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National Politics


Will Democrats Lose 20+ U.S. House Seats in 2010? A Counterpoint.

Two-thirds of the seats won by Democrats in 2008 (170, 66 percent) were won in landslide fashion, decided by more than 30 points over their Republican challengers

Which States Do Presidents Come From? (Not Minnesota, Yet)

Ohio leads the way with seven presidents; New York has six

Red States Have Higher Crime Rates Than Blue States

Red states across the nation have both higher violent and property crime rates than blue states, across several measures of partisanship

Is Barack Obama the World's President?

With Monday's news conference in Guadalajara, Mexico with Mexican President Felipe de Jesús Calderón Hinojosa and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, President Barack Obama continues to build on his record number of press conferences held outside of the United States. Through his first 6 months and 20 days in office,...

Republican Opposition to Sotomayor Marks Largest Supreme Court Confirmation Vote Dissent in GOP History

Last week's vote in the U.S. Senate confirming Sonia Sotomayor as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court was noteworthy foremost, of course, for Sotomayor being the first Hispanic and third woman to serve on the Court. But the Senate vote was also significant for the Republicans and what emerged...

Republican Senators Ignore 'Hispanic Effect' in Sotomayor Confirmation Vote

In the months after President Barack Obama's selection of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court, political analysts and even a few Republicans (e.g. Joe Scarborough) have characterized GOP opposition to and harsh questioning of the new Associate Justice as politically unwise. Such Republican Senators were cautioned and urged to...

How Blue Are the Blue Dog Democrats?

Congressional Quarterly's vote study for the first half of 2009 is in the books, and finds that House Democrats overall supported Barack Obama 91.1 percent of the time in which the President stated his clear policy preference on legislation that received a floor vote. But what about the Blue Dog...

Who Defected on the US House Climate Change Legislation?

The U.S. House of Representative's 219-212 vote last week in favor of the American Clean Energy and Security Act (HR 2454) passed in part due to the defection of a handful of Republicans, while more than half of the Blue Dog Democratic coalition voted in opposition to the bill. Eight...

U.S. Military Fatalities Continue at Record High Pace in Afghanistan, Record Low Pace in Iraq

As President Barack Obama approaches the 5-month mark of his administration, his political supporters, especially those on the liberal end of the ideological spectrum, are faced with reconciling the President's campaign promises on the military, national security, and the country's conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, with the policies he has...

Are Supreme Court Justices Living Longer?

Yesterday Smart Politics challenged the popular notion that Presidents have been eying younger Supreme Court nominees in recent years, presumably to deepen their impact and legacy on the Supreme Court as the judicial branch has become seen as more partisan. But an analysis of U.S. Senate confirmation data found the...

Are Supreme Court Nominees Getting Younger?

Many commentators and political analysts have speculated that Barack Obama's nomination of U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court was based not only on his agreement with her judicial philosophy, but also her gender, ethnicity (Hispanic), and youth (54 years old). In fact, political observers have...

How Many Senators Will Vote for the Next Supreme Court Nominee?

With the recent announcement by Associate Justice David Souter that he intends to retire from the Supreme Court this year, all eyes are on President Barack Obama to see who he will send up to the U.S. Senate for confirmation hearings in the coming weeks or months. Obama, of course,...

Former Deputy AG James Comey Views Obama as "Credible" Leader in Counterterrorism Fight

James Comey, the 6 foot 8 inch former U.S. Deputy Attorney General who, in March 2004, stood figuratively and literally between President George W. Bush and the recertification of a NSA domestic intelligence program while Attorney General John Ashcroft was gravely ill, offered both criticism of the Bush administration's counterterrrorism...

Upper Midwest House Members Vote 18-5 in Favor of TARP Bailout Bonus Tax

On Thursday, Upper Midwestern U.S. House Democrats unanimously supported a bill that would impose an additional tax on bonuses received from certain Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP) recipients. The measured passed 328 to 93 in the lower chamber. The bill (HR 1586) taxes at 90 percent bonuses given to employees...

Live Blog: Security and Immigration in a Post 9/11 United States

12:05 p.m. Edward Alden, Senior Fellow at the Council of Foreign Relations, is delivering a talk today at the Humphrey Institute entitled, "Security and Immigration in a post-9/11 United States. Alden is the author of the recent book, The Closing of the American Border: Terrorism, Immigration and Security Since 9/11....

U.S. Military Fatalities in Afghanistan on Record Pace in 2009

Although Barack Obama only devoted 2 of the 280 sentences in his late February Address before a Joint Session of Congress on the War in Afghanistan, the U.S. attempt to bring greater stability to a historically unstable region of the world is starting to once again take center stage in...

Minnesotans' Approval of Obama Holds Steady As Support Wanes Nationwide

Barack Obama began the first week of his presidency with nearly 70 percent of the American public approving of his early job performance. One month later, while Obama’s approval rating has dipped by double-digit margins in many states, Minnesotans are sticking behind the man they elected president on November 4th....

Obama's Economic and Fiscal Crises Address: An End, Or a Means to an End?

Although President Barack Obama’s first Address before a joint session of Congress Tuesday evening was pitched by the White House as a "plan to confront our nation’s economic and fiscal crises,” more than 70 percent of his speech focused on other domestic or foreign policy issues. A Smart Politics content...

Democrats in Stronger Position Than GOP to Make Gains in US House in 2010

Although history tells us it is a rarity for the party in control of the White House to make gains in congressional seats during mid-term election years, all the numbers from the 2008 elections point to the Democratic Party to remain in a very competitive position to add to their...

Smart Politics On WCCO-TV's "Good Question": Obama and His Blackberry

Smart Politics' Eric Ostermeier was interviewed by the always-affable Jason DeRusha for his "Good Question" segment on WCCO-TV Tuesday evening. The "Good Question" at issue was, "Why Can't the President Use E-Mail" - in light of Barack Obama's recent announcement that he would be giving up his Blackberry when he...



Political Crumbs

73 Months and Counting

January's preliminary Bureau of Labor Statistics numbers show Minnesota's unemployment rate of 3.7 percent was once again lower than Wisconsin's 5.0 percent. That marks the 73rd consecutive month in which Minnesota has boasted a lower jobless rate than its neighbor to the east dating back to January 2009 including each of the last 67 months by at least one point. The Gopher State has now edged Wisconsin in the employment border battle for 204 of the last 216 months dating back to February 1997. Wisconsin only managed a lower unemployment rate than Minnesota for the 12 months of 2008 during this 18-year span.


Two Dakotas, One Voice?

For each of the last 24 presidential elections since 1920, North and South Dakota have voted in unison - casting their ballots for the same nominee. For 21 of these cycles (including each of the last 12 since 1968) Republicans carried the Dakotas with just three cycles going to the Democrats (1932, 1936, and 1964). This streak stands in contrast to the first few decades after statehood when North and South Dakota supported different nominees in four of the first seven cycles. North Dakota narrowly backed Populist James Weaver in 1892 while South Dakota voted for incumbent Republican Benjamin Harrison. In 1896, it was North Dakota backing GOPer William McKinley while South Dakota supported Democrat William Jennings Bryan by less than 200 votes. North Dakota voted Democratic in 1912 and 1916 supporting Woodrow Wilson while South Dakota cast its Electoral College votes for Progressive Teddy Roosevelt and Republican Charles Hughes respectively.


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