Via J.S. Mill in HC Deb 31 May 1866 vol 183 cc1554-666:
What I stated was, that the Conservative party was, by the law of its constitution, necessarily the stupidest party. Now, I do not retract this assertion; but I did not mean that Conservatives are generally stupid; I meant, that stupid persons are generally Conservative. I believe that to be so obvious and undeniable a fact that I hardly think any hon. Gentleman will question it.
It’s finals season and with a case study and two seminar papers written, it’s off to studying Campaigns and Elections for my exam on Saturday. But in the midst of procrastinating, I came upon a twitter post linking to a Jonathan Chait article on TNR discussing Mark Penn’s failure to grasp even the minute aspects of American politics.
Penn’s Argument: America is headed towards the introduction of a viable third party along the center of the vast divide between the political ideologies of the Democrats and Republicans. This third party will be socially liberal and fiscally conservative.
Penn’s Evidence: The American system of federalism and separation of powers was bound to produce and reinforce two-party strength, especially with the introduction of campaign finance laws and redistricting. There is currently a gulf in American political representation, as most Americans identify as independents.
Chait’s Response: Chait points out Penn’s lack of recognition of the role that America’s first-past-the-post electoral system (plurality rule) and electoral college play in discouraging third parties. He then goes on to show note that as any student of political science knows, the number of people who self-identify as independents bares little relationship to those people actually having little to no affiliation with a particular political ideology (traditionally, even independents tend to hold strong political views and vote certain ways – either Democrat or Republican). Finally, Chait argues that the underrepresented opinion in this nation is not socially liberal and economic conservative, but rather economically liberal and socially conservative (think Catholics).
Read Chait’s response in full. It should teach you a little bit about the basics of political science and it sure helped me study for my exam.
Andrew covers recent polls that show Millennials moving away from the Republican party:
Drum chimes in:
[The GOP's] earlier embrace of social fundamentalism was largely responsible for driving away young voters in the first place, and now, left only with a core of middle-aged and elderly voters that they need to keep loyal, they’re likely to pursue policies that push the young even further away. This might produce occasional victories, but no political party can survive this kind of vicious cycle in the long run. Having long since alienated blacks, Hispanics, and virtually the entire Northeast, Republicans can hardly afford to permanently lose young voters as well. The white South and the elderly just aren’t enough to sustain a national party.
Filed under: Republicans
I understand why they call themselves “Conservatives” but can the GOP take a page out of the Tories playbook and at least accept that society, socially acceptable preferences and ideas, and people are changing?
This is disgraceful. But as the lady says at the end, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. This is just one opinion that I certainly do not agree with.
“The Millennial Commission” by Hilary Doe and Lucas Puente, published on The Huffington Post:
f you believe the stereotype that Millennials, members of the generation born between 1978 and 2000, are indifferent to issues of social insurance — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. — Congress’s recent conversations should change your mind. Even if you imagined that young people across the country were not personally touched by or invested in the support that social insurance provides, you must recognize that the proposed Deficit Commission, intended to decrease the national debt by making cuts outside the democratic process, could serve as a rallying cry — an impetus for the largest-ever generation of Americans to demand a voice in the debate. Before Social Security or Medicare are targeted and slashed as part of the undemocratic commission’s “solution” to our growing fiscal debt, Millennials must be given the opportunity to weigh in. That is because we are engaged in these issues, we are prepared to contribute our perspective, and, most importantly, we are capable of designing the society that we would like to inherit.
It Goes Beyond Debt: Insuring Our Present and Our Future
As many have previously noted, the Millennial Generation is unique. We are interconnected, socially conscious, and innovative. We desire community, hold a holistic view of the world, and value progress. The Social Insurance programs taking the brunt of criticism by deficit hawks in DC have shaped our society since the Social Security Act’s passage in1935. If they are to change, reforms should be informed by these values, and not simply by a goal of deficit reduction. A country’s social insurance programs should be reflective of the citizens they serve. Therefore, instead of simply worrying about passing debt to future generations, Congress must consider the society that young Americans desire to live in when considering reform.
Millennials recognize the benefits of social insurance. We are beneficiaries of Medicaid benefits. We recognize the important role that Social Security and Medicare can play in our future. We aspire to self-employment and identify ourselves as entrepreneurs–an aspiration made less risky by a strong social safety net.
Additionally, Social Security already supports Millennials nationwide. For example, millions of young Americans are being raised by their grandparents. For many, the income received from social security makes this possible. Additionally, Social Security provides financial support to the families of children whose parents are disabled or deceased. In total, Social Security removes 1.3 million children from poverty every year and improves the impoverished conditions of 1.5 million others. Even Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) reaches less than half of the number of children whose conditions are improved via Social Security. As a generation, we must recognize that both our present and our future are directly affected by the existence, strength, and breadth of the American social safety net.
A recent report by the Center for American Progress and Demos confirms the Millennial Generation’s support of strong social insurance programs in America. Millennials favor increased government spending to stabilize Social Security, with 66% of 18 to 29 year-olds in support, compared with 52% of those over 60. Similarly, the number of young adults favoring more government support for Americans’ retirement stands at 69%, up from 56% in 1996 and 53% in 1985.
Let Us Design the Society that We Will Inherit
The Millennial generation’s support for Social Security does not imply, however, that we are not concerned about the level of debt that we will inherit. We are not ignorant of the cuts or revenue-raising measures that will need to be taken to ensure the solvency of any program that we intend to support. We are concerned. We are conscious of the difficult decisions that need to be made, and, we must be included in these important conversations. In fact, the aforementioned values and attitudes that define our generation–innovation, social consciousness, and interconnectedness–imply a unique potential for Millennials to design a system that is fresh, transformative, responsible, and reflective of those people that it supports. We can imagine reform efforts that pay heed to reality and look outside the box to redesign our social safety net.
So, while we appreciate Congress’s efforts to reel in the national debt, an undemocratic process that compromises social insurance without input from the citizens that it supports is not the answer. Failing to include the perspective of Millennials, the generation that stands to be impacted more than any other at the table, would represent a tremendous missed opportunity. Most importantly, by not engaging the Millennial generation on issues of social insurance, we fail to consult a generation of Americans equipped with powerful ideas capable of balancing our budget and reinvigorating social insurance for decades to come. That is something this country simply cannot afford.
Filed under: U.S. Politics
“Lott’s comment implied that the country would have been better off keeping segregation and enforced white supremacy. What Reid said isn’t within a lightyear of that.”
Breaking news in CT politics:
Secretary Of State Susan Bysiewicz is expected to announce that she will drop her bid for governor and run for the attorney general’s office.Bysiewicz’s campaign office said she will make a formal announcement on Wednesday regarding her political plans.
Attorney General Richard Blumenthal announced last week he will not seek re-election for the office and that he will run for U.S. Senate in lieu of Sen. Christopher Dodd‘s announcement that he will not seek re-election.
Bysiewicz had been a front-runner in the gubernatorial race. According to a recent poll by Public Policy Polling, Bysiewicz held a lead of 25 and 22 points over Lt. Gov. Michael Fedel and Tom Foley respectively. PPP pollsters surveyed 522 Connecticut voters on Jan. 4 and Jan. 5.
Last week, former state chairman of the Democratic Party George Jepsen said he is considering a run for the attorney general’s office.
Okay so let’s get this straight:
Susan Bysiewicz is running for AG
Richard Blumenthal is running for Senate
Now who is going to be our democratic nominee for governor?? Dan Malloy (he’s my pick), Ned Lamont, or someone new??
The argument being made by the GOP: Reid’s comments about Obama were as racially insensitive as Lott’s comments that lead to his resignation. Reid should resign.
Here’s TNC giving his take on the issue.
Lott celebrated apartheid Mississippi’s support of Strom Thurmond, and then said that had Thurmond won, “we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years.” Strom Thurmond run for president, specifically because he opposed Harry Truman’s efforts at integration. This is not mere conjecture–nearly half of Thurmond’s platform was dedicated to preserving segregation. The Dixiecrat slogan was “Segregation Forever!” (Exclamation point, theirs.) Trent Lott’s wasn’t forced to resign because he said something “racially insensitive.” He was forced to resign because he offered tacit endorsement of white supremacy–frequently.
Claiming that Harry Reid’s comments are the same, is like claiming that referring to Jews as “Hebrews” is the same as endorsing Nazism. Whereas a reputable portion of black people still usethe term Negro without a hint of irony, no black person thinks the guy yelling “Segregation Forever!” would have cured us of “all these problems.”
Leaving aside political cynicism, this entire affair proves that the GOP is not simply still infected with the vestiges of white supremacy and racism, but is neither aware of the infection, nor understands the disease. Listening to Liz Cheney explain why Harry Reid’s comments were racist, was like listening to me give lessons on the finer points of the comma splice. This a party, rightly or wrongly, regarded by significant portions of the country as a haven for racists. They aren’t simply having a hard time re-branding, they don’t actually understand how and why they got the tag.
My opinion: What Lott did (and what other Republicans have done – remember those emails, pictures, comments?!?) is direct and unacceptable and ground for resignation. What Reid did shows insensitivity and ignorance. But because he statement was not direct, it shows that he is really just acting like a holdover from a generations whose ideas on racial issues have passed their prime. Reid needs to make a statement, that’s the only correct thing to do. He should also do damage control with the presser with the President and maybe an event or so with him. Either way, both comments are unacceptable. Come on people!
Filed under: BU for Barack, Campaigning, Democratic Nomination 2008, Election 2008, President Obama, Voters, Youth Vote
From FM (in full because it’s so good!):
Those of us in the progressive youth movement have been talking about the importance of young voter outreach for a long time now. We tried to drive home the point that young voters are not apathetic, but disengaged due to that self-fulfilling prophecy of traditional campaign ‘wisdom.’ Youth political organizations kept succeeding, increasing youth turnout in 2004 and 2006. David Plouffe, David Axelrod, and Barack Obama eschewed tradition by deciding from the beginning that organizing young voters to expand the electorate would be the key to victory.
“One of [Paul] Tewes’s ideas was to make sure we were working every community, no matter how small. African American, Latino, high school kids, Republicans–we had staff assigned to all of the demographics, months ahead of our competition.” The Obama campaign began by working hard to turn out the potential voters that traditional campaigns write off. While critics of the youth vote claim that 2008 was a fluke and just about Obama, it is clear that the campaign worked hard to organize youth that had never been asked for their vote by a campaign. The campaign knew that they “would win Iowa only on the backs of independents, Republicans, young voters, and new registrants–a scary proposition, to say the least.”
The campaign was able to look at the election through the lens of a young voter. “At least 95 percent of our six thousand employees were under the age of thirty, most under the age of twenty-five.” While it is not uncommon for a lot of campaign staff to be young, what was exceptional about the Obama campaign was the respect for them and the willingness to trust their instincts on what was happening on the ground.
We adjusted accordingly, adding more media and Internet advertising geared exclusively to younger voters; we prepared to do a lot more instructional and informative work with our supporters so they knew how to caucus, while trying not to spook them; and we redoubled our efforts to attract support from conventional caucus Democrats so our newbies in certain precincts were matched with some grizzled veterans.
The campaign invested in “advertising specifically geared toward women, seniors, and younger voters, African Americans and Latinos.” The messaging of the youth advertising reflected an understanding of the generation: “spots for those under thirty were very aspirational, a call to action, focusing on issues like Iraq and the environment, and calling on younger voters to get involved in shaping the future.” Young voters, used to being ignored, were finally being engaged by a campaign with the same effort and respect showed to seniors.
The Obama campaign conceived of and executed a strategy to expand the electorate by registering and turning out young voters and other traditionally underrepresented demographics. Here are a few passages from The Audacity to Win on how this strategy became a winning one:
As the returns came in we could see the traces of our strategy’s design: by registering over one hundred thousand new voters, producing strong turnout among African Americans and young voters, and winning college-educated whites thanks to our stand against the gas tax, we had made ourselves unbeatable in North Carolina.
We registered many thousands of new voters in both states, and these voters participated at high rates, defying the conventional view that new registrants turn out in very low numbers. A strong showing from African Americans and younger voters might put both these states in play in the general election.
If we did not register enough African Americans and young voters in North Carolina and then turn them out on Election Day, we could not win. Facing a traditional electorate meant we shouldn’t even bother with a state like North Carolina, no matter how much money we spent.
By focusing their attention on young voters and actually spending resources on research, the campaign learned new things about new and young voters. An example was when their numbers showed that they were not meeting their initial goals for youth early voting:
First, many young voters were so excited by this election that they couldn’t envision doing anything besides voting for Barack Obama in person at the polling location. When we raised with them the possibility of long lines, or the potential to free themselves up to volunteer, they simply wouldn’t budge. This was a big moment for them and they felt it would seem bigger if they voted at the polls. In any case, they were still dead-set on participating, which relieved us.
The second lesson was that there was still some confusion about who was eligible to vote early and how it worked. Armed with these findings, we made sure our communications to younger voters included even more remedial information about the nuts and bolts of early voting. Soon enough, their numbers began to climb. In many states we lowered our expectations for the under-twenty-five early vote (but not for overall turnout), and we eventually hit those numbers in most battlegrounds.
Republicans have spent a lot of effort in previous campaigns spreading misinformation to young voters about such things as early voting, residency, and registration. By putting in the effort to combat that misinformation, the campaign was able to empower and turn out voters who were unsure of the sometimes complex election laws.
As we now know, this strategy of reaching out to young voters paid off, despite the naysayers from the media and the old school political establishment:
Our base–African Americans, sporadic-voting Democrats, and younger voters–was turning out in larger numbers than McCain’s base in most states.
The share of the electorate over sixty-five actually dropped between 2004 and 2008, not because fewer older voters turned out but because younger ones showed up in droves.
Because the Obama campaign was committed to putting effort and resources in registering and turning out young voters, treating them with the same respect as other demographics, they were able to build on the work done by youth organizations since 2000 to culminate with those voters carrying Obama to victory and the presidency. However, culminate may not be the appropriate word. The work in further expanding the electorate by turning out young voters to elect Democrats is far from over. There is more potential for the Millennial generation to not only expand the electorate in an election, but to fundamentally alter the country for the better.
I’ll leave you with David Plouffe’s words on our generation:
I left the campaign extraordinarily confident about the future of the country, because of the talent and drive of the young men and women who made our victory possible. Certainly, we would not have won the primary or the general without a surging youth turnout in any number of states, Iowa most importantly. But their impact on the election goes beyond casting ballots. Most of our staff was under thirty, many of them were under twenty-five, as were a sizable chunk of our most active volunteers. As I witnessed, sometimes in awe, their performance and desire to look beyond themselves and contribute to a better world (and they have a distinctly global outlook) it gave me extreme comfort to know that in the not so distant future they will be taking the reins and leading our companies, campaigns, and institutions. For my generation, the rocking chair beckons–these kids are that good. I can’t wait to experience their leadership and vision in the years to come.