Sunday, August 26, 2018

What Happens AFTER The Wave? What Can Democrats Accomplish?


Never afraid to tell the voters what he plans to do

Over the weekend, Politico released a new poll of registered voters from Morning Consult. A couple of points:41% approve of Trump (22% strongly) and 54% disapprove (42% strongly). A full 60% of respondents said it would be inappropriate for Trump to pardon Manafort (which he plans to do) and only 11%-- hardcore Trumpists-- say it would be appropriate. Interestingly, 60% also said that Michael Cohen's guilty plea and Paul Manafort's guilty verdict make them more likely to vote for Democratic candidates in the midterm and only 10% say that would make them more likely to vote for Republican candidates. Asked if they think congressional Republicans are doing a good job in providing oversight for Trump, 7% said excellent, 17% said good, 20% said fair and 40% said poor. In terms of the DC swamp, 26% said it's gotten better since Trump took office and 50% said it's gotten worse. Favorable/Unfavorable ratings for political figures:
Mitch McConnell- 18%/42%
Paul Ryan- 29%/45%
Nancy Pelosi- 26%/49%
Chuck Schumer- 20%/37%
Mike Pence- 39%/41%
Trump- 41%/54%
congressional Republicans- 33%/53%
congressional Democrats- 38%/48%
44% of voters feel Trump's campaign worked with Russia to influence the 2016 election, 36% say the campaign didn't and 19% don't know. 49% say Trump tried to obstruct the investigation and 34% say he didn't. 42% said Congress should begin impeachment proceedings, the same number who say they shouldn't. Then there was this: "Would you be more or less likely to support a candidate for U.S. Congress who called for impeaching President Trump, or would it not make much difference in your support for the candidate either way?"
Much more likely- 21%
Somewhat more likely- 14%
Somewhat less likely- 6%
Much less likely- 26%
Not much difference- 21%
No opinion- 12%

If you've been getting blurred over, now's the time to start paying attention. Voters were also asked how much of a priority they put on investigating the Trump campaign's role in Putin-Gate:
A top priority- 39%
Important priority0 16%
Not too important- 17%
Should not be done 18%
No opinion- 10%
OK, now Cook's mostly silly guesses about what will happen in November. Dave Wasserman still sees a wave, but it might be big or it might be small. Thanks, Dave; you rock. "The most critical phase of the battle for the House isn't October; it's right now," he wrote. "Republicans' only hope of defying a 'Blue Wave' and saving their 23-seat House majority is to personally disqualify Democratic nominees on a race-by-race basis with quality opposition research. But there's a narrow window of time to do so before the airwaves get clogged, and Republicans will need to be selective." They basically have one-size-fits-all, ads already clogging the airwaves, calling everyone a Pelosi clone, and a few especially vicious attacks on Democrats they fear most, like Randy Bryce in Wisconsin. Conservative billionaire donors continue to spend very heavily in Democratic primaries to try to knock out progressives like Alan Grayson (FL) and Matt Heinz (AZ) on Tuesday, by pushing Republican-lite conservatives like Darren Soto and Ann Kirkpatrick. The strategy has worked in some races-- notably in Chicago where the No Labels poisonous smear campaign destroyed Marie Newman and reelected Blue Dog worm Dan Lipinski-- and failed in others, where progressives like Sue Wild (PA) and Debra Haaland defeated GOP-lite candidates John Morganelli and Damon Martinez, backed by big bucks laundered by Republicans into No Labels.

Back to Cook's prognosticatications. "The playing field of competitive races." wrote Wasserman, "has expanded, and not in a good way for the GOP: of the 66 races in our 'Lean' and 'Toss Up' columns, Republicans are defending 62 and Democrats just four... Many Republicans wish they could simply run on a great economy, but complain President Trump's constant distractions won't let them. Instead, Republicans will have to convince voters that the Democratic alternatives are unacceptable."

The DCCC is making the same mistake they made-- so disastrously-- in 2010 by letting the Republicans define Democratic candidates while they sit on their asses doing nothing but figuring out how of a rake-off from campaign donations their pals can get. Ryan's SuperPAC "is already unloading blistering attack ads on Democratic nominees in 15 key districts," while the DCCC is still spending their energy and resources against progressives and ignoring Republicans.

Wasserman is betting that 5 incumbents in seats Hillary won will survive the wave: David Valadao (CA-21), Carlos Curbelo (FL-26), John Katko (NY-24), Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01) and Will Hurd (TX-23). In one of the races the DCCC intervened in on behalf of an establishment candidate, they were beaten back by local Democrats and the winning candidate was Dana Balter. Wasserman's lack of belief in her comes straight from the DCCC. I'd bet she'll win her race. We'll know who's taking on Curbelo on Tuesday night but TX-23, CA-21 and PA-01 has DCCC-type uninspiring candidates who can only win if the wave if big enough-- just like the DCCC itself, a lesser-of-two-evils operation that always loses unless Republican overreach generates an anti-red wave, like the one headed towards shore now. Wasserman should get to know Balter so he stops makings foolish predictions about NY-24.
The next month of ads and polls will tell us a lot about the intensity of voters' opposition to President Trump in these seats. In 2010, very little of what Democrats threw at Republicans stuck. It's possible that in 2018, suburban professional women will be so desperate to send a message to Trump that they'll be willing to overlook a lot of Democratic nominees' flaws.

The 66 competitive races below don't include three open GOP seats that are already "in the bag" for Democrats (NJ-02, PA-05, PA-06) and one Democratic open seat that's already sure to flip to Republicans (PA-14). Effectively, Democrats start out with a net gain of two off the bat and would need to win only 25 of these 66 races (38 percent) to capture the majority.

Cook's opinion, that's all

There are still more races in Lean Republican than Lean Democratic, and if those races fell to the favorites and the 30 Toss Ups were to split evenly, Democrats would gain 22 seats, one short of a majority. But there's still time for many of the races in Lean and Likely Republican to develop into more competitive contests, and in wave election years, the Toss Ups typically break disproportionately towards one party.

Democrats remain clear but not overwhelming House favorites. On the low end, it's possible House control may not be decided until days after the election. It's also possible a "Blue Wave" could propel Democrats to historic gains, well past the 23 they need. Right now, Democrats appear poised to gain between 20 and 40 seats, with 25 to 35 the likeliest outcome.

Ratings Changes:
NY-25: OPEN (Slaughter) | Likely D to Solid D
• NC-02: Holding | Likely R to Lean R
OH-01: Chabot | Lean R to Toss Up
So why did I put you through all this, on a Sunday morning, no less? It was all leading to Paul Blumenthal's HuffPo report from Friday about what the Democrats plan to do if they win back the House in November. With Trump in the White House and the Senate tied in knots (or worse), forget any real legislative accomplishments. What they will gain, however are committee chairs, subpoena power and the ability to investigate and hold hearings.
Democratic members on the committee have asked the Republican majority to issue subpoenas related to the administration’s conduct 52 times during the first 20 months of Donald Trump’s presidency. Republicans turned down each of those 52 requests. If Democrats held the committee gavel, the subpoenas would be approved.

Vigorous use of the subpoena power, which was granted to Congress to oversee the executive branch, could bring real attention to the many stories of inept governance, malicious policy and outright corruption that seem to bubble up as brief controversies, only to sink under the flood of the president’s Twitter froth.

“If Democrats win the majority in November, we would finally do what Republicans have refused to do, and that is conduct independent, fact-based, and credible investigations of the Trump Administration to address issues like the security clearance process, conflicts of interest, the numerous attempts by Republicans to strip away healthcare from millions of Americans, postal service reforms, prescription drug pricing, and voting rights,” Rep. Elijah Cummings (MD), the ranking Democrat on the oversight committee, said in a statement.

The 52 subpoena requests fell into three categories. First, Trump administration and Trump Organization corruption, conflicts of interest and violations of norms of good governance. Second, the committee’s core oversight functions, including agency reorganizations, the issuance of security clearances and the 2020 census. And third, overall issues of waste, fraud and abuse.
Here are just a dozen of the general investigations we can look forward to:
Trump's corruption
Kushner's corruption
2020 Census
Security clearances
hurricane response in Puerto Rico
AT&T-TimeWarner merger
the proposed gag rule for Title X family planning
loyalty tests
Flint water disaster
Niger ambush
politicized hiring of immigration judges
Oh, yeah... and the kidnapping of children at the border. That one alone should last at least right into 2020.

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At 6:28 AM, Anonymous ap215 said...

I would love to see everything get done in the upcoming congress except Nancy Pelosi the corporate donors are beholden with Money they're gonna prevent it the same thing happened in 2006 & Nancy did zilch.

At 6:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Once again, the "democratic" Party is hatcheting their Counts before they chicken. Subpoena power can only come with an electoral victory. The Party continues to work against progressives in favor of corporatist hacks, whose "Stay The Course" message doesn't play well with the majority of the voters.

There must be a larger bonus in throwing the election this year.

At 10:47 AM, Blogger edmondo said...

Go back and look at the Fav/Unfav ratings. The second worst numbers belong to none other than Nancy Pelosi. You really think America is going to rally to make her speaker again? The democrats still haven't learned their lesson from 2016 when they nominated the other person with the second worst rating, Hillary Clinton. The Democrats ain't taking the House till Nancy retires or dies and they try to run her mummy.

At 4:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

edmondo, you forget that voters don't select the speaker. That job is typically BOUGHT by the bigge$t bade$ whore in the caucus$. And that is Pelo$i. If the 'crap$ trip and fall into an anti-red wave majority, $he'll be $peaker again unle$$ $he doe$n't want it... and $he certainly doe$ want it.

As to what to REALLY expect, aside from this obvious campaign speech written by the high priest of lesser evilism, all you have to do is interrogate what pelo$i led her caucus$ to do in 2007.

The answer is no surprise. They did nothing... about wars, PATRIOT, torture, NSA spying, cheney's impeachment, gonzalez's impeachment... Shit, they didn't even talk much about any of these things.

They basically shoved both thumbs up their asses and stood aside so cheney/bush/Rumsfeld could continue their shit show for another 2 years.

I might add that barney frank did NOT have his banking committee investigate anything at all from 2006-2008. What barney frank DID DO was endorse every single check he got and begged for from wall street.

And wall street's criminal schemes blew up the world's economy only 2 years later... which IRONICALLY allowed the 'craps to win both chambers and the WH that same year... which enabled the 'craps to be wall street's BFFs for 8 years.

So... the past is prelude... where'd I hear that beofe?

Maybe this author should have heard that too.

At 6:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

to summarize:

what MIGHT the 'craps accomplish if they take the house? Quite a lot, including what this piece mentions. Or more... if they impeach. Imagine holding a senate trial where the emoluments violation is a focus; the treasons; money laundering; corruption; Russian connections... Imagine Nazi senators voting "innocent" en masse after all that. It would lay bare their co-conspirator status... and the total lack of any hope for the future for the republic.

What SHALL they accomplish? Not. One. Fucking. Thing. Well, except they'll hold their investigations hostage for bigger donations from "interested" corporations and billionaires. They'll get whatever they ask for.


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