staffers

Democratic voters just want to beat Trump. Why are their leaders making it so hard?
Biden’s mix-ups aren’t great, but they’re nothing compared to Trump. The man just tried to buy Greenland

Democratic candidates should stop cudgeling each other and keep their eye on the presidential prize, Murphy writes. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

OPINION — Paging all Democratic candidates, campaign staffers and activists: Do yourselves a favor before it’s too late. Repeat after me: “But that’s nothing compared to Donald Trump.” Use this simple phrase every time you feel the need to criticize another Democratic candidate, or even your own candidate (you know who you are) in the press.

Because lately, two standards for 2020 contenders have emerged in the narratives that dominate campaign coverage. First, there’s the higher, tougher, almost impossible-to-meet standard used for Democrats. And then there’s the lower, he-always-does-that-so-what-do-you-expect measurement saved for the president they’re all trying to replace. If you’re not careful, your critiques of each other’s unfitness for office will send each other’s negatives soaring before Trump even has to get started on the job.

They wear tiaras and sashes. But don’t call it a beauty pageant
Senate staffer hopes for luck at Ireland’s Rose of Tralee International Festival

Molly Eastman was selected to represent Washington, D.C., at Ireland’s Rose of Tralee International Festival. (Courtesy Molly Eastman)

Molly Eastman is not competing in a beauty pageant. “That would very much be the American take on something like this,” she laughed over the phone from the Hart Senate Office Building. 

Eastman is representing Washington, D.C., this weekend in Ireland’s Rose of Tralee International Festival. Don’t get too caught up in the polished tiaras and evening gowns — “It’s basically a big celebration of Irish heritage,” the staffer for Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo told me.  

North Carolina to start voting in a new election — under the shadow of the last one
Democrats hope last fall’s Republican ballot fraud scandal motivates the base in 9th District redo

James E. Nance, center, and Chris Council, right, listen to North Carolina Democrat Dan McCready speak at his campaign office in Elizabethtown, N.C., on Aug. 10. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

ELIZABETHTOWN, N.C. — Chris Council, a 53-year-old African American landscaper, is fired up about Democrat Dan McCready’s campaign for Congress.

“I’m not a betting man, but he’s going to win this race,” Council said after attending a McCready event in this 3,500-person town, the county seat of Bladen County, North Carolina.

Iowa culture shock: Moving to the Midwest to staff a presidential campaign
Getting to know Hy-Vee supermarkets and Kum & Go gas stations

Democratic presidential candidate former Rep. John Delaney speaks at the Iowa State Fair on Friday August 9, 2019. (Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ Roll Call)

Why the bike lane planned for Louisiana Avenue remains stalled

Greg Billing, Executive Director of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, rides the gap in protected bike lane that stretches along Louisiana Avenue to Union Station. But the Senate Sergeant at Arms has put the brakes on plans for this protected bike path. (Nathan Ouellette/CQ Roll Call)

Downtown Washington, D.C., has a network of bike lanes, but there is there is a glaring gap at Louisiana Avenue near the Capitol.

Trump appointees routinely bullied State Department staffers, IG reports
Numerous employees subjected to ‘disrespectful,’ ‘hostile’ and ‘inappropriate’ treatment

Two top officials at the State Department engaged in "generally unprofessional behavior" toward staffers, the inspector general's report found. (Mark Wilson/Getty Images file photo)

A long-awaited investigation by the State Department’s inspector general concluded in a report released Thursday that multiple career employees were subjected to “disrespectful,” “hostile” and “inappropriate” treatment at the hands of political appointees.

The review specifically focused on allegations of political retaliation against career employees at the Bureau of International Organization Affairs, which leads and coordinates U.S. policy toward the United Nations. For over a year, House and Senate Democrats have pushed for a thorough investigation into whistleblower complaints and news reports that political appointees were vetting career employees at the State Department and retaliating against those they deemed insufficiently loyal to President Donald Trump and his administration’s conservative agenda.

Engel wants staffers to warn foreign governments about spending at Trump’s hotels
New memo instructs staff on interactions with foreign governments

House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot L. Engel wants Democratic staffers to warn foreign government officials that spending at Trump-owned properties could violate the Constitution’s emoluments clause. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

A new directive this week from House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot L. Engel instructs staffers to warn foreign governments that spending at Trump-owned properties could violate the Constitution’s emoluments clause.

The memo, released Monday, issues guidelines for staff engaging with foreign governments. The directive signed by the New York Democrat is aimed specifically at the committee’s majority staff. Republican staffers were not given the same instructions.

Tom Harkin makes rare appearance with 2020 contender
Event with Kirsten Gillibrand on disability rights draws former Iowa senator

Former Iowa Sen. Tom Harkin and New York senator and presidential contender Kirsten Gillibrand hug after speaking to reporters Sunday at a community discussion on disability rights at the Holiday Inn in West Des Moines, Iowa. (Thomas McKinless/CQ Roll Call).

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa — Bob Raker came to the Holiday Inn’s ballroom Sunday to see a Democratic senator, just not the one running for president.

“Anytime you get to see Sen. Tom Harkin, it’s worthwhile,” said Raker, a 65-year-old retired government worker. Harkin, a five-term senator who retired in 2015, has steered clear of the campaign trail as presidential hopefuls have crisscrossed his home state of Iowa.

Duncan Hunter said person making ‘OK’ sign in photo was a ‘stranger.’ The man calls Hunter a friend
California Republican backtracks, but episode could foreshadow his 2020 strategy

California Rep. Duncan Hunter was photographed at a July Fourth parade with a man who has ties to white supremacists. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

When a constituent who posed for a photo with Rep. Duncan Hunter was later found to have white supremacist ties, a Hunter staffer dismissed him as “a stranger in a parade who wanted to be in a picture” with the Republican congressman.

The photo showed Hunter at a July Fourth parade in his Southern California district, standing beside Kris Wyrick, who flashes an “OK” gesture — a sign appropriated by extremists in recent years to mean “WP” or “white power.”

The Iowa State Fair: Our proactive primer on politics, pork and public officials
Political Theater Podcast, Episode 85

Politicians love to hang out at the Iowa State Fair, so that is where Political Theater will relocate next week to cover all the political races — for president, Senate and House — as well as various foods served on a stick. Here, Republican Rep. Steve King and future Sen. Joni Ernst hang out amid the pork at the Pork Tent in 2014. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Political Theater is heading to the Iowa State Fair to check out how the 2020 races for president and Senate and four competitive House contests are shaping up in this bellwether state. Why Iowa? Because that’s where the candidates are.

Bridget Bowman, our senior political writer, and Leah Askarinam of Inside Elections lay it all out for us on the latest episode of Political Theater.