Smoking is for poor people

It really is kind of amazing how much American society has bifurcated on smoking.  It is more than ever a class marker of being poorer and less educated.  As I hate smoking and being around it, I will confess to being glad that my particular social stratum has moved away most dramatically.  Here’s a chart from Wonkblog:


This explains why I can literally think of only a single friend/acquaintance who is an active smoker.

The CDC with some nice charts, too:

Current Use of Cigarettes, Cigars, and Smokeless Tobacco Among Adults Living Below Poverty Level Compared With Those Living At Or Above Poverty Level

Current Use of Cigarettes, Cigars, and Smokeless Tobacco Among Adults With Less Than High School Education Compared With Adults With College Degree


Republican health care– the short version

Two great charts from Drum:

Any questions?

The political culture war

If you didn’t have a chance to read Lee Drutman’s terrific piece on the 2016 election, consider this interview with him in TNR an excellent TLDR.  Here’s the conclusion:

The fault lines that Trump exposed in 2016 aren’t going anywhere. Even with Democrats confident that the unpopularity of American Health Care Act will propel them to victories in 2018 and 2020, Trump seems to be set on hitting immigration and identity over and over again.

Hitting immigration and identity is what brought him to the White House. If that’s the most salient issue for voters, they will stay supporters no matter what he does because he’s picked the right enemies and he’s signalled that he’s on their side. If the focus is on whether he’s still hanging on to his promises of delivering government entitlements, he loses. If the question is over American identity, he has a chance of retaining support.

If you think about it, the takeaway—which is a broad takeaway on American politics—generally on economic issues, on welfare issues, the country’s overwhelmingly liberal. On cultural issues, the American population is conservative, particularly in rural areas that tend to be overrepresented in our system of government.

Trump was able to pitch himself to voters as a marriage of social conservatism and economic liberalism, arguing that he would maintain (and possibly even expand) the welfare state. He’s clearly going back on many of the promises he made on the campaign trail and he won’t be able to run as a unicorn in 2020. Could that cost him his presidency?

Well, it may. That may be the case, but it may also be the case that as long as Trump maintains the right enemies, then he seems like he’s still the lesser of two evils to many voters. Republicans may succeed by making Democrats look like the party of globalist multiculturalism undermining American Christian greatness. That could still be enough to win.

The case for Pelosi

I’m not some huge fan of Nancy Pelosi.  She strikes me as an effective legislative leader and a helluva a fundraiser.  I’ll take it.  Sure, she’s got her flaws, but of all the dumb takeaways of Georgia 6 “Pelosi has to go” has got to be the dumbest.  A nice defense from Jeet Heer:

The case against Pelosi is by no means clear cut. Her detractors note that Republican attack ads in the Georgia race gave her prominence, apparently evidence that her unpopularity is a drag on the party. “The fact that Republicans spent millions of dollars on TV ads tying Democratic hopeful Jon Ossoff to Pelosi — and the brand of progressive policies she represents — shows that she will once again be an issue for Democratic challengers in the very districts that the party needs to win to make her speaker again,” Politico notes. Yet as Dartmouth political scientist Brendan Nyhan tweeted:

The ads that featured Pelosi were aimed at energizing highly partisan Republicans, the type of people who would know and hate any Democratic leader. Pelosi is a villain in these ads almost by default, since more prominent party leaders—Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton—have stepped aside, and thus lack sufficient scariness as bogeymen. Moreover, getting rid of Pelosi just because Republicans hate her would be a singularly craven move for Democrats—and would probably be ineffective to boot, in this regard. Her successor would become the GOP’s new top enemy. [emphasis mine]

The ideological critique of Pelosi is equally confused. To Republicans, she’s the archetypical “San Fransisco Democrat,” committed to unrestrained liberalism and out of touch with heartland values. Yet to Pelosi’s left-wing critics, she’s utterly without principles and cares only about holding the reins. “The Democratic House leadership is dedicated to retaining power for themselves and nothing else,” arguesMatt Stoller, a fellow at the New America Foundation. “Nancy Pelosi is utterly incoherent. She’s not a leader, she’s in charge of making sure no other leaders emerge.”

Both these critiques miss the central fact about Pelosi: She’s been an extraordinarily effective parliamentarian.

I’m sure there’s some decent takes for why Pelosi should be replaced in favor of new leadership– I just haven’t seen them in the wake of GA 06.

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