FROM Josh Kraushaar
Democrats and the lessons of a losing campaign If Jon Ossoff had won yesterday in the Atlanta suburbs, his campaign would have provided a blueprint for other Democrats to challenge the GOP, but he lost — after the most expensive Congressional race in history. The political novice, surprised a lot of contributors by taking a moderate tone. His opponent, veteran Republican Sharon Handel's message was tough as nails. So, was his typically centrist campaign a blueprint for failure? It's the fourth special-election defeat for Democrats with an unpopular Republican in the White House; many anti-Trump activists around the country are angry. They're tired of waiting for the National Party to do “something right” — and they're organizing on their own at the state and local level.
Following Comey testimony, where do Democrats go from here? While the focus on Trump and the Russia investigation may be good for Democrats, some liberal Democrats are saying it’s time to drop that focus and get back to the issues. Others are milking the controversy for all it’s worth.
Trump attacks the integrity of the election in final debate Last night’s final presidential debate was almost traditional at the beginning—with disagreements on substantive issues crisply delivered by both candidates. But Hillary Clinton got under Donald Trump’s skin with a comment about his relationship with Vladimir Putin.
Donald Trump Divides the Republican Party Surrogates for Donald Trump claim he's no racist, but his attack on a federal judge with Mexican ancestors was the last straw for many Republicans. Some GOP Senators are refusing to back him, and one is calling for the convention in Cleveland to choose somebody else. Other party leaders are gritting their teeth and supporting the presumptive nominee, even House Speaker Paul Ryan, who called Trump's attack "racist." We hear more about the case against Trump — and the case for Party unity.
The Politics of the Confederate Flag The killing of nine African-Americans at the Emanuel AME Church last week has launched another discussion about race and racism in America. It also initiated another round of questions about the symbolism of the confederate flag. Republican presidential contenders were asked over the weekend if the flag should be removed from its place on the grounds of the South Carolina state capitol, and they mostly dodged the question. Why is talking about the confederate flag so politically sticky?
Elizabeth Warren President Obama has used up quite a bit of his political capital lately trying to push through a giant trade pact. And, in an unusual twist, the opposition came from his own party. Democrats voted against fast-tracking of the Trans-Pacific Partnership this week, with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren leading the charge. Warren told NPR yesterday that the trade deal is basically a gift to corporations. President Obama, meanwhile, said her objections are “speculative.” How did the once close political allies get to this point?
The Politics of Vaccinations After a measles outbreak that originated at Disneyland, President Obama says kids should be fully vaccinated. But New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, visiting a vaccine lab in England, said parents should have, “some measure of choice” about whether to vaccinate for diseases. And Republican senator Rand Paul, another possible 2016 Presidential candidate, went even further in an interview on CNBC yesterday, saying that he’s heard of cases of vaccinated children suffering severe consequences. Are there dangers in politicizing the debate?
Making an Executive Decision on Immigration President Obama will unveil his plans to take executive action on immigration tonight. His announcement will be timed to take place during the Latin Grammy Awards, which will cut away to the President, ensuring him a big Latino audience. Republicans aren’t happy about Obama’s decision to act unilaterally, but they’re stopping short of shutdown talk. Why?
Politics Roundup The President is in Europe talking to leaders of the G7 about showing a united front against Russia’s annexation of Crimea. California Senator Dianne Feinstein says she has the votes to release a report on CIA treatment of detainees under the Bush administration. Republicans are trying to win over more Millennials in the coming election cycles. And Nate Silver says the GOP has a 60% chance of taking control of the Senate.
Jolly's Victory in Florida In advance of this year's mid-term elections, Democrats and Republicans poured big money into Florida's 13th District, where the death of a long-time Republican incumbent created a special election. After yesterday's voting, Republican David Jolly was triumphant. Josh Kraushaar is political editor for the National Journal .
Results Are In and It's Time for Reading Political Tea Leaves Yesterday in New Jersey, Republican Governor Chris Christie won a massive victory, including the votes of traditional Democrats. In Virginia, Democrat Terry McCauliffe was barely elected Governor, but that made political history in a presidential swing state. In Alabama, Bradley Byrne and mainstream GOP money defeated Tea Party candidate Dean Young in a Republican congressional primary. In New York City, Bill de Blasio became the first Democrat elected Mayor of that liberal city in more than two decades. The elections produced some evidence of political change and a lot of speculation. What are the lessons for both parties and the potential consequences for the Obama agenda?
The Battle for the Senate Suddenly Looks Quite Different Forty-seven of the 100 seats in the US Senate are controlled by Republicans. Forecasts had the GOP rated as likely to take the Senate in November, but that's changed recently. In Massachusetts a celebrity economics professor takes on the incumbent Republican who sits in Ted Kennedy's old seat. In Indiana a Republican brags about his disdain for bipartisanship. In Virginia two former governors who at times have been mentioned as possible presidents square off. In Wisconsin a former governor and cabinet secretary faces a woman, who if elected, would be the first openly gay senator. We take on some of the more notable, hard-fought and surprising Senate races.
Wisconsin and the Rights of Government Employees Wisconsin's public employee unions say they've agreed to Republican Governor Scott Walker's proposed increases in pension and healthcare contributions. But they're into the second week of protests over his demand that collective bargaining rights be limited.
Standoff Continues in Wisconsin In Madison, protesters packed the Capitol again today as Wisconsin's Governor refused to negotiate his controversial budget bill. Republican Scott Walker's plan is aimed at a $137 million shortfall. The state's public employee unions say they've agreed to Walker's proposed pay cuts and pension contributions, but are into the second week of protests over his demand that collective bargaining rights be limited. The minority Senate Democrats have left the state to prevent Republicans from enacting the Governor's proposal. President Obama's accused Walker of an "assault against unions," and minority Senate Democrats have left the state to prevent Republicans from changing the law. We get the latest's on a bitter dispute focused on government workers and the economy.
Can Republicans Keep Their Party Together? House Speaker John Boehner has said that taking control of Congress was "the first big adult moment" in years for the Republican Party. Now the very same Tea Partiers and other movement conservatives that helped Republicans win control of the Congress are challenging the GOP establishment, starting with Michele Bachmann. The controversial Minnesota Congresswoman says she's not Boehner's rival, but she got national attention with a televised response to the State of the Union speech even though Wisconsin's Paul Ryan had just provided the official rebuttal . Veteran Senators Hatch, Lugar and Snowe face challenges in next year's GOP primaries, and Presidential hopefuls may face a right-wing litmus test in New Hampshire. Is the Party divided between pragmatists who want to work within the system and ideologues who want to blow it up? Michele Bachmann responds to State of the Union
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.
Will the Senate write a healthcare bill in secret? While Democrats and Republicans argue White House relations with Russia, another question is being decided behind closed doors: who gets help buying health insurance and who doesn't? We hear how the pros and cons are being shrouded in secrecy.