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Yes, it’s a blue wave after all: Democrats win back the House easily — fall short in the Senate

Nancy Pelosi will take back the speaker’s gavel as Democrats win control of the House despite Senate setbacks

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Ahead of Election Day, a confident Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi asserted her eagerness to reclaim the speaker’s gavel she surrendered in 2011, during Barack Obama’s first term.

“I know the territory,” Pelosi said in a new profile. “And I’m really good at what I do.”

Just before midnight on Tuesday, Pelosi fielded a call of congratulation from President Donald Trump. Democrats have won a clear House majority, likely picking up somewhere from 35 to 40 seats. She is nearly certain to become the next speaker.

Americans headed to voting booths on Tuesday to cast their ballots in the first midterm elections of Donald Trump’s presidency. The result was unquestionably a split decision: While Republicans expanded their Senate majority, defeating at least three incumbent Democrats, voters went heavily blue on the House side, more than enough to overcome a congressional map gerrymandered in Republicans’ favor. With Democrat Abigail Spanberger’s victory over Tea Party Republican Dave Brat in Virginia’s 7th district — Brat being the right-wing rebel who defeated onetime House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a 2014 GOP primary — Democrats officially picked up the 23 seats they needed to flip the House.

While the final polls had suggested that Democrats were favored to win, early results on Tuesday evening initially dampened expectations of  a “blue wave.” The first exit polls published by NBC News on Election Day found that 54 percent of Americans disapproved of Trump — 47 percent registered “strong disapproval” — and that their top issue was health care, which Democrats placed at the front and center of their congressional bids.

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NBC estimated that Democrats “could take as many as 31 seats currently held by Republicans.” At this writing, the final number seems likely to be higher than that. But Democrats fell far short of their effort to defend vulnerable red-state Democrats in the Senate. Democratic incumbents Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Claire McCaskill of Missouri and Joe Donnelly of Indiana all went down to defeat, and Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida also seems likely to lose to current Republican Gov. Phil Scott. With results in Arizona and Nevada still outstanding, Republicans could end up with 54 or 55 Senate seats.

In Tennessee, former Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen fell to Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn in his bid for the Senate seat vacated by outgoing GOP Sen. Bob Corker, a frequent Trump critic. There had briefly seemed a possibility that the reliably red state could go blue with polls within five percentage points and a surge in voter registration buoyed by the pop singer Taylor Swift. In Texas, progressive superstar Rep. Beto O’Rourke failed to pull off an upset against Republican Sen. Ted Cruz. But O’Rourke’s campaign may have altered the dynamics of congressional races in Texas, where at least two Republican incumbents in affluent suburban districts have been defeated.

 

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Jeffrey Epstein’s IT consultant reveals he saw girls who ‘couldn’t have more than 15 or 16’ on private island

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ABC News broke a story just after midnight Thursday about a former IT consultant of Jeffrey Epstein's who resigned because he couldn't take some of the things he was seeing on Epstein's private island compound.

The island, which has been called "pedophile island" by locals, had "topless women everywhere.

"There were photos of topless women everywhere," said contractor Steve Scully, who began working for Epstein in 1999 and continued for six years. "On his desk, in his office, in his bedroom."

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‘Names are going to start coming out’: New report says more elites will be exposed in the Epstein case — and ‘DC is on edge’

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Will other powerful people — presumably men — get taken down as a result of the sex trafficking case against Jeffrey Epstein?

That’s the hope of many closer followers of the story, but it’s far from clear what, if any, fallout there will be. Epstein’s connections to Presidents Bill Clinton and Donald Trump have raised suspicions about potential evidence of their wrongdoing, such suspicions remain unproven. Alan Dershowitz has already faced accusations of being involved in Epstein’s crimes, though he denies the charge vigorously.

But a new report from Vanity Fair’s Gabriel Sherman says that “DC is on edge” over the Epstein case, and any elites who have run in his circles could be involved. Dozens of girls, if not more, are believed to be involved in his alleged sex trafficking, and lawyers for some of the women who have accused Epstein are strongly suggesting that other high-profile figures will be implicated.

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‘It’s so un-American’: Internet scorches Trump supporters for racist chants of ‘Send her back!’

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The ignoble highlight of President Donald Trump's rally in Greenville, North Carolina on Wednesday was when his fans doubled down on his racist attacks on four Democratic congresswomen of color and targeted Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), chanting "Send her back! Send her back!"

Political commentators of all stripes were gobsmacked by the crowd's naked racism — and buried them in condemnation:

The crowd at Trump’s rally chanting “send her back” after the President viciously and dishonestly attacked Ilhan Omar is one of the most chilling and horrifying things I’ve ever seen in politics.

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