Election leftovers: Nevada didn’t quite set a voting turnout record in 2008, with nearly 80% participating – but, it was close; 80.1% of the electorate cast ballots. The record was 84.6% in 1980. [SFC] Voters put the State Senate in Democratic hands with at 12-9 advantage; Democrats control the state Assembly with a veto proof 28-14 count. [SJMN] Meanwhile, the “Talking Point Du Jour” for the GOP is that no matter what the election results “this is a center-right nation.” [TP] The logic escapes me. When the GOP win elections they promptly pronounce that the results prove this is a center-right nation, and when they lose they just as quickly declare that the election returns don’t actually matter – that we’re really a center-right nation in spite of the results.
Politico inserted Senator John Ensign (R-NV) into its “The Biggest Losers” list – and he wasn’t even running. His NRSC is announcing “victory” because the Democrats didn’t get the 60 seats necessary to break the Roadblock Republican filibuster machine in the Senate. “The Promise” may be broken? The Las Vegas Sun reports that Ensign plans to campaign for Senator Harry Reid’s opponent in 2010, whomever that may be. [Pol] The Anchorage Daily News has the understated headline of the year: “Pollsters miss mark in Alaska elections.” By a mile. “The Obama Effect bit the pollsters who foretold small victory here” (Nevada) [LV Sun]
The Portland Oregonian is calling their Senate race for Democrat Jeff Merkley. With 80% of the vote counted, Merkley led by more than 4,000 votes. Most of the counties remaining to be tallied were those in which voting trends heavily toward Merkley (Multnomah, Lane). The Minnesota race between Coleman and Franken is headed to a recount, and the “election” of convicted felon Ted Stevens will send that mess into the Senate. Senator Mitch McConnell will call for Stevens’ resignation IF his appeals fail – further dragging out the drama. Stevens is scheduled to appear on February 25 in the U.S. District Court for sentencing, which is the starting date for the appeals process. [Roll Call sub req] The double standard applies here: Democrats are supposed to resign upon indictment – Republicans should only resign after the exhaustion of the appeals process.
If you haven’t already, click on the New York Times interactive map series (voting shifts), indicating that there is a thin band of counties in the U.S. that voted ‘more Republican’ than in past elections. Should this shift continue the GOP appears to be headed toward ‘regional’ party status. [HuffPo] Note: These are not counties that necessarily gave a majority to President-elect Obama, but which trended more Democratic than in previous elections. Jonathan Martin sums up: “Beyond demography, the party is now, thanks to the outgoing president and some members of Congress, perceived by many voters as either incompetent, corrupt or just not standing for much.”
Glenn Greenwald has a provocative piece, “Equating Clinton’s ‘scandals’ with George Bush’s,” in which he castigates the Beltway Blowhards for continuing the false equivilancies between “a stain on a dress” and “the stain George Bush and Dick Cheney have left on the Constitution, our political values, and our national image.”
Bushonomics: Remember when the Republicans told us that the ‘fundamentals of the economy were sound’ because of high productivity? Bloomberg News reports this morning that measurement of efficiency rose during the 3rd quarter at “a slower pace than in the previous three months as the economy slumped, a sign employment may take a bigger hit.” “Non-farm output last quarter dropped at a 1.7 percent pace, almost as much as the decline in hours worked, leading to the slowdown in productivity. The economy overall shrank at a 0.3 percent pace from July to September, the most since the 2001 recession.” Macy’s, Target Group, and The Gap have all posted October sales declines. [Blmbrg] The news on the employment front isn’t good either: The number of U.S. workers collecting unemployment benefits increased by 122,000 (3.84 million) for the week ending October 25th, the highest level in 25 years. New jobless claims are up 45%, continuing claims are up 46%. [MrktWtch] Once more, with feeling: The top 1% of this country’s population can’t spend enough fast enough to keep the other 99% fully employed.
“Slower spending hurt services sector in October” [NYT] “Retail sales worst in decade; shoppers cut back” [Reuters] “Toyota hacks forecasts as U.S. automakers seek help” [Reuters] “Employers taking closer look at retirement plans” [Reuters] “Hedge fund results seen going from bad to worse” [Reuters]
Homeland Insecurity: “Unwatched” Cutbacks and confusion over building security leave (government) workers wondering who’s guarding the doors? [GovExec] “Better Interagency Coordination and implementing guidance for section 311 could improve U.S. anti-money laundering efforts” [GAO report] “Security grants to have fewer requirements: DHS eases rules amid criticism from struggling local officials” [WaPo] “Chemical plant safety” [Newsday]