Monday, July 23, 2018

Blue Wave And Putin-Gate


Pointless, meaningless national generic go up and go down. Nervous candidates, campaign operatives, radio hosts, reporters ask "Do you think there will be a blue wave?" My opinion has changed all year. The answer is yes. The question is just about how big will it be. Big enough to win back the House? Absolutely. Big enough to defeat 50 House Republicans? Probably. 75? Possibly. 100? That would be very optimistic and would mean Trump does some stuff even crazier and more odious than usual in October. So... could happen. Win back the Senate? Possibly.

And what do I base this optimism on? Sure I look at polls too-- trend-lines, local polls in swing districts, most importantly. How independents are trending. (Republicans are going to vote for Republicans; Democrats are going to vote for Democrats. Independents are going to decide the midterm swing districts.) And I look closely at special election results. When Democrats are winning in deep red districts, when Democratic turnout is through the roof, even when Democrats aren't winning but "just" increasing their share of the vote by 15-20 points... that should be a major alarm signal for congressional Republicans to start looking for new jobs. What about the flood of cash coming in from crooked right-wingers like Adelson and the Kochs and Mercers. That's a factor... but not enough to make a difference against a wave. Only one thing is: Kremlin tampering-- and I don't mean Facebook ads.

ABC News, along with the Washington Post released a new poll early yesterday morning. It doesn't ask any questions about the single biggest factor in the midterms, the issue that's bigger than the economy, bigger that healthcare, bigger than immigration-- Trump's favorability. At least it didn't ask that question directly. The poll was about Helsinki and Trump's "Treason: The TV Reality Show" performance.
A majority of Americans disapprove of Donald Trump casting doubt about U.S. intelligence on Russian interference in the 2016 election, with relatively modest support for the president even in his own party and among conservatives in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll.

The public by a 17-point margin also says America’s leadership in the world has gotten weaker, not stronger, under Trump. And just 33 percent approve of his handling of his summit with Vladimir Putin last week, with four in 10 saying he went too far in supporting the Russian leader.

Fifty-six percent disapprove of Trump, in a post-summit news conference with Putin, expressing doubt about U.S. intelligence conclusions that Russia tried to influence the U.S. election; just 29 percent approve. Indeed 41 percent disapprove “strongly,” vs. just 14 percent strongly approving

In terms of intensity of sentiment, the survey, produced for ABC by Langer Research Associates, finds that 70 percent of Democrats and 61 percent of liberals strongly disapprove of Trump questioning U.S. intelligence on the matter, while just 28 percent of Republicans and 24 percent of conservatives strongly approve.

...Trump loses the middle, with independents seeing weaker rather than stronger U.S. leadership by 47-22 percent (as do moderates, by 54-17 percent). Moreover, while 72 percent of liberals say the United States has grown weaker in terms of world leadership, fewer conservatives say the opposite, 55 percent.
Big news> Not really-- not by itself. It's just another one of the factors-- the many factors-- adding up to an historic ant-fascist swing back towards the center in November.

And... as long as we're talking about Trump's Putin debacle, it's worth taking a look at last week's Adam Davidson essay for the New Yorker, A Theory Of Trump Kompromat. He's not one of the journalists who seems Trump as a Kremlin agent. "If Trump were truly serving as a Russian intelligence asset," he wrote, "there would have been an obvious move for him to make during his joint press conference with Putin. He would have publicly lambasted the Russian leader, unleashing as theatrical a denunciation as possible. He would have told Putin that he may have been able to get away with a lot of nonsense under Barack Obama, but all that would end now: America has a strong President and there will be no more meddling. Instead, Trump gave up his single best chance to permanently put to rest any suspicion that he is working to promote Russian interests... [BUT] There is no need to assume that Trump was a formal agent of Russian intelligence to make sense of Trump’s solicitousness toward Putin."

What's more likely is that Trump's behavior, his "solicitousness toward Putin" is based on what Putin has on him-- kompromat. And it's not there pee-pee take. Trump knows he based could care less about some hookers peeing on him.

Some think what Putin has over Trump is criminal financial activities-- including money-laundering. Does Trump's base even understand what that is, let alone care about it? His financial crimes would have to be pretty special for Trump's base to give a hoot. "If there truly is damaging kompromat on Trump, it could well be in the hands of Trump’s business partners, or even in those of their rivals. Trump’s Georgian partners, for example, have been in direct conflict with other local business networks over a host of crucial deals involving major telecommunications projects in the country. His Azerbaijani partners were tightly linked to Iranians who were also senior officers in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The work of Ledeneva and Darden suggests that Trump’s partners and their rivals would likely have gathered any incriminating information they could find on him, knowing that it might one day provide some sort of business leverage-- even with no thought that he could someday become the most powerful person on Earth.
The scenario that, to my mind, makes the most sense of the given facts and requires the fewest fantastical leaps is that, a decade or so ago, Trump, naïve, covetous, and struggling for cash, may have laundered money for a business partner from the former Soviet Union or engaged in some other financial crime. This placed him, unawares, squarely within sistema, where he remained, conducting business with other members of a handful of overlapping Central Asian networks. Had he never sought the Presidency, he may never have had to come to terms with these decisions. But now he is much like everyone else in sistema. He fears there is kompromat out there-- maybe a lot of it-- but he doesn’t know precisely what it is, who has it, or what might set them off.

Trump and many of his defenders have declared his businesses, including those in the former Soviet Union, to be off-limits to the Mueller investigation. They argue that the special counsel should focus only on the possibility of explicit acts of collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. This neatly avoids the reality of sistema. As Pavlovsky wrote, “Under Putin, sistema has become a method for making deals among businesses, powerful players, and the people. Business has not taken over the state, nor vice versa; the two have merged in a union of total and seamless corruption.”

Ledeneva explained to me that, in sistema, when faced with uncertainty, every member knows that the best move is to maintain whatever alliances he has, and to avoid grand steps that could antagonize powerful figures; in such times, the most one can hope for is simply to survive.
I have no reason to dispute anything from this theory; it all makes sense to me-- and I have a feeling that when all is said and done, we'll find out that what Putin has on Trump that keeps Señor T supine and relatively in control of himself is the illegitimacy of Trump's "election" itself. Trump didn't win in 2016. Putin stole the election for him and put him on the throne. Even some of Trump's base (maybe 15-20%) would look askance at that. Will this be a factor in the defeat of dozens of Republican incumbents in November? Not a big factor-- just some of the background noise. Although... NeverTrump Republicans have been running this video on Fox this weekend. Anyone who watches that channel capable of understanding what it means? Or is it too abstract?

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At 6:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You keep calling an anti-red wave a blue wave. casts doubt about your judgement.

And for every anti-red, with the exception of 1932, there has been an almost immediate anti-blue that ends up with a bushbaby or trump becoming our worst president ever. That distinction keeps getting outdone.

The difference in 1932 you might ask? If you have to ask, it shows you don't know shit about history nor the wisdom of Santayana, but here it is:

The democrats in 1932 actually fixed shit that was broken. They improved the lives of the masses. They protected the masses from the predation of the money. They earned it.

no democrap anti-red wave has been earned since the '70s. It won't be earned this time around either.

At 5:56 PM, Blogger edmondo said...

"Trump didn't win in 2016. Putin stole the election for him and put him on the throne."

Trump won the election because the Democrats nominated the ONLY person in the entire world who could lose to him. Hillary sucks. We all knew it and some of us refused to vote for her ever, under any circumstances. You blame Putin. I blame the super-delegates. Either way, there's a fool in the White House and don't be surprised when the Democrats double down in 2020 and get him re-elected

At 6:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

edmondo is 110% correct. the democraps guaranteed that a republican would win that election. The Nazis determined that it should be the overt Nazi moron who should be their guy.

Neither party has done anything to change the next outcome. nothing.

At 6:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

it seems my correction to terminology is having an effect. Pieces above both mention both anti-red and blue and just call it, correctly, anti-red.

proves that DWT is NOT epiphany-proof. A very good sign.

still awaiting the big one, however.


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