Saturday, January 28, 2017

Will The 2018 Midterms Put A Quick End To Trumpism?


Blue America's operating plan for 2017-18 is based on 2 simple premises-- first that Trump will be the worst and most destructive and hated president in history, and second, that Ryan, McConnell and the Republican Congress will drastically overreach, cement themselves to him, and make themselves vulnerable to a massive backlash in the 2018 midterms.

I spend a significant part of my days-- every day-- on the phone with perspective candidates, mostly for Congress, from around the country. I was even doing it when I was on vacation in Thailand last month. Sometimes its downright depressing. Many former candidates or activists who have worked for former candidates are bitter and filled with hopelessness because of the DCCC and DNC. More than I've ever seen, loathing for Pelosi and the DCCC is off the charts. Democrats around the country don't trust them and don't want anything to do with them. They routinely screwed over candidates everywhere and the corruption inside the DCCC is so overwhelming that potential candidates are almost unanimous is worrying that it isn't worth their time and effort to run before Pelosi and her failed, crumbling system are gone from the scene. Ironically, with Steve Israel now banished from Congress and no longer part of the DCCC-- he's at Third Way where he belongs-- the DCCC is showing early-- very early-- signs of a new beginning. I'm still skeptical but... no longer hopeless. Potential candidates aren't as tuned into the subtle changes and they're still hopeless.

Even in blue districts that the DCCC managed to lose because of their incompetence, venality, stupidity and corruption, candidates are reticent about what could turn out to be a banner year for Democrats, equivalent to the 2006 midterms, in which the Republicans lost 30 seats, forfeiting their majority and ousting Speaker Denny Hastert-- currently in prison after being convicted om charges stemming from decades of molesting underage boys-- and replacing him with Nancy Pelosi. In 2006, disgust with Bush and the GOP led to 42,338,795 votes being cast for Democratic congressional candidates, as opposed to 35,857,334 votes for Republicans. When the dust cleared, the Democrats held 233 seats and the Republicans 202, almost a mirror reflection of the 2004 results. Powerful and well-known Republicans, not just backbenchers, were swept out of office-- like Richard "Dirty Dick" Pombo (CA), Jim Leach (IA), John Sweeney (NY), northeast "moderates" Nancy Johnson (CT), Rob Simmons (CT), Jeb Bradley (NH), Charles Bass (NH), Sue Kelly (NY), Mike Fitzpatrick (PA) and far, far right doctrinaire extremists-- from J.D. Hayworth (AZ) and Charles Taylor (NC) to the 3 Indiana crackpots, Chris Chocola, John Hostettler and Mike Sodrel.

Recent polling shows that Trump and the congressional GOP are already creating the conditions for the kind of revulsion and backlash that not even DCCC incompetence can save them from. Trump's approval ratings, in poll after poll, are already circling the toilet in a way unprecedented for a new president:
Quinnipiac- 36%
Gallup- 45%
ABC News- 40%
CNN- 40%
CBS News- 32%
This week, PPP released a more detailed poll showing how widespread anti-Trump sentiments are already hurting his party. Disapproval is 44% and expectations are very low. Voters expect him to be a worse president than Obama, Bush II, Clinton, Bush I, Reagan, Carter and Ford... though not as bad as Nixon. "Usually a new President comes in with voters having positive feelings and high expectations for them," said PPP President Dean Debnam. "Trump comes in with Americans expecting him to be the worst President in 40 years from Day 1." Voters are finally recognizing that he's a congenital liar and that his spokespersons, particularly Sean Spicer and Kellyanne Conway, are liars as well.
The lying about crowd size has already taken a toll on Kellyanne Conway and Sean Spicer's credibility with the public. Conway has a 32% favorability rating, with 43% of voters viewing her negatively. By contrast when we polled on her a month ago she actually had a positive rating at 34/32, so she's had a 13 point net decline in the wake of 'alternative facts.' Spicer, who we polled for the first time, is seen favorably by 24% of voters and negatively by 37%.

The upshot of all this is that 35% of voters already say they support impeaching Trump, to 50% who say they're opposed. We will continue to regularly poll on impeaching Trump as long as issues like his tax returns, business interests, and ties with Russia remain unresolved.

The ascendance of Republicans in Washington has voters already looking toward creating some balance of power in next year's election. Democrats lead the generic Congressional ballot 48/40. This is partly an outgrowth of Trump's unpopularity but it's also a function of GOP Congressional leaders being unpopular in their own right. Paul Ryan has a 33/43 approval rating, and that makes him look positively popular in comparison to Mitch McConnell's 15/52 rating. Congress as a whole comes in at 15% disapproval and 65% disapproval.

Writing for the NY Times yesterday, Jennifer Steinhauer, highlighted how Ryan and the rest of the congressional Republicans are setting themselves up for a big fail by fully embracing Trumpism and Trump. They're no longer treating him and his insane pronouncement "as essentially a distraction... [T]he question of whether congressional Republicans would change President Trump or Mr. Trump would change them has an early answer. Mr. Trump cheerfully addressed the group here at their policy retreat on Thursday, and they responded with applause to many proposals they have long opposed." And proposals most Americans oppose.
Republican lawmakers appear more than ready to open up the coffers for a $12 billion to $15 billion border wall, perhaps without the commensurate spending cuts that they demanded when it came to disaster aid, money to fight the Zika virus or funds for the tainted water system in Flint, Mich. They also seem to back a swelling of the federal payroll that Mr. Trump has called for in the form of a larger military and 5,000 more border patrol agents.

They have stayed oddly silent as Mr. Trump and Senate Democrats push a $1 trillion infrastructure plan, larger than one they rejected from President Barack Obama. Once fierce promoters of the separation of powers, Republicans are now embracing Mr. Trump’s early governing by executive order, something they loudly decried during Mr. Obama’s second term.

Speaker Paul D. Ryan, whose own website this week still praised the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, now applauds Mr. Trump for putting the final shovel of dirt over the accord, with the president saying he is interested in bilateral agreements instead.

Many Republicans, who have been longstanding opponents of Russia and written laws that prohibit torture, have chosen to overlook, or even concur with, Mr. Trump’s embrace of both. Even on the subject of Mr. Trump’s call for an investigation into voter fraud, a widely debunked claim, Republicans have often demurred. “The notion that election fraud is a fiction is not true,” said the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky.

Mr. Trump said he could not wait for lawmakers to get to work on their newfound common ground. “This Congress is going to be the busiest Congress we’ve had in decades, maybe ever,” Mr. Trump said. In an apparent reference to forthcoming bills, he added, “We’re actually going to sign the stuff that you’re writing. You’re not wasting your time.”

...But it is the sudden embrace of federal spending that represents perhaps the most striking departure, with Republicans backing the concept of starting the financing for the border wall with a new appropriation.

And the list is much longer. By contrast, last year, Senator John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Senate Republican, called Democrats’ request for $600 million in aid to Flint added to an energy bill “a huge earmark,” adding, “I think it’s not something I could support,” in keeping with most of his colleagues. Republicans also pushed for and partly succeeded in offsetting a bill to fight Zika last year.

The talk of a spending surge has left some Republicans worried about an exploding deficit. “There are going to have to be some cuts,” said Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah. “I am not interested in raising our spending levels.”

Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming, the chairman of the Environment and Public Works Committee, seemed tense when asked about the open checkbook. “We’re a fiscally conservative group,” he said of the committee. “We’re going to want to see things paid for.”

Republicans are also at times confused about what Mr. Trump is actually seeking when he makes policy declarations on Twitter. “‘Appears’ I think is the big word,” said Representative Ryan Costello of Pennsylvania. “I don’t think anyone in the House of Representatives on the Republican side of the aisle wants to go through the legislative process,” only to have the Trump administration send a bill back, he said.

Republicans had expected to reveal great progress on their plans to replace the health care act here, but instead seemed stuck in a perpetual debate over the timeline of coming up with a replacement. Senators in large part made a strong argument for making sure that a replacement plan had been fashioned before repealing the law, while many in the House continue to push for a repeal with replacement coming much later.
Goal Thermometer The public is watching and 2018 isn't that far away. I'm in the middle of discussions with potential candidates to take on Paul Ryan in his swingy south Wisconsin district, a district Obama won in 2008, 51-48% and Romney won in 2012, 52-47%. I don't have the exact numbers for 2016 yet, but Trump won. Racine and Kenosha counties provide the most votes in the congressional district. In 2012, Obama won Kenosha 44,838 (56%) to 34,942 (43%) and won Racine more narrowly-- 52,887 (51%) to 49,173 (48%). This past November Trump won both counties-- Kenosha with 36,025 votes to Clinton's 35,770 and Racine with 46,620 votes to Clinton's 42,506. In other words, in more Democratic Kenosha, Clinton lost just over 9,000 votes that Obama got, while Trump bested Romney's total by slightly over a thousand votes. Plenty of Kenosha voters apparently didn't want Hillary--the county went overwhelmingly for Bernie (57-42%) in the primary-- but didn't want to vote for Trump. In Racine, Hillary underperformed Obama by a bit over 10,000 votes and Trump underperformed Romney by just over 2,500 votes. Racine had also gone to Bernie in the primary (51-49%) and, again, many voters-- decisively so-- didn't want Clinton but couldn't stomach voting for Trump. With Ryan attaching himself to Trump at the hip, will these voters be ready to make the move and elect a solid progressive offering clear departure from the ugly dystopia Trump and Ryan are offering up? We think so-- and we think we are close to persuading a candidate who sees it the same way to commit to jumping in against Ryan soon.

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At 7:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The DCCC and DNC have NOT changed. And they never will. All the oligarchs in the Democrap party are intractably corrupt and know no other way... in fact, they are devout in their fidelity to the money.

From Bill Black, an unassailable expert source:

dated but still relevant:

Does blue America know about this:

Will blue America finally do what it should have done years ago -- call for and lead a mass exodus from the Democrap party? Since '83 or so, the "party" has gotten more and more corrupt and more and more devout to the money. At present, proven by their despicable actions in 2016 wrt candidates supported and forced upon voters by voter suppression and fraud plus their pathetic performance so far in the drumpf reich, the Democrap party is irretrievably broken (from the perspective of the 99.99%).

remember, over 100 million did not (or were not allowed to) vote in 2016. Polling shows that they, correctly, feel they have nothing to vote for. Maybe if some actual left movement gave them a reason, they'd become a perpetual majority that could never lose an election to an honestly unified money whore party.

I don't know if blue America can possibly be a catalyst. I don't know if can be that catalyst. But there has to be one or we'll end up like Germany in '38.

At 7:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There will be no end to the trump reich until nonnazi voters have something and someone to vote for. It better happen soon before elections are done away with.

At 8:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The trolls are out on DWT again.

At 4:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Will The 2018 Midterms Put A Quick End To Trumpism?"

Not a chance. The Democrats are too inept and clueless -not to mention addicted to corporatist money- to find their way out of a wet paper bag lying on its side in the rain. The GOP has their number, and will abuse their majority power in ways the Democrats were too timid to attempt when the power shoe was on the other foot.

Trump may well himself go down, but only because Mike Pence will be holding the bloody stiletto.

At 6:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It isn't just the democraps cowardice and corruption.

Even if congress resists der fuhrer, he'll simply rule by dictat (EO and tweet).

And his team, in charge of every cabinet dept, will rule arbitrarily by fiat as their respective prejudices demand.

To end trump naziism, they'll have to impeach... and convict.

And then we'll have the same conversation about der unterfuhrer pence and his yearning to remake us/US into the jesusland caliphate with the same cabinet.

And if pence is impeached, it'll be lather, rinse, repeat with the misanthrope ryan as he issues dictats to kill (slowly or quickly, either way) all the poor, elderly and sick and give all their medicare and ssi money to billionaires.


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