The Open Thread for July 7, 2018

The latest Cook Political Report ratings find 62 highly at-risk House seats — 56 currently held by Republicans and just 6 held by Democrats.

A new Washington Post-Schar School poll finds Democrats leading the generic congressional ballot in these battleground districts by 12 percentage points.

A new Washington Post-Schar School poll finds President Trump’s approval rate at 43%. But there’s a huge gender gap in the numbers: 32% of women approve of his job performance, compared to 54% of men.  The poll also gives Democrats a 10-point advantage on the generic congressional ballot, 47% to 37%

“Newly released court documents explain that President Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort is being kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day ahead of his July 25 trial, citing that his safety cannot be guaranteed otherwise while in prison,” Axios reports.

“A trade war between the world’s two largest economies officially began on Friday morning as the Trump administration followed through with its threat to impose tariffs on $34 billion worth of Chinese products, a significant escalation of a fight that could hurt companies and consumers in both the United States and China,” the New York Times reports.

“The penalties, which went into effect at 12:01 a.m., prompted quick retaliation by Beijing. China said it immediately put its own similarly sized tariffs on an unspecified clutch of American goods. Previously, the Chinese government had said it would tax pork, soybeans and automobiles, among other goods.”

“Soybean prices in the U.S. and Brazil, the nations that account for roughly 80 percent of global exports, have taken drastically different paths thanks to Donald Trump’s trade war,” Bloomberg reports.

“In the U.S., average cash prices fell to about $7.79 a bushel this week, the lowest in almost a decade… Meanwhile in Brazil, exporters have been handed high times. Soybeans to be loaded in August at the nation’s Paranagua port fetched $2.21 a bushel more than Chicago futures as of Friday, the widest gap since data starts in 2014.”

Playbook: “Republicans have privately warned us they think that a trade war with China is enough to cost them their majority in the House. The everyday economic impact — higher prices, businesses laying off employees — would blunt any positive impact of tax reform. Well, the trade war is here. Combine that with rising gas prices four months before Election Day.”

Washington Post: “Republican lawmakers who went to Russia seeking a thaw in relations received an icy reception from Democrats and Kremlin watchers for spending the Fourth of July in a country that interfered in the U.S. presidential election and continues to deny it.”

“The Trump administration will not fully meet a judge’s deadline to reunite all migrant families separated at the U.S.-Mexico border and instead is seeking more time in instances where officials are having trouble matching children to parents,” the Washington Post reports.

“The request contradicts comments made earlier Thursday by Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, whose agency cares for the children in shelters. He had said the administration ‘will comply’ with the judge’s deadlines, though Azar referred to the timetable as “extreme.””

“Five former wrestlers, including former UFC world champion Mark Coleman, said this week that Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) was aware of, but didn’t respond to, allegations of sexual misconduct by an Ohio State University team doctor when the lawmaker was an assistant wrestling coach there in the 1990s,” the Wall Street Journal reports.

Said Coleman: “There’s no way unless he’s got dementia or something that he’s got no recollection of what was going on at Ohio State… I have nothing but respect for this man, I love this man, but he knew as far as I’m concerned.”

And with that, the lying liar and Joe Paterno reincarnated Congressman from Ohio changed his story:

Josh Marshall:  “[W]hat was most revealing was that Jordan repeatedly fell back on the distinction between ‘locker room talk’ and formal accusations. “Conversations in a locker room are a lot different than allegations of abuse or reported abuse to us,” Jordan told Baier.

This seemed to me as much as an admission since the kind of ‘everybody knew’ locker room talk is exactly what Jordan’s accusers say happened. Baier focused in on this and asked Jordan whether he heard things in locker room conversations, even things that may have not seemed like abuse twenty years ago but do today. Jordan denied that but then repeatedly came back to the distinction.”

Politico: “Corporate America couldn’t hire Republican lobbyists fast enough after President Trump’s election gave the GOP unified control of Washington. Now there are signs that Democrats are back in demand. Companies and trade groups are trying to hire congressional staffers with ties to influential House Democrats four months ahead of the midterm elections, in which Democrats are expected to pick up seats and potentially retake control of the House.”

“Lobbyists are helping their clients meet with the Democrats who would become committee chairs if the party does win back the chamber. And trade groups are talking to members about what to expect from a Democratic takeover.”

“As the Trump administration initiates a possible trade war with China, the president’s businesses continue to benefit from partnerships involving the Chinese government, via state-backed companies and investors. Chinese government-backed firms are slated to work on parts of two large developments — in Dubai and Indonesia — that will include Trump-branded properties,” the Washington Post reports.

“The Trumps are the landlord to one of China’s top state-owned banks, which has occupied the 20th floor of Trump Tower in Manhattan since 2008. The bank’s lease is worth close to $2 million annually, according to industry estimates and a bank filing. And despite the Trump administration’s focus on American manufacturing, assembly-line workers in China still produce blouses, shoes and handbags for the clothing line created by Trump’s daughter Ivanka, a White House adviser.”

President Trump’s harsh blast at NATO during a rally last night in Montana was Europeans’ worst nightmare come to life, Mike Allen reports.

“Trump portrayed the alliance as one-sided, transactional and bad for the U.S., and seemed to suggest that U.S. military support is conditional on the Germans paying more, calling out ‘Angela’ — the German chancellor… The other NATO member states worry — and the rally seems to confirm their fears — that Trump will come into next week’s NATO summit in Brussels like a wrecking ball, and beat up on them over not paying their bills.”

Said Trump: “They kill us on trade. They kill us on other things… They kill us with NATO. They kill us.”

Susan Glasser: “It might seem self-evident, but it bears repeating: Trump, whatever else he accomplishes, will certainly go down in the record books as the worst manager of the White House in modern times. And not only is this state of affairs not normal, it’s no way to run even a small organization, never mind a country. A senior European official recently told me that every time he shows up at the White House there is a new aide to meet with him, because the last one he sat down with has since been cashiered or fled. As each successive wave of aides comes and goes, what little institutional knowledge remains in the White House is further diminished.”

“In such circumstances, of course, nobody knows who’s in charge or what the policy is. Staffers come in every day not knowing if they—or their bosses, for that matter—might lose their jobs by the end of the day. Everyone is looking for a way out. Gallows humor seems to rule the day, and aides from the top down are utterly consumed by their own fate and that of those around them. In that sense, Trump may well have created a West Wing in his own image, one more self-absorbed and beset by gnawing doubts than perhaps any that came before it.”

Daily Beast: “Though well-liked by Trump until recently, Pruitt routinely alienated many senior staff members and would-be allies. Their subsequent press leaks and congressional whistleblowing made Pruitt too much of a liability even for Trump.”

“It was the defensiveness evident in his letter to the president that led to a routine mistreatment of his subordinates that led them to speak out—and may have sealed his fate.”

“The litany of former staffers with an ax to grind kept Pruitt controversy in the headlines for months, eventually managing to exhaust President Trump’s patience, White House sources say. Even Fox News, the reliably supportive cable news outlet from which the president often gleans political advice, had turned on Pruitt by the end.”

A federal judge “rejected a request by the Trump administration to block two California laws that protect immigrants in the country illegally, but he did put key parts of a third sanctuary law on hold,” the AP reports.

“Judge John Mendez refused to block a law requiring the state to review detention facilities where immigrants are held and another that prevents local law enforcement from providing release dates and personal information on jail inmates.”

“But he said California could not enforce a third law that prohibits employers from allowing immigration officials on their premises unless the officials have a warrant.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) “wrapped up a trip to the Middle East on Wednesday, a fact-finding mission aimed at more closely evaluating both the ongoing political turmoil in Iraq as well as the continued fight with the Islamic State,” the Boston Globe reports.

“For Warren, the trip is bound to raise further talk about her 2020 plans, as the Massachusetts Democrat and former Harvard Law professor continues trying to bolster her foreign policy credentials, which to date have been a weaker point in her resume. When asked, she says that she is running for the US Senate this year and not for president.”

“Liberal political strategists hope to block President Trump’s next Supreme Court nominee by replaying a strategy they used to help defeat the Republican effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act last year,” the Washington Post reports.

“The multimillion-dollar plan of advertising and grass-roots activism will focus heavily on convincing two Republican defenders of the ACA, Sens. Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Susan Collins (Maine), to buck the president again by denying his first choice to replace retiring Justice Anthony M. Kennedy. Trump plans to reveal his selection Monday.”

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

3 comments on “The Open Thread for July 7, 2018

  1. cassandram

    The Republican Party is no longer the party of conservatism. It’s the party of fear.

    Well, duh. It’s been the party of fear for some time.They’ve finally made plain what they are scared of though.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: