Links for 10/23/18

by Michael Sean Winters

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I do not agree with much of this article at America by Simcha Fisher. But, I want to commend her for calling out "an astonishing bit of emotional propaganda" put out by the group I had not seen that bit and it is indeed astonishing.

At the Washington Post, E.J. Dionne on the double curse of Republican sponsored tax cuts: they explode the deficit and they increase income inequality. How is that the GOP keeps getting away with this fiscal gaslighting exercise that they started back in 1981?

Also at the Post, the Democrats' hope for a big blue wave to sweep them into control of Congress is diminishing. They may win control of the House, but by a narrower margin than imagined even this summer as the fallout from the Kavanaugh hearings and President Donald Trump's dogged campaigning have buttressed GOP support in rural districts nationwide. We have two weeks to go, and I think the Kavanaugh effect will lessen too, but the Democrats have done next to nothing to win rural districts and it was always a long shot that many of those districts would flip.

What is the one thing that can often have a greater impact on voting behavior than anger? Disillusionment. And, according to this story in the New York Times, many Latino voters are displaying more apathy than anger as they consider voting in the midterms. This could spell doom for Democratic hopes in some key swing races, especially in states like California, Nevada and Texas.

Also at the Times, Elisabeth Dias reports on some defections from the GOP among white Evangelicals, the president's most stalwart base of support. Turns out some Evangelical women in Texas are pretty fed up and are connecting the dots between their theology and their politics in ways different from the connections drawn by Falwell, Inc.

How not to analyze the church? Grady Means at The Hill shows the way. Is there anything more repulsive than a consultant whose basic diagnosis is that the organization being examined is insufficiently attuned to the insights peddled by — you guessed it — the consultant. Little historical knowledge and less theology, a lot of business and management gobbledygook: why was this published? There is a special place in purgatory for consultants.

Want to get into Harvard University? Make sure you are born to rich parents who went there and give lots of money to the school. Josh Gerstein at Politico has the story.

At Patheos, Mark Shea continues his devastating analysis of the Francis-haters. The money quote:

They have hated him for everything he says and everything he does, for any reason and every reason and no reason. There is not a thing he can do or not do that will not be a reason for them to hate his living guts. So of course they hate him for failing to be guilty of the baseless charges they insist in clinging to.

[Michael Sean Winters covers the nexus of religion and politics for NCR.]

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