Carrie Sheffield: Now Democrats must choose wisely what to do with their power

Carrie Sheffield

Tuesday’s Democratic victory for control of the House shouldn’t come as a surprise, given that many of these felled GOP candidates were in Hillary Clinton-won districts, and President Donald Trump lost the popular vote in 2016. But the Republican Senate gains and strong Florida and Georgia gubernatorial showings ran counter to the mainstream media bubble’s narrative; elite media would be wise to self-reflect.
America is now at a juncture: will a divided Congress collapse into a vitriolic abyss of presidential House impeachment (and subsequent Senate acquittal), endless House Russia conspiracy theories, subpoenas and baseless investigations? Or will Democrats and Republicans work together to fight the opioid crisis, rein in our deficit and reform our education and criminal justice systems?
If House Democrats choose the former, they will weary the American people and face a similar electoral outcome in 2020 to that of congressional Republicans in 2000 — losses in both houses — after they impeached President Bill Clinton. Americans signaled tonight they want a bipartisan Congress, not a polarized one.
President Trump was penitent a day prior to this disappointing House finish: “I would like to have a much softer tone. I feel to a certain extent I have no choice, but maybe I do and maybe I could have been softer from that standpoint.”
Suburban voters, including many women, were key in flipping these House districts, and President Trump is noticing. He’ll need conservatives of every stripe to build on his agenda heading into 2020.

LZ Granderson: Dems have the House, but they still don’t have a message

LZ Granderson

LZ Granderson

Yes, the party took the House, but the blue wave was not the tsunami party leadership had hoped it would be. This is in large part because the Democratic party is still searching for its post-2008 identity. It wants to represent the young and diverse, but key leadership roles continue to be held by the old and the white, much like the Republican Party it chastises.
In 2010 and in 2014, Democratic incumbents seeking re-election distanced themselves from President Barack Obama’s policies, not because they disagreed with them but because they weren’t popular. As repulsive as some of Trump’s rhetoric and policies may have been to Republicans over the past two years, you did not see the same level of retreat from them in this election as Obama experienced in his 2010 midterm shellacking. Which is why the Democrats’ victory was not so resounding.
Say what you will about the “Make America Great Again” slogan, the reality is that it’s effective because it is a clear, proactive message. What exactly was the Democratic Party’s message in 2016? 2018? What will it be in 2020?
LZ Granderson is a journalist and political analyst. He was a fellow at the Institute of Politics at the University of Chicago and the Hechinger Institute at Columbia University, and is a co-host of ESPN’s SportsNation and ESPN LA 710’s Mornings with Keyshawn, Jorge and LZ. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @lzgranderson.

Paul Begala: Nancy Pelosi gets her well-deserved victory

Paul Begala-Profile-Image

Paul Begala-Profile-Image

On Tuesday night I spoke at the Democratic Party’s victory party. Before I mounted the stage, I asked Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi what she wanted me to say. “Don’t make it about President Trump,” she cautioned, “and certainly don’t make it about me. Make it about the candidates and the volunteers and the voters.”
I tried to follow her wishes, but let me take a minute to praise her now. Nancy Pelosi was the subject of tens of thousands of attack ads. She was demonized, vilified, and caricatured. And yet she persisted.
And now she has won. Nancy Pelosi, along with Rep. Ben Ray Luján, D-New Mexico, the chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, has taken back the House of Representatives, giving Democrats their first taste of real power on the federal level since Donald Trump was inaugurated.
She did it by maintaining grace under relentless pressure. With Lujan she recruited strong candidates who fit their districts: women, veterans, moderates. Most of all, she did it by keeping her eyes on the prize: making the election not about her — nor, crucially, about Donald Trump — but about the people of this country. Her slogan said it all: “For the people.”
There is an important lesson here for both parties. As the old saying goes, “If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.” Republicans didn’t stand for anything. They didn’t run on the strong economy. They didn’t run on their corporate tax cut. They didn’t run for anything. They just ran against Pelosi. And they lost.
Democrats, too, need to remember the lesson of this election. Led by Pelosi, they refused to fall into the impeachment trap, declined to base their message on hatred of Donald Trump. Instead, they ran on health care, Social Security, infrastructure, and education. Democrats stood for something. Republicans fell for anything.
Paul Begala, a Democratic strategist and CNN political commentator, was a political consultant for Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign in 1992 and was counselor to Clinton in the White House. He was a consultant to Priorities USA Action, which was a pro-Obama super PAC before it was a pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC.

Mark Bauerlein: Conservatives will make their voices heard

Mark Bauerlein

Mark Bauerlein

Democrats should not be surprised to find that they just guaranteed six more years of President Trump.
At 9:30 p.m., Fox News called the House for the Democrats. Though Republicans will hold the Senate, any defeat is a serious wound for conservatism. Expect many leading House Democrats to spend more time now on eradicating the opposition through investigations, hearings, and impeachment than on crafting traditional liberal legislation. Democrats have raised health care and the poor during the campaign, but those traditional issues have been drowned out by allegations of the evils of their opponents.
The results trickled in during an anxious day and — with so many races too close to call — a breathless night. Why so tense?
Because, in 2018 America, only in politics is the battle of left vs. right unresolved. The big institutions are solidly lined up against believers in traditional sex roles, family values, God, and country. Hollywood doesn’t like them, nor do Silicon Valley, academia, public schools, the art world, most newsrooms, big funders like the Ford Foundation and the Koch brothers, and corporate America, whose human resources tell social conservatives that their beliefs are backward and discriminatory. The Democratic Party got rid of pro-lifers years ago, and even most church leaders have made their peace with secular culture and leaned liberal.
That means the ballot box is the sole place where conservatives can fight and win. Every election, in that case, is existential. If conservatives lose, progressives have the chance to stamp out conservatism forever. If conservatives win … well, they survive until the next election. Those were the stakes tonight. Elections are no longer who’s-up-and-who’s-down. They are: does-conservatism-live-or-die.
The Senate is still Republican, and every attempt the Dems make to discredit Trump won’t pass the upper chamber. They will, instead, arouse conservatives of all kinds, who understand the annihilating intent of liberalism better than the Democrats and commentators think.
Mark Bauerlein is a professor of English at Emory University, senior editor of the journal “First Things” and author of “The Dumbest Generation: How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future; Or, Don’t Trust Anyone Under 30.”

Asha Rangappa: It’s a new day for the Mueller probe

Asha Rangappa

Asha Rangappa

Democrats’ new control of the House will have significant ramifications for special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe, in particular.
The House Intelligence Committee under Democratic control can now shift the focus away from the Republican strategy of trying to expose the FBI’s methods and sources, to calling important witnesses to testify about their knowledge of the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia during the 2016 election. And they can use the committee’s subpoena power if necessary. Although Mueller is investigating these threads as well, the public will be able to get a fuller and more direct window into what took place through a congressional investigation, rather than having to rely only on piecemeal information revealed in criminal indictments from the special counsel investigation.
Midterm results that will shape America's future

Midterm results that will shape America's future

Most importantly, when Mueller submits his final report to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, the House Judiciary Committee will be able to request it from the Department of Justice, and make it public if it deems that it is warranted. All of these actions will make it much harder for the White House to block or bury evidence of any alleged collusion or obstruction of justice, whether or not Mueller or Rosenstein are fired.
Asha Rangappa is a senior lecturer at Yale’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. She is a former special agent in the FBI, specializing in counterintelligence investigations. Follow her @AshaRangappa_

William Howell: Settle in, America. Trumpism lives on

William Howell

William Howell

Not a bad night for Donald Trump. Not at all. Having lost the House, the President won’t be able to push forward much of a legislative agenda during the coming two years. Truth be told, though, he never had much of a legislative agenda. He’s about to be pounded by investigations and subpoenas for all manner of misdoings. This is a President, though, who lives for the counterpunch. Meanwhile, Republican control of the Senate offers insurance against impeachment, and the support Trump needs to continue appointing conservatives to the judiciary.
Nothing about tonight’s electoral returns meaningfully impinges upon the President’s foreign policy. And with Congress divided, Trump can continue to exercise his unilateral powers as aggressively as ever — eliminating business and environmental regulations, taking substantive and symbolic stands against immigration, delivering favors to key Republican constituencies. No midterm repudiation of this President tonight. No blue wave washing up on the White House doorstep. No mid-course correction. For that, we’ll have to wait until 2020. For that, voters will need to vote Trump himself out of office. In the meantime, settle in America. Trumpism lives on.
William Howell is a professor of political science at the University of Chicago and co-author, with Terry Moe, of “Relic: How Our Constitution Undermines Effective Government — And Why We Need a More Powerful Presidency.”

Nayyera Haq: Now we double down to Make America Normal Again

Nayyera Haq

Nayyera Haq

Our country now has its first openly gay governor, from Colorado. The first Native American woman, the first and second Muslim women, and the youngest woman ever will be part of the largest cohort of women to join Congress. Changes are coming in from all levels of the political structure. The citizens of Florida voted to reinstate the voting rights of 1.4 million people — former felons who had been denied the vote. Voters in Massachusetts defended the rights of transgender people in public spaces. Forget the demographic projections for 2050; America is definitively a different country today as a result of the 2018 midterm elections.
People with a variety of identities that go well beyond straight, white, and male are changing the political structure in ways that have national implications. This reality about America will continue to scare Donald Trump and the people he relies on to keep his power. The President will double down on spinning stories of caravans of diseased terrorists coming to take away your guns and make your kids gay.
When Trumpism gets worse, can we rely on this new crop of political leaders to bridge the divides in our country? Democrats in Congress will wage the necessary legal battles to protect our democratic institutions, but the rest of us will need to double down on the daily battle to Make America Normal Again. We need to transfer the energy from the ballot box into the social courage necessary to challenge hate, fear, and bigotry when it confronts our communities.
Nayyera Haq is a SiriusXM radio host and a former White House Senior Director and State Department spokesperson in the Obama administration. She is a regular commentator on politics and current affairs.

James C. Moore: Biden-Beto 2020?

When I first heard a Democratic congressman from El Paso was going to run for the US Senate from Texas and he was beginning his campaign by traveling to all 254 counties, I laughed.
Yeah, out loud.
I’d been to all of them as a journalist, or riding my motorcycle, and it took me a couple of decades. And what was the point of an aspirational politician traveling to Loving County in the Panhandle, with a population of 134 people in 677 square miles?
Of course, Beto O’Rourke wanted to make sure each potential constituent understood they mattered, and he’d serve everyone.
Beto may have lost, but he’ll keep rolling. His journey is only beginning. He has awakened the moribund Texas Democratic Party, which can now see a brighter future for candidates and fund-raising. The enthusiasm and hopefulness he generated also undoubtedly helped the election of the state’s first two Latina congresswomen, and unseated longtime incumbent Republicans John Culberson of Houston and Pete Sessions of Dallas.
O’Rourke may have lost only because he waited too long to broadcast attack ads against Sen. Ted Cruz. But he showed Democrats how to raise money without selling out to PACs and corporate interests, how to maintain your principles and win with a message of uniting Americans.
And whoever wants to be the next Democratic president will need to consider Beto as a running mate.
Biden-Beto 2020?
Or maybe O’Rourke just needs to fire up his own presidential run.
James C. Moore is a business consultant and principal at Big Bend Strategies, a business development firm. He has written four books on Texas politics and has written and reported on the state’s government and history for four decades.

Ali Noorani: Americans want to solve immigration. Can this Congress do it?

Ali Noorani

Ali Noorani

In the end, President Trump’s strategy of ignoring the center and playing to his base by ginning up anti-immigrant angst — something we haven’t seen from a White House in the modern era — failed to keep suburban America in the Republican camp.
Despite a strong economy and foreign policy wins, the Republicans went all-in on immigration, and as a result Democrats now control the House of Representatives.
In the context of divided government, where do we go from here on the vexing and complicated issue of immigration?
Despite vitriol, division, and searing images of young children being separated from their parents, millions of Americans in suburban communities are looking for compromise. These are the voters who gave power back to the Democrats. They are the two-thirds of Americans that More in Common’s research identified as the “Exhausted Majority:” they dislike polarization, they are largely ignored in a fragmented media environment, and, in fact, they are flexible in their views. And, most importantly, they seek leadership that can unify the country.
To find a compromise, we must address underlying fears around identity, culture, security and economics. When we show curiosity and empathy, we can build a coalition to make reforms most Americans support: improving the legal immigration system, bolstering security at ports of entry and at the borders, and extending citizenship to undocumented individuals who are already contributing to America.
We’ve gone through a tremendously difficult time, with newcomers pegged as scapegoats for global migration, economic changes, and new cultural norms.
But there’s good news as we return to divided government: most Americans want progress — and consensus — on American immigration.
Can Congress live up to this challenge?
Ali Noorani is the executive director of the National Immigration Forum, an organization based in Washington that advocates for the value of immigrants, and author of “There Goes the Neighborhood: How Communities Overcome Prejudice and Meet the Challenge of American Immigration” (Prometheus Books). He is the host of the podcast “Only in America.” Follow him on Twitter @anoorani.
Except it turned out the video was fake. Election officials in Ohio, where the video was taken, quickly pointed out that the timestamps on the receipts shown in the clip made clear that no votes were inaccurately recorded.
Facebook removed the video from the main site and from its subsidiary Instagram.
But the video continued to thrive on Twitter.
A spokesman pointed CNN to a tweet from the New York Times debunking the video.
Twitter has been criticized in recent weeks for failing to respond to complaints about Cesar Sayoc, who was reported multiple times in the months before he was arrested in October and charged with sending pipe bombs to senior Democratic politicians as well as CNN.
Earlier this year, the company was the last major platform to ban the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones.
Throughout 2018, Twitter pledged to combat false information targeting voters. But the company failed to act against a false video that was sowing doubt and confusion on Election Day.

How the video is false

The Election Day video was posted by an anonymous Twitter account that appeared to be connected with a supporter of the Qanon conspiracy theory.
“More voter fraud in Ohio. Why is it that all the errors are always the Democrats?? Because the only way they can win is if they cheat!! This madness needs to stop,” text accompanying the video read.
The video purported to show a paper ballot recording a vote for the Democratic candidate for governor after a voter presses the button for Republican Mike DeWine. It’s unclear who filmed it.
Aaron Sellers, a spokesman for Franklin County Board of Elections, said the machine involved had a paper jam and has since been taken offline.
“The voter that made the video checked in at 10:05 a.m.,” Sellers said. “If you look on the video she’s voting for DeWine and the paper tape is showing (a vote for) Cordray. That vote occurred at 9:39 a.m.”
He said the voter requested help from a poll worker. “She hadn’t completed her ballot yet so they were able to cancel her out. They moved her to another machine, she was able to vote and go on her way,” Sellers said. “That machine was taken off line and it had a total of 29 votes cast on it.”
A DHS official said in a call with reporters that Ohio officials had alerted the agency to the video. DHS in turn notified Twitter.

‘Rapid response’

Earlier on Tuesday, speaking on a call with reporters, a DHS official said that disinformation relating to the election had “been rapidly addressed” by social media platforms.
Facebook said it had removed posts falsely claiming that Immigration and Custom Enforcement (ICE) agents were patrolling polling locations looking for undocumented immigrants.
The rumor had previously been confirmed to be false by ICE. The agency tweeted last month, “ICE does not patrol or conduct enforcement operations at polling locations. Any flyers or advertisements claiming otherwise are false.”
The company did not suggest the posts had come from outside the US. It’s unclear how widespread the activity was.
CNN and other news organizations were able to determine the video was false after speaking to election officials in Ohio.
Facebook works with a network of news organizations to determine if information spreading on its platform is objectively false. One of its partner organizations, the Associated Press, determined the video to be false, and Facebook took the video down under its voter suppression policies.
CNN has not projected a winner in the Georgia governor’s race, but Kemp is ahead in votes with 99% of precincts reporting.
“I’m here tonight to tell you votes remain to be counted. There’s voices that are waiting to be heard,” Abrams told supporters early Wednesday morning gathered in Atlanta.
Abrams suggested that they’ll wait for absentee ballots to be counted.
“Across our state, folks are opening up the dreams of voters in absentee ballots, and we believe our chance for a stronger Georgia is just within reach. But we cannot seize it until all voices are heard,” Abrams said. “And I promise you tonight, we’re going to make sure that every vote is counted.”
Voters rights issues have taken front and center in the Georgia high profile gubernatorial race between Kemp, the GOP secretary of state, and Abrams, a Georgia state representative. If elected, Abrams would be the nation’s first black female governor.
Democrats have accused Kemp of a conflict of interest as he refused to step away from his post overseeing state elections while he campaigned for governor.
Last month, a federal judge ruled Georgia election officials had to stop rejecting absentee ballots with voters’ signatures that didn’t appear to match signatures on record.
On Sunday, Kemp’s office opened an investigation into the Georgia Democratic Party for what it said was an attempted hack of the state’s voter registration system, without providing proof. Georgia Democrats flatly denied the allegation.
He dismissed critics alleging that he weaponized state law to suppress the minority vote as “outside agitators.”
A lawsuit filed Tuesday in a Georgia federal court by five state voters asked a judge to strip Kemp of his powers over the midterm election — including any potential runoffs.
Voters in the Peach State also faced long lines and malfunctioning machines during Tuesday’s vote.
Heller’s campaign was defined by his awkward dance with President Donald Trump, someone that the senator flip-flopped on throughout the President’s first two years in office. After saying he was “99 percent” against Trump, Heller fully embraced him during his campaign for re-election.
“Now, Mr. President, you know a little bit about gold,” Heller said during an October rally with the President. “In fact, I think everything you touch turns to gold.”
Rosen tapped into Nevada’s leftward tilt in recent years in her effort to oust the vulnerable Republican. Democrats have won the last three presidential elections in Nevada.
Rosen focused primarily on health care and other local issues, but also tried to tie her opponent to Trump.
During a recent debate, Rosen labeled Heller a “rubber stamp” for the President and mocked him for his back and forth on Trump.
When the moderator followed up on the fact he vacillated on the President, Heller sought to argue he did so because of Trump’s success.
“I’ll be the first to tell you I don’t agree with everything he says, but I do agree with most of what he does. He has been incredible on this economy. He’s done a great job,” Heller said.
Rosen, despite her challenger status, was able to outraise Heller during the race, bringing in over $16 million — including an impressive $7 million in the third quarter of 2018 — compared to Heller’s $12 million haul.
Trump came to Heller’s defense during the campaign, labeling his opponent “Wacky Jacky” and rallying with the Republican in Elko.
“I’m thrilled to introduce a man that I spent a long time getting to know. At first, I fought him. I said, ‘This guy’s tough. What’s the story here,” Trump said acknowledging their rocky relationship. “There’s no better partner that I had in Washington than Dean Heller.”
Midterm results that will shape America's future

In fact, Nancy Pelosi and other Democratic leaders should send Trump a fruit basket or 10 for helping them succeed at something they haven’t been able to achieve since 2010 — taking control of the House. This alone is a tremendous accomplishment. Every House committee come January 2019 can have a Democrat as chair. The party will also be able to set the House’s legislative agenda and engage in oversight of the Trump administration, including over Trump himself for possible violations of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause.
And Democrats won a handful of governorships that had been held by Republicans, including in Kansas where Democrat Laura Kelly beat Kris Kobach, who Trump had appointed to co-chair his now-abandoned voter fraud commission. All of that is thanks to the President. Although we can’t take away from the great Democratic candidates we saw this election cycle who worked tirelessly to win, some of the candidates ran this year in reaction to Trump.
As I heard first-hand when speaking to Democratic congressional candidates, from New Jersey to Texas to California, on my SiriusXM radio show, Trump’s election spurred them to want to do more than just vote or be active in local politics — to seek congressional office as a form of resistance to his right-wing policies and his bigoted and sexist views. And as Emily’s List, a Democratic organization that supports women candidates in favor of abortion rights, noted, the surge in interest by women to run for office in 2018 came in the aftermath of Trump’s 2016 win.
Why this 'blue wave' was not a tsunami

Why this 'blue wave' was not a tsunami

That’s why we saw so many firsts on Tuesday. We witnessed the first Muslim woman elected to Congress – in fact, the first two, Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib and Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar, both Democrats. Then there’s Massachusetts Democrat Ayanna Pressley and Connecticut’s Jahana Hayes, who not only became the first black women to be elected to Congress from their respective states but from the entire New England region.
But despite Trump almost making the Democratic party completely great again (Democrats lost ground in the Senate), in fairness it can also be said that President Obama helped make the GOP great — or at least helped rebuild itself. And the same case can me be made about George W. Bush helping rebuild the Democratic Party and even playing a role in Obama’s 2008 victory.
The reality is that when voters want to send a message that they aren’t happy with the President, they vote against the President’s party in the midterm elections. Look what happened to Obama in his first midterm election in 2010 shortly after the ACA passed which then was very unpopular. Going into the 2010 election, Democrats controlled the House and the Senate. But after the votes were all counted, the Democrats lost a whopping 63 House seats and control of the House, plus six Senate seats. And by the time Obama left office, Democrats had lost control of the Senate and Republicans picked up nearly 1,000 state legislative seats overall.
Same scenario with Bush, but in his second midterm in 2006. Despite a solid economy, Bush’s handling of the Iraq war soured Americans, leaving Bush with an approval rating in the area of 38% that election year. American voters sent Bush a message in that midterm election by making the Democratic Party pretty great again. The Democrats remarkably regained control of the House for the first time in 12 years in addition to seizing control of the Senate. And Democrats even flipped six governorships, taking control of 28 nationwide.
Now the big question going forward is: Does Trump make the Democratic Party really great again by helping the party win the White House and control of the Senate in 2020? Given Trump’s track record, I’d say there’s a pretty good shot that the hashtag #MDGA will be trending come 2020.
CNN has not projected a winner in the Georgia governor’s race, but Kemp is ahead in votes with 99% of precincts reporting.
“I’m here tonight to tell you votes remain to be counted. There’s voices that are waiting to be heard,” Abrams told supporters early Wednesday morning gathered in Atlanta.
Abrams suggested that they’ll wait for absentee ballots to be counted.
“Across our state, folks are opening up the dreams of voters in absentee ballots, and we believe our chance for a stronger Georgia is just within reach. But we cannot seize it until all voices are heard,” Abrams said. “And I promise you tonight, we’re going to make sure that every vote is counted.”
Voters rights issues have taken front and center in the Georgia high profile gubernatorial race between Kemp, the GOP secretary of state, and Abrams, a Georgia state representative. If elected, Abrams would be the nation’s first black female governor.
Democrats have accused Kemp of a conflict of interest as he refused to step away from his post overseeing state elections while he campaigned for governor.
Last month, a federal judge ruled Georgia election officials had to stop rejecting absentee ballots with voters’ signatures that didn’t appear to match signatures on record.
On Sunday, Kemp’s office opened an investigation into the Georgia Democratic Party for what it said was an attempted hack of the state’s voter registration system, without providing proof. Georgia Democrats flatly denied the allegation.
He dismissed critics alleging that he weaponized state law to suppress the minority vote as “outside agitators.”
A lawsuit filed Tuesday in a Georgia federal court by five state voters asked a judge to strip Kemp of his powers over the midterm election — including any potential runoffs.
Voters in the Peach State also faced long lines and malfunctioning machines during Tuesday’s vote.
Both men were early supporters of President Donald Trump, who blasted the Justice Department earlier this year for investigating the two Republicans.
Despite the federal charges against him, which he calls “meritless,” Collins has been actively campaigning to keep his seat in New York’s 27th Congressional District.
Collins, the first House member to endorse Trump’s 2016 campaign, has been charged with securities fraud, wire fraud and false statements stemming from alleged insider trading in stock of an Australian pharmaceutical company.
Hunter, who represents California’s 50th Congressional District, was indicted the same month as Collins in August — but for charges of campaign corruption related to a quarter-million dollars’ worth of charges on his campaign credit card. Hunter claimed he was framed by a “corrupt” Department of Justice but also placed blame on his wife.
He went on to suggest that his Mexican-Palestinian-American opponent — a 29-year-old former Obama administration aide who is Christian — is a Muslim with ties to terrorism who would threaten the security of US soldiers.
Meanwhile, Sen. Bob Menendez, a Democrat from New Jersey, survived a tough re-election bid amid dismal approval ratings following his federal corruption trial that ended in a hung jury.
While the Justice Department filed to dismiss charges against Menendez, he was still admonished by the Senate Ethics Committee for accepting gifts without proper approval from a wealthy ophthalmologist and returning in kind with political favors.
“Since Obamacare and these issues have come up, the women are in my grill no matter where I go,” Brat told the audience, according to local media reports. “They come up — ‘When is your next town hall?’ And believe me, it’s not to give positive input.”
On Tuesday, Brat, who’s a well-known conservative figure in the House, lost to Democrat Abigail Spanberger for those two reasons: women and health care. After her victory, Spanberger, a former CIA officer who ran on increasing health care coverage with a public health insurance option, will be the first woman to represent Virginia’s 7th District.
With 99% of precincts reporting, Spanberger had 50.1% of the vote to Brat’s 48.7%.
It was just four years ago when Brat won one of the greatest political upsets in US history, toppling Republican Rep. Eric Cantor, the first House majority leader ever to lose a primary. The Randolph-Macon College economics professor won in part by attacking Cantor from the right on immigration, gaining the support of conservative media figures like Laura Ingraham and Mark Levin.
Once in office, he then joined the far-right House Freedom Caucus and became a thorn in the side of Republican leadership. His district has been reliably GOP for decades; He won his re-election race in 2016 by 15 points.
Spanberger’s victory is another piece of evidence of widespread frustration with Trump, evident since the Women’s March sparked mass protests across the country the day after his swearing-in.
But it also underscores the desire of some in the Democratic party for new leadership. Republicans attacked Democratic candidates in red and purple districts by tying them to Rep. Nancy Pelosi, who is broadly unpopular after serving as Democratic leader for the past 16 years.
Spanberger has said she won’t support Pelosi for speaker.
“I won’t vote for her under any circumstances,” Spanberger recently told the Capitol Hill newspaper Roll Call.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, who is set to be chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in the Democratic majority, told CNN that he plans to use his committee in a thorough and methodical way to answer a range of issues that Republicans have ignored.

He also expressed interest in seeking President Trump’s tax returns to determine whether there are conflicts with the emoluments clause of the Constitution, which prohibits federal officials from receiving gifts from foreign governments without the consent of Congress.

“We probably will,” Cummings told CNN when asked if tax returns could help his investigation into whether Trump violated the emoluments clause, specifically with regards to his business with the Trump International Hotel and the FBI headquarters building in Washington.

“I don’t see how you can look at it, and do a thorough job and do an effective job unless you do. Tax returns may tell you something else — that’s why we would like to see them,” he added.

Cummings said he wants to restore “accountability” to the Trump administration as chairman of the committee.

“Right now, we have a President who is accountable to no one,” he said, adding that, “My plan is to use the subpoena as a method of last resort.”

Still, Cummings insisted he would “work very hard” to approach his chairmanship in a deliberative and bipartisan manner.

“I don’t want people to think we are going to rush in and beat up on Trump,” he said.

Cummings said there would be two lanes to investigate:

  1. One, he said, would be to “defend our democracy,” to look into voting rights and limitations facing under-privileged communities. He said they would also look into matters involving the use of security clearances in the Trump administration — whether it was for ex-aides Michael Flynn and Rob Porter as well as for Jared Kushner, the President’s son-in-law and senior adviser.
  2. The other lane would look at day-to-day issues affecting many Americans, such as the high price of prescription drugs and insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions — as well as the U.S. Postal Service, Cummings said.

He said there would be a lot of coordination between the various House committees to ensure there isn’t overlap — including on the Trump tax returns, which the House Ways and Means and Financial Services panels both may want as well.

“I would expect that this week, we will start to get all of that stuff and begin to organize,” Cummings said. “And there will be coordination … The last thing we want to do is step on each other.”

In New Mexico, Haaland will replace Democratic Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham, who vacated the seat to run for governor, and Davids will unseat Kansas GOP Rep. Kevin Yoder.
Davids is a member of the Ho-Chunk Nation and Haaland is an enrolled member of the Pueblo of Laguna, according to their respective campaigns.
The projected victories for the two Native American women mark a milestone in the US political system.
Davids identifies as a lesbian, making her the first openly LGBT member of Congress from Kansas. She will enter Congress as a lawyer and a former mixed martial arts fighter.
Haaland won her district’s primary in June, which put her in position to take the general election against Republican congressional nominee Janice Arnold-Jones. CNN rated the district “solid Democrat.’
CNN rated the seat that Davis is set to win as “lean Democrat.”
The wins also came as Native Americans brought legal action over alleged voter suppression again this cycle, with the Spirit Lake Tribe filing a complaint in October against North Dakota over a voter identification law the tribe said disenfranchised voters living on reservations.
According to the Campaign Legal Center, federal Judge Daniel Hovland denied a request last week from the tribe for an order stopping the ID requirement.