Author: jay

About jay

Jay is Editor In Chief of The Agonist, veteran and technologist.

Jill Stein’s money isn’t where her mouth is


Looking at Jill Stein’s federal filing reveals a lot of capitalist investment in industries she decries.

She rails against toxic chemicals while holding over fifty thousand dollars of 3M stock, and against “Big Pharma” while holding as much in Merck. She spray paints bulldozers sitting on six figures of Home Depot. These companies alone pay her yearly dividends between $4500 and $11,500.

But the big money is in her myriad of mutual funds. I pulled up the prospectus for a random fund, the Vanguard 500 she has at least $500,000 in, up to a million.

Their fourth largest holding is Exxon shares.

It’s a robust portfolio. She’s got bonds, she’s got annuities, she’s got precious metals, IBM and Intel, Treasury notes and Johnson & Johnson. Over four million dollars in all, between her and her husband.

Very little seems geared toward socially responsible investing.

Her attacks on “corporate” opponents ring hollow.

Reflections on Frank Biggio’s “Thank me for my military service by voting for Hillary Clinton”

Decorated Marine Corps veteran Frank Biggio joins the ranks of service members unable to accept Trump as a valid candidate for Commander in Chief.

“This is a mercurial man who will have almost unchecked authority to put uniformed men and women in harm’s way, but whose understanding of foreign affairs and military strategy is based almost solely on his instincts rather than analysis,” he writes.

When I enlisted my grasp of politics was pretty weak. Presidents were boring white guys. I’ve grown a lot since then. I’m very glad I didn’t serve under Dubya. I would have only found out after the fact I’d participated in Shock & Awe. I’m terrified at the thought of our troops under Trump. We’ve seen how he treats his employees, who he has to occasionally bump into. I can’t imagine the pointless violence he’d inflict in lands he’ll never set foot.

He says he’ll toss out the generals and install his own. That’s fascism, folks, no exaggeration. He wants to use the US military to further his own political and corporate goals.

Trump wants to prove himself on the job. We’re supposed to trust a temperament we’ve never seen, to execute plans that haven’t been made, based on a grasp of global power balances that frankly gets outclassed by any regular NY Times reader.

It’s no joke that economists advising international firms rank Trump as a top 10 threat to humanity.

There’s a certain personal irony that part of my time was spent shooting down SCUDs meant for the Jews of Tel Aviv, and now we’re faced with a candidate who “surely doesn’t mean all those racist things he says.”

Robert Reich Acts Surprised



Hundreds of Bernie supporters of drowned him out today with boos as he tried to make the case for voting for Hillary Clinton in order to defeat Donald J. Trump.

I understand many of you are angry with Bernie (and even with me) for suggesting that not supporting Hillary increases the odds of a Trump victory. Several of you have said you won’t choose “the lesser of two evils.” But as Bernie said today, “This is a real world we live in. Trump is a bully and a demagogue. Trump has made bigotry and hatred the cornerstone of his campaign.”

Let’s first defeat Trump, then let’s continue to build the movement — with an eye on 2020.

But Robert Reich is part of the problem. He used his quasi-economist status to insist that Bernie’s proposals made sense, while nearly everyone else in the field said otherwise. He insisted the processes were rigged, that Bernie was going to win anyway. He set his followers up for this disappointment, as recently as last week.

This crowd’s behavior isn’t new. This is what happened at all the caucuses. It happened in state delegate conventions. It happened when trying to fire campaigners leaking data to the opponent.

They aren’t there to listen, compromise, or build coalitions. They’ve democratically lost and have gotten way more influence on the platform and the convention than their votes warranted. Yet they want more.

They yelled at a black man talking about his dead dad. They yelled at a latina speaking in Spanish, most of them not knowing what she was saying. They booed Michelle Obama.

Bluntly, there is no pleasing them. Bernie has tried repeatedly over the past couple days to tell his crowd thanks for the votes, continue to push change, but ease up on Clinton and vote for her against Trump.

So they boo’d him and started talking about Jill Stein.

These were never Democrats. They got our microphones and airtime but they were never with the party, and they don’t respect its history or its current battles.

They can’t be made happy. We just have to wait for them to fade away.

The reason they’ve failed as a whole is because of this basic “coming at it the wrong way”. You can’t beat the GOP with moral purism. You have to convince the middle you’re reasonable and effective.

The Democrats aren’t a monolithic party. They’re a collection of a hundred caucuses, many of which also mega-team up for important bills in Congress. There’s a mountain of internal compromise before the GOP is even considered.

So in not working with America’s largest progressive coalition, they’re showing how they would also try to beat the GOP. With angry speeches and sit-ins and the insistence all their line items be addressed.

That’s not how you get things accomplished here. You gotta find the common ground, the win win, the compromise. The president won’t just govern the lefties, but the shotgun rack rednecks from my home town, the Christians that go to church 3 times a week, the average joe and jane that just want their paychecks to clear.

That’s been one of the biggest frustrations among Democrats. We should have been pivoting to the general in March. Super Tuesday was a landslide and the eventual outcome became pretty clear. Nate Silver continued his winning streak by calling all but 2 states within a couple percentage points. It was over then.

But instead Hillary’s assaulted from the right and the far left, both using the same playbook and headlines. Lefties post Brietbart and literal Russian state media to attack her.

Now it’s come to light that Russian hackers broke into the DNC networks, and have released everything damning in it they could find. I haven’t seen a single one of the cries of “collusion” or “corruption” prove out when you look at the emails in context. Yah they were mad at Bernie, especially after he called for the sitting chair of the DNC to be primaried. Yah they LOL’d at him sometimes, because they had those same Nate SIlver numbers we all did, and knew he wasn’t sitting as pretty as he claimed.

They should have been more professional in their correspondence. But have you hung around soldiers or doctors or EMTs? There’s some dark humor. Stuff you don’t want families to hear. But you gotta, because the work is so serious, and if you don’t lighten things up now and then and cajole with each other you’ll burn out.

Certainly none of it rises to the level of international espionage by an oppositional world actor to interfere with American elections. The fact the diehard Bernie crowd hand-waves this because they had some scraps of DNC members being catty just boggles me. This is Watergates times Bay of Pigs but they don’t care. There are emerging links between Trump and the Russian kleptocracy. They don’t care. Holocaust survivors are figuratively peeing themselves in public over Trump’s vitriol and popularity. They don’t care.

These aren’t Democrats who appreciate the work that went into suffrage, end of child labor, the civil rights era, minimum wage, reproductive rights… they’re curmudgeons with a “both parties are the same” mantra who won’t entertain any other worldview.

So let them chant. Let them embarrass themselves in the history books – the mostly white male crowd that boo’d every supporter of the soon-to-be first female president. It’s on tape. Their grandkids can go back and see the blind hatred in their eyes and hear their voices gone hoarse from attacking the progressive party. Imagine who they’ll be compared to.

Previously: Robert Reich is the Bill Nye of Economics

[ed note: Don’t bother leaving anti-establishment “both parties are the same” “crooked hillary” comments, I’ll be purging those useless rants.]

Bernie’s Brand Is Crisis

Image via Salon

You may have heard that Bernie’s senior strategist Tad Devine filled the same role for failed candidates Gore and Kerry. But let’s talk about his successes.

You hear that right. Tad Devine‘s winning candidate caused literal riots in the streets in Bolivia and several incidents locally called “wars”. Devine’s employer in Ukraine wound up signing a highly unpopular deal with Russia instead of the EU, triggering the Orange Revolution, and fleeing to the Motherland with several billion dollars from the Ukraine treasury.

An award winning documentary was named for a phrase Devine coined in Bolivia, “Our Brand Is Crisis”. A decade later Sandra Bullock and Billy Bob Thornton brought the story to the masses:

So here we have an election whose message was driven by fear, distrust in the government, accusations of fraud, polarizing division, hyperbolic statistics and empty financial promises. The same methodologies used in Bolivia are in play in the Sanders campaign. Even Russian state media and right-winger sites like Brietbart are welcome sources if it makes “the establishment” look bad.

The far left needs to pause and examine the credibility of its sources.

Related: When did optimism become uncool?

More via Kos, “So You’re Deeply Concerned About Clinton’s Connections…”

Some words on the subject from Devine himself.

When Did Optimism Become Uncool?

A rare full article from the New York Times.

GIVEN Donald J. Trump’s virtual lock on the Republican presidential nomination, you’d think he’d be a bit more upbeat. Instead, his campaign began last summer with “our country is going to hell,” then declared, “we’re becoming a third world country,” and by this month had progressed to the United States “losing all the time.”

This election season, the impending apocalypse has been issue No. 1 for presidential aspirants on both sides. Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, said he was running “because the world is falling apart.” Senator Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, declared the United States “near an abyss.” On the left, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont says the economy has been “destroyed” for all but the wealthy few.

Presidential contenders are hardly alone in such bleak views. An April Gallup poll found that only 26 percent of Americans call themselves “satisfied” with “the way things are going” in the United States. It’s been this way for a while: January 2004, during the George W. Bush administration, was the last time a majority told Gallup they felt good about the nation’s course.

Yet a glance out the window shows blue sky. There are troubling issues, including the horror of mass shootings, but most American social indicators have been positive at least for years, in many cases for decades. The country is, on the whole, in the best shape it’s ever been in. So what explains all the bad vibes?

Social media and cable news, which highlight scare stories and overstate anger, bear part of the blame. So does the long-running decline in respect for the clergy, the news media, the courts and other institutions. The Republican Party’s strange insistence on disparaging the United States doesn’t help, either.

 But the core reason for the disconnect between the nation’s pretty-good condition and the gloomy conventional wisdom is that optimism itself has stopped being respectable. Pessimism is now the mainstream, with optimists viewed as Pollyannas. If you don’t think everything is awful, you don’t understand the situation!

Objectively, the glass looks significantly more than half full.

Job growth has been strong for five years, with unemployment now below where it was for most of the 1990s, a period some extol as the “good old days.” The American economy is No. 1 by a huge margin, larger than Nos. 2 and 3 (China and Japan) combined. Americans are seven times as productive, per capita, as Chinese citizens. The dollar is the currency the world craves — which means other countries perceive America’s long-term prospects as very good.

Pollution, discrimination, crime and most diseases are in an extended decline; living standards, longevity and education levels continue to rise. The American military is not only the world’s strongest, it is the strongest ever. The United States leads the world in science and engineering, in business innovation, in every aspect of creativity, including the arts. Terrorism is a serious concern, but in the last 15 years, even taking into account Sept. 11, an American is five times more likely to be hit by lightning than to be killed by a terrorist.

Is the middle class in dire straits, as Mr. Sanders contends? Yes, inflation-adjusted middle-class household income peaked in 1998 and has dropped slightly since. But during the same period, federal income taxes on the middle class went down, while benefits went up. Gary Burtless of the Brookings Institution has shown that when lower taxes and higher benefits are factored in, middle-class buying power has risen 36 percent in the current generation.

Is American manufacturing in free fall, as Mr. Sanders and Mr. Trump assert? Figures from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis show industrial output a tad below an all-time record level, while nearly double the output of the Reagan presidency, another supposed golden age. It’s just that advancing technology allows more manufacturing with fewer workers — a change unrelated to foreign competition.

Manufacturing jobs described by Mr. Trump and Mr. Sanders as “lost” to China cannot be found there, or anywhere. As Charles Kenny of the nonpartisan Center for Global Development has shown, technology is causing factory-floor employment to diminish worldwide, even as loading docks hum with activity. This transition is jarring to say the least — but it was always inevitable. The evolution of the heavy-manufacturing sector away from workers and toward machines will not stop, even if international trade is cut off completely.

A century ago, most Americans worked in agriculture: Today hardly any do, and we’re all better off, including farmers. That manual labor, farm or factory, has given way to 60 percent of Americans employed in white-collar circumstances is the important story in the long term. But nothing is achieved by moaning about the past. The challenge is to create even more white-collar opportunities.

Though candidates on the right are full of fire and brimstone this year, the trend away from optimism is most pronounced among liberals. A century ago Progressives were the optimists, believing society could be improved, while conservatism saw the end-times approaching. Today progressive thought embraces Judgment Day, too. Climate change, inequality and racial tension are viewed not as the next round of problems to be solved, but as proof that the United States is horrible.

And yet developing the postindustrial economy — while addressing issues such as inequality, greenhouse emissions and the condition of public schools — will require optimism. Pessimists think in terms of rear-guard actions to turn back the clock. Optimists understand that where the nation has faults, it’s time to roll up our sleeves and get to work.

That’s why the lack of progressive optimism is so keenly felt. In recent decades, progressives drank too deeply of instant-doomsday claims. If their predictions had come true, today petroleum would be exhausted, huge numbers of major animal species would be extinct, crop failures would be causing mass starvation, developing-world poverty would be getting worse instead of declining fast. (In 1990, 37 percent of humanity lived in what the World Bank defines as extreme poverty; today it’s 10 percent.)

The lack of optimism in contemporary liberal and centrist thinking opens the door to Trump-style demagogy, since if the country really is going to hell, we do indeed need walls. And because optimism has lost its standing in American public opinion, past reforms — among them environmental protection, anti-discrimination initiatives, income security for seniors, auto and aviation safety, interconnected global economics, improved policing and yes, Obamacare — don’t get credit for the good they have accomplished.

In almost every case, reform has made America a better place, with fewer unintended consequences and lower transaction costs than expected. This is the strongest argument for the next round of reforms. The argument is better made in positive terms — which is why we need a revival of optimism.

Recently Warren Buffett said that because of the “negative drumbeat” of politics, “many Americans now believe their children will not live as well as they themselves do. That view is dead wrong: The babies being born in America today are the luckiest crop in history.” This was not Nebraska folk wisdom; rather, it’s sophisticated analysis. The optimistic view is that it’s still morning in America, and if we fix what’s wrong, the best is yet to come. Such can-do, better-future thinking needs to make an appearance in the 2016 presidential campaign.

Why Hillary Fans Get Angry

If you’re not a fan of Hillary yourself, this piece will take some suspension of disbelief. It’s an attempt to explain why her “love and kindness” supporters eventually reach the end of their ropes and post mean replies to Sanders fans.

We don’t feel like we started this fight. Many of us liked Sanders early on, for all the reasons his diehard fans still do. Equality and democracy are important Democratic principles and he said some great stuff.

But then he kept saying exactly the same stuff. If you’ve seen one speech you’ve seen them all. His published proposals failed to add up. He started attacking institutions and people dear to the DNC. So many of us stepped back and said, “not only can he not accomplish what he’s promising, he’s actually working against us on several fronts.”

We became the subject of attack. Somehow Hillary was worse than Trump or Cruz or Kasich or Bush. Somehow she was the great evil power to be defeated, and anyone who sympathized with her was a sell-out, a shill, blind, ignorant, heartless, undemocratic, “establishment.” Continue reading

Ukraine’s Prime Minister to Resign Amid Fractures in Post-Revolution Alliance

NYT – KIEV— Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk, the prime minister of Ukraine, announced his resignation on Sunday in a surprise move that opened a new period of political uncertainty here.

Mr. Yatsenyuk, an economist and politician backed by Ukraine’s Western allies, including the United States, came to power two years ago behind the wave of popular anger that culminated with the Maidan street protests, which led to the downfall of President Viktor F. Yanukovych. Mr. Yatsenyuk and Petro O. Poroshenko, who became president, emerged as the nation’s most prominent figures.

But the revolution’s leaders soon turned on each other. Although authority is supposed to be balanced evenly between the president and the prime minister, Ukraine’s Western allies eventually sided with Mr. Poroshenko and pushed Mr. Yatsenyuk to step aside.

The announcement came with a caveat that, in Ukraine’s Parliament, there are many procedural tricks that could keep Mr. Yatsenyuk in power.

Putin creates new National Guard in Russia ‘to fight terrorism’

BBC – The force will be formed of interior ministry troops and led by Mr Putin’s former bodyguard, Viktor Zolotov, who will report directly to the president.

Mr Putin’s spokesman said the force could be used to maintain public order.

Mr Putin made the announcement during a meeting with key security officials at the Kremlin. “The decisions have been taken, we are creating a new federal body of executive power,” he said. He also announced that Russia’s drug control agency and federal migration service would become part of the interior ministry’s remit.

The creation of a National Guard has been talked about for years. Mr Peskov said he “could not explain” the timing but denied it had anything to do with upcoming elections or any mistrust of other law-enforcement agencies.

But there are suggestions that President Putin is concerned about possible unrest in the run-up to parliamentary elections in September.

Bernie Backwards on Panama

Image via Wiki Commons

Bernie Sanders and crew are making the outrageous claim that Hillary Clinton is to blame for the corporate abuses being uncovered via the Panama Papers.

In reality, the 2010 agreement she supported as Secretary of State and he railed against in the Senate actually added transparency and reporting requirements. Its passage is the primary reason such a small fraction of the leak data implicates American companies. The country became hostile to clandestine US finance.

But Sanders wants to blame Clinton for accounts established in Panama decades ago. Had Sanders gotten his way, the list of US individuals under new investigation this week would be much longer.

International trade has lifted a billion people out of poverty in the past two decades. Protest votes against trade bills as a matter of principle are no better than protest votes against military action for the same reason.

This follows his insistent mis-characterization of her stance on Iraq and his recent statement that Hillary is “unqualified.” This is in sharp contrast to the views of the current sitting President:

“I’ve gotten to know Hillary Clinton really well, and she is a good, smart, tough person who cares deeply about this country,” Obama said. The President also described Clinton as “really idealistic and progressive,” evidently addressing the perception among some Democrats that she is too moderate, and noted that Clinton’s experience and her mastery of policy issues would be a big help to her in the Oval Office. “It means that she can govern, and she can start here, day one, more experienced than any non-vice-president has ever been who aspires to this office.”

Iceland PM offers to step down after Panama Papers scandal

CNBC – Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, Iceland’s prime minister, has become the first casualty of the so-called Panama Papers scandal after he offered to resign Tuesday, his press office told CNBC. His move follows leaked files that showed his wife owned an offshore firm with big claims on the country’s collapsed banks. Earlier, Gunnlaugsson had asked the country’s president to dissolve parliament in the face of a looming no-confidence vote and protests.

On Monday, the opposition filed a motion of no-confidence and thousands of Icelanders gathered in front of parliament, hurling eggs and bananas and demanding the departure of the leader of the centre-right coalition government, in power since 2013.

A government spokesman has said the claims against Iceland’s collapsed banks held by the firm owned by the prime minister’s wife – in which he also temporarily held a stake – totalled more than 500 million Icelandic crowns ($4.1 million).

Iceland’s main commercial banks collapsed as the global financial crisis hit in 2008 and many Icelanders have blamed the North Atlantic island nation’s politicians for not reining in the banks’ debt-fuelled binge and averting a deep recession.

California and New York Governors Sign $15 Minimum Wage Laws

Sacramento Bee – Gov. Jerry Brown, casting a living wage as a moral imperative while questioning its economic rationale, signed legislation Monday raising California’s mandatory minimum to $15 an hour by 2022, acting within hours of a similar bill signing in New York.

Brown, a fiscal moderate, had previously expressed reservations about a wage increase. But amid growing concern about income inequality in California and the national thrust of the labor-backed “Fight for 15” campaign, his hand was forced. Public opinion polls showed strong support for increasing the state’s mandatory minimum beyond its current $10.

“Morally and socially and politically, minimum wages make every sense because it binds the community together and makes sure that parents can take care of their kids in a much more satisfactory way,” Brown said.

In a concession to the state’s influential labor unions, the bill will also provide in-home health aides three annual sick days. Republicans and business groups said rising wages will force employers to increase prices or to cut costs by laying off workers or reducing their hours.

Evidence-Based Policymaking Commission Act of 2016

magnify-dollarH.R.1831 has passed Congress. The bill, expected to be signed by President Obama, is an attempt to bring a more scientific process to the evaluation of future programs.

“Directs the Commission to conduct a comprehensive study of the data inventory, data infrastructure, and statistical protocols related to federal policymaking and the agencies responsible for maintaining that data to:

  • determine the optimal arrangement for which administrative data on federal programs and tax expenditures, , survey data, and related statistical data series may be integrated and made available to facilitate program evaluation, continuous improvement, policy-relevant research, and cost-benefit analyses;
  • make recommendations on how data infrastructure and statistical protocols should be modified to best fulfill those objectives; and
  • make recommendations on how best to incorporate outcomes measurement, institutionalize randomized controlled trials, and rigorous impact analysis into program design.”

The bill also “requires the Commission to consider whether a clearinghouse for program and survey data should be established and how to create such clearinghouse.”

Several agencies would be initially directed to include these processes and resultant knowledge into their decision making:

  • the Bureau of the Census;
  • the Internal Revenue Service;
  • the Social Security Administration;
  • the Departments of Health and Human Services, Agriculture, Housing and Urban Development, Education, and Justice;
  • the Office of Management and Budget;
  • the Bureau of Economic Analysis; and
  • the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Although the processes themselves are open to political shenanigans, this seems like a step in the right direction toward more reality-based and secular governance.

Sanders “Middle East Policy” Short on Actionable Items

Image via WaPo

In lieu of attending the AIPAC conference yesterday, Sanders issued an essay on Middle East policy. He opens by establishing his international credentials.

“Let me begin by saying that I think I am probably the only candidate for president who has personal ties with Israel. I spent a number of months there when I was a young man on a kibbutz, so I know a little bit about Israel.”

He pens a litany of actions that must happen, but offers little insight into what specific actions a president might take.

  • “Peace will require that organizations like Hamas and Hezbollah renounce their efforts to undermine the security of Israel. It will require the entire world to recognize Israel.”
  • “But peace also means security for every Palestinian. It means achieving self-determination, civil rights, and economic well-being for the Palestinian people.”
  • “More inclusive, stable governance in Iraq will be vital to inflict a lasting defeat on ISIS. Otherwise, ISIS could regain its influence or another, similar organization may spring up in its place.”
  • “While the U.S. has an important role to play in defeating ISIS, that struggle must be led by the Muslim countries themselves on the ground.”
  • “Qatar – which intends to spend up to $200 billion to host the 2022 World Cup – Qatar which per capita is the wealthiest nation in the world – Qatar can do more to contribute to the fight Against ISIS. If they are prepared to spend $200 billion for a soccer tournament, then they have got to spend a lot spend a lot more against a barbaric organization.”
  • “What I am also saying is that other countries in the region – like Saudi Arabia, which has the 4th largest defense budget in the world – has to dedicate itself more fully to the destruction of ISIS, instead of other military adventures like the one it is pursuing right now in Yemen.”
  • “ISIS has only 30,000 fighters on the ground. So when we ask the nations in the region to stand up to do more against ISIS – nations in the region which have millions of men and women under arms – we know it is surely within their capability to destroy ISIS.”
  • “We must counter the destabilizing behavior of Iran’s leaders.”

“Now I realize that given the geopolitics of the region this is not going to be easy,” he writes. “I realize different countries have different priorities. But we can help set the agenda and mobilize stronger collective action to defeat ISIS in a lasting way.”

Nowhere does he offer insight into what new leverage America can bring to the table to convince countries in the Middle East to shed thousands of years of tension, arrive at a collaborative military plan, and send its citizens to war.

Nor does he acknowledge the rest of the 16 countries in the Middle East, like Turkey, a geographically critical US strategic partner grappling with ISIS, authoritarian crackdowns and other turmoil.

Given the Senator’s dead last ranking in bipartisanship, it is difficult to see Sanders as an effective coalition builder internationally.


The growing myth of the ‘independent’ voter

Voters are more partisan at the poll station than on the phone.

WaPo – Since 2004, the number of what we’ll call “pure” independents — which is to say, those who aren’t leaning in one direction or the other — has increased slightly.

This is a long-term trend, but it clearly overlaps with what we’re seeing in the presidential race. People may consistently vote for Republicans, but they would rather call themselves “independents.” There’s an appeal to being an outsider and to outsider politics that’s reflected in how people see themselves.

But when the general election rolls around, those Republican-leaning independents will very likely vote for the Republican.

Same goes for the Dems. Despite talk of “33% of Sanders supporters won’t…” the actual party loss is single digit.

Trump considered a “Global Risk”, ranked higher than oil shock or war with China in the South Sea

“”I will gladly accept the mantle of anger” via Vox

The Economist’s Global Risk Index now includes Donald Trump’s presidency.

The full list:


Their analysis:

Thus far Mr Trump has given very few details of his policies – and these tend to be prone to constant revision – but a few themes have become apparent. First, he has been exceptionally hostile towards free trade, including notably NAFTA, and has repeatedly labelled China as a “currency manipulator”. He has also taken an exceptionally right-wing stance on the Middle East and jihadi terrorism, including, among other things, advocating the killing of families of terrorists and launching a land incursion into Syria to wipe out IS (and acquire its oil). In the event of a Trump victory, his hostile attitude to free trade, and alienation of Mexico and China in particular, could escalate rapidly into a trade war – and at the least scupper the Trans-Pacific Partnership between the US and 11 other American and Asian states signed in February 2016. His militaristic tendencies towards the Middle East (and ban on all Muslim travel to the US) would be a potent recruitment tool for jihadi groups, increasing their threat both within the region and beyond.

Their conclusion:

Although we do not expect Mr Trump to defeat his most likely Democratic contender, Hillary Clinton, there are risks to this forecast, especially in the event of a terrorist attack on US soil or a sudden economic downturn. It is worth noting that the innate hostility within the Republican hierarchy towards Mr Trump, combined with the inevitable virulent Democratic opposition, will see many of his more radical policies blocked in Congress – albeit such internal bickering will also undermine the coherence of domestic and foreign policymaking.