Republicans Are Making It Harder to Vote Across America

Austin Texas
View of the Texas State Capitol from Congress Avenue in Austin, September 27, 2016 (Shutterstock/Rudy Mareel)

Republicans are making it harder to vote across America.

The Economist summarizes:

In some states voters have been “purged” from the rolls in overzealous clean-up efforts. Other states demand ever more documentary proof that people are eligible to vote. Well-off homeowners who drive cars and have passports barely notice such hurdles. But young, poor and ethnic-minority voters are more likely to crash into them. Often, this is not just an unfortunate side-effect of tighter voting rules; it is their intent.

Read more “Republicans Are Making It Harder to Vote Across America”

American Left Must Not Create Its Own Stab-in-the-Back Legend

1924 German National People's Party election poster promotes the myth that socialists stabbed German soldiers fighting in World War I in the back
1924 German National People’s Party election poster promotes the myth that socialists stabbed German soldiers fighting in World War I in the back

The American left risks making the same mistake as the far right in blaming its political failures on the alleged impurity of its leaders.

The defeat of establishment-backed Democrats in New York and Massachusetts at the hands of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ayanna Pressley, respectively, is giving the left hope that America is finally ready for social democracy.

They wants Democrats to campaign on debt-free college education, Medicare-for-all, abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and impeaching President Donald Trump.

They are appalled that Nancy Pelosi has promised to restore pay-as-you-go budgeting in a Democratic Congress — requiring spending cuts or tax increases to pay for new policies — fearing this will make overhauls of education, environmental law and health care impossible.

There are several problems with this attitude. Read more “American Left Must Not Create Its Own Stab-in-the-Back Legend”

New Figures Argue Democrats Should Target College Graduates in Suburbs

Aerial view of a suburb of Austin, Texas
Aerial view of a suburb of Austin, Texas (Shutterstock/Roschetzky Photography)

Amy Walter reports for The Cook Political Report that a Pew Research assessment of the 2016 electorate belies some of the insights we thought we had gleaned from that year’s exit polls:

  • Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump didn’t actually split the white college-educated vote. Clinton bested Trump by 17 points.
  • They did split the white women’s vote, 45-47 percent. Exit polls suggested Trump was more popular with white women.
  • The exit polls probably overestimated the electorate’s share of white college graduates.

The revised figures argue that Trump hasn’t lost support from college-educated whites and white women. Fewer supported him to begin with.

The exit polls and Pew’s data do agree that Trump has lost support from white voters without a college degree: from 66-64 to 57 percent. Read more “New Figures Argue Democrats Should Target College Graduates in Suburbs”

Midterm Elections Likely to Deepen Blue-Red Divide in America

Night falls on the United States Capitol in Washington DC, December 8, 2011
Night falls on the United States Capitol in Washington DC, December 8, 2011 (Architect of the Capitol)

Ronald Brownstein reports for CNN that the congressional elections in November are likely to deepen the divide between “blue” and “red” America:

Democrats seem likely to emerge … with a clear upper hand in highly urbanized House seats that are racially and religiously diverse, disproportionately white-collar and secular and connected to the globalized information economy. Republicans, in turn, could remain dominant in districts outside of urban centers that are preponderantly white, heavily blue-collar, more religiously traditional and reliant on manufacturing, agriculture and resource extraction.

Read more “Midterm Elections Likely to Deepen Blue-Red Divide in America”

Rumors of a Democratic Civil War Are (Probably) Exaggerated

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democratic candidate for Congress, appears on MSNBC's Morning Joe, June 27
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a Democratic candidate for Congress, appears on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, June 27 (Anthony Scutro)

Axios warns that Democrats in the United States risk throwing away their advantage in November’s congressional elections if they nominate more left-wing candidates.

  • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leftist endorsed by the Democratic Socialists of America, defeated incumbent congressman Joe Crowley in New York last week.
  • Membership of the Democratic Socialists of America has ballooned from 7,000 to 37,000 since the 2016 election.
  • 37 Democratic state legislators have been defeated by primary challengers so far.

It’s a little early to panic, but there is clearly a trend — and the fear is it will doom Democrats in the midterms, when, due to built-in disadvantages for their demographics and geographies, they need to defeat Republicans nationwide by around 7 percent to take back Congress. Read more “Rumors of a Democratic Civil War Are (Probably) Exaggerated”

Establishment-Backed Candidates Prevail in Primaries

Gavin Newsom, the Democratic mayor of San Francisco at the time, gives a speech at the University of California, Berkeley, October 3, 2008
Gavin Newsom, the Democratic mayor of San Francisco at the time, gives a speech at the University of California, Berkeley, October 3, 2008 (Charlie Nguyen)

Nate Silver of FiveThirtyEight reports that Democratic and Republican Party elites had a good night in America. In most of the primary elections held on Tuesday, establishment-backed candidates prevailed. Read more “Establishment-Backed Candidates Prevail in Primaries”

Democrats Wisely Stay the Course

The Washington Monument and United States Capitol seen from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC
The Washington Monument and United States Capitol seen from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC (Shutterstock/Orhan Cam)

In primary elections on Tuesday, Democrats in the United States mostly went with the more sensible candidates.

Coming on the heels of Ralph Northam’s victory in Virginia and Doug Jones’ in Alabama, it suggests the party is not losing its mind in the age of Donald Trump and wisely staying the course.

Or, as Jonathan Bernstein puts it:

We’re now six states in and if there’s any sign that Democrats are either plagued by a dysfunctional overreaction to Trump or are having real difficulties handling the surge in new candidates, I’m not really seeing it.

Read more “Democrats Wisely Stay the Course”

Democrats Poll Better for Senate, Trump Rethinks TPP

The Washington Monument and United States Capitol seen from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC
The Washington Monument and United States Capitol seen from the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC (Shutterstock/Orhan Cam)

The conventional wisdom in the United States is that Democrats are likely to take control of the House of Representatives in November while Republicans are likely to defend their majority in the Senate.

That’s changing, according to FiveThirtyEight.

Democrats are polling better in Arizona and Tennessee. Ted Cruz is still likely to win reelection in Texas, but Democrat Beto O’Rourke is mounting a serious challenge.

In Florida, it’s the other way around. The candidacy of Republican governor Rick Scott is making Democrat Bill Nelson’s reelection a little less likely.

For more, read my story from February. Read more “Democrats Poll Better for Senate, Trump Rethinks TPP”

Ryan Joins Exodus of House Republicans

Republican House speaker Paul Ryan speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference National Harbor, Maryland, March 3, 2016
Republican House speaker Paul Ryan speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference National Harbor, Maryland, March 3, 2016 (Gage Skidmore)

Axios reports that prominent Republicans are fleeing Washington DC.

House speaker Paul Ryan is the latest to depart, announcing on Wednesday that he will not seek reelection in November.

About a dozen committee chairmen are giving up their seats as well.

There are two reasons for the exodus:

  1. The expectation that Democrats will win a majority in the House.
  2. Frustration with President Donald Trump. Read more “Ryan Joins Exodus of House Republicans”

Democrats Have Early Advantages, Berlusconi Backs Hard Right

View of the United States Capitol in Washington DC in the early morning, January 15, 2017
View of the United States Capitol in Washington DC in the early morning, January 15, 2017 (DoD/William Lockwood)

How good are Democrats’ chances for the midterm elections in November? Jonathan Bernstein argues in Bloomberg View that it’s too soon to tell, but that the party’s early advantages, in terms of candidates, money and volunteer commitments, could make the difference.

We like to think of voters as the key players in elections, write Bernstein. However, “voters are strongly influenced by the choices of others within the political system and by the general electoral context.”

This is where the “party decides” theory comes in: party elites (including activists who probably don’t think of themselves as “elite”) actively shape the choices voters get.

Voters may not consider themselves partisans, but they tend to vote for a party — and the same party — rather than the candidate.

The president’s job approval and the state of the economy play a huge role as well. There are political scientist who argue these factors alone determine the outcome.

For more, read my story from last month about what we already know about the midterm elections in the United States. Read more “Democrats Have Early Advantages, Berlusconi Backs Hard Right”