Call it Iowa's way of rotating the crops: every ten years, the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency draws new Congressional districts that rarely bear resemblance to their predecessors and force incumbents to meet lots of new voters. The agency cannot take incumbents’ residences or political data into account, and the legislature and governor then approve the agency’s design or send it…
On April 14, Arkansas became the first state in the nation to complete Congressional redistricting when Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe signed a new plan into law. Arkansas was one of the very few states where Democrats held exclusive authority to redistrict, and some speculated that Democrats would take a machete to the districts of freshman GOP Reps. Rick Crawford (AR-01) and Tim Griffin (AR-02) to a…
When it comes to redistricting, it's hard to say what is or isn't "normal." The process plays out only once every ten years, the modern partisan era is only about 50 years old, and court decisions constantly result in new standards. But by almost any measure, the 2011-2012 redistricting process looks to be highly unusual. Cook Political Report House Editor David Wasserman has delved into redistri…
The problem with having three consecutive "wave" elections is that people tend to think that these aberrational elections are the norm. In 2006, the Iraq War was at its lowest point, President George W. Bush’s Gallup job approval rating was 38 percent going into Election Day, and a series of congressional scandals buffeted the Republican Party, causing it to lose six Senate seats, 30 House seats…
Some bright, talented, and highly qualified Republicans are thinking about running for president. Haley Barbour of Mississippi, Mitch Daniels of Indiana, Mike Huckabee of Arkansas, Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, and Mitt Romney of Massachusetts—all current or former governors—are eminently capable. Regardless of whether you like or agree with them, they are worthy of consideration for the Republican n…
The media’s recent coverage of the potential government shutdown over the past few weeks has been genuinely overcaffeinated. The truth is that if a deal had not been reached last weekend, we would have seen something more like a government slowdown. Over the years, the impact of these periodic but unfortunate incidents—the federal government has shut down five times in the past 25 years—has been…
One of the biggest and most frequent mistakes in politics is for a party to misread its mandate. When it happens, independent and swing voters get angry and punish a candidate or a party on Election Day. Because American politics is a zero-sum game, punishing one party means rewarding the other party—even when the latter is not necessarily deserving of support. Frequently, the party that benefits…
On March 1, 2006, one day after considering the late Anna Nicole Smith's final appeal to win a share of her deceased husband's vast estate, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of LULAC v. Perry - the Texas redistricting case that ultimately upheld the GOP's controversial mid-decade gerrymander. The irony of this case coupling was not lost on Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank, w…
Until recently, Republicans were taking solace in a number of things as they looked forward to 2012. For one, Republicans knew that the party not holding the White House rarely suffered large House and Senate losses in presidential reelection years. In fact, the only time that has happened in recent history was to Republicans in 1964 when Lyndon Johnson won the White House a year after the assass…
In 2014, a good political environment, a weakened Democratic President and several open Democratic-held seats in red states combined to give Senate Republicans a nine-seat gain and the majority. In 2016, the tables are turned. Republicans will defend 24 seats to just 10 for Democrats. Of those 24 seats, President Obama carried the states of five of them in 2012 by at least five points, and carried two more by one and three points. Neither party has been helped by open seats, particularly compared to the last three cycles. Democrats need five seats – or four if they retain the White House – to take back the majority. Wth two weeks before Election Day, Democrats appear to be on track to pick up between four and six seats.
The 2016 election resulted in a House breakdown of 240 Republicans and 194 Democrats, with one Louisiana seat headed to a December 10 runoff that is very likely to be won by a Republican. Democrats scored a net gain of six seats, a disappointing result for a party that had hoped to pick up more than 15 and cut the GOP's majority in half. Democrats' best hope for a majority in 2018 would be an unpopular President Donald Trump. But given Republicans' redistricting advantages and how well sorted-out the House has become, it could still be very difficult for Democrats to pick up the 24 seats they would need.
The 2016 cycle will host 12 gubernatorial contests, including the special election in Oregon. Democrats are defending eight seats to four for Republicans. The marquis contests will be the Democratic-held open seats in Missouri, New Hampshire and West Virginia, and in North Carolina where GOP Gov. Pat McCrory is seeking a second term. With so few seats on the ballot, neither party is likely to make significant gains or sustain big losses.
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Charlie Cook's Column
How Fake News Undermines DemocracyJanuary 17, 2017
Almost 130 years ago, German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, “That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” In a perverse way, BuzzFeed and CNN made President-elect Trump stronger this week.Read more »
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