Tag Archives: Election 2012

Let’s treat women badly, destroy resources to help them, and help the Republicans take over everything state by state

Sexism and Atheism: mutually exclusive, surely?

A single woman went to an atheist conference in a country she was not familiar with. While there, she spoke at this conference, about how she does not like to be sexualised out of context. Basically, her talk was about how to avoid making women feel uncomfortable, so as to create a more welcoming atmosphere and get more women to enter the atheist community…..

…and then…

Women’s Center In New Orleans Destroyed By Arson, Third Incident in the South

Thanks to the fast response of all of our supporters across the country, many of you have already heard that our office was broken into last night and set on fire. The worst damage was concentrated in our community organizing and outreach office where we store all of the resources we use to educate our community. We lost everything…

…and then...

Sex and the Keynote

Then, at the very end, when everyone was preparing to leave, and I was packing up the Hug Me table, answering questions, and generally socializing with other speakers and attendees, thinking about how fat my check is going to be from Big Pharma when one man and his wife, whom I’ve become vaguely acquainted with on Facebook in the last week, approached my table.

…and then…
Dirty Tricks In Wisconsin: Secret Group Shuts Down Phones Of Scott Walker’s Democratic Challenger With Spam Texts

One week before Wisconsinites vote on whether or not to recall Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI), a conservative group is engaged in dirty tricks that have shut down the Democratic challenger’s campaign phones.
According to multiple reports, independently verified by ThinkProgress, the following spam text message is being blasted out to many Wisconsin cell phones:

…and then…

Same Sex Marriage is the Issue of the Day…through November

Why would it be that about half of Americans want to deny same sex couples the right to marry? Indeed, why would conservatives want to let same sex couples get away without the legal features that Marriage provides to protect the rest of society with respect to debt and other responsibilities?* It was not long ago that a majority of Americans were against same-sex marriage, with varying degrees of support for inadequate social contracts such as civil unions. Very recently, according to Nate Silver’s calculus, pro-gay marriage opinions have a slim majority, and an absolute majority (about 51%), which is, unfortunately, a little softer than ideal.

In November, a lot of things will happen related to same sex marriage. For example, now that Obama has come out supporting same-sex marriage, and Scissor-hands Romney is now running full steam against same-sex marriage, the role of this issue in the minds of the electorate is key to both gay rights and the presidential election (and thus, well, gay rights…SCOTUS is at stake after all). Of the nine states considered to be the most swing with respect to the presidential election, five have prohibitive laws passed over a range of time (Pennsylvania in 1996, Ohio in 2004, Virginia and Colorado in 2006, and Florida in 2008), two swing states have restrictive laws that are less severe (Nevada passed in 2002 and Wisconsin in 2006) and only two allow same sex marriage (Iowa and New Hampshire, both passed in 2009).

That bodes poorly for both progressives seeking to re-elect Obama and everyone trying to expand same-sex marriage, unless the pro same-sex marriage trend is strong. Which it might be. In fact, that might be the main news of this year’s election cycle.

On the positive side, the issue of same-sex marriage being central this year will result in mutually beneficial outcomes. In Minnesota, we have a ballot question that would make same-sex marriage illegal constitutionally. The measure’s language leaves it open to being struck down by courts (maybe even before the balloting) and the presence of this initiative along with an anti-democracy voter ID rule will bring progressives out in November. We expect heavy campaigning by progressives in three or four congressional districts to push out Tea-Party Temps or other Republicans, along with a really annoying Republican controlled state house and a federal senatorial race along with whatever pull-in Obama provides to support efforts against the initiatives. In other words, we are hoping for a perfect storm of issues and candidates to produce a defining moment in state history and to be one of the first states to resoundingly squash an anti-gay same-sex marriage amendment.

In a sense, this election year will be a barometer of both strength of progressive will and ability for different groups to work together on common (or nearly common) progressive goals. The unknown factor (other than factors that are, well, unknown) is the interaction between the African American vote (which helped Obama win in ’08) and less than friendly feelings towards same-sex marriage by some self-identified Democrats who are African American. Everybody has to remember this rule: No pulling the damn ladder up into the tree house no matter who you are, who is already up there, and who isn’t there yet.**

The best graphic of the year award is probably going to go to Nate Silver for producing a trend line graph showing opposition to vs. support of gay marriage over the last several years, which shows a very interesting pattern. This graph was so good last August when first produced that Silver did it again a few days ago with added data that, shall we say, harden the conclusion that pro same-sex marriage opinion is an absolute majority. I couldn’t resist making a crude moving GIF showing both graphs together. Not work safe and below the fold: Continue reading Same Sex Marriage is the Issue of the Day…through November

DFL LGBT Stonewall Caucus Gives Sharon Sund an “A”

Sharon Sund and a few supporters at a recent Fundraiser in Minneapolis.

Sharon Sund, who is running for United States Congress in the Third District in Minnesota, has received an “A” level rating from the Stonewall DFL Caucus. Here is my endorsement of her.

Sharon has been working tirelessly for all sorts of progressive causes for years, including LGBT issues, health care insurance reform, and so on. She’s also signed the Science Pledge.

For context:

Stonewall DFL is the LGBT caucus of the Democratic Farmer Labor (DFL) Party of Minnesota. Our goal is to encourage participation of LGBT persons within the DFL. We screen and endorse candidates from local school board races to United States Senate. We strive to inform the greater DFL, elected officials and citizens about the issues facing the GLBT community. Being an active member of Stonewall DFL provides greater access to the political process through establishing relationships with elected officials past, present and future.

This is a big weekend coming up; the DFL caucuses for many districts happen on Saturday. You may not be hearing a lot from me the next couple of days because I’ll be a bit busy with that.

In the meantime, it would be helpful if you could go to Facebook and “like” Sharon’s page! If enough people like it, we win!!! (The facebook liking contest, not the election.)

A tale of two polls: Santorum may win Michigan Primary

Two different polls paint very different pictures for Tuesday’s primary in Michigan. The PPP Poll released February 26ths puts Romney ahead of Santorum and makes a very solid argument that Romney is ahead and that it will be difficult for Santorum to move enough voters into his camp to take the lead. The Mitchell Research poll, released on February 27th, makes a good argument that although Romney was ahead as of last Thursday, Santorum has in fact moved enough voters into his camp to be numerically ahead of Romney by 2% points in a poll with a 3.34% margin of error.

Let’s have a look at the details. Continue reading A tale of two polls: Santorum may win Michigan Primary

The State of the Republican Primaries

Let’s let the data speak for itself, as it were.

… starting out we had this …

Iowa: Romney Santorum
New Hampshire: Romney
South Carolina: Gingrich

Headlines: Romney winning
Reality: Three way horse race

… then we had this for a while …
Florida: Romney
Nevada: Romney
Colorado: Santorum
Minnesota: Santorum
Missouri: Santorum

Headlines: Romney Winning
Reality: Santorum has taken half the contests, Romney a close second

… right now this seems to be happening …
Maine: Romney Paul

Headlines: Romney may have a Santorum Problem
Reality: Uh huh.

… the near future …
Arizona: Romney ahead in polls, Santorum closing in fast, Gingrich becoming irrelevant
Michigan: Santorum maintains a firm lead over Romney

Headlines?: Ohio is where the real contest will be!
Reality?: Are we having fun yet?

… the distant future …

Ohio: Santorum leading
General Election: Santorum and Romney equally matched against Obama

Headlines?: Gingrich and Paul leave race, Bachmann reenters Presidential Contest?!!?
Reality?: Reality hardly applies, thought, does it?

Polling from RCP

New Hampshire Primary Results

First, the numbers:

  • Romney “won” (as expected) with 38% of the vote.
  • Ron Paul, who is irrelevant, used up 24% of the vote.
  • Huntsman kept in the race but with little prospect of going forward, with 17% of the vote
  • Santorum and Gingrich are battling it out for fourth place at 10% (as of this writing they are fewer than 100 votes apart).
  • Rick Perry, who is still running for the nomination did not campaign in New Hampshire, received an ort of less than 1%

And now, the burning question: What does it all mean? As I’ve noted before, not what a lot of he talking heads are saying.

Romney’s win here was no more significant than Tsongas’ win here several years ago. New Hamshire is, politically and demographically, a quaint neighborhood of Massachusetts, and this is Romney territory. The fact that he got less than 40% means that his campaigning did not push him forward, might mean that the Bain effect is kicking in or it might mean that Huntsman increased his footprint effectively. There is absolutely no significance to winning both the Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire Primary … assuming that we base “significance” on precedent and pattern. It’s never happened before in an open election season for this party, and only once for the Democrats. It just does not matter.

None of this ambiguity means that Romney is not the front runner. He is. There have been two contests and he’s won twice. But those who are saying that the nomination is now locked up are placing their bets on the good odds, but the game is still on.

The following questions remain:

Is Huntsman now a factor, or did he shoot his wad, as it were, in the Granite State? Most talking heads have dismissed him. In my view, it depends on the money. If some of the millionaires who plan to back a Republican see Bain as Romeneys Bane, they will put their money somewhere else, and it won’t be Ron Paul. They may have to choose between obnoxious (Gingrich), Right wing evangelical (Santorum) and low pain-level for the thinking person (Huntsman). He could get enough of a boost in funding to campaign in several of the upcoming less conservative or fundamentalist states. A not-so-conservative Republican candidate running in the general election will not need that much support in the rightest leaning states, because, after all, the Republicans in those states will be dutifully Voting Against the Black Guy(TM). Huntsman could do better in the moderate or bluish areas against an Obama people may be frustrated with. Hell, if I was the Republican Party, I’d be pushing for that strategy.

Is the field (below Romney) set, or is it volatile, and how fixed is Romney’s lead going forward? Let’s go back to the numbers for a moment. Here’s the breakdown in rank order of the last two contests and the current poll-based prediction for the South Carolina primary.

Iowa NHam SoCa
Romn Romn Romn
Sant Paul Sant
Paul Hunt Ging
Ging Sant Paul
Perr Ging Perr
Hunt Null Hunt

The leader will remain the leader until he is unseated, but the chance of that happening goes up as the contest goes south. Romney is a Yankee and a Mormon and a big businessman and his shine will not exactly be the right kind of shine when he is campaigning in Dixie. Look for news stories of special gaffs that only a Yank in the heart of the Old South can make over the next 10 days. Look for other candidates gaining on him.

Santorum showed well in Iowa, not so well in New Hampshire but his southernosity may pay off in South Carolina. But the real ringer there will be Perry. Perry, who often comes off like a clone of Bush, could end up doing better in South Carolina than polls currently suggest. We assume Huntsman will stay on ice. And, of course, Gingrich will falter and fail in ever more spectacular ways, but if he gets sufficient funding he may stay in the race for a few more primaries.

Has all the money settled on Romney or are there other strategies being considered? What we are looking for is a sling shot effect. None of the sub-Romney candidates is staying in place so far … they all seem to be bobbing up and down across these two contests and one poll. Certain bobbing is expected. Huntsman spent in New Hampshire do he did well, as did Paul. But some of what has happened was not expected. Santorum was a bit of a surprise, and please keep in mind that he came in “second” by only dozens of votes. The winner is the winner, but we’d be having an entirely different conversation if the count in Iowa was switched by the number of people eating the Fired Mopzzarella at Pazzesco’s on that Tuesday night. The point is that Santorum has been and will be all over the map.

There is an unknown but not small number of wealthy individuals ready to pay for the rest of this campaign, to back a certain candidate through the primaries then run that individual against Obama. Romney is the clear choice right now to the talking heads, to anyone who notices that he’s won twice and is on top of the polls in the next contest. But if you look at each of the candidates running in polls, head to head, against Obama, the outcome is not so clear; Romney is not a True Republican and certainly not a Teabagger; The Republican Party hasn’t put a Northerner up for election in a long time, except when they did, and they pretended those guyz was from Texas. Perry made a fool of himself but he can come back. The Huntsman strategy could be viable if other candidates start looking bad. Santorum represents the core of the party far better than Romney. Gingrich is like a muscle spasm you get in your back in the same exact place and you never quite know how to get rid of it, and Ron Paul is … well, whatever.

Romney is not the clear leader. He is the current leader and the leader-apparent, sitting on top of a bubbling cauldron. If his campaign weakens, some of those wealthy backers are going to start side bets, and if those side bets start to work out, they are going to pick a new horse and it could (almost) be any of them.

Who will win in New Hampshire and what will it mean?

Ask anybody who knows anything and they’ll tell you that no one has ever won both the Iowa Caucuses and the New Hampshire Primary and then failed to go on to win their party’s nomination. But look a little deeper and you’ll see that this is not a very firm model for what can happen in the upcoming primary. First, even though the New Hampshire Primary has been going on a long time, the Iowa Caucasus have only been running since 1972, which means there have been 10 of them. And the total number of times someone has won both is is once for the Democratic party (if you exclude sitting presidents or a vice president heir apparent) and the only time its ever happened with the Republicans (again, not counting sitting presidents or heir apparent VP’s) is, well, never. Continue reading Who will win in New Hampshire and what will it mean?