The Open Thread for March 8, 2018

A new Politico/Morning Consult poll finds President Trump trails a generic Democratic presidential candidate by eight points, 44% to 36%.  Key finding: “Male voters are evenly split: 42% would vote for Trump, and 42% would back the Democratic candidate. Among female voters, the Democrat has a 15-point lead, 46% to 31%.”

A new Quinnipiac poll finds that 41% of Americans think Donald Trump is the worst of the 13 presidents who have served since the end of World War II, followed by 21% who list Barack Obama and 10% who cite Richard Nixon.  Looking at the best president since 1945, 28% say Ronald Reagan, while 24% list Barack Obama, with 10% each for Bill Clinton and John Kennedy.

Said pollster Tim Malloy: “In 73 years, 13 men have governed from behind the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office and none of them have done so with less admiration from the American people.”  Meanwhile, Trump’s approval rating is a dismal 38% to 56% disapproval.

A new Monnouth poll finds President Trump’s job approval rating has slipped over the last month to 39% to 54%. Last month it was 42% to 54%.  Meanwhile, Democrats lead Republicans in the generic ballot, 50% to 41%.

Said pollster Patrick Murray: “The Democratic Party’s lead in the congressional ballot test has been trending with the net deficit in Trump’s job rating. A spate of recent news stories about family members in the president’s inner circle seems to have played a role in pushing his numbers down and taking the GOP’s standing down with it.”

Playbook: “Senior Republicans are resigned to the fact that they can’t stop Trump from placing these tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. But if he follows through on his threat, senior Republicans will give him time to cool down, and then approach the president with data to show him that he’s wrong, and explain that the tariffs need to be refined. The GOP feels like he’s dug in, at the moment, and not terribly receptive to any outside views. Ryan hinted as much in a closed party meeting Tuesday morning in the Capitol.”

The Trump administration “escalated what had been a war of words over California’s immigration agenda, filing a lawsuit late Tuesday that amounted to a pre-emptive strike against the liberal state’s so-called sanctuary laws,” the New York Times reports.

“The Justice Department sued California; Gov. Jerry Brown; and the state’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra, over three state laws passed in recent months, saying they make it impossible for federal immigration officials to do their jobs and deport criminals who were born outside of the United States. The Justice Department called the laws unconstitutional and asked a judge to block them.”

Washington Post: “It sets up a clash not just on what is the best immigration policy to promote public safety, but also on what power the federal government should exert over the states.”

Special counsel Robert Mueller has learned of two conversations in recent months in which President Trump asked key witnesses about matters they discussed with investigators, the New York Times reports.

“The episodes demonstrate that even as the special counsel investigation appears to be intensifying, the president has ignored his lawyers’ advice to avoid doing anything publicly or privately that could create the appearance of interfering with it.”

“Legal experts said Mr. Trump’s contact with the men most likely did not rise to the level of witnesses tampering. But witnesses and lawyers who learned about the conversations viewed them as potentially a problem and shared them with Mr. Mueller.”

Politico: “Tuesday’s special election, which is being held in a district that President Donald Trump won by 20 percentage points, has emerged as the latest testing ground of whether Republicans are headed for a midterm bloodbath. A loss would be wholly embarrassing, many Republicans privately acknowledge, given that it would take place in a state that Trump made a cornerstone of his 2016 victory.”

“Many Republicans expect that Saccone will ultimately prevail, thanks largely to the conservative nature of the southwestern Pennsylvania district and the national GOP’s effort. Yet three senior party strategists said they’d reviewed internal polling data in recent days pointing to a narrow Lamb lead, raising alarms. And this week, the Republican National Committee conducted a data analysis finding that just 47 percent of voters in the district viewed Saccone favorably, three percentage points lower than Trump.”

President Trump “once presided over a reality show in which a key cast member exited each week. The same thing seems to be happening in his White House,” the AP reports.

New York Times:  “More than one in three top White House officials left by the end of Mr. Trump’s first year and fewer than half of the 12 positions closest to the president are still occupied by the same people as when he came into office… office, according to a Brookings Institution study. Mr. Cohn’s departure will bring the turnover number to 43 percent.”

Politico: “Some worry the White House could return to the uncontrolled days immediately following Trump’s inauguration, when many West Wing jobs were still unfilled and former strategist Steve Bannon was writing executive orders with policy adviser Stephen Miller, including the disastrous travel ban that was ultimately knocked down by multiple courts.”

Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) re-election campaign released a 60-second radio ad that was a country music jingle prodding O’Rourke for going by “Beto” rather than “Robert,” CNN reports.  Said the song: “Liberal Robert wanted to fit in, so he changed his name to Beto and hid it with a grin.”

O’Rourke responded saying he’s gone by “Beto” since he was born.  Of course, Cruz’s real name is Rafael Edward Cruz and he goes by the nickname “Ted.”

“President Trump wants to sign a presidential proclamation tomorrow to set his steel and aluminum tariffs in motion,” Axios reports.

“Trump is impatient and he wants to act — or at least be seen as acting. He got fed up with staff, especially Gary Cohn and Rob Porter, not giving him his tariffs on steel and aluminum. And some of Trump’s nationalist-minded advisers are telling him these tariffs will help turn out voters in the upcoming special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district.”

“Keep in mind that this is what Trump has been telling staff he wants. These days — and in this White House — nothing is set in stone. Besides, the White House lawyers have been working overtime on these tariffs and sources tell me nothing is certain when it comes to timing.”

“Several White House staffers have been terminated or reassigned for issues related to their security clearances — with at least one individual employed in the Office of the First Lady relieved of duty,” sources with direct knowledge tell ABC News.

“There is a list of several other individuals with security clearance issues that are under consideration for possible termination or reassignment in the coming days.”

Playbook: “Many very qualified Washington Republicans have said some version of this to us: Tax reform is done. Infrastructure is not likely to happen. The House could easily flip. The Senate Republicans will have a tough 2020 cycle. In other words, legislating is almost over. The Trump White House is partially a target of a federal investigation. Aides have lawyered up. The president makes policy advisers spar over policy. And the losers are often thrown under the bus. Why join this White House?”

Russian President Vladimir Putin lavished praise on President Trump, but added that he was sorely disappointed with the U.S. political system, saying that it has been “eating itself up,” the AP reports.  Of Trump, Putin said: “I have no disappointment at all. Moreover, on a personal level he made a very good impression on me.”  He added: “It’s possible to negotiate with him, to search for compromises.”

Trump’s so-called “base” doesn’t seem all that thrilled with their tax cut.  ““I have seen a little uptick in my paycheck, about what I expected, about 30 bucks,” said Mr. Kazee, who voted twice for President Barack Obama before backing Mr. Trump in the 2016 election. “It felt to me about like where things were 15 years ago.”

His underwhelmed reaction was not what Republicans had in mind. The white working-class voters in the industrial Midwest who helped put Mr. Trump in the White House are now seeing the extra cash from the tax cut, the president’s signature domestic policy achievement and the foundation for Republican election hopes in November.

But the result has hardly been a windfall, economically or politically. Other workers described their increase as enough for a week’s worth of gas or a couple of gallons of milk, with an additional $40 in a paycheck every two weeks on the high side to $2 a week on the low. Few are complaining, but the working class here is not feeling flush with newfound wealth.”

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

2 comments on “The Open Thread for March 8, 2018

  1. Trump is out to skewer a prime part of the Republican mantra of “Free Trade” with his tariffs, he’s also giving Wall St. the jitters with his blather about a “winnable” trade war as there is no such a thing. Even better it seems there’s not a lot the Republicans can do about it, expect much wringing of hands from the politicians of both parties. As for the DCCC picking candidates that comes under the heading of “let’s see what they can screw up now”. And I agree, there’s no evidence to suggest “moderate” candidates do better than a progressive one. What you get with moderates is Carper and Coons. ICK!

    • I think there are many Dems… like Carper, Coons.. even the likes of Tim Kaine, who would rather stay in the minority than move to the left and actually have to govern.
      Carper must be defeated this primary. Why waste this building Democratic wave on clones of Mike Castle?

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