“Progressives — and other members of Thailand’s pro-democracy opposition parties — scored a stunning victory in the country’s elections.., dealing a major blow to military-backed incumbents. Their overwhelming success, which came as a shock to political observers of the region, indicated that Thai voters are interested in a change from the current military-led regime and sent a significant message in favor of a more representative government.
The progressive Move Forward Party, led by Pita Limjaroenrat, is projected to win 151 seats in the House — the highest of any group — while the populist opposition party Pheu Thai, aligned with former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, will likely win 141 seats. Collectively, the two parties will now hold at least 292 of 500 seats in the House.”
“The military has long had a hold on Thai politics, a grip only strengthened by military coups in 2006 and 2014. That latter coup was led by current Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha, who ushered in a new constitution that gave the military unprecedented power over government. One of those post-coup reforms threatens Move Forward’s coalition: 376 members of parliament are needed to elect a new prime minister, and the 250-person Senate was appointed by the military.
Move Forward said Monday that several parties have agreed to join its governing coalition, giving it control of 309 of parliament’s 500 seats. That leaves Pita Limjaroenrat 67 votes short of the majority needed to become prime minister. It’s unclear whether the Senate will work to cobble together a military-aligned minority government, or split its support between the two factions.”
“Utah is one of at least 14 states that have passed new laws this year aimed at placing restrictions on transgender individuals — typically trans kids, specifically — as well as their parents and health care providers, including sports bans, bans against gender-affirming care and laws requiring students to use the bathroom that corresponds to the gender they were assigned at birth.”
“it’s not just Utah: Residents in other states that have passed laws restricting transgender kids’ access to health care, sports and other resources also seem to largely support the legislation.”
“Historically, endorsements have proven pretty predictive of who wins presidential nominating contests. Since the modern primary era began in 1972, there have been 17 Democratic or Republican primary fights that did not feature an incumbent president. The candidate with the most endorsement points3 on the day before the Iowa caucuses won 11. That’s a better track record than polls have at the same point in the election: Since 1972, the leader in national polls4 on the day before Iowa has won the nomination just 10 out of 17 times.
Twelve of those 17 times, the same candidate led in both endorsements and polls. And of those 12, nine times the candidate won. But the five times that the endorsements and polls disagreed, the endorsement leader won twice, and the polling leader won only once. The other two times, a third candidate won.
It’s a small sample size, but endorsements have an even stronger track record when you filter out the years when the endorsement leader didn’t have all that many endorsements. For example, when the endorsement leader has earned at least 15 percent of the total estimated available endorsement points by the day before the Iowa caucuses,5 that candidate has won their party’s nomination nine out of 10 times. Then-Sen. Hillary Clinton in 2008 is the only exception.”
“A bipartisan behind-the-scenes organization that helps states maintain their voter rolls is facing an uncertain future, after several Republican-led states left the group.
The board of the Electronic Registration Information Center — or ERIC — met on Friday, as the remaining members of the organization try to chart the organization’s path following the high-profile departures of Florida, West Virginia and Missouri earlier this month. Some officials fear more states are eyeing the door.
The division roiling ERIC is just the latest example of a previously apolitical organization involved in fostering cooperation on the mechanics of running elections, finding life a lot more dramatic in the post-Trump world. At risk: the upending of the backbone of the nation’s electoral system.”
““States claim they want to combat illegal voting and clean voter rolls — but then leave the best and only group capable of detecting double voting across state lines,””
“Colorado set a new precedent for drug policy reform in November, when its voters approved a ballot initiative that decriminalizes a wide range of conduct related to consuming five natural psychedelics.
Proposition 122 also authorizes state-licensed “healing centers” where adults 21 or older can obtain and use psychedelics. It represents the broadest loosening of legal restrictions on psychedelics the United States has ever seen.”
“Inflation, abortion, the economy, and crime were the top issues for voters overall, the poll notes. Voters who saw inflation as the sole election issue broke for Republicans. Voters who also cared about abortion and jobs as top issues (but still cared about inflation) broke for Democrats.
The big lesson for Republican candidates comes further down the results when they asked people who voted Republican what their reasons were behind the vote. The very top reason people voted for Republicans was to “reduce government spending and get inflation under control.” Forty-nine percent of the people who voted Republican in the survey tagged this as their reason. It was followed by crime fears, immigration fears tied to the flow of drugs (even though it’s almost never immigrants who are responsible for drug trafficking at the border), and bolstering domestic energy production and getting gas prices down.
All the way at the bottom of the list was culture war agitation. Only 21 percent said they voted for Republicans to “combat cancel culture and protect freedom of speech.” Only 20 percent said they voted for Republicans to “keep transgender athletes out of girls’ sports teams and stop the promotion of transgender surgeries on our children.” Parents’ rights and getting “political agendas” out of classrooms fared a little better but still drove less than a third of Republican votes.”
“Five states had abortion-related measures on their 2022 midterm ballots, and voters in all of these states seem to have sided with reproductive freedom.
In three states—California, Michigan, and Vermont—voters endorsed constitutional amendments protecting the right to an abortion, while Kentuckians voted against an amendment stating that there is no such right.”
“Voters on Tuesday approved the legalization of recreational marijuana in Maryland and Missouri while rejecting similar measures in Arkansas, North Dakota, and South Dakota. Meanwhile, voters in five Texas cities passed ballot measures that bar local police from issuing citations or making arrests for low-level marijuana possession. But the most striking election result for drug policy reformers looking beyond the ongoing collapse of marijuana prohibition happened in Colorado, where a broad psychedelic decriminalization measure is winning by two points with 80 percent of votes counted.
Prior to yesterday’s elections, 37 states had approved marijuana for medical purposes, and 19 of them also had legalized recreational use. The Maryland and Missouri results raise the latter number to 21.”