Waking Up With the Republican Establishment Nightmare

The appearance of an Ann Selzer Iowa Poll (cosponsored by the Des Moines Register and Bloomberg Politics) over the weekend must have felt for Establishment Republicans like the cliched moment in cheesy fiction where one wakes up from a nightmare only to realize it’s real. It’s helpful to understand that Selzer’s polls represent sort of the gold standard of state polling–up there with California’s Field Poll and the Marquette Law School polls in Wisconsin. They are difficult to write off as outliers.

So the Iowa Poll’s confirmation of the upside-down nature of the GOP presidential contest, with the assumed front-runners badly trailing people who have never accomplished a thing in politics, has to be pretty shocking to people who are in denial about it all. As will be widely noted, the three candidates who have never held elected office–Trump, Carson and Fiorina–together come in at 46% in the horse race portion of the Iowa Poll, while the early presumed front-runners–Walker, Bush and Rubio–pull a booming 20%. Do second-place preferences hide some big potential turnaround for the former big boys? Nope: Trump, Carson and Fiorina together get 34% as second choices, while Walker, Bush and Rubio get 21%.

How about the favorable-unfavorable ratios? Reflecting other polls, the single most shocking change since the last Iowa Poll in May is Trump’s improvement in favorability ratios from 27/63 to 61/35. I mean, that just doesn’t happen, but it did.

Ben Carson’s favorability ratio is at a near unanimous 79/8, which makes you wonder if people are really listening to the Crazy beneath his happy-talk about unity and common sense. If they are, that’s scary.

Perhaps the most fascinating number, however, is Scott Walker’s favorability ratio of 71/15, about the same as when he was killing it in Iowa earlier this year. He’s now in something of the same boat as Rubio, Mr. High Favorability, Low Horse Race (67/20 in this poll, tied for fifth in the preference vote with Jeb Bush). And then there’s Bush, whose favorability ratio in Iowa remains underwater (40/45), as does that of once-terrifying Rand Paul (39/49) and the desperately floundering Chris Christie (29/59) and RINO pariah Lindsey Graham (15/59).

One other set of numbers for the Republicans is worth noting: asked if any of the candidates outside their first and second preferences are people they could never support, likely caucusgoers expressed significantly more antipathy to John Kasich (40% could never support him) and Jeb Bush (39%) than to Donald Trump (29%) or Ted Cruz (24%).

Yeah, it’s still early, and of course, in Iowa grassroots organization matters more than popularity. Moreover, as Nancy LeTourneau pointed out yesterday, the “silly season” of August is about to be replaced by a September full of real news and actual drama in Washington. September will not be “about” Donald Trump.

But I dunno: two big September issues, the Iran Nuclear Deal and the fight over Planned Parenthood funding, are almost certainly going to produce fresh evidence of the inability of Republicans in Congress to “keep their promises” to the conservative activist rank-and-file of the GOP, the fuel for the “outsider” surge in the GOP presidential field. The next debates, on September 16, will come right before that new proof Establishment impotence begins to sink in. If somebody other than Trump’s going to shake up the field again, it needs to start happening then. I’d say September looks like Cruz Country.

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Daylight Video

Van Morrison is 70 today. Here he is 50 years ago with the Belfast-based group Them performing their much-covered song “Gloria.” I even used to sing this in my own terrible little garage band, Anthem for Doomed Youth.

UPDATE: Note to MuddyLee: I think United Mind Workers is a much better name than Anthem for Doomed Youth. Our name, borrowed from one of those British World War I poems, was chosen by the kid who owned most of the equipment. And in the end, equipment was our downfall: we broke up after our rented strobe light got stolen.

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“Sorry, I’m Not Taking This Test”

Kristina Rizga in “Mother Jones” explains why the Opt Out movement is becoming a national phenomenon.

She focuses on the story of Kiana Hernandez, a student in Florida. She made the decision on her own, but she was inspired by seeing TV coverage of students opting out.

“By her own estimate, Kiana had spent about three months during each of her four years at University High in Orlando preparing for and taking standardized tests that determined everything from her GPA to her school’s fate. “These tests were cutting out class time,” she says. “We would stop whatever we were learning to prepare.” The spring of her senior year, she says, there were three whole months when she couldn’t get access to computers at school (she didn’t have one at home) to do homework or fill out college applications. They were always being used for testing.

“Kiana had a 2.99 GPA and is heading to Otterbein University in Ohio this fall. She says she did well in regular classroom assignments and quizzes, but struggled with the standardized tests the district and state demanded. “Once you throw out the word ‘test,’ I freeze,” she tells me. “I get anxiety knowing that the tests count more than classwork or schoolwork. It’s a make or break kind of thing….

“Students in American public schools today take more standardized tests than their peers in any other industrialized country. A 2014 survey of 14 large districts by the Center for American Progress found that third- to eighth-graders take 10 standardized tests each year on average, and some take up to 20. By contrast, students in Europe rarely encounter multiple-choice questions in their national assessments and instead write essays that are graded by trained educators. Students in England, New Zealand, and Singapore are also evaluated through projects like presentations, science investigations, and collaborative assignments, designed to both mimic what professionals do in the real world and provide data on what students are learning.”

Rizga’s book “Mission High” was just published. I intend to review it soon. It is the story of a so-called “failing school” in San Francisco where students and teachers work hard to beat the odds against them.

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Waking Up With the Republican Establishment Nightmare

The appearance of an Ann Selzer Iowa Poll (cosponsored by the Des Moines Register and Bloomberg Politics) over the weekend must have felt for Establishment Republicans like the cliched moment in cheesy fiction where one wakes up from a nightmare only to realize it’s real. It’s helpful to understand that Selzer’s polls represent sort of the gold standard of state polling–up there with California’s Field Poll and the Marquette Law School polls in Wisconsin. They are difficult to write off as outliers.

So the Iowa Poll’s confirmation of the upside-down nature of the GOP presidential contest, with the assumed front-runners badly trailing people who have never accomplished a thing in politics, has to be pretty shocking to people who are in denial about it all. As will be widely noted, the three candidates who have never held elected office–Trump, Carson and Fiorina–together come in at 46% in the horse race portion of the Iowa Poll, while the early presumed front-runners–Walker, Bush and Rubio–pull a booming 20%. Do second-place preferences hide some big potential turnaround for the former big boys? Nope: Trump, Carson and Fiorina together get 34% as second choices, while Walker, Bush and Rubio get 21%.

How about the favorable-unfavorable ratios? Reflecting other polls, the single most shocking change since the last Iowa Poll in May is Trump’s improvement in favorability ratios from 27/63 to 61/35. I mean, that just doesn’t happen, but it did.

Ben Carson’s favorability ratio is at a near unanimous 79/8, which makes you wonder if people are really listening to the Crazy beneath his happy-talk about unity and common sense. If they are, that’s scary.

Perhaps the most fascinating number, however, is Scott Walker’s favorability ratio of 71/15, about the same as when he was killing it in Iowa earlier this year. He’s now in something of the same boat as Rubio, Mr. High Favorability, Low Horse Race (67/20 in this poll, tied for fifth in the preference vote with Jeb Bush). And then there’s Bush, whose favorability ratio in Iowa remains underwater (40/45), as does that of once-terrifying Rand Paul (39/49) and the desperately floundering Chris Christie (29/59) and RINO pariah Lindsey Graham (15/59).

One other set of numbers for the Republicans is worth noting: asked if any of the candidates outside their first and second preferences are people they could never support, likely caucusgoers expressed significantly more antipathy to John Kasich (40% could never support him) and Jeb Bush (39%) than to Donald Trump (29%) or Ted Cruz (24%).

Yeah, it’s still early, and of course, in Iowa grassroots organization matters more than popularity. Moreover, as Nancy LeTourneau pointed out yesterday, the “silly season” of August is about to be replaced by a September full of real news and actual drama in Washington. September will not be “about” Donald Trump.

But I dunno: two big September issues, the Iran Nuclear Deal and the fight over Planned Parenthood funding, are almost certainly going to produce fresh evidence of the inability of Republicans in Congress to “keep their promises” to the conservative activist rank-and-file of the GOP, the fuel for the “outsider” surge in the GOP presidential field. The next debates, on September 16, will come right before that new proof Establishment impotence begins to sink in. If somebody other than Trump’s going to shake up the field again, it needs to start happening then. I’d say September looks like Cruz Country.

from novemoore http://ift.tt/1UhEjdk

Daylight Video

Van Morrison is 70 today. Here he is 50 years ago with the Belfast-based group Them performing their much-covered song “Gloria.” I even used to sing this in my own terrible little garage band, Anthem for Doomed Youth.

UPDATE: Note to MuddyLee: I think United Mind Workers is a much better name than Anthem for Doomed Youth. Our name, borrowed from one of those British World War I poems, was chosen by the kid who owned most of the equipment. And in the end, equipment was our downfall: we broke up after our rented strobe light got stolen.

from novemoore http://ift.tt/1UhEdlV

“Sorry, I’m Not Taking This Test”

Kristina Rizga in “Mother Jones” explains why the Opt Out movement is becoming a national phenomenon.

She focuses on the story of Kiana Hernandez, a student in Florida. She made the decision on her own, but she was inspired by seeing TV coverage of students opting out.

“By her own estimate, Kiana had spent about three months during each of her four years at University High in Orlando preparing for and taking standardized tests that determined everything from her GPA to her school’s fate. “These tests were cutting out class time,” she says. “We would stop whatever we were learning to prepare.” The spring of her senior year, she says, there were three whole months when she couldn’t get access to computers at school (she didn’t have one at home) to do homework or fill out college applications. They were always being used for testing.

“Kiana had a 2.99 GPA and is heading to Otterbein University in Ohio this fall. She says she did well in regular classroom assignments and quizzes, but struggled with the standardized tests the district and state demanded. “Once you throw out the word ‘test,’ I freeze,” she tells me. “I get anxiety knowing that the tests count more than classwork or schoolwork. It’s a make or break kind of thing….

“Students in American public schools today take more standardized tests than their peers in any other industrialized country. A 2014 survey of 14 large districts by the Center for American Progress found that third- to eighth-graders take 10 standardized tests each year on average, and some take up to 20. By contrast, students in Europe rarely encounter multiple-choice questions in their national assessments and instead write essays that are graded by trained educators. Students in England, New Zealand, and Singapore are also evaluated through projects like presentations, science investigations, and collaborative assignments, designed to both mimic what professionals do in the real world and provide data on what students are learning.”

Rizga’s book “Mission High” was just published. I intend to review it soon. It is the story of a so-called “failing school” in San Francisco where students and teachers work hard to beat the odds against them.

from novemoore http://ift.tt/1hOoz0n

The End of Silly Season is in Sight

I got a bit of a chuckle this week when Kevin Drum wrote: TGIAS: Finally, August is Almost Over. Those who have been suggesting that Trump-mania is at least in part fueled by the fact that there hasn’t been much else to talk about are not completely wrong. But silly season is about to come to an ignominious end.

If you have any doubts about that – just look at the September calendar. Congress comes back into session this month and right off the bat, they’ll have to tackle a vote on the Iran deal (it looks like Boehner will also throw in a vote in the House to block funding to Planned Parenthood – but since that already failed in the Senate, its all for show until government shutdown time arrives). The conversation about the Iran deal has shifted from whether President Obama will have to use his veto pen to whether Republicans will have enough votes to override a filibuster. The countdown continues with Senator Merkley signing on to support the deal today.

Right on the heels of that vote comes a visit to the United States by Pope Francis. That will provide quite a shift in the conversation. Of course we can expect a lot of his visit to focus on the need to act on climate change. But the Pope has also been outspoken on the issue of income inequality as well as immigration reform. He was instrumental in forging the opening between the United States and Cuba and has spoken out in support of the agreement with Iran on nuclear weapons. In summary:

Vice President Joe Biden, a Catholic, said the pope’s Sept. 23 visit will mark an important moment not only for Catholics but for all Americans.

“Pope Francis has breathed new life into what I believe is the central mission of our faith: Catholic social doctrine,” Biden said in a statement to The Associated Press. Invoking key elements of Obama’s agenda, Biden added that Francis “has become a moral rudder for the world on some of the most important issues of our time, from inequality to climate change.”

The day after the Pope departs marks the opening session of the General Assembly at the United Nations. Scheduled to speak on the same day are: President Obama, Hassan Rouhani of Iran, Vladimir Putin of Russia and Xi Jinping of China. No doubt that the eyes of the world will be on that stage.

While all of that is happening, Majority Leader McConnell and Speaker Boehner will be working on a way to pass a federal budget and avoid a government shutdown. They have until the end of September to do that.

Hold onto your hats. Things are about to get very interesting. And before long, we might be asking, “Donald who?”

So with that, I’ll simply say “Adios for now and see you in September” (the link is for all you old-timers out there).

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