Third Party Candidates Widening Trump’s Lead Over Biden

“Though the majority of general-election presidential polls at this stage of campaign 2024 feature only President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump, a growing number are beginning to reflect what most voters’ ballots are going to actually look like: pretty crowded.
So what happens when other names are added to the two least popular presidents in the modern polling era? Led by former Democrat and current independent Robert F. Kennedy Jr., they combine to attract support in the low double digits, usually. But what really has Democratic operatives in a funk is how the introduction of competition affects the spread between the Big Two. Long story short, it widens Trump’s lead. At least as of now.”

Record Low Turnout in Iran as Voters Lose Faith in Elections

“Iranians went to the polls…—or didn’t—for the first time since a women-led uprising against religious rule rocked the nation. Authorities reported a record-low turnout of 27 percent, even after they extended voting for an additional two hours, amidst widespread disillusionment and calls for an election boycott.
The country had suffered months of unrest following the death of Mahsa Amini, who was arrested for not complying with the country’s mandatory hijab rule in September 2022. Although the streets have calmed down, it was the most significant challenge to the Islamic Republic yet.”

“Since the 1979 revolution, Iran has had a mix of democratic and theocratic institutions. Election turnout has rarely fallen below 50 percent and has sometimes reached as high as 70 percent. Iranian “leaders crave constantly high turnout as evidence of the people’s love of the revolution, but…loathe the results that high turnout always brings,” in the words of political scientist Shervin Malekzadeh.

Over the past few years, the government has dropped the pretense of caring. During protests in November 2019, authorities launched a crackdown that killed hundreds of people, then banned thousands of candidates from the February 2020 parliamentary election. A record low 42 percent of voters turned out that year, a result that the Iranian government blamed on coronavirus and “negative propaganda.”

Even Hassan Rouhani, who was President of Iran during the November 2019 crackdown, has been banned from running for office. He joins a long list of elected Iranian leaders who have outlived their usefulness to the system, including former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who was in office during the 2009 protest wave and crackdown.

Ahmadinejad and Rouhani have both refashioned themselves as dissidents.”

Why Trump is a Threat to Democracy

Dismissal of James Comey Wikipedia. The Comey firing, as retold by the Mueller report Eric Tucker. 2019 4 23. AP News. Giuliani: Trump fired Comey because former FBI director wouldn’t say he wasn’t a target in investigation Politico Staff. 2018

‘Somewhat terrified’: A key Biden official gets candid on Trump’s agenda

“Donald Trump’s return to the White House could be “catastrophic” for clean energy, particularly the still struggling offshore wind industry, a top Biden administration official says.
Eric Beightel, who is in charge of coordinating infrastructure approvals across federal agencies, told the POLITICO Energy podcast he is “somewhat terrified” that a second Trump presidency would be “catastrophic to our hopes and dreams of our clean energy transition.”

“What we saw during the last Trump administration is that offshore wind essentially stood still,” Beightel said during an interview for the podcast posted Thursday. “And what we’ve had to do since coming in was to pick that up.

“If we had to do that again, coupled with the previous supply chain issues that we’ve already had to reconcile, that could be a death knell to this nascent industry,” said Beightel, executive director of the Federal Permitting Improvement Steering Council.”

“Trump’s administration took action in line with the ex-president’s views: In 2019, it delayed the Vineyard Wind project — a 62-turbine facility planned for the waters off Martha’s Vineyard — by ordering more environmental reviews that critics said were intended to block its construction. (That project eventually passed muster with Biden’s regulators and recently started sending power to the electric grid.)

The prospect of a second Trump administration is emerging at a time when wind projects are caught in the middle of a struggle between Democrats and Republicans over how to rewrite federal permitting rules for energy infrastructure. Both parties agree on the need to approve energy projects more quickly — but the parties’ priorities remain far apart, as Republicans focus on smoothing the path for pipelines and natural gas export terminals while most Democrats emphasize electricity transmission projects to carry wind, solar and other renewable power.”

Docs reveal new details of Trump lawyer’s fringe push to overturn 2020 election

“A trove of documents released this week reveal extraordinary new details about the role of Kenneth Chesebro — a once-obscure conservative attorney — in driving the strategy to keep Donald Trump in power despite his defeat in the 2020 election.
Communications between Chesebro and a top Trump campaign lawyer in Wisconsin, Jim Troupis, show that Chesebro argued just days after the Nov. 3, 2020 election that creating a “cloud of confusion” by submitting dueling slates of electors would be enough to keep Joe Biden from becoming president.”

What we’re getting wrong about 2024’s “moderate” voters

“A final chunk of Americans are a rare breed in America’s political parties. They don’t fit neatly on the ideological spectrum; on the partisan spectrum, they tend to lie outside the political parties. Some academics, like Fowler and his team, call them “idiosyncratic” moderates, but I think “weird” is simpler since it describes just how difficult they are to read.
Unlike disengaged moderates, weird moderates are engaged — aware of political news, policies, and debates — but like disengaged moderates, they hold a mix of opinions. They aren’t really drawing those positions from the ideological extremes, so they tend toward moderation on a variety of issues. Because of the weird mix of ideas they have, they might not feel represented by either party or by a specific conservative or liberal ideology. They also include your classic “socially liberal but fiscally conservative” types who might have been more predominant in the Democratic and Republican parties of less polarized times. They’re not consistently liberal or conservative on all topics and therefore are open to persuasion. They hold the opinions they do have strongly, unlike the true moderate, but feel overlapping pressures when making a decision in the voting booth.”

“The imperative to persuade true and weird moderates runs counter to the trend of America’s political parties, which have been moving further to the political left and right while also becoming more ideologically consistent internally — pushing out moderates of all kinds. Party leaders have been leading this push, but the rank and file has followed suit in the last two decades, as rates of self-identified moderates have been on the decline in both parties.”

Haley and DeSantis Pander to Iowans by Praising Ethanol Mandate

“In practice, though, ethanol is actually worse for the environment than traditional gasoline. And while ethanol is cheaper than gasoline, it also contains less energy by volume. Depending on the age of your vehicle, it can also be bad for your engine.

One thing ethanol is good for, though, is corn farmers. A 2021 report by Taxpayers for Common Sense called the Renewable Fuel Standard “the largest current subsidy for corn ethanol.” A 2022 study found, as Reuters put it, that “as a result of the mandate, corn cultivation grew 8.7% and expanded into 6.9 million additional acres of land between 2008 and 2016.”

It therefore makes perfect sense for two candidates desperate for votes in Iowa—the state that produces more corn than any other—to pledge fealty to a federal mandate that requires more people to buy corn-based ethanol. But just because something makes political sense doesn’t make it good policy.”

Does Ranked Choice Voting Disenfranchise Minorities?

“McCarty concluded that minority voters exhaust their ballots at higher rates when there is not a candidate of their same ethnic group. But ballot exhaustion does not necessarily mean a voter didn’t vote their conscience. “We simply cannot assume that not using every RCV choice amounts somehow to being deprived of influence,” says Walter Olson, senior fellow at the Cato Institute’s Robert A. Levy Center for Constitutional Studies. He characterizes the choice not to rank all candidates as “the functional equivalent of not choosing to vote in a runoff when no candidate you found acceptable made it to the final round.”
Will Mantell, FairVote’s communications director, agrees: “RCV actually makes more ballots count compared to single-choice elections or runoffs. It’s really hard to say that RCV doesn’t make more votes count in New York City, for example, when the last citywide primary runoff in 2013 had a 62 percent turnout dropoff from the primary to the runoff.””