Jeb's Diminishing Marginal Returns

Jonathan Bernstein is a Bloomberg View columnist. He taught political science at the University of Texas at San Antonio and DePauw University and wrote A Plain Blog About Politics.
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1. Dan Drezner makes the reasonable point that George W. Bush really wasn’t sufficiently pro-Israel enough for today’s Republican Party. While that’s true, I’m not convinced it’s the problem for Jeb Bush that Dan thinks it is. It’s conservative dogma that every U.S. president until Barack Obama was perfectly and entirely loyal to Israel at all times; teaching primary election voters otherwise and then using it to attack Jeb by way of George W. just seems like more trouble than it’s worth. No, they don’t know about 1956 and Suez (and yes, you should watch The Hour).

2. At the Monkey Cage, Dina Smeltz and Sara McElmurry look at Hillary Clinton and public opinion on immigration.

3. Also at MC, Benjamin Lauderdale discusses why the British pre-election polls were so far off. (Short answer: No one knows yet).

4. Alex Massie on the shocker in Scotland.

5. National Journal’s Alex Roarty makes some good points about Jeb Bush and diminishing marginal returns for campaign spending. Two important caveats, however. Primary elections really are very different than general elections, and it’s likely that money matters more. At the same time, one important factor is missing here: opinion leadership from party elites. If party actors converge on someone, rank-and-file voters will likely go along no matter how much money is spent.

6. Greg Jaffe at the Washington Post about when the president comes to town.

7. Jonathan Cohn points out that Republicans in Congress haven’t bothered holding hearings on what they’ll do if the Supreme Court tosses out Obamacare subsidies in many states.

8. At New West, political scientist Matthew Green remembers Jim Wright.

9. And San Antonio held elections on Saturday. I didn’t write my regular voting item this time thanks to the weekend timing, but I do want to update the stats:

This was the third election day in my precinct this year, and the tenth in the four-year cycle. I cast eight votes -- mayor, city council, and six ballot measures. That’s 10 votes in the two-year cycle (after November 2014) and 142 votes cast so far in the four-year cycle. As always, the point to counting all of this is that it’s perfectly normal in the United States but highly unusual by world standards; most democracies have far fewer elections, and vote on far fewer things.

(And since 14 candidates were running for mayor (in a non-partisan election, making it extremely difficult for voters), it’s no surprise that no one had a majority, which means we’ll have a runoff election in June.)

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