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Not funny like a clown

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A few thoughts related to that thing that happened yesterday.

60 TD passes in one season, are you kidding me . . . No that other thing.

(1) There’s something about the concept of electability that makes otherwise smart people say the dumbest things. Does being a woman help or hurt Elizabeth Warren, in regard to her chances of getting elected president? This question, and related questions, have been studied extensively, and the answer is we don’t know whether it does or not. It could obviously hurt her on the margin because the patriarchy etc., and it could just as obviously help her on the margin because of the backlash to the patriarchy etc.

There’s been only one woman who has gotten a major party presidential nomination, so you’ve got a huge sample size problem, but the literature on women political candidates in general suggests that being a woman has very little effect on the margin on average, although this comes with all sorts of caveats, and of course it could be that the presidency is still different but who knows? But everyone thinks they do, because hubris and stupidity.

(2) What people in the US at present would seem to have the most trouble getting elected president, all other things being equal? That’s actually an easier question to answer, since there are people in America who huge numbers of Americans will openly admit they would not vote for, even if those people were otherwise “generally well qualified” for office.

The two most prominent such groups of people are socialists, who quite recently a full 50% of Americans were willing to say they would not vote for, and atheists, who 40% of Americans said the same thing about in the same poll. (By contrast, 8% of respondents said they wouldn’t vote for a woman).

It would be very uncharitable in this context to mention that Bernie Sanders describes himself as a socialist, and is widely believed with apparently some reason to be an atheist, so I’m not going to do that.

(3) If Sanders does get the nomination, the Jewish Question is going to be . . . interesting. Sanders is Jewish in what is usually described as the “ethnic” sense, but he has not practiced any form of Judaism in the religious sense (or any other religion) since he was a child. Under the circumstances, would it be fair to say that Sanders is therefore “Jewish” only the the extent that he isn’t “white?” Or maybe Sanders still codes as a “white ethnic” — a concept that was widely deployed until fairly recently, to describe “white” people who were only partially or imperfectly or liminally “white,” but that has fallen out of favor as it has become necessary for right wing politics in this country to create as many “really” “white” people as possible.

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