Monday, September 2, 2019


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The latest on the storm: LINK

The latest on the Texas shootings: LINK

The latest on Hong Kong: LINK

STILL

There is one essential reading story that will shift the groupthink of the Gang of 500 ever so slightly (if they take time from their holiday to soak it in):

A Washington Post tour de force positing that President Trump has squandered a long, hot summer, leading to declining fortunes:

“The two months between Independence Day and Labor Day offered a fresh and vivid portrait of the president as seen by Trump’s critics — incompetent, indecisive, intolerant and ineffective.”

My take: The key to this piece is the on-the-record and background quotes from Trump allies expressing worry that the twin dangers of the president’s erratic behavior and the headwinds of a weakening economy are endangering both the Trump reelect and Republican fortunes more generally.

However, halfway through there is this major “to be sure” paragraph:

“Trump is not the first president to falter in the summer before his reelection campaign. Former president Barack Obama had a difficult summer in 2011, thanks to a debt ceiling showdown with congressional Republicans, before rebounding to win a second term in 2012. Former president George W. Bush, buffeted by the unending war in Iraq, started to slump in the summer of 2003, although he went on to win handily in 2004.”

There is impatience to know what is going to happen in November 2020.  Barring a major financial collapse, we really won’t know much more than we do now until March at the earliest.  Sorry.

That’s your one meta-paradigm shift on this Labor Day.  All the other “news” is status quoing.

*Despite a New York Times headline indicating otherwise (“Texas Shooting Brings New Urgency to Gun Debate in Congress”) even that story suggests that Trump and Mitch McConnell still are going to defy public opinion and support a package of gun measures that doesn’t include a waiting period or an assault weapons ban, but rather focuses on mental health.

My take: Is there something gun safety advocates could do to make the president and McConnell afraid of crossing the vast majority of Americans who want serious action on this issue? I don’t know. Email me your thoughts.

*Voters in swing House districts still are shying away from impeachment, as are most of their Democratic representatives.

My take: The press still favors signs that the odds of impeachment are going up, but Speaker Pelosi is likely to come back from recess still seeing all the political risks of a full-blown inquiry that she has warned about for months.

*Democratic presidential candidates still want union endorsements, and/but major unions are still holding off picking a candidate to back in 2020.

My take: Union leaders and many of their members are just like the center-left and left overall – wanting to find a candidate who inspires them, shares their agenda, and can win a general election.  Who will they ultimately support? This is another question many people would like the answer to now that will likely have to wait until March at the earliest.

*The New York Post still likes Melania Trump more than Michelle Obama, and still resents those who disagree.

My take: Wowza, what a Rorschach test this topic still is, and likely always will be in polarized America.

Top sports story: Top seed Djokovic (shoulder) out at US Open
ESPN

Top business story: China takes cautious steps with new tariffs, leaving most to December
CNBC

Top entertainment story: Kevin Hart Hospitalized in Non-Fatal Car Crash
Variety


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