Midterm Elections

In Defense of TV News
November 02, 2010

Jack Shafer, in what I can only assume is a direct personal shot at me, comes out strongly against election-night TV coverage: [Prior to] projected winners, the network talent have almost nothing to do besides stretch their thin material. They chat with one another, crochet scarves outside of camera view, and switch to those interminable "two-ways" that anchors conduct with correspondents camped out at the "victory" parties of the candidates.

Where Obama Went Wrong
November 02, 2010

This is not exactly an election post-mortem or even a pre-mortem. It's more a chance to take a step back and think about the Obama presidency, here in the few hours while all of us are waiting for the voters to render their midterm verdict. If you read this blog regularly, then you've spent a lot of time reading items that support or defend what the administration has been doing. This is not accidental. I tend to support its goals and I tend to think it's doing a good job, at least on the issues I cover most closely. The story on health care reform is obviously a huge part of this.

Voter Intimidation in Texas (and Elsewhere)
November 02, 2010

We've just received the day's first official update on voting irregularities. Many are of the same type that Election Protection has been seeing since 2001: Understaffed polling sites, late poll openings, poorly trained poll workers, and malfunctioning machines are the most common. But there have also been disturbing reports of voter intimidation that folks here are still trying to confirm. Volunteers have heard news of foul play from people—yet to be identified—who are trying to stop voters from getting to the polls altogether.

Mine Eyes Will See No Glory
November 02, 2010

I'll be spending the remainder of this afternoon and evening watching election night coverage and blogging about it here. Think of it as an ultra-concentrated reenactment of the Chilean miners' ordeal. I am the miners, and the mine is the inky blackness that is televised election coverage in this nation—a muggy, cramped space a mile from the real world that’s jam-packed with mostly horrible people saying pointless things which seem designed to make regular people angry. Now, I know what you're thinking: "That's a ridiculous, insulting, offensive comparison, Jesse.

Voter Intimidation? Voter Fraud? Read About It Here.
November 02, 2010

Voting isn’t going smoothly everywhere today. To provide you with an up-to-date sense of what irregularities voters say they are facing across the country, I’ve set up shop in the command center of Election Protection, a nonpartisan coalition of legal groups that monitors voter complaints as they come in. About 100 volunteers in D.C.—there are 2,000 volunteers nationwide—started manning the phones here at 5:30 a.m. and for the last couple of hours, they’ve been ringing constantly.

Lisa Murkowski's Moderate Mission
November 02, 2010

Anchorage, Alaska—It’s the Saturday afternoon before Election Day, and El Tango, an Argentine restaurant in midtown Anchorage, is packed for a campaign event. About 50 people, mostly women, are bustling around and chatting about immigration reform, education, and, occasionally, how extreme the Tea Party movement is. One person sits in the back of the room reading about the foreclosure crisis. The attendees are from numerous ethnic groups; everything from Spanish to Somali is being spoken.

Why Is Obama So Calm Right Now?
November 02, 2010

A lot of liberals are going to be panicking on Tuesday night. President Obama probably won’t be one of them. At least, that’s the impression I get from Ron Brownstein’s latest column for National Journal. Brownstein compares two interviews he did: one with then-President Clinton, just before the 1994 midterms, and one with Obama, just last month. Brownstein recalls a “tormented” Clinton lashing out at congressional Republicans, second-guessing his own strategic decisions, and cursing the distance his office placed between him and the voters.

Alaska Senate Race Madness
November 01, 2010

Over the weekend, leading Republicans have expressed concern over Tea Party favorite Joe Miller's collapse in Alaska, even going so far as to express tacit support for Lisa Murkowski's write-in campaign to stave off a win by Democrat Scott McAdamas. But now in the latest poll, Miller is ahead, 37-30-30. What's crazy is that this is happening despite Miller's utter rejection by the electorate, and despite McAdams being the most popular candidate of the three by far: Miller is winning despite having the worst personal favorability numbers of the three candidates.

The Tragedy of Russ Feingold
November 01, 2010

Here are some of the phrases people have used to describe Democratic Senator Russ Feingold: “A humorless scold.” “Insolent, arrogant, aloof.” “A holier-than-thou prig.” And it’s not terribly surprising. Feingold has made a habit of annoying his colleagues, like the time in October, 2001, when he introduced a bill to freeze congressional pay and end automatic cost-of-living increases. “I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t win a Mr. Popularity contest,” Feingold told a reporter many years ago.

A Comprehensive 2010 Election Guide
November 01, 2010

This is your comprehensive hour-by-hour guide to Election Night 2010. It will help you follow all of the bellwether indicators throughout the day and interpret the returns. So what are you waiting for? Print it out and keep it close during every minute of the agonizing countdown.   What to Look for Early on Election Day: There will be lots of anecdotal reports during the early hours of voting about turnout and the expectations* of both parties and many candidates. It’s colorful, but don’t believe any of it.

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