Friday, December 1, 2023. Annette’s News Roundup.
I think the Roundup makes people feel not so alone.
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Joe is always busy.
Breaking News: The EPA has proposed replacing all 9 million lead pipes in the U.S., the strongest effort to eliminate lead in tap water in 30 years.https://t.co/azL0J3Pwps— The New York Times (@nytimes) November 30, 2023
Yesterday an EPA administrator said this - “This is the strongest lead rule that the nation has ever seen,’ Radhika Fox, the E.P.A.’s assistant administrator for water, said in an interview. ‘This is historic progress.’” This is a big deal.
Today we learned annual inflation fell to its lowest level since March 2021.— President Biden (@POTUS) December 1, 2023
The economy grew faster than expected.
Did we mention Black Friday 2023 set records?
CNBC - Black Friday weekend shopping turnout soars to a record, as consumers seek bargains
Kamala is always busy.
Touch to Watch the Vice President at the New York Times DealBook Summit in NYC.👇
WATCH. Absolutely brutal. This is the Kamala Harris we love to see — there’s no one who can roast and own people quite like VP Harris. What a line. pic.twitter.com/AvPubfHqpG— Victor Shi (@Victorshi2020) November 30, 2023
I spoke with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah about the conflict in Gaza and measures to improve security and freedom for Palestinians in the West Bank. I reiterated the U.S. commitment to advancing the establishment of a Palestinian state. pic.twitter.com/8WYzlqEYPj— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) November 30, 2023
Yesterday, the Cease-Fire was extended one more day. 8 more Israeli hostages were released.
Hamas released eight Israeli hostages Thursday, according to the Israeli prime minister’s office.
Israel released 30 Palestinian prisoners Thursday, according to a list of names published by the Israeli Prison Service.
Earlier, Israel and Hamas agreed to extend the pause in fighting in Gaza for a seventh day, as the prospect of resumed hostilities looms over the battered enclave.
The Israeli government has agreed to put in place a “clear plan” to protect civilians before restarting the war in Gaza, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Thursday after a day of meetings with Israeli leaders, as the United States seeks to pressure Israel to reduce the civilian death toll. Israeli officials have stridently opposed extending the pause into a more lasting cease-fire. The United States has told Israel it does “not support a move to the south” in Gaza once fighting resumes, “unless or until” Israel can account for the safety of the many civilians there, said National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.
Hamas shooting in Jerusalem.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said that two American citizens were among at least six injured in Thursday’s deadly shooting at a bus stop in Jerusalem.
He offered no further details but condemned Hamas, which has claimed responsibility, and characterized the incident as an “appalling terrorist attack.” Three people were killed in the Thursday morning attack after two assailants opened fire on a bus stop at a busy intersection leading into Jerusalem.
The attackers were identified by Israel’s internal security service, Shin Bet, as members of Hamas who had previously served time in Israeli prisons on terrorism-related charges. Both were killed at the scene by a civilian and two off-duty Israel Defense Forces soldiers, according to a statement by the Israeli police.
The breached security fence in the village of Kfar Azza, Israel, three days after it was attacked by Hamas.
A blueprint reviewed by The Times laid out the attack in detail. Israeli officials dismissed it as aspirational and ignored specific warnings.
Israeli officials obtained Hamas’s battle plan for the Oct. 7 terrorist attack more than a year before it happened, documents, emails and interviews show. But Israeli military and intelligence officials dismissed the plan as aspirational, considering it too difficult for Hamas to carry out.
The approximately 40-page document, which the Israeli authorities code-named “Jericho Wall,” outlined, point by point, exactly the kind of devastating invasion that led to the deaths of about 1,200 people.
The translated document, which was reviewed by The New York Times, did not set a date for the attack, but described a methodical assault designed to overwhelm the fortifications around the Gaza Strip, take over Israeli cities and storm key military bases, including a division headquarters.
Hamas followed the blueprint with shocking precision. The document called for a barrage of rockets at the outset of the attack, drones to knock out the security cameras and automated machine guns along the border, and gunmen to pour into Israel en masse in paragliders, on motorcycles and on foot — all of which happened on Oct. 7.
The plan also included details about the location and size of Israeli military forces, communication hubs and other sensitive information, raising questions about how Hamas gathered its intelligence and whether there were leaks inside the Israeli security establishment.
The document circulated widely among Israeli military and intelligence leaders, but experts determined that an attack of that scale and ambition was beyond Hamas’s capabilities, according to documents and officials. It is unclear whether Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or other top political leaders saw the document, as well.
Last year, shortly after the document was obtained, officials in the Israeli military’s Gaza division, which is responsible for defending the border with Gaza, said that Hamas’s intentions were unclear.
“It is not yet possible to determine whether the plan has been fully accepted and how it will be manifested,” read a military assessment reviewed by The Times.
Then, in July, just three months before the attacks, a veteran analyst with Unit 8200, Israel’s signals intelligence agency, warned that Hamas had conducted an intense, daylong training exercise that appeared similar to what was outlined in the blueprint.
But a colonel in the Gaza division brushed off her concerns, according to encrypted emails viewed by The Times.
“I utterly refute that the scenario is imaginary,” the analyst wrote in the email exchanges. The Hamas training exercise, she said, fully matched “the content of Jericho Wall.”
“It is a plan designed to start a war,” she added. “It’s not just a raid on a village.”
Officials privately concede that, had the military taken these warnings seriously and redirected significant reinforcements to the south, where Hamas attacked, Israel could have blunted the attacks or possibly even prevented them.
Instead, the Israeli military was unprepared as terrorists streamed out of the Gaza Strip. It was the deadliest day in Israel’s history.
Israeli security officials have already acknowledged that they failed to protect the country, and the government is expected to assemble a commission to study the events leading up to the attacks. The Jericho Wall document lays bare a yearslong cascade of missteps that culminated in what officials now regard as the worst Israeli intelligence failure since the surprise attack that led to the Arab-Israeli war of 1973.
Underpinning all these failures was a single, fatally inaccurate belief that Hamas lacked the capability to attack and would not dare to do so. That belief was so ingrained in the Israeli government, officials said, that they disregarded growing evidence to the contrary.
The Israeli military and the Israeli Security Agency, which is in charge of counterterrorism in Gaza, declined to comment.
Officials would not say how they obtained the Jericho Wall document, but it was among several versions of attack plans collected over the years. A 2016 Defense Ministry memorandum viewed by The Times, for example, says, “Hamas intends to move the next confrontation into Israeli territory.”
Such an attack would most likely involve hostage-taking and “occupying an Israeli community (and perhaps even a number of communities),” the memo reads.
The Jericho Wall document, named for the ancient fortifications in the modern-day West Bank, was even more explicit. It detailed rocket attacks to distract Israeli soldiers and send them hurrying into bunkers, and drones to disable the elaborate security measures along the border fence separating Israel and Gaza.
Hamas fighters would then break through 60 points in the wall, storming across the border into Israel. The document begins with a quote from the Quran: “Surprise them through the gate. If you do, you will certainly prevail.”
The same phrase has been widely used by Hamas in its videos and statements since Oct. 7.
One of the most important objectives outlined in the document was to overrun the Israeli military base in Re’im, which is home to the Gaza division responsible for protecting the region. Other bases that fell under the division’s command were also listed.
Hamas carried out that objective on Oct. 7, rampaging through Re’im and overrunning parts of the base.
The audacity of the blueprint, officials said, made it easy to underestimate. All militaries write plans that they never use, and Israeli officials assessed that, even if Hamas invaded, it might muster a force of a few dozen, not the hundreds who ultimately attacked.
Israel had also misread Hamas’s actions. The group had negotiated for permits to allow Palestinians to work in Israel, which Israeli officials took as a sign that Hamas was not looking for a war.
But Hamas had been drafting attack plans for many years, and Israeli officials had gotten hold of previous iterations of them. What could have been an intelligence coup turned into one of the worst miscalculations in Israel’s 75-year history.
In September 2016, the defense minister’s office compiled a top-secret memorandum based on a much earlier iteration of a Hamas attack plan. The memorandum, which was signed by the defense minister at the time, Avigdor Lieberman, said that an invasion and hostage-taking would “lead to severe damage to the consciousness and morale of the citizens of Israel.”
The memo, which was viewed by The Times, said that Hamas had purchased sophisticated weapons, GPS jammers and drones. It also said that Hamas had increased its fighting force to 27,000 people — having added 6,000 to its ranks in a two-year period. Hamas had hoped to reach 40,000 by 2020, the memo determined.
Last year, after Israel obtained the Jericho Wall document, the military’s Gaza division drafted its own intelligence assessment of this latest invasion plan.
Hamas had “decided to plan a new raid, unprecedented in its scope,” analysts wrote in the assessment reviewed by The Times. It said that Hamas intended to carry out a deception operation followed by a “large-scale maneuver” with the aim of overwhelming the division.
But the Gaza division referred to the plan as a “compass.” In other words, the division determined that Hamas knew where it wanted to go but had not arrived there yet.
On July 6, 2023, the veteran Unit 8200 analyst wrote to a group of other intelligence experts that dozens of Hamas commandos had recently conducted training exercises, with senior Hamas commanders observing.
The training included a dry run of shooting down Israeli aircraft and taking over a kibbutz and a military training base, killing all the cadets. During the exercise, Hamas fighters used the same phrase from the Quran that appeared at the top of the Jericho Wall attack plan, she wrote in the email exchanges viewed by The Times.
The analyst warned that the drill closely followed the Jericho Wall plan, and that Hamas was building the capacity to carry it out.
The colonel in the Gaza division applauded the analysis but said the exercise was part of a “totally imaginative” scenario, not an indication of Hamas’s ability to pull it off.
“In short, let’s wait patiently,” the colonel wrote.
The back-and-forth continued, with some colleagues supporting the analyst’s original conclusion. Soon, she invoked the lessons of the 1973 war, in which Syrian and Egyptian armies overran Israeli defenses. Israeli forces regrouped and repelled the invasion, but the intelligence failure has long served as a lesson for Israeli security officials.
“We already underwent a similar experience 50 years ago on the southern front in connection with a scenario that seemed imaginary, and history may repeat itself if we are not careful,” the analyst wrote to her colleagues.
While ominous, none of the emails predicted that war was imminent. Nor did the analyst challenge the conventional wisdom among Israeli intelligence officials that Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas, was not interested in war with Israel. But she correctly assessed that Hamas’s capabilities had drastically improved. The gap between the possible and the aspirational had narrowed significantly.
The failures to connect the dots echoed another analytical failure more than two decades ago, when the American authorities also had multiple indications that the terrorist group Al Qaeda was preparing an assault. The Sept. 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon were largely a failure of analysis and imagination, a government commission concluded.
“The Israeli intelligence failure on Oct. 7 is sounding more and more like our 9/11,” said Ted Singer, a recently retired senior C.I.A. official who worked extensively in the Middle East. “The failure will be a gap in analysis to paint a convincing picture to military and political leadership that Hamas had the intention to launch the attack when it did.” (New York Times).
Trump restates his determination to end media he doesn’t agree with if he ever gets into the White House again.
Let’s make sure that never happens.
By the way, Trump doesn’t seem to know that cable television which doesn’t use “air waves” ever happened.
Why it matters: Trump has already been fined twice for violations of the limited gag order, which he was seeking to have thrown out.
State of play: New York Judge Arthur Engoron issued the limited order in October after the former president made a post on his Truth Social account about the judge's law clerk.
The order bars Trump and his attorneys from disparaging court staff.
The New York appeals court earlier this month temporarily halted the gag order at the former president's request. He then proceeded to attack Engoron and the clerk on Truth Social.
Zoom in: Court officials in a filing last week said that following Trump's social media post, "threats, harassment and disparaging comments increased exponentially" against Engoron and his law clerk.
Lawyers for Trump argued in a subsequent filing that any threats received do not justify the order.
The big picture: Trump also faces a gag order in his federal 2020 election subversion case.
That order is currently on pause as a panel of federal judges weighs its merit.
What to watch: The former president is expected to take the stand next month as the final witness in the trial.
At stake in the ongoing trial are possible steep financial penalties against Trump and his family's business empire.
New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a $250 million lawsuit against Trump, his two eldest sons and his business last fall, alleging years of financial fraud.
Trump’s Gag Order in New York was re-instated.
The Gag Order applies only to court employees, as soon as the Gag was reinstated, Trump attacked the wife of Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Arthur Engoron who is presiding over the Fraud case in NYC.
Donald Trump renewed attacks on the wife of the judge in the New York civil fraud trial of his business empire, before and almost immediately after an appellate court on Thursday reinstated a gag order against him in the case.
The New York appellate court decided to reapply the gag order that barred the former US president and his lawyers from making public statements about court staff in his civil fraud trial, court records showed.
Trump on Wednesday attacked Dawn Engoron, the wife of the judge, Arthur Engoron, and the judge’s clerk, on his social media platform Truth Social.
He called Dawn Engoron a “Trump hating wife” and said that she and Arthur Engoron’s law clerk had “taken over control of the New York State Witch Hunt Trial aimed at me, my family, and the Republican Party”.
On Thursday, the gag order against him, which had been paused two weeks ago, was reinstated, but it did not stop Trump lashing out further. The order only specifies comments about members of Judge Engoron’s staff, not his family.
Trump posted screenshots of vulgar and profane anti-Trump messages on X, formerly known as Twitter, purported to have been made by Dawn Engoron – prompting her swiftly to assert that she does not have an account.
“I do not have a Twitter account. This is not me. I have not posted any anti-Trump messages,” Dawn Engoron told Newsweek.
One meme shows Trump digitally altered into wearing an orange prison jumpsuit and mopping floors. The caption read: “He’ll never be in the WHITE HOUSE again. He’s headed for the BIG HOUSE.”
Trump then added captions to his posts, such as one that read: “This is the Judge’s Wife and Family that are putting these things out. I am not entitled to a Jury under this Statute. Can this be happening in America?”
The court last month had sought to prohibit him from commenting about court staff at his trial in New York, then paused the gag order.
Barely an hour after that, Trump, who is running for president again, unleashed a barrage of social media outrage at a clerk who has become the lightning rod for his rage in the case.
Engoron had imposed the gag order on Trump and his lawyers in October after they repeatedly went after his court staff including his principal law clerk, Allison Greenfield, on social media, although Engoron said they were free to criticize him.
The $250m case against Trump and his two adults sons over illegally inflating the value of assets of the family business empire, the Trump Organization, in a case brought by the New York attorney general, Letitia James, remains under way and is expected to wrap up next month. The court has found them liable but the trial, taking place without a jury, is to establish more details about the offenses committed and what the consequences should be.
Trump is accused of inflating his net worth by billions of dollars to dupe lenders and insurers. He has denied wrongdoing and said James is politically biased against him.
Trump in October accused Engoron’s top clerk of political bias in a post on his Truth Social platform. The post left the court “inundated with hundreds of harassing and threatening phone calls, voicemails, emails, letters, and packages” from Trump supporters, Engoron said in a court filing, leading to a limited gag order.
The order was paused while Trump’s lawyers appealed, arguing it infringed on his right to free speech under the US constitution.
A representative of the attorney general’s office declined to comment on the order being reinstated, and Trump’s lawyers did not immediately respond to inquiries.
Engoron has already fined Trump $15,000 for twice violating the order and warned that future breaches would be met with steeper penalties, including imprisonment. (The Guardian).
One of the most embarrassing facts about the American economy.
Nov. 30 marks Native American Women’s Equal Pay Day. Native American women working full or part-time earn 55 cents for every dollar a non-Latino white man makes. We’re working hard to elect more Native American women up and down the ballot because we know representation matters! pic.twitter.com/8C05UIqJbk— EMILYs List (@emilyslist) November 30, 2023
Op-eds from prominent political thinkers.
Chuck Schumer: What American Jews Fear Most.
Fifty-three days ago, citizens of Israel suffered a horrendous attack orchestrated and executed by Hamas.
The solidarity that Jewish Americans initially received from our fellow citizens in the aftermath of Oct. 7 has since waned, drowned out by other, more disturbing voices, even from some we considered allies, while hate crimes against Jews have skyrocketed.
Today, too many Americans are exploiting arguments against Israel and leaping toward a virulent antisemitism. The normalization and intensifying of this rise in hate is the danger many Jewish people fear most.
Since Oct. 7, Jewish-owned businesses that have nothing to do with Israel have been boycotted and vandalized. Jewish students on college campuses have been harassed and assaulted with alarming frequency. A Jewish high school teacher in Queens told me about being forced to hide in a locked office from student protesters who were demanding that she be fired because she attended a rally supporting Israel.
These are just a few examples, but they point to a troubling trend. Too often in Jewish history, legitimate criticism of Israeli policies or even older disputes over religious, economic and political issues have crossed over into something darker, into attacking Jewish people simply for being Jewish.
What happened last week at the Queens high school is an example of crossing that threshold. Walking out of school to march in support of Palestinians is completely legitimate. But forcing a Jewish teacher to hide because she had attended a rally in support of Israel is antisemitism, pure and simple.
For many Jewish people today, the rise of antisemitism is more than a crisis — it’s a five-alarm fire. That’s why I feel compelled to speak out, especially considering the growing disparity between how Jewish people understand the rise of antisemitism and how many of my non-Jewish friends regard it.
While American Jews have always been wary of the hatemongers lurking on the edges of our society, we are proud to be American, because in this country, unlike so many others, our ancestors were able to put down roots and flourish.
Take my own family story. Only in America could an exterminator’s son grow up to be the first Jewish party leader in the Senate.
But many of my family members elsewhere met more tragic ends.
When I was a boy, I learned what happened when the Nazis invaded my family’s town in Ukraine. The Nazis ordered my great-grandmother to gather her extended family on the porch of her home. When the Nazis told her to come with them, she refused, and they gunned her down, along with 30 members of her family, from 85 years old to 3 months old.
When I heard the story of what Hamas and its allies did in Kibbutz Be’eri, where they killed more than 120 Jews, from the elderly to babies, it struck me on a deeply personal level.
Most Jewish Americans have similar stories — stories that we learned at a young age and will stay imprinted on our hearts for as long as we live.
We see and hear things differently from others because we understand the horrors that can follow the targeting of Jewish people. We’ve learned the hard way to fear how such attacks can easily erupt into widespread antisemitism if they are not repudiated. I am sure Arab Americans have similar fears when they see the rise in Islamophobia and horrific crimes like the gut-wrenching murder of the 6-year-old Wadea Al-Fayoume.
Of course, criticizing the Israeli government is not inherently antisemitic. Over the years, I have vehemently disagreed with many of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s policies, especially his administration’s encouragement of settlements in the West Bank, gravely harming prospects for a two-state solution, which I support. I have also been among those who have said that Israel must act according to international law and that humanitarian assistance for Palestinians is critical.
But when criticism against Israel is allowed to cross over into something different — into a denial of a Jewish state in any form, into open calls for the very destruction of Israel, while at the same time the self-determination of other peoples is exalted — that is an example of the discriminatory double standard Jewish people have always found so hurtful. And we worry about what could come next.
Because for centuries, what is good for everybody else has been too often denied to the Jew. Jews could live here but not there; Jews could hold this job but not that.
And to declare that only the Jewish people cannot have their own state, in any form, is a glaring example of that double standard Jewish Americans so fiercely object to.
I implore every person and every community and every institution to stand with Jewish Americans and to denounce antisemitism in all of its forms. Americans are stewards of the flames of liberty, tolerance and equality that warm our melting pot and make it possible for Jewish Americans to prosper alongside Palestinian Americans as well as every other immigrant group.
America has always been exceptional. But when it matters most, are we still a nation that can defy the course of human history, where the Jewish people have been ostracized, expelled and massacred over and over again?
I believe the answer can and must be a resounding yes.
And I will do everything in my power — as Senate majority leader, as a Jewish American, as a citizen of a free society, as a human being — to make it so. (Op-ed by the Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. New York Times)
Clearly Trump who can only name-call and shout vitriol didn’t write the Op-Ed below 👇 but it does show what the GOP is saying to younger voters.
Donald Trump: I Will Make America Great Again for Young People.
With less than one year to go until Election Day, the polls show that we are beating Joe Biden by wide margins both nationally and in the battleground states—and young people are a major part of the reason why. A recent NBC News poll found that we are leading Biden 46 percent to 42 percent nationally among voters ages 18 to 34—a clear sign that young Americans are rejecting Joe Biden's reign of failure, incompetence, and corruption.
During the first Trump administration, we created the strongest and most prosperous economy in the history of the world. Under my leadership, annual incomes went up by more than $6,000, inflation was under 2 percent, and we had gasoline down to $1.87 per gallon. Household net worth reached an all-time high, with the bottom 50 percent of American households seeing a 40 percent increase in their net worth.
The U.S. economy had never been better for young Americans, but for the past three years, young people have borne the heavy costs of the failed Biden agenda: crippling inflation, soaring prices, skyrocketing interest rates, unaffordable housing, and escalating crime. Over the course of the Biden administration, real incomes have gone down by $7,400 per family. Gas prices reached as high as $7 a gallon in some places. Cumulative inflation is 18 percent. And mortgage rates are pushing a brutal seven percent—making home ownership out of reach for countless young Americans.
When I was in office, the 30-year mortgage rate reached a record low of 2.65 percent—and the median-income American family could afford a mortgage. Yet thanks to Biden's disastrous economy, interest rates have skyrocketed, making home-ownership out of reach for too many Americans, especially young Americans who in previous generations would be looking to start a family. As a result, historically high numbers of young people are delaying marriage and children. According to a recent study, three quarters of Gen Z and Millennial couples believe it's too expensive to get married today. A 2022 study found that financial concerns are the number one reason why Americans are dropping out of school.
Sadly, many younger Americans are putting their lives on hold because they think the Biden economy leaves them no choice.
And on top of it all, Biden's war on American energy is making everything more expensive. Thanks to his Green New Deal agenda, new car prices have surged by nearly 30 percent since I left office. The average new car now costs an astonishing $50,000. You practically have to be a rich person to afford a new car. Because of higher interest rates and soaring prices under Biden, the typical car payment is now almost $750 a month.
Instead of helping our young people confidently begin their lives, careers, and families, Joe Biden is crushing their dreams with debt, taxes, and inflation, and paving the way for a future of anger and despair.
Under Joe Biden, we are a nation in decline and rapidly losing the American Dream.
But Biden's destruction of the American economy is just the beginning of his war on young people. The Radical Left has also unleashed shocking waves of violent crime and bloodshed, making our nation's once-great cities almost unlivable for young Americans entering the workforce. Joe Biden's unimaginable weakness on the world stage is threatening to drag the United States into World War III, which would devastate an entire generation of young Americans. And the Democrats' radical promotion of Critical Race Theory, transgenderism, and other inappropriate racial, sexual, and political content in our schools has divided our communities and frayed the bonds of national.
When I take the oath of office as the 47th President of the United States, I will rapidly rebuild the greatest economy in the history of the world so that young people can thrive and prosper. I will stop Joe Biden's inflation nightmare, increase energy production, massively reduce government spending, and bring down interest rates, so that young people can once again afford to start a family, buy a home, and plan for a great future—the basic building blocks of the American Dream. I did it before, and we will do it once again.
I will also restore law and order in our nation's cities, empower our men and women in law enforcement, and stop the Radical Marxist prosecutors surrendering our cities to violent criminals. I will quickly secure our southern border to end the influx of deadly drugs into our communities. I will work to eradicate the scourge of drug addiction once and for all. And to further protect our young people, I will sign a new executive order to cut federal funding for any school pushing far-left content on our children.
American voters have it within their power to quickly return our country to peace, prosperity, and strength—and no one will benefit from bringing that change to our nation's capital more than young people. That's why next November, tens of millions of young Americans will be casting their vote to end Joe Biden's failed presidency, and to finish the job of making America great again. (Newsweek).
Wondering how any reasonable person can vote Republican? This may be the answer.
Voting Democrat or Republican? The Critical Childhood Influence That's Tough to Shake.
Candidates might fixate on red, blue, or swing states, but the neighborhoods where voters spend their teen years play a key role in shaping their political outlook, says research by Vincent Pons. What do the findings mean for the upcoming US elections?
American political candidates are forecast to spend as much as $12 billion by next November to put ads on airwaves, texts on phones, and signs on lawns.
Yet new research from Harvard Business School finds that no amount of money can undo an essential factor that defines someone’s political outlook: The political bent of the neighborhood where they grew up—and especially where they spent their teen years.
Beyond just parental influence, environmental factors such as friends, teachers, and media environment play a statistically significant role in determining party affiliations and election participation, according to a study that looks at registration records from 2012 to 2021 of more than 15 million voters aged 18 to 24.
“WE SHOW THAT, TO SOME EXTENT, OUR AFFILIATION AS A DEMOCRATIC OR REPUBLICAN VOTER COMES FROM INFLUENCES FROM OUR CHILDHOOD.”
The study found that young people who lived in counties where voter registration favored either Republicans or Democrats leaned toward the majority party at the time of their first election. In fact, where people grow up makes their politics 40-50 percent more similar to their neighbors’.
As an off-year election cycle wraps up, and the US gears up for the coming presidential contest, the results highlight the challenge candidates face each year as they seek to sway voters to their side, says Vincent Pons, the Michael B. Kim Associate Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School and one of the report’s co-authors.
“Our paper contributes to the debate on how malleable voters’ views might be,” Pons says. “We show that, to some extent, our affiliation as a Democratic or Republican voter comes from influences from our childhood … so you can see that it might take a lot to persuade us to go against those influences.”
Pons conducted the study with Harvard doctoral students Sahil Chinoy and Martin Koenen; Jacob Brown, an assistant professor at Boston University; and Enrico Cantoni, senior assistant professor at the University of Bologna in Italy.
Does moving change a person’s political beliefs?
Pons and his co-authors based their study on yearly nationwide snapshots of all registered voters from 2012 to 2021.
The researchers focused on young people who moved at least once during their formative years by correlating voter data, including party registration, with address histories. The team specifically looked at which party young people affiliated with in their first elections and compared it with the amount of time spent at their new addresses.
Pons says structuring the study as a comparison between those who moved and those who stayed was fundamental to isolating the impact of neighborhoods on political beliefs. The strategy was to measure the “extent to which a voter whose family moves to a new neighborhood during their childhood adopts a political behavior similar to their permanent-resident peers in that neighborhood,” the paper explains.
Pons and his team also examine the impact of the environment on political participation by looking at turnout data. The more that young people voted in a particular county, the more likely the newcomers were also to cast a ballot.
Environmental factors that shape party affiliation and turnout include the influence of peers and teachers, the political competitiveness of a particular county or state, and the intensity of the media coverage in the area.
Another reason the teen years are so critical
The researchers determined that growing up in a county where young voters’ peers were 10 percentage points more likely to become Republicans made them 4.7 percentage points more likely to become Republicans themselves. The effect was 4.1 percentage points for the likelihood to register as Democrats.
“The environment in which people grow up makes their future partisanship and political participation become 40 percent to 50 percent more similar to the people they grow up around,” the study states.
The depth of the data gave researchers a unique opportunity to compare political outcomes between siblings from the same family—specifically, when one sibling spends more time than another in the destination county. On average, the child who spent longer in the new county was likelier to adopt its political persuasions than the child with less exposure.
Given that the siblings shared the same mother and father, “we were able to determine that differences in their behavior cannot be explained by their parents,” Pons says.
The impact of the environment is magnified, Pons adds, when moves correspond to the adolescent years. “It’s really quite striking,” Pons explains. “What we found is that beginning at age 13, and all the years after, [environment] seemed to matter four times as much to who you become as a political actor than earlier ages in life.”
What else can we learn about voters?
Technology and data availability have created new opportunities to study voter and candidate behavior. For example, researchers can now chart timelines based on candidates’ messages to voters using websites dating back to the early 2000s.
Pons and his team intend to explore their dataset further and probe how parents shape their children’s political beliefs and the interplay of these influences.
“WE COULD USE THIS METHOD TO MEASURE THE IMPACT [OF CHILDHOOD NEIGHBORHOOD] ON BRAND ATTACHMENT.”
“Say you have Democratic parents but grew up in a Republican neighborhood. How do these factors come together?” Pons asks.
Other disciplines, such as business, can also mimic the study’s design to look at questions in their fields. “For instance,” Pons says, “we could use this method to measure the impact [of childhood neighborhood] on brand attachment.” (Harvard Business School).
Does Israel have the right to exist? What do members of the House think.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted 412-1, with one voting “present,” on Nov. 28 to reaffirm Israel’s right to exist.https://www.jns.org/on-israels-right-to-exist-massie-votes-no-tlaib-present/
(November 30, 2023 / JNS)
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.)
“The House of Representatives reaffirms the State of Israel’s right to exist, recognizes that denying Israel’s right to exist is a form of antisemitism, rejects calls for Israel’s destruction and the elimination of the only Jewish State and condemns the Hamas-led terrorist attack on Israel,” the resolution reads.
Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) cast the lone “nay,” while “Squad” member Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) voted “present.”
Among the 21—10 Democrats and 11 Republicans—who didn’t vote were Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.), a progressive “Squad” member, as well as Reps. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the former House speaker.
Rep. Mike Lawler (R-N.Y.) introduced the resolution.
“Both Israelis and Palestinians have the right to live with democracy, safety, peace and human dignity. This resolution that ignores the existence of the Palestinian people brings us no closer to peaceful coexistence,” Tlaib stated.
“Israel does not have a right to carry out illegal occupation and apartheid—which will never lead to a just and lasting peace,” she added. “Unfortunately, this resolution is a one-sided attempt to rewrite history.”
Massie wrote, “I agree with the title ‘Reaffirming the State of Israel’s Right to Exist’ and much of the language, but I’m voting ‘no’ on the resolution because it equates anti-Zionism with antisemitism. Antisemitism is deplorable, but expanding it to include criticism of Israel is not helpful.” (Jewish News Service.).
Some of us have long memories.
Kissinger called SNL once late on a Friday night looking for tix for his son. The Stones were playing that week. I told him that if it hadn’t been for the Xmas bombing, he’d have the tickets.— Al Franken (@alfranken) November 30, 2023
The holidays are really here.
Each of us has the power to bring light to the world.— President Biden (@POTUS) December 1, 2023
Merry Christmas from Washington, D.C.! pic.twitter.com/LNq4aac5ZK
The First Lady set up a 50x70 foot ice skating rink on the south lawn of the White House.
Washington, D.C.-area schoolchildren and children from families with service members, frontline workers, first responders and teachers will be invited to skate.
The National Hockey League and the NHL Players Association will provide lessons through their “Learn to Play/Learn to Skate” program, which provides first-time participants with free head-to-toe equipment, weekly sessions and coaching.
Don’t you wish you were a child in Washington!