Tuesday ReadsPosted: September 13, 2016
A brief personal note: I’m still staying with my mother in Indiana. I was ready to go home last week, but I came down with a virus that seems similar to what Dakinikat had recently. Then my mom had a fainting episode that may have been caused by dehydration (sound familiar?). I called 911, because she collapsed suddenly and I had no idea what happened. Luckily, I was there and was able to lower her to the floor gradually. Her vital signs turned out to be fine, but she hurt her leg because of her position on the floor. She’s better now, but today my cold is the worst it has been. So I’m not sure how coherent this post will be, and it’s obviously very late.
Like other Sky Dancers, I’ve been at my wits end lately with the way the media is attacking Hillary and letting Trump slide on his racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia as well as the actual corruption around his so-called family foundation. The only redeeming factor on MSNBC yesterday was Lawrence O’Donnell’s epic rant about the media “losing it’s collective mind” over Hillary’s health. If you missed it, you must watch it as soon as you can.
I’ve also come to the conclusion that The New York Times and the Associate Press are deplorable and irredeemable. Surprisingly, The Washington Post is currently doing the best job of holding Trump accountable and not “losing its mind” over every single thing Hillary says or does.
I want to begin with two articles I found somewhat calming.
Stuart Rothenberg at The Washington Post: Why Clinton’s narrow lead is bigger than it looks.
Big swings in polls get the big headlines because they imply big changes in a race. But over the past three-and-a-half decades, I’ve grown skeptical of big swings in polls at this late date, and I’ve seen only modest changes in voting behavior in presidential elections.
It isn’t that big swings can’t happen during a campaign. It’s that big swings are rare because there are so few swing voters in the electorate and all swing voters rarely move in the same direction.
A little more than a month ago Gallup found 38 percent of respondents saying they were political Independents, while only 31 percent said they were Democrats and 27 percent said they were Republicans.
But once respondents who “leaned” to one party or the other are allocated, only 11 percent of Americans called themselves true Independents (and some of them probably are closet partisans). This same distribution has been found by the Pew Research Center.
An NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey conducted after the Democratic convention (July 31-Aug. 3) showed 33 percent of respondents were independents, while 13 percent were true independents.
Dramatic events – such as a national party convention or a heavily watched televised debate – can produce significant swings in the polls, and a bad economy, presidential scandal or unpopular war can produce substantial electoral swings, such as when normally Republican Indiana voted for Barack Obama in 2008.
But unless there is dramatic news, you should be very skeptical about any survey showing a dramatic shift in voters’ attitudes over a few weeks. Remember, not only are survey results subject to a margin of error, but 5 percent of surveys produce results outside that margin.
If you look at actual presidential election results, you may be surprised to see how little swing there is when all the votes are counted.
The presidential election map is undergoing a fundamental change, with shifts that will make it easier for Democrats to win not only in 2016 but also for years to come.
Driving the change are two demographic trends: The share of Hispanic and under-30 voters, who favor Democrats in big numbers, is growing significantly in states that in the last decade were decent bets to vote Republican.
“We’re moving in a direction where the demographic map makes it harder and harder for Republican candidates to win the presidency if current conditions continue,” said Mark Hugo Lopez, the director of Hispanic research at the nonpartisan Pew Research Center.
Colorado, Nevada and Pennsylvania illustrate how the demographic changes are giving Hillary Clinton an electoral advantage Democrats are unlikely to lose anytime soon. Clinton leads in Pennsylvania and Colorado, which for years were regarded as swing states, and she has a polling edge in Nevada.
Already moving toward the Democrats in the Obama era, Hispanics and younger voters are trending strongly Democratic in the Trump era.
Read more details the rest at the link.
As Lawrence O’Donnell pointed out last night, people who are already supporting Hillary are unlikely to be swayed by reports about her health, and Trump supporters are unlikely to switch sides because his racism and incompetence. They like him because they are racists too. As far as I’m concerned, anyone who fails to reject Donald Trump after the shocking things he has said over the last year is obviously supporting his racism.
Another bit of positive news from the WaPo: Middle class incomes had their fastest growth on record last year.
The incomes of typical Americans rose in 2015 by 5.2 percent, the first significant boost to middle-class pay since the end of the Great Recession and the fastest increase ever recorded by the federal government, the Census Bureau reported on Tuesday.
In addition, the poverty rate fell by 1.2 percentage points, the steepest decline since 1968. There were 43.1 million Americans in poverty on the year, 3.5 million fewer than in 2014.
The share of Americans who lack health insurance continued a years-long decline, falling 1.3 percentage points, to 9.1 percent.
The numbers, from the government’s annual report on income, poverty and health insurance, suggest the recovery from recession is finally beginning to lift here and the fortunes of large swaths of American workers and families. The Obama administration and its allies immediately hailed them in glowing terms.
“This exceeds the strong expectation that I already had,” Jason Furman, the chair of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, said in an interview, in which he called the income report the strongest ever from the Census Bureau. “The news here is the growth rates. I’ve read the last 21 reports, including this one. I have never seen one like this, in terms of, everything you look at is what you’d want to see or better.”
Trump keeps saying that America is in decline and everything about our country is terrible. But he’s just lying like he does about everything under the sun.
More Congresspeople are going on Cable news to defend Hillary. Here’s a great segment with Black Caucus Chairman Rep Gregory Meeks. Keep an eye on the facial expressions of the woman interviewer.
David Fahrenthold has a new piece today that demonstrates the Trump campaign’s confusion about how foundations and charities work: Donald J. Trump Foundation is Trump’s money, his campaign manager says. No.
Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, was asked on CNN this morning to provide evidence to prove Trump’s claim that he has given generously to charity.
In the process, Conway also seemed to be unaware of a key fact about Trump’s personal charity, the Donald J. Trump Foundation.
Which is: The Trump Foundation’s money doesn’t actually come from Trump’s own pocket.
“Donald Trump has been incredibly generous over the course of his life,” Conway told CNN’s Alisyn Camerota.
“With his own money?” Camerota asked.
“With his own money, and his foundation’s money — which is his money,” Conway replied.
Wow. If you’ve been following Fahrenthold’s research, you know how completely wrong that is. Please go read the whole thing.
Here’s a strange suggestion that can’t be ignored because of the person who made it. Again from the WaPo: The man who discovered CTE thinks Hillary Clinton may have been poisoned.
Bennet Omalu, the forensic pathologist who has made the NFL so uncomfortable with his discovery of chronic traumatic encephalopathy in the brains of deceased players, suggests that Hillary Clinton’s campaign be checked for possible poisons after her collapse Sunday in New York.
Omalu, whose story was famously told in the movie “Concussion,” made the suggestion on Twitter, writing that he advised campaign officials to “perform toxicologic analysis of Ms. Clinton’s blood.”
Omalu suggests that with the Russian interference in the 2016 election this is something to be concerned about.
I doubt if it’s true, but what’s the harm in checking it out? We’ve seen some unbelievable things happening this year.
That will have to do it for me today. I may add more links in the comment thread.