TPM Cafe: Opinion

As the 2014 election cycle proceeds, it remains likely that Republicans will have a good — possibly even very good — November. If success is defined as a takeover of the Senate, the supposedly biased liberal mainstream media is pretty bullish about a GOP harvest, with the New York Times’ Nate Cohn giving Republicans a 60 percent probability of winning the Senate; the Washington Post’s Election Lab rating a GOP takeover as a 84 percent probability; and FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver projecting GOP gains of 5.7 seats (with six needed for a takeover). Nobody has talked seriously of a Democratic takeover of the House since last year; and even in state contests, where anti-incumbent sentiment should cut against GOP incumbents, Republicans could well hold or conceivably even improve their bloated margins among governors and state legislative chambers.

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Later-term abortions make up a very small portion of all terminations performed in this county: according to the Guttmacher Institute, approximately 4.8 percent of all abortions occur after the 20th week of pregnancy. But that hasn’t stopped anti-choice activists and politicians from enacting an outsize number of laws to restrict this rare procedure, often using the medically controversial concept of “fetal pain” as a rationale to prevent women from terminating after the 20th or 22nd week.

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The tax subsidies provided under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to pay for health insurance are, of course, the subject of significant press coverage since dueling federal appeals courts came to different conclusions about who receives them this week. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals held, in a 2-1 decision called Harbig v. Burwell, that an Internal Revenue Service regulation extending the tax subsidies to taxpayers who purchase insurance from the federally-operated exchange (which covers 36 states) violated the plain language of the ACA. The Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals came to the opposite conclusion. The U.S. Department of Justice is likely to seek full court review (called “en banc review”) of the D.C. Circuit case, which may well reverse the 3 judge panel that struck the IRS regulation down. And the issue could ultimately end up in the Supreme Court.

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Less than two years ago, President Obama pledged to confront the “bitter truth” of the human trafficking that goes on right here in the United States. “We can’t ask other nations to do what we are not doing ourselves,” he warned. Many of us hoped his words would usher in a new age in the fight against the abuse and exploitation of children.

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Yesterday’s runoff primaries in Georgia offered some unexpected drama, with David Perdue narrowly upsetting favored Senate opponent Rep. Jack Kingston (R-GA). But the big picture is that the two “Establishment” candidates in this long contest wound up fighting to the finish in a competition characterized by heavy spending aimed at tarring each other as unacceptably moderate. No matter who won or lost, it would be a “true conservative” representing this state’s very conservative GOP “base” in the general election.

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There was a time that keeping Iran from getting a nuclear bomb would have been considered a worthy goal, even a unifying principle. And even though the recent round of P5+1 negotiations with Iran did not result in a big diplomatic deal, Iran is further away from having the bomb now than they were when Barack Obama took office. As shocking as it may be to Americans used to a steady diet of bad international news about ISIL, Gaza, Ukraine, and Boko Haram, an extension of our nuclear deal with Iran is good news.

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The reproductive rights movement hasn’t had a lot of victories to be able to point to over the last few years, thanks to the onslaught of anti-abortion, anti-birth control bills slammed through state legislatures since 2011. One success it has been able to tout, however, has been their public awareness campaign against crisis pregnancy centers [CPCs].

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The agreement between the P5+1 and Iran to extend the period of negotiations over the Iranian nuclear program is good news for those who support a peaceful resolution to the dispute. While it would have been remarkable if such a complex issue had been resolved in only six months, with a continued freeze on the development of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for modest sanctions relief, negotiators on both sides will now have the breathing room to hammer out the technical details necessary for a final deal.

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