Scott Rasmussen from Creators Syndicate Creators Syndicate is an international syndication company that represents cartoonists and columnists of the highest caliber. en Sat, 24 Feb 2018 13:41:38 -0800 Scott Rasmussen from Creators Syndicate 222a7c25f047595bc5fd3afe49ab6189 Time to Change the Election Game for 02/22/2018 Thu, 22 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p>For political junkies, Monday's release of a new map for Pennsylvania's Congressional Districts was one of the biggest news events of the 2018 midterm elections. The State Supreme Court imposed new District boundaries for every single district in the state and created more opportunities for Democrats.</p> <p>The impact of this ruling has national implications. Prior to the new Pennsylvania map, the projections at showed that even with a decent midterm turnout for the Democrats, the GOP might cling to a narrow 219-216 majority in the House of Representatives. With the new map, the same projections show the Democrats picking up three more seats and winning control of Congress.</p> <p>Of course, there's a long way to go until November and the battle for control of Congress may not end up as close as it appears today. But the fact that a court ruling in a single state could alter control of Congress reveals a much deeper problem with American politics. Rob Richie, Executive Director of FairVote has spent years stating the uncomfortable truth that "American voters don't select their Representatives, the Representatives select the voters."<p>Updated: Thu Feb 22, 2018</p> 601aa42ad7243cbfa5110a2bd35ba910 The Constitution is Not The Problem for 02/15/2018 Thu, 15 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Writing for The Week, Ryan Cooper made his case that "America's Constitution is terrible. Let's throw it out and start over."</p> <p>While most Americans revere the document that created our government, Cooper is not alone in his disdain for it. Law professors Adrian Vermeule and Eric Posner expressed their opposition in a book that dreamed of doing away with checks and balances and Constitutional limits on the president. The opposition even includes Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg who has stated that the U.S. Constitution is not a good model for other nations to follow. </p> <p>Why do they oppose the Constitution? Cooper says "the major problem... is that it creates a system in which elections generally do not produce functioning governments." He worries that even when one party is completely in charge, only "one big law per year" can get passed. Others express similar concerns about the difficulty political leaders face trying to implement their agenda and guide the nation.<p>Updated: Thu Feb 15, 2018</p> 48410a9eddcae5fd7f71a0e8310c07e3 One Major Difference Between 2010 and 2018 for 02/08/2018 Thu, 08 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Republicans are understandably nervous about the parallels between the 2010 midterm elections that brought them to power and the 2018 midterms where Democrats envision a return to power.</p> <p>Eight years ago, a polarizing new president was facing his first midterm election. Progressives and conservatives offered wildly different interpretations of his every word. Despite polls showing his major legislative dream was unpopular, that president relentlessly pursued it. His efforts inspired a resistance known as the Tea Party.</p> <p>On top of that, unnerving interim elections rattled the president's party. A Republican won the Governorship in New Jersey, which was about as unusual as a Democrat winning a 2017 Senate race in Alabama. And, of course, there was the real shock of Scott Brown's upset victory in Massachusetts. If a Republican could win Ted Kennedy's old seat in a wave year, it's certainly easy to imagine Democrats winning 2018 Senate races in states like Missouri, Indiana and West Virginia.<p>Updated: Thu Feb 08, 2018</p> 90e52663f73484a8f8e01c368f250bc4 The President Presses His Advantage on Immigration for 02/01/2018 Thu, 01 Feb 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Last week, I noted that President Trump won the shutdown because he instinctively understood the strategic situation far better than Senate Democrats, establishment Republicans, and his other beltway critics. He knew he had a stronger position than the Democrats and used that understanding to his advantage.</p> <p>This week, in his State-of-the-Union Address, the president showed that he intends to press that advantage in ways that will help Republicans on Election Day. That was especially clear in his most memorable line, "Americans are Dreamers, too."</p> <p>In just four words, a president not known for his eloquence turned years of Democratic branding and messaging against them. Trump brazenly and succinctly re-defined the public imagery surrounding the term Dreamers in a way that infuriated the political left. Topher Spiro of the liberal Center for American Progress, called it "intentionally divisive." CNN reported that others thought the line "marginalized immigrants." <p>Updated: Thu Feb 01, 2018</p> a5873487f890108a2ff803a4ed54d710 The Art of the Shutdown for 01/25/2018 Thu, 25 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p>President Trump didn't respond to the so-called shutdown of the federal government in the way that the political class thought he should. He didn't get personally involved in detailed negotiations to end the impasse and didn't convey a sense of crisis to the American people.</p> <p>When all was said and done, this skirmish showed the dangers of underestimating President Trump and his ability to connect with voters on issues the political elites ignore. His approach worked because he instinctively understood the strategic situation far better than Senate Democrats, establishment Republicans and his other beltway critics. </p> <p>First, the president recognized that the term "shutdown" is a dramatic overstatement of what really was going on. It's true that the budget dispute created stress for government employees who were to be furloughed, but the overwhelming majority of government services continued uninterrupted. In fact, outside of the DC area, nobody really noticed any impact.<p>Updated: Thu Jan 25, 2018</p> d170564354685c77c589d6fa9c43a5b6 Where to Look for the Wave for 01/18/2018 Thu, 18 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p>It's normal for the party out of power to gain ground in a midterm election. The big question in 2018 is whether the Democrats will gain enough ground to win a majority in the House of Representatives. </p> <p>While the political winds currently favor the Democrats, 390 of the 435 House races are pretty well locked in for one party or the other. Only 45 out of 435 races are even somewhat competitive. Still, a race-by-race analysis on suggests that a normal midterm gain would get the Democrats very close to their goal. </p> <p>The starting point is 187 races that are rated as either Strong or Likely Democratic and nine more tilting or leaning in that direction. With decent midterm turnout, the Democrats would win all of these races bringing their total to 196.<p>Updated: Thu Jan 18, 2018</p> 01cff15ef24ce987390acb754d892fda Election 2018 Scoreboards: Who's Up and Who's Down? for 01/11/2018 Thu, 11 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Looking ahead to Election 2018, the numbers are close enough for either party to end up in control of the House, the Senate or both. The final outcome will be determined by a combination of the races in play, the fundamentals in each race, and the strength of the political winds in November.</p> <p>To track all of this, I've rolled out a new service at that will provide constantly updated Scoreboards for the Senate, House and Governor's races. In addition to the overall scoreboards, we provide a status and background page for each and every race. </p> <p>Currently, the Senate Scoreboard shows that if the Democrats get good turnout on Election Day, they could end up with a 51-49 majority by picking up Republican held seats in Nevada and Arizona.<p>Updated: Thu Jan 11, 2018</p> cad5e334f88e6e0d24cca6b6b1d11cca The Ground is Shifting Under Obamacare for 01/04/2018 Thu, 04 Jan 2018 00:00:00 -0800 <p>President Trump has perfected the art of antagonizing his opponents with provocative tweets. He demonstrated this skill recently in declaring that the tax reform act, by repealing the Obamacare mandate, had effectively repealed Obamacare.</p> <p>This generated a number of stories from left-leaning pundits pointing out that there's a lot more to Obamacare than the mandate. Sarah Kliff, writing for, noted that many Republican voters believed the president and hoped that would bring an end to efforts to undo the rest of Obamacare. </p> <p>But many Republicans in Congress seem intent on continuing to fight for repeal of the controversial law. A skeptical report in The Hill noted that the GOP had tried and failed to accomplish that goal in 2017. In their view, "nothing significant has changed since then that would now make the path easier. In fact, the obstacles appear even greater now that Democrat Doug Jones has been elected to the Senate from Alabama."<p>Updated: Thu Jan 04, 2018</p> 8daafb43043be0444db6ba0216b19b33 A Viewer's Guide to the Midterm Elections for 12/28/2017 Thu, 28 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Forget the Super Bowl! For millions of Americans, the biggest spectator sport of 2018 will be the midterm elections. The political winds currently favor the Democrats, but it's impossible to know how strong they'll be blowing come November. Five key races can give casual fans a good sense of what to expect.</p> <p>In the Senate, the races to watch will be held in Nevada, Indiana and Missouri. Nevada's Dean Heller is the only Republican seeking re-election in a state won by Hillary Clinton. Indiana's Joe Donnelly and Missouri's Claire McCaskill are Democrats fighting to keep their job in states that President Trump carried by nearly 20 points.</p> <p>These three are must-win states for the Democrats. If they win all three, a series of other close races could very well break their way to give Democrats majority control of the Senate. <p>Updated: Thu Dec 28, 2017</p> 7f809d4976d034a55201360e4762982c Politics of Tax Reform Depends Upon Salesmanship of President Trump for 12/21/2017 Thu, 21 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Many Democratic political leaders have convinced themselves that the Republican tax reform bill will be a great boost for the Democrats in next year's midterm elections. They could be right, but the outcome is far from certain. Instead, the political implications will be determined by how the economy performs and President Trump's salesmanship.</p> <p>The economy matters most of all. If it sputters or tanks in 2018, nothing will save the Republican majorities in Congress. But if the economy keeps improving, President Trump will have a chance to turn tax reform into a political windfall for his party.</p> <p>Presidential salesmanship has always had a big electoral impact. In 2002, Democrats thought that the Bush tax cuts and the president's drive to invade Iraq would doom the GOP. Instead, the president campaigned aggressively on his agenda to help his party regain control of the U.S. Senate.<p>Updated: Thu Dec 21, 2017</p> 4e109bc146834f6db72a53a3905dca4a Republican Civil War Could Hand Senate to Democrats for 12/14/2017 Thu, 14 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>With Doug Jones' victory in Alabama, Democrats now have at least a plausible path to winning control of the U.S. Senate in the 2018 elections. It's a difficult path to be sure, but it could happen.</p> <p>The first step will be for Democrats to successfully defend all of their Senate incumbents next November. That's not going to be easy because the list includes 10 running in states that voted for Donald Trump. But, the results from Alabama suggest that it could happen. If it does, all Democrats would need to win the Senate is to pick up a pair of GOP seats. And they definitely have a chance to do so in Arizona and Nevada. </p> <p>The Alabama results indicate that Democrats might be positioned for a very strong midterm election. Especially notable was the strong African-American turnout that lifted Jones to victory. If minority voters remain engaged at similar levels next November, Republicans will have an enormous challenge on their hands.<p>Updated: Thu Dec 14, 2017</p> a6a20fd90caf7b227136fcacea72b45b It Was A Woman Who First Addressed the Nation About Pearl Harbor for 12/07/2017 Thu, 07 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p></p><p>There are events in history that no one alive will ever forget. But time moves on and those who will never forget eventually leave this earth. The rest of us know it only from the history books.</p> <p>One of those events was the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Only a handful of Americans alive today actually remember the day President Franklin Roosevelt said would forever live in infamy. Even fewer remember that the first Administration spokesperson to address the nation that day was not the president, but First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt.<p>Updated: Thu Dec 07, 2017</p> 744f4b285eaf42fc0f454909e34e0c4c What If Roy Moore Wins? for 11/23/2017 Thu, 23 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>When Donald Trump appointed Alabama Senator Jeff Sessions to serve as Attorney General, it was widely assumed that his permanent replacement would be a Republican. But the scandals and allegations surrounding Republican nominee Roy Moore have challenged that assumption.</p> <p>It would be a stunning turn of events for a Democrat to win in a state Donald Trump won by 28 percentage points. If that happens, as I noted last week, Democrats might win control of the Senate in 2018.</p> <p>But what would it mean if Roy Moore wins?<p>Updated: Thu Nov 23, 2017</p> 72910a34350431e4e7bd1362bde71ed0 Democrats Have a Clear Path to Senate Majority in 2018 for 11/16/2017 Thu, 16 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Until recently, it looked like Republicans were almost certain to retain control of the U.S. Senate following the 2018 mid-term elections. Many commentators noted that Nancy Pelosi's team might have a shot at winning control of the House. But the Senate was different. Only a third of the Senators stand for election each cycle and the GOP was protected by a very favorable electoral map.</p> <p>Only one GOP Senator (Nevada's Dean Heller) is running for re-election in a state won by Hillary Clinton. The only other soft spot in the GOP lineup is Arizona, where Senator Jeff Flake's fights with President Trump made it impossible for him to win re-election. Flake dropped out and there is an open seat in this toss-up state.</p> <p>But, Republicans assured themselves, even if the Democrats win both Arizona and Nevada, they still end up only with a 50-50 tie in the Senate. In that case, Vice President Mike Pence would cast the tie-breaking vote to keep the GOP in charge.<p>Updated: Thu Nov 16, 2017</p> cc125b3098020920ddd9e04afca09858 Will Trump Become Fourth Consecutive President To Lose Congress? for 11/09/2017 Thu, 09 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0800 <p>Tuesday's election results suggest that Democrats have a reasonable chance of winning control of the House in 2018. If that happens, Donald Trump would become the fourth consecutive president to enter the White House with his party in control of Congress and then lose Congress during his tenure.</p> <p>In some ways, this seems to be the new normal. After all, it's a pattern that has existed for a full generation since a young Bill Clinton won the White House in 1992. But, it's truly extraordinary in the longer arc of American history. In fact, prior to 1992, it had never even happened twice in a row.</p> <p>Obviously, there's no certainty that the Republicans will lose control of the House in 2018. And, of course, it's not just Trump. Many Republican voters reserve a special level of hatred for the GOP establishment headquartered in Congress. Regardless of who they blame, the reality is that Republicans promised a lot would happen if voters put them in charge. And it hasn't. They couldn't even repeal Obamacare, despite seven years of promises to do just that.<p>Updated: Thu Nov 09, 2017</p> 7091db3a224c294ec87117d020dc3638 America's Founding Ideals Are Worth Fighting For for 11/02/2017 Thu, 02 Nov 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>These are tough times to be optimistic about America. Terror attacks in New York City, mass shootings in Las Vegas and campus violence against targeted speakers fill the news. Rather than addressing the problems, partisan politicos act as if each tragedy is merely a platform for their own talking points.</p> <p>Despite this, I am optimistic about America's future. Pessimistic about our politics, to be sure, but optimistic about our nation.</p> <p>There are two core reasons for this optimism. The first is that politicians don't lead the nation. There are countless more effective ways that we can work together in communities and create a better America. Community problem solving is all around us, although we rarely pause to consider its power.<p>Updated: Thu Nov 02, 2017</p> c44c3d53d18872b21a87c19669eb8290 Freedom of Speech Does Not Guarantee Understanding for 10/26/2017 Thu, 26 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Daily Beast columnist Jay Michaelson is unhappy with America's football fans.</p> <p>In a thoughtful column, he argues that "kneeling for the anthem is a sign of respect, not disrespect, for our country and the values it stands for." He adds that "To protest &#8212; for whatever cause, left or right wing &#8212; is to make real the best ideals of America: freedom of speech, democracy, the rule of law. Protesting brings those ideals into reality." <p>Updated: Thu Oct 26, 2017</p> dc7d5a4c7ceea005e69d9c42138c8368 Trump Proving Politicians Not As Important As They Think They Are for 10/19/2017 Thu, 19 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p></p><p>Shortly after World War II, Congress passed a law requiring the federal government to assume responsibility for managing the economy. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy claimed that government stewardship was responsible for the post-War economic boom. In those heady days, there was even talk about how economists had learned to fine-tune the economy.</p> <p>Looking back, the hubris of the 1960s governing elite seems laughable. Studies have shown that the best economic models of that era failed to predict most of what actually happened. We know today that the post-War boom had more to do with pent-up demand and America's global dominance than government policies. By the 1970s, government policymakers seemed unable to understand or address the combination of high inflation and growing unemployment.<p>Updated: Thu Oct 19, 2017</p> 2af13973ed20d1c9637e7f3b05ac4360 The Gun Control Debate is Not About Guns for 10/12/2017 Thu, 12 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Every time a horrific event like the Las Vegas massacre takes place, it is followed by a frustrating and futile debate about the merits of gun control. People on both sides of the debate trot out talking points and talk right past each other without listening.</p> <p>Much of the frustration comes from the fact that everybody would like to do something to prevent such disasters from every happening again. But, the overwhelming desire to do something is matched by the pragmatic reality that no new law, policy initiative, or government program could have prevented the gruesome events of Las Vegas. As a result, the discussion moves on to other forms of gun violence with the same sense of frustration.</p> <p>The ongoing frustration stems from the fact that the debate is not really about guns. It's about who you trust.<p>Updated: Thu Oct 12, 2017</p> 596d1193b56f832aacdf345c3a0ba2dc That Helpless, Hopeless Feeling for 10/05/2017 Thu, 05 Oct 2017 00:00:00 -0700 <p>Horrific, sickening and tragic are just a few of the words I've heard used to describe the news from Las Vegas. But none of them really capture the reality that such acts are utterly beyond comprehension. As I write this, official sources are still looking for a motive, but no rational motive can possibly exist. Whatever made the killer take 59 lives made sense only in some delusional world most humans can't come close to understanding.</p> <p>After the words and the images sink in, it still doesn't seem real. But we want to know why &#8212; who or what can we blame? What can we do to prevent this sort of thing from ever happening again?</p> <p>That's when the hopelessness sets in. We want an easy answer, but there isn't one. In fact, while it's hard to admit, there probably aren't any answers at all. It's happened before and will happen again. Humans have done terrible and sickening and horrific things to others throughout recorded history.<p>Updated: Thu Oct 05, 2017</p>