Open Thread

The Open Thread for November 3, 2018

Some Republican operatives worry that President Donald Trump’s recent immigration crusade, while red meat to his base, is alienating suburban women and other swing voters absolutely crucial to the GOP retaining control of the House.

According to a Thursday Politico report, many wish he would focus on the economy, an issue less likely to provoke backlash and mobilization from Democrats or undecided voters.  “The kind of voters Trump is talking to right now, there aren’t enough of them in these areas to get us over the finish line,” a GOP campaign official told Politico. “We understand this is an issue that motivates his base, but the economic issues are what we really need to win these swing voters because they are who’s going to decide who controls the House,” adding that Trump “is solidifying swing voters who were already leaning Democratic and are now definitely going vote for Democratic candidates.”

Democrats, meanwhile, are salivating over the likelihood that Trump’s hardline rhetoric will drive Latinos to the poll, a group whose high turnout could mean chamber control for Democrats.

First Read: “With President Trump closing on a message of fear and immigration in these waning days, here’s a reminder: This is exactly the same message that Ed Gillespie and the GOP used at the end of the 2017 gubernatorial race in Virginia.”

The Trump administration was informed by the Pentagon that “only a small percentage” of Central American migrants traveling with several “caravans” headed toward the U.S. will likely make it to the border, Newsweek reports.  “The information was received before the administration moved ahead with plans to deploy more than 5,200 troops to the border.”

Vanity Fair: “During our conversation, Cohen recalled a discussion at Trump Tower, following the then-candidate’s return from a campaign rally during the 2016 election cycle. Cohen had watched the rally on TV and noticed that the crowd was largely Caucasian. He offered this observation to his boss. “I told Trump that the rally looked vanilla on television. Trump responded, ‘That’s because black people are too stupid to vote for me.’”

”This conversation, he noted, was reminiscent of an exchange that the two men had engaged in years earlier, after Nelson Mandela’s death. “Trump said to me, ‘Name one country run by a black person that’s not a shithole,’ and then he added, ‘Name one city,’” Cohen recalled, a statement that echoed the president’s alleged comments about African nations earlier this year.”

President Trump announced that the U.S. military would treat any rocks or stones being thrown by asylum-seeking migrants slowly heading toward the U.S.-Mexico border as firearms, Politico reports.  Said Trump: “I will tell you, anybody throwing stones, rocks, like they did to Mexico and the Mexican military, Mexican police, where they badly hurt police and soldiers of Mexico, we will consider that a firearm.”

He added: “They want to throw rocks at our military, our military fights back. We’ll consider — and I told them — consider it a rifle. When they throw rocks like they did at the Mexico military and police, I say consider it a rifle.”

Words matter:

President Donald Trump is growing increasingly uneasy over allegations that Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke used the office for his own personal enrichment, and the President has even asked aides for information about the land deal he made in his home state that’s currently being reviewed by the Justice Department, The Washington Post reported. 

According to two administration officials who spoke to the Post, Trump is worried Zinke violated rules with the land deal and other actions he’s taken as Interior secretary, but he has not vocalized any interest in firing Zinke.

The land deal is just one of several probes into Zinke’s conduct that’s currently being conducted by his department’s inspector general. Just this weekend, the Interior Department IG referred one of those investigations to the Justice Department.

The Arizona Green Party’s U.S. Senate candidate told KPNX that she is getting out of the race and throwing her support to Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ).  The decision, just five days before the election, could remove a potential obstacle for Sinema in her toss-up race against Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ).

After a poll was released showing Democratic challenger J.D. Scholten within one point of Rep. Steve King (R-IA), money poured in to the tune of $641,000 in two days, according to a Thursday Politico report. The Scholten campaign reportedly plans to use the newfound funding on ad buys during highly-watched shows.  King has drawn a rebuke from the NRCC and boycotts from his corporate sponsors this week after his most recent episode of demonstrated comfort with white nationalists.

Per Politico, the King campaign, which has largely sat on its haunches during what was once considered a very safe race for him, is only now kicking into gear. They insist, however, that internal polling shows the veteran congressman to be in a very comfortable position.  Meanwhile, a video of King getting angry at a questioner who asked him about last weekend’s Pittsburgh massacre went viral.

“House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is quietly courting Democratic candidates who’ve kept her at arm’s length throughout the campaign season, aiming to placate potential adversaries who could block her from the speakership,” Politico reports.

“The California Democrat’s efforts — from nudging her donors toward candidates, to appearing at private fundraisers for House hopefuls who can’t be seen with her publicly — are focused on the Democrats in competitive races who are most likely to win. While it’s too early to say whether she would have the 218 votes to claim the speaker’s gavel should her party claim House majority, Pelosi has clearly made inroads.”

“Of the 43 Democratic candidates in districts that Politico rates ‘lean-Democrat,’ ‘likely-Democrat’ or ‘toss-up’ — the swath of GOP-held seats most likely to flip — only 11 have said they would not back Pelosi for speaker. Of those 11, only four would confirm that they would vote against Pelosi on the House floor next year.”

Playbook: “One constant during Trump’s presidency is that he’s seemed surprised by the constraints of the office. He came in as the CEO of a family real estate empire, who had to learn to deal with Congress, congressional leaders and the guardrails around the executive branch.”

“If Democrats take the House, Trump will be further shackled. The policy preferences he’s enumerating at the moment — new asylum policies, a militarized southern border and a new tax bill — would likely go up in smoke in divided government. There are serious concerns at the top of the GOP food chain that the White House is not fully attuned to this reality.”

Washington Post: “Senior staffers in congressional offices hold highly inaccurate assumptions about what voters in their districts actually want when it comes to policy. They tend to believe that voters support much more conservative policies than they actually do. And this stunning misperception can largely be explained by the disproportionate attention lawmakers and their aides lavish on donors and special interest groups.”

“Those are the results of a new paper forthcoming in the American Political Science Review by Alexander Hertel-Fernandez of Columbia University and Matto Mildenberger and Leah C. Stokes of The University of California, Santa Barbara.”

“Cracks are beginning to show in a booming economy that’s on pace for a 10th year of continuous growth,” Axios reports.  “There’s plenty of good news — economists expect today’s jobs report to show unemployment holding at a stunning 49-year low, for instance. But look closer, and visible threats suggest an all-out recession could come as soon as next year.”

“President Trump, joined by many Republican candidates, is dramatically escalating his efforts to take advantage of racial divisions and cultural fears in the final days of the midterm campaign, part of an overt attempt to rally white supporters to the polls and preserve the GOP’s congressional majorities,” the Washington Post reports.

“On Thursday, Trump ratcheted up the anti-immigrant rhetoric that has been the centerpiece of his midterm push by portraying a slow-moving migrant caravan, consisting mostly of families traveling on foot through Mexico, as a dangerous ‘invasion’ and suggesting that if any migrants throw rocks they could be shot by the troops that he has deployed at the border. The president also vowed to take action next week to construct ‘massive tent cities’ aimed at holding migrants indefinitely and making it more difficult for them to remain in the country.”

James Hohmann: “Kobach, who made a national name for himself as a conservative lightning rod, is closing his campaign on his terms. He did not mention public education in his speech, even though polls show funding for schools is the No. 1 concern even among registered Republicans in Kansas. Nor did Kobach mention health care or infrastructure.”

“Instead, he talked about guns and criticized the moderators of all seven debates that have been held this fall for not asking any questions about abortion.”

“Three top GOP operatives who have won statewide races in Kansas expressed frustration on Thursday that Kobach is not following the tried-and-true formula for how to win here. He certainly still has a path to victory because this is such a red state, and independent candidate Greg Orman is an unpredictable wild card who is pulling votes from the Democrat, but they believe Kobach squandered the chance after beating the incumbent GOP governor in the August primary to focus on issues that could appeal to persuadable swing voters.”

A federal judge on Friday denied President Trump’s request to stay a lawsuit alleging he is in violation of the Constitution by doing business with foreign governments, a decision that paves the way for plaintiffs to seek information from his business as it relates to his D.C. hotel, the Washington Post reports.

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

11 comments on “The Open Thread for November 3, 2018

  1. Found the article from Vanity Fair concerning pundits and pollsters to be spot on, they have no idea what will happen on Tuesday and truth be told they never do. It’s not much more than an educated guess, it strikes me more as an attention game than anything else. As noted Trump continues to play every racist card and dog whistle on earth to rouse his base, note to Trump, he’s got the racist hater vote sewed up. What he’s doing now is alienate the independents and the few moderate Republicans that still exist.

    • Pundits make money for cable “news” which is nothing more than pundit opinion. It is an intellectually bankorrupt system.

  2. “We understand this[immigration] is an issue that motivates his base, but the economic issues are what we really need to win…”

    Since when is immigration not an economic issue ?

    • Nobody in the Trump coalition dislikes immigration for its economic effects.

      As for the rest of us, without immigration you can kiss your Social Security good-bye. It is a sort of Ponzi scheme, and the only way to keep one going it to keep the newbies coming in. Or didn’t you realize that?

      • “Kiss your Social Security goodbye” Sure Al, if the people here illegally, have a social security number and pay taxes. And, if the US government stops stealing from the pot!

        Now, go back and eat you Croissant!

        • Someday, just by accident, you’ll sound like you know what you’re talking about. Today isn’t that day.

      • “…without immigration you can kiss your Social Security good-bye.” – Alby

        Oh… Social Security’s future depends on, say, Central American migrants fleeing US fueled violence rather than, say, taxing wages in excess of the cap currently at $120K year. Uh, huh

        • Agreed, the cap on Social Security at $120,000 needs to be eliminated, it only serves the rich and no others.

        • What you don’t know is voluminous. Who’s talking about Central Americans? But I do appreciate your proving that a self-identified liberal can be as stupid and obnoxious as any Republican. Nice work.

      • ” It[Social Security]is a sort of Ponzi scheme, and the only way to keep one going it to keep the newbies coming in.” – Alby

        Right-wing chicken littles and economic illiterates have been calling Social Security “a Ponzi scheme” since its inception. Yet in all these decades, the “Ponzi scheme” never bursts, indicating that the aforementioned don’t know a “Ponzi scheme” from shineola.

  3. No, it indicates that the system works as long as more new workers come into it to fund those retiring out of it.

    You really shouldn’t talk about economic illiteracy, unless you’re holding yourself up as a good example of same.

    Now why don’t you explain your theory of immigration as an economic issue for us.

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