opinion

The Political Class Got 2016 Wrong. Could We See a Repeat?
What’s possible is sometimes more important than what’s probable

The difference between what was probable and what was possible in 2016 was the difference between a President Clinton and a President Trump, Winston writes. (Meredith Dake-O'Connor/CQ Roll Call file photo)

“The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.”

So said Sherlock Holmes in “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” and the great detective’s observation may well apply to the upcoming midterm elections.

Is Beto O’Rourke the Next Jon Ossoff?
Democrats can’t seem to help falling for white, Southern men in unlikely races

Democrat Beto O’Rourke historic fundraising numbers set off alarm bells in the GOP that the Texas Senate race was not one to be ignored, Murphy writes. Above, O’Rourke arrives for a rally in Lockhart, Texas, on Oct. 1. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — There have been so many glowing profiles of Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic Senate hopeful in Texas, that there is a running joke  among journalists about the ingredients for a perfect O’Rourke piece. The short version goes something like this: He looks like a Kennedy! He’s got tons of cash! He’s a Democrat in a Red State! Let’s do this thing!

The one detail that’s almost always missing in those profiles is reality — namely, the fact that O’Rourke could run a perfect race against Sen. Ted Cruz and will still probably lose based solely on the fact that far more Republicans are likely to vote in Texas this November than Democrats. Although twice as many Texans (about 1 million) voted in the Democratic primary this year compared to 2014, 1.5 million votes were cast in the Republican primary. Even as the state’s demographics are changing, the math for Texas Democrats still doesn’t look good.

One Way to Fix the Child Care Crisis? Look to the Tax Law
‘Opportunity Zones’ incentive can help close the early childhood gap

A Chicago teacher works with kids as part of an early childhood education program. The “Opportunity Zones” incentive could help expand such programs across the country, Smith and Shaw write. (Tim Boyle/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — America faces a mounting child care crisis. Too many families lack access to safe, affordable and high-quality care for their infants and toddlers. But a small but important provision in last year’s tax law, designed to spur investment in under-resourced communities, could provide an unlikely solution.

That solution comes in the form of a new economic development incentive known as Opportunity Zones. Under the tax law, investors will receive a steep reduction in taxes on their capital gains in exchange for substantial and long-term investment in low-income communities designated as Opportunity Zones. This tax incentive could be combined with others in the economic development toolkit, such as the New Markets Tax Credit and historic building preservation tax credits, to support a wide variety of investments in real estate and businesses.

It Turns Out Democrats Are Really Bad at Getting Mad
They’re doing their best scorched-earth impression of Mitch McConnell. It isn’t working

Fight fire with fire, says Hillary Clinton. Civility can wait. But Democrats do a pretty weak impression of Mitch McConnell, Shapiro writes. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

OPINION — Anger in politics is like the porridge in “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” — it has to be just right.

Too little anger breeds a sense of complacency and decreases the urgency of voting. Too much anger produces self-defeating rhetoric that repels the very undecided voters that you are struggling to attract.

In North Carolina, the Midterms Are Not Just About 2018
Democrats strive to regain voice lost during Obama era

The great seal of North Carolina seen outside the State Legislative Building. November’s elections in North Carolina will have consequences for redistricting, voting rights and more, Curtis writes. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — When President Donald Trump last visited the Carolinas, it was a relatively nonpartisan stop to offer sympathy and aide to those affected by Hurricane Florence. But now the big names heading South are placing politics front and center.

It’s a sign of the high stakes of November’s midterm elections, particularly in North Carolina, a state that mirrors the turbulent national political scene. At issue in the state and across the country is not only getting out the vote, but also who gets to vote, and how gerrymandering affects the fairness of the vote.

Memo to GOP: You’ve Got a Winning Message and It’s Not Pelosi
Republicans should be touting the success of their economic policies

President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans celebrate the passage of the tax overhaul last December. With 27 days to go until Nov. 6, Republicans need to stress the successes of their economic policies, Winston writes. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — Republicans have a great economic story to tell if they are willing to tell it. They have less than a month to make their case to voters that the economic policies that House Republicans began pushing in 2010 are finally paying off. Now is the time to reinforce success, not change direction.

On Friday, the Labor Department reported that the unemployment rate dropped to 3.7 percent, its lowest mark in nearly 50 years. Remarkably, unemployment has stayed under 4 percent for five of the past six months and remains at near record lows for African-Americans, Hispanics and women.

Beware Kavanaugh Narratives, Final-Month Musings Unlikely to Change November Outcomes
Despite what you may hear, the House is still poised to flip and the Senate is still not, Rothenberg writes

Supporters stake out their spot for Rep. Beto O'Rourke's Turn out For Texas Rally, featuring a concert by Wille Nelson, in Austin, Texas on Sept. 29. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

During a brief period when I was working for the political unit of CBS News around the 2006 midterm elections, I attended a pre-election meeting run by Sean McManus and Paul Friedman. McManus was then president of CBS News, while Friedman was vice president.

I remember McManus, who made his mark running CBS Sports, saying he had bumped into a friend or acquaintance who told him the alleged Democratic midterm wave had crested and Republican prospects were rebounding.  

After the Kavanaugh Trauma, the Senate Needs an MRI
Senators, on both sides, must stop assuming the worst of colleagues’ motives

Maine Sen. Susan Collins’ defense of Sen. Dianne Feinstein in her floor speech Friday, she offered her colleagues one way forward to fix the stalemate they find themsleves in, Murphy writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — The Brett Kavanaugh confirmation saga is over, but the worry I hear most around the Senate is that the damage done to the institution during his nomination battle may be permanent.

How does the institution go on after a mess like that? How do colleagues, especially on the Judiciary Committee, work together after the accusations, attacks and name-calling that went on? How can they fix a Senate that looks so broken right now?

Kavanaugh Fight Goes Full On Knute Rockne
Mitch McConnell really knows his way around a sports metaphor

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Majority Whip John Cornyn leave the Senate Republicans’ policy lunch Tuesday to address reporters in the Capitol. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell this week lamented that Democrats would never be satisfied with a one-week FBI investigation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, saying he expects “soon enough the goal posts will be on the move once again.” McConnell, going full Knute Rockne, also has said of the Kavanaugh nomination and investigation: “We’re going to be moving forward. I’m confident we’re going to win.”

Thankfully, the Kentucky senator did not channel another Republican, Ronald Reagan, with an exhortation that the win would be for “The Gipper.”

What’s Missing in the Health Care Debate?
By focusing on costs, we ignore the issues of health care quality and innovation

The push for single-payer health care ignores the impact it would have on innovation, Winston writes. Above, a Bernie Sanders staffers sets up for an event to introduce the senator’s “Medicare for All” legislation last year. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — The drumbeat on the left for single-payer health care is getting louder, pushed by Democratic luminaries and congressional hopefuls, all trying to make it a major issue this fall. 

That’s no surprise. Health care as a political and policy issue has been a front-burner concern for almost a decade, with both parties failing to find a solution that addresses access, quality and affordability.