Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Republicans Don't Need Black Votes.

Eugene Robinson wishes there were more competition for African American votes: I'm firmly convinced that the progressive agenda championed by the Democrats is much better for African Americans, and for the nation as a whole, than the conservative agenda favored by Republicans. But I also believe that in politics, as in business, competition is good. Monopolies inevitably take their customers for granted. [...] Given the stakes, I see no real choice for African Americans but to go to the polls in November and stick with the Democratic Party, which at least asks for our votes. The Republicans haven't offered an alternative. I wish someday they would. With respect to Robinson, it's actually pretty easy to see why Republicans have little interest in contesting African American votes. In 2000 and 2004, Republicans assembled winning presidential coalitions with very few -- if any -- African American votes. What's more, most Republican House members come from districts with small or...

The Myth of the Self-Funded Candidate

A willingness to spend money isn't enough to seal the deal for would-be officeholders.

Meg Whitman, the Republican candidate for California governor (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
It takes a little history to appreciate how much money former eBay CEO Meg Whitman has put into her California gubernatorial campaign. Since winning the Republican nomination for governor in June, Whitman has spent $55 million on her race against Jerry Brown, a former two-term governor of California. From the primary to the present, Whitman -- one of California's wealthiest women -- has dropped $140 million into her campaign. By contrast, at general-election time in 2002, Gray Davis had spent $130 million on his gubernatorial bid, and likewise in 2006, Arnold Schwarzenegger -- the penny-pincher, apparently -- had spent $55 million on his campaign. The conventional wisdom is that high-spending candidates are winning candidates, but for all her cash, Whitman isn't doing too well in the polls; Nate Silver of the polling clearinghouse FiveThirtyEight forecasts a 3.6-point lead for Brown and gives Whitman a scant 25 percent chance of winning. And before you mark Whitman as an anomaly, it's...

Bloomberg Says "No" to Soda for Poor People.

Michael Bloomberg wants to keep poor New Yorkers from buying soda: Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg sought federal permission on Wednesday to bar New York City’s 1.7 million recipients of food stamps from using them to buy soda or other sugared drinks. [...] The mayor requested a ban for two years to study whether it would have a positive impact on health and whether a permanent ban would be merited. “In spite of the great gains we’ve made over the past eight years in making our communities healthier, there are still two areas where we’re losing ground — obesity and diabetes,” the mayor said in a statement. “This initiative will give New York families more money to spend on foods and drinks that provide real nourishment.” As a liberal, I’m obviously not opposed to paternalism in the service of public-health goals. Indeed, it’s true that the food-stamp program already prohibits the use of benefits to buy cigarettes, beer, wine, liquor, or prepared foods. But I do feel uneasy about this...

The Same Base You've Always Known.

Ben Smith sees a Tea Party that isn’t too interested in fighting the culture war: The rise of a new conservative grass roots fueled by a secular revulsion at government spending is stirring fears among leaders of the old conservative grass roots, the evangelical Christian right. A reeling economy and the massive bank bailout and stimulus plan were the triggers for a resurgence in support for the Republican Party and the rise of the tea party movement. But they’ve also banished the social issues that are the focus of many evangelical Christians to the background. Given the enthusiastic response Tea Partiers received at the Values Voter Conference last month, and judging from the attending Tea Partiers’ open identification with values voters, I’m not sure that I agree with this assessment. While it’s possible that Tea Party leaders are averse to the religious right’s social conservatism, it’s clearly true that social conservatism resonates with many rank-and-file members of the Tea...

Still No Beheadings.

Of the many crazy things said this summer, one of the craziest came from Arizona Governor Jan Brewer , who defended her anti-immigrant policies with a healthy dose of shameless demagoguery, including the claim that undocumented immigrants were beheading people across Arizona. Brewer received a lot of push back, but as we've seen since , that hasn’t made conservatives any less willing to traffic on fears of violent, marauding immigrants, or target immigrants with harsh, draconian legislation. With that said, I’m glad to see Berkley Law School’s new study on the relationship between immigration and crime in California. After analyzing nearly two decades of immigration, researchers at the law school found that serious crime actually declined during the nation’s most active years of immigration: Between 1991and 2008, it is estimated that more than 3.6 million foreign‐born persons migrated to California, representing a significant number of newcomers to the nation residing in the state...

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