The Open Thread for March 25, 2018

“Standing before vast crowds from Washington to Los Angeles to Parkland, Fla., the speakers — nearly all of them students, some still in elementary school — delivered an anguished and defiant message: They are ‘done hiding’ from gun violence, and will ‘stop at nothing’ to get politicians to finally prevent it,” the New York Times reports.

“The students, as they seized the nation’s attention on Saturday with raised fists and tear-streaked faces, vowed that their grief about school shootings and their frustration with adults’ inaction would power a new generation of political activism.”

A new Associated Press-NORC poll finds that 69% of Americans now favor stricter gun control measures. That’s up from 61% who said the same in October of 2016 and 55% when the AP first asked the question in October of 2013.

Overall, 90% of Democrats, 54% of gun owners and 50% of Republicans now favor stricter gun control laws.

New York Times: “Inside the West Wing, aides described an atmosphere of bewildered resignation as they grappled with the all-too-familiar task of predicting and reacting in real time to Mr. Trump’s shifting moods.”

“Aides said there was no grand strategy to the president’s actions, and that he got up each morning this week not knowing what he would do. Much as he did as a New York businessman at Trump Tower, Mr. Trump watched television, reacted to what he saw on television and then reacted to the reaction.”

“Aides said he was still testing his limits as president while also feeling embattled by incoming fire — from Congress, the Russia investigation, foreign entanglements, a potential trade war and a pornographic film actress and a Playboy model who said they had affairs with Mr. Trump and were paid to keep quiet.”

President Trump “issued orders to ban transgender troops from serving in the military except in select cases — following through on a controversial pledge last year that has been under review by the Pentagon and fought out in the courts,” Politico reports.

Vanity Fair: “The big question of the alleged Stormy Daniels affair is why this norm-shattering president has declined to simply confess the alleged picayune extramarital affair and instead allowed Daniels to dine out on the story for weeks on end, culminating in a ratings-busting appearance on 60 Minutes?”

Daniels lawyer Michael Avenatti’s central theory is simple: Melania Trump.

Said Aventatti: “My speculation has a lot to do with what he’s told his wife before, and likely denials he has provided to her concerning the relationship. And then secondly, I believe it’s part of his larger modus operandi, whereby he attempts to rule with an iron fist. And he tends to rule with an iron fist, even before he became president. And his Stalin–esque way of dealing with opponents.”

President Trump is questioning his advisers’ advice about remaining silent on the alleged affairs he had before taking office, the Wall Street Journal reports.

The affairs are now being widely reported on the news networks that the president watches frequently. He’s discussed the idea of fighting back against the allegations on Twitter.

“Incoming National Security Advisor John Bolton and people close to him are expected to launch a massive shake-up at the National Security Council, aiming to remove dozens of current White House officials, starting with holdovers from President Barack Obama’s administration,” Foreign Policy reports.

“Those targeted for removal include officials believed to have been disloyal to President Trump, those who have leaked about the president to the media, his predecessor’s team, and those who came in under Obama.”

Holdovers from Obama’s administration are not Obama political appointees but instead career civil or foreign service employees who serve the President no matter if he is Clinton, Bush, Obama or Trump.

A former White House official tells Mike Allen that online conservative ire about the spending bill President Trump signed yesterday — after a puzzling tweeted veto feint — “is the hardest I’ve ever seen the base turn on Trump over anything.”

Said the official: “A big reason why people voted for him was because of his apparent willingness to stand up to the entrenched political class in both parties. Voters wanted a fighter who wouldn’t back down to ‘the swamp’ like a ‘typical politician. They were attracted to his strength and alpha mentality, but unfortunately yesterday’s fake veto threat did little but make him look weak … and his base took notice.”

“President Trump’s budget proposals have taken a hatchet to President Obama’s top priorities. They’ve called for deep cuts in renewable energy, medical research and nonmilitary spending in general,” Politico reports.

“Now the Republicans who control Congress have passed a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill, and it not only protects Obama’s priorities, it expands them.”

“The omnibus—Capitol Hill jargon for a single spending bill that funds most government functions—does not kill any of the programs or agencies Trump’s budget proposed to kill… It basically extends the fiscal status quo that has prevailed since the start of Obama’s second term—plus a sizable chunk of new deficit spending—even though Republicans now control the legislative and executive branches.”

David Byler at the Weekly Standard: “For decades, Ohio has been a political bellwether—a quadrennial swing state that often voted for the winning presidential candidate. But in 2016, something odd happened—Ohio jerked sharply to the right, giving now President Trump an eight-point win despite his two-point national popular vote loss. Some Republicans hoped that Trump’s win was a sign of permanent shift that would allow them to unseat progressive Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown in 2018.

But a new Baldwin Wallace poll is throwing some cold water on those hopes…Baldwin Wallace found that Brown leads two possible Republican challengers, Jim Renacci and Mike Gibbons, by 12 and 10 points respectively…According to the poll, 13 percent of Trump voters favor Brown. Some of those voters may be the much discussed Obama-voting white working class Democrats that Trump won over in 2016. Ohio is flush with those voters…More broadly, it might be worth thinking of these Obama-Trump voters not as reliable Republicans but as possible swing voters. They have, after all, swung from Obama to Trump recently and have reasons to vote for either party (cultural commonality with Republicans and economic agreement with Democrats).”

The Trump Administration’s failure to address the crisis in Puerto Rico with a serious relief plan could have some unintended consequences that backfire badly. As Manuel Madrid writes in The American Prospect,  “Clustered along Florida’s I-4 corridor, a political bellwether for the state, Puerto Ricans in central Florida are increasingly considered a counterweight to the state’s Republican-leaning Cuban American population, over half of whom voted for Donald Trump. In the wake of Hurricane Maria, a state-provided count claimed that the number of Puerto Ricans who had settled in Florida by December 2017 could be as high as 280,000—a figure that has since been questioned by experts. A newer estimate from University of Florida economists, using school enrollments and requests for state aid as a guide, put the total closer to just 50,000. But this number could grow. Recently, the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at the City University of New York released a study projecting that Puerto Rico could lose as many as 470,335 residents between 2017 and 2019. If recent trends serve as any guide, many if not most of those migrants will end up in Florida.”…“Very soon, the Puerto Rican vote will be in the driver’s seat in Florida,” says Garces of Mi Familia Vota, one of the Florida groups in discussion with the DNC. “But this work is year-round, it won’t be solved in one election cycle or just on even years.”

Will Bunch: “At its blackened heart, it turns out, are the two ugliest words to emerge in U.S. politics in the 21st century: “Race realism.”

There’s nothing real, or factual, about “race realism.” To the contrary, it’s the rank, old-school racial stereotypes about black- and brown-skinned people that once animated slaveholders, the KKK or the White Citizens Councils of yesterday, dressed up in Adidas sneakers and a hip-hop T-shirt instead of a white robe. What we’ve learned these past few days is a kind of a dystopian nightmare: That Team Trump, led by its multimillion-dollar data gurus Cambridge Analytica (CA) and the president’s former propaganda minister, Steve Bannon (with a still mysterious assist from Russian trolls), used the modern techniques of information warfare — and hijacked data from Facebook — to inject a virulent strain of thinly disguised white supremacy to elect an American president.”

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

22 comments on “The Open Thread for March 25, 2018

  1. The Stormy Daniels interview is tonight. This isn’t about an affair with a porn star. Trump doesn’t care about that. He simply calls women liars or brags about his sexual prowess. This is about what he likes in the bedroom. This is probably what Russia has on him, too.

    The reason he’s behaved differently with Stormy Daniels, imo, is because she probably negates his masculine, manly man image. An affair doesn’t hurt him, that’s not what he’s worried about.

    And may I just say, Ms. Daniels and her lawyer are the first people I’ve seen out-Trump Trump.

  2. cassandram

    That Team Trump, led by its multimillion-dollar data gurus Cambridge Analytica (CA) and the president’s former propaganda minister, Steve Bannon (with a still mysterious assist from Russian trolls), used the modern techniques of information warfare — and hijacked data from Facebook — to inject a virulent strain of thinly disguised white supremacy to elect an American president.”

    Did I call this or what?

  3. cassandram

    Trump Approves New Limits on Transgender Troops in the Military

    Way past time to stop asking Democrats to stop with the identity politics.

  4. delacrat

    Why would anyone LBGTQ or otherwise want to participate in crimes against humanity ?

  5. nathan arizona

    Cassandra: Would you jeopardize the election of candidates who would fight against economic inequity and incipient fascism if absolute support for a subset of transgendered people who want to be in the military would do that? I disagree with Trump on this (as with everything else he does) but don’t think it should be a litmus test. Not that I necessarily think you would make it one, especially since this is a relatively small issue. I’m just checking. I understand you probably think support of this kind of issue would actually improve electoral chances, but there’s a good chance it wouldn’t. You also probably think my question is too broad and theoretical, but it does relate to strategy for defeating Trump and other republicans. And that’s important.

    • cassandram

      There aren’t going to be any Democratic candidates who would fight against economic inequity and incipient fascism by throwing transgendered people (or anyone else) under the bus. It’s been a long time since Democrats could win with that kind of message and it was delivered by people like George Wallace and Huey Long.

  6. nathan arizona.

    About that bus: You hope. I do too, but it’s entirely possible there will have to be some compromises. What democrats want and what they might have to do (within reason– no George Wallaces!) are two different things. But I don’t actually think not letting certain transgendered people join the army — though they should have a right to — means throwing the transgendered in general under the bus.

    • cassandram

      We all do better when we all do better.

      It’s not some of us do better when we throw XX group we don’t care much about under the bus. This is not a zero sum game. And we already know what economic opportunity for some but not for all looks like. You may be ready to accept that, but my guess is that you wouldn’t be one of the people thrown under the bus, either.

  7. nathan arizona

    Just don’t let identity politics turn around and bite you (and me) in the ass come election time.

    • you should let go of that term, “identity politics” It’s a Frank Luntz special. It’s used to mask civil rights violations by convincing people ‘this is happening to someone else and shouldn’t concern you”.
      Sure, you make yawn and trans people being expelled from the military. That’s step one. Step 2 is making discrimination against them legal… then discrimination against other people you aren’t.
      Democrats didnt start this fight. the GOP did. The GOP started with the defense of marriage acts and bathroom bills. All Dems did was react and fight back. You can stand for whatever YOU stand for, and also fight for civil rights.

  8. nathan arizona

    Whatever you call it, everybody knows what it is even if they disagree about its implications. You can fight for civil rights and still worry that losing elections because of too much focus on “identity politics” will set back the cause. Better to take smaller steps towards what you want than end up up with a situation where the creeping discrimination you’re talking about is far more likely to happen. It might work, but I’d say be careful. However, I do see your point.

    • cassandram

      Identity politics is what the GRIFTUS is doing. Entirely. It is usually called white supremacy, but instead of calling out the people who want the same rights for all of us, you should be calling out the people who are working at making sure only a few have them.

    • Nathan…..So what does “being careful” look like? Is there an amount of, as you termed it, “creeping discrimination” that should be tolerated? You are warning of it…. but I gotta tell ya, dude… It’s happening NOW.

      What you’re describing sounds like strategic surrender.

      That has it’s place. For example, I can take NOT implementing universal single payer health care FOR NOW, if it means we address the student debt crisis.
      But let’s say we dont fight Tr*mp on the trans ban. What do we gain by that, other than showing him he can get away with it. What happens when he bans trans people from working in the federal government and cites this as precedent?
      What happens when Muslims are deemed unfit to serve in the armed forces?

      What bothers me the most is, he only did this to change the focus of the fight. I am 100% NOT DISMISSING THIS AS A DISTRACTION… however, that is how it was intended to be used. Now, I think the courts will keep this from happening, but the fact that it happened must be part of the argument against these MAGATs.

      But back to the my question for you… what does “being careful’ look like? You express discomfort at some battles one a case by case, but I’m interested in what you think a winning strategy looks like.

  9. nathan arizona

    Being careful means trying to make sure you don’t lose, thus making things worse. Let’s say by turning off the more moderate democrats/liberals. It’s a political calculation. Whatever works is fine with me.

    • There’s a way to address these issues without throwing anyone under the bus, but if the end goal is making white voters comfortable then I’d say you’re wooing the wrong voters. White voters who are against civil rights (LGBTQ issues, women’s issues, black and brown people’s issues, Muslims, etc.) aren’t reliable votes. Going Republican-lite won’t win them. In fact, it will alienate our base and depress turn-out.

      Staying silent on these issues is not an option since this is all the GOP runs on – and the press covers it extensively. We can’t turn our back on people being discriminated against. It’s wrong – also it’s a “First they came for…” thing. Take a good look at what Republicans actually legislate – they aren’t hiding their agenda. It isn’t Dems who run on civil rights. It’s Republicans.

  10. nathan arizona

    Maybe the voters I’m talking about are basically OK with those issues but it’s not top priority and they just don’t want to hear so much about it right now. I think there are a lot of them. Get their votes, win elections, then set about accomplishing what you want to accomplish. I know you think you don’t need those voters, but there’s a good chance you’re wrong. And if you are, then you’d be worse off. I loathe most republicans as much as you do. Also, I don’t know why you would lose the base since the base has nowhere else to go. But as I said, whatever works.

    • “Maybe the voters I’m talking about are basically OK with those issues but it’s not top priority and they just don’t want to hear so much about it right now.”

      Who are they hearing so much about it from? I’m seeing Dems responding to Republicans’ bigotry – They are actually legislating this crap and signing Executive Orders.

      And I’m confused. You claim the base has no where else to go, but we need to woo voters we can win (?) with (I’m guessing) economic policy, but if we defend civil rights then they won’t vote for us because… they didn’t care about economic policy?

  11. nathan arizona

    Yes, republicans are bad. Don’t let them win. And you apparently don’t see all the democrats, or don’t want to see them. Sounds like you might still be in that “bubble” that made Trump’s win such a shock to Hillary’s supporters. And yes, “the base has nowhere else to go, but we need to woo voters we can win,” except make that *additional *voters. More precisely, voters who might go the other way if we don’t handle it right. These would be voters who are more concerned about the economy than the things you might be more concerned about, so they would worry that democrats have more pressing priorities. These are not “idealistic” democrats (or idealistic moderate republicans), but they might well go along with the “identity politics” if they don’t drown out things they’re more concerned about. As I say, it’s political calculation.

    • You’re rolling the dice on voters who can be swayed by “identity politics” over economic issues – that they’ll toss away their financial security over trans bathrooms.

      Study after study has shown that it wasn’t economic anxiety that gave us Trump. Unless we count “those other people are taking your job” as the anxiety. Cultural anxiety ruled the day.

      • cassandram

        Exactly. Trump voters activated because of their racial resentments. And they stay activated for the same reason. What they know is that when Trump deals with all of the black and brown people these white people will take their rightful place at the head of the table. And yet, the only identity politics that concerns you is the one where Democrats try to make sure everyone has a seat at the table. Democrats aren’t going to win anything catering to people who will lead with their racial resentments.

  12. nathan arizona

    I don’t think ALL of the Trump voters were engaging in white identity politics. And I don’t think all of the white people who didn’t vote at all would would be driven by white identity politics. That leaves a lot of people who are, of course. But there’s no hope for them.

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