Keystone XL Pipeline

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. 

Get used to talking about Pennsylvania
Political Theater, Episode 74

Hello, Pennsylvania! Air Force One arrives with President Donald Trump for a rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pa., on Monday, May 20, 2019. The perennial battleground state will go a long way to determining the next president. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

For pure Political Theater, it will be hard to beat Pennsylvania during the 2020 campaign. The Keystone State will be, well, key to an Electoral College victory. President Donald Trump knows it. That may be why he has visited it six times since taking office, including to Montoursville in the north central part of the state on May 20.

He won’t be alone, though, because the current Democratic frontrunner, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., was born in Scranton, represented neighboring Delaware in the Senate for decades and opened his official campaign headquarters in Philadelphia on May 18. Pennsylvania has long been a swing state in presidential politics, and Democrats’ ability to flip several Republican seats in 2018 paved the way for them retaking the majority in the House.

Trump, Biden and the battle for Pennsylvania
‘Biden deserted you,‘ president roars in Montoursville rally, as former veep sets up shop in Philly

Former Vice President Joe Biden removes his jacket at the Eakins Oval in Philadelphia on Saturday as he formally kicks off his 2020 White House bid. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

ALLENTOWN, Pa. — Three times President Donald Trump mentioned former Vice President and Pennsylvania native Joe Biden, the 2020 Democratic front-runner, and three times his crowd of loyalists booed at a rally Monday night in Lycoming County. But it is swing voter-rich places, like the one here in Lehigh County, two hours to the southeast, that will help determine who is president in January 2021.

Biden clearly has attracted the president’s attention since he jumped into his party’s race to take on Trump in the general election.

‘I’ll be here a lot,’ Trump says of Pennsylvania in safe GOP district
President weighs in on special election after Biden kicks off campaign in Keystone State

Supporters of President Donald Trump, pose for a picture while waiting to enter his rally at the Williamsport Regional Airport in Montoursville, Pa., on Monday. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

MONTOURSVILLE, Pa. — Air Force One landed here Monday evening ahead of a special House election as AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck” blared inside an airport hangar. Minutes later, with Air Force One parked in front of small tree-lined peaks, President Donald Trump issued a thunderous endorsement of a GOP House candidate and attack on Democrats.

And repeatedly, the friendly audience showered Trump with chants of “four more years!” And during one rare quiet moment, a man shouted, “We love you, Trump!” Minutes later, the entire crowd, which did not quite fill the hangar, shouted in unison, “We love Trump!”