Open Thread

The Open Thread for June 10, 2018

Talking Points Memo: “The Trump administration delivered an early midterms present to Democrats Thursday night when the Justice Department decided to side with 20 GOP states in a lawsuit seeking to gut the core protections of the Affordable Care Act for people with pre-existing conditions.  The long-shot lawsuit argues that because Republicans repealed the ACA’s individual mandate penalty as part of their tax overhaul, all of the remaining law is unconstitutional. The Justice Department, in backing the state’s argument, is seeking to strike down two of Obamacare’s most popular provisions: the rule that insurance companies can’t turn someone away or charge them more based on a pre-existing condition, and the rule that limits how much insurers can charge older patients for their premiums.  […]

By Friday morning, Democratic congressional candidates were jumping on the news as well, blasting out statements slamming the administration and vowing to fight to preserve the ACA’s consumer protections.  Recent polling indicates that this could be a political winner for Democrats attempting to recapture at least one chamber of Congress.

In a CNN survey in March, 56 percent of respondents said Democrats are doing a better job on health care, while only 36 percent favored Republicans. An NBC/Wall Street Journal poll released in early June found that 36 percent people are “very uncomfortable” with a candidate who supports repealing the ACA — a significant jump up from 25 percent in 2010. And a Kaiser Family Foundation poll in May found that health care is one of the top issues on the minds of voters going into the 2018 midterms — especially Democrats.”

Axios: “The party in power tends to do well in the House during midterm elections when voters are happy with the economy, but it does poorly when the president’s approval rating is low. There’s no recent precedent in which the economy is doing well but the president’s approval rating is underwater.”

“Anyone who talks about the election as if it’s only about Trump, or only about the economy, is only telling you half the story. We won’t really know what’s going to happen with the House until we know which half matters the most to the voters.”

Jonathan Swan: “The biggest key to understanding Trump’s dogmatism on trade is that even as he switched political parties and changed his views on issue after issue, his one consistent stance over 40 years is that other countries are ‘ripping off the United States’ in trade deals, as he put it in 1987.”

“This is the one thing the president really believes, with his protectionist roots going back to the union-friendly environment where his father, Fred, courted Democratic pols.”

“Nobody can claim to be surprised about what Trump is now doing. It’s everything he promised during the campaign.”

The Washington Post quotes Trump at the G7 meetings: “We’re the piggy bank that everybody is robbing. And that ends.”

“President Trump appeared to break with his own administration’s policy on Friday, saying that he was likely to support a legislative proposal to leave the decision to states about whether to legalize marijuana,” the New York Times reports.  Said Trump: “We’re looking at it. But I probably will end up supporting that, yes.”

Georgia Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle (R) “told a former rival in a secretly recorded conversation that he engineered the passage of a bill he described as bad ‘a thousand different ways’ because it would deprive another opponent in the race for governor of millions of dollars in support,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.

“Cagle told Clay Tippins in the recording that he circumvented the state Senate’s top education leader and swallowed his own misgivings over the bill, which raised the cap on tax credits for private school scholarships to $100 million, purely to prevent Hunter Hill from receiving financial help from a super PAC.”

Just so long as that progressive President isn’t Bernie, I’m all good with that.

“A Honduran father separated from his wife and child suffered a breakdown at a Texas jail and killed himself in a padded cell last month, according to Border Patrol agents and an incident report filed by sheriff’s deputies,” the Washington Post reports.

“The death of Marco Antonio Muñoz, 39, has not been publicly disclosed by the Department of Homeland Security, and did not appear in any local news accounts. But according to a copy of a sheriff’s department report obtained by The Washington Post, Muñoz was found on the floor of his cell May 13 in a pool of blood with an item of clothing twisted around his neck.”

“Senate Democrats have introduced legislation to prevent the separation of immigrant children from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border in an attempt to push back against the Trump administration,” The Hill reports.

Said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA): “The United States must not be a country that traumatizes young children by separating them from their parents… Congress has a moral obligation to take a stand and say that families should not be forcibly separated.”

Playbook: “The push to craft a GOP immigration bill in the House is not going well, to say the least. The GOP leadership — including House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy — hosted a meeting yesterday between moderates and conservatives in the Capitol to try to craft a compromise to avoid a wide-ranging, bipartisan immigration debate that would come to the floor this month.”

“We spoke to a bunch of people after the meeting, who tell us this surprising nugget: the pathway to citizenship is not the thorniest issue at the moment. Interior enforcement — and how far Republicans should go on that front — is a big point of disagreement. That’s not to say the other items are all solved.”

“Meanwhile, the discharge petition is really spooking Republican leadership at the moment. The prospect that the Dream Act could pass the House a few months before the election could deeply split the leadership.”

“For more than a year, the state of Florida failed to conduct national background checks on tens of thousands of applications for concealed weapons permits, potentially allowing drug addicts or people with a mental illness to carry firearms in public,” the Tampa Bay Times reports.

“The employee in charge of the background checks could not log into the system… The problem went unresolved until discovered by another worker in March 2017 — meaning that for more than a year applications got approved without the required background check.”

“Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam (R) has made it a priority to speed up the issuing of concealed weapons permits since he was elected in 2010… Now running for Florida governor as a Republican, Putnam’s campaign touts his expansion of concealed carry permits as one of his top accomplishments.”

The New York Times:  “Assuming that American democracy endures, a party organized around a single extreme personality seems like a brittle proposition. But Mr. Trump’s grip on the Republican psyche is unusually powerful by historical standards, because it is about so much more than electoral dynamics. Through his demagogic command of the party’s base, he has emerged as the shameless, trash-talking, lib-owning fulcrum around which the entire enterprise revolves.

Forget the longstanding Republican orthodoxy about the wonders of free trade. If Mr. Trump says tariffs are the way to go, his base is good with that. Even Republican lawmakers who fear a trade war seem disinclined to push very hard to prevent one. (Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, has dismissed proposed legislation aimed at curbing the president’s tariff fever as an “exercise in futility.”)”

Michael Tomasky explains that Trump is a direct result of the Republican Party’s playbook:  “When the conservative counter-offensive started, back in the 1970s, conservatives who wanted to dramatically remake and reorder American society knew they had a big job in front of them. All kinds of presumptions about how life and society worked were lodged deep in people’s minds. Many—most, indeed perhaps nearly all—of those assumptions were kind of liberal. The Republicans caused the Depression. Roosevelt saved the country. Unions helped us prosper in the postwar era. Science was noble, and experts were to be venerated. Religion was to remain private. The generals got us into an unwinnable war in Vietnam and so on.”

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

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