Archive of Articles for February, 2016

Death Of A Justice

[ Posted Monday, February 15th, 2016 – 18:16 UTC ]

With the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, the November election may decide the fate of all three branches of the United States government. That's a pretty unique situation, and it may boost turnout on both sides of the aisle. In most presidential elections, there's a wonky argument to be made about Supreme Court picks, but it's not usually so front-and-center with most of the voting public. Hardcore partisans tend to care deeply about this kind of thing, but the average voter usually doesn't think about it all that much in the voting booth. This year, things will obviously be different.

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Friday Talking Points [378] -- Back To The 1960s

[ Posted Friday, February 12th, 2016 – 18:15 UTC ]

For those readers who weren't alive (or old enough) to experience the 1960s, this week we had somewhat of a history lesson, packaged as a Democratic debate. Now, part of why this happened is that the Democratic presidential campaign has entered into a "convince the minority voters" phase, since the upcoming two states to vote have a lot of Latino (Nevada) and African-American (South Carolina) voters. So there was quite a bit of attention spent on the Civil Rights era, which will continue right up to Super Tuesday, at the very least. We keep waiting for Bernie Sanders (or a moderator, for that matter) to bring up the term "Goldwater Girl" in a Hillary Clinton question, and last night would have been a dandy opportunity. But PBS held a much more "polite" debate, meaning lots of softball questions and ignoring any unseemly discomfort for the candidates (at least, for the most part).

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Could Trump Become GOP Establishment Favorite?

[ Posted Thursday, February 11th, 2016 – 17:09 UTC ]

To ask that headline question at the present time may seem almost insane. Trump? The favorite candidate of the establishment Republicans? Preposterous! Well, maybe so and maybe not -- hear me out before you either reject the notion out of hand or start rolling around on the floor laughing. Because it might just be more plausible than you might initially think. And remember, a lot of other things previously considered insane have already happened this election cycle.

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New Hampshire Roils The Waters

[ Posted Wednesday, February 10th, 2016 – 16:43 UTC ]

Last night, New Hampshire shook up the presidential race and roiled what were already less-than-calm waters, in both the Democratic Party and the GOP. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton looks a lot weaker than she did a few weeks ago. Republicans, meanwhile, are having to finally come to grips with a fact that's been staring them in the face for months: Donald Trump is indeed their frontrunner, and he might actually win their party's nomination.

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Nevada Gets No Respect

[ Posted Tuesday, February 9th, 2016 – 16:27 UTC ]

While we're all sitting around waiting for the New Hampshire primary results to begin coming in, I'd like to take a moment to point out something which I hadn't really noticed before. Nevada is the Rodney Dangerfield of early primary states -- it don't get no respect.

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My New Hampshire Picks

[ Posted Monday, February 8th, 2016 – 17:18 UTC ]

It is time once again to peer deeply into my somewhat-foggy crystal ball, and attempt to pick the winners of tomorrow night's New Hampshire primary. Before I get to that, though, some old business needs to be brought up. First, we have some very recent old business and then some truly ancient business, so bear with me.

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Friday Talking Points [377] -- Toss Of A Coin

[ Posted Friday, February 5th, 2016 – 17:06 UTC ]

Appropriately, for the week which will also contain the Super Bowl, the first state to weigh in on the presidential election was decided (for Democrats) by a coin-toss. Or, to be accurate, seven of them. With tied caucuses in seven precincts, tossing a coin determined the winner between Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Clinton won six coin-tosses, Sanders only one. Because of this, Clinton claimed a razor-edge victory in the whole state. To put it plainly, she got lucky. If the coin tosses had been a little less lopsided, Bernie would have had the opportunity to claim victory. Such is life, and such is the political process in Iowa.

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GOP Tickets Out Of New Hampshire

[ Posted Thursday, February 4th, 2016 – 18:08 UTC ]

The Republican field is (finally!) now officially down to single digits. With the post-Iowa exodus of Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, and Rick Santorum, only nine GOP candidates remain. Of course, this still includes more than one who will never be the nominee, but at least the winnowing has begun in earnest. The question on everyone's mind now is how many of them will be viable after New Hampshire votes. This election cycle, most pundits speak of the Republican race in terms of "lanes." There is an "outsider lane" and an "establishment lane," and so forth. I personally don't favor this metaphor, as I'm more inclined to use what might be called the traditional "Willy Wonka golden ticket" metaphor. In other words, there are a limited number of "tickets" out of New Hampshire, and anyone who doesn't hold one after the voting is over might as well just pack up their campaign.

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Obama Poll Watch -- January, 2016

[ Posted Wednesday, February 3rd, 2016 – 17:10 UTC ]

President Obama just had a very good month in the polls. Not spectacular, mind you, but still better than any month since January of 2015. Essentially, Obama regained the job approval polling ground he lost over the previous two or three months, and he is now positioned to continue improving in February as well. For the first time in a year, this movement is so noticeable it is easily visible on the big chart.

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Why Not Just Allow Primary Votes To Be Bought?

[ Posted Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016 – 17:46 UTC ]

Maybe I'm just loopy from staying up late to watch the Iowa returns trickle in, but this morning I had a pretty radical idea, after reading a statistic that several pundits pointed out in their post-caucus articles. Jeb Bush apparently spent $14 million in Iowa to receive a little over 5,200 votes. According to many pundits today, that works out to roughly $2,800 spent per actual vote (it's actually under $2,700 when you run the numbers, but whatever). Which caused my epiphany -- why not just hand that cash over to the voters themselves, and eliminate all the middlemen?

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