Today, the Senate voted for immigration reform by a seemingly overwhelming margin: 68-32. That might seem like a “B.F.D.” It's not. We’ve been here before: In 2006, the Senate voted for immigration reform by a 62-32 margin. The House killed it.
Why same-sex unions will continue to polarize
Despite occasional fears of a close race, Democrat Ed Markey defeated Republican Gabrielle Gomez by 10 points in last night’s special election. The results aren't a surprise, since non-partisan polls showed Markey up by a similar margin. And no one should have been surprised by Markey’s clear lead, since he outspent his Republican opponent in one of the most reliably Democratic states in the country.
Not that the Supreme Court's decision will fix this
Today, the Supreme Court struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, which identifies the areas covered by federal preclearance under Section 5. The ruling doesn't rejigger the congressional map, since the court didn't touch the legality of minority-majority districts, and Section 5 wasn't often used to reject Southern redistricting proposals.
If you were hoping for any one issue to dominate the political conversation this week, then your timing was off. Yesterday, the Supreme Court ruled on affirmative action; today, it ruled on the Voting Rights Act. Last night, a border security bill that paves the way for immigration reform received 67 votes in the Senate. Edward Snowden has gone off the radar somewhere in Moscow. Still, the Supreme Court could rule on gay marriage, and there’s a special election tonight in Massachusetts.
Earlier this week, Speaker John Boehner apparently suggested to House Republicans that he wouldn’t move an immigration bill without the support of half of House Republicans—the so-called Hastert Rule. If so, immigration reform is in trouble and so is the Republican rebrand.
The president’s approval rating has dipped, probably because of the NSA surveillance revelations or the accumulated effect of supposed or actual scandals. As Mark Blumenthal has pointed out, the decline probably isn’t as large as suggested by yesterday’s CNN poll, which pointed toward a big, 8 point decline in the president’s approval rating.
Grappling with climate-change nuance in a toxic political environment
Its a climate-change mystery: As global warming has plateaued, scientists are more certain than ever about the long term trend. But where did the heat go?
When a line of thunderstorms plowed through the D.C. area this morning, Bill Burton, co-founder of the Obama-aligned Super PAC “Priorities USA,” tweeted that a derecho was "moving in." He wasn’t alone.
What the Pew/Post poll does and does not reveal
The National Security Agency’s secret surveillance programs have proven extremely controversial, but the jury is out on whether they're popular. A Pew Research/Washington Post survey released yesterday found that 56 percent of Americans supported one aspect of the NSA’s efforts: getting court orders to track telephone calls.