones stuck in a rut?

On most issues, Trump actually is the hidebound Republican establishment. He's working from the establishment's list of judges. He passed the establishment's tax cut. He's submitted Cabinet agencies to regulatory capture just the way a Bush would have.

Hewitt and Zito accuse Democrats of fighting "the last war," but "the last war" for Democrats was an intraparty Bernie-Hillary fight that seems to have been resolved in favor of more progressivism with a unified front in order to take on Trump. The real last war is the D.C.'s establishment's search for a deficit hawk with benign social views who'll magically gull the populace into accepting lass, thus leading the ruling class to a post-entitlement paradise. That war is lost -- even Trump says he doesn't want to cut Medicare and Social Security, and though that doesn't mean he won't, it does mean that neither party's voters want this. Only the centrist elites do -- oh, and also Hugh Hewitt and Salena Zito, those phony champions of the working class.

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