Some people find it strange that so many Americans voted for Donald Trump. As I’ve argued, that’s not as strange as it might seem. But what is truly bizarre is that so many people who saw Trump as a deeply flawed candidate—including people who were horrified by the prospect of him winning—worked so hard to keep him in the race. Continue reading “Trump’s Enablers”
Consider a couple of basic facts about the presidential election.
First, Donald Trump won the primaries with around 45 percent of the vote—and that includes votes taken after he’d effectively secured the nomination. Through the primaries, Trump’s opponents destroyed each other by splitting similar constituencies, while Trump skated through with minority support.
Second, minor parties won more votes than Trump’s margin of victory in some key states, including Florida, as Eli Watkins reviews for CNN. Watkins thinks third parties may have cost Clinton the election, but he may be wrong about what voters otherwise would have done. (Update: Sasha Volokh thinks Gary Johnson helped Clinton in the end.)
If it’s true either that Trump would have lost the primaries against a single amalgam of his opponents, or that Hillary Clinton would have won various key states and thus the electoral college in a two-way race, then Trump owes his victory to America’s system of winner-take-all plurality voting.
The way we vote is not a law of nature. It can be changed. Continue reading “Are Those Worried about Third-Party Spoilers Ready to Consider Approval Voting Yet?”
I get it. I didn’t support Donald Trump’s presidential bid, and I was as surprised as most by the outcome. But I get why so many voters supported Trump—and a part of me is happy they did. Continue reading “12 Reasons Trump Won”
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton each have their cheerleaders. Most of us, though, regard these candidates as horrid and this year’s presidential race as an “international embarrassment,” as Vincent Carroll puts it. How did we get here?
Part of the problem is that our political system really is substantially “rigged,” meaning that the rules are inherently unfair in certain ways. Continue reading “The Political System is Rigged—But That’s Not Our Main Problem”
Colorado thought leaders that I deeply respect are at loggerheads over Amendment 71, the ballot measure to make it harder to amend the state constitution by voter-driven initiative. Continue reading “Amendment 71 and Colorado’s Constitutional Mess”
As millions saw last night, the Chicago Cubs beat “the curse” and won their first World Series since 1908. Congratulations to the Cubs as well as to the Cleveland Indians, who despite their amazing performance come up a run short.
There’s an interesting lesson to be gleaned from this series about how the rules of the game affect the outcome and about the dangers of casting reasonable rules as “rigged.” Continue reading “Cubs Victory Illustrates the Difference between Reasonable Rules and a Rigged System”
How did slavery and involuntary servitude become active issues in the 2016 Colorado election? What is the significance of Amendment T, the ballot measure that addresses slavery and involuntary servitude with respect to criminals? Would Amendment T affect current criminal justice practices regarding in-prison work, work release, community service, or mandatory employment for parolees? Continue reading “Colorado’s Amendment T and the Meaning of Involuntary Servitude”
To expand “choice,” the Denver Post supports Proposition 107 on the Colorado ballot to create a presidential primary in which unaffiliated voters help pick the major parties’ nominees.
But open primaries let nominally independent voters try to sabotage the party they hope will lose. Countless Democratic supporters voted for Donald Trump in other states’ primaries because they judged him a weak candidate. Continue reading “Reply to the Denver Post on Open Presidential Primaries”
I agree that people facing a very painful end of life have a moral right to choose whether or not to take their own lives. (This is an emotionally difficult topic, obviously.) Continue reading “Why I’m Ambivalent about Right-to-Die Laws”
“The U.S. isn’t one of the top 10 most free countries in the world, study says.” So blares the headline of a recent McClatchyDC story. If a “study” says it, it must be true, right? Well, not exactly. But, even though the study in question is deeply flawed, clearly people in the United States are not fully free by the standard of individual rights. How free are we, really? Continue reading “Legatum’s Mismeasure of Freedom in the United States”
After the vice-presidential debate between Tim Kaine and Mike Pence, it is even more painfully obvious that neither Hillary Clinton nor Donald Trump is fit to be the next president of the United States. As I Tweeted, I’d vote for either Kaine or Pence over either Clinton or Trump. I even found myself wishing for a Pence-Kaine ticket. And I have substantial disagreements with the policies of both men. Continue reading “Clinton and Trump Should Both Drop Out for the Good of the Country”
Philosopher Michael Huemer makes a claim that will surprise many attorneys and observers of the legal system: With some important exceptions, lawyers should not help a clearly guilty client go free or otherwise evade justice. This runs counter to the common notion that attorneys can or even should help their guilty clients go free (within the boundaries of the law). Huemer presented his case, based on his 2014 paper on the subject, at a September 12 meeting of Liberty on the Rocks in Westminster, Colorado. Continue reading “When It’s Wrong for Lawyers to Help Guilty Clients Go Free”
The legally mandated minimum wage is an economic issue, of course; but it is more fundamentally a moral issue. Unfortunately, usually only the left, with its claims about the alleged fairness of higher minimum wages, talks about the moral dimensions of the policy. That needs to change. Continue reading “The Moral Case Against Minimum Wage Laws”
If only society could be governed by a rational elite, what a wonderful world it would be. Or at least various theorists have speculated since Plato penned the Republic.
Astrophysicist and science popularizer Neil deGrasse Tyson is the latest in a long line of utopian theorists. He set off a spirited debate when, on June 29, he Tweeted: “Earth needs a virtual country: #Rationalia, with a one-line Constitution: All policy shall be based on the weight of evidence.” Continue reading “The Irrationality of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Rationalia”
The vast sums of money transferred by the governments of wealthy nations to the governments of poor nations do not help the world’s poor, for the most part. Rather, such foreign aid serves to prop up corrupt dictators, finance a giant network of Western nonprofits, disrupt local markets, and keep many of the intended beneficiaries dependent and poor. Even private aid often has deleterious effects. Or at least Poverty, Inc., a 2014 film by Michael Matheson Miller of the Christian, free-market Acton Institute, plausibly argues those points. Continue reading “Hurting the World’s Poor in the Name of Helping Them—Poverty, Inc.“
Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are vastly different in terms of style, background, and platform. But, at a more fundamental level, the candidates are remarkably similar: Each embraces policies to violate people’s freedom of contract and, more broadly, their freedom of association. Both candidates are essentially statist in orientation: They want to employ government force to achieve perceived benefits for some at the cost of others’ wealth and liberty. Continue reading “The Statist Convergence of Trump and Clinton”
Sore loser. Snake. Self-absorbed. Traitor. These are just a few of the stones cast at Ted Cruz following his Republican National Convention speech of July 20.
After congratulating Donald Trump for winning the nomination, Cruz nevertheless noticeably did not endorse Trump or ask people to vote for him. Instead, nearly twenty minutes into his speech, Cruz told those assembled to “vote your conscience”—eliciting noticeable boos.
What reasons might Trump’s supporters have to turn on Cruz? Here are a few. You might be outraged at Ted Cruz if . . . Continue reading “You Might Be Outraged at Ted Cruz If . . .”
Recently my wife had to pay $1,500 out of pocket to crown a molar. This was necessary because, years ago, a dentist over-drilled a cavity in the tooth and then packed it badly, resulting in the tooth eventually cracking.
It turns out that the drilling probably wasn’t even necessary. A dentist could have simply brushed a treatment on the cavity, and that would have been that—except that the treatment, used widely elsewhere, was illegal in the United States, thanks to the onerous medical approval processes Congress imposed via the Food and Drug Administration. Continue reading “FDA Deserves Some Blame for Unnecessary Teeth Drilling”
Terrorism is violence perpetrated against peaceable people to foment social or political change. The murder of police officers in Dallas was an act of terrorism.
On the evening of Thursday, July 7, at the location of an otherwise peaceful protest of recent troubling police killings of black men, Micah Xavier Johnson murdered five Dallas police officers and shot seven more for explicitly racist reasons. Continue reading “Seeking Justice after the Racist Murders in Dallas”
When fossil fuels advocate Alex Epstein learned that his organization, the Center for Industrial Progress (CIP), was listed in a subpoena to Exxon from Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey demanding forty years of communications regarding climate change, Epstein sent Healey’s office a terse reply: “F**k off, fascist.” Continue reading “Fossil Fuels Advocate Alex Epstein Denounces AG Subpoena: “F**K Off, Fascist””