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E.g., 11/19/2018
E.g., 11/19/2018

House 'popular vote' gives Democrats something to brag about

11/07/18 08:48AM

In the 1994 midterms, Republicans posted huge gains and took control of Congress. Time magazine published a cover image of a powerful, triumphant elephant crushing a donkey, under a headline that called it a "GOP stampede."

Republicans had reason to crow at the time: by a 7.1% margin, American voters had backed GOP candidates over Democratic candidates.

Nearly a quarter of a century later, Democrats apparently won the House "popular vote" by 7%.

I realize Republicans, benefiting from a Senate map that was almost comically titled in their favor, are thrilled to see their majority grow in the upper chamber. I can also appreciate why many Democrats were disappointed to see some heartbreaking losses in key contests, especially in Florida.

But the scope of the House Democratic victories was rather extraordinary. I put together the above chart based on the findings from Princeton's Sam Wang, who highlighted the popular-vote gap in House races in several recent cycles.

House Republicans, for example, had excellent years in 1994 and 2010, but House Democrats kept pace with these tallies.

Some observers will no doubt ask in response, "Then why didn't Democrats win even more seats?" The answer is a familiar one: between Republican gerrymandering and concentration of Democratic votes in urban areas, the party faced an enormous challenge even trying to take back the House of Representatives.

But they did anyway.

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Image: 58th U.S. Presidential Inauguration

Why the new House Democratic majority will make Trump miserable

11/07/18 08:00AM

In April, Donald Trump hosted a dinner with Republican congressional leaders, who tried to deliver a stern warning to the president about the 2018 midterm elections. They were concerned about the party's hold on congressional power, and as the New York Times  reported, GOP leaders feared Trump did not "grasp the gravity" of the situation.

If [Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's] warning was not clear enough, Marc Short, the White House's legislative liaison, used the dinner to offer an even starker assessment. The G.O.P.'s House majority is all but doomed, he said.

But Mr. Trump was not moved. "That's not going to happen," he said.

That's exactly what happened.

If his tweets this morning are any indication, the president appears to be taking a victory lap, due entirely to the fact that Republicans, taking advantage of the most favorable Senate map in American history, expanded their majority in the upper chamber. Trump, at least publicly, considers this year's midterms a "tremendous success" and a "big victory" for the GOP.

Whether or not he genuinely believes this is unclear, but if the president is feeling some optimism in the wake of the results, he's kidding himself.

To the extent that the White House has a legislative agenda, it is now effectively dead. Making matters worse, rejecting Trump's far-right proposals isn't the only way the new Democratic majority in the House is going to make Trump quite miserable.

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Tuesday's Mini-Report, 11.6.18

11/06/18 05:30PM

Today's edition of quick hits:

* Every darn cycle: "Malfunctioning machines, voter confusion and locked polling sites were among the problems on Election Day as millions of Americans prepared to cast ballots Tuesday in a midterm election fueling an outpouring of enthusiasm -- and frustratingly long lines."

* Just in time: "Facebook blocked more than 100 accounts it believes may be engaging in 'coordinated inauthentic behavior' hours before the midterm elections, launching an investigation into whether the accounts are linked to any foreign entities attempting to interfere in the election."

* This seems like a thread worth pulling on: "China granted initial approval for 16 new trademarks to Ivanka Trump, the president's elder daughter and senior adviser, renewing questions about the Trump family's intermingling of official roles and international business interests. Among the broad array of trademarked items were shoes, shirts and sunglasses.... Other categories given initial approval were less obvious fits, like voting machines, homes for senior citizens and semiconductors."

* This name will be familiar to Rachel Maddow Show viewers: "Police in Monaco on Tuesday detained Russian tycoon Dmitry Rybolovlev, who owns soccer club AS Monaco, for questioning as part of an investigation into corruption and influence peddling, newspaper Le Monde reported."

* Disputing rumors no one's heard always seems weird to me: "President Donald Trump used his first Twitter message of Election Day to hit back at a rumor he said was 'deception' on the part of Democrats that Missouri Senate candidate Josh Hawley left a campaign rally headlined by the president Monday night before it was over."

* No end to the nonsense: "Polls weren't even open yet in some parts of the country before Election Day hoaxes started taking off online. One fake video that's getting circulation on both Facebook and Twitter today purports to show CNN anchor Don Lemon laughing as Democrats burn flags in a celebration of the 'blue wave.'"

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Image: Donald Trump, Melania Trump, Barron Trump

Flubbing logic, Trump boasts, 'I've kept more promises than I've made'

11/06/18 01:10PM

Donald Trump has delivered more speeches in recent days than he's accustomed to giving, and the fatigue may have taken a toll on his messaging. For example, this was part of the president's pitch in Cleveland last night:

"Promises made, promises kept. You know, I've actually kept more promises than I've made. When did you ever hear that from a politician? Maybe never. Never."

Well, I imagine we've never heard that from a politician because it's literally impossible. Trump has kept more promises than he's made? Huh? A prerequisite to keeping a promise is making a promise.

Sure, plenty of his boasts are strange, but this one was a special treat because it failed as a matter of fact and logic.

Complicating matters, of course, is the fact that this isn't an area about which the president should feel confident. Indeed, as we discussed last month, the idea that Trump has honored his campaign pledges is folly.

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