What Now?! – 2/19/19

A new HuffPost/YouGov survey finds a majority of Americans ― 55% ― disapprove of President Trump’s decision to declare a national emergency along the U.S.-Mexico border in order to pay for construction of a border wall. Just 37% approve.

The emergency declaration is significantly more unpopular in the poll than building the wall itself, of which 49% disapprove and 45% approve.

“State election officials in North Carolina said that a political operative for Republican Mark Harris orchestrated a ‘coordinated, unlawful, and substantially resourced absentee ballot scheme’ in the 9th Congressional District last year, hiding evidence of the operation as it unfolded and obstructing the state’s investigation after the election,” the Washington Post reports.

“Those explosive charges opened an evidentiary hearing in Raleigh Monday, where the North Carolina State Board of Elections began listening to witness testimony to decide whether enough ballots were tampered with to taint the outcome of the 9th District race.”

The Charlotte Observer has more on the hearing.

First Read: “Just how many problems did President Trump create for himself — and others — in Friday’s 50-minute disjointed and flat-out bizarre statement and news conference, when he announced his national emergency to build his border wall?”

Let us count the ways:

  1. He arguably undermined the legal basis for declaring a national emergency.
  2. He said it was a “lie” that the preponderance of illegal drugs crossing the border do so at ports of entry — when the DEA reported in 2018 that it was the most common method for transnational criminal organizations.
  3. He said Japanese Prime Minister Abe recommended him for the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on North Korea, which has created an uproar in Japan.
  4. He claimed Obama was “close to starting a big war with North Korea,” which former Obama White House aides deny.
  5. After signing criminal-justice reform into law, he appeared to endorse China’s policy of giving the death penalty to drug dealers.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told CBS News that middle school children in Kentucky would be better off if funds that would otherwise have gone to building new schools were used for a border wall.

Said Graham: “It’s better for the middle school kids in Kentucky to have a secure border. We’ll get them the school they need, but right now we’ve got a national emergency.”

“Days after a federal judge imposed a limited gag order on him, Roger Stone posted a photograph of that judge to his Instagram page that included her name, a close-up of her face and what appeared to be the crosshairs of a gun sight near her head,” the Washington Post reports.

“Stone, a longtime confidant of President Trump, deleted the picture soon afterward, then reposted it without the crosshairs before deleting that second post as well.”

NBC News says Stone later posted a statement on Instagram saying the image had been “misinterpreted.”

“Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wouldn’t say Monday whether he nominated President Trump for a Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating with North Korea, even though local media reports suggest that he did,” the Washington Post reports.

“Trump said Friday that Abe had personally given him ‘the most beautiful copy’ of a five-page nomination letter recommending him for the prize for opening talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and lowering tensions.”

“But Abe wouldn’t confirm that Monday.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) “will unveil a major new initiative on Tuesday designed to make sure every family can afford high-quality child care,” the HuffPost reports.

“The plan seeks to make access to child care universal… by offering federal funds to providers that offer care at their facilities on a sliding income scale.  No family would have to spend more than 7 percent of its household income on child care, no matter the number of kids. Families with incomes below twice the poverty line, which is roughly $50,000 a year for a family of four, would pay nothing.”

Politico: “Even as speculation mounts that special counsel Robert Mueller might be winding down his investigation, a parallel threat to President Trump only seems to be growing within his own Justice Department: the Southern District of New York.”

“Manhattan-based federal prosecutors can challenge Trump in ways Mueller can’t. They have jurisdiction over the president’s political operation and businesses — subjects that aren’t protected by executive privilege, a tool Trump is considering invoking to block portions of Mueller’s report.”

“Legal circles are also buzzing over whether SDNY might buck DOJ guidance and seek to indict a sitting president.”

Politico: “While most polls show the former vice president hovering around 30 percent of the Democratic primary vote, well ahead of second-place Sen. Bernie Sanders, two recent surveys paint a starkly different picture — raising the question of whether Biden is a real front-runner or just has big name-recognition. Those polls show far more Democratic voters undecided about which candidate to support, and they pegged Biden’s backing at a much less intimidating 9 to 12 percent.”

“A majority of Americans in every state except Vermont would fail a test based on the questions in the U.S. citizenship test, according to Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation survey.

“It suggests most Americans can’t live up to the standards we set for people applying to be U.S. citizens — and we set those standards because we expect Americans to be informed and engaged. Only four out of 10 Americans would have passed the test, and just 27% of those under age 45.”

“A new effort to let Iowans virtually caucus for president could expand participation in the 2020 Democratic caucuses by almost a third,” a new Des Moines Register/Mediacom Iowa Poll shows.

“The results show that 21 percent of Iowans say they will definitely or probably participate in the 2020 Democratic caucuses. Eight percent initially said they were unlikely to caucus for Democrats in person, but also say they would definitely or probably participate if they had the option to do so remotely.”

Associated Press: “As she cranks up her presidential campaign, Gillibrand isn’t trying to hide her working-mom juggle — she’s running on it. More than any other contender in a field crowded with women, the mom of two is using her dual roles of mother and candidate to pitch herself to Democratic voters.”

“She opens her standard campaign speech vowing to ‘fight for your children as hard as I would fight for my own.’ She’s floated the idea of making an RV trip through Iowa this summer, to be able to prepare meals for her family while she travels to meet supporters. During her first week as a candidate, she baked cookies with a voter, dismissing any complexity in the symbolism. And on a recent Tuesday evening, she even invited a reporter into her Capitol Hill home for dinner with her family.”

Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-NY) are launching a new probe of what they called the “complex web of relationships” between members of the National Rifle Association and Russian individuals with close ties to the Kremlin, ABC News reports.

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

8 comments on “What Now?! – 2/19/19

  1. cassandram

    Caucuses — so no matter how many people do the “virtual” caucus, the “virtual” caucus will only count for no more than 10% of the total votes counted. Which is a built-in penalty for those who participate “virtually”, right? And *still* privileges the folks who can show up on caucus night.

    I really think the DNC should penalize these caucus states or ban caucuses. They are utterly un-democratic.

    • On the other hand, an open primary allowed Dan Lipinski to retain his seat in Illinois. Every system has drawbacks. Personally, I think Delaware could stand to save the $1 million it wastes on presidential primaries in favor of caucuses, since the likelihood of Delaware’s handful of delegates making any difference is very small.

      • cassandram

        The system in between is a closed primary. Which is still what I think works better. Delaware’s handful of delegates isn’t what is important. It is important to provide as much opportunity for as many people to be able to vote. Caucuses definitely restrict that.

        • Why is it important to provide as much opportunity for as many people to be able to vote? You can’t just say this is important without explaining why.

          Voting when it doesn’t matter devalues voting, it doesn’t empower it.

          • It’s important because Republicans are doing everything in their power to stop people from voting. Every citizen who wants to vote should be able to.

            A closed primary allows the people in their party to vote for who their candidate will be. Open primaries can cause mischief (If Trump runs unopposed, then open primaries will allow Republicans/Conservatives to have a vote in who the Dem candidate will be). Caucuses limit participation – only allowing those with time and means to participate.

            • Yeah, I get that. But Delaware’s presidential primary — I’m not talking about state and local, just the $1 million presidential primary — is hard to justify on lofty ideals alone. If they switch to a single date, as has been proposed, then it’s not an extra expense, so I’d have no problem with it then.

              I also don’t think it’s important to have people vote in primaries when so few do anyway. Primaries are party functions, not public ones.

              • cassandram

                Primaries are party functions, not public ones.

                Well, yeah. That’s the point of primaries so that parties can select who runs in the general. It has no other function.

                Democracies are about participating in the overall process. It’s going to be tough to keep it (and it is at risk now) if people do not reclaim their role.

          • First vote, then support the evolution of voting.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: