Roll Call Opinion and Analysis

Where the real battle for votes lies
Juneau County, Wisconsin, is prime Trump country, but conditions seem ripe for Democrats to mitigate their losses there

Wisconsin Democrat Tammy Baldwin lost Juneau County by 771 votes in 2018 but was reelected to the Senate nonetheless. In presidential elections, however, no candidate since 1960 has won nationwide without winning the bellwether county. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Call it President Donald Trump’s Guadalcanal: Like the tiny island U.S. Marines invaded in World War II to break Japan’s Asia-Pacific chokehold, little Juneau County, Wisconsin, is where Trump needs to halt the Democrats’ advance. 

The struggle for 2020 hearts and minds is more than a referendum on the tweeter-in-chief’s behavior — it’s about the “future of work.” For counties like Juneau and others in battleground states, a thriving middle class means a restored American manufacturing base.

Voting rights, a partisan issue? Yes, Republicans have fallen that far
‘Party of Lincoln’ seems to believe it can only win by placing as many obstacles to voting as possible

Reps. John Lewis, right, and Terri A. Sewell and Sen. Patrick J. Leahy at a news conference before the House passed the Voting Rights Advancement Act on Dec. 6. Only one Republican voted for the bill. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — Stacey Abrams has it right, for right now. She lost her 2018 race to be the governor of Georgia to Republican Brian Kemp, who as secretary of state was in charge of the election, a situation that would not pass the sniff test in North Korea.

OK, that comparison is a little far-fetched, but only a little.

Capitol Ink | Woke

Elizabeth Warren’s big bad idea: Taxing our way to prosperity
As Democrats peddle unproven economic theories, Republicans have a clear opening

As Democrats like Sen. Elizabeth Warren peddle unproven economic theories, Republicans have a clear opening to tout the free-market principles that are making our economy work, Winston writes. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Last week, a New York Times headline caught my eye. “Could tax increases speed up the economy? Democrats say yes.” The story, written by Jim Tankersley, explained that Elizabeth Warren is “leading a liberal rebellion” against the “long-held economic view that large tax increases slow economic growth.”

Given the miserable track record of redistribution politics as economic theory and the strength of today’s free-market economy, I had to read on. Was this a case of economic illiteracy on the part of Warren and her fellow quasi-socialists who seem to be driving the Democratic debate? Or was this latest fascination with redistribution of wealth a focus group-tested battle cry for the base? Or maybe this was just the latest iteration of Democrats’ failed economic theories last seen in 2010 when Joe Biden promised a recession-weary America a “summer of recovery” that didn’t happen.

Capitol Ink | Full Speed Ahead

Rothenberg’s Best & Worst of 2019 Year-End Awards
This year is more than represented by the worst

Congratulations to Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, who tops Stuart Rothenberg’s list of Most obnoxious Republican members of Congress for 2019. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — It’s December, and that means it’s time for another of my “Best & Worst of the Year” columns. And since it has been a pretty awful year, there should be a lot of worsts.

As always, I’ll offer a set of nominees for each category. Then I’ll pick my winner. But you too can play along at home by selecting your choices. If you disagree with me, I really don’t care. Amuse yourselves, and send any complaints about my categories or my “winners” to Larry Sabato at the University of Virginia.

Capitol Ink | Holiday Spirit

Democrats have an anger management problem
Their base is boiling over, but independents want dignity and competence

Nancy Pelosi has shown she’s a master of her own reactions, Murphy writes, but how will she manage the boiling rage of half of her caucus? (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — Nobody does anger better than Nancy Pelosi — and she doesn’t do it often. But when the speaker of the House delivered a velvet-gloved smackdown to Sinclair’s James Rosen last week for asking if she hates the president, her heel turn — “Don’t mess with me” — nearly broke the internet.

Hashtags of #DontMessWithNancy and #DontMessWithMamma consumed social media, while the C-SPAN clip of Pelosi telling Rosen she does not, in fact, hate the president had 2.5 million views before the sun came up the next morning. 

Capitol Ink | Fightin' Joe

The PRO Act’s many cons
House expected to take up a bill that would hurt millions of small businesses and workers

The Democrat-controlled House is expected to pass the PRO Act this month — a bill that in its present form would hurt millions of small businesses and workers and upend the franchise industry, Cresanti writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — In a divided Congress, Republicans and Democrats often pass legislation to signal what they’ll pursue if they gain complete control over the levers of federal power. That’s why the Protect the Right to Organize Act demands attention. The Democrat-controlled House is expected to pass the bill in the coming weeks, even though in its present form it would hurt millions of small businesses and workers and upend one of the most important parts of the American economy: the franchise industry.

The PRO Act, as it’s called, is a Frankenstein bill that cobbles together more than 20 dangerous provisions, some new and some rejected numerous times by previous Congresses. The trouble with each of these provisions is they tip the scales against small businesses in solution of a problem that doesn’t exist — employees already have the right to organize small businesses under federal law. One section mandates that companies provide workers’ personal information to unions; another would repeal state right-to-work laws by forcing all employees to pay union dues as a condition of employment. Across the board, the bill rolls back balanced protections for workers and employers while tilting the playing field decisively toward unions.