Opinion & Analysis

Opinion: When the World of Politics Collides With the Real One
New political forces may impact midterms

The March for Our Lives rally demonstrated that millennials and young people may be a force to be reckoned with in the midterms, Mary C. Curtis writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

It is months away from November 2018, but that doesn’t stop predictions not only for the midterms but also for President Donald Trump’s re-election chances in 2020. But while the world of politics is preoccupied with whether a blue wave is inevitable or a figment of hopeful Democrats’ imagination, events outside the bubble might shift the electorate in unpredictable ways.

My Roll Call colleague Walter Shapiro explains, with examples from recent history, how politically fraught these pre-election prognostications can be. It’s also wise to remember how life and politics can be determined by “moments,” despite what consultants who make a living steering candidates and campaigns may say. And right now, America is in the middle of moments that could challenge conventional electoral wisdom.

Capitol Ink | Bold Prediction

Opinion: A Message for Midterm Poll Jumpers
It’s not that political handicapping is worthless, but a little humility will go a long way

When soothsayers read the signs in April 2010, they thought Democrats might lose only two dozen seats in the midterms. John A. Boehner knows how that turned out, Shapiro writes. (Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The conventional wisdom creeps in on little cat feet.

Over the last few months, the political community has come to assume that the Democrats will take back the House in November. And with the impatience that defines our era, the smart money is already speculating on when the newly assertive House majority will try to impeach Donald Trump.

Opinion: When the Survey Says the Holocaust Is Fading Away
When we see data like this, it says something is terribly wrong

A Polish Holocaust survivor from Dallas attends a survivor memorial service at the Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2011. Data released last week suggests there’s something terribly wrong with history education in America, Winston writes. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo.)

Just a few days ago, on April 12, the world commemorated International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Much of the news this year focused on a new national survey, conducted by Schoen Consulting for the Claims Conference, to assess just how much Americans, especially young Americans, know about the Holocaust today.

The results were disheartening and disturbing. People are beginning to forget.

Capitol Ink | Rub A Dub Dub

Opinion: When the Party of Conscience Slinks From the Fight
What was supposed to be a power struggle for the ages has turned out to be more like a used-car sale

Principles abandoned. Lawmakers fleeing. If Sen. Barry Goldwater could see the Republican Party now, he wouldn’t recognize it, Murphy writes. (Courtesy the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)

Ever since Donald Trump won the Republican nomination for president, national headlines have predicted an epic fight for the heart and soul of the Republican Party sometime in the very near future. In this corner is the big-mouthed New York billionaire untethered to any particular policy besides winning. In the other are the conscience-driven, high-minded intellectuals of modern-day conservatism, who see themselves as the keepers of the party flame.

Two ideologies will enter the fight, but only one can emerge, and the good money up to now has been on the conservatives. After all, they have the experience, the knowledge and each other to count on, while Trump has only himself.

Capitol Ink | Reality TV

Opinion: How Much Longer Can the Trump Coalition Hold?
New study confirms demographic trends remain tough for Republicans

While demographic trends favor Democrats, white voters without college degrees — a key part of President Donald Trump’s base — will remain crucial to both parties’ electoral chances, Fortier writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After Mitt Romney’s defeat in 2012, establishment Republicans, citing unfavorable demographic trends, called for the GOP to improve its performance with growing ethnic minorities. Donald Trump, seemingly poking his finger in the eye of this establishment, pursued the opposite course, attracting more support from white voters without college degrees whose ranks were shrinking but becoming more Republican.

Demographic trends remain tough for Republicans, and a new study released Monday by a coalition of think tanks confirms this. The GOP would benefit from boosting support among new immigrant groups and doubling down on the white working class. But going forward, the Trump strategy of increasing support among non college whites over expanding its vote share among immigrant groups has advantages in both the popular vote and the electoral college, and will likely be at least a part of future GOP election game plans.

Capitol Ink | Public Enemies List

Opinion: Who Will Spur the Next Energy Revolution? Not Private Industry
Some say the government can no longer afford to invest in energy research, but we say it can’t afford not to

Solar panels are seen from the air on approach to Indianapolis International Airport on April 2. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

In just a decade, America’s energy landscape has been transformed. Wind and solar units have cropped up across the country, quadrupling their output. Our oil production has nearly doubled over the same period, while natural gas has swelled by a third, due in large part to drilling and seismology advances that ushered in the shale revolution.

Who developed those technologies? Researchers at America’s national labs, thanks to decades of federal funding.

Opinion: Showing Your Gun — A New Campaign Strategy?
South Carolina lawmaker’s act may be more than a blip during the midterm season

When Rep. Ralph Norman, R-S.C., pulled out a gun during a meet-and-greet with constituents, it may just be a political sideshow — or it may be something more amidst a volatile midterm election season, Mary C. Curtis writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A U.S. House race in South Carolina may depend on how you define the word “brandish,” as in, what exactly do you call it when Republican Congressman Ralph Normanpulls out his gun in a Rock Hill diner meet-and-greet with constituents?

Though the state’s law enforcement division and attorney general have concluded “this is not a prosecutable offense,” Republicans and Democrats are weighing the political plusses and minuses of the recent event in light of a midterm race that gets more interesting by the day.

Capitol Ink | Saving Speaker Ryan

Opinion: When Trump Dreams About Our National Parks, He Sees Oil
‘America’s best idea’ deserves better than drill-everywhere schemes

Theodore Roosevelt National Park, named after the president who expanded the National Park Service, could be open to oil and gas exploitation if a Trump administration proposal that incentivizes more drilling on public lands gains traction. (Courtesy Eddy23/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0)

For most Americans, the mention of national parks brings to mind the scenic vistas of the Grand Canyon and Yosemite Valley or contemplative memorials like the Statue of Liberty and Pearl Harbor. Few people think of the tremendous amount of infrastructure — from roads and bridges to visitors centers and sewer systems — that supports 330 million annual visitors and $34.9 billion in annual economic output.   

The National Park Service manages a broad network that requires routine repairs, rehabilitation and maintenance. Due to chronic underfunding and the age of our iconic parks, much of the infrastructure that supports park visitation needs serious upkeep.

Opinion: Is Pelosi Still the Gift that Keeps on Giving for Republicans?
Democratic leader’s value as a GOP political target may be fading

Relying on attacking House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, here with Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer last month, as a campaign strategy won’t be enough to carry the day for Republicans, Winston writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Is Nancy Pelosi all she’s cracked up to be or a political conundrum? I’m not talking about her control of the House Democratic Caucus or her ability to raise enormous sums of money for House Democratic candidates. She seems to have a pretty good track record in both areas.

I’m talking about the nearly legendary notion in the GOP consulting community that Pelosi is the gift that keeps on giving to Republican candidates and campaigns.

Opinion: Mark Zuckerberg and the Theater of Contrition
But will it be enough?

Protesters hold signs before Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified before a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary and Commerce committees on the protection of user data in the Hart Building on Tuesday. ( Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The most insidious questions during a high-profile congressional hearing are often deceptively simple.

So it was Tuesday afternoon when Mark Zuckerberg, the pharaoh of Facebook, tried to ingratiate himself during questioning by nearly half the Senate.