Tuesday, November 5, 2013

I'm Back! Let's Get Down to Electing!

First of all, a brief note on my absence from the blogosphere these past couple of months.  My closest friend passed away recently and I have been preoccupied with things that take precedence over discussing the issues of the day.  That is all behind me now (although he will certainly never be forgotten) and it is comforting to come back to a topic that I love: American Politics.

In my absence, I missed most of the budget and debt ceiling fight.  I don't have a lot to add that hasn't already been said - the Republican Party got its head handed to it by having an awful, unachievable strategy.  Their failure in the stand off was about as complete as a failure can be in the political arena.  Having said that, I suspect that the electoral impact of the fight will be far less than most Democrats are hoping.  November 2014 is a LONG time away in political terms and I suspect that this won't be a game-changer with the likely outcome still being Republicans retaining the House and the Democrats narrowly holding the Senate.

I also missed the disaster of an early roll-out of Obamacare.  And it has been a disaster.  0 points for execution.  I will simply make three points around this:
(1) The rollout woes, while important, are not the determination of the success of the program or whether it was a good idea or not.  You can have a great idea poorly executed or an awful idea well executed.  This one is probably more like a mediocre idea poorly executed.
(2) To Republican piling on to the Obamacare solution on premium subsidies, I'm curious - how does Medicare Advantage work?  What about the Paul Ryan budget proposal on Medicaid?  Seems like premium support is pretty much a conservative idea.  A much simpler, liberal idea would have been single-payer.  Single-payer has its own drawbacks, but to bemoan Obamacare's complexity as liberal governance is disingenuous at best and an outright lie at worst.
(3) The "if you like your insurance you can keep it" quote will haunt Obama much more than the poor performance of the website.  There are legitimate reasons under the public-private model advanced in Obamacare to cancel existing policies that don't meet the bill's standard.  But Obama knew this a long time ago.  His promise was an outright lie, and people are likely to remember the lie long after they forget the website hassles.

On to the elections.  Up tonight, we have:
(1) New Jersey Governor - incumbent Republican Chris Christie will absolutely cruise to double digit victory tonight, buoyed by strong support from moderates and independents (including myself.)  The 2016 standard-bearer of sane Republicans (along with possibly Jeb Bush) will have the bully pulpit of the Governor's mansion to speak from.  It will be an epic crushing by a red politican in a blue state.  Take note Republicans - sane candidates like Christie win - wing nuts lose.
Polls close at 8 PM Eastern
Prediction: Christie +24.1% (no, I'm not joking!)

(2) Virginia Governor - Terry McAulife
In what has now become the nation's hottest swing state, one of the ugliest contests between two of the worst candidates for governor in recent memory will draw to a close with former DNC chair Terry McAulife edging out wing nut Republican Ken Cuccinelli (see above about who wins and loses) by solid single digits but failing to win an outright majority as a bunch of fed-up voters dump the two major parties and vote for the Libertarian, Robert Sarvis.  Sarvis is polling in the high single digits, but historically in state races, independents tend to underperform their polling as people break back to the parties late.  It's a non-statistical guess, but I'd wager that Sarvis' election-day support dwindles down to 5-6%.
Polls close at 7 PM Eastern
Prediction: McAulife +6.4%

(3) New York City Mayor
Democrat Bill DeBlasio will cruise to a 30, 40, maybe 45 point victory.  The margin doesn't matter.  The outcome is assured.
Polls close at 9 PM Eastern
Prediction: DeBlasio +41.2%

Lots of other stuff on the ballot including marijuana taxation in Colorado and a minimum wage hike in New Jersey.  I'll keep you posted throughout the night.

20 minutes until the first returns....

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