Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Boston's Comeback Kid.

Returns are still coming in, but Josh Kraushaar tweets that NBC has called the Massachusetts gubernatorial race for Deval Patrick , after a tough three-way race against Republican Charlie Baker and Independent Tim Cahill . With his approval ratings in the low 30s, Patrick was considered a long shot for re-election as early as last summer. But thanks to a lackluster opponent, strong Democratic turnout and a resilient state economy (below the national average at 8.3 percent ), Patrick will live to fight again in the Massachusetts state House, as the nation's only black governor. It's worth noting that Patrick's circumstances, like his 2006 campaign (helmed by David Axelrod ), bear a strong resemblance to Barack Obama 's. It's almost certainly the case that the White House has paid a lot of attention to the race in Massachusetts, and I wouldn't be surprised if a variation on Patrick's strategy makes its way to Obama's 2012 re-election campaign. -- Jamelle Bouie

You'll Always Have the Senate, Democrats.

With the Associated Press calling West Virginia for Gov. Joe Manchin and Connecticut for Attorney General Richard Blumenthal , we can safely say that Democrats will maintain their hold on the Senate. Nate Silver gives the GOP a 2 percent chance of winning a Senate majority, which sounds about right. With Delaware in safe Democratic hands -- thanks largely to Christine O'Donnell -- Republicans needed wins in West Virginia, Connecticut, and California to take the Senate. Now that Democrats can claim two of their three most vulnerable seats, it's virtually impossible for a GOP Senate majority, barring some stunning upset. That said, we don't know the final composition of the Senate, and if Democrats walk away with a slim majority, there's a real chance of defection from a few of their more conservative and independent-minded members. -- Jamelle Bouie

Rand Paul, a Winner Is You.

NBC News -- in a complete non-surprise -- has declared Republican Rand Paul the winner in the Kentucky Senate race, beating out Jack Conway with a projected 52 percent of the vote. Conway's bid was always a long shot; Rand Paul might have had stomp-happy followers, but Kentucky is a conservative state with double-digit unemployment and an energized Republican Party. The conditions were never entirely present present for a Conway victory, and they quickly dissipated in the last weeks of the contest, as his campaign faltered (the "Aqua Buddha" ad wasn't particularly well received), and traditional Republican voters came to the fold (early exit polls show large support from evangelical Christians). Two things are worth noting. First, Paul is not the strongest candidate; Conway only had a slim chance, but it was a chance, and Paul's antics and views turned Kentucky into something of a toss-up. He could easily lose his seat in 2016 if it is a less favorable year. What's more -- and as a...

Health Care, Sooner?

Paul Krugman on pundits who insist that Obama should have "focused on the economy": If there’s one piece of conventional pundit wisdom that annoys me most, it’s the constant refrain that Obama was wrong to pursue health care, that he should have focused on the economy instead. For the question people saying this never answer is, what would that focus have consisted of? [...] What’s crucial to remember here is that economic policy is about actually doing things, not about saying “Message: I care.” A bigger stimulus -- and, importantly, one that wouldn’t fade out just in time for the midterms -- would have mattered. “Focus”, not so much. What's more, as far as popularity is concerned, health-care reform suffers from the fact that it doesn't phase in until 2014. Had reform's benefits been more immediate, voters might have been more appreciative of the effort. Of course, the White House isn't entirely to blame for that decision; a deficit-neutral bill was integral to gaining support from...

Against Independents.

After today, you expect the pundits to declare -- among other (not smart) things -- that Obama needs to "win back independents" if he is to recover from this election. David Brooks had a head start on this "advice" with his column last week: First, the president is going to have to win back independents. Liberals are now criticizing him for being too timid. But the fact is that Obama will win 99.9 percent of the liberal vote in 2012, and in a presidential year, liberal turnout will surely be high. On the other hand, he cannot survive the defection of the independents. In 2008, independent voters preferred Democrats by 8 percentage points. Now they prefer Republicans by 20 points, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll. Unless Obama wins back these moderate, suburban indies, there will be a Republican president in 2013. Of course, whether there will be a Republican president in 2013 depends on whether the economy improves, in which case, independents will flock to Obama...

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