5

Report: Calif., U.S. candidates mostly white men

White men still dominate electoral politics in California, though not by as wide a margin as the entire nation, a new report finds.

infographic-1White men represent two of every three names appearing on the ballot in 2012 and 2014 from the federal level down to counties, according to the “Who Runs (in) America?” report released Thursday by the Reflective Democracy Campaign of the Women Donors Network. Overall, 90 percent of candidates are white, 73 percent are men, and 66 percent are white men.

In California, 68 percent of candidates are white, 76 percent are men, and 54 percent are white men.

The demographics of candidates almost exactly match the demographics of those who hold elected office, as shown by the national “Who Leads Us?” report that the campaign released last fall. Of 42,000 people who hold office from the federal government down to the county level, 90 percent are white, 71 percent are men, and 65 percent are white men.

“The stark imbalance between the demographics of the American people and their elected officials will not change until voters have the opportunity to choose among candidates who reflect their communities,” Women Donors Network CEO Donna Hall said in a news release. “Women are half the population and people of color are almost 40 percent, and it’s time the people on our ballots reflect that.”

The new study analyzed more than 51,000 candidates running in nearly 38,000 elections in 2012 and 2014, and found the imbalance is a bipartisan problem. While 96 percent of Republican candidates are white, so are 82 percent of Democrats and 90 percent of independents; woman make up 24 percent of GOP candidates and 33 percent of Democratic candidates.

“This data shows that the problem is not that women and people of color candidates aren’t winning—in fact, they’re winning at the same rates as men and white candidates,” campaign director Brenda Choresi Carter said in the release. “The problem is that the demographics of our office holders are set when our ballots are printed.”

That is, the population that runs for office skews towards those who can afford not to hold a regular, full-time job; people who are connected to political networks; and people who aren’t perceived as “risky” by the political parties, donors, and other gatekeepers who select candidates, the report said.

2

Bay Area House members out and about Friday

Bay Area House members have a bunch of events planned for Friday.

Barbara Lee (Dec-2010)Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, will take part in a discussion with employers of the benefits of hiring trained ex-convicts at 9 a.m. Friday in the student lounge in Building R of Merritt College, 12500 Campus Dr. in Oakland. Others expected to take part include California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation Secretary Jeff Beard; California Prison Industry Authority General Manager Charles Pattillo; Alameda County Supervisor Richard Valle; Alameda County Assistant Sheriff Brett Keteles; and PWC Development President Prophet Walker, himself a former offender.

Mark DeSaulnierReps. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord; Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton; Jared Huffman, D-San Rafael; and John Sarbanes, D-Md., will take part in a roundtable discussion on the problem of big money in politics, at 11 a.m. Friday in Blum Hall B100 at UC-Berkeley. The event, hosted by the California Public Interest Research Group, will address local and federal efforts to curb big money’s influence by amplifying small donors’ voices, as well as the recent push for President Obama to issue an executive order requiring government contractors to disclose their political spending. State Sen. Loni Hancock, D-Berkeley, the Sierra Club’s Bay Area chapter, the Berkeley Forum and others also will take part.

Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-San Jose, will hold a forum to update the community about President Obama’s executive actions on immigration at 4 p.m. Friday at the School of Arts and Culture in Mexican Heritage Plaza, 1700 Alum Rock Ave. in San Jose. The event also offers eligibility workshops to prepare families to apply for relief from deportation pending availability of applications this year. Lofgren, Lofgren, the Immigration and Border Security subcommittee’s ranking Democrat, will be joined by Rep. Luiz Gutiérrez, D-Ill.; Assemblywoman Nora Campos, D-San Jose; San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo; Santa Clara County supervisors Dave Cortese and Cindy Chavez; and Santa Clara County District Attorney Jeff Rosen.

8

Report: GOP’s future hangs on immigration reform

The Republican Party could lose a lot of House seats in 2014 and 2016 – including a few in California – as well as the next presidential election if it stands in the way of comprehensive immigration reform, according to a political research firm’s new report.

The researchers at Seattle-based Latino Decisions call it the “Prop. 187 Effect,” after California’s 1994 ballot measure to bar illegal immigrants from using health care, public education, and other social services – a measure their report says drove the ever-expanding Latino electorate into the Democratic Party’s arms.

“Even in a gerrymandered Congress, the Latino vote is going to remake the landscape if we experience a national phenomenon around immigration similar to the Prop. 187 effect,” said Latino Decisions principal Gary Segura. “Not only does our research show Latinos still hold the GOP responsible for Prop. 187, we see that they’re poised to significantly shift the vote toward Democratic Congressional representation in districts nationwide.”

On a conference call with reporters Thursday morning, Segura noted 93 percent of all Latinos under the age of 18 are U.S. citizens, so the nation’s Latino electorate will double over the next 18 years even if not one new Latino immigrant enters the country.

The report identifies 24 House districts now held by Republcians where the Latino vote alone has a strong chance of swinging the outcome of 2014 elections, and 20 more GOP districts where the size of the Latino electorate exceeds the incumbent’s 2012 victory margin.

Among districts the report deems most susceptible to a Latino swing vote are California’s 10th, represented by Jeff Denham, R-Modesto; 25th, represented by Buck McKeon, R-Santa Clarita; and 31st, represented by Gary Miller, R-Rancho Cucamonga.

A poll conducted by Latino Decisions in July found 58 percent of Latino voters will be personally angry if the House blocks an immigration reform bill with a pathway to citizenship, and 69 percent of Latino voters would place blame for a lack of comprehensive immigration reform upon Republicans, while only 13 percent would blame Democrats and 11 percent would blame both parties equally.

Hector Barajas, a longtime Republican strategist who earlier this year co-founded the GOP polling and messaging firm Latino Edge Research, acknowledged later Thursday that it’s “important to recognize that some races would be more affected than others if they do not correctly engage their Latino electorate.”

“That being said, not changing the same narrative that Republicans as a whole are opposed to immigration reform will allow Democrats to continue with their successful strategy of attack candidates with an R behind them,” he said. “In the end, it will be up to the individual campaigns to demonstrate to the Latino electorate that they are not the ‘Bad Guy’ in the movie.”

President Obama said Thursday that with the government shutdown over and the debt-limit crisis averted, “we should finish the job of fixing our broken immigration system.” A bipartisan bill already passed by the Senate would beef up border security and modernize the system while ensuring “everyone plays by the same rules, makes sure that folks who came here illegally have to pay a fine, pay back taxes, meet their responsibilities,” he said, adding economists estimate the bill would bring $1.4 trillion in new economic growth over the next 20 years.

“The majority of Americans think this is the right thing to do. And it’s sitting there waiting for the House to pass it,” he said, inviting the House to offer any improvements. “But let’s not leave this problem to keep festering for another year, or two years, or three years. This can and should get done by the end of this year.”

6

You’re not going to believe this poll.

Prepare to get meta: A new poll shows three-quarters of Americans, across all demographic subgroups, think public opinion polls are biased.

A poll. Of people. Telling us most people don’t believe polls.

Distrust is strongest for polls conducted by candidates, political parties and automated voice recording firms, but news media polls are not widely trusted, either, according to the survey of 1,011 Americans conducted July 24 through Aug. 4 on behalf of Kantar, the research and data management division of WPP, a British multinational advertising and public relations company.

The poll, called “The Path to Public Opinion,” found that although Americans believe polls are biased, they’re not certain who they favor: A very small percentage believes they are biased toward conservatives; a slightly larger percentage believes they are biased towards liberals; and a significant majority (68 percent) just think they are biased in some way.

Also, 67 percent of Americans claim to pay little to no attention to polls when considering for what or whom to vote. Yet 59 percent of Americans say they pay attention to consumer research when considering products or services to buy.

While poll participants are harder to find, Kantar’s research shows that the identity of a poll’s sponsor is a key determinant of people’s willingness to take part. Academics and foundations have the most positive impact on willingness (41 percent say they are more likely to participate) while social media sites get only 11 percent; news organizations, at 24 percent, run about even with political parties or candidates, at 23 percent.

Surprisingly, only 11 percent of Americans say they view social media as a viable source of information about public opinion on policy and politics, and 60 percent are less likely to take a poll conducted on a social media site. Only 6 percent say they use social media to communicate about issues and causes, while 61 percent say they use it only to communicate with friends and family.

1

Cowboy Libertarian talks ‘nut cuttin’ time’ in new book

 

'It's Nut Cuttin' Time America!' by Patrick Dorinson, Cowboy Libertarian and former California GOP communications director

Cowboy Libertarian and ex-California Republican Party communications director Patrick Dorinson has a new book out just in time for the 2012 general election called “It’s Nut Cuttin’ Time America!”

For the uninitiated, “nut cutting” refers to that pivotal moment in a male calf’s life when a bull becomes a steer. Or castration, if you prefer the more clinical term.

I haven’t read the book yet but I’ve known Dorinson for years. And the book is almost certainly humorous in a Will Rogers fashion, that wry western common sense tone one finds in places where cowboys and cowgirls must rely on their wits if they hope to bring home the cattle in one piece.

Yeah, Dorinson dresses up real nice. I’ve seen him on numerous occasions dressed up in a spiffy suit and tie, schmoozing politicos and the press corps with his cowboy charm.

But since Dorinson left the California GOP — and the GOP entirely, to become an independent a few years ago — he has been tapping into his lengthy cowboy roots. He bought a ranch in Nevada City, writes columns, blogs and hosts a weekly radio talkshow on Saturdays near his home at Newstalk 1530 KFBK.

Liberal Bay Areaites may not agree with Dorinson’s libertarian politics but you cannot help but laugh at his turn of phrase as he describes his journey from devout Republican to avowed independent.

“I have chased more false prophets than the ancient Hebrews in the Old Testament!” he wrote in the book description materials.

Hmmm. Could Dorinson be talking about Arnold Schwarzenegger?

 

3

Jews more open to (politically) mixed dating?

More than twice as many Christians as Jews say they wouldn’t date someone of a different political party, according to a not-so-scientific survey by a pair of religious-based dating websites.

JDate.com and ChristianMingle.com – both owned by Beverly Hills-based Spark Networks USA – polled more than 2,000 of their members with a series of questions about dating and politics. The results indicate Jews are more open than Christians to dating someone of a different political party, though a solid majority of each faith is open to the idea. Respondents of both faiths overwhelmingly said that if dating someone with different political beliefs, they would choose to “agree to disagree” on the subject.

Keep in mind this survey only reached people who’d enrolled in these religious-oriented dating websites in the first place, so it’s a somewhat limited sample.

Here’s some of the breakdown:

  • Jewish men are the most open to dating someone of a different political party, with 92 percent saying they would do so.
  • Though a majority of Christian men (75 percent) are open to dating someone of a different political party, they were the least likely of all groups polled to do so.
  • Twice as many Christian men than Jewish men said they’d try to change their partner’s beliefs if different from their own (10 percent of Christian men vs 5 percent of Jewish men).
  • Twice as many Christian women than Jewish women said they’d break up with someone who has opposing beliefs (7 percent of Christian women vs 3 percent of Jewish women).
  • Here’s how the questions were asked:

    Q: Would you ever date someone who belongs to a different political party?
    1,454 ChristianMingle responses, 1,204 JDate responses)

      JDate – Yes: 90%, No: 10%
      ChristianMingle – Yes: 79%, No: 21%

    Q: If you found out the person you were dating had opposing political beliefs to you, what would you do?
    (1,304 ChristianMingle responses, 1,347 JDate responses)
    JDate –

      Agree to disagree: 86%
      Break up with them: 4%
      Never discuss politics again: 6%
      Try to change their beliefs: 4%

    ChristianMingle –

      Agree to disagree: 80%
      Break up with them: 8%
      Never discuss politics again: 7%
      Try to change their beliefs: 5%