Ronald Reagan said, "Hispanics are already Republican. They just don't know it yet.", and apparently they still haven't learned in Texas. For Republicans trying to connect with Hispanics there seems to be only bad news, and now a new poll suggests it's reflective of an actual disconnect Hispanics feel with the GOP. For the survey PAC+ interviewed 2,685 randomly selected registered Hispanic voters in Texas counties with the highest number of Latino eligible voters: Bexar, Dallas, Tarrant, El Paso and Harris. The findings give support to a major part of Democrats plan to take back Texas -- register and turnout Latino voters. According to pollster Dr. Julie Martinez Ortega, "Latino voters make up 43% of the 'Texas Blue' vote,".
Republicans most straightforward pitch to Hispanics has been to try and co-identify as "conservative" and play up shared family values. It appears that whatever assumptions about shared values Republicans made were incorrect. When asked, "When it comes to social issues -- such as religion, abortion and same-sex marriage -- which party do you generally think does the best job of representing your views? Democrats or Republicans?", 58% said Democrats and only 24% identified with Republicans. This backs up other recent polls that show Hispanics by large margins support a woman's right to end her pregnancy. Adriana Maestas, of the National Latina Institute of Reproductive Health, gave an early warning to Republicans over their "conventional wisdom" on Hispanics and social issues prior to the 2012 election when she said, "...if the GOP continues to reach out to Latino voters based on the perceived social agenda. These kinds of messages may not be well received this election year." She was correct as 58% of those survey by PAC+ supported Obama and only 24% supported Romney.
On economic issues, "like jobs, the economy, and immigration", Hispanics still identified most with Democrats at 57%. One of the most successful tools Republicans have used is recruiting Hispanic candidates. A majority of respondents said they were more likely to vote for a candidate because they were "Hispanic", with 44% saying they would be much more likely. Senator Ted Cruz accordingly got 32% of the Hispanic vote, but 21% of those surveyed actually thought he was a Democrat. Recruits or not, Republicans' hardline positions on issues like immigration and voter ID laws are likely to blunt any gains from individual candidates. A whopping 71% believe that "discrimination against Latinos" is a problem in the United States, with 36% saying it was a "big" problem. When asked about "voter suppression", 59% said if they knew it was happening it would make them more likely to vote.
The U.S. Economy shrank for the first time since 2009. There are many technical reasons beyond the scope of this post why the 0.1% drop is not as bad as it may initially seem. That said, this could be a mini-preview of the upcoming cliff. Sequestration, the severe and draconian cuts to both social programs and defense would make the United States, Europe on steroids as our downturn could trigger cataclysmic world financial events only surpassed by that which was inflicted by the doings of the titans of finance, during our most recent financial crisis in 2008. If massive cuts to education, public safety, and high-tech research that occurs automatically under the sequester go into effect then the real cliff is a certainty.
After already forcing trillions in cuts, causing layoffs, and strangling our economic growth, Republicans in Congress want to force European-style austerity on America -- inviting another recession. Cutting investments in our home front takes work away from companies that do business with our government and money out of the pockets of regular people who keep our stores thriving and hiring. We should cut waste, not jobs. Cut what we don't need like corporate tax loopholes, Pentagon pork, and Big Oil subsidies -- instead of dragging down our economy by cutting the things we do need.
Given that money borrowed under current rates are minimal, now is the time to start massive infrastructure rebuilding which will restart our economy, increase the tax base, and move the country towards the future. America use to be the bastion of modernity. America was the place where its vast technology benefitted the middle class. Why then are foreign cities like Shanghai where one goes to see technological prowess in action?
It is time that America gets a peace dividend. Even disparate defense think tanks, some conservative thinkers, and some Republicans in Congress reached common ground on defense cuts. The process of reducing the military budget needs to happen in a responsible way that supports affected families and communities. There's no shortage of valuable work that our country needs done -- from repairing crumbling roads, bridges, and schools, to spurring high-tech work like designing and building a smart grid and renewable energy technology. As such, investments in transitioning the workforce to a domestic modal is essential.
Instead of reshaping the Pentagon to fight 21st century threats, Republicans in Congress are insistent on protecting million dollar CEO salaries and millionaire tax loopholes. At the same time they are pushing for draconian cuts in our home front by laying-off more Americans dollar-for-dollar than on Pentagon projects.
The U.S. economy shrunk slightly in the fourth quarter of last year, contracting by 0.1% instead of growing by 1% as analysts expected. It represents the first economic contraction since 2009. Republicans in Congress got us here by pushing for massive spending cuts that threw tens of thousands of Americans out of work, repeatedly threatening default, and strangling job creation efforts ever since President Obama took office. Pentagon spending ranks dead last as a way to create jobs compared to investing the same amount in health care, clean energy, or education. Yet they seem to show more concern for the defense sector than sectors that materially affect most Americans.
During the last debt ceiling hostage taking, congress passed $1.7 trillion in cuts in one bill alone -- about $2.50 in spending cuts for every $1 in new tax revenue. Most of this was cuts to our home front investments like our schools, public safety, disaster preparedness, and scientific research.
Most of these funding cuts come from our home front programs. These include essentially all federal efforts to keep our air, water, food, prescription drugs, consumer products, workplaces, and borders safe. It also includes funding for medical and scientific research, veterans' health care, nutrition and child care assistance to low-income families, the Smithsonian, and NASA.
Due to those funding cuts, and not counting the new funding cuts that begin in March, home front funding will drop to historic lows, almost 15% lower than its lowest point in the past 50 years. If the automatic spending cuts under sequestration go through in March, we will be cutting $4 in spending for every $1 in revenue. This means 80% of the total money will be paid for by middle-class and low-income families instead of the wealthiest Americans or big corporations.
With all the loopholes and special tax breaks afforded the wealthy and corporations in our tax code, finding the money to avoid the austerity cliff is obvious and easy to find. We must get $1 trillion in new revenue over 10 years by closing special loopholes and tax breaks.
Many seem to believe that passing some sort of comprehensive immigration reform will ensure that the drubbing Republicans took by the hands of Latinos specifically, but more broadly, from virtually all minorities will change their fate with these voters going forward. Those in the GOP, who will now allow the passage of comprehensive immigration reform solely under that tenet, may actually make the problem worse as Latinos and minorities will correctly assume that they are perceived as mentally shallow.
Jon Stewart's very funny yet truthful encapsulation of the current Republicans' utterances on immigration illustrates the impossible position the GOP is in. When each of their presidential candidates not only address undocumented immigrants, the ones that built their affordable homes, clean their homes affordably, mow their lawns affordably, and create and serve the meals they love economically, as less than, simply passing comprehensive immigration reform is not the answer. A Republican Congressman verbalizing "anything short of shooting them" when addressing the immigration issue presents a deeper issue than just immigration.
The following sequence is the most telling even though it was the least funny part of the funny monologue.
Why the sudden change Republicans? Perhaps you looked into your heart and realized that people who are willing to risk prison or worst just to do our least glamorous most dangerous work deserve at least a basic level of humanity?
McCain in his straight talk provides likely the biggest caricature.
I will give you a little straight talk. Look a thee last election. We are losing dramatically the Hispanic vote.
To which Stewart responds.
Craving political calculation to squeeze out enough votes to make Nevada competitive again...That's OK too. I am not sure that is the reason you are suppose to say out loud. You've come a long way. Well a way. The arch of history is long but it bends towards shamelessness.
Sometimes the likely conclusion is correct even from mostly false and degrading utterances. Republican Rep Lou Barletta in opposing any form of immigration reform said the following referencing the bipartisan framework.
"I hope politics is not at the root of why we're rushing to pass a bill. Anyone who believes that they're going to win over the Latino vote is grossly mistaken," Barletta said, according to the Morning Call. "The majority that are here illegally are low-skilled or may not even have a high school diploma. The Republican Party is not going to compete over who can give more social programs out. They will become Democrats because of the social programs they'll depend on."
There is nothing the Republican Party in its current form can do to win over minority votes. There is nothing they can do to increase their share of the women's vote. There is nothing they can do to win over the young vote. While many fail to see it immediately, the reason why that is, is that this sect is not much different in their absolutism and recessive-ness than the Taliban in a well-tailored suit, The American Taliban.
The Tea Party movement is dead. When an ant mound is poisoned and the queen dies there are still worker ants running around. However for all practical purposes, the mound is dead. That is the current state of the Tea Party.
The con artists that used the fear and ignorance of the Tea Party following minions to make millions of dollars on books, shows, conventions, and rallies are scrambling for the next issues ripe for exploitation. The immigration issue is losing traction. The fear of Obamacare is losing traction as more and more middle class Americans see the actual benefits. They have attempted to jump on the gun control issue. This may now be falling apart as the share violence America saw inflicted on its most innocent overtake the absolutist position of absolutely no gun regulations.
The above are words no Republican would utter even a year ago. As the American population has begun to awaken to the misinformation and outright lies of the Tea Party wing of the Republican Party, the voices that were too timid or cowardly to speak out will now not shut up. It is like an awakening out of the McCarthy era.
America is a resilient nation. Unfortunately there are times in its history when some would use fear of the unknown or a crisis to either do good (WWII, Moon Landing) or bad (Red Scare, Tea Party's short reign).
Sadly the short reign of the Tea Party has inflicted material harm to the country. The obstructionism they created stalled the recovery by not allowing the institution of real proven Keynesian stimuli. They forced the continuation of tax policies that incentivizes the transfer of wealth from the middle class to the wealthy. Some remnants of this destructive movement remain in the House and Senate, which means progress and recovery from their ill doings will be slow.
The 2012 election made much immediately evident. It showed that Americans are engaging more. They did not accept the misinformation that the mainstream media had given plausibility. They did not allow attempts of voter suppression to inhibit their democratic rights they fought for. They realized that a democracy requires engagement.
I want my congressperson to have a good insurance plan. I do not want my congressperson worried about his/her health or the health of his/her family. If my congressperson does not have to worry about his/her healthcare, he/she should be clear of mind to create policies that are beneficial to the middle class.
I want every American to have access to affordable health care insurance. I do not want any American worried about their health or their families' health. If Americans do not have to worry about their healthcare, they should be clear of mind to be productive, innovative, and liberated from any strings pulling them out of the middle class.
The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) forces congresspersons to get their taxpayer provided health insurance policies from Obamacare exchanges. Republicans in congress hate Obamacare which instituted health insurance exchanges similar to what every congressperson has. Inasmuch as Obamacare is based on both the successful Massachusetts healthcare law signed by Governor Mitt Romney and designed based on the Conservative Heritage Foundation tenets, Republicans voted to repeal it for the 33rd time.
Unless Americans decide to vote in Mitt Romney and a Republican Senate, Obamacare is fairly safe. As more Americans get Obamacare in 2014, they will see the truth as opposed to the lies and misinformation that moneyed interest and the Right Wing Republicans are pushing to mislead middle class Americans into voting against their own interest.
Democrats Mock GOP For Protecting Own Health Care In Repeal Vote
WASHINGTON -- Democrats are mocking Republicans in the House of Representatives for voting to repeal the health care reform law and keep their own enhanced medical care.
When Congress passed the health care law, it required members of Congress to get their insurance on exchanges with the rest of the public. But in voting to repeal that law, Republicans and a handful of Democrats were also voting to go back to the old system where the lawmakers get a sweeter deal than most of the rest of the country.
They also voted against a Democratic motion that said members of Congress who support repealing the health care law must also repeal the good stuff they get, such as lifetime care and insurance regardless of pre-existing conditions.
Democrats tried to demonstrate how Republicans distanced themselves from voting to protect their own deal by capturing a slew of GOP members on video saying they didn't vote to protect their own care, as seen below. The clip features a number of Republicans in tight races this year, as well as GOP budget guru, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.
"House Republicans refuse to admit they voted to give themselves taxpayer funded lifetime guaranteed health care instead of having the same health care as their constituents," said Jesse Ferguson, spokesman for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, referring to the fact that members of Congress are eligible for retirement benefits after just five years.
Public Policy Polling (PPP) has just released the results of a new poll of the Texas Senate runoff between Ted Cruz and Lt. Governor David Dewhurst. The poll finds Ted Cruz leading 49-44 with much more enthusiasm among his supporters.
Cruz's lead expands to a whooping 59-36 margin over Dewhurst among voters who describe themselves as 'very excited' about voting in the election. The lower turnout is, the better Cruz's chances will be. Dewhurst leads 51-43 with 'somewhat excited' voters and 50-36 with those who say they are 'not that excited.' The big question is whether those less enthused folks will actually bother to turn out or not.
If Cruz wins he can thank the Tea Party. He has a 71-26 advantage with that group and they are expected to make up 40% of the voters in the runoff. Dewhurst has a large lead with the 50% of voters who do not identify with the Tea Party but its still not enough to close the over whelming enthusiasm gap. Also notable is Cruz's 78-19 lead among hispanics, they represented 8% of those polled.
Just days ago the Dewhurst campaign released its own poll showing the Lt. Governor beating Cruz by 8 points. PPP initially gave Dewhurst the advantage in the runoff because of his primary performance (he beat Cruz 45-34) and also because Tom Leppert's (3rd highest vote getter) supporters suggested they would support the Dew over Cruz 77-13.
The overall tone of the race and momentum is swinging in Cruz's favor but as runoffs and low turnout elections go, enthusiasm is generally the best indicator.