Sam Rosenfeld

Sam Rosenfeld is a Ph.D. candidate in history at Harvard University and a former web editor at the Prospect.

Recent Articles


NADER:GORE::DOBSON:GIULIANI. This , on James Dobson 's vow never to support Rudy Giuliani , is why nominating him is still a big gamble for Republicans. The money wing of the party may like him; the security wing may like him, too. But for all the talk about how the GOP nominates the "next guy in line," the real precedent they would be breaking should they nominate Rudy is not starting the process by first shoring up their base before moving toward the general electorate. This is a huge risk, as Al Gore learned the hard way in 2000 with the Ralph Nader defectors. * If Giuliani is nominated, Dobson becomes the "Republican Nader" next year. And, on a related note, though E.J. Dionne has a great column today summarizing the state of play for the Republicans -- which concludes with a nice line warning Democrats not to underestimate what a less orthodox, Giuliani-led GOP might be able to accomplish -- I find it unimaginable that Giuliani's nomination could be achieved at no expense to the...


ROUND FOUR FOR THE THIRD WAY. Now that the folks at Third Way have weighed in to defend their recent report claiming that whites, males, and the affluent (and I suppose, by extension, affluent white men) catapulted the Democrats to power in the 2006 midterms, let me respond, and also add a few things. First of all, I must repeat that the "normalization" technique they use is misleadingly wrong. If they don't like the baseball metaphor I employed last time , here's my response to their claim that they produced an apples-with-apples comparison of the two electorates by simply multiplying one to scale with the other: Take an apple, which is normally smaller than an orange, and multiply it by 125 percent and see if it looks and tastes like an orange. The normal turnout in an off-year is simply not the same in a presidential year, for a variety of reasons, of which Mark Schmitt 's smart point about differential turnout in competitive v. non-competitive districts is just one. (Others are...


GUEST POST: THIRD WAY RESPONDS. As the authors of the Third Way election report Looking Red, Voting Blue , we write to respond to the criticisms of our report made by Tom Schaller and Mark Schmitt . ( Ezra Klein also has attacked our report, but he offers nothing new.) First, it's clear that we all agree that the 2006 electorate was redder than in 2004. It was wealthier and whiter, and more rural, male, religious, and married. We also all agree that is typical of off-year versus presidential year elections. Where we disagree is the significance of this difference, and we take each of the major criticisms of our report in turn:


TWO, THREE, MANY GITMOS! I missed the GOP debate last night, though by most accounts what had been billed beforehand as a debate showcasing the candidates' differences on hot-button social and domestic issues in fact really came to life when the subject turned to chest-thumping war on terror stuff. See here to watch John McCain make a reasoned and stirring case against torture, followed later by Mitt Romney securing his position as People magazine's Sexiest Torturer Alive by strongly endorsing "enhanced interrogation techniques" like waterboarding and remarking that, far from closing Guantanamo Bay's detention center, we should "double" it. This was all in response to a scenario laid out by Brit Hume that borrows heavily from the "ticking time-bomb" tradition of torture justification -- a tradition of positing hypotheticals that basically never occur in such a way in real life. --Sam Rosenfeld


THIRD WAY OFF. Third Way has issued a new report (PDF) arguing that Democrats won in 2006 thanks to a surge in Democratic voting among white, higher-income, male and rural voters.'s Chris Cillizza's cited the report in his online column, The Fix , but with all due respect to Cillizza, some folks may need a refresher methods course to understand how Third Way's report uses statistics to create a pre-ordained outcome. For starters, Third Way compares the 2004 and 2006 electorates, a major no-no. They should have compared midterm electorates (e.g, using 2002 as the comparative baseline), because everyone knows that the "drop-off" effect produces whiter and higher status electorate during lower-turnout midterms.