The 2006 Midterms: Guilt by Association?

Trends show an impact on contests across the nation

Just over one month ago, the Crystal Ball argued that a larger wave than currently existed at the time would have to build in order for Republicans to lose their congressional majorities. At the time, the race-by-race rather than national dynamic of competitive races pointed more towards a "micro-wave" than...

The Mideast War and the Midterm Elections

The Israeli-Hezbollah war in the Middle East has become this summer's obsession, and rightly so. The dangers of a wider war are ever present, and no story is equal to the misery of armed conflict in the world's tinderbox. Nonetheless, one wishes that the television media could walk and chew...

Civic Engagement and the Mideast Cauldron

A recent trip to Israel--which concluded just before the outbreak of war between Israel and Lebanon--offered some lessons on civic engagement that Americans would be wise to learn. The escalating tensions in the region, including full-scale war in Gaza, provided a dramatic back-drop to a long series of briefings by...

Politics: America’s Missing Constitutional Link

It's manifestly obvious. The last thing the United States needs is more politics. Or so the American people, who hate politics, believe. And on this point, alas, they are very wrong. One reason citizens dislike politics is that the political system doesn't work terribly well, but it doesn't work well...

Election Exceptions

Which 2006 contests will frustrate the national trend?

The bubble of conventional wisdom was burst last week, with the election of Republican Brian Bilbray to succeed disgraced Representative Duke Cunningham in California's 50th House district. While most reporters and analysts, including this pundit, publicly bet a nickel on Bilbray because of the GOP nature of the district, we...

History’s Paragraph for the 2006 Election

Lengthy and dramatic or brief and underwhelming?

It's humbling for all involved in America's electoral process to realize that each midterm election season--all the contests put together--comprises no more than a paragraph in the history books. The significant elections merit a bold, detailed paragraph, while the run-of-the-mill midterms get a tepid, sketchy paragraph. Most election paragraphs are...

June 13 Primary Results and Analysis

A handful of states select Senate and gubernatorial nominees

The tradition in American politics has been for campaign season to unofficially kick off on Labor day, as candidates, campaigns, voters and journalists return from August vacations and focus their attention on the remaining nine weeks before Election Day. However--just as the presidential nomination process starts earlier and earlier--Congressional and...

The Culture of Corruption

It's bipartisan now

Something significant happened on the political front last week. In the midst of Donald Rumsfeld's trial by fire from hecklers and Porter Goss's forced resignation as CIA director and George W. Bush's inexorable fall in the polls, it was easy to underestimate the importance of Congressman Patrick Kennedy's latest little...

Who Votes?

The key question for the 2006 midterms

The world is run by those who show up, and the most important factor in any election is the identity of the voters. Who bothers to show up at the polls? This question is especially crucial in a midterm election such as 2006. The voter turnout will be much smaller...

International Youth Democracy Summit

Summer conference opportunity for exceptional high school students

If you know high school students who are bright and civically engaged, they need to participate in the International Youth Democracy Summit. From August 7-12, 2006, the University of Virginia through the coordination of the Center for Politics will host the International Youth Democracy Summit. This once-in-a-lifetime event will gather...

What Were They Thinking?

Dumb and Dumber in 2006

Every election season some candidates, officeholders, and party pooh-bahs make classic errors on their way to the general election. A few such decisions cost them seats. If an election is close, those losses can be decisive. Some mistakes are national and massive in scope; the name "Tom DeLay" more or...

Cheney’s Quail-Gate makes ‘Feeding Frenzy Hall of Fame’

Now that the hub-hub about Dick Cheney's shooting accident has died down, the Crystal Ball can add a bit of perspective. Quail-Gate was a classic media feeding frenzy, and your author wrote the book on the phenomenon entitled, well, Feeding Frenzy. Amazingly little has changed since the first edition was...

The Presidential Prizefight ’08

Ideology Versus Electability in Both Parties (Part II: The Democrats)

In last week's installment of the Crystal Ball, we explored the myriad of possible Republican White House contenders for 2008, the lack of an obvious successor to President Bush, as well as the wide open nature of the 2008 party primaries. This is only the fifth time since the dawn...

The American Democracy Conference Redux

Wrapping up 2005 and Peeking into 2006

For most, December conjures up memories of spending time with family, the occasional vision of dancing sugar plums and, of course, anxiety over the frenetic rush to buy the holiday season's hot new toy. But on the morning of December 1, while many were running mad through their local malls...

The Presidential Prizefight ’08

Ideology Versus Electability in Both Parties (Part I: The Republicans)

As 2006 dawns, the presidential sweepstakes--or is it a lottery?--is taking on heightened visibility. Partly, it's President Bush's overall weakness, apparent or real. A lame duck residing at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue encourages early speculation about the Bush succession if only because political observers don't believe George W. Bush can or...