Weekly Musing 7-12-15
Days until the 2015 election: 114. Days until the 2016 election: 485.
Piss off the New York Times!!!
Buy this book…number one political book on Amazon…and piss of the liberal New York Times.
Ted Cruz feuds with the New York Times — and loves it The campaign gods are smiling down on Ted Cruz, gifting him a feud with conservatives’ most despised news outlet at a time when most 2016 campaigns are gasping for Trump-free air.
At issue: The New York Times refuses to grant the Texas senator’s memoir, “A Time for Truth,” a place on its powerful list of bestselling books, despite his publisher’s insistence that his numbers should vault him well ahead of other titles in the top 10.
News of Cruz’s exclusion broke this week after HarperCollins, the book’s publisher, sent a letter to the Times inquiring about its omission from the list, sources with knowledge of the situation told POLITICO, which first reported the story. The Times responded by telling HarperCollins that the book did not meet their criteria for inclusion.
On Thursday, a Times spokesperson said that the book was excluded because the paper had found its sales to be mostly “strategic bulk purchases” — a common practice among political authors, but a claim hotly disputed by Cruz’s campaign.
“The Times is presumably embarrassed by having their obvious partisan bias called out. But their response — alleging ‘strategic bulk purchases’ — is a blatant falsehood,” Cruz campaign spokesperson Rick Tyler said in a statement Friday. “The evidence is directly to the contrary. In leveling this false charge, the Times has tried to impugn the integrity of Senator Cruz and of his publisher Harper Collins.”
Interesting: 10 steps to restoring the common trust
Twenty years ago, in his bestselling social critique Trust, Francis Fukuyama identified the breakdown of the underlying principles that foster social and economic prosperity, what he defined as “social trust.”
Today, the crisis of social trust in the United States is more acute than ever before. The gulf has widened alarmingly between the haves and have-nots, the powerful and the powerless, those with influence and those whose attachment to social institutions — and to our political order — has become increasingly tenuous. The conviction that the game has been rigged on behalf of well-connected and well-financed special interests has grown to the point that trust in the justice and efficacy of our major institutions is at an all-time low. We see manifestations of this phenomenon in the Tea Party movement, in the unrest sparked by law enforcement actions in Ferguson and Baltimore, and — perhaps most clearly — in an increasingly polarized and uncivil public debate over how we should order our affairs as a country.
The crisis of trust in America and the crisis of political leadership are two sides of the same coin. Never before have our public servants been more mistrusted, and for good reason. The plain fact is that our political leadership has contributed mightily to the breakdown of social trust that characterizes our present dilemma. Arbitrary and petty laws that infringe upon our day-to-day freedoms, systemic corruption epitomized by states and municipalities balancing budgets with the collection of fees and fines for petty civil violations, litigation aimed at intimidation rather than justice, a dangerously decrepit national infrastructure, and a growing Surveillance State that confuses the collection of information about its own citizens with national security — all of these unfortunate developments could not have occurred without the complicity or the active direction of our political leaders.
But while politicians have been complicit in the decline in social trust, they will also have an essential role in restoring that trust. It is imperative that we find ways to repair this disconnect with new policies, new ideas and new political approaches (as well as a new policy language) designed to help strengthen the broad American middle class. The project of restoring the common trust will require a new set of policy priorities that directly address the sources of the collapse in public confidence in our essential democratic institutions, including government. In that spirit, The Common Trust agenda calls for:
2016 Voters, by the Numbers
First, the good news for Democrats: If the electorate evolves in sync with the Census Bureau’s estimates of the adult citizen population (admittedly, a big if), the white share of the electorate would drop from 72 percent in 2012 to 70 percent in 2016; the African-American share would remain stable at 13 percent; the Latino portion would grow from 10 percent to 11 percent; and the Asian/other segment would increase from 5 percent to 6 percent. If the 2012 election had been held with that breakdown (keeping all other variables stable), President Obama would have won by 5.4 percentage points rather than by his actual 3.85-point margin.
In addition, the group with which the GOP does best—whites without college degrees—is the only one poised to shrink in 2016. President Obama won just 36 percent of these voters in 2012, while 42 percent of white voters with college degrees pulled the lever for him. But if the electorate changes in line with census estimates, the slice of college-educated whites will grow by 1 point, to 37 percent of all voters, while the portion of whites without degrees will shrink 3 points, to just 33 percent of the total. In other words, the GOP doesn’t just have a growing problem with nonwhites; it has a shrinkage problem as well, as conservative white seniors are supplanted by college-educated millennials with different cultural attitudes.
All that said, none of these data points proves that Republicans are doomed in 2016; in fact, the GOP has some reason for optimism. First, hard math makes talk of Democrats “expanding the map” by capitalizing on favorable demographic trends in Arizona and Georgia sound premature at best. For example, Romney beat Obama by 7.8 percentage points in Georgia in 2012. Wasserman estimates that the white share of the electorate there could decline from 64 percent to 62 percent—but that change by itself wouldn’t erase even a third of Romney’s margin of victory in the state.
Furthermore, the shifts a Republican would need to win the Electoral College vote might be less dramatic than commonly thought. If you’re searching for the “magic number” of Latinos that Republicans would need to capture the White House, you may not find one. Even if Romney had done 10 points better with Latinos in every state in 2012—winning 37 percent instead of 27 percent nationally—he would have won only one additional state: Florida. That’s primarily because Latino voters tend to be concentrated in states such as California, New York, and Texas, which aren’t Electoral College battlegrounds. However, if the Republican nominee were to do just 3 points better across all five segments of the electorate in 2016—a goal many GOP candidates easily surpassed in 2014—he or she would win seven more states, and 305 electoral votes.
Could a 2012 Rule Change Upend the GOP’s 2016 Nomination Process?
The Republican National Committee adopted the rule ahead of its convention in 2012 at the insistence of allies to the last GOP nominee, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who wanted to insulate him from an insurgent challenge. The previous requirement was that a candidate win five states.
Some have suggested this rule might help winnow the field, as a de facto shortcut to winning the nomination, if the delegate math becomes a little blurry. But critics have argued the rule might prevent some candidates with a sizable share of delegates from qualifying for the nomination. Some go a step further, suggesting the rule may upend the entire nominating process if no candidate claims more than half the delegates in eight states, or if multiple candidates clear that bar.
The reality is that this rule, like just about every other rule in politics, can be changed. Members of the RNC rules committee can simply vote to change the number of states needed to qualify when they meet the week before next year’s convention in Cleveland. They can raise or lower the threshold of states in which the eventual nominee needs a majority of the delegates. Or, they can scrap the requirement entirely. The candidate with the most delegates will control this process.
Of course, it may not be that simple. As anyone who has witnessed an RNC rules meeting can attest, even small tweaks can provoke a spirited backlash, especially if a presidential nomination is on the line. A small group of RNC agitators has been griping about this rule since the 2012 convention, with one committeeman vowing to use it to unravel the entire primary process no matter the results.
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