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Ferguson details pushback against White House

Washington attorney general has gone 15-0 against the Trump administration in federal court decisions

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson takes great pride in his legal staff, but he credits President Donald Trump with much of the state’s recent success in suing the federal government.

Speaking to a packed house at Washington State University’s Foley Institute on Thursday, Ferguson said the Trump administration’s frequent defeats in the federal court system the past two years stem largely from its own inability or unwillingness to follow the letter of the law. The Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service is administered through the School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs in the College of Arts and Sciences at WSU.

“This [Trump] administration doesn’t go through a very rigorous process of review before taking action,” he said.

Washington Had High Voter Turnout This Year. Except A Few Counties Like Yakima. Why?

As election season simmers down, data rolls in. This year, nearly half of eligible U.S. voters cast ballots. That may not sound like much, but it is the highest voter turnout for a midterm election since the 1960s.

In Washington, most counties saw higher than average voter turnout this year. Except two.

Yakima County had the lowest voter turnout in the state at 37 percent. Skagit County had the second lowest.

Meanwhile, counties like Jefferson and Garfield had the highest at 82 percent. On average, 66 percent of Washington voters came out this year.

Travis Ridout.
Travis Ridout

Washington State University political science professor Travis Ridout thinks demographics has something to do with voting patterns.

“I suspect we see lower turnout in Yakima County, and there’s a large Hispanic population,” Ridout said. “Hispanics just don’t vote at the rate of other people. Not just in Washington state, that’s true nationally as well.”

He thinks how politicians reach out to Hispanic/Latino constituents also has something to do with it. Ridout calls it a “chicken and egg” problem. Hispanic voters don’t show up at the polls, so politicians don’t reach out to them. And because Hispanic voters don’t feel like most candidates appeal to them, they don’t vote.

There’s also potential language barriers that keep some voters from participating, the lack of  civic engagement historically, and even voter suppression.

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Northwest Public Radio

Experts: President’s influence could be seen all over midterms

Political science professors offer their takes on this year’s election at WSU discussion.

There is no denying the midterm elections were heavily influenced by President Donald Trump, and while Democrats earned victories, the night ended better than Republicans feared, political experts said during a forum Wednesday at Washington State University.

Travis Ridout.
Mark Stephan.

Mark Stephan and Travis Ridout, professors in the WSU School of Politics, Philosophy and Public Affairs, and John Wilkerson, a professor in the University of Washington Department of Political Science, gave their opinion on the midterms to a crowd of more than 50 in an event organized by The Foley Institute.

The panel of experts also noted it is typical for the president’s party to lose seats in the house during an election, so this year was not unusual in that regard.

Across the country, political divisions were solidified even more. Stephan said Minnesota is now the only state in the country where the Legislature is divided by Republicans and Democrats. All other statehouses are controlled by one party.

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Moscow-Pullman Daily News

Analysis: Why ‘a real race’ in Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Lisa Brown contest offered familiar November result

Ten million dollars, hours of television ads, truckloads of mailers and a handful of national news media stories later, Eastern Washington continues to be represented by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers.

Republicans and political observers said Wednesday, after the dust settled, that the result shouldn’t have come as a surprise.

Brown had been the presumptive Democratic candidate for months, even before that primary showing. On paper, she seemed the perfect candidate to run against McMorris Rodgers, a long-serving incumbent with a lengthy legislative record that Brown and her supporters could pick apart, said Cornell Clayton, director of the Thomas S. Foley Institute of Public Policy at Washington State University.

“I was sort of surprised, but not too surprised. I think Lisa didn’t run the kind of campaign she needed to beat Cathy,” Clayton said of Tuesday’s results. “I think she needed to go after Cathy’s record more.”

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Opinion: Shawn Vestal: At long last, a great race in the 5th District

It was the campaign the 5th District voters deserved – the first great House race here in decades.

In almost every way, the contest between Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and challenger Lisa Brown has been a more positive, more passionate and less cynical electoral exercise than our current moment would give us the right to expect.

Travis Ridout.
Travis Ridout

“We’re just not used to having a competitive race,” said Travis Ridout, the Thomas S. Foley Distinguished Professor of Politics and Public Policy at Washington State University. “There was some excitement that we haven’t seen in a long time.”

Ridout credits the congressional race as the primary driver of the incredible early returns this year. The ballot was stacked with important stuff this time around – from gun-control initiatives to legislative races to that ingenious but overly complicated package of city-school projects – but the congressional race, connecting directly as it did to the Trump effect, was the top of the ticket.

“I think it’s been good for the district to have a real race,” Ridout said. “It forced the incumbent to pay attention to the district in a way she hasn’t had to in the last five, six, seven elections.”

The race was less nasty, overall, than I expected. There was definitely some kidney-punching and truth-twisting, but I’d have predicted more aggressive nastiness six months ago. I asked Ridout if he shared that view and he said he thought it had been “a little less negative” than usual – and offered some reasons.

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