Farewell Ross Perot; Senate races on the fringe of the competitive map; the curious case of Justin Amash.
— Ross Perot, who died earlier this week, provided something of a template for Donald Trump. He also was the best-performing third-party presidential candidate since Teddy Roosevelt in 1912.
— They are not top-tier races, but there have been noteworthy Senate developments on the outer fringes of the competitive map in Kansas, Kentucky, and Virginia.
— Justin Amash’s decision to leave the GOP creates another House swing seat.
Saying that anything in the annals of American political history is “unique” or “unprecedented” is dangerous, for the simple fact that the past is filled with so many oddities from which we can draw parallels. That said, we’re struggling to come up with something equivalent to what we’ve seen in Virginia over the past week.
Redistricting in the U.S. House of Representatives is not a unified process as is the case for most national legislatures, but the result of the cumulative actions in the states that have more than one representative. Nevertheless, it is useful to look at the entire House to see how the decisions in the states combine to form a fair or biased playing field for the parties.
An already turbulent national political environment was rocked by another major development Wednesday afternoon: Justice Anthony Kennedy, the closest thing there is to a swing vote on the Supreme Court, decided to retire. President Donald Trump, who already got to appoint conservative Neil Gorsuch to the court after Senate Republicans decided not to consider then-President Barack Obama’s replacement for the deceased Antonin Scalia in early 2016, is now poised to pick a second justice, and one who likely will push the court further to the right. This comes on the heels of several key, 5-4 decisions released at the end of this year’s Supreme Court term that broke against the court’s liberal bloc.
President Trump is likely to name a new Federal Reserve chair over the next few days. Speculation is focused on current Fed governor Jay Powell and Stanford University economist John Taylor. The list may be larger; it could still include current Chair Janet Yellen or Kevin Warsh. Trump is soliciting opinions and advice from people inside and outside government. We will see soon enough.
With the Virginia primary less than a week away, the eyes of the political world are now focused on the Old Dominion. Considering the early polling in New Jersey’s gubernatorial general election contest, where Phil Murphy (D) starts as the favorite over Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno (R) after both won their respective party nominations on Tuesday (more on that below), it seems likely that Virginia’s race will be the marquee election of 2017, though the June 20 House special election in GA-6 might have a case. Here’s what to look for in the Virginia primary on Tuesday, June 13.
When Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney unveiled President Trump's new budget, he used language that is so important -- although we haven't heard it in so many years.
On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) moved to end debate on the nomination of Gov. Terry Branstad (R-IA) as the next U.S. ambassador to China. While the exact timeline is uncertain — Democrats could try to stall the appointment — Branstad’s confirmation for the diplomatic post is expected very soon. Upon becoming ambassador, Branstad will resign the Hawkeye State governorship and hand the reins over to Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds (R), who will become Iowa’s first woman governor. Once she takes office, Reynolds is expected to run for a full term in 2018 as a gubernatorial incumbent, albeit a “successor incumbent” rather than an elected one.
With politicos everywhere turning their eyes to the still-distant 2018 midterm election, we thought it would be useful to review some of the basic differences and similarities between the electorates in presidential and midterm cycles. Basically, midterm electorates are smaller, older, and less diverse than presidential ones, but the demographic voting patterns and divisions that we see in midterms are quite similar to presidential contests. What follows is a look at the similarities and differences between the two kinds of national electorates. For the most part, this analysis is based on exit poll data: We used the national exit poll data for the presidential race in presidential years and the national exit poll data for the national House vote in midterm years.
Election years are separate but also connected. Assuming he is confirmed by the Senate to be the next secretary of Health and Human Services, Rep. Tom Price (R, GA-6) will be vacating his suburban Atlanta seat sometime soon. He would be replaced by the winner of a special election, which could be held as soon as this spring. All candidates from all parties will compete in a single “jungle primary,” and barring anyone winning a majority of the vote, the top two finishers will advance to a runoff election.