Laboratories of Democracy: the rise of one-party control of state governments provide clear contrasts in what works

As usual, Michael Brown writes an interesting piece about America’s “laboratories of democracy.  One of the strengths of our Republic is the division of individual states with their respective sovereignty. Much like our economic system, built on underlying free-market and competition, these individual states are free to govern themselves and compete outside the direct control from Washington (well…for the most part). The results should be instructive.

First, we are starting to see the intraparty disputes, where factions within either political establishment are challenged. Second, we are seeing the overall product of either Democratic, or Republican rule.

For the national public, one-party Democratic and one-party Republican states provide a look at how each party governs — and the results.

In California, voters just gave Democrats two-thirds majorities in both houses and a tax increase, as well. We’ll see if their policies help California reduce its dismally high unemployment and resolve its enormous pension underfunding.

In Illinois, Democrats won again, despite increasing the state income tax from 3 to 5 percent in 2011, after which the state’s unemployment rate went up, while declining in neighboring states. Democrat Michael Madigan has been speaker of the Illinois House for 28 of the last 30 years.

Many Republican governors and legislatures have gone in another direction, holding down spending increases and seeking to cut taxes or hold rates even, rather than raise them.

Texas’ low taxes (no income tax) and light regulation have been followed by some of the most robust job creation in the nation. Texas’ population grew so rapidly in the last decade that it gained 4 U.S. House seats from the 2010 Census.

No-income-tax Florida gained two seats, and no other state gained more than one. California, for the first time in its history, gained none.

States are laboratories of democracy, Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis wrote. Citizens of every state can monitor their experiments and judge which set of one-party states is getting better results.

Bill O’Reilly echoed this sentiment on his show:

2012 election: good for Pres. Obama, not so good for those down the ticket

Michael Barone has an interesting column where he examines the down ballot races. His focus is on the outcome of the Democratic battles in congress and state houses in light of the shifts due to reapportionment from the 2010 census results. While it is true that Republicans blew up their hopes of gaining a majority in the Senate, the numbers beyond that are not encouraging for the Democrats:

Between 2008 and 2012, they gained seats in only three states: Delaware, where a popular Republican ran for the Senate in 2010; Maryland, thanks to Democratic redistricting; and California, where a supposedly nonpartisan redistricting commission was dominated by Democrats.

The reapportionment process following the 2010 Census cost Democrats some seats because their strong states had relatively little population growth. They have five fewer seats in New York, for example.

The reapportionment effect was strengthened because the 2010 backlash against Democrats gave Republicans control of redistricting in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, all of which lost seats, and North Carolina, which stayed the same.

As a result, in the 113th Congress, as compared to the 111th, there will be three fewer Democrats from Michigan, six fewer from Ohio, seven fewer from Pennsylvania and four fewer from North Carolina.

Democratic losses were greatest in the South, which gained seven seats from reapportionment. There will be 22 fewer Southern Democrats and 29 more Southern Republicans in the House next year than there were in 2009.

Another way to look at it: 123 of 201 House Democrats will be from the Northeast, the West Coast, Hawaii and Illinois. Only 23 are from the Midwest outside of Illinois and only 42 from the South.

Obama was able to build his electoral vote majority thanks to big Democratic majorities from core constituencies concentrated in these states, which gave him 207 electoral votes.

But the concentration of blacks, Hispanics and gentry liberals means there are fewer Democratic votes in the suburbs, the countryside and the geographic heartland. The Obama campaign strategy concentrated on turning out core voters. That left House Democrats short of the votes they needed elsewhere.

Which political party are you? Take the quiz

Political Party Quiz | Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

I stumbled across this interesting little quiz on the Pew Research Center website. Take the quiz and see where you fall on the political spectrum.

Political Party Quiz | Pew Research Center for the People and the Press

Party affiliation – GOP gaining

Summary of Party Affiliation – Rasmussen Reports™.

 

Sep 36.8% 34.2% 29.0% 2.6% 2.6%
Aug 37.6% 33.3% 29.2% 4.3%
Jul 34.9% 34.0% 31.1% 0.9%
Jun 35.4% 34.0% 30.5% 1.4% 1.8%
May 35.7% 33.8% 30.5% 1.9%
Apr 35.1% 33.1% 31.8% 2.0%
Mar 36.4% 33.4% 30.2% 3.0% 3.3%
Feb 36.0% 32.4% 31.6% 3.6%
Jan 35.9% 32.5% 31.6% 3.4%

What the debate did – Right Turn – The Washington Post

What the debate did – Right Turn – The Washington Post.

Jennifer Rubin argues that 8 indicators from the Romney/Obama debate last week show that perhaps Romney should be considered a favorite at this point.  Looking through her list, the one that stands out to me the most is the “inevitability” point:

The polls have moved substantially, thereby blowing up the notion that Obama had this in the bag. Gallup tells us: “Registered voters’ preferences for president are evenly split in the first three days of Gallup tracking since last Wednesday’s presidential debate. In the three days prior to the debate, Barack Obama had a five-percentage-point edge among registered voters.”

 

 

Romney’s foreign policy speech (preview)

Weekly Standard previews Governor Romney’s foreign policy speech set to be released Monday, October 8, 2012. Here is a highlight:

Source: foreignpolicy.com

I know the President hopes for a safer, freer, and a more prosperous Middle East allied with the United States. I share this hope.  But hope is not a strategy.  We cannot support our friends and defeat our enemies in the Middle East when our words are not backed up by deeds, when our defense spending is being arbitrarily and deeply cut, when we have no trade agenda to speak of, and the perception of our strategy is not one of partnership, but of passivity.  …

… It is time to change course in the Middle East.  …

I will put the leaders of Iran on notice that the United States and our friends and allies will prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons capability. I will not hesitate to impose new sanctions on Iran, and will tighten the sanctions we currently have. I will restore the permanent presence of aircraft carrier task forces in both the Eastern Mediterranean and the Gulf the region—and work with Israel to increase our military assistance and coordination.  For the sake of peace, we must make clear to Iran through actions—not just words—that their nuclear pursuit will not be tolerated. …

… I will champion free trade and restore it as a critical element of our strategy, both in the Middle East and across the world.  The President has not signed one new free trade agreement in the past four years.  I will reverse that failure.  I will work with nations around the world that are committed to the principles of free enterprise, expanding existing relationships and establishing new ones.

I will support friends across the Middle East who share our values, but need help defending them and their sovereignty against our common enemies.

Romney endorsed by Las Vegas Review-Journal

The Strip

The largest newspaper in Nevada endorses Mitt Romney for president.  Here’s an excerpt of their glowing endorsement:

Mr. Romney is a fine family man who donates millions of dollars to his church and charity every year. There is not a whiff of scandal about him. This is why his opponents have tried to turn his very successes against him. It’s all they have.

Early voting in Nevada begins Oct. 20. Election Day is Nov. 6. Over the last few weeks of this campaign, Nevadans must ask themselves which candidate will embrace policies that will put the people of this state back to work, creating the jobs that lift our incomes, our home values and our hope.

The choice is clear. Only Mitt Romney has the principles and experience needed to put America back on the road to prosperity. The Review-Journal endorses Mitt Romney for president of the United States.