Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Last Call For More Gunmerica

For the first time that I can remember, Americans are now against even the most basic bans on automatic weapons. Fear now rules this country.

A majority of Americans oppose banning assault weapons for the first time in more than 20 years of ABC News/Washington Post polls, with the public expressing vast doubt that the authorities can prevent “lone wolf” terrorist attacks and a substantial sense that armed citizens can help. 
Just 45 percent in this national survey favor an assault weapons ban, down 11 percentage points from an ABC/Post poll in 2013 and down from a peak of 80 percent in 1994. Fifty-three percent oppose such a ban, the most on record.

Indeed, while the division is a close one, Americans by 47-42 percent think that encouraging more people to carry guns legally is a better response to terrorism than enacting stricter gun control laws. Divisions across groups are vast, underscoring the nation’s gulf on gun issues. 
There’s lopsided agreement on another concern: Just 22 percent express confidence in the government’s ability to prevent lone-wolf terrorist attacks, with 77 percent skeptical about it. Confidence in the government’s ability to stop a large-scale organized terrorist attack is much higher, albeit still well short of a majority -– 43 percent.

Even as recently as last year, there was still a healthy majority for doing so.  No longer in the era of Trump and Cruz, as a majority of Americans now believe they are action heroes who think the purpose of a firearm is to "kill bad guys" and not to protect a home/family or to hunt.

And of course, increasingly the people with the guns get to define who the "bad guys" are.

The increase in opposition to banning assault weapons since 2013 peaks in some groups – up 18 points among strong conservatives, 17 points among higher-income earners and 16 points in the generally more liberal Northeast. But it’s a broadly based trend. Many groups have moved from majority support for an assault weapons ban two years ago to majority opposition now: whites, 30- to 64-year-olds, suburbanites, political independents, moderates, residents of the West and Midwest, anyone without a post-graduate degree and those in $100,000-plus households.

These trends leave just seven basic demographic groups in which majorities still support banning assault weapons: women, Northeasterners, seniors, post-graduates, liberals, Democrats and blacks.

Differences among groups are extensive. Barely more than a third of men favor banning assault weapons, compared with more than half of women (35 percent vs. 53 percent). Seniors are most likely to favor banning assault weapons, while – despite their greater liberalism on many other issues – nearly six in 10 young adults oppose it. Opposition is high in rural areas (64 percent) and among those who lack a college degree.

Two observations: unprecedented fear in the 24/7 BREAKING NEWS era is exhausting, and Democrats shouldn't count on Millennials, particularly white ones, as a source of voters in the future. They've made their bed, especially white men.

Cruzin' To Get Trumped, Con't

Add Vox's Andrew Prokop to the growing list of pundits who see a GOP nomination that comes down to Trump vs. Cruz as a massive win for the Democrats in 2016.

Let's be clear on the political stakes here. It is not impossible that Trump or Cruz could win a general election. But there's ample reason to believe that a Trump or Cruz nomination makes all of the following far more likely: 
  • Sweeping electoral defeat for Republicans, for the presidency and in the Senate atleast (some Democrats have even suggested to me that the House could be put in play
  • Either a liberal takeover of the Supreme Court or a missed chance for conservatives to pad their majority (since four of the court's nine justices will be older than 80 when the next president is inaugurated) 
  • A tarnishing of the GOP's image among Hispanics that will last a very long time. (This is obviously true for Trump, but Cruz is also far further to the right on immigration than any modern GOP nominee.) 
With so many other options available, nominating either Trump or Cruz would be a tremendous risk to take for a party that has any interest in winning. 
And yet somehow Trump and Cruz have ended up first and second in the polls, with one of them leading Iowa and the other ahead in New Hampshire. 
Yes, the GOP saw several extreme or seemingly unelectable candidates surge to first place during the 2011 nomination contest, but establishment favorite Mitt Romney ended up winning. Yes, past examples like Howard Dean show a poll leader really can collapse very quickly
Is the establishment really still willing to assume that two poll leaders will just collapse? Two poll leaders who not only have excited voters but who each has access to tens of millions in cash?

And again, there's a number of conservative pundits who are betting just that: that both Trump and Cruz will collapse and clear the way for someone like Rubio to win.  That number is shrinking, however, as more of the right are looking to choose sides between Trump and Cruz.

Still, I'm liking the Dems' chances against Cruz or Trump.  The winner here will be so ridiculously far to the right and the fight so well publicized that come next fall, the Democrats will be in a very powerful position.

Granny Starver's Revenge

The largest Republican effect on our country in 2016 isn't going to come from Trump or Jeb or any of the 2016 candidates, even the ones in the Senate currently.  It's House Speaker Paul Ryan, who has a budget plan that will starve Obamacare of tens of billions heading into an election year and it looks like nervous, cowardly congressional Democrats will throw the President's signature legislation under the bus yet again.

The Speaker told rank-and-file Republicans that they won more victories in the tax package than in the $1.1 trillion omnibus funding bill, which has been largely stripped of the policy amendments that Republicans wanted, according to a GOP lawmaker in the room.

Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), chairman of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, said the tax package provides $560 billion through breaks that will no longer expire — and $650 billion in total tax relief — over 10 years.

The text of that bill, which runs more than 200 pages, was posted online just before midnight.

Several lawmakers who heard the presentation said the omnibus includes a two-year delay of the Cadillac tax, something senior officials in the Obama administration opposed.

Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) made an all-out push for including the Cadillac tax freeze, which is a top priority of labor unions, whose members would be hit especially hard by it.

The deal also includes a five-year extension of tax breaks for wind and solar energy companies, something Democrats wanted.

It extends the 30 percent solar investment tax credit and a credit for solar-powered energy efficient properties for three years before phasing it down the final two.

The deal also extends the wind protection tax credit for two years before phasing it down over three years until the 2022 expiration date.

In exchange, Republicans have secured language in the omnibus that would lift the ban on exporting crude oil from the United States that has been in place since the 1970s.

Ryan emphasized that many popular business tax provisions, including the research and development tax credit and the Section 179 small-business expensing deduction, would be locked into law by the agreement.

Democrats in turn won provisions that would keep the 2009 expansions of the child tax credit, earned income tax credit and American opportunity tax credit for college tuition, all core pieces of President Obama’s stimulus law, on the books indefinitely.

It's good to have tax breaks for green energy and for low-income families, as well as for college tuition, but the notion that exporting crude oil will lower prices here in America is ridiculous, and it just means the production of even more fossil fuels that need to remain in the ground in order to avoid the worst effects of climate change.

And the Cadillac plan tax was put in to lower insurance costs and raise money for Obamacare subsidies.  Republicans already broke co-ops and high-risk poll funding with the last omnibus spending bill, this one will only make it worse.

This is a terrible bill, and the GOP will win because the alternative is shutting down the government at Christmastime, an untenable position.

The real problem is that Paul Ryan is Speaker.  Perhaps we should put more Democrats in Congress in 2016, yes?


Related Posts with Thumbnails