Measures to legalize recreational marijuana passed Tuesday in two states. For the first time in any election, voters in three states approved same-sex marriage. We look at the pace of change in some of America's traditional cultural norms. Also, China launches its leadership transition, and election predictions and the revenge of the nerds.
FROM THIS EPISODE
China today began a week-long process of choosing new leadership for the next ten years. In a public speech to thousands of Communist Party leaders, outgoing President Hu Jintao said it's time to combat official corruption that has stoked public anger. Kenneth Lieberthal is senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
In Colorado and Washington states, it's not just medical marijuana any more. Recreational pot was legalized by the voters on Tuesday. In Washington State, Maine and Maryland on Tuesday, voters approved same-sex marriage -- the first time that's ever happened in any US election. In Minnesota, a constitutional ban was turned down, after 30 previous efforts to legalize same-sex marriage. Will the Obama Justice Department back away from enforcing federal laws against marijuana now that more and more voters have spoken? Will the US Supreme Court look at the election returns if it decides to rule on DOMA, the federal Defense of Marriage Act?
Jonathan Rauch, Brookings Institution (@jon_rauch)
Douglas NeJaime, UCLA Law School (@WilliamsPolicy)
John Matsusaka, University of Southern California
Mark Kleiman, New York University (@MarkARKleiman)
Norm Stamper, Law Enforcement against Prohibition (@CopsSayLegalize)
Mark Kleiman and others
On Monday, when we discussed how many electoral votes would go to President Obama, Florida was up in the air. But the prediction of Professor Sam Wang, who founded Princeton University's Election Consortium, was dead on. The President won exactly 303 Electoral College votes and Florida is still undecided -- and Wang is not alone. Before the election, Nate Silver's "538" blog was bringing more visitors to the New York Times' website than any of the paper's more famous traditional pundits. He also called the election just right. Mark Blumenthal is founding editor of Polling.com and senior polling editor for the Huffington Post, which has it's own scientific modeler, Simon Jackman.
John G. Matsusaka