Minor Thoughts from me to you

Archives for Elections (page 2 / 4)

Voting Early and in More Than One State

Voting Early and in More Than One State →

John Fund, writing in National Review:

North Carolina’s State Board of Elections is referring evidence to prosecutors that five people appear to have voted in both North Carolina and in Florida. The information the board is passing on wasn’t gathered by government officials, but by a private watchdog group called the Voter Integrity Project.

This specific problem isn't one that would have been stopped by photo ID. But it is one that would have been stopped by taking vote fraud seriously.

As it is right now, under our current voter-registration system there is almost no chance of individuals who register and vote illegally in more than one state being caught because states do not run comparisons between their voter registration lists.

If they did try to purge their voter rolls of ineligible voters, they'd be accused of racism and of oppressing poor people.

This entry was tagged. Elections Voting

Romney and the Senate Candidates

Romney and the Senate Candidates →

Romney performed significantly better in Michigan, Florida, North Dakota, Indiana, Montana, and Missouri than Pete Hoekstra (6.7), Connie Mack IV (6.9), Rick Berg (9), Richard Mourdock (9.8), Denny Rehberg (10.5), and Todd Akin (14.7). I had not noticed earlier that Berg and Rehberg underperformed Romney by about as much as Mourdock did.

I'm not positive whether this means that Romney was a better candidate than people thought or that the Republican Senate candidates were worse than people thought. But it is interesting.

Why I Was Wrong (short version)

I've been spending all day thinking about why my election prediction was wrong. And not just slightly wrong but completely wrong. The simple answer is: I didn't want to believe that the 2012 electorate looked exactly like the 2008 electorate. (There's a whole narrative in why I didn't want to believe that, but I don't feel like writing that tonight. I'll write it soon, but not now.)

Unfortunately for me, the 2012 electorate looks almost exactly like the 2008 electorate and that completely doomed Mr. Romney's chances.

The Election Bet: The Concession

A week ago, I bet Adam that Mitt Romney would win the Presidency and that he would do it by winning Virginia, Florida, North Carolina, Ohio, Colorado, and New Hampshire. Events have now revealed that I was definitely overestimating Mr. Romney's standing in those states.

Adam has won the bet and I'm now waiting to find out which book I must purchase, read, and review.

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.