Escaping Paradise

10 Things to do when escaping your home among the coastal elite and relocating to a new state

A life-long friend called me the other day and spoke about his family’s decision to leave the state of Washington. It is where they’d called home for over 2 decades.  But It seems they’d have enough.  They’ve had enough of policies that make it harder for honest people to live and provide for their families. They’ve had enough of political vitriol that separates neighbors and families, while creating boogey-men out of anyone with a different opinion. Finally, they’d had enough and of new policies forcing them to make decisions about their children’s health.  I totally understand.  I’ve been in similar situations myself, as have countless people.  Two thousand six was the moment for me.  I’d had enough of California and moved my family to Dallas-Ft Worth Texas, where I’ve been ever since.  So, I know about moving to a state far away first hand.

Now, I’m pretty sure that my friend and his wife aren’t card-carrying members of the Religious Right.  They likely don’t have MAGA hats, and their TVs aren’t regularly tuned to Fox News.  But they’ve had it.  So, they’re loading up the Jalopy (a Tesla, actually) and heading off to someplace more freedom-y. 

There’s a lot of places they could go, but likely to the somewhere through the Sun Belt or the South.  In much of those states there is less government and a whole lot more room.  Heck, Texas could fit the entire world’s population inside it before it achieved a density greater than New York city.  But, if you are an expat thinking of a move to Texas, most Texans will tell you the same thing. “Please don’t move here.  We’re full,” they’ll tell you. I know, because I’ve said it myself.  But OK, I’ll tell you a secret if you promise to keep it just between us…we aren’t really full.  We’re just scared, and reasonably so.  I had an experience last week that illustrates my point well, I think.

I was driving home from work, when nearing home I came to a stop light behind a car with California plates.  It was a rice-rocket, maybe a Honda Civic or equivalent.  The exhaust had been modified and cold-air intake probably installed.  It had been lowered, with custom wheels.  It looked like a RC car on a skateboard, trying its best to make vroom-vroom noises.  From the perch in my Ram I looked at it the way a Rottweiler glances at a yippy chihuahua. 

On the back were two bumper stickers.  One was the driver identifying himself as someone who enjoyed a particular sex-act.  It was only three words, and one of them is not a word I would want a child passing by to see.  It was lewd, and I am not a person who blanches at R-rated content.  At the time most of my thinking was that it was more unintentionally self-demeaning than anything.

The other sticker which ran along the entire bottom bumper, was one advertising his Instagram channel.  Apparently, if you liked the first bumper sticker then you should check out the pictures he posts daily.  I had a passing thought that people who are annoyed at his driving will easily find him later, but I’m not going to waste my time with that one.

It wasn’t the ridiculously customized import, the California plate, the inappropriate bumper sticker. It wasn’t even the other sticker that made me sure he labels himself an “influencer,” which made me bookmark the scene in my head.  To me it was the whole package, and what it represents.  It’s what that represents to me as a Texan. It’s likely what it would mean to an Arizonan, Idahoan, Floridian (insert any “flyover” state here) that got my attention. It’s what makes us want to buy him a plane ticket back to California. 

 So, to help explain why you might hear a “Sorry, we’re full,” or struggle to deal with what it means to move out of one of the coastal states to one of those in the vast middle of the country, I’ve put together this small primer.  I’m not aiming this at my friend in any way, or even anyone who I know at all.  Also, I’m going to completely ignore any question of if and where you should move.  I’m assuming that the decision has already been made, the security deposit has already been paid, and your bags are packed.  So, here goes.  This is what you should do, according to me, in detail and in order. Here are 10 Things to do when escaping your home among the coastal elite and relocating to a new state.

1 – Get rid of your California, Oregon, Washington, New York, etc. license plates. 

You can hang them in your garage or put them under your bed.  Just get new plates and register your car in your new state.  It doesn’t matter if you have to camp out at a government building to do this.  Just do it, and do it immediately!  Driving around with out of state plates puts a target on your back.  What those old plates represent to you might be you laziness or inability to shuck out a few schillings after you’ve already spent a lot on a move.  However, what it means to everyone else is “I’m not from here, and I’m not one of you,”

2 – Don’t lie…but also don’t lead an introduction with “I’m not from here.  I just moved here from_____.” 

People will ask you as soon as your accent or vocabulary gives you away.  At some point you’ll say “you guys” instead of “y’all.” You’ll tell someone to get on line instead of in line at the grocery store, people will know.  When you tell them where you’re from, your next words should be, “But don’t worry.  I’m not one of the bad ones.”  I’d recommend saying this even if you are one of the bad ones.  I’d recommend learning what one of the good ones means, and becoming that. But more on that later.

3 – Try to fit in as much and as soon as possible

For countless years, the news and entertainment media have been talking down to the vast middle of the country.  Political candidates for national office have actually called the majority of the US, “flyover states.”  Can you imagine how demeaning that is?  Perhaps you can’t.  But to have your home referred to as irrelevant is insulting.

No one will be impressed that you come from New York or California.  They won’t think that you are their superior.  Believe it or not, they actually tend to look down on those states you are escaping, just as coastal elites have looked down on them.  There are pretty good reasons for this, though.

First, while people on the coast tend to think of the middle states as backward and un-cosmopolitan, the opinion in the other direction is that the states on the coast are dangerous and threaten the very way of life that people enjoy.  People in cities on the coasts mostly ignore the rubes in a state like Alabama. But many of those rubes secretly (or openly) hope that an earthquake or tsunami might sweep them away. 

There’s also a constant fear that people from these states will move in large groups out of their people’s republics. Then they’ll turn the state that they are fleeing to into a carbon copy of where they came from.  For instance, Texas has no income tax for a reason.  Our legislature is in session for a few months every 2 years, only.  We like it that way.  Politicians can’t do too much damage when they aren’t even meeting. 

But in California, perpetually in-session politicians makes lucrative salaries (about $130k) passing constant new laws.  In Texas, we will gladly forgo state income tax in order to pay lawmakers about $7,000 and let them stay home most of the time.  We don’t need more government programs that serve largely to enrich bureaucrats, and we’re happy to not pay them more money.  Don’t feed that fear, irrational or not.  Don’t be afraid either, but make it your home too as quickly as you can.

4 – Make a few friends locally.

Many years ago, this would be more of a given, but in this day and age Grandma and Grandpa are just a Facetime away.  If you are moving as a family unit, it will be really easy to only interact with each other.  That is a terrible plan for your future.  Success in a major move like that depends on you building relationships with people in that new place.  If you don’t, it doesn’t matter if the weather is better, how much cheaper things are, or even that race rioters are now not actively looting your store, you’ll never be truly at home.

The nice thing is, this is generally much easier than you fear it is.  You’ll actually be surprised finding out how warm and welcoming some people are, especially in the South.  But you probably need to be a bit intentional about it.  Join a club, meet your neighbors, take walks with your dog and talk to people.  In my neighborhood, we actually bring cookies to new people, spend time talking while standing in the street, have barbeques, and even visit each other in the hospital.  It’s different than I was used to before I escaped California, but it has become something I really treasure.

You might not be used to going to church, but I have found that to be the best place to meet new friends.  They won’t force you to be baptized.  Don’t worry.  In fact, they will probably not even care if you don’t believe what they believe, but they will become people who quickly genuinely care about you. 

5 – Get out of your comfort zone at least once a week.

There will be new foods, new festivals, new experiences, and new cultures all around you.  All of us automatically think that things outside of our experience are weird.  The problem is that those things are only weird to you, not to others necessarily.  No, I’m not saying that you should take drugs, do something that you find immoral, or change your name to Eugene and walk the street in a pink mumu.  But you will become a better person, discover new things, and learn more about the culture of where you are if you do that.

6 – Get lost once a month.

We all have smartphones and many of us travel with GPS on almost all of the time.  I laugh when I’m driving with someone to a very familiar place and they turn on their Waze app to get there.  “Dude, you know where Walmart is.”

GPS is great.  You can’t get truly lost, so don’t worry about it.  You aren’t going to make a wrong turn and end up in Uzbekistan.  So, sometimes just go somewhere without a plan…no destination.  You can play “Left, Right, or Straight ahead” with your spouse and see where you end up.  The crazy thing is that you’ll discover new places that you would have never known about otherwise.  Then your GPS will show you the most efficient way back home. 

7 – Get to know at least one person who has very different opinions that you.

This one can be more difficult than many of the others.  Unfortunately, one of the big problems in America is that many people dwell almost entirely within our own echo chambers.  It’s getting pretty crazy.  The stores you shop in, restaurants you dine at, and even the very news that you consume is different depending on your political beliefs, religion, race, etc. 

This is a really bad thing, and even worse of a problem when you go to a new place.  When you get to know people who are different than you, you realize that they have many of the same dreams for their life as you.  You likely assume certain things about them that aren’t true at all, but you’ll never find out the truth unless you get to know them.

I remember having a conversation with a teenager in Texas years ago.  He asked me how I liked living here versus California.  I told him that I loved it.  I did miss certain things sometimes, like the beautiful mountains, and that Texas just didn’t have some of that beauty.

“What do you mean?” he said.  “Texas is the most beautiful state in the country.”
“No, it isn’t by far.” I retorted.  “How many states have you seen?”
“I’ve never been out of state.” He said proudly. 
“Then how could you ever know that?”
“I don’t need to travel to any other state to know that.  I’ve seen Texas!”

I laughed at his silly answer.  I still do.  You likely are laughing too, but his statement is no different than assuming certain thoughts about people with different points of view.  Strive to be better than that.

8 – Realize that certain understandings that you have about way the society runs, how government should work, and how economics should function are likely wrong. At least it may be wrong for this new place.

OK, I said that the last point was hard, but this is way harder.  The truth is that many people won’t even attempt this one, unfortunately.  That is because people respond to others with beliefs that vary from theirs by using a thought process that is instinctual and dismissive.  You do it.  I do it.  It’s almost unavoidable.

When you encounter a person with a divergent view, it is automatic to start by assuming that they just don’t know all of the facts, and if you can just educate the person about the way things really are, then certainly he will thank you and correct his point of view.  However, many times that person seems to be well-aware of the facts, and maybe he then counters with facts of his own that support his point of view. Unfortunately, in this day and age everyone seems to have their own facts and it’s hard to know which is true at all.

Your next conclusion is that the offending person just isn’t capable of making a wise decision on that matter.  Maybe you are just better educated, smarter, or have experience that gives you a better understanding.  Sometimes your intellectual opposite is well educated, able to demonstrate that he has an understanding of the situation maybe even better than you do, and even has experience that is compelling.

Finally, you are left with no alternative but to assume that the person on the other side is just evil.  He knows the facts, is perfectly capable of understanding them, but hasn’t come around to your position.  So that person must be intentionally trying to cause problems.  Maybe he is wanting to create havoc, force others to adhere to his religion, or he’s just racist, sexist, or something that ends in –phobe.

This whole line of thinking is much easier for you and I to hold when there is more distance between you and the person you are opposing.  Maybe it’s physical distance.  People in New York can think bad things about us redneck Texans, just like Texans can despise those damned big city yankees in New York.  It’s much more difficult to think of the people who live next door in the same way.

But that distance isn’t just geographic.  There are the socio-economic differences between blue and white-collar types, Democrat and Republican, Buddhist and Hindu, and black and white.  Increasingly, you even hear of people completely dismissed because of their race or politics.  I’ve even heard nationally-known politicians tell someone their opinion doesn’t matter because they are a man or white. 

Recently, I heard an audio clip of an expert being interviewed on a podcast.  The expert made a point about race relations, and the host (quite graciously) corrected the lady’s assertion.  The expert being interviewed was a liberal professor at some university, who was part of the woke white crowd.

“Well, you just don’t understand because of the white privilege that you benefit from.  But if you were a person of color, you’d see that I’m right,”  she said.
“Ummm…I’m not sure that you really have done your research,” said the host, “I’m not white at all.  I am black.”

She had nothing to say more about the matter, but began talking about her staff not providing her with the correct research.  While she was very confident in assuming the ignorance of the host based upon his racial distance on this issue, when her preconception was proven wrong she could no longer even discuss the issue.  She also had assumed that he had some genetic evil because of his whiteness, which explained away his differing view.  When that was shown to be nonsense, she had no paradigm left to understand his not sharing her point of view.

This tribalism is deadly for America and our communities.  In a country that was based not on a common heritage at all, but in a concept of how society should function, the glue that holds us together no longer works. When we put everyone into groups of us and them it only leads to that bond dissolving and the various parts of our society falling to pieces.

I notice this when I travel from Texas to many of these places that people are fleeing from.  Nowhere seems to me to be more extreme than Portland, Oregon.  While I haven’t travelled there since the chaos of COVID started, going there in recent years has made me feel like I’m visiting a foreign country, and one that doesn’t like people from my land at all.  I really don’t say this in artistic hyperbole for effect.  It is more than just my feeling.  It’s palpable.  Their language, mannerisms, and even personal ethics are different than mine.

The first time I went to Portland with work I made the mistake of wearing my baseball hat with the Texas flag on it.  People didn’t like that.  The Texas flag is pretty unmistakable, even for out-of-staters, and I got a ton of dirty looks.  Yes, it could have been that I didn’t have tattoos or piercings, all quite ubiquitous there, but when I took my cap off (a lesson that I quickly learned) people were a bit nicer.  Also, when I wore the hat people would shift their eyes up slightly before telling me to go to hell with their expressions.

The hotel did not put a mint on my pillow, there was a condom in its place, and there was a copy of some sort of self-help-ish book instead of a Gideon Bible in the nightstand drawer.  Several times each day, I had difficulty in determining the gender of a clerk or server at a restaurant helping me out.  I wasn’t trying to be rude or mean, but where I live you call a stranger sir or ma’am in those circumstances.  I had to simply skip that part and it was a very awkward experience.

I’m not bagging on Portland.  It might sound like that, but I’m just reporting things that led to my feeling uncomfortable and out of place.  If you travelled to Pyongyang or Tehran, you likely would not wear your American flag T-shirt.  You would probably keep to yourself more, in order to avoid uncomfortable encounters.  You also wouldn’t readily appear overly American, particularly when a waiter was going to serving you food later.  This might be something that you didn’t think about, but you’d also likely try to be the best person that you could be because you might be the only American that person ever encounters.  I have that same dynamic when I’m visiting Portland, and no it isn’t all in my mind.  I travel a lot, to many different cities around the US.

So, remember how we mentioned that people are wary of Californians, New Yorkers, etc. moving into their communities and changing things?  People living in other states don’t want to live in a place where suddenly they feel like I do when I travel to Portland.  They like their laws the way they are.  They voted for their politicians.  You might find an abortion law in Texas to be unpalatable, or a voting code in Georgia to be objectionable, but the citizens of those states (majority-wise) support that. There are reasons that the states with the best economies are almost all Republican controlled, and the states with the worst are mostly Democrat super-majorities.

People in many states are legitimately afraid of having these things changed by people moving from the outside.  It isn’t an unreasonable fear.  People usually don’t change their preconceptions on the world when they move locations.  If they flee from somewhere to another place, they are more likely to come up with a host of other reasons that are to blame for everything going downhill, rather than to take ownership of policy that led to those ultimate consequences. 

That’s why Marxism has failed every time it has been tried throughout history, for instance.  Yet, that system is more popular now than ever.  Instead of admitting a failed system in Venezuela for example, their leaders create all sorts of straw men that are to blame.  To do otherwise would take humility that most of us don’t possess.  It takes a lot of strength of character to say, “Well, that didn’t work at all.  Maybe I was wrong.”  That seems like admitting failure, but it is actually growing as a person.  Unfortunately, most of us do everything we can think to do in order to keep from growing.

That is what people are afraid of.  A state like California has had a super-majority of one-party rule for many years.  They have crafted laws that partisans in that party thought were good ideas, while restricting opposing voices almost entirely. If business is fleeing that state now, if families are leaving because it has become a place too difficult to raise children or own property, then it might not be a great idea to vote for similar ideas and elect those same types of politicians in your new home.   It’s reported that Einstein said, “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting different results.” 

That is why your Vermont license plates get sneers.  But that doesn’t mean that the place you came from was all bad and the place you are moving to is all good.  OK, so the socialist paradise that you are fleeing from was a little less utopian than you’d hoped, but the place you are moving to isn’t heaven on earth either.  You know what?  Portland has the Multnoma Whiskey Library, which is one of the coolest places I’ve been to.  Oregon is a beautiful state, and has some really good restaurants.  Even if I feel out of place in Portland, there are countless redeeming qualities and some good people.  You don’t need to abandon all of your politics at all.  Just be willing to evaluate your own positions.  It’s ok to say, “I have changed my mind.”  Only a fool never changes his mind.

9 – Make a list of things you want to do and see.

After you’ve been to the new place for about 6 months, find ten things you want to do and see there.  Write the list down and give it a title like, “Things I want to do in Arizona in the next year.”  Then put the date.  The timeline doesn’t have to be a year, but that is usually reasonable.  The timeline should push you a bit.  You will probably need to do some research, ask some locals, and add things as they come to you.  When you’re done, put it on the fridge.

There is an interesting thing about lists like this.  First, it will give you a goal of sorts, and drive you to do and see more things than you would otherwise.  Here in Texas, I was talking to someone the other day in Dallas who told me that they’d never been to the Fort Worth Stockyards, a place where all tourists to this area seem to flock.  I wasn’t incredulous because it is the most amazing thing I’ve ever seen, but that it would make any top 10 list of things to see if you are in DFW for a week, let alone a lifetime.

You’ll discover pretty places, tourist traps, quirky locals, and places you’ll never want to go to again.  But after a while, you’ll know more about your new community than some locals will.  You’ll also learn to appreciate it, maybe even love it, in a way that you never could before.  You will have new experiences.  You’ll make new friends, and you won’t be bored.

There’s another benefit that you can’t truly appreciate until afterwards.  When you look back on that year (or whatever period of time you’ve set) and check off all the things you’ve done, you’ll start to feel a sense of accomplishment.  You’ll enjoy the sense of discovery and you’ll feel that progress has been made.  It’ll build a sense of pride for you…and for your new home.

10 – Become a tour guide.

Now that you’ve made it through the other 9 difficult items, this one is kind of like the icing on the cake, and it’s actually far less difficult now that you’ve done all the rest.  So don’t worry.

OK, I don’t mean that you need to become a professional, and ride busses with tourists from Sweden.  But a thing destined to occur after you move, is eventually Grandma and Grandpa are going to visit, or maybe your childhood best friend, or your sisters.  It doesn’t matter who it is, but it’s going to happen.  They won’t know the place.  They won’t have done their research.  When I had my first friends from California visit, they kept asking why everyone wasn’t riding horses.  All they knew about the place were stereotypes they’d heard about, but I wanted to show them how much I loved my new community.

A long time ago I went to Chicago, a city I’d never visited but always wanted to see.  A friend’s roommate volunteered to give me a tour of the city. We drove around to all the most famous places and he told me stories about the Great Chicago Fire, how it affected the architecture as it was rebuilt.  I heard stories of the history of certain buildings and areas.  He even knew the names of many of the iconic Chicago buildings and their architects.  He told me a story about from over a century ago about how Chicago came to be called the windy city.  Not only did he know the town well, but it was clear he had a deep appreciation and love for it.  It was exactly like one of those expensive bus tours.

“So, how many generations of your family have lived here in the city?” I asked.
“Oh, I moved here about 8 years ago from another state.”
“Wait
, I don’t know that I’ve ever known anyone who knows as much about their city as you know about Chicago.  I thought you’d lived here all your life,” I told him.
“I just decided when I moved here that I wanted to learn everything I could about this place, and I found the more I learned about Chicago the more I loved it.”

So set a goal that when family or friends visit that you will be their tour guide.  Then you can show them the best side of your new home, maybe dispel some of their preconceptions, and give them a glimpse of why you have discovered it to be a great place.  You know what, if you plan to do that, by the time that they do come to visit you won’t have to think about what to tell them.  Instead, it’ll be pouring out of you, because you will have fallen in love…and you’ll no longer be a stranger there, you’ll be at home.

11 Predictions for 2021

Listening Header

I’ve been sitting on this for a while, equivocating on all kinds of things. I realize, though, that with news moving as fast as it is, I need to get my predictions for the year published. I don’t want things to happen on this list and later seem like I was post-prognosticating (to wax Shakespearean).

As always, I have to say that this is NOT about predicting the future in a spiritual-type way. I am not psychich, and as a Christian I would never attempt that. It is not intended to be prophecy either. I am not speaking for God or fate. I am simply making educated guesses about what may happen. Also, especially this year, I do not wish many of these things to happen. I am simply guessing that they will. Fortunately for me no one reads my thoughts much, because if they did, in this day and age even guessing that something might happen is enough to get a person attacked by the mob. What a world.

OK, here goes…

  1. The stock market will have a losing year. On the first day of trading for 2021 (Jan 4th) the Dow Jones high was 30,674.  The S&P was at 3,768.  The NASDAQ was 12,698.  On the last day of trading for 2021, all three will be lower than those values.  I suspect that the Dow will have lost the most value, possibly even below 27,000.  I think that the NASDAQ will be below 10k.
  2. Oil prices will increase–and gas will too. The price of a barrel of oil as reported on the NASDAQ listing (CL:NMX), on the first day of trading was $47.62.  The prices in Q4 will be around $70.  These prices haven’t been seen since 2014.
  3. The economy will be worse. The US economy will take a major hit, but that won’t be seen until at least later Q3.  I am guessing that when it hits, it will hit hard.  However, the media and politicians will say this is from both “the Trump economy” and “economic effects from COVID.”
  4. Houses will be worth less. Median house prices in Los Angeles county are currently at $720,604 (according to http://laalmanac.com/economy/ec37.php).  A big bubble will burst in the California housing market.  I am not sure if this will happen in 2021 or 2022, but when it does, it will be worse than 2008 for them.  Look for the median price to shrink to near $500k at least.  This will be even more striking if you look at the average house value.  Prices of real estate at the upper end of the market will see the biggest contractions. There will also be a decline in housing values in other places (maybe most places), but California will be worst.
  5. There will be bankruptcies. Several major retail companies will go completely out of business.  I’ve long been predicting the complete demise of Sears, and this might be the year.  But look for at least one of the closings to be somewhat unexpected.  I have my eye on Nordstroms.
  6. Big political struggles will increase, and changes will happen. The Leftist cadre seems to be now in complete control of the United States.  I think that the assault on other ideologies will be just as big throughout 2021 (unless the Q-believing folks happen to be correct…and that is unpredictable now).  I believe that the first issue that they will fixate on will be gun control.  Some event of violence will spark this push.  I think that the chances are high that this will also lead to ending the filibuster rule in congress, and possibly eventually to an attempt to pack the Supreme Court.  If this happens, the narrative will be that the violence must be stopped.  They will cite rising violent crime in the cities as part of the reasoning.  If the Supreme Court does any action to invalidate this, then there will be a push to pack the court, although the narrative will be “rebalance the court, because it has been packed with conservatives.”  If this happens, it might lead to the breakup of the United States.  I do think that the chances of this playing out over the next couple of years (not just 2021) are high, although it will be surprising how fast things move in 2021.  For the record, I think all of this is a grave tragedy, and will have very bad effects on the world.
  7. Censorship is only beginning. Tech censorship will continue (and increase) through 2021.  This will mean banned accounts of popular Republican-aligned voices.  Also, this will not be simply banned Twitter and Facebook accounts.  There will be erased bank accounts, servers deleting information, and possibly even providers (like AT&T) censoring.  Some of this will end up before the Supreme Court.
  8. Many companies will tire of the strife. Because of all the arguing, some businesses will decrease bowing to the mob or excluding/apologizing/etc.  This will further separate Americans, as some businesses will be seen as “Conservative,” and some as “Leftist.”
  9. Racial hysteria will lessen. Possibly later in the year, the BLM and racial violence and protest will quiet down. 
  10. Sports will start to return. Baseball will be the first major sport to allow fans back in the stands at all games.  However, I don’t know if the major sports will fully recover, ever.
  11. International relations will become very heated. Some belligerent foreign power will create significant strife that will involve the United States.  This could involve one of the familiar list of candidates, like North Korea or Iran.  I doubt that this will be from a major power like Russia or China, but will have their backing.  I think that this may happen in concert, such as Iran announcing that they have nuclear weapons and North Korea testing missiles, or causing problems in South Korea.

What “Might” Happen Tuesday

Things to Look for on Election Night

The short answer is that I have no idea. Anyone who says they do, is wrong. They don’t. That’s the TL;DR. If you want it short, you can stop reading now.

For those who stayed (if any), here are a few things to look for. First a caveat. While I am talking about the presidential part of the election, that is possibly no more important than the Senate and House races. I am not forgetting them. In fact, I think that these will be largely bellwethers and as such, are the ones to really pay attention to on Tuesday night.

So, far as the Senate and President go, there are 4 possibilities after Tuesday night (or whenever it’s finally decided).

  1. Trump WinsSenate stays Republican
  2. Trump Wins Senate goes to the Democrats
  3. Biden WinsSenate stays Republican
  4. Biden Wins.Senate goes to the Democrats

For Republicans, the only positive outcome in #1. Even though Trump wins in outcome #2, if the Senate is Democrat, the chances of the House impeaching again and the Senate convicting, are astronomical. Trump will not serve for 4 years. That is almost a guarantee.

Further, this would mean almost certainly that Trump won by a small electoral majority. Leftist groups will be on the streets causing chaos. This is not a scare tactic or red meat for Conservatives. Leftist groups are planning this, and will happen (possibly in any Trump win). It would also mean that Trump will have won with a smaller total number of votes than in 2016 nationally (most likely). That would be more fuel for the “Resist!” crowd.

While #3 is not a dream for Democrats either, it might also create as much chaos as the second option. I also think that this option is the least likely of all possibilities.

Option #4 is a nightmare scenario. Even for average Democrats, I don’t see how it could be palatable. If the Dems had total power of both branches, the Supreme Court would be the only bulwark. The possibility of court-packing would be pretty certain. Ending the Senate filibuster rule would also happen, and the Democrats dream of getting rid of the Electoral College would be on the agenda.

I don’t think that last one would happen. I think that Democrats might try it, but there are still too many Republican or even moderate states. If the Electoral College were to end, the United States would break up. States would leave. But, even if the Supreme Court is packed, that might start to happen too. So, for all but the most Left-leaning of Democrats, having control of both the Presidency and the Senate should be scary.

The only real hopes for a Republican win are either that the polling is wrong by a small amount, and it continues to improve for Trump. In this case, he squeaks out a win. The other possibility is that there is a hidden Red Wave.

I do see those as real possibilities. Trump does seem to have momentum. The nice thing is, early returns will show what is happening. Here are the 5 states to watch on Tuesday night.

  1. Maine. Biden will likely win here. Every poll shows it. Most have him winning by double-digits. Quinnipiac has him winning by 21%. All the polls also show Sara Gideon beating incumbent RINO Susan Collins by single-digits (except for Quinnipiac), but some are even in the margin of error. What to watch: Does Susan Collins win? If she does, then either the polls were not accurate, or we’re seeing a Red Wave. If Susan Collins wins, and Trump loses by single digits, or miraculously wins, we are seeing a Red Wave. If Trump wins Maine, the election is over. Turn off the TV.
  2. North Carolina. Incumber Republican Senator Thom Tillis has been down in the polls by single digits. The numbers have been tightening on this race in recent weeks, and are now within the margin of error. For Trump, this race is basically tied in the polls. Most show the winner within the margin of error, some showing Trump, others showing Biden. What to watch: Does Trump win or lose by a lot? Does Thom Tillis lose by a lot. Slight wins for Trump do not negate the polls, but landslides denote a Red Wave.
  3. Michigan. This state is a huge canary in the coal mine. All polls are showing the incumbent Democrat, Gary Peters, beating Republican challenger, John James. His lead is in the mid to high single digits, outside of the margins or error. What to watch: If Peters wins by a small margin, or if James wins, it might portend a Trump victory. It also might show that Trump is doing very well with black voters. Further, if Trump wins, then it will likely be a bad night for Democrats.
  4. Georgia. Do not pay attention to the Senate race in this one. It’s weird. But in the Presidential election, some polls have Trump ahead, some Biden, some tied. No major poll shows the winner outside of the margin of error. What to watch: The winner here will show how accurate these polls have all really been. It is an early one to watch.
  5. Arizona. While this is a later state to watch, being on the Western side of America (but Arizona will be with the rest of Mountain Time on Tuesday), the polls have recently flipped, showing Trump with a very narrow lead. This is mostly within the margin or error here. What to watch: If Trump wins by more than 5%, then we have a Read Wave for sure.

If you want to research this yourself…

Here are a few good links to look at

…and Suddenly the Election Calculations all Change

Supreme Court calculations header

Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG) is now gone at 87. She was an icon of the Left, and she should be respected as a Justice of the Supreme Court. She was also a child of God, whether she knew so or not, and her death should be appropriately honored.

…Queue the arguing in…3,2,1…now.

In the brief hours since this was announced, I’ve been gaming things out in my mind, and here’s the political terrain as I see it.

Before we discuss this, it might be good to watch Glenn Beck’s discussion of his view of Leftist’s plan concerning the election. I’ve linked the video below. It is long and alarmist, but if you don’t hear alarm bells now, then perhaps you need to check your hearing.

So, the thing about Glenn Beck is that he might sound crazy, but in my experience he’s often right. While his seeming craziness is openly mocked by folks, he keeps racking up the wins. In this case, I hope he’s wrong…but I don’t think he is.

What can disarm these predicted outcomes, and what he alludes to in the video, is the prayerful action of patriots and average Americans which can save us. God has miraculously intervened for this nation before, and we should pray for that now.

Having said that, I think that with the death of RBG the potential for the crazies to do their thing just increased 10-fold, and I have no doubt that are ratcheting-up their amps to 11 as we speak.

But what are Trump and the Republicans to do now? Well, the nice thing, and really the only nice thing in all of this, is that there really aren’t a whole lot of possible chess moves to calculate here. So, let’s look at them 1 by 1.

There are Options 1, 2, and 3 (the only winning option for the Republicans). You can click these to jump between them, if you want to scan through it quickly.

Option 1 – Republicans don’t fill the empty seat until the election is over

The news media and the Democrats, heck, maybe even some Republicans (we’re looking at you Murkowski) will be screaming for this. I’m not being hyperbolic. There will be screaming, and not just in the streets. No matter what happens, the media and Democrats (but I repeat myself) will be using these talking points.

They will also be saying that if Trump replaces RBG then the court will be “out of balance.” They will use these words. That will be the talking point here. They will also be threatening that if Trump fills the seat that the Supreme Court will overturn Roe V. Wade. But you won’t hear that verbatim as much as you’ll hear things about “Taking reproductive rights away from women,” “controlling women’s bodies,” and even crazier things if the Republicans seem to not be acquiescing to their demands.

This would be the path of least resistance for sure, but it would lead to doom. First, the Democrats and the media will be talking about Obama’s last year and Antonin Scalia. This is a ruse. Dan McLaughlin has a great examination of it on National Review, here. His take on it is that there is no parallel, and historical precedent is actually on his side. Just a quick fact that he points out: 22 presidents have been faced with similar situations (including Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, FDR, etc.) and all 22 times they’ve filled the seat.

If Trump waits until after the election to fill the seat there are two possibilities:

If Biden wins...
Then Trump could lame-duck force through a nomination which would end up in possibly revolution-level chaos in the streets. Many Republicans might even be pressured into waiting for Biden’s (I mean Harris’) presidency. If Biden wins, then the Leftists and Democrats will be completely aligned and emboldened, because they know that they only need to cause chaos for 2 months or so. Remember, there are enough Democrats and allies in the Senate to cause weeks of Senatorial gridlock anyway.

If Trump wins…
Then he is completely unfettered and willing to move on this, depending on how the Senate will look in January. If the Senate flips, then a Supreme Court seat will likely not get filled for 4 years. This means that if the Senate flips, it is exactly the same for Trump as it is if Biden wins, except that The Senate will be more empowered to act if the know that the Republicans won’t be in power. In short, this option is the most confusing, but is really just navel-gazing, I think.

Here’s why this is not likely: The media and Dems like this the most (at least they seem to), and that means it is the worst choice for Republicans, and Conservatives particularly. In almost every single outcome, the Democrats get their way. Trump has never bowed to pressure from people who hate him. He actually tends to run quickly into a fight, which is exactly why some people love him. He never bows out. For him to do so in this case is very anti-Trump.

Furthermore, this is a poor election tactic. If Republicans wait, then the knowledge that Democrats need to turn out in large numbers in the election in order to “keep abortion legal,” “protect women,” or whatever narrative works, will be a loud klaxon for anyone like-minded, and that will include many of the so-called independents. This issue will drive voters to vote for Biden. It will steal any narrative from Trump about Biden and allow the Democrats and the media to be in complete control.

Finally, unless Trump wins and the Republicans win in the Senate, then the Democrats win this fight completely.

Option 2 – Trump does nominate a replacement, but the Senate doesn’t vote to confirm

This is a second-level fight for the Dems. It doesn’t matter whom the President nominates, the media and Dems will push to have them hold this up. The Dems will use every tactic imaginable. In fact, they could even use the hide-away tactic to prevent quorum. I’m not sure that we’ll see this tactic, because there aren’t enough Democrats (plus Murkowski) for this to work at all. Senate rules take this option largely away. But if it could stop this, they would take it that far.

Here’s why this is not likely. The problem with the Republicans failing to confirm is that this would be seen as a massive failure by most like-minded Americans. It would be demoralizing, and it would decrease Republican voter turnout. This might actually create a Blue Wave scenario, and thus Republicans cannot have that happen. This might also be the only path for Trump winning the election and Republicans losing the Senate. In every other case, the Senate is tied to the presidential election.

Option 3 – Trump nominates a replacement, and the Senate does confirm, filling the seat.

Unfortunately, there is no way that this option doesn’t end in complete chaos. Let’s remember, although chaos is bad for sure, it is a distraction from the issue. It is surprising that the American people are being told to vote for Biden, or the Leftists will burn the country down.

Trump will likely not cave in to the Democrats and media, and the Senate Republicans cannot afford to not confirm.

At that point, the media and Democrats will respond with the only card that they have left in their hand, the Joker…the chaos card.

There will be people in the streets. There will be rioting way worse than we’ve seen recently. The big agents funding this chaos will go into overdrive and the money will flow. This plays right into the hands of those who want to create the vision that Glenn Beck describes.

Here’s why this IS likely.

1 – If Trump and the Senate Republicans go this route, it might lead to revolution-level strife. But, this is the only option that might create a good outcome. First, this is unexpected, and falls far prior to the planned chaos after the election. If Trump nominates a justice very quickly, it will kind of catch the agitators flat-footed. Unfortunately, because they already have plans in place, it might be easier to mobilize now than if they had nothing. However, it messes up their plans quite a bit. They won’t have the control that they planned at all. Also, they only have so much that they can be outraged about before either outrage-fatigue sets in, or the American people simply stop them.

2 – This is why Trump should move quickly. He should name a successor to RBG, and the Senate should start confirmation this week. The talking points on the other side will be complaints that they aren’t honoring the memory of RBG, and that there isn’t sufficient time to vet the nominee. If the Democrats and media (we really need a portmanteau term for them) use these words, then we know that Trump/Senate is using good strategy.

3 –The Democrat plan for the rioting is to stop it ASAP. That is why there has been less news of street-level craziness in the past few days. Unfortunately for them, the powers that be do not have control of the BLM and Antifa types. They never did. But they do have some goals in common, and they do have channels of communication.

Also, increasingly (not totally yet) these people are wresting control of the Democrat party. That is why they are more scary than ever, actually. Nancy Pelosi, Joe Biden, and even Chuck Schumer are becoming pawns to the real power brokers. They know that it is a very tenuous power balance. They still do hold some sway, and the agitators have gotten the message: “Calm the strife down, or the Republicans will win in November.” That is why suddenly the Dems are calling for calm and order.

This will all flip-flop if Trump nominates. They both will not be able to stop the chaos, and they won’t really want to. But, the same reason that they are calling for order now will be the case in the future. Americans have grown tired of people in the streets. More chaos will drive out more Trump voters, and at the same time, suppress and even change some Biden voters.

4 – A Trump landslide increasingly looks realistic. On one side are anti-Trump voters which will never support anything he says or does. On the other side are pro-Trumpers who are more nuanced, but mostly the opposite. However, there is a vast middle ground. For instance, everyone talks about suburban women, who are in no way as monolithic as they say. But this middle ground has been really mostly weary of the political fighting. Studies have been showing this. They are just tired. But, they do care about their safety and they care about their country. For Dems, it is these voters that they have to get in order to wins the election. So, they are hoping that the narrative of rioting and looting disappears before the election…and it just did, but if Trump follows this strategy, the narrative will be replaced by more of the same.

5 – While a looming Supreme Court seat drives voters to the polls, a just filled seat will do the opposite. If the seat is empty, some people will be swayed by “Republicans are trying to take away women’s rights.” Anyone with sense knows that the legalization of abortion will never be overturned wholesale, but the Dem-media (maybe we just portmanteaud it) have never been good at nuance, and see no problem with demagoguery.

But, if there is no seat vacant on election day, the momentum goes the other way. This would be a Democrat disaster, and this is why they will stop at nothing. A filled seat removes the drive for voter turn-out.

6 – While the Republicans are often easy to scare off of their strategy, Trump is the opposite. When faced with 3 options, he looks willing to often choose the riskier one with the bigger payout.

7 – It is easy to forget in all of this sausage-making, but this is the Supreme Court. The court is slightly left of center. If Trump replaces one of the bastions of Leftism with a Constitutional originalist (and therefore, a likely Conservative) jurist, that will reorient the court completely. Filling that seat right now means that Biden might not get a Supreme Court pick at all, even if he’s elected

So, not only will Trump choose this option, but he and the Republicans must choose this option, nominate and confirm a Supreme Court seat. The Democrats/agitators will stop at nothing to prevent that from happening. They have no choice.

Nothing but the News

Mostly Peaceful Protests burn Portland…again

Downtown Portland– Peaceful protestors gathered for a 101st night in downtown Portland Tuesday in order to advocate for equitable public policy toward black Americans and end police brutality. “We just want our black, non-conforming, and Wiccan xi’s and xim’s to be free of violence,” Antifa General and Flower Prince/Princess Karen “Unicorn” Rutledge told reporters over the weekend. “Our message is that simple.”

Karen Rutledge pictured giving instructions to other members (she’s the one in black, wearing a face covering).

Protestors are increasingly upset by negative media attention to their cause. “We are no different than anyone else. We are normal people,” said Mister Smash (who didn’t want to reveal his real name, for fear of retribution. “I put my pants on one leg at a time, myself. I don’t let my mom do that for me. She’s not even allowed into my room anymore.”

Alan “Mister Smash” Nusbaum pictured all dressed up before taking the long limo ride to the night’s protests.

Mister Smash isn’t new to the protesting world. “I went to my first protest when I was 16,” Smash says in a thoughtful moment. “The courts had just released two cops who brutally murdered an innocent man and nothing was going to stop me from making sure that justice was done.”

Smash was referring to two Portland PD officers who were involved in a now infamous incident in the “skid row” district of Portland. The officers were trying to make an arrest of the “Nursing Home Rapist,” who had just escaped from prison after murdering 3 guards with his bare hands and stealing their firearms. The two policemen shot and killed the man after he shot out all four tires of their police car and broke out the windows. The officers were later acquitted in court, sparking city-wide protests. “It was just another case of the cops murdering a person of color.”

After the trial was over the officers were fired by the mayor of Portland. The city rules give the mayor plenary power over all police matters as well as the usual mayor duties. The policemen had been defended by Mister Smash’s father, prominent Portland attorney Phillip Nusbaum. “It all turned out OK, though. The cops got off scott-free, but my dad gave me a thousand bucks for my protesting club and a new car. So basically, justice was done.”

At around 9:30 the night’s “Protest against Racial violence, Sexual repression, Genderism, Capitalism, Wealthyism, and Right-Wing Media bias” launched into high gear. Protestors peacefully occupied the middle of Capital Street Bridge, and lit the bridge on fire. “It was a statement about repression. It was beautiful.” said Karen Rutledge. Paramedics treated 12 peaceful protestors for smoke inhalation, and the protestors were quickly able to recover and return to protesting, peacefully.

Peaceful protestors trapped on bridge

The group then left and gathered later in front of the Resting Sunset Retirement Home on Fourth Avenue. “Down with the f****** cops!” “Yo ho, capitalism has got to go.” and “No justice, no peace. These streets are not your streets…anymore.” The peaceful protestors chanted in unison out of their pre-prepared protest chant books.

Peaceful protestors in front of the Resting Sunset Retirement Home

Translating The Bible

The other day I was in church and the sermon focused on a particular passage in the Bible’s book of Acts. It was a pretty well known passage in Acts 2 that talks about the first Christians. After Jesus had ascended into heaven, the Spirit of God had empowered the first Christians to do miraculous things, and huge things were happening that caused the explosive growth of the number of believers. The passage goes like this. Continue reading

2019 Predictions

As each year turns to the next I try to right out what events and trends I think will take place in the year to come.  As I say each time, this is neither astrology nor an attempt at prophecy.  I am simply making an educated guess at what I think will happen.  The purpose is actually for my own amusement.  Part of it is hubris, as I am addicted to saying “I told you so.”  But it is harmless fun, unless you are one of those people that gets mad at the weatherman if it rains on your wedding day.

    1. I wish that this year upcoming will be filled with a mix of pretty good, and some not as good—but I highly doubt that. I believe (and don’t at all wish) that this year will be one of the worst years that anyone in this country truly remembers. I tend to be a political pessimist, but this goes deeper than that.

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Humphrey and The Trade

Humphrey digital header

When I was a kid I remember watching a short Disney cartoon that made an indelible impression on me. It showed a bear named Humphrey, who desperately wanted some fish. He swiped at the lake over and over, and all that he ended up with was a tiny minnow. As he held it above the water, sad that it was so tiny, a bigger fish jumped up and swallowed it whole.

At that point he had an epiphany.   He could hold the fish over the water and one by one collect the larger fish that jumped up to eat the minnow. Soon his arms were full of large fish. Just as he was about to walk away a fish bigger than all the others floated by. He dropped all of the other fish and pounced. Continue reading

Stealing the Sunrise

Sunrise Header

In my first year of college, I pulled a lot of all-nighters—and not the wimpy ones where you go to sleep at 3 AM and then get a good 6 hours sleep before going to class. No, I mean staying up until the sun rose and then going to class without having slept at all. I did this because as a Political Science major I had a lot of reading to do. I have always been a good reader but a bit of a slow one, so that meant spending a lot of late hours reading, and chewing ice to stay awake.

I remember one night I finished my homework around 4:30 AM. My morning class was at 9, and I knew that 3 ½ hours sleep would end up only being worse than if I hadn’t slept at all. So, I made the decision to walk somewhere off campus and watch the sunrise. In my young man’s mind this was a good idea and I don’t know if I’d experienced a sunrise before. Continue reading

Joseph

Nativity HeaderI come from a long line of talkers. My lineage is filled with teachers and preachers and others known for their speeches. The holiday dinner tables growing up were always a place where the noise never stopped, and if you wanted to get a word in edge-wise you had to jump in at any pause for breath. Of all my relatives, my mom can out talk anyone. I’ve had hour-long phone conversations with her where my only part was “hello…” and she took it from there.

Let’s just say the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree. I’m a talker too. I’ve struggled with it my whole life. If they had an anonymous support group, which I suggest calling On-an-on-and-on-annon. I would weekly stand at the front saying, “My name is Ryan, and I’m a talkaholic.”

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