Tag: Elections

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It appears that a number of those in the crowded field of Republican hopefuls for President, and other Republican candidates for other offices are likely to appear on various Ricochet podcasts.  What questions would you like to see asked?  What tough questions? Here is my request:  Preview Open

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Democrats Drink Their Own Bathwater

 

I believe it was Robert Heinlein who said that the greatest mistake any political organization can make is to be taken in by its own propaganda. (I am paraphrasing from memory). As such, Heinlein would surely have been amused to read the report, recently released by Democrat National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz, that concludes that the Party’s dismal failure in the 2014 midterm elections (in the words of Russell Berman, writing in The Atlantic) was a “problem [of] packaging, not what’s inside the box.” The report evokes the same feeling that you get watching cute little puppies chasing their own tails. Aren’t they just adorable?

The report does not hide the cognitive dissonance that underlies the contradiction (from the DNC/liberal viewpoint) between liberal message and voting reality – in fact, it practically revels in it!

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As President Obama has aptly demonstrated, a President has considerable powers (some even authorized) in addition to powers which require the cooperation of legislators. Most of these powers are known before one enters office. So why doesn’t every candidate plan these well in advance?  Publicizing one’s full list during the campaign might scare away voters […]

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How Long Does the Senate Stay Republican?

 

You won’t hear much talk about the House changing hands in 2016. With 247 seats under Republican control, Nancy Pelosi would need a Democrat landslide the likes of which hasn’t been seen since 2006 to make that happen. As there won’t be an unpopular GOP president driving the next election, such a scenario seems unlikely. Besides, the same rising tide that would bring in a Democratic House majority in 2016 would probably wash it out to sea in 2018 after a negative midterm referendum against a Democratic president.

The Senate, where Republicans hold a far less commanding 54-46 advantage, is another matter. In 2016, 34 members of the Senate’s “Class 3″ will have to decide whether to retire or seek another term. That includes 24 Republicans and 10 Democrats. To make matters worse for the GOP: only two Democratic seats are in competitive states (Colorado and Nevada), while over half a dozen Republican incumbents are up in states that Barack Obama carried at least once.(In 2018, the pendulum swings back the GOP’s way, with 23 Democrats — and 3 independents who caucus with them — up for reelection versus only 8 Republicans).

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The entire idea of representatives voting, after being voted out of office, has always bothered me.  The morality is dicey at best, and fraught with potential abuse.  The historical delay between elections and the convening of the ‘new’ congress was based on travel by horse.   It’s time for a change.  Except in the case of […]

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Nonvoting Your Preference

 

President Obama’s post-midterm press conference was incredible in many ways. After a grudging acknowledgement of GOP gains (being too ungracious to offer congratulations), Obama declared: “Still, as president, I have a unique responsibility to try and make this town work. So, to everyone who voted, I want you to know that I hear you. To the two-thirds of voters who chose not to participate in the process yesterday, I hear you, too.”

This attempt at Bartletesque rhetoric went over like a lead balloon, since the real world does not conform to Aaron Sorkin’s imagination. Pundits have been picking over the meaning of the “two-thirds” remark since the moment it left the President’s lips. (My own interpretation: He was trying to diminish the GOP’s mandate, by suggesting that Tuesday’s GOP victories represent the will of only a small fraction of Americans.) But regardless of the President’s intended meaning, I would argue that there is an important truth in his remark.

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So you voted. What do you want — a medal? When did voting become the adult equivalent to riding a bike without training wheels? For that matter, when did it become the only right which comes with a sticker?  No other right comes with a sticker. You never see stickers which read “I bought a gun today,” which makes much more […]

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Let’s face it, we knew Wendy Davis was going down in flame. From almost the start her words could only charitably be considered poorly chosen, as frequently it would sound as if she used them like a panicked man with shotgun in a zombie movie, firing wildly and hoping something hits. She fares just about as well […]

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Let us savor last night’s Republican victories. They were not preordained — they reflect the effort and intelligence of many hard-working candidates and their staffs (both paid and volunteer). But then, we should also reflect on the fact that last night contained some disappointments too — and that those disappointments were not preordained, either. Personally, […]

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Why I Voted Today

 

UnknownI know the meme. “My vote doesn’t count, so why bother.” I know its contrapositive: “Every vote counts.” If only one other person in each precinct had voted for (fill in the blank), so-and-so would not have been elected President, Senator or Representative.

But I don’t vote because my vote counts. That’s immaterial. I vote because I’d be mad as hell were I not allowed to vote. It’s that simple.

Call me crazy, but at my age I think I know what I like and what I need. I agree there are concepts that are beyond my ability to grasp, totally. Is quantitative easing good for the economy or bad? Is “supply side”economics the answer to upward mobility or do we need Keynesian economics? Should banks be “too big too fail?” Ought we to quarantine aid workers returning from West Africa? Should we use ground troops to defeat ISIS? Should we fight ISIS at all? Is global warming man made or not?

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After decades of voting faithfully and without fail, I am not voting this November. As with most such decisions, there are several reasons, some specific to my circumstances and some more general. The main reasons can be grouped into two categories: Game theory: One person’s vote almost never matters. Voting doesn’t pay, in the rigorous […]

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The Rule of 13 in House and Senate Elections

 

If you want to predict House or Senate elections, a useful notion is what I call the Rule of 13. It says that if a district is misaligned with your partisanship by more than 13 points, then, to a close approximation, you have zero chance of winning that district. The rule predicts the following: (i) Mark Pryor is sure to lose his Senate reelection bid in Arkansas, (ii) Mitch McConnell is sure to win his reelection bid in Kentucky, (iii) if voters become convinced that challenger Greg Orman is, for all intents and purposes, a Democrat, then Pat Roberts is sure to win his reelection; (iv) although Alaska, Georgia, Louisiana, and North Carolina are conservative states, they are not conservative enough to invoke the Rule of 13; accordingly the Democratic candidates in those states at least have a chance of winning; (v) although the West Virginia 2nd and 3rd House races are called “tossups” by some prognosticators, the Rule of 13 says that the Republican candidates (Alex Mooney and Evan Jenkins) will win for certain.

The Rule of 13 is formally defined as follows. First, define the partisan index of a district according the most recent presidential vote in that district. For example, consider the situation of Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.) near the end of his sixth term in office, 2010-12. At that time, the most recent presidential election was the 2008 race between John McCain and Barack Obama. In Ross’s district (based on lines redrawn after the 2010 census) McCain received 166,247 votes and Obama received 103,478 votes. McCain’s share of the two-party vote in the district was thus 61.6%. Meanwhile, McCain’s two-party vote share in the nation was 46.0%. Define the partisan index of Ross’s district as the difference of those two numbers. Thus, the district’s partisan index was “Republican 15.6.” (The Cook Political Report constructs a similar “Partisan Voting Index,” except it bases its number on an average of the prior two presidential elections. Some research I’ve conducted suggests that the partisanship of a district follows a random walk, which implies that only the most recent presidential election is relevant in predicting the political views of a district; prior elections do not provide any more information.)

Turnout Projections: Malaise?

 

With election day just two weeks away, I was somewhat startled to realize this morning just how quiet things seem. I am seeing far fewer road signs, for example, and hardly any fliers in my snail-mailbox — contrary to past years, including midterm elections. Among co-workers and friends, a few are talking about the various crises (Ebola, ISIS, and so forth), but no one is really talking about the election. My observations are purely anecdotal, of course, but there just seems to be a general lack of intensity when it comes to the upcoming vote. In my very red state, the energy level looks nothing like 2010. I can’t help but to think that we’re looking at a real potential for low turnout this year across the board.

Is it crisis fatigue? Is it Obama fatigue, and knowing that 2016 is still pretty far away? Is it a growing sense that it doesn’t matter who gets into office; that things are mucked up now and will stay mucked up for the foreseeable future?

Must a Conservative Always be a Loyal Republican?

 

shutterstock_117192478Here in America, we’ve two major parties that compete to control Congress and elect Presidents. Does that mean conservatives will sometimes be forced to vote for unacceptable Republican candidates because the alternatives are worse?

Not necessarily so. In a few states in the last few elections conservatives have voting for conservative third-parties. In 2010, more Coloradans voted for the Constitution Party candidate than for the Republican. That same year, Sen. Lisa Murkowski won re-election as an Independent over the Republican nominee.

Do we conservatives owe loyalty to the Republican Party, or is it just a matter of pragmatism? I say we stick with the party when we have to, bolt when the opportunity exceeds the risk.

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I’ve changed my mind. I think Jeb should run for president in 2016. And Romney, too. That way, they will split the moderate GOP primary vote with Christie, allowing conservatives to unite behind a conservative candidate and push him (or her) over the top. Preview Open

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For those following Ricochet’s conservative political races, the latest update for Michigan member Wendy Day’s Aug. 5 primary is that she remains ahead of her competitors by 12 points in an independent poll that includes both parties.  It’s an open primary, but a very Republican district, so whoever wins the Republican primary is the presumed […]

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“In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.” Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant.  What is the answer to the now-regular liberal strategy of demonization? Righteous indignation? Counter-accusations? Or a patient, joyful demeanor which allows insults to fall away like rain from a raincoat? Preview Open

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