• Here’s How the Residents of Super-White America Voted in 2016

    I’ve long been a skeptic of the theory that Donald Trump won the presidency because of his appeal to white racial anxiety. He certainly tried to win on that basis, but exit polling is pretty clear that, nationwide, Trump won no more of the white vote than Mitt Romney did. it’s true that he won the majority of the white vote, but that’s because Republicans always win the majority of the white vote.

    But that’s just the 100,000-foot view. What happens when you did deeper? Thomas Edsall, who consistently writes some of the most thought-provoking analysis around, takes a look at some of the data that’s now starting to trickle out and presents us with this chart that compares the 2012 and 2016 elections:

    In most places, even those that are heavily white, the red trendline is below zero, which means Trump won a smaller share of the vote than Romney did. The only places where he outperformed Romney were in the very whitest suburbs and small towns:

    The very white municipalities that voted so strongly for Trump believe that they have reason to worry about the racial stability of their neighborhoods….It is in these locales, which are experiencing the earliest signs of minority growth, that anxiety over approaching diversity is strongest. Put another way, anger, fear and animosity toward immigrants and minorities was most politically potent in the communities most insulated from these supposed threats.

    ….Will Stancil, a research fellow at the Institute on Metropolitan Opportunity who created the chart, explained….“To the extent Trump really resonated, it was in heavily-white areas — and that includes exurbs at the urban fringe, rural areas, and many heavily white second-ring suburbs,” Stancil wrote in his email. “It was his message resonating in those areas that gave him a fighting chance at all.”

    This fits a lot of the evidence we have. As it turns out, racial anxiety among whites really isn’t widespread. But it is strong among whites in a very small number of ultra-white communities. That’s why Trump didn’t do unusually well in California, Arizona, New Mexico, or Texas, where the immigrant population is highest. People in those states have lived with Mexican immigrants for a long time and learned that the sky isn’t falling. But farther away, in the very white communities of the upper Midwest, this is still brand new stuff. Unlike Californians, who know better from experience, they buy the idea that immigrants are unusually crime prone and take away everyone’s jobs—and that makes them scared. They’re a receptive audience for Trump’s “Build a Wall” message.

    All this said, we’re still left with a question: if the only place Trump did better than Romney was in the very whitest communities, was that enough to push him to victory? After all, he did worse than Romney everywhere else. Well, Edsall has a chart for that too, showing how Trump performed in the upper Midwest, but you’ll have to click the link to see it. (Spoiler alert: the answer is probably yes.)

    Edsall finishes up with this:

    In some respects, the data gathered by Orfield’s team is good news for Democrats. The core of Trump’s support lies in counties and municipalities like Dravosburg and Elk County, many of which are losing population. They are, in effect, the last gasp of white hegemony.

    Still, immense damage has been done….As the public discourse around issues of social welfare, immigration, national security, and a whole host of other issues becomes highly racialized and explicitly hostile, the potential for open racial conflict may rise. Furthermore, as these negative attitudes toward racial outgroups become increasingly tightly tied to parties, polarization increases and gridlock and a lack of legislative compromise ensue.

    When I look back at the 2016 election, what is really striking is how much influence over the course of events was exercised by the relatively small numbers of voters in super-white municipalities and counties and by the politician who ignited them — how the last gasp of a small fraction of the electorate set the nation on such a dangerous and destructive course.

    Amen. And the faster the politicians who have set fire to this movement—or even merely tolerated it—are sent packing, the better off our country will be.

  • Donald Trump’s Twitter Fights Since January 20 (Non-Political Edition)

    Setting aside media folks and American politicians—who are nearly daily targets—here are all the people Donald Trump has personally attacked on Twitter since his inauguration. Do you notice anything demographically peculiar?

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Photo credits: Chelsea Manning: Chelsea Manning; Arnold Schwarzenegger: NBC; Sadiq Khan: James Gourley/Rex Shutterstock; Ken Frazier: Merck; Stephen Curry: Prensa Internacional; Colin Kaepernick: Steven Ferdman/Rex Shutterstock; Jemelle Hill: ESPN; Frederica Wilson: Kevin Dietsch/Pool/CNP; Myeshia Johnson: Sun-Sentinel; Tom Steyer: Karl Mondon/TNS; Michael Moore: Future-Image; LaVar Ball: Leonard Ortiz/The Orange County Register.

  • Repealing the Individual Mandate Would Hurt the Poor, Help the Rich

    Speaking of the individual mandate, it turns out that CBO has analyzed how federal spending would change if the mandate were repealed. This is not about Obamacare subsidies, which will obviously decrease if fewer people buy insurance. This is about reductions in direct spending on Medicare, Medicaid, etc. Here it is:

    It’s pretty easy to see why Republicans love the idea of repealing the mandate. It means less federal spending on the poor and working class, and more spending on the rich. And that’s not even counting the premium increases that would mostly hit the working and middle classes. From a conservative point of view, you have to admit that this is a real winner.

  • Mulvaney OK With Keeping Individual Mandate, Provides No Guidance on How to Pay For It

    The latest:

    Mulvaney: White House ‘OK’ pulling individual mandate repeal from tax bill

    White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said Sunday that the administration wants to repeal part of Obamacare in Congress’ tax bill but is “OK with taking it out” if “it becomes an impediment.”

    ….“If we can repeal part of Obamacare as part of a tax bill, and have a tax bill that is still a good tax bill that can pass, that’s great,” Mulvaney continued. “If it becomes an impediment to getting the best tax bill we can, then we’re OK with taking it out. So, I think it’s up to the Senate and the House to sort of hammer out those details.

    Fine, but repealing the individual mandate saves a lot of money, according to the CBO score. In 2027, it reduces the deficit due to tax cuts from $91 billion to $37 billion. Since this deficit needs to be zero in 2028, Republicans have a lot more hammering out to do if they keep the mandate. I wonder if Mulvaney or Trump have any opinion on how to deal with these pesky little details?

  • Six Months Ago Donald Trump Fired the Director of the FBI

    This is your periodic reminder that six months ago the president of the United States fired the director of the FBI. Then he went on national TV and admitted that he had done it because he was exasperated with Comey’s investigation of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign (“this Russia thing”). And then nothing happened.

  • The Republican Tax Bill Might Help the Economy (By a Smidgen)

    Tyler Cowen has been pushing back for a while against liberal disgust with the Republican tax bill. On Friday he linked to a couple of studies suggesting that low corporate tax rates are linked to both stronger growth and higher wages. “I’ve been reading in this area on and off since the 1980s,” he says, “and I really don’t think these are phony results.”

    That may well be true. But as always, the question is “compared to what?” Liberal criticism of the tax bill has been largely motivated by obviously bogus claims for enormous wage gains and huge economic growth. These claims are little short of flat-out lies. But is it possible that a corporate rate cut will eventually produce small wage gains? Sure. And most conventional analyses also predict some economic growth. It’s just very, very small.

    There’s also the question of the starting point. If tax rates are very high, cuts can have noticeable effects. If they’re already very low, cuts are unlikely to do much. And corporate taxes in America are already very low:

    Cutting corporate taxes from 2 percent of GDP to 1.5 percent of GDP might have some effect that trickles down to the broader economy, but it’s not likely to be more than crumbs. On the other hand, a lot of rich individuals will get considerably richer. I think it’s safe to say that this is the real motivation here.

  • When Women Fail, They Pay a Much Bigger Price Than Men

    Heather Sarsons

    Via Harold Pollack, here’s a new study that will probably not surprise you—but should incense you. Heather Sarsons, a graduate student at Harvard, examined Medicare data to determine how doctors referred patients to specialists for surgery. In particular, did they treat male and female surgeons differently?

    The answer is pretty simple: oh my, yes. Sarsons used matched panels of surgeons who were equally qualified and had similar records of surgical outcomes. But primary care doctors didn’t treat them the same. If a patient unexpectedly died after surgery, most doctors continued referring patients to male surgeons at about the same rate. But referrals to female surgeons plummeted:

    In the case of male surgeons, an unexpected death is apparently treated as just something that happens sometimes. In the case of female surgeons, it’s taken as a sign of poor surgical skill. And it’s not just the surgeon herself who suffers. So do all her colleagues:

    Again, referrals to male surgeons stay about the same. But if a female surgeon suffers an unexpected death, referrals to all female surgeons plummet. And just to make an obvious point clear, this has real-world implications for how much money they make:

    What’s happening here is hardly uncommon. Minorities of all kinds are often treated as representatives of their entire group. If one fails, it reflects on all of them. But the same isn’t true of members of majority groups. There, a failure is usually taken as a chance occurrence. Not only doesn’t it reflect on their entire group, it often doesn’t even reflect on them personally.

    If you’re white or male, you’d never see this. Even if you’re not, it might not be noticeable. If you experience a failure and subsequently get fewer referrals from a doctor, you might shrug and consider that a normal response, never knowing that your male colleagues aren’t treated the same way. Literally everyone might be totally unaware this is happening. It’s only when you dig deeply into the dusty, boring data that you discover this kind of rampant systemic privilege.

  • Republicans Suddenly Discover That Private Jets Don’t Deserve a Tax Break

    Katerina Sulova/CTK/ZUMA

    A couple of days ago I saw a tweet about a provision of the Republican tax bill that gave owners of private airplanes a tax break. That seemed well worth a snarky blog post, but then I foolishly checked up on what the provision actually did. It…wasn’t really that bad. So I never wrote about it.

    This morning, however, the folks at National Review discovered that this tax provision had been cosponsored by a Democrat, and suddenly it became “disgraceful…rightly mocked.” That’s politics, I guess. But in case you’re curious, here’s the story, as explained by the Joint Committee on Taxation (p. 50-52):

    When you fly on a commercial jet, you pay an excise tax on the ticket price. But what if you fly your own plane? Until 2012 there was no excise tax on private flights. After all, there’s no ticket price if you own the plane. This makes it critical to determine who has “possession, command, and control” of the aircraft, and in 2012 the IRS ruled that if you hire a management company to take care of your plane, you have effectively given up control. Therefore, the management company is providing transportation to the owner and is required to collect the appropriate federal excise tax.

    A year later the IRS suspended audit assessments for taxes on aircraft management services, and in 2017, after losing a court case, more or less gave up on it. So this provision of the bill clears things up by specifying exactly which activities from a management company count as taxable and which don’t:

    • Exempt payments are those amounts paid by an aircraft owner for management services related to maintenance and support of the owner’s aircraft or flights on the owner’s aircraft.
    • Applicable services include support activities related to the aircraft itself, such as its storage, maintenance, and fueling, and those related to its operation, such as the hiring and training of pilots and crew, as well as administrative services such as scheduling, flight planning, weather forecasting, obtaining insurance, and establishing and complying with safety standards.

    I don’t truly understand the distinctions here, but there doesn’t really appear to be anything corrupt going on. As for why the amendment was sponsored by the bipartisan team of Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman, it’s because they’re the senators from Ohio, and Ohio is where NetJets is headquartered. They’re the ones who sued the IRS earlier this year and won, so their home state senators were the obvious ones to take an interest and make the tax code clear on what’s taxable and what isn’t.

  • Friday Cat Blogging – 17 November 2017

    Check out the tongue action! It’s a good thing cats don’t see the pictures we post of them. If they did, we’d all be toast.

    Also note Hopper photobombing Hilbert in the background. She’s a slick one, that Hopper.

  • Raw Data: US Military Actions Abroad Since 1798

    Via a tweet from Dan Drezner, here’s a chart showing every US military action abroad since 1798:

    There are reasons to take this with a grain of salt. The CRS report it’s based on includes purely humanitarian missions (“2014: Southern Philippines Humanitarian Assistance for Typhoon Bopha”) and it also seems to count separate actions in a single conflict as distinct uses of force (1994 includes five separate entries for Bosnia).

    That said, we sure do send our military abroad a lot, don’t we? If I’ve counted correctly the longest span without a military action overseas was 1934-40, when I guess we were too busy with the Depression to flex our muscles.