Democrats won more votes, regained control of the U.S. House and flipped hundreds of seats in state legislatures during the 2018 elections. It was, by most accounts, a good year for the party.
Yet it wasn’t as bad as it could have been for Republicans.
That’s because they may have benefited from a built-in advantage in some states, based on how political districts were drawn, that prevented deeper losses or helped them hold on to power, according to a mathematical analysis by The Associated Press.
The AP’s analysis indicates that Republicans won about 16 more U.S. House seats than would have been expected based on their average share of the vote in congressional districts across the country. In state House elections, Republicans’ structural advantage might have helped them hold on to as many as seven chambers that otherwise could have flipped to Democrats, according to the analysis.
The 16 House seats doesn’t surprise me. But seven state legislative chambers is a lot.
* Anne Gearan and Loveday Morris report on another decision by the president as part of his "Whatever Bibi wants" initiative:
President Trump on Thursday abruptly endorsed permanent Israeli control of the disputed Golan Heights, saying on Twitter that the area seized from Syria in the 1967 Arab war is “of critical strategic and security importance” to Israel.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has pressed the United States to formally recognize Israel’s annexation of the land, including making a public appeal for U.S. help as he welcomed Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Jerusalem on Wednesday.
“After 52 years it is time for the United States to fully recognize Israel’s Sovereignty over the Golan Heights, which is of critical strategic and security importance to the State of Israel and Regional Stability!” Trump tweeted.
Trump’s statement marks a dramatic departure in formal U.S. policy since 1967, when the Golan Heights was first seized from Syria before being effectively annexed in 1981. The endorsement also puts the U.S. administration in the position of backing a key political priority of Netanyahu’s just three weeks before Israel’s national elections and days before the Israeli leader is due in Washington for a visit.
I’m sure he gave this lots of careful deliberation.
* Elise Viebeck and Michelle Ye Hee Lee look at Sen. Amy Klobuchar's record as a prosecutor in Minnesota.