Political News: Dems close to House majority, GOP likely to pick up Senate seats

Fri, October 26, 2018 10:35 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

Los Angeles Times: Republicans face big risks in contested California races as Democrats fight for control of the House

Republicans are at risk of a wipeout in California’s six most hotly contested congressional races, a new poll shows — a result that could radically reshape the state’s political map, with major consequences nationally.

But the poll, conducted for the Los Angeles Times by UC Berkeley’s Institute for Governmental Studies, also underscores how close many of the contests remain.

The Democratic tide threatens to swamp congressional districts in Southern California’s suburbs that Republicans have controlled for decades. That would significantly boost Democrats’ chances of gaining the additional 23 seats they need to win a majority in the House.

But if the tide ebbs only slightly, the GOP could emerge with much of its control intact.

With the Nov. 6 midterm election less than five weeks away, none of the Republicans in the state’s six most competitive races have a lead. The Democrats lead strongly in one race and narrowly in three others, and two are dead heats, the Berkeley IGS Poll shows.

Reaction to President Trump appears to drive the results more than any specific issue and, in most cases, more than the individual candidates.

FiveThirtyEight: 2018 House Forecast shows Dems poised to take the House

FiveThirty Eight charts the many data points indicating that Democrats appear to have a strong chance to win a majority in the House of Representatives as most toss-up seats are held by Republican incumbents.

Washington Post: 'These are Trump states': GOP increasingly confident of adding seats in the Senate

Days after Senate Republicans installed Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court, President Trump and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell huddled at the White House to review private polling that showed a GOP surge triggered by the polarizing nomination.

Trump wondered aloud at the Oct. 9 meeting: How do we keep this going? McConnell (R-Ky.) replied that there was only one person who could do it: the president himself.

Since that conversation, which was confirmed by three people with knowledge of the session, Trump has held a series of rallies in Senate battleground states — with plans for at least 10 in the final six days of the campaign up and down the ballot — and Republicans have grown increasingly confident about their prospects in the Nov. 6 midterm elections.

McConnell has been telling associates that Republicans are in a strong position to hold the Senate and could pad their narrow 51-to-49 advantage by a couple of seats, according to people familiar with the talks, though the Kentuckian avoids precise predictions.

The optimism marks a shift from early September, when officials were fretting over struggling candidates and contemplating the possibility of losing both chambers of Congress.

Dan Walters: Is a deal possible on split-roll property tax measure?

While Goldberg didn’t specify what a deal might contain, he dropped hints that it could include confining the split roll to just big properties such as high-rise office buildings, high-tech campuses, shopping centers and factories.

The most valuable properties, he said, are a small percentage of commercial parcels, but would generate the vast majority of projected revenues. He also mentioned that were California to conform to corporate tax provisions of the recent federal tax overhaul, the state could gain several billion dollars in additional revenue – hinting that non-conformity could be a deal sweetener for corporate interests.

Any agreement to replace the split roll initiative would require the blessing of the Democrat-dominated Legislature and the next governor, presumably Democrat Gavin Newsom, so there’s the possibility that it could be folded into a larger tax overhaul.

Newsom has expressed hopes of spending billions more on education and health care and mentioned a split roll as one potential source of revenue. There’s also been a big push in the Legislature to overhaul the sales tax and extend it to the fast-growing service sector.

The split roll measure’s date with voters is two years away, which leaves plenty of time to do a tax deal of some kind. Stay tuned.

Los Angeles Times: What's Rep. Schiff's next political move?

Once a well regarded, but little-known representative, Schiff catapulted into the national spotlight as the highest ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, becoming a ubiquitous figure talking about the Russia investigation on cable news. The White House was apparently so annoyed by Schiff, that officials kept a spreadsheet about how much time he spent on air and shared it with reporters.

It’s also a horribly kept secret in Washington that Schiff is interested in a higher position. The question is what role that might be, and whether Schiff will risk his safe House seat to try for something bigger.

Schiff has raised nearly $5.5 million for candidates and the Democrats’ House campaign arm this cycle, according to his campaign, more than any House member outside of the congressional leadership. He’ll be campaigning for candidates in Florida this week and in California, New Jersey, New York and North Carolina in the weeks after that.

So far, however, Schiff’s plays for higher office have ended almost before they began.

Sacramento Bee: 'One of the greatest' or missed opportunities? California Influencers weigh in on the legacy of Governor Jerry Brown

Californians will soon elect a new leader and say goodbye to Brown, who will have served an unprecedented 16 years since 1975.

The Sacramento Bee’s California Influencers praised the Democrat’s fiscal restraint and dedication to the environment. But they said he missed opportunities to ease the housing crisis, reduce poverty and rein in California’s public pension liability.

Former Senator Barbara Boxer recalled her work with Brown during his first term as governor when she was a member of the Marin County Board of Supervisors.

“At that time he was a leader on clean energy and I was very interested in bringing solar power into our energy mix,” said Boxer. “What I really liked about Jerry Brown then, and what I like about Jerry Brown now is his ability to understand what is coming down the road…10 years from now 20 years from now or more.”

Brown also received praise from state Republicans, who complimented his work on budget and education policy, even while criticizing him on other fronts.

“Governor Brown’s greatest successes have been working with the Legislature to create a Rainy Day Fund; pushing more decision-making authority on education spending down to local school districts; and defending charter schools as another good education option for students, parents, and teachers,” said former Republican Assembly Leader Kristin Olsen, now a Stanislaus County Supervisor. “(His) worst failure has been not holding his state agencies accountable in a number of areas, but particularly as it relates to allocating funds from the 2014 Water Bond to get important water infrastructure projects built.”

Joel Kotkin in City Journal: One Nation, Two Economies

Almost all news coverage of the current election season has focused on cultural issues such as gender, race, and immigration. What the media have missed are deep socioeconomic trends driving parts of the country in divergent political directions. President Trump has overseen a significant transformation in the geography of the nation’s growth and prosperity. Instead of clustering along the coasts—as many progressives may have preferred—the nation’s economic expansion is now increasingly benefiting red states, notably in the southeast, Texas, and the intermountain West.

Indeed, according to the most recent Bureau of Economic Advisors report, income growth is strongest in pro-Trump states. In the first quarter of 2018, the income-growth leader by far was Texas, with 6 percent growth, followed by Louisiana, North Dakota, Montana, Arkansas, and Iowa. All are growing faster, often considerably faster, than liberal states like California, Washington, Oregon, Massachusetts, and New York.

Strong wage growth in blue-collar sectors helps red states, while a weaker stock market threatens high-income coastal economies. Some of the same urban areas that benefited most under President Obama’s tepid recovery now show signs of languishing. By the end of last year, key metro areas including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Boston were falling behind competitors like Nashville, Orlando, Phoenix, Dallas, and Salt Lake City. The Bay Area economies, which ranked in the top five for income growth over the last decade, ranked 15th and 16th last year. Tech and business-service growth, though still strong in Silicon Valley, is now much more rapid in Sunbelt hotspots.

Over the past few decades, the U.S. has developed essentially two economies. On the one side is the widely celebrated “post-industrial” economy: software, entertainment, media, and financial and business services. These sectors flourished as the stock market soared in the ultra-low interest-rate environment fostered by the Obama administration, whose recovery strategy was built around bailing out major banks, all headquartered in deep-blue cities. The winners under Obama included urban real estate, financial-service firms, and the tech oligarchs. These elements now constitute the Democratic Party’s burgeoning financial base, allowing it consistently to spend more than the GOP in key congressional races, while the GOP still gains support in energy and other less heralded “legacy” industries.

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