Monday Edition

What getting your news from YouTube says about you. Plus: Are vibes more important than facts?


1. Democrats’ Future Is Female

With the Democratic Party increasingly catering to well-educated women, it might be alienating men. (American Enterprise Institute)

Since the late 1990s, women have made up about 60% of the Democratic Party.

What Democratic strategist James Carville told The New York Times last month: “If you listen to Democratic elites—NPR is my go-to place for that—the whole talk is about how women, and women of color, are going to decide this election. I’m like: ‘Well, 48 percent of the people that vote are males. Do you mind if they have some consideration?’”

The split is very pronounced when you zoom in on younger Americans.

  • 29% of young men identify as Republicans and 32% as Dems, per a recent Harvard poll. Five years ago, 42% were Dems and only 20% backed the GOP.

  • President Biden has a 33-point lead over Donald Trump among young women, but only a 6-point lead among young men.

  • In the 2022 midterms, 72% of women ages 18-29 voted for Democrats in House races, while only 26% voted for Republicans.

  • The share of young women identifying as liberal has been steadily rising in recent years.

Bubba’s Two Cents: Let’s put aside policy for a second and just talk about messaging. The reality of politics and media today means that loud, angry statements stripped of nuance tend to carry further, especially if they’re demonizing “the other side.” But this kind of messaging can alienate potential allies, as we’re seeing with young men digging in on one side (GOP) and young women on the other (Democrats).

2. The YouTube-New York Times Divide

Where you get your news says something about your politics. (Ink Stained Wretches)

Chart: NBC News

According to a new NBC News poll, Donald Trump has stronger support among those who get their news from alternative sources.

  • 53% from people who don’t follow political news.

  • 55% from YouTube or Google users.

  • 53% from cable news viewers.

President Biden leads on more traditional news platforms.

  • 70% of newspaper readers and 55% of major network news viewers back Biden.

  • Only 27% of people who don’t follow politics are Biden supporters.

Ink Stained Wretches co-host Chris Stirewalt: “So you see here this very stark depiction of where the right gets its news or doesn't get its news and where the left gets its news and doesn't get its news. This doesn't tell us much about how the election's gonna go, but talk about siloed media … These look like actual silos.”

Bubba’s Two Cents: Call it a silo, call it a bubble, call it an echo chamber — this is a pretty clear illustration of how politics is downstream of media. People’s perceptions of a candidate are going to be very different depending on whether those perceptions are primarily shaped by YouTube or The New York Times.

3. High Speed Rail to Nowhere

California’s beleaguered high speed rail project is a gift to critics of government inefficiency and waste. (New York Post)

The state’s High Speed Rail Authority recently touted the completion of the Fresno River Viaduct, a 1,600-foot-long bridge meant to carry rail in Madera County. Construction on the viaduct took place from 2015 to 2018.

California’s bullet train project has been plagued by delays and ballooning costs.

  • The project was supposed to be completed by 2020. Barring further delays, passenger service is now expected to begin sometime between 2030 and 2033.

  • Connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco (as Phase 1 of the project entails) would take about 500 miles of rail. Active construction has taken place on just 119 miles.

  • Initial projections pegged the cost at $40 billion. Those estimates have now jumped to between $90 to $128 billion.

  • The project currently faces a $100 billion funding shortfall.

A 2022 New York Times investigative report into the bullet train: “[The] design for the nation’s most ambitious infrastructure project was never based on the easiest or most direct route. Instead, the train’s path out of Los Angeles was diverted across a second mountain range to the rapidly growing suburbs of the Mojave Desert — a route whose most salient advantage appeared to be that it ran through the district of a powerful Los Angeles county supervisor. … The dogleg through the desert was only one of several times over the years when the project fell victim to political forces that have added billions of dollars in costs and called into question whether the project can ever be finished.”

Bubba’s Two Cents: This boondoggle shows that once government projects start to snowball, they can be hard to stop —even when they're clearly failing. The bullet train was a massively ambitious undertaking that was going to be tough to pull off even if everything went according to plan. That didn’t happen, and now it looks like we’re going to keep throwing good money after bad on the taxpayer’s dime.

4. Vibes Don’t Care About Your Facts

Pessimism about the state of America has become ubiquitous on the left and right, but by many measures the country’s not doing all that terribly. (Kevin Drum)

Rep. Jamaal Bowman, D-N.Y. this week: “Young people are TIRED. … They’re tired of growing up with forever wars, with no healthcare, with crumbling infrastructure. Young people have every right to demand better from their leaders. It’s their job to.”

Political blogger Kevin Drum’s data-based rebuttal to Bowman’s claims:

Forever wars? Drone strikes are down drastically under President Biden. 2022 marked the first year in decades that no civilians were killed in U.S. military operations.

No healthcare? Uninsured rates among young people have been steadily falling (in fact, the share of all Americans without health insurance tied a record-low in 2022).

Crappy infrastructure? Infrastructure spending has risen 25% since the year 2000. A 2021 American Society of Civil Engineers report gave the U.S. its highest grade in over 25 years.

Related: We know that partisanship can play a big role in how people see the world.

  • In the past, everyone pretty much agreed on how the economy was performing, but since the late 1990s, Americans’ views on the economy have been more influenced by whether their team is in power.

Bubba’s Two Cents: There are arguments to be made that young people are struggling or the economy isn’t as strong as key metrics indicate. But here’s a political reality — vibes are often more effective than facts when it comes to getting your message across. It’s why so many politicians, journalists and pundits spin stories that fit their agenda, even if the data doesn’t back them up.

5. Not Much Sympathy for Protests

The protests raging across American campuses are not popular, recent surveys show. (The Forward)

A new Morning Consult poll:

  • 47% of U.S. voters think colleges should ban pro-Palestinian protests, compared to just 30% who say the protests should be permitted.

  • 41% support banning pro-Israel protests.

  • 46% agree colleges should condemn attacks by Hamas; 33% say colleges should condemn Israel's actions in Gaza.

  • 47% oppose pro-Palestinian campus protests, while 28% support them.

  • 35% say the protests have not been peaceful, compared to 30% who say they have.

  • 33% believe college crackdowns on protests have not been harsh enough; 16% say too harsh.


Bubba’s Two Cents: It’s not super shocking that Ivy League campus radicals haven’t exactly endeared themselves to the American public. Although the U.S. pro-Palestine movement claims to be a movement of the oppressed, it's notable that it lacks broad domestic support and receives significant funding from billionaires.

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