Post-Trump Does Not Mean Trump-Free

[ Posted Thursday, November 7th, 2019 – 17:41 UTC ]

I realize that the 2020 election is still almost a full year away, but today I'm going to take an even longer view than that. Because it's worth pondering what a post-Trump world will look like, and from what I see so far many Democrats have completely unrealistic expectations for what that world will look like. I say this because a post-Trump world does not automatically equate to a Trump-free world.

Some definition of terms is necessary to explain that statement, of course. A post-Trump world, to me, means what happens in the American political system after Trump leaves office. This could happen in various ways, but it will happen eventually. But this has led many Democrats to assume some sort of "return to normalcy," where the entire Trump experience is like a tumor on the body politic -- once it's removed, we can all breathe easy again and prepare for a healthier future. This may prove to be wildly optimistic, for a number of reasons. The biggest is that Trump will likely still be around for years to come, so removing him from the Oval Office isn't just going to magically erase his existence. A post-Trump world will most decidedly not be completely Trump-free.

Does anyone really think Trump is going to "go gentle into that good night"? As Dylan Thomas so aptly put it, what Trump will instead most likely opt for is to "rage, rage against the dying of the light." In fact, there's a lesser-well-known line in that poem that comes between those two that is even more appropriate for predicting Trump's post-office behavior: "old age should burn and rave at close of day." That sounds like it was specifically written as a playbook for Trump, doesn't it?

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Flipping The 'Burbs

[ Posted Wednesday, November 6th, 2019 – 17:53 UTC ]

That headline is quite obviously a pun on the phrase "flipping the bird," I will fully admit. But more on bird-flipping in a moment, though. Instead, let's begin with what inspired the pun in the first place: last night's off-off-year election results. The results for the 2019 election cycle are now (mostly) in, and what they show is that the big blue wave which arose in 2018 shows no signs of ebbing. Democrats not only won the governor's race in a state that Donald Trump won by 30 points back in 2016, but they also achieved the "trifecta" in Virginia, flipping both houses of the legislature in a single election (they already held the governor's office, completing the trifecta of one-party control). But the biggest news is how they achieved such gains, and the answer is -- as it also was one year ago -- that they flipped the suburbs that Republicans used to routinely count on as strongholds.

This does not bode well for the Republican Party, obviously. Some of them know this, but many are still -- at least publicly -- denying the new reality. They argue that they lost the Kentucky governor's race because their candidate was weak -- even though he governed and campaigned as a mini-Trump. Donald Trump himself led a rally in the final days of the campaign in the state, to no avail. This seriously dents the prowess of his coattails. Interestingly enough, he didn't even bother to hold a rally in Virginia, because Republicans there told him it would actually hurt their chances, not help them.

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Watching Virginia's Returns

[ Posted Tuesday, November 5th, 2019 – 17:53 UTC ]

Tonight, I will be watching the election returns from Virginia come in. There are other races happening today that the national pundits will be watching more closely (namely, the governors' races in Kentucky and Mississippi), but while they may provide some exciting news for Democrats, the outcome in Virginia is more interesting to me. Democrats winning a governor's race in a deep red state is certainly newsworthy, but in terms of long-term political shifts, Virginia is the one to watch.

I don't mean to be dismissive of the news that Democratic gubernatorial candidates even have a chance in three Southern states -- that is big news indeed. Kentucky and Mississippi voted today, while there will be a runoff governor's election in Louisiana on November 16 -- and all three races are too close to call at this point. While Kentucky and Louisiana often still elect conservative Democrats, the fact that there's a close race in Mississippi is pretty stunning. The outcome of these races could determine whether millions of their citizens will benefit from Medicare expansion (or continue to benefit from them, in the case of Kentucky). And that's just one big issue out of many.

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It's Actually A Four-Person Race At Best, Mayor Pete

[ Posted Monday, November 4th, 2019 – 18:22 UTC ]

Once again we're going to take another deep dive into the polling for the Democratic presidential field. We were inspired to do so because this weekend we passed a milestone -- we are now less than a full year away from the 2020 general election. And we're only about three months away from when the first voters get to have their say on the frozen tundra of the Iowa plains.

So let's just dig in to the numbers, to see where things stand, shall we?


Campaign News

Two candidates have exited the contest since the last time we examined the full Democratic field. First, Tim Ryan left the race, surprising many who hadn't even been aware he was in the running in the first place. The second exit was a little more prominent, as Beto O'Rourke hung up his spurs last week in dramatic fashion (his announcement was totally unexpected by anyone on his staff, reportedly). While it does seem like a lot of folks have now left the race, we are still left with 17 (!) candidates -- which, even without all the candidates who have already dropped out, still equals the biggest field the Republicans ever had back in 2016.

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Friday Talking Points -- Infair To Rupublicans!

[ Posted Friday, November 1st, 2019 – 18:02 UTC ]

Does President Trump's phone even have a spell-checker? One has to wonder, when he tweets so many idiotic misspellings on such a regular basis. This week's gem came directly after the House voted on impeachment inquiry procedures, which Trump wasn't exactly happy about:

Republicans are very unified and energized in our fight on the Impeachment Hoax with the Do Nothing Democrats, and now are starting to go after the Substance even more than the very infair Process because just a casual reading of the Transcript leads EVERYBODY to see that.....

.....the call with the Ukrainian President was a totally appropriate one. As he said, "No Pressure." This Impeachment nonsense is just a continuation of the Witch Hunt Hoax, which has been going on since before I even got elected. Rupublicans, go with Substance and close it out!

Rupublicans? How infair!


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Two Bone-Chilling Hallowe'en Tales For Left And Right

[ Posted Wednesday, October 30th, 2019 – 17:59 UTC ]

It's time once again to enter the Crypt, shine a flashlight up onto our face in the dark, and spin two ghastly tales of horror and mayhem for both sides of the aisle.

Gather 'round and prepare to quiver in fear, kiddies, because Hallowe'en comes but once a year. Think things are bad now? Hah! Think they couldn't possibly get any more spine-chilling or frightful? Think again!

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Parsing The Impeachment Resolution

[ Posted Tuesday, October 29th, 2019 – 16:53 UTC ]

Today, Nancy Pelosi released the text of the House Resolution on the impeachment inquiry that the full chamber will vote on this Thursday. Because this is an important milestone, it's worth a deep dive into the text to understand exactly how the process is going to play out in the next few weeks. Republicans are not going to like certain parts of it, but that was pretty much a foregone conclusion anyway. However, it gives them -- almost -- exactly what they've been demanding, so they'll be left making ever-more-technical arguments about why the process isn't all rainbows and unicorns for the president. Pelosi is betting that this will be enough to allow Democrats to claim a fair and transparent process to the American people, while the facts uncovered in the case will overwhelm all the technical nitpicking.

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Pelosi's Surprising Move To Hold Vote On Impeachment Inquiry

[ Posted Monday, October 28th, 2019 – 17:01 UTC ]

Nancy Pelosi, in a surprising move, has now indicated that the House of Representatives will indeed hold a floor vote on the impeachment inquiry this Thursday. So far, few details have been released. The big question, however, is not what will be in the motion, but why it is happening now at all.

Up until this point, Pelosi has been staunchly resisting calls to hold such a vote, even from within her own party. She seems to have already weathered much of the storm over the issue, which arose a few weeks back. She insisted that: (1) there was no constitutional requirement for such a vote, (2) the House had previously impeached other officials (but not presidents) without such a vote, and (3) an impeachment inquiry was already underway, making a motion to begin one moot. She stood firm in this position, as she almost always does when she's made her mind up on an important issue.

Her political and legal position was even bolstered at the end of last week, when a federal judge ruled that the House could indeed see all the grand jury evidence that Robert Mueller had collected, as well as an unredacted copy of his report. The judge specified in his ruling that an impeachment inquiry had indeed already begun and there was never any need for the House to hold a floor vote for that to have happened. This was a vote of confidence from the judiciary, which strengthened Pelosi's position in a big way. So why hold such a vote now?

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Friday Talking Points -- Collective Republican Amnesia

[ Posted Friday, October 25th, 2019 – 18:18 UTC ]

Remember when Republicans were the party that stood squarely for law and order? Or for that matter, remember when they used to be the party of fiscal responsibility, chock full of deficit hawks? Yeah, those were the days....

This week it was announced the annual deficit scraped the trillion-dollar ceiling last year -- figures not seen since the depths of the Great Recession. Republicans' reaction to this news? Sounds of crickets chirping. In the same week, Republicans "stormed" a secure facility, illegally carrying in and using their cell phones, in an attempt to intimidate both the committees conducting an impeachment inquiry and the witness scheduled to appear. Republicans also had to twist their pretzel logic a few more turns to explain why their previous go-to response ("There was no quid pro quo") is now, as Richard Nixon would have said, "no longer operative." Meanwhile, President Trump played the victim card once again, saying the constitutionally-sanctioned impeachment process was nothing short of a "lynching," in addition to referring to a clause in the Constitution as "phony." Trump also took the time this week to hold his very own "Mission Accomplished" moment, announcing that Syria was now a wonderful paradise, and that everyone should thank him personally for this splendiferous outcome. Nobel committee, please take note.

Sigh. In other words, it was just another week in Trumpland.

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Republicans Pound The Table And Yell

[ Posted Thursday, October 24th, 2019 – 17:06 UTC ]

Republicans are getting increasingly more desperate to distract everyone's attention from the continuing revelations of President Donald Trump's corruption and abuse of power by the impeachment inquiry. In fact, they've reached the "pound the table" stage, as evidenced by yesterday's rather juvenile stunt which shut down a planned House committee hearing for five hours. For those unfamiliar with the old legal adage, here are two versions of it, the first from Alan Dershowitz: "If the facts are on your side, pound the facts into the table. If the law is on your side, pound the law into the table. If neither the facts nor the law are on your side, pound the table." Earlier, Carl Sandberg went at it from a more defensive angle, but his end result is the same: "If the facts are against you, argue the law. If the law is against you, argue the facts. If the law and the facts are against you, pound the table and yell like Hell." This is precisely where the Republicans now are, since the both the facts and the law are (to put it politely) not on their side. So they're deploying their last-ditch mode, pounding the table and yelling as loudly as possible.

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