After Hillary Wins

For those of you interested in the current election, Kevin Drum maps out what will happen after Clinton wins in November, which is now all but a certainty:

  • The Republican Party will completely disown and repudiate Donald Trump….

  • With few other choices around, Paul Ryan becomes the undisputed leader of the Republican Party.

  • After the election Republicans will do their usual "autopsy," and it will say the usual thing: Demographic trends are working against them, and they have to reach out to non-white, non-male voters if they don't want to fade slowly into irrelevance. In the last 25 years, they've won two presidential elections by the barest hair's breadth and lost the other five—and this is only going to get worse in the future.

  • Hillary Clinton will remain the pragmatic dealmaker she is. And despite the current bucketloads of anti-Hillary red meat that Republicans are tossing around right now, most of them trust her to deal honestly when it comes to political bargains.

This means that the next four years depend entirely on Paul Ryan. So what will he do? I maintain that this is a very open, very interesting question.

I've gotten some pushback lately for a couple of posts where I've gone soft on Ryan. But here's the thing: when it comes to Ryan's budget policies, I have nothing but contempt for him. Here's a typical post of mine from a few years ago, and there are plenty more just like it. But it's foolish to insist that simply because someone disagrees with my politics they're either stupid or irredeemably evil. Ryan is neither.

So what will Ryan do? One possibility, of course, is that he'll take the simplest route: endless obstruction, just like 2009. Republicans may be a divided party, but one thing they all agree on is that they hate Hillary Clinton and they want to prevent her from doing anything.

But there's another possibility. Ryan is not a racial fearmonger. He's always been open to immigration reform. He's consistently shown genuine disgust for Donald Trump. He's been open to making low-key deals in the past. He's smart enough to know precisely the depth of the demographic hole Republicans are in. And despite being conservative himself, he may well realize that the GOP simply can't stay in thrall to the tea party caucus forever if it wants to survive….

It's also possible that he wants to run for president in 2020, and if that's the case he'll do better if he has some real accomplishments to show over the next four years. Running on a platform of scorched-earth obstruction might get the tea partiers excited, but that's not enough to win the presidency.

So maybe Ryan decides that now is the time to try to reform the Republican Party. Once he wins the speakership again, he makes clear to the tea partiers that they're finished as power brokers: he's going to pass bills even if it means depending on Democratic support to do it. He reaches out to women and minorities. He passes immigration reform. He makes sure that budgets get passed and we don't default on the national debt. He works behind the scenes with Hillary Clinton in standard horsetrading mode: she gets some things she wants, but only in return for some things conservatives want.

This could go a long way toward making him the next president of the United States. If he plays his cards right, Clinton might suffer with her base for selling them out on some of the deals she makes. Ryan will get the tea partiers under control and have some accomplishments to run on. He'll soften the nonwhite disgust with the party enough to pick up some minority votes. Maybe the economy helps him out by going soft in 2019. And he's already got good looks, youth, and an agreeable speaking style going for him.

So which Paul Ryan will we get in 2017? The movement conservative who breathes fire and insists that Hillary Clinton will never get one red cent for any of her satanic priorities? Or a conservative but realistic leader who's willing to make deals as a way of bringing the Republican Party back from the brink of destruction that Donald Trump has led them to?

The one thing Drum leaves out is that if Ryan takes the pragmatic approach, the Republican party could split into the Chamber of Commerce and Trump/Tea Party factions. The odds against this are still very heavy, since everyone knows that splinter parties quickly fade into irrelevance in America's two-party, first-past-the-post system.

But if each splinter party believes it has a genuine chance of winning (i.e., taking over a 'reconstituted' Republic Party after the civil war), they might just do it. And if that happens, all bets are off. There would surely be a push to change the American political system to make it more friendly to smaller parties.

However, this would be considered a radical change. Further, the American constitutional system would have to be changed to create a genuine Parliamentary system, and there's zero support for that. But the US system could easily be made more flexible right now, as 2004 candidate Howard Dean explained in a recent New York Times editorial:

It’s as easy as 1-2-3. Voters have the option to rank the candidates from first to last, and any candidate with a majority of first choices wins, just as in any other election. But if no candidate has a majority, you hold an “instant runoff” tally in order to compare the top two candidates head to head. Candidates in last place are eliminated, and their backers’ votes are counted for their next choice. When it’s down to two, the winner earns a majority of the vote.

…. Ranked-choice voting represents the latter — and better — approach. Voters can support their favorites while still voting effectively against their least favorite. Having more competition encourages better dialogue on issues. Civility is substantially improved. Needing to reach out to more voters leads candidates to reduce personal attacks and govern more inclusively.

Some critics suggest it’s a crutch for independents and minor parties because they can compete without being spoilers and may earn invitations to more debates. Others suggest it’s a trick to make it harder for third parties to win. But the reality is that everyone would need to accept the challenge of being responsive to more voters. That’s a challenge that many major party backers like me are eager to embrace.

This would enable a kind of strategic voting in American elections. It would also foster a sort of coalition-building process during the election, as candidates who can't get a majority of first-place votes reach out to other parties for second-place votes. Whether this would genuinely improve civility remains to be seen. I actually think it might, and would support it.

9 thoughts on “After Hillary Wins

  1. I’m confused, I thought your name was Andrew Hammel not Kevin Drum – or is it an erroneous link to the post of yours from a fews ago? You are certainly an international man of mystery.


  2. “Immigration reform” is a euphemism for amnesty for illegal immigrants. As the vast majority are not from Singapore, Hong Kong, Tokyo or Shanghai, but from miserable third-world places, they will become net consumers of government services and further increase the burden on the productive segment of society. They will also vote Democrat because the Democrats promise them the most goodies.

    Republicans as the party of “small government” are finished. Not only because of immigration but also because of urbanization, which divorces people from the home truths of life. These trends will continue until the welfare state collapses under the weight of the demands made by the ever-increasing number of net consumers. (Mitt Romney four years ago said 47 percent, probably above 50 percent now.) Things will get really ugly for a while. What comes after, I have no idea and I will not venture a prediction. Maybe a breakup of the U.S., maybe a dictatorship (socialist or fascist). Brazil and South Africa beckon as possible futures for the U.S. I cannot even rule out an invasion as in the movie “Red Dawn”.

    I am certain, however, that what lies ahead for Western Europe will be much worse. Remember, Submission by Houellebecq is close to a best-case scenario. The worst-case scenario is 2084: La fin du monde by Boualem Sansal.


  3. I think Ryan is lightweight prick.

    My favorite mean is still the picture of Joe Biden allegedly saying, “Shut your cockwasher when Joe Biden is talking” after their debate.


  4. Meme. Meme. I thought your name was Andrew Hammel and you stole my woman. Are you in fact Wall St. JOURNAL contributor Kevin Drum? Did it used to be Drumpf?

    Who has known his own engendering? Not Homer, apparently. He pointed out that nobody remembers, although we were all there. Cognition. Damned Cognition.


  5. Hope you don’t take offense, mein lieber, stacheliger Stakhanov, at comments made by me or others.

    I read your postings with interest. They give me some insight into my own feelings when, for example, I visit nearby Bad Godesberg, where I spent years of my youth, and see the swift changes that have turned a good part of this formerly charming city into a place of fear and intimidation and downright squalor. All with the blessing of the sanctimonious hypocrites—such as our Herr O.—who are looking for cheap labor, trolling for votes, trying to overcome Holocaust guilt, or entertaining the narcissistic notion that they, too, can play the part of an Oskar Schindler.

    As for bleak prognoses…. Let’s look at if from the Muslim migrant point of view. It‘s realistic to expect that the many people who dislike Muslims are not going to change their views either in the near or distant future. And so many Muslims settling in Germany are going to continue to be feared, scorned, ridiculed, belittled, and hated; and if we are the occasional targets of Muslim violence, so, too, will Muslims be at the hands of rightist radicals. Most of those hopeful young men following Merkel’s siren call to the promised land will not find a country of lucrative jobs and shiny motor vehicles and smiling blondes, but more likely an impoverished Hartz IV existence in dreary slab buildings, and they will know the shame and humiliation of stigmatization as the dregs of society. Now, this is actually an optimistic scenario, reflecting current conditions, but consider what will happen if current political fragmentation continues and the German economy flounders: expect further morbid manifestations of mob psychology and emotional demands for scapegoats, replacing any sort of reasoned and balanced political discourse.

    But cheer up. Maybe Houellebecq’s predictions will come true, and we beleaguered white Western males will finally come into our own, with cushy jobs funded by Saudis and not one but several alluring Houris awaiting us at home for our nocturnal pleasure.


  6. Yet another deliciously refreshing and pointless article…
    you couldn’t help yourself or could ya mmmmhh?

    Enjoy Trump



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