Do Democrats needs a non-white candidate in 2020?

No.  And a big part of me hates the game of choosing candidates by what demographic boxes they fit into instead of the quality of their ideas and their character.  That said, Jamelle Bouie makes a compelling case for why Democrats might actually have an easier road if they nominate a minority candidate in 2020.

The case is strong because it is largely based on the terrific and definitive study of the 2016 election, Identity Crisis, by political scientists John Sides, Michael Tesler, and Lynn Vavreck.  This book is top-notch political science written in a way in which any politically-interested layperson can absolutely appreciate it.  It was definitely a hit with my PS 302 Campaigns & Elections students, to whom I assigned it for “book club” this semester.  And, I meant to write a post recommending it.  But, I didn’t, so that gets squeezed in here.

So, back to Bouie’s argument (and nice summary of main take-aways from Identity Crisis):

Before Barack Obama’s election in 2008, the relationship between white racial views and partisanship wasn’t as clear-cut as one might think. Yes, Republicans won the large majority of white voters who believed black disadvantage could be attributed to a lack of hard work or effort—a key measure in the “racial resentment scale”—but a substantial minority of white voters was part of the Democratic coalition as well. But once Obama was in office, whites—and especially those with less formal education—“became better able to connect racial issues to partisan politics,” according to a recent book charting these changes to American politics.

Still, in his 2012 re-election race, Obama won a portion of whites with negative views of blacks. The reason has everything to do with the campaigns. Obama didn’t emphasize race or speak explicitly on racial issues. Neither did Mitt Romney. Race mattered, but white racial views—and white identity—weren’t as crucial to the outcome.

This changed in 2016. And the way it changed has important implications for the upcoming presidential election—and the Democratic race in particular.

In Identity Crisis: The 2016 Presidential Campaign and the Battle for the Meaning of America, political scientists John Sides, Lynn Vavreck, and Michael Tesler provide a short but useful summary of what happened: “In 2016, the presidential campaign focused on issues tied to racial, ethnic, and religious identities and attitudes. The two candidates took very different positions on those issues, and voters perceived those differences. People’s attitudes on these issues were then ‘activated’ as decision-making criteria and became even more strongly associated with white voters’ preference for Clinton or Trump.”… [emphases mine]

In 2008, Clinton won the large majority of white primary voters who attributed racial inequality to “lack of effort”; in 2016, she narrowly lost them—and that carried over to the general election.

If this dynamic is just a Hillary Clinton problem, alleviated by choosing a different nominee, then Democrats running in 2020 don’t have to worry. But if it’s an unavoidable result of being pitted directly against the president’s racism, then there’s a problem, especially for white candidates.

Not because of something inherent to being white, but because—somewhat similar to what happened to Clinton—the increased salience of identity puts them in an awkward spot vis-à-vis the Democratic primary electorate. A substantial share of those voters is black and Hispanic, and many of them seek expansive solutions to the ills facing their communities, from draconian immigration enforcement to entrenched racial inequality. These voters are absolutely crucial to winning the Democratic nomination, and everyone running will likely appeal to them with concrete policies. But white candidates will face the additional task of demonstrating social solidarity—of showing that they understand the problems of racism and discrimination and empathize with the victims…

One possible implication of all of this is that black candidates may have the strategic advantage in the Democratic primary. Not because they’ll automatically win black voters, but because they won’t have to demonstrate the same social solidarity. Like Obama, they can stay somewhat silent on race, embodying the opposition to the president’s racism rather than vocalizing it and allowing them space to focus on economic messaging without triggering the cycle of polarization that Clinton experienced.

Anyway, interesting argument.  Read all of Bouie’s column and think about reading Identity Crisis, if you read political books.  And, if you don’t, but care enough about politics to read this blog, I urge you to listen to the authors’ interview on the Ezra Klein podcast.  Truly great stuff for understanding what happened in 2016 based on actual data and smart political science analysis, not blind punditry.

Photo of the day

Great photo essay in the NYT today about the difficulty and hazards or travelling to a remote village in the Democratic Republic of Congo to try and treat an Ebola outbreak.  Some very, very brave health care workers.  Anyway, this photo really struck me:

A caregiver comforting an infected baby in the quarantined area of the Ebola triage and treatment center run by Doctors Without Borders in Beni, Democratic Republic of Congo.CreditDiana Zeyneb Alhindawi for The New York Times

Photo of the day

NYT’s photo essay feature on the Year in Photos is outstanding.  Many more dramatic than this, but I just loved it:

ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA, JULY 7

A ballerina at the Mikhailovsky Theater watching the World Cup quarterfinal match between Russia and Croatia.

Anton Vaganov/Reuters

This Christmas break, spend less time with your kids

Seriously.  Sort of.  Great Claire Cain Miller piece yesterday in the Upshot about the absurd over-parenting that now characterizes upper-middle class households.  I’m surrounded by it, of course, and probably guilty to some modest degree, but I would say the balance of the evidence is pretty clear we are harming our kids and creating excess parental stress– i.e., a lose-lose.  To be clear, spending time with your kids, especially in enriching activities, is great.  But not every moment of a kids day should be micro-manged nor should parents worry that if their kids are out playing in the neighborhood instead of going to an expensive summer camp that their kids will fall behind.  And, in fact, I think the evidence is pretty clear that, on net, helicopter parenting is bad for kids.

To rely on anecdote, my parents loved me a ton and I knew it and they spent quality time with me every single day.  But it was that constancy, not the volume or level of oversight that mattered.  Somehow I achieved pretty good success in life without every doing expensive summer camps and spending absolutely ungodly hours of my childhood watching Brady Bunch, Gilligan’s Island, etc.

Anyway, some of my favorite parts of the article:

Parenthood in the United States has become much more demanding than it used to be.

Over just a couple of generations, parents have greatly increased the amount of time, attention and money they put into raising children. Mothers who juggle jobs outside the home spend just as much timetending their children as stay-at-home mothers did in the 1970s.

The amount of money parents spend on children, which used to peak when they were in high school, is now highest when they are under 6 and over 18 and into their mid-20s…

While this kind of intensive parenting — constantly teaching and monitoring children — has been the norm for upper-middle-class parents since the 1990s, new research shows that people across class divides now consider it the best way to raise children, even if they don’t have the resources to enact it…

“As the gap between rich and poor increases, the cost of screwing up increases,” said Philip Cohen, a sociologist at the University of Maryland who studies families and inequality. “The fear is they’ll end up on the other side of the divide.”

But it also stokes economic anxiety, because even as more parents say they want to raise childrenthis way, it’s the richest ones who are most able to do so.

“Intensive parenting is a way for especially affluent white mothers to make sure their children are maintaining their advantaged position in society,” said Jessica Calarco, a sociologist at Indiana University and author of “Negotiating Opportunities: How the Middle Class Secures Advantages in School.”

For the record, I don’t really buy that last part so much.  I suspect it is far more a basic psychological “keeping up with the Joneses” than an actual fear of one’s kids economic future.  Rather, if all the neighbors are parenting one way, many feel they need to do the same.  It’s just as much about pressure as is what clothes to wear in high school.  Anyways…

The American Academy of Pediatrics promotes the idea that parents should be constantly monitoring and teaching children, even when the science doesn’t give a clear answer about what’s best. It now recommends that babies sleep in parents’ rooms for a year. Children’s television — instead of giving parents the chance to cook dinner or have an adult conversation — is to be “co-viewed” for maximum learning…

Ia new paper, Patrick Ishizuka surveyed a nationally representative group of 3,642 parents about parenting. Regardless of their education, income or race, they said the most hands-on and expensive choices were best. For example, they said children who were bored after school should be enrolled in extracurricular activities, and that parents who were busy should stop their task and draw with their children if asked. [emphasis mine]

“Intensive parenting has really become the dominant cultural model for how children should be raised,” said Mr. Ishizuka, a postdoctoral fellow studying gender and inequality at Cornell.

Ugh.  In fact, I am ignoring my bored daughter right now so I can finish this blog post.  Seriously!  I really enjoy doing stuff with my kids so I do a lot of it.  But I am not here to entertain them.  And this:

Experts agree that investing in children is a positive thing — they benefit from time with their parents, stimulating activities and supportive parenting styles. As low-income parents have increased the time they spend teaching and reading to their children, the readiness gap between kindergarten students from rich and poor families has shrunk. As parental supervision has increased, most serious crimes against children have declined significantly.

But it’s also unclear how much of children’s success is actually determined by parenting.

“It’s still an open question whether it’s the parenting practices themselves that are making the difference, or is it simply growing up with college-educated parents in an environment that’s richer in many dimensions?” said Liana Sayer, a sociologist at the University of Maryland and director of the Time Use Laboratory there. “I don’t think any of these studies so far have been able to answer whether these kids would be doing well as adults regardless, simply because of resources.”

Actually, the question is not that open.  Twin studies make it pretty clear that, within a normal healthy range, parenting styles just don’t matter that much.  And, over-parenting can almost certainly be counter-productive, for children and their over-involved parents:

Psychologists and others have raised alarms about children’s high levels of stress and dependence on their parents, and the need to develop independence, self-reliance and gritResearch has shown that children with hyper-involved parents have more anxiety and less satisfaction with life, and that when children play unsupervised, they build social skills, emotional maturity and executive function.

Parents, particularly mothers, feel stressexhaustion and guilt at the demands of parenting this way, especially while holding a job. American time use diaries show that the time women spend parenting comes at the expense of sleep, time alone with their partners and friends, leisure time and housework. Some pause their careers or choose not to have children. Others, like Ms. Sentilles, live in a state of anxiety. She doesn’t want to hover, she said. But trying to oversee homework, limit screen time and attend to Isaac’s needs, she feels no choice.

Anyway, time to go help by bored daughter figure out one of her new Christmas presents.  We’ll have fun, but then it’s back to letting her entertain herself.

Quick hits (part II)

1) Thomas Edsall talks to political scientists about white identity politics

For 50 years Republicans have battered the Democratic coalition, wielding the so-called southern strategy — built on racism and overlaid with opposition to immigration — to win control of the White House and one or both chambers of Congress.

At the same time, Democrats have struggled to piece together a coalition strong enough to deliver an Election Day majority. In the 1950s, the Democratic coalition was 87 percent white and 13 percent minority, according to the American National Election Studies; it is now 59 percent white and 41 percent minority, according to Pew Research.

As the Democratic Party has evolved from an overwhelmingly white party to a party with a huge minority base, the dominant strategic problem has become the tenuous balance between the priorities of its now equally indispensable white and minority wings.

President Trump has aggressively exploited Democratic vulnerabilities as no previous Republican candidate had dared to do. The frontal attack Trump has engineered — in part by stigmatizing “political correctness” — has had a dual effect, throwing Democrats back on their heels while simultaneously whetting their appetite for a fight.

For Democrats to counter Trump effectively, a number of scholars believe it is essential to understand the motivations — the needs, beliefs and agendas — of those whites who have moved into the Trump camp. Only armed with that information, the way these scholars see it, can the left recapture enough of those voters to regain majority status on a more permanent basis, both in its battles for Congress and for the White House.

2) I like Saideman’s take on Mattis– yes, we will in fact miss him, but his “adult” influence has also been overrated.

3) Good take on the search for anti-conservative bias on google:

It is, perhaps, unsurprising that none of the Congress members complaining about Google’s anti-conservative bias appeared overly concerned that hate groups had hijacked YouTube. Instead, they kept hammering at the bias they claimed the company was directing against them.This is because, as Pasquale told me, the Republicans are very good at “working the refs” to get what they want. What they want here is to bring Google to heel, as they’ve done to Facebook, which conspicuously hired the conservative politician Jon Kyl to investigate its anti-conservative bias, and added an avowedly conservative publication, the now defunct Weekly Standard, to its fact-checking team, giving the magazine’s staff the ability to down-rank sources with which it disagreed ideologically.

But the #StopTheBias campaign has a more pernicious goal: it is yet another way for Trump and his minions to undermine the credibility of the mainstream media.

4) Yglesias on Paul Ryan’s farewell address:

The first half of Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s farewell address to Congress is dedicated primarily to his effort to convince himself that a deficit-financed tax cut for the rich represents not just an idea he happens to favor, but a substantive legacy that constitutes a worthy career-long labor. Then it went off the rails.

In the back half of his speech, Ryan challenged Congress to address the needs of the poor as he claims he attempted during his time in public service. This claim is at odds with his many attempts to take away health care for America’s most vulnerable, his abandonment of tax incentives for the lowest earners, and his commitment to dubious anti-poverty programs.

“You all know that finding solutions to help people lift themselves out of poverty is a personal mission for me,” he said, echoing a line that he has shopped to a lot of journalists over the years but that there is no evidence of in his record. He then went on to say a bunch of stuff that isn’t true about the social safety net, the American poor, and his own record on either.

It’s a perfect capstone to Ryan’s career: Rich people get tax cuts; poor people get pious words and misleading rhetoric.

Paul Ryan is wrong about the war on poverty

Ryan’s entire thinking about the subject of poverty is shaped by his deep commitment to a fundamentally false premise: the notion that anti-poverty programs have failed.

5) Finally watched the SNL “It’s a Wonderful Trump.”  Definitely worth your time.

6) Dana Milbank, “This week in Trump inhumanity: Keeping a mother from her dying toddler.”

7) Drum makes a good case that even though vaping is better than smoking it is still really bad– the potential for a costly, life-long addiction to nicotine.

8) Speaking of nicotine addiction– a new study that shows meditation is amazingly successful for quitting smoking.

9) How Sheryl Sandberg’s “Lean In” message unraveled.

10) Catherine Rampell, “Has the GOP tax cut delivered? Yes — and the tooth fairy was here just last night!”

11) Helluva graphic— most mentioned country on front of NYT over time.

12) Scientists have a found a new kingdom of life.  Whoa!

The tree of life just got another major branch. Researchers recently found a certain rare and mysterious microbe called a hemimastigote in a clump of Nova Scotian soil. Their subsequent analysis of its DNA revealed that it was neither animal, plant, fungus nor any recognized type of protozoan — that it in fact fell far outside any of the known large categories for classifying complex forms of life (eukaryotes). Instead, this flagella-waving oddball stands as the first member of its own “supra-kingdom” group, which probably peeled away from the other big branches of life at least a billion years ago.

13) “Gene-edited farm animals are coming. Will we eat them?”  I will.  Is it really so different than all the highly-selective breeding we’ve been doing for thousands of years?

Researchers, after years of fighting public skepticism on genetically modified foods, are hopeful but not optimistic. Advocates are lining up on both sides of the issue.

“We’re at this inflection point in society, where gene editing is really taking off, and now is the time we could have a more sustained public conversation about how we want it used in our world and how we don’t want it to be used,” said Jennifer Kuzma, co-director of the Genetic Engineering and Society Center at North Carolina State University. “All the polls indicate that people are less comfortable with animal biotechnology than plant biotechnology. . . . A regulatory system cannot be based 100 percent on science or scientific risk, and values come into play when setting the standards.”

14) David Leonhardt makes the case for Democratic Party populism in 2020:

There is only one quality — beyond, of course, charisma — that Democrats should demand in their nominee. The Democrats need a candidate who can and will run as an economic populist…

They need a candidate who will organize the 2020 campaign around fighting for the little guy and gal. (And most of the potential Democratic nominees could do so.) It would be a campaign about Republican politicians and corporate lobbyists who are rigging the game, a campaign that promised good jobs, rising wages, decent health care, affordable education and an end to Trumpian corruption.

The country doesn’t only need this agenda. It wants this agenda. A mountain of evidence shows that populism — the real kind, not the faux Trump version — is the Democrats’ most effective political strategy. Yet that evidence often gets obscured by less important issues, like a candidate’s race, sex or precise spot on a traditional liberal-conservative spectrum…

More than 60 percent think taxes on upper-income people are too low, according to Gallup. Almost 70 percent say the same about corporations. A clear majority also favors expanded government health care, more college financial aid, a higher minimum wage and tougher anticorruption laws…

This group is mostly white, mostly without a college degree and disproportionately rural, according to the analysis, by YouGov Blue and Data for Progress. On social issues, the group’s attitudes look pretty Republican. Many of its members think sexism isn’t that big of a problem, for instance. They express anxiety about demographic change and favor tighter border security.

These are the sort of voters that some Democrats had written off as irredeemable racists. But that’s a terrible mistake.

On economic issues, swing voters look decidedly un-Republican. They are even more populist than loyal Democrats. By a wide margin, they favor free college, a big expansion of Medicare and federal action both to reduce drug prices and to create jobs.

“These voters want leaders who are going to look out for them,” Alissa Stollwerk of YouGov told me. Trump persuaded many voters that he was their ally by running a racially focused campaign. Democrats have already shown they can win back a meaningful share of them by running an economically focused campaign.

15) Yeah, I get that we’re all completely used to Trump’s lies.  But how is that nobody cares that he so clearly lied about an issue at the heart of the whole Russia/collusion issue?!

16) Chait, “The More Republicans Lose, the Harder They Work to Rig the Game.”

17) The link between August birthdays and dramatically higher diagnoses of ADHD suggests that we are overdosing the disease.

These arbitrary cutoffs have important implications for the diagnosis of A.D.H.D. In a study published in The New England Journal of Medicine, we found that among several hundred thousand children who were born between 2007 and 2009 and followed until 2016, rates of A.D.H.D. diagnosis and treatment were 34 percent higher among children born in August than among children born in September in states with a Sept. 1 school entry-age cutoff. No such difference was found among children in states with different cutoff dates. The effects were largest among boys.

We believe these findings reveal just how subjective the diagnosis of A.D.H.D. can be. In any given class, inattentive behavior among younger, August-born children may be perceived, in some instances, to reflect symptom of A.D.H.D., rather than the relative immaturity that is biologically determined and to be expected among children who are nearly one year younger than September-born classmates.

Though I’ve no doubt ADHD is over-diagnosed I can state from personal family experience that an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment with medication can make a huge positive difference for the family and for the firstborn son so diagnosed.

18) Among my favorite reads of the week is Yglesias on the conservative attack on democracy.  Read it.

The threat to democracy isn’t “populism”

All of which is to say that the real Trump-era threat to democracy is the opposite of populism.

Trump has many of the mannerisms and much of the style of a plebiscitary dictator who wields demagogic rhetoric to turn the crowd against liberal institutions. But in a real-world sense, Trump and his political allies are unpopular, and people keep voting against them.

They nevertheless wield vast political power, however, because of institutions. The Electoral College, gerrymandering, and the maldistribution of Senate seats allow the GOP to enjoy political power that’s disproportionate to their voting support.

A tight-knit group of Federalist Society lawyers and judges allow conservatives to advance policy ideas that lack public support through the judiciary. When in doubt, they fib and hope Fox News will help them muddy the waters.

The case will, of course, make its way up to higher courts, where hopefully cooler, more humane heads will prevail. But whether they do depends not just on the law but on the political context.

The rhetoric and practice of actual majoritarian populism — rather than simply assuming Chief Justice Roberts will do the right thing — is critical in moments like this. Judicial conservatives will be restrained in their activism if and only if they believe that defying the will of the people on such consequential matters will lead to their delegitimization.

It’s a fear they ought to have. But one which will only develop if progressive leaders are able to move beyond excessive fear of populism and learn to speak the language of popular majoritarianism and democratic self-rule.

19) Conservative blogger Ann Althouse had a post on my research.  Cool?  Anyway, interesting, but wrong take here:

I’ve observed over the years that researchers tend to explain any gender difference in a way that makes whatever is true of women good. This is an interesting example of that. You can see that they’re presenting the independence and courage of men as “risk taking,” “deviance,” and insensitivity to “morality.” I’m intrigued by the presentation of women as pushed by the Democratic elite. Is being a follower regarded as a positive quality (when you follow the Democratic elite)?

Quick hits (part I)

1) I see how it can potentially get out of hand, but I really don’t think schools should be banning parents from having lunch with their kids.

2) As you know, I’m big ran of LARC’s as a tool in fighting poverty.  And Delaware is now giving it a try.  Unfortunately, some research suggests this is not as promising as we might have thought:

The idea of contraception as a key to economic mobility emerged after the 1960s and 1970s, when contraception and abortion became legal state by state. A string of studies showed that, when birth control arrived, women’s careers and educational attainment improved — and the number of children they had declined.

Isabel Sawhill, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, has measured the wide gulfs in outcomes between young women with unintended children and those with planned pregnancies later on. She has written extensively in support of expanded LARC access.

“It’s very expensive and very hard to reduce poverty,” Ms. Sawhill said. “Reducing unplanned births is easy by comparison.”

But it’s possible that youthful, unplanned pregnancies are a symptomof poverty, more than a cause.

One study of teenagers with unintended pregnancies found only small differences in outcomes between those who had miscarriages and those who delivered babies. A review of the returns on investment from contraception found relatively small effects.

“The causal link is kind of a big question mark,” said Caitlin Myers, an associate professor of economics at Middlebury College, who teaches a class on unplanned parenthood in the United States. Ms. Myers said an effort like Delaware’s would improve women’s autonomy and reduce abortions. But she was skeptical that it would necessarily reduce poverty. “To what extent does unintended pregnancy cause bad outcomes versus bad outcomes causing unintended pregnancies? It’s a symptom of poverty, of inequality, of hopelessness about the future.”

3) Popehat (one of those people I discovered on twitter who is just so educational on legal issues) calls out Alan Dershowitz, “Alan Dershowitz Is Lying To You” and it’s just awesome.

4) Really enjoyed this “18 lessons for the news business from 2018.”

The relatively few magazines that are finding a future are thought-provoking, reader-supported ones.

The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Vanity Fair, and Wired are among those that are making the digital subscriber transition. Each offers audiences a unique set of voices and reporting. Each, arguably, has risen to our times. It’s the shelter, fashion, travel, and lifestyle magazines — beset by unlimited free digital competition — that suffer, slim, and shutter.

The lesson, again, and again: Unique voices supported by subscribers point a way forward.

Indeed.  I subscribe to all of those but Vanity Fair.

4) Interesting take from Seth Masket, “The Demise of the Weekly Standard is a Blow to the Republican Party.”

5) Oren Cass writes, “The Misguided Priorities of Our Educational System: We spend too much money on college students and not enough on everyone else.”  He’s right– especially when it comes to vocational education.

One explanation for this bizarre state of affairs, in which society invests heavily in those headed for economic success while ignoring those falling behind, is the widespread belief that everyone can be a college graduate. If that were true, the shove toward the college pipeline might make sense.

But most young Americans do not achieve even a community-college degree. Federal data show that fewer than one in five studentssmoothly navigate the high school to college to career pathway. More students fail to complete high school on time, more fail to move on from high school to college, and more drop out of college. Forty years of reform, accompanied by a doubling of per pupil spending, has failed to improve this picture. Standardized test scores haven’t budged. SAT scores have declined. More students enroll in college, but the share of 25-year-olds with a bachelor’s degree did not increase from 1995 to 2015, and it stands barely above the 1975 level…

But while the median college graduate earns more than the median high school graduate, those workers are not the same person — indeed, they are likely people with very different academic prospects. Look instead at the wage distributions for more comparable samples: those with earnings toward the high end for workers with only high school degrees and those at the low end among college graduates. The federal Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that high school grads with above-average earnings (50th to 90th percentile) earn $34,000 to $70,000 annually. College grads with below-average earnings (10th to 50th percentile) earn $28,000 to $58,000.

Pushing people from the former category to attend college and land in the latter category does them few favors. And remember, that assumes they graduate; people in their position typically will not. Remember also, those are the outcomes before we attempt to create an attractive non-college pathway that they might prefer and that might equip them for success.

6) This is a great feel-good story, “A mother’s leap of faith at an African airport, and a 15-year mystery.”

Maya Hughes was 5 years old when her mother asked a stranger at an airport in Sierra Leone to help get her back to the United States safely. The man helped, then disappeared. Fifteen years later, the three got back in touch with each other.

7) Great stuff from Frank Rich:

What will move them [Republican politicians] is not necessarily Trump’s hara-kiri isolationist agenda but the damage his behavior both abroad and at home is inflicting on the financial markets. The sheer uncertainty of a chaos presidency is pushing the Dow to its worst December since the Great Depression. McConnell and his humiliated departing peer Paul Ryan have tolerated Trump’s racism, misogyny, and nativism, his wreckage of American alliances, his kleptocracy, and his allegiance to Vladimir Putin. They have tolerated as well his con job on the coal miners, steelworkers, and automobile-industry workers of his base. But they’ll be damned if they will stand for a president who threatens the bottom line of the GOP donor class. [emphasis mine]

8) Elizabeth Warren says the government should produce generic drugs.  Given the world’s largest actual collusion ever, this is a very interesting idea.

9) A former student of mine tweeted at the epitome of bad faith politics, NC GOP director Dallas Woodhouse, Chili’s social media account ended up in the middle.

10) I haven’t read enough yet to have a firm take on Mattis and his resignation, but I found Yglesias‘ contrarianism on him very interesting:

Secretary of Defense James Mattis’s decision to resign, complete with a strongly worded letter slamming President Donald Trump, is not so much the end of “adults in the room” safeguarding the country from the president’s worst instincts as it is the end of the myth that there ever were any such adults.

Mattis was, after all, recommended to Trump in the first place because Barack Obama had fired him for his reckless advocacy of military confrontation with Iran. And while the last grown-up was unable to restrain Trump from imprisoning asylum-seeking childrenabusing his pardon power for Joe Arpaioabusing declassification powerundertaking a partisan purge of the FBIcheering the French far right, or issuing apologias for neo-Nazis, he finally decided to take his stand over Trump making the perfectly defensible decision to withdraw US forces from a hazily defined open-ended mission in Syria that lacked any legal authorization.

There’s nothing wrong with quitting over a policy dispute that you feel strongly about. (Though, frankly, I think Trump is on the right side of this one.) But that’s all this was — a normal dispute within the range of things reasonable people can disagree about.

At the end of the day, Mattis proved ineffective or uninterested in preventing shocking abuses of power and flagrant immorality only to throw down over a perfectly legitimate order from the commander in chief.

And while resigning sooner, over something better, would have been welcome, the notion that it could have meaningfully improved outcomes is silly. Trump is unfit for office, and flagrantly so, in ways that are fairly obvious and have been obvious for years. There are no adults in any room he leads, and there never will be. The real grown-ups are the ones who’ve been outside the room trying to get him out of office.

11) I’ve always enjoyed the Black Key’s “Little Black Submarines” when I’ve heard it, but never really gave it all that much thought.  Heard it on the radio the other day, though, and thought, that would be a great guitar part to learn.  It is!  I love a good rock song made up of standard open chords.  And now I’m (and my 12-year old) obsessed with the song.

12) Really interesting Linda Greenhouse piece on the divide among Republicans on the Supreme Court.  It’s a little early to definitely put Kavanaugh on the “sure, very conservative, but not total Republican hack” side along with Roberts, but so far, things are suggestive.  As to Thomas, Alito, and Gorsuch?  Yeah, total hacks.

13) Love this, “Like Tomboys and Hate Girlie Girls? That’s Sexist: We need to stop maligning femininity, in both girls and boys.”

 

Men are more liberal than women… on marijuana policy

So, finally got some of my research in the Monkey Cage.  You really should read the whole thing (it’s pretty short), but here’s an excerpt anyway (and if the writing seems better there than here, you can credit Laurel):

While Americans overall are becoming more supportive of marijuana legalization, public opinion has an unusual “reverse gender gap.” On many issues, women are more liberal than men. But men are actually more likely than women to support legalizing marijuana. Our new research helps explain why…

Ultimately, what best explains the gender gap in marijuana attitudes is the gender gap in marijuana use. Men (all men, not just white men) report using marijuana more often than women. Once marijuana use is taken into account, there is no gender gap in attitudes toward gender gap in marijuana legalization.

NC State wrote up a nice news release a couple weeks ago, too.

And here’s the abstract:

Objectives

The objectives of this study were to understand why, even though women are more liberal than men on a broad range of issues, when it comes to the increasingly prominent issue of marijuana legalization, the direction of the gender gap is reversed, with women more conservative than men.

Methods

Relying on a 2013 Pew survey—unique for the extensiveness of its marijuana questions, including marijuana usage—we explore and attempt to explain the nature of this unusual gender gap. We test several hypotheses rooted in the different life experiences of women and men.

Results

We find that women’s role as mothers cannot explain this gap, and that mothers are in fact no different from those without children in terms of their support for marijuana policy, as well as their reported use of marijuana. The greater religiosity of women does play a prominent role in the gender gap on marijuana policy, but does not account for the full difference of opinion between women and men. Our findings suggest that men’s greater propensity relative to women to use marijuana is a major driver behind the gender gap.

Conclusions

Not only are attitudes on marijuana legalization likely to continue to liberalize, but as marijuana legalization and marijuana use become normalized, rather than viewed as immoral and dangerous behavior, the existing gender gap should shrink.

 

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