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Kansas just turned out in record numbers to stop an abortion ban. Here’s what that could mean for other elections this year



Kansas just turned out in record numbers to stop an abortion ban. Here’s what that could mean for other elections this year

All eyes were on Kansas this week as the state voted on a constitutional amendment that would have banned abortion access.

The vote was anticipated to be close in the historically red state, which hasn’t voted for a Democratic president since 1964, with strong campaigning on both sides of the issue. 

But when polls closed on Tuesday, 59% of voters had rejected the amendment, a relative landslide, securing existing abortion access in the state. And while Joe Biden lost Kansas to Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election by a margin of 15 points, voters rejected the abortion ban by a margin of 18 points. 

The election was the first time since the overturn of Roe v. Wade in June that Americans had the opportunity to voice their opinion on abortion access and reproductive rights at the polls. And experts told Fortune that the Kansas election shows that abortion is an issue that will motivate voters, and could spell trouble for the Republican party in the upcoming midterms.

John Mark Hansen, a professor of political science at the University of Chicago, told Fortune that reproductive rights have the potential to sway voters more than other issues this year.

“That could make a pretty tough year for the Democrats a much a much better year for the Democrats,” he says. 

High turnout on abortion issues 

Although the majority of Americans are in favor of abortion access, some recent op eds have speculated that they don’t care enough to vote on it

The Kansas vote seems to have dispelled that theory. 

This vote didn’t happen during a general election year, making the high turnout particularly significant. In the 2018 Kansas primary election, for example, voter turnout was just 27%, doubling later in the year for the general election. On Tuesday, turnout was near general election numbers of around 47%, and counties are still counting remaining ballots. 

“It’s probably going to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 50%, which for a primary election in an off year is awfully good,” says Hansen, referring to when all votes are finally tallied. 

A significant part of that turnout likely came from unaffiliated voters, who make up 30% of registered voters in Kansas, compared to Democrats who make up 26% of the electorate.

The pro-choice advocacy group Kansans for Constitutional Freedom has cited those unaffiliated voters as central to its effort to combat the Kansas abortion ban, and argues that reproductive rights are not a solely partisan issue.

“We talked to voters across the political spectrum and made sure that they were educated on what the actual stakes of passing this constitutional amendment would be for Kansas,” said Rachel Sweet, the organization’s campaign manager, when asked about its strategy with unaffiliated voters in a press conference following the election. “This is an issue that transcends partisan boundaries.”

Pat Egan, an associate professor of politics at New York University, told Fortune that the turnout in Kansas likely hints that there will be similar uptick in voter turnout in other states where abortion is on the ballot this year, either through similar written measures or where pro-choice candidates are vying for seats. 

“One of the things that this election tells us is that we’re going to see big surges and turnout in any race that’s focused on abortion,” he says.

The Kansas Effect? 

There are several elections in 2022 that will be focused on abortion access. 

Left-leaning California and Vermont will ask voters to approve greater protections for reproductive rights than are already in place. Meanwhile, measures similar to Kansas’ amendment to restrict abortion access will be on the ballot in Montana and Kentucky.

But even if reproductive rights are not explicitly on the ballot in every state, Egan says they will impact any tight race between candidates from opposing parties this fall.

“Whether or not abortion is on the ballot literally, it’s on the ballot in practice, and that’s going to drive a lot of voters to the polls,” says Egan.

Democrats until now have been looking at an uphill battle for their races this year. High inflation, gas prices and steady talk of an imminent recession have all made Biden’s popularity numbers sink. History also shows that the president’s party often does poorly during midterm elections

But if voters believe abortion is on the ballot, that could change their voting calculus, according to both Egan and Hansen. 

This could particularly apply to gubernatorial races in states where there’s a conservative legislature. For example, in Michigan, where Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will face Republican candidate Tudor Dixon, voters will essentially be deciding the state’s stance on abortion as well.  Michigan currently has a dormant abortion ban from 1931 on the books. If Dixon wins, she could allow a current injunction on the ban to fall away, the state could lose its current status as an abortion haven.

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Coinbase’s near-term outlook is ‘still grim’, JPMorgan says, while BofA is more positive about firm’s ability to face crypto winter



Coinbase's near-term outlook is 'still grim', JPMorgan says, while BofA is more positive about firm's ability to face crypto winter

Coinbase is well positioned to successfully navigate this crypto winter and take market share, Bank of America said in a research report Tuesday. It maintained its buy recommendation following the exchange’s second-quarter results.

The results warrant “a muted stock reaction,” the report said. Net revenue of $803 million was below the bank’s and consensus estimates, while its adjusted $151 million loss before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization was better than the street expected. Importantly, the company remains “cautiously optimistic” it can reach its goal of no more than $500 million of adjusted EBITDA loss for the full year, the report added.

Coinbase shares fell almost 8% in premarket trading to $80.74.

Bank of America notes that Coinbase had no counterparty exposure to the crypto insolvencies witnessed in the second quarter. The company also has a “history of no credit losses from financing activities, holds customer assets 1:1, and any lending activity of customer crypto is at the discretion of the customer, with 100%+ collateral required.” These rigorous risk-management practices will be a “positive long-term differentiator” for the stock, the bank said.

JPMorgan said Coinbase had endured another challenging quarter, while noting some positives.

Trading volume and revenue were down materially. Subscription revenue was also lower, but would have been much worse were it not for higher interest rates, it said in a research report Wednesday.

The company is taking steps on expense management, and in addition to the June headcount reductions, is scaling back marketing and pausing some product investments, the note said.

The bank says the company’s near-term outlook is “still grim,” noting that the exchange expects a continued decline in 3Q 2022 monthly transacting users (MTUs) and trading volumes, but says Coinbase could take more “cost actions” if crypto prices fall further.

JPMorgan is less optimistic than Bank of America about the company in the near term, saying pressure on revenue from falling crypto markets will have a negative impact on the stock price. Still, it sees positives including higher interest rates, from which the firm will generate revenue. It also sees opportunities for the exchange to grow its user base, leveraging almost $6 billion of cash. The surge in crypto prices in July, and the forthcoming Ethereum Merge are also seen as positive catalysts, it added.

The bank maintained its neutral rating on the stock and raised its price target to $64 from $61.

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Elon Musk sold $6.9B in Tesla stock in case he’s forced to buy Twitter



Elon Musk sold $6.9B in Tesla stock in case he's forced to buy Twitter

Elon Musk sold $6.9 billion of his shares in Tesla Inc., the billionaire’s biggest sale on record, saying he needed cash in case he is forced to go ahead with his aborted deal to buy Twitter Inc.

“In the (hopefully unlikely) event that Twitter forces this deal to close *and* some equity partners don’t come through, it is important to avoid an emergency sale of Tesla stock,” Musk tweeted late Tuesday after the sales were disclosed in a series of regulatory filings. 

Asked by followers if he was done selling and would buy Tesla stock again if the $44 billion deal doesn’t close, Musk responded: “Yes.”

Tesla’s chief executive officer offloaded about 7.92 million shares on Aug. 5, according to the new filings. The sale comes just four months after the world’s richest person said he had no further plans to sell Tesla shares after disposing of $8.5 billion of stock in the wake of his initial offer to buy Twitter.  

Musk last month said he was terminating the agreement to buy the social network where he has more than 102 million followers and take it private, claiming the company has made “misleading representations” over the number of spam bots on the service. Twitter has since sued to force Musk to consummate the deal, and a trial in the Delaware Chancery Court has been set for October. 

In May, Musk dropped plans to partially fund the purchase with a margin loan tied to his Tesla stake and increased the size of the equity component of the deal to $33.5 billion. He had previously announced that he secured $7.1 billion of equity commitments from investors including billionaire Larry Ellison, Sequoia Capital, and Binance. 

“I’ll put the odds at 75% that he’s buying Twitter. I’m shocked,” said Gene Munster, a former technology analyst who’s now a managing partner at venture-capital firm Loup Ventures. “This is going to be a headwind for Tesla in the near term. In the long term, all that matters is deliveries and gross margin.”

At the weekend, Musk tweeted that if Twitter provided its method of sampling accounts to determine the number of bots and how they are confirmed to be real, “the deal should proceed on original terms.” 

Musk, 51, has now sold around $32 billion worth of stock in Tesla over the past 10 months. The disposals started in November after Musk, a prolific Twitter user, polled users of the platform on whether he should trim his stake. The purpose of the latest sales wasn’t immediately clear.  

Tesla shares have risen about 35% from recent lows reached in May, though are still down about 20% this year. 

With a $250.2 billion fortune, Musk is the world’s richest person, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, but his wealth has fallen around $20 billion this year as Tesla shares declined.    

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The rent is too d*mn high for Gen Z: Younger generations are ‘squeezed the most’ by higher rents, BofA says



The rent is too d*mn high for Gen Z: Younger generations are 'squeezed the most' by higher rents, BofA says

Most of Gen Z is too young to remember the 2010 New York gubernatorial candidate Jimmy McMillan.

But over a decade later, they would probably agree with his signature issue (and catchphrase): the rent is too damn high.

This July, median rent payments were 7.4% higher than during the same period last year, according to a Bank of America report released Tuesday. 

The national median price for a one-bedroom apartment has been hitting new highs nearly every month this summer. It was $1,450 for July, according to rental platform Zumper. In the country’s largest city, New York, average rent exceeded a shocking $5,000 a month for the first time ever in June. 

But inflation in the rental market hasn’t hit each generation equally, and no one is getting squeezed harder by the higher monthly payments as Gen Z. Those born after 1996 have seen their median rent payment go up 16% since last July, compared to just a 3% increase for Baby Boomers, BofA internal data shows. 
“Younger consumers are getting squeezed the most by higher rent inflation,” BofA wrote.

The great rent comeback

Early in the pandemic, landlords slashed rents and gave significant COVID discounts to entice tenants to stay instead of leaving urban areas. Once those deals started expiring in 2021, many landlords suddenly raised payments once again, sometimes asking for over double their pandemic value. 

Young people across the board have been hit hard, and rent burdens compared to age can be seen even within a single generation. Younger millennials had their median rent payment grow 11% from last year, while the median payment for older millennials rose 7%. Gen X experienced a 5% median rent increase, according to BofA. 

It’s not a surprise, then, that Gen Z feels so strapped for cash. The majority of young people, 61%, said they want to receive their wages daily instead of twice a week, a practice typically reserved for workers living paycheck to paycheck, according to a report from the Center for Generational Kinetics, which specializes in research across the generations. Rising rent inflation has even priced nearly a third of Gen Zers out of the apartment search altogether. Around 29% of them have resorted to living at home as a “long-term housing solution,” according to a June survey from personal finance company Credit Karma.

It’s no wonder—the rent really is too high.

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