Category Archives: Politics

Absentee Ballots vs. No-Excuse Early Voting

Vote by JessIn Missouri, we have an interesting case working it’s way through the system.  (The trial court issued its ruling yesterday; any appeal will have to be expedited.)  The basic facts of the case are:  1) about five hundred people cast absentee votes; 2) the incumbent state representative got just under 80% of the absentee vote (picking up a net of approximately three hundred votes); 3) the challenger got the most votes from votes cast on election day; and 4) the incumbent won by a total of ninety votes.  Given the small number of votes cast in primaries for state representative, the margin was significantly over the threshold for a recount, and the only option for the challenger was an election contest.  In this case, the election contest focused on the validity of absentee voting.  While there was some evidence of some improprieties by the incumbent in with some of the absentee votes, the evidence of such “fraud” impacted less than 20 ballots.  Instead, the case came down to whether the election authority properly followed the rules for absentee ballots., and the current ruling emphasizes the difference between a true early voting system and an absentee ballot.

Also posted in Elections | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Reflections on the Last Day of DNC 2016

First and foremost, to Matt and Oreo – wow! our third convention together. How things have changed. For those of you new to DCW, while Matt started DCW in 2005, we really took off in 2008 when we were THE place for Superdelegate information. Before anyone else even thought about them (except the Obama campaign) we were covering Superdelegate by Superdelegate, naming names when the MSM was only giving rough numbers. Heady times.

Back then, bloggers were in our heyday. The DNC ran a contest for which bloggers, a few national and one from each state, would attend. At Denver there were special places for bloggers. There were many fewer bloggers in 2012, but still. This year, there was “Specialty Media” which included the very few bloggers, plus local outlets, some foreign press, and other outlets that are related to a “special interest” area. There was a “Specialty Media” area, where they didn’t really want pictures taken, which had tables set up with paper signs at each: “ADA” “Jewish” “Women” “LGBT” and like that. There were also comfy chairs arranged around power strips. But no specialized WiFi as there had been previously. I plan to write about what has happened to bloggers, and it’s a sad comment on media and society, which I hope will be rectified. But that’s for another day.

I spent a lot of time yesterday doing two things; first, attending a panel discussion hosted by the Roosevelt Institute, on which economic message will win Hillary Clinton the election, and which will cost her the election. The panel included Joseph Stiglitz, who I would have crawled over hot coals to hear. They handed out a lot of information which I am still synthesizing, and will post over the weekend. Continue Reading...

Also posted in DemsinPhilly, Elections | Tagged , | Comments Off on Reflections on the Last Day of DNC 2016

Britain, Europe, and the Presidential Election

There is no constitutional mechanism for a federal referendum in the United States.  The federal government has only limited authority over elections, and that limited authority does not give the federal government the ability to put legislation to a national referendum.  That is not the case in other countries.  In recent years, the United Kingdom has put major constitutional issues to a referendum.  This Thursday will see the latest of these referendums in which the issue is whether the United Kingdom will stay in the European Union.

Also posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Britain, Europe, and the Presidential Election

Choosing a Candidate: The PA Senate Primary

VotingBoothImage_0The first time I was in a voting booth, I was 5 years old. It was one of those machines where you pulled the lever to close the curtain, clicked down the little metal bars, and then pulled the lever to open the curtain. My dad held me and told me which metal bars to pull and then put his hand over mine and we opened the curtain together. It was so much fun, I wanted to do it again, and the next guy on line offered to take me into the booth, but my dad was having none of that. I loved voting even then.

I’ve voted a lot since then. Since coming of age, I have missed exactly one election, which was an off-year primary, missed due to a medical emergency. And I always know for whom to vote: at the local level normally I know the candidates, and they know me. But this year I am facing a huge dilemma. Who to choose? Which of them? 

The race in question is the Pennsylvania Democratic Senate primary. The candidates are Joe Sestak, Katie McGinty and John Fetterman. None is a stranger to me. I interviewed Joe a number of years ago, have run my dog with Katie and her dogs, and spent an evening in a bar with John and a bunch of people. They are all good people. They all have their strengths and weaknesses. Any of them would be a far better choice then Pat Toomey. There’s not a whole lot of daylight between their positions: each is more passionate about their favourite causes and issues, but none would likely vote against my positions. Continue Reading...

Also posted in Elections | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Catching Up

I haven’t posted in several weeks as I ended up getting actual Influenza A (and yes, I took the vaccine). I’m not saying it was rough, but I didn’t even care that there were primaries and caucuses because I couldn’t raise my head. For those of you who know me personally, you’ll understand how low I was when I mention that for more than two weeks, I didn’t have even a sip of coffee.

There is so much to catch up on. First, Bernie is on a roll, and I have received a lot of emails and texts asking whether or not he can actually get the nomination. The answer is a full maybe. First off, those pledged delegates from the caucus states can move, as they did last Saturday as the process moves from election day to the county, district and state conventions. The split in Nevada has so far moved from 20 – 15 Clinton to 18 – 17 Clinton, but there are 8 additional delegates to allocate and the State convention in May. Maine is another state that could reallocate delegates. Will it be enough? Amazingly, it will depend on places like New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania and California which are normally non-starters in the primary race.

While everyone (including DCW) looks at the full delegate total, including Super Delegates, my math is a little different. Continue Reading...

Also posted in Bernie Sanders, Delegates, GOP, Hillary Clinton, House of Representatives, Primary and Caucus Results, Senate | Tagged | Comments Off on Catching Up

Clinton-Sanders: Dream Ticket?

Bernie and HillaryAnother day, another set of primaries. Today, on the Democratic side, the contests will be in Michigan and Mississippi. The Republicans will be in both those states, with caucuses in both Hawaii and Idaho. So what are we thinking about today?

I’ve been getting A LOT of questions lately about whether a Clinton-Sanders ticket would be a viable idea, and whether Hillary Clinton, as president, could just create a special Cabinet position for Bernie Sanders.

Also posted in Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton | Comments Off on Clinton-Sanders: Dream Ticket?

The New Hampshire Debate: Analysis

The first thing that struck me about last night’s Democratic debate in Durham, NH was how different is was from any of the Republican debates. First and foremost was the respect that the competitors showed to one another. Sanders called her “Madame Secretary”, and Clinton called him “Senator Sanders”. It bespoke professionalism and decency.

The questions were serious. Things like criminal justice, the Flint water crisis and other topics are never asked of the Republicans. (Probably because the moderators would have to explain what the question was about.) There were legitimate differences in both approach and substance but whenever possible, both Sanders and Clinton looked for, and noted common ground. Further, when given the opportunity to go after one another (Sanders about Clinton’s emails, Clinton about Sanders ads) they declined. At the very end, when asked whether each would choose the other for a running mate, both demurred and pledged to work together and said that either of them was a far better choice than any of the GOP contenders.

So who won? In my estimation, they both did. Both showcased their positions and presented themselves to the American public in ways that many low-information voters hadn’t seen before. An interesting aside: both have plans for what they’d like to get through Congress, but the truth is that Paul Ryan is likely to hold on as Speaker, and thus nothing gets to the floor of the House, even as we regain the Senate. Doesn’t matter who is elected president, until the intransigent leave Congress, it’s all gridlock. Continue Reading...

Also posted in Bernie Sanders, Hillary Clinton, NH Primary | 1 Comment

Walmart is Closing 154 Stores. Here’s Why You Care

walmartIf you’re like me, you don’t set foot in Walmart. Ever. But I’m lucky. Within 6 miles of my house are two Wegman’s, one Trader Joe’s, one Whole Foods, numerous restaurants, and the largest mall in America. (See end note about that mall.) Oh yeah, and a Walmart to which I never go.

But the Walmarts that are closing ran the single grocery store out of town when they opened. Now tens of thousands of people will have no grocery store within 25 miles, or more.

It’s another blow to rural and small town America. It is indirectly related to the standoff in Oregon: the world is changing, and those who cling tenaciously to ranching and farming are left with fewer and fewer resources. Being unable to buy some fresh produce or pick-up a needed prescription makes life hard indeed. Continue Reading...

Also posted in Economy | Comments Off on Walmart is Closing 154 Stores. Here’s Why You Care

Iowa Math

While vote totals are not irrelevant to presidential elections (especially in the primary phase when trailing candidates quickly find that they lack the financial resources to continue), what ultimately matters is not the popular vote, but winning delegates (for the primaries) and electors (for the general).  The delegate math heading into the Iowa Caucuses are different for the two parties for two reasons:  1) the stage at which delegates are bound and 2) the two parties do proportional representation differently.

Also posted in DNC, Elections, GOP, RNC | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Iowa Math

The Road out of Iowa

In less than four days, voters in Iowa will head to some location in their precincts and cast the first official votes of the 2016 presidential campaign.  Both because of its small size and because of the unique compositions of the respective parties in Iowa (compared to the national parties), winning in Iowa is not essential to winning either party’s nomination.  What does matter is how Iowa sets up the rest of the race.

Also posted in Bernie Sanders, NH Primary | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Road out of Iowa