The Open Thread for September 10, 2017

“The Trump administration is considering proposing smaller, more tactical nuclear weapons that would cause less damage than traditional thermonuclear bombs — a move that would give military commanders more options but could also make the use of atomic arms more likely,” Politico reports.

“Approval of such weapons — whether designed to be delivered by missile, aircraft or special forces — would mark a major reversal from the Obama administration, which sought to limit reliance on nuclear arms and prohibited any new weapons or military capabilities. And critics say it would only make the actual use of atomic arms more likely.”

Oh, great.  Remember, Trump wants to use nuclear weapons.  He said so.

A Trump adviser tells Mike Allen that after a tumultuous seven months in office, it had finally dawned on the president: “People really fucking hate me.”

“For someone who has spent his life lapping up adulation, however fake, it was a harsh realization. This is a man with an especially acute need for affirmation. This week’s bear hug of Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer opened Trump’s eyes to one solution: Stop doing things that people hate, and start striking deals.”

An important point: “But we can’t overstate the level of despair among Republicans.”

Hey Donnie, you are still a racist pig.  Yeah, we will strike deals with you to our benefit if we want to. But the minute we can fuck you over and rid the nation of you, count on being fucked over.

NBC News: “Multiple sources familiar with the Bannon/Breitbart strategy say they’re gearing up for the long-expected battle against those who they deride as the ‘globalists’ in the West Wing — and that the decision has been made to go after ‘one globalist at a time.’”

“First on the list? Gary Cohn. And who’s key on the tax reform push? Gary Cohn.”

“There’s an acknowledgment among those working on tax reform that a backlash from the Trump base could be problematic if the overhaul is not perceived as populist — that’s why you’re hearing so much Trumpian language about ways to ‘unrig the economy.’”

Charlie Cook: “If you wanted to offer a graduate-school class in how not to be an effective president of the United States, Donald Trump could write the textbook and teach the course.”

“The first lesson would be to cater myopically to your base, alienating those in your party who are not in your core constituency—particularly the congressional leadership and power players who would be the ones instrumental to actually getting anything done. The second lesson would be to offend independent voters, those not married to either party who are at least theoretically open to the arguments from both sides. Finally, the third lesson would be to do everything possible to eliminate any chance of getting defections from the ranks of the other party while riling up the other party’s base, giving them an intensity that they may have lacked when they lost last year’s election. That’s pretty much how you would do it—and it’s what Trump has done.”

Stephen Bannon and Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC), chairman of the House Freedom Caucus, “plotted for nearly two hours on the agenda for the month ahead, with an emphasis on the Breitbart-Freedom Caucus war against Republican leadership on multiple fronts,” according to Jonathan Swan.

Said a source: “The topics discussed included conservative alternatives to everything the anti-Trump Republican leadership has planned on every major policy matter facing the United States of America in September. Including, Paul Ryan’s and Mitch McConnell’s demonstrated failure to govern, and how to effectively implement the Trump agenda moving forward.”

“Republican leadership already has a brutal month ahead, but the House Freedom Caucus — a collection of around 40 ultra conservative members — is going to fight them every step of the way.”

As Ben Smith notes, Trump might have adopted the worst possible strategy:  “Now, if Trump kills DACA to please his base he’ll be getting the worst of both political worlds. He’ll inflict real pain on hundreds of thousands of people to reassure his 30-some percent that he’s with them. And politically speaking, he’ll have given up a bargaining chip for nothing, and spent away a bit more of his political capital. That’s not strategy, it’s a panicked move in a corner.

The power politics of this move would be hard to fathom. DACA recipients, their allies, and Americans who see their sympathetic stories across media will blame Trump for their suffering. (Trump will blame Congress.) If Congress manages to restore their status, it will be a deal made on Capitol Hill, with the president a sulking bystander. Power in Washington accumulates when you’re relevant; it slips away when you’re on the sideline.

Hostage-takers keep hostages alive in order to protect themselves, to get what they want out of a situation that has clearly gone rather wrong. They sometimes shoot them for the same reason Trump appears to be thinking about ending DACA: attention. Again and again, he’s faced choices between attention and power, between the reality show narrative and the complex realities of governance. He’s chosen attention every time, and there’s little reason to think that’s about to change.”

From a new Democracy Fund poll: “Among all Trump voters, the president’s approval rating remains high: The vast majority, 88%, approved of the job he is doing as president. But there is erosion among voters who backed Barack Obama in 2012 but switched to Trump in 2016. Only 70% of those Obama-Trump voters approved of the job the president is doing. And 22% disapproved — a rate more than twice the 9% of all Trump voters who disapproved.”

The Obama-Trump voter will always be a mystery to me.

“The Senate is preparing to force President Trump to go on record to officially condemn the deadly white supremacist rallies in Charlottesville last month,” Politico reports.

“The Senate routinely takes up nonbinding measures commemorating people and institutions in the form of concurrent resolutions and simple resolutions – which are both purely symbolic and not submitted to the White House for the president’s signature.”

“But backers of the Charlottesville resolution have strategically chosen to introduce their measure as a joint resolution, which means it will be sent to Trump to sign into law.”

A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds 55% of respondents say they’re comfortable with the United States becoming more diverse and tolerant of different lifestyles, gender roles, languages, cultures and experiences.

In addition, 64% believe immigration strengthens the country.

Frank Rich says Donald Trump cannot hide from his DACA decision: “Trump’s “way out” on DACA was to send it to the Dead Letter Office, otherwise known as the GOP-majority Congress, which couldn’t even deliver on its signature seven-year-plus crusade to “repeal and replace” Obamacare. Trump’s additional “way out” was to delegate the public announcement of his egregious decision to Jeff Sessions, who then refused to take questions from the press. Our president knows one meaning of the word pussy. His own cowardice exemplifies another.

The Times reported that “aides have portrayed [DACA] as a difficult emotional decision for the president.” No doubt aides worked hard to portray it that way, but that hardly means Trump actually felt that way. He no more grasps DACA than any other issue that intrudes on his Fox News binge-watching in the White House. But apparently the political crisis his decision created — as measured by pollsdemonstrationscorporate outrage, and (selective) opposition in his own party — dawned on him late yesterday when he tweeted that he might “revisit” the issue in six months. That he thinks a 140-character stab at damage control could contain this fiasco is yet another example of the bubble of ignorance and self-delusion he lives in.”

Dylan Matthews discusses “What America would look like if it guaranteed everyone a job” at Vox and writes, “In the wake of the 2016 election, liberal commentators have latched onto the job guarantee — an idea pushed by some left-wing economists for years — as a way to forge a cross-racial working-class coalition. They need a plan that appeals to both to the white Wisconsin and Michigan voters who switched from Obama to Trump and to black and Latino workers left behind by deindustrialization. The ideal plan would both improve conditions for lower-income Americans while supporting Americans’ strong intuition that people should work to earn their crust.” Further “A federal job guarantee is both universal—it benefits all Americans—and specifically ameliorative to entrenched racial inequality,” Slate’s Jamelle Bouie notes, and “If Democrats want to win elections, they should imbue Trump’s empty rhetoric with a real promise: a good job for every American who wants one,” writes Bryce Covert in the New Republic. “It’s time to make a federal jobs guarantee the central tenet of the party’s platform.”

Writing at FiveThirtyEight, Dave Wasserman explains why “2018 Could Be The Year Of The Angry White College Graduate: And that’s bad news for Republicans.” The most recent NBC/Wall Street Journal national survey found that whites with a college degree disapproved of Trump’s job performance 61 percent to 37 percent, with 51 percent strongly disapproving — a remarkable level of intensity for a group that he carried just 10 months ago. By comparison, non-college whites approved of Trump 56 percent to 38 percent, with only 27 percent disapproving strongly…If numbers like these hold through November 2018, college-educated voters could swing hard toward Democrats at a time they represent a disproportionate share of the electorate. Somewhat counterintuitively, the impact of these angry graduates won’t be felt only in highly educated districts. That’s because the story isn’t just about them. It’s just as much about their non-college counterparts dropping out of the electorate.”


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

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