Republicans’ demographic trap on display

Voters in Houston yesterday rejected a city ordinance that would have allowed perverts to molest little girls in public bathrooms with impunity. At least that’s what your grandmother’s Facebook post said. You are skeptical of Nana’s consistently batty claims, but you didn’t even know there was an election happening and you didn’t vote.

Yesterday’s results all over the country demonstrated the strange demographic trap tightening around the Republican Party. We are growing ever more dependent on aging white voters motivated primarily by fear of white cultural decline. Their uniquely paranoid interests and committed voting habits have temporarily boosted Republican power in many low-turnout state and local races while simultaneously locking the party out of the White House for the foreseeable future.

One statistic defines better than any other the shape of Republicans’ demographic trap. Voters over 65 are almost 20 times more likely to vote in local elections than younger voters. This creates a strange oscillation in election results. Turnout across ages and demographics converges in Presidential Election years as publicity and interest drive engagement. Meanwhile your grandmother, with her terror of that Muslim Fascist Communist Obama, is waiting at the polls when the doors open the following February and June and September and so on.

This has created a strange and unusually dangerous dynamic, best seen in the radically different results in and out of Presidential election years. We are settling into a pattern, likely to continue for a few more cycles, in which Democrats win crushing victories every four years while Republicans celebrate a faux “resurgence” in the meantime. With each passing year, the Democratic Presidential advantage grows wider while the Republicans’ off-year bump weakens.

Political parties go where their supporters take them. A massive influx of Southern conservatives worried about the end of segregation fled the Democratic Party in the last quarter of the 20th century, filling up a previously empty Republican grassroots infrastructure there. Their influence has tipped the balance of power inside the party nationally, suffocating Northern and urban commercial interests that defined the organization from its origins. That electorate dominates Southern politics and their influence has shifted local power, for a while, in rural stretches of the North and West. And they are dying off.

This is not only true of the oldest cohort. The Southern Republican base in the next age cohort down is experiencing unusually high mortality rates. Younger voters are increasingly urban, ethnically diverse, socially liberal, and irreligious. They are growing more hostile to a GOP that fiercely rejects their voice and their values at every turn. Yet the impact of this trend is muffled for the time being by patterns of turnout in off-year elections like the ones held yesterday.

Declining impact of the off-year bump has probably already doomed the brief Republican resurgence in Pennsylvania and Maine. By 2018, demographics will probably cost the party control in Wisconsin, Virginia and North Carolina. If this dynamic continues without a major Republican change of direction, the critical 2020 elections, likely to determine Congressional maps for a decade, should finish off the party in Ohio, Iowa, Nevada and Colorado.

As this demographic trend plays out we are approaching an inflection point beyond which the voting behavior of our oldest cohort is likely to shift. A large portion of today’s most active cohort was born before 1950, but they are dying off very quickly. As more and more of our oldest cohort consists of people who came of age after the end of Jim Crow and the rise of women’s’ rights, their attachment to the politics of bigotry is fading. Sometime over the next few elections we are likely to experience a sudden and otherwise unexplained failure of dogwhistle politics among our oldest voters.

Despite consistent warnings from analysts like Whit Ayres, Republicans are as blind to this trend as they are to climate change, evolution, or gun deaths. A thick blanket of ideology and a carefully constructed media bubble protects them from the mounting cognitive dissonance. Losses in high turnout years are explained by loony fantasies about election fraud or the 47%. Meanwhile, the placement of most state and local elections in off-years creates a comforting, if temporary narrative of success.

Needless to say, nothing is stopping Republicans from escaping from this trap. Nothing, that is, except for Republicans. One of the consequences of a strategy focused on demographic concentration is a critical absence of variety. Ask anyone who understands evolution and they will explain the impact of declining diversity on survival. With fewer and fewer dissenting voices available the party has little capacity to change course, regardless of outcomes.

By some means, the Republican Party must find a new pool of support. Ironically, the party’s own concentration on an aging, rural, white electorate has created a large number of alienated voters who often vote Democratic while holding their noses. Someone needs to reach them. For now, no one inside the party seems to know how.

In the meantime, the GOP is counting on your sweet Nana to turn out to vote and stop Communists from turning schoolchildren gay. Her delusional fears will block any reasonably sane efforts to adapt American politics and government to new demands. More importantly for Republicans, our comfortable dependence on her fear will stymie efforts to build an environment in which business and capitalism can continue to thrive in a new century, setting up the potential for decades of liberal dominance to come.

Chris Ladd is a Texan living in the Chicago area. He has been involved in grassroots Republican politics for most of his life. He was a Republican precinct committeeman in suburban Chicago until he resigned from the party and his position after the 2016 Republican Convention. He can be reached at gopliferchicago at gmail dot com.

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Posted in blue wall, Blueprint for Republican Reform, Election 2016
327 comments on “Republicans’ demographic trap on display
  1. […] somewhat by a recovery in 2018. Forces that boost Republicans in off-year races remain at work, though they continue to weaken. A few wins in 2018 will not be enough to staunch the […]

  2. […] a little longer yes. So what? We have solidified control across the least populated, least wealthy, least culturally influential patches of the map. That totals a large number of states and a small number of voters, a formula for national […]

  3. 1mime says:

    Thought of you and your campaign to turn the Republican Party around, Lifer.

    http://www.newrepublic.com/article/123341/jeb-bush-should-promise-fix-republican-party

  4. 1mime says:

    Gosh, this blog post had so many good links, that you’ll just need to read it for yourself. Enjoy!

    http://weeklysift.com/2015/11/09/products-of-fear/

  5. WX Wall says:

    I’m a democrat but I think this reliance on demographics uber-alles to deliver us to electoral domination is bad thinking. Firstly, while millenials may be democratic-leaning now, that’s because they’re young. Remember the baby boomers were hippies in their youth. As they age, many of them will become conservative or at least moderate. (I won’t quote Churchill here since every human has a heart *and* a brain :-). The first millenials are nearing their thirties now, a time when most people stop thinking about changing the world and start focusing on their careers and starting families, which was usually the ripe time for a democrat-to-republican political transition (although the current crazy republican positions are preventing this in a lot of people…).

    Secondly, reliance on demographic destiny is an excuse for our party to be intellectually lazy. The truth is there are lots of improvements that could be made to our platform, our tactics for executing it, and our strategy for reaching out to voters that don’t like us. Our demographic advantage papers over these problems and we will be caught like deer in headlights when the political environment shifts again.

    Yes, I’m happy that we have become the preferred choice for secular urbanites. But if that means we become too lazy to fight for evangelicals by pointing out that Jesus was a socialist and that universal healthcare is a moral imperative that every Christian should support regardless of cost, then our reliance on demographics will ultimately weaken our party and what we are able to do for our country.

    • 1mime says:

      WX Wall, I think that is what Lifer has been telling we Democrats when we voice our frustration for those who either: don’t vote and are likely Democrats; or, vote “against” their best interests for the GOP. We are not doing a good job of staying relevant to our base. Our national organizational structure has become poorly run, (which Sara explained in her post as to the decision by the Obama team to destroy the Dean national plan leaving us with virtually an ineffective organizational structure.) You are correct. It takes money, organization, and lots of persistence and patient focus to build a grassroots organization. The Republican Party has done this and the results are clearly positive for their party. Dems have to get back on track, take nothing for granted, bring in “new” young blood (Wasserman-Schultz) needs to move on to other things) and GOTV.

      I deeply believe in the core beliefs of the Democratic Party. But, like you, I am frustrated with the lack of effective organization. It’s difficult enough to be successful when you are fighting on a level playing field, far more so with gerrymandering and really big money involved. Giving the Republicans credit, they understand this. Democrats have to re-engage and quickly.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Not to come across as overly optimistic, but I take Hillary Clinton at her word that when, not if, she wins the Democratic nomination, she’ll turn to rebuilding the Democratic Party from the ground up. I don’t know precisely how she plans on doing that, but if there’s one thing that both Clinton’s fans and enemies alike know and talk about, it’s how she’s always trying to be prepared, always trying to have a plan to get what she wants.

      And, really, the fundamentals are easy enough to grasp. First, you’ve got to build a bench. Like in South Carolina, where Democrats used to be absolutely dominant and have now been absolutely decimated, they have to start at low-level local elections to start raising the kind of talent that can eventually win at the state and federal level. That takes funding, focused and consistent effort, and the patience to withstand several election cycles where they’ll continue to get battered by a far stronger Republican operation.

      In the mean time, a President Clinton, I would imagine, will wait it out until she can elect Supreme Court justices that can, hopefully, work to overturn some of the decisions that have made it harder for states and the Democratic Party to fight against partisan gerrymandering. Ohio voters just passed some substantial reform towards their state wide elections, and the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has just been retaken by Democrats, which will very likely play a substantial role in the gerrymandering of their state wide elections as well.

      Those kinds of reforms and elections need to keep happening, both in 2016, 2018 and 2020.

      All of these things taken together, none of which I believe are overly optimistic, could change the political landscape for Democrats in a very big way if they’re bold enough to take advantage of the opportunities before them.

    • Sara Robinson says:

      Sorry it took so long to get back to you on this, but I’m traveling.

      Several misconceptions here about generational theory. Let’s see if I can help.

      1. The earliest Millennials started being born around 1978, which means the eldest edge of them is moving into its late 30s now. And the youngest of them will be passing out of high school in the next couple of years. (What comes after that is a whole other discussion.) So they’re already a bit older than you’re positing. More about the importance of this in a minute.

      2. The Boomers weren’t mostly hippies. That was one (mostly higher-SES, mostly college-educated) faction within their cohort that got a lot of media attention (not least because they were the children of the people who ran the media). But hippies were never the majority.

      The key to understanding Boomer politics is that all of it — from left to right — is based on a radical notion that the rights of the individual should always trump the needs of the collective. This is the unifying theme that runs through all of it, tying the hippies to the libertarian conservatives who voted for Reagan. In fact, many Boomers (as the first generation to have read Ayn Rand at a young age) have subscribed to the idea that the collective itself is illegitimate, and has no right to make any claims whatsoever that might limit individual freedoms. Again, you can find this idea expressed in different ways across the spectrum.

      3. Generational definitions exist within a larger theory of history involving repeating archetypes. The Boomer assertion of individualism is the hallmark of one archetype. The Millennials are their mirror opposite: they are reasserting the idea that the collective has a right to make claims on the individual, and individuals must on occasion be willing to sacrifice for the greater good. (This reassertion explains, for example, the resurgence of shaming swarms on social media. Boomers and Xers would choke on their own spit before telling someone else what they should do. Millennials will call each other out on any little thing — and accept this as an OK thing to do.) As they age, this archetype rebuilds robust public and private institutions — and usually imposes a stifling level of conformity, because they are dealing with enormous crises and need a strong cultural consensus to get those problems solved.

      This collectivism means that they are unlikely to retreat into their individual family life as they age. In fact, as their investment in civilization grows with age, their will to defend the new collective order that they’ve built is only likely to become more intense. This is a hallmark of their generational archetype. (If they do grow conservative, it will only be in the last couple decades of their lives, as the next iteration of the Boomer generation rises up and starts attacking what they’ve built.)

      4. Add in the fact that Millennials are being thwarted in their ability to establish careers, marry, buy houses, and become parents — obstacles to settling down that will only prolong their season of discontent — and it’s even more unlikely that they’re going to grow more conservative with time. If they’re learning anything right now, it’s that they only get ahead when they pull together in in close unison.

      5. And then there’s the fact that the Millennials are about 45% non-white. The GOP has already forfeited this big chunk of this generation, offending them so badly that it’s very unlikely that it will ever get them back.

      6. They’re also not doing the usual return to their faith communities that people usually do around 30, as they marry and breed. All the studies show that they are far and away the most secular American generation since at least the Civil War, and there is no sign that this is going to change much, either. Given how firmly the GOP has zeroed in on its Evangelical base, this means that religion isn’t going to push them right, either. (I know those of you in Texas are seeing other things. But what you are seeing is a regional trend, not a national one.)

      I’m writing this from a reproductive rights conference where it’s very, very clear that the Millennials are opening broad new conversations in this domain. I see signs all over that the promised Millennial turn toward the progressive is already well underway — though their flavor of progressivism won’t look like that of Boom or X; and they will continue to abandon the old burned-out institutions in favor of new ones that better meet their aspirations and needs.

      • Dan says:

        Generational theory, love it. That said, I have a couple of disagreements with you.

        The first is nitpicky. I’d say Millies started being born in the early 80s. Late 70s kids are definitely Xers. Otherwise I think your take on them is spot on.

        The second is more substantial. I think you misunderstand the Boomer/Prophet archetype mindset. It’s true that coming of age and as young adults they’re highly individualistic. But that’s because they all think they’re right, that they know the Truth. And because they do, they quickly develop a taste for telling others what to do/how to live. There’s all kinds of examples.

      • Sara Robinson says:

        I should mention that I make my living with this stuff.

        You’re correct that the Official Start Date for the Millennials is 1980; but Strauss & Howe say repeatedly that there are always a few cusp years on either side. It’s not a hard-and-fast line. (Especially with X, which Officially Starts in 1964, though I don’t know anybody born much past 1960 who identifies as a Boomer. Basically, if you’re too young to remember where you were when JFK was shot, you’re X.) So there are now people in their late 30s who identify as Millennials, even though they’re on the very leading edge of the cohort.

        And a taste for telling other people what to do because you think you’re right is not the same as collectivism. (It’s the same as bossiness, however — and God knows that progressives have partaken liberally of this over the centuries.) The Boomers have never shown an interest in putting the needs of civilization ahead of their own personal rights and wants. From the New Age to Ayn Rand to the personal-relationship-with-Jesus focus of modern Evangelicalism, it’s always been about perfection of one’s own soul/image/life — and single-mindedly pursuing this perfection has often been celebrated and justified as the best way to improve the world, too.

        But telling people how you’ve found your version of salvation (or even trying to use the government to foist it on others) is not the same as trying to discern and pursue the greatest good for all — though Boomers have certainly often enough tried to sell it that way. By and large, those who’ve tried to impose their values on other have been told by other Boomers (and even more emphatically by X, which is singularly resistant to this stuff) to stick it where the sun don’t shine. Overall, these were two generations who hated anyone trying to tell them what to do.

        What the Millennials are up to is something quite different. They trust and seek out authority, and depend on it to enforce order. (See what’s happening at Mizzou and Yale this week.) They are increasingly brutal in imposing conformity on each other — and accept this as OK. That basic belief in subordinating one’s own interests to the larger whole is something really new, and it’s not a habit they’re going to unlearn with time. (I’ve seen important Boomer spiritual leaders literally choke on the word “sacrifice.” Millennials are starting to demand it.) And that native collectivism will lead them to continue to build and look to private and public institutions to achieve broader security and well-being — which is what will keep them voting progressively for another 30 years at least.

    • Dan says:

      Your point about relying on demographics is a good one. It’s not enough to just not be as bad as the Republicans. That said, yeah, Millies are all but locked in as Democrats. Remember that the GI generation remained overwhelmingly Democratic throughout their lives. It took 30 years and a major social movement to cause significant shift.

  6. 1mime says:

    It’s time for my gun violence story of the week. In LA, a father shot several times, his six year old son, buckled in for safety, killed…..by law enforcement. Both officers have been charged as the body cameras they were wearing recorded the incident.

    http://www.theatlantic.com/national/archive/2015/11/jeremy-mardis-police-shooting/414789/

  7. flypusher says:

    An interview with the Nobel Prize winner who crunched the numbers for the mortality uptick in middle aged White people:

    http://www.vox.com/2015/11/7/9684928/angus-deaton-white-mortality

    The socioeconomic explanation makes sense so far. If you are an immigrant or the child of an immigrant from a 3rd World country, even sluggish-economic-recovery America looks good. If you’re Black and you know that the society has never considered you truly equal, you’re certainly not happy with it, but you’ve learned your whole life how to deal (interesting that the absolute Black death rate is still highest, but trending down). But if you’re White, and you’ve been feed “TheAmericanDream”TM all your life, and you’re supposed to better off than your parents, and your children better off than you, that’s a serious disconnect with today’s reality. Some people carry on, but some self medicate, some cling to an imagined past (the Lost Cause), and it looks like others get a gun and take out their frustrations. I can see the random mass shootings (mostly the dirty work of White males) tying into this. But I’m also interested in any alternative explanations anyone has.

    • 1mime says:

      Yes, that’s an interesting and sad statistic. I will never forget, having just moved to Houston in 2000, having spent the first fifty years of my life in LA, meeting Katrina refugees who arrived in TX – white, middle and upper middle class – they had lost everything. Now, many of these people at least had insurance coverage, but that process would require years to pan out. In the interim, they were having to live a very different existence. As one lady told me, “I have always been the one to donate to the church pantry, now I am having to use the pantry for my family.” As you noted, people in this class and race did not know how to navigate the system, and many were too proud or overwhelmed to ask for help. Many had not only lost their homes but their cars. Getting to help centers in a metropolitan area like Houston was yet another challenge. It was a very hard time for all who were affected, but at least Black people knew where to go for food stamps, shelter, and assistance of all kinds. They also knew how to family-share. White middle class folks didn’t. Savings were wiped out as they struggled to make their way through a labyrinth which they were totally unfamiliar with, and, many jobs had been lost as businesses closed. This same lady told me: “Now I understand the need for food stamps and public health and housing. I never needed it nor did anyone I had ever been around, so I felt it was an abuse of taxpayer dollars, just like I had always heard.”

      What is it that has been said about “walking in someone else’s shoes”? An humbling experience?

      It bears repeating that health care access is critically important to people who fall into this quadrant. The fact that the United States still has over twenty million citizens (not undocumented persons) without health coverage is heart-breaking and outrageous. I also maintain that there are occupational factors as well. Still, the study offered sobering insight.

    • 1mime says:

      I continue to think about your post, Fly, and I come back to Deaton’s explanation that “…white, middle-age Americans have lost the narrative of their lives — meaning something like a loss of hope, a loss of expectations of progress…”

      Deaton’s hypothesis of Americans most surely can be linked to the income divide that exists in the U.S. today and has persisted for the last thirty years. If people are to survive difficult periods in their lives – due to whatever reasons, they must have hope. Wage stagnation in combination with unemployment or underemployment, affordable health care access are not being addressed by those who have the power to do so. Simultaneously, reductions in social safety net programs are knocking yet another support from people’s tenuous survival. It is no wonder that many people simply give up. They are unable to change things to remedy their situation and no one else appears to care.

      If only this report served as a wake up call for those who are empowered to do something about it.

  8. tuttabellamia says:

    This is too cool. I just found a poll tax receipt for $1.50 from 1961 belonging to my late dad. What’s cool is that I thought my dad had no interest in politics, was apolitical and indifferent, plus he was known to blow his money on certain bad habits and never had any money left over, so I’m surprised and proud to see that my dad, a Hispanic man, took the time and actually set aside money in order to vote. I’m guessing he was excited over the election of the nation’s first Catholic president. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d been urged by his priest to become active in order to support JFK.

    Of course thank God the poll tax was eventually done away with a few years later, but at the time that’s just the way it was.

    • goplifer says:

      By the way, you’ve found a particularly valuable relic. Apart from being a fascinating piece of family history, items with a history relevant to Jim Crow era practices are starting to have material value to collectors. Hang on to that.

    • Bobo Amerigo says:

      Tutt, that’s just cool!

      I have no evidence of my parents’ voting activities except memories of being taken to the volunteer firehouse in Leipsic, Ohio, where there were two voting booths. I couldn’t read and was too short to see the counter top, but mom wouldn’t let me in the booth with her anyhow.

      Voters, they can be so secretive.

  9. flypusher says:

    Looks live Kentucky’s Guv-elect will do us all a huge favor by nipping anymore Kim Davis style grandstanding in the bud:

    http://theweek.com/speedreads/587667/kentuckys-next-governor-vows-remove-clerk-names-from-marriage-licenses

    A grateful nation thanks you.

    • 1mime says:

      And, Kim Davis has had her brief, gaudy moment of fame. Now she can go back to her “normal” life and we are spared any more of her protestations.

  10. objv says:

    Ooopsie, Politico stepped into it and is now furiously trying to clean its boots. Is it any wonder conservatives don’t trust the “mainstream” media? Looks like Carson will come out ahead.

    http://money.cnn.com/2015/11/06/media/ben-carson-politico-west-point/index.html

    • flypusher says:

      Seriously objv??? Carson’s dug himself a pretty deep hole with all his hypocrisy and crazy talk, and this minor tiff over wording with Political is going to vindicate him?

      May I have some of whatever it is you are snorting? It has to be strong stuff!

    • goplifer says:

      The man has invented an entire history for himself, including a “scholarship” to West Point – something that doesn’t even exist. Then he’s topped it off with a serious of increasingly bizarre claims about pyramids and evolution and other claptrap. And Politico is supposed to apologize because Carson’s lie about his past did not in fact include an “application.”

      What amazes me about all of this is that people who believe this crap are somehow still able to navigate their day. They can find their keys. Pick out reasonably appropriate items from the grocery store. It’s no accident that almost none of his supporters live in places like New York or SF or Chicago, where the basic demands of survival in a furiously competitive environment would leave them huddled in a trembling ball in about 20 minutes.

      • 1mime says:

        All I can think of when I read Ob’s “defense” of Carson is what “if” this man were elected President of the united /states? Can you envision him meeting daily with advisers and evaluating the daily report on critical world happenings and making strategic decisions? Or, not equivocating in response to a provocation? Or naming a cabinet that would provide intelligent, opposing points of view? Or, being strong enough to challenge a cabinet member like Cheney, who had an errant agenda to be achieved at all costs? Perception, critical thinking, and good judgment are essential qualities for a Commander in Chief. You might say that these qualities also should be part of responsible voting.

        The really sad thing is, just as you won’t change Ob’s mind/view, neither will anyone else who is living in that reality be moved by reality. Heck, Carson’s polling numbers will probably surge due to all the mainstream media attacks.

        The bubble just got bigger……

      • flypusher says:

        1mime, objv can speak for herself, so I’m not speaking for her, but there are devoutly religious people who care very, very deeply about their candidates also being devoutly religious, so much so that they will give these people a very big pass on stretching the truth. There are still people who think that Todd Akin didn’t deserve the political fallout he got because “he’s a good Christian man!”, never mind that his comments about rape and pregnancy were not only 100% false! but harmful.

      • 1mime says:

        I am aware of the importance of religion to Ob and many others; however, when religious beliefs contradict reality and are still defended, that is fair game for a response. Those who are deeply religious are free to vote for whoever they wish, as we all are in America. Lifer’s blog offers an opportunity for each of us to make more informed decisions……decisions that are fact-based. Even if our interpretations and personal beliefs are different, or polar, at least the information and explanation is there to learn from….or, not.

      • objv says:

        OK, Lifer, the speculation about the pyramids is kinda weird especially since pyramids are not mentioned in the Bible.

        However, Politico made accusations about what Carson had written or said that were untrue.

        From WaPo:

        “Two concerns have driven considerable opposition to the Politico account. First is Politico’s assertion that Carson had actually applied to West Point, a contention that he doesn’t appear to have made. As noted by The Post’s David Weigel, the campaign vehemently denied an application to West Point: “He was introduced to folks from West Point by his ROTC Supervisors,” Weigel quotes Carson campaign manager Barry Bennett as saying. “They told him they could help him get an appointment based on his grades and performance in ROTC. He considered it but in the end did not seek admission.”

        That’s a significant discrepancy.

        Item No. 2 is Politico’s bald statement that Carson is admitting and conceding all this deceit. The statements quoted by Politico, in fact, do not carry any such straight-up concessions. Rather, they offer a fuller explanation of events that occurred nearly 50 years ago.”

        https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/wp/2015/11/06/politico-stands-by-carson-story/

        Recruitment information provided by West Point does indeed tout a “full scholarship” as a benefit of attending. When Ben Carson talked to the people from West Point, he was in high school, and they may indeed have used the term “scholarship.” In any case, the cost of attendance would be the same – $0.

      • Sara Robinson says:

        As for Ben Carson: Another wrinkle is that he said that the offer was tendered by Gen. Westmoreland. Technically, that’s not possible. The only people who can offer appointments to the US military academies are members of Congress. (I know this, because I actually *was* offered one, for the first class in which women were accepted as cadets.)

        Generals don’t have that authority — and if you think about it, there are really good reasons they should not be interfering in this process at all.

      • objv says:

      • objv says:

        Lifer, there you go stereotyping people – again. My husband is about as conservative as they come. Yet, he made 12 moves during the course of his career. Adapting to different environments takes a certain type of intelligence since social networks have to be rebuilt each time. Living in a foreign country can also present challenges in getting to know and work with people from various cultures.

        If you want a “furiously competitive environment,” try driving in Venezuela.

        My husband is originally from an area within driving distance of Silicon Valley and we later lived near Irvine, CA. He also spent 2 1/2 years living near Newark, NJ. All I can say is that it was a diverse neighborhood with plenty of places to buy pizza and bail bonds 🙂

      • flypusher says:

        ““Two concerns have driven considerable opposition to the Politico account. First is Politico’s assertion that Carson had actually applied to West Point, a contention that he doesn’t appear to have made. As noted by The Post’s David Weigel, the campaign vehemently denied an application to West Point: “He was introduced to folks from West Point by his ROTC Supervisors,” Weigel quotes Carson campaign manager Barry Bennett as saying. “They told him they could help him get an appointment based on his grades and performance in ROTC. He considered it but in the end did not seek admission.”

        But Carson says in his bio in the part about meeting Gen Westmoreland, and I quote “Later, I was offered a full scholarship to West Point.”

        He never sought admission, but he got an offer? Bullshit. I know something about the application process, because my brother is a West Point alum. You need more than good grades and ROTC participation. You have to make a plan starting no later than your freshman year in high school if you want a realistic shot, because the competition is fierce. Those people may have made a suggestion about West Point to a young Ben Carson, but if Carson didn’t bother to apply, West Point wouldn’t be offering admission. So Politico not getting the details Carson’s truth stretching just right somehow exonerates Carson?? A nitpick over “scholarship” vs “admission” is what’s important here? Grasping at straws does not adequately describe the desperation here.

        But as JG already said, this really is the very least of what is objectionable about Carson. I learned long ago to take any auto-bio with a shaker of salt. I find the profound scientific ignorance he displays, especially in an age where science and tech are so important, to be the real issue with Carson. I would never want an MD that ignorant to treat me or someone dear to me, no matter how good his hands are. I doubly don’t want someone like that as President.

      • 1mime says:

        “I would never want an MD that ignorant to treat me or someone dear to me, no matter how good his hands are. I doubly don’t want someone like that as President.”

        And, you surely don’t want those hands on the red telephone.

      • 1mime says:

        In an earlier post on Carson’s “mis-statements”, I humorously ended my post by stating that his supporters would likely pour on the donations in his defense.

        Well, surprise, surprise. They’re gonna prove us wrong.

        http://thehill.com/blogs/ballot-box/gop-primaries/259469-carson-thanks-biased-media-for-35m-fundraising-haul

      • objv says:

        Sara, Its great that you were offered an appointment to West Point. Fly that goes for your brother as well.

        Ben Carson never said that it was General Westmoreland who offered him a scholarship. He only said that he met General Westmoreland sometime during the evening and was “later” offered a scholarship.

        We have to ask ourselves if Carson, at 17 or 18 years old, believed the older men when they told him they could get him into West Point. Given that he was one of only three students in Detroit who had made it to the rank of colonel in the ROTC that year, it seems that the men he talked to may have overstated their influence and have made it seem that they had the power to get him an appointment.

        Carson told them he did not desire admission to West Point because he wanted to become a doctor. The only college he applied to was Yale and he was accepted there. Other colleges had tried to actively recruit him, so Carson was already assured of a scholarship practically anywhere he wanted to attend.

        There may be some validity in saying that Carson should have been more careful when writing his biography, but it is understandable that he would have made some mistakes since he was writing decades after the events had taken place. Intelligent, though Carson may be, the memories of conversations that happened while he was in high school may have subtly changed over the years.

      • Sara Robinson says:

        Actually, it was Annapolis. I thought about it for a couple weeks, and respectfully declined: I wasn’t ready to take the crap I knew those very first women were in for.

    • vikinghou says:

      Carson’s fantasies about Mahmoud Abbas, Ayatollah Khamenei, and a 16-year-old Vladimir Putin palling around in Moscow in 1968 are as bizarre as anything else he has dished up.

      http://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2015/oct/09/ben-carson/ben-carson-says-mahmoud-abbas-ali-khamenei-vladimi/

    • flypusher says:

      The really sad thing about Carson is that the fact he because a successful neurosurgeon despite growing up poor, Black, and in a single parent household, is good enough success story. There was zero need for any exaggerations/false narratives.

      • 1mime says:

        Correction to my post above regarding Carson – I had stated in a prior “jab” that Carson’s poll numbers would increase, not his donations. I haven’t seen a poll today, but Carson has reported that he received $3.5 million in donations following the “biased” media exposure of his some of his claims. Who knows, his polling numbers probably will increase as well.

    • johngalt says:

      The exaggeration of his West Point story is minor leagues. What Carson says about other things is the real scandal. A medical doctor who believes evolution is the devil’s work (sadly, there are plenty of MDs who do not “believe” in evolution). Inventing stories about the Pyramids being used as Joseph’s granaries. The Muslim-Communist cabal Viking mentioned. It’s delusional, really. If the GOP nominates him they will get what they so richly deserve.

  11. harley says:

    I really didn’t buy your blue wall theory till Tuesday. Look the GOP took back the governor’s mansion in KY, yay; however, New Jersey’s legislature got even bluer and the PA courts elections will end the gerrymandering advantage republicans control in the state. Ohio also passed a referendum that will slightly diminish gerrymandering in the state. Even in an off year the dems did well in every state they need to win, and Ohio’s weed vote is no indicator, liberals hated that referendum. Overall, wins in Kentucky and Mississippi won’t help the republicans nationally. The GOP’s best advantage is that the dem base goes out and votes in presidential year, wins overwhelmingly(this is important), and says see ya in 4 years. This article was on point.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      “On Fleek”, as the kids might say 😉

      • 1mime says:

        I had to look up “on fleek”….haven’t heard our grandkids using it and after reviewing how/when it can be used, still not sure…Guess you just have to be “in” the groove.

      • Griffin says:

        I’m 20 years old and even I didn’t know what the hell “on Fleek” meant until a couple weeks ago. Maybe I should get out more and make friends like most young people instead of reading political blogs… nah.

      • 1mime says:

        You add a lot to the blog, Griffin and I like your points of view on many issues. You are wise beyond your years.

      • Griffin says:

        YAY I did good today thank you Mime 🙂

        Now we just need to figure out a way to get the Democratic base to vote inbetween presidential elections…

      • 1mime says:

        Let me suggest, that at age 20, you are in a perfect group to mobilize GOTV. Younger people are very erratic in voting habits…maybe that’s a project you could volunteer for. Set it up by precincts, or your own new way….just get ’em to commit to vote in all election…

        There, I’ve planned it all out for you. All you have to do now is execute (-:

  12. Rob Ambrose says:

    http://mediamatters.org/blog/2015/11/06/watch-fox-news-stumble-through-outstanding-octo/206671

    Gotta love this. Elizabeth desperately trying to spin an unequivocally amazing jobs report.

    “Only” 271,000 jobs added haha. That’s like “only” winning the Nobel Prize.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      From 538:

      “It’s always dangerous to read too much into any one jobs report. The month-to-month numbers are volatile and subject to revision. The margins of error are big, around 100,000 jobs for the main payroll count. Big surprises in either direction are more likely to be outliers than indications of a new trend.

      What makes Friday’s report significant, then, isn’t that it suggests the job market has found a new gear. Rather, the October numbers are significant because they suggest that the previous two disappointing jobs reports were themselves outliers. The “true” pace of U.S. job growth may not be as good as October’s numbers, but it’s probably better than August’s or September’s. We won’t know for sure for several months, but the most likely explanation for Friday’s numbers is that the U.S. job market is still where economists thought it was back before the August slowdown: in a state of steady, solid job growth.”

      Although I freely admit the economic growth and recovery under Obama has been disappointingly slow, it certainly has been steady, with very few wild swings up or down.

      I wonder if their is some weight-loss analogy here. Drastic and quick weight loss is not normally sustainable, and the best way generally is for a slow weight loss and a change in lifestyle. I’m not sure the country’s fiscal lifestyle has changed enough to make the analogy work, but the administration wasn’t trying quick fixes or many gimmicks with the economy.

      Of course, all of this may be yet another bubble we are all going to regret in a year, but after 2007-2009, I’ll happily take slow and steady improvement in the economy.

      • 1mime says:

        Yeah, well, tell 538 to add the numbers any way they want, they still show: 68 straight months of jobs gains and unemployment at 5%. When you couple a 50%+ reduction in the federal deficit and a smaller federal work force than ever before….these are some pretty impressive stats to leave office with. Dems have cleaned up yet another economic mess. Imagine how much better a job they could have done if they were only as smart as the other guys (-: That’s right, the ones who created the mess………….

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Mime – the 538 article was a very positive look at the jobs report and was even more glowing in its interpretation than just a single month.

        The line starts with “It is always dangerous to read too much into…” but that is because they are data geeks and it is true, but it is a very positive view of the jobs report.

      • 1mime says:

        The link would have probably helped….Popped off, sorry. I get tired of the continual criticism of any accomplishments under O’s admin being diminished or trashed. Over-reacted…no big deal.

    • 1mime says:

      FOX News, “Fair and balanced”>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>They almost choked on that ten second news flash.

    • Griffin says:

      This is a shockingly avoidable failure on the part of Fox News. I don’t mean a failure of news reporting because it’s clear that they aren’t interested in that but why would you put up a jobs report that only came in “90 seconds age” without giving your “anchors” anytime to prepare the correct talking points in response to it. Heck it directly contradicts the talking points they rehearsed earlier and they STILL didn’t bother to review the report before putting it on the screen. I honestly expect more from Roger Ailes he needs to fire the idiot who doesn’t understand the guidelines of propaganda, which involves never telling the inconvenient truths without preparing the spin.

      If they were unprepared then what they should have done is wait a day before reporting on it and in the meantime get a crank economist or think tank to come out with a “study” that says we would have created 300,000 jobs had it not been for “Obama’s job killing policies”, or in the worst case scenario just come up with another conspiracy theory that they’re fudging the numbers. 1/10 Fox I expected more from you, this was just weak.

  13. Crogged says:

    And recently we received a list, including the terrible business environment, we’ve endured for the last eight years, among other horrible liberal yokes holding us all back.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2015/11/06/barack-obama-the-jobs-president-that-republicans-were-looking-for/?postshare=9761446826982948

    • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

      Well the socially conservative Mormon church (whose adherents almost always vote uniformly for Republicans) now says same sex couples are apostates… and so are their children…and they are also barred from membership or participation in church services/activities… unless said children decide to “choose” to renounce their gay parent/parents.

      If they do that then all is forgiven by God, Jesus, the Mormon space planet Kolob and that ginormous racist prophet Brigham Young (who valiantly kept those Curse of Cain mongrels from the priesthood).

      Well S**t on me!

      Now that is how you grow a party…Um, I mean religion!

      • vikinghou says:

        My parents lived in Salt Lake City for over 20 years. An amusing part of it was that, during the night before trash pickup day, many empty liquor bottles would surreptitiously appear in my parents’ bin.

    • 1mime says:

      Yeah, W’s bar wasn’t too high, but 68 consecutive months of job increases on O’s watch is, well, significant. And, that is IN SPITE of Republican efforts to keep Obama from success in the employment area. They wouldn’t approve the Jobs Infrastructure bill which would have put hundreds of Americans to work, nor would they approve a larger stimulus which would have allowed the American economy to improve even faster.

      What Republicans DID do, was cut government staffing budgets so severely that staffing reduction had to happen. So, I’d have to give the GOP credit for that. And, since I personally know people who were part of D.C. federal staffing during Obama’s term, I can tell you that they have been operating on shoestring budgets to survive the cuts to their departments. Added to the burdens of smaller staff due to budget cuts are all the insane and voluminous demands for document production to satisfy the various GOP witch hunts. These require incredible man hours (sorry girls) which of course, is part of the strategy….bury ’em in paperwork requests so they can’t do their real jobs so they aren’t effective or efficient so they are part of why we don’t need government, right? RIGHT!

  14. lomamonster says:

    There will shortly be more 2015 Darwin Award winners, so stay tuned…

  15. lomamonster says:

    General Carson, eh? West Point!

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      Look, you guys are blowing this all out of proportion.

      First, Ben Carson, William Westmoreland, Detroit, and West Point all co-existed for many years.

      All of those years had Memorial Days, and there were parades on Memorial Day.

      General Westmoreland undoubtedly has dinner, as does Ben Carson, and I have it on good authority that most Medal of Honor winners also do eat dinner.

      Beyond that, it’s just details, man, and you are trying to smear this fine Presidential candidate.

      If you think of the bigger picture, haven’t we all had dinner with General Westmoreland…in Detroit…on Memorial Day…to talk about going to West Point?

      Also, look, there was grain in Egypt, and that grain had to be stored. Where are they going to put seven years worth a grain and also have room to hang a cool technicolor dreamcoat? There are pyramids in Egypt. Ipso, facto, ergo, stultus est sicut stultus facit, you do not have to be a brain surgeon to figure this out.

  16. Rob Ambrose says:

    Just spit my coffee out.

    TMI Hill? Lol

  17. 1mime says:

    In perusing the net, I came across two interesting pieces to share. Republicans can be so proud of their deeply felt values.

    Kansas – continues to amaze.

    https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2015/11/02/what%E2%80%99s-matter-kansas
    %E2%80%99-kris-kobach

    Sara, this one’s for you.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/federal-eye/wp/2015/11/06/as-scientists-warn-of-chilling-effect-on-research-congressman-doubles-down-on-noaa-to-release-deliberations-on-climate-study/?wpmm=1&wpisrc=nl_fed

  18. Tuttabella says:

    Hey, Mime, another quick note about low voter turnout — I came dangerously close to not voting myself this past election. I was so fed up with all the bickering about HERO and other issues that I almost said “to heck with this.” Then I realized that some of the most vociferous, obnoxious people posting 24/7 on social media both for and against HERO were not even residents of Houston and couldn’t even vote on the matter, whereas I am a Houstonian. Therefore my quiet, little vote had more power than the words of those loud people. That realization is what spurred me on to make use of my vote. I guess you could say I voted out of spite, and yes, there was some glee involved. 🙂

    • 1mime says:

      There were a couple of good articles in the Houston Chronicle today on HERO, plus several letters to the editor. Lifer’s former nemesis, Dr. Steven Hotze, was in the middle of the transgender scare tactic….Sooner or later, Houston WILL have legislation that addresses discrimination. Hopefully, it will be better received.

    • vikinghou says:

      Here’s an interesting analysis of the HERO vote by precinct. Judging from the map, the ordinance generally received the most support from affluent precincts inside the Loop.

      http://www.houstonchronicle.com/politics/election/local/article/Map-shows-where-HERO-had-greatest-support-6610231.php

      • johngalt says:

        Glad to see my part of town solidly blue.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Alas, I am unable to see the map since I am not a Houston Chronicle subscriber.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        I’m with you Tutt…but I’m not optimistic about my part of town

      • tuttabellamia says:

        HT, your part of town is a conservative stronghold? Maybe more like a conservative stranglehold?

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        I’m in Bellaire…we are odd. We are so lily white that it can hurt your eyes on a sunny day, and we have lots of older folks who really, really do not like paying taxes.

        Yet, we have gay couples at the park with kids, and we border some very non-White parts of town.

        I have a hunch we skew pretty conservatively as a city, but I do not know how that shakes out in voting for goofy things like this.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Well, then if you are in Bellaire then you had no actual say in the matter of HERO, correct? Otherwise it would have been called BERO.

        I live in the Heights, which is pretty diverse (White/Hispanic), and border a predominantly Black neighborhood.

      • 1mime says:

        Man, we are all so close….need to try to get together before we all croak. I live in The Woodlands, so not too far….and, pretty White and VERY conservative. I tolerate them the best I can and have found some pretty neat Dems and independents to get together with when I can.

        Love the Heights and its quirky population and environment….one of my favorite shops is located in N. Heights, Balinskas’ Imports.

      • Sara Robinson says:

        Hey, I’m gonna be down in Houston in February, and again in April…

      • 1mime says:

        Sounds like you could be the “main event” opportunity for a gathering of the GOPlifer clan…I’d need notice to make arrangements here (husband requires coverage), but it would be so worth it to meet Homer, Tutta, Viking, Rob, TThor, BoBo, who am I missing from the area???

        I assume you will be here on Climate business…so let us know where and when in Feb/April.

        Thanks for the heads up.

      • 1mime says:

        I missed John G. Any others out there within the Houston metropolitan area?

      • 1mime says:

        Gosh, left out Fly and Right On….I am seriously needing some sack time………Can’t wait to learn who else I have missed….Let’s see, we have: Fly, John G, Rob, Tutta, Bobo, Viking, Homer, Right on, 1Mime, TThor, Sara, ???? That’s a right nice group! Anyone I missed, chime in!

        G’night all!

      • vikinghou says:

        Actually, Homer, Bellaire and West U are surrounded by sea of support for HERO. I’m not far from you, living in Willow Meadows. Wish you could see the map. Basically everything inside the Loop west of I-45 has solid support, including Meyerland, the Heights, Garden Oaks and Willowbend just outside the Loop perimeter. Perhaps the regular chron.com will eventually post it.

      • johngalt says:

        Everything inside the loop and west of the north-south line marked by 288 and the part of 59 north of I-45 is very blue (meaning high support for HERO). This includes the Heights. A slice of southwest Houston outside the loop (between US90 and Westpark) is pretty blue. Memorial, Westchase, Galleria, Cypress, and everything in east/Southeast Houston was opposed. Kingwood is the most opposed.

      • Tuttabella says:

        John Galt, thanks for that map for the mind’s eye.

        I voted against HERO myself. I read through the 36-page ordinance and was uncomfortable with the vague way in which it defined gender identity, and it struck me as inconsistent that government-owned and operated businesses were exempt with respect to the public accommodations part, but that most private facilities would have to comply. The way I saw it, it’s not as though transgender people are currently banned from using public restrooms, and it’s not as though they are being relegated to a segregated restroom labeled “transgender” that would single them out as inferior or different.

        With regards to employment, there are already federal protections in place. I would support a local ordinance banning discrimination, just not this particular one, and I look forward to another version of it that might be more acceptable. I don’t like to feel pressured to vote for something as though it’s our last and only chance to accomplish something. I don’t think we’ve heard the last of a HERO-type ordinance, and that’s a good thing.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Tutt…there are no federal protections regarding employment with respect to gay folks, and it certainly seems that a majority of Texans are happy with that.

        Of course, a majority of Texans (some of which you and I know very well) would vote down protections for Black folks and women in employment as well, which is why it probably isn’t a good idea to put rights and protections for minorities up for a vote.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        tutt…I’m not sure what definition you want for gender identity.

        Gender identity – an individual’s innate identification, appearance, expression or behavior as either male or female, although the same may not correspond to the individual’s body or gender as assigned at birth

        How much more specific do you want it to be? If a person identifies as one gender or another…they can go tinkle where they feel they identify.

        This is an absolutely meaningless thing to 98% of us, but it is kind of really important to those who find it important. A person who has a penis but identifies and dresses as a woman likely has a not all that unreasonable fear of getting their ass kicked in the men’s restroom in more than a few places in Houston.

      • vikinghou says:

        Homer, you are exactly right. Having a transgender person with a woman’s appearance entering a men’s room would be more disruptive than letting her use a women’s restroom.

        Now that HERO has been defeated, what is the next step? Will there be a petition to place the issue on the 2016 ballot? Will the next mayor work with the City Council to draft an amended ordinance? Surely the issue won’t go away.

      • 1mime says:

        Will another anti-discrimination ordinance be proposed…..
        That depends upon who the new mayor is and how successful the GOTV effort is.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Mime, love to meet up, but I’m on the East Coast, just outside of Boston. Not on your side of the country or else I would be down for sure 🙂

    • 1mime says:

      I wish I had had an opportunity to cancel your vote, Tutta.

  19. Rob Ambrose says:

    What in the actual f*** is wrong with America when THIS man of such puny intellect can be the leader in the presidential race of one of the major parties?

    And if there’s a better example that highly educated people can be among the dumbest, I’ve yet to see it.

    This entire article is mind boggling.

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/morning-mix/wp/2015/11/05/ben-carson-believes-joseph-built-egypts-pyramids-to-store-grain-and-it-just-may-get-him-some-votes/

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      OK Mr. Science guy, if all that evolution mumbo jumbo was true, why don’t I have an arm growing out of my back? Sometimes, I have a spot on my back that itches and itches up a storm, but I cannot quite reach it. If your evolution was real, I’d have another arm because I really, really would like to scratch my back.

      • 1mime says:

        Homer, didn’t you realize that’s what rounded sheetrock corners are for?

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Lol. Reminds me of a meme i saw of a dog sitting at a table wearing an orange hunter hat and camo, and the quote says “I’m just saying…..if we all came from wolves, how come there are still wolves around?”

    • flypusher says:

      So is Ben Carson like the aspiring rapper who really grew up in a bland, safe suburb and embellishes his bio to get a bit of street cred?

      http://theweek.com/speedreads/587435/ben-carson-made-tales-youthful-violence-cnn-suggests

      To me this is very small potatoes; I can list plenty of other reasons why he’s not qualified/ I won’t ever vote for him.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Look…why won’t people simply accept the Ben Carson is kind of a nut job that attempted to stab a very close relative and hit his mother in the head with a hammer.

        Why do you people want to besmirch the name of this good man by insisting that he did not try to stab a very close relative and hit his mother in the head with a hammer?

        I mean, if someone wants the world to know that he struggles with anger issues and is prone to impulsive lashing out, is prone to stabbing close relatives, and wants to hit his mother in the head with a hammer, I think the world need to know that he tried to stab a close relative and to hit his mother in the head with a hammer.

        More and more, Trump is sounding reasonable:

        “With Ben Carson wanting to hit his mother on head with a hammer, stabb a friend and Pyramids built for grain storage – don’t people get it?

        — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 6, 2015”

      • 1mime says:

        Us old geezers have a saying for people like Trump making statements about Carson: “The cat is calling the kettle black.”

        I mean, anyone who trains his hair into such a contorted, gravity-defying stunt, deserves some respect!

      • flypusher says:

        “I mean, if someone wants the world to know that he struggles with anger issues and is prone to impulsive lashing out, is prone to stabbing close relatives, and wants to hit his mother in the head with a hammer, I think the world need to know that he tried to stab a close relative and to hit his mother in the head with a hammer.”

        Who do you want to deal face to face with Vladimir Putin, a man who struggles with anger issues and is prone to impulsive lashing out, is prone to stabbing close relatives, and wants to hit his mother in the head with a hammer, or some wimp who doesn’t get that autocrats like Putin can only be dealt with from a position of STRENGTH!?

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        “Hey Vlad, I’m a bad man and you don’t want to mess with me. One time, I tried to bomb Israel myself, and only their missile defense system saved them. I even tried to invade Canada one time with the Tennessee national guard. You do not want to mess with me.”

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Carson is quickly realizing the lights are brightest on the front runner

        http://www.politico.com/story/2015/11/ben-carson-west-point-215598

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Fly, have you seen the rap video Carson put out to appeal to black youths? Not him rapping, but a rapper spittin’ the hot fire about the benefits of Carson as Prez.

        Because of course the best way to court the black vote is a rap song. That sounds exactly like what a Republican think would attract the black vote.

        Amazingly, interspersed through the song is voiceover from Carson’s stump speech including thso gem:

        “America became a great nation early on not because it was flooded with politicians, but because it was flooded with people who understood the value of personal responsibility, hard work, innovation and that’s what will get us on the right track now,”

        It takes a special kind of tone deafness for a politician (a black one no less) to try to court the black vote by referencing a return to the “early greatness” of America. There’s that whole slavery thing that probably still leaves a bad taste in their mouth. On the other hand, of course, it IS a rap song. That’s all you need to win over the black vote right?

        All of the things coming out about Carson make him wholly unsuitable for president. Not because ofnthe specifics of the lies or policy statements. But because when taken together, they paint a picture of a f’n idiot of tiny intellect and low character.

        Lying about how “tough” you were or badass? How you stabbed people or wanted to hit your Mother with a hammer? That’s the kind of lies that insecure 12 year olds who buy products off of infomercials promising to build their muscles in 30 days OR YOUR MONEY BACK! Not an adult, of ANY vocation. Let alone the freaking POTUS.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        I am tired of this liberal smear campaign of this fine, intelligent, gifted man.

        Sure, when Carson wrote in his book that…

        “Two soldiers who had won the Congressional Medal of Honor in Viet Nam were present. More exciting to me, General William Westmoreland (very prominent in the Viet Nam war) attended with an impressive entourage. Afterward, Sgt. Hunt introduced me to General Westmoreland, and I had dinner with him and the Congressional Medal winners. Later I was offered a full scholarship to West Point.”

        …he meant, “I never applied to West Point but I totally would have gotten a full scholarship had I applied, and sure, I didn’t have dinner Westmoreland that day, but I totally did meet him on time.”

        Also, I absolutely did try to kill multiple family members and I do not appreciate you all questioning that I did actually try to kill multiple family members.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Houston, we must have slipped into some kind of bizarro world.

        The leader in the polls for his party for the office of the POTUS is desperately trying to convince voters that he DID stab someone in his youth and that he DID once want to hit his mother in the head with a hammer.

        Its clear Carson tried to create a persona of a tough violent kid who, although now reformed, once was so violent that he stabbed someone.

        The only type of personality that would LIE about these things is someone who is weak, insecure, and idealizes violence to compensate for his own perceived shortcomings. This would be a very dangerous man sitting in the oval office.

      • 1mime says:

        But if you are “saved” from a life of violence, that makes it so much better a conversion, don’t you think? And, we all know how important this is to the religious right….gotta have a good story…

        How incredibly stupid to pen an autobiography (he took credit along with his wife…no ghosts…) with misrepresentations/lies that are so easily fact-checked?

        All I could think of when I heard this was how Hillary Clinton was grilled by the Benghazi Committee for 9 hours.

        Exactly what is it that the people of America who are supporting Carson want in a President?

        After seeing the excellent movie, Bridge of Spies (Gary Powell prisoner transfer with Soviet spy story), you see once again, that the best of America is not it’s government, but its people, and, specifically, “some” of its people – those for whom honor, the Constitution, and respect mean something. Wow, just wow.

    • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

      That Ben Carson. Well…there is more bats**t craziness to come!

      http://www.politico.com/story/2015/11/ben-carson-west-point-215598

      “Ben Carson admits fabricating West Point scholarship.”

      “Carson’s campaign on Friday conceded that a central point in his inspirational personal story did not occur as he previously described.”

      Can white conservative Ben Carson fanboys/fangirls please say it is alright for anyone to call out there inspirational hero when he says things that aren’t true, defy documented world history, authenticated scientific conclusions about the nature of our reality or when he frequently contradicts statements he has previously made?

      Can someone, even a liberal, be allowed to state the obvious… this man is really weird and should never be president.

      Don’t make me beg.

      • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

        National Review response to my pleadings…

        NO.

        Here is there sort of defense on “The Corner”

        Wesley J. Smith (National Review)

        “I was appalled when I heard a news report claiming that Ben Carson admitted lying about “applying and being accepted” on scholarship at West Point.

        “Then, I saw that he never wrote that he applied, nor was accepted. In a book he said that he was offered a “full scholarship.” And he turned it down because he wanted to be a doctor. Here’s the thing: ALL West Point cadets receive full scholarships in return for their military service.”

        “I suspect Carson was told that due to his high ROTC status, he could get in–and that if he did, his education would be free.”

        “He misstated about being offered a full scholarship, since that is not technically true. But it doesn’t nearly rise to the level of mendacity that the media making it out to be.”

        “Now, we’ll see how he handles this major attack. That will tell a lot about his suitability for the nomination.”

        Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/426704/ben-carson-scandal-less-meets-eye-wesley-j-smith

        The apparent strategy of defending this man:

        Honest misstatement. He was misquoted. You are not reading his statements in proper context. He meant no offense. But what about Hillary? That is not the correct reading of what he said. Are you anti-christian? Liberals (and there RINO handmaidens) are the real racists! This is a hi-tech lynching! Don’t believe your lying eyes…

        BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH.

        And he will the first real African American President

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        I’m not all that bent out of shape by folks embellishing their life stories, and at some point, people even start believing part of those embellishments as they say them often enough.

        Hillary probably wasn’t under sniper fire while getting off of the helicopter.

        When Carson wrote his book, he was looking to make money and probably wasn’t thinking he was going to be running for president. Now, the man is running for president, and he’s being bitten by some of this.

        I’m more concerned that he hasn’t managed to alter his conversations or approach, and he seems to be doubling down on the stupid. When Trump is accurately calling you out for being goofy, you are being goofy.

        So yeah, Carson does seem like a bit of a weird dude.

        I know Trump’s firehose attacks are generally bad, but he has turned in a few of the most accurate analyses, summaries, or questions in the campaign. Describing Jeb as “low energy” really is a great summation of the feelings people have about his campaign, and hitting back on 9/11 happening when W was president is kind of spot on. His recent (but now deleted) tweets about Carson were spot on as well.

        Who knew? Donald Trump – Good political analyst (or a broken clock is right a couple of times a day).

      • 1mime says:

        Trump’s put downs may neatly point out truths, but never forget that the reason is to make Trump look better in comparison. That man doesn’t have a generous bone in his body.

      • flypusher says:

        “Who knew? Donald Trump – Good political analyst (or a broken clock is right a couple of times a day).”

        The Trump as political enema hypothesis certainly holds water.

      • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

        Sorry guys about the typos in my recent comments. I will do a better job of policing my writing today.

        It has just been very hard keeping track of Ben Carson’s frequent brain misfires/comments as his grasp of reality appears to weaken every day. At this point the virus of his BS is totally infecting the political mainstream.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        I certainly do not view myself as all that sophisticated, so I do not mind telling you that:

        “The Trump as political enema hypothesis certainly holds water”.

        made me giggle in my office….enema…holding water….hehehehehe

  20. goplifer says:

    Maybe it’s time to throw this one back out there. Excerpt from a post back in January:

    “The left is blindly tearing down a race-based shadow welfare state that once delivered a reliably middle class existence for whites. They are offering to replace it with a centralized social welfare state that compromises middle earners’ interests while only providing relief to those who are financially ruined.

    “The Affordable Care Act may be the signal example of this failure. Health care reform could have split low and middle income white workers from their alliance with elite whites. Instead we got a program very much like the rest of the safety net.

    “Most middle and low income whites have some access to health insurance through their employers. The ACA extended Medicaid coverage to the very poor while middle earners who are disproportionately white were excluded from subsidies. The structure of the Affordable Care Act placed a new mandate on struggling middle-earning households while excluding them from most of the benefits of the Act. No one should be surprised at the political result.

    “The characterization of the Democratic Party as a force for “dependence” makes perfect sense through this lens. White families struggling to hang on to their economic status correctly understand that Democratic policies will do little for them until they’re destitute. Lower income whites are not voting against their interests. With no political options on the table that could reasonably be expected to level the economic playing field, low income whites are making a rational choice to remain tied in racial solidarity to wealthier white households for as long as possible.”

    http://blog.chron.com/goplifer/2015/01/democrats-and-the-shadow-welfare-state/

    • Griffin says:

      ““They are offering to replace it with a centralized social welfare state that compromises middle earners’ interests while only providing relief to those who are financially ruined.”

      This is the only part I would somewhat disagree with. As you wrote a while back our government is much more inefficient and corrupt than other developed nations because by its design it’s very easy to veto/block most major (or even minor) legislation. So you have to compromise/bribe your way to pass any major reform which usually ends up far more watered down than it would have been. An actually left-wing version of the ACA would have had a public option and a government that bargained for drugs, which many middle earners would have seen the benefits of and which most liberals supported.

      In other words from the way you phrase it you seem to think that the left is intentionally doing this from the start because the ideology is inheriently flawed and they are out of touch. This may be somewhat true but I think the true failure of the left is (usually) not that they’re wide eyed idealists who start out with inheriently bad economic ideas but that they think they can go forward with economic/social reform without first fighting for any political reform. By trying to shove major legislation through out current political system it comes out so watered down and damaged by special interests as to only benefit those who have almost nothing and for whom almost any change is an improvement. I know I’m not phrasing this very well but can you get the jist of what I’m saying?

      • Legislation here is simple – to the point – nothing extraneous added just to get it through,

        I will qualify that – there is a very strong process to get all points of view answered before the final legislation – BUT the legislation produced is one piece – nobody adds a bit about rivers to a road bill

    • 1mime says:

      So…your point here is? Conservatives used the ACA to create a red herring issue in order to anger and disappoint White middle class voters in order to gain their support for issues that opposed their best interests?

      They did this by using the gap that SCOTUS helped create by making medicaid expansion voluntary for states, thus disqualifying many people for ACA subsidies and medicaid coverage. This, of course, made them angry at Democrats who promised health care and didn’t deliver, while people poorer than they, got coverage. Nice, neat, stick a fork in it.

      Did I get the import of your post or did I totally miss it?

      • goplifer says:

        You totally missed it.

        As an exchange for giving up the privileges that came from white supremacy, lower income whites are being offered a new Democratic platform that, when you look at it closely, does virtually nothing for them. The ACA is a fine example.

        Do you have insurance through the ACA? Neither do I. And neither do 90%+ of the lower-income white voters in the South who have been drifting away from the Democratic Party. The privileges that came with being white meant for the most part that they didn’t need most of the social services that Democrats offer. The safety net does almost nothing for anyone until they are either very old, or financially ruined. These folks got what they needed – good government jobs as firemen or cops, or manufacturing jobs, on the strength of their connections to more affluent whites and a whole lot of built-in preferences. They aren’t terribly interested in giving up what racism delivered for them in exchange for welfare.

        Want to change the way lower income whites in the South (and elsewhere) think about the Democratic Party? Offer them a new economic order, one that works for everyone and doesn’t wait until your financial prospects have been destroyed. There is a strange overlap in the rhetoric of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Sanders is in many ways offering a potential way forward, a blue collar agenda without the racism or Trump’s Fascism.

        I don’t like Sanders’ agenda and I wish Republicans would offer the kind of alternative I’ve described. In the absence of that, Democrats would probably do well to adapt a lot of Sanders’ policies.

      • 1mime says:

        Thanks for the clarification. I totally focused on the ACA example. I do not agree with your reasoning, however, that only those who are elderly or destitute, are prime candidates. (Although, these people deserve health care coverage and as a taxpayer, I’d rather they not get it always through more expensive ER alternatives.)

        Lifer, there are many people – young and older – who could not afford health care and/or could not get approved for health care, or, whose employers don’t offer health insurance. What the percentages are, I don’t know, but if I were part of the percentage that was denied I would be very grateful for the ACA. IF the medicaid expansion portion of this act had been allowed to function as intended, many more people would have health coverage and we wouldn’t have this crisis of people not able to get coverage because they earned too much and too little, by criteria that is driven principally by politics.

        I get your point: Democrats need to design programs for the “big picture”, not the small minority, and, by doing so, they would appeal to more people and broaden their base. They have – it’s called: medicaid, medicare, social security, welfare, workmen’s Comp. Now, you may not “like” these programs, or feel they are keeping up with the times, but, they address broad swaths of needs and people. That leaves the remaining, smaller percentage who lacked health insurance for a myriad of reasons. This is who the ACA was designed for. Agreed. Fewer in number, but every bit just as important to help as the man or woman whose employer offers coverage.

        One of the things I have most admired about you in your writing is your ability to parse differences and cut through the crap. I respectfully disagree with your example and with your conclusion. I am keenly aware that the Democrats have done an inept job of reaching out to their constituents, but, poor as it may be, this group of people will never be a concern or priority for Republicans. There is that undeniable truth. There have been many opportunities for compromise over the past seven years that would have put people to work had this Republican Party been willing to put people before party.

        Now I totally get it.

      • Griffin says:

        That is a big part of why I like Sanders. You can see it in how many older middle class whites are highly protective of social security and Medicare but are highly antagonistic towards food stamps and Medicaid. It’s easy to oppose the bits of the welfare state that don’t do much (directly) for you other than raise you taxes, but if everyone can benefit from the system they become much bigger fans of it, even in the face of higher taxes.

        That’s why I’m skeptical of Clinton’s college plan. If it somehow managed to squeeze through our political process it will probably only really help lower college debt for the poorest people but neglect lower middle class/middle class incomes. In the long term it will inadvertaintly pit the poor against the middle class, and by extension the lower middle class/middle class against the liberals.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        Lifer wrote:

        Do you have insurance through the ACA? Neither do I. And neither do 90%+ of the lower-income white vote….

        Because of a choice they made or because of a choice their red governors made to keep it from them?

        I think your example doesn’t make your point.

        (I see surveys that in states with Obamacare many of those who respond to pollsters hate Obamacare, love the Affordable Care Act.)

      • Crogged says:

        Should we have ‘forced’ everyone, including those covered by employer provided insurance, to participate in the markets? Yes. Was that politically possible-no.

      • Creigh says:

        “Offer them a new economic order, one that works for everyone…” Great idea, but what is that and how do you get it past the powers that be, who like the existing economic order just fine because it is working great for them.

        Sanders’ position is that first you have to take a lot of power away from the powers that be.

      • 1mime says:

        Someone’s red slip is showing (-:

    • Shiro17 says:

      But, what’s the rational alternative? It’s clear the system in place right now is crumbling regardless of whether the left can put its safety nets in place. Globalization and the drastic shift in required skill sets in the economy have torn apart the old system, and the increasing numbers of minorities are getting increasingly louder about breaking down any ‘race-based welfare system.’ The hard right certainly isn’t going to help matters by their plans to gut public education spending and pension plans. You like talking about markets, but is it possible to structure a market to ensure that there are enough middle-ranked jobs to support a middle class instead of merely exacerbating the income split between upper management and the peons?

      Oh, and another problem for the Dems with the ACA is that there are benefits that benefit the middle class, but these benefits are abstract and hard for people to associate with the ACA. Namely, health care costs are going down in the sense that they are not growing nearly as catastrophically as they were before, but health care costs are still astronomically high, so most people aren’t really inclined to see that as a positive.

      • 1mime says:

        Low information learners…..Even more abstract for some is falling for the many articles in newspapers, etc., which signal an increase in ACA premium rates without accepting the fact that premium rates for private coverage goes up annually as well. Unfortunately, parallel reporting of premium increases for both the ACA and private plans is non-existent. I actually emailed a young journalist with the Houston Chronicle who wrote about premium increases for the ACA and suggested she do a parallel story of private coverage in order to more accurately reflect the broad health insurance premium market. That, such a parallel report would offer a more fair representation of consumer health insurance cost. She agreed with the potential and value of such an article and said she would see if she could get permission to offer a follow up story….which hasn’t appeared, so…..

        I am convinced that single payer is the long term solution, along side private coverage for as long as employers offer it. This combination works in other countries. If the votes had been there, we could have simply expanded medicare. This would have required changes to the policy to make it cost-effective for both plan participants and taxpayers, but the structure was there, accepted and liked by those within it, and it would have been so much easier to implement. It goes without saying that government health care plans should be able to bid drug prices…open markets only are praised by the GOP when it suits their needs. This deal was struck with pharmaceutical companies to gain support. What a shame.

        It all boiled down to an imperfect plan but it was better than anything else and there was nothing else and there would never be, as long as Republicans could block it.

        At the time when the ACA was passed, forty-five million Americans were without coverage, which, when you break it down into an actual number versus percentage, is a more compelling figure. Now, that number is approximately halved. How many of us here can imagine living without health coverage? How many of us here actually know someone who has or does? It is frightening and it can be catastrophic. That is the compelling factor for me in my support of taxpayer subsidized coverage.

      • Shiro17 says:

        I recently had to spend two months without coverage in between jobs, and it was NOT fun worrying about it. What did not help is that I was told (by well meaning acquaintances) that I could only sign up for a stopgap marketplace plan during the open enrollment period, which I discovered later was not the case.

        Really, I just think a major part of the bad feelings towards Obamacare was that the Dems completely flubbed communicating the details to us at the time, and they’ve been too shy to talk more about it since.

      • 1mime says:

        The launch of the ACA was horrible AND self-inflicted. Can’t put that blame on anyone but the Obama administration. However, and this is a huge however, the Republicans have never stopped bashing this plan for the years before its implementation up to the 60 something efforts to repeal it.

        When I’m in a mellow mood, I wonder if the Republicans had expended just a tenth of their energy and resources on trying to work with the Democrats to improve the ACA, I wonder if we wouldn’t have a better plan today. That would have required the generosity as exhibited by the Democrats for G.W.’s RX plan….they fought it but when they saw they couldn’t beat it, they worked with the GOP to make it the best it could be.

        That is how the process should work and will work if the goal is to serve the American people first and party last.

    • duncancairncross says:

      What is happening in the USA?
      First the Kentucky election is in doubt
      Now the Ohio referendum looks funny
      http://www.alternet.org/drugs/was-ohios-marijuana-vote-stolen-tv-screen-shots-show-massive-number-votes-flipping

      Why is there no national outrage in your shoddy voting system?
      Why does nobody seem to care?

      There would be riots in any other “democracy” that had similar nonsense
      And its just part of a continual process
      Why do you just accept it??

      • 1mime says:

        Boy, Duncan, that’s way above my pay grade. Lifer – can you offer any sensible explanation to Duncan’s concerns about KY and OH? I know large districts can report with huge numbers and flip a stat, but is this extreme? Have you heard any rumors?

      • Griffin says:

        Because it’s in low turnout elections among an apathetic populace that doesn’t pay close attention to elections, and because there’s nothing concrete yet and Democrats don’t want to lose their “respectable” image by making accusations that may turn out not to be true. Also dirty election tactics, especially in the South, is not totally foreign to America so we’re kind of used to it, not to the degree a country like Turkey is but moreso than in Western/Northern Europe or developed nations in Oceania.

        There was a long period of time when our presidents won elections based on who was able to semi-openly stuff more ballet boxes or pay/threaten homeless people to revote 50 times.

    • 1mime says:

      Lifer, do you have any thoughts on Duncan’s link which infers that some hanky panky could have occurred in the KY race for Governor?

    • Shiro17 says:

      Would it make a difference in public opinion if it did? If a report came out that it happened, most Republicans wouldn’t believe the report even it had hard evidence (they’d blame the liberal media for spouting lies again). Most Democrats would believe it happened even if the report said it didn’t (blaming some sort of cover-up by big money). Very few people are able to entertain the thought that the other side might be right anymore (back to the whole “dogma” v. “ideas” debate below).

      I think though that if Bevin gets his way and passes a lot of his policies, Kentucky might fall prey to a different demographic trap of a lot of rural states now that really hurts Democrats. Lifer explained earlier that a lot of the young centrists/liberals in Wisconsin, Indiana and Michigan were moving to Chicago and Ohio. I.e. any possible Democrat votes in those states who might want to change the politics of the states choose instead to move to another state. As a result, the hard-right in charge only becomes emboldened since there’s no one left that would vote them out. It’s a rightward spiral that adds to the entrenched sides of the debate as the liberal states get more liberal and the conservative states get more conservative.

      • 1mime says:

        I don’t know if the machines were compromised and trust that the appropriate affected parties will follow up if they think this could have happened. If they feel this is the case, then they should. The integrity of the voting process is more important than who wins. When that stops being the case, we have a bigger problem.

    • flypusher says:

      It’s interesting. Hard to believe all those voters would punch their ballots for every race except Guv. But that is really how one would realistically do voter fraud- tamper with the vote count instead of getting imposters to the polls.

      • Shiro17 says:

        That’s not what the article is concerned about (it’s a bit misleading). According to the KY government website, the governor’s race received the largest amount of total votes, as usual. The article is probably talking about the fact that downstream Dems (like Allison Grimes) received about 20,000-70,000 more votes than Conway did. So, a significant enough amount of people split their ticket for Bevin + Grimes, et al.

        Yes, I’m trying to wrap my head around who exactly that demographic would be. From the maps, it looks like the ticket splitters were mainly in Eastern Kentucky, which would be Appalachia coal country.

  21. Griffin says:

    Let’s say the Republican Party breaks out of their current predictament and becomes a party largely representing the North and West again. Where does the South go? So far no party has had the backbone or reserve to turn down so many “free” electoral votes, but neither the Democrats (who are too reliant on black votes now to represent white Southern values) nor Republicans (who would have just basically rejected them) would be in position to take them in at that point.

    Do they start their own party where they continue to disrupt our political process and get increasingly angry with every election they lose? Does one of the parties tolerate their existance as a minority in one party (I doubt they would accept this arrangement)? Should we just let them secede? Even if the GOP reforms this problem won’t go away, in some ways it might get even worse if they realize they have almost no shot at winning national elections.

    • 1mime says:

      Griffin, you may be ready to (hypothetically) cede the West to Repubs, but I’m not (-: I’m hanging on to WA, OR, CA, NM, CO, NV…whether they’re blue or red now, one day, I predict they will be blue and I want ’em!

      • Griffin says:

        No I’m just saying that if the Republicans reform they will once again be competitive in primarily the North/West against the Democrats like they used to be. However that means basicaly pissing off the South in the process. Back in the day the weird alliance that formed over a long period of time between Progressives and conservative southerns allowed the South to have an unofficial third party under the Democratic label while allowing progressive Democrats to be dissocociated enough from them to be electable in the North. If the GOP basically sheds Southern conservatism it would be tough for the South to be represented by either major party and neither party needs them as much as they used to either.

        If they feel they’ve lost all hope of challenging the US government from within they could become even more radicalized very quickly. Before giving them the boot from the GOP we have to wonder whether or not allowing them to stay in charge of that party is the lesser of two evils. If your primary concern is trying to prevent outright seccession it may very well be the only way to keep them complacent.

      • 1mime says:

        And, what if, southern conservatives swallow the GOP? Do you not think this is what is trending?

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        I see what you’re saying Griffin. Basically, the South was a guest in the Democrat Party, helping out with the bills (but never truly one of the gang) from the end of the Civil War until they left in the 60’s over anger about the CRA.

        The GOP saw the South was up for grabs and said “she, we don’t care what they say about social issues, as long as they give us, the party of the wealthy, the only thing we don’t have: votes”.

        So now they are under the GOP brand, only they’re starting to BECOME the GOP (which is something that never happened with the Dems).

        Which is where we are now, but your question is an interesting one. They’re not going back into the Dem fold. If the GOP kicks them out, where do they go? There aren’t any other major parties. What happens to the cultural fabric if the entire South feels disenfranchised? Because any ” Southern Party” they might form would never, ever have a shot on the federal level.

        Do they become like the BQ in Canada? (A separatists party with a handful of seats in the Canadian Parliament which they leverage to extract benefits for Quebec and thus punch far above their weight at the national level).

        I think it’s just as likely the rot is too deeps, and you can’t extract the wingnuts from the party anymore, and what we would consider “traditional Conservatives” would just form their own party. This new party would take the important infrastructure with them from the GOP (donors, lobbyists, a majority of Republicans senators/congressmen) and immediately become the 2nd major party as a center right Conservative party with a defocus on social issues. This would leave the rotten husk of the old GOP corpse to wither and die while the heart of soul of the traditional GOP live on in this new party.

      • 1mime says:

        The South – where do they go if the Gop nor the Dems want them?

        Who cares?

  22. objv says:

    “In the meantime, the GOP is counting on your sweet Nana to turn out to vote”

    Yup, and with the birth of a granddaughter, the Democrats’ best hope, Nana Hillary (age 68), is out promoting her grandmotherly credentials.

    Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being a grandma. The problem is that Clinton is a technologically clueless grandma who had an unsecured homebrew server in her basement. Not only was the server open to being hacked, other devices on the server were capable of being remotely controlled.

    http://hotair.com/archives/2015/10/13/hillary-server-had-remote-control-gateways-wide-open/

    Some of the emails being released raise questions on how capable Clinton is of understanding how to use basic electronic devices. Her ipad puzzled her. She couldn’t even figure out how to use emoticons on her new phone.

    If Clinton had followed departmental directives, she might not be in so much hot water, but she blithely ignored the rules thinking it gave her greater control over her own information. The result was that she left information that was later considered confidential and top secret open to hacking. Can we really trust her to make sound decisions on security issues when she’s not even as tech savvy as an eight-year-old?

    • Crogged says:

      Wiki describes the Industrial Revolution as two components-and roughly gives the timeline of 1760 to 1870. Lots of decades-daylight without fire.

      We created a technological revolution-beginning with the first home computers in the 80s and have bombarded our brains with the Tower of Babel. This cataclysm is infinitely larger in impact to the Industrial Revolution and one offshoot of this explosion is a confusion of knowledge vs wisdom, facts substituted for truth.

      Yours is a very valid criticism and should have been a focus of the Benghazi hearings, which could have been conducted in a way to learn from tragedy, rather than blame for temporary political gain.

      Hillary and Lindsey Graham could learn more about technology.

      But even Albert Einstein would have thought Creedence Clearwater was singing there’s a bathroom on the right.

      I’ll let you explain to me how Mr. Carson stating Joseph built pyramids in Egypt for grain storage and prominently shilled for a bullshit ‘medical’ treatments is simply left wing ‘gotchas’. Seems to be a nice guy-his friends don’t recall this ‘angry’ man he says he was-but everybody has their own story.

      I don’t want those nice, sweet, wise elders from my church of youth to be President. The President can’t make the world fit what he/she wants to believe, no matter how shiny, new and blessed that view may be.

      • 1mime says:

        “Yours is a very valid criticism and should have been a focus of the Benghazi hearings, which could have been conducted in a way to learn from tragedy, rather than blame for temporary political gain.” Exactly, as with “drugs for guns”, “1 Trade Center”, “9/11”, and many attacks on Americans at embassies and events throughout the decades. These are tragedies, not opportunites to “nail” the people involved….whose greatest failing was???

        If republicans ever demonstrate that the purpose of any of the many hearings they’ve conducted on various issues was “to learn from tragedy” rather than “blame”, I would be proud of them. That is not the way they operate. Politics now is ugly and there are no better practitioners of the cold, “gotcha’, bury ya methodology than our current Republican party. They own it.

        There were many faults with Benghazi but what we are ignoring is that four Americans died for their country. THAT is what is important. Ask questions, but ask them to keep this horrible loss from occurring again.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      I have never, ever utilized an emoticon. I might possibly be able to figure out how to use them, but that is one skill I’m assuming I’ll be able to die without acquiring.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Its pretty handy when txting and you want to give the context or nuance of your comment that the person would normally be able to infer from your tone or body language if you were in person.

        For example, if I text my buddy and say

        “hey bud, just came in to see if you were home, I drank your last beer, hope ya don’t mind haha”

        There’s a big difference between him saying “you f’n prick!” And “you f’n prick! ;)”

        That said, I never use emoticons with male friends for some reason. I never even really thought of it until now, I guess it seems unmanly lol. But when I was single, if I was getting to know a girl over text or whatever, I use them all the time so they can tell when I’m making a joke or if I’m teasing her.

        The more of our communication we move to social media, the more we’ll have to expand ways in which we express ourselves on a keyboard.

    • vikinghou says:

      I remember when Poppy Bush left office he didn’t know how to use a touch tone phone. Previously he had “people” to use the phone for him. He also had never seen a grocery store checkout scanner. The bubble.

  23. Anse says:

    My feeling is that many of the people the Democrats try most earnestly to represent are the kinds of people most prone to believing that voting is a rather pointless exercise. A lot of GOP voters are cynical like that, but they express it by voting for the craziest s.o.b. they can find. Their attitude is “anybody but THAT guy” and deeply “pro-outsider”. The Democrats? We just don’t show up. And think about it. If you’re a voter on the bottom of the economic ladder, a broom-pusher or a burger-slinger or somebody stuck in a cycle of poverty, it is probably harder to see how things change all that much from one election to the next. Like a libertarian friend of mine (a very successful executive for a large energy company) puts it: “The new president rearranges the furniture. But it’s still the same shitty office it was before and it will be after he leaves.”

    I’m not quite that cynical, but I can see why the working poor, who probably outnumber the ideologically-driven progressives, can’t look at Congress and see anything worth paying attention to. When the presidential election rolls around, at least there they have one person they can see and try to understand, one person who represents an entire branch of the federal government and for that reason has a substantial amount of authority. The president ideally is equal in power to the entire Congress. If it seems that the chief executive has too much power, it’s primarily because Congress is too inept and dysfunctional to offer a substantial counterweight.

    One thing I don’t accept, that is a popular opinion of Democrats, is that we’re “low-information voters.” Any idiot who would support Sarah Palin has no business calling anybody “low-information”, for one thing, and secondly, quite a lot of those low-wage earners are working 2 or even 3 jobs trying to keep things together. We have early voting in Texas and you’d assume that is sufficient to meet every voter’s needs, but if you don’t have a lot of trust in the system as it is, it might not be reasonable to give up a few hours of wages to go vote.

    • 1mime says:

      Wonderful analysis, Anse. Poor working people don’t believe that most politicians really care about them and, more significantly, their time is so focused on getting from one job to the next. Of course, then we have to examine why the working class vote against their own interests. Lifer says: they don’t. If this continues, it is because the democratic candidates are doing a less effective job of selling their message.

      • “Poor working people don’t believe that most politicians really care about them…”

        And they’re right.

      • 1mime says:

        We’ll, I certainly screwed that one up didn’t i?

        Good cstch Tthor. I typing on my phone today and not doing so well.

        Of course, what I MEant to say was: “poor people believe that candidates don’t really care about their needs. “

      • RightonRush says:

        Hell just froze over, I agree with Tracy.

      • 1mime says:

        Ok. You’re Piling on now!

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Tracy is 100% right. But I would posit that politicians don’t care about the working poor BECAUSE they don’t vote, rather then them not voting because politicians don’t care about it.

        I don’t care if a constituencies main concern is making every American attend mandatory polka lessons once a week. If that constituency comprises a huge portion of the population AND votes, you’d better get your polka pants on.

        But if a constituency doesn’t vote, of course they won’t get political representation. And you could argue they don’t deserve any.

      • 1mime says:

        That’s pretty hard, Rob. It’s also true that if you don’t vote, you can’t make a difference. It’s just not easy for working people, especially those holding down multiple jobs with families and/or school, to vote. It doesn’t make it ok, but at least we can try to understand part of the logistical impediments that many people face. These same people would also be classified as “low information” voters, because they lack the education, time and interest to follow the process. What would you say about those who: have the education, time, and interest and vote for issues, policies and candidates who you think are nuts? Low information or highly filtered information voters? Does this make their vote “more informed”?

    • tuttabellamia says:

      On the previous thread in a discussion with Mime I provided some anecdotes about my conversations with people about whether or not they would vote, pre-election.

      I’ve been conducting an informal post-election survey, asking people if they voted and if they say no, asking, “I’m just curious. Why not?”

      So far I have received 3 responses —

      “I just didn’t get around to it.” — with a shrug

      “I’m not a US citizen.”

      “There was an election?”

    • 1mime says:

      Another thought to your post, Anse, about dems being low information voters. I think many are. It is part of the reason they vote against their interests; whereas, repub voters who vote by ideology are also low information, emotional voters….and support the likes of a Carson, palin, Cruz with fervor. Both sets of voters are driven by self interest without regard for where that takes the country. It’s all about “me”.

    • tuttabellamia says:

      Mime, this thing about all these people not voting because they are more focused on getting from one job to the next — I personally know people who could have found the time to vote but chose to use that time for other things, including socializing and traveling. They are just not engaged in the voting process.

      • 1mime says:

        Absolutely, tutta. What’s reallyost important is “why”. Then and only then can we properly address the underlying problems and bring about change that will make more people want to vote because they believe their vote matters.

      • vikinghou says:

        This is why we need to be able to vote by mail or, better yet, via a smartphone. Today most people under 40 practically live their lives through their mobile devices. Having to physically travel to a polling place is a deterrent.

        I vote electronically all the time when stockholder proxy votes take place. I receive a unique ID number for each ballot, enter it into the system, click on my choices and voila!

      • 1mime says:

        Of course, Viking. I support
        Making voting as easy as possible for everyone, not just seniors and those whose jobs and life circumstances make voting less difficult. That concept, however, leaves the outcomes less controllable, and that will never do! Far better to GOYV than all votes.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        Mime, one way to engage apathetic voters is to get them really excited or angry about something.

        People who had never voted went out in droves to vote for Barack Obama.

        I know fellow Hispanics who swear they will vote next year if that’s what it takes to defeat Donald Trump. They hate him.

        So maybe Mr. Trump has been good for something. 🙂

      • 1mime says:

        Again, tutta, apathy occurs for many reasons and I think you may want to give that more thought. I don’t excuse not voting but I do understand why many people don’t vote. That should be the focus of some very deep analysis as opposed to simple statements. I mean no disrespect for you observation, I simply believe the problem is much deeper than acknowledged. It’s really the”why” that isranongful, and there hadn’t been much desire to figure it out.

      • tuttabellamia says:

        I love uncontrollable outcomes! Let the chips fall where they may.

      • objv says:

        Yes, let’s watch out for falling chips! 🙂

        I’ve also been puzzled on why more people don’t vote. Early voting, when we lived in Texas (three different locations) couldn’t have been easier.

        All my husband and I had to do was stop at the local library while out doing errands or after work and we’d be done in five minutes.

    • Crogged says:

      Who the hell are the “high information voters”? Is there a voter who understands the complexity of macro economics, how to deliver a reasonable amount of medical attention to the largest portion of the ‘deserving’ society and how to manage global cash flows across multi currency in addition to completely understanding how the hell the lights always come on when you flip the switch?

    • Crogged says:

      We are all ‘low information’ voters. No one is voting ‘against their own interests’. A bunch of old people in Kentucky who already have SS and Medicare (vs Medicaid) are sincerely worried about how their grandkids are going to pay for all this propping up of undeserving layabouts.

      Take gun control-please.

      Our options are to remove 350 million weapons and/or accept 50 thousand gun deaths in this country are just incidental to our second amendment rights.

      Neither ‘side’ is honest. Register away, take guns away from the undeserving.

      Sure.

      • 1mime says:

        So what are you really saying? No solution is ever possible, or no solution is possible under current conditions?

      • Crogged, at least get your numbers straight:

        https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2013/crime-in-the-u.s.-2013/offenses-known-to-law-enforcement/expanded-homicide/expanded_homicide_data_table_8_murder_victims_by_weapon_2009-2013.xls

        http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/fastats/suicide.htm

        We have ~30K firearms related deaths each year, ~2/3 of which are suicides. In 2013 there were a total of 8,454 firearms homicides. (285 involving rifles. Assuming *all* of these were “assault rifles”, you are approximately three times more likely to be beaten to death or strangled than shot to death with an “assault rifle.”) Approximately 50% of murder victims are black, mostly murdered by other blacks. Most murders involve the 17-34 age group, and most involve males. Alarming percentages are related to gang violence, drugs or armed robbery. So if you aren’t a young, male, black, drug dealing, criminal gang member, and don’t hang around with such folks, or aren’t suicidally depressed, then you really don’t have much to worry about firearms-wise. 😉

      • Crogged says:

        Tthor
        No issue at all with your numbers-just suicides et al in furtherance of a right granted long ago in a galaxy far away. Whichever number you feel is worth the right is good by me.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Alternatively…

        So if you aren’t a young, male, black, drug dealing, criminal gang member, and don’t hang around with such folks, or aren’t suicidally depressed, then you really don’t have much to need to arm yourself for self defense firearms-wise. 😉

      • objv says:

        Homer: So, your compromise would be that Tracy could keep all his hunting and antique firearms?

      • Crogged says:

        You can compromise about anything. But if you want drastically fewer people to be killed by guns you have to eliminate one of the two subjects involved, guns or people. Maybe two thirds of thirty thousand people will commit suicide with a two by four or a knife, I don’t know.

      • 1mime says:

        America is not making much progress on reducing guns, but it’s doing a hell of a job on reducing people.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        ogv – A while ago we were talking about guns and figuring the odds. I answered your question but the blog moved on. I am not sure whether you saw my answer.

        I would like to answer your question to Homer, if you nor Homer mind. Personally, I would leave Tracy with whatever guns he desires. He stores them, safely so kids are not likely to shoot themselves or someone else. He obeys the laws concerning guns. He avails himself to training in the use of guns. As long as he commits to this level of responsibility, he has my blessing to own whatever gun he feels comfortable owning.

        Here come the but. But when he dies, his widow can have a garage sale and sell all of his woodworking tools and his jack stands along with the hunting rifles, semi-auto pistols, rifles that are not assault rifles but are mil-spec and very much like the assault rifles that the military uses. And it is perfectly legal to sell them to that dude riding a Harley on the way to the Twin Peaks restaurant. Or any Tom, Dick or Harry. With no record. She may even sell his collection of beer steins and ceramic lighthouses.

        The problem is that there is no requirement that all sales be recorded. This is feared as a national registry. And a registry means a tyrant will take their guns and make things worse for them. (Hard to understand what that means).

        And because of that, a bad guy in the future could possibly use one of Tracy’s gun to shoot an innocent or few.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        On the subject of gun injury statistics, here are three victims that will not show up in the FBI statistics.

        http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/news/state-regional/man-not-charged-after-gun-goes-sanford-cracker-bar/npD7S/

        Keep in mind that deaths is not the only cost of guns. In the crowd sourced data on mass shootings, many people get shot that do not die.

        The cost is not only in tissue and bone but in dollars. Any guess as to the cost of a young person getting his spinal column torn apart by a bullet? He may live for decades, requiring total care.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @Tracy Thorleifson:

        >] “So if you aren’t a young, male, black, drug dealing, criminal gang member, and don’t hang around with such folks, or aren’t suicidally depressed, then you really don’t have much to worry about firearms-wise.”

        That’s an interesting theory you’ve got going on there. Curiously, would you look the parents of Newtown in the eye and say that to them? How about the families of Aurora, Columbine, Virginia Tech and others?

        Or, if that doesn’t quite suit you, then how about the families of all the children here in America that have either been wounded and/or killed by careless gun care in recent years? These families right here will be a good start: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09/29/us/children-and-guns-the-hidden-toll.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

        Perhaps you want to suggest that we have an epidemic of suicidally depressed children here in America?

        Really, your assertion that if you aren’t one of those rascally black gang members who deals drugs (which, yes, is exactly how what you wrote comes across) or suicidally depressed means that you don’t have much to worry about with respect to firearms in the only advanced country in the world with the kinds of mass shootings we see on a consistent and regular basis now not only shows an apparent lack of concern for reality, but for your fellow Americans as well.

      • Crogged says:

        Strangely enough the odds of being shot are even lower if you just don’t have a gun.

      • objv says:

        uaaua, Sorry, I did not reply at the time you wrote your comment.

        Yes, it is worrisome that guns can be sold so easily. However, with 300 million guns estimated to be in this country, criminals will continue to gain access to guns no matter what regulations are put in place.

        I don’t know what the solution is, so I normally don’t comment on gun control topics. I am not interested in guns and have never shot a gun.

        My husband owns various firearms which he keeps locked up. If the power grid goes down and zombies invade, I’ll have to learn how to shoot, but until that time, I’m relying on my two dogs, to keep home invaders at bay.

      • objv says:

        uaaua, I’d like to add that more should be done to treat mental health problems. Most of the shooters seem to be highly disturbed individuals. The focus should be on treating mental illness and suicidal individuals. Criminals who use guns, should of course, be locked up.

      • unarmedandunafraid says:

        objv – It doesn’t help that I replied to ogv. Sorry bout that. I don’t blame you for staying clear of gun issues. I sometimes hesitate to comment because I know that most of us have heard all the arguments of both sides and it gets tiresome. But I’ll continue to try.

        I don’t think the pro-gun side has anything to fear from me. And I have no way of knowing but I think most on the gun safety side are about where I am.

        I agree that it would take a long time to clean up all the guns sloshing around. And I can not imagine it being fixed without a gun registry and some type of incentive to not sell to someone that has been at least some training. And I know how a registry frightens those dedicated to keep us free from tyrants.

        As for the mentally ill, we don’t seem to make the effort to keep the ill safe, or those around them. For guns specifically, again, how do we keep guns from the mentally ill without some system?

      • objv says:

        uaaua, I’ll admit that there is no good solution. We want to keep guns away from the mentally ill and criminals, but at the same time, allow responsible gun owners to continue to have access to guns for their own protection and hunting.

        Yes, mental illness is often difficult to identify and treat. It is a huge problem. No argument there, but treatment of mentally disturbed individuals is an area where some progress can be made to ward off some of the violence.

        Will it prevent all shootings? No, of course not, but as a country, we seriously need to examine all options. Media coverage of shootings gives outsized attention to the perpetuators. Violent video games prevent compassion for individuals from developing and the games train the shooters on how to carry out their violent fantasies.

        We, as individuals, can do much to try to identify individuals who need help. Anger and alienation among some young men are core causes they want to lash out. Mentoring and kindness go a long way towards helping them integrate into society.

        I can’t claim to have answers. I had a friend who committed suicide. I had a drug addicted cousin who scared everyone around him before he died of an overdose. Another family member still bears watching. Personally, I am heartsick whenever I hear of another shooting.

  24. RightonRush says:

    Looks like things are heating up in the Louisiana Gov. race. Republican Jay Dardenne is endorsing the Dem. John Bel Edwards. http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/jay-dardenne-john-bel-edwards-endorsement

    • 1mime says:

      Wow! I read yesterday that if Scott Angelle (the Repub candidate that was second in vote count to Edwards) may go after Vitter’s senate seat. If so, as much as he dislikes Vitter, he may not elect to endorse Edwards in order to not alienate republican support for a senate bid. Either way, it appears Vitter is in trouble….

      • rightonrush says:

        If Edwards wins it will come from Republicans voting for him. It’s going to be an interesting race.

      • 1mime says:

        Absolutely, Righton…I have five siblings living in LA – of which three are Repubs, and two are Dems. (Interesting – in a family of six kids, it is split in half…just like our country….and the three oldest are the dems! What a study in generational politics.)

        ALL of them voted for Edwards. People in LA are so sick of Jindal that the time is ripe for a moderate Democrat to have a shot at a state level post. That isn’t to say that those who now declare themselves Republicans (who used to declare themselves Democrats as LA was a deep Blue state) have changed their allegiance to the GOP, but LA politics is very “person-oriented”…always has been.

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      And here most people thought Kentucky was the only shot Democrats had at winning the Governorship, which they went on to lose by almost ten points, and yet it looks like Louisiana might be an actual contender after all? Politics is a strange beast.

  25. 1mime says:

    I guess this week is my worry week for Democrats’ future….I’ve read several articles which contradict Lifer’s message of doom for Republicans and paint Dems as losing the battle….And, the sad thing is, it’s not because the Republicans are right, it’s because the Democrats are losing the ground game.

    This VOX article has several links in it. All are worth reading. Lifer – they’re painting a completely different picture than the one we’re seeing here….which, doesn’t mean they are right and you are wrong, but it does send up lots of red flags for Democrats who are hoping that Republicans are losing the fight.

    • 1mime says:

      So sorry, here’s the link. The message here is sobering for Democrats.

      http://www.vox.com/2015/11/4/9669918/democrats-elections-crisis?ref=yfp

      All the referral links are excellent but I particularly was struck by this one.

      http://www.vox.com/polyarchy/2015/11/4/9665842/republican-inequality-future-loop

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        I’ve read several of these articles in the past few months. Probably 90% of them are from Ezra Klein. Hes obviously invested in this idea, but he’s still just one guy.

        He might be right, of course. I personally agree with Lifer’s theory that when a party loses the ability to consistently compete for the white house, the rest of the party (at state and local levels) withers and dies.

        Not to mention, party affiliation is much less meaningful at the local levels (“Democrat” Kim Davis? lolz)

        And the current GOP has literally no shot at the WH until at least 2020. If Hillary wins the nomination that is.

        All the GOP candidates have so many flaws that they’d get pummeled in a general, merely by feeding their own words back to them.

      • EJ says:

        1mime:
        I read those articles but the analysis is fairly shallow, IMHO. The authors represent local (state and congressional, especially midterm, elections) as if they’re a predictor of the presidential elections. Given the massive discrepancies in voter turnout, all that proves is that the fanatics, when they take the time to stop baying at the moon, tend to vote Republican. This is not new information.

    • flypusher says:

      Some of this is self-inflicted; the Dems are notorious for not getting out the vote in non-Presidential election years.

      • 1mime says:

        Of course, Fly, but these thoughts look much deeper into the structural organization and focus of the Democratic leadership. They appear (to me) to be seriously outplayed. In fact, I would go so far as to state that if the values Dems hold were not so true, they wouldn’t be holding on as they are. I’m worried about what is happening and don’t share Lifer’s view that Republicans are in danger of fracturing. Discord, yes. Craziness, yes. Values very different than my own, yes. But, numbers don’t lie and there is just overwhelming Republican control across the face of this nation. It will gird the party to survive the tempest they are in until they gravitate to a more rational place. Of course, if one controls nearly the whole process, why change?

      • Tuttabella says:

        This line from Mime’s second link got my attention:

        “Moreover, the Democrats’ most active donors may not be super eager to see the poor get super engaged in politics.”

    • Sara Robinson says:

      Eh. This is almost entirely attributable to the fact that Obama’s strategists allowed the 50-State Strategy implemented by Howard Dean fall by the wayside. It was ironic, given that Dean’s efforts starting in 2004 built the national structure that elected Obama — but Obama’s people didn’t want that powerful, empowered group of activists interfering with their governing efforts, and so they very actively pulled the plug in 2009. (I had a ringside seat for this.)

      We are now living with the consequences of that failure. If the Dems start now, they can probably rebuild by 2020. Sanders is far more likely to do this than Clinton is — she has similar reasons to fear an active, organized, engaged base.

      We know what the problem is, how we got here, and how to fix it. The issue is simply finding leadership that wants to get it done. (It’s not a donor problem. We had plenty of donors stepping up to finance Dean’s efforts in 2004-2008, and could get them back in a heartbeat if there was party leadership willing to tap them.)

      • 1mime says:

        How very short-sighted and sad, Sara. It’s amazing that Dean has stayed as active in Democratic politics as he has, given the destruction of the system he built and watched be destroyed from within.

        On the climate change issue, I have been quasi-following the students’ lawsuit over climate control (to force a realistic carbon emission standard from the EPA). They evidently are hanging in there. What do you know about this group?

        http://ourchildrenstrust.org/us/federal-lawsuit

      • 1mime says:

        For all here who are interested in the problem of climate change, Doonesbury serves up one of his best today. I would post but these visual links blow up huge. Try to find it on your own. Doonesbury vs. EXXON. David and Goliath, and the winner is………..

        Houston Chronicle comics, pg. one. It’s worth the effort…will start your day with a smile regardless of your position on the issue….well, proponents will smile a little bigger than detractors….

    • One could legitimately argue that a funny thing is happening on the way to forum. Traditionally the Dems were the party of the working poor, and the GOP the party of the well to do. Those roles could flip easily, and may be doing so now. Anybody paying attention to the GOP race recognizes that the poll leaders are preaching very populist messages that appeal to blue collar America, not white collar America. At the same time the Dems are increasingly becoming the party of the Bloomberg crowd – people who are keen on pushing their ideological agendas regardless of the economic impact on the working class. Interesting times, indeed.

      • 1mime says:

        Yes, the GOP is giving the public ads sage it can understand and relate to , WHILE still keeping its White educated older voter base. Smart politics even of I find it grossly fraudulent.

      • johngalt says:

        They might be preaching populist messages on red meat issues, but they are putting forth very rich-friendly tax plans (Jeb has shot himself in the foot several times, but never more than his inability to deal with a questioner asking why his tax plan would have given him a $3 million tax cut).

      • objv says:

        Tracy, Speaking of the Bloomberg crowd, I watched a couple interviews with Warren Buffett a month or two ago. Unsurprisingly, he said he would vote for Hillary because he was a Democrat and she could be counted on. Curiously, he said that he agreed with Trump on running the country economically. As far as Bernie, Buffett thought it was good to spread golden eggs all around, however, he was afraid that Bernie would kill the goose.

        I wonder if Saturday Night Live picked on his theme when Larry David was spoofing Sanders on looking for a goose, and Hillary claiming that she had chicken that would do. 🙂

    • Ryan Ashfyre says:

      Admittedly, I stopped reading the article a little more than halfway in since, frankly, it got terribly long-winded and boring, but I wasn’t seeing anything in there that I haven’t heard elsewhere anyways.

      First of all, the article doesn’t reference or really even hint at Lifer’s belief, that a national party being effectively locked out of the White House almost inevitably leads to its reorganization or outright dissolution.

      Secondly, for all its talk of a “negative feedback loop”, the article would seem to offer very little, if anything beyond the reinforcing narrative that, yes, the Democrats have suffered devastating losses under President Obama on both the national and local level and they need to get their butts in gear if they want to turn things around.

      All that said, I don’t argue the statistics, but the outlook is quite a bit shallow and doesn’t betray much insight into the political future of this country. In that respect, I find Lifer’s view much more interesting and relevant.

  26. flypusher says:

    Hey Chris, I think you would find this an interesting read:

    http://davidbrin.blogspot.com/2014/09/phases-of-american-civil-war.html

    Thinking of American history as an ongoing civil war since the Revolution is quite contrary to the standard stuff taught in school, but very thought provoking. Which explains why I never heard this take in school.

    • goplifer says:

      Wow. I wish I’d written that.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      Interesting read Fly

      I was struck by this:
      “Not by force of arms, but by ending the effectiveness of politics as a pragmatic, open-minded process by which undogmatic citizens negotiate a mix of experiments and find out what works — the methodology behind all of our successes. Replacing all of that with dogma more intense than communism ever was.”

      That is a big chunk of what I’m missing from when I was younger. A, “Hey, let’s try this, and if it doesn’t work, we’ll try something different”, or a, “OK, we will give it a shot your way, but next time, we are going to try it my way”.

      Now, it is, “Your ideas will ruin the country, and I’m not going to let you do it”, and both political parties are bad about this.

      Maybe it was never that way, and I’m just remembering it wrong.

      We are supposed to let Kansas implement all sorts of trickle-down conservative policies to see if they work. Kansas, in turn, is supposed to change course when it doesn’t work. It is Jack Kemp pushing for innovative ways to address some urban financial issues. Heck, it is Nixon visiting China and Obama actually having discussions with Iran.

      We certainly seem to have lost most or all of that.

      • 1mime says:

        Homer, I had selected this passage as well! Kindred spirits.

        What I see is a concerted effort/plan/strategy (not plot!), by the GOP leadership to swallow whole – the entire political structure and remake it in a form that is controlled by the party leadership to totally reflect the values and attendant policies that support this end game. In point of fact, the only way the Republican Party succeeds in its ideological purity is to control the entire process. The reason being, of course, that rational thinking people will never accept the ideology thus it’ must be imposed by total control. The Democratic process will never work because of the very nature of its pluralistic design. The GOP has been very smart And very focused on the long game.
        What will be interesting is to see if the GOP can control the populace as successfully as they have controlled the process and the message.

        In my “dark” thought mode today. The VOX articles in combination with Fly’s civil war extrapolation really has me digging deep this morning.

    • 1mime says:

      Fascinating, Fly. It was neatly summed up here:
      “Today’s neo-confederacy is smart enough not to secede. This time, it is working from within to slash the things that it always hated. Especially science, which is the enemy of nostalgia. But also any chance of American pragmatism prevailing in the kind of experiment-by-politics that has always been our national genius.”

      As I said earlier, why change? What they are doing is working, as evidenced by sheer numbers of state and federal offices majorities.

    • Turtles Run says:

      My favorite part:

      “The real losers, though? Not just minorities, but in every pragmatic sense the entire South, which thereupon slumped into a backwater of economic retardation and romantic, old-timey hatred of progress.
      (You’d deny this? Then explain how China in just 30 years went from poverty to economic superpower… when the US South has had 150 years and still blames its backwardness on Sherman.)”

      • flypusher says:

        TR, that excerpt makes me think of a Gandhi saying that goes something like if you want to keep someone down in a ditch, then you have to stay in the ditch with them. I find that a very useful metric for assessing how backwards a society might be is how much effort is expended in keeping some group in the population, be they dark skinned, be they female, be they a minority religious sect, in an oppressed state. So the Jim Crow South was/is extremely backward, and it was all self inflicted.

      • 1mime says:

        Except for the dark skinned folks. They were likely less happy being in that ditch at all, much less with a White man who was most assuredly not just keeping him company. (Sorry ghandi)

    • vikinghou says:

      That was a chilling read, Fly. Maybe it’s a symptom of getting older, but in a way I’m glad that I probably won’t live long enough to witness the final denouement.

    • johngalt says:

      “the “confederate” social movement is not always anti-central-government! It is only opposed to federal government when it does not control those levers of power. Witness the tepidness of anti-government proclamations during the tenure of GW Bush. Indeed, it is a wrathful unwillingness to let the electoral winners have their legitimate turn that was behind the hysterical reaction to Lincoln’s election… and (one might argue) Obama’s.”

      This encapsulates my understanding of recent history. Conservatives have seemed pretty accepting of big government, as long as they are running it. The minute a Democrat gets power, they rediscover the religion of small government.

      • moslerfan says:

        “Conservatives have seemed pretty accepting of big government as long as they are running it. The minute a Democrat gets power, they rediscover the religion of small government.”

        Certainly true of deficits. They seem perfectly willing to run deficits to advance their priorities (military and tax cuts). But of course deficits to build infrastructure and reduce unemployment will burden our children and grandchildren.

      • 1mime says:

        Some here would call that opportunistic; I would call it hypocritical, Mosler.

  27. James Montgomery says:

    Well analyzed, exceptionally disaggregated, and expediently forewarned!

  28. unarmedandunafraid says:

    Chris – I hope you will write something on the recent study that you refer to in this post.

    http://wws.princeton.edu/faculty-research/research/item/rising-morbidity-and-mortality-midlife-among-white-non-hispanic

    It is fascinating and very sad. The two charts I’ve seen elsewhere show “my people” have a rising mortality rate while among non-white Americans the mortality rate is falling. Not only that, but the mortality rate of all of Europe is falling and ours is rising.

    • goplifer says:

      Honestly, neither I nor anyone else knows quite what to do with that data. We all have ideas, but any reasonable assessment will probably have to wait for more research. It is so far beyond any expectation that you have to wonder whether there’s an era.

    • flypusher says:

      There’s been some interesting speculation on the causes. Changes in the economy are cited a lot. It would be interesting to crunch numbers (if they exist) for other times in history with economic shifts that made large segments of the workforce obsolete.

      • 1mime says:

        I’m not an expert here, but the obvious factors to me would be: occupation and health care access.

    • Crogged says:

      It’s not a puzzle-it’s a mystery. More facts won’t help you understand it.

  29. Ah, the presumed immutability of demographics. As if one’s philosophical outlook were determined solely by the color of one’s integument. Pay no attention to age, economic station, familial situation, education, or anything else, for that matter. If you have a dark complexion, you *must* vote democrat. LOL.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      No, definitely not. I would say most black folks would tend towards Conservative due to broad religious leanings.

      But when the Republican Party is currently at times both subtly AND overtly racist consistently, its a pretty good bet that black people won’t vote for them.

      • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

        Wow. There is a really fascinating new entry on politico.com.

        http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2015/11/black-republican-voter-quits-gpo-213326?o=1

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Magpie, excellent piece. I recommend reading the comments as well.

        Its funny to me how the far right can insist of course there’s no racism or nuance to race in America. Meanwhile, almost every single person of color (with the exception of Uncle Ben/Tom) disagrees.

        Maybe we should believe them.

      • 1mime says:

        Rob, today’s Chronicle validated the fact that Blacks voted against HERO. Exactly as you suggested. Now, I don’t believe their fears are valid, I do believe that the opponents to the issue did a great job of turning out their base and turning “on” their base to more fear mongering.

        It will be interesting to see if things play out in Houston as they have in other major population centers when issues like this have come to the fore. Cancellations of multi-cultural sports events, conventions, etc. However, this is the deeeeep south, and on top of that, it is TEXAS where people are entitled, you know.

    • goplifer says:

      Republicans can break out of this trap as soon as they want to. And that won’t be happening anytime soon.

  30. n1cholas says:

    Question:

    If you could turn everything around right this second, and the Republican party became popular again, winning offices everywhere, would you support them enacting the policies that they propose now? I’ve read what you think conservatism is, and the policies that you think would work, but considering that most of your blog posts argue about turning around the Republican party and getting it back to being a big tent party, would you rather the Republican party spend more time outside of the White House, and lose majority status in the House and Senate? Or would you want the Republican party in the White House in 2016, with whichever candidate it goes with? With 70+ Senate Seats, and 270+ House seats?

    See, I understand what you’re saying GOPLifer. But most of the policies you seem to want to implement are basically slightly-conservative versions of what the Democratic party would implement if they had the votes to do it. Or is it more of a sliding scale/how I think of effective/responsible conservatism, where the liberals want to move policy to the left, and reasonable, adult conservatives are there to temper legislation?

    Just electing Republicans in every office around the country won’t result in the policies you want enacted, it would just be Kansas on a state-to-state and national level. If you don’t want that, that seems to imply that you wouldn’t want Republicans to miraculously win every office, local, state and national. Meaning that, in essence, you aren’t really a Republican. And of course, I would guess that you get plenty of complaints that you’re really a RINO from people who I find politically reprehensible. Which confuses me as to why you’d continue identifying with them.

    I love the blog, and I respect actual conservatism and conservative views, but it’s like you’re trying to resurrect a party that has died and come back as a reactionary party zombie. I mean, you either let it run around destroying everything it comes across, or you kill it. I’m not sure you can shock paddle it back to life and have it become functional again. I personally think it is too far gone. The very DNA of the party is encoding for reactionary proteins that carry out reactionary functioning. The organs and organ systems are no longer suitable for normal conservative functioning. The organism itself is out to destroy everything that it does not recognize as itself. Which is inherently reactionary, rather than conservative.

    I realize your blog subtitle is “Because leaving isn’t exactly an option”, but it seems like you don’t really want the Republican party to be in charge given its policies, and it also seems like you’re basically sticking with the Republican party because of brand identification instead of policy identification. I mean, I vote Democratic because it at least moves things slightly more to the left, or most of the time, minimizes the shift to the right, but I sure wouldn’t vote for a communist party if I wanted to protect policies like limited liability and carried-interest loopholes, or advocate for the repeal of the estate tax. I guess in my “lesser evil’ voting operation, I simply vote for the party that moves things in the correct direction. Perhaps you are more likely to vote for Democratic candidates outside of certain races where the Republican isn’t a f-ing lunatic, but to some extent, even waving the Republican party flag seems to be counter-productive, unless you really think it can be saved from itself.

    • johngalt says:

      In the five stages of grief, Chris is somewhere between anger and bargaining.

    • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

      That might be a bit hyperbolic. I’m generally pretty liberal, but even I wouldn’t want the Democrats to win every office at local, state, and federal levels. The country would be in bad shape were that to happen. I would greatly prefer that lunatics and/or idiots not win elections (I’m looking at you Louie Gohmert and Sheila Jackson Lee).

      Lifer is pretty staunchly anti-union, which won’t jibe (for 47 years I thought it was jive) with the Democrats very well. Of course, I’m liberal, and unions often make me want to pull my hair out at work as they all too often do as much harm as they do good.

      Aside from the minimum income proposal (which has its roots in conservative fiscal thinking), I believe Lifer’s fiscal bent is a bit more in line with old-school northern Republicans than with standard Democrat policies. I’m pretty sure he’s going to want lower taxes than do I.

      Heck, even I long for the days of country-club Republicans who didn’t care who you slept with or if you had an abortion as long as the economy was generally humming along to their benefit.

      Back when I was in college, I recall the discussions of the tweedledee and tweedledum Democrat and Republican parties, where the two parties were essentially interchangeable and only argued about the details of the emerging path forward. Some viewed this as good and others viewed it as horrible. In an era of affluence and prosperity, it probably served us (or at least White dudes) pretty well.

      I’m not so sure that parties are that aligned any longer (although I think TT would argue that having the GOP control congress has not stopped all sorts of bad things from being implemented). It certainly feels like we would have some vastly different policies if the GOP were in control of everything, but we had that during much of W’s administration, and no one bothered to really push abortion issues, immigration issues, or a host of other things Glenn Beck froths over.

      Lifer does often get accused of being a “democrat lite”, but I generally assume that the better ideas are not at the extreme of either side.

      • 1mime says:

        Good ideas are not the province of one party. Good ideas, healthy debate and the development of consensus is the process designed by the FF to grow our democracy and allow government to conduct the people’s business. The question now is, is this still working for America? Democracy should be able to survive ideological divide but I’m not certain if it can survive sustained disrespect of the democratic process.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        I certainly can’t speak for Lifer and, to the best of my knowledge, I’ve never seen him specifically classify himself as a certain kind of Republican, but he’s always struck me as being in the progressive mold of things; blending a mix of what would be modern day Teddy Roosevelt and Nixon-esque Republicanism, depending on where you’re coming from.

        That being said, it’s not odd that Lifer would get called out for being called a “democrat lite”, particularly in an era where congressional Republicans do nothing but spout about how conservative they are all day long (even though, in practical terms, all that means is how staunchly they tow the party line, regardless of what the term originally meant).

        Remember how a certain former moderate GOP governor of Massachusetts had to go around talking about how “severely conservative” he was? My point exactly.

      • n1cholas says:

        Right, but I mean, at the end of the day, if you don’t even want the political party you’re ostensibly a member off to actually win offices and implement policy…are you really a member of that political party, or are you just identifying with a brand.

        It’s like trying to sell your friend on purchasing a Ford Pinto when the one in your garage is falling apart and you’re imagining yourself driving a Volvo.

        I’m new around here, but ultimately, GOPLifer seems like a center-center Democrat who dislikes unions. Why wave the GOP flag?

      • 1mime says:

        n1cholas, I hope Homer will respond, but since I share his position on this I want to tell you why i think it’s important that power be shared, versus absolute.

        If the democratic process is to work best, it requires debate, compromise, and most of all, it requires the co-mingling of ideas from a broad cross-section of ideologies.. Good ideas are not the province of one political party, neither is intelligence. I do believe, however, that it is difficult for government to function without a safe majority in at least one house and the office of President.

        I believe in the core values of the Democratic Party – equality of gender, race, faith and opportunity. There are many ways to achieve equality. It is not an abdication of one’s political affiliation to accept and even welcome the active participation of the other party. In fact, I think it is healthy and necessary. The rejection by the current Republican Party of participation from Democrats will damage it and make it ineffective over time. Politics is a rough and tumble process but it is absolutely necessary in a Democracy.

      • n1cholas says:

        Yes, I understand this.

        Notice, though, that even in the original post, I didn’t say that every single office would be held by a Republican. Simply the WH, and a majority in both chambers of Congress.

        Perhaps you feel it would be better if the Republicans continue their majorities in either the House or Senate, but I’d love to see 70 non-conservative Democrats in the Senate, 240+ non-conservative Democrats in the House, and a non-conservative Democrat in the White House.

        Ultimately, a responsible conservative party acts as a check on the more liberal party. I get that. But, if you’re a conservative, and don’t want your party to be in the majority in the WH and Congress, then let’s be real honest here: you don’t actually believe that your party has the better policy positions, and waving the flag for that party is kind of disingenuous.

        You and Homer focused in on numbers, but not even the ones I mentioned. I don’t even think that the Democratic party can solve all issues forever and ever. But I support it because it’s at least willing to move things in the right direction.

      • 1mime says:

        N1cholas – Let me try again. I DO believe in the Democratic platform, and I want Democratic legislation to move forward; however, I recognize that Republicans have good ideas to offer as well, AND, debate and compromise are valuable to the process. Numbers matter, obviously, in getting legislation out of committee and then onto the floor for debate and passage, but neither party, and most importantly, America, is served well by total control by one party. There are many progressive issues that need to be addressed. Some will require legislative tweaks, some will need new legislation or wholesale repeal and replacement of existing laws. IMHO, that process is best served by healthy debate even if it means “our” party doesn’t win everything it attempts. IF the Democratic Party can gain a filibuster proof majority in the Senate (which I believe is more important due to the nomination approval process – SCOTUS, ambassadors, cabinet appointments and department heads, etc.) AND we retain the Presidency, government can function if Democrats govern effectively.

        To move legislation, there must be sufficient Democrats in the House to enable the legislative process to work. That branch, after all, is charged with the budget. At present, Republicans have a clear majority and have chosen to maintain the Hastert Rule as procedure, which locks out the Democrats for all intents and purposes. This is wrong. Because of this, Democrats need the 240 votes you cite to either pass legislation solo or to solicit support from across the aisle. It is important for all members of Congress and both parties to have the capability to intervene in the legislative process, offer amendments, and help shape legislation. We wouldn’t have to have total control of all three branches of government, but we do need to have sufficient numbers in at least two branches to be effective.

        It is important to acknowledge that Republicans have a 5/4 majority on SCOTUS, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg is wonderfully old. Democrats need to add another moderate voice to the court so that decisions will be more objectively/fairly focused on the merits of the law and not on politics . The process doesn’t always respect fairness and that is where the numbers are important.

      • n1cholas says:

        I disagree with “Republicans have good ideas to offer as well”.

        Can you name 1 good idea that they have that should be implemented ASAP?

        Their ideas are: continue cutting taxes for the richest people in the solar system, continue dumping money into the military while letting US cities and states implode and rot, and then let’s use the military to do stupid things because jingoism, nationalism, and stupidity.

        Everything that GOPLifer wants to do would be much more reasonable, and has absolutely no chance, whatsoever, of being adopted by the current Republican party, which is not conservative, but reactionary.

      • 1mime says:

        This could be fun….good ideas that Republicans have now….

        1. Six year highway budget (admittedly, Democrats were also involved)
        2. Re-authorization of EX-IM Bank (admittedly, hard core Repubs didn’t support, it took Dem help.
        3. Modification of justice system (admittedly, long a Democratic concern, but Repubs passed with Dem help)
        4. Affordable Care act (just couldn’t pass that one up (-:

        Come on, all ye Democrats and Republicans, add to the list…..Be positive, now….we could all make a list of their “bad” ideas, that is not what n1cholas is asking for…

      • n1cholas says:

        Out of all of those proposals, which ones would Democrats not support with better policy?

        I mean, Republicans can advocate for not nuking Los Angeles and New York City, but it certainly doesn’t make me want to vote for them because of it.

        For example, do you think a Democratic proposal for highway funding would be less comprehensive than a Republican proposal? The EX-IM bank is essentially dead UNLESS a few grifter-subtype Republians get help from Democrats. Modifying the justice system is Obama’s last real push, and I trust Democrats over “tort reform” or whatever other garbage Republicans will actually vote for. The ACA…well, since it’s based on the Massachusetts law, I guess that almost counts, except for the fact that Republicans have now voted to repeal it 55+ times.

        In essence, the Republican party is useless if you actually want to govern. I mean, GOPLifer’s main point in almost every point is that the Republican party is useless. Which, again, was my main issue.

        If you don’t actually support, like, any of the policy proposals that the party will actually vote to implement, why even call yourself a member of that party?

      • 1mime says:

        n1ch, I can only speak for myself. I support my Democratic Party in every way I can…which includes criticism when it is deserved, and it does/has on a number of fronts. The Democratic Party has earned my vote therefore I try to help it succeed as I can.

        Which brings me to this point: other people, for their own personal reasons, support a different set of values and a different standard bearer/party – people who I like and respect but whose ideas I oppose in part or in whole. Doubtless, they feel the same way. As frustrating as it is to me to watch the partisan shaping of legislation, and regardless how much I prefer the Democratic idea, I can’t control all outcomes. It’s called compromise, and, it is imperfect, but it does work over time. I still get pissed and I turn the page. Life goes on.

        What Lifer is attempting to do with his blog is first to inform, then to encourage the exchange of ideas and information.I try to do is encourage all who have a deep interest in helping their party to do just that. Don’t get discouraged.

  31. Bobo Amerigo says:

    So off topic, but extremely relevant…

    Please consider visiting the Station Museum of Contemporary Art before February 14.

    Their current exhibit, Corpocracy, addresses many topics discussed here. And you get a chance to say yea or nay on capitalism — with flashing lights!

    Conceptual art goes flat, IMO, when the artists have the bile but have not yet acquired a high level of expressive art skills.

    Not true with this exhibit.

    http://www.stationmuseum.com/index.php/exhibitions/current-exhibition#69

  32. DFC says:

    I’ve been taking the liberty of linking your page from my own Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/empiricalconservatism/. Your post on the GOP’s “demographic trap” is the best coverage of these off-year elections I’ve seen so far from anyone. 

  33. rulezero says:

    First time poster. Sorry to interject, but Rubio just tied a millstone around his neck with this rare display of honorable combat:

    http://www.cnn.com/2015/11/04/politics/marco-rubio-socialism-bernie-sanders/

    He was already doomed due to his willingness to compromise on border security. Five dollars says the argument will be one of two things: “Rubio doesn’t know that socialism and communism are the same thing!” or “Rubio is a Cuban communist secretly!”

    • flypusher says:

      Don’t be sorry and welcome to the blog. Viability of GOP candidates will always be relevant here.

    • 1mime says:

      Playing the contrarian here, rulezero…..In reading your link against a backdrop of hearing Rubio knock Hillary Clinton’s bid for President a number of times, very publicly, I have to wonder if he’s being disingenuous by showing support for Sanders. It would be nice to think Rubio is that generous in his friendship and honest in his remarks, so maybe I’m just becoming too cynical….It happens if you hang around politics too long (-:

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Yeah my thoughts exactly Mime.

        They’re all terrified of hill. They’ve proven that time and again. She has baggage for sure, she also has an impressive resume, ridiculous amount of experience (for the majority of Americans, experience is still a good thing. Its only the lunatics who think it’s a positive to have ones first office held to be the office of the POTUS) and she’s proven to be a very effective debater and calm under fire.

        Meanwhile they probably think kooky old Bernie Sanders would be a walk in the park. I think they’re strongly underestimating the grassroots appeal of many of Sanders populist policies and overestimating the damage they’re going to be able to do using the dreaded S word. Well be very interesting to see it play out

  34. Rob Ambrose says:

    I think webhad a debate a few days ago and Chris said aomething about if it seems like voters are voting against thwir owj interests, maybe we just dont understand thwir interest.

    Bevens support in Kentucky was very strong among poor rural voters.

    The exact demographic that benefits most from Obamacare, and will suffer most if Bevin follows through.

    And this is an election in which health care was the #1 issue.

    As always, we get the government we deserve.

    • goplifer says:

      This is where Democrats consistently misunderstand their own voters.

      For low income rural whites, Obamacare is nowhere near the most important issue impacting their future. Their most important issue is the death of white culture as a dominating social force. It would be a mistake to focus on racial hatred here, because that isn’t the whole picture.

      Donald Trump is attractive to these folks because he is demonstrating the old alliance between wealthy whites and low income whites based on racism. I may never be rich, but as long as the wealthy respect the value of race then I will never be treated as badly as Trayvon Martin or Tamir Rice. White supremacy means that I can afford not to worry about inequality or class. My race (and gender as a man) will grant me a permanent leg up on everyone else, and a protection from the worst abuses of unrestrained capitalism.

      When you hear Tea Party types complain about Wall Street what they mean is that the wealthy have lost their respect for white supremacy. Immigration is the issue where this rests closest to the surface. “Limousine liberals” embracing gay rights, and women’s rights and multiculturalism and secular culture is a betrayal of the old compact. For low income whites, the rejection of racism and religious bigotry by the wealthy throws them under the bus.

      Surely you can see from this description how someone can embrace this understanding of reality while having “lots of black friends” and even liking Ben Carson. They are less concerned with racial hatred or violence than with the overall superiority and respect for white culture. That said, as more and more racial firewalls fall, you can expect the tone to get nastier.

      http://blog.chron.com/goplifer/2015/01/democrats-and-the-shadow-welfare-state/

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        Interesting points. And I agree.

        ButI I would say both points are correct. it can be said that those voters don’t understand THEIR best interests.

        If a voter is happy to vote to deny himself and family affordable health care in exchange for electng what they percieve to be someone willing to fight for their side in the culture wars, that to me is the very definition of voting against their own interests.

        Especially since the status quo they think they desire a return to never really existed. There was no gilded age for poverty stricken white folks in the South (or anywhere). The rich were happy to exploit them then and are happy to do so now. The moneyed interests ginning up memories of a time when things were perfect for poor whites as long as white males were the sole holders of power are selling them distorted memories.

      • 1mime says:

        IOW, people who vote against their own interests have given up on achieving their own interests. They find it more gratifying to identify with those in positions of perceived power rather than think too deeply about why their lives suck.

      • Ryan Ashfyre says:

        @Rob Ambrose: Certainly, abuses by the rich have always existed. There’s no arguing that, but you’ve also got to keep in mind the appropriate context as well.

        Many of these elderly white people grew up in a world where being an African-American meant you could be lynched and strung like like a sack of meat, denied the right to vote, and, essentially, treated as sub-human, undeserving of the rights that white people, particularly men, were entitled to.

        No one’s saying that being a white male meant you were immune from the excesses of capitalism and the wealthy, but what it did mean was that, at the very least, you sure as hell weren’t going to get the short end of the stick like an African-American would.

  35. Rob Ambrose says:

    For some perspective, wikipedia notes Houston of having a population of 4.9 million. The turnout for this ordinance was 250,000.

    That’s a turnout of around 5%. The vote passed with 60%, which means this vote got the support of….around 2.7%.

    • johngalt says:

      The ordinance was City of Houston, which has a population of about 2.3 million. Still an abysmal turnout. Harris County (in which Houston sits, mostly), might be 4.9 million. The total metro, depending on how it is defined, is around 6.5 million.

      I’ve noted in the past that Ted Cruz won the GOP primary (and, essentially, the Senate seat) with about 610,000 votes in the entire state. Obama got 590,000 in Harris County alone.

  36. Griffin says:

    Do you think this could boost the chances of an Outsider winning the GOP nomination if ultraconservatives take this election as a validation that their candidates are “electable”? In fact this pattern would probably make the GOP even more extreme, if they become increasingly isolated to the South every four years but radical conservatives have minor wins every now and then in low-voter turnout elections.

    • goplifer says:

      Quick clarification: We are not seeing any insider vs. outsider dynamic setting up in the Republican race. That’s a myth that’s developed because no one in convention media understands Republican politics. Donald Trump is an “outsider” like I’m a tadpole.

      What we are seeing is voters being offered xenophobia of such an extreme nature that no one currently in power has dared leverage it up to now. Trump isn’t leading because he’s an outsider. He’s leading because he launched his campaign with the most unapologetically Fascist campaign speech we’ve witnessed in major politics since the ’30’s. See a conventional, experienced Republican candidate go full bigot and he’d mop the floor with these “outsiders.” I still think that’s how this ends, courtesy of Ted Cruz.

      But to reply to your question, “yes.” All of this “success” has reinforced the idiotic idea that Republicans only need to be more racist in order to win the White House.Electability as a value in selecting a nominee has simply disappeared from the list of criteria.

      Like I’ve been saying for years, this nominating process is going to produce the craziest SoB you’ve ever seen.

      • flypusher says:

        It looks more and more likely that I’m voting in the GOP primary next year (I’m even more glad I killed the landline!!!). This mission I am choosing to accept will be to vote for the sanest person on the ballot, if that is possible.

      • 1mime says:

        I’ve done that for a few years now here in TX….as there are so few Dems on the list. As you noted, it at least gives me an opportunity to cast a protest vote. I have to keep a landline but will be checking the caller ID a lot….

      • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

        Remember how a lot of people on the conservative side were castigating the Black Lives Matters movement as a pernicious and dangerous element… even to the point of blaming the murders/assaults of cops on the fervor of anti-police brutality activists?

        Exhibit A in these claims was the “murder” of Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz in Illinois. He received a lavish hero’s funeral and a massive manhunt was conducted to search for two mysterious white males (and one black male) who were suspected in his killing.

        Well, the conclusions people made about that case and harsh indictment of “anti-police activists” were apparently premature…

        http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/lake-county-news-sun/news/ct-fox-lake-cop-suicide-20151104-story.html

        “Upending the portrayal of Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz as a hero cop tragically gunned down in the line of duty just before his planned retirement, authorities on Wednesday said the Fox Lake officer died in a suicide he staged as it became clear he could face consequences for years of criminal behavior.”

        “At a news conference, Lake County Major Crime Task Force Cmdr. George Filenko said Gliniewicz, 52, shot himself in a “carefully staged suicide” designed to look like a murder after he had engaged in “extensive criminal acts.”

        “Gliniewicz ran the village’s Explorers program, which gave youths interested in policing exposure to the field, and he had been stealing and laundering money for years, Filenko said. Gliniewicz stole a dollar amount in the five figures and used the money for personal expenses, including mortgage payments, travel and adult websites, Filenko said.”

        In short, the “hero cop” was frankly the kind of a scumbag who would have made a great addition to the cast of characters in the film “Training Day”.

        So Chris Christie, perhaps you can lay off just a little on zealously fighting on behalf of scared cops. Maybe some of them should be scared for a very good reason.

        http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/chris-christie-gop-debate_563182abe4b063179910ef31

        Sometimes cops (and politicians) do become quite scared as in the case of Lt. Charles Joseph Gliniewicz. They become scared and frightful when they realize they may actually be held accountable for their actions and misdeeds.

      • flypusher says:

        You’d think that a cop would be well aware that medical examiners are pretty good about determining whether gun shot wounds are self-inflicted or caused by a 2nd party, but one should never underestimate stupidity. We can be thankful at least that no innocent people were mistaken for suspects.

        Some people here were way too quick to pin the Goforth murder on BLM.

      • 1mime says:

        Lifer, I’ve asked this question before and still don’t seem to have it figured out. If I am clearly understanding you, you feel that “voters (are) being offered xenophobia…” whereas, I am seeing an electorate that is demanding xenophobia. Which group leads in this regard, Lifer?

      • antimule says:

        So what’s the endgame, then? Cruz amps up racist rhetoric, wins the primary. Then Hillary mops the floor with him. Republicans declare Cruz to be a RINO. Rinse repeat.

      • 1mime says:

        Antimule, read Homer’s comments on how secure Hillary’s chances are – opposed by Cruz or any other GOP nominee. Then tell me if you still feel so confident that our “educated” electorate throughout these United States, will have the sense to elect anyone but people who think like they do.

      • 1mime says:

        Lifer, even knowing the left bent of Salon, this piece hews to history and rather parallels your theories of the South and the Republican Party.

        http://www.salon.com/2015/11/04/the_gop_is_a_neo_confederate_party_now_the_south_and_the_religious_right_have_devoured_the_republicans_whole/?source=newsletter

      • Sir Magpie De Crow says:

        Interesting article on how initial false (as in fraudulent) reports in regard to shootings on police officers have influenced public opinions of the Black Lives Matter/anti-police brutality movement:

        http://fusion.net/story/226859/charles-joseph-gliniewicz-suicide-police-shootings/

  37. Mark says:

    What’s your thought on Kentucky? Was the strong republican showing a matter of demographics, low turn out or just a weak democratic field?

    • goplifer says:

      In a low-turnout election in a Deep Red state, Kentucky voters gave a religious bigot a 52% win. It’s pretty unremarkable.

      Kentucky is a heavily white, former Jim Crow state with an aging population and no major urban areas. It will probably vote Republican for a long time to come.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Pretty unremarkable except Kentucky has had a Democrat for governor since the 1960s except for 2003-2007 and today. Granted, your 1970 Democrats in the South are just today’s Republicans, but still, folks are not shying away from the GOP brand.

        This solidifying of the GOP’s “red fence” is consistent with Lifer’s Blue Wall theory.

        However, as a liberal, I’m at least a little concerned that the red states are turning a really, really bright red while the blue states are generally only slightly blue.

        It would take a sea change to flip the red states to blue, but it would only take the right candidate (or an economic bubble to burst or a terrorist attack in 2016) to flip a few blue states to red.

      • 1mime says:

        That is precisely why so much money is being poured into CO.

      • 1mime says:

        So, what do you do if you’re trying to allocate precious dollars throughout the country? Ignore KY? Someone – rightly or wrongly – thought the Dem candidate had a shot for governor. He lost by 9 points. That’s pretty significant to my way of thinking.

      • johngalt says:

        Appalachia, which accounts for a hefty percentage of Kentucky, was/is the last of the yellow dog Democratic areas to turn Republican. They had to wait for Robert Byrd to die before switching.

    • Crogged says:

      First result in google-Kentucky turnout-30 percent………..fear the surge, says Hugh Hewitt.

  38. Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

    Just a friendly reminder:

    The Democratic leanings of the Millennials are associated with the greater racial and ethnic diversity. More than four-in-ten Millennials (44%) are non-White, by far the highest percentage of any age group.

    Among White Millennials, however, about as many identify as Republican or lean Republican (45%) as affiliate with the Democratic Party or lean Democratic (43%).

    In non-Obama presidential elections, Black voting rates are about 10% less than Whites, and Hispanic and Asian voting rates are 20% to 25% lower than Whites, with or without Obama.

    Whites make up about 70% of the voting population going into the 2016 election.

    Millennials are more liberal, particularly on social issues, but they get more economically conservative when they make more money.

    Young, poor people are historically more liberal. Non-white Americans are historically liberal, too. However, when Millennials start making really good paychecks, they start getting squeamish about giving it away, and more conservative leanings pop up.

    61% of Millennials making less than $20k believe that the government should reduce the income inequality.
    Once they make $40k, that percentage drops to 46%.
    If they make more than $100k, it is about 40%.

    On abortion (and gun control), millennials differ from their older liberal counterparts. Millennials and Latinos, are the future of the USA, and these groups are much more skeptical of abortion than those who have shaped the abortion debate thus far. People tend to be more skeptical of abortion as they get older, and if that is true for these groups, this difference becomes even more pronounced.

    1991, 36% of young adults believed abortion should be legal under any circumstances.
    2010, 18-to-29-year-olds had become more pro-life than their parents — only 24 percent still wanted to keep abortion legal in all cases.
    2015: more than any other age cohort, young adults are now the most likely to think abortion should be illegal in all circumstances.

    Young folks like gay people, but they are not so keen on abortion and not all that wildly liberal on fiscal issues. Non-White young people tend to tack more liberal (as with their older cohorts), and while millennials are the least White generation we have, young people don’t vote as much as older folks and non-White folks don’t vote as much as White folks.

    Lifer may be right about the trends, and maybe these are the death spasms of today’s GOP, but those legs do certainly seem to be kicking hard in the spasms.

    • 1mime says:

      And, as I mentioned in an earlier post, Homer, the crowd of forty/fifty-somethings that I come into contact with are very conservative…They are White and professionals, but their views are fixed. You can talk with your doctor (40-50 yr old) about the problems in health care coverage until you’re blue in the face….they will agree but absolutely disagree on supporting change such as the ACA offers. Which is their right and their opinion, but, I ask, “what” is your solution, if you agree that there is a serious problem?

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        I have a good friend and mentor who is incredibly active in his church. A man of science and statistics that sees a value in religion and is a leader in his church.

        He’s also pretty darn liberal. He recognizes that it is somewhat anecdotal, but he sees a decent number of people in their 30s who re-discover the church after spending their late teens and 20s moving away from the church, having fun, and living the relatively normally debaucherous lives that unmarried, un-kidded young people should have.

        Then, in their 30s, they have kids, family issues come up, work is a pain, and they are seeking some security and structure to their lives (in addition to the church still being a gateway to social activities in suburban Houston), so they embrace the church.

        They embrace it hard, and these are the folks who all of the sudden are leading the “men’s small groups” and “mom’s small groups” at the church. Like a reformed smoker, these folks can be some of the strongest opposition to their previous vices.

        If these folks are not moving up the corporate ladder as quickly as they might have hoped and if they are facing some economic insecurity (suburb version of it), then they also worry about the government making it a little harder to get ahead by raising taxes and giving some of that to people who aren’t working nearly as hard as they are.

        Then boom…gay-friendly, abortion-having, free-wheeling liberals in their 20s turn into folks in their 40s who say, “You know, Ted Cruz is wrong about gays, but he has some decent ideas about taxes and government waste”.

      • 1mime says:

        IOW, they become their parents………

    • 1mime says:

      If you keep searching for smart analysis on subjects (like elections), you might just find it. This WaPo article provides a more optimistic view of yesterday’s election results. See if you agree.

      https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/off-year-elections-reveal-a-2016-map-with-sharper-borders/2015/11/04/31b834a8-831a-11e5-8ba6-cec48b74b2a7_story.html?hpid=hp_hp-top-table-main_elections-745pm%3Ahomepage%2Fstory

    • Sara Robinson says:

      Homer, do you have a link to these stats?

  39. goplifer says:

    Very important election outcome though from Ohio. The state embraced a bi-partisan approach to drawing legislative district through referendum by a very wide margin.

    http://ballotpedia.org/Ohio_Bipartisan_Redistricting_Commission_Amendment,_Issue_1_%282015%29

    Ohio has the most intensely skewed Congressional gerrymandering in the country. That will change after 2020.

    • flypusher says:

      That’s some very good news indeed! I’m very pleased with the outcome for all 3 measures, although it could have been amusing to watch them deal with the contradiction if both 2 and 3 had passed. But maybe this means they can redo 3 without the monopoly next year?

  40. fiftyohm says:

    Thing is that this legislation had much of import without the “potty provision”. Its inclusion was a gross tactical error that gave the opposition all it needed to defeat it. Dumb.

    • goplifer says:

      True dat, but don’t be distracted by the Houston results. You can find the same dynamic in outcomes all over the country.

    • vikinghou says:

      Yes, plus the opposition was counting on low voter turnout. The result should have been much closer.

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        In general, elections where people voting on issues relating to gay people tend not to have results that are on the side of the angels.

        This would have been voted down with the high voter turnout in 2012 as well.

        Heck, if you made a specific initiative saying, “Private companies should have the freedom to hire or terminate employees for any reason, including race or gender”, it would pass here in Texas and likely even in Houston (certainly in Harris county as a whole).

        There are even a few members of the this intelligent community of this blog that would argue that the Civil Rights Acts of ’64 and ’91 went too far in prohibiting employment discrimination for private companies.

        In general, equal protection and rights probably shouldn’t but up for popular vote.

    • flypusher says:

      The opposition was able to name it the “bathroom ordinance”, and that clinched their victory. A visual of some perv forcing his way into a stall with a little girl will beat someone citing stats every time.

      So does anyone think this gets tried again without that particular provision

      • Houston-stay-at-Homer says:

        Because irony, it is worth noting that HPD is currently looking for a dude (dressed as a dude) who raped a 12 year old girl after luring her into the restroom at a CVS.

        it is also worth noting that there is not a single case of a transgendered person assaulting a girl/woman in a restroom…but hey, freedom!

      • flypusher says:

        Yeah, I noticed that too. I think the opposition here isn’t blaming transgender people, but rather saying that someone could fake being transgender as a cover to get into the ladies room. I agree that they don’t have any evidence backing that up.

      • 1mime says:

        Well, just to “weigh in” to the fear factor of men (of whatever classification) entering women’s bathrooms, let it be known that I have had to accompany my husband into mens’ bathrooms when no general toilet area was available to us. It has produced some interesting moments. I can assure you I had no interest in anything nefarious, but, hey….no telling what those dudes thought of me (-: And, you know what? Everyone was a good sport about it.

      • Rob Ambrose says:

        I think the kind of person who would rape/assault/molest a female in a bathroom isn’t the type to be dissuaded by an ordinance.

        This seems about as legit an issue as Kansas AG vowong to go after all the voters fraud

  41. Sara Robinson says:

    The worst part of all this is the way cynical GOP geezer pandering has kept us from doing much to deal with climate change.

    • Rob Ambrose says:

      Meanwhile a cyclone in the middle East hits land with hurricane force winds. for the first time in recorded history.

      But hey, there’s snow in DC in March.

    • 1mime says:

      Sara, somehow, with all the crazy stuff in front of us – climate change, however important AND legitimate an issue, is just one more fight to wage….one I believe in deeply, but one of so many in a process that is so insane that it’s difficult to get your mojo up to fight for it. That’s sad and probably predictable.

      • Bobo Amerigo says:

        mime, I understand exhaustion — everybody’s exhaustion — so this is not criticism.

        To me, climate change is caring for the environment we live in, but with consequences so huge we can’t quite fathom them yet.

        Recently, my employer moved from Houston to Cypress. I have a commute again. And it’s depressing.

        Every day I drive through a repeat of Houston-style mistakes. Lots of vehicle traffic on roads without sidewalks, without bike lanes, yet brave walkers and bike riders travel there.

        The bayous have bends as they flow toward the gulf, but houses and commercial buildings near them are placed at right angles on asphalt as if water will never flow there. Are they elevated so water can move under and around them on our coastal plain? No. Dumb and dumber.

        The benefits of a low-carbon existence seem so broad and deep to me that we should do everything we can to bring them about immediately. Instead ‘leaders’ shrug and suggest there is no consensus.

        Really, we’ve got to do better.

      • 1mime says:

        I know, Bobo, but imagine how harangued our Democratic members of Congress must be….fighting for issues and policies all the time against a battery of well funded, well staffed lobbyists and legions of PACs. That is why so many good members are retiring. They are worn out. You know I believe deeply in protecting our environment but I will say again, wanting something that you believe is so right, doesn’t seem to be a convincing argument anymore. Forget reason, logic, and self-interest…obstruct for the sake of being obstructive.

    • 1mime says:

      This piece in the New Republic may actually foreshadow greater possibilities for impacting climate change than all the political activism combined. When insurance and re-insurance actuaries buy in to climate change as a “loss factor” that must be included in setting rates in order to project profits, it’s going to be very difficult for deniers to ignore science. I’d rather there be a global buy-in to what is happening in our environment, but, absent that, I’ll pull for a back door approach – premiums driven by climate change = incentivizing positive changes.

      Super article. http://www.newrepublic.com/article/123212/who-will-pay-climate-change?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=New%20Campaign&utm_term=TNR%20Daily%20Newsletter

    • Sara Robinson says:

      As a futurist who’s working most closely in climate-related issues these days (and an investor who operates in this sector), it’s clear to me that climate is the issue that will frame every other issue for the rest of the century. Every economic, environmental, technological, and political challenge we face will need to be solved within the context of it. To view it as “just another issue” on the long list of issues is to entirely misunderstand both the planet you are living on, and the time in which you are alive. This is the challenge of our generation — and our children’s, and our grandchildren’s.

      On the upside: the solutions are emerging more and more rapidly. We’re definitely hitting the knee of the J-curve here, and the rate of change (and potential change) is starting to accelerate very quickly.

      Political junkies tend to think that politics leads everything, but it really doesn’t. In fact, politicians tend to be so reactive that they usually only get involved well toward the back half of a change process, after most of the hard work of breaking the new path has already been done. Government can play a huge upfront role in funding basic research and creating policy that will ease big transitions like this; but ours fallen down badly on this issue, no thanks to the GOP.

      In its absence, capital has still been investing in innovation, and the landscape is now covered with new solutions that are moving us down the sustainability road. It’s starting to look like we’re going to get there, with or without the politicians. But it sure would happen faster if the GOP would give up its singular role as the last remaining political entity in the entire developed world still mired in denial about this.

      Empires rise and fall on the basis of who controls the dominant energy regime. Our Republicans are doing their very damnedest to ensure that whoever controls the next one, it sure as hell won’t be us.

    • 1mime says:

      Sara, you probably already follow the New Republic for climate issues, but this was a fine article that talks about progress in climate change responsibility at the state and local level…an end run, as it were, around Congress’ inaction and politicizing.

      http://www.newrepublic.com/article/123240/theyre-not-scientists?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=New%20Campaign&utm_term=TNR%20Daily%20Newsletter

      • Sara Robinson says:

        This is how it’s been getting done in the Northwest. Portland, Seattle, and Vancouver have been competing for over a decade to become North America’s greenest city, and all three have made big investments — both public and private — in setting up the region as a global green technology center. So I’m in the middle of all of this, which is pretty exciting.

        But there comes a point where investors, donors, activists, and capitalists have done all they can do and go as far as they can go. The government really does play an important role in setting market-making regulatory standards, removing the crufty pieces of the old regime that are blocking new innovations, providing federal funding for all the new infrastructure that will be needed, and setting policy that enables things to begin to move at a national level.

        There are a lot of sustainable technologies that are now maturing to that point — but to make the next leap, we need Congress on board. And that’s not going to happen as long as the GOP remains the last political party in the industrialized world that’s actively fighting the very idea that the climate is changing.

        In the meantime, China and Germany (first among others) are eating our lunch. The GOP’s intransigence on this issue means that economic and political control of the next suite of dominant energy technologies — the stuff on which empires are built — won’t belong to us. In 50 years, the US will be a second-tier nation — and it will have happened because these troglodytes are actively blocking the innovation that would have (and should have) kept us out in front of the world.

        Do I sound pissed? I am. Because what these guys are doing is betraying the future of this nation. “Treason” is a strong word, but it’s tempting to use it.

      • 1mime says:

        Equally damning, if not more significant, is the time we are losing on emissions control. What good will it do to have a robust, cutting edge capability to manage climate if we have waited too late to avert the outcome? That is the ultimate cost.

    • 1mime says:

      Sara, does your work deal with state initiatives to change how the election process works? This recent successful ballot initiative in Maine was more focused on getting money out of elections and holding people accountable, but it is encouraging. Ohio also passed a re-districting initiative so maybe people throughout America are finally getting fed up enough to work at this problem from the grassroots.

      http://bullhorn.nationofchange.org/maine_voters_back_clean_elections

      • Sara Robinson says:

        I’m not involved in state or local stuff at all, but Seattle is very proud of the first-in-the-nation campaign finance system we put in place on Tuesday. Details here: http://www.seattletimes.com/seattle-news/politics/democracy-vouchers/

      • 1mime says:

        Seattle has led the way in so many regards….good for them. Did you see the link I posted about Maine’s new campaign finance laws? I haven’t studied the two states’ plans, but it may be an E-W tie! Their plan passed 55/45, so a very convincing win. The people in their state said they’d “had it” with all the big money in politics and little to no enforcement of campaign violations.

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