Will young people vote Libertarian for legal marijuana?

Sure, all sorts of awful things happen in politics, but for me, one of the worst is the fundamental dishonesty of spending money to support a candidate who you actually do not support.  In this case, a Republican SuperPAC is running ads to help the NC Libertarian Senate candidate.  How is that you ask?  They are trying to siphon off pro-Marijuana young voters.  Via the National Journal:

A Republican group connected to the billionaire Koch brothers is making a last-ditch effort to push the GOP Senate candidate in North Carolina across the finish line by urging young voters to get behind the marijuana-supporting libertarian in the race.

The American Future Fund, which is running the online ad campaign, touts third-party contender Sean Haugh as the only one in the Senate contest who supports legalizing marijuana and opposes war…

The move aims to siphon liberal support from Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan, who is locked in one of the country’s tightest Senate races again Republican challenger Thom Tillis. (The ads might also persuade conservatives, many of whom generally wouldn’t support the ads’ message, to stop supporting Haugh.)

It appears to have been launched in secret. The group’s website and Twitter feed, which contain news releases about other ad campaigns, does not mention the efforts to help Haugh.

 A spokesman for the group says the digital buy is for $225,000, and the group could increase the buy later. The ad appeared to one reporter while watching Hulu, and the group has built a makeshift website that includes several different online spots.

The content of the ads is likely to get as much attention as the campaign itself: In one, a young woman says Hagan “doesn’t share our values” because she supports war and opposes legalizing marijuana.

“Vote Sean Haugh,” she says. “He supports our progressive values. Pro-legalization, pro-environment. More weed, less war.”…

Haugh, who still works as a pizza deliveryman while running for the Senate seat, has received a lot of coverage for drawing an unusually large amount of support for an underfunded candidacy. Interestingly though, his presence is seen as a bigger problem for the Republican Tillis, who has trailed in most public surveys of the race.

AFF appears to be trying to make Haugh a dilemma for Hagan as well, although it’s unclear how effective a digital ad campaign will be in a race that has already featured more than $100 million in TV ad buys alone.

And here’s the ad:

It’s highly unlikely this ad will persuade a meaningful number of younger voters, but I so hate this type of fundamental dishonesty in a political campaign.

Chart of the day

Thought this was a pretty cool look from 538 on the decline of home field advantage in the Premier League:

roeder-datalab-homefield-1

What’s responsible for this dramatic shift? Most immediately, it’s the result of a decrease in home-team scoring. Here are the average home and away goals per game, by year:

Although scoring for either side has fluctuated, visitor goals have remained relatively constant, floating mostly between 1.00 and 1.3 per game. Home goals have fallen to roughly 1.5 per game from more than 2.5. The average difference (home goals minus away goals) has fallen to about 0.3 goals last year from about 1.1 goals at the league’s founding.

As for why home goals are down, there’s a myriad of explanations, none definitive.  The best explanation, though, seems to be a decline referee bias.  Fortunately, the Blasters do not run into this problem (there are no real home fields in Rec soccer), but I actually had an official a couple of weeks ago who clearly did not understand the offside call.  It’s where the receiving player is when the ball is kicked, not where he is when he receives it.  The guy blew this call twice in 5 minutes (it’s okay, we won 6-0 anyway).

Photo of the day

From a Wired gallery of best Biology photos of the year:

A Shelter Designed by Nature, by Robert Cabagnot
Shortlisted, Photographer of the Year

COURTESY OF THE SOCIETY OF BIOLOGY

Race, age, and turnout

I love, love, love this piece by Ron Brownstein.  It hits almost every major point I’ve been making about demographics and elections for the past 4-6 years.  (Of course, I’ll admit to being heavily influenced by Brownsteins’ great analyses over this period).  I especially like how he emphasizes that the changing demographic nature of midterm versus presidential electorate is not new, but how the bases of the party’s align with that is new– that’s the key.

I’m going to heavily excerpt, but that said, if you are a regular reader of this blog, do me a favor and read the whole thing (then again, as a regular reader you may already totally get this).  So, at least consider sharing this piece with the politically-inclined among those you know as I really think it explains the dynamics of modern politics in a short piece better than about anything I’ve read.  Here goes:

The safest prediction one can make about this year’s congressional elections is that the voters who decide them will look very different from the ones who settled the 2012 presidential contest. The share of minorities and, especially, young people in the electorate will almost certainly decline; the proportion of whites and, especially, seniors will increase.

This shift isn’t new. Midterm elections have long attracted fewer voters than elections in presidential years have, with minorities and young people among the groups most likely to stay home…

But while the voting falloff between presidential-year and midterm elections has remained constant, its impact has been vastly magnified by a racial and generational realignment that has remade each party’s base of support since the 1980s. In presidential and congressional races alike, Democrats today fare best among minorities, Millennials, and white voters (especially women) who are single or college-educated. Even in a country rapidly growing more diverse, Republicans still rely almost entirely on whites, running best among those who are older, blue-collar, married, rural, and male. In other words, Democrats have become increasingly reliant on precisely the groups most likely to sit out midterms, while Republicans score best among those most likely to show up.

That’s modern American politics in a nutshell.  Brownstein adds plenty of data to flesh out the argument and also looks to the future:

But the best news for the Democrats is that, whatever happens this year, eventually demographic change will overwhelm the turnout gap. While Millennials and minorities still participate at lower rates in midterms than in presidential elections, their presence is inexorably growing on both fronts: the minority share of the vote in off-year elections jumped from 14 percent in 1994 to 23 percent in 2010, and this year will likely come in somewhere between that figure and the 28 percent from 2012. If Republicans can’t attract more votes from the growing numbers of minorities, Millennials, and white-collar white women who have powered the Democrats’ success in recent presidential elections, demographics will ultimately threaten the GOP’s hold on the House, too…

That’s an encouraging long-term prospect for Democrats—but it may be cold comfort if lagging turnout among their best voters contributes to another brutal midterm this year.

Personally, I’m taking warm comfort in it :-).

The Republican Party and the X Files

The commonality?  Trust no one.

Okay, it’s not quite that bad, but there’s a terrific new study from Pew on political polarization and trust in the media.  Here is the summary of news sources trusted by a majority of people for each ideology:

Interactive: Audience Profiles & Media Habits

Got that?  Even if you want to consider Fox an acceptable news source, and heck, even Hannity is not full-blown insane we can see that conservatives trust two certifiable lunatics more than they do the major news networks.  Ugh!!  And here’s a fuller chart:

Trust Levels of News Sources by Ideological Group

And if you were wondering about the power of Fox News, check this out:

Striking Differences Between Liberals and Conservatives, But They Also Share Common Ground

Lots more great stuff in here– definitely take a look.  And, as for any hope of reasonable political compromise that’s truly hard to imagine when one side actually considers Glenn Beck more trustworthy than NPR.  That’s beyond delusional.

Video of the day

Bizarrely captivating.  Via Kottke.

North Carolina students– not smart enough for Common Core?

Yes, according to some.  I don’t doubt that some Common Core standards might be a little too optimistic, especially in lower grades, but I really am concerned by the sound of these complaints (via WUNC):

A state commission in charge of reworking the Common Core academic standards has begun reviewing them…

The 11 members were politically appointed to review and possibly make changes to the academic standards after lawmakers heard complaints from parents and teachers that they do not progress in a natural or developmentally appropriate way.

“Our kids are not common,” said Jeannie Metcalf, co-chair of the commission and long-time Forsyth County school board member. “They are different and they may not be able to achieve some of these higher level expectations.”

Wtf?  That sure sounds a hell of a lot like our kids are just not smart enough.  Wow, is that really the direction we want to go with state-wide standards.  Will you be shocked to learn that Metcalf is from the Tea Party brigade.  Oh, and how is this for classic Orwellian doublespeak:

Metcalf and others explained that some of the standards may need to be rearranged without lowering the bar for students.

“I don’t think any of us want to lower the bar,” said Jeffrey Isenhour, a principal from Catawba County. “There needs to be some alignment, things have to make sense in terms of how students learn.”

Ummm, right.  Standards need to be “aligned” but not “lowered.”  Yeah, and ignorance is strength.  Again, in all fairness some of the standards may need adjusting, but I really don’t trust the people who think the solution is to entirely ditch the higher, better, standards of the Common Core because North Carolina is somehow “unique” or “different.”  At this rate we will be, though– uniquely behind in public education (of course, not really uniquely, we’ll always have Alabama and Mississippi to make us feel good).

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