rothenblog

The Democrats’ Savior
Donald Trump gave Democrats what they could not give themselves: unity

Protesters walk down Independence Avenue in Washington on Jan. 21, 2017, during the Women’s March. President Donald Trump has energized and united Democratic voters. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

One year ago, as Donald Trump was preparing to take the oath of office, Democrats were in disarray. Supporters of 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders were pointing fingers at each other, the Democratic National Committee was in disgrace, and Democratic voters were demoralized.

Now, Trump has succeeded in doing something extraordinary, something neither Clinton nor House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi could do — he has united and energized Democrats.

House Seats You Think Can’t Flip but Might
Political wave elections create their own race dynamics

Rep. Sue W. Kelly lost her re-election bid in 2006 even though she appeared safe, having won two years earlier with 67 percent of the vote in a New York district carried by President George W. Bush. The result is a reminder that wave elections produce their own dynamics. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

Responses to the “generic ballot” poll question suggest a partisan electoral wave is building. But the fight for control of the House isn’t a single national election. It will be fought district by district, and national Democrats face challenges on the ground even with the generic ballot favoring them.

In Michigan, according to America Votes 2007-2008, the statewide congressional vote shifted noticeably from 2004 to 2006 — from 49 percent Republican and 48 percent Democratic to 53 percent Democratic and 44 percent Republican — but that popular vote surge for the Democrats didn’t translate to a shift of even a single House seat.

The Strategy That Could Have Taken Trump Down
Trump’s opponents should have attacked his supporters instead of the candidate, expert says

Instead of attacking Donald Trump after it was too late, Republican presidential candidates should have tried to use Trump's positions to separate him from his followers, an expert on loyalty says. (Scott Olson/Getty Images file photo)

More than a dozen Republican presidential candidates spent a year of the nominating contest waiting for someone else to attack and take down Donald Trump. But the GOP contenders had a common goal with a flawed strategy: Trump’s opponents should have attacked the celebrity’s supporters instead of the candidate, an expert on loyalty says.  

“In any cult or loyal following, fractures can occur when the followers become disillusioned by the leader,” explained James Kane , a researcher and author on the concept of loyalty. “But more often, it is their awareness of their fellow followers that causes them to pull away.”  

When Trump Calls, TV Still Answers
Live TV phone interviews with Trump continue despite widespread criticism

Donald Trump spent almost 30 minutes on the phone with the moderators of two major cable television networks Friday morning, dropping one-liners at Hillary Clinton's expense and repeating phrases from recent stump speeches.  

The live phone interviews, on "Fox & Friends"  on Fox News and MSNBC's "Morning Joe,"  continue a practice that breaks a long-standing industry rule and has attracted widespread criticism over the primary campaign.  

Clinton Starts with a Decisive Advantage
Working-class whites aren't enough to carry Trump to victory

Hillary Clinton, shown here campaigning last week in Ashland, Ky., would face fewer negative factors working against her as Donald Trump does. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

The warnings about jumping to conclusions about November are widespread.

I’ve heard that it’s early in the presidential race and that we underestimated Donald Trump last time so we should be careful now. I’ve also heard that Trump’s strength with working-class whites could change the electoral map, giving him a path to an Electoral College win.

Republicans Struggle to Keep Colorado Senate Race in Play
Michael Bennet's re-election race moves from Lean Democratic to Democrat Favored

The crowded GOP field to take on Democratic Sen. Michael Bennet narrowed recently from a dozen candidates to four contenders.  

Former El Paso County Commissioner Darryl Glenn was the only candidate to secure a position on the primary ballot at the state convention. It was a surprise boost of support for the black, retired Air Force officer and former Colorado Springs city councilman. But it also may have been Glenn’s peak performance, considering he had just $11,000 in his campaign account on March 31.  

Why I Disagree with Stu on Paul Ryan
Narrower House majority could imperil Ryan as speaker next year

The Freedom Caucus' influence could grow after the election and make it more difficult for Speaker Paul D. Ryan to keep his job. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Stu Rothenberg and I have been working together for nearly 15 years and any acute political instincts I’ve developed I owe to him. In many ways, we’ve morphed into the same mind, including our valuations of players in fantasy baseball. But after reading Stu’s latest column, “Ryan Rides to the Rescue — But Not Until 2020, ” I had a different perspective.  

After talking with a veteran GOP strategist, Stu laid out a very plausible scenario that involves House Speaker Paul D. Ryan effectively becoming the leader of the Republican Party after the GOP suffers heavy losses in the 2016 elections. The new role would culminate in him becoming the party’s presidential nominee in 2020.  

GOP's Troubles Just Beginning
Issues and demography favor Democrats

The U.S. started swinging to the right with Ronald Reagan's election to the White House in 1980. But the mix of issues in 2016 are more favorable to Democrats. (Roll Call file photo)

Both Donald Trump and Ted Cruz have glaring weaknesses as presidential nominees, but that’s only the beginning of the GOP's problems. Just as important, the current mix of top issues is simply terrible for Republicans in general and conservatives in particular.

The country moved noticeably to the right starting in the early 1980s with Ronald Reagan and continuing through the presidency of Bill Clinton (“The era of big government is over”) and even the first years of the George W. Bush administration.

How Many Might Defect from Trump or Cruz?
It isn't only about new voters

Both Ted Cruz, above, and Donald Trump say their message has brought new voters into the Republican Party. But the message could also chase some away. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

There has been plenty of talk from the two leading Republican presidential contenders about how they will attract voters who didn’t embrace recent GOP nominees.

For Ted Cruz, his pool of new voters supposedly includes conservatives who didn’t bother to vote because they saw few differences between the parties. Donald Trump, on the other hand, promises to energize working-class voters who've been left behind.

New Ad Could Change Indiana House Race Dynamics
Banks’ poll shows him with advantage as Club for Growth brings reinforcements

Indiana state Sen. Jim Banks has the Club for Growth's backing in his race to replace Rep. Marlin Stutzman. (Meredith Dake-O'Connor/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Indiana’s presidential primary is poised to play a critical role in whether Donald Trump can secure a majority of delegates before the Republican convention. But the Hoosier State is also hosting competitive primary races for the Senate and two open congressional seats on May 3.

As GOP Reps. Marlin Stutzman and Todd Young battle in the Senate primary to replace Republican Dan Coats, there are competitive primaries to replace them in the House.