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Nov 3, 2010

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349 comments

349 thoughts on “Yes you can …

  1. Amazing!

    [
    So how did Meg Whitman blow through an estimated $160m in her California governor’s race (and still lose)? This article from the California Watch blog explains it all:

    Tack on $11.6 million for political consultants, $10.5 million for mail and an astonishing $106.9 million for broadcast advertising, and you get an idea of how Meg Whitman spent more than $160 million – most of it her own money – on her campaign for governor of California
    ]

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/richard-adams-blog/2010/nov/02/election-results-2010-us-live-updates

  2. From fivethirtyeight:

    http://fivethirtyeight.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/02/live-blogging-election-night/

    “Republicans, however, did somewhat better than you might expect based on having won the national house ballot by 6-7 points.” (51.8% vs 45.1 %)

    I think gerrymandering played a role in this. The US has no equivalent of the AEC. Instead, the boundaries of federal districts (= seats in the House) are actually decided by politicians at state level. So the system is prone to rampant gerrymandering, with state politicians giving a leg-up to their congressional colleagues of the same party.

    Gerrymandering is particularly acute where one party already dominates – such as Texas several years back. Here, state Republicans pulled off a breathtakingly outrageous act of re-drawing federal districts in order deliberately underrepresent the Dem vote. The Dems were mad as hell, but couldn’t do a thing about it. It’s the system.

  3. Lets not forget that the US uses a “first-past-the-post” voting system which is one of the most democratic voting system. Their Senate in particular,

  4. [ Lets not forget that the US uses a “first-past-the-post” voting system which is one of the most democratic voting system. Their Senate in particular, ]

    I think 2PP is more democratic – but that’s just my opinion.

    In at least one state (Louisiana) if no candidate gets over 50% of the vote, the 1st and 2nd place-getters have a second (run-off) election. This happens even for Louisiana members of Congress (House + Senate).

    A few years ago Senator Mary Landreaux (D-LA) had to go through a 2nd election after failing to get > 50%. Her counterparts in other states don’t have this burden, even though they sit in the same Congress. This week Rubio won his Florida Senate seat with ~45% of the vote.

  5. Mmm… good timing?

    Arctic Sea Ice Extent is at the lowest level for this time of year since sat records began around 30 years ago. The UAH sat-based global temp stats are at record levels (since sat stats started) for this time of year as well.

    The Tea Party mob will presumably ensure that the USA will make no progress in reducing greenhouse emissions for the next two years – unless they succeed in blocking anything that help the US economy pick up.

    Must be the right time for a bex, a cup of tea and a good lie down.

  6. I think the US should abolish mid term elections.

    They should expand the HoR by 220 seats (to 655) and introduce multi-member PR electorates drawn by independent commissions.

    Introduce compulsory voting and end restrictions on prisoners and presons with criminal records voting.

    Transfer the appointment approval powers of the Senate to the HoR, grant the power to sack said appointments as well and remove the ban on the holders of such posts from being in Congress or adopt a system like the French and Dutch where the holders of ministerial posts can sit and speak in Parliament but cannot vote. This would be a near parliamentary system.

  7. TTFAB

    [ I think the US should abolish mid term elections.

    They should expand the HoR by 220 seats (to 655) and introduce multi-member PR electorates drawn by independent commissions. ]

    Agreed, on all accounts. It’s a bit rough to expect EVERY member of the HoR to go up for re-election every 2 years.

    Also, considering the amount of gerrymandering that goes on, an independent commission is a great idea. But it’ll never happen. Nor will compulsory voting.

  8. One reason the Dems failed to win Illinois was the Greens vote, wasted under FPP. The Dem (Quinn) scraped home in the governor’s race where presumably there was no Greens candidate. The big reason the Repugs were so successful overall is that old voters outnumbered young voters – the opposite of the last presidential election. Only about 40 percent of the electorate voted – down some 10 percent.

  9. BTW, this article gives an idea of how blatant gerrymandering is in the US. With the latest census prompting a ‘re-districting’ (the US equivalent of a redistribution), so a lot of new seats will be created.

    http://www.usatoday.com/news/washington/2010-09-28-houseseats28_ST_N.htm

    “Chris Jankowski, who directs the redistricting effort for the Republican State Leadership Committee, predicts the GOP could add as many as 25 seats in Congress depending on how boundary lines are drawn in key states. The group is ready to spend $20 million to elect Republican state lawmakers who could affect the process, he said.”

    So there you ago. $$$ can influence how a seat’s boundaries are drawn. Shameful.

  10. [To Speak of Pebbles
    Posted Thursday, November 4, 2010 at 7:35 am | Permalink
    Looks like Bennet has pulled an upset in Colorado and has won…]
    &
    [kakuru
    Posted Thursday, November 4, 2010 at 9:09 am | Permalink
    Shocked (but happy) that Bennett is on track to win Colorado.]

    Don’t I get any credit for saying this back in post 280/281?? C’mon, wheres the love?

    Its the trouble with the pathetic US election coverage. They cant even do the simple analysis of comparing county by county results to project the likely final outcome (which may be in the opposite direction of the current count, based on the order in which the counties report)…part of the problem with Florida miscount in 2000…

  11. [kakuru
    Posted Thursday, November 4, 2010 at 4:06 pm | Permalink
    BTW, this article gives an idea of how blatant gerrymandering is in the US. With the latest census prompting a ‘re-districting’ (the US equivalent of a redistribution), so a lot of new seats will be created.]

    Agree Kakaru, gerrymandering will be a big problem for Dems next time around, but I would guess it will be only about half as big as the republican is predicting in the link you posted. When you take into account the states where there is split control (b/w state congress and governor) and other states where there is nothing to gerrymander, it looks more like a 10 seat issue not 20+. Electoral-vote went into this in detail:

    http://www.electoral-vote.com/evp2010/Senate/Maps/Oct23-s.html

  12. Districting of Congress seats, as practiced by both sides, is an absolute disgrace.

    OTOH it does seem that if almost every member had to fight a genuinely live contest every two years (not including primaries) they’d never have time to get anything else done. 🙂

  13. Just noticed on Nate Silver’s liveblog of the elections, an assessment of how Rasmussen performed during the year:

    [Indeed, Rasmussen polls quite consistently turned out to overstate the standing of Republicans tonight. Of the roughly 100 polls released by Rasmussen or its subsidiary Pulse Opinion Research in the final 21 days of the campaign, roughly 70 to 75 percent overestimated the performance of Republican candidates, and on average they were biased against Democrats by 3 to 4 points.

    Every pollster is entitled to a bad cycle now and again — and Rasmussen has had some good cycles in the past. But their polling took a major downturn this year.]

  14. Oh dear. Rasmussen’s response to Silver isn’t very professional.

    [Asked about Silver’s assessment, Scott Rasmussen told Salon today that “I don’t respond to comments from bloggers or others.” And he said he was on the whole proud of his midterm predictions.]

  15. So Obama gets blamed for the US economy, which apparently, only went south after his election. And the Repugs like the opposition here, fight an election on spending, when the last Bush administration spent like crazy. And voters apparently dont like the healthcare reforms either- apparently preferring many going uninsured.

    Well, they are the folks that voted in Dubya twice (well, at least once)

  16. Yes, Rasmussen is our Morgan (just subtract 4 to get the right number).

    Andrew: I remember seeing a poll which had 13% blaming Obama for the GFC (vs. 50% blaming various others, including GWB and Wall St etc). I think this was a repudiation of other things in the Obama agenda and basically in keeping with midterm elections (from memory 6 Senate seats is in fact the exact average Senate losses in midterms). House losses are large, but have to be taken in context of equally large wins for Dems in last 2 elections.

    The reason people dont like the healthcare reforms are because they are crap. What they had before was worse than crap of course, but the reforms are just what was doable, not what was right. Its basically compulsory private insurance rather than universal healthcare IMO.

  17. [Don’t I get any credit for saying this back in post 280/281?? C’mon, wheres the love?]

    Hey I called the RI Gov race an hour before anybody else did (I wasn’t guessing either)

    After seeing how strong he was in Clark and Washoe counties, I also called Reid about 10 minutes before everybody else was.

    It’s just the name of the game. You can just take pride that you beat everyone else to it (assuming it wasn’t just a lucky guess)

  18. yes you can , no you cann’t

    thats clear message of USA voters is jobs (9.6% unemploy) that Obama ignored , even tho controlled both Houses Instead Debt has soared trillions since Dems controlled both Houses since 2006 , and forcast Debt is scary , and since then both Obama budgets and forcasts is in trillions in red

    pork barrells and earmarks is a joke in USA

    Cap & Trade Bill was dropped by Obama 12 mths ago , goodby any CC action by Dems , and Republicons dont beleive so worser there

    Meanwhile Pelosi defends lousinaa bribe and othr bribes to buy Senate votes for an unpoppular Healthcare Bill that then passes by ‘majority’ suing unnornmal process instead of 60 vote majoirity Then says USA has th quote ‘best heealthcare system in th world’ , and think USA voters buy all that , plus Debt and unemploy

    a massacre , not just in congress , but in governor races and State Legislaturs as well
    Obama has time to win in 2012 but needs to change tack , and regain suport and at min in PA , OH and FL

    I predicted 15-25 surplus majority , being 232 to 242 being expectd massive win But it looks like it will be slite above that at around 246 In reverse Seante looking bit better like perhaps only 7 seats lost with Demos winning some close ones Two Senate Dems incl Reid lucky they faced 2 nuts (witchs)

  19. [hmm… this is the same country that gave Bush 8 years of presidency, you cannot be surprised at what the american voters do]

    All nations have their regrettable choices. I think there are plenty of nations (Aus included) where Bush could’ve gotten himself elected. It’s unfair to paint the Americans as solely stupid, when it appears to be more endemic to the superficial, mass media western democracy.

  20. comment 323

    that is true i guess, for example we here in queensland re-elected Anna Bligh. But in all seriousnes the americans are being quite impatient in imagining there will be a quick fix to their dire economic position which would be the main reason why there has been a big swing to the republicans.

    Looking from afar Barack Obama has acutally done a really good job considering the circumstances and getting key reform through like the health care reform.

    the scariest thing is if this swing and mood for change again in the US continues, Palin will be president in 2012 and NO-ONE wants that

  21. [Also those that just write “Murkowski” may also have their vote challenged on the grounds it could mean former Governor Frank Murkowski, her father.]

    Write-in candidates have to file paperwork before the election to qualify for valid votes.

    Just writing “Murkowski” appears to be OK as a valid vote for Lisa, as her father isn’t on the list of 161 write-in candidates. Minor spelling errors also appears to be OK, as long as the intent of the elector appears to be clear.

    However, there is a “Lisa M. Lackey” on the list, so someone writing “Lisa M.” may have their vote discarded.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/11/04/murkowski.write.in/index.html

  22. [Write-in candidates have to file paperwork before the election to qualify for valid votes.]

    OK, thanks for that correction.

    [Minor spelling errors also appears to be OK, as long as the intent of the elector appears to be clear.]

    Unfortunately, in that case, it could depend on the judge. But I agree with that assessment.

  23. intent not spell is criteria with write in’s , “Murkowski has 7% lead and rasonable assume its virtually all her votes so dont see Judge or anyone else being able to reverse under th ‘rules’

  24. “this is the same country that gave Bush 8 years of presidency, you cannot be surprised at what the american voters do ”

    so USA electors is stupid when they vote for bush , but not stupid when they vote for Obama , and now stupid again fro massacring Dems at Mid Terms

    issues do count
    there and in oz

    Obama took eye off ball of 9.6% unemploy , and of running 2 trillion dollar bidgets of his own with more forcast , with US dollar down , and today Fed Reserve has to print 600 billion dollar notes out of thin air Also as said Healthcare was quite unpopular & some devous moves & Louiana etc bribes done to pass it (all publisised)

    no wonder voters then turn on Dems and Obama
    Q is if Obama gets it that yes we cann’t , as 2012 is still winable for him

  25. [Murkowski has 7% lead and rasonable assume its virtually all her votes so dont see Judge or anyone else being able to reverse under th ‘rules’]

    Yeah … it’s too substantial to be easily over-turned.

    Murkowski has said that she’ll caucus with the Republicans so it’ll make no difference to the Democrats’ numbers, but I’d still like her to win just because of the resulting humiliation of the Tea-Baggers & of Palin … That is, Palin couldn’t even get “her” man Miller elected in her own home state.

  26. It should be added that, because it was a special election, Kirk immediately becomes Senator. (All the other SEs ended with the same party retaining the seat) so the Democrats now have 58-42 Senate majority until January.

  27. I have limited knowledge of the usa system and I am learning from reading this blog. It is very informative. From what I can gather, their democracy seems not like anything I expected. It is hardly democracy at all. It is corruption with a ribbon on it.

  28. I think the USA deserves Palin. I hope she wins the next election. I believe only when the people of the USA experience the full consequences of their voting patterns will they have the motivation to bring true democracy back to their country. At the moment they have demonocracy.

  29. [I have limited knowledge of the usa system and I am learning from reading this blog. It is very informative. From what I can gather, their democracy seems not like anything I expected. It is hardly democracy at all. It is corruption with a ribbon on it.]

    While it does have quite a few major flaws, it also has its merits. We certainly are overexposed to its darker side, but I suppose a flawless election is unnewsworthy.

  30. [ think the USA deserves Palin. I hope she wins the next election. I believe only when the people of the USA experience the full consequences of their voting patterns will they have the motivation to bring true democracy back to their country.]

    Mmm. I thought much the same about Oz when Howard was elected, Puff. Unfortunately it took the voters a long, long, time to realise the error of their ways!

  31. [Mmm. I thought much the same about Oz when Howard was elected, Puff. Unfortunately it took the voters a long, long, time to realise the error of their ways!]

    And Australia is already musing about going back to that style of government.

    I don’t think anybody deserves Palin.

    She is useless and couldn’t even complete a single term as governor. I doubt she’ll be nominated. The GOP leadership hate the teabaggers and she has personally burned too many bridges.

  32. And it looks like Murray has won Washington. Which’ll give the Dems 51 (+2 Ind) = 53, which is probably enough to avoid Lieberman and Ben Nelson from the temptation of cutting a deal to defect to the other side (or rather if they do, it won’t affect majority status)

  33. Hey folks!
    One bright spot for the Democrats, amidst all the wreckage, was their performance on the west coast, retaining their senate seats in California, Washington State, Colorado and Nevada(Go Harry Reid), probably due to the hispanic vote being mobilised in those areas.
    Also, Jerry Brown winning the California Governors Race(Meg Whitman blowing hundreds of millions for no reward) – another good result for the Dems.
    Alaska Senate Race will probably be won by Republican reject and write in candidate Lisa Murkowski, although Tea Party hack Joe Miller is threatening to take this one to court LOL

  34. Yep, final makeup of the Senate seems to be:
    53 Democrats(including Lieberman)
    47 Republicans

    Republicans would have won Delaware too if that nutjob Christine O’Donnell hadn’t been their endorsed candiate.

  35. yes we can , no you cann’t

    did Obama hear that mesage
    jobs and 14 trillion debt ,
    of whixh Obama/Dems wasted 1 trillion alone on a foolish , unfocussed , under funded , poorly directed Stimili on veything but gowing econ and incr of Jobs , instead into bailouts of State Govts and useless earmarks

    Lucky we in oz , unlike Obama/Dems , had competant econ mangers that saved us from GFC , grew jobs , preserve equity , and with a servicable debt thats clear in 2 yrs

    unemply in US 9.6% , but given there methods of calcs likely 18% , and last 2 budgets and forcast ones all over a trillion in red each Given Dems had control of congrees since 2006 bothg houses , this shos both POTus”s and both Dems and Republicons (given there earlier record) got no idea , and veested intersts and earmarks rule and incompetance and effects of non compulsiort voting , and of obsene pac’s and 511’s that BOTH Partys use big time

    a min of 2 Senate Seats (Nevada) and Delaware should been lost , and only kept cause Republicons dodnot fight Tea Party o prevnt 2 extreme Tea party candidates

  36. PBers quite unfair on Rosie O’donnell ,
    without her youse would hav missed out on th greatest unconcession speech in all of World’s politcs history

    she LOST Delaware by a massacre , 17% , and proudly unconcedes as a loser saying

    “We worked hard. We had an incredible victory,” she told supporters. “Be encouraged. We have won. The Delaware political system will never be the same ”

    (what th hell she’d say if she had won)

  37. TSOP 333
    [While it does have quite a few major flaws, it also has its merits.]
    Yes, I like the idea of primaries, even though they are susceptible to money and “tea-party”-style mobilization.

    Love the “write-in” candidate stuff!

    Love the odd independent. (and sometimes “very odd” – think Wrestler Jesse Ventura as Minnesota Governor)

    Rhode Island has just elected their first independent Governor.

    I didn’t realise Mark Sanford was still Governor of South Carolina (I thought he was off “hiking in the Appalachians” with his Argentinian soulmate)

  38. [Rhode Island has just elected their first independent Governor.]

    And he’s really great. I can’t overstate what a great politician Lincoln Chafee is. He has a heart of gold. You’d never believe that just half a decade ago he was a Republican senator (albeit the most liberal one) now that he is an indy, Dems have no problem supporting him.

  39. Apparently Nancy Pelosi is going to run for Minority Leader! Good for her! It’s a shame to see her lose the Speaker’s chair. I don’t know if she’ll be successful or not, but it’s better than her retiring to the backbench and retiring in 2012, or resigning before then…

  40. [Apparently Nancy Pelosi is going to run for Minority Leader! Good for her! It’s a shame to see her lose the Speaker’s chair.]

    Yeah … just like our Jules, she’s no quitter … 🙂

  41. [Republicans would have won Delaware too if that nutjob Christine O’Donnell hadn’t been their endorsed candiate.]

    I wouldn’t have written-off the Dems even if someone else been the Republican candidate for the Senate.

    Delaware is very much a left-leaning state. In the contest for the House of Reps seat, the Democrat (Carney) thumped the Republican by the same margin of 57%-41%.

  42. TSOP

    You win the award as biggest USA election tragic!

    I was thinking tonight – if there are no Australian elections scheduled around November 2012 wouldn’t it be great if the ABC sent Antony Green to Washington for a few weeks to do a really good coverage of what could be a fascinating election.