When confronted with a prediction that doesn't match your own, it's natural to assume you are right and to try and prove it. It's why, with polls showing President Obama headed toward a comfortable re-election two years back, many Republicans set about frantically trying to "unskew" the results. It looked great on paper — "Hey, Romney is actually winning!" — but proved flawed come November.
With the midterms on the way, the unskew movement is back. And this time, the poll in question is a New York Times/Kaiser Family Foundation survey, released Wednesday, that shows Democrats doing well in four crucial Senate races. In the most remarkable finding, the poll gave Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.) — who was believed to be the most vulnerable Senate Democrat this cycle — a 10-point lead.
The Republican National Committee's response: "Desperate after losing Nate Silver, The New York Times published a poll taken from people they found outside the DSCC who confidently predicted they'd keep the Senate."
The RNC's beef is that the poll ostensibly overrepresented Obama supporters, thus boosting the Dem candidates. (The percentage of respondents who said they voted for Romney in 2012 didn't match the actual elections results.)
But as the Times' Nate Cohn explained in defending the survey, "there's a well-known bias toward the victor in post-election surveys," so it's likely some Romney voters either claimed to have backed Obama, or declined to say whom they voted for. And since the rest of the poll's demographics make sense, the results can't just be dismissed out of hand. Jon Terbush
No less than 18 large wildfires are burning in the West and Southwest regions of the U.S., aggravated by extreme heat and lack of rain. The two largest blazes are in Utah and Arizona, but there are also fires in California, New Mexico, Nevada, and Oregon.
— NWS Salt Lake City (@NWSSaltLakeCity) June 22, 2017
Wildfires have burned more than 2.5 million acres in the United States in 2017 alone, about 1 million acres more than is typical for this time of year. In Utah, 800 people have been evacuated, and 13 homes have burned. That fire began June 17 and is only 5 percent contained. Bonnie Kristian
The health-care proposal to replace ObamaCare expected to come to a vote in the Senate this week is insufficiently conservative, said Tim Phillips, president of Americans For Prosperity, a political outfit in the Koch brothers' network, in an Associated Press report published Sunday.
Phillips said the Koch network is "disappointed that movement has not been more dramatic toward a full repeal or a broader rollback of this law, ObamaCare," labeling the Senate bill "a slight nip and tuck" of current law which changes so little it is "immoral." To net his support, he added, the "Senate bill needs to get better."
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has indicated he is willing to alter the health-care legislation to make it viable, but he faces incompatible demands from across the political spectrum. Bonnie Kristian
Conservative Republican opponents of the GOP's health-care proposal in the Senate have labeled the ObamaCare replacement package "ObamaCare lite," but the bill is taking fire from the center and left, too.
A group of moderate Republican senators are raising concerns about proposed Medicaid changes that would mean significantly less federal funding in their states. The fifth Republican senator to announce his opposition to the bill, Nevada's Dean Heller, specifically cited Medicaid in his Friday announcement that his vote is currently a "no." Sens. Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) have not formally opposed the legislation so far, but both centrist Republicans have mentioned similar considerations.
Meanwhile, progressive critics warn the legislation could produce a "death spiral" in insurance markets in which premiums rise as healthier people — no longer bound by ObamaCare's individual mandate — drop coverage, producing a cycle of even higher premiums and fewer insurance customers.
President Trump fired back at critics twice on Twitter Saturday, noting premium hikes under the current system and writing that he "cannot imagine that these very fine Republican Senators would allow the American people to suffer a broken ObamaCare any longer!" The health-care bill can't pass the Senate if more than two Republicans vote against it. Bonnie Kristian
The U.K.'s Houses of Parliament were hit with a cyberattack Friday evening consisting of "unauthorized attempts to access parliamentary user accounts," a representative of Parliament said Saturday. Members of Parliament were informed of the situation Friday night when they had difficulty accessing their email accounts remotely.
"We are continuing to investigate this incident and take further measures to secure the computer network," the representative said. "We have systems in place to protect member and staff accounts and are taking the necessary steps to protect our systems."
It is unclear how many MPs were affected or who is responsible for the attack. Bonnie Kristian
Monday begins the Supreme Court's final week before its current term ends and summer break begins. SCOTUS is expected to hand down several major decisions in the next few days — among them its ruling on President Trump's stalled travel ban — but rumors are swirling that this Monday could see a retirement announcement from Justice Anthony Kennedy, too.
"Sources close to Kennedy say that he is seriously considering retirement," CNN reported Saturday, though "they are unclear if it could occur as early as this term." Kennedy's departure would give President Trump his second SCOTUS nomination after the successful appointment of Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia.
Kennedy has long served as a swing vote on the court, sometimes siding with the progressive wing — as in the landmark gay marriage case, 2015's Obergefell v. Hodges — but often joining the conservatives on issues like gun control and campaign finance. Kennedy will turn 81 in July and has served on the court since 1988 after being nominated by President Reagan. Bonnie Kristian
The tiny Gulf nation of Qatar has rejected a list of 13 demands issued by Saudi Arabia and other neighboring Arab states Thursday as a condition for restoring diplomatic ties. The Saudi-led group of countries isolating Qatar claims the country is supporting terrorism, an allegation Qatar denies.
Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani said in a statement the demands should have been "reasonable and actionable" as well as "measured and realistic," quoting comments from top U.S. and U.K. diplomats. "This list does not satisfy that [sic] criteria," he added.
It was never very plausible Qatar would answer other than it did. The "extent and scale of the demands appear designed to induce a rejection by Qatar," notes The Atlantic, "and a possible justification for a continuation, if not escalation, of the crisis. The list, if accurate, represents an intrusion into the internal affairs of Qatar that would threaten its very sovereignty." Bonnie Kristian
Former governor of California (and Terminator star) Arnold Schwarzenegger teamed up with new French President Emmanuel Macron to take a swipe at President Trump on environmental issues Friday.
— Arnold (@Schwarzenegger) June 23, 2017
"I'm here with President Macron. We are talking about the environmental issues and a green future," says Schwarzenegger in the clip posted to Facebook and Twitter. "And now we will deliberate together to make the planet great again," adds a grinning Macron with a transparent reference to Trump's "Make America great again" slogan.