Mike Berman’s Washington Watch

January 14, 2017 11:55 AM


“Women in Congress sponsor and co-sponsor more bills than men do, and bring 9 percent more federal money to their home districts, according to a study in the American Journal of Political Science.” … “In a new analysis of the 151,824 public bills introduced in the House between 1973 and 2014, to be published in print in Political Science Research and Methods, researchers found that women were significantly more likely than men to sponsor bills in areas like civil rights, health and education. Men were more likely to sponsor bills in agriculture, energy and macroeconomics.” [NYT, 11/10/16]

When it comes to the question of whether Democrats and Republicans in Congress will see the coming year as a period of unity and a time to work together to achieve compromise or a period of division, 70% see it as a period of division and little willingness to compromise. [NBC/WSJ, 12/15/16]

Over the last 21 mid-term elections, the sitting President’s party has lost an average of 4 U.S. Senate seats and an average of 30 U.S. House of Representatives seats.

Over the last 10 mid-term elections, the sitting President’s party has lost an average of 4 U.S. Senate seats and an average of 18 U.S. House of Representatives seats. The exceptions were in 1998 when the Democrats picked up 5 House seats but no Senate seats and in 2002 when the Republicans picked up 8 House seats and 2 Senate seats.

The task for Democrats in 2018 is formidable. They need to hold the bulk of their Senate seats, make some modest inroads in the House, and make a start on breaking the Republican stranglehold in the states. President Trump could be their best friend. If he shows no signs of making America great again, if he doesn’t moderate his temperament in keeping with the dignity of his high office, if he can’t avoid conflicts between his business interests and political duties, then the usual pattern of midterm elections could be turned on its head. [Charlie Cook, Cook Political Report, 12/2/16]

The House

[WW relies on the Cook Political Report for the House data below.]

  • Democrats 194
  • Republicans 241
  • Vacancies 0
In the new Congress, 87% of House Republicans will be white men, compared to just 41% of House Democrats. [Cook]

The Senate

  • Democrats 46
  • Republicans 52
  • Independents 2

  Democrats Republicans
Seats not up in 2018 23 42
Safe in 2018 12 6 (see below)
Likely in 2018 8
Leaning in 2018 5
Safe Democrats in 2018
Feinstein, Murphy, Carper, Hirono, Cardin, Warren, Klobuchar, Heinrich, Gillibrand, Whitehouse, Sanders, Cantwell
Safe Republicans in 2018
Wicker, Fischer, Corker, Cruz, Hatch, Barrasso

The question going forward is how the Senate Democrats plan to approach the Trump administration. A variety of groups seem to be posed to oppose him at every turn. The new Democratic Minority Leader, Senator Schumer, has suggested that he is willing to cooperate with president-elect Donald Trump in some areas-suggesting that, “he isn’t planning on adopting the total-obstruction strategy employed by the GOP against President Obama.”

It has been part of political mythology, that the Republican Senate Majority Leader, Senator McConnell, at the outset of 2009, announced that his number one priority was to make President Obama a one-term president. It was noted by Democrats that McConnell signaled early on he had no intention of cooperating with the new president.

According to Glenn Kessler in the Washington Post blog “Fact Checker”, the facts are slightly different. In a National Journal interview on October 23, 2010, nearly two years after Obama was elected and on the eve of the midterm elections, McConnell said, “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.”

He was then asked by the National Journal, “Does this mean endless, or at least frequent, confrontation with the president?” McConnell then said, “If President Obama does a Clintonian backflip, if he is willing to meet halfway on some of the biggest issues, it’s not inappropriate for us to do business with him.”

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