Take Two: Can Sanders Broaden His Base?

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE -- Unlike in 2016, Bernie Sanders has a real chance to win the Democratic presidential nomination. -- However, he likely will have to broaden his base of support to do so. -- Namely, better showings in big urban and suburban areas are important, particularly as...

Registering By Party: Where the Democrats and Republicans Are Ahead

KEY POINT FROM THIS ARTICLE -- Altogether, there are 31 states (plus the District of Columbia) with party registration; in the others, such as Virginia, voters register without reference to party. In 19 states and the District, there are more registered Democrats than Republicans. In 12 states, there are more...

Donald Trump’s Short Congressional Coattails

KEY POINTS FROM THIS ARTICLE -- Although Donald Trump is remaking the Republican Party in his image, he had among the shortest coattails of any presidential winner going back to Dwight Eisenhower. In 2016, Trump ran ahead of just 24 of 241 Republican House winners and only five of 22...

The 2016 Presidential Vote: A Look Down in the Weeds

If Hillary Clinton had won the presidency -- and she took the popular vote by nearly 3 million -- the narrative of the 2016 election would be far different. Rather than the storyline being Donald’s Trump triumph in the heartland, with its beleaguered blue-collar workers, the emphasis now would be...

AN HISTORICAL RARITY: A FOUR-PARTY PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION

There is no doubt that this is a high stakes election. It is not Tweedledum and Tweedledee, as former Alabama Gov. George Wallace famously said of the major parties when he ran as a third-party candidate nearly a half century ago. Almost everyone nowadays agrees that a Donald Trump presidency...

High Primary Turnouts: Any Clues for the Fall?

Editor’s note: This is the first of two editions of the Crystal Ball this week. While we typically only publish once a week, this is an extraordinary political year and we hope to provide additional commentary and analysis throughout the rest of the cycle as warranted. In the piece below,...

Are Voters Drifting Away?

For first time in 16 years, back-to-back cycles saw drops in raw turnout

For the first decade after Sept. 11, national elections showed a steady rise in voter turnout. The number of ballots cast in presidential elections jumped from 105 million in 2000 to a record 131 million in 2008, an increase of 25% in just eight years. Similarly, the midterm congressional turnout...

IOWA SURVIVES

While potential presidential candidates are just beginning to jockey for pole position for 2016, there has already been one clear winner: the state of Iowa. Its precinct caucuses have retained the leadoff spot in the next nominating cycle in spite of one of the most embarrassing vote counts in modern...

BARACK OBAMA AND BILL CLINTON: COMPLEMENTARY STRENGTHS

The Democrats can use all the assets they can find as they approach a midterm election that grows increasingly challenging. The polls are daunting. The electoral map for both the Senate and House is unfavorable. And history is rarely kind to the president’s party in midterm voting. But the Democrats...

CHRIS CHRISTIE’S MIDTERM MARKER

Probably no election this year has been more important to the presidential politics of 2016 than Republican Gov. Chris Christie’s landslide 60% reelection victory in Democratic-leaning New Jersey. It cemented his place in the front ranks of Republican presidential contenders by demonstrating his vote-getting appeal to constituencies that the GOP...

DEMOCRATS AND THE WHITE HOUSE: FROM LOSING TO WINNING

Accurately or not, Barack Obama has been compared to a number of famous politicians:  FDR, JFK, Ronald Reagan, even Jimmy Carter. But no one as yet has compared him to Michael Dukakis. Yet as a reference point, Dukakis might be as good as anyone. A look at his vote-getting performance...

Holding on to a House Majority

It has been about two decades now that the two major parties switched roles in Washington. For much of the last half of the 20th century, Republicans dominated the White House while Democrats enjoyed a virtual monopoly on both chambers of Congress. But since 1994, their basic spheres of influence...

WHEN THE WHOLE MAP WAS IN PLAY

Throughout this year’s presidential campaign, the competitive portion of the electoral map has been limited to about 12 or 13 states. There are the nine that flipped from Republican George W. Bush in 2004 to Democrat Barack Obama in 2008, plus four or so others -- Michigan, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania...

VOTER TURNOUT: HEADING DOWNWARD IN 2012?

It is arguable that a whole new era in American politics was spawned by 9/11. Since then, compromise has become a dirty word to many and “compassionate conservatism” has gone the way of the Edsel. The two major parties are offering two competing, and vastly different, visions of America in...

Americans Elect to Stay with Two Options

Note: This article originally appeared on Rhodes Cook's political blog. About half of the presidential elections over the last half century have been impacted by a significant third party or independent candidate. This election is unlikely to be one of them. With last month's closure of the ambitious Americans Elect...