Here are five things that caught my attention!
Voters v. Democrats: If you are a Democrat, you should take some time to read these focus group findings among Biden/Youngkin voters in VA. VA isn’t CA, and every community is unique, but this is really insightful and instructive for how the party is being viewed today. My big takeaways are that people are not satisfied with the direction of the country and they’re not hearing solutions from us on the big economic, kitchen table issues (getting people back to work, addressing rising costs). We have to do a better job of understanding how voters see us and speaking more directly to their concerns.
Invisible ‘Missing Workers’: Labor shortages are on everyone’s minds these days, but there’s a particular type of labor shortage that no one is really talking about -- the shortage of skilled immigrant workers. Due to a combination of Trump-era immigration policies and COVID related lockdowns, immigration agencies stopped issuing and renewing work visas. I recommend this great piece by the Post’s Catherine Rampell that delves into how it contributed to fewer doctors and healthcare professionals on the frontlines and affected so many other critical industries.
Don’t Phone It In: How attached are you to your phone? New research finds that we’re using our cell phones while doing all sorts of routine activities -- watching television, walking down the street, walking our dogs. It doesn’t stop there though. Even life’s most intimate and extraordinary moments -- weddings, funerals, even during sex -- we’re still on our phones! I get it, the fear of feeling disconnected is real. But as we gather with our family and closest friends this holiday season, I hope we all get a chance to take a break from being connected to everything else in the world, and just be present for the people that we get to share this time with.
The symptom is not the disease: It’s sometimes difficult to distinguish between signs that point to a problem and the problem itself. In its worthy quest to realize racial equity in college admissions, the University of California system decided it would no longer allow consideration of standardized tests like the SAT and ACT. I don’t feel strongly about how these tests should be factored into various decisions (though there does seem to be plenty of evidence that these tests don’t amplify racial disparities), but I do have a problem with improved means to unimproved ends, and I do have a problem with “solutions” that don’t get to addressing the root causes of disparate outcomes. If your canaries aren’t making it out of the coal mine, you might have bigger problems than dead canaries.
Remembering ‘Franksgiving’: Here’s a little bit of Thanksgiving political history for you. In 1939, FDR moved Thanksgiving one week earlier to extend the Christmas shopping season by a week and boost consumer spending. It was not his finest moment as President. Check out this flashback piece to give you some trivia to discuss as you avoid discussing today’s politics with the family.