Wednesday, November 6, 2019


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GOP SLIPS, TRUMP DIPS, SONDLAND FLIPS, BIDEN RIPS

Thanks to reader Lee Hoefling for the headline, which I modified a bit.

Democrats took full control of the legislature in Virginia and won several other symbolically key races, while their candidate in the Kentucky gubernatorial race appears to have won. 

Republicans held on to the Mississippi governor’s slot, won the down-ballot races in Kentucky, and picked up some offices in New Jersey.

Which party won the election night?

The Democrats, by virtue of the overall results and the fact that  Donald Trump said at a Monday rally in Kentucky, a state he won by about 30 points in 2016: “You’ve got to vote. If you lose, they are going to say Trump suffered the greatest defeat in the history of the world. You can’t let that happen to me!”

The Washington Post says the evening’s results worried many Republicans, some of whom are quoted on the record, and/but also that most GOPers see no alternative to rising or falling in 2020 with Trump.

All will be explained (for some) at 8pm ET in Monroe, Louisiana, when the president holds a “Keep America Great” rally.

My take: Assuming the Democrat holds on in the Kentucky governor’s race, history will record the night as a sign that Trump is politically troubled.  There is no doubt that the Blue Grass State revealed some weakness, just as there is no doubt that the Republican candidate had his own problems.  If your focus is on who will win the White House in 2020, we learned a little, but just a little, last night.

****

Not-always-but-now-Trumper Gordon Sondland told the world Tuesday what has been manifestly obvious for awhile to anyone paying attention: President Trump was going for a quid pro quo with Ukraine, attempting to barter military aid for investigations, including into the Bidens, that would help Trump politically.  The fact that Sondland’s account is at odds with his previous House testimony added some justified WOW to his new statement.

In the wake of Sondland’s flip, Mitch McConnell said the Senate wouldn’t convict and other Republican Senators did not seem particularly moved.

My take: Call me reductionist and repetitive, but the political essence of impeachment remains the same.  The House Democrats will conclusively demonstrate a quid pro quo attempt (at least six witnesses have testified to it already) and add on obstruction; McConnell will hold enough Senate GOPers to avoid conviction, relying on a buffet of three choices from which to choose for any Trump “ally” who wants to vote “no.”

1. Despite evidence to the contrary, there was no quid pro quo.

2. Ukraine got its aid and Trump got no Biden investigation, so foul but no harm.

3. Trump did a bad thing, but not anything that rises to the level of removal in an election year.

Even Susan Collins will (eventually) more likely than not find one of those choices safe. 

Unless there is more new news, I caveat.

****

In today’s edition of “Who now is criticizing Elizabeth Warren for her Medicare for All plan, her demeanor, and her economic policies?” we have:

*Democrat Bill Galston, who ends his Wall Street Journal column with this stunner:

“Ms. Warren should be commended for the wealth of detail in her plan, which allows voters to judge it for themselves. This said, she may well have penned the longest suicide note in recorded history. There’s no reason for the entire Democratic Party to sign it.”  

*Joe Biden, who suggested Warren is “elitist” and “angry” as part of a coordinated set of softy attacks via remarks at a fundraiser, a Medium post, and a fundraising email.

*The Wall Street Journal news pages, which chronicles past failed state attempts at Medicare for All-type efforts.

*Jamie Dimon who said to CNBC, “She uses some pretty harsh words, you know, some would say vilifies successful people.”

My take: Warren hit back at Dimon on Twitter, but for now is trying to ignore the Biden jibes.  There are reasons to be skeptical that the former VP can pull off this attack, and/but he is almost certainly going to need to escalate it, perhaps to paid media, if it is going to break through. Political reality: men calling Warren suicidal, “elitist,” “angry,” and “harsh” is potentially problematic for the party – and good for Warren.  Running for president as a woman has special challenges; challenging a woman running for president has special challenges.  Especially if things get personal.

****

Please, please, please can we stop pretending there is a real debate for Democrats trying to win the White House between inspiring the coalition of the ascendant to turn out and winning over white working-class voters. The latest to push the strawman forward: the New Yorker and the New York Times.

My take: I promise the answer now and through November, 2020 is IT IS BOTH.

****

Top sports story: Ohio State leads CFP top four of LSU, Alabama and Penn State

ESPN

Top business story: It’s not just Boeing. More companies are splitting CEO and chairman roles

CNBC

Top entertainment story: ‘The Batman’ Eyes Colin Farrell for Penguin, Andy Serkis for Alfred

Variety

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