Posts Tagged Democratic
The Tea Party Mindset Still Dominates the GOP
Don’t be fooled by those who say it’s dying: The fiscal cliff impasse proves the Tea Party way of looking at the world is alive and well among Republicans.
December 27, 2012
Two stories that might seem to contradict each other ran in the New York Times this week. One declared the Tea Party movement “significantly weakened” in the wake of November’s elections and on its way to becoming “just another political faction.” The other noted that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell might be concerned about a potential 2014 primary challenge – enough to filibuster any fiscal cliff plan that President Obama and Democrats draw up, no matter how modest.
The problem, of course, is that the Tea Party’s power resides in Republican primaries, where conservative purists wreaked considerable havoc in the past two election cycles. This included, famously, McConnell’s home state of Kentucky, where the minority leader’s protégé was crushed in a 2010 GOP Senate primary by Rand Paul. Now McConnell has to worry about suffering a similar fate in two years, especially if his handling of the current fiscal impasse evokes cries of treason from the base. How could this square with claims of fading clout for the Tea Party?
Actually, there’s a way. It just depends on how you understand the Tea Party.
Defined as a literal movement, with an active membership pressing a specific set of demands, the Tea Party absolutely is in decline. Tea Party events have become less crowded, less visible and less relevant to the national political conversation. As the Times story notes, the movement’s die-hards are embracing increasingly niche pet issues. The term “Tea Party” has come to feel very 2010.
But if you think of the Tea Party less as a movement and more as a mindset, it’s as strong and relevant as ever. As I wrote back in ’10, the Tea Party essentially gave a name to a phenomenon we’ve seen before in American politics – fierce, over-the-top resentment of and resistance to Democratic presidents by the right. It happened when Bill Clinton was president, it happened when Lyndon Johnson was president, it happened when John F. Kennedy was president. When a Democrat claims the White House, conservatives invariably convince themselves that he is a dangerous radical intent on destroying the country they know and love and mobilize to thwart him.
The twist in the Obama-era is that some of the conservative backlash has been directed inward. This is because the right needed a way to explain how a far-left anti-American ideologue like Obama could have won 53 percent of the popular vote and 365 electoral votes in 2008. What they settled on was an indictment of George W. Bush’s big government conservatism; the idea, basically, was that Bush had given their movement a bad name with his big spending and massive deficits, angering the masses and rendering them vulnerable to Obama’s deceptive charms. And the problem hadn’t just been Bush – it had been every Republican in office who’d abided his expansion of government, his deals with Democrats, his Wall Street bailout and all the rest.
Thus did the Tea Party movement represent a two-front war – one a conventional one against the Democratic president, and the other a new one against any “impure” Republicans. Besides a far-right ideology, the trait shared by most of the Tea Party candidates who have won high-profile primaries these past few years has been distance from what is perceived as the GOP establishment. Whether they identify with the Tea Party or not, conservative leaders, activists and voters have placed a real premium on ideological rigidity and outsider status; there’s no bigger sin than going to Washington and giving ground, even just an inch, to the Democrats.
It’s hard to look around right now and not conclude that the Republican Party is still largely in the grip of this mindset. Yes, since the election, there have been GOP voices – some of them genuinely surprising – speaking out in favor of giving President Obama the income tax rate hike that he’s looking for. But the January 1 deadline is now just days after and, crucially, there’s been no action. And it’s looking more and more like there won’t be.
This is the case even though Obama apparently indicated that he’d settle for only raising rates on income over $400,000, that he’d dial back his new revenue request by $400 billion, that he’d be OK with not extending the payroll tax holiday, and that he’d sign on a form of chained-CPI for Social Security benefits. Oh, and despite the fact that if nothing happens, all of the Bush tax rates will expire on January 1, with no changes triggered for Social Security or any safety net program. Despite all of this, Republicans in the House still said no to Obama last week, and then wouldn’t even allow Speaker John Boehner to bring a bill to the floor to simply extend the Bush rates for income under $1 million. And McConnell and the Senate GOP still seem unwilling to go any farther than their House counterparts.
This is exactly what the Tea Party mindset produces. For one thing, the House GOP conference (and to a lesser extent, the Senate GOP) contains no shortage of Tea Party true-believers – men and women who embody the spirit of the movement and have no qualms about going to war with party leadership if they believe their principles are at risk. And they are backed by a conservative information complex – media outlets and personalities, commentators, activists and interest group leaders – ready to cast them as heroes in any fight with “the establishment.”
All of this is more than enough to instill real fear in Republicans on Capitol Hill who aren’t true believers – but who do like their jobs and want to keep them. McConnell falls in this category. Boehner evidently does too. And so do many, many other Republicans who don’t want to look back and regret the day they cast a vote that ended their careers. The fact that the Tea Party, as a literal entity, seems to be dying is actually a sign of how successful it’s been. Its spirit now rules the Republican Party.
- Triumph of the Tea Party mindset (salon.com)
- Triumph of the Tea Party mindset (prn.fm)
- The Tea Party Mindset Still Dominates the GOP (alternet.org)
- “Comedy Central”: Grover Norquist Is Wrong About The Tea Party’s Second Coming (mbcalyn.com)
- They Are All Tea Partiers Now (embattledfarmers.wordpress.com)
- Tea Party May Be Losing Steam, But Issues Still Boil (npr.org)
- COMING: A Tea Party Tsunami? It’ll happen if people work to make it happen. The first Tea Party… (pjmedia.com)
- Revolution on the Right: A Coup Brewing Against Boehner? (crooksandliars.com)
- Grover Norquist: Beware of a second tea party wave (washingtonpost.com)
- Grover Norquist Is Wrong About the Tea Party’s Second Coming (usnews.com)
As Swing Districts Dwindle, Can a Divided House Stand?
By NATE SILVER
In 1992, there were 103 members of the House of Representatives elected from what might be called swing districts: those in which the margin in the presidential race was within five percentage points of the national result. But based on an analysis of this year’s presidential returns, I estimate that there are only 35 such Congressional districts remaining, barely a third of the total 20 years ago.
Instead, the number of landslide districts — those in which the presidential vote margin deviated by at least 20 percentage points from the national result — has roughly doubled. In 1992, there were 123 such districts (65 of them strongly Democratic and 58 strongly Republican). Today, there are 242 of them (of these, 117 favor Democrats and 125 Republicans).
So why is compromise so hard in the House? Some commentators, especially liberals, attribute it to what they say is the irrationality of Republican members of Congress.
But the answer could be this instead: individual members of Congress are responding fairly rationally to their incentives. Most members of the House now come from hyperpartisan districts where they face essentially no threat of losing their seat to the other party. Instead, primary challenges, especially for Republicans, may be the more serious risk.
In the chart below, I’ve grouped the country’s Congressional districts into seven categories based on the results of presidential voting there from 1992 through 2012:
• Landslide Democratic districts are those in which the presidential vote was at least 20 points more Democratic than in the country as a whole. (For example in 2008, when the Democrat Barack Obama won the popular vote by roughly seven percentage points nationwide, these districts were those in which Mr. Obama won by 27 percentage points or more.)
• Strong Democratic districts are 10 to 20 percentage points more Democratic than the country as a whole.
• Lean Democratic districts are 5 to 10 percentage points more Democratic than the country as a whole.
• Swing districts are within five percentage points of the national popular vote margin.
• Lean Republican districts are 5 to 10 percentage points more Republican than the country as a whole.
• Strong Republican districts are 10 to 20 percentage points more Republican than the country as a whole.
• Finally, Landslide Republican districts are at least 20 percentage points more Republican than the country as a whole.
As these figures make clear, the number of swing districts has been on a steady decline since at least 1992, and the number of landslide districts on a steady rise. The year 2008 was a partial exception: the number of landslide districts rose slightly from 2004, but so did the number of swing districts. However, the polarization of Congressional districts became sharper again in 2012.
Some of this was because of the redistricting that took place after the 2010 elections. Republicans were in charge of the redistricting process in many states, and they made efforts to shore up their incumbents, while packing Democrats into a few overwhelmingly Democratic districts. In the few large states where Democrats were in charge of the redistricting process, like Illinois, they largely adopted a parallel approach.
But redistricting alone did not account for the whole of the shift; instead, polarization has increased even after accounting for the change in boundaries.
Direct estimates of the 2012 presidential vote are available in 342 Congressional districts, based on the data compiled by David Nir of Daily Kos Elections. Mr. Nir’s spreadsheet also estimates what the 2008 presidential vote was in each district based on its 2012 boundary lines.
The next graphic presents a comparison of how each of these districts voted in 2008 and 2012, holding each district’s boundary lines constant. The correlation is extremely high. Mitt Romney came three or four points closer to defeating Mr. Obama than John McCain did in 2008, but for the most part the shift was fairly uniform in different parts of the country.
However, a more careful look at the chart reveals increasing polarization. The slope of the black regression line in the chart is greater than one (specifically, it is about 1.08). In plain English, this means that polarization increased by about 8 percent from 2008 to 2012 — above and beyond any changes brought about by redistricting. For example, a district that was 25 percentage points more Democratic than the country as a whole in 2008 was about 27 percentage points more Democratic than the national average this year. Likewise, a district that had been Republican-leaning by 25 percentage points in 2008 was typically 27 points more Republican than the rest of the country this year.
(Some 93 Congressional districts do not yet have their 2012 presidential vote reflected in Mr. Nir’s spreadsheet, but it is possible to estimate what the vote was there to a high degree of accuracy. In each district, I estimated the 2012 vote as a function of what the vote had been in 2008 and the statewide shift from 2008 to 2012. Taking the indirect estimate of the vote in these districts and Mr. Nir’s direct estimate for the other 342 is what yields my conclusion that there are only about 35 swing districts remaining.)
But these figures do not tell the whole story. There is also a second type of polarization, one that I remarked upon after the 2010 midterm elections. In addition to the sharp increase in the polarization of the presidential vote, there has also been a sharp decrease in ticket-splitting. Far fewer districts than before vote Democratic for president but Republican for the House, or vice versa. In 1992, there were 85 districts that I characterize as leaning toward one or another party based on its presidential vote. Of these districts, 27, or nearly one third, elected a member of the opposite party to the House, going against its presidential lean.
In 2012, there were only 53 such districts based on the presidential vote. But the decline in the number of ticket-splitting districts was sharper still. Of the 53 districts, just six, or about 11 percent, went against their presidential lean in their vote for the House.
Similarly, in 1992, there were 247 districts where the presidential vote was at least 10 percentage points more Republican or Democratic than in the country as a whole. Of these 42, or about 17 percent, split their tickets between their presidential and Congressional votes. Such splits are much rarer today. Of the 347 districts that were at least 10 points Democratic- or Republican-leaning in their presidential vote this year, only 6 (less than 2 percent) crossed party lines in their vote for the House.
There have been other periods in American history when polarization was high — particularly, from about 1880 through 1920. But it is not clear that there have been other periods when individual members of the House had so little to deter them from highly partisan behavior.
In the partisan era between 1880 and 1920, there were extremely rapid shifts in the composition of the House. For example, Democrats went from controlling 72 percent of House seats in 1890 to 26 percent in 1894. That is equivalent to Democrats losing about 200 seats in the House relative to today’s baseline of 435 Congressional districts.
But because there are so many fewer swing districts today, the amount of turnover in the House is much less. The 63 seats that Republicans gained in 2010 was large by modern standards — but relatively small by historical ones considering that there had been more than a 17-point swing in the national popular vote for the House.
This year also featured a relatively large swing in the popular vote for the House: Democrats won it by one point nationally rather than losing it by seven in 2010, an eight-point shift. But they gained only eight House seats out of 435. The House has arguably never been so partisan — and yet there have probably never been so few members of the House who were at risk of losing their seats.
One of the firmest conclusions of academic research into the behavior of Congress is that what motivates members first and foremost is winning elections. If individual members of Congress have little chance of losing their seats if they fail to compromise, there should be little reason to expect them to do so. Republican leaders like House Speaker John A. Boehner may conclude that there are risks to their party if they fail to reach a compromise, as during the current fiscal negotiations. But as David Frum points out, the individual members of his caucus may bear few of those costs directly.
Meanwhile, the differences between the parties have become so strong, and so sharply split across geographic lines, that voters may see their choice of where to live as partly reflecting a political decision. This type of voter self-sorting may contribute more to the increased polarization of Congressional districts than redistricting itself. Liberal voters may be attracted to major urban centers because of their liberal politics (more than because of the economic opportunities that they offer), while conservative ones may be repelled from them for the same reasons.
In this environment, members of Congress have little need to build coalitions across voters with different sets of political preferences or values. Few members of Congress today are truly liberal on social issues but conservative on fiscal issues or vice versa.
Instead, partisanship has become more uniform. This also marks a break from previous eras, such as when voting on economic issues in Congress was not strongly correlated with voting on civil rights.
What could reverse the trend toward greater partisanship? If one party were routinely being swept in elections, then perhaps individual members of the party would become more persuaded that their self-interest had become damaging to the party’s collective interest. But it is not yet clear that we have reached that point.
Republicans performed very poorly in elections for the Senate this year, and they have lost the last two presidential elections. But their loss in 2008 was almost inevitable because of the economic condition of the country and the unpopularity of George W. Bush. This year’s election was a more debatable case and might have been winnable for Mr. Romney, but Mr. Obama’s margin of victory was only slightly wider than might have been predicted based on the improved jobs numbers throughout 2012.
Meanwhile, Republicans continue to control the majority of governorships and state legislatures after their 2010 sweep.
And they remain in control of the House of Representatives, in part because the median Congressional district is now about five points Republican-leaning relative to the country as a whole. Why this asymmetry? It’s partly because Republicans created boundaries efficiently in redistricting and partly because the most Democratic districts in the country, like those in urban portions of New York or Chicago, are even more Democratic than the reddest districts of the country are Republican, meaning there are fewer Democratic voters remaining to distribute to swing districts.
Certainly, Republicans can’t be entirely happy with their predicament. The Electoral College now seems to disadvantage them at least slightly, and if they struggle in the 2014 and 2016 elections, a better case can be made that the party is underachieving.
But because of the way districts are configured, their position in the Houseshould be quite robust: it would require a Democratic wave year, and not a merely decent election for Democrats, as in 2012, for Republicans to lose control of the House.
These strengths and weaknesses for the Republican Party could be self-reinforcing, or at least they may have the same root cause. The district boundaries that give Republicans such strength in the House may also impede the party’s ability to compromise, reducing their ability to appeal to the broader-based coalitions of voters so as to maximize their chances of winning Senate and presidential races. If so, however, that could mean divided government more often than not in the years ahead, with Republicans usually controlling the House while Democrats usually hold the Senate, the presidency, or both. As partisanship continues to increase, a divided government may increasingly mean a dysfunctional one.
- journo-geekery: As Swing Districts Dwindle, Can a Divided House… (caterpillarcowboy.com)
- What Happened to Swing Districts? (thedailybeast.com)
- The logic of House GOP intransigence (politico.com)
- Wiping out partisan bias in U.S. House elections – The Washington Post (mbcalyn.com)
- As Fiscal Deadline Looms, Path to Deal Remains Unclear – NYTimes.com (mbcalyn.com)
- OUR OPINION: The politics of redistricting (enterprisenews.com)
- Fiscal Bunny Slope Updates (skydancingblog.com)
- Dispatch Poll: Ohio’s a toss-up (dispatch.com)
- OUR OPINION: The politics of redistricting (wickedlocal.com)
- Why John Boehner Has Gerrymandering to Thank for His Majority (motherjones.com)
It’s our system on the cliff
By E.J. Dionne Jr., Published: December 23
The United States faces a crisis in our political system because the Republican Party, particularly in the House of Representatives, is no longer a normal, governing party.
The only way we will avoid a constitutional crackup is for a new, bipartisan majority to take effective control of the House and isolate those who would rather see the country fall into chaos than vote for anything that might offend their ideological sensibilities.
In a democratic system with separated powers, two houses of Congress, split between the parties, a normal party accepts that compromise is the only way to legislate. A normal party takes into account election results. A normal party recognizes when the other side has made real concessions. A normal party takes responsibility.
By all of these measures, the Republican majority that Speaker John Boehner purports to lead is abnormal. That is the meaning of his catastrophic failure to gather the votes for his “Plan B” proposal on the “fiscal cliff.” Many of his most radical members believe they have a right to use any means at their disposal to impose their views on the country, even if they are only a minority in Congress.
There may, however, be good news in the disarray: The right wing of the Republican House has chosen to marginalize itself from any serious negotiations. The one available majority for action, especially on budgets, is a coalition uniting most Democrats with those Republicans who still hold the old-fashioned view that they were elected to help run the country.
To avert a fiscal nightmare in the short run, this potential majority needs to be allowed to work its will. The result may well be a modestly more progressive solution than President Obama offered Boehner, a deal with somewhat fewer cuts and more revenue. That’s the price the right wing will have to pay for refusing to govern.
This is almost exactly what happened in 1990, when the most conservative Republicans rejected a deficit-reduction agreement negotiated by President George H.W. Bush and Democrats in Congress. After a conservative rebellion brought the initial bill down, a more progressive measure was enacted with more Democratic votes.
In the longer run, the non-tea party wing of the GOP will have to decide whether it wants to be subject to the whims of colleagues to their right or look to the center for alliances with the Democrats. The choice is plain: We can spend two years doing absolutely nothing, or we can try to solve the country’s problems. This includes the problem of gun violence, and the question is whether the GOP will reject the tone-deaf extremism of NRA chief Wayne LaPierre’s bizarre response to the killings in Newtown, Conn.
Our political structure has been disfigured in another way: In November’s election, Democrats failed to win the House even though they received about a million more votes in House contests than the Republicans did. Republicans were protected by gerrymandered districts and by political geography: Democrats tend to win urban and certain suburban districts by overwhelming margins.
In Pennsylvania, to pick a stark case, Democrats edged out the Republicans in the popular vote for House races. But given how the districts were drawn, this resulted in the Republicans winning 13 seats to only five for the Democrats.
Both parties gerrymander, of course, but Republicans had far more influence over the process this time because the 2010 election gave them dominance of so many legislatures. Thus did one election shape our politics for a decade, even though the country changed its mind one election later.
This unfortunate moment is a vindication of those like my colleagues Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein, who have been arguing that today’s Republicans are fundamentally different from their forebears. In their appropriately named book, “It’s Even Worse than It Looks,” Mann and Ornstein called the current GOP “an insurgent outlier in American politics,” and described the party this way: “It is ideologically extreme; scornful of compromise . . . and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.”
Their words are a rather precise description of why Boehner was unable to deliver a majority of his party to his budget bill.
It’s true that Boehner miscalculated, foolishly asking Republicans to vote for a symbolic tax increase that had no chance of becoming law. And the speaker fed the fires of rebellion with repeated false claims that Obama had made no meaningful concession when the president had, in fact, annoyed his base by making rather big ones.
But now, at least, we know something important: The current Republican majority in the House cannot govern. Only a coalition across party lines can get the public’s business done.
- In the Republican revolt, a crisis of governance: E.J. Dionne Jr. (oregonlive.com)
- It’s Our System on the Cliff (themoderatevoice.com)
- “It’s Our System On The Cliff”: Republicans Can Spend Two Years Doing Absolutely Nothing Or Try To Help Solve The Country’s Problems (mykeystrokes.com)
- Republicans are falling off the cliff – San Francisco Chronicle (sfgate.com)
- “It’s Our System On The Cliff”: Republicans Can Spend Two Years Doing Absolutely Nothing Or Try To Help Solve The Country’s Problems (bell-book-candle.com)
- E.J. Dionne: Will Republicans respond thoughtfully or vindictively? – The Washington Post (mbcalyn.com)
- With budget battle growing, the tea party disappears (bangordailynews.com)
- “Fiscal cliff” efforts in disarray as U.S. lawmakers flee (reuters.com)
- Tea Party activists double down against Boehner and ‘fiscal cliff’ deal (newsday.com)
- Analysis: GOP policies led to fiscal cliff blowup (news.yahoo.com)
To Save Itself, the Republican Party Needs a Deal With Obama
The Republican brand is sinking. Can the party risk being blamed for paralysis and tax hikes?
Updated: December 21, 2012 | 11:39 a.m.
December 21, 2012 | 11:16 a.m.
AP PHOTO/JULIE JACOBSON
Mitt Romney supporter Nathan White watches presidential returns during a GOP watch party, Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012, in Las Vegas.
You’re John Boehner and you might have only two weeks left as speaker of the House. So what do you do? Your choices are: a), Negotiate the best deal you can with President Obama to avoid the huge fiscal-cliff tax hikes and spending cuts that could drive the country into another recession, put it before the House, and pray that enough Republicans join enough Democrats to get it passed; or b), in hopes of holding on to what has to be one of the most aggravating jobs in the country, continue to try to appease hardcore House Republicans who do not seem to understand the results of an election held just last month.
To recap: Obama won reelection by what looks to be nearly 5 million votes, 51 percent to 47 percent. Democrats netted two more seats in the Senate, which they will control 55-45 in January. Republicans lost eight House seats and the House popular vote.
You’d think those numbers would be clear enough. Conservatives can complain all they want about allegedly “skewed” polls that show majorities of people agree with Obama on issues like taxes and trust him more to look out for their interests. But as the cliché goes, the only poll that counts is on Election Day.
Republicans did, of course, keep their House majority, and that gives them a crucial seat at the table. Yet some are behaving as if their victories in districts shaped to ensure maximum security for conservatives constitute a mandate to impose their ideas on a country that just rejected them. That, and the House’s constitutional role as the chamber where tax bills must originate, has brought us to our current impasse.
Boehner’s best move may be to heed the song made famous by Tim McGraw, “Live Like You Were Dying” —that is, disregard the moment and focus on what really matters. Is it holding out for a conservative wish list, or averting a huge economic setback for the country and the millions of still-jobless people who were central to GOP promises during the 2012 campaign?
Before there was nominee Mitt Romney critiquing “the Obama economy,” there was Boehner’s constant refrain of “Where are the jobs?” If the jobless are not his primary concern right now, he could consider the business and financial communities that remain largely loyal to the GOP, even as its obstructionism has repeatedly disrupted and stalled the recovery in the past few years. They dread uncertainty, but that’s all they’ve been getting.
It would be consistent with Boehner’s legislative past for him to try to work things out. His record includes productive joint efforts with Democrats on health, education, and employment issues. Boehner did say on Friday that he would continue to pursue a deal with Obama, but he also said he was proud of the GOP conference, accused the president of intransigence, and didn’t inspire confidence about the outcome of talks (“How we get there, God only knows”).
The job of speaker is bifurcated. On the one hand, speakers are elected on party-line votes and are generally seen as leaders of their party. On the other, a speaker is second in line to be president, right after the vice president, in the event of a crisis. That suggests a responsibility loftier than party leader—and after all, there is a House majority leader to be the partisan point person.
That is, admittedly, an idealized view. So here’s one rooted in politics and self-interest: By resuming negotiations with the president and allowing the House to vote on the result, Boehner would do his party a favor by putting a reasonable, sensible face on its leadership. It’s possible he wouldn’t be doing himself a favor. But it’s just as possible that after watching this spectacle play out, nobody else will want his job.
- Trouble for Boehner’s Speakership? – NationalJournal.com (mbcalyn.com)
- The N.R.A. Protection Racket – NYTimes.com (mbcalyn.com)
- CNN Poll: Are GOP policies too extreme? (mbcalyn.com)
- Tomorrow never comes – Tea Party Nation (gds44.wordpress.com)
- Republican Party gives Conservatives another reason not to vote for the 2016 Republican presidential nominee (moralmatters.org)
- Democratic House Candidates Now Have A Nearly 1.2 Million Vote Lead Over The Republicans (thinkprogress.org)
- It’s not just that Boehner won’t. Boehner can’t. (prairieweather.typepad.com)
- John Boehner caves again – Tea Party Nation (gds44.wordpress.com)
- Opinion: GOP Too Extreme (washington.cbslocal.com)
- The Republican Party is Not in Decline (consideragain.com)
Which path for the right?
By E.J. Dionne Jr.,
In the weeks since the election, my hopes have been buttressed by conservatives willing to say that, since Republican candidates have lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections, new thinking might be in order. Democrats went through the same dismal cycle between 1968 and 1988, producing a reformation on the center-left. Conservatives are surely capable of the same.
Oh, yes, and conservatives realize they can’t win elections if they keep turning off Latinos, African Americans, Asians and the young, particularly younger women. As one conservative friend said recently, “It’s not exactly a great approach to go to a Latino voter and say, ‘Well, we’d really rather you weren’t here, but we’d still like you to vote for us.’ ” The potential of a renaissance in conservative thought is enormous, if the right can overcome a certain intellectual laziness and inflexibility that, in fairness, have at other times afflicted the progressive side of politics.
There is, unfortunately, another school of thought on the right that rejects adjusting to a new electorate and to circumstances very different from the ones that Ronald Reagan inherited in 1980. Strategies for future victories are based on a naked use of government power to alter the political playing field in a way that diminishes the political influence of groups likely to be hostile to the conservative agenda.
The tea party movement cast itself as an authentic grass-roots expression of democracy, and in some ways it was. But the conservative legislatures it swept into office in so many states in 2010 took decidedly anti-democratic actions aimed at reducing the size of the electorate through a variety of voter-suppression measures — hard-to-obtain voter IDs, shorter early-voting periods, new barriers to voter registration drives and long ballots that slowed the lines on Election Day. The U.S. Supreme Court, in the meantime, changed the rules about financing campaigns in theCitizens United decision, enhancing the sway of wealthy people and moneyed interests.
Now comes Michigan’s new right-to-work law, passed Tuesday in a travesty of normal democratic deliberation. This effort to weaken unions would be problematic in any event. The moral case for unions is that they give bargaining strength to workers who would have far less capacity to improve their wages and benefits negotiating as individuals. Further gutting unions is the last thing we need to do at a time when the income gap is growing.
But beyond that, the way Gov. Rick Snyder (R) and the Republican Michigan Legislature rushed right-to-work through a lame-duck session was insidious. The anti-union crowd waited until after the election to pass it. Snyder had avoided taking a stand on right-to-work until just last week, when he miraculously discovered that it would be a first-rate economic development measure. The law was included as part of an appropriations bill to make it much harder for voters to challenge it in a referendum.
The political motivation here is obvious. Union families are the premier cross-racial Democratic constituency. Nationwide, President Obama carried union households by 18 points but non-union households by only one point — a “union gap” of 17 points. In Michigan, the union gap was an astonishing 32 points: Obama won union households 66 percent to 33 percent, the rest of the electorate by 50 percent to 49 percent.
But the most disturbing aspect of the Michigan power grab is what it says about where the conservative argument may go. Those willing to expand the appeal of conservatism by refreshing it will face opposition from those who would try to make new thinking unnecessary. They’d simply rig the rules to chip away at the political capacity of groups that don’t buy into conservative orthodoxy.
A movement dedicated to markets should have more confidence in democracy’s free market of ideas and stop trying to distort it.
- E.J. Dionne Jr.: How do you vote for compromise? – The Washington Post (mbcalyn.com)
- What path will conservative politics take?: E.J. Dionne Jr. (oregonlive.com)
- E.J. Dionne Jr.: The inconvenient truths of 2012 – The Washington Post (mbcalyn.com)
- Is E.J. Dionne smart enough to be a major columnist? If so, does he think his readers are stupid? (troglopundit.wordpress.com)
- E.J. Dionne: The Gilded Age vs. the 21st century – The Washington Post (mbcalyn.com)
- Which Path for the Right? (themoderatevoice.com)
- E.J. DIONNE: How do you vote for compromise? (tauntongazette.com)
- The No-Tax-Hike Pledge Is an IQ Test for Republicans (conservativeread.com)
- Tea Party Alive and Well – Democrats Scared (conservativeread.com)
- E.J. DIONNE: The inconvenient truths of 2012 (tauntongazette.com)
Democrats Declare Checkmate in Fiscal Cliff Debate
Updated: December 14, 2012 | 10:11 a.m.
December 13, 2012 | 5:57 p.m.
AP PHOTO/J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE
The U.S. Capitol in Washington is seen at dawn, Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012.
In the ongoing fiscal cliff chess match playing out on Capitol Hill, Democrats have a message for Republicans: checkmate.
Democrats look at the political landscape and see a win whether a deal gets cut now or after the country goes over the cliff. Worst-case scenario, they say, the House will approve legislation the Senate passed in July extending Bush-era tax cuts for everyone but the rich, an idea that Republican House Speaker John Boehner has flatly rejected.
If Boehner refuses to pass the Senate bill before the end of the year, Democrats say their hand only gets stronger in the new year when the Senate will have 55 Democrats and at least five Republicans who have signaled they could vote to extend the middle-class tax cuts.
“We have the political high ground — there is no question about it. The sooner they realize it, the better it will be for them,” Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer said of the Republicans. “In 2010 it was the opposite. They had the political high ground and we had to do just about all cuts and no revenues. Now, the election was fought on revenues; we won it on revenues; the public is with us on revenues.”
Indeed, polls show that a majority of Americans favor raising taxes on the wealthy and will blame the GOP if the country goes over the cliff. And Democrats don’t believe that Republicans have the time, the megaphone or the leverage to force Democrats into making significant entitlement cuts right now. Congress just spent the last year making more than $1 trillion in cuts and Democrats say they are well-insulated from charges that they’re unwilling to slash spending.
“If we go over the cliff, it doesn’t last long. That’s why these guys are fundamentally checkmated,” said a senior Democratic leadership aide.
But if Democrats are to be believed when they say that they don’t want the country to go over the cliff, then President Obama and his Democratic allies may be overplaying their hand — their hardline on raising taxes and minimizing spending cuts could contribute to a cliff dive.
Still, Democrats are convinced that the public support is so solidly behind them that there’s little risk to this particular game of chicken.
Democrats argue that the Senate bill would pass the House if Boehner brought it to the floor, evidenced by the fact that he hasn’t allowed a vote on it. (Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said the speaker hasn’t brought up the bill because the House has already passed legislation to extend all the tax rates.)
What Boehner probably doesn’t have, Democrats reason, is a majority of his caucus behind the bill, which is essential to preserving his speakership. A dynamic, the Democratic aide said, that is “not our f—ing problem.”
“We should pass the Senate bill. That’s the step that needs to be taken. The speaker needs to say to his caucus, ‘Look the election is over and we need to pass the Senate bill,” said Rep. Sandy Levin, the top ranking Democrat on the “We’re not overplaying our hand. The public spoke.”
Democratic Caucus Chairman John Larson said that while Democrats don’t want to go over the cliff, “Some Dems are saying, you can see it in their eyes, they’re saying, ‘Well, Republicans think they’re going to play chicken? They’re playing with the wrong people.”
For their part, Republicans rejected as fantasy the idea that Democrats have them boxed in, arguing that going over the cliff will mean billions of dollars in automatic spending cuts to defense and other programs as well as another fight over whether to raise the country’s debt limit.
“We’re not in a box. The question is, ‘Are Democrats going to drive us over a cliff for politics?’ If the answer is yes, then we’ll just have to see what happens,” said Republican Rep. Aaron Schock, who sits on the Ways and Means Committee.
Some Republicans believe that Obama’s drive to raise rates is a political calculation to divide Republicans and pave the way for a Democratic takeover of the House in two years.
“No doubt he’s still campaigning to have his last two years be like his first two years and get everything he wants,” said Republican Rep. James Lankford, adding that Republicans are frustrated because raising taxes won’t solve the nation’s deficit problems.
“That’s the big issue. It’s as if the president wants a messaging piece – ‘Look, I raised taxes. I poked the wealthy people in the eye,’” he said. “And we look at that and say, ‘What did that just accomplish other than you got a good talking point for your base?’”
Another Republican lawmaker was more blunt.
“We’re going over the cliff because he believes it’s to his benefit,” the lawmaker said. “Obama better hope he’s right.”
- Democrats Declare Checkmate in Fiscal Cliff Negotiations (politicalwire.com)
- Democrats Declare Checkmate in Fiscal Cliff Negotiations (tribuneofthepeople.com)
- Majority Have Unfavorable View of Boehner’s Fiscal Cliff Negotiations (mbcalyn.com)
- Fiscal cliff delays holiday homecoming for Congress – CNN (edition.cnn.com)
- Fiscal cliff delays holiday homecoming for Congress (cnn.com)
- Night talks: Obama, Boehner meet on ‘fiscal cliff’ (news.yahoo.com)
- Night talks: Obama, Boehner meet on ‘fiscal cliff’ (newsobserver.com)
- GOP image already over the cliff (firstread.nbcnews.com)
- Night talks: Obama, Boehner meet on ‘fiscal cliff’ (kansascity.com)
- Senate Republicans Are Ready To Cave On Tax Increases, And They Think They Can Still Win The Fiscal Cliff If They Do (businessinsider.com)
Dems to GOP: Stop Stalling and Name Your Entitlement Cuts
AP PHOTO/J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE
Sen. Claire McCaskill balks at drawing a line in the sand on entitlements.
Senate Democrats are blaming Republicans for the slow pace of the fiscal cliff negotiations, arguing that Republicans have failed to lay out the entitlement spending cuts they want to see as part of a deal.
Instead, Republicans are trying to force Democrats into negotiating with themselves and in the process take on the political burden of proposing both tax increases on the wealthy and spending cuts that could hit the middle class, a Senate Democratic leadership aide said.
Some congressional Democrats like Sen. , the party’s No. 2 in the Senate, have taken a hard line against including entitlement spending cuts in a deal to avert the fiscal cliff.
But a Senate Democratic leadership aide said Democrats are open to making a down payment on future spending cuts if Republicans would only tell them what they want.
“The hard line on entitlements is based on the two-step process of don’t do it now, but we are open to it next year,” said the aide, adding that Democrats aren’t going to let Republicans “head fake us into doing entitlement cuts.”
Senate Democrats say they have made their opening bid on the revenue side by pushing House Republicans to approve a Senate-passed bill to extend the Bush-era tax cuts for the middle class while raising tax rates on the wealthy.
Now, Democrats want Republicans to offer up the spending cuts they want to see – a move the GOP doesn’t seem inclined to make right now.
President Obama has argued for a balanced approach to broad deficit reduction that would include spending cuts and tax revenue increases. Now the “question is, what spending cuts will Washington Democrats accept?” said Republican House Speaker ’s spokesman Michael Steel.
For their part, Republicans argue that they have passed a budget that included significant entitlement reforms and now it’s up to the president to say what cuts he will support.
“What’s needed is leadership from the White House,” a House Republican leadership aide said.
And despite the anti-spending cut rhetoric coming from Democratic leaders, several Senate Democrats left plenty of wiggle room on Wednesday when asked if they’d oppose an Obama-brokered deal that included entitlement reform.
Democratic Sen. , a longtime Obama ally, said she wants to see a deal that reduces the debt by about $4 trillion over the long term but is being “stubbornly vague” about what kind of deal she would accept.
“I’m not going to be any more specific than that because once you draw a line in the sand, it just makes it harder to get a deal,” she said.
Even Democratic Sen. , who has publicly opposed including Medicare or Medicaid cuts in a deal, refrained from saying that Democrats would reject an Obama-Boehner crafted deal that includes spending cuts. Instead, he urged the president to keep Senate Democrats in the loop so they can work something out.
“We want to be apprised all along so that we can raise objections as we go along rather than at the end so I hope we don’t get any surprise sprung on us,” he said. “If so, we may have a lot of Democrats that just won’t go along with it.”
- Democrats demand Republicans name the entitlement cuts they want (dailykos.com)
- Where are Democrats’ Spending Cuts? (speaker.gov)
- Supermajority Within Reach for Senate Democrats (rollcall.com)
- Senate Dems divided over cuts to benefit programs (news.yahoo.com)
- Senate Dems divided over cuts to benefit programs (amarillo.com)
- Dems balk at entitlement push (politico.com)
- An Open Letter to the Fools in the GOP (gestetnerupdates.com)
- Senate Dems divided over cuts to benefit programs (sfgate.com)
- Supercut: Hey, remember when Democrats loved the filibuster? (hotair.com)
- How Holiday Hysteria Could Force Politicians to Cut a Fiscal-Cliff Deal (theatlantic.com)
Let’s go over the fiscal cliff
By Marc A. Thiessen,
Today, the only ones in Washington who advocate fiscal cliff-diving are liberal Democrats. It’s time for conservatives to join them. Letting the Bush tax cuts expire will strengthen the GOP’s hand in tax negotiations next year, and it may be the only way Republicans can force President Obama and Senate Democrats to agree to fundamental tax reform.
Right now, Democrats believe they have the upper hand in the fiscal standoff. Patty Murray (Wash.) — the fourth-ranking Senate Democrat and the leading champion on Capitol Hill for going over the fiscal cliff — says that Republicans are “in a real box” because “if they do nothing, those increased taxes [they oppose] will take place.” If Republicans dig in, says Murray, all Democrats need to do is “go past the December 31st deadline” and let the tax increases happen automatically.
There’s one problem with her scenario: While the Bush tax cuts expire on Dec. 31, so do a lot of tax policies the Democrats support. For example:
●The 10 percent income tax bracket would disappear, so the lowest tax rate would be 15 percent.
●The employee share of the Social Security payroll tax would rise from 4.2 percent to 6.2 percent.
●An estimated 33 million taxpayers — many in high-tax blue states — would be required to pay the alternative minimum tax, up from 4 million who owed it in 2011.
●The child tax credit would be cut in half, from $1,000 today to $500, and would no longer be refundable for most.
●Tax preferences for alternative fuels, community development and other Democratic priorities would go away.
●And the expansions of the earned income tax credit and the dependent care credit would disappear as well.
Letting these tax policies expire would level the playing field for Republicans in tax negotiations next year. Instead of being in a “box,” Republican leaders would have leverage again — something the Democrats want and would have to make concessions to get.
Going over the fiscal cliff would help the GOP in another way: It would save Republicans from having to break their pledge not to raise taxes. If GOP leaders hold the line on taxes this fall, and the Bush tax cuts expire despite their best efforts, it would not harm their reputation as the party of low taxes. But if Republicans vote proactively to raise taxes as part of a “grand bargain,” the GOP brand would be irreparably damaged. Raising taxes and losing a fight to stop automatic tax increases are two different things.
Moreover, if the Bush tax cuts expire, the baseline for future negotiations would be reset. A bipartisan agreement would be within reach that reforms and simplifies the tax code, with a top rate lower than the Clinton rate but higher than the Bush one. Instead of Republicans being under pressure to raise taxes, Obama and the Democrats would be under pressure to reduce the top rate from the Clinton level as part of an eventual deal.
For the GOP, this would be far preferable to the current scenario. Right now, Democrats are demanding that Republicans raise taxes while Republicans are demanding that Democrats agree to cut Social Security and Medicare spending. A grand bargain this fall, then, would mean that Republicans get to raise revenue from their own supporters (small-business job creators) in exchange for cutting spending for their own supporters (seniors). Genius! Much better to wipe the slate clean, and start over with more leverage for fundamental tax reform and structural entitlement reform.
What if we go off the fiscal cliff and Democrats still won’t negotiate? Then Republicans should make clear that they are willing to live with the higher, Clinton-era rates. It will be hard for the Democrats to paint such a scenario as an economic disaster, because letting the Bush tax cuts expire simply restores the status quo during the Clinton administration. During the campaign, President Obama repeatedly told us how he wants to “go back to the income tax rates we were paying under Bill Clinton — back when our economy created nearly 23 million new jobs, the biggest budget surplus in history, and plenty of millionaires to boot.” Well if the Clinton tax rates were so great, let’s go back to all of the Clinton rates and relive the booming ’90s.
At least going back to the Clinton rates would put more people on the tax rolls, and give more Americans a stake in constraining government spending. It would also force all Americans — including the middle class — to pay for growing government services, instead of borrowing the money from China and passing the costs on to the next generation.
Americans had a choice this November, and they voted for bigger government. Rather shielding voters from the consequences of their decisions, let them pay for it.
- Marc Thiessen: Let’s go over the fiscal cliff – The Washington Post (rightcoast.typepad.com)
- Jump! Why Obama should go off the fiscal cliff (tv.msnbc.com)
- Patty Murray: No tax agreement that doesn’t include new revenue (seattlepi.com)
- Patty Murray Says ‘Don’t Fear The Fiscal Cliff’ (sweetness-light.com)
- Sen. Murray’s Recommendation For Fiscal Cliff (npr.org)
- Sen. Murray argues new Congress could draft new bill after fiscal cliff deadline, says balance is key (startingpoint.blogs.cnn.com)
- Democrats Prepared To Let Bush Tax Cuts Expire Before Taking Bad Deal (alan.com)
- Sen. Murray, Dems: Perhaps drive over ‘fiscal cliff,’ then bargain (komonews.com)
- National GOP leaders should follow Collins’ lead, negotiate tax increase on wealthy (bangordailynews.com)
- Southerland: Fiscal cliff ‘perfect storm’ (newsherald.com)
5 Giant Contradictions That Are Sinking the GOP
Enough uplifting, all-purpose notions why Obama and Democrats prevailed, some pertinent (like demographics), many laughable: it was Sandy the storm, tons of “stuff” Obama promised, or Democratic voter repression (right!). “No, no,” shout disbelievers, “Mitt was too moderate, or too extreme, his V.P. too fixated.” Or Obama was simply superior on the stump. Below such media noise rumbles a larger tectonic, thus my nomination for what made this election significant: a gang of rightwing contradictions reared up, then crashed and burned.
While this trend transcends any one folly, Romney was the ideal, fossilized Republican awash in a fantasy golden age when bountiful bosses generated jobs and pampered laborers. Likewise, what bizarre political deviance tabbed Paul Ryan as more than a shrill ideologue with zero national clout? For the first time, both misfits atop a national ticket lost their home states. Remarkably, even that matchless twosome, McCain-Palin, outpolled (and outwinked) the votes to Romney-Ryan.
And the good news rolls on: fake debates came and went, gaffes didn’t disqualify, and America survived another suspense-packed media circus. Reactionary donors didn’t buy the election, as feared, though they warped the discourse by exiling climactic issues: energy planning, Wall Street reform, drone killers, global warming, Afghanistan, education and immigration. Minor stuff, really. Did more billionaires ever waste more treasure failing to convince more doubters we all share the same economic interests? And the president got away with never fleshing in what a second term presaged, his pitch reduced to: “Not Romney.” Oddly, Mitt the bereft plied the same waters: “Not Obama.”
Frivolities aside, Republican dinosaurs tanked because they fell into their own dazzling quicksand of contradictions, exposing both intellectual fraudulence and ideological perversity. Even gullible Americans, eager to endorse UFOs and angelic (or satanic) intervention but not evolution, are growing up (and growing younger). Despite sham indirections, Romney-Ryan personified the rightwing swamp, swarming with deception, denial, blarney, and delusion. To wit:
Glaring Contradiction One: Big government is evil except when running wars, paying subsidies, or legalizing morality
With a refreshing demonstration the Big Lie doesn’t always gain by repetition, the confluence of Romney’s robotic personhood reinforced the core vacuity of the GOP con game replayed here one too many times. Thus, big government is diabolical when serving up social justice or safety nets, emergency relief, science education and research, safety and environmental regulations. Drown that overpriced sucker. Yet, when empire building or tax cutting for the rich, jailing criminals or forcing women to give birth, paying out oil, resource, or farm subsidies, government is the glory of law and order, the foundation of civilization. Throw in handgun laxity or abusing the rights of dissenters, accused terrorists and whistleblowers, then intrusive government cannot be too big. Contradictions rule the right, like those who worship Jesus but also capital punishment, sanctify the unborn but pardon killers of abortion doctors.
What Obama’s win, alongside surging Democratic senators, disrupted was the dubious marriage between billionaires dying to own the government and fundamentalists dying to institutionalize regressive morality. This election exploded Reaganite propaganda that “big government” is the problem by spotlighting the true middle-class nemesis: the rich, reactionary, class warriors who demonize government for contesting their unbridled freedom to get richer. Federalism is hardly perfect, but a majority of voters reinforced Washington as the strongest bulwark against the terrors of predatory capitalism, economic cycles and man-made “natural” disasters.
Glaring Contradiction Two: Plutocrats Should Run Democracy
America still boasts an increasingly inclusive, less racist electorate, and ethnic diversity honors a messy democracy. Did this election not displace white, affluent dominance with a much-poorer rainbow of minorities? The results set battle lines between a concentrated plutocracy vs. the authority of a democratic majority. In this regard, Romney was the perfect candidate to dramatize the contradiction that heartless plutocrats cannot rule a vital, compassionate democracy. Enter the first predatory capitalist to loom over the presidency – and his explicit performance, as a narrow, mean-spirited, out-of-touch hustler, came right out of central casting. Bravo for the only positive from an insane GOP primary; even goofy McCain would have fared better.
Whatever enduring Citizens United ripples, 2012 defined a new coalition that rejected the 1% Rove billionaires and demanded, at the least, fairer taxation. More bumps will come (if 2014 turnout is low) but 2016 should reprise the same question: will this demographically-enriched majority get to rule, even offset House gerrymandering, or will narcissistic robber barons reign in their unwarranted power. Along with bashing the wobbly billionaire-Tea Party alliance, this new coalition should declare open season on the perverse notion that plutocrats should dominate a democratic system.
Glaring Contradiction Three: The Rugged Individualism of the Super-rich
Either good government advances the “general welfare” (with public education, social justice, family and small business support), or we lose what’s left of our once vaunted socio-economic mobility. Thus, campaign debate over “who built what,” or the “profits” that accrue from tax dollars, were healthy checks on outdated myths. What more undermined the fiction of “self-made billionaires” this season than the display of desperate manipulation that disregarded collective, national needs for private, selfish gains?
What is tawdrier than a few hundred super-rich families investing a few hundred million each to enhance assets worth many more billions? As Elizabeth Warren proclaimed: “You built a factory out there? Good for you,” yet “you moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for; you hired workers the rest of us paid to educate; you were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for.” And then she brilliantly defined the community- democracy partnership: “Now look, you built a factory and it turned into something terrific, or a great idea? God bless. Keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is, you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.” This paramount message deserves a replay every election.
Glaring Contradiction Four: When Ignorance is Neither Bliss, Nor Power
The rightwing allergy to reality is now front and center: blunt denial of unarguable, tested knowledge defies reality and corrupts truth. Worse still is the projection of their bad will onto honorable scientists: evolution and climate change aren’t just wrong or misguided, but hoaxes invented to hoodwink fools. Irony, anyone? So, the right scorns underpaid climate experts but imbibes the overpaid FOX goons dishing out fear, paranoia, and conspiracy theories. That fishy logic won’t swim.
Thank any deity you like for Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock, with bountiful, unintended blessings. When jaw-dropping absurdities about sex go national, the media has to tell the truth and debunk the magic thinking of Biblical literalists. Did Akin and Mourdock not discredit the entire GOP platform, let alone amendment talk to ban all abortions or gay marriage? Knowledge may be complicated, even controversial, but this season we observed how simple, and simple-minded, bloody ignorance on parade can be, with compelling election payoffs.
Glaring Contradiction Five: When Social Wedge Issues Lose their Edges
So, now we know any national party warring against millions of voters — whether women, minorities, immigrants, gays, or the jobless poor — contradicts its core interests. 2012 confirmed the shelf life of noxious wedge issues used to elect W. (free abortions, gay rights, looming gun bans) have long expired. Even slurs against the Muslim, socialist non-citizen boomeranged. When racist, homophobic code is decoded, then exposed, even superficial headline readers gag on crude bait-and-switch politics. Indeed, we learned that divisive wedge issues that lose their edges morph into blunt instruments that bloody the maker, not the victim target. Bring on the Birthers, broadcasting the impervious, intellectual bankruptcy of the extreme, illiterate right.
The tide has turned: majorities no longer deem homosexuality immoral, nor marijuana a sinful crime, indeed, a helpful cancer drug. Rigid opposition to abortion elects otherwise hopeless Democrats (talk about irrational!). Sensible conservatives, all six of them, now defend gay marriage because staple relationships support (conservative) institutions that teach moral values, stabilizing the otherwise errant young.
Overall, the Republican Tea Party was slammed not simply because Democrats ran terrific campaigns, but because so many core GOP contradictions imploded, then exploded, the huge price for living too long in deluded bubbles. That doesn’t mean billionaires or Tea Party wingnuts will clean up their intellectual acts, nor develop Christian tolerance to other points of view. But this election displayed a growing electorate, and that demonstrated how entrenched, unbaked contradictions, when outliving all usefulness, turn into weapons of self-destruction. Reality, like truth, will out in a world where contradictions are exposed, and for me that’s what made this election memorable.5 Giant Contradictions That Are Sinking the GOP | Alternet.
- 5 Giant Contradictions That Are Sinking the GOP (alternet.org)
- 5 glaring contradictions that sank the GOP (salon.com)
- 5 Giant Contradictions That Sunk the GOP (alternet.org)
- American Surveillance State Eats Petraeus | 5 Massive Contradictions Sinking GOP | Casual Sex Rules (womensphilanthropy.typepad.com)
- Eugene Robinson: Republicans don’t heed lessons of the election – The Washington Post (mbcalyn.com)
- Beyond God and Guns: Why the GOP May Lose the White Working Class | Alternet (mbcalyn.com)
- Mitt Hits the Panic Button | Alternet (mbcalyn.com)
- Why Mitt Romney Lost – and the GOP Will Continue to Lose – Reason.com (mbcalyn.com)
- Middle Class Defeats Vulture Capitalist | Does Sugar Kill? | When Right-Wing Christians Turned Anti-Woman (womensphilanthropy.typepad.com)
- The GOP’s own contradiction is what alienates Latinos from thinking its their party (latinalista.com)