Quote of the Day
GOP Rally Boos Paul Pelosi
Indiana Attorney General Seeks Abortion Records
Prosecution Rests in Oath Keepers Sedition Trial
Oprah Endorses John Fetterman
Six Senate Races Are Now Toss Ups
• Conspiracy Theories about Paul Pelosi Are Running Wild
• Hand-Counting of Ballots Is on the Ballot
• Pennsylvania Will Not Count Undated Ballots
• Where Are the Heavyweights Campaigning?
• Flood of New Poll Workers Is Raising Concerns
• Who Are the Most Vulnerable House Members?
• Trump Lawyers Hoped Clarence Thomas Would Help Them Overturn Georgia
• Jolly Olde English Politics, Part III
• Today's Senate Polls
Ronald Brownstein, whose analysis is always worth reading, wrote a piece for CNN that makes a very good point. We'll give you a hint before explaining. What do all but one of these gentlemen have in common?
Here's a bit more information. Clockwise from upper left they are Blake Masters, Herschel Walker, Adam Laxalt, Mehmet Oz, J.D. Vance, and Don Bolduc. Yes, all have been endorsed by Donald Trump, but that is not Brownstein's point. OK, here it is. With the exception of Laxalt, a former Nevada attorney general, none of them have any business running for the Senate. All of the others believe wild conspiracy theories and are utterly unqualified for high office. Laxalt does, too, but as someone who was previously elected to statewide office, he is certainly a plausible and reasonably competent potential senator.
Brownstein's observation is that most voters probably know that none of these fellows are ever going to rank up there with Henry Clay as one of the greatest senators of all time. None of them except maybe Laxalt will ever contribute to anything senatorial except maybe to make Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) feel good about no longer being the least qualified senator.
Most Republican and independent voters know in their hearts that their opponents would make better senators. But the real question that will decide control of the Senate is will they vote for someone they know would be a terrible senator on account of that little (R), or will they hold their noses and maybe this one time vote for the Democrat? That's the issue, and it holds for at least five of the states. Brownstein quotes Democratic pollster Paul Maslin: "The real question comes down to that group of independents in the middle, and who votes at the end. Is it people saying, 'I hate inflation, crime is wrecking this big city I live in,' or people saying, 'I'm sorry but Herschel Walker is a clown, Mehmet Oz is a clown ... Blake Masters is a joke,' and they go back to [the Democrats]? I don't know. I honestly don't know." In other words, will all Republicans vote for a candidate they know is deeply flawed on account of that little (R) or will they defect this one time?
Strategists for both parties understand this. Republican strategists are trying to frame the election as: "Do you want Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) to be majority leader?" Democratic strategists are trying to frame it as: "Do you want to be represented in the United States Senate by this moron?" Put another way, Republicans want to nationalize the election and Democrats want to localize it and focus on the candidates themselves.
Also a factor is Joe Biden's approval rating. He is way below 50% in all the swing states. Republicans are harping on not having a Senate that will do the bidding of an unpopular president. Democrats are harping on who the voters want to represent them in the Senate.
Brownstein also makes the same point we have all year: America has sort of become a semi-parliamentary system, where the party label is what matters, not "candidate quality." In the distant past, it was easy for a candidate to run far ahead of the popularity of his or her party leader. That is much harder now. For example, in the most recent midterms (2018), in the 10 states with Senate races where Trump's approval was below 48%, every Republican Senate candidate lost. In the 2010 midterms, in the states where then-President Barack Obama was below 47%, Democrats lost 13 of the 15 Senate races. In 2006, in the states where then-President George W. Bush was below 45%, 19 of the 20 Senate Races resulted in a loss for the Republicans.
This means that to hold the Senate, the Democratic candidates in all six of the above races (plus North Carolina and Wisconsin), have to run way ahead of Biden's approval rating. Competing against deeply flawed candidates makes it easier, but it is still an uphill climb for them. (V)
One might have thought that after the unprovoked attack on Paul Pelosi that all politicians, from both sides of the aisle, not to mention all other public figures, would condemn it in the most forceful terms. If so, one would be wrong. Some tweets making the rounds suggest that Pelosi was drunk and his attacker was his secret lover. In fact, the disinformation is spreading so rapidly that San Francisco Police Chief William Scott has told reporters: "There is absolutely no evidence that Mr. Pelosi knew this man, and as a matter of fact the evidence indicates the exact opposite." He also said that the conspiracy theories were being spread by people "whether they believe it or not."
Scott was probably referring to a (since-deleted) tweet by Elon Musk suggesting that maybe Pelosi was actually having a fight with a male prostitute he had hired. Of course, Musk had zero evidence that was the case. He just parroted it from a skeezy newspaper in Santa Monica. It will be interesting to see how Musk's newfound love of free speech holds out the first time someone (baselessly) tweets that he has actual evidence that Musk is a pedophile who has raped at least three young boys and the tweet goes viral.
Conspiracy theories similar to Musk's have been floating around the far-right corners of the Internet for days now. Most of them suggest that Pelosi was in some kind of romantic relationship with someone other than Nancy Pelosi and/or that a third party (other than Paul Pelosi and his attacker, David DePape) was present when Pelosi was attacked. Some of the people who are spreading false stories really know better. They just are hoping for attention. For example, Megyn Kelly, the former Fox News host who has been demoted to running her own podcast, wants to get back in the limelight, so she said of the police bodycam footage: "Let's see it all. I don't know what went on. I know enough to smell a rat. There's something going on here that they're not telling us. I just don't know what it is." Get this: She says she doesn't know what happened but she smells a rat. How could she smell a rat when she says she doesn't know what happened? Maybe she has a really, really good sense of smell, since she lives in Rye, NY, about 2,500 miles from San Francisco. In other words, she wants to be somebody important again, so she knowingly suggested there is a cover-up in order to get herself in the news. It worked, but mostly showed what kind of desperate and awful person she is.
Kelly isn't the only one wants to use the incident for personal advantage. At first, Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R-VA) made light of the matter, but yesterday he sort of apologized. Sort of. On the other hand, Arizona gubernatorial candidate Kari Lake is absolutely not backing down. When asked about protecting schoolkids, she made a joke about Nancy Pelosi's house not having any protection. The audience laughed. Lake claimed it wasn't her fault the audience laughed at what was clearly a joke. Since then, she has refused to budge or say that making jokes about political violence is just maybe inappropriate. She is the model for Republican reactions to the attack more than Youngkin, though. (V)
Some Republican candidates for secretary of state have latched onto a new (and nutty) idea: hand count all the ballots. This despite the well-known fact that hand counts are much slower and less accurate than machine counts. The "basis" for this "platform" is the supposition that the vote-counting machines are all rigged for the Democrats. This plays well with the Republican base but the candidates are careful about not expressing this directly for fear of attracting the attention of Dominion Voting Systems' legal department, a group that appears to have no sense of humor at all. Republican candidates in Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and Michigan, among others, are big fans of hand counts. Just add this to the culture war agenda of abortion, gay rights, guns, vaccinations, and the rest.
The reason so many states and counties moved to machine counting is that it is faster, more accurate, and less prone to manipulation than hand counts. Some of the early attempts (giant lever machines in New York and punched cards in Florida) have largely given way to hand-marked ballots read by optical scanners. This combination makes it easy to vote and count the ballots but also provides a backup (hand counting) in the case of very close elections. But the objection of the secretary of state candidates has nothing to do with any of these. It is just to feed red meat to a base hungry for explanations of why Donald Trump lost in 2020 (the machines were rigged!).
Fortunately, all Democratic candidates for secretary of state and some of the Republicans want to keep the optical scanners since they haven't drunk the Kool-Aid and know these machines are thoroughly tested before the election with a known set of ballots and generally work fine. They are also tested after the election with known ballots. Nearly all sitting secretaries know that as well. In Nevada, secretary of state candidate Jim Marchant (R) supports hand counting and at least one county (Nye) took that seriously—even though he hasn't won yet. Officials there started hand counting the absentee ballots, but current Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske (R) ordered them to stop as the hand counting was riddled with problems, including delays and errors among the 12 teams of five split into two shifts. In some cases it was taking 3 hours to count 50 ballots. After the June primary, it took the workers in another rural Nevada county (Esmeralda) 7 hours to count the 317 primary ballots. Even if a small county can't afford a counting machine, surely several nearby small counties could band together, buy one machine, and have all the ballots trucked there (guarded by the state police) for counting. (V)
Speaking of counting the ballots, on Tuesday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruled that absentee ballots cast without a handwritten date on the envelope may not be counted. State law requires such a date. It is not clear to us why the legislature put such a provision in the law, but it did. After all, if the ballot is received by Election Day, it hardly matters when it was filled out, but such is the law.
The big question to which we have no answer is: Which party benefits from this ruling? In the 2020 presidential election, there were 381,000 absentee ballots in Philadelphia (overwhelmingly from Democrats) and 8,300 had no date. That is 2%. If 1.5% were for Democrats and 0.5% were for Republicans, not counting them would move the needle about 1% toward the Republicans.
However, Philadelphia isn't the whole state. There is also the "Kentucky" part between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Here many voters are older Republicans and older people are more likely than, say, 40-year-olds, to make simple clerical errors like forgetting to date the envelope. It is possible that here the ruling hurts the Republicans.
Some counties may try to notify voters of the defect before Election Day and invite them to come to election central to add the date to the envelope. This could result in a patchwork in which forgetting to fill in the date can be cured in some counties and not in others. If you are going to vote by absentee ballot in any state but haven't done so yet, please: (1) get on the stick and do it today because the mail is slow and (2) read and follow the directions carefully. (V)
With less than a week to go, both parties are bringing out the big guns to campaign for lesser lights. For the Democrats, Joe Biden and Barack Obama are out on the hustings. So is Donald Trump, though George W. Bush is nowhere to be seen. Maybe he is ashamed of what the Republican Party has become. He's not saying.
On Saturday, for example, Biden, Obama, and Trump will all be in Pennsylvania, a state that could determine control of the Senate. The gubernatorial race will also determine if the next governor will sign bills the Republican-controlled legislature may pass to restrict voting. Biden certainly understands this. Scranton Joe has been to his native state nine times already this year. But the Keystone State is not the only one on Biden's agenda. He will also visit Florida, Maryland, New Mexico, and California before Election Day. First Lady Jill Biden is also out on the trail, most recently in New Hampshire. Similary, Kamala Harris is stumping for Democrats all over.
Donald Trump has visited Arizona, Nevada, and Texas recently, with planned stops in Pennsylvania, Florida, and Ohio in the remaining days. The fact that key contests are spread all over the country, from Nevada to New Hampshire, limits how much campaigning a politician can do. A flight from Las Vegas to the East Coast takes about 5-6 hours, even with a chartered plane, and you lose 2 hours due to the time zones. So if you have a 10 a.m. rally in Las Vegas and leave at 11 a.m., you will arrive on the East Coast 6-7 p.m. By the time you get to the rally site it is probably 8 p.m. and dark. Skipping the West isn't a good idea because the races in Nevada and Arizona are so important and close.
Even Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) is having a swan song. She held her first general-election campaign event on Tuesday in Michigan, campaigning with Rep. Elissa Slotkin (D-MI). She has also endorsed a couple of other Democrats, including Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH), and might campaign a bit for them in the remaining days.
What is also interesting is who is not campaigning, or is at least being very selective. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) recently campaigned in Madison, WI, for progressive Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes (D-WI) who is running for the Senate. She fired up the students, as usual. The only odd thing was that Barnes himself wasn't there. He claims to have had a "scheduling conflict." Don't believe that for a second. Both Warren and Barnes know that while she fires up Democrats, she also fires up Republicans. A photo of her and Barnes together would be used by both parties. They decided he would be better off without this photo.
In fact, other top progressives, including Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), have also been carefully limiting their appearances to places where they believe they will do more good than harm. Sanders recently campaigned at the University of Oregon in Eugene, and is planning to spend 2 whole days campaigning in university towns in Wisconsin, a state he won in the 2016 primary. But Barnes will not be joining him. AOC, for her part, recently held a rally at the University of California at Irvine to get students to vote in the important House elections in Orange County.
This isn't to say progressive members of Congress are sitting this one out. Far from it. They are working the phones and the emails to raise money for their favorite candidates. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) has donated $128,000 to other Democrats this cycle. AOC has donated $247,000 to other Democrats from her own campaign funds and another $213,000 from her PAC. Some progressive Democrats say their records aren't the problem. The real problem is the flood of lies Republicans tell about them. To the extent this is true, staying at home and quietly raising money for candidates they like is probably more effective than getting out there and making themselves targets. (V)
In some states, election offices are worried they will not have enough poll workers next week, which could lead to huge lines in many precincts. Michigan (and some other states) have a very different problem: too many people who want to be a poll worker. The Michigan Republican Party is actively recruiting thousands of election deniers to sign up as poll workers. For example, the website of the Oakland County, MI, GOP reads: "If you're angry, fed up and fearful of a repeat of the horror show of November 2020, then this is one way you can help."
The GOP is targeting Detroit very heavily because it is so Democratic. If many Democrats can be disenfranchised there, the project will have paid for itself many times over. And if that means the end of democracy? Well, that was necessary in the service of a higher goal: keeping Republicans in power. One positive sign is that the Republican Party sent her the names of 800 people to sign up but only 200 completed the training. Apparently they were expecting to just show up and change votes and that's not exactly how it works.
Putting so many people who believe the 2020 election was stolen on the front lines is very worrisome to Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson (D). She said: "It concerns me when the motivation to serve as a poll worker is fueled through misinformation and people who have been fed lies, in some cases, for years now." She has been getting questions from county clerks for months about what to do with hundreds of poll worker applications that seem to be motivated by nefarious intent.
Michigan isn't the only state where the Republicans are recruiting disenchanted voters as poll workers. The RNC has made a multimillion-dollar investment in recruiting poll workers as well as 17 state "election integrity director" and 37 in-state election integrity counsels. Clearly the RNC is expecting and prepared for many legal questions and lawsuits. It could be a bitterly fought election on the ground. (V)
Historically, the president's party loses a bunch of seats in the House, often 20-30 or more. That is somewhat less likely this time because there aren't 30 Republican-leaning seats currently occupied by a Democrat. Nevertheless, in a major red wave, Democrats in light blue seats could be swept out to sea. Roll Call has a list of the 10 most vulnerable members of the House, six Democrats and four Republicans, as follows, from most vulnerable to least vulnerable.
- Tom O'Halleran (D) in AZ-02 (R+6): Redistricting put this venerable
Democrat into a Trump+8 district. He is well known in the new district, but his opponent, former Navy SEAL Eli
Crane, has Trump's endorsement. Kari Lake is also popular in the district and may have coattails for Crane.
- Tom Malinowski (D) in NJ-07 (R+1): Malinowski is facing a rematch with Tom Kean
Jr., son of the former governor of New Jersey. Only this time the district has become redder than it was.
Malinowski also has some ethics problems: He failed to disclose stock trades as required by House rules.
Still, Malinowski has more money than Kean, which always helps. Lean Republican.
- Cindy Axne (D) in IA-03 (R+3): This race has become a referendum on Biden
because the Republican, Zach Nunn, talks about nothing else than Axne's support for the President. She talks
about abortion access. The district has been redrawn since last time and made redder than it was last time.
- Elaine Luria (D) in VA-02 (R+2): Like Axne, Luria was elected in the 2018 blue
wave. She is facing a top GOP recruit, Jen Kiggans. Luria is on the Select Committee, which has given her some
publicity, but for Republican voters, that may work against her. Kiggans has harped on Luria's support for
Biden, but Luria has 10x as much money as Kiggans. Outside groups are helping Kiggans plug the money hole.
- David Valadao (R) in CA-22 (D+5): Valadao has won and lost in the district
before. He lost to T.J. Cox in 2018 and beat Cox in 2020. Since then, the district has been made much more
Democratic. Valadao voted to impeach Trump, which in a D+5 district is probably a plus. Republicans regard
Valadao as the only Republican who could possibly hold the seat against state Assemblyman Rudy Salas. Outside
groups have already spent $15 million for Valadao, a huge amount for a House race, especially in a rural area.
- Steve Chabot (R) in OH-01 (D+2): Chabot is a regular on the "most vulnerable"
lists. He even lost in 2008 but came back as a tea partier in 2010. The Democrat is time is Cincinnati City
Councilman Greg Landsman. Chabot is trying to depict him as too liberal for the district. Landsman is pointing
out that Chabot voted against certifying Biden's win in 2020. Toss-up.
- Angie Craig (D) MN-02 (D+1): Craig is again facing Marine veteran Tyler
Kistner, whom she beat by 2.2 points last time. A third-party candidate who is on the ballot died last month,
making it head-to-head. Craig has $1.9 million to Kistner's $420,000. Toss-up.
- Yvette Herrell (R) in NM-02 (D+1): Herrell is a former state representative who
moved up to the U.S. House in 2020, on her second try. She has managed to get some high-profile Republicans to
campaign for her, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Gov. Ron DeSantis (R-FL). The Democrat is Gabe Vasquez, a
first-generation American and former member of the Las Cruces City Council. He is running as a moderate. She
has twice as much money as he does. Toss-up.
- Don Bacon (R) in NE-02 (EVEN): Bacon is a retired Air Force brigadier general
who was first elected in 2016. He is facing state Sen. Tony Vargas in an Omaha-area district that Biden won in
2020. The race is considered a bellwether of how competitive Republicans are in the suburbs. Toss-up.
- Susan Wild (D) in PA-07 (R+2): Like some of the others on this list, she is
facing a rematch. The Republican is Lisa Scheller, who Wild beat by 4 points in 2020. However, the district
became more Republican this cycle. Wild is attacking Scheller because her business shipped jobs abroad. That
won't play so well. Also, Wild has $921,000 on hand vs. Scheller's $320,000. Toss-up.
In a red wave, the six Democrats are likely to drown but in a blue one, it will be the Republicans. In any case, the chance that more than half of these members are back in January is quite small. (V)
After the votes were counted in Georgia in Nov. 2020 and Donald Trump failed to get Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) to "find" another 11,780 Trump votes, the then-president's legal team came up with another plan. This plan was to appeal to the Supreme Court justice in charge of the 11th Circuit (which includes Georgia) and ask that justice to do something to help them. The justice who handles the 11th Circuit is Clarence Thomas. This new information comes from emails a court ordered John Eastman to turn over to the Select Committee. The emails quickly (accidentally) leaked to Politico.
Trump's lawyers knew that Thomas could not overturn the count on his own, but they were hoping he would order Georgia to refrain from certifying the vote until the state legislature could get involved—and potentially appoint its own slate of electors. Or at the very least, with Georgia's electoral votes uncertain, maybe the Jan. 6 count could be stopped, especially if the Supreme Court was scheduled to take the case up soon. Trump lawyers Eastman and Kenneth Chesebro discussed this in emails. Trump himself did not write any of the emails, but given his extreme interest in the matter, might well have been at least aware of the plan.
Nevertheless, a case can be made that Eastman and Chesebro engaged in a criminal conspiracy to overturn the election. If they are indicted for it, it is certainly possible that one or both of them will flip and tell the DoJ everything they know about Trump's involvement and whether he was also part of the criminal conspiracy.
Both of them were disappointed when Thomas didn't take any action to block certification until the Supreme Court could take up the matter. In fact, he took no action at all, pretty much scuttling this plan. (V)
Some more questions about British politics, with answers from G.S. in Basingstoke, England, UK; A.B. in Lichfield, England, UK; and S.T. in Worcestershire, England, UK:
S.S. in West Hollywood, CA, asks: Here in the United States, despite what Republicans would have you believe, our poorest states are red states. They take more from the federal government in funding than they contribute in taxes. (And not once have they thanked California for the taxes we pay that help keep their states functioning!)
How does that compare to the United Kingdom? Would there be benefits for England if Northern Ireland, Scotland, and/or Wales left the U.K.? How do they contribute to England's economy/tax funds? Do they take more than they give or the reverse? Why is England fighting to keep them from leaving the U.K.? Are there economic or other reasons, or is it really just English pride, history and the symbolism of it?
A.B. answers: I'm writing this as a Scot, and forgive me for noting that this question, as framed, shows a fundamental lack of understanding of the internal politics of the United Kingdom. In the more than 40 years I've been regularly crossing the Atlantic (including living in the U.S. for 15 years across the 80s and 90s), I've noticed an unfortunate tendency to conflate the United Kingdom with "England," never mind the ongoing confusion over the important distinctions between the U.K., Great Britain, and the four constituent components of the U.K.
This isn't the place for a detailed history lesson, but it's worth stressing that the histories behind those four components of the U.K., and how they came to form part of the modern nation, are very different. It does us no good to consider Ireland, Wales, and Scotland as functionally identical in their historical interactions with England. There's even an entire TV Tropes page dedicated to the fallacy (though poor Wales, as usual, misses out). Personally, I blame a combination of Mel Gibson and that tricky U.S.-specific ethnic identity of "Scotch-Irish."
That slightly defensive intro was necessary because it's important that we don't understand the internal politics of the Union as "England fighting to keep them in the U.K." Yes, all of the main national U.K. parties are committed to preserving the Union, but their policies towards how to best do so vary, and not all of their members are English. And we also need to recognize the internal complexities of the different nations of the U.K. While the largest party in the Northern Ireland Assembly now supports a united Ireland, a plurality of Northern Ireland voters continue to support remaining part of the U.K.—though it's wholly fair to note that support for the Union has been in slow long-term decline. Scotland is deeply split, but polling shows that a plurality is still against independence. According to the poll list on Wikipedia, 16 of the last 18 polls on the subject have shown a lead for "No," with one tie, and one poll showing a 1% lead for "Yes." Looking further back in that Wikipedia poll summary, it seems likely that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has led to a decline in support for independence. As to Wales, while support for independence has grown in the last 20 years, most recent polls suggest support of about 30%.
Placing the emphasis solely on what England is allegedly trying to do and "English pride" erases the complexities of these issues, and denies agency to the many voters of Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Wales who also continue to support the Union. I know that this isn't quite answering the question as framed, but the Anglocentrism of the question is fundamentally flawed.
S.T. answers: A lot to unpack in this question: Let's start with the economic side.
Of the 4 U.K. nations, Wales is probably the most deprived: A combination of a south once dominated by heavy industry, and badly hit by deindustrialization, and indifferent agriculture in the middle and north. Northern Ireland was, of course, hugely impacted by "The Troubles," which came perilously close to civil war between the late 1960s and mid-1990s. Since then there has been something of a recovery, ironically partly due to enhanced economic integration with the Irish Republic. Scotland is by some measures more prosperous than certain English regions. There is, however, a divide between the west, another area badly hit by deindustrialization, and the east, boasting better farmland, the benefits of the North Sea oil and gas boom and Edinburgh's traditional role as a center of financial services.
England overall is probably the most prosperous, but there are huge divisions within it, principally between the affluent south/east and the less well off north/west. Again deindustrialization and the location of the finance sector mainly in London and the southeast have been major drivers. One issue is that public expenditure per head is far higher in the southeast than the rest of the country, though that does not prevent pockets of deep poverty in London, for example.
It probably is the case that England is a net contributor and the three other countries are net recipients. That does not mean, however, that a break up would make England wealthier because all parts of the U.K. benefit from being in one trading bloc and, as is being seen with Brexit, breaking up such a arrangement can easily reduce overall prosperity.
And, of course, there is sentiment and the bonds developed over decades and centuries. I was born in England, have lived in it all my life, and am culturally English, but my surname is Welsh, so there must be some border-hopping at some point in our family history, and my mother's family has Scots-Irish roots. So while I always describe myself as British, I would be saddened if the U.K. were to fragment. Indeed. I would say one of the great tragedies of the last 150 years in U.K. politics was the failure from the 1870s to the 1910s to accommodate demands for Irish Home Rule, largely due to opposition from the Conservative Party from 1886 onwards. The chance to have a federated nation was lost (although I recognize that cultural and religious factors were also key drivers in creating the Irish Republic).
G.S. answers: S.T has done a good job here of highlighting the various dichotomies between the regions. As an (English) northerner currently residing in the south, I can personally attest to the financial disparity between these two regions; it manifests itself in other ways, such as lower life expectancy, higher hospital waiting list time, etc., in those poorer regions. Readers may be interested to know the existence of the Barnett formula which, despite having no basis other than convention and its founder calling it a "terrible mistake," persists. The tables show that expenditure per capita is higher in each of Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland than England, and this latter point was used as a blunt (if, to my mind, effective) cudgel during the first Scottish independence referendum campaign, and is regularly cited by prime ministers under hostile questioning about public spending from the SNP at Prime Minister's Questions.
F.S. in Cologne. Germany, asks: Does the resignation of Liz Truss mean the end of Thatcherism in the UK?
A.B. answers: No more than the rejection of almost everything Ronald Reagan actually stood for by the modern Republican Party means the end of Reaganism as a banner for the Republicans to unite under.
S.T. answers: Ah, good old Thatcherism—one of the most slippery "ism's" in existence!
It is almost impossible to define, not least because its originator was, despite her claims never to "U-turn," more than willing to accept actions which seemed to run against her principles when it suited her, and due to its own internal contradictions. For example, in the earliest years of her premiership, Thatcher was obsessed by controlling the money supply, taking down a quarter of U.K. manufacturing capacity in just three years in the process. When, however, access to credit for personal consumption boomed in the mid 1980's—an expansion of the money supply if ever there was one—she took no action to stop it whatsoever, presumably because the financial services industry was beyond reproach. And how can you reconcile a total free-for-all in the economic sphere with restrictions in the social and cultural spheres? (Arguably, the Conservative Party has still to work that one out.)
Nor was Thatcherism entirely new. Elements of it had been floating around before Lady Thatcher even became an MP. For example, in 1958, then-Finance Minister Peter Thorneycroft resigned from the government after falling out with Prime Minister Harold Macmillan over the issue of "sound money" and levels of government expenditure, both of which are Thatcherite through and through.
What was new in 1979 was the first Conservative leader to become Prime Minister, after being primarily chosen as leader due to support from the right of the party for several decades. She was in a position to implement policies, which had become increasingly popular in that wing of the party over many years.
Since then, there have arguably only been one or two Conservative leaders who were not primarily the candidate of the right, and so these policies continue. Most of Thatcher's successors have taken however a very selective approach to the inheritance. Most recently, Liz Truss famously tried to implement tax cuts favoring the wealthy (very Thatcherite) , based on extra borrowing (decidedly un-Thatcherite). Rishi Sunak, another self proclaimed disciple of Lady Thatcher, is likely to continue the trend of selecting those parts of the legacy which seem congenial whilst ignoring the rest.
In some ways, the U.S. and the U.K. systems are similar. In some ways, boy are they different. One last set tomorrow. (V & Z)
Colorado and Florida are done deals and Wisconsin is not looking good for Mandela Barnes, but all the others could go either way. (V)
|State||Democrat||D %||Republican||R %||Start||End||Pollster|
|Arizona||Mark Kelly*||49%||Blake Masters||49%||Oct 29||Nov 02||Civiqs|
|Colorado||Michael Bennet*||56%||Joe O`Dea||42%||Oct 11||Oct 19||YouGov|
|Florida||Val Demings||45%||Marco Rubio*||51%||Nov 01||Nov 01||InsiderAdvantage|
|Florida||Val Demings||45%||Marco Rubio*||52%||Oct 29||Nov 02||Civiqs|
|Florida||Val Demings||46%||Marco Rubio*||50%||Oct 30||Nov 01||Victory Insights|
|Georgia||Raphael Warnock*||45%||Herschel Walker||46%||Oct 26||Oct 30||Beacon + Shaw|
|Kansas||Mark Holland||33%||Jerry Moran*||54%||Oct 27||Oct 29||Emerson Coll.|
|Missouri||Trudy Valentine||41%||Eric Schmitt||50%||Oct 27||Nov 01||SurveyUSA|
|North Carolina||Cheri Beasley||46%||Ted Budd||51%||Oct 27||Oct 29||Emerson Coll.|
|North Carolina||Cheri Beasley||49%||Ted Budd||49%||Oct 29||Nov 02||Civiqs|
|Pennsylvania||John Fetterman||47%||Mehmet Oz||43%||Oct 26||Oct 30||Beacon + Shaw|
|Pennsylvania||John Fetterman||47%||Mehmet Oz||45%||Oct 27||Oct 30||Suffolk U.|
|Pennsylvania||John Fetterman||48%||Mehmet Oz||42%||Oct 11||Oct 26||YouGov|
|Pennsylvania||John Fetterman||48%||Mehmet Oz||44%||Oct 27||Oct 31||Monmouth U.|
|Wisconsin||Mandela Barnes||46%||Ron Johnson*||51%||Oct 27||Oct 29||Emerson Coll.|
|Wisconsin||Mandela Barnes||48%||Ron Johnson*||50%||Oct 24||Nov 01||Marquette Law School|
* Denotes incumbent
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Nov02 Sasse Is In, So He's Out
Nov02 The Seven People With the Most at Stake on Tuesday
Nov02 Today's Trump Legal News
Nov02 Today's Endorsement News
Nov02 Today's Dysfunctional Democracies News
Nov02 Jolly Olde English Politics, Part II
Nov02 Today's Senate Polls
Nov01 Let the Gaslighting Begin
Nov01 When Will Trump Be Indicted?
Nov01 Maybe That Odor Is Something other than Musky
Nov01 Hofmeister Picks Up a Key Endorsement
Nov01 Yet Again, Oz Reminds Everyone He's a Carpetbagger
Nov01 Heeeeee's Baaaaaaaack!
Nov01 Jolly Olde English Politics, Part I
Nov01 Today's Senate Polls
Oct31 Where Are We a Week Before the Election?
Oct31 Races for Governor Are Not Following the Playbook
Oct31 Rules for Absentee Voting Are All over the Map
Oct31 Early Voting Is Well Underway
Oct31 Poll: Economy and Inflation Are the Top Issues
Oct31 Ossoff Will Help Warnock
Oct31 Twitter Is Now Emitting a Musky Odor
Oct31 What If the Certifiers Won't Certify?
Oct31 Gavin Newsom Isn't Campaigning--and This is Bad News for Democrats
Oct31 When Will Biden Announce?
Oct31 Republican Concern for Workers Is Play Acting
Oct31 It's Lula
Oct31 Today's Senate Polls
Oct30 Sunday Mailbag
Oct30 Today's Senate Polls
Oct29 Paul Pelosi Attacked
Oct29 Saturday Q&A
Oct29 Today's Senate Polls
Oct28 Can Ways and Means Finally Have Trump's Taxes?
Oct28 A Grift Wrapped in a Con Job inside a Racket
Oct28 Biden and Harris to Campaign Jointly for Fetterman
Oct28 Time to Outlaw Slavery?
Oct28 Brazilians Head to the Polls
Oct28 This Week in Schadenfreude: All Trussed Up with Nowhere to Go
Oct28 This Week in Freudenfreude: The Decline of Fossil Fuels
Oct28 Today's Senate Polls
Oct27 Trump Ending the DeTente?
Oct27 Trump Is Officially Subpoenaed
Oct27 Democrats on the Upswing
Oct27 Pennsylvania Senate Race: The Day After
Oct27 Georgia Senate Race: Do I Hear Three?
Oct27 Washington Senate Race: Rescuing Patty Murray
Oct27 I Am Not a Crook... Unless I Am
Oct27 Today's Senate Polls