Pundits Have a Terrible Track Record of Predicting Midterms a Year in Advance
Looking back on elections from the past three decades, it turns out political reporters aren’t clairvoyant.
These historical excavations offer mixed news to Democrats brooding about 2022. The prognosticators correctly picked up signs that the incumbent president’s control of Congress was in jeopardy before the wave elections of 2006 (when Nancy Pelosi first became House speaker), 2010 (the Obama-era shellacking), and 2018 (Pelosi’s comeback as speaker). But too often the political narrative in October of odd-numbered years overreacted to ephemeral events and wrongly portrayed them as pivotal turning points. The problem with many of these prior electoral assessments was that the analysts failed to imagine the political terrain changing.
David Rothkopf/Daily Beast:
Thanks to This ‘Biden Whisperer,’ the World Knows America’s Back
At the center of this effort is U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Not just the country’s chief diplomat, Blinken is, in the eyes of one senior White House official, the senior foreign policy and national security team’s one true “Biden whisperer.” Blinken’s closeness to Biden, which dates back two decades to when Blinken served as his top aide on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff, enables him to be the most credible messenger of the foreign policy of a president who has more international affairs experience than any previous occupant of the Oval Office. It also makes him Blinken just a trusted adviser but one who foreign leaders know has the ear and the full confidence of the president.
Why Democratic Gains In Texas’s Big Metro Areas Could Outweigh Republican Success In South Texas
The state as a whole has long voted reliably Republican, but about two-thirds of Texas’s population lives in one of the state’s four huge metropolitan areas — Dallas-Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio and Austin. If you combine all the votes there, Democrats improved their margin by more than 5 percentage points between 2016 and 2020, carrying these areas 52 percent to 47 percent in November. This shift is significant because even though Texas’s border counties moved sharply to the right in 2020 — Starr County, for instance, swung a staggering 55 points toward Republicans — Democrats’ gains in those four big cities and their suburbs added almost five times as many votes as Republicans’ gains in 28 counties along or near Texas’s border with Mexico.1
Susan J. Demas/Michigan Advance:
The soul-crushing fight of parents battling right-wing COVID nihilism
No amount of evidence will convince Republicans to keep our kids safe in the pandemic
But if seeing other parents proudly yell about endangering their kids and yours leaves you revolted and shaken, that’s completely natural. Of course images of people holding “Unmask our children” signs and protesting overworked hospital workers over vaccines will burrow into your brain. But it’s important to remember these are deeply damaged people who are vastly outnumbered by the sane majority.
Biden’s meeting with the pope carries resonance as disputes divide U.S. Catholics
But it is with Pope Francis — the longtime Jesuit priest Biden will see Friday in a historic encounter at the Vatican — that Biden shares the deepest bond. It was Francis who comforted the Biden family in 2015 after Biden’s son Beau died. It was Francis who met privately with Biden to talk about cancer research. And it was Francis whose photo Biden has displayed prominently in the Oval Office.
Biden’s meeting with the Pope in the Vatican, shortly before he heads off to a pair of international summits, will carry deep political, religious and symbolic significance, as the nation’s second Catholic president greets the worldwide leader of the Catholic Church.
True conservatives should support filibuster reform
Do not underestimate the significance of Biden’s statement at a CNN town hall Thursday that he has reached the end of his rope on a Senate filibuster that has been used to increasingly destructive effect in the years since Barack Obama came to office.
“We’re going to have to move to the point where we fundamentally alter the filibuster,” said Biden, a longtime skeptic of changes in the filibuster.
Biden asserted his willingness to push for bypassing the filibuster to allow Senate Democrats to enact a voting rights bill — and went on to say he might favor lifting it on behalf of other measures as well.
Until now, the asymmetry of our nation’s political contest seemed to defy Newton’s proposition.
Hunter Walker/Rolling Stone:
EXCLUSIVE: Jan. 6 Protest Organizers Say They Participated in ‘Dozens’ of Planning Meetings With Members of Congress and White House Staff
Two sources are communicating with House investigators and detailed a stunning series of allegations to Rolling Stone, including a promise of a “blanket pardon” from the Oval Office
As the House investigation into the Jan. 6 attack heats up, some of the planners of the pro-Trump rallies that took place in Washington, D.C., have begun communicating with congressional investigators and sharing new information about what happened when the former president’s supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol. Two of these people have spoken to Rolling Stone extensively in recent weeks and detailed explosive allegations that multiple members of Congress were intimately involved in planning both Trump’s efforts to overturn his election loss and the Jan. 6 events that turned violent.
Rolling Stone separately confirmed a third person involved in the main Jan. 6 rally in D.C. has communicated with the committee. This is the first report that the committee is hearing major new allegations from potential cooperating witnesses. While there have been prior indications that members of Congress were involved, this is also the first account detailing their purported role and its scope. The two sources also claim they interacted with members of Trump’s team, including former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, who they describe as having had an opportunity to prevent the violence.