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Stuff You Should Consume - April 6, 2023
Welcome to this week’s edition of “Stuff You Should Consume,”— a weekly compilation of interesting political content for Message Box readers.
“America is unprepared for the 2024 political internet” by Kyle Tharp, FWIW
The rapid acceleration in the quality of images, audio, and video created by generative AI tools like Midjourney could wreak havoc on next year’s election. Anyone with an internet connection is now able to create a completely believable photograph of Joe Biden doing anything they want him to do or standing next to whoever they want in about 60 seconds. For instance, here’s a fabricated image I made in Midjourney yesterday:
“How Wisconsin Democrats learned to play hardball in the country's biggest judicial election” by Dave Weigel, Semafor
The Wisconsin Democratic Party has put $8.8 million behind Protasiewicz. According to chairman Ben Wikler, it has made as many voter contacts in this race as it did in the 2018 campaign for Gov. Tony Evers.
Democrats looking to graft partisan politics onto the judicial race believe they’re participating in an existing arms race with Republicans, who are more than happy to do the same when it benefits them. Four years ago, Democrats learned what didn’t work, losing a court race they were favored to win after Republicans sent out mailers linking the campaign to elect a liberal judge to the failed effort to keep Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh off the Supreme Court.
“Millions on Medicaid May Soon Lose Coverage as Pandemic Protections Expire” by Noah Weiland, New York Times
Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program have ballooned to cover roughly 90 million people, or more than one in four Americans — up from about 70 million people at the start of the pandemic. The guaranteed coverage amounted to an extraordinary reprieve for patients, preserving insurance for millions of vulnerable Americans and sparing them the hassles of regular eligibility checks.
The federal government has estimated that about 15 million people will lose coverage in the coming months, including nearly seven million people who are expected to be dropped from the rolls even though they are still eligible. Nearly half of those who lose coverage will be Black or Hispanic, according to federal projections.
“No Labels group raises alarms with third-party presidential preparations” by Michael Scherer, Washington Post
Uncertainty over the $70 million No Labels ballot effort has set off major alarm bells in Democratic circles and raised concerns among Republican strategists, who have launched their own research projects to figure out the potential impacts. As Lieberman spoke, the Arizona Democratic Party filed a lawsuit to block No Labels from ballot access in that state on procedural grounds. Matt Bennett of the centrist Democratic think tank Third Way has argued that the plot is “going to reelect Trump,” and Adam Green of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee has accused No Labels of wanting “to play the role of spoiler.”’
“The Ticking Time Bomb in Democrats’ Blue Wall States” by Michael Baharaeen, The Liberal Patriot
So, after 2016, it was clear that Democrats’ trouble with black voters in urban parts of Michigan and Wisconsin had hindered their statewide viability.However, something else happened in the years following Trump’s victory. Demographic changes in the two parties’ coalitions (which were already underway before 2016) accelerated. Around the country, suburban white voters who were more affluent and better educated swung toward Democrats in the 2018 midterm elections, and the party appeared to make up some lost ground with white working-class and exurban/rural voters as well. In the three Blue Wall states, these shifts helped propel Democratic candidates like Gretchen Whitmer (Michigan), Tom Wolf (Pennsylvania), and Tony Evers (Wisconsin) to victory in key gubernatorial contests.
What was less remarked upon that cycle was the fact that the party again struggled to regain its footing in urban areas. For example, Whitmer won statewide in Michigan by 9.5 points while underperforming Clinton in Detroit. Similarly, in Wisconsin, Evers flipped the state back but did not rebound to Obama’s levels of support in Milwaukee. (Wolf did outperform Clinton in Philadelphia, though he won statewide by a whopping 17.1 points and ran ahead of her in all other counties as well.)
“The End of Big Tech and the Dangers of AI,” Offline with Jon Favreau