Campaign Crawlers

Campaign Crawlers

Does Rahmbo Get to Win This Time?

By 3.25.15

One wouldn’t think that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel would still have a shot of winning a second term — especially after the hits he has taken since being forced into a runoff against little-known Cook County Commissioner Jesus (Chuy) Garcia.

Last month, on Election Day, Emanuel ran afoul of the Second City’s black residents and criminal justice reform advocates across the nation after the Guardian revealed that police officers were allegedly beating and torturing suspects they arrested at a warehouse on the city’s West Side. The news, coming on the heels of outrage over police misconduct in Ferguson, Mo., New York City, and Cleveland, Ohio (where a 12-year-old boy playing with a toy gun was shot by a police officer within seconds of pulling up), likely contributed to Emanuel winning a mere 45 percent of the vote.

Campaign Crawlers

I Love the ’90s

By 3.13.15

The Millennial generation — into which I have been unceremoniously lumped, care of a post-Reagan inauguration birthdate — has a thing for the ’90s. 

It’s no secret that anyone south of 40 is, these days, looking to extend their neon-colored childhood into the forseeable future. After all, the harder we cling to our Polly Pockets and our Tamagotchis, the less likely we are to have to handle the day-to-day minutiae of reality: paying taxes, having a job, shoveling driveways, keeping potted plants alive and the like. The longer we hold on to what we had when we were comfortably siloed off from the hardships of responsibility, the less likely we are to wake up one morning and face down our own mortality in the bathroom mirror, realizing that the hundred-thousand-dollar Genders Studies education we paid for is unlikely to earn us any living beyond a one-bedroom urban apartment that lacks central air-conditioning.

Campaign Crawlers

A Moderate Democrat Actually

By 3.10.15

Orinda, California, Mayor Steve Glazer says that he is running for a state Senate seat vacated by now-Rep. Mark DeSaulnier “as a pragmatic problem-solver rather than a partisan.” In my line of work, I hear that sort of stock phrase all the time; I take it with a grain of salt. In Glazer’s case, however, two facts suggest he means business: 1) He supports a law to prohibit Bay Area Rapid Transit workers from striking as they did in 2013. 2) Public employee unions have shoveled hundreds of thousands of dollars to help defeat Glazer, a Democrat.

Campaign Crawlers

Surviving CPAC: A Cautionary Tale

By 3.4.15

I skipped town before they revealed the results of the annual CPAC straw poll, though I’d dutifully navigated the main hallway through the ten or so lines of bright-eyed college students looking to leave their mark on the tradition by skewing the results toward Rand Paul. Putting the straw poll outpost perpendicular to the waves of people flooding out of CPAC’s main ballroom had the twin effects of inciting a maddening claustrophobia among the crowds (thus, perhaps, encouraging alcohol consumption at the nightly parties), and making everyone hate the concept of trading free t-shirts for a moment of publicity everyone sloughs off anyway.

Campaign Crawlers

Nobody is Really Ready for Warren

By 2.12.15

I've seen the interviews and I've heard the songs. I've seen the fake poll showing her leading in Iowa. I've been subjected to her mug in every corner of the Internet since she first pulled ahead of Scott Brown in that fateful race for Senate that propelled her from the lowly ranks of the Harvard faculty and the Troubled Asset Relief Program bureaucracy to the glittery halls of national elected office.

But I don't really believe anyone really wants the Massachusetts mohican to run for president.

Campaign Crawlers

Sarah Palin Strikes Out on the Field of Presidential Dreams

By 1.28.15

Our world is full of confounding mysteries, among them, whether Bigfoot exists (according to that Animal Planet show, the answer is clearly no), whether dairy-free cheese can rightly be considered cheese, why Nicki Minaj continues to record music, whether leggings can really be considered pants, and why Americans start their presidential campaigns more than a year ahead of time.

The Republican Party could revert to the age-old method of choosing its candidates in smoke-filled back rooms, out of the prying eyes of the public and away from disorienting flashbulbs and 24-hour news channels. But like moths, we find something strangely attractive about self-immolation. So, unsettled by the more reliable methods for choosing a standard-bearer for 2016, we instead parade our shame through flyover country beginning now, at the behest of a congressman who thinks climbing the border fence is a great workout for your calves.

Campaign Crawlers

If You Don’t Have Anything Nice to Say

By 10.15.14

Here in Colorado, a funny thing happened on the way to the ballot box: The reliably liberal Denver Post endorsed Republican Congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Cory Gardner over incumbent Democratic Senator Mark Udall.

Why did this happen? Because Mark Udall’s campaign has been — as I predicted three months ago on these pages — an unrelentingly negative and mindless barrage of “war on women” drivel.

Even the Post, whose editors noted that “we disagree with (Gardner) on same-sex marriage and abortion rights,” recognized that “Udall's campaign has devoted a shocking amount of energy and money trying to convince voters that Gardner seeks to outlaw birth control despite the congressman's call for over-the-counter sales of contraceptives. Udall is trying to frighten voters rather than inspire them with a hopeful vision. His obnoxious one-issue campaign is an insult to those he seeks to convince.”

Campaign Crawlers

The Case of the Excited Republicans

By 8.29.14

By now word has reached even the remotest Florida precincts that incumbent Republican governor Rick Scott has won the right to run for a second term by trouncing two primary challengers who were unknown and weaker than Obama’s foreign policy.

Campaign Crawlers

Now It’s Official

By 8.27.14

To the surprise of no one not on controlled substances, Rick Scott and Charlie Crist overcame weak primary opponents in a low turn-out election Tuesday to become the Republican and Democratic nominees for Florida governor. So it’s officially Mr. Sunshine against Mr. Clean (anyone who has seen Crist campaign and seen a picture of Scott will not question these sobriquets).

Incumbent Scott was the choice of 88 percent of Republicans over two unknown vanity candidates. Florida Democrats demonstrated that they want the Florida governorship so badly — an office their party hasn’t held since 1994 — that they’re willing to run just anyone with name recognition to achieve it. And badly is how they will get it if Crist wins in November, an outcome that seems increasingly unlikely.

Campaign Crawlers

Florida Air War

By 8.20.14


The governor’s race in Florida is on and it’s ugly. But like our pathetic response to ISIS, it’s almost entirely an air war. Mostly throwing dirt high into the air to little or no effect.

Incumbent Republican governor Rick Scott, along with his Democrat (for the moment) challenger and former Florida governor Charlie Crist, plus the various groups supporting these two, are running lots of television ads. Most of these ads helpfully point out that the other guy is a villain, a blackguard, a knave, a poltroon, and a low-down suck-egg dog (or words to this effect) with neither the integrity nor competence to be trusted with the office of assistant county rat-catcher, let alone governor. If Florida voters believe these ads, this could be the first election for governor in which no one votes.