opinion

As the Democratic debaters chase their base, Trump has a prime opening
Miami debates are more likely to resemble a bad morality play than an intelligent discussion of issues

When the 2020 Democratic hopefuls debate in Miami, their conundrum of connecting with the party’s anti-Trump base while not alienating middle-of-the-road voters will be on full display, Winston writes. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — Hardball presidential politics, a little like Mother Nature, has an unforgiving way of winnowing a field and this go-round there is more to winnow than usual with 24 Democrats vying for their party’s nomination.

In the wild, it’s called survival of the fittest and that seems an apt description for today’s presidential primary process, regardless of party.

Working with the enemy? Biden was just doing his job
Give Joe Biden a break. Even Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez finds common ground with Ted Cruz

Yes, Joe Biden worked with segregationists to pass legislation. No, that doesn’t mean he was a monster, Murphy writes. It means he was a senator. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — There’s a name for working with someone you can’t stand. It’s called “legislating.”

It used to happen all the time in Washington, and it still does, occasionally. But former Vice President Joe Biden became engulfed by progressive rage this week when he pointed to the late Sens. James Eastland and Herman Talmadge, two avowed segregationists, to describe the civility that Biden said he used to see on Capitol Hill.

As Democrats line up to debate, the GOP is regressing
Where are Republicans on diversity? Exactly where Trump is

On the Democratic side, there's diversity of age, race, gender and point of view. On the Republican side stands one man — and his besotted party, Curtis writes.

OPINION — It was pretty startling, actually, viewing the lineup for the first debate of Democratic presidential hopefuls in April 2007 on a stage in Orangeburg, South Carolina. Among them were the usual suspects — Sens. Chris Dodd, John Edwards and Joe Biden. And then, there were surprises — Gov. Bill Richardson of New Mexico and Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

This is different, I thought. Whatever happens next, this looks like America, an America I had rarely experienced except in the aspirational promises of its founding documents, with the few exceptions of pioneers such as Shirley Chisholm or Jesse Jackson, when it came to choosing presidents.

Bill de Blasio is wrong about New York City’s schools
The mayor and presidential candidate is papering over an inconvenient truth

Mayor Bill de Blasio is missing the point, Winston writes. Instead of trying to close the diversity gap in New York City’s elite public schools, he should be focused on upping standards across the board. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — There are numbers that matter. I look at them everyday. They tell me what people think and what they want from their political leaders, what they want for themselves and their families and the future.

And then there are some numbers that stop you cold.

Want a more diverse Congress? Bite the bullet and raise the pay
Paying your congressperson more than your plumber makes sense

Last week, Steny Hoyer found out just how unpopular a congressional pay raise can be — but it’s the only thing that can stave off a Congress of the super-rich, Murphy writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — If there’s one thing less popular than Congress right now, it’s giving Congress a pay raise. Democratic Leader Steny Hoyer and Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy found that out the hard way last week when, despite a bipartisan agreement to quietly give a 2.6 percent cost-of-living adjustment to House members, the entire agreement blew up when House freshmen from both parties balked at voting to raise their own salaries.

Complaining about Congress and the money they make is a tradition as old as the country itself, especially in times of recession or government debts. A 1955 political cartoon in the Richmond Times Leader once showed a bag of money labeled “Pay Raise for Congress” running like a thief down a dark alley, and the sentiment in America hasn’t changed much since then.

Ratings change: Brooks retirement makes Indiana 5th less safe for GOP
Inside Elections downgrades seat from Solid to Likely Republican

The announced retirement of Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Ind., makes her seat harder for Republicans to defend in 2020 according to Inside Elections’ Nathan L. Gonzales. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Susan Brooks of Indiana announced she will not seek re-election, creating a potential open-seat headache for Republicans in Indiana’s 5th District. The congresswoman won re-election to a fourth term in 2018 in the central Indiana district with 57 percent, but the district shifted between the 2012 and 2016 presidential elections.

Now-Utah Sen. Mitt Romney won the 5th District 58-41 percent over President Barack Obama in 2012, but Donald Trump carried it more narrowly 53-41 percent over Hillary Clinton in 2016, fueling Democratic optimism even before Brooks’ announcement. Democratic strategists have also been excited about former state Rep. Christina Hale getting into the race. She ran for lieutenant governor on a ticket with John Gregg in 2016, losing by 7 points in the 5th District.

North Carolina’s Republican Party is having an identity crisis
Will the rebranding work in time for a Trump repeat victory in 2020?

Thom Tillis’ Senate re-election campaign captures the state of play in North Carolina, Curtis writes. The Republican is sticking with the president, while his office churns out releases showing a more bipartisan side. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — All eyes with be on North Carolina next year, when the Republican Party holds its 2020 convention in Charlotte to nominate President Donald Trump for a second term. In truth, though, the state has been the center of attention for a while because of actions of party members — and the gaze has not been kind.

The North Carolina GOP realizes it has a problem, quite a few of them, and is busily trying to recover. But what’s the best path as the party tries to regain the trust of voters in a state that is a crucial battleground, one where independents are an important part of any winning coalition, and where millennials and Generation Z voters are fickle?

Democratic voters are channeling Mick Jagger
‘I can’t get no satisfaction,’ Jagger sang — and Dems are starting to agree

A quarter of Democrats don’t like what their party is doing in the House, according to the latest Winning the Issues survey. They’re channeling Mick Jagger, Winston writes. (Charles McQuillan/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — “I can’t get no satisfaction,” sang Mick Jagger. Apparently, neither can the majority of the country’s voters. So says our latest Winning the Issues survey, conducted May 31-June 1.

“Are you satisfied or not satisfied with what the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives has done so far?” That was the neutral question we asked voters in the survey, trying to get a handle on just how the new Democrat-led house is doing. In essence, we were asking people to rate whether Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her new majority had met their expectations in these first six months.

Democrats running for president should run for the Senate. The state Senate.
State legislatures have taken over the issues that Washington can’t or won’t deal with

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s presidential race has inspired many, Murphy writes, but if the goal is to make a difference in people’s lives, he would have been better off running for the Indiana Legislature. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

OPINION — Maybe it’s the book sales. Maybe it’s the national press. Maybe they really do think they’re just “born for it.” Whatever the allure of running for president is this year, about two dozen Democrats are giving it a shot.

The fact that only about five of them have a legitimate chance of winning the nomination has left several hopefuls from purple states getting criticized for wasting a perfectly good chance to knock off an incumbent Republican senator and flip the Senate to the Democrats in the process.

A paper record for every voter: It’s time for Congress to act
Along with mandatory machine testing, it’s the only way to secure our nation’s democracy

If Congress can pass legislation that requires a paper record for every voter and establishes a mandated security testing program for the people making voting machines, the general public’s faith in the process of casting a ballot can be restored, Burt writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Over the last few years, policymakers, election security experts and voting equipment vendors have examined how we can continually ensure our elections and voting machines remain safe and secure.

Recently, we've seen many lawmakers — from bipartisan members of the Senate Intelligence Committee to presidential candidates — call for reforms to secure the integrity of our elections. When it comes to the machines that count votes and the people who make those machines, there are a few things that must happen to ensure faith in our system of democracy continues.