Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Don't Worry Be Happy

It's a tale of two Ari's.... or of two Aris.

Media Matters has found former Bush 43 press secretary Ari Fleischer contending on Trump TV

There’s a bigger ethical issue I want to get to here, too. And I want to say this with a lot of sensitivity because these are sensitive issues. But high school behavior -- how much in society should any of us be held liable today when we lived a good life, an upstanding life by all accounts, and then something that maybe is an arguable issue took place in high school? Should that deny us chances later in life? Even for Supreme Court job, a presidency of the United States, or you name it. How accountable are we for high school actions, when this is clearly a disputable high school action? That’s a tough issue.

When a guy starts out "I want to say this with a lot of sensitivity," he should know to move his foot away from the open mouth it's about to enter, as when someone begins "I may be considered a racist for saying this but..."

One sharp tweeter noticed "when Brett Kavanaugh attempted to deny a 17-year-old immigrant an abortion, he believed that the decisions that you make as a minor ought to have lifelong consequences." Pondering whether committing sexual assault in high school should "deny us chances later in life," Will Bunch asks Bush's press secretary "how about attending the wrong wedding party during a U.S. drone strike?"

Fleischer maintained also

And if the right feels that Judge Kavanaugh is being a victim of something that's unfair and not provable, then it will probably fire up the right. If on the other hand if she comes across as eminently credible and he doesn't, then it's going to put a lot of pause into the right because you're going to think we just can't win. No matter what happens, it doesn't work.

In the Trump era, most Republicans would rather complain and whine (redundancy duly noted) than gloat. But gloat they may. Not only can the GOP win, it works the system to make sure as much as possible that it will.

Approximately nine months ago- for an article in its January/February 2017 issue- Mother Jones ran an article entitled "Rigged:How Voter Suppression Threw Wisconsin to Trump," Ari Berman evaluated the impact of Wisconsin's voter ID law, which required the registered voter to present a current driver's license, passport, or state or military ID. Enacted in 2011, it did not go into effect until the 2016 election because of court challenges. Berman writes

Neil Albrecht, Milwaukee’s election director, believes that the voter ID law and other changes passed by the Republican Legislature contributed significantly to lower turnout. Albrecht is 55 but seems younger, with bookish tortoise-frame glasses and salt-and-pepper stubble. (“I looked 12 until I became an election administrator,” he joked.) At his office in City Hall with views of the Milwaukee River, Albrecht showed me a color-coded map of the city’s districts, pointing out the ones where turnout had declined the most, including Anthony’s. Next to his desk was a poster that listed “Acceptable Forms of Photo ID.”

“I would estimate that 25 to 35 percent of the 41,000 decrease in voters, or somewhere between 10,000 and 15,000 voters, likely did not vote due to the photo ID requirement,” he said later. “It is very probable that between the photo ID law and the changes to voter registration, enough people were prevented from voting to have changed the outcome of the presidential election in Wisconsin.”

According to a comprehensive study by MIT political scientist Charles Stewart, an estimated 16 million people—12 percent of all voters—encountered at least one problem voting in 2016. There were more than 1 million lost votes, Stewart estimates, because people ran into things like ID laws, long lines at the polls, and difficulty registering. Trump won the election by a total of 78,000 votes in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.

A post-election study by Priorities USA, a Democratic super-PAC that supported Clinton, found that in 2016, turnout decreased by 1.7 percent in the three states that adopted stricter voter ID laws but increased by 1.3 percent in states where ID laws did not change. Wisconsin’s turnout dropped 3.3 percent. If Wisconsin had seen the same turnout increase as states whose laws stayed the same, “we estimate that over 200,000 more voters would have voted in Wisconsin in 2016,” the study said. These “lost voters”—those who voted in 2012 and 2014 but not 2016—”skewed more African American and more Democrat” than the overall voting population. Some academics criticized the study’s methodology, but its conclusions were consistent with a report from the Government Accountability Office, which found that strict voter ID laws in Kansas and Tennessee had decreased turnout by roughly 2 to 3 percent, with the largest drops among black, young, and new voters.

Sure, conservatives will be mad if Kavanaugh is defeated (highly unlikely) or has to drop out (much more likely). It's what they are. And maybe it will reinforce the paranoia of "we just can't win. No matter what happens, it doesn't work."  But the GOP has known for a few years now that they have two pathways to victory: a) win the votes of more minorities, especially hispanics; or b) get hispanics and young people not to vote. (B) won for them in 2016, and an honest Ari Fleisher would tell Trump TV viewers "Don't worry. We got this."

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