The Open Thread for August 3, 2018

Playbook: “Republicans are becoming increasingly concerned that they will lose the special election in Ohio’s 12th congressional district, which would be a horrible sign for their election prospects this fall.”

“For the last few weeks, Republicans involved in the race said internal polling had Republican Troy Balderson beating Democrat Danny O’Connor by a high single or low double-digit margin. But the race has tightened, and the election is five days away. A public poll conducted by Monmouth had Balderson up by one point yesterday.”

“This would be a tough loss for Republicans to explain away. This district has been held by Republicans — Pat Tiberi and John Kasich — for 35 years. They got the candidate they wanted in Balderson. The Congressional Leadership Fund, the GOP super PAC, has spent $2.4 million. The NRCC has kicked in $1.3 million.”

Doug Sosnik: “In the next Congress, there will be at most only 45 senators who were in office before 2011. In the House, the turnover has been almost as dramatic. Next year, there will be at most 160 House members—barely a third of the body—who were elected before the 2010 midterms.”

Playbook: “What Hill Republicans don’t seem to understand is that Trump believes an immigration showdown before the election would be good for him. His thinking, according to people who speak with him, is that he won an election that was centered on immigration policy, so it’s a good issue to have front and center this fall. Furthermore, Trump is being pushed by aides who believe that he’ll never have bigger numbers on the Hill than he does now, so he should push for the policies he wants immediately.”

Axios: “The administration is allowing the sale of health insurance plans that undermine some of the main rules of the Affordable Care Act. And today, it will freeze federal fuel efficiency standards, undermining Obama’s goal of making them progressively tougher.”

“This is being done through rulemaking, which gets the attention of health care and environmental reporters, yet flies under the radar of the cable news networks. These moves have huge, long-term consequences — and they show how easily Trump can achieve his policy goals while the TV cameras are focused on the outrage of the day.”

Joshua Green: “They’ve caught a green wave of cash— the torrent of money pouring into Democratic campaign coffers helped 73 House candidates outraise Republican incumbents and opponents in races for open seats in the second quarter, a Bloomberg analysis of Federal Election Commission data shows.”

“In the second quarter of this year, non-incumbent Democratic House candidates raised more than three times the amount they did in the same period in 2014. That works out to an average of $151,000 per candidate, compared with $101,000 in 2014.”

“The online fundraising platform ActBlue this week surged past the $1 billion mark in contributions to Democratic candidates and causes in this election cycle. The fundraising milestone, shared first with USA Today, offers a sign that the liberal activism fueled by President Trump’s election isn’t slowing down.”

“The group predicts donations will top $1.5 billion by year’s end, double the amount the fundraising clearinghouse processed in the 2016 election cycle.”

Washington Post: “Two years after Russia interfered in the American presidential campaign, the nation has done little to protect itself against a renewed effort to influence voters in the coming congressional midterm elections, according to lawmakers and independent analysts. They say that voting systems are more secure against hackers, thanks to action at the federal and state levels — and that the Russians have not targeted those systems to the degree they did in 2016.”

“But Russian efforts to manipulate U.S. voters through misleading social media postings are likely to have grown more sophisticated and harder to detect, and there is not a sufficiently strong government strategy to combat information warfare against the United States.”

A new WBUR poll in Massachusetts finds Rep. Mike Capuano (D-MA) maintaining his lead over primary challenger Ayanna Pressley (D), 48% to 35%.

Politico: “The Pressley-Capuano matchup has drawn attention in the wake of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s upset victory in June over longtime incumbent Rep. Joe Crowley (D-NY), thanks in part to Ocasio-Cortez’s primary-night tweet endorsing Pressley. The primary is on September 4, the day after Labor Day.”

Walter Shapiro: “While delving into Trump’s psyche is a risky maneuver that should only be attempted while wearing a HAZMAT suit, a plausible case can be made that the president is subconsciously rooting for a Democratic Congress in 2019. In fact, given Trump’s contempt for political norms, there is a glimmer of a chance that he might be deliberately trying to wreck the GOP’s chances.”

“The conservative Wall Street Journal editorial page, a place whose outlook rarely overlaps with mine, made a related case on Tuesday in an offering entitled ‘Trump’s Lose-the-House Strategy.’ Focusing on the threatened government shutdown, the Journal blames the baleful influence of Steve Bannon and his obsession with wedge issues like immigration that motivate the Trump base.

“But suggesting that the president is still under the sway of Bannon and his ultra-nationalist views is a way of letting Trump himself off the hook. It is akin to 19th-century Russian peasants saying after the Cossacks pillaged their village, ‘If the tsar only knew.’”

“Steve Schmidt’s public break from the GOP and quiet departure from his corporate PR gig earlier this summer are fueling speculation in Republican circles that that he’ll advise a presidential bid by his longtime client, former Starbucks chief Howard Schultz, or another Democratic candidate in 2020,” Politico reports.

“Questions about Schmidt’s future began to swirl in June when he announced his departure from the GOP in a series of tweets embracing the Democratic Party. It was a rare act of defiance in a party that has mostly fallen in line behind President Donald Trump — one that has many Republicans talking about what exactly Schmidt plans to do next.”

“Senate Republicans are pressing ahead on confirming Brett Kavanaugh before the midterm elections even after National Archives said that it can’t meet the GOP’s request for records until the end of October, days before the midterm elections,” Politico reports.

Said a source close to GOP Senate leaders: “I can’t envision a scenario where that vote is delayed… There’s no chance in hell Mitch McConnell holds this vote after the election.”

“The RNC is sending a warning shot to major GOP donors not to play ball with the powerful Koch political network, escalating a fight between President Trump’s allies and the Kochs,” Politico reports.

“The move follows a weekend retreat in Colorado at which Koch network officials criticized the Trump administration, hinted they would work with Democrats, and announced they would not help a Republican candidate in a key 2018 Senate race.”

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

1 comment on “The Open Thread for August 3, 2018

  1. cassandram

    The NRA Says It’s in Deep Financial Trouble, May Be ‘Unable to Exist’


    But I have no doubt the Russians will be able to funnel them more money soon.

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