Daily Kos Elections presents the best map ever of United States congressional districts

(click to enlarge all images)

Daily Kos Elections is pleased to introduce a brand-new approach to mapping America’s congressional districts. Months in the making, and inspired in part by the Guardian‘s U.K. election results map, our map aims to provide a much clearer way to visualize election results, demographic data, congressional roll calls, and much more for the entire House of Representatives.

Our map’s key feature is that all 435 congressional districts are shown in equal size, represented by five hexagons each. That allows us to preserve each state’s shape in rough but identifiable form, and to also place each state in its approximate geographic location, relative to its neighbors.

You can expect to see this map regularly on Daily Kos Elections, so head below the fold to learn more about why we created it, and how everyone can use it.

Republicans hoping to get more than six percent of the black vote in 2016

Young women at a table with voter registration signs.

With President Obama not on the ballot in 2016, Republicans are hoping that their candidate will be able to draw a little more of the African-American vote, maybe even enough to swing a swing state:

Obama limited Romney to 6 percent of the black vote in 2012, and his performance in 2008 had been even more dominant. That year’s Republican nominee, Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), won only 4 percent black support, according to exit polls.
Republican nominees in other recent elections did better. President George W. Bush won 11 percent of the votes cast by blacks in 2004, and in 1996 Sen. Bob Dole won 12 percent even while going down against the incumbent, President Clinton.

The same pattern is seen in key states. In Florida, Obama won twice — with 95 percent of the black vote in 2012 and 96 percent in 2008. In 2004, then-Sen. John

Continue reading “Republicans hoping to get more than six percent of the black vote in 2016”

How gerrymandering cost Democrats the House in 2012: An interactive look at the Northeast

In 2012, Democratic House candidates earned more votes combined than Republicans did, but the Democratic Party still came nowhere close to reclaiming the chamber. Now, Democrats are faced with the grim reality that they’re likely to be locked out of the House until 2022 at the very earliest, barring a wave election that no one can count on.

But it shouldn’t be this way. As we’ll demonstrate, it’s eminently possible to draw nonpartisan congressional districts that give voters a real choice and allow the majority to have its voice heard. Below, you’ll find proposed maps for the entire Northeast that reflect these principles.

Pennsylvania — Proposed Map:

Proposed Pennsylvania non-partisan congressional map.

Interactive versionDistrict summary stats

Current Map:

Drawn by: Republican governor and legislature
Intended to Favor: Republicans
Delegation: 5 Democrats, 13 Republicans
2012 Vote: Obama 52, Romney 47
Summary: Republicans effectively maximized their seats

Net Change: Democrats would gain two

Continue reading “How gerrymandering cost Democrats the House in 2012: An interactive look at the Northeast”

Primary season flip-flops won’t hurt Republicans, former Romney adviser says

Governor Scott Walker, potential Republican presidential candidate, speaks at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma May 21, 2015. REUTERS/Rick Wilking - RTX1E0LB

Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI)

As the Republican presidential primary gets into gear, the candidates are having to get themselves in line with what Republican primary voters want to hear—even if it means saying things that will hurt them in a general election. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s problems have been so extreme that he’s been forced to try to redefine what flip-flop means, but he’s not alone in his struggles. Jeb Bush’s flailing on the Iraq question may someday enter the realm of political legend, and he’s had to quit talking about “respect” when opposing marriage equality.
Especially coming after Mitt Romney’s performance in 2012, this has to make some Republicans nervous:

“You have to be careful when you are doing this — that you don’t so embrace your base that it becomes impossible to move and have some flexibility or nuances in your position moving forward,” said Rep.

Continue reading “Primary season flip-flops won’t hurt Republicans, former Romney adviser says”

Republican groups trying to trick Democrats with faux-left attacks on Hillary Clinton

U.S. presidential candidate and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton listens as she sits with workers and management of Whitney Brothers children's toy and furniture factory during a round table while campaigning for the 2016 Democratic presidential

Progressives should work to push Hillary Clinton to the left on issues ranging from Wall Street reform to Keystone XL to trade deals like the Trans-Pacific Partnership to criminal justice reform. Absolutely. But it would be nice if they didn’t employ tools from Republican groups in doing so.

For months now, America Rising has sent out a steady stream of posts on social media attacking Mrs. Clinton, some of them specifically designed to be spotted, and shared, by liberals. The posts highlight critiques of her connections to Wall Street and the Clinton Foundation and feature images of Democrats like Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York, interspersed with cartoon characters and pictures of Kevin Spacey, who plays the villain in “House of Cards.” And as they are read and shared, an anti-Clinton narrative is reinforced.
America Rising is not the only conservative group

Continue reading “Republican groups trying to trick Democrats with faux-left attacks on Hillary Clinton”

How gerrymandering cost Democrats the House in 2012: Part 1: An interactive look at alternative maps

Interactive map of the 2012 congressional districts, click to enlarge


In November 2012, the American electorate voted to give Democrats unified control of government. President Obama won re-election with a majority of the vote, Senate Democrats increased their seat count, and Democratic candidates for the House won the popular vote. However, because of the way in which districts are drawn, Republicans easily maintained control of the House.

This article is the culmination of hundreds of hours of research and work. I want to demonstrate why I firmly believe partisan gerrymandering by itself can be held responsible for Republicans keeping the House. The year 2012 was two-and-a-half years ago and Republicans clearly still would have won the House in 2014 without gerrymandering. Nonetheless, it is still relevant today, because despite the very real chance Democrats win the presidency and Senate, no serious prognosticator deems the House in play for 2016.

Past

Continue reading “How gerrymandering cost Democrats the House in 2012: Part 1: An interactive look at alternative maps”

Compactness is a terrible standard for redistricting and determining if maps were gerrymandered

Center for Range Voting's hypothetical North Carolina congressional districts created by Ivan Ryan, drawn using the split-line method devised by Warren Smith.

Split-line North Carolina congressional map from the Center for Range Voting


It is often proposed that the solution to gerrymandering and drawing the perfect districts is to have a computer draw lines to be as geometrically compact as possible. Along with equal populations, the desire is to have the lines be as straight as possible with the circumference to surface area ratio minimized and you will have fair, non-partisan districts.

However, this method is not only flawed, it has no basis in logic for how districts have ever been drawn practically anywhere and for good reason. Yet sadly, the emphasis on compactness has cropped up even in academic political science.

We should think of districts as collections of constituents, not abstract geometric shapes on a map that a computer can randomly generate. The entire purpose of using districts rather than electing every member at-large is so that distinct groups of

Continue reading “Compactness is a terrible standard for redistricting and determining if maps were gerrymandered”

First big debate test for GOP: Fitting all the clowns on the stage

U.S. Republican presidential candidates gather before the start of their debate in Ames, Iowa August 11, 2011. They are (from L to R) Rick Santorum, Herman Cain, Ron Paul, Mitt Romney, Michele Bachmann, Tim Pawlenty, Jon Huntsman and Newt Gingrich. REUTER

Here’s a 2012 Republican debate. Now double it.

After the nonstop debatorama that was the 2012 Republican presidential primary, the party vowed to cut down on the number of debates in 2016. It’s done that, going from 23 debates to 12. But what about the clown car that is the Republican field? How do you even get as many as 17 candidates on a stage, let alone give them time to say anything about their candidacy or positions? But how can Republicans decide who to exclude, especially when you’re talking about people who will not be shy about trumpeting—and fundraising off of—their grievances? The Republican Party has to find a measure that allows in the people they want to allow in and keeps out the people they don’t want on their stage, but without looking like it’s rigged.
In that pursuit, Republicans face a number of potential problems. There’s

Continue reading “First big debate test for GOP: Fitting all the clowns on the stage”

A choice for Republican billionaires: Buy a yacht or a presidential candidate?

Las Vegas Sands Chairman and CEO Sheldon Adelson

Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson is expected to be one of the leading purchasers of a Republican presidential candidate.

The Republican Party really wanted to avoid a drawn-out presidential primary like it faced in 2012, but it doesn’t look like that’s what it’s going to get, thanks in large part to the weak campaign finance laws the party otherwise loves. Many of the Republican presidential candidates have a billionaire or at least $100 millionaire funding a super PAC, and that means they’ll be able to run serious campaigns and stay in the race even if they don’t win the early states:

“There could be as many as a dozen candidates that have a threshold amount of money in their campaigns and super PACs to compete vigorously in the early states,” said Phil Cox, a Republican strategist who runs America Leads, a super PAC supporting New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie that

Continue reading “A choice for Republican billionaires: Buy a yacht or a presidential candidate?”

2012 campaign sources differ on whether Mitt Romney was an unbelievable jerk or merely a huge one

U.S. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney answers a question as he debates President Barack Obama during the second U.S. presidential campaign debate in Hempstead, New York, October 16, 2012. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

He seemed so nice when he was lecturing us all.

A former Mitt Romney aide is pushing back against the David Axelrod story of Mitt’s 2012 concession call to the president. According to Axelrod:

When Obama hung up, he told Axelrod and others who were present that Romney had said: “You really did a great job of getting the vote out in places like Cleveland and Milwaukee.” Axelrod writes that the president added: “In other words, black people. That’s what he thinks this was all about.”

Didn’t happen, says a furious Garrett Jackson:

“When I read that, I was furious. … It didn’t happen. … I was right next to the Gov. Hell, it was my phone. I was the one who called [Obama aide] Marvin Nicholson […]”

Did too, says Obama campaign manager Jim Messina:

Every word of @davidaxelrod mitt e-night call is true. I was standing with axe & POTUS. That’s what happened.

Who’s lying? Why are they lying? And are any of us obligated to give a damn? All these questions and more will be answered probably never.
The Axelrod/Messina account is very similar to Romney’s debriefing call to his fundraisers after his loss, a conference call in which he repeatedly explained that minorities had voted for Obama because the Obama administration was “very generous in what they gave to those groups.” That itself bore much similarity to Romney’s infamous “47 percent” comments, in which he supposed that percentage of America wasn’t going to vote for Mitt Romney no matter what because they were too attached to their lifestyles of mooching off the government. The sentiments attributed to Romney in Axelrod’s book, then, were indeed ones that Romney himself seemed to be enamored with at the time.

Continue reading “2012 campaign sources differ on whether Mitt Romney was an unbelievable jerk or merely a huge one”

Jeb Bush would rather skip to the general election than lower himself with primary pandering

Jeb Bush

Presidential brother/son/candidate Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush has a plan for the 2016 general election, but his plan for the Republican presidential primary might need some tweaking. See, Bush knows that running to the far right is not going to be helpful in the general election … but, in the bind that Mitt Romney also faced in 2012, running to the far right may be necessary to get to the general election to begin with, given the influence of the early Iowa caucuses and South Carolina primary.
Bush is a serious conservative, but that’s not the campaign he’s running, and it’s not how Republican voters seem to see him, in part because of how he’s gotten the media to portray him:

Article after article has depicted him as a relative moderate, as a candidate of the establishment seeking to consolidate the support of the party’s elite. It’s not hard to imagine why this hasn’t worn well among the party’s conservative, populist base, and why his ratings among conservatives may have sunk as a result.

His challenges probably run beyond specific policy grievances on Common Core or immigration. Marco Rubio, for instance, holds policy views similar to those of Mr. Bush, including his own weakness among the base on immigration reform. But 74 percent of voters in Iowa with an opinion felt Mr. Rubio was “about right” ideologically, compared with just 48 percent who thought the same thing about Mr. Bush.

Bush wants to suck up all the establishment money and support and appeal to the desire of Republican voters to win, presenting himself as the best bet for victory even if they don’t believe in his ideological purity. But as much as Republicans do want to win, when we’re talking about Iowa caucus-goers, we’re talking about people who’ve put Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee on top over the past two cycles. Bush faces a real challenge positioning himself for this campaign, and so far it looks like he just thinks he’s above talking to rank-and-file voters and would rather campaign entirely among elites.

Jeb Bush would rather skip to the general election than lower himself with primary pandering

Jeb Bush

Presidential brother/son/candidate Jeb Bush

Jeb Bush has a plan for the 2016 general election, but his plan for the Republican presidential primary might need some tweaking. See, Bush knows that running to the far right is not going to be helpful in the general election … but, in the bind that Mitt Romney also faced in 2012, running to the far right may be necessary to get to the general election to begin with, given the influence of the early Iowa caucuses and South Carolina primary.
Bush is a serious conservative, but that’s not the campaign he’s running, and it’s not how Republican voters seem to see him, in part because of how he’s gotten the media to portray him:

Article after article has depicted him as a relative moderate, as a candidate of the establishment seeking to consolidate the support of the party’s elite. It’s not hard to imagine why this hasn’t worn well among the party’s conservative, populist base, and why his ratings among conservatives may have sunk as a result.

His challenges probably run beyond specific policy grievances on Common Core or immigration. Marco Rubio, for instance, holds policy views similar to those of Mr. Bush, including his own weakness among the base on immigration reform. But 74 percent of voters in Iowa with an opinion felt Mr. Rubio was “about right” ideologically, compared with just 48 percent who thought the same thing about Mr. Bush.

Bush wants to suck up all the establishment money and support and appeal to the desire of Republican voters to win, presenting himself as the best bet for victory even if they don’t believe in his ideological purity. But as much as Republicans do want to win, when we’re talking about Iowa caucus-goers, we’re talking about people who’ve put Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee on top over the past two cycles. Bush faces a real challenge positioning himself for this campaign, and so far it looks like he just thinks he’s above talking to rank-and-file voters and would rather campaign entirely among elites.

Mitt Romney’s 2016 plan: Rebranding himself as authentic, plus polygamy jokes

U.S. Republican presidential nominee and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney attends a campaign rally in Morrisville, Pennsylvania, November 4, 2012. REUTERS/Jim Young

The Washington Post demonstrates, in less than a sentence, the hilarity at the core of Mitt Romney’s plan for 2016:

If he runs again in 2016, Romney is determined to re-brand himself as authentic, warts and all …

Authentic is something you are supposed to be, not something you are supposed to brand or rebrand yourself as. Of course public figures are always branded in some way and no politician can afford raw authenticity. But by the time you’re trying to rebrand yourself as authentic, the authenticity battle has been lost.
What would the new, authentic, warty Mitt look like?

Now, Romney speaks openly about his service as a lay pastor in the Mormon church; recites Scripture to audiences; muses about salvation and the prophet; urges students to marry young and “have a quiver full of kids”; and even cracks jokes about Joseph Smith’s polygamy.

From telling college students to borrow $20,000 from their parents to start a business in 2012 to telling them to marry young and get to breeding in 2016. Okay, then. But that seems to be the plan in a nutshell: No more will the campaign be about businessman Mitt, it’ll be about Mormon patriarch Mitt.
I have questions. It’s a different look, but is it really a better one from a vote-getting perspective? If Romney is downplaying the super-wealthy businessman image that went over so poorly with voters, what exactly is he claiming as his major qualification for office? Does his team think that losing in 2012 showed so clearly that he was qualified that they can just go with cuddly Mormon grandpa and no one will ask what unique competencies or policy positions he brings to the table?

I am looking forward to watching Mitt Romney try to project authenticity, though.

Romney attacks Obama for rising income inequality. And not in a quiet room, either.

Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney speaks at a primary night rally in Manchester, New Hampshire April 24, 2012.  REUTERS/Dominick Reuter

Mitt Romney seems to be laying the groundwork for a career as a stand-up comedian if this whole third-run-at-the-presidency thing doesn’t work out. Speaking on an aircraft carrier—always a good spot for a Republican misstep—at the Republican National Committee winter meeting, Romney had this to say:

“Under President Obama the rich have gotten richer, income inequality has gotten worse and there are more people in poverty in American than ever before.”

Really, how did he say that with a straight face? Even by Mitt Romney’s very generous standards for acceptable position changes, that is beyond acrobatic. That’s alternate-universe stuff right there. This isn’t the discovery of a new interest: Romney has always been a class warrior. It’s just that now we’re supposed to believe he’s switched sides. Switched sides on the substantive issue and on how to address it, because, as Steve Benen reminds us, just three years ago, Romney’s view was that it was beyond the pale for Obama to even talk publicly about economic inequality:

I think it’s fine to talk about those things in quiet rooms and discussions about tax policy and the like. But the president has made it part of his campaign rally. Everywhere he goes we hear him talking about millionaires and billionaires and executives and Wall Street. It’s a very envy-oriented, attack-oriented approach and I think it will fail.

And now we’ve got Mitt Romney standing on a damn aircraft carrier railing about how the rich have gotten richer and income inequality has gotten worse (or, as he thinks in his heart of hearts, better). That’s some quiet room right there.

But this is to be expected. Romney learned that inequality was a potent campaign issue, so he’d like to take advantage of it. Apparently, though, he hasn’t looked in the mirror lately and considered whether he personally was a credible messenger against rising inequality. The man can change his positions in a heartbeat, but his lack of self-knowledge seems to be a lot harder to shift.

Is Romney really going to try to rebrand his corporate ‘turnaround’ record? Again?

Mitt Romney superimposed on pile of cash, image of yacht

As Mitt Romney struggles to make the case that he can be a different candidate in 2016 than the one voters rejected in 2012, the strategy seems to be changing the subject while keeping things vague. Like nsisting that Romney will run an amazing campaign around poverty and foreign affairs, and won’t talk about all that other inconvenient stuff on his very public record. Problem is:

“He got defined early, after he got through the nomination process, and they spent a lot of money to define him,” said Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota, who praised Mr. Romney’s passion and sense of purpose. “And those issues are still there. That doesn’t change, and that narrative is still out there.”

And let’s be honest: Romney helped define himself, with comments like “I’m not concerned with the very poor” and “Corporations are people” and of course that whole 47 percent thing.
It’s going to be especially difficult for Romney to shed his 2012 image if his advisers think they can keep using the same claims about his strengths that didn’t work then. But apparently they do think that:

“But there needs to be a rationale,” the adviser continued. “If we made one mistake — and we made more than one in ’12 — it was in not making people understand this is the Turnaround guy.”

Oh, I think plenty of people understood about Mitt Romney and turnarounds. They understood that Romney’s idea of a turnaround left the rich richer and working people fighting for scraps. It’s not that his campaign didn’t talk about it. It’s that people saw through what it meant. Trying to rebrand “turnaround guy” as if it wasn’t a major part of the failed message of the past seems like a recipe for failure. Although since Romney doesn’t appear to have a recipe for success in the works, it may not matter.

The electoral boom-bust cycle, and why parties have no incentive to change

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) waves to supporters with his wife, former United States Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, at his midterm election night rally in Louisville, Kentucky, November 4, 2014.  Television news networks are projecting that McConnell will win the election.  REUTERS/John Sommers II

Celebrate now, turtle man, because you’ll be crying in two years. But then you’ll celebrate two years after that. Then cry two years after …

In 2004, Republicans won big, and Democrats were left trying to figure out what went wrong.
Then in 2006, Democrats won big, and they decided everything was fine. Republicans merely shrugged it off as the 6-year-itch that bedevils parties that hold the White House in a president’s last midterm.

2008, Democrats won big again, and Republicans were left fumbling for excuses, but mainly decided it was Bush’s fault and an artifact of Barack Obama’s historic campaign.

In 2010, Republicans won big, so they were validated. All was fine! Democrats were left fumbling.

In 2012, Democrats won big, so they decided everything was fine. Demographics and data to the rescue! Republicans decided to rebrand, until they decided fuck that, no rebranding was needed.

And now in 2014, Republicans are validated again in the Democrats’ own 6-year-itch election. Democrats are scrambling for answers.  

And I’ll tell you what the future looks like:

In 2016, Democrats will win big on the strength of presidential-year turnout. Republicans will realize they really have a shit time winning presidential elections, and maybe they should do something about that!

In 2018, Republicans will win on the strength of off-year Democratic base apathy, and they’ll decide everything is okay after all. And it’s going to be brutal, because those are the governorships we need for 2020 redistricting. Republicans will then lock up the House for another decade.

Then in 2020, Democrats will win on presidential year turnout, and  … you get the point.

So in short, we have two separate Americas voting every two years. We have one that is more representative, that includes about 60 percent of voting age adults. Then we have one where we can barely get a third of voting age adults to turn out, and is much whiter and older than the country. And Democrats can win easily with the one, and Republicans can win easily with the other.

And that cycle won’t be broken until 1) the Democrats figure out how to inspire their voters to the polls on off years, or 2) Republicans figure out how to appeal to the nation’s changing electorate.

And given that each party is validated every two years after a blowout loss, the odds of either happening anytime soon? Bleak.

President Obama plagiarizes Mitt Romney’s economic pledge … two years ahead of schedule

U.S. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney answers a question as he debates President Barack Obama during the second U.S. presidential campaign debate in Hempstead, New York, October 16, 2012. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

Goal Thermometer
Via Xenos and Steve Benen, let’s take a trip down memory lane and recall Mitt Romney’s big jobs promise during the 2012 campaign:

I can tell you that over a period of four years, by virtue of the policies that we put in place, we get the unemployment rate down to 6 percent, or perhaps a little lower.

Well, Mitt, hate to break to you, but we’re not even halfway through President Obama’s second term and the unemployment rate is already under six percent. And it’s not just the unemployment rate, either. In September 2011, Romney pledged to create 11 million jobs in his first term:

In a rare off-the-cuff speech – Romney boasted a notepad of notes and said in an apparent dig at President Obama that he was not using a teleprompter – he detailed a jobs plan which he says will lower the unemployment rate from the current  9.1 percent  to 5.9 percent by the end of his first term as president and create more than 11 million new private sector jobs during the same time period.

Based on the last six months of jobs data, we’re on track to create … drum roll, please … more than 11 million jobs during President Obama’s second term. And given that job growth has been accelerating, don’t be surprised if we surpass those numbers.

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Of course, even though Obama beat Romney’s unemployment promise by more than two years and is on track to beat or exceed his job creation pledge, Republicans aren’t giving him any credit. House Speaker John Boehner couldn’t even bring himself to mention the jobs report in his statement that was supposedly on the report. And as for Mitt? Is he conceding that he didn’t give the president enough credit in 2012? Nope. He’s looking at running again in 2016. Can’t wait to see what he promises then.

War on Women charges make Rich Lowry see starbursts … of rage

National Review editor Rich Lowry speaks at CPAC 2014.

Rich Lowry

Rich “Starbursts” Lowry, a noted expert on women in politics, is offended that “the ‘war on women’ is back, and more tendentious than ever.” In 2012, he says, when Democrats campaigned against the Republican War on Women it was “strained and unconvincing,” but now, in the absence (so far) of a Todd Akin for 2014, it “lacks all self-respect.” It’s “silly.” And “insipid.” But I think this might have something to do with Lowry venturing forth from his home at the National Review to vent his outrage at Politico:

The war on women has a proven record of success — in mobilizing Democratic women and trumping what would otherwise seem much more important issues — and it is so simple that any idiot can run on it.

So the campaign against the War on Women is unconvincing and silly, but also successful. D’you think maybe that’s why a committed Republican writer would spend time writing a big piece about how silly it is? Of course, Lowry’s whole argument is hinged on the idea that there’s no substance involved:

To the extent that the war on women has any substance, it centers on minor but flawed pieces of federal legislation like the Violence Against Women Act and the Equal Pay Act. And contraception. Always contraception.

See, Rich, the fact that you think the Violence Against Women Act and the Equal Pay Act are minor pieces of legislation is significant here. This paragraph reveals that your whole argument is “I don’t think women’s issues are important, so it’s an outrage that Democrats are successfully able to use women’s issues against Republicans.”
And the thing is, people—not even just women!—disagree about that. Many people actually do think that things like equal pay and preventing and punishing domestic violence are important. The fact that a prominent Republican writer would center a major piece on the argument that major pieces of legislation affecting women are minor and substance-free is not unrelated to why War on Women charges against Republican candidates gain traction.

Of course, as a Democrat, I’m all for Lowry continuing to make this argument. Maybe some Republican candidates should hire him as a consultant and use his arguments in their stump speeches and ads. If the War on Women is as trivial and nonexistent as he says, that should work, right?

Republicans poll women, are told they’re ‘stuck in the past’

Elyse Holmes, 2, peaks out as her mother Helen Holmes votes at Madbury Town Hall in Madbury, New Hampshire November 4, 2008.       REUTERS/Adam Hunger

Ha ha ha ha ha:

A detailed report commissioned by two major Republican groups — including one backed by Karl Rove — paints a dismal picture for Republicans, concluding female voters view the party as “intolerant,” “lacking in compassion” and “stuck in the past.”

The only real surprise here is that Republicans bothered to actually check what women think of them. Republicans do have an edge among married women, but otherwise, it’s tough going for them, issue by issue:

When female voters are asked who “wants to make health care more affordable,” Democrats have a 39 percent advantage, and a 40 percent advantage on who “looks out for the interests of women.” Democrats have a 39 percent advantage when it comes to who “is tolerant of other people’s lifestyles.”
Female voters who care about the top four issues — the economy, health care, education and jobs — vote overwhelmingly for Democrats. Most striking, Democrats hold a 35-point advantage with female voters who care about jobs and a 26 percent advantage when asked which party is willing to compromise. House Republicans say jobs and the economy are their top priorities.

Whatever House Republicans say about jobs and the economy being their top priorities, it sure seems like women who care about jobs and the economy see right through that.
The GOP answer to their deficit with women on the issues is dishonesty: First, claim that Republicans totally support fairness for women even if they don’t support actual equal pay legislation. But before they ask exactly how Republicans are going to promote fairness, distract women from the discrimination they face from above by getting them to blame other women who are struggling, accusing Democrats of “growing government programs that encourage dependency rather than opportunities to get ahead.” In short, it’s “welfare queen” talk under another name. Second, acknowledge disagreements about abortion and then change the subject real fast. Third, try to find a few economic issues where Republicans can make it sound like their policies provide answers—talk about job training and the like, as if being trained for jobs is a good answer to anything when there are no jobs.

Republicans will likely appear to do better with women in 2014 than in 2012, thanks to base Republican voters being more likely than base Democratic voters to turn out in midterms. But thanks to issues like Hobby Lobby, Democrats are looking much stronger with women voters than they did in 2010, so Republicans have cause to be worried. And 2016? They have cause to be f’ing terrified.

Bachmann 2012 state campaign chair pleads guilty on obstruction of justice charge

U.S. Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN) at the 38th annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) meeting at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel in Washington, February 10, 2011. The CPAC is a project of the American Conservative Union Foundation

Oops, did we do that?

Former Iowa state Senator Kent Sorenson, who was Michele Bachmann’s Iowa state campaign chair before abruptly and very publicly switching loyalties to Ron Paul, has pleaded guilty over charges that he solicited and got secret payments from the Bachmann campaign in exchange for his support.

In the plea agreement, Sorenson admitted receiving and lying about monthly payments of roughly $8,000 from October to December 2011, when he was still named Bachmann’s state chairman. […]
His resignation came just hours after Mark Weinhardt, a special prosecutor asked to investigate whether Sorenson had broken Iowa Senate rules, released a report saying it was “manifestly clear” Sorenson negotiated payments in 2011 in exchange for his work as Bachmann’s Iowa campaign chair.

Sorenson pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice and to “causing a campaign to falsely report expenditures.”
Bachmann’s then chief-of-staff stated in an affidavit that Bachman knew of and approved the payments to Sorenson, routing the money through a company run by a Bachmann fundraiser. Bachmann’s former staff has been a rich source of charges of unethical and illegal behaviors by the campaign, and her looseness with campaign laws continued even after her campaign ended.

For her part, Bachmann has said that her announced retirement from her current House seat has no relation to the multiple investigations into the sketchier aspects of her failed presidential campaign, and we all believe her because she seems nice.