The most feared words in politics: Move On says, "We're here to help"

Move On helped Francine Busby in the California special election for the 50th congressional district, which is in San Diego County.

Guess what? She failed to hit 50% on a low turnout. I'd love to see the scripts they use for tele-canvassing.

I can see the Democrats winning in June, only to lose in November, but there are too many imponderables at the moment to give a serious forecast.

[Hat tip Daily Kos]

Podcasts and milestones

Exciting week: I've crashed through the 6,000 hits and 4,000 visits yesterday. It seems like only last week I was crowing about 5,000 hits (yes I know, Daily Kos gets that every hour or so).

Brian Micklethwait has uploaded the first two Election Watch podcasts.

Podcast #1.

Podcast #2.

Democrats will not win U.S. House of Representatives

I would bet my shirt on this now. It would take a massive terrorist attack, the assassination of Ted Kennedy, George W. Bush (or a close relative) caught in bed with a dead child, the accidental introduction of total gun control by the Republicans in the Senate, or four million illegal immigrants given the vote (and they all vote Democrat in the right districts).

If Francine Busby, despite all the blogging efforts of the pro-Democrat left, couldn't win outright the 50th Congressional District of California - covering San Diego County - her party will not win the 11-15 seats its needs to gain nationally to take back the lower house after six consecutive general election defeats. Daily Kos is unhappy about turnout. So they should be: 36.19% should have been low enough to give the Democrats a chance of an upset victory, clearly not enough angry San Diego voters.

A classic example of failing to manage expectations on the part of MyDD (but then they make Pangloss seem like Cassandra).

In fairness to Mrs Busby, the run-off on June 6 coincides with the Republican primary for the seat's re-election in November.

Confused? In plain English it means that the 13 losing Republican candidates will not be able to campaign to be elected Congressman in June, but they can campaign to be the Republican candidate for Congressman in November. Voters on June 6 will have two votes, one for Congressman today and another for Republican candidate in five months. If that doesn't split the Republican vote, nothing will. Expect the Republican Party's National Committee to try and broker an uncontested primary on June 6. Expect it to fail.

I said it last year (see below), the best chance for the Democrats in 2006 is to pick off the governors. New York, California, Florida and Texas are all up for grabs and all in Republican hands. If the Democrats can capture three of these they should be very satisfied. Forget about the House of Representatives, forget about winning control of the Senate (another fantasy).

Where the Democrats can do real damage is in taking on potential Republican candidates for the presidency. John McCain may be the front-runner, but not decisively so.

At this time, I still think it would be wildly optimistic for the Democrats to win control of either chamber in Congress. But if they keep holding their Governorships, and pick away at the Republican lead in the House of Representatives, they may hang on until 2008, when the Republicans will be defending large numbers of Senate seats, and they have as yet no clear cut presidential candidate.


Solomon Islands throw out the bums

Solomon Islands: from Reuters [world page doesn't have proper permalinks]
HONIARA (Reuters) - Solomon Islands voters ousted half their parliament in the first election since peacekeepers restored law and order in the South Pacific nation three years ago, officials said on Monday, announcing final poll results.

Prime Minister Sir Alan Kemakeza won his seat in last Wednesday's national election but will now have to lobby with winning candidates to form a coalition government ahead of a secret parliamentary ballot for prime minister on April 18.

A government spokesman said many of Kemakeza's elected People's Alliance Party (PAP) candidates have since deserted his party.

"Its difficult to tell how many PAP candidates have been elected as many stood as PAP and have now joined other parties," spokesman Alfred Maesulia told Reuters.

A total of 453 candidates from 13 parties contested 50 seats in an election dominated by government corruption, after several ministers were arrested on corruption charges in the past year.

The Solomon Star newspaper said that, based on the candidates' listings, 18 members of the new parliament are independents.

New parliamentarians will travel to the capital, Honiara, this week, many by boat from far-flung islands, to begin horse-trading to form a new coalition government.

Peru doesn't decide yet

Peruvian tentative results here from the BBC.

One Socialist anti-democrat and the sort of social-democrat who could turn Switzerland into Bolivia in five years, versus a "conservative" woman, whose main selling point is a Socialist woman got elected in Chile recently.

Do you get the feeling I'm not impressed with the breadth of choice on offer?

And there will be a run-off on May 7th.

It ain't over till Berlusconi's Mama sings*

First this, this and this ["Clear victory for Prodi according to early polls"]

Then this.

Then this.

And it's not over yet.

Any guesses why I don't rate exit polls? The next time they don't predict the Socialist wins in a tight race, only to underestimate the non-Socialist vote, I'll be interested.

The latest from Reuters [I'll use permalinks when they make them permanent]:
ROME (Reuters) - The result of Italy's general election hung in the balance on Monday, as one pollster said partial returns suggested Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi might win a shock majority in both houses of parliament.

A second pollster predicted that center-left challenger Romano Prodi would just hold off Berlusconi, leaving the result of the two-day vote on a knife-edge.

Exit polls at the end of the two-day ballot said Prodi had won the election, taking between 50-54 percent of the vote. But as the count proceeded, Nexus pollsters said the center-right was advancing and could eventually end up the winner.

Center-left leaders reacted with dismay and disbelief as the polls changed direction, revealing a country split in two after five years of Berlusconi government.


I love Norway

The country was supposed to become poor because it was outside the E.U.. Nope.

The country was supposed to join the E.U.. Nope (three times I think).

Now, the Progress Party is teaching Ludwig von Mises, Murray Rothbard and Hans Hermann Hoppe to its aspiring candidates. That's the sort of progressives I could vote for!

Singapore tries to ban political blogs


Good news from Japan

The Socialist/Conservative Democratic Party is a shambles.

Bad choices in Hungary

I trained Hungarian politicians in Slovakia back in 1991-1992. I got some insight into the FIDESZ party then. [If I have time someday, I'll put down what happened on the day of the anti-Gorbachev coup-d'état in August 1991.]

Today's election is portrayed as a Socialist/free market alliance versus conservative nationalists.

I really don't have time for a coalition with politicians who were complicit in the Soviet era. However, my guess is that the good guys have lined up with the Socialists, so economically we want them to win.

Expect bad relations with neighbouring countries if FIDESZ wins, especially Romania and Slovakia.

Peru election round-up

Not much time, so here are links.

BBC, and here.

Looks tight.

Other U.S.A. round-up

Matt Stoller's dreaming of a Democrat majority in November over at DD.
French proverb: "Il ne faut pas prendre ses désirs pour des réalités."

Will New Orleans voters kick out their mayor? They should, the guy turned down help to evacuate the city before Hurricane Katrina. I'm not sure if having the exiles vote helps him or not.

OK, My DD predicts a Democrat landslide, and then it reports this.

Electronic voting is not quite worth as much as the paper it is written on, says the former CEO. Trust the government to buy a computer? I don't.

The auditors at the GAO look at military and overseas votes here.

Busy time on the highways between Washington D.C. and New Hampshire and Iowa.

Unless someone can fool youngsters into thinking that Bushitler is up for re-election this, expect them to find something more interesting to do in November.

Michelle Malkin has this on the racist-cops-butted-my-fist-with-their-torsos incident, aka Congresswoman McKinney had another strop. [I think she's a Karl Rove spy, who's job is to undermine Democratic Party press coverage over their excellent policy launch last week. Hope, he's paying you good, lady!]

Heartland Institute Citizen's Guide to Conservative Organisations. If there's a Liberal equivalent, please let me know so I can post it.

Ohio: a congressional election for November has already attracted national Republican campaign spending. This is attack money against a Democrat incumbent. Unless you're bluffing, you don't spend this sort of money this early, unless you think you have a chance of gaining seats.

Tom DeLay: Drama Queen

Tom DeLay's decision on the 4th of April to announce that he will not stand for re-election risks giving Democrats in California a fillip days before a crucial vote.

It may have given DeLay plenty of coverage (the news outlets wanted to cover the story in the run-up to a potential Democrat "anti-corruption" victory in San Diego), but it is stupid party politics. Didn't anyone tell the outgoing Leader of the Republicans in the House of Representatives that you make these announcements after the polls have closed, preferably during the holidays when most of the reporters are on skiing resorts or whatever?

Hint: doing what your political opponents want you to do, when they want you to do it, is probably bad.

Good riddance, if this is an example of DeLay's strategy.

CA-50 special election news

My final verdict: low turnout, Democrats might squeak 50%. High turnout, wait for the run-off on Tuesday June 6. (And no, I haven't a clue who the top Republican will be.)

With 48 hours to go, the Democrats are talking up their chances of winning the San Diego County election to the U.S. House of Representatives.

I've written about this previously, here and here.

In addition to whipping up enthusiasm, Daily Kos and others have been taking on the Republican candidates, and with some success.

The amount of money raised is unusual, according to Federal Election Commission returns. But I'd say all sides should throw everything at this. If the Democrats can win, they can boast an "anti-corruption crusade" and try to carry this into the November elections. If the Republicans hold on, it will help with the recent jitters. (Frankly I consider Tom DeLay a vastly over-rated party strategist if he thinks standing down within a week of this election is a clever move. The correct decision was to either go last November, or hang on until later this week. Sorry, but for all the money in U.S. elective politics, I'm seriously under-impressed with the strategic thinking, on both sides.)

The money becomes the issue.

How to lose the next election

The U.K.'s Labour Party is trying to lose the next election.

Someone needs to grow up, I think.

Every little helps

With negotiations on-going to form a government in Israel, I guess this is helpful.

Final count [adapted from BBC]:
1. Kadima: 29 seats, "centrist"
2. Labour: 20 seats, centre-left
Possible partners
3. Shas: 12 seats, ultra-Orthodox
4. Pensioners: 7 seats, single-issue
5. Torah Judaism: 6 seats, ultra-Orthodox
6. Meretz: 5 seats, left-wing
Unlikely partners:
7. Israel Beitenu: 11 seats, Russian emigres, far-right
8. Likud: 12 seats, right-wing
9. Arab parties: 9 seats
10. National Union/Religious: 9 seats, far-right, settlers

Majority: 61.

Zapatero loves Apartheid!

So much for Spanish Socialists being in favour of democracy and against racism: they want to prevent people living in Gibraltar from voting in the U.K.'s European elections on the grounds that they are from Pakistan, Nigeria or India.

Note: the U.K. allows citizens from all Commonwealth countries the right to vote in U.K. elections. Gibraltar is part of the South West England constituency, so the Spanish/E.U. ruling would create an apartheid electoral system based on race in part of the U.K.. I'd love to see how advocating that fits in with anti-racism laws.

Let's hear it now: "Zapatero loves Apartheid!"

Close in Italy: a shame they can't both lose

If the foreign commentators had anything to do with it, Italy's election today and tomorrow would be a shoo-in for the Socialist-Communist-fellow-traveller coalition. Silvio Berlusconi was taken ill during the long campaign and the almost universal view is that he came off worst in all the television debates. In Sicily, he was denounced as an unwitting tool of the Mafia, elsewhere he was described as a crook, a loon and an American stooge.

Berlusconi also upset his opponents when he suggested that Italians aren't big enough "pricks" to vote Socialist.

And yet the man may win.

To the extent that a Berlusconi triumph will put all the people in London, who swallowed the wasp over George W. Bush's re-election in 2004, into a hissy-fit, I'm hoping for the narrowest win possible. But I'm not expecting it.

If Berlusconi wins, it will be because he's had some luck in the last few days.
1) Abdul Rahman. The report in Le Figaro [in French here] rightly call the issue a "blessing" for Mr Berlusconi. The Christian vote may be less than a majority, but it is hard to imagine what Mr Berlusconi could have done to shore up the church-going vote at cheaper cost. What are the leftists supposed to do? Not much it seems.

2) Abortion. These days the abortion-haters and the abortion-lovers are both minorities. But the pro-abortion types either voted left-wing already, or can't be bothered to vote (it's not cool). Net effect, condemning the excesses of abortion pays off for a non-leftist party.

3) Berlusconi=global player vs. Prodi=euro-fixer. I know people who voted against John Major in 1997 because his haircut was rubbish compared with Tony Blair's. The man knows how to dress and how to sit next to the U.S. President without looking out of place. If style loses votes, Mr Romano Prodi is doomed.

4) An attempt to "do a Madrid" was foiled by the Italian security forces. I've seen very little coverage of this incident. But it is hard imagine how it helps the left to be the party Al Quaeda wants to win.

On the other hand, Mr Berlusconi is facing another round of investigations over criminal activities (although nothing serious enough for the British Labour Party to refuse taking money for or worry about connecting with).

His support among business leaders is not as solid as it was. Italian expatriates get to vote for the first time, my guess is they're more likely to be moralistic about corruption and pro-E.U.. Anyway, if its a contest between left-wing ballot-rigging and right-wing ballot-stuffing, my money's on the labour unions.

We know which way the U.S. Democratic left is leaning: weird how they 1) deny that they are fellow-travellers of Communism, 2) support a coalition that includes Communists, at every turn (Italy, before that Cambodia, Chile, Cuba, Spain, Venzuela, Vietnam). Sounds like Gulag-denial to me.

For the record. I do not advocate a vote for Forza Italia, it includes some very unsavoury people. "It's a shame they can't both lose."

Big week

Elections today in Hungary and Peru.

Monday: two days of voting in Italy end.

Tuesday: special election in San Diego, California for the 50th Congressional district seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

All of these elections are forecast to be close, with the Californian election a race for Democrat Party candidate Francine Busby to get the 50% of the total vote in order to avoid a run-off against the highest-scoring of 14 Republican contenders, where she would normally be expected to lose.

And last week we had the first election in Kuwait that allowed women voters.

Action posted today from Norway, the U.S.A., Israel, Gibraltar, the U.K., Japan and Singapore. Afghanistan gets a mention.

And today is Liberation Day in Iraq.