Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

The Myth of the Independent Voter

Like clockwork, Washington’s obsession with “independent voters” reaches its peak during presidential election season. From now until the election, a good portion of Beltway journalism will focus on how policies appear to independents, that large class of rational voters who carefully consider the merits of both parties. Among political scientists, however, it is common knowledge that this image is a myth. As Alan Abramowitz explains , independents are, like almost every other voter, run-of-the-mill partisans: Research by political scientists on the American electorate has consistently found that the large majority of self-identified independents are “closet partisans” who think and vote much like other partisans. Independent Democrats and independent Republicans have little in common. Moreover, independents with no party preference have a lower rate of turnout than those who lean toward a party and typically make up less than 10% of the electorate. Abramowitz uses the 2008...

The Inmates are in Charge

Three days ago, Washington was preoccupied with the prospect of a “grand bargain” between President Obama and congressional Republicans over deficit reduction. Obama would offer $3 trillion in spending cuts – including changes in Social Security and Medicare – and in return, Republicans would provide $1 trillion in additional revenues and lift the debt ceiling. For Republicans, this was a great deal. Democrats were handing them an opportunity to defund vital parts of the welfare state, a long-time conservative goal. All the GOP had to do was take it. They refused. On Saturday, two days after the administration proposed it, House Speaker John Boehner announced that the bargain was dead, citing Democrats' demands for higher taxes. Of course, this isn’t the whole story. Initially, Boehner was willing to consider a grand bargain on taxes and spending. Congressional Republicans, on the other hand, weren’t so open-minded. Majority Leader Eric Cantor, along with other right-wing members,...

June's Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Jobs Report

Yesterday, ahead of the federal government’s monthly jobs report, analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News predicted that the economy would add 100,000 jobs in June. This would be 50,000 jobs below what the economy needs to keep up with population growth, but it would also be a big improvement over May, when the economy added a paltry 54,000 jobs and the unemployment rate hovered at 9.1 percent. Unfortunately, the analysts were completely off the mark. According to the actual jobs report , the economy added 18,000 jobs and the unemployment rate rose to 9.2 percent. Employment in most private-sector industries was stagnant, and public-sector employment dipped down, with a total loss of 39,000 jobs. Unemployment for blacks and Latinos remained at a respective 16.2 percent and 11.6 percent, and 272,000 people dropped out of the labor force and thus out of the calculation for unemployment – keeping the overall rate lower when it should be a bit higher. Finally, as icing on the cake, job growth...

Kent Conrad's Wild-Eyed Leftism

North Dakota Democratic senator Kent Conrad isn't particularly liberal. He is only the 32nd most liberal member of the Senate, according to National Journal 's vote rankings for the 111th Congress, and has a well-established reputation for social conservatism and deficit hawkery. My colleague Bob Kuttner describes Conrad's prospective budget plan as "well to the right of where most Congressional Democrats stand on these issues." Which is true, in a context where the political system wasn't obsessed with deficit reduction amid slow economic growth, this would be a conservative. In the current environment, however, it's a different story. Conrad hasn't released the full details, but what he has released suggests that it will actually sit to the left of the recommendations on deficit reduction from the Simpson-Bowles commission and the White House's proposal. Unlike every other deal on the table, Conrad's plan would cut $4 trillion from the deficit with a balance of 50-50 for spending...

Mitt Romney's Good, but Not Great, Fundraising Quarter

The Mitt Romney campaign announced its fundraising haul for the second quarter of 2011 -- an impressive $18.25 million. This dwarfs the funds raised by his competitors. Tim Pawlenty brought in a disappointing $4.2 million for the second quarter, while Jon Huntsman raised $4.1 million, half of which came from his personal fortune. Ron Paul outperformed both Huntsman and Pawlenty with a $4.5 million, but even this places him at a distant second. "Voters are responding to Mitt Romney’s message that President Obama’s policies have failed and that we need new leadership in Washington," said Spencer Zwick , Romney's national finance chairman, in a statement. "Our fundraising for the second quarter represents the strong support Mitt Romney has across the country." Of course, Romney's fundraising is actually down from where it was this time four years ago, by which time he had raised over $23 million. If we're using fundraising to gauge political support, the Romney of 2007 was even more...

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