Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Whither Bob McDonnell?

Jamelle Bouie/The American Prospect
Jamelle Bouie / The American Prospect Just last year, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell was touted as a top-tier candidate for national office. Successful and well-liked in the Commonwealth, he could sell conservatism as a reasonable, pragmatic approach to solving the nation’s problems. In just the last few months, however, things have just collapsed for the Virginia governor, who is limited to a single term by state law. First, in throwing his remaining political capital behind an overhaul of Virginia’s transportation infrastructure, he alienated conservative activists—in the state, and nationwide—for his support of new taxes to pay for road improvements and other measures. And now, over the last few weeks, he’s been embroiled in a controversy—and FBI investigation—over his relationship with the chief executive of Star Scientific, a major donor to his campaign. The short story is that the executive, Jonnie R. Williams Sr., gave $15,000 to pay for the wedding of McDonnell’s daughter...

Barack Obama Asks Press to Maybe, Possibly Hold Republicans Responsible Sometime

During this morning’s press conference , President Obama got a question from ABC News’ Jonathan Karl on whether he still has “the juice” to get the rest of his agenda through Congress. Obama’s response came in two parts. First, he noted the extent to which Republicans are unwilling to play ball. On sequestration, for example, the GOP has adopted two, mutually exclusive positions: That it isn’t a big deal, and that it’s causing terrible pain to ordinary Americans. As Obama points out, this allows Republicans to reject any effort at replacing the sequester—citing their opposition to new revenues or higher taxes—and it gives them a hammer with which to hit the administration. He didn’t say it, but he was clearly exasperated—how, exactly, is he supposed to deal with this behavior? His answer is that he can’t, and moreover, that it’s not his responsibility : [Y]ou know, Jonathan, you seem to suggest that somehow, these folks over there have no responsibilities and that my job is to somehow...

Young People Are Now Pessimistic Like the Rest of Us

For the last few years, the Harvard Institute of Politics has been running detailed surveys of 18 to 29 year olds—the so-called “Millennial” generation—designed to uncover and describe their political beliefs. The latest survey , released this morning, shows a striking result—a growing number of young people are pessimistic about the quality and competence of our institutions, and skeptical that politics can solve problems. According to Harvard, 81 percent of 18 to 29 year olds rarely or never trust Congress to do the right thing. Fifty-eight percent say the same of the Supreme Court, 60 percent of the presidency, and 77 percent of the federal government overall. The only institution that comes in for positive marks is the military—54 percent say they trust it to do the right thing most of the time. As for political participation, only 35 percent say that running for office is an “honorable thing to do,” 47 percent say that politics are no longer to meet the challenges “our country is...

Conservatives Try to Rewrite Civil Rights History (Again)

Wikipedia Rand Paul’s unsuccessful speech at Howard University—where he tried, and failed, to paint the Republican Party as the true home for African American voters—didn’t happen in a vacuum. It drew from a heavily revisionist history of American politics, in which the GOP never wavered in its commitment to black rights, and the Democratic Party embraced its role as a haven for segregationists. In this telling of history, black support for Democrats is a function of liberal demagoguery and crude identity politics. If African Americans truly understood their interests, the argument goes, they’d have never left the Republican Party. Conservative writer Kevin Williamson offered a version of this history in a large feature for the National Review last year, and this week, he’s back with a smaller take— highlighting Barry Goldwater’s contributions to a local civil rights fight in Arizona —that comes to the same conclusion: Democrats were never on the right side of civil rights. Here’s...

In 2012, Black Turnout at an All-Time High

NathanF/Flickr It’s official —in 2012, African Americans voted at a higher rate than any other racial group in the United States, including whites. And it’s that turnout which delivered key states like Virginia, Ohio, and Florida, thus giving President Obama another four years in the Oval Office. Overall, while blacks made up 12 percent of eligible voters in last year’s election, they represented 13 percent of total votes, a consequence of African American enthusiasm and lower turnout among white voters. Here’s the Associated Press with more: The 2012 data suggest Romney was a particularly weak GOP candidate, unable to motivate white voters let alone attract significant black or Latino support. Obama’s personal appeal and the slowly improving economy helped overcome doubts and spur record levels of minority voters in a way that may not be easily replicated for Democrats soon. Romney would have erased Obama’s nearly 5 million-vote victory margin and narrowly won the popular vote if...