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The Republican Advantage

April 16, 2013 The “Incredible Shrinking Swing Seat” really does keep shrinking. In August 1997, The Cook Political Reportintroduced the Partisan Voter Index, an attempt to uniformly measure the competitiveness of all 435 congressional districts by comparing each district’s performance in the two most recent presidential elections with that of the nation as ...

The Second-Term Jinx

April 8, 2013 Pretend for a moment that you are President Obama, his chief of staff, his counselor, or another top adviser. The question before you is how to avoid the fate of so many other second-term presidencies. Dwight Eisenhower’s final four years were marred by a recession, Richard Nixon’s by Watergate. Ronald ...

Analysis: Sequestration Shows That Congress Needs to Be Fixed

March 26, 2013 Almost a month into budget sequestration, the sky has not fallen, the sun comes out most days, and birds are still chirping. Few would argue against the proposition that sequestration is a blunt, mindless instrument to cut budgets, treating all affected programs equally, largely ignoring Social Security, Medicaid, and Medicare, ...

Rebuilding the GOP

March 25, 2013 The first six months or so after a president’s reelection are usually pretty dull, particularly if neither chamber of Congress changed hands. Sure the Cabinet gets reshuffled and some members of Congress leave town and are replaced by new ones, but things can usually be described as “more of the ...

The GOP Keeps Getting Whiter

March 18, 2013 After Republicans won only 48 percent of all votes cast for the House in 2012 but 54 percent of the seats, it’s no secret that the party enjoys the huge built-in structural advantages in the chamber that Democrats had going for them decades ago. In a January memo, veteran GOP ...

Analysis: What History Tells Us About Obama’s Second Term

March 12, 2013 In my line of work, you learn to look for historical patterns, but not to fall prisoner to them. When historical patterns exist, the underlying causes should be carefully considered; when potential exceptions develop, those should be considered as well. Is there a reason why this time is different? We ...

Sequestration Hits Obama in the Polls

March 12, 2013 Just as I was about to file a column noting that President Obama’s job-approval rating had dropped to 46 percent for two consecutive days in the Gallup Poll—its lowest levels since late October—his rating popped back up 3 percentage points to 49 percent. That’s still below the 52 percent that ...

Analysis: Sequestration May Be a Bad Idea Whose Time Has Come

March 5, 2013 Early last June, I was having coffee with a longtime friend, a former Republican member of Congress widely considered one of the most astute watchers of Washington and the political process. This friend said he thought that budget sequestration was very likely to happen, that it was almost inevitable given ...

The Threat to Republicans

March 5, 2013 A recent poll by the Pew Research Center attracted a great deal of attention because it found that 62 percent of respondents agreed with the statement that the Republican Party was “out of touch with the American people”; only 33 percent disagreed. Even 36 percent of Republicans thought their party ...

Why Obama Should Be Quiet on Immigration

February 25, 2013 Sometimes, silence really is golden. In politics, taking the path of highest visibility isn’t always the smartest way to do things. Last week presented two good examples of that principle being violated, one by a Democrat and the other by a Republican. As we watch President Obama stumping for comprehensive ...