COVID: On Wisconsin!

One of the most surprising things that I have seen lately is that Trump’s trade war with China is back. The center of this fight is in the State of Wisconsin, which is getting hosed the way states in the Midwest always do: by being flooded with cheap Chinese imports that decimate local industry. In this case, that Chinese import is COVID-19 aka “The Ronies.”

Because of this outbreak, literally everyone in Wisconsin is losing their minds about the state’s primary election that is scheduled for Tuesday and tax paying citizens such as myself are busy checking underneath the couch cushions for benzos that will help to find the answer to this one:

At this point I have lost track of all the different court cases and state legislature movements but honestly, I don’t think that they matter much. We are inside of a classic stand-off between branches of government and the formula for these is more predictable than the formula for a boy band single. I’m going to talk about that in a second but now it’s time to issue a WARNING.

Because this is a very easy market to be cucked in.

The thing that makes this market really hard to bet on is that Gov. Evers is following the playbook for either outcome.

The evidence that supports Governor Evers delaying the election is identical to the evidence that supports him doing nothing. He is either very clearly not going to get involved or he is trying to bluff the other branches of government into action by forcing the hot potato into their hands. IMO that hot potato is always going to find a way to land back into the governor’s lap, and when it does sometime on Monday night — he’s going to pull the plug.

At a minimum, Governor Evers is still weighing his options. This is why:

  • The amount of pressure on this bro to suspend the election is huge. For example:

And in general:

  • Politicians are usually insulated from the consequences of their decisions due to the fact that their successors will have to deal with cost overruns, staffing shortages, etc. But as a human being, Gov. Evers has to be thinking about how he could literally kill people if he opens the polls on Tuesday.

Then there is a bigger point that I would like to make: When it comes to using executive authority for controversial stuff, politicians regularly follow the pattern that Gov. Evers is. They pass the buck for as long as possible to either (1) get someone else to do their dirty work; or (2) show voters that they literally tried everything before they acted unilaterally. Not a lawyer but this is also important in some types of legal proceedings: proving to a judge that you exhausted all other remedies.

Here are some similar events in recent history that fit the patern:

The Not-War in Syria

  • When Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad crossed President Barack O’Bama’s “red line” by attacking his people with chemical weapons, President Obama passed the buck to Congress to either appropriate money for a war or shit-can it.
  • Obviously, Congress did nothing. So Obama succeeded in bluffing another branch of government into holding his bags.
  • Ergo, Republicans couldn’t accuse Obama of having no balls when they themselves didn’t.

The Fiscal Cliff in 2011

  • When the USA’s credit rating took a dive and the first of a bunch of really boring “fiscal cliffs” started appearing on the USA’s balance sheet, Obama and Congressional Republicans did just an amazing job of passing the buck back and forth between each other and generally showing zero cojones to deal with the problem.
  • Eventually President Obama killed his own deal with Boehner and told voters to “call your Congressman” and complain about “the Grand Bargain” failing. Basically he did what Gov. Evers is doing now, which is turning up the heat on the Legislative Branch when he himself had the power to fix the problem.
  • At the end of the day, Cocaine Mitch, Harry Reid, and President Obama worked out a way to pass the buck infinitely through the Budget Control Act. This is the bill that created “budget sequestration,” which is a legal term for a paper tiger that automatically cuts federal spending without Congress voting on it. Basically they found a way to make no one accountable for any hard medicine. Except for John Boehner who basically got demoted to the B-team.

The Border Wall Shutdown

  • President Trump tried and failed to play the crisis game a year ago. He shutdown the government over the need for a border wall. But no one outside his inner circle ever believed that there was a crisis worth addressing and basically Trump’s bluff died like a big political boner after a jolt of MAGA cocaine.

The big picture:

  • This is a constant pattern in politics: passing crisis legislation when there is a way to divide the blame for its inevitable shortcomings; or when the consequences of inaction are so dire that they dwarf voters’ unhappiness about the underlying policy.

All of Gov. Evers actions so far have been designed to fulfill requirement (1). Now, as the pressure piles-up, Gov. Evers’ mindset it shifting towards (2).

That is why I think tweets like this are 100 percent fake news:

This is exactly what the Executive would do: tell Congress it’s their problem. Otherwise, he’s gotta dirty up his shirt to fix it. And no politician wants to do that.

Here is one part that gets me triggered though. Check out this excerpt from a longer Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel piece:

“A growing chorus of Democrats and mayors are urging Evers to halt the election on his own using broader authority he has during emergencies. But the Evers source said he was unlikely to do that because it would be sure to face an immediate court challenge. 

An adverse ruling by the state Supreme Court would limit his ability to act in the coming weeks, when the coronavirus crisis is expected to worsen in Wisconsin. Evers wants to make sure he has as much authority as possible to fight the pandemic and doesn’t want to see it curbed early on over an election fight he believes he would lose, the source said.”

To me this is the only reason why Evers won’t use his emergency powers: because he believes, either sincerely or conveniently, that the noble thing is to save his bullets. At the end of the day, I think he’ll wake up in the middle of the night and realize this election is the emergency and it is better to fight than retreat.

>>>> BTW, I anticipate seeing letters from black pastors and other reps of low-income and minority populations citing COVID-19’s extra-high incidence rates among these groups arriving soon. Get ready for some social justice pressure to come to bear <<<<

Lastly, the rules of this bet are a total disease

Not gonna spend a lot of time on this, except to say that it is seriously unnerving to have the entire market refereed by whichever digital intern updates the NYT’s page. Who am I to say whether or not this squirt is busy making coffee for Maggie Haberman if and when the time comes?

These rules have me SHOOK.

LASTLY, MY ODDS:

  • Odds that State Legislature delays election – 5 percent
  • Odds that Governor Evers delays election – 85 percent
  • Odds that either solution satisfies PredictIt’s rules – 50 percent

So (85+5)*.50= 45 percent chance of YES winning.

I am not going to tell you to follow me on this one, but my belief is that Gov. Evers will intervene at the last second and call this off. This is great news because the farm animals trading in this market are giving us chances to buy YES in the high-20s and low-30s.

See what I’m looking at? VERRRYYYY TASTY.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

KEENDAWG.

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