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The Collective
Saturday, November 8, 2024
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the Strib: Most ‘undervotes’ cast in counties won by Obama

An Associated Press analysis of the nearly 25,000-vote difference in Minnesota presidential and U.S. Senate race tallies shows that most ballots lacking a recorded Senate vote were cast in counties won by Democrat Barack Obama.

Ballots that showed a presidential vote but no Senate vote are called the “undervote.” Statewide, more than 18,000 of those ballots came from counties won by Obama with more than half the vote. About 6,100 were in counties won by Republican John McCain with at least 50 percent

Of course, it is not outside the realm of possibility that a lot of voters, especially new ones, decided to just vote for president and quit after that. Regardless, one suspects that uncounted votes will be discovered in these ballots, and the likelihood is that they will favor Franken.

Meanwhile, the fight over what to count has begun, as the Coleman campaign is seeking to stop the counting of 32 absentee ballots: Coleman campaign requests halt of absentee ballot count.

The current margin is 221 votes.

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By Dr. Steven Taylor

Hmm, the Obama stimulus plan?

Via the AP: Fears of a Dem crackdown lead to boom in gun sales

“They’re scared to death of losing their rights,” said David Hancock, manager of Bob Moates, where sales have nearly doubled in the past week and are up 15 percent for the year. On Election Day, salespeople were called in on their day off because of the crowd.


While Wayne LaPierre, executive vice president of the National Rifle Association, attributes some of the sales boom to the tanking economy, he thinks the Democratic sweep is the top reason why guns are suddenly a hot commodity.

“I don’t think he’ll be able to stand up to that anti-Second Amendment wing of the Democratic party that’s just been spoiling for chance to ban America’s guns,” LaPierre said of Obama.

Many people get irrational about their guns, and I am not certain what the origins of the thought processes are. I am unaware of any period in US history wherein the government tried to take guns away from people. Even if I am forgetting some specific incident in the past, there certainly has been no attempt in my lifetime to confiscate firearms. Yes, there have been some restrictions on certain types of guns, and yes there have been some policies put into place to make it a smidge more difficult to acquire a gun. Still, can anyone actually tell me when the right to keep and bear arms has been threatened? Yes, I know that there have been some specific cities with bans (but not confiscations), but the Supreme Court recently overturned those laws. Indeed, based on the ruling in Heller, one could argue that gun ownership rights have never been stronger in the US, as the Court recongized for the first time ever that gun ownership is a constitutionally protected individual right.1

I understand the legitimate desire for someone to wish to have a firearm to protect their home. I understand that many people enjoy hunting and target shooting. What I don’t get are people who think that keeping guns will protect them from the day when the military takes over, since if an M1-Abrams tanks rolls into their driveway because the revolution has finally come, I don’t think that that cache of weapons in the basement will make much difference. Still, people do persist in the fantasy.

Beyond that, I am especially unclear on where the “Obama will take your guns away” meme started. For example, I had a student ask in class if it was true that if Obama was elected that he would take all the guns away. Apparently this had been of some concern in the student’s family and as evidence the student provided two columns from the NRA’s magazine (which, I guess answers my question as to the origins of the meme). Then the other day, after the election, Middle Son asked me the same question, which has apparently been a focus of discussion at the elementary school level around here. And, of course, that’s not the kind of thing that would emerge naturally in such an environment, so clearly their parents had been the concerned parties.

That people have interest in gun policy is fine. However, that they are so confused on the basic functioning of our government is depressing.

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  1. For some background, see Justices Reject D.C. Ban On Handgun Ownership []
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Friday, November 7, 2024
By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the Omaha World-Herald: Obama wins electoral vote in Nebraska

Democrat Barack Obama won the Omaha-based 2nd Congressional District on Friday, scooping up one of the state’s five electoral votes.

In the process, he made history and shone the spotlight on Nebraska’s unusual electoral college system.


Obama’s win will assuredly spark interest in the split electoral system, which only Nebraska and Maine use. All other states are winner-take-all on electoral votes.


Nebraska is the first state in the modern era to have a split electoral decision.

At the end of the day, of course, the one additional electoral vote is inconsequential to the outcome. However, it is cool just to see a little something different occur and it give us professorial types a little trivia to toss into future lectures. It also underscores that there is more than one way for the electoral process to work, which is always good, even if it is only a very small example.

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By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the AP: Palin denounces her critics as cowardly

“I consider it cowardly” that they did not allow their names to be used, she said.

Palin said those allegations aren’t true. She recalled discussing Africa and NAFTA with aides who prepared her for the vice presidential debate with Democrat Joe Biden.

“If there are allegations based on questions or comments that I made in debate prep about NAFTA, and about the continent vs. the country when we talk about Africa there, then those were taken out of context,” she said. “That’s cruel, It’s mean-spirited. It’s immature. It’s unprofessional and those guys are jerks if they came away with it, taking things out of context and then tried to spread something on national news. It’s not fair, and it’s not right.”

I think that’s fair-and indeed, they are hiding beyond a cloak of anonymity, so she has every right to call them out.

Although, so much for taking on the fat cats and the Alaska GOP:

Palin also said she would not call on Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, to resign, although last month, before his re-election bid, she said he should “step aside” and “play a very statesmanlike role in this now.”


Said Palin on Friday: “The Alaska voters have spoken and me not be a dictator, won’t be telling anyone what to do.”

When asked if she would call on him to resign, Palin said: “Not after the will of the people has been made manifest via that vote.”

Well, she can’t actually fire him, so I am not sure how calling on him to resign would be dictatorial. Indeed, I can see no good reason not to call on a convicted felon to resign from the Senate, election victory or no.

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By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the AP: Jobless rate bolts to 14-year high of 6.5 percent

The jobless rate zoomed to 6.5 percent in October from 6.1 percent in September, matching the rate in March 1994.

Unemployment has now surpassed the high seen after the last recession in 2024. The jobless rate peaked at 6.3 percent in June 2024.

October’s decline marked the 10th straight month of payroll reductions, and government revisions showed that job losses in August and September turned out to be much deeper. Employers cut 127,000 positions in August, compared with 73,000 previously reported. A whopping 284,000 jobs were axed in September, compared with the 159,000 jobs first reported.

So far this year, a staggering 1.2 million jobs have disappeared. Over half of the decrease occurred in the past three months alone.

And in other happy economy news, CNN Money reports: Ford posts huge operating loss, more job cuts

That sound you hear may be John McCain’s sighs of relief over losing the election…

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By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the Strib: Franken’s deficit: 236 votes.

Due to the discovery of a reporting error, Franken gained another 100 votes and the margine between the two candidates stands at .011%.

The recount process is as follows:

The recount system is primitive but thorough, requiring officials in each county to gather paper ballots, visually determine each voter’s choice and begin sorting. Observers from both campaigns can challenge ballots, which would then go into a separate pile. In those cases, the state canvassing board, made up of two state Supreme Court justices, two district court judges and the secretary of state, would make the final call.

But even then, candidates can dispute the results of the recount and take the matter to court.

Court? What are the odds? [Pretty good, I'd wager--Ed.]

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Thursday, November 6, 2024
By Dr. Steven Taylor

First, it would appear that Democrats will pick up the Oregon Senate seat.

Second, it is now official: Emanuel will take the Chief of Staff job.

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By Dr. Steven Taylor

Via the Politico: Exclusive: Gibbs will be WH press secretary

Robert Gibbs, a top aide to Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) on his campaign and in his Senate office, will be named the White House press secretary, a top Democratic official said.

While I expect I will know him if I see him, the truth is the name conjures no information in my head.

Alabama readers will, however, find the following of interest:

Gibbs — a 37-year-old native of Auburn, Ala. — became familiar to viewers during the campaign for his sunny steeliness during frequent appearances on morning shows and A-list cable news programs.

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By Dr. Steven Taylor

There are a great number of stories out today about trouble in the McCain-Palin campaign about Palin herself, and I do not have time at the moment to sort through all of it (more sorting later, I suspect). Part of this is typical fallout from a loss, and the commensurate finger-pointing and rear-end-covering that normally ensues. Part of it, however, is a lot of people getting to be honest about Palin now that such honesty cannot hurt McCain’s presidential bid.

Here’s an interesting bit of video from Fox News. According to the report Palin didn’t know that Africa was a continent (she thought it was a country) and that she didn’t know which countries were in NAFTA, amongst other things. The report also confirms what I and others argued from the beginning: the McCain folks did not properly vet Palin.

I do note that Cameron is still trying to push the notion that Obama won because of the financial crisis, although Smith counters that the rise in Obama’s numbers started before the crisis started. Indeed, while one suspects that the race would have been tighter sans the financial crisis, the notion that the was the most decisive factor in the race overlooks the totality of the campaign-going back even before the nominees were known. As George Will noted on This Week this past Sunday regarding the financial crisis hypothesis, McCain-Palin received a bounce after the convention (a very normal outcome, btw) and the thing about bounces is that you go up and then come back down.

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Wednesday, November 5, 2024
By Dr. Steven Taylor

The AL02 seat when to Democrat Bobby Bright. The seat had been held by Republican Terry Everrett since 1992.

Via the AP: Democrats pick up Alabama congressional race

Troy University political scientist Steven Taylor attributed Bright’s strong showing to his conservative message, which he said apparently caused some voters to overlook their Republican leanings. He also attributed the win to Bright’s strong showing in Montgomery county.

“He just ran with an old school blue dog Democrat message,” Taylor said.

Yep, that sounds about right.

Bright bested Jay Love, 50.3% to 49.7%.

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