Trump. Yes, it’s all about race

Okay, not all about race, but close enough.  Political Scientist Philip Klinkner has done some nice analysis with 2016 ANES Pilot data and the results are not pretty for Trump supporters.  The headline of the piece at Vox focuses on Muslims, “The easiest way to guess if someone supports Trump? Ask if Obama is a Muslims” and we get this tidbit:

You can ask just one simple question to find out whether someone likes Donald Trump more than Hillary Clinton: Is Barack Obama a Muslim? If the answer is yes, 89 percent of the time that person will have a higher opinion of Trump than Clinton.

That’s more accurate than asking people if it’s harder to move up the income ladder than it was for their parents (54 percent), whether they oppose trade deals (66 percent), or if they think the economy is worse now than last year (81 percent). It’s even more accurate than asking them if they are Republican (87 percent).

Those results come from the 2016 American National Election Study (ANES) pilot survey. My analysis indicates that economic status and attitudes do little to explain support for Donald Trump.
Yep.  Forget all this economic stuff, it’s the white ethnocentrism.  He runs some nice multivariate regressions and you know what is predictive as hell?  Racial resentment.  Not predictive?  Economic pessimism.  Here’s the handy chart:
So, racial resentment– not even that far behind Party Identification.  The Muslim questions are also strong predictors of support for Trump.  Meanwhile, economic pessimism, income, and education are not statistically distinguishable from 0.
So, yes, that slogan really should be “Make America White Again” or, at least, “Make America for White People Again.”  Honestly, I don’t know how any self-respecting non-racist Republican can be supporting this dangerous charlatan.  Okay, I do, but they shouldn’t.
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Photo of the day

From a recent In Focus photos of the week gallery:

Emiratis sail during the Al-Gaffal traditional long-distance dhow sailing race between the island of Sir Bu Nair, near the Iranian coast, and the Gulf emirate of Dubai on May 20, 2016.

Marwan Naamani / AFP / Getty

What I like about Hillary

This Rebecca Traister profile of Hillary Clinton is really, really good.  Read it.  No, seriously, read it.  Lots of great insight into Hillary, gender, Trump, how we choose presidents, and the contemporary political context.  Anyway, sure Hillary Clinton has her flaws, but what I so like about her is that she is about as sophisticated a thinker on public policy as there is:

Clinton is a master at identifying problems and coming up with plans to solve them. There is seemingly no crisis too small to escape her attention, no subject outside her wheelhouse. When she turns her energies onto bigger issues, her ability to see an interlocking set of concerns and her detailed knowledge about … everything can sound like a parody of female hypercompetence.

When Clinton rolled out a progressive set of policies for families at her May events in Lexington and Louisville, her explanation went something like this: We need a national system of paid family leave because too many women don’t even get a paid day off to give birth; workers don’t have a federal requirement for paid sick days; meanwhile, many dads and parents of adopted children don’t get any time off at all, and sons and daughters don’t get time to take care of aging parents. We also need to establish voluntary home-visiting programs, where new parents, especially those facing economic adversity, can get assistance in learning how to care for their children and prepare them to succeed in school, thus taking aim at unequal outcomes in the earliest years. Relatedly, we need to raise wages, because two-thirds of minimum-wage workers are women, which has an impact on single-parent and dual-earning homes and, when combined with high child-care costs, inhibits women’s ability to earn equal benefits, save for college, and put away for retirement. Minimum-wage workers currently spend between 20 and 40 percent of their income on child care; Clinton has a plan whereby no family would pay more than 10 percent on child care, but she also believes we need to increase pay for child-care providers and early educators, who in some places are paid less than dog trainers and who have their own families to take care of. All of this is tied to the need to strengthen unions and make health care more affordable through revisions to the Affordable Care Act as well.

Clinton’s holistic view of intersecting challenges and multi-tentacled solutions — tax incentives, subsidies, wage hikes, pay protections — is weirdly thrilling in its expansive perspicacity. But it does not fit on a T-shirt. It does not sound good at a rally. You cannot even really show it on the local news, because it is not as simple as, say, “Free college!” [emphasis mine]

Yep, that.  And Traister is right, hyper-competent and hyper-detailed (and thoughtful) policy proposals sure cannot compete with “free college” or “build a wall.”  And I get that this is lot harder to sell to the public.  But at least I can wish it weren’t that way.

The lie of supply side economics

It’s been pretty obvious since at least the beginning of this century that in the American political context, Supply Side Economics as embraced by conservatives is just flat-out wrong.  And yet, they still insist on pretending otherwise.  It just seems crazy to me that in 2016 an economist has the need to do a reality check on taxes on the wealthy and economic growth, but they do actually need to.  And, of course, conservatives will just keep on denying these facts.  But, just to make sure you won’t :-):

Increasing taxes on the wealthy will harm economic growth: This argument is made frequently, along with the claim that increasing growth will lift all boats, but the evidence doesn’t support either claim. As Nobel Prize-winning economist Peter Diamond and John Bates Clark medalist Emmanuel Saez have noted, since the 1970s no clear correlation exists between economic growth and top tax-rate cuts across Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development countries.

As for the trickle-down argument, this claim falls apart when you examine what happened to the distribution of income after tax cuts for the wealthy enacted during the Bush administration. Income of those at the top went up substantially, with no corresponding gain for those lower in the income distribution…

The wealthy will move to other countries to avoid the tax increase: Arecent study examined the propensity of the rich to move between U.S. states in response to state tax increases. The lead author of the study, Cristobal Young of Stanford University, summarized the results by saying, “The most striking finding in our study is how little elites seem willing to move to exploit tax advantages across state lines.”

If the wealthy aren’t willing to move between states in response to tax differences, it seems even more unlikely that would undertake the far more difficult task of moving to another country…

Increasing taxes on the wealthy won’t increase tax revenue: The Laffer curve argument that increasing taxes will cause the wealthy to pursue tax-avoidance strategies or forego profitable opportunities to the extent that tax revenues actually fall has been examined again and again, and the message is clear. Tax avoidance may increase somewhat, but nowhere near enough to cause tax revenues to fall.

Diamond and Saez have looked at this closely, and they found that the revenue-maximizing top federal marginal income tax rate would be in or near the range of 50 percent to 70 percent (taking into account that individuals face additional taxes from Medicare and state and local taxes).

Yep.  And plenty more.  Sure, there’s a point where raising taxes probably actually does become counter-productive.  But we’re nowhere near it in the U.S.

The secret to great teaching

Okay, it’s no secret, but I loved this piece in the Times about the importance of emotionally connecting with your students:

Great teachers understand that the best, most durable learning happens when content sparks interest, when it is relevant to a child’s life, and when the students form an emotional bond with either the subject at hand or the teacher in front of them. [emphases mine] Meaningful learning happens when teachers are able to create an emotional connection to what might otherwise remain abstract concepts, ideas or skills.

Creating this emotional connection might sound like a daunting task, but research has shown that the investment reaps huge dividends in the form of increased learning and better grades. When teachers take the time to learn about their students’ likes, dislikes and personal interests, whether it’s racial issues brewing at their school, their after-school job, or their dreams and goals, learning improves.

Yes!  Now, I know some of my students think it is a waste of time when I solicit their input on a Mazda 3 versus VW Jetta or tell the latest story of something crazy one of my kids has done, but what these open up is opportunities for connection, as my sharing invariably sparks reciprocal sharing.  No, it’s not Duverge’s Law, but when I do get to Duverge’s Law, there’s more investment on the part of the students.

My class this summer was intense– 3 weeks, 2:45 every day, and only 8 students.  It really felt like we all knew each other and we were all in this together and honestly, it was probably the best classroom experience I’ve ever had.  I had universally positive feedback, and I know that the students learned a ton.

On a related note, I also just came across this piece in the Chronicle of Higher Education that looks at the personality characteristics of effective college teachers.  Not to be immodest (okay, a little), but I felt pretty damn good when I looked down this checklist (though, that creative one definitely does not fit me)..  Of course, it my experience these are very much the qualities of the favorite professors I had– and who I have striven to emulate.  I really liked this one:

They seem to enjoy what they do. Some faculty members don’t really like students. They are the academics who constantly whine about their workload and complain about how rude or unprepared their students are. I’ve often wondered: Why are such people even in this profession? What did they expect? The teachers I remember as the very best were those who clearly loved teaching and got a kick out of associating with students every day. After all, no one wants to feel like a nuisance, which is exactly how some teachers make their students feel.

Yep.  I love what I do.  And I’m pretty sure it shows.  And I’m pretty sure it actually pays off in my students learning more.  When I talk to our grad students about teaching, I encourage them to find their passion– to the extent that they can– in whatever they are teaching that day.  You get that, and things will almost surely work out okay for professor and student.

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