The percentage of Americans who evaluate their lives well enough to be considered “thriving” on Gallup’s Live Evaluation Index reached 59.2% in June, the highest in over 13 years of ongoing measurement.
Jonathan Last: “In order for us to hit a constitutional crisis that wrecks our democracy, only a few things have to happen, none of which are super-low-probability events. If I were laying odds, I’d guess that the near-term chances of us hitting a second consecutive transfer of power crisis are probably a coin-flip.”
“But here’s the thing: A once-a-century transfer of power crisis is a dangerous black swan event. Consecutive transfer of power crises are a new mode of politics. And, frankly, a new mode that I don’t think our democracy could survive.”
New York Times: “Thirteen stripes, a dusting of stars, the American flag has had infinite meanings over the 244 years since the country began flying one… Politicians of both parties have long sought to wrap themselves in the flag. But something may be changing: Today, flying the flag from the back of a pickup truck or over a lawn is increasingly seen as a clue, albeit an imperfect one, to a person’s political affiliation in a deeply divided nation.”
“What was once a unifying symbol — there is a star on it for each state, after all — is now alienating to some, its stripes now fault lines between people who kneel while ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ plays and those for whom not pledging allegiance is an affront. And it has made the celebration of the Fourth of July, of patriotic bunting and cakes with blueberries and strawberries arranged into Old Glory, into another cleft in a country that seems no longer quite so indivisible, under a flag threatening to fray.”
Axios: “The latest census is expected to show the first decline in history for the nation’s non-Hispanic white population… White population growth has slowed in recent decades, largely because of falling fertility rates as Americans wait longer to have kids and have fewer of them.”
Gallup: “Continuing a long-term trend, Americans are discouraged about the state of moral values in the U.S., with 84% calling them ‘only fair’ or ‘poor’ and two-thirds believing they are getting worse rather than better. These negative evaluations differ little from what Gallup has found each year since it began measuring perceptions of the nation’s values in 2002.”
“This stability, however, masks significant changes in Democrats’ and Republicans’ perceptions of U.S. values between 2020 and 2021. Democrats are much less negative about moral values today than they were a year ago. Conversely, Republicans’ views of U.S. moral values have sunk to record lows.”
“Becoming a mother used to be seen as a unifying milestone for women in the United States. But a new analysis of four decades of births shows that the age that women become mothers varies significantly by geography and education. The result is that children are born into very different family lives, heading for diverging economic futures,” the New York Times reports.
“The difference in when women start families cuts along many of the same lines that divide the country in other ways, and the biggest one is education. Women with college degrees have children an average of seven years later than those without — and often use the years in between to finish school and build their careers and incomes.”
Gallup: “Americans are sharply divided in their abortion views, including on its morality, with an equal split between those who believe it is morally acceptable and those who say it is morally wrong.”
“The 47% who say it is acceptable is, by two percentage points, the highest Gallup has recorded in two decades of measurement. Just one point separates them from the 46% who think abortion is wrong from a moral perspective.”
Perry Bacon Jr.: “Take a step back, and it becomes clear that our core divides are fairly simple.”
“I think most of today’s political fights are really about two underlying questions: Will power — cultural, economic, social and political in particular — be taken away from the kinds of people (wealthy, White, Christian, male) who have traditionally dominated most of American life? And, if so, how much and how quickly?”
David Byler: “In Arizona, Georgia, Colorado and Virginia, Democrats cashed in on population growth: They captured millennials, affluent suburbanites and immigrants who flocked to expanding cities, held onto Black voters and overpowered Republicans from small, stagnant metros and no-growth towns.”
“But, in Florida, these small metros and towns grew faster than cities such as Miami.”
“Over the past 50 years, Florida’s smaller cities and towns have become powerful magnets for middle-aged parents and retirees from other states. These older migrants want low taxes, affordable housing and warm weather all year — so they’re pouring into low-cost counties, away from the major cities.”
Associated Press: “Democrats lost last year’s election for Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District by the narrowest margin in a House race in almost 40 years. After the six-vote heartbreaker, some expected Democrat Rita Hart to immediately declare a rematch in the southeast district long held by her party.”
“So far, no Democrat has stepped up to run.”
“The hesitancy to jump into a district now as competitive as they come is one measure of Democrats’ fatigue in a state viewed for decades as a true battleground. Even as the coronavirus pandemic gradually wanes and President Joe Biden’s job approval remains strong, Iowa Democrats say they can feel their party receding, particularly from the industrial river towns they once claimed as bastions.”
FiveThirtyEight introduced its partisan lean metric — a way of measuring the partisanship of a state or district.
“For example, if a state has a FiveThirtyEight partisan lean of R+5, that means it is 5 percentage points more Republican-leaning than the nation as a whole. Put another way, in an election that’s exactly tied nationally, we would expect Republicans to win that state by 5 points.”
An analysis done by Voto Latino, and provided to the Washington Post, “showed that during the 2020 election, the group collected 617,714 complete voter registration applications — a 123% percent increase over their projected goal for the cycle.”
Said María Teresa Kumar, CEO of Voto Latino: “The younger Latinx was a larger share of the overall Latino electorate, the state swung for Biden: Arizona, Nevada, Georgia, and Pennsylvania. If this trend holds true: Texas and North Carolina will be next in play as younger Latinos eclipse older generations.”
She added: “Florida, where the Latino vote share is older, will be harder to flip.”
“Politically, U.S. Jews on the whole tilt strongly liberal and tend to support the Democratic Party,” Pew Research reports.
“When the new survey was fielded, from late fall 2019 through late spring 2020, 71% said they were Democrats or leaned Democratic. Among Jews of no religion, roughly three-quarters were Democrats or leaned that way.”
“But Orthodox Jews have been trending in the opposite direction, becoming as solidly Republican as non-Orthodox Jews are solidly Democratic. In the run-up to the 2020 presidential election, 75% of Orthodox Jews said they were Republicans or leaned Republican, compared with 57% in 2013.”
Politico: “California’s population declined in 2020 for the first time in the state’s recorded history due to Covid-19 deaths, federal immigration restrictions and declining births.”
“Though population growth has slowed dramatically in recent years, compounded by high costs of living and a housing shortage, this was the first time California experienced an actual annual drop since the state began recording such data in 1900.”
“U.S. birth and fertility rates dropped to another record low in 2020 as births fell for the sixth consecutive year to the lowest levels since 1979,” CNBC reports.
“The number of births in the U.S. declined last year by 4% from 2019, double the average annual rate of decline of 2% since 2014.”
Nate Cohn: “The expanding Democratic disadvantage in the Electoral College underscores how the growing diversity of the nation may not aid Democrats enough to win in places they most need help. Just as often, population growth is concentrated in red states — like Texas and Florida — where the Democrats don’t win nonwhite voters by the overwhelming margins necessary to overcome the state’s Republican advantage.”
“As for the Republicans, the widely held assumption that the party will struggle as white voters decline as a percentage of the electorate may be more myth than reality. Contrary to what Tucker Carlson says repeatedly on Fox News about the rise of ‘white replacement theory’ as a Democratic electoral strategy, the country’s growing racial diversity has not drastically upended the party’s chances. Instead, Republicans face a challenge they often take for granted: white voters.”
David Byler: “Texas has become a magnet for migrants from inside America. The Lone Star State nets 100,000 people from other states almost every year.”
“Many are moving from big, blue states where homes are more expensive and taxes are higher. New Texans are typically younger — and more likely to be college educated — than the rest of the state’s population.”
“Put simply, people move to Texas — from abroad and other states — because they can make more money, afford a home and raise a family. The economic engine is driving population growth.”