The Democratic nominee is unpopular, the Republican nominee is unpopular, and polls show voters taking a look at the Libertarian. Flash back or flash forward: Two marquee 2014 campaigns are looking a lot like the 2013 Virginia governor’s race right now, and that campaign provided some useful guidance for how to watch them. — Quinnipiac’s latest Florida poll confirmed its previous ones: More people view Gov. Rick Scott (R) and ex-Gov. Charlie Crist (D) unfavorably than favorably. The numbers have been even worse for Sen. Kay Hagan (D) and state House Speaker Thom Tillis (R) in North Carolina, where national Democrats and state Republicans also plumb the depths of popularity. And recent surveys in both states show Libertarian candidates pulling 9% or higher. — Polls usually overstate third-party support, and they’re likely to do so again in North Carolina and Florida this year. That’s the same story we saw in Virginia in 2013, when the two unloved major party contenders pushed Robert Sarvis (L) higher than usual in the polls — and his actual vote share underperformed 19 of the 20 final public polls of his race. — But in races where voters aren’t in love with either nominee, Libertarians can still catch on more than usual at the ballot box. (Sarvis still pulled in 6.5% of Virginians’ votes in 2013.) There’s plenty of campaign left, and Tillis especially may have an opportunity to change voters’ minds about him once the Legislature’s damaging special session is over. But on the other hand, most of the money flowing into these races is negative. It would be very unlikely for Libertarians to do as well in November as they’re doing at the polls now. But the same surveys also show why they could keep the eventual winners from getting a majority vote all the same.— 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."