Offering asides, recommended links, blogworthy quotations, and more, In Brief is the Northwest Progressive Institute's microblog of world, national, and local politics.


I commend President Obama for proudly standing up for an open Internet that will remain free of fast and slow lanes for consumers and companies. President Obama today joins millions of Americans who have made their voice heard loud and clear at the FCC. Net neutrality is as a basic to the functioning of the Internet as nondiscrimination is to the U.S. Constitution.

— Senator Ed Markey of Massachusetts: Obama’s call for Internet freedom is huge

Video Clip

President Obama today urged the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to take up the strongest possible rules to protect net neutrality, the principle that says Internet service providers (ISPs) should treat all internet traffic equally.


People are ready to work, ready to do their part, ready to fight for their futures and their kids’ futures, but they see a government that bows and scrapes for big corporations, big banks, big oil companies and big political donors — and they know this government does not work for them.

— Senator Elizabeth Warren: It’s time to work on America’s agenda

Recommended Link

CNN holds morning meeting to decide what viewers should panic about for rest of day

The Onion has once again taken aim at Time Warner’s CNN with a hilarious spoof.

Chat Transcript

President Barack Obama chides CBS’ Major Garrett: You don’t need to be the mouthpiece of congressional Republicans

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I’m happy to engage Republicans with additional ideas for how we can enhance that. I should note that our clean energy production is booming as well. And so Keystone I just consider as one small aspect of a broader trend that’s really positive for the American people. And let’s see — okay, medical device tax. I’ve already answered the question. We are going to take a look at whatever ideas — let me take a look comprehensively at the ideas that they present. Let’s give them time to tell me. I’d rather hear it from them than from you.

CBS’ MAJOR GARRETT: For example —


CBS’ MAJOR GARRETT: I’m just telling you what they said.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Conceivably, I could just cancel my meeting on Friday because I’ve heard everything from you. I think I’d rather let Mitch McConnell —

CBS’ MAJOR GARRETT:  I just asked if it was a line you couldn’t cross.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: I’d rather hear from Mitch McConnell and John Boehner what ideas they’d like to pursue, and we’ll have a conversation with them on that.

— Exchange between CBS’ White House correspondent Major Garrett and President Barack Obama at post-election press conference at the White House.


Campaigning on pure negativity isn’t surprising for a party that has governed that way since Mr. Obama was first sworn in. By creating an environment where every initiative is opposed and nothing gets done, Republicans helped engineer the president’s image as weak and ineffectual.

— The New York Times: Negativity wins Republicans the Senate


2014 Republican U.S. Senate victors will have to face voters in 2020, a presidential year

Something to keep in mind for the future: This year’s crop of Republican U.S. Senate victors – some of whom were elected in purple states like North Carolina, Colorado, and Iowa – will next be before voters in six years. Like their counterparts in the class of 2010, they will be having to defend their seats in a presidential election year. That could be a serious problem for them.

Republicans have proved themselves to be fairly adept at winning midterms, with the exception of 1998 and 2006, since Bill Clinton became president.

But Democrats have had the edge in presidential years. Bill Clinton won in 1992 and 1996, Al Gore won the popular vote in 2000 but did not take office, Obama won in 2008 and 2012. Democrats have had more success electing candidates to Congress in presidential years as well, with the notable exception of 2006.

It will be interesting to see what happens to the Republican Class of 2010 next cycle. It will be the Republicans’ turn to play defense, as Democrats will have no vulnerable incumbents in red states to defend, while Republicans will need to protect seven incumbents in blue states.


I-594 winning big: Washington State set to expand background checks on gun sales

The Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, which has been working for months to make background checks universal in the Evergreen State, is having a great night so far. I-594, the coalition’s initiative, is prevailing by a significant margin, while I-591, the gun lobby’s competing initiative to prevent background checks from being expanded beyond what federal law requires, is failing.

This is in line with preelection polling, but it’s nonetheless a welcome relief to get some good news on what has otherwise been a disappointing night.



Democrats behind in all competitive state Senate contests

Early returns are not looking promising for Democrats in state Senate contests.

As of this writing, all the party’s challengers were behind in all of their races, although no Democratic incumbent is losing. So, at minimum, Senate Democrats will end up with a twenty-three member caucus.

The closest race, as expected, is between Matt Isenhower and Andy Hill. Hill has 52% of the vote, while Isenhower has 47%. Given the large number of ballots outstanding, this is hardly an insurmountable lead.

The other challengers (Tami Green, Rich Cowan, Irene Bowling) are much further behind their Republican opponents.

In the 30th District, Democrat-turned-Republican Mark Miloscia had a solid lead over Shari Song. The 30th is an open seat, vacated by retiring Senator Tracey Eide.



Many U.S. Senate races close; Republicans projected to pick up at least two seats

Here’s an updated summary of where we stand in U.S. Senate races:

Republican pickups

  • Arkansas: Tom Cotton (R) projected to defeat Mark Pryor (D)
  • West Virginia: Shelley Moore Capito (R) beats Natalie Tennant (D)

Democratic holds

  • New Hampshire: Jeanne Shaheen (D) defeats Scott Brown (R)
  • Minnesota: Al Franken (D) defeats Mike McFadden (R)
  • Massachusetts: Ed Markey (D) defeats Brian Herr (R)
  • Illinois: Dick Durbin (D) defeats Jim Oberweis (R)
  • Michigan: Gary Peters (D) defeats Terri Lynne Land (R)

Republican holds

  • Kentucky: Mitch McConnell (R) defeats A. Lundergan Grimes (D)

Arkansas voters overwhemingly back minimum wage increase

Democrats may be having a bad night overall in Arkansas, but they can take some solace in the outcome of Issue #5, which asked voters if they wanted to improve an increase in the state’s minimum wage.

The answer? Yes, by a two-to-one margin.

Minimum wage increases are also on the ballot in several other states, including Alaska, where Senator Mark Begich is seeking reelection.


Where things stand now: A summary of gubernatorial races in the Eastern timezone

Welcome to NPI’s continuing elections live coverage. He is a quick summary of where things stand in the gubernatorial races on the East Coast. Note that in some states, polls have not yet closed.

Too close to call

  • Florida: Charlie Crist (D) versus Rick Scott (R)

Too early to call

  • Massachusetts: Martha Coakley (D) versus Charlie Baker (R)
  • New Hampshire: Maggie Hassan (D) versus Walt Havenstein (R)
  • Maryland: Anthony Brown (D) versus Larry Hogan (R)
  • Maine: Paul LePage (R) versus Michael Michaud (D)
  • Georgia: Nathan Deal (R) versus Jason Carter (D)

Projected Democratic pickup

  • Pennsylvania: Tom Wolf (D) defeats Tom Corbett (R)



There’s this false perception that nobody cares — nobody cares about democracy, nobody cares about engaging in it. But I think that that’s not true. And I’ve seen it not to be true.

— Northwest School senior Maya Garfinkel, featured in KPLU’s story Young voters explain how to get their peers to cast ballots in midterm elections.

Recommended Link

Thanks to the Supreme Court, many Texans can’t vote in this election because they don’t have ID

Writing for Daily Kos, Meteor Blades explains that many progressive Texas voters are being disenfranchised due to the Lone Star State’s punitive “voter ID” law.

Recommended Link

Boston says goodbye to late Mayor Thomas Menino

The City of Boston turned out in force to pay its final respects to the late Mayor Thomas Menino, who governed the city for decades. Menino, who presided over a revitalization of the city, has been nicknamed “the urban mechanic”.

Recommended Link

Mitch McConnell’s sick new low: New mailers expose his suppression tactics

Luke Brinker reports that McConnell’s campaign is sending mail pieces to Kentucky voters (presumably, Democratic voters) that they could be voting based on “fraudulent information”.

Matt Isenhower and Jay Inslee

Governor Jay Inslee and Matt Isenhower share a laugh while out doorbelling (Photo: Andrew Villeneuve/NPI)


Recommended Link

A father’s scars: For Creigh Deeds, tragedy brings unending questions

Washington Post reporter Stephanie McCrummen has filed a profile of Virginia State Senator Creigh Deeds is deserving of a Pulitzer Prize. The profile powerfully captures the anguish felt by Deeds since November 19th of last year, when Deeds’ own mentally ill son stabbed him in the face and then killed himself.

Recommended Link

All thirty-two NFL logos… transformed for Halloween

NFL humor and news blog Kissing Suzy Kolber has managed to transform every single NFL team logo into a Halloween graphic. It’s the latest in a series of creative logo projects the publication has attempted.



Republican Andy Hill holding his election night party in downtown Bellevue

Republican Andy Hill, who is trying to become the first Republican to get reelected in the suburban 45th District (Redmond, Kirkland, Sammamish, Woodinville, Duvall) since Toby Nixon ten years ago, has sent out an email inviting his supporters to his election night party. Curiously, Hill’s campaign won’t be at any of the many restaurants or venues within the district – or even in a city that the 45th shares with a neighboring district. Instead, his party will be in downtown Bellevue:

We will be celebrating a strong election finish and viewing election results on Tuesday November 4 at the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue (11100 NE 6th St, Bellevue, WA 98004).

Doors will open at 7 PM and results will be announced at 8:15 PM. Light appetizers will be provided and a no-host bar is available.

Please feel free to stop by, we’ll have a room for Andy off the main ballroom and he is looking forward to seeing you and thanking you for all your support. We very much appreciate your support and involvement in the campaign and welcome you to come celebrate with us on Election Night!

Hill’s opponent, Democrat Matt Isenhower, will be celebrating Election Night with his supporters at the Red Hook Brewery in Woodinville, in the heart of the 45th District.


Recommended Link

Why John Maynard Keynes’s theories can fix the world economy

Bloomberg Businessweek’s economics editor Peter Coy explains why the world needs a return to Keynesian economics.