america


A double-edged sword cuts both ways 2

During the hour or so on Tuesday night before the polls closed in California, the numbers seemed to be trending toward a narrow electoral college victory for Barack Obama and a narrow popular vote victory for Mitt Romney. That of course got those on the right-hand side of the spectrum up in arms that Obama would have no real mandate to push his policies forward. 

As the 9 million or so ballots from the Golden state were tallied, that argument quickly evaporated and the Donald Trumps head exploded (wishful thinking on that last part).

Nonetheless, Republicans still tried to maintain the lack of mandate argument based on the narrowed but still healthy majority they managed to win in the house of representatives. Unfortunately for John Boehner and his troops, a look past the surface reveals that even there, the GOP doesn't have a mandate to maintain the obstructionism of the past two years. 

The Republican majority in the house is the direct result of gerrymandering and the highly politicized process of drawing district boundaries. by getting control of so many state legislatures in 2010, Republicans were able to control that process (something Democrats are just as guilty of in the past and even now in places where they are in command).

As a result we have boundaries that are are arbitrarily drawn in such a way that pockets of opposing support are heavily concentrated in fewer districts. The remaining districts are drawn to ensure just enough of a Republican majority to almost guarantee that they will maintain a majority in the house for the next decade (until after the next census and subsequent redistricting). Of course the same thing has been done on the other side in order to ensure the likelihood of some African Americans in congress so there is definitely plenty of blame to go around. 

The bottom line this year is that the latest round of Republican-led gerrymandering has resulted in a mandate-less majority where they have a 233-194 advantage despite the fact that Democratic candidates collectively got 54,301,095 votes while Republicans got 53,822,442. 

Going forward, we need to find a way to take district drawing away from partisan politicians and make the process neutral. 

House Democrats got more votes than House Republicans. Yet Boehner says he’s got a mandate?
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Even if the electoral college were eliminated, it might not make much of a difference…

Even if the electoral college were eliminated, it might not make much of a difference in how campaign money is spent.

This is another great visual representation of how the campaigns focus their efforts on a small proportion of states where there is a distinct possibility of turning the election one way or the other. These are the regions where support for the two major parties is split relatively evenly and the popular vote margins tend to be slim in either direction. The rest of the states tend to go much more one direction of the other. 

For example in California, where Obama got 59.2% of the vote, he got nearly 2 million more votes than Romney. Prior to the west coast state results coming in on Tuesday, Obama was running slightly behind in the popular vote despite having an edge in electoral votes. Similarly in Texas, Romney got 57.2% and a 1.2 million vote edge. 

Even without the electoral college, those states along with New York, New Jersey and most of the Old South probably wouldn't get much attention although the distribution might flatten out a bit. The bulk of the effort would still be spent on the purple states. Of course as demographics change in the future, that whole calculation will have to adjust as well. 

Reshared post from +Jeff Jarvis

Really superb NPR visualization of campaign spending. It's also a magnificent demonstration of what I tell NPR people all the time: No, your value is not making great audio. It's explaining the world well. 

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The members of the electoral college don't even gather in Washington until December… 4

The members of the electoral college don't even gather in Washington until December 17 but the the 2016 campaign is already off and running.  The first poll of potential New Hampshire voters is out and Chris Christie and Hillary Clinton lead their respective party fields so far. Let the games begin!

Reshared post from +Talking Points Memo

Alright, politics junkies. 2012 is over. Let 2016 begin! Who are your top picks for 2016?

Clinton, Christie Lead First Polls Of 2016 N.H. Primaries
For much of the American electorate, the culmination of the 2012 campaign has provided a much-needed respite from politics. But for the prolific pollsters at Public Policy Polling? Let the 2016 race t…

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It's actually not that uncommon for dead candidates to win elections, including…

It's actually not that uncommon for dead candidates to win elections, including two local officials in Florida and Alabama this week. Former Missouri governor even when a US senate race in 2000 weeks after dying in a plain crash. However, when it happens they generally were alive during at least part of the campaign. 

Charles Darwin has been dead for 130 years and yet he still managed to garner 4,000 write-in votes in Athens-Clarke county Georgia against Rep. Paul C. Broun, R-Ga who ran unopposed. 

Darwin outperforms on ballot
Georgia voters protested an anti-science incumbent by writing-in the father of evolution

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I think it might be too late for such a strategy to work for the GOP :) 5

I think it might be too late for such a strategy to work for the GOP 🙂

Republicans Consider Welcoming People Who Believe in Math and Science
After disappointing results in Tuesday’s election, Mr. Priebus said that it was time for Republicans to become “more tolerant of those with a math and science lifestyle.”

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“After this election, Florida is worse than a laughingstock,” Billy Corben, a… 2

“After this election, Florida is worse than a laughingstock,” Billy Corben, a Miami documentary filmmaker and avid election night Twitter user, said with a smile. “We’re now an irrelevant laughingstock.”

We've been doing this for more than two centuries, why do we still have such a hard time getting it right?

Florida’s Votes Unclaimed, but Less Depends on Them
Just as in the 2000 presidential election, the results of Florida’s voting were still up in the air the day after Election Day. The difference is that in 2012 it doesn’t matter.

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A big thumbs up to the voters of Maine, Maryland and Washington for pushing back… 3

A big thumbs up to the voters of Maine, Maryland and Washington for pushing back against the bigots and fear mongers and realizing that same-sex couples are not a threat. 

Maryland voters approve gay marriage, Maine poised to do so
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Maryland voters approved same-sex marriage on Tuesday while similar measures in Maine and Washington state also appeared on track to pass, marking the first time marriage rights h…

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The best parts of the election results was the wide ranging repudiation of those… 1

The best parts of the election results was the wide ranging repudiation of those super-wealthy that tried to use their financial resources to get the outcomes they wanted including Matty Maroun, Linda McMahon, Sheldon Adelson, the Koch brothers and the rest that managed to cloak their identities through the super-pac system.  We still need some serious reform of the finance system probably through a constitutional amendment but at least we all survived to fight another day. 

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