Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Last Call For Ballot Barrage

Like I said, I'm feeling really, really good about the Dems winning in 2018.  2020, not so much.  It only took voters 2 years to fully turn upon the Democrats in 2010 and wipe them out in the House.  The good news is, as I said, that works against the GOP too (at least in the short term).  CNN's latest generic ballot finds Democrats now with a whopping 18-point lead.

Democrats' already wide advantage over Republicans in a hypothetical Congressional matchup has grown, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS. At the same time, enthusiasm about voting next year has increased among Democrats nationwide following an unexpected win in Alabama's Senate special election and a strong showing in Virginia's state government elections last month. 
Among registered voters, 56% say they favor a Democrat in their congressional district, while 38% prefer a Republican. That 18-point edge is the widest Democrats have held in CNN polling on the 2018 contests, and the largest at this point in midterm election cycles dating back two decades. The finding follows several other public polls showing large double-digit leads for Democrats on similar questions. 
Related: Full poll results 
Independent voters favor Democrats by a 16-point margin, 51% to 35%, similar to the 50% to 36% margin by which they favored Democrats in fall of 2005, ahead of Democrats' 2006 recapturing of the House and Senate. The Democrats hold a larger lead overall now because Republicans make up a smaller share of the electorate than they did in 2005
And those Republicans who are still in the electorate are less enthusiastic about voting next year than Democrats. Overall, 49% of registered voters who are Democrats or Democratic-leaning independents say they are extremely or very enthusiastic about voting for Congress next year, compared with 32% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independent voters who say the same.

That's not the funny part.  This is.

The poll was conducted before the passage of Republicans' signature tax reform bill this week, which the GOP hopes will boost their electoral prospects next year. Findings from the same poll released earlier this week found that the bill's unpopularity on the rise, with few expecting tangible benefits for themselves once it becomes law.

It's going to actually get worse for the 2018, believe it or not.  In the crosstabs of the poll, Dems lead with men 49-42%, women 59-34%(!!!), and are tied with white voters at 46% each.  Non-white voters go with Dems 70-23%.

White non-college voters still favor the GOP, 52-40%, but they are offset by college-educated white voters, who favor the Dems by 21 points, 58-37%.  Dems also lead all age groups, even age 50-64 Boomers 46-44%.  Among Gen X voters 35-49, Dems win by a staggering 60-29%.

It's going to be a good year in 2018 for Dems unless you know, that war comes along and we rally around the flag.  Also keep in mind Dems had a 2 point lead in this same CNN poll in October 2014 and the GOP smashed the Dems thanks to record low turnout.

Somehow I think people are going to be motivated in November to vote however.

The New Normal, Con't

David Corn recaps 2017 as the year Donald Trump broke America.

Creeping authoritarianism, creeping autocracy, creeping kleptocracy—call it what you want. But the creep has turned into a sprint. The offenses to good government and fundamental values are happening each day, often several times a day—and in such a fusillade that there is often not enough time to ponder the horrendous implications of each one. And not enough space to consider the fundamental deterioration under way. Another aquatic metaphor: We are too busy being slammed by what’s coming out of the fire hose to see the water damage that is being done.

In recent days—like any set of recent days—the outrages have been many. During a phone call with Vladimir Putin, Trump, according to a White House “readout,” thanked the Russian leader “for acknowledging America’s strong economic performance in his annual press conference.” And they discussed working together to “resolve the very dangerous situation in North Korea.” Apparently they spoke not a word about Russia’s attack on the United States during the 2016 campaign. Which seems to be the pattern. Since Trump took office, there has not been a single sign he has pressed Putin regarding Moscow’s operation to subvert American democracy. And as a much-noticed Washington Post piece pointed out, Trump has throughout the last year adamantly refused to accept the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia engaged in information warfare to help him win the presidency—and has taken no measures to prevent a rerun. So here we have an American president abdicating—out of pique—his most fundamental obligation: to protect the nation from foreign attack. And his party colleagues barely bat an eye at Trump’s negligence. 
If a dogcatcher refused to catch dogs, he would be deemed unfit for the position. But Trump has abdicated the top responsibility of the commander in chief, and this does not scandalize the congressional majority. The Constitution awards power to the president so he can safeguard the nation. Trump uses this power to safeguard his own power.
Trump’s reckless disregard for norms and rules has been embraced by his champions and foot soldiers. Claiming to be a law-and-order sort of guy, he has viciously attacked law enforcement that might affect him and his cronies. Angered by the ongoing FBI investigation of the Trump-Russia scandal, he claimed the bureau is “in tatters.” And Fox News, a for-profit state news organ, dutifully puts on air a conservative activist who compares the current FBI to the KGB and essentially calls for the entire bureau to be shut down. (About a year ago, Trump equated the US intelligence community with Nazi Germany.) Others on and off Fox cheer for Trump to become a strongman leader who readily dispatches his perceived enemies. Though Michael Flynn has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI, Trump’s minions still rally to the cry of “Lock Her Up” and demonstrate their belief that extremism in the name of defending Trump is no vice. It’s not just party over country; it’s Trump over party over country. 
Trump and his comrades regularly assault the institutions of government that can impose a check on a president. Trump dismissed FBI chief James Comey in an attempt to protect himself. And Trump’s congressional allies in the past weeks have intensified their criticisms of special counsel Robert Mueller, devoting far more vitriol to his investigation than to Putin’s secret war on a US election. The same folks who were fine with over a dozen Benghazi inquiries now look to undermine a duly authorized probe—led by a Republican!—that threatens to reveal truths inconvenient for the president. And they are eager to shutter or distract the congressional investigations that are supposed to deliver to the public the truth about the 2016 campaign. These GOPers are joining Trump in embracing political power instead of principle and, like the president, making it easier for a foreign foe to assault the United States and then escape consequences. This is a violation of their oath of office, and they don’t care. 

Nope.  And until we get rid of them, they will continue not to care.  Maybe the 55% of America who didn't (or couldn't) vote in 2016 will give a damn in 2018, I dunno.  It would be nice if we could overcome the GOP once and for all, but the reality is that there's tens of millions of us who are actively cheering for Trump's authoritarian regime actively and violently punishing the Obama Coalition, because they think they'll be in charge.

They won't be, but they'll still be better off than those people and that's all that matters anymore to them when they turn out in 2018 and 2020 for Trump and the GOP.  It's okay with them as long as they suffer less as white Christians than everyone else in establishing a new baseline of misery.

Taxing Our Patience, Con't

The Great GOP Tax Scam will soon be law, and while Republicans are more than happy to congratulate themselves on "saving the American people more of their own money" the reality is that most of us are screwed.

The hostility to redistributive democracy at the ideological center of the American right has made standard policies of successful modern welfare states, happily embraced by Europe’s conservative parties, seem beyond the moral pale for many Republicans. The outsize stakes seem to justify dubious tactics — bunking down with racists, aggressive gerrymandering, inventing paper-thin pretexts for voting rules that disproportionately hurt Democrats — to prevent majorities from voting themselves a bigger slice of the pie. 
But the idea that there is an inherent tension between democracy and the integrity of property rights is wildly misguided. The liberal-democratic state is a relatively recent historical innovation, and our best accounts of the transition from autocracy to democracy points to the role of democratic political inclusion in protecting property rights. 
As Daron Acemoglu of M.I.T. and James Robinson of Harvard show in “Why Nations Fail,” ruling elites in pre-democratic states arranged political and economic institutions to extract labor and property from the lower orders. That is to say, the system was set up to make it easy for elites to seize what ought to have been other people’s stuff. 
In “Inequality and Democratization,” the political scientists Ben W. Ansell and David J. Samuels show that this demand for political inclusion generally isn’t driven by a desire to use the existing institutions to plunder the elites. It’s driven by a desire to keep the elites from continuing to plunder them.

It’s easy to say that everyone ought to have certain rights. Democracy is how we come to get and protect them. Far from endangering property rights by facilitating redistribution, inclusive democratic institutions limit the “organized banditry” of the elite-dominated state by bringing everyone inside the charmed circle of legally enforced rights. 
Democracy is fundamentally about protecting the middle and lower classes from redistribution by establishing the equality of basic rights that makes it possible for everyone to be a capitalist. Democracy doesn’t strangle the golden goose of free enterprise through redistributive taxation; it fattens the goose by releasing the talent, ingenuity and effort of otherwise abused and exploited people.

At a time when America’s faith in democracy is flagging, the Republicans elected to treat the United States Senate, and the citizens it represents, with all the respect college guys accord public restrooms. It’s easier to reverse a bad piece of legislation than the bad reputation of our representative institutions, which is why the way the tax bill was passed is probably worse than what’s in it. Ultimately, it’s the integrity of democratic institutions and the rule of law that gives ordinary people the power to protect themselves against elite exploitation. But the Republican majority is bulldozing through basic democratic norms as though freedom has everything to do with the tax code and democracy just gets in the way.

We live in, and have lived in all my life dating back to the Reagan era when I was a toddler, an era where protecting the wheels of government from getting dirty from the unwashed masses has always been the point of the federal government.

With the singular exception of Obamacare (which will soon be completely broken thanks to this tax bill) the American federal government has always been classified as "the enemy of the people" while simultaneously I have been told all my life that the word "democracy" itself is dirty word, that it represents the basest tyranny of the majority, but only when the wealthiest among us disagree with that majority.

This bill is going to wreck the economy and the Republicans know it, the real test comes when the GOP is voted out of office and they can go back to blaming the Democratic majority voted in next year for not fixing things quickly enough in 2019, something that should lead to a brand-new GOP majority in Congress in 2020 (and a second Trump term) by my calculations.

By the way, this is where wealth inequality in America was at five years ago, before the GOP bill makes it exponentially worse.  We're already the most unequal developed country on earth by a long shot.  We're now headed deep into New Gilded Age territory.

Maybe I'm a cynic, but Poly Sci has been a pretty harsh mistress all my life, and History is far more violent than she is.


Related Posts with Thumbnails