Thursday, May 16, 2019

Alabama Abortion Law Raises the Stakes

Even some supporters of the measure worry about legal and political fallout hurting Republicans in 2020.

My take: Caution is warranted here. Once again, a sensitive and personal matter involving what the Supreme Court has established as a right is sure to be politicized. Forget the first-day speculation about how exactly this might impact presidential politics. There is a long way to go in the courts and then on the national town square before anyone will really know how this one law will merge with the overall debate. Both parties realize they need to tread carefully on this issue. Still, the early signs, history, and logic all suggest that this is not the ground — and the case — where conservatives want to fight to scale back Roe.

Biden’s Other Lead

National polls continue to show the former VP as the horserace leader, but this stat from a Quinnipiac Pennsylvania survey is in some ways more significant:

“Biden has the best chance of beating Trump, 61 percent of Pennsylvania registered Democrats say, followed by Sanders with 6 percent.”

My take: Until other candidates demonstrate that Democrats believe they can beat Trump, Biden’s titanic advantage on this score fuels his heady frontrunner status. In politics, an apparent self-fulfilling prophecy can be a candidate’s best friend.

Rich Lowry, one of the smarter conservatives when it comes to analyzing Democrats, sees Biden’s perceived electability versus Trump as key to his early success.

Karl Rove also sees Biden strengths, but raises the right questions: can Biden continue to raise money and minimize gaffes while avoiding being overtaken by a well-organized and hot-at-the-end candidate?

Enter de Blasio

Gotham City mayor joins presidential fray with searingly negative local media coverage and extreme constituent skepticism.

NY Post editorial sums up the tone of even the straight news coverage: “He is both incompetent and crooked; oblivious and arrogant. He won his current job in a fluke election back in 2013, yet ever since has seemed certain that he’s destined to be a major national figure — despite falling on his face time after time.”

My take: Launching a presidential campaign in the face of hostility from one’s voters and press corps is a real disadvantage. But de Blasio has more big-time campaign and media experience than many of the other candidates in the race. He is a very competitive guy. While the CW writes him off from the get-go, let’s wait a couple of beats to see if there is a theory of the case here that could make him a factor in the contest.

Talk of U.S. Conflict With Iran Continues.

Barr Says He Isn’t Blocking Mueller Testimony.

Essential Reading: Walter Dellinger on Why Trump’s Actions As Chronicled in the Mueller Report Are Worse Than the Common Narrative Suggests.

New Front in U.S.-China Trade Fight.

The Big Four


Lawsuit challenges Iowa lawmakers’ move to restrict funding for Planned Parenthood.
Planned Parenthood is suing Gov. Kim Reynolds over a new Iowa law that prohibits the organization from accessing federal funds for sexual education.

Iowa senators see new tariffs intensifying need for trade agreement.

New Hampshire

Harris says she disagrees with Biden on crime bill’s impact.

Red-tailed hawk a step closer to being NH’s official raptor.

New Hampshire’s Senate has voted to pass a bill designating the red-tailed hawk as the state’s official raptor, four years after House lawmakers rejected the bird as too violent.


Sisolak OKs protections for pre-existing conditions, fix for surprise medical bills.

Gov. Steve Sisolak signed two patient protection bills into law on Wednesday, aiming to both end surprise medical billing — emergency services given to a patient by an out-of-network provider — and put protections for pre-existing conditions into state statute.

Nevada will host Democratic 2020 debate, DNC says.

South Carolina

Myrtle Beach’s hospitality tax could lead to ‘mayhem’ for taxpayers, Horry County says.

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