Math Says Clinton Defeated Herself — Not Third-Parties

“Along with the fairly obvious logic & ethics-based reasons that no one but Clinton & the democrats are responsible for their dramatic Tuesday loss, the math appears to support the position that they were defeated — no, not by vindictive millennials — but by their own spectacular foolishness…”

Girls in blue-collar communities face poorer job prospects 

Young women in blue-collar communities are less likely to have jobs eight years after high school than their peers in other areas, an American Sociological Review study finds.

Source: Girls in blue-collar communities face poorer job prospects – Journalist’s Resource Journalist’s Resource

The issue: For decades, educators and legislators in the United States have debated how to balance vocational, skills-based training with college-preparatory curricula to best prepare students for the demands of a competitive, global economy. Some argue that developing the technical skills needed for blue-collar jobs or careers in areas such as construction and installation and repair can be a viable alternative to college-prep coursework, particularly in communities that typically supply workers to blue-collar companies. In such places, classes designed to prepare students for college may be less valuable to some students and their families, especially in light of the growing cost of tuition at four-year colleges.

An academic study worth reading: “Manufacturing Gender Inequality in the New Economy: High School Training for Work in Blue-Collar Communities,” published in the American Sociological Review, 2016.

Study summary: April Sutton, a postdoctoral fellow at the Cornell Population Center at Cornell University, with co-authors Amanda Bosky, a doctoral candidate in sociology at The University of Texas at Austin, and Chandra Muller, a sociology professor at The University of Texas at Austin, studied how different types of educational opportunities in traditionally blue-collar communities affect men and women’s job and earnings outcomes. They hypothesized that the high school courses and post-graduation jobs available in a given community would affect students’ choices about what courses to take and what jobs they could eventually get. If schools in blue-collar communities offered more vocational courses at the expense of academic courses, then this could disadvantage the labor market options of women in blue-collar communities by limiting their educational opportunities. The authors set out to test their hypothesis by studying 12,770 public high school sophomores represented in the 2002 Educational Longitudinal Study, a nationally representative study that tracks high school students into early adulthood through three rounds of follow-up surveys. The authors linked schools in the longitudinal study to U.S. Census 2000 county-level data and collected district-level per-pupil spending figures from the 2000 and 2001 Common Core of Data on U.S. public schools. They employed several statistical techniques to test whether male and female students in blue-collar communities took more vocational and fewer advanced academic courses compared to their peers in non-blue-collar communities, as well as to what extent this relationship held after taking into account differences in course offerings across schools. Finally, they used the data to explore whether vocational high school training in blue-collar communities affected men and women’s outcomes differently in the labor market, two and eight years out of high school.

Key takeaways from the study:

Male students in blue-collar communities tend to take more high school vocational courses than their peers in other communities, regardless of the course offerings of the school. However, female students take similar levels of vocational training courses regardless of where they live.
Men in blue-collar communities are more likely to get blue-collar jobs after high school than comparable men in non-blue-collar communities. However, women in blue-collar communities are less likely to be employed eight years out of high school and less likely to attend four-year-colleges than comparable women in non-blue collar communities.
The authors find evidence to suggest that gender differences in job and wage outcomes are driven by differences in high school course offerings and consequent course selection.
There is no statistically significant difference in earnings between men in blue-collar and non-blue-collar communities, while women from blue-collar communities earned, on average, $2.50 less per hour than women from non-blue-collar communities. (After controlling for school course offerings however, this wage difference becomes insignificant.)
The wage gap between men and women in blue-collar communities is more than $2, while the wage gap in non-blue-collar communities is 30 cents.
Vocational jobs are not evenly distributed across the country. The authors’ calculations, based on U.S. Census 2000 data, reveal a higher concentration of blue-collar jobs in the Southeast and Midwest.
The largest wage gap among men and women nationally is within blue-collar occupations. Men with blue-collar jobs earned $17.20 an hour compared to $13.40 an hour for women, according to the authors’ calculations, based on the Census’ March 2012 Current Population Survey. In the service industry, men’s salaries averaged $13.78 while women’s salaries averaged $13.54. Men and women with white-collar jobs earned an average of $24.68 and $21.26, respectively.
Helpful resources for reporters writing about this issue:

Some states such as Texas have passed legislation promoting apprenticeships and permitting industries to co-design training courses for high school students to prepare them for blue-collar jobs.
President Obama’s ApprenticeshipUSA program, offered through the U.S. Department of Labor (COL), has made $90 million available to support state-level strategies to strengthen apprenticeship-training programs.
Several states have created programs that connect high school students with local blue-collar jobs, including South Carolina’s Youth Apprenticeship Carolina and Louisiana’s Jump Start program.
Examples of reputable vocational high schools in the U.S. include the Southeast Career Technical Academy in Nevada, where students can earn a high school diploma in addition to technical certifications and professional licenses, and the Greater New Bedford Regional Vocational Technical High School in Massachusetts, which allows students to work for pay with partnering with firms through the Co-Op program. Four high schools in the New Castle County VoTech School District in Delaware are also notable for coupling vocational training with mentorships.
Related research:

The National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) provides an overview of vocational training education policy in the U.S.
A 2016 report from the Pew Research Center analyzes wage gaps by race and gender in the U.S.
A 2013 working paper from the World Bank, Yale University and the Malawi National AIDS Commission suggests that Malawian women’s participation in vocational training is affected by family obligations and is more expensive than for men.
A 2012 study in Gender & Society, “Occupational Gender Segregation, Globalization, and Gender Earnings Inequality in the U.S. Metropolitan Areas,” examines the earnings of men and women in 271 U.S. locations and the factors that contribute to earnings differences.

Keywords: manufacturing, community colleges, vo-tech
Writer: Courtney Han | Last updated: November 4, 2016

Citation: Sutton, April; Bosky, Amanda; Muller, Chandra. “Manufacturing Gender Inequality in the New Economy: High School Training for Work in Blue-Collar Communities,” American Sociological Review, August 2016. doi: 10.1177/0003122416648189.


Background checks on ammunition, guns may drastically reduce deaths

An analysis in The Lancet finds that national implementation of background checks on ammo purchases alone could reduce gun-related deaths by 81 percent.

Source: Background checks on ammunition, guns may drastically reduce deaths – Journalist’s Resource Journalist’s Resource



The issue: More than 92 people are killed by firearms in the United States every day, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Though that number is far above any other developed country, and guns are used in most U.S. murders, America’s polarized political establishment has struggled to devise a solution.

In 1993, the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act (known often as the “Brady Law”) began requiring gun buyers to undergo a federal background check. But there are loopholes. Specifically, people can sell weapons without a license or a background check at gun shows (“the gun-show loophole”). Some states have issued separate laws intended to close those loopholes. Others have passed legislation to further deregulate gun access, such as so-called “right-to-carry” or “open carry” laws, which allow people to arm themselves in public places, including on college campuses.

A new study argues that three firearm regulations in the spirit of the Brady Law, if applied nationwide, could cut gun deaths in the U.S. by over 98 percent without any type of ban.

An academic study worth reading: “Firearm Legislation and Firearm Mortality in the USA: A Cross-Sectional, State-Level Study,” published in The Lancet, 2016.

Study summary: The authors, led by Bindu Kalesan of Boston University, built a cross-sectional, state-level study looking at a number of variables, including 25 state gun laws passed in 2009 (which “either controlled firearms or were permissive”) and CDC data on state firearm-related deaths for the years 2008 to 2010. The authors controlled for firearm ownership and other mortality data, including non-gun-related murders, to project the effectiveness of these 25 laws at a federal level.


  • Of the 25 laws passed in 2009, the authors found nine associated with reduced gun deaths, nine with increased gun deaths and seven inconclusive.
  • The three laws most associated with reduced gun deaths required universal background checks to purchase a gun, background checks to purchase ammunition and that firearms carry identification — either microstamping (marking the gun with a laser) or ballistic fingerprinting (where every individual gun leaves a unique mark on a bullet).
  • If these three laws were implemented nationwide, the authors predict declines in firearm-related deaths from the 2009 baseline of 10.35 per 100,000 people:
    • to 4.46 per 100,000, a 57 percent decline, with universal background checks.
    • to 1.99 per 100,000, down 81 percent, with ammunition background checks.
    • to 1.81 per 100,000, an 83 percent reduction, with firearm identification requirements.
    • to 0.16 per 100,000, with all three requirements (that is a 98.45 percent decline, though the authors do not calculate this).
  • Hawaii had the lowest rate of firearm-related deaths (3.31 per 100,000) and Alaska the highest (20.3 per 100,000) in the U.S.
  • So-called stand-your-ground laws — which permit individuals to respond to perceived threats with deadly force, without attempting to retreat — are associated with a “significant increase in firearm mortality.”

N.B. Several scholars have challenged (here and here) some of the key findings in this study. In a response published in The Lancet, the authors stand by their work.

Helpful resources:

The U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) explains how the Brady Law works, including its temporary and permanent provisions. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) describes how its instant background checks work.

The American gun debate is often heated, with advocates on both sides offering passionate opinions and competing data. The Gun Violence Archive is a non-profit organization that grew out of a project at It collates gun-violence statistics and claims to take no position on the issue. The National Rifle Association (NRA) is one of the most visible lobbies for gun ownership.

This 2016 Washington Post story looks at the number of firearm-related deaths in Chicago, one of America’s most violent cities, and how those guns are brought to the city from other states.

Other research:

This 2015 study in the Annual Review of Public Health looks at efforts to keep guns out of the hands of “high-risk individuals” between 1999 and 2014 and specifically analyzes the so-called “gun-show loophole” in the Brady Law.

This 2015 paper in BMJ Injury Prevention assesses gun ownership rates across the 50 states.

This 2013 study in JAMA Internal Medicine found a correlation between state firearm legislation and lower rates of gun deaths.

This 2011 study found that murders committed with guns happen 20 times more often in America than in other developed countries.

Journalist’s Resource has written about research on right-to-carry laws, background checks and mental illness, the online gun market, shooting sprees, carrying weapons on campus and analyses of existing gun-control legislation.


Keywords: gun deaths, firearms, violence, murder, gun control


Writer: | Last updated: November 7, 2016

Citation: Kalesan, Bindu; et al. “Firearm Legislation and Firearm Mortality in the USA: A Cross-Sectional, State-Level Study,” The Lancet, 2016. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(15)01026-0.

CURMUDGUCATION: The Racist Dinner Party

CURMUDGUCATIONThe slightly-cranky voice navigating the world of educational “reform” while trying to still pursue the mission of providing quality education.

Source: CURMUDGUCATION: The Racist Dinner Party


The Racist Dinner Party

Many of my Trump-voting friends are genuinely baffled and upset at being called racist, sexist, bigoted by association. “Really, not about race,” they say about their vote. Let me try to explain, as I often do, with a story.

You are an American of Ostrogoth ancestry. You and your wife and children are going to a neighbor’s house for Thanksgiving dinner. You’re pretty pumped.

Out on the sidewalk you meet this guy. “What do you think you’re doing in this neighborhood,” he asks, not very nicely. “I don’t really think we want your kind around here.” He’s pretty confrontational, but also kind of clownish. You’re uneasy, but not quite worried. Then you notice that there are a bunch of other guys standing behind him, just coming out of the shadows.

“Yeah,” says one of them. “How about we just kick your Ostie ass! How about we just send you and your little Ostie spawn back to Ostrogothia, or wherever the hell you people come from.” You notice that a couple of the men are holding baseball bats.  (“Ostie” is a crude and vulgar slur against Americans of Ostrogoth ancestry. And your family has lived in this country for six generations.)

The thugs kind of look at the first guy, to see if he’s going to let them continue. All he says is, “You know, I miss the old days, when certain people knew their place. We need to make this neighborhood great again, like it was before certain people moved in. Maybe we should get rid of these ones. ”

“But maybe not the woman,” says one of the thugs. “She looks like a nice piece of ass.”

“Yeah,” says the first guy, who appears to be their leader. “Yeah, I’d f@#! that.”

The rest of the mob starts chanting “String them up” and you are sure it’s time to go, so you and your family hurry up the walk, to your neighbor’s. Shaken, you go inside and prepare to sit down to dinner. You tell your hosts what happened. Maybe they mumble something about “Oh, that racist fool” or maybe they don’t say anything at all. You try to shake it off.

Then you walk into the dining room, and that guy who moments ago had you fearing for the safety of your family, is sitting at the end of the table, holding the carving knife.

You turn to your hosts. “What the hell??!!”

Your host shrugs. “We thought he’d be really good at carving and serving the turkey. At least better than Aunt Hillary. You know, that awful bitch.”

And as you hustle your family out the front door, hoping the mob isn’t still out there waiting for you, and as you put on your coats, your hosts are upset– “Why are you leaving? Look, we’re not racists. We didn’t decide to have him over because we agree with his racist stuff. We just, you know, thought he would make a really good carver.”

And if you’re the host in this story, maybe you did make your choice for what seemed like non-racist reasons. But if you can’t understand how your Other citizens feel when they see the man who came at them with racist threats, empowering racist goons– how they feel when they see him in charge of carving and serving up the turkey at the dinner, well, you need to think it through for a moment, because you invited him, and it is on you to pressure him to behave.

And no, this isn’t a perfect analogy. Non-white non-male non-straight citizens of this country are not guests (they’re citizens), and there is a lot more history involved than just one ugly encounter on the sidewalk. But the point remains– if you bring a racist, misogynistic, ugly man into our shared home and seat him at the end of the table, your motives don’t absolve you of responsibility for the choice that you’ve made. You may not have said anything racist yourself, but your actions make it clear that you don’t consider his racism all that important and the comfort and safety of your neighbors is not as important to you as a well-carved turkey.

CURMUDGUCATION: Education’s Trumpian Crystal Ball

CURMUDGUCATIONThe slightly-cranky voice navigating the world of educational “reform” while trying to still pursue the mission of providing quality education.

Source: CURMUDGUCATION: Education’s Trumpian Crystal Ball


Education’s Trumpian Crystal Ball

Today’s new cottage industry is Trumpian predictive activities– what will he do, what will happen next, what will he decide about My Favorite Issue. This is a bit of a fool’s game– on the one hand, Trump has told us pretty clearly what he’s going to do, and on the other hand, this is a man who feels no particular obligation to think about what he says before he speaks or stay true to it once it has been said. Word noises come out of his face and fly off into the ether, to die a sad abandoned orphan’s death either sooner or later. As Rick Hess has noted, “There’s no reason to believe that Trump necessarily means what he’s said on any issue. In truth, he seems to regard policy declarations as performance art.”

This is particularly true in education, a field about which Trump knows little and apparently cares less. His policy is indeed “murky at best“. But it may be worthwhile to look at the predictions. We always knew we were going to have to struggle for public education after the election, no matter how it went. Exactly what struggle might we face?

The wonkisphere has been churning away. In no particular order here are some of their thoughts, and mine.

Secretary of Education

Is it a contradiction to search for a secretary to head the department that you have occasionally promised to get rid of? Probably, but I suspect we will have ample opportunity to get used to contradictions. Don’t call it hypocrisy; you can only be a hypocrite if you actually have some convictions.

Ben Carson’s name has been tossed around a bunch. Like much of what is about to happen, this falls into the would-be-hilarious-if-it-weren’t-going-to-cause-so-much-real-damage category. But if you want to consider some more flat-out scary possibilities, Politico says that Betsy DeVos and Kevin Chavous have been felt out for the job. DeVos is a rich angry edu-diletante with a heavy conservative streak; her father-in-law founded Amway, and her brother founded Blackwater. Chavous helps run her advocacy group, the American Federation for Children, a dark money group dedicated to school privatization.

Other names are out there (Scott Walker??!!), but at this point creationist Ben Carson is most people’s favorite.

Transition Team?

This is probably a good moment to note that Trump supporters are about to endure a great deal of disappointment, and that starts now with Trump’s abandonment of his pledge to drain the swamp and sweep clean the DC insiders. The New York Times notes that his transition team is loaded with the usual gang of DC lobbyists and influence peddlers.

When you think about it, this is not a surprise. One of Trump’s lifelong motivations is to get the respect of the hoity-toity upper-crust insider crowds from DC to Manhattan. Given the chance to make them work for him, call him Mr. Trump, and kiss his ring, what are the odds he will pass that up. He has wanted their admiration and respect his whole life– it is one prize in this race that his ego cannot pass up. My armchair prediction is that the administration will be a solid mix of sycophantic grifters like Breibart’s Steve Bannon and choices from the long list of GOP insiders who jettisoned their personal dignity and principles so they could get on Der Fuhrer’s team. Line forms on the left, guys, right behind Christie and Pence.

Because Trump has few convictions, his choices for a team matter. His education transition team includes James Manning, a career bureaucrat who worked in both Bush and Obama administrations; Gerard Robinson, from the free-market-loving American Enterprise Institute; Townsend McNitt, another Bush-era Ed Department suit; and Bill Evers, from the super-conservative Hoover Institute and Margaret Spellings’ Ed Department. I have been tweeted enthusiastic endorsements of Evers who has a rep as an anti-Common Core guy, but his career (which includes setting up schools in Iraq back in 2003) is heavily focused on free market schooling.


Mike Petrilli (Fordham) does a good full-length shrug over at Education Next that covers most of the recurring themes. The Obama administration got a lot of mileage out of using the Office of Civil Rights to enforce education policy. It seems safe to say that civil rights issues will not generally be on the Trump front burner.

It also seems a safe bet that a Trump Ed department will have some new ideas about implementing ESSA, which will dovetail nicely with the question of just how long the bipartisan agreement that hatched ESSA will survive under the new hot orange sun.

Common Core? I’ve addressed that and, as many have noted, the new law puts the power to control the standards out of his hands. Of course, the old law said that the feds can’t impose things like the Core on states, and we worked around that just fine.

There’s really only one clear policy, and Trump has touted it pretty consistently– choice, choice, and more choice. Scrap the public schools and open up the market to the people who want to make a buck playing the education game. In Trump’s America, everyone is free to choose a good school and good health care, just like everyone is free to stay at the top suites in a Trump hotel. If you can’t afford any of those things, well, then, you should try not to be such a poor person, such a loser. If you can’t afford Trump Tower (because, for instance, you work there) then there are always nice tent cities outside of town for Your Type.

In fact, I can’t think of anyone who has more explicitly articulated the underlying principle of free market charter schooling– in this world there are winners and losers, and Nice Things (like good schools and health care and shiny cars and hot model wives) are for the winners who can afford them.

Debate Realignments

The Education Debates have made strange bedfellows out of a lot of folks, and now some of that will change as soon as, well, yesterday. The anti-common core crowd included a mix of right-wing folks and progressives, and as far as the right-leaning folks are concerned, the fight is over and they just won it. Meanwhile, the pro-reformy crowd is split, much like the rest of the conservative world, between people who are happy to be on a winning team no matter what that team looks like and people who are a little afraid to realize that their allies may be scarier than their enemies.

Meanwhile, allegedly Democratic reformsters may need to stop and reassess. What exactly separates the reformy hedge fund managers of DFER from the Trump administration (spoiler alert- absolutely nothing, except that pre-election they never would have accepted his gauche butt at their country clubs). And if there’s no policy difference between DFER and the Trump administration, and Democrats have shown themselves to be the least effective and most powerless party in town– well, is there any reason for DFER to keep pretending that they’re Democrats?

There may be some good to come out of Ed Debates under Trump– for one thing, it’s going to be an awful lot harder for anyone to pretend that race is not an issue when it comes to education in this country. But I think we’re going to have a short period of confusion and mess while people try to figure out who their real allies are at this point.And that in itself is a reminder that it really helps to focus on what you want to move toward, and not on what you disapprove of.

We’ll know what Trump is going to do when he does it. The best use of this time is not to try to read the tea leaves (I know, right? Just wasted a whole post’s worth of your time) but to renew focus on and commitment to the values and goals that you want to move toward. Let’s catch our breath, our strength, our focus. Let’s remember what and who we love. Let’s get ready.

Democrats, Trump, and the Ongoing, Dangerous Refusal to Learn the Lesson of Brexit

The morning after Donald Trump won the election, Glenn Greenwald wrote that Democrats didn’t learn the lesson of Brexit, which is basically that after being routinely exploited, impoverished, and even killed by the political elites, regular people will eventually do something that seems really stupid and self-defeating if that’s the only way they have of telling those elitist bastards to go to hell. Well, he made that argument vastly more elegantly, resulting in one of a handful of must-read election post-mortems.

Meanwhile, Jon Schwarz wrote from the wreckage of American democracy about eight things we can do now that aren’t entirely hopeless.

By Ian Froomkin, Intercept Washington Editor


Will these two cataclysmic events be the peak of the West’s implosion, or just the beginning? It all depends on whether we learn their lessons.

By November 9 2016

THE PARALLELS BETWEEN the U.K.’s shocking approval of the Brexit referendum in June and the U.S.’s even more shocking election of Donald Trump as president Tuesday night are overwhelming. Elites (outside of populist right-wing circles) aggressively unified across ideological lines in opposition to both. Supporters of Brexit and Trump were continually maligned by the dominant media narrative (validly or otherwise) as primitive, stupid, racist, xenophobic, and irrational. In each case, journalists who spend all day chatting with one another on Twitter and congregating in exclusive social circles in national capitals — constantly re-affirming their own wisdom in an endless feedback loop — were certain of victory. Afterward, the elites whose entitlement to prevail was crushed devoted their energies to blaming everyone they could find except for themselves, while doubling down on their unbridled contempt for those who defied them, steadfastly refusing to examine what drove their insubordination.

The indisputable fact is that prevailing institutions of authority in the West, for decades, have relentlessly and with complete indifference stomped on the economic welfare and social security of hundreds of millions of people. While elite circles gorged themselves on globalism, free trade, Wall Street casino gambling, and endless wars (wars that enriched the perpetrators and sent the poorest and most marginalized to bear all their burdens), they completely ignored the victims of their gluttony, except when those victims piped up a bit too much — when they caused a ruckus — and were then scornfully condemned as troglodytes who were the deserved losers in the glorious, global game of meritocracy.

That message was heard loud and clear. The institutions and elite factions that have spent years mocking, maligning, and pillaging large portions of the population — all while compiling their own long record of failure and corruption and destruction — are now shocked that their dictates and decrees go unheeded. But human beings are not going to follow and obey the exact people they most blame for their suffering. They’re going to do exactly the opposite: purposely defy them and try to impose punishment in retaliation. Their instruments for retaliation are Brexit and Trump. Those are their agents, dispatched on a mission of destruction: aimed at a system and culture they regard — not without reason — as rife with corruption and, above all else, contempt for them and their welfare.

After the Brexit vote, I wrote an article comprehensively detailing these dynamics, which I won’t repeat here but hope those interested will read. The title conveys the crux: “Brexit Is Only the Latest Proof of the Insularity and Failure of Western Establishment Institutions.” That analysis was inspired by a short, incredibly insightful, and now more relevant than ever post-Brexit Facebook note by the Los Angeles Times’s Vincent Bevins, who wrote that “both Brexit and Trumpism are the very, very wrong answers to legitimate questions that urban elites have refused to ask for 30 years.” Bevins went on: “Since the 1980s the elites in rich countries have overplayed their hand, taking all the gains for themselves and just covering their ears when anyone else talks, and now they are watching in horror as voters revolt.”

For those who tried to remove themselves from the self-affirming, vehemently pro-Clinton elite echo chamber of 2016, the warning signs that Brexit screechingly announced were not hard to see. Two short passagesfrom a Slate interview I gave in July summarized those grave dangers:

Read more here >Democrats, Trump, and the Ongoing, Dangerous Refusal to Learn the Lesson of Brexit


YOU’RE TERRIFIED. I’m terrified too.

It’s not hyperbole to say the United States, and in fact the world, will need some luck to get out of this one alive. So let’s concentrate on making our own luck.

The people who run America have constructed a political system that’s like a glitchy killer robot, one even they can’t control anymore.

Working as designed it murders African Americans and pregnant womenand opioid addicts. The Iraq War was a minor hiccup that caused it to obliterate a country, several thousand Americans, and hundreds of thousands of people all around the world. The housing bubble was a more serious bug that liquidated hundreds of thousands more from the poorer half of the rich world.

But with Donald Trump, for perhaps the first time, the robot totally ignored the commands of its creators and now has everyone in its crosshairs.

If there’s anything to learn from history, it’s that elites don’t dismantle their beloved killer robots on their own. Either regular people — including you reading this right now — will deactivate this one, or it will never happen at all. Not a single person knows exactly how to pull this off. But one thing’s for sure: Trump’s rise proves that whatever it is we’ve been doing isn’t working.

So let’s exhale and let go of our fear, so we can think as clearly as we can about who we are and what we’re trying to accomplish. We can start by sharing whatever educated guesses we have about what we should do for the next few decades. Here are mine…

The NRA Placed Big Bets on the 2016 Election, and Won Almost All of Them | OpenSecrets Blog

OpenSecrets Blog and The Trace partnered on this story; it was published by both outlets.In North Carolina, the NRA spent $6.2 million on the incumbent Republican Sen. Richard Burr, the most it has ever invested in a down-ballot race. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)The National Rifle Association

The gun rights group placed multimillion-dollar bets on Donald Trump and six Republican Senate candidates locked in highly competitive races. It poured $50.2 million, or 96 percent of its total outside spending, into these races, and lost only one — an open seat in Nevada, vacated by the Democratic Minority Leader, Harry Reid. That race cost the NRA roughly $2.5 million.
… read more: The NRA Placed Big Bets on the 2016 Election, and Won Almost All of Them | OpenSecrets Blog

$1.4 billion and counting in spending by super PACs, dark money groups | from OpenSecrets Blog

 Trump’s dark money fortunes turned around in October, when 45Committee, linked to Cubs owner Todd Rickets, right, dropped more than $20 million on ads against Clinton and for him. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Setting a new record and driving much of the higher cost of this year’s elections over 2012’s, outside groups that weren’t formally connected to either political party broke $1.4 billion in outlays in the 2016 cycle. That’s up from the $1 billion these groups — mostly super PACs and 501(c) organizations — spent in 2012, and way up from the $338 million spent in 2008.
… read more: $1.4 billion and counting in spending by super PACs, dark money groups | OpenSecrets Blog

The price of winning just got higher, especially in the Senate | from OpenSecrets Blog

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) paid a high price to keep his seat: $27.8 million. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

This election cycle, an average winning Senate candidate had spent $10.4 million through Oct. 19 (reflecting the latest reports filed with the Federal Election Commission). That’s a $1.8 million increase over the same period in the 2014 cycle. By the end of last cycle, the number rose to $10.6 million, and a similar uptick is expected this time once post-election and year-end reports are filed.
… read more: The price of winning just got higher, especially in the Senate | OpenSecrets Blog

Where the money came from, not how much, mattered in the presidential race | from OpenSecrets Blog

Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the race to the White House despite raising half as much campaign cash as his Democratic opponent and benefiting from $162 million less in outside spending by groups devoted solely to helping him win. It’s the first time since 1996 that the president-elect raised less money than his opponent, and the Dole v. (Bill) Clinton race was from a different era in campaign finance.

Trump played an unconventional and disorganized money game, to say the least. He didn’t start actively fundraising until five months before Election Day, and relied on $66 million of his own funds — well short of the $100 million he promised. Trump glided through the primaries benefiting from free media coverage, outlasting candidates like former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who had a super PAC that spent more than $118 million to assist him — the early favorite to capture the GOP nomination in no small part because of his huge cash advantage. There was no clearly dominant pro-Trump super PAC, leaving donors confused, and many wealthy Republicans who might have been counted on to help a Republican nominee stayed away.

Click here to read the full article: Where the money came from, not how much, mattered in the presidential race | OpenSecrets Blog

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Education Under Attack

Attacks on our public education system hurt America


Independent Thought for an Independent World


"That all citizens will be given an equal start through a sound education is one of the most basic, promised rights of our democracy. Our chronic refusal as a nation to guarantee that right for all children.... is rooted in a kind of moral blindness, or at least a failure of moral imagination.... It is a failure which threatens our future as a nation of citizens called to a common purpose... tied to one another by a common bond." —Senator Paul Wellstone --- March 31, 2000

David R. Taylor

Speaking My MInd

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