Monday, November 16, 2020

Last Call For Demography, Destiny, And Democrats

The Republican response to Demography as Destiny has proven effective in 2020. The GOP has turned a healthy percentage of Latino, Asian, and Black voters against the Democrats, enough to stay in the political game and to gain state legislatures and US House seats, and to defense Senate seats they need to stay in power, and unless Democrats can counter those messages, the next fascist that comes along in 2024 will destroy the country.

California's failed Proposition on restoring affirmative action to education, a vote that went down in flames by 14 points, is the perfect example of how Democrats are completely failing on messaging and engagement with multiple non-white communities.

Again. And GOP misinformation is filling in the gaps.

“We should not think of demography as destiny,” said Professor Omar Wasow, who studies politics and voting patterns at Princeton University. “These groups are far more heterogeneous than a monolith and campaigns often end up building their own idiosyncratic coalition.”

Asian-American Californians opposed the affirmative action measure in large numbers. A striking number of East and South Asian students have gained admission to elite state universities, and their families spoke to reporters of their fear that their children would suffer if merit in college selection was given less weight. That battle carried echoes of another that raged the past few years in New York City, where a white liberal mayor’s efforts to increase the number of Black and Latino students in selective high schools angered working- and middle-class South and East Asian families whose children have gained admission to the schools in large numbers.

“There’s more texture to California blue politics than you might think,” said Lanhee Chen, a fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution at Stanford University and policy director for Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential run. “Identity politics only go so far. There is a sense on affirmative action that people resent being categorized by progressives.”

Latinos, too, appear sharply divided. Prominent Latino nonprofit and civil rights organizations endorsed the affirmative action proposition even as all 14 of California’s majority-Latino counties voted it down.

Latinos make up more than half of San Bernardino County’s population, although significantly fewer turn out to vote. More residents there voted on the affirmative action proposition than for president, rejecting it by a margin of 28 percentage points. In rural Imperial County, in the southeastern corner of the state, 85 percent of the population is Latino. The voters there who gave Joseph R. Biden Jr. a nearly 27-point margin of victory went against the affirmative action measure by 16 percentage points.

The results suggest that Democrats may need to adjust their strategy as the complexities of class, generation and experience, and the competing desires of these demographic groups become clear. Since the dawn of the 21st century, it has become commonplace for party leaders to talk of a rising demographic tide that is destined to lift the Democrats to dominance. That liberal coalition is seen as resting on a bedrock of upper-middle-class white voters, alongside working- and middle-class Black, Latino and Asian voters.

In broad strokes, that narrative held. Black voters, along with a shift in the white suburban vote, played a pivotal role in delivering Georgia to the Democratic column (although so closely that a statewide audit is taking place). So, too, Black voters in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia voted overwhelmingly for Democrats — as did well-to-do majority-white suburbs — and gave Pennsylvania and therefore the national election to President-elect Biden.

In Arizona, Latino voters piled up large margins for Mr. Biden and tipped the state narrowly into the Democratic column for the first time since 1996. Representative Ruben Gallego, the Democratic congressman from Phoenix who is a former Marine and a Harvard graduate, noted that several decades of aggressive tactics by Republican governors and white sheriffs had stirred activism among the young Latinos who dominate politics there.

“The Republicans caught Latino lightning in the bottle in Florida and South Texas, but not here,” Mr. Gallego said. “We are very politicized. It’s just important that white liberals don’t impose their thoughts and policies on us.”
The problem is there's a big difference between what various Asian, Latino, and Black communities actually want, and what white liberals assume they do, and Democrats did a fantastically bad job of actually asking these communities in 2020, just assuming "Well, you'll help us stop Trump, right?"

We did. But negative partisanship only goes so far when you have existential issues of race and wealth inequality on top of everything else. For a lot of us, that can take priority. It's easy to be mad at Rio Grande Valley Latino voters for instance that voted for Republicans, but all Trump's attention to the region over his goofy wall project actually did improve the economy significantly there, when Democrats just kinda assumed things.

Republicans are spotting wedge issues: religion, affirmative action, socialism, economic issues, and using them on the Obama Coalition to great effect. And Democrats aren't doing a great job of countering those wedge issues.

Talk to us, guys. Control of the Senate is down to two races in Georgia. Biden actually won the Electoral College by 50,000 votes in Wisconsin, Georgia, and Arizona, without those it's a 269-269 tie that would have gone to Trump. The massive voter suppression and messaging machine the GOP wields still works. It's stuff in the margins, and the GOP is optimizing their attacks every time.

Stop taking non-white voters for granted.

Householder Of Cards, Con't

The saga of former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder continues as the FBI raided the home of the chairman of the state's public utilities commission, Sam Randazzo, this morning, carting off various boxes of evidence in the case against multiple Ohio Republicans accused in a $60 billion slush fund scheme allegedly involving Ohio power company FirstEnergy.

FBI agents were seen outside the home of Public Utilities Commission of Ohio Chairman Sam Randazzo Monday morning.

Agents were going in and out of 645 S. Grant Ave. in German Village, which is owned by Randazzo, according to Franklin County auditor records.

"FBI agents are conducting court-authorized law enforcement activity in that area in relation to a sealed federal search warrant," FBI spokesman Todd Lindgren told The Enquirer, adding no arrests have been made and none are planned at this time.

Randazzo was appointed to the PUCO, which regulates Ohio utilities, and designated chairman by Gov. Mike DeWine in 2019.

“We are aware of the search warrant," DeWine spokesman Dan Tierney said. "We are monitoring this as it progresses."

Before leading the commission, Randazzo was a lobbyist and an attorney for energy companies and the Industrial Energy Users-Ohio, which represents some of the state’s largest industries.

Randazzo’s company Sustainability Funding Alliance of Ohio, Inc. was listed as a company used by FirstEnergy subsidiary FirstEnergy Solutions on the company’s December 2018 bankruptcy report.

PUCO is currently auditing FirstEnergy Corp., the company allegedly at the center of a nearly $61 million bribery scheme to pass a nearly $1 billion bailout for two nuclear plants then-owned by FirstEnergy Solutions.

I can't imagine Randazzo won't be charged at some point and pressured to flip. Householder is almost certainly toast too. But that brings us to the big target here, Ohio GOP Gov. Mike DeWine himself. With so many of the state's most powerful Republicans involved in the FirstEnergy scandal, DeWine is eventually going to have to have a little chat with the FBI, and the sooner the better for DeWine, who faces re-election in 2022.

Of course, Republicans gained seats in 2020 in Ohio's House and Senate, and all the lawmakers who voted for the corrupt pay-for-play bill that cost Ohio ratepayers a billion bucks kept their jobs thanks to voters.

Every single one of them.

So who knows?

Retribution Execution, Con't

Blaming China for both COVID-19 and for economic damage from tariffs that the US is imposing on Chinese goods by making US businesses and consumers pay for, Team Sore Loser is drafting a pile of good old-fashioned executive order protectionist Occidentalism to dare Joe Biden to reverse, proving he's a puppet of Beijing or something.

President Trump will enact a series of hardline policies during his final 10 weeks to cement his legacy on China, senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the plans tells Axios.

Why it matters: He'll try to make it politically untenable for the Biden administration to change course as China acts aggressively from India to Hong Kong to Taiwan, and the pandemic triggers a second global wave of shutdowns. Watch for National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe to publicly describe in granular detail intelligence about China's nefarious actions inside the U.S.

Details: Trump officials plan to sanction or restrict trade with more Chinese companies, government entities and officials for alleged complicity in human rights violations in Xinjiang and Hong Kong, or threatening U.S. national security. The administration also will crack down on China for its labor practices beyond Xinjiang forced labor camps. But don't expect big new moves on Taiwan or more closures of Chinese consulates in the U.S., officials say.

National Security Council spokesperson John Ullyot told Axios, "Unless Beijing reverses course and becomes a responsible player on the global stage, future U.S. presidents will find it politically suicidal to reverse President Trump’s historic actions."

Behind the scenes: Senior administration officials are discussing expanding a Defense Department list of Chinese companies deemed to have ties to the Chinese military. An executive order issued last week barred U.S. investment in 31 such companies, and any additions would likely face a similar restriction. 
Officials plan to target China's growing use of forced labor in the highly competitive fishing industry. Coerced and unpaid labor isn't just a human rights concern — it can also give Chinese fisheries an advantage over rivals in an industry with geopolitical significance. Trump officials have been looking to move more hawkish China experts into senior roles across the government, another senior official added.

What they're saying: "Director Ratcliffe will continue playing a leading role, in coordination with other national security principals, in delivering a necessary mindset shift from the Cold War and post-9/11 counterterrorism eras to a focus on great power competition with an adversarial China," DNI senior adviser Cliff Sims tells Axios.

This is Trump 101 right here: sabotaging and sandbagging the Biden administration with an aggressive new anti-China policy that Biden can't touch without handing Republicans exactly the excuse they need to attack him on Day one. It's a crafty plan, forcing Biden to spend his election political capital on cleaning up deliberate Trump messes rather than concentrating on Biden's actual policy goals. 

Considering Biden will almost certainly have to have some GOP cooperation on a COVID-19 package on day one that he takes office, it's a hostage-taking situation that should look depressingly familiar to all of us after the last six years of the Obama administration.

Expect a lot more of this level of international and domestic sabotage in the weeks ahead. As I've been saying for months, Trump can do an impressive amount of damage in the last two months he's in office to drown an incoming Biden team in multiple crises that would all but guarantee the first year or two of Biden's term would be nothing more than firefighting while Republicans cut the hoses.


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