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Pew’s survey of “validated voters” — members of their survey panel whom they could match as people who cast ballots on state voter files — is among the deepest analyses of who voted in the last presidential election and how. And because Pew also conducted similar studies of the 2016 and 2018 electorates, it’s possible to track how both parties’ coalitions evolved across the Trump era — and where the battle lines for the 2022 midterm elections may fall.

According to the Pew analysis, Trump won white voters by 12 percentage points, 55 percent to 43 percent, down from 15 points in 2016. Biden narrowed Trump’s margin among white men — from 30 points in 2016, to 17 points in 2020 — but Trump won white women by a larger spread (7 points) than he won them in 2016 (2 points).

Meanwhile, Biden held steady among Black voters, carrying them by an 84-point spread (92 percent to 8 percent), virtually identical to Hillary Clinton’s 85-point lead four years ago.

But Biden only won Hispanic voters by 21 points, 59 percent to 38 percent, down significantly from Clinton’s 38-point advantage, 66 percent to 28 percent. There was a slight gender gap — Biden won Hispanic men by 17 and Hispanic women by 24 — but Trump surged broadly among Hispanics, especially among Hispanic voters without a college degree.

Trump “had about a 10-point gain from 2016 to 2020 in the share of Hispanic voters who supported him,” said Ruth Igielnik, a senior researcher at Pew. “One thing that I thought was really striking was there was this pretty sizable college/non-college divide within Hispanic voters. Hispanics without a college degree were about 10 points more supportive of Trump … than college-educated Hispanics.”

The Trump gains with Hispanic voters have some Republicans optimistic they can pick up congressional seats in Texas next year, along with holding the two South Florida House seats they flipped in 2020. But the Pew report suggests those gains could be fleeting: While Trump narrowed his loss among Hispanic voters between 2016 and 2020, Democrats won them in 2018 House races by their widest margin, 47 points.

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While the survey release does not break down Hispanic voters by country of origin, the authors do remind readers that the Hispanic vote is “not a monolith” and link to an October 2020 blog post headlined, “Most Cuban American voters identify as Republican in 2020.”

Igielnik described the 2020 election as one of both “continuity” and “change.” The majority of Biden and Trump supporters also voted for the same party in 2016. But huge spikes in turnout for the 2018 midterms and 2020 presidential elections also mean that both parties brought new voters into the fold. Each candidate benefited from new voters in 2020, with Biden winning the vast majority of younger, new voters — but Trump cleaning up with new voters over age 30.

A key group, Igielnik said, were voters who did not participate in 2016 — historically, a lower-turnout election for a presidential year — but did vote in both 2018 and 2020. Keeping those voters in the fold will be key for Democrats, given the historical trends against new presidents in their first midterm and the typical dropoff in turnout when the presidency isn’t on the ballot.

“That group favored Biden by 2-to-1,” Igielnik said. “That’s where he was able to get that edge.”

And despite the rise in turnout, the historical trends of who voted and who didn’t persisted. Voters were more likely to be older, more Republican, and white. Younger voters, Democrats and nonwhites made up larger shares of the group that didn’t turn out in 2020, in line with long-term trends.

“Even in this very-high-turnout election, all of those differences were still evident,” Igielnik said. “There were very similar differences between voters and non-voters.”

Pew’s “validated voter” survey was conducted Nov. 12-17, 2020, with roughly 10,000 voters. The results were weighted to the general-election outcome, with Biden capturing 51 percent of the vote, and Trump 47 percent.


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Garland pauses federal executions as DOJ reviews policies

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Attorney General Merrick Garland on Thursday paused federal executions as the Department of Justice reviews its death penalty policies and procedures.

“The Department of Justice must ensure that everyone in the federal criminal justice system is not only afforded the rights guar anteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States, but is also treated fairly and humanely,” Garland said in a statement. “That obligation has special force in capital cases.”

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Legal battles over the traditional three-drug protocol for carrying out execution by legal injection, and a shortage of sodium thiopental — one of the drugs — led to a two-decade lapse in federal executions. But then-Attorney General Bill Barr ordered federal prisons to resume executions in 2019, after making changes to the federal execution protocols.


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New York Assembly OKs subpoenas in Cuomo impeachment probe

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Additionally, members have taken the technical step of issuing a commission to the law firm of Davis Polk, which the Assembly has retained to handle much of the probe. That step “allows our independent counsel to take testimony under oath,” Lavine said.

The Assembly launched its investigation of Cuomo in March. It is probing a litany of allegations made against Cuomo on subjects ranging from sexual harassment to the governor’s $5.1 million book deal.

State Attorney General Tish James is examining several similar issues. She started issuing subpoenas in March.

James said last week that she does not “share information” with the Assembly investigators. But Abinanti said on Wednesday that the granting of a commission to Davis Polk opens up that possibility, “because now they are authorized to subpoena the same information the attorney general’s office is subpoenaing … so I would assume the attorney general’s office would feel more comfortable cooperating with our counsel.”

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Wednesday’s meeting was notable as the Assembly’s first mostly in-person committee meeting since state government shut down in March 2020. Since Cuomo ended New York’s state of emergency last week, the Legislature is now fully subjected to the Open Meetings Law, and the public was allowed into the room in the state Capitol for five minutes. The remainder of the roughly two-hour gathering took place in executive session.

Does the issuing of subpoenas mean that the investigation of Cuomo is nearing an end?

“Oh no, not yet, no no,” Abinanti said. “Let’s face it, we’ve given [Davis Polk] a huge task. There’s a lot of issues for them to look at.”


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Opinion | Republicans Shouldn’t Sign on to the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal

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The conventional wisdom is that the Senate has to prove that it can work, and the test of its functioning is how much of Biden’s spending Republicans endorse.

This is a distorted view of the Senate’s role, which shouldn’t be to get on board a historic spending spree for which Biden won no mandate and which isn’t justified by conditions in the country (it’s not true, for instance, that the nation’s infrastructure is crumbling).

Besides, if bipartisan spending is the test, the Senate just a few weeks ago passed a $200 billion China competition bill by a 68-32 vote. It used to be that $200 billion constituted a lot of money, but now it doesn’t rate, not when there’s $6 trillion on the table.

The infrastructure deal lurched from gloriously alive to dead when Biden explicitly linked its passage to the simultaneous passage of a reconciliation bill with the rest of the Democratic Party’s spending priorities in it.

Then, it revived again when Biden walked this back, and promised a dual track for the two bills.

The fierce Republican insistence on these two tracks doesn’t make much sense and amounts to asking Democrats to allow a decent interval before going ahead with the rest of their spending—Democrats are going to try to pass a reconciliation whether the bipartisan deal passes or not.

At the end of the day, then, there’s only one track: Democrats are going to spend as much money as they possibly can. The bipartisan deal might shave some money off the hard infrastructure priorities (according to Playbook, the White House says it doesn’t want to double dip, on say, electric cars or broadband by getting some money for them in the deal and then getting yet more in the reconciliation bill). But the emphasis is going to blow out spending across the board.

The calculation of Republicans supporting the bill is that a significant bipartisan package can take some of the heat off of Sen. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema in their resistance to the filibuster.

A deal that passes and is signed into law will certainly be a feather in their caps, but it’s hard to believe they’d change their minds on the filibuster if the deal fell apart.

They are both so extensively and adamantly on the record in favor of the filibuster that a climb-down would be politically embarrassing and perilous. They may be sincere in believing that the filibuster is important institutionally to the Senate. But the politics also work by allowing them to brand themselves as a different breed of Democrat.

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If they flip-flip on the filibuster, they release the brake on the left-most parts of the Democratic agenda and find themselves taking a lot of tough votes on priorities dear to the Democratic base.

Republicans supporting the deal also think that it will make passing the subsequent reconciliation bill harder. First, the parts of infrastructure that have the widest support—roads and bridges—will be in the deal and not in the reconciliation bill. Second, the unwelcome tax increases excluded from the bipartisan deal will be in the reconciliation bill.

This isn’t a crazy calculation, although it’s not clearly correct, either. The higher the top-line number is for the reconciliation bill, the harder it is to pass. By allowing Democrats to cleave off some of their spending into a bipartisan deal, the overall number for the reconciliation bill gets smaller. In other words, the bipartisan deal could make the partisan reconciliation easier rather than harder to pass.

If this is true, the deal is bipartisanship in the service of a partisan end.

It not as though Biden is fiscally prudent on all other fronts, except in this one area which he considers a particularly important national investment with unmistakable returns. No, he’s universally profligate. His reckless spending on all fronts (except defense) makes it more imperative for Republicans to stake out a position in four-square opposition.

It’s not as though the bipartisan bill is exemplary legislation, by the way. It resorts to all the usual Beltway gimmicks to create the pretense that it’s paid for, when it’s basically as irresponsible as the rest of the Biden spending.

Bipartisanship has its uses, but so does partisanship. Joe Biden wants to be known for his FDR- and LBJ-like government spending, believing that it’s the key to political success and to an enduring legacy. Fine. Let him and his party own it.


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