Election Day

9 takeaways from the 2014 election

President Barack Obama | Chip Somodevilla/Getty

Call it sour grapes or call it massive disappointment, but this is the only time today that I’ll be posting about yesterday’s election results beside the “10 Things…” post.


1. The Democrats lost. Badly. This wasn’t just a tough map. Democrats lost Senate seats in Iowa and Colorado. They lost governor races in Florida and Wisconsin. Hell, they lost governor races in Illinois, Maryland, Maine, and Massachusetts! Democrats really can’t blame losing elections in Illinois, Maryland, Maine, and Massachusetts on the map. (See the results from key races here.)

2.  The night had few bright spots for Democrats — but there were some for liberals. The personhood ballot initiatives lost in Colorado and North Dakota. Marijuana was legalized in D.C. and Oregon (and we’re still waiting on Alaska). The minimum wage was raised in Arkansas, Illinois and Nebraska. Washington state expanded background checks on guns. “So voters want a higher minimum wage, legal pot, abortion access and GOP representation,” tweeted FiveThirtyEight’s Ben Casselman. “Ok then.”

3. A lot of the stories Democrats told themselves about this election proved wrong. There wasn’t a secret rush of Latino voters the pollsters had simply missed. Focusing on cultural appeals like “the War on Women” didn’t work. For all the Obama campaign hype, the Democrats hadn’t actually discovered dark arts of GOTV that allowed them to survive a GOP year. The polls were wrong — but they were wrong because they undercounted Republican support. As often happens, Democrats fooled themselves after the 2012 election into believing they had unlocked some enduring political advantage. They learned otherwise.

4. The Republican Senate wins were largely expected. But the scope of the GOP’s gains in gubernatorial races wasn’t. That makes Chris Christie, as head of the Republican Governors’ Association, one of the election’s big winners. He can now argue not only that he has personally won elections in a blue state but that he led a bunch of other Republicans to win hard elections in blue states. That’s going to be a powerful argument to make to Republicans in 2016.

5. Hillary Clinton is arguably also a winner here. A more Democratic year could have led to some new stars who might have been able to challenge her in 2016. Instead, some potential challengers were cut down. Gov. Martin O’Malley, for instance, saw Anthony Brown, his lt. governor and handpicked successor, defeated in Maryland. That’s not going to help him make the case that he can appeal to voters she can’t.

6. Republicans just got a big general boost for 2016. They retained control of governorships in Ohio and Florida. They have a lead in the Senate that will make it much harder for Democrats to recapture the chamber even given the fact that Republicans look to be defending 24 seats to the Democrats’ 10.

7. On election day, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest reiterated that President Obama would go forward with his executive action to legalize an unknown number of unauthorized immigrants. But…really? Republicans just won overwhelming victories in the House, the Senate and the states, but Obama is going to go ahead and announce a major executive action all of them disagree with? At this point, if the action happens at all, my guess is it will be a lot smaller than supporters are expecting.

8. The Senate is about to get a lot more polarized. Political scientist Alan Abramowitz put it flatly in a discussion with the Washington Post’s Greg Sargent: “We’ll have a Republican caucus that is more conservative than it is now, and a Democratic caucus that is more liberal than it is now, [because] you’re subtracting moderates from the Democratic caucus, and adding very conservative Republicans to the GOP caucus.” If one of the problems voters had with Washington was that nothing got done, it’s not going to get better after this election.

9. There are a few policies that might become easier after the election. A trade deal, for instance; Republicans are friendlier to giving the president fast-track authority over trade negotiations than Democrats are. And even some Democrats think the Keystone XL oil pipeline will pass now that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell can bring it to the floor. But overall, Obama’s final two years in office are likely to be his hardest yet, at least when it comes to Congress. He’s got little to no leverage over the rising Republican class, and after this election, he’s not going to have as much influence over congressional Democrats, either.

Militia Group Plans To Target African-American Democrats At Polling Places In Wisconsin


African Americans Voting


Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t this similar to KKK  tactics of the 50’s?


A militia group in Wisconsin is planning to target African-American Democrats at polling places in order to suppress the vote and keep Republican governor Scott Walker in office.

Here is a Twitter exchange where the group details their plan:


A visit to the group’s Facebook page features makes it clear exactly who they are targeting. All of the pictures on the page feature African-Americans. The group is trying to get African-Americans who may have outstanding warrants arrested in order to keep them from voting. The group wants people to report those they suspect of having warrants out on them to the police on election day, “Do the community a favor and keep an eye out for people wanted on warrants and report them to the police on election day.”

The “poll watchers” also plan on harassing and following people who they suspect of being wanted on warrants to their homes. The plan seems to be to use the police to intimidate African-Americans into not voting in November’s election.

The group admits that they are targeting Democrats. They aren’t exactly subtle in making it clear that they are targeting African-American voters. The scheme is an attempt to intimidate African-American voters while getting around the Voting Rights Act. The point of this campaign isn’t to get felons off the streets. The “poll watchers” are trying to keep African-Americans away from the polls.

The fact that they are targeting a specific group of individuals based on race and perceived political affiliation means that their operation is a violation of the Voting Rights Act. According to the Justice Department, “The administration of elections is chiefly a function of state government. However, federal authorities may become involved where there are possible violations of federal law. In cases where intimidation, coercion, or threats are made or attempts to intimidate, threaten or coerce are made to any person for voting or attempting to vote, the Department of Justice can consider whether there is federal jurisdiction to bring civil claims or criminal charges under federal law. Depending on the nature of the allegations, they may fall into the jurisdiction of different parts of the Department. If you have information about allegations of intimidation, please contact us.”

Wisconsin Republicans are desperate to keep Scott Walker in office, Currently, Gov. Walker is tied with Democrat Mary Burke in the polls. A voter intimidation effort that could prevent African-Americans from voting might be enough to get Walker reelected. The right-wing Wisconsin poll watching group is planning on engaging in illegal activity. The group is just getting started, which is why it is a perfect time to send the message that these tactics will not be tolerated.

You can contact the Justice Department here, and request that the election be monitored.

The right to vote must be protected, and those who attempt to intimidate voters need to be held accountable.

David Axelrod, Michael Steele Battle Over GOP’s Future: ‘Tea Party Not Going to Go Quietly’


Everybody expected plenty of tea-leaf reading about the future of the GOP on the Wednesday morning after Election Day, and MSNBC’s Morning Joe did not disappoint, with Cokie Roberts’comment that “it was not a good night for the tea party” setting off former RNC Chairman Michael Steele and former Barack Obama advisor David Axelrod.

“There’s only so much money to go around in a 2014 congressional election cycle,” Steele said, referring to the Alabama Republican primary, in which an “establishment” candidate backed by the Chamber of Commerce and wealthy contributor Joe Ricketts beat a tea party challenger. “A special election in Alabama—that’s a very different environment for a Joe Ricketts to play in. I don’t think we should overstep. Next year, we’ve got a whole different dynamic. The tea party is not going to go quietly into that good night, certainly not on the money front.”

“The fact is the business community had made a Faustian bargain with the tea party in 2010 and 2011 and 2012,” Axelrod said. “It all came home to roost in the shutdown, in the flirtation with default, and they realize, this is serious business, and we need serious people. That was reflected in where they put their money in these races.”

Axelrod also cautioned against reading too much into the effect of Obamacare on the Virginia race, and extrapolating from that a winning strategy.

“If Republicans think they can get on this Obamacare kick and win in 2014 on that, I think they’re mistaken,” Axelrod said. “If you look at the polling, even throughout all this Obamacare debacle, their numbers have not moved. They have not gained. So I think it is too facile to say, ‘We’re just going to talk about Obamacare and win this election.’ They’ve got deeper problems than that.”

Watch the full clip via MSNBC…


All Ballots Counted, Allen West Solidly Defeated By Patrick Murphy

This sore loser would rather look like a horse’s behind than accept defeat.  This tells us a lot about his true character…

The Huffington Post


Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) may be vowing that his race against Patrick Murphy is far from over, but as of early Saturday morning, all ballots were counted and legally the result is clear: West lost.

Murphy won a total of 166,799 votes to West’s 164,370, the Palm Beach Postreported. That puts Murphy ahead by 2,429 votes and gives him a 0.7 percent advantage. Florida law only requires a recount when the margin is 0.5 percent or less.

Palm Beach County officials were up until 4:45 a.m. Saturday counting all remaining ballots cast during early voting, on Election Day, absentee ballots and other problematic ballots, the Palm Beach Post reported.

The race in Florida’s 18th Congressional District still hasn’t been officially called. Palm Beach officials must submit their results to state officials for them to become official, but Saturday’s final vote tally all but ensures the race is over.

Murphy already declared victory on election night and NBC called the race for him that night, but West still hasn’t conceded. In addition to declaring on his Facebook page that the race is “far from decided,” West filed lawsuits to have ballots and voting machines impounded in Palm Beach and St. Lucie counties. The judge in Palm Beachthrew the case out on Friday, though, telling West’s lawyers that their arguments fell “woefully short” of what was required for an injunction. A St. Lucie judge is slated to hear West’s case on Tuesday.

A West campaign spokesman did not respond to a request for comment.

Murphy’s campaign is ready to move on.

“As expected, the election night results have been confirmed, and it is time to put the campaign behind us,” Murphy campaign spokesman Anthony Kusich said in a statement. “Patrick looks forward to representing the treasure coast and palm beaches in Washington and working with both parties to get Florida back to work.”


Miami-Dade shuts down in-person absentee voting after crowds line up outside

Miami-Dade voters request absentee ballots which can be filed the same day.

This sort of behavior by the county and state officials is a violation of Federal Law.  Intimidation and suppression tactics aimed at minorities who are simply trying to vote is enough to make civil rights icon MLK, Jr.’s legacy a mockery.   This is truly an injustice to everyone…

The Miami-Herald

So many voters showed up at the Miami-Dade elections headquarters in Doral to cast absentee ballots in person Sunday afternoon that the department shut down the operation less than two hours in, saying it did not have enough resources to help everyone.

In a confusing turn of events, the Miami-Dade elections department shut down early Sunday afternoon after too many people showed up to request and cast absentee ballots in person.

The department had opened its Doral headquarters from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. as a work-around to an early-voting crackdown law.

But by 2 p.m., around 180 voters had showed up, and department spokeswoman Christina White said the office would not be able to accommodate any more voters who showed up. Additional voters would be turned away, she said.

“We had the best of intentions to provide this service today,” she said. “We just can’t accommodate it to the degree that we would like to.”

Shortly after, however, the department locked its doors and shut down the operation without explanation. The people in line did not get to vote.

“Let us vote!” they shouted.

The department had only one ballot-printing machine, five voting booths and two staffers to assist voters Sunday.

“This is America, not a third-world country,” said Myrna Peralta, who waited in line with her 4-year-old grandson for nearly two hours before being turned away. “They should have been prepared.”

“My beautiful Sunshine State,” she lamented. “They’re not letting people vote.”

Tow trucks later began towing voters’ cars parked in a lot across the street from the elections department. “This is intimidation!” one voter yelled.

Miami-Dade had announced Sunday morning that it would allow voters to request, fill out and turn in absentee ballots on the spot for four hours in the afternoon after the Florida Democratic Party filed a lawsuit in the wee hours seeking to somehow extend voting in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties before Election Day.

A loophole in a state law that eliminated early voting the Sunday before Election Day allows elections supervisors to accept in-person absentee ballots through 7 p.m. Tuesday — including Sunday, at the elections supervisor’s discretion. Miami-Dade had planned to open Sunday only for voters to drop off absentee ballots.

It announced Sunday morning that it would also allow voters who had not previously requested absentee ballots to do so in person, fill them out on the spot and turn them in. Anyone still in line by 5 p.m would be allowed to cast their ballot, the department had initially said. The Doral office is located at 2700 NW 87th Ave.

Broward, which had not initially followed suit, said early Sunday afternoon it would also try to accommodate voters — but they will have to wait until voters who made appointments cast their ballots first.

Mary Cooney, a department spokeswoman, told The Miami Herald early Sunday afternoon that the department will try to accommodate voters who show up at a Lauderhill satellite office located at 1501 NW 40th Ave. (N. State Rd. 7/441). They will have to wait, however, behind around 100 voters who had called before Sunday to set up an appointment to pick up and fill out absentee ballots in person.

Broward is accepting new appointment requests for Monday at 954-712-1964 and 954-712-1974. And both the satellite office and the Fort Lauderdale main office, located at 115 S. Andrews Ave., Room 103, will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday to accept completed absentee ballots from voters who had already received them.

Ohio Secretary of State accused of installing suspicious software on voting machines

Voters cast their ballots, during early voting at the Wood County Court House October 2, 2012 in Bowling Green, Ohio. Early voting began October 2 in the battleground state of Ohio, five weeks before election day on November 6. (Photo by J.D. Pooley/Getty Images)

Voters cast their ballots, during early voting at the Wood County Court House October 2, 2012 in Bowling Green, Ohio. Early voting began October 2 in the battleground state of Ohio, five weeks before election day on November 6. (Photo by J.D. Pooley/Getty Images)

Here we go again…

The Grio

The Columbus Free Press is reporting that the Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted allegedly ordered for“experimental software patches” to be installed on vote-counting machines in a number of Ohio counties.

According to the newspaper, voting rights activists are concerned that the software patches, which are usually used to update or change existing software, could potentially affect over 4 million registered voters, including those who live in Columbus and Cleveland.

Ohio law allows for the experimental use of voting equipment as long as it’s restricted to a limited number of precincts, and under the experimental label, equipment can legally be used without certification.

The Free Press revealed the contract between Husted’s office and the contracted vendor Election Systems and Solutions reads that the software has not been and does not need to be reviewed by any testing authority at the state or federal level.

Election Counsel Brandi Laser Seske sent out a memo to Secretary of State personnel yesterday, detailing the software. In the memo, she explains the software did not require review because it is not “involved in the tabulation or casting of ballots … or a modification to a certified system.”

Matt McClellan, a spokesman for the Secretary of State’s office, told theGrio that no patches were installed, describing instead a reporting tool software meant to “assist counties and to help them simplify the process by which they report the results to our system.”

McClellan said the tool serves to cut down on the amount of information precinct workers would have to key in by hand by allowing the results to be output onto a thumbdrive and uploaded at once into the Secretary of State’s system.

“It basically just creates a one-way flow of information — and that is simply from their system, out,” McClellan said. “So at no point in time are we going into their system and messing with anything.”

When asked why the reporting tool was labeled experimental, McClellan responded, “It is a pilot project that we’re doing with about 25 counties or so. So it’s not statewide, but it is a pilot project we’re trying.”

And when asked why a pilot project is being launched so soon before the election, he said, “I’m not sure the exact timeline of that, but I know we’ve been working with the counties for the past couple of months on getting these in place, testing them to make sure they work properly, and working with the vendors as well.”

There are only days left until Election Day and the fear of voter suppression is only increasing. McClellan said there should be no concerns that the new reporting tool will jeopardize the voting results or voter information, but voting rights activists remain far from reassured.

Civil rights organizations like the Advancement Project plan to be on the lookout for any voting rights violations in Columbus and Cincinnati, among other cities in the nation.

5 Voter Misinformation Campaigns To Watch Out For

I prefer to call it a deliberate disinformation campaign…

Think Progress

Though most voter ID laws and voter purges have been thrown out or delayed by judges, voter suppression efforts are still alive and well. With two weeks to Election Day, voters in critical swing states are being inundatedwith false information and intimidating messages meant to discourage them from voting. While shenanigans have been reported in every election, voting rights advocates say efforts to confuse and intimidate voters are taking an even more prominent role this year.

  • Phone voting. Residents in Florida, Indiana and Virginia are receiving mysterious phone calls telling them they can vote by phone instead of going to the polls. Virginia’s board of elections has received at least 10 complaints, mostly from seniors, though the total number of people affected by these calls is unclear.
  • Fake voter purge letters. Also in Florida, a mass mailing of fake letters questioning voters’ citizenship is being investigated. The letter, written on fake letterhead of a local county’s Supervisor of Elections, tells recipients in 23 counties to fill out a “voter eligibility form” with their Social Security information, Florida drivers licence number, and addresses. The letter claims the recipients must send the form to the Supervisor of Elections within 15 days or be purged from the rolls — mimicking actual purge letters ordered by Florida governor Rick Scott (R) challenging 200 Floridians’ citizenship.
  • Intimidating billboards. Dozens of billboards warning that voter fraud is a felony popped up suddenly in predominantly African American and Latino neighborhoods of Cleveland, Ohio earlier this month. The message, which includes the prison sentence and fine for voter fraud, is likely targeting former felons who do have the right to vote in Ohio. The company, Clear Channel Outdoor, announced they would take down intimidating voter fraud billboards after the sponsor refused to come forward. The company is also donating 10 billboards declaring, “Voting is a Right. Not a Crime!”
  • Misleading voter ID ads. Though a judge ruled that Pennsylvania voters without a photo ID could still cast a regular ballot, state-sponsored ads have continued to tell residents they must show an ID. These ads are aired on television and radio, at posters at the DMV, and were mailed to thousands of seniors via a state prescription drug program. Abillboard targeting Spanish speakers also continued to promote the ID requirement for at least a week after the ruling.
  • Employer pressure. Several CEOs are pressuring their employees to vote for Romney by suggesting they will be forced to fire workers if Obama wins the election. While employers used to be banned from directly expressing political opinions to employees, the Supreme Court changed that with its 2010 Citizens United ruling. Workers have reported being pressured to vote, donate, and attend Romney rallies by their bosses.

Romney gets caught lying about Obama, military voters

Mitt Romney is counting on his followers to be ignorant and complacent.

He thinks those Fox News viewers (the same people who will vote for him) will believe anything he says, and he’s probably right.  The fact is he’s a bold-face liar that doesn’t deserve the Presidency.

John McCain was an honorable and worthwhile adversary back in 2008.  Romney is a sleazy wannabe politician who has the corrupt values of a Wall Street Banker…

The Rachel Maddow Blog

After spending the last several months paying attention to Mitt Romney’s habitual dishonesty at a granular level, I’ve become largely inured to his more routine, casual lies. Some of the deliberate falsehoods are just too common to get upset about.

But once in a while, Romney tells a lie so blatant and offensive that it raises questions anew about the candidate’s character and what standards of decency he’s prepared to abandon to advance his ambitions.

As Rachel explained on the show on Thursday, voting rights in Ohio have been a mess in recent cycles, and new voter-suppression tactics imposed by state Republican lawmakers are inviting “chaos” at the polls this fall. Of particular interest is a state policy that restricts early-voting rights: active-duty troops can vote up to three days before Election Day, but no one else.

To that end, President Obama’s campaign filed a lawsuit a few weeks ago, asking a federal court to “restore in-person early voting for all Ohioans during the three days prior to Election Day.” Three weeks later, Romney came up with a new response to the lawsuit, posting this message to Facebook:

“President Obama’s lawsuit claiming it is unconstitutional for Ohio to allow servicemen and women extended early voting privileges during the state’s early voting period is an outrage. The brave men and women of our military make tremendous sacrifices to protect and defend our freedoms, and we should do everything we can to protect their fundamental right to vote. I stand with the fifteen military groups that are defending the rights of military voters, and if I’m entrusted to be the commander-in-chief, I’ll work to protect the voting rights of our military, not undermine them.”

Got that? Obama wants all eligible Ohio voters, including servicemen and women, to have the same ability to vote, which Romney says, in writing, means Obama is trying to “undermine” the troops’ ability to vote.

This is as loathsome a lie as Romney has told all year — and given his record, that’s not an easy threshold to meet.

Continue reading here…

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David Wu Explains Mental Health Issues

Well, to this article, all I can say is there are more than one lowly politician who suffers from mental illness. 

The first that come to mine are Scott Walker, John Boehner, Tim Pawlenty, Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Pete Sessions, etc.  Personally, I think they all need some much needed psychiatric help!

Huffington Post

An Oregon congressman whose erratic behavior has recently prompted calls for his resignation said Sunday that some of his actions could be attributed to a reaction to mental health drugs.

U.S. Rep. David Wu, a Democrat, told The Associated Press, however, that it does not explain the behavior documented in reports over the last month, which included sending his staff photos of himself wearing a tiger costume.

Wu said he was hospitalized after his 2008 campaign for symptoms that were later diagnosed as a reaction to common mental health drugs. A spokesman, Erik Dorey, identified them as the sleep-aid drug Ambien and a generic form of Valium, which he said Wu used for anxiety and stress.

Wu said that as a result, he felt dizzy and confused on Election Day that year, when his staff and family reportedly were unable to locate him.

“It came up that afternoon, and it knocked me off my can,” Wu said, referring to the symptoms.

The AP interview in his Portland office was the most detailed public account yet of Wu’s psychiatric treatment since reports of his erratic behavior first surfaced last month. Six staff members quit after his 2010 re-election campaign during which the congressman gave angry speeches and talked his way inside the secure portion of Portland International Airport.

The congressman said last year’s episodes were the culmination of a period of mental health challenges that began in 2008 as marital issues led toward his separation from his wife.

He declined to detail the problems in his marriage but said they had nothing to do with his health.

In 2008, Wu was prescribed mental health drugs that he described as “very common.” Wu said he reacted to an enzyme in the drugs, and that after the election he was hospitalized for two days.   More…