The Role of Racial Resentment in Our Politics
Ted Johnson on why the parties seem further apart on questions of race today than they have been for some time—but the truth is more complicated.
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TED JOHNSON: The Role of Racial Resentment in Our Politics.
There is a real sense that the parties are further apart on questions of race today than they have been for some time—each side being pulled to the poles. But the truth is more complicated. The yawning gap between the parties is not, as is often suggested, because Republicans have become more racist and Democrats have become more woke; it is because the left has become more progressive on racial inequality while the right has fortified its pre-existing position.
Ian Shapiro, a colleague of mine at the Brennan Center for Justice, examined the levels of racial resentment among white Republicans and white Democrats going back to 1986, drawing on time-series data from the American National Election Studies. The data show that the two groups were close together and moving in tandem in the late 1980s and early ’90s, white Democrats harboring slightly less resentment than their Republican counterparts. The distance between the two, however, gradually increased between the mid-’90s and the early 2010s. And then, from 2012 forward, the gap exploded—the bottom dropping out of racial resentment levels among white Democrats.
On the right-wing road show, Michael Flynn is the second-biggest draw after Trump — his “deep state” victimization is central to MAGA mythology. Oh, and he’s still trying to steal the 2020 election. The New York Times Magazine’s Robert Draper joins Charlie Sykes on today’s podcast.
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SHAY KHATIRI: America Can’t Fight Authoritarianism on the Cheap.
The problem has been growing for years. In the 2010s, Congress abdicated its responsibility to fund the military adequately. Because of virtue-signaling about the deficit, the military lost a trillion dollars in funding over a span of ten years. Government shutdowns, budget uncertainties, and outright cuts—remember the years of “sequestration”?—weakened the force, reduced readiness, and delayed the delivery of important weapons. Worse, congressional Republicans are now dragging the military into the culture war, making recruitment more difficult.
Of course, Congress wasn’t alone in its fiscal irresponsibility. Three successive administrations—Bush, Obama, and Trump—contributed to the problem with tax cuts not sufficiently offset by spending cuts elsewhere in the budget. The retirement of the Baby Boom generation, which is squeezing Medicare and Social Security, and the Biden administration’s money-grows-on-trees fiscal policy are putting enormous strain on the budget.
Meanwhile, expectations we have of the military remain unchanged.
MONA CHAREN on Pre-K’s Broken Promise.
A lot of the enthusiasm for universal pre-K grew out of two very small studies of extremely high-quality programs, the Perry preschool project in Michigan and the Abecedarian preschool in North Carolina. But those programs were staffed by college graduates, and the kids scored better than controls on a number of measures. There are studies out there finding some salutary effects of various other programs as well. The problem, as I noted in my 2018 book Sex Matters, is that scaling up quality preschool programs is very hard. Decades of research on Head Start has failed to find durable academic benefits. And in Canada’s Quebec province, the adoption of universal pre-K in 1997 led to serious negative outcomes when the kids reached adolescence. Teenagers who had been placed in daycare showed marked increases in anxiety, aggression, and dissatisfaction with life compared with those who had spent their early years in parental or other care. Even more worrying was the sharp increase in criminal activity noted among the teenagers who had participated in the program compared with peers in other provinces.
The question of what’s best for children is complicated by many factors. Children from very poor homes tend to do better in pre-K than kids from wealthier families for obvious reasons. Poor children are often born to single mothers with little education. Their home lives are usually less stable than those of better-off kids. But that’s why the Vanderbilt results are so important. They compare low-income children against other low-income children, and they indicate that pre-K was not a help, but a hindrance.
Run! Don’t walk! Two of my favorite grills are things you should buy. World Market has the Lodge Kickoff Grill on sale for under $50. And PK is about to retire its classic grill. Get them while you can.
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