Jamelle Bouie

Chart of the Day

By way of Mother Jones is this great chart comparing the costs of presidential elections from 1860 to the present: What’s remarkable is the extent to which election costs are very stable, at least until the last eight years, when they begin to explode. 2012 promises to be an even more expensive election, but I’d be careful before attributing that to Super PACs. Any number of things could be responsible for the change, from the growth of independent groups—which predates Citizens United —to the revolution in small donors we saw during the 2008 campaign. Even without anonymous donors and eccentric billionaires pumping millions into campaigns, it’s possible that we’d still face an extraordinarly expensive campaign season.

There is No Catholic Vote

(Phil Roeder/Flickr)
Writing at The New Republic , Ed Kilgore contests the oft-mentioned idea that there is a distinguishable “Catholic vote” that is mobilized by issues like birth control: The more you look at the numbers, the idea that there is some identifiable Catholic vote in America, ready to be mobilized, begins to fade towards irrelevance. In the 2000, 2004, and 2008 presidential elections, Catholics voted within a couple of percentage points of the electorate as a whole. […] The idea that Catholics no longer behave self-consciously as “Catholics” on hot-button issues reflects the broader reality that they have become hard to distinguish from other Americans in their political behavior. The fight over birth control coverage in the Affordable Care Act has led to a lot of prognostication about the fate of the so-called “Catholic vote.” Republican strategists believe that Catholics are now ripe for the picking, and liberals like Time ’s Amy Sullivan see the administration’s actions as a recipe for...

Honest Defenders of Forced Penetration

So far, it’s been a little odd to read defenses of the bill—passed by the Virginia House of Delegates last week—to require “trans-vaginal ultrasounds” for women seeking abortions. Supporters conscious of public opinion argue that it is strictly a means to provide information and guarantee the safety of the mother. “The only way that they can determine the age of the fetus at an early age is by performing a trans-vaginal ultrasound,” said Delegate Kathy J. Byron, the Republican lawmaker who sponsored the House version of the legislation. This, of course, isn’t the point. Whether or not a trans-vaginal ultrasound is medically necessary is separate from the fact that this is an involuntary procedure, forced by the state, and performed for political reasons. The issue here is consent , and the simple fact is that the state should not be allowed to stick something inside your body for the sake of preventing a legal and legitimate medical procedure. This doesn’t come as a big surprise, but...

Santorum Surge FTW

(Flickr/Gage Skidmore)
Since his three primary wins at the beginning of the month, there has been a bit of speculation about the electability of former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum. The assumption was that Santorum, who lost his re-election bid by 18 points, would be a complete disaster in a general election. But that was before Mitt Romney embarked on his plan to alienate independents and destroy his standing with Republican voters. Even still, Santorum’s campaign only makes sense for as long as he focuses on the economy and away from social issues. But in the last two weeks, issues surrounding reproductive health have roared to the center stage of American politics, and Santorum—who built his name as a culture warrior—couldn’t resist the temptation to comment. Last Saturday, in Columbus, Ohio, Santorum entered the fray with a broadside attack against President Barack Obama’s policies, arguing that they’re “not about you. It’s not about your quality of life. It’s not about your jobs. It’s about some...


If you’ve been following my writing at the Prospect , you’ll know what to expect from this blog; an approach to American politics that focuses on the broad context of each event, with a special emphasis on history, political science, and public opinion. In addition to daily posts, I’ll also showcase my work for the print magazine and provide a little media on the side (I take a lot of pictures). I also hope to use this space for a few personal interests, which range from technology and consumer electronics, to pop culture and comic books (read: Batman). And with all of that out of the way, welcome to my blog. I hope you enjoy.