House Experience Poised to Nose-Dive

Following a rash of retirements, incumbent losses in November could bring the House of Representatives’ experience level to a low not seen since the 1990s

By Sean McMinn of Roll Call

If this election year ushers in as big a wave as Democrats are hoping for, it could end not just with a new party in control of the House, but with a major brain drain in the chamber. Departing members take with them their institutional knowledge and experienced staff. The freshmen who replace them will not only be starting from scratch, but, like Tea Party members did in 2010, could arrive by virtue of an antagonistic attitude and may be reluctant to back established party leadership.

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Posted in Candidates, Congress, Democrats, Elections, Republicans, Roll Call

Rating Changes in 19 House Races: All Toward Democrats

By Nathan L. Gonzales of Roll Call

In total, 68 GOP-held seats are now rated competitive

Despite forecasts of a blue tsunami, it’s still not guaranteed that Democrats will win back the House majority. But the playing field of competitive House races is expanding and shifting to almost exclusively Republican territory.

  • 68 Republican seats are rated as vulnerable.
  • 10 Democratic seats are rated as vulnerable.

And there are at least a couple dozen more GOP-held seats that could develop into competitive races in the months ahead.

That discrepancy in the playing field is reminiscent of previous “wave” elections.

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Posted in Thought-Provoking Analysis, Elections, Political parties, Republicans, Candidates, polls, Democrats, Nathan Gonzales, Roll Call, Demographics, House of Representatives

Darwin: Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge

Ignorance more frequently begets confidence than does knowledge: it is those who know little, and not those who know much, who so positively assert that this or that problem will never be solved by science.

— Charles Darwin

Posted in Charles Darwin, Controversial, Thought-Provoking Analysis

The FBI Informant Who Monitored the Trump Campaign, Stefan Halper, Oversaw a CIA Spying Operation in the 1980 Presidential Election

By Glenn Greenwald of The Intercept

An extremely strange episode that has engulfed official Washington over the last two weeks came to a truly bizarre conclusion on Friday night. And it revolves around a long-time, highly sketchy CIA operative, Stefan Halper.

Four decades ago, Halper was responsible for a long-forgotten spying scandal involving the 1980 election, in which the Reagan campaign – using CIA officials managed by Halper, reportedly under the direction of former CIA Director and then-Vice-Presidential candidate George H.W. Bush – got caught running a spying operation from inside the Carter administration. The plot involved CIA operatives passing classified information about Carter’s foreign policy to Reagan campaign officials in order to ensure the Reagan campaign knew of any foreign policy decisions that Carter was considering.

Over the past several weeks, House Republicans have been claiming that the FBI during the 2016 election used an operative to spy on the Trump campaign, and they triggered outrage within the FBI by trying to learn his identity. The controversy escalated when President Trump joined the fray on Friday morning.

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Posted in CIA, Controversial, Donald Trump, Thought-Provoking Analysis

Will Impeachment Talk Affect The Midterms?

A FiveThirtyEight Chat

What role will the prospect of impeaching President Trump play in the 2018 midterms? Namely, can Republicans employ the threat that “Democrats will impeach Trump if they win the House/Senate” as a way to spur base turnout? Or, to take it from the Democrats’ point of view, do they need to avoid impeachment talk? (Which they seem to have largely done so far.)

There’s potentially a difference between “Republicans get to play defense/counterstrike on impeachment “and “Republicans invoke impeachment as a wedge issue when Democrats aren’t bringing it up much.”

See the podcast…

Posted in Candidates, Congress, Democrats, Donald Trump, Elections, FiveThirtyEight, Impeachment, Politics, Republicans