Open Thread: Stalking the Spite Voter in the WV Wilds

From NYT number cruncher Nate Cohn, statistics on Kim Davis’ voting kin:

These conservative Democrats are a legacy of the old Democratic strength among white voters in the South, where many white conservatives nonetheless remain registered as Democrats. In several states, these voters can be something of a consolation prize to Mr. Sanders, who has often complained that closed primaries prevent many of his younger and independent supporters from voting.

It bodes well for Mr. Sanders’s chances in coal country this month, starting in West Virginia on Tuesday. West Virginia, like Oklahoma, has far more registered Democrats than Obama voters.

Even today, 49 percent of voters are registered Democrats in West Virginia, but Mr. Obama won just 35.5 percent of the vote against Mitt Romney in 2012. Mr. Obama won just 59 percent in the 2012 primary in a one-on-one contest against Keith Judd, who was in prison at the time and who will be on the West Virginia ballot again on Tuesday…

In the open primaries, as in Texas or Alabama, these conservatives tend to vote in the Republican primary — just as they vote for Republicans in presidential elections. But in closed or semi-closed contests like Florida, Louisiana and Oklahoma, such voters must cast ballots in a Democratic primary if they want to vote in a primary at all. The result: Mrs. Clinton’s support surges once you cross the state line from Oklahoma to Texas, but the turnout plummets.

The same effect can be seen across the South. Mr. Sanders fared far better in the Florida Panhandle, where a majority of voters are often registered Democrats but Republicans prevail, than he did on the other side of the state line in Alabama or Georgia, with their open primaries…

It’s unclear whether these voters sincerely support Mr. Sanders. Demographically similar voters on the other side of the state border aren’t showing up for him, so they’re not exactly “feeling the Bern.”

Exit polls in Oklahoma, which allowed independents to vote in the Democratic primary for the first time, showed Mr. Sanders winning among people who wanted more conservative policies than Mr. Obama, or who trusted neither Mr. Sanders nor Mrs. Clinton in a crisis. These are probably not voters who are getting fired up for the Democratic revolution.

It’s possible that some of the Democratic voters showed up to vote for a Republican, but found themselves turned away.

Perhaps they showed up to vote in a local or statewide primary. Maybe some decided on mischief and were meddling with the Democrats.

Or, they might have simply wanted to register displeasure with a Democratic Party that has largely left them behind…

As everybody keeps reminding each other, voting is a habit; people show up to vote because they have local candidates or initiatives to support or block, and those that are interested enough to do so once tend to keep right on doing so. But too many of those ‘committed’ voters, while they take their school board seats and tax override proposals seriously, treat Presidential primaries (and elections) like reality shows — they vote to show that they ‘feel disrepected’, or in a more optimistic mood to jump on the newest bandwagon. Doesn’t mean we can dismiss their votes, but we do need to distinguish between people who can be persuaded by facts and those who only pick a candidate because American Idol has gone off the air and the Eurovision Song Contest isn’t among their cable choices.

Sunday Evening Open Thread: Thank You, Senator Sanders

I’m genuinely glad he’s stopped defending the ammosexual’s favorite corporations, and sincerely hope it won’t be a problem when he runs for re-election in 2018. From the article:

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders on Sunday said Sandy Hook victims should be able to sue gun manufacturers for the 2012 elementary school shooting that killed 20 students and six adults, backtracking on previous comments.

“Of course they have a right to sue, anyone has a right to sue,” the Vermont senator said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Sanders in an interview with the New York Daily News last week initially said the Sandy Hook family members should not have the right to sue gun manufacturers for damages…

He said he opposes the sales of assault-style weapons in the U.S., such as the one used at Sandy Hook.

“That’s the kind of weapon that caused the horrible tragedy in Sandy Hook,” Sanders said. “Those weapons should not be made in the United States of America. So in that sense, I agree with the Sandy Hook parents.”…

Apart from applauding progress towards sensible gun regulation, what’s on the agenda for the evening?

This I dig of you

I don’t know if you all read “The Dig” but this is one of my favorite things ever:

R.I.P., Civil Discourse. Killed By Bernie Bros & Partisanship, 3/11/16

Maybe we should be happy that the Bernie Bros have trained their anger and hate on someone their own size. After spending months harassing women, PoCs, respected Beltway journalists, and war survivors on Twitter, the Sanders militiamen finally left their mom’s basements to appear en masse to shut down a Donald Trump rally in Chicago.


The biggest problem in American politics is that we are insulated from opposing opinions. You might think that all people should be treated equal and trans people shouldn’t be stoned, and because all of your friends do, your Facebook feed is full of views that mirror yours. It’s called the panopticon, or in academic circles, the Funhouse Phenomenon. Just because you and everyone you know believes the Holocaust happened does not invalidate other views, and if you fail to acknowledge this, you’ll find yourself pitifully unequipped when you have to defend your ideals. People need to seek out contrary points of view on such pressing issues as how violently we need to eliminate 12 million Latino immigrants or what to do about the “Jewish problem” in order to form a fully-informed opinion.

Like him or loathe him, Trump is the Republican frontrunner. Instead of holding up protest signs and reacting to spit and water bottles hurled your way, how about actually sitting down and watching a Trump speech on one of the live 9-hour blocs on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News? Lord knows he’s not the first choice of polite Americans, but by refusing to even hear him out, you prove his point by your own logic.

Bifurcation of America

Minnesota and New York are getting to the levels of universal coverage that most European nations have. They are tweaking their systems and prepping waiver requests to extend coverage to currently excluded populations and improve affordability.

We get graphs like the following:


And then we have Texas (via the Texas Tribune)

For the first time in more than a decade, Texas’ uninsured rate dipped below 20 percent, analysts said Wednesday following the release of U.S. Census data.

Slightly more than 5 million Texans were uninsured in 2014 — a 700,000 decrease from the year before. That represented a 3-point dip in the percentage of Texans without health insurance, to 19 percent — the largest gain in health care coverage in Texas since 1999, according to the left-leaning Center for Public Policy Priorities….

the Census sampling, known as the American Community Survey, lends new credibility to earlier claims that Texas continues to lead the nation in the raw number — and rate — of people without health insurance.

We have a framework that can reduce the ranks of the uninsured to near OECD (Organization of Economic Cooperation and Development — the industrialized countries of the world) standards.  It can be implemented and it can work.  It mainly requires political elites to give a shit.


South Carolina results thread

Be excellent to each other as the results come in

Not even hiding your disdain

The governor of Wyoming wants to expand Medicaid. Governor Mead (R-WY) has wanted to do that for a couple of years. The basic reason is that it is a combination of the right thing to do and it solves a lot of budgetary problems without any hard trade-offs. The Republican Legislature is opposed to Medicaid Expansion.  Instead they want to spend money on a study for Medicaid expansion alternatives.  This study is supposed to be fairly comprehensive:

Senate File 86 …. bill would require the Legislature’s Management Council to direct the design of a program providing medical assistance to people who cannot afford adequate health care.

That program would seek to …“shall seek to provide greater health status improvements than those provided by the Medicaid program,” according to the bill’s text.

The program also would coordinate with other public assistance programs with the aim of providing “incentive (for participants) to improve their earnings and economic status,” and would include a work requirement for those able to work.

SF 86 also stipulates the program shall consider the use of health savings accounts or similar accounts, and seek to “avoid spending monies that Wyoming does not have and … avoid the creation of any uncontrolled entitlement.”

The bill also stipulates Wyoming shall not seek approval from the federal government of any Medicaid expansion until the medical assistance program has been designed and reviewed by the Legislature.

It is a bill that freezes everything in place while a study is conducted.

This study is supposed to be looking at a lot of things.  It requires significant knowledge of the Wyoming legislative history, Wyoming social welfare policies, employment training policies, economic development policies and the Wyoming budgetary process.  This is a big scope of work.

And $20,000 is being provided for the entire study.

$20,000 is not even enough money to pay one graduate student a research stipend for a year.  $20,000 pays for a single policy analyst for a month or two of their time.  $20,000 pays for a single consultant for a month.  $20,000 is nothing.

The only way a “study” could be conducted for that amount of money is to give the money to a “research” group where their interns and junior fellows copy and paste articles into a Word document, a senior writer puts in the appropriate ideological language and hopefully has someone look at subject-verb agreement before sending it out the door.

This is pure disdain for the entire idea of society taking care of the working poor.