California begins its "top two primary" runoff. Called a blanket primary, open primary, jungle primary, the top-two primary seeks to end partisan gridlock by having one primary for all voters in June, where the top two candidates face off in November, regardless of party affiliation. Said to favor moderates while hurting small parties, Arizona votes on a similar measure next week. [more inside]
"A few days ago, I participated in a debate with the legendary Daniel Ellsberg on the merits of the Obama administration, and what progressives should do on Election Day. Ellsberg had written a blog post arguing that, though Obama deserves tremendous criticism, voters in swing states ought to vote for him, lest they operate as dupes for a far more malevolent Republican Party. This attitude is relatively pervasive among Democrats, and it deserves a genuine response."Matt Stoller lays out a progressive case for why one should not vote for Barack Obama for reelection, even if you are in a swing state.
Pick your celebrity president - "We have gathered runners and riders from across the celebrity spectrum - from sports stars to celebrity chefs - for a more glittering election in 2012. Answer the questions and find out who you would likely vote for in a showbiz showdown for the keys to the White House." via BBC. [more inside]
Sunt tibi necessaria consilio pro electione? Q. Ciceronem, frater M., habet quaedam verba pro vobis in Commentariolum Petitionis [more inside]
The Choice 2012 is a Frontline documentary about the background of the current candidates for President of the United States.
Democracy Distilled: A History of America's Voting Rights. Remember to vote this November. Women in America, let's rise up. [more inside]
Antiscience Beliefs Jeopardize U.S. Democracy writes SciAm, as part of their election coverage, which also includes rating two candidates' answers on particular sciencey topics (full replies here, marking sheet here), as well as inquiring about the positions of other congress critters. Use 'Print' button for single page presentation
Tired of the Presidential race? The battle for 33 Class I seats in the 100-member United States Senate, once commonly known as the "World's Greatest Deliberative Body", now known for stifling torpor with record-breaking numbers of filibusters and a total logjam of pending confirmations, is also taking place on the same day. With many key Senate races happening in states where the Presidential outcome will be lopsided, all eyes are on split-ticket voters. 53 Democrats (2 of them independents) and 47 Republicans make up the current chamber. Who will control the second Senate ivory gavel, the first of which was shattered in 1954? [more inside]
Kenya has another election coming next year, the first under their new constitution, and since the last one in 2007 was followed by violence that left hundreds dead, and hundreds of thousands displaced (many of whom remain so today). [more inside]
Bidzina Ivanishvili, presidential candidate, has a long name, but a story you won't forget. From village boy to billionaire (estimated worth of USD 6.4 billion - half of Georgia's GDP, making him the 153rd richest person on the planet), Ivanishvili essentially created his own kingdom in his old village, setting up alternative healthcare and education system, paving the roads, and designing welfare payment. After starting an opposition party earlier this year, he may have a shot at using his fortune to experiment with Georgia's future. While he isn't running for president directly, whichever party wins Parliament on Monday will be able to elect a prime minister next year. [more inside]
Just in time for election season, royalty-free music site firstcom has released a playlist of music for attack ads. You can choose the dramatic "Negative Vibes," the dual-mood "Compared to What's His Name," the dark "He's a Sneaky One" or the anthemic "Better Days Ahead." Firstcom also has playlists for pirates, extreme weather and science and technology.
"Republicans stand the chance of controlling Congress for the rest of the decade if they don't screw it up."
"The Republicans’ dominance in races throughout the country in the 2010 elections eviscerated the Democrats’ farm teams in state after state." Former Bill Clinton political director Doug Sosnik offers an 8-page analysis of the U.S. election that discusses the likelihood of an Obama win, the chances of a complete Republican takeover of Congress, continued Republican dominance of governorships and state legislatures for the rest of the decade, and more. There's also a related slideshow. [more inside]
Who's More Full of Shit? Aggregates Politifact ratings and identifies which politicians, pundits and media figures lie most often. [via mefi projects]
What are the secrets of former American President Bill Clinton noted oratory? Is it the writing, the body language or his unique human touch? Whatever it is, his gift for speeches was on full display at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. [more inside]
Now that we're in the homestretch toward the November Presidential election, it's time to choose your favorite electoral-vote projection oracle. All of these are sites that monitor individual state polls and voter sentiment trendlines. Here are some options: — Electoral-vote.com has been at it since 2004 and is a bonanza for polling stats junkies. Currently it's calling the electoral vote at 332 for Obama, 206 for Romney, with no toss-ups. (It takes 270 to win.) The site is run from The Netherlands by Andrew S. Tanenbaum, who prepares daily commentary and news analysis. His leanings are Democratic; for those who are bothered by that, he suggests a Republican-leaning alternative: [more inside]
In 2008, the National Journal released The Hidden History of the American Electorate, an analysis of exit poll demographics conducted by multiple news organizations from US presidential elections between 1988 and 2004. The study looked for "pressure points in the electorate": trends which were likely to decide the outcome of the 2008 presidential election. They've released an update for 2012, by adding exit poll results from the 1980, 1984, and 2008 presidential elections. It gives a more comprehensive look at voting trends over a 32 year period of the groups whom they believe are likely to influence the outcome in November. Charts: Voting Preferences of the American Electorate, 1980-2008
Small business owner and candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Delaware Sher Valenzuela is slated to speak at the Republican National Convention on Tuesday as part of a platform meant to suggest business owners build businesses on their own with no assistance from government. The problem is that Valenzuela received millions of dollars in taxpayer funds as business loans from the US government, along with other government assistance. One Reddit user noticed the url for the full name of Valenzuela's First State Manufacturing business was unregistered, and remedied that with full details. [more inside]
Last year, The Brennan Center for Justice at NYU's Law School released a report (pdf) detailing new, more restrictive state laws that affect voting rights and are likely to impact the outcome of the 2012 elections. The restrictions "fall most heavily on young, minority, and low-income voters, as well as on voters with disabilities." On August 3rd, 2012, they updated their analysis with a pdf of passed and pending State government legislation. Their conclusion: after a century in which the United States "expanded the franchise and knocked down myriad barriers to full electoral participation... that momentum [has] abruptly shifted." [more inside]
Paul Ryan. Seven-term congressman for Wisconsin's 1st District. Chairman of the powerful House Budget Committee. Architect of the controversial Ryan Budget -- a "Path to Prosperity" [PDF - video - CBO] that would slash trillions from the federal budget, sharply curtail taxes on the wealthy, and transform Medicare into a private voucher system. Proponent (vid) -- and renouncer -- of Ayn Rand 's Objectivism. Social Security beneficiary. Hunter. Weinermobile driver. And as of this morning, the 2012 Republican candidate for Vice President of the United States of America. [more inside]
McSweeney's will list 90 reasons, a day at a time over the next 90 days, on why you should vote for Barack Obama in November. Today was the first.
With the U.S. Presidential election about 3 months away, and voter ID laws headed to court this Wednesday in Pennsylvania and in other states like Texas and Minnesota, Propublica tells you Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Voter ID Laws. A solution to a nonproblem. [Previously] [more inside]
Could global warming become an election issue? After the extreme weather last year and the likelihood that 2012 will reach a record high global temperature (which it almost has), it's possible that hot weather could become politically noticeable. Most Americans say they believe temperatures around the world are going up and that weather patterns have become more unstable in the past few years, according to this poll (and this other poll and this other poll.) Obama has said that climate change and the money being thrown into the denial of science is one of the most important issues in the coming campaign discussion. but Romney doesn't know.
With the election of Pena Nieto to the presidency, the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI) ends a twelve-year absence from the seat. [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.
Bork is Back. He is currently writing a book titled "1973." Now he will devote his time to Romney's “Justice Advisory Committee.” The move is a clear signal as to who Romney will nominate to the Supreme Court if he is elected. This will be a key issue in the 2012 elections. Any or all of the four current Justices up for retirement: Ginsburg, 79: Scalia, 76; Kennedy, 75; Breyer 73, would swing the court depending on who is elected.
Chicago Tribune - Wisconsin’s fierce and emotional recall battle for governor appeared headed for a possible photo finish Tuesday as voters swarmed the polls: “I think we're having presidential turnout,” said Kenosha County Clerk Mary Schuch-Krebs as she watched voters flood the polls to choose between retaining Republican Scott Walker as governor or replacing him with Democrat Tom Barrett... This was only the third time in U.S. history that any state has voted on whether to recall its governor. Tuesday’s battle was effectively a redo of the 2010 race for governor between Walker and Barrett, which Walker won by 5 percentage points. [more inside]
LBJ v. Coke Stevenson: Lawyering for Control of the Disputed Texas Democratic Party Senatorial Primary Election of 1948
This article explores the history, from the lawyers' perspective [PDF; 41 pages], of a high-profile litigation of sixty years ago, the whirlwind of state and federal litigation that attended the 1948 runoff election battle between Congressman Lyndon B. Johnson and former Texas governor Coke Stevenson for the Texas Democratic Party nomination for the office of United States Senator. Johnson famously won this election by 87 votes [...] [more inside]
Gaffe Dodger is a game by the Christian Science Monitor which tests basic political knowledge and reaction time, and will add new stages as the election progresses.
France has a new president. With 51.9% of the second-round vote, François Hollande has beaten Nicolas Sarkozy to become the first Socialist president of France since 1995. In his victory speech, Hollande declared that "austerity is not inevitable," but international business interests have already started rumbling about Hollande's plans for higher taxes on the rich and large-scale public sector investment. The change in power is to be effected in next ten days, with Hollande scheduled to appear at the G8 and NATO summits on May 19 and 20.
Battleground is hulu's first exclusive scripted original series. A mockumentary drama/comedy depicting a Senatorial campaign in Wisconsin, the show has a run of 13 episodes this season, 12 of which are already available on hulu (the season finale will be released May 8). Happily, the first six episodes are also available on YouTube. 1: The Pilot, 2: Who Is Claire Villareal, 3: Hold The Whipped Cream, 4: The Comment, 5: They'll Burn Your Eyes, 6: Polls Close At Six [more inside]
Is Danielle Smith Alberta's Sarah Palin or the Future of Canada? Ms. Smith is widely thought to be on the verge of unseating the Progressive Conservative regime that first took office only five months after she was born on April 1, 1971. [more inside]
The GOP’s woman problem is that it has a serious problem with women. Frank Rich on George Stephanopoulos's unanswered question, how the Republicans have shifted to being the party of misogyny since the 70s, and why Mitt Romney would be just as bad as Rick Santorum.
Artist Bas Van Oerle presents a series of propaganda posters for the 2012 Republican presidential contenders. Ron Paul For The Youth Vote. Fields of Santorum. Love Me Romney. Join The Cosmonewts.
The GOP has released their sunnily-named Path to Prosperity Budget (PDF), offering it as a stark choice in the upcoming 2012 elections. Paul Ryan makes their case in their new video "The Path to Prosperity Budget: Your Country. Your Future. Your Choice." Conservatives argue for it. Liberals argue this is the death-knell for the middle class. Has the end-game arrived?
If you’re elected president,” asked one guest at a 2007 hedge fund managers event for Obama, “what will you do to the taxes on the people in this room?” “I’ll raise them,” Obama fired back. The managers, who share social circles and an educational background with Obama, approved of his style. These days, however, the bloom is off the rose. In The Big Split, Alec MacGillis investigates the souring of a 20 year relationship between Democrats and high finance, and surmises that it's the administration's rhetoric more than its policy that has upset the masters of the financial universe.
Will the Real Mitt Romney Please Stand Up? (SLYT, but incredible)
Religion and Presidential Elections: (video from the C-SPAN Video Library) On March 13, 2012, panelists at Boston College discussed Mormonism and the role of religion in the context of the 2012 Republican primaries and American politics generally. The video is about an hour long. Kristine Haglund comments about the discussion on By Common Consent.
Mother Jones: The 10 'Occupy' candidates vying for seats in the US House Of Representatives and Senate and their prospects.
With a “chief scientist” specializing in consumer behavior, an “analytics department” monitoring voter trends, and a squad of dozens huddled at computer screens editing video or writing code, the sprawling office complex inside One Prudential Plaza looks like a corporate research and development lab — Ping-Pong table and all. But it is home to the largely secret engine of President Obama’s re-election campaign, where scores of political strategists, data analysts, corporate marketers and Web producers are sifting through information gleaned from Facebook, voter logs and hundreds of thousands of telephone or in-person conversations to reassemble and re-energize the scattered coalition of supporters who swept Mr. Obama into the White House four years ago.