Today the Affordable Care Act (ACA) turns nine.

It is still a BFD.

Open thread

Mid-Term Election Returns Open Thread: Steady On!

Looks like we could use a new election return open thread. A lot of votes to still be counted in a lot of places, so everyone just stay calm. No reason to borrow trouble from the future.

I’ve noticed a lot of commenters are concerned that the polling for specific races was off in those places, for instance Florida. I’ve written in a number of comments over the past several months that I think the polling models are off for this election. Specifically, I thought they weren’t polling the demographics that are signaling a lot of the things that wouldn’t be captured in a poll anyway. Specifically the number of women, women of color, people of color, and religious minorities running for office on the Democratic side. As well as the effects of non-elite and notable donations, organization, enthusiasm, etc. And, in many cases, candidate quality. You want to know why Beto O’Rourke is right now causing Ted Cruz’s human suit to break out in hives? It’s candidate quality. The same reason that Gillum is within about a 1% point in Florida. Mike Espy is currently leading in the Mississippi Senate race, and Stacy Abrams is likely to force a runoff with Brian Kemp. That’s all candidate quality and there are a lot more examples I could provide.

What we should take away from this regardless of tonight’s outcome, is that we’re seeing the leading edge of a major socio-political shift. Specifically, the changes in the demographics in the US are finally beginning to make themselves shown in American elections. From people deciding to run to the outcomes. What we should not expect is that even if the Democrats have a great night, that this shift was going to fully materialize and be realized tonight. Rather it is something that needs to be nurtured, built on, and expanded starting first thing tomorrow morning!

Also, congratulations to Sharice Davids in Kansas 3!

Update at 10:00 PM EST

MSNBC has just called the Kansas governor’s race for Democrat Laura Kelly.

Just 2 more shopping hours on the east coast until the 2020 presidential elections!

Open thread!


Nate McMurray is running against Chris Collins in NY-27, a Buffalo-area R+11 district that is carefully gerrymandered to avoid any urban areas. You probably remember Collins, who was Trump’s campaign chair, because he was indicted in August for insider trading and it’s a slam-dunk that he’s going to jail. It looked like he was going to drop out, but there was no way to replace him on the ballot, so the Republicans lived up to their reputation and he stayed on the ticket.

McMurray is just a great candidate. He’s made the journey from community college, to a Fulbright scholarship, to a career in international law that took him to China, all the way back to the small town of Grand Island, where he’s currently the town supervisor. Nate’s campaign began long before Collins was indicted, when the race was basically a write-off. He’s been making good use of the torrent of cash that’s come his way since the news about Collins broke, but long before that he was doing things like driving in a demolition derby, pounding the pavement to meet voters, and running on a solid set of Democratic issues:

The polls are all over the place but it’s definitely a tight race. This will be one to watch Tuesday night. (The headline is McMurray’s tagline on Twitter.)

I Know Politics Bore You

I consume baseball in the most Americana way imaginable. I listen to it on the radio in the summer Midwestern night surrounded by cornfields. In the orange streetlight, moth fluttering nights that refuse to drop below 80. I own a cleaning company and while you are at home winding down your day I am vacuuming and dusting and taking out trash and cleaning toilets and listening to the Chicago White Sox not make the playoffs since 2008. It’s easy to picture me. If I was a character in a Stephen King novel I would surely be the first to get knocked off by a vampire or a clown.

For this reason, most of the visuals of the game are lost to me except when I can tune in on weekends. This is one visual I will certainly not miss.

The New York Times is reporting that the Cleveland Indians, in cooperation with Major League Baseball, are abandoning the Chief Wahoo logo after the 2018 season

I live fifty miles northwest of Champaign-Urbana and its resident University of Illinois, so I had a mezzanine seat to the Retire the Chief / Save the Chief hullabaloo, which is still going on to this day. The Chief is a sort of local MAGA hat that we’ve had for decades. If I walk into a business or an office that’s festooned Chief stuff, I know the kind of person I’m dealing with upfront. A friend who witnessed the mascot’s formal retirement in 2007–he worked for the local paper and the university–once let me look through his personal letters-to-the-editor Chief file. They ranged from sedate and prosecutorial to spittle-flecked. I liked this:

Unfortunately, all that pageantry was built around a product of the rather odd obsession white people had with their view of Native American culture nearly 100 years ago. Too bad we are still saddled with the decisions of an assistant band director who was just trying to put on a good halftime show. If he had simply chosen some other kind of symbol to be the focus of all that audience participation stuff, we wouldn’t be dealing with this mess today. Can you imagine!


Great pic with a weirdly equivocating tweet. Don’t go read the replies. Trust me.

But forsaking the revolting Chief Wahoo logo is more complicated than it appears on the surface. Let’s Go Tribe goes on to say:

 It’s interesting, but not surprising, that the Chief Wahoo merchandise will still be sold in local markets. According to Jordan Bastian, this is in part because the Indians still maintain a trademark for the logo and are required to keep it in retail spaces to do so.

 “The Indians will maintain control of the Chief Wahoo trademark. In order to do so, it will still have a limited retail presence. No retail presence would open door for another party to seize control of the mark and profit from it.”

Not only will they keep the trademark, but the flood of people who support a logo over their favorite baseball team will likely flock to buy up whatever they can. Make no mistake about it, the Indians are going to keep profiting off the logo for a long, long time.

So either the team profits on its heritage of racism or some third-party does. Short of the team donating those profits to a reservation, there are no good choices here.

The University of Illinois is a case study in the trouble with trying to get rid of a racist mascot. Eleven years later, it is still plagued by the the specter of the ostensibly retired Chief. This is due in part to a failure to replace the mascot: with no new official mascot to compete with, the Chief lives on. The mascot makes several appearances a year at sports games, and the Chief logo is still worn by students and used by local companies in advertising. (For years now, the logo for Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day merchandise has been a silhouette of the Chief wearing a headdress that spells out the words UNOFFICIAL.) The university’s longstanding inaction is no doubt political in nature. Alumni donations are its lifeblood, and the fond school-day memories of predominantly white alumni are invariably bound up with that ubiquitous figure in a headdress. You can see the outcry in micro-scale on the comment thread of this recent story from the university paper. White alumni–some of whom matriculated from the university long after the Chief’s retirement–threaten to withhold donations and support for their alma mater if Chief symbols are removed from university property. Parents and grandparents who attended the university pass on their love for the Chief to children and grandchildren who currently attend it, and the Chief continues to flourish.

While we wait for all of this to wind down (someday it will, people forget) let’s elect the folks from the big tent. Here is the fund that is split between all eventual nominees in House districts currently held by Republicans.

Goal Thermometer

The ACA in 2018 and Obama’s 2007 vision

This is worth at least an quasi-ironic chuckle.  The implementation of the Affordable Care Act in 2018 is closer to some elements of the early 2007 campaign version of Obama’s health care vision than the ACA implementation from 2010-2017 was.

Now let’s go look at the tape, from Polifact 2007:

Obama shot back: “Well, let’s talk about health care right now because the fact of the matter is that I do provide universal health care. The only difference between Sen. Clinton’s health care plan and mine is that she thinks the problem for people without health care is that nobody has mandated — forced — them to get health care.”….

One of the few differences is that Clinton and Edwards include a universal mandate….

Obama’s decision not to include a mandate is a more cautious approach, one Obama says is designed not to penalize people with modest incomes. If premiums don’t drop enough after all the reforms are implemented, people will still be unable to afford insurance.

Obama contended during the 2008 primary that the subsidies would be rich enough that no mandate would be needed. And then the desire to hit a particular CBO score came into play as well as a need to not lose a single Democratic senator dictated that subsidies were going to be a lot weaker than the House wanted.

However with Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) sabotage leading to Silverloading and Gold gapping, subsidies for individuals who make between 100% Federal Poverty Line (FPL) and 400% FPL ($12,020-$48,080) will have become effectively much richer for people who buy plans that cost less than the benchmark.

This is just an irony if seen from a skewed point of view.