Georgia began its love affair with the regulation of what can and cannot be sold on this date in 1735, when James Oglethorpe, founder of the colony, helped gain passage of “An Act to prevent the Importation and Use of Rum and Brandies in the Province of Georgia.” The act provided that after June 24, 1735, “no Rum, Brandies, Spirits or Strong Waters” shall be imported into Georgia.” Permission was also required to sell beer, wine, and ale.
On April 3, 1776, the Continental Congress authorized “privateers” holding a letter of marque and reprisal to attack British ships. This essentially legalizes what would otherwise be considered piracy. Issuing letters of marque and reprisal is among the enumerated powers of Congress under Article I, Section 8 of the Constitution, though they have seldom been used. Thus, I hope to someday see the Jolly Roger flying at Tea Party rallies alongside the Gadsden flag.
On April 3, 1865, Richmond fell.
On April 3, 1898, President William McKinley called on Georgians to contribute 3000 volunteers for the Spanish-American War.
The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., accompanied by Georgians Hosea Williams and Ralph D. Abernathy, was in Memphis, Tennessee, supporting a strike by sanitation workers on April 3, 1968. He delivered what is known as the “Mountaintop Speech.”
“[L]ike anybody, I would like to live a long life. Longevity has its place. But I’m not concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over, and I’ve seen the promised land. I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land. So I’m happy tonight. I’m not worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord.”
Georgia State Government
As the private lawsuit by disgruntled former Georgia
State Ethics Commission Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission Executive Director Stacey Kalberman is underway, a major contention by the defense is that the Commission’s budgetary strain was the reason Kalberman was fired.
The state ethics commission was “broke” and needed fixing, and that’s the only reason its former director had her salary cut, former commission Chairman Patrick Millsaps testified Tuesday.
WSB also spoke to Tharon Johnson, who ran the Obama 2012 campaign in the Southeast, and Eric Tanenblatt, who was a Finance Committee Co-Chair for the Romney campaign that year.
“It’s a great position for her to be in,” Democratic strategist Tharon Johnson said of Nunn. “I think right now, Republicans are very scared. They don’t really have a clear nominee that they want to support that can beat Michelle in November.”
“Right now, no one is going after Michelle,” Republican strategist Eric Tanenblatt said. “Come general election time, you’re going to have a well-prepared nominee and Michelle has avoided debates, avoided the media, hasn’t had a contested primary.”
David Perdue’s “47 percent” moment
David Perdue showed the pitfalls of being an inexperienced politician when he had his “47 percent” moment – like Romney’s famous gaffe, it was caught on video.
Many Georgia Republicans have voiced their repulsion for the denigration of a well-respected professional woman who, due to circumstances in her youth many years ago, did not complete college.
My mother didn’t complete college either, because she joined my father and moved all over the country as he was stationed in various places as a sailor in the United States Navy. She might not be a college graduate, and she’s never lived overseas, but she’s been successful in owning a number of small businesses. Add me to the list of folks who think David Perdue is arrogant and condescending. We’ll be talking more about this. At length. For day.s
On to the Governor’s Race
If you pay attention to media polling, it’s been a real horse race for Governor of Georgia, with incumbent Republican Nathan Deal swapping places with Democratic challenger Jason Carter on a daily basis. The problem is that depiction is not accurate.
Here’s a comparison of polling for the first four months of 2014 between Deal and Carter and February through April of 2010 between Deal and Roy Barnes. We couldn’t find Deal v. Barnes numbers for January 2010, but we did have two sets of poll results for February, so we used those. If any pollster ever claims the ability to make predictions about the future, ask them why they never ask the questions we wish they had asked years ago.
What I’ve done in the chart below is to simply plot out the Deal v. Carter and Deal v. Barnes numbers over comparable periods of time. Then below, I have computed a weighted average of the last three polls in the series, and all four polls.
What is striking is that both races show nearly the same averages for Democratic and Republican candidates suggesting this is close to baseline performance. Of course there are differences between Carter and Barnes, but at this point, Carter has not started advertising, and we have a relatively stable electorate.
So at about this time in 2010, we had a four-month GaPundit Polling Index of Deal 42.7% to Barnes 39.6% and today, our four-month GaPundit Polling Index shows Deal 43.6% to Carter 38.5%.
The two races also show a remarkably similar range, with Deal v. Carter ranging from Deal +9 to Carter +3, a 12-point spread, while Deal v. Barnes ranged from Deal +6 to Barnes +5, an 11-point spread. So the volatility is similar between the two races.
Next is a time-series plot of the Deal v. Carter polls, and over that we have laid the GaPundit Polling Index, which we noted above is Deal 43.6% to Carter 38.5%.
What this shows is that the 2014 elections polls for Governor of Georgia do not depict a wildly volatile electorate in which the lead is constantly shifting. By removing the noise created by different polling firms using different methodologies and different sample size, we see that the situation today, from a polling perspective, is fundamentally the same as it was four years ago.
Now, you might criticize this approach, and that’s fine. But applying the logical tool of Occam’s Razor is instructive here. That test generally prefers simpler explanations, and in my mind, the competing scenarios are (a) a highly-engaged electorate swinging wildly between the Democratic and Republican candidates for Governor, despite little-to-no television advertising or other media events; or (b) that the apparent differences between polls are really more differences between pollsters and the random noise that is inherent in any series of public opinion surveys.
Even if we account for the snowstorms that buffeted Georgia during this period, it appears that any organic voter backlash has dissipated and we’re back to a baseline race with the most recent polling numbers extremely close to the calculated GaPundit Polling Index.
This goes back to a point I’ve made several times recently: I don’t let any single poll influence my opinion of where an election stands if multiple data sources are available. You shouldn’t either. So, why does everyone treat it like a horse race swapping lead constantly? Because it gives political professionals and hobbyists something to talk about, and because it drives both television ratings and website traffic. Not because it gives you any special insight into the dynamics of an election.
SCOTUS rules in McCutcheon case
Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court released its latest campaign finance decision, in a case called McCutcheon v. Federal Elections Commission. Click here for the official opinion.
Politico has a brief report on the effects of the case:
1.) What does the ruling do? Before the ruling, people could only donate $48,600 to federal candidates every two years and $74,600 to political parties and committees. Those caps are gone, meaning a donor can give to as many federal candidates as they want — and donate freely to political parties. Why the ruling? The First Amendment. Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. wrote in his controlling opinion: “There is no right in our democracy more basic than the right to participate in electing our political leaders.”
2.) What doesn’t the ruling do? SCOTUS didn’t touch base limit contributions. That means a donor can still only give $2,600 to a candidate in primary and general elections. But in his dissenting opinion, Justice Stephen G. Breyer wrote: “If the court in Citizens United opened a door, today’s decision may well open a floodgate.” Dems, including the White House, denounced the decision today, too.
3.) What’s this mean for campaigns? A lot. It means that political parties can fundraise just as much money as super PACs and other outside political groups. But it also means that those same rich megadonors could have a lot more influence in party politics. SCOTUS struck down campaign caps for corporations and unions in the 2010 Citizens United case. Josh Gerstein and Byron Tau report: http://politi.co/QGqKFE
Yesterday, replying to a reporter, I wrote my initial thoughts on the case, which I’ll share with you here.
“As a First Amendment purist, I think that any movement by the Court to remove limitations on personal political speech is worth celebrating.
“Today’s Court decision in McCutcheon v FEC is an important first step toward restoring the voice of candidates and party committees and a vindication for all those who support robust, transparent political discourse. I am proud that the RNC led the way in bringing this case and pleased that the Court agreed that limits on how many candidates or committees a person may support unconstitutionally burden core First Amendment political activities. When free speech is allowed to flourish, our democracy is stronger.”