In it, but not of it. TPM DC

New York voters have been receiving very sinister letters from their state's Democratic Party. The tone is vaguely Orwellian: We'll be watching whether you go to the ballot box.

"Who you vote for is your secret," the letter, posted by some recipients on Twitter, says. "But whether or not you vote is public record. Many organizations monitor turnout in your neighborhood and are disappointed by the inconsistent voting of many of your neighbors."

It then provides a quick reminder of when and where one can vote.

"We will be reviewing ... official voting records after the upcoming election to determine whether you joined your neighbors who voted in 2014," the mailer concludes. "If you do not vote this year, we will be interested to hear why not."

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One subplot in the ongoing saga of three political scientists whose research project is now the subject of an official investigation and intense debate among academics is that one of the researchers is involved in a Silicon Valley start-up whose work has, at least on paper, a lot in common with the now-controversial experiment.

The New York Times noted one of the researcher's role as co-founder of Crowdpac. The researcher, Stanford assistant professor Adam Bonica, launched the startup last month with Steve Hilton, former adviser to British Prime Minister David Cameron, and Gisel Kordestani, a former senior executive at Google. The company, which received $2 million in startup funding, is developing a system to help people find candidates whose ideology aligns with theirs and then donate money to them.

Political blogs in Montana, where an official state inquiry is underway over mailers that Bonica and colleagues sent to 100,000 voters that bore the state seal and placed non-partisan judicial candidates on a partisan scale, have also made the connection and openly wondered whether Crowdpac had any role in the controversial research project.

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With five days to go before Election Day, House forecasters roundly project that Republicans will expand their already robust majority, and potentially gain their largest advantage in the chamber since the Roaring Twenties.

Sabato's Crystal Ball projects a 9-seat gain for Republicans.

The Rothenberg Political Report projects the GOP will pick up somewhere between five and 12 seats.

The Cook Political Report projects a Republican net gain of 6 to 12 seats, "with slightly larger GOP gains not out of the question," according to an updated forecast released Wednesday.

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If Republicans win control of the Senate next week, as many expect, they will gain a powerful weapon to reshape President Barack Obama's legacy in his final two years: the authority to block his nominations.

Under a Democratic-led Senate, Obama has enjoyed remarkable success in confirming his executive appointees and remaking the federal courts in his image.

A recent New Yorker essay by legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin fleshed out Obama's contribution to the United States judiciary, which spans two Supreme Court justices, 53 appeals court judges and 223 trial court judges, all with lifetime tenure. Today 9 of 13 appeals courts, which have the last word on a vast majority of legal issues, have a Democratic majority; before he took office Republicans controlled 10 of 13.

"It's been absolutely huge," conservative legal scholar and Georgetown law professor Randy Barnett said of Obama's impact on the courts. "We've noticed patterns of voting with respect to certain kinds of legislation that gets upheld. There are certain executive branch practices that get upheld that would not have been upheld before."

Even Obama's executive branch picks have mostly been confirmed, though many have faced delays due to Republican filibusters and stalling tactics.

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It's crunch time in the midterm elections, and Democrats are pulling out all the stops to hold on to their endangered Senate majority, including reviving the specter of impeachment if they lose control.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) will sound the siren in an email set to be sent on Wednesday afternoon to the roughly 1 million members of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a copy of which was viewed in advance by TPM.

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