Archive for the 'Election Year' Category

Vote to be a Swing State

May 15 2012 Published by under Election Year

Swing states get all of the attention in presidential elections.  A quick glance at the electoral map confirms that only a handful of states really matter and thus money and attention are lavished upon these undecided zones with the hope of tipping their favor and spilling their electoral votes.  Obama may have just come out in personal support for gay marriage, and over 50% of the country may agree with him, but the big question seems to be “what do the swing states think?”.   So if you want your issues pandered to, if you want money dropped from a helicopter on your town, if you want your state to be in the limelight, then consider voting not for a candidate or issue, but for your state.  Democrat in California?  Vote for Romney.  Republican in Georgia? Cast your ballot for Obama.  In fact, all down the ticket, confer with the polls and vote against them no matter the candidate or issue.  And with a little organization, and a little luck, in the next election cycle your state may be the next Florida.

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Election Year: Expect the Unexpected… Legislation

Feb 21 2012 Published by under Congress,Election Year

Perhaps there’s a certain sector of the economy you’re unhappy with.  Maybe it’s energy with big oil or green tech, or agriculture with industrial farming or hemp production.  Say you want to tip the scales of the sector to favor a particular type of production.  Why not introduce some legislative uncertainty?  While perhaps not intentional, this is something Congress does tend to accomplish.  Wrangling in Congress makes certain businesses more expensive to operate.  Coal fired electric plants may be required to install expensive smokestack scrubbers, or they may not.  Either way, the operators will need to hedge against the possible expense which costs them money.  This makes investment in coal fired plants less attractive, which makes financing more expensive, and so on.  Note that there’s an actual expense to the operators without the benefit of the scrubbers.

So long as your district isn’t affected (you wouldn’t want to lose your seat, would you?) and you want to inhibit coal, perhaps consider throwing around some chatter about installing scrubbers.  Of course, the executive and judiciary both have similar power.  Is this considered an obstructionist tactic or a way to have an impact in what could otherwise be an ineffectual year?

 

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What Can be Done in Congress’s Off Year?

Jan 25 2012 Published by under Congress,Election Year

There’s a lot of talk about nothing getting done in Congress this year.  Why?  Because not only do opposing parties continue to control the two houses of Congress, but in case you haven’t heard, is 2012 an election year.

Every even-numbered year is campaign season for each and every Member of the House and for one-third of the Senate.  Campaigning and the persistent nag to fundraise, either for yourself or for fellow Members, draws the attention away from the Hill.  For some, re-districting has changed the nature of campaign season.  Previously competitive seats may have become safer, while some non-competitive seats will now face more of a challenge.  In any case, it seems that concern is reserved for the campaign trail.  On the Hill, controversial issues will be dodged and wins for the opposing party will be avoided at all costs.  Compromises will like be few, if any.

It seems that passing laws, the most well-known power of Congress, is likely off the table for most.  So as a Member of Congress, what can you do this year?

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