March, 2017

A National Precinct Map

This is pretty amazing: A full map of the 2016 presidential election down to the precinct level.

The map is searchable and allows you to see in the greatest detail available how the nation voted in the Trump-Clinton race and compare those results to the Obama-McCain and Obama-Romney elections.

Putin Says Claims of Interference Are ‘Lies’

Vladimir Putin said that accusations that Russia interfered in last year’s U.S. elections are “lies” used for “domestic American politics,” CNBC reports.

Said Putin: “We said on numerous occasions and I reiterate that we are confident… and know for sure that opinion polls in the United States show that very many people are… friendly towards the Russian Federation, and I’d like to tell these people that we perceive and regard the United States as a great power with which we want to establish good partnership relations.”

He added: “All those things are fictional, illusory and provocations, lies. All these are used for domestic American political agendas. The anti-Russian card is played by different political forces inside the United States to trade on that and consolidate their positions inside.”

Quote of the Day

“The Rio Grande, what side of the river are you going to put the wall? We’re not going to put it on our side and cede the river to Mexico. And we’re probably not going to put it in the middle of the river.”

— Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, quoted by E&E News, suggesting a border wall could be placed on the Mexican side of the U.S. border.

North Carolina Strikes Deal to Repeal Bathroom Law

“North Carolina’s Republican-controlled legislature and its Democratic governor announced late Wednesday that they had reached an agreement to repeal the controversial state law that curbs legal protections for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and sets rules that affect transgender bathroom use in public buildings,” the New York Times reports.

“But gay rights advocates raised objections, arguing that the compromise would continue to allow discrimination. And it was unclear late Wednesday whether the deal, if approved, would end the boycotts by sports leagues, businesses and others that have harmed the state’s reputation and economy.”

Washington Post: “This week, lawmakers are facing a clear deadline imposed by the NCAA, which gave North Carolina until Thursday to change the law if it wants to host any college sports championships through 2022.”

Few Trying to Save the Filibuster

“The Senate is careening toward a historic change to its filibuster rules that takes it one step closer to a version of the majority-rule House of Representatives,” Politico reports.

“But no one seems to care enough to save the Senate from itself.”

“Unlike past institutional crises, there’s no bipartisan ‘gang’ stepping up to force a truce between the warring armies led by Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer. Acrimony between the two parties has become so routine that invoking the so-called nuclear option to get Neil Gorsuch confirmed to the Supreme Court is almost a ho-hum affair, assumed to be a done deal.”

Trump Will Seek Only Modest Changes to NAFTA

“The Trump administration is signaling to Congress it would seek mostly modest changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement in upcoming negotiations with Mexico and Canada, a deal President Donald Trump called a ‘disaster’ during the campaign,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

As Politico notes, most of what Trump wants changed in NAFTA is what was already negotiated in the Trans Pacific Partnership trade agreement he already rejected.

Freedom Caucus Reckons with Wrath of Trump

Politico: “The heat has left some of the remaining members of the group questioning whether the Freedom Caucus did the right thing in delivering an embarrassing rebuke to their new Republican president. Some hope that Speaker Paul Ryan’s move this week to re-open negotiations on health care will give them another chance to get to ‘yes’ — and save them from being faulted for the collapse of the GOP’s campaign to end Obamacare.”

“It’s unclear how prevalent buyer’s remorse is within the group, which has roughly three dozen members.”

History Suggests White House Can’t Lead on Tax Reform

“Republican and Democratic veterans of Washington’s messy policymaking process have a vehement response to the idea that the White House, fresh from its failed attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act, will take the lead on drafting legislation to reform the nation’s tax system: good luck with that,” Politico reports.

“Traditionally, the White House has stumbled when trying to craft major new legislation. Writing laws is, after all, what Congress gets paid to do — and lawmakers don’t like being big-footed by staffers at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., even when they come from the same party.”

Why a Membership Model?

Many have asked why Political Wire switched to a membership model last year. The answer is very simple: digital advertising is broken.

There was a time when the publisher could sell advertisers access to an audience. The incentives were perfectly in line: Publishers who put out a quality publication attracted a quality audience which made sense to quality advertisers. All parties had a stake in the system.

But as publishing moved to the Internet and digital ads evolved, the incentives grew out of whack. Publishers no longer have a direct relationship with most advertisers. Instead they increasingly use ad networks. These ad networks pool an audience across thousands of different publications and websites. Advertisers tell the networks what audience they want to target and their ads are shown wherever those readers happen to be visiting.

What does this mean? Publishers no longer have direct relationships with advertisers so they try to make themselves as attractive to ad networks as they can. This often means sharing personal data about their readers and resorting to other reader unfriendly tactics to show as many ads as they can. Advertisers no longer care about individual publications since their audience may come from thousands of different sites.

To make matters worse, the Internet has a virtually unlimited inventory of ad space which drives prices down to ridiculously low prices. This often leads to ads that are in very poor taste.

The membership model is much more direct and honest. Publishers are directly accountable to their readers. That’s it.

If you’re a regular reader and not yet a member, please consider it. In addition to supporting a site you love, you’ll also get exclusive analysis, new features and no advertising.

Join today for $5 a month or $50 for the year.