North Carolina in the 2016 election

I’ve been meaning to do a post based on some really nice empirical analyses of NC for a while now, but haven’t gotten around to it.

First, Nate Silver devoted one of his electoral analyses to the role of North Carolina a few weeks ago.  I especially like the part discussing the demographics of NC and how it is different from other swing states:

it’s a little different than most of the other swing states. Its mix of voters — a combination of college-educated whites (and college students) in Charlotte and the Research Triangle, African-Americans, and often very conservative white evangelicals elsewhere in the state — is distinctive. All right, it fairly closely resembles Virginia and Georgia, although both are barely even swing states at the moment.3. But it isn’t similar to Midwestern states such as Michigan and Wisconsin, which have a far higher proportion of white voters without a college degree. This is particularly true if you also consider religion: the noncollege whites in North Carolina tend to be evangelicals, whereas the Midwest has a lot of groups like middle-class white Catholics.

There’s also a fascinating discussion of how the demographic patterns of states mean their polling/voting is more or less correlated with each other.  In the end, it means that NC really may be a firewall for Clinton:

The result of all those extra CPU cycles is that North Carolina turns out to be a bit more important than you might think — bad news for Trump given the recent polling there.

Also loved Nate Cohn’s in-depth analysis based on the Sienna College poll of NC back in September:

Perhaps no battleground state is as polarized along demographic lines as North Carolina. Mr. Trump has a lead of 53 percent to 28 percent among white voters, most likely his best tally with that group in any of the battleground states. Mrs. Clinton holds the overwhelming support of black voters, at 86 percent to 3 percent in a three-way race…

The state’s white voters are divided as well. Mr. Trump’s advantage with whites stems from a huge margin of 66 percent to 17 percent among white voters without a college degree. Mrs. Clinton’s challenge runs deep: She has a narrow lead of only 46-39 among white voters without a degree who are registered as Democrats…

The educational split in North Carolina could be the largest in the country. The state is in many ways still culturally Southern, but it has been transformed by rapidly growing metropolitan areas like Raleigh and Charlotte. These areas are full of migrants from outside the state, especially from the Northeast. Mrs. Clinton fares better among these voters, even after accounting for their greater education, than among those born in the state.


And, more recently, there was a nice, thorough story in the Christian Science Monitor about the role of NC this cycle.  As for the following quote, I definitely had the preceding Cohn analysis in mind:

Other states are electoral battlegrounds, but none have North Carolina’s mix of traditional Southern-style conservatism alongside thriving Millennial-led multicultural progressivism. Agrarian yet tech savvy, deeply evangelical yet globally progressive, deep red splashed with bright blue – the contrasts that once were part of North Carolina’s unique draw have become fissures.

That makes it a state to watch not only on Election Day, but in the months and years after – a crucible for how the pitched sides of America’s political divide can coexist and evolve.

“North Carolina is a microcosm of the divisions in the US electorate, but on steroids: The gap between white voters with and without college degrees is huge, the white to nonwhite gap is huge, and the rural-urban gap is huge,” says Steven Greene, a political scientist at North Carolina State University in Raleigh.

And, plenty more good stuff in there, too.

As for me, I love that NC has become such an important and interesting state.  As I told the CSM reporter, I’ve got plenty of smarter, more insightful friends in NY, Texas, etc., who nobody really cares about.  Not fair, but, heck, either is the electoral college.

Quick hits (part I)

1) Nice NYT feature on “what happened to North Carolina?”

But it is also Exhibit A of the partisan self-sorting that has defined national politics in recent decades; a trend that has produced violent mood swings. Its population is divided between the predominantly Democratic metropolitan areas surrounding powerful research universities, corporate centers and high-tech industries on one hand, and majority Republican voters in emptying towns struggling to survive the shuttering of once-dominant furniture, textile and tobacco industries on the other.

The opposing demographics held each other in relative check until after the 2008 election. But after Democrats won the presidential, gubernatorial and senatorial races that year, the national Republican State Leadership Committee coordinated donors to flip the Statehouse. Taking advantage of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling, which allowed virtually unlimited private spending on campaigns, this group of donors — led by discount-store magnate James Arthur Pope — flooded cheap, often-ignored state legislative races with attack ads against Democrats.

The resulting Republican majority immediately moved to impose drastic abortion restrictions and curbs on same-sex marriage, along with new limits on voter access — disproportionately and, according to the federal courts, intentionally affecting black voters — and police accountability. These policies have predictably sharpened the state’s partisan divide, but they have also more unexpectedly created a rift between what used to be the Republican Party’s most durable bases: social conservatives and business. The man most clearly caught in the middle is Governor McCrory.

2) Like this take from Ezra– at last, Trump has been un-normalized.

3) Drum takes a look at Clinton’s paid speeches and is unimpressed at what, if anything, we’ve really learned:

In other news, we learned that Clinton is pretty much the same person in private that she is in public. She’s moderate, pragmatic, and willing to work across the aisle. She dislikes protectionism and thinks we should try to cut the budget deficit in a balanced way. She doesn’t demonize Wall Street.

You may or may not like this, but it’s who Hillary Clinton has been forever. There are no surprises here. So while I may have skipped past a couple of small things too quickly on my first read, my overall opinion remains the same: There’s just nothing here that’s plausibly damaging, even when it’s run through the Donald Trump alternate universe pie hole. I guess we’ll find out tonight if I’m right.

4) Jamelle Bouie on Trump’s calls for race-based voter intimidation on election day.

5) Dave Leonhardt on Trump in the 2nd debate.  Honestly, this aspect got far too little coverage:

He lied about a sex tape.

He lied about his lies about ‘birtherism.’

He lied about the growth rate of the American economy.

He lied about the state of the job market.

He lied about the trade deficit.

He lied about tax rates.

He lied about his own position on the Iraq War, again.

He lied about ISIS.

He lied about the Benghazi attack.

He lied about the war in Syria.

He lied about Syrian refugees.

He lied about Russia’shacking.

He lied about the San Bernardino terrorist attack.

He lied about Hillary Clinton’s tax plan.

He lied about her health care plan.

He lied about her immigration plan.

He lied about her email deletion.

He lied about Obamacare, more than once.

He lied about the rape of a 12-year-old girl.

He lied about his history of groping women without their consent.

Finally, he broke with basic democratic norms and called on his political opponent to be jailed — because, in large part, of what he described as her dishonesty.

6) Among the more bizarre things… conservative radio host and Trump adviser Alex Jones thinks Clinton is literally a demon.

7) Fascinating essay (and call for restorative justice) from a woman who discovered her husband was a violent rapist.

8) Benjamin Wallace-Wells on Clinton’s coming struggle with Trump supporters.

9) Though Republicans tend to refer to anything they don’t like as “political correctness” it is a real thing and can reach truly absurd lengths in America’s universities.  This case at University of Tennessee is just appalling.

10) Chait with a thoughtful post asking “would you vote for a sexual predator?”

Donald Trump is a vile human being. He also happens to advocate policies — or, in some cases, policy-esque impulses — that I find dangerous and horrifying. And so revelations about his boasting of sexual assault serve to reinforce my repugnance for this grotesque bully. This makes it easy for people who agree with me to judge the Republicans willing to overlook Trump’s obscene and even criminal mistreatment of women. But what if the candidate I supported were the Trump-like character? And, hence, what if the election of a sexual predator was the only alternative to eliminating health insurance for millions, allowing runaway climate change, submitting to right-wing control of the courts, and so on? Well, then, I have to admit that I would probably hold my nose and support him anyway…

Now, an important distinction has to be made between accepting a leader’s moral unfitness as a necessary trade-off for the greater good and minimizing or justifying the behavior itself. The most disturbing response to the Trump tapes is the casual insistence that his behavior is normal and therefore acceptable. A recent Politico survey of anonymous political insiders provided harrowing evidence of this very belief…

But policy matters an awful lot. Republicans find their policy preferences linked to the triumph of a loathsome man. I have little agreement with those policy preferences, but the dilemma is one with which I sympathize.

11) On the absurdity of Trump’s love for the “new” Russian nukes.

12) And a nice Post editorial on Trump as “Putin’s puppet.”

13) The behavioral economics of recycling.

14) How FIFA soccer video game is actually a useful tool for pros.  Personally, I haven’t really liked sports video games since I had a IBM PC Jr.  I am pretty intrigued by the idea of Football Manager, though.  Any recommendations on it?

15) The Post makes their “closing argument” against Trump.

16) Great tweetstorm from a Republican woman fed up with her party nicely compiled into a post, by Conor Friedersdorf.

17) I must admit I was shocked and fascinated to read this post on racism in academia.  I literally see absolutely zero of it among my colleagues.  We are so happy to have good minority applicants in our hiring pools and look to find more that I find it truly shocking that their are college professors who would look for ways to discount quality minority applicants.

18) I really find it kind of amazing that Samsung engineers simply could not solve the battery-catching-on-fire issue in their new phone and had to give up on it.

19) John Oliver was born to take on Trump’s latest scandal.

20) EJ Dionne on the problems in today’s GOP.

For years, Republicans managed an exceptional acrobatic act: to mobilize right-wing populist anger and white working-class voters behind a program whose benefits flowed to the economic elites. The operation was supported by large expenditures from the very rich. The assumption was always that the base would get the noise and the elites would get the policy.

21) Amazing story of how a drone and a twitter photo led to a NC man being saved from flooding.

22) After supporting him in numerous elections, The Charlotte Observer is done with Pat McCrory:

The Charlotte Observer’s editorial board has endorsed Republican Pat McCrory in every one of his bids for office since 1991. That includes twice for City Council, seven times for mayor and twice for governor. That streak comes to an end today.

McCrory’s term as North Carolina governor is the ultimate illustration of the Peter Principle: that people are promoted based on their past performance and not the abilities needed for the new role and thus rise to the level of their incompetence. McCrory has certainly done that…

McCrory had a notable career in public service. But he has climbed the ladder beyond his abilities. It is time for him to come home.

23) Republican former prosecutors on the amazing wrongness of Trump’s threats to put Clinton in jail.

24) Russell Berman on the wikileaks of Clinton-related emails:

But the leak of thousands of hacked email exchanges among Clinton’s top advisers suggest the same can be said about her—at least in her role as a public figure. They capture a candidate, and a campaign, that seems in private exactly as cautious, calculating, and politically flexible as they appeared to be in public. The Clinton campaign underestimated and then fretted about rival candidate Bernie Sanders, worried about Joe Biden entering the primary race and Elizabeth Warren endorsing her opponent, plotted endlessly about managing Clinton’s image in the press, took advantage of its close ties to the Obama administration and the hierarchy of the Democratic Party, and took public positions to the left of comments Clinton herself made during private paid speeches to Wall Street firms…

The most common thread in the Podesta emails, however, is that they show a political candidate being political. Not much more, and not much less. Clinton is a mainstream Democrat who admires “moderates” and pragmatism. And yes, she did move to the left to defeat an insurgent liberal opponent.

25) Loved this story about a math genius NFL player who knows he’s putting his brain and future at risk with every snap.

Quick hits (part II)

Sorry for the delay.  Loss of power due to Hurricane Matthew.  Fortunately, most of it was while we were sleeping and we got it back before too long.  My FB feed is filled with photos of trees on roads and powerlines all over the area.  Anyway…

1) Chait on reasons to stop freaking out about Obamacare.

2) An English professor says we are teaching composition wrong.

3) Chris Cilizza (before last Friday) refers to Trump’s lack of debate preparation as “the single most remarkable thing I have read about Donald Trump in a very long time.”  Seriously?  Is he in a coma?  Good take on it, nonetheless:

The problem for Trump is that a presidential general election campaign isn’t analogous to anything else he’s done in his life. You can’t wing it in a debate in front of 80 million people against someone who has spent virtually her entire life preparing for this one moment. You can’t ignore the advice of people brought in to give you advice because you are convinced you know better. In short, you have to pay attention.

That Trump couldn’t bring himself to do that in a moment of such critical import as the debate on Monday night is the only evidence you need of something I have been saying for a while now: There is no other Donald Trump. No new leaf. No pivot. No 2.0. This is it — take it or leave it. Trump is absolutely convinced that who he is — before he reads a single policy paper or briefing book or participates in a single mock debate — is good enough to win. That’s the most risky bet he’s ever made.

4) A cognitive bias cheat sheet.  Handy.

5) Chait on the myth of the change election.

6) Did not know how far the literary establishment was taking this “cultural appropriation” stuff.  Apparently, for some, if you are a white middle-aged man, that’s all you can write about in your fiction.  Ugh.

7) This Nate Cohn piece is from a bit ago, but it’s a nice explanation of key differences between public and private polls.

8) How Howard Stern owned Trump:

This much-craved publicity, of course, came at price: Stern has long had a devilish talent for lulling guests into a false sense of security—and then luring them into rhetorical traps. He casts his guests in a burlesque he scripts for them, and cattle-prods them into playing their parts, first fawning over them until they feel like celebrities, then bringing down the hammer of humiliation. He’s a diabolically domineering scene partner. No interviewer has ever been as adroit with treacherous leading questions in the vein of “When did you stop beating your wife?” Stern, in other words, gets people to publicly embrace their worst selves—and say things they live to regret.

That’s exactly what happened with Trump. Today, as the Republican nominee, he may fashion himself as a boss and a master of the universe. But what comes across in old tapes of the show, resurfaced recently by BuzzFeed and other outlets, is that Trump, like many of Stern’s guests, was often the one being played. By nailing him as a buffoon and then—unkindest cut—forcing him to kiss the Howard Stern ring, Stern and his co-anchor, Robin Quivers, created a series of broadcasts that today showcase not just Trump’s misogyny but his ready submission to sharper minds.

9) Atlas Obscura asks if there’s such a thing as too many blueberries.  They say “yes.”  I say, “no” until I can buy them fresh for <$3 pint year round.

10) It seems quaint now to talk about how Trump got rich in Atlantic City by ripping off people who invested with him.  But, it should not be forgotten.

11) Interesting interview with editor of NYT about the challenges of covering Trump and more good stuff.

12) Harsh take: Colombia’s referendum rejecting peace deal is proof democracy does not work.

13) Rob Christensen is back in the Sunday N&O writing about the NC Republicans’ massive miscalculation on HB2.

14) Somehow missed this from the summer.  Andrew Gelman on why political betting markets are not as reliable as they used to be.

15) It’s obviously been eclipsed by other news, but Trump digging in on the Central Park Five really is disgusting (but not at all surprising).

16) Frum argues that the GOP should learn from what Trump got right:

Trump saw that Republican voters are much less religious in behavior than they profess to pollsters. He saw that the social-insurance state has arrived to stay. He saw that Americans regard healthcare as a right, not a privilege. He saw that Republican voters had lost their optimism about their personal futures—and the future of their country. He saw that millions of ordinary people who do not deserve to be dismissed as bigots were sick of the happy talk and reality-denial that goes by the too generous label of “political correctness.” He saw that the immigration polices that might have worked for the mass-production economy of the 1910s don’t make sense in the 2010s. He saw that rank-and-file Republicans had become nearly as disgusted with the power of money in politics as rank-and-file Democrats long have been. He saw that Republican presidents are elected, when they are elected, by employees as well as entrepreneurs. He saw these things, and he was right to see them.

The wiser response to the impending Republican electoral defeat is to learn from Trump’s insights—separate them from Trump’s volatile personality and noxious attitudes—and use them to develop better, more workable, and more broadly acceptable policies for a 21st-century center-right. That doesn’t mean inscribing Trumpism as the party’s new orthodoxy. The GOP needs less orthodoxy, not more! What a wiser response to the defeat does mean is joining what can usefully be extracted from Trumpism to the core beliefs of the Republican Party: individual initiative, a free enterprise economy, limited government, lower taxes, and a proud defense of America’s global role.

Okay, finally post-Friday open tabs…

17) We’ll start with Yglesias‘ defense of Hillary Clinton’s speeches, etc., in the email hack:

Clinton, precisely because of her vast experience in government, is completely non-credible as a bringer of drastic change and systemic reform. She is, quite clearly, a creature of the system who is comfortable with it and intends to work within it. That is the “secret” revealed by every hacked email and every leaked speech, and it is also the completely obvious fact of the matter that is readily apparent to anyone who takes an even cursory look at her biography. It’s exactly what her allies are bragging about when they talk about how qualified she is.

Amidst all the other remarkable aspects of the 2016 campaign, this is a thread that tends to get lost but Clinton is asking the American people to do something they almost never do — admit that the American political system fundamentally is what it is, and so you might as well elect someone who’s good at operating it in rather dream of someone who’s going to show up and clean up the mess in Washington. Fundamentally, the only message of the secret speeches is that Clinton is exactly who we thought she was — someone who’s been around a long time, someone who knows a lot of stuff, someone who’s cozy with the established players, and someone who doesn’t really embrace good government pieties.

18) I think he’s basically right.  We didn’t really learn anything new about Clinton more than we learned anything new about Trump with the latest revelations.  That said, Jordan Weissman with a fair take on why Clinton surely did not want this stuff getting out.

19) I find Scott Adams‘ (The Dilbert guy) ongoing defense of Trump’s powers just amusing.

13. My prediction of a 98% chance of Trump winning stays the same. Clinton just took the fight to Trump’s home field. None of this was a case of clever strategy or persuasion on Trump’s part. But if the new battleground is spousal fidelity, you have to like Trump’s chances.

20) Jonah Goldberg just unloads:

Character is destiny. The man in the video is Donald Trump. Sure, it’s bawdy Trump. It’s “locker room Trump.” And I’m no prude about dirty talk in private. But that isn’t all that’s going on. This isn’t just bad language or objectifying women with your buddies. It’s a married man who is bragging about trying to bed a married woman. It’s an insecure, morally ugly man-child who thinks boasting about how he can get away with groping women “because you’re a star” impresses people. He’s a grotesque — as a businessman and a man, full stop.

21) Libby Nelson’s headline says it all, “Mike Pence enabled Donald Trump. Stop saying he’d make a good president.”

22) This whole “as a father of daughters,” etc., is just stupid.  Satire:

Listen, as a father of daughters, I’m really against this kind of behavior, this kind of treatment of women. The kind where they get hurt or they can’t vote or we don’t give any money to them. You know the kind I’m talking about. The kind I don’t want my daughters to experience, and then I just sort of extrapolate out from there.

It didn’t always used to be this way. I used to only have sons. Things sure were different then. How merrily I used to drive down country lanes in my old Ford, periodically dodging off-road to mow down female pedestrians (you must remember I had no daughters then). Was what I did wrong? How was I to know? I had no daughters to think of.

Before I had daughters — Stimothy and Atalanta are truly the apples of my eye — I would follow women into voting booths and knock their hands away from the lever whenever they tried to engage in the democratic process. Who knew having daughters would change all that? Not I.

And Dara Lind, “You shouldn’t need a daughter to know Trump’s behavior is disgusting and wrong.”

23) Great Molly Ball article on Trump and women:

It is tempting to see the maleness Trump represents as a relic of an earlier time. But Trump is not really that, as David Brooks observed a few months ago: “It’s not quite right to say that Trump is a throwback to midcentury sexism,” the New York Times columnist wrote. “At least in those days negative behavior toward women and family members was restrained by the chivalry code.” Trump represents a more brutal, primal, animal version of the male id, one that mates and slays and subdues unrestrained. One that dominates. One that refuses to be humiliated, that always lashes back against the forces trying to subdue it.

24) Not surprisingly, Yglesias‘ take is great (read it in full!):

But what Republican Party leaders — from formal party leaders like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell to lesser elected officials and quasi-party people like the Chamber of Commerce — should be learning this weekend is that they were wrong.

Not that Trump made a mistake and he needs to apologize, but that they made a mistake and need to apologize. The evidence was there, in spades, all along for anyone who wanted to see. But partisan and ideological incentives made them not want to see. The audio is vivid and stark and cuts through that fog of wishful thinking and self-deception. The people whose eyes its opened shouldn’t be demanding apologies from Trump, they should be offering apologies for their role in letting him get much closer to the White House than he ever should have.

25) And Jamelle Bouie with a great take:

The same Republican leaders who rushed to condemn Trump for his remarks on a hot mic were silent about his continued attacks on these men [central park five], which stretch back to the original event in 1989, when he placed an incendiary ad in New York City newspapers against the then-teenagers. “Bring back the death penalty. Bring back our police!” said Trump. “[M]uggers and murderers … should be forced to suffer and, when they kill, they should be executed for their crimes. They must serve as examples so that others will think long and hard before committing a crime or an act of violence.”

Republicans didn’t say anything because Trump wasn’t attacking Republicans. The ground didn’t shift for the GOP nominee until he did. His “grab them by the pussy” comments don’t just threaten his own bid at the White House; they threaten the whole Republican political apparatus. They undermine party enthusiasm. They give millions of Republican-voting women a reason to stay home. And what happens if they do? Suddenly, the House and Senate are at risk. Suddenly, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are leaders of a minority party…

But of course the GOP could tolerate his place at the top of the ticket so long as he restricted his threats to groups outside the party. President Trump, after all, would nominate their judges, sign their tax cuts, and affirm their plans to gut the social safety net. Ryan, the House speaker, said as much in his endorsement. “For me, it’s a question of how to move ahead on the ideas that I—and my House colleagues—have invested so much in through the years,” he wrote in June. “It’s not just a choice of two people, but of two visions for America. And House Republicans are helping shape that Republican vision by offering a bold policy agenda, by offering a better way ahead. Donald Trump can help us make it a reality.” For him and many Republicans, Trump’s frank advocacy of racial repression is a small price to pay for their expansive reversal of liberal social policy. It’s hardly even a price…

In fact, we now have a list of all the things the Republican Party will tolerate solely for the sake of the White House and a continued congressional majority. It’s a long list.

The Republican Party will tolerate racist condemnation of Mexican immigrants and Latino Americans at large. It will tolerate the same racist condemnation of Muslims, even as both attacks feed an atmosphere of paranoia, distrust, and violence.

It will tolerate a policy platform that treats these groups—and Syrian refugees to the United States—as a dangerous fifth column. In Trump’s vision of America, Latino immigrants, when they aren’t “stealing jobs,” are the vector for crime and disorder, plunging towns and cities into lawlessness. It’s why Trump wants to root them out with a new “deportation force,” home by home, person by person. And it’s why he wants a wall on the Mexican border—a concrete prophylactic to keep those dark-skinned migrants from reaching our borders. [emphasis mine]


Racism and free speech

So, I ended up sitting in on a talk by the NCSU Chancellor the Alumni Association and a lot of what he had to say was explaining recent events on campus.  I have to confess to being often shamefully unaware of what’s going on on the broader campus and this was one of those time.  Apparently, the Chancellor has come under much criticism for not punishing students for engaging in a racist conversation in an on-line chat.  The story from the student newspaper captures it pretty well:

Two students issued an apology to the entire NC State student body Wednesday after screenshots of a GroupMe chat laced with racial epithets were posted to the Wolfpack Students Facebook group Tuesday night.

The screenshots, which feature an extensive conversation between two NC State freshmen, Connor Jackson and Brennen Smith, showed texts that mock the Black Lives Matter protests that have been taking place in Charlotte and around campus. The conversation also featured messages like “Bruh we in the private chat you can call a n—– a n—–,” and the N-word was used repeatedly. 

In their apology, which was emailed to all NC State students, Jackson, who is studying psychology, and Smith, who is studying agricultural sciences, said that they know what they said “is very offensive and hurtful to the African-American community here on campus.” 

The two mentioned that they hope their close friends and the entirety of the NC State community will forgive them and their actions. 

“We’re sorry for our words, and we’re sorry for how they hurt many people, some of whom are very close to us,” they wrote. “The pain we’ve caused will take a long time to heal; it is just our hope that it will be able to at some point.”

The initial post in Wolfpack Students drew a lot of reactions from group members, garnered the attention of members within Student Government and prompted a video message from Chancellor Randy Woodson. 

“Along with most of you, I share great disappointment and frustration that some in our community not only have bigoted views, but choose to express those views that stand in direct opposition to the diverse and inclusive campus culture that we’re striving to achieve,” Woodson said in the video. “This university will not be defined by a few on our campus who profess racism or hatred.”

Mike Mullen, vice chancellor and dean of the Division of Academic and Student Affairs, said that while the messages the students sent to each other “may be hurtful or hateful, they are not hate speech in the sense that anyone is directly threatened,” and therefore are protected under the First Amendment and not punishable under the university’s code of student conduct. 

Achaia Dent, the organizer behind the die-in protest that was staged at Talley Student Union on Sept. 23 and a freshman studying animal science, said that she thinks Jackson and Smith’s apology was unintentional and that the university should be doing more to combat racism on campus. 

“I think that we have a lot of work to do as a university and as a community,” Dent said. “I don’t think there was meaning behind [their apology]. I think that they’re sorry they got caught, I don’t think they’re sorry for what they did.” 

The texts were screenshotted by Marcus Lowry, a sophomore studying mechanical engineering and Jackson and Smith’s suitemate, after he was added to the group by a friend. According to the Nubian Message, within an hour of Lowry discovering the messages, the resident advisor and resident director in Sullivan Hall had been alerted and the messages were posted on social media.

“I think the situation has been handled as well as to be expected, but that’s honestly not saying much,” Lowry said in an email. “The chancellor released a video addressing the subject, but I think it will end up doing more harm than good. I believe that him protecting racism with the First Amendment in the video just opens the door for more racists to show their true colors.”  [emphasis mine]

And the follow-up story about the racial climate campus forum:

Casting the forum as a legal conversation was a “subterfuge for what’s actually happening here,” according to Ashlyn Sanders, an alumnus of Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill and the sister of Robyn Sanders, a graduate student studying public administration.

“Their position coming in was from a legal perspective but that’s not what are students needed to hear, obviously by the tone of the room,” said Paul Nolan, student body president and a senior studying materials science and engineering. “I think it just exemplifies the problem, our administration isn’t talking to students about how they feel and what they need.”

Well, damn, who does our Chancellor think he is in needing to follow the law?!  Much as people may want the university to make them feel better by punishing people for racist comments in an on-line chat, that’s not how it works in a free society of a public university.  The Chancellor cannot give the students what they want if what they want disregards the US Constitution and NCSU regulations.  The Chancellor could not be more clear that racism is socially unacceptable.  But universities and governments cannot punish people for what’s socially unacceptable, just illegal or in violation of a code of conduct.

NC State, like any institution in society, is far from perfect on matters of race.  But we do a damn good job and the values of anti-racism and anti-sexism are pervasive throughout the faculty and administration.  In a university with over 30,000 students and thousands of employees, the “racial climate” cannot be defined by a couple of first-year morons who use the N-word in an on-line chat.

Where I go “on the record”

Pretty happy with my appearance this weekend on our local public affairs show discussing HB2 and elections in NC.  I’ve cut down the excess gesturing that does not play well on TV.  Next time will try to limit “you know.”  That said, I think I had some pretty decent stuff to say.

Quick hits (part II)

1) At least temporarily– and hopefully longer– NYT has put an end to awful he said, she said journalism with regards to Trump’s lies.

2) More evidence showing that it’s much better to be a 6th grader not in a middle school.

3) Ross Douthat with a very thought-provoking column on Clinton’s “Samantha Bee” problem.  This provoked a lot of interesting social media discussion among my professor friends.

But the Democratic Party’s problem in the age of Trump isn’t really Jimmy Fallon. Its problem is Samantha Bee.

Not Bee alone, of course, but the entire phenomenon that she embodies: the rapid colonization of new cultural territory by an ascendant social liberalism.

The culture industry has always tilted leftward, but the swing toward social liberalism among younger Americans and the simultaneous surge of activist energy on the left have created a new dynamic, in which areas once considered relatively apolitical now have (or are being pushed to have) an overtly left-wing party line…

At the same time, outside the liberal tent, the feeling of being suffocated by the left’s cultural dominance is turning voting Republican into an act of cultural rebellion — which may be one reason the Obama years, so good for liberalism in the culture, have seen sharp G.O.P. gains at every level of the country’s government.

4) NYT editorial takes on NC’s horribly misguided HB2.

5) Not a single Fortune 100 CEO has given to Trump.  A whole bunch gave to Romney.  And this is despite the fact that Trump assures them large personal tax cuts.

6) And speaking of which, Trump’s tax plans would cause deficits to explode.  But nobody cares because it’s Trump and policy.

7) Drew Magery knows he’s not going to convince any Trump voters, so he just unloads with what he really thinks:

Nothing that Trump says, no damning piece of Trump reportage, and certainly no opinion piece like this one will stop his voters from pulling the lever. Nor will anything stop Trump from being the officious, braindead goon that he is. He will never answer for his crimes, and there’s a frighteningly large portion of the electorate that will always love him for that.

And so I’d just like to say to that portion of the electorate: Fuck you. No, seriously. Go fuck yourselves. I’m not gonna waste any more time trying to convince you that you’re about to do something you’ll regret forever. I’m not gonna show you old clips of Trump saying rotten things. I’m not gonna try to ANNIHILATE Trump by showing you records of his hypocrisy and greed. I’m not gonna link to a John Oliver clip and be like, “THIS. So much this.” Nothing’s gonna take down Trump at this point, so I’m not gonna bother. No no, this post is for ME. I am preaching to the sad little choir in my soul here.

Because while Trump is a miserable bastard, YOU are the people who have handed him the bullhorn. YOU are the people willing to embarrass this nation and put it on the brink of economic ruin all because you wanna throw an electoral hissy fit. YOU are the people who want to revolutionize the way America does business by voting for its worst businessman, a disgusting neon pig who only makes money when he causes problems for other people instead of solving them. YOU are the thin-skinned yokels who clutch your bandoliers whenever someone hurls the mildest of slurs at you (“deplorables”), while cheering Trump on as he leaves a bonfire of truly hateful invective everywhere he goes. YOU are the people willing to overlook the fact that Trump is an unqualified, ignorant sociopath because DURRRR HILLARY IS BAD TOO DURRRR.

8) Does terrorism help Trump?  Saletan says the evidence says no.

9) And Adam Gopnik on New Yorker’s non-terrorized response to terrorism.

10) Kevin Drum on who Republican elites listen to summed up in a single chart:

11) Ed Yong with a really nice piece on the inevitable survival of the fittest of bad science (it’s all about the bad incentives).

12) I’ve never been one to fool myself by thinking getting food off the floor in less than five seconds will render it bacteria free (the latest research suggests decidedly not), yet, I figure I would think nothing of picking up a pencil off the floor than eating some food.  So, I’ll just count on my immune system– it’s worked well so far.

13) Political Scientist and media critic extraordinaire, Thomas Patterson, on the media coverage of Trump and Clinton:

IF Hillary Clinton loses the presidential election in November, we will know the reason. The email controversy did her candidacy in. But it needed a helping hand — and the news media readily supplied that.

My analysis of media coverage in the four weeks surrounding both parties’ national conventions found that her use of a private email server while secretary of State and other alleged scandal references accounted for 11% of Clinton’s news coverage in the top five television networks and six major newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times. Excluding neutral reports, 91% of the email-related news reports were negative in tone. Then, there were the references to her character and personal life, which accounted for 4% of the coverage; that was 92% negative. [emphasis mine]

While Trump declared open warfare on the mainstream media — and of late they have cautiously responded in kind — it has been Clinton who has suffered substantially more negative news coverage throughout nearly the whole campaign.

14) Just in case you didn’t hear about the Trump county chair in Ohio who said that racism was over in America until Obama brought it back.

15) It’s from just about a year ago, but this Brendan Nyhan piece on the media’s misguided search for “authenticity” is great.

16) Paul Waldman asks if Trump is running the sleaziest foundation in America?  Hell, yes!  The fact that pretty much only the Post is taking this issue seriously is perhaps the largest media failure of the campaign.

In case you haven’t been following the story of the Trump Foundation, that last part is critical: Trump has given zero dollars to the Trump Foundation since 2009. Instead, he gets other rich people to donate money to the foundation, and he then uses their money for self-aggrandizement and sometimes self-enrichment. As Fahrenthold has documented, Trump has used foundation money for things like buying a six-foot-tall painting of himself, sometimes at charity events held at Mar-a-Lago, where he charges the charity for use of the facility, which means that not only is he not making the donation for which everyone is praising him, he’s actually making money on the deal. And then of course there’s the conveniently timed, illegal $25,000 donation from the foundation to Florida attorney general Pam Bondi, which was followed quickly by her decision not to join a lawsuit charging Trump with fraud over Trump University.

We’ll have to see if the IRS investigates the self-dealing Fahrenthold has identified and what kinds of fines might result. But one of the many striking details in this story is the shock experts in nonprofit and foundation law express when they hear about how Trump uses the Trump Foundation. “I represent 700 nonprofits a year, and I’ve never encountered anything so brazen,” one lawyer told Fahrenthold. “If he’s using other people’s money — run through his foundation — to satisfy his personal obligations, then that’s about as blatant an example of self-dealing [as] I’ve seen in a while.”

17) No, immigrants are not taking jobs from Americans (says the latest study).

18) Dahlia Lithwick on why Hillary should not stoop to Trump’s level in the debate:

But it seems to me the real challenge for Clinton is that she must stand on a stage and debate the single most awful political person in modern American consciousness. Trying to stifle the impulse just to walk across the stage and belt him in the face would seem an insurmountable task. Add to that the fact that Clinton is expected to speak and listen, and it seems beyond human capability.

When considering these obstacles, Clinton should realize that she has one sole job in these debates: Be the grownup. She doesn’t need to be funny. (She isn’t.) She doesn’t need to be emotional—that’s how the deeply unfortunate “basket of deplorables” remark happened. She doesn’t have to bend over backward to be charming or personable. Her job is to ignore the crazy circus monkey with the broken cymbals and do what she does best: Listen carefully, respond reasonably, and speak to the part of America that truly understands what it means to entrust someone with the nuclear codes.

19) Short Term 12 is a sweet little movie you probably never heard of.  It’s streaming on Netflix and it’s really good.

20) Tim Noah on the death of telephone calls.

21) How lobbying for government regulations helped make the EpiPen so expensive.

22) You really should read James Fallows‘ great Atlantic cover story on the debates before the debate.

Speaking of embarrassing

Sure, one can cherry-pick crazy comments from people in line at a Trump rally, or even Republican state legislators all day long.  But just sad that the crazy/racist extends all the way to the US Congress.  US Representative from NC, Robert Pittenger:

U.S. Rep. Robert Pittenger says the violence in Charlotte stems from protesters who “hate white people because white people are successful and they’re not.”

Pittenger is a Republican whose district includes parts of the city where protests have turned violent in the wake of a police shooting of a black man.

Pittenger appeared on a BBC TV news program Thursday and made the statement when asked to describe the “grievance” of the people protesting.

“The grievance in their minds – the animus, the anger – they hate white people because white people are successful and they’re not,” said Pittenger, who then went on to criticize people who receive welfare.

Umm, yeah. That bad.  His “apology” says he’s just quoting what he heard on the national news from protesters.  Still waiting to see the video of that.  On the bright side, it’s good that people see the actual mindset of those that “represent” them.

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