The Impact of Protest on Elections in the United States

Source: Daniel Q. Gillion, Sarah A. Soule, Social Science Quarterly, Volume 99 Issue 5, November 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
Objectives:
The objective of this study was to understand the effect of citizen mobilization on both electoral outcomes and on the likelihood that new candidates will enter races to challenge incumbent politicians.

Methods:
This study uses quantitative, longitudinal data (at the congressional‐district level) on protest, electoral outcomes, and challengers entering races, which are analyzed using an autoregressive distributed lagged regression model.

Results:
Results show that protests that express liberal issues lead to a greater percentage of the two‐party vote share for Democratic candidates, while protests that espouse conservative issues offer Republican candidates a greater share of the two‐party vote. Additionally, results indicated that protest shines a light on incumbent politicians’ failure to address constituent concerns, which leads quality candidates to enter subsequent races to challenge incumbent politicians.

Conclusions:
Citizen activism, which has been shown to impact state and firm policy decisions, also impacts electoral outcomes.

Related:
Yes, protests really can sway elections
Source: by Edmund L. Andrews, Futurity, December 13, 2018

Protests really do have an effect on election results, according to a new study based on 30 years of data.

HUD Took Over a Town’s Housing Authority 22 Years Ago. Now the Authority’s Broke and Residents Are Being Pushed Out.

Source: Molly Parker, The Southern Illinoisan, December 14, 2018

As recently as last year, HUD had told officials in Wellston, Missouri, that they would get their local housing authority back. Then federal officials changed their minds. Wellston will join a growing list of HUD oversight failures, including the Illinois cities of East St. Louis and Cairo.

State and Local Governments’ Fiscal Outlook: 2018 Update

Source: U.S. Government Accountability Office, GAO-19-208SP, December 13, 2018

From the summary:
What’s the prognosis for the fiscal health of state and local governments across the nation?

Our annual outlook suggests the sector will have an increasingly tough time covering their bills over the next 50 years. Our model shows both revenue and spending will increase; however, spending will rise faster. Revenues may be insufficient to sustain the amount of government service currently provided.

Our model also suggests health care costs will largely drive the spending increases—in particular, Medicaid spending and spending on health benefits for state and local government employees and retirees.
Related:
Highlights
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“They Don’t Understand the Value of Life” An Interview with Clarence Jones

Source: Meagan Day, Jacobin, December 14, 2018

Clarence Jones was homeless, despite being employed as a janitor for a multibillion-dollar pharmaceutical company. He thought his situation was his fault. Then he got involved in his union.

Clarence Jones is a thirty-seven-year-old janitor living in Indianapolis, Indiana. He started cleaning the offices of Eli Lilly, a multibillion-dollar pharmaceutical company, in late summer of this year. By early autumn, he found himself homeless, despite working two jobs. By late autumn, Clarence had become an active rank-and-file union member in both his own workplace and other SEIU-represented workplaces around town.

There were a couple of big moments that caused shifts in Jones’ perspective. One was his first bargaining session, which coincided with his first week of being homeless. Jones says he felt like his situation was his own fault — until he sat across the table from the corporate representatives and saw how hard they resisted a raise for him and his coworkers.

The second moment was when a coworker pounded on the table at another bargaining session and asked, “Are we not worth it?” Jones and his coworkers then stood up and filed out of the room, heads held high. “I felt prideful in that moment. I felt very empowered,” recalls Jones. “For the first time, I felt part of something that I know I should be a part of. I know this is what I’m meant to be doing.”

Jacobin’s Meagan Day talked to Jones about his experience of personal transformation through class struggle….

Blue-Collar Worker Shortages: Navigating a Business Environment of Higher Labor Costs

Source: Gad Levanon, Frank Steemers, The Conference Board, December 2018
(subscription required)

From the abstract:
The threat of labor shortages is more acute in blue-collar and low-pay services occupations than in more highly educated white-collar occupations, the exact opposite of the prevailing trends in recent decades. We expect that by the end of 2019, the labor market will be historically tight. Industries that employ large shares of blue-collar workers, such as agriculture, mining, utilities, construction, manufacturing, transportation, accommodation and food services, repair, maintenance, and personal care services, are strongly affected by rising wages and shrinking supply. While the labor white-collar market is also tight, wage growth for the 40 percent of workers in management, professional, and related occupations is slow to accelerate. Sales and office workers, most of whom do not have a bachelor’s degree, are in shorter supply than management and professional workers.

Related:
Blue Collar Worker Shortage Turns U.S. Labor Market on Its Head
Source: Rich Miller, Bloomberg, December 13, 2018

Social Exclusion: The State of State U for Black Students

Source: Mark Huelsman, Dēmos, December 2018

From the Introduction and Selected Findings:
….These stories, and countless untold others, follow a familiar pattern. A student of color behaves as millions of other students have—finding a quiet campus space to eat, napping while studying, attending a party, queueing in line for a campus tour. Passers-by and, in some cases, law enforcement officers who carry with them the capacity for lethal force, subject this behavior to extra scrutiny.

These students and employees posed no threat to safety and were not causing any disturbance. In fact, most of them were sitting in solitude before being interrupted by law enforcement. But other students or employees view these students with suspicion precisely because these they do not see these students as a typical or ordinary part of their campus experience. They are not the image many people—including their peers—conjure when they think of the American college student. They are black or brown, Native American and immigrants, and their very existence in an elite academic setting makes others incredulous…..

…..This exclusion is true even for elite public institutions, which still have a basic responsibility to be representative of and responsive to the needs of their state populations and economies. It goes without saying that each state’s flagship campus and other selective institutions have a great deal of political power and cultural cachet. Thus, it is worth interrogating how they are doing at increasing the enrollment of black students, 50 years after the civil rights movement, at a time when higher education is more important than ever to achieving a stable life. We all benefit when these institutions are affordable, accessible, welcoming, and safe for all of their state’s students.

This brief takes a look at whether selective public colleges have made progress toward these basic goals. We find that, unfortunately, most states have very far to go in making their selective public institutions representative, and thus truly public. In many cases, institutions are less representative than they were a generation ago:….

Options for Reducing the Deficit: 2019 to 2028

Source: Congressional Budget Office, pub. no. 54667, December 2018

From the summary:
CBO periodically issues a volume of options—this year’s installment presents 121—that would decrease federal spending or increase federal revenues. CBO’s website allows users to filter options by topic, date, and other categories.

Since 2007, federal debt held by the public has more than doubled in relation to the size of the economy, and it will keep growing significantly if the large annual budget deficits projected under current law come to pass. The Congress faces an array of policy choices as it confronts the challenges posed by such large and growing debt. To help inform lawmakers, the Congressional Budget Office periodically issues a compendium of policy options that would help reduce the deficit, reporting the estimated budgetary effects of those options and highlighting some arguments for and against them.

This report, the latest in the series, presents 121 options that would decrease federal spending or increase federal revenues over the next 10 years (see Summary Table below). Of those options, 112 are presented in the main body of the report, and most of those 112 would save $10 billion or more over that period. The remaining 9 options are presented in an appendix and would generally have smaller budgetary effects…..

Underrepresented, Underemployed: In the library-job search, some face special barriers

Source: Anne Ford, American Libraries, Vol. 49 nos. 11/12, November/December 2018

….White’s concerns represent only some of the potential obstacles that people from underrepresented demographic groups face when applying for positions in the library field—a field that remains about 86% white and 97% able-bodied (per the 2017 ALA Demographic Survey, which did not ask about sexual orientation.)

Because the library profession has been trying to diversify itself for a long time—particularly racially, and particularly through initiatives such as diversity task forces and diversity fellowships—some may be surprised that people from underrepresented communities still encounter barriers to library employment….