For the good times

Many of you seem like good, virtuous people. You live responsibly, making economical dishes in your slow cookers. You volunteer, you probably canvas for candidates you support, you may already be in local government in some capacity. You do all of these things even when they seem like a grind.

I’m not like that at all, unfortunately, but I spent a ton of time working with local candidates for the House and State legislature from 2006 through 2008. It was a lot of fun! It was fun because we had the winds at our back and because that was when blogging was new and exciting. I got into huge fights with other local activists, felt betrayed by a charismatic candidate who turned out to be a sex harasser (Eric Massa), and burned out on the whole experience.

The next few years are going to be like 2006-08 on steroids, though maybe “on crack” would more accurate. The generic polls have Dems up by 10 and on average Dems are outperforming Hillary 2016 by 10 points in special elections. Democrats in Virginia gained 15+ seats out of 100 in State House elections. That’s the equivalent of 65+ seats in the US House.

Things are likely to get worse for Republicans. They’re either going to fail at all attempts at major legislation or, much worse, pass wildly unpopular legislation. There will mostly likely be more indictments. Trump will probably pardon several people and/or fire Mueller. The economy is unlikely to keep going like this for another year.

The potential for Democratic gains is immense. It’s also going to be nuts, completely fucking nuts. Breitbart will be throwing crazy shit against the wall to try to tar Democratic candidates. There may be bogus DOJ investigations of Democrats. Russians will be trying to hack our elections to help Republicans, and in some cases Republicans officials will be working hand in hand with them.

It’s so exciting that I wish I could throw myself into it, but this is the busiest time of my life professionally plus we are having a baby next month. So I can’t. But you should. It’s going to be a blast. You don’t have to be the kind of person who is naturally good. You can just go into to it to have a good time. You will. Start a local blog. Have a ton of coffee or a different beverage of your choice and knock on doors. Whatever you do, it’ll make a difference. And this is probably a once in a lifetime cycle. It will make for a lifetime of good stories.

The individual mandate interactions with Alexander-Murray

There are strong rumors that the individual mandate repeal will be added to the Senate tax cut bill.

If they had 50 votes for this, it would have passed in July. But you know what to do; call the Senate.

More importantly, I want to look at errors underlying the assumption that Alexander-Murray will pass with 60 votes in the Senate in this scenario. That won’t happen. Alexander-Murray is dead. Reality has overtaken the need for a deal to appropriate CSR funding. There could be a deal on 1332 waivers and catastrophic plans but not one on CSR funding.

I think it is fundamentally an issue with baseline confusion. Let’s just follow the money on the first step.
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Silver drops and the politics of the ACA

Charles Gaba has some data from Health Sherpa regarding enrollment in the first week of the 2018 Open Enrollment Period.

HealthSherpa is seeing three times as many people buy Gold plans this year compared to last year. They are also seeing net of subsidy premiums go down by 12%. Some of this is a composition shift as more people are buying Bronze but so far the average blended actuarial value purchased on HealthSherpa is constant. Most of that is due to the CSR Silver Load.

I don’t believe that Cost Sharing Reduction subsidies will ever be appropriated. I believe that the facts on the ground are changing and the lived perception of the ACA is changing. Colin Baillio has a good example of that changed reality for Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The politics of the ACA and healthcare are going to get weirder. Anyone who is not an actuary, a policy wonk or an insurance company plumber won’t care about the mechanics of why premiums are lower and some people have much lower deductibles. Most people will just care that their lived experienced is better. It won’t be everybody. Non-subsidized buyers still need help. States need to submit re-insurance or premium cap waivers for the non-subsidized population, but more people will have a better lived experience of the ACA in 2018 than in 2017.

I think a lot of vulnerable Republicans in 2018 will try to use the same message that vulnerable Democrats used in 2014 — “Don’t End, Mend….” and point to how the ACA has improved for some people in their districts through no responsibility of their own actions.

The Follow on Effects of the Weinstein Sexual Assault Allegations

As I’ve written in comments a couple of times over the last few days, I think from early indications from reporting coming out of some state capitols, that you’re going to see allegations of sexual improprieties wash through elected and appointed officials in the states and at the Federal level. This is going to get real ugly real fast once momentum picks up. What I think we’re going to see is three different types of allegations. There will be allegations dealing with sexual predation – harassment, assault, rape. There will also be allegations dealing with infidelity leading to calls of hypocrisy, with some of the infidelity involving lobbyists leading to accusations of sex for favors. Finally, there will be allegations of officials, elites, and/or notables who are closeted LGBTQ Americans. Some will be outed for hypocrisy. Some will also be accused of engaging in predation a la Speaker Hastert or Congressman Foley or Kevin Spacey. This last type will also include just plain old infidelities just like their heterosexual colleagues. Their will also, unfortunately, be some who are likely to just get outed as it all finally comes out even though they weren’t ready to come out. Essentially they’ll be collateral damage.

There are also going to be other effects. The first is that as the floodgates get forced open this is going to spread. It won’t be contained to the entertainment industry or to elected and/or appointed officials – it is going to spread from industry to industry and a long overdue reckoning will hopefully take place. Including changes in business practices, as well as new laws, rules, regulations, and eventually prosecutions for crimes where that is still a possibility.

At the same time there will likely be attempts to weaponize allegations against one’s political or business rivals. False allegations will eventually be created to ruin business or political rivals. If this happens, and I think it’s likely, it will also be used to undercut the legitimacy of the real accusers and undermine their allegations. If this does happen it will provide the opening for pushback from the forces of reaction that never want any progress to be made on any important issue because it makes them uncomfortable or challenges their authority or their privilege. And this will likely muddy the waters enough to allow for the beginning of what will be the inevitable push back. There has never been a period of progress, especially fast progress that resulted from long suppressed calls for justice, that wasn’t immediately followed by a fast and concerted push back. Including attempts to roll back all the gains and reestablish some imagined and idealized golden age before all the unfortunate and unnecessary change was pushed through. The forces of reaction are strong and they are always waiting for a chance to try to go back to get to a better future.

One of the things we all have to be prepared to do is to specifically support those we know who decide to come forward as we are generally supportive of those who come forward that we do not know. We have to set the conditions for those women and men, and in some really terrible instances girls and boys, to feel safe and supported enough to make this stand and fight this fight. And we have to be prepared to be supportive of those who wind up as collateral damage – and there will be collateral damage here. Finally, we have to hold the line for them when the inevitable pushback begins.

Young Voters entering middle age


I’m 37. I’m not quite a Generation X’er and I am definately not a Millenial. I bought my first cell phone my junior year of college and I am profoundly aware of the sound of a 1200 BAUD modem connecting to the UMass Lowell Unix servers as well as having many memories of yelling at my sister who wanted to talk on the phone as I was reading soc.history.what-if.

My first presidential vote was for Al Gore. By 2006, I was a super-voter. Since 2004 I have missed one election (Pennsylvania 2017 primary) as I had moved to North Carolina by then and was in the process of switching my registration. I am weird. For my cohort, I had a much higher probability of voting than my matched control peers.

My peers and I have always leaned Democratic as a cohort. We are now entering into prime voting participation ages. The cohorts behind me still don’t vote their numbers yet but they lean even more heavily Democratic than my cohort. Some of it is a function of race/ethnicity confounding age but there is still a dramatic implication that their political formation was Bush-Obama-Trump.

It won’t matter too much in 2018 or 2020 but there is a massive python lump of voters coming through who lean Dem but will begin turning out at higher rates just as Republican base voters decrease in numbers due to differential age related mortality.

Oh it doesn’t seem a year ago to this very day

My Facebook timeline just informed me that year ago today I wrote “Don’t mourn, organize”, which reminded me that a year ago today was the awful 2016 presidential election. That surprised me, I don’t know if I thought it was longer ago or more recent, but for some reason it just startled me.

In the spirit of organizing, not mourning, I’m still looking for political groups to support that will spend their intelligently and not just blow it on ads the last week of the campaign. This one sounds really interesting. This article is from Axios so the obvious caveats apply, but it sounds good:

Forward Majority ran ad campaigns in 16 races throughout Virginia. Democrats won 12 of those races.

What groups are you hearing about that sound promising?

In 2018, I hope to canvass for House and state elections again. I got too busy and slacked last year.

No one knows what it’s like to be hated

When we take the House in 2018, won’t it be that much sweeter if Paul Ryan’s out on his ass, whoring for corporate money as a civilian instead of as a member of Congress? Let’s give to his opponent Randy Bryce here.

Goal Thermometer

Remember: Ryan will overspend to try to keep his seat if he gets nervous, so giving money to his opponent is a good investment in any event. Let’s make sure he’s scared.