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Racist Tweets from a Racist President

Racist Tweets from a Racist President

A few days ago, I was considering writing about “The Squad” and my hope that they would find common ground with Democratic leadership. With eyes on the 2020 prize, I believe a more centrist Democratic candidate and platform is the best way to displace Trump. Nancy Pelosi is playing the long game and she’s right to do so. More on that later, because over the weekend POTUS found a way to unify the country more successfully than at any other time during his political life.

This isn’t about politics. This is about character.

Prior to this weekend’s attacks, I would contend that most decent people already viewed POTUS as a racist. His history is well-documented, here and elsewhere. I’ll spare you another recitation.

The tweet above is definitionally racist. The spin from the sycophants is both predictable and disgusting. Whatever your politics, we must demand more of our elected leaders.

We can disagree on policy from A to Z. I’m always up for a discussion on how to make the world a better place, all the better if opinions diverge. Our political structure is built for slow and careful deliberation and its history is rich with debate. None of this is the point.

We should, and must, all call out racism by its name.

Anything short of that is complicity. Worse still are those in politics and among the public who defend these tweets and deflect to politics. There is no modern equivalent among the Democrats. None.

So let’s be direct and honest, POTUS is a racist. This isn’t new and the evidence is overwhelming. These tweets mark the end of the counterargument. Supporting Trump is supporting racism.


Unity in Division

For Democrats, for the first time in months, the focus is on something other than their warring factions. Across the party and far beyond, this abject racism serves as a rallying cry for all who reject it. This isn’t the beginning (housing discrimination, Central Park 5, birtherism) and won’t be the end, but it is an important inflection point. It’s long past time to unite around basic norms and decency.

Set politics aside and demand more from our political leaders. All elected officials who fail to condemn Trump are complicit. They lack the character to serve this country effectively. Vote them all out.

Those who still support Trump enable him and embolden his racism, and are themselves racist – no equivocation necessary. Decent people must fight this scourge at every turn. Anything less is distinctly un-American.

Trump Launches Re-election Campaign in a State He Can’t Win

Trump won Florida in 2016. He won’t in 2020.

Last night, Trump launched his re-election bid in Orlando, Florida. Despite the raucous crowd and having won the state in 2016, he won’t win Florida in 2020.

Yes, the same state that Ron Desantis and Rick Scott won in 2018.

Let’s review those races:

 

  • Race
  • Trump, 2016
  • DeSantis, 2018
  • Scott, 2018
  • Margin of Victory
  • 113,000
  • 33,000
  • 10,000

 

In these races, 8M-9.5M votes were cast. At most, these margins represent a separation of ~1.4%.

Most recent Presidential races in the state have been similarly close. You know the closest one. W followed that up with the widest margin of victory since his father’s win in 1988. Even that 2004 win was by fewer than 400K votes (over 7M total cast) and while his brother was serving as Governor.

So what’s different in 2020?

Amendment 4 & the Puerto Rican exodus.

 


Amendment 4

Some background, from Wikipedia:

After the abolition of slavery in the United States, Florida enacted Black Codes, which restricted freedoms for African Americans and led to mass incarceration. The 1868 Florida Constitution enacted felony disenfranchisement, a ban on voting for felons even after completing parole and probation, disproportionately impacting African Americans. Though other Jim Crow laws, such as education requirements, were repealed in successive constitutions, felon disenfranchisement continued.

In 2016, 6.1 million adults in the United States could not vote due to felony disenfranchisement laws. In 2018, Florida was one of four U.S. states that enacted permanent felony disenfranchisement, affecting 1.7 million felons. Felons must wait five to seven years after the completion of their sentence before they can apply to have their voting rights restored by the State Board of Executive Clemency, which is composed of the Governor of Florida and the Florida Cabinet, and meets four times per year at the Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee, Florida. Florida’s disenfranchised felons constituted 10% of the adult population, and 21.5% of the adult African American population.

In 2018, Florida voters, by a wide margin (65/35), righted this long-standing wrong by restoring voting rights to of Floridians with felony convictions, exclusive of murderers and sex offenders, after the completion of their sentence.

Effective January 8, 2019, 1.4M ex-felons – about 10% of Florida’s adult population, along with one in five black Floridians – became eligible to vote.

Naturally, Florida’s Republican-controlled legislature and Trumpian Governor are doing everything they can to controvert the will of the voters and Jim Crow the shit out of the new law.

But let’s look at how Amendment 4 might impact 2020.

Vox ran the numbers and concluded that Democrats might gain ~48,000 votes, with “an additional 40,000 votes that could be cast on behalf of either party.” This doesn’t change the outcome of the state’s 2016 Presidential election, but both the recent Senate and Gubernatorial races might have gone the other way.

 


Puerto Rican Exodus

In the wake of Hurricane Maria, many thousands of Puerto Ricans fled to Florida. The New York Times breaks down the potential electoral impact of that migration, here, where they suggest Democrats might gain 40,000 votes.

 


The Numbers

48,000 + 40,000 = less than 113,000

If you read NYT or Vox articles I’ve cited, you might wonder why I chose them, since they both conclude that these forces are insufficient to flip the state. But they’re trying to close the 2016 gap of 113,000. The 2018 races suggest that the sentiment gap is much smaller.

Ron DeSantis ran as a Trump clone. He won by just 33,000 votes. Sure, it was a midterm election and turnout was down slightly from 2016 (8M vs. 9.5M). But for a midterm, that’s relatively strong and higher turnout generally favors Democrats.

With Trump essentially on the ballot, this race offers the best possible proxy for the coming 2020 race. The gap has closed, significantly.

48,000 + 40,000 = far more than 33,000

Trump is losing supporters and the broader electorate is shifting away from him.

 


As was made clear in 2016, nothing is certain and voters are unpredictable. All 2020 outcomes are still possible. Still, it’s hard to ignore Trump’s weak early polling, the evidence waning support, and some 88,000 new Democratic votes in Florida.

Trump loses Florida in 2020 and can’t win the presidency without it.

 

Justin Amash and the Sad State of the GOP

Justin Amash – Not a Partisan Hack

…and that’s why he’s at risk

Rep. Justin Amash (R, MI) is a good man. He and I diverge politically on some important issues (abortion, environment, healthcare), but I agree with his libertarian views on other matters (defense/surveillance, foreign policy, individual liberties). Most importantly, he’s thoughtful and principled, not just another partisan sycophant.

Because he’s not a lap dog for the GOP leadership and the President, he’s long been at odds with the clapping seals who define his party. In May, he became the first GOP Congressman to publicly voice his support for impeachment. Earlier this week, he resigned from the House Freedom Caucus, of which he was a founding member.

His independence and his Twitter account have brought him into the national political conversation and raised his profile considerably. Is he planning to run for President in 2020? I doubt it. His party has left him. He has no chance of winning.

So what have his principled leadership and national profile gotten him?

He’s no longer funded by the Devos family. POTUS and Don Jr. are attacking him and will likely campaign against him. And he’s now down 16 points to a Trump-swab primary challenger.

 


Michigan Republicans – you can do better. You have a year.

When Amash’s brand of common sense and decency (he’s not perfect, but he’s pretty good) put you at risk of losing your party’s primary to an avowed partisan hack, something is broken.

That something is the GOP. Mindless adherence to the President’s callous agenda du jour is what the party now requires. It’s a sad day when the abdication of truth, decency, and oversight responsibilities, are the keys to a primary victory. I hope that’s not what Michigan Republicans actually want. There’s plenty of time. I hope you’ll choose wisely. I hope.

The Most Important Democrat in the 2020 Race

Andrew Yang Sees the Future

He’s right, and he’s good for the 2020 race.

Odds are decent that you’ve never heard of Andrew Yang. I don’t think he can win, but I do think he’s talking about the most interesting political issue of the next 20 years.

The 2020 election is a long way away. I’m not here to make predictions, but the 2018 midterm and Trump’s approval ratings suggest that the Democratic nominee already has an advantage. But looking to 2020 and beyond, as the country continues to diversify and Trump’s base, along with conservatives, broadly, die at a faster rate than Democratic voters come of age, the electorate is shifting blue and our elected representatives will soon better represent it.

I don’t want to go down this prediction rabbit hole except to suggest that certain items we view as politically contentious will, I believe, be put to bed soon, including:

  • Climate change – It’s real and we need to take it more seriously.
  • Universal healthcare – We long ago codified universal access to care. Now we need a better way to pay for it.
  • Immigration – We need more of it and a better process.
  • Debt – It’s hard to see how we could do worse than we’re doing today.

I have confidence that we are entering a political climate wherein we can address all of these issues. And while the work will last decades, and perhaps centuries, with a shared understanding of the problems and a commitment to solving them, we will make tremendous progress on all fronts.

Which brings us to the next major political issue of the coming 20 years, Universal Basic Income.

 

Universal Basic Income – a Social Imperative.

As we enter an age of AI-driven automation, UBI is inevitable. According to AI expert Kai Fu Lee, 40% of jobs are at risk in the next 15-25 years. PWC projects 30% of jobs will be lost. These are huge numbers that are not likely to be overcome through jobs gained in AI.

Further, according to McKinsey, there will be significant skill mismatches in the labor force. All of this coincides with an accelerating trend of separating labor from economic output.

 

We Can Afford It.

The impact of automation on the labor force is foreseeable and it may well come rapidly. This will shock the labor force and has the potential to hurt our consumer-driven economy in the short run.

The upside is that productivity will continue its acceleration. While stocks markets may oscillate, the next technological revolution will power long term economic growth. We are a rich country that will keep getting richer. We should raise taxes on the rich (not 70%, but higher than 37%) and we may need to tax the output of robots and automated systems.

It’s in this context, where millions, maybe tens of millions, will find it near impossible to find work, that we’re going to need to rethink how we provide for the basic needs of large swaths of the population.

UBI is a solution for this high automation, low labor economy. Andrew Yang knows this. He’s right, and he’s ahead of the curve on this topic. I’m glad he’s bringing this important issue to light.

See more about him and his campaign.