« The Weeds

The right to vote, constrained

2021-03-09

Matt and Dara are joined by Vox Senior Correspondent Ian Millhiser to talk through the several ongoing legal challenges being initiated by the GOP to curtail and hinder the right to vote in America. They talk through what has become of the Voting Rights Act, H.R. 1, as well as landmark Supreme Court cases of the past few decades — including the ones yet to be decided. Then, some research is discussed that examines the effect of private equity on nursing home patient welfare. Spoiler alert: Matt glimpses the abyss.

Resources:

"The new Republican war on voting rights, explained" by Ian Millhiser, Vox (Mar. 9, 2021)

White paper

Hosts:

Matt Yglesias (@mattyglesias), Slowboring.com

Dara Lind (@DLind), Immigration Reporter, ProPublica

Ian Millhiser (@imillhiser), Senior Correspondent, Vox

Credits:

Erikk Geannikis, Editor and Producer

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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change our environment and working towards a better future, learn more it Indigo Ag com, Slash Reechoed, so you know I've, you think we're doing a bad job. You can send us, send me an email and complain. Then you know I won't ride back to your well maximized profits to do this. Work shrinking your own electorate to own the labs Hello welcome to another episode of the weeds on the box media podcast network. I'm Matthew, Glacius here with boxes in milk, Heiser and Republic, is Dara Lind Ian glad to have you back on the weeds, how's it going to be here, although, sadly, I bring depressing news about the world of voting rights today. Ah well, so, ok, so after Democrats stall, the twenty twenty election
law, because the state legislatures have been taking advantage of. Gimme. The constitution puts electoral administration largely. Instead, and so they have the opportunity to try to prevent this kind of fraud from happening in the future and I gotta say, but whenever I read these stories like nine billion election restrictions are coming down. The pike is I always like I like process that headline. I see it with my my mind, and I figure I don't know, this- can be some lawsuits- a real. I never read into the details like what what's actually going, so I think there's two inner locking stories here one is, as you said, there's a lot of state legislatures and where are seeing the most action is in Georgia in Arizona which are the two states that recently flipped from red to Blue and they're, trying to put them back there
Other part of the story is that the Supreme Court has been chipping away our voting rights laws really for a decade now, just last week they heard a case that potentially could be the death blow to the vote, Rights ACT which would open the door to a lot of sort of way voter discrimination on by state legislatures answer the region These flows are interlocking is because what happens? Is the Supreme Court creates more space for state legislatures to make it harder to vote? The state legit agers move into that space at sometimes they get more. Massive than the Supreme Court has allowed them to go which, to a new law suit and then, when the Supreme Court says, oh yeah, that thing that you did that previously went too far. Are we now get to say it doesn't go too far anymore, so the cycle just keeps on repeating in that way. So, but so what's what's what's fresh Georgian Arizona? What's let's
happened so Georgia, the news is very fresh. The Senate passed a bill yesterday, which contains a bunch of voting restrictions. The house passed a similar but not identical bill on last week, and for what I stand. There are some real disagreements about some of the details of these bills, so there's gonna have to be so negotiating there. I can go through just a short list of some ideas that are on the table here. They want to risk correct or eliminate Sunday voting and a big reason. Why is because black churches do souls to the pole, drives on Sundays. So it's a great opportunity to prevent black Democrats from doing that, there's propose to strengthen voter. I d there's proposals to
amid or eliminate the use of drop boxes where someone can just go and deposit their ballot. When the elections office is closed, there's a ban on something called wine warming, which is just when volunteers pass out water and shares and stuff to people who are waiting in line to make them more comfortable and then the biggest thing- and this is the new thing- because in twenty twenty Democrats were much more lady use. Mail in ballots is that the House bill would make it hard to vote by mail and the Senate bill, I believe, would make it that most people in Georgia just couldn't vote by mail at all. Only certain people would be allowed to do so so sure about this As you know, it's not exactly as s Republican controlled, stateless persons, yours have been ignored.
In voting access right leg. There were like obviously waves upon waves of lawsuits in twenty twenty. I mean good Lord. I remember back to election Eve in Twentieth or an being in Ohio and genuinely not being clear what hours the Poles would be opened the next day, because you know but he was waiting on the federal losses in those cases to come down. So it's not exactly as if you know this is totally new territory. So what's mode reading, I mean a kind of the vote by mail thing, because obviously the pandemic made that a very distinctive form voting in two thousand and twenty, where it hadn't been previously but kind of. Why else are these things that haven't previously been legislative yet yeah, I mean, I think the semi optimistic case for Democrats here is your right that Georgia has been controlled by Republicans for a long time and by if you have any doubts, of the history of Georgia and voting. It won't surprise you that they are an early adopter
voting restrictions, they were the first adopters voter. I d on there's a big fight, a while back signature matching whether your ballot could be thrown out, because your signature look differently than it did the last time you signed it, and so, like the Good NEWS for Mc Grath is already a lot of voting restrictions in Georgia and they still managed to win and twenty Twond. The biggest new thing here is this vote by male dispute, what happened in twenty twenty. Is that Donald Trump for reasons that don't really make any sense decided to sped Bob said Botz capping ants voting by bail and falsely claiming that there was that there were. Lot of fraud and telling republic is not to vote by male. Add so Democrats voted by male in droves, because they didn't want to get covert. Nineteen and Republicans to their leader and were much less likely to vote by mail so now
you have a lot of republican state law makers, although not all I mean they're, there are some republicans. You think this is a bad idea, but just a lot of republican state law which were say well since more Democrats voted by mail last time around. If we make it harder to vote by bail, that's gotta be great for us, but so I'll get a working. I'm I'm curious about as somebody who grubbin in New York and has spent most of my life and in the northeast is like that this, like the delta here, Then there is the level right and it's sort of one been my impression that voting access was like structurally, I should say access, but that, but that, like the sunbelt had more flexible voting me swayed a lot more about by male, allow more early voting. I was kind of shocked at the first time. Might my Inlaws in Texas told me about voting where you can like drive to the town clerks office?
two weeks before election day for no reason and deal I get here. So I'm thirty for hours in New York, it's like you have to read: stir like sided blind you know it's three days in advance or we are right and so and then you know we would talk a lot about voting rights or actions. Even Sesar say voting rights like like racial gerrymandering, the southern states, Wade, specific discriminatory practices. So are we are we talking about a situation in which, if these laws go through, Georgia will become like the hardest place in America to vote, or it's going from unusually easy to about? Have gee. I need to get a good question. I mean regionally. If you look at the United States, like the best placed to vote is the western. Is the western states like those are the states where your most likely to have a law that automatically males you about it, a lot of
use like this. His nose to design a place like Colorado in or again that's just designed to make it as easy as possible to vote. So if you live Well, congratulations like those of those have historically been the best state, the North EAST, for reasons make a lot of. I mean in some sense to me like that, because there isn't the same racial legacy there there pry had in the same political movements to make it easier to vote on you miss she party machines that often benefit from having to be hard vote, but like New York's laws, are terrible and and have been terrible for real, long time in the south, what you tend to see is that voting laws that make it easy to vote without really benefiting either party tend to go through an historically there's, a wealth of littered with some of the White papers
This topic has titles like voting by mail does not benefit either party. I beheld the literature is really clear up the debts that, prior to twenty two voting by male didn't benefit anyone answer in the south, like I think law makers will like well. You know I wanted to be easy for me to vote add since this doesn't hurt my party. Let's do it, what new is, like I said, since twenty twenty was a different election, largely because of tromp railing against, and by male there's. Now many Republicans were who think that voting by male benefits Democrats ashes that change the politics in a region. Air partisan voting walls are still very common sue. And maybe it given the kind of regional differences. It might be helpful to turn our attention a little bit to Arizona which Regionally has a very different legacy. So, what's going on there yeah Arizona like in their laws are as good as they Colorado or or again, but they do
you have any one cannot can request about. It's called no excuse absentee balloting, which is the rule stage? You don't it to give an excuse in order to get an absentee ballot. The also something called a permanent list where you can just sign up and say from now on. I'm always gonna vote by absentee put me on the permanent list, and then every time there is a lack of your automatically send about in the mail it's not as good as Colorado. Butts close, I mean I am hedging a bit here, because the legislative processes further along in Georgia than it is in Arizona so like I dont, want to say too in actively what Arizona is going to do, because there's just a bunch of bills as it has been introduced by its similar to what you see in Georgia, leave that there's a voter Idee bill to put in place a strict voter ideal, all there's a bill to get rid of the permanent lest their various attempt. I think, there's things like a dozen different bills and I'll confess that I have
at all of them that have some restriction on voting by mail? So I think what you see in Arizona is an effort to Arizona more like Georgia potentially more like New York when in the past asked Arizona like. Why hasn't been. You know, like the good states like Colorado in Oregon, it has a history.
We been more like cattle Colorado war again, and so one thing that that has been interesting to me watching us play out right is that should have classic voting. Is politics? You know when I think back to carry Bush in two thousand, for was the Democrats? Have this much more down scale political coalition read a lot of black and latino voters, I'm some tendency of more educated people to be Democrats, but a mark two tendency, poor people to be ass, grads. You know what sort of controls, along with various other things right, which made it a plausible that or arbitrary impediments to vote I hoped Republicans and there's an empirical literature about like a rainy days. Republicans would do better this also an empirical literature now questioning the use of the rain instrument. I think that any of US
the whole green thing in this case was like theoretically plausible, because what what everybody thought basically was dead, crowds were sort of more marginal, more likely to be shift workers, various kinds of things, and so just like easier to vote. A broader electorate will be more democratic up. The big political trends in the recent cycles have all sort of tended to cut against right wing. Like I mean, if you look like wider Democrats, win in Georgia, ride like what why did georgeous flip? It was a big change in the political sentiments of educated, suburban AIDS was like the biggest driver of change, and those filled me like that the last people who we're gonna be deterred from voting by sort of mild impediment. Sweat like these are your your high social capital. Really it's also frankly, a little bit.
Difficult to imagine those people in practice being the ones targeted by voting restrictions. Rightly that's a politically You know in enfranchised group that, even if they didn't vote for Republicans at the time the balance in the last election and have Republicans date, legislators- you know their their complaints are going to do. Heard in the state elections. Commission is unlikely to put the pin point on them, specifically yeah. No, these are excellent points, I mean so like what might issue with the voting. Literature says, is that economic security correlate with being a high propensity, voter and also having strong community ties, can correlate with being a high propensity voter and often that just logistical reasons. I've lived in the same place for several years, so I know where my precinct is AD I'm someone who still in the stage of life what I'd transient. I might forget, Reggie
I might not know where to go to vote, and so it makes me less likely to vote and you're right that the trend is that upper middle class white voters who are very high propensity voters are trending towards Democrats and low trust. Voters and low trust tends to correlate with your less security are trending towards Republicans. So I Think that a lot of tactics you know what Stacy Abrams has referred to as efforts to make not voting like user error, where you just try to make it harder to vote without actually preventing people from voting. I'm not sure that those are going to benefit Republicans as much as they have in the asked the flip side of this, and here I want to go back to what I was saying earlier about the Supreme Court and the Voting Rights ACT like the one trend that is still constant is that African Americans
welcoming, leave vote for Democrats, you trot made slight gains amongst African Americans in twenty twenty, but not enormous gains me they're. Still over. Eighty percent of black people vote for Democrats, and I think over sixty percent of Latinos vote for Democrats, and so as the Supreme Court starts, dismantling safeguards against racial voter discrimination. It means that Republicans can use race as a proxy to identify where the democratic communities are and that's why. I think that that's that's so worrisome way like after the election read like trumps, how rhetoric about pencilled aid?
was like. Are there was others voter fraud in Philadelphia? But then, if you look at the trends like Trump actually do better in Philadelphia and worse in every other county, rather we doesn't make any sense at the same time like the level of the democratic vote in Philadelphia is still really really high rate so like, if you can just like get fewer people in Philadelphia to vote by, that hopes were public goods even though the democratic gains are coming from the right right, it's it's. It's a big stock of democratic voters in black rural communities, Georgia right like where again like a binding worse in african american rural areas and George young Hillary Clinton did but, like you still got majority of those votes. I been in both cases like the level versus the trend, matters yeah, and only one thing. I find interesting. The at least the house version of the Georgia bill
includes a provision that attended to shorten lines at poles like its attended to make sure that precincts strip you date according to where people actually are. I think the logic behind that is because the authors of the bill, think that voting by mail is bad, and so, if they're gonna cut off voting by male, they think make it easier to vote in person you, along with the good good, but s interesting about that is why The prior rounds of voter suppression in places like Georgia, Arizona was that precincts were moved to white area Precincts were moved to areas where EU precincts endemic edit areas, and particularly in black and brown areas, were closed down and so ironically, if what this bill does it shut down voting by mail which may not actually benefit, their party at all. While opening up more precincts in Atlanta, you, I don't think as the intent of the drafters, but they could. Why did making it easier for Democrats to win
That is very interesting. They just gonna put against the like the theory that I was listening to kind of the lake trajectory that matters laying out insane. It really Even though this is it explicitly articulated very few legislators would say that this is what they believe. Like that's a very robust here, if whose both count right. It's essentially like yours spawns to losing highly politically enfranchise. The middle class suburban voters is to punish these. The same people, who you bleed for losing the election. When the composition of your electorate is different, it isn't interesting thing to to watch for injured enders. Can I speak to you the dish connect between in what you're describing is a very clear empirical literature and the way that these things kind of get politically raised, which is this very zero sum. If it helped our opponents in previous elections, it is going her eyes? Usually not only you. No kind of short circuits alot of debates around. You know precisely
in versus mobilization in assuming that the composition of the elect the composition of each party's coalition is going to be identical from election to election day, also does appear to run up right against the kind of frontier of voting rights litigation. Because we ve seen increasingly that the greater latitude there exists to discriminate based on partisanship, rightly easier. It is to use, as the instrument of that raise. You know like us, exactly the reasons that you already described, and so that's kind of where the question of at what point easy, considered. Impermissible, To attempt to gerrymander for partisanship visa gerrymandering for racism in so maybe we should you know to what the case only in front of the Supreme Court. Isn't what do you think that's like the change in the election or landscape sure
before I described that case. I just wanna briefly say that, like one thing that I really struggle with, is I don't know who the cynics are and who the suckers are? Amongst the people who are pushing he's voting laws and like what I by that is, I assume there some universe of people who are just cause tune villains adds like actually sit down and say we don't want black people to vote. How can we prevent black people for voting and move? Ah, your here's, a bill, we're gonna pass, but I think there's a lot of republican state law makers who actually believe that vote or fraud is a big problem and my empirically there's no evidence that, but I think that they are sincere and if you I sincerely believe that there was a crisis of or by male fraud or if you see We believe that, like black churches are bossing in dead people to vote through times in Atlanta then why? I guess some of these walls make sense, and I mean I, I honestly
I know who the people are, who are you know telling the lies and who the people are who were believing the lies but Let's talk about the Supreme Court, yeah yeah, so briefly on the voting rights acts in the Voting Rights ACT as the law signed by Lyndon Johnson that basically ended the Jim Crow voter regime, where in many states it was nearly impossible for african Americans exercise political power. And so there's three basic prongs. The voting rights at the first is pre clearance in states of the history of racist election laws. They had to go. Officials in Washington DC and basically get permission every time they wanted to change their election law to make sure that they weren't doing anything races on this. I can promise called the intent test and that's just if a stately,
Slater or local legislature. Naxa new voting policy with the intent of discriminating on the basis of race it struck down, and the third prong is called the results. Tat said I'll just rebel the statute here, It prohibits state balls or local laws that results. Denial or abridgment of the right of a citizen of the United States to vote on account of race or collar so Many laws that have an disparate impact on on voters of color are struck down. Under this results. Task The problem is that it shall be county, which was a two thousand thirteen decision. This report basically got rid of pre, clear at stake, if they are eliminated, the formula which determine which states are subject to it. In a two thousand eighteen opinion called Abbot repress the Supreme Court impose such a high burden of
Ruth on Plainness, alleging racist intent that its virtually impossible to prove. I mean you have to have a really egregious case, to wit it now, and then this third key it's called burn, ravaged, VD and see the plaintiffs want to basically do the same thing to the results. Tat like the results. S would still be on the box, but will be so weak that it would be virtually meaningless, and if you don't have free Clarence you don't it intent test and you don't have the results test. Then you don't have a voting rights ACT, which means you don't have any safeguards against racism and voting. As always in the weeks between when the Supreme Court first agrees to hear case and when the final decision comes out there like a range of potential outcome, and it's never totally clear. You know, even when it is clear on which side the justices are going to rule, which it often isn't. It's not at all clear whether what's going to happen. Is essentially a one. Decision or is going to totally reshape the landscape anything of workers through the range of outcomes here and what
You think you most likely in either with the carry out. This is always judicial to leave. Reading yeah I mean I emerged more optimistic for voting rights out of the oral argument that I was going into it, and that doesn't mean that I, I think that's the decision is going to be good for voting rights. I think it is going to be less horrific for rights than I than I thought when I read the breeds. So let me back opposite there's two Arizona laws that are being challenged here. One law means that, if you vote in the wrong precinct your ballot thrown out. I'm unlike this is this is, pretty marginal incursion on voting rights, and we were talking about a universe of a few thousand voters who are disenfranchised by this. You have not if thousands or millions so it's all ready kind of a week, but I mean, I want to say wheat, but it is not the strongest voting rights case and so the errors YO p Saul sensible, let shoot for the moon here and they
argued in their brief that any law basically any law that regulates the time place and manner of voting is acceptable, and there we all got up and the and Justice Kagan said so You're saying that a state could require all voting to take place at a country club and the lawyer realized, he was a trouble and quickly backed away so like they asked for two botch and The Arizona attorney general Mark burner vetches is the other lawyer involved in this case This argument is essentially that states can take advantage of existing racial disparities, but they can create them so like. If us for example, were to say in order to vote, you have to be a country, music fat. You know on the we that more white people as the country music, so this will prevent man why people from voting the states argue bid is essentially will we didn't cause black people, do not listen to country music we didn't cause led Tito's, did not listen to cut,
music. So it's not our fault that this law is discriminating against them and I dont think that arguments gonna fly either because, like again, that's that's just asking for too much So I mean I came out of the Supreme Court argument, convinced that the Supreme Court or yours convinces. I could be that the Supreme Court is going to up hold the Arizona voter restrictions at issue? In this case, I did not come out to Vince they're going to go as far as the part of these parties want them to go, because these parties just ask for way too much here, and so it might be two or three other cases before the movers. Ass. It is fully dismantled, but you know for reasons I can get into a bit. I think it's very likely Emmy will opt out his the reason, John Roberts He was in the Justice Department in nineteen. Eighty two was the point person I d, get ragged to veto the bill that created the results test at ease.
Most moderate member of the republican majority on the Supreme Court, so I'm pretty cool. Read: the results test is in trouble. I dont naturally think that this is going to be the case that gets rid of it entirely. Let's take a break, and I gonna I wanna devils, advocate a little about this support, for this episode comes from America's leading beverage companies who are working together to reduce plastic waste in our environment. Not all plastic has the same. America's beverage companies are carefully designing. One hundred percent recyclable plastic bottles, including the cap's their bottles, are made to be remained, and their investing in community recycling programmes to help get more bottles back, so they can be turned into materials used to make new bottles that completes the circle and reduces plastic waste. Please help get every bottle back, learn more at every bottle, back dot org. If the last year's hottest anything it's that we don't know what
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our see y see p s, dot org. So something always strikes me, but when we see things is that for historical reasons, There is state administration of elections in the United States, then, for another set of historical reasons. There is like federal premium. Jim of that State administration in cases of racial discrimination right and at the time that the Voting Rights ACT was established racial.
Discrimination in voting was like genuinely racial discrimination in voting right, like the purpose of it, was to make it so that black people could not exert political power not just to influence general actions right, but that, like, if you were a southern politician somewhere, who thought they could gain some momentary advantage by mobilizing black voters on your behalf, you would face of, warming backlash from the white community, which was like really really committed to upholding segregation, white supremacy and Jim Crow conservatives would not have looked at TIM Scott and then, like fair. Now ass. You know like he agrees with us on the main issue swayed and it seems to me that, like that is legitimately not what is happening in these voting access conferences, like Republicans, are trying to win elections and they like many
people who engage in marketing or electioneering arrears. Things have noticed that racial identity correlates with vote choice and that, like you, buy, do things to manipulate that fact. But, like both parties like genuinely welcome like electoral support from people of all races, if they in fact support ride like their non white members of both parties. Things like that, and so I don't think that it is good when people are unable to vote or when partisans manipulate voting rules for advantage, but like, legally speaking, the Voting Rights ACT as a bout, a subject that is different from the current contestation of of politics and like I can I
see it John Roberts as well, but I mean before even Johnson would like things that he actually knows like the two things that strike me hearing, you talk that through When is the reason that African Americans vote overwhelmingly democratic is because of the partisan realignment that started with the civil rights are ruining rights ACT then it he's a little bit circular to say that bit Republicans acting on that fact, how divorced from the history of racial discrimination that caused the voting rights after the necessary to begin with. The other thing is what you are talking about in the first second, which is the Eu in at even after an election where you know on the derivative, especially like black and brown, men were more likely to vote for Republicans at the top of it to get them. They had been in previous elections, the response from republican state legislatures is to target lower
black and brown communities and building right. So it does kind of undermine the argument that, yes, there is genuine contestation for votes all across the spectrum. There is also the phenomenon of attempting to suppress boats from their side, which is a form of contestation but kind written ethic need. I would not necessarily behind you, want super held the democracy that it is also the case that there are exceptions being made for it's not exactly like anyone's trying to write a law that says that tries to carve out the blocks of on white voters warm most likely to move into the republican coalition in the future. Let me put it another way, don't like I hear a story about an effort to make it hard for college students to vote I dont think to myself. I will that's fine, because it's not racist readily
you just like it. That also c span right, like it, is motivated by the same desire as rules that try to make it hard for African Americans devout, which is like Republicans, want to win the election and it's bad for the same reason, which is that, like it should be easy to vote as a matter of principle and the fact that, like one like it's a real fast like an tunnies job is to try to win the case for his client. So, like obviously like you grab onto the statutes and constitutional provisions that greatness and like there is no like fifteenth amendment for college students, but like it just like between the three of us and hundreds assets, You like. It it seems like the actual issue. Here is partisan politics
like a general question about shouldn't, we all live in sort of Oregon Postal Voting Paradise and like not really a racial quest, so I agree that, like the difference between what's happening now and what happened in, say, the nineteenth fifties in the in the nineteen fifties you had. Southern law makers, sweated ideological commitment to white supremacy Unita like that, like their belief, was that white people should rule black people should be excluded. Power and so we're going to design and electoral regime that ensures that outcome, Now you have Republicans whose ideological commitment is that Republican should rule and Democrats should be excluded from power. And you know they're happy that TIM, Scott or Clarence, Thomas or you do so Anyone who agrees with them vote for a Republican, but they use race as a proxy to identify where the Democrats are now That said, I mean the nice thing
being a lawyer is like. I don't necessarily have to have these philosophical conversations. I can just look at what the law says at my what happened in nineteen eighty, two with that amendment to the Voting Rights ACT. That I mentioned, is the Supreme Court set in nineteen. Eighty basically yeah we're ray that the only thing the Voting Rights ACT should do is prevent racist and tat, though that was the case. Cod are sitting be ovine, avi bold and they said that in order to win the case under the Voting Rights ACT, you had to show that the wall was an act with racist intent and even in the nineteen eighties voting rights advocates relies wait a SEC it that's that's how this works then. That's always others works anymore answer. They wrote this results tests which says that anyone that results in a bad outcome for minority voters. Even if there wasn't racist can tat. Intent is potential vulnerable to the Voting Rights ACT. There was a huge debate over it. You John round
it was the guy arguing. No, the only thing that should batteries, racist intent and President Reagan to his credit, disagreed with him. So why I agree like the sword of tactics that, if that are being used now, are motivated by diff for different reasons. Then, in the nineteen fifties, but like Congress already had this debate and they passed a law saying that, even if the law is motivated by racist intent, there Still, we still don't want it to go through. So I guess, It brings us to the dormant legislator, french and all that is right, because the fact of the matter is that years since, shall can either are plenty of efforts to, or you know, to respond the end this is when does it report make issues decisions like this. There will always be a passage in the majority decision things and they like, if Congress thinks that this thing
look down, is in fact something the federal government ought to do than Congress needs to write a new law that allows for this, because the weighting in the wind, I've had it on the book, since nineteen sixty five is not again was so there really is an argument that could be made the congressional inaction today, is its own form of action and that you know the x, the desire of the Congress, is that this should contain. To be a court battle it means that the Voting Rights ACT she paid to be eroded away by the legislative process and that there is no need to kind of shored up that. What we are seeing this year is an effort from them that's, who obviously that you ve been proposing plenty of bills to not. We re authorized to rethink their voting rights that were seeing an effort, this, your tacky put that pretty high on the legislative docket, making it possible that year with unified democratic control, the government could actually tat. So can you took us,
What the Democrats had in mind to address all of this year. I mean this is a big priority for democratic leadership, light like in every new house. The ten. So every bill has a number and the first ten else, eighty one, eighty two, eighty three, eighty four are reserved for the leaderships top priorities and the big voting. To build that just pass. The house is HR one. So, like that's Nancy, please wriggling. This is the thing that we care most about and as there's a copy in bill that eight hour, for which has a lot of fixes the Voting Rights ACT. So this is an Democrats care a lot about it us pass, the house- and I mean what's interesting about this bill- is it combines? I mean a lot the litigators and like the voting rights experts who have been fighting. These cases were very involved in drafting this bill and you know, went through It said, okay, like here's the thing that this court did, that we didn't likes we're gonna, reverse that you know it
targets, a lot of things that Democrats haven't liked for a long time like voter, I d a provide, for automatic for same day, registration eliminated. Voter Idee laws forbid certain kind of voting, purges H. Our four would bring back pre clearance. It would make it easier for space to be bailed in meaning that states that historically have not been subject to pre clearance could potentially be subject. States like Wisconsin and then you know it requires early voting and then pride. The biggest thing is that it requires in and conditions in order to draw legislative districts in an effort to get to get rid of gerrymandering. So democrat really want this to happen with two possible exceptions, The issue is that there is no way this is getting through the Senate, as so long as filibuster can block it, because Republicans white, what the Supreme Court's been doing to voting rights and benefits that near they. They like these walls that state legislatures have been passing a benefit
them, they like gerrymander, and so the question is whether Senator Joe Mansion and Senator Kirsten Cinema, who appear to be the whole. Out on maintaining the filibuster, our will. To say, and here they don't actually have to eliminate the filibuster yo, there's lots of ways that they can create a carve out or that they can make it harder to Philip. Master, without limiting it altogether. Joe mansion recently signal these open to that. The question is whether they care enough about Poland, our democracy out of this downward spiral that they are willing find some way around the filibuster, so that this can pass the Senate with only democratic votes. You know even talk to see the meter provisions of the Bell back, maybe We hope to bring those a little bit more explicitly in dialogue, voter restriction efforts. We are talking about like you, but it still is this actually going to prevent or pre empt. What states like Arizona in Georgia are doing it again
To what extent can it actual? Is it actually going to be able to redirect the Supreme Court's drive to get rid of voting rights productions? As we understand now, yeah I mean I hesitated, take that they're gonna stop everything because, like state legislatures can be reactive to and if president, by ensigns HR one tomorrow, then, like the Georgia legislature can read it and problems. They still allowed to do, and then they'll just do that so like this will now be the end of like voter restrictions in the United States if these two bills pass, but eighty one and eighty four combined are the most ambitious pro democracy legislation that has ever been gotten this far in american history. I mean they. They really are extraordinary bells and the real why I think they are so potent is because they can be Fine, the knowledge I mean, I know a lot of the voting rights lawyers and allow the experts who are involved in put point together
bill and like how this came about is that the voting rights community got to go other and said, let's drafter dream bill, let's draft or consensus for how we can make it as easy to vote as possible, and they did so aware of the tactics that Legislators have been using Emmy like I said that vote by mail is the attacks on vote by mail or new, but they aren't that new. When there's languages, Our wine that would require noakes use absentee voting. Like thereon that and So you know this story here is that you have. People who are you know, could serve it. On democracy, who have I spent the last decade or so innovating on what sort of voting restrictions they like and v. Voting rights. Community has paid attention to what they're doing they ve come up with counter measures. They put those countermeasures in a bill. They combine them with things.
Like independent redistricting conditions that you, but you know, I think, have broad support when you you know, when you ask people who are not sitting lawmakers how they would like district, be drawn then, and they have responded to what's going on if this bill passes sure that conservatives will spend the next ten years innovative and ten years from now there might have to be a new bill, but this is. It's really smart, it's a well drafted, it's a very comprehensive. Ah, you have both a major one in Asia. For these two pieces of legislation, I've talked to some people who are not voting rights people. They are like election electioneering people Reigneth Day day. They they try to help Democrats when an their view is that the overwhelming preponderance of, like the actual value of age, our one is in the redistricting gap provisions right
like, not actually in the disorder, voting access kinds of things, because you know because dish looking just has such a like a large but mechanical impact on political outcomes where, as you know, adopt about access stuffs, you don't eat matters at the margin right but like doesn't swing huge groups of people in the same kind of way at. But I wonder like deep. Do you have pushed back on that, like I get I talked to one group of people and they are they just like have been a little poohpooh. We about the stuff tat we ve been talking about relative to other provisions of HR, one Yeah, I mean one thing that I was told by Charles Steward. I believe his his name at MIT who's is an expert on election procedures. Is that parties are normally very good at adapting their campaign tactics to whatever the rules are so like you do in
one in twenty, when there was a lot of concern that people wouldn't turn out because of the pandemic, your machine, Obama gave a speech where she said: if you can vote early in person, do it if you can't vote by mail. You want to vote by male request your ballot as early as possible, like when it looked like Luis de joy. The master general was delaying the male like Democrats It's the media with like warnings that, like you, really need to get your thing in early and if you can vote early in person, do that oh like it is, true. That, like parties are good at compensating. Thank you can't really compensate against gerrymandering but they're good at compensating against bad luck. And procedures that sad it reduces resources. I, like you, too Democrats have to spend a lot of money. Educating people early voting, then they can't spend on whatever else they would spend it on, and the other thing is like: what's? U something weird weirded step back out of partisanship here like we.
What people to vote while I like you, know what we want everyone to have it have a say in who they are governed by an There is already white papers coming out that suggests that voting by. Male even after twenty twenty doesn't really benefit their party and in fact all that happened in twenty. Twenty is republican still turned out. They just turned out in person, but we still want to make it easy for people to vote. If there's a pandemic We don't want them to have to go at risk, getting infected to go to the polls, and I think that, even if neither party benefits you know, if what you see is that the Democrats keep winning by it, the Euro thee middle class white, suburban segment of the Democratic Party represents a lot. Your percentage than the low income segment of the party, because these voter restrictions than IE no these law makers. We can have a d by their name. You know
that's gonna change the kind of person who wins democratic primaries. It's gonna change. The incentives for sitting Craddock law makers and they're going to govern differently, and you don't. I want income voters who don't have flexibility with their job schedules and may find it difficult to show up at the polls between eight and seven on a particular day to still have the opportunity to vote If that doesn't change the outcome of you know whether the people who get elected ever dear and are by their nature. I, when I talk about the kind of electoral effects redistricting, emissions that are because, on the one hand, union able to talk about that as this good government, you know Leaders on both sides is very easy to make the case the like our politicians, thus making the rules to protect themselves, and we should have rules that, like art, sent by politicians that things like a very good Do you know they ve taken solidly nonpartisan message then match
the in the world of professional training, you get Democrats elected hers, register the commission's are seen as a huge you know. It seems to me that much more likely to chilled elections toward Democrats than all this motor access stuff, and I do wonder if out how those two things a direct right, because it's not as if over the kind of strong partisanship with parties era we haven't seen plenty of ETA that you can move the needle on public opinion. Questions by saying this is the hurt. Your enemies like an and negative partisanship is obviously that the other factor going in years even definitely logical. See a world where redistricting commissions get much more weapon. No partisan sense than they are now become as a result, much more controversial. Do you I like how do you see all of that playing out and what does it mean for voting? rights were generally. If you have not just kind of the institutional incumbency,
party trying to restrict any voting extensions that will hurt them and the other side, but that parties partisans believing that not only is it ok, if other people don't, it also appears on the margin. Their roots are diluted because it means that their preferred team were, I think, death leave the manner in which the members of the commission are selected matters a great deal, because both parties want to capture commission and use it to put their gerrymandered maps through with, if they can add, so you were have any like what some states will do as they might have like five democratic members, five public and members, and then the ten artists in members have to agree upon five more people, who will be honest brokers like You need to have some sort of way to prevent the commission from being captured. That said, I mean, I think the biggest from the Democrats right now have right now. The redistricting space is that they have it
city unilaterally, disarm so, like California, has a non partisan, redistricting. Commission Texas does not I live in Virginia, which for many years was a red stayed. It like has been trending blue for a long time and now Finally, we have a democratic house, a democratic and in a democratic governor and what's the first thing that happens, nonpartisan redistricting, commission, so, like you know, I think not parson redecorate commissions are really good idea. I don't think that what we want is to have blue states will read, states can do whatever they want, and so one of the biggest virtue- eight hour, Juan mandating them throughout the country, that eliminates that skew. It means that every state will have the same rules, so you don't have a cigarette should we? I mean, like the Virginia Commission path by ballot initiative. I think the California initiative by bout initiative. So if you don't have situation where like Democrats,
out of a sense that, like they don't like gerrymandering art, taking away their own ability to counter republican Gerrymander, ok, I think we wish to wrap this up and and move on areas where they were with a lot of the gallant we gotta get one like you, don't enough hours in the day to get everything done, it might be because you're missing out on three of them. Where does three hours go? They probably fall into a deep dark abyss that opens up when we switch between work. Apps, add those three hours to all the productive family, miss out, thanks to add home distractions, disorganization fatigue. It's no wonder the days feel too short. Work should work and with click up it does cook up is a flexible productivity platform that brings all your work into one place. That's all your chats apps docks and tasks, and one centralized kind of like mission control companies like uber and Google use click up to
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find a new one for free, but help is more affordable option than traditional therapy and financial aid is available. Toby's great I've done at different times in my life soup help for apple. We all know that gets really expensive and sometimes hard to find some good. Better help is like making this much more accessible is great for these, make circumstances, but just like a cool model to this progress, sponsored by better help and listeners. The weeds get ten percent off their first month at better help. Dot com, slash weeds, get started today, better help, dot com, slash weeds visit, better hd, L, p d calm, slash, weeds and joined the over one million people who have taken charge of their mental health with the help of an experienced better help professional. How could we have today does private equity investment in health care benefit? Patients, question mark evidence from nursing homes. They untrue gutter, Sabrina how old Constantine you know as an urban I've gotta short answer.
It does not. It does not benefit the patience of the regular stood there. Looking at private equity companies like in case you don't know, these are sort of investment funds. And what they do is they try to buy company is that they believe are not being structured for sort of optimal shareholder value, and then they they reject the right. There's a lot of different things. Private equity companies do but utopian lay. You would say that rearranging economic entities to sort of maximize shareholder value is creating them
efficient economy throughout the entire space, but they are showing in the particular case of nursing homes, is that the way you were optimize appears to be by making cost cutting decisions that lead Medicare patients to die significantly more rapidly. You know which raises a lot of questions are both about the particular you know regulatory framework in this sector, but also about the sort of overall benefits of having a lot of smart and wealthy people spending their time. Trying to find sectors of the economy that are right for this kind of take over and and disruption, because there's no dispute here that it it works right like they are rearranging
the business model and capital structure of these companies to more reflect shareholder value, in accordance with Milton Friedman, dictum about how the private sector should be organised, and things like that, it turns out that a lot of nursing home operators appear to be wasting the shareholders money on keeping patients alive. When, You can behave in a different way and make more money, because you could say right all well, you know if you make the nursing home worse, like you'll, lose customers and like really you should you should just treat people well and keep them alive, but their showing that, like that's, not true, that, like really smart, analysts, have found out that their exploitable margins here, in which the cost savings
How far outweigh the customer losses, and it's just that it's a really bad for the health of people entrusted to their care, and you know it's it's pretty chill out confess. I had kind of a panic reaction to this paper because It spends a whole lot of time discussing how like nursing home consumers, I mean patience and like the family of patients, just don't know which nursing homes are good and know how to pick one. That's like not gonna, be taken over by Some private equity company- that's gotta, kill their mother hey, I no idea how to pick a nursing home nursing- I maybe it makes sense like me if I'm gonna go out to eat like the market, does a really good of teaching me how to pick a restaurant I've. Not a lotta restaurants. I have friends, I can ask for recommendations their website
review asteroids like I'd I'd, just I've got. I've really got the scale of picking a restaurant down, because the market teaches me that bought like I've, never thought about taking a nursing home. I've. Never had to do it before it No it's something that, if you ever have to do it in the midst of an emotional ties Judy, where you're so overwhelmed by the enormity of what you're doing an inferior more like you only ever have to do it. Exact, let him for the overwhelming majority of people, you know unless you have such a terrible experience, you have to pull your parent out again. You're only going to be selecting like one place in cases where your parents were appearances, are still living. Gather. Both parents to live. It's not like people are doing. You're not doing concierge refer your entire extended family. You know that actually write like reach its. I mean this is a problem like health economics is a whole field about how consumer the very bad at making healthcare choices because they are
do them very much. They don't have very good information, but like the one thing that really struck is there's this line in this paper about how, even though the government has a fine star rating system. Consumers are responsive to that, and so I'd, suggest to be that either there has to be something more has to be done to communicate to consumers, which nursing homes are good. You know like if, with you buy, a car cars also have a five star rating system and the re, he's on the sticker because they know that everyone buying a car is but a look at the sticker and they see it's only got to start the provocative by that car on so either gotta, do something like that or you Scott have more direct regulation. Where, like Medicare steps in and says no, you have to have this much nursing time. You have to turn your patients that, over this often and so on and so forth. I endorse both of those things, but, like
it is only this is this is a big take but like I fundamentally think that, like the the rise of this kind of shareholder capitalism. Value system has like undermined american society in a kind of profound way that, like part of what you see with his nursing home thing, is you just like you cannot have a world in which the government has micro, regulated everything down to the point where totally worthless pursuit of profit alive with social objectives like the regulators are never going to be that good right. You need, at some level too, like cultivate a ethic of virtue,
Are you all know? You know what you mean like a if you and so like? We are journalists right. If you made up a story and slipped, it passed your editors and it went mega viral that might happen. Read like there have been was the frauds, but you would be really really really guilty ashamed. You would not tell your friends at the bar: if your boss found out, you would get fired, people would not keep it as like a cool little
grit among themselves that, like they had this same going right because, like for all our flaws in the media like we do still have like some sense of professional ethics right and you need that in journalism and you needed in medicine right like if medical doctors any to an extent. I think it does happen but like to the extent that medical doctors appropriate the ethics of like high frequency. Stop traders worthy goal is just a cleverly identify market inefficiencies and exploit them for profit. Like people will die like your doktor wants to he'll into getting inappropriate treatments like he could probably do they're like they tear medical experts. Right am I get stuck in a word and it's the same thing for nursing homes, white like unless the nursing homes are run by people who, like yes, like they're, trying to make a living, as everybody else
but like unless they are trying to like take pride in a job, well done right, meaning by providing good care to their patients, like this. No, I think it's a totally utopian both like I'm a right to think that, like we're, gonna have like a market souls For this, where you know, people assess the quality, the care or on the love. To think that, like a like, impersonal national bureaucratic process is gonna make all of the nursing homes good. It's like the people running them have to give a damn. That's when private equity in particular make so much of a difference here, because, like the purpose of the private equity sector, is do not give it ray. I didn't want to talk about. What is, I think, the the operating assumption when you hear about case up away,
privatization leads to post cutting the operating assumption is oh right. You have to do cost so that you can generate more profits, and that's not what's going on here. You know they're, finding that you know it's not that income is greater because they're cutting costs. What they've? found in this chamber, is that these kinds of trends- action costs they get added to a target couple his ledger when their brought out by private equity increase. So, for example, like the p firm about them. Ahem chain using it. That finance ministers on surprised, we interest payments. Do you go about three hundred percent real estate screw up because something the private equity firms often do. Is you know by a company a whole. The real estate company owns to a real estate company and then read back that real estate so that they have this. You know big profit, this big cashing fusion on them, early in their ownership, the company and then the fact that ultimately, the rental payments will see the revenue that you got in there.
Wholesale is passenger timer as they already have sold off the company by bends. That's not their problem, those kind of Tink rings or what on the other side of the ledger, as not just costs in general, but late frontline costs get really reduce them. Many in this chamber is that your frontline nurses, Willingness hours get ready by three percent. Wenders incomes are bought by private firms, whereas overall staffing reductions are just one point. Four percent like that That means that your dear reducing the most important employees as for his patient, carries concerned by like twice much as you reducing at the the workforce as a whole. We'll say this for the rule that our standards of care and like government accreditation plays in this paper as it provides a super useful instrument for economic matter. Researchers weight is useful to have a. We know that frontline nurse hours are important is the government uses them in writing nursing homes to say. Ok, this
something that is being reduced. Therefore, we can infer that patient care is not. It is being heard. Another standards that used in government? I start ratings is use of anti psychotic broad, since these are known to have your high mortality rates in elderly patients. You dont, have high medical burdens, and lo and behold, find that use of it as I gotta growth super is much higher when risen homes get bought by private equity, presumably because it's an easy way to deal with patients that doesn't require high touch I eat a high presents nurse. Here so it's good when governments will is able to provide researchers with that, did it at least you know, if you think the market as an organisation of information as well organization of profits Jews in theory the ways that economy you know. Any remark is what the world happened. This is like good. Or information, it's good for future consumer choice, which bring me too, the way their measuring. What is bad for patients?
This paper, which is not just words, reality. I would obviously like to put the very thorough and explaining that no mortality is unequivocally bad and it's very easy to measure. So it's our instrument here that mortality, just in the nursing orbiting, the nursing, a plus the ninety days. After of these and the reason- Did I bring that up is because logical in the context of private equity, you would very eagerly easily consider world were like they want to offload patients who are about to die those patients are would cost them a bunch more. They don't want to have the death on the books by its relevant. Of course, he's not only had not only earners in them. That's a big covered nineteen problem generally, but specifically recently We got a lot of information about the use about the manipulation of nursing home that statistics in New York under written and Reforma, specifically so that people who. Been discharged from nursing homes to hospitals were being count
it in death in nursing homes, reports, and that happened after an order that nursing homes couldn't rejected. We were being discharged from the hospital with governance. Which kind of greeted the cycle where, if you had to night from an earth like if you went from a nursing home to a hospital- and he died- you didn't count. But if you came back, then everyone you in fact did if they went to the hospital didn't count, and it's just its. Stream Lee I mean for us. Reading as well as a journalist, is only cares and transparency in someone you, you know, here's a lot about being able to measure the accuracy of your data. The more we realise both how highly correlated with moving? Eighteen debts, nursing homes were, and as we kind of get the information from the separate this paper about what makes nursing homes, particularly good or bad for patients. The absence of having had good real time data coming out of you know the first state to get hit me really
are by the pandemic. On this thing. That, since has been learned to be really big disease vector leaf. It's really hard to look at that in retrospect and say people not only in New York, but a lot of other states could have died because we didn't know just how bad nursing homes were for the pandemic in those for several months. So I want to briefly go back to Matt Point: bout like cultivating an ethic of virtue. I guess so I am the Virginia bar and like one of I guess the privileges I get for that is I get a publication that just tells me every one who was disciplined by the bar since the last time. I got that publication. Unlike briefly why they were discipline that if they were disbarred, what sanctions God, unlike that sort of serves two purposes, one. It's that it's like that, national equivalent of being put in the pillory and having people throw tomatoes out you so Other lawyers are deterred from being bad lawyers, but it also
means that if one of my friends comes to be its hey, I need a trust and estates lawyer, and I noted that the guy that I recommending has shown up in that list. Then I don't. I commend them anymore. I wonder if, like a similar mechanism, could be used here, because if I had to pick a nursing home for someone The first thing I would do is ass, a doktor, probably their doktor. My doctor, like which nursing home I should pick and if there's a way cultivate good knowledge amongst physicians, about which nursing homes are good in which which nursing homes or not then I suspect that that could do a lot to help shant people towards the better nursing homes, Buddy Buddy. Everything right about about the the bar association disciplinary procedures right is that law. Years. Have this guild type organization rate which introduced.
Is some economic inefficiencies into the process. Swayed and David Brooks had a recent column where he was talking about sort of protectionist labour market war. Said in various cases, and he saw dimensions off handedly right. The fact that generally a law firm has to be owned by lawyers rights and that's why there's partners right and you dont go. You don't go to lawyer ink and you dont have a private equity bio, of a lot for right and the little real costs to that organization of the legal profession versus the kind of rationalization their private equity has brought into medicine, but part of what you're saying right. Isn't that rationalization undermines the concept of professional ethics as something separate from marketing the private equity people? They aren't doctors right like that's. The whole point right
and like a what the private equity industry that, like its purpose, is to find say, say the managers of a town of a company they feel sentimental about to lead up. So they don't closed the factory in Toledo and move it. You know, Vietnam, right and private equity says wait a minute. If we buy this company, we can tell the man They have to stop being sentimental about Toledo or we can fire them right and we can say no like. We have to optimize the organization of this and their their benefits. To that right, like reorganising all the capital in your country to be more efficient, has some upsides, but it can hurt. Specific community is I think, especially we in industries. We have so much asymmetrical information between the customer and the poor either. It's really really toxic you
to just say, like this house can go. I obviously like it sounds weird too to say nice things about lawyers. We're all. However, the like there is a point to all right, like there's a point to like having a bar association and to those like weird tv scenes. Words like, as an officer of the court, you don't read like the lawyer- is not supposed to just like anything to make a quick back right and like the private equity limited partner, like that's what that's. The promise of private echo, right is that if killing three million people will make you six dollars, you gonna, do it right like that's, that's what you that's! The professional ethics are private equity and it's like is genuinely bad. That's where I am, we didn't kill people for profit. No one should Jackie I'm anti death. As you know, I mean people are going to die, but, like I mean, I think it's a serious.
Their regulatory aspects to it, but, like I think we need to link rebuild some sense in our society that, like the pursuit of you know that I mean these are commercial relationships like you pay, your attorney, you pay your doctor. We make money. Selling ads on this podcast, but like the weeds, is value of position is something other than the maximization of of profit like we have editorial value that we try to uphold and, like you need nursing homes to have that too. That's elsewhere our surrounding anyone. As you heard, a super heartache, Massa thanks everybody from listening thanks to eat for joining us thinks it's always do sponsors producer to knock is and always will be back on Friday.
Transcript generated on 2021-05-08.