In the wake of the partial government shutdown, many establishment Republicans argued that the hardliners in the GOP, backed by the Tea Party, needed to be reigned in. Former Republican Rep. Steve LaTourette of Ohio tells David Greene about his efforts to put millions of dollars toward that goal in the 2014 mid-term elections.
Two of the big winners in Virginia's elections this week were not on the ballot. They actually aren't even Virginians. They are two men who spent more than $2 million each to help elect Democrat Terry McAuliffe as governor.
NPR's Peter Overby reports on the Election Day impact of San Francisco environmentalist Tom Steyer and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 3:34 pm
The Senate has approved the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which gives workplace protections to workers and job applicants who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. The bill would apply to any private employer that has more than 15 employees; it includes an exemption for religious groups.
The measure adding sexual orientation and gender identity to the list of characteristics that cannot be discriminated against in the workplace passed by a vote of 64-32 — a slightly stronger showing than an earlier vote to move forward on the legislation, which passed 61-30.
Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 2:58 pm
Good morning, fellow political junkies.
The assessments of the meaning of the 2013 off-year elections continue, with both parties trying to draw lessons from Election Day's outcomes, with the likely overinterpretation of some of them, though it wasn't always clear which.
Originally published on Thu November 7, 2013 11:13 am
Just a year after he won re-election, President Obama's second term is already feeling long and fairly fruitless.
It could get worse.
It's typical for second-term presidents to enter the doldrums, but in Obama's case the feeling that he can't accomplish very much set in early. The hopes he stated last year that his re-election would "break the fever" of unyielding Republican opposition to everything he proposed turned out to be misguided.
"The president is clearly at his weakest point in his presidency so far," says GOP consultant Whit Ayres.
A year ago, newly re-elected President Obama got promises of cooperation from chastened GOP congressional leaders. Since then, Senate Republicans have delivered on some key issues. Ditto for the GOP-led House, at least initially. Then came the partial government shutdown.
President Obama's poll numbers have hit just about the lowest point of his presidency.
They started sinking after the Obamacare website's miserable debut last month. Now, only around 40 percent of Americans think Obama is doing a good job. More than half disapprove of his performance. (A year ago, the numbers were the opposite.)
It seems obvious to say that a high approval rating helps a president, while a low approval rating hurts him. But here are five reasons Obama's numbers might not be as troublesomeas they sound.
Virginia Tea Party Republican Ken Cuccinelli lost a closer-than-expected contest for governor Tuesday to Democrat Terry McAuliffe, a weak but well-financed and well-connected candidate.
By Wednesday morning, the political world was busy debating the meaning of the outcome in Virginia, where exit polls showed that voters expressed increasing antipathy to the Tea Party, and that it was women — particularly unmarried women — who propelled McAuliffe over the finish line.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is celebrating an impressive reelection victory but he also suffered a defeat. Voters handily approved a measure to raise the state's minimum wage. That's a measure Christie had opposed.
As NPR's Jim Zarroli reports, New Jersey is the fifth state this year to raise the minimum wage.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block in Washington, D.C.
AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:
And I'm Audie Cornish in California this week.
Political junkies are poring over the results of yesterday's governors' races in New Jersey and Virginia. But they may also want to take a look further south at a special congressional primary in Alabama. There, a moderate Republican candidate beat out his Tea Party-supported rival.
Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 1:28 pm
Many of the nation's largest cities are about to get what polls suggest Americans want in Washington: an entirely new group of leaders.
Some of the nation's longest-serving big-city mayors are leaving office, including Michael Bloomberg of New York, who has been in office for a dozen years, and Tom Menino of Boston, who has held his post for 20.
"In my view, we've had some amazing leadership at the local level," says Ralph Becker, the mayor of Salt Lake City. "That makes it a fun time to be in local government, unlike being at the state or certainly the federal level."
Finally today, not to kick a man when he is already down, but can we take a moment to contemplate yesterday's admission by the mayor of a major North American city that he had in fact used crack cocaine? Citizens of Toronto, welcome to my world. As a longtime resident of Washington, D.C., I have had to endure years of jokes about our former mayor, Marion Barry, now a D.C. council member, who was famously induced to light up in a hotel room by a woman with whom he had been, ahem, involved.
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, appearing with his family, waves goodbye to supporters after conceding the Virginia governor's race to Terry McAuliffe. Cuccinelli's stronger-than-expected run became the dominant story on Election Night.
In the end, they pretty much all won. The people who were expected to prevail Tuesday night wound up in the winner's circle. In New Jersey and New York, of course, and in Virginia, too, in the end. The ballot measures also went according to script.
A composite image shows part of the NPR/Center for Responsive Politics reporting team's whiteboard at NPR headquarters that was used to map out how Wellspring connects to other social welfare groups. (Click the enlarge button to see a full-size image.)
Credit John W. Poole / NPR
In this panoramic composite image, NPR's Peter Overby and Viveca Novak of the Center for Responsive Politics stand in front of a whiteboard at NPR headquarters that they used to map out connections between social welfare groups.
As tax-exempt organizations become a vehicle of choice for big political donors, one powerful appeal is the anonymity. Federal laws allow tax-exempt groups — unlike political committees — to withhold their donor lists from disclosure.
Originally published on Wed November 6, 2013 4:21 am
In New Jersey, Republican Chris Christie coasted to re-election as governor on Tuesday. In Virginia, Democrat Terry McAuliffe prevailed in the governor's race, although by a smaller margin than most pre-election polls had indicated. In New York City, voters elected their first democratic mayor in 20 years, choosing Bill de Blasio in a landslide.
The Supreme Court invokes "God" before every public session. Now the justices will weigh whether it is different, as a legal matter, for government meetings to include more explicitly sectarian prayers.
The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday in a case questioning the use of prayer at government meetings. But first, the marshal will ask "God" to "save the United States and this honorable court."
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish in California this week.
MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:
And I'm Melissa Block in Washington where it was another day of tough questions and testimony on Capitol Hill about the Affordable Care Act. Marilyn Tavenner, who has overseen the bumpy rollout of the program, testified before the Senate Health Committee. She said the Healthcare.gov website is getting better every day.
Tuesday's elections are anything but dull. From the Eastern Seaboard to the Pacific Northwest, there's a colorful and compelling roster of political contests. Although there isn't anything close to the drama of an Election Day in a presidential year, many of the races have national implications.