“Rep.-elect David Jolly” (R) will take Dems some time getting used to, but that’s the reality after he defeated Alex Sink (D) by almost 2 points in the FL-13 special Tuesday night. Health care played an important role, as it seems destined to do in many more high-profile races this year. But it wasn’t the only factor in play.
— President Obama won FL-13 twice, but in many ways it’s not a typical “Obama district.” He narrowly won it twice, but its demographic makeup is a lot different than other Dem-leaning seats. In particular, it is older and whiter than many Obama districts: Whites over 45 comprise 44% of the population there, compared to 29% nationally. Compared to other Florida districts, there aren’t many Hispanics there.
— Without exit polls, we don’t know how different groups voted. (Some Dems involved said Sink was competitive with older voters.) But it wasn’t enough, and older whites have proven most hostile to Obamacare — and Obamacare was the main thrust of the GOP’s anti-Sink campaign. Don’t look now, but older whites also play outsized roles in the important red-state Senate races this year, including contests in West Virginia, Montana, North Carolina and Arkansas.
— Sink pollster Geoff Garin argued that Obamacare actually helped Sink among independents, but it couldn’t overcome Democrats’ major turnout disadvantage compared to Republicans. Obamacare is a big motivator for the type of voters already more likely to turn out in non-presidential elections, and while DCCC chair Steve Israel said Wednesday that Dems were able to bend turnout toward them a bit, it clearly wasn’t enough. Special election turnout is far worse than midterm turnout, but it’s still a symptom of Democratic GOTV issues in non-presidential scenarios. (This morning, the DSCC said it points to the importance of their big field project for this fall.)
One last item to ponder here: Just in case anyone was unsure about what outside money can do these days, consider that Sink outspent Jolly around 4-1 on TV, but the GOP portion of $9 million in outside spending helped even things up.
— Scott Bland
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Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.
Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”
Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."
In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-expected primary battle behind her, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (D) is no longer going on the air in upcoming primary states. “Team Clinton hasn’t spent a single cent in … California, Indiana, Kentucky, Oregon and West Virginia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “campaign has spent a little more than $1 million in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone backer in the Senate, said the candidate should end his presidential campaign if he’s losing to Hillary Clinton after the primary season concludes in June, breaking sharply with the candidate who is vowing to take his insurgent bid to the party convention in Philadelphia.”
The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."