Tonight, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton will face off in a town hall from Nevada that will also will stream live at MSNBC.com and NBCNews.com and the Spanish-language version on Telemundo.com, ahead of this weekend's Nevada caucus. Meanwhile, three GOP hopefuls, Donald Trump, John Kasich and Jeb Bush will be in Columbia, South Carolina to answer questions from voters ahead of the Feb. 20 Republican primary in the key Southern state. The event starts at 7 p.m. and will be moderated by CNN's Anderson Cooper.
Amidst an increasingly unpredictable political season, tonight the Iowa caucuses will finally cast the first votes of the 2016 presidential campaign. It's an outsider vs. establishment war in both parties, as Republican leaders struggle to dislodge Donald Trump and Ted Cruz from the top while Hillary Clinton marshalls her endorsements and long résumé against the populist zeal of democratic socialist Bernie Sanders. The best guesses of FiveThirtyEight, BetFair, and Ann Selzer's gold-standard Des Moines Register poll all favor Trump and Clinton, but the race remains very close, and turnout in the demanding and complicated caucus events will be key. Vox provides a helpful video explainer on the process [previously]. Pass the time with FiveThirtyEight's 40-minute elections podcast, and keep an eye on the New York Times live blog of the caucuses for real-time updates once voting starts at 8:00 PM Eastern -- and don't forget to leave your two cents in the MeFi election prediction contest!
Thursday was a banner day for Bernie Sanders, whose campaign reached two million donations and won two key endorsements. So it came as a shock Friday when Sanders was hamstrung by, of all things, a Clinton data scandal. NGP VAN, the Democratic Party's main vendor for data services, mistakenly lowered the firewalls isolating each campaign's voter info -- and one Sanders staffer peeked. While the (now-fired) staffer claims they were just trying to gauge the scope of the exposure, the Clinton camp accused their rival of downloading valuable data. DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz agreed, barring the entire campaign from NGP VAN in response -- potentially crippling their sprint to Iowa. Already dinged for shielding Clinton with favorable debate schedules, the DNC dropped the ban following outcry and a Sanders lawsuit (which Sanders campaign manager Jeff Weaver said might expose collusion). Crisis averted, though not without adding some potential fireworks to tonight's Democratic debate on ABC.
Suzy Khimm, The New Republic: The Obama Gap - "Favorable demographics and a charismatic leader aren’t enough to make a majority party. A case study in electoral failure from Florida." [more inside]
It is definitely not US election season, which means only one thing - Unauthorised superPAC ads for Hillary Clinton 2016!!! (Are you excited? I am excited!) Leading off this year - StandWithHillary - a SuperPAC targeting white men in rural swing states. But can it beat 2008's "as seen on metafilter" classic Hillary4U&Me [more inside]
In response to Senator Mitch McConnell and his assertion that in 2016, Hillary Clinton will be too old to run for POTUS, Jezebel presents 101 Things Older Than Hillary Clinton.
"Used to be that the idea was 'once every two years voters elected their representatives.' And now instead it's 'every ten years the representatives choose their constituents.'"
Obama won Ohio by two points, and Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown won by five, but Democrats emerged with just four of Ohio’s 16 House seats. In Wisconsin, Obama prevailed by seven points, and Democratic Senate candidate Tammy Baldwin by five, but their party finished with just three of the state’s eight House seats. In Virginia, Obama and Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Tim Kaine were clear victors, but Democrats won just three of the commonwealth’s 11 House seats. In Florida, Obama eked out a victory and Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson won by 13 points, but Democrats will hold only 10 of the Sunshine State’s 27 House seats. The Revenge of 2010: How gerrymandering saved the congressional Republican majority, undermined Obama's mandate, set the terms of the sequestration fight, and locked Democrats out of the House for the next decade. It's not a new problem. But if the Supreme Court guts the Voting Rights Act, it could get a whole lot worse. And the electoral college may be next. (What's gerrymandering, you ask? Let the animals explain. Meet the Gerry-mander. Peruse the abused. Catch the movie. Or just play the game. Previously.)
Charlie Pierce is a longtime sportswriter and author who has, among other things, reported for Grantland, Slate, and the Boston Globe, paneled on more than a few games of Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!, and fished diapers out of trees as a state forest ranger. He's also made a name for himself as one of the sharpest and most incisive political columnists since Molly Ivins. The lead writer for Esquire's Politics Blog ever since a caustic article on former Delaware Senate candidate Christine O'Donnell cost him his Globe job, Pierce has churned out an uninterrupted stream of clever, colorful, and challenging commentary on the 2012 election season and its implications for the nation's future, dispatches often seething with eviscerative anger but shot through with deep love of (or perhaps grief for) country. Look inside for a selection of Pierce's most vital works for some edifying Election Eve reading. [more inside]
In less than an hour, the Supreme Court will hand down its final judgment in what has become one of the most crucial legal battles of our time: the constitutionality of President Obama's landmark health care reform law. The product of a strict party line vote following a
year century of debate, disinformation, and tense legislative wrangling, the Affordable Care Act would (among other popular reforms) require all Americans to buy insurance coverage by 2014, broadening the risk pool for the benefit of those with pre-existing conditions.
The fate of this "individual mandate," bitterly opposed by Republicans despite its similarity to past plans touted by conservatives (including presidential contender Mitt Romney) is the central question facing the justices today. If the conservative majority takes the dramatic step of striking down the mandate, the law will be toothless, and in danger of wholesale reversal, rendering millions uninsured, dealing a crippling blow to the president's re-election hopes, and possibly endangering the federal regulatory state.
But despite the pessimism of bettors, some believe the Court will demur, wary of damaging its already-fragile reputation with another partisan 5-4 decision. But those who know don't talk, and those who talk don't know. Watch the SCOTUSblog liveblog for updates, Q&A, and analysis as the truth finally comes out shortly after 10 a.m. EST.
Robert Reich writes today: My political prediction for 2012 (based on absolutely no inside information): Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden swap places. Biden becomes Secretary of State -- a position he's apparently coveted for years. And Hillary Clinton, Vice President [more inside]
Red money, blue money: The making of the 2012 campaign. "More than 80 percent of giving to Super PACs so far has come from just 58 donors, according to the Center for Responsive Politics analysis of the latest data, which covers the first half of 2011." This Salon piece details who the (surprisingly small) number of large donors are, and the SuperPACs they donate to.
After weeks of fake primaries, fraudulent mailers, special interest moneybombs, and last-minute attempts at voter suppression, Wisconsinites went to the polls yesterday in an unprecedented round of six recall elections targeted mainly at Republican state senators for their support of Governor Scott Walker's controversial union-busting agenda. Five of the six races were called by Tuesday evening, with Democrats taking two of the three they'd need to regain control of the state senate. The lone holdout? A dead heat between incumbent Alberta Darling and challenger Sandy Pasch in District 8 -- the very same district that saw suspicious vote-counting by conservative Waukesha County Clerk Kathy Nickolaus unexpectedly tip the balance towards Walker ally David Prosser late in the crucial state supreme court race this past April. The protracted count and late-night shift toward Darling coupled with Nickolaus's questionable history soon prompted Democratic officials to make accusations of fraud (later retracted). Control of the senate now lies in the defense of two Democratic seats up for recall next week and the possible wooing of GOP Senator Dale Schultz, the only Republican to vote against Walker's bill. Walker himself will be eligible for recall next spring. [more inside]
It's Election Day in America, and as is so often the case in this fickle land, the results of the 2010 midterm elections are up in the air. Although President Obama's party is expected to suffer significant losses, record numbers of districts remain competitive, and even minute errors in polling could mean the difference between a historic Republican landslide and an unexpectedly robust Democratic defense. At stake are control of not just the Senate and House, but myriad state and local offices, many of which will play key roles in the dynamics of the 2012 presidential race -- and, more subtly but no less crucially, the once-in-a-decade congressional redistricting process. Much uncertainty surrounds the behavior of the electorate -- how many will turn out, and how informed will they be? To help move those statistics in the right direction, look inside for voter guides, national and state fact checkers, and an assortment of other resources to keep tabs on as the results roll in. [more inside]
Christopher Buckley endorses Obama and then is forced to resign from the National Review. Is he serious, or does he just want to let the Democrats f**k things up for a change? [more inside]
Party Faithful. Can the Democrats get a foothold on the religious vote?
It's official. Obama has won the Democratic Party nomination for the US Presidency. In response, McCain has launched a "verbal sortie" against him and the media has already begun disecting Hillary's campaign.
The hidden factor in Hillary Clinton's rebound: committed Republicans voting in open primaries who want to prolong the messy battle for the Democratic nomination, encouraged by right-wing radio hosts like Laura Ingraham and Rush Limbaugh. Or is Hillary just suddenly more palatable to conservatives than multi-culti Obama?
Make your own attack ad. The Democratic party is uploading all its "tracker" videos of the top Republican candidates out on the campaign trail, for use by anyone for anything. "The party hopes that thousands of eyes might find something the mainstream media has missed, or that a new way of juxtaposing the video with something else will be revealing about the candidates," says the NYT. Gimmick or political sea change?
Band of Brothers is an organization of Democratic veterans running for U.S. Congress. Maybe you'll hear about their DC rally today on the news (but don't hold your breath). Currently, vets in the Senate are about evenly split among the GOP and Dems, but Republican vets are the majority in the House. This is likely to change if the Democrats take control of Congress in this year's elections, in which the Iraq War will be a primary issue. Has a White House full of chickenhawks destroyed the GOP claim as the military party?
John Edwards: "No military draft if Democrats win" - which comes as a relief to me today as my own son turns eighteen. However, as it stands, the Selective Service System has been ramping up its ability to begin a draft as early as Spring 2005, especially a possibility should Congressional Bills S. 89 and H.R. 163, known as the "Universal National Service Act of 2003" pass in the House and Senate. Many people who have been in the military feel a draft would actually degrade the quality of our military forces. Nonetheless, this time around, a draft would include men and women. And the Selective Service is also looking for a few good people to become a Selective Service System Local Board Member, one of the tasks of which is to guarantee "that each CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTOR is properly CLASSIFIED, PLACED, and MONITORED."(emphasis added)
While much of the blogging world has been ga-ga over getting into the Democratic National Convention, it's tough to find anything interesting going on among the convention bloggers (to their credit, go turn on CSPAN today and see for yourself how boring it is). While our own Jessamyn is there (here are profiles of everyone going), I've found the strange CNN/Technorati partnership to be the most useful thing. Technorati founder David Sifry is basically doing a metafilter of all convention blogs over on CNN as the daily blog roundup, highlighting the posts worth reading among the participants.
The spite factor - Or, why Democrats are in danger of losing their wonderful, angry momentum.
Chicago 1968 - This month marks 35 years since the infamous 1968 Democratic Convention in Chicago. Hope was at a low ebb in the wake of a turbulent year that saw the assassinations of MLK and RFK. Peace activists and yippies took to the streets to protest the Viet Nam war and to nominate a pig for president. Police responded with shocking brutality. The ensuing Chicago Seven Trial was theatre of the absurd, with a colorful and prominent cast of characters. So what's changed in 35 years? Can next year's conventions be expected to generate outrage or apathy? - more -
No winner in MoveOn primary... but Dean places first, with 4387%. No candidate getting over 50% means no endorsement for now. But more people voted in this virtual Democratic primary than voted in the New Hampshire, Iowa, and North Carolina Democratic primaries/caucuses in 2000.
Howard Dean is closing in on the lead in New Hampshire, with 16% to Kerry's 17%. Dean is appealing to voters by being outspoken in an environment in which many of his fellow democrats are submissive to Bush's approval rating, and due to anticipation of his universal health care plan, which he is soon to unveil. Already established as the most net-savvy candidate, Dean has hundreds of real-life meetups planned for today.
The First Democratic Debates were last night, but you wouldn't know it from the media's coverage. Barely a story on CNN. Howard Dean stole the night, with over a hundred screaming supporters outside the debates. The only person there with supporters was the blogging Presidential Candidate. There were students there from U.C. Berkley, Washinton, Georgia, North Carolina, and Kentucky. All thanks to the power of blogspot, and meetup. Whether or not Dean gets the nomination, this will be a campaign for the history books. They'll be on c-span all day today.
How will Democrats respond to a left-wing, pro-life, presidential candidate? Congressman Dennis Kucinich is being loudly promoted as the left-wing dream candidate for 2004 -- someone who can bring the Naderites back in the fold and send a message, that mainstream / moderate Democrats won't or can't, about being for the "people, not the powerful." Yet he has always and continues to oppose legal abortion. Can he be nominated? Would most progressives prefer a conservative Democrat who is right (in their opinion) on abortion, to a progressive who they see as wrong in that issue?
Dem's let Nader on Ill. ballot, finally. Maybe I'll see some metafilter readers at the Oct 10 Rally at UIC. Ummm, wear a pink rose and use the secret MiFi handshake.