Could Jaime Harrison Be the DNC’s Plan B?
Clyburn protege says national Democrats have ignored state parties

Members of the Democratic National Committee will meet in Denver this weekend for the first time since Election Day. They’ll certainly talk about what went wrong in 2016, but they’ll also begin the process of finding a new committee chairman.

Rep. Keith Ellison has generated the most buzz so far, but Ellison’s part-time availability for the job has left some DNC members looking for a Plan B.

New Ground Rules for the Press and the President
Managing Trump and the media’s unhealthy marriage

It’s been a couple of on-again, off-again weeks for Donald Trump and the media, which his campaign manager Kellyanne Conway has likened to two feuding parents trying to figure out what to do about the kids.

“For me it’s very simple,” she said last week on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “President Trump and the media have to share joint custody of the nation and its people for the next four or eight years, so it’s highly productive and in everyone’s interest to find a way to do that.”

Bring Back the Earmarks — Really
Congress hasn't worked right since the earmark ban kicked in

It’s become fashionable in the Trump era to say whatever’s on your mind, no matter how politically incorrect it might be. So here’s my contribution to the dialogue — Congress, you need to bring back earmarks. There, I said it, and you’re welcome, because I know you’re thinking the same thing.

Yes, it’s political suicide to say the words. An Economist/YouGov poll from earlier this year showed 63 percent of Americans still oppose earmarks, even though they’ve been prohibited in Congress for the last five years. House Republicans must understand the toxicity of the idea, because in their push to reinstitute some form of earmarking earlier this week, they tried to do it in a closed-door caucus meeting with a secret-ballot vote. That’s not a very hearty defense of the idea, so I’m going to make the case for them right here, in black and white.

I Believed the Polls, and I Hate Myself for It
Can Trump now maintain broad support?

We blew it, fellow members of the media. I won’t assign blame equally or to anyone individually, but let me admit for myself that on Tuesday morning, I did not think that Donald Trump would win the White House.

I could blame the pre-election polls for my assumption that Hillary Clinton would win and that the Democrats would probably take back the Senate as well. If 538, the Upshot and the RealClearPolitics averages agreed, it must be true, right? Um, no.

Challenging the Notion of a Traditional Campaign
Trump's operation is hardly an operation at all

The question we’ll know the answer to on Election Day, other than who wins, is whether campaigns matter anymore. Above and beyond the drama of 2016, Hillary Clinton has run a traditional, and by all accounts, solid campaign. For starters, she actually has a campaign, with staffers working in a giant office in Brooklyn, who are also now fanned out in hundreds of field offices across the country.

The Clinton campaign has opened 489 of those offices. They have raised $497 million dollars. She is on track to spend 53 times Trump’s total in Florida ads alone.

Ep. 30: Trump Effect Could Be Felt Long After Election Day
The Big Story

Roll Call columnists Patricia Murphy and Matt Lewis reflect on the nasty presidential campaign, how it changed some of the norms of politics and the role Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York could play as Democratic leader if Hillary Clinton wins.

Show Notes:

Chuck Schumer Is on the Line
Presumed future Democratic leader has a preference for action over ideology

No matter what happens on Election Day, a New Yorker will become the most powerful person in Washington, and it may not be Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.

Either Clinton or Trump will live in the White House, but when it comes to getting an agenda passed into law, they’ll need Senate Democrats’ votes to do it.  And to get those votes, they’re going to need Sen. Chuck Schumer, the rising Senate Democratic leader and the man poised to be a Clinton consiglieri or Trump’s not-so-loyal opposition.

Gingrich, Gephardt and the Day They Exchanged Power
Making sure the dance of democracy continued

It takes a lot for Donald Trump to shock a political audience at this point, but that’s what happened during last week’s debate when he said he’d let us all know whether he’d accept the election results once Election Day gets here. That followed weeks of claiming that the election is rigged against him and of warnings to his followers that the whole thing might be stolen at the ballot box.

The display was enough to make a person hate politics. But I have a surprising cure for you if you’re looking for a more inspiring example of American statesmanship — the moment in 1995 when House Minority Leader Dick Gephardt gave the speaker’s gavel to Newt Gingrich after the GOP won control of the chamber for the first time in 40 years.

Chris Wallace, for the Win
Moderator posed direct questions on heavy policy topics at final debate

He wasn’t the flashiest debate moderator this cycle or the most aggressive. But Fox News’ Chris Wallace showed the rest of us how it’s done Wednesday night when he hosted the third and final debate of the 2016 presidential campaign cycle. As Wallace served one direct question after another, he gave voters more insights by the end of the night than they began with and achieved the ultimate measure of success for any political journalist.

Wallace began the night approaching Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump with unfailing politeness, referring to them as “Mr. Trump” and “Secretary Clinton” in his questions and thanking them for their answers when they provided them. But it would have been wrong for anyone to mistake Wallace’s civility for a lack of seriousness.

Time for Democrats to Build a Bigger Tent
2016 election presents a rare opportunity to broaden the party's appeal

It feels good, doesn’t it, Democrats? Donald Trump is imploding. Republicans are in an open, bloody revolt. And the polls look so good for Hillary Clinton, you’re starting to believe that this might really happen.

It’s probably tempting right now to start to wonder what you’ll push through first when you’re in charge — climate change or immigration reform? Card check or the public option? With the White House and maybe even the House and Senate in Democratic control, you just might have the numbers to do it all.

Trump's 5 Most Offensive Debate Moments for Women
GOP nominee did himself few favors with voters he really needed to reach

The cable news consensus Sunday night seemed to be that Donald Trump won the debate. He was strong, he knew his stuff. He didn’t physically light himself on fire or reach over and scratch Hillary Clinton’s face off. He was so much better than expected! Clinton, on the other hand, was defensive. She wasn’t animated. She was too wonkish and distant from the crowd.

But every debate has multiple audiences, and the audience Trump really needed to reach Sunday night were the voters who are not yet supporting him, especially college-educated female voters who voted by a 6-point margin for Mitt Romney in 2012, but are now supporting Clinton over Trump by 25 points.

Time for Mike Pence to Take a Stand
Trump's running mate is being used to endorse the indefensible

It’s a good thing Mike Pence has a conscience because he’s going to need it as he struggles with what to do next as Donald Trump’s running mate, including whether he should stay on as Trump’s running mate at all.

If Republicans succeed in convincing Trump to drop out of the race, Pence is the obvious choice to replace him and, according to at least one poll, could defeat Hillary Clinton. But if Trump refuses to get out, the Indiana governor should save himself and his reputation and let Trump clean up the mess he's made.

Mike Pence Just Won the Iowa Caucuses
Mark your calendars for 2020

Mike Pence went into the Farmville, Virginia, vice presidential debate as a lame-duck, one-term governor and left two hours later as the favorite for conservative Republicans to win the GOP presidential nomination for 2020.  Of course, that would require Donald Trump losing in November, but we'll get to that later.

The Indiana governor managed his 90-minute career comeback with a combination of a broadcast-quality performance (thanks to a past career as a radio host) and a shrewd political strategy of not even trying to defend much of the record of his own ticket mate.

Mike Pence Has More to Lose Than an Election
Can he defend Trump but not sacrifice his own credibility in the process?

If Donald Trump spends even 90 minutes of time preparing for his next debate against Hillary Clinton, let’s hope he spends it watching Mike Pence debate Tim Kaine Tuesday night.

Unlike Trump, who was reportedly too distracted to bother getting ready for his own face-off with Clinton, Pence has prepared for Tuesday night’s debate like a Boy Scout looking for a badge.

What if Senate Republicans Save Trump From Himself?
Ticket-splitting may not be dead, it might just be sleeping

To hear Donald Trump tell it for the last year, Senate Republicans were weak, dumb losers, and not just the ones he ran against for president. He infamously called Sen. John McCain “not a war hero” and tweeted that Sen. Jeff Flake was “a very weak and ineffective senator … Sad!” He lambasted Sen. Mark Kirk as “dishonest” and a “loser,” and told an Atlanta rally that he wished Republican leaders in Washington would “just please be quiet” so he could win the race by himself.

He tagged Sen. Lindsey Graham “a disgrace” and “one of the dumbest human beings I have ever seen.” Sen. “Little Marco” Rubio was “just another Washington, D.C., politician” with “the biggest ears I’ve ever seen.” Sen. Rand Paul was “truly weird” and Sen. “Lyin'” Ted Cruz was not only dishonest, but by Trump’s suggestion, his father was involved in the Kennedy assassination.

Partisan Lines on Gun Safety Shift ... Subtly
Could some Republicans keep their jobs by embracing new controls?

For anyone following gun control (or gun safety) as a political issue, it would be easy to dismiss 2016 as just another year when a whole lot happened, but nothing changed. 

There have been more than 200 mass shootings in the United States so far this year, including the massacre at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando and the July attack on Dallas police officers. After every major incident, Washington followed the now-familiar script of outrage, calls from Democrats for gun restrictions, denial from Republicans that guns are the problem, and then, as usual, gridlock.

Decoding the Suburban Women's Vote so You Don't Have to
Most seem ready to settle for someone who won't lie to them

It’s fall, people, and you know what that means, right? Kids are back in school, Congress is back in session, and since it’s an election year, the political industrial complex of America has just remembered the oft-forgotten fact that women make up more than half of the electorate and, therefore, probably should have been more than half of what politicians and campaigns were thinking about and talking about for the last three and a half years.

What’s done is done. So, let’s not harp on the fact that most elected officials are men, most political consultants are men, and most political pollsters are men. Or the fact that many men have a habit of forgetting anything they don’t really want to remember. They’re going to know when the Redskins are playing on Monday Night Football, but will they remember parent-teacher night? My sources are skeptical.

Forget About Great People, Where Are the Good Ones?
Two seriously flawed candidates are on the cusp of becoming president

I saw a documentary last weekend about John F. Kennedy Jr. and the primary goal that he began to pursue in his adult life. He told a close friend that he knew he was expected to be a “great person,” someone who would do important things and maybe even lead the country. But, he added, he believed the harder challenge in life might be trying to be a good person, someone who treated other people with kindness and was faithful to his family.  

What struck me about JFK Jr.’s hope was how foreign the concept seems to be in either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton’s thinking, but how common the sentiment is among everyone else I know or meet covering politics. We try to teach our kids to be good people. We aspire to it ourselves, too, even if we often fail. At some point, we used to also expect the same thing of our leaders.

Gay Marriage Stand Won't Cost Ohio GOP Senator His Seat
Portman begins to pull away in battleground state

When Republican Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio announced his decision to support marriage equality in March of 2013, he explained that his change of heart on the issue came after learning that his college-age son, Will, is gay. “It allowed me to think of this issue from a new perspective, and that's of a Dad who loves his son a lot and wants him to have the same opportunities that his brother and sister would have," Portman told local reporters.

The immediate question at the time was how the Ohio freshman senator’s reversal on gay marriage would affect his re-election chances in 2016. Running in the battleground state of Ohio would guarantee a close race no matter what. Going it alone as the first Republican senator ever to support marriage equality meant Portman could be risking his seat, if not his career.

No Family Favors for Senator's Daughter and EpiPen CEO
Mylan CEO Heather Bresch is daughter of Sen. Joe Manchin III of West Virginia

Is there anything members of Congress love more than the chance to haul a wayward CEO to Capitol Hill to lecture them about their companies’ un-American transgressions? The CEOs of the Wall Street banks got the indignant Hill treatment in 2008 after the mortgage meltdown. The CEOs of the Big Three car companies did too, only to be scolded at a later hearing for flying private jets to Washington for the first one.

Man-child and bad boy pharmaceutical CEO Martin Shkreli sat in front of House members for hours during a House Oversight hearing in February while angry committee members unloaded on him for price gouging, spurred on by the fact that Shkreli had taken the Fifth at the start of the hearing and called them “imbeciles” on Twitter before and after he appeared in Washington.