Abby Rapoport

Abby Rapoport is a freelance journalist, and former staff writer at The American Prospect. She was previously a political reporter for the Texas Observer

Recent Articles

Will Cuomo Champion Campaign Finance Reform?

AP Images/Mike Groll
AP Images/Mike Groll The fight to make elections fairer in New York has become a primary goal for campaign finance reformers. A majority in the assembly and a majority in the senate support giving additional public dollars to campaigns that raise money from small donors, matching each dollar raised with six taxpayer dollars. Among voters, the idea is popular. Most importantly, Governor Andrew Cuomo has beaten the drum, declaring his support in state of the state addresses and other speeches. But now with just two weeks left in the session, the efforts have stalled, and Cuomo has not actively championed the issue. Some are starting to worry whether public financing might become a victim of Cuomo’s presidential ambitions. There’s still time to pass a bill but time is of the essence. “A lot can still happen—but a lot needs to happen,” says Karen Scharff, the head of Citizen Action of New York , one of the leading groups in favor of public financing legislation. If New York could pass a...

Republicans Play Defense in Texas

AP Photo/Harry Cabluck
AP Photo/Harry Cabluck On Tuesday, the Texas Republican Party chair Steve Munisteri announced plans to open five new field offices and hire nearly two dozen full-time outreach workers, who will target nonwhite voters and young people. The national party will help support the effort, investing a currently undisclosed amount. According to a spokesperson for the Texas Republican Party, the details are still being worked out. Since the GOP already dominates the state, you might expect the news would only further depress beleaguered Democrats—a well-funded effort to build inroads among voters who don’t typically vote Republican. Instead, some Democrats were celebrating. Battleground Texas, the group headed by former Obama staffers that promises to turn Texas blue largely through an emphasis on door-to-door canvassing, registration drives, and the like, sent out an email blast highlighting the news, with “This is amazing” as the subject line. The email proclaimed: “There is no clearer sign...

Ringside Seat: Frankie Muniz's Career Is Dead, Susan Rice's Is Alive

Fortunes can change fast—just ask Susan Rice. Nine months ago, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations was perfectly situated and considered next in line for secretary of State. Then, after attacks in Benghazi left four dead, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Rice found herself persona non grata. Her crime? Going on the Sunday morning talk show network to run through her understanding of the events as caused by a mob, rather than the work of terrorists. Republicans argued she was complicit in a cover-up to help the president’s re-election. Since then, an abundance of evidence has shown that Rice had almost nothing to do with the debate between the CIA and the State Department over how to characterize the attacks. But when Rice publicly rescinded her name from consideration for secretary of state, the GOP claimed victory. But Rice’s prospects are suddenly looking up—way, way up. Obama announced today that he would be appointing her as his National Security Agency advisor. The...

Can Obama's Organizing Army Take Texas?

This piece is the second in our Solid South series. Read the opening essay by Bob Moser here , Sue Sturgis and Chris Kromm's North Carolina reporting here , and Jamelle Bouie on Virginia here . S hortly before the Battleground Texas tour stopped in Austin’s old AFL-CIO building in early April, the sky opened up. Thunder and lightning raged, parts of the city flooded, and traffic came to a standstill. But Democrats kept arriving, some dripping wet, others clutching umbrellas rarely used in the city, and the meeting room soon filled with about 100 folks, some no doubt drawn by curiosity. Launched in February by two of Team Obama’s hotshot organizers, Battleground Texas was promising to inject into the nation’s biggest Republican stronghold the grassroots field tactics—the volunteer-organizing, the phone-banking and door-knocking, the digital savvy—that won the 2012 presidential election. After years of national Democrats seeing Texas as hopelessly red, what made this fledgling group...

Three Reasons Why State Polarization Is a Big Deal

Flikr/Americans Elect
Those of us who report on state-level politics usually brag about how much better it is than following Congress. On our beat, after all, bills actually get passed and become law—unlike in D.C., where the Senate can’t even vote for lack of cloture and the House just keeps reapproving the repeal of Obamacare in some endless Politico version of Groundhog Day . In state legislatures, deals get made, budgets get passed (even balanced, if that’s your thing), and not every single issue is defined by a Democratic-Republican split. Turns out we’ve been overstating things. A new study shows that polarization —the ideological gulf between the average Republican and average Democrat—is growing in state legislatures. Political scientists Boris Shor ( University of Chicago) and Nolan McCarty (Princeton University) combined survey results from the Project Vote Smart office-holder questionnaire with roll-call votes, comparing the average Republican and Democratic lawmakers in each state. (The data...

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