Open Thread

The Open Thread for November 14, 2018

WHITE HOUSE CHAOS. Washington Post: “During his 43-hour stay in Paris, Trump brooded over the Florida recounts and sulked over key races being called for Democrats in the midterm elections that he had claimed as a ‘big victory.’ He erupted at his staff over media coverage of his decision to skip a ceremony honoring the military sacrifice of World War I.”

“The president also was angry and resentful over French President Emmanuel Macron’s public rebuke of rising nationalism, which Trump considered a personal attack. And that was after his difficult meeting with Macron, where officials said little progress was made as Trump again brought up his frustrations over trade and Iran.”

The Los Angeles Times similarly reports that the President’s “mood apparently has changed as he has taken measure of the electoral backlash that voters delivered Nov. 6. With the certainty that the incoming Democratic House majority will go after his tax returns and investigate his actions, and the likelihood of additional indictments by special counsel Robert Mueller, Trump has retreated into a cocoon of bitterness and resentment.”

“Behind the scenes, they say, the president has lashed out at several aides, from junior press assistants to senior officials.”  Said one administration official: “He’s furious. Most staffers are trying to avoid him.”  Probably because he wants to fire the lot of them.   ABC News reports that Trump is again looking at possible replacements for Chief of Staff John Kelly, including Vice President Mike Pence’s Chief of Staff Nick Ayers.  Kelly’s job is uncertain and his fate has been in question for some time. Sources says that within the last few weeks, the president has once again discussed Kelly’s fate with many of his top advisers; Kelly has continued to grow distant with the president.

The Washington Post reports that “Trump has decided to remove Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, and her departure from the administration is likely to occur in the coming weeks, if not sooner.”  “Trump canceled a planned trip with Nielsen this week to visit U.S. troops at the border in South Texas and told aides over the weekend he wants her out as soon as possible. The president has grumbled for months about what he views as Nielsen’s lackluster performance on immigration enforcement and is believed to be looking for a replacement who will implement his policy ideas with more alacrity.”

And then there was this yesterday….

President Trump “is moving to replace his deputy national security adviser after she feuded with first lady Melania Trump,” Reuters reports.  “The first lady complained to the president that she was unhappy with how she was being treated by Mira Ricardel, a former Boeing executive who worked on the Trump presidential campaign and was picked by National Security Adviser John Bolton to be his deputy earlier this year.”

DEMOCRATIC PLANNING. “Democrats will take control of the U.S. House in January with big items topping their legislative to-do list: Remove obstacles to voting, close loopholes in government ethics law and reduce the influence of political money,” NPR reports.  “Party leaders say the first legislative vote in the House will come on H.R. 1, a magnum opus of provisions that Democrats believe will strengthen U.S. democratic institutions and traditions.”

The 2018 electorate was older and whiter than in 2016, and still Democrats won.  That and demographic and economic trends should terrify the GOP.   Axios: “[First,] the midterm results were actually a terrible leading indicator for [Trump]. Turns out that without Hillary atop the ticket, Midwest states like Wisconsin are tough for Trump, and Southern states with rising Hispanic populations are slowly growing more Democratic. Long term, the GOP should be freaking out about this.  [Second,] Trump and the GOP face two years of public investigations, coming from three different and dangerous directions: Robert Mueller, the state of New York and Congress. Two years of probing hell await.  [Third,] the prolonged recovery is on borrowed time, and a recession could well hit at the worst possible time for Trump — in the thick of the presidential race. Live by the markets, die by the markets.”

TRUMP APPROVAL PLUMMETS.   Josh Marshall: “Gallup is out with its weekly Trump approval number today and he’s down at 38% approval, 56% disapproval. That’s one of his lowest numbers all year. Polls go up and down of course. But there’s a point I want to make that goes beyond what appears to be Trump’s permanent ping-ponging between 36% and 42% public approval. Put simply, I doubt it will be an accident or momentary that President Trump’s support goes down post-election. Partisanship is a heavy constraining force on public support in this era.”   Josh’s theory, and its a good one, is that now that the election is over, Republican partisans no longer suffer a cognitive dissonance regarding their approval of the Presidents.  During the election, they feel compelled to approval because, in their mind, the Democrats would be worse.  Now that there is no choice facing them (their Trump v. the evil Democrats), they are free to offer candid assessments of the insane President.  

“For years, some Democrats said gerrymandering was an insurmountable roadblock to the House majority that couldn’t be cleared until after the 2020 census. Then along came President Trump,” Politico reports.

“House Democrats steamrolled Republicans in an array of districts last week, from those drawn by independent commissions or courts, to seats crafted specifically by Republicans with the intention of keeping them in the GOP column.”

“The overriding factor: a Republican president who political mapmakers could not have foreseen at the beginning of the decade. Trump altered the two parties’ coalitions in ways that specifically undermined conventional wisdom about the House map, bringing more rural voters into the GOP tent while driving away college-educated voters.”

RANKED CHOICE VOTING IN MAINE GETS ITS TEST TODAY.  Associated Press: “The four-way political battle won’t conclude until a computer algorithm has the final say this week on whether Republican Rep. Bruce Poliquin wins re-election or is ousted by Democratic state lawmaker Jared Golden.”

“Under the system, a candidate wins with a majority of first-place votes. If there’s no majority, the last-place candidate’s second-place votes are reallocated to remaining candidates. The computerized process can be repeated until there’s a winner. Across the country, voting reform advocates are watching as the system faces its biggest test in the most expensive race in Maine history.”

Poliquin “filed a federal lawsuit against Maine’s Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap in an attempt to stop a tabulation of ranked-choice ballots in his race against challenger Jared Golden (D),” the Portland Press Herald reports.  “Neither Poliquin nor Golden secured a majority of the vote in the first round of counting, pushing the tabulation to voters’ second choices in an attempt to determine which candidate has the support of more than 50 percent of voters.”

“Poliquin’s suit claims the use of ranked-choice voting violates the U.S. Constitution because the document ‘sets a plurality vote as the qualification for election’ to Congress.”

A NEW PHASE IN THE VOTING WARS. Rick Hasen: “With Florida set this week to undertake a massive and massively politicized recount in the critical races for governor and senator, the way that election fight has played out so far has been an absolute nightmare. Perhaps most terrifyingly of all, the 2018 Florida elections have demonstrated the real possibility that President Donald Trump might attempt to ignore an unfavorable 2020 election outcome if the result is a slim loss by the president, a possibility that should give us all chills.”

“There’s no mincing words: We are entering into a dangerous new phase in the voting wars. Last week, various election calamities were fueled by incendiary and unsupported claims by Trump and others of fraud, by pockets of incompetence of election administration, by partisanship in election administration, and by continued fundamental defects in how our elections are conducted.”

“The concerted effort by Republicans in Washington and Florida to discredit the state’s recount as illegitimate and potentially rife with fraud reflects a cold political calculation: Treat the recount as the next phase of a campaign to secure the party’s majority and agenda in the Senate,” the New York Times reports.

“That imperative — described by Republican lawyers, strategists and advisers involved in the effort — reflects the G.O.P.’s determination to tighten its hold on power in the narrowly divided Senate. The outcome of the Florida race will decide whether the party controls as many as 53 seats and has a freer hand to confirm Republican-backed judges with the vote of the man at the center of the recount, Gov. Rick Scott, who is trying to oust a three-term Democrat, Bill Nelson.”

THE KHASHOGGI KILLING.  “Shortly after the journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed last month at the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul, a member of the kill team instructed a superior over the phone to ‘tell your boss,’ believed to be Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, that the operatives had carried out their mission,” the New York Times reports.

“The recording, shared last month with the C.I.A. director, Gina Haspel, is seen by intelligence officials as some of the strongest evidence linking Prince Mohammed to the killing of Mr. Khashoggi, a Virginia resident and Washington Post columnist whose death prompted an international outcry.”

PELOSI MOVES TO LOCK DOWN SPEAKERSHIP.  House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi “is moving aggressively to snuff out a challenge from some lawmakers who are demanding new party leadership, while powerful allies outside Congress are helping rally support for her bid for speaker,” the Washington Post reports

“Pelosi has yet to clinch the necessary votes and is leaving nothing to chance, according to members and aides familiar with her approach. She is encouraging outside groups to speak up on her behalf while personally talking to the Democrats who will choose the next speaker on Jan. 3.”

“Pelosi is making gender a central part of her bid to reclaim the speaker’s gavel — leaning hard into the pitch that Democrats cannot oust the only woman at their leadership table following a historic election for women,” Politico reports.

“In addition to arguing she’s the best qualified for the job, the California Democrat and her allies are also framing a Pelosi victory as a matter of protecting political progress for women at a critical moment. Push her out, and men may take over the party at a time when more than 100 women are heading to Capitol Hill and after women voters have been thoroughly alienated by President Donald Trump. Embrace her, and she’ll prioritize legislation empowering women from equal pay to anti-harassment legislation.”

WHITAKER APPOINTMENT HEADS TO THE COURTS. “The Justice Department is expected to publish a legal opinion in support of Matthew Whitaker’s installation as acting attorney general as early as Tuesday… following questions about whether he can legally serve in the role,” the Wall Street Journal reports.  “The department’s Office of Legal Counsel is expected to say that President Trump had the ability to appoint Mr. Whitaker.”

New York Times: “The State of Maryland is expected to ask a federal judge on Tuesday for an injunction declaring that Mr. Whitaker is not the legitimate acting attorney general as a matter of law, and that the position — and all its powers — instead rightfully belongs to the deputy attorney general, Rod Rosenstein.”

Meanwhile, scandals continue to drip out about this unvetted partisan hack.  “While in private business, acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker walked away from a taxpayer-subsidized apartment-rehabilitation project in Iowa after years of cost overruns, delays and other problems,” the AP reports.

“The city of Des Moines ultimately yanked an affordable housing loan that Whitaker’s company had been awarded, and another lender began foreclosure proceedings after Whitaker defaulted on a separate loan for nearly $700,000.”

JUDGES ORDER THE COUNTING OF VOTES IN GEORGIA.  “A federal judge [U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg] on Monday ordered election officials to review thousands of provisional ballots that haven’t been counted in Georgia’s close election for governor,” the Atlanta Journal Constitution reports.  “The court decision comes as votes are still being counted in the race for governor between Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp. Abrams trails Kemp and would need to gain more than 20,000 additional votes to force a runoff election.”

Further, another federal judge has ordered a populous Georgia county not to reject absentee ballots because the voter’s birth year is missing or wrong.  The order issued Tuesday by U.S. Judge Leigh May says rejecting absentee ballots solely because of a missing or incorrect birth year violates the Civil Rights Act.  She ordered Gwinnett County election officials not to reject those ballots and to count any that were cast in the Nov. 6 midterm election. She also ordered Gwinnett County to delay certification of its election results until those ballots have been counted.  The order stems from requests filed by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law and by Democratic congressional candidate Carolyn Bourdeaux.  The race between Bourdeaux and Republican incumbent U.S. Rep. Rob Woodall for Georgia’s 7th Congressional District remains too close to call.

ALL POLITICS IS NATIONAL NOW.  Ron Brownstein: “The results of last week’s election demonstrated how powerfully national trends now shape election outcomes in every region. The election produced remarkably consistent divides along demographic and geographic lines in states as diverse as Arizona, Georgia and Texas on one side, and Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania on the other. Though some important regional differences remained, voters who shared the same characteristics or resided in similar places largely voted the same way no matter what state they lived in.”

“In virtually every state, Democrats last Tuesday displayed a clear advantage in densely populated, culturally and racially diverse white-collar metropolitan areas, while Republicans relied on elevated margins in the preponderantly white, religiously traditional, smaller places beyond them. In almost all cases, the outcome in each state was determined less by how much they varied from that persistent pattern than by how much of each group was present in the state’s electorate to begin with.”

TRUMP WILL WANT TO KEEP HIS WALL ALIVE. Stan Collender: “The new reality is that, with a Democrat-controlled House next year, it may make more political sense for Trump to keep the wall issue alive through the next Congress — especially if he’ll be able to blame House Democrats for it not being funded — than to get his funding now.”

“‘The wall’ isn’t the real issue anyway; it’s just a way for Trump and other Republicans to appeal to the GOP base on immigration without using language that others will find offensive.”

“Given how much Trump relied on immigration in the midterms, it’s a safe bet to assume that he’ll want to keep the issue alive somehow and make it a major focus of his reelection campaign over the next two years. One of the best ways to do that will be not to make a stand that it be funded now.”


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

26 comments on “The Open Thread for November 14, 2018

    • Probably because the author of the article is a typical IRS-hating business asshole, you missed the point: The fake SSNs allow the immigrants to have their taxes deducted from their paychecks. Which is why they don’t actually cost the government money. But, being incapable of thinking for yourself, you couldn’t see that.

      • Oh, you missed the Illegal part, IDIOT!

        • I didn’t miss it. It just doesn’t matter to me. The IRS is not in the business of running down immigrants. It doesn’t even have the money to audit all the cheating millionaires out there. If they did it would do me a lot more good than running around like an IDIOT complaining about “illegal” immigration.

          I’m way to the left on immigration. Open borders suit me just fine.

        • Also, your answer proves that what I said is true. “Illegal” is the only part you noticed. How does someone as stupid as you manage to feed himself every day?

  1. cassandram

    Senate Leadership votes:

    Majority leader: Mitch McConnell (KY)
    Majority whip: John Thune (SD)
    Conference chair: John Barasso (WY)
    Policy chair: Roy Blunt (MO)
    Conference vice chair: Joni Ernst (IA)
    NRSC chair: Todd Young (IN)

    Democratic Senate leadership:

    Minority leader: Chuck Schumer (NY)
    Minority whip: Dick Durbin (IL)
    Assistant leader: Patty Murray (WA)
    Policy chair: Debbie Stabenow (MI)
    Conference vice chair: Elizabeth Warren (MA)
    Conference vice chair: Mark Warner (VA)
    Chair of steering committee: Amy Klobuchar (MN)
    Chair of outreach: Bernie Sanders (VT)
    DPCC vice chair: Joe Manchin (WVA)
    Conference secretary: Tammy Baldwin (WI)

    Not much change here, Except Joni Ernst is in R leadership and Young at the NRSC. No announced change at DSCC yet, but Mastos is reported to have asked for it. REALLY not crazy about Stabenow and Manchin at DPCC. But then, none of these have a bunch of Third Way types and GOP propagandists trying to shoot you in the back.

  2. Here’s one for the Pelosi haters:

    Please realize that the guy leading the opposition to her, Ohio’s Tim Ryan, is well to her right politically.

  3. “Pelosi is making gender a central part of her bid to reclaim the speaker’s gavel — ….. Embrace her, and she’ll prioritize legislation empowering women from equal pay to anti-harassment legislation.” – WaPo

    If Pelosi had prioritized women’s issues when she had the Speaker’s gavel before she squandered it on bank bailouts, ObomneyCare and bullshit wars, we would not still be talking about equal pay and anti-harassment today.

    • google Lilly Ledbetter and have another day-drink.

      • And Lily Ledbetter is all you can point to ?

        Pay equality achieved through Ledbetter is confounded by mass layoffs and job off-shoring.
        A laid off woman has all the pay equality of her laid off husband. Nancy Pelosi has no answer for disemployment other than”bipartisanship”

        • You could look this up yourself, but here goes:

          Obamacare w/ public option
          Lilly Ledbetter
          Fair Pay
          Econ stimulus
          Don’t ask, don’t tell repeal
          Dream act
          CHIP reauthorization
          Employee Free Choice Act
          Fair sentencing act
          Disclose act

          Let me point out, again, that you have nothing to say about Schumer. The battles you pick say a lot about where you’re coming from.

          • “Obamacare w/ public option” ?

            “Employee Free Choice Act “?

            We should give credit for what’s not delivered on ?!

            “Economic stimulus”?

            “…94% of net job growth in the past decade was in the alternative work category,”

            “independent contractors, freelancers and contract company workers.”


            “The Disclose Act”, “Dodd-Frank” , “Cap-and-Trade”?

            Very nice, but irrelevant to the subject of women’s “equal pay and anti-harassment”

            Pretty thin gruel don’t you think ?

            • Your claim is prima facie absurd. She could not have achieved anything by pushing those issues in the face of a collapsing economy. If you don’t know that, you’re too stupid to hang here.

              • If it was up to you, no one is intelligent enough to post here except You. You’re a legend in your own mind.

                • I don’t say that about any of the many smart people who comment here. Just you, because you’re a demonstrable moron, and delacrat, who’s a demonstrable asshole.

                  If you two went away, I’d almost never comment here.

        • Mass layoffs? Where you been, fella? Unemployment is well below the line considered “full” employment.

          Pelosi might suck, but the alternatives suck harder. What part of that don’t you get?

          • What alternatives? (i get that’s the point) I’m all for a better option, but right now, there isnt one. If you’re just trying to “shake it up” for the sake of shaking it up, you’re basically a magat. have a plan.

            Now, seeing as Schumer lost ground in his caucus (again) and there’s virtually no chance of the Dems gaining back the senate until 2024 ( at least thats how I read the maps) he’s a much better target. If the senate dems dont relive him of duty, Congresswomen Ocasio-Cortez will already be a 2 term congressional representative by 2022 and she can primary his crusty old ass back to the Berkshires.

    • “…we would not still be talking about equal pay and anti-harassment today.”

      you have quite the boring fantasy life.

  4. Here’s anti-Pelosi Rep. Seth Moulton of Massachusetts, making a fool of himself for not being able to articulate why Pelosi must go:

    “In Moulton’s campaign advertisements, he has called himself a “progressive Democrat”. He is a member of the New Democrat Coalition, a congressional caucus made up of Democrats who support an agenda described as “moderate”, “pro-growth”, and “fiscally responsible”.

    Yeah, real progressive.

  5. And here’s Josh Marshall explaining why people like delacrat are empty vessels:

  6. RE Vanella

    I’m no Pelosi apologist, but this thread resonated me.

    Ady Barkan is an activist who I have had the pleasure of meeting and demostrating with on multiple occasions. He’s a hero. If he says it, I down with it. 100%.

    As long as Barbara Lee is in leadership in some fashion, I’m in.

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