Keystone XL Pipeline

Is Trump really the MVP of the GOP?
Data shows he underperformed compared to baseline Republican vote in key states

President Donald Trump may not be as extraordinary a candidate as he gets credit for, and his status as GOP savior might be overrated, Gonzales writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

After a tumultuous 2018 that saw them lose their House majority, Republicans often seem eager to dismiss those midterm results as typical while pining for the next election when President Donald Trump will top the ballot and drive turnout in their favor.

A closer look, however, shows Trump may not be as extraordinary a candidate as he gets credit for, and his status as GOP savior might be overrated.

Trump administration proposal would ease environmental impact reviews for federal projects
Proposal raises stakes for environmentalists fearful of what changes could mean for efforts to combat climate change

A Trump administration proposal would expand the number of projects like pipelines and fossil fuel drilling sites that are eligible to avoid comprehensive environmental impact studies. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images file photo)

Three Democrats who flipped House districts endorse Joe Biden
All three are military veterans and got Biden’s backing in 2018

Former Vice President Joe Biden was endorsed by three House Democratic freshmen on Sunday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Three House Democrats who flipped Republican-held districts in 2018 announced Sunday that they are endorsing former Vice President Joe Biden in the crowded presidential primary. All three served in the military.

Pennsylvania’s Conor Lamb, a Marine veteran, and Chrissy Houlahan, an Air Force veteran, along with Elaine Luria of Virginia, who is a retired Navy commander, all said Biden is the right candidate to unify the country. Last week, first-term Iowa Democratic Rep. Abby Finkenauer also announced that she was backing Biden.

With scores to settle, Trump slams ‘crooked bastard’ Schiff over impeachment
President calls abuse of power, obstructing Congress articles ‘impeachment lite’

President Donald Trump holds an umbrella as he speaks to journalists before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on Tuesday. He was headed to a campaign  rally in Hershey, Pennsylvania. (Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

ANALYSIS — President Donald Trump went to Hershey, Pennsylvania, with a few scores to settle hours after House Democrats unveiled two articles of impeachment they appear poised to pass next week.

For more than an hour, Trump railed against House Intelligence Chairman Adam B. Schiff and Speaker Nancy Pelosi as a throng of supporters inside the Giant Center booed, cheered and laughed — depending on the insult of the moment. He dubbed Schiff a “dishonest guy” and a “crooked bastard” and claimed the speaker has “absolutely no control” over a caucus that has lurched dramatically to the left.

States in the East with outsize roles in the 2020 elections
Pennsylvania remains a presidential battleground, while Collins bid in Maine will be closely watched

Maine Sen. Susan Collins is a Republican running in a state that voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump in 2016, but she has a strong personal brand that will help her if she seeks another term as expected in 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

If there’s an abiding lesson from 2016, it’s that national public opinion in the presidential race is not as important as the votes of individual states. Republican Donald Trump won by taking 304 electoral votes to Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s 227, even as Clinton beat him by 2.9 million votes and 2.1 percentage points nationally.

In 2020, Democrats will be looking to recapture states Trump won that went for Democrat Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012. And many of those states will also be prime battlegrounds in the fight for control of the Senate, where Democrats need a net gain of four seats to take a majority (three if they win the White House and the vice president can break 50-50 ties), while Republicans need a net gain of 19 seats to retake the House.

More diverse Pennsylvania and Florida districts might shape 2020 politics
Both states have grown in population, and many of their congressional districts have become more racially and ethnically diverse.

Protesters hold signs at a rally in front of the U.S. Supreme Court after a June 27 ruling ruling on the census. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Pennsylvania and Florida, two swing states President Donald Trump narrowly won in 2016, may look substantially different next year, as new census data shows them trending away from his base.

Both states have grown in population, and many of their congressional districts have become more racially and ethnically diverse. However, that growth hasn’t been uniform and that may have implications for local politics in 2020 and beyond.

Why Congress would be better off holding no hearings at all
Partisan circuses have debased the very concept of hearings

House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler was just one of the many characters with politics on their minds during the Corey Lewandowski hearing last week, Murphy writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — Nobody loves a congressional hearing more than I do. The gavel, the suspense, the minutiae — I love it all. But until members of Congress can control their worst urges during televised hearings, they should suspend them altogether or risk losing the meaningful value of all congressional hearings in the process. 

I hate to “both sides” this one, but Democrats and Republicans were equally guilty of making an absolute mockery of the hearing process last week. Between the out-of-control Corey Lewandowski hearing in the House Judiciary Committee, the superficial embarrassments of the climate crisis hearing at a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee, and the decades-old partisan rehash of the D.C. statehood hearing in House Oversight and Reform, Congress managed to make an essential part of the legislative process look like a new form of political corruption.

Trump reprises his pitch as the only savior for a Rust Belt battleground
Environmental groups call Pennsylvania facility he visited part of a ‘cancer alley’

President Donald Trump speaks during a rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pennsylvania on May 20. He was back in the state, his 11th visit in two years, on Tuesday. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

President Donald Trump interrupted his summer vacation Tuesday to again court Rust Belt voters that helped deliver him the White House, espousing false statements and bold promises as he seeks a second term.

“The political class in Washington gutted … your factories,” Trump told workers at a new Shell-owned petrochemical plant in Beaver County, along the border with Ohio, another perennial swing state he also won in 2016. Trump also blamed other countries for American industrial decline, drawing cheers when he told the audience “they have been screwing us for years.”

How third-party votes sunk Clinton, what they mean for Trump
Libertarians and Greens may try to convince you that higher turnout reflects growing support for their parties. It doesn’t

In the 2016, Republican Donald Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton received a smaller percentage of the vote compared to previous major party candidates. That dynamic has ramifications for the 2020 presidential election. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

For all the talk about why Donald Trump was elected president while losing the popular vote and how he could win again, one of the least discussed results of the 2016 election offers valuable lessons for Democrats.

An astounding 7.8 million voters cast their presidential ballots for someone other than Trump or Hillary Clinton. The two biggest third-party vote-getters were Libertarian nominee Gary Johnson (almost 4.5 million votes) and the Green Party’s Jill Stein (1.5 million voters). But others received almost another 1.9 million votes as well.

Democrats eye Pennsylvania district that became more favorable turf in 2018 redraw
Supreme Court opted not to stop partisan gerrymandering, but Democrats could still gain from state courts

Democrats are optimistic about knocking off Pennsylvania GOP Rep. Scott Perry, who’s running for just the second time in a district that became less favorable to Republicans under a new map. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Supreme Court’s decision last week not to stop partisan gerrymandering was a blow to congressional Democrats who were hoping several states could see more favorable maps for 2020.

But in at least one state, a new map implemented last year to redress partisan gerrymandering is giving Democrats another 2020 pickup opportunity. That map resulted from a Pennsylvania Supreme Court ruling that found the old congressional lines violated the state constitution.  And Democrats are now looking to other state courts in their fight for less partisan maps.