Decoder


Podcast: A Supreme Campaign Issue
Roll Call Decoder, Episode 14

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., left, and Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh meet in McConnell's office in the Capitol on Tuesday, July 10, 2018, the day after President Donald Trump nominated Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/POOL)

For six Democratic senators in rough fights for re-election in Trump states, the coming vote on Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation will be a career-defining moment that cuts both ways. Roll Call political analyst Nathan Gonzales and his Inside Elections colleague Leah Askarinam explain the dynamics of each campaign. 

Watch: Trump Nominates Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court

Podcast: A Growing Controversy
Roll Call Decoder, Episode 13

MAY 26: Farm land is watered by a large irrigation sprinkler in the desert near Palmdale, Calif., on Saturday, May 26, 2018. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Podcast: Will a Minibus Rescue Hill’s GOP?
Roll Call Decoder, Episode 12

Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., left, and Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., talk before a Senate Appropriations Committee markup in the Dirksen Building on June 7, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file)

Republicans would love to avoid shutdown drama before the midterm but a tight timetable stands in the way. CQ’s appropriations reporter Kellie Mejdrich explains why the budgetary salvage vehicle is called a “minibus” and why it just might work.

Podcast: California’s Top Two Primary Looms Over House Democrats
Roll Call Decoder, Episode 11

Harley Rouda, Democrat running for California’s 48th District, speaks during his campaign rally in Laguna Beach, Calif., on Sunday, May 20, 2018. California is holding its primary election on June 5. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Democrats have a handful of opportunities to takeover House seats in California, but the abundance of candidates and state’s top two primary system are complicating the party's efforts in a critical state for the majority. Roll Call elections analyst Nathan Gonzales and Roll Call political reporter Bridget Bowman look back at when the system was installed and ahead to the June 5 primaries and how Democrats are trying to avoid an electoral catastrophe.

Show Notes:

Podcast: There’s (Political) Royalty in Congress, Too
Roll Call Decoder, Episode 10

Vice President Mike Pence and his brother Greg Pence, who is the GOP candidate for Indiana's 6th Congressional District. (Left photo by Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call, right photo courtesy Greg Pence for Congress)

Podcast: Of Politicians and Pastors
Roll Call Decoder, Episode 9

House Chaplain Patrick J. Conroy blesses a walnut tree during a tree-planting ceremony in memory of Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y., on April 18. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Podcast: Use of Force vs. Use of Power
Roll Call Decoder, Episode 8

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., talks with reporters in the basement of the Capitol on March 20, 2018. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senators on both sides are pushing to rewrite the law authorizing military force, untouched for 16 years. Even after airstrikes on Syria the debate is likely to fade fast, White House correspondent John Bennett explains, part of a complex modern war-making power dynamic that favors presidents over Congress.

Show Notes

Podcast: Going Behind the Screen about Television Ad Reservations
Roll Call Decoder, Episode 7

The Capitol dome is seen in a reflection on a television news camera outside the Capitol on Friday, Dec. 1, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Podcast: What Defines a Political Wave in the House?
Roll Call Decoder, Episode 6

MARCH 14: Speaker Paul D. Ryan holds a press conference with House GOP leadership in the Capitol on Wednesday, March 14, 2018, as a television displays election results from the special election in Pennsylvania. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

With President Donald Trump’s mediocre job ratings, Democrats’ advantage on the national generic ballot and success in special elections in Pennsylvania, Alabama and elsewhere, there’s plenty of talk about a political wave. In this week’s Decoder, Roll Call elections analyst Nathan Gonzales, sitting in for David Hawkings, talks with Roll Call columnist Stuart Rothenberg about how many seats it takes to make a wave and which Republicans might survive.

Show Notes:

Podcast: How We Determine the Wealth of Congress
Roll Call Decoder, Episode 5

California Rep. Darrell Issa is the wealthiest member of Congress according to Roll Call's Wealth of Congress study. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Podcast: A Map Puts Pennsylvania on Political Center Stage
Roll Call Decoder, Episode 4

Rep. Ryan Costello, R-Pa., runs past Rep. Lou Barletta, R-Pa., on the House steps as members of Congress leave for the 4th of July recess following the final votes of the week in the Capitol on Thursday, June, 29, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The state’s Democratic congressional roster could grow by half a dozen, a huge boost for the party’s bid to take back the House this fall, thanks to new district lines drawn by the state’s highest court. Roll Call political reporter Bridget Bowman explains the party’s boosted targets for opportunity now that one of the nation’s most partisan gerrymandered maps has been re-colored in purple.

Show Notes:

Podcast: ​In Search of the Ideal Political Map
Roll Call Decoder, Episode 3

Shirley Connuck, right, of Falls Church, Va., holds up a sign representing Texas’ 18th District, as the Supreme Court hears a case on possible partisan gerrymandering by state legislatures on October 3, 2017. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Courts are weighing in as never before on whether gerrymandering can be too political. If red and blue can no longer constitutionally dominate the mapmakers’ work, what are they to do? As Roll Call election analyst Nathan Gonzales explains, it’s very difficult to draw districts that are at once competitive, compact and fair to minority voters. And the 2018 primaries are about to get started.

 Show Notes:

Podcast: How Trump is So Quickly Remaking the Federal Bench
Roll Call Decoder, Episode 2

President Donald Trump arrives for Congressional Gold Medal ceremony in the Capitol rotunda to honor former Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., on January 17, 2018. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The end of filibusters, changes in other Hill customs and subcontracting nominations to conservative groups – all have combined to make Senate judicial confirmations much more about “consent” than “advice,” CQ legal affairs reporter Todd Ruger explains.

Show Notes:

Podcast: Unpacking This Year’s Version of the Budget Mess
Roll Call Decoder, Episode 1

Tourists file past the statue of George Washington in the Capitol Rotunda on Jan. 8. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Four Senate Stories That Might Shape Moore’s Fate
Past election and ethics controversies offer precedent for GOP

Those who hope to block Moore from the Senate might look to the paths pursued by, clockwise from top left, Robert G. Torricelli, John Ensign, Roland W. Burris and Lisa Murkowski. (Douglas Graham, Scott J. Farrell and Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photos)

Torricelli, Murkowski, Burris & Ensign: That’s not the newest lobbying law firm on K Street, but rather a roster of senators whose extraordinary political careers point toward the four tough paths for Republicans intent on keeping Roy Moore out of the Senate.

The lateness of the electoral hour, combined with Alabama’s deeply red nature and solid support from the state’s GOP base, continue to afford the 70-year-old, twice-removed chief justice of the state Supreme Court big advantages if he persists in his campaign — notwithstanding allegations that while he was a prosecutor in his 30s he sexually assaulted two teenage girls and pursued romantic relationships with others.