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Archives for Elections (page 2 / 4)

The Election Bet

Five days ago, I predicted that Mr. Romney would win the presidency. Adam, who's long though I'm daft on Mitt's chances, was quick to challenge me to a bet. I'm betting that Mr. Romney will be elected President, Adam's betting that President Obama will be re-elected. The stakes are simple: the loser has to purchase, read, and review an e-book of the winner's choice. The e-book can be on any topic but can't be a multi-volume work.

When I win, I'll post Adam's assignment here.

Why I Love the Electoral College

Why I Love the Electoral College →

Garrett Jones has some good insights into why the Electoral College matters.

We rarely hear too much about regional issues in the U.S. other than farmers vs. everyone else. But if the presidency was decided by majority rule, I'm sure we'd hear a lot more about regional differences. Could a presidential candidate get 75% of the votes in Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Florida by promising broad-based Gulf Coast subsidies and a few other goodies? Could a candidate get 85% of California's and New York's votes partly by offering housing subsidies for people facing high housing costs?

I don't know: But if we got rid of the electoral college and had a popularly elected president we'd sure have a chance to find out.

As it stands, presidential candidates are trying to appeal to the median voter in each state across a large number of states. That's how you get to be president. This reduces regional tensions because candidates are never trying to get 90% of the votes in a state. When you're pitting 90% of one region of the country against 90% of another region of the country, you're substantially raising the probability of social conflict.

This entry was tagged. Elections Voting

Why Mitt Romney Won’t Win the Post Debate Swing State Polls

Why Mitt Romney Won’t Win the Post Debate Swing State Polls →

The most recent CBS/NYTimes and Washington Post polls have Republicans at levels not seen in Florida since the 1960's. How can Romney win the coming media polls with fewer Republicans represented than when Barry Goldwater ran for President?

... Again the most recent CBS/NYTimes, Washington Post and NBC/WSJ polls have Republicans again under 30% at levels not seen in Ohio since before the Civil War

... Once again the most recent CBS/NYTimes and Washington Post polls have Republicans well under 30% as did the NBC/WSJ poll - at levels not seen in decades.

Number-Cruncher on Polls’ History of Underestimating the GOP

Number-Cruncher on Polls’ History of Underestimating the GOP →

This is why I keep saying that I have no idea what will happen on election day. Everything depends on turnout and, right now, we have absolutely no idea whether more Democrats or Republicans will turn out. The 2008 election was a massive year for Democrats, while the 2010 election was a massive year for Republicans. What will the 2012 election be?

Here is what people should know is bothering pollsters, and if you’re a Republican you can feel comfortable that what you are reading is based on guess work assumptions:

In 2010, we saw the country move back to 2004 levels, but we also saw a bubbling of the Tea Party, who are among the most enthusiastic of voters. Also 2010 was a midterm, where the overall turnout of registered voters is considerably lower, and the GOP base turns out better in non-presidential years than the Democrats’ base. So we process this data.

We saw in 1994 the GOP do very well, but in 1996 Clinton won easily. But sometimes a party’s momentum from the midterms carries on to the following year; we saw the Democrats add to their 2006 gains in 2008. So will 2012 be a receding of the tide of the midterms (like 1996) or an acceleration (like 2008)?

Of course in 1996, the economy was soaring and right now, we’re crawling… so you make the judgment on where this should be.

Even using logical deductions, it is difficult to get a read on what the 2012 partisan divide will be because we’ve seen it change so quickly. From 1994 through 2004, the partisan divide was fairly stable, moving no more than 2 points from cycle to cycle.

Personally I think its safe to say that 2008 is not going to happen in 2012, any pollster hanging their hat on 2008 sampling cannot be reasonably relied on…

The Walker Victory: Reform Is Good Policy and Good Politics

The Walker Victory: Reform Is Good Policy and Good Politics →

Economist Veronique de Rugy.

I have written a few times in the past about the growing evidence that, contrary to common belief, a political party that implements ambitious reforms or spending cuts won’t be punished by voters in the next election. In fact, it may even be rewarded.

Among other studies, there is a Goldman Sachs Global Economics study by Ben Broadbent called “Fiscal tightening need not be electorally costly, but it will test government unity.” It shows that spending cuts can actually be a good thing politically. “It is commonly assumed that cuts in government spending will be both economically painful and electorally costly,” he writes. And:

Neither is borne out in the data. We’ve written before about the limited (and sometimes positive) effects of spending cuts on economic growth, at least in open economies. Here we add some simple analysis on the electoral consequences and, like others, find no evidence that spending cuts reduce support for the incumbent government. If anything the opposite tends to be true.

Playground Politics: Ten thoughts on Tuesday

Playground Politics: Ten thoughts on Tuesday →

My favorite Wisconsin political blogger comments on Tuesday's election results.

  1. The Democrats have no bench.  Hey Democrats, who are your frontrunners for the 2014 gubernatorial election?  You just killed off Tom Barrett and Kathy Falk.  You have nobody in the Congressional delegation.  If Ron Kind wouldn't do it now, at a time when you really needed him, why's he going to do it later when he has to give up his House seat to do it?  And what else?  Your Young Screamers contingent?  Supertwitterer Chris Larson?  Gordon Hintz, lover of the happy ending?  The ever-sanctimonious Kelda Helen Roys?  That'd be like the GOP hanging its hat on Andre Jacque and Tyler August.

This entry was tagged. Elections Wisconsin

Super PACs can’t crown a king

Super PACs can’t crown a king →

George Will offers a strong defense of campaign funding and points out that spending doesn't buy elections.

The Post, dismayed about super PACs, reports “a rarefied group of millionaires and billionaires acting as kingmakers in the GOP contest, often helping to decide, with a simple transfer of money, which candidate might survive another day.” Kingmakers? Where’s the king?

If kingmaking refers to, say, Sheldon Adelson, the Las Vegas casino owner, keeping Newt Gingrich’s candidacy afloat with large infusions to the super PAC supporting Gingrich, then kingmaking isn’t what it used to be.

He also defends the constitutionality of campaign funding.

... The court’s unremarkable logic was that individuals do not forfeit their First Amendment speech rights when they come together in corporate entities or unions to speak collectively. What is the constitutional basis for saying otherwise?

... Actually, Citizens United has nothing to do with Adelson and others who are spending their own money, not any corporation’s. People have done this throughout the nation’s life, and doing so was affirmed as a constitutional right in the court’s 1976 Buckley v. Valeo decision.

And he defends the right of relative outsiders to influence the political process.

Critics of super PACs — critics who were remarkably reticent in 2004 when George Soros was lavishing his own money on liberal advocacy — often refer to them as “outside groups,” much as Southern sheriffs used to denounce civil rights workers as “outside agitators.”

Pray tell: Super PACs are outside of what? Is the political process a private club with the parties and candidates controlling membership?

It might be more wholesome for the speech-financing money that is flowing to super PACs to go instead to the parties and candidates’ campaigns. But the very liberals who are horrified by super PACs (other than Barack Obama’s) have celebrated the laws that place unreasonable restrictions on such giving.

The whole thing is worth reading and pondering.

Harry Reid Shuts Down Budget Process In Senate

Harry Reid Shuts Down Budget Process In Senate →

The Democratic Senate has not adopted a budget in three years. This is not only flagrantly irresponsible, it is a violation of federal law. Outgoing Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, who is retiring at the end of the year, apparently felt pangs of conscience, because he decided it was finally time for his committee to mark up a budget. He announced that the committee would do so, starting tomorrow.

A standard markup process begins with the committee chairman laying out a proposal, with the chairman and the ranking minority member giving opening statements. This is followed by an amendment process, in which amendments to the proposed legislation (here, the budget resolution) are offered and voted on. The markup process concludes with a committee vote on the bill or resolution as amended. In this case, Conrad assured ranking Republican Jeff Sessions that amendments would be allowed, and as recently as a few hours ago, Conrad’s and Sessions’s staffs were working out details of the amendment process.

Then, earlier this afternoon, Conrad gave a press conference in which he made the stunning announcement that there will be no budget markup after all. Instead, he will present a budget to the Budget Committee tomorrow. There will be no amendments and there will be no votes; not, at least, until after the election. Apparently Conrad had been proceeding on his own initiative, and at the 11th hour Harry Reid–supported by members of his caucus who do not want to have to go on record in favor of any budget–shut down the process.

Even though Republicans are more than happy to vote "on the record about" budgets, never fear. It's Republican obstructionism and a "do nothing" Republican Congress that's keeping Washington paralyzed.

A Guide to Budget Rhetoric

A Guide to Budget Rhetoric →

Arnold Kling offers some perceptive words Congressional budgeting and campaign rhetoric.

Because the budget is so far from being sustainable, budget rhetoric needs to be re-interpreted.

When their side refuses to cut spending because it would be "cruel," they are ensuring that future spending cuts will be even crueler.

When our side refuses to raise taxes, we are ensuring that future tax increases will be higher.

Until the baseline is a sustainable budget, the rhetoric will be the opposite of reality.

It's Time To Bring Some Sanity To Campaign Finance Laws

It's Time To Bring Some Sanity To Campaign Finance Laws →

David M. Primo talks about how campaign finance laws work to restrict free speech.

This past election when Dina Galassini emailed some friends urging them to join her in opposing a ballot initiative proposing $30 million in bonds for the town of Fountain Hills, Ariz., she thought she was doing what Americans have done throughout our nation’s history—speaking out on matters of public concern. Instead, she received a letter from a town clerk strongly urging her to “cease any campaign related activities.” It turns out she failed to fill out the paperwork required by Arizona’s campaign finance laws and therefore didn’t have the government’s permission to speak.

Under Arizona law, as in most states, anytime two or more people work together to support or oppose a ballot issue, they become a “political committee.” Even before they speak, they must register with the state, and then they must track every penny they spend, and if spending more than a small amount, fill out complicated reports detailing every move.

Worse yet, these laws do nothing to help educate voters. They're worthless, they're unconstitutional, and they're keeping citizens from becoming involved in politics.

I honestly don't understand why "progressives" think that these laws are such a great idea. Why is it okay for me to be involved in politics by myself but not okay for me and 10 or 100 or 1,000 or even 10,000 people to pool our time, resources, energy, and money together, to promote or oppose an idea?

In Spite of All That Cash, Unions Came Up Short

In Spite of All That Cash, Unions Came Up Short →

For months, unions have told us that after their state-senate recall efforts in Wisconsin, lawmakers would learn not to scale back their collective-bargaining “rights.” The recalls would warn any state thinking about passing a law like Governor Walker’s to think again. Yet after Tuesday night’s recall elections, only one lesson is perfectly clear: It’s probably not a good idea to cheat on your wife.

This entry was tagged. Elections Wisconsin

Obama crafts an executive order to get around the Citizens United ruling

Obama crafts an executive order to get around the Citizens United ruling →

Many people opposed the Wisconsin "union busting" bill because it was (so they believed) aimed solely at depriving the state Democrats of funding.

Question: using the same reasoning, do you oppose President Obama's planned executive order? Or is it only wrong when Republicans do it?

(Note: I still disagree with that characterization of Governor Walker's budget repair bill. But I'm interested in the thinking of those that disagree with me.)

How Many "Flood" Synonyms Do You Know?

How Many 'Flood' Synonyms Do You Know?

Well, given the fit of pique being thrown by most political reporters, the thesaurus isn't adequate to describe the sums of money being spent this election cycle. Four billion dollars? Yes, it is a lot, but consider the stakes. Here's another interesting number: $414 billion -- the interest the Treasury paid on our national debt this year. Worried about foreign money? Try that on for size.

Allison Hayward is the vice president of policy at the Center for Competitive Politics, a nonpartisan, nonprofit group dedicated to protecting First Amendment political rights.

David Obey is Out

Holy cow. The Wisconsin Democrat is calling it quits:

In a major blow to Democrats, House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey has told close associates that he will not seek re-election and an announcement of his plans is expected as early as Wednesday.

The Wisconsin Democrat faces tough poll numbers at home but until Tuesday night his staff had insisted he was running aggressively and had hired campaign staff. But a person close to him confirmed the decision to POLITICO Wednesday and said Obey was preparing to make a statement.

via Obey Won't Seek Re-election - Daniel Foster - The Corner on National Review Online.

Seeing as how I think the House Appropriations Committee is full of the most arrogant, big spending collection of corruptocrats in the entire Congress and seeing as how Congressman Obey was their Chairman -- you might say that I'm elated at this news.

What "The System is Broken" Really Means

Crist Makes Break With GOP - WSJ.com

Florida Gov. Charlie Crist formally launched his bid for a U.S. Senate seat as an independent candidate Thursday evening, abandoning the Republican primary and casting himself as the outsider in a "broken" political system.

Apparently, the political system is "broken" because the political system no longer wants Charlie Crist. Good to know.

Your dividend taxes are going up

The Dividend Tax Bill Arrives - WSJ.com

As the big tax increase day of January 1, 2011 approaches, the Democrats running Congress are beginning to lay out their priorities. Get ready for bigger rate increases than previously advertised.

Last week the Senate Budget Committee passed a fiscal 2011 budget resolution that includes an increase in the top tax rate on dividends to 39.6% from the current 15%—a 164% increase. This blows past the 20% rate that President Obama proposed in his 2011 budget and which his economic advisers promised on these pages in 2008.

(See "The Obama Tax Plan," August 14, 2008, by Jason Furman and Austan Goolsbee: "The tax rate on dividends would also be 20% for families making more than $250,000, rather than returning to the ordinary income rate.")

And that's only for starters. The recent health-care bill includes a 3.8% surcharge on all investment income, including dividends, beginning in 2013. This would nearly triple the top dividend rate to 43.4% in Mr. Obama's four years as President.

Do you think this will

a) encourage me to put more money into the stock market
b) encourage me to put my money somewhere else
c) encourage companies to pay out more money as dividends to stockholders
d) encourage companies to put their money somewhere else
e) both "b" and "d"

If you said "e", you're right. And, when the economy keeps failing to recover from the recession, you may try asking Nancy Pelois, Harry Reid, and President Obama if they have any idea what could have caused people to just sit on their money for a while. If you have a 401(k) account, you might also try asking them why they're trying to torch your retirement savings.

Finally, if you live in Wisconsin, you may want to give Senator Russ Feingold a call. He's up for re-election this year and he sits on the Senate Budget Committee. You might want to put those questions to him too. You can reach his local, Madison, office at (608) 828-1200. If you'd prefer email, his address is russell_feingold@feingold.senate.gov. If you'd prefer snail mail, you can send it to:

1600 Aspen Commons
Middleton, WI 53562-4716

Failed Economic Policies

Quote of the day.

Obama laughs off the charge of socialist behavior -- and to be fair, socialism isn't the precise term to affix to his ideas. It's more like Robin Hood economics. On a recent campaign stop, Obama joked that, by the end of the week, McCain would be accusing him "of being a secret communist because I shared my toys in kindergarten."

A funny line. But, of course, Obama's lofty intellect must comprehend the fundamental difference between sharing your G.I. Joe with a friend and having a bully snatch your G.I. Joe for the collective, prepubescent good. It's the difference between coercion and free association and trade. In practical terms, it's the difference between government cheese and a meal at Ruth's Chris.

Now, I'm not suggesting Obama intends to transform this nation into 1950s-era Soviet tyranny or that he will possess the power to do so. I'm suggesting Obama is praising and mainstreaming an economic philosophy that has failed to produce a scintilla of fairness or prosperity anywhere on Earth. Ever.

Don't Freeze the Future

Life is full of risk. No matter how hard we try, we can't eliminate that risk. Nor should we. Risk leads directly to rewards. Not all of the time. Sometimes risk leads to failure. But those failures teach us what we need to know in order to reach the rewards. More than that, it's impossible to reach a reward without taking a risk along the way.

Each crisis that comes along gives us a chance to learn a lesson and reach for a bigger reward. But we have another option. Instead of striving forward, we can cower in fear of what's around the bend. Instead of striving forward, we can attempt to stay exactly where we are, praying that things don't get worse.

That's where we are with this election. Michael Barone wrote today about Obama's vision for the country. It's a vision of fear. It's a vision that says we need to freeze things where they are, before they get any worse. It's a vision that seeks to remove all risk by franctically holding tight to what we have. It's a vision that just may prevent us from getting poorer. But it's also a vision that we'll ensure that we don't get richer.

Is this the vision you want?

The purpose of New Deal legislation was not, as commonly thought, to restore economic growth but rather to freeze the economy in place at a time when it seemed locked in a downward spiral. Its central program, the National Recovery Administration (NRA), created 700 industry councils for firms and unions to set minimum prices and wages. The Agricultural Adjustment Act (AAA), the ancestor of our farm bills, limited production to hold up prices. Unionization, encouraged by NRA and the 1935 Wagner Act, was meant to keep workers in jobs that the unemployed would have taken at lower pay.

These policies did break the downward spiral. But, as Amity Shlaes points out in The Forgotten Man, they failed to restore growth. Double-digit unemployment continued throughout the 1930s; despite population growth, the economy failed to rebound to 1920s production levels. High taxes on high earners (a Herbert Hoover as well as Franklin Roosevelt policy) financed welfare payments ("spread the wealth around") but reduced investment and growth.

Obama seems determined to follow policies better suited to freezing the economy in place than to promoting economic growth. Higher taxes on high earners, for one. He told Charlie Gibson he would raise capital-gains taxes even if that reduced revenue: less wealth to spread around, but at least the rich wouldn't have it -- reminiscent of the Puritan sumptuary laws that prohibited the wearing of silk. Moves toward protectionism like Hoover's (Roosevelt had the good sense to promote free trade). National health insurance that threatens to lead to rationing and to stifle innovation. Promoting unionization by abolishing secret ballot union elections.

Roosevelt in the 1930s had some extremely competent social engineers, like Harry Hopkins, Harold Ickes and Fiorello LaGuardia, who could enroll 750,000 people on welfare in three weeks and build an airport in less than a year. But even they could not spur the economic growth produced by utterly unknown and unconnected people, as Warren Buffett and Bill Gates were in 1970.

Reject social engineering. Reject the temptation to believe that somewhere out there is some One that can lead us into a brighter tomorrow. No One person can understand the American economy well enough to plan a brighter tomorrow. We only have one hope. And I won't lie: it entails risk.

We must place our hope in the thousands of inventors and entrepreneurs that will create the world of tomorrow. We don't know who they are. We don't know what they'll create. We don't know where they'll come from or where they'll take us. But if American history teaches us one thing, it teaches us this. The American entreprenurial spirit will take us somewhere we never expected, somewhere we never could have imagined, but somewhere far better than we dared dream. Just contrast the world of 1908 with the world of 2008. Wasn't it worth a little risk? Even with a Great Depression in the middle, didn't it turn out far better than our great-grandparents would have ever dreamed?

Reject fear and embrace hope. Reject those who would tie our economy down with new rules, with new regulations, with new concepts of "fairness". Embrace change, embrace risk, and look forward to the future with confidence. Looking back, I see no reason to fear looking forward.

Obama Staffers Planned to Vote Illegally


Thirteen campaign workers for Barack Obama yesterday yanked their voter registrations and ballots in Ohio after being warned by a prosecutor that temporary residents can't vote in the battleground state.

A dozen staffers - including Obama Ohio spokeswoman Olivia Alair and James Cadogan, who recently joined Team Obama - signed a form letter asking the Franklin County elections board to pull their names from the rolls.

These jokers needed a prosecutor to prick their consciences before realizing that this might not be a good idea? What happened to the integrity of democracy? What happened to fair play? Guess none of that matters when an election is on the line.