How to Feel (Much) Better About the Outcome of the Presidential Election

I want to really marry the public and the private sector.

–Hillary Clinton

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42 Responses to “How to Feel (Much) Better About the Outcome of the Presidential Election”

  1. 1 1 AMTbuff

    Talk about a shotgun marriage!

  2. 2 2 Doctor Memory

    Are you sure she’s not saying that she, personally, wanted to marry both of them?

  3. 3 3 Advo

    When I read the headline, I was thinking “alcohol”.

  4. 4 4 Sub Specie Æternitatis

    @advo That was my thought on reading most headlines the last 10 days or so.

  5. 5 5 Josh

    I still hate Donald Trump more than I could ever hate H, as wrong as I thought she was here and on other issues. At least she was serious and told is what she thought.
    trump merely echoes what he thinks will help him win, full stop. I wonder if Joe Wilson will stand up and scream “You Lie!” At Trumps first state of the union. Lord knows he’s the biggest liar out of all presidents combined probably. From birtherism to saying Ted Cruz’a father helped to assisinate JFK he’s obviously just a reality show president. I in my fantasy world will be waiting for Joe to rise.

  6. 6 6 Josh

    Also the irony here is it’s Trump who is the greatest risk of marrying the public and private sectors. You may not realize it but it’s true.

  7. 7 7 Josh
  8. 8 8 Steve Landsburg


    You may not realize it but it’s true.

    Oh, I realize it.

  9. 9 9 Craw

    @2 Doctor Memory
    Not me. I never got the impression should wanted to screw the public sector.

  10. 10 10 Khodge

    Trump carried the down ticket with him. They, mostly, are not planning on attending this wedding.

    Or, if Trump does marry public and private then we might as well keep the celebrities that we are sending to Canada.

  11. 11 11 Ken B

    @khodge 9

    That’s a pet peeve of mine. When did we become Sore Loser Central?

    As for the downticket, most places the downticket outperformed Trump. Ayotte was an exception.

  12. 12 12 Roger

    The Vox article starts: “The president-elect is the least qualified man to ever hold high office.”

    Good example of Trump Derangement Syndrome.

  13. 13 13 Steve Landsburg

    Roger (#11): Who else has held as high an office with so little experience in either politics or the formulation of public policy?

    You could reasonably argue that these are not the right measures of what it means to be qualified. But you could also reasonably argue that they are the right measures. So I don’t think you can reasonably pin the label “Deranged” on people who apply these measures.

  14. 14 14 James Kahn

    Landsburg: “Who else has held as high an office with so little experience in either politics or the formulation of public policy?”

    Eisenhower. Unless you argue military strategy is public policy.

  15. 15 15 Roger

    Barack Obama was much less qualified to be President. He had no experience in management, leadership, business, military, or dealing with foreign countries.

  16. 16 16 James Kahn

    I should add: I’m not suggesting Eisenhower wasn’t qualified, just saying that conventional political experience is neither necessary nor sufficient. I agree with Roger that Obama was highly unqualified, made worse because he didn’t seem to realize it. Trump’s success will depend on his willingness to delegate and rely on good people around him and not think he knows everything. We shall see.

  17. 17 17 Ken B

    Chester A Arthur seems a good candidate for this dishonor, even just in American terms.
    Grant and Eisenhower had little experience in formulating public policy. The presidency was the first elected position for each I believe.
    Newbies abound in other times and places. Vaclav Havel held high office. How many kings were crowned as children? Was Caligula qualified?
    It seems to me to blandly assert that Trump is the most unqualified human ever to hold any high office anywhere at any time gives Roger’s claim some credence.

  18. 18 18 Roger

    The proof that Trump is unqualified is supposed to be his poor political campaign. The consensus of the mainstream media was that Hillary Clinton was going to win no matter what, and that Trump is an incompetent moron who is annoying because he is not even good enough to lose gracefully. Again and again, the press announced that Trump had alienated all of his potential voters.

    The election is over, guys, and the results are in. It is time to revise your assessment of who is competent and who is not.

  19. 19 19 Ken B

    Roger 18
    I would have thought that you in particular would agree that Obama proved being good at campaigning and being good at governing are different things.

  20. 20 20 Daniel

    @ Ken B,

    Where’s the counterfactual evidence that Obama was bad at governing? If you look a time discontinuity of our economic situation before and after his election, you would find him to be wildly successful. If you were to look at difference-in-difference comparison between the US and the rest of the world you would find him to be wildly successful (assuming you controlled for per capita income level). Maybe you think that the rest of the world isn’t a good control for the United States, . I’m sure if we used synthetic control methods we’d find much the same thing.

  21. 21 21 Sub Specie Æternitatis

    @Khodge “Trump carried the down ticket with him.”

    No, he didn’t. While results vary by states, e.g., GOP senators in competitive races outperformed him by an average of 2.2% last I checked the stat. I’d be very surprised if GOP reps didn’t do much better compared to Trump even than senators did.

  22. 22 22 Daniel

    @Sub Specie Æternitatis 21,

    It seems that your logic is suffering from the assumption that the voters that showed up on election day would be the same regardless of whether or not Trump was on the ticket. Suppose there are a group of voters that will vote regardless of whether Trump is on the ticket and will vote for the Republican senator, would have voted for the republican president if it had not been Trump, but do not vote for the republican president if it is Trump. Suppose also that there are a group of voters that would not have shown up on election day if Trump had not been on the ballot, but having shown up because Trump is on the ballot vote for Trump and the republican senator. Under this circumstance it is entirely possible that the GOP senators both outperform Trump and that Trump carried the down ticket with him.

  23. 23 23 Daniel

    @Sub Specie Æternitatis 21,

    I missed that the second group must be larger then the first group for Trump to have “carried” them.

  24. 24 24 Ken B

    Actually the counterfactual evidence does show Obama is good at governing.

  25. 25 25 Sub Specie Æternitatis


    Your argument is fair enough. We cannot know the counter-factual for sure. But generally when a candidate “carries” the lower ticket, they tend to run ahead of it. This is not the pattern we are observing here.

  26. 26 26 Richard D.

    Sub Specie:
    “@Khodge “Trump carried the down ticket with him.””

    I don’t know how to parse that one -

  27. 27 27 Sub Specie Æternitatis

    @Richard D. Perhaps I am missing the joke–it has happened–but in case otherwise:

    In US elections, it is sometimes alleged that the top of the ticket (i.e., the most prominent candidate on the ballot, typically the President or sometimes a governor during off-years) is so popular that he not only won, but induced enough of his followers to turn out and vote for the lesser known candidates on the same ticket that they too win on his coat-tails, so to speak.

    For example, it is asserted that Reagan’s overwhelming victory in 1980 help twelve relatively unknown GOP Senate challenger to prevail over incumbent Democratic senators.

  28. 28 28 Craw

    And now we learn that really it was Alf Landon who lifted the downticket.

  29. 29 29 Daniel

    @Ken B,

    Oh? You mean you have evidence from a world in which Obama is not the president from 2009-2016 and it shows the world is worse off. Please share!

  30. 30 30 Ken B

    Daniel: a man who, in all seriousness, talks about “counterfactual evidence” should be less snide.

  31. 31 31 Daniel

    @Ken B,

    I think you misunderstood my statement. I meant that you had no counter-factual evidence to support your suggestion that Obama wasn’t good at governing. Not that I did have counterfactual evidence. However, I did suggest that the available evidence suggests that Obama was a effective at governing.

  32. 32 32 Ken B

    Daniel, I rather think anyone who talks earnestly about “counterfactual evidence” either doesn’t understand counterfactual or doesn’t understand evidence. Do you have any square circles?

  33. 33 33 Daniel

    @Ken B,

    That was precisely my point. You have no idea what would have happened if Obama had not been in office, because you cannot produce the counterfactual. Want to lecture me some more on semantics?

  34. 34 34 Daniel

    @Ken B,

    My point is, when did I speak earnestly about counterfactual evidence. Again, you misread my first statement. Read more carefully.

  35. 35 35 Ken B

    Daniel, 20 asks for my counterfactual evidence quite straitforwardly.

  36. 36 36 Daniel

    @Ken B,

    Ever heard of being facetious?

  37. 37 37 Ken B

    Didn’t seem that way. Still doesn’t TBH, but I’ll take your word for, having had my own even heavy-handed irony missed on-line more than once. Tone often doesn’t come through well on blog comments.

  38. 38 38 Richard D.

    “Barack Obama was much less qualified. He had no experience
    in management, leadership, business… ”

    In 2008, Obama claimed that his experience managing a
    presidential campaign, qualified him for executive office.

    And so in 2016… sauce for the goose, as they say in France…

  39. 39 39 Capt. J Parker

    Dr. Landsburg (13) said “Roger (#11): Who else has held as high an office with so little experience in either politics or the formulation of public policy?

    Anyone who has completed a large real estate development project in an urban area has had plenty of experience with both politics and public policy. Where exactly does one find people with public policy formation experience? Among our professional politicians? They have demonstrated time and again that they, as a class, are as likely to formulate bad policy as good.

  40. 40 40 Henri Hein

    I would need considerable evidence, of any kind, to convince me Obama’s administration gave us good governance, under any reasonable definition of ‘good.’ Real GDP and productivity growth has been low, and unemployment historically above average. The youth unemployment, in particular, remains stubbornly high, which is ironic, given Obama’s support with young people. The public debt continues to rise at Bush speeds, which, according to Obama himself, is irresponsible and unpatriotic. I’m neutral on the Iran deal; other than that, his foreign policy seems to have produced quagmires and debacles and more tension with China. His signature legislative initiative, ObamaCare, remains troubled in respect to both popularity and results. Our civil liberties are eroding just as fast under Obama as under Bush, if not faster (Obama has pushed and defended things like indefinite detention and FISA courts more aggressively than Bush did). I agree there is a bright spot here and there, but the overall package has been a pretty terrible deal for US residents.

  41. 41 41 Josh

    We now have Trump personally pressuring specific companies to not close plants.

  42. 42 42 Ken B

    I gather David Friedman is closer to Roger’s position on Trump than to Steve’s.

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