Public Policy: November 2012 Archives

Seeing Red?  Bleeding Blue?  Maybe you just feel a like little Abby, and are tired of Bronco Obama and Mitt Romeneney.  Fret not, because after Tuesday night, Americans will find respite from these words: “… and I approve this message.”  But until the airwaves are relinquished back to the likes of Nike and McDonalds, we bring you this IAB cheat sheet to get you through the night and make you sound like the next coming of Charlie Cook at the water cooler.  If you are looking to bone up, and become a bona fide Tech Policy Wonk, you may eat your veggies by reading Part 2 of this election blog series.

Current Snapshot - Congressional Scoreboard

If you were busy flirting with [insert: attractive popular student] during civics, here is a quick refresher.

The House of Representatives, 435 congressmen and women, proportionally represent the 50 states (fun fact: five delegates represent DC, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands; a resident commissioner represents Puerto Rico).  Representatives serve 2-year terms, and the entire House is up for election every even-numbered year.

The Senate, otherwise known as the Upper Chamber, is comprised of 50 senators - two from each state.  Senators serve six-year terms, and one-third of the Senate body is up for election every even-numbered year.  This year, 21 democratic-held seats, 10 republican-held seats, and 2 independent-held seats are up for election.  Of these 33 seats, 10 members retired, and 1 lost their primary, leaving 11 open seats without an incumbent running. *60 votes are needed in the Senate to proceed on legislation, and currently, Senate Independents caucus with the Democrats. 


Road to the White House - 270
Like it or not, to win the presidency, a candidate must win the Electoral College. The electoral college consists of 538 electors, a majority of which—270—is needed to win.  Each state sends the same number of electors as the state’s congressional delegation.  With an electorate increasingly 50/50 split down party lines, the elusive independent voter has enormous power.  Where independent voters are concentrated, that state is identified as a battleground, or swing state.  This year’s presidential is too close for the pundits to call, and in order for either campaign to win, they must do two things: turn out their base at the voting polls, and win as many swing states as possible.  This year, 7 states may very well decide the presidency; and, depending on the scenario, Ohio may be the big get, but ironically, small states Iowa and New Hampshire may have the final say.  Watch for every news network to bring out the giant, touch-screen maps, to start  breaking down 7-state fuzzy math.

7:00 PM EST / 4:00 PM PST
The Commonwealth Factor - Polls officially close in Virginia, one of several targeted battleground states, and could indicate the direction of the Presidential Election.  Historically, Virginia swings red, but the President took the state in 2008.  While the demographic landscape continues to trend blue, the state tops all others in defense spending, and proposed Pentagon cuts may move the state into the Romney column.

Buyer Beware… do not be fooled by early vote totals in Virginia.  Northern Virginia, which trends Democratic, will report earlier than rural portions of the state, which are traditionally Republican; late reporting could reveal a Romney Virginia victory.  Also, be on the lookout for two tight Senate races.  Former Democratic Governor Tim Kaine is in the fight of his life against former Republican Senator and Governor George Allen in the seat vacated by Democrat Jim Webb.  In Indiana, a surprising turn for Democratic candidate Joe Donnelly against Republican Richard Mourdock.  “Top of the Ballot” rules may not apply, as Romney may take Virginia and very likely Indiana, while Kaine and Donnelly pull out razor thin victories.

Battleground Florida also closes.  The night starts to get exciting. Not since 1960 has anyone won the presidency without two of the big three: Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida.

Other states closing at 7:00 PM - Kentucky, South Carolina, Vermont, and Georgia

7:30 PM EST / 4:30 PM PST
O’ Ohio - While polls officially close in battleground Ohio at 7:30 PM, if history has taught us anything, do not anticipate a final count until late into the evening.  If Ohio is called early for Obama, this does not bode well for Romney: a Republican has never won the Presidency without winning Ohio.

Obama has the state organizational advantage and Ohio unemployment numbers are in his favor, but Romney can still pull off a historic first pointing to an advantage in Florida and New Hampshire.

Other states closing at 7:30 PM - West Virginia and North Carolina

8:00 PM EST / 5:00 PM PST
Battleground America - Things get cooking in the fight for electoral votes.  A win in Pennsylvania could seal the deal for Obama, while a Romney victory ensures the fight goes on through the night.  New Hampshire will prove crucial for Romney, and the numbers are pointing in his direction.  Several tight Senate races close, including industry champions Democrat Claire McCaskill against Todd Akin in the ‘show me’ state Missouri, and Democrat Chris Murphy against WWE Proprietor Linda McMahon in Connecticut.  Another tight and bitter race, moderate Republican incumbent Scott Brown defends his Senate seat against democratic darling and Harvard Prof Elizabeth Warren in Massachusetts.

Other states closing at 8:00 PM - Alabama, Delaware, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Oklahoma, DC, Michigan, Mississippi, New Jersey, Texas and Tennessee.

9:00 PM EST / 6:00 PM PST
Rocky Mountain High - Colorado, formerly a Republican stronghold, swung Blue in ‘08 and has trended Democratic in recent weeks’ polling.  Site of the 2008 Democratic Convention, the state’s demographics have remained relatively unchanged, but expect high voter turnout from the 18-35 set for a ballot measure to legalize small amounts of marijuana.

Bellweather tolls — While the PX90 Pro Veep candidate Ryan may be Wisconsin’s favorite son, who wins the state’s 10 electoral votes may depend on the outcome of the Senate race between former republican Governor Tommy Thompson and democratic representative Tammy Baldwin.  Polls show a dead heat, and a tumultuous two years at the polls prove the Badger state is unpredictable.

Other states closing at 9:00 PM - Arizona, Louisiana, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Mexico, New York, Rhode Island, and Wyoming.

10:00 PM EST / 7:00 PM PST
Double Down - Nevada and Iowa will continue to keep the pundits talking.  Dubbed a must-win for Obama, three electoral votes from the state caucus that propelled Obama into 2008, Iowa, may be the difference again in 2012.  Polls show the President leading, but turnout will be the deciding factor.  Keep an eye on tight races from Senate republican incumbent Dean Heller and Democratic challenger Shelley Berkley, and former IA First Lady Christie Vilsack as she takes on long time House incumbent Steve King.

Lovin’ it — Always a tight race as the lone Democrat in Utah, Representative Jim Matheson may have finally met his match against Saratoga Springs Mayor, and 2012 Republican Convention celeb, Mia Love.

Other states closing at 10:00 PM - Idaho and Montana.

11:00 PM EST / 8:00 PM PST
Pacific Factor - The West Coast often misses out on the fun as pollsters favor calling races early on the East Coast, but watch out this year as every electoral vote matters.  Washington finds itself in another tight Governor’s race between former democratic Congressman Jay Inslee and Lt. Governor Rob McKenna. Hawaii is on the radar as well with an open Senate seat battle between former republican governor Linda Lingle and Congresswoman Mazie Hirono, though polls now show Hirono pulling away with a size able lead.

Other states closing at 11:00 PM - California and Oregon

12:00 AM EST / 9:00 PM PST
On the Red Eye - It goes without saying the republican stronghold in Alaska is likely to give its votes to Romney.  But, be forewarned, by the time Alaska closes, if it is still as tight as some predict we may still not know who the next President will be. 

Shake ups and predictions — As of Monday, it looks like Democrats will keep the Senate, and Republicans the House.  Nevertheless, a few shake ups are important to note for the industry.  In particular, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, important to the Interactive industry will see a minimum five new members, and the Senate Commerce Committee is likely to see some changes on the Republican side, particularly with Senior members Kay Bailey Hutchison and Olympia Snowe’s retirements.  

Want to know more?  Hunker down with a six-pack, your favorite news network, and your iPad, and check out these websites (but make sure to vote first!):

Real Clear Politics:

FOX News - 2012 Elections:

POLITICO - 2012 Live:

Rasmussen - 2012:

Gallup - Election 2012:

Bloomberg - Elections:

ABC News - Election Central:

Associated Press (AP) - Politics:

CBS News - Politics:

CNN - Election Center:

National Journal - Election 2012:

New York Times - Politics:

NBC News - Election Central:

Washington Post - Politics:


In a Word: Innovation

| | Comments

Parties Platforms Tackle the Tech Sector, but Devil is in the Details

A lot will change after today, but for the industry, priority public policies remain the same. But what are the candidates’ priorities? Republicans and Democrats do not agree on much, but if there is one thing they do agree on, this country needs Innovation. A quick word count shows the Republicans used the word 27 times and Democrats used it 16 within each respective Platform document released at the National Conventions this past August and September.  But who’s counting anyway?


With Election Day upon us, the IAB is cracking open those Platform documents once again to take a look at what “Innovation, Internet Freedom, and a 21st Century Workforce” among other buzz words really means to the Democratic and Republican parties’ policy proposals. 

Why does this matter to you?  Whether you are a netizen, tech company, publisher, or just earning your Internet cred, these policies will shape our future, directly and indirectly impacting you personally and your business. Follow along at the links below.

“Moving America Forward: 2012 Democratic National Platform”

“We Believe in America: Republican National Platform”

Education and 21st Century Workforce
Music to any tech wonk’s ears is the increase in STEM education, (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics).  The President hopes to double down, and increase investments in science two-fold to educate the next generation of scientists, facilitate private sector innovation, and prepare at least 100,000 new math and science teachers over the coming decade.  To supplement this investment, the President proposes “stapling a green card” to every advanced degree in STEM fields for foreign students to stay here in the U.S. and help create jobs.  The Governor would likewise utilize his red, swing-line stapler to foster job creation and keep STEM degrees in the U.S.  The Governor, however, focuses on increased STEM education through consumer choice in education, removing boundary barriers to school choice, and replacing teaching tenure systems with a merit-based approach to help attract the best and brightest talent in the classroom. 

“Do Not Track”
No, this IABer did not slip this paragraph in as a hoax, you read that right.  The words “Do Not Track” appear in the Democratic Platform.  Noting many regulations are outdated, unnecessary, or too costly, the Administration proposes a “simpler, smarter, cost-effective approach to regulation” emphasizing “common sense safeguards.”  The Administration underscored the launch of the Internet Privacy Bill of Rights and self-regulatory agreement for a “Do Not Track” option for consumers as a successful example of an efficient and effective approach to regulation. 

Internet Freedom
While the Democratic platform seeks to reform how government regulates, the Republican platform points to the removal of regulatory barriers.  Specifically, the Republican party’s Internet Freedom platform would seek to prevent legacy regulations from interfering with new, disruptive technologies, protect the current multi-stakeholder approach to Internet governance, and secure personal data from government overreach.  Even more, the Republican platform calls for a retreat from what it argues is the current Administration’s “Luddite” approach to technological progress (citing net neutrality), preferring instead a public-private partnership to build out America’s wireline and wireless broadband infrastructure.   The President has likewise opposed extension of intergovernmental controls over the Internet and supports the multi-stakeholder approach; however, Internet Freedom takes on a different meaning that points to human rights.  The Administration will continue to defend Internet Freedom for the freedom of expression, assembly, and association, and preserve the Internet platform for commerce, debate, learning, and innovation, identified in some circles as net neutrality.

Digital Infrastructure
The Governor’s proposals are very specific, albeit not identified as infrastructure in the document.  The Republican platform would reform communications laws, encourage public-private partnerships to build out rural broadband, and conduct an inventory of federal spectrum for private sector build out.  The President has committed to ensuring 98% of the country has access to high-speed wireless Internet access, including solutions to free up spectrum and build out a nationwide, interoperable public safety network, as well as building a smarter electrical grid and upgrading IT infrastructure for the health and education sectors. 

To some the magic words are tax reform, still others may be happy to just see repatriation, but for everyone in the tech sector until reform comes to fruition (last in 1986), the Research and Development tax credit is always a top priority.  Both the President and the Governor would permanently extend the R&D credit for innovators.  That is where the similarities end.  Democrats support lowering the corporate tax rate in exchange for closing tax loopholes, and would lower rates even further for manufacturers who create jobs in the U.S.  The Governor would reduce the corporate tax rate, repeal the corporate alternative minimum tax, and create a territorial system of corporate taxation to allow for the repatriation of investments to the U.S.

And leaving little to distinguish the two parties…

Intellectual Property
At the heart of the tech sector is our nation’s knowledge assets - the creativity and ideas that anchor a successful business.  This is not lost on either party, as both seek to vigorously defend intellectual property here and abroad. 

Important both for our Nation’s security and a flourishing Internet economy, any cybersecurity policy will have a lasting effect on how companies function in the ecosystem.  Both parties seek a free flow of information between the government and the private sector, but neither spell out the path forward for secure communication channels or obligations. Following the release of the Platform document in Charlotte, the President has since released a draft executive order that tracks the Cyber Security Act of 2012 citing congressional inaction.

About the Author


Sarah Hudgins

Sarah Hudgins is Director, Public Policy, IAB. Follow her @SarahAHudgins.