The partisan acrimony that began intensifying in the House in the mid- to late 1980s now extends far beyond that chamber. Just look at this week's news. The Senate is facing a horrible fight over President Bush's judicial nominations. While the Senate has never been quite the embodiment of gentility that some commentators make it out to be, it has now become even more contentious than the House-i…
Columbia, S.C.-For political reporters, Democratic operatives and activists, and political junkies of all persuasions, this past weekend's South Carolina Democratic Party State Convention, accompanied by the first debate for Democrats running for the 2004 presidential nomination, was a long-overdue fix after months in which foreign policy and war have dominated the news. Whether it was the annual…
Not long ago, someone asked me why the House and Senate are so very different. The easy answer is that their rules, cultures, and traditions have created vastly different dynamics. That doesn't explain all of the contrast, though. There's an old story in which a House leader tells a younger colleague, ‘The other party is the opposition; the Senate is the enemy." That tale probably came to many mi…
For Democrats to win back control of the Senate in 2004, they will have to pull off something akin to an inside straight -- very difficult, but not impossible. After all, not many people expected Republicans to score a net gain of two Senate seats in 2002 or that Democrats would pick up four in 2000. Although some point to the fact that Democrats have more seats to defend (19) than do Republicans…
With the war in Iraq over, the political focus is shifting to the role that the national-security-versus-economic-security debate will play in the 2004 presidential campaign and to the obvious comparisons between the situations of the two presidents named Bush. Certainly, both similarities and differences abound in the circumstances of father and son. One important, perhaps critical, distinction…
Although it is true that all bounces in presidential popularity are not created equal, some surges that follow major developments or big successes are more durable than others. In truth, things are mu…
The announcement that freshman Republican Sen. Peter G. Fitzgerald of Illinois will not seek re-election throws the political spotlight, at least for a moment, back on the Senate. Republicans now hold that chamber by a slim majority of 51-49. How will next year's 34 Senate contests be decided? Two scenarios are plausible. The first is the level-playing-field scenario: Each race's outcome is inde…
With both Democratic and Republican House campaign committees grappling with the complexities of a new campaign finance law, both parties must be relieved that there are no competitive special elections in sight at this point in the election cycle. Putting aside the formality special election to replace the late Democratic Rep. Patsy Mink of Hawaii, the only other special election slated for this…
There is much to love about politics and the people it attracts, but one of the tiresome things about covering politics is the highly selective sense of outrage that exists among political people of all stripes. They're quick to pounce on the slightest transgression-whether real, imagined, or contrived-on the other side of the fence, but are trangely silent when something similar happens on their…
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
No Easy Wins for GOP Lawmakers Under TrumpJune 23, 2017
For congressional Republicans in the new norm of the Trump presidency, nothing is easy, and everything is hard. Raising the debt ceiling in order to keep the government from defaulting on its debt is normally easy; now it is hard. Passing an omnibus budget bill to simply keep the government operating (forget the idea of passing the full battery of 12 appropriations...Read more »
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