Open Thread

The Open Thread for June 8, 2018

DEMS HAVE THEIR POLLING MOJO BACK. A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that by a whopping 25-point margin, voters say they’re more likely to back a congressional candidate who promises to serve as a check on President Trump.

“At the same time, six-in-10 are satisfied with the U.S. economy, and a plurality of voters give Trump credit for the economic improvement. Despite that economic optimism, however, the poll shows that Democrats enjoy a 10-point advantage on congressional preference, with 50% of registered voters wanting a Democratic-controlled Congress, versus 40% who want a GOP-controlled one.”

The poll also shows that healthcare is the most important issue for 38% voters surveyed. That’s followed by the economy and jobs at 37%, guns at 25%, taxes and spending at 24% and immigration at 23%.  But the partisan breakdown of the issues is even more fascinating:

  • While Republicans have a lead on the economy and taxes, Democrats have an overwhelming lead on health care and guns.
  • Immigration is a motivating issue for almost as many Democrats as Republicans.

Republicans are already worried that a relatively strong economy and the new tax bill won’t be enough to sway voters and this poll suggests they’re right. It also shows that focusing on immigration may help Democrats as much as Republicans.  Meanwhile, Democrats can be confident that health care and gun safety are winning issues for them.

Meanwhile, a big weekly online poll from Reuters/Ipsos also gives Democrats an 11-point (43/32) advantage. Last week, Reuters/Ipsos had the Democratic lead down to two points (39/37).

A new Fox News poll finds 48% of voters favor the Democratic candidate in their congressional district and 39%the Republican.  That 9-point lead is up from a 5-point edge the Democrats held in March.

FEMA FUMBLE.  “The meeting was supposed to be about hurricane preparedness, as disaster officials gathered at Federal Emergency Management Agency headquarters days after the start of the 2018 season,” the Washington Postreports.

“But President Trump had a lot else on his mind, turning the closed-door discussion into soliloquies on his prowess in negotiating airplane deals, his popularity, the effectiveness of his political endorsements, the Republican Party’s fortunes, the vagaries of Defense Department purchasing guidelines, his dislike of magnetized launch equipment on aircraft carriers, his unending love of coal and his breezy optimism about his planned Singapore summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.”

Said Trump, according to leaked audio: “It’s an interesting journey. It’s called the land of the unknown — who knows? We’ll maybe make a deal. Maybe not. As I say to everybody, are you going to make a deal?”

DEMS NOW IN A STRONGER POSITION FOR MIDTERM. “Halfway through the primary season, election results across the country have strengthened the Democrats’ hand in their quest for control of the House, even as shifts in the national mood raise the possibility that an anticipated electoral wave could flatten into a ripple,” the Washington Post reports.

“After votes in 21 states, including California and seven others that held primaries Tuesday, Democrats have avoided potential pitfalls and secured general-election candidates in many Republican-held districts who have compelling biographical stories and political profiles that party leaders hope will have broad appeal in a nation that tends to vote for change in off-year contests.”

“Many of the Democratic nominees are younger, more diverse and less tied to Washington than their GOP rivals.”

WINNING THE NEWS CYCLE. E.J. Dionne: “The larger battle, captured by the phrase ‘winning the news cycle,’ involves a fierce competition to push reports that help your own side to the top while sidelining those that serve the interests of your opponents.”

“In the Trump era, this clash has fundamentally changed because the president and his lieutenants have realized that lying works; shameless dissembling is now standard operating procedure for the White House. Partisan outlets go with President Trump’s versions of events, even when they are demonstrably false. Mainstream outlets feel duty bound to report them, even as they debunk the lies.”

“Moreover, our chief executive instinctively knows what Alexander Hamilton taught long ago: that the despot’s ‘object is to throw things into confusion that he may ‘ride the storm and direct the whirlwind.’ ’ If the news gets troublesome, Trump and his minions create all manner of controversies and distractions that consume a lot of media space and time.”

OUR ALLIES ARE DONE WITH TRUMPPolitico: “Foreign leaders are learning that hand-holding, golf games, military parades and other efforts to personally woo President Donald Trump do not guarantee that Trump won’t burn them on key policy issues.”

“Trump calls Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe, who visits the White House Thursday, his ‘good friend.’ French president Emmanuel Macron is a ‘great friend.’ And Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is a ‘great friend, neighbor, and ally.’ All have sought to butter up Trump through friendly face time, recognizing that the quickest way to the president’s heart is through his ego.”

“But all, to varying degrees, are exasperated with Trump.”

“France has joined Germany in warning President Trump that it won’t sign a joint statement of the Group of 7 at the summit in Quebec this week without major concessions from the U.S.,” Bloomberg reports.  “President Emmanuel Macron has signaled that progress on tariffs, Iran nuclear agreement and Paris climate accord must be made before he’ll be willing to sign a joint statement… Macron has concluded that the other members of the G7 — the U.K., Germany, Japan, France, Italy and Canada — must stand up to the U.S. over Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminum from the European Union, Canada and Mexico as well as other issues.”

IMMIGRATION REVOLT IN THE HOUSEPlaybook: “House Republicans, facing an immigration revolt from both poles of their conference, will meet this morning in the basement of the Capitol to try to settle some of the most nettlesome migrant policies that have felled party leaders for more than a half-dozen years.”

“Republican leaders are looking to wrestle back control of the House floor, by orchestrating a series of GOP immigration votes that relegates the so-called discharge petition to the dustbin. In short: Republican leaders want the power of their majority back.”

“Meetings with upwards of 230 members of Congress, dozens of aides and a hallway full of reporters waiting to pounce are typically not fruitful or helpful. Gatherings of this nature typically devolve into hours of grandstanding and screaming matches.”

TRUMP IS NOT PREPARING FOR KIM SUMMIT. Politico: “For decades, top presidential advisers have used a methodical process to hash out national security issues before offering the president a menu of options for key decisions. On an issue like North Korea, that would mean White House Situation Room gatherings of the secretaries of state and defense along with top intelligence officials, the United Nations ambassador, and even the treasury secretary, who oversees economic sanctions.”

“But since Trump agreed on a whim to meet with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un on March 8, the White House’s summit planning has been unstructured… Trump himself has driven the preparation almost exclusively on his own, consulting little with his national security team outside of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.”

Reuters: “While the hawkish John Bolton – who has adopted a lower-key approach in recent days – is expected to be in Singapore for the talks on Tuesday, Pompeo has taken the lead as the administration assumes a softer tone toward Pyongyang ahead of the summit.”

LOTS OF EXCUSESTime finds that President Trump has made at least 191 separate arguments about the Russia investigation.  “Since the first questions were raised about the Russian influence operation in 2016, Trump has put forward defenses, raised doubts and thrown out attacks and counter-claims at a rate that dwarfs the typical presidential response to an investigation.”

“Some of the arguments contradict each other. Trump has argued that Russians didn’t meddle in the election, that it may have meddled but so did other countries and that the real scandal is that Barack Obama didn’t stop Russian meddling.”

HANNITY ENCOURAGES DESTRUCTION OF EVIDENCE.  Sean Hannity sarcastically advised witnesses in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation to “follow Hillary Clinton’s lead” and destroy their personal phones before handing them over to prosecutors, The Hillreports.

Said Hannity: “Maybe Mueller’s witnesses, I don’t know. If I advised them to follow Hillary Clinton’s lead, delete all your emails and then acid-wash your emails and hard drives on the phones, then take your phones and bash them with a hammer to little itsy bitsy pieces, use BleachBit, remove the sim cards and then take the pieces and hand them over to Robert Mueller, and say, Hillary Rodham Clinton, this is equal justice under the law.”

PLAN F.  “Republicans are working on a backup plan in case the GOP tax law does not turn out to be a strong selling point for their party in this year’s midterm elections,” The Hill reports. “While the booming economy is expected to be a core pillar of the GOP’s midterm messaging, it’s unclear whether the party is going to get credit for the tax law, which has lagged in polls.”

“As a result, GOP leaders on both sides of the Capitol are emphasizing a breadth of legislative achievements as they seek to convince voters to keep them in charge and not deliver majorities to Democrats.”

Jonathan Chait: “Donald Trump possessed less relevant experience and subject expertise for the job of president than any person ever elected to the job. Those deficits can be offset, to a degree, with dogged study and hard work. But rather than make up for his historical lack of qualifications, Trump has compounded the problem with historical laziness. He famously lounges in front of the television having ‘Executive Time’ until 11 a.m., checks out early, refuses to read briefings, and otherwise disdains the most important parts of his job.”

WOMEN WILL FUEL THE BLUE WAVEDan Balz: “In election after election, whether primary contests or special elections, women have provided energy at the ballot box and, increasingly, the leadership as candidates for the Democrats. That was in evidence again Tuesday, another day of validation that the dynamics of American politics have shifted under this president. If Democrats are to win the House in November, they must hope that is maintained through Election Day, although there have been no signs that this energy is abating.”

First Read: “Check out these numbers: In the merged NBC/WSJ polling of 2017, white women with college degrees preferred a Dem-controlled Congress by 17 points (55% to 38%). In the merged NBC/WSJ polling from January to April, it was 26 points (60% to 34%). And in this latest poll, the margin is now 30 points (60% to 30%).”

PIRRO WANTS TO BE ATTORNEY GENERAL. “Jeanine Pirro has a top-rated Fox News show and a forthcoming book — Lies, Leakers, and Liberals — but she still wants to be President Trump’s attorney general,” Politico reports.

“A former prosecutor and judge, Pirro has repeatedly told Trump’s aides and advisers over the past 18 months that she’s interested in taking over as the nation’s top law enforcement official… Trump has dangled the possibility of giving her a top appointment.”

TRUMP TO SIGN A VETERANS HEALTHCARE LAW AND THEN NOT FUND IT.  “President Trump is preparing to sign a sweeping new law Wednesday aimed at expanding veterans’ access to private-sector health care. But behind the scenes his administration is fighting a bipartisan Senate effort to fund the legislation,” the Washington Post reports.

“The VA Mission Act authorizes new health care programs for veterans, but the bill does not reserve federal money to pay for those programs. A group of powerful Senate committee chairmen aims to remedy that by amending a separate measure to pay for the new $50 billion law… But the White House has engaged in a quiet effort to thwart the senators’ plan, encouraging lawmakers to vote it down and instead asking Congress to pay for the veterans programs by cutting spending elsewhere.”

SWAMPY PRUITT, VOLUME XVIII.  EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt “asked members of his 24/7 security detail to run errands for him on occasion, including picking up his dry cleaning and taking him in search of a favorite moisturizing lotion,” the Washington Post reports.

“Pruitt, who also has enlisted agency staffers in tasks including apartment hunting and securing a mattress for his personal use, faces congressional scrutiny over an expanding number of spending and management decisions. Federal rules bar public officials from receiving gifts from subordinates, including unpaid services, and from using their office for private gain.”

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

27 comments on “The Open Thread for June 8, 2018

  1. cassandram

    The Justice Department has withdrawn from defending the ACA against the GOP state consortium that is still trying to undermine the ACA consumer protections. Done as rate filings are being finalized for 2019. So no one will defend this law now, even though it is the law of the land. Get ready to pay more if you have a pre-existing condition.

    • DCDelaware

      If the Democrats can’t run successfully on this, perhaps the party should be dissolved.

      • cassandram

        FACTS.

      • cassandram

        Since there is not an August recess, Democrats should make this Health Care summer. Just Fix This Shit.

  2. Health care still polls as the No. 1 concern for Democrats. They’d be fools to make the midterms about anything else.

    • so then, they will make it about anything else.
      The thing that frightens the DCCC and the DNC the most is gaining back power and having to do something other than let the left wing of the party fight for them…. they’ll gain power back and try with all their little hearts to compromise with the GOP.

  3. And the way they should do it is to come up with concrete proposals to actually fix it. I recognize that the progressive chant “Medicare For All” is enticing, but without articulating the how, it won’t play. Now if they the Ds had a definitized proposal to reduce prescription costs, which is something everyone can identify with, that would be enticing to the voters. Waste (operational and administrative) and inefficiency are also large contributors to the cost of care. These are things that can be fixed now. I’m not suggesting the Ds let go of their primary goal, at least for the midterm, let’s have some concrete proposals that have an immediate impact on people’s lives.

    • delacrat

      You need to keep up. “Medicare For All” is not a “chant”. It’s a bill:

      https://www.congress.gov/bill/115th-congress/house-bill/676?r=1

      • You do realize, I hope, that such a bill has no chance in the current Congress and will have to be reintroduced next year. So it’s more useful as a chant than as a bill, and I would dare to say that 99 of 100 people chanting it have no idea of the stumbling blocks to actually implementing the policy would be. Suffice it to say that Democrats have to regain control of the budgeting process for any of it to happen.

        • cassandram

          it should have a short policy pitch — like tax cuts stimulate the economy — that Democrats say over and over and over. The thing about the current Sanders proposal is that is actually makes the current Medicare more generous too. You are correct that it will take a Dem controlled Congress to get near this, but they should be selling it NOW. There’s also a bill out there to let people over 50 or 55 to buy into Medicare. And there is a bill from Sens. Murphy and Merkley to add Medicare to the exchanges as a default public option. But Dems need to be selling a solid (not wonky) fix to health care right now.

        • delacrat

          “….such a bill has no chance in the current Congress…” – alby

          Every Republican would take comfort in your defeatism.

          • Defeatism? Do you not even know how to count? On the contrary, every Republican takes comfort in your absolutism.

  4. Medicare spending is expected to grow to grow to $1.2 trillion by 2028 according to the CBO:
    https://www.cbo.gov/system/files/115th-congress-2017-2018/reports/53651-outlook.pdf.

    While the Medicare For All bill does not have enough support to be scored by the CBO, the Urban Institute says that “analysis by the Tax Policy Center indicates that Sanders’s revenue proposals, intended to finance all new health and nonhealth spending, would raise $15.3 trillion in revenue over 2017 to 2026. This amount is approximately $16.6 trillion less than the increased federal cost of his health care plan estimated here.”

    Medicare For All cannot be done without a complete and radical restructuring of tax policy, along with a host of other measures to make it viable that it is effectively impossible to achieve in the next decade. As a long term goal, it is an admirable one, but people want solutions and fixes now. I cannot see how Medicare For All sometime in the future (if you are being honest with the people) is an effective slogan to win elections.

    Put a bill on the table to change how we buy prescription drugs. That’s something concrete and doable.

    • delacrat

      If we can find the $ for every bullshit war, bank bailout and fossil fuel subsidy, we can find the $ for a national healthcare that is enjoyed by every other industrialize country.

      • That sounds like a Nike commercial “Just Do It!” While your plaint is understandable it’s not executable. Obama recently discussed his views regarding idealism and practicality with the potential D candidates in 2020 and like him, I have no issue with the ideals. They are lofty, altruistic, and aspirational. What I and him have a problem with is what we all know about how things work and these ideals are simply not attainable in one fell swoop. You can’t just do it, regardless of how bad you want it. It is long, slow, slog to get there. There is no excuse for not starting down the path with measures that lead there. But if you try to do it all at once, it will be mess and before you fix the mess, people will become frustrated and disillusioned.

        I would rather have something in place that positively effects peoples lives now and every year, and build momentum. I’m not arguing about the goal, just the timing and means to get there.

        Fix the prescription drug cost issue. Then tackle the next big issue, and the next, and the next.

        • All his comments sound like that. It’s called onanism.

          • LOL. I suppose I do sound like a broken record. Still, there isn’t that much difference between me and revolutionaries, they just have much more vigor and don’t mind if it’s premature. I want things that last.

        • delacrat

          ” It is long, slow, slog to get there. “ – Dave

          Are you aware it’s been a “long, slow” since Harry Truman proposed a national health insurance plan on November, 1945, while our industrialized peer nations have had national health care for decades.

          But it’s never a “long, slow slog to get to” bullshit war appropriations or bankster bailouts !

          • I’m very well aware of that. I’m also aware of the national will that is necessary to get to national health insurance and BS war appropriations and bailouts. Some things are best achieved through revolution, some through evolution. If you can strike a chord with the people you can have your revolution. I’m just not going to count on revolution to get to there because I don’t believe it is a viable means of achieving objectives.

            • delacrat

              LBJ did not babble about “evolution” vs. “revolution”, that’s why there’s Medicare for the over 65.

          • We’re all well aware of that, Dave, but we don’t spell it “Obomba” or “bankster” so we’re tools of the bourgeousie.

            • delacrat

              Or your health insurance is an employer benefit, so your attitude is:

              “I’m OK Jack, so to hell with you!”

              Kinda bourgeois, doncha think?

              • I pay for my own, thanks all the same.

                The attitude you describe is not the only alternative to your own attitude. You keep pretending it is, and then you keep wondering why nobody takes you seriously. You apparently own a lifetime supply of straw, and spend all your time building men from it.

                “Medicare for All” is actually a poor model for universal health care; if you care to enlighten yourself there’s lots about it online. The reason it’s favored among the political class, as opposed to the technocrats looking for the best way to implement universal health care, is that it’s simple and easy for the public to understand.

                So I hope you realize that you are exactly the public that’s being catered to with a simplistic solution that’s not the best one available.

                That’s why I mock you. You’re as simpleminded as those you try to criticize.

                • delacrat

                  ““Medicare for All” is actually a poor model for universal health care; if you care to enlighten yourself there’s lots about it online. “ – Alby

                  If you actually believed that “Medicare for All” is actually a poor model”, you would not being fobbing off the burden of proof for your own claim.

                  • Oh, for fuck’s sake. Like my entire life should be devoted to pointing you to the stuff you’re too lazy too look up yourself. Here’s a reasonably left-friendly look at the problems — but let me guess, it’s right-wing propaganda because your sloganeering is superior.

                    https://www.newyorker.com/news/john-cassidy/the-politics-of-bernie-sanderss-medicare-for-all-bill

                    Sample:

                    “Shifting from the current system to a single-payer system would, however, be a huge transformation, and, when pollsters point out to survey participants some of the things such a change would entail, support for the Sanders approach tends to drop quite sharply. For example, after the Kaiser researchers told people who initially said they favored a “Medicare for all” system that it would involve many Americans paying higher taxes, almost four in ten respondents changed their minds. The number opposing the proposal went from forty-three per cent to sixty per cent.

                    Sanders, at this stage, doesn’t seem keen to engage in the details about how to pay for his plan. His draft legislation doesn’t address the issue, and he told Weigel that there would be a separate bill to deal with it. “Rather than give a detailed proposal about how we’re going to raise three trillion dollars a year, we’d rather give the American people options,” he said.

                    Face the mirror: You’re lazy and unserious.

  5. “LBJ did not babble about “evolution” vs. “revolution”

    That’s true. But I’m confused is it ok to babble about revolution or just evolution?

    https://ourrevolution.com/about/

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