2.14.19 The President May be Wavering on Budget Deal

The President May be Wavering on Budget Deal

There continues to be uncertainty about whether the president will sign a potential deal that will be voted on Thursday. The legislation, which calls for 1.357 billion dollars for border security, would avert another government shutdown. There is still speculation that the president could try to secure additional funds for the wall unilaterally, including through executive action. The deadline for reaching a deal is Friday. According to PRRI polling, more than six in ten (62 percent) Americans say they are pessimistic that Americans who hold different political views can come together to solve the country’s problems, compared to just 36 percent who say they feel optimistic. About six in ten Democrats (65 percent) and nearly as many Republicans (60 percent) feel pessimistic about partisans’ ability to work together, while less than four in ten Republicans (39 percent) and slightly fewer Democrats (33 percent) say they are optimistic.
2020 Democratic Presidential Candidates Are Historically Diverse

The 2020 Democratic presidential field is likely to be the most diverse in American history. However, what’s more interesting may be the electorate itself. ‘’Even more significant than the increasing variety of the contenders may be the growing diversity of the primary voters who will choose among them. Over the past decade, the electorate in the Democratic presidential primary has grown more racially diverse, better educated and more heavily tilted toward female voters, an extensive new CNN analysis of exit poll data has found,” writes Ronald Brownstein. According to new data from CNN, African American women at all college levels and white women with college degrees could make up as much as 40 percent of Democratic primary voters next year. These changes come at a time when white-working class voters, who have been considered to be the backbone of the party for years, are seeing their influence wane. Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say that electing more people from the following backgrounds would make things in the country better: working-class people (74 percent vs. 64 percent), women (72 percent vs. 26 percent), racial and ethnic minorities (61 percent vs. 22 percent), lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people (44 percent vs. 9 percent), non-religious people (37 percent vs. 10 percent), or members of non-Christian religious groups (35 percent vs. 9 percent).
Last Government Shutdown’s Effects Continue to Reverberate

“During the shutdown, federal workers went to great lengths to deal with their cash flow shortfall. Almost a quarter reduced or eliminated spending on health or medical expenses for themselves or their family. One in four visited a food bank,” writes Janna Herron in USA Today. This data is from a new survey of 350 federal employees, their spouses, and others, and it illuminates how much people affected by the shutdown struggled to stay financially afloat. Over a quarter of federal workers dipped into their retirement accounts, while nine percent looked to crowdfunding. According to PRRI’s 2018 California Workers Survey, more than one in four (27 percent) Californians report that they or someone in their household had to reduce meals or cut back on food to save money in the past year. One-quarter (25 percent) of California residents report that they or someone in their household put off seeing a doctor or purchasing medication for financial reasons. 
Sex Abuse in the Church Is Not Just a Catholic Problem

A three-part investigation in The Houston Chronicle details how the Catholic Church is far from the only religious organization that is mired in sexual abuse scandals. The Chronicle outlines how many Southern Baptist ministers were accused or even convicted of abusing children and still managed to find new jobs in churches. A team of writers report, “At least 700 people — nearly all of them children — reported being sexually abused by those who worked or volunteered at Southern Baptist churches since 1998. Records show that about 220 Southern Baptist church leaders and volunteers have been convicted of sex crimes or took plea deals. The charges range from possessing child pornography to raping children.” PRRI data from 2018 show that 62 percent of Americans overall believe that churches and places of worship are not responding well to issues of sexual harassment and assault. White evangelical Protestants are the only major religious group where a majority (60 percent) believe that churches are handling these issues well, while only 40 percent say these issues have been handled poorly.