Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: The Midterms

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  • Russell Brown,

    A fairly chilling reminder of a key battle for representation currently before the courts – the White House's plan to add a citizenship question to America 2020 Census:

    If the Trump administration wins its fight to add a citizenship question to the census, it will clear the way for Republicans to execute a major power grab they’ve sought for years that could entrench their electoral advantage with rural whites while undermining the representation of urban and diverse populations.

    While the legal battle over adding the citizenship question, now underway in a federal courtroom in New York City, is burrowing into statistical methodologies and sound survey practices, the practical political impact could be enormous, studies have shown.

    On the horizon, if the citizenship question is allowed to stay on the 2020 census, is a giant legal battle over whether states can then use the data it produces to draw legislative districts based on the number of citizens rather than total population. It sounds like a wonky distinction, but it’s one with huge consequences for how Republicans in certain states will be able to consolidate their political power, while diminishing the voting power of communities with significant numbers of non-citizens.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Campbell,

    Yes everyone in this house voted weeks ago (except me, I'm not a citizen)

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2589 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    It hasn't taken long for voting systems to start failing.

    The NYT cites problems in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Arizona. And that's not even counting polling places where there are simply far too few machines to meet predictable demand.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Dalziel,

    ....and perhaps, later on, some Fox News for the lols.

    That's one sick comedy channel!...and very bitter and hollow laughs
    - let's not forget they had the last 'laugh' last election!

    Christchurch • Since Dec 2006 • 7743 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    The whole American ingrained attitude to voting just... astounds and saddens me. We're the greatest democracy in the world! But generally we do not give a shit about voter suppression!

    The guy who makes one of the podcasts I listen to is off to a reservation this week as an observer to make sure people are allowed to vote. Here, making sure people can vote is the job of the Electoral Commission. Nobody's dragging people out of queues and challenging their right to vote. Nobody's making sure you have exactly the right kinds of IDs, where your names exactly match and your signatures are identical. Machines broken and you've run out of ballot papers? GET SOME MORE FUCKING BALLOT PAPERS. Jesus.

    Sorry. I have lost all sense of proportion.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4637 posts Report Reply

  • Dennis Frank,

    "Last year, 42% of Americans, on average, identified as political independents, erasing the decline to 39% seen in the 2016 presidential election year. Independent identification is just one percentage point below the high of 43% in 2014. Twenty-nine percent of Americans identify themselves as Democrats and 27% as Republicans."
    https://news.gallup.com/poll/225056/americans-identification-independents-back-2017.aspx

    Gallop polls adults, not voters: "Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted in 2017 with a random sample of 13,185 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 ±1 percentage point 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 70% cellphone respondents and 30% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods."

    So the antique bicameral frame is increasingly dysfunctional. Trying to shoehorn so many non-partisan voters into two choices that they don't like will eventually seem ridiculous even to the slow learners. If those alienated by the system reach majority, the crisis in democracy will become real. Only 8% short of that now!

    Note that Gallup uses an identity-politics frame: it measures those who self-identify with the three options. If you check out the graph that show this, you can see how Clinton held the Democrats up through his tenure, and how Obama supervised a Democrat decline during his. It also shows the three-way split was close to exact in 1990 & 2004. Credit Bush Sr, Bush Jr, & Dem opponents for that underwhelming.

    "Identity is rooted in thymos, which is experienced emotionally through feelings of pride, shame, and anger. I've already noted the ways in which this can undermine rational debate and deliberation." That's Fukuyama, in his chapter we the people in his book published last month __Identity: Contemporary Identity Politics and the Struggle for Recognition. His focus on national identity provides historical context, and he explains how that motivates rightists.

    "The policy issue that has raised the greatest challenges to national identity is immigration, and the related issue of refugees. Together they are the driving force behind the upsurge of populist nationalism in both Europe and the United States."

    "immigration has largely displaced class and race as the chief reason why Americans vote for Republican candidates, according to data by political scientists Zoltan Hajnal and Marisa Abrajano. The incorporation of African-Americans into the Democratic Party following the civil rights movement of the 1960s is widely credited for driving the south into the arms of the Republican Party; today immigration is playing a similar role. Opposition to Mexican and Muslim immigration figured centrally in Donald Trump's election campaign and subsequent rise to the presidency"

    New Zealand • Since Jun 2016 • 254 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Emma Hart,

    But generally we do not give a shit about voter suppression!

    It is a very interesting history, Governor Elbridge Gerry saw a way of manipulating a system designed to be fair and ran with it. What followed was a sequence of methods to manipulate voting which everyone seemed to think "cool lets F this up".

    We haven't been completely immune to it here.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4431 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart, in reply to Bart Janssen,

    It is a very interesting history, Governor Elbridge Gerry saw a way of manipulating a system designed to be fair and ran with it.

    Governer Elbridge Redistricting, Bart.

    Still, I think the essential difference is that here, our attitude is "People can vote unless" and in the States it's "people can't vote unless".

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4637 posts Report Reply

  • Stephen R, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Sorry. I have lost all sense of proportion.

    I'm not sure you have. I think the US has. I don't understand their attitude to voting suppression as anything other than "we won't win if we play fair, so we'll cheat, and we don't care who knows it"

    Wellington • Since Jul 2009 • 259 posts Report Reply

  • Alice Ronald, in reply to Emma Hart,

    I don't think you've lost proportion. The situation with Georgia and Brian Kemp does my head in, in particular. Sorry, the guy responsible for ensuring elections is also running in the election and has the power to disenfranchise voters? How? Why? What?

    Give me my citrus elections golem and EasyVote card.

    Christchurch • Since May 2011 • 63 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    How well entrenched though is our democracy from the sort of voter suppression shenanagins we are seeing in the USA?

    What would stop a National government led by a candidate selected from their Auckland Tea Party faction (Judith, anyone?) and infected by hard right GOP inspired radicals hell bent on trashing our democracy simply stacking the electoral commission with cronies, introducing onerous voter ID rules, then (on the advice of it's said cronies on the electoral commission, of course) almost completely de-funding the electoral commission, making the running of elections entirely up to volunteers? Remove a cheeky 100,000-200,000 of your your oppnents voters and suppressing the turn out would mightily help National to rule alone forever...

    National MPs would simply be so delighted at the idea of permanent rule that they'd look the other way, like so many GOP congressmen and women have done.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2202 posts Report Reply

  • Nick Russell, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    Well, National just had 9 years in power and they did precisely none of the above. And as far as I recall, they didn't do any of it during the 9 years Jim Bolger/Jenny Shipley lead the party either. Hell, they wouldn't even abolish the Maori seats despite promising to do so from time to time. So I reckon the risks of that are pretty low, TBH.

    Wellington • Since Jul 2008 • 113 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant, in reply to Tom Semmens,

    What would stop a National government led by a candidate selected from their Auckland Tea Party faction (Judith, anyone?) and infected by hard right GOP inspired radicals hell bent on trashing our democracy simply stacking the electoral commission with cronies, introducing onerous voter ID rules, then (on the advice of it's said cronies on the electoral commission, of course) almost completely de-funding the electoral commission, making the running of elections entirely up to volunteers?

    Voters. NZ voters have made it clear we expect our elections to be free, fair and impartial, and _not like America_. They'd also need to change the law to introduce voter ID requirements, or pass a budget vote for the Electoral Commission, and that means we also have MMP as a defence. I'd expect the coalition partner(s) of any government which wanted to undermine democracy in this way to refuse to vote for it, and to pull the plug if they pressed the issue. And I think they'd do very well electorally out of the latter if push came to shove.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1710 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to Emma Hart,

    The whole American ingrained attitude to voting just… astounds and saddens me. We’re the greatest democracy in the world! But generally we do not give a shit about voter suppression!

    The NYT had a story recently in which certain academics and economists were happy to say that lots of people voting wasn't necessarily a good thing. It's staggering that it's actually considered respectable to argue that.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Emma Hart,

    Yes Gov. Gerry was a different thing but it was the same idea - that so long as you achieved power it didn't matter what you did. Voter suppression is the same logic.

    Still, I think the essential difference is that here, our attitude is "People can vote unless" and in the States it's "people can't vote unless".

    To some degree. And certainly true at the polling booths.

    But I don't think we have it right here either - note humans in jail had their vote taken away from them. Whatever argument you might make around that, it was a change that benefited National. There are various polling companies that frame questions in such a way as to make it seem pointless to vote. So I think we have voter suppression alive and well in NZ - it just isn't quite as overt - but I've heard National MPs talk about ID cards more than once.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4431 posts Report Reply

  • Hilary Stace,

    By the way the recent Labour Party conference voted that the party will now have a policy of lowering the voting age to 16. Unfortunately, that requires support from 75% of MPs to implement. It is about 45 years ago since the Kirk Government lowered it from 21 to 18. But he had the numbers.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3151 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    First exit poll finds healthcare and Trump disapproval motivating voters.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen, in reply to Nick Russell,

    Well, National just had 9 years in power and they did precisely none of the above.

    Except for when they did Prisoner voting

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4431 posts Report Reply

  • Idiot Savant, in reply to Hilary Stace,

    It can be done by referendum. It would be interesting to see some polling on whether people would support it.

    Palmerston North • Since Nov 2006 • 1710 posts Report Reply

  • Bart Janssen,

    Damn The Guardian results page is pretty.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4431 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Widespread reports of voting machine failure in New York. Probably not evil, given that it's New York, just fucking hopeless.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • Neil,

    I’ve already seen from the usual suspects comment along the lines of - if there’s one thing worse than a Dem defeat it’s a Dem victory.

    Since Nov 2016 • 260 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

  • mark taslov, in reply to Russell Brown,

    They may not have been official feeds – at least I was getting 'video unavailable'.

    MSNBC live stream on YouTube.

    ABC News live stream on YouTube.

    Te Ika-a-Māui • Since Mar 2008 • 2240 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The Washington Post live stream. Interesting seeing how newspapers, with their smaller budgets and lack of broadcast experience, do it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22584 posts Report Reply

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