Saturday, November 10, 2012

What Mattered This Week?

Hey, I heard there were some elections...

Of course, each one mattered. If you're looking for something that was particularly up in the air coming in, I'd probably go with the North Dakota Senate seat in particular, and the +2 result for the Democrats in the Senate overall; going in that was certainly plausible, so it's not a last-minute shock or anything, but it easily could have been 53/47 or even 52/48.

On the other hand, if I had to pick one of the close Senate elections which mattered the most, I'd have to go with Tammy Baldwin.

What didn't matter? How about those teams of lawyers ready to contest the results, fortunately.

Well, that's what I have. What do you think? Either any of the specific elections, or the reaction, or the rest of the world -- what do you think mattered this week?

19 comments:

  1. The Supreme Court hearing a challenge to the Voting Rights Act might end up mattering.

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  2. I know it's personal but it matters to my family: my brother's begun planning a wedding after 25 years with his partner. And we are filled with joy.

    After the referendum when voters threw out marriage equality a few years ago, he wept that he would never be able to stay here, close to family, and get married.

    Two months, and he can. And that matters. I hope we end this discrimination nationwide, and soon.

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  3. The GOP certainly hasn't shredded Lutzism and that matters. There was a big reaction post in the WaPo about the GOP's reaction to the election. They are apparently launching a big review including lots of polling and focus groups about why they lost, there's just one catch: "Party officials said the review is aimed at studying their tactics and message, not at changing the philosophical underpinnings of the party." So there you have it. No policies will be changed and no methods will be questioned other than trying to come up with more magic words that will hopefully convince more than 1 in 10 Latino voters in Colorado to vote for the next Republican nominee. I never really bought in to the whole "fever will break" argument so I'm not let down, but if you are a conservative this just has to be depressing.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/decision2012/republican-party-begins-election-review-to-find-out-what-went-wrong/2012/11/08/74acf0fa-29d6-11e2-96b6-8e6a7524553f_story.html

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  4. I agree with longwalk that this initial GOP reaction (we have a PR problem not a policy problem), if it holds, matters. Now, some GOP figures have suggested that the party should reconsider some of its policy positions (e.g., immigration) in order to broaden its coalition, or at least not alienate so many people. But I suspect that the party will conclude that it has a messenger problem, not a message problem, and the fever won't break.

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  5. Why Tammy Baldwin, of all that are up? Yes, the historical significance is big (but weirdly low-profile), but I would think IN and MO ould be more consequential, in that they might the GOP to re-evaluate their relationship with the social conservative wing of the party. The gay marriage votes would play into that too...

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    1. Baldwin is very progressive. She's also pretty young for a Senator and she's a solid campaigner. So her election could be the beginning of 30 years of awesomeness coming from the WI Senate seat.

      This Plain Blog post is making me really proud, by the way, because the two Senators I gave $1000 to were Heitkamp and Baldwin. Thanks, Jonathan, for firming up my resolve to donate to Heidi!

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    2. Have you seen the article about Native Americans organizing for Heitkamp? They gave her ~+4000 votes, and she won by ~+2000. So they mattered, a lot.

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    3. Responding to Anon 5:41 -- I wasn't counting IN and MO as close ones. Surely both did matter, though.

      Anon 5:52 -- I did not see that. Longtime readers may recall, however, that I used to work for a NoDak Senator, long long ago, and I briefly met Heitkamp back then, once or twice. So I was definitely rooting for her on that basis.

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  6. In the two days after the election, the S&P 500 fell about 3.5% before fighting back for a small gain Friday. The Romneyites pointed to that result as a sure sign that the election was a mistake.

    Of course, the elderly, whites, and men overwhelmingly went for Romney on Tuesday. Who are the 'price makers' in the stock market? More or less, "old white men". So maybe that market action didn't matter, after all.

    In fact, if you believe Obama will pursue reasonably pro-business policies, last week's selloff is a great buying opportunity.

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  7. The California GOP going on life support.

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  8. I'd say Romney himself and other Republicans blaming Sandy matters. As you pointed out, JB, this is far healthier than a "teh New Black Panthers did it"-type reaction.

    No Republicans are seriously disputing that Obama won, even if O'Reilly issued an impassioned plea to return to white manhood suffrage.

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  9. The manner of Obama's victory may have mattered, in so far as it appears that (at least to some degree) the Republicans who should have known better appear to have actually bought into their own BS about this whole 'unskewed polls' nonsense.

    (Aside to JB - I guess I have to concede your point that the campaigns don't have better internal polling data than what is released by public polling firms. BUT.. I still stand by my assertion that the Obama campaign was at least an exception to the rule.)

    Why I believe this mattered was that while the 2008 election was a smashing victory for the Democrats, winning a clear popular and landslidish electoral victory in 2012 - over opposition and supporters that felt sure they had the Dems beat - was a *crushing* victory.

    It remains to be seen if and how this bitter aftertaste serves to cause the GOP to adjust between now and 2016. Sean Hannity offering to hold a fiesta party for his FOX 'News' Channel cohorts sounds like a canary-in-the-coal-mine moment. But Hannity's a hack, he'll follow whatever script the party throws at him. Remains to be seen if Limbaugh will be willing to embrace a GOP that moderates, much less a Jim DeMint.

    - - - - - - - - - - -

    Also, breaking an 0-32 streak on marriage equality with a perfect 4-4 mattered. (5-5 counting the Iowa Supreme Court judge who won retention) Combined with the President throwing open the Democratic Party to officially support the issue, I'm hopeful the issue will break more like the Berlin Wall and the Soviet Union seemed to crumble all at once.

    (zic - glad to hear it!)

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  10. And speaking of "unskewed polls", I did a back-of-the-envelope 'unskewing' of a prior presidential election, just to illustrate the changing demographics of the American electorate. If the electorate then was the same 72% White, 13% Black, 10% Hispanic, and 5% Other we had this year, I have it:

    Carter 43,027,000 50.6%
    Reagan 41,973,000 49.4%

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    Possibly related, and something else that mattered - after four times rejecting a change in status, Puerto Rico voted to seek statehood (while the rest of us were watching Karl Rove lose what's left of his mind).

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    1. Puerto Rico also elected an anti-statehood governor, who will block any status change attempt.

      I don't really get the pro-Commonwealthers. Time and again, they promise the Puerto Ricans they don't just want the current Commonwealth status, but would improve it so that Puerto Rico could decide which US laws and US court decisions would apply to Puerto Rico. In my eyes, that would be like black people saying: "Let's keep 'seperate but equal' because we can eventually get the whites to admit blacks are superior to whites, and then we'd be better off".

      The USA offered the Puerto Ricans independence or statehood, should they decide that, but it doesn't offer even its states nullification powers, so it's an illusion it will offer them to Puerto Rico.

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  11. Legalization of marijuana in two states -- Could be the beginning of the end for prohibition. Or perhaps we'll just see more raids, as we've seen against medical marijuana dispensaries in California.

    General Petraeus won't be testifying next week about Benghazi.

    The CBO makes jumping off the "fiscal cliff" sound like a wise policy:

    "CBO projects that the significant tax increases and spending cuts that are due to occur in January will probably cause the economy to fall back into a recession next year, but they will make the economy stronger later in the decade and beyond. In contrast, continuing current policies would lead to faster economic growth in the near term but a weaker economy in later years."

    http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/43692-DeficitReduction_print.pdf

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  12. Biggest news seems to be that the Democratic agenda is dead until at least 2020. There's just no way they will ever be able to get a big enough majority of House votes to actually take control.

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