Monday, March 21, 2016

Last Call For The Collectively Named Love Boat

Democracy in action is sometimes...awesome.

When the UK's Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) spent millions of dollars outfitting a boat for latest in polar research technology, someone got the bright idea: What if we let the Internet vote on the name of the ship? 
"Ton-for-ton, the ship—together with NERC's existing two blue water research ships—will provide the UK with the most advanced floating research fleet in the world and will help put the UK at the forefront of ocean research for years to come," said the NERC in a statement. "We're looking for an inspirational name that exemplifies the work it will do. The ship could be named after a local historical figure, movement, or landmark—or a famous polar explorer or scientist."

The Internet being The Internet, you can imagine what happened next.

The internet was glad to help, offering up names like "Usain Bolt," "Ice Ice Baby," and "Notthetitanic." The ultimate winner? The RMS Boaty McBoatface.

Of course, there's no guarantee the ship will actually set sail under that moniker. The NERC gets ultimate say about what the ship is named. But the orgnization don't go with RMS Boaty McBoatface, it's missing the chance to make the future of naval exploration much, much funnier.

I for one think the RMS Boaty McBoatface needs to happen simply as a warning to other people not to let The Internet be allowed to name things.


(It's still funny though.)

Big, Funny-Shaped, Unstable Tent Politics

With the GOP in the middle of a nuclear meltdown, it's up to our Village Betters to make sure that Democrats don't get cocky or think that they matter, because there's always hippie-punching to be done.  Today's example, Charlie Camosy, who has been telling Dems for years now to embrace the "pro-life liberal".

Democrats can make a home for these stranded voters. Opening a big tent to pro-lifers would not only offer a hospitable climate for Democrats who value a “whole life” ethic, which weaves together common Democratic concerns like care for the impoverished and elderly with an equal interest in the unborn; it would also put them in a good position to win the next generation. Millennials and Latinos, after all, are trending more antiabortion than any other young generation in recent U.S. history. Only 37 percent of young people think that abortion is morally acceptable — while 54 percent of Latinos think abortion should be illegal in all or most cases. 
Recent historical research on the progressive roots of the pro-life movement in the United States suggests a Democratic coalition with space for pro-lifers wouldn’t be a novel phenomenon. As Kristen Day, president of Democrats for Life, reminds us: In 1976 there were an astonishing 125 antiabortion Democrats in Congress. Today there are three. Jim Oberstar, who was a Minnesota congressman, used to say that pro-lifers didn’t stop sending people to Congress, but rather “they just stopped sending Democrats.” 
And, because roughly 20 million Democrats identify as antiabortion, it’s possible that inviting antiabortion Dems back into the fold could also reinforce the party’s numbers by heralding the return of the so-called missing pro-life Democrats, along with current Republican voters who might cross party lines.
It’s difficult to predict just how many disaffected pro-lifers currently attached to the Republican party might cast their votes for Democrats given the opportunity. But there is good reason to believe that, especially among Millennial voters, such a strategy could have meaningful returns for Democrats. In 2010, research conducted by NARAL found that there is a significant “intensity gap” between pro-life and pro-choice Millennial voters: While 51 percent of pro-lifers under 30 considered abortion a “very important” voting issue, only 26 percent of pro-choice Millennials said the same. The fact that such a high percentage of young pro-lifers consider abortion a top priority suggests that, should Democrats shift their stalwart pro-choice stance, the next generation of antiabortion voters may well lend them much-needed support. Judging by the example of 2006, such a groundswell could bring about a real, lasting boost for local and congressional Democrats.

In other words, if Democrats abandon all this nonsense about women actually being able to get accessible reproductive healthcare, white Millennial dudebros will come back to the Dems, and they're the only voters that actually matter.  If that sounds like a gigantic pile of crap, it's because it is, and Camosy contributes to the Glibertarian Nonsense machine that is The Federalist.

What Camosy really wants is both parties to get rid of abortion completely, because the Bitches Need To Know Their Place.  If you think Camosy and his 30-something cadre of kinder, gentler MRA slut-shaming misogynists would ever start voting for the Democrats, you're out of your mind.

But that's exactly what Camosy wants stupid people to think.

House Of Cards

Democrats would need to win 30 seats to take the House back.  In January, that was considered impossible, that there simply weren't enough competitive House Republican seats to try to pick up. You can thank Donald Trump and Ted Cruz for fixing that problem.  The latest Cook Political Report on the House now puts 31 GOP seats in striking distance and 42 in possible play in total.

So yes, considering things are bad enough for the GOP with Trump as the frontrunner that Utah could be a competitive swing state come November, the wipeout of Republicans downticket could become a reality.

Now it's March and there's a long, grueling, ugly campaign ahead for 33 Senate seats and 435 House seats in addition to the White House, so who knows how many Republicans will be able to decouple themselves from Trump and survive.  Or not.  But at this point a Goldwater-style realignment isn't out of the question anymore like it was just eight weeks ago.

And this analysis too will change as we get closer to November.
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