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Undecided 38%
Elizabeth Warren22%
Joe Biden14%
Bernie Sanders8%
Kamala Harris8%

Fri Nov 8, 2019, 09:13 PM

 

Friday Talking Points -- See You In The 'Burbs, Baby!

{Program Note for DemocraticUnderground.com readers:
This is a weekly roundup column of what is going on in the political world. For the duration of the 2020 campaign, I've been instructed to post it under the "Democratic Primaries" category rather than the "General Discussion" category, whenever the primary race is discussed. This discussion may be a large part of the column, or a very small part. Just wanted to clarify this up front, to avoid any objections that most of the post is "off topic."}

Republicans, it seems, are just never satisfied. First, they howled for a full House vote on impeachment. When the Democrats gave them one, they were not happy for some unfathomable reason. Then they demanded the end to "secret hearings" with no public transcripts. This week, Democrats began releasing all the transcripts to the public. When the first two were released, Republicans complained that the transcripts released were "cherry-picked." By week's end, all the major transcripts were released, putting the lie to this notion. Meanwhile, Lindsey Graham, in a snit, said that he wouldn't be reading the transcripts, for some unfathomable reason. Next week, public hearings will begin. So of course now Republicans are decrying the very idea of public hearings, for some unfathomable reason (President Trump: "They shouldn't be having public hearings." ). It's almost as if Republicans don't care what they're complaining about as long as they get to complain about something. Hey, it's easier than trying to defend the indefensible, we suppose.

Republicans are really making a pretty poor showing all around. They tried to make the case for weeks that Democrats were somehow hiding things in the closed hearings, and if the transcripts were only to be made public then there would be plenty of exculpatory evidence for Trump. This turned out not to be the case. In fact, the transcripts showed that what had already been leaked to the press weren't even the most damning statements made. Witness after witness after witness all said exactly the same thing: there was indeed a quid pro quo and it consisted of withholding both a White House meeting and the military aid until the Ukrainian president went on television and said three words: "investigations, Biden, and Clinton." This corrupt bargain came straight from President Donald Trump, who was aided and abetted by Rudy Giuliani.

It's all pretty easy to understand, which is why things have moved so fast. Making this case to the public is going to be pretty easy, in fact, during the public hearings. Democrats have even publicly released the three main questions they will be asking during the public hearings:

  • Did the President request that a foreign leader and government initiate investigations to benefit the President's personal political interests in the United States, including an investigation related to the President's political rival and potential opponent in the 2020 U.S. presidential election?

  • Did the President – directly or through agents – seek to use the power of the Office of the President and other instruments of the federal government in other ways to apply pressure on the head of state and government of Ukraine to advance the President's personal political interests, including by leveraging an Oval Office meeting desired by the President of Ukraine or by withholding U.S. military assistance to Ukraine?

  • Did the President and his Administration seek to obstruct, suppress or cover up information to conceal from the Congress and the American people evidence about the President's actions and conduct?


The answers to all three are going to be "Yes," of course. Which leaves the Republicans in an untenable position, because in order to defend Trump's actions they have to make the case that, in the future, it will be perfectly OK for any president to strongarm any foreign leader to manufacture dirt on their political opponents. That is not exactly what could be called a traditional Republican position on foreign affairs, to put it mildly. The question enterprising journalists should be asking every Republican in sight: "So you would have been fine with President Barack Obama doing the same thing to Mitt Romney?"

Republicans are left scrambling for something -- anything -- to complain about. Some are still obsessed with unmasking the whistleblower, which is just silly at this point. If a bank robbery occurred and someone anonymously dialed 911 to report it, after all, should the police spend all their energy searching for the caller, or should they instead try to put the robbers behind bars?

Meanwhile, Lindsey Graham is testing out a new defense of Trump: he was just too stupid and incompetent to succeed in his criminal behavior, therefore we should all go easy on him. No, really! Here's the quote: "What I can tell you about the Trump policy toward the Ukraine? It was incoherent. It depends on who you talk to. They seem to be incapable of forming a quid pro quo."

There are a few Republicans who have realized just how bad things have gotten, though. William Cohen, a Republican who while a member of the House supported Richard Nixon's impeachment (before becoming Bill Clinton's defense secretary), called Trump's obvious quid pro quo: "a form of bribery, a form of a high crime and misdemeanor," also adding that it was "an impeachable act."

Of course, there were all kinds of revelations from the transcripts this week that were bad for Trump -- even if Lindsey Graham didn't read them -- but they will all likely be overwhelmed by live testimony next week in the open hearings, so for the time being we're just going to skip over it all. Instead, here's a very brief (pun intended) look at Trump's recent losses in the courts:

A federal appeals court ruled this week that Trump's accountant does indeed have to turn over his tax returns to New York state prosecutors. This is probably going to be the first Trump case to hit the Supreme Court, which will be interesting, but so far Trump's blanket defense of: "the president can't be held accountable for any laws he might break of have broken, while he's in office" is going over like a lead balloon with pretty much every judge who hears it. It sounded better in the original French, anyway: "L'état, c'est moi."

Trump's fraudulent charity lost on the state level too, and the judge ruled that Trump must pay $2 million to other, legitimate charities. At the federal level, a judge threw out the "conscience rule" Trump tried to institute for healthcare workers that would have allowed them to deny people health care based on their religious beliefs. And the final cherry on this judicial sundae: a judge released over 100,000 pages of documents from the GOP redistricting guru who recently died. Here's the report:

The files were collected earlier this year by Common Cause, the North Carolina Democratic Party and Democratic voters -- through a subpoena of the daughter of Thomas Hofeller -- for their partisan gerrymandering lawsuit that went to trial in July. Hofeller died last year.

. . .

The subpoenaed documents that can now be distributed following Monday's ruling by Wake County Superior Court Judge Vince Rozier will show the efforts that Hofeller and his allies had taken to skew maps across the country, a representative for one of the plaintiffs said.

"The limited release of Dr. Hofeller's files has already proven critical in exposing secret efforts to manipulate the census and redistricting," said Kathay Feng, national redistricting director for Common Cause. "Now the truth can come out about all of Hofeller's shocking efforts to rig elections in almost every state."


So there's that to look forward to.

A report came out this week showing farm bankruptcies are up 24 percent this year, and that 40 percent of total U.S. farm income will come from either government subsidies or government insurance. So looks like Trump's trade war has done the opposite of making America's farms great again.

Which could explain why Trump's so down in the polls. In head-to-head matchups with the top five Democratic challengers, Trump loses them all, mostly by double digits. Trump's best showing was against Kamala Harris, who got 51 percent to Trump's 42. Pete Buttigieg beat Trump by 11 points, Bernie Sanders by 14 points, and Elizabeth Warren by 15 points. But the biggest gap was in a Biden-Trump matchup, where Trump only got 39 percent to Biden's 56 percent -- a whopping 17-point gap.

And finally, some more bad news for Trump. It seems that smugglers are already cutting through his big, beautiful border wall despite Trump previously claiming that this would not be possible. In a campaign rally this week, Trump bragged that "you can cut through steel but you can't through the concrete, and then you can't through the hardened rebar," claiming that his wall was "virtually impenetrable." The Washington Post begged to differ, pointing out that "smugglers have repeatedly sawed through newly built sections of the wall using a widely available cordless reciprocating saw that costs as little as $100." Also, that people are (duh!) using ladders to climb over Trump's wall. Trump's reaction? "You can cut through anything, in all fairness." Except maybe the B.S. Trump regularly spews, that is.





This one's pretty easy. This Tuesday, there was an off-off-year election, but in every year before a presidential year there are a few states which vote on big offices.

There were two big victories for Democrats this week, showing the staying power of the big blue wave that arose in the 2018 midterms. One of these was a collective victory, as Democrats took control of both houses of the Virginia statehouse, for the first time in over a quarter-century. Together with their Democratic governor, this gives the party full control, which will lead first to passing gun control legislation, then to being the state that breaks the three-fourths barrier to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, and finally to dominating the redistricting process which will happen after the 2020 Census -- which will end the Republican-gerrymandered map.

That's a very big deal. So we have Honorable Mention awards all around for every Democrat who won every delegate and senate seat this week. Well done, all!

But there was an even higher-profile victory this Tuesday than winning the political trifecta in Virginia, and that was Andy Beshear winning the governor's race in Kentucky. This was a big upset, although the circumstances were rather unique. The sitting Republican governor was massively unpopular, and the Democratic candidate was the son of the governor that preceded the current one (Steve Beshear, who had to leave office in 2015 due to term limits).

Even so, it was indeed a joy to watch the election returns come in. The big takeaway from the night: the suburbs are flipping blue, and at this point there doesn't seem to be anything Republicans can do about that. They've made their peace with Donald Trump at the head of their party, but suburban women have most decidedly not. This may be a lasting shift in the electorate -- kind of like the "Reagan Democrats" -- that won't just flip back after Trump is gone. That could change American politics for an entire generation. Of course, it may only be a temporary phenomenon that goes away after Trump does too, but even so it does not bode well for Republicans up and down the 2020 ballot. The anger voters expressed during the midterms has not abated in any way, which will likely lead to a massive turnout at the polls next year.

Every Democratic pickup is worth celebrating, of course, but some are more notable than others. Even after Donald Trump personally held a rally for the Kentucky governor (less than 12 hours before the polls opened, no less), he lost. Trump even said during this rally: "If you win, they are going to make it like: ho hum. And if you lose, they are going to say Trump suffered the greatest defeat in the history of the world. You can't let that happen to me!"

Kentucky voters just did. In a state Trump won by a whopping 30 points. Which is why Governor-Elect Andy Beshear is our Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week.

{Congratulate Kentucky Governor-Elect Andy Beshear on his official state contact page, to let him know you appreciate his efforts.}





Michael Bloomberg, for some bizarre reason, thinks that the big problem is that there just aren't enough Democrats running for president. Seriously.

Of course, he has an answer to this problem, which is to throw his own hat into the ring. Because only he can save the party. Obviously, what the party needs is an aging white billionaire who was the father of "stop and frisk" in New York City to ride in on his white horse and save the day for Democrats.

The bigger picture is that Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are putting fear into the hearts of the Democratic donor class, otherwise known as the corporate wing of the party. Both reacted predictably:

"The billionaire class is scared and they should be scared," Sanders wrote on Twitter after news of Bloomberg's possible entry became public.

"Welcome to the race, @MikeBloomberg!" Warren tweeted, providing a link to the impacts her policies would have on billionaires. She also sent out a fundraising email saying "the wealthy and well connected are scared."


And they're right. What's really going on is the initial signs of panic among the Democratic donor class, since Joe Biden seems to be having trouble gaining traction. Biden's campaign even tried to lower expectations for Iowa this week, which was rather astonishingly early for such a move:

"I think we're the only ones who don't have to win Iowa, honestly, because our strength is the fact that we have a broad and diverse coalition," Biden campaign manager Greg Schultz told the Wall Street Journal on Sunday.

The comments came after a New York Times/Siena College poll on Friday showed Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren leading the pack with 22 percent of likely caucus-goers, trailed by Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders (19 percent), South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg (18 percent), and Biden (17 percent). The poll showed that just 2 percent of voters under 45 backed Biden, even as he led among older voters.


So of course the answer is Michael Bloomberg. Well, not really. The answer is for the donor class to realize that after running weak centrist candidates for decades, the Democratic Party might just try something different this time around. Bloomberg can spend a ton of money, but he's not going to get much value for it. Just ask John Delaney, or Tom Steyer. Bloomberg is even saying he'll refuse donations and totally self-fund his candidacy, which would mean he would never qualify for a debate. He is also reportedly considering skipping the first four states and just flooding the airwaves in all the Super Tuesday states. This is a losing strategy, history has already shown.

Which is why Michael Bloomberg is the obvious choice for Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week, if only because we've never created a Most Laughable Democrat Of The Week award. If we had, we'd give that to Bloomberg too.

{Michael Bloomberg is currently a private citizen, and we don't provide links to such people, sorry.}




Volume 550 (11/8/19)

Our focus this week is on putting some suburban fear into the hearts of Republicans. In fact, we would heartily encourage every Democrat to begin taunting Republicans with the following snappy line: "See you in the 'burbs, baby!"

Heh.

The elections of 2018 and 2019 show a growing disenchantment with the Republican Party in middle-class and upper-middle-class suburbs all across the United States. The GOP is experiencing an absolute exodus of suburban women, who may well be the key to winning in 2020. So we're spending most of our time this week on pointing that out and rubbing it in, in various ways. We're also celebrating some rather momentous election returns as well.

But we're going to open with an excerpt from the upcoming book by "Anonymous," which seems like it'll be a fun read. And we had nowhere else to put it, but we have to at least give a nod to a nameless woman in Georgia who stood on a street to see Donald Trump's motorcade go by, holding a sign guaranteed to annoy him: "I'm the Whistleblower." Nice one!



A 12-year-old or a senile uncle, take your pick

As promised, here are two choice quotes from the upcoming book by Anonymous, both of which use some rather juicy metaphors to describe Trump's behavior in the White House:

[President Trump is] like a twelve-year-old in an air traffic control tower, pushing the buttons of government indiscriminately, indifferent to the planes skidding across the runway and the flights frantically diverting away from the airport.

. . .

It's like showing up at the nursing home at daybreak to find your elderly uncle running pantsless across the courtyard and cursing loudly about the cafeteria food, as worried attendants tried to catch him. You're stunned, amused, and embarrassed all at the same time. Only your uncle probably wouldn't do it every single day, his words aren't broadcast to the public, and he doesn't have to lead the U.S. government once he puts his pants on.




What a world we live in

This is pretty mindblowing when you think about it.

"You know where we are as a country right now under Donald Trump? The news broke last week that a woman who has accused the president of rape is now going to sue him for defamation because of all the nasty things he has said about her. Got that? The president... a rape accusation... and a defamation lawsuit. In normal times, this would be such big news the media would obsess over it for months on end. In today's world, however, this story was considered too minor to even repeat two days running. Just think about that -- the leader of the country, involved in a sex scandal no less, and the media just yawns because there are so many other horrific things Trump has done to report on. If this is 'making America great again,' I'd prefer to go back to whatever if was previously, myself."



See you in the 'burbs, baby! (I)

Our first GOP smackdown comes from an unlikely source. This is what Rick Santorum had to say about the Republicans' future chances, after seeing this Tuesday's election returns:

[The suburbs] are turning and they're not turning in our direction, and Donald Trump is not a help in that regard particularly amongst suburban women. That is apparent. The numbers from Virginia don't lie. You know, Matt Bevin getting crushed in Louisville, in the suburban areas, in Lexington. Those don't lie either. That's a problem and it's a broader problem that is exacerbated by Donald Trump. [Republicans have] to do a better job, and frankly Trump is not the best messenger for that based on his, frankly, his personality and his demeanor. It just turns a lot of suburbanites off. He appeals to blue-collar working folks and that's overwhelmingly not suburban voters, and that's a problem.




See you in the 'burbs, baby! (II)

The following was ascribed to an unnamed "gloomy Republican strategist" giving his unvarnished opinion of the party's future chances on election night this week:

This is an overwhelming Trump phenomenon. Trump has accelerated everything. There is no path in a swing, suburban district for a Republican -- male, female or minority.... It's not a challenge, it's a hill.... There's no strategy to climb it. [If the GOP loses more suburban swing districts, the party will be reduced to] white men with white hair and white men with gray hair and a few token women, and when [Representative] Will Hurd leaves, no African-Americans and only a couple of Latinos.




See you in the 'burbs, baby! (III)

Here's a fun post-election report from the Philadelphia Inquirer:

It was the first time since at least the Civil War that Democrats won control of the Delaware County Council. They not only won a majority, but also swept Republicans off the governing body entirely. Democrats won a majority on the Chester County Board of Commissioners for the first time in history, in the only suburban Philadelphia county where Republicans still outnumber Democrats. In Bucks County, Democrats were on track to capture the Board of Commissioners for the first time since 1983. And in Philadelphia, a third-party insurgent candidate weakened an already marginalized GOP by securing one of the at-large City Council seats reserved for minority parties -- a seat Republicans have held for decades.... In Delaware County, the results for Republicans were catastrophic.




See you in the 'burbs, baby! (IV)

Of course, there was also lots of good news from Virginia, as well.

"When Donald Trump took office, Republicans had a 66-34 majority in the Virginia General Assembly. After this week's election, Democrats will hold a 55-45 majority. This is a historic shift, folks. The Democrats flipped both chambers of the statehouse and currently hold the governor's office, meaning they'll control Virginia politics for at least the next two years. But it's quite likely to be a lot longer than that. When a Democrat took a seat held by a conservative firebrand who often got in trouble for his bigoted and mean-spirited comments, his reaction was at least an honest one: 'The Republican Party is toast in Virginia for the next ten years. Republicans will cease to be a serious political power.' I couldn't have said it better myself."



That photo was worth more than 1,000 words...

And finally, the most amusing election result of the entire night.

"Democrat Juli Briskman won a seat previously held by a Republican on the Virginia Loudoun County Board of Supervisors this Tuesday. You probably don't remember her name, but you very likely remember one particular photo of her. She is the woman who was minding her own business, bicycling along a Virginia road when Donald Trump's motorcade drove by after one of Trump's uncountable golf games. So she flipped Trump the bird. And got caught on film doing so. Which led to her being fired from her job. Undaunted, she ran for county office and won. But you know what the best thing about this story is? Her district includes Trump's golf course! So at the local level in Virginia, one of Trump's businesses is now represented by a woman whose claim to fame was that she shot Trump the bird while biking. Her reaction? 'Isn't that sweet justice?' she replied, while loudly laughing."




Chris Weigant blogs at: ChrisWeigant.com
Follow Chris on Twitter: ChrisWeigant
Full archives of FTP columns: FridayTalkingPoints.com
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If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Undecided

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Reply Friday Talking Points -- See You In The 'Burbs, Baby! (Original post)
ChrisWeigant Friday OP
oasis Saturday #1
BlueMTexpat Saturday #2

Response to ChrisWeigant (Original post)

Sat Nov 9, 2019, 12:58 AM

1. Nicely done CW.

 

If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Joe Biden

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Response to ChrisWeigant (Original post)

Sat Nov 9, 2019, 06:05 AM

2. Many, many thanks, Chris,

 

for this glorious recap!

I particularly loved this gem at the beginning.

... It's almost as if Republicans don't care what they're complaining about as long as they get to complain about something. Hey, it's easier than trying to defend the indefensible, we suppose. ...
If I were to vote in a presidential
primary today, I would vote for:
Elizabeth Warren

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