Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Blogger Candidate Forum: Primary Tuesday

Hello Everyone:

It is a sparkling Wednesday afternoon and time for Blogger Candidate Forum.  Yuge news from the Special counsul's office.  Mr. Donald Trump's attorney, former New York City Mayor Rudy Guiliani, announced that Robert Mueller's team cannot indict a sitting president.  Essentially, the special counsel can  write a report with recommendations for further action.  The only thing this news means is that the president can breathe a sigh, albeit a short sigh, of relief.  This comes on the heels of news that Mr. Trump had a role in crafting a statement regarding that now infamous Trump Tower meeting in 2016, in which his eldest son, Jared Kushner, and Paul Manafort met with Russian agents regarding "dirt" on Hillary Clinton.  The statement, dictated to Trump campaign spokesperson Hope Hicks, said that the meeting was about lifting the sanctions on adoptions of Russian children by Americans.  This contradicts the email chain released by the president's eldest son last summer which clearly documents his glee over the possibility of getting incriminating information on Madame Secretary.  In other major news, CNN is reporting that former White House advisor Steve Bannon used Cambridge Analytica to suppress the African American vote in the 2016 election.  In better news, #NetNeutrality lives.  The United States Senate voted to uphold net neutrality.  The bill now goes to the House of Representatives where it has a more rocky path.  Stay tuned.  This definitely beats all the royal wedding drama.

Tuesday is primary day in Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Idaho, and Oregon.  Speaking of primaries, friendly reminders to California fans, followers, and friends.  Primary day is June 5th and the registration clock is ticking loudly.  If you have not registered to vote, stop reading and go to for information.  If you are registered to vote, in any state, go vote.  Okay, back to the subject: Primary day in Pennsylvania, Nebraska, Idaho and Oregon.

In a word, "The #Resistance had a very good night" according to (May 16, 2018). The #Resistance is more progressive wing of the Democratic Party and it means business.  Nathaniel Rakich reported today on the website, "The more progressive candidate won in Democratic primaries around the country.  The question, however, is whether those more liberal candidates will hurt the party's chances in November."  The biggest shocker of the night was the nomination of Kara Eastman, a nonprofit executive, to Nebraska's 2nd Congressional District.  Ms. Eastman, a progressive Democrat, narrowly beat the establishment candidate former Representative Brad Ashford 51 percent to 49 percent (; date accessed May 16, 2018) despite Mr. Ashford's support from the Democratic Party.  Ms. Eastman stoked the liberal by tossing red (blue?) meat on the flames (; Apr. 26, 2018; date accessed May 16, 2018).  Whereas, Mr. Ashford touted his ability to build bipartisan consensus, Ms. Eastman promised resistance and confrontation.  Blogger sincerely hopes that California's senior Senator Dianne Feinstein was paying attention to yesterday's primary races.  

Mr. Rakich points out a potential problem for the Democrats, "The potential problem for Democrats is that Eastman's outspoken liberalism may turn off general-election voters in Nebraska's 2nd District, which, while not ruby red, is still red."  Although former President Barack Carried the district 50 to 49 percent in 2008 (; Nov. 19, 2012; date accessed May 16, 2018) but that was a decade ago and in an election where Democrats carried the popular vote by 7 percent (; date accessed May 16, 2018).  Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney carried the district by 7 points in 2012 and Mr. Trump won it by 2 points.  Mr. Rakich writes, "All in all, the 2nd is 6 percentage points more Republican-leaning than the nation as a whole, according to FiveThirtyEight's partisan lean metric.  Right now, Democrats lead the generic ballot by the very same 6 points (; date accessed May 16, 2018).  If this holds going into November, it could mean a tie game in the Nebraska 2nd-where small things, like a candidate appeal to voters could swing the race in either direction.

While excitement over Kara Eastman's candidacy will bring more progressive voters to the ballot box, she my have difficulty persuading the undecided voters.  Brad Ashford would have given the Democrats a few extra percentage points.  Mr. Rakich reminds us "In 2016, he lost his re-election race in Nebraska's 2nd District by 1 percentage point,...In 2014, he won the seat by 3 points in a year in which Democrats lost the national House popular vote by 6 points."  Keep in mind that candidates closer to the ideological poles do not fare as well more moderate ones: this was borne out in political scientific research (; date accessed May 16, 2018) and we witnessed the "shellacking" of 2010 which swept the Republicans did extremely well (; Feb 15, 2017; date accessed may 16, 2018) against a very unpopular first term president.  Still, Ms. Eastman could win "in a strong Democratic year, we may also look back on her nomination as Democrats' first 'tea party moment: a general-election opportunity squandered in a the primary..."

Meanwhile in Idaho, state Representative Paulette Jordan surprised everyone, cruising to the Democratic nomination for governor, 59 percent to 40 percent (; May 16, 2018), besting a ore moderate better funded rival.  If she wins in November, state Rep. Jordan would make history as the first Native American governor in American history. Yay.  She was endorsed (; May 1, 2018; date accessed May 16, 2018)  by Democracy for America, Indivisible, and Cher--not exactly known for exerting their influence on Idaho voters.

There were two Pennsylvania congressional primaries (; May 15, 2018; date accessed May 16, 2018) that pitted progressivism against pragmatism and the progressives went two for two.  Pennsylvania's 1st District was a contest between philanthropist Scott Wallace, the grandson of Henry A. Wallace the Progressive Party's 1948 presidential nominee (; date accessed May 16, 20180 and former Navy prosecutor Rachel Reddick.  Mr. Wallace handily defeated Ms. Reddick 56 percent to 35 percent.  Ms. Reddick made her conversion from Republican to Democratic a centerpiece of her campaign (; Apr. 14, 2018; date accessed May 16, 2018).  Over in the 7th District, a split in the progressive vote nearly gave the Democratic nomination to Northampton District Attorney John Morganelli, who made pro-Trump, anti-immigrant comments (; May 8, 2018; date accessed May 16, 2018).  He was beaten by Allentown City Solictor Susan Wild 30 to 33 percent, and Senator Bernie Sanders-endorsed candidate pastor Greg Edwards finished third with 26 percent of the vote.  Nathaniel Rakich reports, "More than Nebraska's 2nd District, both the 1st and th Districts in Pennsylvania are true swing districts, with a partisan lean of R+1 and D+0.04, respectively--in other words, they're almost perfect bell weathers for the nation as a whole."  In short, the Democrats have very little room for error in the Democratic-leaning national landscape.

Kara Eastman, Paulette Jordan, and Susan Wild's victories were indication of another trend: The political future is female.  Women won 11 out of the 16 contested Democratic primaries  for Senate, House, or governor where there is at least one female candidate and Democratic incumbent.  State Senator Kevin de Leon are paying attention.  Pennsylvania--"currently the largest state with no women in its congressional delegation--three women won Democratic primaries in seats likely to elect them in November:..."  They are: Madeleine Dean in the 4th District, Mary Gay Scanlon in the 5th District, and Chrissy Houlahan in the 6th District (her race was uncontested).  Yesterday's primaries also represents a strong election cycle for Emily's List, "the progressive political action committee that works to elect pro-choice Democratic women."  Three out of the five candidates, endorsed by the organization, won.

Finally, the Republicans were not left out of the primary fun.  Voters, in a bit of role, chose more electable candidates.  Idahoans opted for Lt. Governor Brad Little, who had the support of the state's Republican establishment, beat (; date accessed May 16, 2018) Trumpish businessman Tommy Ahlquist and tea party bomb thrower Rep. Raul Labrador in the governor's primary.  In Oregon, pro-choice Republican Rep. Knute Buehler swatted away two more conservative Republicans with 47 percent of the vote (Ibid) "preserving a potential path to victory for the GOP in the Beaver State's gubernatorial race."  Back in Pennsylvania, state Senator Scott--who nearly defeated Democtratic Gov. Tom Wolf in pre-primary polls (; Apr. 13, 2018; date accessed May 16, 2018)--bested Paul Mango by a slender 44-to-37- percent (; date accessed May 16, 2018)

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Oh No Save The PoMo; May 11, 2018

Hello Everyone:

Drama everywhere.  From royal wedding drama to the ongoing saga in the Middle East, to the White House apology-gate.  It is enough to make a grown blogger want to curl up in a corner with a stack of VogueHarper's Bazaar magazines, and a big bowl of M & Ms.  Fortunately, Yours Truly has better things to do.  One of those better things to do is take a look at British Postmodernist architecture.

How old is old?  Specifically, how old does a building have to be before its deemed preservation worthy?  Our friends at the National Trust for Historic Preservation set a fifty year-old minimum for a building or space (i.e. landscape) to be considered for landmark status.  What about postmodernism?  Postmodernism was the period style closely associated with the eighties.  Love it or hate it, Historic England has deemed this now thirty-ish-year-old style preservation worthy.  Feargus O'Sullivan reports in his CityLab article "Britain Wants to Protect Its Postmodernist Architecture," "Following an announcement by Historic England yesterday, the country will grant preservation order to 17 Postmodenist buildings, the youngest of which was designed in 1991."  To some preservation minded people, designating a 30-year-old building is a little like saving the leftovers from last night's dinner under glass, in climate controlled conditions, "but the sites chosen are unquestionably memorable and distinctive."  The renewed interest for Britsh PoMo architecture also coincides with a comprehensive exhibition at London's Sir John Soane's Museum opening tomorrow, May 16 (; date accessed May 15, 2018) through August 27, 2018.  Mr. O'Sullivan cheerfully opines, "It's not hard to see why the newly listed buildings caught conservationists' eyes.  Beyond the high-water mark of the Victorian gothic revival, it would be harder to find a more aesthetically elaborate set buildings in English architecture."

Are these young--in context to the Victorian gothic revival, for example-- but are they worthy of landmark status?  "Yes," enthuses Mr. O'Sullivan.  Why, you may ask?  The landmark designation process is not only about selecting a group of architecture that best represents the period as much as it is creating a definitive canon that everyone agrees is truly exemplary.  True but what is considered an exemplary canon is a subjective.  Additionally, the British system of designation is based on rankings, "with varying categories of preservation, that in their lower rungs, do not rule out any adaptation but merely require it to be sympathetic."

Quality or achievement are typically one of the criteria for designating a building or space a landmark, while it is true that some of the 17 building under consideration might lend credence to the criticism that PoMo architecture is more about surface than substance (; Nov. 13, 2017; date accessed May 15, 2018), "taking fantastical dress-up to extremes," while others may be charmed by it.  It is not hard to be taken by the "sheer exuberance of buildings like John Outram's Cambridge Business School (; date accessed May 15, 2018), an M C Escher whirl of colonnades and gangways that seems part Egyptian temple, part Victorian factory, all given a psychedelic surface makeover by Gustav Klimt."  Wow, talk about eye popping.  If this does not make your eyeballs bulge out their sockets, how about CZWG's (; date accessed May 15, 2018) Aztec West Business Park completed near Bristol, England in 1998.  For the record, there was never any known record of Aztec culture in the United Kingdom.  Feargus O'Sullivan describes it as "pure Beltway Babylonian, it's dramatic capital-capped Windows and sweeping curves looking a Cecil B. DeMille backdrop left on the edge of a parking lot."  Cue the elephants.

Others under consideration, incorporate English architectural historic references with fantasy, clearly a magnet for Historic England.  For example, "The Elizabethan/Jacobean inspiration of the jetties and gables on Green, Lloyd and Adams' Founders Hall is plain to see,..."  Apartment buildings designed by McCormac Jamieson Prichard and Wright in London's Shadwell basin closely resemble the Victorian warehouse lining the nearby wharves, albeit with "bunny ear towers and lashing of 1980s hot red."  Hmmm.

Conserving some of the buildings from Postmodernist era is rapidly becoming modus operandi in Great Britain.  Mr. O'Sullivan reports "In 2015, the country slapped preservation orders on a host of late 20th century concrete constructions (; Jan. 30, 2015; date accessed May 15, 2018), some built as recently as 1984."  In the meantime, seven prominent PoMo building were awarded protected status between 2016 and this past winter. Therefore, the 30- to 60-year-old time frame is definitely a precious time for a lot of structures.  The original tenants that commissioned the buildings have moved on and the PoMo has gone out of fashion but "but they're still young enough to attract the loathing of people who see any new construction as evidence of western civilization going to the dogs."  The need to protect a few buildings in England has been underscored by the loss of key PoMo structures (; May 20, 2016; date accessed May 15, 2018).  One example of such a loss is Terry Farrell's TV AM television studio, a landmark in North London, was stripped of its ornaments in 2011.  Reducing this building to a mere shadow of its former self demonstrates the acute need to conserve these polarizing buildings, even as while they are relative adolescents.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Is There No End To California's Housing Crisis?; May 4, 2018

Hello Everyone:

It is a sparkling Monday to start a fresh week on the blog.  Today, Yours Truly wants to talk about an issue that will play a large role in the California state election, housing.  The cost of housing--staying housed--has reached crisis levels.  Joe Cortright reports in his CityLab article "There Will Be No Exit From California's Housing Hell," "The recent defeat of SB 827--California State Senator Scott Wiener's bill that would have legalized apartment construction in area's well served by transit--was the subject of a thoughtful post-mortem in the Los Angeles Times:"

A major California housing bill failed after opposition from the low-income residents it aimed to help.  Here's how it went wrong... (; May 2, 2018; date accessed May 14, 2018)

Times writer Liam Dillon observed that although SB 827 had the strong support of YIMBY (Yes In My Backyard) housing advocates, it flamed out because of the combined opposition of municipal governments, homeowners and, strangely the very people it was intended to help: low-income renters.  Let us take a look.

Mr. Dillon focused on the divide between the economic and political arguments for the legislation.  Mr. Cortright writes, "SB 827 may have been great economics, but it was poor politics."  YIMBYs and broad coalition of urban and housing scholars threw their support behind the bill, making the case "that more housing, especially in transit-serving locations, would lower rents and reduce displacement."  The bill's sponsor State Sen. Wiener said,

The reality is that the heart of displacement is a lack of housing, which pour lighter fluid on housing costs, puts huge pressure pushes people out,.... [Mr. Dillon writes] Research from the state's nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office and UC Berkeley has found that building any new housing, especially homes subsidized for low-income residents, prevents displacement at a regional level.

While this argument makes intellectual sense, low-income renters and their advocates pushed back.  Liam Dillon wrote, 

...there is a fundamental disconnect between the approach of the senator and his supporters on one side and influential anti-poverty organizations on the other.

Their concern was "that new apartment construction would happen disproportionately or exclusively in lower income communities.  In a tweet, the Brookings Institution's Jenny Schuetz (; @jenny_schuetz; May 2, 2018; date accessed May 14, 2018) distills the matter to its essence,

Tricky politics. Past experiences shows that wealthy white communities have been more successful blocking development in their neighborhoods, so not unreasonable that lower-income POC worried they'll bear the brunt.  But building more housing is only long-term.

Joe Cortright criticizes Ms. Schuetz's tweet as flying "in the face of the logic or real estate development: Given the choice to build apartments in a high-income community or a low-income community, developers will inevitably tend to gravitate toward the places where rents are higher so that they can earn a greater profit."  Since higher-income communities have been so facile (; Mar. 28, 2018; date accessed May 14, 2018) at zoning land for single-family housing and quite resistant to new development is the principal reason that "demand has been divert to lower-income neighborhoods in the first place."  Only a sweeping preemption of local control, by the state, can provide opportunity to develop in higher-income communities.

In essence, this demonstrates just how thoroughly ingrained the idea of "weaponizing development approval is in the land-use process."  The argument appears to be "that unless low-income communities have the same power to exclude new development that wealthier communities routinely exercise, that this is inequitable."  Low-income advocates counter by "withholding development permission and regulating density to extract concessions from developers in the form of community benefit agreements or construction of or financial contributions for affordable housing."  This tactic follows the path that higher-income communities travel in order to extract concessions in the form of land dedications, parks, contributions to schools and local governments.

Joe Cortright points out, "As long as we view planning and development approvals as devices for extracting concessions from developers on a case-by-case basis, will inevitably circle back to a low-build, NIMBY-dominated world."

This is the persistent problem in New York's Mandatory Inclusion Housing program (; Jan. 25, 2018; date accessed May 14, 2018).  Theoretically, "the city's program requires developers to dedicate a portion of units in new apartments buildings for affordable housing, which should ease the city's supply crunch and help reduce everyone's rent."  However in practice, "the individual neighborhoods in which the upzoned apartment building would be constructed oppose the additional density."  This citywide policy earned the majority support of the City Council, "the individual upzoning approvals that would activate the 'mandatory' portions of the law have run into difficulties."  The first two projects under the new law--in Manhattan (; Aug. 16, 2016; date accessed May 14, 2018) and in Queens (; Sept. 19, 2016; date accessed May 14, 2018)--faced serious opposition from the community spurred the local city councilor to remove support for the necessary zone change--"effectively torpedoing the projects."

Joe Cortright opines, "In many respects, this is a reprise of the drama that doomed California Governor Jerry Brown's 2016 proposal (; May 26, 2016; date accessed May 14, 2018) to exempt affordable housing construction from the state's CEQA environmental impact review process." The positive aspect of Governor Brown's proposal was it encouraged development.  However, it would have removed an important bargaining chip that municipalities (labor unions and environmental groups) have used to leverage concessions from developers.  Mr. Cortright adds, "As long as development permission is organized around this highly transactional, brokered process, it's unlikely that any group is going cede its points of leverage."  In short, housing equality will be achieved when all neighborhoods, regardless of income level, will be enabled to say not in my backyard--NIMBY.

When it comes to loosening up land-use laws, Mr. Cortright sums the situation as a "particularly nasty version of the prisoner's dilemma (Ibid; Sept. 21, 2016)" in operation.  While "Individual communities and groups would better off if everyone were allowing more housing everywhere.  But they don't trust that other won't renege, and their community (or group) will be saddled with all the burden and impacts."  In essence, while individual stakeholders look out for their own self-interest, the result makes it collectively worse for everyone--the "prisoner's dilemma."  

Mr. Cortright speculates, "If there's going to be a way to break this logjam, it's probably going to have to look a lot like Senate Bill 827--a relatively simple, clear and unavoidable state preemption that applies with equal force to all communities,..."  The mission impossible will be to get everyone to set aside their self-interst and work for the common good.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Blogger Candidate Forum: Watch The House; May 9, 2018

Hello Everyone:

It is a beautiful Wednesday afternoon and time for Blogger Candidate Forum.  More fallout (no pun intended) from Mr. Donald J. Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Iran Nuclear Deal.  The intention of the deal was intended to pause Iran's development of a nuclear bomb.  What was left out of the original deal was a way to deal with Iran's behavior in the region and their development of a missiles with nuclear warheads.  The deal also included "sunset clauses" which was intended to give the U.S., its European allies, China, and Russia to find some diplomatic resolution.  Now that seems to be all up in the air, thanks to somewhat ill-considered decision which make the U.S. appear to be violating the terms of the treaty.  Not that Iran has been a complete angel, exerting its destablizing influence in the region through proxies while continuing to develop nuclear missiles.  The president's advisors tried to make the case for fixing the deal to no avail.  The State Department even made some progress with the exception of the issue of sunset clauses.  With the re-imposition of sanctions, the European, American, and Iranian economies are going to take a hit but how serious is to be determined.  Speaking of things to be determined, let us take a look at the midterm elections.

Taking a look around the social media, you get the impression that the Democrats are cruising toward retaking both houses of Congress.  Well, sort of.  In primaries held in North Carolina, Ohio, Indiana, West Virgina, Republican incumbents fared poorly.  The Washington Post's Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve report in "The Daily 202: Primary results confirm 2018 is a terrible year to be a House Republican," "THE BIG IDEA: Republican members of the House fared especially poorly Tuesday in primaries across our states, offering fresh evidence that this fall will bring anothe change election and a batch of outsiders promising to shake up Washingon."  Let us review the results.

Taking a look at the electoral carnage: In the North Carolina primary, Representative Robert Pittenger was defeated by former Baptist pastor Mark Harris, despite a major spending advantage.  This result shocked Washington Republicans.  Mr. Harris made the point that Rep. Pittenger was a swamp creature and relentlessly went after him for his March vote in favor of the $1.3 trillion spending bill.  Rep. Pittenger has the ignominious distinction of being the first lawmaker of either party to be summarily forced out of the House.

Next, the Indiana Republican primary to challenge Senator Joe Donnelly (D), businessperson Mike Braun upset two Republican members of congress: Todd Rokita and Luke Messer, rivals since college.

Over in West Virginia, Rep. Evan Jenkins (R) was defeated by state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey to earn the right to challenge incumbent Sen. Joe Manchin (D).  The primary election gained national attention because convicted businessperson Don Blankenship was on the ballot.  You know you are in serious trouble when Mr. Trump tweets not to vote for you.  Fortunately, Mr. Blankenship finished third--averted another Roy Moore-type Republican disaster.

Finally, in Ohio, support for incumbent Rep. Jim Renacci (R) was shockingly light in his primary challenge Sen. Sherrod Brown (D).  Despite an endorsement from the president--although given this preisdent's poor track record of endorsing candidates--Rep. Renacci only managed to earn 47 percent of the vote against four unknown challengers.

Ms. Deppisch and Greve report, "That's five GOP members who will not return to the House next year."  Not that being an incumbent is a good thing for Democrats.

Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D), a 16-year veteran lawmaker and former 2008 candidate for president, lost the Ohio Democrat primary for governor to former head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Richard Cordray, who was endorsed by Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.

Breanne Deppisch and Joanie Greve fondly recall, "It didn't used to be this way.  Historically, House members have been perceived by voters as being the most qualified for promotion to upper chamber." In fact, many of the Republican senators crossed over the Capitol.  For example current presumptive Republican Senate nominees Martha McSally (R-Az), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) are member of the House. 

However, the increasingly restless Republican base has learned to hate Washington and everyone associated with it.  The reporters writes, "These trends have been supercharged in the Trump era."

The trends have gone into such a state of overdrive that Washington insiders are running against Washington.  To wit, West Virginia AG Morrisey was unsuccessful in his 2000 Congressional in New Jersey.  Prior to moving to West Virginia, he worked as a Washington lobbyist for pharmaceutical and health-care companies.  Be that as it may, his commercials depict a mountain crushing the U.S. Capitol (; date accessed May 9, 2018).

Indian Republican Mike Braun, who has a real claim to run against "the swamp," used $5 million of his own money on advertisements attacking career politicians.  To make a point of his outsider status, during candidate debates the two members of congress wore suits and ties while Mr. Braun deliberately wore open-collar shirts, no jacket.  Not that it really make much of a difference, the professional attire does instill a sense of respect for the audience.  Mr. Braun's emphasis on his outsider status was not limited to his choice of debate outfits, Ms. Deppischand Greve write, "In one especially effective Web video, Braun walked around his home town with cardboard cutouts of Rokita and Messer asking people on the street to try telling them apart (; date accessed May 9, 2018)."  Here are some takeaways.

"This tried-and-true playbook has proved effect."  Mr. Braun is following the example of outsider Republican businesspeople such as Senators David Perdue (R-GA) and Ron Johnson (R-WS).  Nebraska Republican Senator Deb. Fischer won her seat in 2012 because the two front runners in her primary race attacked each other, creating an opening for a third choice.

"That Trump's election, along Republican control of Congress, did not fully satisfy voter frustration remains a defining feature of the party,"  fellow Washington Post Michael Scherer wrote in a "Power Post" piece,

In late 2017, 19 percent of Republicans told Pew Research Center that they were 'angry' at the federal government, down from 33 percent at the end of the Obama presidency.  But the number remains more than twice as high 9 percent of Republicans who said they were angry in President George W. Bush's second term.  Even for naturally upbeat candidates, frustration no anger have become the dominant emotion they must appeal to for the Republican base.  GOP consultants nationwide have telling even their midl-mannered candidates to turn up their fury on the trail.  (; May 8, 2018; date accessed May 9, 2018)

"--Pittenger's defeat in North Carolina will ensure that sitting congressmen work even harder to distance themselves from Washington during upcoming primaries.  It increases the odds that Democrats can pick up his Charlotte-area seat.  David Weigel, also of The Washington Post, added his thoughts to the "Power Post,"

Harris will now face Dan McCready, a veteran and former Republican who easily won the Democratic nomination in the district,.... According to the last FEC filings from both campaigns, McCready had $1.2 million for the general election; Harris had a little over $70,000.  Democrats were also buoyed by the turnout in the district, which had been drawn to elect a Republicn and which backed Trump over Hillary Clinton by 11.6 points.  Just 35,494 votes were cast in the Republican primary, while 45,660 votes were cast in McCready's [noncompetitive] primary. (Ibid)

"--But if last night's results embolden House Democrats, they should worry Senate Democrats."  That #bluewave may not be a tidal wave after all.  Mike Braun's victory could be a bad omen for his Democratic opponent Senator Donnelly because "he is an outsider who voted as a Democrat until as recently as 2012.  He might have less baggage than the two members of Congress."

If convicted coal mining executive Don Blankenship had won his West Virginia primary, the senate race would have been off the charts.  The reporters speculate, "But Morrisey can beat Manchin.  And there were some red flags in the in combusts noncompetitive primary: Three in 10 Democrats voted for a no-name activist Manchin, who was also weaker than expected in coal country.  (Trump won Indiana by 19 points and West Virginia by 46 points in 2016.)"

However, national Democrats have said in private that Rep Even Jenkins (R-WVa) poses more of a threat to Senator Manchin in the general election than AG Morrisey.  Internal polling show that hammering the Republican nominee on his past lobbying activities, specifically on the opioid the crisis, will yield results.  Further, a Democratic super PAC channeled money into the state over the past few weeks for anti-Jenkins adverts because of party leadership concerns.

"--In their primaries, Democrats mostly followed their heads over their hearts--prioritizing electability over purity."  Yes, finally.  David Weigel continues in his "Power Post,"

Kucinich run was seen as a test of whether Democrats would back left-wing candidates against the 'establishment.'  But in Ohio and other states, the party's left fell short as better-funded candidates easily won their primaries,... In Indiana's 2nd District, a health-care executive and former Republican named Mel Hall defeated candidates who backed a 'Medicare for All' single-Ayer health-care system.  In West Virigina's 3rd District, state Sen. Richard Ojeda (D) romped to a win--even after telling primary voters he backed Trump in 2016.  And in North Carolina's 9th and 13th districts, moderate Democrats won landslides over more left-wing challengers.  (Ibid)

"--Dynasty watch: Vice President Pence's older brother Greg Pence won the Republican primary in Indiana's 6th District," a solidly red district.

"--Five Republican state legislators in North Carolina also went down to primary challenges, as did a Democrat who faced allegations of sexual harassment." (; May 8, 2018; date accessed May 9, 2018). These primaries were truly awful.  How awful, you may ask?  One candidate "misidentified herself as a nurse and called the students who walked out after the Parkland shooting 'Tide Pod eaters."

"--2018 really is shaping up to be another year of the woman." Online magazine Poltico reported

There were 20 open Democratic House primaries with women on the ballot Tuesday night and voters selected a female nominee in 17 of them,...(; date accessed May 9, 2018)

"--Rachel Crooks, on of at least 19 women who have publicly accused Trump of sexual assault won an uncontested primary for a seat in the Ohio state House." (; May 8, 2018; date accessed May 9, 2018).  Talk about a #MeToo moment.  Ms. Crooks, a Democrat, will face an incumbent Republican outside Toledo in a district the president carried but twice won by President Barack Obama.

"--Finally, one of the biggest winners last was Mitch McConnell."  Mr. Blankenship persistently attacked the Senate majority leader at every opportunity, going so far as to brand Sen. McConnell  "Cocaine Mitch," a reference to a drug bust on a ship owned by a company his father-in-law established.  The Senators allies funneled money to West Virginia via the Mountain Familes PAC to carpet the airwaves with anti-Blankenship ads.  The Kentucky senator also managed to persuade the president to make robo-calls and tweet anti-Blankenship message.

Fortunately Sen. McConnell has a good sense of humour, really.  "He's been answering his phone by saying 'Cocaine Mitch' in past few days.  He even tweeted,

Thanks for playing, @DonBlankenship.  #WVSen
-Team Mitch (@Team_Mitch) May 9, 2018 (; date accessed May 9, 2018)

"--For his part, Trum celebrated the results this morning." Naturally tweeting his excitement over the results, giddily looking forward to November.  Of course, Mr. Trump could not help himself, taking a swipe at Ohio Democrat and former head of the Consumer Fraud Protection Bureau head Richard Cordray, calling him a socialist.  Of course.

Just remember, we still have a very long way to go before November.  If you are registered to vote, cast your ballot.  If you are not a voter, what are you waiting for. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

A Beloved Mall Is Finding New Life updated May 4, 2018

Hello Everyone:

It is a lovely Tuesday afternoon in the blogosphere and do we have news.  By now you have all heard of Mr. Donald Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Iran Nuclear Agreement.  This agreement, concluded in 2015, restricted Iran's nuclear development in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.  Mr. Trump's decision is contrary to what his own advisors, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton, have told him.  In essence, they said that Iran is following through on its treaty obligations.  However, the president believes that the Iranians are violating the spirit of the agreement.  Mr. Trump hopes that by pulling the U.S. out of the treaty and reimpose sanctions, it will gain more favorable terms.  Or his whole strategy could backfire, isolating the U.S. and, by extension, its ally Israel.  Only time and a lot of extremely careful negotiating will tell if this approach is successful or not.  Moving on to today's subject, dead malls.

Once upon a time, when Yours Truly was a wee lass, Blogger used to shop at the Westside Pavilion in Los Angeles, California.  The Mall, designed by Jon Jerde and Associates and opened in 1985, was the place to be.  It featured boutiques with all the latest fashions, a multi-screen cinema, a sprawling food court, and a Barnes and Noble.  However, those halcyon days are long gone and the one time epicenter for life on L.A.'s Westside is headed for humble end.

The Westside Pavilion, once featured in the movie Clueless and the late Tom Petty video Free Fallin', now stands eerily quiet.  The only serious mall goers are local college students like Emma Halbert and her friend Kamanapopo Bednorz who sit in the food court, undistracted by passers by, and finish their homework.  The free WiFi is their attraction.

Melissa Etehad writes in her Los Angeles Times article "Once L.A.s hottest mall, the Westside Pavilion is dying and shoppers are bummed,"It was also a place neighbors fought against for years but came to cherish when Nordstrom opened one of its first stores in the West Los Angeles area."  That Nordstrom was Blogger mum's favorite place to shop. Unfortunately, this Mall has fallen victim to the same malaise as other American malls.

The Westside Pavilion fell victim to changing consumer habits and nearby competition--Westfield Century City and the Third Street Promenade--both underwent massive renovations to adapt to the changing retail environment.  Blogger would like to add the Beverly Center, near West Hollywood California, is also undergoing major renovation to better compete with the nearby Grove at Farmer's Market.  In the meantime, the Westside Pavilion is financially hurting and struggling to reconfigure itself.

The Mall's downfall continued last year when Nordstrom shuttered its doors and moved to Westfield Centruy City.  This past March its last anchor store, Macy's, also departed.  The Westside Pavilion is facing certain doom.

Ms. Etehad reports, "...In March, mall landlord Hudson Pacific announced that by mid-2021 most of the barren three-story structure will be transformed into creative office spaces for media and technology companies, a befitting change as demand for office spaces in West Los Angeles continues to increase, but marking an end of an era for the longtime famed indoor mall."  That does not sound like the worst possible fate.  It seems that the landlord is following the same pattern as other retail mall landlords are using, adapting the building into commercial space.  Better than a date with the wrecking ball.  

Civic leaders and those in the know say that "...the Westside Pavilions rebirth into office spaces is an example of West Los Angeles' growing appeal to media and technology companies."  However, longtime residents and shoppers have a different opinion.

Los Angeles City Council member Paul Koretz told Ms. Etehad,

Opponents eventually got used to the mall, and now it's an icon and part of the neighborhood,.... The mall gave us a little sense of community, a place to go and meet people.

The Westside Tavern restaurant and the 12-screen Landmark Theater will be the only mall holdovers still open to the public.  That is some good news for longtime residents and shoppers who feel a twinge of nostalgia for the memories within.  Blogger recall one or two date nights at the Westside Pavilion but mostly, shopping trips.  At least the parking was free and plentiful (usually).  

What is happening to the Westside Pavilion is symptomatic of the state of American malls.  Melissa Etehad reports, "Over the last decade, malls nationwide have slowly been rotting away and eventually closing because of change in shopping tastes."

Another possibility is overdevelopment: The Third Street Promanade and Westfield Century City are a few short miles from the Westside Pavilion.  The Beverly Center is about three miles from The Grove.  Overdevelopment coupled with online shopping has forced retailers to shut their doors, forcing department anchors stores to either scale back operations or close.

Citing a 2017 shopping mall mangeagement report from IBISWorld, Ms. Etehad writes, "As a result, shopping revenue in the shopping mall industry has declined steadily over the last decade at around 1%, including a 2.5% decline in 2017,..."

This steady decline has driven developers and landlords to come up with creative solutions like converting malls into apartments, churches, schools, and office spaces.  The Westside Pavilion will remain open until mid-2021, however, it is already a shell of its former self.

Shoppers bustling about the tiled floors, bags in hand, while browsing, are long gone.  In their stead, are window shoppers casually walking by the empty storefronts.  The once cavernous car park, once filled to capacity, is now nearly empty.  The remaining retailers desperately try to attract customers with large banners advertising, "50% Off" or "Buy one get one 50%."

Yours Truly does not mourn the loss of the Westside Pavilion.  Instead, Blogger takes a more philosophical outlook.  Everything has a beginning, middle, and end.  This is life.  When the Mall first opened, it was an exciting moment.  Here wa

s this place where Yours Truly could quickly nip over an buy something.  Unlike the Beverly Center, it felt welcoming and remarkably airy for an indoor mall.  One memory that sticks out, was taking the youngest nephew for some play time.  Near the food court was a children's play area.  The youngest nephew would run and climb all over the place, while Yours Truly would sit back with a cup of coffee, keeping an eye on him.  Later we went to the pet store where he could pet the puppies.  Yours Truly has not been back since then and the youngest nephew is almost a teenage boy.

Fond memories aside, the Westside Paviion did not always hold a cherished place in the communal heart.  Prior to its 1985 grand opening, the landlord faced great opposition from local residents who saw the project as the kind of development that create more traffic congestion and parking issues.  Terri Tippit, the chairperson for the Westside neighborhood council and longtime area resident told, Melissa Etehad, "for a long time the three-story, block-long structure felt like an 'intrusion.'"  Ms. Tippit said, The local residents fought long and hard when the concept first came up.

Ms. Tippit worked alongside former L.A. City Councilmember Zev Yaroslavsky and the mall's landlord to come up with a solution to mitigate traffic around the mall.  Mr. Yaroslavsky said,

The whole project was a shock to the neighborhood,.... People were not happy about it.

Fortunately, the situation began to improve by the late eighties and early nineties.  The residential streets were re-designated as permit parking only, a 1,000 parking spaces and a two-tier pedestrian and auto bridge were built when the mall expanded across the intersection of Pico and Westwood boulevards.  

In 2007, the Landmark Theater opened a 12-screen cinema.  Not long after the traffic issue was finally dealt with that residents began to embrace the mall, making it an integral part of West L.A.  Despite its popularity, the Westside Pavilion was never really able to adapt itself to the rapidly changing retail landscape.

Chris Calott, professor of architecture and real estate at UC Berkeley spoke with the Times about the Westside Pavilion.  He estimates "that up to 40% of shopping malls could close within the next three to five years."  Prof. Calott believes that "the mall's transformation reflects the growing demand of office space space from municipalities and developers across California."  He said,

We are at a point in the Bay Area and Los Angeles where both areas have a particularly high demand for office space,.... Office development pays a lot more in taxes than residential or Commerical development.  So from a development standpoint, that will deliver the sweetest revenue return.

Melissa Etehad reports, "The transformation project is estimated to cost around $425 million to $475 million."

Hudson Pacific, whose specialty is developing and operating West Coast commercial properties will serve as the the developers and oversee the daily operations as the property's manager.  Former Westside Pavilion landlord and owner Macerich also contributed to the new joint venture with Hudson Pacific, retaining 25 percent ownership.

Some of the mall's neighbors are not thrilled that the new scheme does not include housing, and are concerned that the conversion to office space will increase traffic and change the culture of the Rancho Park community.

UCLA urban planning professor and Rancho Park resident Evelyn Blumberg told the Los Angeles Times,

It's an area that is accessible by public transit, and so there's an assumption that it could lead to a thriving community and be easy access to markets and potential employees,...

However Prof. Blumberg added that she was personally disappointed that the proposed development does not incorporate housing.  She continued,

Housing is becoming so expensive.  It's an ideal location for transit, and it should be accompanied by housing that includes affordable units as well.

Hudson Pacific executive Vice President for development and capital investments Chris Barton told the  Times, "...although the developer didn't consider housing as an option for the mall, it is dedicated to addressing community members' concerns."  Mr. Barton said,

We are actively studying current and future conditions regarding traffic, and we are prepared to work with the city and community to ensure there is no impact,...

Terri Tippit and Zev Yaroslavsky reflected on their role in writing the mall's history, they are proud about its siginificance for the residents.  Mr. Yaroslavsky told the Times,

Back then, I would have never imagined the mall could close.  And if you told me people would be upset or sad, I would have told that impossible...

The mall was controversial during my election in 1989.  I didn't do well with voters who lived in the the streets behind the Westside Pavilion.

Even Ms. Tippit, who was originally opposed to the mall, feels a twinge of sadness over the mall's demise.  She fondly recalls how in recent years, she and her 12-year-old granddaughter would walk, together, to the mall, "a bonding activity she said would have otherwise been impossible."  Ms. Tippit said,

We walk together and chat on the way to the mall and watch movies,...

These are moments you can't buy and can't do if you drive...

Monday, May 7, 2018

Arts As A Driver Of Innovation; May 1, 2018

Hello Everyone:

Welcome to a fresh week on the blog.  On this sparkling Monday we have some news.  Over the weekend Mr. Donald Trump's latest addition to his legal team, former New York City Mayor Rudolph Guiliani, managed to make things worse for his client.  First, he admitted that the president's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, paid other women to stay quiet about their alleged relationships.  During an interview, Mayor Guiliani blurted out that the president could invoke the Fifth Amendment-the right against self incrimination then patted himself on the back for a well done media appearance.  Insert eye roll and head shake.  While we are on the subject, there was a report that the president used Black Cube to get incriminating information on two former national security aides for former-President Barack Obama.  The goal was to use whatever information to undermine the Iran Nuclear deal.  Black Cube was the same investigation agency that disgraced Weinstein Entertainment head Harvey Weinstein used to get information on his intended victims.  Whatever.  Shall we talk about the rural creative class?  Please.

Conventional wisdom holds that contemporary American urban areas are centers of innovation and rural areas, not so much.  This has foundation in the fact that innovation and creativity tend to cluster in a small number of cities and metropolitans areas, it's a big mistake to think that they somehow skip over rural."  This observation was made by Richard Florida in his CityLab article, "The Rise of the Rural Creative Class."  Interesting thought from the originator of the term "creative class" and long time advocate of urban life.  Let us explore this subject a little more.

Mr. Florida's observation is based on a series (; Sept. 2017; date accessed May 7, 2018) of studies conducted by Tim Wojan (Ibid) and his colleagues at the United States Department of Agriculture's Economic Research Service (; date accessed May 7, 2018) tracing the rural innovation mechanism.  Mr. Florida reports, "Their findings draw on a variety of data sets, including a large-survey that compares innovation in urban and rural areas call the Rural Establishment Innovation Survey (; date accessed May 7, 2018)."  REIS is based on about 11,000 businesses with a minimum of five paid employees in sectors that produce goods and services that are or can be traded internationally--in rural (i.e. non-metropolitan) and urban (metropolitan) areas.

REIS divided the businesses into three main categories.  "Roughly 30 percent of firms are substantive innovators, launching new products and services, making data-driven decisions, and creating intellectual roperly worth protecting; another 33 percent are nominal innovators of their products and processes; and 38 percent show little or no evidence of innovation, so are considered to be non-innovators ."

The REIS team generated a table (; May 1, 2018), "Substantive, nominal, and no innovator rates by metro and single unit status."  This table tracks the breakdown for rural and urban area.  As expected, businesses in urban locations are more innovative but, here is the rub, not by much.  According to the table, about "20 percent of rural firms are substantive innovators, compared to 30 percent of firms in urban areas."

To wit, the urban-rural schism vis-a-vis innovation may be more the result of the "of the relative size of firms than geography."  The next chart, "Substantive, innovator rates by metro status, establishment size, and patent-intensive industries:" Rural areas have a slight edge in overall substantive innovation for large firms (100 or more employees), however urban areas have an edge in the rate of substantive innovation for small- and medium-sized firms. The reason for the rural innovation edge is that they are reduction of patent-intensive industries like chemical, electronics, automotive or medical equipment, while urban areas exhibited higher degrees of service innovations.

Richard Florida observes, "Of course, innovation concentrates and clusters in certain rural areas, just as it does in cities and metros."  He cites a 2007 study (; April 2007; date accessed May 7, 2018) conducted by Tim Wojan and a team of collaborators that identified about 100 rural creative centers, like Woodstock, New York, and the area around Telluride and Silverton, Colorado.  These rural creative hubs are typically close to or have a strong connection to a major metropolitan area; are home to a major university or college; or have a considerable amount of attractive natural amenities.

Comparatively speaking, urban arts district are generally found in high-density, mixed-use neighborhood with a lot of pedestrian traffic, whereas, rural arts districts evolve round natural, physical, recreational amenities.  A 2017 study by the National Endowment for the Arts (; Nov. 15, 2017; date accessed May 7, 2018) determined that the "likelihood that a rural county will contain a performing arts organization is nearly 60 percent higher if the county overlaps with a forest or national park."  Swan Lake by a lake.

The main difference between the rural and urban arts districts is, obviously, the distance a person has to travel: "Rural arts organizations reported that 31 percent of their visitors travel 'beyond a reasonable distance' to visit, compared to 19 percent in urban areas."  This fact is illustrated by a chart from the NEA, "Percent of arts organization, by distance that visitors travel and by rural/urban status of the organization : 2014." ( May 1, 2018)  

Be that as it may, the arts may be an even more driver of rural innovation than they are to urban innovation.  Mr. Florida writes, "While my own research has drawn a connection between the arts and clusters of innovation high-tech startus in urban areas, Wojan and his colleague Bonnie Nichols' data suggests (; Feb. 28, 2018; date accessed May 7, 2018) an even stronger connection between arts and innovation in rural areas."  Further, according to the NEA paper (; Nov. 15, 2017), the possibility that a rural firm will be a substantive innovator increases from 60 percent in rural counties with no performing arts venues to almost 70 percent for counties that are home to two or three, and nearly 85 percent if a rural county is home to four or more arts organizations.

Additionally, the number of firms that are considered highly innovative sharply increases in conjunction with performing arts organizations in rural areas.  This is illustrated by a chart, "Probability of being classified as a design-integrated or a substantive innovator, by number of performing arts organization in the same rural county: 2014." ( May 1, 2018)

Finally, Tim Wojan and his colleagues study found a strong statistical correlation between the arts, innovation, and economic development in rural areas.  This led them to conclude that the arts have direct impact on rural innovation, not a byproduct that help attract and retain talent.

Of course, we really did not need a study to quantify the role of the arts as an economic engine.  Throughout American cultural history, artists and creative types have sought out rural areas to drive their inspiration: the Hudson River School painters (; date accessed May 7, 2018), Ralph Waldo Emerson, Bob Dylan and The Band developing their music in Woodstock (; date accessed May 7, 2018).  The point is, the arts are not merely a result of the pretty scenery; they function as a key driver for innovation, leading to economic development, and ultimately to a greater standard of living.  Therefore, conventional thinking that urban areas are creative and rural areas are not, no longer holds.    

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Blogger Candidate Forum: Feelings Can Sway Votes; April 26, 2018

Hello Everyone:

It is a gray Wednesday and time for the weekly edition of Blogger Candidate Forum.  News of the day: Would you believe seventeen United States senators (all Republican, naturally) have officially nominated Mr. Donald Trump for a Nobel Peace Prize?  Seriously.  Why, you may ask.  For supposedly bringing North and South Korea together to formally end the Korean Conflict.  If, and this is Yuge if, this president should win (it would basically take an act of divine intervention) he would be the fifth president to win the prize.  Insert face palm and loud groan.  Other news, principal Trump attorney Ty Cobb has resigned from the legal team, citing retirement.  Okay, whatever.  The tantalizing possibility of Mr. Trump being interviewed by Special Consul Robert Mueller seems to grow every day.  Will it happen?  Will Mr. Mueller have to subpoena the president?  Specifically, will his new lawyers allow the president to sit for the interview?  Remember, this is person who is prone to doing whatever he wants with no regard for the consequences.  It is enough to make anyone, regardless of political affliation, want to curl up in the fetal position, under a table, and cry.  Since Yours Truly is not part of the president's legal team (thus maintaining her sanity), she prefers to write about unhappy voters.

Special Consul interviews aside, did voter unhappiness help elect Mr. Trump?  This is the question Richard Florida asks in his CityLab article "How Unhappiness Help Elect Trump."

Like a lot of American voters, Blogger woke up the day after Election Day with a feeling of dread, mixed with exhaustion from blogging the results all night long.  Really.  Once Blogger had a chance to process the results, a couple of thoughts crossed her mind: First, maybe things will not be so bad. Blogger might have been a wee optimistic.  Second, what would have happened had former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was elected?  Would there have been protests in the streets like the ones that occurred after the election of Mr. Trump?

This thought is borne out in newly release polling data (; Apr. 25, 2018; May 2, 2018) which studied the link between partisan voting and well-being.  Mr. Florida reports, "Gallup's analysis is part of a study done in partnership with researchers at the Yale School of Medicine and the University of Cincinnati College, and originally published in the journal PLOS ONE (; Mar. 12, 2018 date accessed May 2, 2018)."  The study found that districts voted for Mr. Trump were those with residents who experienced the least improvement in their happiness or satistifcation under President Barack Obama, whereas, the district that voted for Madame Secretary experienced the highest levels of improvement in their well-being during the Obama administration.

The results are based on over 175,000 interviews conducted in 2016 with Americans in more than 3,000 counties, in all 50 states and Washington D.C.

Conventional wisdom is that Mr. Trump tapped into the growing feelings of anger and anxiety, particularly in Caucasian working-class voters outside of large urban areas.  However Mr. Florida points out, "But like the presumption that the results of the 2016 election were about economic hardship (; Apr. 23, 2018; date accessed May 2, 2018), this seems to be myth more than reality."

Counties that saw the biggest uptick in Trump voters "were not appreciably more likely to have residents who reported higher levels of anger and worry."  To the contrary, districts that swung towards Madame Secretary experienced slightly larger shares of anger and worry than districts that skewed Red.  Be that as it may, districts that went Blue also had greater shares of happiness and fulfillment than those that went from Mr. Trump. If you go to; April 26, 2018 you can check out a table by Gallup, "Positive Daily Emotions, But Not Negative Emotions, Predict County Shifts in 2016 U.S. Presidential Election Relative to 2012 Election."  Richard Florida breaks down the table,

"...As seen in the rows of the table, the researchers grouped U.S. counties into six clusters based on the change in their vote for president from 2012 to 2016.  The spectrum ranges from a gain of more than 10 percentage points for Republicans voters in 2016 to a Democratic grain of more than 10 points."

Feelings are not facts.  The fact is there is no tangible "relationship between negative day-to-day emotions and political shifts seems to contradict the notion that high levels of anger, stress, and worry are what led to Trump's election."

Instead, the research presented evidence indicating that a person's overall view of their life, and not solely their daily experiences, powered the big vote swing in the previous presidential election.  No surprise, the districts that saw the largest increases in Republican presidential candidate between 2012 and 2016 were populated by who reported greater dissatisfaction with their lives and pessimism about the future.

Additionally, residents in districts that experienced the greatest increase in Republican voting did not report greater levels of dissatisfaction with their lives; to the contrary, they reported lower levels of improvement since 212, even though things improved (; Aug, 30 2018; date accessed May 2, 2018) among all adults across the country over the same period.  Mr. Florida observes, "By constrast, counties that saw the largest jump in votes for the Democratic candidate reported above-average levels on both metrics."

You can check out another table at; April 26, 2018, "Current Life Satisfaction and Future Optimism Predict County Shifts in 2016 U.S. Presidential Election Relative to 2012 Election," breaks down the number of residents who expressed higher satisfaction with their current lives and optimism about the future, across six groups of voters.  In districts where the 2016 vote leaned Republican  by 10 or more percentage points from 2012, "only 61 percent of residents reported a high level of satisfication with their current life, and 58 percent reported high levels of optimism for the future."  At the opposite end of the scale, "the counties where the vote swung Democratic by 10 or more we presentage points, 73 percent of residents reported a high level of satisfaction with their current life and 72 percent reported a high level of optimism for the future."

The column labeled "Current life satisfaction," (; Apr. 26, 2018) describes "the percentage of people who ranked their current life satisfaction between 7 and 10 on a scale of 1 to 10.  The 'Future life optimism' column shows the percentage of people who ranked their optimism about the future between 8 and 10."

The same pattern holds in the table "Change in Current Life Satisfaction and Future Life Optimism Predeicts County shifts in 2016 U.S. Presidential Election 2012 Election (Ibid)," which tracks the percentage change in current life satisfaction and optimism for the future across six major voting demographics.

The numbers break down as follows: 

"In counties where Trump increased the Republican share of votes by more than 10 percent, current life satisfaction improved by just 1.7 percent, and optimism for the future improved by just 1.6 percent. But in counties where Clinton gained more than 10 percent over Obama, current life satisfaction had improved by 2.7 percent and optimism for the future by 3 percent."

Anger, anxiety, and worry were not the main drivers of big vote swings, rather lingering feelings of unhappiness and pessimism about the future.  This sense of unhappiness with the current conditions and unease about the future are driving the voters.

The link between levels of happiness and vote swings is something that all politicians, pundits, and every Americans should pay attention to, especially in the current climate of declining levels of happiness.  Another Gallup poll (Ibid; Mar. 20, 2018) from earlier this year, "America saw the largest the year-over-year drop in well-being between 2016 and 2017 in the 10 years that Gallup has tracked this data."  What does it mean for anyone anticipating a #bluewave in 2018 and the White House in 2020?  The answer lies in translating feelings into votes.  It is like this, when voters are happy, they want mommy--a candidate who is nurturing and loving--when they are unhappy, they want daddy--a candidate who will protect them.  Just remember that feelings are not facts but they can sway votes.