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Friday, August 12, 2022


Thursday, August 11, 2022

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Polarization Gets More Personal

Many posts have discussed partisan polarization and aversive or negative partisanship.

 From Pew:

Partisan polarization has long been a fact of political life in the United States. But increasingly, Republicans and Democrats view not just the opposing party but also the people in that party in a negative light. Growing shares in each party now describe those in the other party as more closed-minded, dishonest, immoral and unintelligent than other Americans.

Perhaps the most striking change is the extent to which partisans view those in the opposing party as immoral. In 2016, about half of Republicans (47%) and slightly more than a third of Democrats (35%) said those in the other party were a lot or somewhat more immoral than other Americans. Today, 72% of Republicans regard Democrats as more immoral, and 63% of Democrats say the same about Republicans.

The pattern is similar with other negative partisan stereotypes: 72% of Republicans and 64% of Democrats say people in the opposing party are more dishonest than other Americans. Fewer than half in each party said this six years ago. Large majorities in both parties also describe those in the other party as more closed-minded than other Americans (83% of Democrats and 69% of Republicans say this), and this sentiment also has increased in recent years.

Yet there is one negative trait that Republicans are far more likely than Democrats to link to their political opponents. A 62% majority of Republicans say Democrats are “more lazy” than other Americans, up from 46% in previous studies in 2019 and 2016. Only about a quarter of Democrats (26%) say Republicans are lazier than others, and this has changed only modestly since 2016.

The new survey on parties and partisanship by Pew Research Center, conducted among 6,174 Americans between June 27 and July 4, 2022, on the nationally representative American Trends Panel, finds that negative sentiment – the belief that the opposing party’s policies are harmful to the country – remains a major factor in why Republicans and Democrats choose to affiliate with their party.

In fact, nearly equal shares of Republicans cite the harm caused by Democratic policies (78%) and the positive impact of GOP policies (76%) as major reasons why they identify with their party. This also is the case for Democrats, with identical shares (68% each) citing these negative and positive reasons for their decision to affiliate with the Democratic Party.

Tuesday, August 9, 2022

Destroying Records

18 U.S. Code § 2071 - Concealment, removal, or mutilation generally
(a)Whoever willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, or destroys, or attempts to do so, or, with intent to do so takes and carries away any record, proceeding, map, book, paper, document, or other thing, filed or deposited with any clerk or officer of any court of the United States, or in any public office, or with any judicial or public officer of the United States, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both.

(b)Whoever, having the custody of any such record, proceeding, map, book, document, paper, or other thing, willfully and unlawfully conceals, removes, mutilates, obliterates, falsifies, or destroys the same, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than three years, or both; and shall forfeit his office and be disqualified from holding any office under the United States. As used in this subsection, the term “office” does not include the office held by any person as a retired officer of the Armed Forces of the United States.

Monday, August 8, 2022

President, Not President-Senator

Over five decades in Washington, Joe Biden knew that the way to influence was to be in the room where it happens. But in the second year of his presidency, some of Biden’s most striking, legacy-defining legislative victories came about by staying out of it.

A summer lawmaking blitz has sent bipartisan bills addressing gun violence and boosting the nation’s high-tech manufacturing sector to Biden’s desk, and the president is now on the cusp of securing what he called the “final piece” of his economic agenda with Senate passage of a Democrats-only climate and prescription drug deal once thought dead. And in a counterintuitive turn for the president who has long promoted his decades of Capitol Hill experience, Biden’s aides chalk up his victories to the fact that he’s been publicly playing the role of cheerleader rather than legislative quarterback.

“In a 50-50 Senate, it’s just true that when the White House takes ownership over a topic, it scares off a lot of Republicans,” said Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn. “I think all of this is purposeful. When you step back and let Congress lead, and then apply pressure and help at the right times, it can be a much more effective strategy to get things done.”

Democrats and the White House hope the run of legislative victories, both bipartisan and not, just four months before the November elections will help resuscitate their political fortunes by showing voters what they can accomplish with even the slimmest of majorities.

Biden opened 2022 with his legislative agenda at a standstill, poll numbers on the decline and a candid admission that he had made a “mistake” in how he carried himself in the role.

“The public doesn’t want me to be the ‘President-Senator,’” he said. “They want me to be the president and let senators be senators.”

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Secularism and the Pro-Life Movement

David French rebuts the notion that the opposition to abortion is inherently religious:

Atheists are extraordinarily concerned about the environment. Atheists and agnostics are more opposed to the death penalty than any major religious subgroup in America.

Yet atheists are also overwhelmingly pro-choice. But that does not mean that arguments against abortion are inherently religious. One might say that it means that many atheists are inconsistent. Just as many atheists rightly challenge Christians to square their opposition to abortion with their support for the death penalty, I’d challenge my atheist friends to learn about the distinct and separate biological humanity of the unborn child and square their support for abortion with their opposition to the death penalty.

Nat Hentoff couldn’t square that circle. He believed in life as a “seamless garment.” He used a phrase called the “indivisibility of life.” In a 1986 speech, Hentoff wrote that he was deeply influenced by a left-wing thinker named Mary Meehan, and he quoted one of her most famous arguments:
It is out of character for the left to neglect the weak and helpless. The traditional mark of the left has been its protection of the underdog, the weak and the poor. The unborn child is the most helpless form of humanity, even more in need of protection than the poor tenant farmer or the mental patient. The basic instinct of the left is to aid those who cannot aid themselves. And that instinct is absolutely sound. It's what keeps the human proposition going.
This is not an inherently religious argument. It is an argument that reached a man who did not believe in God. It is a moral argument, and moral arguments are not the exclusive prerogative of people of faith.

In fact, while pro-life leaders often make religious arguments—especially to religious audiences—when you talk to veteran pro-life volunteers, they’ll tell you that biology, not the Bible, is often their greatest weapon the in the battle of ideas.

Why do crisis pregnancy centers constantly seek funding for ultrasounds? Why is one of the best, most concrete things you can do for life is to donate for ultrasounds? It’s because of the biological reality that ultrasounds reveal. Parents reading this thread likely can immediately remember the feeling of incredible joy when they heard that first fetal heartbeat. Many of you posted ultrasound pictures on your refrigerator doors

Saturday, August 6, 2022

Americans Want to Scrap the Electoral College

Around six-in-ten U.S. adults (63%) say the way the president is elected should be changed so that the winner of the popular vote nationwide wins the presidency, while 35% favor keeping the current Electoral College system, according to a Pew Research Center survey conducted June 27-July 4, 2022. There has been a modest increase in the share of Americans who favor changing the way presidents are elected: In January 2021, the last time the Center asked this question, 55% said the system should be changed, while 43% supported maintaining the existing system.

The current electoral system in the United States allows for the possibility that the winner of the popular vote may not be able to secure enough Electoral College votes to win the presidency. This was the case in both the 2000 and 2016 elections, which were won by George W. Bush and Donald Trump, respectively.