Breaking Down Italy’s Persistent Political Instability | Pacific Standard


While the dust has yet to settle, the results of the 2018 elections already highlight several issues—both for Italy and for Europe more broadly.

On a national level, the elections have brought center stage a striking divide between Italy’s north and south, which are once again placing their trust in radically different parties.

The comparatively underdeveloped south almost unanimously voted for the inexperienced 5-Star Movement, which promises a monthly minimum income to fight poverty and unemployment.

Meanwhile, in the generally wealthier and more industrialized north, far-right parties led by Salvini and Berlusconi prevailed at the polls.

Source: Breaking Down Italy’s Persistent Political Instability – Pacific Standard

More than 40 Dem House challengers outraising GOP incumbents | TheHill


More than 40 House Democratic candidates outraised Republican incumbents in the first fundraising quarter of 2018, another booming fundraising period for the left.

By comparison, Republican challengers outraised Democratic incumbents in just two seats, according to the Cook Political Report.

Source: More than 40 Dem House challengers outraising GOP incumbents | TheHill

As Republicans push for second tax vote in Congress, Democrats say ‘Let’s see’


It is not yet clear, however, if the plan would pick up support from Democrats, whose votes would be needed to pass legislation in the Senate.

The Republican tax law, approved in December without Democratic support, permanently cut the top corporate rate to 21 percent from 35 percent and created a permanent deduction for pass-through businesses. It created lower rates and new credits for individuals, but those expire at the end of 2025.

Democrats have said the tax code rewrite favors businesses and the wealthy, and that working-class taxpayers will see little benefit in their paychecks.

Source: As Republicans push for second tax vote in Congress, Democrats say ‘Let’s see’

House consumed by leadership races | TheHill


While the first few months of the year were filled with legislative fights over immigration, guns and government spending, the last few weeks have been dominated by palace intrigue.

And with Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) a lame duck, the rest of the year now looks like it will be filled with internal politicking — a situation some GOP lawmakers said they wanted to avoid ahead of what looks to be a difficult election season.

Source: House consumed by leadership races | TheHill

Ryan’s exit scrambles Wisconsin House race | TheHill


Ryan’s retirement breathes new life into the contested Democratic primary, where ironworker Randy Bryce is seen as the favorite thanks to impressive fundraising hauls and solid name recognition with the party’s progressive grass roots.

Ryan’s exit also immediately creates an opening for Republicans looking to succeed him, since the only candidate currently in the GOP primary is a vocal white nationalist.

Source: Ryan’s exit scrambles Wisconsin House race | TheHill

In West Virginia, Convicted Coal Baron Don Blankenship Is Already Declaring Victory | US News


.. in a reversal of fortune that can only be explained by these politically uncharted times, the 68-year-old ex-con is now a viable candidate for the U.S. Senate in West Virginia.

In fact, his top campaign adviser tells U.S. News that Blankenship has essentially already won the primary, which will be held on May 8.

Source: In West Virginia, Convicted Coal Baron Don Blankenship Is Already Declaring Victory | The Report | US News

The race to replace Paul Ryan is on | POLITICO


Two top members of Paul Ryan’s leadership team, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and Majority Whip Steve Scalise, have begun angling for his job in the event the speaker calls it quits after the election.

They’re closely monitoring the moves of the other and quietly courting Republicans who could help either of them clinch the top post, according to 20 GOP lawmakers and aides interviewed for this report.

“It’s McCarthy’s to lose,” said another GOP lawmaker close with McCarthy. “I think he’s in a lot stronger place than last time because he’s got a close relationship with Trump.”

Source: The race to replace Paul Ryan is on – POLITICO

How Paul Ryan lost and Donald Trump won in the fight for the future of the GOP | CNNPolitics


Ryan had been hinting behind-the-scenes for months that he wasn’t going to be around all that much longer. Remember that he was cajoled into taking the job in 2015 following then-Speaker John Boehner’s resignation amid pressure from conservatives inside and out of Congress.

Ryan initially blanched at taking the job but stepped forward when it became apparent that there was simply no one else who could win a majority of the majority’s vote.

Nonetheless, his retirement will send shockwaves through a party already reeling in the face of what looks to be a growing Democratic wave headed its way in a few months time.

Ryan is the 40th Republican to announce a decision not to seek reelection as compared to just 19 for Democrats.

Source: How Paul Ryan lost and Donald Trump won in the fight for the future of the GOP – CNNPolitics

Mark Zuckerberg’s Testimony in Congress Could Hurt Lawmakers | Time


.. After all, a video of a lawmaker aggressively scolding the Facebook chief would do very well on Facebook itself, and the activist base in both political camps tends to reward bravado over measured discourse.

That draw of drama — and the fundraising potential that follows — has top aides in both parties skittish. It is one of the few sentiments that has unified the professional staffs from both parties ahead of hearings that will be must-watch for activists, investors and the White House.

There are very serious questions Facebook officials need to answer, especially as they pertain to what comes next for the social media leader, the extent to which its users’ data may be widely disseminated and the potential for Russia to, yet again, use that information to tailor political mayhem.

Yet that could be relatively boring and non-partisan — novelties in this election year when the full House and a third of the Senate face voter.

Source: Mark Zuckerberg’s Testimony in Congress Could Hurt Lawmakers | Time

Facebook hearings should force Congress to address meddling | TheHill


The steady drip of news stories about how Cambridge Analytica harvested data without consent and used it in the 2016 campaign is a reminder of how digital loopholes allow any number of bad actors, foreign or domestic, to secretly influence U.S. elections.

Bipartisan legislation has been introduced in both the House and Senate that would close those loopholes and pull digital political ads into the sunlight.

In light of all this, we have just one question: What is Congress waiting for?

The Honest Ads Act has yet to even receive a hearing, and our country is no closer today to shoring up the vulnerabilities that were exploited by the Russians in 2016 than they were last election cycle.

Source: Facebook hearings should force Congress to address meddling | TheHill