The possibility space for all daughters

As I was watching Nominee Presumptive Clinton speak tonight, I thought about my daughter asleep upstairs, and I also thought about a post I wrote last summer on the day that same sex marriage was declared constitutional.  I want to repurpose a chunk of that post tonight:

I don’t know much about how my kids will turn out when they get older.  I know a few things though.

I know my daughter will be a massive dork (as she cried last night that she missed school as she was not learning enough new things at summer camp, and could we buy her some new math workbooks).  I know she will be a goof ball with a massive amount of empathy and a strongly developed sense of fairness.  I know that when she is adult, her possibility space will be massive….

I have no clue…

Their possibility space just widened a little bit this morning.  Being their dad, that makes my day.

She could be president some day.

Now let’s go win so that she’ll have a positive example instead of a wistful what may have been when she starts her campaign in 2046.

Good news everybody: ACA cost edition

So under budget and on projection for the target uninsured rate even with Chief Justice Roberts enabling sociopaths and assholes to stop Medicaid Expansion in 20 states.

Not bad at all….

UPDATE 1: The next time there is a massive social program passing Congress with uncertain costs, we need to put in mechanisms to take advantage of success instead of safeguards against massive cost overruns. The ACA has triggers where if the total federal cost of the advanced premium tax credit and the cost sharing reduction subsidies were more than .504% of GDP, future year individual shares would increase and the thresholds for federal subsidies would decline.
There were no mechanisms in place to say if subsidies were significant below budget that either subsidies for currently qualified individuals would get richer so their out of pocket premium expense would decline OR more people would become eligible for subsidies.

This is just a note to self to find again in 20 years.

I Pity The Fools (GOP ODS edition)

Well, not really.  But over and over again, President Obama does something that rises above — way higher than — ordinary political discourse. Just as Bill Clinton in the 90s was without doubt the best retail politician I’ve seen in my lifetime, Obama does an epic job of being president.

He’s the Ted Williams of the job:  he’s got that quality of gracefulness, a stillness within himself, joined to an analogue to Williams’ sweet swing — the capacity to unwind suddenly, and produce so precisely, so effectively, that the audience doesn’t have time to register how hard it was to do what they just saw.  He’s a virtuoso.


What I’m trying to say is that there are people — easy to identify in sports, I think — whom even opposing fans can simply admire, suspending for a moment their tribal obligation to deride and deny anyone wearing the wrong laundry.  Opposing fans could boo Williams.  But they watched, knowing that they might witness something special.  Nowadays, for a sport closer to Obama’s heart, think Steph Curry; even when he destroys your team, you can’t take your eyes off him.

But pity the poor GOP.  President Obama owns his role by this point.  With increasing confidence and skill over his time in office, he defines objectives and outplays opponents* to get what he wants.   As the occupant of the bully pulpit, he nails the lay-ups** and he blows away the impossible shots.  It’s been really special to watch — someone sustaining a formidably complicated performance with ever increasing elegance.

All of which to say is that were you to find politics and public life fascinating as well as vital, you should be enjoying this presidency as performance even if you deplored its content.  But the GOP, it seems, can’t allow themselves even that pleasure.

All of that is prologue to say that I don’t think Obama’s speech in Cuba yesterday has gotten enough attention — at least part, understandably enough, because of the Brussels attacks.  But it’s still worth a listen, for what it means within the process of US-Cuba reconciliation, certainly, but at least as much for its formal excellence.  The speech is simply a masterpiece, in my view, a remarkable demonstration of saying difficult things to multiple audiences while moving the rock, at least a little, on that long journey up the hill.  Here’s the transcript, and here’s the speech itself:


It really is an amazing piece of work.  I love the small touches — he clearly worked on his Spanish accent, to pretty good effect, and it was such a hoot to hear him throw a little shade on Raul Castro and his … let’s say, garrulousness.  But the speech as a whole was much more than the sum of its parts and gestures.  It’s completely worth your time, so I’m only going to quote one passage:

…before I discuss those issues, we also need to recognize how much we share. Because in many ways, the United States and Cuba are like two brothers that have been estranged for many years, even as we share the same blood. We both live in a new world, colonized by Europeans.

Cuba, like the United States, was built in part by slaves brought here from Africa. Like the United States, the Cuban people can trace their heritage to both slaves and slave owners. We’ve welcomed both immigrants who came a great distance to start new lives in the Americas.

Over the years, our cultures have blended together. Dr. Carlos Finlay worked in Cuba, paved the way for generations of doctors, including Walter Reed, who drew on Dr. Finlay’s work to help combat yellow fever. Just as Marti wrote some of his famous words in New York, Earnest Hemingway made a home in Cuba and found inspiration in the waters of these shores.

We share a national past time, la pelotero, and later today our players will compete on the same Havana field that Jackie Robinson played on before he made his major league debut.

And it is said that our greatest boxer, Muhammad Ali, once paid tribute to a Cuban that he could never fight, saying that he would only be able to reach a draw with the great Cuban, Teofilo Stevenson.

As I read that, it’s addressed to the Cuban people of course, just like the title of the speech says.  But it’s impossible not to notice who else Obama engages here: an America whose self-portrait is changing faster than its [dwindling white majority] perception of it has shifted.  As the president noted,

You had two Cuban Americans in the Republican party running against the legacy of a Black man who was president while arguing that they’re the best person to beat the Democratic nominee, who will either be a woman or a democracy socialist.

Again — spoken to Cubans; addressed to those back home.

Relish what you’re seeing in this president.  Perfect he ain’t, of course; that’s no one’s inheritance short of the grave.  But he’s so damn good at this now.  We won’t see his like again soon.

*I’m not saying Garland’s appointment will go through — though the odds are better than I thought they’d be.  My point is that Obama’s handling of this on both its substance and politics has been elegant.

**ETA: And bang! Obama slams another one home. To Ted Cruz’s proposal to “patrol and secure” Muslim neighborhoods in the US, POTUS replied, “I just left a country that engages in that kind of neighborhood surveillance…Which, by the way, the father of Sen. Cruz escaped for America.”

That one leaves a mark.

Image:  Edgar Degas, Ballet – l’étoile (Rosita Mauri), c. 1878.

Dean 2004, Obama 2008, Sanders 2016 and white liberals

Just a few quick notes on the current campaign through the eyes of a white liberal who has never felt the Bern.

On fundraising through February 2016:

Sen. Bernard Sanders may have lost a majority of states on Super Tuesday, but he continues to pull ahead of Democratic presidential primary rival Hillary Clinton in the money race.

The Sanders campaign announced Tuesday it raised $42.7 million in February, and the Clinton campaign announced Wednesday morning it raised $30 million during the month.

On the primary campaign demographics in 2016:

There are three times as many nonblack voters as black voters in the Democratic primary electorate. To cancel her strength, Mr. Sanders would need to win nonblack voters by about 20 percentage points, since Mrs. Clinton leads by more than 60 points among black voters.

And now backing things out a bit.

The Dean campaign in 2004 was overwhelmingly white liberals who were looking for a cause.  The Dean campaign was the first time I showed up on an FEC report.

The Obama coalition in the 2008 primary was a combination of white liberals and the African American community plus not getting crushed among the other major groups within the Democratic primary electorate.  The Sanders coalition is primarily white liberals and rural Democrats.  The Clinton 2008 coalition was moderate and conservative Democrats, Latinos and a bit more female then the party as a whole.  Her coalition in 2016 is her 2008 coalition plus the African American bloc.

What we are seeing is the limit of white liberal power within the Democratic coalition.

It is more than sufficient to fund campaigns but it is insufficient to create a durable national majority.  White liberals by themselves are a much larger, and far less crazy analogue to the Paulbots of the Republican Party — more then sufficient to generate a lot of money and advance ideological arguments.  It is well connected to to privileged positions within the media and discussion ecosystem and due to its demographics plus committment of its members, it can fundraise efficiently on the internet at small to medium donor levels.  Internet fundraising allows for a fairly low burn rate on the part of ideological and aspirational campaigns to tap this set of small donors.    These are two very strong political assets.

However white liberals alone or with minor coalition partners, are not able to form a majority within the Democratic Party.  .  White liberals get a whole lot closer to forming a majority than libertarian dude bros but they cap out significantly short of a majority.



Local Elections Matter

I have been waiting for these election results all day. And since somehow the link I have is borking the site, I’ll paraphrase here:

Jefferson County, Colorado has voted to recall all three board members that were voted in when a lot of out of state money poured in for their campaigns.

You may or may not be aware, but last year students began walking out of class and actively protesting for days when the board tried to turn their advanced college prep classes into jokes.

Teachers and parents took up the cause and started the recall process. The same out of state money tried to swing the vote but were unsuccessful. I’m hoping this starts a tide of recalls in the state.

I’ll post a link to the information in the comments. And yes, I’m contacting Tommy to let him know I broke everything.

ETA: John just PM’d me and said it wasn’t me and it wasn’t the link, so here it is.

Breaking: Iran Nuke Deal Secured

Via the NYT, Senator Barbara Mikulski supports the president’s Iran deal, making her the 34th Democrat on board with the agreement. Have y’all seen PAC-funded TV commercials trashing the deal? We’ve seen a ton of them down here. All for naught, thank dog.

Open thread too.


Good news, bad news, and great news on today’s jobs numbers.  First the good:

U.S. job growth rebounded last month and the unemployment rate dropped to a near seven-year low of 5.4 percent, signs of a pick-up in economic momentum that could keep the Federal Reserve on track to hike interest rates this year.

Nonfarm payrolls increased 223,000 as gains in services sector jobs offset weakness in mining, the Labor Department said on Friday. The one-tenth of a percentage point decline in the unemployment rate to its lowest level since May 2008 came even as more people piled into the labor market.

Happy wiggling for all. But the bad:

But March payrolls were revised to show only 85,000 jobs created, the smallest since June 2012. That resulted in 39,000 fewer jobs added in February and March than previously reported.

Still, the employment report, which showed steady gains in hourly earnings, suggested underlying strength in the economy at the start of the second quarter after growth almost braked to a halt in the first three months of the year.

And the great:

The unemployment rate for African Americans plummeted in April, dropping to 8.7% from 10.1%.

This is the first time the black unemployment rate has been below 10% since mid-2008.

It’s still, however, twice as high as the white unemployment rate, which fell to 4.4% from 4.9% in March.

And actually that “twice as high” rate has been that way for decades.  It’s, you know, ample evidence of a structural problem in the US that existed long before Barack Obama ever took office, but getting black unemployment down to under 9% is actually really, really good.

Now if wage growth would finally start picking up…