Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

What About the Parties?

Citizens United gave political parties even more reason to concentrate on interest groups and the rich.

The 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver (Flickr/Rave Delay)
Last Monday, the Campaign Finance Institute -- along with the Miller Center of Public Affairs -- hosted a panel where a group of eight scholars, journalists, and lawyers sounded off on the Supreme Court's ruling in Citizens United and its consequences for the campaign-finance system. Representatives from the CFI noted that election-related spending by political committees and nonprofits is up 40 percent from 2008. And while some of this is expected as part of the steady increase of campaign spending -- "The big surge in nonprofit money began in 2008," says Michael Malbin, executive director of the CFI -- a significant part of it comes as a result of Citizens United . For most of the two-hour session -- held at the U.S. Capitol's visitor center -- panel members drolly discussed what the growth in undisclosed spending meant for future campaign-finance reform. Lost in the shuffle was an impassioned point made by Nancy Rosenblum, a professor of ethics in government and politics at the...

Making Up Narratives for Fun and Profit.

It goes without saying that if Republicans win big in November, Democrats will fight among themselves for the right to shape their part of the election's narrative. Of course, this is all a little silly; 90 percent of November's results will have already been decided by the economy and other external conditions. Slapping a story on it doesn't actually tell you much. That said, if you were trying to shape a narrative, there are a few things you can do. If you were trying to lend credibility to your story, you could publish poll results that say exactly what you believe about the Democratic Party, reality notwithstanding. For example : In another potentially troubling sign for Democratic candidates, three in five independent voters in key House districts say Congress’s Democratic leadership is to the left of them on the political spectrum. [...] “That’s a very significant finding that tells you where independents are likely to go,” said Mark Penn , president of Penn Schoen Berland,...

Rutherford B. Hayes: America's Worst President?

A man named Rutherford B. Hayes wants to run for president in 2012: Hayes offers little information about himself, writing that he is from Arkansas, has a G.E.D., and is interested in "restoring" the Constitution and Bill of Rights, which he says "came under assault." He says he has work experience in "the manufacturing industry" and has "managed a large team." Hayes cites his military experience, boasting that he served "during the Gulf War" but admitting in the next sentence that his service was limited to four years in Hawaii. He concludes his bio, "Rutherford is a man of the people not a Politician, Wallstreet type or one of the Elite he is a working man that truly knows what Americans are going through and will do what is necessary to bring our Nation back to Greatness!" I honestly don't see how this Rutherford B. Hayes could be worse for America than the original Rutherford B. Hayes. As two-time governor of Ohio, Hayes was a thoroughly unremarkable politician, and unoffensive...

Bigger Waves, Weaker Classes.

Charlie Cook makes a good point: The one sobering thought that veteran Republican consultants are already contemplating is that the larger the wave this year, the more difficult it will be to hold onto some of these seats in 2012 and 2014 in the House and 2016 in the Senate. The bigger the wave, the weaker the class and the harder it will be to hold onto those seats. Democrats only have to look at their 2006 and 2008 classes for plenty of examples. What this means is that we will likely have our third wave election in a row this year, and the bigger this one is, the more likely that there will be a countervailing wave in either 2012 or 2014. Keep this in mind when Republicans are claiming a mandate come Nov. 3. Given the size of the Democratic majority, it was really only a matter of time before Republicans won another majority in Congress. The truth is that voters are mostly responding to economic conditions, and as those conditions change, so will their votes. My guess is that 2014...

They Don't Care.

And The New York Times moves a little closer to accepting that Republicans don't actually care about the deficit: If there is a single message unifying Republican candidates this year, it is a call to grab hold of the federal checkbook, slam it closed and begin to slash spending. To bolster their case that action is needed, Republicans are citing major legislation over the four years that Democrats have controlled Congress, notably the financial system bailout, the economic stimulus and the new health care law. But while polls show that the Republicans’ message is succeeding politically, Republican candidates and party leaders are offering few specifics about how they would tackle the nation’s $13.7 trillion debt, and budget analysts said the party was glossing over the difficulty of carrying out its ideas, especially when sharp spending cuts could impede an already weak economic recovery. "Glossing over" is a bit of an understatement. If elected to a majority, congressional...

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