How badly did Democrats lose last Tuesday? So badly that a growing number of liberals are questioning whether or not their party is out of ideas.
The day after the election, The American Prospect's Harold Meyerson wrote:
A defeat this comprehensive should compel the Democrats to acknowledge that their problems go beyond the six-year jinx—the year in a two-term presidency that usually sees a rout of the president’s party in Congress—the smaller electorates of midterm elections, the Republican suppression of the minority and youth vote, and even the flood of money that has deformed our democracy. A defeat of this magnitude suggests that the Democrats are in the same fix as most of the center-left parties of Europe—parties that purport to be the economic advocates of the middle and working classes, but preside over abysmal economies with no clear sense of how to make them better.
the Democrats’ failure isn’t just the result of Republican negativity. It’s also intellectual and ideological. What, besides raising the minimum wage, do the Democrats propose to do about the shift in income from wages to profits, from labor to capital, from the 99 percent to the 1 percent? How do they deliver for an embattled middle class in a globalized, de-unionized, far-from-full-employment economy, where workers have lost the power they once wielded to ensure a more equitable distribution of income and wealth? What Democrat, besides Elizabeth Warren, campaigned this year to diminish the sway of the banks? Who proposed policies that would give workers the power to win more stable employment and higher incomes, not just at the level of the minimum wage but across the economic spectrum?
That same day, The Washington Post's Greg Sargent talked to a slew of Democratic pollsters and reported:
The most common explanation we’re hearing for the GOP sweep of a dozen Senate races last night is that an already-treacherous map for Democrats was made a lot worse by the failure of core Dem voter groups to show up.
But multiple Democratic pollsters involved in these races identify another problem: The failure of the Democrats’ economic message to win overpersuadable voters, ones outside the ascendant Democratic coalition, in the numbers needed to offset the structural disadvantages Democratic incumbents and candidates faced. These pollsters describe this as a serious problem afflicting the Democratic Party that must be addressed heading into 2016.
The exit polls show that candidates like Mark Pryor, Kay Hagan, Bruce Braley and Mark Udall lost by anywhere from large to truly massive margins among non-college whites and older voters. That’s also true of the overall national electorate. You should treat these exit polls with a grain of salt, but the pollsters I spoke to agree that this gets at a fundamental problem Democrats face.
These pollsters argued that this was above all the result of a failure to connect with these voters’ economic concerns. At the root of these concerns, Mellman says, are stagnating wages and the failure of the recovery’s gains to achieve wider, more equitable distribution. Democrats campaigned on a range of economic issues — the minimum wage, pay equity, student loan affordability, expanded pre-kindergarten education — but these didn’t cut through people’s economic anxieties, because they didn’t believe government can successfully address them.
“People are deeply suspicious that government can deliver on these problems,” Mellman says, in a reference to the voter groups that continue to elude Democrats. “And they are not wrong. We’ve been promising that government can be a tool to improve people’s economic situation for decades, and by and large, it hasn’t happened.”
And yesterday Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall added:
The great political reality of our time is that Democrats don't know (and nobody else does either) how to get wage growth and productivity growth or economic growth lines back into sync. ... Minimum wage increases help those at the very bottom of the income scale and they have a lifting effect up the wage scale as the floor gets pushed up. But it is at best a small part of the puzzle. Clamping down on tax dodges by the extremely wealthy claws back some resources for the treasury and sends an important message, as might some restrictions on ridiculously high CEO pay. But again, these are important changes at the margins that do not fundamentally change the equation. Economic populism or another comparable politics with a different tonality won't get you very far if you can get beyond beating up on the winners to providing concrete improvements to those losing out in today's economy.
Again, a stark reality: Democrats don't have a set of policies to turn around this trend.
The New York Times David Leonhardt also notes that there is a "Great Wage Slowdown Looming Over Politics," but he thinks, at least politically, that either party could win over voters with a perennial American favorite: tax cuts.
Any presidential candidate — from either party — who can claim the mantle of middle-class tax cutter is likely to benefit from it. ... The details could be straightforward. The cut could be temporary or permanent. It could involve a decline in marginal tax rates for the middle class or an expansion of tax credits. ... Because the long-term budget deficit remains a problem, any such tax cut could be paired with a tax increase for top earners, who — even after the expiration of some Bush-era tax cuts — still face lower rates than they have for most of recent history. “Taxes for high-earning Americans are too low,” argues Roger Altman, the Wall Street executive and Democratic adviser. Most Americans favor tax increases on the well-off, polls show.
But after 15 years of disappointing income growth, many voters are skeptical of sophisticated economic plans with uncertain, long-term payoffs. They’re looking for simple ideas that can help people immediately.
Leonhardt is right about polls showing that Americans believe the current tax system favors the wealthy. And Americans are right: it does.
But that doesn't mean conservatives should raise tax rates on anybody. Instead, conservatives could eliminate or reduce a slew of tax expenditures that primarily benefit wealthy Americans, and then use that revenue to give every working American a raise by cutting the payroll tax.
Such a move would not only immediately put more cash into every working American's paycheck, but it would also create thousands of new jobs by lowering the cost of employment.
Matt Butler is an active member of the Air Force, he is also an entrepreneur. While deployed, the serviceman conceptualized an idea for a backyard game that would combine Bocce Ball, Bowling and Horseshoes, the result was Rollors. The game is played by rolling wooden discs across the lawn, beach, or any outdoor terrain with the goal of landing closest to a marker, and gaining points.
"Veterans are 45 percent more likely to take the plunge into entrepreneurship than people with no active-duty military experience, according to a May 2011 study from the SBA Office of Advocacy," Butler told Townhall.
The term 'Vetrepreneur' is now being commonly used for this cache of 'veteran entrepreneur.' This army of business leaders generates $1.2 trillion in receipts and employs nearly 5.8 million people, Butler boasted.
In his own business launch, Butler has been able to employ other military servicemen and also provided work for his own family.
"Since I'm active duty in the service, that's my number one priority all the time. My entrepreneurship and Rollors itself really takes a back seat to that," Butler explained. "If I get deployed, my wife helps out with fulfilling order or answering emails or phone calls."
Butler has not only served his country as a member of the military, he has strengthened its backbone by his creative entrepreneurship.
Happy Veterans Day!
Really. The title says it all.
Prepare to be enlightened, because, as Bill Nye "the science guy" says, in order to be productive members of society and critically-thinking voters we need to understand "thee fundamental idea in all of life science." Here he mocks Creationists and then unveils this secret "fundamental idea" as the CBS "This Morning" trio (Charlie Rose, Gayle King, Norah O'Donnell) swoon.
When President Obama announced the new Visa deal between the United States and China at this week’s APEC (Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation) summit in Beijing, he proudly beamed that the agreement would benefit everyone from “students, to tourists, to businesses large and small.” Student Visas, he explained, would be extended to five years instead of the current one year and business and tourist Visas would be extended to ten years. It was a welcome agreement, but Fox News host Greta Van Susteren noticed a “glaring omission.”
In her “Off the Record” comments Monday, Susteren slammed President Obama for forgetting all about the press when he worked out a deal with China and insisted we are being “had” by the Asian country.
“But, a glaring omission. President Obama did not demand that journalist Visas be part of the deal. China has a horrible history of restricting the press – both foreign and domestic. If the Chinese government doesn’t like a story written about China, China will block the English language news websites delay or deny Visas to journalists of the so called offending news organizations.”
Susteren went on to share her own personal struggles in China as a journalist. Once while traveling in the country, she was denied a transit Visa, meaning she couldn’t even change planes while in the Beijing airport.
China has continued to prove it’s no friend of the press as recent as this summer. In June, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television declared that reporters now had to get permission from their employers to write “critical reports” and were banned from starting their own websites. This is one of the reasons The New York Times has referred to China as “one of the world’s most controlled media environments.”
By failing to fight for more Visa privileges for journalists, Obama is acting complicit in China’s state-controlled media culture. Freedom of the press shouldn’t be taken for granted. No one should appreciate that more than the president of the United States.
As President Obama continues to double down on his plans to inappropriately use his executive authority to rewrite immigration law, Sheriffs around the country have had enough and are planning to make their voices heard with a march on Washington D.C. in December.
The march is being organized by Massachusetts Bristol County Sheriff Thomas Hodgson, not border sheriffs as people might expect.
"Sheriffs across the country have reached a point where we're tired of being marginalized for protecting the citizens of our communities by a president who's saying 'look, I don't respect the immigration laws, I think people ought to be able to come here in violation of the laws' and expecting law enforcement to look the other way. This just can't be," Hodgson said in an interview with Fox News' Greta Van Susteren last night. "I think everyone in this country understands, legal residents as well as American citizens, that democracy exists only because we have a framework of laws."
According to National Review, Hodgson sent a letter to fellow Sheriffs across the country urging them to join him in D.C. Republican Senators have already agreed to participate in the protest.
Sheriff Thomas M. Hodgson of Bristol County, Mass., sent a letter to organize a meeting of sheriffs in Washington, D.C., on December 10, two days before the existing government-funding bill expires, to meet with congressmen and encourage them to take action to secure the border.
“Never before in our nation’s history has it been so important for the American sheriffs to stand united and speak with one voice to secure our nation’s borders,” Hodgson wrote. “Senator Jeff Sessions, Senator David Vitter and other members of Congress have agreed to join us at the Capitol to demand immediate action to secure our borders as the first step in achieving legitimate immigration reform in the future. Several sheriffs have agreed to work in a spirit of cooperation to assist in recruiting at least 200 sheriffs to travel to Washington, D.C. for this historic meeting and press conference with members of Congress.”
Before leaving for China earlier this week, President Obama said Republicans have "run out of time" to come up with a comprehensive immigration plan and that he's going to "do what he's doing to do" by the end of the year and before the lame-duck session of Congress ends.
Markets, Americans are told, are imperfect. That is why we need a $4 trillion federal government to protect us.
Without the Food and Drug Administration, we would be subject to rotten and unsanitary food, or poisonous and ineffective drugs.
Without the National Transportation Safety Board, our nation’s cars would be little more than high-speed deathtraps.
And without the Federal Communications Commission, we’d be unable to communicate by radio, television, or Internet.
Without Big Government to correct market failures, liberals tell us, the country would be an anarchic mess.
And it is true—market failures are real. Buyers and sellers rarely have perfect information about the goods and services they are transacting (e.g. few patients have medical training). Some economic actors do not bear the full costs of their actions (e.g. factories that pollute communities). And there are some public goods that do need protecting (e.g. if everyone was broadcasting at the same frequency no one could listen to radio transmissions).
But is Big Government really the solution?
Given property rights protections by the courts, couldn’t Americans voluntarily coordinate and come up with market solutions to these problems without a coercive federal government behemoth?
As Townhall.com managing editor Kevin Glass documents (see Uber Republicans), debates just like this are playing out at the local level across the United States. And in some rare good news for conservatives, more and more Americans are siding with the free market and voluntary coordination over coercive Big Government.
The frontline in these battles are currently over companies like Uber, Airbnb, and EatWith, which are each challenging the local regulatory frameworks for the taxi, hotel, and restaurant industries respectively.
In each of these cases, incumbent businesses are crying foul over how these new Internet startups are using smartphones and software to provide consumers valuable services outside of the government’s watchful regulatory eye.
How does an Uber user know if their driver is competent? How does an Airbnb user know if the home they are staying is clean? And how does an EatWith user know if the meal they eat is safe?
Under the old system, government guaranteed the answers to these questions. The cab drivers are competent because the local taxi commission monitors them. Hotels and restaurants are safe and clean because the government inspects them.
But in the sharing economy, the members of each community monitor each other. Uber drivers are rated by passengers and vice versa. Same with Airbnb, where guests rate homeowners and homeowners rate guests.
The market failure in each of these cases, an information asymmetry, is overcome not by Big Government, but by human ingenuity and voluntary cooperation. When markets fail, the answer is more markets, not more government.
And that lesson is not lost on the Americans who use these services, who also just happen to be a segment of the population that is usually dismissive of the Republican Party: young urban Americans. The more these businesses succeed, the more the conservative worldview spreads.
To be sure, no one will cast a vote for any Republicans in 2014 just because they love Uber. But when Americans use these services, and they see how incumbent businesses use Big Government to try and kill these startups, the seed that markets, not government, is a better solution to most problems has been planted.
Also in this issue, be sure to check out former-Townhall Magazine editor Elisabeth Meinecke’s report on the Left’s War on Football (see The No Fun Left), as well as Townhall Magazine managing editor Leah Barkoukis’ brief history of the Islamic State (see The Rise of the Islamic State), and Townhall.com web editor Cortney O’Brien’s look at rising anti-semitism (see An Old Hatred Returns). •
After the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee used a quote from Rush Limbaugh out of context and essentially accused him of endorsing rape, the conservative talk radio king has had enough and is preparing to sue the fundraising machine for defamation. Limbaugh is arguing that the DCCC has not only tried to destroy his show but the hundreds of small businesses that benefit from advertising on it.
"It's unforgivable. It's black and white. There needs to be no hyperbole. There needs to be no stretching. Rush's comments were deliberately taken out of context for apparently political reasons by people who should know better. This was not an irresponsible blogger, this was a Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee made up of people we have elected to Congress," Limbaugh's attorney Patty Glaser said in an interview on Hannity last night. "Shame on them."
Glasey argued Ninth Circuit precedent that gives Limbaugh not only the ability to sue, but the ability to win.
According to the Dartmouth, the student newspaper, Perry was there to discuss the midterms, border security, energy initiatives and foreign policy. There was a Q&A session–and that’s when things devolved. Both presidents of the College Democrats and Republicans condemned the actions of their peers [emphasis mine]:
When Perry opened up discussion to the audience, several students posed questions, deriding Perry’s views on same-sex marriage.
Emily Sellers ’15 asked if Perry would have anal sex in exchange for campaign contributions of $102 million, while Timothy Messen ’18 accused the governor of comparing homosexuality to alcoholism.
Ben Packer ’17, who wrote and distributed these and other questions, said Perry’s views were more insulting than the questions.
Several members of the audience said they were excited to hear Perry speak but offended by the questions.
“I was really excited to see him come out to Dartmouth and speak with the students and I think he was able to cater towards the entire audience, not only the College Republicans,” Abraham Herrera ’18 said, noting that some students’ remarks were offensive.
“They were phrased in incredibly insulting ways, and I’m horrified,” College Republicans president Michelle Knesbach ’17 said. “We allow people to ask policy-driven questions, but when they’re phrased in an insulting manner, we try to avoid that, because it just detracts from the overall political discourse we can have on campus.”
College Democrats president Spencer Blair ’17 agreed, stating that he understood concerns about Perry’s stance on gay marriage but was disappointed by the tone of the questions.
“I think it’s really disappointing that anyone would undermine a serious political event with sexually explicit questions, and neither I nor anyone from College Democrats would ever condone such behavior,” said Blair. “We appreciate Governor Perry visiting campus, as we encourage any sort of political engagement and discourse here at Dartmouth.”
Zachary Myslinski ’15 said that he thought the questions posed legitimate concerns about Perry’s social policies.
Keep in mind; this is the same school that held a lesson in “cultural appropriation” for Halloween costumes last month.
Again, liberalism at its finest.
H/T Campus Reform
The Washington Free Beacon strikes again: