We begin today with Pew Research Center’s survey that shows two-thirds of Americans are simply “exhausted” by politics.
A little more than a year before the presidential election, nearly two-thirds of Americans (65%) say they always or often feel exhausted when thinking about politics, while 55% feel angry. By contrast, just 10% say they always or often feel hopeful about politics, and even fewer (4%) are excited.
The survey also provides people several opportunities to describe in their own words their feelings about the political system and elected officials. When asked to sum up their feelings about politics in a word or phrase, very few (2%) use positive terms; 79% use negative or critical words, with “divisive” and “corrupt” coming up most frequently.
We also asked people to identify the strengths of the political system, as well as its weaknesses. Among the positive responses, roughly one-in-ten point to the structures of U.S. government, including its system of checks and balances (12%), freedoms and democratic values (9%) and the opportunity to vote in elections (8%).
Yet it is telling that a majority of Americans are unable or unwilling to identify strong points of the nation’s political system. While about a third gave no answer, another 22% write “nothing” – meaning that in their view, the political system does not have any strengths.
That final excerpted paragraph is a breeding ground for authoritarianism.
Charles Blow of The New York Times takes a deep dive into the Pew numbers for young people, specifically.
On metric after metric, the report ticked through markers of our persistent pessimism. In 1994, it says, “just 6 percent” of Americans viewed both political parties negatively. That number has now more than quadrupled to 28 percent. The percentage who believe our political system is working “extremely or very well”: just 4 percent.
And on many measures, younger people are the most frustrated, and supportive of disruptive change as a remedy.
Younger voters recognize that our political system is broken, and they have little nostalgia about a less broken time. They have almost no memory of an era when government was less partisan and less gridlocked. Their instincts are to fix the system they’ve inherited, not to wind back the clock to a yesteryear.
Speaking of exhausting, that House Judiciary Committee meeting yesterday ...
Aidan Quigley and David Lerman of Roll Call report that House Republicans seem to be inching closer to an agreement on a stopgap funding measure to fund the government past Sept. 30.
At least a handful of conservative holdouts still maintained their opposition as of Wednesday night, which would be enough to sink a revised bill unless GOP leaders are able to change some minds in the next few days. Speaker Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is expected to keep the chamber in session on Saturday if necessary.
Even if GOP leaders’ new effort is successful, however, it was starting to look more like a bid to reopen the government after a brief shutdown, given the deadline is 10 days away and the Senate is likely to ping-pong a much different bill back to the House.
The arrangement slowly emerging from a closed-door House GOP Conference meeting would revise the initial leadership-backed, 31-day stopgap funding bill to reduce the overall annualized funding rate by $119 billion to the $1.471 trillion figure conservatives want.
The measure would preserve the restrictive border policies in line with much of a separate House-passed bill earlier this year, while adding a new fiscal commission to tackle long-term debt challenges. The latter was a key ask of Rep. Victoria Spartz, R-Ind., who’s been highly critical of McCarthy, and was expected to swing her in favor.
John Cassidy of The New Yorker says that Republicans posing as friends of union workers is laughable.
Politics is politics, but the sight of senior Republicans posing as the true friends of the union workers is so outlandish as to be almost comical. From Trump on down, the G.O.P. has spent decades siding with employers and seeking to frustrate union efforts to organize workplaces and raise wages. Even as it has sought to rebrand itself as a workers’ party, the G.O.P.’s actions have made a mockery of this claim.
Start with Trump. After taking power in 2017, he restored the Republican majority on the five-person National Labor Relations Board, the agency that was established during the New Deal to support workers’ rights to organize and bargain collectively. Trump appointed a former House Republican staffer, Marvin Kaplan, as chair of the N.L.R.B. Under G.O.P. leadership, the agency quickly moved to reverse several pro-labor rulings that it had issued during the Obama Administration, including one that made it easier for workers at fast-food franchises to organize. This pro-employer slant continued throughout Trump’s term. In December, 2019, the agency issued two rulings that introduced new restrictions on unionization votes and made it easier for firms to classify workers as independent contractors, thus depriving them of union wage scales and benefits.
Contrast this record with the actions of the N.L.R.B. under Biden, who appointed two former union lawyers to its board and another former union lawyer, Jennifer Abruzzo, as its general counsel. In the past couple of years, the agency has abrogated many of its Trump-era rulings, including the ones related to voting procedures and independent contractors. Last month, the N.L.R.B. ruled that if a company engages in intimidatory behavior during a unionization election, such as firing union organizers, the agency will order the company to recognize the union and bargain collectively. In another ruling, the N.L.R.B. set out new rules for unionization votes, which require votes to be held promptly and restrict efforts by employers to delay them, which are very common occurrences.