Why Americans Vote ‘Against Their Interest’: Partisanship

The following article by Amanda Taub was posted on the New York Times website April 12, 2017:

Kyle Lloyd, 40, wore a painted “Dump Trump” message at a protest in Philadelphia in January. Credit Mark Makela/Getty Images

Working-class Americans who voted for Donald J. Trump continue to approve of him as president, even though he supported a health care bill that would disproportionately hurt them.

Highly educated professionals tend to lean Democratic, even though Republican tax policies would probably leave more money in their pockets.

Why do people vote against their economic interests?

The answer, experts say, is partisanship. Party affiliation has become an all-encompassing identity that outweighs the details of specific policies.

“Partisan identification is bigger than anything the party does,” said Frances Lee, a professor at the University of Maryland who wrote a book on partisan polarization. Rather, it stems from something much more fundamental: people’s idea of who they are. (more…)

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Al Franken may be the perfect senator for the Trump era — a deadly serious funnyman

The following article by Karen Tumulty was posted on the Washington Post website March 18, 2017:

It was a half-hour before one of the sparsely attended committee hearings that take place almost every day on Capitol Hill — in this case, a session on energy infrastructure so dry it would not merit even the presence of a C-SPAN camera.

But in Al Franken’s suite of offices in the Hart Senate Office Building, the man still known best as one of the early stars of “Saturday Night Live” was going through an intense rehearsal with four aides. (more…)

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For Congressional Republicans, Wall Street Trumps Main Street

AP/J. Scott Applewhite House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Reps. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and Steve Scalise (R-LA) arrive for a Republican strategy session on Capitol Hill, November 13, 2014.

Less than one decade ago, during the final two years of the George W. Bush administration, the United States went through what was in absolute terms the worst financial crisis it has ever experienced. When President Barack Obama entered office, the United States was losing close to 700,000 jobs each month.1 By the end of the crisis, more than $19 trillion in wealth had been lost, unemployment had reached a peak of 10 percent, home prices had declined an average of 35 percent, and more than 10 million homes had been lost due to foreclosure or distressed sales.2 This was a tsunami of economic devastation by any measure, and many Americans are still recovering today. Yet, even before Americans have fully cleared the wreckage from this past crisis, congressional Republicans are trying to roll back large portions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act—the signature financial protections put in place to prevent another such crisis from occurring.3 (more…)

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Sen. Franken Assails Effort by New FCC Chair to Cut Off Broadband Help for Low-Income Families, Veterans, Seniors

Senator and Colleagues Say Move will Deprive Americans of Ability to Communicate, Look for Work, Complete Schoolwork, Access Vital information

Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) assailed a decision by the new Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that could make it harder for low-income Americans to access affordable broadband internet services.

In a letter, Sen. Franken, along with several Senate colleagues, pressed Chairman Ajit Pai to reverse his decision to stop nine broadband providers from being part of the federal Lifeline program. For decades the program has helped millions of low-income families, military veterans, and elderly Americans afford basic phone service. In 2016, the program was modernized and began to offer support for broadband use in Minnesota and across the country.

Last week, Chairman Pai, who was elevated recently to the commission’s chairmanship by President Trump, informed nine broadband providers that they can no longer provide a $9.25-per-month subsidy to qualified customers. The decision could mean that some needy families will lose the broadband services they need to communicate, access health care information, search for jobs, or complete school assignments. (more…)

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5 Republican Disgraces You Missed This Week

The following article by Jacob Sugarman was posted on the AlterNet website Feburary 18, 2017:

Jason Chaffetz isn’t even masking his villainy anymore.

(Credit: AP/Rick Bowmer)

Each day in Donald Trump’s America is seemingly dumber, crueler and more exhausting than the one that preceded it. This week alone saw the president’s pick for labor secretary withdraw his name from consideration, a story that was all but eclipsed by the greater scandal of Michael Flynn’s resignation from the National Security Council amid charges of collusion with the Russian government.

While it’s tempting to believe the centrifugal force of Trump’s cracked brand of authoritarianism will pull his presidency apart, the reality is that he remains enormously popular with Republican voters, and the party’s craven politicians are unlikely to take any kind of action that could alienate them. Even if he were miraculously impeached or removed from office through the 25th Amendment, America would be left with Mike Pence, arguably an even darker fate than our present dystopia. (more…)

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Sen. Amy Klobuchar, state’s Democrats want open investigation of Trump Russia ties

The following article by Allison Sherry was posted on the Star Tribune website February 20, 2017:

Sen. Amy Klobuchar is diving into the boiling controversy over Russia and President Donald Trump, vowing to leverage what she said are strong alliances with her Republican colleagues to push for an independent investigation.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., spoke while Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for attorney general, gave testimony during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing for Sessions’ confirmation on Capitol Hill, in Washington, Jan. 10, 2017.

– Sen. Amy Klobuchar is diving into the boiling controversy over Russia and President Donald Trump, vowing to leverage what she said are strong alliances with her Republican colleagues to push for an independent investigation into possible ties between the new administration and America’s global rival.

“Why did all of this happen? Why was the Trump campaign so focused on placating Russia and making them happy when they have been ruthless to our allies and ruthless trying to attack us?” Klobuchar said.

The resignation last week of Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, after revelations he communicated with Russian officials and then lied about it to Vice President Mike Pence are “a major problem for our government, and it makes it look like we don’t know what we’re doing,” Klobuchar said. (more…)

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In Congress, Republicans Are Starting To Fret

The following article by Lisa Mascaro of the Tribune Washington Bureau was posted on the National Memo website February 18, 2017:

The relationship between President Donald Trump and GOP leaders in Congress started as a marriage of convenience, thrown together by necessity and sustained on the promise of pushing a Republican agenda into law.

Until recently, House Speaker Paul D. Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell tolerated Trump’s turbulent debut because they agreed with the direction the White House was heading — or were confident they could nudge it in the desired one. (more…)

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Obamacare

The following article was posted on the TrumpAccountable.org website February 15, 2017:

In 2015 Republicans in Congress overwhelmingly passed a measure to repeal Obamacare. The repeal package, embedded in a budget reconciliation bill, never had a chance to become law as long as President Obama was in office and could veto it.

Now that Republicans have both chambers of the legislative branch and the executive branch, why don’t they simply roll out the same repeal package, that also defunded Planned Parenthood, and vote on it? It seems easy, doesn’t it? (more…)

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Untitled

English teachers beginning in the earliest grades demand that students writing essays or research papers support assertions with fact or expert opinion. Part of becoming a thoughtful, engaged citizen, the argument goes, is being able to make an argument and back it up with credible sources. An English teacher will often write in the margin of a draft of a research paper “It looks like you lack support for this assertion,” or “How did you draw this conclusion?”

Candidate Trump often employed unearned assertions throughout the campaign against his primary opponents and Hillary Clinton. As President of the United States, Donald Trump can no longer make unfounded assertions and a number of his most remarkable assertions demand evidence and further investigation. (more…)

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