Back in October 2012, the University of Texas and Texas Tribune included a question in a poll to gauge Texans views of section 5.
The question got asked again in a February poll, but this time it got asked two ways.
One question asked whether “some states” with a history of discrimination should be required to have changes to voting-related laws approved by the federal government (which is how the question in the October poll also got asked).
But poll respondents also got a second variant of the question this time which asked if “Texas” because of its history of discrimination should be required to have changes to voting-related laws approved by the federal government.
That variant in wording shifted results for Democrats, Republicans, and independents.
When asked about “some states” without specifying Texas, 75% of Democrats favored section 5 review as did 17% of Republicans and 40% of independents.
But mention “Texas,” and Democratic support for section 5 goes to 80%, while Republican support goes to 10% (minus 7) and support from independents does to 27% (minus 13). Republican opposition, likewise, goes from 69% to 80%.
Here’s the full breakdown.
This message brought to by the proud makers of forced ultrasound laws, crazy-assed rape theories, and the idea that women who use contraception are sluts.
Remember, Reince Priebus sez: “You go girls!… Just not very far.”
What should the President do now?
Push to repeal the sequester (a reconciliation bill in the Senate would allow repeal with 51 votes, thereby putting pressure on House Republicans), and replace it with a “Build America’s Future” Act that would close tax loopholes used by the wealthy, end corporate welfare, impose a small (1/10 of 1%) tax on financial transactions, and reduce the size of the military.
Half the revenues would be used for deficit reduction, the other half for investments in our future through education (from early-childhood through affordable higher ed), infrastructure, and basic R&D.
Also included in that bill — in order to make sure our future isn’t jeopardized by another meltdown of Wall Street — would be a resurrection of Glass-Steagall and a limit on the size of the biggest banks.
I’d make clear to the American people that they made a choice in 2012 but that right-wing House Republicans have been blocking that choice, and the only way to implement that choice is for Congress to pass the Build America’s Future Act.
If House Republicans still block it, I’d make 2014 a referendum on it and them, and do whatever I could to take back the House.
In short, the President must reframe the public debate around the future of the country and the investments we must make together in that future, rather than austerity economics. And focus on good jobs and broad-based prosperity rather than prosperity for a few and declining wages and insecurity for the many.
With the sequester now beginning, I find myself thinking about Robert F. Kennedy — and 46 years ago when I was an intern in his Senate office.
1967 was a difficult time for the nation. America was deeply split over civil rights and the Vietnam War. Many of our cities were burning. The war was escalating.
But RFK was upbeat. He was also busy and intense — drafting legislation, lining up votes, speaking to the poor, inspiring the young. I was awed by his energy and optimism, and his overriding passion for social justice and the public good. (Within a few months he’d declare his intention to run for president. Within a year he’d be dead.)
The nation is once again polarized, but I don’t hear our politicians talking about social justice or the public good. They’re talking instead about the budget deficit and sequestration.
At bottom, though, the issue is still social justice.
The austerity economics on which we’ve embarked is a cruel hoax — cruel because it hurts those who are already hurt the most; a hoax because it doesn’t work.
The trickle-down-economics, on which Republicans base their refusal even discuss closing tax loopholes for the wealthy, is a proven failure — proven because it’s been tried before, by Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush; a failure because nothing has trickled down. Taxes have been cut on the wealthy, but the real median wage keeps dropping and the rate of poverty keeps rising. Now, 22 percent of American children are in poverty.
Yet in the months (or years) ahead, federal money will be reduced for poor schools, child nutrition, preschools, and mental-health services.
Some 3.8 million who have been unemployed for more than six months will see their jobless benefits cut.
Some 600,000 low-income women and children will no longer benefit from the federal nutrition program for women and toddlers.
Lower-income Americans are already suffering disproportionately from high unemployment. But they will bear even more of the burden of joblessness as the economy slows because of the sequester.
Meanwhile, America has become far more unequal than it was in 1967. Then, the richest 1 percent got 9 percent of the nation’s total income and paid a top marginal tax of 78 percent (and an effective rate, after deductions and credits, of 54 percent).
Now the richest 1 percent get over 20 percent of the nation’s income and pay a marginal tax of 39 percent (and an effective rate of 23 percent — or, if you’re in Mitt Romney’s league, less than 19 percent). The richest 400 Americans have more wealth than the bottom 150 million combined.
If Robert Kennedy were alive today he’d condemn the Tea Party Republicans (and the Koch Brother billionaires who fund them) for violating the basic ideal of social justice that’s the moral foundation of this nation.
Yes, this got polled back in October 2012 by the University of Texas.
Overall, 51% of Texans in the poll favor continuation of section 5 and 36% oppose.
As you might expect, that breaks down on party lines to 81% of Democrats in favor of the statute vs. 24% of Republicans.
On ethnicity lines, the poll showed support for section 5 from 42% of Anglos, 83% of African-Americans, and 64% of Hispanics.
The poll summary slides here. The poll had a margin of error of +/- 3.46%.
Say you’re an Oklahoma state senator, busy with important Oklahoma state business, when you’re approached by a “natural family planning expert” who says women shouldn’t be taking birth control because “part of their identity is the potential to be a mother.”
What do you do?
A) Gently suggest that this doctor ask Hollywood Upstairs Medical College for a tuition refund.
B) Sponsor a bill letting employers exclude birth control and abortion coverage from insurance plans.
Battling tears, the father of one of the first-graders slain at the December elementary school massacre in Connecticut pleaded with senators on Wednesday to ban assault weapons like the gun that killed his 6-year-old son.
“I’m not here for sympathy,” Neil Heslin, a 50-year-old construction worker who said he grew up with guns and had been teaching his son, Jesse, about them. “I’m here because of my son.”
Heslin spoke for 11 minutes, his voice barely audible and breaking at times, to the Senate Judiciary Committee that is deeply divided over the issue of curbing guns.
The panel was holding a hearing on a bill by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., to ban assault weapons and ammunition magazines that can carry more than 10 rounds. Feinstein and her allies said her measure would reduce the deaths such high-powered firearms can cause, but Republicans on the panel said the move would violate the constitutional right to bear arms and take guns away from law-abiding citizens who use them for self-defense.
Heslin said he supports sportsmen and the Second Amendment right for citizens to have firearms. But he said that amendment was written centuries before weapons as deadly as assault weapons were invented.
“No person should have to go through what myself” and other victims’ families have had to endure, Heslin told the lawmakers.
He recalled the morning of Dec. 14, when 20-year-old Adam Lanza used a Bushmaster assault weapon to kill 20 first-graders and six staffers at the Sandy Hook Elementary school in Newtown, Conn.
“He said it’s all going to be OK,” Heslin said his son told him when he dropped him off at school. He added, “And it wasn’t OK.”