Tag Archives: Chris Saxman

Canceling Student Debt Accentuates the Class Divide

by Chris Saxman

The big news of the week was President Biden’s announcement that he was canceling a lot of student higher education debt. #IsItLegal?
Here are three non-judicial-branch reactions to the Biden plan:

The Washington Post Ed Board:

The loan-forgiveness decision is even worse. Widely canceling student loan debt is regressive. It takes money from the broader tax base, mostly made up of workers who did not go to college, to subsidize the education debt of people with valuable degrees. Though Mr. Biden’s plan includes an income cap, the threshold does not reflect need or earnings potential, meaning white-collar professionals with high future salaries stand to benefit….

Mr. Biden’s student loan decision will not do enough to help the most vulnerable Americans. It will, however, provide a windfall for those who don’t need it — with American taxpayers footing the bill.

President Obama’s Chairman of Council Economic Advisors: Continue reading

The Great Realignment, Best-State-for-Business Reprise, Housing Drags, and Youngkin Popularity

by Chris Saxman

If you read one article this week make it this one from Axios – The Democratic electorate’s seismic shift. Just about every presentation I have given over the last 6 or 7 years begins with a statement or slide that says we are living in a historic political realignment and it’s global. From the article:

Democrats now have a bigger advantage among white college graduates than they do with nonwhite voters, according to a New York Times/Siena College poll.

Why it matters: We’re seeing a political realignment in real time.

Democrats are becoming the party of upscale voters concerned more about issues like gun control and abortion rights.

Republicans are quietly building a multiracial coalition of working-class voters, with inflation as an accelerant.

Continue reading

CNBC Top-States-for-Business Ranking Is Worthless

by Chris Saxman

CNBC’s Top States for Business Ranking is quickly becoming synonymous with Major League Baseball’s best known worst umpire Angel Hernandez.

Why? Like Hernandez, CNBC’s Ranking keeps moving the strike zone and they are fast becoming the best known worst ranking.

Here is their explanation :

We assign a weight to each category based on how hard the states are pushing it in their economic development marketing.

They base their rankings on the marketing of the states? Not what works, mind you, but what the sales departments THINK will work. Not where people and capital are actually going, but what the collective thinking is of economic development officials. Hence CNBC added CRYPTOCURRENCY and CANNABIS as metrics. Continue reading

Toxic Brew

by Chris Saxman

Okay. Buckle up. I am sharing with you several graphics that should lead, hopefully, to some serious discussions about the toxic blend of violence in movies, marijuana, smart phones and social media use in our youth — especially young men. First this article from the WSJ on how the use of widely available pornography can impact the development of teenage brains. Maybe rewire neural pathways? Yikes.

Look at the time lines of these (smart phone use, violence in movies, marijuana use – focus on the year 2010) and now add in the intensity/addiction of social media use.

Continue reading

Virginia is the Queen Mother of Bellwethers

Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn

by Chris Saxman

Honestly, where does one start in trying to explain Virginia politics?

Wednesday’s leadership change by House Democrats should not be considered shocking. Democrats had very close contests for caucus control after they won the majority, so losing that majority would naturally jeopardize their leaders.

Suffice it to say, Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn has never had a firm grip on her caucus having won close leadership elections and she barely lost the vote Wednesday.

Just one vote.

Was Wednesday about the younger, more aggressive progressives making a move? Like most things in politics, it’s complicated, but Democrats nationally are losing the enthusiasm of younger progressive voters.

See my 2024 Electoral College Preview on the Democrats problem with younger voters. (AH – yes – the possible move by Joe Biden to forgive student loan debt.)

There’s more to the leadership change than age demographics. This likely came down to the simple fact that Democrats lost control of the House in November and had no clear plan to win it back. In fact, they could possibly lose even more seats this year. Continue reading

Was Virginia’s 2021 Election a Parental Pulse or a Silver Surge?

Walmart greeter Mikki in South Dakota is 99 years old.

Yes, education was a big deal but how about inflation’s impact on fixed income retirees?

by Chris Saxman

Results of a newly released study by TargetSmart, “a Democratic political data and data services firm,” suggest that we should rethink the conventional wisdom and push back on the social media/cable news narratives about the 2021 election.

NOW before everyone hits the reply button that because this is a Democratic firm and they are just trying to improperly turn the 2021 narrative to benefit Democrats in the upcoming midterms — just stop.

The news here is WORSE for Democrats for the midterms, but kudos to TargetSmart for following the data. As the old saying goes — in order to solve a problem, you first have to admit you have a problem.

Today’s Richmond Times Dispatch ran a Bloomberg editorial which provides context: “Piecemeal reform won’t solve U.S. retirement crisis.”

Yet many Americans face the prospect of great financial strain and even poverty in old age, because they lack the resources to support themselves after they stop working.

Continue reading

How’d Virginia Do in “The Great Pandemic Migration?”

Glenn Youngkin was right. Yes, Virginia, we have a problem.

by Chris Saxman

Most mornings start with brewing a large pot of coffee, letting the dogs out into the fenced in backyard, and waiting for the papers to be delivered. Usually I can skim through the local old soldier, the Richmond Times Dispatch, before the coffee finishes brewing. But that first magical sip of morning hits with the opening the Wall Street Journal.

Ahh….the splendor of predawn America.

I read newspapers in reverse by taking the sections and rearranging them in order to read as many articles as possible before doing battle with the editorial section. The Sports section is always first. It’s like stretching before a work out — not legally required, but strongly encouraged.

SO. Wednesday’s lead editorial headline in the WSJ print edition really grabbed my attention:

The Great Pandemic Migration

Boom.

The online version reads like this:

The Great Pandemic Migration
Census data reveal huge shifts out of the most locked-down states.

As Sheriff Buford T. Justice would say, “That’s an attention getter.” Continue reading

SHOCK Fox Poll — Youngkin +8? Outlier or Actual?

by Chris Saxman

Oh yeah.

That Fox News poll release last night created some noise. No sooner had that hit the airwaves than the phone started blowing up from around the country and Commonwealth. Glenn Youngkin was +8 (53-45).

What do you think? Is this real?

Naturally, Republicans were thrilled and Democrats dismissive. It is Fox News. The reactions would have been reversed were it a poll from MSNBC.

Today, the Washington Post/GMU Schar School Poll released their poll (McAuliffe +1 49-48) and it will likely receive the same partisan response. Republicans will dismiss it and Democrats will hail it.

Republicans will say it’s the Post AND Dwight Schar, for whom the school is named, supports Terry McAuliffe. Given the Fox Poll showing Glenn Youngkin +8, anything closer to a tie will be a response ray of relief for Democrats and another “See I Told You So” (SITYS) moment for the Republicans.

Rinse and repeat. Binary politics at its best.

But it’s gotten so bad this year for Republicans in Virginia that Democrats are complaining to me about how partisan the coverage is.

To which I reply :

Continue reading

Virginia Polls Tightening, 25 Days to Election Day

Home stretch momentum shifting. Independents breaking to GOP.

by Chris Saxman

Trying to make sense out of all the polls you are seeing on the Virginia gubernatorial race?

Start at the top. How’s Joe Biden doing? Hint: he’s never been that popular nationally except when the choice was Biden v Trump.

Terry McAuliffe said as much in this clip put out by the RNC:

Continue reading

Gubernatorial Debate Review with Winners and Losers

by Chris Saxman

Last night’s debate between Terry McAuliffe and Glenn Youngkin was more or less like the first one on substance – pretty much the same answers but perhaps a deeper, more clarifying look at those.

I don’t see a lot of votes changing from those who actually watched the debate but there were some notable moments which could be turned into ads that THEN might move the electorate.

This is what campaign consultants fear and desire about debates – there is so much on the line that they are just hoping and praying their candidate makes it out clean but also that the opponent creates an opening to exploit.

I predicted a tie, and on points it was just that. Therefore, given his strong first debate performance, Glenn Youngkin held serve by not losing. Terry McAuliffe was much better this time — less agitated and more at ease.

Princess Blanding, the Liberation Party candidate who has qualified for the ballot, disrupted the debate about ten minutes after kick off. Moderator Chuck Todd seemed unprepared for this and eventually went to commercial breaks. Continue reading

Wilder’s Take on the McAuliffe-Youngkin Race

L. Douglas Wilder. Photo credit: Wikipedia

by Chris Saxman

Yesterday I spoke with former Governor Doug Wilder regarding the recently released poll by Virginia Commonwealth University’s Wilder School on the 2021 governor race.

That conversation is one that I will remember for a very long time in that here’s a former governor who, at the age of 90, is still actively engaged in Virginia politics because he honestly just gives a damn about the future of the Commonwealth.

Good on him.

When he picked up the phone for our interview, I naturally asked him:
Governor, how are you today?

Without missing a beat came the upbeat and wise reply:

I woke up! It’s a good day!

My favorite quote from the interview was this:

Truth is not partisan. Continue reading

A Deeper Dive into CNBC’s Rankings

by Chris Saxman

In doing a deeper dive on the CNBC Top States for Business rankings, two quotes keep running through my unsettled mind.

Why unsettled? Well, last year I posed this question to Virginia FREE’s Board of Directors:

If Virginia was a stock, would you Buy, Sell, or Hold?

Not one said Buy. They all said Hold. Thankfully, no one said Sell.

So, the first quote comes from New York Yankee Hall of Fame catcher Yogi Berra who is now more famous for his Yogiisms than his playing. This one was an answer to a question about a famous New York City restaurant — was it still as good as it used to be?

To which Berra replied:

No one goes there anymore, it’s too crowded. Continue reading

Mamma Mia! CNBC Says Virginia #1 for Business, but Chief Executive Mag says #13.

by Chris Saxman

Beauty, the Greeks started saying back in 3rd century BC, is in the eyes of the beholder.

CNBC announced today that Virginia is the Top State for Business in 2021. That’s great news!

They rank their top 10 states: Virginia – North Carolina – Utah – Texas – Tennessee – Georgia – Minnesota – Colorado – Washington – Ohio.

Chief Executive Magazine in April ranked their top 10 states thusly: Texas – Florida – Tennessee – North Carolina – Indiana – South Carolina – Ohio – Nevada – Georgia – Arizona. Virginia comes in at #13 for them.

Wait…what?

13?

Forbes in 2019 had Virginia at #4 and US News had the Commonwealth at #7 back in March of this year.

If you take the four rankings and then rank those? (No, you don’t add and divide by 4 which would get Virginia to 6.25.) Continue reading

Reporting the Truth in the Post-Trump Era

by Chris Saxman

When I was a teacher of U.S. History and Government, I had only one rule for my students and it was that they think. I told them flat out:

I don’t care what you think – I care that you think. Time will take care of the rest.

Their thinking was dependent upon being able to access facts and alternative lines of thought so that they would be challenged to actually think deeply versus reacting emotionally.

Today, kids call that “adulting.”

In order for me to make 17th and 18th century U.S. History interesting for late 20th century high school students, I had to make it relevant to their lives. So, we would talk a great deal about current events and apply them back to whatever time we were discussing in our curriculum. In that way, our history would come alive for them and they would then dive deeper into their studies. Continue reading

The Primary Results — Explaining the Obvious

Tuesday’s big winner: Terry McAuliffe. Photo credit: The Washington Post

by Chris Saxman

There is no sense doing a deep dive on Tuesday’s elections results because there is not a lot of depth to explore.

Somethings are just obvious.

In the end:

  • Money talks and bullshit walks.
  • Challengers don’t win – incumbents lose.
  • The leadership of the Democratic Party of Virginia is firmly in control.
  • There was ZERO ideological shift in either party.
  • Base voters want fighters who can win. They are angry and want that anger represented. (Reminder – anger is fear based) Many vote Against rather than For.
  • Legacy media continues to lose influence on voter behavior as they become more partisan.
  • #1 data point from Tuesday? The similarity in Ralph Northam and Terry McAuliffe primary vote totals. 2017: Northam 303,531. 2021: McAuliffe 303,410. That’s the base of the Democratic Party of Virginia.
  • Destiny might be more geography than demography.

And here we go… Continue reading