With less than a year to go before Election Day 2014, three Southern Democrats in the U.S. Senate are up for re-election and Republicans are trying to capture all three seats, which would strengthen the party’s firm hold on the Senate in South.
Senators Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Mark Pryor of Arkansas, and Kay Hagan of North Carolina are the three Democrats up for election next year.
Political science professor Thomas Schaller was interviewed by The New York Times about the Democrats’ future prospects in the South.
“Democrats are fighting against history in most of the South,” Schaller said. “You can still elect a Democrat to a statewide office in the South,” he added, “if you have the right candidate, with the right biography, in the right cycle. And then hopefully you get some help from the Republicans’ nominating a bad candidate. But that’s a lot of ifs.”
The article also discusses how Democrats are hopeful in states such as Georgia in winning against conservative candidates who they deem too far to the right to be elected, but others point to Texas as an example that such candidates can win.
“My three-word answer to that is: Senator Ted Cruz,” Schaller said.
You can read the full article in The New York Times here.
Thomas Schaller is author of “Whistling Past Dixie: How Democrats Can Win Without The South.”
With no agreement in sight on a long-term budget deal with a budget conference committee self-assigned deadline coming up next month, some political experts say another U.S. Government shutdown in January is highly unlikely.
Political science professor Roy Meyers was interviewed for an article in International Business Times about the likelihood of another shutdown. He said a “small-ball deal” will likely be cut among lawmakers next month, but it won’t be the grand bargain to solidify a long-term deal.
“[It’s] one that would simply set an appropriations level for the rest of this fiscal year and it would make some modifications to the sequestration level that would be in place Jan. 15,” Meyers said.
“In other words, spend more on discretionary appropriations than would be the case if sequestration were to go into effect, and to offset those deficit increases by some small savings elsewhere,” he added. “But I don’t believe anything else will happen. In fact, I don’t know anybody who does,” he added.
After last month’s government shutdown, Congress has a job approval rating of 9 percent according to the latest Gallup poll. When asked if another government shutdown will happen in January, Meyers said there is “zero possibility of that happening.”
You can read the full article in International Business Times here.
In his latest opinion column in The Baltimore Sun, Political Science Professor Thomas Schaller responds to an op-ed he wrote last month about the Western Maryland Initiative, an effort that calls for the state’s five western-most counties to secede from the state.
Schaller suggests that if people in those counties dislike Maryland’s politics, a solution is to move to a neighboring state that better reflects their ideology:
Among the blessings of our federal system are the variations across the 50 states. Conservatives usually champion these differences and states’ rights; indeed, they frequently employ the “vote with your feet” metaphor to encourage persons or businesses unhappy with one state’s political-electoral environment to find another state where they can start a business, buy a home or just gamble for a few hours. One of them, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, just stopped by Maryland to make that very point.
He also provides examples of people who recently moved from Western Maryland to West Virginia, including former Republican Rep. Roscoe Bartlett.
You can read the full column Don’t secede; vote with your feet in The Baltimore Sun.
Public Policy and Political Science Professor George La Noue suggests transferring or closing academic programs will not integrate Maryland’s historically black colleges in an op-ed in The Baltimore Sun.
The op-ed was written in response to a ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Catherine Blake earlier this month in the case Coalition for Educational Equity and Excellence v. Maryland Higher Education Commission.
Part of the ruling considered closing, transferring, or merging academic programs that were seen as duplicative from traditionally white institutions (TWIs) to historically black institutions (HBIs). In his op-ed, La Noue argues this raises many questions:
Would faculty, research infrastructure and library resources be transferred as well? Would faculty recruited to an institution, whose black and white students have average SAT scores well above 1200, work well in institutions with many students requiring extensive remedial work? Would these faculty remain competitive for national research awards?
You can read the full op-ed in The Baltimore Sun here.
In his latest op-ed in The Baltimore Sun, Political Science Professor Thomas Schaller writes about how Republicans’ attempt to prevent full implementation of the Affordable Care Act was misguided because provisions of the law are becoming increasingly popular.
“But do Americans really oppose the Affordable Care Act? Yes, quote-unquote ‘Obamacare’ is unpopular, with disapproval rates trending around 55 percent, with roughly 45 percent approving. But the Affordable Care Act is actually quite popular,” Schaller writes.
“If that sounds like a contradiction, it is: Americans like almost all of the ACA’s key provisions; unfortunately, they don’t realize many of the most popular provisions are part of the law,” Schaller added.
Schaller also notes how a Kaiser Foundation health tracking poll provided statistics that showed roughly half of Americans don’t realize some of the ACA’s most popular provisions are part of the law.
You can read the full op-ed here.
In a recent article published in the London School of Economics American Politics and Policy Blog, Political Science Assistant Professor Laura Hussey argues public antipathy toward undocumented immigrants can play a significant role in shaping social welfare policy among Democrats.
The article, “Antipathy toward undocumented immigrants risks fracturing support for social welfare among Democrats”, was jointly written by Hussey and University of Rhode Island Assistant Professor Shanna-Pearson-Merkowitz. It argues Republicans tend to broadly oppose social welfare programs, but Democrats’ support for the same programs can depend more on the specific groups of people they benefit.
“A key lesson of this research for American Democrats is that forging a consensus on social welfare expansions within their own party may require taking into account public antipathy toward undocumented immigrants,” the article states. “While public projection of anti- (illegal) immigrant sentiment onto social welfare programs may not totally derail expansion, as the health care reform experience also shows, it is likely to constrain policymakers’ options and to result in both delays and drama.”
You can read the full blog post here.
Political science professor Roy Meyers was featured in The Wall Street Journal last week in two articles examining the cost of the government shutdown as it enters its second week.
In one article, Meyers describes how the cost of the shutdown can be difficult to predict. “How long it will last is now unknown,” he said. “And even if one knew with certainty the length of the shutdown, it would be very difficult to calculate accurately the budgetary cost.”
In the second article (subscription required), Meyers shared insight on the cost of the shutdown if back pay isn’t awarded to federal workers: “the reduced ability of the government to recruit a high-quality workforce,” he said.
In an October 1st tweet, U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz suggested the current federal government shutdown will result in “$10 billion in costs to the economy per week.” Is that accurate? PolitiFact consulted with UMBC political science professor Roy T. Meyers to find out.
The $10 billion figure Wasserman Schultz quotes is from the White House, which itself acquired the estimate from an August report from Goldman Sachs. To check this figure, PolitiFact went back to Meyers’ analysis of the 1995-96 government shutdown, which was estimated to cost $1.4 billion (mainly in back pay to furloughed workers). However, Meyers shares, you can’t simply add inflation to that figure to come up with an estimate for today, because of differences between the current shutdown and the previous one.
“This one is going to be bigger in terms of daily costs…,” Meyers told PolitiFact. “The economy is weaker. It can’t handle as much of a shock as it could handle in ‘95-’96.”
PolitiFact concluded that Wasserman Schultz’s statement was “mostly true.” Read their full analysis online. Meyers also contributed to PolitiFact’s analysis of Newt Gingrich’s recent statement that shutdowns are “a normal part of the constitutional process.”
“The federal government has shut down,” reads a new Baltimore Sun op-ed by political science professor Thomas F. Schaller. “And it’s the Republicans’ fault — period.” In contesting the House Republican’s use of legislation funding the federal government to block or alter the Affordable Care Act and its implementation, Schaller notes:
The Constitution clearly establishes that a bill becomes a law if it passes both chambers of Congress and is signed by the president or if his veto is overridden by two-thirds supermajorities in both chambers. In 2010, Democrats in Congress passed, and President Barack Obama signed, the Affordable Care Act. [...] The Constitution’s legislative process remains available to those who want to repeal it, of course. If unable to do so now, they can try to win elections and push to replace the law at some future point.
Schaller suggests members of the U.S. House of Representative who identify with the Tea Party have rejected this process. Read the full op-ed at the Baltimore Sun.
The threat of a government shutdown has become a reality and political science professor Roy Meyers is again in the news describing the direct and indirect costs of this action.
NBC News shared Meyers’ finding that the 1995-65 closure of national parks, monuments and battlefields alone cost businesses and local governments $295 million by preventing seven million park visits.
In MSNBC coverage of the shutdown, Meyers shared the importance of not just accounting for all of those costs, but also for those that are less measurable. “The real costs are really not in terms of consumer confidence or any of the standard measures in macroeconomics or even the federal budget,” he said. “The real costs are in trust in government and belief that government officials are paying attention to the real issues of the country.”
Read these articles to learn more:
Washington Post: Day One of the government shutdown: Now what?
Le Monde: Quel sera le coût du blocage budgétaire américain
Pew: How much might a government shutdown cost? Plenty, history says
The Hill: Small percentage of lawmakers served during 1990s government shutdown
NBC News: Why a government shutdown could be a pricey proposition
MSNBC: Taxpayers pick up bill if government shuts down
Politifact: Ted Cruz says ‘a strong bipartisan majority’ in the House of Representatives ‘voted to defund Obamacare’
Update: Meyers has also written a blog post for the London School of Economics on the shutdown: “Congress should be a venue for deliberation and compromise over policy, but the shutdown shows that Washington’s budget process is broken.”