Sunday, February 5, 2023
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Controversial politics, early voting fueled turnout in Mass. elections

[Daily News and Wicked Local Staff Photo/Art Illman] Statewide at least 59 percent of registered voters cast ballots on Nov. 6, marking the highest turnout for a midterm election since 1994 when Republicans throughout the country turned out in droves in a rebuke to then-President Bill Clinton. Statewide turnout totaled at least 59 percent of registered voters, marking the highest turnout for a midterm election since 1994 when Republican voters across the country turned out in droves in a rebuke to then-President Bill Clinton, a Democrat. In 2016, when Trump was elected, 74.5 percent of registered voters cast ballots in Massachusetts. In 2014, the last midterm election, turnout totaled 50.8 percent. The numbers look even worse during local municipal elections, Waddick added. “Sharon is a voting community. We vote. More than 1 million people, representing about 30 percent of voters, turned out early in 2016. This year, about 584,000 people -- representing roughly 21.6 percent of voters -- voted early. But the convenience of early voting, which gives residents the opportunity to vote without reason during the two weeks prior to Election Day, doesn’t come without cost.

On Politics: The Biggest Stories of the Week

Democrats took the House, and Republicans got a stronger hold on the Senate: • The midterm elections ended Tuesday night with Democrats flipping more than two dozen Republican congressional districts to gain control of the House of Representatives. Read what the results tell us about the state of the nation. Some races — like in Florida and Georgia — are still undecided: • Election Day may be over, but there are several pivotal races across the country whose outcomes are still in doubt. • Brian Kemp, the Republican candidate for governor of Georgia, currently has 50.3 percent of the vote. If remaining ballots push that below 50 percent, the race will be decided by a runoff. Read about the women who led a parade of victories Tuesday to win control of the House for the Democrats. Read about his involvement. Mr. Trump said on Friday that he has not yet spoken to Mr. Whitaker about the special counsel investigation, and he distanced himself from the acting attorney general by suggesting that he did not know him. Additional Reading • Acting Attorney General Matthew G. Whitaker Once Criticized Supreme Court’s Power • Jeff Sessions Executed the Agenda of a President Who Could Not Look Past a Betrayal • Sessions, in Last-Minute Act, Sharply Limits Use of Consent Decrees to Curb Police Abuses Here’s what else happened this week. Mr. Trump said he would not meet with President Vladimir Putin of Russia this weekend.

Republicans Dominate State Politics. But Democrats Made a Dent This Year.

States in bold changed status in the previous two years, in some states including off-year and special elections National Conference of State Legislatures, Ballotpedia Democrats took outright control of seven chambers in six states, leaving Minnesota as the only state with a divided legislature. “They’re still trying to chip away at the thousand seats they lost over the course of the decade, to crawl out from those historic lows.” Democrats’ more impressive gains this week came in governor’s races, which will help them blunt the effect of some legislatures still in Republican control: Which party holds the governor's office Governorships that were held by a Republican, Democrat or a third party candidate. National Conference of State Legislatures, Ballotpedia Democrats won seven governor’s offices (with races in Florida and Georgia still undecided). (Democratic candidates won a majority of Senate seats there in 2012, but a group of them formed a coalition with Republicans, giving them control of the chamber, and our charts here reflect that Republican control). Where parties have unified state control State legislatures and governorships controlled by Republicans Democrats or were split. National Conference of State Legislatures, Ballotpedia Political scientists say that Republicans have become so dominant at the state level because of their focus on organization and alliances with well-funded pro-business groups, like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). “All those old clichés that ‘states are laboratories of democracy,’ that ‘all politics is local’ — it has been the opposite in the last decade.” Scholars suggest that Democrats and their donors might have been slow to respond to these trends in state politics because they’re philosophically more inclined to focus on what the federal government can do — and to be suspicious of “state control.” “That stems from how Democrats view how government should work,” said Mr. Morrison, the Democratic activist. State legislatures controlled by Republicans Democrats or were split. States in bold changed status in the previous two years, in some states including off-year and special elections National Conference of State Legislatures, Ballotpedia Governorships that were held by a Republican, Democrat or a third party candidate. National Conference of State Legislatures, Ballotpedia State legislatures and governorships controlled by Republicans Democrats or were split.

Admit it. Republicans have broken politics.

Over the past few decades, both Democrats and Republicans in Congress have moved away from the center. But the Republican Party has moved toward the extreme much more quickly — a trend that political scientists’ call “asymmetrical polarization.” That asymmetry poses a major obstacle in American politics. As Republicans have become more ideological, they’ve also become less willing to work with Democrats: filibustering Democratic legislation, refusing to consider Democratic appointees, and even shutting down the government in order to force Democrats to give in to their demands. Democrats have responded in turn, becoming more obstructionist as Republican demands become more extreme. And that’s made it really easy for media outlets to blame “both sides” for political gridlock. As political scientists Thomas Mann and Norm Ornstein explain in their book It’s Even Worse Than It Looks, journalists feel a pressure to remain neutral when covering big political fights. So politics coverage has been dominated by the myth that both parties are equally to blame for the gridlock in Washington. And the only way to stop Republicans in Congress from continuing their drift toward the extreme is to be brutally honest about who’s responsible for breaking our politics. You can find this video and all of Vox’s videos on YouTube. Subscribe for more episodes of Strikethrough, our series exploring the media in the age of Trump.

The Midterms Minute: White House women stump for Republicans

Women of the White House hit the campaign trail Some of the top Republican surrogates for the midterms have been female White House staffers. First of all, because they are not Donald Trump. New questions raised over Andrew Gillum’s FBI investigation Andrew Gillum, the Democratic nominee for Florida governor, has long faced scrutiny over an ongoing investigation about ethical lapses while serving as mayor of Tallahassee. Although Gillum has insisted he was not a target, it has still raised major questions about his ethics. Moderate Republican clinging on in south Florida Republican Carlos Curbelo is the model of a moderate Republican who has been able to win in a Democratic-leaning district. Poll of the day The special election for US Senate in Mississippi may be headed for a runoff. A new poll of likely voters in Mississippi has shows the incumbent Republican Cindy Hyde-Smith with 38%, Democrat Mike Espy with 29% and hard-right conservative Republican Chris McDaniel with 15%. So can Democrats win? Ad of the day The Republican governor of Illinois, Bruce Rauner, who is down by double digits in his reelection bid, has a new negative ad out hitting his Democratic opponent JB Pritzker for his ties to Democratic party boss Mike Madigan. It features a wedding with an actor depicting Madigan, who is also the state house speaker, tying the knot with billionaire heir Pritzker.

On Politics: G.O.P. Frames Midterms as Battle Over Race and Immigration

Good Tuesday morning. Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today. Read about the campaigning. • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin traveled to Saudi Arabia to discuss efforts to combat terrorist financing and spoke with the crown prince about the killing of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi. • Mr. Trump’s decision to abandon a nuclear disarmament treaty with Russia seems to end an important period of arms control and is causing new anxieties in Europe. • Two years ago, Mr. Trump and Senator Ted Cruz were far from friendly, describing each other with words like “unhinged” and “pathological liar.” But at a campaign rally for Mr. Cruz in Texas on Monday, they presented a united front. • Zak Ringelstein is a long-shot Democratic candidate for Maine senator. He was not home at the time. • With elections just around the corner, The Times has created a daily political analysis of the midterms called The Tip Sheet. Read today’s edition.

On Politics: Republicans Fret Over Key Battleground Races

Good Monday morning. Here are some of the stories making news in Washington and politics today. Read about Republicans’ struggles in those states. • The Trump administration is considering narrowly defining gender as a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth, which could roll back federal protections for transgender people. Read the story. • President Trump shifted his tone on Saudi Arabia again over the weekend, expressing doubt about the Saudi government’s claim that the journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed accidentally in a fistfight with Saudi operatives. Read more about Mr. Trump’s changing response. • Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin defended his decision to meet with Saudi officials this week, saying his aim was to reinforce ties at a critical moment. Now a Republican candidate for Senate in the state, his time in office has been costly for state taxpayers. Read about the debate.

Politics Podcast: What On Earth Should We Make Of The Democrats’ Huge Fundraising Edge?

House Democratic nominees are outraising Republicans in individual contributions by about two-to-one. The FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast crew debates how to make sense of a fundraising advantage that has no recent precedent: Does it foretell a better result for Democrats than expected, or have changes in fundraising methods made it a poor predictor of results? The team also reviews the marquee governors races on the ballot this fall. You can listen to the episode by clicking the “play” button in the audio player above or by downloading it in iTunes, the ESPN App or your favorite podcast platform. If you are new to podcasts, learn how to listen. The FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast publishes Monday evenings, with occasional special episodes throughout the week. Help new listeners discover the show by leaving us a rating and review on iTunes. Have a comment, question or suggestion for “good polling vs. bad polling”? Get in touch by email, on Twitter or in the comments.

The midterms minute: Sheldon Adelson showers cash on Republicans

Good evening, I’m Ben Jacobs with the latest from Washington and beyond. Will this help Republicans? He is still running in red state Texas and O’Rourke has consistently lagged behind Ted Cruz in the polls. Even though O’Rourke is not likely to make it over the top, his strength will help ensure Democrats pick up House seats in the Lone Star State. Wagner is upset that Wolf is refusing to debate him and the video, which goes on for several minutes, has other criticisms of Wolf as well. Poll of the day In September, Democrat Phil Bredesen had a narrow lead in Tennessee’s Senate race against Republican Marsha Blackburn. However, the popular former governor was their best candidate and gave Democrats a chance until the Kavanaugh fight energized Republicans and refocused the race on national issues. Does this mean Republicans will hold the Senate? : If Bredesen loses, there is almost no real path for Democrats to gain the two seats they need to regain control of the upper chamber. Ad of the day Incumbent Republican Mike Coffman faces a tough race in a district that Hillary Clinton won by nearly 10 points.

Politics Can’t Solve Our Political Problems

More Republicans and Democrats are placing politics at the center of their lives. ’ But nothing that happens in Washington is going to fix what’s wrong with America. Because we change jobs more often, we have fewer lasting work friendships. We move from place to place for relationships, economic opportunity and better weather—and we end up with economic opportunity and better weather. Sen. Sasse serving food at a picnic for a meat packing plant in Fremont, Neb., this summer. Americans have always had political disagreements with their neighbors, but in the past, political differences could disappear when Friday night ballgames rolled around and the whole town turned out wearing the same colors and cheering for the same team. Prof. Putnam defines the elite as people with at least one parent who graduated from college, which puts them in the top socioeconomic third of society. ’ In the U.S., the mobile and the stuck categories are growing, while the rooted are rapidly dwindling. Place is being undermined by the digital revolution, and all of us, wherever we fall along the social divide, are feeling the resultant hollow pain in our chests. Melissa and I have worked with our children to develop an imperfect, provisional strategy for engaging more meaningfully with our own community.