Democrats Say They Support Green Energy. Why Do Their Policies Say Otherwise?
“Greater reliance on green energy also requires a stupendous increase in mineral extraction to provide the needed materials. Even if the world unquestionably possessed the mineral capacity necessary for the global energy transformation envisioned by President Joe Biden, Democrats in practice are enemies of mining. The U.S. Mining Association estimates that the country has $6.2 trillion of recoverable mineral resources like copper and zinc available for mining on millions of acres of federal, state, and private lands. Unfortunately, our labor, health, and climate regulations often make it practically impossible to profitably mine. As a result, these precious resources stay in the ground, which explains why the United States went from being the world’s No. 1 producer of minerals in 1990 to seventh place today.
Democrats committed to a green energy transition should make it a priority to reform counterproductive regulations like the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and to implement other permitting reforms. Yet for the most part they won’t do so, as we saw when they helped strike down the permitting deal cut last year between Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D–N.Y.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D–W.Va.).”
Did Redistricting Cost Democrats The House?
“The 2022 election for the House of Representatives was so close1 that if any number of things had gone differently, Democrats might have kept their majority. And one of the biggest things that affected the battle for the House was redistricting — the decennial redrawing of congressional districts’ lines to account for the results of the 2020 census.
But was the impact of redistricting significant enough to swing the House to the GOP? As I wrote in June, the 2021-22 redistricting cycle didn’t radically change the partisanship of the national House map, so I mostly agree with those who say redistricting didn’t cost Democrats the House. But at the same time, those who say Republicans won only because they gerrymandered are also technically correct. How can both things be true? Allow me to explain.
One way to test the claim that “redistricting cost Democrats the House” is to assess whether Democrats would have held onto the chamber if redistricting had never happened. We at FiveThirtyEight have already calculated how many percentage points each district swung left or right thanks to redistricting. For example, a district that went from a partisan lean2 of R+2 to D+3 got 5 points bluer. Then I compared this swing to the current 2022 House margin in that district.3 Suppose a party lost by less than the district swung away from that party in redistricting. In that case, it’s likely that redistricting cost that party the seat.
Of course, this is a hypothetical — and imperfect — exercise. Some districts changed substantially and wouldn’t have swung uniformly like that had they not been redrawn.4 In addition, if they had not changed, different districts might have attracted different candidates and different levels of spending from national groups, each of which could have affected the result. But this method can still give us a rough idea of what might have happened in a redistricting-less world.
Using this method, we can see that Republicans flipped a net six seats because of redistricting.”
“But Democrats also caught a few bad breaks in states with ostensibly nonpartisan redistricting processes. For example, the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission made the 2nd and 6th districts5 about 10 points more Republican-leaning. In Michigan, the state’s Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission redrew the 10th District6 to be light red. And court-appointed experts nudged the New York 17th and Virginia 2nd rightward enough that they flipped too. Meanwhile, Democrats on the New Jersey Congressional Redistricting Commission voluntarily sacrificed the 7th District to protect vulnerable Democrats in other districts.
On the other hand, Democrats flipped a few seats thanks to redistricting. They drew some very Democrat-friendly maps in Illinois and New Mexico, enabling them to pick up the Illinois 13th and New Mexico 2nd. A court reconfigured North Carolina’s 13th District from a solidly red seat into a swing district that Democrats narrowly carried. And Republicans made the Ohio 1st District and Texas 34th District bluer, with the unfortunate (for them) side effect of handing those seats to Democrats.
But we also need to consider seats that didn’t flip but would have if redistricting had not occurred. And this is where Democrats benefited the most, gaining six seats on net — and canceling out Republicans’ gains from the flips that did occur.”
“Democrats also gained a net three seats from reapportionment, the process of subtracting congressional districts from states with sluggish population growth and giving them to states whose populations have exploded. Six of the seven districts that were eliminated by reapportionment were held by Republicans — slow-growth areas tended to be in rural and/or postindustrial areas, where Republicans usually dominate. But Republicans won only three of the seven districts that were created in reapportionment, for a net Democratic gain of three seats.”
“By my reckoning, Democrats actually gained three seats from redistricting overall. In other words, without redistricting, Republicans’ majority would be closer to 225-210.
“But wait,” I hear you saying. “There was no world in which redistricting wouldn’t have occurred in 2021-22. So isn’t it better to calculate how the 2022 election would have gone down if redistricting had gone differently, not if it hadn’t happened at all?” You have a point — but the problem is, there is no objective alternative map. The congressional map could have changed in a thousand ways depending on individual, state-level decisions.”
“[If redistricting went differently in a number of ways in favor of the Democrats,] Democrats probably would have won five more seats than they actually did.”
“five additional seats for Democrats would have been enough for them to hold onto a slim 218-217 majority. So yes, if every Republican gerrymander had been undone in court before the 2022 election, Democrats may have kept control of the House.
But that’s assuming no additional Democratic gerrymanders were thrown out in court.”
Why Democrats Shouldn’t Take The Asian American Vote For Granted
“Asian Americans have not always voted blue. In 1992, when The New York Times first added “Asian American” as a racial category in its exit polls, 55 percent of Asian Americans voted for former President George H. W. Bush, a Republican, while 31 percent cast their ballots for then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton, a Democrat. In the 1996 presidential election, Democrats narrowed the margin, with 48 percent going for Republican Sen. Bob Dole and 43 for Clinton, and by 2000 Asian Americans had drifted into the blue: Fifty-four percent voted for former Vice President Al Gore and 41 percent for then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush.”
“Asian Americans seem to be shifting red. According to a 2016 survey from Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote, 19 percent of Asian Americans held at least a somewhat favorable view of Donald Trump. When the survey was conducted again in 2020, Trump’s favorability among Asian Americans had risen to 35 percent.”
“the many different ethnic groups within Asian America have many different views. For example, a plurality of Vietnamese American voters (45 percent) supported Republican congressional candidates in 2020, according to that year’s Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote survey. Vietnamese Americans, a powerful force in Steel’s California district, have been a loyally red voter bloc dating back to former President Ronald Reagan, whose anti-communism policy stances resonated with the Vietnamese diaspora by nodding to homeland geopolitics.”
Democrats Spent Millions Boosting Far-Right Republicans. How Did It Pan Out?
“every Republican candidate that Democrats spent money on beat a more moderate Republican in the primary and then lost to a Democrat in the general election.”
Jared Polis’ Success Shows That Democrats Can Win Without Embracing Big Government
“While Colorado was once considered a solid swing state, Polis’ continued success as governor, as well as the state’s other electoral outcomes, have entrenched the state’s Democratic leanings. However, Polis’ popularity shows that Democrats can receive solid victories without relying on the increasing technocratic impulses of the party as a whole. While other Democrats—and increasingly Republicans as well—turn to government to solve problems, Polis has found success by wanting to reduce government power.”
“While other Democratic governors were enacting strict COVID-19 regulations, Polis lifted mask mandates. While other Democrats scoffed at school choice, Polis, the founded of two charter schools, praised polices that increase educational choice. While other Democrats called for wealth taxes, Polis called on an end to Colorado’s income tax.
“I respect freedom,” Polis told Reason in July 2022. “It’s great because you’re free to be the way you want. That’s the way it should be.”
While the Democratic party—not to mention American politics as a whole—is trending towards embracing government control, Jared Polis offers a rare story of a politician that wants to reduce state power. His success offers evidence that an alternative approach, one where Democrats embrace rather than attack personal liberty, can be a wildly successful strategy.”
Democrats have the chance to prevent an economic calamity
“The US is currently projected to hit its existing debt ceiling sometime in 2023, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center. While raising the ceiling should be relatively straightforward, it’s become a contentious process — and an opportunity for the minority party to extract policy concessions or score political points. Both parties have used debt ceiling increases to their advantage, but Republicans have done so much more frequently in recent years.
In 2011, for example, Republicans balked on suspending the debt limit and refused to move forward until President Barack Obama agreed to key spending cuts, concessions they ultimately secured. The US got so close to default that year, however, that Standard and Poor’s downgraded the country’s credit rating.
Political experts note that this disagreement marked one of the first times it seemed like lawmakers were actually willing to go over the edge, despite the economic chaos that could ensue. Were the US to actually default, that would likely downgrade the dollar and lead to a recession.
While a default has never happened, Republicans’ behavior in 2011 — and their current rhetoric — suggests that they’re more open to the possibility and taking such fights to that point.
Democrats, including in the White House, are reportedly considering preempting this worst-case scenario by tackling the debt ceiling this winter, according to Axios. The White House has denied that such conversations are happening.
There are also still questions about what a debt ceiling bill could look like. While some lawmakers including Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), and a group of prominent House Democrats, have expressed support for doing away with the debt ceiling altogether, others, like Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), have opposed taking this route. That’s likely because such talks still offer an opportunity to evaluate spending, and because it could be a useful tool for Democrats should the GOP hold the White House and Congress.
In lieu of getting rid of the debt limit altogether, there’s been growing pressure on Democrats to consider increasing it to such a high value that there isn’t likely to be a standoff over the issue in the short term.”
How Democrats And Republicans Think Differently About Crime And Gun Violence
The Democrats’ New Inflation Bill Includes Tax Credits for Electric Vehicles That Don’t Exist
“The bill also puts restrictions on which EVs can qualify. Starting in 2024, an EV that qualifies for the full rebate amount must source at least 40 percent of its battery’s components—including minerals such as lithium, cobalt, manganese, and graphite—from either the U.S. or a country with which the U.S. has a trade agreement. Also starting in 2024, no minerals can be sourced from a “foreign entity of concern,” such as China.
The stipulation was part of a compromise with Sen. Joe Manchin (D–W.Va.), whose support was critical to the bill’s passage. Manchin insisted that the bill take a hard line on China, telling reporters: “I don’t believe that we should be building a transportation mode on the backs of foreign supply chains. I’m not going to do it.”
But 60–80 percent of EV batteries’ mineral ingredients are controlled by China. That country currently produces 76 percent of the world’s lithium-ion batteries, while the U.S. produces only 8 percent. Despite ambitious plans to scale up, the U.S. and Europe together will likely account for only about a quarter of total global production of EV component minerals by 2030.”
“Politico suggests that the government can simply get around these strictures by issuing waivers, much as it has done for steel tariffs. In practice, steel waivers incentivized cronyism, with Washington bureaucrats picking and choosing which companies received waivers and which did not. And if a law has problems, surely the best place to deal with that is in the text of the legislation itself, not an unstated hope that the administrative state will fix the issues when they arise.”
Congress Just Passed the Inflation Reduction Act. It Will Hike Taxes on Some Middle-class Households.
“Despite the bill’s name, independent analysts have found it will have virtually no impact on inflation. In reality, it is a pared-down version of what Biden originally pitched as the “Build Back Better” plan—it leaves aside much of the original bill’s spending, but it maintains a huge corporate tax increase, huge spending on green energy initiatives, and a plan to swell the ranks of IRS agents. What was originally a roughly $4 trillion proposal that would have relied heavily on borrowing ended up being something of a rarity in Washington: a bill that will raise more revenue than it spends.
And where will it get that revenue? Quite possibly from you. Households earning as little as $50,000 annually are more likely to see a tax increase than a tax break from the legislation.
In the final hours before the House vote, the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) completed a breakdown of how the bill’s corporate tax increases would affect households at various income levels. The JTC, a nonpartisan number-crunching agency within Congress, found that households earning between $50,000 and $75,000 are more likely to see a tax increase than a tax decrease next year.
Higher-earning households are more likely to see tax increases, but households earning more than $1 million next year are actually far more likely than lower-earning households to get a tax break.
That fits with what The Tax Foundation, a tax policy think tank, found when it analyzed the bill. The Inflation Reduction Act will “would also reduce average after-tax incomes for taxpayers across every income quintile over the long run,” the Tax Foundation reported on Wednesday. Those tax increases will reduce long-term economic output by about 0.2 percent and could eliminate 29,000 jobs, the group found.”
” Tax increases on corporations get passed along from the board room table to the kitchen table in a variety of ways: lower pay for workers, higher prices for consumers, and smaller investment returns for shareholders.”