Before the Republican-controlled Texas Legislature redrew that state's 32 congressional districts in 2003, midterm redistricting was unheard-of in modern-day American politics, except under court order. Today, taking a second crack at political boundaries redrawn as a result of the most recent census is a game that a growing number of elected officials are eager to play. California Republican Gov…
While the controversies surrounding House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Texas, have not yet jeopardized his leadership position, he does appear to be nearing an important fork in the road. If no additional allegations of ethical transgressions or new controversies crop up, DeLay's troubles may all blow over. In that case, DeLay will remain virtually as powerful as ever, and he will be able to hold…
It's impossible to tell whether the story last week that former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was contemplating a bid for the 2008 Republican presidential nomination was a real trial balloon or just some savvy publicist's great idea for drawing attention to Gingrich's new book. But it might not be quite as nutty as some, particularly Democrats, liberals and most journalists, think that the architect…
Saying that the next major speech to be given by a president is "the most important of his career" has become a tired cliche. After all, no president gets the job without having delivered a number of…
In the world of politics, whenever an assumption is almost universally accepted, you can generally count on its being wrong or greatly exaggerated. Such may well be the case with the common explanation for the decline in the number of competitive congressional districts. Many political observers are certain that, during redistricting, state legislatures carefully carve "designer districts" to en…
For as long as I can remember, excitement and freshness have nearly always been in the air when a new Congress is about to be sworn-in (and I have seen 16 of these since moving to Washington). The one exception was in 1997, after President Clinton was re-elected and the Congress remained in Republican hands. That year there was a sense that instead of something new and different, it was simply goi…
As Democrats prepare to select a new party chairman next month, they should think not only about what went wrong in 2004 but about what went right. After all, a party that carried 19 states in four consecutive elections (with a total of 248 electoral votes, just 22 short of the 270 needed to win) is not fundamentally broken, it just needs some work. But for 118,599 votes out of the 5.6 million cas…
PARIS -- As Europeans' shock over President Bush's re-election begins to ebb, it is being replaced by a fervent effort to seek clues from ongoing Cabinet changes that will indicate how the next four years might differ from the last. The news that popular Secretary of State Colin Powell is leaving while Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who is viewed far less favorably, is staying has caused cons…
Early in the 2004 election cycle, it became clear that Senate Democrats were in an unenviable situation. Even though Republicans held just a shaky one-seat majority, the playing field was decidedly tilted in the GOP's favor. Not only did the Democrats have to defend 19 seats, compared with 15 for the Republicans, but the Democrats' most vulnerable seats were in states that President Bush had carri…
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
Trump’s Policies Are a Result of On-the-Job TrainingApril 20, 2017
The media and critics on the Left are having a field day attacking President Trump’s rather numerous and often dramatic changes of heart on policy—whether China manipulates its currency, the necessity of the U.S. Export-Import Bank and NATO, and the U.S.’s strategic posture in Syria.Read more »
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In the latest issue of the Rhodes Cook Letter, Rhodes takes a close look at the 2016 election.Download »