“Democratic challengers outraised Republican House incumbents in 92 House districts in the last three months — a staggering mismatch that boosts the odds of a GOP washout in November,” Politico reports.
“There is no historical precedent for financing this broad and deep for congressional challengers. About half of the 92 GOP incumbents are protecting battleground districts, and some of them posted personal-record fundraising totals in the third quarter of 2018 — but they still found themselves swamped by a combination of incandescent online fundraising for Democrats and bigger donors spreading money to challengers around the country, as 61 Democrats raised over $1 million.”
Said one Republican consultant: “We’re getting our asses kicked. Nothing else to say.”
How long will a Democratic coalition that has more voters but less political power accept a political system that increasingly seems rigged against them? And what will happen when they fight back? https://t.co/Ma27V7KfUw
— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) October 16, 2018
Ron Brownstein: “Gillum, Abrams and O’Rourke are road testing the strategy that many liberals prefer for the presidential race: placing the greatest priority on expanding the electorate by turning out more minority and young voters rather than focusing on reassuring ordinarily Republican-leaning whites disillusioned with Trump.”
“If any of those three win, it will be a great boost for 2020 Democratic candidates whose principal strength is their potential to mobilize younger and non-white voters. Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, O’Rourke himself, and — in a slightly different way — Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders could benefit. More centrist white men including Joe Biden, Michael Bloomberg, Terry McAuliffe and John Hickenlooper could face tougher questions about whether they offer Democrats the best path to victory.”
So the fraught American relationship with a key ally who is also opposed to most American values is in flux, at a time when that ally is putting money directly in the president's pocket. Hmmm…https://t.co/AUWa8ovtA8
— Paul Waldman (@paulwaldman1) October 16, 2018
“One of the suspects identified by Turkey in the disappearance of the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi was a frequent companion of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — seen disembarking from airplanes with him in Paris and Madrid and photographed standing guard during his visits this year to Houston, Boston and the United Nations,” the New York Times reports.
“Three others are linked by witnesses and other records to the Saudi crown prince’s security detail.”
Meanwhile, President Trump told the Associated Press that there has been a rush to judgement: “I think we have to find out what happened first. Here we go again with, you know, you’re guilty until proven innocent. I don’t like that.”
Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), who’s leaving office in January due to term limits, does not have the authority to fill three vacant seats on the state’s Supreme Court, the court ruled on Monday, Axios reports.
“This raises the stakes in Florida’s highly contested gubernatorial race between Democrat Andrew Gillum and Republican Ron DeSantis, because the winner will decide the ideological balance of the seven-member court for years.”
“President Trump’s campaign more than doubled its spending over the past three months as the president worked to rev up the Republican base ahead of next month’s midterm elections through a series of rallies and online appeals,” the New York Times reports.
“The increased spending — much of which was done through an opaque new corporate entity set up by the campaign — was reflected in filings that the campaign’s committees were set to submit on Monday evening to the Federal Election Commission.”
Important takeaway: “The largest recipient of Trump campaign funds was a company called American Made Media Consultants, which was created by the campaign to purchase digital, radio and television advertising, including online fund-raising solicitations… The model, which is patterned off one pioneered by Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign, could also allow the campaign to avoid disclosing to the election commission precise details about its spending, instead just listing line-item expenditures.”
Another nail in the "economic anxiety" theory’s coffin https://t.co/2sL70Bgn8P
— Spooky Zack Boo-champ (@zackbeauchamp) October 16, 2018
President Trump will star at a rally in Houston on Oct. 22 to help Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), the Dallas Morning News reports. The president said that he would hold a “major rally” for Cruz at the biggest stadium they could find in Texas.
“This rally is set for the NRG Arena, which has an 8,000-seat arena — a far more modest venue than the one Trump had promised. Nearby NRG Stadium, by comparison, is home to the NFL Houston Texans and tops out at around 80,000 people.”
Vanity Fair: “Other than a few tweets and statements, Cohen has remained relatively quiet since pleading guilty, in August, to violating campaign laws by paying off women who claimed to have had affairs with Donald Trump at what he said, in open court, was the ‘direction’ of the then-candidate.”
“Behind the scenes, however, Robert Mueller’s special investigation into collusion and obstruction of justice continues apace. So does the Southern District’s probe into campaign-finance violations. Despite having no formal cooperation agreement with the government, Cohen has willingly assisted and provided information critical to several ongoing investigations… in a string of meetings that have exceeded more than 50 hours in sum.”
We need a better plan for fighting the next recession https://t.co/9Ov3Ua9Fy6
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) October 16, 2018
President Trump called Stormy Daniels “Horseface” in a tweet denouncing her legal efforts against him as a “total con!” The tweet follows a judge’s ruling dismissing Daniels’ defamation lawsuit against Trump.
New York Times: “The president’s use of the term ‘horseface’ was jarring, even though he has previously used similar disparaging language to describe women who challenge him. But it could also prove problematic for Republicans facing female opponents in the upcoming midterm elections, now just weeks away.”
Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT) condemned President Trump’s attack on Stormy Daniels’ appearance as “unpresidential” and “rude,” and lamented that the president’s behavior on Twitter undermines his accomplishments, The Hill reports. Said Stewart: “It’s not appropriate for anyone to call someone that under any circumstances.”
Rep. Ryan Costello (R-PA) also condemned President Trump, saying “To say this is unbecoming of any man, let alone the POTUS, is a vast understatement. And to say this enables teenage boys to feel they have a license to refer to girls with such names is obvious. It’s all very embarrassing.”
CNN anchor Brooke Baldwin told viewers that President Trump calling Stormy Daniels “horseface” was likely “a calculated move” to avoid responding to questions “over his own ties to the Saudis” amid questions about the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, The Hill reports.
Said Baldwin: “Today as the president faces what one adviser calls the most consequential decision of his presidency, during his hours and hours and hours of executive time, the president of the United States decided to refer to a woman as a horseface… This appears to be a calculated move to get us talking about something else.”
Went to San Diego County last week to see how Democrats’ anti-corruption message is actually playing out on the ground.
— Tara Golshan (@taragolshan) October 15, 2018
“Fear paints a damning picture of Trump the human being. Who will soon forget Trump’s derisive comment that H. R. McMaster—whose life of service to the United States crimped his clothing budget—“dressed like a beer salesman”? Yet in the end it offers a remarkably forgiving assessment of Trump the president. The Trump presidency without the corruption, without the Russia entanglement, without the racism, without the abuse of women is hardly recognizable as the Trump presidency at all. There are worse offenses than messiness, after all.”
“Woodward approaches the Trump presidency as he has approached every other subject in his long and distinguished career. But the Trump presidency is something quite unlike anything anyone in Washington has seen before. Woodward’s access to that administration’s relatively normal figures—Cohn, Porter, Priebus, and their colleagues—actually erodes rather than enhances understanding of the administration’s actions. Their need to justify their own service to Trump compels them to minimize what Trump is and extenuate what he is doing. Woodward’s reliance upon them leads him to minimize and extenuate, too. If the only things we had to fear about the Trump administration were the stories told in Fear, Americans and the world could relax. Unfortunately, by relying on Trump’s enablers, America’s most legendary reporter has largely missed the biggest part of what they enabled.”
— The New Republic (@newrepublic) October 15, 2018
Minnesota U.S. Senate candidate Karin Housley (R) compared then-first lady Michelle Obama to a “chimp” in 2009 Facebook post, the HuffPost reports. Housley is running against Sen. Tina Smith (D-MN).
Mike Allen: “President Trump has clearly soured on Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, and top Republicans and Democrats both tell me his departure would be particularly costly for the White House — and a disturbing sign for outsiders.”
Said one former aide: “His tone on Mattis is really striking. … Will be worth watching whether he’s just brushing him back and moving on, or if he launches a sustained effort to get him to quit.”
“And if Mattis departs on anything other than the most cordial terms, confirming a successor will be fraught. But here’s something aides may not have told the president: People who know Mattis tell me that he won’t stay around to be abused and humiliated like Attorney General Jeff Sessions has. If ‘Mad Dog’ Mattis, as Trump calls him, is convinced that the president is shorting his stock, the retired four-star Marine general could leave abruptly.”
If your denial is strong and firm, Trump will believe you. Provided he already wanted to. https://t.co/Eqd9RDvIXi
— Paul Waldman (@paulwaldman1) October 15, 2018
Politico: “Pennsylvania was the linchpin of Donald Trump’s 2016 victory, but it could be ground zero of Democrats’ 2018 comeback. Not only are the incumbent Democratic senator and governor prohibitive favorites to win reelection, but Democrats could also pick up as many as a half-dozen congressional seats — roughly a quarter of the seats the party needs nationwide to win back the House.”
“The Democratic Governors Association will announce today that it raised more than $100 million for the 2018 midterm cycle, with $22.2 million of it coming in September — the largest haul ever for an organization that sometimes struggles for attention during battles for the House and Senate,” the Washington Post reports.
— The New Republic (@newrepublic) October 16, 2018
“A number of Republicans running for governor or senator in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania, including several who hitched their wagon to Trump’s political movement, are behind in polls by double digits, a remarkable turnabout in swing states that were key to the president’s 2016 victory,” the Washington Post reports.
“If current polling averages hold, Democrats will maintain all their Senate seats in those states, pick up a handful of House seats and, in some cases, retake the governors’ mansions.”