opinion

The Case of the Missing President — in House Debates
Candidates may want to avoid him, but election is still a referendum on Trump

The recent debate in Virginia’s 7th District between GOP Rep. Dave Brat and Democrat Abigail Spanberger revolved around both candidates taking a vow of silence regarding the president, Shapiro writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

OPINION — Judging from two House debates this week in hotly contested races on both sides of the country, you would think that the president of the United States was a shadowy, off-stage figure whose personality and politics are barely worth discussing. Even “The Invisible Man” of the 1897 H.G. Wells novel and the 1933 Claude Rains movie had more of a corporal presence than Donald Trump.

During the one-hour debate in Utah’s 4th district in suburban Salt Lake City, the word Trump was not mentioned until the 45-minute mark when the moderator blurted out the president’s name in a question on tariffs.

If Protesting Is Wrong, America Doesn’t Want to Be Right
As Trump talks of ‘mobs’ and channels King George III, dissenters are doing what they’ve always done

When athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their fists 50 years ago, they were kicked out of the Olympic village and banished from their sport. Now statues of them stand in museums. So goes American history, Curtis writes. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

OPINION — This week marks the 50th anniversary of that electrifying moment at the summer Olympics in Mexico City when Tommie Smith and John Carlos, accepting their gold and bronze medals in the 200-meter dash, each raised a black-gloved fist in a protest of racism and equality in the year of the “Olympic Project for Human Rights.”

They are now immortalized in the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture and by a sculpture at their alma mater San Jose State University — their bravery noted, their impact on society acknowledged.

The Political Class Got 2016 Wrong. Could We See a Repeat?
What’s possible is sometimes more important than what’s probable

The difference between what was probable and what was possible in 2016 was the difference between a President Clinton and a President Trump, Winston writes. (Meredith Dake-O'Connor/CQ Roll Call file photo)

“The world is full of obvious things which nobody by any chance ever observes.”

So said Sherlock Holmes in “The Hound of the Baskervilles,” and the great detective’s observation may well apply to the upcoming midterm elections.

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

Democrat Beto O’Rourke historic fundraising numbers set off alarm bells in the GOP that the Texas Senate race was not one to be ignored, Murphy writes. Above, O’Rourke arrives for a rally in Lockhart, Texas, on Oct. 1. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

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.

One Way to Fix the Child Care Crisis? Look to the Tax Law
‘Opportunity Zones’ incentive can help close the early childhood gap

A Chicago teacher works with kids as part of an early childhood education program. The “Opportunity Zones” incentive could help expand such programs across the country, Smith and Shaw write. (Tim Boyle/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — America faces a mounting child care crisis. Too many families lack access to safe, affordable and high-quality care for their infants and toddlers. But a small but important provision in last year’s tax law, designed to spur investment in under-resourced communities, could provide an unlikely solution.

That solution comes in the form of a new economic development incentive known as Opportunity Zones. Under the tax law, investors will receive a steep reduction in taxes on their capital gains in exchange for substantial and long-term investment in low-income communities designated as Opportunity Zones. This tax incentive could be combined with others in the economic development toolkit, such as the New Markets Tax Credit and historic building preservation tax credits, to support a wide variety of investments in real estate and businesses.

It Turns Out Democrats Are Really Bad at Getting Mad
They’re doing their best scorched-earth impression of Mitch McConnell. It isn’t working

Fight fire with fire, says Hillary Clinton. Civility can wait. But Democrats do a pretty weak impression of Mitch McConnell, Shapiro writes. (Jeff Swensen/Getty Images)

OPINION — Anger in politics is like the porridge in “Goldilocks and the Three Bears” — it has to be just right.

Too little anger breeds a sense of complacency and decreases the urgency of voting. Too much anger produces self-defeating rhetoric that repels the very undecided voters that you are struggling to attract.

In North Carolina, the Midterms Are Not Just About 2018
Democrats strive to regain voice lost during Obama era

The great seal of North Carolina seen outside the State Legislative Building. November’s elections in North Carolina will have consequences for redistricting, voting rights and more, Curtis writes. (Al Drago/CQ Roll Call file photo)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — When President Donald Trump last visited the Carolinas, it was a relatively nonpartisan stop to offer sympathy and aide to those affected by Hurricane Florence. But now the big names heading South are placing politics front and center.

It’s a sign of the high stakes of November’s midterm elections, particularly in North Carolina, a state that mirrors the turbulent national political scene. At issue in the state and across the country is not only getting out the vote, but also who gets to vote, and how gerrymandering affects the fairness of the vote.

Memo to GOP: You’ve Got a Winning Message and It’s Not Pelosi
Republicans should be touting the success of their economic policies

President Donald Trump and congressional Republicans celebrate the passage of the tax overhaul last December. With 27 days to go until Nov. 6, Republicans need to stress the successes of their economic policies, Winston writes. (Alex Wong/Getty Images file photo)

OPINION — Republicans have a great economic story to tell if they are willing to tell it. They have less than a month to make their case to voters that the economic policies that House Republicans began pushing in 2010 are finally paying off. Now is the time to reinforce success, not change direction.

On Friday, the Labor Department reported that the unemployment rate dropped to 3.7 percent, its lowest mark in nearly 50 years. Remarkably, unemployment has stayed under 4 percent for five of the past six months and remains at near record lows for African-Americans, Hispanics and women.

Beware Kavanaugh Narratives, Final-Month Musings Unlikely to Change November Outcomes
Despite what you may hear, the House is still poised to flip and the Senate is still not, Rothenberg writes

Supporters stake out their spot for Rep. Beto O'Rourke's Turn out For Texas Rally, featuring a concert by Wille Nelson, in Austin, Texas on Sept. 29. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

During a brief period when I was working for the political unit of CBS News around the 2006 midterm elections, I attended a pre-election meeting run by Sean McManus and Paul Friedman. McManus was then president of CBS News, while Friedman was vice president.

I remember McManus, who made his mark running CBS Sports, saying he had bumped into a friend or acquaintance who told him the alleged Democratic midterm wave had crested and Republican prospects were rebounding.  

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

Maine Sen. Susan Collins’ defense of Sen. Dianne Feinstein in her floor speech Friday, she offered her colleagues one way forward to fix the stalemate they find themsleves in, Murphy writes. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

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?