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RFK/JFKfan

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Everything posted by RFK/JFKfan

  1. It's a shame, although not surprising given the niche nature of the subject, just how few electoral/psephological simulators there are.
  2. If Biden has Reagan's political skills (thinking quite specifically here of Reagan's response to the age question in one of his debates with Walter Mondale), then it will be less of an issue. But I'm not entirely sure he does.
  3. 1) Considering Boris Johnson has suffered two defeats by Parliament, defections in his party, and is the first PM to lose power to parliament since 1894 (or is it 1896), how would you rank Boris Johnson as Prime Minister if his premiership ended today? If it ended today, he would be a failure on his own terms. If you don't achieve the fundamental goal that you promised when you entered the job, then you can't be regarded as anything else. Blaming those who oppose Brexit is akin to blaming the enemy when you lose a war. 2) Who has been the worst Conservative PM since they took power? Cameron, like his two immediate successors, was concerned primarily with tactics over strategy, but his relative longevity makes him the most damaging for the country. 3) Who is likely to be PM a year from now? My gut tells me that Johnson will have either worn himself out or will have lost power via a general election, or maybe even have been forced out by his own party while it's still in power. I'd say either Corbyn or Gove. 4) What do you think happens to Brexit? This I have no idea on. But I wouldn't rule out a May-style deal eventually passing via Labour votes, which leads both the Brexit Party and the Lib Dems having solid 20-25% support in the polls for the foreseeable future.
  4. This seems like a "other than that, how was the play Mrs Lincoln?" kind of statement. There's a very real chance that his decision to make the referendum pledge in 2013 (which he didn't expect to have it keep, thus making it even worse) may lead to the break-up of the United Kingdom. It has already caused levels of political polarization approaching those seen in the United States. Brown was worse for the Labour Party than he was for the country. He actually handled the biggest issue of his premiership (the financial crash) well. May was probably never going to be a success given that she doesn't actually believe in the thing that she was elected to implement. Regardless of Brexit's merits and flaws as a concept, big decisions and reforms need to be implemented by people who genuinely believe in them. Thatcher genuinely believed in privatisation, Bevan genuinely believed in a National Health Service, Churchill genuinely believed in defeating fascism etc. Blair, like Thatcher, simply stayed too long. Domestically, however, his government had the best record of any of the past twenty years, even if that's not saying much. As for Johnson, it seems quite likely that he'll go for a 'nuclear option' of holding a general election in the autumn. I suspect that the result will be similar to 2017, even after favourable opinion polls, thus destroying his authority and rendering him a lame duck. Michael Gove probably takes over in the summer of 2020 and leads the country to a 'soft Brexit'. This could all be hopelessly inaccurate.
  5. Indeed, and Taylor's body was exhumed for the purposes of this theory. This was the inspiration for the Simpsons episode 'Lisa the Iconoclast'.
  6. Except of course that life expectancy was 20 years or more lower in nineteenth century USA than it is now. Higher infant mortality rates do make the statistics on this somewhat misleading, but nonetheless, fifteen presidents have passed away prior to reaching the age of 70 without the assistance of an assassin's bullet. Of these, fourteen (or thirteen if you discount Theodore Roosevelt, who did suffer at the hands of a gunman several years prior to his death) were born prior to 1900. Eleven presidents have reached the age of 80. This list is much more mixed, as it includes H. W. Bush, Carter, Ford, Reagan and Nixon, but it also includes both of the Adams presidents, Jefferson, and Madison. Most of the early presidents, however, hardly came from the most humble of backgrounds. On the point about Lincoln and FDR, people didn't worry about their health for similar reasons as to why people didn't question the sexual orientation of James Buchanan, or the faithfulness of Warren Harding to his wife; it simply wasn't something that people either had much information on nor cared about, as the media wasn't as tabloidised as it is now. As for cognition problems, here is an interesting article on dementia in the nineteenth century: http://www.dementiatoday.net/article/dementia-during-the-nineteenth-century/ A key paragraph: This is qualified somewhat by a later paragraph, which states that selection bias may have played somewhat of a role, but it's probably the case that concerns over mental health were not as dominated by age th as they are now.
  7. Thatcher's cabinets were also much more impressive than May's. May's have included Priti Patel, Amber Rudd, Boris Johnson, Gavin Williamson, Matthew Hancock, Penny Mordaunt, Chris Grayling and Liam Fox. Thatcher's included Geoffrey Howe, William Whitelaw, Lord Carrington, Douglas Hurd, James Prior, Michael Heseltine, Keith Joseph, Nigel Lawson, Norman Tebbit, and John Major.
  8. Being a 70-something today is roughly equivalent to being a 40-/50-something in the time of Abraham Lincoln (who was 56 when he first took office). Putting aside age, however, many of the greatest presidents suffered from numerous health issues during their presidencies - FDR, Lincoln, JFK, Reagan, Eisenhower, to name the more obvious examples, and they encompass a fairly wide range of ages. Unless someone wishes to correct me, the likes of Buchanan, Pierce, W. Bush (also a fairly wide range of ages) etc had relatively smooth states of health during their times in office. As I said in another thread, political nous is the most important factor in a successful candidate, and probably also in a successful politician. Experience/location/age/ideology/health/position/ pale in comparison.
  9. Putin easily outranks the rest of these in terms of political ability. Xi is a distant second. Merkel peaked around five years ago. Francis has little business being on here, given that he's primarily a religious figure. Bibi and Assad are mid-rankers, perhaps upper middle on their good days. Kim is lucky that he's leader of North Korea. In just about any other country the bureaucrats would walk all over him. Trudeau is vastly inferior to his father, both politically and intellectually. He's just a telegenic, mushy centre-left liberal. Macron's politics are similar to Trudeau's, but he has perhaps somewhat more potential. May is quite clearly the most inept of this bunch, other than Trump. Trump is however a better campaigner than May.
  10. Political nous. As long as they have that then nothing else really matters. LBJ had it, JFK had it, Reagan had it, Nixon had it, FDR had it, TR had it, Bill Clinton had it, Abraham Lincoln had it. Some of those were charismatic, others less so. Some were telegenic, some not really telegenic at all. Some were quite old, others quite young. Some were senators, some were governors, others were vice presidents. Some were from the South, others from the North, others from elsewhere. Some were liberal, others moderate or conservative. But they were all elected, sometimes against significant odds. And all achieved a lot in office.
  11. I disagree. Very few people vote on the basis of the candidates' age, and arguably more are willing to vote against someone on the basis of being young and untested than of being old and seasoned, hence Reagan's quip to Mondale in one of the 1984 debates. Nancy Pelosi needs to be replaced, however. Not because of her age, but because she is a proven failure at winning House majorities, just as William Jennings Bryan (whose career peaked at a relatively young age) was a proven failure at winning presidential elections.
  12. Both McCain and Romney moved to the right in order to get the nomination, although in the case of Romney he was perhaps slightly more moderate in his 2012 run than in his 2008 run.
  13. Canada isn't notably 'left' - it's main social democratic party has never been in government at the federal level. The Liberal Party is fundamentally a party without principle - it can be left, right or centre depending on time and province. The Conservative Party is also to the right of most other First World mainstream centre-right parties.
  14. 'Experience' isn't necessarily re-assuring. There's a good chance that Trump would be worse if he had served twenty years in Congress prior to his presidency.
  15. My ratings for each would be: Churchill - 5 Attlee - 2 (perhaps 1.5 if possible) Eden - 3 Macmillan - 3 Douglas-Home - 1.5 Wilson 3.5/4 (certainly a 4 in 1964) Heath - 2.5/3 (hardly a charming personality but could speak passionately on his day) Callaghan - 3.5/4 (underrated in terms of his charisma; very avuncular but wasn't dealt a great hand as PM) Thatcher - 4 Major - 2/2.5 (slightly higher than one might expect due to his soapbox campaign of 1992; of course it all went downhill after that) Blair - 4 Brown - 2 (he can give an excellent speech when he wants to, hence he's not lower) Cameron - 3/3.5 May - 1.5
  16. As far as post-war PMs go, I'd rate Macmillan above Attlee, Douglas-Home, Heath, Major, Brown and May in charisma terms. In many ways he is quite similar to Cameron - from a well-to-do background, on the centre-left of the Conservative Party and managed to lead the party to a net increase in seats as the governing party. Both were also succeeded by vastly inferior media performers (Douglas-Home in Macmillan's case and May in Cameron's case).
  17. Preferably all of them! I'm all for as many playable candidates as possible in any and all scenarios.
  18. Something like 75% of the parliamentary seats on just over two-fifths of the popular vote, and around one-quarter of those on the electoral register. Somehow I think the Lib Dems would drop their support for electoral reform after a result like that.
  19. No way was Dewey more charismatic than Truman, even if he was better-looking. The main reason for Truman closing the gap is because he ran a more energetic campaign, whereas Dewey's was bland and uninspiring. One great anecdote I've read about the 1948 campaign is the stark contrast in their styles of speeches - Truman would speak along the lines of "hey guys, what don't ya give a huge round of applause to my wife?". In contrast, Dewey would say "It is now my honour to introduce to you my wife." In other words, Dewey's way of speaking was much more uptight and snooty. Dewey was essentially a middle-of-the-road New York politician along the lines of Nelson Rockefeller, Andrew Cuomo and Michael Bloomberg. Yes, capable of winning many votes, and yes, a competent administrator, but not the kind of politician to bring out huge crowds. The most charismatic of the 1930s and 1940s' Republican nominees was, by some distance, Wendell Willkie, although he still had little compared to FDR. Of course the most obvious example of 'the more charismatic candidate losing' would surely be 1896.
  20. In PMI UK, I'd love for 'vote share changes/swings' to be added to election nights. In each seat, the changes for each party in percentage terms compared to the previous (real-life) election would be displayed next to the candidates, with changes also shown on regional and national levels. For example, Labour won 47.2% compared to the Tories' 32.8% in Walsall South in the real-life 2015 election. If in the 2017 PMI UK scenario Labour win 56.9% and the Tories 31.2%, then it would show Labour 56.9% (+9.7%), Conservatives 31.2% (-1.6%). This is a key feature of televised election night coverage in the UK.
  21. Corbyn's personal ratings are no worse than Thatcher's in 1979, Heath's in 1970 or even Cameron's in 2010. Indeed, Callaghan famously had a 19-point lead over Thatcher on the question of preferred prime minister on the eve of the 1979 election. Sustained positive personal ratings are actually quite an unusual thing; when opposition parties win elections it is often a case of a default victory rather than of any great enthusiasm. I mean, it's much easier to imagine a voter who votes for a party despite not really liking its leader ("best of a bad bunch") than it is to imagine a voter who doesn't vote for a party despite actually liking its leader.
  22. It's unfair to single out the UK. Western politics in general has taken a rather sour turn in the past few years. Although, paradoxically, the two main parties received their highest combined vote share in 2017 since 1970, despite neither of them exactly being popular.
  23. New Labour is certainly better (from a left-wing POV) than the Labour governments that both Australia and New Zealand had in the 1980s.
  24. President Forever 2008 did have an election night which included state projections ("we are calling ME for X", we are calling CO for Y" etc) but the problem with it was that it often called states prematurely. If, say, a few percent of the vote was in and one candidate was ahead by more than about 8% then that candidate would be projected the winner. This led to a bizarre bug where if the other candidate wound up as the victor in that state and this caused the overall national outcome to flip, there would be an avalanche of messages of "we are taking back our call". Another issue was that it would refuse to call states until around 99% was reporting if the margin was less than around 8%. In terms of U.S. elections then yeah, President Elect probably had the best. Most games of this kind simply just report the full state-by-state results without any trickling in. The old Randy Chase series did this, as did that obscure and unfinished Election Day game from around a decade ago. But election nights for Prime Minister Infinity UK are very well done as the results come in pretty much exactly as they do in real-life. The only thing missing is a swingometer, a Dimbleby and some grilling interviewer.
  25. You mean like how his father was until the 1950s? It's not unusual at all anyway for children to have differing political views from their parents. As for the topic, there are loads of interesting failed primary candidates from the 80s and 90s who are fairly interesting and would be so in today's environment. Jesse Jackson, Gary Hart, Pat Buchanan, Pete Wilson etc.
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