exclusions

DCCC Raises $11.2 Million in April
Haul includes $3.1 million in online donations

DCCC Chairman Ben Ray Luján pointed to “historic” grass-roots fundraising in announcing the committee’s cash haul last month. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee raised $11.2 million in April, exceeding its monthly fundraising total at the same point last cycle.

Nearly $3.1 million of the April haul came from online donations, with an average donation of $16, according to figures provided first to Roll Call. The $11.2 million total surpassed the $8.5 million the campaign arm of the House Democrats raised in April 2016.

Opinion: Is It Too Early for North Carolina Democrats to Get Their Hopes Up, Again?
After years of dashed dreams, progressives are back to seeing blue

The Rev. William Barber hosts a “Moral Monday” in Raleigh in 2016. With efforts like Barber’s Poor People’s Campaign gaining steam in North Carolina, progressives are once again seeing blue at the end of the tunnel, Mary C. Curtis writes. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

In 2008, Barack Obama’s slim North Carolina victory in his first presidential run had Democrats in the state celebrating in the present and dreaming of a blue future in what had been considered a (relatively) progressive Southern state. Boy, were those dreams premature.

But 10 years later — after new redistricting and voting rules solidified GOP control in both the state and U.S. House delegations and a bill on LGBT rights made the state a poster child for conservative social policies — Democrats are again seeing light at the end of a deep-red tunnel.

Opinion: It’s Too Soon to Bet the Ranch on the Midterms
With enthusiasm gap closing, blue wave is no longer a sure thing

Betting on how the vote will go in November is becoming less and less clear, Winston writes. (Chris Maddaloni/CQ Roll Call file photo)

So, the Supreme Court this week OK’d sports betting by the states, giving plaintiffs Chris Christie and New Jersey a big win. Not being a gambler, I hesitate to give advice, but maybe the bookmakers can kick off their newly won legal status with the 2018 congressional elections. After all, these days, politics is somewhat akin to a professional sport, but knowing where to place a bet this fall — on the Dems or the GOP — is becoming less and less clear.

A few months ago, most political prognosticators would have characterized the Democrats’ chances of winning back the House as just shy of a sure thing. They predicted, with a modicum of certainty, an impending blue wave, destined to wipe the Republican House majority off the map. Many are still putting their chips on the Democrats to win, place and show.

Opinion: I’m Sorry You’re Not Sorry
An apology is not a sign of weakness — even inside the Beltway

The fastest way to end a controversy over an insensitive comment by a White House staffer about Arizona Sen. John McCain would have been a simple apology, Patricia Murphy writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

We all know that the fastest way to diffuse tension or end a fight is to say “I’m sorry.” Not “I’m sorry if …” or “I’m sorry that you …” Just a simple, clean, “I’m sorry.”

It’s obvious to nearly everyone that an apology would have been the fastest way to end the controversy last week over a head-snapping leaked comment from White House staffer Kelly Sadler, who said ailing Sen. John McCain’s refusal to support President Donald Trump’s pick for CIA director won’t matter because “he’s dying anyway.”

Internal Poll Shows Competitive New York House Race
The poll tested Pat Ryan and Antonio Delgado against GOP Rep. John Faso

Rep. John Faso, R-N.Y., is a top Democratic target. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

An internal Democratic poll shows GOP Rep. John Faso is in for a competitive race, with two Democratic challengers polling ahead or very close to the first-term lawmaker.

Democrat Pat Ryan, an Iraq War veteran, was slightly ahead of Faso, while attorney Antonio Delgado is close behind, according to a poll conducted for Ryan’s campaign and shared with Roll Call. The poll tested just Ryan and Delgado in a general election matchup against Faso. Both Ryan and Delgado are currently among the top candidates in a crowded Democratic field.

Opinion: What Is the Cost When the Language of Politics Devolves?
Normalization of racially charged words is dangerous

A Trump supporter holds signs attacking Muslims and the Black Lives Matter movement behind a line of community relations police offers prior to the start of a rally by President Donald Trump on Aug. 22 in Phoenix. (David McNew/Getty Images file photo)

The words Americans now say, listen to and ignore in the world of politics once would have been publicly, if not privately, unacceptable — even in the world of sports.

Don’t believe me?

Opinion: John McCain’s Empty Seat at the Gina Haspel Hearing
Perspective as a POW and torture victim would have helped clarify the debate

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., would have helped clarify the debate over whether Gina Haspel should be the nation’s next CIA director, Shapiro writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

The second Republican presidential debate of the 2008 campaign season was held in Columbia, South Carolina — the conservative state where John McCain’s dreams of upending the George W. Bush juggernaut died in 2000. So when Brit Hume from Fox News asked McCain a question about waterboarding and other forms of torture, the prudent political strategy would have been to pander to GOP fears of terrorism.

But for McCain, the only presidential candidate to have ever been a prisoner of war, this was not an abstract topic. In 1968, after he refused early release from a Hanoi prison camp, McCain was so brutally beaten by his North Vietnamese captors that he was driven to the brink of suicide.

Opinion: Cost of Living Is the Sleeper Issue of 2018
Voters less interested in Russia investigation and scandal

Customers shop at an Aldi grocery store on June 12, 2017, in Chicago. David Winston writes that the cost of living is a sleeper issue that’s likely to impact the outcome of the midterm elections. (Scott Olson/Getty Images file photo)

If there’s one question that I get asked by reporters these days, it’s “what’s the sleeper race to watch for this fall?”

The question I think they should be asking is “what’s the sleeper issue likely to impact the outcome of the elections this fall?” The answer is the cost of living, or COL, one of the most politically potent and underreported issues out there today.

Opinion: The Case for Ugly Primaries
The process is messy, but it can reveal much

Don Blankenship, who is running for the Republican nomination for Senate in West Virginia, conducts a town hall meeting at Macado’s restaurant in Bluefield, W.Va., on Thursday. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

You can’t blame Republican leaders for trying to pick the winner of Tuesday’s West Virginia primary ahead of time when the words “prison” and “supervised release” show up in nearly every story about Don Blankenship. The Senate hopeful and former coal executive did a year behind bars recently for the dangerously unsafe conditions in his coal mines, but is now somehow surging in the polls.

Republicans want a strong general election candidate to take on Sen. Joe Manchin in November, and trying to block a jailbird from the GOP nomination seems like a no-brainer. Add to that Blankenship’s willingness to savage Mitch McConnell as “Cocaine Mitch” and call the father of his wife, Elaine Chao, a “Chinaperson,” and it would take a Herculean amount of strength for the Senate majority leader and his supporters not to get sucked into a fight against one of their own.

Opinion: On Iran, It’s Not About the Art of the Deal
Trump has plenty of room to address issues with Iran without altering nuclear accord

An Iranian surface-to-surface missile during a military parade in Tehran in 2008. The U.S. has many options to constrain Iranian ballistic missile activity outside the nuclear agreement, Misztal writes. (Majid Saeedi/Getty Images file photo)

President Donald Trump has sold himself as the consummate deal-maker. But while he has been clear-eyed about the Iran nuclear accord, he has perhaps been overly focused on its shortcomings. This risks not only losing sight of the deal’s one advantage and its true costs, but also replicating his predecessor’s mistake: reducing all Iran policy issues to the agreement.

President Barack Obama’s diplomatic perseverance made the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, possible, but it also became a restraint. During negotiations, and even after the deal was struck, the Obama administration did not confront Iran on other serious issues — its bloody involvement in Syria or the 2016 capture of 10 American sailors in the Persian Gulf — for fear of upsetting the accord.