Roll Call Opinion and Analysis

Democratic debate moderators haven’t done American voters any favors
Three debates in, candidates and media seem averse to discussing economy, jobs and growth

Moderators at the next Democratic debate should go deeper on extreme policies such as Elizabeth Warren’s assault on capitalism and Bernie Sanders’ socialist health care proposal, Winston writes. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

OPINION — The first three Democratic presidential debates — five, if you count the double features in June and July — are, thankfully, in the political rearview mirror. It turns out that despite the hours and hours spent debating, and then the hours and hours talking about the debates, and then the inevitable polls trying to pick winners and losers, the political landscape hasn’t changed much. 

A Sept. 13-15 Morning Consult poll of Democratic primary voters done after the latest debate found Joe Biden still in the lead at 32 percent. Bernie Sanders was in second place at 20 percent with Elizabeth Warren closing in at 18 percent. Everybody else huddled at the bottom with 6 percent or less. The more things change, it seems, the more they stay the same.

Capitol Ink | Gun Bill Control

2020 Democrats may dream big now, but reality will bite them later
Maybe it’s time Warren, Sanders et al admit their plans are aspirational rather than legislative blueprints

Sen. Elizabeth Warren and other Democratic presidential hopefuls are running on ambitious legislative agendas that would offer high drama on Capitol Hill in 2021 with little chance of success, Shapiro writes. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — The bidding war that has defined the Democratic presidential race reached its apogee of absurdity earlier this month when Bernie Sanders had to explain that, no, he had no plans to erase voters’ credit card bills.

Questioned about his proposal to wipe away $81 billion in personal medical debt in a New Hampshire interview, the Vermont socialist told the Concord Monitor and NHTalkRadio.com: “I don’t believe we wipe out credit card debt. You want to buy… a yacht, and you go in debt, hey, that’s your decision.”

Capitol Ink | Tax Cuts R Us

Joe Biden is old. Who cares?
Certainly not voters over 65, who were key to the Democrats’ midterm success

Attacking former Vice President Joe Biden for his age is just politically dumb given who the most reliable voters will be next year, Murphy writes. (Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Julián Castro wants you to know that Joe Biden is old. Or at least it seemed that way during last week’s Democratic presidential debate, when Castro told Biden six times that Biden couldn’t remember what he just said.

“Are you forgetting what you said two minutes ago?” Castro asked the former vice president. “Are you forgetting already what you said just two minutes ago? I mean, I can’t believe that you said two minutes ago that they had to buy in and now you’re saying they don’t have to buy in. You’re forgetting that.”

Capitol Ink | Joe No

Why the GOP victory in North Carolina spells disaster for Democrats in 2020
Republicans had a unified message with a unified focus, NRCC chairman writes

Republican Dan Bishop’s victory in the special election for North Carolina’s 9th District confirms the effectiveness of President Donald Trump as a GOP surrogate and the unpopularity of the Democrats’ socialist agenda, NRCC Chairman Tom Emmer writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Republicans’ special election victory Tuesday in North Carolina’s 9th District is the latest evidence that 2020 will be a very different election from 2018.

Rep.-elect Dan Bishop didn’t just overcome his Democrat opponent’s two-year head start and millions of dollars in out-of-state money. He also outperformed the GOP candidate’s 2018 efforts by 2 points — quite a different narrative from what the cable news pundits want voters to believe and great news for Republican prospects next year.

What a close Republican win in a North Carolina House race means (maybe) for 2020
Expect an emboldened Trump to remain the center of attention — just as he likes it

No matter how carefully GOP candidates calibrate their own campaigns in 2020, President Donald Trump is likely to remain the center of attention, just as he likes it, Curtis writes. (Preston Ehrler/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images)

[OPINION] CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Though Republicans tried to downplay the importance of an off-year special House election in North Carolina, President Donald Trump certainly thought differently. Why else would he have held an election eve rally alongside Dan Bishop, the GOP nominee in the state’s 9th District? And if that was not enough to belie the seeming lack of official party interest, Vice President Mike Pence also managed a North Carolina campaign trip the same day.

It paid off Tuesday, as Election Day turnout gave Bishop a 2-point win over Democrat Dan McCready. Bishop certainly credited Trump — the president, of course, took all of it — who helped the candidate overcome scandal over the race and his own controversial support of a “bathroom bill” that hurt business in the state. The newly elected congressman portrayed himself as Trump’s “mini-me” on every issue, from guns to abortion rights to immigration.

Capitol Ink | Mixed Messages

Debating 2020 Democrats should not ignore our exploding debt
Our nation’s security — and ultimately its freedom — are dependent on its bottom line

Democratic 2020 hopefuls would do well to remember that our growing debt burden could cancel every initiative of the next president, Minge and Penny write. (Scott Olson/Getty Images file photos)

OPINION — Twenty current and former Democratic presidential candidates have now debated twice without any discussion of an issue that actively threatens our nation and ideals: our growing debt burden.

Out of 229 questions asked by the moderators, not one was about the national debt. While there are many important passion-arousing causes for candidates to discuss, “boring” fiscal matters, such as our nation’s exploding debt — and the spiraling interest that comes with it — could cancel every initiative of the next president unless she or he has a plan to address it.