Indian government announces free health-insurance to cover 500 million people.

 

India announced Thursday a program to give half a billion citizens free health insurance, a potentially transformative upgrade of the country’s dilapidated public health-care services and a key element of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government’s last budget before national elections next year. […]

Under the plan, the government will cover health-care costs of up to $7,800 for 100 million poor families and spend some $188 million to create “health and wellness” centers, Jaitley announced to loud table-thumping in India’s lower house. Spending on nutrition for tuberculosis patients, cleanliness drives and education will also result in significant improvements in public health, he said.  […]

India spends 1.4 percent of its gross domestic product on health care compared with ­China’s 3.1 percent and the United States’ 8.3 percent, according to the World Bank.— www.washingtonpost.com/…

Healthcare in India tends to be mercenary, with hospitals often refusing treatment unless patients produce large sums of cash first. So the poorest Indians often go without care. Within the Indian context, $7,800 is a huge sum, represent 4 years of income on average. A current program covers $500 of costs for poor families. This program would increase that 15 fold.

The government is asking for $500 million in its budget to build 150,000 wellness centers (WaPo botched their currency conversion).

So this is a welcome development from a decidedly right-wing government which has in general been skeptical of poverty-reduction programs. The health-care program and strong statements in favor of farm-support bills are meant to counter this perception among poorer Indians who do vote in large numbers since elections are run by a non-partisan commission and voter-suppression is rare.

The government’s funding plan is very unclear. Even with India’s extremely young population (which means lower overall need), the cost for such a program will run into the billions. The government has yet to outline how it will fund the proposal, apart from announcing a surtax that is expected to raise $1.7 Billion. A detailed budget is expected next week and should clarify this.

There are also questions about how coverage will work with the mercenary private sector, which often charges inflated prices. Then there’s the fact that India’s poorest citizens are disproportionately Muslim or from “lower” castes who have historically not supported the right-wing BJP. Implementation details will determine whether or not these communities benefit from the program.

All that said, this does pose a question for us in the US. India has a far larger population, and is far, far poorer. If the decidedly right-wing government in India can propose such an ambitious health-care program, why do only half of our Democratic representatives and only a third of Democratic senators support Medicare For All?

subirgrewal | Cross-posted at NotMeUs.org & TheProgressiveWing.com

The shit-head in the White House and his enablers.

This is a long diary with many threads to it, buckle up.

I’m a first-generation immigrant. So, who and what Donald Trump is came as no surprise. I knew he was a racist hate-monger when I first learned about his role in the Central Park Five case. We knew he was a shitty human when we learned he’d used his baby nephew’s healthcare as a bargaining chip over an inheritance. We’ve known he was a white nationalist from the moment he gave his campaign’s first speech and chose to denigrate my brown-skinned immigrant brothers rapists and criminals. We had it confirmed when he denigrated Khizr Khan and when the White House instituted its Muslim ban. We all knew. Because we’ve all encountered people who see us as dirty interlopers from shit-hole countries. Donald Trump is the ugly American most immigrants know too well.

And you know what, perhaps we’re the shitty country. We are the richest nation in the world, and yet we have school-children trading sexual favors for food. Purely because we have so many shit-heads like Trump among us.

It is also important to say this. Trump is not the source of the problem. His party, and his White House are littered with extremist white nationalist. The names are familiar to us by now. Jeff Sessions, Stephen Miller, John Kelly within the west wing. And there are people like Steve Bannon and the Nazi-sympathizer Sebastian Gorka who were removed from it. Within the broader Republican party, the white nationalist faction is represented by rising stars like Tom Cotton, and old bigots like Steve King and Joe Arpaio.

But let’s set aside the terrible politics and racism of the GOP for a minute. We  still have to contend with the fact that the US, regardless of which party is in power, has been a force of ill when it comes to foreign policy, especially if you’re a small, poor, non-white nation. We’ve overthrown democratically elected governments, foisted corporate plunderers, outright colonized and stripped several countries for resources (including kidnapping humans to steal their bodies and labor and enslavement). Trump and much of the GOP have always been a part of this dynamic. Recall, Trump said “we should take their oil”. That was shocking, but not as shocking as the fact that Bush and Cheney actually did it. We have a long history of rapaciousness towards smaller countries and weaker peoples. Nothing exemplifies this terror better than Haiti. Haitians are still, in many ways, paying the price for overthrowing their French slave-masters and becoming the first country in the western hemisphere to emancipate its indigenous and enslaved population. If you don’t know much about this, here’s a good thread:

And another one.

I’m deeply disappointed in several first and second-generation immigrants who have chosen to be part of this shitty administration and enable its hateful agenda.

I’m going to pick on the Indian-Americans, because, well they’re my people and it’s the deepest cut. Though of course it is expected. Lots of immigrants are racist. I’ve heard terrible anti-black, racist and even xenophobic (go figure!) comments from immigrants. Some of it stopped after Obama ran and won, to many the Obamas became the face of black America and changed a few minds.

Where does this all this hate and fear of the other come from? Well, right-wing, nationalist shit-heads exist everywhere. The Indian government is run by an extremist Hindu-nationalist, right-wing party that routinely stokes ethnic and religious strife. Not surprisingly, Trump and Modi have a warm relationship based on their anti-Muslim policies and ethno-nationalist politics.

So we should not be surprised that several Indian-Americans would ally with a jingoist, racist, extremist party in the US. But it is still annoying, so I’m going to call these shit-heads out and encourage you to as well.

So all these shit-heads who are only here because the LBJ administration was able to overcome hundreds of years of violent exploitation and white nationalism to pass Civil Rights bills, are now working for and furthering the agenda of a nakedly white nationalist administration. Dumb and self-destructive does not begin to describe these fools.

Now, I want to end with something positive. So first, there is positive news. Indian-Americans are also helping combat Trump’s policies. Lawyers like Neal Katyal, who has been helping argue against the Trump administration’s Muslim ban and Preet Bharara. Politicians like Pramila Jayapal, Raja Krishnamoorthi and Kamala Harris (her mom’s Indian).

I also want to highlight immigrant-activist and Trinidadian-American (of partly Indian heritage) Ravi Ragbir, who has been detained by ICE. Incidentally, call ICE and tell them to release Ravi:

There are mass protests to secure his release:

And don’t let the NYPD get away with choking protesters:

Finally, I want to end on a note about how we get ourselves and this country out of this mess. And for that, I’m going to turn it over to Ben Jealous to put all this in historical context, and tell you what framing we should consider using.

Americans might look at the starting point of race in America through the prism of Roots or 12 Years a Slave, Jealous says, but he goes back to a 1663 revolt in the Virginia Tidewater community of Gloucester. What made the Gloucester County rebellion unique was that it was not a slave rebellion in a traditional sense—it was an alliance of enslaved Africans and Irish and English indentured servants. The casus belli was an edict that stipulated that their current status (that is, as enslaved or indentured) “shall convey to your children.”

“As Americans from the very beginning, so long as we could hope that our children could be better off than us, we were willing to endure a lot—but the moment that it became clear that we were locked out from the American Dream, we would rebel together,” [Ben] Jealous said.

“And this is one of those moments.”  — www.motherjones.com/…

— @subirgrewal

Israel bans Code Pink and Jewish Voice for Peace from entering country while NYT forgets Gaza exists

The New York Times’ Jerusalem bureau chief, David Halbfinger has a lengthy article about how recent Trump administration and Israeli actions have led Palestinians to more seriously consider changing their position to advocate for a single state with equal rights for all. It’s titled: As a 2-State Solution Loses Steam, a 1-State Plan Gains Traction:

The Israeli right, emboldened by President Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, is not the only faction arguing for a single state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.

The Palestine Liberation Organization has also begun to ask whether that might not be such a bad idea, though it has a radically different view of what that state would look like. — www.nytimes.com/…

The NYT is being rather coy when it says the Israeli view is “radically different”. As the article itself explains later, “radically different” actually means a system of Jim Crow or Apartheid:

“I would never give citizenship to the masses of the Arab population in Judea and Samaria,” said Yoav Kisch, a member of Parliament from Mr. Netanyahu’s party who is advancing one autonomy plan, using the biblical names for the West Bank.

A far bigger problem with the article is that the Jerusalem bureau chief for the New York Times seems to have forgotten Gaza exists. Oh sure, he does manage to insert the Israeli talking point that the West Bank result in “rockets raining down on Ben-Gurion airport”. But apart from that, the 1.8 million Palestinians who live in Gaza have been completely erased. It’s like they don’t exist.

The debate in the NYT about a one-state solution is framed by the Israeli narrative. The Israeli right wants the West Bank and Jerusalem. They figure they can trim the population over time with expulsions, and many dream of slowly forcing Palestinians out of their ancestral homeland to Jordan.

The thing is, if you add the 1.8 million people in Gaza, then you have just about as many Palestinian Muslims and Christians as you have Jewish persons within the country. This is unacceptable to mainstream Israeli parties because they cannot envision a day when they may have to share power with Palestinians. To an American reader, these views should recall the way in which white supremacists in the South fought against the realization of political power by formerly enslaved black populations during reconstruction. Or how settler colonists in the US dispossessed the indigenous population. The arguments and motives of the Israeli right are also comparable to those of white nationalists like Trump, Bannon, Sessions and Miller who want to establish an white ethno-state in the US.

Halbfinger either suffers from Stockholm syndrome, or has completely internalized the view that a single political entity, with equal rights for all, would be an apocalyptic result. He ends the article with a quote that compares a one-state eventuality to driving off a cliff.

What does the NYT find so frighteningly offensive about a country where all have equal rights? And how does the NYT get away with simply ignoring 1.8 million people? Has the Jerusalem bureau chief of the NYT forgotten that the Gaza based Hamas government and the Ramallah based Fatah/PLO government signed a unity agreement last year? Though there still appears to be some squabbling,  Gaza and the West Bank are now being governed by a joint government in some respects.

Yet, the NYT article seems oblivious to all this. The article claims to describe a shift in Palestinian negotiating positions, from a two-state demand to a realization that one-state with equal rights may be the only feasible option now. Incidentally the original Palestinian proposal was for a single secular state.

The thing is, no one has ever seen a Palestinian proposal that accepts a division of Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Palestinians have, despite all the international and Israeli pressures to divide them, insisted they are one people. But the NYT simply ignores Gaza. This incidentally, is exactly what the Israeli right desires. And the NYT is happy to oblige them.

Meanwhile, the Israeli government announced that certain Jewish persons are no longer welcome in Israel.

The left-wing organization Jewish Voice for Peace has been placed on a BDS blacklist being compiled by Israel, the Strategic Affairs Ministry confirmed on Saturday, following a report by the Israel Television News Company.

The ministry has been compiling a list of 20 organizations whose members will not be allowed to enter Israel due to their support for the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement against Israel. The ministry has refused to name the other organizations that are on the list.
— www.haaretz.com/…

Code Pink is also going to be given the same treatment that many

Members of 20 international organizations that promote a boycott campaign of Israel, many of them affiliated with the BDS movement, will be banned from entering the country, according to a list published Sunday by the Ministry of Strategic Affairs.

The list was created after Israel’s parliament in March approved legislation that would deny entry visas to foreign nationals who publicly back or call for any kind of boycott — economic, cultural or academic — of Israel or its West Bank settlements. […]

Among those featured on the list are six U.S. organizations, including two run by Jewish activists — Jewish Voice for Peace and Code Pink.  — www.washingtonpost.com/…

The other U.S. groups on the list are: American Friends Service Committee; American Muslims for Palestine, Code Pink, National Students for Justice in Palestine; and the U.S. Campaign for Palestinian Rights.

European groups on the list include BDS France; BDS Italy; War on Want; Friends of Al-Aksa; The European Coordination of Committees and Associations for Palestine; and Ireland Palestine Solidarity Campaign. The BDS National Committee; BDS Chile; and BDS South Africa also are on the list. — forward.com/…

And in other news, the Israeli military continues to prosecute a 15 year old girl, Ahed Tamimi, in a military court, for slapping a soldier. The soldier had shot her cousin earlier in the day in the head with a rubber bullet.

Stateside, n NYC, Code Pink and JVP participated in a protest at Grand Central against Israel’s military detentions of hundreds of children.

While Ahed is in military custody, an Israeli soldier shot and killed another distant cousin of Ahed’s:

Israeli forces have shot dead a Palestinian teen on the northern outskirts of the occupied West Bank town of Ramallah, according to Palestinian officials.

The Palestinian health ministry identified the 17-year-old boy as Musab Firas al-Tamimi from the village of Deir Nitham, where Wednesday’s shooting took place. — www.aljazeera.com/…

The soldier claimed the boy had a gun, but no weapon appears to have been recovered. At this point, it is fair to consider this as credible as a claim that he was“reaching for his waistband”. The pattern of IDF violence inflicted on Palestinians explains why BLM has voiced strong support for Palestinian liberation movements.

— @subirgrewal

Let’s not forget what the GOP and its donors tolerated from Steve Bannon.

So, Steve Bannon is finally unwelcome within the Republican party. The President has given Bannon the treatment he reserves only for the worst offenders, claiming he had nothing much to do with the campaign. Next up, I expect to hear that Bannon’s primary task in the White House was pouring coffee.

Though, I of course share your glee at the downfall of an odious man, my relief is tempered by the knowledge of what it took for the Republican party and this White House to break decisively with Bannon.

Bannon and his media outlet Breitbart have been trafficking in racism and xenophobia for years. This was completely acceptable, even applauded by most in the Republican party.

Bannon and his allies (including the president) have never been shy about their goal, which is to Make America White Again. It is why they have targeted all forms of immigration. Most Trump policies are directly related to stopping brown/black/poor people from exercising their political rights.

The Republican party and its donors did not bat an eyelid at this.

Steve Bannon supported an accused child molester in the Alabama senate race. After some initial queasiness, national Republicans closed ranks around Bannon to “protect the seat”. Their thirst for power and lucre barely treated a child-molester as a speed-bump.

So what was finally so terrible that the GOP and its donor class have turned away from Bannon? It wasn’t his racism, or his white nationalism, or his advocacy for a child molester.

No, Bannon’s unforgivable sin was failing to demonstrate loyalty to the current power structure of the  Republican party. He threatened the party’s agenda and its goal to create a permanent privileged aristocratic class in the US.

For that gravest of sins, Bannon was finally driven out of the GOP tent. This was done in a coordinated fashion, by both Republican politicians and donors who have funded and supported his racist, white supremacist agenda for years.

The Mercers, of course, are in the hedge fund business, and it appears they’ve been distancing themselves from Bannon ever since the tax-bill debate started and Bannon came out in favor of higher taxes on the wealthy and revoking the carried interest provision.

In the end, that’s what it’s all about, creating a new aristocracy behind gated estates, and relegating the rest of the country to the status of serfs.

So while we are hopeful to have seen the last of Steve Bannon and his unkempt visage, let’s not forget that the White House and much of the Republican party is still fully stocked with white supremacists and their allies. It starts with Donald Trump, but also includes Jeff Sessions, Steve MillerJohn Kelly, and dozens of Republican senators and representatives.

Let’s resolve to rid ourselves of the whole lot.

Let’s go out and organize people and help them register to vote.

Let’ go out and volunteer for a campaign in 2018.

And for the country’s sake, let’s get out and vote.

— @subirgrewal 

 

Ever wondered what America looked like heading into the Great Depression?

Have you ever wondered what America felt like on the eve of the Great Depression?

I don’t know for certain, but I can guess that we had wealthy heiresses who dabbled in fashion pontificating on politics, based on what they’d learned at society dinners and maybe some tortured conversations with the servant-class surrounding them.

Kinda like this society heiress here:

The heiress here is calling the GOPTaxScam a “middle class tax cut”. So does the president and the entire Republican caucus. Isn’t it strange though, that when HuffPo asked 18 Republican house members what the tax rates for the middle class are going to be after the bill is enacted, 17 of them had no idea. Strangely, many of them could rattle off the new tax rate for the top earners and corporations. Could it be that the Republicans have been lying about a “middle class tax cut” and this is in fact a Tax Scam to benefit their donor-owners?

To be clear, we were just looking for seven figures: 10 percent, 12 percent, 22 percent, 24 percent, 32 percent, 35 percent and 37 percent. We were not looking for congressional representatives to display some savant-like ability and provide the income thresholds for each bracket. We just wanted to see if Republicans knew this one simple element of a bill they were rushing into law.

They didn’t.

Among the GOP lawmakers who were shaky on those specifics were members of the tax-writing House Ways and Means Committee, the chairwoman of the House Budget Committee (Rep. Diane Black of Tennessee) and the lead author of the bill in the House (Ways and Means Chairman Kevin Brady of Texas).

House Republicans told us, time and again, that they were “very familiar” with the details of this legislation. When we suggested they didn’t have much time to read the final legislation after it was released Friday night, they said they had plenty of time. “We’ve had several weeks! I read it on the plane two weeks in a row!” Rep. Jeff Denham (R-Calif.) told HuffPost.  — www.huffingtonpost.com/…

Guess Brady’s cluelessness shouldn’t come as a surprise since the “lead author” didn’t actually write the bill, that was the job of 6,000 lobbyists on K Street. My uneducated guess is that the “middle-class” doesn’t employ all those lobbyists?

While the Republicans are huddling with thousands of lobbyists for the richest people and corporations in America, something else has been brewing. Income inequality remains at levels not seen since the 1930s.

Share-of-total-us-income-1913-2015-1.png

Just as in the late 20s and early 30s, average Americans were under no misconceptions about the Republican party’s priorities: a compliant workforce paid starvation wages, weak/non-existent unions, and a relentless attack on benefits for the poor and infirm.

Here’s another thing about the 1930s, they involved a great debate on what the role of the state was in ensuring workers had some level of security, in old age, and during their careers. We saw enormous protections for working-class Americans enacted under the New Deal. The Republicans have relentlessly attacked these programs for decades, and they continue that assault, hoping to create a fiscal crisis that allows them to privatize or kill social security, and undermine Medicare/Medicaid.

The 1930s also saw a series of man-made environmental disasters befall the US in the form of the dust bowl. We are almost certainly beginning to see the impacts of man-made climate change. The 1930s were also part of an enormous shift in the US labor force, from farms to industry. This created new forms of insecurity for workers, unions fought to deliver security to workers. A similar shift is underway today, as traditional jobs covered by worker protections that were hard-fought, are being replaced by contracting work. Incidentally, the GOP Tax Scam creates incentives for workers to work on contracts, a mode of employment corporations find especially lucrative.

So on the eve of the Great Depression, America faced many of the same tensions we do today. They came to a head with the Great Depression. In response, FDR and Democrats were ready with a political platform for the times, highlighting the contrast between the lives and prospects of the rich and poor in America. Americans responded to FDR’s message like a duck takes to water. They made him president by a landslide (472 out of 531 electoral votes). By 1934, Democrats controlled 69 seats in the Senate, to Republicans’ 25. Democrats held 322 seats in the House, to the Republicans 103.

If we can produce the right platform, we can win similar electoral and legislative victories. It sounds fantastical, but prior to 1932, Republicans had controlled the Senate for 32 years out of 38. After 1932, Democrats would control the Senate for 58 of the next 62 years.

So a sea change is possible and we have the conditions to make it happen. Ordinary Americans know they’re getting a raw deal. We know income inequality is at unsustainable levels. We know the Republican Tax Scam is a massive give-away to billionaire heirs and heiresses with scraps left for the middle-class. Scraps that will be more than taken away when Republicans try to gut Social Security and Medicare next year as they’ve already said they will want to do.

The ground is set, if Democrats can deliver a convincing message, as FDR did, massive electoral victories are possible. On that note, the thread below discusses what is going on with polls in individual House races.

— @subirgrewal

Elected Democrats continue to misunderstand the conflict they’re in.

Virginia’s Democratic governor-elect won by 9 points in an election where he campaigned heavily on expanding Medicaid. The election saw enormous efforts expended by the Democratic grassroots. Now that Northam has won, he’s having some second thoughts.

Outgoing Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) tried every year to push the legislature to accept millions in federal money to expand the health program to hundreds of thousands of low-income Virginians. Northam campaigned heavily on the promise of getting more Virginians access to health care.

He said Friday that he remains committed to that pledge, but that he must be careful about obligating the state to escalating costs. Under the program, the federal government pays the lion’s share in the early years but the state contribution gradually increases. “Medicaid is growing in Virginia by 5 to 7 percent, in that ballpark, every year,” he said. — www.washingtonpost.com/…

In his interview Northam also suggests he wants to have Medicaid recipients work as a condition of receiving benefits. Then “eyes lit up” and he spent several minutes telling WaPo about his classic car collection and hosting classic car shows.

“We’ve also had discussions with the Richmond Raceway to bring one of my cars out there and do like an exhibit,” he said. The point would be to show that he was able to do the restoration because he learned the skills in school, “and to really interest or excite children that there’s a future in those things,” he said. — www.washingtonpost.com/…

Let me say this publicly to Ralph Northam from the bottom of my heart.

You can take your classic cars and stick them where the sun doesn’t shine.

You were elected, by Democrats to make their lives better.

Get your head out of your ass.

Stop mentally polishing the bipartisanship trophy you believe you’re going to win, and start working for the people who put you in office.

Perhaps Democrats should chosen someone who “eyes light up” when they talk about making the lives of the poor and oppressed better, rather than when they talk about polishing an 1971 Corvette.

Maybe a few Democratic activists should walk over to Northam’s office and remind him that while he’s mapping out how exactly he’ll be“reaching across the aisle” and be “fiscally responsible”, the Republican party is about to deliver a $1.5 Trillion unfunded tax cut to their owners. Then, next year, they plan to use the same “fiscal responsibility” excuse to gut social security, Medicare, Medicaid and as much of the New Deal as they can.

They’re doing all this though the President lost by 3 million votes. Northam is, rightfully, already seeing some backlash:

Brian Fallon, is by the way, the former spokesperson for Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer.

It’s tough to believe, but we have even more politically insane statements being made by the Democratic senator from West Virginia.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said early Monday that he won’t call for an investigation into President Trump over sexual misconduct allegations, adding that he has “moved on.”

“I’m not going to make that determination because he went through an election process,” Manchin told CNN’s “New Day” when asked if the president should be investigated. — thehill.com/…

Manchin is absolutely wrong, and a few of his Democratic colleagues should pull him aside and show him the light. Trump needs to be investigated, by Congress, for the sexual harassment allegations, and for the stream of statements emanating from official White House spokespersons that have sough to brand his victims as liars.

This needs to be done because there is an active disinformation campaign against victims of sexual assault and harassment who have come forward to accuse Republicans. Here’s Laura Ingraham leading the charge, assisted by a random Twitter bot, implying the victims who stepped forward were paid.

Talk to a rank and file Republican,  or look at the exit polls from Alabama, and what you’ll see is a steady stream of false claims that victims are “being paid” and “lying”. The unconditional surrender Manchin is advocating will simply fuel these false claims.

— @subirgrewal

Is this graphic really all we need to know about American or Alabama politics?

Like many of you, I initially despaired when reading exit poll results from the Alabama senate election. It seemed unbelievable that over 63% of white women would vote for a man who was credibly accused of molesting young girls. My first reaction was, “we won this by a hair-breadth, but we have a lot of work to do”.

Then I realized that this not the whole story:

So white non-evangelical women went for Jones by 53%, that is a landslide. It suggests that Moore’s base (and Trump’s) is actually much narrower than some would have you believe.

I do want to note that the racial breakdown of the exit polls has been misread by many to suggest Democrats do not need white voters, or should ignore them. Far from it, there is no way we can be successful without white voters. Whatever you think the demographic destiny of this country might be, we cannot win elections solely as the party of minorities. Here’s why:

figure03.png

Over 73% of the 2016 electorate identified as “white, non-Hispanic”. Let’s set aside, for a moment, the fact that many Hispanic citizens would consider themselves to be white. What Donald Trump recognized and capitalized on, early and often, is the fact that it didn’t matter if he lost 3% of the non-white vote, all he needed was to improve turnout among white voters by 1% to make up for that loss.

I am going to stop here, because I’ve been doing something I actually hate, which is discussing “race” as if it were a real, rather than an imagined construct. But that is the world we live in.

Also noteworthy in the census figure is the fact that the share of white voters hardly moved from 2012 (73.7%) to 2016 (73.3%). This is partly down to Obama not being on the ticket. Whatever our demographic destiny may be, like all demographic changes, it will take a while to get there. So no, we cannot win purely as a party for racial minorities, and anyone who tells you that is being foolish.

I would go even further, and say we should not win elections if we are not run as as a broad based party that seeks to represent all Americas. If we do not stand for equality and equal representation, then we’ve betrayed our principles.

Obama recognized these facts, which is why he went to significant pains to emphasize his universal message (remember “there is no red or blue America…”).

Every part of our coalition is important, and that includes white people. And in fact, white non-evangelicals, even in Alabama, voted for Doug Jones, by enormous margins.

The same is true for the 2016 election. When you look at the exit poll results by race, Donald Trump won white voters 58-37:

Screenshot_from_2017-12-15_10-38-45.png

But his margin was enormous among white evangelicals, who were estimated to be 26% of the overall electorate in the exit polls.

Screenshot_from_2017-12-15_10-48-07.png

If you take out white evangelicals, Hillary Clinton won white voters by 5% (49.5-44.4).

It is important to recognize this fact, first because some have begun to doubt whether the left has a universal appeal. But also because it’s not smart politics to ignore the fact that we are winning  majorities among most white people (evangelicals are 36% of the white vote).

But here’s the really positive new, there are some signs of hope for us, even among the group that you may think Trump/Moore have an absolute lock on.

Many evangelicals recognize the madness among their congregations that Trump and now Moore have exposed. In an important article about the role the evangelical movement played in Roy Moore’s campaign, WaPo reported that younger evangelicals turned away from Moore somewhat, as they did from Trump.

Many evangelicals recognize the madness among their congregations that Trump and now Moore have exposed. In an important article about the role the evangelical movement played in Roy Moore’s campaign, WaPo reported that younger evangelicals turned away from Moore, as they had from Trump.

Some evangelicals fear the high support for Moore and Trump among white evangelicals exposes something deeper about the religious group that seems to vote predictably with the GOP. Political partisanship and a disdain for outsiders have become unifying driving factors for white evangelicals instead of the gospel of Jesus Christ, said Birmingham-based Collin Hansen, editorial director for the Gospel Coalition, a network popular among conservative evangelicals.

“You could preach almost any Trinitarian heresy and not one person is going to notice it,” Hansen said. “If you touch on the political things on things they care about like gun control or racism, they’ll have your head.”

Recent political changes, Hansen said, have exposed “the moral and theological rot” in the evangelical church. “There will not be a coherent evangelical movement to emerge from this political season,” Hansen said.

www.washingtonpost.com/…

So there are some signs of hope, even among the group that you may think Trump/Moore/Republicans have an absolute lock on.

The New York Times also covered the growing angst among evangelical leaders over the politicians so many evangelical Christians have chosen to tie themselves to:

“It grieves me,” said Ed Stetzer, executive director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College, a prominent evangelical school in Illinois. “I don’t want ‘evangelical’ to mean people who supported candidates with significant and credible accusations against them. If evangelical means that, it has serious ramifications for the work of Christians and churches.” […]

Jemar Tisby, president of “The Witness, a black Christian collective,” a faith-based media company that provides commentary on race, religion and culture, said in an interview that while Mr. Trump was running, “we were saying, this man is promoting bigotry, white supremacists find an ally in him and this is going to be bad for us. And not only did they vote for him, they voted for him in slightly higher numbers than they did for Mitt Romney. It was a sense of betrayal.” […]

“We’ve let evil overtake the entire reputation of Evangelicalism,” one prominent evangelical author, Beth Moore, wrote on Twitter the day before the election. “The lust for power is nauseating. Racism, appalling. The arrogance, terrifying. The misogyny so far from Christlikeness, it can’t be Christianity.”

— www.nytimes.com/…

The editor-in-chief of Christianity Today, Mark Galli, did not mince words about the impact Trump and Moore have had on the reputation of evangelicals:

No matter the outcome of today’s special election in Alabama for a coveted US Senate seat, there is already one loser: Christian faith. When it comes to either matters of life and death or personal commitments of the human heart, no one will believe a word we say, perhaps for a generation. Christianity’s integrity is severely tarnished. […]

As recently as 2011, PRRI found that only 30 percent of white evangelicals believed “an elected official who commits an immoral act in their personal life can still behave ethically and fulfill their duties in their public and professional life.” But by late 2016, when Donald Trump was running for president, that number had risen sharply to 72 percent—the biggest shift of any US religious group. […]

Apparently yes. This is precisely why, when serious and substantial allegations of sexual abuse of minors were made against Roy Moore, many doubled down on their support for him. Within days of this news story in The Washington Post, polls indicated that not only would 57 percent of evangelicals continue to support him, another 37 percent said they were now more likely to vote for him. […]

What events of the last year and a half have shown once again is that when Christians immerse themselves in politics as Christians, for what they determine are Christian causes, touting their version of biblical morality in the public square—they will sooner or later (and often sooner) begin to compromise the very principles they champion and do so to such a degree that it blemishes the very faith they are most anxious to promote. […] No wonder few believe much of anything we say anymore.  — www.christianitytoday.com/…

Perhaps what is most important in Galli’s editorial is this line:

The gap between rich and poor, the number of abortions and fatherless children, the steady rise of drug addiction, the increasing sympathy with euthanasia—these are but a few indicators that something is deeply wrong.

There are a number of things we will disagree with, but we could conceivably make common cause on the one Galli places first, “the gap between rich and poor”.  We may not be able to persuade all evangelicals, but we may persuade some.

And before you jump up and say that’s not worth doing, remember this:

“[Moore] lost because so many evangelicals didn’t show up,” Mohler told CNN anchor Don Lemon. “That’s the big story … what didn’t happen. You didn’t have any major pastors or evangelical leaders [in Alabama], not a single one, willing to support Roy Moore.

“Given the percentage of evangelicals in Alabama, it’s inconceivable that a candidate supported by them could lose,” the president of Southern Baptist Theological Seminary continued. “They would not and could not vote for a pro-abortion candidate, and they would not and could not vote for Roy Moore.” (The Post examined why.) […]

While the exit polls don’t publicly release breakouts for blacks by religious affiliation or church attendance, LifeWay Research recently found that black Americans are almost three times more likely than white Americans to hold evangelical beliefs (30% vs. 13%), and twice as likely to self-identify as “born again” (49% vs. 27%). (At Ed Stetzer’s CT blog, the managing director of the Billy Graham Center makes the case for “how black women saved evangelicalism.”) — www.christianitytoday.com/…

— @subirgrewal | Cross-posted at NotMeUs.org and TheProgressiveWing.com