Experience teaches that what Trump says one day is often contradicted the next day. But Micheal D. Shear reports at The New York Times that “President Trump stunned Republicans on live television Wednesday by embracing gun control and urging a group of lawmakers at the White House to resurrect gun safety legislation that has been opposed for years by the powerful National Rifle Association and the vast majority of his party…In a remarkable meeting, the president veered wildly from the N.R.A. playbook in front of giddy Democrats and stone-faced Republicans. He called for comprehensive gun control legislation that would expand background checks to weapons purchased at gun shows and on the internet, keep guns from mentally ill people, secure schools and restrict gun sales for some young adults. He even suggested a conversation on an assault weapons ban.” Despite reasons to be skeptical about Trump’s follow-through, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) sounded aty cautiously hopeful note: “You saw the president clearly saying not once, not twice, not three times, but like 10 times, that he wanted to see a strong universal background check bill…He didn’t mince words about it. So I do not understand how then he could back away from that.”
However, note Igor Bobic and Elise Foley at HuffPo, “The question now will be whether the passionate Trump at the Wednesday meeting will still be around in days to come. The immigration debate offers plenty of reasons to be skeptical…“Everyone’s coming up to me, saying, ‘We just went through the same thing you went through on DACA.’” Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) told HuffPost on Wednesday…“Why would you believe [the president]?” he added.
“After spending most of 2017 defending the Affordable Care Act from GOP attacks, a growing number of Democrats believe the law’s reliance on private insurance markets won’t be enough and the party should focus instead on expanding popular government programs like Medicare and Medicaid,” writes Noam H. Levey at The Los Angeles Times. “The emerging strategy — which is gaining traction among liberal policy experts, activists and Democratic politicians — is less sweeping than the “single-payer” government-run system that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) made a cornerstone of his 2016 presidential campaign.” Further, notes Levey, “Eight in 10 Americans held a positive view of Medicare in a recent nationwide poll by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation. And majorities of both parties favor allowing more people to buy into the program, the survey found. Medicaid enjoys similarly broad support, with three-quarters of Americans expressing a favorable view.”…However, “no one expects any Democratic plan to go anywhere as long as Congress remains in Republicans’ hands and Trump holds a veto pen.”
Christopher Ingraham reports at Wonkblog that “The two assault weapons bans before Congress are co-sponsored by 195 Democrats and 0 Republicans,” and notes that a similar bill in the U.S. Senate has 26 co-sponsors. Further, “Both measures would ban sales of semiautomatic rifles with certain military-style features, such as pistol grips and flash suppressors. The measures would also outlaw the sale of magazines capable of holding more than 10 rounds of ammunition. Neither bill would require current gun owners to give up any of their weapons.”
Also from Ingraham’s article:
E. J. Dionne, Jr. writes in his syndicated column that “The very slim hope of dodging a blatantly partisan decision rests with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. Yes, it is a long shot, but the chief justice has at times been sensitive to the dangers of the court appearing too partisan, and he is sympathetic to the rights of mediating institutions in our society, which include churches but also unions.” Also, notes Dionne, “As a paper for the National Bureau of Economic Research has shown, right-to-work laws, based on the principles of Janus’s argument, decrease Democratic presidential vote shares by three and a half percentage points.
Georgia’s Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle has outed himself as a NRA puppet with his latest threat, which could also cost his state thousands of jobs: “Democratic leaders are competing for Delta’s favor after a top Georgia Republican threatened the airline by vowing to kill state legislation that would hand it a lucrative tax cut,” reports Marwa Eltagouri in her WaPo article, “Democrats woo Delta after Georgia Republicans threaten retribution over NRA benefits“..The showdown between Delta and Georgia Republicans began this week, after Delta announced it would stop offering discounted fares to National Rifle Association members. On Monday, Georgia’s Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle demanded the Atlanta-based airline — one of the state’s largest employers — either restore the benefit or watch Republican lawmakers strike down a $50 million sales-tax exemption on jet fuel, of which Delta would be the primary beneficiary…The bill granting the jet-fuel tax exemption was easily approved in the House last week, and appeared to have wide support, as advocates say it would attract flights to Atlanta as opposed to other major airports, where jet-fuel taxes are charged.” Not only have political leaders of NY, HI and VA offered to welcome Delta’s headquarters relocation to their state with open arms. But now Amazon is expressing reluctance to locate its “HQ2” in Atlanta if Cagle’s measure gains traction.
Matthew Yglesias’s “Democrats just flipped 2 state legislative seats in Connecticut and New Hampshire: Democrats have now picked up 41 seats in contests since Trump’s election” at vox.com puts the latest Democratic victories in perspective: “The New Hampshire House is enormous, so a single seat there doesn’t make a huge difference. And the 28-point improvement on Hillary Clinton’s results in Kentucky is at best a moral victory. But in the aggregate, special elections are painting a picture of a building Democratic wave. And since Trump took office, Democrats have picked up an impressive 41 seats in elections across the country…According to an extremely useful and comprehensive spreadsheet compiled by Daily Kos, across 70 special elections in 2017, Democrats ran 10 points ahead of Clinton and 7 points ahead of Obama’s 2012 results. Those numbers have accelerated into 2018. Across 16 races, Democrats are running 27 points ahead of Clinton and 15 points ahead of Barack Obama.