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Profile Information

Name: Chris Bastian
Gender: Male
Hometown: Brooklyn, NY
Home country: USA
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 84,466

Journal Archives

Mary Peltola did something a bit rare in modern politics: She hired a former political rival

Rep. Mary Peltola (D-Alaska) announced she's hired a former GOP rival for her House seat, Josh Revak, to serve as her state director. Such moves are rare in modern politics but not unheard of for the Alaska Democrat.

"I’m grateful to have Josh joining my team. Since I won the election with support from Alaskans on both sides of the aisle, I’ve been building a team ready to tackle the issues that unite us."
— Peltola in a statement

Who's Revak? He was a former Alaska state senator who ran in the special election to replace the late-Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) in 2022. He came in tenth, while Peltola ultimately won the runoff.


538: How Our 2022 Midterm Forecasts Performed

Let’s get this out of the way up front: There was a wide gap between the perception of how well polls and data-driven forecasts did in 2022 and the reality of how they did … and the reality is that they did pretty well.

While some polling firms badly missed the mark, in the aggregate the polls had one of their most accurate cycles in recent history. As a result, FiveThirtyEight’s forecasts had a pretty good year, too. Media proclamations of a “red wave” occurred largely despite polls that showed a close race for the U.S. Senate and a close generic congressional ballot. It was the pundits who made the red wave narrative, not the data.

With that said, the polls weren’t perfect.
- Polling averages and forecasts did slightly underestimate Democrats, though the differences were modest — certainly less than the extent to which they underestimated Republicans in 2016 and 2020.
- Some pollsters — such as Trafalgar Group and Rasmussen Reports, which have a history of Republican-leaning polling — had a conspicuously poor year.
- There are different methods of polling aggregation and forecasting. The margins in the polling averages from RealClearPolitics were on average 1.3 percentage points more favorable to Republicans in the most competitive Senate races1 than those published by FiveThirtyEight. Similarly, RCP’s generic ballot polling average was 1.3 points more favorable to the GOP than FiveThirtyEight’s. In this article, I’ll only be evaluating FiveThirtyEight’s forecasts, but methodological choices made a difference.
- Finally, Democrats’ relatively strong year — although there were some precedents for it — defied a lot of midterm history. It’s not just that the polls did better than the conventional wisdom; they also did well relative to political science or “fundamentals”-based forecasting methods.

So let’s dig into the FiveThirtyEight forecast. As you may know if you follow our work closely, we publish three different versions of our congressional and gubernatorial forecasts. Version one is a Lite forecast that sticks as much as possible to the polls themselves. (In races that have little polling, Lite makes inferences from the generic ballot and from polls of other races.) Our Classic forecast blends the polls with other data — for instance, information on candidate fundraising, incumbency and the voting history of the state or district. Finally, our Deluxe forecast adds in another layer, namely race ratings from outside groups such as The Cook Political Report. Deluxe is the default when you pull up our forecast interactive and the version that we use most often when describing our forecasts.


'The Daily Show's' Roy Wood Jr. selected as White House Correspondents' Dinner entertainer

Source: CNN

Roy Wood Jr., the comedian known for his role on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” will be the entertainer at the 2023 White House Correspondents’ Dinner, the association announced Thursday.

“It’s an honor to be a part of a long-running tradition of celebrating those members of the media, who work so hard to uncover the truth, and hold our government accountable,” Wood said in a statement. “It will be a great night that will go down in the history books, or not, depending on which state you live in.”

The annual dinner, which traditionally features a standup comedian who roasts the president and the press, is scheduled to take place on April 29. Last year’s event, the first held in person after a two-year hiatus, was headlined by then-“Daily Show” host Trevor Noah and featured President Biden delivering comedic remarks.

Tamara Keith, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association, said that Wood, who holds a degree in broadcast journalism, will bring “a journalistic eye to his comedy.”

Read more: https://www.cnn.com/2023/02/02/media/roy-wood-jr-white-house-correspondents-dinner/index.html

RNC urges GOP candidates to 'go on offense' on abortion in 2024

Source: Washington Post

After GOP underperformance in November’s midterm elections, the Republican National Committee is doubling down on its antiabortion stance, formally urging GOP lawmakers and campaigns to “go on offense in the 2024 election cycle” and to pass the strictest antiabortion legislation possible.

At its winter meeting, the RNC passed a resolution that called on Republicans to push “laws that acknowledge the beating hearts and experiences of pain in the unborn,” referring to “heartbeat” bans on abortions, which would outlaw the procedure after cardiac activity is detected, at about six weeks of pregnancy — before many people realize they are pregnant.

The resolution, which was passed Friday, alluded to Republicans’ disappointing performance in the November elections, months after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, but appeared to place the blame on GOP candidates who did not sufficiently publicize their antiabortion views.

The Supreme Court ruled in June 2022 that a constitutional right to abortion, which had been in place for nearly 50 years, no longer existed.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2023/01/30/republicans-abortion-elections/

Trump's Well-Worn Legal Playbook Starts to Look Frayed

New York Times

The expanding legal threats facing former President Donald J. Trump are testing as never before his decades-old playbook for fending off prosecutors, regulators and other accusers and foes, with his trademark mix of defiance, counterattacks, bluffs and delays encountering a series of setbacks.

In other legal maneuvering and in seeking to shape public opinion about cases involving him, Mr. Trump has experienced regular reversals in court in recent months even as he begins his campaign for another term in the White House.

“Mr. Trump is a prolific and sophisticated litigant who is repeatedly using the courts to seek revenge on political adversaries,” Judge Donald M. Middlebrooks of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida wrote this month in fining the former president and one of his lawyers nearly $1 million for filing a frivolous civil suit against Hillary Clinton and F.B.I. officials. “He is the mastermind of strategic abuse of the judicial process, and he cannot be seen as a litigant blindly following the advice of a lawyer.”

That fine appeared to lead Mr. Trump to quickly drop a similar suit he had filed against Letitia James, the attorney general of New York, who is pressing ahead with a $250 million suit claiming widespread financial fraud by the former president, his oldest children and his company.

nb: Victor Kovner is a friend of mine.

Senator urges Apple, Google to remove TikTok from app stores


Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) wrote to Google and Apple on Thursday, urging both companies to remove TikTok from their app stores.

Driving the news: In a letter addressed to Apple CEO Tim Cook and Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Bennet urges both leaders to boot TikTok immediately, calling the popular video-sharing app "an unacceptable threat to the national security of the United States."

Why it matters: Bennet's letter marks the first time a member of Congress has suggested TikTok, owned by Chinese company ByteDance, should not be available for download via the Google Play or Apple App store.

What they're saying: "No company subject to [Chinese Communist Party] dictates should have the power to accumulate such extensive data on the American people or curate content to nearly a third of our population," Bennet wrote in the letter.

After bitter RNC meeting, Democrats look to project unity

Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) — A week after bitter divisions dominated a national Republican gathering, Democrats holding their own meeting are eager to showcase just how much they agree on.

There will be no party chair fight since Jaime Harrison isn’t up for reelection until 2025. There is no candidate jostling for a White House bid since President Joe Biden is expected to seek a second term. And there is no national reckoning after a surprisingly strong midterm showing.

The only real point of contention for the Democratic National Committee’s winter meeting in Philadelphia this weekend is a proposed overhaul of the 2024 presidential primary calendar, which has angered top party leaders in New Hampshire. But even that is largely moot since Biden isn’t expected to face a major challenge for the nomination.

The DNC on Saturday is expected to approve a new lineup for the party’s presidential primaries, deferring to Biden, who has championed South Carolina’s primary opening voting on Feb. 3. New Hampshire and Nevada would jointly follow three days later, on Feb. 6, with Georgia coming next on Feb. 13 and Michigan two weeks after that.

President Biden and VP Harris are attending.

The Shocking Decline of Senate Ticket-Splitting

UVA Center for Progress

Last week, when we put out our first look at the 2024 Senate map, we issued a rare rating: We started an incumbent off as an underdog. Specifically, we put the West Virginia contest in the Leans Republican category. Though Sen. Joe Manchin has not officially announced his plans, the reality is that any Democrat, even as one as successful as Manchin, faces a daunting challenge in West Virginia.

Some of Manchin’s worries are state-specific. One of the (several) unexpected success stories for national Democrats last year was their showing in state legislative races: They gained governmental trifectas in several states and held their own in the overall state legislative seat count across the nation. But the Democratic floor continued to sink in West Virginia. In the state legislature, Republicans now hold an astonishing 88 seats in the 100-member state House and 31 of 34 state Senate seats. When Manchin first entered office as governor, after the 2004 elections, Republicans only held about a third of the seats in the legislature.

But, as we have discussed in previous articles, there has been a larger trend driving recent elections for Senate: realignment along presidential lines. Between the 2016 and 2020 Senate elections, only one state, Maine, voted for presidential and Senate candidates of opposite parties. Though this trend would obviously imperil Manchin, Sens. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Jon Tester (D-MT), if they seek reelection, also will run in states that Donald Trump or the eventual GOP nominee will likely carry, although neither states has become as ruby red as West Virginia (Brown says he will run again, Tester has not yet announced).

But, if Manchin were to run again — and win — how much of an exception to the recent trend would he be? Assuming West Virginia votes for the GOP nominee by roughly 40 points, as it did in 2016 and 2020, a Manchin win would surely be predicated on a high level of crossover support.

We’ve gone back through the 6 most recent presidential elections examining that question. The short answer is that in the Senate of the early 2000s, 40-point or more overperformances actually occurred with some regularity. Even in 2012, Manchin himself posted such a showing. But since 2016, no major party senatorial nominee has run more than 25 points ahead of their party’s presidential nominee.

BREAKING: Nancy Pelosi supports Adam Schiff


Chalk up another one...

Hi Chris,

I hope you are doing well! I wanted to reach out to you in regards to Congresswoman Barbara Lee.

As you might know, the Congresswoman is planning to run for United States Senate. She has been a force for change in the House and she would be the senator California needs.

She is going to be in New York on Friday and we’d love to set up a meeting.

I'm staying neutral.
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