politics

With a travel ban on predominately Muslim countries – though not those where the President has a financial interest – this would be a good time to revisit what Americans think of Muslims generally.

The latest survey from Pew, conducted in 2014, gives some answers about how America feels generally about this group, which makes up just under one percent of the U.S. population. Pew asked Americans to rate members of eight religious groups on a “feeling thermometer” from 0 to 100, where 0 reflects the coldest, most negative possible rating and 100 the warmest, most positive rating.

Overall, Americans rated Muslims rather coolly – an average of 40, which was comparable to the average rating they gave atheists (41). Americans view the six other religious groups mentioned in the survey (Jews, Catholics, evangelical Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and Mormons) more warmly.

Republicans and those who lean toward the Republican Party gave Muslims an average rating of 33, considerably cooler than Democrats’ rating toward Muslims (47).

Pew’s December 2015 survey about Islamic extremism showed some partisan differences as well.  It showed that Republicans also are likely than Democrats to say they are very concerned about the rise of Islamic extremism in the world (83% vs. 53%) and in the U.S. (65% vs. 38%). That survey also found that Republicans are more likely than Democrats to say that Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence among its believers (68% vs. 30% of Democrats) and that Muslims should be subject to more scrutiny than people of other religions (49% vs. 20%).

Overall, 61 percent of those surveyed surveyed Muslims should not be subject to additional scrutiny solely because of their religion, while U.S. adults are closely divided on the question of whether Islam is more likely than other religions to encourage violence.

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While Americans appear to be wary of Muslims, they also display some conflicting views. For example, in a January, 2016 Pew survey, about half of Americans (49%) think at least “some” U.S. Muslims are anti-American, greater than the share who say “just a few” or “none” are anti-American. But the same survey also found that most Americans (59%) believe there is a lot of discrimination against Muslims in the U.S. today, and even more (76%) say discrimination against Muslims in the U.S. is on the rise.

Nearly half of U.S. adults (47%) say they do not personally know a Muslim, while a similar share (52%) do know at least one person who is Muslim.

A new report by the independent Economic Cycle Research Institute, covers a lot of economic ground with it statistics on employment and economics over the past nine years. But this sentence in the report stands out:

Whites actually have fewer jobs than nine years ago, while Hispanics, Blacks and Asians together gained all of the net jobs added, and more.

This editorial in the New York Times suggests that these statistics, the lopsided job gains that benefitted Americans of color over the past nine years, had an impact on the recent election. You know that Angry White Working Class voter? Turns out he had something to be angry about:

Despite accounting for less than 15 percent of the labor force, Hispanics got more than half of the net additional jobs. Blacks and Asians also gained millions more jobs than they lost. But whites, who account for 78 percent of the labor force, lost more than 700,000 net jobs over the nine years.

By the numbers, from November 2007 to November 2016:

- The U.S. economy has gained net 9 million jobs.

-  Whites experienced a net job reduction of more than 700,000 jobs.

-  Asian Americans gained close to 2.5 million jobs.

- Blacks gained a little over 2 millions.

- Latinos  gained almost 5 million net jobs.

Taking age into account, the numbers are even more shocking. Looking only at those of prime working age—25 to 54 years old—whites suffered a net job loss of 6.5 million. For Latinos, Asians, and blacks in the same age cohort, the net job gains were 3 million, 1.5 million, and 1 million respectively.

Part of it had to do with where the new jobs are concentrated vs. where the white people are concentrated, according to ECRI:

Part of the reason may be that these jobs, predominantly in services, were created in metropolitan areas, rather than in rural areas and small towns where factories were shuttered as the manufacturing jobs disappeared. There is little reason to expect that those jobs are coming back to those areas away from the urban centers.

Metropolitan areas gained jobs over the past nine years, while the rest of the country shed 2 percent. Trump won white working class voters decisively, which made the difference in heavily rural states and in non-urban areas of swing states like Wisconsin, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. Overall, among whites without a college degree, Trump won by 39 points. More importantly, he outperformed Mitt Romney by 14 points among that group.

A couple of things to point out:

- The data don’t show that, despite some ugly race-baiting, that non-whites “took white people’s jobs.”

- The data don’t suggest that things are great for most Americans of color.

- The data do not show that we hat we don’t need more investment in urban or metropolitan areas.

- The data do not show that all or most of the jobs gained were good, well-paying jobs.

What the data do suggest is that white resentment is based on some actual numbers. Though these working class (generally) whites didn’t have this study to go on, they have been perceiving the situation accurately  - that they have been left behind economically. This anger over this can take many unproductive forms, which we have seen. This can be lashing out with racism, a rise in opioid drug use, or, though we can disagree on this, voting for a “change candidate,” without much concern over whether that change candidate will deliver what they want, or just blow the whole system up.

Politically, both parties should pay attention to these numbers.

 

 

Donald Trump, the “Mexican illegals are rapists and murderers” candidate, is having an unintended effect on immigration in the U.S. According to multiple news outlets, Latinos are clamoring to get naturalized this year just to vote against him.

Figures from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services show a 14.5% jump in naturalization applications in June-December of 2015 compared with the same six months in the previous year. Federal data does not break down those applications by race, but grass-roots organizations, like the Florida Immigrant Coalition, say their naturalization drives across their swing state are filled primarily by Latinos.

“They feel very unsafe with his words,” said Florida Immigrant Coalition spokesman Ivan Parra. “They want to be respected. For them, it is an emergency.”

We’ve been hearing about this trend from other states as well. And it shouldn’t be surprising. Remember that 2013 Republican party post-mortem, after Latinos shunned Romney in the 2012 election? With Trump at the top of the ticket, if he is, the Republican party could be looking at shutting out Latinos for a generation or two. What does it take to awaken that “sleeping giant”? Maybe a candidate as toxic and hostile to non-whites as Trump.

No wonder the GOP establishment is trying so hard to stop him. Well, good luck with that. Seriously, good luck.

The 2016 election is fascinating and unprecedented for several reasons. One reason is that there are two Latinos running for the GOP nomination, and are considered to be favorites of the party establishment. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz are both freshmen senators, both are of Cuban ancestry, and both are sons of immigrants (though they don’t favor an easy pathway to citizenship for newcomers).

But that’s where the similarities end as far as how they wear their cultural heritage. This New York Times piece says that in their approach to their Hispanic identities — traits that can make or break their success in courting both Latino and non-Latino voters — the two sharply diverge, starting with their names and how Ted Cruze chose to anglicize his name.

His preference for Ted, a suggestion from Mr. Cruz’s Irish-American mother, infuriated his father, Rafael, who in 1957 fled Cuba for Texas after being arrested and beaten by agents for Fulgencio Batista, the Cuban dictator. “He viewed it as a rejection of him and his heritage, which was not my intention,” Mr. Cruz wrote. For two years, his father refused to call him Ted. Today, Mr. Cruz serves as his son’s Spanish-speaking surrogate.

The name change is but one example of how Mr. Cruz has de-emphasized his Latino identity. Unlike Mr. Rubio, Mr. Cruz had only his father and a few relatives to connect him to the island, its language and traditions. Once his father became a born-again Christian, religion, not ethnicity, appeared to dominate the Cruz household.

“His approach to all the people with whom we interacted was who they were, not what they were,” said David K. Panton, Mr. Cruz’s former roommate at Princeton University and Harvard Law School.

On the stump, Mr. Cruz has embraced his Cuban father’s story, more for what it says about America than what it says about immigrants. His father fled Cuba with $100 sewn into his underwear and worked as a dishwasher to help pay tuition at the University of Texas at Austin. “America, quite simply, saved my father,” Mr. Cruz wrote.

The story is a poignant one, but many Latinos have said it falls flat for one reason: The pride Mr. Cruz feels for his father is not one he extends to the larger immigrant community.

We would say to the GOP if they’re listening that they need to have a stronger understanding of the Latino communities in the U.S. There is a lot of talk in political circles about how Cruz or Rubio would attract Latinos just based on their roots. But the Latino community is hardly monolithic and, even more to the point, many Mexican-Americans could give a damn that a Cuban-American running for President.

If just having a Latino name on the ticket is the party’s idea of Latino outreach, they are going to be severely disappointed.

You’ve heard of Ben Carson by now. He’s the one besting Trump at the moment for the GOP nomination. Ben Carson who believes the pyramids in Egypt were built for storing grain among many, many other, um, questionable theories about everything.

He’s also a retired neurosurgeon. And he’s black. The second point is salient because he’s released a new rap ad aimed at young black voters.

Carson’s campaign enlisted a rapper, Aspiring Mogul, for the ad in the hopes of reaching young African-American voters “in a language that they prefer” and “in a cultural format that they appreciate.”

Oh, so it was for the black voters, not because Carson himself is black. Okay then. The GOP might see a chance to win over black voters with Carson. They head of a GOP Super PAC said so recently.

It would not take many black votes to complicate the Democrats’ electoral map. Neil Newhouse, a Republican pollster working for a super PAC supporting Bush, said in an e-mail that the “demographic challenges” facing the eventual GOP nominee are “real and significant,” but fixable.

“The payoff can be significant,” Newhouse said. “It doesn’t take much of a swing in minority votes to make a difference. Winning even 10 to 14 percent of African American votes in states like Ohio, Florida or Virginia could put those states in the GOP column in ’16.”

It’s rare for a Republican candidate to pick up more than 10 percent of the black vote in any election, anywhere in the country. Will Carson’s new appeal to young black voters? Remember, he has to win the nomination first, and young black voters – you know, the kind he thinks his rap video will appeal to – make up a negligible percentage of the GOP primary voters in GOP primaries. There are even fewer of them in Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two voting states, which have, interestingly, a very small black population statewide.

If he’s wooing primary voters with the video, he’s spent a lot of money to persuade – I think we’re being generous here – about a dozen voters. If it’s laying the groundwork for the general election, well, his investment may pay off.

There’s only one problem with a Carson candidacy though. His views on things – we are being less generous here – are crazy. Just. Crazy. It’s not just the pyramids comments. He doesn’t seem to have a scientific grasp on science.

But even that might not matter. If he’s really serious in reaching out to black voters, he has to reach out to Democrats and swing voters, because there just aren’t enough in the GOP to make a difference. And if that’s his long term plan, he may be crazy like a fox.

Remember way back to 2013, when Barack Obama had won re-election and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, captured an anemic share of the Latino vote? The Republican national party did a post-mortem on what went wrong, and came up with a must-do prescription: reach out to more African American, Asian, and Latino voters:

The $10 million outreach effort to includes hiring national political directors for Hispanic, Asian-Pacific and African American voters and elevating minorities within the party. “We’ve done a real lousy job sometimes of bragging about the success that we’ve had” with minorities, in particular Hispanic candidates, Priebus said. To target African Americans, he plans to launch a pilot project in 2013 mayoral races aimed at identifying and turning out potential supporters in urban areas.

Fast forward to summer of 2015. The GOP front-runner is a celebrity businessman who launched his bid for the nomination by calling Mexican immigrants rapists and murderers.

Not surprisingly, Gallup’s daily tracking poll finds Donald Trump doing unbelievably awful among Latino voters, with 65 percent viewing him unfavorably and 14 percent favorably for a net favorable score of -51.

Again, in a crowded GOP field, Trump is the front-runner. And he’s sucking up all the media oxygen. What’s more dispiriting to those who would like politicians of any party to engage in less incendiary rhetoric, the other GOP candidates are doing a “me too.”

Jeb Bush dropped the “anchor babies” bomb last week. You know, that’s where hordes of Mexican women cross the border and have their babies, thereby “anchoring” them in the U.S., giving them sweet, sweet, citizenship. It’s considered a pejorative, and frankly there’s not much evidence that this so-called practice is a big issue in immigration. But it sure does rile up nativist voters. Then this week Jeb launched his “insult every group” strategy by clarifying that in using the anchor babies term, he was really referring to Asians.

Oh yes, he did. Now, in 2015, walk-backs include a high kick to the face of someone else.

The GOP candidates are dancing to Trump’s tune. It’s ugly and it’s pathetic. And the longer it goes on the slimmer any GOP candidate’s chances are of capturing minority votes. So much for that 2013 post-mortem.

The latest flap includes Trump removing Gorge Ramos of Univision from his press conference. For trying to ask a question about Trump’s immigration plan, aside from his stated plan that “it’s all about management,” and “we’ll build a beautiful wall.”

“Go back to Univision,” he told Ramos. Sounds a little like “go back to Mexico,” doesn’t it?

The political site Talkingpointsmemo.com makes the case that Trump’s actions will have a scorched earth effect, keeping Latinos and other minorities away from the party not just in this election, but for many elections to come:

As the New York Times reported, it’s not just Ramos, but Spanish-speaking media on the whole has been more critical of Trump than general market news. Analysis by the nonpartisan media analytics company Two.42.Solutions showed that 80 percent of Spanish-speaking media coverage of Trump focused on his immigration views — as opposed to 58 percent of Trump’s mention in mainstream news — and that coverage has been largely negative, according to the Times.

According to a separate soon-to-be published study by Sergio I. Garcia-Rios, a Latino Studies professor at Cornell University, Latinos who pay close attention to Spanish-speaking media are more likely to be politically active.

“This is not only media, it is media in Spanish, and for the most part we understand that as being Jorge Ramos,” Garcia-Rios told TPM. “This is even among English speakers, who prefer to use English at home. Those who watch news in Spanish, they’re more likely to be excited about politics and more likely to participate.”

Yep. And they’re more likely to vote for the Democrat. If Trump prevails in winning the nomination, something unthinkable just a few months ago, he may have negative coattails, hurting GOP candidates’ chances down ticket across the country. The GOP will be seen as a white nativist anti-immigrant party, riding that tiger all the way to defeat for a generation.

 

It’s going to be a long campaign season.

Bernie Sanders, the insurgent candidate for the Democratic nomination for President against the frontrunner Clinton, just had his biggest rally so far. In Seattle, 15,000 came to hear him speak, dwarfing numbers for all Republican candidates’ rallies, and for most of Clinton’s.

But a funny thing happened at another rally. He wasn’t allowed to speak. The group Black Lives matter, an activist group that is agitating for police reform and the end to practices that have led to the deaths of scores of unarmed black men and women.

Sanders was the final speaker on a long program held at a city park. Shortly after he took stage, a small group of protesters from a Seattle chapter of Black Lives Matter took the microphone and demanded that the crowd hold Sanders “accountable” for not doing enough, in their view, to address police brutality and other issues on the group’s agenda.

After sharing a few local grievances with the crowd, including school disparities and gentrification in Seattle, the protesters asked for a period of silence to commemorate the one-year anniversary of Michael Brown being shot and killed during a confrontation with a police officer in Ferguson, Mo.

Event organizers allowed the period of silence, as some in the large crowd booed and shouted for the protesters to leave the stage. Afterward, Marissa Janae Johnson, who identified herself as a leader of the Black Lives Matter chapter in Seattle, asked the crowd to “join us now in holding Bernie Sanders accountable for his actions.” She motioned for Sanders to join her at the microphone.

After several minutes of frantic conversations, Sanders left the stage and greeted people in the large crowd who had turned out to see him. Many chanted his name.

Why Bernie? Why haven’t they gone after Clinton or any of the Republican nominees? Possibly because he’s a soft target. His events are open to the public. And on the GOP side, activists can say, “well they won’t listen to us anyway.”

BLM’s tactics have heated up left-leaning political blogs like Daily Kos, where there is a food fight over whether BLM is hurting a candidate thought by many to be a champion of minority rights and police reform, and definitely the most left-leaning candidate in the race. One diary writer is upset with those who are upset at BLM:

The notion that two protests against a single candidate by a non-centralized organization constitute a relevant statistical universe is absurd, but not as absurd as the hysteria that motivates jumping to the conclusion that BLM is a Clinton/Rove plot. It smacks of the same paranoid and patronizing bullshit handed out to ACT UP, all of it at bottom some version of “Behave, Fags, Behave”. I was there, and I remember it well.

I pray Black Lives Matter will keep protesting, keep interrupting, keep standing up, and keep acting up. I stand with Black Lives Matter, inconveniences–to Bernie, Hillary, or anyone else–be damned.

Black Twitter is also unhappy with the BLM protests.

Many Bernie supporters are also ardent supporters of BLM and racial justice. If there are many more interrupted events, there could very well be a rift between the factions.

At any rate, what’s clear is that BLM is determined to make an impact on the 2016 race one way or another.