Sam Rosenfeld

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

Recent Articles

MORE SHAKEUP! The...

MORE SHAKEUP! The hapless Scott McClellan resigned this morning as White House press secretary. The conventional rap on McClellan has long been that, in stark contrast to the near-sociopathic unflappability with which his predecessor Ari Fleischer could lie and stonewall on behalf of the president, he always showed the flop sweat and strain when doing the same. If that reflects a bit better on McClellan's personal humanity, I suppose we can all wish him well. The rogues' gallery of rumored possible replacements is genuinely frightening, however: former Pentagon flak and current CNN contributor Victoria Clarke , former CPA flak and current Fox News contributor Dan Senor , and longtime Fox News fixture and Rush Limbaugh pinch-hitter Tony Snow top the list. Really, if they wanted to install a Fox News anchor that could make me love the president, they'd appoint Steve Doocy . It's a bit refreshing to have the ongoing "White House shakeup" story now shift focus to the inherently substance-...

On the Oregon Trail

Oregon's statewide vote-by-mail system remains unique -- for now. But with little fanfare, liberalized absentee balloting laws elsewhere have prompted a steady expansion of mail voting. In the process, popular support is growing, from the ground up. States are following the gradualist pattern of expansion first set in Oregon. Laws permitting at-will absentee registration in dozens of states, and permanent absentee registration policies in California and elsewhere, are expanding the pool of voters who know and like the process. Meanwhile, in Arizona, Colorado, and Washington, municipalities and counties have won the option to run all vote-by-mail elections for various contests. More local election administrators are opting for mail balloting to save money and simplify the process. Oregon eventually reached a tipping point of popular support that pushed the entire state to vote by mail; most observers think Washington state has now reached the same point, and other western states are...

WHITE REPUBLICANS' BLACK REPUBLICAN PROBLEM.

WHITE REPUBLICANS' BLACK REPUBLICAN PROBLEM. Here's an interesting preview of a forthcoming article by a Yale economist demonstrating that "white Republicans nationally are 25 percentage points more likely on average to vote for the Democratic senatorial candidate when the GOP hopeful is black," and that there is no noticeable boost in black voter turnout when the Republican candidate is black. Similar findings also apply to House and gubernatorial races. The sample size for black GOP senatorial candidates is, needless to say, limited -- the economist, Ebonya Washington , identified and analyzed five such races between 1982 and 2000. I know Alan Keyes 's senatorial bids in Maryland account for two of them; anyone know what the other three races were? The study is obviously relevant to both Michael Steele 's Senate bid in Maryland and Ken Blackwell 's gubernatorial race in Ohio this year. But of course, as Alec showed in our last print issue, Steele's campaign currently has plenty of...

OFF INTO THE...

OFF INTO THE SUNSET. Budget negotiations within the House GOP conference stalled last week over disputes between moderates, who wanted some boosts in spending, and the Republican Study Committee (RSC) folks, who were pushing for some of their usual litany of draconian caps and budget process changes. John Boehner and Dennis Hastert have pledged to keep working on the budget following the end of the recess, and there is indication that the RSC might win from the House leadership (as well as the White House) a provision setting up a so-called " sunset commission ." That's an appointed body to which every single discretionary program would need to appeal for renewed funding every ten years; Congress would then have to vote affirmatively to keep the program, or it would be eliminated. (The president proposed such a commission in his budget this year, as he had last year.) Given the collapse of the GOP's unity and legislative capabilities this year, as the midterms approach and the party's...

DRAWING KNIVES? The...

DRAWING KNIVES? The Washington Post surveys veteran congressional handicappers and concludes that the Democrats' chances of taking back the House in November remain very slim. I'll let the Midterm Madness folks judge whether the piece is trustworthy or persuasive on the merits; needless to say, it remains the case that structural barriers still do render a takeover a long-shot proposition, even with Democrats enjoying such a politically favorable climate nationwide. One thing I've been hearing more recently from Hill people is the prospect of the following dynamic happening: momentum and expectations for a Democratic takeover build up so much that, when, as is still likely, in November the Democrats fall short of the 15-seat gain they need, the disappointment will serve as a pretext for caucus members to attempt to push Nancy Pelosi from her leadership position. This I hear from Democrats who, like many bloggers and activists , are dissatisfied with Pelosi for various reasons that,...

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