Understanding the GOP’s response to the scourge of Iowa, Steve King

iowa congressional disrict 2018

Just to give my non-Iowan friends a little more of an idea of the scourge that is Steve King, his congressional district, and the embarrassment he is to Iowa, here’s a map that shows where his district is and where his constituents live.

The above map shows Iowa’s four congressional districts, its four congressional representatives (three Democrats and one Republican), and the 15 most populous cities in Iowa–the 15 cities with populations of at least 30,000 residents.

Keep in mind, King eeked out a 3.4% victory in an R+11 district in 2018. For comparison, districts 1 and 2 in Iowa are both rated D+1, while district 3 is rated R+1. So, Iowa’s other three congressional districts are drawn rather competitively from a partisan standpoint. King’s district 4 is R+11, meaning there are far more registered Republicans than Democrats in the 4th congressional district, which should ensure an easy Republican victory. And yet, King barely beat his Democratic opponent by 3.4% meaning he almost got beat by a Democrat in a hugely Republican district. And given his most recent openly racist remarks, this margin may become even closer in the next election.

One could argue that the reason the GOP is suddenly interested in condemning King and getting rid of him through resignation demands and/or through weakening him for a 2020 Republican primary challenge, is purely political–they want a stronger Republican option to represent the district as soon as possible so that they don’t potentially lose IA-4 to a Democrat in the 2020 general election.

Thus, it’s not necessarily about moral outrage or ethics for the GOP, it is about political preservation of Republican control of Iowa’s 4th congressional district that is driving the Republican leadership finally to speak out against King.

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New Pew Poll Shows Republicans, Evangelicals Least Likely to Accept Evolution

A new Pew research poll on the “Public’s Views on Human Evolution” was released presenting data that backs up what many political and religious scholars have suspected for some time: that white Evangelical Republicans (particularly older ones) constitute the group that most rejects the basic scientific principle of human evolution via natural selection.

The results are simultaneously unbelievable and yet quite typical, or at the very least, expected.

While only 33% of adult Americans still don’t accept human evolution via natural selection, opting instead to believe that “humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time”, THAT NUMBER NEARLY DOUBLES TO 64% among white evangelical protestants(!) AND, of those white evangelical protestants that did accept evolution, half of them said that a “supreme being guided [the] process.” As a point of comparison, a majority of Catholics (both white, 68%, and Hispanic, 53%) accept human evolution.

But what is truly disturbing is the continued religio-political marriage between the Republican party and white Evangelicals (the most fundamentalist of whom are spearheading the even more conservative Tea Party movements). While a majority of Independents (65%) and Democrats (67%) accept evolution as the origin of humankind, A MAJORITY OF REPUBLICANS NOW REJECT EVOLUTION – with 48% of Republicans saying that humans “existed in present from since the beginning”, and only 43% of Republicans accepting evolution. And incredulously, unlike trends in nearly every other demographic where science and science education appear to (finally!) be taking root and acceptance of human evolution is increasing, THE PERCENTAGE OF REPUBLICANS ACCEPTING EVOLUTION IS ACTUALLY DOWN 11%(!!) over the past four years, from 54% in 2009 to 43% in 2013.

No wonder many think the Republican party is out of touch. Statistically, Republicans are actually getting DUMBER scientifically! Then again, look at the recent major Republican political candidates and their religious views. Good grief!

Also of note in the survey:

  • Men accept evolution more than women (65% to 55%).
  • Not surprisingly, college graduates accept evolution far more than those with a high school or less education (72% to 51%).
  • And again not surprisingly, younger demographics consistently accept evolution more than their older counterparts, with 68% of those ages 18-29 accepting evolution, roughly 60% of those ages 30-64, but only 49% of those 65 and older accepting evolution. This is likely due to a number of factors, including an increased acceptance of science and scientific principles among high school and college students, the rise of the Internet and the availability of credible information about evolution – information that is not always taught by parents and pastors, and it is also likely a reflection of the increasing rejection of traditional religious institutions by younger generations.

In sum, we now have hard data to support what many of us have observed for some time now: a correlation between older generations, white Evangelicals, the Republican party, and a rejection of one of the basic principles of science, namely human evolution via natural selection.

We can take hope, however, that among both Christian and non-religious groups alike, there is an overall increase in the acceptance of human evolution via natural selection, and that those still rejecting evolution appear to be limited to groups that are lesser educated, Evangelical, and of older ages. Again, this is likely due to an increased acceptance of science and scientific principles among younger generations, the Internet’s ability to provide increasingly credible information about evolution and information demonstrating the fallacies (both scientific and religious) of Creationism, and the increasingly pervasive stigma that Creationism is associated with old, white, conservative, Evangelical Republicans who are out of touch with science, reality, and the majority of the people.


UPDATE: I had the wrong URL in the initial link to the Pew study. It now correctly links to the study.

the art of saving face: u.s. house rejects tax deal

Monopoly Poor TaxThe Democrats have finally outmaneuvered the Republicans (for once).

And everyone’s a winner, because saving face while getting nothing done has become an art form in Washington. Just look at the results of how the debate concerning the extension of the Bush tax cuts transpired.

The Republicans will take control of the House just as the nation’s taxes go up. And while they will blame the outgoing Democratic leadership for the increase (they rejected the deal after all), the Republicans will be stuck in the unenviable position of having to argue for tax breaks, which will grossly increase the nation’s deficit, after they’ve spent the past year saying we should reduce the deficit. However, Republicans can claim credit for championing tax breaks for all Americans, can take credit for the inevitable reduction of the deficit (due to increased tax revenues) as they take control of the House, and now can rally their conservative base by claiming that the evil Democrats are responsible for the nation’s tax increase. It’s a win-win for Republicans.

President Obama comes out looking good, because despite not getting the tax cuts he claims he wanted for some of the American people, he rode into town to save the day and worked in a bi-partisan way with Republicans in an effort to keep taxes down, which should help him garner some votes among moderates and Republicans in the upcoming 2012 Presidential election. But, since the House rejected his deal, taxes do indeed go up (which is what President Obama wanted for at least the wealthy), and as the economy continues to recover, he’ll be in line to both take credit for improving the disastrous economy he inherited from his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush, and get credit for working with Republicans to cut taxes. It’s a win-win for the President.

House Democrats win too. They can now go back to their districts and claim that they defeated the Republican minority (for once) and even stood up to their own President, which will earn them fervent support from those on the left. Taxes will go up on the wealthiest Americans (which Democrats want) and everyone else as well, but Democrats can blame a sell-out President and the evil Republicans for the tax increase, which will please their liberal base. It’s a win-win for House Democrats.

This is the art of saving face and it’s hard to imagine that something akin to the deal described above was not discussed somewhere in some back room at some high level.

Everyone gets what they want, everyone’s base is energized, everyone saves face, and everyone wins…except us, the taxpayers, who pay more taxes while nothing gets done.

This is the state of modern politics in America.

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