Sunday, October 11, 2020

Finally: Panic Washes Over GOP... But They Will Still Persist In Their Hateful And Unpopular Agenda



Republicans in Congress are preparing to triage Trump-- but not Amy Coney Island Baby. That's the hill they all seem happily willing to die on, a hill that symbolizes anti-Choice fanaticism, anti-healthcare mania, a pro-corporate and anti-regulatory extremism and, of course, the religious bigotry the GOP has wrapped itself in over the past two decades.

Republican Senators, Congress Members, state legislators, local officials, operatives and donors are all blaming Trump for their predicament. I hate Trump as much as anyone but if they want someone to blame for the tsunami headed their way, they should look in the mirror, not just to the White House. There was no time when they could not have said, "Wait, you are a fucking fascist and I am not and neither is my party." Too late for that now, though, because now their party is fascist and they have been enabling a fascist agenda-- eyes wide open.

The phrase on the lips of virtually all Beltway Republicans this month: "sinking ship," a way to describe the Trump reelection campaign, a battle being fought not in states Hillary won narrowly like New Hampshire, Virginia, Minnesota, Nevada and Maine but in states that were firmly in the Republican column way back then-- Arizona, Iowa, Georgia, Alaska, Ohio... even Texas.

And now, down-ballot Republicans are realizing-- too late-- they they are going down with that sinking ship. Some are even hoping to start showing their "independence" from Trump by breaking with his policies might help, after after their years of willing spineless subservience. Foolishly, they've chosen the wrong policy to break with. Trump, desperate to offer something to the voters, has ordered-- or re-ordered-- Mnuchin to work with Pelosi on a pandemic relief package that will include stimulus checks for struggling Americans (voters). For Mitch McConnell and his Senate colleagues that's a step too far. On Friday, Jonathan Swan and Alayna Treene reported for Axios that McConnell refuses to be tethered to Trump's growing desperation and that the president "has zero leverage to push them to support a bill crafted by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and congressional Republicans aren’t inclined to wrap themselves any tighter to a sinking ship." McConnell's camp says "You’re never going to get a deal out of Pelosi that Republicans can support. So do you really want to divide your party within days of an election? This entire exercise from Pelosi is basically trying to jam up the Senate in the midst of a Supreme Court confirmation. They know that from a procedural standpoint McConnell can drive this train to conclusion, so what they’re trying do is throw as many roadblocks in the way as possible-- and the best way to do that is get the president focused on some extraneous issue." Swan and Treene concluded that even if Pelosi and Mnuchin were to strike a deal, "there is little chance the Senate GOP would get on board with it... Senate Republicans remain far apart on what they want as a conference. They also view Trump and Mnuchin as far more willing to give more to Pelosi than what they're comfortable with-- both numbers-wise and on policy." And to make matters worse, "McConnell doesn’t want to do anything to interrupt the only visible Republican win before the election in his chamber-- the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court."

Americans have been voting-- and in much biggest numbers than ever before this early. No one needs a debate. This is a referendum on Trump and his enablers. Biden is horrible. People don't care. The majority of the Democrats recruited by the DCCC are horrible-- as are all the Democrats recruited by Schumer. No one cares. (They will in 2022, but not now. Now they only care about Trump and those who allowed him to run amok.) In early voting reporting yesterday's NY Times, a trio of writers noted that early returns give Democrats a 10 point advantage among the 275,000 first-time voters nationwide who had already cast ballots and an 18-point lead among 1.1 million "sporadic voters" who had already voted.
As of Saturday, more than 8.8 million ballots had already been received by elections officials in the 30 states that have made data available. In five states-- including the battlegrounds of Wisconsin and Minnesota-- the number of ballots returned already is more than 20 percent of the entire 2016 turnout.

The L.A. Times headline was hardly unique: As Trump’s fortunes sink, Republicans start to distance themselves in bid to save Senate. Evan Halper wrote that as "Trump skids deeper into political peril, anxious Republicans have started to try to distance themselves from his fate, appealing to voters to elect them as a check on a Joe Biden administration. As they make closing arguments in a desperate bid to keep control of the Senate, even Trump loyalists are chafing when asked how deep their support for the president runs. Senate campaigns, which long focused on electing candidates who would be loyal to Trump, now pitch a darker message to Republican voters-- one that assumes Trump won’t be there. 'If we lose the Senate, there will be no firewall to stop the Democrats from implementing their Armageddon plan to pack the courts with activist judges and to add four new Democrats to the Senate by giving statehood to DC and Puerto Rico,' said a fundraising appeal from the Senate Conservative Fund."

Halper noted that McConnell, who has been "one of Trump’s most loyal lieutenants, abruptly jumped off the Trump train this week to stake out a politically-- and medically-- safer position on the coronavirus crisis that is Trump’s biggest political liability. McConnell said at a news conference Thursday in Kentucky that he had not been at the White House for more than a month because he did not think its safety standards were stringent enough. 'My impression was that their approach to how to handle this is different from mine and what I suggested that we do in the Senate, which is to wear a mask and practice social distancing,' said McConnell, who is 78 and in an expensive fight for reelection this year. Veteran Texas Republican Sen. John Cornyn, in his pitch for an endorsement from the Houston Chronicle, scolded Trump for downplaying the dangers of the coronavirus. The paper, which had endorsed Cornyn in the past, ultimately opted to support Democrat MJ Hegar."
“I think Trump might cause us a tidal wave,” said one top Republican strategist and Trump supporter, who asked not to be named discussing internal party matters. “He is ankle weights in a pool on Senate candidates.”

The move away from Trump resembles the strategy Republicans followed in 2016, when many party leaders assumed he would lose, and in 1996, when the party’s nominee, Sen. Bob Dole of Kansas, badly trailed President Clinton.

In both cases, the approach was to avoid directly criticizing the nominee for fear of alienating his loyalists, while appealing to voters to keep a Republican Congress to deny Democrats a “blank check.”

...“A lot of Republicans are now having to walk this line where they don’t want be too critical of Trump and anger his base, but they need to reach out to moderates and independent,” said J. Miles Coleman, associate editor at the political forecasting journal Sabato’s Crystal Ball.
Yesterday, GOP lifer Ed Rollins, chair of Trump's Great America PAC, told CNN that the jig is up. "I'm afraid the race is over... What happened after the first presidential debate is every Senate race saw a 3- to 4-point drop for Republican candidates across the board. So campaigns are panicking and it’s the first time in a long while that they are being outraised. The potential is there to lose not only the presidency but the Senate as well… and to see the kind of wipeout we haven’t an experienced since the post-Watergate year of 1974." How could it can any worse for Trump. Well the Taliban could endorse him. Actually, they did.

NBC News reported that "some Republican operatives and donors" have given up on Trump's reelection and are "proposing that the party shift focus to protecting seats in Congress." Former NRCC staffer Ken Spain told NBC's Sahil Kapur that he sees "growing chances of a tsunami that drowns congressional Republican candidates," calling Trump's unpopularity "an anchor" for GOP candidates and worrying not about races in Colorado, Arizona and Maine-- that Republicans have given top on winning-- but in South Carolina, Georgia, Kansas and Alaska that they are in danger of losing.
Brendan Buck, a Republican consultant, who was a top adviser to former House Speaker Paul Ryan, said it would be a rational response to steer resources to saving endangered incumbents.

“We need to protect the Senate and limit the damage in the House,” he said. “They can’t say it out loud, but the president is likely toast, and a Republican Senate can serve as a check on a Biden administration and Democratic House. Republicans also need to keep the House in reach of flipping it back in 2022.”

If Republicans are struggling to protect an incumbent in the deep-red Palmetto State, it means the seat of Sen. John Cornyn in electoral vote-rich Texas may not necessarily be safe either, along with about a dozen others in a cycle in which Democrats need to pick up four seats to secure control, or three if they win the White House.

Biden’s campaign appears more bullish on Texas, purchasing $6.3 million in ads on TV and radio in the Lone Star State from Wednesday through Election Day, according to Advertising Analytics. His wife, Jill Biden, plans to travel to the state next week, the campaign announced Friday, with an itinerary a Biden campaign spokesperson said would include stops in Dallas, Houston and El Paso.

“Trump is definitely helping us,” Beto O’Rourke, a former Texas congressman and presidential candidate, told NBC News. “They have been neck and neck for weeks now, and Biden’s chances are only improving after his and Kamala (Harris)’s strong debate performances.”

O’Rourke, who came within 3 points of winning a Texas Senate race in 2018, insists the state and its 38 electoral votes are in play, and has been pleading with the Democrats to invest more there.
Democrats running for Republican-held congressional and state legislative seats are on the attack in Texas and closing in on Republican incumbents. Yesterday, Julie Oliver, progressive Democratic candidate running against crooked conservative Roger Williams in an R+ 11 district that the DCCC has completely ignored, told me that "We're in the middle of a pandemic that has killed hundreds of thousands of people. Many of our kids' schools are still closed. Women are having to leave their jobs. We've lost millions of jobs. And meanwhile, both Donald Trump and Roger Williams have consistently put themselves and their financial interests before the people in Texas. This presidency has been an unmitigated failure-- and Roger Williams has enabled him, every step of the way." Polling has turned so positive towards Oliver that last week the DCCC felt compelled to add her to their Red-to-Blue program. Same just happened in the district next door, TX-10, where Mike Siegel has battle the wealthiest man in the House, Trump lieutenant Michael McCaul to a dead heat. (You can contribute to both Siegel and Oliver here.)

Although Democrats stand to pick up a half dozen Texas congressional seats-- and win back the state House to boot-- Texas isn't the only "red" state preparing the shed more seats to the Democrats. Kapur's report noted Beltway imbeciles-- he was more polite-- who long believed the GOP would gain seats are now confronting the prospect that their minority might shrink. "Cook Political Report’s forecast gives Democrats a better than even chance of expanding their House majority." That can be interpreted as "even the conservative fools at Cook fear Democrats are on the verge of winning dozens of seats we scoffed at the idea of flipping just a few weeks ago."

Beltway insiders like Cook and the DCCC have never taken Audrey Denney's race against Trump appendage Doug LaMalfa seriously. After all, CA-01, in the northeast corner of rural California where it borders on Republican parts of Oregon and Nevada, has a daunting PVI of R+11. It was one of only 2 districts in California where Hillary took less than 37% of the vote and in the midst of 2018's "Blue Wave," neither Gavin Newsom nor Dianne Feinstein won a single one of CA-01's eleven counties. But look a little closer at the 2018 results and you'll notice that in both the biggest and third biggest counties in the district-- Butte and Nevada-- Denney beat LaMalfa with substantial majorities. This cycle, she's been expanding her base into Shasta, Placer, Siskiyou and Placer counties and is poised to make up the 9 point vote deficit from 2018. Her latest tracking poll by Lake Research, one of the most consistently accurate polling firms in the country, shows her and LaMalfa in a dead heat. Please consider contributing to Denney's campaign here and take a look at this analysis from Lake, an analysis that shows exactly how a deep red district flips progressive blue:

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