Without exception, since 1960, the winner of the White House has won at least two of the Big Three battleground states: Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania. It's hard to picture a presidential contest that doesn't revolve around those three states, and indeed, those three states are among the top four in Obama campaign field offices to date: Ohio (20), Virginia (17), Pennsylvania (14), and Florida (13).
Yet the rise of the Latino electorate is shifting the nation's balance of power, giving rise to a more electorally relevant Southwest?a combination of blistering population growth and pro-Democratic demographic shifts.
In 1960, the states of Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona totalled 17 electoral votes. Today, they total 31. And while in 1960 Ohio and Pennsylvania had 57 electoral votes between the two, today that number is just 38 (though if you include Florida, the total has remained at a constant 67).
What this all means is that if Democrats sweep the competitive Southwestern states, Ohio, Penn and Florida become that much less important. Let's start with a base map, plus giving Obama Arizona, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico. I gave Missouri to the GOP, and Wisconsin and Michigan to Obama because those are marginal swing states?if Obama wins Missouri, he's already crushed on the rest of the map, and vice a versa with Wisconsin and Michigan.
Now, I'm not suggesting that Obama will lose the Big Three, or that they're not important. They are still likely to be the hardest fought states this cycle. And I'm also not suggesting that Arizona is in the bag for Team Blue. It still leans Red. But changing population patterns and demographics (mostly Latinos) are evolving the electoral college map. There are new paths to victory.
And by broadening the playing field (Arizona this year, and Texas, Georgia and Montana in future cycles), and locking down old battlegrounds (Nevada, New Mexico, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, and possibly Wisconsin and Michigan) the GOP's path to presidential victory becomes increasingly complicated.
Mitt Romney, a few minutes ago on the plight of Chen Guangcheng: "If these reports are true, this is a dark day for freedom. And it's a day of shame for the Obama administration."[...]
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U.S. Chamber of Commerce doing direct mail in Indiana in support of Sen. Richard Lugar in the GOP primary.[...]
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Last week, Republicans on the House Energy and Commerce Committee voted to slash $400 million from a program that would offer states performance bonuses if they enrolled more children in CHIP or Medicaid. Twenty-three states have already taken advantage of those bonuses, including 16 that increased their enrollment by more than 10 percent.
A new analysis released today looks at how those bonuses have increased enrollment nationwide. The study from the Georgetown University Center for Children and Families examined the 23 states that received performance bonuses for enrolling more children, and found that this program has already had better-than-expected effects:
Data on the bonuses show that in the 23 states that received bonuses in FY 2011, an additional 1.1 million kids were enrolled above expected levels. The most (123,000) can be found in the state of Ohio. While we can’t say that the bonuses fully explain this jump in enrollment, it would certainly be fair to say that they get some of the credit for supporting states in reaching these kids.
As we’ve seen over the years, Medicaid and CHIP have been responsible for driving the uninsured rate of children down to record lows. These bonuses have been an important incentive in making this progress and dismantling them threatens to undercut the great success we’ve seen in Medicaid and CHIP.
Over 12 million children were enrolled in the program in all 23 states combined. Altogether, those states boosted their enrollment numbers 10 percent higher than the expected level, and earned close to $300 million in bonus money for doing so. Thanks in large part to CHIP, the rate of uninsured children is at the lowest-recorded level ever.
As ThinkProgress reported yesterday, the cuts are not expected to pass the Senate this time around, but there is worry among children’s health advocates that they may be reintroduced at a later date. President Obama’s recent budget proposal did call for a change in the federal matching rates for CHIP beginning in 2017.
It’s going to be an excellent summer for movies. As I’ll lay out tomorrow, The Avengers levels up the superhero movie. The fact that there’s already talk of a Snow White and the Huntsman sequel means we could be headed into a world with two big action franchises anchored by women. Prometheus looks visually and conceptually astounding. The Dark Knight promises to be a visually and intellectually rich conclusion to a powerful, darkly moral trilogy. Brave will finally put a girl at the center of a Pixar frame. But in the midst of this embarrassment of riches, I wanted to call your attention to a movie that won’t get a third of the promotional heft of any of these movies but that is audacious and wonderful, intimately engaged with questions of poverty and global warming, and that features a little girl as a superhero. I refer, of course, to Beasts of the Southern Wild, which was my favorite movie at Sundance, and finally has a trailer out:
In addition to being just hugely fresh in perspective and subject matter, Beasts is interesting to me because some of the special effects were crowdsourced. I’m curious to see how audiences react to them?and to what y’all think of this trailer amidst a blockbuster glut.
As congressional Republicans are deciding on a substitute for the Affordable Care Act, Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) has introduced the State Health Flexibility Act, which could prohibit states from providing abortion coverage to their residents.
Currently, the federal government matches state Medicaid spending on a per-claim basis and pays a fixed percentage of each state?s Medicaid costs so long as they adhere to certain federal guidelines. For instance, the Hyde Amendment already prevents states from spending any federal Medicaid funding on abortion services, with exceptions for rape and incest or when the life of the woman is threatened. Seventeen states have elected to provide more comprehensive abortion benefits, but pay for these procedures with state funding.
Rokita’s bill would dramatically change this. Like most Republican proposals, his legislation turns Medicaid into a block grant program that would give states a set amount from the federal government, letting them shape their own Medicaid programs with fewer federal standards and requirements. But states would be banned from covering abortion services, even with state funds, unless they buy separate health plans that include abortion insurance or only cover abortion care. As Mother Jones’ Nick Baumann explains, this would cost the 17 states that provide abortion coverage millions of dollars:
Those states do not generally purchase separate plans that cover abortion, several current state Medicaid officials and former state Medicaid directors told Mother Jones. Instead, they simply use state money to foot the abortion-related portion of the cost of the insurance. [...] Under the GOP proposal, that practice would be illegal.
Rokita’s bill “would be a significant change from how current law operates today,” adds Judy Waxman, the vice president for health and reproductive rights at the National Women’s Law Center. [...]
Requiring states to purchase separate abortion-only plans “would be a change and one that would be harmful to women in those states,” Waxman says, noting that the current structure has stood for decades without interference from Republican or Democratic administrations.
So far, 30 House Republicans have co-sponsored the bill, and the Republican Study Committee included the proposal in its official budget.
As part of the December deal to avoid a government shutdown, Congress banned funding for abortion services in D.C. The anti-abortion policy rider prohibited D.C. from even using local taxes to pay for abortion services, reinstating a 13-year ban on abortion funding in D.C. that President Obama overturned in 2009.
Rokita touted his plan as a way to get the federal government out of the way and to give states greater flexibility — so long as that flexibility does not include letting the states create their own policies on providing abortions for low-income women.
Wall Street executives stressed the importance of equal rights for gays and lesbians in the workplace during the ?Out on the Street? LGBT Leadership Conference Wednesday and insisted that discriminatory laws undermined recruitment. ?[Same-sex marriage] was important for our recruiting, for being able to move people around the world, for a number of business reasons, and then of course, last but not least, how could you not be on the side of what to me seems like a basic civil rights movement?? Lloyd C. Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs Group explained. He added that the company’s inclusive policy has come at a cost:
“It’s not without a price,” Blankfein reportedly told a group of Wall Street gay activists, referring to the investment bank’s embrace of same-sex marriage. “There was some adverse reaction by someone … They didn’t want to continue a relationship that they had with us in money management.”
Blankfein did not name the client but reportedly told the group, “if you heard the name it wouldn’t surprise you.”
Other executives generally agreed with Blankfein’s tone. ?We gear our whole diversity and inclusion efforts so that you can come in, be yourself and be successful,? Bank of America CEO Brian T. Moynihan added. “You can come in, be yourself, be successful, be all you want to be,” he said.
Earlier this year, the Human Rights Campaign stirred controversy and spared controversy for awarding Goldman Sachs with its 2011 Workplace Equality Innovation Award.
Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn tried getting guns banned from the downtown area, saying it's a National Special Security Event as declared by the Secret Service. "The difference is this is a volatile environment. There is a potential for bad things to happen," he says.
Mitt Romney will not be appearing on Saturday Night Live this season, Lorne Michaels said today. ?We only have three shows left and they?re pretty jammed-packed,? the executive producer said during a conference call. ?It might be in the fall, but we?ll never know, that?ll all depend on his availability.?
A trove of documents the U.S. Navy SEALs took from the Pakistan compound where they killed Osama bin Laden in 2011 was published Thursday morning on the website of the Combating Terrorism Center.
The papers paint a picture of a terror mastermind who had grown increasingly worried he could not get control of the many al Qaeda affiliates that had sprung up across the globe.
GM (GM) posted a profit of $1 billion in the first quarter, beating Wall Street expectations on strong demand in its key North American market.
GM also said the U.S. economy was improving and it expected its core North American results in the second and third quarters to largely match the first quarter due to scheduled downtime at its large truck plants.
Runaway Slave exposes the economic slavery of the black community to the Progressive, big government policies of the U.S. government. The film?s heroes are black conservatives who are speaking out so that all Americans can truly be ?free at last.?
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You have to wonder when people will begin to notice that Sean Hannity's incessant attempts to paint Barack Obama as a flaming radical by associating him with various supposed extremists is actually a classic case of projection.
After all, there's no one in the mainstream media who has quite the array of running associations with far-right nutcases that Sean Hannity has?going back to the days when he palled around with white supremacist Hal Turner, and continuing through his ongoing sponsorship of wackos like Birther extraordinaire Jerome Corsi. Most notably, Hannity continues to promote and support another WorldNetDaily nutcase, Jesse Lee Peterson.
Last night, however, even a Fox Democrat like Kirsten Powers found it too hard to contain herself when seated next to Peterson. As Ellen at NewsHounds points out, Powers completely derailed Hannity's planned Obama-bashing segment by turning to Peterson and demanding he explain himself for his recent declaration that most women are "little whores".
KIRSTEN POWERS: There is a little dispute over what you are saying whether or not the intelligence was necessary. But I do agree that what he is doing isn't right. However, I don't normally do this. I don't normally hijack you --
HANNITY: You are going to hijack me.
POWERS: But I didn't know I was going to be sitting here with Reverend Peterson tonight who I have been very serious issues with in terms -- some of the misogynist things have you said about how women in your sermon about how women have created a shameless society.
And most women are littler whores and that it was OK to call Sandra Fluke a slut and that should you put women in powerful businesses and then you leave women alone in the family, they destroy the family --
PETERSON: I don't know if you have noticed or not, but the liberal Democrat women are calling themselves whores. There is a so-called group of women within the Democratic Party and they are -- admitting -- they are admitting that they are whores --
HANNITY: Are you talking about that group --
POWERS: That's a completely different thing.
PETERSON: I am OK with that. I just don't want to pay for it. If the liberal women want to have sex out of wedlock --
POWERS: You say that women are creating a shameless society and they are destroying the family and they shouldn't be put in powerful positions - - address that. Women shouldn't be in powerful businesses.
PETERSON: Most Americans know that liberal women are destroying the family. They hate men. They hate society --
POWERS: That is absolutely false. Sean, do I hate men?
HANNITY: I hope not. You started this.
PETERSON: -- public school system --
POWERS: You are not addressing what you said. You are a pastor, distorting God's word for misogyny. What do you mean -- when you say women -- you leave a woman alone in charge of a family and she destroys the family?
PETERSON: We allowed the National Organization of Women who hate men -- the women in their group. We left them alone -- we left them alone -- there it is. We left them alone. Look at the condition we are in today, out of wedlock -- abortion.
HANNITY: All right, I have to step in --
PETERSON: I'm telling the truth.
HANNITY: I gave you -- this is not one of the topics that I planned on. You are hijacking the show.
POWERS: I didn't know I was going to be on with him.
HANNITY: Why did you come in --
PETERSON: If you believe what you believe --
POWERS: I saw him on --
HANNITY: We have another guest, to be fair. Let me ask you --
PETERSON: Why are you upset at me? I am not upset at you --
POWERS: You are a pastor using God's word to teach misogyny.
PETERSON: No. I have a responsibility to tell the truth. You are on the side of lies. Why should I not be on the side of truth? The truth is going to make us free. Somebody got to tell the truth. I tell the truth. There is an order to life -- liberal women policies are bad for family, bad for the country.
HANNITY: I have to take a break.
In case you're wondering, here's the video of the sermon that Rev. Peterson recently gave:
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This version has been heavily edited, so that the most offensive remarks have been removed. Ellen at NewsHounds managed to transcribe most of them while they were still available:
Not all, not all, not all, but most (women) turned into little whores. (He cited Sandra Fluke as an example).
Who in the world is having that much sex? ?What are these women doing having that much sex? ?She had no shame.
Rush Limbaugh called her a slut and she didn?t realize that she looked like a slut sitting there making that type of confession?
How did we get to a point where women think we should pay for them to have sex?
They want to force us to buy them birth control.
No one?s saying, ?Where?s your shame, woman??
Rush Limbaugh called her? ?a whore and a slut? and I agree with him.
And yes, Hannity not only brings Peterson onto his show as a regular guest. He also sits on the board of directors of Peterson's nonprofit organization.
Since Hannity obviously thinks it's a big deal to associate with radicals, perhaps he ought to explain his own associations.
The NRDC Action Fund just released a book called Reckless about the House Republican majority that cast more than 200 votes against environmental safeguards last year. We aren?t the only ones dismayed by the rise in GOP extremism. Republican leaders are[...]
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