Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Wave Action: On Phantom Blue Electoral Waves, Mid-Afternoon Squally Rain Waves, and Intense Desert Heat Waves


First up, some political commentary ...

Jonathan Chait excerpts the highlights of a new Democracy Fund Voter Study Group report by Lee Drutman analyzing the 2016 American electorate and what shaped the outcome that gave us -- to quote the inestimable Charlie Pierce -- a vulgar talking yam as "President*":

Quoting Chait, this is a key finding:

Trump won by dominating with populists. Republicans always need to do reasonably well with populists, which is why there’s always a tension between the pro-government leanings of a large number of their voters and the anti-government tilt of the party agenda. The key to Trump’s success was to win more populists than Mitt Romney had managed. The issues where 2012 Obama voters who defected to Trump diverge from the ones who stayed and voted for Clinton are overwhelmingly related to race and identity.

As Drutman notes, "Among populists who voted for Obama, Clinton did terribly. She held onto only 6 in 10 of these voters (59 percent). Trump picked up 27 percent of these voters, and the remaining 14 percent didn't vote for either major party candidate."

What makes this result fascinating is that, in 2008, Clinton had positioned herself as the candidate of the white working class and she dominated the white socially conservative wing of her party. But she lost that identity so thoroughly that she couldn't even replicate the performance of a president who had become synonymous with elite social liberalism.

Taken from the study, below is a scatterplot of the electorate showing economic versus social views on an X-Y axis:

Chait notes that the lower right quadrant -- socially liberal / economically conservative -- representing effectively libertarianism is very thinly populated compared to the other three quadrants despite the fact there is a libertarian infrastructure in place in terms of money, propaganda outlets, and activities that give it an outsized voice.

He then adds: "But the truth is that the underrepresented cohort in American politics is the opposite of libertarians: people with right-wing social views who support big government on the economy."


Jon Ossoff and the likely next Congressperson from Georgia's 6th Congressional District.


As for tomorrow's (well, today's) eagerly anticipated special election in suburban Atlanta for an open House seat, I'm fairly certain how it will turn out: When all is said and done, the Republican Karen Handel will pull off a small but noteworthy victory over Jon Ossoff -- I'm going to say 53 to 46% -- and facilitated by the "late-breaking vote" that went heavily against him.

This much-vaunted "test" of Democrats strength in the early Age of Trump / GOP One Party Rule will prove -- as all such pivotal tests prove -- a big, huge failure that will get the folks at POLITICO all titillated.

Aside from Russian trolls hacking the vote-counting software being used (itself always a distinct possibility) in order to help the Republican, and despite all the early voting that may or may not have helped the Democrat, the fact remains that today's Republican Party is basically voter-proof vis-à-vis the downwardly mobile rural and exurban white working class and treading-water suburban middle class white counterparts that form its core supporters.

Thanks to a powerful white ethno-nationalism and a half century of the Republican Party's "Southern Strategy" writ large -- not to mention all those gerrymandered House districts and the wonderfully "efficient" distribution of white voters -- there is nothing that today's Grand Oligarchy Party can do by way of reverse class warring ever to get these people to stop voting against their own socio-economic interests.

Uninsured Americans -- total actual and forward projected -- from 2001 to 2026 including under the House GOP abortion of a healthcare bill.


You can take away this group's health insurance -- as the Senate's Ur-Daddy of Political Amorality Mitch McConnell is actively scheming to do in a wholly secret process that will resemble the basic structure of that abortion of a House GOP health bill -- and their jobs, not to mention their clean air and clean water and safe food -- hell, even their children -- and give them a hellish "free market" corporate oligarchical dystopia in return, and they'll still respond Pavlovian dog-like to all the buzzwords about "Hollywood elites," "Nancy Pelosi Democrats," and "ObamaCare" (make sure to capitalize the "C" in Obamacare) and vote for the GOP.

A representative sample of Trump's conned "base" at a rally in Tampa last year -- a.k.a., E-Z Marks Galore.  

Forget the fact that half the Trumped-up populations of West Virginia and Mitch the Bitch's Kentucky depend on Obamacare for their healthcare -- these people will do what Fox News and the larger, incredibly well-funded GOP Media/Entertainment Complex tell them to do.

Naturally, there will be exactly ZERO electoral consequences for them after the Senate and House GOP ram through their bill -- a trillion dollar tax giveaway to the superrich derived from stealing insurance from the working poor. In fact, they'll probably pick up seats. That's how these things go. It's what makes frickin' God happy.

And to that point, here is a must-read piece from earlier this month by Andrew O'Hehir -- now the Executive Editor of Salon -- on Dems 2018 prospects (link embedded): Forget the "blue wave" -- the sequel: Can the Trump resistance survive the Democratic Party?


A brindle bullmastiff; source image here.

I love bullmastiffs. I miss Borky -- she was the bullmastiff my dad had back in my 1970s New Jersey childhood.


Turning to the weather, there were showers and thunderstorms earlier today (well, yesterday) as a squall line powered across the Metro D.C. and Baltimore areas between about 2 and 6PM with waves (well, maybe "curtains") of wind-driven rain.

Some regional radar images ...

Sterling (LWX) NWS radar in standard composite mode looped 2:30PM - 3:05PM June 19, 2017.


Sterling (LWX) NWS radar in standard base mode reflectivity looped 2:35PM - 3:10PM June 19, 2017.


Sterling (LWX) NWS radar in standard composite mode looped 3:10PM - 3:44PM June 19, 2017.


A wind gust of 52MPH was clocked in the hourly observations at KDCA and rainfall totals for the day were as follows:

KDCA: 0.53"
KBWI: 0.91"
KIAD: 0.62" (includes 0.01" in the early morning)
KDMH: 0.46"

There might be some additional light rainfall in the wee hours followed by partly cloudy and seasonably warm (highs around 88⁰F) and humid for the rest of the week. The next chance of showers and t-storms is later in the week.

Southwestern U.S. heat wave ...

Weather infographic issued by the PSR NWSFO for the Arizona heatwave.

I like the "Seek air-conditioned buildings or operate air-conditioning, despite financial cost."

Updated / Noted 1:02PM 6/20/2017: I updated the infographic to include the most recent one.


Meanwhile, Arizona and much of interior California are the in the throes of a ferocious heatwave. It reached 118⁰F at KPHX -- tying the daily record high that was set, ironically, one year ago. I believe this ties for 5th hottest ever.

The all-time KPHX reading is 122⁰F. Yuma (KNYL - Marine Corps Air Station) reached 115⁰F -- but well below the 120⁰F set a year ago today. Death Valley could reach 127⁰F this week.

I couldn't live in that kind of climate even with ubiquitous a/c.


Yours truly at No. 9 yesterday, Washington, D.C., 6:19PM June 18, 2017.


As a brief update, I'm home at this late hour and getting ready to go to bed. I went to the gym earlier tonight. This followed a slow day at work. (I should be busier next week.)

OK, I think that's all for now. I intend to post my final batch of Chicago pictures in a day or two.


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