Corzine loses. Owens wins?

So it would appear.   Virginia was a wipeout, as expected.

On behalf of the President, I’d like to thank Sarah Palin for ruining what could otherwise have been a very good night for the GOP.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

11 thoughts on “Corzine loses. Owens wins?”

  1. You can thank the GOP for the failure. Why in the hell did they pick Scozzofava? Obviously, if they would have picked Hoffman to begin with and stuck with him, he would have won.

  2. "what could otherwise have been a very good night for the GOP"??? Let's not sugarcoat things here, the White House does enough of that already – this WAS a very good night for the GOP, the Owens election notwithstanding.

  3. One of the striking things is how deeply unpopular gay marriage is. You'll notice that none of the major GOP contenders invests much in anti-gay proposals, as I suppose they figure that once gay marriage or repeal of dadt is brought in by the courts or whatever, gay issues will disappear from the agenda. Even after enacted by the legislature, it was repealed in Maine 52-48 in an electorate that approved liberalizing medical marijuana 58-42. I didn't see anyone predicting that result.

  4. Owens won comfortably, but w/o a majority. I suspect either Scozzafava or Hoffman could have won if the other hadn't complicated things. While it'd be wrong to say Hoffman is deeply unpopular – he won 45% -, Scozzafava may be closer to the median voter; this might explain why the party picked her.

    To the extent outside conservatives intervened pour encourager les autres, it won't much matter to them that Hoffman didn't win. It was only necessary that Scozzafava should lose. Other Republican candidates who might have been tempted to drift toward the center still have been reminded that if they do, they'll be punished for it in their primaries, which is where, in middling districts, the party right has always exercised its power – "like a pest in the street full of men."

  5. Hoffman had to run as a third party candidate, with the GOP financing the spoiler, and the GOP only switched it's support in the last day or two. To have come this close to winning anyway is quite an accomplishment. I think Horseball has that much right: The race demonstrates that the GOP establishment's justification for anointing Scozzafava was a steaming heap: A conservative candidate, closer to the median Republican, most certainly COULD have won that district. The GOP didn't have to pick somebody much more liberal than the prior Republican holder of the seat to win.

    Unfortunately, the fairly close loss, while it rationally establishes that, leaves enough weasel room that the GOP establishment will deny this, and will go on doing what they can to foist candidates like Scozzafafa on the base: Not the candidates it's necessary to run, but the sort of candidates that establishment likes.

  6. I think you've got it, Brett. The problem is the wiggle room it gives to GOP regulars who are uncomfortable with more ideological conservatives.

    Of some importance in the New York results are GOP inroads in Westchester and Nassau Counties. My prediction is that the GOP will be revived by the more affluent suburbanites returning to the GOP fold after a few cycles in the Democratic fold mainly due to redistributionist Democratic policies. After 2008, every right-wing pundit trotted out his Rx for the GOP which turned out to be that the GOP must embrace the pundit's pet initiatives. We can only wait and see what portions of the electorate are willing to play the field. Here, the Democratic interest groups that were muzzled during the Clinton years immediately pulled out their laundry lists, which involve serious redistribution.

    As to the social issues, I do not believe it is necessary for the GOP to abandon its stance as the party of social conservatism in order to win among these more affluent voters. Charges of extremism do not result from policy stances, but from social identity. Instead of dropping their stances on the issues, what is necessary is to recruit candidates who aren't social outsiders. Especially in congressional and local and state races, people vote their (overlapping and possibly contradictory) identities in a manner that is not easily explained by policy stances. My old district used to be represented by Jack Quinn, who was often described as a "moderate" Republican even though he had a precisely 0% NARAL score. http://www.ontheissues.org/NY/Jack_Quinn_Abortion… He won because he won lots of votes among South Buffalo Irish Democrats.

  7. One of the striking things is how deeply unpopular gay marriage is. You’ll notice that none of the major GOP contenders invests much in anti-gay proposals, as I suppose they figure that once gay marriage or repeal of dadt is brought in by the courts or whatever, gay issues will disappear from the agenda.

    The "marijuana" issue is a bit weird, but I wouldn't over-state the above. This happened in an off-year, meaning that the people who were likely to show up to vote tend to be either people with a serious ideological stake in this (religious and pro-gay rights voters), or older people (who tend to be much less likely to support gay marriage).

    The main problem is that there's a major generational gap on the issue. Younger people are much more likely to support gay marriage than older folks, but unfortunately older folks tend to vote in greater proportion to their number.

  8. Until New Jersey comes up with a realistic way to address the fact that it has "too much" government it will have "too high" taxes. New Jersey has more governmental units than California. Think about that. This is really an issue in a lot of places in the Northeast, but it seems to be especially acute in New Jersey bedroom communities that all have primo school districts and other services. The fact that NJ has so many little fiefdoms is also one reason why it has so much public corruption. No governor, R or D, is going to succeed until consensus evolves on this issue. I don't live in NJ, but my best friend from college does, and I just about fainted when she explained how much she paid in property taxes and how small her district actually is.

    As to affluent suburban voters. First, most suburban voters are not really affluent — not affluent enough to afford private schools, and I suspect, at least in Virginia, that the governor is going to run into a buzzsaw as he tries to address budget issues by, essentially, cutting public school funding. I am still amazed that Creigh Deeds failed to smoke McDonnell out on this. If you read closely, McDonnell basically plans to spend the same pot of money twice — somehow, funding transportation with funds heretofore earmarked for education, but without cutting education. Suburban voters may not use Medicaid, they may not care about public transportation(though don't bet on that in suburban Northern Virginia), but they sure as hell want good schools. And unlike NJ, Virginia really doesn't have "too many" governmental units. It's already pretty streamlined.

    This is a story that is never finally over. I guess we'll see.

  9. Nearly overlooked by the national media were two results from Washington and Maine on TABOR-like amendments, which would have made tax increases next to impossible at the state level. In Colorado, the voters essentially repealed our TABOR amendment a few years ago after it became too much of a constraint on state budgeting. If anti-tax sentiment is to be the basis of the 2010 GOP election strategy, these results suggest that this may be similar to nominating 435 Hoffmans for the House. Final results for both states are at:

    http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/politics/20

    http://centralmaine.mainetoday.com/election_resul

    Any thoughts, RBC?

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