Tentative Primary and Caucus Schedule
  March 1 (Super Tues)
  March 2-14
L blue   March 15-31
Delegates needed for nomination:
GOP: 1236,   Dem: 2242
Map explained
New polls:  
Dem pickups:  
GOP pickups:  

News from the Votemaster

McCarthy Out of the Speaker's Race...Probably

We observed last week that Kevin McCarthy's Benghazi blunder was going to be very difficult to overcome. And today, it did indeed prove fatal to his hopes of becoming Speaker, as he withdrew his name from consideration.

So, what is next? Well, the "frontrunner" is ostensibly Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT). He has only been in Congress since 2009, and would be the least experienced Speaker in over a century. Further as a former Democrat and somewhat moderate Republican (by Utah standards) he is unacceptable to the conservative Freedom Caucus. The Caucus has already said it has lined up 40 votes for Rep. Daniel Webster (R-FL). If that is true, that would leave Chaffetz with only 207 Republican votes, far short of the 218 he needs. And he's not going to get those 10 from the other side of the aisle. The last Democrat to rebel against his party and vote for a Republican speaker—the now-deceased Jim Traficant—was promptly punished by having all of his committee assignments revoked. So, a stalemate is not only possible, it's likely. And it is somewhat hard to see Chaffetz getting the job, even after weeks or months of the two factions playing chicken.

John Boehner has already indicated that he will remain on the job until the stalemate resolves itself, however long that might take. However, if he becomes weary, or if he decides he simply has to force a resolution, he could step aside in favor of the representative who would immediately become Speaker pro tempore upon Boehner's exit. The name of that individual is currently known to only a few people—Boehner, the Clerk of the House, the individual themselves. However, there is a good chance that it is...Kevin McCarthy. ThinkProgress has a good discussion of this possibility.

Another possibility: Paul Ryan, who would almost certainly be acceptable to all factions. He has thus far said that he is not interested in the job, presumably because he realizes being chairman of the Ways and Means Committee affords more power with fewer headaches. However, he could change his mind if he decides that a "Ryan rides to the rescue" narrative is extremely compelling, and perhaps puts him back in the presidential conversation for 2020.

And, finally, a longshot possibility: The moderate Republicans join with the Democrats to form what the Europeans call a "coalition government." The UK, for example, was governed from 2010 to 2015 by partnership between the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats. The American system is not really set up for this, but it is not impossible. And it may just be that the moderate Republicans decide that the only way to derail the seemingly uncontrollable Freedom Caucus is to make a move that says, "If push comes to shove, we don't have to work with you."

In a certain sense, the U.S. is moving toward becoming a multiparty parliamentary system. In the House, there are effectively three parties: the Democrats, the business-oriented Republicans, and the Freedom Caucus. Since none of them are willing to work with the others, we have a stalemate. Also, in multiparty parliamentary systems, it is expected that when the ruling party loses a motion of no confidence, the leader steps down. Effectively, this is what happened to both John Boehner and Kevin McCarthy.

It is hard to see how this drama ends. One solution is for Ryan to agree to take the job. But because he knows he will have to compromise with the Democrats in the end, he realizes that when the inevitable happens, he will be chewed up and spit out, just like Boehner and McCarthy. Also, he realizes that he has more power as a committee chairman than he would as Speaker. Nevertheless, he will be under tremendous pressure to take the job and he may be essentially forced into it. (Z & V)

Congressman Writes Job Ad for Speaker

In order to help the Republicans find a new Speaker, Rep. Mark Takano (D-CA) drew up a job ad for Speaker that the Republicans could put on Craigslist. Here is his ad.


Are you an American citizen? Do you have experience negotiating hostage situations? Are you ready for the challenge of a lifetime? Then this job is for you!

Responsibilities include

  • Keeping the government open
  • Avoiding a default on U.S. debt
  • Maintaining women's access to health care
  • Managing multiple investigative committees aimed at attacking Hillary Clinton
  • Explaining to the "Freedom Caucus" the concepts of compromise and democratic governance


  • Proven ability to work with irrational people who pursue narrow priorities at the expense of millions of others
  • Proficiency in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
  • Babysitting experience STRONGLY PREFERRED
  • No congressional experience necessary

Please e-mail resume and an outline of your plan to TheNextFrankUnderwood [at] gmail [dot] com


Boxer Wants to KO Fiorina

The last woman to face off against Carly Fiorina in an election was Barbara Boxer, and the exceedingly negative tone of the campaign left a bad taste in the senator's mouth. So, having trounced the former HP exec one time, Boxer—a loyal Hillary Clinton ally—is now working to secure defeat #2, according to The Daily Beast.

Barbara Boxer is an experienced politician with a great many resources at her disposal. And since she is retiring, she has little to lose and can pull out all the stops, if needed. This is not good news for the Fiorina campaign. Perhaps the more important point that the Daily Beast's story makes, however, is that she has some glaring weaknesses as a candidate. Most obviously, her record at HP. Her career bears some resemblance to Mitt Romney's in that both were in the highest echelons of management and got rich while making choices that cost thousands of people their jobs. This was a major problem for Romney in 2012, and Fiorina would undoubtedly have it worse, since she was both less effective as a corporate executive and because she—unlike Mitt—personally ordered pink slips delivered to 30,000 people. If she were somehow to be the nominee, or even the frontrunner, there would be people on every channel, and at every Democratic event, telling their stories about how Carly Fiorina heartlessly kicked them to the curb. (Z)

Bush Opposes a New Voting Rights Act

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 prohibited racial discrimination in voting. It resulted in millions of blacks being able to vote for the first time, especially in the South. A key section of the law prohibited certain states from changing their voting laws without getting advance approval from the Justice Dept. Earlier this year, the Supreme Court struck down parts of the law, including the section about Southern states getting advance approval. However, the Court specified that Congress could renew the law and gave directions on what it would have to do to make it constitutional.

Almost immediately, a number of states began changing their voting laws with the obvious intent to make it harder to vote. For example, Texas passed a law requiring photo ID to vote. Gun permits count as voter ID but college ID cards issued by state universities do not. Why are state-issued gun permits OK but state-issued college ID cards not OK? Because the real purpose of the law is to keep students and other Democratic-leaning groups from voting, while making sure that gun owners and other Republican-leaning groups are able to keep casting ballots. Democrats have called on Congress to renew the Voting Rights Act in such a way as to make it constitutional, but the Republicans who control the body have killed such efforts.

Now Jeb Bush has said that he sees no reason for Congress to pass a revised Voting Rights Act. This is hardly surprising. On a personal level, he has certainly never been denied the right to vote, and on a political level he is trying to appeal to voters who oppose the Voting Rights Act while at the same time knowing that he has little chance of attracting black votes. More cynically, he is better off when black voters do not vote or cannot vote, since that is one less Republican that needs to be gotten to the polls. Hillary Clinton predictably blasted Bush's comments, and there is an excellent chance that she will make this into one of her core issues in 2016, having already indicated an intent to do so. Between that, and a number of pending court cases, and possibly drama at polling places when voters are turned away, expect to hear a lot more about this subject next year. (V)

Democrats Speak English Gooder than Republicans?

This is an interesting—and somewhat amusing—study. The folks who produce the Grammar-checking app Grammarly have used it to analyze Facebook posts written by supporters of the various presidential candidates. Speaking generally, they found that Democrats use a broader range of words and also deploy them with fewer errors than do Republicans. Speaking specifically, Lincoln Chaffee supporters have the very best grammar, followed closely by the supporters of Jim Webb and Bernie Sanders. The worst grammar comes from supporters of Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum and—at the very back of the pack—Donald Trump. Hard to say how useful or accurate such a study is, hopefully the Republicans' poor showing won't cause them to go nucular. (Z)

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---The Votemaster
Oct08 If Trump is the Hare, Cruz is the Tortoise
Oct08 Gallup Pulls the Plug
Oct08 Democratic Focus Groups: We Love You Joe, but Don't Run
Oct08 Export-Import Bank Causes Problems for Republicans
Oct07 Supreme Court Likely to Move to Center Stage
Oct07 Biden May Have Leaked Son's Dying Wish to Help His Campaign
Oct07 The Case For and Against Rubio
Oct07 Trump Sends Rubio a Case of Bottled Water
Oct07 Emailgate May Show that Clinton Would Be an Effective President
Oct07 Jindal Spins Out of Control
Oct06 States Change Primary Dates and Rules
Oct06 Democrats Get Nearly All the Senate Candidates They Wanted
Oct06 Fiorina took 4 Years to Pay Off Campaign Debt
Oct06 Freedom Caucus Growing More Unified
Oct06 Clinton's First Ad Focuses on Benghazi
Oct06 One Issue Where Hillary Clinton is to the Left of Bernie Sanders
Oct05 Hassan Will Run for the Senate in New Hampshire
Oct05 Clinton Gets A Big Endorsement
Oct05 What is Biden's Actual Deadline?
Oct05 Tomorrow's Polling...Today?
Oct05 Is Hyperpolarization the Real Reason Outsiders Are Doing Well?
Oct05 McCain Tells Republicans to Be Nice To Each Other
Oct05 Bush's List of Unfortunate Comments Is Growing
Oct05 Hillary vs. Bernie
Oct04 Sanders Courts Latino Vote
Oct04 The Democrats' Ideas Don't Matter; The Republicans' Do
Oct04 The Real Race is Between Bush, Rubio, and Kasich
Oct04 More Bad News for Bush
Oct04 Illegal Immigrants Could Elect Hillary Clinton
Oct04 Klein Dishes More Dirt on Hillary
Oct03 Trump Still Rides High
Oct03 Five Reasons Why Rubio Might Make It
Oct03 Gore Thinks Television is Ruining American Democracy
Oct03 After Oregon Shooting, Trump Trumps Bush
Oct03 Hitler Is Not A Candidate
Oct03 Trump Still Rides High
Oct03 Five Reasons Why Rubio Might Make It
Oct03 Gore Thinks Television is Ruining American Democracy
Oct03 After Oregon Shooting, Trump Trumps Bush
Oct03 Hitler Is Not A Candidate
Oct02 McCarthy Admits Beghazi Hearings Are about Damaging Hillary
Oct02 Virginia Republicans Admit They Gerrymandered Districts
Oct02 GOP Doesn't Get Preferred Candidate in Colorado Senate Race
Oct02 HP Employees Haven't Contributed to Fiorina's Campaign
Oct02 Has the Email Story Hurt Hillary?
Oct02 Hillary Will Be 'Live, from New York!' This Weekend
Oct01 Congressional Glass Ceiling Is Firmly in Place
Oct01 Straight-Ticket Voting Could Hurt Democrats
Oct01 Sanders Approaches Clinton in the Money Race
Oct01 Republicans Consider New Primary Systems for 2020