Richard Neal: Democrats plan to ask for Trump tax returns

A Mississippi U.S. Senate seat held by Republicans is going to a runoff, but analysts predict the GOP will have little difficulty winning in one of the nation's most conservative states.

Four Senate Democrats lost elections Tuesday after voting against the confirmation of now-Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Internal Revenue Service law allows House and Senate tax-writing committees to request federal returns, and the ranking Ways and Means Democrat, Rep. Richard Neal of MA, has signaled publicly he would ask for them - a move the White House might fight.

Instead they based their campaign on lies that a group of bedraggled refugees are mostly gang assassins and ISIS terrorists, lies that all Latino immigrants are grinning cop murderers - in an ad so racist even Fox News pulled it off the air - lies about Democrats somehow shipping jobs to North Korea, flagrant anti-Semitism, and on and on. According to an exit poll by CNN, fully 94% of Republicans voted for Republican House candidates.

President Donald Trump has solidified his position in the Republican Party as the midterm elections filled the ranks with supporters of his agenda.

Democrats were not always shut out of these seats: In 2008, a strong year for the party, they even won a majority of the country's purely rural seats.

Pelosi, meanwhile, is likely to face a challenge for the speakership from newer or younger members later this month. Democrats say that will change nearly immediately when the 116th Congress opens on January 3.

And in a rare moment of practicality, the Republican leader, who is up for re-election in 2020, conceded that one of the GOP's signature efforts - the repeal of "Obamacare" - is all but dead.

His party kept control of the Senate and won some key state governor races, enabling the president to put a positive gloss on the results.

Midterm elections are typically hard for the party in power, but the GOP's hold on power was further weakened by an unusually large number of retirements as well as infighting between conservatives and centrists over their allegiance to Trump. But it reveals once again that Trump really feels no allegiance to the Republican Party, its voters, or its candidates.

As of early Wednesday, voters were on track to send at least 99 women to the House, surpassing the previous record of 84. Perhaps the biggest new political star among them is New York's 29-year-old Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a liberal firebrand from the Bronx. Ted Cruz in Texas, 51 percent supported the Republican candidate for governor Ron DeSantis in Florida, and 76 percent voted for the Republican candidate for governor Brian Kemp in Georgia.

Only two other Muslims have been elected to Congress, and both are men now in office: Ellison and Indiana Democratic Rep. Andre Carson.

"If the Democrats think they are going to waste Taxpayer Money investigating us at the House level, then we will likewise be forced to consider investigating them for all of the leaks of Classified Information, and much else, at the Senate level".

But Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer sounded a dissonant note, calling Mr. Trump a "poor negotiator" and suggesting Congress works better when the president butts out.

On Tuesday night, he called to congratulate Pelosi and acknowledged her plea for bipartisanship, the leader's spokesman said.

Given Trump's suburban unpopularity, some vulnerable incumbents struggled throughout the campaign to keep Trump's reputation at a distance in voters' minds. Here are some of the silver linings that Trump can take from Tuesday's vote.

"There's so much to the Trump administration that could be investigated, it's an unprecedented situation of major business entanglements around the world", said Dana Allin, senior fellow with the International Institute for Strategic Studies. The rise of the Tea Party was a sign of the level of opposition against Obama.

Other races look good for Democrats but aren't done yet. Omar will take the seat vacated by Minnesota Rep. Keith Ellison, the first Muslim elected to Congress. Ellison opted to run for Minnesota attorney general this year. At least three other red districts flipped to blue. I hope you'll indulge just a smidge of horn-tooting regarding my pre-election projections: Democratic gains in the House in the ballpark of 40 seats (I specified 36 on air Monday evening), Democratic gains of roughly half-a-dozen governorships, and a net Republican gain of maybe one US Senate seat.

The GOP campaign committee distanced itself from eight-term Rep. Steve King of Iowa after he was accused of racism and anti-Semitism, but he won anyway. The Democratic candidate was leading in seven races and the Republican was ahead in 10.

Vanessa Coleman