Unraveling the axis of stupid: How Iran deal sends neocons, exceptionalists and Fox News xenophobes to dustbin of history

Unraveling the axis of stupid: How Iran deal sends neocons, exceptionalists and Fox News xenophobes to dustbin of history

William Kristol, Sean Hannity, Donald Trump, Scott Walker (Credit: AP/Reuters/Janet Van Ham/Patrick Semansky/Richard Drew/Carlos Barria)


This Iran deal, sealed a week ago, makes me think of those cruises people take up the Pacific coast into Arctic climes: Everyone stands at the ship’s railings amazed as the icebergs go by, and good enough. But the cold world’s true wonders are unseen beneath the surface.

So it is with the accord governing Iran’s nuclear program, concluded in Vienna last Tuesday after 20 months of arduous talks. There is the seen and the submerged.

On the face of it this pact is a diplomatic stroke up there with Nixon’s opening to China. A dispute a dozen years old is brought peaceably to resolution, and a 36-year breach between Washington and Tehran can begin to mend. The world can now welcome the Islamic Republic back into the community of nations. Into the bin, at last, with that contemptible “axis of evil” rubbish Bush II forced the Western alliance to pretend to take seriously.

But keep your places at the railing, for President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry have an iceberg to show us—the whole thing this time. Here come 60 days of theater and 60 days of history in one big lump. We will finish up in September, when Congress is to vote on the accord, wisened, moved and delighted all at once.

This may strike some readers as a precipitous. It was instantly plain that the right-wing majority on Capitol Hill, which, as so often, includes Democrats, is going to go at the Iran accord with longshoremen’s hooks during the next two months of debate. This is going to have any dimension of delight?

It is. In my view, the warmongers, exceptionalists, xenophobes and shameful creatures of AIPAC are going to look like the Light Brigade as they charge at the administration intent on destroying this agreement. Into the Valley of Death ride they. This, indeed, will be a delightful defeat to watch, in the best outcome a massacre.

The political calculus in this is already plain and does not seem arguable. On Monday the U.N. Security Council’s 15 members voted unanimously to begin lifting economic sanctions against Iran in 90 days—in effect endorsing the Vienna document. Even the ever-hawkish Samantha Power, obviously under White House orders, approved the resolution.

By the time the Security Council resolution passed, the European Union had already voted to back the accord and begin lifting some—not all—of the three sets of sanctions in place against Iran since 2006. As to Russia and China, they were both members of the P5 + 1 group of negotiators who sat at the mahogany table facing Iran; their position on this deal is beyond doubt.

Look at the lineup. Scuttling this accord—even trying to scuttle it—puts rightist American legislators against virtually all major powers and, I am confident, all secondary and minor powers, never mind “virtually.” Only Israel and the Saudis now stand against the achievement shared by P5 + 1 and Iran.

The blissful paradox here is too good to miss. The reactionaries, militarists and nostalgists who assert the sanctity of American leadership in global affairs most vigorously will be on full display as solitary laggards—incapable of participating sensibly in the 21st century. It is impossible to imagine those beyond our shores doing anything other than ignoring a congressional attempt to block the advance the Obama administration has fashioned with Iran and the three allies and two antagonists that comprise P5 +1.

Possessed of a political culture more than two millennia old, Iranian lawmakers have missed no trick. As of Tuesday, when they determined to withhold approval of the nuclear accord pending 80 days of deliberation—20 more than Congress has—the spring is set on the trap Obama’s opponents have set for themselves with stunning stupidity. Wreck this agreement and they will wreck it alone.

Continue reading here>>>

The Republican prison experiment: How the right-wing conquest of the GOP altered political reality

The Republican prison experiment: How the right-wing conquest of the GOP altered political reality

attribution: NONE


How a stodgy, mainstream party was reinvented as a den of lunatics and monsters — and why it was no accident

Every so often I conceive the bizarre desire to help save the Republican Party from itself. This is futile even by the standards of futile campaigns launched by columnists, given the obvious fact that Republicans do not want my help and have good reason to mistrust my motives, and that if anyone in the GOP leadership actually read my advice, they would immediately do the opposite.

It isn’t that I feel some fervent nostalgia for the good old days of moderate Republicanism, although it’s true that the Nixon-era GOP was only microscopically to the right of today’s Democratic Party on most major policy questions – and decidedly to its left on healthcare and social spending. (Which United States president actually proposed a nationwide, single-payer healthcare system? Well, I’ve already given you the answer.) Go back to Dwight Eisenhower, who presided over a more progressive and redistributive tax code than anything seen before or since, and sent federal troops to desegregate the schools in Little Rock, and in relative terms it looks like Lenin and Trotsky trying to out-radical each other. (The top marginal tax rate on the wealthiest Americans in 1960 was 91 percent. Just try to convince your Fox News uncle of that one.)

All of that is amazing and incomprehensible today, as is the fact that the first African-American elected to the U.S. Senate was a Republican (Edward Brooke, in 1966), and so was the first woman to serve in both houses of Congress (Margaret Chase Smith, elected to the House in 1940 and the Senate in 1948). But the real point lies a little deeper. It isn’t so much that the old Republicans were awesome, but at least they existed in the real world and practiced real politics. They had vigorous internal debates about numerous issues and represented a broad coalition of interests, holding to a reasonably coherent ideology of limited government, social order and support for business.

Those words are still used, of course; they are closely identified with the Republican brand. But thanks to the Matrix-like magic of our altered political reality, they do not mean what they used to mean. “Business” refers only to the infinitesimal ruling caste of multinational capital. “Limited government” means a limitless, borderless police state with low internal taxes and little or no social safety net. “Social order” means the stealth revocation of citizenship rights, first for blacks and women, to be sure, but ultimately for everyone else too.

There is no silver lining to the fact that one of our nation’s two political parties has disappeared into a self-concocted ideological fog of delusion and denial that has cut it off from political reality, American history, basic economic facts, international law and even its own past. The evil zombie sock-puppet condition of the GOP is the most gruesome single symptom of our failing democracy, and one that has inflicted immense harm not just on our country but the entire world. It didn’t happen by accident.

I would contend that the Republican Party has been the subject, willing or otherwise, of a version of the Stanford prison experiment, conducted on a grand scale. I wrote about that famous 1971 simulation, now the subject of a new feature film, earlier this week: A group of normal, middle-class California college students eagerly embraced roles as sadistic guards and abused prisoners, submitting almost immediately to the social order of an entirely fictional institution they knew had no real power. Properly understood, the Stanford experiment is not about prisons or schools or other overtly coercive social institutions, although it certainly applies to them. It is about the power of ideology and the power of power, about the fact that if you change people’s perception of reality, you have gone most of the way to changing reality itself.

The Republican Party did not organically evolve into a xenophobic, all-white party of hate that seeks to roll back not just the Civil Rights movement and feminism, but the entire Enlightenment. It did not accidentally become untethered from reality and float off to the moons of Pluto. Those possibilities were already present, but they had to be activated. Partly as a result of its own ideological weakness and internal divisions, the GOP was taken over from within and from above: In the first instance, by a dedicated core of right-wing activists, and in the second by the ultra-rich, super-PAC oligarchy epitomized by the Koch brothers. The two forces sometimes worked separately, but ultimately the first was funded and sponsored by the second.

One key element of this ideological conquest was that the party’s understanding of itself and its place in American politics and American history was reshaped to conform to a fictional narrative that is now widely believed to be true. Ultimately the Republican prison experiment has replicated itself on an even larger scale, remaking not just the GOP but American political reality.

Among other things, the GOP’s flight to Crazytown has permitted leaders of the Democratic Party to crawl ever more cozily into the pockets of Wall Street bankers and to become ever more intertwined with the national security state — while still proclaiming themselves, in all innocence and with considerable plausibility, to be less noxious than the alternative. So we see millions of well-meaning people getting ginned up to vote for Hillary Clinton, despite the nagging sensation that the political universe in which she represents the best available option is a cruel hoax. Pay attention to that feeling! It’s the reality we have discarded, banging on the door.

It’s true that the re-engineered Republican Party, with its counterfactual and frequently contradictory worldview, appeals most strongly to a shrinking minority of Americans, most of them white and male and rural or Southern. But despite that, or in some sense because of that, it has been an enormous success. Not only has the zombie GOP driven the Democrats much further to the right that at any point in their history, it has paralyzed the legislative process, driven electoral participation to historic lows and turned the deep American current of political apathy and mistrust into a majority sentiment. Whether or not the Republican prison experiment was consciously intended to produce a period of oligarchic rule in which political parties and elections become increasingly irrelevant and increasingly ignored, that has definitely been the outcome.

Some participants in Stanford psychologist Philip Zimbardo’s 1971 experiment began to believe, after just a few days, that they were real prisoners in a real prison, and that the outside world no longer existed or mattered. At any rate, they began to behave as if that were true, which in functional terms is much the same thing. Zimbardo himself became so engrossed in his fictional role as the prison warden that he lost all perspective on the morality and ethics of his experiment. Is it any wonder that after 30 to 40 years of sustained psychological warfare, most Americans who consider themselves conservatives believe that the current Republican Party represents undying, bedrock American principles that have never changed and never will? Freedom isn’t free, chump. These colors don’t run.

Any discussion of what those bedrock Republican and American values might be, beyond jingoistic clichés about freedom, is to be avoided at all costs. That might pierce the veil of unreality and reveal things that have been declared to be untrue, including that the Republican Party was not always anti-immigrant, not always opposed to socialized healthcare, not always committed to a fundamentalist reading of the Second Amendment and, for the love of Christ, not always obsessed with abortion.

Washington Post columnist Petula Dvorak had to remind me about that one, in her discussion of the recent right-wing attack video purporting to show a Planned Parenthood employee discussing the sale of fetal body parts for nefarious purposes. Planned Parenthood is constantly and unanimously vilified by today’s Republicans as a Satan-worshiping, baby-killing feminist cult. But in 1970 it was granted federal funding by none other than the guest star of today’s show, President Richard Nixon. Furthermore, here’s what Nixon said at the time: “No American woman should be denied access to family-planning assistance because of her economic condition.”

I know: Mind blown. Read that quote to any of the 97 current Republican candidates for president and watch their heads explode. That Communistic rhetoric coming from the lips of Tricky Dick strikes me as noteworthy in several ways. Many leftists of my gender, it must be said, have a hard time focusing on how far the political climate around reproductive rights has eroded in the last 40 years. There were prominent pro-choice Republicans as recently as the mid-1990s, but the party’s official ideology on abortion has been reshaped by an activist minority just as the party itself was, through the use of emotionally charged symbols and images and the banishment of such wussified abstractions as facts, logic, history and context. Did Ronald Reagan need that kind of crap when he personally tore down the Berlin Wall, shot Hitler and freed the grateful slaves? He did not.

Lastly, there’s the most unlikely part of Nixon’s startling pronouncement: Its direct reference to economic inequalities and the need to address them. No Republican would say any such thing today, of course, and even for Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton, the commitment to equality comes surrounded by an ideological hedge: Healthcare for women, sure, but we’ll have to find a way for the market to provide it. I do not delude myself that Nixon cared about poor women or their health, but in the political climate of the time he was obliged to say he did. That political climate was exactly what had to be changed, from the point of view of the overlords who designed the Republican prison experiment, because it posed a long-term threat to their economic and political supremacy.

Social wedge issues like abortion and guns and immigration have been important elements in consolidating a more extreme Republican ideology and in firing up its core supporters. (Gay marriage worked that way for a while but has now been pitched overboard, except by poor, sad, sincere Rick Santorum.) But the powers behind the Republicans’ terrifying metamorphosis either don’t much care about those things or are being actively duplicitous, as with the immigration issue. They’re OK with pouring endless billions in wasteful deficit spending into the empty theater of border security (hey, at least it’s not going to poor people!), but they have no intention of cutting off the flow of low-wage labor, which benefits Big Capital in any number of ways.

Does anyone suppose that the Koch brothers, a pair of globetrotting culture-vultures whose names are carved in marble on the front of every New York fine-arts institution, give a single solitary fuck about all those Megachurch Dad-Pants Yahoo Apoplexy issues at the supposed heart of the supposed Republican ideology? Unless and until it impacts the bottom line, that stuff is just the icing on the delicious cake the Kochs are baking, a rich and eggy batter of soft corporate fascism inside a candy shell of imitation democracy. Can you smell it? It’s in the oven right now.

Progressives often view the zombified 21st century GOP with an understandable mixture of apprehension and bewilderment: How the hell did this happen? Can it really be working? The answers to those questions are that it was the result of a brilliant long-term strategy to alter the dynamics of American politics – to change perception, and then to change reality — and that it’s working much better than most people perceive. As Phil Zimbardo can tell you, when you’re inside the experiment it’s hard to see how much it has shifted your perspective.

Furthermore, those who comfort themselves with statistics about the dying Republican voter base, or political-science bromides about “the emerging Democratic majority” (which we have been promised for at least 20 years) are whistling past the graveyard. No doubt the Koch brothers will do their damnedest to get their boy-toy Scott Walker elected president, and I’m sure their dislike of Hillary Clinton is sincere. But they are shrewd enough to understand that it might not work, and also that the real prize is much bigger than one candidate or one party. They have redrawn the playing field of American politics and rewritten the rules of the game so effectively that even when they lose, they win. To put it another way, what good are the Democrats without democracy?

H/t: Don B.

Michael Steele Tells RNC to Condemn Trump: ‘People Know When You’re Full of BS’


[Image via screengrab]


Former RNC chair Michael Steele criticized his replacement’s response to the Donald Trump fiasco on Meet the Press Sunday morning, telling current chair Reince Priebus that he had to forcefully condemn the celebrity plutocrat candidate or risk appearing disingenuous to voters.

“You’ve got to have that Sister Souljah moment with the party, where you have to be honest and call it what it is,” Steele said. “People are sophisticated enough to know when you’re just full of BS.”

“Everyone in the country reacted to this and you didn’t, the party didn’t, and those who want to be president didn’t — until what? This week? That’s a problem. It’s a problem of authenticity. It is a problem of legitimacy when you’re going to go speak to that community.”

Priebus called Trump’s comments about Mexican immigrants “not helpful,” more than two weeks after they were originally made, part of what many consider a too-tepid response from a party seeking to court Hispanic voters.

Washington Post political editor Chris Cillizza agreed. “You cannot be afraid of the party’s base!” he said. “You will not win that way.”

Watch the clip via NBC News HERE<<<

Sunday Talk: The GOP’s id, personified

attribution: The Simpsons


If you’re surprised by the fact that DonaldTrumpTrump is now a leading contender for the GOP nomination for president, well then, clearly, you haven’t been paying attention.

Trump is, without a doubt, the biggestrichest, fastest, classiest, most elegant star in the Republican universe

When he speaks, he doesn’t just speak for himself—he speaks for people like Sheriff Joe Arpaio; and for Rich Lowry*; and for Rep. Steve King; and for Monica Crowley; and for Sen. Ted Cruz.

Truth be told, Trump gives voice to what millions of Republican primary voters are thinking, but dare not say out loud (for fear of ending up in one of President Obama’s FEMA camps).

Now, I’m not a (self-certified) psychiatrist, man, but I sometimes play one on the internets.

In that capacity, let me say this: You do you, GOP.

Morning lineup:

Meet the Press: Sen.Ted Cruz (R-TX); Roundtable: Chris Cillizza (Washington Post),Kathleen Parker (Washington Post), Carolyn Ryan (New York Times) and Former RNC Chairman Michael Steele.

Face the Nation: Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN); Former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA);Roundtable: Ruth Marcus (Washington Post), Mike Allen (Politico), Peter Baker (New York Times) and Talk Show Host Fernando Espuelas.

This Week: Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R); Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR); Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD); Roundtable: Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-TX), Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), Anne Gearan (Washington Post) and Bill Kristol (Weekly Standard).

Fox News Sunday: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R); Kelly Shackelford (Liberty Institute); Evan Wolfson (Freedom to Marry); Roundtable: Brit Hume (Fox News),Jackie Kucinich (USA Today), George Will (Washington Post) and Juan Williams (Fox News).

State of the Union: Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT); Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R).

Evening lineup:

60 Minutes will feature: a report on errors to the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File which can result in fraudulent payments costing taxpayers billions (preview); a report on a controversial procedure that could stop the spread of dangerous genes that have stalked families for generations (preview); and, an interview with actor Steve Carell (preview).

What Haley’s Confederate Flag Speech Really Means For The GOP


AP Photo | Tim Dominick


Each in their own way, Haley, Graham and Scott have represented a turn away from the Dixiecrat inheritance of the S.C. GOP, composed, as in other southern states, of a sometimes uneasy coalition of business interests and transplants with culturally conservative former Democrats and their faithful descendents. Scott is the most obvious symbol of change; he was first elected to Congress by defeating Strom Thurmond’s son in a Republican runoff. Graham is a more subtle departure from the norm, consistently advocating bipartisanship on domestic policy issues and exhibiting some ideological flexibility.

Beyond her gender and Indian-American background, Nikki Haley has long been a symbol of intraparty change. She first ran for governor in 2010 as a “conservative reform” candidate standing up to the “good-old-boy network” in SC Republican politics. Like her mentor, former Gov. Mark Sanford, and also her policy beneficiary Tim Scott (whom she appointed to Jim DeMint’s Senate seat in December 2012), and Jim DeMint (now president of the Heritage Foundation) himself, Haley has represented an effort to replace culture-based neo-Dixiecrat Republicanism with a rigorous across-the-board ideological conservatism. While Graham might (at least in the context of South Carolina) be described as a “moderate” on domestic issues, nobody would apply that term to Haley or Scott, and certainly not to DeMint or Sanford.

What makes the Confederate Flag saga especially interesting is that while the ascending right wing of the SC GOP is not all that culturally attached to the Old South and its symbols, its affinity for inflexible “constitutional conservatism” makes it congenial to neo-Confederate hostility to the federal government. This is true of “constitutional conservatives” everywhere, who are forever advancing ideas such as the right of secession and the radical restriction of federal court jurisdiction long thought to have been buried with the Confederacy and Jim Crow. Sen. Rand Paul is a superlative example of the cross-winds buffeting “constitutional conservatives.” He seems genuinely passionate about expanding the Republican Party’s appeal to African-Americans, even as he struggles to accept the constitutionality of basic federal anti-discrimination laws.

In South Carolina, it’s been easy for conservative politicians like Nikki Haley to pay lip service to the anti-centralist and illiberal tradition of the Confederacy, even though it has to feel alien to her own background and identity, since warmed-over Dixiecrats are natural allies in her obsessive efforts to make her state a union-free Eden for “job-creators.” But push comes to shove, her loyalty is to the same Golden Calf of unregulated capitalism worshiped by Scott Walker, not to the regional aristocracy of the Old South. And so when the Battle Flag becomes a source of acute embarrassment to the state and an obstacle to economic development, down it comes, without a lot of discussion. “We do not need to declare a winner and a loser here,” she said in announcing her new position.

It’s not exactly a great profile in courage for these South Carolina Republicans. Back in 1993, when Gov. Zell Miller created a firestorm by proposing to eliminate Confederate Battle Flag elements from the Georgia State Flag (disclosure: I worked for Miller then, and helped draft the major speech on the flag that made history while failing to sway the legislature), Rep. Newt Gingrich, then on the brink of his apotheosis as chief engineer of the Republican Revolution, instantly supported the change.

That may seem surprising given Gingrich’s reputation as a symbol of the southern takeover of the national Republican Party. But for all the talk about southerners infecting Republicans everywhere with their atavistic racial views and their crazy religion, the creation of a truly national and ideologically conservative GOP did require some accommodation in Dixie. Taking down Confederate flags is one of them, resisted but eventually accepted even in South Carolina (Mississippi is now the last holdout). The true Confederate spirit, however, will live on, not just in the South but every time and place when conservatives resist equality for those people and demand a constitutional right to thwart democracy and perpetuate privilege.


Fake quotes run rampant among GOP candidates

Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States by Howard Chandler Christy

Scene at the Signing of the Constitution of the United States by Howard Chandler Christy

The MaddowBlog

The first hint of trouble came about a month ago, when Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) toldsupporters that “Thomas Jefferson said it best” when the Founding Father said, “That government is best which governs least.”
Thomas Jefferson never said this. Walker fell for a fake quote.
Soon after, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told an audience, “Patrick Henry said this, Patrick Henry said the Constitution is about ‘restraining the government not the people.’” In reality, Patrick Henry said no such thing.
Soon, the examples really started piling up. Ben Carson pushed a bogus quote from Alexis de Tocqueville and another bogus quote from Thomas Jefferson. Then this week, BuzzFeed lowered the boom.
Many of the quotes attributed to the Founding Fathers in two of Rand Paul’s books are either fake, misquoted, or taken entirely out of context, BuzzFeed News has found. […]
A heavy theme in Paul’s books is that the tea party movement is the intellectual heir to the Founding Fathers, with Paul often arguing he knows what position our country’s earliest leaders would have had on certain issues.
That latter point, I’d argue, helps explain why so many Republicans end up using – or in this case, misusing – quotes from Founding Fathers that simply don’t exist.
My suspicion is that these are honest mistakes. I rather doubt that any of these GOP presidential candidates are knowingly pushing bogus quotes and/or had anything to do with the original fabrication. It’s far more likely the candidates and their aides stumbled upon false information online and didn’t realize their mistake.
But as we talked about last week, I still think there’s a larger takeaway from this that matters.
Last summer, not long after Rep. Jody Hice (R-Ga.) was found to have disseminated all kinds of bogus quotes from prominent historical figures, Jon Chait noted, “A longstanding conceit of conservative thought, which has returned with new force during the Obama years, is that conservatism is the authentic heir to the vision of the Founders. (See, for example, Paul Ryan’s recent op-ed, which offhandedly describes his own polices, in contrast with President Obama’s, as consistent with ‘the Founders’ vision.’)”
The fact remains, however, that “the Founders were not Tea Partiers.”
Paul, Carson, and Walker unknowingly repeating made-up quotes isn’t terribly important, but it is important that the far-right is under a mistaken impression – that they’re the rightful heirs of the framers’ great legacy. It’s today’s conservatives, the argument goes, that are the direct descendants of the likes of Washington, Adams, Jefferson, and Madison.
It’s nonsense, of course, but it helps explain why Republican fall for bogus quotes in the first place.
H/t: DB

Bernie Sanders wants to debate GOP candidates now to expose their unpopular ‘reactionary agenda’

Bernie Sanders (MSNBC)

Bernie Sanders (MSNBC)


Sen. Bernie Sanders wants to debate Republican presidential candidates right away so he can expose what their unpopular “reactionary agenda.”

The Democratic presidential candidate appeared Tuesday night on The Rachel Maddow Show, where he said the media’s focus on triviality allows GOP candidates to “get away with murder,” reported Mediaite.

Sanders said Republican candidates want to offset “huge tax breaks for billionaires” with “massive cuts” to programs that help millions of American, including Medicare, Medicaid, and – in the case of likely candidates Jeb Bush and Chris Christie – Social Security.

“They get away with that stuff because a lot of people don’t know what they are talking about,” he said.

Sanders said he would like a debate between Democrats and Republicans during the primary season so he could “confront them honestly and say to their face” what voters should know about their governing intentions.

“When so many seniors are struggling right now, how in God’s name are you talking about cutting Social Security when we should expand it?” Sanders said he would ask. “When kids can’t afford to go to college now, why are you talking about cutting Pell Grants by $90 billion? Why are you on the payroll of the Koch brothers and other billionaires rather than addressing the needs of working families?”

He said a debate would help cut through the horse race-style coverage the media seem to prefer at this point in the presidential campaign.

“If we can confront them and debate issues rather than allow the media to get into political gossip and polling and fundraising, but talk about the issues, I think their agenda does not reflect more than 15 or 20 percent of the American people,” Sanders said.

13 things you need to know about the fight over voting rights


The fight over voting rights is a highly partisan battle over how voting ought to work and which regulations are needed to make sure voting is accessible and fair.



The GOP Is Dying Off. Literally.

An elderly supporter of US Republican presidential hopeful John McCain displays her voting choice | GETTY IMAGES


It turns out that one of the Grand Old Party’s biggest—and least discussed—challenges going into 2016 is lying in plain sight, written right into the party’s own nickname. The Republican Party voter is old—and getting older, and as the adage goes, there are two certainties in life: Death and taxes. Right now, both are enemies of the GOP and they might want to worry more about the former than the latter.

There’s been much written about how millennials are becoming a reliable voting bloc for Democrats, but there’s been much less attention paid to one of the biggest get-out-the-vote challenges for the Republican Party heading into the next presidential election: Hundreds of thousands of their traditional core supporters won’t be able to turn out to vote at all.

The party’s core is dying off by the day.

Since the average Republican is significantly older than the average Democrat, far more Republicans than Democrats have died since the 2012 elections. To make matters worse, the GOP is attracting fewer first-time voters. Unless the party is able to make inroads with new voters, or discover a fountain of youth, the GOP’s slow demographic slide will continue election to election. Actuarial tables make that part clear, but just how much of a problem for the GOP is this?

Since it appears that no political data geek keeps track of voters who die between elections, I took it upon myself to do some basic math. And that quick back-of-the-napkin math shows that the trend could have a real effect in certain states, and make a battleground states like Florida and Ohio even harder for the Republican Party to capture.

By combining presidential election exit polls with mortality rates per age group from the U.S. Census Bureau, I calculated that, of the 61 million who voted for Mitt Romney in 2012, about 2.75 million will be dead by the 2016 election. President Barack Obama’s voters, of course, will have died too—about 2.3 million of the 66 million who voted for the president won’t make it to 2016 either. That leaves a big gap in between, a difference of roughly 453,000 in favor of the Democrats.

Here is the methodology, using one age group as an example: According to exit polls, 5,488,091 voters aged 60 to 64 years old supported Romney in 2012. The mortality rate for that age group is 1,047.3 deaths per 100,000, which means that 57,475 of those voters died by the end of 2013. Multiply that number by four, and you get 229,900 Romney voters aged 60-to-64 who will be deceased by Election Day 2016. Doing the same calculation across the range of demographic slices pulled from exit polls and census numbers allows one to calculate the total voter deaths. It’s a rough calculation, to be sure, and there are perhaps ways to move the numbers a few thousand this way or that, but by and large, this methodology at least establishes the rough scale of the problem for the Republicans—a problem measured in the mid-hundreds of thousands of lost voters by November 2016. To the best of my knowledge, no one has calculated or published better voter death data before.

“I’ve never seen anyone doing any studies on how many dead people can’t vote,” laughs William Frey, senior fellow at the Brookings Institution who specializes in demographic studies. “I’ve seen studies on how many dead people do vote. The old Daley Administration in Chicago was very good at that.”

Frey points out that, since Republicans are getting whiter and older, replacing the voters that leave this earth with young ones is essential for them to be competitive in presidential elections. But the key question is whether these election death rates will make any real difference. There are so many other variables that dead voters aren’t necessarily going to be a decisive factor.

“The [GOP] does rely too much on older and white voters, and especially in rural areas, deaths from this group can be significant,” Frey says. “But millennials (born 1981 to 1997) now are larger in numbers than baby boomers ([born] 1946 to 1964), and how they vote will make the big difference. And the data says that if Republicans focus on economic issues and stay away from social ones like gay marriage, they can make serious inroads with millennials.”

But what if Republicans aren’t able to win over a larger share of the youth vote? In 2012, there were about 13 million in the 15-to-17 year-old demo who will be eligible to vote in 2016. The previous few presidential election cycles indicate that about 45 percent of these youngsters will actually vote, meaning that there will about 6 million new voters total. Exit polling indicates that age bracket has split about 65-35 in favor of the Dems in the past two elections. If that split holds true in 2016, Democrats will have picked up a two million vote advantage among first-time voters. These numbers combined with the voter death data puts Republicans at an almost 2.5 million voter disadvantage going into 2016.

Continue to page 2 here


GOP Delays Benghazi Report Until 2016 Proving It’s All About Politics, Not Those Who Died

Addicting Info

If only the GOP was this adamant about getting to the bottom of the tragedy on 9/11/01, but wait… that was under Republican leadership, and Bush was instead made a hero. It’s always about politicizing tragedies to their favor. Always.

Republicans have no shame. None whatsoever. When the September 11 attacks happened, on American soil mind you, we were told that we were attacked… because we just were, and Republicans didn’t blame President Bush and his administration – even though they did ignore intelligence that said attacks were imminent.

However, when the attacks on an American embassy in Benghazi, Libya, occurred on 9/11/12, well that was obviously the fault of President Obama and Hillary Clinton. And godammit! Republicans are going to make sure they drag out and politicize the deaths of four Americans as long as they can in an effort to derail Clinton’s attempt at becoming the next President of the United States.

They don’t give a rat’s ass that the father of United States ambassador Christopher Stephens, who perished in the attack in Benghazi, asked that his son’s death not be politicized. Or the fact that 20 committee events and hearings have been held regarding the events on that fateful day, even committees run by House Republicans, debunking theories that there was any wrongdoing on the part of the Obama administration. They will not let the matter rest until they can use it to keep Clinton out of the Oval Office. At least that’s their hope.

Now, the new House Benghazi committee is delaying their supposed “new” report until 2016 — months before the presidential election where Clinton will undoubtedly be the Democratic nominee. And who are they blaming for this delay?? The White House, of course.

The committee spokesman, Jamal Ware, told Bloomberg News in a statement:

“Factors beyond the committee’s control, including witness availability, compliance with documents requests, the granting of security clearances and accreditations—all of which are controlled by the Executive branch—could continue to impact the timing of the inquiry’s conclusion.”

Mmmhmm, yeah. That’s it. Never mind the countless other hearings and investigations that have already happened. This dead horse hasn’t only been kicked, but it’s been sent to the glue factory and is now being used to hold together the last semblance of an argument the Republicans have. It’s pathetic… and it’s continuing to prevent the families of the dead to grieve properly.

Of course, chairman of the U.S. House Select Committee on Benghazi, Representative Trey Gowdy (R-SC), denies that this delay has anything to do with the upcoming election, saying:

“Secretary Clinton’s decision to seek the presidency of the United States does not and will not impact the work of the committee.”

Hahahahaha (hold on, need to breathe) hahahahaha! Did he say that with a straight face?

I’m sure it’s just happenstance that the release of the report will magically coincide with the presidential election. Totally.

What will likely happen, because it’s happened with every other Benghazi report, is that the Obama administration will be cleared of any wrongdoing, and this entire charade of an investigation to bury the former Secretary of State will be able to be used to her advantage.

These Republicans are pathetic and morally bankrupt when it comes to politicizing tragedy. It’s clear they don’t care about getting to the bottom of what happened, because that’s already occurred. And if they did, they’d be more focused on going after the people who attacked us, just like with 9/11/01. They only care about hurting Clinton’s chance at the presidency, and that is the God’s honest truth.