Category Archives: Politics

EMILY’s Friends: The Emerging Relationship between EMILY’s List, Organized Labor, and Women Candidates in U.S. House Elections, 2002-2008

Source: Rosalyn Cooperman, APSA 2010 Annual Meeting Paper, August 15, 2010

From the abstract:
This paper seeks evidence of a similar partnership between organized labor and women’s PACs on behalf of women congressional candidates. I examine the electoral and fundraising activity of EMILY’s List and AFL-CIO’s PAC, the Committee on Political Education (AFL-CIO COPE) in the four most recent House election cycles (2002-2008). I find that EMILY’s List and AFL-CIO work in cooperation, not competition, on behalf of preferred women House candidates. The endorsement of a woman candidate by EMILY’s List, measured by the receipt of a hard money contribution, significantly increases the likelihood of the woman also receiving funds from AFL-CIO. I attribute the willingness of AFL-CIO to work in partnership with EMILY’s List to important demographic and organizational changes within the union (Asher, et al. 2001; Francia 2006). That EMILY’s List and AFL-CIO cooperate on behalf of women candidates raises intriguing possibilities for Democratic women candidates and provides one explanation for the growing party gap between Democratic women and their Republican counterparts in Congress.

Federal Health Law Helping Cash-Strapped States — And Right-wing State Leaders Lining up to Benefit

Source: Charles Monaco, Progressive States Network, Stateside Dispatch, September 9, 2010

While the right wing continues their rhetoric to repeal, many of the same states calling loudly in both legislatures and courts for the law’s rejection are simultaneously preparing to implement it and benefiting from the opportunities the health care overhaul provides them. In fact, a Department of Health and Human Services release revealed that, of the 20 states who have joined the constitutionally dubious multi-state lawsuit seeking to overturn the health care law, eight of them – Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Nevada, and Washington – were claiming subsidies for retired state government employees provided by the very law their states are arguing should be thrown out by the courts.
Related:
State Implementation of Federal Reform: Resources
Failure of Right Wing Obstruction in the States
Over 1000 Legislators Sign Letters Supporting Federal Health Care Reform

New Politics of Judicial Elections 2000-2009: Decade of Change

Source: James Sample, Adam Skaggs, Jonathan Blitzer, Linda Casey, Justice at Stake Campaign, the Brennan Center, and the National Institute on Money in State Politics, August 2010

From the summary:
State judicial elections have been transformed during the past decade. The story of America’s 2000-2009 high court contests–tens of millions of dollars raised by candidates from parties who may appear before them, millions more poured in by interest groups, nasty and misleading ads, and pressure on judges to signal courtroom rulings on the campaign trail–has become the new normal.

For more than a decade, partisans and special interests of all stripes have been growing more organized in their efforts to use elections to tilt the scales of justice their way. Many Americans have come to fear that justice is for sale. Unlike previous editions, which covered only the most recent election cycle, this fifth edition of the “New Politics of Judicial Elections” looks at the 2000-2009 decade as a whole. By tallying the numbers and “connecting the dots” among key players over the last five election cycles, this report offers a broad portrait of a grave and growing challenge to the impartiality of our nation’s courts. These trends include:

– The explosion in judicial campaign spending, much of it poured in by “super spender” organizations seeking to sway the courts
– The parallel surge of nasty and costly TV ads as a prerequisite to gaining a state Supreme Court seat
– The emergence of secretive state and national campaigns to tilt state Supreme Court elections
– Litigation about judicial campaigns, some of which could boost special-interest pressure on judges
– Growing public concern about the threat to fair and impartial justice–and support for meaningful reforms.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding Social Media and the Hatch Act

Source: Office of Special Counsel, July 27, 2010

In light of the many questions the Office of Special Counsel (OSC) has received concerning Social Media, OSC provides the following guidance on the issue, in the form of frequently asked questions concerning less restricted and further restricted federal employees (see questions one through eleven) as well as federal agencies (see questions twelve through fourteen).

Note: This guidance refers primarily to Facebook and Twitter in the following questions due to the popularity of those sites for social networking, but the advice provided in response to these questions applies equally to all other social media, such as Myspace, Linkedin, etc.

Winner-Take-All Politics: Public Policy, Political Organization, and the Precipitous Rise of Top Incomes in the United States

Source: Jacob S. Hacker and Paul Pierson, Politics & Society, Vol. 38 no. 2, June 2010

The dramatic rise in inequality in the United States over the past generation has occasioned considerable attention from economists, but strikingly little from students of American politics. This has started to change: in recent years, a small but growing body of political science research on rising inequality has challenged standard economic accounts that emphasize apolitical processes of economic change. For all the sophistication of this new scholarship, however, it too fails to provide a compelling account of the political sources and effects of rising inequality. In particular, these studies share with dominant economic accounts three weaknesses: (1) they downplay the distinctive feature of American inequality -namely, the extreme concentration of income gains at the top of the economic ladder; (2) they miss the profound role of government policy in creating this “winner-take-all” pattern; and (3) they give little attention or weight to the dramatic long-term transformation of the organizational landscape of American politics that lies behind these changes in policy. These weaknesses are interrelated, stemming ultimately from a conception of politics that emphasizes the sway (or lack thereof) of the “median voter” in electoral politics, rather than the influence of organized interests in the process of policy making. A perspective centered on organizational and policy change -one that identifies the major policy shifts that have bolstered the economic standing of those at the top and then links those shifts to concrete organizational efforts by resourceful private interests -fares much better at explaining why the American political economy has become distinctively winner-take-all.

When Corrections Fail: The persistence of political misperceptions

Source: Brendan Nyhan, Jason Reifler, Journal of Political Behavior, June 2010

From the abstract:
An extensive literature addresses citizen ignorance, but very little research focuses on misperceptions. Can these false or unsubstantiated beliefs about politics be corrected? Previous studies have not tested the efficacy of corrections in a realistic format. We conducted four experiments in which subjects read mock news articles that included either a misleading claim from a politician, or a misleading claim and a correction. Results indicate that corrections frequently fail to reduce misperceptions among the targeted ideological group. We also document several instances of a “backfire effect” in which corrections actually increase misperceptions among the group in question.
Related:
In Politics, Sometimes The Facts Don’t Matter
Source: NPR, Talk of the Nation, July 13, 2010

Federalism During the Obama Administration

Source: Thomas L. Gais, Nelson A. Rockefeller Institute of Government, Presented at 27th Annual Conference of the National Federation of Municipal Analysts, May 7, 2010

The federal government during the Obama Administration has assertively sought to influence state policies, perhaps more so than any time since the 1960s. Sometimes it offers states more funding and flexibility; sometimes it seeks to constrain, guide, or direct state policy and budget decisions — generally in service of its views of what domestic policies ought to be.

Labor, the Left and Progressives in the Obama Era

Source: Georgetown University, April 6, 2010

Georgetown’s Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor, in association with Dissent, The Nation, and The American Prospect, hosted a forum about national politics, progressives and the labor movement. Panelists talked about how the labor movement can grow and engage with a progressive movement and building of a broader progressive movement. This program contains strong language that may not be appropriate for all viewers.
Watch the video.