Jamelle Bouie

Jamelle Bouie is a staff writer at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Tactics and Strategy.

Over at his blog, Brendan Nyhan has a nice critique of the "tactical fallacy," or the tendency among pundits and consultants to blame electoral losses on insufficiently savvy tactics, rather than outside forces like unemployment or voter enthusiasm. Here's Nyhan: The problem is that any reasonable political tactic chosen by professionals will tend to resonate in favorable political environments and fall flat in unfavorable political environments (compare Bush in '02 to Bush '06, or Obama in '08 to Obama in '09-'10). But that doesn't mean the candidates are succeeding or failing because of the tactics they are using. While strategy certainly can matter on the margin in individual races, aggregate congressional and presidential election outcomes are largely driven by structural factors (the state of the economy, the number of seats held by the president's party, whether it's a midterm or presidential election year, etc.). Tactical success often is a reflection of those structural...

Who Supports Democrats? Low-Income People, Minorities.

Writing for National Review , Robert Costa interviews Patrick Caddell , former pollster for Jimmy Carter , for his take on the midterm elections. Rather than a referendum on President Obama or the Democratic Party, Caddell sees November as a "broader referendum on the political class": “Democrats used to be the voice of the common man in America, not his dictator,” Caddell laments. “Now, with Wall Street, their mantra is, ‘We’ll take your money, but we won’t kiss.’ The people who own the party — George Soros, the Center for American Progress, the public-employee union bosses, rich folks flying private jets to ‘ideas festivals’ in Aspen — they’re Obama’s base.” I haven't heard this criticism since the primaries, but that doesn't make it any less wrong. A quick glance at the 2008 exit polls shows that Obama took the majority of his support from middle- and low-income voters, as well as voters with only a high school education or some college. And looking at presidential approval ratings...

Republicans: Mostly White, Mostly Religious, Old.

In the least surprising survey result ever, Gallup finds that non-Hispanic whites make up the vast majority of the Republican coalition: As far as the GOP's political strategy is concerned, I think it's far more important to note the significant advantage Republicans have among older voters; 57 percent of whites age 45 and older voted for John McCain in 2008, and older whites form the vast majority of the conservative grassroots, including -- as we've seen -- the Tea Party. That older voters have a grip on the GOP is reflected in the spectacle of Republican lawmakers defending one government-run health-insurance program (Medicare) from cuts while railing against a market-oriented health-reform package that relies on private insurers and an individual market. One last thing: If liberals want a sane GOP -- and we should, since they'll have the reins of power in a due time -- then we should hope for a party that doesn't rely on older whites for the vast majority of its voters. As a rule...

No, Really. We Shouldn't Adopt Conservative Tactics.

Today, I have a review up of American Taliban by Markos Moulitsas , founder of Daily Kos. You should read the full thing , but here's the gist: ...ultimately, any similarities are vastly outweighed by incredibly important distinctions and vast differences of degree. I'm no fan of the right wing, but the only possible way it can be "indistinguishable" from the Taliban is if conservatives are stoning women for adultery, stalking elementary schools to throw acid in girls' faces, and generally enforcing fundamentalist religious law with torture and wanton violence. Taking issue with my review, Digby argues that in my attack on Kos' book, I'm missing the big picture: The inconvenient truth here is that these people are dangerous because their worldview is dangerous. Lethal even. And somebody has to have the guts and to call them on it in their own terms. This "tired genre" of "our opponents are monsters" has been decidedly dominated by one side and the consequences have been grave. We have...

Was President Bush Dumb?

( Wikipedia Commons ) In his new memoir , Tony Blair says no: One of the most ludicrous caricatures of George is that he was a dumb idiot who stumbled into the presidency. No one stumbles into that job, and the history of American presidential campaigns is littered with the corpses of those who were supposed to be brilliant but who nonetheless failed because brilliance is not enough. [...] To succeed in US politics, of that of the UK, you have to be more than clever. You have to be able to connect and you have to be able to articulate that connection in plain language. The plainness of the language then leads people to look past the brainpower involved. Reagan was clever. Thatcher was clever. And sometimes the very plainness touches something else: a simplicity that is the product of a decisive nature. Despite my unabashed love for jokes that make fun of President Bush 's intelligence, I never thought he was a dumb man. Blair is right; genuinely stupid people don't go far in American...

Pages