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Why both parties should worry, the real Western political divide and other comments

From the right: Both Parties Should Feel Uneasy

Neither side “had to change [its] talking points” after Tuesday’s special House election in Georgia, notes Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Kyle Wingfield. Dems insisted the race “should never have been so close,” while Republicans note Democrat Jon Ossoff spent $8 million and got “the same number” of votes as Hillary Clinton. The truth, he says, “is somewhere in the middle.” Democrats “enjoyed an enthusiasm advantage,” and the most pro-Trump candidates “finished poorly.” Still, “it is pretty remarkable that Ossoff could raise . . . a record for a congressional race in Georgia and hardly move the number for his party.” Bottom line: “The Republicans still aren’t quite sure how to embrace” President Trump, “and the Democrats still aren’t quite sure how to attack him to any effect.”

Numbers cruncher: Fix Medicaid Before BamCare

Republicans still trying to replace ObamaCare need to “handle it like the task of shifting a bulky piece of IKEA furniture through a narrow doorway,” suggests Chris Pope at The Hill. That means “disassembling it into manageable pieces and carrying each section through with the approach that suits it best.” And by first reforming Medicaid, Congress “could facilitate the cost-effective delivery of care to the neediest Americans, while improving the risk pool for those purchasing coverage on the exchange.” As things now work, poorer states struggle “to meet the most basic care needs of children and the disabled,” while richer states “claim ever-greater [federal] subsidies” to expand services for “of able-bodied adults who already mostly had privately funded health insurance.” Changing this would “prevent further expansions of Medicaid benefits in the wealthiest states.”

Libertarian: Gorsuch Is More Liberal Than Garland

For all their bitterness over the battle that ended with Neil Gorsuch on the US Supreme Court, suggests Jacob Sullum at Reason, “Democrats who care about civil liberties” should recognize that he’s a better choice than President Barack Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland. “Despite his reputation on the left as an authoritarian,” the late Justice Antonin Scalia “defended the rights of the accused more consistently than some of his purportedly more liberal colleagues.” And Garland is “to the right of Scalia on criminal-justice issues.” Gorsuch, on the other hand, “seems closer to Scalia” in this area: “a critic of vague criminal statutes and a stickler when it comes to requiring that prosecutors prove all the elements of an offense.” He’s also “more inclined than Garland (or Scalia) to question the authority of administrative agencies.”

Analyst: Kremlin Interference Is Greatly Exaggerated

Rumors continue to circulate that Russia interfered in Britain’s Brexit referendum as well as the current French presidential contest, among others, notes Sumantra…

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