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Divided We Stand

Divided We Stand
New book about the 2020 election.

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Divided We Stand

  January 6, 2021:


The caning of Charles Sumner 1856:


From the Survey Center on American Life:
Both Democrats and Republicans have become more certain that the opposing party’s vision for the country represents a clear and present danger. Three-quarters (75 percent) of Republicans say the Democratic policies pose a threat, while nearly two-thirds (64 percent) of Democrats say the same about the GOP’s agenda. Only 30 percent of Democrats say Republican policies are misguided or wrong but not dangerous, while 19 percent of Republicans say the same of Democratic policies


Nearly two-thirds of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (65%) say they would prefer to live where houses are larger and farther apart, but schools, stores and restaurants are several miles away.
Most Democrats and Democratic leaners (58%) would rather live where houses are smaller and closer to each other, but schools, stores and restaurants are in walking distance. 

And so where do all these divisions take us?

More than one in three (36 percent) Americans agree with the statement: “The traditional American way of life is disappearing so fast that we may have to use force to save it.” Six in 10 (60 percent) Americans reject the idea that the use of force is necessary, but there is significant partisan disagreement on this question.

A majority (56 percent) of Republicans support the use of force as a way to arrest the decline of the traditional American way of life. Forty-three percent of Republicans express opposition to this idea. Significantly fewer independents (35 percent) and Democrats (22 percent) say the use of force is necessary to stop the disappearance of traditional American values and way of life.

Lilliana Mason and Nathan P. Kalmoe:
The most basic finding is that a significant minority of Americans will not reject violence outright. Several of our surveys asked respondents if they believed “it is justified for [their own party] to use violence in advancing their political goals these days.” In a 2017 Cooperative Congressional Election Study, 8 percent of partisans agreed that violence is at least “a little bit” justified. In 2018, it rose to 15 percent and has hovered around there since.

We also asked whether violence would be okay if their party lost the 2020 presidential election. Across nine surveys in 2017-2019, about 20 percent said that it would be at least a little bit okay. In fall 2020, the political science project Bright Line Watch asked: Would violence be justified if opponents acted violently first? Forty percent of partisans said yes, at least a little.

Cheney Speaks

 Our new book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses state and congressional elections. It also discusses the state of the partiesThe state of the GOP is not good. House Republicans are about to depose Liz Cheney as conference chair because she told the truth about the insurrection.

 Liz Cheney on the House floor yesterday:

Today, we face a threat America has never seen before. A former president who provoked a violent attack on this Capitol in an effort to steal the election has resumed his aggressive effort to convince Americans that the election was stolen from him. He risks inciting further violence.

Millions of Americans have been misled by the former president. They have heard only his words but not the truth. As he continues to undermine our democratic process, sowing seeds of doubt about whether democracy really works at all.

I am a conservative Republican and the most conservative of conservative principles is reverence for the rule of law.

The Electoral College has voted. More than 60 state and federal courts, including multiple judges the former president appointed, have rejected his claims.

The Trump Department of Justice investigated the former president's claims of widespread fraud and found no evidence to support them.

The election is over.

That is the rule of law.

That is our constitutional process.

Those who refuse to accept the rulings of our courts are at war with the Constitution.

Our duty is clear. Every one of us who has sworn the oath must act to prevent the unraveling of our democracy.

This is not about policy. This is not about partisanship. This is about our duty as Americans.

Remaining silent and ignoring the lie emboldens the liar. I will not participate in that. I will not sit back and watch in silence while others lead our party down a path that abandons the rule of law and joins the former president's crusade to undermine our democracy.

As the party of Reagan, Republicans have championed democracy, won the cold war and defeated the Soviet communists. Today, America is on the cusp of another cold war. This time with communist China. Attacks against our democratic process and the rule of law empower our adversaries and feed communist propaganda that American democracy is a failure.

We must speak the truth. Our election was not stolen and America has not failed.

I received a message last week from a Gold Star father who said standing up for the truth honors all who gave all. We must all strive to be worthy of the sacrifice of those who have died for our freedom. They are the patriots Katharine Lee Bates described in the words of "America the Beautiful," when she wrote, "oh beautiful for heroes proved in liberating strife, who more than self their country loved and mercy more than life." 

Ultimately, Mr. Speaker, this is at the heart of what our oath requires: That we love our country more. That we love her so much that we will stand above politics to defend her. That we will do everything in our power to protect our Constitution and our freedom that has been paid for by the blood of so many.

We must love America so much that we will never yield in her defense. That is our duty. Thank you.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

CA Recall as of Mid-May: Womp, Womp, Womp

 Our new book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses state elections.

Mark DiCamillo, at the Berkeley Institute for Governmental Studies:

The latest Berkeley IGS Poll completed last week finds that the proportion of California voters who support recalling Governor Gavin Newsom stands at 36%, unchanged from late January. However, a larger proportion of voters now say they intend to vote NO in the recall (49%), up four points from three months ago. Another 15% remain undecided.
Opinions about removing Newsom from office continue to be sharply divided along partisan and ideological lines. But the poll also finds some striking regional differences.For example, while greater than two-to-one majorities of voters in the state’s two major urban hubs, the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles County, are lining up on the NO side,supporters outnumber opponents in several parts of the state, including the Inland Empire,the Central Valley,and the sparsely populated NorthCoast/Sierra region.
The recall election has yet to arousea great deal of interest among the state’s overall electorate, with fewer than half (46%)expressing high levels of interest. In addition, early interest is heavily skewed toward the state’s GOP voters, with more than twice as many Republicans as Democrats orNo Party Preference voters expressing high interest.


None  of  four  prominent  Republicans currently running  in  the replacement electionare generating much  support  among  the  overall  electorate  at  this  stage.    When voters  are asked whether they would be inclined or not inclined to vote for each candidate, fewer than one in four voters statewide say they are currently disposed toback them. Former San Diego Mayor Kevin  Faulconer  and  former  gubernatorial  candidate  John  Cox receive  the  largest  shares  of voters inclined to support their candidacies (22%).  However, in each case more than twice as many are not inclined to do so and about three in ten have no opinion. Former congressman Doug Ose receives the backing of 14% in this setting, although 48% of voters are not inclined to back his candidacy.  Attracting the least support of the four Republicans measured is reality TV personality Caitlyn Jenner.  Just 6% of the state’s registered voters say they are inclined to back her candidacy, while 76% are not.  

Patrick McGreevy and John Myers at LAT:

Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed a second round of $600 state stimulus checks on Monday to hasten California’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, hoping to expand the payments from low-income residents to also include middle-class families, and noting that doing so would ensure benefits for 2 out of 3 state residents.

The proposal to deliver $8 billion in new cash payments to millions of Californians is part of a $100-billion economic stimulus plan made possible in part by a budget that has swelled with a significant windfall of tax revenues, a surplus the governor put at $75.7 billion.

Monday, May 10, 2021

GOP State Chairs

Our new book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses state and congressional elections. It also discusses the state of the partiesThe state of the GOP is not good. 

At NYT, Elaina Plott writes of Texas GOP chair Allen West:

Theoretically, West’s priorities for the 87th session of the Texas Legislature should not be of great consequence to Abbott. When was the last time you knew the name of a state party chair? Ask even a politically inclined Texan, and he or she might — might — say the late 1990s, when the late Susan Weddington became the first woman to lead a major party in Texas. In a single year, she raised $16 million for the G.O.P., an internal party record that still stands.

This was what party chairs did then, for the most part: raise money. But in 2002 campaign-finance reform capped individual and corporate donations to party committees. “We’ve seen a pretty steady decline in their influence since then,” Wayne Hamilton, a Republican consultant and a former executive director of the Texas G.O.P., told me. “It became the case that if someone told you they were running for the chair, you said, ‘Yeah, yeah, OK,’ because nobody really cares anymore.”

State party conventions — the biennial gatherings where delegates elect their leadership and determine the party’s platform — became more ceremonial than anything else, an outpost for activist types who bore little resemblance to the party’s average voter. Still, they tended to be team players. “The governor effectively selected the state-party chairman, and the other members ratified his choice,” Whit Ayres, a Republican pollster, told me. “In the past, you simply would not have had people like Kelli Ward or Allen West becoming state party chairs. That is the influence of Donald Trump.” (Before becoming chairwoman of the Arizona G.O.P. in 2019, Kelli Ward was best known for her unsuccessful attempts to unseat Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake and for using government resources to host a town hall addressing the conspiracy theory that the government was injecting dangerous chemicals into the air via airplane contrails when she was a state senator. McCain’s team dubbed her “Chemtrail Kelli.”)

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Them and Us

Our new book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses the social divisions that enabled Trump to win in 2016 and come close in 2020 despite his calamitous record.

William Galston at American Purpose:

Thanks to the pioneering field research of scholars like Katherine Cramer and Arlie Hochschild, we are beginning to understand the outlook of the rural and small-town Americans who have spearheaded this revolt. In sum, Cramer and Hochschild teach us, “they” (people without college degrees who work mainly with their hands) resent “us” (educated professionals and “experts” who work with words and numbers). Worse, it is not a fair fight. They believe that they are losing their share of the American Dream because we have changed the rules in our favor—and have allowed others to cut the line in front of them and seize what they have worked to attain.

The bill of particulars goes like this:

“They” see “us” as presiding over a long-term decline in their quality of life without lifting a finger to help. Blue-collar wages have stagnated for decades; good jobs for which they are qualified have evaporated. Their suffering went ignored by elites in both political parties until Donald Trump emerged as their champion.

They fear falling even farther. (Behavioral economics tells us that losses sting more than gains please.) They do not understand why this is happening to them and are searching for an explanation, which only conservative populists bother to provide.

They have a sense of displacement in a country they once dominated. Immigrants, minorities, non-Christians, even atheists have taken center stage, forcing them to the margins of American life. The metropolitan areas we dominate—and that dominate the country—embody a way of life increasingly at odds with Americans in small towns and rural areas.

They believe we have rewritten the rules to rig the game against them. We have redefined success so that it is measured by test taking, which leaves them on the outside looking in. We have established a hereditary meritocracy based on our networks, resources, and inside knowledge of the rules. We tell them they should shape up and get with the New Economy, but never say how they are supposed to do that. They believe we have used our power for our own advantage, not to promote a common good that would include them.

They believe our claims to expertise are mostly bogus. Why did elites in both parties allow China to join the World Trade Organization on such favorable terms? Why did they plunge us into endless wars in the Middle East? Why did they cause the Great Recession and botch the recovery? Why have their medical experts changed their minds so often during the pandemic? President Trump was at his best, they say, when he ignored the experts and went his own way.

They believe that we deny their freedom and tell them how to live their lives. Why do we regulate the way they farm, fish, and hunt? Why do we prefer endangered species over their human families, shut down their businesses, and try to close their churches?

They believe we have a powerful desire for moral coercion. We tell them how to behave—and, worse, how to think. When they complain, we accuse them of racism and xenophobia. How, they ask, did standing up for the traditional family become racism? When did transgender bathrooms become a civil right?

They see us using the law to make them act in violation of their deepest beliefs—making the Little Sisters of the Poor cover contraception, forcing public schools to allow entrance to bathrooms based on gender identity. They believe we want to keep them from living in accordance with their faith.

They believe we hold them in contempt. They point to remarks by 2008 and 2016 Democratic presidential nominees as evidence.

Finally, they think we are hypocrites. We claim to support free speech—until someone says something we don’t like. We claim to oppose violence—unless it serves a cause we approve of. We claim to defend the Constitution—except for the Second Amendment. We support tolerance, inclusion, and social justice—except for people like them.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

House Republicans in Deep Denial

 Our new book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses state and congressional elections. It also discusses the state of the partiesThe state of the GOP is not good. 

At WP, Michael Scherer,Josh Dawsey and Dan Lamothe report on Liz Cheney's reaction to a survey briefing at an April party retreat.

When staff from the National Republican Congressional Committee rose to explain the party’s latest polling in core battleground districts, they left out a key finding about Trump’s weakness, declining to divulge the information even when directly questioned about Trump’s support by a member of Congress, according to two people familiar with what transpired.

Trump’s unfavorable ratings were 15 points higher than his favorable ones in the core districts, according to the full polling results, which were later obtained by The Washington Post. Nearly twice as many voters had a strongly unfavorable view of the former president as had a strongly favorable one.

Cheney was alarmed, she later told others, in part because Republican campaign officials had also left out bad Trump polling news at a March retreat for ranking committee chairs. Both instances, she concluded, demonstrated that party leadership was willing to hide information from their own members to avoid the truth about Trump and the possible damage he could do to Republican House members, even though the NRCC denied any such agenda.

Those behind-the-scenes episodes were part of a months-long dispute over Republican principles that has raged among House leaders and across the broader GOP landscape. That dispute is expected to culminate next week with a vote to remove Cheney from her position as the third-ranking House Republican.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Summing Up Trump's Takeover of the GOP

Our new book is titled Divided We Stand: The 2020 Elections and American Politics.  Among other things, it discusses state and congressional elections. It also discusses the state of the partiesThe state of the GOP is not good. 

 Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei at Axios:

  • House Republican Conference Chair Liz Cheney, a Trump critic, is expected to get booted from leadership next week for saying Trump's claims of an illegitimate Biden victory are lies and destructive.
  • Trumpian voting restrictions like Georgia's are now being debated in Texas, Florida, Arizona, Iowa and other states.
  • The Trump positions on trade and immigration — both of which broke with Bush-era orthodoxy — are now the Republican positions.
  • The 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump after the Jan. 6 violence have gone mostly silent, and in at least one case turned on Cheney.
  • The entire House GOP leadership will soon be full-throated Trumpers.
  • House Rs expect Trump-backed candidates to crush his critics in contested primaries.
  • State-level Republican leaders are often as — or more — Trumpian than national leaders, and in many cases will control redistricting.
Trump senior adviser Jason Miller tells Axios Trump rallies are likely to "start as soon as late spring or early summer."
  • Miller said Trump "has already begun to vet and endorse candidates for 2022, with an eye toward electing not just Republican candidates, but America First Republican candidates."
  • "His endorsement lifts candidates above the pack and often clears the primary field," Miller said. "The general election endorsement provides access to 'Trump voters' not normally accessible to Republicans."