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Questions and Possible Answers on the Midterm Elections

October 27, 2014 After the obvious "Who's going to control the Senate after this midterm election?" question, several more questions come up in most political conversations these days. One recurring inquiry focuses on the role of the Affordable Care Act, with many suggesting that it has faded as an issue in the eyes ...

The Trench Warfare Begins

October 20, 2014 With just a little more than two weeks to go before the midterm election, Democrats are increasingly in need of a break or two to salvage their Senate majority. In my National Journal Daily column a month ago (September 14), after suggesting that Republicans had a 60 percent chance of ...

Stacked Deck

October 6, 2014 While the outcomes of presidential races are pretty much decided by how the swing, or "purple," states split, in the fight for control of the U.S. Senate that is not always the case. The challenge for Democrats in this election is having so many seats up in very Republican states. ...

Is It Real, or Is It a Political Head Fake?

September 29, 2014 In the early 1970s there was a classic television commercial for Memorex, a company just entering the consumer market for high-quality audio cassettes. In the commercial, jazz great Ella Fitzgerald would hit a high note, shattering a wine glass. Then, they would play her back on tape, shattering the glass ...

A Razor-Thin Lead for the GOP

September 22, 2014 Are things getting better for Senate Democrats? Certainly many of the better (more reliable) statistical models seem to suggest they are. Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight moved from a 64 percent chance of the GOP gaining a majority, predicted on Sept. 3, to a 54.7 percent chance on Sept. 15. As of ...

How Awful Will the Midterms be for the Democrats?

September 15, 2014 In bad midterm-election years, members of a president's party often find the political climate challenging. In some ways, it is like a swimmer encountering riptides or facing strong undertows. The degree of the danger varies from location to location, and in many cases, weak swimmers struggle in this environment; occasionally, ...

Explaining Barack Obama's Terrible Political Summer

September 8, 2014 Now that Labor Day is behind us, the most remarkable thing about this midterm election is how little has changed since Memorial Day. In the closest and most crucial contest, for control of the U.S. Senate, only the race in Kansas looks fundamentally different than it did three months ago. ...

The Lessons of the 2010 Midterm Elections

August 4, 2014 In real estate, the three most important things are said to be "location, location, and location." In politics, it might well be "timing, timing, and timing." As we approach the 2014 midterm elections, the Senate's Democratic majority is teetering on the edge, but the House is just an afterthought, with ...

Blocking the Vote in Congress

July 28, 2014 A friend of mine who has been a lobbyist for years—and wants to remain anonymous so he can continue doing it a while longer—recently made the argument to me that the current Congress is not, in fact, the least productive in U.S. history. But you do have to go quite ...

Disruptive Politics

July 21, 2014 Back in the mid-1990s, Harvard professor Clayton Christensen coined the phrases "disruptive technology" and "disruptive innovation" to describe certain kinds of game-changing developments in the business world. Now, in politics, we are seeing a variation on that theme. On the left, the Occupy movement helped spawned a new populism that ...