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Entries in Sharron Angle (4)


A Beginner's Tour of the US Elections: The Tea Party, "Kooks", and the Senate Race in Kentucky

How can I not like Kentucky? Home of bourbon whisky, the Derby, and bluegrass music, three of the staples of civilised living all found in one state. A perfect day could well consist of sitting at Churchill Downs reviewing the horse-racing programme, sipping a Maker’s Mark while the locals enjoy their mint juleps, and listening to an old-style jug band.

Wrongly or rightly, Kentucky enjoys the reputation of a polite, well-mannered state where the Southern virtues of relaxed refinement and civility still persist.

It is a sign of the threat to the character of Kentucky that the Senate race in the state is turning increasingly bitter and bad-tempered. On Sunday night, the two candidates held a debate where Rand Paul, the tea party-backed Republican, asked his Democrat opponent Jack Conway: “Have you no decency? Have you no shame?"

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A Beginner's Tour of the US Elections: The Power of the Majority and the Senate Race in Nevada

The election in Nevada may well see the ousting of Harry Reid as Senate Majority Leader, either by his loss to Angle or by the Republicans winning enough of the seven other toss-up seats to relegate him to a member of the minority. Either way, one thing is certain: neither party will achieve the super-majority of 60 Senators needed to ensure the passage of controversial legislation in the next Congress by defeating any filibuster. If Reid survives as Majority Leader, Democrats will have a greater chance of proposing liberal legislation, but as current Senate rules, they stand little chance of passing them. A Republican Majority Leader, despite the advantages of controlling the composition of Senate committees, will face a similar predicament when it comes to passing conservative legislation.

In fact, unless the Senate miraculously rediscovers the bipartisan tone of compromise it once possessed, it is hard to see what either party with a simple majority can hope to accomplish in the next two years.

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A Beginner's Tour of the US Elections: The "Progressive Idea" and the Senate Race in Wisconsin

Last year there seemed little likelihood there would even be a close contest in Wisconsin. The incumbent Russ Feingold is a Democrat who has been a Senator for eighteen years, in a state that has voted Democrat in the last six presidential elections (56% for Obama in 2008). Moreover, Feingold, co-sponsor of the McCain-Feingold Campaign Finance Refrom Act, is a liberal politician known for sticking to his progressive values. He voted against the Patriot Act setting out internal security measures after 9-11, opposed the war in Iraq, and has been a consistent voice against the influence of money in elections. His campaign has not been damaged by any personal scandal, and the general reputation he enjoys is of an honest and independent politician in Washington.

And yet, the latest polls show him trailing his Republican opponent Ron Johnson by an average of 7% in the polls. The prominent FiveThirtyEight electoral website currently forecasts a 94% chance of a Republican win. This is all the more surprising because the Republican candidate has no record in politics, deciding to run for his first electoral office last year as a response to the health care reform that Feingold supported.

Johnson, a successful businessman, has managed to turn the electorate’s disillusionment with the progressive ideology of President Obama to his advantage. Though not as nationally well known as Sharron Angle in Nevada, Rand Paul in Kentucky, or Christine O’Donnell in Delaware, he is fighting on the same platform that government is out of control, run by politicians who regard the people as their servants instead of the other way around.

It is Wisconsin that best illustrates the nation’s discontent with the progressive view of government.

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US Elections: And Now Delaware Becomes Very, Very Important

EA Worldview's US Politics correspondent, Lee Haddigan, writes:

Hours after the polls closed across Delaware in the Republican primary for the US Senate, the campaign of the victorious Christine O’Donnell --- favourite of the Tea Party and "insurgent" Republicans --- announced they had reached their fundraising target of $750,000 and were aiming for $1 million. This was not a target for the campaign to November's general election, but only for the day after the primary.

Meanwhile, the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, after a much criticized delay, announced they would be helping O’Donnell in her general election bid, despite the animosity in the primary with "establishment" candidate Mike Castle. And Wednesday evening the Tea Party Express sent out an email requesting donations to O’Donnell’s campaign.

So here is my last word on Delaware until late October when the new registration figures come out: if I am offered odds of 2-1 or higher on O’Donnell, I'm taking them.

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