And the least surprising presidential election result is …


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Hillary Clinton has won Washington, D.C., in the least surprising result of the presidential election. How unsurprising is this? President Obama took 91 percent of the District’s vote in 2012.

AP discovers that Twitter is a thing in 2016 presidential race, applies ‘both sides do it’ filter


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Remember in 2012, when everyone was all, “Wow, social media is such a big part of this election. That is very new”? The Associated Press doesn’t.

So entrenched has Twitter become in the 2016 election that it can be difficult to remember just how new it is in this context. Four years ago, candidates Obama and Mitt Romney were just testing the waters with social media. This year, it’s a major source of information — political and otherwise — for a huge number of Americans. In a Pew Research Center poll last January, 44 percent of adults said they had learned about the election in the previous week from social media, more than cited print newspapers.

Uh, four years ago, according to the very same Pew Research Center, President Obama’s campaign social media accounts had more followers than either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton today and his campaign was

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Hey, reporters—listen to President Obama: ‘Donald Trump didn’t start this.’


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NBC News has an incredibly stupid take on “How Republicans ended up with Trump” that’s worth a close look, since we’re likely to see more of its kind over the next few weeks. Coming from the crackerjack analysis team of Chuck Todd, Mark Murray, and Carrie Dann, it has five points:

  • “Immigration trumped all”
  • GOP voters discarded the advice to focus on reaching out beyond the base to minorities”
  • ”The conservative echo chamber drowned out doubts about Trump”
  • ”GOP voters no longer trusted its party elites”
  • ”Other GOP elites stood on the sidelines”

In the final point, there’s a moment of truth:

But not all Republicans spoke out against Trump. Some — perhaps fearful of the GOP base they helped create and won midterm elections with — stood on the sidelines, like House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Emphasis added—because, yeah, you think? We can

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Trump is not getting any air cover from the Republican National Committee


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The Republican National Committee is absolutely firm in its support of Donald Trump. Or so they say. The dollars might convince a beleaguered, suspicious Trump to see things differently:

In 2004, the committee spent $18.2 million on independent expenditures — or IEs, in campaign parlance — boosting George W. Bush’s reelection bid. In 2008, the RNC’s IE spending surged to $53.5 million in support of John McCain’s campaign against Barack Obama. And in 2012, the RNC spent $42.4 million on IEs boosting Mitt Romney or opposing President Obama — with nearly 80 percent of the spending occurring before mid-October.

By contrast, this cycle the RNC has spent only $321,000 on independent expenditures attacking Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. And all of that spending occurred last fall — before Trump had emerged as the leader for the GOP presidential nomination.

According to the RNC, it’s nothing to do with

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Donald Trump’s campaign manager unskews the polls


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Donald Trump is trailing in just about every national and swing-state poll out there, but that’s OK. His new campaign manager is also a pollster, so when she unskews the polls, she can make it sound somewhat more convincing than the average poll-unskewer. Kellyanne Conway is essentially arguing that the Bradley Effect, in which people tell pollsters they’re voting for a black candidate to make themselves sound not racist even though they’re really voting for a white candidate, applies to her white billionaire boss:

Conway insisted that Trump’s support was not reflected in polls because of the perceived social stigma of supporting the Republican nominee. “Donald Trump performs consistently better in online polling where a human being is not talking to another human being about what he or she may do in the elections … it’s become socially desirable, especially if you’re a college educated person in the US, to say

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Donald Trump blows off black voters badly—even by Republican standards


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Is Donald Trump trying to underperform John McCain and Mitt Romney among African-American voters? For context, McCain got four percent and Romney got six percent—both against Obama, of course. But Trump appears to be trying really hard:

In attempting to fashion a populist message, Mr. Trump has criticized Democrats for doing little to address urban joblessness and despair. But in the more than a year since he began his White House bid, the Republican nominee has not held a single event aimed at black voters in their communities, shunning the traditional stops at African-American churches, historically black colleges and barber shops and salons that have long been staples of the presidential campaign trail.

Mr. Trump may not have purposefully snubbed black neighborhoods — he rarely plunges into any community to tour businesses, sample local cuisine or spontaneously engage in the handshake and back-patting rituals of everyday campaigning. His preferred

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Republican staffing in key states sputters with Trump at helm


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Donald Trump has left the Republican party to its own devices when it comes to staffing up the ground game in critical states and, despite the party’s relatively good fundraising numbers, it’s still falling far short of its original goals, according to an Associated Press review of staffing levels.

Some examples of Republican shortfalls: Ohio Republicans thought they were going to see 220 paid staffers by May; in reality there are about 50. Plans for Pennsylvania called for 190 paid staffers; there are about 60. Iowa’s planned ground force of 66 by May actually numbers between 25 and 30. In Colorado, recent staff departures have left about two dozen employees, far short of the 80 that were to have been in place. […]

In New Hampshire, a swing state that also features one of the nation’s most competitive Senate contests, the Republican National Committee’s original plan called for more than

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Trump refuses to release tax returns before November


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Remember how the question of when Mitt Romney would release his tax returns dogged him throughout the 2012 campaign, until he finally broke down and did it? Donald Trump is not going to follow the Romney path—but not because he’s going to release years and years of tax information quickly. Not even close.

Despite pressure, the billionaire businessman also doesn’t expect to release his tax returns before November, citing an ongoing audit of his finances. He said he will release them after the audit ends.

“There’s nothing to learn from them,” Trump told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday. He also has said he doesn’t believe voters are interested.

There’s nothing to learn from the tax returns of this yugely wealthy man campaigning for president on a platform of his own wealth and success? People aren’t interested to know how much money he has—is it as much as he

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Trump refuses to release tax returns before November


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Remember how the question of when Mitt Romney would release his tax returns dogged him throughout the 2012 campaign, until he finally broke down and did it? Donald Trump is not going to follow the Romney path—but not because he’s going to release years and years of tax information quickly. Not even close.

Despite pressure, the billionaire businessman also doesn’t expect to release his tax returns before November, citing an ongoing audit of his finances. He said he will release them after the audit ends.

“There’s nothing to learn from them,” Trump told The Associated Press in an interview Tuesday. He also has said he doesn’t believe voters are interested.

There’s nothing to learn from the tax returns of this yugely wealthy man campaigning for president on a platform of his own wealth and success? People aren’t interested to know how much money he has—is it as much as he

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Republicans ponder how blatantly to change their own rules in order to screw Trump


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A rule Republicans created in 2012 to protect their establishment candidate from an outsider is shaping up in 2016 as a benefit for Donald Trump, a candidate the establishment loathes. The rule requires that a candidate has to have won the majority of delegates in at least eight states to qualify for the nomination, and it was designed to block Ron Paul from a prominent role at the 2012 Republican National Convention, leaving Mitt Romney uncontested. Fast forward to now, and Trump is the only candidate who qualifies so far. And so …

All four early appointees of the rules committee for this year’s Republican convention told POLITICO they’re prepared to weaken or scrap a rule that could limit the convention’s alternatives to Donald Trump. […]

“I’m not a big fan of the eight-state threshold. I think that’s an artificial number,” said David Wheeler, a rules committee member from

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Republicans have a scapegoat for the failure of their 2012 ‘autopsy.’ Surprise, it’s Trump!


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The Republican Party’s post-2012 “autopsy” and the rebranding supposed to emerge from that autopsy, which argued that Republicans needed to broaden their appeal and basically try not to alienate everyone but old white men, has been a joke since sometime about 10 minutes after the autopsy was released. Sure, Paul Ryan and a few other Republicans paid lip service to doing something about poverty, but they used that lip service to promote the same old policies favoring the rich and hurting everyone else. And look at the campaigns Republicans ran in 2014. Hate and fear every which way you looked—but it worked for them with a midterm electorate.

Luckily for Republicans, now that they face a presidential year electorate, they’ve found a scapegoat for the longstanding failure of their autopsy and rebranding: Donald Trump.

The report — the product of 2,600 interviews with voters, experts, party officials and business leaders, as well

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Trump lashes out after Romney suggests there’s a ‘bombshell’ in his taxes


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Mitt Romney went after Donald Trump on Tuesday, saying “we have a good reason to believe that there’s a bombshell in Donald Trump’s taxes.” Aside from being hilarious considering Romney’s long delay in putting out his own tax returns as the 2012 Republican nominee, I think you can guess where this is going as far as Trump’s response:

x

Let’s take a little flashback to 2012, shall we?

“It’s my honor, real honor, to endorse Mitt Romney,” Trump said, with Romney and his wife standing nearby. Calling Romney “tough” and “smart,” Trump said, “he’s not going to continue to allow bad things to happen to this country.”

But now Romney is a loser

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Once upon a time, Trump said skipping a debate meant being too weak to stand up to China. Now …


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Some tough guy, Donald Trump. This week, to hear him tell it, backing out of a Fox News debate because Megyn Kelly might ask him a hard question in no way shows that he’s weak—shoot, if Trump is doing it it must be a sign of strength. But back in 2011, all of the candidates other than Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum backing out of a Trump-moderated debate was a big red flag:

“Romney doesn’t look courageous” Trump when Mitt Romney decided not to do the debate, according to the Washington Post.

“Some of them don’t have the courage to do,” Trump told Imus in the Morning. “I don’t want to say who.”

Trump said some called to say they were too nervous to do his debate, “We have guys who are afraid to go into a debate.” How would they stand up to China if afraid

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If he could add killing kittens to his resume, Paul Ryan might win over the Freedom Caucus


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Paul Ryan washes dishes at a Youngstown, Ohio soup kitchen. According to news reports, the dishes were already clean.

Paul Ryan washes clean dishes at a soup kitchen during the 2012 election.

House Republicans really, really want Paul Ryan to be their speaker. So much so that many of them will agree to his list of demands and put pressure on the Freedom Caucus to buckle as well. But don’t say Ryan isn’t giving the far-far-far right anything it wants: he did suggest that he wouldn’t bring immigration reform to a vote as speaker, despite having been personally in favor of reform. So Ryan will give up one of the few kinda sorta decent positions he might hold in order to get this job that he really doesn’t want. But while Republican extremists are squalling about how Ryan is too liberal, let’s take a quick look at just what kind of a guy he is.
One of Ryan’s demands for agreeing to be speaker is that he have time

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Jeb! Bush: Colonizing the moon would be ‘pretty cool’


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U.S. Republican presidential candidate Jeb Bush tells a joke as he speaks at the Greater Des Moines Partnership Iowa Caucus Consortium candidate forum in Des Moines, Iowa, October 8, 2015. REUTERS/Scott Morgan - RTS3LHY

Jeb! Bush is with Newt Gingrich. Specifically, he’s on board with Gingrich’s 2012 campaign promise to colonize the moon.

Campaigning in New Hampshire on Wednesday, Mr. Bush professed a soft spot for the idea. “People started laughing,” he told voters at a town hall-style event, recalling Mr. Gingrich’s remarks. “And I’m thinking, ‘Really?’ I think it’s pretty cool.”

Okaaayyyy … “Pretty cool” is the standard for policy now? But this is the best part:

Yet, citing the significance of space travel to Florida, where he served as governor, Mr. Bush wondered aloud what was “wrong about having big, aspirational goals.”
“It’s not in the absence of taking care of the hungry or the poor,” he said. “We’re a big country, we’re a generous country, and the benefits of this are far more than people realize.”

Fixing structurally deficient bridges is too big and aspirational a goal for

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Jeb! Bush channels Romney on ‘free stuff’ to explain how he’ll win black voters


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Former Governor Jeb Bush (R-FL) addresses the National Review Institute's 2015 Ideas Summit in Washington, April 30, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RTX1B18W

Jeb! Bush channeled Mitt Romney Thursday night in response to a question about how he plans to “include” black voters and “get them to vote for you.” He could do it, he said (check out the video below the fold), because of his sterling record on school privatization and because:

“Our message is one of hope and aspiration,” he said at the East Cooper Republican Women’s Club annual Shrimp Dinner. “It isn’t one of division and get in line and we’ll take care of you with free stuff. Our message is one that is uplifting — that says you can achieve earned success.”

Yeah … I’m pretty sure that’s a message that will work better with white Republicans than with African-American members of any party. Not because black voters want to be promised “free stuff,” but because the implication is so insulting. Because the “free stuff” Bush is so

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Let’s not pretend Carson and Trump’s anti-Muslim words don’t represent the GOP


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Republican U.S. presidential candidates Dr. Ben Carson (L) and businessman Donald Trump talk during a commercial break at the second official Republican presidential candidates debate of the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, California, United States, September 16, 2015. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson - RTS1HUL

Ben Carson’s anti-Muslim comments have given Republicans a chance to look good by distancing themselves from him, with the cooperation of many in the media. Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham and others do deserve credit for rejecting an unconstitutional religious test for the presidency, but let’s not get carried away here.
Yes, the New York Times can reasonably point to moments in which George W. Bush referred to “the peaceful teachings of Islam” or John McCain rejected a supporter’s characterization of President Obama as “an Arab.” But are those moments the ones that define the tenor of the Republican attitude toward Islam? Not hardly.

A Pew survey last year asking individuals to rate, from 1 to 100, their feelings about religious groups found that Muslims only averaged 33 percent among Republicans and Republican-leaning voters — far below other faiths. […]
But concern about Islam extends more broadly on

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Nearly every Southern state could have drawn another congressional seat that would elect a minority


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Proposed nonpartisan, additional majority-minority district congressional maps for the South.

Proposed alternate Southern congressional maps by non-white population share, click for an interactive

Recent racially motivated terrorism in Charleston, South Carolina, has appropriately renewed our country’s debate over our problems with race and institutionalized white supremacy. Most attention has focused on the symbolism embodied by the Confederate battle flag flying on the South Carolina state capitol grounds, but astute commentators have long stressed the toxic impact of institutional racism.

One of the ways our political institutions harm racial minorities is through our electoral system. I have previously discussed several of the ways in which our electoral rules hurt minorities, but one of the biggest problems stems from electing members of Congress through gerrymandered, single-member districts. The result is a Congress that is roughly 80 percent white in a country significantly less so. This should be unsurprising when less than one fourth of districts are majority minority, let alone districts where

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


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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 West that reflect these principles.

Arizona — Proposed Map:

Proposed Arizona non-partisan congressional map.

Click any map to enlarge


Interactive versionDistrict summary stats

Current Map:

Drawn by: Independent commission. Deadlocked parties agreed to an independent tiebreaker who sided with the Democrats.
Intended to Favor: Neither
Delegation: 5 Democrats, 4 Republicans
2012 Vote: Obama

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


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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 Midwest that reflect these principles.

Ohio — Proposed Map:

Proposed Ohio non-partisan congressional map.

Click any map to enlarge


Interactive versionDistrict summary stats

Current Map:

Drawn by: Republican governor and legislature
Intended to Favor: Republicans
Delegation: 4 Democrats, 12 Republicans
2012 Vote: Obama 51, Romney 48
Summary: Republicans effectively maximized their seats

Net

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