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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Two powerful House members—Transportation and Infrastructure Committee Chairman Bill Shuster (R-PA) and Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Jeff Miller (R-FL)—are throwing their support behind Donald Trump.
There are not "ongoing, direct conversations between" the Bernie Sanders camp and the Hillary Clinton camp regarding "the platform or rules changes," but Sanders "is already making his opening arguments" about those issues on the stump. Sanders is putting "complaints about closed primaries" atop his stump speeches lately, and figures to start a "conversation about the role of superdelegates in the nominating process." He said, “Our goal, whether we win or we do not win, is to transform the Democratic Party."
Well, this is unsubtle. Former Speaker John Boehner called Ted Cruz "lucifer in the flesh," adding that he "never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life." Boehner has endorsed John Kasich, but he said he'd vote for Donald Trump over Cruz. He also praised Bernie Sanders, calling him the most honest politician in the race, and predicted that Joe Biden may yet have a role to play in the Democratic contest, especially if Hillary Clinton runs into legal trouble over her emails.