Julia Azari/Mischiefs of Faction:
How years of mandate-claiming paved the way for the crisis of democracy
In my research, I document an increased emphasis on rhetoric about fulfilling campaign promises, “doing what I was elected to do,” and“the reason I was elected,” from presidents and their surrogates. News media also increasingly sought and advanced these mandate narratives. Why did this turn toward mandate politics happen? I connected the shift to the declining institutional legitimacy for the presidency after Vietnam and Watergate – greater reliance on election rhetoric came as a way to justify a powerful office of which the public was suddenly more suspicious. I also linked the rise of mandate rhetoric to the rise of polarization and clearer ideological sorting between the parties – it’s easier to credibly claim that the election was a referendum on a particular set of ideas when the parties are distinct. These two factors have only become more relevant to presidential politics, and as the book went to press I predicted that mandate narratives would also become more common frames for increasingly nationalized Congressional, state, and local elections.
Dave A Hopkins/Honest Graft:
How Should We Judge the Harris Vice Presidency?
So any substantive responsibility that Harris takes on will inevitably be viewed by other political elites in terms of its strategic implications for her presumed future presidential candidacy, rather than as a reflection of sincere dedication, interest, or expertise.
We’re already seeing this happen with Harris’s role as the Biden administration’s point person on Latin American migration, the subject of her first trip abroad earlier this month. Conventional wisdom in Washington agrees that the situation at the southern border is indeed a serious national problem that deserves urgent attention from the top levels of the executive branch. Conventional wisdom in Washington also seems equally certain that Harris is making a big mistake by getting anywhere near it. I recently spoke with one national reporter who suggested to me that, because of its potentially risky politics, the migration issue must have been been assigned to Harris involuntarily. That doesn’t seem to me like an act that would be in character for Joe Biden, and at least one media report suggests that Biden and Harris thought taking the lead on addressing the regional conditions causing migration would be an opportunity for her to shoulder an important responsibility and gain international experience. But some of Harris’s own sympathizers are openly worried that she is being “set up to fail” by the president, walking into a political “trap” consisting of “the most difficult policy challenges in 21st-century America.”
This prevailing sentiment may be right about the strategic calculations here. And it may also be right about Harris’s political acumen, which seems to be suffering a declining reputation after her initially positive reception in Washington as a charismatic rising star in the Obama mold. (Note how many people think that someone who was just elected to national office could really use some good career advice.)
But Harris’s dilemma is not simply a product of her supposed naivete about her own political interests or Biden’s supposed insensitivity to them. Rather, it is a natural consequence of her new position—where holding the status of potential president-in-waiting is often seen as more important than whatever the occupant might be expected to accomplish while waiting to be president. If it were otherwise, perhaps a vice president who tackled a difficult national issue would be praised, not second-guessed, for addressing the governing challenges of today rather than merely protecting her personal ambitions for tomorrow.
Eric Adams’s Lead in Mayor’s Race Shrinks After First Ranked-Choice Tally
After voters’ ranked choices were tabulated, Mr. Adams led Kathryn Garcia by less than two percentage points in preliminary results, with nearly 125,000 absentee ballots still to be counted.
The New York City mayor’s race plunged into chaos on Tuesday night after the city Board of Elections released a new tally of votes in the Democratic mayoral primary, and then, several hours later, removed the tabulations from its website while citing a “discrepancy.”
The results released earlier in the day had suggested that the race between Eric Adams and his two closest rivals had tightened significantly.
But just a few hours after releasing the results, the elections board issued a mysterious tweet revealing a “discrepancy” in the report, saying that it was working with its “technical staff to identify where the discrepancy occurred.”
The discrepancy was related to the “difference in votes cast” between what was disclosed on primary night and the results released on Tuesday, according to a Board of Elections official.
What comes next in the New York City mayor’s race?
A weird race gets weirder
The magic of ranked-choice voting is this: Last week, after the initial results of the New York City Democratic mayoral primary came in, we noted that, in other jurisdictions, the race would have been headed to a runoff between the top two vote-getters: Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and activist lawyer Maya Wiley.
But under New York’s ranked-choice system, the winner may be someone else entirely: former city sanitation commissioner Kathryn Garcia.
That was always a possibility, of course, but the city’s first pass at sorting through the cast ballots makes clear just how real that possibility is.
Arizona ballot audit shows signs of backfiring on GOP
Independent voters oppose the controversial recounting of ballots by a wide margin.
When Arizona Republicans first pushed for a partisan audit of the 2020 presidential ballots cast in the Phoenix metropolitan area, they argued that they needed to know if any irregularities or fraud caused President Trump to lose this rapidly evolving swing state.
But the audit itself could be damaging Republican prospects, according to a new Bendixen & Amandi International poll, which shows roughly half of Arizona voters oppose the recount effort. In addition, a narrow majority favors President Biden in a 2024 rematch against Trump.
“As bloody red meat for the MAGA Republican base, the audit is manna from heaven, but the problem is that Arizona is not a red state any more. It’s a swing state,” said Fernand Amandi, who conducted the survey. “The audit may be serving two interests: firing up the MAGA base but giving Democrats the opportunity to make the case to Arizona voters to stick with them.”
If a candidate supports the audit, the poll shows, Arizona voters would be less likely to support that politician by a margin of 9 percentage points.
Jill Lawrence/USA Today:
Not a joke or a bore: After Florida condo collapse, can we take infrastructure seriously?
Pass the bipartisan deal and climate investments that could help coastal communities like Surfside. Third World events shouldn’t happen in America.
It is not clear what caused the catastrophic failure, but building experts are weighing climate change impact as a possible factor – including rising tides, flooding, corrosion, cracked concrete, a sinking building, 40-year-old building standards inadequate to current challenges, and a 2018 report that found problems but did not spark the proper urgency. Repairs were finally about to begin, nearly three years later.