Help a blogger out?

So, I’ve got a student I’m advising on a super-cool Honors Thesis.  She’s looking at how politics affects on-line data habits.  There’s a series of fake tinder profiles and then questions about political beliefs, etc.  Would love to get more people– especially college students and young adults– taking the survey.  Would be grateful if you could consider sharing this survey and plugging it in your social media world.  (And sorry, it’s only IRB approved for American adults– no Finns 🙂 ).

That said, DON’T TELL PEOPLE THIS IS A STUDY OF POLITICS AND DATING ATTITUDES.  (And, for this reason, you probably shouldn’t take it either).  Maybe something more like, “help out an NCSU undergraduate doing a senior thesis about on-line dating attitudes.”

Anyway, here’s the survey, .  Please help.  And once we get the results in, it should be really interesting and I’ll share some highlights here.



Will Democrats get Trump to release his taxes

I doubt it.  But I love how they are trolling him on the issue over his supposed tax reform (i.e., tax cuts for rich peoplel) plans. NYT:

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s promise to enact a sweeping overhaul of the tax code is in serious jeopardy nearly 100 days into his tenure, and his refusal to release his own tax returns is emerging as a central hurdle to another faltering campaign promise.

As procrastinators rushed to file their tax returns by Tuesday, the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, emphasized again on Monday that Mr. Trump had no intention of making his public. Democrats have seized on that decision, uniting around a pledge not to cooperate on any rewriting of the tax code unless they know specifically how that revision would benefit the billionaire president and his family.

And a growing roster of more than a dozen Republican lawmakers now say Mr. Trump should release them.

“If he doesn’t release his returns, it is going to make it much more difficult to get tax reform done,” said Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, pointing out that the president has significant conflicts of interest on issues such as taxation of the real estate industry and elimination of the estate tax. “It’s in his own self-interest.” …

But it is Mr. Trump’s own taxes that have provided the crucial leverage for his opponents. More than 100,000 of his critics took to the streets over the weekend in marches around the country, demanding that the president release his returns. Tax legislation, they say, could be a plot by Mr. Trump to get even richer.

“When they talk about tax reform, are they talking about cutting Donald Trump’s taxes by millions of dollars a year?” asked Ezra Levin, a member of the Tax March executive committee. “We don’t know.”

Beyond the politics of Mr. Trump’s returns, lawmakers do not want to pass an overhaul of the tax code that unwittingly enriches the commander in chief and his progeny. Those who are worried about conflicts of interest point to the potential repeal of the estate tax or elimination of the alternative minimum tax as provisions that would enrich Mr. Trump.

Here’s the beauty of this.  Democrats are never going to cooperate on any kind of tax reform with Trump, because it is blindingly obvious, that Trump has no genuine interest in reform, but rather just fairly typical Republican tax cuts for the wealthy.  Where he might have some reform impulses– e.g., border adjustment tax– the Republicans will have a civil war among themselves.

But, all the Democrats have to do is pretend that Trump’s personal taxes are holding up real bipartisan compromise and the media will cover it that way.  National media love the idea of bipartisan compromise and tend to hype the possibilities far more than reality suggests is likely.  In a way, this is media catnip planted by Democrats to get the media to focus on Trump’s personal taxes whenever they cover stories of changes to tax policy.  Smart, smart move.  Let’s give the Democrats some credit on this one.

And, oh yeah– what the hell is Trump hiding in his taxes?!

Photo of the day

This Telegraph gallery on Weather Watch competition photos is amazing.  Can’t resist the lighthouse:

Storms at Penmon Lighthouse, Anglesey by Antony Zacharias.

Storms at Penmon Lighthouse, Anglesey by Antony Zacharias

Credit: Antony Zacharias. SWINS.COM

Is CNN the worst news source on TV?

No, it’s Fox.   But CNN is pretty horrible.  In my media class we talk all the time about how the “game orientation” distorts and diminishes the quality of the information we receive.  And, since CNN sees politics as all about the game, what we end up getting is a lot of crap.  Nice piece from Carlos Maza in Vox:

In an interview with the New York Times Magazine, CNN president Jeff Zucker described the network’s approach to covering politics, saying, “The idea that politics is sport is undeniable, and we understood that and approached it that way.” That politics-as-sport approach has placed a heavy emphasis on drama, with much of CNN’s programming revolving around sensationalist arguments between hosts, guests, and paid pundits.

That fighting-based approach to covering politics has created a huge demand for Trump supporters willing to appear on the network, which is why CNN hired Trump supporters like Jeffrey Lord and Kayleigh McEnany to defend Trump full time.

 But CNN’s fixation on drama and debate has turned the network’s coverage into a circus of misinformation. CNN’s Trump supporters derail segments critical of the president, misrepresent Trump’s positions to avoid tough questions, and peddle false and misleading information on national TV while being paid by the network. In many cases, CNN’s Trump supporters repeat the same lies and talking points that CNN’s serious journalists spend all day trying to debunk. [emphasis mine] That might explain why Trump has quietly pushed his surrogates to appear on CNN, even while publicly feuding with the network.
And, thanks to confirmation bias, it does not take a lot of misinformation at all for people to believe what they want to, no matter how hard Jake Tapper works to actually present facts.  Let’s just sum it up this way– Jeff Zucker is very, very bad for America

Trump and the triumph of the xenophobes

Nice Op-Ed from Political Scientist Phil Klinkner using the latest ANES data to look at Trumps support in 2016.  The key issue– immigration:

Comparing the results of the 2012 and 2016 ANES surveys shows that Trump increased his vote over Mitt Romney’s on a number of immigration-related issues. In 2012 and 2016, the ANES asked respondents their feelings toward immigrants in the country illegally. Respondents could rate them anywhere between 100 (most positive) or 0 (most negative). Among those with positive views (above 50), there was no change between 2012 and 2016, with Romney and Trump each receiving 22% of the vote. Among those who had negative views, however, Trump did better than Romney, capturing 60% of the vote compared with only 55% for Romney…

Attitudes toward immigrants in the country illegally speak to why some voters switched parties between 2012 and 2016. Among those who voted in both elections but didn’t switch their vote, the average rating of immigrants in the country illegally was 42. Among those who switched from Romney to Hillary Clinton, it was 41. But those who switched their vote from President Obama to Trump were much more negative, with an average rating of only 32…

However, Trump’s support wasn’t limited to just those who oppose immigrants residing in the country illegally — he also picked up votes among those who want to limit all immigration to the United States. In 2012, Romney received 58% of the vote among those who said they think that “the number of immigrants from foreign countries who are permitted to come to the United States” should be decreased. In 2016, Trump got 74% of the vote among those who held this view.

Overall, immigration represented one of the biggest divides between Trump and Clinton voters. Among Trump voters, 67% endorsed building a southern border wall and 47% of them favored it a great deal. In contrast, 77% of Clinton voters opposed building a wall and 67 % strongly opposed it.

Obviously no one issue decides an election, but obviously, immigration was a very important part of Trump’s support.  I like Drum’s take on this:

This gibes with my anecdotal view that a fair number of Trump voters didn’t pay much attention to anything he said except that he was going to build a wall and keep the Mexicans out. All the budget and regulation and Obamacare and climate change stuff was just noise that they didn’t take very seriously. But building a wall was nice and simple, and they thought it would bring back their jobs and keep their towns safe.

Meanwhile, Peter Beinart has a nice piece arguing that Trumpism will outlast Bannon:

That’s the case with Steve Bannon today. He may have fallen out of Trump’s favor. But inside the GOP, the tribal nationalism he espouses is rising nonetheless…

Perhaps because he was not beholden to the GOP’s pro-immigration business and political elites, he embraced the Jeff Sessions-Ann Coulter line that third-world immigration—legal as well as illegal—was a problem. And through his success, he showed how potent anti-immigration sentiment was inside the GOP. Over the course of the campaign, as Molly Ball has noted, “Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, even Jeb Bush” moved toward Trump’s position.

That trend has continued since Trump’s election. This year, when two Republican senators proposed cutting legal immigration in half, Rubio—who had celebrated legal immigration during his campaign—said he was open to the idea. As Ramesh Ponnuru has noted, “immigration is rapidly becoming a defining issue for American conservatism.” Jared Kushner can wield all the influence he wants. Bannon’s views on immigration are ascendant in the GOP.

Of course, there’s many articles, like today’s in the Times, talking about “Trump’s drift away from populism” as he mostly governs like a pretty conventional conservative.  And, the exception– immigration:

It may be that nationalist is a better description. “As long as he does his hard-line stuff on immigrants, he’s going to hold onto a lot of those people,” [emphasis mine] said John B. Judis, author of the new book “The Populist Explosion.” Mr. Trump may not succeed in rebuilding the manufacturing sector or winning trade wars with China, Mr. Judis added, but they want to see him trying. “If we don’t have another downturn for the next three or four years, he’ll keep his support.”

So, there you go, welcome to Trump’s xenophobia-driven Republican Party.

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