Open Thread

The Open Thread for November 20, 2018

TRUMP EMBRACES FULL FASCISM.  Jonathan Chait: “The conservative movement has long dismissed the value of neutral expertise — environmental scientists, arms control analysts, budget forecasters, or any other meddlesome nerds who question the simple verities of right-wing politics — as biased. Conservative media is built on this insight, constructing an alternate information ecosystem, in which only conservative sources can be trusted.”

“Donald Trump, an avid consumer of conservative media, has taken this style to its next step. Trump insists he is the sole arbiter of truth. Anybody who questions Trump is by definition biased. By his circular logic, any attempt to question Trump is inherently false, since the act of challenging Trump reveals the source to be dishonest. Reporters can try to chase the lies down one by one, but they always lead back into this same logical cul-de-sac.”

CARAVAN A MINOR THREAT, BUT LET THOSE WHO QUALIFY AS REFUGEES INTO THE COUNTRY.  “A majority of Americans say a caravan of migrants now approaching the nation’s southern border poses at least a minor threat to the country,” according to the Monmouth University Poll.  “At the same time, 7-in-10 say that these migrants should be given the opportunity to enter the country if they meet certain requirements. Half are disinclined to believe that terrorists are traveling with the caravan, although 1-in-4 seem fairly certain that those claims are true.”

UNPATRIOTIC PRESIDENT WHO HATES THE TROOPS REFUSES TO VISIT THEM.  Washington Post: “It’s almost Thanksgiving: Which begs the question — will President Trump finally visit U.S. troops deployed to a combat zone? It’s been two years since Trump took office, and he has yet to make a trip to Afghanistan, Syria or Iraq.”  “Historically, presidential trips to visit U.S. troops in combat zones have been ‘a bipartisan practice going back to World War II.’ Bush 41 and Bush 43 both paid visits to troops overseas during the upcoming holiday.”

“Ivanka Trump sent hundreds of emails last year to White House aides, Cabinet officials and her assistants using a personal account, many of them in violation of federal records rules,” the Washington Post reports.

“White House ethics officials learned of her repeated use of personal email when reviewing emails gathered by five Cabinet agencies to respond to a public records lawsuit. That review revealed that she often discussed or relayed official White House business using a private email account with a domain that she shares with her husband, Jared Kushner.”

ACOSTA WINS.  FOR NOW.  The White House has restored the press credentials of CNN’s chief White House correspondent Jim Acosta, and as a result, CNN will drop its lawsuit against the Trump administration, CBS News reports.  CNN had requested an emergency court hearing earlier today, saying the White House warned it could revoke Acosta’s press pass again at the end of the month.

Rick Hasen: “Democrats should stop with the rhetoric that the race was ‘stolen’… First, rhetoric about stolen elections feeds a growing cycle of mistrust and delegitimization of the election process… Saying Kemp tried to suppress Democratic votes and saying the election was stolen are two different things, and making charges of a stolen election when it cannot be proved undermines Democrats’ complaints about suppressive tactics.”

“Rather than questioning the election’s legitimacy or making uprovable claims of stolen elections, Democrats should focus their efforts into doing whatever is possible to prevent voter suppression and incompetence in the upcoming 2020 elections.”

Rubin’s article is in response to Rick Hasen, who was responding to Stacey Abrams.   I like Rick Hasen, but fuck him.  No pundit anywhere living or dead has any right to caution Democrats on anything at any time.  Democrats can say whatever the fuck they want whenever the fuck they want however the fuck they want.  Why?  Trump.

BETO FREEZES 2020 RACE.Politico: “Sparked by his narrow defeat in a Texas Senate race, Beto O’Rourke is scrambling the 2020 presidential primary field, freezing Democratic donors and potential campaign staffers in place as they await word of his plans.”

“Even prior to O’Rourke’s meteoric rise, many Democratic fundraisers had approached the large number of 2020 contenders with apprehension, fearful of committing early to one candidate. But the prospect of a presidential bid by O’Rourke, whose charismatic Senate candidacy captured the party’s imagination, has suddenly rewired the race.”

“O’Rourke — who raised a stunning $38 million in the third quarter of his race — is widely considered capable of raising millions of dollars quickly, according to interviews with multiple Democratic money bundlers and strategists, catapulting him into the upper echelons of the 2020 campaign.”

A BREAKTHROUGH FOR BLACK CANDIDATES. Monkey Cage: “This year, Americans appear to have elected a record 53 African Americans to the House — assuming that Republicans William Hurd of Texas and Mia Love of Utah will win their tight races, which haven’t been called as of this writing. Hurd and Love would be the only two black Republicans in this wave; the 51 others are Democrats. Forty-four were reelected. Of those, four-fifths won reelection from majority-minority districts — defined here as districts where non-Hispanic whites form a minority of the voting-age population according to the 2010 Census. That’s what we’ve seen in the past: Historically, black representatives have been elected from majority-minority districts.”

“But here’s the big news: Eight of the nine newly elected African Americans won in districts dominated by non-Hispanic whites.”

MCRAVEN STANDS BY HIS CRITICISM.   “Retired Adm. William McRaven stood by his previous statement that President Trump’s attacks on the news media represent ‘the greatest threat to democracy’ after the President dismissed him as a ‘Hillary Clinton backer’ in an interview that aired on Fox News,” CNN reports.

Said McRaven: “I did not back Hillary Clinton or anyone else. I am a fan of President Obama and President George W. Bush, both of whom I worked for. I admire all presidents, regardless of their political party, who uphold the dignity of the office and who use that office to bring the nation together in challenging times.”

He added: “I stand by my comment that the President’s attack on the media is the greatest threat to our democracy in my lifetime.”

FiveThirtyEight: “The 2018 election has become a tale of divided government: the House broke for Democrats, but the Senate held for Republicans — and what’s more, Republicans were even able to expand their majority in the Senate. The election has also become a tale of blue waves. But don’t those tales contradict one another? Not really. What the ‘split decision’ narrative sometimes misses is just how well Democrats performed in the Senate despite having to defend more seats than Republicans — and in territory that was largely more favorable to the GOP.”

“Much of this is overshadowed because Democrats did lose Senate seats… But if we look at a state’s partisan lean and the vote share margin in each Senate race, we see Democrats managed to outperform how their states leaned politically in almost every single race — including in the 10 states with a Democratic incumbent that President Trump won in 2016.”

However, First Read notes that Democratic performance in red states might have been their ceiling.

FARMERS ARE NOT GETTING THEIR TRUMP TARIFF BAILOUTS. New York Times: “America’s farmers have been shut out of foreign markets, hit with retaliatory tariffs and lost lucrative contracts in the face of President Trump’s trade war. But a $12 billion bailout program Mr. Trump created to ‘make it up’ to farmers has done little to cushion the blow, with red tape and long waiting periods resulting in few payouts so far.”

“According to the Department of Agriculture, just $838 million has been paid out to farmers since the first $6 billion pot of money was made available in September. Another pool of up to $6 billion is expected to become available next month.”

ARE LATINOS FINALLY SHOWING UP TO VOTE?  NPR: “Election after election, pundits predict that Latinos will be a powerful voting bloc. And Latino voters consistently underperform those expectations by failing to turn out at the polls in big numbers.”  “But this year’s midterm results in Nevada, Arizona and other states suggest that Latino turnout is up dramatically — a development that could reshape the electoral landscape for 2020 and beyond.”

BALLOT DESIGN LIKELY COST NELSON ELECTION.  Florida Playbook: “A telltale sign of bad ballot design in Broward (where the Senate race was tucked below the instructions in the lower left-hand corner) was how Broward’s undervote rate in the Senate race was so much bigger than in any other Florida county. Unlike Miami-Dade to its north and Palm Beach to its south, Broward County had fewer votes for the top of the ticket Senate race than governor (as well as the three Florida Cabinet posts). Thousands of people just undervoted the race because they probably didn’t see it on the ballot.”

“If we assume the Senate race would have had as many total votes as the governor’s race in Broward and if Nelson’s and Gov. Scott’s vote-share remained the same, Nelson would have netted an additional 9,746 votes in the county. And that would have dropped Scott’s statewide lead of 10,033 to just 287 votes. Still, that’s a win for Scott.”

OCASIO-CORTEZ BACKS PELOSI AS MOST PROGRESSIVE CANDIDATE.  Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), a freshman representative belonging to the progressive faction of the House delegation, said Monday that she currently backs Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) for speaker, since Pelosi is the “most progressive candidate” running.

“Right now, out of the field, I would say that she is the most progressive candidate,” Ocasio-Cortez said on her Instagram Live where she often takes questions from constituents. “All of the rebellion for the speakership are challenges to her right, and so I think it’s important to communicate that.”

“My standard in this is: I’m going to support the most progressive candidate that’s leading the party and right now that is Nancy Pelosi, in terms of running,” she continued. “I would like to see new, younger leadership, but I don’t want new leadership that’s more conservative.”

HYDE SMITH TAKES MONEY FROM NAZIS.  Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS) accepted a donation from Peter Sieve, a businessman in Washington state known for his white supremacist views, just days after a video published by Bayou Brief surfaced in which she says she would be “on the front row” if a supporter invited her to “a public hanging,” the Jackson Free Press reports.

“A group of Senate Democrats is suing to block Matt Whitaker from serving as acting attorney general on grounds that his placement in the post was unconstitutional,” the Daily Beast reports.  “The suit, which is being filed by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, is the latest and most aggressive salvo against the Whitaker appointment.”

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

1 comment on “The Open Thread for November 20, 2018

  1. Once again, the problem with Williams’ fairly tired “economic anxiety” take is that said anxiety is not limited to white working class or middle class people. There’s a difference between voting blocks — African American female voting blocks have some of the highest economic anxiety out there and yet are some of the most reliable Democratic voters.
    There was something else that Trump tapped into here and there is tons of data about that. People who felt that they were no longer first in line for government help or general opportunity or cultural reflection were told they could have that back again. Taken away from all of the people that they have to share that with now.

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