All Articles Tagged "politics"

Are People Hating On Cory Booker Just As He’s Poised To Take A Senate Seat?

August 14th, 2013 - By Tonya Garcia
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Dennis Van Tine/Future Image/

Dennis Van Tine/Future Image/

Newark Mayor Cory Booker rather easily won the special Democratic primary that took place in New Jersey yesterday, as the state prepares for a special election on October 16 to replace longtime Senator Frank Lautenberg who died recently. Booker took about 60 percent of the ballots in the four-person field. With the exception of a now-deleted offensive tweet from Republican candidate Steve Lonegan, Booker rode a wave of popularity to last night’s vote. Lonegan is trailing Booker in the polls today, according to CNN, 29 percent to 54 percent.

But in the latter stages of the primary race, greater negativity has started to seep into the media coverage. A good chunk of it has to do with money. As The New York Times reports, the mayor has a stake in the troubled video-based website Waywire valued between $1 million and $5 million. “That is, at best, strange,” says The Daily Beast. “As mayor, Booker is paid about the same as a member of Congress, and one can imagine the outcry if a sitting congressman used his connections to lure investors into a corporate venture that made him an instant millionaire. Indeed, it would be illegal for a congressman to do so, and while it may not be illegal for a Newark mayor, the whole thing still stinks.”

He has said he will give up his stake in the company if he becomes senator, and the company will be forbidden from lobbying his office. It may not be much of an issue since visits to the site are low — fewer than 3,000 in June — and the company has had to make cuts to staff and office space. It sounds like Waywire is having trouble staying afloat at the moment despite investment from people like Oprah Winfrey and Google’s Eric Schmidt. (The Beast takes Booker and Waywire to task for having the 15-year-old son of Jeff Zucker, president of CNN, on the board. He resigned last week.)

In other money news, as The Washington Post points out in this slideshow, Mayor Booker has made more than $1.3 million in speaking engagements since 2008, donated $619,000 to charity, paid $423,000 on that money, and kept $232,000 of it. And his campaign has raised $8.6 million and has spent $4.6 million, according to the Sunlight Foundation.

Still, the issue for The Daily Beast is whether he used powerful connections to make money. And it’s not just that site. The Atlantic Wire has a rundown of Booker’s critics, most vocally, Alex Pareene on Salon, who says Booker hasn’t proposed solutions to tackle the issues at the heart of what ails Newark and is using the Senate as a stepping stone to the White House.

“The anti-Booker sentiment has been brewing among liberals for some time. But it was less intense when Booker was less close to becoming one of 100 senators, instead of a Twitter celebrity and mayor of a city of 277,000,” writes The Atlantic Wire. (Separately but worth noting, Booker would only be the second African American in the Senate should he win in October. And the other Senator, Tim Scott from South Carolina, was appointed to his seat when Jim DeMint stepped down.)

Booker has faced critics for some time. They’ve accused him of being too interested in getting media attention, either through his 1.4 million Twitter followers (he would have the most in the Senate just behind John McCain from Arizona), or through his heroics, or his appearances.  “Yet Booker is the front-runner not necessarily because of his political accomplishments, but rather his remarkable ability to promote his public persona as a champion of the people. That, some fear, is exactly the problem with sending him to Congress,” writes The Week.

So the backlash has been in full effect for a while but it seems to be getting louder as this special election continues on. I’ll personally admit to a (very) soft spot for the mayor. (Very… very.) But it’s always a good idea to take a closer look at a candidate before they’re elected into office. The question is whether Booker can stand up to that scrutiny and whether he can live up to the promise. Despite the naysayers, a lot of people think he can.

Poll Finds Fox News Is The Most Watched News Station In America

July 9th, 2013 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Fox News anchor and author Bill O'Reilly. Credit: HRC/

Fox News anchor and author Bill O’Reilly. Credit: HRC/

More Americans are watching Fox News over any other television news outlet, according to a new Gallup poll. CNN follows a close second while stations such as ABC and MSNBC fell flat with only one percent of viewership from surveyed Americans .

This poll surveyed 2,048 adults over the age of 18 across all 50 states. Of that total, 55 percent said they get their news from television, and 26 percent of those respondents were unspecific about where are the dial they’re tuning in. While the Internet is known to be a growing source of “fast” news for Americans, it came in second for news, with 22 percent saying they turn to online outlets. Nine percent prefer to read newspapers nowadays, the Gallup poll says.

Of those who prefer television as their primary source of news, about eight percent preferred the right-leaning Fox News, putting the station in first place. Coming in second at about seven percent was CNN — a station that caters to Independents and Democrats. With the help of Anderson Cooper, MN reported, ratings have been increasing at CNN. Piers Morgan’s lackluster ratings, however, may be weighing the network down. In addition to ABC and MSNBC, stations such as NBC, BBC, PBS, and CBS also fell into one percent of the American viewership. MSNBC has “delivered its worst quarterly primetime showing among total viewers and adults 25-to-54 since 2007,” we previously reported.

As expected, the poll determined a whopping 94 percent of Fox News viewers lean towards Republican political views while 63 percent of CNN watchers lean towards a Democratic view. A mere two percent of Fox News supporters approve of President Obama compared with 57 percent of CNN viewers.

The poll also delves into the demographics of both Fox News and CNN viewers. About 66 percent of the Fox News audience is over 50 while less than 30 percent of CNN viewers are of the same age. In terms of marriage, 69 percent of the Fox News viewers have tied the knot while only 37 percent of the CNN audience have done the same.

This survey proves to be important because the absorption of news from either a right- or left-leaning station can affect the political views of the public. One study compared 2,000 towns that either had or didn’t have access to Fox News. Results showed there was an increase of GOP favorability that ranged from 0.4 to 0.7 percentage points in towns that were exposed to Fox News.

“Fox News access provided a demonstrable boost to George W. Bush’s vote totals,” reports The Washington Post. “Effects of that size are politically influential, and larger than the effect of airing 1,000 TV advertisements.”

Parents Disapprove Of Their Kids Pursing A Career In Politics

July 8th, 2013 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Politicians have a reputation for being mostly deceitful with a bit of work in government policy thrown in. No surprise perhaps that parents just don’t want their children involved in such a murky field. A new survey finds that 64 percent of Americans would cringe if their son or daughter attempted to become a politician, Gallup reports.

Only one-third of Americans would approve of their children pursuing a career in politics, the poll says. For the past 20 years, the fluctuation in the percentages has been minimal. In 1993, 61 percent disfavored a political career for their kids while only 32 percent approved.

The survey tried to get a sense of whether parents preferred a particular sex to become politicians, but the percentage remained the same between both girls and boys; only 31 percent approved politics for both their sons and daughters. Even 20 years ago, there was no significant difference between the percentage of males or females whose parents approved of a political career.

When it comes to race, however, the Gallup poll found there was a substantial difference. The survey says that 42 percent and 45 percent of non-White respondents wanted to see their son and daughter in politics, respectively. In opposition, only 26 percent and 25 percent of Whites approved a political career for their son or daughter. The explanation behind this difference may be due to the prominent number of non-Whites affiliated with the Democratic Party. As Gallup has previously reported, there is “slight tendency for Democrats to favor a political career…than Republicans,” says Gallup.

The overall low desirability for a political occupation stems from a lack of “trust in government” and lowered “confidence in political institutions, particularly Congress, ” Gallup explains. As MN recently reported, a recent poll suggests that America only has a 10 percent approval rating of the House and Senate. Gallup has frequently found that Americans would rather their children pursue a career in medicine and technology.

This study was based on 2,048 telephone interviews with adults over the age of 18 living in all 50 states.

A Study Says Female Politicans’ Fashion Doesn’t Sway Voters Much. Do You Believe It?

June 28th, 2013 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in one of her famous pantsuits with the Sultan of Brunei  Hassanal Bolkiah. Credit: WENN

Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in one of her famous pantsuits with the Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah. Credit: WENN

Hillary Clinton is known for her obsession with pantsuits, but she really shouldn’t worry much about portraying a polished, debonair look. A recent study suggests that a female politician’s choice of clothing isn’t too impressionable on voters, reports The Washington Post.

Principal investigators Danny Hayes and Jennifer Lawless created two political characters for the study: Susan Williams and Michael Stevenson. They recruited 961 adults to read hypothetical news articles that summarized the fictional candidates’ approval of an education bill. After reading their assigned article, the respondents evaluated their fondness for the candidate on a scale of zero to 10 — 10 being the most favorable.

Two of the articles—written the same for each candidate except for names—described the Williams and Stevenson’s attire as “looking disheveled and sloppy in an ill-fitting navy blue suit and tattered red scarf (tie),” the Post said. The results showed that Williams actually had a higher favorability score than Stevenson. It seemed as if the respondents were less lenient with the male candidate’s messy attire.

“When Stevenson’s appearance was described negatively, respondents rated him less favorably in terms of leadership, competence, and his ability to get things done,” Hayes and Lawless said. The woman did not lose points on these additional dimensions when it came to her ruffled look.

For the news articles that portrayed the candidate’s look as “positive,” Williams scored higher points on integrity, empathy, professionalism, and effectiveness.  The male candidate didn’t receive the same increase in ratings. The positive article described the fictional characters as “looking fit and stylish in a classic navy blue suit and fashionable red scarf (tie),” Post explains.

This is not to say that candidates who are women should slump around in sweats, but the study shows that the public do not hold women to different standards when it comes to their attire.

It’s also important to note that newspaper coverage of the fashion choices of a politician is slim; a previous study shows that less than four percent of articles mentioned the physical appearance or clothing of a candidate, Hayes and Lawless explained. “Not only is appearance coverage not especially detrimental to female candidates, but it’s not all that prevalent,” they added.

A Jezebel story took the study to task, questioning whether this study is valid:

If we really wanted declare conclusively that voters “don’t care” how female political figures look, to sniff out how sexism plays out in public reception of politicians, we’d have to evaluate how voters respond to visual as well as print descriptions, and assess the way photographs and footage of politicians are both presented and received on both a conscious and subconscious level.

While fictional female politician Williams may get away with a sloppy get-up, I don’t think we can say the same for anyone else in the workplace. A recent survey from Office Team suggests that 80 percent of executives agreed that an employee’s attire affects his or her chances of earning a promotion.

However, the survey also shows that the perception of funky clothes in the workplace is changing. In 2007, when managers were asked “to what extent does someone’s style of dress at work influence his or her chances of being promoted”, 33 percent answered “significantly.” In 2013, only eight percent answered the same.

Slowly but surely, we might just be getting closer to a society that places less emphasis on superficial attributes and focus more on merit.

It’s Official! Cory Booker For Senate; Readies For Special Election

June 10th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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Newark Mayor Cory Booker formally declared his candidacy for U.S. Senate over the weekend. He made his candidacy official at a news conference in Newark, the city where he’s served as one of the most high-profile mayors in the country since 2006. Booker will vie for the seat vacated by U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, who died last week at age 89.

Reps. Frank Pallone and Rush Holt are also expected to enter the Democratic primary.  So far, the sole Republican running is former Bogota mayor Steve Lonegan, who runs the New Jersey office of Americans for Prosperity.

While Booker, 44, is already considered the early frontrunner, Pallone, 61, is leading on the campaign money side. He has $3.7 million compared to Booker’s $1.9 million, as of the end of March, reports The Huffington Post. Pallone has been in Congress since 1993. Holt, 64, is a former research physicist, has $800,000 raised.

Booker has some major backing already. He was joined at the news conference by former U.S. Sen. Bill Bradley, a former NBA player who held the Senate seat Booker is seeking for 18 years, reports HuffPo. And, Booker has been a popular mayor with the media and public. He has 1.4 million followers on Twitter – or five for every resident of Newark.

Booker’s announcement came early due to the passing of Lautenberg.  Booker had started fundraising for a 2014 Senate campaign after announcing he would not run against Christie for governor. Instead, he said he wanted to finish his term in Newark, which ends in June 2014. Although Booker has now said he would be sad to leave Newark sooner than planned, he is content that $1 billion in development projects are in the works. He also spoke of his to-do list before leaving office and it includes continuing to increase transparency and accountability in the city police department and to leave a funding mechanism for hiring police every year.

“We need someone in the United States Senate who’s actually had to work on difficult problems, who’s actually had to find people jobs, who’s actually had people standing in front of their homes and had to work on everything from getting people into food stamp programs to helping young people better afford college,” Booker said during his press conference.

Gov. Chris Christie set the primary for Aug. 13 and a special election for the balance of Lautenberg’s term for Oct. 16. The winner of the October special election will retain the seat until November 2014, when voters will elect a senator for the regular six-year term.

Booker, Pallone and Holt have long ties. Booker has fund-raised for Holt previously and all three are known to support liberal causes.

Former Miss America Erika Harold Announces Her Plans To Run for Congress

June 5th, 2013 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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via Erika Harold for Congress on Facebook

via Erika Harold for Congress on Facebook

She’s ditching her sparkly evening gown and dazzling crown to wear a newly-polished suit: Miss America 2003 Erika Harold is running for the House of Representatives on the Republican ticket. She is opposing Rep. Rodney Davis in the primary, reports the East Central Illinois News-Gazette.

The 33-year-old wants to convince skeptics that her position as Miss America has prepared her for the grueling and arduous work of campaigning and representing the 13th Congressional District. She says she’s used to the national spotlight and even butted heads with the national organization behind the Miss America competition. If it were not for the flack she received, Harold believes she would not have had the tough skin to overcome the tribulations that may come her way.

“I think those experiences did prepare and equip me to handle this stage,” she said.

Despite knowing the cruel character of politics, Harold insists that her campaign for Congress against Davis will be fair. She simply wants to put her best foot forward in convincing voters she would be the best representative for Illinois. It is not her intention “to try and destroy [Davis] personally.”

Despite her stated Miss America qualifications, many are wondering what makes her qualified to take on such a taxing political arena. Harold graduated from Harvard Law and has used Miss America as a platform to pursue a desire to dabble in politics. According to her campaign website, she wants to show that her ability to perform lies not in her history in politics, but her helping hand for the community.

She has defended religious liberty as a lawyer, fought against youth violence and bullying, and she is seeking to further continue her services for Illinois, a report from Politico says. Harold has also advocated for lower taxes and limited government intervention, a report from Jezebel states.

She might very well have a shot at winning. She and faced Davis in the last election and the result was the closest race of any Republican representative voted into Congress, according to Politico. Harold is taking advantage of this narrow margin and might take the crown of Illinois’ next Republican congresswoman.

News Flash! The GOP Is Unpopular With Large Swaths Of The Voting Population

June 5th, 2013 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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It’s no secret that as 2016’s presidential election approaches, Republicans need to lure African Americans, Hispanic voters, a growing minority, and other racial groups to the right to have any chance of winning. Unfortunately for the GOP, there are other alarming members of the populace that may foreshadow their failure in the next election.

Single mothers, who are overwhelmingly Democratic, are on the rise, according to the The Washington Post. A half a century ago, unmarried single mothers only represented less than one percent of America. Currently, a report by the Pew Research Center says, mommies who have children out of wedlock constitute 11 percent of the United States.

The last presidential election with Obama emerging as victorious sent unnerving shockwaves through the GOP. There was a revelation that appealing solely to White and rural-dwelling voters was not sufficient. The changing demographics of the United States are posing a threat to Republicans in office across the country.

Back in 2008, Obama gained 74 percent of the single mom vote. Now with the steady increase of moms raising kids on their own, the number of women  expected to vote in favor of the Democrats for the next presidential race is climbing as well.

These never-married single moms are generally African American or Latina and under the age of 30. It is certainly no surprise that Blacks and Hispanics heavily supported Democrats as exit polls demonstrated last year; the real shocker lies in the fact that white single moms are beginning to lean towards the left as well.

Among white single mothers, 56 percent voted for Obama while a feeble 43 percent favored Romney. Single mothers of all races who had a household income of less than $50,000 supported Obama with 79 percent of their votes.

Not only are single moms gaining potency in the presidential race, but young voters are as well. Exit polls of 2004 demonstrated that Republicans (under Bush) won 45 percent of young voters between the ages of 18 and 29 years old. In 2012, Obama had 60 percent of the young population’s vote in that same age range, according to CNN.

Republican activists acknowledge that the reasons behind the GOP’s failure to attract more voters lie in seeming closed-minded, Republican voices having no filter, according to a report on Politico. A recent political and economic study by The College Republican National Committee that looked at polls for the groups we’ve discussed here shows that, on economic matters,“We’ve become the party that will pat you on your back when you make it, but won’t offer you a hand to help you get there.”

Do you think the GOP stands a chance in winning 2016’s election with an evolving American demographic?

Election Bribe Scheme Heats Up: State Senator Smith Scandal Reaches NYC Mayoral Candidates

April 3rd, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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State Sen.Malcolm Smith leaving federal court yesterday. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

State Sen.Malcolm Smith leaving federal court yesterday. AP Photo/Mary Altaffer

There seems to be a few rotten apples in New York City politics. The fallout from State Sen. Malcolm Smith’s alleged bribery scandal even touches Big Apple mayoral hopefuls on both sides of the aisle, reports The New York Daily News.

A Democratic state senator from Queens (though he considered a Republican run for mayor himself), Smith is the former majority leader and was the first African American to lead a legislative body in Albany. He was arrested at his home by federal agents on Tuesday, accused of trying to buy the Republican line in New York City’s mayoral race. The bribery scheme involved an attempt to pay off the city’s five county GOP chairmen in order to run for mayor with that party, explains the The Daily Beast.

He wasn’t the only one arrested; several of his alleged confederates, including several Republican county party leaders have also been implicated. The complaint states that Smith told an undercover agent in a meeting at Grand Central Station to “fork over” tens of thousands of dollars to the local Republican power brokers so he could glide his way into City Hall, The Daily Beast continues.

And this isn’t the first time Smith has been accused of wrongdoing. He’s been the subject of a number of federal investigations. And in an unsavory move, Smith joined a small group of “independent Democrats” who crossed party lines to caucus with the Republicans in December, after Democrats won control of the state senate for the first time in 60 years.

“He’s smooth, likable, but to me he seemed like a guy always one step away from being arrested,” said one Democratic operative to the website.

The arrests have tossed questions about “what went wrong back to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn,” says the Daily News. Quinn is running for mayor as a Democrat.

“The arrests have also cast a shadow on Democratic front-runner Christine Quinn, who has tried to clean up scandal-scarred City Council discretionary funding but has now seen four Council members criminally charged for abusing those funds during her time as speaker” writes the paper.

Over on the GOP side nearly every mayoral contender is now under the spotlight, the newspaper adds. The scandal hurts former Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Joe Lhota and grocery magnate John Catsimatidis, who had the other arrested party boss, Queens GOP Vice Chairman Vincent Tabone, on his payroll.

Obviously, this will be one New York City election to remember.

GOP Rising Star T.W. Shannon Becomes Oklahoma’s First Speaker of The House

March 21st, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File

AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File

Just as the GOP announced an outreach campaign to minority communities, Oklahoma got its first black Speaker of the House. And he happens to be a Republican.

According to The Daily Caller (via EUR), Tahrohon Wayne Shannon, 34, has taken the coveted post. “He’s not only their first, but youngest ever, and the ‘first African American Republican speaker in the country since Reconstruction,'” the article says, quoting the National Conference of State Legislatures.”

Shannon is a sixth-generation Oklahoman and member of the Chickasaw Nation.

The  GOP is a already prepared to parade out Shannon’s success. He was invited to the widely-covered Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which is one of the places where future Republican presidential candidates are chosen.  This year, the conference notoriously shunned New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who was a Republican darling through this most recent election. Many believe he was not invited because of  his alliance and praise of President Obama during Hurricane Sandy.

It was during this conference that Speaker Shannon spoke about Oklahoma’s brand of diversity. “In Oklahoma, we’ve got urban areas, rural areas, Native American tribes, oil and gas activity. We’ve got a lot of opinions and ideas,” The Daily Caller reports.

Do you think Shannon will help the GOP’s efforts to attract more African Americans to the party?

Call It A Comeback: Susan Rice Rumored As Top Choice For National Security Adviser Role

March 15th, 2013 - By Ann Brown
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AP Photo/Craig Ruttle

AP Photo/Craig Ruttle

It wasn’t that long ago with Susan Rice was under fire. News reports were filled with negative comments from conservatives who bombarded the UN ambassador over her inability to fully answer questions related to the tragedy that resulted in the deaths of an American official and three others in Benghazi, Libya. She was ultimately pushed out of contention for the Secretary Of State job. It was a humiliating turn of events.

Now according to Keli Goff  in her blog for The Root, Rice is making a comeback. The ambassador is said to be the Obama administration’s front-runner for national security adviser.

Since the national security adviser is not an official cabinet post, it does not require Senate confirmation. Yet, as Goff points out, “the post is one of the most influential within a presidential administration in terms of shaping high-level foreign policy.”

Take a look at past national security advisers; Condoleezza Rice (no relation), for example, used the role as a stepping-stone to secretary of state under George W. Bush.

Susan Rice would be only the second woman to serve in the position.

If all goes as rumored Rice’s appointment could also help President Obama. “His administration has struggled with criticism regarding the lack of gender and racial diversity among both his cabinet and high-level advisers,” blogs Goff.