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Impeachment, congressional Democrats
My take: Speaker Pelosi and Chairman Schiff have studied history (recent and less so) and believe they can run public hearings that are both substantive and a PR triumph. The smartest element of their plan is that it is informed by the reality that in the TV age the latter matters more than the former (a lot more).
Impeachment, congressional Republicans
My take: Still searching for a singular, unifying defense of the president – or deciding that each of them can go with one of the various make-your-own-adventure defenses (as long as it IS a defense…). In the meantime, House Republican efforts to change the subject in the public hearings are not going to be treated as legit by the non-Trump press, but House Republicans know that and don’t much care.
My take: One of the many mistakes some Democrats are making in not seeing the president’s real prospects for reelection is failing to understand that he is going to get votes he didn’t get last time. Even the Democratic chair of the Wisconsin state party says Trump will increase his vote total there.
My take: Her reaction to finally being in the barrel – to respond to criticism and attacks on an extremely limited and restrained basis, (if she responds at all!) – is either going to lead to her eventual downfall OR revolutionize how presidential candidates think about rapid response.
My take: Based on the rousing reaction his Saturday frontal assaults on billionaire Bloomberg got on the campaign trail in Iowa, expect more more more of it, which will likely bait the billionaire into responding, which will raise Sanders buckets of money.
My take: His advisers and backers, including his new Super PAC, seems to think they can do the same thing over and over and get a different result – “Trump is afraid of Biden” is a tactic of decreasing effectiveness that Team Biden is using as its entire strategy. Process messages = losing messages.
My take: His Iowa ground game continues to grow stronger, but his campaign can’t seem to shake his coverage being dominated by, yes, process stories. Can he win African American votes: Why do his rivals dislike him? Does he eat cinnamon rolls correctly?
My take: She has the most underrated stump speech in the Democratic field, fierce determination, and a (rare in politics) second chance to become the pundits’ and voters favored choice for those looking for a candidate younger than 70 who can win the nomination, win the general election, and govern effectively.
My take: Some elites (but not all), even/especially conservative columnists, continue to be delighted he is running (with some skipping right over the nomination fight to muse about a Trump-Bloomberg general election), but reporters on the ground in the America with real people literally have a great deal of trouble finding a single voter interested in Bloomberg running (let alone any who say they will enthusiastically vote for him).
My take: Sometimes Congress fails to execute as the theoretical becomes the actual, but when Mitch McConnell and Nancy Pelosi both want something to happen, it generally happens. This can will be kicked down the road as far and as often as it needs to be to avoid a shutdown.
China trade deal
My take: At this point, many observers are overstating Trump’s desire for a deal now (he is happy to wait for next year, as long as the stock market keeps going up and farmers are not in full-blown open revolt), and understating China’s confusion about what it will take to get an agreement.
USMCA (a/k/a new NAFTA)
My take: Since Congress never does anything before it must, this is looking like a 2020 item if it is going to happen at all. The two key factors that will determine passage: Has the business community learned anything about its failure so far to apply sufficient pressure, and will House Democrats really let the Speaker give the president a win?
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