Non-Voters Were the Majority in 2010, Says New Study

Cross-posted at Project Vote's blog, Voting Matters.

"It is fair to say that 2010 was the year of older, rich people." That's the conclusion of a new research memo from Project Vote, "An Analysis of Who Voted (and Who Didn’t Vote) in the 2010 Election," by Dr. Lorraine Minnite. It finds that wealthier voters and Americans over the age of 65 surged to the polls in 2010, and increased their support for the Republican party, while young voters and minority voters (who strongly favor Democrats) dropped off at higher rates than in 2006.

Two years ago, African-Americans, lower-income Americans, and young Americans all participated in the 2008 presidential election in decisive numbers, making it the most diverse electorate in history. In 2010, however, these historically underrepresented groups were underrepresented again, as they (in common with most Americans) largely stayed home. Non-voters were the majority in 2010, a fact that "throws cold water on any victor’s claims for a mandate."

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The 2010 Election: Debate - A Glimpse At the Local Level

This is a glimpse into what the 2010 election looked like at the local level, and what a Central New York Tea Partier has in store for CNY if she wins.  I started research for this blog after the debate took place. It took me a long time to finish because I did my own transcription of the audio, and so the election in New York's 25th Congressional District had already taken place at the time this is being published.  The election is close here in the 25th, Onondaga County, where the majority lives came in heavy for Democrat Dan Maffei, but Wayne County where Tea Party Republican Ann Marie Buerkle had success gave her a slight lead of 625 votes. We are now waiting for the results from absentee ballots, a good deal of which are military, but most are from Onondaga County. This race got some national attention. American Crossroads GPS, Karl Rove's group targeted Maffei, and Sarah Palin endorsed Buerkle. However, President Clinton gave Dan his endorsement, and Democrats heavily supported Maffei.

This is a glimpse into what the 2010 election looked like at the local level, and what a Central New York Tea Partier has in store for CNY if she wins. 

 

I started research for this blog after the debate took place. It took me a long time to finish because I did my own transcription of the audio, and so the election in New York's 25th Congressional District had already taken place at the time this is being published. 

 

The election is close here in the 25th, Onondaga County, where the majority lives came in heavy for Democrat Dan Maffei, but Wayne County where Tea Party Republican Ann Marie Buerkle had success gave her a slight lead of 625 votes. We are now waiting for the results from absentee ballots, a good deal of which are military, but most are from Onondaga County.

 

This race got some national attention. American Crossroads GPS, Karl Rove's group targeted Maffei, and Sarah Palin endorsed Buerkle. However, President Clinton gave Dan his endorsement, and Democrats heavily supported Maffei.

 

 

Dan Maffei is his own man on many of the issues that were before Congress these past two years. He has his own issues concerning healthcare, like the rest of us do, but he voted for it. He didn't run on it, but in this debate, he didn't back away from it. He went after Buerkle on it. He showed backbone, and he called Buerkle on her nonsense.

 

But this is mostly a picture of what the Tea Party influence on Republicans looks like at the CNY level. Later in this post I attempt to show how much of a cookie-cutter candidate Buerkle is. Pray that she doesn't win, and if she should, please tell me if your "representative" looks something like her.

 

I only saw the first debate between Dan Maffei and Ann Marie Buerkle, but already I was disturbed by Mrs. Buerkle's views as she expressed them that night. 

 

Are we to return to the Nineteenth Century? Every response that Mrs. Buerkle gave was an indication that her answer to everything is in typical Tea Party fashion: to localize, and privatize. She seems to assume that experts are always wrong, and that the local hardy pioneers have an innate sense of what's right, and will always know what to do. Would that this were true.

 

One of the main questions that night dealt with education. 

 

In a world where we have been outcompeted for decades by nations like Japan and France, who have national programs to improve the quality of education for their youth, Buerkle's response is to eliminate the Department of Education:

 

I have come out in favor of abolishing the Department of Education. I believe, and I think that the movie "Waiting for Superman" is an indictment of the Department of Education.

 

And her remedy for the dismal state of our education?

 

The authority and the money should be given to back to the states, to the local governments. They know what's best for their communities. The Tenth Amendment provides for that. It's a state's rights issue.

 

"It's a state's rights issue?" That's funny because later in that same debate Mrs. Buerkle responds to the propriety of giving emergency funding to states for education this way:

 

Well, the situation with that $26 billion, $36 billion that was spent was that it was a bailout for the states for their bad behavior. They rewarded the states and they let then, and they gave them money to bail them out for their poor behavior, and their inability to have a budget and to pay their teachers.

 

Well, which is it Mrs Buerkle? You don't trust the federal government to help with the job, you invoke the Tenth Amendment, and yet you blame the states as well for the debacle? 

 

I see! It's the innate sense of the everyday parent that will save the day! Provided that parent has lots of money and can send their children to Mrs. Buerkle's great panacea - the private school. 

 

But let Mrs. Buerkle continue:

 

It's, if we're truly interested in educating our kids, and we want to do what's best for them, we let the parents make their choices. And I disagree with Dan, because if we enhance public education, and we give people a choice with private education. No child is left behind. That's the private sector getting involved. That's competition in the public schools. That's encouraging all youths to do well.

 

Of course, Mrs. Buerkle who wants to cut taxes will no doubt be at a loss to tell us how she intends to guarantee the vouchers that she promises will equalize parent's with less means chances to get into private schools. Those same schools that will continue to keep their own criteria for accepting or rejecting students for their specialized product. Not everyone deserves to make it into Mrs Buerkle's edu-paradise. 

 

You see, I think that Dan Maffei has this one right. The reason why we have public schools, the reason why each community should fight for it's local schools is that they belong to all of us. They are where the rest of us can get that chance that Mrs. Buerkle's Tea Party cohorts would deny us. 

 

And I'd like to know what will happen in the Tea Party paradise to other things like civil rights once federal involvement is diminished. Title 9 for instance, that enforces a women's right to an equal education in sports and athletic activity? Not to mention the various other guarantees of the civil rights that from time to are violated on the local level by well-meaning school boards?

 

At least Maffei has it right when he says that when he calls into question the reliability of admissions to private schools:

 

The public schools is where we all go. I don't know maybe I'm biased because I got a public school education, and it did just fine by me, or at least I think so. But I think that we need to focus on the public school for everybody. You know, the one great thing about the No Child Left Behind was that name, No Child Left Behind. With Mrs. Buerkle, it'd be a triage. It's like, 'Okay, we can save some kids. Maybe get them some sort of voucher to get them into private schools, but the rest? That's too bad!'.

"Working with the parents," Dan said,

and working with the local community. I think that's the best way to improve our schools. As a cooperative approach. Not: "We're going to go on our own. We're going to have private schools. And we'll starve public schools, and yes guess what? Eventually they will disappear." And even at the beginning of our republic, it was a national priority to make sure that people were well educated and everybody was well educated in a democracy.

 

As far as healthcare is concerned, I've a bone to pick with Buerkle. Is she serious when she says that when said: "We need to defund it. We need to repeal it?" Is she serious when she says: "It creates 16,000 new IRS positions.? 

 

First of all, she was wrong we she said that nobody wanted healthcare. That was not what the public said when 75% of the people in the US said they wanted a public option. Obama's big mistake was in not fighting hard enough for this. 

 

As for those 16,000 new IRS agents, here's the simple math: it's not all for tax law enforcement. Administrative costs are also part of the effort. You need to move the paperwork around. Secretaries, clerks, data researchers, IT specialists are necessary. The assumption that the money allocated to the IRS for creating the healthcare system is all for auditing is either erroneous, or willfully misleading. As Factcheck stated:

 

No desks? First, they assume that all the new "administrative" spending projected by CBO would go for payroll and benefits — without any allowance for desks, computers, office rent, utilities, travel or other overhead costs necessary to run any government enterprise. The partisan analysts simply divided the spending (which they figured could be $1.5 billion per year once the law is fully effective) by the current average payroll cost for the entire IRS workforce.

 

Also not taken into account by these so-called analysts is the fact that pay raises are inevitable.

 

No pay raises? The second false assumption is that there will be no inflation or pay raises over the next decade. They apply fiscal 2009 cost figures to budgets for 2014 through 2019. In fact, CBO currently projects that the Employment Cost Index will rise 1.4 percent next year and reach 3 percent per year in 2015 and thereafter. Even if the partisan analysis is valid, that would further reduce the maximum number that could be hired by another 1,000 in 2014, and by about 2,800 in 2019, by our calculations.

 

The sad truth is that Mrs. Buerkle's positions on these matters are not her's alone, but the sad delusions of a party so in denial that it wants to wish us all back to a mythical age where everything was simple, and we all knew our place. 

 

Are her positions any different from those of Rand Paul? No.

 

I would rather the local schools decide things. I don’t like the idea of somebody in Washington deciding that Susie has two mommies is an appropriate family situation and should be taught to my kindergardener at school. That’s what happens when we let things get to a federal level. I think I would rather have local school boards, teachers, parents, people in Paduka deciding about your schools and not have it in Washington.

 

Concerning healthcare, Sharon Angle's website has this to say:

 

Defunding ObamaCare is essential to the economic survival of the United States.

 

And she goes on to list what she would replace it with:

 

Sharron Angle suggests the followings possible solutions, which could be implemented across the nation, for the reduction of healthcare costs:   

 

Elimination of coverage mandates

Expanded client pools

Tort reform

Purchasing insurance across state lines

Tax credited health savings accounts

 

Sound familiar Central New York? 

 

Onondaga County with a city like Syracuse cannot afford the Tea Party. We are like a little Rust Belt in that jobs have gone away since Reagan. Solvay Process, New Process Gear to name a few. The city got saddled with an unfinished Destiny USA because the developer Robert Congel sapped us of money. And the Congels of the world are who Ann Marie Buerkle wants to trust the future of our country with? When the Tea Party-ers realize that they will have to entrust the health of their toddlers to an unregulated hospital, they will soon understand the value of good government. And maybe Mrs. Buerkle might take a second look this government she so much opposes that she wishes to join it. 

 

 

ADDENDUM:

 

I just heard about Keith Olbermann's suspension, and am asking anyone who reads this to boycott MSNBC until they put him back!

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How'd That Bipartisanship Thing Work Out For You?

I'd like to ask all of the people who thought trying to reach out to Republicans in a bipartisan manner would be a good idea -- Rahm Emanuel and Barack Obama in particular -- how'd that work out for you?

Could the effort at bipartisanship over the last two years have been a bigger disaster? The Democrats allowed the Republicans to make their case for two straight years while Democrats laid down their arms. And it turns out the voters didn't know why they should vote for the Democrats. Surprise, surprise.

The Republicans on the other hand went with complete and utter partisanship -- and it worked! If the Obama White House trusts one more idiot in Washington who says they should try reaching consensus with the Republicans, then they deserve the ass kicking they'll get next time around, too.

We had a Republican strategist on our show tonight and with incredibly honesty he admitted that the idea of "bipartisanship" is something that only benefits Republicans because they never really engage in it and they get the Democrats to do what they want (you can watch it here at the 6:39-7:48 mark). How stupid do you have to be to keep falling into that trap?

I guess as stupid as Mark Penn, who of course predictably calls for Obama to do just that -- again -- for the next two years. But Penn isn't stupid (the Democrats aren't stupid either, they're just supposed to be the patsies that lose to the Republicans in this big corporate game that's being played on us). Penn loves the corporatist, pro-Wall Street, Republican policies and is just using the results of this election to push for them as he did when he was running Hillary Clinton's campaign. How did that work out for him? Oh yeah.

Rush Limbaugh pushed the Republicans to fight and not give an inch to the Democrats. That strategy unfortunately worked. However much you might love the idea of bipartisanship, it has proven to be a terrible political strategy. Exactly as we said in the beginning of the Obama administration, the Republicans had no desire to work with the president on anything. We said the only thing they would want to do is to tear him down. We were right.

That's the Washington reality. If President Obama doesn't adjust to that fact and start fighting back, the next two years are going to be brutal.

Watch The Young Turks Here

Follow Cenk Uygur on Twitter: www.twitter.com/TheYoungTurk
Become a Fan of The Young Turks on Facebook: www.facebook.com/tytnation

 

 

How'd That Bipartisanship Thing Work Out For You?

I'd like to ask all of the people who thought trying to reach out to Republicans in a bipartisan manner would be a good idea -- Rahm Emanuel and Barack Obama in particular -- how'd that work out for you?

Could the effort at bipartisanship over the last two years have been a bigger disaster? The Democrats allowed the Republicans to make their case for two straight years while Democrats laid down their arms. And it turns out the voters didn't know why they should vote for the Democrats. Surprise, surprise.

The Republicans on the other hand went with complete and utter partisanship -- and it worked! If the Obama White House trusts one more idiot in Washington who says they should try reaching consensus with the Republicans, then they deserve the ass kicking they'll get next time around, too.

We had a Republican strategist on our show tonight and with incredibly honesty he admitted that the idea of "bipartisanship" is something that only benefits Republicans because they never really engage in it and they get the Democrats to do what they want (you can watch it here at the 6:39-7:48 mark). How stupid do you have to be to keep falling into that trap?

I guess as stupid as Mark Penn, who of course predictably calls for Obama to do just that -- again -- for the next two years. But Penn isn't stupid (the Democrats aren't stupid either, they're just supposed to be the patsies that lose to the Republicans in this big corporate game that's being played on us). Penn loves the corporatist, pro-Wall Street, Republican policies and is just using the results of this election to push for them as he did when he was running Hillary Clinton's campaign. How did that work out for him? Oh yeah.

Rush Limbaugh pushed the Republicans to fight and not give an inch to the Democrats. That strategy unfortunately worked. However much you might love the idea of bipartisanship, it has proven to be a terrible political strategy. Exactly as we said in the beginning of the Obama administration, the Republicans had no desire to work with the president on anything. We said the only thing they would want to do is to tear him down. We were right.

That's the Washington reality. If President Obama doesn't adjust to that fact and start fighting back, the next two years are going to be brutal.

Watch The Young Turks Here

Follow Cenk Uygur on Twitter: www.twitter.com/TheYoungTurk
Become a Fan of The Young Turks on Facebook: www.facebook.com/tytnation

 

 

Campaign Cash: Citizens United Becomes Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card for Corporate Criminals

by Zach Carter, Media Consortium blogger

The votes are in, and while some close races are still being tallied, there is a clear winner from the 2010 elections: Secret corporate cash.

Such unaccounted for political donations may end up allowing those accused of wrongdoing to go free. As Joshua Holland details for AlterNet, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission may have provided a lifetime supply of get-out-of-jail-free cards to corporate criminals.

The Kentucky senate race serves as a prime example. The Democratic candidate, Jack Conway, is currently Kentucky’s attorney general. Conway is also currently prosecuting a nursing home for allegedly covering up the sexual abuse of one of its residents.

But that nursing home is owned by Terry Forcht, a millionaire who gives prodigiously to right-wing causes. He poured money into Karl Rove’s organization, American Crossroads GPS, which ran ads backing Conway’s Republican opponent, Rand Paul. Guess who came away with the victory last night?

As Holland emphasizes, the mid-term elections are just how the first phase of the justice system’s corruption plays out. Eventually the mere threat of attack ads could be enough to prevent needed prosecutions. Corporate bigwigs could literally get away with murder, and pay for it only through attack ads.

 

Think this is bad? Just wait for 2012

As David Corn details for Mother Jones, the Supreme Court’s ruling has put American democracy in grave danger. This year’s big spending is just a warm-up for the 2012 presidential election. Karl Rove has already pledged to keep running attack ads after the mid-terms, and there’s no doubt that he’ll make good on that. As Corn emphasizes, this issue doesn’t just affect how campaigns are financed—it will permanently reshape the very nature of American elections.

The permanent, neverending campaign will become even more permanent and neverending. These big-and-secret-money groups will be working 24/7, opposing and discrediting President Barack Obama and the Democrats in the so-called off-year and then revving up for the 2012 presidential and congressional elections. The negative ads never have to stop.

That, ultimately, is the major take-away from last night’s elections. Not the number of seats Republicans picked up in the House, or the Tea Party’s ability to infiltrate the Senate, but the formal incorporation of American politics. With literally no limits on the amount of money they can spend to influence elections, corporations and secret billionaires are going to be tipping the democratic scales wherever they smell profit.

That means it will be much, much harder for politicians of any ideological stripe to solve society’s problems. The richest corporations have the most political purchasing power, and the companies with the most money are those that have thrived under the status quo—however destructive that state of affairs may be to society at large. This money will go to keeping things the way they are—not toward creating jobs, improving education, expanding access to health care, stopping ecological catastrophe or anything else.

Citizens United 101

We spoke with Jesse Zwick of The Washington Independent about the nuts and bolts of Citizens United and secret campaign cash. In the below video, Zwick details the potential impact of secret money—and how citizens and legislature can curb the effects of this historic ruling.

Bare-bones, anti-Citizens United legislation might still have a shot

So what can be done? Earlier this year, Republicans successfully filibustered legislation that would have forced corporations to disclose their political spending and require front-groups to divulge the identities of their donors. But as Jesse Zwick emphasizes for The Washington Independent, there’s still one more opportunity to push a bare-bones version of the bill through Congress. Democrats will retain their broad Congressional majorities until January 2011, when the candidates elected last night formally take up office. If Democrats see which way the corporate wind is blowing, they’ll flex their political muscles one last time to get a disclosure bill through Congress. There are many things that people are reluctant to do in public that they have the political right to do. If lawmakers can remove the anonymity from corporate and elite political spending, some of the Citizens United damage could be reversed.

If not, 2012 is going to be even uglier than last night.

But wait, there’s more!

  • Amie Newman of RH Reality Check reports that a last-minute mailer funded by outside group The Citizens for Responsible Spending attacked Washington state Sen. Rodney Tom, citing his pro-women’s rights and pro-LGBT positions. Tom ended up losing his seat last night.
  • California upheld its environmental protection law by defeating Proposition 23, despite the fact that oil companies funneled nearly $10 million to pass the measure, reports Kate Sheppard at Mother Jones.
  • As Dave Gilson details for Mother Jones, outside spending worked overwhelmingly in favor of Republican candidates in key races.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about the mid-term elections and campaign financing by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit The Media Consortium for more articles on these issues, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit, The Mulch, The Pulse, and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

 

 

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