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US Midterm Elections Discussion 401

November 4th will be election day in the U.S. Though the presidential race is still forming, this midterm election has lots of close races that may give a hint about the likely outcome in 2016. Many pundits and pollsters see a strong chance that Republicans will gain a majority in the Senate in Tuesday's election. Think of the discussion attached to this post as the place to discuss the election: candidates, political advertising, voting technology, and the wisdom of voter ID laws. If you are voting, this chart of poll closing times might be useful. (And, as with the similar post from 10 years ago today, you can take a look at the current poll to see what the Zeitgeist looks like for Slashdot readers, and mentally fill in the past tense, if you're one of the many early voters; not much room in the poll question field.)
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US Midterm Elections Discussion

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  • by cold fjord ( 826450 ) on Sunday November 02, 2014 @07:30PM (#48296855)

    Do Democrats Always Win Close Statewide Elections? [thefederalist.com]

    . For whatever reason, when statewide races are decided by less than 1 point, Democrats win almost three-quarters of the time. When the margin opens to 1-2 points, that advantage dissipates, and the Democrats win only half the races:

    • by Bite The Pillow ( 3087109 ) on Sunday November 02, 2014 @09:40PM (#48297743)

      And when the sample size increases, the trend moves toward equilibrium. I think this is a great example of someone not understanding statistics.

      In an article that starts with an anecdote from 1986, and evaluating a Republican worry "Ever since 1986", why is the data only examined from 1998 ?

      In 16 years of data for 50 states, there should be about (16/6) * 2 + (16/4) for each state, or about 266 elections. That's 6 year Senate terms, and 4 year terms for governors. 20 out of a subset of 27 hardly seems relevant - that's 1% out of 10% of the sample size.

      If we take this quote at the bottom:

      " it tells us that the Democrats have had a significant competitive advantage in the very closest of elections, and in close elections overall, over the past 16 years, and that that advantage has grown during the Obama years."

      And combine it with the opening salvo:

      Sometimes, itâ(TM)s concern about the superior organization and manpower of organized labor. Sometimes, most famously in 2012, itâ(TM)s concern about the deficiencies of the GOPâ(TM)s get-out-the-vote operations and the Democratsâ(TM) superior use of data-mining and community-organizing tactics.

      It is fairly self explanatory.

      The part that doesn't make sense is all the time spent on a case of Chicago voter fraud from 1982. The article characterizes it as "at least 100,000 fraudulent votes had been cast in Chicago alone", implying there is more to the story. The linked article is all about Chicago.

      That last paragraph makes me really suspicious of this crackpot. That I can't access the data to check for missed analysis opportunities kinda bothers me. Maybe he's not a crackpot, let's see if I can find something to support that?

      As with any historical analysis, there may be limits to what this tells us as a predictive matter. These are not especially large sample sizes of races, and even if the trends are real, they may not be due to factors that can be replicated

      He basically says "Don't read too much into this" right there. But you apparently did.

  • drinking the click-bait Kool-Aid. Vote, or do not, there is no try.
  • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Sunday November 02, 2014 @07:31PM (#48296859)
    I hope the Republicans will skip shutting down the government this year. I was out of work for eights months after they shut down the government last year for nothing. I'm still trying to recover from the Great Recession after being out of work three of the last six years and filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy in 2011. These hissy-fits in Washington don't help anyone.
    • by Tailhook ( 98486 ) on Sunday November 02, 2014 @08:29PM (#48297243)

      I hope

      Don't look to hope. Despite liberal rhetoric claiming shutdowns hurt the Right, Republicans are doing well this cycle; the 2013 shutdown has done them no harm. Listening to the MSM one might think we had sent all Republicans to gulags after two shutdowns in '95-'96, but in fact they held majorities in both houses for another 10 years.

      As Federal debt mounts you should anticipate more frequent and severe disruptions and develop alternatives for yourself. The odds of more shutdowns in 2015-16 are high.

      • by __aaclcg7560 ( 824291 ) on Sunday November 02, 2014 @09:00PM (#48297489)

        The odds of more shutdowns in 2015-16 are high.

        The 2013 shutdown came about because the House Republicans refused to do their job by producing a budget, sending negotiators to the joint House-Senate conference, and voting for the COMPROMISED budget. After a 16-day government shutdown and $20B in damages to the economy, the House Republicans accepted a budget deal that they would have gotten anyway if they done their job in the first place. If the Republicans shut down the government in the next two years, I fully expect President Hillary to take them to the woodshed.

      • by Tablizer ( 95088 )

        Despite liberal rhetoric claiming shutdowns hurt the Right, Republicans are doing well this cycle

        GOP Congress does not poll well at all, though. Other issues like Iraq and Ebola seem to be spooking people. The right's FUD engine is well oiled with big money.

      • by Mr. Freeman ( 933986 ) on Monday November 03, 2014 @01:49AM (#48298865)
        That's because the idiots that voted for the republicans in the first place *wanted* the shutdown. We've got massive collections of people that believe all kinds of conservative fairy-tales and, unfortunately, they're a large enough part of the voting population to get their way.
    • Not sure what I'm doing, but I'll bite.

      The House is the chamber that produces the budget; it was controlled by the Republicans who produced budgets, and the Senate kept voting the budgets down. Several budgets were voted down by the Democrat-controlled Senate, actually, and they somehow blamed it on Republicans by saying "See! They won't send us a budget with everything we want, so it's THEIR fault!" Hissy fit drama at its finest.

  • Six Years Ago (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tomhath ( 637240 ) on Sunday November 02, 2014 @07:47PM (#48296957)

    After the 2008 elections we were told the Republican Party was defunct; Democrats had an overwhelming and apparently permanent majority in both houses of Congress and a lock on the White House. Nancy Pelosi was rewriting the House rules to consolidate her control over her own party while Harry Reid had a super-majority in the Senate that prevented the Republican minority from blocking his agenda.

    How quickly things changed. A Republican elected to replace Ted Kennedy in Massachusetts? Unthinkable! Pelosi being voted out of the Speaker's job two years later. Republicans gaining enough seats in state legislatures that the Democrats complained about them redrawing congressional districts (*cough* pot meet kettle *cough*). And it looks like the front runner for the Democrats' Presidential candidate in 2012 will be 70 year old Hillary Clinton.

    • Re:Six Years Ago (Score:5, Interesting)

      by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Sunday November 02, 2014 @08:02PM (#48297049) Journal
      The Republicans won the house after losing popular vote. Such a dichotomy has happened only once in the last 200 years. The current power of the Republican party stems from the gerrymandered districts. (For example: In PA Republicans lost the popular vote by 2 % and took 13 out of 18 districts).

      Now democrats who won in Obama wave of 2008 are defending deep red districts and might lose them. In 2016 the Republican senators who won in the 2010 wave will be defending. This Republican senate majority will not last long.

      The House majority will last longer. The gerrymandered districts and the hold on the state election system is making the Republican primary the real battle to win. That is creating very very hard right wing reps who take extreme positions. They alienate all the emerging vote blocs with impunity because they invulnerable. It is creating big trouble for Republicans running for Statewide offices.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cold fjord ( 826450 )

        The Republicans won the house after losing popular vote.

        There is no nationwide "popular vote" for House seats. The election is district by district for House seats. Excess Democratic votes in a district in Los Angeles don't matter for an election in Dallas, Texas. The people that keep claiming that are either confused or engaging in dishonest rhetoric.

        • Re:Six Years Ago (Score:4, Insightful)

          by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Sunday November 02, 2014 @08:30PM (#48297253) Journal
          Of course there is no nationwide popular vote. But fact is more Americans voted for Democrats and they don't have the majority in the House. In a well designed system the House should match the vote. It does not.

          The Republican rep who got 50% + 1 in a low turn out safe red district primary does not care about any Republican running for statewide office or the national offices. His/her biggest concern is the next primary fight, coming in two years. They alienate every voting bloc in the larger nation to get through the next primary.

          • In a well designed system the House should match the vote. It does not.

            What is this well-designed system? It's not an equipartitioned grid -- that would have the Republicans ecstatic and the Democratics up in arms.

            In fact, the whole concept of local representatives is incompatible with the idea of representing the electorate in perfect proportions. Unless every neighborhood in the country is the same homogeneous mix of Republicans and Democrats, you're going to have to deal with the fact that some areas are going to have higher concentrations and dilute the impact specific

      • The Republicans won the house after losing popular vote.

        That is actually just trivia since neither side is trying to achieve the popular vote. Both sides are allocating their time, money, personnel and other resources to achieve the electoral/districts(*) vote. For the popular vote to be a meaningful statistics it would need to be what one side was actually going for. As it is the popular vote is merely highly correlated with the electoral/districts vote so it occasionally goes the other way, just trivia when it happens.

        Losing sides like to bring up irrelevan

      • by dywolf ( 2673597 )

        good example is texas, which should be far more evenly split between the parties, but they have cities like Austin divied up so much that the blues are completely negated. and they control most state legislatures too, and are expanding control to more. the PACs are now networking into local elections too.

        in many states, almost half the people have no representation, and the delegates make no attempt to appeal to them (unless desperate like Cochran recently was in his primary). its disgusting.

        we need to elim

    • After the 2008 elections we were told the Republican Party was defunct; Democrats had an overwhelming and apparently permanent majority in both houses of Congress and a lock on the White House. Nancy Pelosi was rewriting the House rules to consolidate her control over her own party while Harry Reid had a super-majority in the Senate that prevented the Republican minority from blocking his agenda.

      And the opposite happened after 2002, people were saying that the Republican party now had a permanent lock on congress. Both parties are happy to morph to get more members, and their is no policy accepted by either party that wouldn't be accepted by the other party, if it became popular enough. Their changeability is the secret to their durability: parties that stick dogmatically to a single issue die with that issue (populist party and free silver).

      In the 1790s, when the Federalist party won power in Wa

  • The Democratic challenger Schauer has pulled within the margin of error of most polls in the last few weeks. Gov. Snyder and the Republican legislature have run roughshod over Detroit and much of the state and along with a visit by President Obama, his opposition is motivated. It may come down to the weather on Tuesday.

  • I dont live in the USA but if I did, I would be voting and my #1 question would be "Which candidate is going to do what is necessary to fix the economy and create jobs". That said, everything I have seen indicates that US politicians dont care about fixing the economy or creating jobs, just about lining the pockets of Wall Street with money pulled from the pockets of the little guy.

    • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
      Everyone hates the lizards, but if you don't vote the wrong lizard might get in.
    • by Jeremi ( 14640 )

      my #1 question would be "Which candidate is going to do what is necessary to fix the economy and create jobs".

      And what exactly would that be? I don't think most people understand macroeconomics well enough to know "what is necessary" -- so even if a politician did know what to do and planned to do it, he probably would not want to alienate 50+% of his potential voters by explaining to the public "what is necessary".

  • Stalin has been quoted as saying "The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who count the votes decide everything". I'm not sure whether that is an accurate quote or translation, but it is a thought-provoking statement. In the U.S. outright voter fraud is possible but rare. A better statement would be "The people who cast the votes decide nothing. The people who choose the candidates decide everything." In the U.S. you can have a "free and fair" election, but generally only have the "choice
    • by gewalker ( 57809 )

      They forgot to tell Chicago that you could not win an election by fraud. [heritage.org] I know heritage.org is right-leaning, but the article is thorough and heavily footnoted documenting one of the largest voter fraud prosecutions ever conducted by the U.S. Department of Justice.

  • If you step back and look at the history of scandals associated with political power, you might notice that, in general, Democrat scandals have tended to involve sex and drugs, and hurt a few people (along with the status of a high political office). Meanwhile, in general, Republican scandals have tended to involve money and power, and hurt thousands or even millions of people. It's tempting to predict that, if the Republicans gain control of the Senate, some sort of money/power scandal will result. One
    • >> in general, Democrat scandals have tended to involve sex and drugs, and hurt a few people (along with the status of a high political office). Meanwhile, in general, Republican scandals have tended to involve money and power, and hurt thousands or even millions of people

      If you grew up in Illinois, you'd probably see the world the other way around. :)

  • One phrase I have not heard this election cycle is "Tea Party Candidate", nor have I seen any coverage of any Tea Party anything. They need to bring all that back, that much more fun to watch.

  • Are there any other countries in the world which do not enforce Voter ID for voting. I am pretty sure most of Europe and Asia insists on Identification before voting.

    I am not an American. I was shocked when I first realised that the US doesn't need ID for voting.

    • In Australia, voting is compulsory, so turnout is in excess of 80%.

      There is no requirement for IDs when voting, just making sure your name is crossed off the list in the seat you're registered for. This obviously means that you can, illegally, vote twice at two different locations, but the system will pick it up (when they scan the registers)
      I'm not entirely sure, but I think the election officer can request some form of ID if they suspect foul play.

      Anyway, it is possible to cheat, but the percentage of rej

  • The actual legislation that has been signed under President Barack "Lawnchair" Obama has been a continuation of the conservative agenda of the past 20+ years in Washington. The only reason the GOP voted against the health insurance bill of 2010 (which they have forced the country to call "Obamacare", even though Obama had nothing to do with its writing or contents) was because they didn't want him associated with actually doing something about the health care problems in this country (even though it didn't

There are two kinds of egotists: 1) Those who admit it 2) The rest of us

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