SEVERE WX : Winter Weather Advisory View Alerts

Feinstein: FBI probe was incomplete

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) speaks after reading the FBI investigation report on allegations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

Posted: Oct 5, 2018 9:34 AM
Updated: Oct 5, 2018 9:41 AM

Hurricane Florence reminded Americans of something that we in coastal areas know all too well -- the impact and depth of natural disasters are unpredictable. Some people are lucky enough to ride out the storm. For others, underestimating it is a dangerous mistake.

Such are the storms of politics.

Recently I had lunch with one of my favorite congressmen, Rob Woodall of Georgia. He's in a generally safe seat. He's confident not only about his re-election but also about Republicans' chances of keeping the House. Not me, I'm scared as hell.

There are many factors that potentially could make this a Category 5 hurricane.

No. 1, with only two exceptions, the party in power loses House seats. The political wreckage can be severe. Franklin Roosevelt lost 71 in 1938. Lyndon Johnson said goodbye to 47 Congress members in 1966. More recently the House majorities flipped in 2006 when George W. Bush lost 30 and then back in 2010 when Barack Obama lost 63.

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy has described presidential elections as aspirational and midterms as evaluational. In short, they are a report card. Translated to grades, polls show Republicans getting an A in economics but a D in citizenship. Ironically two of the failures -- not repealing Obamacare and not building "the wall" -- have ticked off both parties -- the GOP for failing and the Democrats for trying!

Then, along with 41 retirements among GOP members of Congress, we've had some ignominious midterm departures. Finally House members are the recipients of any collateral damage caused by White House missteps and tweets. Combine this with anti-Trump intensity, and the storm grows stronger.

Secondly, fundraising is breaking all records. Both parties, but particularly Democrats, have an army of outside interest groups. ActBlue, for example, reportedly has raised well over $1 billion so far this cycle. This is up from $258 million at the same point in the 2014 cycle and $634 million in 2016.

Woodall's opponent, Carolyn Bourdeaux, an ActBlue recipient, has outraised him, with more than 80% of the money coming from outside the district, according to data on OpenSecrets.org.

This year, Axios says of the $508 million given to House candidates, 73% comes from outside their districts. Meanwhile in Texas, Sen. Ted Cruz's opponent, Beto O'Rourke, has so much money he is spending millions on yard signs and $100,000 on T-shirts, according to Cruz campaign officials. That much could fund a statewide race in most states.

Another factor is reapportionment. North Carolina and Pennsylvania have been in and out of courts fighting over new lines. As a House member, I went through five reapportionments. The uncertainty invigorates the minority party as it stokes the emotions of political discord. New districts beget new opportunities, usually for the minority party. The GOP got a reprieve in North Carolina, but in Pennsylvania the new map may cost Republicans anywhere from three to five seats.

Finally, pollsters say there isn't one driving matter on the minds of voters. Republicans win on terrorism, economy, taxes, jobs and national defense. Democrats win on health care, trade, foreign policy, immigration, race, abortion rights, environment and guns. Since there's not one unifying issue such as the Iraq War in 2006 and Obamacare in 2010, neither party has a free policy ride.

But there's one exception -- an intervening event.

We now have one. This year the October surprise came in September and seems to be gaining traction day by day. The Christine Blasey Ford accusation against Kavanaugh is dicey for both parties, but Democrats have far less to lose since suburban college-educated women who are sympathetic to Ford are their growth market.

Generally lawyers agree there wouldn't be sufficient evidence to convict Kavanaugh over Ford's allegations or those of Deborah Ramirez, but in politics that's secondary if not irrelevant. Since neither the testimonies of Kavanaugh nor Ford changed any Senate votes last week, Democrats have smartly attacked the process as much as they have Kavanaugh himself.

Any objective analysis shows that Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley has bent over backward to accommodate Ford, Ramirez and the entire Senate, but his efforts are obscured by the frenzy. As the vote approaches. there will be more process criticism. Who was interviewed by the FBI? Who wasn't? Was the FBI investigation given enough time? What about the reported ice throwing -- is there a pattern?

Of course, the controversy could energize Republicans as much as Democrats. For example, polls have shown North Dakota incumbent, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, is now down by double digits. More than one-fifth of the voters say Kavanaugh is their most important issue, ranking well above health care and immigration. However, perhaps North Dakota is an aberration, as to date there have not been similar swings in Indiana, West Virginia, Florida or Arizona.

Regardless of the outcome of the vote on Kavanaugh, the fury won't end. It's a political gift that keeps on giving, and it has just the right ingredients for a perfect political storm.

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 708779

Reported Deaths: 13226
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion966191721
Lake51761946
Allen39224672
Hamilton34549405
St. Joseph34157541
Elkhart27356432
Vanderburgh22081394
Tippecanoe21853212
Porter17935299
Johnson17544374
Hendricks16822310
Clark12697190
Madison12353337
Vigo12219244
Monroe11469166
LaPorte11162204
Delaware10366184
Howard9664211
Kosciusko9134114
Hancock7990139
Bartholomew7893155
Warrick7691155
Floyd7563176
Wayne6906198
Grant6844171
Boone6556100
Morgan6405138
Dubois6085117
Marshall5786108
Dearborn570376
Cass5685102
Henry5579101
Noble542683
Jackson493569
Shelby479495
Lawrence4342118
Gibson429089
Harrison428570
Clinton419753
Montgomery418086
DeKalb411184
Whitley380239
Huntington379880
Miami372865
Knox366689
Steuben365757
Putnam353160
Jasper350946
Wabash347878
Adams338052
Ripley334668
Jefferson313180
White308454
Daviess289499
Wells286481
Decatur279092
Fayette277262
Greene270785
Posey268833
Scott261153
LaGrange253670
Clay253544
Randolph235680
Washington231031
Spencer228031
Jennings225047
Fountain208845
Sullivan207942
Starke204752
Owen192356
Fulton192039
Jay186429
Carroll185920
Perry180736
Orange177853
Rush170724
Vermillion166043
Franklin165635
Tipton161043
Parke144616
Blackford133831
Pike130334
Pulaski113845
Newton104234
Brown100140
Crawford97614
Benton97113
Martin82915
Warren79715
Switzerland7698
Union69910
Ohio55811
Unassigned0408

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 1054807

Reported Deaths: 18991
CountyCasesDeaths
Franklin1225191356
Cuyahoga1074592069
Hamilton783261168
Montgomery50176996
Summit45557909
Lucas40298765
Butler37768570
Stark31513895
Lorain24246473
Warren23910293
Mahoning20946583
Lake20067362
Clermont19459229
Delaware18085130
Licking16149207
Fairfield15757197
Trumbull15627460
Medina14922259
Greene14706236
Clark13660293
Wood12806185
Portage12431196
Allen11352229
Richland11067198
Miami10548214
Muskingum8717127
Wayne8594209
Columbiana8569226
Pickaway8439121
Marion8390135
Tuscarawas8387240
Erie7600154
Hancock6730123
Ross6707146
Geauga6553146
Ashtabula6530165
Scioto6295101
Belmont5634158
Union558447
Lawrence5470102
Jefferson5343147
Huron5314114
Darke5273121
Sandusky5189120
Seneca5139120
Washington5087107
Athens503856
Auglaize476284
Mercer471984
Shelby456590
Knox4397108
Madison423959
Putnam421799
Ashland413488
Fulton410567
Defiance404296
Crawford3883101
Brown386955
Logan374476
Preble371098
Clinton362160
Ottawa357978
Highland347459
Williams328674
Champaign321557
Jackson308551
Guernsey307549
Perry290549
Fayette278048
Morrow275939
Hardin264764
Henry264366
Coshocton259857
Holmes253499
Van Wert239262
Pike233831
Gallia233446
Adams229152
Wyandot227553
Hocking209759
Carroll189447
Paulding168838
Meigs141738
Noble132937
Monroe128941
Morgan106823
Harrison105636
Vinton81614
Unassigned02
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
38° wxIcon
Hi: 39° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 38°
Angola
Cloudy
36° wxIcon
Hi: 38° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 31°
Huntington
Cloudy
37° wxIcon
Hi: 40° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 37°
Fort Wayne
Cloudy
38° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 37°
Feels Like: 38°
Lima
Cloudy
41° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 37°
A strong cold front will bring rain and accumulating snow to the Midwest Tuesday along with frigid temperatures overnight.
WFFT Radar
WFFT Temperatures
WFFT National

Community Events