Tuesday, November 18, 2014
The NYT (below) notices racial disparities in voting
So it's now OK for us all to talk about race?
It has not escaped the notice of political analysts that 72 percent of whites without college degrees — a rough proxy for what we used to call the white working class — believe that “the U.S. economic system generally favors the wealthy.” Or that on Nov. 4, these same men and women voted for Republican House candidates 64-34.
Similarly, the overwhelmingly white electorates of Alaska, Arkansas, Nebraska and South Dakota voted decisively in referendums to raise the minimum wage while simultaneously voting for Republicans, whose party has adamantly rejected legislation to raise the minimum wage.
There is an ongoing debate among politicians, political scientists and partisans of both parties over the dismal support of Democratic candidates among whites. Does it result from ideological differences, racial animosity or a perception among many whites that they are excluded from a coalition of minorities, the poor, single women of all races, gays and other previously marginalized constituencies?
Arguably, the poor Democratic showing among whites does not represent naked race prejudice, as Obama’s election and re-election attest. But it can be seen as a reflection of substantial material interests that affect the very voters who carry greater weight in low turnout midterm Congressional elections.
Whites as a whole, who made up 75 percent of this year’s electorate, voted for Republican House candidates by a 24-point margin, 62-38, the exact same margin by which they supported Republican candidates in the 2010 midterms. In 2006, when opposition to President George W. Bush was intense, Republicans won white voters by eight points, 52-44.
The opposition of whites to the Democratic Party is visible not only in voting behavior, but in general opposition to key Democratic policy initiatives, most tellingly in hostility toward the Affordable Care Act. A November 2013 National Journal poll found, for example, that 58 percent of whites said Obamacare would make things worse for “people like you and your family,” more than double the 25 percent that said that Obamacare would make things better.
Asked whether the Affordable Care Act would make things better or worse for the country at large, 60 percent of whites said worse and 35 percent of whites said better.
Obamacare shifts health care benefits and tax burdens from upper-income Americans to lower-income Americans, and from largely white constituencies to beneficiaries disproportionately made up of racial and ethnic minorities. The program increases levies on the overwhelmingly white affluent by raising taxes on households making more than $250,000.
To achieve its goals, Obamacare reduces spending on Medicare by $500 billion over 10 years, according to the Medicare board of trustees, which oversees the finances of the program. Medicare serves a population that is 77 percent white. Even as reductions in Medicare spending fall disproportionately on white voters, the savings are being used to finance Obamacare, which includes a substantial expansion of Medicaid. Medicaid recipients are overwhelmingly poor and, in 2013, were 41 percent white and 59 percent minority.
In addition to expanding Medicaid, the overall goal of Obamacare is to provide health coverage for the uninsured, a population that, in 2010 when the program was enacted, was 47 percent white, and 53 percent black, Hispanic, Asian-American and other minorities.
It’s not hard to see, then, why a majority of white midterm voters withheld support from Democrats and cast their votes for Republicans.
Republicans are not satisfied with winning 62 percent of the white vote. To counter the demographic growth of Democratic constituencies whose votes threaten Republican success in high-turnout presidential elections, Republicans have begun a concerted effort to rupture the partisan loyalty of the remaining white Democratic voters. Their main target is socially liberal, fiscally conservative suburbanites, the weakest reeds in the Democratic coalition. These middle-income white voters do not share the acute economic needs of so-called downscale Democratic voters and they are less reliant on government services.
The Republican strategy to win over these more culturally tolerant, but still financially pressed, white voters is to continue to focus on material concerns – on anxiety about rising tax burdens, for example — while downplaying the preoccupation of many of the most visible Republicans with social, moral and cultural repression.
The current effectiveness of the anti-tax strategy was demonstrated in the unexpected victory of Larry Hogan, the Republican gubernatorial candidate in deep blue Maryland, who defeated Anthony Brown, the highly favored Democratic lieutenant governor.
“The average Marylander sees a governor and legislature willing to impose record tax increases on the rest of us that we don’t need, don’t want and can’t afford,” Hogan declared at the start of his campaign and repeated relentlessly until Election Day.
Hogan won by decisively carrying all the majority white suburbs surrounding Baltimore city, including Howard County, a former bastion of suburban Democratic strength.
In Colorado, Cory Gardner, the Republican Senate nominee, joined the Republican assault on Obamacare and taxes:
"The President’s healthcare law has added countless new taxes to millions of Americans, and economic growth will continue to struggle until we can accomplish real, meaningful tax reform. The future of our economy depends on it."
Significantly, Gardner also stiff-armed the Christian right on issues of contraception and abortion in his successful two-point win over Mark Udall, the Democratic incumbent. Gardner highlighted a more culturally tolerant approach when he endorsed over the counter access to the “morning after” pill – a form of contraception many in the right to life movement consider a form of abortion – and when he renounced past sponsorship of a “personhood” constitutional amendment titled “The Life Begins at Conception Act.”
In a mea culpa comment rarely heard in campaigns, Gardner told The Denver Post:
"I’ve learned to listen. I don’t get everything right the first time. There are far too many politicians out there who take the wrong position and stick with it and never admit that they should do something different."
Despite this, not only did the Christian right stick with Gardner, but white evangelicals provided his margin of victory. These religious voters, who made up 25 percent of the Colorado midterm electorate, voted for Gardner over Udall by a resounding 70 points, 83 to 13. This margin was enough to compensate for Udall’s 20-point victory, 57 percent to 37 percent, among the remaining 75 percent of the Colorado electorate.
The clear implication of these results for Republican candidates running in 2016 and beyond is that you can break with conservative orthodoxy on some issues to better appeal to a general election electorate without paying the price of losing white Christian support.
If Republicans are successful in toning down their candidates, it will take from Democrats a weapon that has proved highly successful in state and federal elections: demonizing Republican Party candidates as a collection of knuckle-dragging Neanderthals.
The Democrats’ portrayal of Republicans has served to motivate both Democratic voters and donors, especially suburban white Democrats, by tapping into their anger and fear of a morally intrusive Republican Party.
“Anger in politics can play a particularly vital role, motivating some people to participate in ways they might ordinarily not,” according to Nicholas Valentino, a professor of communication studies and political science at the University of Michigan, and the lead author of “Election Night’s Alright for Fighting: The Role of Emotions in Political Participation,” a 2011 study of voter motivation.
Anger leads citizens to harness existing skills and resources in a given election. Therefore, the process by which emotions are produced in each campaign can powerfully alter electoral outcomes.
A Democratic tactic designed to focus on mobilizing white voters – the sustained effort led by Senator Harry Reid to demonize the Koch brothers – has not yet, by most accounts, paid off.
Insofar as the Republican Party successfully sandpapers its sharp edges, the necessity for change will now shift to the Democrats. Most recently, this kind of metamorphosis was accomplished by Bill Clinton’s 1992 “Southern governor’s strategy” presidential campaign when he defied liberal orthodoxy on such issues as welfare and the death penalty.
One question presents itself: how transformative a political leader is Hillary Clinton? Can she avoid entrapment by divisive issues of key importance to competing wings of the center-left coalition: L.G.B.T. rights; marijuana legalization; climate change; gun control; racial profiling; fracking; pension rights for public employee unions; citizenship for undocumented immigrants; and the ever pressing social welfare needs of the country’s poor?
In May 2008, with Obama taking the lead, Hillary Clinton committed to continue the race “for the nurse on her second shift, for the worker on the line, for the waitress on her feet, for the small-business owner, the farmer, the teacher, the coal miner, the trucker, the soldier, the veteran.” As James Oliphant, the National Journal’s White House correspondent wrote:
"Clinton didn’t say “white people,” but she didn’t need to. The message was clear. And she was even more explicit in an interview with USA Today that month, saying, “Obama’s support among working, hardworking Americans, white Americans, is weakening.”
The white vote in the years since 1992 has become consistently more committed to Republican candidates. Mitt Romney carried whites by a 20-point margin, 59-39, larger than either John McCain, 12 points, or George W. Bush, 17 points.
Clinton has her work cut out for her, especially if the Republican nominee heeds the advice of party leaders and makes a concerted effort to further erode — by whatever means necessary — white Democratic support.
Obama's hatred of Israel again
Obama State Department prevents Israeli from playing in the NBA
The Dallas Mavericks thought they had waived Israeli Gal Mekel to the Indiana Pacers. But then the US State Department stepped in. At a time when the Obama administration is trying to legalize millions of illegal aliens, and has doubled the number of student visas from China the State Department refused to extend Mekel's visa to allow him to continue to play in the NBA. Mekel is returning to Israel, the Pacers didn't get the player they wanted, and the Obama administration has managed to hurt another Israeli.
The NBA granted the injury-depleted Pacers a hardship exemption that allowed them to sign a 16th player through last Thursday. When the State Department refused to move up the expiration date on Mekel’s visa even by one day, the Pacers, who had only 9 players on their active roster, backed out of the deal to sign another player before their waiver lapsed.
The Pacers were desperate to sign the Israeli star because only one of their five guards was able to play. Four of the five are injured.
Normally, visas for foreign-born players in the NBA are automatically transferable with the players to whom they are issued. More than 100 foreign-born players are currently in the NBA. This is the first instance many basketball analysts can recall where a foreign-born player was prevented from signing with a new NBA team because a visa could not be transferred.
Indiana wanted the 26-year-old Israeli shooting guard after his impressive start in Dallas, which included 19 points and 9 assists against the Pacers in Indianapolis on October 18.
Mekel was one of two Israelis in the NBA; the other is Omri Caspi of the Sacramento Kings. But then you're not surprised, are you?
Rand Paul Confronts EEOC Bureaucrat: ‘How Can You Show Up to Work with a Straight Face?’
Sen. Rand Paul got a bit fiery on Thursday when given the opportunity to confront a bureaucrat who works for the U.S Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
While speaking during the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions hearing on the nomination of P. David Lopez to serve as EEOC’s General Counsel, Sen. Paul expressed a heavy dose skepticism about the agency’s bureaucratic enforcement methods, wondering aloud how Lopez could do his job with a straight face.
“Do you realize the downside of the unlimited nature of going after people with no complaint and what this is going to do to business?” he asked Lopez. “Do you not understand what we’ve got to somehow balance that we want people to have jobs?”
The senator was especially incensed about the concept of the EEOC investigating workplaces that have no prior complaints about hiring discrimination. “You’re going after law-abiding people where there’s been no complaint,” he said, “and you don’t feel, at all, any compunction or guilty over what you were doing?”
He continued: “How can you show up to work with a straight face? I don’t understand how you wouldn’t resign immediately, and say, ‘This is abhorrent.’” The senator also accused Lopez of using the “bully nature” of his agency to “punish business.”
Lopez responded that he grew up the son of small business owners, and so he understands their daily struggles. However, he added, the EEOC targets businesses even without explicit complaints because: “Most individuals who get discriminated against in the hiring process do not know that they’ve been discriminated against because employers usually do not say that they’ve been discriminated against.”
Paul was dismissive: “We’re going after mythology then.”
There is a new lot of postings by Chris Brand just up -- on his usual vastly "incorrect" themes of race, genes, IQ etc.
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Posted by JR at 1:33 AM