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August 16th, 2012, 10:46pm by Sam Wang


Have I convinced you that this year’s Senate races are critical? Whatever your party affiliation, a lot is at stake. Put it another way…Heidi Heitkamp may be more important in your life in 2013 than Paul Ryan.

This means that in the Senate, your donations have far more impact than in the Presidential race. Give at my ActBlue page. If you are a Republican, an equally effective place to give is the National Republican Senatorial Committee.

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Tags: 2012 Election · Politics · Senate

11 Comments so far ↓

  • Wu

    “Dem dem dem .. republican … dem dem dem … Republican … I’m more libertarian than anything else”

    Voting ‘rep,’ no doubt. ;)

  • LondonYoung

    Given dem control of the senate (and the VP’s office – possibly constitutionally important) the dems can end the filibuster any day of the week they want – why wait? However, from a game theoretic perspective, there are many reasons why a majority party might want the minority to block what they claim to want. There was a brilliant dem operative (Bruce Cains?) who lectured at Caltech on this topic in the mid-80′s …

    As your polynomial formula for EV outcomes has kinda solved the state polling election prediction problem (while Nate dozes away) game theory stuff may be the next easy target for hard scientists in poly sci …

  • Matt McIrvin

    When it comes to actually passing legislation and preventing filibusters (assuming the rules don’t change), a Blue Dog type may be almost as bad as a Republican, since they won’t actually support the Democratic leadership on anything.

    But if it’s a conservative state and the alternatives are a Blue Dog versus an actual Republican, from a liberal Democratic perspective the Blue Dog’s still better, because majority party status has a lot of procedural advantages that come with it (if you don’t squander them).

    • Sam Wang

      Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said — finally — that he will entertain changes to filibuster rules when the new Senate convenes. If I understood correctly, he is ok with the possibility, whichever party is in control. In principle I agree, though I would like to see the non-obstructionist party have some benefit for one Congress. Nearly any Democrat will vote with leadership on such a rule change. Most Republicans will not.

      Speaking as a former member of Senate legislative staff, I cannot emphasize enough how important this will be for that chamber’s function to do some work besides renaming post offices.

  • LondonYoung

    (1+2) If your objection is only to the filibuster (as opposed to DE having as many senators as CA) we both know it can be eliminated at the drop of a hat – so Tammy Baldwin is a good bet for you. Imagine Obama’s next scotus appointment if dems have 53 votes in the senate with a very liberal caucus …

    (3) Since I’m more libertarian than anything else, I want broad consensus before the feds take action and I fear a republican 51% majority making abortion illegal just as much as a democrat 51% majority raising my marginal income tax rate to 90%. Similarly, I favor moderates.

    I wonder if some formula can be put forth to allow a party to decide how extreme their candidate should be? I remember Nate writing something about running more extreme candidates in more partisan districts. I guess it’s complicated because, ideally, you want to know how extreme the opposition will be … but I don’t see parties angling for a 2nd mover advantage.

  • Matt McIrvin

    Well, you convinced me to contribute through your page. Still contributed to Warren though, mostly because she’d be my Senator.

  • LondonYoung

    Well, the senate sure wasn’t designed to be majoritarian – its purpose was to stop big states from dictating to the little states. Indeed, the *only* amendment forbidden to the constitution is one denying any state an equal number of senators to every other state.

    The filibuster seems to build on these principles …

  • LondonYoung

    Heidi Heitkamp is a reasonable moderate who would likely improve the functionality of the senate. But Tammy Baldwin, as judged by most neutral sources like http://www.ontheissues.org/house/Tammy_Baldwin.htm , is to the dem party as the tea party is to the republicans – and she’s running against a moderate republican. You sure you really want to single her out for support? Or is the idea that you think the partisan divide trumps any moderation?

    I’m OK with anyone’s political opinions, just wanna make sure this is what you mean – partisan affiliation uber alles.

    • Sam Wang

      You mean ueber alles. And when it comes to controlling Senate rules and fixing the filibuster, my answer is ja.

      In seriousness, partisanship matters more in the House. But the Senate is currently the single most broken institution in our federal government, and it needs fixing to become a more majoritarian institution.

      As for Tammy Baldwin, the newer polls now that Thompson is the nominee cast some doubt on whether you have anything to worry about. That’s a changing situation.