Morning Report: Inflation returning? 3/16/16

Markets are lower this morning after inflation comes in a little hotter than expected. Bonds and MBS are down.

The consumer price index fell 0.2% month-over month, but the core index, which excludes food and energy, rose 0.3% and is up 2.3% year-over-year. This makes the FOMC statement (and the press conference that follows) more significant this afternoon. Remember, the decision will be out at 2:00 pm EST, so expect some volatility in bonds around that time.

Bonds sold off on the CPI number and the more dramatic move was in the 2-year, not the 10-year. The 2 year yield increased 3 basis points on the news to .99%. Movements in the 2-year signify the market’s expectations about what the Fed is up to. The 10 year is more driven by longer-range economic forecasts. The 10 year was up, sold off on the news and is now flat on the day.

Housing starts rose to an annualized pace of 1.178 million in February and January was revised upward to 1.12 million. Building Permits fell however to 1.17million from 1.2 million. The drop in permits was driven by multi-family construction as single-fam remains slow and steady.

Mortgage Applications fell 3.3% as purchases rose 0.3% and refis fell 5.6%. Refis now constitute 55% of the total number of loans, down about 9 percentage points over the last month.

The strong dollar is still making life tough for manufacturers. Industrial production fell 0.5% month-over-month, while manufacturing production rose 0.2%. Capacity Utilization fell to 76.7%.

Marco Rubio is out after losing his home state of Florida to Donald Trump. John Kasich won Ohio, which keeps him in the race and makes him the de facto “Establishment Candidate. Ted Cruz is still in and he is probably going to split the Trump vote, while Kasich solidifies the establishment vote. Policy-wise, Kasich and Hillary are almost identical. Trump is warning that there will be riots if he has the delegates (or is close) and loses a contested convention. The convention is 4 months away. A lot can happen.

On the Democratic side, Hillary did well, so we can stick a fork in the #FeelTheBern hashtag.

92 Responses

  1. http://blog.dilbert.com/post/140995102361/the-trump-riots-that-are-mostly-my-fault

    and

    http://blog.dilbert.com/post/141090636816/donald-trump-con-man

    The evidence is that Trump completely ignores reality and rational thinking in favor of emotional appeal. Sure, much of what Trump says makes sense to his supporters, but I assure you that is coincidence. Trump says whatever gets him the result he wants. He understands humans as 90% irrational and acts accordingly.

    Rand Paul, on the other hand, treated voters as if they were intelligent creatures who make decisions based on the facts. His campaign didn’t last long with that message. Rand Paul knows about a lot of stuff. He’s a smart guy. But apparently psychology is not on the list of things he knows. And psychology is the only necessary skill for running for president.

    Like

    • Perfect:

      “The short explanation of my guilt is that although I support none of Trump’s policies (and no one else’s policies), my glowing reports about Trump’s persuasion skills makes me a “cheerleader” for Trump and an “apologist.” That’s what the public is telling me and I have no reason to doubt them. So I take full responsibility and I disavow myself.”

      Like

    • This article sums up my thoughts pretty well:

      http://thefederalist.com/2016/03/16/the-lesson-of-2016-people-are-the-worst/

      Whatever sparked the Trump movement, it now exhibits most of the irrational attributes of “The Crowd.” And this kind of boorish, herd mentality is human nature. Still, plenty of smart people continue spend a lot of time speculating about the movement’s deeper motivations. Rationalizing it. How many stories today, for example, will focus on the white hardscrabble working-class voter even after Trump ran away with the gray-haired retirees of Florida and the well-heeled homeowners of the Chicago suburbs?

      Boy, they really suffer down in Boca….

      …“The Crowd” has taken legitimate criticisms about the GOP and transformed them into jokes, convincing itself that elected Republicans — who are often uninspiring, clueless, and spineless, but have stopped countless Obama initiatives — do absolutely nothing and always surrender. They believe that Paul Ryan and Marco Rubio are liberals but Donald Trump is a conservative worth supporting. They’ve convinced themselves that the United States is in worse shape today than it’s ever been in. The men and women of the Great Depression or the 1970s or 9/11 probably disagree.

      These voters have heard about the violence, the illiberalism, and the attacks on the freedom of expression. They cheer it on. They justify it. They rationalize it. It’s not about some clause in TPP anymore. It’s a mob. If you support Trump — and I realize not every person who embraces him is paying close attention or fully understands what’s been going on — you’re an ideological opponent of limited government and liberal institutions. And as Le Bon put it, “the beginning of a revolution is in reality the end of a belief.” Which sounds about right.

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    • Adam’s in on fire. he’s got another one up today

      “Trump is well on his way to owning the identities of American, Alpha Males, and Women Who Like Alpha Males. Clinton is well on her way to owning the identities of angry women, beta males, immigrants, and disenfranchised minorities. If this were poker, which hand looks stronger to you for a national election?”

      http://blog.dilbert.com/post/141146589216/clinton-versus-trump

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      • Yes, he’s just become the best commentator of the Trump rise:

        “Prediction: I predicted on Twitter that Trump would solve his “third act problem” (of being an accused racist) by going to the high ground of love. He already says he loves his supporters, and he loves his family, and wounded veterans, and his country. But that won’t be enough. To solve for being an accused racist he would need to say he loves the groups that hate him. And he would have to say it often.

        Why would people believe Trump? Simple. Racists can’t say in public that they love the people they really hate. They can’t sell that kind of lie, so they would avoid the situation entirely. On some level you know that.

        So expect some love coming soon. That’s the ultimate high ground. You can’t mock it and you can’t top it.”

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    • He’s an ass. A gifted comic writer, but an ass.

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      • Based on a brief review of the feedback he’s received, it would seem most of his critics are just asses, without the “gifted comic writer” part. Or a great deal of self-awareness. So he’s getting the better end of that deal, I think. 😉

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      • Unless he’s right. He’s predicting Trump in a landslide, so we’ll know soon enough.

        Keep in mind that he doesn’t support Trump, but much like myself and NoVA, he finds the glib dismissals of Trump’s appeal to be both wrong and annoying.

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        • “he finds the glib dismissals of Trump’s appeal to be both wrong and annoying.”

          I am also in that camp. The amount of people who “optimistically” believe that what they don’t want to happen can’t possibly happen, despite the election and re-election of Dubya at the very least within their memory (not to mention the 2010 and 2014 midterms). Of course, these are the same folks who think that endless comparison of Trump with Hitler and his supporters with Nazis is a great campaign strategy. Hillary’s people, at least, will know better than that. I would think.

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      • why is Adam’s an ass?

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  2. If the Republicans end up with only a choice between Trump and Cruz at the convention, they have no one to blame but themselves:

    “In addition, a rule adopted at the 2012 convention — pushed by supporters of Mitt Romney to box out Ron Paul — requires that any candidate eligible for the nomination win the majority of delegates in eight states or territories. In 31 contests so far, Kasich’s only win came Tuesday night in Ohio — his home state — and it’s unlikely he’ll command majority support in seven of the remaining 20 contests.

    There’s a small chance Cruz could fail to meet the target as well. He’s only won majority support in four contests so far. Trump, with a dominant win in the Northern Mariana Islands early Tuesday, became the first candidate to cross the threshold.”

    http://www.politico.com/story/2016/03/trump-cruz-kasich-convention-220846?lo=ut_a1

    Fortunately the rule is working as intended and there’s no threat of Ron Paul disrupting Romney’s nomination this year.

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    • jnc:

      If the Republicans end up with only a choice between Trump and Cruz at the convention, they have no one to blame but themselves:

      I was under the impression that any rules that allowed someone other than the person who won the most delegates to get the nomination was, in your view, “BS”.

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      • Its nice to see those who were gaming the system to their benefit to have it bite them in the ass. I see this as akin to the MA Senate debacle when Kennedy died. Oh, the Gov. appoints someone. Did we say that, we meant snap election?

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      • Correct, but I’m not the Republican establishment whining about the lack of a way to stop Trump.

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        • jnc:

          Correct

          So do you support the rule, in that it makes the party less able to nominate someone who hasn’t won the most delegates?

          …but I’m not the Republican establishment whining about the lack of a way to stop Trump.

          Is there a difference between “whining” about a fact and lamenting that fact? For example, if I express frustration over the fact that Trump is likely to get the R nomination, am I “whining” about the lack of a way to stop him?

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        • The “correct” was to confirm that your statement on my position vis-a-vis the most delegates and “BS” was accurate.

          My point is the same as NoVA’s:

          It’s amusing to see that the party’s attempts to prevent extremist, non-electable candidates such as the libertarian leaning Ron Paul from having any chance against candidates like Romney in the convention backfire to now exclude the “mainstream” candidate Kasich and possibly even Cruz.

          My cynicism is such that I reject out of hand any argument that the RNC adopted these rules out of any higher purpose other than to exclude specific candidates that they found unacceptable and as such I find it ironic and humorous that their rules have now backfired on them.

          I suspect you find the situation far less humorous than I do, but I believe that my attachment to the Republican party as an institution is less than yours.

          Liked by 1 person

        • I wonder if Berlusconi can be fairly compared to Trump. Not as colorful as comparing Mussolini to him, but the fascist analogy is stupid and wrong, while the P.T. Barnum analogy works for me.

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        • jnc:

          The “correct” was to confirm that your statement on my position vis-a-vis the most delegates and “BS” was accurate.

          I know, and insofar as the rule tends to favor the person who has the most delegates (for example, Romney in 2012), I would imagine you would approve of the rule. I was just trying to confirm that.

          My cynicism is such that I reject out of hand any argument that the RNC adopted these rules out of any higher purpose other than to exclude specific candidates that they found unacceptable…

          That may be true, but if their cynicism is as complete as you seem to think, they will simply change the rule back this year when it doesn’t suit them. (That is what the Dems would do.)

          I suspect you find the situation far less humorous than I do, but I believe that my attachment to the Republican party as an institution is less than yours.

          That is surely true, although perhaps not for much longer. My disenchantment with the party, however, derives from the stupidity of its members, not the cynicism of its leadership.

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        • “I wonder if Berlusconi can be fairly compared to Trump. ”

          I’d say so, and a lot of foreign commentators (or those with foreign backgrounds) make the same analogy:

          “The Trump-Berlusconi Syndrome
          Roger Cohen
          MARCH 14, 2016”

          http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/15/opinion/the-trump-berlusconi-syndrome.html

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        • Thanx for link.

          Like

  3. Merrick Garland nominated to Supremes. CJ, DC Circuit. Has been a prosecutor – led the unabomber prosecution, I think. Has taught ant-trust.

    NMS. Valedictorian. Harvard SCL undergrad and MCL from Harvard Law. Walked away from major law firm partnership to serve as prosecutor in GHB’s Admin. Oversaw OKC bombing investigation.

    Has been universally [by lawyers on both sides of the docket] hailed as a fair and very smart judge.

    Good nominee, and as centrist as one can get from a D POTUS. Orrin Hatch has publicly stated [years ago] that Garland would be a unanimous SCt appointee.

    And there you have the wedge issue that will bring out many people on the right, and I think many on the left, as well.

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    • Republicans should cave on this and hold hearings. The nominee looks better than any that they would get from Clinton or Trump.

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      • don’t cave — declare victory. Hatch endorsed the guy awhile back. say ‘our hard line forced his hand” and we didn’t get an true obama pick. and confirm him before the left goes nuts.

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      • @ JNC: that would be a good plan for Rs, unless they think they will get Cruz nominated and elected. Garland will have an army of supporters across the spectrum the way Roberts did – the profession loves him like they did Roberts. W/o Cruz, this is the best Rs can get by any measure available. Hatch boosted him as recently as 2010.
        And the Rs kill a potential issue that could cut both ways.

        Roberts served with him on the DC Circuit. He is not seen as an ideologue, and he is pretty conservative on law and order issues – the legacy of being an ex-prosecutor.

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    • And you wondered why I said he’s conservative.

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      • He’s not. I’d say he’s probably close to Souter/Breyer.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Not on his record. His record is conservative.

          Color me unimpressed.

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        • ” His record is conservative.”
          that just means he’s a good judge and not a super-legislator .

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        • nova:

          that just means he’s a good judge and not a super-legislator .

          Hard to believe Obama would nominate such a person. In the absence of any personal knowledge about the guy, I would tend to believe that jnc’s description is more likely, ie another Souter/Breyer. Which, while maybe not quite as bad as another RBG or Wise Latina, it’s close enough for government work. When it comes to contentious, political cases, Souter and Breyer reliably voted to advance the liberal agenda. Odds are that this guy would too.

          From my point of view, again in the absence of any direct, personal knowledge, anyone nominated by Obama is tainted by the very fact that Obama picked him.

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        • “Not on his record. His record is conservative.”

          What’s conservative about his record? From Wikipedia:

          “Garland has been described by Nina Totenberg and Carrie Johnson of NPR as “a moderate liberal, with a definite pro-prosecution bent in criminal cases.”

          “he New York Times said he “is often described as brilliant”[25] and wrote that “If Judge Garland is confirmed, he could tip the ideological balance to create the most liberal Supreme Court in 50 years.”

          “According to a measure of judicial ideology developed by four political scientists and considered a “reasonably good predictor of voting on the Supreme Court,” Garland is close to Justice Elena Kagan.”

          “In a number of split decisions on environmental law in the D.C. Circuit, Judge Garland has “favored contested EPA regulations and actions when challenged by industry, and in other cases he has accepted challenges brought by environmental groups.””

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merrick_Garland

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        • No it’s not based on his record. Based on his record, he’s moderate to liberal.

          Do you consider Obama himself to be a conservative?

          Also, liberals have never been disappointed about one of their own SCOTUS appointments going the wrong way on a split decision case or shifting to the right over time once they are on the court. I don’t see any reason to expect that this nomination will result any differently. The liberal block is the most ideological lock step one on high profile cases.

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        • jnc:

          I don’t see any reason to expect that this nomination will result any differently.

          I am with you.

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        • Yeah, Scott you basically corked me above.

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        • i’m teasing michi. as RWings, it seems our best wins are reduced to “don’t totally suck”

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        • NRA says his record on 2A is suspect

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        • Brent:

          NRA says his record on 2A is suspect

          I look at it this way: If his record says he is a liberal, then he shouldn’t be confirmed. If his record says he is a moderate, then he is a stealth liberal and therefore shouldn’t be confirmed.

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        • well, the default is is sucks because obama nominated him. QED.

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      • And you wondered why I said he’s conservative.

        HUH?

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    • I’m not saying he isn’t highly qualified. I’m saying he’s no Thurgood Marshall. I strongly suspect he isn’t even a Sandra Day O’Connor. Conservatives should be thrilled with this nomination. I’m not.

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      • So? There’s a lot of ground between Thurgood Marshall and “conservative”.

        There’s no reason conservatives should be thrilled with this nomination, but it may well be the best of bad choices. Certainly he’s not going to be a Scalia either.

        I challenge you to name a single Democratic SCOTUS appointment since LBJ that has turned out to be more “conservative” than anticipated and who has voted unexpectedly with the “conservative” block in high profile cases. The list of Republican appointments who turned out to be closet liberals is long and ignominious.

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        • jnc:

          There’s no reason conservatives should be thrilled with this nomination, but it may well be the best of bad choices.

          I think that the chances that Cruz can come back and win both the nomination and the election, or that Trump will both beat HRC and manage to nominate a non-liberal to the court, regardless of how small the chances of either of those outcomes are, must be higher than the the chances that an Obama nominated Justice won’t end up being just another lockstep liberal. Hence the R’s must block the nomination and hope for the best in the election.

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      • I didn’t even know he was Jewish until you brought it up. He’s a conservative. Be happy.

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        • No, he’s not. It will be immediately obvious with his voting record, should he be confirmed.

          His most admired Justice is Brennan, for whom he clerked.

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        • jnc:

          His most admired Justice is Brennan, for whom he clerked.

          That in itself makes him unqualified to be a Justice, under any reasonable understanding of conservative jurisprudence.

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        • BTW, why can’t the Senate simply go through the motions, but just slow-track the process, such that his nomination won’t be considered until sometime in November at the earliest, at which point the election will be over, and the R senate can make a more informed determination about whether or not they can expect to get a better nominee from the next president. If they think he’s the best they can hope for, then fast-track him through at that point.

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        • That makes sense to me. Whether or not they have that much sense remains to be seen.

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        • Because the Republicans aren’t confident enough in their ability to hold their caucus together during the hearings to actually execute anything more sophisticated than a blanket refusal.

          It’s a sign of weakness.

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        • jnc:

          It’s a sign of weakness.

          Yeah, that sounds right. And is typical.

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      • Unless he’s a reliable vote to overturn Wickard v Filburn, he’s unacceptable.

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  4. Thought this was interesting. The Federalist, which has been very anti-Trump, apparently has a call-in number where people can leave messages about their articles or their website. Yesterday in the Federalist Radio Hour podcast, they played what they said was one of many typical messages they received from Trump supporter. Who knows how “typical” it really is (my guess is that it is pretty typical), but I thought it was worth listening to.

    Go to the 3:45 mark.

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    • I listened to a couple of Federalist Radio Hour shows when Alexandra Petri was on promoting her book and/or talking about Star Wars. I haven’t had the courage to try any of the pure political episodes.

      Ben Domenech has a pretty good radio voice which I would have never guessed. He seems to have survived his firing from the Washington Post for plagiarism. That opening eventually lead to the hiring of Jennifer Rubin, for good or ill.

      That caller was completely unhinged. At least my parents, the Trump-supporting Birthers, are more coherent than her.

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      • yello:

        Ben Domenech has a pretty good radio voice which I would have never guessed.

        I think he is pretty good, but he has one verbal tic that gets on my nerves. He constantly prefaces further explanations of what he just said with the phrase “…in the sense that….” He uses that phrase probably 10 or 15 times in a 45 minute broadcast.

        That caller was completely unhinged.

        Yes, she was.

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  5. Like

  6. Apparently “illegal alien”, “people who want free stuff”, “entitlement mentality”, “makers and takers” are now racist dogwhistles to the left…

    Truth hurts and there is no good comeback that is working, so time to make it a race issue, I guess… The left is so predictable..

    http://petitions.moveon.org/sign/progressives-call-out?source=c.em.cp&r_by=8409220

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  7. Count me in.

    Let’s Resurrect the Federalist Party

    Unfortunately it is bound to fail. The sad truth is that there just aren’t enough voters who both understand the importance of and care about the process of government. The don’t grasp or care about the relationship between the abstraction of political philosophy and the reality of a prosperous and free society. They only care about immediate results, not methodology in achieving their desired results.

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    • I am convinced that 90% of the population has virtually no civics education or even anecdotal experience. I may have mentioned my conversation with millennial recently regarding the elections. The minorities in the groups (second generation birthright citizens of legal immigrants, btw) convinced that if Donald Trump was elected their families would be deported. I tried to explain that’s now how it works, either constitutionally in regards to citizenship, or anything the president can just do because he is president. There is no civics education to speak of, little understanding of the branches of government, I know nobody on Plumline (except those who are also here) understand basic civics, otherwise there wouldn’t be the constant conversation of the correlation of “good economies” and Democratic presidents, nor are their expectations of what a “good” or “bad” president can do realistic, except perhaps in appointing SCOTUS judges (as, indeed, the SCOTUS has more power than the president—perhaps more than the other branches of government combined). Whether it be Trump supporters, Bernie supporters Hillary fans or Tea Party Patriots, there seems to be little understanding about how government works, much less any consensus or rational consideration as to what the role of government should be. It’s emotional and tribal and the results desired are mostly about the government conforming to their concept of virtue, not an actually accomplishment of something like ending poverty or improving the lot of the middle class.

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      • KW:

        The minorities in the groups (second generation birthright citizens of legal immigrants, btw) convinced that if Donald Trump was elected their families would be deported.

        Perhaps they assume that if Obama can simply ignore the law in order to allow people into the country, a different president can simply ignore the law in order to make people leave. It’s not entirely an off-the-wall assumption.

        The lesson the left has taught us is that the power of the president is ultimately limited not by anything that is in the constitution or the law, but only by the political will of congress and SCOTUS to stop him.

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      • I’m pretty sure it’s no worse or better than any other generation. The percentage of people that even have a rudimentary understanding of any given complicated system is pretty low, especially young people.

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      • In our local school system at the elementary school level nearly an entire year is spent on government and civics. Kids are taught the entire How A Bill Becomes A Law process including the role of the President and the Supreme Court.

        It culminates in a Government Day where the kids do a full day model legislature where they debate and vote on a bill that they have written. Each school brings in parents and local elected officials to witness and judge the performances. Just this day is several weeks of classroom preparation.

        If adults are not understanding the political process it is not because my particular local public schools aren’t teaching it.

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        • yello:

          It culminates in a Government Day where the kids do a full day model legislature where they debate and vote on a bill that they have written.

          Do they also appoint certain select kids to a model super-legislature, having them review the bill after it gets passed and, depending upon whether or not it is to their liking, veto it? You know, like SCOTUS.

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        • Do you mean “Do they have the Supreme Court pick the president if there is some dispute?” the answer is I don’t think so. The goal is to teach kids how the system is supposed to work. They have their whole lives to become cynical over it.

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        • Not a bad example, as if there is a dispute it should be congress, ultimately, who picks the president (if I recall correctly: my own civics knowledge or memory is not infallible; trying to recall if there is a 2/3rd majority involved there. I could Google it, but . . . )

          In the case of 2000, it should have been the Florida legislature that decided to award the electoral votes in accordance with the Florida constitution. In any case, it would have gone to Bush, but the Supreme Court just couldn’t resist getting involved. Because they are the most powerful people in the land and all that.

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        • KW:

          but the Supreme Court just couldn’t resist getting involved.

          That’s a fairly glib and inaccurate characterization. It is not as though SCOTUS inserted itself into the process out of the clear blue, just because it could. The case was brought to them because it involved constitutional issues, and that is where constitutional questions go to be decided. And in fact the primary issue under dispute, whether there was an equal protection clause violation, produced a 7-2 majority – which included the usually lockstep liberals Breyer and Souter – saying that in fact such a violation had occurred.

          Given that, is it your thinking that the Supremes should have dis-involved itself despite the existence of an equal protection clause violation, and simply refused to hear the case?

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        • Yes, I think they should have refused to hear the case. Or, having heard it, nullified the lower court decision and thrown it back to the Florida State Legislature.

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        • KW:

          Yes, I think they should have refused to hear the case.

          Because you think there was no violation of the equal protection clause, or you think they should have refused to hear it despite the violation of the equal protection clause?

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        • Because the SCOTUS doesn’t hear every case brought to it, and this is a case that put them in the role of, effectively, selecting the president in a contested election. At the very least, it was premature, and it would have been better to refuse to hear the case on an election recount that was ongoing and instead hear any challenge to the ultimate results. Which it could have. Ultimately, in such a contest, the Florida State Legislature should have picked the electors:

          “Florida Senate President John McKay and House Speaker Tom Feeney, both Republicans, announce a special session of the Florida Legislature that will convene on December 8 to consider designating its own slate of electors should the results of the Florida vote remain tied up in the courts (see 11:45 a.m. November 30, 2000). The last time a legislature chose electors was 1876. House Democratic Minority Leader Lois Frankel says that “it is just plain wrong for the Florida Legislature to elect the next president of the United States.””

          Lois Frankel’s opinion, however, is not in agreement with mine. If legally challenged, then that case should have gone to the SCOTUS. IMO, which is irrelevant, as that’s not what happened.

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        • Once the FL Supremes decertified the count and ordered a recount it had to be completed and recertified by December 13. When it was not, it should have gone to the US HoR for the POTUS vote and the Senate for the VP vote.

          No new nominees could have been offered for either office. A possible Bush-Lieberman regime would have emerged as the Rs had the HoR and the Ds had the Senate. Horse trading of some sort would have been possible, but the point is the Constitution provides for this remedy when there is no certified majority of electors so that the Supremes should not have been involved.

          They probably only changed the result by electing Cheney.

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        • What no one seems to remember in the fog of war was that the closeness gave rise to a state right to a recount, permitting the temporary decertification, but the likelihood of completing the recount in time was nil.

          An equal protection suit in the context of the time limit would have been moot, so never should have been entertained.

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        • Mark:

          An equal protection suit in the context of the time limit would have been moot…

          Your assumption is that the Florida Supreme ordered recount could not have been finished in time, but I don’t think that is a good assumption. The main reason that the recount could not be finished by Dec 13 was because SCOTUS had ordered the recount stopped on Dec 8, an order that was the direct result of its decision to hear the case and the likelihood of its success. So to the extent that the equal protection suit became moot, its mootness was an indirect result of SCOTUS taking up the case in the first place.

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        • Point being that the fed court system had no business in the case, recounts being a matter of the jurisdiction holding them.

          Scott, I really do not think a statewide recount could have been finished, no matter what. The Fed intervention in the case just muddied it terribly. what is so weird is that there was precedent for the whole SNAFU. FL, election of 1876.

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        • Mark:

          Point being that the fed court system had no business in the case, recounts being a matter of the jurisdiction holding them.

          This is just another way of saying that there was no equal protection issue, and so the Supremes were wrong as a matter of law, which is fine, but is different than what you said earlier, i.e. that the equal protection issue was moot. And I would point out that of the 16 judges that ruled in some way on the case (9 US Supremes and 7 FA Supremes), 10 of them asserted that there was indeed an equal protection issue (7 US Supremes and 3 FA Supremes. Of the 10, 4 were Democratic appointees and 1 was Souter. So there was a pretty wide bi-partisan agreement that an equal protection violation had occurred.

          Personally I think SCOTUS’s 5-4 ruling on the remedy was more questionable than the 7-2 ruling on the equal protection violation. Instead of unilaterally ruling that no constitutionally acceptable recount could occur before Dec 12, the court could have and probably should have left it up to Florida to determine that for itself.

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        • And finally, just for fun….aren’t voting machines manufactured in places other than Florida? If so, wouldn’t that make anything relating to voting machines a federal issue under the commerce clause?

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        • The equal protection issue required full development of facts and a trial and an appeal. It could have remained a live case and controversy in terms of eventually obtaining a final judgment that either ordered or did not order FL to do something about future federal elections in the state.

          It simply could not be conflated with the recount issue that is understood to be part of election law even in a time crunch. The 7 Justices somehow reached a peremptory conclusion on EQ Pro without a full trial record, for the only time in history, which is why the case was ordered never to be cited in the federal court system.

          At this point I do not recall why I was once certain that the FL Lege had no role to play.

          And as I replied to KW I could be completely mistaken on that. If the Supremes had denied jurisdiction GWB would have won, so they did not change anything, except set themselves up for criticism as a political court, by everyone.

          Having participated in manual recounts where the vote was within 1/10th of 1%, I can tell you that we could never get the same count twice on 63,000 votes. Human error is greater than that. I think it is fair to say as a practical matter that a recount in the 2000 FL election would have been no guarantee of a correct outcome, mathematically.

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        • Mark:

          …so they did not change anything, except set themselves up for criticism as a political court, by everyone.

          That particular horse left the barn a long time before 2000. It was only a big deal in that respect because, for once, it wasn’t the left orchestrating the political result.

          I think it is fair to say as a practical matter that a recount in the 2000 FL election would have been no guarantee of a correct outcome, mathematically.

          I’ve always thought that, for all intents and purposes, it was a tie, and so the losing side, however it was determined, was always going to feel aggrieved, justifiably to some extent.

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        • Give your lawyerly credentials, I defer to your wisdom, but I thought the Florida constitution provided for a solution when electors could not be determined: the Florida state legislature selected the electors. That was not in effect because of … something? I understand that particularly remedy had only happened once before, in 1826, but I thought that was where it would go. If the legislature could not or would not select electors then it would to the HoR. Or am I mistaken?

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        • I had not ever read that Kev, but it certainly could be true. If that were true, it provided another reason for federal court abstinence from the case. The FL Supremes approved lower court ordered recount, if it were clearly not going to be finished on Dec 13, should have led then to an emergency session of the FL Lege on the 13th.

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        • Mark:

          The FL Supremes approved lower court ordered recount, if it were clearly not going to be finished on Dec 13, should have led then to an emergency session of the FL Lege on the 13th.

          I believe the Florida Supremes extended the recount process by overturning a lower court’s ruling in Bush’s favor, not upholding one in Gore’s favor.

          Also, as I mentioned to Kevin below, I am pretty sure that, had the legislature stepped in to appoint its own slate of electors, it wouldn’t have resolved the legal issue but instead would have created yet another one. The vote had already been certified, so the only thing holding up the appointment of electors was the Florida court’s insistence that amended returns could still be considered beyond all the statutory deadlines imposed by Florida law. If at any point the Florida court decided that a deadline was, in fact, a deadline, the electors could have been appointed in the normal way. So I think if the legislature took it upon itself to appoint electors, it could only be because the FA Court didn’t accept the deadline of Dec 12 and it would have to have turned into a legal fight between the lege and the FA Supremes. And presumably that would have had to have been resolved by SCOTUS.

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        • KW:

          I thought the Florida constitution provided for a solution when electors could not be determined: the Florida state legislature selected the electors. That was not in effect because of … something?

          I believe you are correct, but the problem wasn’t that electors could not be determined (the vote had actually been certified) but that the Florida Supremes repeatedly extended the various statutory deadlines for amended returns so that Gore could continue to mine for extra votes. Had the legislature simply stepped in to assign electors, that itself would have become the subject of more litigation in the Florida courts, and they almost certainly would have run into the same federal deadline, Dec 12, which they ran into anyway. If, at that point, there was an on-going legal dispute over which were the proper electors, i.e. those selected by the legislature or those selected by the extended amended returns process, then I think Mark’s process would have taken over.

          BTW, I find the whole “selected, not elected” framing to be purely partisan BS. The entire legal dispute revolved around 1) what constituted a legal vote and 2) the time frame within which one could continue to mine for votes. If one sincerely believes that, in taking it upon itself to resolve those two issues, SCOTUS “selected” the president, then one should also believe that, had they not resolved those issues, the president would have been “selected” by the Florida Supremes, because the issues would have ultimately been resolved by them instead. In other words, if one accepts the whole “selected” framing, then it was inevitable that the president was going to be “selected” by one court or another.

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        • KW/Mark:

          I just read a timeline of events from 2000, and the Florida legislature, in a special session on Dec 12, did in fact vote to appoint Florida’s 25 electors to Bush. So even if SCOTUS had not ruled as it did, Florida’s electors would have been appointed in time, and would have gone to Bush. Unless, of course, there was a legal challenge to the legislature’s action.

          http://uselectionatlas.org/INFORMATION/ARTICLES/pe2000timeline.php

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        • Either not enough schools teach it, or people are quick to forget when it comes time to get swept up in the tribal nature of it all. By all evidence, even the presidential candidates don’t understand what a president does or how stuff becomes law. Even the one’s who come from the congress!

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