The Thread That Is Red | Letters to the Editor | Indy Week

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The Thread That Is Red

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Our favorite letters come in verse. Ron Gordon gifts us with this poem, about former FBI director James Comey:

James Comey, James Comey, Mr. Six Foot and Eight
I've shortened your tenure—that proves I am great.
Three times you told me, "I am not under investigation"
Let's make that official, we'll sign legislation.
You should have been nicer to Hillary, October was
Go easy on her and the Russians, enough is enough.
We offered alternative facts from alternative folks
If the press could only keep up, they'd know it's no hoax
My merry-go-round of apologists—my jugglers four
Always some new way to explain, who knows what's in store?
I've called you a "grandstander" and "showboat"—now you're banned from the tent.
No more you, no more Ringling, cue the spotlight—I'm the last main event.
Now Robert Mueller is aboard, and I'm beginning to dread
What the heck will unravel when they tug the thread that is red?
I'm off to tour the world—who knows what I'll find
But nothing will match my joy of things left behind.
Let's meet again when I'm back, I'll share photos of my inaugural crowd
Bring your memos and notes, we'll listen to my tapes—I'll turn them up loud.

On Twitter, some folks questioned the math behind the infographic on last week's Triangulator, which examined the decline in major party popularity in North Carolina—in particular, the item that said that 182 percent of the net new voters between the ages of twenty-six and forty between May 2008 and May 2017 had registered as unaffiliated.

For example, @Ruby tweeted: "Please don't make infographics if you don't know how numbers work."

Here's how we derived that percentage: according to the Democracy NC analysis, between 2008 and 2017, there were a total of 94,266 net new voters between the ages of twenty-six and forty. However, the Democrats (985) and Republicans (90,621) lost voters in this age bracket, while the Libertarians only picked up 13,791; that means 172,234 of these voters were unaffiliated. There were more of them than total net new voters.

On Twitter, Gerry Cohen, a former legislative special counsel, offers a different critique: "The data is meaningless. It looks at net changes in voter registration, not new voters at all. Bad methodology."

"I think this demonstrates a lack of voter education and outreach from the Democrats," writes commenter Charles Bowden. "New voters who don't register a party affiliation are troubling because they fail to understand the primary process. This means they're likely disengaged when it comes to anything other than presidential elections. State-level Democrats must do more to get voters to the polls for the smaller-stakes races in the state if they ever hope recapture the General Assembly."

Erike counters: "Unaffiliated or independents may be more engaged and informed about the primary process. As an unaffiliated voter, I have the freedom to vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary. More choice is generally better, correct? This gives an independent the ability to influence the final candidate from the other party. If more Democrats switched their affiliation to unaffiliated, they could've voted against Trump in the primary (as I did) to prevent the unthinkable from happening. I will be encouraging all of my Democratic-registered friends to do this in the future for this exact reason."

David Ulmer, meanwhile, wishes a pox on both parties' houses: "Really glad to see the Democrats and Republicans losing a generation of new voters. More unaffiliated voters bode well for third parties like the Libertarians and the Greens. The current system has failed for too long, and we would all be well served by having more parties and greater choice instead of a choice between really bad and simply unacceptable."

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