Paying Hell

Your vote is supposed to count. Break that understanding and there will be hell to pay.

Josh Marshall

This week’s featured posts are “Crime and Punishment: Did Trump Spill the Beans on the Pro-Life Movement?” and “Where North Carolina’s New Law is Going“.

This week everybody was talking about the culture wars

The two featured posts cover the two main stories: whether banning abortion means punishing women who seek abortions, and North Carolina’s bathroom-regulating HB2 law that simultaneously prevents any local government from protecting gays and lesbians from discrimination.

What I didn’t mention in those posts was the economic backlash against North Carolina.

The transgender bathroom scare may not be as effective as some people believe.

and the presidential race

Tomorrow is the Wisconsin primary. Cruz is expected to win on the Republican side, and that injects more doubt into the race.

Josh Marshall makes an interesting point about the possibility that Trump may go to the convention with far more primary votes than anyone else, but not come out of it with the nomination.

Through 1968 — in my living memory in other words — nobody really expected their primary vote to decide the nominee of their party. Conventions had their smoke-filled rooms, where party bosses like Chicago’s Mayor Daley anointed a winner. That’s how it had always been done.

But since 1972 we’ve had a different system, where the people who vote in primaries think they’re actually choosing the nominee.

what most people never really thought through was that the clinch before the convention model was always based on fundamental party unity. A candidate didn’t win by winning. He or she won when they demonstrated that no other rival could win. After that, the money dried up for the also rans and they were ushered out of the race. This just wasn’t obvious before because we’d never seen this system operate under these different conditions.

But right now the Republican Party is fundamentally divided, and so the arcane rules of delegate selection are really starting to matter. In many states, delegates “won” by Trump in the primary are being named by the party establishment. Many of them are obligated to vote for Trump on the first ballot, but aren’t actual Trump supporters. If Trump can be stopped on the first ballot, his nomination prospects may be over. What happens then?

Over half a century, the national primary process has been enshrined as a national election process. It may be run by party rules and may have all sorts of obscure and nonsensical bylaws. But you vote in the same precinct station as you vote in real elections. For real people that means it’s an election, period. You vote and your vote is supposed to count. Break that understanding and there will be hell to pay. Whatever rules you can cite simply are not going to matter that much.

On the Democratic side, polls make Sanders a slight favorite to win in Wisconsin. If he does, the question will be whether he won by enough, given how far behind he is in the national delegate totals. Nate Silver has made a projection of how many delegates Sanders needs from each remaining contest if he’s going to win a majority of pledged delegates (leaving the superdelegates out of it). In that model, Sanders needs 50 of Wisconsin’s 86 delegates, and would probably have to win the popular vote by 16 points to get them.

Why does this keep happening? The Washington Post took the bait from a Republican congressperson who claimed to know, and reported that 147 FBI agents were working on the Clinton email case. That number echoed all over the media, creating the impression that as Chris Cillizza put it, “this investigation was far more wide-ranging than I, at least, believed”

As usual, the report turned out to be bogus. The WaPo had to back off, saying that no more than 50 agents were involved. NBC later was able to lower that number to 12.

But for some reason this game never gets old: A Republican congressman (or someone on his staff) feeds the media some scandalous “fact” about Clinton, which then gets reported as if it had some news value. When the story turns out to be false, the liar’s identity is protected.

This week the Sanders and Clinton campaigns threw charges and counter-charges about campaign contributions from the fossil fuel industry. MaddowBlog’s Steve Benen and the WaPo’s fact-checkers try to sort it all out.

and you might also be interested in

If black history gets its own month, why not Confederate history? In Mississippi, it does: April is Confederate Heritage Month.

On his Orcinus blog, Dave Neiwert has decided to take that seriously, using this month to make sure we don’t forget noteworthy aspects of our Confederate heritage, like lynching. Or the fact that the Civil War wasn’t about “states rights”, as neo-Confederates claim. The Confederacy was created to defend slavery, pure and simple.

The Apple/FBI controversy ends with a whimper rather than a bang: Never mind, Apple, we can do it without you.

If you’re wondering what people are thinking, when they support the Senate refusing to consider a Supreme Court nominee for the first time ever, it’s something like this: Obama’s nominee is going to do his bidding, with the result that “at least four million illegal immigrants would be rewarded with jobs, welfare, and other taxpayer-paid benefits”.

In other words, they’re looking at the Supreme Court not as a court of law, but as a super-Senate that votes for or against certain results.

A sign that we need a higher minimum wage, at the very least:

2014 was the first year that Pew studied in which median spending on [housing, food, and transportation] was higher than the median income for those in the lower third of income groups.

Increased housing costs were the immediate cause of the change.

Tough decision: Should I watch an Opening Day baseball game on TV this afternoon, or scrape the snow off my car?

and let’s close with a math experiment you can do at home

There was a time this guy might have been hung as a witch. Watch the “miraculous” thing he can do with a metal plate, a violin bow, and a can of couscous.

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  • janinmi  On April 5, 2016 at 8:13 pm

    That math experiment video is utterly awesome–and as a math-challenged person, I am delighted that it actually made me understand what the presenter was describing! Thanks for the brain food. 🙂

  • Nancy Barber  On April 9, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    Sent from my iPad


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