National fake emergency is for Trump’s base and Trump’s base alone. I sound like a broken record on this “Trump’s base, so what? Not enough to win with” stuff, but there’s reason.
Trump's 'base-only' strategy can't win him MI, PA, WI again. D's now equally (or more) energized. Key swing demo in 2020 are the "ambivalent" voters who hated both Trump & Clinton in 2016.https://t.co/RP2sHXLG2O
— amy walter (@amyewalter) February 15, 2019
Nate Silver/FiveThirtyEight (from 11/18):
Trump’s Base Isn’t Enough
This year’s results do serve as a warning to Trump in one important sense, however: His base alone will not be enough to win a second term. Throughout the stretch run of the 2018 midterm campaign, Trump and Republicans highlighted highly charged partisan issues, from the Central American migrant caravan to Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court. And Republican voters did indeed turn out in very high numbers: GOP candidates for the House received more than 50 million votes, more than the roughly 45 million they got in 2010.
But it wasn’t enough, or even close to enough. Problem No. 1 is that Republicans lost among swing voters: Independent voters went for Democrats by a 12-point margin, and voters who voted for a third-party candidate in 2016 went to Democrats by 13 points.
Trump and Republicans also have Problem No. 2, however: Their base is smaller than the Democratic one. This isn’t quite as much of a disadvantage as it might seem; the Democratic base is less cohesive and therefore harder to govern. Democratic voters are sometimes less likely to turn out, although that wasn’t a problem this year. And because Republican voters are concentrated in rural, agrarian states, the GOP has a big advantage in the Senate.
And see this one, too, from last month:
Rachel Bitecofer/NY Times:
Why Trump Will Lose in 2020
The president is running hard on a strategy of riling up his base. But by doing that, he riles up the Democratic base, too, and that one is bigger.
All of this was validated in 2018. That’s why Nancy Pelosi is speaker.
Trump, responding to my question, concedes there’s no national emergency to justify building his wall: “I didn’t need to do this… I just want to do it faster.”
That answer will complicate his legal case.
— Peter Alexander (@PeterAlexander) February 15, 2019
With news on President Trump’s declaring #NationalEmergency…
Read my former boss, prior Acting General Counsel of Department of Defense—Robert S. Taylor—on the legal perils for officials who sign off on an illegal planhttps://t.co/IpuaXhuExz
— Ryan Goodman (@rgoodlaw) February 14, 2019
“I didn’t need to do this,” he says of the nonemergency that he pretends is a national emergency.
— Clyde Haberman (@ClydeHaberman) February 16, 2019
The President Is Hallucinating and I Think We Should Be ConcernedTrump is declaring a fictional emergency to complete a wall he hasn’t started in response to an incursion that doesn’t exist. It’s Wayne Hays in the White House.
I do not offer this possibility lightly. I know that the Trump administration and its allies take very seriously false accusations of health problems. And I am aware that the president just recently received another glowing review from the plenipotentiary vice-minister of medical services in the White House and has in the past availed himself of the top-of-the-line medical advice that is afforded the wealthy in our free market system.
But even so, I feel compelled to abide by the DHS mantra of “see something, say something,” so here it is.
The president seems to be hallucinating about marauding Hispanic invaders. I think we should be concerned.
— Mark Murray (@mmurraypolitics) February 15, 2019
Former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld exploring primary challenge against Trump
“Our president is simply too unstable to carry out the duties of the highest executive office in the land,” Weld said as he announced the launch of an exploratory committee at Politics & Eggs in Bedford, N.H. The breakfast program is considered a must for 2020 hopefuls in the early-voting state.
— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) February 15, 2019
Liz Mair/The Bulwark:
William Weld Could Make 2020 Interesting. Here’s How.The former Massachusetts governor could be popular enough in New Hampshire to damage Trump.
Remember: Trump did not win the Iowa caucuses in 2016. But he did win New Hampshire by a mile, re-establishing him as the frontrunner in 2016.
Also remember, in 2008, Hillary Clinton did not win the Iowa caucuses and her campaign was viewed as being in a downward spiral. But she did win in New Hampshire—a big surprise, so much so that her communications director was visibly sartorially unprepared for doing TV interviews to talk about her performance on the night— and it put her back in contention, helping to draw the Democratic nominating contest out far, far longer than Obama backers had predicted or hoped.
New Hampshire is also where President George H.W. Bush’s re-election vulnerability became visible in 1992. Contrary to popular belief, Pat Buchanan did not in fact defeat Bush there, but he gave him enough of a run for his money that Bush emerged very damaged.
Whether Bush’s soft underbelly was the reason Bush underdelivered in New Hampshire and subsequently lost to Bill Clinton in 1992, or whether Bush’s underdelivery in New Hampshire exposed the soft underbelly and caused him to lose in 1992 is a matter for debate. What we know for sure is that if someone racks up votes against a sitting GOP Ppresident in New Hampshire, the whole perception of a presidential race changes. And Weld looks like he has some ability to effectuate that in 2020.
Is it now Puerto Rico and California (American Citizens) that will pay for the wall? If this is the case, we’ll see you in court. https://t.co/KwDjEloXm2
— Ricardo Rossello (@ricardorossello) February 14, 2019
Damon Linker/The Week:
Elliot Abrams and the absurd paradoxes of American foreign policy
Only in America could a man best known for enacting policies that led to mass murder, participating in a criminal conspiracyto subvert the will of Congress, and helping to plan and execute a war that destabilized an entire region and resulted in more than a hundred thousand deaths be chosen to lead yet another delicate foreign policy mission and then enjoy the fulsome support of the country’s bipartisan national security establishment who passionately defend him as “a leading advocate of human rights and democracy.”
I’m talking, of course, about Elliott Abrams, President Trump’s choice of special envoy to Venezuela, who faced blunt, sometimes rude questioning from Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) before the House Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday. The grilling sparked a tidal wave of outrage and umbrage among leading members of the foreign policy community, many of whom viewed Abrams’ treatment as a violation of decorum and an affront against a card-carrying member of the club of Very Serious Policy Intellectuals who have devoted their lives and careers to helping the United States lead the free world.
It’s crucially important that we come to understand how a man with Abrams’ resume could end up treated like royalty in the nation’s capital — and why, by American standards, this seemingly unlikely confluence of events really isn’t that unlikely at all but rather far closer to something like an inevitability.
Yeah he sounds like a guy who knows he lost. https://t.co/86H393M8gE
— Daniel W. Drezner (@dandrezner) February 15, 2019
The massacre Trump’s envoy to Venezuela wants us to forget
The massacre at El Mozote occurred just before Abrams assumed his post as assistant secretary of state for human rights and humanitarian affairs in the Reagan administration. News of the brutal killings and rapes that took place there and in surrounding hamlets — considered some of the worst atrocities in modern Latin American history — reached the United States via the front pages of the New York Times and The Washington Post.
The Post’s Alma Guillermoprieto, who reached El Mozote in January 1982, found “dozens of decomposing bodies,” left to molder for a month in the ruins of the flattened village and adjacent fields. In a central square, she entered a church where many of the village’s men had been taken and executed. “The walls of the smaller sacristy beside it also appeared to have had its adobe walls pushed in,” she wrote. “Inside, the stench was overpowering, and countless bits of bones — skulls, rib cages, femurs, a spinal column — poked out of the rubble.” …
At the time, Abrams worked to suppress news of the massacre, dismissing the news reports as not “credible” and enabling the propaganda of the guerrillas.
And now for something nice:
Lil John and the Restaurant Singers – Piedmont, South Carolina pic.twitter.com/HjLBk219vj
— ment nelson (@mentnelson) February 15, 2019