Thursday, August 18, 2016

There aren't enough non-college White men to elect a Republican president.

The cable channels need to drive ratings and so they like to cover the presidential election like a horse race.  What they seldom (any of them) talk about is America's demographics that will actually decide this election.  This is why Bob Dole, John McCain, Mitt Romney lost their elections and why GW Bush lost the popular vote to Al Gore.  These demographics get worse every election cycle for the GOP.  

I have had countless arguments with low information friends who simply do not understand the demographic math and have won several bets over the years.  These friends don't understand because they're attention to the election is superficial and driven by the horse race media coverage.   I just pay closer attention and have for 30 years. 

The NY Times today takes a look at this issue to see how Donald Trump could win the election, and what they found out was pretty simple: There isn't enough white non-college educated men to elect a Republican president. 

William H. Frey, a demographics expert with the Brookings Institution, a nonpartisan think tank, conducted several simulations that tried to determine how much the turnout among white men without college educations would have to increase for Mr. Trump to win. He used the most recent ABC News/Washington Post poll of registered voters that had Mrs. Clinton beating Mr. Trump in a nationwide two-way race, 50 percent to 42 percent. It was among the better polls for Mr. Trump lately.
Mr. Frey tested different turnout assumptions, including improbably optimistic ones, like if 99 percent of white, non-college-educated men turned out to vote. None of the chain of events produced a Trump victory.
In fact, even if virtually all of the white, non-college-educated men eligible to vote did so, Mr. Frey found, Mrs. Clinton would still win the popular vote by 1.1 million.
And Mr. Frey said he did not account for the expected growth in Hispanic turnout. “Once you build that in,” he said, “it’s even worse for Trump.”

Sunday, August 07, 2016

The $400M sent to Iran was reported when it happened.

As Republicans hyperventilate about the US settlement of outstanding issues with Iran including nuclear arms deal, it's important in understanding this issue, that none of this is new.

Context is everything 


As Daniel Drezner reports today in the WaPo,  almost all of this information was reported back in January when the asset exchange was made (including the $400 million figure). Both Vox’s Zack Beauchamp and the New York Times’ Michael Shear and David Sanger offer explainers about the transaction. To sum them up:
  1. Remember, the money that was transferred was always Iran’s money. It’s just that the United States seized Iran’s assets when Iran seized the U.S. Embassy in 1979. Always remember — this is Iran’s money being given back to Iran,;
  2. By all accounts the United States was going to lose an international legal tribunal ruling on the dispute. The payment prevented having to pay an even bigger penalty (in terms of interest on the $400 million held over 35 years).
  3. The transfer was not kept secret, but announced in January when the exchange took place. The new information in the WSJ stories are that (a) the transfer was in pallets of cash and (b) DOJ officials were queasy about the optics.

To manufacture a scandal out of whole cloth in a desperate attempt to change the national narrative from disastrous Donald Trump, the Wall Street Journal has taken information that was news 7 months ago, and repackage it as a scope.  Lazy reporters jump on the bandwagon because all they have to do is repeat. 

Saturday, August 06, 2016

Florida Voter Demographics place State out of reach of Trump?

 24% of Floridians in 2016 are Latin, up from 17% in 2000

Voter demographics by and large predict who will win the Presidential election.  This simple fact, doesn't get enough press attention because its really a matter of math -- not sexy -- and horse race coverage is better for ratings.   Never the less, voter demographics is the reason why the Republican party as lost the popular vote in 5 of the last 6 presidential elections.   Every presidential election cycle, voter demographics actually get worse for the Republican party; a fact not lost on GOP leadership. Following the 2012 loss the Republican Party commissioned a comprehensive study now famously known as the 2012 autopsy.  The bottom line was simple: going all in on white voters won't win the presidency and the GOP must expand their base to be competitive.  The party's POTUS candidates have completely ignored this study, but that is a subject for another post.

Perhaps no state better illustrates the GOP's problem than Florida.  Florida has been a presidential battleground for as long as I've been alive.  For many years, Florida favored Republicans because of the large, very conservative, Cuban population (I learned just how conservative the Cuban population was watching the Elián González custody dispute play out).  But as more and more non-Cuban Latin immigrants have moved to Florida, the tide as turned as George W. Bush learned in 2000.

In March, the Pew Research Center took a look at Florida, and the results are not at all good for Donald Trump.  A note on terms: Pew and the State of Florida
prefer the term "Hispanic" whereas I prefer "Latin" which more accurately describes this population.  99.9% of the Hispanic voters in Florida are in fact, Latin.   This also more accurately reflects Trump's problem.  While he hasn't attacked Spanish immigrants, he has invested heavily in attacking Latinos. Anyway, these terms here are used interchangeably.

24% of Floridians in 2016 are Latin, up from 17% in 2000. Overall, 1.8 million Latins were registered to vote in Florida as of February 2016, according to the state’s Division of Elections.

Among all Floridians, registered Democrats outnumber Republicans in 2016. This is due in part to Latins, who accounted for 88% of growth in the number of registered Democrats between 2006 and 2016. During this time, the number of Latino registered voters increased by 61%, while the number of Latinos identifying as Democrats increased by 83% and those having no party affiliation increased by 95%. Meanwhile, the number of Latino Republican registered voters has grown much, much more slowly (see the chart). As a result, among Latin registered voters in 2016, 678,000 were registered as Democrats, 610,000 indicated no party affiliation and 479,000 were registered as Republicans. (It’s worth noting that not all registered voters cast a ballot, and voter turnout has a large impact in swing states like Florida.)

Go to the Pew report for a more detailed analysis, but the bottom line is this: these demographics nearly place Florida out of reach of any Republican, but especially for Donald Trump who has done more to get out the Latin vote than any Democrat could ever hope too.