Monday, December 17

:: Lost and Found

Some recommended reading…
There are two fascinating items at about the preferences and performance of female voters. The first is “Anxious About ‘Single Anxious Women.’” Here’s the topic sentence:

It's almost official. Single women are poised to be the "Security Mom" or "Soccer mom" of the 2008 election. They even have their own easy to remember moniker: the "Single Anxious Female." At first blush, it seems like a good thing for women. A woman top-tier candidate, a focus on women's issues and women's voters - it must be a good thing, right?
It alludes to a stumper of a forced-choice question: do we want more coverage of women’s issues, knowing that the coverage will play to outrageous stereotypes – or, given the numbskull pundits we have to deal with, should we consider the less said, the better?

The second item is “The Gender Gap in Turnout is Likely to Widen.”
[With] women across marital status groups voting at a higher rate than men, this gender gap in turnout has existed for years, and is poised to widen further.
Not only does this article have charts, beautiful charts, but it is also the best news I’ve read in a long, long time.

These items bring me back to a much-discussed article in Salon called “So Long, White Boy.” It discusses the gender gap in a less rigorous way, but does articulate an interesting question: should the Democratic party give up on targeting white independent male voters? This topic is also discussed in "HuffPost Forum: Should the Dems Love White Guys, or Dump Them"

The idea, in sum, is that black male voters are solidly in the base; a good chunk of white male labor voters are in the base; white gay, jewish, enviro and/or committed progressive male voters are in the base – so does the party really need to waste time trying to persuade the remaining male voters (straight, white, Christian or atheist men for whom progressive issues are not salient)?

I think of these guys as Howard Stern voters. They are conceivably, and temptingly, persuadable. They self-identify as rebels, iconoclasts, mavericks or libertarians, though they think "civil liberties" boils down to their right to gamble, listen to Howard Stern and consume as much porn as they can manage. They hate conservative evangelical candidates, for the evangelicals are the enemy of gambling and Howard Stern and porn. And the enemy of our enemy is our friend, no?

No. For one thing, they love macho foreign policy and posturing in general (Dennis Miller and Bill Maher are their patron saints; Rudy would be their ideal candidate if not for that Times Square thing) and they will never let go of the notion that the GOP is the party of kicking ass and taking names. The Dems could distance themselves from "mommy" issues, keep feminists and gays at arm's length, bray about the rich screwing the working man and stomp their feet about being pro-gun and pro-NASCAR all they want, but these guys will always see the Dems as the catcher to the GOP's pitcher.
Besides, theirs is the politics of selfishness, and it is fundamentally incompatible with the New Deal / Great Society spirit that animates the Democratic party’s progressive agenda. We’re much better off trying to persuade an ever-larger share of female independent and Republican voters with choice, health care and the environment– a goal that can be accomplished without stooping to the buffoonery of macho chickenhawks who live in a cocoon padded by sports, misogyny and sycophantic media.

Moving right along, the National Conference of State Legislators devotes a section of its website to the analysis of electoral system issues, including proposals to move to a national popular vote, districting reform, the initiative process (with database of initiatives by state) and so on. Talk about feeling like a kid in a candy shop.

A very interesting article in the LA Times captures the complexity of the debate surrounding the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and TB and GAVI. It has the unfortunate title “The Unintended Victims of Gates’ Generosity”but don’t let that stop you. It’s filled with interesting facts related to evidence-based benchmarking of success, the interconnectedness of causes of mortality, and the pros and cons of different types of aid. One interesting quote:
Pregnancy-related deaths often have been the highest in nations where most aid has gone to treat AIDS, TB and malaria, said Dr. Francis Omaswa, special advisor for human resources at the WHO. "People find it easier to talk about AIDS, about malaria."
To end on a positive note, this is from National Journal's Hotline "On Call" blog:
Hillary Clinton took to the streets of Manchester Saturday,seeking to seal the deal with some local voters during the last weekend before the holiday season. She found a mostly supportive group of voters, as well as a few rambunctious canines.

En route between homes, Clinton stopped to greet the Roukey family, who was enjoying a walk with their brand new dog, Samantha. "I get to meet Samantha on the very first day!" Clinton said as the excited pooch jumped up to greet her.

"Samantha, I will be a good president for dogs," she told the animal.

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