Sunday, May 26, 2019

Trumpanzee And Kim Agree That "Bidan" Has A Low IQ And That North Korea's Missile Tests Are Just Hunky Dory


Earlier today the Washington Post's Felicia Sonmez wrote that the White House put it out there that Trump and Kim Jong Un "agree in their assessment" of Biden. Unless today is the first time you discovered DWT, you probably know we've been warning about what a shit Biden is since 2005, when the blog was founded. It's something that's concerned me since the gutter-level Delaware racist and devoted corporate whore started clawing his way to the top of the American political system. Luring Democrats into backing Biden is Trump's strategy for reelection. He believes that Biden would be the easiest Democrat to beat in 2020 and-- ignoring non-starters like Frackenlooper, Gillibrand and Delaney-- he's probably right. His latest manifestation of this strategy was to tweet an outrageous statement about he and the North Korean butcher both agreeing on Biden:

Yesterday when Trump's goofball press secretary, Mike Huckabee's slow daughter Sarah went on Meet the Press to perform, she was asked by Chuck Todd whether Americans should "be concerned that the president of United States is essentially siding with a murderous authoritarian dictator over a former vice president in the United States."
“Chuck, the president’s not siding with that,” she said. “But I think they agree in their assessment of former vice president Joe Biden.”

Pressed whether Trump is taking Kim’s word about Biden, Sanders responded that the president “doesn’t need somebody else to give him an assessment of Joe Biden. He’s given his own assessment a number of times.”

Sanders was also asked about a tweet in which Trump appeared to contradict national security adviser John Bolton. Trump had said in the tweet that while some in his administration were “disturbed” by North Korea’s testing of ballistic missiles earlier this month, the president himself was unbothered.

“Some of the activity that’s taken place, as you can see from the president’s Twitter, isn’t something that’s bothering the president,” Sanders said Sunday. “He still feels good about the relationship that he has and about Chairman Kim’s commitment that he made to the president.”

Members of both parties sharply criticized Trump’s handling of North Korea on Sunday.

Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) said she “certainly wouldn’t trust” Kim. She described herself as disturbed by both North Korea’s recent missile test as well as Trump’s reaction.

“I think Japan does have reason to be concerned, and I am concerned as well. We need to see North Korea back off of those activities, and we need to take a very strong stance on that,” Ernst said on CNN’s State of the Union.

She added that she understand Trump “has a job to do in negotiating, but we do need to push back on North Korea and make sure that they are following U.N. guidelines.”

South Bend, Indiana., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is running for the Democratic presidential nod, said that when Trump met with Kim last year in Singapore and this year in Hanoi, “he was essentially handling North Korea something they needed, which was legitimacy.”

“And the way diplomacy works, the way deals work is you give someone something in return for something,” Buttigieg said on ABC’s This Week. “It hasn’t worked at all.”
Trump is trying to manipulate the Democratic primary because he knows Biden is the weakest candidate

Lindsey Graham pulled his head out of Trump's ass long enough to babble something incoherent, his mouth being stuffed with so much shit, although Sonmez reported that he said Trump was just "trying to give North Korea some space to come back to the table and end this... I’ll give Trump the space he needs to deal with Kim, but I’ll remind the president, you have to deliver on this. This is one of the signature issues of your administration."

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Tonight We'll Get A Good Idea Of How Successful Putin Has Been In Doing To The EU What He Did To The U.S.


Señor Trumpanzee with Italian would-be Mussolini, Matteo Salvini

In Europe, voting for the EU Parliament ends today. But Holland and the U.K. went first-- on Thursday-- and unofficial Dutch results show a gargantuan loss for Geert Wilders, the far right hate-monger who was leading in the polls. This is how it looks right now for the the Dutch delegation (26 seats):
Labour- 18%
VVD (mainstream conservatives)- 14%
Forum for Democracy (neo-fascists)- 11%
Freedom Party (Wilders' far right Trumpist/Islamaphobic party)- 4%
Turnout was up in Holland to around 37% but North Ireland, where there are 3 seats, shows over 45% voting. Votes there won't be counted until Monday, although the rest of the U.K. should have election results tonight. Here's how the U.K.'s seats are apportioned:
Southeast England- 10
London- 8
Northwest England- 8
West Midlands- 7
East England- 7
Southwest England- 6
Scotland- 6
Yorkshire & Humber- 6
East Midlands- 5
Wales- 4
Northeast England- 3
Northern Ireland- 3
This is how the British parties participating in the election stand on Brexit:
Brexit Party- leave
UKIP- leave
Conservative Party- leave but almost as confused as Labour
Lib Dems- favors remain but wants a new Brexit vote
Labour- complete confusion though most members want a new referendum
Green Party- remain with new referendum
Change UK- new referendum
Der Spiegel published an exhaustive look at the elections: The Right-Wing Populist Plan to Destroy Europe. The German magazine's point is that dramatic exposure of the far right's catastrophic Russian bribery scandal in Austria hasn't stopped the pan-European neo-fascists from battling on towards their goal of destroying the European Union from within its own institutions. Despite Geert Wilder's setback on Thursday, the elections ending today are likely to help them move along towards their goal.

Last Saturday European fascist leaders met in Milan, summoned by the would-be Mussolini, Italian interior minister Matteo Salvini. 11 neo-Nazi parties were represented, including Marine Le Pen from France, Geert Wilders, Jörg Meuthen from the Alternative for Germany party, as well as fascists from Bulgaria, Slovakia, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland and Estonia.
Together, they performed what is by now well-known work, one with some surreal features: Full of bluster, the self-proclaimed "true Europeans" campaigned for entry into a parliament they despise. And they asked the people to give them the power to hollow out a European Union that has been painstakingly built over decades. All of it to the tune of Nessun dorma, along with Puccini's Turandot, its aria ending in fierce chanting: "Vanish, oh night! Set, stars! Set, stars! At dawn I will win! I'll win! I will win!" Vincerò!

On the stage in Milan, not a word was said about the drama unfolding in Vienna, as Heinz-Christian Strache, the head of the right-wing populist Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ), stepped down from his position as vice chancellor following the leak of a video demonstrating the depth of his corruptibility-- a scandal that also threatened to take down the entire Austrian government. And yet, in Milan they all pretended that nothing had happened. Even as they all knew: Quite a lot had happened.

This time around, it's not about some low-level party official sending Hitler pictures via WhatsApp on the Führer's birthday in provincial Austria. This time it goes right to the top level of the Austrian government, casting light on the worrying state of the Austrian political scene. The videos raise fundamental questions about whether the populists are fit for power. And whether they can be entrusted with government business. And whether Strache and his protégé Johann Gudenus should be regarded as isolated cases or as symbolic figures of a fast and loose relationship between right-wing populists and donations from foreign donors, rule of law and the truth.

Most Austrians, with the exception, perhaps, of FPÖ supporters, were likely to have been deeply shocked by the disregard to the country's constitution shown in the recordings, and many Europeans were astonished by the crooked behavior displayed by the second in command of a government of an EU member state. If the scenes in the Ibiza videos had been part of a TV crime show, people probably would have dismissed them as having been exaggerated and overdone.

..."IbizaGate" feeds into the well-founded suspicions that those thumping their chests as über-patriots in their countries have little problem with conniving with foreign powers, obtaining financing from dubious donors or even being pulled like puppets on a string when it comes to policy. The Strache scandal is undoubtedly detrimental to the original narrative offered by the right-wing populists-- namely that the parties are the lone forces defending the good people against "old parties" and other corrupt elites. But as Strache has now shown, it's the right-wing populists themselves who are in fact the corrupt elite.

Strache's German counterparts from the Alternative for Germany (AfD) have recognized the dangers of such discussions, but they don't want to admit it. Meuthen, one of the party's leaders, has been in damage control mode since last Saturday, describing the Strache Video as a "singular matter" reflecting abominable behavior, but also as a domestic issue relevant only to Austria.

...The Strache circus is of course also a problem for right-wing populists outside of Austria, because the issues raised by the video are a problem for them all across Europe. For months the AfD itself has been tangled up in several party donation scandals involving Alice Weidel, the party's floor leader in German parliament, as well as its leading candidates heading into this weekend's European elections, Meuthen and Guido Reil. Weidel is under scrutiny over a dubious election campaign donation of around 130,000 euros. In Meuthen's case, he is being scrutinized over 90,000 euros from dubious sources used to finance his campaign in a state election in Baden-Württemberg. And there are questions surrounding the nearly 45,000 euros used in a state election campaign in North Rhine-Westphalia for Reil, a member of the AfD's national board.

[Note: UK neo-Nazi, Nigel Farage is in the midst of a scandal showing that he's financed by Putin and devoted to Trump.]

No less troubling is the fact that the Ibiza video once again sheds light on the close contacts many right-wing populists in Europe have with Russia, a problem for which the AfD has also been in the headlines. In April, Der Spiegel, ZDF, La Repubblica and the BBC reported on the activities and connections of Markus Frohnmaier, a member of German parliament with the AfD. A document circulated inside the Russian presidential administration at the time of the Bundestag election campaign describing the politician as potentially becoming "a deputy under absolute control" of Russia.

The BND, Germany's foreign intelligence agency, and the Office for the Protection of the Constitution, the country's domestic intelligence apparatus, are currently detecting a change in the Kremlin's strategy. Rather than relying solely on its own media and channels for campaigning and aiming to steer the agenda, it is now focusing much more on individuals, a small group of parliamentarians were recently told in a classified meeting. They were informed that the people selected by Moscow included somewhere between a half-dozen and a dozen members of the Bundestag. One is Markus Frohnmaier. When contacted for comment, he responded: "I do not allow myself to be used by the Russian government for its purposes and would always refuse to accept attempts of this kind. The reporting about me is nothing more than a campaign."

Senior AfD politician Alexander Gauland is also a frequent guest in Russia, but he rejects any criticism because he claims to be following the foreign policy footsteps of Bismarck, who believed in strong German-Russian relations. Marcus Pretzell, at the time a member of the AfD and current member of the European Parliament, visited the Russian-occupied Crimea as "Guest of Honor" in 2016 and thought it petty when he was later questioned about who paid for the trip.

Similar episodes can be found all across Europe. When Marine Le Pen's Front National, now known as Rassemblement National, convened a party conference in Lyon in November 2014, the guest list was similar to that of Salvini's rally in Milan and delegates from Vladimir Putin's United Russia Party also attended. That same year, Le Pen's party had received two loans from Russian banks amounting to 11 million euros to help finance its election campaigns.

Two years later, the French right-wing populists asked Moscow for another 3 million euro loan, but it is unclear whether it was ever granted. There are, though, indications that Marine Le Pen may have promised not to criticize Russia's annexation of the Crimea and to promote Moscow's interests in exchange for the money. The suspicion, which Le Pen denies, is supported by mobile text messages from a well-known and high-ranking Kremlin official, who wrote among other things: "Marine Le Pen has not disappointed our expectations." And: "We will have to thank the French in one way or another."

In Great Britain, the National Crime Agency is investigating suspicions that Brexit leader Nigel Farage received money from Russia through indirect channels. Many consider it probable that the Kremlin sought to manipulate the Brexit vote to destabilize the European Union.

There is a greater amount of urgency surrounding these questions in the aftermath of the Strache-Ibiza video. Are economic interests at stake when Matteo Salvini's Lega party repeatedly advocates an end to the EU's "useless, or even harmful" sanctions against Russia? Do the Greek far-right parties get money for their frequently expressed conviction that there is a "natural alliance" between Greeks and Russians? How does Russia's president exploit the image he enjoys as being one of the last guardians of true values among European groups of both extremes? A leader who seeks to prevent what he describes as a weakened, immoral, decadent EU from prevailing?

"There is conspiracy of all the radical right-wing nationalists everywhere, apparently with the help of the Kremlin, or of oligarchs round the Kremlin, to disrupt this union," Guy Verhofstadt, a prominent Belgian member of European Parliament, told the Times of London on Wednesday. The German newspaper Die Welt this week quoted former French President François Hollande as saying that whoever votes for populists in Europe is "giving their vote to Trump and Putin."

That may sound preposterous, but it has long since become apparent in the European Council, where European heads of state and government still establish the broad parameters of EU policy. Coalition governments that include populist parties are often more open to influence from abroad than others. Once example is Middle East policy. Countries like Hungary have begun diverging from the European stance to serve American interests. Because Hungary stood in the way, the EU was not able to condemn the Trump administration's decision to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem as a diplomatic mistake in December 2017. Budapest essentially became Donald Trump's advocate in Brussels.

The unanimity requirement for important decisions in the European Council thus gives populists veto power. And their partners abroad are quick to praise them for services rendered. Twelve days ago, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán was showered with praise by the U.S. president himself during a visit to the White House. Orbán, Trump said, does a "tremendous job" and is "highly respected all over Europe."

That, of course, is far from the truth. In many countries, respect for Orbán is a thing of the past, and when it comes to domestic policy and the judiciary, his government is seen as having betrayed European values. Externally, Hungary has become a gateway for all those wishing to divide the EU. And the number of these open gateways is growing: Russia and the U.S. are not alone in their desire to weaken the EU block. China has also incorporated the EU, the world's largest internal market, into its geopolitical considerations and is searching for access.

The EU isn't equipped to stand up to such adversaries. It does have a couple of instruments it can use to punish intractable member states, but it hardly ever uses them. EU countries worried about being punished in the future regularly block their deployment. The dream of outgoing European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker that the EU might one day become a global political player seem illusory.

By chance, Juncker was in Vienna this week for a visit that had long been planned. He had apparently decided that he would remain silent about the Strache scandal-- but couldn't ultimately resist. "The idea that one country is put on a silver platter so that others can help themselves," he said, "does not reflect my idea of patriotism."

Jean Asselborn, Juncker's compatriot who is the foreign minister of Luxembourg, expressed deep discomfort. "The European right wing is unified by its desire to bring the free press and the judiciary under its control wherever they have power," he says. "That is true of Hungary and Poland, and that is shown by Strache's comments in the video."

The dangers presented by populists to European unity is significant, says Asselborn. "If European citizens continue placing their trust in these people, there is a risk that we could end up landing where we were back in the 1930s," he says.

The Austrian scandal was also of interest to Angela Merkel. On the Saturday Salvini's party in Milan and the political earthquake in Vienna were taking place, the German chancellor was standing in a basketball arena in Zagreb fulminating against the populists. "Nationalism is the enemy of the European project," she said from the stage. In the press conference that had preceded her speech, she said, "We are faced with populist currents that want to destroy a values-based Europe." Apparently referring to Strache, Merkel added: "That includes putting politicians up for sale. We must decisively stand up to all of that."

But the populists are currently finding success with their assault on the political establishment. They have representatives in parliaments across the continent, and established parties in almost every country in Europe are worried about their advance. In Sweden, the xenophobic Sweden Democrats received 17.5 percent of the vote in last year's elections, a result recently matched by the True Finns, whose overt nationalism fueled their success. The Conservative People's Party of Estonia, which has dedicated itself to the defense of the Estonian ethnicity, jumped from 8.1 percent support to 17.8 percent in March elections.

The numbers show that the populists are generally still far from securing a majority on a national or European level-- Poland and Hungary notwithstanding. But in places like Italy and Austria, they are becoming more than just convenient partners for parties in need of parliamentary majorities and in France, they could become the largest party in the country. In many European nations, it has become increasingly difficult to put together stabile governments made up of moderate political parties.

The communication strategies adopted by the right-wing populists are simply far better than the rather old-fashioned methods of the established parties. It is impossible to ignore the parallels to the 1930s, when the Nazis discovered the power of film and the possibilities presented by television-- as exemplified by the broadcast of the 1936 Olympic Games. The populists and extremists of today were much quicker to understand the opportunities inherent in the digital world than their political rivals, many of whom remain stuck in analog antiquity. Populists still use traditional media outlets, but are increasingly circumventing them.

The Germans may still be playing catch-up, but in Italy, France and Austria, the populists have learned to take full advantage of what the new media world has to offer. They may like to complain that they are being treated unfairly by the "leftist media" and libeled by the "fake news," but in truth, other channels have long since become more important for them.

Matteo Salvini reaches 3.7 million people directly via Facebook, the kind of follower numbers otherwise only seen with pop stars. It helps explain why he always seems to be the center of attention. The traditional political reports seen on Italian public broadcasters or in critical newspapers merely serve to round out his brand. As strange as it might sound, Salvini is one of the largest mass-media outlets in Italy, which works to his tremendous advantage. It means that he can present himself and his worldview free from pesky critical questions.

Austria's fallen Vice Chancellor Strache has 779,000 Facebook followers in a country with a population of not even 9 million. Like Salvini, he and his team are adept at using emotion, both positive and negative. Mother's Day and children's birthdays are celebrated with pretty pictures, hearts and kisses - the idyllic world the FPÖ professes to protect. Then he posts stories about ungrateful asylum seekers, sex criminals and unwanted migrants, often with his own indignant commentary. Strache's posts aren't just read and liked, they are also shared and commented on thousands of times, increasing their value.

Marine Le Pen similarly has 1.5 million followers on Facebook. Victor Orbán has 657,000. Some might argue that these numbers are something of a counterfeit currency and that their appearance in an article such as this represent the downfall of political analysis, but it is almost impossible to overrate their value. In this day and age, for politicians and others in positions of power, large follower counts mean message control, the ability to disseminate one's own messages without the inconvenience of a filter.

The more people follow a politician on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or Instagram, the less dependent that politician is on the reporting of independent media and the fewer critical questions from journalists he or she needs to answer. Of course, it's not all hearts and kisses on their social media accounts-- they are badgered and taunted, and not all of their followers are fans. But anger and controversy serve to jack up the click numbers-- and in the new currency of digital attention, clicks are good, no matter where they come from.

It has become something of a parallel reality. Manfred Weber, the lead candidate in the European elections for the center-right European People's Party, doesn't even have 60,000 followers on Facebook. Weber presumably prefers devoting himself to projects he believes are more important than improving his internet presence. But it is doubtful that today's politicians can afford the luxury of such an approach. What has been true for the media for the last several years is now true for politicians as well: If you're not present in the digital world, you soon won't be present at all. Low name recognition translates to diminished election prospects, not to mention a weakened ability to attract younger voters or those voters who tend to stay away from politics.

Clever politicians like Salvini or Strache are perfectly suited to an era in which voters prefer watching videos than reading essays. But the current wave of populism aimed at the European Union and its Brussels headquarters is more than just a game being played by self-obsessed demagogues online media. The current form of populism, whose actors pose as the uncorrupted in a sea of corruption, has many roots: real problems and unrealistic expectations; broad fears of eroding financial security; feelings of being left behind. That is where populism derives its strength. And the anger that comes with it is perhaps best studied in the Eastern European countries that joined the EU a decade and a half ago.

These European elections are falling on a European anniversary that is being largely ignored. Fifteen years ago, the EU incorporated an entire group of Eastern European countries, enabling the peaceful unification of the continent-- an historical godsend that led to a Nobel Peace Prize for Brussels. Today, however, this same EU has a terrible-- catastrophic even-- image within the right-wing governments in these countries.

Bannon with a bunch of European neo-Nazis in Budapest

In many parts of Eastern Europe, the EU is seen as a conspiracy of overpaid, traitorous bureaucrats. Like the communists before them, it is said, the EU technocrats are intent on reeducating the Eastern Europeans. They see the EU as trying to tame nation, tradition and religion. The women are to have fewer children, gays and lesbians are to be allowed to get married and adopt, and Muslims from Africa and the Middle East are to be permitted to settle wherever they want. And the blame, in this view, lies entirely with Brussels.

That is the message delivered by Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the nationalist-conservative Law and Justice party in Poland, and by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his Fidesz Party. The governments in Estonia, Bulgaria, Romania, the Czech Republic and Slovakia also include similar figures. EU-skeptics have become established everywhere in the region.

And yet, contradictions abound. No halfway influential party in Eastern Europe wants to leave the EU. Despite the success of the Kaczynskis and the Orbáns, the EU enjoys tremendous support from the Baltics to the Balkans, including 90 percent support in Poland. The governments clearly have no mandate to escort their countries out of the EU. Indeed, surveys indicate that people there have more trust in the EU than in their own elites.

There is an economic explanation. Between 2004 and 2020, 356 billion euros will have flowed into the 10 accession countries from the European Structural and Investment Funds alone. Struggling state economies have transformed into regions of significant growth. The EU brought in investors, financed road construction, built universities and developed data networks. City halls and hospitals were renovated with EU money. And Brussels also helped reform the public administration and the judiciary - and strengthen civil society.

The EU triggered a wave of modernization in Eastern Europe that took three decades longer to unfold in the west. Prosperity, of course, is not equally divided. Statistically, however, the standard of living has risen significantly in all the accession countries. Eastern European societies have also become freer and more mobile in the last 20 years. There is no "objective" reason to be opposed to the EU in Warsaw, Budapest or Ljubljana.

There are, however, subjective, less concrete reasons. Karel Schwarzenberg, who spent several years serving as Czech foreign minister and is a passionate supporter of the EU, argues that people know what the EU has done for them, but don't feel at home in it. He says that all too often, Eastern Europeans have been delivered the message that they are second-class members of the bloc-- poorer and still backwards, and that they should become real Europeans, real democrats before they speak up. A comparison can be drawn to the feeling former East Germans often have in reunified Germany.

It is a feeling not just experienced by politicians from Eastern Europe sent to Brussels, but by millions of Poles, Hungarians, Czechs and Slovaks in their day-to-day lives. Around 20 million people have at least temporarily left their Eastern European homelands to work in the West. Instead of getting to know the continent as student travelers or vacationers as many in the West were privileged enough to do, an entire generation of Eastern Europeans have experienced Western Europe as cleaning ladies, itinerant farmworkers and manual laborers. As domestic help for the wealthy of the West.

The resulting feelings of inferiority have fueled right-wing populists. The decades in which Eastern Europeans wanted nothing more than to emulate the West are over and a phenomenon has developed that the Bulgarian political scientist Ivan Krastev describes by saying: "Imitation engenders resentment." That resentment, he says, is directed at the erstwhile role models. It is stoked by the populists, who transform feelings of inferiority into aggression directed against the Brussels elite and the "servants" of the EU in their own capitals.

In places like Warsaw and Budapest, people have begun to feel like they have already experienced the best of what the EU has to offer. Now everything coming from Brussels is a threat to their own culture and lifestyle: environmental requirements, gay rights, migrant quotas, all kinds of duties and obligations, the arduous negotiations that are the hallmark of democracy.

The 2015 refugee crisis plunged half of Europe into temporary chaos, but more than anything, it gouged out a chasm between West and East. The demand primarily from Western European countries - or, to be more precise, from Germany - that all countries must help when it comes to distributing the refugees triggered the release of dissatisfactions that had been developing for quite some time. People in the east felt like they had survived the collapse of communism, lost jobs and got jobs, changed themselves, changed everything, and still hadn't caught up to the West. And now they were supposed to look after people even weaker than them?

In Brussels, such a point of view is seen as petulance and leads to a loss of influence. Exaggerated nationalism and unilateralism aren't welcome in the EU. They are a dead end. Poland and Hungary, in particular, sideline themselves in negotiations, frequently avoid complicated issues and tend to pound testily on the table rather than patiently pursuing their own interests and trying to listen to and understand the interests of others.

This leads to a dangerous cycle: countries driven by nationalism achieve less and less in Brussels, which leads to increasing alienation from the EU back home. Blame for a lack of success is pinned on anonymous powers in Brussels, the technocrats, the immovable and corrupt elites, thus paving the way for the empty yet pithy slogans of the populists.

The disruptive potential of the right-wing fringe in European Parliament has long been limited to mere spluttering expostulations from the plenary floor-- and their occasional misuse of EU money for their own benefit. Instead of using parliament for serious policy work, they saw it as a stage from which they could send messages back home-- a stage adeptly used by Farage, Salvini, Le Pen and others of their ilk. For some time, they were content to mock Europe's legislative body, but that is now changing. Le Pen has undergone perhaps the most profound metamorphosis, and for her opponents, that should be rather unsettling.

For a long time, her focus was on "Frexit," on leading France out of the common currency. She saw anything European as evil and abhorrent. These days, though, she ends her campaign speeches with the battle cry: "Long live the real Europe! Long live France!"

The chant "vive l'Europe" is, despite the qualification represented by the word "real," a 180-degree reversal. Until this year, Le Pen had consistently campaigned on the promise of freeing her country from the yoke of the common currency. It is a promise that, most recently, failed to generate its desired result in 2017, when she performed so badly in a now legendary televised debate on EU issues with the ultimate election winner Emmanuel Macron that it seemed like her political career may have come to an end.

In the parliamentary elections that followed, her Front National party didn't even win enough votes to form its own parliamentary group, a failure that Le Pen interpreted as the result of widespread fear in France of leaving the eurozone. As a result, since fall 2017, she has been an ardent supporter of the "real Europe," a message that proved divisive in her party. But she was determined. She no longer wanted to frighten people away with "Frexit"-- and now she appears to really believe that an alliance with her new friends in Italy, Poland, Austria, Germany and elsewhere represents a plausible path to power for the right-wing movement.

That's not particularly realistic. Thus far, every attempt at a broad, right-wing alliance in Europe has failed miserably, with the Front National itself having been part of many of those failures. The new concept for a European Alliance for People and Nations is also unlikely to go anywhere and conflict seems unavoidable.

The AfD in Germany and Lega in Italy are roughly as far away from each other on economic and finance policy as the liberals from the FDP and the far-left Left Party are in Germany. There are also deep, seemingly unbridgeable ideological rifts between Le Pen's party and the PiS in Poland and Fidesz in Hungary when it comes to society, family and women. As such, the planned right-wing "super fraction" is nothing more than a typical populist mélange of braggadocio and canniness. Likely the most important motivation for cooperation is the prospect of forming a large fraction that would automatically become more visible in European Parliament. It would also be handed more responsibilities, receive more speaking time and, most importantly, get more money.

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An Illegitimate Presidency-- And Why Congress Must Start Impeachment Now


On Friday evening, we looked at the OpEd former Republican Congressman Tom Coleman penned for the Kansas City Star. Coleman's OpEd shouldn't get lost in the clutter and I was happy to noticed it has been reprinted in dozens of newspapers in small cities around the country, from the Sacramento Bee to the Wichita Eagle. CNN's Erin Burnett had Coleman on her show-- video above-- to discuss some of the major points he made:
The Mueller report's clear case for obstruction of justice
Trump's collusion with the Russians to steal the election
The illegitimacy of Trump and Pence
The dereliction of duty by Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer in their decision to not impeach him
The danger of Trump "dismantling our democracy every day brick-by-brick (through) his actions, his lies, his abuse of power."
The need for impeachment.
"I would hope," Coleman told the CNN viewers, "the people in the Congress, who took an oath of office to uphold the Constitution, would get thatConstitution out again and read it and find out what their responsibilities are as the first article in that Constitution..." If you haven't already, please watch Coleman make his case in the video above and in his OpEd. Soon people will be talking about how horrible it would be to kick Trump out of office just to have President Pence pardon him and his spawn. (Rather than President Biden, who is nearly as likely to do that as Pence.) Coleman made the case that Pence is as illegitimate a vice president as Trump is a "president."
[T]he Trump campaign encouraged a foreign adversary to use and misrepresent stolen information on social media platforms to defraud U.S. voters. Because the presidency was won in this way, the president’s election victory brought forth nothing less than an illegitimate presidency.

...Contemplate the possible behavioral problems of a Trump untethered from the law and who is frequently untethered from reality. Would we be surprised if he were to repeatedly brandish his get out of jail card while breaking, at will, democratic norms, presidential precedents and criminal statutes? Trump said early in his campaign that he “could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters, OK? Are we now at that point?

Because DOJ regulations put a president above the law while in office, I believe the only viable option available is for the House of Representatives, under Article II, Section 4 of the Constitution, to open its own investigation, hold public hearings and then determine if they should pursue removal of the president through impeachment.

...If this process leads to impeaching Trump in the House of Representatives and also results in convicting him in the Senate, his illegitimacy would survive through Vice President Mike Pence’s succession to the presidency. Because the misdeeds were conducted to assure the entire Trump-Pence ticket was elected, both former candidates-- Pence as well as Trump-- have been disgraced and discredited. To hand the presidency to an illegitimate vice president would be to approve and reward the wrongdoing while the lingering stench of corruption would trail any Pence administration, guaranteeing an untenable presidency. If Trump is impeached, then Pence should not be allowed to become president. The vice president should resign or be impeached as well if for no other reason that he has been the chief enabler for this illegitimate president.

...What if House Democrats decide not to embark on impeachment? If that were the case, I believe the public would conclude Democrats are no better than the Republicans who have enabled Trump for the past two years, putting party above country. It could hand Trump a second term. Failure to pursue impeachment is to condone wrongdoing. To condone wrongdoing is to encourage more of it. To encourage wrongdoing is to give up on the rule of law and our democracy. To give up on the rule of law and democracy invites autocracy and eventually dictatorship. History has taught us this outcome.
Pelosi: "The focus groups don't want impeachment."

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Midnight Meme Of The Day!


by Noah

Sunday Thoughts:

A cornucopia of gods begets a clown car of believers.

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Saturday, May 25, 2019

The Irony Of Status Quo Joe's Support From African American Voters


Biden with his buddy Jesse Helms (KKK-NC)

African-American primary voters-- especially African-American women primary voters-- are leaning heavily in favor of Joe Biden right now. As we saw earlier, they're not really leaning as much towards Biden as they're leaning towards Obama's rib. This very reliable Change Research polling was released late yesterday.

Change Research explained that "Among white voters, Biden (25%), Sanders (24%), and Warren (17%) take first, second, and third. Black voters show a strong preference for Biden, lending him 52% of their support compared to 12% for both Sanders and Warren. Latinx voters are the only racial group to prefer Sanders (30%) to Biden (26%), with O’Rourke (13%) rising to third place."

On Thursday, Norman Solomon asked at Common Dreams if Biden's racist dog whistles will catch up with him. and this isn't just about the way he treated Anita Hill at the Clarence Thomas Judiciary Committee hearings. On the public stage, Biden was a dirty racist pig long before that. "In a party that officially condemns dog-whistle appeals to racism," wrote Solomon, "Joe Biden is running on Orwellian eggshells. Whether he can win the Democratic presidential nomination may largely depend on the extent of 'doublethink' that George Orwell described in 1984 as the willingness 'to forget any fact that has become inconvenient.' It is an inconvenient fact that Biden has a political history of blowing into dog whistles for racism. More than ever, the Democratic electorate is repelled by that kind of pitch. If his dog-whistling past becomes a major issue, the former vice president and his defenders will face the challenge of twisting themselves into rhetorical pretzels to deny what is apparent from the video record of Biden oratory on the Senate floor that spanned into the last decade of the 20th century."
Biden is eager to deflect any prospective attention from his own history of trafficking in white malice and racial division. When he tweeted this week that “our politics today has become so mean and petty-- it traffics in division and our president is the divider in chief,” Biden was executing a high jump over the despicably low standards set by Donald Trump.

A key question remains: Does it matter that Biden was a shrill purveyor of tropes, racist stereotypes and legislation aimed at African Americans? During pivotal moments in the history of race relations in this country, from the 1970s to the 1990s, Biden’s hot air manifested as pitches to white racism. From the outset of his career on Capitol Hill, he even stooped to reaching out to some of the worst segregationist senators from the South to advance his legislative agenda against busing.

As Adolph Reed and Cornel West noted this month in The Guardian, Biden began his racially laced approach to lawmaking soon after arrival in the Senate, when he “earned sharp criticism from both the NAACP and ACLU in the 1970s for his aggressive opposition to school busing as a tool for achieving school desegregation.”

Strom Thurmond, Clarence Thomas and Status Quo Joe

That was no fluke. “In 1984,” Reed and West recount, Biden “joined with South Carolina’s arch-racist Strom Thurmond to sponsor the Comprehensive Crime Control Act, which eliminated parole for federal prisoners and limited the amount of time sentences could be reduced for good behavior. He and Thurmond joined hands to push 1986 and 1988 drug enforcement legislation that created the nefarious sentencing disparity between crack and powder cocaine as well as other draconian measures that implicate him as one of the initiators of what became mass incarceration.”

It's likely that no lawmaker did more to bring about the mass incarceration of black people during recent decades than Joe Biden. In an understated account last week, The Hill newspaper reported that Senator Biden “was instrumental in pushing for the [1994] crime bill, which critics have said led to a spike in incarceration, particularly among African Americans.”

Yet Biden is now eager to project an image as a longtime ally of people of color. In short, journalists Kevin Gosztola and Brian Sonenstein wrote recently, he is in a race between his actual past and his PR baloney.

As the leading advocate for what became the infamous 1994 crime bill, Biden stood on the Senate floor and declared: “We must take back the streets. It doesn't matter whether or not the person that is accosting your son or daughter or my son or daughter, my wife, your husband, my mother, your parents, it doesn't matter whether or not they were deprived as a youth. It doesn't matter whether or not they had no background that enabled them to become socialized into the fabric of society. It doesn't matter whether or not they're the victims of society. The end result is they're about to knock my mother on the head with a lead pipe, shoot my sister, beat up my wife, take on my sons.”

And Biden proclaimed with fervor that echoed right-wing dogma: “I don't care why someone is a malefactor in society. I don't care why someone is antisocial. I don't care why they've become a sociopath. We have an obligation to cordon them off from the rest of society.”

Paste writer Shane Ryan pointed out the unsubtle subtexts of Biden’s speechifying: “This is the language of demonization, and even without the underlying racial element, it would be offensive to describe Americans this way, and to brush aside the societal conditions that lead to violent crime as though they're irrelevant. But, of course, the racial element is not just present, but profound. It's impossible to read these remarks, complete with dehumanizing rhetoric, without coming to the conclusion that Biden is, in fact, talking about black crime.”

At the time, even some of the members of Congress who ended up voting for the crime bill loudly warned about its dangerous downsides. One of them was Bernie Sanders (who I actively support in his run for president). While swayed by inclusion of the Violence Against Women Act in the bill, Sanders said in an April 1994 speech on the House floor: “A society which neglects, which oppresses and which disdains a very significant part of its population-- which leaves them hungry, impoverished, unemployed, uneducated, and utterly without hope-- will, through cause and effect, create a population which is bitter, which is angry, which is violent, and a society which is crime-ridden. And that is the case in America, and it is the case in other countries throughout the world.”

In 2016, Biden was continuing to defend his key role in passage of the landmark crime bill. During recent months, gearing up for his current campaign, Biden acknowledged some of the law’s negative effects while still defending it and denying its huge impacts for mass incarceration. And Biden has avoided copping to-- much less expressing remorse for-- the toxic, racially laced rhetoric that he used to promote the bill. He simply refuses to renounce the Senate-floor oratory that he deployed to propel the legislation to President Clinton’s desk.

Unfortunately for Biden, online video is available that conveys not only his words but also the audibly arrogant tone with which he delivered them.

What does all this add up to? Anyone who doubts that Biden methodically mined racist political shafts for decades should read the well-documented New York magazine piece Will Black Voters Still Love Biden When They Remember Who He Was? It’s devastating.

The New York article, by journalist Eric Levitz, begins with the tip of a very cold white iceberg: “Biden once called state-mandated school integration ‘the most racist concept you can come up with,’ and Barack Obama ‘the first sort of mainstream African American who is articulate and bright and clean.’ He was a staunch opponent of ‘forced busing’ in the 1970s, and leading crusader for mass incarceration throughout the ’80s and ’90s. Uncle Joe has described African-American felons as ‘predators’ too sociopathic to rehabilitate-- and white supremacist senators as his friends.”

Such clear overviews of Biden’s racial behavior in politics have been rare. And news media have not illuminated what all this has to do with “electability.” Turnout from the Democratic Party’s base will be crucial to whether Trump can be defeated in November 2020. Biden’s record of dog-whistling is made to order for depressing enthusiasm and turnout from that base, especially among African Americans.

Apt to be a big political liability among voters who normally vote Democratic in large numbers, Joe Biden’s historic dog-whistling for racism is an incontrovertible reality. Denial of that reality could help him win the party’s nomination-- and then help Donald Trump get re-elected.
And now... something more uplifting and positive to end the evening. The opposite of Trump and the opposite of Status Quo Joe:

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Cheri Bustos Has Some Kindred Souls-- At The NRSC


Same kind of authoritarian, anti-democratic mindset and instincts. Bustos, chair of the DCCC, is trying to prevent primaries of Blue Dogs and New Dems in Congress, while she recruits New Dem and Blue Dog-types to run against progressives. Yesterday evening, Politico ran a report by Alex Isenstadt showing how the McTurtle and Todd Young, who are running the NRSC, are coming from the exact same place. Does this sound familiar? "Senate Republicans and their establishment allies are vowing to blackball any political consulting firm that works to defeat GOP incumbents, a dramatic step likely to further inflame intraparty tensions over 2020 primaries."

McTurtle and Young are all riled up because the far right is attempting to primary Thom Tillis (R-NC), who's more like the near-right. McTurtle was heard screeching that there will be a "zero tolerance policy." That kind of thing is more likely to work in a fascist-oriented party than among Democrats, where Bustos is rapidly destroying her own credibility and her career.
“It is the policy of the NRSC that we will defend any member of our caucus from any challenge-- be it in a primary or general election-- by any means necessary,” Kevin McLaughlin, the National Republican Senatorial Committee executive director, said in a statement. “It is a zero tolerance policy and we will not work with any vendors who work for campaigns or outside groups challenging incumbent Republican senators.”

The announcement is the most public brushback to those working for primary challengers since 2014, when the NRSC-- looking to beat back a wave of conservative insurgents-- cut off a consulting firm that had targeted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other incumbents up for reelection that year.

The Senate Leadership Fund, a well-funded super PAC closely aligned with McConnell, joined the committee in its decision.

“We have a long-standing policy of not using consultants who are assisting primary challenges against our Senate incumbents,” said Steven Law, the group's president.

The Club for Growth has not opposed an incumbent Republican senator since 2014, when it tried to unseat then-Mississippi Sen. Thad Cochran. But this week, the organization indicated it was trying to nudge North Carolina Rep. Mark Walker, a staunch Trump ally, into the primary. The Club for Growth also released a poll suggesting that Tillis would be vulnerable in a primary and general election.

The flare-up threatens to divide Republicans in a state at the center of the party’s 2020 strategy. Senate GOP campaign officials have warned aides to President Donald Trump that a disruptive and chaotic North Carolina Senate primary could hurt Trump in the battleground state.

North Carolina had already become an early focus of GOP concerns. The state Republican Party, whose chairman was recently indicted in a corruption case, has been wracked by turmoil. And there is considerable angst within the party about a field of lackluster gubernatorial candidates.

Senate Republicans are vigorously working to protect Tillis. In recent weeks, NRSC officials raised concerns with Trump campaign aides over the work that John McLaughlin, one of the president’s pollsters, was doing for Tillis primary challenger Garland Tucker. On Tuesday, McLaughlin’s firm withdrew from the North Carolina race.

The NRSC has indicated that it’s prepared to aggressively go after Walker, a third-term evangelical pastor. The committee, for example, has pointed out that the congressman has become entangled in the same federal corruption probe that led to the indictment of state party chairman Robin Hayes.

Major donors and outside groups are also coming to the senator’s defense. A spokesman for GOP megadonors Sheldon and Miriam Adelson said the couple “stands by Thom Tillis.”

Ending Spending Action Fund, a super PAC that in the past has received funding from the billionaire Ricketts and Adelson families, said it “will proudly support his reelection and vigorously oppose candidates or groups that seek to challenge the senator.”

Club for Growth officials say Tillis’ past differences with the White House have made him vulnerable in a state where Trump is popular among Republicans. Last year, the senator was criticized by fellow Republicans for co-sponsoring legislation to protect special counsel Robert Mueller. Earlier this year, Tillis wrote a Washington Post op-ed in which he announced his opposition to Trump’s national emergency declaration to build a border wall, though he ultimately voted in favor of it.

The Club for Growth tried to defeat the president in the 2016 GOP primary but has since refashioned itself into a pro-Trump outfit. On Friday, the group said it is still assessing whether to oppose Tillis.

“The Club for Growth has not made a determination if we will support a primary challenge to Sen. Tillis’ seat in North Carolina,” said Joe Kildea, a spokesman for the organization. “If we do endorse Walker, it will only be if we believe he is a stronger candidate in the general election.”

Republicans are not alone in trying to cut off oxygen to primary challengers. At a time when progressive insurgents are looking to unseat establishment incumbents, the House Democratic campaign arm has said it will no longer do business with vendors who are working to defeat sitting lawmakers.

The Club for Growth’s threat to Tillis puts some of the Republican Party's incumbents, who typically treat their fellow colleagues with deference, in an awkward position. Arizona Sen. Martha McSally has previously used two consulting firms, Axiom Strategies and WPA Intelligence, who have done work for the Club for Growth and Walker.

WPA Intelligence oversaw the Club for Growth’s new North Carolina survey, though a person familiar with the arrangement said it was done through a firewalled division of the polling firm. Jeff Roe, founder of Axiom Strategies and a top McSally adviser, said his firm would not be involved in any effort to defeat Tillis.

McSally is one of the most endangered senators up for reelection in 2020. A spokeswoman for the senator suggested that she took the same no-tolerance approach as the party committee.

"Sen. McSally strongly supports the reelection of Thom Tillis,” said McSally spokeswoman Katie Waldman, “and has made it clear that she will not use any vendors who are involved in a primary against the senator or any other Republican senator in the 2020 cycle.”

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We've Got To Clean Up Congress-- After Lipinski, Let's Start With California


Wasserman Schultz and Bustos-- feel inspired yet?

Selecting Blue Dog and Rahm Emanuel protégé, Cheri Bustos as DCCC chair was a catastrophic mistake the House Democratic caucus made. This week, Our Revolution made a good case about why Bustos should not be heading the DCCC. Last month, they delivered tens of thousands of signed petitions directly to Bustos protesting the much-0hated DCCC Blacklist and their policy of discouraging primaries. "She promised," wrote the Our Revolution communications team, that she would have "a follow-up meeting to discuss reforming this undemocratic policy which favors incumbents over progressive challengers." But "Bustos just backed out the meeting with Our Revolution leaders. Not only did she cancel our meeting, Rep. Bustos also announced that the DCCC was going to continue to throw big dollar fundraisers for incumbents like Rep. Dan Lipinski, an anti-choice member of Congress who opposes Medicare for All..."

Lipinksi's opposition to Medicare-For-All is one of the problems from a long list of problems with the guy, who's record is also homophobic and anti-immigrant. He's out of synch with his own district and the DCCC should be strictly neutral in the contest between Lipinski and progressive challenger Marie Newman.

Our Revolution also wrote that "this week, after we announced we were going to protest the fundraiser, Bustos withdrew her involvement-- this is a victory, but crucially, she maintained that the DCCC could offer Lipinski financial support to defeat primary challengers. We need leaders who care more about policy than party affiliation. That’s why Our Revolution is lifting up progressive candidates even if it means taking on incumbent Democrats."
Being a Democrat who opposes Roe v. Wade doesn’t reflect the values that the Democratic Party claims to uphold.

Being a Democrat who opposes Medicare for All doesn’t help 30 million people without health insurance and the millions more who are underinsured.

It’s not just Lipinski, and it’s not just on issues of women’s choice and health care.

Being a Democrat who takes money from the fossil fuel industry doesn’t help us transform our energy system to save us from environmental catastrophe.

Being a Democrat who takes money from Wall Street doesn’t help working people who are being ripped off by corporate shareholders.

Our Revolution is one of the groups fighting to transform the Democratic Party, elect progressive champions and push for policies that will change people's lives. I want to go through the whole 53 member California House legation as a kind of guide to see who's doing a good job and who isn't.

Let's start with the easiest part of this: there are no California Republicans in Congress doing a good job, not even a mixed job. They all suck and suck badly. Now for the California Dems. Worth reelecting (above and beyond the call of duty):
Ro Khanna (CA-17)
Ted Lieu (CA-33)
Barbara Lee (CA-13)
Judy Chu (CA-27)
Mike Levin (CA-49)
Katie Porter (CA-45)
Katie Hill (CA-25)
Mark DeSaulnier (CA-11)
Alan Lowenthal (CA-47)
Jimmy Gomez (CA-34)
Karen Bass (CA-37)
Maxine Waters (CA-43)
Jared Huffman (CA-02)
Nanette Barragán (CA-44)
Mark Takano (CA-41)
Doesn't matter one way or the other, unless a real good opponent comes along
John Garamendi (CA-03)
Mike Thompson (CA-05)
Doris Matsui (CA-06)
Jerry McNerney (CA-09)
Josh Harder (CA-10)
Jackie Speier (CA-14)
Eric Swalwell (CA-15)
Anna Eshoo (CA-18)
Zoe Lofgren (CA-19)
Grace Napolitano (CA-32)
TJ Cox (CA-21)
Salud Carbajal (CA-24)
Adam Schiff (CA-28)
Brad Sherman (CA-30)
Linda Sanchez (CA-38)
Lucille Roybal-Allard (CA-40)
Susan Davis (CA-53)
Should be primaried and defeated ASAP
Jim Costa (CA-16)
Nancy Pelosi (CA-12)
Ami Bera (CA-07)
Lou Correa (CA-46)
Scott Peters (CA-52)
Pete Aguilar (CA-31)
Julia Brownley (CA-26)
Tony Cardenas (CA-29)
Juan Vargas (CA-51)
Jimmy Panetta (CA-20)
Norma Torres (CA-35)
Raul Ruiz (CA-36)
Gil Cisneros (CA-39)
Harley Rouda (CA-48)

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How Many Democrats Will Win Seats Because Of The GOP Anti-Choice Jihad?


Not likely to vote Republican this cycle

I don't usually turn to Charlie Cook for words of wisdom, but after the sheer nonsense I read the other day from Jeremy Peters at the New York Times-- Republicans’ Messaging on Abortion Puts Democrats on the Defensive, any palliative will do. Peters, obviously drunk or on crack, wrote that the their brilliant anti-Choice messaging is a 2020 winner for the GOP. No, really, he wrote whole column on that. "The unusually forceful, carefully coordinated campaign has created challenges that Democrats did not expect as they struggle to combat misinformation and thwart further efforts to undercut access to abortion. And advocates of abortion rights fear it is succeeding in pressuring lawmakers in more conservative states to pass severe new restrictions, as Alabama did this week by approving a bill that would essentially outlaw the procedure... Much to the distress of abortion rights supporters, their own polling is showing that the right’s message is penetrating beyond the social conservatives who make up a large part of the Republican base. Surveys conducted for progressive groups in recent weeks found that more than half of Americans were aware of the “infanticide” claims that President Trump and his party have started making when describing abortions that occur later in pregnancy." Peters is a fool... and wrong.

Cook, on the other hand, sees the GOP anti-Choice insanity as leading to a possible Democratic takeover of the Senate, something that has looked impossible for 2020 until Alabama, Georgia, Ohio, Missouri, et al decided to end abortion in their states. "[T]he Senate 'should' be reasonably safe for Republicans in 2020 and," he wrote, "for now, it is. While there are 22 GOP seats up compared to 12 seats for Democrats, none of them are behind enemy lines in solidly blue states. Not a single Republican seat up in 2020 is nearly as endangered as five Democratic seats up last year. Sure, Sen. Susan Collins is seeking reelection in Maine, which Hillary Clinton won by 3 points in 2016, and Sen. Cory Gardner is up in Colorado, which Clinton carried by 4.9 points, but these are hardly vertical cliffs. Four more Republicans in states that President Trump won by single digits—Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina, and Texas—all have to be careful, but none are exactly the walking wounded." Cook has that right. Even if the Democrats hold their House majority and win the presidency-- they would still have to deal with an intransigent McTurtle in 2021.
Put it this way: No Republican senator is in the same hemisphere of vulnerability as Democratic Sen. Doug Jones is in Alabama. Even if Republicans in the Yellowhammer State are crazy enough to nominate former state Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore again, now that allegations of Moore’s interest in underage girls is “old news,” it is questionable whether in a presidential year Jones could even beat him. This is not a knock on Jones, but being a Democrat defending a statewide office in Alabama in a presidential year is a real challenge.

It sure seemed last year that things couldn’t get much worse for Republicans in many suburbs. Democrats’ majority-makers came straight out of suburbs around Atlanta, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, and Oklahoma City, along with four districts in Orange County, California and elsewhere. Many of the gains came not from career politicians moving up the traditional ladder of elected offices, but from outside of politics, with 10 coming out of either military or intelligence-community backgrounds, unencumbered by much of the ideological baggage and voting records that kept Democrats from winning in recent years and decades in much of the South and border south. But as bad as it was last year in suburban districts for the GOP, there are still more that they could lose, perhaps if a better Democratic challenger is in place or if the seat becomes open.

And Republican-controlled states enacting laws that effectively ban all abortions threatens to make a bad situation worse for Republicans in many suburbs. This is not to make a moral, ethical, or legal statement, just a political one. A third of the electorate, at most, supports measures this aggressive. It’s been said that Americans are antiabortion and pro-choice. Most don’t like the idea of abortion-- many believe there should be some limits and are extremely uncomfortable with late-term abortions-- but still take a very dim view of outlawing all or almost all abortions, given the many different circumstances that might lead a woman to contemplate one.

President Trump is a heavy enough lift with many college-educated, suburban, white women. The perception of overwhelmingly male state legislatures telling women what they can and can’t do in very absolute terms is highly problematic.

There was a time when the decisions to set up court tests of abortion laws were made carefully by antiabortion lawyers and strategists on the national level, picking cases very carefully to maximize their chances of victory. Today the decision-making is both decentralized and organic, and apparently by tone-deaf people who seem to oblivious of the consequences to their cause. When the Rev. Pat Robertson thinks an antiabortion measure goes too far, there is a fair chance it’s too far. There isn’t a pro-choice bone in Robertson’s body, but the Yale Law School class of 1955 graduate knows a bad case when he sees one.

This is all a long way of saying that while the Republican majority in the Senate probably shouldn’t be in much danger, if one were going to construct a scenario in which Democrats reach a 50-seat majority (with a White House win) or 51 (without one), an uncompromising assault on legal abortion would likely be an element of it.

Republicans lost a bunch of suburban districts last year. With actions like these, we may find out how many more there are to lose.
It's official: Charlie Cook is smarter than Jeremy Peters. Let's move along as long as we're talking the GOP ceding the suburbs-- and an even greater share of independent voters than they gave to the Democrats in 2018-- and take a quick glimpse at the House. Leave out-- for the sake of argument-- the willful incompetence of the DCCC and the fact that the damage the DCCC does to the Democratic efforts normally will be even greater with the unfathomably bad leadership of moron Blue Dog Cheri Bustos. The Democrats are in a position to take even more Republican-held seats in 2020 than the 40-some-odd ones they won in 2018. If Cheri Bustos were to disappear tomorrow and be replaced with someone competent-- say Ted Lieu for example, who showed what he could do in California as DCCC regional vice chair for the West Coast-- the party would be on the way to win not another 40 seats but as many as 50 seats.

Goal ThermometerBustos is all about playing a defensive game, hoping to protect hopeless cases like Blue Dogs Kendra Horn (Oklahoma), Ben McAdams (Utah) and Joe Cunningham (South Carolina). She's going to waste over $10 million trying to protect those 3 losers, who have voted with the GOP on crucial issues more than with the Democrats. Meanwhile, she's running around recruiting horrible conservatives to run against progressives who have built strong campaigns. Good examples of progressives Bustos is knifing in the back include Kara Eastman (NE-02) and Mike Siegel (TX-10). You can contribute to their campaigns by clicking on the Blue America thermometer on the right. Bustos is killing their ability to raise money and putting up weak candidates who won't be able to win. If I didn't know better, I'd say she was a paid employee of the NRCC. They could hardly do any better than she's already doing for them.

Anyway, if Bustos were to disappear, the Democrats would have a better than even shot at these 50 GOP-held House seats, especially because of Republicans efforts to end women's choice (next to the name of the incumbent, is percentage of the vote that incumbent won with in 2018):
Alaska- Don Young- 53.3%
AR-02- French Hill- 52.1%
CA-01- Doug LaMalfa- 54.9%
CA-04- Tom McClintock-54.1%
CA-22- Devin Nunes- 52.7%
CA-50- Duncan Hunter- 51.8%
CO-03- Scott Tipton- 51.7%
FL-15- Ross Spano- 53.0%
FL-16- Vern Buchanan- 54.6%
FL-18- Brian Mast- 54.3%
GA-07- Rob Woodall- 50.1%
IL-12- Mike Bost- 51.8%
IL-13- Rodney Davis- 50.5%
IN-02- Jackie Walorski- 54.8%
IA-04- Steve King- 50.4%
KS-02- Steve Watkins- 48.1%
KY-06- Andy Barr- 51.0%
MI-03- Justin Amash- 54.4%
MI-06- Fred Upton- 50.2%
MI-07- Tim Walberg- 53.8%
MN-01- Jim Hagedorn- 50.2%
MN-08- Peter Stauber- 50.8%
MO-02- Ann Wagner- 51.3%
Montana- Greg Gianforte- 50.9%
NE-02- Don Bacon- 51.0%
NY-01- Lee Zeldin- 52.5%
NY-02- Peter King- 53.3%
NY-24- John Katko- 53.1%
NY-27- Chris Collins- 49.4%
NC-02- George Holding- 51.4%
NC-09- ?
NC-13- Ted Budd- 51.6%
OH-01- Steve Chabot- 51.8%
OH-12- Troy Balderson- 51.6%
PA-01- Brian Fitzpatrick- 51.3%
PA-10- Scott Perry- 51.4%
PA-16- Mike Kelly- 51.5%
TX-02- Dan Crenshaw- 52.9%
TX-03- Van Taylor- 54.3%
TX-06- Ron Wright- 53.1%
TX-10- Michael McCaul- 51.1%
TX-21- Chip Roy- 50.3%
TX-22- Pete Olson- 51.4%
TX-23- Will Hurd- 49.2%
TX-24- Kenny Marchant- 50.7%
TX-25- Roger Williams- 53.6%
TX-31- John Carter- 50.6%
VA-05- Denver Riggleman- 53.3%
WA-03- Jaime Herrera Beutler- 52.9%
WI-01- Bryan Steil- 54.6%
Fly in the ointment?

Note: Bustos was forced by enraged and overwhelming public opinion to cancel her Chicago fundraising event for anti-Choice zealot and fellow-Blue Dog Dan Lipinski. Lipinski then went on an embarrassing tirade, accusing Democrats of being "intolerant." That from a congressman who is the most anti-LGBTQ and anti-immigrant bigot in the Democratic caucus! Intolerant of intolerance? Ro Khanna (D-CA) has contributed a $1,000 from his own reelection campaign to help Marie Newman replace Bustos ally Lipinski. You can help Newman as well at that Blue America thermometer above-- or by clicking on this link. If you're excited about electing a transformative president-- basically either Bernie or Elizabeth Warren (or-- please God-- a ticket with them both), then it's essential we have a Congress supportive of a transformative agenda, not Blue Dogs, not New Dems and not any Cheri Bustos recruits.

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