Tuesday Reads: Who Will Win Control of the U.S. Senate?

U.S. Senate Chamber, 1873

U.S. Senate Chamber, 1873


Good Morning!!

I’ve been trying to avoid thinking about the midterm elections, because I’m really afraid the Republicans are going to take over the Senate; and I just can’t stand to think about the implications of that possibility. But I was really inspired by Dakinikat’s post yesterday on the importance of voting; so this morning I decided to take a look at what has been going on while I’ve been permitting myself to be in denial. After all, it is only about a month until election day.

The first thing I noticed is that there is an interesting war of words going on between two election stats geeks, Nate Silver of 538 blog fame and lesser known Sam Wang of Princeton University. The battle is all about whose predictions about which party will control the U.S. Senate in 2015. Silver’s model says the Republicans will win, and Wang’s favors the Democrats holding control. A few links to peruse:

Salon, October 3: Nate Silver unloads on Princeton rival in blistering critique.

Nate Silver is bringing out the knives for fellow political prognosticator and bitter rival Sam Wang, penning a sharply-worded critique that assails Wang’s model as fundamentally “flawed.”

A primer on the war among wonks: Thirty-two days out from Election Day, most forecasters expect Republicans to net the six seats necessary to win control of the U.S. Senate. Silver’s FiveThirtyEight.com, for instance, currently gives Republicans a 58 percent chance of capturing the majority. And as Silver notes in a post for Taegan Goddard’s Political Wire, virtually every other leading forecaster pegs the GOP’s chances for Senate control at somewhere between 58 and 78 percent. Wang’s model, however, gives Democrats a 58 percent chance of maintaining Senate power (down from 70 percent last month).

Why the discrepancy? Wang, a Princeton neuroscientist, says it boils down to polling vs. “fundamentals.” In forecasting electoral outcomes, FiveThirtyEight weighs both recent poll results and the dynamics of each contest – the partisan lean of the state, demographic makeup, and so on. Wang’s model relies only on polls.


If Silver is so sure he’s right, why is he all worked up about Wang’s predictions? From Talking Points Memo: What’s Eating Nate Silver?

Nate Silver acknowledged that he was doing something a little unusual in a Sept. 17 blog post when he called out fellow forecaster Sam Wang of Princeton University. But it also appears to have been the culmination of a long-simmering — if largely under-the-radar — feud.

“I don’t like to call out other forecasters by name unless I have something positive to say about them — and we think most of the other models out there are pretty great,” Silver wrote. But he then labeled Wang’s model “wrong” and provided a detailed argument (with footnotes) to explain why he thought so.

And it didn’t stop there. Periodically over the last week or so, Silver has continued to take shots on Twitter at Wang’s forecasting model, which has consistently been more optimistic about Democratic odds of keeping the Senate than Silver’s (or any other forecaster).

That led to a lot of buzz in the tiny world of poll nerds and a series of pained responses on Twitter from Wang. In separate interviews with TPM, Silver declined to say what exactly provoked him but said Wang had been “deceptive” in characterizing their disagreement while, for his part, Wang continued to chide Silver, particularly for refusing to engage with him directly.

Read some of the tweets at the TPM link. Wang isn’t sure what Silver is upset about either.

In a phone interview with TPM this week, Wang said that he had emailed Silver since the flare-up but has not heard back from him yet. He referenced more than once his relatively meager 6,500 Twitter followers versus Silver’s 959,000.

“He’s the Kim Kardashian here,” Wang said. “Certainly anything he says is impossible to ignore because of his 950,000 Twitter followers. It’s just right there for anybody to see. I actually tried to ignore it for a while, but it got hard because he just didn’t give up.”

Silver declined to comment to TPM about why he had critiqued Wang publicly, when it is his self-described habit not to, or on why he had not engaged with Wang directly….

Silver described what he sees as the problem with how Wang averages his polls. “The way he does it is he looks back at average snapshots (of polls) since June,” Silver said. “That’s like looking at the average score of the football game, instead of the current score… It’s a very strange assumption.”

“He should provide evidence that it’s a good sound empirical way to do it and he doesn’t,” he continued. “And I think he’s not aware of how much difference that makes.”

Sam Wang

Sam Wang

Read much more at the link. The problem for Silver is that Wang’s predictions have actually been at least as accurate or more accurate than Silver’s over the long run. Again from TPM, Wang: My Model Has ‘Matched Or Outperformed’ Silver’s Since 2008.

“He has made a number of factual and conceptual errors,” Wang wrote in reference to Silver. “If an experienced analyst like him could make those misreadings, so could many people.”

Wang then lays out five points on which he believes Silver has misunderstood his model. He also, on more than one occasion, notes that his forecast has been often been “superior to” Silver’s Five Thirty Eight forecast, dating back to 2008 and particularly regarding Senate races.

“Of perhaps greatest interest is the fact that on Election Eve in 2012, PEC called every close Senate race correctly – 10 out of 10,” Wang wrote. “Silver is protesting against a model that has consistently matched or outperformed his own calls since he came onto the scene (see 20082010, and 2012).”

One more link, from The Daily Beast, Why Is Nate Silver So Afraid of Sam Wang?

Why is Nate Silver so scared of Sam Wang? Silver, who is legendary for his election forecasts, is the darling of political empiricists, sitting atop his personal empire of data-driven journalism at ESPN. Wang is a Princeton professor who also predicts elections, but he’s hardly a household name. So why won’t Silver leave him alone?

The two crystal ball gazers have been engaged in a running battle on Twitter, on their own websites, and in the media at large. Silver’s forecasts say Republicans will take control of the Senate in November; Wang’s have the Democrats maintaining their grip. But it’s okay for two guys to have different forecasts, right?

It isn’t for Silver. He’s been attacking Wang relentlessly, calling his methodology  “wrong” and Wang himself “deceptive.” Silver could simply wait for the election results to come in and compare his forecasts’ accuracy with Wang’s across all the Senate races. Instead, he’s doing everything possible to discredit Wang before Election Day.

Here’s my guess at the reasons why. First, Silver fears Wang. In 2012, Wang’s model did a better job predicting the presidential election. Wang called not only Obama’s electoral college total of 332 votes, which Silver matched, but he also nailed the popular vote almost perfectly. Wang’s model also picked the winner inevery single Senate race in 2012. It’s not good for business if Silver keeps coming up second-best.

But more importantly, Wang is the only one predicting Democrats will win. This represents a huge risk for Silver. If every forecaster had Republicans taking the Senate, then they’d all be either right or wrong in November; no one would have a better headline the next morning than Silver. There might be differences in the accuracy of predictions for each seat, but there’d be little embarrassment for Silver even if someone else happened to hit closer to the mark in a few races.

Well, that’s all very interesting, and I plan to keep an eye on the feud between these two geeks. Who is right? We’ll know in a few weeks, and I’m rooting for Sam Wang for obvious reasons.


Bill Cassidy and Mary Landrieu

Bill Cassidy and Mary Landrieu

So let’s take a quick look at some of the close Senate races. Dakinikat has been keeping us posted on Mary Landrieu’s race against Bill Cassidy, but here’s an interesting article in The Economist, published over the weekend, The dynast, the doctor and the gator-wrestler.

Mr Cassidy, a Republican, is hoping to snatch a Senate seat from Mary Landrieu, the Democratic incumbent, who was first elected in 1996. That year Bill Clinton took Louisiana, but since then the state has turned strongly Republican. Ms Landrieu has hung on through luck, grit and local loyalty: her father was a notable mayor of New Orleans, and her brother is mayor now. But this year, with a deeply unpopular Democrat in the White House, she is struggling.

Mr Cassidy…has attacked Ms Landrieu for living in Washington, DC (she claims her parents’ home as her residence in Louisiana); for using federal money to pay for campaign trips; and for supporting Obamacare. In one advert, he accuses her of voting to “put illegal immigrants ahead of veterans”, despite having voted for the same benefit cuts. Ads from outside groups accuse the senator of wanting to ban guns and spend taxpayers’ cash on abortions. Roadside billboards show her smiling and waving with Barack Obama.

Ms Landrieu, for her part, stresses her independence and her ability, as head of the Senate energy committee, to bring jobs to Louisiana. On a tour of a refinery near Lake Charles, an oil city near the Texan border, she shouts over the din that, “unlike some parts of the country”, in Louisiana people are not afraid of heavy industry, and nods approvingly on hearing that workers without college degrees can make $80,000 a year working there.

As Dakinikat has also explained,

Her best hope is to woo moderates in places like Lake Charles and get out the black and liberal vote in New Orleans, the biggest city in Louisiana. That is possible. In a new CNN poll Ms Landrieu led Mr Cassidy 43% to 40%, with 9% opting for a third candidate, Rob Maness. If no one wins more than 50% of the vote on November 4th, a run-off between the top two candidates will be held in December. Turnout tends to be low in run-offs, which usually helps Republicans, whose older, whiter supporters are more likely to bother to vote twice. In a two-person race Mr Cassidy would beat Ms Landrieu by 50% to 47%, according to CNN. Other polls agree.

Scott Brown and Jeanne Shaheen

Scott Brown and Jeanne Shaheen

The competitive race closest to me is in New Hampshire, where carpetbagger from Massachusetts Scott Brown is trying to unseat Democratic incumbent Jeanne Shaheen. WBUR in Boston has the latest, N.H. Senate Race: Lots Of Polling, Little Movement. According to WBUR, NH voters have been polled more than those in any other state. But Shaheen has held a small lead consistently over time.

Despite all the attention from pollsters and outside groups, the New Hampshire Senate race seems stable. When we last checked in on the campaign, several polls showed a tighter race than when Brown first threw his hat in the ring back in April. Since then, the Huffington Post Pollster model has held roughly steady, with Jeanne Shaheen maintaining a 4-point lead.

Most recent media polls have shown Shaheen with leads of between 5 and 10 points. The only polls to show Brown actually in the lead have been conducted by Republican partisan pollsters, and those pollsters have a motive (and a tendency) to release only the results most favorable to their side.

Obviously, all the attention is because the NH race could affect overall control of the Senate.

Forecasting control of the Senate is the big game for the exploding industry of aggregators who rate, average and recycle others’ polls. HuffPollster has a model, as does Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight and the New York Times’ Upshot, to name just a few. All three of these sites give the Republicans a narrow edge in winning control of the upper chamber. And if New Hampshire goes for Brown, the odds of a GOP Senate takeover rise considerably. In the HuffPollster model, for example, a Brown victory would give the Republicans a 66 percent chance of Senate control, up from 51 percent today.

But it’s important to understand what the aggregators mean by these numbers. A forecast that Republicans have a 59 percent chance of taking control of the Senate (a recent FiveThirtyEight estimate) is not the same as a poll saying Candidate A has 59 percent of the vote. That 59 percent figure is a measure of the probability of that outcome actually happening in November. As Harry Enten of FiveThirtyEight helpfully analogized, right now the Republicans have the same chance of taking the Senate as a football team up by a single point has of winning with six minutes left in the game.

As we’ve seen, the battle among poll aggregators Silver and Wang is, if anything, more cutthroat than the race between Brown and Shaheen.

Yesterday, we learned that the latest Bluegrass Poll shows Allison Grimes leading Mitch McConnell by two points. From WKYT.com:

With just a month before the November 4 election, a new Bluegrass Poll shows Grimes leading McConnell 46 percent to 44 percent in the poll of 632 likely voters. Libertarian David Patterson remains a distant third….

“These results indicate what we’ve known for several months,” said WKYT political editor Bill Bryant. “We have a competitive and closely watched senate race in Kentucky. It will be interesting to see how the candidates motivate their supporters down the homestretch.” [….]

While the results remain within the poll’s margin of error of four percentage points, they are a shift from July and August Bluegrass Polls which showed McConnell with the advantage.

“This close to an election it’s hard to distinguish between what we call noise in the data and what are actual findings,” Youngman told WKYT’s Bill Bryant. “Like you said, this does match up with what Alison Lundergan Grimes has found which is a two point lead for her. But it is in stark contrast with what we have found in every other poll that has been released.”

The statewide shift toward Grimes could be the work of her improved standing among eastern Kentucky voters which had been a stronghold for McConnell. During the past month, Grimes campaigned with former President Bill Clinton in the area and launched a new campaign ad showing her skeet shooting and proclaiming “I’m not Barack Obama.” Obama remains unpopular in Kentucky, with a 29 percent favorable rating and 55 percent unfavorable rating.

“What we are looking at now is a 16 point flip from the last time we polled,” said Youngman. “What we haven’t been able to figure out is what would account for such a dramatic change. Obviously, Alison Lundergan Grimes has made eastern Kentucky a focal point of her campaign and it’s entirely possible that the combination of ads and her effort to portray herself as a pro-coal Democrat are finally starting to work at a time when people are paying attention.”

Is the poll an outlier, as the McConnell camp claims, or does it reflect real movement in the Kentucky Senate race? We’ll have to wait and see.

This post is getting way too long, so I think I’ll continue looking at the close Senate races, and write more about them on Thursday morning. Meanwhile, if there’s an important Senate race that you know about, please let me know in the comments.

I’ll leave you with a few more relevant links from today’s news:

Huffington Post, Unlikely South Dakota Senate Race Attracts Big Money From Campaign Finance Reformers.

FiveThirtyEight, Senate Update: Don’t Forget About Kentucky And Georgia.

Saporta Report, If the U.S. Senate race and the governor’s race end up in run-offs, Georgia will be in nation’s spotlight.

Reuters, ‘Big Dog’ Clinton back in Little Rock for key U.S. Senate race.

Christian Science Monitor, Is Pat Roberts really 10 points behind in Kansas Senate race?

As always, please post your thoughts and comments on any topic in the thread below. Have a terrific Tuesday, everyone!



46 Comments on “Tuesday Reads: Who Will Win Control of the U.S. Senate?”

  1. Pat Johnson says:

    Like you I am more than a little concerned about the midterm elections. The thought that the GOP could be in control of both Houses is truly alarming.

    But here in MA I also have a feeling that Charlie Baker will actually pull a win over Coakley. He seems to be moving up bit by bit in the polls even though he is supposed to be behind in the women vote.

    And it also seems that those GOP governors running for re-election stand a good chance of keeping their jobs regardless of the fact that so many of them are facing corruption charges.

    You just cannot underestimate the “stupidity” of the public who would rather cut off their noses for spite.

    If this nation goes “GOP” we are in for years of governing ignorance and a greater division between “the haves” and the “have nots”.

    • bostonboomer says:

      OMG! I can’t imagine Charlie Baker winning after all the sexist things he’s said. I need to look into governor’s races too. I’ve really had my head in the sand about the approaching midterms.

  2. janicen says:

    I’m cautiously optimistic for a Dem victory in the Senate but then I may just be clinging to that notion in order to maintain my sanity. It’s all going to come down to whether or not the Republicans were successful in their voter suppression efforts and whether Dems get out and vote. Right now everything is too close to call and IMO Dems benefit when they are considered underdogs. If Dems have a comfortable lead in the polls, they stay home. If they think they might lose, they get out and vote.

    If anyone else has contributed money to any Dem you know what I’m talking about when I say we are being bombarded with emails asking for more money. The emails I’m getting are going back and forth: “This poll says we’re ahead” “That poll says we’re behind”. I’ve removed myself from more mailing lists and I’m still getting slammed and I’m not a major contributor by any stretch of the imagination. I tossed a little to Jack Trammel and a little to Mark Warner and that was it. Polls say that Trammel is not going to win Eric Cantor’s seat and that’s a shame. He’s a really great guy. He and his wife showed up at a phone bank about a month ago and posed for pictures with us and then sat down and started making calls. They were so nice and it was a riot listening to Jack Trammel call people and say, “Yeah, I’m really the guy who’s running…” and Audrey Trammel would say, “please get out and vote for my husband” In the meantime Dave Brat keeps refusing to debate Trammel because then everyone would realize how freaking crazy he is.

    Fingers crossed. Please vote.

    • bostonboomer says:

      I can’t afford to contribute and I’m not even a registered Dem anymore–I switched to Independent four years ago–but I get multiple emails from both Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey just about every day.

      • janicen says:

        Oh they’ve lowered their limit. You can contribute as little as $5.00! LOL! But then you’ll be on their list…

  3. ANonOMouse says:

    I have no particular expertise at gauging the polls, but following the polls through RCP it appears to me that the GOP is likely to win control of the Senate by a 52-48 margin with one of those 48 being an Independent from KS who is likely to vote (on most issues) with the Dems. I’m not as disturbed as some folks about the GOP controlling both houses because they still won’t have the votes or a supermajority (in either house) required to override a Presidential Veto.

    The only thing I fear is that Obama may, like Bill Clinton, compromise on some issues that are near and dear to his base. Remember Clinton went along with Gingrich on “Workfare” (don’t tell the GOP but there really aren’t many welfare recipients anymore). And then there was DADT and DOMA. So Clinton caved a bit when he faced a GOP House and Senate and even though much of it has been undone, it took years to undo the damage. I think Bill caved to avoid the appearance of not being willing to compromise, much of that brought on by the Lewinsky witch hunt that haunted his entire 2nd term. Still, if the Senate does go GOP all we can do is put pressure on Obama not to give up our hard won gains.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Good points. Real Clear Politics is a Republican-leaning site, so for now I’m going to stick with Sam Wang, who had a perfect record in 2012.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        When I talk about RCP the only thing I really pay attention to there are the polls (which are paid for by organizations on the right, the left and a few unaffiliated). Still after Obama vs. Romney, we found out that most of the polls, no matter the lean or lack of it, were flawed. I’ve been reading both Silver and Wang and my heart sides with Wang, but most of the polls don’t. We still have nearly 4 weeks which, as we all know, is forever in politics. Here’s to hoping that Wang is the winner.

    • Sweet Sue says:

      Clinton was a rock compared to the current President.
      Clinton vetoed “welfare reform” twice until the republicans agreed to a lot of safety net/job training/money for education measures.
      And he signed on to DOMA to forestall a Constitutional Amendment banning same sex marriages.
      Let’s never forget that he actually raised the tax rates of the wealthy; something Obama has been unable to contemplate, much less propose.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        I understand what you’re saying Sue, but don’t entirely agree. When Bill Clinton signed onto DADT, he had the support of much of the gay community. He and most of us actually believed that it would stop the witch hunts that were used at the time to ferret out L/G service members. Instead the DADT law was exploited by the military to do the exact opposite of what Clinton intended. Welfare reform was and is to my mind a big mistake on Clinton’s part. For the poor and those on the margins to get assistance from the government they have to jump through hoops from the beginning of the process until the end. Most of the benefits provided are so short lived and require so much validation and re-validation of resources they do little to help those truly in need and in fact create additional burdens on the most needy. The only people who can qualify for long term welfare assistance are the physically, mentally or emotionally disabled living at or below the poverty level. As for DOMA, the L/G community was in opposition from the beginning. I don’t think there was any chance that a Constitutional Amendment would have been ratified by enough states. The fear that sparked DOMA was the attempt to legalize same sex marriage in Hawaii and the efforts to legislate civil unions in Vermont. We all remember the battle to get the Equal Rights Amendment ratified and how difficult and long the process is. A 2/3 majority in both houses of the U.S. Congress is required and then it must be ratified by 3/4 of the States legislatures some with a majority vote. Of course keeping gays from civil marriage was a popular idea at the time, but I don’t believe the idea could have survived the process. As for the tax rate increase on the Rich, I’ll give Bill a big back slap for that. FWI….I voted for Bill Clinton and worked for both of his campaigns at the local level. I still believe he was one of our best presidents, but he made mistakes.

        • ANonOMouse says:

          Also concerning DOMA…Even though most L/G’s opposed DOMA, at the time it was signed into law in 1996 we didn’t expect much consequence of the ACT. There were no States with same sex marriage or even civil unions when the law was signed so the attitude was “you can’t take away something I don’t even have”. It’s only been 18 years since DOMA was signed and it’s already been struck down and we now have Civil Marriage in 20 states, soon to be 30 states. We’ve come a long way baby!!!!! 🙂

        • Sweet Sue says:

          I defer to your knowledge of DOMA, but I live in Ohio and people came out in droves to vote to ban same sex marriages, and in California, too!
          The fact that Rove put those measures on the ballots put Bush over the top in 2004; I believe (maybe, I’m wrong) that an amendment banning SSM could have passed into the Constitution and, oh, what a shitstorm it would have taken to get it out.
          The welfare (Aid To Dependent Families) system did need an overhaul and might have worked in the long run if the American people had voted in smart, capable politicians instead of these stark raving, mad teabaggers.
          Anyway, that’s my two cents.

    • janicen says:

      “…Clinton caved a bit…” is a little unfair. Any President has to compromise or none of his agenda will be passed. Remember even with a Democratic majority in the Senate you still have blue dogs who have to get reelected or you lose your majority. He did succeed in getting the Family/Medical Leave Act passed, something I have used myself and the Motor/Voter registration laws. Also there was the program that increased childhood immunizations. A lot of Clinton’s initiatives benefited poor and middle class people. And I might be mistaken but wasn’t there a tax increase on the wealthy? I’m not criticizing Obama because at least he got the ACA through, but I don’t think it’s fair to criticize a President for compromising. That’s what they’re supposed to do. It’s the only way anything can get done.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        Janicen….I understand where you’re coming from. And I absolutely agree that compromise is necessary to get anything done. Still. I believe his compromise on welfare reform was a big mistake. To my mind it was the equivalent of a compromise that would impact benefits of Medicare/Medicaid/SS. I totally understand the logic behind him signing DADT, but DOMA was a bridge too far. I understand what the pressures of that decision were in 1996 but even Bill Clinton has said on many occasions that he regretted signing DOMA. Unlike other Presidents (thinking of GWB) Bill Clinton isn’t afraid to admit his mistakes.

        The other accomplishments of Bill Clinton that you noted, were very important, and as I said I think Clinton was one of the best Presidents in my lifetime.

        • janicen says:

          I’m pretty sure he said in an interview that his signing of DOMA was a compromise he made so he could get his budget passed. Considering the attitude of the country at the time, it really seemed to be an unnecessary protection for those who want to deny equal rights to LG since no state was even close to considering legalizing same sex marriage. I’m sure looking back almost two decades he wishes things had been different but again, it’s not like it was part of his agenda. It was a compromise.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        Janicen & Sweet Sue…..Well at least we can agree to disagree and still love Bill and still stand together as blog friends. It won’t be too long until we’re going to be shoulder to shoulder fighting battles for Hillary. Now that’s a battle I look forward to. Peace Friends….Mouse

        • janicen says:

          Never! lol! It’s a family joke, I never agree to disagree! 😀

        • janicen says:

          LOL! Well you’ve been busy. What jumped out at me from the NYT article you linked to was this…

          The bill passed with overwhelming margins, enough to override a veto.

          So he’s a bad person for avoiding a veto override in an election year? Earlier in the article it reminds us how he proposed allowing gay people in the military and got his ass handed to him. We elect politicians not fictional characters. He had no choice but to sign the bill.

          • ANonOMouse says:

            Actually, I’m never very busy. That’s one of the great advantages of being an old woman. :-). I do have a great memory though and I remembered reading several articles about Clinton, his call for SCOTUS to repeal DOMA and his regret about signing DOMA prior to the SCOTUS repeal. Just one Google query and it served up a whole plate of articles.

            “Earlier in the article it reminds us how he proposed allowing gay people in the military and got his ass handed to him”

            I remember it well. I have 4 lesbian friends who are career military and we were all excited at the time about the prospect of DADT actually protecting their career. I said in an earlier comment that most people in the L/G community understood his compromise on DADT because we believed, if implemented properly, it would stop the witch hunts. Unfortunately it didn’t.

            “He had no choice but to sign the bill”

            In the words of Madam Secretary (I’m already a fan of the show), “I’ve never met a situation where I didn’t have a choice”. Bill had a choice. I don’t think he’s a “bad person”, I think he’s a politician who made a bad choice that he later regretted. That choice didn’t affect most American’s, and in the beginning many in the L/G community weren’t affected either. Most of us saw it is as an effort to deny us a right that we didn’t have, but it became a problem later as states began legislating gay marriage and those marriages were not recognized in other states or by the Federal Government. It’s sort of Jim Crow for Gays. You can be a U.S. Citizen, you can pay taxes and you can vote, but you can’t have the same civil rights and constitutional protections that heterosexual couples have. Any law that singles out a minority group, marginalizes that group, then denies them the protections of the Full Faith and Credit Clause and Equal Protection is a bad law.

          • ANonOMouse says:

            And for the record. If I remember correctly most of the Democrats in both houses melted down and turned to pure chicken shit on the DOMA vote. Nothing like an impending election to turn a politician into chicken shit.

            Since you won’t agree to disagree, then we’ll just have to disagree. LOL!!!!!!

        • janicen says:

          Well I’m not saying DOMA was a good thing and neither did Clinton. You are right to say that you always have a choice and I was wrong to say Clinton didn’t have a choice. He had a choice. He could have vetoed the bill and had the veto overridden in the same year he was to be reelected so it would be fresh in voters’ minds therefore jeopardizing his chances of being reelected. We would have then had President Dole elected in 96. No way to be sure, but it’s safe to say that Bob Dole would not have been a friend to the gay rights movement.

          I’m not going to condemn Clinton for his record on gay rights. One of his first initiatives was to allow gays in the military. What resulted was not a perfect solution in anybody’s estimation, but it was a first step. The ACA is not a perfect solution to our healthcare problems, but it’s a first step that no other president was able to accomplish. 20/20 hindsight can be a cruel tool when it is used to pass judgment without context.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    According to this writer at MLive, it’s looking like Carl Levin’s seat is safe for Democrats.

    Susan J. Demas: Michigan may boast the most boring U.S. Senate race of 2014

  5. ANonOMouse says:

    Here’s todays DSCC Senate Projection: Democrats 51 – Republicans 49

    Sounds good to me.

  6. dakinikat says:

    From Pam Spauldings’s Facebook:

    Michelangelo Signorile: “On a panel at VVS titled “The Future of Marriage,” Frank Schubert, the mastermind strategist of the Proposition 8 campaign and other marriage ban campaigns across the country, said that if by chance marriage equality opponents lost at the high court, as pretty much happened yesterday, they would have to go the route they did with abortion after Roe v. Wade. They’d have to seek “incremental” wins, he said, as they did then, chipping away slowly at abortion rights, which of course has been very successful. Schubert then said they’d have to the find the gay “version” of “partial birth abortion.” I almost fell off my seat on that one. Later, I asked Schubert what he meant by that statement (listen to the audio above), and he talked about “conscience clauses” and “religious liberties,” which brings us back to Hobby Lobby, businesses that don’t want to serve gays, adoption by gay parents, and lots of other issues.”


  7. dakinikat says:


    Sigh. So What Have We Learned? Conservatives respond instinctually, not rationally, to scary images, “facts,” and institutions. Whether this is innate and biological or cultural seems still up in the air. Democrats can’t with with logical arguments or even appeals to the innate rightness of concepts like “diversity” and “tolerance,” because those aren’t considered essentially good and important by the voters they’re trying to appeal to. This does suggest that an appeal to old New Deal institutional concepts like the Welfare State might actually be effective, if they’re wrapped in the flag and a sense of duty. Also scientists still consider the majority of Americans to be like a fascinating exotic backwards tribe and the fucking country is doomed.

  8. Sweet Sue says:

    All of a sudden, I’m in moderation?

  9. ANonOMouse says:

    BREAKING: Ninth Circuit Court Strikes Down Marriage Bans In Nevada & Idaho

  10. Please, after looking at those predictions , the future looks disastrous.

  11. janicen says:

    Watching now. Chuck Todd is moderating the Mark Warner/Ed Gillespie debate.

    • janicen says:

      Gillespie’s opening statement: He keeps repeating the phrase, “the Obama/Warner policies”. lol! I guess that’s the strategy.

    • janicen says:

      I’d love to see a debate where there was a rule that you could not attack or address anything about your opponent. Just give us your honest opinion on an issue. nothing more. I’m tired of watching them throw barbs back and forth.

      • bostonboomer says:


        Did you hear about the breaking news from VA?

        Court declares Virginia’s congressional map unconstitutional

        A panel of federal judges on Tuesday declared Virginia’s congressional maps unconstitutional because they concentrate African American voters into a single district at the expense of their influence elsewhere.

        The decision, handed down in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, orders the Virginia General Assembly to draw up new congressional maps by April — potentially launching a frenzied and highly political battle for survival within Virginia’s congressional delegation.

        • janicen says:

          Yes! I’m hoping it’s just the beginning of challenging gerrymandering in courts all over the country! It’s certainly good news for Virginia.

  12. bostonboomer says:

    Delaware mom arrested after daughter takes heroin to day care center

    A Delaware mom was detained after her young daughter allegedly took 249 baggies of heroin to her day care center and — thinking they were candy — gave them to other kids.

    The 4-year-old reportedly took a different bag than usual to Hickory Tree Child Care Center on Monday after a pet had soiled her usual backpack.

    On arriving at the center she discovered the baggies and, believing they were sweet treats left by her 30-year-old mom Ashley Tull, started handing them out to her friends.

    Troopers were called at 11:45 a.m. after staff spotted the youngsters running around with the small bags.

    They found a total of 3.735 grams of heroin.

  13. bostonboomer says:

    More Bad News for the GOP: Hillary Clinton Could Turn Georgia Into a Swing State in 2016


  14. ANonOMouse says:

    Those polls look promising. If you remember Bill won KY, TN, GA, AR and LA in 1992, In 1996 he kept KY, TN, AR, LA, he lost GA but he picked up FL.