Tuesday, May 31, 2022
These charts are from a Public Religion Research Institute Poll -- done between March 11th and 30th of a nationwide sample of 5,042 adults, with a 1.6 point margin of error. It shows the social groups of people in the United States. Generally, even though we live in a diverse nation, most people tend to socialize only with those in their own racial, religious, and political groups.
The election pundits are still predicting a Republican victory in the 2022. But they may be wrong. The GOP positions on guns and abortion may finally awaken the electoral "sleeping giant". Here is how Robert Reich puts it:
Today, I want to ask: Can anything positive come from last week’s tragedy? Or the mass shooting ten days before, in Buffalo? Can anything positive come from the Supreme Court’s imminent decision to reverse Roe v. Wade?
Making your own decision about whether to have a child, and keeping any child you do have out of harm’s way, are surely two of the most basic of all human needs. Yet both are fiercely resisted — the first by evangelical Christians, the second by the gun lobby. And Republican lawmakers are in the pockets of both.
The American people are not at all evenly divided on these issues. According to nearly every poll, wide majorities (including many G.O.P. voters) support requiring universal background checks for would-be gun purchasers, and most support “red flag” laws, bans on high-capacity magazines, and bans on sales of assault weapons.
Meanwhile, the vast majority of Americans wants to maintain access to abortions before the first trimester of pregnancy, which has been the rule since the Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade in 1973.
What does it matter? Nothing will happen to restrict the sale of guns, or maintain access to abortions — or will it?
In the wake of last week’s massacre of 19 children and two teachers in Uvalde, Texas, Congress is once again about to vote on gun control. Because of the filibuster, gun control proposals need 60 votes to pass the Senate -- requiring that 10 Republicans join the 50-person Democratic caucus to approve any legislation. Almost no one believes 10 Republican senators will come around, even after last week’s horror.
Weeks ago, after the leak of a draft opinion in the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, written by Samuel Alito and evidently joined by four other G.O.P.-appointed Justices -- which argues that no right to abortion can be found in the Constitution or read into the Fourteenth Amendment, and that, therefore, no such right exists –- Senate Democrats tried to codify a national right to abortion. But on May 11, the Women’s Health Protection Act failed in the Senate, 49-51. That was short not only of a simple majority but, more importantly, of the super-majority of 60 votes required to overcome the inevitable filibuster. (Only the West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin crossed party lines.)
Meanwhile, while steadfastly refusing all attempts to control guns and maintain access to abortion, Republican lawmakers at the federal and state levels remain opposed to government funding for child care, parental leave, sex education, and contraception, and for reproductive, maternal, neonatal and pediatric health services.
It takes a great deal to awaken the slumbering giant of America. Most voters do not belong to either major political party. In the typical midterm election, fewer than half who are eligible to cast a ballot do so. In most presidential elections, slightly more than a third do so. (The 2018 midterms, 53 percent of eligible voters went to the polls.)
Yet every so often the slumbering giant awakens — and with a swoop of its huge arm at the ballot box puts an end to a growing disconnect between what voters want and what politicians do (or fail to do). It happened in 1932. It also happened in 2020, when about 158 million Americans voted -- 81 million for Joe Biden and 74 million for Donald Trump. (Even then, one-third of eligible voters, approximately 77 million Americans, failed to vote.) Midterm elections tend to be quieter affairs. In the 2014 midterms, only 20 percent of young people between the ages of 18 and 29 went to the polls, for example. But in the 2018 midterms, the giant stirred: 36 percent of young people voted — giving control of the House to the Democrats.
The disconnection between the majority of Americans and Republican lawmakers on guns and abortion may well awaken the slumbering giant for this fall’s midterm elections.
Most pundits are convinced that the Democrats are doomed to lose the House and Senate in the upcoming midterms, as well as the presidency in 2024. They point to the fact that after fifteen months in office, Biden is polling badly, at around 40 per cent But the punditocracy is ignoring guns and abortion, and failing to see the stirrings of the great slumbering giant of the American people that these two issues are provoking. (The pundits also forget that at the same point in his presidency, Ronald Reagan was polling at around 40 percent. But as inflation declined, Reagan ran for re-election against Walter Mondale and won 49 states.)
If the slumbering giant does awaken — and I believe that to be more likely than not — a mobilization such as America has rarely seen will propel Democrats to even larger majorities in the House and Senate this coming November, and consign Republicans to a near permanent minority (as they already are on guns and abortion).
Monday, May 30, 2022
The charts above illustrate how U.S. adults did on a test of international questions by the Pew Research Center. About 3,581 adults participated in the test between March 21st and 27th, and the results had a margin of error of 2.3 points.
The chart above is from the 19th News / Momentative Poll -- done between May 9th and 16th of a nationwide sample of 8,723 adults, with a 1.5 point margin of error.
The shooting of 19 elementary school children in Uvalde once again reveals the need for some reasonable and constitutional restrictions on guns. Republicans tell us that more guns means a safer country. But we have over 400 million guns in this country -- about 1.2 guns for every man, woman, and child in the country. But we are not safer. Instead, we are setting records of mass shootings and gun deaths.
Something must change, but it will not change until we expose the myths responsible for the inaction on guns. Matthew Dowd tells us about four myths (lies) that must be exposed and discarded. Here is what he wrote:
Sunday, May 29, 2022
These charts are from a survey done by the Pew Research Center -- done between March 7th and 13th of a nationwide sample of 10,441 adults, with a 1.5 point margin of error.
Saturday, May 28, 2022
The chart above is shocking, but true. The United States has more than three times the rate of child gun deaths than any other developed nation. And it's not just child deaths. We also have a much higher rate of gun deaths for adults.
The GOP and the NRA want you to believe it's a mental health problem. But the United States does not have a larger percentage of mentally ill people than any other nation. What we do have is more guns of all kinds floating around in our country. We have about 400 million guns for a population of only about 330 million. Put another way, that's an average of about 1.2 guns for every person (man, woman, or child).
We also have the loosest gun laws of any country. It is easy for anyone, even the most dangerous people, to get any gun they want and as much ammunition as they want -- and they can do it without being subjected to any kind of background check! Between 80% and 90% of the public wants this fixed. They want everyone who tries to buy a gun or is given a gun to have to pass a background check.
Why hasn't this simple (and constitutional) background check law been passed? Because Republicans in Congress kill the bill every time it comes up. They claim they are just trying to protect the Second Amendment right of Americans to buy or own a gun. That is a LIE!
Closing the loopholes on the current background check law would not prevent any honest and law-abiding citizens from buying or owning a gun. It would prevent convicted felons, terrorists, domestic abusers, and the dangerously mentally ill from buying a gun. And that's who the Republicans are protecting -- the dangerous people who should not own a gun, because they pose a danger to other people.
The Republicans are not protecting law-abiding citizens. They are protecting criminals, abusers, terrorists, and other dangerous people. And by protecting those people, they have created or encouraged the epidemic of gun violence in this country.
Put bluntly, they have the blood of innocent people (many of them children) on their hands.
Friday, May 27, 2022
The charts above reflect the results of the new Politico / Morning Consult Poll -- done on May 25th of a national sample of 1,920 registered voters, with a 2 point margin of error.
The Labor Department released its weekly unemployment statistics on Thursday. It showed that about 210,000 workers filed for unemployment benefits in the week ending on May 21st. Here is the official Labor Department statement:
In the week ending May 21, the advance figure for seasonally adjusted initial claims was 210,000, a decrease of 8,000 from the previous week's unrevised level of 218,000. The 4-week moving average was 206,750, an increase of 7,250 from the previous week's unrevised average of 199,500.
The United States has made a terrible choice -- that we are willing to sacrifice children to protect the right of criminals, the dangerously mentally ill, domestic abusers, and terrorists to have any kind of gun and ammunition they want. Republicans will tell you they are protecting the right of Americans to own a gun, but no one is trying to deny that right to honest and law-abiding citizens. The Republican intransigence only protects those who should not have a gun, and this just insures that more mass murders will happen (including those of children).
Alyssa Rosenberg discusses this sacrificial mentality in The Washington Post. Here is part of what she wrote:
On the surface, contemporary America seems very distant from the world of Greek tragedy or the Toltec capital of Tula in 950 A.D. But our societies have something in common. We all practice child sacrifice.
The massacre brings the total number of children killed in school shootings since the 1999 Columbine attack to 185. That figure doesn’t account for all the other settings in which children have been the victims of mass gun violence. And it doesn’t include the 311,000 children who were injured in school shootings, witnessed their classmates and teachers being shot, or sought shelter in barricaded classrooms, bathrooms and closets.
Given the lack of action after these spasms of butchery, there is only one possible conclusion: We are willing to tolerate the murder of children. We accept events that will gravely wound the bodies and psyches of many others.