Archive of Articles in the "Polls" Category

Friday Talking Points -- "We're Just The Guys To Do It!"

[ Posted Friday, July 23rd, 2021 – 17:23 UTC ]

It's like the Republicans all suddenly got put on double-secret probation or something. It seems to have finally dawned on them that the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus is actually real, and it is now killing off an inordinate number of their own base voters. So some of them had, as President Joe Biden said this week, their "altar call" moment.

Of course, hearing "Delta," what popped into our minds for this tectonic shift was Animal House's John Belushi asking his fellow Delts: "Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell, no!" Of course, his speech ended when his frat brother stood up and proclaimed: "I think this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part." To which Belushi responded: "And we're just the guys to do it!"

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Friday Talking Points -- GOP Defunded The Tax Police

[ Posted Friday, July 16th, 2021 – 17:00 UTC ]

There were two interesting developments in the congressional sausage-making process this week, both of which Democrats should immediately adopt as their main messages for the next week or so.

The first was that Senators Bernie Sanders and Mark Warner announced they had come to a compromise on the reconciliation bill which will fund the lion's share of President Joe Biden's economic agenda. They settled on a total figure of $3.5 trillion in new spending, which is far less than Bernie's original goal of $6 trillion (just for this bill alone), but also far more than the opening bid of the fiscally-conservative Democrats, which was in the $1.5 to $2 trillion range. It also will mean that Biden got the exact total he asked for in his "three-legged stool" of economic legislation. His first big legislative achievement (the American Rescue Plan) spent $1.9 trillion, and the bipartisan infrastructure deal represents $0.6 trillion more, which will mean a grand total of $6 trillion for all three -- which is exactly what Biden asked for in the first place.

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Legalize It

[ Posted Thursday, July 15th, 2021 – 16:17 UTC ]

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced this week he will be moving legislation to the floor of the Senate to legalize marijuana at the federal level. This is an important milestone (even if the measure fails), since such legislation has never had leadership support in the Senate before. The House has passed similar bills already, knowing full well they were all going to die in the Senate. But with Schumer on board, the chances that the federal War On Weed could end have improved considerably.

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Bernie Sanders, Dealmaker

[ Posted Wednesday, July 14th, 2021 – 16:46 UTC ]

Although few are pointing it out today, Senator Bernie Sanders is truly the man of the hour in the Democratic Party right now. Much faster than anyone expected (myself included), Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced last night that a deal had been struck within the Democratic caucus over the reconciliation bill that Bernie Sanders is in charge of writing (as chair of the Senate's budget committee). This deal was principally negotiated between Sanders and Senator Mark Warner, who represented the penny-pinching faction within the Democratic Party. But even with this necessary trimming, what was just announced is simply breathtaking in its scope and reach.

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Radical? No, Actually It's Mainstream.

[ Posted Tuesday, July 13th, 2021 – 15:20 UTC ]

Can Democrats still be bold? We are perhaps on the brink of finding that out. Joe Biden campaigned as a total moderate, but has been sort of thrust into a historical moment when boldness might actually be possible -- and be rewarded. By the time he got into office, Biden had realized this and was already talking about being a "transformational" president rather than just a moderate caretaker.

The COVID-19 pandemic was what set the stage for all this bold action, and Biden has done an admirable job of delivering on his promises on this front. But the rest of his economic agenda is now on the verge of becoming reality as well, and if the lion's share of it passes, Biden will indeed bask in comparisons to F.D.R. and L.B.J.

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Campaigning For Second And Third Ranked-Choice Votes Can Be Crucial

[ Posted Thursday, July 8th, 2021 – 15:57 UTC ]

New York City finally has a presumptive mayor. That would be "mayor-elect," but since this was just the primary election, it isn't technically true (while being de facto true, since the Republican doesn't stand a chance in the general election). It took two weeks for the results (which still aren't completely final and certified) to be announced, though, which was due to the new "ranked-choice voting" (R.C.V.) system for citywide elections. I've long been a proponent of all kinds of experimentation to make the American voting system work better, and have already seen how ranked-choice voting can work just fine (or, to put it another way, that's what my far-flung correspondents in Maine and San Francisco tell me). So I wanted to take a deeper dive into the results, after the dust has settled a bit.

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Achieving Herd Immunity, The Easy Way Versus The Hard Way

[ Posted Tuesday, July 6th, 2021 – 15:46 UTC ]

It's been a quiet week in politics. The type of quiet week that used to regularly happen when Congress was off on yet another of their multi-week holidays and not much was happening at the White House. Perhaps this August we'll even return to a real "silly season," where all the political reporters and pundits feverishly look for something interesting to write about. But after four solid years of a never-ending silly season ("insane season" would be more accurate), it's kind of quaint and normative to enjoy a week like this again, I must say.

President Joe Biden did give a short speech today on his vaccination effort. He had to admit that for the first time he had fallen short of one of his own self-imposed goals. America has not reached the mark of having 70 percent of all adults at least partially vaccinated, but we did at least get north of 67 percent by Biden's Independence Day deadline, which is pretty close.

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Friday Talking Points -- Happy Independence Day!

[ Posted Friday, July 2nd, 2021 – 17:57 UTC ]

Happy Independence Day! No, that heartfelt wish is actually not premature, as we pointed out years ago. The second of July is indeed the day American declared her independence from Britain. All the histories, all the traditions, all the celebrations get it wrong each and every year. No, really!

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Reconciliation Needs To Pass First

[ Posted Monday, June 21st, 2021 – 16:29 UTC ]

To an outsider, what is happening in Washington right now is splitting hairs for no particular reason. It won't matter to the public one whit whether what Congress passes to advance President Joe Biden's agenda is in one bill or two, or whether any Republicans vote for any part of it. The public is really only interested in results: "Did you get anything done? Are they things that will help me out?" That's it. And pretty much everything being discussed is wildly popular, proposal by proposal, so the public's going to support and enjoy seeing these programs implemented or expanded no matter what the vote count in the Senate or the House winds up being. Joe and Jane Public just do not care about any of that.

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Manchin Lays Out His Voting Rights Priorities

[ Posted Thursday, June 17th, 2021 – 16:32 UTC ]

This has been an extraordinary week. I say that because things seem to actually be happening in Washington, which is (to put it politely) not the normal state of affairs at all. Congress even proved that, on occasion, they could move with blinding speed, as they passed a bill to make Juneteenth a federal holiday in a matter of days, instead of the usual "months, if not years." President Joe Biden has already signed the law, long before most Americans were even aware of its existence. The federal workforce will get to take tomorrow off, which just wasn't true at the beginning of the week, or even yesterday. It's long been a closely-held secret, but Congress can act this quickly, when they really want to.

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