Friday, October 25, 2019

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Here is an email I got Thursday:

Good morning,

As a liberal NYer, my family and extended family of so many, as a group, cannot vote for a candidate from either party who would take away our private health care. 

I’m retired, my kids have good jobs with terrific benefits, as most of my family members do. 

In all honesty, we don’t give a sh*t about Ukraine. 

We care about health care, jobs, and a safe country. 

We won’t vote for any Democrat presently running. 

We won’t vote for Trump either. We just won’t vote. 

My kids, far to the left, in theory, still don’t want the government messing with their quality of life. 



One person’s point of view, but a resonant reinforcement for the worried Democrats I interviewed for “How to Beat Trump: America’s Top Political Strategists on What It Will Take” who believe that winning the White House in 2020 is not going to be easy.

Here is another excerpt from my book, from the chapter about the wild cards that could decide the outcome:

Wild Card #4:

The 3 Percent Solution

There have been whispers flitting in the air and across the country, passing through cocktail parties in Santa Monica, conferences in Aspen, cafeterias in Chicago, suppers at the Polo Bar, about a plot both daring and near-foolproof that, if executed correctly, would guarantee a Trump defeat.



Wild Card #5:

The New Alliances

The progressive biosphere is bursting with fresh grassroots groups, many arising in reaction to Trump, many led by women. Members are local, Internet-savvy, organized, and engaged, and they participated intensively in the 2018 midterms. Campaign staffers in House districts that flipped from Red to Blue report that many of their volunteers were affiliated with these groups and appeared to organically show up for activities such as voter canvassing and outreach. With names such as Indivisible, Sister District, and Swing Left, these groups remain a bit of a mystery and no one in politics or academia has a grasp of how big or influential these alliances will be in 2020.




1. The star witness when the House moves to public impeachment hearings will be

A. John Bolton.

B. Gordon Sondland.

C. Bill Taylor.

D. The first whistleblower.


2. The person who is most confident that the Senate will convict Donald Trump and expel him from office is

A. Chuck Schumer.

B. Tom Cotton.

C. Adam Schiff.

D. Mazie Hirono.


3. The person least confident that the Senate will convict Donald Trump is

A. Nancy Pelosi.

B. Mitch McConnell.

C. Chuck Schumer.

D. Roy Blunt.


4. The person who can best advise Joe Biden on how much his newfound appreciation for Super PACs will increase his chances of winning the nomination is

A. Bernie Sanders.

B. Elizabeth Warren.

C. Guy Cecil.

D. Jeb Bush.


5. If members of the Democratic establishment give up on Joe Biden, they will swing support to

A. Amy Klobuchar.

B. Pete Buttigieg.

C. Hillary Clinton.

D. Someone else.


6. By Election Day, 2020, the country that will most be on voters’ minds will be

A. Syria.

B. Russia.

C. Mexico.

D. Ukraine.


7. The way the media is most assisting Donald Trump’s reelection is

A. Covering him in a way that suggests he has no chance to win.

B. Covering him in a way that infuriates and rallies the Trump base.

C. Covering impeachment to the exclusion of the Democratic candidates.

D. All of the above.


8. The press simultaneously denounces and overcovers the Republican efforts to turn impeachment into a partisan process roller derby because

A. The press loves process stories.

B. Congressional Republicans are tactical geniuses.

C. Republicans are making good arguments.

D. It is inexplicable.


9. When John McCain looks down from heaven at Lindsey Graham these days he thinks

A. “That’s Lindsey!”


C. “The Democrats are behaving outrageously, so Lindsey has no choice.”

D. “I never sufficiently appreciated the leadership skills of President Trump.”


10. The opinion piece that the White House staff should show the president first is

A. Kimberley Strassel: “Behold the Lord High Impeacher”

B. The New York Times editorial board: “Why Did Republicans Storm the Capitol? They’re Running Out of Options”

C. David Ignatius: “Russia has earned its success in the Middle East — partly thanks to Trump”

D. Rich Lowry: “The Fantasy of Republicans Ditching Trump”


ANSWERS: 1-C; 2-D; 3-A; 4-D; 5-B; 6-B; 7-D; 8-D; 9-B; 10-A, B, C, D.


Essential reads:

1. The New York Times breaks the story that the review by John Durham into the origins of the Russia probe is now a criminal investigation.

My take: No effort to summarize this story will do. Stop and read the whole nuanced, careful, and ominous piece.  Until the unanswered questions raised by this seminal bombshell are answered, there is no way to know how big the implications are. But they are potentially historically big.


2. Here are two solid pieces that put in bold relief the realization of Team Trump that it needs to up its game to fight against the impeachment process:

The Associated Press: “The West Wing believes more must be done to shore up Republican support to avoid embarrassment and genuine political peril. Trump himself has been upset with his own top aides — including [Stephanie] Grisham and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney — for not sufficiently changing the story line.”

The New York Times: “Privately, White House officials concede they are losing the messaging battle with Democrats, whose inquiry has produced a series of devastating revelations ….People close to Mr. Trump said that the coming weeks will by marked by an increased assault on the integrity of the inquiry itself ….

“White House aides are planning to add communications aides dedicated to impeachment, a move that Jared Kushner, the president’s senior adviser and son-in-law, has pushed for. Among those under consideration to help lead the new team is Tony Sayegh, who recently left the Treasury Department where he was the top spokesman. White House aides have also discussed bringing on in some capacity Pam Bondi, the former attorney general of Florida and a favorite of Mr. Trump’s, a person familiar with the conversations said.”

My take: Congressional Republicans would be more comforted by Sayegh than Bondi, but/and they want to see a White House effort that is every bit as intense, rapid, and aggressive as Adam Schiff is.


At 2:15 pm, the president delivers remarks at the 2019 Second Step Presidential Justice Forum in Columbia, SC.

Here are the Friday morning funeral details for Representative Elijah Cummings from the Baltimore Sun.


Big Four


Sanders plans to release health records by end of year.

New Hampshire

Buttigieg starting to pay price for success: More scrutiny.


Top sports story: Adrian Peterson climbs all-time rushing list, cheered by Vikings fans


Top business story: A Barneys New York liquidation grows more likely as rival deal falls flat


Top entertainment story: Ben Platt on Why ‘The Politician’ Wouldn’t Have Worked Without Music


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