The success of socialism

From Salon:

Hugo Chavez’s economic miracle

The Venezuelan leader was often marginalized as a radical. But his brand of socialism achieved real economic gains

by David Sirota | Wednesday, March 6, 2013 07:30 AM EDT

For the last decade in American politics, Hugo Chavez became a potent political weapon – within a few years of his ascent, he was transformed from just a leader of a neighboring nation into a boogeyman synonymous with extremism. Regularly invoked in over-the-top political rhetoric, Chavez’s name became a decontextualized epithet to try to attach to a political opponent so as to make that opponent look like a radical. Because of this, America barely flinched upon hearing the news that the Bush administration tried to orchestrate a coup against the democratically elected Venezuelan leader.

Just to get it out of the way, I’ll state the obvious: with respect to many policies, Chavez was no saint. He, for instance, amassed a troubling record when it came to protecting human rights and basic democratic freedoms (though as Mark Weisbrot of the Center for Economic and Policy notes, “Venezuela is recognized by many scholars to be more democratic than it was in the pre-Chávez era”). His rein1 also coincided with a boom in violent crime.

That said, these serious problems, while certainly worthy of harsh criticism, were not the primary reason Chavez became the favorite effigy of American politicians and pundits. In an age marked by America’s drone assaults, civil liberties abuses, and war on voting, it is not as if this nation’s political establishment sees an assault on democratic freedoms as deplorable. Likewise, that same political establishment is more than friendly with leaders of countries like Mexico and Colombia – countries which are also periodically hotbeds of violent crime.

No, Chavez became the bugaboo of American politics because his full-throated advocacy of socialism and redistributionism at once represented a fundamental critique of neoliberal economics, and also delivered some indisputably positive results. Indeed, as shown by some of the most significant indicators, Chavez racked up an economic record that a legacy-obsessed American president could only dream of achieving.

For instance, according to data compiled by the UK Guardian, Chavez’s first decade in office saw Venezuelan GDP more than double and both infant mortality and unemployment almost halved. Then there is a remarkable graph from the World Bank that shows that under Chavez’s brand of socialism, poverty in Venezuela plummeted (the Guardian reports that its “extreme poverty” rate fell from 23.4 percent in 1999 to 8.5 percent just a decade later). In all, that left the country with the third lowest poverty rate in Latin America. Additionally, as Weisbrot points out, “college enrollment has more than doubled, millions of people have access to health care for the first time and the number of people eligible for public pensions has quadrupled.”

When a country goes socialist and it craters, it is laughed off as a harmless and forgettable cautionary tale about the perils of command economics. When, by contrast, a country goes socialist and its economy does what Venezuela’s did, it is not perceived to be a laughing matter – and it is not so easy to write off or to ignore. It suddenly looks like a threat to the corporate capitalism, especially when said country has valuable oil resources that global powerhouses like the United States rely on.

There’s more at the original.

From Merriam-Webster, the applicable definition of salon:

  1. an elegant apartment or living room (as in a fashionable home)
  2. a fashionable assemblage of notables (as literary figures, artists, or statesmen) held by custom at the home of a prominent person
  3. a: a hall for exhibition of art
    b: (capitalized) : an annual exhibition of works of art

And thus we see the origins of the word for which the e-zine Salon is named: a place for the haughty intellectuals to tell everybody else that they are intellectuals. That this is the place where Amanda Marcotte posts her blathering is unsurprising.

The esteemed Mr Sirota’s article was a (sort of) paean to Hugo Chavez, who had gone to his eternal reward the previous day. It seems that the (supposedly) socialist leader had amassed a huge personal fortune, but the common people of Venezuela couldn’t even get toilet paper in that country’s socialist economy.

(T)he late-president’s family owns 17 country estates, totalling more than 100,000 acres, in addition to liquid assets of $550 million (£360 million) stored in various international bank accounts, according to Venezuelan news website Noticias Centro.

While ordinary Venezuelans suffer growing food shortages and 23 per cent inflation, the Chavez family trades in US dollars that now fetch four times the official bank rate on the black market.

Living in numerous mansions in Alto Barinas, the city’s most affluent district, the family and their children live a life of privilege, says Mr Azuaje, whose wife left him to marry into wealth and now lives next to the Chavez mansions.

“My daughter goes to school with the Chavez kids”, he explained. “She told me that the school dining hall has waiting staff to serve and clean up after the kids”

Mr Sirota’s homage to President Chavez has been thoroughly mocked before:

Reflections on Venezuela’s “Economic Miracle”

10/23/2015 | Andrew Syrios

Back in 2013, Salon took a quick break from criticizing a caricature of libertarianism to let David Sirota write an embarrassing article praising socialism in what turns out to be a fantastic case study in both the dangers of socialist economics and of course, speaking too soon.

The article was titled “Hugo Chavez’s Economic Miracle” and it was certainly not the only one of its kind to come out at the time. It may seem like twenty-twenty hindsight to criticize such foolishness, but it might be instructive as well. However, looking at Venezuela now as compared to the country Sirota saw in 2013 and thought provided an economic alternative to American capitalism (a truly free market was never discussed) serves as a good example of what Nicolás Cachanosky calls “the bait-and-switch behind economic populism.” Or namely, that government policies focused highly on consumption and lowly on investment will show good economic signs at the beginning, only to be followed by an inevitable decline and likely disaster.

Sirota’s article at least begins by lamenting Chavez’s rather poor record on civil rights (like shutting down a TV station that was critical of him) and noting “a boom in violent crime.” This may somehow be an understatement as Venezuela ranks second in the world in murders per capita at a terrifying rate of 53.7 per 100,000 citizens annually! (So much for socialism alleviating crime.) He finally does arrive at his case for this “economic miracle” that Venezuela was experiencing under Chavez (which, I should note, makes up only one paragraph of his entire article).

There’s more at the original. To be fair, it should be noted that the Mises Institute is strongly anti-statist and pro-private property, but that article is simply the best of the ones mocking Mr Sirota. A google search for David Sirota Venezuela failed to turn up any retraction articles from the author concerning his foolish statements, and his website does not have a search function.

One wonders what Mr Sirota thinks of the current news, that Venezuelan President Nicholas Maduro has declared a state of emergency to try to hold on to power, as his country wants him gone due to the wonderful economy created by Mr Chavez’s “Bolivarian socialism:”

Venezuela’s economy shrank 5.7% in 2015 and is expected to contract an additional 8% this year, the International Monetary Fund says. Inflation has skyrocketed, suffering annual inflation rates predicted to hit the 700% range while failing to meet its citizens’ most basic needs, according to IMF projections.

The bolivar, Venezuela’s currency, is worth less than a penny on the black-market exchange.

Even when Mr Sirota was writing his tribute to Señor Chavez, the signs of Venezuela’s economic collapse were there, but the author’s political motivations blinded him to the economic facts. We’ve said it here before: if liberals really understood economics, they wouldn’t be liberals anymore.
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  1. I am amused by Mr Sirota’s spelling/grammatical error here. The proper spelling is “reign,” when the meaning is a term of rulership (though commonly meaning a term of royal reign), while “rein,” the spelling he used, means, among other things, the ability to limit or control something, or the power to guide or control someone or something. That’s rather apropos to Señor Chavez’s regime!

Rule 5 Blogging: Americans!

It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as posting photos of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Sarah Hyland in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude. Click any photo to enlarge.

U.S. Army Pvt. 1st Class Jo Marie Rivera, left, a human resource specialist, and Sgt. 1st Class Rebecca Hamby, a military police officer, both with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, maintain security for a Female Engagement Team chief during a consultation at a clinic in the Tarnak wa Jaldak district, Zabul province, Afghanistan, Sept. 18, 2013. (U.S. Army photo by Sgt. Kandi Huggins/Released)

Continue reading ‘Rule 5 Blogging: Americans!’ »

From Around the Blogroll

From The New York Times:

For Obama, an Unexpected Legacy of Two Full Terms at War

By Mark Landler | May 14, 2016

WASHINGTON — President Obama came into office seven years ago pledging to end the wars of his predecessor, George W. Bush. On May 6, with eight months left before he vacates the White House, Mr. Obama passed a somber, little-noticed milestone: He has now been at war longer than Mr. Bush, or any other American president.

If the United States remains in combat in Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria until the end of Mr. Obama’s term — a near-certainty given the president’s recent announcement that he will send 250 additional Special Operations forces to Syria — he will leave behind an improbable legacy as the only president in American history to serve two complete terms with the nation at war.

President Obama accepting the Nobel Peace Prize in Oslo in 2009. Since then, he has tried to fulfill the promises he made as an antiwar candidate. Credit Doug Mills/The New York Times Click to enlarge.

Mr. Obama, who won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2009 and spent his years in the White House trying to fulfill the promises he made as an antiwar candidate, would have a longer tour of duty as a wartime president than Franklin D. Roosevelt, Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon or his hero Abraham Lincoln.

Granted, Mr. Obama is leaving far fewer soldiers in harm’s way — at least 4,087 in Iraq and 9,800 in Afghanistan — than the 200,000 troops he inherited from Mr. Bush in the two countries. But Mr. Obama has also approved strikes against terrorist groups in Libya, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen, for a total of seven countries where his administration has taken military action.

“No president wants to be a war president,” said Eliot A. Cohen, a military historian at Johns Hopkins University who backed the war in Iraq and whose son served there twice. “Obama thinks of war as an instrument he has to use very reluctantly. But we’re waging these long, rather strange wars. We’re killing lots of people. We’re taking casualties.”

Mr. Obama has wrestled with this immutable reality from his first year in the White House, when he went for a walk among the tombstones at Arlington National Cemetery before giving the order to send 30,000 additional troops into Afghanistan.

His closest advisers say he has relied so heavily on limited covert operations and drone strikes because he is mindful of the dangers of escalation and has long been skeptical that American military interventions work.

Publicly, Mr. Obama acknowledged early on the contradiction between his campaign message and the realities of governing. When he accepted the Nobel in December 2009, he declared that humanity needed to reconcile “two seemingly irreconcilable truths — that war is sometimes necessary, and war at some level is an expression of human folly.”

The president has tried to reconcile these truths by approaching his wars in narrow terms, as a chronic but manageable security challenge rather than as an all-consuming national campaign, in the tradition of World War II or, to a lesser degree, Vietnam. The longevity of his war record, military historians say, also reflects the changing definition of war.

There’s a lot more at the original, but it is the last quoted phrase which indicates the problem” “the changing definition of war.”

I addressed this problem in a four-part series on the old site, Can we win wars today?, Parts 1, 2, 3 and 4. We will have been at war for the entirety of President Obama’s two miserable terms because we are unwilling to really go to war; we have been willing only to play at war.

This problem started, really, under President Johnson, and the remaining Kennedy brain trust, who thought that we could somehow persuade the Vietnamese Communists to just quit fighting and give up their goals through increasing pressure, exemplified by Operation Rolling Thunder.

I will point out, as I did ten years ago, the only way to win wars is to destroy so much of the enemy’s infrastructure and kill so many of his fighting aged men that he is completely defeated, that he ceases to fight because he can no longer fight. President Obama, like President Bush before him, engages in limited actions to achieve limited objectives, as though the ghost of McGeorge Bundy had been directing our war policies, in an effort to get the enemy to quit fighting because he is losing too many men and too much infrastructure, rather than destroying the enemy’s ability to fight. The left will never understand this, and far too many on the right are willing to do so either.

And now, on to the blogroll!

What is The Difference Between Biological Sex and Sexual Orientation? Rev. 1 Then What Would Constitute Sexual Discrimination?

MOVED UP SINCE THE USURPER IN CHIEF DECIDED TO REWRITE ANOTHER LAW.  SEEMS LIKE THE REAL FOLKS ARE NOT TAKING THIS KINDLY.

Whats TrueHere’s a Conundrum in my mind. Definition of Civil Rights from Cornell Uni.

civil rights: an overview
A civil right is an enforceable right or privilege, which if interfered with by another gives rise to an action for injury. Examples of civil rights are freedom of speech, press, and assembly; the right to vote; freedom from involuntary servitude; and the right to equality in public places. Discrimination occurs when the civil rights of an individual are denied or interfered with because of their membership in a particular group or class. Various jurisdictions have enacted statutes to prevent discrimination based on a person’s race, sex, religion, age, previous condition of servitude, physical limitation, national origin, and in some instances sexual orientation.
 
Full Text from Cornell Here:
 
Today the Department of Injustice said North Carolina’s HB2 is null and void.  Not a judge, just the whim of the Loretta Lynch Mob at DOI.  So, I looked up the definition on the Civil Rights.  The question that immediately hit me is if a Biological Female in a Women’s Room is Confronted by a Biological Male who says He can be there because he is a Thought Female.
So if you can not discriminate because of Sex, or Sexual Orientation, then why are Women’s or Men’s Civil rights of NOT having the biological opposite sex in the Rest Room any different of that of that of the so called “sexual orientation”????? The question is how can you resolve the Sexual Discrimination either way???

 

Economics 101: In business, only the bottom line matters

From Investor’s Business Daily:

Wendy’s Serves Up Big Kiosk Expansion As Wage Hikes Hit Fast Food

By Jed Graham | May 11, 2016

Wendy’s (WEN) said that self-service ordering kiosks will be made available across its 6,000-plus restaurants in the second half of the year as minimum wage hikes and a tight labor market push up wages.

Morgan Smith Goodwin, the “Wendy’s girl” from television commercials.

It will be up to franchisees whether to deploy the labor-saving technology, but Wendy’s President Todd Penegor did note that some franchise locations have been raising prices to offset wage hikes.

McDonald’s (MCD) has been testing self-service kiosks. But Wendy’s, which has been vocal about embracing labor-saving technology, is launching the biggest potential expansion.

Wendy’s Penegor said company-operated stores, only about 10% of the total, are seeing wage inflation of 5% to 6%, driven both by the minimum wage and some by the need to offer a competitive wage “to access good labor.”

It’s not surprising that some franchisees might face more of a labor-cost squeeze than company restaurants. All 258 Wendy’s restaurants in California, where the minimum wage rose to $10 an hour this year and will gradually rise to $15, are franchise-operated. Likewise, about 75% of 200-plus restaurants in New York are run by franchisees. New York’s fast-food industry wage rose to $10.50 in New York City and $9.75 in the rest of the state at the start of 2016, also on the way to $15.

As the story notes, most Wendy’s restaurants are actually owned by franchise holders, and it will be he individual franchise holders who decide whether to install the computerized order takers. And who knows, maybe some of those franchise owners will be sympathetic souls who want to keep hiring and training high school kids to work the counters, but some of them are going to be strictly bottom line, and take advantage of Wendy’s offer of the kiosks.

The economically-illiterate just see the big evil corporation, but most Wendy’s restaurants, as is the case in franchise restaurant chains in general, are small businesses, with the franchisees owning one of just a few facilities. Those people are generally hard-working, middle-class entrepreneurs, trying to make a better life for themselves and their families, and whether they are sympathetic to the plights of the minimum wage employees or otherwise, their primary concerns are their own families, period, and that means the bottom line.

Not in my back yard! Everybody wants green energy, as long as it isn't produced in their neighborhoods!

From the Times-News:

Penn Forest residents protesting turbine plan

Zoning hearing May 12 for 40-unit farm near Towamensing Township line

By Judy Dolgos-Kramer jkramer@tnonline.com | Monday, May 2, 2016

Penn Forest Township residents are banding together to fight a proposal for a 40-unit wind turbine farm that would be built along the border with Towamensing Township.

Penn Forest Township has scheduled a zoning hearing board meeting at 7 p.m. May 12 to consider an application by Atlantic Wind to construct a massive, 40-unit wind turbine farm in Penn Forest Township right along the border of Towamensing Township.

The wind turbine tests that first came to light in June 2013 have now become a possibility, and from the word on the street and on social media, the residents of Penn Forest and neighboring Towamensing are not happy.

“What would this mean to us? Who will this benefit?” said Dennis Steirer of Albrightsville. “Is the community going to benefit at all? We were blindsided by a big company coming in here and trying to do this, for what, for who?”

These are the kinds of questions popping up on the Facebook page, “Say NO to Bethlehem Watershed Wind Farm project!”

And:

Residents ask Penn Forest supers to deny wind farm

By Judy Dolgos-Kramer jkramer@tnonline.com | Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Close to 75 people packed the Penn Forest Township supervisors meeting Monday evening to voice concern over a proposed wind turbine project.

Atlantic Wind LLC has applied for a special exception permit to build up to 40 wind turbines near the Towamensing Township line, and residents have been spreading the news via Facebook and word of mouth.

Attorney Thomas Nanovic instructed residents that the supervisors were giving them the floor to comment on the project.

“You may each have 3 minutes to say what you want the supervisors to hear,” Nanovic said. He added, “I have advised the supervisors to not comment and to not engage in any discussion about the project, and this is for two reasons. The first being that there is currently nothing before this board for approval, at this time the special exception application is before the zoning hearing board and that meeting will be on May 12.”

Nanovic said a “development plan” could come before the board in the future.

“Making any comments or discussing their personal views on the project could result in a supervisor being asked to recuse themselves from voting on the development plan. Now I only advise them, it is up to the supervisors to decide what they will do.”

About a dozen residents spoke about the project. “Have you ever heard of economic obsolescence?” asked Phillip Nelson of Towamensing Trails. “I have been in the mortgage business for many years, and there are already too many homes in foreclosure in this area. I have seen these plans and I will tell you, people will just walk away from their homes.”

He added, “They will stay one to one and a half years, not pay their mortgage or their taxes and then walk, because their homes will lose 15 percent of its value the first year, and 15 percent the second year and after that it slows down, but it continues to decline. People did not invest their saving and retire here to look at that.”

Other residents expressed their concerns with the impact on wildlife.

“This project is right behind my house,” said Bill Tagye.

“Do you know how many birds are killed in the United States every year by these turbines? And bats. Bats eat up to 500 insects per hour. Bats implode when they are near the windmills. Their lungs burst.”

David Kocis of Towamensing Township brought a scaled model with him to make it easier for those present to get a clear picture of the project.

“This is an example of corporate greed disguised as green energy,” said Kocis. “Use your heart and soul and deny this.”

There’s more at the links to both stories.

The area under consideration is a good one for the generation of electricity from wind, because it’s high, relatively flat, and windy. Personally, I don’t think the area is all that attractive, much of it being a filled in swamp, but I don’t own a home there.1 I suppose that if someone wanted to build a wind energy farm in my line of sight, I wouldn’t be particularly thrilled, either.

But this is the problem for the green energy activists. Yes, wind power is emissions-free, and thus does not contribute to global warming climate change,2 but while it seems that everybody likes the concept of green energy, nobody seems to be interested in having it produced where they can see it.

  1. My wife and I did look at one home in Towamensing Trails in 2002, but we were not interested in it.
  2. If such a thing exists, and if manmade emissions contribute to it if it does exist.

Rule 5 Blogging: Basic Combat Training at Fort Jackson

It’s the weekend and time, once again, for THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL’S version of Rule 5 Blogging. Robert Stacey Stacy McCain described Rule 5 as putting pictures of pretty women somewhat déshabillé, but, on this site, our Rule 5 Blogging doesn’t put up pictures of Ali Larter in her summer clothes, but women, in full military gear, serving their countries in the armed forces. The terribly sexist authors on this site celebrate strong women, women who can take care of themselves and take care of others, women who have been willing to put their lives on the line in some not-so-friendly places, women who truly do have the “We can do it!” attitude. Today: Red Phase of Basic Combat Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.

At attention, with her weapon/

At attention, with her weapon.

Continue reading ‘Rule 5 Blogging: Basic Combat Training at Fort Jackson’ »

From Around the Blogroll

From the Harvard Crimson:

In Historic Move, Harvard to Penalize Final Clubs, Greek Organizations

Starting with Class of 2021, members of clubs, Greek organizations will be ineligible for multiple leadership positions and fellowships

By C. Ramsey Fahs, Crimson Staff Writer | May 6, 2016 | Updated: May 8, 2016, at 3:01 a.m.

Starting with Harvard’s Class of 2021, undergraduate members of unrecognized single-gender social organizations will be banned from holding athletic team captaincies and leadership positions in all recognized student groups. They will also be ineligible for College endorsement for top fellowships like the Rhodes and Marshall scholarships.

Ending months of speculation, University President Drew G. Faust announced the sweeping changes in an email to undergraduates Friday morning. Accepting Dean of the College Rakesh Khurana’s recommendations—his first public proposals to regulate unrecognized single gender organizations—Faust framed the new policy as a matter of necessity.

“Although the fraternities, sororities, and final clubs are not formally recognized by the College, they play an unmistakable and growing role in student life, in many cases enacting forms of privilege and exclusion at odds with our deepest values,” Faust wrote. “The College cannot ignore these organizations if it is to advance our shared commitment to broadening opportunity and making Harvard a campus for all of its students.”

Formed in response to the recommendations of a University-wide report on sexual assault prevention, the policy mirrors an idea that Khurana floated at a behind-closed-doors meeting with final club leadership in April.

While administrators have criticized single-gender social clubs, particularly male final clubs, for statistics purportedly linking them with an elevated risk of sexual assault, Faust and Khurana’s messages focused primarily on the membership selection practices of unrecognized single gender groups.

“[T]he discriminatory membership policies of these organizations have led to the perpetuation of spaces that are rife with power imbalances,” Khurana wrote. “The most entrenched of these spaces send an unambiguous message that they are the exclusive preserves of men. In their recruitment practices and through their extensive resources and access to networks of power, these organizations propagate exclusionary values that undermine those of the larger Harvard College community.”

Harvard President Drew Gilpin Faust. This photograph is released under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 license by Harvard University.

There’s more at the link. A reporter on Fox & Friends this morning referred to this as a PC-off, as in Political Correctness Playoff, a way of stating that colleges were competing with each other to see who could be the most politically correct.

I suppose that this is hardly a surprise: when the left can no longer even tell men and women apart, the notion that other people can insult the intelligence of the left, a group whose intelligence should be insulted. That the left cannot tell men and women apart is a natural outgrowth of the cockamamie notion that men and women are not different from each other, which in turn has its roots in both feminism and homosexual activism. Homosexuality rejects the self-evident reality that men and women are not only different, they are complementary, and belong together. Single-sex organizations reinforce the fact that men and women are different, and many times have different choices in the types of activities they prefer, and thus they must be assailed.

But, not to worry, Harvard is sowing the seeds of its own irrelevance. While the university has a tremendous reputation, the real value of a Harvard degree is the networking its firmly entrenched alumni have in business and government. Harvard, with it’s $60,659 for tuition, room, board and fees combined costs, is about to devalue its own degrees. At nearly a quarter of a million dollars for a baccalaureate degree, the students who have paid for that education are about to lose the networking that their degrees confer. Like Tom Cruise, missing out on admission to Princeton in Risky Business, it looks like the University of Illinois!

And now, on to the blogroll!

Another one bites the dust Ted Cruz, defeated in Indiana, finally drops out

From The Wall Street Journal:

Ted Cruz Drops Out of GOP Presidential Primary Race After Loss in Indiana

Texas Senator’s exit from the presidential contest follows an array of late moves, including an alliance and a running mate

By Janet Hook, Reid J Epstein and Byron Tau | Updated May 3, 2016 11:24 p.m. ET

INDIANAPOLIS—Sen. Ted Cruz on Tuesday departed the Republican presidential contest after having exhausted an array of campaign moves, ending a campaign that started as the longest of long shots but turned into a surprisingly durable effort to tap into the powerful antiestablishment sentiment of the 2016 electorate.

After being crushed in the Indiana primary that he had said would decide the fate of the Republican presidential campaign, Mr. Cruz dropped out, essentially ceding the nomination to front-runner Donald Trump. The move came on the same day the Texas senator had launched a series of verbal attacks at Mr. Trump, calling the now-presumptive nominee “utterly amoral,” a “narcissist,” a “serial philanderer” and a “pathological liar.”

None of them worked, and Mr. Trump bested both Mr. Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich by double-digits in Tuesday’s voting.

“We left it all on the field in Indiana,” Mr. Cruz said at an election night rally, “but the voters chose another path.”

Mr. Cruz leaves the race having won four primaries and five caucuses. He also won the majority of delegates from state party conventions in three states, a sign of his team’s superior organization.

But in the end, Mr. Cruz couldn’t overcome Mr. Trump’s nationalist populism. The senator’s coalition never grew beyond a core group of dedicated social conservatives, leaving Mr. Trump to pick up support from voters who might have otherwise supported one of the other 14 Republicans who have ended their presidential campaigns.

When he defeated Mr. Trump in the Wisconsin primary April 5, Mr. Cruz declared it a turning point in the campaign. But Mr. Trump has won all seven primary contests since then, taking more than 50% of the vote in each one.

CruzFiorina1There’s more at the original, but that last sentence is the key: Donald Trump won more than 50% of the vote in all of the last seven primaries. With the candidates winnowed down to three, the opposition to Mr Trump couldn’t win a majority split among the two remaining candidates, an antiestablishment conservative and an establishment moderate.

This, to me, is an important point. For too long conservatives (other than me, of course) have complained about the “Republican establishment” excluding conservatives, using the diminutive GOPe, but Senator Cruz was the first candidate to declare for the nomination, attracted a lot of donations, and had a good opportunity and a fair chance to win the nomination, but he still couldn’t. In the end, it was the Republican primary voters who decided this result. Senator Cruz had his chance, and he lost. The nomination wasn’t somehow stolen from him; he failed to persuade enough people to vote for him, and Carly Fiorina’s late addition as his running mate didn’t appear to change things much.1

Obviously, I disagree with the result, but I’ve disagreed with a lot of election results. This year, though, it’s worse: we will have a general election in November pitting two Democrats from New York against each other.
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MORE FROM THE WALL STREET JOURNAL:

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  1. I was tempted to buy one of the Cruz/Fiorina t-shirts the campaign was selling, but I figured that the campaign would be over by the time I got it!