Virginia

Republicans need to study the lessons of 2018 and 2019 before racing to 2020
Last week‘s election results show the GOP still has a lot of work to do for next year

The Nov. 5 elections showed that the president will be an asset in certain areas, particularly in red states, but in other places, he simply won’t, Winston writes. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

OPINION — Whenever there is a special election or an off-year one, you can count on both parties to react in a familiar fashion. They focus on the bright spots and dismiss losses by telling us, “Don’t read too much into it.”

Last Tuesday’s elections were a mixed bag for Republicans with some positive gains, but overall, they pointed to some key challenges for next year. Races in traditionally red states like Mississippi went generally well for the most part, as to be expected. Republicans can point to certain local races in upstate New York and New Jersey where there were some noteworthy gains. Notably, while the GOP lost the Kentucky governor’s race by a slim margin, it swept the other five statewide offices, four of them with margins of more than 10 points, and elected a Republican African American attorney general.

Surprise billing fight highlights hurdles for bolder health care changes
Disagreements over payments foreshadow difficulty of moving overhaul like ‘Medicare for All’

National Nurses United union members wave "Medicare for All" signs during a rally in front of the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America in Washington on April 29. A September poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 30 percent of people consider implementing a national Medicare for All plan a top priority. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The challenge of passing legislation to stop surprise medical bills is underscoring just how hard it is in Washington to change the health care system, even in small ways, and raising questions about Democrats’ far more ambitious overhaul plans. 

Stopping surprise medical bills wasn’t supposed to be this difficult. Lawmakers in both parties want to protect patients from certain unanticipated out-of-pocket costs, and industry groups say they agree with the broad goal. But fights over payments to doctors and other medical providers that so far have stalled the legislation foreshadow the hurdles of moving a major overhaul, such as a “Medicare for All” government-run health care plan, after the 2020 elections.

Immigrant ‘Dreamers’ look to Supreme Court, Congress for help
Supreme Court considers DACA cases

Immigration rights demonstrators hold signs in front of the Trump International Hotel in Washington in September 2017 to oppose the president’s decision to end the DACA program for “dreamers.” (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Samuel Cervantes can’t ever imagine returning to Mexico. He hasn’t been back since his family moved to Houston when he was 5. He now fears being deported if the federal government ends the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.

He also fears for his life if forced to return to a country he barely even remembers. 

Rating change: King retirement weakens GOP hold on New York seat
Long Island district is suburban, but differs from places that swung to Democrats in 2018

Rep. Peter T. King’s decision to retire makes his New York seat more vulnerable for Republicans. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Years of predictions finally came true Monday as New York Republican Peter T. King announced he will not seek reelection in the 2nd District. His decision leaves behind another competitive open seat in the suburbs for the GOP to defend.

In 2016, President Donald Trump carried the southern Long Island district by a significant margin, 53 percent to 44 percent, but the longtime congressman’s narrow 6-point margin of victory last fall is fueling Democratic optimism, particularly now that he is not running.

Photos of the Week
The week of Nov. 8 as captured by Roll Call’s photojournalists

Fans cheer for the Washington Nationals along Constitution Avenue during a parade to celebrate the World Series champions on Saturday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The House had its district work period — a.k.a. recess — this week, but there was still plenty of news.

3 takeaways after Trump rallies in Louisiana: President takes ownership of governor’s race
GOP Sen. Kennedy urges voters at Monroe rally to resist being ‘happy with crappy’

President Donald Trump looks on as the Republican candidate for governor in Louisiana, businessman Eddie Rispone, speaks during a rally at the Monroe Civic Center on Wednesday. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

ANALYSIS — Donald Trump had a very special announcement for supporters Wednesday night in Monroe, Louisiana. It was one that shows the extent to which the president is taking ownership of — and rolling the dice on — the tight race for the governor’s mansion there.

“By the way, this Saturday … I’m going to be at a certain game,” a smiling Trump said. “Let’s see, it’s LSU versus a pretty good team from Alabama. … I’m a football fan, I hear you have a great quarterback. We’re going to see him,” he said of Joe Burrow, the star QB of the No. 2 Tigers. “But I’m actually going to the game. I said: That’s the game I want to go to.

Senate Democrats skeptical of Warren’s ‘Medicare for All’ push
Hesitation from rank-and-file Democrats shows how fraught the issue is within the party

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., said she was confident Medicare for All could earn support in Congress. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s colleagues aren’t exactly jumping to voice support for her plan to finance “Medicare for All.”

The hesitation from rank-and-file Democrats across the political spectrum on backing the Massachusetts Democrat’s plan shows how fraught the issue is within the party – and how challenging it would be for a Democratic White House to shepherd a plan through Congress.

Gloom and doom in Louisiana: Trump warns of deep ‘depression’ if he loses in 2020
President tries to swing governor’s race toward Republican Eddie Rispone

President Donald Trump, here at a rally in Dallas last month, warned supporters of a “depression the likes of which you’ve never seen before” if he loses reelection next year. (Tom Pennington/Getty Images file photo)

Using his typical brash rhetoric, President Donald Trump on Wednesday night warned a Louisiana rally crowd to expect economic gloom and doom if he is defeated next November.

“You will have a depression the likes of which you’ve never seen before,” he said.

Tuesday elections show Trump coattails are mostly rural, experts say
POTUS reelection effort hinges out turning out base in greater numbers

President Donald Trump rallied Monday night in Lexington with Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, who appears to have lost his reelection bid. (Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images)

Tuesday’s election results show Republican candidates should be wary of nationalizing their races and the Trump campaign continues to hemorrhage voters that have long been under the GOP tent, political experts and strategists say.

Though analysts still see President Donald Trump as a formidable candidate as he seeks a second term, some say Republican candidates in suburban areas should resist “nationalizing” their races the way Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin did. The Republican state chief executive ran as a true Trump Republican — but appears to have lost his reelection bid to Democratic state Attorney General Andy Beshear.

Democrats lean into 2019 victories to build case for 2020
But next year's reality in red states may be more complicated

Democrat Amy McGrath, who lost a House race in 2018, is trying to challenge Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in 2020. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The day after a Democrat declared victory in the Kentucky governor’s race and Virginia voters gave full control of state government to the party’s legislative candidates, national Democrats were eager to spin those victories as a sign of good things to come in 2020.

But the reality in some places, especially longtime red areas, is more complicated.