Americans are by now broadly aware of the threat posed by Chinese-owned TikTok, including its threat…
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TikTok’s Latest Assault: Ripping Off American Artists and Songwriters

Americans are by now broadly aware of the threat posed by Chinese-owned TikTok, including its threat to U.S. national security.

In recent days, we’ve witnessed in real time another emerging TikTok threat reaching the headlines:  The threat it poses to intellectual property protections, which undergird America’s status as the most artistically and musically productive and influential nation in human history.

Universal Music Group, however, has decided to stand up and fight back by removing its catalog of songs – including artists like Taylor Swift, Drake and Billie Eilish – from TikTok.

Tone-Deaf TikTok has built its aggressive worldwide empire largely on the backs of music created by American artists, as even its corporate leadership openly admits.  As TikTok’s very own…[more]

February 08, 2024 • 12:44 PM

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The Midterms in Prospect: The Senate (Part 3) Print
By Troy Senik
Thursday, September 25 2014
In the last four decades, both Arkansas and Louisiana went for Democrats in presidential elections only three times...

Over the past two weeks, I’ve presented analysis of this year’s U.S. Senate races by region, with previous installments looking at contests in the West and the Midwest. This week’s edition begins an examination of elections in the South that will continue into next week (the fourth and final edition will also include a brief look at the Northeast).

At first blush, it may seem strange that the South has enough competitive races to merit being split into two parts. After all, the region has a reputation for being more monochromatic than the West or the Midwest, both of which contain a striking array of political subcultures.

The South, by contrast, is now generally regarded as solidly conservative, in much the same way that the Northeast (defined, for my purposes, as everything from Washington, D.C., north) is accepted as reliably liberal.

As a quick caricature, this notion gets more right than it does wrong, but it understates the complexity of Southern politics. Within the last few decades, the region — long a Democratic stronghold — has clearly shifted to Republicans as liberal cultural mores have alienated voters who tend to be more thoroughgoing traditionalists than those elsewhere in the country.

While that trend has been most evident in presidential races (Florida and Virginia — both culturally distinct from the other states in the region — were the only Southern states won by Barack Obama in 2012), there has also been strong movement in gubernatorial, congressional and state legislative races.

What complicates matters is that the shift in the South has been more partisan than ideological.

It’s not that Southern voters have done a 180 in terms of their political principles, so much as that the Democratic Party — especially at the national level — has abandoned those principles.

Southern Democrats were always primarily conservative Democrats. The Left, however, has made them an increasingly marginal part of its coalition. Yet a handful of more centrist Democrats remain viable in the South — especially when they can distance themselves from liberals like Barack Obama, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi.

There is one race in the South this year that will almost certainly switch parties and is unlikely to be competitive. That’s in West Virginia, a state that’s an object lesson in precisely the kind of political complexity noted in the last paragraph.

West Virginia is, no doubt, a conservative state. President Obama had a 25 percent approval rating there as of January (second lowest — behind Wyoming — of any state in the nation) and a convicted felon actually earned 41 percent of the vote against the President in the state’s 2012 Democratic primary. 

While the state is reliably Republican in presidential races, however, it consistently elects Democrats statewide. Those Democrats — such as U.S. Senator (and former Governor) Joe Manchin — tend to be some of the most conservative in the nation.

Veteran West Virginia Democrat Jay Rockefeller is retiring this year after 30 years in the upper chamber.

The woman who the party has nominated as his successor, Secretary of State Natalie Tennant, appears to be hopelessly at sea. She trails the Republican nominee, Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito, by an average of nearly 20 points. On election night, West Virginia will be one of three states — Montana and South Dakota are the others — where Republicans should be able to pick up a seat without breaking a sweat.

Three Democratic incumbents in the South are currently fighting for their political lives: Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu, Arkansas’s Mark Pryor and North Carolina’s Kay Hagan.

Landrieu and Pryor deserve to be considered in tandem. Both are from states where the Democratic Party still retains some vestigial power (though it is decisively on the wane) and both are the scions of politically prominent families.

Landrieu is the daughter of Moon Landrieu, former New Orleans mayor and HUD Secretary in the Carter Administration, and the brother of Mitch Landrieu, former Louisiana Lieutenant Governor and current Mayor of New Orleans.

Pryor is the son of David Pryor, who served as both governor of, and U.S. Senator from, Arkansas.

Both states have been trending strongly Republican in recent years. In the last four decades, both Arkansas and Louisiana went for Democrats in presidential elections only three times — for Jimmy Carter in 1976 and for Bill Clinton in 1992 and 1996.

Centrist Democratic Senator Blanche Lincoln was defeated in Arkansas in 2010 and — with moderate Democrat Mike Beebe termed out — the state looks likely to elect Republican Asa Hutchinson governor this year.

In Louisiana, Republican David Vitter has held the state’s other Senate seat since 2004 and GOP wunderkind Bobby Jindal has twice been elected governor. The trend lines — combined with President Obama’s weak poll numbers — thus put both Pryor and Landrieu in ticklish positions.

Their status as legacy candidates, however, has kept these races from turning into blowouts.

Landrieu (who’s recently faced questions about her residency after it was revealed that her address in Louisiana is her parents’ home) has been consistently trailing her GOP opponent, Congressman Bill Cassidy, in the polls. The RealClearPolitics average, however, gives Cassidy an advantage of just over five points — certainly not enough to consider the race in the bag, especially given how light the polling has been thus far.

Because Louisiana law dictates a runoff if no candidate gets over 50 percent on election night — an outcome that’s likely given a close race and the presence of a wide array of candidates on the ballot — it’s entirely possible that the outcome of this race won’t be determined until early December, when that subsequent election would be held.

As for Pryor, his race against freshman Republican Congressman Tom Cotton — much beloved amongst conservative kingmakers in Washington — is also a close one.

Cotton is ahead in most polls, but usually within the margin of error. Given President Obama’s unpopularity in the South, the fact that midterm turnout dynamics favor Republicans, coupled with the general partisan drift in the region, it’s likely reasonable to deem Cassidy and Cotton slight favorites — but those races are both likely to stay tight through Election Day.

North Carolina presents a slightly different dynamic. Long a Republican stronghold in presidential races, the state narrowly went for Barack Obama in 2008 (driven largely by African-American turnout). Dreams of making the Tar Heel State a permanent swing state, however, dimmed in 2012, when it reverted to type, supporting Mitt Romney and handing Obama his narrowest loss four years after giving him his narrowest victory.

North Carolina’s incumbent Democratic Senator, Kay Hagan, first came to office in 2008, bolstered both by the wave of support for Obama and by the fact that Republican incumbent Elizabeth Dole had developed a reputation for staying in Washington, D.C., rather than visiting the state she ostensibly represented in Congress.

Hagan has no such accelerants this year and has thus found herself in a tight race with North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis. Unlike Landrieu and Pryor, however, Hagan has boasted a consistent (though modest) lead in virtually all of the recent polls.

Again, midterm turnout that favors Republicans is likely to cut into her margins, but it’s not yet apparent that it will be enough to hand Tillis a victory. Come election night, Hagan is likely to be among one of two groups: the incumbents who survived by the thinnest margins or the ones who lost by the thinnest margins.

Next week, in the final installment of the series, we’ll look at two races in the South (Kentucky and Georgia) where Republicans are potentially vulnerable, as well as examining the sole race in the Northeast (New Hampshire) where there’s the serious potential for a party switch.  

Notable Quote   
"Mitch McConnell changed the direction of the world. He stopped the destruction of the Republican Party by opposing, delaying and weakening and ultimately defeating the drive for 'campaign finance reform' that would have left union bosses as the sole power in America. Senator McConnell herorically sculpted the present Supreme Court and saved the second amendment, religious liberty and free speech.…[more]
— Grover Norquist, President of Americans for Tax Reform
Liberty Poll   

Assuming that Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., is able to get on most 2024 ballots as a third-party or independent candidate for President, from which major party candidate do you believe he will take the most votes?