opinion

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.

Campaign season means ‘law and order.’ Can we break the habit?
Congress took a step toward criminal justice reform last year, but it wasn’t enough

The U.S. prison population has grown since the 1970s from 300,000 to 2.3 million. A bipartisan effort in December, led in part by Sen. Cory Booker, was a respectable start — but one bill isn’t going to solve the problem, Curtis writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — When mass incarceration in America gets political attention, it’s often so the issue can be used as a cudgel to attack opponents. Thus, the president Twitter-shames former Vice President Joe Biden for his role in promoting the 1994 crime bill even as Donald Trump’s own history of hounding the Central Park Five is highlighted in “When They See Us,” director Ava DuVernay’s Netflix miniseries on the teens accused, convicted, imprisoned and eventually exonerated.

When Democrats and Republicans cooperated on a criminal justice reform bill late last year that made modest changes in the federal system, they congratulated themselves for getting something done in gridlocked Washington.

The GOP’s secret roadmap to undermine the 2020 census
Somehow gerrymandering is not enough for the Republicans any more

For two years, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has been pushing a plan to add a citizenship question to the census. His cover story doesn’t hold up, Shapiro writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Thomas Hofeller was always precise about the pronunciation of his chosen profession. He correctly called it a “gerrymander” with a hard “G” rather than the far more common usage that makes rigged political mapmaking sound reminiscent of “Jerry Ford.”

Hofeller, who died last August, was the most artful and devious Republican cartographer of his generation. The sweeping Republican legislative and gubernatorial victories in 2010 gave him a vast canvas on which to jigger the voting districts — and produced the widespread theory (disproven in 2018) that the Democrats would never win back the House in this decade.

5 reasons Nancy Pelosi is absolutely right about impeachment
She’s deliberate, even cautious. Democrats are lucky to have her

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is no dummy, Murphy writes. She’s keeping her caucus from repeating impeachment mistakes of the past. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — If anyone understands how badly a perfectly good impeachment can go, it’s Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi was in the House chamber on Dec. 19, 1998, when the House voted to impeach President Bill Clinton. Less remembered is the moment earlier in the day when speaker-designate Bob Livingston, Republicans’ choice to succeed Newt Gingrich after a disastrous midterm election performance, shocked his caucus and announced on the floor that he, too, would resign from the House after Hustler magazine threatened it would go public with his numerous extramarital affairs.

Team Trump’s Harriet Tubman stumble was a missed opportunity for the GOP
But when your slogan is ‘Make America Great Again,’ you’re always stuck in reverse

An original photograph of Harriet Tubman, taken by H. Seymour Squyer, and estimated to have been printed in 1885, is displayed on a cabinet card before a House Administration hearing in 2015. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — It would have been so easy, a way for the Trump administration to honor an American icon and reach out to some of those Americans who believe the Republican Party has no use for them. But did anyone honestly think any member of the team leading the country under the direction of Donald J. Trump was going to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill?

Instead Trump and company’s song-and-dance about why a plan put in place before they moved into the White House would be delayed until well after they leave just confirms that they care little for the wishes of Americans who probably did not vote for them, but who are Americans nonetheless, and that they have no knowledge of or interest in the history that has shaped this country.

America is about to find out if ‘Lunch Bucket Joe’ is a man of steel
Biden’s first big test will come in Miami

When the Democrats hold their first debate in June, Joe Biden could cement his front-runner status — or he could leave voters wondering whether he belongs there at all, Winston writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — With Memorial Day in the rearview mirror, the next political destination for the Democratic presidential pack of contenders is the first two-night debate scheduled for June 26-27 in Miami. Twenty of the qualifying candidates are expected to take the stage hoping to walk away with an attention-getting debate performance that will propel them into the spotlight in what is a ridiculously crowded field.

Nineteen have everything to gain.