Politics open thread, May 19-25

What’s on your mind?

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145 thoughts on “Politics open thread, May 19-25

  1. This made me think of recent comments.

  2. City data shows that since Uber entered New York in 2011, yellow cab revenue has decreased by about 10 percent per cab, a significant bite for low-earning drivers but a small drop compared with medallion values, which initially rose and then fell by 90 percent.

    So Uber is getting blamed for what was essentially a pump and dump scheme by the Taxi Kings.

  3. Louise – I can’t access the WSJ article (sounds super interesting though)! However, we just talked about this in my leadership program. We addressed it from the angle of housing, but we entered into a broader conversation. Between student loans, saving for retirement, and following jobs (if at all possible), the millenials are getting the short end. They are being told to get married, get a house, etc., yet they can’t afford to do those things. Life has gotten too expensive. We need to have better conversations with the upcoming generations.

    I feel for them – I spent prime earning years in grad school. I have to play catch up while raising small kids. I should be doing better financially, but it feels like catching up because I put much more towards my retirement, kids’ college, and kid expenses than the average person my age. This is the #1 reason why we don’t move (we arguably need to). Our housing costs are now <20% our take-home pay, where once they were near the 30% of gross pay. That switch enables us to afford the catch up and small kids. If we were back at the "30% of gross pay" guideline, we wouldn't have a house. Or kids. Or retirement. Or college savings.

  4. “They found that millennial households had an average net worth of about $92,000 in 2016, nearly 40% less than Gen X households in 2001, adjusted for inflation, and about 20% less than baby boomer households in 1989.”

    The author does not discuss the differences in household structure between millennials and earlier generations, though does mention (as do many observers) that this group of young adults “can’t afford” to get married and have children. But I’m wondering whether some of the causation goes the other way — perhaps one reason that boomer and Gen X “households” had higher net worths was that the household consisted of married couples who were both (at some point anyhow) earning a decent income. The anecdotal evidence I see from the children of many friends is that many aren’t willing even to consider marriage until they have reached a certain level of financial comfort that may not be realistic for their age and skill set. Some avoid dating altogether; others are in serious relationships but think they need to buy a house before they can have a family.

  5. Rhode,

    Along the same lines:

    .D. Vance was the guest speaker, and boy, did he give a hell of a speech. He talked about pro-natalist, pro-family, economic nationalism, and foreign-policy non-interventionism. That sounds maybe a bit boring, but I assure you it was anything but. He told a story about watching a black single mother on a train, struggling with her child. He admired how tender she was, and having grown up poor, the son of a single mother himself, he thought about how hard her life must be. Vance said that Republicans ought to be on her side, even if she is not (or not yet) on the side of Republicans. Vance spoke with real heart, and, given his personal story, with real credibility on this issue.

    https://www.theamericanconservative.com/dreher/jd-vance-next-conservatism/

  6. Rhode – some points I got from the article were graduating with too much student loan debt into the 2008 recession. It also depended on the degree they got. If all of these were stacked against them, they got off to a terrible start from which it’s been hard to recover.
    Another point that I make to my kids, is the standard of living they enjoy while with their parents is not going to be the same when they first start a job (unless it pays way more than we make). Still whatever the salary the early years are about building wealth, so any spendy habits must be kept in control.

  7. Some avoid dating altogether; others are in serious relationships but think they need to buy a house before they can have a family.

    But isn’t that what you want?

  8. “perhaps one reason that boomer and Gen X “households” had higher net worths was that the household consisted of married couples who were both (at some point anyhow) earning a decent income.”

    I don’t know about this. The baby boomers married young, yes, but relatively few boomer couples were earning two decent incomes in their 20s and 30s. The single-earner/SAHM paradigm was still very much the norm back then. Gen Xers were more likely than boomers to have two-income families, but they married significantly later on average. The millennials have continued the trend of delaying marriage.

    It does make intuitive sense that delaying marriage (or at least delaying child bearing, which is not the same thing) until one’s career is established would improve one’s financial prospects, not handicap them.

  9. I read the article in the WSJ this morning, and I couldn’t help but think that this is where all the “lifestyle” decisions of millennials are coming back to bite them. I have only interacted with this group via the workplace, but I’ve said before I’ve never understood how their ‘what have you done for me lately’ attitude was going to work for them long term. They’re unable to build a client base and internal responsibility, because they’re flat out not willing to provide the external and internal customer service. I’m not talking about hours – I am the poster child for flexibility in working hours – I’m talking about depth of commitment and engagement. Willingness to do the hard work, figure hard things out, push to a high level of professionalism even for things that are not their passion. I flat out do not see this in the 29 – 39 year olds I work with.

  10. “Willingness to do the hard work, figure hard things out, push to a high level of professionalism even for things that are not their passion. I flat out do not see this in the 29 – 39 year olds I work with.”

    I’m not working with people in this age group, but don’t these same deficiencies also apply to marriage and family formation? Both are hard work. You often have to suck it up and do things that you don’t want to do, in order to put your spouse first and to provide for your children.

    And on delaying marriage in general — I’m not convinced that waiting until a magic age or professional achievement or financial level is necessary. There can be a certain amount of perfectionism involved in these calculations. Some of the best and enduring marriages among our friends were begun in or shortly after graduate school (and granted that this is a self-selected population). And even with a one-income family, I do think that the responsibilities of marriage and parenthood can act as an incentive for young adults to do the boring work required in any job. If you’re only responsible for yourself (and perhaps not even that, if parents are still stepping in), you are much more free to quit when a job loses its appeal.

  11. I flat out do not see this in the 29 – 39 year olds I work with.

    I see the complete opposite. Maybe it’s industry related? IIRC you work in advertising? In the IT world I see a fearsome work ethic.

  12. Lark,

    Interesting. If anything we’ve had issues with people working too hard. As an example – managers fighting turf battles and not wanting their staffs to volunteer to do things that are outside the scope of their teams responsibilities. The correct response isn’t, “I’d love to help.” It’s, “I’d love to help but you’ll need to run it by my manager to get it approved.”

  13. When I worked in healthcare IT, I definitely saw the attitude that Lark is describing – but I saw it across the span of ages. It didn’t matter if it was the Boomer age COBOL programmers (we had a whole row of them) or the millenial guy with the fancy Columbia degree – everyone was just clocking it in. I always assumed it was a characteristic of the healthcare world, because some of my colleagues who had worked at hospitals or payors said it was the same at those places (and don’t even get me started on the incompetence of the IT people at United Healthcare who we had to liasion with on a project for a while).

  14. It does make intuitive sense that delaying marriage (or at least delaying child bearing, which is not the same thing) until one’s career is established would improve one’s financial prospects, not handicap them.

    I think marrying young would improve financial prospects because you are sharing a household and the related expenses. If you marry older, that’s more time you are paying 100% of your expenses. When you get married and share a place, the expenses go up a little bit over a single person, but nowhere near double.

  15. I think marrying young would improve financial prospects because you are sharing a household and the related expenses.

    But that’s a separate issue for most folks. Getting an apartment together and getting married are two different things.

  16. “I think marrying young would improve financial prospects because you are sharing a household and the related expenses.

    But that’s a separate issue for most folks. Getting an apartment together and getting married are two different things.”

    Also, there are a lot of post-college young adults who have roommates before they get married (or move in with a romantic partner), so even if they marry late, they haven’t been paying 100% of household expenses prior to their marriage.

  17. I think there are a lot of non-financial reasons that explain the trend of delaying marriage, at least among college-educated folks. In my parents’ day, expectations were clear. People were expected to marry in their early 20s and have kids soon after. The husband was expected to provide 100% of the family’s financial support, and the wife was expected to take care of the kids and the house. A 20 year old woman could marry a 24 year old medical student, even though his education and career might take the family to several different cities before landing in their forever home. It didn’t matter because the wife was expected to just follow along and be supportive. She had no career of her own to manage, and any personal ambitions she might have had were checked at the alter, at least until the kids were grown.

    Thankfully, we now live in a world where men and women are encouraged (even expected) to have their own educational and career goals. A 20 year old aspiring lawyer is not going to marry a 24 year old medical student, because doing so would mean either limiting her own educational/career options or accepting the reality of a long-distance marriage. And there is no rush anyway, because the woman knows that she won’t be able to have kids any time soon if she is serious about her chosen career path. So, both partners are inclined to date a little longer to make sure that their respective life plans are compatible with each other. More like a merger of equals than the acquisitions that were the norm in my parents’ time. It may not be perfect, but divorces are much less common among millennials than they were among boomers, and I suspect waiting longer to marry is a primary factor behind that trend.

  18. “But that’s a separate issue for most folks. Getting an apartment together and getting married are two different things.”

    True. But sharing an apartment doesn’t always lead to marriage, which means that those couples aren’t actually a team who are building a financial future together. They are roommates who are having fun and probably spending more money on pure consumption items like travel and eating out than a young married couple saving for a house and childcare expenses might spend. If they aren’t college graduates, they may have children together, which will cause significant financial stress in the event of breakup.

    I’m just not convinced that millennials are experiencing financial struggles because of economic circumstances beyond their control. Yes, those who entered the workforce during the 2007-09 downturn were dealt a bad hand, but the unemployment rate when I graduated from college in the early 1980’s was even higher, and many of us didn’t have the option of moving back home with parents. When the media profiles these young adults, there is almost always a series of suboptimal decisions behind their financial plight.

  19. “they may have children together, which will cause significant financial stress in the event of breakup.”

    That is true whether they are married or not. The women in my mom’s age cohort who married in their early 20s and divorced 10-15 years later with 2-3 kids and no work history experienced significant financial stress.

  20. That is a good point. Indeed, the higher divorce rate for baby boomers is, IMO, one of the reasons for the dismal retirement prognosis for that age cohort.

  21. City Mom, I’m going to borrow your merger/acquisition analogy to explain to conservative older friends why some educated women choose not to marry. Thanks for the word choice!

  22. Scarlett,

    Someone recently posted about the number of minimum wage hours required to pay tuition. It had increased dramatically.

    The other question is how insurmountable should sub optimal decisions be? Has the penalty for suboptimal decisions changed vs. someone going to UCLA c. 1967 when tuition was free?

  23. MM I will definitely read that Atlantic article. Maybe my perceptions are skewed because my parents are older boomers. My mom did work for a couple of years when my dad was in grad school. She quit when she got pregnant, as she was expected to do, and returned to the workforce when I was in middle school, which was scandalous at the time. Our family was literally the talk of the town when she went back, and not in a good way. The only mothers in our area who worked were divorced. This was in the late 80s.

  24. I read the millennial article with great interest and with some alarm. I do believe some of their difficulties can be tied to bad luck in timing.

    “Econ­o­mists have found that en­ter­ing the work­force dur­ing a down­turn yields lower earn­ings for life.”

    But the featured millennials did not come off as particularly worthy of our sympathy.

    ‘“My­self and a lot of my peers still feel like we’re play­ing catch-up in the game of life,” said Ms. Brown, a com­pli­ance of­fi­cer for the city of Chicago. ‘

    This past weekend some fellow baby boomers and I (not myself!!!) were discussing our frustration with poor grammar (and other problems) among millennials in the workplace. The attorney couple in the article are dealing with $377k of student loans. What were they thinking?

  25. Ms Brown went to Yale Law School. Shouldn’t she have spent six year at BigLaw burning off her loans?

  26. “The other question is how insurmountable should sub optimal decisions be? Has the penalty for suboptimal decisions changed vs. someone going to UCLA c. 1967 when tuition was free?”

    Well, your first question is really how much freedom do we want to extend to people who might make decisions that (we think) are not in their long-term best interests. I would be willing to consider making student loan debt dischargeable in bankruptcy — I don’t know enough about the issue one way or another at this point. But if young adults want to be treated as adults in every other aspect of their lives, shouldn’t we expect them to accept that their decisions to take on debt for college will constraint their future spending?

    In 1967, a much smaller percentage of high school students went on to college, and there was no expectation that every kid was “college material.” So there was a certain amount of self-selection in the college student cohort, leaving fewer kids to suffer the penalties for suboptimal decisions. It’s also my sense that students were more likely to flunk out of college BITD (until the Vietnam war era), which means that students who found college work difficult were weeded out more ruthlessly than today.

    The flip side, of course, is that plenty of students who WERE college material were deterred from attending, even with free or low tuition, by societal/family expectations and financial constraints.

  27. What were they thinking?

    They were just doing what they were told. Just like those who bought a house in 2007 and lost their shirts.

    There is a lot of generic advice out there that is devastating when applied to the wrong person at the wrong time.

  28. Yeah I was thinking that, too. The prevailing wisdom was that all student debt was “good” debt. But still …

  29. Just like those who bought a house in 2007 and lost their shirts.

    Didn’t you used to complain that you’d bought a condo right around then? Did you sell it?

  30. It costs a lot to become a lawyer. I racked up a 6-figure debt in law school alone. I was fortunate to have parents who paid for my undergrad, and I was fortunate that my husband (also a lawyer) had no loans (his parents paid full freight for college and law school). Costs have increased since then, so a two-lawyer couple who had no parental help could easily start their careers with $400k in debt.

    Having a $100k plus student loan chained me to a BigLaw job for a few years. I hated the job so much that I was extra-motivated to pay it off quickly and liberate myself. It is definitely do-able, but should we really require our young people to spend the first decade of their careers as indentured servants? That is precisely the period of time when older generations were getting married, having kids and buying homes. Good luck having kids if both you and your spouse are chained to your desks as BigLaw associates.

  31. RMS,

    I think that was LfB and her place in CO. In my case I have a friend who got burned with a second tier MBA. IIRC unless your company is paying, or you’re getting a great deal, MBAs don’t pay off much below a top 20 program. Unfortunately that info isn’t always easy to come by, especially if you don’t come from an UMC background.

  32. “It costs a lot to become a lawyer.”

    It does indeed. I turned down Harvard and other Ivy law schools to get a free ride at a slightly lower-ranked school, because my parents were not in the position to help. I still had to take out loans for living expenses and one semester of tuition and it took at least ten years to pay off that debt plus my undergraduate loans.

    My standard advice to young folks considering law school is that, unless someone else is paying for it, they should not sign up unless they know that they really want to practice law, and if they are willing to work long hours at a job they may not love in order to pay back their loans. At that point, they can think about following their dream. Ditto for MBA programs, except that it’s not obvious that an MBA from a top program is worth the investment. The world will always need good lawyers and you can’t practice law without the degree.

  33. Hm, I must be mis-remembering, Rhett.

    should we really require our young people to spend the first decade of their careers as indentured servants?

    Obviously that’s bad, but I don’t know what the answer is.

  34. I don’t know what the answer is.

    Let anyone who passes the bar practice law. How much is bar/bri? Single digit thousands I think.

  35. IIRC the Abe Lincoln era system* was that you’d get a gopher/paralegal like apprenticeship with a lawyer and you’d study on your own time and then pass the bar.

    * which is still allowed in a few states including CA.

  36. Rhett – I wonder whether she is also donating big bucks to the organization in return for getting that 18 hours a week of tutoring!

  37. Let anyone who passes the bar practice law. How much is bar/bri? Single digit thousands I think.

    How’s that going to help? There are already tons of lawyers with actual law degrees from lower-tier schools who can practice law. What they can’t do is get jobs in BigLaw.

  38. There are already tons of lawyers with actual law degrees from lower-tier schools who can practice law.

    Exactly. They’d in exactly the same boat with a few grand of Bar/Bri classes. All law school did was add debt.

  39. On economic issues facing blue collar millennials, where student loan debt is much less relevant as a factor.

    On NPR this week they are doing a series on what “full employment” means in various communities. Today’s installment was about a couple of upper midwest small cities with 1.5 % unemployment rates where good factory jobs are going begging. They started out asking, why don’t folks move there, and said it didn’t seem enough to blame that on the weather. So they suggested that two tiered wage systems (lower wages and benefits for new workers, and a ceiling well below what was available to the older long term workers) might be a reason. The example companies discussed were union shops, so just imagine how much more wages are depressed for new hires at non union shops, if they even do direct hire and don’t use outsourced labor pools. The level of wages and benefits that the 55 year old got when he was 20 that let him in just a few years support a young family and take on home debt with confidence for future earnings growth and old age pension is not offered to the same young worker today. Two incomes are needed to get started, mortgages are harder to get. And even if a family wants to relocate to an unfamiliar city where jobs are plentiful, grandma is probably not coming along to watch the kids because both earners are needed.

  40. “By the time I graduated college in the 80’s, it was the norm that women would work after marriage, although working after having kids was still controversial then.”

    When I was a kid, it was the norm that women would work after marriage and after having kids. There was no controversy about that of which I was aware.

  41. “It does make intuitive sense that delaying marriage (or at least delaying child bearing, which is not the same thing) until one’s career is established would improve one’s financial prospects, not handicap them.”

    Most of the parents I’ve meet at my kids’ school fall into this category. Of course, correlation does not imply causation, but it would be tough to afford their school without being financially established.

  42. “The level of wages and benefits that the 55 year old got when he was 20 that let him in just a few years support a young family and take on home debt with confidence for future earnings growth and old age pension is not offered to the same young worker today.”

    But those jobs came with significant disadvantages, one of them being that the workers wouldn’t get that old age pension if they left that job for a better opportunity at another company or in another city.

    One reason that reasonably well-paying manufacturing jobs go begging is that so much of the potential labor pool can’t pass a drug test. https://www.indystar.com/story/money/2016/06/04/many-job-applicants-cant-pass-drug-test/85242518/

  43. n 1967, a much smaller percentage of high school students went on to college, and there was no expectation that every kid was “college material.” So there was a certain amount of self-selection in the college student cohort, leaving fewer kids to suffer the penalties for suboptimal decisions.

    College was also significantly cheaper so people didn’t graduate with debt anywhere near today’s levels, and most didn’t have any debt at all.

  44. But those jobs came with significant disadvantages, one of them being that the workers wouldn’t get that old age pension if they left that job for a better opportunity at another company or in another city.

    Right but that’s not how people think. People very much value the appearance of security.

  45. DH and I lived together before marriage. In doing so we broke cultural rules. DH wanted to delay till his last sibling finished college and got a job. There was pressure from my parents for a big wedding in the home country. Neither DH nor myself was keen on one. We had a small wedding here in the U.S. I believe we saved money living together and then having a small wedding. We were able to pay off mortgage and cars and carry little debt. Similarly my sibling had a small private wedding followed by a low key reception in the home country.
    Now, my parents are celebrating their Golden Wedding anniversary next year (since their wayward kids were not the celebratory types).
    In all of this, I learnt that there is the wedding and then there is the marriage. Many of the current generation in the home country have the big weddings but are getting divorced fairly quickly.

  46. While I readily agree that marriage is not the best option for everyone and that most marriages are far from perfect, I do believe it offers significant economic and emotional advantages overall. Maybe that will change as our society changes.

  47. I think it depends. A lot of people decide to get married and move in together while getting ready for a formal wedding later. Others move in for financial reasons, or without a clear picture of the future. The outcomes for those scenarios are different, I think.

  48. “there will be more Muslims in the US than Jewish people.”

    Was that a surprise?
    American Jews intermarry and (apart from the Orthodox) have small families. There are also few Jewish immigrants to bring up the numbers.

  49. Scarlett, I was surprised only because I’ve always lived in places where there are already more Muslims than Jews.

  50. Changing topics, this piece resonated with me. Democrats are constantly being told that they need to “reach out” and “connect” with conservative leaning Americans, but when was the last time Trump, or Republicans in Congress, or conservative media personalities made any attempt to reach out to more liberal-minded folks? Why doesn’t the pundit class chide them for not doing so?

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/05/21/why-arent-trump-republicans-pilloried-failing-reach-out/?utm_term=.28df2873fd43

  51. City Mom, because Trumps voters are all about “ownin’ the libs”. They really do not care about reaching out.

  52. “when was the last time Trump, or Republicans in Congress, or conservative media personalities made any attempt to reach out to more liberal-minded folks?”

    Dave Rubin has all kinds of people on his show. He “reached out” to Mayor Pete, who turned him down. Ben Shapiro invited AOC to a debate. She didn’t respond. Those are two recent examples.

  53. Scarlett, those are still examples of liberals being asked to reach out to conservatives. I would like to see Trump appear on Trevor Noah’s show or perhaps Rachel Maddow. That would be an example of conservatives reaching out to liberals. I assume they haven’t invited him, but I would bet dollars to donuts that if he reached out to those outlets and said he wanted to explain himself to their audience, one of those shows would go with it.

  54. And I thought Mayor Pete acquitted himself well on the Fox town hall. I have no idea if he convinced any Fox regular of any of his positions, but he made himself look good by at least trying.

  55. I had a chance to read the comments on the millennial crisis article and the couple with $377k in loans is getting slammed. Tasha Cochran, the woman in the couple from the article (they’re not married) participated in the comments.

    First, there seems to be general agreement with this sentiment:

    The Wall Street Journal needs to find better victims.

    The couple were criticized because their apparently affluent lifestyle “$377k in debt, but a big diamond ring, hardwood floors, granite counter tops, stainless appliances, etc.” doesn’t make them look like victims. And according to some commenters she’s getting $20k a year in loans forgiven because of her low income.

    Here’s her comment on why they decided to take out the big loans.

    I did do the math before taking out the loans actually. And my plan is shaking out exactly like I calculated that it would. Keep in mind that while you know how much we have in student loans, you don’t know out income, assets, or net worth. Without those, you don’t know whether our financial decisions paid off or not.

    More from her:

    Paul, we’re on track to have a $1 million net worth in our early 40s. Our net worth increased $100,000 in just the past year. We have a financial plan in place that allows us to build wealth, reduce debt, and live very comfortably happy lives. A lot of people want to know how to do that too. We also help people understand why only looking at debt misses a whole bunch of other factors that contribute to overall financial health. And that you don’t have to be debt free to become wealthy/financially independent (you can actually get there faster by leveraging debt).

    She must have planned to use this article as promotion for her business. This is their website where they give consumer financial advice.
    https://onebighappylife.com/

  56. That makes no sense. I think you must be right, July, that it’s all self-promotion. And the first commenter is right — the WSJ needs to find better victims.

  57. How can an invitation to come on a show be regarded as requiring liberals to reach out? The conservatives reached out and the liberals were not interested.

  58. “She must have planned to use this article as promotion for her business.”

    Of course. That’s why she participated in the comments. It would be interesting to learn how the WSJ reporter came in contact with her.

  59. So is she like the reverse MMM? Or the Anti-MMM?

    She’s not doing anyone any good self-promoting this way. Though I am looking at her website…

  60. I think what we’re talking about here is that a conservative politician should go into a traditionally liberal space and “reach out“ to the members, explaining why their ideas are better. AOC going on some conservative show does not meet that criteria. One of them gun nuts going to the AMA and explaining why government should fund firearm research counts. I don’t follow the new shows enough to know if conservatives have reached out to liberal populations, but my gut feeling on this is that they don’t.

  61. True, conservative speakers occasionally visit college campuses, and it is big news when they receive a less than warm reception. But, since 2016, There have been hundreds — literally hundreds — of think pieces about how democrats need to get out there into “real America” and show those farmers, those miners, those salt of the earth folks that they understand them, that they can speak to them and address their concerns. And Democratic candidates are out there literally every day trying to do that, either by appearing on Fox or going into counties in, e.g. West Virginia, where Trump won 70% to talk policy. By contrast, I cannot think of a single time when folks in the media implored republicans to “get out there” into urban America and talk to the home health aides, the taxi drivers, the recent college grads. I have never seen a Republican politician trying to make his case in a gay bar or a soul food restaurant. It just doesn’t happen. Maybe it’s because of the electoral college. They figure they don’t need our votes so there is no harm in ignoring us, or even actively trying to screw us over.

  62. “By contrast, I cannot think of a single time when folks in the media implored republicans to “get out there” into urban America and talk to the home health aides, the taxi drivers, the recent college grads.”

    The reason to go talk to the other side is to convince the rubes/urbans that you understand/CARE about them, which will encourage the rubes/urbans to vote for your side. The media is largely liberal, so why would they encourage the other side to engage in behaviors that might win them votes?

  63. Is Fox encouraging Republicans to reach out to urban America? Are other conservative media outlets doing so? Whenever I am exposed to Fox (usually against my will at my mother’s house), they have nothing positive to say about city folks or other liberal constituencies. The message is usually that we are ruining America, not that our concerns need to be better understood. But they were right in there with the chorus chastising Hillary for not “connecting” with “Real Americans”.

  64. “I have never seen a Republican politician trying to make his case in a gay bar or a soul food restaurant.”

    I’ve seen a Republican politician — who lost an eye in military service — be mocked on SNL. He was gracious enough to come onto the show and accept an apology, but it is unlikely that he ever would have been invited as a guest host. Liberals own the country’s entertainment industries, media platforms and campuses, and they rarely, if ever, offer even a lukewarm reception to conservatives.

    Last year, an actor named Mark Duplass “reached out” to Ben Shapiro in an effort to learn more about his views on gun control and other issues. They had what Shapiro described as a very civil (private) meeting, after which he actually warned Duplass that he should probably not reveal that they had met, lest he be punished by liberals. But Duplass made the mistake of tweeting: “Fellow liberals: If you are interested at all in ‘crossing the aisle’ you should consider following @benshapiro I don’t agree with him on much but he’s a genuine person who once helped me for no other reason than to be nice. He doesn’t bend the truth. His intentions are good.” As David French described it,

    “The pile-on was so swift and overwhelming that Duplass not only deleted his tweet but apologized thoroughly and abjectly, in a tweet that condemned Ben in no uncertain terms.” https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/07/ben-shapiro-mark-duplass-twitter-sliming/

    Shapiro has one of the most popular podcasts in the country, and it only helps his business model when liberals behave in this fashion.

  65. And there are plenty of conservatives who don’t watch or listen to Fox. It’s not actually speaking for us.

  66. “And there are plenty of conservatives who don’t watch or listen to Fox. It’s not actually speaking for us.”

    Umm yeah.

  67. Yes, people on Twitter are awful. That includes liberals and conservatives and especially the current president. But I’m not sure what that has to do with whether or not politicians are willing to reach out to real live people who typically support the other party. Who cares whether SNL invites them to host a show? You are making excuses. There are plenty of liberal-leaning talk show hosts who would be happy to interview a member of the Trump administration, a Congressional Republican, or even Trump himself. They don’t go on. The attitude seems to be that “they” are in power and “we” have to suck it up while they “own” us. Not that we are all Americans and that even those of us who vote Democrat are worth listening to and trying to persuade.

  68. The reason the liberals are told to reach out is because we lost! You’re kind of missing the big picture here. The conservatives don’t have to reach out because they won.

  69. RMS — right. Because of the Electoral College. Our votes are not important.

  70. I pay little attention to politics but I thought the concern is that the media/Democratic Party/other powers-that-be were *surprised* by Trump’s win. I admit I was puzzled about why HRC chose to campaign in Texas before the election instead of the upper Midwest, where I thought she was more likely to make a difference to the outcome of the statewide elections and the electoral college balance.

    Before the election, I remember my Rust Belt family members discussing how much emphasis Obama and HRC had put on the rights of transgender people and their view that emphasis on transgender rights by a President/potential President was misplaced, given the economic problems of working class voters.

  71. And then there is this—conservative congressional rep thought blue-collar workers would be offended at Dem Socialist ideas, didn’t think about what those ideas actually were until AOC accepted his invitation. Or maybe he did know what they were, but couldn’t imagine that she’d actually want to talk to people in his district. At any rate, it backfired hilariously for him and yes, she is quite willing to reach out to people in rural areas. https://edition-m.cnn.com/2019/04/19/politics/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-kentucky-visit/index.html?r=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.com%2F

  72. That is hilarious. According to the piece, AOC extended an invitation to the Kentucky rep to join her in a town hall in NYC. He declined.

  73. “I remember my Rust Belt family members discussing how much emphasis Obama and HRC had put on the rights of transgender people and their view that emphasis on transgender rights by a President/potential President was misplaced”

    What? Obama??? When??? He was pretty tepid on his support for plain old “LBG” in the “LGBT” acronym. By the time the “Bathroom bill” controversy came up, Obama was planning his post-presidency vacations on George Clooney’s yachts! I don’t remember HRC really talking about it much either except when asked about the “bathroom bill”. It certainly wasn’t a central theme of her campaign.

  74. Ivy – But Fox tells them that transgender rights are the main concern of Democrats.

  75. Right. It goes like this: someone asks the Democrat what she thinks about the bathroom bill. The Democrat says she thinks its a bad idea that hurts vulnerable people. Fox plays the soundbite on a continuous loop for weeks, tossing in plenty of fearmongering about lecherous men using girls’ bathrooms. Meanwhile Fox does not cover (or does not cover honestly) the Democrat’s proposals on health care, the economy, and other issues that people care about. So the Fox viewer concludes that the Democrat is obsessed with rights for dangerous transgender people, but doesn’t care about the issues affecting people like them. This works out very well for Republicans, so pass more divisive culture-war legislation, and the cycle gets repeated.

  76. MM,
    Why the obsession with Fox?
    One could also take the position that MSNBC and CNN told Democrats that Michael Avenatti was going to save the Republic from Trump — this 2 minute Free Beacon montage of dozens of clips with praise and adulation for Avenatti is hilarious. Right up there with the “the walls are closing in” montage about the Mueller report. https://twitter.com/FreeBeacon/status/1131269455399522304

    But evidently Democrats think for themselves, while Republicans line in behind Fox and their pastors.

  77. I don’t know any conservatives who watch Fox. My extended family seems to only watch sports (mostly baseball, hour-wise) on TV.

  78. Scarlett, the reality is that Fox is the dominant news source for conservatives, while liberals do not consistently line up behind a single news outlet. Here is an article based on a Pew Research survey from 2014. I suspect that Fox has further consolidated the conservative audience since then, particularly now that they have basically merged with the White house:

    Among consistently conservative respondents, 47 percent chose Fox News as their main source “for news about government and politics.” The next largest group, 11 percent, chose local radio. Responses among liberals, by contrast, were much more fragmented. Fifteen percent of consistently liberal respondents chose CNN, 13 percent chose NPR, 12 percent chose MSNBC and 10 percent chose the New York Times.

    Pew also asked whether the respondents trusted a given news source (or hadn’t heard of it). Eighty eight percent of consistently conservative respondents said they trust Fox News, compared with 52 percent of consistent liberals who say they trust MSNBC. In fact, among consistently conservative respondents, only four news sources are trusted by at least half the respondents: Fox News, Hannity, Rush Limbaugh’s radio and Glenn Beck’s radio show. For consistently liberal respondents, there are nine: NPR, PBS, BBC, New York Times, NBC News, CNN, ABC News, MSNBC and CBS News.

    https://newrepublic.com/article/119922/pew-survey-finds-conservatives-mostly-watch-fox-news

  79. “while liberals do not consistently line up behind a single news outlet”

    That’s because they don’t have to. They have a much wider menu serving their preferred plate of news, but they’re no less dogmatic.

  80. No way conservatives aren’t completely influenced by Fox. The stuff that gets repeated here by conservative commenters comes straight from Fox. It is comical.

  81. I don’t know any conservatives who watch Fox. My extended family seems to only watch sports (mostly baseball, hour-wise) on TV.

    Then were are they getting their clearly biased (per City Mom’s comment) news?

  82. Actually, it isn’t just Fox. I regularly read National Review. Their view of US politics is just so different from the liberal view. They align quite a bit with Fox, but use bigger words. I like some of their writing, and always find David French to be interesting. But they are really fixated on transgender stuff, and are convinced that this is a huge focus of the Democratic party. And virtually every day they run an editorial on the evils of socialism. I really wonder if the editorial board actually thinks the Democratic party is just the socialist party.
    Today we have “Socialism Destroys the Human Character”. Yesterday it was “The ‘new’ New Socialism”.
    Still, when they write about topics like inequality and societal breakdown, I think they have something to say. And I like their movie reviews…

  83. Obviously my data set is a limited age group, but a lot of my patients have the news channels on when I see them, and it’s a pretty clear separation that the conservatives are watching Fox and the liberals are watching CNN. Hardly any watch MSNBC.

  84. Rhett, they don’t watch TV, they read newspapers, often online. Des Moines Register, Wall Street Journal, Facebook and The Economist are their preferred news sources.

    I think both conservatives and liberals are hypersensitive to comments that might disrupt their worldview, and transgender rights are that for conservatives because they worry about the actions of people who are NOT transgender to take advantage of the laws to disrupt privacy. At the time, my cousin’s daughters were on the high school dance team and he said he would not automatically trust the motives of high school males claiming to be transgender in order to use the girls’ locker room.

    Tara Westover compares her experiences at BYU, Cambridge and Harvard and found people at Cambridge and Harvard to be less open to contrasting viewpoints than those at BYU. I’m pretty sure the gate swings both ways and those of us who just distrust government generally don’t fit well in either party.

  85. “while liberals do not consistently line up behind a single news outlet”

    That’s because they don’t have to.

    Milo beat me to it. Exactly this.
    The NYT, WaPo, Slate, CNN, MSNBC, NPR, Time Magazine — their output is interchangeable. Yet liberals don’t seem to believe that their own views come “straight from” these sources. Even when they do.

  86. “And there are plenty of conservatives who don’t watch or listen to Fox. It’s not actually speaking for us.”

    Umm yeah.

    And, yet.

  87. I know lots of people who went to BYU and some faculty from there. I don’t consider that school to be a hardcore conservative school. It is a mistake to lump Mormons in with other conservatives. I consider Liberty University, and some other evangelical schools, to be truly conservative.

  88. WaPo and MSNBC are way more liberal than the NYTimes. And Slate hardly qualifies as journalism.
    I think of NYTimes and NPR as center-left, WSJ as Chamber of Commerce conservative, Fox News as the Republican party’s propaganda wing, and the Economist as kind of Brit-Globalist. CNN is just annoying. And I stay far away from Slate and HuffingtonPost. Actually, I don’t care for MSNBC either.

  89. MM,
    In what ways does the “Democracy Dies in Darkness” WaPo set itself apart from the NYT?

  90. In what ways does the “Democracy Dies in Darkness” WaPo set itself apart from the NYT?

    The WaPo is waaaay more anti-Trump than the NYTimes.

  91. Rhett has it on the nose. And they are more willing to be openly partisan.

  92. Lets just look at todays headlines on WaPo’s and NYTimes websites.
    WaPos: A gleeful “Putin out-prepared Trump in key meeting, Rex Tillerson told House panel” and “Chicago bank CEO accused of bribing Manafort for administration job” as well as something about baseball.
    NYTimes: “Narendra Modi, India’s ‘Watchman,’ Heads for Historic Election Victory” and “Trump Administration to Announce Farm Aid to Ease Pain of Trade War” and “Missouri Tornadoes: Live Updates as Violent Storms Kill 3”

  93. Tara Westover compares her experiences at BYU, Cambridge and Harvard and found people at Cambridge and Harvard to be less open to contrasting viewpoints than those at BYU.

    What kinds of issues did she mention?

  94. “I think of NYTimes and NPR as center-left, WSJ as Chamber of Commerce conservative, Fox News as the Republican party’s propaganda wing, and the Economist as kind of Brit-Globalist. CNN is just annoying. And I stay far away from Slate and HuffingtonPost. Actually, I don’t care for MSNBC either.”

    I agree.

    “Des Moines Register, Wall Street Journal, Facebook and The Economist are their preferred news sources.”

    I’m guessing of those sources, it is Facebook that made them think that HRC and Obama were totally focused on transgender rights. Probably some of the content that the Russians paid for. They sure got their money’s worth.

  95. Let’s not get crazy here. The Russians didn’t make Obama’s DoJ sue the state of North Carolina, or declare that Title IX now extends to transgender students. That’s real news.

  96. They don’t think that HRC and Obama were totally focused on transgender rights, but they weren’t fond of being called deplorables either.

  97. “And virtually every day they run an editorial on the evils of socialism.”

    What kind of socialism? The government owns the means of production socialism? Government redistribution of wealth?

  98. Obama also lifted the ban on transgenders in military service. This was real news, covered with triumph by the mainstream media.
    “The Obama administration will go down in history as one of the most significant for LGBT Americans,” said Sue Fulton, president of the LGBT military group SPARTA. “I think it’s impossible to understate the impact that this administration has had.” https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/transgender-military-ban-lifted-obama-cements-historic-lgbt-rights-legacy-n600541

    The Democrats aren’t “totally focused” on transgender issues, but they are certainly giving this stuff way more attention than it deserves, based on the tiny number of people affected.

    And, of course, this same mainstream media has reacted with almost uniform dismay to Trump’s decision to reinstate a form of the transgender military ban. So it’s hard to blame low-information voters — who don’t follow politics closely but do notice the headlines — for concluding that the Democrats are themselves obsessed with the issue.

  99. Just compare the nbcnews.com headlines on the stories:

    “With transgender military ban lifted, Obama cements historic LGBT rights legacy”

    “Trump’s controversial transgender military policy goes into effect”

    https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/trump-s-controversial-transgender-military-policy-goes-effect-n993826

    Obama wasn’t being controversial when he decided that biological men could serve in the military while pretending to be women (and demanding that the military pay for hormone treatment and sex reassignment surgery). No, that was “historic.” But it’s “controversial” when Trump decides to recognize biological realities.
    And then you wonder why conservatives flock to Fox?

  100. If we’re talking the slant of various media outlets, you can’t overlook Sinclair’s takeover of local TV stations and pushing their newscasts hard to the right.

  101. “But it’s “controversial” when Trump decides to recognize biological realities.”

    What are you talking about? What biological realities?

  102. Would you consider Trump “obsessed” with transgender issues since he made such a big deal about instituting the ban?

  103. Ivy, no because he was responding to the “historic” Obama initiative.
    But if he had instituted a ban out of thin air, then yes.

    I don’t think that Trump cares about the LGBT agenda at all, but is responding to his base. He was the first presidential candidate to support gay marriage, however.

  104. DD, I never watch local news (which was embarrassing when I met a local news celebrity and asked her what line of work she was in) — if you do, can you explain the issues on which local newscasts are slanting to the right?
    It’s my sense that local news stations cover crime, sports, weather, and corruption in the mayor’s or police dept office. And fluff stories about local residents. But maybe I’m missing something.

  105. biological men could serve in the military while pretending to be women

    You used the word “pretend.” That would seem to indicate that you’ve discounted any biological explanation – genetic mutation, hormone exposure in utero, synthetic environmental hormone exposure*, etc.

    * IIRC L’s choral teacher noted the fact that there aren’t any baritones anymore and he blamed synthetic estrogens used in industry.

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/m/pubmed/11905507/

  106. “I don’t think that Trump cares about the LGBT agenda at all”

    Bullshit. He’s dismantling all of it.

  107. “I don’t think that Trump cares about the LGBT agenda at all”

    Bullshit. He’s dismantling all of it.

    Right, but he doesn’t care about it. He’s just doing what the base wants. I don’t think he gives a second thought to LGBTQ issues.

  108. I asked DH, “Who is likely to know more about how the American system of legal representation works, dumbass me with my Clown College degree, or a dorm full of Harvard students?” Turns out it was me.

    A friend of mine is very fond of saying “There’s always more to the story.” There is definitely more to this story. I read it as an excuse to get rid of Sullivan. He must have been building up ill will among the students and possibly other faculty for awhile. They just seized on this.

  109. Here’s Danu Mudannayake’s report of some of her interactions with Sullivan.

    Trigger warning: Multiple misuses of the word “myself”.

    View at Medium.com

  110. “IIRC L’s choral teacher noted the fact that there aren’t any baritones anymore and he blamed synthetic estrogens used in industry.”

    Interesting — wonder if the director was referring to basses as well.
    IME, decent tenor voices are always in the shortest supply in adult choral groups. The altos often have to pitch in on exposed lines that are within a woman’s range. We did it just this morning, in fact.

  111. What I’ve heard is that representing Weinstein was not the reason for Sullivan not being renewed as a dean.

  112. Well, Finn, you probably have the closest mole in the school. Any insight as to what the actual trouble was?

  113. The Crimson article L linked at 756 chronicles most of what led up to the decision, most of which happened before the decision to represent Weinstein.

  114. So at Harvard, what’s a house tutor? Is that like a dorm R.A.?

  115. Yeah, they don’t have undergrad RAs. The house tutors live in the dorms, but they’re mostly grad students or the partners of grad students.

  116. Watching one of DD’s favorite K-dramas with her today, there’s a scene where a guy who felt wronged wants to take it out on the people he thinks wronged him, so he shows up at their office, whips out a nail gun, and starts firing. Interesting contrast to American TV.

  117. Finn, why? Just because it’s a nail gun instead of a real gun? Seems like a nail gun could do some damage.

  118. I watch k- drams, Indian drams etc, and they refreshingly lack any references to general availability of guns. Brings in stark contrast how few countries outside of our great nation care about guns and still manage to stay safe.

    Since this is a political post, I feel like that because the direction demo party is going with the likes of Ilan Omar, AOC and Rashida Talaib,I will have to either abstain from voting or vote Trump. Just cannot take their anti Semitic stance combined with their Islamic leaning policies and socialism of AOC.

  119. Despite what the media might portray, AOC and the others are outliers and not that representative of the Dem party. At least see who the eventual nominee is before deciding it’s Trump or stay home.

  120. If we have to have a middle of the road white guy, I’d really prefer Bennet. But I don’t think he has a chance.

  121. Yeah, I know. I just checked and Bennet hasn’t met either of the criteria for the debate. Oh well.

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