In case you were wondering about [a conspicuous lack of] the Koch Brothers' involvement in the 2016 US political elections, here is the inside scoop. [more inside]
With only six months left in the all-too-brief election campaign, three candidates from the Democratic and Republican parties remain. In the red corner, Donald has vanquished Ben, Bobby, Carly, Chris, George, Jeb, Jim, John, Lindsey, Marco, Mike, Rand, Rick, the other Rick, Scott, and Ted. In the blue corner, Bernie and Hillary have vanquished Jim, Lawrence, Lincoln and Martin. However, there is pessimism about whether Donald can win the general, with bookmaker odds stabilizing and keeping Hillary as the clear favorite. Elsewhere, Sarah doesn't like Paul, Lindsey is glad he isn't in Area 51, Gary Johnson "could" become POTUS, and Jeb sort-of returns. Meanwhile, Bernie collects more delegates in Washington state, while Hillary wins the Guam caucus. And, on the island of his mother's birth, war has broken out between rival facebook groups for and against Donald. [more inside]
With less than 200 days before deciding who will be POTUS #45, five states hold primaries today: Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Following the problems with voting in New York, hopefully there won't be so many this week, although location limitations do not bode well. Since the New York primaries, Ted has cut a deal with John but thinks the convention will be contested, people are eyeing Bernie's email address book, Donald buys a ticket to Seattle but gets his historical election facts wrong while encouraging an academic discipline, John corners the astronaut demographic, Hillary rejects a non-endorsement, Joe is focusing on the Senate, and the new first rule of Abe Club is that there is no more Abe Club. [more inside]
In the endurance test that is the 2016 US presidential election, we finally come to New York State where all of the polling stations are now open. The state consists of not only the city famed for fine dining but also the mainly rural upstate region. There's a lot of delegates here; Ballotpedia has information about the Democratic and Republican allocations. Since last time, Paul said "Nope", GOP leaders said "Meh" followed by "Rules?", Washington Democrats had their own local endurance test, Virgin Islands Republicans had an unpleasant meeting, Bernie visited the Vatican, Hillary visited Staten Island (as did Donald), the Democratic candidates debated, Donald is figuring out West Virginia, Ted appears very conservative, and a grumpy John is aiming for second. [more inside]
As we enter the last 30 weeks of the election campaign, delegate talk becomes more prevalent. On the Republican side, current Donald (future Donald) did not have a good Saturday in Colorado and South Carolina, with Cruz picking up delegates, and Kasich seeing a path despite lacking delegates. On the Democratic side, Bernie's recent good run has added to his count, although he remains behind Hillary. Voter suppression continues to be a strong issue, while Wikipedia has some interesting data on historical voter turnout. Meanwhile, Paul Ryan may or may not be running, while Kevin Spacey, who plays Frank Underwood in House of Cards series, says some real-life presidential candidates ‘appear to be fictional’. [more inside]
And then there were five. On the Democratic party side, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders remain. On the Republican party side, Ted Cruz, John Kasich and Donald Trump remain. But there's also the Green Party, the Libertarian Party, and lots of other parties. The dates for candidate debates are fluid; for example there may be a Democratic debate on April 14th. In other election news, the New York Times thinks that Candidate Trump would be "Wildly unpopular", while the Washington Post thinks that Republicans are gaming the voting system in their favor. Cruz and Sanders lead in Wisconsin polls, Kasich enjoys a beer, and the BBC describes five ways the Republican bloodbath could end. [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.
"Democracy is not a game. It is not a means of getting our names on the front page or setting the world abuzz about our latest scoop."
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]
Hillary Rodham Clinton has announced (via a YouTube video and emails to supporters) she is running for the position of nominee on the Democratic Party ticket for the 2016 US Presidential Election. Her campaign website. Will she win the Democratic candidacy? Bookmakers currently say "very likely". And the presidency itself? "50/50". [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]
The US is a little closer to a popular vote for president. Governor Cuomo added New York State to the National Popular Vote interstate compact. [more inside]
The poor in America: In need of help Some 15% of Americans (around 46.2m people) live below the poverty line, as Ms Hamilton does. You have to go back to the early 1960s—before Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society programmes—to find a significantly higher rate. Many more, like Ms Dunham, have incomes above the poverty line but nevertheless cannot meet their families’ basic monthly needs, and there are signs that their number is growing. Once upon a time the fates of these people weighed heavily on American politicians. Ronald Reagan boasted about helping the poor by freeing them from having to pay federal income tax. Jack Kemp, Bob Dole’s running-mate in 1996, sought to spearhead a “new war on poverty.” George W. Bush called “deep, persistent poverty…unworthy of our nation’s promise”. No longer. Budgets are tight and the safety net is expensive. Mitt Romney famously said he was not “concerned about the very poor” because they have a safety net to take care of them. Mr Obama’s second-term plan mentioned poverty once, and on the trail he spoke gingerly of “those aspiring to the middle class”. “Poor” is a four-letter word.
Beautiful Georgia, my adopted state as I finish life’s journey ... my last year ever to vote in a presidential election. I wanted to feel part of this great privilege, wanted to again walk out of my precinct tapping my Georgia Peach voter sticker. Even if the day were dark, gloomy and cold, the sun would be shining. One Georgia nonagenarian's quest for voter ID
My Fair Election crowd-sources pollwatching: "We hope that this information will be used by citizens, journalists, and election officials to identify the worst polling places and work to fix them. We hope that officials in charge of polling places with long lines or otherwise operate poorly will be embarrassed, held to account, and so motivated to do a better job." (via Hollie Russon-Gilman and Archon Fung)
"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]
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
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]
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.
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.
Mother Jones: The 10 'Occupy' candidates vying for seats in the US House Of Representatives and Senate and their prospects.
According to a report by Democracy Corps, the Republican "brand" in US politics is collapsing.
Texas Governor and GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry is booked on all the major morning shows tomorrow, and with good reason. After two months of gaffes, impolitic stands, and bizarre speeches that quickly waned his once-strong odds of winning the Republican nomination, Perry went into Wednesday's CNBC debate sorely needing a win... only to deliver a tortuous, cringingly forgetful attempt [video] to recall just which three cabinet departments he'd vowed to abolish, a stunning failure political scientist Larry Sabato deemed "the most devastating moment of any modern primary debate" in his memory. While Perry's slow-motion flameout has boosted the fortunes of dark horse candidate Herman Cain, the unlikely challenger is facing troubles of his own in a volley of sexual harassment claims -- an oddly ineffective scandal Cain is doing his best to (somewhat dubiously) disavow. If Cain collapses, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich may reap the benefits, but his moribund campaign has issues of its own. Pawlenty, Bachmann, Perry, Christie, Cain, Gingrich... the base is loathe to rally round him, but after so many failed, flawed, or forfeited challenges, can anyone topple Mitt Romney?
Effect of Herman Cain's proposed "9-9-9" tax reform plan on average household tax liability. Cain is leading the field of GOP Presidential candidates in polls of Iowa, South Carolina and Florida. Previously 1 2
Jeff Stone, a politician from Riverside County, wants 13 conservative Southern California counties to secede and become the country's 51st state.
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]
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.
Well, the Presidential election is only one day away...after which, the US begins the 11 week transition period to a new administration! [more inside]
Welcome to The Sacramento County Republican Party. The official website has removed content calling for Obama to be waterboarded. But it still contains fake quotes supposedly from Obama's memoir. In this political climate, 33% of voters do not identify Obama as Christian, and 8% believe he is Muslim. Yet, the polls predict a landslide, hinted at by early voting. McCain needs something spectacular, and he may be regretting his decision to invoke Bill Ayers in tonight's debate; and perhaps other things.
Nate Silver, the proprietor of the fantastic electoral projection site FiveThirtyEight.com, notices that the presidential betting market on Intrade is behaving very oddly: "[S]ome individual trader or some small group of traders are shorting all the Obama contacts in bulk and resetting the entire market. The markets then organically climb back upward until the rogue trader strikes again six or eight hours later." [more inside]
Despite his carefully cultivated “maverick” image, McCain is playing it traditional and conservative by using HTML 4.01, the W3C spec from 1999.
"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?
On the 45th anniversary of Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech, Barack Obama accepted the nomination of the Democratic Party to be their Presidential candidate with a speech so well-crafted that Pat bloody Buchanan couldn't stop raving about it, and had to be cut off by his fellow broadcasters. It was an occasion so historic that McCain chose to release an ad congratulating his opponent.
At the risk of heresy, let it be said that setting up the two presidential candidates for religious interrogation by an evangelical minister -- no matter how beloved -- is supremely wrong. [more inside]
Humorist and candidate for the US Senate for Minnesota Al Franken draws a map of the United States from memory.
2009: A True Story. "My name is Sara Ford and I am 18 years old. I moved to California at the end of last year. Before the first attacks... before everything changed." [Via] [more inside]
The Iowa Scam. Christopher Hitchens confronts a system where "only 124,000 Democrats voted last time, less than a quarter of those eligible. So if Barack Obama, say, edges Hillary Clinton by 2,000 votes, he'll be hailed in headlines as a giant-killer despite the tiny margin."
“President Barack Hussein Obama – it does have a ring to it, doesn't it?” – Who’s hot for (and who’s not for) America’s up-and-coming presidential wonderboy.
A manual for electoral apocalypse in America. Quite a bit's been written both on MeFi and other places about how bad Diebold machines are. Rolling Stone wrote an article about election fraud in 2004 that was discussed here on MeFi. Tonight, Ars posted a very thorough, very clear article about how we are completely screwed if we do not enact expensive, fundamental changes in how we handle elections in America. It's too late to do anything about the elections in a couple weeks, but perhaps steps can be taken to fix things before 2008...