The Minimum Winning Coalition

In politics, victories are achieved by “minimum winning coalitions.” To the extent possible, each side does what it can to win, which involves selling the goods of victory to potential allies in exchange for their support. So grand coalitions that obtain 70% or 80% of the vote are unusual. Whatever side is losing will promise everything — up to and including kitchen sink bail-outs — in order to attract friends.

While flying cars are still off the agenda, GM, Ford, and Chrysler are beginning to hear what terms will be needed for them to form their minimum winning agenda.

The farm states sound like they can support a bail-out… in exchange for a massive increase in ethanol consumption. Others are talking about federal Volt fleets… or even a free trade agreement with Colombia.

Time is running on Detroit. The median home/condo price there is $9,250. (That is not a typo.)

The Hysterical Crowd on Georgia

Interesting that the same clique that was once saying that our only alternative to allying with Russia (supporting their military adventurism in Eurasia) as a “new Cold War” now claim that Russia’s humbling was inevitable, that oil prices would have collapsed anyway, that Russia is too small to matter, etc.

Trying to understand what things are inevitable is useful, I think. Asserting that whatever has happened is inevitable — and proves whatever you said in the first place — strikes me as more needy and childish.

Venezuela’s Election System

Like Russia and Iran, Venezuela also maintains a facade of democracy while not allowing democracy.

I want to thank “sonofsamphm1c” in the “Hidden Costs” thread for pointing me to an article on Venezuela’s electronic voting machines. While the tone of the article if laudatory, electronic voting machines allow much easier and more sophisticated vote-manipulation than other voting systems. Algorithms can reduce only a certain fraction of votes from each district, leaving no statistical trace of manipulation while changing the victor. Likewise, electronic voting machines can simply not record, or double-record, some votes, in a way that does not require messy business like “finding” votes in someone’s trunk.

During Venezuela’s recent election, Hugo Chavez also threatened to send in the military and arrest opposition leaders if he or his allies lost.

The Russian Navy is visiting Venezuela, by the way.