Posted by: Donna
Oh my, they let Doug MacEachern go off on a tear again.
One day before the primary elections ended, on Aug. 25, a young fellow wearing a Citizens for a Better Arizona tee shirt walked into Maricopa County elections headquarters carrying a box. It was filled with hundreds of mail-in ballots, which he merrily delivered to county election workers.
A Republican activist who happened to be there filmed the CBA worker delivering the ballots. His video recently went viral on YouTube. Conservative groups and media picked up the story. For conservatives, it was a true “ah HA!” moment. It was, to them, evidence of “ballot stuffing.” Of fraud.
And, a lot of those conservative media noted the fact that all the “fraud” was being perpetrated by “Mexicans.”
Say what you like about leftist machine politics, but they know how to do damage control.
They leaped in with press releases declaring that Citizens for a Better Arizona is nothing but a “civic engagement group” helping out befuddled voters.
The CBA is a union-backed, Alinsky-ite activist group whose aggressive tactics in past elections have infuriated and embarrassed even other union-backed activist groups. To call the CBA a “civic engagement group” is akin to calling Rush Limbaugh a political-issues analyst. True, but, well, just gross.
Befuddled? Hey, Doug must read this blog since that’s how I’ve described him a time or two! And I’m pretty sure as “gross” as well. Anyway, isn’t it neat how conservatives can screech about – oh wait, “note” – that “Mexicans” are committing voter fraud all over the place sans any actual evidence of said fraud but the real race hucksters are the people pointing out that the conservatives are being racist? Also weird how MacEachern has nothing to say about (likely) Republican voters being instructed to bring ballots to a Doug Ducey rally last week. Yeah, of course that’s different.
Here’s MacEachern having further thoughts on the matter:
No different? Again, a thought experiment:
You are a poll watcher on Election Day. A person wearing an “I am a political radical” tee shirt walks up to a voter who is marking her ballot, and instructs her on who and what to vote for.
What do you do? Once upon a time, League of Women Voters poll watchers would call the cops. Now? They cheer lead for “ballot parties.”
Someone over at the Republic should pull Doug aside and explain the concept of consent to him because that passage above was just embarrassing.
Hypothetical scenarios conjured up in Doug MacEachern’s overheated imagination are not a rational basis upon which to ban ballot collection. Sadly for Angry Grandpa, the GOP-led Legislature had to overturn HB2305, which would have stopped those Mexicans from having their wild ballot parties and whatnot so those (perfectly legal and legitimate) efforts continue apace this election. I was recently told by a person involved in field operations in what are normally low turnout parts of Phoenix that canvassers are bringing a healthy number of ballots from low efficacy Dem voters. Whether it will be enough to turn the tide of some statewide races remains to be seen but it’s clearly got at least some conservatives nervous, hence the frantic, paranoid whining about “ballot harvesting”.
UPDATE!! MacEachern continued his pathetic tirade on Tuesday, with a rebuttal to Citizens for a Better Arizona chairman Chad Snow’s response to his column. It’s time for him to retire, Arizona Republic. He’s an embarrassment.
Posted by: Donna
Pew (and others) discover the SHOCKING TRUTH that people who pay attention to politics are polarized! You won’t believe what happens next!
Here’s Vox‘s Ezra Klein on a research paper by Pew analyzing “polarization” in the American electorate:
Perhaps the single most important fact about American politics is this: the people who participate are more ideological and more partisan, as well as angrier and more fearful, than those who don’t.
The finding emerges from Pew’s massive survey of 10,000 Americans, which concluded that “Republicans and Democrats are more divided along ideological lines — and partisan antipathy is deeper and more extensive — than at any point in the last two decades.”
But everyone already knew that. Here’s the real kicker: “these divisions are greatest among those who are the most engaged and active in the political process.”
You don’t say! The Pew report itself finds that Republicans and Democrats have grown quite far apart on the conservative-liberal scale and Klein correctly points out how that’s largely the result of the parties realigning over the decades.
People talk of political polarization as if it’s one thing. It isn’t.
In April 1947, the American Institute of Public Opinion Surveys asked voters a question that sounds very odd to modern ears:
It has been suggested that we give up the present Republican and Democratic parties and have two new parties – one for the Liberals and one for the Conservatives. Would you favor this idea?
“Today, this question might seem absurd,” writes the political scientist Hans Noel inPolitical Ideologies and Political Parties in America. “For most practical purposes, the present Republican and Democratic parties are parties of conservatives and liberals.”
But that wasn’t true in the middle of the 20th Century. The Democratic Party was home to lots of conservatives. The Republican Party had a vast liberal faction. “Ideology and political parties were two separate ways of organizing political conflict,” Noel writes. But not any longer. Even since the 1990s, the shift towards a political system in which party and ideology are one has been stark:
Perhaps if the reactionaries and progressives/liberals were more evenly distributed between the parties we’d see the kind of momentous bipartisan legislation, such as Medicare and the Civil Rights Act, that got passed five decades ago. But the movement to make the GOP the comfortable home for all right wingers began in earnest after Goldwater lost and isn’t going to be undone anytime soon, if ever. The infamous hippie-punching Powell Memo kicked off the Faustian bargain of business leaders with religious zealots angry over desegregation and the sexual revolution to usher in Republican electoral victories. The propagandizing was so smashingly successful that many of today’s “business leaders” and major funders of Republicans are, themselves, rabid reactionaries.
As Klein also correctly observes, “People often assume “polarization” is a synonym for “extremism.” It isn’t.” That is why while most liberals tend to vote Democratic, the party itself as not become the leftist mirror image of the GOP. Many disgruntled lefties attribute this to corporate donor influence but, while they are not wrong about the existence of that, the Democratic electorate is comprised of liberals and people who consider themselves moderate. Furthermore, Pew found a very big difference in news consumption between conservatives and liberals/moderates.
Respondents were asked whether they had heard of each of the 36 outlets listed in the accompanying graphic. For those they had heard of, they were asked about their trust – or distrust – in each source.
Liberals, overall, trust a much larger mix of news outlets than others do. Of the 36 different outlets considered, 28 are more trusted than distrusted by consistent liberals. Just eight earn higher shares of distrust than trust. Still, among those eight, the levels of distrust can be high: fully 81% of consistent liberals distrust Fox News, and 75% distrust the Rush Limbaugh Show.
Among consistent conservatives, by contrast, there are 24 sources that draw more distrust than trust. The same is true for 15 sources among those with mostly conservative views. And, of the eight outlets more trusted than distrusted by consistent conservatives, all but one, on balance, are distrusted by consistent liberals.
This chart shows the trusted news source patterns across the spectrum:
Yes, we liberals have our preferred lefty sites but liberals and moderates really aren’t getting our information from as hermetically sealed an echo chamber as conservatives are. That’s not likely to change any time either, and that’s not even addressing the multitude of foundations and think tanks set up by well-heeled right wingers to make their bullshit look like it’s got intellectual credibility.
So I find all this fretting the political class and mainstream media constantly do over “polarization” to be aggravating and useless. Of course the country is polarized but how is that our biggest problem? Say there were a place where the people who lived in it were roughly comprised of one group of people who thought it was awesome to smash puppies to death with hammers and they were armed with reams of “information” proving that smashing puppies to death regularly ought to be required of every citizen, and another group who were all, “no, we oppose that because we’re not puppy-smashing monsters kthxbai.” Would you say the problem with that place was that is was too polarized? Or would you say the first group needed to take it down several notches and not be let near any puppies? Why isn’t that same basic sense applied to the many, many absurd and awful real policy positions that reactionaries hold and relentlessly try to make into law in this country?
Jeff Sharlet, who has written several books about religious conservatives in the U.S., including his bestseller The Family, wrote a series of tweets criticizing liberals and academics for what he described as “fetishizing dialogue” last year.
The assumption that “dialogue” solves all problems is profoundly paternalistic — & naive.
The fetish for “dialogue” above all — including legit anger & actual inquiry — is a politics of presumption.
Fetish for “dialogue” assumes those you disagree w/ lack only your insight; assumes they want to “compromise.” As if they have no agency.
I hear this from students all time; they forgive bigotries on assumption bigots lack approp “culture.” Cant believe hate can be chosen.
David Creech, a religious studies scholar at Loyola University Chicago, wrote: What alternative to dialog do you propose?
Demand for alternative to “dialogue” assumes solutions always at hand. Sometimes whats needed is diagnosis, nt prescription.
Student fetish for “dialogue” a form of technocratic optimism based on free market myth of “exchange” as end in itself.
Creech wrote: Dialog for me implies also listening, the possibility that I might be changed by your insight and experience.
That’s great when it’s an option. But it assumes a desire for common ground. Which is a form of paternalism.
Creech: Desire for common ground as paternalism… Intriguing suggestion… I will have to chew on that for a bit.
The desire for common ground isn’t paternalim; the assumption that others share it is.
Take the example of Uganda’s “kill-the-gays” activists. Some assumed they needed dialogue. They thought that funny. 1/2
2/2 because they knew the arguments against homophobic genocide. Knew them & rejected them. Not looking for my “insight.”
Defenders of “dialogue” as end in itself see only other option as brutality. They fail to imagine possibility of open-ended problem.
A perfect example of chosen bigotry: Heritage Foundation’s Harvard-powered, race-based, anti-immigration “study.”
Well-intentioned liberals always ask how we can “educate” haters. Elite haters don’t need “education”; they need to be challenged.
Sharlet is exactly right. Just as the Ugandan bigots were aware of the opposing arguments, so too are the American ones. Americans in their Rush and Fox News bubbles are regularly presented with empathetic and egalitarian arguments, but it’s so they scoff at and mock them. Coming from two decades of pro-choice activism and regularly encountering the toxic misogyny to be found on the other side, I am keenly aware that some disputes are just not amenable to dialogue and need to be polarized until the forces of hate and irrationality are defeated.
Posted by: Donna
I haven’t gotten around to addressing it, what with the marriage equality hoopla and teenage abortion explosions taking place at this very hectic pre-election time, but last week the Clean Elections Commission allowed GOP Corp Comm candidates to walk with an insultingly low fine of $1K each after they admitted to violating Clean Elections law.
Per the AZ Capitol Times:
The commission voted 4-1 to adopt the a settlement, which the candidates proposed just before the commissioners met to discuss commission executive director Tom Collins’ recommendation for a full investigation into the candidates. Tom Collins reported that a staff analysis showed there was reason to believe the two broke campaign finance laws while investigating two complaints filed with the commission by the state Democratic Party.
Here’s the lame explanation Collins gave for the decision:
“The public interest is also served by having these things cleared up,” Collins said Thursday. “Nobody wants campaign finance complaints to be the driving force in elections. Campaigns are about candidates, not campaign-finance law. So when there is an opportunity to reach a reasonable conciliation, our statute expressly calls for that to occur.”
Seriously, dude? Some of us have this weird notion that the public interest is best served by there being consequences for blatantly violating laws governing the use of public funds in an election. Those consequences are spelled out in the Clean Elections statute:
C): Any campaign finance report filed indicating a violation of section 16-941, subsections A or B or section 16-941, subsection C, paragraph 1 involving an amount in excess of ten percent of the sum of the adjusted primary election spending limit and the adjusted general election spending limit for a particular candidate shall result in disqualification of a candidate or forfeiture of office.
That’s some pretty unambiguous language there. I’m not sure why Executive Director Collins that the board members who voted for that paltry fine (paid in monthly installments, no less) are struggling to understand what the whole point of implementing a public campaign financing system in Arizona was. Those rules were put in place so that voters would have confidence that candidates aren’t engaging in fraudulent activity with public money. This sets a really bad precedent since the next candidate who blatantly violates the rules can simply point to the slap on the wrist Forese and Little got and demand the same deal. The Commission has basically declared open season on public campaign funds.
I’m one of the strongest defenders of AZ Clean Elections out there. The reason, as I’ve explained before, is because attacks on our state’s program are intended to end all public campaign financing, everywhere. But the program is not without its flaws, clearly one of which is arbitrary and inconsistent enforcement of violations. Bad call, Clean Elections Commission.
Posted by: Donna
I had long suspected that Arizona Republic columnist Laurie Roberts’ focus on child abuse in her columns is little more than self-serving preening but her latest piece removed all doubt.
Last week, Democrat Fred DuVal told members of a Gilbert church that he believes your 14-year-old daughter should be able to get an abortion without first getting your consent.
DuVal’s comments – to me, at least – were stunning and the most stunning part of the story?
It wasn’t news.
DuVal was appearing at the Redemption Church in Gilbert where Pastor Tom Shrader asked him a series of questions, including this one on the rights of parents when it comes to their teen-age daughters and abortion.
If one were a true champion of abused children, as Roberts claims to be, then it should not be a shock that someone would oppose requiring parental notification and consent for abortion. It should be bleedingly obvious to Laurie Roberts, of all people, why that would be. Yet it isn’t. And Laurie has so many questions!
On Tuesday, I tried to talk with DuVal to clarify. Does he really believe that 14 year olds should be able to get abortions without a parent’s consent?…
…So, DuVal wouldn’t try to change existing law but he doesn’t believe that parents have the right to know that their young daughters are contemplating abortion?…
…On Tuesday, I asked several political editors why. The answers were varied, mostly that they were swamped with the gay-marriage story late last week and that it didn’t seem particularly newsworthy that a pro-choice candidate would oppose parental consent…
…But I wonder if the same editorial decision would have been made had it been Ducey saying that he opposed the state’s opt-out provision – the one that exists for girls who face the very-real threat of a beating if they tell mommy and daddy they want an abortion.
My guess is we’d cover that Ducey story. The fact that we didn’t cover the DuVal story?
I hope I’m wrong, but I’m wondering, does it say more about us than about him?
Man, that’s some weapons-grade pearl clutching there, and not a whole lot of interest in the well-being of the pregnant, scared teens themselves. Maybe Roberts is only interested in babies and small children who are abused. Once they’ve hit puberty and are sexually active, they have it coming I guess? Roberts does finally mention abuse at the end of her piece, using some rather disturbing phrasing – “…girls who face the very-real threat of a beating if they tell mommy and daddy they want an abortion.” Very few teenagers call their parents “mommy and daddy” so I don’t even know what that’s about. Oh, and why might it be covered differently if Ducey publicly opposed allowing girls who fear violence from their families to opt out of the notification/consent requirement? Because that is a monstrous position. I mean, damn, Laurie.
I imagine that it has simply never occurred to Laurie Roberts that the notion of children being the property of parents, which Arizona’s parental consent for abortion law is firmly rooted in, is a major contributing factor to the scourge of child abuse. Incidentally, here is the rationale Americans United for Life, which provides the model anti-choice legislation for the whole country, gives for requiring parental notification for a minor’s abortion:
The [Legislature]’s purposes in enacting this parental notice law are to further the
important and compelling State interests of:
(1) Protecting minors against their own immaturity.
(2) Fostering family unity and preserving the family as a viable social unit.
(3) Protecting the constitutional rights of parents to rear children who are members of
(4) Reducing teenage pregnancy and abortion.
(5) In light of the foregoing statements of purpose, allowing for judicial bypasses of
parental notification to be made only in exceptional or rare circumstances.
Only no. 1 directly relates to the minors and no. 4 is flat out absurd. Numbers 2, 3, and 5 err heavily on the side of parents and against abused teens.
Posted by: Donna
Woe is Cathi Herrod. Behold the President of Center for Arizona Policy’s statement on Friday’s huge marriage equality win for Arizona in all it’s schadenfreude-alicious glory:
Statement from Center for Arizona Policy President Cathi Herrod
Arizona’s marriage amendment which defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman has been overturned by the courts.
PHOENIX – “I am heartbroken for a country and a state that has had the redefinition of marriage forced upon them by an out of control federal judiciary.
In what amounts to the de-facto Roe v Wade of marriage, voters throughout the nation have watched their voices be silenced, and their votes voided. Now, Arizona’s marriage amendment and our voters are the latest victims. While the United States Supreme Court may still take up the issue of marriage redefinition, for now the courts have settled the issue in our state.
Today, we grieve. We grieve for the children who now have no chance of growing up with a mom and a dad. We mourn the loss of a culture and its ethical foundation. We mourn a culture that continues to turn its back on timeless principles.
But we do not despair. We do not throw in the towel. We do not give up.
Just as we have worked to build a culture of life, we will focus on rebuilding a culture of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.”
For more information, contact Aaron Baer, 602.424.2525 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Center for Arizona Policy promotes and defends the foundational values of life, marriage and family, and religious liberty. For more information, visit azpolicy.org.
To which I respond.
Do take note of the language in that, specifically the reference to Roe v Wade and “culture of life”. Herrod was not only signalling that CAP is going to double down abortion restrictions*, but she’s also conveying something that I and other pro-choice activists have been trying to get those, like HRC Arizona, who think they can support anti-choicers like Ethan Orr because he’s “good” on LGBT issues to understand: Cathi Herrod does not see abortion and same sex marriage as wholly distinct issues. Her opposition to both stems from the same mission to force people into rigid patriarchal gender roles and she’ll take whatever gets her closer to that goal. This is why I keep saying that CAP will bring SB1062 back under the auspices of women’s reproduction and we need people to get out there and fight the “Hobby Lobby” bill just as hard as with SB1062. Harder, really, since the business community never cares about anti-women laws. We have to make them care. You can’t delude yourself that you can be cafeteria-style on human rights anymore.
*Her success in any of her endeavors depends greatly on who is elected governor in a few weeks.
Posted by: Donna
“I obviously know more about any 14 year old’s family situation than she does!”
Anti-choicers hold two positions that are broadly popular with the public. One is support for late term bans, as antis have somehow convinced the majority of Americans that women will abort perfectly healthy pregnancies in the sixth to ninth months with alarming frequency unless the law stops them. The other is parental notification, which is one of those things that sounds reasonable if you don’t really think about it much (and most people don’t). So it’s no surprise that Arizona Republican candidate Doug Ducey would end his silence on reproductive rights throughout the general election campaign with an attack on Democratic candidate Fred DuVal over parental notification.
Here’s part of the statement that AZ GOP chair Robert Graham (pictured above) put out about it:
“Mr. DuVal’s position to remove parents from a decision of life and death is completely reckless,” said Pastor Jose Gonzales Q, of Harvest Bible Church. “Regardless of your position on abortion, we cannot possibly leave these types of decisions to developing minds. We are entering an age where parental involvement is increasingly important, but to even suggest that a minor – much less a 14 year-old – can intelligently comprehend the long-term impact of such an action is absurd.”
But that same 14 year old can intelligently comprehend nine months of pregnancy culminating in painful (and often dangerous to a still-growing body) and having to decide whether to parent the child or surrender it for adoption, right Bob? What Graham is referring to is Fred DuVal opposing parental notification laws in an interview. DuVal gave a perfectly fine answer to it, one that was brave considering that he’s running for Governor in a purplish state. DuVal said that requiring her to notify her parents infringes on the right of the pregnant woman to choose. That’s absolutely true but there’s even more wrong – disturbingly wrong – with Arizona’s parental notification law.
Arizona lawmakers were so eager to punish teenage sluts a couple years ago that they passed a law requiring notarized parental consent. Here’s the form that Planned Parenthood provides, which makes it pretty unambiguously clear that the girl (who must be named) is getting an abortion with the permission of her parent or guardian (also named). What medical privacy? The law does stipulate that documents relating to the parental notification are not public records and cannot be disclosed, but the notary public still knows you are getting an abortion, and if don’t trust that person and you live in a gossip-y community, that could be cause for concern. The whole point of the notarization is to humiliate and intimidate young abortion patients and their families. The anti-choice legislators made sure that even girls with the most loving and supportive parents in the world wouldn’t get away with abortion without some mandatory slut-shaming.
And for those unlucky girls who just can’t tell their parents for whatever reason, here’s what they get to go though!
Obtaining Consent for an Abortion
In order to obtain permission for an abortion from a judge, you must visit the Superior Court in the county where you live and file an application (also known as a petition) at the Clerk of the Court’s Office. You will then meet in private with a clerk who is specifically trained in this process.
Once you have completed the application, the clerk can assign a lawyer who will represent you at no charge. The clerk will then take your application to the judge, who may hear your case right away. If that is not possible, a notice of a hearing will be given to you. It will tell you the time and day of your hearing.
During your hearing, the judge will probably ask you some questions to decide if you are mature enough to make the decision to have an abortion yourself or if an abortion would be in your best interest. You may be nervous, but don’t worry, that is normal. Simply answer the judge’s questions honestly. Some questions that might be asked are:
Are you aware of existing alternatives to abortion, including adoption and parenting? How did you make the decision to have an abortion?
Are you aware of how an abortion is done and do you understand the possible medical risks? You may be asked to describe the procedure or the risks to the judge.
Does your partner know that you are pregnant? How does your partner feel about the pregnancy? You are not legally obligated to tell your partner that you are pregnant.
What kind of relationship do you have with your parents? Why are you unwilling or unable to talk to your parents about your pregnancy? What do you believe would happen if you told them? Do you have reason to believe they would react negatively due to something that has happened in the past?
Do you work? If so, where and when do you work, how much money do you make? Do you go to school? If so, are you a good student?
How are you going to pay for the abortion? Do you know what would happen if you had a medical complication? Who would pay for your care?
What are your future plans (school, job, etc.)?
What do you know about birth control? Are you planning to use it in the future?
After the Hearing
After the hearing, the judge will decide whether you may proceed with your abortion. Usually, the judge makes a decision right away, and you are immediately given a written Court Order that tells you what the decision is. If not, the clerk will arrange a way to get the decision to you.
If the judge authorizes you to have an abortion, immediately contact an abortion provider to schedule your appointment.
If the judge refuses to authorize the abortion you may:
Appeal the judge’s decision. Your lawyer can help you decide if this is a good idea in your case. If you did not have a lawyer when you began the process, you will need one for an appeal.
Ask your parents for their consent.
That seems fun, doesn’t it? This is what makes Graham’s pious moralizing all the more nauseating. Neither he nor Doug Ducey give a shit about the well-being of teenage girls. Conservatives are simply freakishly obsessed with imposing sexual “purity” on girls and young women and always dreaming up inventive ways to punish those who don’t conform.
But like I said, parental notification laws are supported by two thirds to three quarters of the population, depending on the survey. This is because it’s one of those subjects that is super-susceptible to “common sense” appeals, such as “but kids can’t get a tattoo without parental approval so why is abortion different?” There’s a simple explanation of why they are different: When parents are notified that their daughter is considering an abortion, they’re not just being notified of the procedure. They’re being notified that she’s pregnant and, more to the point, informed that she has had sex. Maybe not most, but a good percentage of parents do not react well to that, with some becoming violent. A high school friend of mine got beaten bloody when her father learned she was sexually active. In some communities sexually active daughters are disowned by their families. And frankly, we as a society have a lot of collective growing up to do about female sexuality before parental notification ever becomes a good idea.
Of course, that’s not likely to happen when there are right wing prudes in charge who think the threat of a violent father and death from cervical cancer keeps young women chaste. And don’t kid yourselves (looking right at you, Lisa Graham Keegan), Doug Ducey is exactly that kind of reactionary.
UPDATE: Robert Graham and I interacted on Twitter last night:
Posted by: Donna
The final debate for Arizona Governor between Democrat Fred DuVal and Republican Doug Ducey was held in Scottdale on Tuesday afternoon. It was a debate on “women issues” hosted by various local organizations. Questions about a number of topics ranging from the budget to energy to water were posed to the candidates and it wasn’t until the end when both men were asked questions thought to be specifically pertaining to women. The final question before closing statements was a very good one, about how each would help struggling single mothers in Arizona, many of whom head families living in poverty. (I can’t embed a video but you can view the entire debate here.)
When it was Ducey’s turn, he seemed a bit uncomfortable with the question and launched into his usual empty argle bargle about “growing the economy” But about halfway through he got quite focused and animated as he launched into a rant on “deadbeat dads”, as if he’d just then remembered his debate coaching.
It’s my philosophy that if you are old enough to father a child you are old enough to financially take care of that child and I will use the power of the Governor and law enforcement to garnish those paychecks and make sure those dollars get to those single mothers and there’s some responsibility for these actions.
Now, I realize there are some fathers out there who deliberately shirk their financial support obligations. and that’s a problem, but note Ducey’s formulation here: His comments are aimed directly at young men and his use of the phrase “law enforcement” seems deliberate because who are the young men in our state who regularly face law enforcement? I definitely got the sense that you were supposed to picture certain young men there, if you know what I mean.
The internet is a cesspool of misogynist and MRA garbage where the topic of child support is concerned but it is possible to find clear-eyed, rational treatments of it, such as this NYT piece by Eduardo Porter in which he criticizes an enforcement model that is overly punitive, outmoded, and ineffectual:
For years, policies to help disadvantaged children have been designed to provide as little help as possible to their estranged parents. Mothers benefit from support programs like the earned-income credit and public housing only to the extent that they are caring for children.
Noncustodial fathers have been treated exclusively as sources of cash, subjected to things like wage garnishment or incarceration to enforce child-support orders that can remain in place even when fathers lose their jobs or go to jail, making little allowance for fathers’ ability to pay.
Many don’t. In 2011 some 5.6 million mothers were due child support but only three-quarters of them received any, according to census statistics. Fewer than half received the full amount due. In 2012, the Office of Child Support Enforcement logged 11.5 million cases in arrears, worth a total of $114.6 billion.
Reliable support from fathers can clearly improve the lives of children and their mothers. Still, there are adverse consequences from pursuing it at all costs. Studies suggest that strict enforcement of child support reduces the employment rates of young black men, driving them into crime and the underground economy. And mothers and children often gain little when public assistance is proportionately withdrawn.
Incarceration rates have multiplied by five over the last 35 years. Most of those imprisoned are young black men. More than half have young children. When they get out, their chances of finding a job will be minimal. But their child-support arrears will be waiting.
In Arizona it is likely that poor Latino and Native American young men are the ones disproportionately targeted by harsh child support enforcement. Ducey claims that there is $1 billion in uncollected child support in our state but that figure tells you nothing about how much of that can be pinned directly on irresponsible young men (hanging around the street corner with their sagging pants and rap music, no doubt) willfully withholding payments from the poor single mothers of Arizona. Parents at all income levels can be “deadbeats” but efforts to collect from them, as difficult as they are, are more likely to succeed with noncustodial parents who actually have the means to pay when they are finally made to do that.
Basically, Doug Ducey is engaging in the kind of feel-good “tough” sounding rhetoric that sells well in an election (his “deadbeat dads” remarks were a soundbite on one local news broadcast later in the evening) and appears to be supportive of women. He is not, however, proposing anything meaningful to help single mothers and their families living in poverty in Arizona. Ducey is certainly clueless about how to help poor young men with no prospects.