Representation in our voting system

135 Representation in our voting system

As of May 2020, Gallup polling found that 31% of Americans identified as Democrats, 25% identified as Republican, and 40% as Independent. Additionally, polling showed that 50% are either “Democrats or Democratic leaners” and 38% are either “Republicans or Republican leaners” when Independents are asked “do you lean more to the Democratic Party or the Republican Party?”

However, actual registration by party is different:

In aggregate, 40% of all voters in party registration states are Democrats, 29% are Republicans, and 28% are independents.

Registration stats in 2016:

Number of Registered voters 158 million                                                                    Number of persons eligible to vote 224 million                                                            Number of voters in 138 million

Stats for 2020:

Number of registered voters   211 million                                                              Number of persons eligible to vote 229 million                                                                                       Number of voters 150 million (est.)

Observations:

The largest % of the population identifies themselves as Independent. Is this group well represented?

Great strides have been made in promoting voter registration and it appears that almost all of the new voters did vote in 2020.

However, there is still a very large number of registered folks that do not vote (approx. 60 million). Do why know why? Is there anything that can be done to encourage them to participate?

The E.C. (Electoral College)

Following illustrates my issue. Wh7 does Wyoming have four time the voting power of Texas. Check out the following chart.

 # of ECPopulationvotes per
Statevotesmillion pop
Texas3828,995,8811.31
Florida2921,477,7371.35
California5539,512,2231.39
Georgia1610,617,4231.51
Arizona117,278,7171.51
Virginia138,535,5191.52
      
Delaware3973,7643.08
Rhode Island41,059,3613.78
Alaska3731,5454.10
D.C.3705,7494.25
Vermont3623,9894.81
Wyoming3578,7595.18
Total181 121,090,667

The 2020 Election

The 2020 Election

Out of curiosity, I have been tracking the polls and betting odds on the election for all of 2020. Most people know that both the polls and the bettors missed the mark in 2016. The polls did not miss it since they projected that Clinton would win by a 3% margin, and she did win the popular vote by 2.8 million votes. The mistake was in not focusing on the Electoral College where small margins in three states determined the outcome. The three states and the Trump margins’ of victory were: Michigan .3%, Pennsylvania .7%, and Wisconsin .8%.

This election has been much more focused on polling in individual states. The following shows the status of both the polls and the betting odds as of October 26th. Where there was more than one poll during a month, I have used the average. Polls have a + or – 3% margin of error.

State EC votes 2016 Margin Polls: Jan Oct Vegas odds on 10/15 Michigan 16 Trump by .3% Biden +5% Biden +5.5% Biden favored N Hampshire 4 Clinton by .4% Biden +5% Biden +10% Biden Favored Wisconsin 10 Trump by .8% Biden +3% Biden +3% Biden slightly favored Pennsylvania 20 Trump by .7% Biden +5% Biden +7% Biden slightly favored Florida 29 Trump by 1.2% Biden +1% Biden + 1.5% even Minnesota 10 Trump by 1.5% Biden +8% Biden + 5.5% Biden favored Nevada 6 Clinton by 1.5% Biden +3% Biden + 3.5% Biden favored Maine 4 Clinton by 3% Biden +3% Biden + 10% Biden favored N. Carolina 15 Trump by 3.7% Biden +1% Biden +.5% Trump slightly favored Arizona 11 Trump by 3.5% Trump +2% Biden +1% Biden v slight favorite Ohio 18 Trump by 9.1% even Trump slight favorite Texas 38 Trump by 9% Trump +1.5% Trump favored Iowa 6 Trump by 9.5% Biden +1.5% Trump favored all remaining states should have the same outcome in 2020 as experienced in 2016.

If the polls are correct then Biden should win with a comfortable margin. If the bettors are accurate then Biden would still win, by by a slight margin .

Go to the following link and you can use the map to make your own prediction for the outcome of the 2020 election that is now less than a week away:

https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2020/president/create_your_own_president_map.html

Undocumented (Illegal) Immigrants

Undocumented (Illegal) Immigrants

There is a lot of bad information out there about undocumented residents, especially among folks with a specific political agenda. The first is that most are coming across our Southern border. The reality is that most enter either on a seasonal work or tourist visa and decide to stay. I am not advocating opening our borders, but I am advocating a more sensible and efficient method for accepting immigrants.

Other bad information has to do with what legal rights are available to illegals.

Are undocumented immigrants eligible for federal public benefit programs?

Generally no. Undocumented immigrants, including DACA holders, are ineligible to receive most federal public benefits, including means-tested benefits such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, sometimes referred to as food stamps), regular Medicaid, Supplemental Security Income (SSI), and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). Undocumented immigrants are ineligible for health care subsidies under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and are prohibited from purchasing unsubsidized health coverage on ACA exchanges.

Undocumented immigrants may be eligible for a handful of benefits that are deemed necessary to protect life or guarantee safety in dire situations, such as emergency Medicaid, access to treatment in hospital emergency rooms, or access to healthcare and nutrition programs under the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC).

Are legal immigrants eligible for federal public benefit programs?

Only those with lawful permanent resident (LPR) status, but not until they have resided as a legal resident for five years. LPRs – sometimes referred to as green card holders – do not have full access to all public benefit programs and are subject to limitations before being eligible for federal means-tested benefits, including Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), TANF, SNAP, and SSI. Such limitations include the “five-year bar,” which requires the individual to have maintained LPR status in the U.S. for five years before being eligible for benefits. However, under some federal benefit programs, this requirement can be bypassed when the recipient has worked 40 quarters under a visa. Quarters worked by parents when the immigrant was a dependent child, or by a spouse while married to the immigrant, count towards the immigrant’s 40 quarters.

LPRs are eligible to apply for Medicare and Public/“Section 8” Housing as well, as long as the five-year bar is fulfilled. For LPRs to become eligible for Social Security benefits for both retirement and disability, they are required to have completed 40 quarters of work in addition to having maintained LPR status for five years.

Certain additional categories of immigrants, specifically refugees, asylum seekers, and victims of human trafficking or domestic violence have the same eligibility requirements for federal benefits as LPRs. Individuals on non-immigrant and temporary visa holders are ineligible for benefits.

How much do legal immigrants use federal public benefit programs?

Legal immigrants use federal public benefit programs at lower rates than U.S.-born citizens. As recently as 2013, the rate at which non-citizens have used public benefit programs was less than that of U.S.-born citizens. For example, 32.5 percent of native-born citizen adults receive SNAP benefits compared to 25.4 percent of naturalized citizen adults and 29 percent of noncitizen adults. In addition to immigrants’ lower rate of SNAP usage, they also receive lower benefit values, costing the program less.

How much do immigrants contribute to support public benefits programs?

Both documented and undocumented immigrants pay more into public benefit programs than they take out. According to Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, undocumented immigrants contribute an estimated $11.74 billion to state and local economies each year. However, undocumented immigrants are not eligible for many of the federal or state benefits that their tax dollars help fund.

Additionally, a few states have completed studies demonstrating that immigrants pay more in taxes than they receive in government services and benefits. A study in Arizona found that the state’s immigrants generate $2.4 billion in tax revenue per year, which more than offsets the $1.4 billion in their use of benefit programs. Another study in Florida estimated that, on a per capita basis, immigrants in the state pay nearly $1,500 more in taxes per capita than they receive in public benefits.

Do undocumented children have access to a public education?

Yes. In accordance with the Supreme Court ruling in Plyer v. Doe, all immigrant children, regardless of status, have access to a public education and are eligible to attend public schools for grades K-12. Undocumented immigrants are also eligible for the Head Start program as it is not considered a federal public benefit program – any child who is otherwise eligible, regardless of their or their parents’ immigration status, may enroll in Head Start.