Thursday Edition


1. These Protests Aren’t a Good Look

Pro-Palestinian protesters have been grabbing plenty of headlines, but it might be backfiring on their cause.

Here are a few of the scenes the American public’s been treated to in recent weeks:

  • A 28-year-old activist told the Bakersfield, California city council, “We’ll see you at your house. We’ll murder you.”

  • An anti-war organizer in Chicago was caught on camera teaching activists how to chant “Death to America” in Farsi. “Death to America” chants have broken out in other cities.

  • Gaza war protesters shut down the Golden Gate Bridge and blocked traffic for five hours.

  • Pro-Palestine protesters burned American flags and assaulted demonstrators at rallies.

  • A UC Berkeley Law student and Palestinian activist claimed her First Amendment rights had been violated after she refused to leave a private dinner hosted at the law school dean’s home.

What’s happening doesn’t feel like a purely organic grassroots uprising. The share of Americans who are stridently anti-Israel is relatively small. And major cash is flowing into the protest movement.

Washington Free Beacon reporter Jessica Costescu: “Scores of ‘Free Palestine’ protesters across the United States took to the streets Monday to block major airports, highways, and bridges. Those who are arrested will receive bail money and legal support from a left-wing dark money behemoth funded by George Soros, an online fundraising page shows.”

Recent history shows protesters can end up making people less sympathetic to their causes. For instance, even in uber-liberal Portland, Oregon, a majority said Black Lives Matter protests were violent and counterproductive.

Bubba’s Two Cents: People might take your cause more seriously if you don't come off as totally obnoxious or extreme. And I’m not solely picking on the left here.

2. A Bump to Skills

Americans without college degrees are increasingly locked out of a variety of jobs in the workforce, but a bipartisan proposal aims to change that. (American Enterprise Institute)

Last week, Reps. Nancy Mace, R-S.C., and Raja Krishnamoorthi, D-Ill., introduced a bill to bar federal agencies from requiring that their private contractors hire college graduates.

AEI fellow Michael Brickman: “The absence of such polices has proven to be a major barrier to equal opportunity, as the last several decades have seen many employers instituting degree requirements for roles, justifying them as proxies to gauge job preparedness. As a result of this practice, the gap in wages and advancement opportunities between Americans without bachelor’s degrees and their degree-holding counterparts has increased markedly.”

People are questioning the current system for a number of reasons:

Bubba’s Two Cents:

Political philosopher Michael Sandel: “Building a politics around the idea that a college degree is a precondition for dignified work and social esteem has a corrosive effect on democratic life. It devalues the contributions of those without a diploma, fuels prejudice against less-educated members of society, effectively excludes most working people from elective government and provokes political backlash.”

3. Housing Dilemma

Liberals are the ones championing housing affordability the loudest, but blue states and cities are falling way behind when it comes to building more inventory to make homes cheaper. (The Ezra Klein Show)

California and Texas perfectly illustrate the irony. Last year, Texas’ three largest real-estate markets added 300% more houses than California’s. And it’s hardly an isolated case, with places like New York, Boston and Seattle getting less affordable for prospective homebuyers.

A lot (but not all) of the problem has to do with Democrats’ affinity for Big Government policies.

  • A dense layer of regulations — including environmental reviews, zoning laws and multiple rounds of approvals — slow development and increase costs.

Then there’s the many different interest and identity groups (labor advocates, immigration rights activists, environmentalists) jostling for power in the Democratic coalition.

Bubba’s Two Cents: Vox reporter Jerusalem Demsas had a good take on this, noting, “When their interests end up trading off against one another, there isn’t really someone who can just mediate and say, ‘we don’t want a $1.7 million toilet. And in order not to have a $1.7 million toilet, we need to relax environmental review in this way, and that’s just something you’re going to have to sit with, environmental groups.’”

4. We’re Still Fighting About Ukraine Aid

Support for Ukraine aid is less controversial among Republicans than social media spats suggest. (New York Post)

A new American Action Network poll finds a plurality of GOP voters in solidly Republican districts support military aid for Ukraine.

  • Among Republican voters in deeply red districts, 86% have an unfavorable opinion of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

  • These voters support increasing sanctions on Russia (75%) and favor seizing Russian assets in European banks to fund Ukraine's war effort (63%).

  • 64% strongly agree that Russia was wrong to invade Ukraine.

Speaker Mike Johnson's plan to bring a series of foreign aid bills, including Ukraine aid, to a vote has sparked sharp criticism from "America First" Republicans like Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., and Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio.

5. The Real Democratic Party Base

As progressives’ ongoing influence in Israel-Gaza politics shows, the Democratic Party isn’t catering to its core supporters. (NYT)

28% of Dem/lean Dem voters are “Democratic Mainstays,” the largest single group in the Democratic coalition, according to a 2021 Pew Research Center survey. Here’s what this demographic looks like:

  • Most are moderates.

  • They hold many basic Democratic positions on government, race and social welfare.

  • They’re less liberal than other Democrats on immigration, military and crime.

  • They are older, and compared to other Democrats, fewer of them have gone to college.

  • They’re more racially and ethnically diverse.

12% of Dems are the “Progressive Left,” the smallest Democratic cohort. Here’s what this group looks like:

  • They have very liberal views across the board.

  • Most of them support leaders who are democratic socialists.

  • They mainly supported Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren during the primaries.

  • They’re the most politically active Democrats.

  • Progressive Leftists are relatively young and very educated.

  • They’re overwhelming white: roughly two-thirds are non-Hispanic whites.

Research suggests the Democratic Party is becoming “out of touch” with its own moderates.

Democratic data scientist David Shor on the types of people that shape Democrats’ messaging: “It is descriptively true that people who work in campaigns are extremely young and much more liberal than the overall population, and also much more educated. … I think that this is pushing them to use overly ideological language, to not show enough messaging or policy restraint and, from a symbolic perspective, to use words that regular voters literally don’t understand — and I think that that’s a real problem.”

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