Emory University political science professor Alan Abramowitz, a frequently cited scholar of presidential politics, has written a 31-page analysis of Barack Obama’s victory to be presented next month at the annual Southern Political Science Association meeting entitled: “The Emerging Democratic Presidential Majority.” According to an early copy provided to Jolt, Abramowitz concludes thusly:
The structural advantages that Republicans enjoy in House and Senate elections would appear to guarantee the party’s continued competitiveness in congressional elections for many more election cycles. As a result, divided government will probably be a persistent feature of American politics for some time. And at the state level, Republicans are likely to remain the dominant party in most of the South as well as a number of sparsely populated, predominantly rural states that are relatively insulated from the demographic and cultural trends affecting the rest of the country. Republicans should also have success in midterm elections, especially as long as Democrats maintain control of the White House.
In presidential elections, however, the demographic and cultural trends that contributed to Barack Obama’s surprisingly easy victory in 2012 are likely to increase the current Democratic advantage in both the national popular vote and the Electoral College. And over time the effects of growing racial diversity and social liberalism will be felt in House and Senate elections as well as presidential elections. Unless Republican leaders and strategists can find a way to expand their party’s appeal beyond its shrinking base of older white conservative voters, the GOP is likely to experience a continued decline in its electoral fortunes in a nation that is becoming increasingly diverse and socially liberal.
Obama is set to announce this morning that he is forming an administration task force on gun violence, to be led by Vice President Joe Biden. The New York Times has an overview of what states are doing with their gun laws in light of Friday’s massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. In Georgia the big question is how the shooting will affect efforts to expand the right to carry weapons on college campuses. Laura Diamond and Kristina Torres have more in today’s AJC:
College students who want to carry firearms on campus and in their dormitories plan to push for such a law when the General Assembly next meets Jan. 14.
Their vocal desire has already received a chilly reception from some of the state’s top lawmakers, many of whom said they expect to wait until the new year to continue any earnest discussion of gun legislation.
I reported from Washington that Georgia lawmakers are mostly advocating a holistic approach to curbing violence.
Here’s your breathless “fiscal cliff” update of the day: Speaker John Boehner is going to have the House vote on a bill he calls “Plan B” if the talks fail, which would extend current marginal tax rates for income at $1 million and under, as well as the estate and dividend levies which are scheduled to rise. The Senate and the White House have said no to this plan (despite the endorsement of some Democrats in the past). Erick Erickson says the “B” stands for a word we can’t repeat here.
Meanwhile, many Democrats are unhappy that Obama is reportedly offering a change in the calculation of inflation that would effectively reduce Social Security benefits in the future. Atlanta Democratic U.S. Rep. John Lewis came out hard against it in a statement Tuesday. In part, Lewis says:
Now, without any hard proposal to raise taxes on the rich, some are using Social Security as a carrot to get a deal. We cannot, and we must not play with the lives of senior citizens. People work hard in America, and they deserve to retire with dignity. The reward of their hard work should not be a significant reduction in resources the longer they live and the more vulnerable they become. Something is wrong with this equation.
But who said bipartisanship is dead? Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, a Coweta County Republican, actually got a bill signed into law Tuesday. He teamed up with Iowa Democrat Bruce Braley — who is as liberal as Westmoreland is conservative — to pass overwhelmingly a bill to change the regulations governing deli-style display refrigerators, which had been subject to the same efficiency standards as commercial fridges that do not have the same glass and lighting.
“It’s just another example that the one size fits all approach to regulations does not work,” Westmoreland said in a statement. “The BURR Act makes it that the SOTC units have their own product class with their own energy standards that American manufacturers can actually meet.”
An independent panel faults the State Department for the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens. Outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton had been scheduled to testify before the Senate on Benghazi on Thursday, but she will not appear because she is recovering from a stomach virus and concussion.
The New York Times took a look at the controversy over the proposed new stadium for the Atlanta Falcons. The paper proclaims that owner Arthur Blank is “popular” around town, but…
The stadium plan, which involves a retractable roof, could test his popularity. A recent poll found that only 15 percent of voters in Georgia believed the Falcons needed a new stadium and 75 percent opposed any public financing.
“That does matter to me,” Blank said. “If I were a citizen and could vote on this myself, if the public understood clearly that this is a billion-dollar investment for something that is state-owned, I’d be jumping up and clicking my heels.”
The Presidential Inaugural Committee announced Tuesday that the Georgia State University Marching Band will be a part of the Jan. 21 festivities in Washington.
- By Daniel Malloy, Political Insider