Rand Paul: Voter Magnet?
Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky might, just might, be the rare politician that can attract all sorts of people to himself. He is known more than anything else for his very conservative political views and the admiration the Tea Party movement has for him. This might give many Americans pause, but the Senator is working to allay any fears. Some might say he’s resurrecting a form of “compassionate conservatism.” Senator Paul has spent much time giving speeches in less-affluent, more urbanized areas, which traditionally support the Democratic Party. Recently, he spoke at an all-girls Catholic school in Chicago that serves a variety of students. A proponent of school choice, he argued that the government should support institutions of all kinds, including private and charter schools, not just public. He has also advocated for “economic freedom zones”—lowering taxes in impoverished areas to spur growth. On the flip side, he has significant cache among libertarians. As Ramesh Ponnuru points out, selecting Paul as a Vice Presidential candidate could attract many libertarians to vote for the Republican candidate in the general election; without him, they could defect to another candidate, potentially sinking the Republicans’ shot at the Presidency in 2016 because of the relative strength of the libertarian faction. All in all, it will be interesting to see whom Paul attracts to the Republican Party.
Losing Committee Experience
One of the traditions of the Senate Democratic Caucus is to dole out committee chairmanships on the basis of seniority, meaning the majority Senator who has served the longest on the panel takes the gavel. That means chairmen are quite experienced when they take control—and they take all that experience with them when they leave. This year, a number of chairmen of important panels like the Banking and Commerce Committees are retiring, so even if the Democrats retain the Senate, their chairmen will be a little greener than usual. This might pose some difficulties, but perhaps the transition to new leadership won’t be so problematic since the Senators will have served for many years. (Bonus: The Congressional Institute’s President Mark Strand comments on whether chairmanships matter to constituents.)
According to The New York Times, today, the Democrats have a 51 percent chance of keeping the Senate.
This summer, some Republicans are coming out with a new top-level domain (TLD), which is, basically, the few letters following the last dot in a web address. Examples of TLDs include familiar endings “.com”, “.org.” or .”edu”. The Republican State Leadership Committee, an organization supporting state-level candidates, is sponsoring the new TLD “.gop”. The intent is to make it easier to find Republican websites. Applicants for .gop web addresses will not be screened for their political affiliation. Beginning on Monday, companies with registered trademarks will have a two-month period where they have the option of claiming .gop web addresses before the general public. This period is required by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, which oversees the web’s address registration process.
And for our latest post: Cracks in the Senatorial Saucer: Filling the Tree, Cloture, and Curtailing Senate Debate