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Political Roundup for February 28th, 2017

Welcome to day #39 of our alternative fact reality from my safe space: Metro-North. I’m still staring, slack-jawed, at an Upper West Side television—and awaiting Ben Sasse’s next move.

Please check back at 3pm Eastern today for our open thread on Trump’s yuuuge speech and today’s Mayoral race in Aurora, IL.

President & Miscellaneous

The Donald’s Budget: Many people are saying that Congressional Republicans don’t consider 45’s bigly, Dick Gephardt ’00-inspired budget tremenous—belive me. Sad!

Need another reason to drink?: According to a new Reuters poll, most Americans find politics stressful these days. In other news, water is wet.

POTUS Favorability: In news that must be fake, young voters would fire The Donald—if given the chance. According to Reuters, most Americans aged 13-17 despise The Donald (surprise!) and are just as disillusioned with politics as their older counterparts. They are, however, slightly more optimistic about the future than the first generation to leave its children worse off than it itself was left.

Commerce Secretary: “Biyyinaire” Wilbur Ross, a man of The People, was confirmed as Secretary of Commerce by a 72-27 margin.

TX-Voter ID: As expected, the DOJ has reversed its stance on Texas’ voter ID law. But, let’s be real: would such a law even be necessary with our inevitable Big Beautiful Wall?

Trump v. the Media: The New York Times claims that Donald Trump has “evil intentions.” But, seriously, did that stop the paper from publishing plenty of attention-seeking Trump headlines before his political days to boost its readership? The Donald was still The Donald then—just as much as he is now.

The Almighty Dollar: The dollar has held steady as of late, apparently due to The Donald’s current lack of specifics on fiscal and tax policy.

Governor

VA-Gov: Unsurprisingly, ex-U.S. Rep. Tom Perriello, a college town meme and the nutroots’ version of Phoebe Cates, has decided to pitch his entire campaign as a referendum on the Donald. Somewhere on the general election campaign trail, Ralph Northam is quaking in his boots.

IL-Gov: Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner, Illinois’ last great hope, skipped a recent White House dinner attended by 46 other governors. Yet, Rauner is still, somehow, ostensibly in conversations with the White House regarding Chicago’s violence problems. I’m sure our Dear, Benevolent Leader is magnanimous enough to look past such a slight…

Congress

PA-Sen: State Rep. Rick Saccone (R-Allegheny), best known for trying to declare numerous years as Pennsylvania’s “Year of the Bible,” has embarked in a quixotic bid to reach new lows in SEPA against Senator Bob Casey. Lord have mercy.

WV-Sen: West Virginia Republicans are attempting to stir up trouble regarding U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin’s wife’s job in Governor Justice’s administration.

Local

PA HD-197: Worried about an unknown write-in candidate emerging in a machine district, Philly Dems are trying for a last-minute replacement for their disqualified HD-197 candidate.

International

Corbynocalypse: Jeremy Corbyn isn’t on board with Scottish Labour’s plans for increased federalism. This is not good for Labour’s prospects in Scotland, and they desperately need to win back seats there.

Germany: Martin Schulz, Merkel’s SPD challenger, is walking a fine line. Schulz is simultaneously trying to harness populist anger while still being a Europhile ahead of the upcoming election—perhaps a ticking time bomb.

 

Political Roundup for February 27th, 2017

Overall, this weekend was pretty good for the Democrats. They kept the Delaware State Senate by holding DE-SD-10. They also picked a new DNC chairman, though they did less well there. They could have had Buttigieg, but the battle was between Perez and Ellison. It was surprisingly close, but Perez won. With that out of the way, on to the news that you didn’t already know about!

President

Divided America: According to the new NBC/WSJ poll, Trump has a 44/48 job approval split. Seeing as that tracks fairly well with the popular vote a few months ago, I’d say that we’re in for a very tiring four years of angry slogging and general annoyance on all sides.

Governor

MI-Gov: Dr. Abdul El-Sayed (D), head of Detroit’s version of the health department (that’s not a joke, they actually have one) is running for governor. I don’t know how far he’ll get, but this should be an interesting candidacy to watch. He’s actually pretty impressive.

TN-Gov: Former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean (D-Business) has apparently decided to run for governor. What’s really odd about this is that he’s now been out of office for a few years and had the nomination if he wanted it in 2014. I guess that he just didn’t want to run into the buzzsaw of Haslam that year. Still, he’s pretty unlikely to win next year either. He’s the best that Tennessee Democrats have and it’s an open seat in an opposite-party midterm. Even so, it’s kind of like a Republican trying to run for the same office in Hawaii: yeah, Linda Lingle did it, but this is another political world and you’re not Linda Lingle.

Congress

TX-Sen: Rep. Beto O’Rourke (I’m not sure yet, but it will probably involve ‘being bold’) is sounding surprisingly chipper about challenging Sen. Ted Cruz (R-His Ego) in the Republican equivalent of California. It’s honestly really reminiscent of Wendy Davis, and we all know how that turned out…

WV-Sen: Sen. Joe Manchin (Moderate Dem) continues his quest to appear to be a DINO by daring the Berniebots to challenge him in a primary.This whole episode is the best ‘moderateness signaling for the election’ routine we’ve seen in a while.

TX-21: Rep. Lamar Smith (R) has been skipping town hall meetings, and he’s not the only one. Honestly, I don’t blame members who do this in safe districts, on either side. Why should you just hand well-organized factions of the other side a chance to pillory you and make you look stupid so their ideological compatriots can use it as cable news fodder?

Local

Detroit-Mayor: State Sen. Coleman Young II (Black Machine Dem), son of the famously infamous mayor of the same name, is running to get his dad’s old job against incumbent Mike Duggan. I’d say that it should be generally difficult to attain a mayor’s office with such strong links to the man whose tenure in it was so disastrous that a once great metropolis became a ruin. Then again, Young the Elder did excel in getting rid of precisely the type of voters who might take this view and vote against his son, so who knows.

NYC-Mayor: The Grey Lady has convinced itself that Mayor Bill DeBlasio (Bold Progressive) will have a clear primary field. I’ll believe it when I see it.

International

Italy: Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s left-wing coalition just split, and all hell is breaking loose. If this is for real, then the left will be split at the next general election, giving the Five Star movement an opening. With the rise of Macron, it was looking like the populist moment might be over. I’m now thinking that the French election is more of an intermission.

Netherlands: So it looks like Geert Wilders, leader of the right-wing populists that are polling first in the next round of Dutch elections, had to cancel some events because his security detail was infiltrated by a Moroccan gang. No, I’m not joking. This actually happened. I have no doubt that an assassination was being planned. Is anyone else getting a weird early 20th-century vibe lately, or is that just me?

UK: The Telegraph runs some numbers and finds not only that the Tories would do very well in a general election given current polling, but that using last week’s by-elections as a guide actually makes their prospects even better. These calculations are done using the old maps, by the way. Any election this year would likely use that outdated plan.

Political Roundup for February 15, 2017

Election News:  Republican Anne Neu won the Minnesota State House special election for seat 32B last night.  Democratic State Senator Bill Perkins won a vacant City Council seat in Harlem as well.  Now for the rest of the roundup…

President/National

Flyover Country:  In case some of our readers were wondering as they are worrying about President Trump from their homes on the respective flanks of the country, Trump is still popular in middle America.

Obamacare:  As I predicted months ago, the Republicans are running into serious internal issues regarding the repeal of Obamacare.  If a repeal happens at all, you got to wonder if it will take as long as it took the Democrats to pass Obamacare.

DNC:  Tom Perez claims to have enough votes to win the race for DNC Chairman.  A Perez win would continue Obama control of the DNC.

SBA:  Linda McMahon was confirmed as SBA Director.  She received strong support from both parties by today’s standards.

MI-Sen:  With a dearth of interested candidates, Republicans in Michigan are floating the idea of Kid Rock running for US Senate.  Crazy to think that Kid Rock as a candidate is not that far outside the realm of possibility.

States

Women:  The number of women in state legislative seats has reached 25% of the total membership with women controlling state legislative chambers also reaching an all time high.

Voting Laws:  As often seen in life, when your side cannot win on the merits, you challenge the rules.  Democrats are now focusing their political rage on the election rules as a source of their defeat.

International

UK:  Ahead of two key byelections, the Labour Party appears poised to lose two seats and potentially impair Jeremy Corbyn’s “leadership” of the Labour Party.

 

The Torymander: An Overview

Late last year, the Boundary Commissions for England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland delivered their draft maps for the next UK Boundary Review (national redistricting in American parlance). It should be noted that the last review came into effect for the 2010 elections (except in Scotland, where it was in 2005), but the numbers used were vintage 2000. This new review is using vintage 2016 numbers. The figures in question are those of eligible voters, not total population. These maps followed new rules set out by Prime Minister David Cameron and carried forward by Theresa May; namely, that there would be a reduction in seats in the the House of Commons from six-hundred and fifty to six hundred, that the Isle of Wight would now have two seats instead of one, that population variance targets (5% deviation with three islands excepted) would be tightened considerably, and that Wales would now be subject to these variance targets. This means that all four countries would have reduced seat numbers, but Wales would be hit particularly hard. We’ll go country by country and break down what happened.

Wales

Cymru (pronounced ‘cum-ree’) suffers the most from the new rules changes. Previous governments, especially Labour ones, have long given the country special treatment when it comes to population targets. Since Welsh targets are now being brought into line with national standards after years of underpopulation, Wales loses eleven of its forty seats. This means that just about everyone’s ox should get gored. However, it looks like the Tories and Plaid Cymru have allied to make sure that the bulk the pain falls on Labour.

In northern Wales, the Tories theoretically lose two seats, as do Labour. However, two of the new seats that are theoretically Labour ones are very swingy. Given current polling numbers, the Conservatives should be able to capture them fairly easily. That would mean that Labour would lose four seats on net and the Tories would lose none. Plaid Cymru is fairly secure in both of its seats, despite absorbing the Labour-held marginal of Ynys Mon into the Arfon seat.

Southern Wales is mostly a wash for the Tories. They lose one of their safe Pembrokeshire seats, but will almost certainly pick up a new seat in the Vale of Glamorgan. The only seats that they really have to worry about are Gower and Swansea West and Cardiff North. They barely picked up Gower in a three-way fight in 2015, and it got worse for them when it had to expand. Still, it’s very holdable with their current polling numbers. Cardiff North only got a little worse and should hold if they win a majority. Labour fares much worse; counting the new Tory-leaning Vale of Glamorgan seat as a loss, they forfeit seven seats in southern wales. Most of this is due to very bad population numbers in the Valleys north of Cardiff. These are very poor areas that used to provide Britain with much of its coal, but have been declining for a while (they’re also where the Labour Party was born in the first place).

Northern Ireland

In short, this appears to be the only commission where the Tories didn’t get their way. Sinn Fein appears to have made out like bandits. Expect even more of the Northern Irish delegation to not show up than usual (Sinn fein is a separatist party that refuses to show up ton any English-dominated parliament). Then again, maybe this is what the Conservatives wanted. The more MPs that don’t show up from Northern Ireland, the easier it is for the Tories to have a rock-solid majority because the number needed for said majority gets lowered. The one seat loss that NI suffers is likely to come from one of the Unionist parties.

Scotland

Alba loses six of its fifty-nine seats. These almost surely will come at the expense of the SNP, as they currently hold fifty-six of the country’s seats. The only LibDem seat is Orkney and Shetland, which is has protected island status. Edinburgh East, which is Labour’s only seat, is now nominally an SNP seat, but I like Labour’s chances at holding it. The same goes goes for the Tories’ only seat, which now reaches farther north and has been relabeled as Clydesdale and Eskdale. I think that this map was probably an SNP attempt to take the Tory and Labour seats, but given the Tories recent poll numbers in Scotland, it will probably backfire. The Conservatives now have decent shots at Dumfries and Galloway (on a good night), Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk (almost certainly a pickup), and Edinburgh South West and Central (on a decent night). Labour also has a decent chance to take Highland North. The LibDems have an outside shot at Inverness and Skye and a slightly better one at Gordon and Deeside. I’m being conservative with these given the poll numbers, but I think they’re a bit inflated and will lead to a lot of anti-SNP vote splitting.

Northern England

This region is a Labour killing field. Labour outright loses four seats in Northeast England, two seats in Cumbria and Lancashire, two seats in Merseyside, three seats in Greater Manchester, and three seats in Yorkshire to seat reductions. That’s sixteen seats that Team Red desperately needs, gone forever. The Tories also lose a seat in Humberside and another in Lancashire (though they made up for both with other moves).

There are also a lot of lines changed among the remaining seats. About a dozen swing seats move to the right. Of special interest are Hull, whose three seats get reorganized so that the Tories can win one, Grimsby, which gets cracked between two seats to make up for the loss of Brigg and Goole, and The Wirral, where Wirral West gets reformed into Bebington and Heswall, almost assuring a Tory pickup. Also, former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg’s seat of Sheffield Hallam (now Sheffield Hallam and Stocksbridge) is definitely in danger of a takeover by Labour.

The Midlands

The East Midlands aren’t actually that interesting. Labour and the Tories each lose a seat to elimination. The lines in Derby get rejiggered to flip Derby South and turn Derby North into a superpack.

The West Midlands have a bit more to see. The Tories lose two rural seats and Labour loses one in Stoke-on-Trent. Labour also loses two seats in the Black Country near Birmingham. There are a lot of interesting seat moves. The most interesting ones are the conversion of the Labour bastion of Coventry North West to a safely Tory seat as Coventry West and Meriden and the baconxtripping of southern Birmingham (which very much helps the Conservatives).

Southern England

East Anglia only loses one seat, in Essex, and unfortunately it has to be a Tory one. The commission went after UKIP’s Douglas Carswell in Clacton, but he still has a fighting chance. This region is basically a Tory seat bank.

The Tories technically lose a set in the Home Counties, in Kent, but make up for it with a new solidly blue seat on the Isle of Wight for no net change in seats. This region, as with East Anglia, is almost all safe Tory seats with a few red bastions and a handful of competitive seats. It should also be noted that the commission targeted Caroline Lucas, the only Green MP. It’ll be interesting to see whether she’ll run in Brighton North or Brighton Central and Hove.

London is pretty interesting. Even though the economy there is thriving, Greater London still loses five seats. Labour bears the full brunt of those losses. Most of the important moves in London are the Tories playing defense. I think that’s smart given the demographic shifts in parts of the city. They target a few seats, too. Brentford and Isleworth becomes Brentford and Chiswick and almost surely flips. Enfield North absorbs a new ward that flips it to the Tories and becomes simply Enfield. A Labour seat (Harrow West) gets moved around and reconstituted as Kenton. Watch that one. If the Tories are winning it on Election Night, they’re having a pretty good showing.

The Tories have two seats eliminated in the West Country. Otherwise, not much happens, though the Plymouth seats do get shored up. There’s a trend in Southern England to move the city center from one seat to the other, then add rural territory in these two seat cities such as Norwich, Southampton, and Plymouth.

My Conclusion

After reviewing all of this and looking at the notional 2015 results for the new seats, things look pretty good for the Conservative Party. Right off the bat, they have two-hundred and ninety Safe seats. If you add in their Likely and Lean seats, you get to three-hundred and twenty-one seats, which is a decent majority. Right now I’d guess conservatively that they’d take about three-hundred and forty seats. That’s not bad. If their poll numbers are actually as strong as they appear, I could easily see them passing three-hundred and sixty. After that, things get really tough because the Labour seats beyond a certain point are very safe. Also, I’d like to point out that despite being deeply in the minority, Labour loses about thirty of the fifty eliminated seats. I’m sure that poll numbers will shift and that Labour will be victorious once more in the future. For now, however, they have a very deep hole out of which to start digging themselves.

Political Roundup for February 10, 2017

If you missed our liveblog of the KS-4 GOP convention last night, State Treasurer Ron Estes won the Republican nomination for Congress on the 2nd ballot.

Also if you were not watching at 2:15 AM EST this morning, Rep. Tom Price (R) was approved as HHS Secretary by a 52-47 vote. A special for his GA-6 seat will now be scheduled for at least a month from now (though it will likely be sometime in April to allow time to get military ballots settled).

Senate:

FL-Sen: Sen. Bill Nelson (D) could get a primary challenger in his bid for re-election next year. State Sen. Randolph Bracy (D) is said to be exploring a run for Nelson’s seat. Bracy, who spent 4 years in the House before being elected to the Senate last year, will not be up for re-election until 2020 so he would not have to give up his seat to run. Although Nelson receiving a primary challenge would be a surprise, Bracy would not seem to pose much of a threat to Nelson winning renomination.

WI-Sen: Republicans are trying to avoid a crowded primary to take on Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D) next year. Consequently, state Senate Majority Leader Scott Fitzgerald (R), who is one of several Republicans considering running, says he is waiting on the decision of Rep. Sean Duffy (R) before he decides to get in the race. Fitzgerald says Duffy is well-positioned for a state run and it would be foolish to have a crowded primary that drains candidates’ resources.

Long Senate session: The Senate’s 24-hour session this week to approve Betsy DeVos’s nomination as Education Secretary and Jeff Sessions’s for Attorney General, was the 3rd longest since at least 1915. It lasted 57 hours and 7 minutes, just 17 minutes shorter than a session in 1988 which included 8 cloture votes(which failed) on a campaign finance bill. The longest by far happened in 1960 when the Senate went 125 hours and 16 minutes without adjourning during debate on a civil rights bill.

House:

Midterm election: DCCC Chairman Rep. Ben Ray Lujan (D) is saying there is “no question” that the Democrats will pick up seats in 2018. That’s not a bold prediction considering the president’s party has lost seats in 36 of 39 midterms since the Civil War. But will they pick up the 24 seats they need to take control? Democrats aren’t predicting that yet. They say history is on their side-pointing to the fact that the average midterm loss in that period is 33 seats. Part of the reason Democrats aren’t making bold predictions of taking control is that they were humbled last year after predicting they’d win the presidency, pick up the Senate and pick up more than 20 House seats.

Governor:

MI-Gov: Another Democrat is getting in the race for governor. Detroit public health director Abdul El-Sayed is resigning his position to make a run. The Flint water crisis appears to have played a part in getting El-Sayed to make the run. He joins joins former state Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer, retired Xerox executive William Cobbs and health care worker Kentiel White in running on he Democratic side.

NV-Gov: AG Adam Laxalt (R) appeared last month to be the odds-on favorite for the GOP nomination for governor when he showed that he had already raised $1.5 million for the race. But he may get company in the Republican primary. State Treasurer Dan Schwartz (R) says he is interested in possibly running, but wants to wait until after the legislative session and do some polling to see how viable he would be as a candidate. He joked about Laxalt’s frontrunner status saying “He raised a lot of money,  then found out no one knew who he was.”

OH-Gov: Rep. Tim Ryan (D) says he will make the decision in the “next couple of weeks” about running for governor. Ryan is one of the top potential contenders along with former AG and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Richard Cordray and the race is expected to remain unsettled until those two decide on whether to run or not. Ryan says he has several things to consider in whether to run, including whether he would be able to have more of an influence on shaping the national Democratic Party in the House and considering his age (he is 43) that he will have plenty of chances in the future to run.

More OH-Gov: Gov. John Kasich (R) says he will support LG Mary Taylor (R) for governor if she runs. There had been speculation he was upset with Taylor for supporting Jane Timken for Ohio GOP Chairman over Kasich ally Matt Borges last month. AG Mike DeWine (R) is the only Republican clearly in the race right now while Taylor has been more quiet about her plans while Secretary of State Jon Husted (R) has hinted at possibly running as has Rep. Jim Renacci (R).

State & local:

AL-AG: Deputy AG Alice Martin will serve as acting AG until Gov. Robert Bentley (R) appoints a replacement for now US Sen. Luther Strange (R). State Sen. Cam Ward (R) chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and Marshall County District Attorney Steve Marshall (R) have both talked to Bentley about the position. Insiders have said they expect Marshall to get the job.

CA-AG: No surprise, but newly appointed AG Xavier Becerra (D) has officially launched his campaign to be elected to a full term as Attorney General next year. Becerra hasn’t wasted any time in his new job-he was one of 15 state Attorneys General to challenge the Trump Administration’s travel ban. He has two announced challengers so far-Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones (D) and San Bernardino County District Attorney Mike Ramos (R).

Other:

UK House of Commons Speaker: An effort has begun among Conservative MPs to oust John Bercow from his role as Speaker over his refusal to allow President Trump to speak to the Parliament during his state visit later this year. Up to 150 Tory MPs are expected to support a motion of no confidence in Bercow. The result would not be binding and is unlikely to secure a majority, but it could make his position untenable if there is enough opposition. Bercow is a former Tory, but won his first election as Speaker in 2009 on the strength of Labour support over a more conservative Tory candidate and is receiving support from Labour now as well.

Political Roundup for February 6th, 2017

Congress

CA-Sen: Semi-famous geneticist Michael Eisen (D-Soviet Russia, I mean Berkeley) has announced a run for the United States Senate in 2018. There’s no word yet on what the lizard on his head thinks of his chances.

PA-Sen: Rep. Pat Meehan (R), long a rumored challenger to Sen. Bob Casey (D) in 2018, has decided against such a bid. This leaves Pennsylvania Republicans without a top-tier candidate in this race, though they still have time to find one.

UT-Sen: As we prepare for Huntsman-Hatch 2018, another shark seems to be circling in the Wasatch Front. Former Presidential nominee Mitt Romney (R) recently mentioned that he might get involved in the race, though he denied that he himself would run. The speculation is that his son Josh might make the primary a three-way affair.

WA-03: Buried in this summary piece about the DCCC targeting Jamie Herrera Beutler (R) in 2018 is the news that she does in fact have an announced challenger. David McDevitt (D) of Vancouver is challenging Beutler again. McDevitt ran in the blanket primary in 2016, but lost the second slot to State Rep. Jim Moeller (D).

Term Limits: Sen. Ted Cruz (R) and Gov. Greg Abbot (R) are apparently floating a constitutional amendment that would limit members of Congress to a lifetime limit of three terms in the House and two terms in the Senate. I doubt this will go anywhere, but expect to here more about it in the future.

Governor

IN-Gov?: This a column written by 2016 Lt. Gov. nominee Christina Hale for Howey Politics. I’m linking to it because it illustrates what an article written after election by Howet himself said; Hale is staying in politics and is likely a force to be reckoned with. That article is now locked, but this column is evidence enough. Indiana is a solidly red state, but in a Democratic wave year, Hale could be dangerous. Keep your eye on her.

NJ-Gov: New Jersey gubernatorial hopeful John Wisniewski (Bold Progressive) recently snagged an endorsement from the Bernie-affiliated group National Nurses United. This probably won’t stop his impending pasting at the hands of Phil Murphy (Corzine) in the Democratic primary, but every little bit helps.

OK-Gov: It’s almost two years until the midterm election, but a few candidates for Governor of Oklahoma have already started running, officially or not. Gary Richardson (R), whose 2002 Independent run probably is to blame for former Gov. Brad Henry’s (D) victory over Steve Largent (R), all but announced his candidacy in a Facebook post that was later edited to take out the reference to a run. On the other side of the aisle, former State Sen. Connie Johnson (Bold Progressive) is almost certain to run for governor as well. Seeing as her last foray into statewide politics netted her 29% of the vote, I wish her luck in the primary..

State and Local

Cleveland-Mayor: Entrepeneuer Brandon Chrostowski has announced his candidacy for Mayor of Cleveland. Chrostowski is best known for starting a french restaurant called EDWINS that also serves as a training program for inmates. Mayor Frank Jackson is likely to coast to reelection.

NY-Leg: I swear, the NYS Senate GOP are the luckiest people in American politics. It looks like yet more members of the beleaguered Democratic Caucus are looking to join the IDC so that they can get their membership cards in the Prize Patrol. Martin Dilan, James Sanders, Todd Kaminsky, and John Brooks are all rumored to be coming over to the majority. The quote from Rubin Diaz Sr. (D) is pure gold.

International

France-President: The Spectator examines the rapid rise of French independent presidential candidate Emmanuel Macron, and thinks it smells a rat. There’s a fair amount of speculation and circumstantial evidence in the article, but it’s a fascinating read.

France-President Continued: Speaking of rapid rises, Socialist candidate Benoit Hamon has had one as well. He’s now challenging Macron and Francois Fillon of Les Republicans for the second runoff slot behind frontrunner Marine Le Pen of the Front National.

UK-by-elections: The bookmakers have spoken, and the odds don’t look good for Labour keeping both seats they’re defending on February 23rd. It should be noted that these guys don’t get everything right, but they have a decent track record.

Political Roundup for January 30th, 2017

As Trump and the media wage battle in what will likely be just the first of many skirmishes over the next four years, there’s much more interesting electoral news to talk about. Go ahead and brew some coffee, because a few of these really get down into the weeds.

President

2020: President Trump (still can’t stop myself from being residually shocked when I think about that) has already trademarked his slogan for 2020, ‘Keep America Great!’ He also filed for reelection, though the only article that I could find about it was from the left-wing equivalent of Infowars, so I won’t link to it.

Senate

MA-Sen: Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Indian Territory) seems to have failed to disclose a rather large line of credit; $1.3m, in fact. I don’t think that this lowers her chances of reelection much (maybe from 99% to 97%), but it could hold her margins down and dog her presidential ambitions.

WV-Sen: Rep. Evan Jenkins (R, former DINO) has publicly admitted that he’s mulling a senate run against incumbent Sen. Joe Manchin (DINO). This doesn’t come as a surprise to many political observers, but it’s nice to have it confirmed. Jenkins will likely face AG Patrick Morrissey (R) in the Republican primary.

Governor

KS-Gov: Seeing as he did not obtain a role in the Trump administration, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R/C) is eying a run for governor. Kobach is allied with current Governor Sam Brownback, though it’s unclear whether or not he’d get an endorsement. Kobach would likely be one of the weakest candidates that could get the Republican nomination, but that likely won’t stop him from trying.

VA-Gov: Staying in the realm of amazingly weak but somehow prominent candidates for governor, Prince William County Executive Corey Stewart (R-Himself) has begun attacking 2014 Senate nominee Ed Gillespie (R) on abortion. This is a rather odd move, especially since Gillespie has been a well-known pro-lifer for a long time. I guess I understand it from a tactical perspective; Stewart knows his history of tax increases won’t come off well to fiscons, so he’s going after socons. Still, it seems kind of desperate. Then again, most things he does seem desperate (if you don’t believe me, read up on his weird interactions with the Trump team). This and the Kobach thing just go to prove that neither conservatives nor moderates have a claim to the mantle of electability. It just depends on the person.

House

Four Americas: Here’s a great piece from The Atlantic analyzing House districts by  diversity and white educational attainment. Regular posters here will know the general contours of the findings, but it’s good to look at the numbers and how they’ve changed over time. Coincidentally, if you’re not reading The Atlantic, you probably should be. Yes, yes, it’s coastal liberal elites and all that. It’s surprisingly balanced and very insightful in general, though.

State and Local

Calexit: Californian secessionists were given the go-ahead on Thursday to begin collecting signatures for ballot access. They’ll need to get almost 600,000 valid signatures in the next 180 days to qualify for the ballot. I doubt they’ll achieve that. Even if they do that, I don’t see how the measure would pass. Even if it did, I’d tell them that it won’t go well. I should know; my people were the last to try, and it still haunts us.

Lake County-Precincts: This one is for the supernerds, but it’s a great one. Indiana legislators are proposing a bill that would set a minimum number of voters per precinct. The main target of this is a bunch of lightly-populated precincts in Gary, Hammond, and East Chicago that haven’t been merged even though they’re not nearly as populated as they once were. Why does this matter? It matters because in Indiana, appointments for vacancies at the county and state legislative level are made by precinct committemen. This rule and these sparsely populated but numerous precincts allow the urban part of the Lake County Democratic machine to dominate county politics. This new rule would sharply curtail its power, so its patrons are fighting the measure tooth and nail.

NYC-Mayor: Mayor Bill DeBlasio (Bold Progressive) has agreed to be questioned by federal prosecutors in connection with a pay-to-play investigation. Honestly, I don’t think that anyone is ever going to top Preet Bharara for the title of Best Democrat Ever in my book (well, except Grover Cleveland).

WI-Redistricting: The three-judge panel that struck down Wisconsin’s legislative districts on very unusual grounds a few months ago has now ordered the legislature to redraw the affected districts by Nov. 1st. Democrats wanted the court to redraw the maps, but it declined to do so.

Anglosphere

NB-Assembly: Dominic Cardy, the former leader of the provincial NDP in New Brunswick, has switched to the PCs and is now serving as an advisor to PC Leader Blaine Higgs. This is a fairly big deal, as Cardy is popular in the Francophone parts of New Brunswick.

UK-by-election: Stoke-on-Trent Labour members have chosen Gareth Snell, a fairly hardcore Remainer, as their candidate for the Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election that was triggered by the resignation of Tristram Hunt. This is, to say the least, not a very smart move because although the seat is theoretically Safe Labour, fully 70% of the constituency’s voters backed Brexit. UKIP is running their new leader Paul Nuttall here and throwing everything that they can at the by-election. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised by either side prevailing. The election is scheduled for February 23rd and will be concurrent with the by-election in Copeland where Labour is defending against a strong Tory challenge.

Political Roundup for January 17th, 2017

I hope you all celebrated Robert E. Lee’s birthday in a relaxing fashion. I celebrated it with Korean BBQ, but that’s just me. And now, onto the news!

President

2020: Vanity Fair (I know, I know) has a piece on why Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg (D-Any Finals Club he wants now) might run for President. I find this a bit silly, but give it a read if you need a chuckle.

Senate

CA-Sen: Buried in this wonderful stream-of-consciousness article by former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown (Old School D) is his prediction that Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) will step down before her next election in 2018. Willie goes on to predict that Gov. Jerry Brown (Wiser For His Years Burned-out Hippie D) will appoint himself to the seat in that scenario. I’m skeptical about that one, but the article is definitely worth a read.

Governor

CA-Gov: Silicon Valley entrepreneur/billionaire Peter Thiel (R By Process Of Elimination) is said to be playing Hamlet with a possible run for governor. Personally, this feels a lot like the Shakespearean scene that is played out every two years with John Elway’s possible runs for statewide office in Colorado; he toys with it a bit before dropping the skull every time.

NV-Gov: State Attorney General Adam Laxalt (R), who is almost certainly running for governor, currently has $1.5m Cash on Hand in his campaign account. That might not sound like much, but it’s a lot for Nevada gubernatorial campaign at this point in the cycle.

NV-Gov Continued: As a companion piece, here’s a Great Mentioner article about who might run for governor on the Democratic side.

VA-Gov: The latest Mason-Dixon poll of this year’s contest for Governor of Virginia has both Lt. Gov. Ralph Northam (D, except for that one time he almost switched) and former Rep. Tom Perriello (Progressive) losing to 2014 Senate nominee Ed Gillespie (R). Both Democrats lead Prince William County Executive Corey Stewart (R). I’m just going to let this one speak for itself.

House

MT-AL: Supposedly, businessman and 2016 gubernatorial nominee Greg Gianforte (R) has managed to navigate Big Sky Country’s smoke-filled rooms and obtain for himself the nomination for Rep. Ryan Zinke’s (R) seat, should Zinke actually be elevated to Secretary of the Interior. I don’t know about you, but I really want to know which brand of stogies he brought to the table that convinced so many party insiders to back him. With his money, I’m guessing that he handed out Opus X.

MT-AL Continued: On the Democratic side of that same possible special election, Democrats are eyeing Assistant AUSA Zeno Baucus, son of former Sen. Max. Singer-songwriter Rob Quist has already begun the donkey race for the nomination.

Miscellaneous

FL-Parties: Both major parties in the Sunshine State recently held their conventions. Republicans stayed the course, while Democrats elected a megadonor as party chairman (though there was a lot of acrimony from progressives over that).

Rothenberg: Nate Gonzales is officially taking over the venerated Rothenberg Political Report. It’s name is changing to Inside Elections. Stuart Rothenberg is now focusing on other projects.

San Diego-Mayor: SurveyUSA is out with a poll that shows Mayor Kevin Faulconer (R) still in decent shape (+4), despite the Chargers’ having moved northward.

UK-Labour Dumpster Fire: MP Tristram Hunt, often pegged as a rising star in British Labour, has resigned his seat in Stoke-on-Trent to take a position as a museum director. I really see this as an attempt to get out while the gettin’ is good. His seat, while not in danger, will likely be combined with another Labour MP’s at the next election. Given his opposition to Corbyn, I could see him losing a selection battle.

Political Roundup for January 10, 2017

As the elite left plots to attack and insult every portion of American society not fully behind the SJW agenda by the end of the month and President-Elect Trump plans to do what he does best, make them seem even more moronic and drive them crazy on Twitter, it is time for Tuesday’s roundup:

Special Elections:

There are four special elections today, one in Georgia and three in Virginia. In Georgia, GA-SD-54 is an R+24 (2012) seat around Dalton. Chuck Payne (R), a local GOP official who was a high-ranking member of the Ben Carson campaign, is heavily favored over zoning board member Debby Peppers (I), who has some Dem support and is running a serious enough campaign to have the potential to surprise with extremely low turnout. For the Virginia races, the inimitable VPAP has great infographics covering district stats and candidate fundraising; click on the district numbers to access those. VA-SD-9 is a black-majority D+23 (2016) seat covering northeast Richmond and suburbs in eastern Henrico and Charles City Counties. State Rep. Jenn McClellan (D) is facing only a Libertarian opponent. VA-SD-22 is an R+9 (2016) seat covering part of Lynchburg and a broad swath of rural areas between Charlottesville and Richmond. Attorney Mark Peake (R) looks like a moderate favorite over ex-Fluvanna Sheriff Ryant Washington (D). This seat would flip the Senate if Dems were able to take it, and Washington has outraised Peake. However, the lean of the seat makes it tough for Dems (unlike the state as a whole, this seat actually moved three points right in 2016) and Peake still looks like the favorite overall. Finally, VA-LD-85 is the most competitive of the four elections, an R+2 (2016) seat in west-central Virginia Beach around Pembroke Mall. The candidates are cop Rocky Holcomb (R) and teacher Cheryl Turpin (D), whose husband lost a run for DA in 2013. Low turnout should benefit Holcomb in this historically-R area, but Turpin has led in fundraising. Both sides are targeting the seat and there is no clear favorite.

President:

Kushner:  Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, will serve as a senior adviser to Trump.  Kushner, like his father-in-law, is a real estate developer and will resign/divest of much of his growing real estate empire and New York Observer to concentrate on his duties.  Kushner will receive no salary.

Cabinet:  Trump appears to be taking a “Chairman of the Board” approach and will empower his cabinet to take aggressive action on their own during the initial months of his presidency.  This is not surprising as Trump seems to have no time for details and enjoys being a figurehead.  One has to wonder if we have too many years of the figurehead presidency if we will devolve into something resembling Westminster democracy.

DOD:  Deputy Secretary of Defense Bob Work has been asked to remain as Deputy Secretary of Defense under the Trump administration.   The Trump team wants to Work to remain to ensure a smooth transition in light of the generally insane world out there.

Congress:

Obamacare:  There appears to be some sanity in the Republican caucus when it comes to repealing Obamacare.  Several senators led by Senator Rand Paul are objecting to a repeal without an immediate replacement.  President-Elect Trump also supports voting to repeal and replace at the same time.  Repealing without a replacement is a recipe for disaster.  It is pathetic that Republicans do not have this already pre-packaged as they have been demanding a repeal and replace for six years.  Pathetic.

2018:  The Judicial Crisis Network, a third-party group with plenty of cash, plans on attacking Democratic senators in Republican states who oppose President-Elect Trump’s judicial nominations.  I hope they oppose and get slaughtered.

MO-1:  Besides ensuring adequate African-American Democrat and White Republican representation for the great state of Missouri, Representative Lacy Clay (D / R for Redistricting) does not get much attention here on RRH Elections.  Clay is threatening to file a police report against Representative Duncan Hunter (R-Marine Corps) for removing an anti-police painting from the Capitol complex.  Normally I would dismiss Clay’s antics, but his efforts to undermine the Democratic Party in redistricting means we should all take his anger seriously.

TX-16: El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser (D) considers a run for Congress if Representative Beto O’Rourke (D) commits ritualistic political suicide and runs against Senator Ted Cruz (R-Whatever he pushes today) in 2018.

GA-6:  The field continues to narrow in the probable jungle special election to replace Representative Tom Price (R) when he is confirmed as the next Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Governor/States:

MN-Gov: State Auditor Rebecca Otto (D) has announced a bid for Governor. Otto joins St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman (D) and State Rep. Erin Murphy (D) in the contest.

LA-Treas: State Rep. John Schroder (R) is the first candidate to announce a run for Treasurer in this October’s special election.

International:

Corbyn:  Because I cannot resist writing about the Leader of Her Majesty’s Most Marxist Loyal Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, I must post the Politico piece articulating how the vanguard party plans to bypass the bourgeois-controlled mass media and use social media in a Trump fashion to reach the proletariat. Corbyn failed to study his Marx properly as he does not realize the British left has not evolved as far as the American right when it comes to media hatred.  Admittedly this is the most coherent thing out of the international left since the November election, which is not saying much as the US Democrats are busy going Full Corbyn when it comes to identity politics.

More Corbyn:  Taking a break from emulating the tactics of President-Elect Trump, Corbyn took time to join Marxist union thugs causing transit chaos in London.  This is causing a backlash from the rump of the New Labour Party capitalist tools.  Even the Mayor of London Sahiq Khan (Capitalist Lapdog) attacked the Marxist union thugs.

Political Roundup for October 5th, 2016

President:

Assange: In a move that no one at all saw coming, the promised Wikilikes “October Surprise” is going to be released gradually over the course of the next 10 weeks (which is a timeframe extending well past the actual election). Assange furiously declaring that people need to pay more attention to him is surprising only to those who’ve never dealt with attention trolls before. Next he’ll promise to tell you who actually killed JFK, if only you’ll tune in NEXT TIME, ON THE JULIAN ASSANGE SHOW!

CA-EV: In what is a tortured bit of legal reasoning even by “CA Dems are changing the rules in their favor” standards, CA SOS Alex Padilla has effectively removed Trump’s electors from the CA ballot. Basically, given that the American Independent Party (aka George Wallace’s old party) has also endorsed Trump and submitted their own list of electors before the Republican party did, CA SoS Alex Padilla has ruled that since the two lists are not identical, any Presidential votes for Trump will be over-votes and will simply not be counted. Granted, the odds of California voting for Trump are slim (and the odds that it would be the crucial state in the election are slimmer), but a state politician has effectively ejected a major party candidate from the Presidential ballot on one of the flimsiest excuses possible. Does anyone seriously think that Clinton would have had her electors removed from the ballot if the Peace and Freedom party had also nominated her for President?

Debate: In case you missed it, the VP debate was last night. If you did miss it, don’t bother catching up, as it was pretty boring all around (although most people are agreeing Pence won). The most notable parts of the whole thing were that Kaine is apparently unable to go two minutes without interrupting someone, and that the official GOP website accidentally (albeit accurately) jumped the gun in declaring that “everyone considered Pence the winner”.

Millennials: America’s most interesting age cohort has some wildly inconsistent political views. Depending on the phrasing, you can get millennial to support just about any side of an issue, apparently more so than older voters. This is a big part of why they’re not flocking behind Clinton—The reason they supported Obama so strongly was not because they were the next progressive foot soldiers, but rather because HOPE AND CHANGE!1! lined up with their quixotic views much better than Romney or McCain ever did. This further reinforces my idea that millennials are a very winnable demographic, just not with the GOP’s current set of policy positions–there’s a lot more malleability here than people think.

Trump: Snopes has debunked the claim that Trump said veterans with PTSD or who committed suicide were “weak”. As with most corrections to things the GOP Presidential candidate has or has not said, this will do exactly nothing to prevent the “Trump insults veterans” meme from continuing, as partisans at this point would probably believe Trump wants to re-impose slavery if he talked about a national effort program.

Weld: In a move that I’m surprised took this long, William Weld has said that he’s no longer going to be focused on actually trying to win voters, but rather to blast Trump at every opportunity. Considering how little traction the Libertarian ticket is getting and that Weld would probably have endorsed Clinton over even Generic R anyways, this is not unexpected, and is probably more of a CYA moment in the event that the Libertarian ticket winds up taking more from Clinton than Trump and giving the latter the presidency.

Congress:

FL-Sen: Marco Rubio has raked in an utterly outstanding $9.6 Million haul for his Senate campaign in the 3rd quarter, which is more than twice as much as the next best fundraising quarter in Florida history. This is on the order of what Rubio was pulling in for his presidential campaign, and is probably way more than he needs in a race the Democrats have all-but conceded. Still, Rubio might be more interested in running up the score here to better setup his chances in 2020—a 10-point win in a key swing state might be worth more to him than the # of political friends a few million dollars can bring.

WI-8: In a “What took them so long” move, the DCCC is formally pulling out of this open Green Bay-based seat. I’m unsure why they targeted this seat to begin with, given that there’s a non-zero chance it winds up being Trump’s best district in Wisconsin, and the GOP has an excellent and inoffensive recruit here.

Other:
Charles Sykes: The prominent #Nevertrump Conservative and Milwaukee talk-radio icon is stepping down.

2020-watch: Tom Cotton is doing 2 fundraisers in Iowa. Not surprising, as everyone and their mother marked him down as all-but-in for the 2020 race at already.

Bill De-Blasio: It turns out New York’s Progressive Mayor has been putting most of his campaign personnel on the city payroll. While not illegal or unprecedented, he’s doing so at a much bigger rate than his predecessors did, and it is fueling a huge increase in his office’s budgetary expenses.

Eastern-KY: Here’s a more in-depth look at one of the few places where Trump is a clear net positive for the GOP down-ticket. Even picking up a handful of these Eastern-KY coal seats would be enough to flip the last D-held legislative chamber in the South.

UKIP: Diane James, the newly-elected UKIP leader who took over after Farage officially for-realzies retired, has announced she is not going to formally become leader of the party and is stepping down. This re-opens a leadership fight in a party that has basically been Farage’s personal vessel up until this point, and one that is increasingly looking for relevance in a post-Brexit world.