Open Thread

The Open Thread for November 22, 2017

“Republicans are losing the public relations battle on their tax-cut bills. While a tax bill cleared the House last week, several Senate Republicans appear skeptical of their chamber’s version. And polls show that Americans are much more opposed to the GOP’s tax effort than supportive — a fact that has to be weighing on those same wavering Senate Republicans,” the Washington Post reports.

new report from the bipartisan Tax Policy Center should make it even more difficult for senators to get to yes:  “On average in 2027, taxes would rise modestly for the lowest-income group, change little for middle-income groups, and decrease for higher-income groups. Compared to current law, 9 percent of taxpayers would pay more in 2019, 12 percent in 2025, and 50 percent in 2027.”

“It’s not difficult to see this winding up in just about every piece of Democratic pushback on the Senate GOP’s tax bill.”

Bloomberg: House tax bill is littered With loopholes for Wall Street’s wealthiest.


President Trump “appeared to throw his support behind Roy Moore (R), despite allegations of sexual misconduct lodged against the Republican Alabama Senate candidate,” The Hillreports.

Said Trump: “We don’t need a liberal Democrat in the seat… He denies it. He totally denies it.”

A new Quinnipiac poll finds that American voters by a 60% to 28% margin that if Roy Moore (R) is elected to the U.S. Senate from Alabama, the U.S. Senate should vote to expel him.

Republicans, however, say he should be allowed to serve by 49% to 33%.

Every other listed party, gender, education, age and racial group says expel him.



Survey Monkey poll in 2014 found that 11% of Americans indicated that Barack Obama was the topic most likely to spur an argument on Thanksgiving. This year, 37% say that about Donald Trump.

“The expectation that Trump would be the subject most likely to hijack Thanksgiving transcended party lines: We asked respondents if they considered themselves Republicans, Democrats or independents, and regardless of party affiliation, the most common answer in each group was still Trump. Just over half of self-identified Democrats — 169 out of 319 respondents — said talking about Trump was most likely to start an argument, compared to 34% of independents and 20% of Republicans.”


Stan Collender: “Congressional staff, lobbyists and reporters all cheered when the current continuing resolution — the law that’s keeping the government’s lights on while Congress figures out what to do about the fiscal 2018 spending bills — was drafted so it would expire on December 9. They all figured the early-in-December deadline meant they could make relatively secure plans to be out-of-town for the holidays.”

“I sure hope they didn’t get nonrefundable tickets.”

“The GOP’s efforts to enact a tax bill by President Trump’s arbitrary and nonsensical Christmas 2018 deadline has made it almost certain that Congress will be in session until close to the end of December. That, in turn, virtually guarantees that the (hopefully) final funding decisions for the year also won’t be made until the end of the month. That will wreak havoc with holiday schedules. It could also mean there could be a federal government shutdown by January 1.”



USA Today editorial says the Trump administration’s decision to sue to block the proposed merger of AT&T and Time Warner “smacks of politics” because of the president’s vendetta against CNN.

“Ever since the Nixon administration secretly meddled in antitrust policy, both parties have tried to keep raw partisan politics out of it. Presidents appoint certain types of lawyers to head the Justice Department and Federal Trade Commission antitrust units, then leave them alone to conduct independent reviews that follow the facts and the law. At least that was the practice until Trump became president… None of this makes any sense outside of political vendettas. Turner Broadcasting is fairly small potatoes in terms of market power…

If the AT&T-Time Warner case goes to court, the administration is highly likely to lose, but not before wasting a lot of taxpayer and shareholder money on legal fees in the process.”

The Chicago Sun Times concurs: “Trump is behaving again like a tin-pot dictator, trying to punish a media company that has dared to cover him honestly, aggressively and accurately.”



Politico: “Concern is growing in both parties that a clash over the fate of Dreamers will trigger a government shutdown this December. House conservatives have warned Speaker Paul Ryan against lumping a fix for undocumented immigrants who came to the country as minors into a year-end spending deal. They want him to keep the two issues separate and delay immigration negotiations into 2018 to increase their leverage — which both Ryan and the White House consider reasonable.”

“But many liberal Democrats have already vowed to withhold votes from the spending bill should it not address Dreamers, putting Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer in an awkward spot if they don’t go along.”


Ezra Klein sees hope for Democrats ahead:  “Which is all to say that one lesson of the post-2004 moment is low ebbs in political power sometimes set up massive gains in political power, particularly when the governing party governs poorly. Just as Democrats regret Bush’s second term less, and Republicans regret it more, than either side expected at the time, the same could well prove true of Trump — particularly if the loathing he inspires among younger voters hardens into a persistent distaste for the GOP.

Another lesson is that the path back to power often looks very different from what the post-election analyses suggest. The Democrats agonizing over evangelical heartland voters and whether they had any candidates who looked natural holding a hunting rifle did not think their resurgence lay with a cosmopolitan, liberal African-American whose name rhymed with “Osama.” But it did.”



Alabama’s top election official told NBC News he is lowering his prediction for turnout in Alabama’s December 12 special election, a potential measure of how sexual misconduct allegations have roiled the Senate race between Roy Moore (R) and Doug Jones (D).

“Secretary of State John Merrill also said his office has just sent local election officials more detailed guidance for processing write-in votes, a result he said of a higher volume of inquiries than his office normally receives from voters across the state.”

First Read: “While it’s impossible to predict what will happen in the Moore-vs.-Jones race — it’s an election in December, in Alabama and with the Republican nominee facing terrible accusations — it’s fair to say that a lower turnout and more write-in votes probably help Jones.”



A federal judge permanently blocked President Trump’s executive order to cut funding from cities that limit cooperation with U.S. immigration authorities, the AP reports.

“U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick rejected the administration’s argument that the executive order applies only to a relatively small pot of money and said Trump cannot set new conditions on spending approved by Congress. The judge had previously made the same arguments in a ruling that put a temporary hold on the executive order targeting so-called sanctuary cities. The Trump administration has appealed that decision to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.”


“Doug Jones, the Democratic nominee for U.S. Senate in Alabama, is wielding prominent conservative voices against his Republican rival Roy Moore, who has been dogged by allegations of sexual misconduct with teenage girls and young women when he was in his 30s,” NBC News reports.


Jim Messina writes in Politico:  “Based on the focus-group findings, we drafted four distinct messages about Trump and his handling of the economy. In one, we explained that he had stacked his cabinet with billionaires who weren’t looking out for everyday Americans; in another, we offered facts about the economy under Trump, including stagnant wages; in the third, we highlighted how Trump’s budget would cut programs important to the middle class and reroute the money into tax cuts for the wealthy. And finally, we tied his incendiary, all-hours tweets to his failure to bring jobs back to the U.S.

When exposing all voters in the survey to a tough message laying out the consequences of Trump’s tweeting—how it signals what he really cares about and prevents him from focusing his energy on making good on his promises to improve people’s lives—we found that the overall rating of Trump’s handling of the economy dropped by 6 points. And among the key Obama-Non-Clinton voter demographic? It dropped a staggering 21 points.

Similarly, when voters were told that Trump wants to give massive tax cuts to the wealthy while cutting programs for middle-class families, voters’ ratings of his handling of the economy sunk by 8 points overall and by an astounding 24 points among Obama-Non-Clinton voters.

Perhaps even more interesting is that when we re-surveyed Obama-non-Clinton voters six weeks later, those who’d been exposed to the tweeting message had a much dimmer view of Trump than those exposed to other messages.”



The Economist says past presidents believed that American power should be used as a force for good in the world. Not Donald Trump.

“Mr Obama was more of a Wilsonian than a neo-Wilsonian; his idealism tempered by a cool realism that verged on cynicism. For him the Middle East, exemplified by Libya, was a “shit show” that America could do little to change. But critics saw his reluctance to intervene in Syria as an abdication of American responsibility.

Mr Obama reflected a loss of confidence in the certainties of the neolibs and neocons. He may have allowed the pendulum to swing back too far, but he reflected the mood of war-weary voters. Mr Trump stands for something different and darker: a contemptuous repudiation of the use of American strength in the service of anything other than self-interest. His enthusiasm for a brute like Mr Duterte gives heart to brutes everywhere. The consequences for America’s power and influence are likely to be grave.”

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

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