Vol. 51, No. 3

In this edition

Earlier this year, I was having a conversation with two veteran GOP lobbyists, and, like so many other conversations in Washington these days, the topic turned to the political environment and the air of uncertainty that has descended upon this town.

The American Military: At the Tipping Point

The U.S. military is in a crisis. Decades of underfunding and continuous employment have taken their toll. Just three of the U.S. Army’s 50 combat brigades and only half the Air Force’s fighters and bombers are fully ready for a major conflict with a serious adversary.

The American Military: It is not too small. Rather, its responsibilities are too many.

Military retrenchment is not popular in the Republican Party. But America’s coming financial infirmity may allow no other course.

Suitcases Full of Propaganda for the Digital Age

Nearly 30 years after the end of the Cold War, Russian efforts to undermine the transatlantic alliance represent a clear and present threat.

A National Crisis Needs a National Response

The drug epidemic is gripping America, with West Virginia one of the hardest-hit states. But no community is immune from the suffering.

The Virginia Bellwether

The stakes are high in Virginia, where the GOP is trying to win back the Governor’s mansion, and the Democrats are running against Donald Trump.

A View from Dubuque County, Iowa

Dubuque County does not neatly fit into the standard media picture of Trump Country. In a county with fewer than 70,000 total registered voters, Democrats hold a roughly 10,000 voter edge over Republicans in terms of registration.

A View from Northampton County, Pennsylvania

At first glance, Northampton County, Pennsylvania might not seem like “Trump Country.” Despite some remnants of the steel industry that once dominated the local economy, there are few obvious indicators of the Rust Belt settings that were at the heart of Donald Trump’s electoral triumph in 2016.

A View from Trumbull County, Ohio

Trumbull County is very much a working class microcosm of Ohio. To that end, perhaps the most important thing to know about presidential politics in the Buckeye State is that Ohioans always sell their 18 electoral votes to the highest bidder.

A View from Macomb County, Michigan

Macomb County has an interesting and important history in American politics. Located northeast of Wayne County, home of Detroit, Macomb was a destination beginning in the 1970s for many white blue-collar workers who were tied to the automobile industry.

A View from Kenosha County, Wisconsin

While Kenosha County has reflected the Republican trend, there is continuing Democratic support. Trump carried the county by less than 1,000 votes. By contrast, Barack Obama in 2012 had a vote margin of nearly 10,000. Notably lower voter turnout in 2016 helps explain the difference.

The “OT’s” … the Obama-Trump Counties

A chart of the 208 counties won by Donald Trump in 2016 after they were won by Barack Obama in 2012 & 2008.

Great Expectations

As Donald Trump reaches the six month mark of his presidency, the media predictably is focused almost solely on the short term. But Republicans need to look through a different lens and play a smarter long game if they are going to be successful.

Ripon Profile of Bill Cassidy

The physician and Louisiana Senator discusses his priorities on Capitol Hill and the challenge facing the residents of his home state that he is working to address.

Ripon Profile of Bill Cassidy

Name: Bill Cassidy

Occupation: U.S. Senator & Physician

First job & lesson(s) you learned from it:  Mowing grass. I learned if you work hard you can do well.

Book you read that you’re recommending to friends: The Accidental Superpower: The Next Generation of American Preeminence and the Coming Global Disorder by Peter Zeihan.

Challenge facing your State that you’re working to address: Better jobs for working families.

Priorities in the United States Senate that you hope to achieve this year: Replace ACA with a plan which meets the needs of working families. Reform National Flood Insurance Program and reauthorize it for 10 years.

Finally, finish this sentence: “If I could reform one agency or department in the federal government, it would be…” The Army Corp of Engineers.