The Open Thread for April 15, 2018

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.  “Defense Department officials said on Saturday that American-led strikes against Syria had taken out the ‘heart’ of President Bashar al-Assad’s chemical weapons program, but acknowledged that the Syrian government most likely retained some ability to again attack its own people with chemical agents,” the New York Times reports.

“Warplanes and ships from the United States, Britain and France launched more than 100 missiles at three chemical weapons storage and research facilities near Damascus and Homs, the officials told reporters, in an operation that President Trump and Pentagon leaders hailed as a success.”

President Trump tweeted: “Could not have had a better result. Mission Accomplished!”

COMEY’S BOOK MIGHT BE A COMPLICATION. Politico: “His book, A Higher Loyalty, represents an official statement on key parts of the federal Russia probe-including the question of whether Trump may have sought to obstruct justice, a question Mueller is investigating. Legal experts warn that Comey’s own words could complicate court proceedings or a Congressional impeachment debate triggered by Mueller’s findings.”

“Prosecutors like Mueller generally cringe when a witness speaks at length in public before a case has wrapped up. Comey’s blockbuster book and accompanying media tour, which kicks off in primetime on Sunday, will also expose him to the watchful eye of Trump allies and defense lawyers ready to exploit any inconsistencies in his accounts to their clients’ benefit.”

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Here are some findings from the Harvard University Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics Spring 2018 Youth Poll:

  • Young Democrats are driving nearly all of the increase in enthusiasm; a majority (51%) report that they will “definitely” vote in November, which represents a 9-percentage point increase since November 2017 and is significantly larger than the 36 percent of Republicans who say the same.
  • By contrast, at this point in the 2014 election cycle, 28 percent of Democrats and 31 percent of Republicans indicated that they would “definitely” be voting. In the Spring of 2010, 35 percent of Democrats and 41 percent of Republicans held a similar interest in voting…
  • Preference for Democratic control of Congress has grown between now and the time of the last IOP poll. In Fall 2017, there was a 32-point partisan gap among the most likely young voters, 65 percent preferring Democrats control Congress, with 33 percent favoring Republicans…Today, the gap has increased to 41 points, 69 percent supporting Democrats and 28 percent Republicans.
  • “Millennials and post-Millennials are on the verge of transforming the culture of politics today and setting the tone for the future,” said John Della Volpe, Polling Director at Harvard Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics. “This generation of young Americans is as engaged as we have ever seen them in a midterm election cycle.


A recent Reuters/Ipsos poll indicates that Dems are gaining leverage from white senior voters. As Eric Levitz writes at New York Magazine, “Older, college-educated whites are among the most reliable voters in the nation. And in many of this fall’s most competitive districts, such voters account for nearly 10 percent of the population, according to Reuters’ analysis. Republicans were already at risk of losing the House due to shifts in turnout patterns, alone — but if those shifts are accompanied by significant defections among reliable GOP constituencies, the party could suffer historic losses up and down the ballot….“The real core for the Republicans is white, older white, and if they’re losing ground there, they’re going to have a tsunami,” political scientist Larry Sabato told Reuters. “If that continues to November, they’re toast.”

THE LEFT MUST UNITE.  Writing in Social Europe, Ruy Teixeira presents “Five Theses For A New Left,” one of which bears special urgency for Democrats in the U.S.: “The left must unite. This is not an option, but a necessity. The rise of the disparate new constituencies in the left’s new coalition has accentuated the possibilities for division. This is particularly noticeable in Europe, where left strength is frequently diffused across several different parties (social democratic, left socialist, green, left social liberal, left populist, etc.) that regard each other with suspicion. The failure to present a common front is madness. The era when one tendency like the social democrats could completely dominate the left and didn’t need allies is over. The same applies to the Democrats in the United States; there is no way the Clinton supporters or Sanders supporters or minority-mobilization strategists or reach-out-to-the-white-working-class advocates can take over the party and succeed on their own. To beat the right, a fractured left must unite, bringing all progressives together in effective alliances.”

TRUMP OFFICIAL WANTED TO HANG OBAMA, CLINTON.  “A political appointee at the Department of Health and Human Services shared an image in 2017 that said ‘our forefathers would have hung’ Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for treason,” a CNN KFile review has found.

“Ximena Barreto is a far-right political pundit who in December 2017 joined the Trump administration as deputy director of communications at the department. Barreto was placed on leave by the department on Monday after the liberal watchdog Media Matters reported that Barreto called Islam ‘a cult’ and pushed the false Pizzagate conspiracy theory.”

GOP CAN’T CAMPAIGN ON OBAMACARE THIS YEARWashington Post: “For the first time in nearly a decade, Republican candidates across the country find themselves bereft of what was once their favorite talking point: repealing and replacing President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act — and all the havoc they alleged it has wreaked.”

“That’s because the GOP failed dramatically in its efforts last year to roll back the ACA as its first big legislative delivery on the promise of single-party control of Washington from Congress to the White House. That defeat has quickly turned attacks on Obamacare from centerpiece into pariah on the campaign trail, a sudden disappearing act that Democrats are looking to exploit as they seek to regain power in the midterms.”

IT’S THE RACISM, STUPID. Alan Abramowitz: “Data from the Pew Research Center show that six months into Donald Trump’s presidency, the gap between whites with and without college degrees in opinions of the president was enormous. Non-college whites were far more likely to approve of Trump’s performance than white college graduates.”

“This gap appears to have little or nothing to do with differences between the economic circumstances of these two groups. While whites without college degrees did experience far more economic distress than those with college degrees, economic distress itself appeared to have little relationship with opinions of Trump.”

“The main explanation for the class divide in opinions of Trump among whites appeared to be differing views on race relations. White college graduates were much more likely than whites without college degrees to hold liberal views on the significance of racial discrimination, and opinions on the significance of racial discrimination were strongly related to opinions of Trump’s performance. Racial attitudes, not economics, appears to be the main factor producing strong support for Trump among members of the white working class.”

David A. Hopkins: “It turns out that there are pretty good reasons why the speaker of the House is usually a veteran party “pol” rather than an ideologue or policy specialist—and is usually someone who views the position as the desired culmination of a long-held ambition rather than a potential impediment to his or her even greater future plans. While Boehner, a widely underrated leader, repeatedly put himself on the line politically in order to protect his party, Ryan instead risked his party in order to protect himself—including by the way he announced his retirement.

Throughout his tenure in office, Ryan acted more like an ideological activist than as the leader of a party or a country. Ideological leaders of the left and right have their place in our political system, but that place is seldom at the head of a congressional caucus. Boehner understood that the greater interests of his members sometimes required him to take heat from conservative insurgents for departing from ideological purity; Ryan instead manuevered to direct blame onto others in order to preserve his own reputation in conservative circles.”

Frank Bruni observed “Predominantly Republican and perversely gerrymandered, the Lone Star State is where Democrats send their dreams to die. Only 11 of its 36 House seats are in the party’s hands…But 2018 is shaping up as a year in which old rules are out the window and everything is up for grabs. Ryan’s planned retirement and the increasing disarray of the Republican Partyillustrate that. So does Texas’ emergence as a credible wellspring of Democratic hope…Leave aside the Senate contest and Beto O’Rourke’s surprisingly muscular (if nonetheless improbable) bid to topple Ted Cruz. Several of the most truly competitive House races in the country are in Texas, which could wind up providing Democrats three or more of the 24 flipped seats that they need for control of the chamber.” Bruni spotlights several House races, which suggest that Democrats have some unusually-appealing candidates in Texas, in addition to all of the momentum that comes from the GOP’s lengthening string of embarrassments.

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

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

  1. What’s insanely expensive, wasteful and 2nd rate compared to other countries? Why it’s American Healthcare! Suspect the California initiative will be the first of many attempts by the states to rein in costs as Washington remains useless and a big part of the problem. Dare say any and all attempts to derail the gravy train will be met with law suits and political meddling in Washington. None the less the California initiative may well be the next step towards single payer.

  2. Meanwhile… Cohen’s 3rd mystery client is SEAN HANNITY!

    I’m dyin’ here.

  3. Jason330

    I can’t imagine that Cohen needed to pay hush money to someone who had sex with Hannity, because it would mean that someone once had sex with Sean Hannity. ,

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