4+ Short Takes: Enthusiasm for 10/6. Partisanship worries. Fascism, really? Beer threatened.


A Washington Post-ABC poll says voters are expressing a significantly increased interest in voting in the mid-terms. “Enthusiasm is up across almost all demographic groups, but the increases are greater among younger adults, nonwhite voters and those who say they favor Democrats for the House.” 77% of registered voters say they are certain to vote. This would be unprecedented.


Two new studies are out with very worrisome portraits of the state of partisanship. One is by More in Common and it’s entitled “Hidden Tribes” and the other is by the Pew Research Center.

Hidden Tribes describes seven tribes from Progressive Activists to Devoted Conservatives. Americans feel that the divide is the widest in their lifetimes and the majority are fed up with it and want more compromise. More in Common calls them the “Exhausted Majority”.

The Pew Research study points to the fact that the partisan sides in the country can’t even agree on what the important issues are. “More striking, several of the issues that rank among the most serious problems among Democratic voters – including how minorities are treated by the criminal justice system, climate change, the rich-poor gap, gun violence and racism – are viewed as very big problems by fewer than a third of Republican voters.”

Fascism Watch

You might think worrying about fascism is a bit over the top, but an historian who specializes in Weimar Germany and the Holocaust has published an essay in the New York Review of Books pointing out the striking similarities. He has some choice words for Mitch McConnell saying “If the US has someone whom historians will look back on as the gravedigger of American democracy, it is Mitch McConnell. He stoked the hyperpolarization of American politics to make the Obama presidency as dysfunctional and paralyzed as he possibly could.”. And Jason Stanley, in the New York Times, has an article and video with clips of Mussolini, Trump, Hitler, Erdogan that certainly makes the point. More reason to get out and vote and put a check on Donald Trump.

…And Now for Something Completely Different

• The production of barley, which, is the main ingredient in beer could be hurt by global warming. "Future climate and pricing conditions could put beer out of reach for hundreds of millions of people around the world," said study co-author Nathan Mueller of the University of California-Irvine.

• “If it was Lehman Sisters, it would be a different world” so says Christine Lagarde of the IMF. Male dominance of banking could lead to another financial crisis. Many believe that if there were more woman in power the world would be a better place. More reason to elect more women to Congress starting with our own Leslie Cockburn.

Louis Harpster