A blue wave you haven’t heard about

Posted at 9:40 AM, Sep 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-16 11:40:42-04

Here are the stories our panel of top political reporters are talking about in this week’s “Inside Politics” forecast, where you get a glimpse of tomorrow’s headlines today.

1. The other blue wave

A blue wave in November is looking more and more likely — and not just in Washington.

Democrats are poised for big gains in state houses across the country too, says Lisa Lerer of The New York Times. That means the party could win outright control of the state senate in places like Colorado, New York, and Wisconsin.

“There’s about half a dozen that are one or two or three seats away from flipping,” Lerer said. “This is a trend that could have some really big implications. State legislatures control a lot of issues, from health to labor to education. And with the Census coming up, they’ll have a big role in redistricting.”

2. Who wants to be a White House counsel?

President Trump has a big personnel decision to make this fall about who will be his top White House lawyer.

The man filling the job right now, Don McGahn, plans to leave the administration once the Kavanaugh confirmation fight is over. It’s a job that will be particularly important if Democrats win control of the House.

“The person who fills that job will be responsible for handling not only a spate of congressional investigations into the Trump White House, but also potential impeachment proceedings,” Politico’s Eliana Johnson said. “The person Donald Trump selects to fill that job will have an enormous impact on the way the Trump White House handles quite a bit in Washington.”

3. Border wall or bust?

There’s a bipartisan deal in Congress to avoid a government shutdown, at least for now. Lawmakers plan to pass a spending bill that funds the government through December.

But that still leaves one big question unanswered: Will President Trump force a shutdown before the holidays if he doesn’t get his border wall?

“Does he get the entire $5 billion that he wants?” asked Washington Post reporter Seung Min King. She said Republicans like Sen. Jeff Flake tell her it’s unlikely.

“He says even if Republicans do well in the midterms, Trump is still not going to get his wall because there is so much opposition, even among Republicans,” Kim said. “And as we all know, the president hasn’t ruled out a shutdown over the wall just yet.”

4. Trump escalates trade war

President Trump plans to move forward this week with a major step in his trade war with China: slapping tariffs on $200 billion worth of goods. The president says it’ll push China to the negotiating table, but critics say it just means higher prices for American consumers.

“There’s mounting concerns from major U.S. companies and retailers,” Bloomberg’s Margaret Talev said — including Apple, Walmart and Target. And if China retaliates, Talev said, it’ll likely mean pain for American farmers — right before the midterms.

5. Year of the woman

And from CNN’s John King:

The final test is seven weeks from Tuesday, but the close of the primary season erases any doubt that 2018 will be a record-setting year for women in American politics.

The Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University keeps a meticulous count of women who run for office — and how they fare. With the final primary elections in the books after this past week, the center’s count shows a record number of women on the November ballot in races for House, Senate, governor and state legislatures.

There are, for example, 234 women running for the House and 22 for the Senate. The previous records were 167 (House) and 18 (Senate).

There are 16 women on the ballot in November in races for governor — 12 Democrats and four Republicans. The previous record was 10.

A summary of the 2018 track record so far can be found here.

And the record breaking began before the voting did.

Fifty-three women ran for Senate seats this year, up from the previous high of 40. There were 476 women who filed for House races; 298 was the previous high. And 61 women ran for governor in 2018, way up for the previous high of 34.