The Fix Live

Mar 14, 2014

The Fix's Chris Cillizza discussed the latest in political news.

Follow @TheFix on Twitter.

This week you wrote that Jolly's victory is the "win that will launch a thousand storylines". Do you find it interesting that the major evening news (ABC, NBC, and CBS) all had exactly zero coverage of his win?

Well, network news doesn't care about special House elections.

But, if you are political watcher/junkie, this was a really big week. Jolly winning was a surprise -- at least to me -- and a sign that Obamacare could be very problematic for Democrats in November.

Why now? A Boston Herald poll last week showed him down by 13 to Sheehan.

1. He wants back in

2.  I think he is behind Shaheen right now. But, New Hampshire is a swing state and the Jolly victory in Florida., I think, convinced Brown this is going to be a good cycle

3. He wants to be in the VP/presidential mix and knows he cant do that from out of office.

Chris, On your recommendation, I read this book, and I hated it. I found the characters one-dimensional, the plot limp, the writing juvenile, and the moral trite. I think it may be the worst book I've ever read. Please rebut.

Oh shoot. I am not totally done but am enjoying it. I don't think it pretends to be a great work of fiction. It's, to me, a fun read with a great story at the heart of it.

First question: Are there any Senate rules that would govern Reid's almost-daily railing against the Koch Brothers, which is really just campaigning for his fellow Democrats? Second question: Do you think Reid realizes that he is contributing to Congress's low ratings by engaging in such crassly partisan activities? Third question: Do you think he really cares?

1. No

2. Doesn't care

3. See #2.

I need to do my taxes and put together stuff to be shredded this weekend. In other words, it is going to be rather dull. What should I watch/clear off the DVR while I do this - backlog of possibly interesting movies or Broadchurch? Does Broadchurch require more intense concentration than I am going to be able to muster while sorting financial stuff?

BroadChurch is so amazing. But, you do need to watch closely. Maybe go the movie route...and then when you have sokme time, settle down with Broadchurch. It's well worth it.

HI Chris -- thanks for taking questions today. Realizing that November is a ways off, how would you assess Franken's chances for reelection at the moment? As a Minnesotan, I couldn't tell you who his challenger(s) are or what they stand for, because again it's early, but based on the sometimes twice daily e-mails I get from his campaign you'd think the election was next week and the polls were deadlocked.

He is in way better shape than anyone thought he would be six years ago.

I think Republicans have an outside chance at the upset if they nominatee wealthy businessman Mike McFadden. 

Haven't heard much of anything about West Virginia's Senate race these days. Have national Democrats just called it quits?

Well, they have a candidate -- Secretary of State Natalie Tennant. But, it's a really really uphill climb.

I can't decide if it should be Vince Gray or Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (for losing a seat in her home state). I'll pick the Mayor. What say The FIx?

Good instincts.

Much was made last year that democrats would be unlikely to add many seats in 2014. Do the same structural issues prevent republicans from adding many seats even if Obamacare is a galvanizing force among voters?

Probably.  The average gain for the party out of the White House in the sixth year of a president's term is 29 seats.

I don't see how Republicans could add that many seats to their current total due to self sorting and incumbent-friendly redistricting.

Brown could have probably easily beaten Markey in the Massachusetts special last year. Did he legit change his mind about reentering politics or was NH his plan all along?

I think he decided after 2012 that he was done running for office in Massachusetts.

He had a house in NH and he knew that running (and maybe getting elected) in the state could help him greatly in his desire to be a player on the national ticket.

Plus, NH is WAY more of a swing state than MA.

Nate Silver's 538 launch on Grantland on Monday or Ezra's launch of Vox?

Interested in both!

Well Scott Brown seems to finally be in. Leaving the question of his prospects to another chatter, I'm instead wondering: What do you think was the cause of all his dalliance? Was he truly trying to decide or merely seeking wooing and press attention?

Oh, I think he was trying to make up his mind about where to run and when...

1) Best album this year, so far? 2) Album you're looking forward to most in the next few weeks/months?

I like the new Drive By Truckers a lot. New Beck too.

What did you think of the final episode?

I liked it more than most people, I think.

The show was always about Rust and Marty -- all the other stuff was ancillary. I thought the finale was a recognition of that fact.

And, I also had lowered expectations since I figured there was absolutely no way that they could wrap up all the loose ends in one hour of TV.

Between Jolly and Scott Brown, doesn't DWS deserve an honorable mention?

Sure...but so do the Georgetown Hoyas.

Can he really afford to wait? In 2016, he'll be pushing 60.

I think he could wait. 64 isn't all that old. And, on election day 2016, Hillary Clinton will be 68.

Based on demographics, when do you see Texas possibly turning blue in a Presidential election?

Turning blue? Not for a long time. But being genuinely competitive?  2020 possibly and 2024 for sure -- assuming that Hispanic growth continues at or near its current pace and Republican continue to struggle to win any significant chunk of that base. 

What is the best case scenario for the Republicans in the Senate? And what is the worst case?

Best case: +10 

That means they win: WV, SD, MT, AR, AK, NC, LA, MI, CO and either NH or IA.

Worst case: +1 

That means they win either South Dakota or West Virginia.

What's next for the JTIII era after the Hoyas disappointing exit from the Big East tournament?

He will NEVER be fired.  His family built that athletic departent and his father remains a massive figure at the university.

We have a supposedly solid recruiting class coming in next year...I have my fingers crossed.

'course Reid doesn't care, Most politicians play the "I can't get anything done because of congress" that's WHY congressional approval ratings (on the whole) are so low, but individuals still get re-elected

And Reid is focused on 2014 and trying to drive up the Kochs name ID in hopes of turning them into a Democratic boogeyman.

Is her political career over for good? The people of Florida just don't seem to want to hold elected office.

National Democrats are saying they are trying to recruit her to run against Jolly again this fall. I don't think that's a good idea.

Sometimes its best to know when to walk away.

I've been surprised by the extent to which House Dems have focused on Darrell Issa's spat with Rep. Cummings. What do they see as the political upside to such a continued focus?

To the extent anyone is paying attention -- and that's somewhat debateable -- it could help drive intensity in the Democratic base.

Reid can't get in trouble for what he says about the Koch brother;s because members of Congress are protected by the speech and debate clause in the Constitution which states " for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place." He can say what he wants, when he wants. Too nerdy for this chat? Wait. That's a rhetorical question isn't it?

Is it?

Best political documentary out there? Best book?

We've got both!

Best political movies:

Best political books:

Chatting with Kornheiser and typing about politics. You're amazing!

Thanks Mom!

Tom Wolf, Allyson Schwartz or Tom Corbett in PA Governor's race?

Well, definitely not Corbett. At this point in a race between Corbett and a potted plant, I am taking the plant. 

I agree that Debbie Wasserman Schultz deserves some kind of "award," but that should be for the most transparently ridiculous and cringe-worthy spin, with her tweet about Jolly "underperforming" in FL-13 with his win. You have to have a single-digit IQ to believe that. I'm continually surprised that DWS actually has some kind of position of authority in her party. Is she really the best the DNC has? She's so strident and humor-less.

As I tweeted at the time, the spin tht this is a "heavily Republican district" is beyond ridiculous.

Obama won it twice and Alex Sink carried it both in her CFO race and when she ran for governor in 2010.

One thing in DWS's defense: She is the party chair. She's supposed to be outspoken and partisan.

That's more like worst year, not worst week. Everyone's allowed a bad season now and then, are we going to be better next year?

My gosh. I don't know.

I feel like the last 5 or so seasons have been disappointments because of how pooorly we have performed in various tournaments.

What does his post-Vice Presidency look like? If he fails to win the Senate race as predicted, does he ever try to go for another office? Is there potential for him in the next Dem administration?

Biden is rumored to be running for the Senate?  I don't think so.

I think he would have any number of opportunities outside of elected office. The problem? Biden is a total political animal and wants badly to stay in the mix.

Do you ever get deep questions that cannot be answered in four or five sentences, so that even though they are interesting you need to move on to other (shorter answered) questions?

Yes. Questions like "what if c-a-t really spelled dog?"

Dillon Panthers or East Dillon Lions?

East Dillon.

Hell, if Buddy Garrity can switch allegiances so can I.

All the navel-gazing about Texas turning first purple, and then blue, due to the growth of Hispanics is based on the assumption that Hispanic voters will continue to vote the same they do today in the future, even though they gain in economic stability and the percentage of business owners increases. The wealthier people get, the more they trend to voting Republican. People need to take that into account.

I think there is of course the possibility that the Hispanic vote becomes more competitive. Which is why I always say that Texas turns competitive in 2020 or 2024 only if current vote patterns hold.

HillaryClinton will be 69 on election day;she was born Oct.26,1947

I stand corrected. Thank you.

Do you see him in a Presidential race? I thought he was not running for governor again because his wife didn't like the political life.

I think he is getting more open to the idea of it.

We are coming out with our ratings of the 2016 D field later today....stay tuned.

Who are the top House Republicans who could replace Boehner if he were to step aside?

Cantor, Ryan and McCarthy.

I think if Ryan wanted it, he could have it.

So, you don't see KY or GA as possible Democratic pickups? If those both happened and the GOP only won WV or SD, you'd be looking at R -1.

Good point. 

Was that the most awkward 20 secs you have ever had or just on TV?

It wasn't awkward for me! It was taped but I guess they forgot to cut out the "Chris Christie" thanks. Strange.

Nah, your guys looked great in last years NCAA...

Getting dunked on everywhere? Yeah, you're right.

They hardly need Reid's help to be "boogeymen".

I would remind you of this: Most people have no idea who the Kochs are. Reid's attempt to elevate them is aimed at exciting the D base, who is more aware and more unfavorably inclined to the Kochs than the average person.

If Gray squeaks a win out in the primary, but then is indicted before the general election, does he still win the general election?

He might not. david Catania, who is running as an independent in the fall, is a serious guy who could absolutely pick up the pieces from a Gray collapse.

Isn't David Jolly's district a long-time Republican district with a majority of GOP-registered voters? It would've been bigger news if Democrat Alex Sink had won the House seat, wouldn't it?

This was a seat that for more than a decade Democrats insisted they would win when it came open. It came open and they lost.

Also, did I mention Obama won it twice and Sink herself carried it in her losing 2010 gubernatorial race?

What kind of national conditions would it take for the worst case scenario of Republicans -1 in the Senate?

Hard for me to imagine them now. But....a significantly strengthened Obama, an extended national spotlight on some sort of major scandal within the GOP...hard to see.

Who is the most important Member of the House or Senate almost no one has heard of?

Dave Camp. Chairman of the Ways and Means Committe in the House.

Ugh, you had to mention tournaments.

Um, kind of hard to avoid, right?

Are you writing a follow-up book to the Gospel According to the Fix? Any chance you'll ever write a presidential campaign book?

I like to think there's another book in me. But nothing planned right now. At the moment, I am focused on growing The Fix -- four new hires! -- and trying to be the best husband and dad I can be.

Gotta be humiliating for her, doesn't it? I mean, she was pretty close to being governor of the 4th largest state, and now she can't even get to Congress. She'll have to console herself with her millions in Bank of America money and those beautiful Gulf sunsets.

Not great.

Like I said, know when to fold them.

Are you following the Democratic primary election, which for all intents and purposes, is going to determine the winner of the general election, here at all? Any thoughts? Is there any state in the country other than NJ where Democrats and Republicans conspire with each other during the redistricting process to create safe districts for incumbents instead of fighting against one another to be able to win as many seats for their party as possible?

Ted Cruz and John McCain.

Harry Reid and David Koch

Me and Aaron Blake

Has this hurt, helped, or been a push for Obama's standing in the nation these last few weeks?

Absolutely no impact. It's obvious a big story with real geopolitical consequences. But, for the average American, it's a blip -- if that.

Does he have a chance if he runs for Congress?

Yup. Because he ius very well known in what looks will be a VERY crowded race.

Since you started as a political reporter, what has been the most surprising win for a candidate?

When Regina Seltzer, a librarian, beat Rep. Michael forbes in a Democratic primary in, I think, 2000. Forbes had switched parties and Republicans spent a ton of dough "touting" all of his conservative positions to the Democratic primary electorate. Genius.

The result of the special election in FL-13 really shows the power of incumbency. Bill Young ran unopposed and won his elections, even when the district was voting for Sink and Obama in state-wide and national elections. They loved him.


Won't happen, but it would be kinda fun to see Joe stay on as veep. Has there ever been a veep with more than 2 terms in office?

That would be amzing. Sort of like the one kid who is the designated QB when you play touch football.  

I trust that you'll be watching ESPN Sunday night. This may be a bit before your time, but I was actually one of the lucky ones at the "Sweater Game" at MSG back in 1985 because my father was able to get City College alumni seating because CCNY played NYU in a D-III game as game one of the double-header that night.

I will. A local guy named Ezra Edelman directed it. But, it will just make me sad.  The Big East that i grew up with is gone. And I just can't get excited for G'town vs Butler.

"politicians currently on the bubble" - Please try to incorporate this phrase in a future post / tweet / rap-battle. Thanks

I am flattered that you think I might ever be involved in a rap battle.

Regarding the questoin about Biden's post VP life, what about making him DNC Chair? Like him or not (and I do), it certainly would be entertaining.


6 months to go, where do the odds stand for Crist vs. Scott?

Crist a slight favborite but I am still way less than convinced that he can bring it home. Crist's campaign so far has been really uneven -- to be kind. But, Scott is so not popular in the state that even with all of the personal money he is going to spend on the race I am not sure he can turn it around.

Likelihood of Paul Broun winning the GA GOP Senate primary? If he gets the nod, would he turn into another Mourdock or Todd Akin?

Possible. And he could be very problematic as a the GOP nominee.

When was the last time a special election had a demonstrable "fortune-telling" representation of the general that was to come?

The one everyone points to is when Ron Lewis won a traditionally Democratic seat in Kentucky in 1993.

I always remind people that Democrats won 3 contested specials -- NY-20, NY-23 and PA-12 -- in the runup to the 2010 election. And we know how that one turned out.

I caught that episode with Matthews. He also predicts that the Dems lose the Senate, so I suspect it is safe to say they will keep their hold on it. Sort of like the SI cover photo, maybe?

The candidacies of Cory Gardner in Colorado and Scott Brown in New Hampshuire put two more seat on the national radar and give Republicans more margin for error as they try to win back the Senate.

The last month has seen it get more likely Republicans are in the majority in 2015.

Plus or minus for Obama? (Personally, I thought it was a riot).

I thought it was somewhat funny. (Althought i's noweher near as funny as the Jon hamm one.)

Probably a slight net plus among young people who are the ones his appearance was aimed at.

That's all, folks!

Thanks again for tuning in. And remember, we do this EVERY Friday at 11 am. Spread the word!


In This Chat
Chris Cillizza
Chris Cillizza is the managing editor of PostPolitics and he writes "The Fix," a politics blog for The Washington Post. He also covers the White House for the newspaper and website. Chris has appeared as a guest on NBC, CBS, ABC, MSNBC, Fox News Channel and CNN to talk politics. He lives in Virginia with his wife and sons.
Recent Chats
  • Next: