Friday, August 01, 2008

Election bits from the experts

By Carol Gee

It is just a bit over three months until the 2008 elections. We will begin to get more involved and excited as we watch the conventions and the opinion polls. But right now, we have passed into the predictable -- negative campaigning, which often works, according to the experts.

The presidential campaign is getting really nasty reports one of my favorites, The Washington Post's Eugene Robinson. In my opinion the tactical change is the result of the Republicans' realizations that they stand a good chance of losing, not only the presidency, but a significant number of congressional elections.

An "Analysis: GOP Poised for Huge Losses,"(7/29/08) by Josh Kraushaar and Reid Wilson, can be read in full at As examples here are 10 of their predictions about races for the U.S. Senate seat.

  1. Democrat Mark Warner could become Virginia's new senator.

  2. Democrat Tom Udall might win New Mexico's senate seat.

  3. Ted Stevens' indictment leaves Alaska's Republicans very vulnerable.

  4. Former Democratic Gov. Jeanne Shaheen might beat Republican Senator John Sununu.

  5. Colorado hosts another Udall contest (in this case Mark U. leads in the polls) against Republican, Bob Schaffer.

  6. The authors believe that Louisiana Democrat Mary Landrieu "is the most, and perhaps the only, vulnerable Democrat this year."

  7. Oregon Republican Senator Gordon Smith sometimes votes with the Democrats and thus might be vulnerable to defeat by his Republican constituents, is the thought.

  8. Republican North Carolina Senator Elizabeth Dole is a fixture in the Senate but the DSCC has reserved nearly $6 million in ad time in the state, believing that state Senator Kay Hagan will run a good race.

  9. Mississippi's Republican appointed senator may not be able to take his election to a full term. He is running against a former governor.

  10. Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) also votes with the Democrats at times, but "polls show this race may be a blowout for Collins."

"The Party Registration Gap"(7/17/08) by Ed Kilgore at The Democratic Strategist, is a story that adds interesting information to the above analysis. To quote:

Keep in mind that only 29 states (plus DC) register voters by party. So [Cook's] national numbers--a total increase in Dem registration of about 700,000, and a decline in GOP registration by about a million--just show part of the picture.

But far more significant are the trends in some of the battleground states. Combining D and R numbers, the net shift towards Democratic as opposed to Republican registrations since November of 2004 has been 124,000 in Oregon, 94,000 in Iowa, 60,000 in both Colorado and Nevada, 33,000 in New Hampshire, and 30,000 in Arizona.

"The Ethics of picking a Vice-President", (7/15/08) was written by Bruce Weinstein, PhD. (he calls himself "the ethics guy") in Business Week. He makes these thoughtful points, which I quote:

. . . for ethical reasons, the question of how a Vice-Presidential pick would help Obama's or McCain's electability cannot be the sole concern.

. . . it might be easier to have a yes-man or yes-woman as Veep, but with so much at stake for the country and the world, such a person might allow a troublesome decision to go unchallenged.

. . . If McCain or Obama believes a person is not going to be the best Vice-President and best potential successor, that candidate should simply not be considered, no matter how appealing on the ticket.

. . . It's not just McCain and Obama but all of us in leadership roles who should keep in mind that what it's all about is making a positive difference in the lives of others. This is why ethics must be a central concern—not an afterthought—when the time comes to find the best person to succeed us.

Voters exercise expertise and leadership as they fact-check, talk to people they know about politics, or get involved in working for a campaign, either local or national. If you do it well, you are the best expert I can think of to safeguard this republic.

(Cross-posted at South by Southwest.)

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