Democrats’ House Hopes Could Run Aground in Great Lakes

During the War of 1812, Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry whipped the British in the famous Battle of Lake Erie. Nearly 200 years later, winning Lake Erie won't suffice for Democrats seeking to reclaim the House; they need to win on the shores of all five Great Lakes. Now that decennial...

Happy Trails: The Muted Effect of House Retirements

Generally speaking, if members of the U.S. House of Representatives want to keep their seats, voters are happy to oblige: since the end of World War II, the lowest reelection rate for incumbent House members was 79.3% in 1948, which was a huge Democratic wave year. But those figures don’t...

Voter disgust: What might it mean for the House race?

We here at the Crystal Ball, and of course our readers, love politics. But Americans don’t, especially now: Congress is historically unpopular, and Americans are so sick of politics that more than two-thirds of them according to one survey wished the presidential campaign was over even before it officially started....

Fortress Blue, Fortress Red

The partisan bedrock of the new House

Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said that "There is nothing I love as much as a good fight." If so, he would’ve hated where the House is headed for the next decade, because by and large it likely won’t have all that many good fights. Instead of looking at the House...

HERMAN CAIN AND THE NON-POLITICIAN POLITICIAN

In the last election cycle, several "non-politician politicians" -- candidates who have never held public office who ran for a major office -- went from obscurity to high office. These non-politician politicians include Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), Gov. Rick Snyder (R-MI) and Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL), all 2010 winners. Bob...

DEMOCRATS’ HOUSE HOPES HINGE ON OBAMA

Just a day before Election Day, the painful reality hit home for Jimmy Carter: He was toast. As recalled in Dominic Sandbrook’s excellent history of the late 1970s, Mad as Hell: The Crisis of the 1970s and the Rise of the Populist Right, President Carter’s chances for a second term...

The states that do — and don’t — pick presidents

The old cliché is that "As Ohio goes, so goes the nation," although the inverse of that is also true: "As the nation goes, so goes Ohio." The Buckeye State, long recognized as the premier presidential bellwether, deserves its status. In the 28 presidential elections since 1900, Ohio has correctly...

In Ohio, a labor showdown looms

In the vengeful world of politics, what goes around often comes around. After the November midterm elections in Ohio in 1994, the chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party, Harry Meshel, received a telephone message: A county commissioner had called asking for Meshel’s resignation in the wake of the calamitous election,...

IN IOWA, IT’S UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL

As the Iowa Straw Poll in Ames was wrapping up Saturday, a reporter rushed onto the floor of Iowa State University’s Hilton Coliseum, where the press was filing their stories. She went up to her colleagues with what she said was a new, breaking quote from Michele Bachmann: Bachmann, the...

Pawlenty in winter, Perry in bloom

The Republican presidential race after Ames

“I think we know with reasonable certainty that standing up there on the west front of the Capitol on Jan. 20, 2013 will be one of three people: Obama, [Tim] Pawlenty and [Mitch] Daniels. I think that’s it.” - George Will, May 15, 2011, on ABC's “This Week” (AMES, Iowa)...

It’s not just history holding back Republican race’s Minnesotans

(AMES, Iowa) – In his fascinating new book of alternate histories, Then Everything Changed, noted political journalist Jeff Greenfield envisions a scenario – not to give too much away – in which Hubert Humphrey, the liberal Minnesotan, is thrust into the president's chair to handle an international crisis. But, unfortunately...

Obama’s hurting, but which Republican can capitalize?

American voters just tuning into the debt ceiling crisis might be asking, "What is this mess all about?" An answer one won’t hear from either party, which both castigate "Washington" despite running it, is that the nation’s potential failure to pay its bills is due in no small part to...

The House’s endangered species

As recently as the mid-20th century, white southern men from the Democratic Party dominated the Congress. There was Sam Rayburn and Lyndon Johnson of Texas, who, respectively, ruled the House as speaker and the Senate as majority leader for much of the 1950s. And there were numerous Southern committee chairmen,...

Fundraising: Much Ado Over Not All That Much

Former Louisiana Gov. Buddy Roemer is expected to officially launch his presidential campaign today. His announcement again tests the famous philosophical question: If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound? Roemer, who the Crystal Ball has ranked dead...

Channeling Truman? The Race for the House

In November 1946, a tall, mustachioed figure stood alone on a railroad platform at Washington’s Union Station, waiting for the president of the United States to make his ignominious return to the capital. In victorious times, the platform would have been full of welcomers; as it was then, at the...