Opinion | A Nail-Biter in Ohio Is a Democratic Triumph – by Frank Bruni – NYT

“A special election this near to the November midterms isn’t solely or even primarily about who won and lost. It’s about which candidate — and thus which party — beat the spread. It’s a crystal ball with a glimpse of the future, beyond the battle at hand and the patch of the country in which it took place.

And the vision presented by Ohio’s 12th District on Tuesday night should give Democrats considerable joy.True, the race was too close to call Wednesday morning, and the Republican, Troy Balderson, had a definite edge over the Democrat, Danny O’Connor, in the vote count. But even if O’Connor loses, Democrats will move on from this contest with formidable energy and every reason to believe that Donald Trump is vulnerable, that Republicans are spooked and that the Democratic Party is poised to pick up the 23 seats it needs to reclaim the House majority.

This should have been a Republican cakewalk. The district hadn’t been represented by a Democrat in more than three decades. The Republican incumbent, whose retirement is why the special election was necessary, won in 2016 by more than 35 points. In that same year’s presidential election, Trump won the district by 11.”

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Editorial | Impeach Rosenstein? C’mon  Man – Reps Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Jim Jordan of Ohio – NYT

“While Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is surely disheartened to have had five articles of impeachment filed against him by a clutch of congressional Republicans on Wednesday evening, he should not take the move personally.

Although Representatives Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Jim Jordan of Ohio, the current and former chairmen of the conservative House Freedom Caucus who are leading this crusade, are running around Washington loudly accusing Mr. Rosenstein of high crimes and misdemeanors, their public relations assault is not actually about his refusing to turn over this or that document related to the Russia investigation. It’s not really even about the lawmakers’ loathing of the broader investigation, though certainly President Trump’s congressional lackeys — Mr. Meadows and Mr. Jordan most definitely included — are increasingly desperate to derail it.

For Freedom Caucus leaders, this impeachment resolution is about something at once much broader and far pettier: the need to make a huge, disruptive, polarizing political stink just as members head home for the long hot August recess. Especially with a critical midterm election coming, it never hurts to have some extra well-marbled meat to throw the voters. And it is unlikely a coincidence that, less than 24 hours after filing, Mr. Jordan — who, lest anyone forget, is multiply accused of overlooking rampant sexual abuse while an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University — formally announced his candidacy for House speaker.

Not to make Mr. Rosenstein feel any less special, but this is the fourth year in a row that Freedom Caucusers have pulled a summer-break stunt so nakedly self-serving that it would be comic if it weren’t so odious in its quest to erode public faith in government and in democratic institutions more broadly. Indeed, for all those wondering how the Republican Party reached the point where Donald Trump could swallow it whole with his furious everything-is-awful-and-everyone-is-out-to-get-you brand of demagogy, look no further than the nihilists in the Freedom Caucus.” . . . . .

“This stunt is in fact so ridiculous, so unfounded, so poisonous to the Republic that Attorney General Jeff Sessions felt compelled not only to publicly defend his deputy, but also to suggest that the lawmakers involved find a better use of their time. And Sally Yates, the former acting attorney general who was fired in January 2017 for refusing to defend President Trump’s travel ban, tweeted a warning about the long-term damage of “using the Department of Justice as a prop for political theater.”

Political Bubbles and Hidden Diversity: Highlights From a Very Detailed Map of the 2016 Election – The New York Times

“An interactive map published by The New York Times allows you to explore the 2016 presidential election at the highest level of detail available: by voting precinct.This map, although nearly two years old, continues to define American politics. The vast majority of people who voted for Donald J. Trump say they approve of his job performance today, while the vast majority of Hillary Clinton voters say they disapprove.

On the neighborhood level, many of us really do live in an electoral bubble, this map shows: More than one in five voters lived in a precinct where 80 percent of the two-party vote went to Mr. Trump or Mrs. Clinton. But the map also reveals surprising diversity.”

To Take the Senate- Democratic Group Will Spend Big in Red States – By Alexander Burns – NYT

By Alexander Burns
July 26, 2018

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“A heavily funded Democratic group will spend tens of millions of dollars to mobilize voters in the Republican-leaning states where control of the Senate is likely to be decided this November, stepping in to fill a void left by years of decay in Democratic infrastructure at the state and local level.

Senate Majority PAC, the principal “super PAC” supporting Democratic efforts to capture the chamber, intends to steer at least $20 million into the voter-mobilization campaign ahead of the midterm elections, officials with the group confirmed. The program, which follows a similar — successful — Democratic effort in Alabama last year, underscores the degree to which outside groups that can take massive donations have supplanted the traditional role of political parties.

The initiative by Senate Majority PAC — which will run through an affiliated nonprofit group, Majority Forward — will span more than a dozen states where Senate seats are at stake. But it is to focus on four states above all: Missouri and Indiana, where endangered Democrats are seeking re-election, and Arizona and Tennessee, where strong Democratic challengers are running for open seats currently held by Republicans.

Those four races are among the country’s most competitive. And for Democrats to take control of the Senate, they would likely have to win at least three of them, or perhaps all four, depending on the outcome of races in other states.”