Will Democrats Fall in Line for Pelosi?

If those who promised to oppose her keep their word, she’ll fall short of 218 votes.

Democrats have won 228 House races and are favored in five more. Together that’s 233 seats, a gain of 40. But Mrs. Pelosi still has work to do to collect the 218 votes she’ll need when the House meets Jan. 3 to select its presiding officer.

During the midterm election campaign, 12 incumbent Democratic representatives said they would not support Mrs. Pelosi for speaker, along with 10 newly elected freshmen, plus four Democrats who lead their contests but haven’t yet been declared winners.

Democrats will likely enjoy a 15-seat margin after the remaining contests are settled, so if the 26 anti-Pelosi Democrats keep their word, Mrs. Pelosi could fall 11 votes short.

But anti-Pelosi members have an option besides voting for another Democrat. They could vote “present.” Every two “present” votes reduce the total number needed to become speaker by one. If all 26 Pelosi skeptics voted present, that would leave her with 207 Democratic votes, more than the 202 votes Republicans could muster. Mrs. Pelosi would be speaker, but badly weakened. And that might be good enough for Democratic dissidents.

The Center Is Sexier Than You Think

The story of the 2018 midterms isn’t Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in New York’s 14th District, Ben Jealous in the Democratic gubernatorial primary in Maryland and a leftist surge. Or, rather, that’s just one narrative, eclipsed by the less cinematic triumphs of less progressive Democrats. They’re by and large winning the primaries in the swing districts that might actually turn from red to blue. They’re the stars of their party’s mission to erect a barricade against the worst of Donald Trump.

.. Without doubt, Ocasio-Cortez’s ouster of Joe Crowley in the Democratic primary delivered an important message about entrenched politicians disconnected from their constituents. But when she gets to Congress, she won’t be replacing a Republican. She’ll be a new Democrat (and yes, a new kind of Democrat) in a seat that the party already holds and wasn’t going to lose. And she’ll almost surely be outnumbered by Democratic newcomers who waged more moderate campaigns in areas of the country where that’s the safer tack.

The real story out of these Democratic primaries isn’t left or right — it’s women,” Dave Wasserman, who analyzes House races for the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, told me. Additionally, he said, he has been struck by the consequential role of candidates’ biographies, sometimes captured in compelling campaign videos, like Ocasio-Cortez’s, that go viral.

.. he doesn’t see many politicians like Ocasio-Cortez. “They’re mainstream Democratic candidates,” he said. “They’re more running against Republicans and against the tax and health care bills than they are running to reshape the Democratic Party.”

.. NPR found that pragmatism is winning out over progressivism in the key races that will decide control of Congress.”

.. While only a minority of candidates endorsed by progressive groups like Justice Democrats and Our Revolution had won their primaries, more than three-quarters of those endorsed by the more centrist New Democrat Coalition had.

.. On the same day that Ocasio-Cortez generated front-page headlines by beating Crowley, much less progressive Democratic newcomers came out on top in crowded primaries in New York districts that are currently represented by Republicans and are high on the party’s red-to-blue wish list.

House Democrat Promises Kavanaugh Investigation if Party Wins Control

He said that if Democrats took power, he would expect the committee to immediately subpoena records from the White House and the F.B.I., which conducted an abbreviated supplemental background investigation into two of the misconduct claims. That document request would include communications between officials at both entities.

The committee would also seek to interview Judge Kavanaugh’s accusers and the dozens of potential witnesses they identified in recent days, most of whom were not contacted by the F.B.I. He said he would also call the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, to testify.

One of Dr. Blasey’s lawyers said that her client only wanted to tell her story and did not support impeachment.

Mr. Nadler’s comments are likely to be seized on by Republicans, who have accused Democrats of waging a campaign to discredit Judge Kavanaugh at all costs. They argued on Friday that Democrats would never be satisfied with any investigation, and they say that it is the Democrats who are trying to undercut the legitimacy of the Supreme Court.

People don’t vote for what they want. They vote for who they are.

You remember the photo, taken in early August, of two men at an Ohio Trump rally whose matching T-shirts read, “I’d rather be a Russian than a Democrat.” (Now you can buy them online for $14.) It was a gibe that spoke to our moment. The Republican brand — as with presidential nominees John McCain and Mitt Romney — used to be pointedly anti-Russian; Romney called Moscow our chief global enemy. In the Trump era, though, you can be a Republican Russophile for whom Vladi­mir Putin is a defender of conservative values. American politics, it has become plain, is driven less by ideological commitments than by partisan identities — less by what we think than by what we are. Identity precedes ideology.

“The Democratic Party today is divided over whether it wants to focus on the economy or identity,”

.. So does the assumption that the great majority of Republicans who support Trump are drawn to his noxious views. (That’s the good news in the bad news.) Among candidates who led in the Republican primaries, after all, his percentage of the vote was the lowest in nearly half a century.

.. Identity groups come to rally behind their leaders, and partisan identification wouldn’t be so stable if it didn’t allow for a great deal of ideological flexibility. That’s why rank-and-file Republicans could go from “We need to stand up to Putin!” to “Why wouldn’t we want to get along with Putin?” in the time it takes to say: Rubio’s out, Trump’s in.

.. The best predictor of ideological animus, the study found, wasn’t a respondent’s opinions or even how strongly she held them, but what label she embraced, conservative or liberal.

.. Mason calls this “identity-based ideology,” as opposed to “issue-based ideology.”

.. Either formulation is a polite way of saying that political cleavages are not so much “I disagree with your views” as “I hate your stupid face.” You can be an ideologue without ideology.

.. “Implicit bias,” and the special tests designed to measure it, come up often in the wake of police shootings and #BlackLivesMatter. They show in-group preferences among whites and among blacks. But experiments suggest that partisan in-group preferences are far more powerful.

.. between 30 and 60 percent of people who identify as Democrats or Republicans want their kids to marry in the party.

.. Long before anyone instructs children to group people into categories, research tells us, they’re programmed to do it anyway, and one of our basic ways of making sense of the world is to form generalizations of the sort linguists call “generics” — such as “bears eat people” or “tick bites give you Lyme disease.” Those generalizations count as true, but it’s not easy to say why. Hardly any bears have eaten people , and less than 2 percent of tick bites transmit the Lyme spirochete. But, as the philosopher Sarah-Jane Leslie has argued, we’re more likely to accept a generic if it involves a reason for concern, such as getting eaten or getting sick.

.. generics encourage us to think of the class in question as a kind, a group with a shared essence. To show how this works, Leslie joined with psychologists Marjorie Rhodes and Christina Tworek to design an experiment in which 4-year-olds were shown pictures of a fictional kind of person they called a Zarpie. The people in the pictures were male and female, black, white, Latino, Asian, young and old. With one group of 4-year-olds, the experimenters made lots of generic remarks. (“Zarpies are scared of ladybugs” and the like.) With another group, they made specific statements, not generic ones. (“Look at this Zarpie! He’s afraid of ladybugs!”) A couple of days later, they showed the kids a Zarpie and said he made a buzzing sound. It turned out that the children who’d heard a lot of generics about Zarpies were much more likely to believe that all Zarpies made buzzing sounds. Generic talk encouraged them to think of Zarpies as a category of person.

.. Generic remarks about people, in short, encourage you to think of them as a kind, and you’re more likely to accept a generic claim about a group if it’s negative or worrying. (Liberals hate America; conservatives are bigots.)

.. As everyone knows on some level, we’re tribal creatures. We not only belong to groups but are easily triggered to take arms against other groups. Evolutionary psychologists think these dispositions helped our ancestors survive by creating groups they could rely on to deal with the perils of prehistoric life ..

.. True, that was before cable news and social media. But those us-and-them instincts remain an indelible part of human nature.

.. if tribalism is responsible for some of the worst aspects of our politics, it’s also responsible for some of the best. According to the historian David Herbert Donald, the 19th-century abolitionists belonged to a tribe — essentially, an old-line Northern elite displaced by a new commercial and manufacturing class — that sought to regain its position through ethical crusades. The moral math was correct, but social identity was what helped it spread.

.. Almost the entire South went in 1976 for Jimmy Carter, who won by wide margins in notably white stateslike Arkansas and Tennessee. Voters who had supported states-rights candidates got behind the progressive from Plains, Ga., because — well, they were Southern Democrats, and so was Carter

.. the region didn’t become reliably Republican until the late 1990s. A generation of Southern Democrats had to die first.

.. To wish away identity politics is to wish away gravity. It burdens us, but it also grounds us. A workable politics enlists its force — and broadens its scope