The Great Debate

A quick guide to the smartest midterm election analysis

By Allison Silver
November 5, 2014

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell addresses supporters with his wife Elaine Chao at his midterm election night rally in Louisville

Early Election Night, there was a lot of parsing of the term “wave election.” It sure quacks like one. The Washington Post had no trouble declaring a GOP wave well before midnight Tuesday. (The piece posted at 11:33 p.m., but pulls together too many stats to have been written on the spot.)

Political parties swap roles: Can social issues help Democrats?

By Bill Schneider
November 3, 2014

U.S. Senator Hagan speaks with the media after addressing a group of campaign volunteers in Cornelius

The 2014 campaign marks a departure: It is the first campaign in 50 years in which Democrats are relying on social issues, while economic issues seem to be helping Republicans.

Whack-a-mole: A lesson in the unexpected consequences of ‘cleaning up’ politics

By Richard White
November 3, 2014

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I may be the one person who listens to the election news and thinks about Benjamin Harrison. You don’t remember him? President of the United States from 1888-1892? The scion of a political dynasty that yielded enough failed presidencies to make the Harrisons the Bushes of the 19th century? So why do I think of Harrison? Because this is an election year that centers on money.

Obama’s ‘crisis of competence’ drags down the Democrats

By Bill Schneider
October 31, 2014

Obama holds a meeting with Ebola Response Coordinator Klain (not pictured) at the White House in Washington

Once upon a time, a candidate ran for president on the issue of competence. “This election isn’t about ideology,” he told the 1988 Democratic National Convention. “It’s about competence.”

Elections were a wild party in the 1880s — that’s one reason why more people voted back then

By Donald P. Green
October 29, 2014

A man dressed as Uncle Sam drums up the crowd at an election campaign rally in Saginaw.

The United States has a low voter turnout by comparison to other Western democracies, and our turnout in midterm elections is especially abysmal, attracting roughly 40 percent of eligible voters to the polls.

from Stories I’d like to see:

Why Election Day won’t hold the answer to who will control the Senate for the next two years

By Steven Brill
October 28, 2014

Republican U.S. Senator Roberts campaigns at a conservative rally in Gardner

Scoping out the Senate Majority:

It seems likely that which party controls the U.S. Senate for the next two years will not be decided on Election Day.

One reason Congress is broken? Negative ads cripple even the winners.

By David B. McLennan
October 9, 2014

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North Carolina is nearing the end of the most expensive U.S. Senate campaign in its history. The volume of negative ads in the race between Democratic Senator Kay Hagan and Republican state Speaker Thom Tillis is unprecedented. These ads matter — but not in the ways that the candidates and their campaign consultants hope they do.

Why Republicans may not win the Senate after all

By Craig Shirley
September 29, 2014

 Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks at the Faith & Freedom Coalition "Road to Majority" reception in Washington

Establishment Republicans should keep the champagne on ice until after the midterm elections. Too many are already popping corks, pronouncing their strategy of “crushing” the Tea Party during the primaries as a crucial step in their successful takeover of the Senate.

How strong Senate candidates can help GOP also flip statehouses

By Grover G. Norquist and Patrick Gleason
September 22, 2014

Scott Brown, a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate, speaks during a town hall campaign stop at a VFW post in Hudson

Midterm election models continue to project that Republicans will gain control of the U.S. Senate, as the Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza recently reported. The GOP is running strong candidates, many in red states that Mitt Romney won 2012, but also stronger than first expected in states that went for President Barack Obama that year — including Colorado, New Hampshire and Oregon, which weren’t previously considered in play.

from Jim Gaines:

A constitutional amendment to take Big Money out of politics dies quietly

September 12, 2014

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This week the U.S. Senate considered a constitutional amendment that would have allowed Congress and state legislatures to limit the power of money in politics. The debate was not much covered in the media because the outcome was so predictable. But the party-line vote that killed it should not go unnoted.