polling

One year after Parkland, gun control advocates eye 2020
Advocates say midterm results proved gun control was a winning policy issue

Students rally on the West Front of the Capitol on March 14, 2018 as they participate in a national school walkout to call for action on preventing gun violence. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

One year after the mass shooting at a high school in Parkland, Florida, that galvanized young voters and jump-started a movement to combat gun violence, gun control advocates say there’s still more work to be done.

“We’re just gearing up,” said Sen. Christopher S. Murphy, a Connecticut Democrat and proponent of stricter gun laws. “There were a lot of candidates who got it in 2018. But there are more candidates that are going to learn the lesson from 2018.”

Sam Ervin took down Nixon. We’re still waiting for his heir
Maybe Nancy Pelosi needs to appoint a small select committee modeled after Watergate

Folksy North Carolina Sen. Sam Ervin, center, chaired the committee that destroyed Nixon’s strongest claim to power — his political popularity, Shapiro writes. (CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — It is easy to imagine an undiscovered Samuel Beckett play entitled “Waiting for Mueller.” On stage, faithful Democrats vacillate between stubborn hope (“He should be here”) and fatalistic despair (“He didn’t say for sure that he would come”). In the end, they just wait, day after day.

Whatever Robert Mueller’s internal timetable (seers like Rudy Giuliani have so far been comically wrong in trying to predict it), the investigation will face new pressures with the virtually certain Senate confirmation this week of William Barr. For the first time, Mueller will be supervised by a legitimate attorney general — rather than an acting Donald Trump factotum — who has avoided any promises about releasing the full report.

How Ralph Northam is spending his Black History Month
The African-Americans of his state have done a whole lot of forgiving since the first enslaved people were brought there centuries ago

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam has been doing a lot of learning this month — about blackface, apologies and redemption. African-Americans who believe he should stay in his post are used to making political compromises to survive, Curtis writes. (Alex Edelman/Getty Images)

OPINION — The lessons of this February’s Black History Month commemorations have already veered far beyond the usual ones that begin and end by quoting a snippet of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech — the part about judging folks not by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. A new curriculum is being written in real time, affecting real-life politicians and their constituents. And Virginia is hardly the only state not ready for the big exam.

Of course, the politician in question, Gov. Ralph Northam, has been learning as he goes — about blackface, about apologies and about redemption.

Trump revives campaign rallies with trip into heart of ‘Beto Country’
Expect shots at O’Rourke and a border wall pitch ahead of Friday shutdown deadline

Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke speaks to the crowd at a rally in Austin, Texas, in September during his failed Senate bid. He is mulling a 2020 presidential run, and Donald Trump is holding a rally Monday in his native El Paso. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

President Donald Trump ventures into Beto O’Rourke country Monday night, returning to the campaign trail in El Paso, the Texas border city home to the former Democratic congressman and potential 2020 Trump foe.

The president has held fire on a number of Democrats already running. But he has taken several shots at O’Rourke, the kind of youthful candidate who might be able to connect with both progressives and blue-collar voters who broke for Trump in 2016 in key states like Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan.

2020 Democratic contenders largely align on drug price bills
Candidates may strain to stand out on drugs in crowded primary field

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, left, introduced a three-bill drug pricing package last month. New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker is one of its original co-sponsors. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A bold stance on drug pricing will be a prerequisite for any candidate who wants to win the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, but one challenge will be differentiating the contenders from each other.

The main distinction among candidates could be between those pushing bipartisan policies and those promoting more liberal ideas that currently stand little chance of enactment. But in most cases, the bills have a list of co-sponsors that could resemble a future primary debate stage.

The outsiders: Roll Call’s people to watch in 2019
“We need people like ourselves fighting for policies that work for us”

Sayu Bhojwani is the founder of New American Leaders, which trains first- and second-generation Americans to run for public office. (Marcia Myers/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Roll Call’s list of the People to Watch in 2019 continues with three players from outside the Beltway expected to play key roles on the political and policy fronts.

One is working to give immigrant communities greater representation in the public sphere. Another is a state attorney general squaring off with the Trump administration in the courts. And the third is a Canadian politician whose government has plenty of concerns about U.S. positions on trade, human rights and democratic principles. 

Michael Bennet went viral. Now what?
Colorado Democrat running digital ads about his speech in early primary states

Colorado Sen. Michael Bennet on his way to the Senate floor last month, when he surprised even his own staff by delivering a lengthy and fiery retort to Texas Sen. Ted Cruz. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It’s been two weeks since Colorado’s senior senator made a national splash with a Senate floor speech that went viral.

But you’d be forgiven if you’d already forgotten about Michael Bennet. He hasn’t been included in most polling of the Democratic field and barely makes the cut in stories about potential candidates.

That might as well have been Trump’s concession speech
What we learned from the State of the Union: the president is still a one-trick pony

President Donald Trump’s address on Tuesday wasn’t the opening salvo of his 2020 campaign. It was the beginning of the end, Shapiro writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — Donald Trump’s next State of the Union Address will be delivered in the shadow of the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary. It will be a time when the spirited race for Democratic nomination will offer more drama than the president’s tricks and tweets.

And if the Democrats win back the White House, that 2020 speech will have been Trump’s last State of the Union, since defrocked presidents, even ego-mad ones, rarely make the inaugural year trek to Capitol Hill to read their own political obituaries.

Trump offers 61 words on infrastructure, follow-up awaited
President Donald Trump declared Tuesday night that passage of an infrastructure package was a “necessity,” but didn’t provide specifics

President Donald Trump is seen in the House Chamber during his State of the Union address along with Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and VP Mike Pence on Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2019. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

It was only 61 words in a State of the Union speech that ran close to 5,500 words, but President Donald Trump declared Tuesday night that passage of an infrastructure package was a “necessity.”

Lawmakers and industry groups that were hoping he would mention it agreed, though they said he will need to follow up if he’s serious.

The memorable and awkward moments of the State of the Union
Trump was a polarizing figure before the address and remains so after it

Lawmakers applaud in the House chamber Tuesday night during President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

I did something dangerous Tuesday night. I watched the State of the Union and the Democratic response on my own, without Twitter as a crutch. I even watched the C-SPAN feed on my phone in order to avoid commentary from the networks and cable channels.

My goal was to avoid groupthink and try to formulate some coherent thoughts and analyses without being persuaded by my friends in the media. Here’s what stuck out to me.