Tommy Moll has spent his time in the conservative movement fighting for the right things. Bruce Westerman has spent his time in the Arkansas State Legislature fighting for the politically convenient things.
"Since launching his campaign, Mike Ross has said he would implement income tax cuts that target working families who need it the most, and we are pleased to see Asa Hutchinson has come around to Mike Ross's position. However, as a proven fiscal conservative, Mike Ross has pledged to cut income taxes in a fiscally responsible way that maintains our state's balanced budget and protects essential state services like education, public safety and Medicaid for working families and seniors."
Sides and Vavreck partnered with the online polling firm YouGov and repeatedly surveyed an enormous pool — 45,000 Americans. They analyzed news coverage from 11,000 media outlets — which is about 10,863 more outlets than I can recall covering the election. They have data on who bought how many television spots and where. Underpinning their real-time information are decades of supporting political-science data and theory.
The result is that while most election narratives track the inputs of the campaign, Sides and Vavreck track the outputs. They know less than traditional political reporters about what the campaigns wanted to do but much more about what actually got done.
Campaigns are less successful at persuading undecided voters than they are at encouraging their own partisans to grow more fierce. The manic charges and countercharges of an election mostly remind voters which side they were on to begin with. “Strengthening people’s natural partisan predispositions is one of the most consistent effects of presidential campaigns,” Sides and Vavreck write. “Democrats or Republicans who at the start of the campaign feel a bit uncertain or unenthusiastic about their party’s nominee will end up dedicated supporters.”
This is, they noted, an established finding among political scientists. As a 1940 study of voters concluded, “Knowing a few of their personal characteristics, we can tell with fair certainty how they will finally vote: They join the fold to which they belong. What the campaign does is to activate their political predispositions.”
But the results are broadly predictable: The two sides will make mostly sound decisions interrupted by occasional mistakes (“gaffes”), and the election outcome will mostly be driven by partisan allegiances and voter assessments of the economy and the incumbent president.So there. Most of the coverage doesn't matter. The cacophony of messaging on Twitter, Facebook and the 30-second ad onslaught that's already underway in Arkansas? They don't matter much either in tilting the undecided. It's just theater. And the media, if you want to criticize, are open more to the charge of sensationalism for the sake of drama than bias.
Indeed, a data model the authors built in June 2012 — before the summer ad blitz, Romney’s pick of Paul Ryan for vice president, conventions, debates and all the rest — predicted Obama would win 52.7 percent of the two-party vote. Sides and Vavreck were off: He won 52 percent.
The news media overestimate the effects of micro events (those 68 “game-changers") and underestimate the relatively stable foundation — partisanship, the state of the economy — on which those events play out.
These principles apply no less to the Members themselves. Congressman Cotton appears to have flagrantly violated them, by taking a campaign interview from the Capitol. He cannot claim that Mr. Hewitt's inquiry about his fundraising was "incidental," when it was the very first question he was asked, and when he converted it into a blatant appeal for campaign funds.
There is substantial reason to believe also that Congressman Cotton, by making his fundraising appeal from the Capitol, violated a federal criminal law that makes it unlawful for "Members of Congress, to solicit or receive a donation of money or other thing of value in connection with a Federal, State, or local election, while in any room or building occupied in the discharge of official duties ..."
The Committee on Ethics warns Members that this prohibition "is very broad." "The statute by its terms applies to the House office buildings, the Capitol, and district offices." Id. With an exception for Member-to-Member solicitations not implicated here, "the prohibition applies to all forms of solicitations – solicitations made in person, over the telephone, or through the mail ... A telephone solicitation from a House office or building would not be permissible merely because the call is billed to a credit card of a political organization or to an outside telephone number, or because it is made using a cell phone in the hallway."
Finally, the Congressman's disavowals, through staff, of Mr. Hewitt's statements — "He isn't responsible for correcting Hugh's misstatements about his location" — show a fundamental misunderstanding of his obligations under House Rules. It is the Congressman, not Mr. Hewitt, who must "conduct himself at all times in a manner that shall reflect creditably on the House." House Rule 23, Clause 1. Even if the Congressman were on his way out the Capitol door while making his fundraising pitch over Mr. Hewitt's airwaves, as his staff says he was, he was obliged nonetheless to avoid the impression that he allowed Mr. Hewitt to create.
Though the law requires that names on both the [voter's] identification card and the voter registration card be “substantially similar,” if a person’s name doesn’t match exactly they will still have an opportunity to vote. In that case, voters are required to sign an affidavit affirming they are who they claim, which is then noted in the poll book.
A “substantially similar” name, Pierce says, could include a nickname, a maiden name, and or suffix such as “junior.” If the poll worker finds that the name is dissimilar, a voter can file a provisional ballot and present updated information within six days of the election.
“In a perfect world, you would update your voter registration card regularly to match any identification that you plan to use,” Pierce said.
The state has implemented extended hours and deployed mobile units to make getting election ID easier. Yet, as of last week, just 41 people across the state had been issued with the cards, the Dallas Morning News reports. An estimated 1.4 million eligible voters in the state do not have the proper IDs to vote.
Mike Ross rolled out a plan today to gradually phase out the state’s sales and use tax on partial replacement and repair of machinery used in manufacturing. This tax unfairly punishes manufacturing plants already in Arkansas, because state law currently exempts new plants and plant expansions.Plain vanilla chamber of commerce speak. Then comes the Republican Party. It just can't quit its go-to themes and talk about policy. No. If it's not the black devil in the White House and his socialist medicine, it's guns. The state GOP paints gun nut Mike Ross — Mike Ross! — as a softy flip-flopper for expressing some change of heart on high capacity semi-automatic weapons of mass killing.
It’s a good idea and it will help create jobs in Arkansas. But don’t just take my word for it – Asa Hutchinson thinks so, too.
“Mike Ross traditionally opposed any gun-control measures until last December when he flip-flopped his position, stating that it was time for reform and that he supported a ban on high-capacity weapons. Chances are very likely that he will flip-flop again in a desperate attempt to trick Arkansans into thinking that he is 100% pro-Second Amendment. Arkansas deserves a Governor who is solid in their stance on such an important Constitutional right.”
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