No Labels is an American political organization based in the United States, composed of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents, whose mission is to "usher in a new era of focused problem solving in American politics." As the election draws nearer they have begun promoting their National Strategic Agenda; based on a nationwide survey conducted in the fall of 2013, it's billed as "A Policy Playbook For America's Next President." (Wikipedia)
It's another day of multi-state voting in the live version of House of Cards otherwise known as Election 2016. On the Republican side, four candidates remain: Rafael Edward Cruz, John Richard Kasich, Marco Antonio Rubio, and Donald John Trump. On the Democrat side, Hillary Diane Rodham Clinton and Bernard Sanders continue their fight. As the math becomes clearer, and with several months still to go before potentially feisty party conventions, the odds [Oddschecker] [PredictWise] remain on both Clinton and Trump as the favorites to win their respective nominations. More on today's voting from ABC, Fortune and USA Today, while on the horizon, in-person voting begins in Florida... [more inside]
The three party system - "There are three major political forces in contemporary politics in developed countries: tribalism, neoliberalism and leftism (defined in more detail below). Until recently, the party system involved competition between different versions of neoliberalism. Since the Global Financial Crisis, neoliberals have remained in power almost everywhere, but can no longer command the electoral support needed to marginalise both tribalists and leftists at the same time. So, we are seeing the emergence of a three-party system, which is inherently unstable because of the Condorcet problem and for other reasons." [more inside]
The March 1st round of voting in US primaries and caucuses is today. Since 1988, no candidate has won his party’s nomination without winning Super Tuesday. With early voting and absentee voting already happening, the people of Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Virginia will turn out for both Republicans and Democrats. Republicans in Alaska will hold caucuses, as will Democrats in Colorado. Democrats in American Samoa also nominate. On the Republican side, with 661 delegates to be allocated today, Donald Trump currently holds the delegate lead. On the Democrat side, with 865 delegates to be delegated today, Hillary Clinton currently holds the delegate lead. (A more visual delegate tracker) The actual POTUS election odds continue to make Hillary the favorite, from Donald with the rest at long odds. Politico has more information on today, as does the Wall Street Journal and 538. With variable weather for voters, Nate Silver being cautious about assumptions and Obama's surprise endorsement of Trump, it's all to play for.
Blogger suggests that a win For Hillary Clinton's methods on the way to the White House is a loss for participatory democracy. Alongside the quiet rollback of Obama's ban on contributions from federal lobbyists within the DNC comes what appears to be a novel tactic to maintain control of the nomination process by the Democratic establishment or HRC: the formation of fundraising agreements between HRC and state Democratic parties. The implications for participatory democracy do not seem good given that state parties with their success financially tied to HRC's success must oversee very narrow caucuses and primaries.
Think you can tell a Democrat from a Republican? You are presented with a bill from 2005-2014, and have to decide if that bill was sponsored by a Democrat or a Republican. Some are obvious, some are tricky, and some are really surprising! [via mefi projects]
"They Don’t Give a Damn about Governing... Once allied with but now increasingly hostile to the Republican hierarchy, conservative media is shaping the party’s agenda in ways that are impeding Republicans’ ability to govern and to win presidential elections."
As we approach the final 500 days to the 2016 US presidential election, and with a smorgasbord of POTUS wannabes, John Ellis Bush has revealed, through the medium of the Twitter, his campaign logo. A day before the bid of "Veto Corleone" is launched in Florida, and a day after Hillary Clinton formally launched her campaign through a rally and smalltown networking, Jeb is the betting favorite to be the Republican candidate, with strong showings for Marco Rubio and Scott Walker. He's also raised a bit of money; however, this hasn't been spent on a completely new logo (also here and here and here and possibly here). Parodies are also starting, as are enhancements. Despite this, Hillary remains the clear favorite to be the next POTUS, with George Clooney a 150/1 outsider at several bookmakers).
You'll recall that Voldemort killed Harry Potter's parents, fed his enemies to a giant snake, and tortured and killed muggles just for fun. But he's still polling better than Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Jeb Bush, Rick Santorum, Chris Christie and Donald Trump.
"What Obama would say at the State of the Union if he were being brutally honest": They do it because that's how the game works. They do it because the rules are you line up in front of the other team and then you hit them as hard as you can. They do it because, for one side to win, the other has to lose. And they do it because, if they don't do it, they're off the team. Football has no place for conscientious objectors. [more inside]
(until wednesday). Yes, it's election day in the USA on Tuesday 4th November, with a projected cost of $3.67 billion. "During this midterm election year, all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives and 33 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate will be contested; along with 38 state and territorial governorships, 46 state legislatures (except Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey and Virginia), four territorial legislatures and numerous state and local races." The betting markets currently have the Republicans significant favorites to take the Senate and overwhelming favorites to take the House. FiveThirtyEight indicates the same, but with many close Gubernatorial races. Electoral-vote.com currently project the senate at Dem 48, Ties 1, GOP 51. [more inside]
Democrat and Independent merge campaigns in Alaska governor’s race The Democratic nominee for governor of Alaska and an independent candidate announced Tuesday that they have merged their campaigns, marking the beginning of an unprecedented political alliance in the state that could put a Republican-held seat in play this fall.
There were a number of notable firsts for women elected to office as early as the late 1800s, and there is a significant history of women running for president and vice president in the United States, but until 1984, no woman had been nominated to as vice president in one of the major parties. 30 years ago, the Democratic presidential candidate Walter Mondale announced Geraldine Ferraro as his running mate, and she accepted the nomination to resounding roar of excitement (another version, on YouTube; transcript). [more inside]
The Big Lobotomy: How Republicans Made Congress Stupid
A quick refresher: In 1995, after winning a majority in the House for the first time in forty years, one of the first things the new Republican House leadership did was gut Congress’s workforce. They cut the “professional staff” (the lawyers, economists, and investigators who work for committees rather than individual members) by a third. They reduced the “legislative support staff” (the auditors, analysts, and subject-matter experts at the Government Accountability Office [GAO], the Congressional Research Service [CRS], and so on) by a third, too, and killed off the Office of Technology Assessment (OTA) entirely. And they fundamentally dismantled the old committee structure, centralizing power in the House speaker’s office and discouraging members and their staff from performing their own policy research. (The Republicans who took over the Senate in 1995 were less draconian, cutting committee staff by about 16 percent and leaving the committee system largely in place.) Today, the GAO and the CRS, which serve both House and Senate, are each operating at about 80 percent of their 1979 capacity. While Senate committee staffs have rebounded somewhat under Democratic control, every single House standing committee had fewer staffers in 2009 than in 1994. Since 2011, with a Tea Party-radicalized GOP back in control of the House, Congress has cut its budget by a whopping 20 percent, a far higher ratio than any other federal agency, leading, predictably, to staff layoffs, hiring and salary freezes, and drooping morale.
The Absolutist: [The New Yorker] Jeffrey Toobin profiles the current state of Ted Cruz.
The Color Of His Presidency
A few weeks ago, the liberal comedian Bill Maher and conservative strategist and pundit Bill Kristol had a brief spat on Maher’s HBO show, putatively over what instigated the tea party but ultimately over the psychic wound that has divided red America and blue America in the Obama years. The rise of the tea party, explained Maher in a let’s-get-real moment, closing his eyes for a second the way one does when saying something everybody knows but nobody wants to say, “was about a black president.” Both Maher and Kristol carry themselves with a weary cynicism that allows them to jovially spar with ideological rivals, but all of a sudden they both grew earnest and angry. Kristol interjected, shouting, “That’s bullshit! That is total bullshit!” After momentarily sputtering, Kristol recovered his calm, but his rare indignation remained, and there was no trace of the smirk he usually wears to distance himself slightly from his talking points. He almost pleaded to Maher, “Even you don’t believe that!” “I totally believe that,” Maher responded, which is no doubt true, because every Obama supporter believes deep down, or sometimes right on the surface, that the furious opposition marshaled against the first black president is a reaction to his race. Likewise, every Obama opponent believes with equal fervor that this is not only false but a smear concocted willfully to silence them.[more inside]
Thomas Scully, the Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services under President George W. Bush, once said, “Fifty percent of the social safety net was created by Henry Waxman when no one was looking.” After 40 years and 17 consecutive terms, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA) is retiring from Congress. [more inside]
Jesse A. Myerson described five economic reforms millenials should be fighting for in Rolling Stone. Conservatives were generally aghast at the suggestions. Dylan Matthews at Wonkblog wrote a response, "Five conservative reforms millenials should be fighting for". Liberals disapproved. Both articles argued for I. Employer of Last Resort II. Basic Income III. Land Value Tax IV. Sovereign Wealth Fund V. Public Bank. Ezra Klein discusses the trolling.
The data analysis group that used Facebook and set top TV data to help Barack Obama win the latest election is taking its talents to the private sector. (SL NYTimes)
"It's his charm. It's his gift. It's his political liability, and it's part of an American conundrum. We beg for authenticity, and then when we get it, oh man, it's hilarious. [Vice President Joe] Biden can be fantastic when he's on his game. At the 2012 Democratic National Convention, his speech got higher Nielsen ratings than either Bill Clinton's or Obama's. He killed the debate against Ryan, pumped air back into a campaign deflated after Obama's miserable first performance against Romney. Watching those performances, it's almost impossible to see him as a person once crippled by speech."
How Polling Firm PPP Won The Election With Its Hilarious And Infuriating Questions: "Public Policy Polling, the firm that correctly predicted all 50 states in the presidential election, is known for asking some weird, quirky and, sometimes, controversial questions in its polls... Here are some of the firm's best questions of the election cycle." [more inside]
Pity the Billionaire (YT): Thomas Frank discusses how the American right pulled off a massive coup and successfully branded itself the party of rebellion and protest in the wake of the financial crisis.
According to Adorno, in psychoanalysis only the exaggerations are true. If you wished to characterize the Democrats and the Republicans in terms of true exaggerations, you might say that the Republicans have become the Party of Psychosis while the Democrats have become the Party of Neurosis. The Republicans are psychotic because they have lost contact with reality, and orient their behavior not toward realities but toward fantasies. The Democrats are neurotic because they are aim-inhibited, as an old-fashioned shrink might say: their anxieties, hang-ups, and insecurities mean that they can’t attain satisfaction, since in a basic way they won’t even allow themselves to know what they want.
Jonathan Cohn compares the effects on Medicare from the Affordable Care Act with the proposals being promoted by Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
Presenting for your perusal: "The Conservative Teen", a new magazine designed to instill the right values in today's youth.
According to a report by Democracy Corps, the Republican "brand" in US politics is collapsing.
Historian Michael Kazin says that we are witnessing the end of the Religious Right's influence in American politics. Peter Montgomery of Alternet says not to declare the Christian Right dead quite yet.
With the recent news that unemployment applications are at their lowest levels since 2008, Congressional Republicans are attempting to curtail unemployment benefits. Democrats want to extend benefits for another year. This has led to an impasse. [more inside]
Lt. Gen. Russell Honore has a solution to the increasing splintering and radicalization of Congress: send all the members of Congress to boot camp and keep them there until they recognize their duty to America.
Obama proposes Social Security cuts. Amid ongoing debt talks wherein the Democrats are seeking to raise the debt ceiling to prevent the default of Federal debt, "entitlement reform" has been a hot topic. This morning, Obama has taken the unusual step of proposing even larger spending cuts than Republicans have asked for, mystifying many. Has the Grand Bargain arrived?
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. [more inside]
"Isarithmic maps are essentially topographic or contour maps, wherein a third variable is represented in two dimensions by color, or by contour lines, indicating gradations. I had never seen such a map depicting political data — certainly not election returns, and thus sought to create them".
Jack Conway, a candidate for United States Senate, is catching flak from Democrats and Tea-Partiers alike, for airing an attack ad against his opponent, Rand Paul that brings up some bizarre dirt published in GQ a few months back. At a debate between the two candidates Sunday, Paul refused to shake Conway's hand at the end. Today, the National Republican Senatorial Committee released a response to the Aqua Buddha ad. [more inside]
Former president Jimmy Carter speaks about the similarities and differences between the political climate in the mid 1970's and the present rise of the Tea Party.
Kabuki Democracy: Why a Progressive Presidency Is Impossible, for Now. And what we should do about it. (one-page link)
The FBI has released their extensive files on US Senator Edward M. Kennedy to the public, covering their relationship with him between 1961 and 1985. The seven files, totaling more than 2,200 pages of documents reveal (among other things,) the perhaps unsurprising news that the late Senator received "scores" of death threats from radical groups, including the Ku Klux Klan, “Minutemen” organizations, and the National Socialist White People’s Party. The release was initiated by a Freedom of Information Act Request from Judicial Watch on May 3, 2010, (Complaint pdf) but the FBI gave the Senator's family the "rare opportunity" to raise objections before releasing the file.
Tom Davis Gives Up (SLNYT). “Tell them about the important work we’re doing while Rome burns,” he said. A candid accounting of American politics from a member of the GOP disillusioned with both sides of the aisle and an overview of how he became that way.
Americans pick stocks better than they pick presidents? It is no secret that the stock market does better under Democrats than Republicans. Some have speculated as to why the market does this, as if it's not supposed to work that way. Even when conceding the facts it is a bitter pill to swallow, as if the results confirm the benefit of a regulatory environment.
"On the weekends, he favors two-hour bicycle rides at a Secret Service training facility outside Washington, where he sometimes asks companions and agents to ride behind him so that he can have the illusion of riding alone." With all the focus on the upcoming election, what of George W. Bush?
This summer in Denver, at the 2008 Democratic National Convention fried foods will be forbidden at the committee's 22 or so events, as is liquid served in individual plastic containers. Plates must be reusable, like china, recyclable or compostable. The food should be local, organic or both. It's all part of Greening 2008 Convention. [more inside]
My Right Wing Dad is a new-ish and rather informal blog that aims to provide "a chance for folks to examine the unrestrained rhetoric that is quietly passed from in-box to in-box in America," by hosting a collection of the emails that form an often untraceable and unacknowledged part of public discourse in the U.S., especially on the Right. Tagged by category (for example: God, college, flag, liberal, and World War II), the amateur archive presents a range of colorful opinion, not all of it strikingly accurate, and some of it offensive. In efforts to understand liberal and conservative habits of communication, it may be worth considering the role of forwarded email in the electoral process, and the reasons that the forwarding of email is popular among some people, and whether this behavior tends to correlate with particular political opinions. The emails hosted on MyRightWingDad may in any case be enlightening, unless you're already on the forward list of someone in the know.
Hillary Clinton as Lisa Simpson!? Not sure if I put my finger on it, but that's my impression reading some excerpts from letters Hillary Clinton wrote to a high school friend whilst in college. I've been entertaining Barack Obama as Lincoln -- an impression he's actively cultivated (so, another Simpsons tie-in :) -- and I welcome uncanned glimpses into candidates' formative years to get a better idea of their 'character' (as if they're running on character and 'bio') so it was great to read her reminisce on her childhood: "I'd play out in the patch of sunlight that broke the density of the elms in front of our house and pretend there were heavenly movie cameras watching my every move."
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