In Florida, a new state House and Senate have elected new leaders and are getting ready to start a new session after the holidays.

The organizational session, the holidays, and the death of the Conservative Democrat across the nation had an interesting question emailed to us this week : “How many, if any, Christians are left in Florida’s Democratic party?”

That piqued our interest, so we started looking.

Methodology

  • Downloaded the names of Democratic elected members to the FL 114th Congressional Delegation and FL Legislature.
  • Visited each members’ official websites, noting the religious affiliation. If no official website, searched campaign sites and press clippings.
  • Inferred race by caucus affiliation and political activity when appropriate.
  • Avoiding any misunderstanding, Seventh-Day Adventist was coded as Christian.
  • Avoiding any misunderstanding, any  member not declaring a religious affiliation was NOT coded as Christian.

Results

64 total elected Democratic officials include in this review.  The break down of that number is as follows:

  • There are no current state-wide elected Democrat officials.  (0/4 = 0%)
  • There is 1 federally state-wide elected Democrat (1/2=50%)
  • There are 7 elected Democratic Members of Congress in the newly elected House of Representatives. (11/27 = 40.7%)
  • There are 52 elected Democratic members to the Florida House and Senate. (52/160 = 32.5%)
    • 38 reside in the Florida House (38/120=31.66%)
    • 14 reside in the Florida Senate. (14/40= 35%)
  • 33 of the 64 (52%) elected Democrats are minorities (28 African Americans, 5 Hispanic)

You can view and download the entire data set at the end of this post.   (Please direct any corrections to OzeanMedia)

Religion in America

Using the non-partisan, Pew Research and the Religious Landscape Study described by Pew as:

  An extensive new survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life details statistics on religion in America and explores the shifts taking place in the U.S. religious landscape. Based on interviews with more than 35,000 Americans age 18 and older, the U.S. Religious Landscape Survey finds that religious affiliation in the U.S. is both very diverse and extremely fluid.

major_religious_traditions

 

78.4% of Americans consider themselves Christian – that is kind of a big number.

The political science literature is littered with notes of religious intensity and voting behavior.

As Pew shows us, while the over-all religious situation in America is somewhat ‘fluid’, America remains a Christian dominated country.

Religion, Race and the Democrat Party

“How many, if any, Christians are left in Florida’s Democratic party?”

The answer:  Out of the entire 64 total Democratic officials, 41 (64%) declare themselves Christian, but as Corso says, “BUT NOT SO FAST MY FRIEND, there’s more.”

If we go a step closer and consider race, we find some interesting information and observe the real fault line in Florida’s Democrat Party.

Florida Democrats – Religion by Race – percentage

Group % of Democrats Number of Democrats
AA, Christian 36% 23
White, Jewish 23% 15
White, Christians 20% 13
Hispanic, Christians 8% 4

 

Florida Democrats – Religion by Race – detail

Race
Religion AA Hispanic White Grand Total
African Methodist Episcopal 2 0 0 2
Baptist 12 0 1 13
Catholic 0 3 6 9
Christian 3 1 1 5
Episcopal 4 1 3 8
Jewish 0 0 15 15
Methodist 1 0 1 2
none listed 5 0 3 8
Presbyterian 0 0 1 1
Seventh-Day Adventist 1 0 0 1
Grand Total 28 5 31 64

Florida Christian Democrats by Religion, race=white

Chamber Member District Religious Affiliation
Congress Graham, Gwen 2 Episcopal
Congress Castor, Kathy 14 Presbyterian
Congress Murphy, Patrick 18 Catholic
Senate Nelson, Bill USSEN Episcopal
FLHOUSE Jenne, Evan 99 Episcopal
FLHOUSE Jacobs, Kristin 96 Methodist
FLHOUSE Dwight, Dudley 68 Catholic
FLHOUSE Murphy, Amanda 36 Christian
FLHOUSE Rehwinkel Vasilinda, Michelle 9 Catholic
FLSEN Sachs, Maria Lorts 34 Catholic
FLSEN Abruzzo, Joseph 25 Catholic
FLSEN Soto, Darren 14 Catholic
FLSEN Montford, Bill 3 Baptist

Ramifications

I realize this blog post is mixing race and religion (yes, I am fun at the Holidays), but race and religion almost have to be talked about together at this point because they are so intertwined.

It is true that we can find little information as to the true base rate of Florida’s Christians/Jews among Party, and a valid point can be made as to this is nothing more than a reflection of redistricting.dem-rel

No one is going to lament that the white Christian viewpoint is underrepresented in Florida; it isn’t.

However, it appears that the white Christian viewpoint is underrepresented in Florida’s Democratic party.

According to a Washington Post article written in 2012, The Politics of Race and Religion in Two Pie Charts, 35% of white Democrat voters in 2012 considered themselves Christian – that is 15% different than Florida’s Democratic delegation of elected officials.  Even accounting for Florida’s increased Jewish population, this still remains a stark difference.

This under-representation makes one consider the long-term ramifications, if any, for Florida Democrats and the Democratic party.

We can observe the Democrats starting to question the current state of affairs in Jason Zengerle’s provocative piece for the New Republic, The Death of the Southern White Democrat Hurts African-Americans the Most and the current redistricting court case in Florida.

  • If African American lawmakers are elected from minority-majority districts, is there little to no incentive to reach beyond their districts’ constituents?
  • Do members elected from minority-majority seats even have a responsibility to reach past their districts’ constituents?
  • Do African American lawmakers – who now outnumber white lawmakers in the State House – find themselves increasingly isolated?
  • Do White, Christian Democrats find themselves increasingly isolated?
  • Does this 20% (White, Christians) indicate the major weakness in Florida’s Democrats bench?
  • Do Democrats remember how to talk with white Christians?  Do they care to?
  • Even with Florida’s changing Demographics and with Florida & America becoming less white, can Florida Democrats win statewide if they don’t know how to talk with white Christians?
  • Have we created a complete segregation of the political system?
  • Is this a whole lot to do about nothing?

The biggest question of all:

  • Is the Democratic Party counting on the courts to do for them in the redistricting process what they know politically they can’t do themselves- move away from minority-majority districts?

 DATA

Download csv file

ChamberMemberDistrictReligious AffiliationRaceSexofficial website
CongressHastings, Alcee20African Methodist EpiscopalAAMhttp://alceehastings.house.gov/
FLSENJoyner, Arthenia L.19African Methodist EpiscopalAAFhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s19
CongressBrown, Corrine5BaptistAAFhttp://corrinebrown.house.gov/
FLHOUSEWilliams, Alan B.8BaptistAAMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4437&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEJones, Mia14BaptistAAFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4440&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEWatson, Jr., Clovis20BaptistAAMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4541&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEBracy, Randolf45BaptistAAMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4548&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEPritchett, Sharon82BaptistAAFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4561&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSELee, Jr., Larry84BaptistAAMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4576&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEDuBose, Bobby94BaptistAAMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4612&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEStafford, Cynthia A.109BaptistAAFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4523&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEMcGhee, Kionne L.117BaptistAAMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4555&LegislativeTermId=86
FLSENMontford, Bill3BaptistWhiteMhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s3
FLSENThompson, Geraldine F. "Geri"12BaptistAAFhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s12
FLSENSmith, Christopher L.31BaptistAAMhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s31
CongressMurphy, Patrick18CatholicWhiteMhttp://patrickmurphy.house.gov/
CongressCurbelo, Carlos26CatholicHispanicMhttp://www.carloscurbelo.com/
FLHOUSERehwinkel Vasilinda, Michelle9CatholicWhiteFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4464&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSECruz, Janet62CatholicHispanicFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4477&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEDwight, Dudley68CatholicWhiteMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4570&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSERodríguez, José Javier112CatholicHispanicMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4563&LegislativeTermId=86
FLSENSoto, Darren14CatholicWhiteMhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s14
FLSENAbruzzo, Joseph25CatholicWhiteMhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s25
FLSENSachs, Maria Lorts34CatholicWhiteFhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s34
FLHOUSEMurphy, Amanda36ChristianWhiteFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4596&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSECortes, John43ChristianHispanicMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4605&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSENarain, Edwin61ChristianAAMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4608&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSERogers, Hazelle P. "Hazel"95ChristianAAFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4434&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEJones, Shevrin D. "Shev"101ChristianAAMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4559&LegislativeTermId=86
CongressGraham, Gwen2EpiscopalWhiteFhttps://www.gwengraham.com/
CongressWilson, Frederic24EpiscopalAAFhttp://wilson.house.gov/
USSENNelson, BillUSSENEpiscopalWhiteMhttp://www.billnelson.senate.gov/
FLHOUSETorres, Jr., Victor Manuel "Vic"48EpiscopalHispanicMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4538&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEClarke-Reed, Gwyndolen "Gwyn"92EpiscopalAAFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4432&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEJenne, Evan99EpiscopalWhiteMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4365&LegislativeTermId=86
FLSENBraynon, Oscar , II36EpiscopalAAMhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s36
FLSENBullard, Dwight39EpiscopalAAMhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s39
CongressGrayson, Alan9JewishWhiteMhttp://grayson.house.gov/
CongressDuetch, Ted21JewishWhiteMhttp://teddeutch.house.gov/
CongressFrankel, Lois22JewishWhiteFhttp://frankel.house.gov/
CongressWasserman-Schultz, Debbie23JewishWhiteFhttp://wassermanschultz.house.gov/
FLHOUSERader, Kevin81JewishWhiteMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4431&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEPafford, Mark86JewishWhiteMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4435&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEBerman, Lori90JewishWhiteFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4517&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSESlosberg, Irving "Irv"91JewishWhiteMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4232&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEMoskowitz, Jared Evan97JewishWhiteMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4560&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEEdwards, Katie98JewishWhiteFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4566&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEGeller, Joseph100JewishWhiteMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4614&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEStark, Richard104JewishWhiteMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4557&LegislativeTermId=86
FLSENRing, Jeremy29JewishWhiteMhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s29
FLSENSobel, Eleanor33JewishWhiteFhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s33
FLSENMargolis, Gwen35JewishWhiteFhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s35
FLHOUSEAnton, Bruce46MethodistAAMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4269&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEJacobs, Kristin96MethodistWhiteFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4613&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSETaylor, Dwayne L.26none listedAAMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4445&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSERouson, Darryl Ervin70none listedAAMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4428&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEKerner, Dave87none listedWhiteMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4577&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEPowell, Bobby88none listedAAMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4578&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSEWatson, Barbara107none listedAAFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4532&LegislativeTermId=86
FLHOUSERichardson, David113none listedWhiteMhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4556&LegislativeTermId=86
FLSENGibson, Audrey9none listedAAFhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s9
FLSENClemens, Jeff27none listedWhiteMhttp://www.flsenate.gov/Senators/s27
CongressCastor, Kathy14PresbyterianWhiteFhttp://castor.house.gov/
FLHOUSECampbell, Daphne108Seventh-Day Adventist AAFhttp://www.myfloridahouse.gov/Sections/Representatives/details.aspx?MemberId=4522&LegislativeTermId=86

(Please direct any corrections to OzeanMedia)

If you know me, I am not a fan of the Libertarian “philosophy” and I generally find Libertarian candidates to be anti-social blowhards.  I say this out loud and from the get go so that you can understand my biases and judge accordingly.

Noting the disclosure, I set out to analyze the effect, if any, Adrian Wyllie had on Florida’s 2014 gubernatorial election.

I became interested because a friend of mine- who is a Democrat – was lamenting about the FACT that Libertarian Adrian Wyllie was the reason that Charlie Crist is not the next Governor of Florida.

Interestingly, they asked my opinion about their FACT.

So, I promised I would do a quick analysis and publish it on the Ozean Blog.

Hypotheses:

I came up with the following possible hypotheses for evaluation:

  • Adrian Wyllie had no effect on the Gubernatorial race.
  • Adrian Wyllie ‘took’ more votes from Crist than Scott.
  • Adrian Wyllie ‘took’ more votes from Scott than Crist.
  • Adrian Wyllie ‘took’ votes from both Scott and Crist equally.
  • Adrian Wyllie ‘took’ votes from neither Scott or Crist, instead Wyllie brought new voters to the polls.

My Working Revision:

Further study is warranted, but an initial review of the data indicates Wyllie having a far greater negative effect on Rick Scott with almost no effect on Charlie Crist.  However, that is not the end of the story.

There appears to be a strong correlation of increased turnout (at least higher than the statewide turnout increase) in the counties that Wyllie performed best in.

Did Wyllie increase turnout?  I am not sure yet, because it would take more research and analysis to be able to risk declaring causation.

However, from an initial glance of one afternoon’s work, there appears a revised hypothesis forming:

Wyllie may have ‘took’ votes from Governor Scott, but Wyllie also brought more new voters to the 2014 Florida Gubernatorial Campaign (at least in the counties surrounding the Tampa Bay Area)

The data and graphs are below, I would love to know your thoughts on the matter.

 

Notes

We are still working with non-official data for 2014 and the vote totals may change slightly.

Observations & Data

Observation #1

Looking at a map of Adrian Wyllie’s returns, we see he did his best in the area surrounding Tampa Bay.Adrian Wyllie2014

 

 

County % of Vote Total
Pasco 7.05%
Citrus 6.50%
Hardee 6.34%
Polk 6.20%
Manatee 6.08%
Hernando 6.05%
Pinellas 5.63%
Hillsborough 4.83%

 

For the sake of time, I narrowed my focus into analyzing this area.

Observation #2

From the counties studied, Wyllie received 76,283 votes.

County Raw Vote Total
Pasco 11329
Citrus 3790
Hardee 342
Polk 11910
Manatee 7270
Hernando 3869
Pinellas 19802
Hillsborough 17971
76283

Observation #3

Governor Scott lost % points in each of these counties from 2010 to 2014.

When we compare 2010 to 2014, we see that Governor Scott lost % points in each of these counties.

 County 2010 Scott % 2014 Scott % Change
Pasco 51.73% 46.80% -4.93%
Citrus 54.60% 53.68% -0.92%
Hardee 59.69% 59.49% -0.20%
Polk 53.49% 51.17% -2.32%
Manatee 54.22% 51.75% -2.47%
Hernando 51.53% 47.89% -3.64%
Pinellas 45.04% 41.00% -4.04%
Hillsborough 46.74% 45.74% -1.00%

Observation #4

Charlie Crist, when compared to Alex Sink, was almost flat.

 County 2010 Sink % 2014 Crist % Change
Pasco 43.28% 45.03% 1.75%
Citrus 39.40% 38.45% -0.95%
Hardee 36.03% 32.48% -3.55%
Polk 42.55% 41.40% -1.15%
Manatee 41.79% 41.41% -0.38%
Hernando 43.08% 44.74% 1.66%
Pinellas 50.72% 52.27% 1.55%
Hillsborough 50.07% 48.44% -1.63%

Observation #5

There is a statistically significant negative correlation between the Wyllie percentage received and the change in votes for Governor Scott.  There is no correlation between Wiley percentage and the change in votes from Sink to Scott.

Correlations
p_willey2014 Rep_p_Diff Dem_p_Diff
p_willey2014 Pearson Correlation 1 -.418** .163
Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .187
N 67 67 67
Rep_p_Diff Pearson Correlation -.418** 1 -.534**
Sig. (2-tailed) .000 .000
N 67 67 67
Dem_p_Diff Pearson Correlation .163 -.534** 1
Sig. (2-tailed) .187 .000
N 67 67 67
**. Correlation is significant at the 0.01 level (2-tailed).
repcorr1

Scatter of Wiley % and Rep Change in Performance

demcorr1

Scatter of Wiley % and Dem Change in Performance

Observation #6

Statewide turnout for the election was up 1.71%

Year Total Votes Cast % Turnout
2010 5460573 48.70%
2014 6026093 50.41%

Observation #7

There was an average 4.29% increase in turnout in the counties studied.

 

County % increase in turnout
Pasco 6.67%
Citrus 3.67%
Hardee 5.74%
Polk 3.81%
Manatee 3.45%
Hernando 3.58%
Pinellas 5.94%
Hillsborough 1.42%
Average 4.29%

 

 

Introducing Poli-Hub

Poli-Hub

I could not sleep this morning, and I have been thinking through a question someone asked me the other day.

Where do you get your political information from?

I use feedly to aggregate most of the news that I read.  It is a great product, but it doesn’t allow you to share feeds that easily with people.

So, this morning over coffee I built Poli-Hub.com.

It is a little buggy, and your comments are welcome.

If you find the site useful, I will continue to work on it.

In the meantime, enjoy!

 

POLITICAL PANEL FLORIDA RESULTS

Ozean Media in connection with the Ward Scott Files recently completed a “Political You Pick ‘em” contest.  We asked people to enter the contest and pick who they thought was going to win – NOT polling them on who they were going to vote for.  The contest was open from 10/20 to 10/27.

We agreed to keep the people who entered the contest anonymous, but we will release the opinions in the aggregate.

Our panel consists of political nerds, friends of mine, media, party officials, elected officials, previously elected officials, and listeners of the Ward Scott Files talk radio.  It is no means a scientific random sample.

Yesterday, we announced the Alachua County Results, today the Florida Results.

 

Florida Results

Who will win the campaign for Florida Govenor?

Who will win the campaign in Florida’s second congressional district?  

Will Florida’s Amendment 1 otherwise know as Water and Land Conservation Initiative 1 pass?

Will Florida’s Amendment 2 otherwise known as the Florida Right to Medical Marijuana Initiative pass?

 

Ozean Media in connection with the Ward Scott Files recently completed a “Political You Pick ‘em” contest.  We asked people to enter the contest and pick who they thought was going to win – NOT polling them on who they were going to vote for.  The contest was open from 10/20 to 10/27.

We agreed to keep the people who entered the contest anonymous, but we will release the opinions in the aggregate.

Our panel consists of political nerds, friends of mine, media, party officials, elected officials, previously elected officials, and listeners of the Ward Scott Files talk radio.  It is no means a scientific random sample.

This will be an interesting experiment in the wisdom of crowds.

The Wisdom of Crowds:  the aggregation of information in groups, resulting in decisions that, he argues, are often better than could have been made by any single member of the group

This blog post will announce the results for the Alachua County section of the poll.   The Florida, US Senate Races and the US Governors’ races will be announced in future blog posts.

Let’s get started:

Who will win the campaign for Florida House – district 21 between Keith Perry and Jon Uman?

Who will win the campaign for Alachua County Commission – District 4?

Who will win the campaign for Alachua County Tax Collector?

Will the proposed 1 cent sales tax for transportation pass?

The US Constitution and Certainty

Happy Constitution Day!

Happy Constitution Day!

Happy Constitution Day!

(I know, I’m a day late, but I’ve been busy)

So yesterday was ‘Constitution Day’ or the day commemorating the signing of the U.S. Constitution by thirty-nine brave men on September 17, 1787.

A day among my conservative friends that appears to be destined to be our own little Kwanzaa in the making.

Of course, this day of celebration lead to an intense political discussion with a friend.

This intense discussion disintegrated when my friend attempted to tell me what the founding fathers ‘meant’ in the Constitution and that we should NOT EVER waver from the original meaning.

Ahhh, the Originalism argument.

I am sure I could have found better words than:

“Please tell me which law school you went to to study Constitutional law?”

or

“How could you possibly know what the founding fathers meant?  The Constitution was debated – heavily – meaning the document itself is a compromise between differing opinions.  I think you are cherry picking founding fathers that you only agree with.”

I fumed on this argument for awhile, just because my friend was so darn sure of himself.  He was absolutely certain that he just knew what a bunch of guys meant 200+ years ago.   He quoted from the federalist papers, the declaration of independence, the constitution having an answer for everything.

Because I couldn’t find the words to express my thoughts, I bid my friend adieu and went on about my day still ruminating.

THEN the thunderbolt of a question, “If the meaning of the Constitution is so darn certain, why was John Adams and Thomas Jefferson arguing about the Constitution’s meaning almost until the day they died?”

John_Adams_Thomas_Jefferson

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson

I went back and pulled an old book off the shelf, The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence.  Frankly, it is somewhat a boring read but the gist of the book is two authors of the same era, two of our founding fathers intimately involved in the debate arguing for history’s sake, and THEY can’t agree on what the Constitution means.

I also pulled down off the shelf a great book, Founding Brothers by Joseph Ellis.  It is a fantastic, little book – highly recommended.

When you read the letters and learn about the debates – especially how the founding fathers tackled slavery – or didn’t for that matter, you are forced to come to the realization that the entire document is a series of monumental compromises.   Large states versus Small States.  Slave States versus Non-Slave States.   Federalists versus “Republicans”.

So my dear friend, once you study the Constitution and if you are intellectually honest, you must admit the Constitution, (and I paraphrase Ellis)  does not contain one overriding vision or singular meaning, only contradictory original intentions.

PS  If you do any studying of the era, you also realize that Hamilton was kinda of an ass,   but that is another post.

This week Ozean Media partnered with the Florida League of Cities to bring you video of the Florida League of Cities Candidates Forum held Monday, September 15, 2014 in Archer, Florida.

The forum is broken up into three parts: State House, Federal, and Local Alachua County

Florida State House Candidates

Keith Perry, Jon Uman

Federal Candidates

MariHelen Wheeler, Cat Cammack for Ted Yoho

Alachua County Candidates

Lee Pinkoson, John Martin, Ken Cornell

ad_iconSalon has an interesting piece about online advertising and the age ol’ questions about marketing and measuring success.

Worth a read.

Goes back to my philosophy, advertising is advertising regardless of the medium.

The article also references a very interesting study, On the Near Impossibility of Measuring the Returns on Advertising.”

In it, they analyzed the results of 25 different field experiments involving digital ad campaigns, most of which reached more than 1 million unique viewers. The gist: Consumer behavior is so erratic that even in a giant, careful trial, it’s devilishly difficult to arrive at a useful conclusion about whether advertisements work.

 

Also, worth the read.

civen-bundy-militia-ranch

 

Conservatives, if we ignore history, we may repeat it.

As you may know, I just finished an interesting read:  Ideology in America by Christopher Ellis, James Stimson.  

The book explores the disconnect between what the authors called government at an operational level and how people self-identify politically.

The author’s describe the main theme of the book as:

“a main theme of this book, that when it comes to policy preferences, there are more liberals than conservatives. On average about 50% more Americans choose the liberal response (or the liberal end of a continuum) than choose the conservative response. Given a choice between left and right options for government activity, left prevails on average. And this pattern is robust. It will not matter what assumptions we make or what operations we perform. The picture will always be the same. ” (Ellis & Stimson)

It is interesting how part of the analysis is so relevant to today’s news and the situation at Cliven Bundy’s ranch.

The Power of Symbols in Politics

The relevant part of the book to today’s topic is when the authors explain the paradox of their theme and why people are reluctant to call themselves “liberal.”

A brief history, FDR first coined the use of liberal as we know it in today’s American politics.  However, the liberal label failed to gain majority support under Roosevelt, and it took a REAL nosedive after his terms.  Between 1963, when the Kennedy assassination made Lyndon Johnson president, and 1967, the third year of LBJ’s Great Society, the ranks of self-identified liberals fell by 10.5 points.

“John Kennedy would not be the last liberal president. But he would be the last who would call himself a liberal.” (Ellis & Stimson)

This shift became permanent.

It has something to do with the thermostat in politics – after JFK’s assignation, LBJ had majorities in BOTH the Senate and the House.  Nothing stopped a radical shift to liberal policies.  “No such moderating force existed in the 89th Congress. It passed what its liberal majority wanted to pass, without need to compromise. By the normal standards of American politics, that Congress committed legislative excess.” (Ellis & Stimson)

During this time, when the solid liberal’s were operating, passing laws and controlling every aspect of government – there was also a tremendous civil unrest:  Civil rights, race riots, war protests.detroit_race_riot_1967

“The collapse of civil order in the face of angry mobs was a picture of America coming apart at the seams. Quite probably they are a big part of the story of declining support for the idea of liberalism as well.” (Ellis & Stimson)

When television covered the civil rights marches, the race riots as the authors writes “our theory is that liberalism became associated with aid to the black underclass, not simply with blacks.” (Ellis & Stimson)  “Liberal, that is, was already associated with support for blacks in 1964, at the height of the civil rights movement. But that association doubled over the next eight years in the period of the riots and the poverty program.” (Ellis & Stimson)

Then came the Vietnam war, the hippies, and the Counter-Culture – and all of the visuals & symbols that came along with it.  counterculture

“…ideological self-identification is formed largely as a reaction to symbols associated with the ideological labels themselves.  What we see in all our evidence is that the symbols of liberalism became charged with symbols of race and of racial riot and of protest.  (Ellis & Stimson)”

“The events of the 1960s and the emergence of the American counterculture also helped to erase FDR’s hoped-for image of the “liberal” as the straight-laced, working class family who plays by the rules and works hard to get ahead.  Instead “liberal” became the label used to define hippies, peace protesters, and people generally divorced from the American mainstream.” (Ellis & Stimson)

“Of all left-leaning symbols in American politics, “liberal” stands nearly alone in its unpopularity.” (Ellis & Stimson)

Ramifications of Cliven Bundy & Symbols

Regardless of the inflammatory language, I don’t think we are close to riots in the streets, and I do not believe these are as turbulent of times as the 1960s – but there is a potential.

It would appear that we, Conservatives, have been dealt somewhat of a lucky break in that no violence erupted in Nevada.  Conservatives need to pray that we continue to be so lucky.

If the label “Conservative” becomes hijacked and used to define neck-tattooed, racist, violent unrest that is generally divorced from the American mainstream, we may be in danger of repeating history.