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Primaries in D.C., Maryland, and Wisconsin Today     Permalink

The Republicans are holding primaries in D.C. and two states today. Mitt Romney is sure to win the D.C. primary because Rick Santorum failed to get on the ballot there. On the other hand, there are so few Republicans registered to vote in D.C. that the primary does not mean much, but it will add 19 delegates to Romney's growing total. Although Maryland is south of the Mason-Dixon line, in a political sense it is the North, not the South, and Romney will win a crushing victory there, too.

Wisconsin was Santorum's one chance today, but he doesn't appear to be doing well there. A PPP poll puts Romney ahead of Santorum 43% to 36%. So, if the polls are right, Romney will win blowouts in D.C. and Maryland and a decent victory in Wisconsin today.

It is Santorum's bad luck that all the primaries in April, save Pennsylvania and maybe Wisconsin, strongly favor Romney. It is not until we get to May that the tables are turned and many of them favor Santorum. But it is not clear that Santorum will survive long enough to take advantage of them. Also, even if he does, it may be so obvious to everyone that Romney is the GOP nominee that Romney will win even in states where the voters don't like him, just to jump on the bandwagon.

Romney Advisors Trying to Decide Whether to Unleash the Candidate     Permalink

Historically, people have voted for the candidate they like the best, rather than the one whose policies they agree with. Aloof candidates like Bob Dole and John Kerry discovered that the hard way. People may not have liked the policies of George W. Bush or Bill Clinton, but the candidates were personally popular and won. Now Mitt Romney's advisors are trying to decide whether they should let Romney be Romney, with the risk of more gaffes about his wealth, or keep him regimented. No doubt they have all studied the recent Gallup poll that shows Obama leading Romney by 9% in 12 key swing states. When you are that far behind, advisors often look for ways to shake up the game (or toy). Of course, letting Romney speak in unscripted situations is no guarantee that he will say things that reverse his disastrous (30%) showing among women under 50. It is tricky for him to say things to win them back without alienating his base or being accused of being a flip flopper.

Federal Mandates Have Been Around for over 200 Years     Permalink

While everyone is arguing about whether Congress can compel everyone to buy a product (such as health insurance) from a private company, few people have noticed that the first time it did so was 220 years ago. On May 8, 1792, Congress passed the Second Militia Act, which ordered every able-bodied white male citizen from 18 to 45 to buy from a private company a musket or firelock and 24 rounds of ammunition for it. The full text of the act is given here. The United States had no standing army in 1792, so Congress was thinking that if the British came back, these armed men would form the militia to defend the country.

Congress did not state in the law which section of the constitution authorized this mandate. It could have been either Art. 1, Sec. 1, which gives it the power to raise armies, or conceivably the second amendment, which talks about a well-regulated militia and the right to bear arms. Nevertheless, the Second Militia Act was clearly a mandate forcing citizens to buy specific products from private companies at their own expense. Congress could, of course, have raised taxes and then authorized the President to buy the weapons with federal funds, distributing them to the militiamen in time of war, but it opted for a mandate instead. In any event, the idea of Congress mandating that citizens buy a specific product from a private company has a precedent that has gone unchallenged for 200 years.

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Previous headlines

Mar30 Supreme Court Could Become an Election Issue
Mar27 Lose to Win?
Mar25 Santorum Continues His Southern Winning Streak in Louisiana
Mar25 Can Romney Clear the Etch a Sketch?
Mar24 Santorum Headed for Win in Louisiana Primary Today
Mar24 Club for Growth Buying Airtime Against Lugar
Mar21 Romney Wins Illinois by 12%
Mar21 Maine Senate Race Candidates Now Known
Mar20 Romney Expected to Win Illinois Primary Today
Mar20 Republicans to Propose Major Tax Reform Today
Mar19 Romney Wins Puerto Rico
Mar18 No Results from the Raucous Caucus
Mar18 Puerto Rico in the Spotlight Today
Mar11 Santorum Wins Kansas Caucus
Mar10 Santorum Favorite to Win Kansas Caucus Today
Mar10 Angus King Endorses Obama
Mar07 Romney wins Ohio and five other states, Santorum wins three states
Mar06 Today is Super Tuesday
Mar06 Independent Throws Maine Senate Race into Turmoil
Mar04 Romney Wins Washington, Paul Second (Maybe)
Mar03 Washington State Holds Caucuses Today
Mar03 Maine Senate Field Taking Shape
Feb29 Romney Barely Wins Michigan
Feb29 Olympia Snow Announces Her Retirement
Feb28 Michigan Too Close to Call
Feb28 Kerrey May Run for the Senate in Nebraska
Feb23 Romney Attacks, Santorum Defends, Nothing Much Changes
Feb23 Of Vaginas and Veeps
Feb21 Too Late for a White Knight
Feb21 Another Republican Debate Tomorrow
Feb17 Santorum Leading Romney in Michigan
Feb12 Romney Wins the CPAC Straw Poll
Feb12 Romney Edges Out Paul by 194 Votes in Maine
Feb12 Santorum Leading in Michigan and Nationwide
Feb08 Santorum Wins Big in Missouri, Minnesota, and Colorado
Feb05 Romney Wins Nevada Caucuses
Feb05 Republican Primary and Caucus Schedule
Feb04 Romney Expected to Win Big at Nevada Caucuses Today
Feb04 Economy is Improving
Feb01 Romney Wins Decisively in Florida

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