The 2018 House Race Could Be Close

Nate Cohn: “All considered, this year’s election results and the current national political environment are consistent with the possibility of a so-called wave election, like the ones that brought Democrats to power in the House in 2006 and swept Republicans into office in 1994 and 2010.”

“But Republicans have important structural advantages. They enter the cycle with the advantage of incumbency and a highly favorable congressional map, thanks to partisan gerrymandering and the tendency for Democrats to waste votes with overwhelming margins in heavily Democratic urban areas.”

“As a result, it’s not obvious that the building Democratic wave will be enough to flip control of the House.”

The Mooch Says He’ll Be Back

Anthony Scaramucci, the short-lived White House communications chief who was forced out after just 11 days on the job, told the Associated Press that he remains in close touch with the White House.

He said that although he has not spoken to President Trump in over a month, he talks to members of the president’s inner circle “regularly” and sees himself working with Trump again in the future.

Woman Says Franken Inappropriately Touched Her

“A woman says Sen. Al Franken inappropriately touched her in 2010, telling CNN that he grabbed her buttocks while taking a photo at the Minnesota State Fair.”

“It is the first allegation of improper touching by Franken, who is a Democrat, while he was in office. It comes just days after Leeann Tweeden, a local radio news anchor in California, said that Franken forcibly kissed and groped her in 2006, when Franken was a comedian.”

The Treasury Secretary’s Wife

National Review on the viral photo of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and his wife holding a page of uncut dollar bills:

And she was back in the news this week, visiting the plant at which U.S. currency is printed. Dressed in some ridiculous Kylo Ren get-up, she struck a pouty model pose while holding a sheet of uncut dollars in one black-leather-gloved hand. (Because normal people wear leather gloves indoors.) But the adoration in her eyes was something to behold, and who could fail to be moved, at least a little, by the sight of Louise Linton photographed with the love of her life?

Steven Mnuchin was also in the picture.

20 Families Got Jobs In Trump Administration

“A Daily Beast examination of public records reveals that there are at least 20 families, joined by either blood or marriage, in which multiple members hold some federal post or appointment. They include the families of some of Trump’s most prominent campaign supporters and agency officials, including one cabinet officer. The posts range from senior White House staff to more ceremonial and advisory positions.”

Exchange of the Day

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was asked by Chris Wallace on Fox News about the photo of him and his wife holding a sheet of dollar bills that went viral:

WALLACE: “Some folks — and I’m looking at the picture here, which you can’t see — say that you two look like two villains from a James Bond movie. I’m sure you’ve heard that. I guess my question is: What were you thinking?”

MNUCHIN: “I didn’t realize that the pictures were public and going on the internet and viral.  I guess I should take that as a compliment that I look like a villain in a great, successful James Bond movie.”

Bipartisan Panel Recommends Hacking Safeguards

“A bipartisan Harvard University project aimed at protecting elections from hacking and propaganda will release its first set of recommendations today on how U.S. elections can be defended from hacking attacks,” Reuters reports.

“The 27-page guidebook shown to Reuters ahead of publication calls for campaign leaders to emphasize security from the start and insist on practices such as two-factor authentication for access to email and documents and fully encrypted messaging via services including Signal and Wickr.”

Mueller to Interview Senior White House Aides

“Investigators working for special counsel Robert Mueller are scheduled to interview additional senior White House officials in the coming weeks, adding to their list of high-profile interviews and pushing the investigation closer to President Trump and his family,” CNN reports.

“On the slate are White House communications director Hope Hicks, White House counsel Don McGahn and Josh Raffel, a communications aide to White House senior adviser Jared Kushner. Other staff are also expected to be interviewed.”

Republicans Are Blowing Their Chance at Tax Reform

David Frum: “As I write on November 19, it may see like the GOP tax plans are carrying all before them. A big tax cut has passed the House. A somewhat different plan passed late Thursday night through the Senate Finance Committee. The president is bellowing on Twitter his readiness to sign almost any work product that arrives at his desk.”

“But what is heading toward him is not the kind of reform that can command broad political support, and thus stand the test of possible electoral defeat in 2018 and 2020. It’s a scandalous expression of upper-class and Sunbelt chauvinism that will melt away within weeks of the next Democratic electoral success. Even if it becomes law, as still seems improbable in the face of the plan’s terrible poll numbers, what firm would venture a long-term investment based on tax changes so likely unsustainable?”

De Blasio Seeks to Define National Role

Politico: “De Blasio, whose unfulfilled national ambitions have never been far from the surface, will be in Des Moines in early December preaching the progressive message as the best means for Democrats to win control of statehouses nationwide and, the biggest prize, the U.S. House of Representatives. He will also be trying to define a new role for himself in the party.”

“More to the point, he’s diverging from the Clinton brand of Democratic politics from whence he came and fully embracing the Sen. Bernie Sanders wing of the party — a seemingly more natural fit for a man who won his first mayoral term on the message of income inequality.”

Trump Says Flake Won’t Vote for Tax Bill

President Trump and Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) are sparring again, Roll Call reports, with Trump tweeting:

Sen. Jeff Flake(y), who is unelectable in the Great State of Arizona (quit race, anemic polls) was caught (purposely) on “mike” saying bad things about your favorite President. He’ll be a NO on tax cuts because his political career anyway is “toast.”

“The tweet raised eyebrows in Washington, with congressional observers and reporters firing off their own tweets noting Flake had not previously announced how he intends to vote on a tax overhaul bill that cleared the Finance Committee late Thursday evening.”

Pastors Stick by Roy Moore

Boston Globe: “None of the nearly 10 pastors reached by phone said the allegations of sexual misconduct changed their views about Moore. Several said the allegations made them more proud to vote for the former judge.”

Said pastor Earl Wise: “I don’t know how much these women are getting paid, but I can only believe they’re getting a healthy sum.”

“Wise said he would support Moore even if the allegations were true and the candidate was proved to have sexually molested teenage girls and women.”

Democrats See Backlash Over Tax Bill as Key to Midterms

Washington Post: “Coming off Election Day wins from Seattle to Long Island, Democrats are starting to see the shape of a new majority, built on a potential suburban backlash to changes in the tax code.”

“Republicans have accused the minority party of demagoguery and bad math. In New Hampshire, Republican Gov. Chris Sununu has praised the tax plan for doubling the standard deduction and adding a property-tax exemption. Democrats have falsely claimed that the bill would raise taxes on ‘most working-class families’ — only 6.5 percent of lower-income households will take a direct hit, though many taxpayers making less than $100,000 would get little.”

“Yet Democratic wins, and polling about the tax bill, has led the party to think that it can cleave millions of voters from the GOP.”

Bush Alums Rise In Trump White House

Associated Press: “The Bush influence has only grown stronger recently, as Trump nominated Alex Azar to lead the Health and Human Services Department, where he served under the Bush administration, and tapped Jerome ‘Jay’ Powell to be chairman of the Federal Reserve. Powell served in the Treasury Department under President George H.W. Bush.”

“The Bush alums in the administration include Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who served as Bush’s labor secretary, and Dina Powell, a deputy national security adviser who oversaw White House personnel and later served in Bush’s State Department under Condoleezza Rice. Even the president’s schedule and day-to-day operations are overseen by a former member of Bush’s inner circle: Joe Hagin, who served as deputy White House chief of staff.”

Tax Reform Without the Reform

Jonathan Chait: “The tax break for private planes is the sort of provision that is usually held up as a case for what tax reform is needed to eliminate. In this case, it is being created by tax reform. That is one clue that the ‘tax reform’ plan being drawn up in Congress is nothing of the sort.”

“The goal of a tax-reform plan, as the term has been historically understood, has been to minimize political interference in the tax code. The tax code might charge a rich person a higher rate than a poor person, but it doesn’t want to charge a butcher who earns $50,000 more than a baker who earns $50,000 just because the baker did a better job lobbying Congress.”