Mueller moves to begin questioning Trump’s White House Staff….

This WAS coming…

We KNOW…

But the announcement is sobering….

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And HAS to have Trump worried and distracted about what people will tell investigators about the Trump Administration beginnings when Trump and others thought they could do WHATEVER they wanted and Donald Trump was openly seeking to stop a probe of his actions…

The Mueller people have specific things they want to inquire about …..

Hmmmmm?

In a sign that the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election will remain a continuing distraction for the White House, the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, is in talks with the West Wing about interviewing current and former senior administration officials, including the recently ousted White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, according to three people briefed on the discussions.

Mr. Mueller has asked the White House about specific meetings, who attended them and whether there are any notes, transcripts or documents about them, two of the people said. Among the matters Mr. Mueller wants to ask the officials about is President Trump’s decision in May to fire the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, the two people said.

That line of questioning will be important as Mr. Mueller continues to investigate whether Mr. Trump obstructed justice in the dismissal of Mr. Comey.

No interviews have been scheduled, but in recent weeks Mr. Mueller’s investigation has appeared to intensify. Late last month, he took the aggressive step of executing a search warrant at the Alexandria, Va., home of Paul J. Manafort, Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman. Legal experts say Mr. Mueller may be trying to put pressure on Mr. Manafort to cooperate with the investigation.

Although it has been clear for months that Mr. Mueller would interview Mr. Trump’s closest advisers, the recent inquiries come as the president is heading into the fall pushing his priorities in Congress, including a tax overhaul, with the constant distraction of a federal investigation….

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Note…

There is a Grand Jury sitting….

This IS a criminal investigation…

People have their OWN personal lawyers…

Who KNOWS who Trump would pardon…Or Not?

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Bernie Sanders as the Ralph Nader reincarnation?

The supporters of Bernie Sanders, who isn’t a Democrat, are continuing their identity politics push which could actually hurt the Democratic party which is searching for more votes….

Could Al Gore’s trouble be a bad history repeat?

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  @ The Washington Post….

Things could go well for the Democrats in next year’s midterm elections — if they don’t Bern out.

President Trump is woefully unpopular, feuding with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and other Republicans. The GOP can’t manage to repeal Obamacare or do much of anything. Voters say they’d like Democrats to run Congress.

But here come the Bernie Bros and sisters to the Republicans’ rescue: They’re sowing division in the Democratic Party and attempting to enact a purge of the ideologically impure — just the sort of thing that made the Republican Party the ungovernable mess it is today.

Bernie Sanders’s advisers are promoting a “litmus test” under which Democrats who don’t swear to implement single-payer health care would be booted from the party in primaries. Sanders pollster Ben Tulchin penned an op-ed with a colleague under the headline “Universal health care is the new litmus test for Democrats.” Nina Turner, head of the Sanders group Our Revolution, told Politico thisweek that “there’s something wrong with” Democrats who won’t “unequivocally” embrace “Medicare-for-all.”

That notion — not just taking a stand but excommunicating all who disagree — is what Republicans have done to themselves with guns and taxes, and it would seriously diminish Democrats’ hopes of retaking the House next year…..

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Computer based…Mastery-based learning….

Another brainstorm experiment in teaching?

And someone gets rich taking things away from traditional learning….

At M.S. 442,[NYC] students are encouraged to focus instead on mastering a set of grade-level skills, like writing a scientific hypothesis or identifying themes in a story, moving to the next set of skills when they have demonstrated that they are ready. In these schools, there is no such thing as a C or a D for a lazily written term paper. There is no failing. The only goal is to learn the material, sooner or later.

For struggling students, there is ample time to practice until they get it. For those who grasp concepts quickly, there is the opportunity to swiftly move ahead. The strategy looks different from classroom to classroom, as does the material that students must master. But in general, students work at their own pace through worksheets, online lessons and in small group discussions with teachers. They get frequent updates on skills they have learned and those they need to acquire….

More than 40 schools in New York City home to the largest school district in the country, with 1.1 million students have adopted the program. But what makes that unusual is that schools using the method are doing so voluntarily, as part of a grass-roots movement. In communities where the shift was mandated — high schools in and around Portland, Me., for example — the method faced considerable resistance from parents and teachers annoyed that the time-consuming, and sometimes confusing, change has come from top-tier school administrators. Some contend that giving students an unlimited amount of time to master every classroom lesson is unrealistic and inefficient.

New York City Department of Education officials have taken a contrasting position. The city has a growing program called the Mastery Collaborative, which helps mastery-based schools share their methods around the city, even as they adopt different styles. To date, there are eight lab schools, whose practices are being tested, honed and highlighted for transitioning schools. M.S. 442 is one of them. Some struggling schools hope the shift will raise test scores. But the method is also growing in popularity among high-performing, progressive schools, as well as those catering to gifted and talented students and newly arriving immigrants.

This fall, the Education Department plans to spread the method further, by inviting schools to see how the Mastery Collaborative works, even if they aren’t yet considering making the switch. They will be encouraged to attend workshops and tour schools, with the hope, one D.O.E. official said, that they will find elements that they can use in their own classrooms….

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Republicans take heat on trying to deep six the Healthcare Law….

Far away from their buddies in the hall’s of Congress ?

Indidviual Grand ole Party lawmakers  are faced with angry people who sent them to work  and see them  trying to take away their healthcare coverage…and the few who think Donald Trump is the next coming….

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But at town-hall meetings since the start of the recess, tax reform has hardly come up; health care has dominated. At a Monday town hall in Flat Rock, N.C., Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) pitched a plan to devolve ACA programs to the states, then found himself fending off constituents who backed universal Medicare.

“You can take the top one percent and tax them fully, and it still won’t pay for Medicare,” said Meadows.

At a town hall in Chico, Calif., in the most Democratic portion of a deep red district, Rep. Doug LaMalfa (R-Calif.) found himself fending off furious complaints about the repeal vote, with constituents accusing him of acting to bring about their death.

“I hope you suffer the same painful fate as those millions that you have voted to remove health care from,” one constituent told LaMalfa. “May you die in pain.”

Carter’s town halls did not reach that boiling point, but they revealed what the tone of congressional listening sessions has become — angry, wistful and loaded with progressive activists….

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The Tuesday Group…Moderate Republicans….

For those who keep arguing the nonsense that there are NO Republican moderates in the 114th Congress….

The Tuesday Group is an informal caucus of approximately 50 moderate Republican members of the United States House of Representatives in the 114th Congress (2015–2017).[1] It was founded in 1994 in the wake of the Republican takeover of the House. The Republican House caucus was dominated by conservative Republicans and the Tuesday Group was founded to counterbalance that conservative trend. There were approximately 40 members when it was founded.[2] In 2007 the Tuesday Group founded its own political action committee.[3]

The co-chairs of the Tuesday Group were Charlie Dent, Robert Dold, and Adam Kinzinger from 2015–2017,[1] and Dent, Tom MacArthur and Elise Stefanik from 2017.[4] MacArthur resigned in May 2017 due to disagreement among members over the American Health Care Act of 2017.[5]

Former co-chairs include Charlie Bass, Mike Castle, Jo Ann Emerson, Mark Kirk, and Fred Upton.[2][6]Members have included Judy Biggert, Sherwood Boehlert, Tom Davis, Mike Fitzpatrick, Mark Foley, Jim Gerlach, Nancy Johnson, Sue Kelly, Jim Kolbe, Ray LaHood, Leonard Lance, Jim Leach, John McKernan, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Bob Michel, Todd Platts, Jim Ramstad, Dave Reichert, Joe Schwarz, Chris Shays, Rob Simmons, Olympia Snowe, James Walsh, and Heather Wilson[2][3][7]

The other major GOP group of moderates in Congress is the Republican Main Street Partnership, which includes members of both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House….

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Fox News also give its list of Moderate Republican Senators…

Moderate Senate Republicans who could decide the fate of the GOP-led chamber’s ObamaCare overhaul bill asked Majority Leader Mitch McConnell late Friday to rework proposed changes to Medicaid in exchange for their yes votes, Fox News has confirmed.

The GOP senators who asked McConnell in a meeting were Dean Heller of Nevada, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rob Portman of Ohio, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and John Hoeven of North Dakota…..

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Donald Trump is at it AGAIN…Open Thread for August 11, 2017…

This time it’s the North Korea’s…

If ya haven’t noticed by now?

This is TYPICAL Trump….

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With the Media breathlessly reporting EVERY utterance…..(which scares most people, but gets eaten up by his base)

Donald Trump is on center stage throwing haymakers at SOMEBODY….

During the campaign last year it was his adopted parties other candidates…and few judges…

Then it was Hillary Clinton…

Then it was the FBI Director which he fired….

Recently it ‘s been his own Republicans…

Briefed that the North Korea’s won’t actually fire anything AT America and now say they’ll think about Guam?

Trump has the green light to beat his chest and be that guy that gets in your face knowing that he’s got his posse standing behind him and there isn’t gonna be a fight….

Update….

Turns out that the US and North Korea HAVE BEEN talking for months…

Beyond the bluster, the Trump administration has been quietly engaged in back channel diplomacy with North Korea for several months, addressing Americans imprisoned in the communist country and deteriorating relations between the long-time foes, The Associated Press has learned.

It had been known the two sides had discussions to secure the June release of an American university student. But it wasn’t known until now that the contacts have continued, or that they have broached matters other than U.S. detainees.

People familiar with the contacts say the interactions have done nothing thus far to quell tensions over North Korea’s nuclear weapons and missile advances, which are now fueling fears of military confrontation. But they say the behind-the-scenes discussions could still be a foundation for more serious negotiation…

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In addition?

The US and Allies will hold annual military drills with the South Korea military that the North Korea’s have always been uncomfortable with….

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Waiting in the wings and soon to be appearing?…Barack Obama…

The Hill does an update piece on the return of Barack Obama to the Democrats national scene…

Look for him to come back on stage this fall…

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He has indicated that he wants to help the party climb back into the majority , something they lost during his two terms in office…

While some think he could overshadow the emerging 2020 Democratic Presidential sweepstakes entrants….I think Obama at least owes the party his services in trying to regain its footings….(Sanders people can’t be happy with this)

Hillary Clinton doesn’t have Obama’s 63% approval numbers , but will be out with a book  and has her own Super Pac up and running for what she says is to also help out the Democrats in 2018 and 2020…

One aide describes the beginning of a “delicate dance” that aims to put Obama in the Democratic fray but prevents him from remaining the face of the party.

Aides will huddle with Obama in the coming weeks to plot out what shape the former president’s fall schedule will take. Advisers close to him say that while he will play an active role in helping his party rebuild, much of his work will be behind the scenes.

He is likely to take on fundraising, for example, something he has done for the Democratic National Committee and the National Democratic Redistricting Committee since leaving office.

In recent months, Obama has played a larger behind the scenes role than was publicly known….

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Trump seems to lock Democrats out of Federal Judge picks….

One area Conservatives are happy with Trump is judge picks , which will be in effect for decades in the Courts….

President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees are ignoring key Senate Democrats as they vie for lifetime appointments to the bench — a break from longstanding practice that diminishes the minority’s power to provide a check against ideologically extreme judges.

The brewing tension between the White House and the Senate over filling an unusually high number of judicial vacancies is impeding the pace at which Trump installs lifetime appointees to the federal bench — so far one of the president’s few major victories, with his legislative agenda largely stymied in Congress.

University of Pennsylvania law professor Stephanos Bibas met privately with his state’s GOP senator, Pat Toomey, before Trump chose him to the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in June — but not with Democratic Sen. Bob Casey, according to a questionnaire submitted by Bibas to the Senate Judiciary Committee about his nomination. Same goes for 7thCircuit nominee Amy Coney Barrett, who interviewed with Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) about the appellate vacancy but not fellow Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly, a Democrat.

And in Minnesota, 8th Circuit nominee David Stras met personally with two House Republicans who had recommended him to the White House but with neither of the two senators — Democrats Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar — who actually wield influence over whether Stras’ nomination can advance.

“Let’s be clear: The Trump administration did not meaningfully consult with Sen. Franken prior to Justice Stras’ nomination,” Franken spokesman Michael Dale-Stein said. “Rather than discuss how senators traditionally approached circuit court vacancies or talk about a range of potential candidates, the White House made clear its intention to nominate Justice Stras from the outset.”

Though the nominee questionnaires don’t disclose all communications between the White House and senators about a judicial candidate, Democratic senators and aides argue that consultation over court nominees — generally a bipartisan custom — has been minimal under Trump, at best….

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Donald Trump’s North Korea posturing is driving World Financial Markets down…

…from the NY Times…

A sell-off in global markets accelerated on Friday as tensions between the United States and North Korea escalated, driving investors toward havens.

Asian stock markets closed lower and European indexes opened sharply down, on fears that the verbal back-and-forth between Washington and Pyongyang had raised the risk of actual conflict.

Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index fell 2 percent, and South Korea’s main share index also dropped. Stock markets in Britain, France and Germany were all lower by noon in London.

Investors moved their money into what they apparently deemed safer assets. The Japanese yen and Swiss franc were both stronger, and the price of gold rose for the third straight day. The yield on British and European bonds, which move inversely to the price, fell.

The jitters in the stock markets followed tougher talk from Washington and Pyongyang. President Trump said on Thursday that his warning about the United States potentially hitting North Korea with “fire and fury” may not have been tough enough, after North Korea responded by threatening to launch a missile strike at Guam, an American territory in the Pacific…..

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Could the next Alabama US Senator Like Russia’s Putin more than America?

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Roy Moore leads in the early polling for the US Senate Special election in Alabama to replace Atty Gen. Jeff Sessions…….

When The Guardian told Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore (R) that Ronald Reagan once called Russia “the focus of evil in the modern world,” Moore replied, “You could say that very well about America, couldn’t you?”

He added: “We promote a lot of bad things,” specifically citing same-sex marriage.

When the reporter suggested that’s an argument Vladimir Putin makes, Moore said, “Well, then maybe Putin is right. Maybe he’s more akin to me than I know.”

Politicalwire….

Vladimir Putin’s favorability ratings have tripled among Americans in recent years – and the polls say he’s most popular among Republicans. To find out why, Paul Lewis travelled to deeply conservative Alabama, before next week’s Republican Senate primary to choose a replacement for Jeff Sessions. Could Putin’s rising popularity be explained through the Christian evangelicals backing Roy Moore, the famed ‘Ten Commandments Judge’ turned Senate frontrunner?

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David Brooks uses Donald Trump as an excuse will stop writing about politics….

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What will we ever do without David Brooks and his moral compass?
David Brooks doesn’t love us any more and has informed the New York Times that he will no longer be writing about politics in their pages. More specifically, David Brooks doesn’t love the Republicans any more, after seeing the lengths to which they were and are willing to go to maintain power. Brooks particularly doesn’t love Donald Trump any more, saying about Trump, There’s nothing more to be learned about Trump’s mixture of ignorance, insecurity and narcissism. Every second spent on his bluster is more degrading than informative. That sounds about right. Crooks & Liars:

Future historians who want to get a good bead on what things were like during the inmates-running-the-asylum madhouse of American politics in the Year of our Lord 2017 could do worse than study Mr. David Brooks’ column in The New York Times today in some detail.

It is no exaggeration to say that Mr. Brooks spent every hour of his professional career boosting Republicans and Conservatism, mocking Democrats and Liberals, and relentlessly positioning himself as America’s Most Ubiquitous Conservative Public Intellectual.  And yet, in 2017 during the Republican Party’s Year of Jubilee — the year when Mr. Brooks’ Republican Party owned every branch of the federal government and Mr. Brooks’ Conservative Movement had effectively conquered the media both through direct propaganda efforts (Fox News/Hate Radio/etc.) and by bludgeoning the “mainstream media” into a state of meek complicity — Mr. Brooks announced that he was suddenly sick and tired writing about Conservatism or politics.

Which means that, other than the brief “Jewels of Nuance” period during the Age of Bush when Mr. Brooks (and every other Conservative writer) felt it was finally safe to let their inner Sean Hannity completely out and use their public platforms to heap unalloyed contempt and slander on the Dirty Libtards, Mr. Brooks has spent most of his career assiduously avoiding any actual, honest reportage on the state of Conservative politics and culture.

David Brooks, whether he would ever admit it or not, is responsible for this “false equivalence” insanity which has overtaken the media, “both sides do it,” ad nausem….

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Trump insists he won’t fire Mueller….

What happened?

Trump was HEAVY on the case of james Comey as FBI Director, eventually bring him….

Trump warned Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller to stay away from his family…THAT probably isn’t gonna happen….

After ALL of this we get a comment to reporters that Donald Trump isn’t after Mueller?

What gives???

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President Donald Trump told reporters on Thursday that he hasn’t given firing special counsel Robert Mueller any thought, despite people close to him telling reporters that the President is considering firing the man investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

“I haven’t given it any thought,” he said. “I’ve been reading about it from you people. You say, ‘Oh, I’m going to dismiss him.’ No, I’m not dismissing anybody.”
Trump told reporters that he has not passed notes to Mueller through his lawyers but that his administration is working with the special counsel despite their belief that the probe is investigating something that never happened — alleged collusion by the Trump campaign with Russia….
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Trump THANKS Russian President Putin for kicking out American diplomats….

President Obama close two Russian compounds in America in protest against Russian interference in the 2016 Presidential election…

Trump comes into office strongly looking to be BEST friends with Russian President Putin…

He thinks about re-opening the compounds on his own….

Congress votes against he doing much of anything on his own to water down the American displeasure with the Russian actions…..

Putin decides to go back to the old tit for tat thing and expels over 700 American diplomats from his country try….

Today?

President Donald Trump THANKS Putin for the cuts saying that the State Department SHOULD have the payrolls cuts?

I don’t know what the guy was thinking?

Is this his way of saying the cuts don’t mean anything to HIM?

Or?

Is he actually dumb enough to think that the 700+ employee’s are out of jobs and his ‘buddy’ Putin helped him screw Americans out of jobs?

Trump said he was thanking Putin because the decision allows the U.S. government to “cut down our payroll.”

“I want to thank him because we’re trying to cut down our payroll and as far as I’m concerned I’m very thankful that he let go of a large number of people because now we have a smaller payroll,” Trump told reporters at his Bedminster, N.J. golf club….

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Note….

A good many of those in the reductions are actually Russians…The rest career State Dept people….Trump wants to cut the US State Dept budget by 1/3 which Congress is unlikely to do….Sec of State Tillerson has not shown much of an indication he wants to even interact with his cabinet department staff , let alone fight for their jobs…

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Is Trump helping the North Korea leader get stronger?…

The more he challenges North Korea Leader  Kim Jong Un?

The MORE he help’s the guy back home domestically….

At least that’s what one Korean expert says at Politico….

Over the past 72 hours, a teetering uncertainty has loomed over the ongoing crisis in North Korea. There’s been a dizzying array of news: military exercises, intelligence reports that the nation now has the ability to miniaturize a nuclear warhead and fit it onto a missile, President Donald Trump’s promise of “fire, fury and, frankly, power the likes of which this world has never seen before” if North Korea continues with its current path, and, hours later, a North Korean response announcing plans for a missile strike near the U.S. territory of Guam.

But what actually changed this week? Not much, says Lisa Collins, an expert on North Korea and fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Collins says that what we’re seeing is very serious, but also unlikely to lead to a war anytime soon. And, she cautions, if you understand North Korea’s point of view, you’ll see why Trump’s comments might be just what North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un was looking for.

POLITICO Magazine: What is the practical impact of Trump’s “fire and fury” comments on the North Korea crisis?

Lisa Collins: The rhetoric has been heightened, but I don’t think that it changes the actual reality of the North Korean threat. North Korea is used to giving and relaying this kind of rhetoric, and North Korea is very used to these responses.

Threatening war or military action against North Korea … works more towards the advantage of North Korea, not our advantage. After all, it’s a totalitarian regime—it uses threats from the U.S. to consolidate control within the country. It represses its people. The more that North Korea can create the perception of an outside threat, the more it can control the internal domestic situation. That gives the regime more power internally, which it can use externally.

POLITICO Mag: So far, has North Korea’s response to the U.S. been different than in past crises?

Collins: The threat that North Korea made about shooting missiles at Guam, I don’t think it’s very different qualitatively than other statements it has made. It frequently threatens to make Seoul into a “sea of fire”—that means shooting missiles or artillery at Seoul. It also routinely releases videos showing North Korean missiles aimed at Washington, D.C., and the U.S. Capitol building.

POLITICO Mag: How seriously should we take North Korea’s ability to cause damage?

Collins: The North Korean threat is very real. I don’t think we should take it as a joke. The North Koreans are very focused on their goal, which is technology. But I don’t think we’re going to go to war tomorrow. The tensions are high, but I don’t think it’s spiraling out of control. The United States and South Korea are determined to contain the threat, and are working hard within the bounds of their alliance to do so….

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Julian Castro launches a Super Pac for a possible 2020 run….

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Another name for the 2020 Democratic Presidential nomination Sweepstakes list….

The Democratic former San Antonio Mayor and Obama HUD Secretary was mention as a possible Hillary Clinton Vice Presidential choice….

Former Obama Cabinet secretary Julián Castro has formed a new PAC as he steps up his political activity and considers a possible run for president in 2020.

The new group is called “Opportunity First,” a favorite catchphrase of Castro’s since his days as mayor of San Antonio, though it is also similar to President Donald Trump’s “America First” slogan. The group will support candidates for federal, state and local office and could finance other political activities for Castro, who has already lent a hand to several congressional and gubernatorial candidates around the country since the end of the Obama administration.

Documents filed this week for Opportunity First list Castro as its president. Castro declined to comment.

Castro, long considered a rising star in the Democratic Party, has discussed his political intentions carefully, telling reporters that he will not run for office in 2018 but is not ruling out running for president. Castro expanded a little more in a June interview on the Austin PBS show “Overheard with Evan Smith,” telling the Texas Tribune’s Smith that he will “look and see how things develop over the next year or so and then make a decision as to whether that’s something I want to do.”

He is taking several preliminary steps associated with presidential campaigns; in addition to forming a political group, Castro is also writing a memoir….

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Democrats have filed to run in 191 GOP-held House seats. Republicans? In just 62 Democratic seats

California Democrat Mai Khan Tran examines a patient

California physician Mai Khan Tran, one of countless Democrats inspired to run for the House

We’ve all felt it: the burgeoning resistance to Donald Trump and his Republican Party. We’ve seen it in the mass protests that have stiffened the spines of Democrats in Congress; we’ve seen it in the ceaseless waves of phone calls to senators that have helped thwart Trump’s agenda; and we’ve seen it in special elections across the country, where Democrats have outperformed historical voting patterns again and again.

But what about the 2018 midterms? Is there a way we can quantify this enthusiasm?

Indeed there is. Thanks to an excellent and simple new site called Project 435 from activist Dan Johnson, we can now see how many House districts Democrats have filed to run in with the Federal Elections Commission—and the number is big: We’re only in August of 2017 and already Democrats have filed to run in 385 seats out of 435 total.

Helpfully, Project 435 also shows us which Republican-held districts still need Democrats, broken down by state. If you know someone who lives in one of these 50 districts and might make a good candidate—hell, maybe that someone is yourself!—you should encourage them to run. Most of these seats are very red turf, but it’s important to field candidates everywhere we can.

For one, you never know what kind of disaster might befall a Republican candidate. For another, we as a party should always give voters the option of supporting a Democrat, even if it’s in seats we have little chance of winning. Organizing always begins at the local level, and if we want to strengthen and rebuild our party, that has to start from the bottom up. Just imagine if we could fill an entire nationwide slate.

To put these numbers in context, we can also look at how far along Republicans are with candidate filings. The short answer: way behind. GOP candidates have only filed in 303 districts, meaning that 132 Democratic seats are, as of now, uncontested.

Note that these totals—the 385 seats for Democrats and 303 for Republicans—include incumbents, so when you drill down further, the disparity is even starker, since Republicans of course hold the majority in the House. Of the 241 seats held by the GOP, Democrats have filed in 191, or 79 percent. Republicans, by contrast, have only done the same in 62 out of 194 Democratic seats—just 32 percent. In other words, the GOP has a much smaller list to fill but is less than a third of the distance that Democrats are toward completing their own, much larger dance card.

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