The Open Thread for May 13, 2018

“During the first years of the Obama presidency, the Republican Party found itself out of power in Washington—and went to war with itself. Right-wing insurgents, mobilized under the Tea Party banner, brought out the knives against fellow Republicans deemed insufficiently conservative, particularly in party primaries and often with disastrous effect. Angry voters nominated a succession of hard-right candidates who took down more electable incumbents, inhibiting the party’s efforts to win back the Senate for six years even as it won control of the House in 2010,” Bloomberg reports.

“Democrats, likewise shut out of power in the early years of the Trump presidency, face a similarly rebellious activist flank that risks pulling their party to an unelectable extreme by defeating Establishment-friendly candidates. But so far the left-wing ‘resistance’ hasn’t sparked an intraparty civil war so much as a genteel coffee-table discussion. During the first big wave of primaries this month, Democratic centrists did something their GOP counterparts often couldn’t during the Obama years: They survived. Instead of nominating radical outsiders, voters mostly went with moderate incumbents. Putting off any significant discussion about what the party truly stands for is just fine for House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who on May 8 said at an event in Washington, ‘Just win baby.’”

“The White House declined on Friday to renounce or apologize for an aide whose joke at a meeting that Senator John McCain was irrelevant because he would soon die went viral, outraging relatives, friends and admirers of the ailing lawmaker,” the New York Times reports.

“Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, said she would not comment on a closed-door meeting where the joke was made. And she offered no words of regret over the remark or sympathy for Mr. McCain, a Republican senator and two-time presidential candidate who is battling brain cancer at his Arizona ranch.”

John Morganelli, a Democrat running for a US House seat in Pennsylvania, offered praise for then-President-elect Trump, called on Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel to resign and said progressives “are the least tolerant of anyone who disagrees with them” in a series of now-deleted tweets, CNN reports.

“The race in Pennsylvania’s 7th district pits the more conservative Morganelli against a slate of more liberal candidates, illustrating the intra-party ideological fights playing out nationwide among Democrats. Heading into Tuesday’s primary, progressive groups are concerned that Morganelli, someone who once floated going to work for Trump’s administration, could emerge as the party’s nominee.”

“Why have no Republican U.S. Senators stepped forward and expressed their absolute fucking outrage about these attacks on American hero John McCain by a White House staffer? It is despicable and the cowardice is nauseating.” — GOP strategist Steve Schmidt, quoted by Twitter.

Rudy Giuliani said that President Trump’s longtime personal lawyer Michael Cohen was paid millions of dollars in consulting fees by corporate clients, but never discussed those clients with the president, the HuffPost reports. Said Giuliani: “The president had no knowledge of it.”

USA Today: “The Russian company charged with orchestrating a wide-ranging effort to meddle in the 2016 presidential election overwhelmingly focused its barrage of social media advertising on what is arguably America’s rawest political division: race.”

“While some ads focused on topics as banal as business promotion or Pokémon, the company consistently promoted ads designed to inflame race-related tensions. Some dealt with race directly; others dealt with issues fraught with racial and religious baggage such as ads focused on protests over policing, the debate over a wall on the U.S. border with Mexico and relationships with the Muslim community.”

Special counsel Robert Mueller has requested records from Ford Motor Company about a conversation the company had with Michael Cohen in January 2017 during which Cohen offered his consulting services — which the automaker swiftly rejected, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Mike Allen: “One thing is true of all major political scandals: What we know in the moment is but a tiny, obscured, partial view of the full story later revealed by investigators.”

“That’s what makes the Trump-Russia drama all the more remarkable. Forget all we don’t know. The known facts that even Trump’s closest friends don’t deny tell a damning tale that would sink most leaders.”

“The undisputed known knowns about Trump, Russia and his associates are damning and possibly actionable. But the known unknowns of how much more Robert Mueller knows that is publicly unknown is what spooks Trump allies most… Mueller has every incentive to keep the public and Trump himself in suspense.”

Pat Davis (D), running for Congress in New Mexico, “is using an expletive in television ads to condemn the National Rifle Association and inaction by U.S. lawmakers on gun control,” the AP reports.

Said Davis: “Fuck the NRA. Their pro-gun policies have resulted in dead children, dead mothers and dead fathers.”

“KRQE-TV General Manager Bill Anderson says the station is not permitted by law to censor or edit Davis’ commercial and must provide equal access to candidates.”

Jack Shafer: “Money always leaves a trail. Dirty money leaves a trail of slime that taints everybody it touches. One unanswered question this week is whether all the consultative moolah coursing through Cohen’s LLC and moving through his ‘shadowy business empire’ of real estate, New York City and Chicago taxi medallion holdings, and assorted investment is on the up and up. If proved dirty, will they contaminate his boss, Trump, who traditionally loves using other people’s money? And, if Cohen has committed the money crimes that some suspect of him, will special counsel Robert S. Mueller III convince him to flip on his one-time boss and testify against him? Mueller has already demonstrated his interest in the slosh of Cohen cash and deal-making on behalf of the Trump Organization to Georgia, Kazakhstan and Russia.”

Washington Post: “The rally provided a snapshot look at the role that the president hopes to play in the midterm elections this fall. He has cast this election as a referendum on his presidency and stressed that a vote for a Republican, any Republican, is a vote for Trump.”

“At rallies, he can directly connect with his strongest supporters and urge them to vote for Republicans. His presidency, he says, is under attack, and no Democrat — even a moderate one — can be trusted. On stage, Trump rarely wastes time detailing the biographies or stances of the candidates he’s promoting. Instead, he talks about his own accomplishments and the ways that Democrats have blocked him from doing more.”

Greg Sargent: “The bottom line is that Trump will not accept anything that protects the dreamers unless it also contains deep cuts to legal immigration. But nothing like that can pass Congress, because it faces bipartisan opposition.

Trump’s tirade at Nielsen is a reminder that he is the real obstacle to any deal protecting the dreamers. It reminds us of Trump’s bottomless irrationality on this issue: Border crossings have been at historic lows, but #Foxlandia keeps telling him the border is overrun by invading dark hordes, which makes it true. He is still demanding his wall, but even when that has been offered in exchange for protecting the dreamers, he has rejected it. Yet he raged at Nielsen over the lack of movement on the wall, showing himself unable to comprehend that his own deeply unreasonable demands — which many Republicans have rejected — are the real obstacle to getting it built as part of a dreamer deal.”

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

2 comments on “The Open Thread for May 13, 2018

  1. cassandram

    Dave Weigel has a couple of recent pieces that talk about that the last few primaries mean for Democrats. He seems to come to the conclusion that Dems are choosing their more middle-of-the-road candidates where there is a choice.

    Democrats have an eye toward November as Cordray wins Democratic nomination in Ohio governor’s race

    Red waves, scrambled Democrats, ideal Republicans: Three myths about this week’s primaries

    Neither piece tells you anything about the actual politics in play — are these middle-of-the-road candidates taking on policies that are more left leaning? I don’t know. My sense is that D candidates are being clearer about solutions to kitchen table issues without the usual foggy wonkiness. But still, electability seems to weigh hard with voters.

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