Political Gaze

In State of the Union, Obama to help Dems frame midterm arguments

Written by The Associated Press Tuesday, 28 January 2014 07:29

President Barack Obama can only do so much to help his party in this year's midterm elections. Six years in office have taken a toll on his popularity, and aside from raising money, his value on the campaign trail is limited - especially in the states that worry Democrats the most.

But the president can set the tone. In his State of the Union address on Tuesday, Obama will frame an economic argument his party hopes will help carry them to victory in November. Although not explicitly political, the speech gives Obama an opportunity to issue a rallying cry for economic fairness and expanded opportunity - issues Democrats believe will resonate in races across the country.

Primary races to watch in Wisconsin

Written by Graeme Zielinski,
Special to WiG
Saturday, 11 January 2014 20:22

COWBOY DRAG: Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke Jr. rides his horse in 2010. –Photo: AP/John Kkein

This year, Wisconsin Democrats aren’t only facing the possibility of a primary in the race for governor between business executive Mary Burke, who’s announced her candidacy, and state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout, D-Alma, who’s reported to be leaning toward running. The state also will see races for key seats in progressive strongholds such as Milwaukee and Madison, as well as for statewide office and for Congress.

For Obama, Congress, a last grasp at immigration

Written by The AP Wednesday, 08 January 2014 14:39

His agenda tattered by last year’s confrontations and missteps, President Barack Obama begins 2014 clinging to the hope of winning a lasting legislative achievement: an overhaul of immigration laws.

It will require a deft and careful use of his powers, combining a public campaign in the face of protests over his administration’s record number of deportations with quiet, behind-the-scenes outreach to Congress, something seen by lawmakers and immigration advocates as a major White House weakness.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg says growing LGBT equality reflects 'genius' of the Constitution

Written by The Associated Press Sunday, 08 September 2013 14:08

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who recently officiated at a friend’s same-sex wedding, told a Philadelphia audience Sept. 6 that growing acceptance of gay marriage reflects the “genius” of the U.S. Constitution.

Ginsburg said equality has always been central to the Constitution, even if society has only applied it to minorities – be they women, blacks or gays – over time.

Watchdogs put spotlight on Wisconsin millionaires in Congress

Written by WiG Wednesday, 15 January 2014 08:26

An analysis by the Center for Responsive Politics shows that a majority of members of Congress are millionaires.

The study, released this week and based on 2012 personal data at opensecrets.org, shows that 268 of the 534 members of the current Congress are millionaires — and several have worth of hundreds of millions.

Study: Genetics influence liberal, conservative views

Written by The AP Thursday, 09 January 2014 19:25

Genetics might not determine who you will vote for, but people might be born predisposed to liberal or conservative views, according to two University of Nebraska-Lincoln professors.

The Lincoln Journal Star reports that John Hibbing’s and Kevin Smith’s research suggests genetics predict political attitudes to some extent, although they say life experience plays a big role in shaping beliefs.

Dems seek to elect more women governors in 2014

Written by Steve Peoples,
AP writer
Tuesday, 24 December 2013 08:40

The Democratic Party claims to be the natural home for women. The numbers tell another story when it comes to the nation’s governors.

Republicans, four women: Jan Brewer in Arizona, Susana Martinez in New Mexico, Mary Fallin in Oklahoma and Nikki Haley in South Carolina. Democrats: Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire.

Right-wing social issues still consume GOP

Written by Associated Press Friday, 21 June 2013 06:40

Republican lawmakers have a message for those who want the party to soften its emphasis on social conservatism in hopes of reaching a wider national audience: Not so fast.

House Republicans flexed their cultural and conservative muscles Tuesday, passing the most restrictive abortion measure in years. They also advanced legislation to crack down on immigrants living illegally in the country, even as senators pursue a plan that would offer those same millions a shot at citizenship.

Plenty in play: Races to watch in 2014

Written by Lisa Neff,
Staff writer
Saturday, 11 January 2014 20:29

The irritation voters feel today might be the six-year itch that has plagued many second-term presidents and their political parties. Or maybe it’s an itch to scratch the majority out of the U.S. House.

Early primaries in 2014 may reveal how the high-stakes midterm elections will look. Voters in November will decide majorities in the U.S. House, the U.S. Senate and 36 governorships, including Wisconsin’s.

Outside money can be key factor in 2014 elections

Written by The AP Thursday, 09 January 2014 04:50

Terry McAuliffe’s successful campaign for governor in Virginia might provide a playbook for fellow Democrats in 2014 — and a warning for Republicans.

Outside money makes a difference.

GOP-leaning money machines kicking out less cash

Written by The Associated Press Friday, 22 November 2013 15:09

The biggest Republican-leaning money machines are spending dramatically less this year to help the party ahead of the 2014 Senate elections, two years after millions of dollars in early advertising by outside groups against Democrats backfired in embarrassing losses in otherwise winnable races.

Groups such as American Crossroads and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce no longer are willing to risk major investments on hard-line conservatives who embarrassed GOP leaders last fall and rattled the confidence of party donors. Many remain concerned after last month's government shutdown highlighted Republican divisions.