“A federal appeals court in San Francisco on Wednesday blocked President Trump’s plan to shift $2.5 billion from the military budget to erect a border wall, finding by a 2-1 vote that the administration violated federal law by diverting funds Congress had appropriated for other purposes,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
Rejecting administration arguments that the public interest necessitated such spending, the court found that those aims are “best served by respecting the Constitution’s assignment of the power of the purse to Congress, and by deferring to Congress’s understanding of the public interest as reflected in its repeated denial of more funding for border barrier construction.”
Rep. Justin Amash (I-MI), writing in the Washington Post:
“Today, I am declaring my independence and leaving the Republican Party. No matter your circumstance, I’m asking you to join me in rejecting the partisan loyalties and rhetoric that divide and dehumanize us. I’m asking you to believe that we can do better than this two-party system — and to work toward it. If we continue to take America for granted, we will lose it.”
A new Gallup Poll finds President Trump’s approval rate at 41% to 54%.
When asked for their opinion “based on what you know about Robert Mueller’s investigation into Donald Trump’s activities,” 45% of U.S. adults said Trump should be impeached and removed from office over the matter, while 53% said he should not be.
Sen. Kamala Harris labeled President Trump a “predator” that she could take on due to her background as a prosecutor — a new line of attack against the president as the California Democrat is surging following her debate performance last week, USA Today reports.
Said Harris: “I know predators. And we have a predator living in the White House.”
Harris added that Trump “has predatory nature and predatory instincts.”
USA Today: “Warren isn’t the only 2020 candidate taking selfies, but the Massachusetts senator has set herself apart in the crowded field by making the photo line a signature part of her campaign events. Her campaign says she’s already taken 35,000 selfies at town halls and other events since launching her campaign six months ago.”
Explaining how many would post their photos to social media, Democratic party operative Chad Crabtree said: “You can’t buy advertising like this.”
Rebecca Traister: “In past weeks, the curtain has officially been raised on the vast and diverse field of candidates for the Democratic nomination, many of them politicians who would not have been seen on a presidential debate stage — and never in these numbers — even a decade ago…”
“But we’re also getting our first real taste of the punditry that will frame this next year and a half, and so far, it is the opposite of fresh, diverse, or forward-thinking. Rather, the analysis coughed up by some of the nation’s loudest and most prominent talking heads sounds familiar and stale. The dispiriting truth is that many of those tasked with interpreting our politics are — in addition to being extremely freaked out by the race they’re covering — totally ill-equipped for the historic task ahead of them.”
Politico: “Even though the Sanders team would never call it a ‘reset,’ his aides are sharpening a new line of attack against his rivals and experimenting with different ways to connect with hard-to-reach voters as the race heats up. They’re also continuing to shift from big rallies to more intimate events in the nation’s early states, such as ice cream socials and selfie lines — an acknowledgment that Sanders needs to adopt a more personal approach and participate in additional retail politicking to win.”
“And even Sanders’ allies admit that he faces unique difficulties in 2020: Unlike in 2016, many of Sanders’ opponents have adopted major planks of his platform, giving voters more than one progressive candidate to choose from in the race. In recent weeks, some Sanders supporters have questioned if he should take a different approach in the debates, after not participating in mock sessions while prepping for the first showdown and ultimately failing to take on Biden in a memorable way.”
New York Times: “The slate of 24 contenders is too unwieldy for a constructive debate, many activists and strategists say, and too large for most voters to follow. And with a leadership vacuum at the top of the party, there is no one to elevate candidates with an endorsement, or help steer third-tier candidates out of the race when they’ve reached their plausible expiration date.”
“Former President Barack Obama, an influential voice among many Democrats, is sitting out the primary. The Clintons, a once-dominant party presence, are largely unwelcome this time around. In Washington, Speaker Nancy Pelosi is focused on keeping the House in order, and Chuck Schumer, the Senate minority leader, has failed to recruit presidential candidates like Gov. Steve Bullock of Montana and former Representative Beto O’Rourke of Texas into potentially winnable Senate races.”
Washington Post: “The White House has also been scrambling in recent days to line up enough attendees, as Trump’s aides fret that either thunderstorms or the traditional free concert on the other end of the Mall could diminish the crowd for Trump’s 6:30 p.m. speech.”
“The administration has provided 5,000 tickets to the military, the Pentagon announced Wednesday. Trump’s reelection campaign has handed passes out to allies, donors and trade associations — from the American Bankers Association to the British Embassy… while several fundraisers and operatives also were tasked to hand out tickets.”
The Economist: “What would change if America became the 22nd country to make voting mandatory? To estimate non-voters’ views, The Economistused the Co-operative Congressional Election Study (CCES), a 64,600-person poll led by Harvard University. The survey includes demographic data such as race and age, as well as participants’ recollections of whom they voted for and verified records of whether they voted. In general, voters and non-voters from similar backgrounds had similar opinions. Using a method called ‘multilevel regression and post-stratification’, the relationships between demography and vote choices can be used to project state-level election results—and to estimate what might have happened in the past under different rules.”
“Non-voters are relatively uneducated, young and non-white. The first of these traits predicts conservatism, but the others point to liberalism. If everyone voted, 30% of voters in the 21 most competitive states would not be white, up from the actual figure of 25%. As a result, in a typical cycle Democrats would add 50 electoral-college votes—enough to reverse the result in 2016.”