Thursday, September 14, 2017

It Takes A District edition

What happened?
Sure, we all know that's the title of Hillary Clinton’s new book about the election. But it’s also what Republicans are saying this week after Democrats flipped two more solidly red seats on Tuesday night.
Those two wins bring the seat flip score this cycle to Democrats 6, Republicans 0.
Wins feel good, and pickups feel better, but Democratic success since Trump’s election actually cuts a quite a bit deeper.
Analysis of these special elections reveals that Democrats are consistently outperforming the presidential elections results from both 2016 and 2012.
  • Democrats have beaten Hillary Clinton’s numbers in 28 of the 35 contested special elections this cycle, and
  • Democrats improved on Obama’s 2012 numbers in 25 of them.
Compared to Clinton’s numbers, Democrats are performing an average of 13 percent better, and they’re even performing 9 percent better than Obama. 
Don’t call it a comeback… okay maybe call it a comeback.
Living History: Lots of hand-wringing and column space has been invested in analyzing the regions of the country where the Democratic margin fell sharply from 2012 to 2016. Was this a one time thing? Is this a permanent partisan realignment? Will Democrats be able to recover? Did I leave the oven on?
  • Ten of the special elections held so far this cycle have been in districts where the presidential margin shifted 10 or more points toward the Republican presidential candidate from 2012 to 2016.
    • Briefly, they are Connecticut HD-115, Iowa SD-45, Iowa HD-89, Iowa HD-82, New Hampshire HD Grafton-9, New Hampshire HD Belknap-9,Minnesota HD-32B, New York AD-09, Oklahoma HD-28, and Missouri SD-28.
  • In all 10 of these districts, the margin has shifted back towards Democrats in the special.
  • But in eight of them, the margin has shifted past the 2012 presidential margin.
Does this mean we can expect Democrats to win everything everywhere this cycle? Nah, that’s silly. But it does mean that Democrats not only aren’t stuck at 2016 performance levels, but they’re also often improving on Democratic presidential performance in 2012.
Too many words? Check out a neat visualization of this whole section here.

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Thursday, September 7, 2017

Budget Riders on the Storm edition

The weather sucks and everything is terrible.
If it’s not a record-shattering hurricane, it’s raging wildfires or a swarm of earthquakesright on top of our continent’s very own supervolcano.
Who’ll Stop The Rain? Republican majorities in the Wisconsin legislature are truly desperate to woo a massive new Foxconn plant to the state.
  • How desperate are they? Glad you asked! Not only are Republicans pushing a $3 billion incentive package to attract the Foxconn LCD screen plant, but they’re also waiving state environmental regulations and protections to speed the plant’s construction.
Oh, and they’re also changing the state’s legal system to accommodate the corporation. NBD!
  • Under the incentive package that’s likely to be approved by the legislature later this month, any lawsuit involving Foxconn will skip the state appeals court and go directly to the conservative-controlled Wisconsin Supreme Court.
Fun fact! No other Wisconsin business is or has ever been granted this expedited (and unquestionably pro-corporate) process.
Rock You Like A Hurricane: Last week, the GOP-controlled North Carolina legislature approved some truly awful new state legislative maps to comply with a court order striking down the previous, illegally racially gerrymandered ones. (The new maps are extreme partisan gerrymanders, arguably creating just 15 competitive districts out of 170 total House and Senate seats in the state.) They convened a special session to do so, and when they adjourned, they plotted to return in October. 
  • In North Carolina, special sessions must be called for a specific purpose. Often the purpose is set forth in the adjournment resolution of the current session.
In the most recent adjournment resolution, North Carolina Republicans basically allowed themselves to consider any issue they dang well please. But some of the more interesting items on their October agenda include:
  • Redrawing (read: gerrymandering) the state’s judicial districts, something Republicans first floated to understandable outrage last June. A gerrymandered judicial district map would effectively allow the legislature to stack the state’s court system with Republican judges.
  • Impeachment proceedings. Back in June, a GOP lawmaker launched impeachment proceedings against Democratic Secretary of State Elaine Marhsall, who, by the way, has done nothing wrong.
    • Republican Rep. Chris Millis began laying the groundwork for impeachment charges back in February when he requested information on whether Marshall was illegally allowing non-citizens to become notaries public. (She wasn’t.) In March, Millis demanded that Marshall resign. (She didn’t.)
    • Then, despite the fact than none of his inquiries or investigations turned up evidence that Marshall did anything improper or illegal, Millis pushed his GOP toward impeachment proceedings anyway.
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