Open Thread

The Open Thread for July 20, 2017

A WAVE IS COMING: A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds Democrats lead Republicans in the generic congressional ballot by 18 points, 53% to 35%. A new Public Policy Polling survey finds that Democrats have a 10 point lead on that question, 50% to 40%.   Here are some more findings from the PPP poll:

  • 58% of voters say they want Congress to keep the Affordable Care Act in place and make changes to it as necessary, to just 35% who think the best path forward is repealing the ACA and starting over.
  • 53% of voters said they were less likely to vote for a member of Congress if they supported the health care bill being considered, to only 21% who said they’d be more likely to support a member who voted yes.
  • 41% approve of the job President Trump is doing to 55% who disapprove.  Just 37% of voters consider Trump to be honest, to 57% who say he isn’t. And 52% outright call him a liar, with only 40% disagreeing with that characterization.
  • Paul Ryan (24/57 approval) and Mitch McConnell (18/58)’s number are dismal. Congress overall has an 11% approval rating, to 75% of voters who disapprove of it.
  • Voters wish that either Barack Obama (53/40) or Hillary Clinton (49/42) was President instead of Trump.
  • Trump loses by wide margins in hypothetical matches against Joe Biden (54/39) or Bernie Sanders (52/39) for reelection. Trump loses 12-13% of the folks who voted for him last fall to either Biden or Sanders.
  • Trump also trails in hypothetical contests against Elizabeth Warren (49/42), Cory Booker (45/40), and Kamala Harris (41/40). The one Democrat Trump manages a tie against is Mark Zuckerberg, at 40/40.
  • Voters say they trust NBC and ABC each more than him, 56/38. They say they trust CBS more than him 56/39. They say they trust the New York Times more than him 55/38.  They say they trust CNN more than him 54/39. And they say they trust the Washington Post more than him 53/38.
  • Trump does win on one question in our poll- asked whether they think he or Richard Nixon is more corrupt, Trump wins out 42/35. Only 35% of voters think he has ‘Made America Great Again’ to 57% who say he has not. And a plurality- 45%- support his impeachment- to just 43% opposed.


President Trump told the New York Times that he never would have appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions had he known Mr. Sessions would recuse himself from overseeing the Russia investigation that has dogged his presidency, calling the decision “very unfair to the president.”

Said Trump: “Sessions should have never recused himself and if he was going to recuse himself he should have told me before he took the job and I would have picked somebody else.”

Trump also accused former FBI director James Comey of trying to leverage a dossier of compromising material to keep his job.

Said Trump: “In my opinion, he shared it so that I would think he had it out there… When he brought it to me, I said this is really, made-up junk. I didn’t think about any of it. I just thought about man, this is such a phony deal.”


New York Times: “Banking regulators are reviewing hundreds of millions of dollars in loans made to Mr. Trump’s businesses through Deutsche Bank’s private wealth management unit… The regulators want to know if the loans might expose the bank to heightened risks.”

“Separately, Deutsche Bank has been in contact with federal investigators about the Trump accounts… And the bank is expecting to eventually have to provide information to Robert Mueller, the special counsel overseeing the federal investigation into the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.”

“It was not clear what information the bank might ultimately provide. Generally, the bank is seen as central to understanding Mr. Trump’s finances since it is the only major financial institution that continues to conduct sizable business with him.”


Best wishes to Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) has been diagnosed with brain cancer after pathology was performed following this weekend’s surgery, CNN reports.   It is a very aggressive cancer, the same that Ted Kennedy had (which is weirdly ironic given that both men were diagnosed in the middle of a healthcare debate with the same illness).   His prognosis is not good, but here is hoping he has one fight left in him.   I don’t wish our political adversaries ill health, just defeat at the polls.


“Financial records filed last year in the secretive tax haven of Cyprus, where Paul J. Manafort kept bank accounts during his years working in Ukraine and investing with a Russian oligarch, indicate that he had been in debt to pro-Russia interests by as much as $17 million before he joined Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign in March 2016,” the New York Times reports.

“The money appears to have been owed by shell companies connected to Mr. Manafort’s business activities in Ukraine when he worked as a consultant to the pro-Russia Party of Regions. The Cyprus documents… include audited financial statements for the companies, which were part of a complex web of more than a dozen entities that transferred millions of dollars among them in the form of loans, payments and fees.”



TRUMP DOESN’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT HIS TRUMPCARE BILL.  Ezra Klein: “The core problem is Trump has no idea what he’s talking about on health care and never bothered to learn. ‘Nobody knew health care could be so complicated,’ he famously, and absurdly, said. His inability to navigate its complexities meant he couldn’t make persuasive arguments on behalf of the bills he supported, and he routinely made statements that undercut the legislative process and forced Republicans to defend the indefensible.”

“Because Trump doesn’t understand the legislation or the trade-offs it made, he can’t make persuasive arguments on its behalf in public or private, and so he mostly doesn’t try. Trump and his team are not frequent presences in the public debate trying to sell the legislation they’re so keen to sign. That’s one reason the various bills routinely polled around 20 percent — without Trump using the bully pulpit to argue on behalf of the legislation, critics, terrible Congressional Budget Office reports, and news of congressional infighting filled the void.”

“When Trump does weigh in, it’s often a disaster.”



Caitlin Owens: “It’s up in the air what Senate Republicans will vote on next week, following their meeting with President Trump on Wednesday. The goal seems to be to get something passed, regardless of whether it just repeals parts of the Affordable Care Act or tries to replace them.”

“It can’t be overstated how wild it is that Senate Republicans are planning to vote on a massive restructuring of the health insurance system next week, without knowing what it will look like. And though passage of anything seems unlikely, if they do manage to pass a replacement bill, it’ll be a patchwork of last-minute compromises on top of a bill that is already massively unpopular and hasn’t been thoroughly analyzed. And Republicans will then own whatever happens under their bill.”

Politico: “Leaders of the hard-line House Freedom Caucus on Wednesday evening will jump-start a process intended to force the measure — a mirror of the 2015 repeal proposal that President Obama vetoed — to the floor as early as September.”

“Their effort is unlikely to result in a bill landing on Donald Trump’s desk — many Republicans have rejected calls to eliminate the core of Obamacare without having a comprehensive replacement plan ready. But if the group garners enough signatures to trigger the floor vote, it would force many mainstream and moderate Republican lawmakers into the uncomfortable position of rejecting a repeal measure they backed just two years ago.”


The CBO estimates that the GOP repeal-only health care bill would increase the number of people who are uninsured by 17 million in 2018, compared with the number under current law.  That number would increase to 27 million in 2020, after the elimination of Medicaid expansion and the elimination of marketplace subsidies, and then to 32 million in 2026.  In addition, average premiums in the nongroup market would increase by roughly 25% in 2018. The increase would reach about 50% in 2020, and premiums would about double by 2026.


EVEN KARL ROVE SAYS IT’S WRONG. Playbook: “Karl Rove told an off-the-record McDonald’s corporate conference Monday in D.C. that he would not have taken a meeting with Russian operatives, like Donald Trump Jr., Paul Manafort and Jared Kushner did. Rove told the crowd at the J.W. Marriott that if a campaign gets an email saying an agent of a foreign adversarial government wants to meet and pass on damaging information about an opponent, they shouldn’t take the meeting, and they should call the FBI.”

“In a presidential campaign, Rove said, aides get lots of phone calls and emails offering tips on the opponent. Most should be routed through opposition researchers, and many are not worth the time.”

Meanwhile, a new Politico/Morning Consult poll finds that 52% of voters say the meeting was inappropriate. Only 23% say meeting was appropriate and the remaining 25% have no opinion.


SIX MONTHS IN.  Today marks six months since Trump was inaugurated and the Dallas Morning News decided to mark the occasion by listing his “accomplishments.” They divided them into three categories, (1) foreign policy, (2) domestic policy and (3) institutional damage. Lets take a look at that third group:

  • Committed potentially impeachable offenses of obstructing justice that prompted appointment of a Special Counsel by firing FBI Director James Comey, because of his probe into possible Trump campaign collusion with Russia, and urging other intelligence officials to pressure Comey to halt the probe.
  • Undermined the courts with denunciations of judges and their decisions affecting his administration’s policies, especially those curbing his hastily issued ban on Muslim travel from certain countries.
  • Without evidence, accused former President Barack Obama of illegally wiretapping his phones.
  • Repeatedly misrepresented his administration’s policies and trashed officials with whom he has disagreements, calling the ousted Comey “a nut job,” Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer the “head clown” and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi an “incompetent.”
  • Intensified racial and other divisions by reducing governmental civil rights guarantees and reversing protections for sexual and racial minorities.
  • Violated his own self-proclaimed ethics laws by allowing officials to deal with issues affecting their former employers. Permitted multiple instances in which he and other family members benefit financially from his presidency.
  • Waged a vendetta against news outlets subjecting his administration to scrutiny, calling the mainstream media the “enemy of the American people” and denouncing unfavorable stories as “fake news.” Undercut White House press institutions intended to facilitate dialogue between the presidency and the public.


REPUBLICANS CANNOT EVEN PASS THEIR SPENDING BILLS.  “House GOP leaders are resorting to Plan B on their spending strategy after falling woefully short of the support needed to pass a massive government funding package without Democratic votes,” Politico reports.

“Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy announced Tuesday night that the House will vote next week on a measure that includes just four of the 12 bills needed to fund the federal government. That decision comes after GOP leaders failed to get enough Republican support to pass the full dozen without the help of their minority-party counterparts.”

Bill Kristol: “July 2017 could be the month historians look back to as the moment the GOP lost any credible claim to be a plausible governing party.”



The Week says this Congress may be the most unproductive in 164 years: “It turns out that the GOP-controlled Congress can’t seem to pass any meaningful laws at all. Either they have forgotten how, or the divisions in their own increasingly radicalized caucus are proving too difficult to surmount. Whatever the explanation, thus far these GOP legislators are on track to be the least productive group since at least the Civil War.”



REPUBLICANS THINK TRUMP IS TOO STUPID TO COLLUDE. McKay Coppins: “When I floated this idea to Capitol Hill Republicans, they generally found it preposterous. They were willing to allow for the possibility that some Trump campaign officials might have inappropriately cooperated with Russians, but they said the president and his team were simply too incompetent to pull off a high-level House of Cards-style conspiracy. At worst, they seemed to believe Team Trump’s collusion amounted to a ‘conspiracy of dunces’ (as a recent Ross Douthat column termed it)—embarrassing and unseemly, sure, but certainly not so grave as to demand blowing up the entire GOP agenda to address it.”

Said one senior Senate aide: “I think most of us agree that if something did happen, it wasn’t anything malicious … it’s just chalked up to them not being very smart.”


THIS IS WHAT A WEAK PRESIDENT LOOKS LIKE. BuzzFeed: “Trump spent much of this past weekend watching the U.S. Women’s Golf Open at his family-owned golf club, a kind of metaphor for a presidency disconnected from actual power. But the health care failure — in which Trump allowed himself to lose control of his own agenda, and then lose the fight for that agenda — was the most humiliating in a sweep of presidential defeats.”

“The White House has lost control of its foreign policy to the military and to allies who can’t work with a globally loathed American leader even if they wanted to. He has lost control of his domestic policy to Congress, which has been unable to give him a signature win despite Republicans controlling both chambers. He has lost control of his own aides to leaks and investigations, of his old television cronies to spiteful personal feuds, and most of all of the narrative of an ‘America First’ presidency with a coherent vision or promise.”

Also interesting: “Even the president’s top backers are losing patience. Billionaire Trump patrons Rebecca and Bob Mercer are ‘apoplectic’ over the health care debacle, with renewed fears that Trump’s lofty goals of changing Washington have become all but impossible”


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

8 comments on “The Open Thread for July 20, 2017

  1. What is McConnell’s home approval rating? it doesnt matter a damn thing if only 4% of the country likes him…. as long as that 4% are Kentuckians… Kinda like how Schumer/Pelosi types hang on.

    Whatever the answer to that question is, we really need to think hard about it for the future. MOST congress-rats are very unpopular everywhere but their home district/state. “everyone sucks by MY representative/senators” is why congress is so unpopular year after year, and so full of incumbents. It’s safe D-states like Delaware who need to oust our DINOs in favor of real progressives who will fight…. rather than bow and scrape for “bipartisanship”

  2. No mention of Chris Coons signing on to AIPAC’s bill to criminalize boycotting Israel, complete with huge fines and jail time. Unconstitutional as all get out it has attracted 13 Dems and 29 Republicans. This is what money and influence buy in American politics. Take the time to call the little aisle reacher and give him some “are you out of your goddamn mind?” love.

  3. Idiot:

    “As they get something, it gets tougher. Because politically, you can’t give it away. So pre-existing conditions are a tough deal. Because you are basically saying from the moment the insurance, you’re 21 years old, you start working and you’re paying $12 a year for insurance, and by the time you’re 70, you get a nice plan. Here’s something where you walk up and say, “I want my insurance.” It’s a very tough deal, but it is something that we’re doing a good job of.”

    $12 A YEAR???

    Then he adds this gem:

    Ever sensitive to negative press coverage, Trump also hit back on previous reports suggesting he doesn’t understand health care policy, asserting without prompting in the Times interview that he wowed Republican senators with his depth of knowledge.

    “These guys couldn’t believe it, how much I know about it. I know a lot about health care,” he told the reporters.

    You know nothing, Donald Snow.

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