Oklahoma

Maybe Stu Rothenberg Isn’t So Bad at This After All
2016 was a disaster, 2018 not so much

From left, Sen.-elect Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and Sen.-elect Jacky Rosen, D-Nev., talk during a photo-op in Schumer’s office in the Capitol on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Boy, I stunk up the joint in 2016. I was sure that Donald Trump wouldn’t — couldn’t — win the presidency, and I said so without any “ifs” or “buts.” I didn’t pay enough attention to the possibility that Trump could lose the popular vote badly but still win an Electoral College majority. I tried to explain my mistakes as completely as I could in an end-of-the-year Washington Post column.

But this year, watching the midterms from 10,000 feet instead of being in the weeds, I feel pretty good about my analysis throughout the cycle. Maybe it was dumb luck. Maybe it was years of watching campaigns and candidates. Maybe it was some of each.

In Appropriations Endgame, All Roads Lead to Border Wall
Dec. 7 funding deadline fast approaching

Border Patrol vehicles stand guard along the United States-Mexico border fence in on Sunday, Aug. 10, 2014. The fence runs through the cities of Calexico, Calif., and Mexicali on the Mexico side. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sooner or later, President Donald Trump will have to confront the political reality that Congress is extremely unlikely to provide the $5 billion he wants to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border.

That realization has to occur in less than a month, with the House and Senate both in session for only 12 legislative days before the current stopgap funding measure expires Dec. 7.

With Divided Congress, Health Care Action Hightails It to the States
Medicaid expansion was the biggest winner in last week’s elections

As health care debates raged over the last few years, Congress was smack dab in the middle. After Tuesday’s elections, most of the action moves to the states. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Newly-elected leaders in the states will be in a stronger position than those in Washington to steer significant shifts in health care policy over the next couple of years as a divided Congress struggles with gridlock.

State Medicaid work requirements, prescription drug prices, insurance exchanges and short-term health plans are among the areas with the potential for substantial change. Some states with new Democratic leaders may also withdraw from a multistate lawsuit aimed at killing the 2010 health care law or look for ways to curb Trump administration policies.

Democrats Can’t Check the White House Alone. Neither Can Republicans
An overhaul of oversight is overdue, but partisanship isn’t what the Founders had in mind

Tom Coburn, R-Okla., left, and Carl Levin, D-Mich., ride the Senate subway in 2011, when both were still in Congress. The pair led hearings on the causes of the 2008 financial crisis. (Tom Williams/Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Congress is in desperate need of a course correction. Some may think it’s about to happen, because the Democrats have now taken control of the House. But we’re referring to a different kind of course correction. For the past ten years or so, Congress has largely ignored its constitutional responsibility to serve as a check on the excesses of the executive branch and to do so in a bipartisan manner. That’s what needs to change.

We both served for many years in the Senate, and here’s what we observed: When oversight hearings were held more for political purposes than for real fact-finding purposes, they didn’t work. Hearings like these may have been the exception rather than the rule, but they damaged Congress’ reputation. They didn’t uncover the facts, and they didn’t have the confidence of the American people.

Meet the Democrats Who Took the House
Podcast, Episode 128

Democratic Representatives-elect Kendra Horn of Oklahoma, Antonio Delgado of New York and Lucy McBath of Georgia. Photos courtesy of the campaigns.

5 Surprises from the 2018 Midterm Elections
From the Indiana Senate race to the Atlanta suburbs, a scattering of the unexpected

Republican Senate candidate for Indiana Mike Braun defeated Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Indiana, by nearly double digits. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Most midterm elections have dozens of individual House and Senate races that remain unpredictable right up until — and after — the polls close on Election Day. The 2018 cycle was no different, with 22 House and three Senate races still uncalled by 10:15 a.m. Wednesday.

But each year, there are a few races that experts thought they had a handle on, only to be flummoxed by the results.

Women Elected at Historic Levels, But No Surprise Here: White Men Dominate 116th Congress
Number of veterans down

A record number of women will be heading to Congress and there will be more minority lawmakers, but white men will still make up most of Congress. Above, supporters celebrate Jennifer Wexton's victory in Virginia. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The 116th Congress is on track to be one of the most diverse in history, but the legislature will still be overwhelmingly white and male compared to the overall U.S. population. Historic numbers of women won seats in the midterm contests, but the number of veterans is likely to fall or stay flat. 

At least 96 women running for the House have won their races, shattering the previous record of 84 women in the House. Eighty-three of the women who won were Democrats.

Tuesday Night’s Wave Came With an Undertow for the GOP
Results were good enough to constrain Trump, and that alone made it the most important midterm since 1930

As Donald Trump in the White House fulfills every dire prophecy about his vitriolic fear mongering, affluent suburbs are increasingly becoming part of the permanent Democratic coalition. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — It was the most important midterm election since voters repudiated the unsteady hand of Herbert Hoover in responding to the Great Depression. But unlike 1930 when the Democrats garnered more than 50 House seats and gained effective control of the Senate, the electoral verdict last night was far more equivocal.

As anyone who spent last summer at the beach knows, waves come in all sizes. There are gentle waves made for diving seven-year-olds. There are deceptively strong waves that bring with them an undertow. And there are, of course, fierce storm waves that require a response from FEMA.

Democrats Score Oklahoma Upset Despite Deep-Red Struggles
Kendra Horn pulled off a surprise victory in Oklahoma City-anchored district

Rep. Steve Russell, R-Okla., lost to Democrat Kendra Horn on Tuesday. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As Democrats struggled in deep red districts Tuesday night, Kendra Horn pulled off a surprise upset in Oklahoma. She defeated Republican Rep. Steve Russell in the 5th District, which includes Oklahoma City.

President Donald Trump won Russell’s district by nearly 14 points in 2016, and the race wasn’t considered a potential Democratic pickup. Russell, who was first elected in 2014, did not communicate to the National Republican Congressional Committee that he was in any trouble, according to a source with knowledge of the conversations.

Where Newly Elected Democrats Stand on Nancy Pelosi Speaker Bid
Few of the winners have explicitly said they’d vote against Pelosi on the floor

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi takes the podium before speaking during an election watch party at the Hyatt Regency in Washington, D.C. Pelosi is seeking another bid for the speakership. (Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

Updated on Nov. 11 at 11:14 a.m. | Now that she’s helped Democrats win the House majority, Nancy Pelosi’s bid to reclaim the speaker’s gavel is officially underway. 

Several Democratic candidates expressed opposition to Pelosi or echoed general calls for new leadership during their campaigns, but only a handful made specific pledges to oppose her during a floor vote for speaker.