Is Beto O’Rourke the Next Jon Ossoff?
Democrats can’t seem to help falling for white, Southern men in unlikely races

OPINION — There have been so many glowing profiles of Beto O’Rourke, the Democratic Senate hopeful in Texas, that there is a running joke  among journalists about the ingredients for a perfect O’Rourke piece. The short version goes something like this: He looks like a Kennedy! He’s got tons of cash! He’s a Democrat in a Red State! Let’s do this thing!

The one detail that’s almost always missing in those profiles is reality — namely, the fact that O’Rourke could run a perfect race against Sen. Ted Cruz and will still probably lose based solely on the fact that far more Republicans are likely to vote in Texas this November than Democrats. Although twice as many Texans (about 1 million) voted in the Democratic primary this year compared to 2014, 1.5 million votes were cast in the Republican primary. Even as the state’s demographics are changing, the math for Texas Democrats still doesn’t look good.

After the Kavanaugh Trauma, the Senate Needs an MRI
Senators, on both sides, must stop assuming the worst of colleagues’ motives

OPINION — The Brett Kavanaugh confirmation saga is over, but the worry I hear most around the Senate is that the damage done to the institution during his nomination battle may be permanent.

How does the institution go on after a mess like that? How do colleagues, especially on the Judiciary Committee, work together after the accusations, attacks and name-calling that went on? How can they fix a Senate that looks so broken right now?

The Senate Already Went Nuclear. This Must Be Nuclear Plus
Mitch McConnell may have said it best: ‘You’ll regret this, and you may regret this a lot sooner than you think’

OPINION — Of all of the questions left unanswered after the Judiciary Committee hearings for Brett Kavanaugh ended last week, the hardest one to know for sure might also be the most important for the long-term health of the country — can the Senate be saved after everything that happened last week?

Can the Senate function again after Sen. Lindsey Graham looked across the hearing room at his Democratic colleagues on Thursday and yelled in rage, “Boy, you all want power. God, I hope you never get it!”

Don’t Call Mazie Hirono a Badass. Call Her a Leader.
Hawaii Democrat is much more than a meme

OPINION — Sen. Mazie Hirono is a badass, in case you haven’t been following the Brett Kavanaugh hearings. 

Also, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is notorious, like a rapper. And when Rep. Maxine Waters reclaimed her time last year, she suddenly became everybody’s favorite feisty aunt who isn’t putting up with your fresh talk anymore.

Kavanaugh’s Fate Lies in Women’s Hands — As It Should Be
Female voters will also be judging how Republicans treat him and his accuser

OPINION — This was the point. This was always the point of the “Year of the Woman,” in 1992 and every election year since then. To have women at the table, to have women as a part of the process in the government we live by every day. Women still aren’t serving in Congress in the numbers they should be, but it is at moments like this one — with a nominee, an accusation, and a Supreme Court seat in the balance — where electing women to office matters.

When Anita Hill told an all-male panel of senators in 1991 that Clarence Thomas had repeatedly sexually harassed her when she had worked with him years before, the senators on the all-male Judiciary Committee seemed to put Hill on trial instead of Thomas. Why didn’t she quit her job and get another one, they asked. Why did she speak to him again? Why didn’t she come forward and say something about Thomas sooner if he was such a flawed nominee?

Congress Handled 9/11 and Anthrax. Now It Brings Catastrophe on Itself
17 years later, lawmakers have brought us to the doorstep of a constitutional crisis

It’s funny how catastrophe can exaggerate the best and worst parts of ourselves.

In the moments after two airplanes hit the World Trade Center in New York, I managed to stay unusually calm at my desk in the Dirksen Senate Office Building. I called my father, found my sister, and returned frantic press calls until the Capitol Police yelled to get out of the building.

Just When You Least Expect It — A Congress That (Sort of) Works
Lawmakers have shown they are getting things done. They mustn’t stop.

OPINION — If you had to use one word to describe the last year in Washington, “stormy” might come to mind, for a whole host reasons. Or “trial.” Or “collusion.” You could also throw in “Twitter,” “tax cuts,” “fake news” and “resist” as the Washington words of the year.

The very last word anyone would use to describe Washington is “functional,” especially if Congress is a part of the conversation. And yet, while the country’s focus has been trained on Paul Manafort’s corruption trial or Omarosa’s secret White House tapes or what the president thinks about all of it, lawmakers have been making slow and steady progress toward their most basic, but often most difficult, job every year — funding the United States government.

What John McCain Didn’t Do
Arizona senator refused to join attacks on Max Cleland and John Kerry

OPINION — When we all look back at the life of Sen. John McCain, it’s easy to focus on all that he did — the sacrifice and victories, the wounds of war and the joy in service. But for me, it was something that McCain chose not to do years ago that I’ll always be grateful for.

It was 2002 and my boss, Georgia Sen. Max Cleland, was in a re-election fight so ugly, many of us on his staff frankly didn’t know how to respond. Would voters really believe that Cleland, a triple amputee from the Vietnam War, was so blindly partisan that he would work against America’s national security and for the Democratic Party instead? That was the accusation against him in the campaign.

Dems Had a Lackluster Showing at the Iowa State Fair. That’s a Bad Sign for 2020
And another thing: Where were the women?

OPINION — As a political reporter, it’s hard not to love the Iowa State Fair, the two-week staging ground for some of the biggest names in American politics to make their case alongside a 600-pound butter cow and an epic hog calling contest. The fair is both a thermometer and a road map that tells you how hot a party or candidate is at any given moment, as well as where they’re likely headed next.

In a midterm election year like 2018, when Democratic energy is palpable and first-time candidates are plentiful, you’d think the parade of high-profile national Democrats showing up to claim their time at the Des Moines Register’s famous Soapbox stage would be long and strong.

7 Ways the Senate Can Spend the Rest of August
A few real problems have bubbled up while senators were away

OPINION — Welcome back to the grind, senators and staff. If you were only watching cable news over your abridged recess, you might have been lulled into the idea that the only messes in Washington you would come back to were Omarosa’s habit of recording conversations in the Situation Room and what we’ve learned so far about Paul Manafort’s choice of outerwear from his trial — ostrich. So gross.

But while some in the D.C. media were caught up in the Trump train wrecks of the day, a few real problems bubbled up while you were gone. Somebody has to deal with them, so as long as you’re here — why not you?

Why Democrats Need the ‘Dannycrats’ in Ohio’s 12th and Beyond
They have a chance to be the “adults in the room” who value diverse views

OPINION — Do you know what a “Dannycrat” is? Spenser Stafford does. That’s because she’s a registered Republican who is planning to vote for Danny O’Connor, the 31-year old Democrat running in Tuesday’s special election in Ohio’s 12th District. Also, she is engaged to marry O’Connor after the election.

“Somebody said, ‘Oh, are you a Democrat now?’” Stafford told CNN. “And I was like, no, I cannot identify as a Democrat. I’m a Dannycrat!”

Change the Rules Already, So We Can Get Back to the Congressional Chicken Caucus
Problem Solvers’ proposal is the best idea to reform Congress in years

OPINION — It’s not often that I hear about a proposal coming out of Congress and think immediately, “Wow — that’s a great idea.” (No offense, Congress.)

But a recent move from Reps. Tom Reed and Josh Gottheimer was one of those moments. The pair is calling for changes to the House rules to incentivize bipartisanship and consensus-building over the gridlock and tribalism that we’ve all seen growing for the last 15 years or so.

Opinion: Georgia Runoffs Offer Clues for November and Beyond
Lessons could be a test run for the rest of the nation

What if Democrats nominate the most progressive candidate they could find in 2020 and Republicans stay true to the base, which remains devoted to Donald Trump? What if Democrats choose only female candidates over men, on the theory that they’re the ultimate outsiders and would thus perform better than other challengers in the new rules of the Trump era?

And what if, under the rubble of tribal politics and I-need-a-shower-after-that kind of dirty primaries, someone could slip through the cracks who might be both interested in and capable of operating the technical, but essential, mechanics of government in the future?

Opinion: As Trump Hangs Dan Coats Out to Dry, Russia Hacks On
If you really want to lose sleep at night, read a US-CERT report

If you looked carefully at the setup for the press conference with President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin Monday, there was something off. Something big.

Standing before a row of alternating Russian and American flags, Trump stood squarely in front of a Russian flag, while Putin spoke with his own Russian flag over one shoulder and America’s stars and stripes over the other. With Trump praising Putin and Putin defending the American president as someone who — trust him — stood firm for his country in their two-hour private confab, it was impossible at times to figure out who was on Russia’s side and who, if anyone, was speaking for America.

Opinion: GOP Should Beware of Roe v. Wade Becoming the Fight
Republicans could lose the war for female voters for a generation

Now that we know President Donald Trump has settled on Judge Brett Kavanaugh as his next choice for the Supreme Court, Senate Republicans are poised to deliver on a promise they have been making to conservatives for decades.

In Kavanaugh, the GOP has both its biggest opportunity to move the court to the right for a generation as well as its biggest danger — months of unscripted moments when abortion, reproductive rights and women will be at the center of a heated debate that Republicans have proved uniquely terrible at navigating over the years.

Opinion: Where Have You Gone, Aunt Maxine?
Moderates and independents want to reclaim their country and they are looking for a way to do that

Oh, Aunt Maxine. You had us at “Reclaiming my time.”   

There was something so totally brilliant, inspiring and boss last August when Rep. Maxine Waters, sensing that Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was trying to roll her during a Financial Services Committee hearing, decided she wasn’t having it. “Reclaiming my time,” she said once.

Opinion: Trump’s Gigantic Trade Straw Is Breaking the GOP’s Back
Republicans may need to finally stand up to Trump to defend their states

Donald Trump might be the first American to pick a fight with a Canadian in the history of the world.

After the G-7 meetings over the weekend, where Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he found Trump’s trade posture toward Canada “insulting,” Trump tweeted Sunday that Trudeau was “very dishonest & weak.” Larry Kudlow, the president’s economic adviser, finished the pile-on by accusing Trudeau of “betrayal,” while Trump’s new trade adviser, Peter Navarro, said later on Fox News Sunday that Trudeau is a back-stabber who “engaged in bad faith” and deserves a special place in hell.

Opinion: The Wall or the Economy? Time for the GOP to Pick
Electoral certainties that once defined immigration debate for Republicans may be changing

If you were on the outside looking in, last month’s Republican primary for Georgia governor seemed to feature state Sen. Michael Williams, an immigration hard-liner, against everyone else.

Williams made national headlines when he kicked off his “Deportation Bus Tour,” promising to drive around Georgia, “fill this bus with illegals and send them back to where they came from.” But while Williams got a ton of press from his infamous deportation bus, he got almost no Republican votes. In the end, he finished second to last in the primary with 4.9 percent.

Opinion: Moms, Guns and 2018
GOP’s issues with women have nothing to do with Stormy, #MeToo or Russia

Women are coming for you, Republicans. That’s the message of 2018 so far, isn’t it? Between the record number of women running for office (mostly as Democrats), the record number of women winning primaries, and the enormous gender gap that shows up in polling everything from the president’s approval rating to generic House races, there’s a theme showing up — Republicans have a problem with women.

And they do. But from the conversations I’ve had with suburban women voters, and especially the mothers of young children I see every day as the mom of 5-year-olds myself, there’s much more to the story of the GOP’s trouble with women, and it has nothing to do with Stormy Daniels, #MeToo, Russia or the Resistance.

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

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.”