Maryland's independent voters are the fastest-growing political bloc in the state, a trend expected to accelerate after a polarizing contest between two of the most unpopular presidential candidates in U.S. history.
Voters across the country, especially millennials, have increasingly opted out of the two-party system. Maryland has twice as many unaffiliated voters as it did 15 years ago, and the rate of attrition from major parties is growing.
"This election cycle has taken on the embodiment of everything that is negative about politics and campaigning," said Matt Forman, 46, a software tester and lifelong Democrat who recently joined Maryland's 754,969 independent voters.
"You're being told that these are the best two options the American people have to offer, when in all seriousness, it's not," said Lance McGregor, a 28-year-old father who lives in Anne Arundel County. He also recently left the Democratic Party.
Democrats on voter rolls still dwarf Republicans and independents in Maryland, outnumbering each by more than 2-1. But since 2008, the legion of unaffiliated voters has grown 46 percent, a rate more than three times that of either major political party.
A Baltimore Sun analysis of voter registration data found these voters are younger and more likely to be male than the rest of the Maryland electorate. The ZIP codes with the highest concentrations of independent voters are clustered around college campuses and near military installations.
More than 35 percent of the independent voters are millennials, under 34 years old. That key demographic — a population roughly as big as the baby boomers — makes up less than 28 percent of registered Democrats and less than 24 percent of registered Republicans.
"That really represents a fundamental shift in how young people engage in politics," said Mileah Kromer, director of the Sarah T. Hughes Field Politics Center at Goucher College.
"Young people today engage around causes," she said, citing the Black Lives Matter movement. "They're certainly ideological, but they're not necessarily partisan."
The trend may be accelerated by acrimony in the presidential race, but it is unlikely to affect the outcome of the race in Maryland. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton leads Republican Donald Trump here by more than 30 percentage points, according to an average of recent public polls by Real Clear Politics.
But it could have a meaningful effect on the cost and tone of future elections.
Political analysts say the rise of unaffiliated voters means more people are disenfranchised from primary elections, which are often the most contested races in an election season. In Maryland, independent voters can't vote in a primary. Three years ago, the Maryland Republican Party weighed but rejected a move to expand its primary to include independents.
The shift could mean that campaigns will be more costly — increasing the influence of money in politics — because candidates can't rely on partisanship to easily identify their likely supporters.
"Younger folks are turned off by what they see as toxicity," said Chris Cooper, founder of the political consulting group Convergence Targeted Communications. Cooper's company worked with a lot of younger, unaffiliated voters during Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders' insurgent Democratic primary campaign.
In Maryland, where Democrats in places such as Baltimore outnumber Republicans 10-1, Democratic primaries historically decide the next mayor of Baltimore, most congressional seats, many state legislative districts and, until recently, control of the governor's mansion.
Cooper said that, as many Sanders supporters discovered, an independent is "locked out of most of the races that really elect your officials."
Nick Bonadio, 32, was raised in a Democratic household. He lived in Baltimore and registered as an independent at 18, even though he knew he wouldn't have a voice in city politics. He sees the party system as causing partisan gridlock, and he refuses to even tacitly endorse it.
"It's all too easy to be told what to think by the party you identify with and the cable news outlet that reinforces that platform," said Bonadio, an attorney. "Much easier than coming up with your own position on something and learning to defend it with civility.
"People would rather surround themselves with those that agree with them and dismissively shout down those that don't."
Although these younger independents are rejecting a brand, they're not necessarily swing voters.
Tiffany Davenport is an expert on political behavior at the U.S. Naval Academy. She said more people are declaring themselves independent, but many are actually voting along a party line.
"More people that claim to be unaffiliated tend to lean Democratic," Davenport said.
While many independents are registering to vote for the first time, tens of thousands in Maryland are abandoning a political party each year.
According to an analysis of voter registration records by L2, a national voter research company, 22,438 Maryland voters switched from a major political party to independent status in 2014. In 2016, about 24,052 did.
Both major political parties appear to be losing voters to independence, though a greater proportion of Republicans have left. According to the Maryland State Board of Elections, the Democratic Party has lost 62,519 voters to the ranks of the unaffiliated since Jan. 1, 2012. The Republican Party has lost 42,722 in that time.
Most people view party politics from a national perspective, even if their local officials are more moderate, analysts said.
"When people look at the two parties, they see a very, very conservative party, and a pretty doggone liberal party, and they're not satisfied with either choice," said Donald F. Norris, director of the school of public policy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
Historically, those independent voters are less likely to show up on Election Day, Norris said. And though many lean toward one party or another, it's more difficult for campaigns to identify which of them might lean their way.
"It makes Republicans and Democrats have to work a lot harder to win elections," Norris said. "It makes them work harder to appeal to people who aren't part of their base."
Independent voter Joshua Meloney thinks that's exactly what contemporary politics needs.
To watch Republicans defend Trump's controversial comments or Democrats play down Clinton's shortcomings is "mind-boggling" to Meloney, a 34-year-old from Anne Arundel County who works in marketing.
He thinks many people who "promise to always vote for one party" are predisposed to overlook negative information about their candidates and toe the party line rather than thinking critically about issues. That party-first mentality, he said, makes it hard to compromise after ideas get branded as "Republican" or "Democrat."
"People become blinded by their party and party allegiance," Meloney said. "For me, it was always a matter of you go in with an open mind. You listen to what a campaign says, and you evaluate what you think is best and what you agree with."
Meloney grew up in a conservative area of southern Delaware, with parents who came from a long line of Republicans but occasionally crossed party lines.
At 18, then at the leading edge of what would later be dubbed the millennial generation, Meloney registered as an independent.
John Willis, executive in residence at the University of Baltimore's School of Public and International Affairs, has analyzed voter registration trends. He said part of the rise of independent voters — at least in Maryland — is driven by its large federal workforce. He said many such workers are not permitted to openly participate in partisan activities.
Willis expects more voters to decide to be unaffiliated, but said the sheer volume of Maryland's 2.1 million Democrats means the trend is unlikely to affect a political outcome anytime soon. Independents may be growing more quickly, but there are only about 750,000 of them and about 1 million Republicans.
"The absolute margin between Republicans and Democrats is the largest it's ever been," Willis said.
Michael Brooks, 29, hopes that if enough like-minded people abandon the party system, primaries might be opened to unaffiliated voters.
"Of the people who were seeking the nomination, they picked the two worst possible people in each party," said Brooks, an editor from Potomac. He is "pretty sure" he will vote for Libertarian Party nominee Gary Johnson for president — "even though he's a buffoon, just as a protest."
Sunday, October 30, 2016
Saturday, October 29, 2016
Thursday, October 27, 2016
As Marylanders get their first opportunity to cast ballots in early voting in the hotly contested presidential election between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump today, elections officials are bracing for a record turnout.
More than 430,500 Marylanders took advantage of early voting in 2012, the first presidential election in which it was offered. This general election contest is expected to draw more.
"The pattern that we've seen is an increase in early voting for every election cycle," said Nikki Baines Charlson, deputy administrator at the Maryland State Board of Elections.
Early voters in the 2012 contest between Democrat Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney accounted for nearly 16 percent of the 2.7 million ballots cast. This year, that proportion is expected to grow.
"I think you're going to see very, very high turnout for early voting," said Todd Eberly, a political scientist at St. Mary's College of Maryland. "I want to vote just because I want to put this election in my rearview mirror as quickly as possible."
Early voting runs from today through Thursday, Nov. 3, at polling locations around the state. The polls are open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
For the first time, the state this year is allowing same-day voter registration during early voting. To register to vote, Marylanders must bring a document that proves that they live in the state.
Same-day registration is not available on Election Day, Nov. 8.
Nearly 2,000 people registered to vote during early voting in April. Nearly 1,500 registered as Democrats.
Officials are opening six early-voting locations in Baltimore, nine in Baltimore County, five in Anne Arundel County, four in Harford County, three in Howard County and one in Carroll County.
More than 257,000 Marylanders voted early in the April primary — a state record for a primary election.
About 40,000 people voted early in each of the large counties of Baltimore, Montgomery and Prince George's. The highest early-voting turnout was in Talbot County on the Eastern Shore, where 14 percent of eligible voters chose to cast ballots before Election Day.
Armstead B.C. Jones Sr., Baltimore's elections director, said he doesn't see widespread enthusiasm for any candidate in the city but expects early voters to come out in good numbers.
"The first few days we're going to see a rush," Jones said. "You always have those diehard folks that get out there. We're ready for them."
The city suffered several problems during the primary election — including election judges who didn't show up for work — but Jones said officials were ready for this week. He said he has enough staff in place.
"We're not recruiting any more judges," he said.
The high turnout of the April primary was fueled in part by the competitive nature of several races: Clinton faced opponent Bernie Sanders, and Trump faced Ted Cruz and John Kasich. There were also high-money battles in the House and Senate, for Baltimore mayor and many City Council seats.
Beyond the presidential election, the ballot features the battle between Democrat Chris Van Hollen, Republican Kathy Szeliga and Green Party nominee Margaret Flowers for a rare open Senate seat, and contests for each of Maryland's eight House seats.
The Baltimore mayoral election pits Democrat Catherine E. Pugh, Republican Alan Walden, and Green Party candidate Joshua Harris. Former Mayor Sheila Dixon, a Democrat, is waging a write-in campaign.
While officials are bracing for strong early voting, Eberly said he's not so sure turnout through Election Day will be up.
"We have the two least popular [presidential] nominees ever in the modern era," Eberly said. "That typically means lower turnout. On the flip side, we have more people paying attention to the race than normal. That usually leads to higher turnout."
In Maryland, there are 2.1 million registered Democrats, 1 million Republicans, and 675,000 unaffiliated voters. There also are about 19,000 registered Libertarians, 9,000 Greens and 32,000 people registered with other third parties.
•Early voting takes place from today through Nov. 3. Polls are open from 8 a.m. until 8 p.m.
•There are 67 early-voting locations in Maryland, including six in Baltimore, nine in Baltimore County, five in Anne Arundel County, four in Harford County, three in Howard County and one in Carroll County. To find your nearest early-voting location, visit the state board of elections website.
•Same-day voter registration is allowed during early voting. To register, a voter must bring a document that proves he or she lives in the state. This document can be a driver's license, ID card, paycheck, bank statement, utility bill or other government document.
•Same-day registration will not be available on Election Day, Nov. 8.
Saturday, October 22, 2016
Friday, October 21, 2016
Pressed by moderator Chris Wallace as to whether he would accept defeat should Hillary Clinton win the election, Donald Trump replied, “I will tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense.”
“That’s horrifying,” said Clinton, setting off a chain reaction on the post-debate panels with talking heads falling all over one another in purple-faced anger, outrage and disbelief.
“Disqualifying!” was the cry on Clinton cable.
“Trump Won’t Say If He Will Accept Election Results,” wailed the New York Times. “Trump Won’t Vow to Honor Results,” ran the banner in the Washington Post.
But what do these chattering classes and establishment bulletin boards think the Donald is going to do if he falls short of 270 electoral votes?
Lead a Coxey’s Army on Washington and burn it down as British Gen. Robert Ross did in August 1814, while “Little Jemmy” Madison fled on horseback out the Brookville Road?
What explains the hysteria of the establishment?
In a word, fear.
The establishment is horrified at the Donald’s defiance because, deep within its soul, it fears that the people for whom Trump speaks no longer accept its political legitimacy or moral authority.
It may rule and run the country, and may rig the system through mass immigration and a mammoth welfare state so that Middle America is never again able to elect one of its own. But that establishment, disconnected from the people it rules, senses, rightly, that it is unloved and even detested.
Having fixed the future, the establishment finds half of the country looking upon it with the same sullen contempt that our Founding Fathers came to look upon the overlords Parliament sent to rule them.
Establishment panic is traceable to another fear: Its ideology, its political religion, is seen by growing millions as a golden calf, a 20th-century god that has failed.
Trump is “talking down our democracy,” said a shocked Clinton.
After having expunged Christianity from our public life and public square, our establishment installed “democracy” as the new deity, at whose altars we should all worship. And so our schools began to teach.
Half a millennia ago, missionaries and explorers set sail from Spain, England and France to bring Christianity to the New World.
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Today, Clintons, Obamas and Bushes send soldiers and secularist tutors to “establish democracy” among the “lesser breeds without the Law.”
Unfortunately, the natives, once democratized, return to their roots and vote for Hezbollah, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, using democratic processes and procedures to re-establish their true God.
And Allah is no democrat.
By suggesting he might not accept the results of a “rigged election” Trump is committing an unpardonable sin. But this new cult, this devotion to a new holy trinity of diversity, democracy and equality, is of recent vintage and has shallow roots.
For none of the three – diversity, equality, democracy – is to be found in the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, the Federalist Papers or the Pledge of Allegiance. In the pledge, we are a republic.
When Ben Franklin, emerging from the Philadelphia convention, was asked by a woman what kind of government they had created, he answered, “A republic, if you can keep it.”
Among many in the silent majority, Clintonian democracy is not an improvement upon the old republic; it is the corruption of it.
Consider: Six months ago, Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, the Clinton bundler, announced that by executive action he would convert 200,000 convicted felons into eligible voters by November.
If that is democracy, many will say, to hell with it.
Sign the precedent-setting petition supporting Trump’s call for an independent prosecutor to investigate Hillary Clinton!
And if felons decide the electoral votes of Virginia, and Virginia decides who is our next U.S. president, are we obligated to honor that election?
In 1824, Gen. Andrew Jackson ran first in popular and electoral votes. But, short of a majority, the matter went to the House.
There, Speaker Henry Clay and John Quincy Adams delivered the presidency to Adams – and Adams made Clay secretary of state, putting him on the path to the presidency that had been taken by Jefferson, Madison, Monroe and Adams himself.
Were Jackson’s people wrong to regard as a “corrupt bargain” the deal that robbed the general of the presidency?
The establishment also recoiled in horror from Milwaukee Sheriff Dave Clarke’s declaration that it is now “torches and pitchforks time.”
Yet, some of us recall another time, when Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas wrote in “Points of Rebellion”:
“We must realize that today’s Establishment is the new George III. Whether it will continue to adhere to his tactics, we do not know. If it does, the redress, honored in tradition, is also revolution.”
Baby-boomer radicals loved it, raising their fists in defiance of Richard Nixon and Spiro Agnew.
But now that it is the populist-nationalist right that is moving beyond the niceties of liberal democracy to save the America they love, elitist enthusiasm for “revolution” seems more constrained.
What goes around comes around.
Thursday, October 20, 2016
As Europeans assess the fallout from the U.K.’s Brexit referendum, they face a series of elections that could equally shake the political establishment. In the coming 12 months, four of Europe’s five largest economies have votes that will almost certainly mean serious gains for right-wing populists and nationalists. Once seen as fringe groups, France’s National Front, Italy’s Five Star Movement, and the Freedom Party in the Netherlands have attracted legions of followers by tapping discontent over immigration, terrorism, and feeble economic performance. “The Netherlands should again become a country of and for the Dutch people,” says Evert Davelaar, a Freedom Party backer who says immigrants don’t share “Western and Christian values.”
Even Europe’s most powerful politician, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, is under assault. The anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party has drained support from Mrs Merkel’s Christian Democrats in recent state and local elections, capitalizing on discontent over Germany’s refugee crisis. In Austria the far-right Freedom Party has a shot at winning the presidency in balloting set for Dec. 4, after an election in May that the Freedom Party narrowly lost was annulled because of irregularities in vote counting. The populists are deeply skeptical of European integration, and those in France and the Netherlands want to follow Britain’s lead and quit the European Union. “Political risk in Europe is now far more significant than in the United States,” says Ajay Rajadhyaksha, head of macro research at Barclays.
here’s a second test of populist muscle on Dec. 4, when Italy holds a referendum on constitutional changes proposed by the government of Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. Five Star is the leading opposition to the government’s plan to cut the number of seats in Parliament’s upper chamber and limit its powers, a move Mr Renzi is seeking to speed action on economic reforms. With the prime minister threatening to resign in the event of a “no” vote, growth-enhancing measures such as a corporate tax cut and help for Italy’s fragile banking system could be off the table. “You might end up having a political crisis on top of an economic slowdown and a banking mess,” says Bloomberg Intelligence economist Maxime Sbaihi. “Suddenly, stars could align for the worst.”
Recent polls show the “no” forces narrowly ahead. If they prevail, an interim government would take over until elections could be held, probably in 2017, says Wolfango Piccoli, co-president of Teneo Intelligence, a political advisory firm in London. “The big winner would be the Five Star Movement,” which could increase its 14 percent share of parliamentary seats, he says. Five Star probably wouldn’t gain sufficient backing to form a government but would have enough seats to deny any other party a solid majority.
That scenario underscores what may be the biggest risk of the nationalist groundswell: increasingly fragmented parliaments that will be unable or unwilling to tackle the problems hobbling their economies. True, populist leaders might not have enough clout to enact controversial measures such as the Dutch Freedom Party’s call to close mosques and deport Muslims. And while the Brexit vote in June helped energize Eurosceptics, it’s unlikely that any major European country will soon quit the EU, Morgan Stanley economists wrote in a recent report. But they added that “the protest parties promise to turn back the clock” on free-market reforms while leaving “sclerotic” labour and market regulations in place. France’s National Front, for example, wants to temporarily renationalise banks and increase tariffs while embracing cumbersome labour rules widely blamed for chronic double-digit unemployment. Such policies could damp already weak euro zone growth, forecast by the International Monetary Fund to drop from 2 percent in 2015 to 1.5 percent in 2017. “Politics introduces a downside skew to growth,” the economists said.
Here’s a Rundown on the Upcoming Elections:
Dec. 4 referendum
Prime Minister Renzi wants to curb the power of Parliament’s upper house and has said he’ll resign if there’s a “no” vote. That could plunge the country into crisis, likely leading to an interim government followed by national elections in 2017.
The “no” side is slightly ahead, but at least a quarter of voters remain undecided. Mr Renzi’s base is divided on the referendum, prompting him to offer concessions to appease party members who’ve opposed his plan.
March 2017 general elections
Voters will choose members of the national Parliament, where the Liberal Party holds the most seats and heads a coalition with the Labour Party.
Recent polls show Geert Wilders’s anti-immigrant, Eurosceptic Freedom Party running neck and neck with the Liberals. But even if the Freedom Party gets the most seats, it’s unlikely to find a coalition partner. Improving economic numbers could benefit mainstream parties, and Liberal Prime Minister Mark Rutte may shore up his support by boosting spending on health care and security.
April-May presidential elections
Voters will choose a president through a pair of primaries, followed by a first round of voting in April and a runoff in May. Bordeaux Mayor Alain Juppé, a pro-European, business-friendly former prime minister, is the front-runner in a November primary of center-right candidates. The Left has its own primary in January; François Hollande, the deeply unpopular Socialist president, hasn’t said whether he’ll seek reelection. A wild card is Emmanuel Macron, a former economy minister under Mr Hollande who’s created his own political movement but hasn’t said whether he’ll run.
The first round of presidential voting will pit the primary winners against Marine Le Pen, head of the far-right National Front, and candidates from smaller parties. Polls show Ms Le Pen would win as much as 30 percent of the vote in April, enough to advance to a second round. But surveys show she’d lose a runoff to any mainstream candidate. In parliamentary elections in June, the party that wins the presidency is likely to gain enough seats to form a government. Despite Ms Le Pen’s popularity, the National Front holds no seats in the 577-member National Assembly and failed to gain control of any regional governments in elections last year.
September parliamentary elections
Chancellor Merkel faces stiff criticism within her coalition over her handling of the refugee crisis and hasn’t said whether she’ll seek reelection after 11 years in office. With her party convention set for December, she’s expected to signal her intentions soon. Low unemployment, rising wages, and slow-but-steady growth, along with broad support from the business community, would favor a fourth-term bid. Mrs Merkel’s government plans a €6.3 billion ($6.9 billion) income tax cut starting next year.
Following its recent state and local successes, the populist AfD could win seats in Parliament for the first time. But other parties would likely band together to deny AfD any power in government. And Mrs Merkel has a 54 percent approval rating—more than most of her European peers—while her CDU-CSU bloc still leads comfortably in opinion polls.
Saturday, October 15, 2016
Friday, October 14, 2016
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- With the presidential election less than a month away, 28% of Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S. This continues the low satisfaction levels that started near the end of the George W. Bush administration and have persisted under President Barack Obama. Satisfaction remains significantly below the historical average of 37% since Gallup began measuring it in 1979.- Source
Americans' current level of satisfaction is similar to where it has been for most of 2016, with the notable exception of July. That month, 17% of Americans were satisfied according to the July 13-17 poll, conducted shortly after incidents in which police officers killed black men in Louisiana and Minnesota, and after five police officers in Dallas were fatally shot. July's satisfaction rating was the lowest since October 2013. By August, with news coverage focused more on other events such as the political conventions, satisfaction rebounded to the levels seen before July.
Americans' Satisfaction Similar to a Month Before 2012 Election
Hillary Clinton has said she is the only candidate who will continue Obama's policies, so her supporters might be worried that less than a third of Americans are satisfied with the country's direction near the end of Obama's second term. But a month before the 2012 election, in which Obama handily defeated Mitt Romney, the U.S. satisfaction level was 30%, similar to today's figure. Satisfaction did rise slightly to 33% immediately before the election, possibly because Americans approved of the way Obama handled the effects of Superstorm Sandy.
Heading into the Nov. 8 general election this year, 49% of Democrats, 24% of independents and 8% of Republicans are satisfied with the country's direction. Republican numbers are almost identical to four years ago -- when 7% were satisfied. Democrats (53%) and independents (29%) were slightly more likely to be satisfied in October 2012 than they are now.
The finding that fewer than one in three Americans are satisfied with the way things are going in the U.S. could appear ominous for the Democratic Party's chances of holding on to the White House in 2016. But satisfaction today is similar to what it was four years ago, when Obama won a second term. So while Clinton may pin her hopes for winning on convincing Americans of the need to continue with the course Obama has set, she would also benefit from convincing voters she can improve on what Obama has accomplished.
On the other hand, Republican Donald Trump has been able to focus heavily on his claims about what has gone wrong with the direction of the U.S. under Obama. With seven in 10 Americans expressing dissatisfaction with the nation's course, Trump has a large audience who agrees with his contention that the country is on the wrong track, even if many may not agree with his explanations for why that is the case. Trump's challenge is to convince Americans that he would be able to make things better in the future if elected.
In addition to influencing the outcome of the election, Americans' low satisfaction level could affect voter turnout on Nov. 8. When citizens are frustrated with the way things are going in the nation, they may be motivated to vote for change. Alternatively, their frustration could discourage them from voting. Gallup research from September found Americans were less sure they will vote in this year's election than they were in each of the past four presidential elections. One reason voters may be less inclined to vote despite high dissatisfaction levels is their dislike of the two candidates. Both Clinton and Trump have historically low favorability ratings.
Historical data are available in Gallup Analytics.
Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted Oct. 5-9, 2016, with a random sample of 1,017 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting.
Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 60% cellphone respondents and 40% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods.
Wednesday, October 12, 2016
Monday, October 10, 2016
As the world’s finance ministers and central-bank governors came together in Washington last week for their annual global financial convocation, the mood was somber. The specter of secular stagnation and inadequate economic growth on the one hand, and ascendant populism and global disintegration on the other, has caused widespread apprehension. Unlike in 2008 (when the post-Lehman Brothers crisis was a preoccupation) or 2011 and 2012 (when the possibility of the collapse of the euro system concentrated minds), there was no imminent crisis. Instead, the pervasive concern was that traditional ideas and leaders are losing their grip and the global economy is entering unexplored and dangerous territory.
The International Monetary Fund’s growth forecast released just before the meeting was once again revised downward. While recession does not impend in any major region, growth is expected at rates dangerously close to stall speed. Worse is the spreading realization that the central banks have little fuel left in their tanks. Recessions come intermittently and unpredictably. Containing them generally requires 5 percentage points of rate cuts. Nowhere in the industrial world do central banks have anything like this kind of room, even allowing for the effects of unconventional policies such as quantitative easing. Market expectations suggest that it is unlikely they will gain much room for years.
After seven years of consistent over-optimism about economic prospects, there is a growing awareness that growth challenges are not so much a matter of the lingering effects of the crisis as they are of structural changes in the global economy that contributed to the crisis and the problems in its aftermath. There is increasing reason to doubt that the industrial world can simultaneously enjoy interest rates that support savers, financial stability and adequate growth. Saving has become overabundant, new investment insufficient and stagnation secular rather than transient.
It can hardly come as a great surprise that when economic growth falls short year after year, and when its beneficiaries are a small subset of the population, electorates turn surly. Looking back at the political traumas of 1968, when people were in the streets in many countries, it’s clear that there was something going on beyond specific issues like Vietnam in the United States. In the same way — with Brexit, the rise of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, the strength of right-wing nationalists in Europe, Vladimir Putin’s strength in Russia, and the return of Mao worship in China — it’s hard to escape the conclusion that the world is seeing a renaissance of populist authoritarianism.
These developments are mutually reinforcing. Weak economics promote angry politics which raise uncertainty, leading to still weaker economics starting the cycle again. Publics have lost confidence both in the competence of economic leaders and in their commitment to serving broad national interests, rather than the interests of a global elite. A number of longtime economic leaders in the public and private sector seem to be making their way through the grief cycle — starting with denial, moving to rage, then to bargaining and ultimately to acceptance of new realities.
It is not tenable to ignore public sentiment. Nor, as 60 years of populist policy cycles in Latin America demonstrate, is economic nationalism in its strong form a viable economic strategy. Rather, the challenge for the international community and leaders of individual nations is to find a path in which international cooperation is supported and enhanced, but instead of being focused on matters of concern to moralists and global elites is focused on the priorities of a broad middle class.
Concretely, this means rejecting austerity economics in favor of investment economics. At a time when markets are saying that inadequate rather than excessive inflation will be the problem over the next generation, central bankers need to embrace spurring demand as a primary objective and to cooperate with governments.
Enhancing infrastructure investment in the public and private sector should be an immediate priority for fiscal policy. Domestically, this means recognizing that such a course has budget benefits, as the economy expands and deferred maintenance liabilities are reduced, as well as budget costs. Globally, it means recognizing that enhanced tools for infrastructure finance offer the prospect of more investment demand and better returns to middle-class savers.
And the focus of international economic cooperation more generally needs to shift from opportunities for capital to better outcomes for labor. The achievement of this objective will require substantially enhanced cooperation to address what might be thought of as the dark side of capital mobility — money laundering, regulatory arbitrage and tax avoidance and evasion.
These are a few ideas. The general point should be clear. Few things will be as important to the success of the next president as the restoration of confidence in the global economy.
Sunday, October 9, 2016
Please do NOT vote FOR or support any members of the Bush "Ides of March" hit team:
Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk>
Former New York governor and GOP presidential candidate George E. Pataki
National political director at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and former director of the Division of Political Education at the Republican National Committee Rob Engstrom
Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz
Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert
Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock
Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse
Former Utah Gov. John Huntsman
Utah Sen. Mike Lee
Alabama Rep. Martha Roby
Former GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina
New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte
Conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt
Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo
West Virginia Sen. Shelley Moore Capito
Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake
South Dakota Sen. John Thune
South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard
Utah Rep. Mia Love
2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney
Actor and former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger
Alaska Sen. Dan Sullivan
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty
Former presidential candidate and Ohio Gov. John Kasich
Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski
Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner
Arizona Sen. John McCain
South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley
Colorado Rep. Mike Coffman
Former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice
New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez
Wisconsin Congressman and Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan
The Obama Administration imposed a record number of 101 unfunded mandates, costing $596 billion and 101 million paperwork hours, according to a research paper released Friday by The American Action Forum (AAF).
To put those figures in context, there were just 88 unfunded mandates between 1996 and 2008.
Thus, Obama managed to trump 13 years worth of unfunded mandates in just two terms. The Bush Administration pushed 56 unfunded mandates, and the Clinton Administration imposed even less — 32.
Obama enacted just over 10 unfunded mandates in 2015, and the states faced a regulatory cost of $35 billion and 75 million paperwork hours.
The Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) was enacted in 1995 to avoid unfairly burdening state, local, or tribal governments, or private sector entities with too many unfunded mandates, or mandates requiring functions for which it provides no funds. AAF’s research finds that this law actually didn’t achieve those ends during Obama’s term.
It would take 50,506 individuals an entire year to meet the requirements of the Obama Administration’s 101 unfunded mandate, according to the report.
If you were to average the costs of the 101 mandates across the United States, they would amount to $1,842 per person.
Saturday, October 8, 2016
In closed-door remarks delivered to a foreign bank, Hillary Clinton declared that her “dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders.”
This statement from one of Clinton’s private paid speeches was discovered in leaked emails of Clinton’s campaign chair, John Podesta, which were made public by WikiLeaks.
One email, which provided partial transcripts of some of Clinton’s speeches, reads in part:*Hillary Clinton Said Her Dream Is A Hemispheric Common Market, With Open Trade And Open Markets. *In her remarks to Banco Itau, Clinton also denounced the idea of putting up barriers to global trade, a statement which will likely raise concerns with grassroots and working-class voters in her own party. “We have to resist protectionism, other kinds of barriers to market access and to trade,” Clinton said.
“My dream is a hemispheric common market, with open trade and open borders, some time in the future with energy that is as green and sustainable as we can get it, powering growth and opportunity for every person in the hemisphere.” [05162013 Remarks to Banco Itau.doc, p. 28]
Even though it has gone virtually unreported by corporate media, Breitbart News has extensively documented the Clintons’ longstanding support for “open borders.” Interestingly, as the Los Angeles Times observed in 2007, the Clinton’s praise for globalization and open borders frequently comes when they are speaking before a wealthy foreign audiences and donors.
In July 2007, Bill Clinton praised the benefits of “open borders” and “easy immigration” while delivering the keynote address at the 16th Telugu Association of North America (TANA) conference in Washington D.C. to a crowd of thousands of Indian Americans. As the Los Angeles Times reported at the time, Clinton “drew applause at a conference of 14,000 Indian Americans in Washington as he extolled the benefits of ‘open borders, easy travel, easy immigration.’” It went on to report, “The same day, he headlined a fundraiser at the conference for his wife’s [failed 2008 presidential] campaign.”
In a 2003 speech delivered to Yale University, Bill Clinton called for the establishment of a “global community,” praised the “openness of our borders to immigrants,” and declared that America “has great obligations to open our borders.” Clinton said that he believes the formation a “genuine global community”—complete with an “over-arching system” to regulate it—to be “the great mission of the 21st century.”
The latest WikiLeaks revelation documenting Hillary Clinton’s explicit support for “open borders” may pose unique challenges to her campaign, as it means that for months, Clinton’s campaign has deliberately sought to mislead the American people about her position on immigration.
Clinton’s campaign website promoted material insisting that the “claim that Hillary Clinton supports open borders” is “false”– even though, by Clinton’s own admission, “open borders” is her “dream.”
Clinton’s new pushback against publicly labeling herself as for “open borders” while clearly championing open border policies is perhaps related to the fact that increasing immigration levels is not a popular policy. According to Pew, an overwhelming 83 percent of the American electorate overall would like to see immigration levels frozen or reduced.
Clinton’s newly revealed remarks are equally interesting in that they demonstrate corporate media’s failure to meaningfully examine or accurately report on Clinton’s immigration position.
Indeed, for months, while Republican nominee Donald Trump has repeatedly made the case that his opponent supports open borders, many in the media have denounced Trump’s assertion as false—without providing any substantive evidence to counter his claim.
For instance, Politifact, the Associated Press, CNN, FactCheck.org, and The Washington Post have all tried to argue that it’s not true that Clinton supports open borders. In doing so, these “fact checkers” have demonstrated that they either don’t know what “open borders” means, or they are deliberately parroting talking points provided by the Clinton campaign to cover up Clinton’s record on the issue.
Interestingly, these so-called “fact checks” rarely mention how many migrants would be imported into the country under a Hillary Clinton Presidency. While Bill Clinton has described our current immigration policy as one of “open borders,” his wife has championed policies that would open our borders even further.- For example, the 2013 Gang of Eight bill Clinton supported would have tripled green card issuances—permanently resettling 33 million foreign nationals on green cards in the span of a single decade—and would have doubled foreign guest worker visas to compete for American jobs.Clinton’s primary rival Bernie Sanders has explained how “open borders” is a radical and fringe position supported by wealthy donors, which hurts working Americans. In a 2015 interview with Vox, Sanders denounced open borders as a “Koch brothers proposal” that would essentially amount to “doing away with the concept of a nation state.” Sanders said:
- The 2006 Ted Kennedy immigration plan Clinton supported would have more than doubled legal immigration by increasing the number of family-based and employment-based visas.
- Clinton’s refugee program, which she outlined in 2015, calls for a 550 percent increase the number of Syrian refugees admitted. If Clinton were to continue this policy throughout her presidency, the U.S. could potentially permanently resettle nearly one million Muslim migrants during the first term of her presidency alone—and all of their children born on American soil would be automatically awarded U.S. citizenship.
- The Center for Immigration Studies’ Steve Camarota has projected that, based on the minimal figures Clinton has put forth thus far, Clinton could add 10 million new immigrants to the U.S. during her first term alone – in addition to the 11 million illegal immigrants Clinton has said she plans to amnesty within her first 100 days in office.
It would make everybody in America poorer—you’re doing away with the concept of a nation state, and I don’t think there’s any country in the world that believes in that. If you believe in a nation state or in a country called the United States or UK or Denmark or any other country, you have an obligation in my view to do everything we can to help poor people. What right-wing people in this country would love is an open-border policy. Bring in all kinds of people, work for $2 or $3 an hour, that would be great for them. I don’t believe in that. I think we have to raise wages in this country.
By Sanders’ argument, by embracing open borders Clinton will “make everybody in America poorer” and has essentially adopted the view that there should be “no United States… [by] doing away with the concept of a nation state.”
This is precisely the concern of populist, nation-state conservatives like Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions, who made this very argument. In a USA Today op-ed from May of this year, in which he laid out the case for Donald Trump over Hillary Clinton, Sessions wrote, “For the first time in a long time, this November will give Americans a clear choice on perhaps the most important issue facing our country and our civilization: whether we remain a nation-state that serves its own people, or whether we slide irrevocably toward a soulless globalism that treats humans as interchangeable widgets in the world market.”
Sunday, October 2, 2016
NEW YORK, Oct. 1 (UPI) -- Stock for the German Deutsche Bank AG ended a roller coaster week by rebounding amid talk it may require a taxpayer bailout as it negotiates a potential $14 billion penalty being sought by the U.S. Justice Department for the bank's role in the 2008 financial crisis.
Deutsche Bank leaders denied reports of a potential cash shortage as its legal bills mount in the United States and elsewhere, though several top U.S. hedge funds reduced their cash holdings with Deutsche Bank as politicians began openly debating a possible bailout that would have been unthinkable even two months ago.
The appetite for any such bailout is nil in Germany, a nation that has staked out tough positions with fellow members of the European Union that have faced debt crises, including Greece and Spain. The Wall Street Journal cited opinion surveys in Germany that showed three-in-four voters said they would not support a taxpayer bailout for Deutsche Bank, which has come under criticism for lucrative executive salaries, questionable management decisions and mounting legal problems in the United States and elsewhere.
Bloomberg reported Saturday the bank and six former employees were indicted in Italy after allegedly helping execute transactions with the Italian bank Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena SpA. Those indicted included top aides to former co-CEO Anshu Jain. The former Deutsche Bank employees are charged with executing derivatives to help hide losses at Monte Paschi, the world's oldest bank, which was later forced to restate its cash holdings and twice tap shareholders for cash infusions to avoid potential collapse.
In the United States, officials at the Justice Department are said to be pursuing a $14 billion fine for Deutsche Bank for its role in the 2008 financial crisis by passing off worthless investments in the housing market.
Company executives called the $14 billion figure an opening offer from regulators and expressed confidence the bank would wind up paying a much smaller fine.
Deutsche Bank's stock fell by 49 percent to record lows in August when the potential Justice Department fine was first reported.
The stock swung wildly throughout the week as rumors of a cash shortfall simmered, leading to bailout speculation. The stock rebounded Friday by more than 14 percent to close at $13.02 on the New York Stock Exchange.