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Just about every American election year is peppered with quotes from seemingly very serious people claiming that, for some reason, this is the most important election of our lifetime. This year, we’re also being told that the political battle to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy may be the most important confirmation vote of all time. News stories are littered with references to how it will change the direction of the court and the country for a generation or more. Such rhetoric misses the important reality that we live in a land where the culture leads

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As we celebrate our nation’s 242nd birthday, America is caught up in a populist moment. Whether this is a good thing or not depends largely upon how you define populism. For some, populism is nothing more than a belief that, in America, the people are supposed to be in charge. It’s reminding government officials of the timeless principles eloquently expressed in the Declaration of Independence: governments derive their only just powers from the consent of the governed. All of us are created equal with an unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If that’s

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Problems with U.S. immigration policy played a big role in the 2016 presidential election and are likely to do so in election after election until significant changes are made. It’s a serious issue worthy of substantial public debate. However, what passes for a public dialogue on the issue is anything but serious. It is, for example, heartbreaking to hear about and see pictures of young children separated from their parents at the U.S. border. According to a CBS poll, only 4% of Americans support that approach for dealing with families who enter the country illegally. But, beyond



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856207-12-2018The Culture Leads, Not the Supreme Court
Just about every American election year is peppered with quotes from seemingly very serious people claiming that, for some reason, this is the most important election of our lifetime. This year, we’re also being told that the political battle to replace retiring Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy may be the most important confirmation vote of all time. News stories are littered with references to how it will change the direction of the court and the country for a generation or more. Such rhetoric misses the important reality that we live in a land where the culture leads

read more
856007-05-2018Is Populism a Blessing or Curse?
As we celebrate our nation’s 242nd birthday, America is caught up in a populist moment. Whether this is a good thing or not depends largely upon how you define populism. For some, populism is nothing more than a belief that, in America, the people are supposed to be in charge. It’s reminding government officials of the timeless principles eloquently expressed in the Declaration of Independence: governments derive their only just powers from the consent of the governed. All of us are created equal with an unalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. If that’s

read more
852906-28-2018The Immigration Mess
Problems with U.S. immigration policy played a big role in the 2016 presidential election and are likely to do so in election after election until significant changes are made. It’s a serious issue worthy of substantial public debate. However, what passes for a public dialogue on the issue is anything but serious. It is, for example, heartbreaking to hear about and see pictures of young children separated from their parents at the U.S. border. According to a CBS poll, only 4% of Americans support that approach for dealing with families who enter the country illegally. But, beyond

read more
848006-14-2018Politicians Learn How Governments Are Held Accountable
Political leaders often talk as if the right to vote is our most powerful tool for holding government accountable. Voting is important, but its impact is limited by an electoral process that protects incumbents and offers voters’ few meaningful options.Fortunately, as the Seattle City Council learned recently, there are other ways to hold politicians and governments accountable.The Seattle politicians passed a law requiring big companies to pay a special tax for every person on the payroll. This “head tax” was the brainchild of a socialist council member Kshama Sawant. She apparently reasoned that big companies like Amazon had enough money

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834006-07-2018Let’s End Official White House Visits for Sports Champions
One of this week’s silliest news “controversies” swirled around the Philadelphia Eagles’ cancelled visit to the White House. Pundits on the right were offended that many players refused the honor of a White House invitation just because they don’t like the president. On the left, CNN’s Chris Cillizza was deeply offended by President Trump’s decision to rescind the invite and his “appalling” statement about it. In other words, the entire episode was simply a Rorschach test that provided a platform for partisans on both sides to voice entirely predictable opinions. If the president said his favorite color

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832205-31-2018Republicans Poised to Gain Senate Seats in 2018
Last December, Democrat Doug Jones won a Senate race in Alabama by defeating a horribly flawed Republican candidate Roy Moore. For the first time, it appeared that the Democrats had a plausible path to winning control of the U.S. Senate in 2018. The Republican advantage was trimmed to a 51-49 margin and a net change of two seats would make New York Senator Chuck Schumer the new Senate Majority leader. To win the Senate, all the Democrats had to do was win GOP seats in Arizona and Nevada and successfully defend all of their incumbents. At the

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828805-24-2018The Fundamental Reason President Trump Will Not Be Impeached
President Trump is in no danger of being impeached and removed from office. I say this with confidence despite having no knowledge of what Special Counsel Mueller and his team may find.That’s because impeachment is a political process rather than a legal process. As a result, things that happen outside the world of government matter far more than the things official Washington obsesses about.Politically, the most important outside factor governing any president’s fate is the U.S. economy. This truth is confirmed by the two modern efforts to impeach a president. In 1974, President Nixon was forced to resign from office.

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822305-17-2018STATE OF THE MIDTERMS
Last December, the midterm outlook looked bleak for Republicans. With the Democrats enjoying a 13-point lead on the Generic Ballot, pundits talked of a “big blue wave.” The question was not whether the Democrats would win the two dozen seats needed to gain control of the House, but whether they might win 40-50 seats in a landslide approaching the Republican gains in 2010.Since then, Republicans passed a tax cut, eliminated the Obamacare mandate, and took other steps to reduce the regulatory burden. The economy took off, people are feeling better about how things are going in the nation, and recent

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822005-10-2018Was The Blankenship “Momentum” Real?
In the final days before the West Virginia primary, breathless media coverage suggested that businessman Don Blankenship was gaining ground rapidly and had a real shot at winning the Republican Senate nomination. ABC News quoted a “national Republican operative” who said it’s “down to the wire” and it wouldn’t be a surprise if the controversial candidate won.All this concern even prompted President Trump to tweet that Blankenship “can't win the General Election” and encouraging West Virginia voters to cast their ballots for someone else.But Blankenship didn’t win or even come close. Instead, he finished a distant third with just 19%

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820905-03-2018The Primary Season Has Arrived
After months of speculation and shifting expectations, the midterm elections will start to really take shape in the coming two months. A dozen states will host primaries in May; a dozen-and-a-half more in June. In the battle for control of the U.S. Senate, we currently know both party’s nominees in three of the GOP’s best pick-up opportunities: Republican Governor Rick Scott is challenging Democratic Senator Bill Nelson in Florida; Republican Attorney General Josh Hawley is taking on Democratic Senator Claire McCaskill in Missouri; and, Republican Congressman Kevin Cramer is challenging Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp in North Dakota.

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818404-26-2018Microtrends, Not Politics, Lead the Nation
If you want to understand where America is heading, a good place to start is with Mark Penn’s new book, Microtrends Squared. Penn came to fame in the 1990s as a pollster in the Clinton White House, later served as Chief Strategy Officer for Microsoft, and is now Chairman of the Harris Poll. One of the most valuable parts of the book is its implicit recognition of the reality that the culture leads and politicians lag behind. Of the 50 microtrends identified by Penn, only 7 deal with politics. That ratio seems about right. The other 43 highlight trends

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817404-19-2018Politics Polarizes, Community Unites
News outlets are routinely filled with commentary and analysis suggesting that 21st century America is a deeply polarized nation. Countless stories are presented as a battle between conservatives and liberals, Republicans and Democrats, private sector and public.Political activists fan the flames with talking points “proving” that they hold the moral and rational high ground. They convey a sense that anybody who disagrees with them is either stupid or corrupt.Watching all this makes many people fighting mad and fills them with a burning desire to beat the other team. Far too many nice and reasonable people get so riled up by

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813604-12-2018An Epic Power Struggle: Government Fights The Tech Industry
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony on Capitol Hill is merely the latest round in an ongoing power struggle between official Washington and the tech industry.It’s a struggle that stems from a core reality identified years ago by Harvard’s Nicco Mele. “The devices and connectivity so essential to modern life put unprecedented power in the hands of every individual.” Empowering individuals is great for everyone except for those elite officials who used to wield more power over the rest of us. “Radical connectivity is toxic to traditional power structures.”As Mele describes it, smartphones and other tech innovation have led to “a

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808204-05-2018Iowa Leads the Way on Obamacare Reform
Lawmakers and bureaucrats in official Washington often act as if their decisions lead the nation forward. News from Iowa this week, however, shows once again that the culture leads and politicians lag behind. Kim Reynolds became Iowa’s Governor last May when her predecessor (Terry Branstad) resigned to serve as the U.S. Ambassador to China. Reynolds is now running for her own full term in a state where the average Obamacare premiums jumped 57%. "Many Iowans faced a choice of going broke or going without insurance,” according to Reynolds.  “And that's really not a real choice." Seizing the opportunity

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797203-22-201868 Republican House Seats Potentially At Risk
Democrats must pick up 23 seats to win a majority in the U.S. House of Representatives this November. They have plenty of openings since 68 seats currently held by Republicans are at varying levels of risk. A race-by-race analysis at ScottRasmussen.com shows that 28 of these Republican seats are at a high level of risk (Democrat favored, Toss-Up, Tilt Republican). Fourteen more are modestly competitive while leaning in the GOP direction. Finally, 26 others might be at risk depending upon the political environment this fall. Seven (7) Republican seats are already tilting or leaning to the

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791903-15-2018Dems Get Good News from PA, But There’s a Long Way to Go
Just over a week ago, turnout in the Texas primary raised serious questions about how big the Democratic wave could grow by November. This week, however, Connor Lamb won a narrow special victory in a Pennsylvania district that President Trump had carried by 20 points. Democratic spirits soared and some began dreaming that 100 or more Republican House seats could be at risk. It’s natural for political types to overstate the importance of the most recent election or the one that’s coming up next. After all, convincing voters that the fate of the world hinges on the

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770003-08-2018The Most Important Demographic for Election 2018
The election season got started this past Tuesday in Texas and the primary results are being analyzed for clues about what they mean for November. The results confirmed that the Democratic enthusiasm is real, but it’s probably not strong enough to turn Texas blue. The number of votes cast in Democratic primaries nearly doubled from four years ago. However, the 1,037,779 Democratic voters fell half a million short of the GOP’s 1,543,674 votes. Primary votes don’t translate directly into General Election results, but there’s nothing in the data to suggest a big blue wave sweeping over Texas.

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736303-01-2018Cultural Nuances of the Gun Debate
A recent Politico headline shouted a message that liberal Democrats were longing to hear: “Gun control support surges in polls.” Given the fact that Republicans are generally opposed to strict gun controls, that seems like it should be a boost for the Democrats in the midterm election. Despite that, many Democratic strategists worry that the gun control issue could backfire. Part of this concern stems from the fact that many Senate races are being held this year in GOP friendly states like West Virginia, Indiana, Missouri, and North Dakota. Democrats talking gun control in those states could

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720602-22-2018TIME TO CHANGE THE ELECTION GAME
For political junkies, Monday’s release of a new map for Pennsylvania’s Congressional Districts was one of the biggest news events of the 2018 midterm elections. The State Supreme Court imposed new District boundaries for every single district in the state and created more opportunities for Democrats. The impact of this ruling has national implications. Prior to the new Pennsylvania map, the projections at ScottRasmussen.com showed that even with a decent midterm turnout for the Democrats, the GOP might cling to a narrow 219-216 majority in the House of Representatives. With the new map, the same projections show

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544502-15-2018The Constitution Is Not The Problem
Writing for The Week, Ryan Cooper made his case that “America's Constitution is terrible. Let's throw it out and start over.”While most Americans revere the document that created our government, Cooper is not alone in his disdain for it. Law professors Adrian Vermeule and Eric Posner expressed their opposition in a book that dreamed of doing away with checks and balances and Constitutional limits on the president. The opposition even includes Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who has stated that the U.S. Constitution is not a good model for other nations to follow.Why do they oppose the Constitution? Cooper says “the major

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543902-08-2018One Major Difference Between 2010 and 2018
Republicans are understandably nervous about the parallels between the 2010 midterm elections that brought them to power and the 2018 midterms where Democrats envision a return to power. Eight years ago, a polarizing new president was facing his first midterm election. Progressives and conservatives offered wildly different interpretations of his every word. Despite polls showing his major legislative dream was unpopular, that president relentlessly pursued it. His efforts inspired a resistance known as the Tea Party. On top of that, unnerving interim elections rattled the president’s party. A Republican won the Governorship in New Jersey which

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543302-01-2018The President Presses His Advantage on Immigration
Last week, I noted that President Trump won the shutdown because he instinctively understood the strategic situation far better than Senate Democrats, establishment Republicans, and his other beltway critics. He knew he had a stronger position than the Democrats and used that understanding to his advantage. This week, in his State-of-the-Union Address, the president showed that he intends to press that advantage in ways that will help Republicans on Election Day. That was especially clear in his most memorable line, “Americans are Dreamers, too.” In just four words, a president not known for his eloquence turned years

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542401-25-2018The Art Of The Shutdown
President Trump didn’t respond to the so-called shutdown of the federal government in the way that the political class thought he should. He didn’t get personally involved in detailed negotiations to end the impasse and didn’t convey a sense of crisis to the American people. When all was said and done, this skirmish showed the dangers of underestimating President Trump and his ability to connect with voters on issues the political elites ignore.  His approach worked because he instinctively understood the strategic situation far better than Senate Democrats, establishment Republicans, and his other beltway critics. First,

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541901-18-2018WHERE TO LOOK FOR THE WAVE
It’s normal for the party out of power to gain ground in a midterm election. The big question in 2018 is whether the Democrats will gain enough ground to win a majority in the House of Representatives. While the political winds currently favor the Democrats, 390 of the 435 House races are pretty well locked in for one party or the other. Only 45 races are even somewhat competitive. Still, a race by race analysis on ScottRasmussen.com suggests that a normal midterm gain would get the Democrats very close to their goal. The starting

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541501-11-2018Election 2018 Scoreboards: Who's Up and Who's Down?
Looking ahead to Election 2018, the numbers are close enough for either party to end up in control of the House, the Senate or both. The final outcome will be determined by a combination of the races in play, the fundamentals in each race, and the strength of the political winds in November.To track all of this, I’ve rolled out a new service at ScottRasmussen.com  that will provide constantly updated Scoreboards for the Senate, House, and Governor’s races. In addition to the overall scoreboards, we

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538701-04-2018THE GROUND IS SHIFTING UNDER OBAMACARE
President Trump has perfected the art of antagonizing his opponents with provocative tweets. He demonstrated this skill recently in declaring that the tax reform act, by repealing the Obamacare mandate, had effectively repealed Obamacare.This generated a number of stories from left leaning pundits pointing out that there’s a lot more to Obamacare than the mandate. Sarah Kliff, writing for Vox.com, noted that many Republican voters believed the president and hoped that would bring an end to efforts to undo the rest of Obamacare.But, many Republicans in Congress seem intent on continuing to fight for repeal of the controversial law. A

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538212-31-2017A Viewers Guide to the Midterm Elections
Forget the Super Bowl! For millions of Americans the biggest spectator sport of 2018 will be the midterm elections. The political winds currently favor the Democrats, but it’s impossible to know how strong they’ll be blowing come November. Five key races can give casual fans a good sense of what to expect. In the Senate, the races to watch will be held in Nevada, Indiana, and Missouri. Nevada’s Dean Heller is the only Republican seeking re-election in a state won by Hillary Clinton. Indiana’s Joe Donnelly and Missouri’s Claire McCaskill are Democrats fighting to keep their job in states

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501412-21-2017Politics of Tax Reform Depends Upon Salesmanship of President Trump
Many Democratic political leaders have convinced themselves that the Republican tax reform bill will be a great boost for the Democrats in next year’s midterm elections. They could be right, but the outcome is far from certain. Instead, the political implications will be determined by how the economy performs and President Trump’s salesmanship.The economy matters most of all. If it sputters or tanks in 2018, nothing will save the Republican majorities in Congress. But if the economy keeps improving, President Trump will have a chance to turn tax reform into a political windfall for his party.Presidential salesmanship has always had

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491312-15-2017Republican Civil War Could Hand Senate to Democrats
With Doug Jones' victory in Alabama, Democrats now have at least a plausible path to winning control of the U.S. Senate in the 2018 elections. It's a difficult path to be sure, but it could happen.The first step will be for Democrats to successfully defend all of their Senate incumbents next November. That's not going to be easy because the list includes 10 running in states that voted for Donald Trump. But, the results from Alabama suggest that it could happen. If it does, all Democrats would need to win the Senate is to pick up a pair of GOP

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486712-07-201776 Years Ago, It Was A Woman Who First Addressed the Nation About Pearl Harbor
There are events in history that no one alive will ever forget. But time moves on and those who will never forget eventually leave this earth. The rest of us know it only from the history books.One of those events was the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Only a handful of Americans alive today actually remember the day President Franklin Roosevelt said would forever live in infamy. Even fewer remember that the first Administration spokesperson to address the nation that day was not the president, but First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.In those days, radio was the hot communications technology and just

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274011-23-2017What if Roy Moore Wins?
When Donald Trump appointed Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions to serve as Attorney General, it was widely assumed that his permanent replacement would be a Republican. But the scandals and allegations surrounding Republican nominee Roy Moore have challenged that assumption.It would be a stunning turn of events for a Democrat to win in a state Donald Trump won by 28 percentage points. If that happens, as I noted last week, Democrats might win control of the Senate in 2018.But what would it mean if Roy Moore wins?A few things are pretty obvious. First, it would indicate that the Democrats have no

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52511-16-2017Democrats Have a Clear Path to Senate Majority in 2018
Until recently, it looked like Republicans were almost certain to retain control of the U.S. Senate following the 2018 mid-term elections. Many commentators noted that Nancy Pelosi’s team might have a shot at winning control of the House. But the Senate was different. Only a third of the Senators stand for election each cycle and the GOP was protected by a very favorable electoral map.Only one GOP Senator (Nevada’s Dean Heller) is running for re-election in a state won by Hillary Clinton. The only other soft spot in the GOP lineup is Arizona, where Senator Jeff Flake’s fights with President

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