The Election Cycle Never Ends

For politicians, the election cycle never ends. Now that the 2010 midterms are over—or almost—it’s time to start thinking about 2012. Two years from now the real prize, the presidency, will be back on the table. With a divided Congress likely to mean gridlock, both parties will spend most of the next two years jockeying for position in the next elections. The Democrats are likely to rebound from their devastating losses in the midterms, but the key factor will once again be the economy. If unemployment hasn’t come down substantially the Democrats will be in serious trouble.

The recent elections, as I have argued, weren't a referendum on President Obama so much as an expression of national frustration over the stagnant economy. But if the economy doesn’t pick up in the next two years, then Obama will have a hard time winning reelection, even though so far the Republicans don’t have an obviously strong candidate to challenge him. The frontrunner for the Republican nomination is Mitt Romney, who is not particularly popular with social conservatives and may never live down the fact that his Massachusetts health care plan was the model for health care reform. A recent AP-Gfk poll finds that Sarah Palin has the highest favorability rating among Republicans, but she is very unpopular with  the independents she would need to win the general election. The other likely candidates with national name recognition are Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich. Party favorites who are longer shots include Sen. John Thune (R-SD), Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty, Mississippi Governor and former Republican National Committee Chairman Haley Barbour, and—as I have suggested—Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN).

Even if the economy is still faltering, Democrats have a good chance to bounce back in Congress. Midterm elections tend to be dominated by seniors, who largely vote Republican. But with the presidency at stake and Obama on the ballot again, liberal young voters will return to the polls in larger numbers. With a majority in the House, Republicans will have more seats to defend—many of them seats in districts Obama won—and won’t be able to put all the blame for the economy on Democrats. But even if the Democrats are able to retake the House, they may still lose the Senate. Many more Democrats than Republicans are up for reelection in the Senate. And Politico reports that as many as 9 Democrats seats may be competitive, and argues that Sen. Ben Nelson (D-NE), Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT), Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA), Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) are particularly vulnerable.

How getting in sync with your partner can lead to increased intimacy and sexual desire

Researchers discover a link between nonverbal synchronization and relationship success.

Sex & Relationships
  • Scientists say coordinating movements leads to increased intimacy and sexual desire in a couple.
  • The improved rapport and empathy was also observed in people who didn't know each other.
  • Non-verbal clues are very important in the development stages of a relationship.
Keep reading Show less

How humans evolved to live in the cold

Humans evolved to live in the cold through a number of environmental and genetic factors.

Image source: Wikimedia Commons
Surprising Science
  • According to some relatively new research, many of our early human cousins preceded Homo sapien migrations north by hundreds of thousands or even millions of years.
  • Cross-breeding with other ancient hominids gave some subsets of human population the genes to contend and thrive in colder and harsher climates.
  • Behavioral and dietary changes also helped humans adapt to cold climates.
Keep reading Show less

Stan Lee, Marvel co-creator, is dead at 95

The comics titan worked for more than half a century to revolutionize and add nuance to the comics industry, and he built a vast community of fans along the way.

(Photo: GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP/Getty Images)
Culture & Religion
  • Lee died shortly after being rushed to an L.A. hospital. He had been struggling with multiple illnesses over the past year, reports indicate.
  • Since the 1950s, Lee has been one of the most influential figures in comics, helping to popularize heroes that expressed a level of nuance and self-doubt previously unseen in the industry.
  • Lee, who's later years were marked by some financial and legal tumult, is survived by his daughter, Joan Celia "J.C." Lee.
Keep reading Show less