At some point this year, Congress will have to raise the debt ceiling, as well as deal with a host of out-standing budget issues. But rather then try to discuss them in good faith—free of a manufactured crisis—Republicans have all but announced their decision to take some kind of legislative hostage, as soon as they can find one. Here’s Lori Montogomery, reporting for The Washington Post:
I argued yesterday that Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli—the Virginia GOP’s right-wing nominee for governor—is likely to win the state’s gubernatorial election, for reasons of turnout. Barring a strong mobilization effort from Democrat Terry McAuliffe, there will be far fewer voters in November’s election, and the majority will Republican. If Cuccinelli can avoid serious mistakes, he’ll have an easy path to victory.
If there’s a lesson from yesterday’s special election in the first district of South Carolina—which covers most of Charleston, as well as small towns like Summerville and Goose Creek—it’s that Republican voters in the state are willing to do anything but vote for a Democrat. Elizabeth Colbert-Busch (sister of Stephen Colbert) ran a well-funded campaign to take the seat, but couldn’t prevail over disgraced former governor Mark Sanford, who won by a comfortable nine-point margin.
Writing for Reuters, Reihan Salam has an excellent take on the evolution of Hispanic identity. He doesn’t try to relate this with the current push for immigration reform, but it’s useful to consider in the broader context of American politics.
President Obama’s 2012 reelection victory was immediately followed by reporting and analysis on his turnout operation, which surpassed 2008’s in scope and scale. The Obama campaign devoted millions to sophisticated polling, modeling, and data collection. It was able to pinpoint particular demographic groups, and target them with mail, advertisements, volunteers and everything else in their arsenal. The general assumption from everyone—including myself—was that this operation was integral to Obama’s success.
The race between Terry McAuliffe and Ken Cuccinelli isn’t as bleak as the fight between Godzilla and Moth-Ra (thanks, Jonathan Chait, for the comparison), but it’s close. Fairly or not, McAuliffe is seen as a soulless Democratic Party hack, with few supporters and nothing to connect him to the state or its history.
Here is the thing to remember about every jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
You have to wait for the revisions.
Remember, the monthly jobs report is a scientific survey of households and employers. That doesn’t mean it’s inaccurate, but for any given survey, there are ways to improve the accuracy and reach a higher degree of precision. Month after month, this is what the BLS does—it tests and adjusts, in order to get the most accurate account of the where the economy stands.
Just last year, Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell was touted as a top-tier candidate for national office. Successful and well-liked in the Commonwealth, he could sell conservatism as a reasonable, pragmatic approach to solving the nation’s problems.
During this morning’s press conference, President Obama got a question from ABC News’ Jonathan Karl on whether he still has “the juice” to get the rest of his agenda through Congress. Obama’s response came in two parts.
For the last few years, the Harvard Institute of Politics has been running detailed surveys of 18 to 29 year olds—the so-called “Millennial” generation—designed to uncover and describe their political beliefs. The latest survey, released this morning, shows a striking result—a growing number of young people are pessimistic about the quality and competence of our institutions, and skeptical that politics can solve problems.
Rand Paul’s unsuccessful speech at Howard University—where he tried, and failed, to paint the Republican Party as the true home for African American voters—didn’t happen in a vacuum. It drew from a heavily revisionist history of American politics, in which the GOP never wavered in its commitment to black rights, and the Democratic Party embraced its role as a haven for segregationists.
It’s official—in 2012, African Americans voted at a higher rate than any other racial group in the United States, including whites. And it’s that turnout which delivered key states like Virginia, Ohio, and Florida, thus giving President Obama another four years in the Oval Office.
Deficit reduction has been Washington’s obsession for the past two years, and the main approach of both parties is austerity—any combination of policies that raises government revenue and reduces its expenditures.