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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Trumpcare: Stupid Is as Stupid Does

Mitch McConnell had to delay Senate Trumpcare.  Jonathan Martin and Glenn Thrush report at The New York Times:
Mr. McConnell made clear his unhappiness to the White House after a “super PAC” aligned with Mr. Trump started an ad campaign against Senator Dean Heller, Republican of Nevada, when he said last week that he opposed the health care bill.
The majority leader called the White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, to complain that the attacks were “beyond stupid,” according to two Republicans with knowledge of the tense exchange on Saturday.
Mr. McConnell, who has been toiling for weeks, mostly in private, to put together a measure that would satisfy hard-liners and moderates, told Mr. Priebus in his call that the assault by the group, America First, not only jeopardized the bill’s prospects but also imperiled Mr. Heller’s already difficult path to re-election.
America First was founded by a group of Mr. Trump’s loyalists — many of them with deep connections to Mr. Pence, including Nick Ayers, a Republican consultant who is regarded as the vice president’s top political adviser. The PAC compared Mr. Heller to Representative Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, and vowed a seven-figure advertising campaign against him.
Josh Holmes, Mr. McConnell’s former chief of staff, said, “That the White House is asking people to take a tough vote and then running ads against members while we’re still in negotiations is so dumb it’s amazing we even have to have the conversation.”

Senate Trumpcare Effects

Defying the Odds goes into some length on the economic and social distress that boosted Trump. Ironiclly,
Senate Republicans could end up passing an unpopular bill that would worsen this distress.

At Kaiser, GaryClaxton shows that Senate Trumpcare would hurt older and poorer Americans.
Marketplace enrollees with incomes below 200 percent of poverty would see an average increase in their premium costs of 177 percent, while higher income enrollees would see an increase of 57 percent.
There are important differences by age within these income groups: among enrollees with incomes below 200 percent of poverty, those in 18 to 34 age group would see an average increase of 82 percent while those in the 55 to 64 age group would see an average increase of 288 percent. Among enrollees with incomes 200 percent of poverty and above, enrollees in the 18 to 34 age group would not see an increase while those age 55 to 64 would see their premium costs almost double.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Democrats Who Speak to the Forgotten America

Defying the Odds goes into some length on the economic and social distress that boosted Trump.

Randy Bryce is running against Paul Ryan.  Stacey Evans is running for governor of Georgia.  It is too early to estimate their chances, but these ads show how Democrats can reconnect with many of voters who abandoned them in 2016.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Impact of Redistricting

David A. Lieb reports at AP
The AP scrutinized the outcomes of all 435 U.S. House races and about 4,700 state House and Assembly seats up for election last year using a new statistical method of calculating partisan advantage. It’s designed to detect cases in which one party may have won, widened or retained its grip on power through political gerrymandering.
The analysis found four times as many states with Republican-skewed state House or Assembly districts than Democratic ones. Among the two dozen most populated states that determine the vast majority of Congress, there were nearly three times as many with Republican-tilted U.S. House districts.
Traditional battlegrounds such as Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Florida and Virginia were among those with significant Republican advantages in their U.S. or state House races. All had districts drawn by Republicans after the last Census in 2010.
The AP analysis also found that Republicans won as many as 22 additional U.S. House seats over what would have been expected based on the average vote share in congressional districts across the country. That helped provide the GOP with a comfortable majority over Democrats instead of a narrow one.
The AP’s findings are similar to recent ones from the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law, which used three statistical tests to analyze the 2012-2016 congressional elections. Its report found a persistent Republican advantage and “clear evidence that aggressive gerrymandering is distorting the nation’s congressional maps,” posing a “threat to democracy.” The Brennan Center did not analyze state legislative elections.
The AP’s analysis was based on a formula developed by University of Chicago law professor Nick Stephanopoulos and Eric McGhee, a researcher at the nonpartisan Public Policy Institute of California. Their mathematical model was cited last fall as “corroborative evidence” by a federal appeals court panel that struck down Wisconsin’s state Assembly districts as an intentional partisan gerrymander in violation of Democratic voters’ rights to representation.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Leftward on the Left Coast

In Defying the Odds, we discuss the Sanders candidacy and the liberal drift of the Democratic Party.

George Skelton, no right-winger, writes at The Los Angeles Times:
Democrats in the state Legislature are walking a tightrope, seemingly oblivious to potential danger.
First, they raised gas taxes and vehicle fees. Then the Senate passed a ridiculously costly universal healthcare plan. Now, the Legislature is getting close to helping undocumented criminals avoid deportation.
How far left can the majority party careen, even in deep blue California, before Republicans start benefiting at the ballot box?
Patrick McGreevy reports at The Los Angeles Times:
A majority of California voters oppose the state's recently passed gas tax and vehicle fee increases that will pay for state roads and expand mass transit, according to a poll released Friday.
About 58% of registered voters surveyed said they oppose the increases that were recently approved by the Legislature and Gov. Jerry Brown, according to the IGS Poll, a survey by the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley. About 35% said they support the new taxes and fees.

A large majority of respondents who identified themselves as strongly liberal said they support the change.
But overall, they poll found, the new law is opposed by big majorities of Republicans and no-party-preference respondents, political conservatives and moderates, members of all major races and ethnic groups, men, women, and people over 30.

Friday, June 23, 2017

In August, They Knew Putin Backed Trump

Greg Miller, Ellen Nakashima and Adam Entous report at The Washington Post:
Early last August, an envelope with extraordinary handling restrictions arrived at the White House. Sent by courier from the CIA, it carried “eyes only” instructions that its contents be shown to just four people: President Barack Obama and three senior aides.

The White House debated various options to punish Russia, but facing obstacles and potential risks, it ultimately failed to exact a heavy toll on the Kremlin for its election interference.

Inside was an intelligence bombshell, a report drawn from sourcing deep inside the Russian government that detailed Russian President Vladi­mir Putin’s direct involvement in a cyber campaign to disrupt and discredit the U.S. presidential race.

But it went further. The intelligence captured Putin’s specific instructions on the operation’s audacious objectives — defeat or at least damage the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, and help elect her opponent, Donald Trump.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Trump Voters

In Defying the Odds, we talk about the social and economic divides that enabled Trump to enter the White House.

  • This analysis finds five unique clusters of Trump voters: American Preservationists (20%), Staunch Conservatives (31%), Anti-Elites (19%), Free Marketeers (25%), and the Disengaged (5%)
  • There is no such thing as “one kind of Trump voter” who voted for him for one single reason. Many voted with enthusiasm for Trump while others held their noses and voted against Hillary Clinton.
  • Trump voters hold very different views on a wide variety of issues including immigration, race, American identity, moral traditionalism, trade, and economics.
  • Four issues distinguish Trump voters from non-Trump voters: attitudes toward Hillary Clinton, evaluations of the economy, views about illegal immigration, and views about Muslim immigration.