Thursday, May 21, 2020

#NeverTrump Republicans Will Likely Make A Real Contribution To Defeating Him And His Enablers


So far this year, some of my favorite campaign ads were done by the Lincoln Project, virulently anti-Trump Republicans who have lately turned their fire-power against vulnerable Trump enablers in the Senate, like Martha McSally (R-AZ) and Thom Tillis (R-NC). I'm hearing all kinds of buzz that they'll be turning their guns on Cory Gardner (R-CO), Susan Collins (R-ME), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Miss McConnell (R-KY), David Perdue (R-GA), Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Steve Daines (R-MT). They're doing a noticeably better job than the DSCC!

Yesterday Al Hunt wrote a piece for for The Hill, #NeverTrump Republicans-- Fringe Or A Force To Be Reckoned With?, speculation that #NeverTrump groups and politicians infuriate Señor T and "may gain traction in the election year." Unaware that MSNBC is crawling with anti-Trump Republicans, he suggests starting with the far less influential The Bulwark, which he described as "an online site and podcast directed by a Wisconsin conservative Charlie Sykes and including luminaries from the right like Bill Kristol, who was the editor of the Weekly Standard. It pummels the president's ineptitude and [lack of] integrity and his enablers."
The “Lincoln Project” brigade-- led by longtime Republicans like George Conway (his wife is Trump's counselor), Steve Schmidt, who once was a top aide to John McCain, and John Weaver, who was a top aide to Ohio Gov. John Kasich-- have run mocking negative ads that went viral after infuriating Trump.

There have been no tougher critiques of the Trump presidency than those written by conservative columnists Michael Gerson, George Will, Max Boot and Pete Wehner.

Mind you, none of these critics on the right have become big government, wealth redistributing left wingers. If Joe Biden and a Democratic Congress were to be elected this November, most of these people will be among their most articulate critics.

But they know the traditional conservative values of limited government, free markets and global leadership aren't in this president's vocabulary. They resent that their philosophical mentor William F. Buckley has been replaced in Trump's Republican Party by Sean Hannity.

“We can see how his con works," Charlie Sykes told me, “how he manipulates conservative memes and exploits the worst and darkest elements of the right. We're the ones calling out his bullshit because we know it's bullshit.”

Sykes was a popular Wisconsin conservative radio talk show host and author until Trump was elected. He left and wrote a book, How the Right Lost its Mind. And he founded The Bulwark.

Bulwark isn't just headlines and quick hits-- most pieces are well documented and devastating. One of the lead writers is Tim Miller, who was Jeb Bush's communications director.

On March 25, Miller laid out the timeline of the president's handling of the pandemic. It documented how Trump ignored the early advice of experts-- Republicans-- to vastly expand testing and obtain hospital supplies which soon would be essential. This was one of the earliest and most comprehensive accounts of the massive failure.

Most recently Miller weighed in on the ludicrous “Obamagate” conspiracy hoax, Trump's charge that the former president and his top officials illicitly sought to fix the last presidential election and then to undermine Trump's presidency.

Exhibit A is Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn, whom these conspirators claim was framed when he plead guilty-- on multiple occasions-- to lying to federal officials. William Barr, the attorney general of Trump's dreams, now seeks to drop all charges against Flynn.

A short reprise: Flynn got $45,000 from Russian state television, sat next to Vladimir Putin at a 2015 Moscow dinner and had an inappropriate conversation with the Russian ambassador at the end of the Obama presidency. Then-- when that call was revealed-- he lied to Vice President Mike Pence about it.

Why wouldn't the FBI want to interview him? They did, and he lied to them too.

Nobody forced Flynn to lie. Flynn is a serial liar.

The mere discussion of “Obamagate” is a travesty but, Miller notes, it's vintage Trump. His entire history in business and politics is to “create a preferred universe of convenient facts, then insist they are true, no matter what.”

It seems nearly certain that the children of Joe Biden and Donald Trump will be an issue going into November, and The Bulwark has gone there too.

These anti-Trump conservative activists are making their mark. What remains is whether former top Trump officials or Republican office-holders will enter the fray. If so, they could affect a few voters on the margins, like college educated white men, who went for Trump, 53 percent to 39 percent, last time.

The ex-Trump aides who've turned on him don't matter. One who might, though, is former Defense Secretary James Mattis. Several people who know him say he cringes at the notion of a second Trump term, but the four-star Marine general has resisted weighing in on presidential politics.

A few retired Republican office-holders, like conservative Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake, will come out against Trump. Others, like former New Hampshire Governor and Senator Judd Gregg, are mortified by this president; in a recent column Gregg said Biden is the antithesis of Trump-- “decent, fair, substantive and well-informed.” But in an interview with me, Gregg suggested the Democratic nominee's leftward lurch concerns him.

The long-shot blockbuster would be George W. Bush.

It's no secret he and Trump have a mutual contempt for one another. If a former Republican president-- the head of an influential Republican brand for decades-- supports a Democratic candidate, it would send shock waves.

It's very unlikely-- but keep an eye on it.

My guess is that yesterday the Lincoln Project released this brand new clip on Brad Parscale, Trump's campaign manger, to make Trumpanzee's ears and eyes bleed. It's a doozy, not so much for the general public as for Trump and his cronies and for #NeverTrumpers everywhere-- and for all times. This has got to be Steve Schmidt's work! Or maybe Schmidt and Weaver. They really want to get under his skin and make him do something idiotic. Would I love to be able to hear Trump's reaction when he sees this one!

Trump is sinking poll numbers for GOP senators and House members. Some of these people were never comfortable with him to begin with. Are they willing to see their careers flushed down the toilet now by backing them? Do they even have any choice? Imagine Maine Senator Susan Collins breaks with Trump. Democrats are unlikely to vote for her but the independent voters who have backed away from her could be wooed back. Probably some Republicans would stick with her but many on the right-- Trump and LePage partisans-- would abandon her. Take Lewiston. There are 23,937 registered voters-- 42.6% Democrats, 34.9% independent and 17.3% Republican. Denouncing Trump would be a good move there. Same in neighboring Auburn (15,463 registered voters-- 39.9% independents, 32.4% Dems, 23.3% Republicans). But what about Caribou and Presque Isle, the two biggest towns in Aroostook County? Caribou's voters are 38.1% independent, 29.9% Democrat and 29.7% Republican. Presque Isle's 6,524 registered voters are 35.5% independent, 31.1% Republican and 29.9% Democrat. The gamble could work there. And statewide? Pew reports that 47% of Maine's voters are Democrats (or independents who lean Democratic), 36% are Republicans and independents who lean Republican and that 17% are independents with no lean. Collins can't afford to lose any significant number of the Republicans, especially with more Democrats than Republicans going to the polls in Maine. Last year "nearly 42,000 more Democrats cast ballots in November than did Republicans-- roughly three times the gaps seen in 2010 and 2014."

In the House just 23 Republicans who are running for reelection have voted with Trump less than 90% of the time. These are them with their Trump scores-- the higher the number the more pro-Trump their voting records:
Mike Gallagher (WI-08)- 89.9%
Don Young (AK-al)- 89.8%
Mo Brooks (AL-05)- 89.7%
Warren Davidson (OH-08)- 89.7%
Bill Posey (FL-08)- 89.2%
Jim Jordan (OH-04)- 88.6%
Lee Zeldin (NY-01)- 88.2%
Tom McClintock (CA-04)- 87.3%
Ken Buck (R-CO)- 87.2%
Alex Mooney (WV-02)- 87.0%
Trey Hollingworth (IN-09)- 86.8%
Paul Gosar (AZ-04)- 86.1%
Louie Gohmert (TX-01)- 85.7%
Matt Gaetz (FL-01)- 84.6%
Andy Biggs (AZ-05)- 82.1%
Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA-03)- 81.6%
Fred Upton (MI-06)- 81.5%
Elise Stefanik (NY-21)- 78.1%
John Katko (NY-24)- 75.8%
Thomas Massie (KY-04)- 70.1%
Chris Smith (NJ-04)- 67.9%
Brian Fitzpatrick (PA-01)- 64.7%
Jeff Van Drew (NJ-02)- recently switched parties

I don't see any of these members with the guts to break with Trump. The only possibilities might be Massie, who Trump is already against, and Fitzpatrick, whose district is strongly anti-Trump. And remember, most of the 23 members above who have voted "against" Trump have done so because they are further right than Trump, not because they are mainstream conservatives, let alone moderates.

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At 7:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

they existed in '16 too. didn't matter then either.
those Nazis who despise a retarded fat fuhrer, but yearn for a better one, don't speak to the swastika/stars-n-bars wearing white supremacists. They don't speak to the sentient Nazi voters. never did.


trump hasn't lost a single voter unless they died since '16. biden will probably come up millions short of $hillbillary because he's less than a shadow of the candidate $he was... and $he was shit. And some not-insignificant portion of the voters who tolerated HER will no longer tolerate the democraps puking up THAT hairball.

Anyone ever think that the DNC was accomplishing 3, and only 3 goals by getting the colossal morons to pick biden this time around?

1) keep Bernie away. again. still
2) re-elect trump and keep him doing trump things and scaring the shit out of everyone, hopefully including a few swastika-tatted shitstains (as if!). You know. The Pelosi strategery wrt cheney/bush and wrt trump?
3) wait for 2024 when AOC is of age... and run her... provided she first swears total fealty to the money. And no, we would never hear about it. We'd just have to figure it out when she started naming goldman-sachs and blue-dogs to her cabinet and staff. you remember... just like obamanation in 2008.

note: most never figured it out in 2008... or ever. fuck we're stupid!

if you don't believe the democrap party is just a fascist appendage of the corporations... you gotta believe the above. Or 2020 just doesn't make any fucking sense at all.

At 2:45 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ONLY Republicans are doing much to oust Trump. Democrats have forgotten how to do anything useful to the 99%. The ghosts of the Whigs wistfully shake their heads at the Party which will soon join them in historical obscurity.

At 6:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:45, I've been hoping you are correct for going on 40 years now.

At 10:24 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hope isn't a strategy, 6:14. It would require the ability to fix stupid, and we both know that 40 years is plenty long enough to realize that can't be done.

All we can do is save ourselves as best we can. We cannot help anyone else unless we do.

At 1:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

nodding in agreement with 10:24.


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