Nationalizing the Vote?

I want to thank every American who participated in this election whether you voted for the very first time or waited in line for a very long time—by the way, we have to fix that," President Obama said as he kicked off his victory speech last week by throwing a bone to the liberals who spent much of the past year fighting Republican efforts to restrict voting rights. The laws didn't end up tipping the final results but certainly disenfranchised scores of voters and created a needless hassle for others across the country. In Northern Virginia, long lines forced voters to wait three hours past the time polls were set to close, while in Florida voters rushed to vote the weekend before the election to take advantage of the reduced early-voting window.

Democrats in Congress are ready to answer Obama's call for solutions. On Thursday, Senator Chris Coons and Representative George Miller both released bills to reform the election process. Coons's bill, the Louis L. Redding Fair, Accurate, Secure, and Timely Voting Act—or more simply, FAST—would offer federal grants to states that adopted certain reforms favored by voting-rights advocates, such as same-day registration, no-excuse absentee voting, and extended early-voting opportunities. Miller's Streamlining and Improving Methods at Polling Locations and Early Voting Act—otherwise known as SIMPLE—goes even further, requiring states to offer at least 15 days of early voting. 

Republicans are re-evaluating their party's image, finally noticing that the country doesn't look like the 1950s. They'll need to reach out to young and minority voters if the GOP hopes to win another national election. That's included a lot of rhetorical shifts—touting immigration reform and rejecting Romney's race-baiting explanations of his loss—but, as of yet, little in the way of substantive changes. If their new direction were sincere, Republicans would latch onto these voting-reform bills as simple, no-nonsense solutions. For all the public outreach, though, Republicans haven't truly changed their ways. While Republicans hope this new tone might peel off a few minority voters, for the time being they are crossing their fingers that the Obama electorate is an aberration; the party certainly won't pass any laws that make it easier for the emerging Democratic majority to cast a ballot.

 

So They Say

"Really, seriously, you're not asking me about Hostess Twinkies, are you? ... I'm on Saturday Night Live enough. ... This is a setup! You people are the worst! I am not answering questions on Twinkies. No, no, no, no, no, no. It's bad that I even said the word 'Twinkie' from behind this microphone."

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, responding to a question on the bankruptcy of Hostess

Daily Meme: Horse-Race Remainders

  • The horse-race aspects of Election 2012 are starting to recede as the policy ramifications, first and foremost the fiscal cliff, take center stage, but the last few loose ends of electoral strategy remain.
  • Republican governors are still in shock over how their party lost so much, while their pundits and pollsters assured them they had so much to gain. Their solution was to have some election honeymoon couples therapy in Vegas, where they came to the conclusion, "There's too many damn Democrats out there."
  • Thirty gubernatorial offices are held by Republicans, compared to 19 for Democrats, so the powwowing governors think they have useful, if obvious, information to share with the whole class. Governor Scott Walker said, “There’s got to be a positive reason to support Republicans," something the party should have realized ... ages ago.
  • Columnist Eugene Robinson's advice for the Republicans? "The GOP should be listening to reasonable voices such as that of Newt Gingrich. Yes, I used the words 'reasonable' and 'Gingrich' in the same sentence."
  • While Jonah Goldberg is getting nostalgic for the compassionate years of the early aughts.
  • And if the GOP doesn't figure out what's ailing it soon, Meghan McCain is saying adios to the party.
  • Ron Brownstein compares the GOP's crisis this year to the Democrats' in 1988. The realization Republicans need to make? "Their opponents were appealing to a broader range of Americans than they were."
  • The other reason Republicans lost isn't one where they need to probe their inner faults. Obama also ran a damn good campaign
  • And the nerd king on Obama's group of Google generals is Harper Reed, the type of brilliant campaign addition the Republicans would never hire.
  • But, don't expect the 2012 election cobweb dusting to last much longer. Election 2016 is only four years away, and time's a wastin' for us to make all the same politicking and punditing mistakes again!

What We're Writing

  • Matt Duss wonders what Israel hopes to achieve by launching attacks in the Gaza Strip.
  • Amanda Marcotte thinks conservatives will cling to their untruths for the foreseeable future.

 

What We're Reading

  • Molly Ball on the new progressive Congress. 
  • Rush Limbaugh, ever a class act, releases a song called "Baracka Claus is Comin' to Town." 
  • John Sides's prediction for the 113th Congress? "We can expect Congress to do …ABSOLUTELY NOTHING!"
  • Paul Ryan, the man who can do no wrong, maintains his spot atop the Budget Committee.
  • Who are the likeliest picks if Obama gets a chance at another SCOTUS appointment?
  • Unions are pressuring moderate Dems ahead of the fiscal-cliff negotiations.
  • Joe Biden guest stars on Parks and Recreation.
  • Obama can thank LGBT voters for his re-election.

Poll of the Day

The culture wars are slowly turning to favor Democrats. Voters in multiple states legalized same-sex marriage and marijuana this year, while a host of anti-choice Republican Senate candidates went down after they revealed their confusion on women's physiology. A new Rasmussen poll shows that abortion rights have swung to the Democrats' side. A record 54 percent of those surveyed described themselves as pro-choice, compared to just 38 percent listing themselves as pro-life.

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