Archive

  • THE DOWNSIDE TO...

    THE DOWNSIDE TO SURPRISES. K-Lo begs , "[e]ven if you're not a 'raging Santorum enthusiast,' [ew -- Ezra ] get him reelected for the dramatic, way interesting news story it will be. Do it to see the shocked expressions on anchors' faces." Not to pop the bubble, but if Santorum comes from a multimonth, 10%+ deficit to win the seat, I'd be much more concerned about an instant and powerful storyline suggesting widespread fraud and theft. Indeed, I worry about that even in the case of a legitimate GOP surge. One of the real and undermentioned shames of the past six or so years is a serious deterioration of trust in the fairness of U.S. elections. We can argue back and forth over whether those feelings are warranted , but I've seen them from both the left and the right (many of my conservative commentators are certain Democrats constantly swipe elections) and there's been just about no effort to assuage these fears. Why we've not had largescale, bipartisan voting reform baffles me, but...
  • PREDICTIONS.

    PREDICTIONS. I'll do Rob one better on the hedging front. All I know in my stolen youth is last-minute political disappointment and pain, as Ezra and the other rugrats around here will no doubt also attest. Steve and Ryan Grim 's cautionary notes about the new GOP surge talk are semi-convincing, but I think some Scheiber ian jitters are still warranted. People always note the obvious but sometimes forget to absorb it -- the GOP has much more money than the Democrats. Republicans have the ability to saturate media markets with ads in the last few days of the elections. They are doing so. It's relevant. (And this is the case even leaving aside the suppression and robo-calling and shenanigans that the NRCC and other national Republican entities are currently engaging in with brazen shamelessness and gusto.) And, as Matt pointed out to me yesterday, it's also worth pausing for a moment to consider that the Senate polling is generally more detailed and reliable than various district level...
  • CRIST TO BUSH: DON'T CALL ME, I'LL CALL YOU.

    CRIST TO BUSH: DON'T CALL ME, I'LL CALL YOU. As we've been covering over at Midterm Madness , Florida's gubernatorial race against state Attorney General Charlie Crist (R) and Rep. Jim Davis (D) has grown increasingly tight in recent weeks, so much so that President Bush is on his way to the Sunshine State now to lend a hand. Crist, however, won't be there . In another sign of how Bush's market value has fallen, Florida gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist said yesterday that he would skip the president's rally in Pensacola this morning. The White House put the Florida stop on Bush's election-eve schedule specifically to promote Crist, only to be embarrassed by his last-minute defection. That will make the most prominent Florida politician appearing at the event Senate candidate Rep. Katherine Harris, who appears headed for a crushing defeat and whom the Bush family has tried to avoid this fall. Crist cited the need to campaign elsewhere, but it's worth remembering that he had...
  • JAPAN!

    JAPAN! My favorite salmon-colored newspaper, the Financial Times , has a special report on Japan that focuses on ways that new premier Shinzo Abe is different from his more Gere -like predecessor, Junichiro Koizumi . Although Koizumi had more charisma and a fondness for playing dress-up , Abe appears to be much brighter when it comes to foreign policy: Mr Abe's first move was to pull a surprise "Nixon goes to China" visit to Beijing to meet President Hu Jintao. Mr Hu had said he would not meet Mr Koizumi until he promised not to visit the Yasukuni Shrine, a memorial to Japan's war dead, that includes 14 Class A war criminals from the second world war. Mr Koizumi visited the shrine anyway and passed on the summit with Mr Hu. Recognising the futility of his own approach and worried about the danger of anti-Japanese protests turning against the Chinese government, Mr Hu wisely chose not to demand the same condition of Mr. Abe. Mr. Abe, in turn, wisely chose not to promise that he would...
  • FRAUDULENT ROBO-CALLS V....

    FRAUDULENT ROBO-CALLS V. DEMOCRACY : Hilzoy has more on the Republicans investing $2 million in fraudulent, harassing robocalls intended to suppress Democratic turnout, which Josh Marshall has been doing terrific work on. What deserves emphasis here is that this isn't rogue local campaigns, or over-enthusiastic volunteers -- most of them are apparently part of a national, co-ordinated effort funded by the National Republican Congressional Committee . As Hilzoy says: The people who do this are antidemocratic. They don't believe in making their case and letting the voters decide. They don't care about democracy, or citizens' right to choose the candidate who best reflects their views, or fair play or honesty or decency or moral values. They care about power, and they will undermine our democracy before they let the voters pry the reins of power out of their claws. Indeed. And if this doesn't work, there's always racism to fall back on . --Scott Lemieux
  • THE PARETO FALLACY....

    THE PARETO FALLACY. For no reason I can really understand, various technocrats on both ends of the aisles have convinced themselves that the relative paucity of support among the electorate for their personal political preferences is attributable to a simple lack of technical expertise among voters. Matt attributes this to what I'll call the Pareto fallacy (named for the concept of Pareto optimality ): The idea that because a certain policy could enhance widespread well-being through progressive and equitable distribution of its benefits, it will. Too often, it won't . Ours is a world of rational, self-interested actors where certain individuals and groups have far more power than others, and that has precisely the unequal distributionary outcomes you'd expect. The fact that we can construct models where power is flattened and Pareto works isn't particularly important. This has been a nifty trick of the free trade movement: They've transformed debates over specific legislation (NAFTA...
  • TIME FOR 11TH-HOUR PANIC?

    TIME FOR 11TH-HOUR PANIC? The Pew Research Center for People and the Press released a new poll yesterday that showed the Democrats' national lead over Republicans has been cut in half in the campaign's waning days. Two weeks ago, Pew found Democrats with an 11-point generic-ballot lead, 50 percent to 39 percent. Yesterday's poll showed the margin down to just four points, 47 percent to 43 percent. Understandably, this is causing some, shall we say, consternation among some political observers who hope to see Democrats excel tomorrow. With this in mind, it's probably worth noting that there is at least as much evidence that the national trend is working against the GOP as there is of the opposite. Consider the five national polls conducted and released over the last six days: * CNN (11/3 - 11-5) -- Democrats lead Republicans by 20 points, 58 percent to 38 percent. * Newsweek (11/2 - 11-3) -- Democrats had a 16-point lead, 54 percent to 38 percent. * Time (11/1 - 11-3) -- Democrats were...
  • GOTV BLUSTER. ...

    GOTV BLUSTER. Amidst undoubtedly worrying news for Democrats as the generic ballots tighten, there's a very surprising nugget tucked at the end of this USA Today article on the latest Gallup poll: One reason: Both parties have been in touch. Among likely voters, 15% had been contacted by someone urging them to vote for a Republican, and 15% had been contacted by someone urging a Democratic vote. What's more, 27% had been contacted by both sides. That throws some doubt on the effectiveness of the vaunted GOP turnout machine. "Contacts" are, to be sure, a crude metric, but they are one the GOTV community uses. Rebecca Sinderbrand , commenting on the GOP's operation in Montana, notes that the state party "has spent more than six months outpacing every other when it comes to the ground game, averaging about 20,000 voter contacts per day. The party made more than 200,000 calls alone in the month of October, in a state that's home to only 900,000. And this year, Montana Republicans are...
  • MY PREDICTIONS.

    MY PREDICTIONS. Alright, here we go: House: Democrats +26 Senate: Democrats +4 (and Lieberman wins) Governor:Democrats +7 As I'm barely recovered from the emotional disaster that was November 2004, this includes some significant hedging. If things turn out much worse, expect to find me on the floor of my apartment in a fetal position with an empty bottle of cheap bourbon. --Robert Farley
  • PHILADELPHIANS AGAINST SANTORUM.

    PHILADELPHIANS AGAINST SANTORUM. Sunday afternoon, I shadowed a few lifelong activists who were canvassing for Philadelphians Against Santorum (PAS). We met on a South Philly street corner, where PAS armed us with an arsenal of fliers highlighting the fundamental differences between Casey and Santorum. PAS is geared toward getting a minimum of 60 percent of Philadelphians to vote against the Republican incumbent. Their logo is an angry cartoon of William Penn with �Philadelphians Against Santorum� scrawled across his chest along with a Liberty Bell. PAS has been canvassing various Philadelphia neighborhoods for the last two months straight, as Bob Casey �s lead has grown to double digits. They target Democrats and unaffiliated voters whom they suspect might not make it to the polls. With any luck, one PAS staffer told me, a canvasser will average 25 knocks an hour and hold 6-8 conversations with voters. �We�re potentially sitting on a third of the votes needed to get rid of Santorum...

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