Jason Dick

From silent to millennial, generations of the Democratic presidential field
The growing primary roster now ranges in age from 37 to 77

Say this for the Democrats, they are multigenerational. 

Their presidential field continued to swell as Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, an independent who affiliates with Democrats, announced he was running and promptly raised millions of dollars to show his campaign apparatus was doing just fine. 

Mirror, Mirror on the wall, who’s the most presidential of them all?
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 57

Take one congresswoman from Hawaii, one tech entrepreneur and one South Bend mayor, add in 7 percent of the U.S. Senate and you still don’t have even half of the potential Democratic field of presidential candidates. Why is everyone running for president? And what kind of effect will that have on down-ballot races for Congress, state houses, and governor’s mansions, not to mention the legislative agenda on Capitol Hill? Inside Elections Reporter/Analyst Leah Askarinam helps us sort...
The state of lobbying is, well, pretty darn good
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 56

Last year, Julian Ha of Heidrick & Struggles said the swamp was “constipated,” as the lobbying world continued adjusting to the Trump administration and Congress. And now? Things are starting to flow again. Ha and CQ Roll Call lobbying reporter Kate Ackley discuss the state of lobbying, 2019 edition. 

Is 2019 over yet? It kind of feels like 2020 already
At State of the Union, it felt like half the room was raring to take Trump on next year

Is it 2020 yet? Sure feels like it. When President Donald Trump delivered his State of the Union, it only felt like half the room was raring to take him on next year (looking at you, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Bernie Sanders, Kirsten Gillibrand, Sherrod Brown, Tulsi Gabbard, Eric Swalwell …) And that’s not even counting other 2020 considerations, like how many claps the president might get from senators in potentially tough races like Democrat Gary Peters of Michigan. We look at the politics of what has basically become one big campaign pep rally in the latest Political Theater Podcast.

John D. Dingell, the longest-serving member of Congress, died Thursday at the age of 92. He was quite a guy. Niels Lesniewski and David Hawkings, now at The Firewall, did the obituary for Roll Call, which is awesome and details the Michigan Democrat’s power, influence and personality over a 60-year career in the House and time on Capitol Hill as a page and student. And then there is this photo from the Roll Call archives, which is just, I don’t know, it’s just …

Is the State of the Union just another campaign stop?
Political Theater, Episode 55

President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address touched on familiar themes and not so familiar ones like bipartisanship. Yet, the goal of many politicians Tuesday night was a 2020 campaign snapshot, complete with fundraising appeal and messaging. Roll Call senior political reporter Simone Pathé explains.  ...
I’m ready for my close-up, Mr. Trump
The State of the Union provides a spotlight for more than just the president

All eyes will be on the House chamber this coming week, with plenty of drama surrounding both the State of the Union deliverer in chief, President Donald Trump, who just might use the occasion to declare a national emergency on the southern border, and no small number of congressional Democrats who want his job and have already declared their presidential campaigns. Roll Call elections analyst Nathan L. Gonzales and I talked about the dynamic on the latest Political Theater podcast.

Speaking of that chamber of rivals Trump will be facing, Stu Rothenberg has a two-part column this week about questions the Democratic Party should answer as the nomination process gets under way in earnest. 

Donald Trump and the chamber of 2020 rivals
Political Theater, Episode 54

When President Donald Trump delivers his State of the Union address to both chambers of Congress on Feb. 5, he will not be the only star of the night. Several Democrats seeking to replace him — and there are many —  could end up stealing the limelight, says Nathan Gonzales, publisher of Inside Elections and Roll Call’s elections analyst.

The State of the Union is ... perhaps outdated?
The latest fight over the address provides a time for evaluation

ANALYSIS — Think of the State of the Union address as the appendix of American government.

It’s been there a while. No one is quite sure exactly what it does. When it’s gone, no one notices.

Threats over shutdown, emergency declaration hang over coming talks
Amid the optimism, acrimony and hard feelings frame debate

The shutdown wasn’t even over before the next shutdown threat was leveled at Congress by President Donald Trump. 

Yes, congressional leaders and the president struck a deal Friday to end the partial government shutdown, for three weeks at least. But hanging over the negotiations on a broader deal will be Trump’s threats to declare a national emergency or force another impasse to expedite building a southern border barrier, an extra bit of animus coloring the coming talks. 

And on the 35th day of the shutdown …
When the shutdown ends, nobody knows

So what’s Washington got in store on the day furloughed federal workers miss a second paycheck, otherwise known as Day 35 of the partial government shutdown? Well, on the heels of a Day 34, when a bunch of votes went nowhere, there’s a meeting at the White House between the president and congressional leaders. It went so well the last time

After all the back and forth on State of the Union timing, delivery and venue, President Donald Trump late on Wednesday night quietly folded, acknowledging Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s position that the annual speech should be postponed until the shutdown is resolved. “I’m glad we could get that off the table because I know it was the source of many questions,” Pelosi said after. 

What Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Dick Cheney have in common
Political Theater, Episode 53

What do Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and former Vice President Dick Cheney have in common?

In addition to being political power brokers, films about them have now been nominated for Academy Awards, for the documentary “RBG” and feature film “Vice,” respectively. So politics, which has gotten a bit of a bad rap lately, (see shutdown, 2019, for more), can be both interesting, entertaining and profitable for Hollywood? Well, yes and no, says Renee Tsao, vice president of PR Collaborative, who discusses politics and movies on the latest Political Theater podcast. 

With ‘RBG’ and ‘Vice,’ Ginsburg and Cheney are officially Oscar bait
Cinematic stories of SCOTUS justice, ex-veep make case that politics does not always have to be un-entertaining

Academy Award nominations now in hand, the movies “RBG” and “Vice” provide some faint hope that political stories coming out of Washington aren’t all a drag. 

Early on Day 32 of the shutdown, with seemingly no end in sight to that standoff, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced its slate of 2019 nominations. Among them were eight, including Best Picture, for the somewhat experimental studio biopic about former Vice President Dick Cheney “Vice,” and two for a documentary feature on Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, “RBG.”

When life gives you shutdowns
But hey, at least the U.S. isn’t hurtling toward Brexit

It’s Week Four of the partial government shutdown. About 800,000 people have missed paychecks, and a lot of them are working for free at the behest of the executive branch. There is no end in sight. The State of the Union is canceled, kind of. The president tells you to cancel your military flight, but you can go ahead and fly commercial — after all, TSA is working for no money. And the only silver lining seems to be: At least we’re not Britain! 

You’re on the bus. You’re headed to the airport — and the president of the United States puts the kibosh on your trip to Afghanistan. Who hasn’t had that happen? When the commander in chief yanks military support for a dangerous trip to a war zone by someone in the presidential line of succession. 

House voice vote to end government shutdown sows confusion, anger and eventually reconciliation

It seemed simple: The House on Thursday passed a continuing resolution that would reopen nine Cabinet departments through Feb. 28 on a voice vote, a result that devolved into partisan sparring on the floor as Republicans sought to vacate the vote and Democrats said, in effect, too bad. By the end, both sides hugged it out, vacated the initial vote, voted by voice again, and postponed a roll call vote until Wednesday. 

It all started with passage, via voice vote on the resolution. Then the gavel came down, ending the vote. 

What’s not part of the shutdown? 2020 Senate campaigns
Political Theater, Episode 52

Politics never sleeps, not even during a government shutdown. That is especially true of Senate campaigns, because the unique nature of that chamber and its election cycle means folks need to be on their toes. Nathan Gonzales, the publisher of Inside Elections and Roll Call’s elections analyst, discusses which senators are the most vulnerable as the 2020 cycle ramps up, and how things like the current shutdown factor into political positions. 

Show Notes:

3 yards and a cloud of shutdown
What’s next in the partial government shutdown border wall standoff? Who knows?

Three yards and a cloud of dust was how Ohio State University coach Woody Hayes described his style of football, a steady, if unglamorous and gritty, progress toward the goal line.

The negotiations over the partial government shutdown — although the term negotiation is used loosely here — could be described as minus-three yards and a cloud of dust. Instead of progress, the president and the Senate Judiciary chairman say a national emergency should be invoked, despite the legal tenuousness of such a move.

Congress for newbies: practical advice from a pro
Political Theater, Episode 51

 “Decide what kind of member of Congress you want to be,” says Tom Davis, the former congressman from Virginia. “Voters see through phoniness pretty quickly.”

The 116th Congress and the week of the woman
Elizabeth Warren on Monday, Nancy Pelosi on Thursday, and record number of women sworn in

We’ve had a couple of Years of the Woman — 1992 and certainly 2018 could be classified that way. But this week has been a week defined by women. Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren kicked it off on Monday when she announced she was running for president, and Nancy Pelosi on Thursday made history again, reclaiming the speaker’s gavel after eight years in the minority, becoming both the first and second woman to lead the House. Oh, and a record number of women will serve in the 116th Congress, 24 percent of the House, 25 percent of the Senate.

In this week’s Political Theater podcast, we discuss the new Congress and what to expect from it: A record number of women in the House and Senate, new ethics rules, divided government, maybe even hats on the House floor! And amid it all, the 2020 presidential race is already well underway. 

What to Expect as the New 116th Congress Gets Underway
Political Theater, Episode 50

If it’s a new year in an odd-numbered year, then you’ve got yourself a new Congress. As the 116th Congress is sworn in, things are going to look and operate differently: A record number of women in the House and Senate, new ethics rules, divided government, maybe even hats on the House floor! Also, amid it all, the 2020 presidential race is already well underway. Roll Call staff writer Katherine Tully-McManus breaks down the biggest changes for Political Theater. 

Show notes: 

Man Charged in Eastern Market Suspicious Powder Incident
Camera footage showed individual sprinkling white substance around metro station

Updated 2:43 p.m. | A suspicious powdery substance at the Eastern Market metro station on Capitol Hill prompted a huge emergency response Monday, including road closures and transit service changes.

Around 8:45 a.m. a man sprinkled an unknown white powder on the platform and tracks at Eastern Market, before exiting the station via train. The same man also sprinkled power in the elevator at the Metro Center station, where he exited the metro, according to WMATA spokesperson Dan Stessel.