The State Houses – What’s At Stake in 2010

Thirty-nine states will be electing a governor during the 2009-2010 election cycle. Of these, eighteen races will not include an incumbent and four incumbents who will be running were not elected to their current position. The recession and huge budget deficits threaten to undercut the power of incumbency for governors running for reelection.

The Current Line-Up

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May
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Must-Reads, Monday 5/17/10

By · May, 17 2010

Who Carries More Risk from this Spring’s Primary Battles? – Nate Silver has a fascinating and thorough (as usual) rebuttal to a WSJ article claiming the leftist insurgent challenges in high-profile Democratic primary contests (Halter in Arkansas, Specter in Pennsylvania and Colleen Hanabusa in this week’s Hawai’i special) spell trouble for the Democrats in November. He argues competitive Democratic primaries are actually beneficial to the nominee who emerges while a Republican primary contest runs the risk of making the GOP nominee less attractive outside the party’s traditional base:

A great deal of American politics derives from the fact that the Democratic base is pluralistic (but therefore sometimes incohesive), whereas the Republican one is more homogenous (but therefore sometimes overly narrow). The Republicans’ cohesiveness has helped to reinforce their enthusiasm, and they are likely to have an excellent November. However, they could conceivably cost themselves 1-3 Senate seats, and 5-10 House seats, by nominating suboptimal (electorally speaking) candidates. By contrast, the effects of Democratic primary challenges are more ambiguous, and may be as much of a help to the party as a hindrance.

Man the Barricades! – File this under “The More Things Change, the More they Stay the Same,” Congress.org has a brief timeline of our nation’s immigration debate over the years. It’s a reminder that America’s desire to close the doors to new arrivals is quite often fueled by those who looked different from those already here. What was that about a post-racial politics?

A Demographic Earthquake is Transforming America – The Brookings Institution has released a comprehensive study analyzing the demographic transformation America is experiencing.  They describe the nation as undergoing “the most significant socio-demographic change since the huge wave of immigration in the early 20th Century.” They see the potential for great opportunity in these change but warn:

Failure to manage this change could have grave consequences for America’s future quality of life. But success would allow us to use this demographic transformation as a competitive advantage for the 21st century.

The study envisions both metropolitan areas and Washington working simultaneously as necessary to address these changes that will (or already are) affecting the lives of every American family. Their recommendations about the role of the federal government are unlikely to find support among the Tea Party crowd:

Washington should develop macro-level responses. These include comprehensive immigration reform that better incorporates new Americans into our society and economy; a revamping of transportation and housing policy that reduces energy inefficient sprawl and accommodates seniors; programs to increase post-secondary education for our emerging workforce; and redoubling efforts, like the Earned Income Tax Credit, that help make work pay for working-class families.

Presidential Meddling: With incumbents endangered seemingly everywhere one looks, it seems odd for the president to be investing his political capital in the high-profile Pennsylvania Sestak-Specter primary. In fact, the White House has created many of it’s own Senate political headaches. Politico has a look at how such risky moves quite often leave the president with a political embarrassment.

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