Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Republicans Troubled By Clinton Donors See No Conflict With Own Dark Money

Paul Blumenthal reports for HuffPo.

For four months, the Republican Party and its many presidential hopefuls have laid into likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton over donations to a family foundation. That these attacks contradict the GOP's broader stand on campaign finance -- and call into question their own weighty burden of donor conflicts -- hasn't troubled them at all.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) called contributions to the nonprofit Clinton Foundation “thinly veiled bribes.” The nation can’t afford the “drama” represented by those donations, according to Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina asked Clinton to explain why contributions to the foundation “don’t represent a conflict of interest.” And the Republican National Committee has made the donations a central part of its campaign against Clinton.

Republicans, including those now running for president, defend dark money groups as a means to protect what they argue is the First Amendment right of donors to engage in political activity without "retaliation." Perhaps, that retaliation would come in the form of stories informing the public about how those donors are seeking to influence public policy.

Full story at HuffPo.

Imagine There's No More Religion

Three-quarters of Millennialls agree that present-day Christianity has “good values and principles,” but strong majorities also agree that modern-day Christianity is “hypocritical” (58%) and “judgmental” (62%). (PRRI)

Last week, Pew Research released a new survey finding a dramatic decline of Americans who affiliate with a church. That increase correlated strongly with the decrease in the number of Catholics, mainline Protestants, and evangelical Protestants over the past seven years.

Although a majority of Americans still identify as Christian, the decline in their number is widespread, occurring among the young and the old, black and white, well educated and not so well educated, in all regions of the country. In the poll, people were asked if they “identify” as Christian.

There are, according to Pew, now more Americans unaffiliated with religion than either mainline Protestants or Catholics. If the “nones” were a religious denomination, they would be the second largest in America, just after evangelical Christians. If the trend of the last seven years continues, the “nones” will become America's largest religious denomination by mid-century.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Senator Elizabeth Warren At California Democratic Convention

Senator Elizabeth Warren addresses the General Assembly at the 2015 California Democratic Convention on Saturday, May 16, 2015. Introduction from Democratic Party Chairman John Burton.

Burning Our Bridges - Republicans Oppose Public Infrastructure

Infrastructure is America’s backbone!  It’s the water supply to your home and the system of water reservoirs,it's the power lines feeding electricity to your home from the electrical generation grid, it's the street in front of your home connecting you with the roads and bridges of your community and the interstate highway system; It's the nation's seaports, airports, communication systems, power plants, schools, water and sewage systems, energy pipelines, railways, National Parks and lands, and more.

Infrastructure, in a word, defines all the public systems and services that allows our American society and economy to function.

It is nearly impossible to keep track of the myriad ways America is falling behind the rest of the industrialized world due to Republican opposition to progress and refusal to invest even a penny in the nation's infrastructure or its people. It is not, as Republicans claim, that America is broke; not when Republicans always find money to give the rich and corporations tax cuts, or devote well over half of the nation’s annual spending for defense despite the nation is not at war. Just last month, House Republicans, en masse, voted for another $269 billion tax giveaway to the wealthiest 0.2% Americans by repealing the estate tax.

Snapchat To Be Huge In 2016 Election

As he gears up for a presidential run, former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley held a conference call with donors and supporters Thursday night, informing them that he would make some kind of announcement on May 30.

O’Malley also had a message — and an exclusive photo — for his followers on Snapchat. “Stay tuned for May 30th…” he said, referring to the date when he’ll announce whether or not he’ll challenge former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination.

O’Malley, who is widely expected to run, is one of a handful of politicians experimenting with Snapchat, a messaging app that has exploded in popularity over the past year. O’Malley’s team has found it useful — along with the streaming app Periscope — to engage a broad audience. They’ll post candid photos and videos of O’Malley’s impromptu guitar-playing on the stump, for example.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Kentucky), who declared his candidacy for the Republican nomination last month, has been using the service for almost a year and a half in an attempt to garner support from young people — and young followers. Rep. Sean Duffy (R-Wisconsin), of “Real World” fame, is spearheading Snapchat’s use in the House of Representatives.

Other campaigns said tentative plans with Snapchat are in the works, or that they’re looking to the potential of experimenting with the service.

Combine that with the news that Snapchat has hired Peter Hamby, a well-respected CNN political reporter, to head its new news division. It’s a good bet that Snapchat stands to be the breakout app of the 2016 campaign, much in the same way other services like Twitter and YouTube have blossomed in the recent past.

Full Article: Why Snapchat Is Going To Be Huge In The 2016 Election | Fusion.

From Verified Voting

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The GOP Is Dying Out, Literally

There’s been much written about how Millennials are becoming a reliable voting bloc for Democrats, but there’s been much less attention paid to one of the biggest get-out-the-vote challenges for the Republican Party heading into the next presidential election: Increasing numbers of traditional core GOP voters will no longer turn out to vote straight Republican, because they're are dying of old age.

Since the average Republican is significantly older than the average Democrat, far more Republicans than Democrats have died since the 2012 elections.

To make matters worse, the GOP is attracting fewer younger first-time voters. Millennials, born 1981 to 1997, now are larger in numbers than baby boomers, born 1946 to 1964. How they vote makes the big difference.

In 2012, there were about 13 million young citizens in the 15-to-17 year-old demo group who will be eligible to vote in 2016. The previous few presidential election cycles indicate that about 45-48 percent of these new young potential voters will actually vote, yielding about 6 million new voters in total.

Exit polling in the 2012 and 2008 presidential elections indicate that youngest age bracket split about 65 percent to 35 percent in favor of the Democratic Party candidate in the past two elections. If that split holds true in 2016, Democrats will have picked up a two million vote advantage among first-time voters. These numbers combined with the net among voter deaths Democrats and Republicans puts Republicans at an almost 2.5 million voter disadvantage going into 2016. Story published at Politico.

"The demographics race we're losing badly," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told the Washington Post. "We're not generating enough angry white guys to stay in business for the long term."  "A GOP coalition that relies almost entirely on whites could squeeze out one more narrow victory in November," Brownstein writes. "But if Republicans can't find more effective ways to bridge the priorities of their conservative core and the diversifying Next America, that weight will grow more daunting every year."

Life, Politics and the Millennial Generation

The 75.3 million strong “Millennial” generation surpassed the outsized 74.9 million Baby Boom generation this spring as the nation’s largest living generation.

More than one-in-three American workers today are Millennials (adults ages 18 to 34 in 2015), and this year they surpassed Generation X to become the largest share of the American workforce, according to new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. Around 40 percent of Millennials are of a minority or racially-mixed background.

Gen Xers are projected to remain the “middle child” of generations – caught between two larger generations of the Millennials and the Boomers. The Greatest and Silent generations, while smaller and now shirking, remain a powerful voting block because more than 70 percent of these groups vote in nearly every election.

Millennials are the first generation who have never known life without the internet. Growing up on the Internet, Millennials are used to going out and getting whatever they want. In many organizations, membership has dropped, prompting some to suggest that this generation simply aren’t ‘joiners.’ But in this same period volunteer activities have risen. What has become clear is that Millennials are more motivated by mission than any previous generation. While they will not show loyalty to an organization like previous generations did, they will show loyalty to a cause. Membership organizations must therefore articulate a clear and compelling cause, mission and purpose.”

As voters, Millennials are less engaged in the political process and hold contradictory or conflicting attitudes on many political issues, according to research by Reason-Rupe, Journalist's Resource, and PEW.
Pew Research Center study.
Millennials: 18 - 34 yrs old (born 1980-97)
Generation X: 35 - 50 yrs old (born 1965-80)
Baby Boomers: 51 - 69 yrs old (born 1946-64)
Silent Generation: 70 - 87 yrs old (born 1928-45)
Greatest Generation: 88+ yrs old (born before 1928)

Millennials have little time for "traditional institutions” of any stripe, be they political, cultural, religious, or mainstream media. They are relatively unattached to organized politics or religion, linked by social media, burdened by college debt, distrustful of old institutions, in no rush to marry — and thet're optimistic about the future. They shun politics and both political parties, with half of Millennials self-identifying as political independents.

Republicans are struggling with Millennials more because of their diversity, rather than over ideology. Democrats find Millennials indifferent because, except for Pres. Obama's two campaigns and "identity subgroup issues," Democrats have been indifferent to Millennials as an entire generational voting block.

About half of the Millennial population in 2012 turned out to vote in the presidential general elections, voting for Obama nationally, 67 percent to Romney's 30 percent, according to an analysis by the Center for Research and Information on Civic Learning and Engagement at Tufts University. But less than a quarter of Millennials turn out to vote in mid-term elections, with even fewer voting in local city and school board elections.

Largely, Millennials are not engaged in the political process because the political parties and their candidates do not  make an effort to engage with them and help them understand how the political process relates to their life.

Collin County Young Democrats Vice President Kevin Numerick writes on his blog:
The other day I was with some friends and they were joking around about politics and one of them asked, Who cares about politics? I responded nonchalantly, people who care about life? Another friend said in return, “that’s the stupidest thing you have ever said,” while the one who asked the original question stated, “That’s not true because I care about life, but not politics.”

Unfortunately, I was cut off before I could explain my opinion further. But, I realize, maybe people really do think that politics = life = stupid, so I wanted to explain myself a little further for the world to see. Hopefully to understand how it connects to them too. One can hope, right?

Okay, so this seems pretty logical to me, but politics puts in play who makes the laws, and those that make the laws are supposed to represent the people. We all know that isn’t always the case, which is all the more reason to be involved!!!!

Read the rest of Kevin's article at his blog.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Collin County Local Elections Brief

As is typical for municipal elections in Texas, turn out for May 9th city and school board elections was light. Only 8,539 voters cast ballots at polling locations across Collin County on Election Day, May 9th.

The lion's share of Collin County voters (64.2%) cast their ballots during the early voting period. Only 35.8% of the 23,875 total ballots cast in the county were cast on Election Day.  Only 5.1 percent of Collin County's 470k currently registered voters turned out to cast ballots in the various local elections across the county.

The Collin College place 7 board of trustees race goes to a county wide runoff election between Jim Orr and Collin Kennedy. Early voting will run the first week of June, with election day held on the second Saturday of June.

Plano's Equal Rights ordinance revision last December was a central controversy for the Plano city council and other races.  The Plano City Council updated Plano's equal rights ordinance to prohibit discrimination against people because of their military status, genetic information, sexual orientation or gender identity when it comes to housing, employment and public accommodations. The ordinance provides exemptions for schools, private clubs and religious, political and nonprofit organizations, except those that receive city grants. Public restrooms are excluded from the ordinance. Violations are a misdemeanor, subject to fines. The ordinance was originally passed more than 15 years ago.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Early Voting Turnout Numbers For Collin County

Early voting for the May 9 election across Collin County closed Tuesday with fewer people voting this year than in the last local election year. Only 15,336 (3.24%) of the county's almost 473,000 registered voters cast early ballots this year.

As expected, the last day of early voting had the heaviest turn out with 3,824 of voters across all of Collin County's local districts casting in-person ballots on Tuesday.  Daily early county wide vote counts: M-1,309; T-1,139; W-1,335; TH-1,672; F-1,751; S-1,739; M-2,570; and T-3,824.  (see table at bottom for city by city breakout numbers.)

The average age of early voters across Collin County is 57 yrs, but in some districts the average voter age tops 60 years.  Sixty percent of early Collin Co voters have a strong Republican Party primary affiliation history, eighteen percent have a Democratic Party primary affiliation history, and the remaining voters, average age 47 yrs, have no party affiliation history.

Plano ISD, which includes 189,267 registered voters across northern portions of the cities of Dallas and Richardson and parts of the cities of Allen, Carrollton, Garland, Lucas, Murphy, Parker and Wylie, is the largest single local election district in Collin Co. and accounted for almost 44 percent of the total early ballots cast in the county, with 6,685 (3.5%) of PISD registered voters casting early ballots.  The Frisco, McKinney, Allen, and other independent school districts across Collin County are smaller bases of population and registered voters.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

Texas Online Voter Registration Killed By Harris Co Republicans

As reported here last Sunday, Texas could have become the 27th state to allow online voter registration, if the House Elections Committee had passed HB 76, or a twin online registration bill HB 953, on to the House floor after the committee heard testimony on the bills on April 27th.  HB 76, originally submitted by Elections Committee member Rep. Celia Israel (D-Austin), has bipartisan support with a majority of House Representatives from both parties signing on as co-sponsors.

Rep. Israel said Friday afternoon, May 1st, both bills are dead in the Elections Committee. House Elections Committee Chair, Jodie Laubenburg (HD 89 - Plano), will allow the bills to die, pending in her committee, until this legislative session adjourns. The committee will not pass either bill on to the House floor for consideration.