The Myth of the “Reagan Democrat”

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By Peter Beinart

When pundits claim Donald Trump can win the presidency, they often evoke a fabled political species: “Reagan Democrats.” “Are Reagan Democrats becoming Trump Democrats?” wondered CNN commentator Jeffrey Lord last fall in The American Spectator. “I think there’s a lot of Reagan Democrats waiting to vote for him,” declared MSNBC’s Chris Matthews in January.

This almost certainly isn’t true. The more you examine it, the more far-fetched the claim that Trump can win the presidency by luring vast numbers of “Reagan Democrats” looks.

What is a “Reagan Democrat?” At its most literal, it’s a Northern, white, noncollege-educated Democrat who actually voted for Ronald Reagan. But there aren’t many of them left. The typical blue-collar white man who at age 30 voted for Reagan in 1980 can’t vote for Trump this fall. He’s dead. White men born in 1950 die on average at age 66. That’s this year. White working-class men die even earlier. The average white woman who at age 30 voted for Reagan in 1980 will live a bit longer: until 2022. Most white working-class women, however,won’t make it until then.

So when people talk about “Reagan Democrats” today, they don’t mean Democrats who actually voted for Reagan. They mean the people who resemble them demographically: Northern blue-collar whites. But blue-collar whites don’t enjoy the same political significance they did in the 1980s. In the 1988 presidential election, they constituted more than half the voters. This fall, they’ll constitute roughly one-third. A new Center for American Progress report, brought to my attention byThe Washington Post’s Greg Sargent, notes that in the classic “Reagan Democrat” states of Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, and Wisconsin, blue-collar-whites’ share of the electorate will shrink two percentage points between 2012 and 2016 alone.

Not only are blue-collar whites a smaller share of the electorate than in 1980, they also behave differently. As American University political scientist David Lublin notes, “The early 1980s were the height of weak partisanship with voters much more willing to defect from their party in elections than today.” Back then, Democrats were less homogenously liberal. Lots of whites with fairly conservative views on race, gender, and national security still identified with the party. So ideologically, voting for Reagan wasn’t much of a stretch.

Since then, however, American politics has witnessed a massive ideological “sorting.” The kind of conservative blue-collar whites who would once have been “Reagan Democrats” are now mostly Republicans. As The Washington Post’s Phillip Bump notes, working-class whites are almost 10 percentage points more likely to identify with the GOP than they were in 1980. Those blue-collar whites who remain Democrats are more liberal. It may be because they’re members of unions and thus more sympathetic to a pro-government message. It may be because they’re Millennials, who even in the white working class tend to be more secular, more pro-gay marriage, and less racially resentful than their parents and grandparents. It may because they are women, who are somewhat more liberal than men overall.

 

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The point is that, because of this “sorting,” notes Emory’s Alan Abramowitz, “Party ID [now] predicts vote choice very well.” In 2012, Mitt Romney won Republicans 93 to 6 percent. Obama won Democrats 92 to 7 percent. Not many people cross party lines in presidential elections anymore.

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Donald Trump’s Working Class Appeal is Starting to Freak Out Labor Unions

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  • Sam Stein Senior Politics Editor, The Huffington Post

 

Over the course of five weeks, Working America, the non-union affiliate of the AFL-CIO labor federation, did extensive canvassing in union-dense, blue-collar areas of Pittsburgh and Cleveland. They called it a “front porch focus group.” The idea was simply to listen — to let likely 2016 voters sound off about their thoughts and concerns headed into the presidential election.

What they discovered, among other things, was a lot of support for Donald Trump, the GOP front-runner. For months, this enthusiastic backing of the obnoxious billionaire had generally baffled the chattering class — not to mention the GOP and Democratic establishment. But to Working America canvassers, it made plenty of sense.

“We hear the same refrains all the time,” said Karen Nussbaum, executive director of Working America, which has high membership in the Rust Belt. “That people are fed up and they’re hurting. That their families have not recovered from the recession. That every family is harboring someone still not back at work. That someone is paying rent for their brother-in-law.”

“And then a guy comes on the stage,” Nussbaum explained, “and says, ‘I’m your guy who will blow the whole thing up.’”

Trump’s pyromaniac approach to politics has earned him strong support from white, working-class voters and brought him to the cusp of winning the GOP nomination. It is an ascent that has shaken Republicans, who view the businessman as a fraud bound to splinter the party, and it’s leading Democrats and their allies to do what they do best: fret and panic.

Trump, the worry goes, is making precisely the right appeals at precisely the right time to fundamentally realign the Rust Belt working class electorate’s traditional political allegiances.

“In terms of his message, it is really resonating. Particularly if you are talking [about] union people, he is speaking our language,” said Josh Goldstein, deputy national media director for the AFL-CIO. “We can’t let that go unattended, because people have been doing that with Trump for a long time, and his numbers have only gone up. … It is our job to go out and educate people now, so it doesn’t cross that threshold and become a threat.”

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High-ranking labor officials are becoming increasingly outspoken in their warnings about the Republican front-runner. Earlier this week, Terry O’Sullivan, head of the powerful Laborers’ International Union of North America, attacked Trump as a “racist, sexist, prejudiced billionaire bully.” The members of O’Sullivan’s union tend to work in construction, the sort of demographic for which Trump’s economic message can resonate.

At an AFL-CIO executive council meeting last month, officials vowed to start digging in more aggressively on the records of the Republican field — and Trump in particular. The federation has since launched a digital ad campaign, while its president, Richard Trumka, has traveled across the country to deliver speeches in union halls and talk individually to union members. He has called Trump an anti-American “bigot” who’s full of “baloney and bluster.”

“He starts with a different profile than George Bush or Mitt Romney,” Andy Stern, former president of Service Employees International Union, said of Trump. “He is the first Republican in a while that has real appeal. I don’t think people looked at Mitt Romney and said, ‘He’s going to fight for me.’”

What worries Stern, and many officials in the labor movement, is that Trump’s appeal to working-class voters is more than just a byproduct of his master showmanship. Trump’s denunciations of trade deals, his condemnation of politicians who ushered in outsourcing, and his tough, often-xenophobic rants about immigrants taking domestic jobs all lay out a policy portfolio that, at the most basic level, can be attractive to the economically marginalized.

 

“He is the first Republican in a while that has real appeal. I don’t think people looked at Mitt Romney and said, ‘He’s going to fight for me.”

Andy Stern, former SEIU president 

 

These days, Republican presidential candidates generally take a hard line against unions, advocating policies that would further diminish organized labor’s role in the U.S. economy. But Trump’s angle isn’t so clear. He’s voiced support for anti-union right-to-work laws while on the campaign trail, but he’s also bragged about having good relationships with unions as a businessman.

“He can draw on a well. And I just don’t know which well is he going to play in the general,” Stern said. “Is he the anti-minimum wage, anti-union, pro-right-to-work [candidate]? Or does he become the I-love-unions [candidate]?”

Larry Cohen, the former longtime president of the Communications Workers of America, said there’s a lot for Democrats and unions alike to learn from Trump’s rise. First and foremost, they should acknowledge the populism he has tapped into if they don’t want Trump to win the White House.

“I think the key will be the Democratic Party has to show that it can be a populist party, not a party of the corporate elite or the establishment,” said Cohen, whoendorsed Democratic hopeful Bernie Sanders and has actively campaigned for the Vermont independent. “It depends not only on who the [Democratic] candidate is, but what kind of convention we have and what kind of platform we have. Right now, for good reason, working people are skeptical of the authenticity of the Democratic Party.”

“If the Democratic Party seems to be a populist party and becomes a populist party, Trump will get crushed,” Cohen added. “Unions, regardless of who the nominee is, need to quickly become a vehicle for reform inside and outside the Democratic Party, or they’re going to lose significant numbers of their own members this election.”

According to Nussbaum, the right message can neutralize Trump on his very own bread-and-butter issues. Take outsourcing: With his own clothing line, Trump has taken advantage of the same cheap overseas labor that he’s criticized other U.S. companies for using. And despite his aggressive stance on immigration, Trump has been happy to bring in foreign guest workers on visas to work on his properties in Florida. Those facts resonate with voters, according to Nussbaum.

“It doesn’t take too much to be able to have a conversation with most of these folks and say, ‘Really, will [Trump] solve all the problems?’” she said. “There’s an opening here to move people back to places that focus on issues and not just the showiness.”

Right now, for good reason, working people are skeptical of the authenticity of the Democratic Party.Larry Cohen, former Communications Workers of America president

Outside of the union movement, there is broader disagreement among Democrats over how close Trump is to actually becoming a major threat. Ed Rendell, the former governor of Pennsylvania and Democratic National Committee chair, was unalarmed about the prospect of facing the real estate tycoon in a general election. Trump would have appeal to working-class, blue-collar voters, Rendell conceded. But in his home state, those voters weren’t as determinative as they were a generation ago.

“Even assuming there are still a block of Reagan Democrats, for everyone we lose because of Trump’s candidacy, we will win one independent and one moderate Republican in the suburbs,” Rendell predicted. “So I think the trade-off is a significant plus. If it is Trump versus Hillary [Clinton], Hillary will roll up historic margins in the suburbs. Some would be for her. But others will be people voting against Trump.”

But not everyone shared Rendell’s optimism. Jim Kessler, senior vice president for policy at the centrist Democratic think tank Third Way, argued that Trump was an asymmetrical challenge for the party.

“He’s unlike a candidate like [Sen. Ted] Cruz, in which you can predict with assuredness where he will play or fall flat. Trump is a variable who has exceeded expectations,” Kessler said. “Until he stops exceeding expectations, I will worry.”

Worrying is what makes Kessler a Democrat, we reminded him. He replied: “It does!”

Cobb -Hunter : Pay Raise for State Employee’s is a Long Over Due Investment

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By Representative Gilda Cobb- Hunter

 

Every day, South Carolina’s state employees are on the front lines enforcing laws, helping citizens and delivering vital services all across our state. They are the corrections officers, nurses, mental health workers, sanitation employees, firefighters and so many others who keep our state running safely and efficiently.

These men and women are some of the most important people in this state. But when it comes to compensation, South Carolina ranks near the bottom nationally. We may appreciate the work state employees do, but we certainly aren’t reflecting that appreciation in how they are paid.

In fact, a recent state-funded study found that S.C. state employees make, on average, about 15 percent less than those doing the same jobs in other states, and 18 percent less than private-sector employees.

Not only do our state employees make less money, they are spending comparatively more for health care and retirement benefits, too. In some states, the overall benefits package offsets lower salaries. That is not the case here. Where is the appreciation?

With compensation lagging far behind, many state agencies have confirmed major problems recruiting and retaining good people. Every year, we lose many of our brightest and best state employees to local government and the private sector, because what they are paid working for the state is often not even enough to live on.

Our Highway Patrol is a prime example. It’s losing more troopers each year than it is training — approximately 100 every year are jumping ship for local police or sheriff’s department jobs. That costs literally millions of dollars in state money as we continue to have to recruit and train new people. The high officer turnover is compounding already-critical problems in state law enforcement and corrections.

Enough is enough. With $1.2 billion in unallocated revenue this year, it’s absurd for us to continue to treat our state employees unfairly by letting their wages continue to lag.

Fortunately, a strong bipartisan group of state senators has called for this year’s state budget to include a 5 percent cost-of-living increase for all state employees. The House should consider the same, and I will lead that important effort during this week’s budget debate.

I call on my House colleagues to take a stand with me to truly represent the people who serve us every day as our state employees, as well as the 4.8 million South Carolinians who depend on capable and competent state employees for their service.

SOME QUESTION PROPOSAL FOR A 5% PAY HIKE FOR STATE EMPLOYEES IN SC

It comes down to this: Does it matter to us that good and qualified workers can’t make a living in state jobs and, in some ways, are being taken advantage of? Now that we’ve confirmed that our state’s workers are grossly underpaid, can we sit back and do nothing? How is that responsible? Can we expect to underpay our state employees and have it not affect the service delivery to 5 million South Carolinians?

The current compensation situation for state employees is completely unacceptable. Just wrong.

South Carolina has a problem we need to fix. Approving the 5 percent raise for state employees is a critical first step. We need to invest in the people who make South Carolina work for us all. We’ve gone far too long with a large number of state employees — even those with years of service — qualifying for public assistance or having to work two jobs to make ends meet.

It’s time to pay state employees what they are worth, which will help us retain good people and literally save South Carolina millions of dollars in ongoing training costs.

With extra money available, we have no more room for excuses. Now is the time to step up to our legislative responsibility and show those who work for South Carolina how valuable they are. It’s time to compensate our state employees fairly.

Ms. Cobb-Hunter represents Orangeburg County in the S.C. House; contact her atGildaCobbHunter@schouse.gov.

My Brother’s Keeper

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My Brother’s Keeper

“All I had to give them was an ear, a bunch of campaign material, and my pledge that I would try to do something if elected.”

by Cory Booker

The small basement room of the Willie T. Wright Apartments in Newark’s Central Ward was standing-room only, packed with men of all ages, from guys barely in their 20s to men in their 50s and 60s. I scanned their faces and saw looks of hope and humility. A few seemed beaten down by circumstance but definitely not broken. If they’d been broken, they wouldn’t have been there.

As they walked in, some eagerly shook my hand. Men older than me called me “Sir” or “Councilman,” treating me with a level of deference that made me feel uncomfortable. I didn’t want any man to elevate me in even the slightest way—and especially not under these circumstances. I owed them humility and respect. What’s more, I felt an uneasiness bordering on shame about the circumstances of our meeting. But here we were, a bunch of men in a basement, hoping to defy the odds in a fixed game.

I loosened my tie, took it and my jacket off, rolled up my sleeves.

As people flowed in, the room became more and more inadequate; we were packed in close, and for some reason I thought taking off my jacket and tie would narrow the distance between us. It probably just made me feel more comfortable. I took folding chairs out from behind the table and offered them to a few of the older men so that they could sit down; my staff and I would stand. Several more men streamed in, lining up along the sides of the room and soon reaching all the way to where we were standing.

How could I have so badly miscalculated the size of the room we needed? Given what I knew, I should have booked a gym at one of the local schools.

I was 29. I had just been elected to the Central Ward council seat in an upset. I had beaten an incumbent who was more than 40 years my senior and had held the seat for 16 years. I was a year out of law school, where I had spent a lot of time sitting in classes—but not like this one. Those classes were in ivy-covered buildings, modern and comfortable, with very few black men. Those classes did not fully explore how the broken legal system damages communities such as Newark. I felt that every law-school student should see rooms like that one in the Willie T. Wright Apartments—that America should see.

I was holding the free clinic to help men learn how to expunge their records. Expungement, in the criminal-justice sense, means to clear one’s record. Some states, like New Jersey, have narrow laws that allow certain people who made a mistake to petition after a number of years to have that mistake removed so that it won’t appear in criminal-history searches. I hoped to help give the men in that basement a clean slate, to help them break out of what Michelle Alexander calls the “American caste system,” in which they were judged by their criminal past. Rather, I wanted them to be judged only by their promise and their determination to work hard and play by the rules.

I opened the clinic with introductory remarks. We had no microphone, but I spoke loud enough for people out in the hallway to hear. I thanked our hosts and my dear friends, the Cole family, who were resident leaders at this apartment complex; I introduced my staff and then the lawyers. I spoke in a serious tone. I acknowledged that the men were there because they wanted to get jobs, to provide for their families and to move on with their lives. I acknowledged how hard it was for anybody with a criminal conviction to get a job, and explained that expungement was one way to help change that.

Too many people give up, I said, and in order to make money, some go back to doing things that get them arrested again. I promised to all, those who might qualify for expungement and those who might not, that we would try to help beyond this clinic. This was only a first step. We were calling employers and looking for ones who were willing to hire the formerly incarcerated. I thanked them for not giving up.

* * *

Again, I realized that I should have known; I should have better estimated the demand for this project. I should have known because every day on the campaign trail, I heard two things from hundreds of men I talked to: I can’t get a job and I have a record. Many were candid about what they had done. Some had committed violent crimes; most had been convicted on nonviolent drug offenses.

Many times a woman would speak up for a man—a mother, sister, girlfriend, or wife would walk me through the man’s saga. She would detail how many job applications he had filled out, how many certificates he’d earned in job-training courses that went nowhere, how he couldn’t even get a fast-food restaurant to give him a chance. They detailed how the rejections were taking their toll. Some agonized about how it seemed like the system wanted them to do something wrong because it was providing no options for them to do something right.

Every day of that campaign, I had learned that my ward, which was upward of 90 percent blacks and Latinos, housed thousands of men desperate to go to work, to contribute to their families, to assert their dignity through a job—desperate for an opportunity even if it was minimum wage and manual labor. But these men were being limited by previous convictions, many of them minor.

What frustrated me was that I knew, from living in the relatively privileged communities I grew up in, that the drug war wasn’t waged in those places like it was in Newark. I was coming from college campuses and suburban towns where marijuana, ecstasy, cocaine, and other drugs were widespread and often used openly, with little fear of the police. Witnessing drug use wasn’t a rare occurrence in my life. Yet few Yale or Stanford students worried about being stopped and frisked on campus or having their homes or dorms raided by the police—in fact, I never knew of it to happen. Nor did I know of the Drug Enforcement Agency or local police raiding homes in Harrington Park or Old Tappan; there was drug use there, but the enforcement of the law was clearly different.

The war on drugs has turned out to be a war on people—and far too often a war on people of color and the poor. Marijuana use, for example, is roughly equal among blacks and whites, yet blacks are 3.7 times more likely to be arrested for possession than whites; in some states they are six times more likely. In the states with the worst disparities, across all offenses blacks were 10, 15, or even 30 times more likely to be arrested than white residents in the same county.

 

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Further, there is no difference between blacks and whites in dealing drugs. In fact, some studies show that whites are more likely than blacks to sell drugs, even though blacks are far more likely to be arrested for it. Today, about one in 10 Americans has been arrested on drug-related charges, but—despite blacks and Latinos committing drug offenses at a rate no different than whites—Latinos are incarcerated in state prisons at nearly twice the rate of whites for the same offenses, and blacks are incarcerated at six times the rate of whites.

For poor Americans, an arrest alone is enough to block them from accessing the American dream—or at least a more secure American reality. The arrest reduces employment opportunities. For example, according to the National Employment Law Project, “[T]he likelihood of a callback for an interview for an entry level position drops off by 50 percent for those applicants with an arrest or a criminal history.” And the arrest effectively reduces a person’s earnings, which minimizes his or her ability to provide for a family.

To make matters worse, when it comes to the nearly 17 million background checks done by the FBI each year for employers, approximately half of those records contain incomplete or inaccurate information. So even if a person is innocent, wrongfully arrested, or simply arrested by mistake, that mitigating resolution might not show up in a background check. And when such a mistake is not corrected, an employer is likely to pass that person over or disqualify him for employment. In fact, studies show that, as a result of inaccurate FBI records, nearly half a million Americans are in jeopardy of not obtaining a job that they would otherwise be offered, or of losing the job they already have.

While campaigning on a cold day in early 1998, I was invited into a small low-rise public-housing apartment. I sat on a couch and listened to a story I was finding increasingly familiar: a woman telling me of the stress of her husband’s long-term unemployment and its effect on their family. Her husband echoed the pain and frustration of his job search. He had been released from prison years earlier, and he detailed to me all the things he was trying to do to earn money for his family. He could occasionally find odd jobs or be picked up for some manual labor, but he couldn’t find steady work.

While they were talking, they intermittently apologized for their two adorable boys—maybe 4 and 6 years old—who were grabbing for my campaign cards, asking for buttons, reaching for my extra pens; one even climbed on my lap, where I held him and bounced him gently on my knee. This couple made me think of my parents. My brother and I were also two years apart, and how many times had our mom apologized for our curiosity and playfulness?

But there was tension in the room. I could see that the woman was overworked; her beautiful face was eclipsed with worry and strain. I could hear the pain in the man’s voice as he confirmed the circumstances his wife had laid bare before me, the stranger at their door. I wondered how that stress visited upon their kids, what it would mean for two boys to see their dad struggling. I wondered how they would fare in a criminal-justice system that set the odds so strongly against young black boys, especially given the data now showing that one in three black boys born today will be arrested in his lifetime.

Looking around the apartment, I could see it was not in great shape; it was barely adequate for a family. They made it clear they wanted to live elsewhere, that they’d be happy to get out of their apartment, if only they could afford to—if only the father had a shot at getting a job.

All I had to give them was an ear, a bunch of campaign material, and my pledge that I would try to do something if elected.

* * *

So, in the basement at the Willie T. Wright Apartments, I was making my first attempt at doing something substantive. But when one of the lawyers began to speak, it didn’t have the effect I had hoped for. Anguished faces greeted his words. Many heads dropped, and guys started to get up and leave. They couldn’t afford to waste more time in yet another dead end.

The lawyer had announced what the qualifying requirements were to get your record expunged. To begin with, the charge had to be nonviolent. Even if you had an assault charge from a bar fight with no serious injuries—fights like ones I had seen growing up—the charge could not be expunged. You could expunge only possession of drugs—but if you had an amount that was too large or if you were caught trying to sell drugs, your record could not be expunged. If you had been caught with possession more than once, your record could not be expunged. And if five years hadn’t passed since the end of your time in jail or on probation or parole, your record could not be expunged.

The room was emptying out. I quickly moved over to the door and backed into the hallway as people were slipping past me and leaving. I told the men that we would reach out to them. I repeated that we were seeking employers that might hire people with convictions. Some stopped and talked to me. One man had a large binder, and he opened it, showing me all the letters from people who would vouch for him. There were letters from clergy, one from a police officer, one from a former employer. I saw certificates of service and commendations from organizations he volunteered with. There were probably 30 pages in all.

He was angry—not at me, but his voice was full of frustration.

I remember him asking: “What is it going to take? It’s been over 10 years; what is it going to take for me to get a second chance?”

 

This article is from Cory Booker’s book -United

Gov. Haley : Myers and Washington Should Resign After DUI Arrests

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S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley said Wednesday that Richland County councilman Kelvin Washington and 11th Circuit Donnie Myers, both recently arrested for drunken driving, should resign.

“When you look at any elected officials that believe they are above the law, there’s a problem,” she told reporters at the S.C. State House. “I think they both should resign. Our office is looking at options.”

Haley can remove them from office if they are indicted.

Myers was arrested last week for drunken driving after the S.C. Highway Patrol responded to a car accident where Myers’ car had run off the road and hit a utility pole. Myers’ circuit includes Lexington County, where Haley lived before she became governor in 2011.

Myers was arrested for driving under the influence in 2005, pleading guilty to the charge. In 2012, Myers was charged with having an open container of alcohol in his car after a Highway Patrol trooper stopped him for suspicion of driving under the influence. In that instance, Myers was given a field sobriety test, issued a ticket and allowed to drive home after a 15-minute traffic stop.

Efforts to reach Myers were unsuccessful Wednesday.

Richland County Councilman Kelvin Washington was charged with felony drunken driving after he crashed into another car Saturday night on Bluff Road near Hopkins. The 22-year-old driver of the other car was taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

Washington’s attorney, Michael Duncan, declined to comment on the case Wednesday.

Haley said drunken driving has been a problem in South Carolina for a long time: “So when you have elected officials that are actually getting arrested for that, it’s a real problem.”

 

Don’t Mess With Access-Protect Women’s Reproductive Rights

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Addressing Sexual and Reproductive Health Disparities among African Americans

African Americans face greater obstacles to obtaining sexual and reproductive health services than non-Hispanic white Americans. As a result, African Americans experience higher rates of reproductive cancers, unintended pregnancy, and sexually transmitted infections than most other groups of Americans. Moreover, African American patients are often diagnosed later than are others with the same health problems, and they have less access to high-quality, affordable care, resulting in higher death rates from the same conditions. For example: Reproductive Cancers • Among women diagnosed with breast cancer, African American women are most likely to die from the disease (ACS, 2015). African American women are 40 percent more likely to die of breast cancer than white women (CDC, 2012). Survival is lower for African American women than for white women at every stage of diagnosis (ACS, 2015). • African American women are twice as likely to lose their lives to cervical cancer as are non-Hispanic white women (ACS, 2015). Unintended and Teen Pregnancies • African American women have more than double the unintended pregnancy rate of white women. As a result, African American women also have higher rates of abortion (Finer and Zolna, 2014). • African American teens aged 15–19 have higher rates of pregnancy, birth, and abortion than non-Hispanic white teens (Kost and Henshaw, 2014). • While at a historic low, the birth rate for African American teens is more than twice that of non-Hispanic white teens (Martin et al., 2015). Sexually Transmitted Infections • In 2010, African Americans, while representing 12 percent of the U.S. population, accounted for 44 percent of new HIV/AIDS infections (CDC, 2014a). In 2013, they accounted for 47 percent of new gonorrhea cases, 31 percent of new chlamydia cases, 44 percent of new HIV/ AIDS infections, and 38 percent of primary and secondary syphilis cases (CDC, 2014b). • African Americans are six times as likely as non-Hispanic whites to be diagnosed with chlamydia, 12 times as likely to be diagnosed with gonorrhea, and five and a half times as likely to be diagnosed with primary and secondary syphilis (CDC, 2014b). Health Insurance • In 2013, 49.6 percent of African Americans, in comparison to 72.1 percent of non-Hispanic whites, used private health insurance (Smith and Medalia, 2014). • In 2013, 15.9 percent of African Americans were uninsured, as compared to 9.8 percent of non-Hispanic whites (Smith and Medalia, 2014). • African American women are more likely to be uninsured (19 percent) or under-insured than white women, and they often are forced to delay care because they lack the resources to pay for it. There are approximately 6.5 million uninsured African Americans (Smith and Medalia, 2014; KFF, 2014; Salganicoff et al., 2014).

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Addressing Sexual and Reproductive Health Disparities among African Americans Non-Reproductive Health • The African American infant mortality rate is more than twice as high as that for white infants (Mathews and MacDorman, 2013). • The death rate for cancer among African American women is 14 percent higher than among non-Hispanic white women; for African American men, it is 29 percent higher than among non-Hispanic white men (ACS, 2015). • In 2010, life expectancy for the African American population was 3.8 years lower than that of the white population due to higher death rates for the black population for heart disease, cancer, homicide, diabetes, and perinatal conditions (Kochanek, et al., 2013). • African American babies are almost twice as likely as non-Hispanic white or Latino babies to be born at low birth weight (Martin et al., 2015). • Twenty-two percent of African Americans did not have a usual source of health care (NCHS, 2014). Education • In 2013, just 17 percent of the nation’s African American eighth graders tested proficient in reading — nearly three times fewer than the number of white students taking the test (NCES, 2013). • In 2013, 22 percent of African Americans were college graduates, as compared to 36 percent of whites (U.S. Census Bureau, n.d.). Economics • The wealth of white households is 13 times greater than that of African American households (Kochhar and Fry, 2014). • In 2011, African American families in the United States had a median net worth of $6,314, only 5.7 percent of the $110,500 median non-Hispanic white net worth (U.S. Census Bureau, 2013). • African American home owners are almost three times more likely to receive higher-rate loan terms and twice as likely to receive a lone with a prepayment penalty than white borrowers, despite evidence that many of these borrowers could have qualified for more affordable and fair loans (Center for Responsible Lending, 2012). • African American children are the group of children most likely to be poor. Approximately one in five African American children was living in extreme poverty in 2012 compared to one in 18 non-Hispanic white children (CDF, 2014). • While white women in the prime working years of ages 36–49 have a median wealth of $42,600 (still only 61 percent of their white male counterparts), the median wealth for women of color is only $5 (Insight Center for Community Economic Development, 2010). • For African Americans, the 2013 poverty rate was 27.2 percent, which represents 10.9 million people in poverty (DeNavas-Walt and Proctor, 2014)

Texas Women Use Less Birth Control, Have More Babies Since the State Defunded Planned Parenthood-This is what happens when you take Planned Parenthood away.

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A little more than three years after Texas effectively defunded Planned Parenthood by cutting funding to any organization that offers abortions, an Austin-based research team has released a report that shows how much women are affected when women’s health programs are cut. And the numbers are about as dismal as you might expect.

The study, which was performed by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project at UT Austin and published yesterday in The New England Journal of Medicine, shows a significant decrease in the number of women who filed claims for long-acting reversible contraceptives, like IUDs and implants, two of the most effective forms of birth control available. Two years before Planned Parenthood funding was cut from the program on Jan. 1. 2013, 1,042 women filed claims for LARCs under the state’s Medicaid Women’s Health Program. By the end of 2014, that number dropped by 35.5 percent, to a mere 672 women. Those figures are just as bad for women who use injectable contraception — within the same timeframe, those claims dropped from 6,832 to 4,709 (or by 31.1 percent).

Unsurprisingly, the study shows a 1.9 percent increase in the birthing rate in counties that once had state-funded Planned Parenthood clinics during that same time period of 2011 to 2014.

If there were any remaining doubts about how cutting Planned Parenthood funding affects women, those should be pretty much cleared up by this new data. When Texas removed Planned Parenthood from its state Medicaid family-planning program, low-income women who qualified for the program were no longer able to afford some of the most highly effective contraception options. And the subsequent consequence was an uptick in the birthrate.

Combine all of this with the fact that Texas politicians have done pretty much all they can to makeabortion nearly impossible to access in the state, and you have a lot of low-income women who can not only not afford birth control but don’t have a way of safely ending an unwanted pregnancy.

The bittersweet, not-so-silver lining in this is that Texas has basically served as a giant testing ground for policies that federal legislators have been promising constituents and trying to get passed on a national level for years. What’s happening in Texas is a preview of what happens when you take away health care from women. The effects would only be felt harder if you took health care away on a national scale.

 

 

The 2016 Results We Can Already Predict-The battleground states will give you deja vu.

political interest

by Kyle Kondik

As the country has become more divided and polarized, the number of swing states has steadily shrunk. Even in 2000, when 537 votes in Florida elected a president, just 12 states were decided by five points or less. That number contracted to just four states in 2012.

When Jimmy Carter defeated President Gerald Ford in 1976, every big state was competitive: California, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas, Illinois and Ohio all had at least 25 electoral votes, and each one was decided by less than five points. All told, 20 of 50 states were won by five points or less. This wasn’t unique; an earlier close election, the 1960 match-up between John Kennedy and Richard Nixon, produced razor-thin results in exactly the same number of states, with almost all the mega-states of that day recording tight margins.

We don’t really have elections like 1960 and 1976 anymore. In the current Electoral College battlefield, 40 of 50 states have voted for the same candidate in all four elections since 2000. And, of the 10 exceptions, three were fluky: New Mexico’s pluralities were wafer-thin in both 2000, when it went for Al Gore, and 2004, when George W. Bush took the state. It has now trended mainly Democratic. Indiana and North Carolina, meanwhile, narrowly went for Barack Obama in 2008, in part because Obama’s campaign invested heavily in field operations and advertising in those states while John McCain, out of necessity, neglected them. Overall, Hoosiers are still predominantly Republican and Tar Heels marginally so. That leaves just seven super-swingy states: Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Ohio, and Virginia, all of which backed Bush and Obama twice each, and Iowa and New Hampshire, which have voted Democratic in three of the last four elections.

So it’s no wonder that these special seven states start as the only obvious toss-ups on our first 2016 Electoral Map.

This map feels like déjà vu: It’s effectively the same map we featured for much of the 2012 cycle, and it unmistakably suggests the Democratic nominee should start the election as at least a marginal Electoral College favorite over his or (probably) her Republican rival. However, at the

gate it is wiser to argue that the next election is basically a 50-50 proposition.

How can that be when Democrats are so much closer to the magic number of 270 than Republicans?

At heart, it’s because the past is often not a good guide to the future. With regularity in modern history, the Electoral College’s alleged lock for one party has been picked by the other party, usually at eight-year intervals. A few states that appear to be solidly in one party’s column can switch in any given year because of short-term (Indiana) or long-term (Virginia) forces. Other states that merely lean to one party require less of a push to change allegiances. North Carolina tilts to the GOP and Wisconsin to the Democrats, but it doesn’t require much imagination to foresee the winning party flipping one or the other.

For the Democrats, a victory in 2016 entails zero expansion of the blue map, merely the limiting of blue-to-red transformations. Assuming the lean, likely, and safe Democratic states remain loyal to the party, the nominee need only win 23 of the 85 toss-up electoral votes. And if a lean Democratic state such as Wisconsin turns red, it is relatively easy to replace those votes with one or two toss-ups.

On the other hand, Republicans must hold all their usual states plus find a way to stitch together an additional 64 electoral votes, or 79 if they can’t hold North Carolina. To do this, the GOP candidate will have to come close to sweeping the toss-ups under most scenarios—a difficult task unless the election year’s fundamentals (President Obama’s job approval, economic conditions, war and peace, and so on) are moving powerfully against the Democrats.

It is possible, maybe quite plausible, that any new Republican path to Electoral College victory will wend through the whiter-than-average industrial Midwest, but as of now it’s more likely to expect the GOP’s electoral map to look much like George W. Bush’s narrow route to the White House—a solid South, rural Midwest and Rocky Mountain majority.

One could argue that we’re giving the Democrats short shrift by not calling rapidly diversifying North Carolina a toss-up, or leaning Nevada to them because of its growing and largely Democratic Hispanic vote. But if one assumes that the 2016 outcome will be closer than Obama’s 2012 national victory margin of four percentage points—and that is a reasonable working assumption 18 months in advance of Election Day—then Nevada should be tight while North Carolina would take on a reddish hue.

That said, there are two predictions we can make at this point.

First, if Republicans lose either Florida or Ohio, the nominee has no realistic path to victory. Both states are typically at least slightly more Republican than the nation as a whole. If GOP voters are thinking strategically during the nominating process, they will pick a candidate with a profile appealing to Sunshine and Buckeye state residents.

Second, while there are credible Democratic paths to the White House without Virginia, anything other than a win or a loss by just a percent or two in the Old Dominion will signal the Democrat’s downfall. Virginia was (slightly) more Democratic than the nation in 2012 for the first time since Franklin Roosevelt’s era, and population trends that are increasingly favorable to Democrats are continuing.

We’ll expand on this analysis in this Thursday’s Crystal Ball newsletter. But, if you plan to go where the action will be, you can already safely book those autumn 2016 travel packages to Columbus, Denver, Des Moines, Las Vegas, Manchester, Richmond and Tampa.

Hillary Clinton : “Gun Violence is a National Emergency “

 

children-gun-violence

BY ON 11/20/15 AT 2:43 AM

 

After receiving an award in New York City on Thursday evening in recognition of her continued leadership in gun violence prevention efforts, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called the issue a “national emergency” and urged Americans not to give up hope that the gun lobby can be defeated.

“It is long past time to say enough,” said Clinton, the Democratic front-runner and former secretary of state. “Enough talk. Enough delay. It is time to act.”

Clinton received the inaugural Mario M. Cuomo Leadership Award at the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence’s Annual Brady Bear Awards Gala, where the tagline of the night was “enough”—of shootings and gun-related deaths nationwide.

 

After receiving an award in New York City on Thursday evening in recognition of her continued leadership in gun violence prevention efforts, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton called the issue a “national emergency” and urged Americans not to give up hope that the gun lobby can be defeated.

“It is long past time to say enough,” said Clinton, the Democratic front-runner and former secretary of state. “Enough talk. Enough delay. It is time to act.”

Clinton received the inaugural Mario M. Cuomo Leadership Award at the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence’s Annual Brady Bear Awards Gala, where the tagline of the night was “enough”—of shootings and gun-related deaths nationwide.

 

 

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