The Open Thread for April 22, 2018

“For days, top Republicans in Congress demanded the release of James Comey’s memos about President Trump, threatening Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, with a subpoena if he failed to share the highly anticipated documents written by the former FBI director,” the New York Times reports.

“But if Mr. Trump and his allies believed that Mr. Rosenstein’s refusal would deliver a pretext to call for his firing, as Democrats asserted, his decision to quickly release all the memos late Thursday night foiled that plan. The memos leaked to reporters hours after being delivered to lawmakers in both parties.”

“And the seven memos, in which Mr. Comey methodically documented his interactions with the president in real time, did little to help Republicans undermine Mr. Comey’s credibility or expose contradictions with his best-selling, tell-all book. Taken together, the 15 pages of detailed notes largely back up the stories that Mr. Comey told in congressional testimony, in the pages of his memoir, A Higher Loyalty, and during numerous television and radio interviews.”

New York Times: “At a Republican fundraiser at Mar-a-Lago earlier this year, Mr. Cohen went so far as to approach the first lady, Melania Trump, to try to apologize for the pain he caused her with the payment to Stormy Daniels, the adult film actress who has claimed to have had the sexual encounter with Mr. Trump.”

Donald Trump calls his wall that Mexico will never pay for “much wanted,” but according to new Quinnipiac polling of Texas voters, 53 percent of respondents oppose the stupid thing. Among Latino voters in the state, the opposition skyrockets:  Hispanic voters in Texas overwhelmingly oppose the wall, 72 percent to 25 percent, the poll found.

Further, “Texas voters say 79—15 percent that undocumented immigrants brought to the U.S. as children … should be allowed to stay and eventually apply for citizenship,” the poll also finds.   But, Trump’s stunt deploying the National Guard to the border got a much better reception among Texans though, with 60 percent supporting the move.


Politico/Morning Consult poll finds that 43% of voters believe President Trump represents the majority viewpoint of Republicans in Washington, compared with 37% who said he does not. That’s a net swing of 20 points from a August poll when 47% said Trump did not represent the viewpoint of most Republicans, and 33% said he did.  This is important: Trump promised to “drain the swamp,” but now voters see him as part of the swamp.

President Trump vowed on Twitter that his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, will not “flip” and cooperate against him in the special counsel investigation into his campaign’s connections to Russia, attacking a New York Times story as part of a “witch hunt” against him, the Washington Post reports. He also slammed reporter Maggie Haberman and called a former aide quoted in the story as a “drunk/drugged up loser.”

The New York Times looks at EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s lifestyle back home and concludes his “political career in Oklahoma reveals that many of the pitfalls he has encountered in Washington have echoes in his past.”

“Lobbyists and others in Oklahoma state politics who encountered Mr. Pruitt recalled him as a tough competitor who always had his eye on a higher office. Some called him a ‘Boy Scout’ who was stingy with his money, while others said privately that he had exuded a sense of entitlement — that rules did not apply to him.”

Politico: “The prominent lobbyist whose wife rented a condominium to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt lobbied the agency while Pruitt was leading it, contrary to his and Pruitt’s public denials that he had any business before the agency, according to a Friday filing by his firm.”

“The disclosure from the lobbying firm Williams & Jensen contradicts Pruitt’s public statement last month that the lobbyist, J. Steven Hart, had no clients with business before the EPA, and comes hours after Hart’s resignation from the firm.”

“Keith Davidson, the former attorney for two women who were paid to keep quiet about their alleged affairs with Donald Trump, has been contacted by federal authorities investigating Trump attorney Michael Cohen and is cooperating with them,” the Washington Post reports.

“Shortly before the 2016 election, Davidson negotiated a confidentiality agreement with Cohen under which porn star Stormy Daniels was paid $130,000.”

“Davidson also represented Karen McDougal, a Playboy centerfold, in the $150,000 agreement she struck in August 2016 with the National Enquirer’s parent company, American Media Inc., for the rights to her story.”

At FiveThirtyEight, Perry Bacon, Jr. and Dhrumil Mehta note that “Americans are split on whether or not the U.S. has a responsibility to get involved in the conflict in Syria, according to a YouGov/Economist poll, but they are not split along party lines. Twenty-eight believe that the U.S. has a responsibility to get involved (including 36 percent of Democrats and 32 percent of Republicans), while 37 percent believe the U.S. does not have that responsibility and 35 percent are not sure.”

Helaine Olen’s “Memo to Democrats: A progressive economic agenda is popular:” “As it turns out, in many cases, voters — both college educated and working class, and of all races — are in favor of an economic agenda that would offer them broader protections whether it comes to work, sickness or retirement…The polling shows that workers across race support similar views on economic policy issues,” said David Madland, the co-author of the report, entitled “The Working-Class Push for Progressive Economic Policies.”

“They support a higher minimum wage, higher taxes on the wealthy, and more spending on healthcare and retirement. There is broad support among workers for progressive economic policy.” Among the findings: “Spending more government money on retirement draws wide support, with 52 percent of college-educated workers, 64 percent of the white working class, 78 percent of the black working class and 72 percent of the Hispanic working class saying they would like to see this…

When it comes to health care, 63 percent of college-educated workers, 64 percent of the white working class, 84 percent of the black working class and 77 percent of Hispanic workers agree say the government should increase, and not decrease, spending…Paid family leave is supported by 73 percent of college-educated workers, 69 percent of the white working class, 72 percent of the black working class and 63 percent of the Hispanic working class…This shows that it’s possible to make economic issues front and center in a campaign platform in a way that doesn’t just talk to working class whites and dismisses the concerns of female and minority voters. It also shows that the oft-discussed dilemma among Democrats — whether to prioritize college educated voters or working class ones — may be a false choice…Indeed, a progressive economic agenda can talk to all of these groups and bridge the gap between them.”

A new  poll from “NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist shows that 47 percent of registered voters say they would definitely vote against a candidate for Congress who proposed impeaching Trump, compared to 42 percent who said they would definitely vote for that candidate. One in ten voters were unsure…While Democrats and Republicans remained mostly in their partisan corners, with 70 percent of Democrats saying they would definitely vote for a candidate who favored impeachment and 84 percent of Republicans saying they’d do the opposite, independents were opposed to supporting a pro-impeachment candidate, 47 percent to 42 percent…That finding comes even as independents say they have an unfavorable view of Trump overall by almost a 2-1 margin.” – From “Poll finds risks for Democrats toying with impeachment promise.”

new report from Navigator Research suggests that “corruption” is now a narrative ripe for Democrats to use in the upcoming midterm elections. From President Trump’s use of government to profit from his private businesses to a Republican agenda skewed to the interests of wealth donors to Cabinet secretaries using taxpayer funds to live a lavish lifestyle, the examples are endless.

As James Hohmann notes, the corruption theme “helped hugely in 2006, the last time they won the House” and it should be a major theme this year as well.  While voters think both parties are corrupt — and don’t really trust either of them — a key difference is that voters are more receptive to the argument that Republicans are likelier to use government to personally benefit themselves and their supporters.


When talking about specific policy issues, voters don’t think Republicans push policies that actually help Americans. They don’t even think they’re motivated by ideological reasons. They primarily think Republicans are just trying to make themselves and their wealthy donors richer.  The Republican tax plan is a good example:


“Americans believe this donor-influenced policy making is more widespread among Republican elected officials than Democrats. That said, Democrats are not impervious to being linked to corruption, and when Democrats are compared to Trump (as opposed to Republicans in Congress), the two sides are viewed more equally. For advocates and policy makers who want to engage with the concerns of constituents, it’s important to speak credibly to the corrupting influence of campaign donors on the agenda in Washington.”

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

1 comment on “The Open Thread for April 22, 2018

  1. This would be a nice change of pace, if everyone used the same reporting system. Would be even better if they consolidated the districts.

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