Opinion | The Democrats and the Caravan – by David Leonhardt – NYT

By David Leonhardt,  Opinion Columnist,  Oct. 23, 2018

“When white working-class voters focus on the white part of their identity, the Republican Party benefits. When they focus on the working-class part, the Democratic Party benefits.That’s a simple rule of thumb that explains much of contemporary American politics — including Republicans’ new focus on the caravan of Central American migrants moving north through Mexico. President Trump and other top Republicans cynically understand that they are helped by images showing large groups of immigrants hoping to enter the United States without documentation.How should the Democrats respond? I think they’re doing it wrong so far.”

David Lindsay:

Thank you David Leonhardt. I was about to write something in line with your thinking. I said Sunday night in effect, I have a horrible feeling the Caravan is a blessing from heaven for the Republicans and Trump. He is harvestsing it for optimum bounce, while the Democrats silence is going to cripple them with far more people than just Trump’s base which will be galvanized.
Image: A caravan of migrants traveled through Guatemala en route to the United States on Wednesday.CreditCreditOrlando Estrada/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

 

NYTIMES.COM
The party is trying to ignore the caravan of migrants. That’s a naïve mistake.
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Opinion | What if the Republicans Win Everything Again? – by David Leonhardt – NYT

“The end of Robert Mueller’s investigation. The loss of health insurance for several million people. New laws that make it harder to vote. More tax cuts for the rich. More damage to the environment. A Republican Party molded even more in the image of President Trump.

These are among the plausible consequences if the Republicans sweep the midterm elections and keep control of both the House and Senate. And don’t fool yourself. That outcome, although not the most likely one, remains possible. The last couple of weeks of polling have shown how it could happen.

Voters who lean Republican — including whites across the South — could set aside their disappointment with Trump and vote for Republican congressional candidates. Voters who lean left — including Latinos and younger adults — could turn out in low numbers, as they usually do in midterm elections. The Republicans’ continuing efforts to suppress turnout could also swing a few close elections. continuing efforts to suppress turnout could also swing a few close elections.”

David Lindsay: Yes. Ouch. Here is a comment I liked.

LT
Chicago
Times Pick

Choosing not to vote is choosing to remain silent politically. And silence is acceptance.

It’s not just acceptance of continued attacks on the safety net in favor of tax cuts for the wealthy. It’s not just acceptance of attacks on the rule of law to protect a corrupt politician.

Not voting is choosing to remain silent and accept that an openly racist President will continue to incite hatred and divisiveness and conspire with Republican legislatures and the judges they appointment, to disenfranchise voters who don’t look like them or vote like them, through voter suppression and gerrymandering.

“Voters who lean left — including Latinos and younger adults — could turn out in low numbers”

If so, that choice to remain silent, will be judged harshly.

“History will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people. ”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Still true almost 60 years later.

Opinion | The Growing Crisis of Democracy – by David Leonhardt – NYT

“First, the United States has never gone through a prolonged period of minority democratic rule — that is, when a minority of enfranchised citizens held power over a majority for years on end. We’re not there yet. But as Klein notes, we have started down that path.

Second, the party now empowered by a minority of voters — the Republicans — is not merely playing by the rules. It is trying to change those rules to maintain power. It is preventing some citizens (usually those with dark skin) from voting, and it is changing campaign-finance laws.
That second point leads directly into a third: The rules governing our country have frequently changed over the last 230 or so years. The number of states has more than tripled. Women, African-Americans and 18-year-olds, among others, have gained the right to vote. In all, the constitution has been amended 27 times.

There is nothing extreme about responding to the Republican Party’s current efforts to restrict democracy with an ambitious effort to revitalize democracy. That effort could include: a federal law protecting voting rights; states laws that go even further to encourage voting; other laws to stop ludicrous gerrymandering; statehood for Puerto Rico and Washington, D.C.; and much more. And I’d hope that many parts of the agenda would win support from voters of all stripes — Democratic, Republican and independent.

In the past, I’ve argued that the country’s two biggest challenges are climate change and the stagnation of living standards for most people. I now think that democracy protection and revitalization belong on that list.”

Opinion | Amazon’s Surrender Is Inspiring – by David Leonhardt – NYT

“There are two ways to fight the long stagnation in living standards for most Americans. The first is probably the more obvious and the one I spend more time writing about: through government policy.The government can raise the minimum wage. It can increase the Earned Income Tax Credit, which is effectively a wage subsidy. It can cut taxes on the middle class. It can spend more money on education, child care and health care. All of these are good ideas.But they’re not the only way to lift living standards. For much of the past century, another approach has been even more important: As the economy grew, American companies paid workers their fair share of the growth.”

Opinion | ‘Trump Derangement Syndrome’ Is a Myth – David Leonhardt – NYT

“Conventional wisdom says that the middle is disappearing from American politics: The Republicans have moved far to the right, the Democrats far to the left, and woe to any moderate voters looking for politicians to represent their views.

Well, the conventional wisdom is wrong. The Democrats have not actually become radical leftists, or anything close to it.You keep hearing this story partly because Republicans have an obvious interest in promoting it and partly because large parts of the news media find it irresistible. It’s a “both side do it” angle that allows us journalists to appear tough, knowing and above the partisan scrum. We love that image. But the facts don’t support the story in this case.”

Opinion | The Urgent Question of Trump and Money Laundering – by David Leonhardt – NYT

“The latest reason to be suspicious is Trump’s attacks on a formerly obscure Justice Department official named Bruce Ohr. Trump has repeatedly criticized Ohr and called for him to be fired. Ohr’s sin is that he appears to have been marginally involved in inquiries into Trump’s Russian links. But Ohr fits a larger pattern. In his highly respected three-decade career in law enforcement, he has specialized in going after Russian organized crime.

It just so happens that most of the once-obscure bureaucrats whom Trump has tried to discredit also are experts in some combination of Russia, organized crime and money laundering.

It’s true of Andrew McCabe (the former deputy F.B.I. director whose firing Trump successfully lobbied for), Andrew Weissmann (the only official working for Robert Mueller whom Trump singles out publicly) and others. They are all Trump bogeymen — and all among “the Kremlin’s biggest adversaries in the U.S. government,” as Natasha Bertrand wrote in The Atlantic. Trump, she explained, seems to be trying to rid the government of experts in Russian organized crime.”

Opinion | A Better Way to Run Schools – by David Leonhardt – NYT

“Twelve years later, Nigel Palmer still remembers the embarrassment of his first days as a fourth grader in Monroe, La. He was a Hurricane Katrina evacuee from New Orleans, living with his family in a La Quinta Inn, 250 miles from home. As soon as the school year began, he could tell that the kids in his new school seemed different from him.

They could divide numbers. He really couldn’t. They knew the 50 states. He didn’t. “I wasn’t up to par,” he quietly told me. It’s a miserable feeling.

Until the storm, Palmer had been attending New Orleans public schools, which were among the country’s worst. The high-school graduation rate was 54 percent, and some students who did graduate had shockingly weak academic skills.”

David Lindsay Jr:
How complicated. David Leonhardt, your piece was exciting, but in the comments, you appear to have run into a buzz saw of questions and doubts. Well Houdini, do you have the data to back up your enthusiasm, and isolated stories? While your at work, please explain why the 37th percentile is better than the 22nd, and why some commenters say your an idiot to think 37th is OK.

David Lindsay Jr. is a huge fan of David Leonhardt. Lindsay is the author of “The Tay Son Rebellion, Historical Fiction of Eighteenth-century Vietnam,” and blogs at TheTaySonRebellion.com and InconvenientNews.wordpress.com

Opinion | $111 Billion in Tax Cuts for the Top 1 Percent – by David Leonhardt – NYT

“More inequality? Yes, please. Federal tax policy in the 21st century has been like a tug of war. Thanks to President Trump, the rich are winning it once again.

The top-earning 1 percent of households — those earning more than $607,000 a year — will pay a combined $111 billion less this year in federal taxes than they would have if the laws had remained unchanged since 2000. That’s an enormous windfall. It’s more, in total dollars, than the tax cut received over the same period by the entire bottom 60 percent of earners, according to an analysis being published today.”

Opinion | A Good Night for Democrats – David Leonhardt – NYT

“There has been rising anxiety among Democrats in recent weeks — and rising optimism among Republicans — about the midterm elections in November. Last night’s primaries in several states should cause everyone to take a deep breath. The Democrats had a good night:• We still don’t have the full picture, but the trends in voter turnout continue to look strong for Democrats. (The partisan breakdown in primary turnout is a meaningful predictor of general-election results.)

In three New Jersey House districts that Democrats are hoping to flip, for example, Democrats cast between 52 percent and 54 percent of primary votes last night. “Should be careful about reading too much into it,” G. Elliott Morris of The Economist said on Twitter, “but those numbers should make Democrats feel good about November.” ”

DL: And California Democrats dodged a bullet.

Opinion | Some Good News — (universal pre-kindergarten for Chicago — Virginia accepts medicaid expansion) – by David Leonhardt

“First, Chicago announced that it would make pre-kindergarten universal. By 2021, the city’s 4-year-olds will be able to go to school full time. The pre-K classes will have a student-to-staff ratio of 10:1, as experts recommend.

Many economists believe that good preschool programs are the single most effective way to lift living standards. Research by Dartmouth’s Elizabeth Cascio has found that universal pre-K — while more expensive than targeted, income-based programs — particularly helps poor children. They benefit from being in a diverse classroom.

Of course, pre-K also helps parents with child care. “If you’re working class, your kids are getting the shaft,” Chicago’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, who taught preschool in his 20s, told me. “You’re basically put in the position of choosing between being a good employee and a good parent.”

Best of all, Chicago fits a national pattern, and a bipartisan one. Other cities and states — BaltimoreMemphis and New York; Florida, Vermont and West Virginia — have also expanded pre-K. Nationally, about 33 percent of 4-year-olds were in state-funded pre-K last year, with another 11 percent in other public programs. It’s a major increase since the start of this century:…”