NY-26 special congressional election won by Kathy Hochul
May 24, 2011 10:16 PM   Subscribe

Media outlets are declaring a winner in NY-26 as Democratic candidate Kathy Hochul has a 6% lead (with 91% reporting) over Republican Jane Corwin (previously) in Tuesday's special election.

The 26th district, located between Buffalo and Rochester, was formerly represented by Christopher Lee, who promptly resigned after craigslist-based infidelities surfaced (previously). Jack Davis, a Tea Party candidate who drew Democratic and Republican support, garnered 8% of the vote. Davis, formerly polling at nearly 25% just one month ago, until he assaulted a Republican tracker who turned out to be Corwin's chief of staff. Additionally, Green Party candidate Ian Murphy, known for his prank call to Wisconsin governor Scott Walker posing as billionaire donor David Koch, garnered 1% of the vote. He was deemed an 'unserious' candidate by a local Tea Party organization which was holding an 'open candidate forum'.

DNC Chair Deborah Wasserman-Schultz is attributing Hochul's victory to her criticism of the House budget plan authored by Paul Ryan passed by Republicans which radically alters Medicare for Americans who are under 55.
posted by ofthestrait (74 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Jane Corwin: Real American, True Homophobe, The rule we feared.
posted by Slackermagee at 10:19 PM on May 24, 2011


Oh, and I almost forgot. Yesterday afternoon, Jane Corwin obtained a court order barring certification of the winner in the event of a close election.
posted by ofthestrait at 10:22 PM on May 24, 2011


Republicans want elderly Americans to die in the street.

Hang this around their fucking necks, always.
posted by bardic at 10:28 PM on May 24, 2011 [13 favorites]


Hang this around their fucking necks, always.

Trouble is, there are actual voters who believe elderly Americans dying in the street is some sort of Darwinian justice.
posted by dhartung at 10:31 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hang this around their fucking necks, always.

Trouble is, there are actual voters who believe elderly Americans dying in the street is some sort of Darwinian justice.


Shhhhh, don't tell the Republicans that the social darwinians only make up 4% of the electorate.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:46 PM on May 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I wonder how much this result has to do with the traditional Republican voters bloodlust being satiated after Obama announced Osama's death, as opposed to the Health Care thing.
posted by Effigy2000 at 10:51 PM on May 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


I've heard some argue this race is meaningless because of the third party candidates splitting the vote, but even if you lumped all of Davis's voters in with Corwin* (and gave all the Green Party votes to Hochul), Corwin would only have won by 51-49. In a normally 12-point-GOP-leaning district that McCain won by six points against Obama three years ago.

This is bad news for Republicans, especially ones that voted for Ryan's plan (i.e., all of them). You can tell how bad it is by the way the front pages of conservative "news outlets" like FoxNews.com, Drudge Report, etc. are studiously ignoring the story.

*not a sure thing at all; Davis has previously won as a Democrat, and past polling suggested a significant fraction of Davis voters preferred Hochul to Corwin due to their concerns about Medicare.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:10 PM on May 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Er, "Davis had previously run as a Democrat."
posted by Rhaomi at 11:12 PM on May 24, 2011


good luck district 26
posted by clavdivs at 11:15 PM on May 24, 2011


The Republicans are taking a very cynical path and I can see them using this Medicare issue as unorthodox recruiting for a new generation. See, the Republicans are viewed as the party of the old, while Democrats have youthful energy which helped sweep Obama into office.

Take disgruntled youth who are either unemployed and hearing about people working longer and not retiring thus "taking up jobs" they want or underemployed, scraping by, and angry at the FICA line on their pay stub which goes to a system they fully expect to be gone by the time they get there. Why not help destroy it earlier so they don't have to pay in to something they won't get anyway?

Add on top of that a nation which deeply distrusts economists and has seen first hand the effects of debt on their personal life, and you've got a generation that's definitely more worried about national debt than the prospect of defaulting. After all, the economists warning that default would ruin the economy further and cause all manner of havoc are the same idiots who encouraged investing in real estate and Madoff funds, what could they possibly know?

Populism doesn't have to be well thought out, it just has to be appealing. These aren't the appeals that informed voters go for regardless of political affiliation, but they do go a long way for the voter whose political studies are limited in scope.

It's a dangerous tactic in the short term. Hochul won in large part due to the fact that old people vote. If the Republicans manage to rip into these programs now before the backlash pushes the political pendulum to the left, they'll have gained a lot of younger voters bitter about current circumstances. Sure, they'll suffer from a generation that resents their entitlements taken away, but they're already preparing for the swing back as that generation fades with time. There's already a deep opposition to higher taxes that stretches further into the center-left than before, so that part of the platform is easy to defend. If the Democrats take control for a while, who cares? Give them a few concessions, especially in social issues. The older social conservatives are dying off, the young ones will rally around issues that the politicians only pay lip service to and simply become more entrenched as they're pushed back further and further. Sound familiar to Democrats on financial issues?

Maybe I'm over-thinking things a bit here, but that's what I see in this election. Yielding ground for a generation in order to push forward major changes. I expect the Republicans to shift even further towards fiscal issues and put up only token resistance on social issues for a while. After all, Wall Street doesn't care if money is gay or straight, just as long as there's more of it in their hands. I think a lot of it depends on how much the Republicans manage to get in "compromise" out of the Democrats in the next year.

I'm not sure what to feel about this.
posted by Saydur at 11:23 PM on May 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah, Medicare needs to be reformed. Not by the budget-busting Bush giveaway to drug companies, which just increased costs for everyone.

And not by the bullshit Ryan plan -- which is essentially, give seniors a subsidy with which to buy for-profit insurance, as opposed to the direct payment with only 3% overheard of the current system -- is exactly what Republicans scream is "Socialized Medicine" when applied to anyone under 65.

Of course, what for-proit insurer is going to other a 65 year old with multiple pre-existing conditions any decent insurance?

As usual, Republicans aren't about anyone's security -- they're about privatizing profits and socializing costs -- as in Ryan's plan to offer (paltry) subsidies to buy for-profit insurance.

Real reform consists in establishing a real Single Payer system not just for those over 65, but for everyone. Take the profit away from the insurers, and use that to cut costs.
posted by orthogonality at 11:29 PM on May 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


Saydur, that's an interesting idea, but not what the GOP seems to be going after. Didn't Ryan propose preserving Medicare for everyone over age 55, while reducing it to a voucher system for everyone younger? That strikes me as the opposite of "soak the olds" rhetoric -- coming from the party of elderly white men, it sounds very much like a "fuck you, got mine" strategy, which nicely sums up the sentiment behind just about every other plank in the party platform.
posted by Rhaomi at 11:29 PM on May 24, 2011 [10 favorites]


Rhaomi, I suppose it would be more "soak the next-to-be-olds because the current olds are still voting for us" idea which seems to be falling through since "fuck you, got mine" only works when "mine" is enough to hand down to kids and grandkids. After all, it makes no sense to throw everything away immediately. Promises of lower spending tomorrow means it's easier to spend today and clamor for further cuts tomorrow because there's no money yet again.

As I said. I could be completely misinterpreting the situation. It just feels like it's a long-term "fuck you, got mine" strategy rather than one just for today.
posted by Saydur at 11:45 PM on May 24, 2011


Old people vote.
posted by Artw at 11:46 PM on May 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


This whole thing is hilarious. The republicans win a big congressional majority, then completely blow themselves up voting for this medicare plan.

If you remember over the past year or so the democrats have been praising Ryan calling him 'serious' and whatnot, and basically kind of agreeing that we need huge cuts and so on.

It almost makes you wonder if the Democrats weren't secretly geniuses trolling the Republicans by pretending to have some interest in bi-partisan consensus, while at the same time planning to just stab them in the back with this Ryan plan once the the republicans actually voted for it.

You could say that the republicans are just idiots, but I kind of question whether or not that's sufficient to explain their odd behavior. If the democrats had immediately attacked the Ryan plan it wouldn't have gone anywhere. Would the republicans have seriously voted for this if they hadn't thought the dems wouldn't attack them on this? Because if so they'd have been knowingly voted to cut their own heads off.

People often say that democrats are stupid, and therefore couldn't have pulled anything like this off. But go back over the 'stupid' things they do and ask what effect that behavior would have on their campaign fund-raising. In a lot of cases, it would help out. Why not attack wall-street? They need campaign funds. Why drop the public option? Again, campaign funds.
posted by delmoi at 12:07 AM on May 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


It almost makes you wonder if the Democrats weren't secretly geniuses trolling the Republicans by pretending to have some interest in bi-partisan consensus, while at the same time planning to just stab them in the back with this Ryan plan once the the republicans actually voted for it.

If life were an M. Night Shamalamdingdong movie, maybe.

The much-more-parsimonious-than-eleven-dimensional-chess explanation is that the Democrats were, as usual, pissing their pants, blowing with the wind, and spinelessly waiting to do as "Republicans" (actually, their high-dollar donors/owners) "forced them".

It's telling, delmoi, that tonight a Senator finally tried to filibuster the Patriotic Act.

And that Senator was Teapublican Rand "what's the Civil Rights Act of 1964" Paul. Even more telling: Rand Paul's filibuster was defeated by a parliamentary maneuver by Democratic Leader Harry "what's a spine?" Reid.

Let's all chew on that for a while.
posted by orthogonality at 12:16 AM on May 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


DNC Chair Deborah Wasserman-Schultz is attributing Hochul's victory to her criticism of the House budget plan authored by Paul Ryan passed by Republicans which radically alters Medicare for Americans who are under 55.

If Democrats think they can ride the "evil Republicans want to kill Medicare" horse - and that horse alone - from now until November 2012 they are surely misguided. Accusing the Republicans of wanting to kill Medicare is water off a duck's back and I do not see how it gains much traction with under 55 voters.

I mean who do they think this fear-mongering appeals to? Any American under 55 who does not already understand that - whatever the government does or does not do - Medicare will be radically different (and much less generous) in a decade is probably delusional and probably already votes Republican.

What is going on with this apparently suicidal Ryan proposal is not GOP suicide, but a game of GOP chicken. The Republicans put forth their own unpopular proposal to force the Democrats to put forth their own unpopular proposal.

In other words, let the Democrats vote next week on the tax increases they would rather impose and see how the voters react to that. Which of course they will never do. Last time the Democrats had a chance to take a position on revenues, they voted to extend the Bush tax cuts.

The thing is, it doesn't matter. Even if the Democrats do not have the same courage as Ryan to put their written policy where their mouth is, anytime they mention "deficit reduction" from now until 2012 the Republicans will be able to credibly insert the word "tax increases."

Ergo, it's the same, old tried and true (and largely successful) Republican strategy. "We offer a balanced budget, real fiscal discipline with hard choices, and no tax increases. The Democrats only want to raise your taxes."
posted by three blind mice at 1:25 AM on May 25, 2011


explanation is that the Democrats were, as usual, pissing their pants, blowing with the wind, and spinelessly waiting to do as "Republicans" (actually, their high-dollar donors/owners) "forced them".
Well, which is it? Were they doing what the republicans wanted, or the contributors wanted? Because what I said was that they usually do what their contributors want, and then pretend to be stupid or come up with some lame excuse to tell the voters.
It's telling, delmoi, that tonight a Senator finally tried to filibuster the Patriotic Act.
Not really. What he was doing couldn't have prevented a vote, he was just giving a long speech. And anyway, what does that have to do with the topic at hand? Isn't the obvious reason the democrats didn't do anything about the patriot act that the democrats actually like the patriot act?
posted by delmoi at 1:28 AM on May 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


Looks like the teabaggers cost the Republicans YET ANOTHER turnover in a long held House seat.

First NY-23 ( Sorry, Didi, you didn't deserve to be thrown under the bus like that... ) and now NY-26.

The RNC gotta figure out a way to re-marginalize the extremists so that they don't keep chasing people away from their crazy.
posted by mikelieman at 2:18 AM on May 25, 2011


The Republicans put forth their own unpopular proposal to force the Democrats to put forth their own unpopular proposal.

Which is why Nancy Pelosi said "You want our proposal? Our proposal is called Medicare."

The RNC gotta figure out a way to re-marginalize the extremists so that they don't keep chasing people away from their crazy.

Good luck with that. They just tarred and feathered Newt Gingrich for failing to follow the Tea Party Line in all aspects.

The problem with the GOP plan isn't the 18-25 year olds who will be fucked by this in forty-fifty years. They don't vote. The problem is the 45-55 year old voters, who will be fucked pretty much from the start -- and they do vote.
posted by eriko at 2:31 AM on May 25, 2011 [10 favorites]


Good luck with that. They just tarred and feathered Newt Gingrich for failing to follow the Tea Party Line in all aspects.

Oh, I surely do understand the difficulties involved. I expect to be giggling about this blowback from the RNC cozying up to the crazy extremists for the next few election cycles at least.
posted by mikelieman at 2:46 AM on May 25, 2011


I always try to figure out what this would like if both parties were working together to manipulate the public. Kind of a good cop, bad cop thing.

In this case Republicans are going extreme in an attempt to reframe the center of the debate. Now whatever the Dem's offer looks reasonable, even if it is crap, and in the process of passing it, they compromise a bit in the name of bi-partisanship.
posted by psycho-alchemy at 3:18 AM on May 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


"do not have the same courage as Ryan to put their written policy where their mouth is"

Oh for fuck's sake -- the Ryan plan doesn't even lower the goddamn Federal deficit.

It's a huge tax cut for the wealthy and it shits all over the poor and elderly.

Seriously mate, nobody is buying the "brave Paul Ryan" meme these days, not even his fellow Republicans who are throwing him under the bus as we speak.

As for this not mattering, older Americans vote in much higher numbers than young ones do (sometimes depressingly so). If you don't think this will play in 2012 (which isn't that far away if you think abou it) you know nothing about American politics or the current mood back in my home country.

Go ahead and try googling "AARP medicare socialsecurity"
posted by bardic at 3:23 AM on May 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


"'Which is why Nancy Pelosi said 'You want our proposal? Our proposal is called Medicare.'"

Bingo. And the TV ads for 2012 shall write themselves:

Cut to a nice edlerly couple sitting on a bench in the park.

Scary voice-over: "Republican Congressman Joe Smith voted to take away your healthcare. Why does Republican Congressman Joe Smith hate older Americans who have worked their whole lives for a comfortable retirement?"
posted by bardic at 3:25 AM on May 25, 2011 [6 favorites]


64% of eligible voters voted in 2008. 49% of eligible voters aged 18-25 voted in 2008.

They don't vote at senior-citizen rates, but young people vote.

(Also, how many people complaining about "kids today" and their lack of voting bother to vote in local primaries and local generals? Yeah, that's what I thought. Most candidates don't spring fully-formed on the national stage; they come up through library boards and school boards and village boards and city councils and water districts, and these offices spend a great deal of your tax dollars. If you can't be bothered to vote in local elections, I refuse to listen to you complain about young people not voting. You're not voting either, you're just turning up once every two or four years for the sexy election where your news outlet of preference has already told you what you're going to do, with candidates and issues that have been partially determined by your total lack of interest in the lower levels of government. /rant)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:42 AM on May 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


In other political news, there's a local council by election in Vaucluse today, in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. I'll keep you posted on the results.
posted by joannemullen at 3:59 AM on May 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


joannemullen: In other political news, there's a local council by election in Vaucluse today, in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. I'll keep you posted on the results.

Cool. Is it being seen as a referendum on the popularity of a plan to completely overhaul the way in which medical treatment is dispensed to your elderly population who dutifully paid into a system for their entire lives?
posted by gman at 4:17 AM on May 25, 2011 [17 favorites]


The guy who fucked this up is John Boehner. He broke from the typical strategy, which is 1. Present horrible plan (we kill the old people) 2. Get Obama to "compromise" (okay maybe only half of the old people) and 3. Blame Obama for voting for it (omg he wants to kill old people!) The way he fucked up is by having everyone vote on it. Should have never done that.
posted by fungible at 4:44 AM on May 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Really, I don't know how the Republicans didn't know that attacking (or even being perceived as attacking Medicare) would blow up in their faces. I know that Ryan is a dedicated randian and this was his pet project but I'm surprised that no one else in their leadership saw this as a the political "third rail" it is. There wasn't even any dissent, the entire Republican Congressional delegation voted for this thing.
posted by octothorpe at 4:54 AM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


In other political news, there's a local council by election in Vaucluse today, in the eastern suburbs of Sydney. I'll keep you posted on the results.

Please do. Sounds like an electoral deathmatch that could forge the future of the entire Waverly municipal area.

Pretty sure it's a week from Saturday, though, so you have lots of time to write that FPP.
posted by Vectorcon Systems at 5:13 AM on May 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


Saydur, I've seen lots of elections where it seemed clear to me that the tactically correct thing to do was lose, e.g. by refusing to enter a fractious coalition with a weak majority.

I have never, ever, not once seen politicians choose to relinquish power now in order to give their party a better chance next time. They always want to be in power, because being in opposition (or worse - not even elected!) sucks. If you're in power you have nice offices and the good photocopiers. If you're in opposition you have the mobile extension on the other side of the building and a fax machine. Besides, politicians aren't stupid. They're not going to give up their own career and their own pension in order to give their party a somewhat-better shot at an election in four years' time. They might not even be running in four years' time!
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:14 AM on May 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


The Republicans are taking a very cynical path and I can see them using this Medicare issue as unorthodox recruiting for a new generation

Must be that same plan Saddam and bin Laden are using.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:15 AM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


As usual, Republicans aren't about anyone's security -- they're about privatizing profits and socializing costs -- as in Ryan's plan to offer (paltry) subsidies to buy for-profit insurance.
Medicare isn't going to ne reformed, nor does it have to be. What needs to happen is taxes need to get raised. This "we gotta stop letting old people have health care" thing is pure bullshit.

This isn't to say some changes can't be made, like getting rid of scooter chair places etc., but you have it right--nobody wants to insure these things. Private insurers practically begged Johnson to create it.

It's telling, delmoi, that tonight a Senator finally tried to filibuster the Patriotic Act.

You know, there's a lot wrong with the Patriot Act that needs to be changed and/or eliminated. But this election shows that the Dems need to concentrate 99% of their fire on the bread and butter issues. It is where they can do the most good, they have consensus and where the people want the things they have to offer.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:30 AM on May 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'd be careful about reading too much into this particular race, which was seriously skewed by a bogus "tea party" candidate who took 9% of the vote, which was more than enough to turn the tide towards Hochul.

The 2010 "shellacking" of Democrats still stands as a national rejection of President Obama's economic policies. What they have yet to figure out is that before you can redistribute wealth, you need to create wealth.
posted by BobbyVan at 5:46 AM on May 25, 2011


I wonder how much this result has to do with the traditional Republican voters bloodlust being satiated after Obama announced Osama's death

I would say not at all, considering how much criticism of Obama I hear for taking credit that should rightfully go to the SEAL's, not to mention the pickle jar defense.
posted by TedW at 5:53 AM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have never seen an election so heavily advertised in all my years of living here. Not only where there ads from each of the three major candidates, there were ads from the RNC and DNC along with a couple of other PACs I've never heard of. They were often played one after the other during certain times of the day. I can imagine that it was worse in Buffalo which comprises most of the district.

Monroe County (Rochester area but not the City itself) has been voting strongly Republican for as long as I can remember. That Hochul did so well here says that older voters were sufficiently concerned over Medicare (for now) to distrust Corwin. But I'd be unwilling to believe this marks a permanent change. Western NY is losing population and the majority of those leaving are under 50. If anything, we're likely to skew even more Republican and conservative. The GOP is certainly vulnerable but they're hardly on the ropes here or anywhere else.
posted by tommasz at 6:02 AM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Overall, the idea of reducing Medicaid spending or changing the program to a block grant in order to deal with the federal budget deficit is not popular with the public. Only 13 percent say they would support major reductions in Medicaid spending as part of Congress’ efforts to reduce the deficit, while three in ten would support only minor reductions. More than half (53 percent) want to see no reductions in Medicaid spending.

The public also prefers the current Medicaid program over a system of block grants by a nearly two‐to‐one margin. After hearing descriptions of the current program and proposed changes, six in ten would prefer to “keep Medicaid as is, with the federal government guaranteeing coverage and setting minimum standards for benefits and eligibility,” while just over a third (35 percent) would prefer to “change Medicaid so that the federal government gives states a fixed amount of money and each state decides who to cover and what services to pay for.”
cite (pdf)

The results of the May tracking poll were posted last night.

*My usual disclaimer: I work for the place that produced this, but I don't work on the policy/research side and did nothing except post the survey documents.
posted by rtha at 6:08 AM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


What they have yet to figure out is that before you can redistribute wealth, you need to create wealth.

Ha! Checked Wall Street lately? There's plenty of wealth. Hell, more than ever before. It's just concentrated in the hands of very few people. You make a great talking point, however.
posted by fungible at 6:45 AM on May 25, 2011 [8 favorites]


You know, there's a lot wrong with the Patriot Act that needs to be changed and/or eliminated. But this election shows that the Dems need to concentrate 99% of their fire on the bread and butter issues... where the people want the things they have to offer.

I was winding up to heatedly dispute this when I deflated with the realization that you're right. Only a negligibly small percentage of the electorate cares that they're living in a surveillance state.

More's the pity.
posted by Trurl at 6:49 AM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


a bogus "tea party" candidate

On the contrary, Davis' appeals to fear, greed, xenophobia, and craziness make him as authentically "tea party" as any other candidate I've seen. If you don't like that, maybe the problem's with the tea being brewed, not with the people at the party.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:53 AM on May 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've heard some argue this race is meaningless because of the third party candidates splitting the vote

I'm going to try that the next time a Democrat yells at me for voting for Nader in 2000.
posted by Trurl at 6:57 AM on May 25, 2011


If it's not about medicare but about the Tea Party splitting the vote, than maybe the Dems should finance some vote splitting candidates like the Republicans have done in the past.
posted by drezdn at 7:09 AM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]



This whole thing is hilarious. The republicans win a big congressional majority, then completely blow themselves up voting for this medicare plan.

The Ryan Medicare plan was an adult plan.

And you knew it was adult, because even a friggen child can see that making grandma choose between eating cat food or not seeing a doctor is a stupid thing for A Christian Nation to do.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:15 AM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'd be careful about reading too much into this particular race, which was seriously skewed by a bogus "tea party" candidate who took 9% of the vote, which was more than enough to turn the tide towards Hochul.

In this case, it's unclear what effect Davis had. You have to take any numbers with a grain of salt because looking at only Davis supporters knocks you down to samples of (probably) 100 or less. But for what they're worth, as his support started to collapsee, Davis supporters gave Hochul higher favorability ratings than they did Corwin. And as his support dwindled, his supporters went to both Hochul and Corwin.

The 2010 "shellacking" of Democrats still stands as a national rejection of President Obama's economic policies.

Nope. The outcomes of both the 2008 and 2010 elections were almost inevitable when the markets crashed in 08.

The market crash and bailout under Bush meant that the Democrats could have run a ham sandwich and beaten McCain. But at the same time, the obvious depth of the crash and the ensuing recession meant that there was essentially no hope of a significant recovery by 2010, guaranteeing that there would be a large swing against the Democrats.

Rejection of anyone's policies don't enter into it. At the level of binary outcomes, both elections were as simple as "The economy is very bad and we are punishing the party of the President." For more on these exciting topics, see Mo Fiorina's book on retrospective voting. [enticing]It has probit![/enticing]
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:35 AM on May 25, 2011 [10 favorites]


Nope. The outcomes of both the 2008 and 2010 elections were almost inevitable when the markets crashed in 08.

Classic hindsight bias.
posted by BobbyVan at 7:46 AM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would caution those treating the NY-26 special election results as tea leaves for 2012 to look at a very similar special election held in November 2009 where Democrat Bill Owens won a NY-23 seat that had been held by the GOP since 1872 in a contest that also featured a 3rd party "spoiler" candidate. Everyone was all a flutter about that campaigns significance for national politics and we all know how things ended up for the D's in 2010. If anything, the Democrats began sinking that day and have not stopped.

Special elections are low-turnout high-cost affairs that rarely, if ever, signify much of anything of national political interest.
posted by willie11 at 7:55 AM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


That, or another confirmation of a simple and more or less uncontroversial theory of voting that's had several different kinds of observable implications empirically tested and verified since it was first formalized in the late 70s / early 80s.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:55 AM on May 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


(sorry, that was to BobbyVan)
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:56 AM on May 25, 2011


I'd be careful about reading too much into this particular race, which was seriously skewed by a bogus "tea party" candidate who took 9% of the vote, which was more than enough to turn the tide towards Hochul.

It wasn't just the Tea Party spoiler, though. If you give Davis's votes to Corwin it would have been a loss for Hochul, but still a closer loss for the Dems than previous elections in the district (with Lee winning 55-40-5 in a 3-way race in 2008 and reelected 76-24 in 2010, and a McCain win in the district in 2008).
posted by naoko at 8:05 AM on May 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


I would caution those treating the NY-26 special election results as tea leaves for 2012 to look at a very similar special election held in November 2009 where Democrat Bill Owens won a NY-23 seat

I think the core of truth here is that these were both special election in upstate New York. For sure, people in upstate trend way more conservative than people in the City, but I can tell you that being conservative or Republican in upstate New York is a whole different game than being conservative or Republican in areas where that's the norm. Things here are deeply different, even upstate, than they were in Texas or northern Florida or NC.

Anyway, I think part of what you saw in both the 23d in 2009 and the 26th now is that candidates who were at most marginally to the right of the national Republican mainstream (Hoffman then, Corwin now) can have a lot of problems running in a less-conservative area like upstate NY.

The bigger takeaway is probably just that if and as the Republicans keep trending to the right, they're going to shed a high proportion of their seats in places like NY, and we're if anything more likely to see solid a solid Democratic US-House delegation from NY before 2020.

On the other hand, there was an awful lot of polling in 26 that indicated that voters were really REALLY turned off by the "let's kill Medicare!" plan.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:09 AM on May 25, 2011


Cut to a nice edlerly couple sitting on a bench in the park.

Cut to a nice edlerly couple sitting LIVING on a bench in the park.
posted by orthogonality at 8:20 AM on May 25, 2011 [7 favorites]


Only a negligibly small percentage of the electorate cares that they're living in a surveillance state.

Hardly. Yes there are laws that need to be changed, but this isn't East Germany. Its not even on some imaginary road to it. The true survellance states of the mid-20th century sprung up overnight. The bloviating about all of this makes voters ask if the Left still cares about them
posted by Ironmouth at 9:00 AM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Special elections are low-turnout high-cost affairs that rarely, if ever, signify much of anything of national political interest.

Except that turnout was not low in this particular special election.
posted by blucevalo at 9:41 AM on May 25, 2011


Only a negligibly small percentage of the electorate cares that they're living in a surveillance state.

Put another way, if this was a true "surveillance state," you wouldn't be on here saying it was. Instead we are all wonderfully giving our opinions out without a second thought.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:20 AM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


It almost makes you wonder if the Democrats weren't secretly geniuses trolling the Republicans by pretending to have some interest in bi-partisan consensus, while at the same time planning to just stab them in the back with this Ryan plan once the the republicans actually voted for it.

As a group, no, but there were a couple of comments that Obama was making that were obviously trolling them. And they bought it.
posted by Ironmouth at 10:24 AM on May 25, 2011



Whatever the meaning last nights election, it's clear that Republicans think that the medicare plan they've ginned up is the way forward.

Ryan is still banging that drum.

Bang on drummer boy.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:29 AM on May 25, 2011


Just because you don't see actions being taken doesn't mean the surveillance isn't taking place.

Remember Mark Klein and that little room in San Francisco? Remember TIA? These things are happening.
posted by hippybear at 10:29 AM on May 25, 2011


I wasn't really paying any special attention to this election. That said, I'm a Canadian who gets local Buffalo news channels (so I know all about the nightly shooting/fire/robbery in Tonawanda/Cheektowaga/Lakawanna -- mix and match accordingly). Given the broadcasting proximity, I guess I've seen as many ads for Hochul as the typical, un-involved Buffalo voter.

I can't say any one issue really stuck out in my mind after viewing them, and certainly not medicare, so I was a bit surprised to read the FPP.

From what I could tell, Huchul was campaigning not against any issue (or in favour of any issue, for that matter). She was campaigning against the evil, Satanic, corrupt puppet-master Nancy Pelosi, and of course, by extension, her incompetent local minions that never did a darned thing for Buffalo or Erie County, and when possible did everything to hurt the district.

It really seemed to be against the establishment, ignoring, of course the recent Republican wins in the House and the Senate.
posted by sardonyx at 11:12 AM on May 25, 2011


From what I could tell, Huchul was campaigning not against any issue (or in favour of any issue, for that matter). She was campaigning against the evil, Satanic, corrupt puppet-master Nancy Pelosi

Hochul was most certainly not campaigning against the minority leader of her own party.
posted by blucevalo at 11:43 AM on May 25, 2011




Slip of the fingers. I meant Corwin, the Republican. To be honest, I don't even think I ever saw an ad for Huchul, or if I did, it was so bland and nondescript that it didn't stick with me.

I'm a bit pressed for time now, and haven't had a chance to search for the actual videos, but here's a report about the campaign.
posted by sardonyx at 12:35 PM on May 25, 2011


I would caution those treating the NY-26 special election results as tea leaves for 2012 to look at a very similar special election held in November 2009 where Democrat Bill Owens won a NY-23 seat that had been held by the GOP since 1872 in a contest that also featured a 3rd party "spoiler" candidate. Everyone was all a flutter about that campaigns significance for national politics and we all know how things ended up for the D's in 2010. If anything, the Democrats began sinking that day and have not stopped.

The tea party lost the Republicans the Senate by nominating unelectable candidates in Delware, Alaska and Nevada. Reid had worse ratings than Cheney and he was reelected. Really, the Democrats did far better than they should have in 2010, thanks to tea party insanity. Compare to the Democratic sweep in 2006.
posted by stavrogin at 12:43 PM on May 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


I like how seeing the 2008 and 2010 elections in terms of a long-standing political theory is hindsight bias, but seeing it as a rejection of Dems' health care isn't confirmation bias.
posted by klangklangston at 2:02 PM on May 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


Really, the Democrats did far better than they should have in 2010, thanks to tea party insanity. Compare to the Democratic sweep in 2006.

Except that their gains in other areas came from tea party candidates. It isn't a coincidence that they lost out where tea partiers were put under the microscope of a larger race.

They unleashed the whirlwind. And they've been reaping it every day since.
posted by Ironmouth at 2:15 PM on May 25, 2011


I am so glad Paul Ryan is being handed such a huge loss for his illusory faux intelligent crapfest.

A quick analysis for me goes something like this: Ryan made his name and his bones on the absurd and faux factual report he drew up in opposition to the Affordable Health Care Act. It was picked up and used as one of the primary arguments against that bill by desperate and dumb GOP pols and the desperate and dumb Fux-Nation teamorons and he was praised and sent to the front of the classroom, even though his report and his numbers and findings were bogus, but had the thin veneer of a cogent argument against Health Care Reform, and even though it was profoundly full of a lot of empty platitudes and propaganda about the private sector being able to deal with the situation, it was all they had it would seem.

Next thing you know, there's this midterm election and he's credited to a large degree as a huge reason for it, and I'll never forget his face at a press conference he was giving after the midterms with the editor of the WSJ, newly important and looking like the cat that just swallowed the canary and no one was really challenging him on it. It was grotesque and sick making.

Fast forward a few months and his thinking is, okay well I got away with that pile of horseshit, I think if I word this right and with just the same veneer of bs patriotism I can leverage those some people to begin to dismantle Medicare, and give a massive gift to the insurance co.s and Wall Street and pave the way for 2012. But his new plan hit that third rail a bit too hard and he didn't use the word "freedom" and "Socialism" enough and people, both those on Medicare and those with family on the program, which is a proven winner and effective are like WTF??!!

Mix in one part bull in a China shop ego-monster Newt Gingrich needing to brush away this Ryan whippersnapper stealing his thunder as the one and true and only real brain-guy with the shit sandwich formula for getting votes from scared and uninformed voters and voila!! GOP disaster. GOP hitting the ceiling of people's belief. GOP obviously pandering and giving the store away to deplorable extents to the wealthy and their masters Big Oil, Insurance, Big Banks and Wall Street.

And they've screwed themselves. They've been continually screwing themselves but desperation made them reach out to the extremes with the white supremacists/birthers/truthers/and other assorted crazies and it was a win in the midterms, but they've jumped the shark now in a huge way.

ONe wonders how it might've worked out if the GOP undertook it upon itself to come up with a jobs program to produce good well paying employment for people instead of going kamikaze for the Kochs and the rest of the BigOil, BigDeath, Big Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate plutocrats.

This needs to be the lynchpin upon which this country begins to undo 30 years of middle and working class oppression. This country was never supposed to turn into an authoritarian capitalist nation with deplorable poverty in the suburbs and massive prosperity in the cities like China. It was China that was supposed to become more democrat and free even as it became more prosperous, but somehow and hilariously and perversely, Capitalism has worked beautifully there BECAUSE of a lack of a Middle Class and the lack of respect for basic human rights.
posted by Skygazer at 2:19 PM on May 25, 2011 [4 favorites]


I like how seeing the 2008 and 2010 elections in terms of a long-standing political theory is hindsight bias, but seeing it as a rejection of Dems' health care isn't confirmation bias.

Exit polls from the 2010 elections show a strong majority were dissatisfied with President Obama's job performance, and a narrow majority actually favored repealing the new health care law (48 percent favored repeal, 31 percent favored expansion, and 16 percent said to leave "as is").
posted by BobbyVan at 2:19 PM on May 25, 2011


Exit polls from the 2010 elections show a strong majority were dissatisfied with President Obama's job performance

Yes, exactly; the economy was in terrible shape and Obama was the president. You really don't need more than that to explain probably 90 percent of the 2010 elections.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:56 PM on May 25, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Paul Ryan still doesn't get it: "Scare tactics" didn't prompt voters in a special election to revolt against his Medicare plan -- the truth did"

It's surreal watching Ryan and other Republicans complaining about "scare tactics" and "demagoguing Medicare" after the ludicrously false and insanely hypocritical fearmongering that went on before the midterms. ("Democrats voted to cut your benefits slightly! Get your socialist government hands off my Medicare! DEATH PANELS!!!")
posted by Rhaomi at 3:25 PM on May 25, 2011 [5 favorites]


Yes, exactly; the economy was in terrible shape and Obama was the president. You really don't need more than that to explain probably 90 percent of the 2010 elections.

And yet, "Democrats were more at risk in districts that performed better economically than those that performed worse." Democrats hit a high water mark in 2008, and they were certainly likely to lose seats in 2010... but the scale of the losses were not foreseen by the vast majority of political observers, and the left would do well to actually listen to the voters, rather than deny their agency and reduce them to economic automata.
posted by BobbyVan at 5:09 PM on May 25, 2011


All but five Republican Senators voted yes today on the Ryan budget. You'd think that a few of them would have second thoughts after today.
posted by octothorpe at 5:22 PM on May 25, 2011


And yet, "Democrats were more at risk in districts that performed better economically than those that performed worse."

...which is another unsurprising thing, since there's lots of evidence for sociotropic voting.

I suppose there could be one out there; I don't keep up with the elections stuff. But I'm unaware of any serious theory of economic voting that posits it operating at the district level.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:51 PM on May 25, 2011


All but five Republican Senators voted yes today on the Ryan budget. You'd think that a few of them would have second thoughts after today.

Yeah, you'd think, but I think they're so disciplined to work as a monolithic group of hypocrite Fox news venerated shitbags that it must seem counter-intuitive to do otherwise. To come apart and become split on the issue would've been a greater admission of political vulnerability and ideological fragmentation.

And that's the thing they need to avoid at all costs least their whole plutocratic shitshow be seen for what it is, at least this way they can somehow retain the mask of being in the right, but being misunderstood and victimized by the media and the Democrats.

Someday, and I hope this vote is it, that strategy is going to explode in their faces. And lately the Dems have been capitalizing on that monolith self-righteous bullshit.
posted by Skygazer at 8:41 PM on May 25, 2011


It's beautiful watching the death throes of the GOP. Absolutely, positively beautiful.
posted by bardic at 10:00 PM on May 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


Unanimous rejection
The budget proposal released by the White House back in February didn’t win a single vote in the Senate on Wednesday— the final tally was 0-97. Senate Republicans pushed for the vote as a counterpoint to the defeat of Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan.
Is there some kind of arcane procedural strategy behind this? Or did Reid really think it would be a good idea to join Republicans in a unanimous vote against Obama's budget right after Ryan's trainwreck got 40 votes?
posted by Rhaomi at 9:07 AM on May 26, 2011


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