Opinion | The Midwest’s Sore Losers -By David Leonhardt – The New York Times

By David Leonhardt
Opinion Columnist, Dec. 4, 2018

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Opponents of a Republican-submitted measure to undermine Wisconsin’s incoming Democratic governor protested outside the state capitol in Madison, Wis., on Monday.CreditCreditJohn Hart/Wisconsin State Journal, via Associated Press

“The Republican Party continues to show an alarming disrespect for democracy. It’s evident right now in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Missouri, and I’ll get to the details in a moment.

But I first want to emphasize that I’m not talking about normal right-versus-left policy disagreements here. I happen to disagree with the Republican Party’s position on tax policy, for example. But there is nothing inherently anti-democratic about its position. The same goes for much of the rest of the Republican agenda: restricting abortion, passing pro-gun laws, reducing immigration, cutting health care programs and so on.

What’s happening in those four states right now is different. It is an anti-democratic power grab. It is qualitatively different from the usual lawmaking that occurs during so-called lame-duck sessions, just after an election.”

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Opinion | Donald Trump’s Dimming Prospects – By Thomas B. Edsall – The New York Times

By Thomas B. Edsall
Mr. Edsall contributes a weekly column from Washington, D.C. on politics, demographics and inequality.,  Nov. 29, 2018, 301


Supporters of Kyrsten Sinema, the Democratic Senate candidate in Arizona, await election results in Phoenix on Nov. 6. Ms. Sinema won.
Credit
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

“Now that the midterm elections have been digested — and looked at up, down and sideways — some patterns that might dim President Trump’s re-election prospects have begun to emerge.

Catalist, a for-profit data firm founded in 2006 by the Democratic campaign strategists Harold Ickes and Laura Quinn, has become a go-to source of voter and donor information for liberal and progressive organizations.

During and after the 2018 elections, the firm conducted a study of the electorate to determine favorable and unfavorable developments important to its clients.

Catalist found that between 2014 and 2018 white voters aged 18 to 44 shifted sharply in favor of the Democrats. In 2014, whites 18 to 29 supported Democrat candidates by one percentage point; in 2018, these young white voters backed Democrats by 26 points, a substantial 25-point swing.”

Hillary Clinton Says Europe Must ‘Get a Handle’ on Migration to Thwart Populism – Matt Stevens- Megan Specia and Patrick Kingsley -The New York Times

By
Nov. 22, 2018, 375

“Europe’s leaders need to send a much stronger message that they will no longer offer “refuge and support” to migrants if they want to curb the right-wing populism spreading across the Continent, Hillary Clinton warned in an interview published Thursday.

Mrs. Clinton said that while the decision of some nations to welcome migrants was admirable, it had opened the door to political turmoil, the rise of the right and Britain’s decision to withdraw from the European Union.

“I think Europe needs to get a handle on migration because that is what lit the flame,” Mrs. Clinton said in the interview with The Guardian, which was conducted before the United States midterm elections this month.

“I admire the very generous and compassionate approaches that were taken particularly by leaders like Angela Merkel, but I think it is fair to say Europe has done its part, and must send a very clear message — ‘we are not going to be able to continue provide refuge and support’ — because if we don’t deal with the migration issue it will continue to roil the body politic,” she said.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | Pending Approval
Here are the top comments at the NYT which I endorsed:
Frankster
Paris
Times Pick

I absolutely cannot understand that a simple factual observation by Hillary Clinton provokes this controversy. The Democratic Party lost the election by pretending that this issue didn’t exist. The Democrats lost contact with their electorate and remember, the United States is, still, a democracy. Those who do not want to restrict this kind of immigration all go to the same parties but that does not make their views a majority view.

JP commented 7 hours ago

JP
MorroBay

I am no big fan of Hillary’s, but she’s absolutely right on this one. Europe is absolutely not able to handle refugees in these numbers, nor from ME countries. They’re full up, resources are getting tight, government services are strained, and their cultures are not going to change at such a rapid pace. Merkel made a huge miscalculation, as elites in government will typically do, living in their security bubbles and upper social stratum. Things are changing folks, the planet is overpopulated, resource depletion is upon us, and the world’s leaders need to take note. Birth control, fixing failed ME and Central American states, cleaning up pollution, and preserving our remaining important resources must become paramount if we’re going to survive. Unfettered capitalism, rampant depletion of nonrenewables, and dumping toxins into the ground, air and water for short term profit must be reined in. We are headed for authoritarian rule and back to survival of the fittest unless we change course, and the sooner the better.

Lloyd Sullivan commented 6 hours ago

Lloyd Sullivan
Henderson, NV
Times Pick

Hillary has gotten it wrong for much of her political career, but she got this one right and, amazingly, she didn’t opt for the politically correct line. There are 7 billion people on the planet, going on 8 billion. Many of the places where these people live offer a marginal existence at the very best. This a truly terrible fact of life, but it is a fact. No one in the First World can blame the inhabitants of these parts of the Third World for seeking a better life. Were we in their shoes we would do the same. But humanity is finally beginning to understand that the planet’s resources are finite. Immigrants flooding across borders away from scare resources to countries with more, or better-managed, resources, are the result and the flood is unsustainable. Populists know this, fear this and it drives their rhetoric. Unfortunately, their rhetoric on the subject of immigration is not groundless. Their ranks will only continue to grow as immigrant numbers rise.

T.R.Devlin commented 7 hours ago

T.R.Devlin
Geneva

Her comments are common sense; treating migrants whether refugees or economic migrants humanely, is essential.But given the demographic imbalances between Europe and Africa and the Middle East, the issue of migration needs to be handled collectively and intelligently if it is not to cause further political turmoil in Europe.

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Opinion | Too Rich to Jail – by Maureen Dowd – The New York Times

” “The Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street rose up as opposite expressions of anti-establishment rage, nourished by the sense that colluding elites in government and business had got away with a crime,” George Packer wrote in The New Yorker. “The game was rigged — that became the consensus of the alienated.”

President Obama and his Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. made a terrible mistake by letting the miscreant bankers off the hook rather than saying, as F.D.R. did, “I welcome their hatred.”

Some saw it as the end of the Democratic Party. Democrats were the party of workers, charged with protecting people from big money, big banks and big fraud. Obama, the great hope to revitalize the left, immediately folded. Some analogized that the failure to send bankers to jail or even on perp walks made the party’s white blood cell count drop to the point that G.O.P. infections could run wild.”

Sherrod Brown: Rumpled- Unvarnished and Just Maybe a Candidate for President – The New York Times

By Sydney Ember
Nov. 15, 2018

“COLUMBUS, Ohio — One after another, the Democratic candidates in Ohio fell.

But there was Senator Sherrod Brown celebrating his re-election last Tuesday night at a hotel ballroom before a crowd of anxious revelers.

“Let our country — let our nation’s citizens, our Democratic Party, my fellow elected officials all over the country — let them all cast their eyes towards the heartland,” Mr. Brown said from the stage, dispelling the sense of disappointment that had begun to descend.

Then, his gravelly voice rasping out a crescendo, he made it clear where he thought his party could forge its path to success: his triumphant campaign, he said, was the “blueprint for America for 2020.” The revelers roared.

If his victory speech seemed to double as a calling card for a possible presidential run, there was good reason. Not only had Mr. Brown won his third term in this crucial battleground that President Trump claimed by eight points, he was the only major Democrat to win a statewide seat in Ohio.”

David Lindsay: This piece by Ember flunks. No mention of climate change. It misses the big story, that Sherrod Brown is a leader to fight climate change, while protecting manufacturing.  See post before this one.

Gov. John Hickenlooper signs on to U.S. Climate Alliance – By BRUCE FINLEY | The Denver Post 

Photo from NYT:

 

By BRUCE FINLEY | bfinley@denverpost.com | The Denver Post
PUBLISHED: July 11, 2017 at 12:25 pm | UPDATED: July 16, 2017

“Colorado on Tuesday joined the growing number of states and cities committed to meeting or exceeding greenhouse gas reduction targets set in the international Paris climate agreement that President Donald Trump rejects.

Gov. John Hickenlooper issued an executive order compelling a greenhouse gas emissions cut before 2025 by at least 26 percent below 2005 levels. Hickenlooper also declared Colorado will sign on to the U.S. Climate Alliance of states and companies countering the Trump administration by shifting more quickly to wind and solar energy. This move added Western heft to widening efforts to try to ease the impacts of rising temperatures.

Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper signs an …Andy Cross, The Denver PostColorado Governor John Hickenlooper signs an executive order at Red Rocks Park, July 11, 2017, committing the state to climate action to reduce greenhouse gases by more than 26 percent by 2025, reduce carbon dioxide emissions from the electricity sector by 25 percent by 2025, and 35 percent by 2035.
Colorado will accelerate work toward climate goals “regardless of what the federal government decides to do,” Hickenlooper said before signing the order at Red Rocks Park, overlooking metro Denver.”

Source: John Hickenlooper signs on to U.S. Climate Alliance

Editorial: Ned Lamont for governor – GreenwichTime – Hearst (Newspapers)

“By just about any account, Connecticut is in an unhappy, uncertain place.

Look at most ranking lists titled “Best place in America to… (pick your topic)” and you will likely have to read down until you find “Connecticut” in a mediocre — or worse — position.

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Its roads are congested, corroding factors in a stagnant economy. Its rail system is balky, detracting considerably from a now-frayed selling point that the state is “conveniently” situated between New York City and Boston.

The state’s finances are critically out of whack — $4.5 billion short in the biennium budget set to go into effect on July 1, 2019; pensions underfunded by some $100 billion and demanding annual state contributions so large they choke the state’s ability to spend on other needs.

How did we get here? It’s easy — and completely inaccurate — to pin it all on Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, the 63-year-old Democrat who has held office the last eight years and who will turn the power — and the headaches — over to a successor on Jan. 9.

Today’s problems are rooted in decisions — and inaction — dating back at least to the 1990’s, including labor agreements, made during the tenure of former Republican Gov. John G. Rowland.

The challenges will not be solved in a short time. Nor will they be wrestled to the ground by imposed will alone.

All three candidates for governor are businessmen, none with state-wide governing experience.

Oz Griebel, of Hartford, a former Republican running as an independent, is energetic, knowledgeable about transportation needs, and optimistic about the state’s potential. His idea to hold off on funding the state pensions for two years, though, is an approach that contributed to the present plight.

Republican Bob Stefanowski’s proposal to eliminate the state income tax over eight years is unrealistic. The tax — about $9.5 billion annually — represents more than half of Connecticut’s tax revenue. What’s replacing it?

Stefanowski’s style seems to be of the “imposed will” school.

The Hearst Connecticut Media Group Editorial Board believes the best person for the job is Ned Lamont, the 64-year-old Greenwich entrepreneur turned investor.”

Source: Editorial: Ned Lamont for governor – GreenwichTime

Editorial | America Needs a Bigger House – The New York Times

By The Editorial Board
The editorial board represents the opinions of the board, its editor and the publisher. It is separate from the newsroom and the Op-Ed section.

“We’re nearly two decades into the 21st century, so why is America still operating with a House of Representatives built for the start of the 20th?

The House’s current size — 435 representatives — was set in 1911, when there were fewer than one-third as many people living in the United States as there are now. At the time, each member of Congress represented an average of about 200,000 people. In 2018, that number is almost 750,000.

This would shock the Constitution’s framers, who set a baseline of 30,000 constituents per representative and intended for the House to grow along with the population. The possibility that it might not — that Congress would fail to add new seats and that district populations would expand out of control — led James Madison to propose what would have been the original First Amendment: a formula explicitly tying the size of the House to the total number of Americans.

The amendment failed, but Congress still expanded the House throughout the first half of the nation’s existence. The House of Representatives had 65 members when it was first seated in 1789, and it grew in every decade but one until 1920, when it became frozen in time.”

“. . . . . There’s a better solution, which involves bringing America into line with other mature democracies, where national legislatures naturally conform to a clear pattern: Their size is roughly the cube root of the country’s population. Denmark, for instance, has a population of 5.77 million. The cube root of that is 179, which happens to be the size of the Folketing, Denmark’s parliament.

For all countries other than the United States, the size of the national legislature is calculated using only the larger chamber. For the United States, the number refers to the combined size of the House and the Senate. This is because the United States Senate is a more significant lawmaking body than the smaller chambers of other countries. Source: O.E.C.D.

This isn’t some crazy Scandinavian notion. In fact, the House of Representatives adhered fairly well to the so-called cube-root law throughout American history — until 1911. Applying that law to America’s estimated population in 2020 would expand the House to 593 members, after subtracting the 100 members of the Senate.

That would mean adding 158 members. To some, this might sound like 158 too many. But it’s an essential first step in making the “People’s House” — and American government broadly — more reflective of American society today.”

Opinion | The Midterm Results Are a Warning to the Democrats – by Bret Stephens – The New York Times

“For months we’ve heard from sundry media apocalypticians that this year’s midterms were the last exit off the road to autocracy. On Tuesday, the American people delivered a less dramatic verdict about the significance of the occasion.

In a word: meh.

Are you interested in seeing Donald Trump voted out of office in two years? I hope so — which is why you should think hard about that “meh.” This week’s elections were, at most, a very modest rebuke of a president reviled by many of his opponents, this columnist included, as an unprecedented danger to the health of liberal democracy at home and abroad. The American people don’t entirely agree.

We might consider listening to them a bit more — and to ourselves somewhat less.

The 28-seat swing that gave Democrats control of the House wasn’t even half the 63 seats Republicans won in 2010. Yet even that shellacking (to use Barack Obama’s word) did nothing to help Mitt Romney’s chances two years later. The Republican gain in the Senate (the result in Arizona isn’t clear at this writing) was more predictable in a year when so many red-state Democrats were up for re-election. But it underscores what a non-wave election this was.

It also underscores that while “the Resistance” is good at generating lots of votes, it hasn’t figured out how to turn the votes into seats. Liberals are free to bellyache all they want that they have repeatedly won the overall popular vote for the presidency and Congress while still losing elections, and that the system is therefore “rigged.””

Why Democrats’ Gain Was More Impressive Than It Appears – By Nate Cohn

Nate Cohn
By Nate Cohn, Nov. 7, 2018, 296 comments

“It wasn’t necessarily the night of either party’s dreams. The Democrats are poised to gain around 35 House seats after Tuesday’s elections. Republicans seem likely to gain a few seats in the Senate, and they triumphed in some high-profile governor’s races.

But Democrats faced formidable structural disadvantages, unlike any in recent memory. Take those into account, and 2018 looks like a wave election, like the ones that last flipped the House in 2010 and 2006.

In the House, where the Democrats had their strongest showing, it’s impressive that they managed to fare as well as they did. In a sense, Republicans had been evacuated to high ground, away from the beach.

At the beginning of the cycle, only nine Republicans represented districts that tilted Democratic in the previous two presidential elections. Even in a wave election, these are usually the only incumbents who are standing on the beach with a greater than 50 percent chance to lose.”

Nate Cohn says that under the circumstances, it was a blue wave.