Patrick Caldwell

Patrick Caldwell is a writing fellow at The American Prospect.

Recent Articles

Who Stole the Election?

Dominating many state legislatures, Republicans have launched a full-on assault on voting rights.

When Charles Webster was a member of the Maine House during the 1980s and 1990s, he and his Republican colleagues routinely proposed bills that would create restrictive voting laws -- or, as Webster sees it, legislation to tamp down on the rampant threat of voter fraud. "Every year we tried to solve this problem," he says, "and it was always a partisan vote," with Democrats supporting laws intended to increase turnout. As a result, Webster says, "We have one of the most loosey-goosey, lax election laws in the country." Others would call Maine's voting laws a striking success. Most states struggle to get citizens to the polls; national turnout for a presidential election hasn't topped 60 percent since 1968, and turnout for midterm elections hovers in the 30s. That puts the United States far below the participation level in other Western democracies. Yet for the past four decades, Maine has stood apart. With an array of regulations that encourage voting -- the state has allowed voters...

No, Herman Cain Probably Won't Be the GOP Nominee

With the far right wing no longer satisfied by the spotlessness of Rick Perry's conservative record, Herman Cain has begun to rise as an alternative for movement conservatives. He won a decisive first place at the Florida GOP's straw poll two weeks ago, which was followed by a bump in his polls. One survey of national Republicans conducted last week put Cain in third, while, as Jamelle noted earlier, a new poll from this morning has Cain tied with Perry for second. Floridians keep loving him too, with Cain now polling a strong second to Mitt Romney in the Sunshine State. The fact that Republican voters like Cain is no surprise. He's hosted a popular right-wing radio show for several years and was active on the conservative speaking circuit long before he launched a presidential bid. He's a fantastic speaker when you watch him in person, and with his 9-9-9 tax plan, Cain is one of the only Republican candidates willing to offer a policy proposal to distinguish himself for the field...

Do Presidential Fundraising Numbers Matter Anymore?

Federal candidates are scrambling to rake in a few extra dollars because today is the last day to include the amounts in third-quarter fundraising numbers. Official tallies don't have to be reported until the middle of next month, but a handful of the campaigns have already leaked their numbers. Rick Perry will likely lead the pack. Rumors circulated earlier this week that he had hauled in around $20 million, though campaign aides quickly shot that down. Still, it wouldn't be any surprise if Perry had the most successful quarter given that he is the newest candidate in the field and had the most untapped territory. Mitt Romney, the only other GOP candidate who looks like he has a chance at the nomination, brought in around $11 million to $13 million according to early reports , a significant drop from his $18 million second quarter. But unlike his 2008 run, Romney has not yet relied on his own vast personal wealth, so if in the closing days of the primary things are looking close, he...

Who Stole the Election?

When Charles Webster was a member of the Maine House during the 1980s and 1990s, he and his Republican colleagues routinely proposed bills that would create restrictive voting laws—or, as Webster sees it, legislation to tamp down on the rampant threat of voter fraud. “Every year we tried to solve this problem,” he says, “and it was always a partisan vote,” with Democrats supporting laws intended to increase turnout. As a result, Webster says, “We have one of the most loosey-goosey, lax election laws in the country.” Others would call Maine’s voting laws a striking success. Most states struggle to get citizens to the polls; national turnout for a presidential election hasn’t topped 60 percent since 1968, and turnout for midterm elections hovers in the 30s. That puts the United States far below the participation level in other Western democracies. Yet for the past four decades, Maine has stood apart. With an array of regulations that encourage voting—the state has allowed voters to...

Rick Perry Might Have Dropped, But Romney Didn't Gain

After a meandering debate performance in which Rick Perry dared to show an ounce of humanity, media outlets have been quick to proclaim that he's lost his chances of gaining the GOP nomination. That narrative was backed up by the polls released over the past week, which have shown Perry dropping from his front-runner status. But just looking at the topline numbers doesn't tell the full story. As Nate Silver points out, Perry's fall in the polls hasn't been matched by increased support for Mitt Romney. Instead, Perry's early backers have switched their allegiance to the fringe conservative candidates who appear to have little shot at gaining the nomination, folks like Herman Cain and Newt Gingrich. While the slumping numbers are bad for Perry at the moment, it doesn't mean all that much for the eventual nomination. He need only maintain his status as the right-wing challenger to Romney, and hope the far right of the party will turn out in greater numbers than moderate Republicans. As...

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