Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Last Call For Trumped University

Over at Nate Silver's place, Dave Wasserman argues that the 2018 midterms could be the year where college educated white voters turn against the GOP and deliver a big win for the Dems.

Even with the political winds at their back, Democrats enter the 2018 congressional midterms at a historic geographic disadvantage. They also face demographic hurdles: Midterm electorates tend to be older and whiter than those that show up in presidential years. That’s part of the reason Republicans picked up so many House and Senate seats in 2010 and 2014. 
But there is one crucial demographic dynamic working in Democrats’ favor: The 2018 midterms are poised to feature the most college-educated electorate in American history. 
Almost exactly eight years ago, I argued that Democrats were in deep danger because 2010 could be the “Year of the Angry White Senior.” The premise was simple: Midterm elections had always skewed toward older voters, but never before had there been such a generational divide. In 2008, Barack Obama carried voters 18 to 29 by 34 percentage points but lost seniors by 8 points — a whopping 42-point gulf. Sure enough, Democrats’ young base stayed home in the midterms, and they lost 63 House seats
Eight years later, there’s an analogous dynamic working the opposite way. Midterms have always skewed toward college-educated voters, but never before has there been such an educational divide, particularly among whites. In 2016, exit polls found that Donald Trump carried white voters with a college degree by just 3 percentage points, but won whites without a college degree by 37 points — a massive 34-point gap. By contrast, this gap was just 14 points in 2008. 
This leaves Republicans dangerously exposed. Just as Obama’s legions of young supporters failed to show up at the polls for Democrats in 2010 and 2014, Trump’s base of whites without college degrees could leave the GOP stranded in 2018.

Sure, it's possible, especially if the Mueller investigation turns up massive corruption on the part of the Trump regime and then congressional Republicans do precisely nothing about it.  A lot could happen in the next 15 months: impeachment recommendations, resignations, war, illness, an event we haven't anticipated yet.

But all things being the same, I just don't buy this for a second.

The majority of college-educated white voters still voted for Trump knowing full well what he was going to try to do.  They still voted for the same GOP-controlled Congress that they voted for in 2010 and 2012 even as many of them pulled the lever for Obama then and for Hillary last year.  The fact is all the disapproval for Trump in the world doesn't mean that white folks with college degrees are going to stop being overwhelmingly Republican at the local/state/House/Senate level.

They're not going to start voting for the Democrats.  If anything, most of them are going to say "Well my reasonable Republican representative/senator is needed more than ever to stand up to Trump like they did on health care" conveniently forgetting that 97% of the GOP voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act.

Dems need to stop chasing them and start turning out the base for midterms, and that would help by giving them a reason to come out.  "Stopping Trump" should be enough, but that clearly failed in 2016.  That wasn't enough for a lot of people.

Will it be enough in 2018 given all Trump's awfulness?

I don't honestly know and that frightens me.

Houston, We Have A Problem, Con't

As Houston remains flooded and the Caribbean and Florida prepare for Category 5 Irma later this week, the question of rebuilding after storms depends not just on drywall and dry roads to reach homes, but of labor too. The cruel irony of Trump's DACA announcement today is that his campaign of fear and terror among America's undocumented is going to make the response to Harvey that much more difficult.

It will take an army of workers to reconstruct a vast swath of Southeast Texas, including the sprawling metropolis of Houston, that was devastated by Hurricane Harvey. Whether the region can do it without fully embracing workers like EnrĂ­quez will soon be put to the test — with reverberations that could be felt nationwide.

Under President Trump, authorities in Texas have been bearing down on immigrants who are in the country illegally. Until a judge blocked the measure last week, they threatened to enact a new state law that would outlaw sanctuary cities. Texas also has been leading a group of 10 states demanding that Trump end the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA, which granted reprieves from deportation to nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the United States as minors. 
It is a harsher landscape for those in the country illegally than it was 12 years ago, when the Gulf Coast faced the similar-size task of cleaning up from Hurricane Katrina. Eight days after that storm made landfall, President George W. Bush bowed to pressure from construction firms and relaxed worker ID rules. By some estimates, that allowed more than a quarter of all government-paid recovery jobs to go to undocumented immigrants. 
But 10 days after Harvey struck Texas with record-setting rains and caused unprecedented flooding, the Trump administration has made no similar proclamation. Worse, immigrant rights groups say, federal authorities have sent conflicting signals about whether they might start simply detaining and deporting those flushed out into the open by the storm. 
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Tex.), who was critical of Bush’s decision, said in a statement Sunday that he sees even greater challenges in recovering from Harvey. “But that does not mean federal immigration laws should be ignored. Nor should regulations that require federal contractors to verify legal work authorization of their employers,” he said. “These policies were put in place to protect American workers and taxpayers.”

Weird, because American workers and taxpayers aren't exactly signing up for Harvey rebuilding jobs, Lamar.
More than 200,000 homes sustained damage in the storm, including more than 13,500 that were destroyed, according to early local estimates that don’t provide solid numbers for some of the hardest-hit areas. Leaders in the construction industry have begun sounding alarms that there will not be enough American-born workers to rebuild as quickly as needed. 
“If they would relax the rules, honestly, that would be great, we could use it,” said Jeffrey Nielsen, executive vice president of the Houston Contractors Association, whose members include the city’s largest firms that build roads, bridges and other public works.
Nielsen said that even before Harvey hit, almost every member of the association was grappling with a shortage of workers. With a crushing list of jobs now growing by the day, thousands need to be hired — and fast. 
Nielsen said he and other construction industry officials were told at a weekend briefing that roughly 30 percent of all roads in and around Houston will remain impassable without some construction work. 
The truth is, there are not a lot of people jumping up and down to do civil construction work in Texas. It’s hot, and these jobs are pouring concrete or, worse, hot asphalt,” Nielsen said. “That’s the reality of it, and we need more people than ever.”

There are plenty in and around Houston who might consider taking on the work, which can pay $20 an hour or more, if ID requirements were relaxed, construction industry officials say.

So weird that we have a major need for workers and a major group of workers that want jobs and are willing to do the work, but Trump can't relax these requirements or his base will implode.  I'm sure the geniuses who believe Obama was president during Katrina won't care, but the fact of the matter is Harvey should serve as a refutation of modern Republicanism to its core.

And let's not forget, that core is white supremacist racism and "I got mine, screw you."

Bit Of A Break

On vacation this week, so light posting (as I've sure you've seen.)

Should be back to regular order next week.
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