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RandySF's Journal
RandySF's Journal
October 31, 2014

Happy Halloween!!!

October 31, 2014

The Democrats' Ground Game May Be Falling Short in Iowa

Democrats have long contended that volunteers like Pollard, massed into a fiercely disciplined army and deployed in unprecedented numbers across states like this, will help them beat the odds in this difficult election year. But so far, the results look discouraging. Iowans have been voting for more than a month already—they can vote early in person at polling places or by requesting and returning a mail-in ballot—and it is Republicans who are encouraged by the numbers.

Early voting, which may account for as much as half the total Iowa vote, has traditionally been a Democratic strength. This year, for the first time in Iowa history, that changed. As of last Wednesday, registered Republicans accounted for more early voters than registered Democrats, by a margin of 305 ballots—a tiny edge, but the first time the GOP had ever led in early votes. The lead has since been reversed, and as of Sunday, 124,000 registered Democrats and 122,000 registered Republicans had voted.

But that Democratic edge pales in comparison to past elections. In 2012, when President Obama won the state, about 67,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans voted early. Even in 2010, when the state's Democratic governor was getting creamed by his Republican challenger, about 20,000 more Democrats than Republicans voted early in Iowa—but more Republicans voted on Election Day, erasing Democrats' early advantage. (These statistics don't take into account independent voters, and they account only for which party voters register with, not which they actually vote for. But both parties watch them closely as an indicator of their mobilization efforts.)

Iowa Republicans worked for this result—the state party has poured $1 million into early-vote activation—but they are actually a little shocked to see this much success. "I wish I could tell you this was the master plan, to actually pull ahead in the early vote," Jeff Kaufmann, the mustached community-college professor who chairs the Iowa GOP, tells me. "I would have been happy if we were only behind by 20,000." If Democrats fail to produce either a massive late surge of early voters or an unprecedented Election Day turnout, it is rapidly becoming mathematically impossible for them to win the state, Republican operatives say. In 2010, the GOP won Election Day by 9 percentage points. "The only way Joni loses is if the Democrats are doing something we can't see," David Kochel, a strategist for Braley's opponent, Joni Ernst, tells me.


October 31, 2014

Report: Turnout is way up in Democratic NC counties.

We’re seven days in to early voting for this election cycle and nearly 600,000 votes have been cast across North Carolina. Seven days in to the general election in 2010, only around 252,000 votes had been cast across the state.

Turnout in all four Triangle counties has been huge. With two days left of early voting, the number of votes cast in Wake, Durham, Orange and Chatham Counties exceeds the cumulative number of votes cast up to and including the seventh day of early voting in 2010, by two- or or three-fold. Of course for this election cycle, the number of days we have to vote early has been cut from 17 down to 10; voters seem to have taken notice of this shortened allotted time

Here are the total numbers of early votes by County, tallied from the first day of early voting (last Thursday) through yesterday, Wednesday, October 29. We compared them to turnout in the first seven days of early voting in 2010 (note we didn’t use 2012, since it was a Presidential election year).


October 31, 2014

*sigh* According to the teacher, my Little Angel is no angel.

No, he's not a bad kid, but at Parent/Teacher Conference I learned that our son is a little too sociable for his own good. too sociable and more focused on the upcoming basketball season than his writing lessons, and it showed in his report card. I guess this the time to put away my "buddy" persona and just be "dad" for a while. He's not going to like it. But it's for the best.

October 31, 2014

Election Day Could Bring Raises To 680,000 Low-Wage Workers

Voters in five states — Alaska, Arkansas, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota — will decide on ballot initiatives proposing an increase in the states’ minimum wages. Four of the initiatives would be binding; in Illinois, the ballot measure is only advisory.

The votes come at a time when the minimum wage has emerged as a national issue. President Obama has proposed raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour from its current level of $7.25. Labor activists have gone further, pushing for a $15 “living wage.”1

Efforts to raise the federal minimum wage have foundered, but have made progress at the state and local level. Several states, including California and New York, have passed legislation to increase their minimum wages in recent years. The city of SeaTac, Washington, last year voted to increase its to $15 an hour, the highest in the country; nearby Seattle this year decided to follow suit, although it will phase in its increase gradually over seven years.

Economists are divided over whether these efforts are a good idea. In a working paper released Monday, David Neumark, J.M. Ian Salas and William Wascher fired the latest salvo in a long-running battle over the effects of raising the minimum wage. Neumark, his coathors and their allies argue raising the minimum wage leads to lost jobs; their opponents, including University of Massachusetts economist Arindrajit Dube, argue the impact on employment is minimal. A 2008 meta-study looked at 64 minimum-wage analyses and concluded that they generally found little to no impact on employment. A poll of leading economists last year found them nearly evenly divided on the question of whether a $9-an-hour minimum wage would “make it noticeably harder for low-skilled workers to find employment.”


October 30, 2014

Alison Lundergan Grimes May Have Found Mitch McConnell's Weak Spot

WASHINGTON -- With Alison Lundergan Grimes down in almost every poll in a tight race against Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, her success may hinge on whether she can bring Paducah, a small city more than three hours west of Louisville, into her camp.

Paducah has long been a lynchpin in McConnell's simple but effective "west of Interstate 65" strategy. McConnell, who started his career as a political moderate, has pursued a campaign strategy that depends on winning over the counties west of I-65, the highway that bisects Kentucky from Louisville in the north to the Tennessee border in the south. McCracken County, which covers Paducah, didn't swing McConnell's way when he was first elected to the Senate in 1984. But the county soon fell into McConnell's column and has remained there ever since.

McConnell has relied on a Cold War-era uranium facility for the core of his support. The plant helped put Paducah on the map, and the town's identity has long been tied to it. Paducah called itself "The Atomic City" during the postwar years, and murals celebrating its 1950s heyday still line the town's floodwall along the Ohio River. By the mid-1980s, however, the Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant had become a relic. As similar facilities were shuttered in other states, McConnell pitched himself as the one man who could work the Senate to keep the plant open.

This is the first campaign in which the plant could be a liability for him. After decades of decline, it finally shut down this year, when the last of its more than 1,000 operators were laid off.


October 30, 2014

My 2014 Election Predictions for Senate and Governor: It's not that great.

Senate: We lose WV, SD, MT., CO, LA and AR, We hold onto to IA, NC and AK because of superior GOTV efforts. Roberts loses in KS but I don't know if the Independent will caucus with us.

Governor: We pick up ME, PA, MI, FL and KS but lose AR and MA. Quinn hangs on in IL by the skin of his teeth. Parnell loses in AK to the Independent.
October 30, 2014

GameStop Will Be Closed On Thanksgiving ‘Out Of Respect For Our Store Associates’

All 6,600 GameStop stores will be closed on Thanksgiving, the company told ThinkProgress. The stores will open on midnight on November 28th, Black Friday.

In describing why it decided not to open on the holiday, the company said in a statement:

At GameStop we often use the phrase “protect the family” in reference to our business. A large part of what that means to us is to not open any of our GameStop, SimplyMac, Spring Mobile or Cricket Wireless U.S. locations on Thanksgiving Day out of respect for our store associates and their families and friends. We believe it’s the right decision not only for our employees, but also for our customers. Enjoy this time with your loved ones and we’ll see you on Black Friday.

GameStop joins a growing list of national retail chains that are announcing they will stay closed on Thanksgiving Day. American Girl, Burlington, Dillard’s, Coscto, Nordstrom, Patagonia, and REI have all confirmed to ThinkProgress they will be closed. Many cite similar rationales as GameStop’s. Costco said it will be closed because, “Our employees work especially hard during the holiday season and we simply believe that they deserve the opportunity to spend Thanksgiving with their families.” Dillard’s explained, “We choose to remain closed on Thanksgiving in longstanding tradition of honoring of our customers’ and associates’ time with family.” Patagonia said simply, “It’s a holiday – we’re closed!”

That may sound logical, but Macy’s and Walmart have already said they’ll be open that day, meaning that employees will have to spend time at work instead of having a meal with family and friends. Last year, at least 10 other stores did the same thing. And that’s their prerogative, given hat the United States doesn’t guarantee paid holidays. Forty-five percent of service sector workers don’t get that benefit, and while the stores that open on the holiday say shifts are filled voluntarily, last year there were reports of workers being denied their requests to take the day off.

October 30, 2014

State Sen. Mark Leno considers challenging S.F. Mayor Ed Lee

Tech tensions between the public and City Hall have popular state Sen. Mark Leno considering a run for mayor next year — even if it means taking on incumbent Ed Lee.

For years, the former San Francisco supervisor-turned-assemblyman — and soon to be termed-out state senator — has had his eye on succeeding longtime Rep. Nancy Pelosi. But the combination of his age, 63, and Pelosi’s dogged determination to recapture the House speakership are not working in Leno’s favor.

At the same time, there has been a growing drumbeat among locals unhappy with the changes wrought under Lee’s tech-friendly policies.

Plus, there was a citywide poll in April that showed Leno as the only prospective candidate running ahead of Lee, 40 to 36 percent, in a face-to-face matchup in November 2015.


October 30, 2014

Bill Clinton to stump with Grimes in Louisville

Former President Bill Clinton will be in Kentucky on Thursday for rallies in support of U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes.

One rally will be at the Muhammad Ali Center in Louisville. The event is open to the public, and doors will open at 9 a.m. The other event is slated for noon in Ashland at Veteran's Riverfront Park.

The visit marks Clinton's fourth to Kentucky in support of Grimes, whose father, Jerry Lundergan, is a close friend of Clinton.

Clinton and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, have been an integral part of Grimes' election efforts. On Saturday, Hillary Clinton will make her second visit to the state, with stops in Lexington and Northern Kentucky.


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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit Area, MI
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Current location: San Francisco, CA
Member since: Wed Oct 29, 2008, 02:53 PM
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About RandySF

Partner, father and liberal Democrat. I am a native Michigander living in San Francisco who is a citizen of the world.
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