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Entries in Party Politics (22)

Monday
Jan142013

Ed Mosca - MYTH OF THE MACHINE

It seems to be an article of faith among some in the New Hampshire GOP that the down-ticket losses suffered by the NH GOP in the 2012 elections were primarily or even exclusively due to the Obama “ground game” or “machine.”  The numbers, however, do not support that explanation.

 

            Let’s begin with US House races in other states commonly labeled as “swing” or “battleground” states:

 

US House


GOP seats 2010

GOP seats 2012

% Change


Colorado

Obama +4%

4

4

0.0%


Florida

Obama +1%

19

17

-10.5%


Iowa

Obama +5%

2

2

0.0%


Nevada

Obama +6%

2

2

0.0%


New Hampshire

Obama +6%

2

0

-100.0%


North Carolina

Romney +2%

6

9

+50.0%


Ohio

Obama +2%

13

12

-7.7%


Virginia

Obama +3%

8

8

0.0%


Wisconsin

Obama +7%

5

5

0.0%


 

The NH GOP clearly underperformed other battleground states.  For example, although Obama won Wisconsin and Nevada by similar margins as New Hampshire, the GOP lost no seats in those states.

 

            The only other battleground state where there was a gubernatorial election was North Carolina, where the Republican candidate won by 55 to 43 percent, ten points better than Romney’s margin of victory.  In New Hampshire, Democrat Maggie Hassan also won by a twelve-point margin, which was double Obama’s.

 

            State legislative elections also fail to show a correlation between Obama’s performance and down-ticket results:

 


President

GOP state senate seats ’10-‘12


% Change

GOP state house seats ’10-‘12


% Change

Colorado

Obama +4%

15

16

+6.67%

33

28

-15.15%

 

Florida

Obama +1%

28

26

-7.14%

81

74

-8.64%

 

Iowa

Obama +5%

24

23

-4.17%

59

53

-10.17%

 

Nevada

Obama +6%

9

10

+11.11%

16

15

-6.25%

 

New Hampshire

Obama +6%

19

13

-31.58%

288

179

-37.85%

 

North Carolina

Romney +2%

31

32

+3.23%

67

77

+14.93%

 

Ohio

Obama +2%

23

23

0.00%

59

60

+1.69%

 

Virginia

Obama +3%

No State Elections in ‘12




 

Wisconsin

Obama +7%

15

18

+20.00%

58

60

+3.45%

 























            While the state senate races are not pure apple-to-apple comparisons because only Florida and North Carolina do not hold staggered elections, there clearly is no correlation between Obama’s performance and down-ticket races.  For example, in Nevada and Wisconsin, which Obama won by similar margins as NewHampshire, the GOP actually picked up senate seats.  The house races tell a similar story.  In Wisconsin, the GOP picked up house seats. And while the GOP lost house seats in Nevada, the degree of loss was insignificant compared to New Hampshire.     

 

            The next tables compare the GOP as a percentage of battleground state legislatures from 2010 to 2012, to take into account that the NH GOP held supermajorities in 2010. 

 


Total # Senate Seats

GOP seats 2010

% of Senate

GOP seats 2012

% of Senate

Change

Colorado

35

15

42.9%

16

45.7%

+2.9%

Florida

40

28

70.0%

26

65.0%

-5.0%

Iowa

50

24

48.0%

23

46.0%

-2.0%

Nevada

21

9

42.9%

10

47.6%

+4.8%

New Hampshire

24

19

79.2%

13

54.2%

-25.0%

North Carolina

50

31

62.0%

32

64.0%

+2.0%

Ohio

33

23

69.7%

23

69.7%

0.0%

Virginia


No State Elections



Wisconsin

33

15

45.5%

18

54.5%

+9.1%

Average without NH


54.4%


56.1%










Total # House Seats

GOP 2010

% of House

GOP 2012

% of House

Change

Colorado

65

33

50.8%

28

43.1%

-7.7%

Florida

120

81

67.5%

74

61.7%

-5.8%

Iowa

100

59

59.0%

53

53.0%

-6.0%

Nevada

42

16

38.1%

15

35.7%

-2.4%

New Hampshire

400

288

72.0%

179

44.8%

-27.3%

North Carolina

120

67

55.8%

77

64.2%

8.3%

Ohio

99

59

59.6%

60

60.6%

1.0%

Virginia


No State Elections



Wisconsin

99

58

58.6%

60

60.6%

2.0%

Average without NH


55.6%


54.1%


 

            While no battleground state went into the 2012 election with as high a GOP majority in the state senate as New Hampshire, three states had majorities near or above 60 percent and in only one of these states did the GOP lose seats.  And while the Florida state senate declined from 70 to 65 percent Republican that was nowhere near the 79 to 54 percent drop in New Hampshire. 

 

            House results were similar.  The Florida house declined from 67.5 to 61.7 percent Republican, in comparison to the precipitous 72 to 44.8 percent decline in New Hampshire, while the GOP extended its sizable majorities in Ohio andWisconsin.

 

            In sum, the data indicates that it would be a mistake to primarily attribute the down-ticket losses suffered by the NH GOP in 2012 to the Obama “machine.”  This is not to suggest that the NH GOP should not improve its “GOTV.”  Rather, what I am suggesting is that it would be a mistake not to also consider why the gubernatorial nominee substantially underperformed Romney and why the New Hampshire House, at 44.8 percent GOP, is well below the 54.1 percent average in battleground states.

 




Edward C. Mosca

Thursday
Nov222012

Ed Mosca - SOME THOUGHTS ON THE 2012 ELECTIONS AND THE FUTURE FOR THE NH GOP 

The 2012 elections confirm that New Hampshire is a blue state, but a unique shade of blue.

            You have togo back to 2000 for the last time the Republican presidential candidate got more votes than the Democrat, but that only tells part of the story because George W. Bush only got 48 percent of the vote while Al Gore (47 percent) and Ralph Nader (4 percent) combined for 51 percent.  You have to go back all the way to 1988 for the last time the Republican presidential candidate got more than 50 percent.  And the trend has been in the wrong direction.  While George W. improved to 49 percent of the vote in 2004, McCain garnered only 45 percent in 2008 and Romney essentially matched that with 46 percent in 2012.

            The elections for Governor have been almost as barren for Republicans.  With the exception of the 2002 election, Democrats have won all of the gubernatorial elections since 1996.  A good number of these victories were landslides.  The only really close race was in 2004, when Lynch knocked off Benson 51 percent to 49 percent.  Even in the tsunami year of 2010, Lynch won by a comfortable margin of 7.5 percent.

            Clearly, the Democrat success in electing governors is based on “taking the pledge.”  From 1988 through 1994, Republicans didn’t just beat pro-tax Democrats in the gubernatorial races; they demolished them.  In 1994, Steve Merrill won an incredible 70 percent of the vote.  But that changed in 1996, when Merrill decided not to seek a third term and Jeanne Shaheen took the pledge.   She easily defeated Ovide 57 percent to 40 percent, and with the exception of the single Benson term, Democrats have held the governor’s office ever since.

            No Democrat, with the exception of Jeanne Shaheen in 2000, has been elected Governor without taking the pledge.  Mark Fernald ran explicitly on an income tax in 2002 and didn’t even crack 40 percent.  And in 2000 Shaheen did not crack 50 percent, although it should be pointed out that she might have had not Mary Brown (6 percent) run as an independent on a pro income tax platform.   Mark Fernald’s blowout loss to Benson only two years later in an election that was a referendum on an income tax suggests that Shaheen’s victory in 2000 was despite of, not because of, her abandonment of the pledge.

            And that is what makes New Hampshire a unique shade of blue.  While the Democrat mantra in this past national election was that income tax rates on the “rich” need to go up, in New Hampshire Maggie Hassan repeatedly pledged to veto an income tax.  A good call on her part when you consider the constitutional amendment to ban the income tax, while it did not get the necessary two-thirds, did get 57 percent of the vote.   

            And while the ban-the-income-tax amendment came up short, the 57 percent of the vote it garnered is especially impressive considering that a significant percentage of the voters may have been voters who were inclined to vote a straight Democrat line.

            There were over 99,000 same-day registrations in 2012, which is 14 percent of total voters.  Some of these undoubtedly were new voters turned out by the vaunted Obama machine, while others were voters who had to re-register because they had moved or because of redistricting.   Let’s assume that only one-half of same-day registrants were new voters turned out by Obama.

            That is still a swing of 7 percent, which suggests that absent this turnout effort the state would have gone to Romney and, assuming the voters turned out by Obama voted straight Democrat and an even split between districts, Frank Guinta and Charlie Bass would have won as well, which is what one would have expected given the sorry condition of the economy.  However, Hassan still would have handily defeated Ovide.

            Clearly the New Hampshire GOP, and the GOP in general, has to do a much, much better job of identifying persuadable voters and getting these voters to vote.  But just as clearly that will not be enough to win gubernatorial elections or, it is probably safe to assume, down-ballot state elections in anti-tax districts where the Democrat takes the pledge.  

            The major problem that the New Hampshire GOP has in state elections is that it still has not figured out how to run against candidates that take the pledge.  Here are some suggestions.

            Update the pledge:  Instead of pledging just to veto an income and sales tax, pledge to veto any new tax.  Or any new tax or any increase in existing taxes.  Or expand the pledge to veto any budget that increases state spending more than the rate of inflation. 

            Pick your battles wisely:  I cannot understand the position that civil unions are ok, but civil same-sex marriages are not.  What’s the point in fighting that battle?  

            Draw clear and meaningful distinctions with the Democrats:  Any Republican who advocates gambling on the ground that the state needs more revenue should be flogged with a cat o’ nine tails and then be made to walk the plank.  Saying the state needs more revenue is just a lovely euphemism for saying we need to grow government.  To the extent that Republicans support gambling, it should be as a tax relief measure.  The condition antecedent for Republican support of any casino-gambling bill is a statutory guarantee that every penny in taxes collected from casino-gambling reduces existing taxes.

            Run better candidates:  In many respects, New Hampshire has changed dramatically since the halcyon days of Sununu/Gregg/Merrill.  Understand how it has changed and run candidates who can make Republican principles relevant to today’s New Hampshire.  

Wednesday
Oct242012

Bob Burns - Of Course I have a Litmus Test

Feel-good political buzz words such as “compromise” really have no place in an Executive Council race, which is why it shouldn’t surprise anyone that I’ve said the constitution and the law are straightforward and I’d strictly uphold them upon election to the District 4 Executive Council seat.

My opponent for the seat shows his lack of knowledge of the position he’s running for—or perhaps his lack of faith in voters’ understanding—by trying to play around with the word and somehow insinuate that he’d be the great compromiser on the Executive Council. I think he should explain to voters exactly how he intends to do that.

Compromise is something that the legislative branch does when interested parties get together and try to work out their differences on a bill before they pass it into law. Executive Councilors are nothing like state representatives and they’re not like senators, either. In fact, they don’t even really deal much with the Legislature or legislation for that matter—that’s the governor’s job.

And further, the council is not some round table of five noble men sitting around making deals or trades with each other all day. If this describes my opponent’s vision for the Executive Council, then electing him would initiate a new era of some pretty dangerous corruption in our state’s executive branch. To be clear: our Executive Council doesn’t come close to that description.

On the contrary, the Executive Council’s work is clear-cut. Is it a good contract or a bad contract? Is it a good lease or a bad lease? Most of an executive councilor’s work is reading over state contracts and leases and then answering those questions. The result is an up or down vote and it’s often bi-partisan.

When it comes to judicial appointments, I’ve been quite clear: I will only support the governor’s judicial, department head or agency appointments if I know the candidate understands and respects the U.S. Constitution, the N.H. Constitution and state and federal law. For anyone under consideration for these positions, his or her record in this regard will be apparent, and I will vote accordingly.

Is there room for compromise in my opponent’s Executive Council in this area? If so, we’ll get more executive officials who believe there’s “precedent” to divert gas tax or toll revenue into general expenses, even though the N.H. Constitution in Part 2, Article 6-a says that such a diversion is specifically prohibited. The executive officials I confirm will never make this argument. They’d never even consider a contract that used gas tax or toll revenue unconstitutionally.

In the case of department head or agency appointments, I’d also want to verify that they’re qualified to do their job. Again, it won’t take much effort to determine whether a person is just a friend of the governor or someone truly qualified to do the appointed job, but that effort is the job of an executive councilor. I will be committed to making sure we only approve a nominee from the governor if it’s clear the person will perform to the best of his or her ability within the confines of the law and constitution.

What would my opponent do? Would he advise the governor to pick his friends to do the work of the people, even if they completely lacked the skillset required for the job? What will our roads and bridges look like under the leadership of one of my opponent’s friends? Will they be safe to drive on?

It’s not that someone we know shouldn’t get a government job, because sometimes the people we know to be the best, are simply the best in their field. But when confirming such appointments, the people need an executive councilor who will not compromise on the competency of the appointees. The people need to know that their government is doing the best job they can at the lowest cost. Voters should know that they deserve no less than this, without compromise.

Bob Burns of Bedford, who is currently serving as Hillsborough County Treasurer, is running for the District 4 Executive Council seat.

Tuesday
Apr242012

NH Rep Jordan Ulery - Truth About Alec

Recently there has been a spat of hate letters regarding the nation’s oldest and largest public-private discussion group, American Legislative Exchange Council.  This organization allows members of Legislatures from across the nation to gather to discuss common problems and developing issues.  Joining the legislators are various advocacy groups including Amnesty International and various prison ministry groups.  Yes, there are those “evil” business interests present.  You know them, they are the ones that employ you, pay your wages, provide access to group health insurance, pay your vacation, pay for workers’ compensation.  Businesses, the heartbeat of America without which this nation would fold.  As that rather taciturn New England President “Silent Cal” once said; “the business of America is business.”

It is interesting that separate authors in separate newspapers penned exactly the same letter to the editor.  It is almost as if the authors did not do any research, do any analysis and just sent in the letter they were told to send.  Interesting indeed that separate people could present the same mischaracterizations, “less than accurate” statements and plain old lies.  Yet, if you ask any of them they will likely say, ‘oh no, I did it all by myself.’

Let us be absolutely clear.  Bills for introduction in New Hampshire come from New Hampshire, but may be similar to those in other states.  That is the result of open and frank discussion between legislators without partisan bickering.  The ALEC “model” legislation is debated in committee (called a Task Force) and often takes several years to reach a resolution that is acceptable to the broad majority, not an elite select few.  A similar process is used by NCSL which former Speaker Terri Norelli will soon head.  (aside: I wonder if Granite State Progress will attack former Speaker Norelli for proposing model legislation?)

After the idea is vetted by a Task Force it is presented to the Board of Directors and presented as a reference for members.  It is not mandated, the model legislation is just that, a proposal vetted by legislators across the nation to address a common problem.  It is available for any member legislator to modify to her or his state’s needs.  Gee, efficiency, responsiveness and responsibility in the legislative branch to benefit each of us – what an idea!

As for not protecting individual taxpayer rights – that is a complete and total falsehood.  Consider CACR 6 introduced to the House, passed the House, modified by the Senate and awaiting a Committee of Conference.  That bill would modify the New Hampshire Constitution to require modification on spending (the exact wording varies by chamber).  That bill was based upon a distillation of ideas presented at various ALEC conferences.  Seems to me that protects taxpayers.  HCR40 is a US Constitutional Balanced Budget petition to Congress.  That ALEC inspired legislation had strong bi-partisan support in the House and is now before the Senate.  The number of pro-taxpayer ALEC inspired bills is too long for a letter-to-the-editor.  One need only go to www.alec.org and read the press releases on “Obamacare,” tax policy,  over-regulation, energy efficiency (including green jobs) to see the broad scope of ALEC initiatives.  Of course, that would presume the robot letter writers actually were interested in the truth, rather than the pre-fabricated political agenda of their commissars.  

In case the next attack is that I have a vested interest in ALEC, let it be known that all legislators pay a membership fee to join.  All legislators pay registration and room fees to attend conferences.  No legislator member of ALEC receives “pay” or benefits from ALEC or from a corporation as a result of their membership in ALEC or as a result of bills brought forward or supported.  These attacks are simply politically motivated ad hominem attacks designed to deflect attention from the real issues facing New Hampshire.  The business loss because of many factors, including among the highest business taxes in the country, the resolution of a massive budget deficits (NH: est $ 900,000,000.00 – US: est $777,000,000,000.00), the lack of adequate funding because of over taxation and increased fees, the looming transfer of Medicaid costs to the State because of ObamaCare and the continual erosion of personal liberties and freedoms as the result of regulations, rules and federal laws.

 

Jordan Ulery

Hillsborough-27

NH State Representative

162nd General Court

Saturday
Mar312012

Carol Shea-Porter - The Path to Budgetary Destruction

The United States House of Representatives Budget Committee got a budget bill this week and passed it within 24 hours, without even reading the bill. While Chairman Ryan spoke in soothing tones about  “the path to prosperity,” the bill upset so many Republicans and Democrats that it barely squeaked through the committee. Congressman Frank Guinta cast the deciding vote, which was 19-18, because, as he said, he helped craft it.  When a Republican bill barely gets through a majority Republican Committee like this, it is probably doomed, as it should be.

Why will this budget bill die on the floor of the House?  Because, unless your name ends in Inc. (Incorporated), or you are a millionaire, this bill is not for you, and Republicans know it will be too hard to sell to a very skeptical public.

What are the problems with the bill? To start with, Americans do not like the changes to Medicare in this budget. The budget pushes seniors into vouchers, or what Ryan euphemistically calls  “premium support.”  Seniors could use the vouchers to buy their own insurance with a private company, or they could stay in Medicare, but either way, when the amount of the voucher runs out, an individual’s wallet comes out, and it would be extremely expensive. The vouchers would not reflect the rising cost of health care, because while health care costs are expected to rise around 7% per year, Medicare spending would be kept at the CPI plus 0.5%.  Also, if people are in a lot of different plans, Medicare would lose its ability to control costs and to negotiate better deals for seniors and other taxpayers, and that would push costs up as well.

No wonder presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, in an unguarded moment, called this plan “right-wing social engineering.” After being clubbed by the even further right-wing branch of his party, Gingrich was forced to embrace this disastrous plan, but his first analysis was dead-on, and Americans need to pay close attention if they want their loved ones or themselves to get full medical coverage when they are old or disabled.

If you are trying to pay the bills, you might not appreciate the fact that the wealthy and corporations will get bigger breaks than they already receive. This budget cuts taxes by roughly $3 trillion dollars, but most of those tax cuts would go to higher income earners. All of the Bush tax cuts would become permanent cuts, and there would be just two brackets, 10% and 25%. The top corporate income tax would fall from 35% to 25%. (Remember, 2/3 of US corporations actually pay zero.) And to top off awful ideas with another awful idea, Republicans want to end US taxes on any corporate money earned abroad, which could lead to a rush of jobs headed overseas.

So, if we cut taxes by $3 trillion dollars, and we have no new revenue, what happens? While Congressman Ryan and his followers are not saying exactly what they will cut for the most part, we can all figure out that the middle class and the poor will be out of luck if they cannot find members of Congress who will fight for them. Luckily, Democrats and some Republicans are going to defeat this budget.

They know that cutting money for education, from Head Start through college, is an assault on the poor and the middle class. It also would hurt business, because businesses require a labor pool of well-educated people in order to successfully compete.  As Dr. Jill Biden says, the country that out-educates us will out-compete us. This budget would cut our research in science and technology at exactly the time when we need to step up our investments.  Congressman Ryan has us spending 6% less on “general science, space, and basic technology.” Why?  So we can give more tax breaks to oil companies? The world will not stand still, even if we do.

Transportation, nutrition programs, health care, research, environment…all these and more will have to be cut if the Paul Ryan plan becomes law. Thankfully, it won’t.  But what are Representatives Ryan and Guinta thinking? In this time of high deficits, why would they cut taxes for the rich and US and multinational corporations? Why would they put forward a budget that would require massive cuts in the very areas that require our investment?  The Budget Committee owes America an answer.

###

Former Congresswoman Carol Shea-Porter represented New Hampshire’s First District from 2007-2011, she is seeking a third term in the November, 2012 election.  She wrote the proposal for and established a non-profit, social service agency, which continues to serve all ages.  She taught politics and history and is a strong supporter of Medicare and Social Security.