Yeah, more of me babbling on bloggingheads

…with Glenn Loury. We hit gun violence, immigration, respectfully discussing same-sex marriage with people we love who were raised in another era, dispelling Glenn’s cynical views of American politics. This particular clip hits on immigration policy.  I think it’s unjust to invite immigrants here, to implicitly and explicitly benefit from their low-wage labor for years within our economy–and then to act as though they are criminals when we discuss issues such as emergency health care and the Dream Act.

Yeah the country is changing. No, you don’t need to be scared.

Some post-election thoughts about the genuine human fears harbored by many people that the country they grew up in is slipping away.

I’ve been thinking post-election about the genuine human fears harbored by many people that the country they grew up in is gone, or at least slipping away. I spoke with many of those men and women on the campaign trail in 2008 and again this year.

These are good people, mostly older and white, who are unsettled and scared by the pace of social change in America. Same-sex marriage, legalized marijuana, talk of legalized status for undocumented immigrants—that’s a lot of change to accept within just a few years.  I met some others, too. Consider the liberal Jews of my parents’ generation who sense—accurately, I think–that the coming generation of liberal politicians can read from the hymnal but don’t sway with the music about Israel the way the generation of 1967 and 1973 once did.

It’s an irony of recent history that the conciliatory and calm Barack Obama exemplifies in his person some inexorable and potentially scary political and demographic trends. Some would exploit the accompanying anxieties by challenging the President’s birth certificate. Most people really fear the “otherness” of our coming 21st-century America, not the alleged inauthenticity of our president’s initial paperwork fifty years ago. Continue reading “Yeah the country is changing. No, you don’t need to be scared.”

Still waiting for conservatives and Republicans repudiating voter suppression

So hey, Sean Hannity, Ross Douthat, David Brooks, William Kristol, George Will, Charles Krauthammer, and every opinion writer at the National Review and the Wall Street Journal: Do this year’s voter suppression tactics represent your values? If not, it’s time to step up.

I’m gratified that Sean Hannity and other conservatives have gotten the post-election memo on immigration reform. (In Hannity’s case, this may literally be true.) But there’s still another piece of unfinished business.

I want to repeat a good question asked by Timothy Noah back in September: Where are the leading Republicans and conservatives repudiating voter suppression?

The GOP voter suppression effort was so blatant, so dishonorable, and so nearly successful that it deserves response. In too many states, GOP governors and secretaries of state sought to manipulate the mechanics of the voting process to hinder low-income, African-American, and Latino voters from casting their ballots. If Republicans had a working gaydar detection technology, they might have bothered LGBT voters for photo ID, too. The details and tactics varied. Everyone in the media and on both sides understood (a) exactly what was going on, and (b) that the supposed problem of in-person voter fraud invoked to justify these efforts was virtually non-existent.

Of course, both Democrats and Republicans practice various shenanigans in redistricting and other matters. Partisan control over the electoral process disfigures our democracy. This last election season we witnessed something beyond the tawdry business as usual.

So hey, Sean Hannity, Ross Douthat, David Brooks, William Kristol, George Will, Charles Krauthammer, and every opinion writer at the National Review and the Wall Street Journal:  Do these tactics represent your values?

If not, it’s time to step up.

Fractal inequality, diversity, and victory in Chicago

Fractal inequality is never absent from events like that. Waiting around for the event to begin, I spot a line of other “honored guests” near some opening in the curtain. A polite staff member asks me: “Do you have a wrist band?” “A wrist band? Wha—?” No I do not have a wrist band. There were apparently categories of even-more-honored guests above me. It’s not fair that some people get all the breaks…

I spent Tuesday making GOTV calls from the Imperial ballroom at the Fairmont Hotel. I was an honored guest at the Obama reelection celebration Tuesday night. It turns out that honored guest was way better than special guest. We had a dedicated shuttle, separate access through the metal detectors. I stood 30-40 feet from the presidential seal and podium. Unfortunately McCormick was a gigantic Faraday cage. So I was unexpectedly cut off from Internet and twitter. I couldn’t brag about a setup that seemed like a Visa elite triple platinum points reward commercial backstage with Alicia Keys.

Fractal inequality is never absent from events like that. Waiting around for the event to begin, I spot a line of other honored guests near some opening in the curtain. A polite staff member asks me: “Do you have a wrist band?” “A wrist band? Wha—?” No I do not have a wrist band. There were apparently categories of even-more-honored guests above me. It’s not fair that some people get all the breaks…

I kindof expected to be surrounded by middle-aged affluent folk. But maybe because the real high-rollers were elsewhere, my section included people of all ages, ethnicities, and backgrounds. At some point during the night, the place erupted when Maryland’s same-sex marriage results were posted. Two minutes later, an even bigger whoop went up maybe 10 people to my right. A young woman had proposed to her partner the moment the initiative was approved. The night was special like that.

For decades, Republicans have portrayed Democrats as the “other,” as less authentic or worthy Americans than the white Christian, heterosexual supposed mainstream. This effort–which reflects the genuine sentiment of many within the Republican base—reached its apotheosis in birtherism and Donald Trump’s self-parodying video calling for Obama’s college transcripts. Yet the charge was always broader than that.

Looking up at the big screen TV, I watched Romney’s counterpart audience to ours. The screen was almost entirely filled by upscale middle-aged white folk, You can’t win the presidency in 2012 when you concede 90% of the African-American vote, 77% of the LGBT vote, 70% of the Latino and Jewish votes, the large majority of women who care about the right to choose. And you don’t deserve to win, either. Republicans talk about those of us in these various categories as if we were somewhat unwanted guests in their country. That exclusionary sales pitch worked pretty well for a long time. It doesn’t work anymore.

Governor Romney made tactical mistakes. He got some unlucky breaks, including the failure of his Orca computer system and the arrival of hurricane Sandy. He didn’t lose because he was unlucky, though. Indeed Romney got one huge lucky break when President Obama unaccountably blew the first debate. In reality, Romney blew his own electoral chances when he made the conscious decision during the Republican primaries to run right on immigration, and when he kibitzed with cossetted rich donors about the supposed laziness of 47% of his less-fortunate fellow citizens.

Romney was vague about critical aspects of his domestic policy plans. But the broad outline was clear enough. It turns out that most Americans don’t like the idea of cutting social insurance programs and snatching health coverage from 30 million people while financing another round of regressive tax cuts.

In hard economic times, the popular vote was too close for comfort. As the economy recovers and the nation absorbs the election results, I predict President Obama will be markedly more popular. He’s human. He needed the help of a huge coalition to get over the top. Most Americans like and respect him, want him to succeed. I certainly do.

On election day, the Obama campaign had one million volunteers. I’ve knocked on hundreds of doors, made many more phone calls. Many others, including my wife Veronica, did more.  I did enough to feel that special mix of joy and exhaustion watching that electoral count pass 270 late in the night. My personal superpac spent $1000 making two commercials to support one candidate. He won.  Sheldon Adelson spent $53 million to support two candidates. They lost. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.

I got home 4am Wednesday morning, exhausted but happy. I ‘m a bit too old for this, though. My iPhone wasn’t the only item out of juice.

A sweet video with President Obama

Barack Obama is a good president and a good person. My wife and I are both proud to have volunteered for his election and reelection. I’ve been especially privileged to meet so many wonderful people along the way this year.

I also would note that my superpac spent $1,000 to help one candidate–who won. It supported GOTV in two states, which the president carried. Sheldon Adelson spent something like $53 million for two candidates, who both lost. #Justsayin’.

I hope that you find the below video as moving as I do (h/t @DylanByers).

UC survives: Prop. 30 passes (fairly easily)

California’s Proposition 30 passes.

Proposition 30, the initiative that temporarily raises taxes so that—among other nice things—the schools won’t have to shutter themselves for a month and UC can remain a very good (though no longer great) university, has passed. In the end it wasn’t even all that close (pace a hand-wringing liberal blog post that seems to have been written before the results came in): 54-46.

Following the money: while more than 80 percent of donations in favor of the proposition came from inside the state, mostly unions, the vast majority of opposition came not from California businesses or random taxpayers but from one bazillionaire, Charles Munger Jr. (son of Warren Buffett’s business partner), along with out-of-state SuperPACs. If it weren’t for Munger, the SuperPACs would have represented a huge majority of the opposition cash. Revulsion against a last-minute, pathetically concealed and laundered, $11 million contribution from one such, Americans for Job Security, may ironically have tipped public opinion in favor of 30.

Good turnout in Cleveland

Should beat 2008 level easily.

Per Craig Timberg of the Washington Post, Cuyahoga County, which includes Cleveland, is voting smoothly.

2008 turnout: 61% of registered voters.
Early voting this year: 27%
Live voting by 2:30 today: 23%.

As a rule of thumb, about 40% of the live vote happens in the morning, 20% during the day, and the last 40% in the evening. (Ohio polls stay open until 7:30.) So Cuyahoga could be on track to about 65%. Not so bad.

Betfair odds are now 9/2, pushing the probability of returning to the Dark Ages down to 18%.

Update

LA Times reports smooth, heavy voting statewide in Ohio.

Second update Per Greg Sargent, Obama camp says it’s hitting its turnout targets in VA as well, including the campus vote.