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.
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.
— Vox (@voxdotcom) June 7, 2018
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?”
Rather than meet with one of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's advisory groups, Mick Mulvaney effectively dismantled it.https://t.co/ruKUv64sRj
— Washington Monthly (@washmonthly) June 7, 2018
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.”
The fundamental problem facing America’s G7 partners is that Trump’s policies are not rooted in a rational interpretation of commonly accessible facts. They're based on a combination of gut instinct and domestic political calculation. https://t.co/cENtXnAzGm
— Daily Intelligencer (@intelligencer) June 7, 2018
OUR ALLIES ARE DONE WITH TRUMP. Politico: “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 HOUSE. Playbook: “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.”
Pot legalization is going to become a bipartisan issue over time. @paulwaldman1 has an interesting look at a new bill pushed today by Senators Elizabeth Warren and Cory Gardner:https://t.co/Xg5o1e6MBD
— Greg Sargent (@ThePlumLineGS) June 7, 2018
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.”
"I think I'm very well prepared," President Trump says of the upcoming North Korea summit. "I don't think I have to prepare very much. It's about attitude. It's about willingness to get things done" https://t.co/LUWVKoyfzG
— CNN Politics (@CNNPolitics) June 7, 2018
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 EXCUSES. Time 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.”
By the end of the month, the Supreme Court is expected to rule on two partisan gerrymandering cases. The decisions could alter a fundamental part of how we structure our democracy. https://t.co/rMNLkYpYrz
— FiveThirtyEight (@FiveThirtyEight) June 7, 2018
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 (@jonathanchait) June 7, 2018
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 WAVE. Dan 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.”
— The Atlantic (@TheAtlantic) June 7, 2018
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.”