Open Thread

The Open Thread for November 27, 2018

“Republicans think Cindy Hyde-Smith will ultimately pull out a win in Mississippi’s special Senate election on Tuesday. But they say the race has tightened — and after what happened in Alabama last year, they’re on edge,” Politico reports.

“A swirl of controversy surrounding the Republican senator — stirred up by her comment about attending a “public hanging” — has given Democrat Mike Espy momentum in the home stretch, officials from both parties say. Hyde-Smith has never trailed in polling, and Democrats acknowledge she’s likely to win, but they argue that her flubs have given Espy a very narrow opening if everything breaks his way.”

James Hohmann: “If [today’s] special election in Mississippi is a referendum on President Trump, Republicans will win. That’s why he will hold not one but two rallies tonight for appointed GOP Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith.”

“Elections have become more nationalized and more polarized in the Trump era. Both trends work to the GOP’s advantage in this final federal election of 2018. Trump carried Mississippi by 18 points in 2016. For context, he won both Indiana and Missouri by 19 points. These are two of the four states where Republican challengers knocked off Democratic incumbents in the midterms.”

“There has been frustratingly little reliable public polling in this contest. Both sides agree that Hyde-Smith is ahead but that her lead has narrowed in recent weeks.”

General Motors said it will cut production of slow-selling models and slash its workforce by roughly 15,000 jobs, mostly in Michigan and Ohio, Reuters reports.

“Cost pressures on GM and other automakers and suppliers have increased as demand waned for traditional sedans. The company has said tariffs on imported steel, imposed earlier this year by the Trump administration, have cost it $1 billion.”

President Trump told the Wall Street Journal he threatened GM president Mary Barra after the company announced it was shuttering several auto plants.  Said Trump: “They better damn well open a new plant there very quickly. I love Ohio. I told them, ‘You’re playing around with the wrong person.’”  He added: “I said, ‘I heard you’re closing your plant. It’s not going to be closed for long, I hope, Mary, because if it is you have a problem.’”

Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) signaled that he is seeking to hold negotiations with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) “about changes to her leadership team, a development that makes her ascendancy to the speakership likelier as her opponents continue to struggle to recruit a challenger,” the Washington Postreports.

“Pelosi, however, has given no indication that she is open to talks with Moulton about a deal for the support of moderate critics, or that she would ever waver in her support for her longtime deputies, Reps. Steny Hoyer (D-MD) and James Clyburn (D-SC), who are in line to hold the No. 2 and No. 3 posts in the House next year.”

Josh Marshall: “As his campaign crumbles, Moulton now says he wants a sit-down with Pelosi for a negotiation that would apparently involve her booting her two deputies – Hoyer and Clyburn – to the curb in exchange for younger members of the caucus.   For what it’s worth, that wouldn’t be a bad thing, at least in the abstract. All three top members of the Democratic leadership are either 78 or 79 years old. It’s time to start grooming future members of the leadership. It’s not that I necessarily think Hoyer and Clyburn should go. But Pelosi is not going and her experience and ability make it unwise to let her go. You have to start somewhere.

At the same time, repositioning toward ousting Hoyer and Clyburn looks very much like a desperate attempt on Moulton and Co’s part to win something, even if Pelosi stays, as their gambit plummets to the earth. Pelosi does not need them. And with their numbers dwindling, they have very little power to negotiate, let alone dictate.”

I am actually fine with retiring Hoyer and Clyburn from the leadership, while promoting Hakeem Jeffries and Cheri Bustos, among others.

TJ Cox (D) slipped past incumbent Rep. David Valadao (R-CA) to take the lead in the country’s sole remaining undecided congressional race, positioning Democrats to pick up their seventh House seat in California and 40th nationwide, the Los Angeles Times reports.

A new Gallup poll finds that President Trump’s approval rate suddenly plunged last week to 38% to 60%

Jonathan Chait: “President Trump has been demanding that his aides draft a plan to reduce the swelling budget deficit while simultaneously ruling out virtually all categories of possible deficit reduction and demanding new deficit-increasing measures of his own. The Washington Post has plenty of hilarious details from the administration’s internal fiscal deliberations, such as they are. Trump comes across as possessing every bit as much fiscal acumen as you would expect from a man who managed to bankrupt a casino, required hundreds of millions of dollars in secret cash infusions from his father to stay afloat, and can barely absorb written material of even the shortest length.”

“The Post’s account draws heavily from the perspective of Trump’s current and former advisers, who treat his buffoonery as the central cause of the administration’s fiscal straits. But the reality is that Trump is simply expressing a more ignorant version of standard-issue Republican budgeting.”

Stan Collender: “It also demonstrates a complete failure by Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney and the rest of the Trump administration’s economic team. How is it possible that they have had so little influence with and impact on the president that, almost two years after he took the oath of office, he is so clueless?”

“Democratic strategists are absorbing a big lesson from their electoral success this month — stay focused on economic issues and refuse to play on President Trump’s turf,” Bloomberg reports.

“Democrats largely ignored Trump’s provocations about the caravan of refugees in Mexico and a call to end birthright citizenship, and didn’t engage with most of his inflammatory talk delivered through a string of campaign rallies. Instead they focused on health care and economics.”

“Prosecutors with special counsel Robert Mueller said Monday that Paul Manafort breached his plea agreement by lying repeatedly as they questioned him in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election,” the Washington Postreports.

“Manafort denies doing so, and both sides agree that sentencing should be set immediately.”

“The apparent collapse of Manafort’s cooperation agreement is the latest stunning turnaround in his case, exposing the longtime Republican consultant to more than a decade behind bars after pleading guilty in September on charges of cheating the Internal Revenue Service, violating foreign lobbying laws and attempting to obstruct justice.”

So it looks like Bloomberg is running.  Ugh.  Vanity Fair: “These moves underscore a highly relevant fact about Bloomberg: he is the anti-Donald Trump. He is philanthropic, where Trump is not. He is actually very, very rich—with a net worth of more than $50 billion and counting—whereas Trump mostly pretends to be. He has meaningful and relevant experience as the chief executive of a global company and an international city, while Trump was woefully unprepared to be president and seems always to be learning on the job, and poorly at that. Unlike Trump, who at 72, claims to be the healthiest person who has ever served as president, Bloomberg, four years older than Trump, may actually be among the healthiest. In any event, he has some serious longevity genes: his mother lived to be 102 years old.”

“Being the anti-Trump in nearly every way, shape and form could prove extremely useful politically for Bloomberg should he decide to run in 2020. And there is little doubt that whoever the Democrats nominate to face Trump, the plan will be to draw as sharp a contrast with him as possible, hoping that by then a vast majority of Americans, as well as the Electoral College map, will have had quite enough of Trump and his presidency.”

“The inside word on Wall Street is that Bloomberg will announce his candidacy in February.”

An associate of Roger Stone told CNN that he is refusing to sign a plea deal offered by special counsel Robert Mueller.  “Jerome Corsi, whose role in Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election largely revolves around the possibility that he was an intermediary between Stone and WikiLeaks, said he was offered a deal to plea on one count of perjury.”  Said Corsi: “They can put me in prison the rest of my life. I am not going to sign a lie.”

“Republicans, privately and publicly, are beginning to argue that Democrats are bound to overreach, so there’s little incentive for the White House to turn over information to their foes looking for fresh ammunition. So, in the words of one senior Republican, the White House should ‘delay, delay and delay’ by not turning over documents immediately,” CNN reports.  “And if the House seeks to hold them in contempt, some Republican sources privately say, let them do so since there are no real consequences and punishing Trump officials may only serve to rally the GOP base.”

This may be their only option, since it seems the White House itself is unprepared to actually read subpoenas.  Politico: “The White House counsel’s office is down to a skeletal staff, potentially leaving them unprepared to deal with a flood of subpoenas for documents and witnesses when Democrats take control of the House. The office has been without a permanent leader since ex-White House senior attorney Don McGahn left the administration in mid-October.”

“His replacement, Pat Cipollone, is caught up in an extended background check that’s prevented him from starting.”

“Amid the leadership tumult, the counsel’s office has shrunk to about 25 lawyers… That’s lower than its recent high point of roughly 35 attorneys and well short of the 40 people that some expect it will need to deal with a reinvigorated Democratic party eager to investigate the president’s tax returns and business dealings in foreign countries, reopen probes into Russian election meddling and explore the behavior of a bevy of Cabinet officials.”

Playbook: “It’s Monday, and by next Friday, a chunk of government is slated to shut down. President Trump also wants funding for his border wall by Dec. 7. Seven spending bills need to pass in the next 11 days to avoid a temporary shutdown of big patches of government.”

“Trump has just 39 days left of an all-Republican D.C. He has every incentive to push as hard as he possibly can for as much funding as possible for his border wall. A shutdown wouldn’t even hurt too badly. Department of Homeland Security funding — which expires Dec. 7 — can be continued on an emergency basis if Congress cannot pass a bill. So there is nothing stopping him from a big-time, drag-out fight.”

“Democrats take control of the House in a few weeks, so they have zero incentive to cooperate in passing spending for Trump’s border wall without a big concession. DREAM Act? DACA protections? These could all be on the table. Remember: Trump needs 60 votes in the Senate, so Democratic cooperation is a must.”


The 2018 elections were the first time more than 100 million people voted in a midterm. The turnout rate was the highest since 1914.

As the chart below shows, midterm turnout tends to predict presidential election turnout. GOP strategist Patrick Ruffini forecasts an eye-popping turnout rate in 2020 of between 63% and 69% — or 148 to 160 million total votes.

Politico: “A record 102 women were elected in the midterms, a total that includes several moms with young children. The influx is forcing lawmakers to reassess policies to make Capitol Hill more female- and parent-friendly. Renovations are already underway to install nursing stations around the Capitol. And there’s talk among Democratic women about how to best arrange the congressional schedule so that parents can video chat with their kids over dinner, help them with their school work and make it home three days a week.”

President Trump suggested the United States should create a “worldwide network” to combat the “unfair” way the country is treated by the media, saying CNN doesn’t have enough competition overseas, Politico reports.

Said Trump: “Throughout the world, CNN has a powerful voice portraying the United States in an unfair and false way. Something has to be done, including the possibility of the United States starting our own Worldwide Network to show the World the way we really are, GREAT!”

Dan Pfeiffer: “Democrats have fallen behind Republicans on the campaign-innovation curve—it’s a key reason we lost in 2016. But a Beto O’Rourke presidential campaign has the potential to change this. Like Obama’s 2008 campaign, Beto’s Senate campaign felt different because it was different. He didn’t hire a pollster. He spoke like an actual human instead of an AI-generated amalgamation of focus grouped talking points and consultant approved buzzwords like ‘fight’ and ‘everyday Americans.’ He spent his money on digital advertising rather than dump it into the black hole of TV ads that fatten consultant pockets more than they inform voters; and he communicated with voters in innovative ways.”

“By live-streaming so much content, Beto was able to tell his own story directly to the voters without filtering it through the funhouse mirrors of the legacy media. Tens of millions of people watched Beto’s impassioned defense of NFL players exercising their right to protest, taking his message directly to the people, instead of relying on the mainstream media or political Twitter to do the job for him. If Democrats run the same old campaign, using the same tired and outdated tactics, we will certainly lose to Trump.”

Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), “who built a national following and a deep fundraising base during his unsuccessful bid for the Senate, would not rule out a run for the presidency, telling constituents at an El Paso town hall that he and his wife were considering next steps,” the Washington Post reports.

Said O’Rourke: “Amy and I made a decision not to rule anything out.”

“O’Rourke, 46, a three-term congressman from Texas, would enter the race with less elected experience than many of his rivals but a proven ability to excite Democratic voters in a political era dominated by President Trump. In a crowded field that could number more than 20 candidates, charisma is likely to be key to attracting attention of early voters and the small-dollar fundraising that most candidates will need to survive the early stages of the primaries.”

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

4 comments on “The Open Thread for November 27, 2018

  1. “The Delaware Republican Party is calling for an investigation into whether state Treasurer-elect Colleen Davis’s recent arrest for driving on a suspended license also violated ethics rules.”- News Journal

    I’m sure this will get a fair review, huh?

    • Hard to get worked up about this… Mike Harrington and his ilk only clutch their pearls when its a Dem who has done something untowards. Was there any party self-admonishment when Brian Pettyjohn tried to take a loaded gun onto a plane, but faced no consequences? How about when John Atkins assaulted a woman… again? Or when Bodenweiser got a suspended prison term after pleading guilty to sex crimes with an underage victim? I mean, maybe I totally missed all that intra-party house-cleaning, so please point me in the right direction if it exists.

      • cassandram

        And where were they when Ramone was getting Barry fired? Or when Lavalle was running his own PAC? Or when his clowns posted up the signs about voting for a Sanctuary City in the 12th RD? Or when ya’lls boy Scott Walker was illegally nailing signs to trees?

        Yeah, right. Next subject.

  2. cassandram

    The ‘Problem Solvers Caucus’ Would Solve a Lot of Problems By Sitting Down and Shutting Up

    Charlie Pierce nails the current state of play in the theater being put on by the “moderates’ trying to work their way into power in the House. While the new progressives are trying to get ready to work, the Moultonites are still posing for the cameras and wielding their moderation as if it was an interesting weapon. What they don’t seem to get is that the new people came to get something done for Americans, not improve their positions on cable news bookers rolodexes. Which is the real thing about moderation, right? At least in its current version — it is the moderation that is the value, not any accomplishments for the people who vote for you.

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