How Fragile Is The New Democratic Coalition
Tom Edsall on politics inside and outside of Washington.
Last December, Jennifer Duffy, an election analyst at the Cook Political Report, came up with a particularly tantalizing set of data points, the kind that demand further exploration.
In 1988, the Democratic presidential nominee, Michael Dukakis, carried 26 percent of the nations counties, 819 of 3,144, on his way to losing the Electoral College 426-111 and the popular vote by seven percentage points. In 2012, President Obama won fewer counties, 690, but he won the popular vote by four points and the Electoral College in a landslide, 332-206.
The forces behind this shift illuminate the internal realignments taking place within the two major political parties. But first lets look at how a candidate could carry 129 fewer counties but come out way ahead on Election Day. In the simplest terms, Democrats started to win populous suburban counties in big states with lots of Electoral College votes beginning with Bill Clintons first presidential campaign in 1992, at the same time that they began to lose sparsely populated rural counties, many of which lie in small states with very few Electoral College votes.
Take two states as an illustration of this phenomenon: small, thinly populated West Virginia and populous, relatively suburban Pennsylvania.
In 2012, Obama beat Romney 52-47 to win Pennsylvanias 20 Electoral College votes. In the four suburban Philadelphia counties, Obama won by a decisive 55-45 margin.
Memo To Democrats: Grow Up Do Your Job
To the Editor:
Re Do Democrats Have the Courage of Liz Cheney?, by Thomas L. Friedman :
Well said, Tom Friedman! We will find out this week.
How is it that Republicans can remain united on almost all issues, even a treasonous assault on national elections, and still win elections, and Democrats cant compromise with themselves to get their bills passed?
Democrats seem to think that having guts means taking your ball and going home if you dont get everything you want. Two words: Grow up.
Do your job. Which means you must compromise and play well with others .
Give and take and get the best you can for the American people. You remember, the people who elected you!
Re Manchin and Sinema Should Just Say No, by Bret Stephens :
It is most curious that after four years of hearing how members of the G.O.P. need to speak out against the extremists who control the party, Democrats are shocked shocked that some of their members are willing to speak out against the extremism coming from their party.
Whatever the merits of the proposals in the reconciliation infrastructure bill , and whatever the risks that come with not passing it , we are much better served as a nation by a willingness to say no to our own side.
Neil J. Liss
Re Biden vs. the Rip Van Winkle Caucus, by Paul Krugman :
Colin McCoyAlbany, N.Y.
To the Editor:
When The New York Times Colludes With The Billionaire Class
According to a White House analysis , the country’s 400 wealthiest families have an effective tax rate of just over 8%. At the New York Times , reporter Jim Tankersley was quick to cast doubt on the figure.
The New York Times criticizes the White House for taking into account the main way billionaires make money.
According to Tankersley’s framing, the analysis “seeks to show a gap between the tax rate that everyday Americans face and what the richest owe on their vast holdings,” and is “an attempt to bolster Mr. Biden’s claims that billionaires are not paying what they actually should owe in federal taxes, and that the tax code rewards wealth, not work” . In other words, it’s an analysis with a political agenda.
Dubious data point
This is in contrast to “most measures of tax rates,” which “do not use the White House method of counting asset gains as annual income.” The piece emphasizes how “unconventional” the White House analysis is, and that it’s “well below what other analyses have found.”
Tankersley points to one data point here:
The independent Tax Policy Center in Washington estimated this year that in 2015, the highest-earning 1,400 households in the country paid an average effective tax rate of about 24%, compared with an average rate of about 14% for all taxpayers.
Top tax rates have been pushed so far down over the last 70 years that the richest households now pay a lower percentage than any other income group .
Victory for the richest
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Walter Duranty’s Holodomor Coverage And Pulitzer
Walter Duranty, who served as its Moscow bureau chief from 1922 through 1936, has been criticized for a series of stories in 1931 on the Soviet Union and won a Pulitzer Prize for his work at that time; however, he has been criticized for his denial of widespread famine, most particularly Holodomor, a famine in Soviet Ukraine in the 1930s in which he summarized Russian propaganda, and the Times published, as fact: “Conditions are bad, but there is no famine”.
In 2003, after the Pulitzer Board began a renewed inquiry, the Times hired , professor of Russian history at Columbia University, to review Duranty’s work. Von Hagen found Duranty’s reports to be unbalanced and uncritical, and that they far too often gave voice to Stalinistpropaganda. In comments to the press he stated, “For the sake of The New York Times’ honor, they should take the prize away.”The Ukrainian Weekly covered the efforts to rescind Duranty’s prize. The Times has since made a public statement and the Pulitzer committee has declined to rescind the award twice stating, “…Mr. Duranty’s 1931 work, measured by today’s standards for foreign reporting, falls seriously short. In that regard, the Board’s view is similar to that of The New York Times itself…”.
Japan Heads Into Election With Covid Contained And Vaccinations Ramping Up
Like much of the Asia-Pacific, Japan is slowly emerging from the strictest pandemic restrictions as reports of new cases fall and vaccinations ramp up. And its coming just as the worlds third-largest economy prepares to hold general elections by November.
The government will end its state-of-emergency measures on Thursday amid a fall in the number of new daily coronavirus cases and a vaccine rollout that has reached nearly 60 percent of the population, hoping that the move helps to revive the countrys economy.
It will be the first time since April 4 that no part of Japan is under a state of emergency.
The move was announced by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga on Tuesday, a day before a Liberal Democratic Party vote that will select a leader to succeed him. Mr. Suga said that he would not be extending the emergency measures currently active in 19 prefectures and that they would instead expire at the end of the month, as scheduled.
Moving forward, we will continue to put the highest priority on the lives and livelihoods of the people, Mr. Suga said in Parliament on Tuesday afternoon.
He said that the government would work to continue to achieve both infection control and the recovery of daily life.
Under the state of emergency, people were urged to refrain from nonessential outings, and restaurants were asked to close by 8 p.m. and to not serve alcohol. The government plans to ease those restrictions in stages.
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Justice Sandra Day Oconnor Role Model
To the Editor:
Re What Sandra Day OConnor Meant, by Linda Greenhouse :
Ms. Greenhouses piece on Sandra Day OConnors appointment as the first woman on the U.S. Supreme Court brought back my memory of the first Monday in October 1981 when Justice OConnor heard her first oral argument as a justice.
I was a new attorney working in Washington in an era when female attorneys were still somewhat rare. I stood in line outside the Supreme Court building for two hours that morning so I could get a seat before the first oral argument began.
It was not a memorable case, but I was thrilled when Justice OConnor asked a question during the argument, a somewhat unusual occurrence for a brand-new justice. In my mind, it was not just asking a question but also establishing her rightful place as a member of the Supreme Court.
Laura Emily Frossard
Audiences Rejoice As Live Performances Return
To the Editor:
Re Let Broadways Return Be a Prayer for Healing, by Danny Burstein :
Mr. Burstein has so beautifully and articulately captured my sentiments regarding the return of Broadway when he says, For theater isnt just a form of entertainment; at its best, it is a collective, spiritual experience. His essay captures the universality of the Broadway experience, and the individuality of it as well.
I am a New Yorker who currently lives elsewhere. Broadway has been a part of my life since I was a young girl. I have seen both Mr. Burstein and his late wife, Rebecca Luker, on numerous occasions and am eagerly looking forward to the day when I can return to Broadway and be healed as well.
I share Mr. Bursteins prayer that Broadway will be reborn stronger than ever. And I hope to be in the audience cheering him on in Moulin Rouge and future shows.
Iris KelsenWest Chester, Ohio
To the Editor:
Thank you to Danny Burstein for his inspired words. On a recent night, for the first time in 18 months, my husband and I walked the short five minutes from our home to the Charleston Gaillard Center. We displayed our vaccination cards with masks donned and entered the concert hall.
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Maybe Ill Be Remembered As The Grumpy Bond
After 15 years of playing James Bond longer than any other actor Daniel Craig will make his final appearance as 007 in the franchises latest entry, No Time to Die. . Craig spoke with The Times about his send-off. Some highlights:
Craig never thought hed land the part: I was just amongst the mix someone to dismiss, he said, adding that, at best, he figured hed get a one-off villain role: Here you go, have a baddie.
You wont have to wait long to see him again: Craig has already filmed a sequel to the popular 2019 whodunit Knives Out, reprising his role as a gentleman sleuth. Next year, hell also star in a new Broadway production of Macbeth, alongside Ruth Negga as Lady Macbeth.
Who might the next Bond be? He has no idea. Whoever does it, good luck to them. I hope they have just as great a time as Ive had, he said. Frequently mentioned possibilities include Idris Elba, Lashana Lynch and Tom Hardy.
On becoming a meme: Theres a clip of Craig on Saturday Night Live, where he introduces the singer The Weeknd with relish, that many people like to post at the end of the week. They do? Its amazing. I dont know what that is, but thank you. Thats lovely. I suppose Id have to have social media to know what that was all about. Sanam Yar, a Morning writer
Gender Discrimination In Employment
Discriminatory practices used by the paper long restricted women in appointments to editorial positions. The newspaper’s first general female reporter was , who described her experience afterward: “In the beginning I was charged not to reveal the fact that a female had been hired”. Other reporters nicknamed her Fluff and she was subjected to considerable hazing. Because of her gender, any promotion was out of the question, according to the then-managing editor. She remained on the staff for fifteen years, interrupted by World War I.
In 1935, Anne McCormick wrote to Arthur Hays Sulzberger: “I hope you won’t expect me to revert to ‘woman’s-point-of-view’ stuff.” Later, she interviewed major political leaders and appears to have had easier access than her colleagues. Even witnesses of her actions were unable to explain how she gained the interviews she did.Clifton Daniel said, ” I’m sure Adenauer called her up and invited her to lunch. She never had to grovel for an appointment.”
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Durham Is Said To Seek Indictment Of Lawyer At Firm With Democratic Ties
The lawyer, Michael Sussmann, is accused of lying to the F.B.I. in a 2016 meeting about Trump and Russia. He denies wrongdoing.
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WASHINGTON John H. Durham, the special counsel appointed by the Trump administration to scrutinize the Russia investigation, has told the Justice Department that he will ask a grand jury to indict a prominent cybersecurity lawyer on a charge of making a false statement to the F.B.I., people familiar with the matter said.
Any indictment of the lawyer Michael Sussmann, a former federal prosecutor and now a partner at the Perkins Coie law firm, and who represented the Democratic National Committee on issues related to Russias 2016 hacking of its servers is likely to attract significant political attention.
Donald J. Trump and his supporters have long accused Democrats and Perkins Coie whose political law group, a division separate from Mr. Sussmanns, represented the party and the Hillary Clinton campaign of seeking to stoke unfair suspicions about Mr. Trumps purported ties to Russia.
The case against Mr. Sussmann centers on the question of who his client was when he conveyed certain suspicions about Mr. Trump and Russia to the F.B.I. in September 2016. Among other things, investigators have examined whether Mr. Sussmann was secretly working for the Clinton campaign which he denies.
The Establishments Candidate Is Sanae Takaichi
The countrys longest-serving prime minister, Shinzo Abe, endorsed Sanae Takaichi, 60, a hard-line conservative for the partys top job.
Though Ms. Takaichi lags in public opinion polls, she has strong support from the dominant wing of the party. She has cultivated that support among conservatives, in part, by not taking up issues of gender equality. She rarely talks about that issue; she supports a current law requiring married couples to share surnames.
She supports amending the pacifist Constitution, a contentious position in a country wary of military aggression. Recently, she vowed to protect the national sovereignty and honor at all costs. She signaled she would follow Mr. Abes fiscal policies. In 2014, she endorsed a book that praised Hitlers campaign tactics.
Ms. Takaichi was first elected to Parliament in 1993 from Nara Prefecture in western Japan. Unlike other candidates, Ms. Takaichi does not come from a prominent political family. Her mother was a police officer; her father worked at a car company.
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A Quiet Affair Will Determine The Leader Of The Worlds Third
The vote for a new leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Japan is a staid affair, empty of any of the pomp and ceremony of party congresses in places such as the United States and China.
But the stakes are still high. The election will determine the leadership of the worlds third-largest economy, a country grappling with serious economic and demographic challenges as it cycles through its third prime minister in the year and a half of the pandemic.
The four candidates have spent the last two weeks glad-handing and lobbying for support from their party ahead of todays secret ballot, hoping to win an absolute majority of the 764 votes up for grabs.
Half of those votes come from rank-and-file party members, who will gather in their local headquarters at 1 p.m. to tally support.
The other half are from the partys parliamentarians, who will soon assemble in a central Tokyo hotel.
The results of the contest will be announced around 2:20 p.m. But if no one wins an absolute majority a likely outcome the top two vote-getters will advance to a second round.
Now things get interesting. In the run off, the power to choose a winner shifts decisively toward the parliamentarians. The rank and file get just 47 votes at this stage, and the outcome will hinge on the political maneuvering and horse trading the candidates carried out in the days leading up to the election as they fought for support from the partys internal factions.
An Essential Element For Good Democratic Health
Just as no two newspapers are exactly alike, no two democracies are exactly alike. The democracy of the United States is based on capitalism, and no American citizen or family, no American program or organization, no American business or industryincluding newspapersescapes its influence.
Capitalism also presents special challenges to newspapers, which compete against millions of other goods and services to capture the time and financial support of consumers.
Since Americans have yet to devise a product that can increase the length of their day, inevitably, time that could be spent reading up on current events is often devoted to catching up on Desperate Housewives. Because of American freedom and affluence, our newspapers are not limited by censorship, capital, apartheid or technology. The number-one impediment of delivering news to Americans is apathy.
Only 5 percent of Americans in a Pew survey report that they get their news exclusively from print-only news sources. Newspapers may no longer play a prominent role in the daily lives of most Americans, but they are still an invaluable component of our democracy.
What is troublesome is that lots of Americans are in on this conversation and feel satisfied enough to make decisions based on what they heard on Rush, CNN Headline News or even Saturday Night Live. When Americans base their decisions on faulty or incomplete information, decisions that affect the future of our country may not be what is really best.
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