South Carolina

Florida Will Decide the GOP Nominee. Who Has the Upper Hand There?
September 21, 2011

When Rick Perry lays down his head on Saturday night, he’s going to be one tired Texan. By then, the consensus GOP front-runner will have endured a 48-hour gauntlet of events in Orlando, Florida, including a televised presidential candidates’ debate, an ideological beauty contest sponsored by the American Conservative Union, and a state party straw poll. Moreover, all this is occurring in a state that will hold a crucially timed 2012 primary, is considered a must-win for Republicans in the general election, and has demographic characteristics that could pose a real challenge to Perry.

A Metro Lens on the New National Poverty Data
September 14, 2011

The release of new Census Bureau poverty data yesterday confirmed suspicions about the state of the economy for the nation’s most vulnerable citizens: even as GDP growth resumed in 2009, things continued to deteriorate at the bottom of the ladder. The U.S. poverty rate rose from 14.3 percent in 2009 to 15.1 percent in 2010, reaching its highest point since 1993. The news is a stark reminder that poverty is first and foremost a reflection of labor market conditions.

Rick Perry Has a Problem on Social Security—With the Tea Party
September 14, 2011

The fireworks-laden CNN/Tea Party Express Republican debate on Monday night didn’t much change the chattering class’s assessment of the candidates, with most pundits interpreting the pounding that Perry received as a confirmation of his dominance of the field. Because he was attacked from the “left” on Social Security and the “right” on immigration and his controversial HPV vaccination program, he’s being hailed as “the Man in the Middle,” which is where you want to be. This sanguine interpretation depends heavily on the assumption that the attacks on Perry somehow cancel each other out.

Rick Perry’s Ponzi Scheme Debate
September 08, 2011

In his inaugural presidential debate, Rick Perry had a choice.

Tonight’s GOP Debate: How Each Candidate Should Attack Rick Perry
September 07, 2011

Since the last full-scale debate in Iowa, Perry’s entrance into the Republican nomination contest and rapid ascension in the polls has been remarkable. The last two national surveys of Republicans show him opening up a double-digit lead over Mitt Romney, and edging up into the high thirties overall. The latest poll from Iowa gives him a double-digit lead over Straw Poll winner Michele Bachmann. The latest poll from South Carolina shows him beating second-place candidate Romney by better than a two-to-one margin.

Republicans And The Immigration Trap
September 02, 2011

The Republican Party desperately needs to change its image among Latinos, who remain a bulwark of strength for the Democrats as as their numbers collapse among whites. But conservatives keep trying to force their candidates to talk tough on illegal immigration: Mitt Romney opened his town hall meeting here talking about the economy — his thoughts on growing business, getting government out of the way — just as he does nearly every other campaign event. But when he opened last week’s forum for questions, the first voter he called on didn’t seem concerned about any of that.

Has the Tea Party Set a Trap for Rick Perry in South Carolina?
September 01, 2011

At first glance, Labor Day weekend looks like it could be a lot of fun for Rick Perry and his fans. The odds of a Sarah Palin candidacy continue to shrink to irrelevance as she wrestles with incompetent local Tea Party organizers in Iowa over a long-planned appearance just outside Des Moines. Mitt Romney’s temporary triumph in securing top billing at a Tea Party Express event in New Hampshire, meanwhile, is being spoiled by protests from Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks organization.

The Shifting GOP Nominating Calendar Will Produce a Knockout Victory—Or an Extended Slugfest
July 28, 2011

When I last wrote about the schedule of Republican presidential nominating contests back in April, there were two dynamics that appeared to be shaping the calendar: first, the usual “frontloading” temptation of states to run to the front of the line in order to have an impact on the results, which both national parties have been fighting in recent years with less than brilliant success; and second, a more unusual “backloading” phenomenon, where other states were delaying primaries or caucuses for their own reasons, often the money savings associated with holding the contests in conjunction wi

Michele Bachmann’s Very Rough Road Ahead
July 21, 2011

In a remarkably short period of time, Representative Michele Bachmann has been transformed from a fringe figure, known mainly for her abrasive and often inaccurate attacks on the president and other Democrats, into a legitimate presidential candidate. The latest national poll of Republicans (from Public Policy Polling) shows her pulling ahead of long-time front-runner Mitt Romney. The latest poll of likely Caucus-goers in Iowa has the same result. She’s even gaining rapidly on Romney in New Hampshire, and making a splash in many other states.

How the ‘Cut, Cap, and Balance’ Bill Could Sabotage a Debt Ceiling Deal
July 20, 2011

House Republicans voted on Tuesday to pass a legislative version of “Cut, Cap, and Balance,” one of the newest and most disturbing of the many conservative oaths currently being sworn by large swaths of the GOP. Of course, the bill is not going to be enacted, and for some congressional Republicans, it will just serve as cover for some ultimate debt limit vote that will anger the conservative base. But the “Cut, Cap and Balance” measure explains a lot about the actual priorities of conservatives at a time when they are supposedly fixated on eliminating deficits and debts.

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