OK. Back To Basics.

If Apple has proven anything, it’s that “new and improved” isn’t always I’ll admit it, I’m exhausted, and I’d be surprised if Ursula isn’t too. The last 4 months have been a roller coaster, and as anybody who has ridden one can tell you, it can be heart stopping and insane, especially if you’re trying to describe it to somebody else on your cell phone while you’re going up and down and all around. But as anyone who has ridden one can also tell you, when you pull back into the station and get off, your head can be spinning, and your legs wobbly. I for one am more than ready to get back to some of the more pastoral, banal stupidity of Santa Trump and his demented elves. Trump’s impeachment is now officially over. Period. Full stop. But in every day that goes forward, whatever future Trump outrages, excesses, and atrocities come with them, increasingly the daily focus will center more and more on the Democratic primaries, and the 2020 general election. Even Trump’s never ending bullshit will be looked at more for it’s impact in November, and less for its own brain numbing stupidity. Cast your mind back two years to 2018. In 2018, Donald Trump’s name wasn’t even on the ballot, but the crazy bastard did everything in his power to stick it there, even going so far in his own rallies as well as rallies for vulnerable incumbents to say, My name isn’t on the ballot this year, but in a way it is. Because your vote this year is a vote for me, and for my leadership. Geez, ego much? And what did the Democratic candidates do? They ignored the shit out of Trump! They wouldn’t even use his name. Instead, they talked about healthcare, infrastructure, lower drug costs, affordable college, better schools, every kitchen table issue they could think of. They had meet-and-greets, held town halls, knocked on doors, and out fund raised entrenched GOP incumbents. And they flipped 40 GOP held seats, and made hanging the impeachment anchor around Trump’s neck possible. You want to win the White House in 2020? Ignore. Donald. Trump. That’s not your job.Whether it’s Buttigieg, Warren, Biden, Klobuchar, or Sanders, it’s going to be their job to tackle Trump while presenting a positive, forward looking agenda. Let Trump keep his attention focused on his own opponent, and let then concentrate on him. Y’all stick to your own knitting and take care of business. Talk up all of your accomplishments, the bills passed, the battles won, and slam the GOP Senate for their inactivity. That’s the secret to success, and here’s why. Donald Trump has already shown that he has shorter political coattails than any politician I’ve ever seen. Jesus, his political coattails don’t even cover his paunch!  Normally, a popular presidential candidate can increase the down ballot votes. But time and time again, in 2018, and in the special and off year elections in 2019, Trumpista after Trumpista had his full support, as well as personal appearances, and got their heads handed to them. And where did they get said heads handed to them? In the normally GOP strongholds of suburban soccer moms, who are fed up with President Gropy-feely. And His Lowness is highly unlikely to say or do anything in the […]

The hidden “prize” of 2020.

For he who sits atop the mountain, it is always winter   Russian adage ‘Tis the season. No, not the holiday season, that rolls around every year, I’m taking about the presidential election season! And with a wide open Democratic field with many contrasts, and a sitting president about to be tarred with impeachment in the House, this one should be one for the record books. Yes, the Democrats in the House are going to impeach His Lowness, and likely on multiple articles of impeachment, but ask yourselves, why are the Democrats impeaching Trump? The only reason that the Democrats are going to be able to pull this off is that they put in the sweat equity last year to flip the House! Without all of that blood, sweat, and tears, the Democrats would still only be able to make pissy speeches about what a turd Trump really is. A post election study showed that GOP voting in 2018 wasn’t particularly depressed, it was snowed under by an avalanche of Democratic voter participation. The Democrats won the national vote tally in 2016 by 3.3 million votes, and in 2018 they more than doubled that. And that was in a midterm, when Trump’s name wasn’t even in the ballot. The importance of this impeachment process is its educational value, whether people want to be educated or not. The upcoming open hearings will be televised, and because these impeachment hearings are considered to be like the State Of The Union, news outlets, even FOX News, will have to carry them. And remember, not every FUX News viewer is a card carrying Trumpkin. I keep remembering that one woman who was interviewed coming out of the Justin Amash town hall after he announced his support for impeachment. She told the reporter that until Amash laid out the results, she was totally unaware that there had even been anything negative about Trump in the Mueller report, since she got her news exclusively from conservative media. How many more like her have scales fall from their eyes when FUX is forced to air facts instead of propaganda is yet to be seen. Make no mistake about it, unless Trump is medically disabled, or removed from office, which is highly unlikely, he will top the GOP ticket in 2020. And because the majority of cable news outlets such as CNN, FOX, and MSNBC are speaking to national audiences, when they talk about the implications of Trumpenstein topping the ticket they’re speaking in terms of national down ballot consequences, US House and Senate races. But there was another critical aspect that was exposed in 2018, and it isn’t receiving any coverage or consideration. In 2018, in addition to the Democrats flipping the House, making impeachment possible in the first place, and minimizing their losses in the Senate, the Democrats did something else of equal importance, they kicked serious GOP ass in state races. In several states that were laboring under unified GOP control, the Democrats flipped one or the other, or both of the chambers, making it impossible for the GOP to continue to rule bu fiat. And they even flipped Governors mansions in states like Kansas(?!), Nevada, Wisconsin, and Michigan, restoring sanity at the top of the ticket. In Wisconsin, Michigan, and Nevada, they basically ran the table on the top statewide offices. This is […]

Home field advantage

You know, if I had to guess, I’d say that well over half of America doesn’t really like their job. But whatever the reason that they hate their job, they’re stuck with it. The uncertainty of finding a new job, the household disruption, the worry about the healthcare that a new job will bring, all are powerful reasons to stay put and just put up with it. Now, imagine that you have a job that pays a six figure salary, has a Cadillac healthcare plan, a generous pension program, and unlimited opportunity to pick up spare change on the side. And best of all, if you don’t get caught on camera sneaking into a motel room with a furry quadraped wearing fishnet stockings, your job is basically good for life. It would take some sky high dissatisfaction rating to make you walk away from a gig like that, right? Welcome to the world of being a Republican member of the House of Representatives. There are already nine GOP incumbents that have announced their retirement from congress after this term, including five from the state of Texas alone. They are on pace to break the record number of GOP legislators that threw up their hands and cried uncle in 2018, from the high paying, basically part-time gig I described above. WTF?!? As in 2018, almost all of them are multi-term incumbents who have decided that being a portable gas bag with no discernible record of accomplishment just isn’t much fun anymore. And little wonder. In 2018, the GOP incumbents who survived the bloodletting went for the first time in eight years from being a member of the majority, to being in the minority. And unlike the Senate, where a soulless ghoul with no morals can cause unlimited trouble, there is almost nothing a party in the minority in the House can do to disrupt the flow of the majority. As it stands right now, the GOP is taking solace that only 3 of the retiring incumbents are in what are perceived to be “competitive districts.” The remainder are retiring from districts that have recently been rated as R+10 or more, meaning that they feel those seats are most likely safe from harm of flipping. It also likely means that the retiring incumbents don’t care very much for the company they’re keeping these days, and also see little chance of returning to the majority in 2020. But there are two small potential problems with the Republicans’ feeling of confidence in holding onto those seats. The first is the numbers themselves. While the majority of sudden vacancies are in R+10 or better districts, one needs to keep in mind that starting with the special elections in 2017, and continuing on through the scheduled off-year elections of 2017, and the 2018 midterms, the Democrats tended very strongly to overperform by about +12-15 over their previous cycle performance in the same districts. This means that many of those seats may not be as safe as the GOP imagines them to be, especially with the shifting demographics in the last year of a 10-year-old redistricting map. The second reason is the candidates themselves. Almost all of the retiring incumbents are mainline, establishment GOP House members. Either they see the sands shifting under their feet in the […]

Numbers don’t lie.

“Facts don’t lie. The numbers don’t lie.” Science doesn’t lie.” People keep talking about all of the things that never lie. Maybe that’s why they’re like sunlight to a truth vampire like Donald Trump. Or maybe there’s another reason why he hates some of them, especially numbers that don’t lie. Back in 2016, President Bone Spurs notched 62,984,828 votes, which was good enough for 46.1% of the vote. However that fell 3 million votes and 2% shy of Hillary Clinton’s vote totals nationwide. However, when you factor in those 77,000 clueless wonders spread across WI, MI, and PA, it was enough to hand him the keys to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in the electoral college. His Lowness absolutely fucking hates those numbers, but he doesn’t bother to try to deny them, falling back on the conspiracy theory drivel of millions of illegal immigrants that cost him the popular vote tally. Fast forward to the midterms of 2018. Forget about flipping the House, or losing ground in the Senate, forget all of that other shit. The critical takeaway in 2016 was that even though it was an unusually high turnout for a midterm election, it was not a Presidential year turnout crowd. And yet, in 2018, the Democrats garnered more than 6 million votes than the Republicans did. Here’s where I’m going with this. In 2016, Hillary Clinton beat Trump by 4 million votes, which assayed out to a 2% difference, she won 48-46. Oddly enough, that 46% that Trump got in 2016 was the high water mark so far for his presidency, and there’s nothing to indicate that this is going to turn around in the next 15 months. So, Trump hit his high water mark of 46% in 2016, and lost by 3 million votes, or 2% points. As we speak, Donald Trump is hovering right at about 42-43% in most major polls. Guess what? The Democrats won nationwide in 2018 by more than 6 million votes. If 3 million votes in 2016 was good enough for a 2% win, then logic would say that an extra 3 million votes in 2018 should assay out to another 2% points, right? And if 46-42 = 4%, than that dovetails almost perfectly with the difference in Democratic votes in 2018, 4% points, and where Trump is in the polls right now, 42%, or 4% points lower. Trump loves to boast that his unshakable base earned him the White House in 2016. That’s nothing more than the usual Trumpwellian bullshit we’ve all come to know and loathe. In fact, Trump cobbled together that measly 77,000 votes in those three states with a combination of “soft” GOP voters who held their noses, and disaffected independents and Obama Democratic voters who voted for change. That’s how Trump got to 46% in the first place. But i the last 2 1/2 years, Trump’s obnoxious behavior, and reprehensible policies have driven that 4% of voters away from him like a bunch of spring lambs when the Judas ewe farts in front of the barn door. And Trump has already signaled that he has no intention of doing anything over the next 15 months to woo them back, firm in his delusion that his “base” is enough to get the job done. Remember, Trump won in 2016 by 77,000 votes spread across […]

The Trump “base” revisited.

You know, for 22 months, we had Robert Mueller coming out of our ears. Mueller was like the weather, he was everywhere. The media helped to fuel this feeding frenzy by specifically referring to “the Mueller investigation” on a daily basis, even when absolutely nothing had happened that day. But believe it or not, we have had another media fueled national obsession that has gone on even longer than the Mueller investigation. And that obsession is the Trump “base,” Since November 9, 2016, the media has been fixated on this mythical creature, this silent, hidden army, that like a swarm of termites, toppled the house of democracy. There are two different aspects of the Trump base that the media loves to chew on like a dog with an old pork chop bone, who is the Trump base, and how big is the Trump base? And like most things Trumpian, the medias commentary on the Trump base tends to be riddled with hyperbole and exaggeration. How big is the Trump base? Everybody has their own view, and mine hasn’t changed since the 2016 primaries. From where I’m sitting, Trump’s actual ‘base” is between 32-34%. How did I come up with this low ball figure? Simple. It’s what he was running in the pre primary and early 2016 GOP primary polls. In both parties, the primaries are an almost purely base affair, only the “true believers” show up to vote. And from Labor Day right on through the early primaries, Trump was remarkable consistent, at 32-34%. When I wrote in November of 2015 that Trump could actually win the nomination, it was simple math. Trump was running at 45^, nobody else in the field was clearing double digits. With the early states being “winner take all,” Trump could bank enough early delegates to make him impossible to catch once the herd culled down. Which happened. Trump started clearing 50% when he became the apparent nominee. Yeah, and I was a Bulls fan back in the days when you could walk up to the ticket window a half hour before game time and buy any ticket you wanted. Nothing creates fans like winning. I have seen nothing in the last two years to make me change my mind, in fact, exactly the opposite. Trump won the electoral college with a minority 47% of the popular vote. And where has he been mired for most of the last two years? At between 38-44%.But the important thing to bear in mind is that the Trump base really is the Trump base. In 2018, the Republicans lost the national popular vote to the Democrats by more than double the amount that Trump lost the national vote in 2016! Not only has Trump failed to do what every winning President in history has done, namely to try to expand his base for the next election, Trump has managed the dubious distinction of actually shrinking his base by sending traditional “loyal” Republican voters fleeing in disgust. That is a mean trick, and unfortunately for Trump, it’s only going to get worse for the next 18 months, because for Trump, it’s not about winning, it’s about rallies. As long as he’s serenaded by drooling mouth breathers with chants of “Lock her UP!” at rallies, everything is going according to schedule. So, what is the actual Trump base? From where I’m sitting, it’s made up of […]

A quick, easy weather vane for gauging the way the 2020 wind is blowing.

Many, many years ago, all the way back on November 10th, 2016 ore so, Mitch McConnell was one chipper turtle, he was living high on the hog. That’s because the hog had just gotten elected President, but hadn’t actually taken the oath of office yet, so he wasn’t actively screwing things up. McConnell looked at the Senate map for 2018, liked his jowly chops, and predicted that the GOP would pick up 6-8 seats in the Senate, cementing their majority, and possibly giving them a filibuster proof majority. And then the unthinkable happened. Trump was sworn in and started “governing.” The massive Women’s March, multiple failed attempts to ban Muslims cuz, like, Muslims, multiple failed attempts to repeal Obamacare, rationalizing a racist murder in Charlottesville, and a thriving investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia. Flash forward 18 months, and McConnell is sending up warning flares that the GOP could actually lose the Senate in 2018. In the end, McConnell ended graphically demonstrating the old adage, “When you ASSUME, you make an ASS out of U and ME.” McConnell fell far short of his boast, picking up only two seats, partially because of the embarrassment of losing two incumbent seats, and failing to dislodge two vulnerable Democratic incumbents in states that Trump went all in on, West Virginia and Montana, This in what should have been a tsunami map for the GOP in any normal year, with any normal President. And now, here we are, looking at 2020. The cycle has come full circle, and it is the Democrats who have a Senate map that should be very favorable to their chances to at least chip into McConnell’s majority, if not flip it completely. But in looking back, i find that there were two indicators that didn’t seem to get much attention at the time, that could provide a useful tool to see how each side thinks the wind may be blowing going into the 2020 election. The first weather cock is retirements. In 2016 retirements were the first WHOP-WHOP-WHOP that signaled that the wheels were about to come flying off of the GOP bus, especially in the House. And in the Senate, Flake’s departure from the scene helped to pave the way for Kyrsten Sinema to flip that seat, and a rousing Democratic challenge for Corker’s newly vacant seat in Tennessee meant that the GOP had to send cash propping up a less than inspiring Marsha Blackburn that could have been spent better in other attempts to flip seats, instead of retaining what should have been a “safe” GOP seat. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee has already announced that he is calling it quits, and this is a problem for the GOP. The problem is that in losing Alexander, the GOP loses the incumbent edge in that seat, Alexander’s name recognition, state wide familiarity, and donor and fund raising base. A replacement candidate is going to require coddling and support that Alexander would not need, and as Blackburn proved, red state seats are not necessarily safe with sub par candidates. If there are more “moderate” Senate retirements, this could stretch the GOP again, especially if Trump becomes even more unpopular. The second lesson from 2016 to keep an eye on is recruitment. And this will play heavily on both sides. One of the reasons for McConnell’s optimism […]

The “first step” is to admit there’s a problem. The GOP may be taking that step on healthcare.

I’m shedding a tear here. It’s kind of like the day when you finally throw out your favorite old pair of socks because you can put them on from either end, a melancholy sense of loss. Apparently, the GOP is finally putting the repeal of Obamacare out to pasture. Never again will we hear “Repeal Obamacare root and branch” screamed at a rally, to raucous applause. The first step to solving a problem is to admit that there is a problem, and apparently the GOP is finally willing to take that first, tremulous baby step. According to reporting in The Hill, Republicans are starting to try to find a palatable replacement for the failed strategy of repealing the ACA, while promising only to replace it with a nebulous, kind-of-concept to be determined package. GOP pollster Whit Ayres apparently looked at some actual polling and noticed a wee problem; “Republicans need a positive vision about what should happen to lower costs, expand access and protect pre-existing conditions,” he added. “You’ve got to be able to answer the question, ‘So what do you think we should do about health care?’ ” OK, right out of the box, and already, “Houston, we have a problem.” Ayres states that the Republicans need a ?positive vision” on healthcare. Since January 20, 2009, if there is one thing that the GOP has lacked, it is a positive vision on anything. Mitch McConnell darkly promised to use any means necessary, fair or foul, to make Barack Obama a one term President. Their own President, Donald J Trump, provided a stunningly “positive vision” when he spoke of “this American carnage” in his inauguration speech. The GOP has struggled to find anything positive to say about the menu at the congressional cafeteria, even though they controlled the menu for eight years. The old saying is that “You never get a second chance to make a first impression,” and on healthcare, the GOP message was even more bleak than “American carnage.” Caribou Barbie from Wasilla led the rallying cry that “death panels” were coming to pull the plug on Granny! Both the federal budget, as well as the insurance companies, would collapse under the onerous weight of Obamacare, and everybody would die! Maybe Ayres is right, it’s time for a new set of drapes in the den. It couldn’t hurt, right? But there are several problems for this “positive vision” healthcare 2.0 that the GOP is trying to push. The first problem is that the GOP have been obstructionists for so long, that they’ve long ago forgotten how to have constructive ideas. Say what you will about the weaknesses of Obamacare, at least the Democrats did some honest research on what the issues and problems were, and tried to come up with solutions for them. The ACA was weak specifically because the Republicans vociferously resisted any attempts to make it strong and effective. The GOP didn’t research jack about healthcare, simply because they were devoted to the status quo. Another problem is that the Republicans are so covered in health insurance and pharmaceutical pocket lint that they can’t see clearly enough to drive their cars anymore. Any effective healthcare legislation would hurt insurance companies and big pharma, and that is a “pill” that the GOP is going to find very bitter and hard to swallow. But it seems […]

In terms of demographics, “Things, they are a’changing.” and in the Democrats favor.

When it came to the recent midterm elections, the Democrats benefited mightily from  what is commonly referred to as “low intensity voters.” These are voters who normally don’t bother to turn out for the midterm elections, or often even Presidential races for that matter. Groups like you voters, independent voters, and minority voters. Especially Hispanics. Hispanics were motivated, and that motivation turned into actual votes, which helped to decide several critical House districts.Referring to Mexicans as “rapists,” and calling Honduran asylum seekers an “infestation” probably didn’t help Trump’s cause much when it came to Latino veter participation. And according to an article today in The Hill, this trend is only going to continue, and will most likely benefit the Democrats greatly. According to the report; “It is a very significant advantage for the Democrats going forward because the Latino population is growing,” Bowman, a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, told Hill.TV’s Joe Concha on “What America’s Thinking.” “If it’s 69, 70 percent Democratic, that’s definitely a plus for the Dems,” she continued. The key thing to note in that statement is that the Latino population is a growing population demographic, at a time when the white population of the US is stagnant, if not shrinking. And if the demographic shift continues, then each emerging Latino vote that turns Democratic, the GOP is going to have to find an offsetting vote from the current pool, since the white vote, especially the older white vote that tends to favor Republicans, isn’t growing. Trump himself seems to be blissfully unaware of this pending disaster, which I think can be directly attributed to his mindset. After all, when Trump thinks in terms of Latinos, he thinks about it with a 70 year old mindset, you can catch that in his public utterances. When Trump speaks about Latinos, he speaks in terms of Mexican drug runners, or disdainfully about migrant farm workers. In other words, brown people who can’t vote. But the report is no speaking of legal visa card holders, or even green card permanent residents. It is speaking of US citizens of Latin descent, who have the right to vote, and exercised it. But even more important than Trump’s perception of Latinos is the Latinos perceptions of Trump, and the GOP in general. Look at it this way. If you like Jackie Chan movies, and he comes out with one movie that you don’t like, you’re likely to write it off as a one time flop, and go to see the next Jackie Chan movie. But if your first trip to a Jackie Chan movie is a flop, how likely are you to go to the next Jackie Chan movie that comes out? Trump and the GOP put out a bomb of a movie for Latino voters, and they won’t forget it, not for a long time. And they’ll likely tell their friends. But there was another important takeaway from the report in The Hill. This demographic is unlikely to suddenly stop growing, and as with most things numeric, the effect tends to compile, kind of like the interest you earned on the principle in your 401k plan rolling over, and earning interest itself. According to the report; Sixty-nine percent of Latinos voted for Democratic candidates this month, while 29 percent cast votes for Republicans, according […]

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