Sunday, June 30, 2019

The Idiot Cousin

Swing State Public Opinion Of Leading Democrats

If a Democrat is going to be elected president, then he/she will need to do well in the swing states. One way to gauge how well they would do is to look at the public's opinion of them in each of those swing states.

The charts above are from polls done by the Morning Consult Poll between April 25th and June 10th in Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Wisconsin.

It shows that currently Joe Biden is more popular in those states than other Democrats (except for Michigan, where Sanders leads). The other candidates have some work to do before they can be considered to be electable. But it's still early, and they have plenty of time to change public opinion.

Feeding The Monster

Political Cartoon is by Steve Sack in the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

Trump's Tariffs Are A Huge Tax On Ordinary Americans

(The caricature of Donald Trump is by DonkeyHotey.)

Donald Trump is proud of the tariffs he has placed on goods from other countries. He wants you to think those tariffs will force those countries to agree with what he wants. He also wants you to believe those other countries actually pay those tariffs. Neither is true.

The truth is that other countries don't pay tariffs on goods imported into this country. The importers pay those taxes, and then pass the cost on to American consumers. Trump's tariffs is just a giant (and secret) tax on ordinary Americans.

Here's how former Labor Secretary Robert Reich explains it:

It’s bad enough that the Trump administration has now imposed tariffs on America’s closest trading partners – because those tariffs will raise prices on everything from clothing to cars. 
Even worse — and this will come as no surprise — Trump and his enablers are lying about the consequences of these trade wars.
First, a bit about tariffs: Tariffs operate exactly like taxes – on you. 
When the U.S. imposes tariffs on a country, like China, that raises costs for companies doing business there. And then those companies pass on their increased costs to you in the form of higher prices, as even Trump’s own economic advisor Larry Kudlow acknowledged 
I haven’t even mentioned the costs to American workers of losing their jobs because China and other nations subject to Trump’s tariffs retaliate by raising tariffs on our exports to them. 
Here’s another lie they’re trying to push: Trump’s chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, claims that tariffs aren’t paid by American consumers because ”it’s relatively easy to substitute other goods” from other countries. Mulvaney also predicts a jump in U.S. production of consumer goods to fill the gap
This, my friends, is total rubbish.
It’s not at all easy to substitute other goods at the same low prices as we can get them from Mexico or China. Companies have chosen these countries as their supplier not because the companies like the weather or food, but because it’s cheaper to make or buy stuff there than elsewhere. 
There won’t be a jump in production here in the U.S. “to fill the gap,” because if it becomes too expensive to make or buy in China or Mexico, American companies will switch production to somewhere else that’s not as cheap as China or Mexico but still cheaper than making things in the United States – say, elsewhere in Latin America, or in Southeast Asia. 
Once again, Trump’s economic nationalism is hurting ordinary Americans without creating a single new job. 
Know the truth about tariffs – and spread it.

History Dunce

Political Cartoon is by Ed Hall at


Saturday, June 29, 2019

Rich Make Laws For The Poor

Support For Dems Before The Debate (By Race/Ethnicity)

This chart reflects the results of the latest Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between June 22nd and 25th of 522 national Democrats and Leaners. It shows the overall support of the leading Democratic candidates, plus the support each has among Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics.

NOTE -- To make the chart easier to read, I only included the candidates that had at least 2% support nationally.

Feeding The Dragon

Political Cartoon is by Gary Huck at

Democratic Support In Maine On Eve Of The Debates

This chart is from the Gravis Marketing Poll of 767 registered voters likely to vote in the Democratic primary in Maine. It was done on June 24th (two days before the debates), and has a margin of error of 3.5 points.

Unnecessary Luxuries

Political Cartoon is by Dan Wasserman in The Boston Globe.

GOP Is More Extreme Than Conservatives In Other Countries

I have called the U.S. Republican Party extremists on this blog. Is that true? Yes! They are more extreme than mainstream conservative parties in other countries -- so extreme that they more closely resemble the far-right fringe parties in those countries. Consider this chart and post by Sahil Chinoy in The New York Times:

The Republican Party leans much farther right than most traditional conservative parties in Western Europe and Canada, according to an analysis of their election manifestos. It is more extreme than Britain’s Independence Party and France’s National Rally (formerly the National Front), which some consider far-right populist parties. The Democratic Party, in contrast, is positioned closer to mainstream liberal parties.

These findings are based on data from the Manifesto Project, which reviews and categorizes each line in party manifestos, the documents that lay out a group’s goals and policy ideas. We used the topics that the platforms emphasize, like market regulation and multiculturalism, to put them on a common scale.

The resulting scores capture how the groups represent themselves, not necessarily their actual policies. They are one way to answer a difficult question: If we could put every political party on the same continuum from left to right, where would the American parties fall?

According to its 2016 manifesto, the Republican Party lies far from the Conservative Party in Britain and the Christian Democratic Union in Germany — mainstream right-leaning parties — and closer to far-right parties like Alternative for Germany, whose platform containsplainly xenophobic, anti-Muslim statements.

The Republican platform does not include the same bigoted policies, and its score is pushed to the right because of its emphasis on traditional morality and a “national way of life.” Still, the party shares a “nativist, working-class populism” with the European far right, said Thomas Greven, a political scientist at the Free University of Berlin who has studied right-wing populism. These parties position themselves as defenders of the “traditional” people from globalization and immigration, he said.

The difference is that in Europe, far-right populist parties are often an alternative to the mainstream. In the United States, the Republican Party is the mainstream.

“That’s the tragedy of the American two-party system,” Mr. Greven said. In a multiparty government, white working-class populists might have been shunted into a smaller faction, and the Republicans might have continued as a “big tent” conservative party. Instead, the Republican Party has allowed its more extreme elements to dominate. “Nowhere in Europe do you have that phenomenon,” he said. . . .

The Democrats fall closer to mainstream left and center-left parties in other countries, like the Social Democratic Party in Germany and Britain’s Labour Party, according to their manifestos’ scores.

And the United States’ political center of gravity is to the right of other countries’, partly because of the lack of a serious left-wing party. Between 2000 and 2012, the Democratic manifestos were to the right of the median party platform. The party has moved left but is still much closer to the center than the Republicans.

Professionally Mean

Political Cartoon is by Milt Priggee at

How Democracy Dies

Friday, June 28, 2019

Bernie's Up To His Same Old Tired Tricks

Public Vastly Overestimates Size Of The LGBT Population

What percentage of the United States population is made up of LGBT individuals? The Gallup Poll, through the polling it has done over time, estimates the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender population to be about 4.5%. That may be a point or two off (due to some being the the closet still), but I suspect it is very close to accurate. But 4.5% is not a small number in a country with as many people as the United States -- with 4.5% of 329 million people being about 14.8 million people.

But the American public has an exaggerated view of the number of LGBT individual in this country. Gallup has polled that question three times -- in May 2011, May 2015, and May 2019. In 2011, the public's estimate was 24.6%, in 2015 it was 23.2%, and this year it was 23.6%. That's nearly a quarter of the population (about one out of every four people)!!!

Why would the public have such an inflated view of the number of LGBT individuals? I think it comes from social media and events like Pride parades. While LGBT individuals make up only 4.5% of the population, most no longer hide in the closet. They are loud and proud! And they have every right to be.

Frankly, I found this poll amusing. The country has gone from trying to deny that any LGBT persons exist, to vastly inflating their numbers. Neither view is very logical -- but then we don't seem to be a very logical country (just look at the last president chosen).

Rapist And Victims

Political Cartoon is by Nick Anderson.

Warren Tops Sanders In Pre-Debate YouGov Poll

These charts reflect the results of the latest Economist / YouGov Poll -- done between June 22nd and 25th of 527 voters saying they would vote in the Democratic Primary. It is the last poll done before the two Democratic debates.

The top chart shows the candidates being considered by those voters (and they could choose as many as they wanted). The second chart shows the one candidate they would choose if the primary was today.

Note that while Joe Biden continues to lead on both charts, Elizabeth Warren has gained ground on him -- and there is a wider gap between Warren and Bernie Sanders than there was last week. Warren's campaign seems to be the only one with any kind of momentum.

It will be interesting to see next week's poll. Will the debates have had an effect on the standing of the candidates, or not?


Political Cartoon is by Benjamin Slyngstad at

Supreme Court Rules Against Government On Census

It looks like Chief Justice John Roberts really is going to be the swing vote on the current Supreme Court. On Thursday, He joined the four liberal justices (Ginsburg, Breyer, Kagan, Sotomayor) in rejecting the Trump administration's desire to put a citizenship question on the official 2020 census form. The vote was 5 to 4, with the court's conservatives (Kavanaugh, Alito, Thomas, Gorsuch) voting to allow the question to be included.

The court said the government might have the right to include the citizenship question, but had failed to provide adequate justification for it. Since there are only a few weeks before the printing of the census forms must begin, it is unlikely that the justification could be provided in time.

Here is how Pete Williams of NBC News reported the court's decision:

The Supreme Court ruled Thursday that the Trump administration cannot include a question about citizenship on the 2020 census form that goes to every U.S. household, giving a win to mostly Democratic populous states that said the question would discourage legal and illegal immigrants from responding and make the population count less accurate.
The court was deeply fractured on the issue, but on the section that essentially eliminated the citizenship question, the vote was 5-4, with Chief Justice John Roberts joining the four-member liberal wing of the court.
The court's majority said the government has the right to ask a citizenship question, but that it needs to properly justify changing the long-standing practice of the Census Bureau. The Trump administration's justification was "contrived," Roberts wrote, and did not appear to be the genuine reason for the change, possibly implying that the real reason was political.
The decision makes it highly unlikely that the Commerce Department will now have time to justify the question and make it part of the census before the forms have to be printed in only a few weeks.
The ruling was a setback for the Trump administration's tough position on immigration. It was also a surprise, because it appeared in April when the case was argued that the court's five-member conservative majority was prepared to rule that Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross acted within his authority to add the question.
A census is required every 10 years by the Constitution, and the results determine the size of each state's congressional delegation. The data is also used to calculate a local government's share of funds under many federal programs.
A total of 18 states, several of the nation's largest cities and immigrant rights groups sued to block the question, saying it would make immigrants reluctant to respond to the census mailer. As a result, states with large immigrant communities could lose seats in Congress and suffer cuts in government aid programs, their lawsuit said.
Citizenship questions were asked during every census between 1820 and 1950. But from 1960 on, the government sent households a short form that contained only a few questions and did not inquire about citizenship. Both the Census Bureau and the groups behind the lawsuit agreed that the question will reduce the census response rate, especially in immigrant communities. By one government estimate, as many as 6.5 million people might not be counted.


Political Cartoon is by Lalo Alcaraz.

Undoing The Safety Net

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Trump Has Refugee Blood On His Hands

Biden Has A Large Lead Among Mississippi Democrats

This chart reflects the results of a recent Millsaps College / Chism Strategies Survey. It was done on June 20th and 21st of a sample of 523 Mississippi Democratic voters, and has a margin of error of 4.27 points.

Joe Biden has a huge lead in Mississippi. He has solid support from 43.18% and another 6.83% are leaning toward him (for a total of 50.01%). No other candidate even has double figures.

Will this change after the debates? We shall see.

Humanity Not Allowed

Political Cartoon is by Jack Ohman in The Sacramento Bee.

Latinos For Trump (Satire)

These satirical posters are from Lalo Alcaraz at I thought they were too funny not to pass along. Enjoy!

The Bodies Pile Up

Political Cartoon is by Ed Hall at

Biden Has Far More Internet "Hits" Than Other Candidates

The chart above is from It shows the social media internet actions generated for each of the Democratic candidates. Joe Biden is the recipient of more internet actions that any other candidate -- 2.2 million more than Elizabeth Warren and 2.3 million more than Bernie Sanders. Those were the only three candidate getting more than a million internet actions.

Methodology: This project measures the number of social media interactions generated on stories published about the 2020 candidates and issues. 
  • Interactions are calculated from reactions, comments and shares on those stories on Facebook as well as the number of shares from more than 300,000 influential Twitter accounts and retweets and likes on those posts.
  • Tracked published stories come from a defined universe of more than 450,000 domains.

Welcome To trump's America

Political Cartoon is by Clay Jones at

Trump's Immigration Policy Is Promoting Child Abuse

It is an undeniable fact that the population of the United States is made up mostly of immigrants and the descendants of immigrants. And most Americans are proud of that, and revere the poem inscribed on the base of our Statue of Liberty (see above) that welcomes immigrants.

But there have been periods throughout our history where the racists and xenophobes have gotten powerful and tried to stop immigration -- especially people of a different ethnicity or religion from the dominant white population.

We are currently in one of those periods. With a racist and xenophobe currently living in our White House, demonizing immigrants and refugees has become government policy. And that policy has led to the denial of human rights.

Trump would like Americans to believe that refugees seeking safety and a better future for their families are criminals. They are not. The latest refugees (from Central America) are trying to escape dangerous and horrendous situations in their home country. Most have not crossed the border illegally, but have turned themselves in at the border seeking asylum -- as they have the legal right to do.

But they have been met with hate and discrimination by the Trump administration. They have been denied both their human and legal rights. They have been separated from their children, and housed in camps that truly do seem to deserve the title of "concentration camps".

But worst of all is the treatment of the refugee children. After being unlawfully separated from their parents, they are being held in facilities that deny them adequate and decent food, proper medical care, beds and blankets, soap and toothbrushes, and other items required by common decency (and law). Trump has said he did not build these facilities and has tried to blame Democrats for them. But he is the one who filled those facilities and has denied even basic care to those his policies have detained. He must be blamed for promoting child abuse at our southern border.

The following is part of an article by Caitlin Dickerson in The New York Times detailing the horrendous treatment of refugee children in Trump's border facilities. It should shame all Americans.

A chaotic scene of sickness and filth is unfolding in an overcrowded border station in Clint, Tex., where hundreds of young people who have recently crossed the border are being held, according to lawyers who visited the facility this week. Some of the children have been there for nearly a month.
Children as young as 7 and 8, many of them wearing clothes caked with snot and tears, are caring for infants they’ve just met, the lawyers said. Toddlers without diapers are relieving themselves in their pants. Teenage mothers are wearing clothes stained with breast milk.
Most of the young detainees have not been able to shower or wash their clothes since they arrived at the facility, those who visited said. They have no access to toothbrushes, toothpaste or soap.
“There is a stench,” said Elora Mukherjee, director of the Immigrants’ Rights Clinic at Columbia Law School, one of the lawyers who visited the facility. “The overwhelming majority of children have not bathed since they crossed the border.” . . .
Ms. Mukherjee is part of a team of lawyers who has for years under the settlement been allowed to inspect government facilities where migrant children are detained. She and her colleagues traveled to Clint this week after learning that border officials had begun detaining minors who had recently crossed the border there.
She said the conditions in Clint were the worst she had seen in any facility in her 12-year career. “So many children are sick, they have the flu, and they’re not being properly treated,” she said. The Associated Press, which first reported on conditions at the facility earlier this week, found that it was housing three infants, all with teen mothers, along with a 1-year-old, two 2-year-olds and a 3-year-old. It said there were dozens more children under the age of 12.
Ms. Mukherjee said children were being overseen by guards for Customs and Border Protection, which declined to comment for this story. She and her colleagues observed the guards wearing full uniforms — including weapons — as well as face masks to protect themselves from the unsanitary conditions.
Together, the group of six lawyers met with 60 children in Clint this week who ranged from 5 months to 17 years old. The infants were either children of minor parents, who were also detained, or had been separated from adult family members with whom they had crossed the border. The separated children were now alone, being cared for by other young detainees.
“The children are locked in their cells and cages nearly all day long,” Ms. Mukherjee said. “A few of the kids said they had some opportunities to go outside and play, but they said they can’t bring themselves to play because they are trying to stay alive in there.” . . .

Some sick children were being quarantined in the facility. The lawyers were allowed to speak to the children by phone, but their requests to meet with them in person and observe the conditions they were being held in were denied.
The children told the lawyers they were given the same meals every day — instant oats for breakfast, instant noodles for lunch, a frozen burrito for dinner, along with a few cookies and juice packets — which many said was not enough. “Nearly every child I spoke with said that they were hungry,” Ms. Mukherjee said.
Another group of lawyers conducting inspections under the same federal court settlement said they discovered similar conditions earlier this month at six other facilities in Texas. At the Border Patrol’s Central Processing Center in McAllen, Tex. — often known as “Ursula” — the lawyers encountered a 17-year-old mother from Guatemala who couldn’t stand because of complications from an emergency C-section, and who was caring for a sick and dirty premature baby.
“When we encountered the baby and her mom, the baby was filthy. They wouldn’t give her any water to wash her. And I took a Kleenex and I washed around her neck black dirt,” said Hope Frye, who was leading the group, adding, “Not a little stuff — dirt.”

Government Child Abuse

Political Cartoon is by Gary Huck at

Straight Talk