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A few well-written words can convey a wealth of information, particularly when there is no lag time between when they are written and when they are read. The IPS blog gives you an opportunity to hear directly from IPS scholars and staff on ideas large and small and for us to hear back from you.



Blog Roll

Baltimore Nonviolence Center
Barbara's Blog, by Barbara Ehrenreich
Blog This Rock
Busboys and Poets Blog
CODEPINK's Pink Tank
Democracy Now!
Demos blog: Ideas|Action
Dollars and Sense blog
Economic Policy Institute
Editor's Cut: The Nation Blog
Energy Bulletin
FOE International blog
Kevin Drum (Mother Jones)
The New America Media blogs
OSI Blog
Political Animal/Washington Monthly
Southern Poverty Law Center
Think Progress
YES! Magazine
US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation

IPS Blog

Entries since November 2010

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Speaker Bachmann?

November 3, 2010 ·

The crush of coverage regarding all the House, Senate, and gubernatorial races (see below) is burying several huge political stories. Such as:

Speaker Bachmann? "There is a 'draft Michele Bachmann' effort afoot among House conservatives (and prospective members) to move the Minnesota Republican into the leadership," FOX News reports (hat tip to HuffPo's Sam Stein). That's probably going to be great for the Minnesota Republican's ego, but a disaster for the GOP as it tries to expand its political gains.

Operation Turncoat. In the likely event that they don't gain 10 seats tonight, Republicans may pressure Independent Joe Lieberman and some real Senate Democrats to join the GOP, according to The Upshot, a Y! News blog.

Sí se Puede! Last-minute polls found that Latino voters were more enthusiastic about hitting the polls than previously projected. “Latino voters are poised to surprise the political class with an unprecedented mid-term turnout," said Frank Sharry, Executive Director of the immigration reform organization America’s Voice.


Dem. Chris Coons defeated Republican Christine "I'm not a witch" O'Donnell in Delaware. The GOP stripped incumbent Blanche Lincoln (D-AR) of her Senate seat and Republicans nabbed seats previously occupied by Dems in Indiana and North Dakota. Dem Richard Blumenthal knocked out Republican Linda McMahon, of the World Wrestling Entertainment empire in Connecticut. Democrat Joe Manchin will beat Republican John Raese in West Virginia, at least according to exit poll data. Tea Party fave Marco Rubio prevailed in Florida. Republican incumbents Burr and Shelby of North Carolina and Alabama, both named Richard, will keep their jobs. Dems Barbara Mikulski of Maryland and Patrick Leahy of Vermont will retain their seats. In New Hampshire and Ohio, GOP candidates won seats previously held by different Republicans.

Gubernatorial race:
Dem. Mike Beebe, the incumbent, won in Arkanas. Dem John Lynch, also an incumbent, won in New Hampshire. Republican Rick Scott has a big lead in Florida, with 38 percent of the vote counted.

House races:
So far, according to The New York Times, the Dems have claimed 33 seats while the GOP has nailed 77. The Times is saying that Dems are down six seats to the GOP has gained six, including in a Virginia district where President Obama campaigned for Rep. Tom Perriello (D). Republican Robert Hurt has unseated the Freshman Democrat, The Washington Post reports.

Turning Right into a Dead End

November 2, 2010 ·

Yes, the GOP is clearly poised for a great night—especially for its most extremist wing. By 7:10 p.m., The Washington Post and CNN were already calling Senate wins for Aqua Buddhist Rand Paul in Kentucky and Republican Dan Coats in Indiana.

But I don't buy the notion that our country is abruptly or eternally shifting rightward. Here's why:

  1. The probable margin of victory. The Democrats currently have a 77-seat majority. Projections, according to The New York Times FiveThirtyEight blog, point to a far smaller majority for Republicans of probably about 30-seats. That's clearly a weaker mandate.
  2. Generic ballots. Sure, some polls are seeing a huge gap in voter preference for a generic "ballot." As the Center for Responsive Politics points out, Gallup's last pre-election poll found that way more respondents who would vote Republican regardless of the specific candidate than for an unspecified Democrat—55 percent versus 40 percent. But other polls found the gap to be much narrower across the nation, tantamount to the margin of error. A Washington Post-ABC News poll, for example, came out with 49 percent of respondents embracing the GOP and 45 percent favoring the Dems.
  3. Demography: No matter what happens in this election, even if GOP scores gains consistently over the next decade, it may easily prove to be the last gasp of extremist anti-government Republicans. The nation's bluest regions also tend to be areas with great ethnic diversity. And diversity among American children is far richer than among Americans already old enough to vote. Non-whites may well become a majority by 2042, up from one-third of the population today. Given the narrow gap between supporters of the two big parties, the difference will be felt long before minorities become the majority.
  4. Millennials. Eventually young adults stop moving so much. And once they settle down, they'll have an easier time voting in elections. When they do, the GOP will have to temper its anti-government stance or lose big. "By a 60% to 36% margin, the generation favors a bigger government providing more services over a smaller government providing fewer services," according to Morley Winograd and Michael D. Hais, fellows of the New Democrat Network and the New Policy Institute.
A Few Thoughts on the Mid-Term Elections

November 2, 2010 ·

As we prepare to brace a Republican-controlled House after today’s elections, below are a few thoughts on how IPS is positioning itself in this new political landscape. We’d love to hear what else you all are thinking:

1. We are in for 2 years of stalemate at the national level.  This new balance of power in Washington will not allow all much of anything positive to pass, and it won't allow the government to put money into stimulating the economy and creating jobs.  So, the economy is likely to remain in stagnation, with high unemployment, and a lot of suffering. With more Republicans in power, the rhetoric of cutting government spending will gain more and more traction, especially in social safety net programs like social security, unemployment insurance and SNAP.

We need to fight for the jobs programs and the safety net programs, and we will be engaged in the battles to ensure the funding of existing safety net programs. 

2. In this context of fiscal austerity, there is a big space to talk about what the government should cut.  We have two big categories at IPS: the defense/war budgets, and the subsidies to big oil and big corporations. However, as we all know, cuts alone won’t be able to balance our budget. We propose to not only allow the Bush Tax Cuts for the wealthy to expire, but we also strongly encourage politicians to introduce and support new taxes like a progressive estate tax, a financial speculation tax and a currency transaction levy.

3. In this period of stalemate at the national government level, there are big spaces to advance things at the state and local level, where progressives run most big cities, and progressive governments will be in place in many states, like Maryland, California, New York, Maine, Hawaii, and Oregon.  We will be pushing for Domestic Workers Bills of Rights in all states, while also working on solutions that will take us closer to a New Economy, like creating state banks in places like Maryland, and encouraging Cleveland’s government to use its procurement powers to support worker-owned coops.  We'll be utilizing our inside-outside strategies here, working with both activists and State Senators and city council members.

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