Friday, October 24, 2014

Some Fall Friday Election Fortnight Good Reads

Maple leaves at fall peak in a photo taken on Oct. 22, 2014 by Ian Livingston of the CWG and posted in this entry.


Some Good Friday Reads (two weeks ahead of the midterms) ...

Plutocrats Against Democracy by Paul Krugman

Summary quote: "The truth is that a lot of what's going on in American politics is, at root, a fight between democracy and plutocracy. And it's by no means clear which side will win."

Also, don't forget to read his regularly updated blog.


The Disgust Election by Timothy Egan

Egan gives an overview of the dark night brought upon the country by the current configuration of the Scalia 5 -- he doesn't use that term but instead focuses on Justice Anthony Kennedy, one of the horrible five -- thanks to Citizens United. As a corollary, he cited as well the "selective Texas voter ID" law that Texas Republicans passed in the umpteenth GOP voter suppression drive.

Conclusion: "But let's not fool ourselves. We Americans have long boasted of having free and fair elections. Thanks to this Supreme Court, they are neither."

What say you, Wall-P??

"Eh. Eh. Eheheh. Money is the means by which all value is measured in human society. Therefore, we conclude that in a proper capitalist society, the more money, the freer the speech. This means --"

Ohhhh, just shut-up, Wall-P, you wee corporate stooge.


What follows are links and discussions of two Jonathan Chait pieces (with links embedded in titles) ...

Chait starts out by posing the question of whether the (likely) GOP takeover of the Senate represents a particular set of shitty circumstances for Democrats in 2014 that just structurally favors Repubs or if it is a "wave" election.

Chait argues convincingly it is the former. Chait cites the familiar midterm triple whammy of shitty Democratic turnout; liberals / Democrats holed up in urban districts; and severe GOP gerrymandering of many districts.

In 2014, there is also the issue of Dems defending a bunch of Red State seats from the 2006 Democratic "wave" election.

Finally, it is true that Obama is quite unpopular in those places, not to mention everything is just kinda shitty right now (but when isn't it?) with the GOP Fear Machine right now in an ISIS / Ebola frenzy.

Ha ha
(Yes, I've posted this image before.)

This piece includes quotes by Michael Barone, an aging, jowly, semi-obese GOP propagandistic "pundit" masquerading as some great political scientist, and the mustachioed Jennifer Rubin, the kind of Republican blogger propagandist that gets Fred "Washington Consensus" Hiatt tingly all over. Barone is calling the upcoming election 119th or so Republican "wave" election since the founding of the frickin' Republic.

But Chait points out why this is all wrong.

Later the HuffPo headline read, "Joni's Got Her Gun" but I didn't get a screenshot of that one.


Specifically, he cites (via Sam Wong) how shitty a number of Republican governors are doing in their reelection bids -- citing in particular the cartoonishly bad Sam Brownback -- and how Dems in both gubernatorial and even some Senate races are over-performing vis-à-vis this year's fundamentals in Kansas and North Carolina, not to mention Georgia (although changing demographics are also at play in the Peach State). The graph directly below shows this in a series of elections.

A chart showing 14 gubernatorial races in that compares 2010 victory margins and 2014 polling margins with changes by party. Red are changes toward Republicans, blue toward Democrats, and green toward independents. (I'm not sure why the Alaska Independent candidate (Bill Walker) is shown as D+6%.)


Returning to Michael Barone...

... the late, great Bartcop once referred to him on his internet radio show as a "Nazi gasbag." No, Barone is not a Nazi but he is certainly a GOP gasbag who sees GOP wave elections every time a Republican is elected Sheriff Buck in some random Arizona county or as dogcatcher in Muscle Shoals.

As for the mustachioed Jennifer Rubin, I guess she thinks she is President Mitt Romney's White House press secretary.

The second Chait piece is:

Chait cites another comprehensive Pew Research Survey on likely voter midterm preferences in 2006, 2010, and 2014 (all at comparable times in the run-ups to the elections) that also show how wildly the non-white male (not to mention non-rural, non-Southern, non-senior citizen) electorate is turning.

Chait cites Democratic vs. Republican leanings for a series of demographic groups from three midterm elections including the 2006 Democratic wave election; the 2010 Republican blowout (tsunami); and the upcoming 2014 ones that are probably best described as an indeterminate one that simply is structurally very advantageous to the Republicans.

Pew Research Survey of likely voters by various categories in polling before 2006, 2010, and 2014 midterms.


The 2014 preference for all likely voters is Democrats by one point over Republicans (D+1) at 47% to 46% but this is simply not enough, he notes, to overcome assorted Republican structural advantages including those special to 2014 and those more general such as concentration of urban voters and gerrymandering (see preceding piece).

The all-likely voter preference was D+4 in 2006 and R+6 in 2010. While it is R+8 for men and R+16 for white, non-Hispanic likely voters in 2010, Chait notes it is as astonishing D+62 for non-whites -- up from D+47 in 2006 and D+49 in 2010. Eventually, as others have said, demographic changes in America should force a political change with loss of Republican power, but this won't be for a number of years -- at least until the next Census and perhaps longer -- and assuming nothing catastrophic happens.

Here is a piece on what perfidies the shitty Mitch McConnell (who has been dubbed an "odious and corrupt insect") plans as Senate Majority Leader. (We can only hope that Alison Grimes beats him just because of how cosmically wonderful that would be, but it is probably not in the cards.)


Finally, in saving the best for last, here is a wonderful Rolling Stone piece by Mark Binelli (link embedded): The Great Kansas Tea Party Disaster.

It is about the Kansas catastrophe created by Gov. Sam Brownback -- so much so that even some wealthy conservative Republican Kansas businessmen have turned on him because the extreme damage he has done to the state. It also speculates why Brownback he went down this road.

In the end, the hapless Sen. Pat Roberts and Brownback himself might hang on -- especially given how Republican "Red" is Kansas. Still, though, it is a remarkable story.

(Oh, yes, Brownbackers diehard supporters refer to themselves as "Brownbackers" (yuck).)

As has been widely reported, Brownback turned the state into a "laboratory" for kooky supply sider, government services-destroying, bogus libertarian bullshit, with predictable results, namely, severe cuts, credit downgrades, and massive budget deficits that Josh Barro -- now of The Upshot blog -- reports is far worse than expected.

The lead image is yet another great one by Victor Juhasz that incorporates elements of the Wizard of Oz. I've At left is a sideways version (in order to show the detail of it). It's kind of hilarious. Juhasz is an amazing artist who does wonderful political drawings.

So those are the links I wanted to post.


Before I end, and as the briefest of updates, I went to the gym again tonight but I just crapped out early and couldn't do much of anything.In my defense, I have gone 10 times this month and on 9 of them I have done the full 2-1/2 to 3 hour workout including jogging, weightlifting, and swimming. I was (am) just sore in several places and quite tired. In addition, I'm feeling slightly under the weather. As for my work, I actually got a new BA case today that I have to finish in a hurry.

OK, that's really all for now. I might update the blog this evening or, alternatively, on Saturday.


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