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Stretch, grab a late afternoon cup of caffeine and get caught up on the most important news of the day with our Coffee Break newsletter. These are the stories that will fill you in on the world that's spinning outside of your office window - at the moment that you get a chance to take a breath.
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As Polls Shift, Dem Hopes for Control, Impeachment Fade

It seems like just last week that the Democrats, fresh off their famous victories in Virginia and Alabama, were confidently predicting a "blue wave" of electoral success this fall, retaking the House and even the Senate, in order to get on with their real legislative business: the impeachment and conviction of President Donald J. Trump. Hey, wait a minute -- it was just last week!

I threw some cold water on that notion in this piece, and am happy to do so again today:

Republicans are feeling better about their prospects in the midterm elections, buoyed by recent polls that show their numbers improving. An ebullient  President Trump touted the shift in public sentiment reflected in recent polls during a joint Senate-House Republican retreat in West Virginia this week.

“I just looked at some numbers, you’ve even done better than you thought,” Trump told lawmakers, citing poll numbers he discussed Thursday with National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) Chairman Steve Stivers (R-Ohio). “The numbers are pretty good and that’s one example of how things are getting better,” Stivers told reporters after discussing polling numbers with Trump.

Stivers said the bump in Trump’s approval rating is a good sign for Republicans running for reelection. “No president in their second year has seen their approval rating go up except now this one,” Stivers noted. GOP lawmakers discussed the favorable turn in poll numbers during their retreat.

Well, we'll see. But given the fact that the Senate deck is really stacked against them, it's very difficult to see how the Left can win back the upper chamber this cycle. Meanwhile, in the House, redistricting has worked in the favor of the Republicans, primarily via their control of the majority of state houses and state legislatures across the country. The Democrats, naturally, are already whining about "gerrymandering," which is otherwise known as "empowerment" via the creation of "majority-minority" districts, but somehow evil when the GOP does it.

Here, for example, is the district currently represented by Luis Gutierrez (D., Puerto Rico), the Illinois congressman who left the State of the Union address last week as the members were chanting, "USA, USA" --

Why the shift? For one thing, the effects of the GOP tax plan are starting to kick in, and while the stock market (which roots against America as often as it roots for it) had a huge course correction on profit-taking last week, the other economic indices are soaring, including employment, bonuses, repatriation of capital, and infrastructure investment. The Democrats may sneer at the story of a worker who's only seen a buck and a half increase in his paycheck so far, but I got one of those class-action checks in the mail last week, for the princely sum of $1, and I plan to cash it. The plutocratic Democrats, whose numbers include San Franciscans Dianne Feinstein and Nancy Pelosi, sniff at such lowly sums, but it never seems to occur to them that it's not so much the amount that counts as the fact of the increase itself.