With the likelihood of an extended government shutdown increasing, it’s time to take stock of political winners and losers.
— Most at risk is Ken Cuccinelli, campaigning alongside Ted Cruz this weekend. He’s out with a new radio ad, a preemptive strike declaring his opposition to a shutdown and turning the tables on McAuliffe. But that only underscores how vulnerable he is. Mitch McConnell can’t win, facing fire from his right for privately floating a compromise and from Dems for looking helpless as the shutdown goes on. Paul Ryan, the GOP’s Congressional flavor of 2012, has been virtually invisible, eclipsed by a more confrontational cadre of conservatives.
— Dems face problems, too. There’s been a Democratic divide, between those in conservative House seats and those representing Republican states. Maintaining a united front, Senate Dems have stood together. But for the red-state Dems up (Pryor/Landrieu/Begich) in 2014, their votes against short-term funding could backfire, and will be used as fodder in GOP challengers’ campaign ads. There’s a reason swing-district House Dems ““ even Dan Maffei and Steven Horsford — voted with Republicans.
— There’s a bipartisan list of winners. Harry Reid‘s chances of remaining Majority Leader ticked up a bit. Ambitious GOP governors like Christie, Jindal and Snyder can run against Washington dysfunction without costing them conservative bona fides. In the wake of Ted Cruz’s activism, Rand Paul now looks downright pragmatic. Democratic challengers from competitive suburban House seats, like Andrew Romanoff (CO-06) and Kevin Strouse (PA-08), are now looking more credible.
One final winner: Incumbency. Despite the “throw the bums out” sentiment, it’s unlikely 2014 will be a wave election. Cook rates only 67 of 435 House seats (15%) as potentially competitive, a product of the ideological realignment that took place over the last several elections.
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"The Senate Intelligence Committee is seeking to ensure that records related to Russia’s alleged intervention in the 2016 U.S. elections are preserved as it begins investigating that country’s ties to the Trump team. The panel sent more than a dozen letters to 'organizations, agencies and officials' on Friday, asking them to preserve materials related to the congressional investigation, according to a Senate aide, who was not authorized to comment publicly. The Senate Intelligence Committee is spearheading the most comprehensive probe on Capitol Hill of Russia’s alleged activities in the elections."
Memos issued by the Department of Homeland Security on Tuesday night "implemented sweeping changes to the way immigration policy is enforced, making clear that millions of people living illegally in the U.S. are now subject to deportation and pushing authorities to fast-track the removal of many of them. ... The policy calls for enlisting local authorities to enforce immigration law, jailing more people while they wait for their hearings and trying to send border crossers back to Mexico to await proceedings, even if they aren’t Mexican."
Retired Russian diplomats and members of Vladimir Putin's staff are compiling a dossier "on Donald Trump's psychological makeup" for the Russian leader. "Among its preliminary conclusions is that the new American leader is a risk-taker who can be naïve, according to a senior Kremlin adviser."