Politics in Stereo

Jury Duty in Today’s America

Stuart Rothenberg December 18, 2014 · 10:47 AM EST

While most of America was still talking about what happened in Ferguson, Mo., and turning to law enforcement issues in Cleveland and Staten Island, New York, I spent the better part of the week of Dec. 1 in a courthouse in Rockville, Md.

I never expected to be selected to sit on a jury, let alone one where the defendant was charged with first degree rape. I also didn’t expect to hear some shocking information after the case ended.

No, my case did not involve a racially-charged act that tore apart a community. Though the rape was extremely violent, no lives were lost. There were no videos of the rape or of the police response, no national media attention to the case.

Still, as a member of a jury charged with determining guilt or innocence, I, like most members of juries and grand juries, felt an important responsibility to evaluate the evidence dispassionately and come to the correct conclusion. 

Mohamed Mansaray was charged with raping a woman on March 31, 2014. Police concluded he entered her apartment in Silver Spring, Md., and attacked the victim, binding her hands behind her back and putting duct tape around her eyes.

He then dragged her into her bedroom and raped her. Throughout the incident, he talked to her as she sobbed and begged him not to hurt her, according to…

Democrats Abandoned Mary Landrieu in the Runoff. Does it Matter?

Nathan L. Gonzales December 11, 2014 · 1:36 PM EST

Party campaign committees are incumbent led and incumbent driven, so how important is it for the committees to support incumbents to the bitter end?

Democratic Sen. Mary L. Landrieu lost re-election in Louisiana, 56 percent to 44 percent, to Republican Rep. Bill Cassidy. But in the days running up…

Mary Landrieu’s Loss and the End of Ticket Splitting

Stuart Rothenberg December 10, 2014 · 9:41 AM EST

Louisiana Sen. Mary L. Landrieu’s defeat in the Dec. 6 runoff certainly was no surprise. If anything, it seemed inevitable since the evening of Nov. 4, when it became clear a Republican rout was underway and Democrats would lose control of the Senate.

But the veteran Democrat’s defeat is another…

Draft Ben Carson Group Complicates Potential Presidential Campaign

Nathan L. Gonzales December 5, 2014 · 9:47 AM EST

Ben Carson is openly considering a run for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, but an unaffiliated Super PAC trying to draft him into the race is making the effort complicated.

Last month, Buzzfeed detailed the fundraising and spending habits of the National Draft Ben Carson for…

Rothenberg’s End of the Year Awards for 2014

Stuart Rothenberg December 3, 2014 · 3:29 PM EST

Well, we’ve made it through another strange political year — and let’s face it, they are all strange — so it’s time for me to devote another column to picking the best, the worst and the weirdest candidates, campaigns and outcomes of the year.

As always, I will select a few nominees and offer…