Tuesday, July 17, 2018

The Blue Wave Rises, Con't

Some mixed news in the latest PRRI poll on Americans' views on voting ahead of the 2018 midterms, but it's certainly better news than this time four years ago.

At this stage in the 2018 election cycle, half (50%) of Americans report that they are absolutely certain to vote in the upcoming midterm election, while 16% say they will probably vote. Roughly one-third (32%) of the public give themselves no better than a 50-50 chance of voting, including 12% who say they are definitely not voting. 
At the same time in 2014, a remarkably similar number of Americans reported they were committed to voting. About half (51%) of the public said they were absolutely certain to vote in the 2014 midterm election. 
Republicans and Democrats are about equally likely to say they are sure to vote this year (59% vs. 56%). In 2014, Republicans held a considerable edge. More than two-thirds (68%) of Republicans, compared to only about half (51%) of Democrats, said they were absolutely certain to vote in 2014
The generation gap in reported voting intent is massive. Only 28% of young adults say they are absolutely certain they will vote in the 2018 election compared to 74% of seniors. 
Notably, white (56%) and black (52%) Americans are about equally likely to say they are absolutely certain to vote this year. Fewer than one-third (31%) of Hispanic Americans report being absolutely certain about casting a ballot in the coming election. There are sizable differences between white Americans by education level. More than two-thirds (68%) of white Americans with a four-year college degree are absolutely certain they will vote, compared to fewer than half (49%) of those without a four-year college education. 
However, black Americans are more likely than white Americans to say their close friends are planning on voting in the 2018 congressional election. More than seven in ten black Americans say all of their friends (27%) or most of their friends (45%) will be voting in the coming election. A majority of white Americans report that all (10%) or most (46%) of their friends will be voting. Fewer than half of Hispanic Americans report that all (12%) or most (29%) of their friends will be voting.

The good news is that 50% turnout with another third saying 50-50 that they'd vote in a midterm election would be phenomenal for the Democrats and a tsunami for Team Blue.

The bad news is that these numbers were similar to 2014, and turnout four years ago was the worst midterm showing since WWII at 36%.  A whole lot of people in this poll are dirty liars who won't vote, tens of millions of them.

Still, Republicans have the advantage here.  The real issue: only 28% of young adults say they are certain to vote.  If a third or more of them are lying too, then November is going to be rather disappointing.   It depends on which America shows up to the polls.

We'll see.  I have to believe that Americans are going to vote in four months, because if we don't, we're done.

Bless Your Cinnamon Roll Heart, Ruth Marcus

Bless WaPo columnist Ruth Marcus's little heart, she is a cinnamon roll that is too pure for this world to actually have a job like hers in the Trump era.

Everyone who works for President Trump: Quit now. Save your souls. Save your honor, such as it is. Save your reputation, such as it remains. Russia attacked our democracy. Trump has demonstrated repeatedly, and did so again with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, that he doesn’t care and won’t defend his country. 
If you work for this man and you call yourself a patriot, it is time for you to go. 
This may sound excessive, even irresponsible. Indeed, for months I have agonized over the question of public service in the age of Trump. 
Of course, as a general matter, it is better to have more grown-ups around Trump, mitigating his worst impulses, providing wisdom born of experience to counter his ignorance and petulance. 
But that assessment assumes facts not in evidence: that Trump is educable or containable. Actually, it contravenes the available evidence. There is none that Trump has done anything but what Trump wants to do. Monday’s news conference made that clear
Extreme times call for extreme measures, and these are the extreme-est of times.

The problem of course is that the people Trump has surrounded himself with, and the GOP that enabled his perfidy for the last 18+ months, are just as soulless and as hateful as Trump is, and they're more than happy to remain in the service of Trump's stated political policies because they believe, rightly so in nearly all cases, that they are going to be absolutely fine and they won't lose a wink of sleep over it either.

If they do get fired or quit, they'll just go to some think tank or DC lobbyist firm or law firm or sinecure and they'll happily keep on serving the GOP's all-American brand of bigotry and white nationalism.  Even guys like Michael Flynn and Paul Manafort are going to be fine in the end.  (Well, okay, maybe not Manafort, Mueller has a surprise for him apparently.)

The larger problem is that the 60 million plus people who voted for Trump are okay with his racism, and they'll remain okay with it.  If the Russians helped Trump stop "that stupid Clinton bitch" then they can't be all that bad, can they?  They'll excuse that just like they excuse everything else he's done, and his support among Republicans will remain close to 90% like it always will.

I appreciate Marcus's sentiment, but as I've said for years now, Trump is the symptom of a broken, cancerous, hateful GOP and the tens of millions of angry bigots that it serves.  His rise was inevitable.  Nobody's going to resign over this.  We're going to have to take power from them and drive the regime out.

That conflict is also inevitable, and it's time we steeled ourselves and prepare to face it rather than engaging in wishful thinking dreaming of the day the people who voluntarily decided to work for Trump in the first place suddenly developing a conscience where the gaping void in their souls are currently.

Power is never surrendered voluntarily.

Saving America From Trump's State TV

Under investigation by the FCC's inspector general for being too close to the Sinclair Broadcast Group's deal to buy dozens of Tribune Media-owned local TV stations, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai has apparently had to scrap the deal by sending it for "further review", an effective death knell for the deal.

Sinclair Broadcast Group's acquisition of Tribune Media Company has run into a major roadblock at the Federal Communications Commission.

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said he won't approve the Sinclair/Tribune acquisition as it's currently structured, saying Sinclair's plans for divested stations would violate the law. Pai is recommending that the merger be reviewed by an administrative law judge, a move that could ultimately kill the deal.

Pai's decisions came after months of pressure from Democratic lawmakers, consumer advocacy groups, and industry lobby groups. Pai has been repeatedly accused of making regulatory changes that benefit Sinclair; the FCC's inspector general in February agreed to investigate whether Pai has improperly coordinated with Sinclair on rule changes.

Pai's FCC previously rolled back broadcast TV station ownership limits, a move that at the time gave Sinclair a better chance of buying more stations. But Pai's statement today said that the FCC can't approve Sinclair's plan for Tribune:

The evidence we've received suggests that certain station divestitures that have been proposed to the FCC would allow Sinclair to control those stations in practice, even if not in name, in violation of the law. When the FCC confronts disputed issues like these, the Communications Act does not allow it to approve a transaction. Instead, the law requires the FCC to designate the transaction for a hearing in order to get to the bottom of those disputed issues. For these reasons, I have shared with my colleagues a draft order that would designate issues involving certain proposed divestitures for a hearing in front of an administrative law judge.

Pai's statement did not say which station divestitures would break the law. Reuters reported that the draft order says, "Sinclair's actions here potentially involve deception" in its application to acquire Tribune and divest WGN, a TV station in Chicago. The draft order also said that "this question of misconduct" bears not just on the WGN transaction but also on the entire merger application, Reuters wrote.

Critics of the merger say it could raise TV prices for consumers and reduce viewpoint diversity in local news. Sinclair also needs Justice Department approval of the deal.

I've talked multiple times about how Sinclair Broadcasting Group is Trump's state media controlling a surprisingly large amount of local news stattions across the country.  With the acquisition of Tribune's forty-plus stations, Sinclair would far and away be the largest single owner of local broadcast TV stations in America.

But now that deal is in serious trouble.  However, that also means that the scores of stations that Sinclair currently owns will continue to broadcast Trump propaganda, and while the deal may be delayed, I won't honestly believe the deal is dead until Sinclair and Tribune both drop their merger plans.

It's definitely a win for now, but the reality is a six months or a year from now, this deal may quietly go through, especially if the Republicans still control the House and/or Senate.


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