The Open Thread for April 7, 2018

President Trump “has begun the initial steps of preparing for a possible interview with the special counsel, a White House official and a person familiar with the situation said Friday, a sign the President’s legal team is intensifying its deliberations over whether to allow him to come under Robert Mueller’s questioning,” CNN reports.

“The preparations have been short and informal and included going over potential topics with the President that Mueller would likely raise in an interview.”

JOBS REPORT DISAPPOINTS.  U.S. employers added a modest 103,000 jobs in March after several months of bigger gains.  The Labor Department says the unemployment rate remained 4.1 percent, a 17-year low, for the sixth straight month. Average hourly pay ticked up, climbing 2.7 percent compared with a year earlier.

EVANGELICALS WANT A SIT DOWN.  Several Evangelical Christian leaders are planning a sit-down with President Trump in June over allegations that his lawyer paid an adult film star $130,000 for her silence about an alleged affair, NPR reports.  Said the leader of one ministry: “We’re very concerned… There’s things that are like fingernails on the chalkboard to people of faith. That’s not who we are; that’s not a ‘fruit of the Spirit’; that’s not leading with humility.”

LIBERALS SHOULD STOP DOING THE RIGHT’S WORK FOR THEM.  Martin Longman:   “These are weaknesses and fissures on the left that are to some degree always with us, but the best time to wage ideological battles is when you’re already in power and trying to decide what to do with it. When you’re out of power, these wars are a luxury the left cannot afford. That doesn’t mean that people can or should stop fighting for what they believe in, but they need to be self-aware about how their actions can be self-defeating and a great aid to the opposition.

Avoiding simple errors can be a high-wire act. It’s not helpful to tell people to shut up[.]  Yet, it’s not a bad idea to recognize that [there are] issues [that] are not political winners in many states and districts and to give people some freedom to craft their own campaign messages and themes. Probably the easiest way to look at this is as a matter of using your energy and resources efficiently and avoiding doing the work of your adversaries for them. Why pick fights with people on your side of the broader fight to take back control of Congress from the Republicans? Is it the best use of your time to sling insults at Bernie Sanders supporters you encounter on social media, knowing that you’ll need them to turn out to vote? Or, if you are a Bernie Sanders supporter, do you really need to continue to bash Hillary Clinton and her supporters? What good does it do?

Likewise, if you’re trying to get a Democrat elected in a conservative district or state, why waste time and energy complaining that someone somewhere said something that’s going to be useful for the other side? If you’re an ideologically purist liberal, do you really need to police every Democratic candidate in the country for evidence of apostasy?

The other side (and the Russians) will once again spend much of their effort this year trying to get Democrats to pick fights with each other in an effort to hurt turnout. Why would you willingly do their work for free?”

POLLING ON THE TRUMP TRADE WAR.   According to the latest Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll, 71 percent of voters say the U.S. should take steps to address a $375 billion trade imbalance with China, but 52% disapprove of the Trump’s proposed tariffs on aluminum and steel imports, including those from China, and 43% said they believe Trump’s proposed tariffs will result in job losses. 38% said the tariffs would protect American jobs and 18% said the tariffs would have no impact.

More than two-thirds of voters say they’re concerned countries will retaliate against the U.S., potentially sparking a global trade war.  Yet, “Sixty-one percent of those polled said they approve of using the threat of tariffs to win more favorable terms in trade negotiations,” while “Fifty-five percent believe existing trade agreements cost American jobs.”

KOCH NETWORK GROWING IMPATIENT WITH REPUBLICANS.  James Hohmann: “Leaders of the conservative Koch political network are mad about President Trump’s tariffs, the failure to protect ‘dreamers’ and runaway government spending. They’re frustrated congressional leaders do not feel a greater sense of urgency to pass more ambitious legislation during what could be the final six months of unified Republican control for a long time. And they’re worried that squabbling might derail their efforts to roll back financial regulations, expand access to experimental medicines and overhaul the criminal justice system.”

“For now, the network led by billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch still plans to spend between $300 million to $400 million on politics and policy during the 2018 cycle. But they’re growing impatient, rethinking their approach and signaling a willingness to work more closely with Democrats on areas of common ground.”

MORE HOUSE SEATS SHIFT TO DEMOCRATS.  Cook Political Report: “Our latest ratings feature 55 competitive seats (Toss Up or Lean Democratic/Republican), including 50 currently held by Republicans and five held by Democrats. There are also three non-competitive seats poised to switch parties thanks to Pennsylvania’s new map (PA-05 and PA-06 to Democrats, PA-14 to Republicans). Overall, Democrats would need to win 27 of the 55 competitive races to win a majority. We continue to view Democrats the slight favorites for House control.”

BETO 2018.  “Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) knew, at the outset, that his campaign to unseat Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) would be a long shot. Texas had not voted for a Democratic senator in 25 years, O’Rourke didn’t have statewide name recognition, and, moreover, he was pledging to run without taking money from political action committees—a potentially healthy spigot of campaign funds that he would be foregoing,” the Daily Beast reports.

“To overcome those odds, the Texas Democrat and his top aides placed a major bet on a novel strategy: they would dramatically break down the barriers between candidate and voter. O’Rourke would make heavy use of social media to essentially broadcast otherwise mundane daily functions. And he would treat the often-pesky task of campaign fundraising as an ongoing conversation rather than a plea for cash.”

KANDER 2020.  “Potential 2020 presidential candidate Jason Kander is hiring an Iowa-based communications director as his national organization staffs up,” Politico reports.  “Kander, the former Missouri secretary of state and failed 2016 Senate candidate who has become an unlikely national Democratic figure, is bringing on Jason Noble, who on Friday announced he was leaving his job as political reporter for the Des Moines Register.”

If Kander runs, he instantly becomes a frontrunner for my vote.  He is exactly the type of younger new generation liberal Democrat that I would like.

Washington Post: “Trump and the military hold frequently opposing ideas about exactly what winning means. Those differences have played out in heated Situation Room ¬debates over virtually every spot on the globe where U.S. troops are engaged in combat, said senior administration officials. And they contributed to the dismissal last month of Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster who as national security adviser had pressed the president against his instincts to support an open-ended commitment of U.S. forces to Afghanistan.”  “Trump’s words, both in public and private, describe a view that wars should be brutal and swift, waged with overwhelming firepower and, in some cases, with little regard for civilian casualties. Victory over America’s enemies for the president is often a matter of bombing ‘the shit out of them,’ as he said on the campaign trail.”

NEW RUSSIAN SANCTIONS.   “The Trump administration imposed new sanctions on seven of Russia’s richest men and 17 top government officials on Friday in the latest effort to punish President Vladimir V. Putin’s inner circle for interference in the 2016 election and other Russian aggressions,” the New York Times reports.  “The sanctions are designed to penalize some of Russia’s richest industrialists, who are seen in the West as enriching themselves from Mr. Putin’s increasingly authoritarian administration.”  Washington Post: “The move is likely to provoke a strong response from Moscow, which has expressed increasing exasperation with Washington.”

NUMBER OF WOMEN RUNNING SETS A RECORD.  “The number of women running for seats in the U.S. House of Representatives set a record Thursday, the vast majority of them Democrats motivated by angst over President Trump and policies of the Republican-controlled Congress,” the AP reports.  “Their ranks will continue to grow in the weeks ahead, with filing deadlines still to come in more than half the states.”

“Scott Pruitt was only supposed to be living in the Capitol Hill condominium that has become a focal point of his latest ethics controversy for six weeks last year, while he got settled in Washington,” Politico reports.

“But the new EPA administrator didn’t leave when his lease ended, instead asking the lobbyist couple who became his disgruntled landlords to revise his lease several times.”

“The couple, Vicki and Steve Hart, became so frustrated by their lingering tenant that they eventually pushed him out and changed their locks.”

Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) abruptly resigned from his seat in the House of Representative on Friday afternoon, the Dallas Morning News reports.

Texas Tribune: “The decision marks the capstone of a tumultuous few months for the four-term congressman, who has been dogged by sexual harassment allegations.”

Does this mean he’s not paying back the $84,000?

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

15 comments on “The Open Thread for April 7, 2018

  1. Don Allan

    leaning towards Gillibrand right now, but Kandor would make me think twice.

    • cassandram

      Kander is an interesting guy. I have thoroughly enjoyed his podcast, Majority 54.

      • Loved Majority 54. The border wall episode significantly helped my understanding of he issue.

        • cassandram

          That was an excellent episode and really emblematic of what is great about that podcast. He finds people living with the big issues and gets their lived experience — not the ideological talking points. Kander is quietly everywhere campaigning for Democrats.

  2. delacrat

    “…he(Kander) assembled an AR-15 blindfolded…” – Politico

    Sounds like your All-American gun nut to me.

    Not impressed.

    • Why should being able to assemble an AR should disqualify him? He’s a former intelligence officer in the Army. Unite don’t divide. Especially this far out.

      He’s right where I would assume the base of the party would want him on most issues. Listen to an episode of his podcast. I think his biggest problem would be lack of experience, but that’s probably a draw for voters these days.

    • Not surprisingly, you totally missed the point of that campaign commercial.

  3. cassandram

    It’s as though all of those evangelicals who want their sit down didn’t know who they voted for.

  4. cassandram

    So Martin Longman is right there’s a decent amount of the in-fighting that is not exactly productive. But that in-fighting hasn’t really been a factor in the specials that D’s have been flipping. And I wonder if it will be. For one, I think that the in-fighting is mainly among a small group of people. Two, I think that the only thing that is going to matter is candidates like Beto — running grassroots campaigns that are authentic to that candidate and appeal to voters. Beto’s race is not a slam dunk by any stretch. But it is a remarkable effort in a so-called red state.

    Democracies belong to those who can build coalitions and institutions. I’ve said that before and I still think that is true. That was true in Virginia, in Alabama, in PA, in Wisconsin and everywhere else. There isn’t a formula for a perfect Democrat to run for anything, but I think we are seeing what it takes for Democrats to meet their voters where they are. At the national level, Dem leadership has to be able to help push legislation that lets shared principles take center stage — really fixing Social Security, for example — so that Dems have shared achievements among those items that they don’t agree on.

    Pretending that *you* are representative of all Democrats is a failure of vision. A failure to really see your Team.

  5. elizabeth

    There isnt one democrat in the Top 15 list put out by the Washington Post who could win. Post has Warren #3, and Sanders #1. If you think some Mayor, or a corporate owned dem (establishment type) can win…your naive. Its not Liberals who the young embrace…its the PROGRESSIVES.

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