U.S. politics: mid-term elections 2014 and aftermath

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See also Lead-up to U.S. 2016 elections

Princeton Study: U.S. No Longer An Actual Democracy
A new study from Princeton spells bad news for American democracy—namely, that it no longer exists.
Asking “[w]ho really rules?” researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page argue that over the past few decades America’s political system has slowly transformed from a democracy into an oligarchy, where wealthy elites wield most power.
Using data drawn from over 1,800 different policy initiatives from 1981 to 2002, the two conclude that rich, well-connected individuals on the political scene now steer the direction of the country, regardless of or even against the will of the majority of voters.
TPM Interview: Scholar Behind Viral ‘Oligarchy’ Study Tells You What It Means
“The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy,” they write, “while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”
As one illustration, Gilens and Page compare the political preferences of Americans at the 50th income percentile to preferences of Americans at the 90th percentile as well as major lobbying or business groups. They find that the government—whether Republican or Democratic—more often follows the preferences of the latter group rather than the first. (18 April 2014)

Republicans largely ignore Pope Francis’ climate message
(PBS Newshour) Pope Francis’ call for dramatic action on climate change drew a round of shrugs from congressional Republicans, while a number of the party’s presidential candidates ignored it entirely.
Even Capitol Hill’s Catholic Republicans, despite their religion’s reverence for the holy father, seemed unmoved by his urgent plea to save the planet. The reactions suggested that the pontiff’s desire to translate his climate views into real action to combat greenhouse gases could fall flat, at least as far as the American political system is concerned.
Rubio and Bush, who converted, both are Catholics, as are several other GOP White House hopefuls. Catholics also are overrepresented on Capitol Hill, accounting for about 30 percent of members of Congress, compared with 22 percent of American adults, according to Pew.
6 June
Beau Biden’s Funeral: Hundreds Fill the Church as Vice President Lays His Son to Rest
Dozens of dignitaries, filled the pews Saturday, including Sen. Mitch McConnell, Sen. Harry Reid, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, former president Bill Clinton, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama.
Here’s why Joe Biden chose Obama to deliver his son’s eulogy
(WaPost) “They trust one another and can be very honest with each other,” White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett said in an interview, adding: “They love each other.”
The contrast between Obama, the disciplined, methodical thinker, and Biden, the back-slapping, emotional Irish American pol, has been evident from the outset. …
Biden also has taken on unenviable assignments, including working to ease tensions between Obama and House Democrats, negotiating fiscal deals with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) after Republicans made major electoral gains and attempting to broker peace in the Middle East and in Ukraine. But Biden has not been a freelancer during his time in the White House, and his intense loyalty to the president has earned him considerable affection not just from Obama but also other top aides.
24 February
As promised, Obama vetoes bill that approved Keystone XL. Republicans vow override vote by March 3
(Daily Kos) Unless there are big changes in how members of the Senate and House voted on S. 1, the override will fall short of the needed tally.
1:57 PM PT: Because of a rash of comments here and elsewhere around the blogosphere, let me point out what I have previously noted since this was written in early January: The veto today is NOT a rejection of the pipeline. It is only a rejection of the congressional effort to override well-established executive authority for deciding on the pipeline. A decision on whether to approve or reject the actual project will come later.
2 February
“Sarah Palin with a Harvard degree”: Why new senator Tom Cotton is so frightening
New Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton may seem a step behind when he talks, but don’t fall for it. Here’s what he’s up to
(Salon) I’m going to take a wild guess and assume he’s not going to be one of those Republican civil libertarians forming a kumbaya circle with Rand Paul. In fact, not one of the new GOP senators is likely to fall into that category. That’s a Beltway and libertarian fever dream. But you can certainly see why he rose to such early fame in right-wing circles. That brand of swaggering authoritarianism is the red meat they need to keep their coalition together in these difficult times for the party.

2014

12 November
Dr. Charles Cogan: Are We Ever Going to Have a Black President Again?
In the short run, at the least, the signs are not favorable. Despite Barack Obama’s intelligence, conscientiousness, and probity, what could be called the counter-revolution of the whites, as reflected in the 2014 midterm elections, has demonstrated, inter alia, the discomfort many Americans feel with a black couple being the occupants of the White House. It just doesn’t feel right for many of our fellow citizens.
This is unfortunate, as blacks have been a part of the American experience — albeit initially as slaves — since long before the American revolution. The first blacks arrived on the American continent in 1619.
The general lack of consideration for Obama, and the unwillingness of the Republican Party to work with him, are a reflection of this discomfort and racial aversion, as well as a painful reminder that our whites and blacks live in a non-integrated way, which leads in turn to a lack of mutual understanding between the two communities.
11 November
B.C. Man Richard Brunt Tells U.S. Voters To Send Obama Our Way
(HuffPost) Brunt says many Canadians are “confused” by the results and lists accomplishments he attributes to Obama, including decreasing unemployment, a strong dollar and a “rapidly declining deficit” all while the rich continue to rake in “astonishing amounts of money.”
But it may have been the Canadian’s remarks on America’s international stature under Obama that really struck a chord.
“America is leading the world once again and respected internationally — in sharp contrast to the Bush years,” he writes. “Obama brought soldiers home from Iraq and killed Osama bin Laden.
“So, Americans vote for the party that got you into the mess that Obama just dug you out of? This defies reason. When you are done with Obama, could you send him our way?” …
While it may seem strange that one Canadian’s opinion on U.S. politics is gaining so much traction, it’s not as if the Republican triumph last week won’t impact us — particularly when it comes to the contentious Keystone XL pipeline proposal. The GOP has already said it will try to use its new power to force Obama to approve the long-delayed project.
10 November
Democrats who stay home2014 midterm election turnout lowest in 70 years
(PBS Newshour) Lowest turnout since WW2: Final numbers are still being tallied, but at this point it looks pretty clear that turnout in these midterms was the lowest overall in 70 years. Turnout of the voting-eligible population was just 36.4 percent, according to the projection from the United States Elections Project, run by Dr. Michael McDonald at the University of Florida. That’s down from the 41 percent that turned out in 2010. You have to go all the way back to 1942 for lower numbers when turnout in that midterm was just 33.9 percent. They had a pretty good excuse back then — many adult-age Americans were preoccupied with fighting in a world war.
9 November
Robert Reich via Broadbent Institute
If you want a single reason for why Democrats lost big Tuesday it’s this: Median family income continues to drop, the first “recovery” when this has occurred. Meanwhile, all the economic gains are going to the richest Americans. If the Republicans think they can reverse this through their supply-side, trickle-down, fiscal austerity policies, they’re profoundly mistaken. The public will soon discover this. But if the Democrats believe they can reverse it simply by raising taxes on the rich and redistributing to everyone else, they are mistaken, too.
We need to raise the minimum wage, invest in education and infrastructure, lift the cap on income subject to Social Security payroll taxes, resurrect Glass-Steagall and limit the size of the banks, make it easier for low-wage workers to unionize, raise taxes on corporations with high ratios of CEO pay to average worker pay, and much more. In other words, we need an agenda for shared prosperity. Over the next two years the Democrats have an opportunity to advance one. If they fail to do so, we’ll need a new opposition party that represents the interests of the vast majority.
7 November
Hillary’s Wonderful Week
A Bush speechwriter proclaims: Her campaign lacked villains. Now she’s got a lot of them.
(Politico) … at last she has something every good campaign narrative desperately needs: real villains. A lot of them. Ironically they are the very same villains who rescued her husband’s waning political fortunes exactly two decades ago: a Republican-led Congress.
No longer will she have to worry so much about gaining distance from President Obama—though that’s certainly on her agenda. No longer will she have to defend or explain her position on issues pushed by a Democratic Senate. No longer will she have to subtly run against her husband and his scandals. Instead, she can run squarely against the circus that will preoccupy Congress and the media with every passing day. The calm voice of wearied experience. The wizened wife and mother—now grandmother—who can keep those rambunctious boys in line.
She’s probably just about the only person in Washington today who’s even happier than Mitch McConnell.
5 November
If Millennials Had Voted, Last Night Would Have Looked Very Different
If historical voting patterns hold, it’s possible that these Democratic leaning millennials will turn out in greater numbers in the future. If so, that will bode well for Dems—as long as these voters don’t also become more conservative as they age.
The GOP’s big Election Day victory may have a lot to do with who didn’t show up at the polls—and one of the groups that stayed home at a record rate were young people. According to an NBC News exit poll, the percentage of voters aged 60 or older accounted for almost 40 percent of the vote, while voters under 30 accounted for a measly 12 percent. Young people’s share of the vote is typically smaller in midterm elections, but the valley between age groups in 2014 is the largest the US has seen in at least a decade.
And that valley made a huge difference for Democrats, because younger voters have been trending blue. Some 55 percent of young people who did turn up voted for Dems compared to 45 percent of those over 60.
An interactive predictor on the Fusion, the news site targeted at millennials, indicated how Democrats could have gained if young people had shown in greater numbers. Using 2010 vote totals and 2014 polling data, the tool lets users calculate the effect of greater turnout among voters under 30 in several key states.
On Tuesday, according to preliminary exit polls, young voters in Iowa favored Democrats by a slight margin—51 percent—but they made up only 12 percent of the total vote, leaving conservative Republican Joni Ernst the winner. In Georgia, 58 percent of young voters went for Democrat Michelle Nunn, but they made up 10 percent of the total who showed up to cast their ballots. In Colorado, where a sophisticated political machine delivered Democratic wins in 2010, the calculator shows that a full 71 percent of young people voted for Dems in 2010; exit polls indicate that young voters made up 14 percent of the final tally, leaving Mark Udall out in the cold.

Election Lab – good graphic

Random notes – What a difference a year makes! – Or does it?

sabato_map_oct2920142.png

Republicans appear set to take control of Senate, but hope remains for Democrats
(WaPost) In a campaign year marked by unending negativity and voter disgust toward Washington, strategists in both camps agree that Republicans are almost certain to pick up five of the six seats they need to regain control. They have many opportunities to grab an additional seat and, if things break decisively in their direction, could easily claim the majority. Democrats’ hopes of holding on largely depend on whether they can take one or two seats currently in Republican hands.
Nevertheless, there is a good chance the final result won’t be known on election night. Runoff elections are expected in Louisiana and possibly in Georgia, which would mean that those races would not be resolved for weeks. If the race in Alaska is tight, it could take days to count all of the ballots from remote villages. And if independent Greg Orman wins in Kansas, it remains to be seen whether he would caucus with the Democrats or the Republicans.
Facing loss of Congress, Obama rethinks agenda for next two years
(NYT via Globe & Mail) Whipsawed by events and facing another midterm electoral defeat, President Barack Obama has directed his team to forge a policy agenda to regain momentum for his final two years in office even as some advisers urge that he rethink the way he governs.
Without waiting for results from elections on Tuesday that few in the White House expect to go well for Obama, top aides have met for weeks to plot the final quarter of his presidency. Anticipating a less friendly Congress, they are mapping possible compromises with Republicans to expand trade, overhaul taxes and build roads and bridges.
For a president who has lost public support and largely failed to move his agenda on Capitol Hill since winning re-election two years ago, there may be little hope for significant progress if Republicans capture the Senate and add to their House majority. But if Republicans are fully in charge of Congress rather than mainly an opposition party, both sides may have an incentive to strike deals, at least during a short window before the 2016 presidential campaign consumes Washington.
With or without partners on Capitol Hill, Obama will continue to exercise his executive authority to advance Democratic policies on climate change, immigration, energy, gay rights and economic issues, aides said. The president, in fact, may announce quickly after the election a unilateral overhaul of immigration rules to make it easier for millions who are in the country illegally to stay. And, of course, many presidents in their last years turn more to foreign policy, where they have a freer hand to set direction.
31 October
FiveThirtyEight’s Gubernatorial Forecasts: A Lot Of Really Close Races
Most of our focus this year has been on the battle for the U.S. Senate. But 36 states will hold gubernatorial elections Tuesday. We hope it’s not too late to give you some polling-based forecasts of how they might turn out.
We’ve adapted a pared-down version of our Senate model to handle gubernatorial races. Unlike the Senate model, these gubernatorial projections use polls only — rather than polls plus “fundamentals.” Otherwise, the models are about the same …
Three gubernatorial races involve special circumstances this year.
In Alaska, there’s no Democratic candidate on the ballot. Instead, the figures you’ll see below represent the margin between the independent Bill Walker and the Republican incumbent, Sean Parnell.
Georgia’s gubernatorial race — like the state’s Senate race — will require a runoff if no candidate gets past 50 percent of the vote. Our projection reflects the likelihood that Gov. Nathan Deal, the Republican, will win the plurality of the vote Tuesday; we are not making a separate projection for the runoff. (We can tell you how likely a runoff is to occur: Our model estimates there’s a 48 percent chance of one.)
Then there’s Maine, where the gubernatorial race had been a three-way contest among Republican Gov. Paul LePage, Democrat Mike Michaud and the independent Eliot Cutler. Cutler had averaged about 14 percent of the vote in recent polls, while LePage and Michaud hovered at about 40 percent each.
On Wednesday, however, Cutler announced that although he was not dropping out of the race, his supporters should feel free to vote for one of the other candidates. Cutler also lost the endorsement of popular Maine Sen. Angus King, a center-left independent, who endorsed Michaud instead. … in the absence of any polls conducted since his announcement, we’re assuming that Cutler will lose half his vote, which will be redistributed to Michaud and LePage. But we’re not assuming those votes will be distributed equally.
US midterm elections – the Guardian briefing
The Republicans appear set to win a majority in the Senate, giving them control of both houses. We examine how this has happened, and what the implications are for US politics
… many analysts have identified a not-so-hidden hazard here for Republicans, too. If they are seen as too intransigent or antagonistic toward the president, they risk alienating the public and harming their chances to win the real prize: the White House. The Democrats unquestionably have the candidate to beat in 2016 in Hillary Clinton. The Republican field so far seems comparatively light. They need every extra ounce of goodwill they can get.
The other potential downside for Republicans is the same that faces any opposition party on the verge of a takeover: being in charge of government means voters expect you to govern. Republicans have made big promises to their base about cutting taxes and downsizing federal programmes. Failure to deliver is likely to come with a political cost. In addition, an aggressive Republican legislature could damage the party’s leading presidential prospects, who are currently members of the Senate – namely Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz – by forcing them to make votes that may be hard to explain to a general election audience.
29 October
Bet on a GOP Senate Majority
(Politico) While many races remain close, it’s just getting harder and harder to envision a plausible path for the Democrats to retain control of the Senate. Ultimately, with just a few days to go before the election, the safe bet would be on Republicans eventually taking control of the upper chamber.
We say eventually because there’s a decent chance we won’t know who wins the Senate on Election Night. Louisiana is guaranteed to go to a runoff, and Georgia seems likelier than not to do the same. The Georgia runoff would be Jan. 6, 2015, three days after the 114th Congress is scheduled to open. Vote-counting in some states, like Alaska, will take days, and other races are close enough to trigger a recount.
25 October
The American dynasties dominating the midterm elections
Contrary to the American ideal of equality and a classless system, the 2014 midterms are rife with political families seeking to use parental clout to sway the races, with the Clintons and Bushes looming above it all
If Jeb Bush  does run, he might well be up against former first lady Hillary Clinton, making Barack Obama’s tenure an eight-year interlude in an otherwise unbroken 36-year stretch in which either a Bush or a Clinton was on the presidential ticket.
The US seems to be drawing its political leadership from an increasingly shallow puddle of genes. For the sake of brevity this can be illustrated solely by the Senate races that are considered “in play” this year. The race in Georgia is between Michelle Nunn, whose father used to be a Georgia senator, and David Purdue, whose cousin Sonny Purdue was once Georgia’s governor; Alaska Democratic senator Mark Begich’s father, Nick, was the state’s congressman; Arkansas Democratic senator Mark Pryor’s father David was himself once senator.
It goes on: Louisiana senator Mary Landrieu is the daughter of former New Orleans mayor Moon, and sister of current New Orleans mayor Mitch; Kentucky Democratic senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes is the daughter of Jerry Lundergan, former chairman of the Kentucky Democratic party; Colorado Democratic senator Mark Udall is the son of late Arizona congressman Morris, and cousin of current New Mexico senator Tom, who is himself the son of late interior secretary Stewart; Kansas Republican senator Pat Roberts is the son of Charles, who was briefly the chairman of the Republican national committee; North Carolina Democratic senator Kay Hagan is the niece of former Florida senator Lawton Chiles.

Man Who Believes God Speaks to Us Through “Duck Dynasty” Is About to Be Texas’ Second-in-Command
(Mother Jones) Meet Dan Patrick, the next lieutenant governor of Texas.
We are, unfortunately, growing more and more used to reports of ‘eccentric’ pronouncements from political figures in the U.S., but Dan Patrick is simply beyond the pale. It would -almost- be funny if he were not about to become the lieutenant-governor of Texas. He makes Rick Perry look like a candidate for Mount Rushmore.

Chris Christie uses national governors’ role as springboard to 2016
Chris Christie has lost none of his common touch, despite being dogged by the “Bridgegate” scandal that has hurt him in early polling for 2016
Aside from a natural ease with the voters, Mr Christie shares something else with Mr Clinton – two years out from a general election, he is chairman of his party’s National Governors’ Association, which has given him carte blanche to campaign the length and breadth of the nation.
Grandson Jason Carter follows ‘Mr. Jimmy’ in race to be Georgia’s governor
a new Carter has emerged on the Georgia political scene, potentially creating another dynastic American family to add to the Roosevelts, Kennedys, Bushes and Clintons.
Jason Carter, 39, is the grandson of the president. A two-term state senator, he is running for governor in the U.S. midterms on Nov. 4. Supporters say his talent and ambitions stretch all the way to the White House.
Scott Brown and the Democrats’ Obama Problem
(The New Yorker) All across the country, Democratic incumbents and Democrats contesting open seats are putting up well-financed and spirited fights. I’m thinking of Mary Landrieu, in Louisiana; Mark Pryor, in Arkansas; and Mark Begich, in Alaska—but also many others, including Kay Hagan, in North Carolina; Michelle Nunn, in Georgia; Alison Lundergan Grimes, in Kentucky; and Bruce Braley, in Iowa. Some of these candidates may end up winning, as may Shaheen. But to do so, they will having to overcome an enormous burden. And although some of these candidates are trying hard to distance themselves from Obama, it’s a mighty struggle.
Scott Brown is a shameless and skilled politician. We saw that during the 2010 special election in Massachusetts, when he described himself as an independent thinker but also took money from the Tea Party and big Republican donors, and eventually outmaneuvered Martha Coakley, the Democratic candidate. We saw it in Washington, where he sought to water down the Volcker Rule, a stance favored by the big Boston financial firms and their brethren on Wall Street. Now, we are seeing it in New Hampshire, where polls show Brown gaining in the polls on Senator Jeanne Shaheen, the Democratic incumbent.

2013

“I think it’s a complete fantasy to believe that someone in any way attached to the United States Senate or the House can” prevail in 2016.
The Governors Who Could Beat Christie
(Daily Beast) The governor is riding high—and it’s freaking out the Tea Party senators. Here’s what they should really fear: GOP elders don’t want a 2016 presidential nominee from Congress.
Could Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, and Marco Rubio be any more naked in their fear and envy of Chris Christie? In the wake of the New Jersey governor’s resounding reelection Tuesday, the three Tea Party senators, visions of 2016 swirling in their fevered brains, raced to take a poke at the man now lauded by many as the GOP’s last, best hope at retaking the White House before next decade. Also: Brooks & Shields on how shifting demographics are affecting elections

12 November
Alison Lundergan Grimes Tied With Mitch McConnell In Senate Race
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D) are running neck and neck in the 2014 Senate race, according to a new poll from the liberal group MoveOn.org.
The survey, conducted by the Democratic firm Lake Research for MoveOn, found McConnell and Grimes each attracting 37 percent of likely Kentucky voters in the general election. McConnell had a commanding 50 percent to 17 percent lead over his primary challenger, tea party-aligned businessman Matt Bevin.
6 November
How the GOP Establishment Tea-Partied the Tea Party
After years of trying to accommodate conservatives, mainstream Republicans finally went to war on Tuesday—and won.
(The Atlantic) Until now, the establishment has mostly tried to reason with the Tea Party rather than play its game. Spooked by the right-wingers’ passion and numbers, the country-clubbers have sought to placate the pitchfork-wielding mob with appeals to common purpose and calmly reasonable arguments for unity. When the Tea Partiers have won primaries, the establishmentarians have largely sucked it up and fallen in behind them, figuring even an out-there Republican is better than a Democrat.
But in the wake of the government shutdown, and with the right wing of the party waging open warfare on GOP institutions, the establishment has finally joined the battle. The results were surprising. In Alabama, the candidate who got $200,000 from the Chamber of Commerce came from behind to defeat the candidate who said President Obama was born in Kenya, proving that the establishment can beat the base in a head-to-head battle in deep-red territory. In Virginia, the establishment showed it’s willing to withhold support from a candidate who refuses to toe the line—and the result proved that the base is hard-pressed to win on its own without establishment money and tactics.
Meanwhile, in New Jersey, Christie demonstrated that a centrist candidate can thumb his nose at the right and still win. Conservatives love to claim that far-right candidates are actually more electable, but less than a month ago the New Jersey Tea Partier who once ran a primary race against Christie, Steve Lonegan, lost a low-turnout special election to Cory Booker. Not only can’t Tea Partiers win elections on their own, Christie showed that establishment Republicans can win tough races without their help.
5 November
How Ken Cuccinelli Blew It
The Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate’s struggles show why it’s hard for the Tea Party to win outside of deep-red states.
Walsh claims victory in first open mayoral race in generation
(Boston Globe) Martin J. Walsh, a legislator and long-time labor leader, ground out a narrow victory over City Councilor John R. Connolly today to become Boston’s 48th mayor, propelled by a diverse coalition that transcended geography, race, and ideology.
Walsh rode a wave of support that spanned Boston, from his Savin Hill neighbors to African-Americans in Roxbury, liberal activists in Jamaica Plain to Latinos in Hyde Park. His campaign — fueled by unprecedented spending by organized labor from across the country — swelled beyond his base in Dorchester, where Walsh, the son of Irish immigrants, grew up in a tripledecker. … For organized labor, Walsh’s bid for mayor became a national cause as unions across the country contributed millions to the effort. Boston will be one of the rare major American cities to have a labor leader serve as mayor.
Election Day 2013: six of the most riveting votes
In the off-year elections Nov. 5, Americans are voting to elect two governors and 305 mayors and decide numerous ballot initiatives. But it’s a slow year for the hot-button “wedge” issues that drive some voters to the polls. Still, important nationwide issues are revealing themselves at state and municipal levels, offering glimpses into evolving social values and political strategies. Here are six of the day’s most gripping votes.
Washington State: Label GMO foods?
The fight over whether consumers should be alerted if food contains genetically modified ingredients has become one of the most expensive ballot initiatives in Washington State history, raking in $29 million in contributions from around the globe.
New Jersey and SeaTac, Wash.: Raise the minimum wage?
New Jersey business and labor leaders have been locked in a $2.3 million battle to influence whether the state’s lowest-paid workers should earn more than the federal minimum wage of $7.25 per hour – and whether the state constitution should be amended to tie future minimum-wage increases to the cost of living. The initiative, expected to pass, is a workaround conceived by Democrats after Gov. Chris Christie (R) vetoed a legislative bill to raise the minimum wage.
Meanwhile, in the country’s opposite corner, the town of SeaTac, Wash., home of the Seattle airport, has become the site of an experiment by labor unions: They want to raise the town’s minimum wage to $15 an hour and grant paid sick days to all workers. The pay rate would be vastly higher than any other minimum wage in the country: Employers in the state pay their workers a minimum of $9.19 per hour, already the highest state-level wage.
4 November
NY Mayoral Election 2013: New Yorkers To Choose Between Two Visions
(HuffPost) The casting of ballots Tuesday signals the beginning of New York City’s farewell to Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has helped shape the nation’s biggest city for 12 years, largely setting aside partisan politics as he led with data-driven beliefs and his vast fortune.
Republican Joe Lhota, a onetime deputy mayor to Rudolph Giuliani, has vowed that he will largely continue Bloomberg’s policies, which have helped make New York one of the nation’s safest and most prosperous big cities, though they also may have contributed to the city’s widening income equality gap.
But while polls show that New Yorkers largely approve of Bloomberg’s record, those same surveys show a hunger for a change in style and tone, which is why Bill de Blasio is poised to become the first Democrat elected mayor in more than a generation.
De Blasio, who as the city’s elected public advocate acts as an official watchdog, has positioned himself as a clean break with the Bloomberg years, promoting a sweeping liberal agenda that includes a tax increase on the wealthy to pay for universal pre-kindergarten and improved police-community relations.
Why National Democrats Rolled Over for Chris Christie
(Daily Beast) Fearing an expensive lost cause, the national party took a pass on Tuesday’s election for New Jersey governor. But the decision may come back to haunt Democrats in 2016.
1 November
Ex-Florida GOP Gov. Charlie Crist files to seek the office again, this time as Democrat
Former Republican governor-turned Democrat Charlie Crist took the first step Friday toward attempting to reclaim his old job with a new party, paving the way for a bitter contest that will be one of the most watched in the nation.
Crist filed paperwork to get in the race and is now the front-runner to represent Democrats against Republican Gov. Rick Scott, one of the most unpopular chief executives in the country. Scott, though, will be well-financed and is expected to spend as much as $25 million in attack ads against Crist.
31 October
In the Clintons’ talk of brokering compromise, an implicit rebuke of Obama years
(WaPost) Barnstorming Virginia this week with longtime friend and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe, Bill Clinton repeatedly assailed ideological politics on both sides of the aisle. “When people sneeringly say, ‘McAuliffe is a dealmaker,’ I say, ‘Oh, if we only had one in Washington during that shutdown,’ ” the former president said at a rally here in Norfolk on Monday. “It’s exhausting seeing politicians waste time with all these arguments. It is exhausting. People deserve somebody who will get this show on the road.”
28 October
The Redemption of Clintonism
Remember when Slick Willie was controversial? Today, he’s America’s most powerful political brand, and he’s not at all shy about it.
(The Atlantic) This week, Clinton is on the campaign trail for his old buddy, Terry McAuliffe, the Democrat who is likely to be elected the next governor of Virginia next week. Yes, if you’re just now Rip Van Winkling in from the 1990s, that last sentence was not a joke. Clinton campaigning for his former top fundraiser has been rightly portrayed as yet another chit called in by a man who’s made a career of chit-seeking and -cashing. But it’s also a striking reminder of the extent to which Clintonism, in all its triangulating glory, has been redeemed.
“Here’s what I know from 12 years as governor and eight years as president—eight years that worked out pretty well for us,” Clinton told a few hundred supporters who had gathered to hear him stump for McAuliffe at a Veterans of Foreign Wars hall here on Sunday, the first stop in an intensive four-day tour that would take him to virtually every corner of this large and diverse state. “I gave you four surplus budgets, all those jobs, declining poverty, the lowest poverty rate we’ve had in 30 years, and the first time in more than 30 years that there has not been an increase in inequality,” Clinton boasted. “We went forward together. We’re supposed to grow together. We didn’t do it by taking anybody down, we did it by lifting everybody up.”

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