Abbreviated Pundit Round-up: Cave man blinks and shutdown is over

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@NYDailyNews / Twitter

So on the shutdown, Trump caved, Pelosi won and the rest of Trump’s afternoon speech was a garbage rant on national TV. And it’s Roger Stone’s turn in the barrel.

WaPo: Post-ABC poll: Trump disapproval swells as president, Republicans face lopsided blame for shutdown

WaPo: ‘Prisoner of his own impulse’: Inside Trump’s cave to end shutdown without wall

Politico ‘Complete, total surrender’: Why Trump waved the white flag


The big picture: The president delivered nothing for his base and created financial instability for millions of others, uniting Democrats around House Speaker Pelosi, who emerged as his foil during the stretch.

  • Trump challenged her for wall funding … and got nothing
  • He fought her on the State of the Union … and got nothing
  • And he teased a national emergency … but didn’t do it

The above has a thread to go with it, click on the timestamp to read it.

In other news:

Tim O’Brien/Bloomberg:

Roger Stone’s Indictment Hits Trump Close to Home

A Mueller indictment further dispels the notion that the Trump campaign wasn’t working closely with Russian interests during the 2016 presidential race.

The indictment alleges that in the summer of 2016 Stone told senior Trump campaign officials he knew WikiLeaks had information that might damage the prospects of Trump’s rival in the presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton. WikiLeaks, referred to as “Organization 1” in the indictment, released the DNC emails on July 22, 2016, after which an unidentified senior Trump campaign official allegedly “was directed’’ to contact Stone about other damaging material. According to Bloomberg News, that senior Trump campaign official was Steve Bannon.

The identity of whoever was allegedly directing Bannon and Stone to seek other damaging information about Clinton isn’t disclosed in the indictment. It was likely someone in the very upper reaches of the campaign – possibly a member of the Trump family or Trump himself. Regardless, the indictment’s 24 pages offer one of law enforcement’s most thorough descriptions to date of how intimately Trump’s closest advisors worked with WikiLeaks and Russian-sponsored hackers during the 2016 campaign. The indictment also draws a very full portrait – via testimony, public statements, email and other evidence – of just how readily and actively the Trump campaign colluded with foreign interests in its bid for the presidency.

Ryan Cooper/The Week:

Republican senators need to pull Trump into line

Part of wise political strategy is knowing when to fight and when to cut one’s losses and survive to fight another day. By far the best thing for the country and even the Republican Party would be for Senate Republicans to override Trump, reopen the government with a clean funding bill, and move on (no doubt another crisis is just around the corner).

There is also, you know, the whole “serving as the people’s democratic representative” thing. Ideas like honor and duty have become tarnished beyond recognition in today’s Republican Party, but it’s just possible that the damage this senseless shutdown is inflicting on the country is starting to sink in. For instance, the associations of air traffic controllers, pilots, and flight attendants recently released a joint statement about the shutdown which stated: “[W]e cannot even calculate the level of risk currently at play, nor predict the point at which the entire system will break. It is unprecedented.” It is entirely imaginable that Trump’s shutdown is going to result in the deaths of large numbers of Americans.

Greg Sargent/WaPo:

There is only one way to break Trump’s pathology. Pelosi has found it.

Pundits can claim all they want that Pelosi is being “as petty as Trump,” as if this is all just a matter of interpersonal conduct. That objection is now irrelevant: What really matters is that Trump will not deliver the speech. He will not use this ceremony as a platform to browbeat Democrats or to spread gales of disinformation about the shutdown and about the wall fantasies driving it. He will not use its pomp and elevating power to, in effect, launder his profound bad faith and the resulting deep imbalance of the situation. Perhaps the only antidote to the false-equivalence fog machine is the reality of power — the power of “no.”

I don’t mean to overstate the long-term significance of this capitulation. Instead, my point is that it gets at the deeper problem we all face here: Trump and his GOP enablers are proceeding as if the 2018 elections never happened.

People who think the SOTU back-and-forth is petty are missing the point. In fact, they are missing several points.

1. Trump concedes.
2. Pelosi doesn’t blink.
3. It is vitally important to say no to Trump on issues that matter.
4. Republicans in Congress are courtiers, not leaders.
5. You cannot negotiate with someone who lies and cheats without drawing a line and sticking to it.
6. Trump is a good intimidator but a terrible negotiator, and now he is exposed.

I am sure there’s more, but it’s not petty.

Simon Rosenberg/Twitter:

Critical to making sense of today’s Stone news is for all of us to get to a more accurate place about the impact Russia’s intervention had on the 2016 election. Many of the words used – hacking, meddled, interfere – are all far too benign to describe what happened.
On a Friday morning, hours after Trump became the nominee, delivering a speech which was wildly critical of America and its historic mission, Russia dropped a massive trove of emails designed to harm the Democratic Party and its Convention which was beginning in a few days.
/Two days later DNC Chair and most DNC senior staff were gone. Old fissures resurfaced. Early days of convention dominated by negative messages, chaos, confusion, and clearly cost Ds 1-2-3 pts that week. Losing 1 pt alone through this one intervention gave Trump the White House.
But damage from direct Russian attack on an American political party and its leadership was much greater than a chaotic convention. Entire general election plan, operation wildly disrupted. Huge amounts of time devoted to mitigating damage sucked capacity from normal campaign.

Sopan Deb/NY Times with something different:

Roy Wood Jr. Is Following in the Comedy Footsteps of Dick Gregory

Wood met Gregory, one of his comedy heroes, in 2011 and asked him why, later in life, Gregory was still performing. He answered: “The fight for freedom is out there — it ain’t at my house.”

AP/Tampa Bay Times:

Young voters actually did rock Florida’s vote in 2018

Newly released data reveals that young Florida voters did hit the polls at a significantly higher rate — 15 percentage points more — compared with the previous midterm election.

Not surprisingly, the 65-and-older demographic was still twice as likely as 22- to 25-year-olds to vote in Florida. About 73 percent of seniors cast ballots, according to Smith’s analysis.

And slightly more Republicans turned out among the 8.3 million Floridians who voted on a ballot that included contentious races for governor and a U.S. Senate seat, both so close they required recounts that ended in Republican winners.

This was great, but it’s a reminder that anything that activates our base activates theirs.

Peter Hamby/Vanity Fair:


The ultimate bias in journalism is not political. It’s toward controversy, gaffes, and scandal—shiny new things that get ratings and shares and downloads. There’s a rather obvious lesson here for Democrats seeking the White House—and for media elites who are tragically out of touch with how Americans actually consume the news.
To red rose progressives, big ideas win the day, regardless of the messenger and their willingness to play the political game. This is a nice thought, but it’s not realistic. Even if every Democrat in Congress started wearing Che T-shirts and giving floor speeches about The Shock Doctrine, it’s unlikely they would have the same “Twitter power” as Ocasio-Cortez. Chuck Schumer, Sheldon Whitehouse, Amy Klobuchar, Nancy Pelosi, Maxine Waters, Adam Schiff . . . none of them command attention like Ocasio-Cortez, because none of them possess her audacity—both with policy and with the media. Most Democrats are media duds, and the few that aren’t are running for president in 2020.

Dan Levin/NY Times:

Young Voters Keep Moving to the Left on Social Issues, Republicans Included

“This should be an alert to the Republican Party as they think about generational replacement,” said Elizabeth Bennion, a professor of political science at Indiana University South Bend.

Each succeeding generation of Americans tends to be more progressive than those that came before, Ms. Bennion noted, a trend that potentially poses a long-term threat to the Republican Party’s power.

“If there isn’t a will to change within the party,” she said, “it could become permanently in the minority moving forward.”

Democrats of all ages tend to align fairly closely on major social and political issues, but the report highlights a sharp generational divide among Republicans. For example, more than half of the youngest Republicans surveyed said that racial and ethnic diversity was good for American society, a view shared by fewer than 40 percent of their Millennial counterparts, 34 percent of Generation Xers and just three in 10 baby boomers.

Young Republicans are also more likely to approve of same-sex marriage and accept transgender people.

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