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In 2009, when I watched the results from the Virginia gubernatorial election rolled in, I was concerned. I had foreseen Creigh Deeds's loss to Bob McDonnell for quite some time, and though I was upset about it, I had accepted it as inevitable.

What concerned me the most, however, was State Delegate Steve Shannon's loss to State Senator Ken Cuccinelli in the race for Attorney General of Virginia. Four years ago, I was concerned about Cuccinelli'™s extremism. As it turns out, I had every reason to be concerned, and now I am concerned for the future of Virginia now that he is the Republican Party's nominee for Governor of Virginia.

While we have heard a lot in the past few weeks about the extremism of E. W. Jackson, the Republican nominee for Lieutenant Governor, and Mark Obenshain, the Republican nominee for Attorney General, not enough attention has been paid to Cuccinelli's extremism--while not as much of a lunatic as Jackson, it is still important to note that Cuccinelli is still very much out of the mainstream and it should be reported on.

For the next few minutes, I would like to run through some of Ken Cuccinelli's extreme positions on some of the important issues to Virginians, specifically, those related to social policy. If this diary is received well (and if I have time!), I will take the time in future weeks to examine Cuccinelli's extremism with other issues as well.

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A Facebook "friend" with whom I have gotten into many political arguments posted an interesting story entitled, "DOJ Tells Employees to Verbally Affirm Homosexuality."

"Wow!" I thought. "If it were really true that the DOJ is telling its employees to verbally affirm homosexuality, that would be kind of crazy!"

So I clicked on the news story to find out more.

(And need I even mention that this "news" story comes from Fox News?)

The first paragraph of the article goes as follows:

The Department of Justice has been accused of religious intolerance and viewpoint discrimination after workers were sent an email directing them to verbally affirm homosexuality, according to a law firm specializing in religious liberty and now representing a DOJ whistleblower.
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A few weeks ago, while I was showering, I considered something. How many additional votes would Democrats have needed in order to win control of the House of Representatives? That is to say, what is the bare minimum additional votes Democrats would have needed in order to win exactly seventeen additional seats in the House, which would have given them the smallest possible majority?

I do not believe that anyone else has answered this question, so I was intrigued to find out the answer. To find it out, I engaged in a very time-consuming process of going onto the websites of various Secretaries of State and state election boards and extracting two things: 1) The raw vote margin of victory by which a congressional candidate won, and 2) the percentage margin of victory by which a congressional candidate won. In a very large spreadsheet, I organized all of these numbers and then organized them by least-to-greatest, both in terms of raw vote and percentage.

I will apologize in advance for any awkward and statistically inappropriate phrasing present in this diary. I am not a statistician by nature; my only statistics education was AP Statistics in high school.

And hey, if having two large spreadsheets typed out that show the House vote by district, ordered by raw vote and percentages is something that you guys are interested in, then I see no reason why I couldn't follow up with this kind of analysis for the 2010, 2008, and 2006 elections, and so on.

Enjoy!

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The problem with Mitt Romney is that he just keeps telling the truth, time and time again. And by "the truth," I don't mean the truth about what his plans would do to the middle class, or what his plans actually consist of, or the job that President Obama has done to move our country forward.

No, when I say "the truth," what I really mean is that Romney continually tells us what he actually thinks.

He does actually think that the President sympathizes with the Libyans who killed innocent Americans in Benghazi. He does actually think that criticism of his tenure at Bain Capital is tantamount to attacking the very nature of capitalism itself. He does think that paying taxes is a form of "charity." He does actually think all of those things.

And now, we know what Mitt Romney really thinks about us.

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As if there hadn't been enough reasons to already proclaim this sentiment...

As if Congressman Walsh hadn't already belittled the amazing sacrifices that his opponent, Tammy Duckworth, made for our country by saying, "Ehhhh, now let's move on."

As if Congressman Walsh hadn't already yelled at constituents for asking him questions about his policy stances.

As if Congressman Walsh hadn't already claimed that President Obama was elected because he was black and because it "made us feel good."

Now, the Congressman feels the need to say the following:

"The Democratic Party promises groups of people everything. They want the Hispanic vote, they want Hispanics to be dependent on government, just like they got African Americans dependent on government. That's their game." Jesse Jackson "would be out of work if [African Americans] weren't dependent on government."
You can bet that I'll be donating to Tammy Duckworth when I get the chance.

I have no further comments.

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Perhaps I’m preaching to the choir—most of the users here at DailyKos are both interested in seeing President Obama re-elected and are aware of how important any President’s judicial nominees are. However, I’ve noticed that most of the posters who are concerned with the judicial branch focus on just one federal court—the United States Supreme Court.

While it’s undoubtedly true that the Supreme Court reins, well, supreme over all other courts and has the final say on any matter brought before it, it’s foolish to think that just one court out of hundreds of United States federal court is the only court worth talking, thinking, or caring about.

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It's always been inevitable, at least to me, that former Governor Mitt Romney of Massachusetts would emerge as the Republican nominee for President. And while he hasn't been coronated yet--and while I don't want him to be because it would bring the hilarious circus to an abrupt end--I find it highly likely that he will be.

That then raises the obvious question: Who will he select as his running mate?

It's the most important question that a successful presidential primary campaign faces, and Mitt Romney faces enormous challenges in finding the answer to that question. On the one hand, he has serious problems with social conservatives and Tea Partiers--he's just not conservative enough. On the other hand, he's seen his popularity with moderates and independent voters plummet--he's too out-of-touch and he's ensconcing himself further and further to the right. Both of these problems are contradictory. In order to fix one problem, he exacerbates the other problem. It's a catch-22. So expect Mitt Romney to give this question more thought than John McCain did, but don't expect that he'll come up with a better answer.

Below, I determined the fourteen most likely candidates that would be selected as Mitt Romney's vice-presidential nominee and evaluate their pros and cons. Most of the names have been circulated already by  talking heads and commentators, but some names are ones that I've definitely never heard before. I'll openly admit that my list is not perfect, and it probably includes long-shot candidates who will never see the light of day.

And naturally, I'm always receptive to critiques, both positive and negative. Enjoy! (I hope)

Poll

Who will Mitt Romney pick as his running mate?

1%3 votes
2%4 votes
5%10 votes
5%11 votes
2%5 votes
35%71 votes
5%11 votes
10%21 votes
4%9 votes
4%9 votes
6%12 votes
7%15 votes
6%12 votes
2%5 votes

| 198 votes | Vote | Results

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Sat Feb 25, 2012 at 03:02 PM PST

Der Hoekstra's Face

by tqycolumbia

By now, virtually everyone--€”or at least virtually everyone on DailyKos--€”is familiar with the Super Bowl advertisement that Pete Hoekstra thought would be a smashing start to his Senate campaign in Michigan. It wasn'€™t.

While others have rightfully mocked, and will continue to mock, the thinly-veiled racism present in Hoekstra'€™s advertisement, I would like to use this opportunity to advance another argument: Hoekstra'€™s television advertisement simply represents yet another instance in which the Republican Party has pushed for regression, rather than progression.

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When I first embarked on redistricting Maryland, I had no intention of creating a Democratic gerrymander--all I wanted to do was see how easy it would be to create a nice, contiguous, compact map, regardless of who it would elect. For fun. Once I got started, however, I remembered hearing rumors of Maryland Democrats trying to create an 8-0 map, and I wanted to attempt it myself. I think that I've done it! It's not perfect and there are some problems, but it is both a solid Democratic gerrymander and an improvement over the current map. Let's begin.

Maryland's 1st Congressional District

Congressman Andy Harris will face a tough re-election fight in the new 1st district. The new 1st ditches three southern counties in the Eastern Shore, Baltimore County, and most of Harford County, trading those places for a stretch into suburban DC. Though Harris was actually drawn out of this district--he lives just a little north of Baltimore--this is the likely district for him to run in because it includes most of his former territory. It won’t be easy though, because the newly reformatted 1st district would have given Obama 61.5% of the vote. This is a solid pickup for almost any Democrat.

Maryland's 2nd Congressional District

The new 2nd district is a natural fit for Congressman Ruppersberger, containing much of his former territory. The big difference, however, is that his new district is much more compact and neat. In exchange for taking the conservative areas in Baltimore County that previous belonged to the 1st district, the new 2nd is more conservative. Obama would have received 53.9% of the vote in this district, meaning that although Democrats are undoubtedly favored here, a tough race might emerge every once in a while. For now, this will be likely Democratic.

Maryland's 3rd Congressional District

The new 3rd stretches from Frederick County to Anne Arundel County, touching Carroll County, Baltimore County, a small sliver of Montgomery County, and virtually all of Howard County. It is much more compact than the previous 3rd district and although Congressman John Sarbanes does not actually live in the district—he lives just a few miles out of it in Baltimore County—it includes most of his former territory in the southern Baltimore suburbs. This district gave Obama 56.8% of the vote in 2008, and we can conclude that Democrats will have no difficulty holding it.

Maryland's 4th Congressional District

The reformatted 4th district is the second most Democratic district in the state and is primarily based in northern Montgomery County and northern Prince George’s County. It is a minority-majority district, but that’s deceptive—there’s a surprisingly high amount of Hispanics in this district, making it 35.2% white, 32.6% black, 20.1% Hispanic, and 9.9% Asian. Obama received 76% of the vote in this district in 2008, and it includes nearly all of Congresswoman Donna Edwards’ former territory, though her home is actually not located in the district. It’s a natural fit for her, however, and it will be a safe Democratic seat in any Congressman’s hands.

Maryland's 5th Congressional District

Congressman Steny Hoyer has gained some foreign territory in his new 5th district, but it’s nothing for him to worry about. In order to drag Andy Harris into the blue in the 1st district, Hoyer received three counties from the Eastern Shore, essentially making this a southern Maryland district. It remains solidly Democratic, having given Obama 63.2% of the vote in 2008, so Hoyer or anyone else should have no trouble holding it for the Democrats. It acquires its liberal leanings by encompassing most of the southern DC suburbs and by reducing the white population down to 52.5%. In the nearby future, this could become a minority-majority district, but for now, it’s a solid Democratic district.

Maryland's 6th Congressional District

In the previous drawing, the 6th district was the least gerrymandered. Now, it becomes the most gerrymandered. It continues to encompass all of the Panhandle and continues to reach into Harford County, but there’s a twist—now, it reaches down into southern Montgomery County and the northwestern DC suburbs and has ditched most of Frederick County, making it considerably less conservative this time around. Congressman Roscoe Bartlett has actually been drawn out of this district, due to the fact that he lives in the city of Frederick. However, because this district most closely matches his previous district, this is the likely place for him to run—should he actually choose to run again. This is also the least Democratic district in Maryland, having given Obama 50.9% of the vote. This is a relative swing district with a definite lean towards the Democratic Party; it’s a good fit for a moderate Maryland Democrat in the mold of Frank Kratovil. There are a number of moderate Democratic State Delegates from the Panhandle portion of the district and all of them would be good general election candidates. Though it’s not relevant in the slightest, I personally think that this district looks like a crab claw about to scoop up suburban Baltimore. Tossup or lean Democratic.

Maryland's 7th Congressional District

The 7th is essentially the city of Baltimore and it is the most compact district in the map. It includes almost all of Baltimore, except a few northern precincts, and reaches south into Baltimore County, Howard County, and Anne Arundel County a bit. It gave Obama 77.3% of the vote and is 49.4% black, making it the perfect district for Congressman Elijah Cummings. It is the most Democratic district in the state, and therefore, it is a solid Democratic hold.

Maryland's 8th Congressional District

Actually, remember when I said that the 6th was the most gerrymandered district? Maybe not. Previously, this district encompassed mainly DC suburbs. Now? It stretches from some northeastern Democratic suburbs  to the city of Frederick—and actually reaches into the Panhandle a bit—before spanning the northern Baltimore suburbs. It’s actually a duplicate of the 6th, with the same crab claw-like shape that surrounds Baltimore. Congressman Chris Van Hollen may or may not live in this district—either way, it’s by just a few miles—but this is the place where he should run. It remains Democratic, but it’s been watered down. Now, it gave Obama 58.9% of the vote in 2008. Though Van Hollen will face closer elections than he has in the past, Republicans have little to no chance of winning this district. Likely Democratic.

To conclude...

In the end, I preserved the city of Baltimore in one district at the expense of the DC suburbs. If you were to drive the perimeter of the District of Columbia along I-495, you would change congressional districts a total of 5 times. All in all, I think that I created a pretty decent map. Population variance in every district is under one thousand, with the greatest variance in the 1st at -989. Also, I have sent this map into Governor O’Malley, so everything that I did had a point to it.

I leave you with a statewide view of my redistricting wonder, albeit with different colors than the close-ups used all throughout this article.

Discuss

Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 10:09 PM PDT

What's going on in Mississippi?

by tqycolumbia

I believe in being honest.

I'm a political junkie. I stay up and stay hooked on the websites of local television stations to follow the influx of election results. With the special Congressional elections in California and New York, respectively, I had several tabs open on Chrome: DailyKos, the Associated Press, and a local television station. I love elections.

So when I watched election results from the Democratic and Republican primaries stream in from Mississippi, I felt as though I was watching something without knowing WHAT I was watching. I mean, clearly, this is not a priority race for Democrats. There was no mention of it here--as far as I could see!--and I doubt that any national party will invest resources in this gubernatorial election, especially with much more exciting races in Kentucky and West Virginia.

So I plead innocence and ignorance. There will be a runoff election between Johnny DuPree, the Mayor of Hattiesburg, and Bill Luckett, a lawyer and businessman from Clarksdale. That is, truly, the extent of my knowledge. I know that the Clarion-Ledger, the largest paper in Jackson, Mississippi, endorsed DuPree for his strong record as Mayor, but also praised Luckett as having made significant progress with the reconstruction of Clarksdale. That's it.

As a political activist and as a liberal/progressive, I like to be able to root for someone. In this race, however, I'm left without anyone to root for. By default, I lean towards DuPree, only because I feel as though the black turnout that he would draw by having his name on the ballot would potentially help the Mississippi Democrats, who are up the creek without a paddle. However, I've heard horror stories about DuPree's record in Hattiesburg. I've heard that he's employed racial tactics, destroyed the downtown region, and has inflicted massive damage on the police force. Admittedly, these claims come from admitted conservatives, so I'm hesitant to believe them.

But Bill Luckett seems no better. He seems, regardless of Morgan Freeman's endorsement--I was amused to note that unlike in the case of the Wisconsin recalls and B.J. Lawson, it was ACTUALLY Morgan Freeman narrating a campaign advertisement--to be a conservative Democrat in the mold of John Arthur Eaves, Jr. And, not to get sidetracked, but I was absolutely disgusted with Eaves. I do not live in Mississippi and I never have, but Eaves being on the ballot absolutely sickened me. A self-proclaimed Democrat who attacks abortion, gun control, gay marriage and support school prayer? Please. But that's what Luckett feels like to me, but I have no proof to back that up.

So, really, I'd like to hear what my fellow Kossacks have to say about what's going on in Mississippi. Frankly, I don't know who to root for in the runoff, and I definitely don't know who to support in the general. In all honesty, Eaves disgusted me enough that--I'm embarrassed to say--I actually supported Haley Barbour.

So please comment! I want opinions.

Poll

Who would you vote for in the Democratic primary runoff election?

70%7 votes
30%3 votes

| 10 votes | Vote | Results

Discuss
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