Maine

Mueller report isn’t changing 2020 campaign dynamics — yet
Conclusions have emboldened some Republicans, but Democrats still aren’t talking about Russia

While some Republicans like South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham used the Mueller report to double down on defending Trump, Democrats signaled they’d continue their 2018 focus on economic issues  — and not the Russia investigation — heading into 2020. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

As news of the just-completed Russia investigation engulfs Washington, not much has changed on the campaign trail — for either party.

The full report by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III has yet to see the light of day. And with the 2020 elections more than a year and a half away, plenty could change between now and then. But so far, the calculation on both sides isn’t too different from the past two years.

How ‘Medicare for All’ went from pipe dream to mainstream
Universal health care debates could shape the 2020 election — and the future of the Democratic Party

Sen. Bernie Sanders may have been among the first to nudge Democrats toward universal health care, but he wasn’t the last. (Sarah Silbiger/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Political candidates and activists in Maine, especially in rural areas, often got a sharp reaction five years ago when they knocked on doors to promote universal health care.

“The reaction was, ‘Oh, you’re a commie,’” said Phil Bailey, who back then advocated for various Democratic causes.

Latest fundraising numbers from Beto O’Rourke and others are ridiculous
Texas Democrat raised more in 24 hours than earlier top candidates did in an entire cycle

Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke reported raising $6.1 million within 24 hours after announcing his bid for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When covering campaigns on a day-to-day basis, it can be easy to lose perspective, particularly when it comes to money. Million-dollar figures are thrown around without much thought. But the amounts of money being raised by candidates right now, particularly Democrats, are absurd.

I glanced back at competitive races nearly 20 years ago for some context, and the comparisons between a day of presidential fundraising and entire, top-tier congressional contests are staggering.

Colorado joins effort to elect presidents by popular vote, go around Electoral College
Colorado is the latest state to join a group pledging to elect presidents based on who wins the national popular vote

Trump's election in 2016 boosted interest in the national popular vote — at least among Democrats. (Tom Williams, CQ Roll Call file photo)

Colorado has become the latest state — and the first swing state — to join a group pledging to elect presidents based on who wins the national popular vote.

Eleven other states and the District of Columbia have signed onto the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, an agreement that requires those states to select their presidential electors based on who wins the most individual votes nationwide, regardless of which candidate wins in the state.

Small-dollar donors could hold the balance in 2020
Concerns about money in politics are empowering individual voters

Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, who entered the 2020 presidential race Thursday, collected almost half of his $79 million Senate haul last cycle from small donations. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Poll after poll shows that a wide majority of Americans denounce the role of money in the nation’s political campaigns — so their behavior in response might come as a surprise: More Americans are donating to candidates, particularly in small-dollar increments.

Molly McCloskey, a 27-year-old who works in advertising in Chicago, said she ponied up several donations, none larger than $40 and most closer to $15, in last year’s campaigns to support Democratic candidates. “There were times where I felt helpless, so I donated,” McCloskey said. “It felt like some sort of action, like I was doing something.”

Meet the 12 GOP senators who voted to terminate Trump’s national emergency
Group includes conservatives worried about precedent and a moderate facing a tough re-election

Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman announced Thursday that he would support the effort to terminate President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Twelve Senate Republicans rebuked President Donald Trump on Thursday by voting to block his declaration of a national emergency at the southern border.

The group includes moderate senators — including one up for re-election in 2020 — and conservatives who balked at the president circumventing Congress. Trump declared a national emergency last month after lawmakers failed to appropriate his desired funds for a border wall. (Six of the 12 Republicans who joined every Democratic senator in supporting the resolution serve on the Appropriations Committee.)

Senate rejects Trump’s emergency declaration on border
President has promised to veto the joint resolution

A fence marking the U.S.-Mexico border is seen at sunset on July 22, 2018, in Nogales, Arizona. (John Moore/Getty Images file photo)

On this day in the Senate, no man a king, not even President Donald Trump.

The Senate passed a resolution Thursday to terminate Trump’s national emergency declaration that would have allowed him to redirect up to $6.7 billion from other Cabinet departments toward constructing his long-promised wall on the southwestern border.

Spectrum auction could boot weather forecasting back to the 1970s, lawmakers warn
Appropriators call for delay of auction set for Thursday

The Federal Communications Commission, led by Ajit Pai, plans to go ahead with a spectrum auction aimed at securing American leadership in 5G. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Senior House members, citing a potential threat to the safety of millions of people, urgently asked a federal agency Wednesday to delay an auction of radio frequency spectrum that is slated to occur Thursday.

If that spectrum is used for 5G wireless communications, as planned, it could interfere with government satellites’ ability to collect data in a nearby band — information on which accurate weather forecasts hinge, three House Appropriations subcommittee chairmen said in a letter obtained by Roll Call.

Can Republicans make up any ground in New England in 2020?
Only real pickup opportunities for party are in Maine and New Hampshire

Maine Sen. Susan Collins, right, is the only New England Republican left in Congress. Republicans could pick up another seat by defeating New Hampshire Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen in 2020. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

The prospects for a Republican rebirth in New England in 2020 are dim.

Maine Sen. Susan Collins, the only New England Republican left in Congress, is likely facing her most competitive re-election next year.

No caucus, no problem? Some freshman Democrats avoid ideological groups
Six new Democrats have not joined caucuses with an ideological focus

Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Ill., center, is one of six freshman Democrats who is not in an ideological caucus. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Joining a caucus with like-minded colleagues is a typical ritual for House freshmen, a chance to form alliances with lawmakers in similar wings of their respective parties. 

But it’s not for everyone. A handful of freshman Democrats have opted not to join any of the party’s ideological groups: the Congressional Progressive Caucus, the fiscally conservative Blue Dog Coalition, and the centrist New Democrat Coalition.