Morning Report: Payrolls disappoint 1/5/17

Vital Statistics:

Last Change
S&P Futures 2732.8 9.0
Eurostoxx Index 396.3 2.6
Oil (WTI) 61.3 -0.7
US dollar index 85.6 0.0
10 Year Govt Bond Yield 2.44%
Current Coupon Fannie Mae TBA 102.375
Current Coupon Ginnie Mae TBA 103.25
30 Year Fixed Rate Mortgage 3.91

Stocks are up despite surprisingly weak nonfarm payroll number. Bonds and MBS are up.

Jobs report data dump:

  • Nonfarm payrolls up 148,000 vs 191,000 expected
  • Unemployment rate 4.1%, in line with expectations
  • Labor force participation rate 62.7% in line with expectations
  • Average hourly earnings up 0/3% MOM / 2.5% YOY in line with expectations

The NFP number was a surprise given that the ADP was over 100,000 higher. I suspect the NFP number will get revised upward in coming months given all of the other data we have been seeing. Wage growth remains slightly above inflation, and the labor force participation rate is still well below what would be considered a healthy job market. The employment-population ratio, which is one of the preferred metrics for the Fed was 60.1%, unchanged MOM, but up 0.3% YOY.  While some of the drop in the EP ratio is demographics-driven, it shows we still have a long way to go to recover from the Great Recession and return to the last great labor market, which was the 90s.

Chart: Employment to population ratio:

employment to population ratio

Bill McBride of Calculated Risk summarizes the housing market forecasts for 2018:

2018 housing summary

In other words, not much of a change from last year. FWIW, I think either the total housing starts or the house price inflation numbers are too low. There is so much pent-up demand for housing that starts around 1.3 million are not going to come close to satisfying it, which would imply much faster home price appreciation (especially if inflation and wages rise). On the other hand, given the increases in input prices (labor, framing lumber, etc), if prices are only rising in the mid single digits, margins for builders are going to fall, which means they will have to compensate by increasing volume. This would make the housing starts estimates too low. Remember, historically (even ignoring the bubble / bust years) housing starts have averaged 1.5 million per year, and have typically hit 2 million per year coming out of recessions.

NAR weighed in the jobs report: “The job market continues to improve, but at a decelerating pace. The year 2017 ended with 2.1 million net new job additions, a very solid rate. However, the gains had been 2.6 million, 2.9 million, and 2.5 million in the three preceding years. More jobs and more income for households definitely attest to the rising housing demand.

As to the supply of homes, construction workers are needed. In 2017, a net 190,000 new workers were employed in the construction industry, and that also marks a decelerating trend, as the prior three years averaged 284,000 annual additions. With the unemployment rate in the construction industry having fallen from over 20% in 2010 to 5.9% at the year-end of 2017, there could be a little growth to home construction despite the on-going housing shortage. There needs to be serious consideration in allowing temporary work visas until American trade schools can adequately crank out much needed, domestic skilled construction workers.”

As home prices get more expensive, people tend to turn to adjustable rate mortgages in order to lower their monthly payment, at least initially. For the past few years, the spread (or the yield pickup) has been shrinking. The current difference between the two is the lowest since 2009:

fixed vs variable spread

In fact, the Wall Street Journal’s numbers show that the 30 year fixed rate mortgage is currently 3.92% and the 5/1 ARM is 4.07%. When ARMs are higher than a 30 year fixed rate mortgage, it makes no sense to go for an adjustable, unless you think long term rates are headed way lower. In this current economic environment, with an accelerating economy and a Fed raising rates, that is a long shot bet.

77 Responses

  1. Can lobbying be automated? Do androids make contributions in bitcoin?

    https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/01/05/washington-automation-congress-politics-lobbying-policy-216216

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  2. Gruden 10 years / 100 MM to Oakland… YGBFKM…

    Like

  3. Like

  4. https://news.vice.com/en_us/article/bjyd74/the-right-wing-street-artist-trying-to-troll-hollywood

    Note if you google the term “left-wing street artist” you get only one result, and it isn’t from a news story… Says everything you would want to know about the media….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thought the muzzies were going to shit themselves and blow-up the world?

    I credit Obama’s weird desire to empower the Iranian mullah’s.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I can’t begin to fathom how the D party approaches the Middle East these days… I guess it is a combination of Israel and who stands where on the victimhood totem pole, but I got nothin…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Very revealing.

    History didn’t start yesterday. All R POTUS’S are stupid and insane, all D POTUS’S are unrepentant Socialists.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The one problem with that is that TR was very much a progressive.

      Take a look at the 1904 Democratic party platform:

      http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=29588

      Large reductions can easily be made in the annual expenditures of the Government without impairing the efficiency of any branch of the public service, and we shall insist upon the strictest economy and frugality compatible with vigorous and efficient civil, military and naval administration as a right of the people, too clear to be denied or withheld.

      I cannot imagine similar language from any Democrat today, and precious few Republicans.

      We favor the nomination and election of a President imbued with the principles of the Constitution, who will set his face sternly against executive usurpation of legislative and judicial functions, whether that usurpation be veiled under the guise of executive construction of existing laws, or whether it take refuge in the tyrant’s plea of necessity or superior wisdom.

      They couldn’t have nominated Obama if that had been part of their 2008 platform.

      The Democratic party has been, and will continue to be, the consistent opponent of that class of tariff legislation by which certain interests have been permitted, through Congressional favor, to draw a heavy tribute from the American people.

      We deny the right of any executive to disregard or suspend any constitutional privilege or limitation. Obedience to the laws and respect for their requirements are alike the supreme duty of the citizen and the official.

      The Democracy when entrusted with power will construct the Panama Canal speedily, honestly and economically, thereby giving to our people what Democrats have always contended for—a great inter-oceanic canal, furnishing shorter and cheaper lines of transportation, and broader and less trammeled trade relations with the other peoples of the world.

      We favor the admission of the Territory of Oklahoma and the Indian Territory. We also favor the immediate admission of Arizona and New Mexico, as separate States, and territorial governments for Alaska and Porto Rico.

      The Democrats never talk about admitting the Territory of Oklahoma anymore!

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  7. Can you say “gentrification?” Bed Stuy and Washington Heights are hip yuppie neighborhoods now…

    Liked by 1 person

    • This guy won a Nobel prize. I think it must be dementia, as one could really argue (with data) that being culturally liberal, racially diverse, and even the presence of illegal immigrants, can be factors in crime rates but are hardly determining factors. The illegal immigrants in question might be one: violators of H1B Visa expirations are different from Mexican immigrants which are different from Muslim immigrants and so on. Racial diversity is fine, except in cases where identitarians get to make a good living with the constant stoking of racial animosity. Also, the relative richness of an area can greatly impact crime, from things like gentrification to the affordability of private security to how much is being spent on the police and what their rules of engagement are. Etc., etc. No, the determining factor on crime is racially diversity of undocumented immigrants.

      In essence, Krugman is kind of agreeing with Trump, from the other direction.

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    • Also, is he trying to say NYC wasn’t racially diverse or culturally liberal in the 1980s and 1990s? Really?

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  8. Like

    • America elects presidents that correct the weaknesses of the predecessor.. Oprah merely carries on Trump’s weaknesses. Which is partly why I think Hillary lost – too much of an obama clone.

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      • Bah. Hillary lost because of her frickin’ campaign, and her baggage, but mostly her campaign. Skip Wisconsin? Basket of Deplorables? “I’m With Her” vs. “Make America Great Again”? Directing the campaign primarily at women and minorities at the expense of anybody who doesn’t center their lives around identity politics? Had Bill Clinton right there, and ignored his advice, despite his having won the presidency twice.

        Also, seeming kind of ill didn’t help. Also, she focused a little too much on Trump. She should have been focusing her time, when she could, on what she was going to give people and how she was going to pretend to stick it to Wall Street.

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        • obama lived and died by identity poltics. hillary ran on her estrogen… more of the same.

          trump couldn’t care less about PC niceties and was willing to actually utter the words Islamic terrorism…

          Liked by 1 person

        • Yah. And Obama won. Twice.

          Obama ran on Hope & Change. Trump on Make America Great Again. Hillary on “I’m With The Old Lady”.

          Her campaign was awful. Trump picked up a lot of last-minute-deciders because he was different, not PS, willing to mention Islamic Terrorism, etc. But the Dem still could have won against Trump with a halfway decent campaign.

          Of course, if you can’t run a halfway competent campaign and don’t listen to your own husband despite his two presidential wins . . . what kind of president would you be? Worse than Trump, is my guess.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Incumbents usually win, but here is what i mean:

          Carter reversed Nixon’s dishonesty
          Reagan reversed Carter’s weakness
          GHWB reversed Reagan’s lack of policy chops
          Clinton reversed GHWB’s blandness
          GWB reversed Clinton’s hound dogged-ness
          Obama reversed GWB’s cluelessness / lack of compassion
          Trump reversed Obama’s focus on identity poltics.
          Whoever beats Trump will probably be someone who is predictable and calming (another Coolidge type)

          Liked by 1 person

        • That’s an interesting observation.I like that. Gonna keep my eyes open for it and see if whoever beats Trump or wins next time is a Trump-reversal. I’m guessing you will be right.

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        • HRC’s campaign was remarkable in its disconnect. WJC, Biden, and BHO all “suggested” she take a different course and do grass roots campaigning on bread and butter issues. It is possible that she and her handlers rejected that advice as “male”.

          I think HRC’s campaign thought it could buy enough TV time to cover for the lack of grass roots campaigning, but against a nominee who got more free press than ALL of his opponents summed together that was a ridiculous choice.

          I completely agree with KW on this one. I think that BHO avoided identity politics at least as much as he played it – think Jesse Jackson for comparison. In fact, Brent, I like your swing analysis, but I think in the DJT case it was a swing toward identity politics, which DJT plays to persistently.

          I would characterize BHO as maintaining a “we are all America” view, DJT as maintaining a “we must revive America” view, and HRC as maintaining a “we are not going to be victims any more” view. Well, that third message is a loser.

          Nevertheless, she got more popular votes than DJT, which indicates that properly campaigned she could have won. These were, after all, the two most disliked nominees running against each other that we have ever seen in our lifetimes.

          .

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        • Mark,

          Do you think the free press was positive or negative in nature?

          In what way was Trump a swing towards identity politics?

          Thanks.

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        • Do you think the free press was positive or negative in nature?

          I would always take a free press over the alternative.

          Or did you mean something else? If I were making up my own question, it would be along the lines of “Do I think the free press handled the campaign news responsibly?” Then my answer would be “Barely.”

          In what way was Trump a swing towards identity politics?

          Trump’s campaign caught fire with his “Mexicans/rapists” speech. The whole “Wall” thing and depictions of Mexicans and Muslims in toto as stereotypical enemies of the people was the first of it. He hammered on his being the champion of embattled white working people who were having their livelihoods threatened by brown skinned folks. Do I have to quote his campaign speeches or his tweets? We all know that undocs and Jihadists are problems. But Trump blew them both into bogeymen.

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        • I would always take a free press over the alternative.

          Would Roy Moore, Anthony Weiner and John Edwards agree? Or Al Franken?

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        • In the abstract, but not in their particular cases, like most people.

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        • Or did you mean something else? If I were making up my own question, it would be along the lines of “Do I think the free press handled the campaign news responsibly?” Then my answer would be “Barely.”

          Can you name a time when free press handled campaign news better?

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        • It’s never been perfect. It used to be a little more rational, back when there as only Pravda 1, 2, and 3 to choose from. Now that there are thousands of sources, competition for eyeballs makes it more crazy. We traded one problem for another.

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        • Trump’s campaign caught fire with his “Mexicans/rapists” speech. The whole “Wall” thing and depictions of Mexicans and Muslims in toto as stereotypical enemies of the people was the first of it. He hammered on his being the champion of embattled white working people who were having their livelihoods threatened by brown skinned folks. Do I have to quote his campaign speeches or his tweets? We all know that undocs and Jihadists are problems. But Trump blew them both into bogeymen.

          How did Trump do with racial groups versus, say, Romney/12 or McCain/08?

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        • I don’t have the numbers and I’m not going to research now, but wasn’t he fairly similar? Lower with Hispanics.

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        • Trump garnered 8% of the AA vote versus Romney’s 6%. Trump received 29% of the Hispanic vote versus Romney’s 27%. McCain received 3% of AA vote and 30% of Latino votes in ‘08.

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        • “Trump’s campaign caught fire with his “Mexicans/rapists” speech.”

          In part because Democrats came out and immediately said Trump called all Mexicans rapists. Making them look like venal idiots to anyone not presently a fellow traveler and True Believer. There was definitely an appeal to nationalist identity politics with talking about illegal immigrant crime, but it was also a manipulation of the media and the Democrats. They still think saying somebody said something more or different than what they actually said works in the modern era, and that mistake costs them every time.

          “He hammered on his being the champion of embattled white working people who were having their livelihoods threatened by brown skinned folks. ”

          There was obviously an appeal to white people (it would be stupid not to), but there was a bigger appeal to people who identify as American first-and-foremost. Ergo, “Make America Great Again”: I identify with your identity as an American, which is very broad, compared to “I’m With Her”, which is “I identify with your identity as a woman or more specifically Hillary Clinton”. He cleverly (intuitively or intentionally, doesn’t really matter) constructed a media narrative where his bad guys were illegal immigrants and terrorists and Hillary was saying the bad guys were him and his supporters. That’s the problem when you pit a more expansive identity politics against a more narrow, balkanized identity politics. The broader net will, more often than not, bring in more people.

          I think the problem the Democrats have in this scenario (which, I’m pretty sure, is likely to depart with Trump, when that time comes) is that they believe they are the big-tent, expansive party, but they favor illegal immigrants (who can’t vote outside of California) and feminists and Muslims and other narrow identity groups over broader identity groups, such as people who consider themselves patriots, or Traditional Americans, or Christians, etc. In both cases I don’t think the identity politics thing is healthy or particularly productive, but in the narrow category of what will win the next and future elections, it’s actually the Democrats who have to broaden their appeal.

          If they win fairly big in 2018, or–even worse–beat Trump in 2020, my guess is they will learn a bad lesson from it and try the same tactics and lose big in the 2022 midterms.

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        • Mark:

          Brent, I like your swing analysis, but I think in the DJT case it was a swing toward identity politics…

          I can see how one might see Trump as introducing a new, ie white, identity politics. But it is hard to see how 8 years of Obama could be reasonably seen as anything other than the very height of identity politics in America. Indeed it seems to me that the rise of white identity politics is very much a reaction against the predominance of the identity politics that have characterized so much of what Obama did. From his elevation of the Wise Latina to SCOTUS, to his use of Title IX to impose a radical transgender agenda on the nation, to his refusal to enforce immigration laws, to his demagoguery about same-sex marriage, to his embrace of the “hands up” myth in Ferguson, to his “war on women” rhetoric, it seems to me that identity politics has infused almost everything about Obama’s tenure in office. (Which isn’t surprising….identity politics is pretty much foundational to the progressive left.)

          Nevertheless, she got more popular votes than DJT, which indicates that properly campaigned she could have won.

          I don’t see how it indicates that. Her entire popular vote differential was covered by a single, extremely progressive state, California.

          As with any close vote, some kind of change in campaigning could easily be the difference between winning and losing, so I certainly agree with you that had HRC campaigned differently, she might have won. But I think that is indicated by the closeness of the vote in certain key swing states, not a function of her “win” in the meaningless popular vote. In fact, I think her chances of winning would have been greater had she “won” the popular vote by less, because I think she needed to spend less time in California trying to get more meaningless votes to add to her popular vote tally and more time in swing states to add to the more relevant electoral vote tally.

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        • Was HRC phsysically capable of adding PA, WI and MI to her campaign schedule? As I recall, the last month of the campaign Trump was doing three stops a day (and 5/day the last week) whereas HRC was doing 1 event/day and sometimes 1 every other day.

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        • McWing;

          Was HRC phsysically capable of adding PA, WI and MI to her campaign schedule?

          I have no idea. It is entirely possible that she wasn't physically capable of doing what she needed to do to win. But it seems plausible that a change in the way she campaigned could have gotten her over the top.

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        • Scott, it seems plausible that she could have won entirely because the vote was close, which was my point. Doesn’t matter that CA was her pop vote margin in that regard – if she had lost the pop vote substantially like Mondale or Goldwater then we would not speculate that she could have won IF.

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        • Mark:

          Scott, it seems plausible that she could have won entirely because the vote was close

          I agree.

          if she had lost the pop vote substantially like Mondale or Goldwater then we would not speculate that she could have won IF.

          Agreed, but such shellacking would have produced an electoral college landslide as well. To me the “what if” game makes sense only when a swing of one or two tight states would flip the result, regardless of what the popular vote might have been.

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        • But it is hard to see how 8 years of Obama could be reasonably seen as anything other than the very height of identity politics in America.

          Moreso than Trump, particularly? Doesn’t seem like it, to me. The ideological victor here seems to be tribal/identity politics. That’s where everybody is playing, from Trump’s quasi-ethnonationalism to Hillary’s female supremacy and I’m-with-her-and-your-a-basket-(re:tribe)-of-deplorables.

          I think Trump is louder and more obnoxious about it, and is focused on a more traditional and nationally healthier identity politics of *national* identity, but it brings the baggage of most modes of identity politics. There have to be bad guys, there have to be evil tribes, there have to be whole classes of enemies that must be dealt with in order for the true, good people to survive. Everything is an existential crisis. Etc.

          And the embrace of identity politics is a cultural moment in America. While probably fed by talk radio and the Internet and the MSM, its still something a majority of people are embracing (because tribalism is hard-wired into us). As such, Obama was of the moment, as is Trump. As was Hillary, ultimately, her particular brand of identity politics just didn’t make it through the filter of the electoral college, this time around.

          I think Obama was a hell of a politician. I tend to agree with Mark: he had no problem playing identity politics when he saw it as having political value in the moment. Had no problem avoiding it if he didn’t see it as political expedient. I don’t think he was a natural identitarian . . . he was just the president of a party dominated by identity politics.

          But it’s ultimately the cultural adoption of identity politics, all the time, that is the fundamental problem. That’s what leads to civil wars, cold or hot, not the interest, or lack thereof, in identity politics from the POTUS.

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        • KW:

          Moreso than Trump, particularly?

          Trump’s only been in office for a year, but so far, absolutely yes. What has Trump done as President in the last year that you would characterize as being driven by identity politics?

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        • Troll:

          “Do you think the free press was positive or negative in nature?”

          For Trump, because who Trump is and how he could manhandle the press, it ultimately turned out positive. That was not the media’s intent in their relentless coverage, almost all of it negative, but he worked it. Clearly.

          “In what way was Trump a swing towards identity politics?”

          He leveraged white identity politics AND nativist identity politics (i.e., a love of country, self-identification as American first and foremost, something Democrats would rather die than do) to appeal to voters for whom identity is prime. Because it works.

          In terms of winning battles in the public sphere, trying to be above the fray and not engage in identity politics is a loser. You have to identity a large enough to group who can identify with a particular strain of identity or victimhood (also, part of identity politics) and work them.

          I think ultimately trying to say “you can’t use those kind of identity politics because it’s not about minority victimhood, but we can use ours, because justice” may resonate with the true-believers but won’t get them anywhere with anybody else. They will either have to radically expand their identity groups on the left, or white/rural/male/nationalist identity politics will keep beating them.

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        • KW:

          He leveraged white identity politics AND nativist identity politics (i.e., a love of country, self-identification as American first and foremost, something Democrats would rather die than do) to appeal to voters for whom identity is prime.

          Let’s take that as a given.

          Obama leveraged black identity politics, and gender identity politics, and ethnic identity politics, and LGBTQRSTUV identity politics, all for the same goal. So how is it that Trump’s move is a “swing towards” identity politics? Like I said, it might be reasonably characterized as a swing to a different identity politics, but it is hard to see how can reasonably be seen as a move towards identity politics generically. We’ve been there for years, and Obama was a master player.

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        • Scottc1: “I don’t see how it indicates that. Her entire popular vote differential was covered by a single, extremely progressive state, California.”

          This is true. And I’m not sure how many of those votes were fraudulent. More than a few would be my guess.

          However, a properly run campaign easily defeats Trump in enough states that she takes the electoral college. Trump grabbed a lot of Obama voters. He creamed the undecideds. He got bluecollars that could have gone for HRC, had she deigned to treat them like human beings.

          Trump was an awful candidate in many ways, despite his skill in manipulating the media. I believe you said so yourself. He was beatable. By Hillary, even with her baggage, had her campaign not been targeted and women, minorities, and other Trump-haters exclusively. And had she been in shape to campaign more actively. And had had a slogan that wasn’t effectively “Vote for Me Because You Like Me”.

          Trump wanted to make America Great Again. That alone made him a better choice than Hillary if you had nothing to go on but the slogan.

          She ran a terrible, arrogant, presumptuous, millenial-poisoned campaign. And she lost because of it. In the same country that just elected a progressive black guy named Barack Obama president twice in a row.

          It happens. Mitt Romney ran a campaign that suggested he wanted to be president of Utah. Jeb Bush ran a primary campaign like he was in the middle of taking his daily estrogen injections ahead of his transition. But Bill Clinton could tell you: campaigns matter.

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        • What other Republican could have cobbled together a coalition to beat HRC? I tend to think only Trump could have beaten her.

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        • KW:

          He was beatable. By Hillary, even with her baggage…

          I agree. I just don’t find her popular vote “win” to be relevant to the claim.

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        • In the case of California, I tend to agree. Because of the nature of the state but also the fact it seems HIGHLY likely to me that illegal immigrants can and do vote in that state.

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      • Remember when the left created the radio station Air America in an effort to counter/replicate the success of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, and conservative talk radio in general? Within a few years the project had completely collapsed in failure, and it was doomed to failure from the beginning because the left never understood why conservative talk radio was successful. I have the sense that the Oprah-for-president movement is a similar reaction to and attempt to replicate some perceived conservative success without really grasping the source of that success. And it is probably doomed to similar failure.

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        • Yes. Oprah is not up to the kind of proctological-exam you get when running for president, especially in the age of Twitter/Facebook. Trump largely didn’t care, and just shot back. I don’t think Oprah has that kind of personality. I think the reality of the campaign will be crushing.

          That said, I don’t think it’s entirely wrong that Donald Trump’s celebrity played into his victory. But like anything else, you can’t just throw any celebrity at it. SNL’s “The Rock”/Tom Hanks ticket would have a much better chance of winning the presidency on celebrity than Oprah. And deflecting the venom of the campaign trail.

          I just don’t think Oprah is up to it.

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        • But everybody knew Air America would fail when they did it but them. The entirely missed the part where AM conservative talk radio was serving an otherwise COMPLETELY UNSERVED market. You wanted a liberal take on things, all you had to do was turn on anyone carrying CNN radio, or NPR, or CNN, or any of the major news networks, or pick up the WaPo or the NYT, or any of the dozens of liberal magazines at the newstand. But there was a huge market of conservatives and regular folks who weren’t going to be subscribing to NRO or the Weekly Standard who got *zero* material in their media that reflected their thoughts and feelings. Then Rush Limbaugh came along.

          There was no unserved market for Air America. And then the product itself was created to advance an agenda, not entertain and attract listeners. Takes freakin’ communists to think that was ever gonna work.

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        • KW:

          There was no unserved market for Air America.

          Correct. And I don’t imagine there is an unserved market for an Oprah Winfrey candidacy. Hence my point.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Also I should say I don’t know that Oprah is as charismatic as she seems, or that her charisma translates to politics. I do bet she has no idea how to run a campaign.

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        • Liked by 1 person

        • “I do bet she has no idea how to run a campaign.”

          I think Trump showed that doesn’t matter. With this moment and the internal state of Democratic party & progressive politics, the nomination is hers for the taking.

          And in terms of the general, her path to victory would be similar to Trump’s, i.e. her celebrity activates people who otherwise wouldn’t vote.

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        • jnc:

          And in terms of the general, her path to victory would be similar to Trump’s, i.e. her celebrity activates people who otherwise wouldn’t vote.
          Perhaps, but I wonder how much it was his celebrity that activated people to vote, and how much it was his attitude that did so. Obviously we have no way of knowing how Oprah might campaign, but I have a hard time seeing her campaigning in a way that offered up something new or different from any other Dem candidate. I don't think Trump's success is so easily explained or replicable as being based simply on his celebrity.

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        • I think Trump’s campaigning on repealing/renegotiating NAFTA and pulling out of the TPP had an impact in the rust belt, what other R candidate echoed him? I also think illegal immigration and border security/Wall also had an impact there, again, what R campaigned on that?

          Liked by 1 person

        • Good point. Although I don’t think there is any question Trump’s celebrity and personality helped in the primary: the rest of the candidates were weak (Jeb, Rubio) or creepy. They did not give off a vibe of being capable of winning a national general election.

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        • More importantly, were they having fun? Trump always gave off a vibe of having a ball.

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        • McWing;

          I definitely agree that Trump’s policy proposals were relevant, but I think they needed to be coupled with his “screw the establishment” attitude to be really effective in getting out the vote.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Agreed. I go back to my question, what other R candidate could have cobbled together his winning coalition?

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        • McWing;

          I go back to my question, what other R candidate could have cobbled together his winning coalition?

          Probably none, but that doesn’t mean that another R candidate couldn’t have cobbled together a different winning coalition. I think HRC was a horrible candidate, and was beatable by many of the R’s on their own terms.

          Liked by 1 person

        • Ok, I just don’t see where any other R wins either PA or WI and MI on a pro NAFTA/TPP and Pro Gang of 8 immigration.

          Liked by 1 person

        • McWing;

          With a different candidate, the campaign would have taken on an entirely different look and revolved around different issues, so I don’t think it makes sense to judge the chances of other candidates based on things that went right for Trump. I suppose it is possible that Trump was literally the only one of the 16 declared R candidates that had any chance at all of beating the single worst D candidate since, I don’t know, George McGovern maybe. But that doesn’t seem likely to me.

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        • Hillary still would have been all “I’m With Her” and “Vote for Women” and so on. I think it might have worked against some of them, but others? Probably not. Cruz gives off a creepy vibe with none of Trump’s pizazz, and Jeb was a wet noodle. Rubio, or one of the others maybe.

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        • “And in terms of the general, her path to victory would be similar to Trump’s, i.e. her celebrity activates people who otherwise wouldn’t vote.”

          I think this is true. But Trump did have some idea of how to run a campaign. Some of it was questionable, no doubt, and there was a lot of disorganization. But he campaigned and campaigned hard. He new how to play the press. I would guess Oprah can work the press? But run a grueling campaign? I’m not sure she’d do it.

          Eh, who knows? She stands a chance, I’m sure. Lot of unknowns at this point. The nomination *may* be hers for the taking, but I’m not even sure about that.

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        • @Scottc1: “Perhaps, but I wonder how much it was his celebrity that activated people to vote, and how much it was his attitude that did so. ”

          I think this is a good point. I think his celebrity was key, but by itself would have been insufficient. Also, there is a critical difference between the Trump-activated and the Oprah-activated. The Oprah-activated will signal their virtue and support of Oprah on Facebook, but many of them will not end up actually voting. The Trump-activated will show up and vote, I think.

          Oprah will have to be able to stretch beyond her celebrity, and has had problems, from her magazine to her cable network, in translating her talk show empire to anything else actually successful.

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        • Also, I think Trump’s celebrity helped a lot in the primaries. When you already know all your guys are the good guys (i.e., members of your political party, presumably aligned enough with you ideologically to be okay), what have you got left to distinguish? Celebrity is one of those things. I think it may work as much against you as for you in the general, without anything else there to hang your hat on.

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        • Oprah has considerably more self discipline than Trump, and would benefit from media bias towards her.

          Liked by 1 person

        • jnc:

          Oprah has considerably more self discipline than Trump, and would benefit from media bias towards her.

          Agreed, but that doesn’t distinguish her from any other traditional D candidate that I can imagine running.

          I think that Trump most definitely brought something very unique to his campaign. That uniqueness repelled a lot of people, including me, but it seems to have ultimately worked to his benefit. I just don’t see what unique thing Oprah would bring to especially distinguish her as a D candidate and compel voters to turn out for her that wouldn’t have otherwise turned out.

          Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t think the current Democratic coalition is big enough to beat a Republican coalition with an invigorated non-college educates white working class without an inspired black base. What inspired Democratic blacks? Black men as POTUS nominee. Will a black woman be enough? Might be. I’d watch Cory Booker and Deval Patrick as well.

        Liked by 1 person

        • The Democrats could potentially win, even with a white guy or a white woman, if they pick someone who is charismatic (Hillary was not, not remotely) and someone who can run a campaign.

          They cannot alienate the identity politics crowd, but they cannot run on their race/gender/sexual orientation alone. “I’m the Woman, Vote For Me” is not going to be enough to guarantee a victory. As 2016 shows, there is nothing there for the sorts of people (and they do exist) who vote but don’t really have a strong party identification, and often decide at the last minute who they are voting for.

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