opinion

What Constitutes a Wave Election?
With half of independents still up for grabs, a blue wave is not a foregone conclusion

Democrats may be predicting a blue wave, but surveys show many independents are still up for grabs and Republicans could yet win that battle of ideas, Winston writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Is 2018 going to be a wave election? The better question is: “What constitutes a wave election?”

In a CNN interview last week, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told Christiane Amanpour, “People ask me, is this a tsunami or is it wave? And I said, in neither case, it’s many drops of water and it’s all very close. So it won’t be a big margin, it will be small margins in many races that will produce the victory.”

Kavanaugh’s Fate Lies in Women’s Hands — As It Should Be
Female voters will also be judging how Republicans treat him and his accuser

Responses by some male Republican lawmakers to the allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh show that many still don’t understand what it takes for a woman to come forward and tell her story, Murphy writes. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — This was the point. This was always the point of the “Year of the Woman,” in 1992 and every election year since then. To have women at the table, to have women as a part of the process in the government we live by every day. Women still aren’t serving in Congress in the numbers they should be, but it is at moments like this one — with a nominee, an accusation, and a Supreme Court seat in the balance — where electing women to office matters.

When Anita Hill told an all-male panel of senators in 1991 that Clarence Thomas had repeatedly sexually harassed her when she had worked with him years before, the senators on the all-male Judiciary Committee seemed to put Hill on trial instead of Thomas. Why didn’t she quit her job and get another one, they asked. Why did she speak to him again? Why didn’t she come forward and say something about Thomas sooner if he was such a flawed nominee?

Congress Has a ‘Lame Duck’ Shot at Fixing Retirement Security
Legislation to help Americans save more for retirement is already moving forward

The months after an election aren’t exactly prime time for legislating. But with a bill long championed by Senate Finance leaders Orrin G. Hatch, right, and Ron Wyden nearly through the chamber and a similar measure moving in the House, Congress could buck the trend and act on retirement security, Conrad and Lockhart write. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — As the midterms approach, the American public’s expectations of any productive policy coming out of Washington are near rock bottom. The postelection “lame duck” session, particularly in the current partisan atmosphere, would normally be a lost cause.

Leadership by a group of lawmakers, however, has given Congress a rare opportunity: bipartisan legislation that would improve the retirement security for millions of Americans.

Teen Activists to Young Hill Aides: Stand With Us
Civil rights advocates call on young congressional staffers to end gun carnage

Student protesters in Montgomery County — including MoCo Students for Change founder Brenna Levitan, left, and co-president Dani Miller, second from right — join a national walkout on March 14. (Courtesy William Ahn)

Dear Capitol Hill staffers:

These past few months have been a milestone time in America. Not since the student civil rights movement in the ’60s has our country seen such mass mobilization of young people.

Midterms Show We’re Not Any Closer to a Post-Racial America
Racially charged language is a trademark rather than a flaw to many

Florida gubernatorial candidate Ron DeSantis, a staunch ally of President Donald Trump, warned state voters not to “monkey this up” by electing his Democratic opponent, who is African-American. Above, DeSantis and Trump appear at a rally in Tampa, Fla., in July. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — Remember the time when Trent Lott got in a heap of trouble for remembering the time?

It was 2002, and the Senate Republican leader representing Mississippi was waxing nostalgic for what he considered the good old days at a 100th birthday celebration for South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond. Carried away by the moment — and in remarks that recalled similar words from 1980 — Lott said: “When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years, either.”

What’s Missing From Bob Woodward’s Book? Ask Ben Sasse
With McCain gone, the Nebraska Republican may be the closest thing left to a never-Trumper

Sen. Ben Sasse says he’s committed to the party of Lincoln and Reagan as long as there’s a chance to reform it. The true test would be a 50-50 Senate, Shapiro writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Bob Woodward’s book “Fear” — which might better have been called, Hunter Thompson-style, “Fear and Loathing in the White House” — is filled with revealing anecdotes that have gotten overlooked amid the incessant rounds of TV interviews and cable news panels.

One of my favorites comes from the early days of John Kelly’s White House tenure, as the new chief of staff briefly labored under the illusion that he could tame the erratic president.

Why Voters Are Still Wary 10 Years After the Economic Collapse
Despite many positive economic signs, people have long memories

In the face of today’s extraordinary bull market and other positive economic signs, memories of the Great Recession remain strong for many voters, Winston writes. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — This September marks the 10th anniversary of the economic collapse and failure of Wall Street banks and companies. It recalls one of the most scarring events for Americans, as they remember the fears, anxieties and financial trauma that they, their family and friends, their communities, and the country as a whole experienced. 

In exit polls from the 2008 presidential election, 85 percent of voters said they were worried about the direction of the nation’s economy, with 50  percent “very worried.” Eighty-one percent said they feared that the economic crisis would harm their family’s finances over the next year, with almost half “very worried.” That level of personal concern about finances doesn’t go away overnight.

Congress Handled 9/11 and Anthrax. Now It Brings Catastrophe on Itself
17 years later, lawmakers have brought us to the doorstep of a constitutional crisis

Members of the House and Senate stand behind their leadership on Sept. 11, 2001, during a statement on the terrorist attacks in New York and at the Pentagon. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It’s funny how catastrophe can exaggerate the best and worst parts of ourselves.

In the moments after two airplanes hit the World Trade Center in New York, I managed to stay unusually calm at my desk in the Dirksen Senate Office Building. I called my father, found my sister, and returned frantic press calls until the Capitol Police yelled to get out of the building.

How America Forgot ‘Never Forget’
The 9/11 Commission warned us once. Let it be a lesson again

Thomas Kean and Lee Hamilton, here in 2004, made collaboration in crisis look easy. We should remember the lessons they taught, Grumet writes. (Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — This week calls for reflection as we pause to remember the 2,997 people who died in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and the thousands of Americans killed and wounded in military service to our country since that horrific day.

Seventeen years later, we also honor the heroic actions of two American statesmen, former Gov. Thomas Kean and former Rep. Lee Hamilton. They led the eight members of the 9/11 Commission — four Democrats and four Republicans — in an unprecedented, bipartisan effort to understand one of the worst tragedies in American history and to provide the government with a path forward to ensure it never happens again.

What Would Pete Domenici Think?
Current lack of fiscal discipline would’ve alarmed late Senate Budget chairman

Senate Budget Chairman Pete Domenici, second from right, celebrates a budget deal with the White House on July 29, 1997, along with, from left, Speaker Newt Gingrich, House Ways and Means Chairman Bill Archer, Senate Finance Chairman William V. Roth Jr. and Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott. Surrounding them on the House steps are tour groups of Boy Scouts and schoolchildren.(Scott J. Ferrell/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — One year ago this week, we lost a great statesman and legislator. Pete Domenici’s storied career in public service, most notably as a U.S. senator, spanned more than three decades. He will forever be the longest-serving chairman of the Senate Budget Committee.

Equally remarkable, he was a Republican from traditionally blue New Mexico — and its longest-serving senator. That says something about his personal and policy appeal to the public, regardless of party.