Open Thread

The Open Thread for November 15, 2018

TRUMP HAS LITTLE SUPPORT FOR REELECTION.   A new Monmouth poll finds that only 37 percent of registered voters want to see him reelected, compared to 58 percent of voters who want someone new in the Oval Office come January 2021. “Those who don’t want to see Trump reelected predictably varies by party, but 16% — not an insignificant number — of Republicans say Trump should be a one-term leader… while 92% of Democrats and 58% of independents said the same.”

Meanwhile, a CNN/SSRS poll finds that 53 percent of American say the midterms were a rejection of Republican policies. Additionally, those who view the election as a mandate for Democrats outpace that of elections past. While only 16 percent of voters saw the GOP’s 2014 Senate takeover as a mandate and just 17 percent said the same of the Republicans’ 2010 takeover of the House, about twice as many voters this cycle—32 percent—view the Democratic takeover of the House is a mandate.

Yair Ghitza of Catalist has some really interesting data on who voted in last week’s midterm elections.  One finding is that turnout was up across the board compared to the 2014 midterms, but that the rural vote didn’t increase by as much. These areas accounted for 29% of voters in 2014, and only 26% in 2018.

But the most striking trend was that young voters in rural areas voted for Democrats by dramatically larger margins than compared to the past. Democrats lost 18 to 29 year olds in rural areas by 17 points in 2016, and that shifted to +8 this year, a 25-point swing. Democrats lost 30 to 44 years olds in rural areas by 31 points in 2016, but by just 13 points this year, an 18-point swing.

Politico: “Bottled-up hostility in President Trump’s administration flowed to the surface Tuesday during a remarkable 12-hour period following an awkward midterm détente and tense trip to Paris over which the president is still seething.”

“White House aides and advisers have long anticipated an internal staff reckoning once the uneasy truce broke and the dust settled after the elections. But some conceded that the drumbeat of exits, the threat of subpoenas from the Russia probe and anticipated investigations by a newly empowered Democratic House — along with a raft of negative media attention in recent days — were taking a heavy toll on not only the president, but also on the aides and advisers’ thinning ranks.“

ROGER STONE, CALL YOUR OFFICE. “Special counsel Robert Mueller’s office is exploring whether longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone tried to intimidate and discredit a witness who is contradicting Mr. Stone’s version of events about his contacts with WikiLeaks,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “In grand jury sessions and interviews, prosecutors have repeatedly asked about emails, text messages and online posts involving Mr. Stone and his former friend, New York radio personality Randy Credico. Mr. Stone has asserted that Mr. Credico was his backchannel to WikiLeaks, a controversial transparency group, an assertion Mr. Credico denies.”

“Roger Stone claimed on several occasions during the 2016 presidential race that he was in communication with Donald Trump and his campaign, including declaring that he on average spoke with Trump weekly,” CNN reports.  “The nature of that communication is now part of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the election. Stone is facing scrutiny for his claims to have had a backchannel to WikiLeaks during the campaign. Particularly, investigators are looking into whether Stone shared information that he believed was from WikiLeaks with members of Trump’s presidential campaign,”

Fox News is supporting CNN’s lawsuit against the Trump administration over the White House’s revocation of Jim Acosta’s press pass, Axios reports.  From a statement: “Fox News supports CNN in its legal effort to regain its White House reporter’s press credential. We intend to file an amicus brief with the U.S. District Court. Secret Service passes for working White House journalists should never be weaponized. While we don’t condone the growing antagonistic tone by both the President and the press at recent media avails, we do support a free press, access and open exchanges for the American people.”

ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST.  Every day brings another blue wave Democratic win.  Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-NJ) lost his seat to Democratic challenger Andy Kim, resulting in a near-wipeout for the GOP in the state, The Hill reports.

“With MacArthur’s loss, Democrats successfully flipped four Republican seats in New Jersey in the midterm elections this year, some of which had been held by the GOP for decades.”

BYE FELICIA.  Michael Avenatti, who became famous for representing Stormy Daniels in her battle with President Trump, has been arrested for felony domestic violence, law enforcement sources tell TMZ.  And hopefully, this will be the last we hear about Avenatti.

PUBLIC HANGING COMMENTS SHAKE UP MISSISSIPPI RUNOFF.  A backlash against Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith’s (R) “public hanging” joke is shaking up the Senate runoff race in Mississippi, prompting Republican concerns about their chances of retaining the deep-red seat, The Hill reports.

Jackson Clarion Ledger: “A political action committee supporting U.S. Senate candidate Mike Espy has released a video online showing Espy’s opponent in the Nov. 27 Mississippi runoff race, Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith, superimposed into an old photo of a white crowd attending the lynching of two black men.”

TRUMP SIGNS ON TO CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM.  Washington Post: “The legislation adds several changes to U.S. sentencing laws — particularly easing some mandatory minimum sentences — to a minimal reform measure appropriately called the “First Step” Act and which passed by the House earlier this year. But some influential conservatives, such as Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), have been opposed to efforts to loosen sentencing laws.”

MCCONNELL TO BLOCK MUELLER PROTECTION BILL.   “A bill that would make it harder for President Trump to remove special counsel Robert Mueller was rejected on the floor of the Senate,” BuzzFeed News reports.

“Republican Sen. Jeff Flake and Democratic Sen. Chris Coons tried to bring the bill forward for debate, but they needed unanimous consent from their fellow senators. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused, meaning the bill will remain in limbo.”

“In an attempt to put pressure on McConnell to change his mind, Flake announced that he will not vote to confirm any more of Trump’s judicial nominees until the Senate gets a vote on the Mueller bill. Flake is a member of the Judiciary Committee, where Republicans have just a one-vote majority, and he could be key to confirming judges both in committee and in the full Senate this year.”   LOL at Flake. Everyone knows Flake will flake.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said he supported a bill that would protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller from any politically motivated firings and would urge Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to allow a vote on it, Reuters reports

THE PURPOSE OF THE MUELLER PROBE IS NOT IMPEACHMENT.  Jonathan Chait: “The point is to establish legal accountability for the president. Well-functioning democracies don’t have criminal oligarchies running the country with legal impunity. The kind of deep systemic corruption Trump is implementing, in which establishing a political alliance with a ruling family is a key step in amassing and protecting wealth, depends on selective legal enforcement. More to the point, it requires business partners. Maybe Donald Trump can’t be hauled off to prison, but his partners can. And that prospect can scare off the collaborators Trump needs.”

“Second, and more to the point, even if Robert Mueller can’t kick Trump out of the White House directly and the Senate won’t, there’s a body of people who can: the 2020 electorate. And the Trump investigations are building a powerful case that will be brought to bear on that election.”

WHITAKER APPOINTMENT IS BACKFIRING. Politico: “The appointment has drawn bipartisan criticism and led to questions about Whitaker’s qualifications and whether he would limit the investigation or bury its findings. The state of Maryland on Tuesday filed the first legal challenge seeking to overturn Whitaker’s appointment, while on Capitol Hill newly empowered House Democrats are already making plans to have the acting attorney general appear as one of their first witnesses when the next Congress launches in January.”

“The uproar over the appointment, which effectively removes Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein as Mueller’s primary supervisor, has put Whitaker in a difficult spot, trapped between setting off a political firestorm by clipping Mueller’s wings and angering a president intent on having him do just that.”

“Even Trump’s Justice Department is wavering about whether Whitaker will do the deed the president wanted him for.”

FEDERAL DEFICIT IS EXPLODING.  And since Democrats are in charge in the House now, Republicans are going to start caring about deficits again.   “The U.S. recorded a $100.5 billion budget deficit in October, an increase of about 60 percent from a year earlier, as spending grew twice as fast as revenue,” Bloomberg reports.

“A ballooning U.S. budget shortfall — fueled by tax cuts, spending hikes and an aging population — is driving the Treasury Department to raise its long-term debt issuance.”

HATE CRIMES SURGED LAST YEAR. “Hate crimes in America rose 17% last year, the third consecutive year that such crimes increased, according to newly released FBI data that showed an even larger increase in anti-Semitic attacks,” the Washington Postreports.

“The sharp increase in hate crimes in 2017 came even as overall violent crime in America fell slightly, by 0.2%, after increases in 2015 and 2016.”

WHY LATE VOTES TEND TO FAVOR DEMOCRATS.   Monkey Cage: “There are two reasons the blue shift exists and has become more prominent. First, the 2002 Help America Vote Act required states to institute provisional ballots for voters with a disputed registration status when they went to vote. Because voters who cast a provisional vote are more likely to be young and members of a racial or ethnic minority group, provisional ballots are disproportionately Democratic.”

“Second, Democrats are slightly more likely to vote by mail than Republicans. This is probably  because Democratic campaigns are more likely to emphasize turning out supporters before Election Day than are Republican campaigns. Thus as these mail ballots are counted, the overall total will again lean Democratic.”

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

0 comments on “The Open Thread for November 15, 2018

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: