Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Establishment Coalesces Around the Big Donor Corporatocracy

No Labels Values: A New Center in American Politics
By Bill Galston and Bill Kristol

from Nolabels.org
The authors of this statement do not make an obvious team. Over the past four decades we have never voted for the same presidential candidate. We’ve worked in White Houses of different parties. One of us was a senior aide to a presidential candidate who sought to replace the president the other worked for.

We’ve differed on major policy issues. One of us vigorously backed the war in Iraq; the other just as vigorously opposed it. We’ve publicly debated many times, usually focusing on our differences. These disagreements persist.

But we write now to stress what we have always agreed on, because the times demand it. The basic institutions and principles of liberal democracy are under assault. Many of us who are defenders of this distinctive form of self-government have tended to take for granted widespread agreement on these principles; we have had confidence in the strength of these institutions. This is a complacency we can no longer afford.

So as a Democrat and a Republican, we want to say this: We stand together in defense of the institutions of world order conducive to peace, prosperity and freedom that the past 12 presidents, 6 of each party, have worked to build and uphold. We stand together in defense of constitutional, orderly, and civil self-government that respects civil liberties and equal rights and the rule of law, and rejects bigotry of every kind. We stand together in our conviction of the continued vitality of the American Dream, secured by engagement with a hopeful future based on pride in the accomplishments of the past.

And we stand together against an alternative right disdainful of the traditions of American conservatism and a vocal left that blends socialist economics with identity politics. We stand together against a dangerous impatience with the legal forms and constitutional constraints that are guarantors of our liberty. We stand together in defense of an open, generous liberal democracy as the strongest foundation for addressing the very real challenges that we face and the legitimate frustrations with the status quo that we feel.

Our form of government, in short, is fundamentally sound. Not so our parties and our politics. It is in this spirit that we make the case for a New Center, one that does not split the difference between Left and Right but offers a principled alternative to both. Its core tenets—Opportunity, Security, Accountability, and Ingenuity—can respond to the challenges of the present and chart a path to the future.

Opportunity means that all Americans should be able to go as far as their gifts and drive can take them. But gifts mean little without the chance to develop them, and drive means little without a chance to exercise those gifts. Equal opportunity does not mean equal results, but the invisible hand does not create equal opportunity. Nor does inclusion suffice in the absence of vigorous economic growth.

The policies best suited to enlarge opportunity are a matter of important debate, but we need such policies. Without them, too many Americans will feel excluded and will be excluded from the American Dream.

If opportunity is a distinctive principle of American government, security is a basic purpose of every government. The reasons are clear: not only do all peoples crave safety and stability, but also the lack of security generates fear. A fearful people cannot face the future with confidence. Fear can lead to the embrace of policies that are counter-productive, abroad as well as at home. We all know the line from Franklin Roosevelt’s First Inaugural Address: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” We are apt to forget his explanation: fear “paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” Fear is a problematic motivator and an even worse guide.

Although the quest for security is fundamental, a degree of risk and uncertainty is inherent in human life. This is why the quest for absolute security is self-defeating, at home and abroad. The harder we try, the greater the cost to other things we value, such as economic dynamism and productive relations with other nations.

Accountability is a basic principle of free governments and free societies. Through our collective choices, we create a framework of offices and institutions we believe are compatible with the public good, and we authorize individuals to act within this framework. The people have a right to expect that when powerful individuals are acting without regard to the public good or lack the competence to promote it, they will be held accountable for their mistakes. The 2008 financial bailout infuriated Americans across the political spectrum because it appeared to violate this principle. More broadly, many Americans have concluded that economic, social, and political elites are gaining wealth and power at the expense of ordinary people. Such a conclusion puts attachment to our governing institutions at risk.

Americans see ourselves as problem-solvers, and we’ve solved a lot of them over the centuries. If machines aren’t working, we fix them, and similarly for our institutions and policies. In the depths of the Great Depression, FDR called for “bold, persistent experimentation.” Ronald Reagan, who voted for FDR four times, emphatically agreed. The American ingenuity that has produced a stream of world-changing inventions can also reshape the way we govern ourselves. If our budget process no longer works the way it was intended, we can fix it. If our political parties have forgotten how to cooperate and even how to govern, we can do something about that too.

Americans do not believe that the status quo is the best we can do. We will tolerate mistakes along the way, but we will not tolerate the unwillingness of those in power to institute needed reforms. We know that American ingenuity, which usually finds a way to succeed in the private and voluntary sectors, can be effective in our public life as well.

Opportunity, security, accountability, ingenuity–these are the pillars of a New Center. We do not know what policies a New Center will yield. Nor can we predict what institutional form or even party alignment it will take. But the alternative to a coherent and effective New Center is a degree of public discontent that could end by undermining democratic self-government itself. For the sake of liberal democracy and republican self-government, we should take Lincoln’s words to heart: “The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew.”
They propose no 'specific' reforms to the current "broken" system. By THAT omission, we rightly understand that these self-declared "reformers" have absolutely no intention of holding future leaders "accountable". Their project is to perpetuate the extremely 'lucrative' brokeness in the system.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Green Party Sells Out to Hillary's Corporate Donors

from Heavy.com
Jill Stein, the Green Party nominee, announced November 23 that she wanted to seek 2016 recounts in three battleground states: Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan.

In less than 24 hours, she had raised more than the stated $2.5 million goal to do so. She then changed the goal to $4.5 million as the donations continue to roll in. As of November 25, Stein had raised more than $5.4 million with a $7 million goal.
She has formally asked for a Wisconsin recount, which will be conducted starting next week.

The election results in all three states were very close, although Donald Trump leads in all three states (Michigan is still so tight that the Associated Press has not formally called it, but Trump was declared victor in Wisconsin and Pennsylvania). That propelled Trump to an Electoral College victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton (were Clinton to have won all three states, she would be president.)

Trump’s lead in Michigan: 12,882 votes. His lead in Wisconsin: 24,081. His lead in Pennsylvania: 68,814. Stein received 1.39 million votes in the 2016 presidential election overall.

The Stein efforts come on the heels of a group of professors and lawyers urging the Clinton campaign to seek recounts in those three states after uncovering what they claim are anomalies in the Wisconsin returns. However, other data experts have said any anomalies can be explained by demographic variables and have ridiculed the accusations.

Some thought the Stein fundraising was wrong – or even a scam – because of how difficult it would be to overturn the results.

The renewed scrutiny on the election results from the three states gained more prominence November 22 when New York Magazine ran an extensive article entitled, “Experts Urge Clinton Campaign to Challenge Election Results in 3 Swing State.”

The article reported that a group of data experts and lawyers “which includes voting-rights attorney John Bonifaz and J. Alex Halderman, the director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society, believes they’ve found persuasive evidence that results in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania may have been manipulated or hacked.” Halderman then wrote a detailed explanation of his theories on Medium.com.

The group’s central theory is that a foreign government could have hacked the election because of what they argue are suspicious patterns in voting results in Wisconsin (which other data experts say can be explained away by education and race variables). The Clinton campaign and various intelligence agencies have accused the Russian government of staging a series of hacks that hurt Clinton’s chances during the campaign, including hacking into the emails of her campaign chairman, John Podesta. The group seeking the recount has not proven any election hacking or manipulation.

In a statement, Stein said, “After a divisive and painful presidential race, reported hacks into voter and party databases and individual email accounts are causing many Americans to wonder if our election results are reliable.”

Twitter was burning up with news of the Stein efforts. Some found the fundraising ironic because they believe Stein and other third-party candidates cost Clinton the election. Indeed, Stein received more votes in Michigan and Wisconsin than Trump’s margin of victory.

On the crowdfunding website, Stein wrote on November 23 that Wisconsin’s recount had now been funded (the deadline for a recount request is November 25), but more money was needed to fund recounts for Michigan and Pennsylvania. The Stein fundraising site says:
Congratulations on meeting the recount costs for Wisconsin. Raising money to pay for the first round so quickly is a miraculous feat and a tribute to the power of grassroots organizing.

Now that we have nearly completed funding Wisconsin’s recount (which is due on Friday), we can begin to tackle the funding for Michigan’s recount (due Monday) and Pennsylvania’s recount (due Wednesday). The breakdown of these costs is described below.

On November 23, the Stein/Baraka Green Party Campaign launched an effort to ensure the integrity of our elections. With your help, we are raising money to demand recounts in these three states where the data suggests a significant need to verify machine-counted vote totals.

The website says Stein is not seeking the recounts to help Hillary Clinton. Rather, the site says, “These recounts are part of an election integrity movement to attempt to shine a light on just how untrustworthy the U.S. election system is.”

The website also says that the organizers can’t guarantee a recount will happen and pledged “to use the money for election integrity efforts and to promote systemic voting system reform” if recounts don’t happen or more than enough money is raised.
The corporations own the Green Party now. Ralph Nader must be so proud!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Media Obsessed with Race, Unlike Trump


...Not if You Stop Reacting to Fake News from the Left! Donald Trump DISAVOWED these nutjobs!

from the Wall Street Journal
Since when does a weekend gathering of “nearly 275” white nationalists in a country of more than 320 million people warrant front-page coverage in major newspapers? Since the election of Donald Trump, apparently.

The same media outlets that insisted Mr. Trump wouldn’t beat Hillary Clinton have spent the past two weeks misleading the public about why he did. Breathless coverage of a neo-Nazi sideshow in the nation’s capital—where antiracism protesters almost outnumbered attendees, according to the Washington Post—helps liberals illustrate their preferred “basket of deplorables” explanation for Mrs. Clinton’s loss.

The reality is that Mr. Trump didn’t prevail on Election Day because of fake news stories or voter suppression or ascendant bigotry in America. He won because a lot of people who voted for Barack Obama in previous elections cast ballots for Mr. Trump this time. In Wisconsin, he dominated the Mississippi River Valley region on the state’s western border, which went for Mr. Obama in 2012. In Ohio’s Trumbull County, where the auto industry is a major employer and the population is 89% white, Mr. Obama beat Mitt Romney, 60% to 38%. This year, Trumbull went for Mr. Trump, 51% to 45%. Iowa went for Mr. Obama easily in 2008 and 2012, but this year Mr. Trump won the state by 10 points. Either these previous Obama supporters are closet racists or they’re voting on other issues.

“Trump switched white voters in key states who were blue-collar primarily—coal counties, manufacturing counties,” the Republican strategist Whit Ayres told me this week. “These are blue-collar whites who voted for Barack Obama. And that’s a very uncomfortable thing to admit by the left. It’s much easier to say a ‘basket of deplorables’ elected Trump. But I’m sorry, that just does not conform to the data in those states that made a major swing from one party to the other.”

Part of Mr. Trump’s strategy was to turn out lots of Republicans who stayed home in 2012, but the president-elect appears to have won white voters by a margin similar to that of Mr. Romney. However, Mr. Trump was able to muster an Electoral College majority by taking advantage of lax support for Mrs. Clinton in the metro areas of large, consequential states like Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin. That the Democratic nominee failed to speak to the concerns of Obama voters is not the fault of the alt-right.

“Trump swept the areas that keep the lights on and the motors turning,” demographer Joel Kotkin wrote recently. “Trump seized on the widespread sense that American life was destined to get worse from generation to generation. Americans wanted opportunity for the next generation, not a managed decline.” The press mostly missed this story because it was so focused on the candidate’s tone and temperament. What mattered most to the media was Mr. Trump’s character flaws—and it was inconceivable that voters would have different priorities.

Around two-thirds of the electorate consistently told pollsters that the country was moving in the wrong direction. Mr. Trump represented change. Millions of people in the nation’s interior ultimately decided that they didn’t have the luxury of obsessing over his personal shortcomings. They haven’t had a raise in a decade. College is no longer affordable. Health-care costs were supposed to come down, but premiums have risen. Mr. Trump, they decided, may be crude and unpolished in manner, but he also sounded like someone who could shake things up in Washington. By contrast, a vote for Mrs. Clinton was a vote for more of the same.

Not everyone on the left is blaming racist voters for Mrs. Clinton’s defeat. Sen. Bernie Sanders credited Mr. Trump with understanding “the anger and angst and pain that many working class people are feeling” and added, “I come from the white working class, and I am deeply humiliated that the Democratic Party cannot talk to where I came from.” It’s no coincidence that Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader from San Francisco, is now facing a leadership challenge from Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan, who represents areas that flipped from blue to red this year.

Yet regardless of the facts, most liberals and their friends in the media continue to view Mr. Trump’s victory through a self-serving racial lens. Today, race is the Democratic Party’s organizing principle. Group identity is a doctrine and group grievances are to be nurtured and exploited politically no matter the damage to civil discourse. It’s the type of thinking that allows the left to be outraged that the likes of Steve Bannon have Mr. Trump’s ear, and indifferent that the likes of Al Sharpton have had Mr. Obama’s.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

A Return to Nationalism?

from PJ Media
Move the clock back to November, 2013. It's a year after Obama has won a second term in the White House and it looks like the Democrats will control Federal power forever. There is talk of a permanent Democratic majority cemented into place by a liberal Supreme Court that will last for decades. Glenn Reynolds noted that in the absence of any conceivable reversal, all the rubes could do -- they had not yet been dubbed the Deplorables by Hillary Clinton -- was exhibit a truculence or spirit of passive resistance he described as "Irish Democracy".

Perhaps the most dramatic formulation of "Irish Democracy" is from the movie Michael Collins in which the character playing Eamon de Valera writes after the failed Easter Rising: "We must act as if the Republic is a fact. We defeat the British Empire by ignoring it". Irish Democracy is slow but it works.

Fast forward to November, 2016 and Obama has been ignored. An insurgency is in full cry and the Democratic Party feels like the authorities in 1954 Algiers who realize that years of the mission civilisatrice have not turned the Arabs into Frenchmen. The 2016 elections were shocking because they showed how fake decades of "gains" proved to be.

The liberal mission civilisatrice has apparently failed. The candidate who could not win, won. The candidate who could not lose, lost. All the shibboleths that could not possibly be rejected were pulled down into the mud. Now it was the liberals who had to resort to Irish Democracy. The cast of the Broadway musical Hamilton lectured vice president elect Mike Pence. "We are the diverse Americans who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our planet, our children, our parents." Why? Because they could and because they had no choice.

One might add the cast of Hamilton was not just "alarmed and anxious" but thoroughly bewildered. How the uprising could happen without any warning has sent shock waves through the Left. There may be more to come. Nigel Farage warned that elections in Austria and Italy may confirm the trend.

If Liberals don't understand what happened they will be at a loss to fight it. Saying no no no no no no! is not enough. Unless they know the disease they can't seek the cure. Lecturing people from the stage may make them feel good, but it is what got them into trouble in the first place. The instinct to repeat the same failed tactics more frequently and insistently is unlikely to lead to a different result.

Perhaps the liberal project does not want to know what the matter is because they fear what they will find, although many already probably suspect what it is. The Leftist impulse is founded on the conviction they have a special position in the "arc of justice", a privileged vantage in the moral universe, a place in the vanguard of history. To suddenly admit they don't, to admit that they are no better than anyone else and possibly a good deal worse is not an easily correctable fault.

The compulsion to assert a special moral place underlies the bizarre moral posturing of Hamilton and the theatrical passage of the torch of the West from Obama to Angela Merkel during his European farewell tour. If you're not special maybe you're a Deplorable too. Perish the thought. So, like superheroes in some Marxist play whose pasteboard wings have fallen off they cannot improvise without changing the script. But they have to change the script; to throw away the cardboard props and laugh if they are move on. The liberal impulses will fare better without their dated historical baggage.

One of the literary precursors of the the left was The crisis of liberalism is bigger than Trump. It represents the exhaustion of an intellectual impulse than ran out of gas in the 20th -- the previous -- century. Maybe the Left should recast itself as a purely religious or ethical project since Achilles heel of liberalism is a Marxist tainted economic model that nobody even pretends works. They've been focused on pure redistribution for years. Someone should decide to be the new Marx. The old one is getting long in the tooth.

Their greatest strengths are fostering a sense of belonging, a life-purpose and a kind of ethics, which have been compromised by its attempts to hitch graft this belief system to a centralized state. The only thing that still works on the Left is its impersonation of Judaeo-Christianity, and even that is weakened by its crazy insistence on atheism, which should be optional, since religion is the only thing the Left has to sell. The reason the Left has been losing ground to Islam is it doesn't work as an economic system yet it hasn't paid enough attention to being a religion.

In the end the human impulse may boil down to two major tracks. The first can be called the "God really exists" path. In that model there is a real God and real Truth which humanity can find. The other track is the one Western liberalism has historically taken: "let's pretend God exists" which sees the universe as an objectively meaningless void in which it is the duty of man to create an artificial moral habitat in an otherwise immoral vacuum to amuse ourselves while we forget everything ends in the Big Crunch.

Nobody knows which of these world views is true. But conservatives may have an affinity for the first track while liberals emotionally attach to the second. It's the eternal issues which divide. The rest is transient and this dichotomy will probably define politics for the rest of the 21st century. The historical task of liberalism is to take up the cudgels for the proposition that all men are created to join a collective. The other side is already taken.

Dostoevsky's Grand Inquisitor who saw his task as relieving man of the burden of meaningless freedom -- since all choices are ultimately futile -- and enclosing him in a bubble of perfect assurance. Only the Inquisitors knew the assurance was fake and nobly took the secret despair upon themselves to spare the masses the agony of doubt.

In socialism's 1930s heyday cadres were exhorted to bear on their shoulders the task of murder, genocide, deceit etc -- so that the masses might be happy in their simple hopes for a Worker's Paradise. The ones in the know knew it would never come. The Grand Inquisitor wore Chekist uniform but was otherwise the same. In 2016 the Inquisitors no longer shoot people but they still kept the secret. The reason the liberal project will never perform an autopsy on itself is because that would reveal there's no there there. It's the pretend that counts. The big secret the Left doesn't never wants to face is there's no "arc of history" they control.

Still there are always enough people who would rather be ruled by Grand Inquisitors than bear the burden of freedom to keep a leftist project alive indefinitely. Life in a community is simple. And perhaps they are on the correct side after all. There may be nothing beyond the Big Crunch and the Big Pretend. So let's pretend.

But some will always aim to misbehave, and aim for more, like the Deplorables who want to be free either because really they are free or aren't educated enough to know they're not. And to be truly free requires betting that their choices count, actually count. Some people insist of think themselves as being in a real universe with a real God and a real Devil. It's not for everyone. But it is for some. The tables are always open in Pascal's casino.

Pass on the Torch of the West to Angela Mr. President. The janitor will be along to pick up the cardboard wings after the show.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Virtue Signalling Leftists Riot Over Media Generated Trump Caricature

from NBC News
Demonstrators with signs reading "Not my president!" clogged streets in New York City on Saturday during a fourth day of anti-Trump protests nationwide, a day after a person was shot during a protest in Portland, Oregon.

Two 18-year-old men detained early Saturday were arrested later in the day in connection to the shooting on Portland's Morrison Bridge, which occurred after 1 a.m. local time (4 a.m. ET) Saturday, police said. It was unclear whether the shooting was politically motivated.

"Preliminary information indicates that a suspect was in a vehicle on the bridge and there was a confrontation with someone in the protest," Portland police said in a statement. "The suspect got out of the vehicle and fired multiple shots injuring the victim." The victim is expected to survive, police said.

The arrests were made after an off-duty officer spotted a suspect vehicle and detained four people who are believed to be "criminal gang associates," police said. A firearm was found in the vehicle, police said.

Earlier, police reported that "burning projectiles" were being thrown at officers during one of three demonstrations that occurred simultaneously in the city.

The gunshots came on the fourth night of protests in Portland. Protesters hit the streets again Saturday on a fifth night of demonstrations since the election. There were three arrests, police said.

On Thursday, a similar rally boiled over into what police described as a "riot" after some demonstrators armed with bats smashed stores and cars, and others lit fires.

Elsewhere overnight Friday, marchers blocked a major roadway in the Miami area and hundreds gathered in Atlanta, Boston and other cities.

By early Saturday in New York, a total of 11 arrests were reported.

A larger protest that was organized Saturday afternoon began in Manhattan's Union Square and ended at Trump Tower in midtown, where demonstrators stopped and chanted in front of the skyscraper where Trump resides and was meeting with visitors. A law enforcement source said the protest at its peak had an estimated 25,000 participants.

"We reject the president-elect!" the crowd chanted along Fifth Avenue.

Among the sea of police officers, protesters and gawkers at Trump Tower were some familiar faces.

Filmmaker Michael Moore showed up at the president-elect's iconic Fifth Avenue landmark, live-streaming his visit as he made his way as far into the building as he could before security stopped him.

Trump is is an "illegitimate president and does not have the vote of the people," Moore told NBC News as he ascended up the floors of the ornate building that bears Trump's name in gold on the front of it.

Moore, who was wearing a safety pin as a show of solidarity for minorities and women who feel threatened after Trump's election, was stopped on the fourth floor when he asked to meet with Trump.

"You'd have a to check with his staff," a secret service agent told him.

Moore settled on leaving a handwritten note for Trump that said: "Mr. Trump I'm here. I want to talk to you" before he got into a debate with a Trump supporter in a "Make America Great Again" hat and then left the building.

Other big names seen at the building Saturday included chairman of the Republican National Committee Reince Priebus and interim leader of the U.K. Independence Party Nigel Farage.

The visitors come as Trump is picking his transition team, which Trump put Vice President-elect Mike Pence in charge of on Friday.

When asked if he was there for transition talks, Farage told NBC News: "We're just tourists."

But the protests outside also drew some in favor of Trump, and they held signs that read, "He is My President," "Hillary for Prison" and "Crybabies."

Another protest took place Saturday morning in downtown Los Angeles, where approximately 8,000 gathered — according to the LAPD — after more than 180 people were arrested Friday night.

Demonstrators hit the streets in Miami, Birmingham, Alabama, and Fresno, California, as well as internationally. Hundreds reportedly gathered in Berlin at the Brandenburg Gates, some with anti-Trump messages.

In Indianapolis, three people were arrested and two police officers were injured after rocks were thrown at police during an anti-Trump demonstration downtown, police and NBC affiliate WTHR reported.

A vigil to promote solidarity after the election was held at Lafayette Park adjacent to the White House Saturday. Those in the crowd held LED tealights and glow sticks, and sang songs like "Hallelujah," All You Need Is Love" and "Imagine."

Saturday, November 12, 2016

Why All the Political Confusion This Year?

1 Corinthians 13:12 King James Version (KJV)
12 For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Democrats Trying to "Get Out the African-American Vote" or KKK?

from CNN
Police are investigating the burning of a black church in Mississippi during which vandals spray-painted "Vote Trump" on an exterior wall.

A 911 call reporting the fire at Hopewell Baptist Church in Greenville came in at about 9:15 p.m. Tuesday, police said. Firefighters quickly extinguished the blaze.

Most of the damage to the 111-year-old church was to the sanctuary, pastor Carilyn Hudson said at a news conference.

"We do believe that God will allow us to build another sanctuary in that same place," she said, though the extent of the damage was unclear.

There were no reports of injuries; no one had been in the building since about 1 p.m. Tuesday, Hudson said.

from the Washington Times
Democrats’ fears are coming true about Hillary Clinton’s limited appeal among blacks, as numbers from early-voting states show the bloc isn’t as fired up for the Democratic nominee as it was for President Obama.

In key battleground states such as Florida, North Carolina and Ohio, early voting patterns show that blacks aren’t casting ballots in the same numbers they did four years ago, when they helped propel Mr. Obama to re-election.

The president is working furiously in the last week of the campaign to spur blacks and young people to vote. At a rally for Mrs. Clinton in North Carolina on Wednesday, he criticized state officials as trying to suppress the black vote and accused Republican nominee Donald Trump of trying to intimidate blacks from voting.

“Donald Trump is calling on his supporters to monitor ‘certain areas,’” Mr. Obama said at the University of North Carolina. “Where are those ‘certain areas’ he’s talking about?”

The problem for Mrs. Clinton is critical in Florida, the biggest battleground prize, where blacks have accounted for 11.58 percent of all early voters this year. University of Florida political scientist Dan Smith reported on his ElectionSmith blog that in 2012, blacks made up 15.83 percent of early voters in Florida.

In North Carolina, black turnout is down 16 percent from four years ago. Michael Bitzer, a professor of politics and history at Catawba College, in Salisbury, North Carolina, said registered Democrats are 4.2 percent behind their same-day total numbers from 2012, while registered Republicans are 4.5 percent ahead of their pace four years ago.

He noted a “steady continuation” of a trend in absentee ballots that bodes ill for Mrs. Clinton in North Carolina: “white voters overperforming their 2012 numbers and black voters underperforming their 2012 numbers.”

Mr. Bitzer said in an interview that the big deficit among black voters has been “slowly chipped away” in the past two days, but it’s still behind the pace of four years ago.

“It is an important part of the Democratic coalition that Secretary Clinton needs,” he said. “I think visits like the president’s to North Carolina send a signal that there’s still work that needs to be done.”

Mr. Obama made his third trip of the campaign Wednesday to North Carolina, a state he won in 2008 but lost in 2012. He called Mr. Trump “somebody who vilifies minorities, vilifies immigrants, vilifies people of the Muslim faith.”

“If you accept the support of Klan sympathizers … then you’ll tolerate that support when you’re in office,” Mr. Obama said, referring to the endorsement of Mr. Trump this week by The Crusader, a publication with KKK ties.

The Trump campaign called The Crusader “repulsive” and said its views “do not represent” Trump supporters.

The president also blasted state officials for having enacted a law that required strict voter ID and cut back on early voting. It was overturned by the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in July, with a judge calling the Republican-supported measure “one of the largest restrictions of the franchise in modern North Carolina history.”

“They don’t want you to vote,” Mr. Obama said. Mr. Trump “has been getting help from Republican politicians in this state who have been trying to keep you from voting. What’s been going on here in this state has been really troubling. It was one of the worst voter suppression laws in the country, here in North Carolina. Not back in the 1960s — now.”

In an interview earlier in the day with radio host Tom Joyner, Mr. Obama acknowledged that black turnout in early voting states is lagging.

“I’m going to be honest with you right now, because we track, we’ve got early voting, we’ve got all kinds of metrics to see what’s going on, and right now, the Latino vote is up. Overall vote is up,” Mr. Obama said. “But the African-American vote right now is not as solid as it needs to be.”

The radio show has a largely black audience.

North Carolina is a must-win state for Mr. Trump, and early voting among white voters is up about 15 percent from four years ago. The president said black voters must turn out at the polls for Mrs. Clinton the same way they did for him.

“I know that a lot of people in the barber shops and the beauty salons and, you know, in the neighborhoods who are saying to themselves, ‘Well, you know, we love Barack. We especially love Michelle. And so it was exciting and now we’re not excited as much,’” the president told Mr. Joyner.

“You know what? I need everybody to understand that everything we’ve done is dependent on me being able to pass the baton to somebody who believes in the same things that I believe in. So if you really care about my presidency and what we’ve accomplished, then you are going to go and vote,” he said.

A President Trump, he said, would “reverse everything I’ve done over the last eight years.”

The Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies in Washington, which tracks black political participation, released a survey Monday showing that an “overwhelming majority” of black voters consider the presidential race “a high-stakes election.”

The report said 75 percent of blacks in Western states consider the election “very important,” compared with 90 percent of blacks in the Midwest, 89 percent in the Northeast and 83 percent in the South. The study didn’t compare those percentages with voter attitudes in the 2012 election.

But the report also noted that Mrs. Clinton “may not be as popular as Barack Obama among black voters.”

“In fact, 67 percent of all black voters described President Obama as someone they like very much, while Clinton garnered this response from only 29 percent of all black voters,” the report said.

Black voters gave Mr. Obama 95 percent support in 2008 and 93 percent in 2012. Given those high levels, Mrs. Clinton’s team has been concerned from the start about how to attain a similar level of support to preserve Mr. Obama’s winning coalition of minorities, women and young voters.

Leaked emails from the personal account of Mrs. Clinton’s campaign chairman, John Podesta, show that well-connected Democrats have been voicing concern for months about her campaign’s lack of effective outreach to black voters.

Frank White Jr., who raised $2.3 million for Mr. Obama’s reelection four years ago, wrote to Mr. Podesta earlier this year with a warning about black voters.

“I’m hearing the same complaint in political circles that I continue to hear while fundraising. ‘The campaign doesn’t value black folks and takes us for granted,’” Mr. White wrote. “Can I make a suggestion? A black campaign vice chair or senior adviser would go a long way during the primary and send the message that Hillary puts her actions where her mouth is, and actually does appreciate the black vote.”

Mr. Podesta replied, “Right now I think we should do this right after Super Tuesday.”

In February, Clinton campaign official Sara Latham advised Mr. Podesta to reach out to various black leaders, saying “there are five calls that would be extremely helpful.”

The list included the Rev. Jesse Jackson, whom she said “has declined all of our overtures to publicly endorse” but whose approval ratings in South Carolina, a key primary state, are “through the roof.”

She also asked Mr. Podesta to call former NAACP CEO Ben Jealous (“rumored to publicly support Bernie”), a reference to Mrs. Clinton’s primary rival, Sen. Bernard Sanders of Vermont.

The campaign also wanted Mr. Podesta to win over Democratic National Committee Black Caucus Chairwoman Virgie Rollins, who was said to be “supportive but wants a higher level touch.”

The fourth black leader on Mr. Podesta’s list was former NAACP President Kweisi Mfume. “He is with us,” but it is worth “a call,” Ms. Latham wrote.

Finally, there was the Rev. Al Sharpton. “We all know about the Rev,” Ms. Latham wrote. “Doubtful he publicly endorses, but I think it’s worth circling back before the meeting and making a direct ask.”
Cui bono?

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Black Turnout Falls in Early Voting, Boding Ill for Hillary Clinton

from the NY Times
African-Americans are failing to vote at the robust levels they did four years ago in several states that could help decide the presidential election, creating a vexing problem for Hillary Clinton as she clings to a deteriorating lead over Donald J. Trump with Election Day just a week away.

As tens of millions of Americans cast ballots in what will be the largest-ever mobilization of early voters in a presidential election, the numbers have started to point toward a slump that many Democrats feared might materialize without the nation’s first black president on the ticket.

The reasons for the decline appear to be both political and logistical, with lower voter enthusiasm and newly enacted impediments to voting at play. In North Carolina, where a federal appeals court accused Republicans of an “almost surgical” assault on black turnout and Republican-run election boards curtailed early-voting sites, black turnout is down 16 percent. White turnout, however, is up 15 percent. Democrats are planning an aggressive final push, including a visit by President Obama to the state on Wednesday.

But in Florida, which extended early voting after long lines left some voters waiting for hours in 2012, African-Americans’ share of the electorate that has gone to the polls in person so far has decreased, to 15 percent today from 25 percent four years ago.

The problems for Democrats do not end there. In Ohio, which also cut back its early voting, voter participation in the heavily Democratic areas near Cleveland, Columbus and Toledo has been down, though the Clinton campaign said it was encouraged by a busy day on Sunday when African-American churches led voter drives across the state.

The disappointing black turnout so far could foreshadow a larger and more intractable problem for Mrs. Clinton and the Democratic Party as they rethink their place in a post-Obama era. One of the biggest uncertainties Democrats have been forced to confront in this election is whether Mr. Obama’s absence from the ticket would depress black enthusiasm, which was at historic levels in 2008 and 2012 and would have been difficult to replicate under even the best of circumstances.

The Clinton campaign believes it can close the gap, especially in North Carolina and Florida, by Election Day. And Democrats are seeing substantial gains in turnout for other key constituencies like Hispanics and college-educated women, which have the potential to more than make up for any drop-off in black voting.

But this election could determine if the Obama-era level of participation among blacks is sustainable. It could also show that the Democratic Party, which has benefited enormously from population shifts that have left the country more diverse, is facing a demographic reckoning of its own.

“We’ve had back-to-back elections in this country of high turnout where black voters have set the pace, and it’s going to be really interesting to see if that continues post-Obama,” said Cornell Belcher, a Democratic pollster and the author of “A Black Man in the White House,” which draws on his research of voters over the last eight years to examine the Obama phenomenon and the resulting backlash.

“That is the big X-factor,” Mr. Belcher added. “Can we disconnect our mobilization, our messaging from the cult of the candidate?”

Working in Mrs. Clinton’s favor even if her share of the black vote declines is the fact that she has built a political coalition different from Mr. Obama’s. She is counting on an electorate that is more Hispanic and includes more white voters — especially college-educated women — who would have considered voting Republican but are repelled by Mr. Trump.

Marc Farinella, who ran Mr. Obama’s North Carolina campaign in 2008, said it was obvious the level of energy had fallen among African-Americans. But, he added, “I’m not entirely sure it’s completely necessary for her.”

“She’s got other dynamics and advantages that Obama didn’t have,” he said.

In few places are the disadvantages Democrats face more pronounced than in North Carolina. Though a federal court curtailed the Republican-backed law that reduced the number of days of early voting, localities were left to decide how many polling places they would open.

In Guilford County, about an hour’s drive west from the state capital, the population is roughly one-third black. For the first week of in-person early voting there, voters could go only one place to cast a ballot, the Guilford County Courthouse in the county seat, Greensboro. In 2012, there were 16 locations.

The banner headline on the local newspaper, The News & Record, captured the funk: “Ballot Box Blahs,” it said Tuesday. A total of 88,383 ballots were cast in the first 12 days of early voting this year, down from 100,761 in the first 12 days of 2012.

The black vote was also lagging, at 34 percent of the turnout this year, compared with 40 percent in 2012.

Some black voters, like Ronald Brooks, said they simply needed more time to make a decision this year. It was just easier, Mr. Brooks said, in 2008 and 2012, when he had voted for Mr. Obama.

Mr. Brooks, 31, a mental health worker, was still weighing his options on Tuesday morning. He said he was worried about Mrs. Clinton’s trustworthiness, given that she had set up a private email server as secretary of state. “What were you trying to hide?” he said.

His hesitation reflected a generational divide among African-Americans: Older voters have an affection for Mrs. Clinton and her husband, and a fear of Mr. Trump, that many younger voters do not share.

Democrats in North Carolina have been fighting other efforts they believe are intended to disenfranchise blacks. A federal district judge scheduled a hearing for Wednesday morning in a suit by the state N.A.A.C.P. charging that at least three North Carolina counties, prompted by Republican challenges, have illegally struck 4,500 residents from voter rolls.

The state N.A.A.C.P. president, the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II, said the purges were little more than election trickery aimed at disenfranchising legally registered voters. “It’s sickening and disgusting, what is going on,” he said at a news briefing on Tuesday.

Michael Bitzer, a professor of political science at Catawba College, said the racial composition of the early-voting electorate in the state so far is off from 2012. White voters make up 72 percent of those who have cast ballots; black voters are 22 percent. In 2012, early voters were 67 percent white and 27 percent black.

Inside the Clinton campaign, crunchtime has begun. Addisu Demissie, the campaign’s national voter outreach and mobilization director, said in an interview on Tuesday that he felt good about where North Carolina stood, given how the election rules had changed. There and in other states like Florida and Ohio, he added, the campaign believes it is in a strong position to leverage its organizational advantage over Mr. Trump.

“We need to continue to work,” Mr. Demissie said. “We know that most people are driven by deadlines,” he added, “and we will see, as we have seen in this campaign at every point, a ramp-up in activity and in engagement from us as the deadline approaches.”

Florida has emerged as another potential soft spot of black support, despite efforts by the state to make it easier for more people to vote early. It added five more days of early voting, plus a sixth on the final Sunday before the election in many of the largest urban areas like Miami.

Yet African-Americans are underperforming their participation rates from 2012. Daniel A. Smith, a professor of political science at the University of Florida, compared the early voting so far in minority-heavy Miami-Dade, Palm Beach and Broward Counties with that in 2012. He found that of those who have cast ballots this year, 22 percent were black, 40 percent were white and 31 percent were Hispanic. In 2012, the breakdown was 36 percent black, 35 percent white and 23 percent Hispanic.

“If the Clinton campaign doesn’t ramp it up,” Professor Smith said, “Florida will be in doubt.”

Still, Mrs. Clinton maintains a huge organizational advantage, not to mention a likely lead among the people who are now voting in the critical Western battlegrounds of Colorado and Nevada, where Democrats have cast more ballots. And in a sign of how narrow Mr. Trump’s path is, Mrs. Clinton could lose Florida, North Carolina and Ohio and still beat him.

Maryland Early Voting Demographics by County (Thru cob Monday, 10/31/16)

from Maryland Scramble
Data above includes "provisional" ballots.

The machine is getting the Democrats out... but who are the (I)'s turning out for?
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for the most up-to-date Early Voting turnout info from the Maryland State Board of Elections

pps - My counts show that 58.4% of all Early Voters were women and that 70.4% of those Early Voting women were registered Democrats.