(I apologize in advance if some of these paragraphs run on. My limited computer skills do not allow me to put divided paragraphs in bullet points.)
In no particular order, here are my thoughts:
These comments would be incomplete without a few words about Gary Johnson and the Libertarian Party. The votes are still being counted, but it appears that Johnson will end up with about 4.5 million popular votes, a nearly 350% increase on his 2012 total. The LP is putting on a happy face over these results, but there is no question that this was a huge missed opportunity.
The stars were fully aligned this year: large amounts of media coverage, decent fundraising, two appalling opponents, and an electorate hungry for change. A 350% increase on a small base is a meaningless metric in these circumstances; projecting this kind of increase into a less propitious future, which is what some LP members seem to be doing, is foolishness. In particular, the failure to hit at least 5% of the popular vote, which would have guaranteed the LP ballot access and Federal election funding in 2020, was a realistic goal that should have been hit. Although Johnson was probably hurt by the closeness of the election, which may have cost him some tactical voters, his 3% was not even close.
This was certainly not the “breakout” that the LP should have had this year. And there can be no doubt where for the fault for this lies: Johnson was a bad candidate, although he was by far the best one available to the party. As many said at the beginning of the campaign, the LP was given a gift in 2016. Pity that it was not ready for the delivery.
Voter ID Laws
One issue that has already gotten a fair amount of coverage, and which will certainly get more following this election, is voter ID laws. The right claims that these are sensible rules to protect the integrity of voting by requiring voters to prove their identity. The left claims that they are a sinister Jim Crow plot to deny voting rights to minorities that are somehow less willing or able to prove their identity. The left also claims that they are a solution in search of a problem since, according to them, voter fraud almost never happens.
I have not seen good evidence on the prevalence of voter fraud. I do occasionally see tweets from the Heritage Foundation citing specific examples, but as the old saying has it, the plural of “anecdote” is not “data.” I have also never seen anything demonstrating that it is not a problem, but I have to admit that I do not travel in the circles where this information would be broadcast. However, do I find it plausible that laws which allow voters to self-certify their voting status could be abused? Sure, just like I am not surprised when self-certification of income on mortgage applications produces massive fraud. To be a liberal, however, requires that you categorically deny the possibility of one fraud, after having passed a 2,300-page Dodd-Frank law to stop the other. 
I have recently read a lengthy and statistically dense study on this issue by an MIT economics graduate student named Enrico Cantoni. The conclusion of the paper is summarized in its title: “Got ID? The Zero Effects of Voter ID Laws on County-Level Turnout, Vote Shares, and Uncounted Ballots, 1992-2014.” In other words, the left is once again more opinionated than informed.
The paper claims to improve on earlier studies which sometimes found a material impact on voting due to these laws. Although the precise statistically methodology is beyond me, the most important improvement is the use of very granular actual data on the voting results and racial composition of counties for a large number of elections over a 12-year period of time. Earlier studies have used self-reported data. It makes a lot of sense to me that Cantoni’s analysis would be more accurate, but if there is a stats-jock out that can give this study a more thorough vetting, I would love to hear the result.
Meanwhile, for a shorter and much more amusing take on this subject, I can recommend this video by Ami Horowitz. You have to give this guy credit. Going into a minority community and quoting liberal patronizing looks like it could be a bit dangerous for a white, Jewish guy.
I have mentioned before that Bosnia is the poster child of the neoconservative and responsibility-to-protect proponents of forcibly remaking the world in America’s benign image (see Finish the Job here). That’s why I was drawn to a recent article in the WSJ entitled “Bosnia Now Rejects the West.”
After initially being called a “breath of fresh air” by Madeleine Albright, Bill Clinton’s former Secretary of State and big-time Hillary Clinton supporter, the leader of the Serbs in Bosnia has lately told the US ambassador to “fuck off” and has described other western ambassadors as “third rate” and “totally useless.” (He’s probably not wrong here.) In general, he has said “I refuse to be [the West’s] laboratory rabbit.”
Meanwhile, the Bosnian economy continues to swirl down the toilet bowl and young people continue to flee the country. And all of this is what the West has to show for about 20 years of nation building.
Meanwhile, in the category of “They Will Never Learn,” I read in The Economist an article about Venezuela which claims that “[m]any Washington think-tankers are huffing and puffing for the United States to take tougher action” against the Maduro regime. What conceivable US interest is in play here is a total mystery to me. Equally mysterious is what conceivable good American intervention could do.
Finally, ISIS’s last strongholds in Syria (Raqqa) and Iraq (Mosul) are being slowly extinguished. The WSJ reports that ISIS recently tried to deflect the attack from Mosul by launching one on Kirkuk. The assault failed miserably when the local Sunni Muslims failed to rally to their calls for jihad and instead joined the fight against them. They had seen ISIS up close and had enough. Although US airstrikes are helping, to me this shows that ISIS is mostly collapsing under its own homicidal and parasitical weight, as I predicted long ago.
This points out one of the logical inconsistencies of the interventionist crowd. They believe enough in our way of life to want to try to impose it through the barrel of a gun, but not enough to believe that it will win of its own accord.
John Cochrane on Atlas Shrugging
When Stanford and University of Chicago economist John Cochrane isn’t giving Paul Krugman a good intellectual bitch-slapping, a worthy effort in itself, he is beating the drum for pro-growth economic policies.
Back in August, Cochrane posted a piece on his Grumpy Economist blog about the competing theories to explain America’s sluggish growth. He said that there are three: we have run out of innovative ideas (the leading proponent of which is Robert Gordon from Northwestern), we are suffering from a persistent demand shortfall from “secular stagnation” (the leading proponent of which is Larry Summers from Harvard) or our economy is suffering a “death by a thousand cuts of cronyist regulation and legal economic interference” (one of the leading proponents of which is Cochrane).
I think of the Cochrane explanation at the “Atlas Shrugged” theory. The politicians have finally thrown enough sand in the gears of the great free-market prosperity machine that they have brought it to a halt.
To see what a realistic program to unclog a lot of the gears would look like, I recommend you read “Don’t Believe the Economic Pessimists,” a Cochrane editorial recently published by the WSJ. This lays out a nine-point program that would be tremendously impactful and should be politically very possible, particularly with the Republican electoral sweep.
Avid readers will notice many similarities between Cochrane’s proposals and the Economic Man’s thinking. That is because, like mathematics, there is one right answer. And an infinity of wrong ones.
Weybridge, United Kingdom
I Wish I Had Said That…
“90% of politicians give the other 10% a bad name” by Henry Kissinger
“He looks like somebody has put their finger up his bottom and he really rather likes it” by Conservative MP Anna Soubry, describing Nigel Farage in a television interview
“If voting made any difference, they wouldn’t let us do it” by Mark Twain, who may be about to be proven wrong, although for the better or worse is still very unclear
“If you can’t trust people with freedom, how can you trust them with power?” from a libertarian tweet, making a pretty obvious point about the contradictions of statism
 Not only did they lose the presidency, the Democrats made virtually no headway in the Senate (although the odds were greatly in their favor here) and the House. The Republicans also control two-thirds of the governorships and a large majority of the state legislatures. The Supreme Court is also likely to go against them, particularly now that Justice Ginsburg is on suicide watch.
 One subtle consequence of this is that the Democratic Party has virtually no bench, since state politics serve as the farm system for the national big leagues. This is how you end up with a battle between Clinton (69 years old) versus Sanders (75 years old), while party leaders Harry Reid (76 years old) and Nancy Pelosi (76 years old). The Democrats may be trying to become the ruling party of Italy.
 I am constantly impressed by the mental flexibility of the left. Another example: A leftist can believe that a carbon tax would reduce the consumption of fossil fuels, or a tax on sugary drinks would cut obesity, but that increasing the minimum wage would have no impact on employment. Ralph Waldo Emerson tells us that “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.” What about no consistency at all?
 Leave it to the liberals to use self-reported data to justify self-certified voting. Now, class, repeat after me: People respond to the incentives you put in front of them!
 The study has been distributed by economist Tyler Cowen at his Marginal Revolution blog. Since Cowen clearly does understand the statistical work, this is some confirmation.
 Albright showed the depth of her intelligence when she urged women to support Clinton with the words: “There is a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.” Given that 42% of the female electorate just gave their votes to Trump, that special place must be very crowded.