More talk in the halls of Congress about military strikes inside Iran…
Meanwhile Iran’s supreme leader has announced there will be “no negotiations on any level” with US officials, in remarks aimed at dousing speculation of a possible summit between Donald Trump and Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the UN general assembly next week.
A respected pollster in California tracks senator Elizabeth Warren as having catapulted ahead of former vice president Joe Biden in the last month. The poll depicts what looks like an almost 20-point swing in the race.
Single polls don’t necessarily indicate the state of the race. Polling averages are better, and even better are polling averages closer to the election – when many more polls have been conducted and when people have less time to change their minds.
That said California primary voters can start voting by mail in February, so that’s only, five?, months away. How many times can a voter change their mind in five months?
RealClearPolitics’ average of polls to this point in California has Biden up a couple points ahead of home-state senator Kamala Harris, and Warren a few points behind Harris.
Republican electoral college advantage could overcome 5-6 point popular vote loss – study
Outside of George W Bush’s reelection, Republicans haven’t won a presidential election the old-fashioned way – by getting the most votes – since 1988. That’s thanks to the electoral college, by which national popular vote totals are extruded through state-shaped nozzles to create tasty democracy cakes.
Democrats argue that when a presidential candidate can lose an election by two points, as Donald Trump did, but still win the election… that’s a problem that needs fixing. But a new study out from economists at the University of Texas at Austin could hold ominous news for Democrats, suggesting that future Republican presidential candidates could win office even after losing the popular vote not by two points or four points but by as much as six points.
In an election the size of 2016, with about 129m people total voting for the two major-party candidates, that could mean a Republican election victory despite a popular vote loss of almost 8m votes.
This is what democracy… looks… like?
The study, by economics professors Michael Geruso and Dean Spears and a research assistant, used computers to model so-called inversions, in which the popular vote winner loses the election.
From the abstract:
We show that rather than being statistical flukes, inversions have been ex ante likely since the 1800s. In elections yielding a popular vote margin within one percentage point (which has happened in one-eighth of Presidential elections), 40% will be inversions in expectation. Inversion probabilities are asymmetric, in various periods favoring Whigs, Democrats, or Republicans. Feasible policy changes—including awarding each state’s Electoral College ballots proportionally between parties rather than awarding all to the state winner—could substantially reduce inversion probabilities, though not in close elections.
The study shows “Republicans will win nearly one in six presidential races where they lose the popular vote by 3 points,” according to Vox, while “at the extremes, the [study] suggests that there is still a small chance of a Republican victory even in elections where Democrats win the popular vote by about six points.”
Read further over at Vox.
Ocasio-Cortez backs insurgent challenger of 8-term Democrat
Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is making her first endorsement of a liberal challenger to an incumbent House Democrat, backing Marie Newman in the primary against eight-term Representative Daniel Lipinski in Illinois, the AP reports:
The New York congresswoman for now is putting her name and small-dollar fundraising ability behind congressional candidates, rather than in the presidential primary.
Lipinski is among the more conservative Democrats in the House and defeated Newman in a primary last cycle.
By backing a primary opponent to a colleague, Ocasio-Cortez is mounting a campaign strategy that resembles her own political rise last year, when she toppled a House Democratic leader in a stunning primary challenge.
Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg is unveiling a community-focused approach to disaster relief in a South Carolina city that was hit hard by Hurricane Florence last year, AP reports:
During a speech Tuesday in Conway, Buttigieg is expected to call for a disaster commission to help coordinate efforts between federal agencies and the communities affected by disasters. He also wants to increase the number of trained disaster workers.
Conway was hit hard by Hurricane Florence, which destroyed more than 1,500 homes, caused $24 billion in damage and led to 53 deaths in the state.
Buttigieg’s campaign says he is the first of the Democratic hopefuls to release a stand-alone disaster relief plan.
Buttigieg is the mayor of South Bend, Indiana. He launched his presidential campaign in April.
Hello and welcome to our live blog politics coverage. The House judiciary committee will interview former Donald Trump aide Corey Lewandowski this afternoon in what the committee is calling the first hearing of an impeachment investigation of the president.
Lewandowski was a central figure in the Trump presidential campaign before his firing in June 2016, after which he remained an adviser to and emissary for Trump.
A White House lawyer has asked Lewandowski to restrict his testimony to matters discussed in special counsel Robert Mueller’s report. That still could, theoretically, make for explosive testimony, since Lewandowski was a key figure in Mueller’s discussion of potential obstruction of justice by Trump, with Trump pressuring Lewandowski to pressure Jeff Sessions, attorney general at the time, to spin the Russia investigation in the public eye and to threaten Sessions with firing if Sessions declined to meet with Lewandowski.
Lewandowski’s testimony is scheduled to begin at 1pm ET. The White House has blocked testimony by two other former Trump aides, Rick Dearborn and Rob Porter, who unlike Lewandowski worked in the White House.
Elsewhere on Capitol Hill today, Greta Thunberg, the Swedish climate crisis activist, will advocate for “transformative climate action” in meetings with lawmakers and speeches. The Guardian’s Oliver Milman and Lauren Gambino will be covering it.
Last night Trump held a rally in New Mexico, a state he lost in 2016, where he implied that one of his supporters was too light-skinned to be Hispanic, the Guardian’s David Smith reports:
The US president said of Steve Cortes, a member of his Hispanic advisory council: “He happens to be Hispanic, but I’ve never quite figured it out, because he looks more like a Wasp than I do.”
Now a somewhat old-fashioned term, Wasp is an abbreviation for White Anglo-Saxon Protestant.
The president went on that there is nobody who “loves his country more or Hispanics more” more than Cortes and, bizarrely, asked him which he prefers.
Trump said: “He says the country. I don’t know. I may have to go for the Hispanics, to be honest with you. We’ve got a lot of Hispanics. We love our Hispanics. Get out and vote.”
Read further here. In other news the supreme leader of Iran has torpedoed talk of a high-level meeting between US and Iranian officials, while the Manhattan district attorney has issued a subpoena for eight years of Donald Trump’s tax returns as part of the office’s investigation of payments made to the pornographic actor Stormy Daniels.
And we’ll catch up with the Democratic presidential field. Thank you for joining us for your politics Tuesday.