Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Economic Inequality Matters


This afternoon, Alan Grayson, who had just watched the video above, told us that "Since the Enlightenment began, people have been fishing around for some kind of extrinsic validation of the concept of 'justice' For instance, the first two sentences of the Declaration of Independence appeal to 'the Laws of Nature,' 'Nature’s God,' the 'opinions of mankind' and the 'Creator.' What the de Waal experiment shows is that there is no need to look outside of ourselves to justify justice; we can look inside. If it’s in capuchin monkeys, then surely it’s in us, too. All of us."

David Gill is an emergency room physician running for Congress in Illinois' 13th congressional district against hapless rubber stamp Republican Rodney Davis. There was no one I could think of better to help explain the experiment in the video above. "Economic inequality," he told us this morning, "has been an ever-expanding problem in America for two generations now, with so many Americans coming to realize that no matter how hard they work, they will never have the opportunity to better their lot in life. And the driving force behind this loss of the American Dream for the majority of us is this: for at least the past three decades, we've had both major political parties groveling at the feet of Wall Street banks and large multi-national corporations. This corporate ownership of our politics and our government leaves the vast majority of us without proper representation and results in overwhelming economic injustice.

"The consequences of having both parties selling themselves to Corporate America are numerous: lack of a single-payer healthcare system, a ridiculously inadequate minimum wage, an incredibly bloated defense budget at the expense of needed social programs, a tax system designed to maintain the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a select few.

"The chronicity and the ever-widening nature of our economic inequality takes its toll-- it feeds a hopelessness and a political apathy that then results in the election of individuals even less concerned with the well-being of ordinary Americans, and resulting in turn in a vicious cycle. I'm running for Congress to be a part of breaking that cycle."

Please help Dr. Gill get his message out in IL-13 by contributing to his entirely grassroots campaign here at the Blue America ActBlue page.

Yesterday, Nate Cohn tried explaining to NY Times readers what the 9.2% of Trump voters who backed Obama in 2012-- basically white voters without a college degree-- have in their minds. He reminds us that these voters are pivotal-- and up for grabs. Hillary isn't president, he wrote, "primarily because of the narrow but deep swing among white working-class voters who were overrepresented in decisive battleground states... Just 74 percent of white Obama voters with a high school diploma or less backed Mrs. Clinton in the voter study group study cited by Mr. Milbank... The data from these surveys sends a mixed message. Strong evidence suggests a lot of these voters will lean Republican for the foreseeable future, and certainly will lean toward Mr. Trump. But Democrats can still win a meaningful and potentially decisive share of these voters, many of whom probably voted Democratic down-ballot in 2016. Here’s what one survey, the C.C.E.S., says about these voters:"
THEY HAD SOURED ON MR. OBAMA Just 29 percent of white, no-college Obama-Trump voters approved of his performance, and 69 percent disapproved. Similarly, 75 percent said they would repeal the Affordable Care Act. Only 15 percent believed the economy had improved over the last year, and just 23 percent said their income had increased over the last four years.

THEY LARGELY BACK THE TRUMP AGENDA The Obama-Trump voters generally support Mr. Trump’s key campaign pledges on immigration, police, infrastructure spending, trade and the environment. This isn’t too surprising: Surveys conducted long before the 2016 election showed that a large share of white working-class Democratic-leaning voters backed the conservative-populist position on these issues.

THEY’RE NOT NECESSARILY RELUCTANT TRUMP VOTERSAmong those who voted in the 2016 primary (65 percent of the Obama-Trump vote), 54 percent of Obama-Trump voters reported backing Mr. Trump in the Republican presidential primary, according to the C.C.E.S., a sign that many of them are pretty strong and consistent supporters of Mr. Trump. Only 9 percent supported another Republican, less than the share that supported Mrs. Clinton or Bernie Sanders.

Taken together, the data indicates that Mr. Trump had considerable and possibly unique appeal to an important slice of Democratic-leaning voters. Mr. Trump adopted a platform tailored to white working-class Democrats. In doing so, he neutralized many traditional Democratic lines of attack against typical Republicans like Mitt Romney. Many of these voters backed him in the primary and seemed to prefer his brand of populism, suggesting they probably would have backed Mr. Trump no matter which Democrat he faced.

MANY NOW CONSIDER THEMSELVES REPUBLICAN-LEANERS A Pew Research Center panel study found that fully 18 percent of white working-class voters who leaned Democratic as late as December 2015 reported leaning Republican by December 2016. That timing is significant: It implies that these voters continued to tilt toward the Democrats all the way until the 2016 campaign.

Similarly, the C.C.E.S. found that 45 percent of Obama-Trump voters identified as Republican-leaners in their postelection study.

The voters who both voted for Mr. Trump and say they lean Republican have probably taken a big step toward becoming consistent Republican voters. They seem relatively difficult for Democrats to lure back.

RACIAL RESENTMENT WAS A BIG FACTOR Using this and other data, political scientists have argued that racial resentment is the strongest predictor of whether voters flipped from Mr. Obama to Mr. Trump, and the biggest driver of Trump support among these voters.

Yes, racial resentment is the strongest predictor of the Obama-Trump vote in this survey data. White, working-class Obama voters with racially conservative views were very likely to flip to the Republicans. For example, Mrs. Clinton won just 47 percent of white Obama voters without a college degree who disagreed with the idea that “white people in the U.S. have certain advantages because of the color of their skin.” In contrast, she retained 88 percent of white Obama voters without a college degree who agreed that white people have certain advantages.

Nonetheless, voters with high racial resentment did not necessarily represent the preponderance of the Obama-Trump vote, because Mr. Obama had already lost nearly all such voters by 2012. To take the prior example: 49 percent of white, no-college Obama-Trump supporters at least somewhat disagreed with the notion that white people had certain advantages.

MANY REMAIN PERSUADABLE The C.C.E.S. found that 26 percent of Obama-Trump voters identified as Democrats in their postelection study, while 35 percent were Republicans and 37 percent were independents. Including those independents who lean toward a party, Republicans led by a wider margin of 45 percent to 30 percent. Even so, that’s a significant share who continue to identify with the Democratic Party despite voting for Mr. Trump.

Democrats were probably still winning a lot of these voters in 2016. The results speak for themselves to some extent. Jason Kander lost his Senate race in Missouri by just three percentage points, even as Mrs. Clinton lost by 20 points. Even Democrats who didn’t run ahead of Mrs. Clinton over all-- like Tammy Duckworth in Illinois, Russ Feingold in Wisconsin or Katie McGinty in Pennsylvania-- nonetheless ran far ahead of Mrs. Clinton in traditionally Democratic, white working-class areas.

Mrs. Duckworth’s performance is probably the most telling. She won Illinois’s 12th Congressional District-- a downstate, working-class district now held by Republican Mike Bost-- by nine points. Mr. Trump won it by 12 points.

Mr. Bost might seem like a fairly safe Republican for re-election, if you judge the partisanship of his district strictly by his party’s performance in the last presidential election. He certainly would be safe if Democrats wrote off Obama-Trump voters. But the willingness of these voters to support a Democrat for federal office against an incumbent Republican in a fairly decent year for Republicans suggests that at least these Obama-Trump voters remain in play, and Mr. Bost is more vulnerable than it might initially seem.

More generally, there is reason to think these voters are likelier to vote for a Democrat against a more traditional Republican who hasn’t developed a message to match Mr. Trump’s appeal to white working-class Democrats. These voters, for instance, tend to support abortion rights and same-sex marriage. They support a higher minimum wage.

All considered, it does seem likely that at least a portion of the Obama-Trump vote can be lured back to the Democrats-- especially against traditional Republican candidates who emphasize small government, free markets and social conservatism.

Whether that means it should be the crux of the Democrats’ path to power is another question. But it will most likely be a part of it, and will probably need to be for Democrats to secure parts of the Rust Belt that continue to play an outsize role in American elections.

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At 6:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The consequences of having both parties selling themselves to Corporate America are numerous..."

And yet David Gill is running as a democrap. Hypocrite much?

IF you recognize that the democraps are equal partners in ratfucking the commons, then running as a democrap is either highly cynical or absolutely hypocritical.

But I suppose that there are neo-nazis that recognize the evil of their tribe but cleave to it anyway... maybe claiming to be the "cure" everyone wants for itself?

At 4:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

More polling that proves just how stupid American voters are. And evil. A lot of pure evil.

At 8:29 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Couple this experiment with the one where you confine a lot of rats in a small space.

This is the earth that humans have made for themselves. Although I'm unaware that any rat experiments show the white ones hating the black ones just for being black. That particular flaw is peculiar to the most peculiar species of ape on the planet.

For only a while longer anyway.


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