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Lily Ledbetter Rally for Family Leave, Paid Sick Days

Last Thursday, Sen. Clinton, Speaker Pelosi and Lily Ledbetter herself rallied in our nation’s capitol for pay equity, federal family leave and more.

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Voting Irregularities

Well, it appears that we have more to worry about than just what was shown on Machinist's table of the states with the highest chance of having votes lost, miscounted, or not even tallied at all.

At one California polling site, the electoral inspector had to send voters to other polling stations because neither the machines nor the ink that goes into them had arrived in time for today's Super Tuesday festivities. They ended up accepting hand-marked ballots, but that slowed down the voting process, and on a workday, people want to get in, vote, and get out.

We all knew this day was coming. So, what, they just forgot to send the polling equipment in? The article didn't say, but I think it would be interesting to find out what neighborhood this happened in–was it a neighborhood composed primarily of people of color? Was it a neighborhood in a lower socioeconomic bracket? Or was it just some random neighborhood, in which case my little conspiracy spidey-sense will shut up.

That's not the end of the story, though. In Virginia, hundreds upon hundreds of people showed up at polling centers today, only to find them closed. Their primaries aren't until next Tuesday. Who knows how many people were turned away today, and out of sheer frustration, won't show up again next week?

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The Latino Gap?

In California, where she received 52% of the popular vote, Senator Hillary Clinton won big not only with women but also with the state’s Latino voters.

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Identity Politics Plague Democratic Party

More and more returns are coming in, and it seems like the race is still pretty much anyone's to win.

And I still don't know who I'd rather have take the nomination. I'm registered to vote in Michigan, where the choices in the Dem primary were between Clinton and anyone else, due to candidates dropping out of the race since we had no delegates (Thanks for moving the primary up against the wishes of the DNC, Michigan. Thanks.)

And so here is my problem. All these weeks of playing up identity politics, calling out feminists for not wanting to vote for Clinton, suggesting that blacks had a duty to vote for Obama, and…and… and… has lessened my faith in the results of this primary.

If Clinton gets the nomination, did she do so because she is truly the best on the issues, and the voters have faith that she can move the country in a positive direction? Or is it because racism played that tangible a part in the voters' choices? Is it because women felt required to do so, lest they be "bad" feminists or women? Or is it because people will take Hillary just to get Bill?

If Obama wins, similar questions come into play. Was sexism the reason Clinton didn't get the nomination, or is it because Obama has the best plans for the country? Is it because the voters don't want to see the same two families dominating American politics for over 20 years?

I'm a firm believer in voting on the issues, and it saddens me to know that no matter what way tonight turns out, I'll worry that identity politics shaped the outcome of the Democratic primaries.

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E-C-O-N-O-M-Y Spells Relief

I don’t know about you but I’m relieved to be watching election results where the top issues aren’t abortion, gay rights and gun control. Don’t get me wrong. I’m a strong supporter of all of them. But it’s a relief to not hear these as talking points tonight.

I have no illusions that as we head into the general election that this might change. Immigration, many would argue, is the new “What’s the Matter with Kansas” issue and much of the debate is as hateful as any issue can be.
Tonight the voters are most interested in the war in Iraq and the economy. There’s a real advantage to having the economy as the top issue to voters of both parties.

You can’t talk about the economy without talking about inequalities. You can’t talk about how to get out of a recession with talking about fair tax policy.

You can’t talk about putting America on stronger economic footing without talking about improving our schools, making health care higher quality and more affordable.

You can’t talk about strengthening the economy without supporting working families with paid family leave, providing quality child care and having safe neighborhoods for our kids to come home to.

While a slumping economy is very bad in short-term for America, in the long tern perhaps is the only thing that can help get us back on course. The next President has a great duty to lead us. And let’s hope that we can keep the discussion on issues that bring us together and not wedge us a part.

Now wouldn’t that be a relief.

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Obama Loves You Back

“We don’t have to be divided by race or gender…Our time has come.”

Barack Obama is giving a speech at his headquarters in Chicago and in true Obama style is inspiring his supporters as much at 11pm on the close of a day that will easily go down in history as he did at the dawn of this day. When a supporters yells to Obama that she loves him, without missing a beat he yells, “I love you back!”

And with California polls just having closed and Obama and Clinton in a head to head race for delegates that is incredibly close, today has truly lived up to its “super” status. Clinton is leading on the Democrats side in California right now with only 10% of precincts reporting. John McCain is leading the Republican pack, with Romney in second place.*

The age gap is alive and kicking. Clinton has easily won the support of voters 60 years and older across the country while Obama brought out the younger voters, 18-29 years old in droves. Meanwhile, black voters – 8 out of 10 of them – voted for Obama.

As I put my young children to bed this evening, listening to Hillary Clinton speak at her headquarters, I drew a breath. I told my children that they were listening to an amazing moment in political history. A woman has never come this far. An African-American man has never come this far. We have already won – all of us – Americans everywhere have won.

And here’s a quick recap of the states won and lost thus far before I sign off myself:

Clinton has won: Arkansas, Tennessee, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Oklahoma

Obama has won: Georgia, Colorado, Illinois, Utah, Minnesota, Connecticut, Kansas, Alabama, Idaho, North Dakota and Delaware

*California has been called for Hillary Clinton and John McCain though the delegate count won’t be known until tomorrow at some point.

Not yet able to call for the Demorats yet: Arizona, Missouri, California

Total delegates awarded thus far today: Obama – 211 awarded Clinton – 206 delegates awarded

Popular votes – 100,000 popular vote difference between Obama and Clinton.

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Who Delivers the News Matters

Lisa Witter notices that only one of eight anchors during CNN’s Super Tuesday coverage was a woman.

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Huckabee Rising — to a VP Pick?

"Yes, I think he'd make a great vice-president," Senator Mel Martinez of Florida told one of the MSNBC talking heads, speaking of Mike Huckabee. Huckabee has done extremely well thus far, especially in the South-as of this writing, he is ahead of both McCain and Romney in Georgia, the winner in the W. Virginia and has done well enough in other states to cost Romney victories the latter would have otherwise had. All this has led to increasing speculation, by politicians and non-politicians alike, that McCain owes Huckabee bigtime, and will make him his vice-presidential candidate. For progressives, in the reproductive justice movement and elsewhere, this is a terrifying prospect.

Huckabee of course would help McCain where he is weakest–among Republicans who identify as evangelicals, about one third of the Republican electorate. Unlike McCain and Romney, who have changed their positions to one degree or another on abortion, Huckabee has been consistently and fervently anti-abortion. He has also a long record of opposition to gay marriage. Most pertinently, he will not avoid speaking about these issues that still have considerable power to mobilize an important bloc of voters.

Is there a downside to McCain choosing Huckabee as his running mate? After all, Huckabee is on record as not believing in evolution, as wanting to abolish the IRS, as wanting the Constitution to more accurately reflect "God's law," — not positions held by most Americans. So yes, there are some negatives.

But recall that the vice-presidential candidate doesn't usually play a very high profile role in national elections. There will be likely only one vice-presidential debate, i.e. only one time where Huckabee would have to spin for voters his disbelief in evolution and various of his other controversial statements. Bottom line, McCain would probably gain more than he would lose by such a choice. And if the Republicans are victorious, we would have a 71 year old president and a vice-president–the proverbial one heart beat away from the presidency–who might well make Bush's policies on reproductive and sexual health look reasonable.

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Shocking Primary Turnout

Could this be a shocking year for primary turnout? The local public radio station today said that the voter registration booths at University of Texas at Austin were a mob scene, with people clamoring to get their registrations in before our primary vote on March 4th. It's odd for we Texans to think of ourselves as ever mattering, but if multiple candidates in each party emerge with hopes alive after tonight, then Texas is going to matter. We're very excited about this possibility. Having a vote that matters outside of the local elections is a fresh, exciting thing for many of us. For me, it's like the first taste of a really expensive wine, though not quite at the level of your first orgasm in the presence of another person. (I'm not that much of a political junkie.)

What I don't get is who are all these Republicans voting for McCain? Everywhere I turn, I hear nothing but disparagement of him from his own party. The mainstream media types call him a maverick, but they collectively have what? 2,000 votes? Not enough to swing an election. McCain voters appear to finally, after all these years, be the official silent majority.

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Who Can Afford to Run for Office?

Both Senator Obama and Senator Clinton have outspent their Republican rivals three times over in the past two weeks alone. The total amount spent by candidates and special interest groups on advertising is over $169 million, which is an all-time record.

Okay, I totally get that to win, and to change things the way you think they should be changed, there needs to be recognition. But with the rising costs of campaigning, entrance to the political arena is becoming increasingly more difficult. We are all told growing up that any of us could be president someday, but with the prohibitive costs of running for an office, any office, that is not true.

We've heard increasing rhetoric about the change lately, and that's great, but what about all the ideas for change people have that don't have the means to run for office? As of now, it's not something that can be changed, but it's something to think about.

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