The Open Thread for September 28, 2017

“Returning from a high-dollar fundraiser in Manhattan on Tuesday evening, an infuriated President Trump watched aboard Air Force One as Fox News called the Alabama Senate primary for Roy Moore against Trump’s favored candidate, Luther Strange,” CNN reports. “What ensued was a barrage of angry venting at his political team and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who had consolidated establishment GOP support behind Strange.”

“He went to bed ’embarrassed and pissed’ following the election loss, according to a person familiar with his mindset. Trump, multiple sources said, is furious with McConnell, and feels outdone by his former aide Bannon.”




“When [Paul Manafort] offered private briefings to a Russian oligarch close to President Vladimir Putin last year, he wasn’t only appealing to a superpower, he was pursuing a personal mission: the end to a costly dispute over a failed business deal,” Bloomberg reports.  “[Manafort] wanted a meeting in hopes of resolving a long-simmering dispute with the Russian, said two people familiar with the offer.”


A new Reuters/Ipsos poll finds that 57% of Americans disagree with President Trump’s assertion that football players should be fired for kneeling during the national anthem, even though most say they would personally stand during the song.

A new Quinnipiac poll finds that American voters believe President Trump is not “fit to serve as president,” by a 56% to 42% margin. They are embarrassed to have him as president by a 51% to 27% margin.  Trump’s approval rating is a dismal, 36% to 57%.  Said pollster Tim Malloy: “A divider, responsible for the deepening chasm of racial discord. That is the inescapable characterization of President Trump from voters who see race relations deteriorating on his watch.”

A new CNN poll finds that only 20% of registered voters want most members re-elected while 70% would rather the majority of members not return to Congress.  Also interesting: Just 30% of Republican voters say they want to see most members reelected.

A new Christopher Newport University survey in Virginia finds Ralph Northam (D) leading Ed Gillespie (R) in the governor’s race, 47% to 41%.



President Trump refused to rule out the possibility of firing Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, saying he’s “not happy” with his use of a private plane, The Hill reports. Said Trump: “I’m looking into it. I’m not happy about it.”

In any other administration in the whole of American history, Price would be either forced to resign or be fired, or impeached.  It would be a six month mega scandal.  Congressional hearings.


Jonathan Bernstein: “Sure, Trump is the least popular president of the polling era in terms of his first 250 days. But Republicans were always going to be hesitant to dismiss the president’s popularity — especially in Republican primaries — in part because Trump’s nomination and election was such a surprise, and in part because Trump did it with awful poll numbers.”

Trump’s utter inability to move the polls despite being very visible in his support for Strange will remove some, and perhaps quite a bit, of the belief among Republican elites that Trump has some sort of special connection with their constituents. Indeed, Moore won by a larger margin in the runoff than he did in the first-round election. Which means they’ll be less likely to give him the benefit of the doubt when deciding whether to do what he wants.”



Frank Rich: “As the news of Moore’s victory hit last night, the Times tweeted that the results had delivered “a blow to President Trump.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Both of the GOP primary candidates were far to the right, and both were full-throated Trump supporters. Yes, Trump, acting impulsively on sloppy political intelligence, had endorsed the loser, Strange, but the Moore victory only adds to Trump’s power over the GOP.”

Moore was a Trumpist before Trump was: a nativist, homophobic, law-disdaining, white supremacist, theocratic Dixie judge — a Bible-thumping regional variant on Joe Arpaio. He will be a vocal Trump ally in trying to drive what’s left of the GOP Establishment in Washington out of power.”



Jonathan Chait: “The Republican Establishment has suffered through the Trump presidency, filling the news with a constant stream of caustic, mordant, off-the-record comments attesting to their sense of regret. The presidency is exactly the chaotic shambles the Trump campaign was, and the legislative results are much less than his party hoped to win when it made its pact with the devil. The nomination in Alabama of Roy Moore for U.S. Senate offered the party a chance to reconsider whether the prospect of supporting the team, and the incrementally higher prospects of enacting some tax cuts and social spending rollbacks, is worth the cost of elevating a dangerously unhinged demagogue for public office. The entire party, without any apparent hesitation, is leaping at the chance to make the same deal again.”

“Moore is hardly a carbon copy of Trump. He is religious where Trump is secular, fanatical where Trump is cynical. But he shares the president’s two most pertinent attributes. First, Moore is a purveyor of paranoid conspiracy theories, such as the belief that Sharia law has taken hold in American communities, or that Barack Obama was not born in the United States. Second, and more distinctly, he is not a small-d democrat.”


Rich Lowry: “The Republican Party can’t pass Obamacare repeal but it can nominate Roy Moore.”

“This is the state of the GOP in a nutshell. It is a party locked in mortal combat between an establishment that is ineffectual and unimaginative and a populist wing that is ineffectual and inflamed. It is rare for a governing coalition to have a bitter factional fight—usually the party out of power deploys the circular firing squads — although, on the other hand, this particular coalition isn’t doing much governing.”

“By the hard numbers, Republicans are in robust good health. They have unified control of the federal government and the most governorships and state legislative seats since the 1920s. Conservatives control the Supreme Court. Yet, Trump’s ascendance created an identity crisis in the party that hasn’t been resolved, and the hope it could be papered over with legislative accomplishments and signing ceremonies has come a cropper.”


“Republicans on Wednesday [proposed] slashing tax rates for the wealthy, middle class and businesses, while also preserving popular tax deductions that encourage buying homes and giving to charity,” according to a 9-page document obtained by the Washington Post.

“But the document… leaves many key questions unanswered. In it, the White House and Republican congressional leaders do not identify the numerous tax breaks that they say will be removed in order to offset some of the trillions of dollars in revenue lost by cutting tax rates.”


First Read: “While most eyes were on Alabama’s Senate runoff last night, two state special elections last night shouldn’t be overlooked — and they held good news for Democrats. In the Miami area, Democrat Annette Taddeo beat state representative (and former Apprentice candidate!) Jose Felix Diaz to pick up a closely-contested state Senate seat. The area was carried by Hillary Clinton in 2016, but the seat was last won by a double-digit margin by Republican Sen. Frank Artiles, who was forced to resign after making racist remarks. (Republicans did hang on to Diaz’s House seat, which he had to vacate to run against Taddeo.)”

“More surprising than the Florida win, however, was Democrats’upset in a New Hampshire House race, where first-time candidate Kari Lerner snagged a formerly GOP-held seat in an area won by Donald Trump by nearly 20 points in 2016. The victories make a total of eight state legislative seats flipped from red to blue this cycle.”

Daniel Donner is keeping score.  “Democrats are, on average, overperforming Clinton, overperforming Obama, and overperforming Democrats who ran for the same seats in prior years. And, they’re flipping Republican-held seats — eight of them so far!  Out of all the special elections with typical Democrat vs. Republican dynamics, Democrats have overperformed the 2016 presidential margin by more than 10 points in 25 of them. Republicans have overperformed by more than 10 points in just four — but one of those was actually a Democratic flip! On average, Democrats are doing about 13 points better than Hillary Clinton.”


Apparently Vladimir Putin was willing to support anyone but Clinton.

“Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein was the beneficiary of at least one of the Russian-bought political ads on Facebook that federal government officials suspect were intended to influence the 2016 election.  Other advertisements paid for by shadowy Russian buyers criticized Hillary Clinton and promoted Donald Trump. Some backed Bernie Sanders and his platform even after his presidential campaign had ended, according to a person with knowledge of the ads.”



Ed Kilgore on the chances of Doug Jones in Alabama: “National Democrats have some decisions to make about Alabama. Putting a third GOP-held Senate seat into play (right now only Arizona and Nevada are deemed competitive) could convert 2018 from a purely defensive struggle for Senate Democrats into a drive — a long shot, but hardly impossible given the near-certainty of a midterm trend against the party controlling the White House — for actual control. Moore’s career-long aversion to fundraising could provide a real opening. But anything heavy-handed could help Judge Roy play the martyr and stimulate Alabama’s ideological and partisan juices in an unfortunate way for Doug Jones. The Democrat has a chance, but will have to run a much smarter campaign than Luther Strange’s, and provide voters who will otherwise just follow their Republican habits with reason to think twice about the spectacle — and it will be a spectacle — of Senator Roy Moore.”


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

5 comments on “The Open Thread for September 28, 2017

  1. “A new CNN poll finds that only 20% of registered voters want most members re-elected while 70% would rather the majority of members not return to Congress. Also interesting: Just 30% of Republican voters say they want to see most members reelected.”

    Some day I need to look congress-critter by congress-critter and see what their individual approval ratings are at home.
    I get the feeling most people (esp in “trump land”) LOVE their crazy ass representative but hate “all those liberals everywhere else”. I can think of no other way to explain the high incumbency rate, but rock-bottom approval ratings for congress in general.

    • That’s the story of most of these polls. it is Throw the Bums Out — Except Mine pretty much across the board. I think that there is something in local constituent service AND a likely lack of visibility into what the local congresscritter is doing in DC. It is probably easy to be Not One of Them if you are holding periodical job fairs in your district.

  2. A House Republican explains why deficits don’t matter anymore

    “It’s a great talking point when you have an administration that’s Democrat-led,” said Representative Mark Walker, Republican of North Carolina and the chairman of the Republican Study Committee, a group of about 150 conservative House members. “It’s a little different now that Republicans have both houses and the administration.”

    So here’s the thing. We all know about the GOP hypocrisy here. Dick Cheney gave this game away when BushCo was in office. We all knew that what the GOP cared about was beating up a Dem, not deficits or debt. The thing that kills me were all of the Dems with their showy handwringing about debt and deficits. They have to know what the game is. Who TAF are they talking to? It is so infuriating that Democrats can just fall for this crap.

  3. AND on the local front, pick up the phone, email your elected officials. Enough is enough of the joke!!

  4. Is Alabama worth contesting, Roy Moore or not? I wouldn’t dwell on it, Alabama is now seeking to up end Mississippi as the worst of the worst. Notice a barrage of big bucks didn’t help the hapless Luther Strange much if at all. As for hating on congress I’m all for it, they don’t serve us and sell us out at the drop of a hat. But I buck the trend, I despise Coons, Carper and throw in Carney just for fun. The point is that I’m politically knowledgeable and growing up on Long Island was born with trust issues that have served me well. Contrast that to the people who vote for a familiar name and little more. Sadly an “informed electorate” remains vital to democracy, and we ain’t got one.

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