Open Thread

The Open Thread for June 17, 2017

Despite the scandals swirling around the White House and a dismal approval rate, Donald Trump always held onto his base voters.  Until now.

An AP-NORC survey this week found Trump’s support among Republicans had plunged. Twenty five percent of GOP respondents now disapprove of the job Trump is doing, up from 20% the month prior.

Nate Silver sees Trump losing almost a third of his strongest supporters:  “There’s been a considerable decline in the number of Americans who strongly approve of Trump, from a peak of around 30 percent in February to just 21 or 22 percent of the electorate now. (The decline in Trump’s strong approval ratings is larger than the overall decline in his approval ratings, in fact.) Far from having unconditional love from his base, Trump has already lost almost a third of his strong support. And voters who strongly disapprove of Trump outnumber those who strongly approve of him by about a 2-to-1 ratio, which could presage an “enthusiasm gap” that works against Trump at the midterms. The data suggests, in particular, that the GOP’s initial attempt (and failure) in March to pass its unpopular health care bill may have cost Trump with his core supporters.”

He’s also losing swing voters. The latest Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that 40% people who voted for Trump said they did so because they didn’t like Hillary Clinton, not because they liked him or his policies. Among those reluctant Trump voters, approval of his job performance plummeted to 76% in May from 95% in February.

A new WSB-Landmark poll in Georgia’s 6th congressional district finds Jon Ossoff (D) just ahead of Karen Handel (R), 50% to 48%.

Said pollster Mark Rountree: “Ossoff has the lead. He’s right at the edge of 50 percent. Handel is very close behind him, essentially a point and a half behind. So either candidate could win.”

The HuffPost Pollster average also shows a two-point race, 49% to 47%.

Politico: “As grim confidential polling data circulates among GOP strategists, interviews with nearly two dozen Republican operatives and officials reveal that they are preparing for the possibility of an unnerving defeat that could spur lawmakers to distance themselves from Trump and his already-troubled legislative agenda, and potentially encourage a wave of retirements.”

“While no one is willing to publicly write off Handel’s chances just yet — Republicans stress that she remains competitive and point to robust GOP early voting figures — several private surveys taken over the last few weeks show Republican nominee Karen Handel trending downward, with one private party poll showing 30-year-old Democrat Jon Ossoff opening up a more than five-point lead in the Republican-oriented, suburban Atlanta seat.”

David Remnick: “Trump’s egotism, his demand for one-way loyalty, and his incapacity to assume responsibility for his own untruths and mistakes were, his biographers make plain, his pattern in business and have proved to be his pattern as President.”

“Veteran Washington reporters tell me that they have never observed this kind of anxiety, regret, and sense of imminent personal doom among White House staffers—not to this degree, anyway. These troubled aides seem to think that they can help their own standing by turning on those around them—and that by retailing information anonymously they will be able to live with themselves after serving a President who has proved so disconnected from the truth and reality.”

“Michael Cohen, who for years has served as President Trump’s personal attorney, has hired a lawyer of his own to help him navigate the expanding Russia investigation,” the Washington Post reports.

“Cohen’s decision is the latest indication that the Russia probe overseen by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III is intensifying and could end up focusing on a number of Trump associates, both inside and outside the White House.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) said that she is concerned that President Trump will try to fire special prosecutor Robert Mueller, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Said Feinstein: “The message the president is sending through his tweets is that he believes the rule of law doesn’t apply to him and that anyone who thinks otherwise will be fired. That’s undemocratic on its face and a blatant violation of the president’s oath of office.”

She added: “It’s becoming clear to me that the president has embarked on an effort to undermine anyone with the ability to bring any misdeeds to light, be that Congress, the media or the Justice Department. The Senate should not let that happen.”

“Republicans are wary of Sen. Chuck Grassley’s (R-IA) decision to launch a Judiciary Committee investigation into the firing of former FBI director James Comey,” The Hill reports.

Said Grassley: “There should be no improper interference with FBI investigations to favor any elected official or candidate of either party.”

“Grassley’s announcement took his Republican colleagues by surprise, and several said they are uncomfortable with the addition of yet another investigation that could target the Trump White House.”

“The White House lacks a unified plan to increase the government’s borrowing cap as a likely September deadline is drawing near,” the AP reports.

Said budget director Mick Mulvaney: “It’s fair to say we haven’t settled on a final way to address the debt ceiling any more than the Hill has.”

“A failure by Congress to raise the debt ceiling could send dangerous shockwaves through the global economy. The federal government could be at risk of defaulting on obligations such as interest payments on bonds as well as temporarily halting benefit programs.”

Politico: “From the moment last July when Trump picked Pence as his running mate, through the first five months of this administration, the vice president has been all but invisible in the parade of palace intrigue stories detailing the rivalries, alliances, backstabbing, self-promoting and stock-watching inside Trump’s reality-TV style presidency. That is no accident: Pence made clear to everyone around him when he was picked, and again at the outset of the administration, that the spotlight belongs to Trump. Leaking, speaking out of turn or doing anything that could be perceived as upstaging the president would not be tolerated… Unsurprisingly, the vice president declined to comment for this story.”

“His inconspicuousness is engineered to keep all eyes on the president. But it’s also necessary to guard against whispers that he, not Trump, is running the show—a narrative fueled both by Pence’s standing in the party and by the fact that he has been empowered like no vice president before him to establish, sell and execute the administration’s agenda. Five months into the Trump era—and less than a year since he was plucked from a thorny situation in Indiana—Pence, once an endangered small-state governor, has become the most popular Republican in the country and accumulated an astonishing amount of power.”

James Hohmann: “A person who spoke with Trump on Tuesday told the New York Times that the president was pleased by the intentional ambiguity of his position on firing Robert S. Mueller as special counsel, ‘and thinks the possibility of being fired will focus the veteran prosecutor on delivering what the president desires most: a blanket public exoneration.’”

“If the president truly believes this, he fundamentally misunderstands what motivates the former FBI director – who has stood up to previous administrations and never swayed under political pressure.”

“Just as almost every previous effort at damage control has made Trump’s Russia-related headaches worse, keeping the door open to firing Mueller earlier this week has now backfired. Key figures on Capitol Hill and in the conservative legal firmament have now gone on the record to warn that ousting the special counsel would trigger a constitutional crisis. That would make it much harder for Trump to go that route down the road.”

Aides and volunteers on Donald Trump’s presidential transition were instructed to save any records related to “several pending investigations into potential attempts by Russia interests to influence the 2016 election,” Politico reports.

“In the memo from a transition lawyer, campaign officials were told to preserve all documents related to the Russian Federation, Ukraine and a number of campaign advisers and officials, including former campaign manager Paul Manafort, advisers Carter Page, Rick Gates and Roger Stone, and former national security adviser Gen. Michael Flynn.”

“Senate Republican leaders are aiming to bring a major revision to the nation’s health-care laws to the Senate floor by the end of June even as lingering disagreements, particularly over Medicaid, threaten to derail their efforts,” the Washington Post reports.

“Impassioned policy disputes have flared among some GOP senators in large group meetings at which McConnell has floated ideas from the drafting process. But those disputes have not deterred him from the goal of a floor vote before the July 4 recess, said the Republicans familiar with the process, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk candidly about private conversations.”


Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

1 comment on “The Open Thread for June 17, 2017

  1. delacrat

    “…Pence, once an endangered small-state governor, has become the most popular Republican in the country and accumulated an astonishing amount of power.” – Politico

    Unlike Trump, Pence is a skilled political operator, which is why you do NOT want Trump impeached.

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