Daily Archives: February 28, 2020

Astronomers: Our Planet Might Have Another Moon, Except It’s Tiny – Futurism

Posted: February 28, 2020 at 11:59 pm

Mini-Moon

The Earth might have asecond Moon albeit a tiny and temporary one.

Earth has a new temporarily captured object/Possible mini-moon called 2020 CD3, wrote Kacper Wierzchos, astronomer and self-described comet hunter at the Catalina Sky Survey, in a Tuesday tweet. On the night of Feb. 15, my Catalina Sky Survey teammate Teddy Pruyne and I found a 20th magnitude object.

A team of astronomers at the NASA-funded Catalina Sky Survey near Tuscon, Arizona suspect theres a small asteroid that caught itself in our planets gravity, as CNET reports. The discovery was confirmed when The International Astronomical Unions Minor Planet Center (MPC) announced on Tuesday that Earth has a new temporary captured object.

According to Wierzchos, the comet entered Earths orbit about three years ago. Its diameter is between 1.9 and 3.5 meters (6.2 and 11.5 feet). Despite its tiny size, its a big deal as out of ~ 1 million known asteroids, this is just the second asteroid known to orbit Earth, Wierzchos noted in a follow-up tweet.

The first asteroid tobe discovered orbiting our planet was RH120, also discovered by the Catalina Sky Survey in 2006. It featured a similar diameter, stayed in orbit for 18 months, and was later given minor planet designation in 2008.

Astronomers are now racing to find out more about the unusual space rock.

Further observations and dynamical studies are strongly encouraged, wrote the MPC in its announcement.

READ MORE: Astronomers say Earth might have a new mini-moon [CNET]

More on asteroids: Europes Space Agency Joins Mission to Deflect Killer Asteroids

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Bright-Red "Blood Snow" Is Falling From the Sky in Antarctica – Futurism

Posted: at 11:59 pm

Blood Snow

A Facebook post by Ukraines Ministry of Education and Science shows a research station on an island just off the coast of Antarcticas northernmost peninsula covered in blood snow.

The gory-looking scene is not the result of a seal hunt gone wrong its an astonishingly red-pigmented, microscopic algae called Chlamydomonas nivalis,which thrives in freezing water as the ice melts during Antarcticas record-breaking warm summer.

When summer hits the polar regions, the algae bloom, staining the snow and ice around it in blood-resembling red, as Live Science explains. The phenomenon was first noticed by Aristotle thousands of years ago and is often referred to as watermelon snow thanks to its subtly sweet scent and color.

What makes the blooming algae red is the same stuff that give carrots and watermelons their reddish tint carotenoids.

Its a stunning display of a natural phenomenon but it also creates a nasty feedback loop that causes the ice to melt faster. The red color causes less sunlight to be reflected off the snow, causing it to melt faster, as the Ukrainian team explains in its post. The accelerated melting then causes more algae to grow, completing the cycle.

Its not the only surreal display in the world caused by such a feedback loop, as Live Science points out. Blooming algae caused sea foam to swallow up the coast of a Spanish town in January. Similar algae blooms even caused shores around islands in the East China Sea to glow blue.

READ MORE: Spooky blood snow invades Antarctic island [Live Science]

More on algae: A New Bioreactor Captures as Much Carbon as an Acre of Trees

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Someone Is Trying To Help This Republican Win A Democratic Seat In California He Just Has No Idea Who – BuzzFeed News

Posted: at 11:58 pm

WASHINGTON Earlier this week, voters in Californias 53rd district began receiving mailers touting Chris Stoddard, a Republican running for Congress in the district.

The flyer promoted Stoddards positions on gun rights (supports the 2nd Amendment and a nationwide concealed carry permit), health care (opposes Obamacare), and immigration (supports building the Wall"), among other issues.

Get the Facts, the mailer reads. Vote for your priorities on Tues., March 3.

The second mailer arrived Thursday, outlining Stoddards positions and declaring, Make your voice heard. Vote your conservative priorities.

Its good advertising for Stoddard, a pilot for the US Marine Corps Reserves. The only problem? Stoddard said he has nothing to do with it and has no idea who sent them.

The mailers have no disclosure, as required by the Federal Election Commission for all political mailings and its not clear who sent them. The first mailer was first reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune Thursday. BuzzFeed News obtained photos of the second mailer from Stoddard Friday.

Stoddard said he doesnt want to speculate about where the mailers came from but confirmed to BuzzFeed News in an interview Friday that they werent from him.

Georgette Gmez, a Democrat running in the district who has been endorsed by Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, said she thinks she knows where the mailers are coming from and she believes theyre an effort to knock her out of the race in next Tuesdays primary.

California has a jungle primary system, which sends the top two vote-getters in the primary to the general election regardless of party. According to a recent San Diego Union-Tribune/10News poll, Sara Jacobs, a self-funding Democrat running in the district, is currently favored to finish first in the primary on March 3, polling at about 23%. Gmez and Stoddard polled at 5% and 10%, respectively.

Gmezs campaign told BuzzFeed News it believes the mailer is coming from Jacobs campaign or Forward California, a super PAC formed in January of this year to support her campaign and funded entirely by Jacobs billionaire grandparents. Jacobs campaign has denied sending the mailers.

It's clear that somebody with resources is trying to influence voters, and they're doing it and without even putting disclaimers. That's intentional, Gmez said in an interview with BuzzFeed News Friday. This person that is getting lifted has no money... [Stoddard] has not shown up to any of the debates, so there's clearly somebody trying to lift somebody who, just on paper, he's running. We know for a fact that it's not the Republican Party doing it.

The Gmez campaign filed a complaint with the FEC earlier this week arguing that Jacobs or Forward California is illegally sending mailers without disclosures. (Stoddard said the Gmez campaign never reached out to him to ask if it was him sending the mailers.)

The Jacobs campaign told BuzzFeed News that it didnt send the mailers and doesn't know who did.

This is the type of silly, baseless attack you often see right before Election Day, and voters are tired of it, Morgan Hill, a spokesperson for the Jacobs campaign, said in a statement. Quite frankly, we expect better from fellow Democrats. Sara will stay focused on talking to voters about what she will do to make their lives better, as she has been doing throughout this campaign.

The campaign released a second statement Friday afternoon disavowing the mailers.

This mailer did not come from our campaign. If this mailer was sent out with the intention of helping our campaign, we fully disavow it, said Amy Kuhn, Jacobs' campaign manager. We have been fully transparent in all of our communications and we believe all others should do the same. We believe all pieces of paid communication should state who paid for it.

The Jacobs campaign also ran a television ad this week that compares and contrasts Jacobs to Stoddard and doesn't mention any other candidates in the race.

It is, you know, either an insane coincidence that [the mailer] happened during the same week, or, you know, what we believe is that it came from her, Gmezs campaign manager Elijah Lefkow told BuzzFeed News Friday.

Stoddard said he only learned about both mailers when a friend of his who received them told him about them. The information on the mailer is taken almost exactly from Stoddards website, he said, though in some cases it frames his positions differently than he would.

It says [I] oppose immigration to allow sanctuary cities, it says oppose Obamacare and government-run health care, and it says oppose using tax dollars to pay health care costs for people in the country illegally, Stoddard said. I mean, I'm not 100% against health care for all, [but] I'm not really for the Affordable Care Act, because it did affect a lot of people in a negative way. So, you know, I guess it does align with my views. Its just an interesting way they put it on here.

Right now, he said hell take the free advertising, but he does worry that whoever is sending them could turn against him.

The scary part for me is just that somebody is sending out stuff with my face all over it, you know, pretty much speaking on my behalf, and I didn't allow it, he said. So I don't know if this is a setup where, at some point, one of them's going to come out just blasting me, you know, but without knowing who it came from, it's a little bit scary knowing that people can just do this.

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Why Sanders and the Democratic Party may go head to head – CNN

Posted: at 11:58 pm

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Why Sanders and the Democratic Party may go head to head - CNN

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US election: How left-wing is the Democratic field? – BBC News

Posted: at 11:58 pm

The US Democratic Party is undergoing something of an identity crisis as it debates what direction to take ahead of the looming battle with President Donald Trump, a Republican, in November.

A tension between the so-called progressive wing of the party, led by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, and the moderates like Joe Biden, Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg is dominating the primary elections.

Let's break it down by issues and compare the current field to figures in history and leading politicians from the UK.

When there's a Democratic nominee, we will reprise the format, adding Trump and world leaders.

Taxes will always be a hot-button political issue in the US.

Back in 1992, Bill Clinton came into office with a fairly ambitious plan to reverse many of the Ronald Reagan-era tax cuts, but he still enacted a middle-class tax cut as part of his package. Democrats today are more aggressive.

Amy Klobuchar typifies the "moderate" position of wanting to raise corporate taxes, but not back to pre-Trump levels, and ensure that all billionaires pay at least 30% of their income in taxes. Michael Bloomberg has called for a 5% surtax on income above $5m - part of a plan he says will raise $5tn.

The real action comes with those seeking funding for their more ambitious plans, however. Elizabeth Warren has proposed a tax on all wealth above $50m - property, stock, everything - that would bankroll her education and healthcare programmes.

Across the pond, Margaret Thatcher set the baseline with her conservative, tax-and-regulation-slashing agenda.

Healthcare, the top issue for many Democratic voters, has been the source of spirited debate for all the 2020 candidates.

The biggest differences are between candidates like Pete Buttigieg, who endorses a government-run health insurance option to compete with private companies, and Sanders, who wants a government-run system to replace all private insurance. Warren originally endorsed the Sanders plan, but she's recently called for a more incremental path to getting there.

Obama considered a "public option" (now endorsed by Buttigieg) when pushing his Affordable Care Act through Congress in 2010, but it was considered a political bridge too far. Now, all the Democrats are on the other side of that particular river - although none are advocating an entirely government-run healthcare system like the UK's NHS, which even Conservative Prime Minster Boris Johnson wholeheartedly defends.

Former President Barack Obama strongly backed immigration reform, including giving many undocumented US residents a pathway to citizenship, but he also increased enforcement of US immigration laws and increased deportation of new entrants and those with criminal records. His Vice-President, Joe Biden, has defended the Obama record and promises to restore his policies after Donald Trump's hard-line changes.

Former candidate Julian Castro was the first to propose repealing a law that made entering the US without proper documentation a criminal offence. Castro has since endorsed Warren, and she has adopted his proposal, as well as backing the elimination of private immigration detention centres and the movement by "sanctuary cities" to refuse to co-operate with federal immigration officials.

On the other side of the spectrum sits Nigel Farage, the godfather of Brexit and an ardent foe of the EU's immigration policies.

One of the more spirited exchanges during the January Democratic debate in Iowa was between Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders over how engaged the US should be in the Middle East and the necessity of maintaining US military forces overseas.

The divide between Biden, the former chair of the Senate foreign relations committee, and Sanders, a long-time peace activist, stretches back decades - and was on stark display during Biden's support and Sanders' opposition to the 2002 Iraq War authorising resolution.

Tulsi Gabbard was not on that debate stage, but she is without a doubt the most outspoken non-interventionist in the Democratic field, as the Iraq War veteran regularly rails against what she says are never-ending US "regime change" wars.

Gabbard is still arguably to the right of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, however.

Meanwhile, the position of President Lyndon Baines Johnson - the architect of the Vietnam War - on this chart is a reminder that Democrats could be considerably more hawkish than they are now.

There have always been anti-free-trade currents in the Democratic party, but in 1993 Bill Clinton effectively overcame their opposition to push through the North America Free Trade Agreement (Nafta).

The party has moved rather decisively to the left on trade in recent years, however, with Elizabeth Warren opposing the Trans-Pacific Partnership, among other recent trade deals. Bernie Sanders has gone one step further, opposing Trump's Nafta renegotiation, the US-Mexico-Canada agreement.

Michael Bloomberg is the free-trade outlier in the field, having called on the US to rejoin a renegotiated Trans-Pacific Partnership and vocally denounced Trump's trade war with China. He's still a far cry from British free-trader Tony Blair, who backed the UK's EU membership, wanted to offer membership to Turkey and advocated replacing the British pound with the euro.

Former Vice-President and Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore was once the face of the Democratic Party's environmentalist movement. When he ran for president in 2000, he backed a plan that included using tax credits, market incentives and government technological investments to address climate change and other threats to the globe.

While ambitious at the time, it pales in comparison to the Green New Deal, which all the Democratic candidates have agreed to, at least as a framework to build on. Bloomberg and Tom Steyer, in particular, have made addressing climate change a top issue. While Biden hasn't spent as much time touting his environmental plan, it is - on paper - at least as extensive.

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US election: How left-wing is the Democratic field? - BBC News

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4chan Thinks It Is so Smart, but Its Plan to Mess up the Democratic Primary Is Actually Incredibly Stupid. – Mother Jones

Posted: at 11:58 pm

In 2008, Rush Limbaugh hatched a plan. By March, John McCain had locked down the Republicans nomination, and while Barack Obama held a lead in delegates, he and Hillary Clinton were still duking it out in the Democratic primaries. If their fight could be prolonged, surely the winner would be too bloodied to pose as much of a threat to McCain in November, Limbaugh surmised. Dubbing his plan Operation Chaos, the conservative radio host urged his listeners to show up in open primary states, most notably Indiana, and vote for Clinton in an effort to lengthen the race.

For the last several weeks, right-wingers on the message board 4chan and in r/The_Donald, a subsection of Reddit made up of some of the presidents most toxic online supporters, have talked about encouraging their members to take part in a new operation chaos, starting in South Carolina, the first open primary of the 2020 election cycle. While there have been dozens of posts discussing the prospect, no singular coordinated effort seems to have taken hold, and it is unlikely that even an organized campaign to troll the Democratic primaries would have much effect.

The Left is totally devouring itself and its a Glorious sight to see. Gulag Bernie Bros have so much hate for Pocahontas.. we should Vote for Warren in any open primaries and keep her going, one Trump fan on Reddit wrote in a post that picked up over 1,000 upvotes, likely making it to the large subreddits homepage.

Im voting Bloomberg in the dem primaries. I think all republicans should vote in them for the weakest or most moderate D candidate, a poster wrote in 4chans /pol/ board, the sites politics focused board that has long been a nest of alt-right trolling. My state has an open primary, so I will vote for Yang just to fuck with the DNC, another wrote prior to Andrew Yang dropping out of the race.

Other boards on 4chan have encouraged people to vote for Sanders, reasoning that he is the candidate most likely to bring about a collapse of the United States current order and political systems. (Other users have accused anonymous posters advocating for this accelerationist approach as disingenuous pro-Bernie shills.) Some have encouraged voting for weaker performing candidates like Amy Klobuchar and Pete Buttigieg to help sustain their campaigns and drag out the competitive primary season.

While Limbaugh initially called his 2008 campaign a success, when he has touted it recently he has done so in less certain terms.Actually, it may have worked in Indiana, Limbaugh said on his show in January, before saying that the plots real value was how it got inside Democrats headsa claim thats virtually impossible to measure. At any rate, the Democrats were made paranoid by it, he claimed last month.Theyve never gotten over it.

Clinton did win Indiana over Obama, but her victory was in with what polls at the time suggested how that primary would play out and with results in other states with similar demographics. Democrats and other political observers were skeptical Limbaughs sabotage plan made a difference, and academic research since has found that his efforts were a wash.

In separate studies, Frank Stephenson, an economics professor at Barry College, and Todd Donovan, a political science professor at Western Washington University, both concluded that Limbaughs Operation Chaos in 2008 had little to no impact on the race.

Analysis of exit poll data from 38 states suggests that Republicans may have been voting strategically in Democratic primaries, but there is little evidence that March 4th was unusual in the scope of strategic behavior, Donovan explains in the abstract of his paper. Stephenson, who looked at voting in four states, reached a similar conclusion.

Getting voters to turn out for candidates they actually like is already a difficult proposition. Getting voters to do it for candidates they dont like, even as an act of sabotage, is even harder.

Theres a collective action problem, Stephenson told Mother Jones. People like to talk about monkeying around in other parties elections, but it usually doesnt translate into anything in the real world. Many people dont even show up to vote for candidates that they already support.

According to Donovan, theres a fundamental problem for tricksters like Limbaugh who push such plots. Even if they were to lengthen the contest, evidence suggests that longer, drawn-out primaries dont hurt winning candidates when November comes. Studies have looked into if a contested, long nomination process has an effect on general. The conclusions are that it doesnt, Donovan said.

In a 2015 paper, Robert Hogan of Louisiana State University found that if combative primaries did have an effect, it was one in the opposite direction than anticipated by observers who assume they leave the winner weakened.

Greater divisiveness in a candidates primary leads to a higher vote share in the general election, Hogan concluded. The presence of a primary challenge is found to exert a substantial positive influence for a candidate in the general election, particularly in open seat contests.

Hogan chalks this up to the fact that primaries can help expose voters to far more information about the winning candidate than they would get in a shorter election. The finding suggests that even in cutthroat races, almost any exposure becomes good exposure by the time of the general election. In this way, Hogans analysis suggests that even if Limbaughs intervention had the effect he sought, it would have backfired.

If Limbaugh, one of the rights largest media figures who has a cult of personality and a near-fanatical base of millions of listeners, failed to have a measurable effect in 2008, its hard to believe that aninformal piece-mealed plot launched on fringe internet communities willmake a dent this year.

But 2020 is not 2008, and theres a chance key differences could make such trolling easier and more effective.

As Donovan noted, unlike in 2008, Republicans dont have a competitive election to vote in, potentially giving them more time and energy to raid Democratic elections. But he said he was still skeptical this would actually happen. (South Carolina Republicans canceled their presidential primary this yearprimaries for lower offices wont take place until June.)

Stephenson also pointed out that political movements are formed and shaped differently now than in 2008, with the proliferation of social media. Groups can raise and activate campaigns in diffuse and often little-noticed ways that were only just starting to take shape over a decade ago.

If theres a change, if this year is going to be different somehow, it could happen because of it being a social media environment, he said. Instead of Limbaugh instigating it, people on social media might do it. At the end of the day though, people still have to show up to votewhich is hard.

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4chan Thinks It Is so Smart, but Its Plan to Mess up the Democratic Primary Is Actually Incredibly Stupid. - Mother Jones

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Chris Stirewalt: Why Super Tuesday looks like it will backfire on Democrats – Fox News

Posted: at 11:58 pm

The move by some states including California and Texas to move up their primaries to Super Tuesday appears that it's going to backfire on the Democratic Party, Fox News digital politics editor Chris Stirewalt argued on the "I'll Tell You What" podcast.

Speaking alongside "The Daily Briefing" anchor Dana Perino, Stirewalt said that the party establishment appears to have believed that a candidate like former Vice President Joe Biden would be in a strong position and knock out Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., early in the process.

WHICH STATES VOTE ON SUPER TUESDAY?

"The hope that the Democratic establishment had which is why they stupidly moved up all of their big primaries to a super duper Tuesday with a third of the delegates was that there would be an establishment front-runner strong enough and that they wanted to make it end sooner, so that they could knock out Bernie and go on to the races.

"But instead, what they've done is advantage Sanders. And they did it because they thought they would be in a better position than they are. And they thought they would have a better candidate than shoutin' Joe [Biden]," he pointed out.

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Sanders appears to be in a strong position to have a sizable delegate lead after the March 3 contests, with several candidates splitting up the votes behind him. With both California and Texas,the nations two most populous states,holding primaries on Tuesday, around 40 percent on Americans will be voting on Super Tuesday.

Perino and Stirewalt went on to discuss the various scenarios for how it could play out, with Stirewalt arguing that only Mike Bloomberg is in a position to potentially overperform on Super Tuesday and start to steal some momentum from Sanders going forward.

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Chris Stirewalt: Why Super Tuesday looks like it will backfire on Democrats - Fox News

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Every Democratic Candidates’ ‘Black Agenda,’ Ranked – The Root

Posted: at 11:58 pm

Image: Michael Harriot (The Root), Photo: Win McNamee (Getty Images), Shutterstock

On Saturday, voters in South Carolina will sound the starting gun for the race to the Democratic nomination for president of the United States. After giving white America a head start on selecting the partys nominee, the Democratic Party now turns to South Carolina.

Black voters cast about 6 percent of the combined votes in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada. However, South Carolinas Democratic electorate is 55 percent black and the states black turnout is higher than the national and state participation rate for white voters.

Now that the competitors had the chance to warm up their campaigns in the whiter states, we decided to investigate how the contenders plan to address racism, inequality and other issues that affect black people. To do this, we examined each official candidates campaign literature, as well as their past statements, policies and political histories.

We asked policy experts, legal scholars and political pundits, all of whom were black, to help us devised a policy matrix. Then we graded each plan on a scale of 1 to 10 using the following criteria:

If the candidates campaign literature doesnt include a specific black plan, we examined their individual policy proposals to see what effect their plan would have on black America.

Like her polling numbers, Tulsi Gabbards black agenda is nonexistent.

Amy Klobuchar doesnt have a separate plan for black America. However, heres what we found when we examined her campaigns proposals.

The Greenwood Initiative (pdf) is Michael Bloombergs plan for Economic Justice but he also has a number of other ideas.

*Michael Bloomberg will not be on the ballot in the S.C. primaries.

Bernie Sanders plan for racial justice is only a small part of his agenda for black America.

Tom Steyer recently released his all-encompassing African American Policy (pdf).

Pete Buttigiegs Douglass Plan for Black America is long as fuck. However, no points were deducted for length.

Joe Biden doesnt have a separate plan that spells out his vision for black America but heres what we found by examining his platform:

Elizabeth Warrens plan is called A Working Agenda for Black America.

There you have it. Elizabeth Warrens black agenda is the blackest of them all. Unfortunately, she also seems to be invisible to everyone except Mike Bloomberg. But thats only because she keeps punching him in the face during the debates.

Then again, weve only counted the white votes.

Clarification, 2/28/20, 2:25 p.m: While the College & Student Debt section of Elizabeth Warrens Working Agenda for Black America focuses on student debt, it does propose $50 billion in HBCU funding.

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Every Democratic Candidates' 'Black Agenda,' Ranked - The Root

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Pompeo clashes with Democrats over Iran and coronavirus – CNN

Posted: at 11:58 pm

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Pompeo clashes with Democrats over Iran and coronavirus - CNN

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To Beat Trump, Democrats May Need to Break Out of the ‘Whole Foods’ Bubble – The New York Times

Posted: at 11:58 pm

Election results in places near Whole Foods, Lululemon, Urban Outfitters and Apple

2016 Election Results by Precinct

2016 Election Results by Precinct

In the past decade, Democratic voting strength has become increasingly concentrated in precincts within five miles of current Whole Foods, Lululemon, Urban Outfitters and Apple Store locations. But those precincts made up just 34 percent of the nation's vote in 2016 -- and just 29 percent in battleground states.Note: Battleground states are defined by the 10 states decided by less than four percentage points in 2016: Ariz., Fla., Maine, Minn., Nev., N.H., N.C., Mich., Pa., Wis.

Its no secret that Democratic primary voters prize fall electability. But for all the clamor about progressive versus moderate choices, the obstacles to pulling voters toward Democrats -- particularly in the battleground states -- could prove more cultural than ideological.

Last summer, Senator Elizabeth Warren electrified huge crowds at rallies in Seattle, Austin and New York. The events had one thing in common besides her populist pitch for big structural change. At each stop, her trademark selfie lines were less than a mile from a Whole Foods Market, a Lululemon Athletica and an Urban Outfitters.

These high-end retailers and brands, popular with urban millennials and affluent suburbanites alike, are increasingly correlated with which neighborhoods are trending blue. The drawback for Democrats? Just 34 percent of U.S. voters and only 29 percent of battleground state voters live within five miles of at least one such upmarket retailer, and the Democrats brand is stagnant or in decline everywhere else.

Once dominant in labor halls, Democrats are more ascendant than ever near galleria malls. But the reality for Democrats is if they arent able to stop their slide in less elite locales, President Trumps advantage in the Electoral College could further widen relative to the popular vote.

In fairness, Ms. Warren and the other top 2020 contenders are spending more of their time and energy seeking to woo voters in less cosmopolitan settings. They have no choice: Sixty-nine percent of U.S. voters live closer to a Cracker Barrel, Tractor Supply Company, Hobby Lobby or Bass Pro Shops location than to one of those high-end brands.

But it wasnt always this hard for Democrats. In the 1990s, millions of less religious middle-class heartland voters opted for Democrats, in part because they viewed Republicans as the party of rich people and Bible thumpers who wanted to impose their moral values on the country. Today, many of those same voters might feel they have even less in common with liberal arts graduates in trendy ZIP codes willing to pay $14 for a half liter of avocado oil, $59 for a recycled tie-dye sweatshirt, $158 for yoga tights or $1,449 for a smartphone.

In many ways, what people buy, eat and wear is just another lens through which to view the growing political divide between Americans with college degrees and those without.

Its cultural arrogance, said the veteran Democratic strategist James Carville, who now teaches at Louisiana State University. On taxing the rich, health care, Roe v. Wade, he added, were in the majority on all these issues. But in this country, culture trumps policy. The urbanists voters think theyre too cool for school. And voters pick it up.

His advice to todays Democrats: If you want to win back loggers in northern Wisconsin, stop talking about pronouns and start talking more about corruption in Big Pharma.

Plenty of different factors decide vote choices, race and religion among them. There used to be far more high-income white Republicans than high-income white Democrats; today their numbers are roughly even. But the biggest swing among voters in recent years in parts of Europe, too is happening among whites along educational lines.

This cultural and class disconnect was one of the reasons Mr. Trumps 2016 victory blindsided so many academics, pundits and journalists. He was unpopular relative to past G.O.P. nominees in the wealthy, white and highly college-educated neighborhoods the Whole Foods bubbles where such people tend to live and work.

To quantify the relationship between retail locations and voting, we analyzed retail and precinct-level election data compiled for this article by the U.C.L.A. postdoctoral research fellow Ryne Rohla and Grant Gregory, a pollster for Breakthrough Campaigns.

After examining the voting patterns surrounding over 100 popular American chains, we zeroed in on eight national brands each with retail locations in over 40 states that proved useful predictors.

Of the eight brands, the four correlated with Democratic vote growth were the Amazon-owned organic mecca Whole Foods Market; the Canadian-based yoga and athleisure apparel retailer Lululemon Athletica; the hipster fashion magnet Urban Outfitters; and the glassy, minimalist Apple Store. Lets call these upmarket brands.

The four brands correlated with recent Republican gains were the Southern-themed Cracker Barrel Old Country Store; the booming rural lifestyle chain Tractor Supply Company; the arts-and-crafts giant Hobby Lobby; and the outdoor recreation hub Bass Pro Shops. Well call these down-home brands.

Next, we divided the countrys electorate based on the proximity of these stores to the geometric centers of Americas more than 169,000 voting precincts into three groups:

Upmarket bubbles: voters living less than five miles from a current Whole Foods, Lululemon, Apple Store or Urban Outfitters location (34 percent of the electorate in 2016).

Upmarket bubbles are within five miles of a Whole Foods, Lululemon, Apple Store or Urban Outfitters location.

Down-home zones: voters living less than 10 miles from a current Cracker Barrel, Tractor Supply, Bass Pro Shop or Hobby Lobby location (these stores tend to be in less densely populated areas) but more than five miles from the nearest upmarket retail location (50 percent of the electorate in 2016).

Down-home zones are within 10 miles of a Cracker Barrel, Tractor Supply, Bass Pro Shop or Hobby Lobby but at least five miles away from an upmarket location.

Chain-sparse communities: voters who dont live close enough to any of these retail stores to fall into either category (16 percent of the electorate in 2016).

A chain-sparse community is everywhere else.

The good news for Democrats: Over the past few election cycles, theyve gained a lot of ground among voters in upmarket bubbles. In 2016, Hillary Clinton carried them by 31 percentage points, up from Barack Obamas 26-point margin in 2012. And among the 4 percent of voters within one mile of a current Whole Foods/Lululemon/Urban Outfitters/Apple Store location, Mrs. Clinton won by 45 points, up from Mr. Obamas 36-point margin in 2012.

This retail realignment was also on display in the 2018 midterms: Of the 43 districts Democrats wrested from G.O.P. control to take back the House, 65 percent contained a Whole Foods Market, compared with 38 percent of all districts that elected a Republican. And both states where Senate Democrats scored gains Arizona and Nevada have upmarket numbers above the national average.

But the challenge for Democrats is that relatively few voters, especially in Electoral College battleground states, live in these upmarket bubbles.

Consider that in the most recent presidential election, 53 percent of all California voters and 57 percent of all Massachusetts voters lived within five miles of a current Whole Foods, Lululemon, Urban Outfitters or Apple Store location. But in electoral battlegrounds, just 33 percent of voters in Florida, 32 percent in Pennsylvania, 24 percent in North Carolina, 20 percent in Wisconsin and 19 percent in Michigan did.

In 2016, among the roughly half of U.S. voters who live in down-home zones think of places like Saginaw, Mich.; Erie, Pa.; or Green Bay, Wis. Mrs. Clinton lost by 10 points, worse than Mr. Obamas six-point loss in 2012 and his two-point loss in 2008. And among the 16 percent of voters who dont live particularly close to one of these retail brands at all, she lost by 22 points, far worse than Mr. Obamas 11-point loss in 2012 and his six-point loss in 2008.

And all three House districts and all four states Florida, Indiana, Missouri and North Dakota where Republicans gained House or Senate seats from Democrats in 2018 feature either down-home or chain-sparse shares well above the national average.

Whats more, the below-average upmarket shares in Minnesota (30 percent), New Hampshire (22 percent) and Maine (11 percent) suggest Mr. Trump might even have some cultural upside in a few states Mrs. Clinton narrowly carried.

If residential patterns around retail are electoral destiny, trends suggest the Democrats future lies in the Southwest and Sun Belt. Of the six states Mr. Trump carried by less than four points in 2016, Arizona stands out for an upmarket share (37 percent) higher than the nations a good sign for Democrats in that increasingly metropolitan, diverse state.

Democrats might also be encouraged that Texas upmarket share (33 percent) is also higher than those of many other traditional battlegrounds. But President Trumps 2016 margin of victory in Texas was nine points still a lot of ground for the 2020 Democratic nominee to make up.

There will always be plenty of voters who defy stereotypes: Republicans who shop at Whole Foods and Lululemon, or Democrats who stop at Cracker Barrel on road trips. But much as retail chains have effectively micro-segmented consumers to map where new locations will perform best as Whole Foods has done around clusters of college graduates candidates and parties can increasingly depend on lifestyle brand data to predict voter behavior.

Perhaps no presidential candidate has flaunted wealth to the degree Mr. Trump has. But from construction sites to Howard Stern call-ins to WWE appearances, he also spent decades before becoming a politician developing a blue-collar persona. In 2016, as the G.O.P. nominee, he defied history by winning a higher share of low-income whites than high-income whites. And the deepening fault lines of elite versus anti-elite could help Mr. Trump once again this November no matter the Democratic nominees ideological orientation.

Many Democrats who succeeded in 2018 such as the Marine veteran Conor Lamb in a Pennsylvania House race, the water rights lawyer Xochitl Torres Small in a New Mexico House race and Senator Sherrod Brown, a longtime opponent of job outsourcing, in his re-election in Ohio had profiles that appealed across this chasm. But it remains to be seen whether the Democratic presidential nominee will be someone whose background and message can bridge the gap.

Most Americans have already chosen sides for the November election, and its easy to believe there isnt all that much sorting left to do. Its also easy to view the divide as purely urban versus rural. But something all eight of the retailers in this article have in common is a growing presence in the suburbs. That should serve as a reminder that when it comes to elections, not all suburbs look or behave alike.

To beat Mr. Trump, Democrats will probably need a nominee who can relate to people in the modest suburbs of Harrisburg, Pa.; Eau Claire, Wis.; and Fayetteville, N.C. not just the chic suburbs of San Francisco, Dallas and Washington, D.C.

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To Beat Trump, Democrats May Need to Break Out of the 'Whole Foods' Bubble - The New York Times

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