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Senate update

OK, Senate update time. Sources here and methodology (and previous update) here.

Safe D: DE, IL, MA, NJ, NM, RI, HI
Likely D: MN, VA, NH, OR
Lean D:MI, CO
Tossup: AK (D), LA (D), NC (D), AR (D), IA (D)
Lean R: GA, KY
Likely R: SD (D), WV (D), MT (D)
Safe R: AL, ID, ME, NE, OK (X2), SC (X2), TN, TX, WY, KS, MS

So two changes in the past two months, both in the same direction: IA from Lean D to Tossup, and MT from Lean R to Likely R. If each party takes the states that are safe, likely or leaning, and if the two independents continue to caucus with the Democrats, the Republicans will need to win three of the five tossups to take control of the Senate.

I’ll admit I’m finding all this baffling. Going into this cycle we were told that Republicans would run on opposition to healthcare reform. Healthcare reform is increasingly successful, and Republicans are either ignoring it or abandoning their opposition. We were told that the weak economy would be a problem for the incumbent president’s party. The economy is strong, and the deficit is steadily shrinking. And we were told that the Republican party establishment would defeat the tea-partiers and make sure that candidates present a more friendly image, especially towards Latinos and women. Nope, nope, and nope.

My uninformed hunch is that pundits are overestimating Republican chances. Sam Wang, looking just at polls and ignoring “fundamentals” (like the red state/blue state thing), gives the edge to Democrats. But even the fundamentals don’t break as clearly for Republicans as you might think. In IA, AR and NC, the nominees are quite extremist right-wingers; they’ve managed to hide this fact so far (casual voters have no idea what “Agenda 21” is or why there’s a fuss about it), but sooner or later, as we start having debates and candidates get called on the carpet on certain issues and votes, it will start to become obvious. In NC there’s the additional baggage that Tillis carries as speaker of one of the most right-wing state legislatures in history, and specifically as a champion of voter suppression. I’m guessing this will not play well among African Americans post-Ferguson. Similar factors may also help Pryor and Landrieu. Then there’s the recent advocacy by McConnell - who was already widely disliked - of government shutdowns, money-dominated politics and a low minimum wage.

As the economy keeps improving and the unemployed get jobs and the healthcare system does not melt down, the anger and resentment will start to ebb. People will go back to voting for candidates whom they like and trust  - this favors incumbents. I still think the Dems will hang on.

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newyorker:

A cartoon by Carolita Johnson. For more cartoons from the magazine this week: http://nyr.kr/1pAm6nz

newyorker:

A cartoon by Carolita Johnson. For more cartoons from the magazine this week: http://nyr.kr/1pAm6nz

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think-progress:

Last month was the fourth hottest July on record.

So isn’t that just like Gaia. Global warming is happening everywhere, but let’s toss an unusually cold winter and cool summer at the eastern half of the US because that’s the only place that’s not yet convinced (and not willing to be convinced unless it hits them square in the face) that global warming is happening everywhere.

think-progress:

Last month was the fourth hottest July on record.

So isn’t that just like Gaia. Global warming is happening everywhere, but let’s toss an unusually cold winter and cool summer at the eastern half of the US because that’s the only place that’s not yet convinced (and not willing to be convinced unless it hits them square in the face) that global warming is happening everywhere.

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georgetakei:

Because math.

Source: That’s What She Said
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The Republicans Tom Corbett, of Pennsylvania, and Paul LePage, of Maine, are both unlikely to win their races, and Nathan Deal, of Georgia, is locked in a tight contest with the Democrat Jason Carter. Corbett, LePage, Deal, and Walker have all governed according to their party’s most strongly held beliefs. They stalled or blocked implementation of the Affordable Care Act, including its Medicaid expansion. And all have sharply cut state budgets, imposing austerity measures during a recession. …

The Republicans Susana Martinez, of New Mexico, John Kasich, of Ohio, and Rick Snyder, of Michigan, look as strong as they did when they were first elected. All three accepted the Affordable Care Act and its Medicaid expansion. Evidently, Obamacare is not the political liability it was once thought to be.

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Sam Wang examining governor races in the New Yorker. http://www.newyorker.com/news/news-desk/swing-states-is-obamacare-asset

Reap what you sow, motherfkers.

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"Hobgood noted that the private schools receiving the scholarships are not subject to any requirements or standards regarding the curriculum that they teach, have no requirements for student achievement, are not obligated to demonstrate any growth in student performance and are not even obligated to provide a minimum amount of instructional time."

From an account (via Pierce and Kilgore) of a recent ruling by a North Carolina Superior Court judge that stopped a state program that would have provided vouchers to parents that they could use to enroll their children in private (i.e., in the Southern context,  religiously fundamentalist) schools. 

I sometimes wonder why Americans elect legislators who devote so much time and taxpayer money to ensuring that their children grow up unemployable and stupid.

Then I remember that most of the people who vote are the elderly who don’t  have children of school age. And the rest of the people who vote are religious fundamentalists who want their kids to grow up unemployable and stupid, and want the state to pay for it.

Then I get really, really depressed.

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politicalprof:

This is pretty much right …
Ht: affably-evil

politicalprof:

This is pretty much right …

Ht: affably-evil

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dorkly:

The Only Venn Diagram You’ll Need For Watching TV
Thanks, Hoof—hearted, for the handy venn diagram!
For more Comics, Articles and Videos, go to Dorkly.com!

dorkly:

The Only Venn Diagram You’ll Need For Watching TV

Thanks, Hoof—hearted, for the handy venn diagram!

For more ComicsArticles and Videos, go to Dorkly.com!

(via collegehumor)

Tags: television
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mapsontheweb:

States in US Senate- Party Division By Year 1960-2014

So I hadn’t appreciated how the Democratic hold on Senate seats in the South, and the prevalence of Republican Senators in the Northeast, lasted well into the 90s. The red-bllue divide in the Senate really didn’t become entrenched until the millennium.

mapsontheweb:

States in US Senate- Party Division By Year 1960-2014

So I hadn’t appreciated how the Democratic hold on Senate seats in the South, and the prevalence of Republican Senators in the Northeast, lasted well into the 90s. The red-bllue divide in the Senate really didn’t become entrenched until the millennium.

(Source: reddit.com)

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Very Funny, JFK

historical-nonfiction:

In 1961, New York Post columnist Leonard Lyons contacted John F. Kennedy after seeing Presidential autographs for sale in a store and informed him of the prices. At the time, George Washington’s was priced at $175, Ulysses S. Grant’s at $55, Franklin D. Roosevelt’s at $75, Teddy Roosevelt’s at $67.50, and JFK’s at $75. Below is the response mailed to Lyons.

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(Source: lettersofnote.com)

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"Made a very pleasant acquaintance, who was in the adjoining box. We walked 1 / 2 hour. “You appear to be full of genius ; upon which of all your talents do you rely most ?” “I have cultivated only that of pleasing.” She gave me her address and invited me to sup, which I declined. How wonderfully discreet! But then I engaged to call on her to-morrow. How wonderfully silly! Home at 9."

Aaron Burr

here’s my address so muse me maybe

(via aaronburrssexdungeon)

Aaron Burr, the original PUA.

(Source: walterhhwhite, via foundingfatherfest)

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kohenari:

My former student Justin Green explains to the GOP in Missouri that they’re doing it wrong:

Here’s a story that will make you shake your head.

Liberal organizers set up a voter registration booth at the site of Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, Mo.

The Missouri Republican Party’s executive director proceeded to tell Breitbart News’ Charlie Spiering that the action was “not only disgusting but completely inappropriate.”

[…]

What this condemnation resembles instead is the Missouri Republican Party condemning an effort to register black voters in the aftermath of a white police officer shooting a black teenager. That might not be fair, but it’s what it looks like.

So Missouri Republicans should reconsider this approach. They should even send a few staffers to engage with potential voters in Ferguson….

A party that condemns efforts to attract new members, particularly considering the way this example looks, is one that can’t expect to be competitive.

When I first saw the story yesterday about the Republicans condemning a voter registration drive in Ferguson, I was so stunned by it that I saved it to write about today. I mean, there’s really no better way to demonstrate to the black citizens that you don’t want them to vote — for you, for anyone — than to explicitly say, “It’s absolutely disgusting, this effort to encourage more people to vote at a time when they feel they’re represented by people who don’t have their best interests at heart.”

Apart from saying, “Don’t vote, black people; that would be bad for us, the white people.”

I’m glad Justin tackled this the way that he did. He’s exactly right and he’s writing for a conservative-leaning publication so one hopes his thoughts are more likely to be heard by the people who need to hear them.

If Democrats do hold the Senate this falll, African-American outrage at blatant Republican attempts to take away their voting rights will play a big part.

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(Source: the-cooooolest, via airows)

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Anonymous said: If you could go back to any time period for a day as an objective observer, where and when would you go?

cosmo-nautic:

I was going to say several astronomical events, but a day would never be enough to watch any transition. Would just see chaos or beauty or destruction or a combination of the three. Id love to go to pre industrial revolution times. To see people interacting, but also be able to see the stars without light pollution

The day the meteor hit Chicxulub.

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The Southern historian C. Vann Woodward famously described the civil rights movement as the Second Reconstruction. …

[T]he systematic way in which Republican majorities in Southern statehouses are undoing so many of the hard-won gains of the civil rights movement suggests that the end is nigh. Whether it’s by imposing new voter-ID laws, slashing public assistance, refusing Medicaid expansion, or repealing progressive legislation like North Carolina’s Racial Justice Act, the GOP-controlled governments of Southern states are behaving in ways that are at times as hostile to the interests of their African American citizens as Jim Crow Democrats were half a century ago. As [the voting rights expert] David Bositis told me, “Black people in the South have less political power now than at any time since the start of the civil rights movement.”

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The new racism: This is how the civil rights movement ends, by Jason Zengerle, The New Republic