Democrats

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders is one of two independents in the Senate. Now, the self-described socialist says he may run for president.

Sanders is aligned with Senate Democrats, but he has spoken lately of a problem with the Democratic coalition that elected President Obama. He says working-class white voters have abandoned Democrats in large numbers. The party, he says, has "not made it clear that they are prepared to stand with the working-class people of this country, take on the big money interests."

As increasingly confident Republican leaders predict big midterm election gains, the head of Democratic National Committee put on her game face Tuesday and insisted the party will hold control of the Senate.

The Democrats' grass-roots organization, said Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, and what she characterized as the GOP's continuing alienation of women, minority, LGBT and middle-class voters, bodes well for her party this fall.

For President Obama and Senate Democrats, who gathered in a White House meeting Wednesday, it's all about mutual aid at this point.

If Obama is to maintain any leverage in Congress, he needs Democrats to keep control of the Senate since the House appears likely to remain in Republican hands. And if his second term agenda has any hope of being achieved — such as tackling income inequality, overhauling immigration or reaching a durable nuclear deal with Iran — he'll need a Democratic Senate majority working side-by-side with him.

A record-high percentage of Americans identified as political independents last year, according to a Gallup poll released Monday.

The survey, based on more than 18,000 interviews conducted throughout the year, found that 42 percent identified as independent, the highest figure since the polling firm began conducting interviews by telephone 25 years ago.

In 2013, 31 percent identified as Democrats, while 25 percent identified as Republican.

American politics is having a populist moment, with voters angry and frustrated with all big institutions in American life.

The backlash against big government found its expression on the right with the Tea Party. The tensions between that movement and the Republican establishment have been on full display.

In 2014, Texas voters might just see something they haven't experienced in two decades — a competitive race for governor.

Current Republican Gov. Rick Perry isn't running for re-election, so it's an open race, with new faces and new optimism for Texas Democrats.

Earlier this year, the Democrats were once again facing the prospect of scrambling to find someone to run as their candidate. Then, on June 25, state Sen. Wendy Davis came to the Capitol in Austin wearing running shoes and ready to block a restrictive abortion bill.

Another Louisiana State Senator has jumped the aisle to the Republican party.

Sen. Rick Ward, who represents parts of the Capitol Region, from Port Allen into Assumption Parish, gives the Republicans a supermajority in the Senate. Several kinds of measures are constitutionally required to pass with a two-thirds vote, like tax increases and procedural items after a certain date near the end of the session.

The Louisiana House alliance of fiscally conservative Republicans and Democrats may have a harder time facing the Senate next session.

FRIDAY: State Rep. John Bel Edwards

Jul 4, 2013

Jim talks with Democratic State Representative, and House Democratic Caucus leader, John Bel Edwards, who feels lawmakers should convene a Veto session to consider overturning some of Governor Jindal's budget item vetoes.

Audio should be posted by 11 am on Friday, July 5.