The 24-hour news cycle is brutal even on the Election Law Blog, so I want to use the relative quiet of the weekend to re-surface those articles that I “highly recommend”–to borrow Larry Solum’s phrase.
“Black Voters Have New Power in Mississippi. Can They Elect a Democrat?” First, I just have not been following this election. Second, the story surfaces the long hold of Mississippi’s 1890 disenfranchising constitution on the state’s politics. And third, it strikes me that the very question of whether black voters in Mississippi will turnout for Democrats in the state depends on how the Democratic Party approaches them. How involved will the state’s civil rights group be in knocking on doors? Will any listening occur to concerns beyond Medicaid expansion? And will the party look to build organizational capacity or is this a one-shot voter turnout effort?
The interview with Los Angeles City Council Member Nithya Raman on Our Body Politic. There is just so much in this interview. But probably what struck me most was the description of Raman’s efforts to create a constituency among renters–low-turnout (maybe even apolitical, independent) voters.
“On renters issues in a city where housing and security is an important issue, I was the first candidate who spoke to renters.”
N.Y. TImes reports on the rising fears that a Jim Jordan speakership could cost Republicans the House. Even the fight is causing worry. Those most concerned are representatives from districts that voted for Biden in 2022.
“The latest round of House Republican infighting has badly damaged the G.O.P. brand. It has left the party leaderless and one chamber of Congress paralyzed for more than two weeks. The chaos is raising the chances that Democrats could win back the majority next year, and it has given them ample ammunition for their campaign narrative, which casts Republicans as right-wing extremists who are unfit to govern.
‘It hurts the country; it hurts the Congress; it’s hurting our party,’ said Representative Don Bacon of Nebraska, one of 18 Republicans who represent districts won by Mr. Biden in 2020. ‘It’s putting us in a bad hole for next November.’”
N.Y. Times and others reporting that Jim Jordan has lost a second bid for Speaker of the House on Wednesday. The House will probably pick a Speaker this week, even as how and whom still remains unclear. And I wouldn’t count Jordan out yet. The question is whether this will be a turning point for the party. If not country over party, will the crisis in the Middle East push some Republicans to prioritize governance, over party? Given his track record, Jordan would have to remain a no in that case.
Washington Post and pretty much everyone else is reporting that Representative Jordan received 200 votes in the first round, well short of the 217 he needs. (Democrat Jeffries received 212). The drama will continue.
In a full-page ad in the Dallas Morning News, “Major Republican donors, including some who have contributed to Gov. Greg Abbott’s campaigns, joined other conservative Texans in signing an open letter supporting congressional action to increase gun restrictions in response to the mass shooting in Uvalde that left 19 children and two teachers dead last week.” The letter “endorses the creation of red-flag laws, expanding background checks and raising the age to purchase a gun to 21. More than 250 self-declared gun enthusiasts signed it.”
The Washington Post reports that “House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) plans to unveil a strategy Thursday outlining how Republicans would address climate change, energy and environmental issues if their party gains control of the House in the midterm elections.” The plan is anticipated to focus on “streamlining the permitting process for large infrastructure projects, increasing domestic fossil fuel production and boosting exports of U.S. liquefied natural gas.” It is not clear to me (or the Washington Post) how increasing domestic fossil fuel production will address climate change or the environment. Still, it has been awhile since the GOP has felt the need to offer a policy platform. A very recent PEW poll found significant support for climate change policy. In particular, it found internal policy divisions among Republicans:
- “66% of self-described moderate and liberal Republicans favor taking steps toward [carbon neutrality].”
- “67% of conservative Republicans say it should be expanding production of oil, coal and natural gas.”
In all PEW summarized the data on Republican views, “On balance, Republicans and Republican-leaning independents give greater priority to expanding the production of oil, coal and natural gas than to developing alternative energy sources, and they overwhelmingly believe that fossil fuels should remain a part of the energy picture in the U.S.”
This new Op Ed by Greg Sargent in the Washington Post, highlights, once more, deficits in policy responsiveness that arises out of hyper-polarization, among other things.
Sargent highlights a new study from the Third Way–a centrist Democratic-leaning group–that analyzes the benefits to U.S. families of the top four provisions in the Build Back Better bill in real dollars.
What’s innovative about this study is that it shows ways in which average red state families in particular would benefit from specific BBB policies. Notably, no Republican voted for the version of BBB that passed the House — the basis for this study — and it’s very likely none will vote for it in the Senate.
Manchin’s seat is not safe. And still, his version of moderation stands at odds with the views of his own constituents (not just his base). Why would voters believe their votes matter?
The Hill is reporting a new poll that shows “West Virginia voters overwhelmingly back paid leave proposal.”
“The poll, commissioned by Paid Leave for All, found that 80 percent of West Virginia voters support ensuring paid leave for workers suffering from a serious illness, 75 percent back paid leave for workers caring for a sick family member and 72 percent support paid leave for workers caring for a new child.
. . . The poll found that paid leave is more popular among West Virginia voters than other proposals included in the reconciliation package, such as universal pre-K, which is backed by 54 percent of those surveyed. The paid leave program and the measure to allow Medicare to negotiate drug prices were the only Democratic proposals to earn majority support from voters in the state from every political party.
Senator Manchin, to be sure, has his process-based excuse: The bill should be passed separately and with bipartisan support. And, to be sure, this poll is likely somewhat flawed. But still, why would any voter think her vote mattered in this era of hyper-partisanship?