Monday, June 3, 2019

Trump, Pelosi Face June Reckonings

President faces-off with China, Mexico, while Pelosi deals with impeachment pressures.

My take: Read this very fine Wall Street Journal roundup of the status of tariffs and trade talks with China and Mexico, which highlights the two countries’ weekend suggestions that they are willing to negotiate with Trump.

While some in the administration and many Trump business allies are deeply worried about the impact the tariffs might have on the US economy, the president remains bullish on using every tool in the box to keep his rivals on edge and try to break their backs.

He wants substantive wins, but he will take symbolic ones.

On Mexico, he’s now twinned trade and immigration, giving him more leverage for a victory and more talking points if his latest tariff threat brings down the new NAFTA deal. It seems like it is a dangerous gambit, but Trump can restore the status quo with one tweet.

If markets continue to look shaky as Trump visits the UK, he might look to back down and save face. Talks with Mexican officials could provide a fig leaf, with Trump claiming progress.

On China, the Los Angeles Times smartly points out that the trade war is just part of a wider, defining competition between the world’s two biggest economies.

For Pelosi, her efforts to forestall impeachment hearings will continue, made more challenging by the fact that the media, about a quarter of House Democrats, liberal activists, and Trump himself are all goading her to change course and create a formal impeachment process.

The odds of Pelosi bending went up slightly over the weekend, when the House Democrats’ number three official, Jim Clyburn, suggested that impeachment is inevitable. But the correct bet is still that she stalls so deep into the 2020 process that she never changes course.

On his twin trade fights, Trump has put a lot of additional uncertainty into the machinery. His goal is to test just how badly China and Mexico want a deal and how much they are willing to do to get Trump off their backs. What happens with these two fights remains anyone’s guess.

Subtle Doesn’t Do It

At Cally Dem Convention, Biden Rivals Flick Gently at Frontrunner

My take: All the leading contenders but the former vp appeared before the Golden State’s top activists over the weekend, with the media taking the most innocuous stray remarks and turning them into presumed attacks on Biden.

Make no mistake, liberals are worried that Biden’s hold on the top slot is going to be hard to undermine. Also, make no mistake, indirect criticisms of Biden are never going to take him down.

Assuming Biden doesn’t self-destruct, the key question is what combination of criticisms might topple Biden from his towering perch.

If you missed it, go back and read Sunday’s column by Dan Balz of the Washington Post, in which it is correctly pointed out that elections are generally about change and the future, and Biden will have a hard time making the case that he represents either one.

Some of Biden’s rivals made that argument in California over the weekend, but history suggests the attacks will have to be more explicit and frontal if damage to the frontrunner is going to occur.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth Warren’s standing has risen among close observations of the nomination fight, with some vaulting her into the elite tier of those few candidates who at this stage appear positioned to POSSIBLY take the nomination. That list now includes Biden, Sanders, Harris, Buttigieg, and Warren.

As I’ve written before, in most respects, it is not as “early” in the process as the media and the trailing candidates like to say. But there is still enough time for other candidates to get into the “can be nominated” category.

Warren has fought her way there with policy pronouncements, aggressive campaigning, and investments in staff hiring. The big questions here are (1) who is in a position to replicate that model? and (2) is there another model to achieve this goal in 2019?

Top sports story: Warriors overcome a 12-point deficit to steal Game 2 in Toronto
ESPN

Top business story: Goldman Sachs predicts a global trade war
CNBC

Top entertainment story: Godzilla tops the weekend with a lackluster box office performance
The Huffington Post

Big Four

Nevada

Nevada lawmakers work over final weekend in session.

South Carolina

Where 2020 presidential hopefuls have traveled in SC looking for Democratic primary votes.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s