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Moral Victories Are Not Nothing

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Lord Buckethead>Guy in the Elmo costume>May>Trump

As most of you know, Theresa May — the most spectacularly inept Tory Prime Minister since David Cameron — squandered her majority. I would assume that the Conservatives will be (barely) able to form a government, but I’ll let Dave game all that out. Just a few observations:

  • Picking candidates on “electability” is not only problematic not only because the effect of candidates can be overstated but because who will campaign well is unpredictable.
  • One of the hidden undemocratic features of the United States is the refusal to increase the size of Congress. One of the reasons that Corbyn’s strong campaign and Labour’s (deservedly) popular manfiesto was able to transform the campaign was because the UK has more legislative seats with a much smaller population. This creates more potential swing seats and increases turnout.  And American vote suppression makes mobilizing youth turnout, which is critical, more difficult.
  • Nick Clegg LOL.
  • The damage inflicted by the dementia tax is an excellent example of how to mobilize bad policy against incumbents Democrats need to be paying attention to.
  • This is, overall, a very encouraging result. But we shouldn’t lose sight of the work to be done. Labour greatly exceeding expectations is important, and I absolutely think that the platform Labour ran on can be the basis of a majority, and Corbyn may well be able to head that majority. But despite May running a catastrophically bad campaign and Corbyn running an excellent one, Labour still lost. It’s hard for progressive parties to win! And I hope Americans on the left (justly) celebrating tonight’s results will be similarly attentive to structural difficulties in the American context.
  • But, that caveat aside, this is a remarkable result, a major upset and an encouraging one. And if it stalls Brexit all the better.
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  • Lev

    I wonder how many complete fuckups the Tories will have to have lead the country before they lose their reputation as the competent party. Probably at least one more. And likely May replacer Boris Johnson seems like exactly such a fuckup.

    • Gabriel Ratchet

      “He’s not the fuckup we deserve, but he’s the fuckup we need!”

    • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

      I wonder how many complete fuckups the Republicans will have to have before they lose their reputation as an even slightly sane party.

      • Ahuitzotl

        about -3 at this point

    • FOARP

      “I wonder how many complete fuckups the Tories will have to have lead the country before they lose their reputation as the competent party.

      As many fuckups as they like so long as the opposition continue to look even worse.

    • rea

      Boris Johnson is the spitting image of Trump, among other political liabilities.

    • Ahuitzotl

      If Boris the Spider isn’t enough of a fuckup for the Tories, then none such can exist.

      • Thom

        DAH DAH DAH DAH DAH DAH DAH

    • Lost Left Coaster

      It’s fuckups all the way down.

  • Brett

    It’s an impressive showing, even if they still lost. Labour was badly wounded as a party when Scotland went nearly all SNP, but they’ve shown unexpected strength. Of course, god only knows what will happen if or when Scotland finally leaves, but until then . . .

    Congrats to Corbyn! I always thought it was irritating that his own party kept trying to take him down before he got the chance to lead Labour through a general election. Now he did, and good thing he did. Maybe he’ll even get a chance to try for a coalition, although it’s unlikely – the NI unionist folks would have to balk at forming a coalition with the Conservatives.

    But, that caveat aside, this is a remarkable result, a major upset and an encouraging one. And if it stalls Brexit all the better.

    Brexit is on autopilot now, with Britain out of the EU in 2019 whether or not they’ve got all business and new treaty arrangements settled. The EU would have to vote to override it, and that’s not going to happen short of Labour somehow forming a successful governing coalition and providing some massive concessions to the EU.

    • Ironically, Scotland saved the Tories this time — the SNP lost a lot of seats to the Conservatives in constituencies that are anti-independence and pro-Brexit.

      • FOARP

        The movement for independence in Scotland is dying the same way it did in Quebec – its fate tied to a single party that has now been in power for too long.

      • Thom

        This deserves more attention–the huge losses suffered by the SNP, more than a third of their seats.

    • blowback

      It’s an impressive showing, even if they still lost.

      How so? All we know is that the Conservatives will be given the first chance to form a new government. Whether they’ll be part of it is another matter completely. I really can’t see the Liberal Democrats or SNP forming a coalition with the Conservatives without a split in the Conservative Party so it comes down to how the other parties align, maybe even down to whether Sinn Fein decide to seat their members at last.
      Theresa May’s sole objective in this election was to increase the number of Conservative seats in Parliament to enable her to push through “Hard Brexit” with the minimum damage to the Conservative Party. She completely failed to do that so she and the Conservative Party lost this election and the unity of the Conservative Party is back on the table. This wasn’t a clear cut victory, but it’s more than a moral victory and it certainly wasn’t lost by Labour provided the Blairites don’t mess it up with disloyalty to the party they were elected to represent.

      • Brett

        The Ulsterites already had an agreement to support the Conservatives, and they have 10 seats (more than enough to give the coalition a working majority). May has also reportedly asked for and gotten permission to form a new government with that narrow majority.

        So the Conservatives will preserve their control on power. Now the question is whether May survives, since it appears she has no intention of resigning over her failure. Is there anyone left in the Conservatives who could actually foment a successful challenge? Their bench seems a little thin.

        • blowback

          The Ulsterites already had an agreement to support the Conservatives

          Not according to the DUP who still think the negotiations are on-going into next week.

  • paul1970

    The dementia tax was the only Tory policy I’ve ever supported, and it might have cost them the election. Message: don’t mess with the property owners….

    • Steve LaBonne

      That’s, like, Politics 101. And it’s the Corbynites who are supposed to be doctrinaires?

  • Warren Terra

    So, it looks like the Tories plus the DUP will get 326 seats, maybe another one or two – of the 326 needed. I guess that means Boris Johnson is the next PM, a transatlantic union of bouffant belligerent buffoonish bellends?

    • From what I understand, the 7 Sin Fein MPs won’t take their seats, as per their abstentionist policy, leaving only 643 voting MPs, and 323 needed for a majority.

      • FOARP

        You also have to discount the speaker and deputy speaker. It’s possible to govern even with ~319 MPs.

        As for Sinn Fein not coming in to clinch it for Corbyn, if i were Corbyn I would be amazed at their ingratitude for all the help he’s given them over the years!

        • Ahuitzotl

          Sinn Fein have a fine long history of gratuitous ingratitude, remember Michael Collins

        • TopsyJane

          “As for Sinn Fein not coming in to clinch it for Corbyn, if i were Corbyn I would be amazed at their ingratitude for all the help he’s given them over the years!”

          The mere notion of asking Sinn Fein is stupid. Ask Emily Thornberry.

        • Richard Gadsden

          One deputy speaker will be a Tory, though (the speaker is an ex-Tory, so one Tory deputy, two Labour deputies to even the numbers out).

    • FOARP

      Boris is an absolute busted flush. Not a chance of becoming leader now – he blew it all with his hesitation after the referendum.

      • Warren Terra

        I’m mostly kidding by naming Boris – the Trump/Boris parallels are inescapable – but surely May has to step down after this electoral disaster? And: who succeeds her? She only became party leader and PM when a half-dozen other contenders utterly self-immolated, some of them more prominent and considered more likely than her to seize the throne. Who’s left?

        • FOARP

          “but surely May has to step down after this electoral disaster?”

          Yes but no but yes.

          One thing May and Corbyn have in common, it appears, is not standing down after electoral setbacks (which, let’s be clear, this is for both of them).

          Who’s left?

          Yup. There really isn’t anyone. Rudd is the least damaged, but she’s not looking good after only just holding onto her seat. Seeing calls for David Davis but that’s just laughable. Hammond might have had a chance until that tax-hike and then reversal. Gove is rightly seen as a traitor. Fox is odious and the Tory party knows it. Leadsom stand no chance after her implosion. Maybe Sajid Javid?

          • Warren Terra

            The Scottish Tory leader might be plausible?

            • FOARP

              She’d have to get a Westminster seat first, and why would she when she’s got a good shot at becoming First Minister in Holyrood?

              Not that I wouldn’t love to have her instead of May. Ruth Davidson has done a great job of revitalising the Tories in Scotland, along essentially moderate and liberal lines.

              • Manny Kant

                And the reward for all those moderate and liberal Scottish Tory voters is a government in coalition with the DUP!

          • MAJeff

            “but surely May has to step down after this electoral disaster?”

            Yes but no but yes.

            For some reason, this just had me laughing at the idea of Vicky Pollard doing political analysis on last nights election.

  • AMK

    If there are, say, 30 true swing districts in the 435-seat House, wouldn’t that more-or-less just be 60 swing districts in an 870-seat House? The people aren’t going anywhere. It seems like the core issue is just that the UK is less polarized than the US so people are more malleable when a grossly unpopular idea like the dementia tax comes out of one Party and the leader is bad on the trail. .

    • xq

      The argument that more districts would increase the proportion of swing districts gets made fairly often, but I’ve never seen anyone even try to back it up with math or data. My intuition is that it’s not correct.

      Increasing turnout also seems unlikely, given how national-focused elections are in the US. Split-ticket voting is lower than ever. Candidates matter less than ever.

      • Simeon

        The obvious way to check seems like it would be to compare the proportion of swing districts with the proportion of true swing voters. As you increase number of districts, the former will approach the latter (until you reach the limit where everybody is a member of the legislature representing a district of one).

        • xq

          As you increase number of districts, the former will approach the latter (until you reach the limit where everybody is a member of the legislature representing a district of one).

          I see no reason to believe this is true as some sort of general rule. Yes, it is obviously true at the limit where every voter is their own district, but it need not be so even very close to the limit (consider the case where every district is composed of one swing voter and two aligned strong partisans). I think the relation between number of districts and proportion of swing districts depends on geography in a complex way.

          • q-tip

            Totally complex, and there are certainly ways to draw 870 districts or whatever that result in fewer swing districts than we have now. (I think.)

            If we assume that swing/persuadable voters are relatively scarce, though, it seems like a good bet to me that having twice as many districts increases the number of districts where swing/persuadable voters attain “critical mass” to, well, swing elections.

            Like, if a current district has 2 swing voters and 18 partisans, splitting it in two means there’s a decent chance of having a district that’s 20% swing, not 10%. That doesn’t mean, as you say, that we’ll inevitably create a swing district by doing so; the specifics of geography and partisan breakdown will matter. But repeating this exercise 435 times seems likely to me to create more swing districts, numerically and proportionally.

            Of course, an election system that incorporated PR in some way would be even MORE responsive/representative. ;) Right?

            • xq

              Yeah, PR would be ideal. I think we should focus on that instead of (say) doubling the size of congress. I’m all for marginal improvements when the best solution isn’t available, but I’m not convinced reducing district size would bring even marginal improvements (maybe it would, it’s just not obvious).

              Like, if a current district has 2 swing voters and 18 partisans, splitting it in two means there’s a decent chance of having a district that’s 20% swing, not 10%.

              Sure, but aren’t you relying on the very small count here? If you split individuals at random in a district with >100 people the resulting districts would look very similar to the original.

              I think this paper, taking into account actual political geography in FL, is a start to thinking about how to answer this question. (https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/ac9d/47478af14d31b38d3174c8ec4d874bc373cc.pdf).

              • q-tip

                1) I did a quick glance over the paper you linked to, and I didn’t see anything that addressed how changing district size would affect the problem. I may have missed it.
                I am well aware of the “unintentional gerrymandering” problem. I wish more people who talk about gerrymandering as a problem were. It’s a big part of why I think, as you do, that relying solely on geographic representation will always pose problems.
                2) I chose small numbers because you did, too, in the comment I replied to. (The district with 2 partisans and one swing voter.) Scale it up to districts of 100 or 100,000 voters — I’d still bet on smaller districts being more swing-ish, overall. But my understanding of how voters are geographically distributed is … well, General and basic, at best.
                3) I, too, am happy with incremental improvements in our electoral system — both PR and smaller districts are pie-in-the-sky at this point. Smaller districts are an easier get, but have a smaller payoff on swinginess. They do have other benefits! Electioneering, canvassing, and even voting become more meaningful and effective (and hence attractive) as the districts get smaller. That’s a guess, but if there’s a chance of getting smaller districts and nothing else, it’s worth going for, I think.
                (Also, smaller district sizes would help with making representation more proportional to population, overall. Hence help with the Electoral College, etc. If that’s all we can get, it’s worth getting.)

                • q-tip

                  I’ll shut up after this, but I want to go meta and say that I think it’s really good to have debate about this election-system stuff, and I get miffed when people who raise these questions get shot down as unrealistic. (Not aimed at xq at all, by the way — they made good points and took the question seriously.)

                  A big veto point acting against any significant change in our system is ignorance of alternatives. Americans by and large don’t know about how other, younger democracies do things. How those things work, don’t work, and might make our system better (or worse).

                  Any changes will be politically unrealistic as long as people are not aware that alternatives exist. We should raise awareness that the US Constitution isn’t inevitable, infallible — or unchangeable.

                • xq

                  The paper simulates redistricting in FL using different total counts of districts, so you can see how things change with district count (see Figure 4). It’s looking at electoral bias rather than number of swing districts, but it’s the right idea for how to approach this kind of question, I think.

      • mds

        … I’ve never seen anyone even try to back it up with math or data. My intuition is that it’s not correct.

        This right here? This is hilarious.

        • xq

          It’s hilarious that I acknowledge my lack of evidence and confidence? OK.

          • q-tip

            Sorry I didn’t say it earlier, but I always have respect for someone who admits when they’re unsure. Smack on the nose for mds

    • Colin Day

      If you doubled the number of seats, would Wyoming still only get one seat? Even if this does not make more swing districts, it might still reapportion seats.

  • GoBlue72

    The obsession by Democratic pundits and the Lib-Dem portion of the Democratic Party over a fricking customs union shows exactly how out of touch they are with the actual critical issues to working people.

    Truly universal fully funded healthcare, public education, free college, workers rights, a safety net, equality of opportunity. THAT is what is important.

    But a customs union? Who gives a shit. Centrist leaning liberals, bankers and corporations, that’s who.

    Brexit has become this signaling device to tell how far up ones own backside that a Democratic pundit, blog writer or underemployed academic one is.

    • enlightenedbum

      Also the political and diplomatic infrastructure under which western Europe has been at peace internally for longer than it has been… ever? I think that’s right, though I don’t have a perfect grasp of European history. That seems important. Especially given the shitgibbon in chief fucking with NATO.

      • Chetsky

        Per Brad Delong, since 111BC.

    • MacK

      WTF? You do realise that since 1789 the United States has been a Customs Union? That NAFTA is not a customs union. That the European Single Market is much more than a Customs Union. Your obsession with a non-obsession is well – huh!

      • Warren Terra

        This comment should leave a mark.

        • Davis X. Machina

          Not if the substrate is sufficiently dense.

    • ForkyMcSpoon

      Today I learned that almost half of the UK is bankers and corporations.

    • econoclast

      So nationalism and closed borders are important left-wing virtues? Keeping out foreigners is no big deal? Gotcha.

      This is the exact kind of dumbshittery that caused socialist parties in Europe to vote for World War I.

    • FOARP

      But a customs union? Who gives a shit. Centrist leaning liberals, bankers and corporations, that’s who.

      Yeah, those must have been “bankers” I saw driving the trucks that were queued up for mile after mile outside Dover the last time I took the ferry to the continent. “Bankers” who cross the border between Northern Ireland and the RoI for work every day.

    • StellaB

      British young people seem to be strongly pro-European. They can’t all be bankers. In my recent experience, they do not admire DJT in a very big way either.

    • efgoldman

      Truly universal fully funded healthcare, public education, free college, workers rights, a safety net, equality of opportunity. THAT is what is important.

      While I (and most of the people here) are in favor of those things, if they were important, people would vote for them. That they have chosen tribalism and racism as their most important drivers, doesn’t say what apparently you think it says.

    • witlesschum

      Truly universal fully funded healthcare, public education, free college, workers rights, a safety net, equality of opportunity. THAT is what is important.

      Indeed, but I don’t see what makes you think it’ll be easier for the British left to achieve that outside the EU rather than inside. Empowering nationalist bullshit traditionally helps the right, not the left. No war but class war and all that.

    • 2.9 people living in the UK went from clear residency rights to who knows with a side order of fuck you.

      The customs union is a small part. It has large ramifications even for working class folks, but it’s not the whole by a long shot.

      • blackbox

        Who was the 0.9 of a person?

  • LeeEsq

    American legislatures are smaller than counterparts elsewhere even in liberal places. Los Angeles County, with a population of around ten million, has a Board of Supervisors with ten people. That’s insane. There should be at least five times that amount.

    • SIWOTI

      Since the LA County Board of Supervisors is essentially the county commission for L.A. County, and people are also represented on the municipal level by their city councilmen, it’s not insane at all. The Board of Supervisors isn’t the legislature.

      The California State Assembly and Senate are the legislature. And the numbers there are insane. Each California State Assemblymember represents at least 465,000 people. Each California Senator represents about 931,000 people, about 1.5 times as many as the average federal Representative represents. California should move to a unicameral legislature and increase its number of represenatives.

      • LeeEsq

        I believe in fewer but bigger elected bodies.

        • SIWOTI

          Amen to that. But you do run into issues with legislatures that are larger than Dunbar’s number: legislators aren’t able to form working relationships because they can’t really know every other legislator.

        • CraigMcMahon

          Then there’s New Hampshire, where we have 400 reps in our lower house, representing an average of about 3500 constituents each. They’re paid $200 a session and thus most of our legislators skew retired/wealthy/conservative (avg age of ~66, one of the oldest legislatures in the country).

          • Matt McIrvin

            Their vast number and political-amateur nature also makes New Hampshire a rich source of “state legislator does/says something idiotic” stories.

            • Davis X. Machina

              I know of a college poli-sci major who ran for, won a seat in, and sat in, the NH lower house. She wrote it up as a project, and the people in charge of such things only gave her 6 credit hours. She appealed and lost.

              Their reasoning — um, it’s the NH House.

              • CraigMcMahon

                All things for me to consider in 2018!

    • Jackov

      The LA County Board of Superviors has five members each representing over 1.94M people. The most compact district covers 160 mi² with the largest over 2800 mi².

    • Dilan Esper

      Your point is correct but you shouldn’t use the LABOS to make it- it’s like using video rental records to make a point about privacy laws.

      Most elected legislative bodies’ districs are nowhere near as bad as the LABOS. It’s an extreme outlier.

  • MacK

    May and Brexit have been an utter fiasco. However, one must ask, under a more credible leader, could Labour have one more seats? Corbyn is an abysmal potential PM, but May demonstrably has been an abysmal PM – and the public found itself faced with a quandary.

    The DUP will hold the balance of power – but will have a huge problem. They were pro-Brexit, but Brexit is massively unpopular in Northern Ireland, even with Unionists. Their votes do not get the Conservatives to a clear majority, 314 + 10DUP seats will leave with just a 2-seat majority (allowing for Sinn Féin’s abstention 643/2 = 322.) 1 byelection loss and the Tories lose the majority.

    • Warren Terra

      Looking at The Guardian‘s interactive map, four seats are still undeclared in Cornwall; assuming these seats go like their neighbors, they’re going Tory (I admit this isn’t bulletproof methodology). If so, that’s 318 Tories and 10 DUP. Not a resounding majority but slightly stronger than 322.

      The remaining seat outstanding is in London (Kensington). Since everything nearby declared much earlier, I’m left wondering if they choose to declare last out of tradition or something?

      • MacK

        Kensington is so close, after going over the ballots twice they sent the counters home to sleep.

      • FOARP

        Corwall and the South-West as a whole used to be Lib-Dem territory. They’ll probably go Tory but the Lib-Dems may pick up one of them.

        • Davis X. Machina

          Corwall and the South-West as a whole used to be Lib-Dem territory

          I have a friend who refers to the LDP as the SNP — Somerset Nationalist Party

      • However, one must ask, under a more credible leader, could Labour have one more seats?

        One can ask it and it’s going to be worth looking at the data. But we have to be super duper careful about confirmation bias. It’s really easy to say “Well, if we started 10 points up we would have crushed them!” but 1) if we had been 10 points up we wouldn’t have had an election and 2) it’s easy to imagine that in abtracto but generating a concrete scenario is harder.

        Corbyn did good.

        Now a good deal of this might be some polarisation style sorting plus turnout driven by some really bonkers May moves. That is, it turns out that Corbyn is at least replacement level but Labour still haven’t solved post Cameron politics.

        Or Corbyn has a particular youth appeal that will be hard to replicate without him and that this is a high water mark for us for a while.

        I think he at least deserves the benefit of the doubt. If we get a lot of evidence for “woulda but for JC” voters and young folks saying “I’m turning out against the Tories” then there’d be some evidence that Corbyn is a drag on the party (though clearly not as much as anticipated, by far).

        Until we have some solid data in that direction, the safer interpretation is that Corbyn as he was was at least as good as prior, centrist candidates, but none of them have a clear path to winning.

        But more pro Corbyn reads are at least as likely as more anti Corbyn reads.

        • And, if we’re intellectually honest, we have to ask whether Labour would have done better with a PLP more united behind Corbyn from the start.

          Without placing blame (either on the PLP for fucking up or Corbyn for bad management; it’s probably a mix…the most right didn’t give him a chance, but the rebellion consistent of a lot of people who gave him a chance), I’m unclear how much that mattered to the electoral fortunes just as I’m unclear that Corbyn ran behind a generic centre or centre-left candidate. There could be a substitution effect, i.e., that Corbyn types drive older trad voters but bring in the young but Miliband the reverse (that seems unlikely, really). In which case, the anti-corbynites (myself included) were wrong about him qua Labour’s electability (which is a good thing, since he’s not going anywhere; being wrong here is a profound relief). But that doesn’t mean Labour has a path to victory.

          I’m inclined to give Corbyn the benefit of the doubt if only to combat my own confirmation bias. I still am angry at him about Brexit, but that just means I need to be extra charitable.

          • sonamib

            I’m inclined to give Corbyn the benefit of the doubt if only to combat my own confirmation bias. I still am angry at him about Brexit, but that just means I need to be extra charitable.

            Yup, that’s how I think. He’s utterly wrong-headed on a very important issue (Brexit) and I’ll always hold this against him. But he proved me wrong re:quality as campaigner, he’s at least as good as a generic Labour leader.

            Let’s hope he manages to find a path to victory in the next election.

            • But he proved me wrong re:quality as campaigner, he’s at least as good as a generic Labour leader.

              (And of course paradoxically, that makes his referendum performance even more shameful. But that’s where we are.)

              • N__B

                The burden of expectations, applied retroactively. U.S. pols don’t have to deal with this, generally, because so few of them ever surprise us by acting better than we expect.

                • At the beginning of the campaign, when it seemed he was going to give a similar campaign performance, this made me feel better about him qua referendum. If he just sucks at campaigning, the ref was still bad, but he wasn’t dissembling.

                  The actual performance makes me madder at him over the referendum, but more accepting of him as a leader going forward.

                  The referendum performance is not the only time he acts a bit duplicitously. Trident and nuclear power are cases where the tension between what he wants and what the party has decided are at odds, but he can’t quite pull off the needle thread or bite the bullet and soldier. This weakened him as parliamentary leader because it’s hard to ask people to support the party line when you don’t so often.

                  There is the possibility that he sucked as a campaigner but got better. There’s some evidence of that but he was doing *very* badly up to a week or two in. Perhaps he just needed to be aligned for reals with the platform.

                • N__B

                  That all sounds right to me, as an outsider. Also, maybe he needs to have his back against the wall to focus and the Brexit vote wasn’t that important to him.

          • Rob in CT

            Yeah, both of these Bijan posts sound right to me. Granted, the fuck do I know, being an American who pays little attention to British politics? Maybe squat.

            But it holds together. According to some (whose inclinations I share), Corbyn was supposed to be a disaster for Labour. In our first real test of this, he did better than expected (though we can quibble about why expectations were low to begin with, of course). Further, it is not some iron law that the only splitters are Our Leftist Betters. Very Serious Centrists can be splitters who fuck everything up too – and it looks like Corbyn has a case here. Maybe if Labour had closed ranks ’round him from the start they’d be in a better position now.

            All in all this has to boost his credibility and harm that of the PLP, no?

            ETA: I think we also may want to think more about how someone can be the right leader for the right time, even if in another time they might be a terrible choice (the example that springs to mind is Churchill).

            • mds

              All in all this has to boost his credibility and harm that of the PLP, no?

              Dunno. They’re still the ones who had to actually win constituencies. The electorate weren’t casting their votes directly for PM, though that certainly has an effect. And there were certainly enough anecdotes floating around of, depending on the emphasis, “Yes, Corbyn, but I’m voting Labour anyway” and “I always vote Labour, but Corbyn …” So I would suspect it will take a bit of work to tease out (1) Yay, Corbyn; (2) Yay, my MP; and (3) Yay, Labour Party as influences.

              • All this plus

                (4) Boo May.

                There wasn’t time to replace the centrist MPs as candidates (or perhaps will as well). So basically everyone in parliament stood for their seats and buy and large everyone won. Some ran away from Corbyn. My impression was that Corbyn (and or antiMay) was a boost across the board.

        • mpowell

          This sounds like rewarding Corbyn for setting the bar too low to begin with though. Up to this point he had been a disaster of an opposition leader, which is why the polling was so favorable for the Tories that May chose to call for a snap election. Then Corbyn dramatically overperformed in the snap election, but still lost. Maybe this is a better outcome than having a truly capable opposition leader who wouldn’t get a shot until normally scheduled elections. But I don’t think we can credit Corbyn for that.

          The alternative of a different Labour leader is simply hard to evaluate. You just can’t give credit to Corbyn for outperforming his own miserable pre-snap election polling, but maybe this electoral result is the best labour could do at this moment. It just seems that with the poor conservative performance lately labour could be doing better.

          • This sounds like rewarding Corbyn for setting the bar too low to begin with though.

            I’m trying to navigate between overrewarding and overpunishing.

            Up to this point he had been a disaster of an opposition leader, which is why the polling was so favorable for the Tories that May chose to call for a snap election.

            I agree with the first and third but less clear on the second. His polling was poor, I’d guess, primarily because of his press and general public image. A small part of that was his actual performance as leader (esp in parliament; the referendum hurt him; the rebellion was, I’d guess, all lost on most voters).

            Then Corbyn dramatically overperformed in the snap election, but still lost. Maybe this is a better outcome than having a truly capable opposition leader who wouldn’t get a shot until normally scheduled elections. But I don’t think we can credit Corbyn for that.

            Well, not credit as in “he had cunning plan” no. But credit in that “He performed at least as well as a generic candidate and might do better next time” sure.

            You just can’t give credit to Corbyn for outperforming his own miserable pre-snap election polling, but maybe this electoral result is the best labour could do at this moment. It just seems that with the poor conservative performance lately labour could be doing better.

            Yep! Maybe he underperformed relative to a generic labour. But I’m going to want pretty hard evidence before I personally make that call.

            There is a story that has Corbyn or Corbyn related figures leading us to victory. What they’ve earned with this election is some serious thought about whether we can realise that story.

          • sonamib

            As I pointed out elsethread, Corbyn did better than Milliband, he reduced the Tories’ margin by 4 points. He is at the very least an average-quality campaigner.

            But you’re right that the anti-Corbynistas (myself included) did themselves no favor by putting the bar so low for Corbyn. A party leader who loses the general election is expected to step down, Corbyn won’t.

            • Steve LaBonne

              And who would be a replacement who could do better?

            • Murc

              A party leader who loses the general election is expected to step down, Corbyn won’t.

              The Labour Party, and to a lesser extent the Tories (viz. May not resigning but rather taking the tack of “if they want me gone they can boot me”) seems to be transitioning from a model of “tradition!” to “we have rules for who wins and who loses, if you want to lead you need to win under those rules.”

              Inasmuch as those rules seem to be fair and democratic, I can’t say as a I disapprove.

              • sonamib

                I don’t disapprove either, I think that must-resign rule is too harsh, there are certainly some cases where a party leader deserves to stay despite losing. Maybe when they only lose narrowly, increase their number of seats and narrow the gap wrt the Conservatives.

                I was just saying that if you wanted Corbyn to go, it was a bad idea to lower the bar of what “success” would look like for him.

                • Hmm. The downside is that general electorate preferences lose their force.

                  I know Murc and I disagree on this, but UK parties have limited membership. So they are not remotely representative of the base (think caucuses). Thus we’re in a position that a leader could stay on forever regardless of GE performance OR PLP (as representatives of the electorate) support.

                  So, we have more narrow scope accountability and less broad scope accountability which is net *less* democratic (literally, fewer people have an effective voice).

                  Now we could move to primaries, but we have no mechanism or infrastructure for that. We could move to direct elections.

                  We could move to explicit trigger conditions for resignation.

                  But the current set up is a probably worse hodgepodge.

                • Murc

                  I know Murc and I disagree on this, but UK parties have limited membership.

                  They really shouldn’t, tho.

                  I mean… I’ve said it before and I will again, the fact that the Labour Party, you know, the party of the working man, has a cover charge before it will allow you to participate politically within it seems dubious and hypocritical.

                  Now we could move to primaries, but we have no mechanism or infrastructure for that.

                  Isn’t the current push for mandatory re-selection basically a push for primaries?

                  Depending on how selection takes place, of course.

                • They really shouldn’t, tho.

                  I agree they shouldn’t! But that they do means that the party membership is not necessarily more democratic than, say, PLP voting.

                  I mean… I’ve said it before and I will again, the fact that the Labour Party, you know, the party of the working man, has a cover charge before it will allow you to participate politically within it seems dubious and hypocritical.

                  I find it weird.

                  Isn’t the current push for mandatory re-selection basically a push for primaries?

                  No, that just means caucuses every election. Selection is done by party members, I believe, not by a general vote. So it doesn’t even vaguely approximate US primaries.

                  ETA Really bowing out now. Nice to chat with you.

          • Brien Jackson

            I think it’s almost certain that Corbyn was a drag in the sense that past fuck ups costs Labour at the margins. Remember that those polls showing the Labour surge still showed that people didn’t really have faith in him as a potential PM, and in an election that seems to have been “won” in large part thanks to anti-Brexit sentiments his obvious closet-leave position almost certainly hurt.

            So really the answer seems to be that Corbyn ran a good campaign and probably brought positives to the table, but if he hadn’t fucked up so collossally prior to the election he might be the PM.

            • so-in-so

              Except, his polling would have been higher earlier, so no snap election… unless you mean he would have got in instead of Cameron.

    • econoclast

      I think the difficulty with this argument is that Corbyn is sufficiently left that a social democratic Labour manifesto can emerge as a compromise position. Most candidates that look better on paper would be too timid to call for free college or renationalizing the railways.

      • Warren Terra

        But until the 2010 general election didn’t the country have free college? With one of the coalition partners in the resulting government having campaigned on free college? And doesn’t Scotland still have free college?

        Free college hardly seems like a distant memory in the UK. Nationalizing the railroads may be more of a reach.

        • Simeon

          Tony Blair introduced tuition fees, not Davey Cameron. Cameron just tripled the maximum fees that universities were allowed to charge.

          • Warren Terra

            OK; my mistake. Still makes it only twenty years ago or so.

            • thegonch

              You’re slightly missing the point though. It was only Corbyn that could make the promise to abolish and be believed. the assumption that there is an obvious ‘better candidate’ is not clear. Perhaps Corbyn hidden advantage is that the Tory’s reason he’s seen as bad PM “he’s promising madness from the magic money tree! And he won’t nuke the world!” [tory press…extreme Blairites] is WHY people voted for him; they might be a bit “not too much Jezza” but they want some of it at least and they believe him.

              • sibusisodan

                I’m wondering if after 7 years of Tory dominated austerity for most and money for some, combined with QE, plenty of people figure that there may well be a magic money tree, and they would like some of its fruit.

                • Steve LaBonne

                  They know damn well there IS a magic money tree for the 1%, and they want some of the money back to meet basic human needs.

          • Well sorta.

            Blair’s fees were supposed to be “top up” not full tuition. Unis still got a chunk from HEFCE per student.

            The tripling went with a fundamental change to the model.

            Blair did open the door, but it’s unclear that the Tories wouldn’t have gone there anyway.

        • wengler

          Many states in the US used to have free college. Today it’s just a crazy commie dream just like healthcare in the future for the vast majority of people. ‘We can’t afford it, is just another way of saying ‘we don’t want to pay for it.’

          • Warren Terra

            Yup; even just ~25 years ago in-state tuition was often fairly nominal. And wasn’t part or all of CCNY tuition-free until just recently?

          • Ronan

            I dont know about Free third level. It generally works as a subsidy to the wealthier classes, and doesn’t tend to increase access for people from lower income households. The fees in the US are ridiculous, but I don’t think the UK system is terrible tbh.

            • sonamib

              One major justification for public funding of education is that it has positive externalities. A more educated population makes the country wealthier (in raw $$), which benefits everyone.

              doesn’t tend to increase access for people from lower income households

              Really? I’d like to see a cite for that. If you have to take enormous loans to educate yourself, then surely lower-income students will definitely not go to the university. If it’s free, they have a chance at least. And we could work on analysing what exactly is preventing them from attending university and trying to address those problems. Like Brazil did, with its quota system for public school students (almost all the toffs go to private schools there).

              • Ronan

                In Ireland it didnt(for people from low income backgrounds anyway, who would have been covered by grants anyway. probably made it easier for the normal middle class)

                http://www.irisheconomy.ie/index.php/2010/05/23/kevin-denny-the-effect-of-abolishing-university-fees/

                In UK attendance by lower income unaffected since fees.(cant find the cite at the minute)

                A more progressive policy, particularly in context like UK where resources are more limited, would be to invest more in pre third level education, and less in third level.

                • sonamib

                  Ok, fair enough. I still think the positive externalities argument works, i.e. you actually get more money out of it than you put in.

                • Ronan

                  You’re probably right. I also think it potentially gives the educated classes (and so future middle/upper classes) a bigger buy in to the welfare state, so Im not opposed to free fees in some respects(and in theory, as part of an extensive welfare state, I could see myself being more sympathetic) Just in places where the tax base is diminishing and the welfare state under attack more generally, there are probably better ways to spend the money.

                • But the problem is that instead of grants we have loans and the loan book is not well designed.

                  I agree that free tuition in practice is a middle to upper class benefit primarily. But there are other externalities on fee based systems including tendencies toward spiralling tuition (even with cost controls).

          • mpowell

            It’s a crazy commie dream because school administrators have vastly increased the cost of providing education. Having the federal government fully subsidize whatever schools want to charge is not going make the situation better. If you want to campaign on fully subsidizing students up to the level of what education cost in 1990 (updated for CPI), I’m all for it.

            • Rob in CT

              Totally agree on administrative bloat.

              But how much of the cost increase is attributable to special ed costs? I have to think some. We definitely take special needs more seriously now than we did when I was a kid.

            • sonamib

              I have the impression that in countries with free or almost free college, costs are under control. Costs per student (PPP adjusted) are 20% lower in countries with free or almost free tuition such as Belgium, France and Germany, than in the USA. Admittedly, the UK also has lower costs, but they’ve transitioned only recently to a paying model.

              So maybe transitioning back to public financing of universities will bring US costs under control?

      • MacK

        The thing is, I can make a thoroughly conservative (genuine) and capitalist/free market case (as opposed to bullshitter-Republican/`Tory) case for nationalisation of any ‘natural monopoly’ like water, roads, electricity distribution and railways. I wish Corbyn had pointed that reality out.

    • wengler

      under a more credible leader, could Labour have one more seats?

      What you should be asking yourself is in the age of austerity what does a Labour coalition look like?

      • MacK

        Hard to say. The Tories are a flock of flaming gobshites, with few exceptions, Corbyn is a fantasist surrounded by trots, the rest of Labour Social Democrats – but then so are the LibDems. Conservatives are not really in any way fiscally responsible and are short-termists to a man and woman.

        Austerity has proved pointless as implemented because it hurts the growth curve so much it cannot fix the deficits – but, the NHS has a long term problem with its cost curve, while Brexit is lunacy.

    • Ronan

      They(DUP) do seem to be soft brexit

      https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DB3X3aFUAAA5Bdk.jpg:large

      But also pretty incompetent

    • Daragh

      Agreed. And we should also consider the direction of travel –

      2010 – PM from centrist wing of Tories with Lib Dem training wheels.
      2015 – PM from centrist wing of Tories reliant on right-wing backbenchers
      2016 – PM from right-wing of party reliant on right-wing backbenchers
      2017 – PM from right-wing of party reliant on ultra-right wing DUP.

      In other words, as good as Corbyn must be feeling today, the overall centre of gravity in the government itself has shifted steadily to the right.

      • Ronan

        The DUP are nuts in a lot of way, but they’re more pro immigrant than UKIP and the Tory right and more sane on Brexit.
        Other than that, NI and England are two separate political contexts, so a decline of the right in England meaning an alliance is necessary with the NI right is not really a shift ‘in the overall centre of gravity’ in general. It’s surely a sign of weakness of the English nativist right.

        • Davis X. Machina

          The DUP are nuts in a lot of way, but they’re more pro immigrant than UKIP and the Tory right and more sane on Brexit.

          Two low bars, those.

          • Daragh

            My understanding is the DUP are pretty hard core Brexiteers.

  • ForkyMcSpoon

    Have to wonder how this result would be received if Ed Miliband had stayed on. I suspect a lot of people who are celebrating would instead be derisively saying it wasn’t good enough.

    I don’t really know whether Corbyn can ultimately win or not. I’m not an expert on UK politics. But I’m glad Theresa May shot herself in the foot, and I hope Labour can win or form a majority coalition next time. And here’s hoping that happens sooner than 2022.

    • thegonch

      Ed Milliband was tarnished by involvement in the New Labour project. Corbyn wasn’t. Also Milliband was never as far behind in the polls as Corbyns Labour.

  • RD

    Some ‘moral victory’. Hurrah, Corbyn almost managed to climb out of the enormous hole he crawled into in the first place! He still lost, so that means he’s got to go away and never speak in public again, because it’s all his fault, right? That’s the rule now, right? Or have the left, as I predicted, suddenly rediscovered that there are other reasons for election losses besides choice of leader?

    • jpgray

      But what a climb! Even accepting voter loyalties are far more fluid in the UK, when was the last time Labour had this kind of voter share? ’97?

      To make an unholy mess of your metaphor, isn’t it more like miraculously building a stepladder out of dirt and sticks after your hole-climbing, so at the end you stand a bit higher than before, in spite of everything?

      And he didn’t dig that hole alone. Plenty were around to dig it deeper and to hasten his crawl into it, enemies, “allies” and allies alike.

      • econoclast

        I think RD is making fun of the argument that since Hillary Clinton lost she should never appear in public again.

        • jpgray

          That makes sense. It’s late and I am slow by nature.

      • RD

        ‘And he didn’t dig that hole alone. Plenty were around to dig it deeper and to hasten his crawl into it, enemies, “allies” and allies alike.’

        Yup, there it is.

        • jpgray

          I don’t think the analogy to HRC holds.

          All but the most marginal of marginal “Democrats” refused to buy into lame caricatures of HRC, got in behind her, and supported her. For Corbyn… not so much.

          I try to imagine having 20% of elected Democrats going the Zell Miller route on her and just can’t see it. I can’t even see that with Bernie, at least not in anything close to same proportions. Even if by some miracle Kucinich got the nom in his runs, it would be more teeth-grinding silence than gleeful shit-talking and open rebellions.

          The media treatment on the other hand had many similarities. It wasn’t the same either, but a lot of “allies” stuck knives in over and over and over.

          HRC had to struggle against the impossible charisma trap laid open for any female candidate, and that was strengthened a thousandfold by twenty-five years of pre-Goring. Absolutely disgusting treatment.

      • sonamib

        But what a climb! Even accepting voter loyalties are far more fluid in the UK, when was the last time Labour had this kind of voter share? ’97?

        You shouldn’t look at the vote share, you should look at the spread between Conservatives and Labour. UKIP vote collapsed because there’s not much point to the party now that Brexit is a done deal. Lib Dems collapsed because no one likes them anymore after the coalition government. You can’t really credit Labour for those two phenomena.

        Also, if the Tories are chasing fringe voters in the UKIP, Labour shouldn’t give them room to do that, they should try to attract moderates who will be squicked out by the UKIP pandering. Don’t let the Tories both consolidate their right flank and keep the center.

        That said, Corbyn still did better than Milliband. In 2015, the Conservatives got 36.9% and Labour 30.4% (Con+6.5), in 2017, it’s 42.4% versus 40% (Con+2.4). So Corbyn closed the gap by 4 points.

        But of course, Milliband was running against Cameron who, for all his faults and terrible decisions, is still a much better campaigner than May. So, how much of those 4 points correspond to May’s incompetence and how much corresponds to Corbyn’s qualities (sigh) is anyone’s guess.

        A final complication is that, if Corbyn was perceived to be competent, May would never have called a snap election. So you needed someone who looked weak but was in fact pretty strong. Corbyn almost managed to pull it off.

        TL;DR: I have to grudgingly admit that Corbyn is better than average at electoral politics, at least when compared to other UK politicians.

        • nemdam

          But of course, Milliband was running against Cameron who, for all his faults and terrible decisions, is still a much better campaigner than May. So, how much of those 4 points correspond to May’s incompetence and how much corresponds to Corbyn’s qualities (sigh) is anyone’s guess.

          As an America who knows basically nothing about UK politics, this is the part that I see missing in the analysis of Labour’s performance. The conventional wisdom is that Theresa May ran a horrible campaign and therefore blew her big lead. But what if the Conservatives ran an average or above-average candidate like Cameron? (He won two elections so I assume he’s at least average.) Would they not have easily won a majority, and if so, wouldn’t all the analysis about Labour’s strong showing be completely different?

          It’s always hard to attribute what factors led to an electoral outcome (at least harder than the effect of a certain letter by a certain Man of Unimpeachable Integrity). But if the conventional wisdom about May is accurate, then that means that Labour lost an election against a weak candidate. Doesn’t this make the path to victory even tougher if the Conservatives run a good candidate?

          My probably awful American hot take is that though the night was a relief for Labour in that they avoided the apocalypse, they still have a long way to go to actually win and that going hard left is not the path (though to be fair going hard left is not the path to doom either).

      • Note that The Conservative’s voter share also climbed.

        It was a bad night for third parties.

        ETA 2005 Blair had 40%

    • efgoldman

      He still lost, so that means he’s got to go away and never speak in public again, because it’s all his fault, right?

      Well, he ought to at least stop breathing so he doesn't use up all the oxygen.

  • aab84

    Genuine question: can anyone remember a worse major party campaign than the one Theresa May just ran? Even over here in the states, the incompetence was so blatant as to be almost offensive.

    • wengler

      In retrospect, basing a major part of her campaign on stealing kids’ lunches seems to have been a bad idea.

      • Warren Terra

        There was a lot of coverage of a Tory plan to seize the assets of the deceased to compensate the state for the money it had spent on their care, but the elderly voted heavily for the Tories so who knows?

        • MacK

          I hate to be fair to May, but……it was a proposal to change the arrangement where the contributions to personal care were capped at £30,000, which benefited the rich, to one where the state could not take your last £100,000 which favoured the working class, who rarely have much more.

          • FOARP

            If there was one thing that made me angry during this election, it was the fact that it was THIS, not May’s disastrous Brexit policy, stirring up of xenophobia, or authoritarianism, that finally turned people against her.

            Old people in the UK seem OK with harming the economy so young people find it difficult to find work, cutting off our opportunities to go overseas, making it difficult for our foreign-born friends and spouses to come to live with us in the UK, censoring and spying on us – but touch the unearned wealth stored in their houses and their state ‘pensions’ (basically a benefit paid for by the in-work generation)? Sacrilege!

          • Bill Murray

            it was a proposal to change the arrangement where the contributions to personal care were capped at £30,000, which benefited the rich, to one where the state could not take your last £100,000 which favoured the working class, who rarely have much more.

            does the working class often have more than 30,000 GBP saved up? The numbers look at least as much as if it’s leaving more money for the rich and reducing the amount of money available to the program and government, leading to another cycle of austerity

    • Lurking Canadian

      I don’t see any mention of the snap election being a factor, but could it have been?

      There was a case many years ago of an Ontario provincial election that was called way earlier than tradition and law mandated because the polls looked good. The party in power had a minority (or maybe a small majority?), they thought the polls were pointing to a landslide, so they called an election .

      There was a real feeling of, “Oh yeah? No, fuck YOU” in the public who felt like the market being timed. The big lead evaporated and the sure landslide turned into a minority for the other party.

      I don’t know if that was a factor here, given the emotional content of May’s policies, but it sure feels the same in outline.

      • I feel like that is sometimes the outcome of recall elections in the US. The attempted recall of Scott Walker seems to have been a huge mistake, for instance.

  • wengler

    The disappointment of some of the commentators here after Theresa May committed one of the biggest blunders in modern British political history is perplexing.

    If you are morally invested in the failure of Corbyn’s Labour party, maybe you aren’t actually Labour.

    • jpgray

      I’d actually like those in the know to comment on something.

      Let’s posit a softer-Left, strong Remain Labour leader:

      1. What happens to the youth turnout?
      2. What happens to voter share in Leave areas?
      3. What happens to the Labour take of the UKIP implosion?

      I’m in the US, but it seems to me Corbyn was uniquely positioned to do comparatively well in this specific election, even if you think he’s a weirdo loon incompetent.

      • thegonch

        I don’t really understand this question. Well, I do, but things have changed, so why present a counter factual about circumstances that no longer exist. Still I’ll try…

        1. The youth had started to mobilise about equality and social justice before Brexit, so Brexit might be “the straw that broke the camels back”. Remain plus soft-left is only 50% of the deal. Uni fees really are key. You might then say “But Corbyn missed his 50% of the deal on Brexit”. However, I think this criticism of Corbyn and Brexit missed two points. A/ to some perhaps his position was viweded as he was ‘genuinely’ torn between criticism of EU austerity and support for EU social justice/rights. So, confused for some = honest to others. B/ He did not chose to push for hard Brexit, and has successfully been able to be seen as ‘softer’ in light of the Tory’s.

        So, to answer; I don’t think your proposed mythical leader wins as much if the youth.

        2. Depends on the type of leave area. They were not homogeneous.

        3. Likely the same; again not homgenous.

        • jpgray

          My simplistic thoughts were:

          1. Milder moderate leftism loses some of the youth engagement
          2. Strong Remain is a drag on Leave areas versus Corbyn, who is seen as eurosceptic
          3. Haters of elites and globalist consensus politics (my no doubt ignorant caricature of UKIPers) would respond poorly to a starched PR darling of a plausible soft-Left big Remainer – at least, those who were on offer in Labour.

      • sonamib

        I’m in the US, but it seems to me Corbyn was uniquely positioned to do comparatively well in this specific election, even if you think he’s a weirdo loon incompetent.

        Yes, I have to agree with that. Corbyn was the only man who could pull this off. You needed both :

        1) Someone who looked unlikeable and goofy and unelectable, so that May would feel tempted to call the snap election

        2) Someone who actually turned out to be likeable and a better-than-average campaigner

        Of course, May’s blundering helped.

    • econoclast

      Are there any commenters that are actually disappointed? Anyone? Bueller?

      • Yeah, I was seeing this on the other thread too. A lot of condemnation of phantoms.

      • Warren Terra

        Yeah, I really dislike Corbyn (while also being amazed about the state of the party, ie that he got to monopolize the “didn’t-cheerlead-for-the-Iraq-invasion” vote in that party leadership contest), but like pretty much everyone else here I’m glad with any good news for Labour, even if I worry about empowering some of his worst friends.

    • RD

      ‘No, no, coming in second place to a useless idiot is GOOD now, because, um…’

  • Theresa May

    So. Take backsies?

    • jpgray

      Back to the wheat fields!

  • Gareth

    There’s one thing I haven’t seen addressed – that is obviously not a bucket on his head.

  • Gary K

    The case of California is ridiculous, but why do you think it’s evident that the US House of Representatives is too large? Yes, every congressperson represents a lot of people, but the body itself is quite large. Making it larger would make it unwieldy, don’t you think? If every member represented 200,000 people, there would be more than 1600 members. How would that work? What, in your opinion, would be the ideal size?

    By the way, the size of the House used to be up for grabs, and that led to a lot of wrangling. Google “Alabama Paradox.” That anomaly can no longer occur, but it’s still the case that increasing the size of the House by one seat means that just one state gets one more seat. At whatever size you cut off, there’s some lucky state that just got its last seat, and another unlucky state that would have gotten (but didn’t get) its next seat.

    • Lurking Canadian

      The obvious (and obviously won’t happen) solution is to say that all districts must be the same size. Since you are wtuxk with a minimum of one per state, define quantum Q to be the population of the least populous state, then each state gets round(state population/Q) districts.

      My preference then would be for the members to be allotted at-large, based on the overall percentages of votes across the state, to avoid gerrymandering. But that’s probably a bad idea for some other reason I can’t think of at 4:14am and anyway, it’s only coming after my unicorn.

      • I was going to say that at-large multi-member elections are unconstitutional, but it turns out they’re just illegal by statute — a 1967 law passed with the intention of forbidding Southern states from using a statewide vote to dilute the black vote. So that could be repealed as part of a reform.

        • Gregor Sansa

          We posted at about the same time, but the GOLD voting I mention just below wouldn’t even require overturning the 1967 law (which was actually a rider on a law making one doctor in Pensacola eligible for citizenship).

      • Gregor Sansa

        Proportional representation is the best way to end gerrymandering, so your instincts are good. But at-large isn’t the best PR method. An optionally delegated (“GOOD”, for Graded Or Optionally Delegated) method like GOLD voting keeps the simple ballots and geographic representativity of FPTP while getting rid of the wasted votes.

      • Just_Dropping_By

        define quantum Q to be the population of the least populous state

        A.K.A. the “Wyoming Rule”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wyoming_Rule

    • SIWOTI

      The US House of Representatives is already too large. It’s already unwieldy as it is. Making it more unwieldy wouldn’t make it worse, simply because it is already past the tipping point where every member can know each other. Each Party is past the point where every member of each party could know each other. Which is why, ultimately, the House runs along much stricter lines for it to function as a body. Anything below 2000 members is probably workable as a legislative body, but I’m not sure that there is an ideal size.

      • StellaB

        Yes, but large, urban states are underrepresented vs. small rural states. Why should my vote as a Californian be less valuable than that of my crazy, Fox News watching, Wyoming relatives?

        • Matt McIrvin

          Because your crazy, Fox News watching, Wyoming relatives have effective veto power over changing the situation.

          • mds

            Well, except the status quo has held since the Reapportionment Act of 1929. I don’t think the crazy, Fox News watching Wyoming relatives have had veto power that whole time. It’s more that’s it’s virtually never even been seriously considered.

            Of course, even if Democrats regained control of Congress, and decided to get behind a House expansion, the modern GOP would block it as you indicate unless the filibuster were abolished. But that should happen anyway, so the Wyoming relatives lose their current veto power over almost anything good and decent being accomplished.

            • MidwestVillager

              The cap on seats was enacted precisely to give the crazy Wyoming relative veto power because the Drys were afraid that increasing seats to reflect growing urban populations would result in the overturning of Prohibition.

              • Hogan

                Well THAT sure worked.

        • Bill Murray

          on the other hand your vote is worth more than one in Montana and probably South Dakota. Also, there are small Democratic states, too. Many California districts are under the average district size, although that’s mostly in the Southern part of the state

  • GeorgeBurnsWasRight

    Any sense as to how much this election was driven by people who either hadn’t voted for Remain or wished they hadn’t vote Brexit?

    (I know that Corbyn’s position on the issue was weak at best, but it was better than May’s. And I also know that at this point it would be like putting toothpaste back into the tube to remain. But still, I think a lot of Brits may have been reminded that elections do have consequences.)

    • thegonch

      We’ll find out, but I think it’s as much an election about austerity. May telling a nurse who’s pay has not increased with inflation “there is no magic money tree” was the real sort of problem.

      Same with terror yet attacks and clear police cuts…

      I genuinely think Brexit is less important than the nationwide impact of cuts and concern about how those cuts will be exacerbated by Brexit.

    • Steve LaBonne

      Corbyn’s fuzziness seems to me the only possible survival strategy for a party leader whose voters are deeply divided on Brexit. Corbyn’s talent for dissimulation is certainly not admirable, but let’s not pretend that it isn’t a talent that all successful politicians have in their toolboxes.

      • sonamib

        Didn’t he call for Labour MPs to vote for Brexit back in February? Even made it a triple-line whip? That’s not fuzziness, that’s being pro-Leave.

        Granted, he’s fuzzy about soft versus hard Brexit. Maybe that’s what you meant.

        • ProudChristianProg

          He wanted Brexit from the start. He barely hid it.

        • Steve LaBonne

          He campaigned (allegedly half-heartedly but he campaigned) for Remain in the referendum. Then after the referendum he- wisely in my estimation- declined to tarnish his party with much of its working-class base by making a quixotic gesture to try to block Brexit. Face it, he succeeded in having it both ways. I understand why that infuriates people but politicians do what they have to do. (Yes, the fact that he pretends to be the purest of the pure makes that harder to swallow. But also more successful!)

          • Then after the referendum he- wisely in my estimation- declined to tarnish his party with much of its working-class base by making a quixotic gesture to try to block Brexit.

            He went well beyond this.

            The three line whip was particularly egregious. The bulk of the party was going to vote to authorise, no question. All the whip did is put MPs in remain heavy seats in a very awkward position.

            His overall behaviour is affirmatively pro brexit rather than a leader trying to navigate a divided voter base. His overall effect post-referendum may be a softer Brexit or perhaps a Brexit collapse as no one can pull it together.

          • sonamib

            Would it have been quixotic though? I know it’s a long shot, but maybe a staunch Remain partisan could have convinced all of Labour and enough Conservative defectors to vote against article 50.

            But even if I grant that it would have been quixotic, did he need to make it a three-line whip? Did he need to ask everyone to vote for it? He could just have left his MPs decide for themselves whether it was better for them to vote one way or the other. That tarnished his party with the 2/3 of their voters who voted Remain. He didn’t even try to get it both ways here.

            • Steve LaBonne

              And yet the results show that he was right and you are wrong. He put the issue behind the party so firmly that it hardly came up in the campaign. However passionately you- and from a distance I (I think Brexit is suicidal insanity)- may feel about it, the voters clearly had other concerns at the top of their minds.

              • And yet the results show that he was right and you are wrong.

                Say what? You do no that many Labour MPs defied the three line whip? Including some of the whips?

                He put the issue behind the party so firmly that it hardly came up in the campaign.

                This isn’t a plausible interpretation of events. Or reporting of events.

              • sibusisodan

                I don’t think there was any need for a 3 line whip to put the issue to bed. Art 50 would have been passed without it, and it’s that which has drawn the sting from Brexit: we’re doing this.

              • sonamib

                On reflection, I shouldn’t have written the first paragraph, it’s very weak. I’d like to see you address the second paragraph, i.e. did he need to make it a super-special super-important Labour policy to vote for article 50? That’s what a three-line whip means. He gave no room for MPs in heavy Remain areas to vote in their self-interest (see Bijan’s comment).

                That was a mistake. Maybe Labour could have picked up more seats in and around London if he hadn’t done that, if he truly had wanted to have it both ways.

                I mean, you started arguing that his fuzziness on Brexit was an asset, now you’re arguing that his staunch pro-Brexitness worked? Which one is it?

                • Steve LaBonne

                  If it was a mistake, it clearly wasn’t a very damaging one. The youth vote that boosted Labour’s results is as I understand it generally strongly pro-EU. And you don’t address the small but significant number of voters who returned to the Labour fold after defecting to UKIP. Any hint of being willing to try to overturn the referendum result would have lost them. And again, calling someone who campaigned for remain “strongly pro-Brexit” is more than a bit of a stretch, regardless of how you feel about his sincerity. Yes, I think he successfully had it both ways and I think the results demonstrate that clearly.

                • And again, calling someone who campaigned for remain “strongly pro-Brexit” is more than a bit of a stretch, regardless of how you feel about his sincerity. Yes, I think he successfully had it both ways and I think the results demonstrate that clearly.

                  Called for Art 50 triggering the day after the ref.

                  Pushed for a 3 line whip on art 50 triggering.

                  Long standing left euroskeptic.

                  His public performance in the ref.

                  The private reporting on his ref behaviour.

                  it’s a pretty clear picture.

                  Yes there are other issues than Brexit. And so?

                • Steve LaBonne

                  So those other issues are evidently what actually motivated voters yesterday.

                • sonamib

                  May also campaigned for Remain. Would you argue she’s not a staunch Brexiter now, after the referendum? Now, apply the same standard to Corbyn, now, after the referendum.

                  Again, a 3-line whip is not “having it both ways”, however you want to define it. It might have been a good strategy (I’m skeptical) but you can’t possibly define it as “having it both ways”.

                • We’re going to need some data to go from “with no plausible remain option on the table, remain didn’t determine the vote” to “Corbyn defanged brexit”.

                  I mean, I voted Labour and am passionately remain. All the passionate remain voters I know voted Labour. Greens stepped down in certain marginal seats to oppose Tory hard Brexit.

                  A lot of this campaign was anti May and anti-May Brexit.

                  Now if there’s a robust recovery of Brexit supporting tradtional labour strongholds, then you have a case. I’ve not seen that breakdown yet.

                • Steve LaBonne

                  May is a staunch Brexiter because that’s the only way she could become party leader. I don’t think she has any convictions at all except that Theresa May should be PM.

                • sibusisodan

                  If I look at things slightly sideways, I can see Corbyn’s parliamentary actions post referendum as stemming from an attempt to manoeuvre – badly – for authority and advantage in both the PLP and the House.

                  What they say to me is not ‘aha! Closet leaver all along!’ but ‘further evidence of his weaknesses as a parliamentarian.’

                • And the evidence is against you:

                  https://www.ft.com/content/dac3a3b2-4ad7-11e7-919a-1e14ce4af89b?mhq5j=e2

                  One leading theory was that Leave-voting Labour areas may have become fertile ground for the Conservatives to make gains, so to what extent did this prove to be true?

                  With almost all seats reporting, the statistical association between a constituency’s “Labour Leave vote” — an admittedly rough metric calculated by multiplying the 2015 Labour vote by the Leave vote — and that constituency’s swing from Labour to the Conservatives proved to be strong.

                  Now that’s not conclusive esp on counterfactuals (perhaps being softer on brexit would have triggered EVEN BIGGER swings toward conservatives). But it’s not supportive.

                  And

                  In the final days of the campaign, Labour appeared to be getting a Ukip boost of their own, suggesting the benefits might be spread equally between both parties , but the results — and polling from Lord Ashcroft — suggest the Tories were the clear winners in this regard.

                  On a seat-by-seat basis, Ukip losses were extremely closely associated with Conservative gains, and the relationship grows even stronger after adjusting for the EU referendum result.

                • Let me emphasise that strong certain statements about what happened and why (esp my own…I’m trying to be careful but I might slip) are unwise. There’s a lot of strangeness going on and we don’t have all the data. It a lot of cases, one could assert, with as much ground, either way, e.g.,

                  BUTFORCORBYN we’d have won outright! (But there wouldn’t have been an election!)

                  BUTFORPLPPERFIDY we’d have won outright! (But…how exactly did that play out… it’s not like we lost a lot of centrist seats.)

                  BUTFORCORBYNSBREXITDEFTNESS we’d have lost harder because the country wants leave.

                  BUTFORCORBYNSBREXITFISTEDNESS we’d have done even better because remain would have driven even higher turnout.

                  It’s easy to make a story for most of these. Ruling them out or sorting the probabilities will take a while (and be underdetermined in the best of circumstances).

                • sonamib

                  As my final word on this thread, I think we need to separate the 2 questions :

                  1) Is Corbyn fuzzy on Brexit or is he pro-Brexit?

                  2) Are Corbyn’s positions on Brexit a good strategy or not

                  Re 1: I’m pretty sure that he’s pro-Brexit, his actions speak for themselves (see Bijan for a round-up).

                  Re 2: I’m a lot less sure of that, but I think he should have tried to have it both ways a lot more. Like, no 3-line whips. Be vague, leave room for both Remainers and soft Brexiters. Make the Tories pay their UKIP voters by losing moderates.

                • Steve LaBonne

                  I didn’t say Labour got most of the ex-UKIP voters. But from what I’ve read it appears they got enough in key constituencies to make a difference. We’ll see bhat the post-mortem analyses end up saying.

                • Steve LaBonne
                • Steve that’s an interesting counterpoint. But now we have contradictor analyses without access to the data. More will come.

                  (And I didn’t say you said that Labour took more from UKIP. The FT article suggests that Labour didn’t get much at all and looking to Brexit posturing needs a lot more.)

                  ETA: I’ve seen Clegg’s loss attributed to revenge on university fees.

                • Steve LaBonne

                  Look, from my semi-ignorant American perspective I shared the conventional wisdom that Corbyn was a hopelessly inept leader and should have stepped down when it became clear that he had lost the confidence of the PLP. Events have proven that I was wrong, and when that happens I change my mind, as I’m trained to do as a scientist.

                • Gregor Sansa

                  Speaking of access to data… anybody know where I can get it? As in, a spreadsheet of every candidate with their constituency, party id, and vote totals?

                • Uh…and this pronouncement is in service of what? It’s entirely possible that Corbyn should have stepped down at the rebellion *and* he did very well in this campaign.

                  But ok, I’m glad you’re a scientist? Congrats?

                • Steve LaBonne

                  I’m simply saying that a lot of people slagged Corbyn in large part because they were sure he’d be an electoral disaster. They were wrong, and should admit it. You have done so, very much to your credit.

              • econoclast

                This is an insane definition of “right”. Electoral success = “right”? Is Trump right?

                • Steve LaBonne

                  Does Trump support progressive policies? So, no.

  • FOARP

    And heeere comes the DUP coalition deal:

    https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/jun/09/theresa-may-reaches-deal-with-dup-to-form-government-after-shock-election-result-northern-ireland

    Cobyn’s history with the IRA was deservedly lambasted, but there’s a lot of distasteful characters in the DUP as well.

    Worth noting also: a Labour deal with the DUP wouldn’t have been impossible if Labour wasn’t led by Corbyn.

    EDIT: and the “no special status for Northern Ireland” commitment is logically going to be near-impossible to deliver with hard Brexit.

    • Warren Terra

      Seriously? Even though the Tories are officially still the “Conservative and Unionist Party”? The party of killing Republicans under Thatcher? And even though you stress the Republican sympathies of Corbyn, it was the non-Corbyn wing of Labour that made peace with Sinn Fein …

      I’m American and not deeply knowledgeable on British, Irish, or Ulster politics, but the idea of the DUP not joining the Tories seems crazy to me.

      • FOARP

        “Even though the Tories are officially still the “Conservative and Unionist Party”? “

        Probably worth going over the fact that the Unionist tradition that the DUP represents – that of people like Ian Paisley and not moderates like Trimble – sees the Tories as a group that’s just ready to sell them out and doesn’t care about them. The whole kerfuffle over the Anglo-Irish agreement is worth reading about on this.

        Ian Paisley hated Thatcher, described her as “Jezebel” for wanting to pursue power-sharing institutions and cross-border co-operation with the Republic. “Killing republicans” (by which I think you meaning shoot-to-kill against IRA men) made her no friends with folk like Paisley when Loyalists paramilitaries were also under the cosh and peace deals were being pursued.

        And even though you stress the Republican sympathies of Corbyn, it was the non-Corbyn wing of Labour that made peace with Sinn Fein …

        Blair and Major made the peace, as part of a deal which voters in NI and the Republic ratified via a referendum. By contrast, Corbyn represented a fringe-group of IRA cheer-leaders within the Labour party.

        The DUP’s support wouldn’t automatically be in the bag for the Conservatives if Labour were led by someone like David Milliband. This is particularly the case now that Labour sister party in NI, the SDLP, has now lost its last parliamentary seat.

        • Steve LaBonne

          Labour would have like 200 seats if someone like David Milliband were the leader, so the question would never arise.

          • Er…There’s little evidence of this.

            • Steve LaBonne

              You actually think someone like him would have brought out that youth vote? Come on.

              • The problem is that if we have a substitutivity effect, then swap Corbyn for Miliband and you lose youth turn out and gain trad labour voters for roughly the same game.

                Also, we’re not super clear how much is pro-Corbyn mobilisation and how much is anti-May counter mobilisation.

                Positing 200 for a generic centre left Labour is on thinner evidentiary grounds that the pre/early election projections for a Corbyn debacle.

        • farin

          sees the Tories as a group that’s just ready to sell them out and doesn’t care about them.

          Seems like at this point any potential coalition partners should see them this way.

    • RD

      So the Tory manifesto, plus witch burning and creationism. What a magnificent fucking ‘victory’ for the left.

  • ProudChristianProg

    Not particularly excited about the normalization of blatant Anti-Semitism this result foretells.

  • Karen24

    This is the first election defeat for Trump. (Yeah, yeah, different country and all, but hear me out for a minute.). American elections are elections affect the entire world, and the world reacts to our elections. Trump is now the leader of worldwide conservatism, and is doing a complete bollocks of a job of it. All conservative policiticas now have to address HIM. Theresa May failed to condemn Trump when he insulted the mayor of London and implied that the most important thing about the Manchester bombing was that it supported his anti-Muslim policies. I’m certain the dementia tax was the most important issue, but I’m also sure that the idea of seeing years of pictures of May smiling next to Twitter repelled voters. Thus, the world might survive this after all.

    • FOARP

      Umm. No.

      Gordon Brown was not led by Obama nor did he have to address him. David Cameron did not have to address Obama either. No-one here in the UK cares much about Trump beyond thinking him (in the main) a $%^&ing idiot – they will not vote based on him.

      Why did May not condemn Trump? Because her idiotic Brexit policies mean we can no longer risk anything about our relationship with the US. Probably for no gain, of course, because Trump is a rattlesnake who doesn’t even understand the concept of gratitude.

      • so-in-so

        Heh, May publicly held Drumpf’s hand, something his wife conspicuously avoids.

  • FOARP

    One sad point about this election: both the moderate parties in Northern Ireland (UUP and SDLP) have finally lost all their seats. With the exception of one independent, all seats are now held by either Sinn Fein or the DUP.

    • sibusisodan

      Can anyone comment on what’s driving that? Brexit + wrangles with power sharing?

      • Ronan

        Im not overly clued in on NI so take my thoughts with a pinch of salt(also others chime in) but my impression is the results this time were more tangentially related to Brexit, ie it opened up the national question again( a border poll on Irish unity .. unlikely in reality, but rhetorically) which drove support to the more hardline parties. The DUP made explicit calls for unionist unity in the face of the prospect, and there was a similar nationalist rallying to SF.
        More generally though, my impression is that it’s part of a more long term decline of the moderate nationalist and unionist parties. (I think there’s been a shift to newer parties in the Stormont elections, but not sure if they run for Westminster. So ‘shift to the extremes’ might not be overly representative of domestic opinion in general)

  • sibusisodan

    Sleep-deprived thoughts:

    – I didn’t have insomnia this last month, I was engaged in rigourous re-election result-watching training!

    – This time it _is_ different (youth vote, vote share for leftist manifesto) Yay! I don’t understand it, but it’s good.

    – Corbyn, according to BBC rumours, received media training, and I think that showed. He was more fluent and at ease. That will surely help in parliament.

    – Everyone likes a winner. Corbyn almost surely has unchallengeable leadership authority for the present. Given that security a lot of the infighting will melt away. Bodes well for the efficacy of the PLP.

    – I was cross at May for not campaigning strongly for Remain. Given how this has gone, perhaps it was for the best

    • N__B

      I was cross at May for not campaigning strongly for Remain. Given how this has gone, perhaps it was for the best

      She has a personality so negative that when she walks into a room people ask “Who left?”

      Old joke, I know, but applicable.

  • Murc

    The DUP baffle me.

    Part of their deal for going in-coalition is that they… DON’T want special status for Northern Ireland? What the fuck?

    Now, I’m hardly an expert. But if Northern Ireland is not given special status, that means the border between it and the Republic will need to be treated like any other border between a non-EU nation and an EU nation, yes?

    That means checkpoints. ID checks. Searches to enforce customs and tariffs laws. Armed guards(?). People in British uniforms under the authority of the British Crown telling Irishmen when they can and cannot go to other parts of Ireland.

    Because that worked out so fucking well last time it was tried.

    Why on earth do the Unionists WANT that? Part of the peace deal was explicitly to get rid of precisely that!

    Or am I crazy here?

    • sibusisodan

      I assume it’s preferable to the alternative of having customs checks/immigration between N Ireland and GB.

      Aren’t really any good options here!

    • Ronan

      My impression is the DUP want to have their cake having eaten it. They want Brexit, ideally no strong border with the south(which would be bad for business and border farmers), they dont want the Union with the UK undermined (which they interpret special status to do) and they want access to European markets and a good relationship with the EU.
      That’s my understanding anyway. It’s a confluence of contradictory aspirations.

      • Ronan

        Although perhaps not necessarily contradictory, as econoclast notes.

    • econoclast

      It’s not a contradiction if it means the UK still accepts freedom of movement with the EU.

      • sonamib

        Yep, if I’m not mistaken, they’re in favor of soft-Brexit, with the UK staying in the single market (a Norway-like deal).

        • Murc

          I suppose that makes sense… but doesn’t that bring us back around to whoever negotiates such a deal being fucked?

          If Labour negotiates one the narrative is “Labour gave away the store! We still have to obey the EU rules and the wogs can still come here and steal our jobs and do crimes, but now we don’t even get political power in Brussels! We voted for Brexit, they gave us SLAVERY!”

          If the Tories negotiate one it’s the same narrative with added “the conservatives STABBED US IN THE BACK.”

          In either case the UKIP rises from the grave.

          Yes? No?

          • Richard Gadesten proposed a path. You say, “Cameron and May messed up bad and we need a long “current arrangement” to get out cleanly”.

            Then you just never get out.

            • Ronan

              Do you not have to once article 50 has been invoked? There has to be either an explicit renunciation of Brexit or the deadline has to be adhered to?

              • You could negotiate a 10 year Norway style “transition” period. So at the end of 2 years, we’re norway with 10 years to “do better”.

              • Steve LaBonne

                My understanding is that even an explicit renunciation request would have to be unanimously agreed to by EU member states. Agreement which I doubt would be forthcoming.

                • No likely government is going to renounce Art 50.

                  (Though there are some legal weirdnesses…it’s unclear.)

                  But being out as Norway would be appealing to a lot of EU. They keep our contributions but we have no say. That’s a good deal for them. That might not stop breaking the City, though perhaps not as thoroughly as a full exit.

            • Murc

              Richard Gadesten proposed a path. You say, “Cameron and May messed up bad and we need a long “current arrangement” to get out cleanly”.

              Then you just never get out.

              I dunno, that seems like playing with fire.

              There are a shit-ton of Brexiteers in the UK, and… this is just my perception, but in my experience people react much more strongly, and more radically, to situations where they feel they’ve been betrayed than to situations where they just… lost.

              This is why right-wing media tries to hard to spin everything as an underhanded betrayal. People who would just go “well, all right, I lost, that sucks” and proceed with their lives can be turned into howling maniacs if you can just make them believe that they didn’t lose, the lie-berals bused in loads of illegal immigrants to steal the election.

              People also don’t seem to like it when they vote for something very clear-cut, and then that thing basically doesn’t happen.

              So I’m a tad worried that basically saying “well, the country voted for Brexit, but fuck those guys, we’re actually going to do something they’ll hate worse than being in the EU,” while absolutely the correct thing to do from a policy standpoint, will have some ugly knock-on political effects.

              • I dunno, that seems like playing with fire.

                That’s true every which way.

                There are a shit-ton of Brexiteers in the UK,

                Well, lets not go overstating. There are a bunch of nutters for sure, but they are actually a pretty small minority. There was a bare majority who voted leave, but ended up being a quarter of the electorate. There wasn’t a lot of coherence to the Brexit campaign which is why “Brexit means Brexit” is the slogan…cashing out the meaning divides the supporters.

                Plus time passes.

                People also don’t seem to like it when they vote for something very clear-cut, and then that thing basically doesn’t happen.

                It wasn’t clear cut.

                So I’m a tad worried that basically saying “well, the country voted for Brexit, but fuck those guys, we’re actually going to do something they’ll hate worse than being in the EU,” while absolutely the correct thing to do from a policy standpoint, will have some ugly knock-on political effects.

                Really, every move is risky politically. There’s genuine conflict.

                But a Norway deal is going to take effort to demonise to the general populace. “Are we out of the EU?” “Yes!” “Like Norway and Switzerland?” “YES!” “Oh, ok” is perfectly plausible reaction by a lot of people who voted leave.

                The rabiders will rabid, but they also are getting crushed.

                If UKIP had held it together that would be one thing. But it’s going to take a while for them to build up.

                • Murc

                  There was a bare majority who voted leave, but ended up being a quarter of the electorate.

                  A quarter of the U.S electorate was enough to give the gift of Donald Trump to the world.

                  But a Norway deal is going to take effort to demonise to the general populace. “Are we out of the EU?” “Yes!” “Like Norway and Switzerland?” “YES!” “Oh, ok” is perfectly plausible reaction by a lot of people who voted leave.

                  I dunno. Isn’t “Are we out of the EU?” “Yes!” “Then why are all these fucking foreigners still here, and when I call the cops they tell me they’ve a right to be here?” an equally likely line of conversation?

                  The rabiders will rabid, but they also are getting crushed.

                  Are they? Or are they simply deciding “well, UKIP got what it wanted, job well done. Time for me to go back to a real party.”

                  If UKIP had held it together that would be one thing. But it’s going to take a while for them to build up.

                  Yeah, but… hrm.

                  The thing is, it seems like there’s between 15-20% of actively participating voters for whom racism and expelling folks with funny accents and non-white skin from the UK is a highly animating issue. And that part of the reason we are in this situation is because that part of the electorate flexed its muscles sufficiently to scare the Tories and get them to make a very real concessions that is having very real consequences.

                  Those guys won’t just not be happy with a Norway deal, they’ll be actively enraged, won’t they? What’s to stop them from coming back and trying again?

          • sonamib

            I suppose that makes sense… but doesn’t that bring us back around to whoever negotiates such a deal being fucked?

            Northern Ireland is fucked either way. They want to stay with the UK, but they don’t want to completely sever their ties with EU-member Ireland. There’s no turning back on Brexit now, the only thing the N. Irish can hope for is a softer version of it. If that’s impossible… well, like I said, they’re fucked either way.

            • Ronan

              Hey, what happened to last nights optimism on the EU fudge? You were starting to convince me ; )

              • sonamib

                I still think the EU would be willing to go along with a fudge. Would the UK, though?

                • Ronan

                  Probably not, id guess. (depends on the fudge)

      • Murc

        That’ll create an enormous opportunity for smugglers, won’t it?

        If the UK is outside the common market but accepts unrestricted movement between itself and the EU, especially within Ireland… doesn’t that create the main chance for anyone who owns a lorry and is capable of driving it from Belfast to Dublin?

    • John F

      “Why on earth do the Unionists WANT that?” The DUP is basically the Protestant asshole party. Harming the papists is more important to them than anything else.

      I’m half-serious.

  • Rob in CT

    Speaking of “moral victories”

    https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/6/8/15724502/hillary-was-right

    Hillary Cassandra Clinton.

    Reading that article, even though I know all of the information contained therein already, was utterly infuriating.

    • tsam

      MattY has been on fire lately.

      And yeah–she was right–but here she is, sucking all the oxygen out of the room AGAIN. Won’t she just leave us alone?

      • Rob in CT

        Her great sin will ultimately be having been right (ironically, the same sin those of us who were right from Day 1 about Iraq!, The Sequel were guilty of: being right too early/for the “wrong” reasons).

        • tsam

          Which forms a rather depressing dynamic: STFU CRYBABY LIBS–I’m voting for the dumbass because lookit how the libtards are squealing.

          And then, presumably, an “oh shit” moment in private somewhere down the line for the swing type voters…

          • Rob in CT

            The “oh shit” moment is exactly that: a moment. It happened in 2008. By the 2010 mid-terms, it was over.

            • tsam

              It really makes me wonder if there’s no other way to sustain that moment. It seems to only be ignited by catastrophic Republican fuck ups. I don’t know if there’s a way to keep that in the mind of voters–if someone ever figures it out we’ll be in much better shape.

              I do have a feeling that 2018 is going to have some big gains for Democrats. I think the Republicans feel it too, judging by the sudden rush to get the AHCA through the Senate. They probably don’t want to have these discussions next year.

              • Rob in CT

                I really don’t know. If it was simple/easy, someone would’ve figured it out by now.

                Some of it, IMO, is the fact that our coalition is simply harder to motivate/turn out. Younger, poorer, browner, less authoritarian.

                Also, that coalition is concentrated in urban areas so even in the absence of gerrymandering the deck is stacked against us. Then add in the gerrymandering (which, if the Dems win big in 2020, has to be at the absolute top of the priority list. That has to be undone and, if possible, GOP-proofed. CA as the blueprint?).

                I do think the Party needs to find & nurture candidates who play well in rural areas. These will often be Blue Dog style people, but not always. Some might be quite liberal on most things but love them some guns (Kander springs to mind). Others might be squishy on abortion rights (ugh). Others might pander to local extractive industry…

                None of those are good things. But if we can’t win (or rather lose less) in rural areas, system design means we’re fucked. Even when we do get a wave, it won’t be big enough/won’t last long enough. Too many House seats will remain Red.

                • tsam

                  Some of it, IMO, is the fact that our coalition is simply harder to motivate/turn out. Younger, poorer, browner, less authoritarian.

                  I think you have a lot of fact backing this up. Add voter suppression, and it really trims our coalition around the margins.

                  I do think the Party needs to find & nurture candidates who play well in rural areas. These will often be Blue Dog style people, but not always. Some might be quite liberal on most things but love them some guns (Kander springs to mind). Others might be squishy on abortion rights (ugh). Others might pander to local extractive industry…

                  None of this is avoidable, IMO. That’s completely baked into American politics and isn’t ever going to change. But then leadership we get from people like Pelosi tempers that to a large degree. Personally, the only thing I’m a real hard-liner on is womens’ health. Women, I think, have dealt with enough of this bullshit. This should be a core philosophy among Democrats and we need to do a better job of taking that out of contention in politics. I don’t know how to do that, but that’s why I’m running a distributorship and not in politics.

                • Rob in CT

                  tsam,

                  I too am a reproductive health rights hardliner. It’s where I’m least likely to bend (but I will, because Louisiana, to pick one example, is what it is).

                  I’m a squish on gun control.

                • Ash

                  Rob, on women’s health and reproductive rights, totally agree. Re: Louisiana, I was there for the Jindal years. I’m not particularly pleased with Gov. Jon Bel Edwards antichoice positions, but I’m much more concerned about his ability to put LA back on a stable economic footing (in time for the GOP Gov to fuck it up *bitter laugh*) and advancing other progressive causes.

            • so-in-so

              Right the “I’m voting for the n-clang” guy.

              Once the ship isn’t listing so much, he’s probably back to forwarding emails of the White House surrounded by watermelons.

  • tsam

    Questions from an ignorant observer:

    Is there no chance of another referendum on Brexit? Would that be dangerous? Any thought of it reversing? Would the EU let them get away with “LOL J/K” on the matter?

    • Is there no chance of another referendum on Brexit?

      The chances jumped considerably last night. They aren’t high, but they are much higher than before.

      Would that be dangerous?

      Who the hell knows? It will be a ways off.

      Would the EU let them get away with “LOL J/K” on the matter?

      The EU has a tradition of holding referenda until the right answer emerges. That being said, triggering Art 50 was baaaaad. It’s hard to see that the EU would want the UK back in with all its perks and status quo bias is a hell of a drug.

      But it’s possible. A norway deal is more likely.

      There’s some possible legal shenanigans

      • tsam

        It’s hard to see that the EU would want the UK back in with all its perks and status quo bias is a hell of a drug.

        As a matter of principle alone, it should cost the UK something.

        What would a Norway deal look like? I haven’t heard of this before.

        (Thanks for the insights!)

        • Murc

          Norway’s deal with the EU is this: it obeys all EU rules and gains all EU benefits, doesn’t use the Euro, and doesn’t send anyone to Brussels. (Well, I mean, they have diplomats and attaches obviously. But no MEPs.)

          This seems like a pretty poor deal for Norway, but the Norwegians seem to like it.

          • Rob in CT

            Not using the Euro is a pretty big plus…

            • Murc

              You can be fully in without using the Euro, tho, and then you get a voice in policy.

              • sibusisodan

                Only if you’re the UK! New members have to agree to eventually join the Euro.

                • Rob in CT

                  Only if you’re the UK!

                  Which the UK has now blown, right?

                  This is what struck me as unbelievably stupid about Brexit. The UK had the best deal of all!

                  But they (52% of voters, rather) wanted to throw a brick at some furriners.

                • sibusisodan

                  We have given up Euro opt out, Schengen opt out, financial rebate, certain executive vetoes, legislative influence and a position of some diplomatic heft.

                  And will receive nothing – nothing! in return.

              • sonamib

                That was true back in the day. Nowadays, anyone who joins must commit to eventually adopting the euro at some point in the future.

                The UK had a uniquely nice deal, and they won’t have it back.

                Edit: Scooped by sibusisodan! But if I’m not mistaken, Denmark also has that privilege.

                • econoclast

                  Denmark has an opt-out, but they maintain a peg against the euro, so it doesn’t matter much in practice. Sweden doesn’t have an opt-out, but they identified a loophole that allows them to stay out of the euro, a loophole that has since been closed for anyone else.

        • Basically, you get the four freedoms (thus single market, custom union, etc. but no control over immigration), you have to pay into the budget, you are governed by EU regulation, you are “encouraged” to join the Euro, but you have no say.

          • sibusisodan

            Is there any way we could get an EFTA like deal without Schengen?

            • Murc

              That seems massively unlikely.

              I mean, that’s the dream of the racists, of course. But 1) the EU knows that, and 2) the EU knows that letting the UK have that deal will massively embolden the racist nationalist movements in other member states.

              • sibusisodan

                True! But that makes a Norway deal impossible…accepting Schengen as the price of Brexit is lunacy for the UK.

                Plus, I’ve read that the EFTA countries don’t want us joining because we’re so much bigger and will distort everything. They have a point.

        • tsam

          Ah–ok.

          Thanks guys!

    • sonamib

      Bafflingly, the Brits chose the interpret the 51.9% vote share on a referendum deciding a major constitutional matter as “the people have spoken”, “we must do this lest we be undemocratic”. Imagine if it were that simple to change the constitution in other countries, there would be no point in even having a constitution.

      Of course, this is entirely Cameron’s fault, who thought calling this referendum was a good idea. The First Law of Politics is that people vote tribally. Even on a referendum, they’re not really answering the question, they’re signaling “I’m a member of this tribe, not that one!”*. Just like when they vote Tory or Labour.

      So referenda are a terrible idea. At least when you vote for your tribal politician, there’s a filter between the tribal signaling and the actual policy decision-making. What you are actually doing is entrusting the power of ruling your country to a fellow tribesman or woman who you can count on. The politician has room to to refuse to enact suicidal policies. With a referendum, there are no filters, the tribal signaling becomes policy automatically. With often terrible results.

      (sorry, this turned into an anti-referendum rant)

      *That’s true for me too! My fondness for the EU is first and foremost emotional. On a gut level I don’t trust European nation-states to do what’s right without any safeguards. Of course I can point to economic statistics and all of European history to back me up, but that’s not the reason I feel that way.

      • tsam

        Yeah–I have mixed feelings about referenda. Here in WA state, that’s how we legalized same sex marriage, got the highest minimum wage in the nation, and legalized recreational marijuana use and possession.

        But it’s also how we ended up with $30 car tabs (reversing a previous annual tax that was indexed to the value of the vehicle, so that guys with garage full of toys got nailed and the poor paid a small fraction of that). The net result of that initiative, and others like it, is that our state is now in the embarrassing position of having been ordered by the court to fund the fucking public schools in accordance with our own laws, something the legislature has, to this point, still failed to do.

        Watching establishments like the EU start to weaken and crack makes me sick to my stomach. It’s completely baffling to me that anyone would want to take Europe back to 1914 and risk going through all that again. (This time with nukes maybe)

        • so-in-so

          But tax cuts, and no more people with funny accents taking our jobs!

      • 51.9% vote share on a referendum

        An explicitly *advisory*, non binding referendum.

        Otherwise, preach!

      • Murc

        Bafflingly, the Brits chose the interpret the 51.9% vote share on a referendum deciding a major constitutional matter as “the people have spoken”, “we must do this lest we be undemocratic”.

        That’s how the Brits do just about everything. They have de facto if not de jure legislative supremacy there; you can do almost anything, no matter how earth-shaking or far-reaching, with 50+1 percent of the seats in parliament.

        • It’s de jure. It’s the central pillar of the UK constitution:

          https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/role/sovereignty/

        • mds

          But this actually undermines all the assertions about “The people have spoken in a referendum, therefore Parliament has no choice but to proceed.” Parliament would have been perfectly free to reject the results of an intrinsically nonbinding referendum. The government might have suffered for it at the next election, but that (1) could have been years in the future, and (2) 51.9% of the referendum electorate doesn’t automatically translate into 51.9% of the seats regardless.

          • “But this actually undermines all the assertions about “The people have spoken in a referendum, therefore Parliament has no choice but to proceed.” Parliament would have been perfectly free to reject the results of an intrinsically nonbinding referendum.”

            Constitutionally, you are correct. The referendum was not binding on Parliament. The reasons why both the Conservatives and Labour took the line that they had to respect the result were (and are) entirely political.

            “The government might have suffered for it at the next election”

            The government would have suffered for it immediately, since much of the caucus and the cabinet were (and are) pro-Brexit. Not to mention that they held the referendum in the first place to stave off a perceived electoral threat from Ukip.

          • Murc

            The government might have suffered for it at the next election,

            You’ve sort of buried the lead there. A government that goes “we’re going to have a referendum on this major issue, and we promise to obey the results of that referendum” that then goes “well, this didn’t come out the way we wanted, so fuck you all, we’ll just ignore it” would almost certainly get slaughtered at the next election.

            An election that might have come sooner than anyone thought; Cameron would almost certainly have been no-confidenced.

            It seems worth noting that as many as one-half of Remainers think the results of the referendum ought to be honored. It had, and has, an enormous amount of perceived democratic legitimacy.

            • . A government that goes “we’re going to have a referendum on this major issue, and we promise to obey the results of that referendum”

              You usually do the later with a *binding* referendum, not an advisory one.

              They hedged but fucked up the hedge (should have gone for supermajority plus turn out constraints).

              I suspect Cameron could have toughed it out. It was a choice on his part. (It would have been shocking to do so, but there you are).

              • sonamib

                I’m curious, what was the hedge? Was there a minimum turnout constraint?

                • Murc

                  I believe Bijan is saying that the hedge was that the referendum was non-binding.

                • Yes. “Advisory” was the hedge. It’s a stupid hedge esp. as it’s advisoryness is itself non binding.

                  (cleaning up before relurking)

      • liberal

        I don’t disagree with your notion that a simple majority shouldn’t be sufficient for major changes. But in terms of descriptive, not normative, I thought that when Quebec was thinking of leaving Canada, the discussion always revolved around referenda getting more than 50%. (IIRC the referenda were nonbinding, but the fact that the notion more abstractly was that you need only 50%+ to succeed from a country was, to me, ridiculous.)

        • sonamib

          but the fact that the notion more abstractly was that you need only 50%+ to succeed from a country was, to me, ridiculous

          Yes, same argument applies for Scottish independence. It’s just insane that Cameron took two high-stakes gambles like that.

  • Hondo

    They were interviewing voters on the BBC early this morning. People were stating support for May due to her tough stance and ability to negotiate the best Brexit deal.
    I didn’t understand how they could make that claim. Didn’t May get her ass kicked last time she met with EU officials?
    – No, you will not directly negotiate terms with EU heads of state. You will talk to the designated EU negotiator, and no one else.
    – No, we will not discuss terms with you until you agree to pay what we demand you owe to the EU.
    – No, you do not get to keep the pony. Return it at once.

    • Murc

      The fact that ever other Tory would be demonstrably worse at this than May (Boris’ job used to be to negotiate with the EU and he was utterly useless at it) is probably a big reason why she’ll get to keep her job, which is looking more likely by the hour.

      The desire to negotiate terms with other EU heads of state is hilarious. It’s an understandable desire; you’d want to do that if you could. But being surprised that it won’t happen… it’s like a lot of Tories are under the assumption all the other member states obviously hate the EU and are as eager to undercut it as they are.

      • so-in-so

        Trumpian stupidity! “I don’t understand things that I don’t like and don’t want to have to do.”

  • Hogan

    In case no one has mentioned it elsewhere, Plymouth Sutton & Devonport went solidly Labour, which is good news for John McCain Dave Brockington.

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