Dem 50
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Ties 2
GOP 48
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New polls: IA
Dem pickups vs. 2020 Senate: PA
GOP pickups vs. 2020 Senate : (None)
Political Wire logo Democrats in Tight Races Turn to Jill Biden
John Fetterman’s Health Sparks Debate in Final Stretch
Republicans Gain Edge as Voters Worry About Economy
A Continuation of 2020 and a Preview of 2024
Herschel Walker Doesn’t Show for Debate
Exchange of the Day

TODAY'S HEADLINES (click to jump there; use your browser's "Back" button to return here)
      •  It's Backwards Day!
      •  Today's Senate Polls

It's Backwards Day!

On Friday, we asked readers what they would like to see on Sunday, given that the week's schedule was thrown out of whack by (Z)'s knees. And while we offered some pre-set choices (i.e., "questions," "letters," and "a mix of questions a and letters"), we also set it up so readers could offer their own suggestions.

Quite a few readers proposed that we take a day off, to give maximal time to (Z) to recover. Frankly, there's some merit in that. The painkillers help with the knee, but the trade-off is some unpleasant side effects, most obviously an upset stomach.

Meanwhile, one reader offered this suggestion: "A Backwards Day where you do nothing but ask questions to readers and publish their best answers next week." In the past, we have somewhat informally done things like this. And, truth be told, we were thinking about doing something more regular along these lines—we actually have a lot of content ideas we're working on, and a "reader question of the week" is on the list of possibilities. This seems like a good time to experiment with that.

And so, per the suggestion, we are pleased to announce "Backwards Day." We've selected five questions from the mailbag; we'll run our response and a selection of readers' responses over the course of this week. We hope it will be both interesting and enlightening.

If you would care to weigh in on one (or more) of the questions, the e-mail address is here. And without further ado, the questions:

For Monday, from T.H. in La Quinta, CA: From what I've seen and read, if Herschel Walker (R) is elected to the Senate, he would be, perhaps, the least smart member of Congress. Whom do you think he would replace as #1?

For Tuesday, from L.P. in Chippewa Falls, WI: I am a guy who consumes news. I have for a while thought maybe too much, and now am certain I consume it too much. I am just a guy and my detailed knowledge of current events and the degree I care about them has next to zero effect on how they play out. If there is any cause and effect relationship between the news and me, it is the news is causing me some serious mental distress. I can't be the only one and I am certain there are many of us out there who are in my current state. You two do a wonderful job at what you do and I appreciate it when you admit you are not experts in a topic and reach out to your readers for comment.

From politics, to economics, to world affairs—and, yes, even the very real threat of nuclear war—the news is front and center every day. I can't escape it. Is it that I care too much, is it fear of missing out, is it an obsessive problem? I would really like to know if you two experience this to some degree. How do you deal with it? Is it OK to take a break (if so, how?). You have a lot of readers who seem to have a vast amount of expertise in a lot of subject matters. I think it is safe to assume there are a good number who have a valuable opinion on this matter.

For Wednesday, from A.P. in Kitchener, ON, Canada: I am a professor at the Canadian equivalent of a community college. In such a setting, sometimes I end up in teaching classes that are outside of my direct field of expertise (political science masters, geography doctorate). If I were ever asked to teach a history class what general advice would you provide? I enjoy reading about history, but only took a couple of courses in undergrad on the subject. I imagine this advice would be germane to high school teachers, as well.

For Thursday, from F.S. in Cologne, Germany: Who is the most influential entrepreneur in U.S. history, and how did they influence the U.S.?

For Friday, from T.B. in Leon County, FL: I was recently reminded of the 1990s British sitcom, Goodnight Sweetheart, some of which can be watched on YouTube. The writers regularly depict 1940s British culture and understandings about the world from an East End perspective. How well did they do? In the 1970s, I watched a British series called Wings about an NCO pilot/mechanic during the Great War; it was rather romantic in nature (if an all-male, but not gay, cast can be called romantic). I wonder, in general, how well historical fiction gets nuggets of actual history across Any suggestions for shows that do it well?

We look forward to seeing readers' responses to these questions! (V & Z)

Today's Senate Polls

We are struggling with this Iowa poll. On one hand, Ann Selzer is as good as it gets, pollster-wise. On the other hand, could Mike Franken really be gaining ground the week after a MeToo-type scandal? (Z)

State Democrat D % Republican R % Start End Pollster
Iowa Michael Franken 43% Chuck Grassley* 46% Oct 09 Oct 12 Selzer

* Denotes incumbent

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