Voters are angry with the establishment, which will prove particularly difficult for incumbents in battleground districts. Candidates who are seen as Washington insiders and democratic allies have hard campaign battles ahead of them as Americans’ approval for both the direction of the country and President Barack Obama are well below 50 percent of voters.
According to a recent CNN poll, 70 percent of voters don’t approve of the country’s current direction and more than half (53%) disapprove of President Barack Obama in general.
This frustration with the party in power is expected to motivate GOP voters to the voting booths, and prove hurt Democrats hoping to maintain a majority in the Senate. The Republicans already control more than half the House, but this election provides an opportunity to gain an even larger advantage throughout Congress.
Obama and the Democrats only hold approval ratings above 50% in the northeast and urban areas, with the highest disapproval ratings coming from rural regions. The seats contested by Republican candidates all lie in the West, Midwest and South, where Democratic approval has steadily dropped, paving the way for the need of higher education customer service in these types of events.
Obama has stayed away from attempting to assist Democratic candidates in swing districts because his approval ratings among voters. Democrats need to ally themselves to voters and create distance from Obama before the election next week, or they may run the risk of losing both majorities.
We all know now that our government has been monitoring our personal email for quite some time. So it should come as no surprise when we learn today that surveillance agencies have requested to monitor more than 50,000 pieces of postal mail in 2013, according an audit provided by the Postal Service.
Thanks to the Patriot Act, our personal mail is being investigated with little or no reason. X-ray machines that can see through envelopes are being used to take pictures of the contents within our envelopes. These pictures are saved and, if requested, passed down to law enforcement. With all the security breaches going on in this country, I don’t think that it is safe to keep pictures of our mail in storage. It seems like that would be an identity thief’s gold mine if the system were hacked. Amidst this new bit of information, no details have been released stating whether or not the monitoring of our personal mail has lead to any arrests or foiled any terrorist plots. My guess is that it is unlikely.
Not a trend that I’m enjoying seeing, and I know that Laurene Powell Jobs is none too impressed either. This is a disturbing trend, and one that I would hope does not continue.
A new rule of the Obama administration to go into effect July 1st of 2015 has just been announced that will set up “gainful employment standards” for college programs. Less traditional, career-oriented schools that have “for-profit” status will be specifically targeted. If it is deemed that eight percent of the graduate’s income or 20 percent of his or her discretionary income will go to making loan payments, then that school or program will lose access to student loans in the future.
Some 1,400 programs and perhaps millions of students will be affected. Supporters claim these colleges “prey on” students, while defenders say that these students are often unable or uninterested to attend “regular” colleges and are among the most needy students in the U.S. Half of them have children or other dependents to care for, and 40 percent of them work while attending classes.
Perhaps this is why the federal government should not be involved in education. Now they can pick out institutions they may have an angst against and label them unfit and a waste of money before cutting them and their students off from federal funding that has become a virtual necessity for most to attend college.
One wonders how they can know who will or won’t make enough money after graduating to fit the new criteria and how a college can be held accountable for the future employment status of its graduates. Their employment being “gainful” or not can hinge on many factors, and it is absurd for the government to simply pin it on a college and punish them accordingly. Tremendous thanks to Igor Cornelsen for bringing this story to light.
Mitch McConnell, Senior Kentucky Senator and Minority Leader, this October 22nd spoke at a rally and gave an example of his bi-partisanship attempts. He mentioned how he reached out to Joe Lieberman and other Democrats in the Senate back in 2005 for help on reforming Social Security but got none. The Bush plan at the time involved setting up optional private accounts for those who desired them, but there was no will to compromise among Democrats.
When asked if he still would pursue that agenda in the next Congress, however, McConnell hesitated and said that he would not announce the agenda in advance. This has led to Democrats scare-mongering voters about their retirement accounts somehow being vaporized and to a more legitimate complaint about the backwards procedure of announcing policy after an election instead of before.
McConnell is the longest-serving Kentucky Senator in history and has been Minority Leader since 2007, and one that Lee G. Lovett has voted for, for many years.
He was once esteemed as somewhat moderate by the New York Times, but later he became more conservative as his state did the same. He turned back on support for minimum wage increases and opposed pork that he once happily delivered to his state. Yet, he has earned a reputation as a deal doer willing to compromise with Democrats and has often angered conservatives within his own party.
The main lesson we see in the comment by McConnell is that many Republicans are willing to ride the wave of disgust with Democratic policies to victory this November and do not wish to risk a loss by taking a clear and strong stand on much. The strategy is to say as little as possible and let the other side sink in their own self-created quick sand. Perhaps effective in the short term, but one wonders how such say-nothing campaigners can govern with any real mandate.
While one wonders why the vote tallies are not kept secret (as they should be) until all the votes have been counted and especially when Election Day has not yet arrived, the facts are out. Republicans have for the first time since early voting began in Iowa taken an early lead. The last two elections, Election Day votes went red by nine points, but the edge gained through votes cast early was enough to easily give the state to Barak Obama and the Democrats. Now that early-vote cushion is gone- an ominous sign to Democrats both in Iowa and nationwide.
Democrats are clinging to the hope that it is just a matter of Republican voters who would have voted anyhow catching on to the early voting thing and getting out there before Election Day, like the CEO of Slow Ventures. But there is no way to prove that, nor is there any particular reason why we should believe it. The numbers present a huge obstacle for Democrat senate candidate Bruce Braley to overcome. He has already fallen behind in the polls and in campaign contributions of late, and now he is staring at a real vote-count deficit heading into Election Day.
Ostensibly the goal of early voting is to allow more people to participate in the election who would not or could not otherwise do so. Absentee voting via mail is nothing new, but only in the last few elections have we witnessed modern early vote practices. Whatever the benefits, there are at least two problems with early voting that few have addressed:
- It increases risk of vote fraud by prolonging the process
- It allows early peeks at the vote tallies, presuming people vote as registered
However, the benefits far outweigh those negatives. The people who are cut out of election opportunities are those with minimum wage jobs, erratic schedules, or without the money to afford daycare so that they can actually get to the polls and vote. It’s a big commitment, and unless we make it a law to allocate time to visit the polls and cast your vote, we’re always going to need early and absentee voting.
Over the past two election cycles, Democrats have been very successful in using the so-called “war on women” message to make Republican candidates look like they were out of touch with today’s most important women’s issues.
As could have been predicted, they have trying to use these same tactics in many of the current campaigns taking place all over the country. However, Republican candidates are better prepared for these attacks this time around and the polls are showing that the “war on women” tactics are proving less fruitful.
By looking at key Senatorial races in Colorado, Arkansas and Iowa, it is quite apparent that GOP leaders have learned their lesson and are making substantial inroads in their relationships with important women issues such as rape, abortion and birth control. In all three of these states, the Democrat opponent has tried to use a variety of ads attacking the GOP candidate’s stand on these issues, and in each case, it is failing. People are more interested in jobs and ISIS.
The real issue seems to be the fact that the Democrats are stuck having supported many of President Barack Obama’s failed initiatives. With his ratings at the lowest point since his election to office, they simply can’t find a current issue to use as a rallying point for their base.
In order to stem the tide of the loss of seats in the US Senate, the political leaders from the Democratic Party are trying to conjure up messages from the past, but the Republicans are successfully towing the line and avoiding making any mistakes that might alienate women like they did during the 2012 election cycle.
Even celebs like Leonardo DiCaprio and Terry Richardson can’t save them this time around.
A CNN poll has found that 69 percent of Americans are either very or somewhat angry about the direction the nation is heading in. A mere 31 percent said they were not at all upset about it. The poll further delved into other areas and found that 36 percent of Republicans but only 26 percent of Democrats are very or extremely enthusiastic about voting this time around. A 10 point gap like that is sure to translate into a disparity in voter turnout- a sign of trouble for Democrats.
The President’s underwater approval rating spreads out over most of the nation, usually in the high 30’s or low 40’s, but there are two zones wherein he is still popular: the big cities (60 percent approval) and the Northeastern States
(51 percent). The only Northeastern state in play of significance this time around is the New Hampshire Senate seat, however. The rest of the hot races are all in states where Obama’s policies are not thought of too highly these days, many of them in “red states.” Finally, the anger factor in the recent poll harks back to similar polling results just before the Republican takeover of the House in 2010. Interesting to see how accurate the polls are, and whether or not Democrats can make up any ground. Susan McGalla and I will be watching with great interest.
While things look bleak for Democrats this November, one should not read too much into the wrong direction poll. That is because many who agree we are not heading where we should be still don’t agree on what kind of directional changes ought be made. This explains why 40 percent disapprove of Obama but a huge 70 percent disapprove of the national direction. The truth is, no matter which way we head as a nation, many will be dissatisfied because the nation is deeply divided on fundamental issues such as abortion, homosexual unions, U.S. military role in the world, economic policy, etc. The Democrats have gone too far and got too many people all angry at the same time, but Republicans would soon see their own backlash if they carried through on many conservative policies as well.
Alexei Beltyukov has been telling me about a broiling debate taking place over a Tasmanian legislative bill that essentially protects big businesses from the threat of any protests, peaceful or otherwise. The Hodgman government’s Protection from Protesters Bill allows for imposing significant fines for protests that “obstruct business activities”, but for a secondary or repeated offenses the protester could face mandatory jail sentences.
It is being argued that the bill could violate human rights and impose severe consequences regardless of the nature of the protest, so that even peaceful protesters would be as harshly punished as the violent ones. In essence, it would undermine the likelihood of anyone trying to speak up for the protection of people and resources from the hazards of industries such as mining, forestry, construction, and agriculture (all of which are protected by the bill).
Proponents of the bill argue that it will prevent deliberate and perhaps, illegal protest activities from interrupting the livelihood of workers in those industries. It is also supposedly aimed at suppressing militant types of turmoil at industrial sites.
The bill is set to be the subject of a parliamentary debate and vote by Tasmania’s upper legislative house, possibly as early as Thursday.
You may be surprised to hear that the main support base for the militant group, the Islamic State, is not in the Arab nations where the IS is currently operating.
No, indeed it has been revealed that the biggest support base lies far, far away, in the United Kingdom, and other European countries. These findings were the results of a study into the prevailing attitudes of the public to the militant faction. Horrifying to those like Keith Mann who would think the western world would be completely appalled by what’s going on there.
The group is profoundly unpopular in Egypt, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia, and indeed Saudi Arabia did lend a hand in bombing IS along with the US and others. In fact, it was only 5% of Saudis that felt sympathetic to IS, 3% of Egypt, and a meagre 1% of Lebanese.
These incredibly low figures do not indicate that the group has no support in those places, just not a lot. However, all of those minorities together adds up to 1.5 million people in Egypt alone.
However, a poll was held in August examining the attitudes of British people to the IS group. The results poured in and a staggering result rolled out: 7% of British people thought that the ideals of the Islamic State were favourable.
The strange thing about this is that only 5% of the people of Britain are Muslims. This suggests that the extra two per cent vote came from non-Muslims.
Even more support was discovered with research done in France, which showed that a staggering 16% of French citizens believed that IS was a good thing. 27% of these were young people. Germany, however, only had a 3% approval rating for the Islamic State.
Following a Derogatory Remark by Democratic Gubernatorial Challenger, the ‘War on Women’ Strategy May Have Lost Its Power
It seems the 2012 Democratic strategy of the “war on women” is losing its potency in these mid-term elections. The campaign was used effectively against Presidential candidate Mitt Romney during the 2012 elections and focuses on portraying Republicans as out-of-touch with women issues such as contraception and abortion. However, polls suggest that the strategy isn’t connecting with female voters and even less with male voters. With the recent, so-called “slip-of-the-tongue” from South Carolina Democratic gubernatorial challenger Vincent Sheheen, it may get even worse.
At a campaign event last week in Florence, SC, Sheheen made a derogatory comment about incumbent Governor Nikki Haley. The Democrat challenger Sheheen seemed to stumble over his words in the midst of a rant attacking Haley’s education record and said, “We are going to escort whore out the door.” He quickly recovered and rephrased the sentence with the word “her” in place of the expletive. However, when the crowd began to laugh and clap, Sheheen did too, even going as far as pointing triumphantly towards the crowd with an audible chuckle. His reaction garnered a heated response from from women’s rights activists Laurene Powell Jobs and Ann Romney, wife of Mitt Romney and a friend of South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. In an interview with CNN, she said, “When I first heard about it, it hit me right in my gut.” Mrs. Romney went on to say that Sheheen’s remark and reaction was “unacceptable”, and if a Republican had uttered such a vile word “it would be blowing up in their face like nobody’s business.”
Ann Romney also posed an interesting question when she asked where women’s rights groups such as EMILY’S List and N.O.W are standing on Sheheen’s derogatory comment. Although, perhaps their response doesn’t matter considering that Nikki Haley has a double-digit lead over Sheheen, and Republicans in many states are set to take over Senate and State governmental seats in an election that is just over a week away.