Category Archives: Elections

Protecting Democracy

democracy-header1Every day, more nominees. I never thought I’d actually be rooting for Mittens so there will be at least one adult in the room.

If you’d told me that “President of these United States” was an entry-level elected position, I would have laughed.

Who could have predicted that the Weekly World News would have gotten more right over its years of publication than what is shown on most news stations. (At the very end of this post is the best story EVER about the Weekly World News.) Continue Reading...

Also posted in Disaster, Donald Trump, House of Representatives, Politics, Public Health, Senate | Comments Off on Protecting Democracy

Early Post-Mortem

This election is a bitter pill to swallow because everybody got it wrong.  Apparently even the internal polls of the RNC in the last week of the campaign showed Secretary Clinton ahead.  At the end of the day, President-elect Trump managed to avoid shooting himself in the foot just long enough during the last two weeks for Republicans who were telling pollsters that they were voting for Governor Johnson or were undecided to hold their noses and come back home.  Certainly, the polls with two weeks to go encouraged the Clinton campaign to dream about states that they could go into and help Democrats in down ballot races.  The perception that Clinton would win in some ways gave permission for Republicans to hold their noses and vote for Trump to keep the margin down and for Democrats to cast protest votes for third party candidates.

It’s also a bitter pill because the race got very personal.  Since the election, I have gotten e-mails from local activists about the issues that the party needs to address.  On most of the issues, there was a plan on that issue from the Clinton campaign.  The issues, however, never got aired as the campaign focused on the flaws of the two candidates.    I don’t think that the choice of the Democratic candidate mattered on this aspect of the campaign.  In the primary, Trump also ran a very personality based campaign, slandering his opponents and coming up with labels to characterize the rest of the Republican candidates.   Certain issues that were mentioned in the DNC WikiLeaks memos were not good issues for a Democratic primary but would have proven useful tools for the Trump campaign in the general election.  Trump was such a big personality and so uniquely “not ready” to be President, it is hard to see how any Democratic campaign could have avoided the temptation to focus on Trump’s flaws and gotten the media to focus on the issues rather than the personalities.

Given the closeness of this election what needs to change between now and 2020. Continue Reading...

Also posted in Delegates, Democratic Party, Electoral College | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

What Now?

As it all sinks in….at the polls yesterday, I heard from Democrats who were voting for Trump for a variety of reasons. I have looked at the preliminary exit poll data and the turnout numbers and think I have an idea of how this happened. The final cross tabs might change things but bottom line — people who NEVER vote came out in droves. And what they voted against was the same thing that gave Britain Brexit — their hatred of modernity.  So what do we do? While we organize (and re-read James Madison’s Federalist Paper #10) we wait somewhat quietly to see if in his first hundred days he DOES:

  • deport massive numbers of undocumented human beings,
  • ban Muslims,
  • repeal the Affordable Care Act,
  • add a Supreme who will vote to keep Citizen’s United, repeal gay marriage, ban all abortions even to save the life of the mother
  • cut taxes for only the weathly
  • leave NAFTA
  • et, al.

Because if he does, THEN we know the plan.

Also posted in Civil Rights, Disaster, Donald Trump, Economy | Comments Off on What Now?

VOTE!!!

Vote by JessWhile technology and methods have changed over time, the essence of what a campaign does has not changed since colonial time.  Campaigns have three basic tasks:  1) Identify favorable and potentially favorable voters; 2) Persuade voters to support you; and 3) Get Out your voters on election day.

For all intents and purposes, the identify and persuade phases of the campaign are over, and we are down to the GOTV part of the campaign.  With many states having early voting, the GOTV effort has been well under way in many states.  To everyone who has voted, thank you.  Each person who votes early is one less person waiting in line or getting delayed by traffic on election day.

To those who have not voted yet, please, please do.  As the authors on this site have posted for months, this election is too important to skip.  If you do not know where to vote, click here to find your location or click here.  If those links do not work, most state and local election authorities have a link to help you find your polling place.  Additionally, please check your state and local election authorities for sample ballots and your state’s version of ID requirements.  Knowing what races and proposition are on your ballot can speed up the voting process, particularly if there are a lot of races and propositions in your city/county/state.   If you have any problems voting or notice any problems, you can call 844-464-4455 for the Democratic Party’s voter assistance hotline.

Tagged | Comments Off on VOTE!!!

Election Night 2016 — What to Look For (Part Five)

capitolThere are potential ways that the votes could come in tomorrow that would lead to one of the candidates reaching 270 before 11 p.m. (EST).  It is also theoretically possible that one party or the other could wrap up the Senate or the House by 11 p.m.   Both, however, are very unlikely in the absence of a clear landslide.  The last batch of states represent 10 likely electoral votes for the Republicans and 78 likely electoral votes for the Democrats.  (To make up for the 78, Clinton would essentially have to win all of the contested states.  To make up for the 10, Trump would need to win Michigan or Pennsylvania or Wisconsin in addition to the other contested states.)  The Republicans are defending twenty contested House seats in these states (and it is unlikely that all of the House seats from the earlier states will have been declared.)  The Republicans have three Senate seats in the last batch of states and the Democrats have two (not counting California in which the two candidates in the run-off are both Democrats).

11:00 p.m. (EST) — The polls in most of the remaining states close.  In particular, the remaining polls in Idaho, North Dakota, and Oregon close.  All of the polls in California, Hawaii, and Washington close.  Of the state-wide races, the only potentially close race is governor in Washington.  Most of these races should be called pretty quickly.

Continue Reading...

Also posted in General Election Forecast | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Election Night 2016 — What to Look For (Part Five)

Election Night 2016 — What to Look For (Part Four)

fireworksAs 9:00 p.m. rolls around, enough states have been closed long enough that exit polls become less significant, and raw vote count becomes more significant.  If the exit polls and early returns in the state had been clear enough, those states would have already been called.  The question at this point in time is which if any of the contested states and races have been called.  While enough states remain that technically nobody will have yet won the White House, or the majority in the Senate, or the majority in the House, it should be becoming clear whether it is simply a matter of waiting for the polls to close in “safe” states or if it is going to be a long night waiting for the last votes in a handful of states.  While the race is not yet over, the next two hours should determine the winners.

9:00 p.m. (EST) — The remaining polls close in Michigan, Kansas, South Dakota, and Texas.  Additionally, the polls close in Arizona, Colorado, Louisiana, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.  Colorado and Wisconsin are the last of the “at risk” states that are part of Secretary Clinton’s easiest path to 270.  Arizona and Nebraska 2 join Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio, and Maine 2 in the batch of electoral votes that Trump absolutely needs to get to 270.

Continue Reading...

Also posted in General Election Forecast | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Election Night 2016 — What to Look For (Part Four)

Election Night 2016 — What to Look For (Part Three)

animated flag glitterAs evening turns into night in the Eastern and Central time zones, the pace picks up.  For whatever reason, 8:00 p.m. is a popular time for states in the Eastern time zone to close their polls as is 7:00 p.m. in the Central time zone.  As discussed in part two, lines at the polls means that the networks typically only have enough results to call races if the races are not close.  Most of the states that will be called by 8:00 p.m. are not the races that will decide the election.  Because most of the polls will have been closed for two hours, there is a good chance that the Indiana senate race may be called by 8:00 p.m.  There is some chance that Georgia (an at-risk state that Trump needs to win) or Virginia (an at-risk state that Clinton needs to win) will be called before 8:00 p.m.  Sixteen states will close their polls at 8:00 p.m. as will the polls in part of several other states.  While the results from the early states give some clues about the shape of the race, the shape of the race will become much clearer when the returns from these states start to come in.

8:00 p.m. (EST) — The remainder of the polls close in Florida.  The polls close in Alabama, Connecticut, D.C., Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and Tennessee.  The polls close in the eastern part of Michigan, Kansas, South Dakota, and Texas.  Several of these states should have quick calls for president, but several states are key states for the outcome of this election.  (Assuming that none of the “close” states from early are called by 8:15 p.m., the projected electoral vote should be approximately 76 for Trump and 55 for Clinton.)

Continue Reading...

Also posted in General Election Forecast | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Election Night 2016 — What to Look For (Part Three)

Election Night 2016 — What to Look for (Part Two)

VotingBoothImage_0As with many other details of election law, each state gets to choose their voting hours on election day.  Thus, unlike a place like the United Kingdom where all polls close at the same time and when results are announced is a matter of how long it takes to count the vote, there is a slow progression across the country as the different states close.  A complicating factor is that some states are split down the middle by time zones.  In most of the states with multiple time zones, the polls close based on the local time (i.e. the polls in the eastern part of the state close an hour earlier than the polls in the western part of the state) rather than all polls in the state closing simultaneously.  Another complicating factor is that all states only require that you be in line to vote at the time that the polls close; so, in larger precincts, there can be a long line delaying the report of votes from that precinct.  As noted in Part One,  part of the projection process is looking at what precincts are still outstanding.  In a close state, the long lines at urban precincts (which are likely to favor Democrats) can make it hard to figure how strong the Democratic vote in a state is for an extended period.

In terms of interest, not every state is the same.   A lot of states and districts are considered “safe” for President or Senate or Governor or U.S. Representative.  Of course, if something surprising happens in those areas, it could be a sign of a wave developing, but most of the attention will be focused on the “battleground” areas that will decide a close election.  What follows in the rest of this part and the rest of this series is a review in chronological order of closing time (using Eastern Standard Time) at what to look for as the evening progresses.

Continue Reading...

Also posted in General Election Forecast | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on Election Night 2016 — What to Look for (Part Two)

Election Night 2016 — What to Look For (Part One)

VotingBoothImage_0After over one year of hate-filled rants from Donald Trump, the fiasco that was the Republican convention in Cleveland, the on-going scandals involving Donald Trump, Trump’s refusal to disclose his taxes, three presidential debates, and recent Republican threats to throw a tantrum for the next two to four years if they don’t win, there is little more that can be said about why the only choice in this election is to vote for the Democratic ticket.  The continued loss of rationality and respect for facts in the Republican Party is a long-term problem that needs to be fixed because democracy requires, at least, two viable alternatives to work.  But this year, the choice is clear.  Even if you think that a Democratic candidate for a particular office is less than perfect, those candidates are still way better than what the Republican Party is offering.  While there is still more to be done over the next three days to get every Democratic voter to the polls, Tuesday night is now looming ever closer.  So, for the next several days, some thoughts about what to look for on Tuesday night.  While the remaining posts in this series will take a chronological look at Tuesday night, this post is more about the basics and the mechanics.

For the media, there are two main tools for calling the election.  While these tools have changed slightly over time, the fundamentals have basically stayed the same.  The first tool is the “exit” poll.  The second tool is the unofficial vote count.

Continue Reading...

Also posted in General Election Forecast | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on Election Night 2016 — What to Look For (Part One)

Bridgegate — Who needs to be locked up?

For the past four months, Donald Trump has been leading chants of lock her up.  Who knew that the her was Chris Christie’s deputy chief of staff.  Earlier today, a federal jury found that Christie’s deputy chief of staff and his hand picked appointee to the New York Port Authority were found guilty of violating multiple federal laws in connecting with shutting down I-95 near Fort Lee, New Jersey.  Throughout the trial, the federal prosecutor’s laid out a convincing case that Chris Christie was aware of and approved of the decision to shut down I-95.  Of course, Chris Christie is also the person in charge of Donald Trump’s transition team if the country goes insane on Tuesday.  In what universe can anybody who knows anything about what is happening in this country think that Donald Trump — he of the multiple conflicts of interests who has never followed the rules in his life — and Chris Christie can be trusted to clean up corruption in government.  That’s putting the fox in charge of the hen house.

While it is probably too late to hope for one more piece of investigative journalism into the charade that is Donald Trump before the election, I can’t wait until some journalist after the election does a thorough analysis of Trump’s FEC reports.  Between designating Trump Organization employees to do work on campaign, assigning vacant Trump Organization office space to house the campaign, and holding multiple campaign events (doubling as free advertisement for the Trump Organization) at Trump Organization holdings, the FEC reports have shown and will continue to show a large amount of expenditures going to the Trump Organization.  How much (particular as a percentage of the amount that Trump “contributed” to his campaign) of the total campaign funds ended back in Trump’s pocket will be interesting to see.  Who knew that a business could make a profit running for president?

The shame with ninety-six hours or so left in the campaign is how much Trump’s blather and blatant falsehoods have sucked the air out of  the room for the issues that deserve serious debate.  “Repeal and replace” without any details about the replace is not a solution to what is wrong with out health care system.  Building a wall and deporting everyone is not a realistic plan for dealing with immigration.  Trickle down economics is not a program to reinvigorate the middle class.  Banning all Muslims is not a solution for terrorism.  This country deserved a real campaign.  Instead, we are focused on a person who is unfit to be President as a holding place for folks who are tired of gridlock in Washington but do not understand why (hint it’s the party of no) it exists.

Also posted in Donald Trump, Rant | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Bridgegate — Who needs to be locked up?