Dem 49
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GOP 51
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New polls:  
Dem pickups vs. 2012: (None)
GOP pickups vs. 2012: (None)
TODAY'S HEADLINES (click to jump there; use your browser's "Back" button to return here)
      •  Mueller Delays Flynn's Sentence Again
      •  Trump Will Spend 40 Days on the Campaign Trail
      •  Former Top NRCC Officials Blast the Group's Midterm Strategy
      •  Elizabeth Warren Releases Her Platform

Mueller Delays Flynn's Sentence Again

While the big news is about Paul Manafort and Michael Cohen, another important development occurred yesterday under the radar. Robert Mueller asked a judge to delay sentencing former NSA Michael Flynn. This is the fourth delay Mueller has asked for and almost certainly means that Mueller is still working with Flynn and possibly getting new information from him. It could also mean that things might come out during the sentencing that Mueller wants to keep hidden for the moment, perhaps until he has had a chance to have a chat with Donald Trump. Or it could mean that Mueller wants Flynn to testify in some upcoming trial and is using the possibility of a lenient sentence to keep him in a talkative mood. (V)

Trump Will Spend 40 Days on the Campaign Trail

Donald Trump loves campaigning—much more than he loves hanging around the White House. So he is planning to spend 40 days out campaigning for Republican candidates across the country this fall. Whether this is a good idea is something else. While it is true that he can whip crowds into a frenzy at rallies, it is also true that his presence also energizes Democrats against him. Which effect is bigger is hard to say, but his campaigning is certainly not an unmixed blessing for Republicans.

To a large extent, where he campaigns is very important. If he just goes to states and districts where he is very popular, he will get large adoring crowds, something very important to him. But for the most part, it won't help his party much. The battle for the House will be fought in affluent suburban districts, where he is not popular at all, and a rally might draw a big counterrally. The battle for the Senate will be fought in rural areas, but going to some small town of 1,000 people in, say, the middle of Montana, may not get a big crowd.

Also of note are the longer-term consequences of Trump tying himself closely to the midterms. Since WW II, the president's party has lost seats in the House in every midterm except 1998 (after the Republicans impeached Bill Clinton) and 2002 (after Sept. 11). If Trump makes the midterms a referendum on himself and the Democrats take over the House, it will be reported as a personal humiliation of Trump. If, instead, he were to stay above the fray, then a potential loss could be labeled as an RNC failure, not Trump's failure. But he has decided to take to the hustings, not because he made a careful calculation, but because he likes speaking to adoring crowds. (V)

Former Top NRCC Officials Blast the Group's Midterm Strategy

The National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), the group responsible for electing Republicans to the House, has come under fire from former top NRCC officials who are accusing it of making strategic blunders that could cost the GOP dearly in November. The (anonymous) officials told The Hill that it was a huge blunder to stay off the airwaves in August and leave them entirely to the Democrats. One of them said: "Republicans are in real danger of losing the majority, and it seems that the NRCC is asleep at the switch." The officials are worried that when the NRCC starts running ads in September, it will be too little, too late, as many voters will have already formed their impressions of the candidates and it will be too late to change them.

Another complaint is that the NRCC is allocating funds for future ads in districts that the officials say are already lost. One name that came up is Rep. Barbara Comstock (R-VA), who most observers see as a dead woman walking. Nevertheless, the NRCC plans to spend big money in her expensive Northern Virginia district, despite her very likely defeat no matter how much it spends. In addition, there are dozens of open seats in territory favorable to the Democrats where money spent helping the Republican challenger is probably money being flushed down the toilet.

However, other Republicans have said that the situation is not dire because outside groups have been spending money in August, even if the NRCC has gone radio silent. For example, the Congressional Leadership Fund, which is aligned with Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI), has spent money in Minnesota attacking AG candidate Keith Ellison (D)

Still the contrast between the silent NRCC and the highly active DCCC is striking. The DCCC is on the air attacking Republican candidates in four swing districts in Minnesota, which are going to be battlegrounds. (V)

Elizabeth Warren Releases Her Platform

While Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has to win reelection in November before she can openly start running for president, that is a mere formality in blue Massachusetts. Yesterday she released a Senate bill that has zero chance of becoming law before 2021, but is likely to be a major part of her platform in her presidential run. Warren clearly understands that she will need Republican votes in 2020, so focusing entirely on things like a $15/hr minimum wage, Medicare for all, and other Democratic themes won't be enough. So her platform will have a substantial focus on something that Republicans are likely to agree to: Fighting corruption.

Some of the highlights are as follows:

  • A ban on elected officials owning individual stocks (broad mutual funds are OK)
  • A lifetime lobbying ban for former presidents and members of Congress
  • Limits on lobbying on behalf of foreign governments
  • A rule that presidential candidates disclose years of tax returns and for the president to do so while in office
  • A prohibition on all federal workers from lobbying their former employers for at least 2 years
  • A rule preventing lobbyists from accepting a federal job for at least 2 years
  • Put new taxes on excessive lobbying
  • Make Supreme Court justices follow the code of conduct that applies to federal judges

Many of these items are a direct result of people in the Trump administration violating the principles, especially those involving lobbyists, and of course, Donald Trump's refusal to release his tax returns. (V)

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Aug21 Trump Is Worried by McGahn's 30 Hours with Mueller
Aug21 Wyoming, Alaska Have Primaries Today
Aug21 Russians Tried to Hack Senate, Conservative Think Tanks
Aug21 Giuliani: OK, the Truth Is the Truth
Aug21 No Verdict in Manafort Trial Yet
Aug21 Auto Industry Unites to Oppose Trump's Tariffs
Aug21 A Blue Wave May Carry the House but Not the Senate
Aug21 Oppo Research Ramps Up in House Races
Aug20 Giuliani: "Truth Isn't Truth"
Aug20 Trump Teaches History Class
Aug20 Many Trump Allies Welcome Democratic-Controlled House
Aug20 Cohen Charges Likely Coming Soon
Aug20 "Stephen Miller Is an Immigration Hypocrite"
Aug20 Brennan May Take Trump to Court
Aug20 Ohio Begins Compiling Final Vote Count in OH-12
Aug19 White House Counsel Don McGahn Has Been Cooperating with the Special Counsel
Aug19 Judge Guts Trump NDA
Aug19 No Security Clearances Revoked on Saturday
Aug19 Trump's Knowledge of the World and Foreign Affairs Is Sad
Aug19 This Week's Senate News
Aug19 Democratic Presidential Candidate of the Week: John Hickenlooper
Aug18 Manafort Jury Goes Home for the Weekend without a Verdict
Aug18 Why Hasn't Manafort Flipped?
Aug18 Trump Says He Will Yank Bruce Ohr's Security Clearance Next
Aug18 Trump Cancels Military Parade
Aug18 U.S.-Supplied Bomb Kills 40 Children in Yemen
Aug18 Nathan Gonzales Changes House Ratings toward the Democrats
Aug18 The Hill Sees a 72-Seat Wipeout as the Worst Case Scenario for House Republicans
Aug18 FiveThirtyEight Has New House Ratings Out, Too
Aug17 Newspapers Assert Freedom of the Press; Trump Fires Back
Aug17 Omarosa Releases a Recording of Lara Trump Offering Her a $15,000/Month Job
Aug17 No Verdict Yet in Manafort Case
Aug17 Another Piece of the Stormygate Puzzle
Aug17 Admiral Who Oversaw the Raid on Bin Laden Wants His Security Clearance Revoked
Aug17 Trump Badly Wants to Take the Show on the Road
Aug17 Trump Has Praised All the Candidates in the Arizona Senate Primary
Aug17 Who's Who on the House Judiciary Committee?
Aug16 Takeaways from the Primaries
Aug16 Does Trump's Endorsement Matter?
Aug16 Trump Revokes Security Clearance of Former CIA Director John Brennan
Aug16 Manafort's Trial Ends
Aug16 Republican Midterm Strategy Is to Play Nice for a Few Months
Aug16 Democratic Midterm Strategy Is to Go Local
Aug16 Researchers Show that Votes Can Be Hacked in Nearly 30 States
Aug16 Defeated Democrat Says He Was Targeted by Hackers
Aug15 Election Results, States that Held a Primary Last Night Edition
Aug15 Kobach Advances, Johnson Throws His Hat in the Ring
Aug15 White House Staffers Scared Witless of Omarosa's Next Tape
Aug15 Trump Doing His Best to Prove that Yes, He Is a Racist Who Used the N-Word
Aug15 The Five Most Competitive House Races