The Open Thread for August 8, 2017

So it is time to prepare for the end of all life on Earth, which could be coming as early as October, with the debt ceiling deadline.   Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has told Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer before the August recess that Democrats should provide the votes needed to pass the increase in the federal debt ceiling required by the end of September.  LOL.   Stan Collender calls that strategy “incredibly…and almost comically…politically naive.”

Two key members of the Trump administration — Mnuchin and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney — have opposite views on the debt ceiling. Mnuchin’s insists on a “clean” bill while Mulvaney demands that spending cuts be attached. Without a clear sign from the president, it will be even harder to get a bitterly divided Congress to act in a timely fashion.  The House Freedom Caucus has already demanded dollar for dollar spending cuts to dollar in debt ceiling raised.  That is simply impossible, and no Democrat will vote for that.

The only solution to save all civilization at that point is if the GOP leadership decides to go the Boehner route and have sane Republicans vote with Democrats on a clean bill like in 2013.  Martin Longman has another idea:

“I don’t think [Democrats] should play along like this because they need to break the cycle here and now.  They should be the aggressors for once, if only to shift the ground of this debate.  While the leadership’s position should remain a clean vote, large blocs of Democrats should make clear that a clean vote isn’t good enough for them anymore. They won’t vote for a raise in the debt ceiling unless certain priorities are protected in the budget.  They should say that they aren’t just going to line up behind what Pelosi and Schumer tell them to do.

The real reason to do this is because it will actually help McConnell and Ryan talk reason to their own members. If they want to pass their appropriations and not blow up the global economy, they’re going to have to make concessions to the Democrats, not ever-increasing demands. In truth, a clean bill will be satisfactory, provided that the Republicans provide most of the votes. But a clean bill where the Democrats provide most of the votes ought to be unacceptable, and if it takes a global recession to get the Republicans to believe they shouldn’t mess with our credit-rating, that will be most unfortunate but a lesson that needed to be learned one way or another.

The truth is, if the Democrats don’t adopt a stronger position now, I believe they will actually make default more likely.  And this game is so rigged against them, that they have to be willing to let the world end in order to put a stop to it.”



Donald Trump’s overall approval rating stands at its lowest point in CNN polling, while three-quarters of Americans say they can’t trust most what they hear from the White House.

Overall, 38% say they approve of Trump’s handling of the presidency, according to a new CNN poll conducted by SSRS, with 56% saying they disapprove.   24% trust most of what they hear from the White House, while an overwhelming and fatal 73% do not.   And Donald’s base is shrinking: 59% of Republicans approve of Trump strongly, and that is down 14 points since February.

59% of Americans say Trump’s first 6 months a failure. Just 36% say a success.  Meanwhile, Donald would lose in New Hampshire in 2020 to John Kasich, by a rather large margin:


Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) used an interesting phrase in Politico to illustrate how Republicans were moving away from their failed health care bill.

Said Hatch: “We’re not going back to health care. We’re in tax now. As far as I’m concerned, they shot their wad on health care and that’s the way it is. I’m sick of it.”

After an uproar on social media, Hatch tweeted out “a valuable jargon lesson on ‘wads’ and the shooting of them.” He claims that “to shoot one’s wad” means “to do all that one can do,” and is a reference to the material used to plug old guns.


President Trump’s most prominent Silicon Valley supporter has distanced himself from the president in multiple private conversations, describing at different points this year an “incompetent” administration, and one that may well end in “disaster,” according to BuzzFeed News.

“Peter Thiel’s unguarded remarks have surprised associates, some of whom are still reeling from his full-throated endorsement of Trump at the Republican National Convention. And while the investor stands by the president in public… his private doubts underscore the fragility of the president’s backing from even his most public allies… Thiel’s views remain private — but various disparaging comments were recounted to BuzzFeed News by three separate sources, and others who subsequently confirmed those accounts. These people requested anonymity for fear of damaging personal relationships and possible retribution.”


First Read: “Every new president has the golden opportunity to unite his political party — especially when that party has been out of the White House for eight years. But six and a half months into Donald Trump’s time in office, the Republican Party seems as divided as it was a year ago right before Trump’s nomination.”

“Of course, the GOP divisions in 2016 didn’t stop Trump from winning the presidency; in the end, the Republican Party and its voters joined hands to defeat Hillary Clinton. But less than seven months into his presidency, Trump’s biggest missed opportunity during this honeymoon phase very well might be his inability to unite his own party, especially inside Congress.”

“Trump took to Twitter this morning to argue that his base is bigger and stronger than ever… But if Republicans are truly united, then why have they struck out (so far) on health care? Why are they at odds over what to do about the debt ceiling? And why are prominent GOP senators already publishing books criticizing their own president? After all, there’s a difference between Trump’s base and the Republican Party.”


Dana Milbank says there are no Trump Democrats: “The number of Obama-to-Trump voters turns out to be smaller than thought. And those Obama voters who did switch to Trump were largely Republican voters to start with. The aberration wasn’t their votes for Trump but their votes for Obama…

In 2008, a larger-than-usual number of Republican voters went with Obama during an extraordinary time, when the economy was in free fall and an incumbent Republican president was deeply unpopular. ANES polling found that 17 percent of Obama voters in 2008 had been for George W. Bush in 2004, compared with the 13 percent of Trump voters, the same survey found, who supported Obama at least once. These people aren’t Obama-Trump voters as much as they were Bush-Obama voters.”

His conclusion is that Democrats should forget about winning over these voters and instead “the party would do better to go after disaffected Democrats who didn’t vote in 2016 or who voted for third parties.”



A new JMC Analytics poll in Alabama finds Roy Moore leading the Republican field for the U.S. Senate primary with 30%, followed by Sen, Luther Strange at 22%, Rep. Mo Brooks at 19% and  Trip Pittman at 6%.

A new Daily Caller/Strategic National poll in Nevada finds Rep, Mark Amodei (R-NV) just edging Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) in a possible GOP primary for U.S. Senate, 27% to 26%, with Danny Tarkanian (R) at 21%.


Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) told the Charleston Gazette that getting re-elected doesn’t influence his votes.

Said Manchin: “I don’t give a shit, you understand? I just don’t give a shit. Don’t care if I get elected, don’t care if I get defeated, how about that. If they think because I’m up for election, that I can be wrangled into voting for shit that I don’t like and can’t explain, they’re all crazy.”

He added: “I’m not scared of an election, let’s put it that way. Elections do not bother me or scare me.”



William A. Galston notes “..A report released today by the Pew Research Center shows that for the first time ever, Millennial and Gen X voters outnumbered Boomers and older voters, 69.6 million to 67.9 million. This gap will only widen in future elections…In the long run, this is worrisome news for Republicans. As of last November, fully 55 percent of Millennials identified either as Democrats or as Independents who lean Democratic. Given their liberal attitudes on social issues and experience-based openness to immigrants from other cultures, the first six months of the Trump administration are unlikely to have shifted their preference toward the GOP. Within the next decade, as their numbers and participation rates swell, Millennials will be the single largest cohort in the electorate. And if history is any guide, their early voting patterns will likely persist into their mature years.”



Paul Krugman’s column “What’s Next for Progressives?” should crank up buzz among Democrats who are getting focused on the nuts and bolts of health care policy reforms. Krugman considers the British, Australian and Dutch health care systems, and suggests: “the Dutch have what we might call Obamacare done right: individuals are required to buy coverage from regulated private insurers, with subsidies to help them afford the premiums…And the Dutch system works, which suggests that a lot could be accomplished via incremental improvements in the A.C.A., rather than radical change…I’d enhance the A.C.A., not replace it, although I would strongly support reintroducing some form of public option — a way for people to buy into public insurance — that could eventually lead to single-payer.” Krugman also argues “So if it were up to me, I’d talk about improving the A.C.A., not ripping it up and starting over, while opening up a new progressive front on child care.”


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

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