Cup of Joe – September 5, 2023

Wall Street Journal: “In Fulton County, Ga., District Attorney Fani Willis alleges that Trump and 18 co-defendants conceived and orchestrated a criminal conspiracy to overturn Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential win.”

“Eight of those co-defendants are lawyers. Many of the events cited in the Georgia indictment and in a parallel federal case from Special Counsel Jack Smith, against Trump alone, involve lawyers telling the then-president he could prevail in his fight to prove he won though no such path existed.”

“Prosecutors contend that amounts to criminal behavior because it propelled a conspiracy to overturn the legitimate result of the election. The defendants are expected to argue that giving aggressive legal advice isn’t a crime.”

Jemima Kelly: “Many worry that all his legal woes are turning Trump into a ‘martyr,’ but I’m not sure that quite captures it. It would imply, apart from anything else, that Trump is being persecuted for some kind of strongly held beliefs or principles. But he is in possession of neither — apart from the belief in himself. No, Trump is no feeble martyr. He is something altogether more ‘based’ — to borrow the internet slang-word for someone who is respected for paying no regard to political correctness or even basic morality.”

“Trump is the ultimate American anti-hero. An anti-hero, a word normally associated with fictional characters, is someone who plays the central role in a story despite possessing none of the virtues associated with a traditional heroic lead character. In a 2022 paper, a pair of researchers described the anti-hero as ‘a bewitching, unrepentant, amoral outsider who breaks old rules and creates new ones while leaving chaos in his wake.’”

New York Times: “China’s ruling Communist Party is enlisting ordinary people to guard against perceived threats to the country, in a campaign that blurs the line between vigilance and paranoia. The country’s economy is facing its worst slowdown in years, but China’s authoritarian leader, Xi Jinping, appears more fixated on national security and preventing threats to the party’s control.”

“Finland’s former Prime Minister Sanna Marin formally stepped down as the leader of her Social Democratic Party to complete a process of relinquishing power she announced after placing third in a parliamentary election in April,” Bloomberg reports. “While Marin, 37, keeps her seat in the legislature, she recently signed with Harry Walker Agency to step on the international speaker circuit. The millennial politician who garnered international fame during her almost four-year term running the Finnish government has not disclosed any other future plans.”

“Republican Party leaders in Nevada say they’re certain of one thing next year: They will hold a caucus on Feb. 8 to determine the state’s presidential primary winner,” NBC News reports.

“The problem? Nevada officials have already scheduled a primary at the ballot box — two days earlier — to determine the state presidential primary winner.”

“The party plans to ban presidential candidates from taking part in its caucus if they appear on the state ballot, and will award delegates only to caucus participants.  But the possibility of a party-run caucus superseding the state primary is prompting clashes between the 2024 campaigns and party leaders.”

New York Times: “Politicians need vacations, too. But while taking a break can create an opportunity for campaigns to show that their candidates are just like the rest of us, it also carries potential peril.”

“The ‘right’ vacation can give a candidate time to rest and recharge, to reconnect with family after weeks on the road, and a chance to look presidential while doing it. A tone-deaf vacation — too elite, too disconnected, too much beach bod — is tabloid catnip and can alienate voters. And the wrong vacation can upend a campaign faster than a wave topples a windsurfer.”

“So it’s no surprise that the presidential candidates this year, by and large, are lying low.”

Kristen Soltis Anderson: “GOP voters see Mr. Biden as eminently beatable, and they think most Americans see him as they do. Given that, most Republicans aren’t looking to be rescued from Donald Trump. The fact is, they really do like him, and at this point they think he’s their best shot.”

“Despite losing the 2020 elections and then experiencing a disappointing 2022 midterm, most Republicans seem confident that their candidate — even Donald Trump, especially Donald Trump — would defeat Joe Biden handily in 2024. They have watched as Mr. Biden has increasingly stumbled, as gas prices have remained high and as Americans have continued to doubt the value of ‘Bidenomics.’ Many of them believe the pernicious fantasy pushed by Mr. Trump — and indulged by too many Republican leaders who should know better — that the 2020 election was not actually a loss.”

“I’ve said I want someone else to be the Republican nominee right now…I have a no boomer policy right now. No boomers for nominees.”— Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), quoted by WISN, on whether he’ll vote for Donald Trump if he’s Republican nominee.

Punchbowl News: “The federal government will shut down in less than a month unless a funding bill is passed by Sept. 30. That’s only 16 legislative days away (and even fewer for the House) under the current schedule. The House and Senate are in completely different universes when it comes to how lawmakers should fund federal agencies in both the short and long term. House Republicans are also pushing a number of ‘culture war’ provisions that won’t fly with the Senate or White House.”

Daniel Williams: “Millions of Americans are leaving church, never to return, and it would be easy to think that this will make the country more secular and possibly more liberal. After all, that is what happened in Northern and Western Europe in the 1960s: A younger generation quit going to Anglican, Lutheran, or Catholic churches and embraced a liberal, secular pluralism that shaped European politics for the rest of the 20th century and beyond. Something similar happened in the traditionally Catholic Northeast, where, at the end of the 20th century, millions of white Catholics in New England, New York, and other parts of the Northeast quit going to church. Today most of those states are pretty solidly blue and firmly supportive of abortion rights.”

“So, as church attendance declines even in the southern Bible Belt and the rural Midwest, history might seem to suggest that those regions will become more secular, more supportive of abortion and LGBTQ rights, and more liberal in their voting patterns. But that is not what is happening. Declines in church attendance have made the rural Republican regions of the country even more Republican and—perhaps most surprising—more stridently Christian nationalist.

“Voters overwhelmingly think President Biden is too old to run for re-election and give him low marks for handling the economy and other issues important to their vote, according to a new Wall Street Journal poll that offers a stark warning to the 80-year-old incumbent ahead of the 2024 contest.”

“The negative views of Biden’s age and performance in office help explain why only 39% of voters hold a favorable view of the president. In a separate question, some 42% said they approve of how he is handling his job, well below the 57% who disapprove.”

“And Biden is tied with former President Donald Trump in a potential rematch of the 2020 election, with each holding 46% support in a head-to-head test.”

Nate Silver: “I don’t think age is the singularly most importantly issue — for instance, I’d rather elect someone who will be 86 at the end of his term than someone who might refuse to step down at the end of it.”

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

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