Kate Sheppard

Kate Sheppard is a political reporter at Grist, and a former Prospect writing fellow.

Recent Articles

ON TURNOUT PREDICTIONS.

I've been thinking about Tom 's post yesterday on whether voter turnout might actually decline in November. I have to say I'm fairly skeptical that this would occur. While it may be true that there's a considerable lack of enthusiasm about John McCain among certain segments of the right, there will surely be a solid turnout against whomever the Democratic nominee is, and there's also a likely to be a surge in voting by those on the right who are very, very happy to see the end of the Bush years. On the Democratic side, I doubt that the Democrats who wouldn't turnout because their first-choice candidate lost the nomination is at all sizable. There may be a few, but then again, there always are. And in this election, I think the excitement about ending the Bush years (and by extension, keeping them from continuing by rejecting McCain) far exceeds any possible effects of this contentious primary. As Tom pointed out, voter turnout has been on the rise in the past two presidential...

LONDON CALLING.

Something that's often left out in all this talk about the failure of New York City's congestion pricing plan is the fact that this sort of plan has already been successfully implemented in London, as mayor Ken Livingstone has attested: It cut the amount of traffic entering central London by 20%. Each day in 2006, there are were almost 70,000 fewer vehicles entering the charging zone compared to the number that had been entering each day before charging began. The figures following the extension of the zone westwards show that it is also operating at the expected level. Traffic in the area of the western extension of the zone is down 13%, right in the middle of the 10-15% reduction that had been predicted. And since the extension, traffic in the old congestion charging area has not risen at all - an even better result than anticipated. It's also been successful in getting more people on bikes and public transit: In addition, road safety has improved, CO2 emissions have been cut, and...

DRAFT CONDI MOVEMENT IN FULL SWING.

Grover Norquist is endorsing Condoleezza Rice for McCain 's VP spot. Apparently she spoke at a breakfast meeting of his Americans for Tax Reform a few weeks ago, her first appearance before the group, and came across as mighty presidential. "If her goal was to convince everyone she would be a good president and, therefore, a good vice president -- she hit it out of the ballpark," he told the Post . His comments, as well as some from other influential conservatives, have sparked a surge of rumors that Condi is "actively" lobbying to be McCain's No. 2. I have to say, the idea of her as a VP candidate is alluring, if only because I find her a completely fascinating figure: Stanford professor. Accomplished pianist. One-time Democrat. Football fan. Adorer of all things Bush. She's a much more interesting individual than McCain, and of course putting her on the ticket might add a whole new dimension to the race in November. Rice and her staffers, however, have tried to squash the rumors...

RIP, CONGESTION PRICING PLAN.

I was traveling yesterday, and didn't have a chance to note my despair at the demise of the New York City congestion pricing plan. Charles Komanoff has an excellent post on Gristmill about why the plan was the "smartest urban-transportation idea since the subway," and why it failed, that's worth checking out. Had it won approval, the plan would have created a $500 million revenue stream for mass transit, and it would have a least created the possibility of significantly reducing traffic and pollution. The main takeaway is that congestion pricing isn't a failed political pursuit, but that it was executed poorly in this case. One I think should be highlighted is that it put a misplaced emphasis on pricing as a means of reducing climate change. While it's true that congestion pricing (and the larger principle of reducing American reliance on the automobile) does help curb climate change, it's neither the biggest nor the most immediate payoff. Foremost should be the improvement to the...

FUNDS WHILE IT LASTS.

I noted this a few months ago, but I still maintain that when you're severely behind in fundraising, touting that as evidence of your superiority as a candidate just doesn't make sense. But the Clinton campaign continues to do so in an email address to supporters today: With 14 days to go until the people of Pennsylvania vote, the Obama campaign has decided to go all-out. They're trying to end the race for the White House with an unyielding media blitz. Right now, we're being outspent 4-1 on Pennsylvania television. So now, here's what we have to ask ourselves: Have we come this far in our history-making contest for the Democratic nomination only to see the race decided not by the quality of our ideas but by the size of our opponent's media budget? [emphasis theirs] Of course, the Obama campaign is unleashing an unyielding media blitz because they can . They raised twice as much last month. And they have that money because they have more support, from more people, than Clinton does...

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