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Teixeira: Progressives Should Focus on the Long Haul

The following article by Ruy Teixeira is cross-posted from the The Optimistic Leftist.

In Praise of the Long Run

On the left, the long run gets a bad rap. As in: we’ve got no time to think about the long run; it’s just a distraction from the fights we need to win right here, right now. Besides, things are terrible right now–Trump and so on. It would be deceptive to focus on the long run. And in the long run, we’re all dead. Etc.

But I think the virtues of a long run perspective are seriously underrated. Here are a few of the ways.

1. The fact of the matter is that very little changes in the short-term, especially the things the left tends to care about. Even for big things like progressive legislation, it takes years for their full effects to be felt. The near future tends to look a lot like the present, which frustrates many on the left.

Considered over the long run, things tend to look different and a lot better. Take Obamacare. There are lots of problems with Obamacare and left supporters of single-payer have noted all of them. But looked at in the long run, the program is an absolutely amazing step forward, getting the left much closer toward the goal of universal coverage it’s been pushing for 100 years. Even if the right succeeds in some temporary pushback, it will be temporary (and the smart ones already know this). Over the long run, progress will continue and the left is highly likely to achieve its goal.

Similarly, it’s easy to get upset with current levels of racism, sexism, homophobia, anti-immigrant sentiment and so on. That’s understandable. Looked over the long term, however, what is striking is how far public sentiment has shifted in the last 50 years–and all in a positive, more tolerant direction. That’s an enormous gain for the values of the left.

2. What we do have in the short-term is winners and losers. Lots and lots of winners and losers. There are the winners of the day, the week, the month.And most of all there the big winners and losers: the winners and losers of the last election and the upcoming winners and losers of the next election. The latter expands to fill all available mental space the closer that next election becomes.

You can lose your head and your perspective keeping track of all these winners and losers and most do. The question of what is really changing in our society disappears from sight.

3. A long run perspective helps you keep your eye on the prize and have clear priorities. The left can’t do everything at once nor should it try. The historical record suggests many things are moving in the right direction but the main thing that is not is the level and quality of economic growth. Over the long run, correcting the latter trend is almost certainly the key to maximum success for the left and its goals. Therefore, rather than rending its garments about short-term wins and losses, the left would be well-advised to concentrate on fixing what is most likely to matter over the long run.


Waldman: What Dems Should Learn from Obamacare Experience

At The Plum Line, Paul Waldfman’s “‘Single payer’ is becoming Democratic Party consensus. Here’s the danger to avoid” identifies some lessons learned about health care politics. “So what lessons can we take from the experience of the ACA that might help Democrats as they move toward another enormous health-care reform?,” asks Waldman. “Here are a few”:

It’s going to take years. There’s a certain amount of wishful thinking in some quarters that goes like this: Medicare-for-all is an idea people find attractive; single-payer systems are simpler than what we have now; so all that’s required to get it done is the proper application of will. But it’s never that easy. It’s going to require lots of detailed policy work and lots of political work to prepare for the moment where Democrats control the presidency and Congress and can make it happen. We all laughed at President Trump when he said “Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated,” so liberals need to keep that in mind.

Disruption is frightening. The fact that people don’t want to lose what they have — and can easily be frightened into thinking they might — is a political reality that will always need to be dealt with. It helped defeat the Clinton plan, it helped undercut the ACA, and it helped defeat the Republican repeal effort. You can’t wish it away. If you’re going to change the insurance millions of people now have, you’d better have a darn good plan to overcome their fears.

We need to think about the transition from where we are now to where we want to go. Other countries with universal systems had an easier time putting them in place than we will, because health care was less complicated decades ago when they did it. We now have an exceedingly complex system in place and transforming it won’t be easy, so the plan we decide on has to be one we can get to from where we are now. The implementation of the ACA was hard enough; implementing a single-payer plan would be even harder. The design of your favored plan should include an understanding of what will happen in the first months and years.

Republican demagoguery is a certainty. Republicans will have legitimate critiques of any universal plan, but they will also tell insane lies about it. Remember “death panels”? Expect that times 10 in the case of single payer.

Beware the interest groups. Some on the left look with scorn on Obama’s decision to co-opt those groups, but if you don’t do that, you’d better be ready for a vicious fight. Insurers, drug companies, medical device makers, hospitals, doctors — they all have a lot of money at stake, and whatever plan you come up with, you’re going to have to deal with them.

There will be winners and losers. Democrats can reasonably claim that many more people will be better off if we move to a universal system, and that everyone has something to gain. But that doesn’t mean that there will be no one who winds up with something worse than they have now, and acknowledging that fact can help you prepare for the backlash.

You have to be able to explain it to people. This was one of the major liabilities of the ACA: It was a complex solution to a complex problem, and few ordinary citizens understood what it did. Single-payer systems start off with an advantage in this area; you can say “Everyone gets Medicaid,” and that’s easy to understand. But if that’s not your preferred plan, you need to find a simple way to describe it.

Waldman argues further that the term “single-payer” may be asking for trouble because it is too narrow. The term “suggests that the only system they’d accept is one in which there is one government insurer and no private insurers. That’s one possibility, but there are many other ways to get to universal, secure coverage that have multiple payers.” Further,

I happen to think the best and most achievable system given where we are is one in which there’s a basic government plan that covers everyone — an expanded Medicaid, perhaps — plus private supplemental insurance on top of it, a hybrid system of the kind that works well in countries such as France and Canada. The point is that it would be much better to speak of “universal coverage,” which allows for a number of different designs as long as they achieve the same goal.

Waldman concludes by repeating his first point, that it’s going to take years. It’s going to require phases, incremental reforms and hybrid public/private policies to move America toward universal coverage. Democrats have to accept that it’s all up to them, since the modern Republican Party is uninterested in building a bipartisan consensus, and seems wholly devoted to obstructing any forward progress on health care. That’s why the 2018 midterm elections are a critical priority for better health care in America.


Trumka: Unions Can’t Trust Racists and ‘Wall Streeters’ in White House

At a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka explained why the labor movement won’t be finding much common ground with the white house anytime soon. As Don Gonyea reports at npr.org:

“You had one faction that actually had some of the policies that we would have supported on trade and infrastructure, but [it] turned out to be racist,” the union leader said….

…Trumka continued, describing the other faction inside the administration, “You had people who weren’t racist, but they were Wall Streeters.” He said that faction was gaining power, and moving the administration away from many of the things that Trump promised during the campaign that union members actually liked…”The Wall Street wing of his administration has won out and they’re doubling down on all the policies that got us here,” he said.

…As for Charlottesville and the president’s combative approach, Trumka described it as “a spirited defense of white nationalists, neo-Nazis and other groups of that sort, and we were not going to be associated with that.”

Ultimately, he says all of this left the AFL-CIO with no acceptable partner to try to work within the White House.

Jessica Corbett of commondreams.org quotes Trumka on the effects of Trump’s economic inaction:

“There’s no question that the optimism of a lot of people―our members, of all the sectors, not just the building trades, a lot of the optimism is fading,” Trumka said. “I think a significant amount of the optimism has faded away, because we haven’t seen an infrastructure bill, we haven’t seen the renewal of manufacturing, we haven’t seen the things that we were hopeful about that we could work with him on.”

Gonyea notes that “Labor endorsed Democrat Hillary Clinton. According to exit polls, she carried union households, but by just 9 percentage points. Compare that with President Barack Obama’s 18-point margin among labor voters four years earlier. The shift certainly helped Donald Trump secure victory in closely contested battleground states like Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.”

As for how organized labor is preparing for the 2018 midterm elections, Monitor staff writer Francine Keifer reports,

“For a long time, our program stopped focusing on our members and giving them the facts they needed,” Trumka explained, when asked about what’s new in their approach to the coming election. “Now we’re going back and doing it every day.” As workers hear “the simple facts” about Trump’s actions, as he put it, people are beginning to “come back across the bridge.”

Polling indicates that’s starting to happen. A plurality of non-college educated white voters in the Rust Belt battlegrounds of Wisconsin and Michigan disapprove of how the president is doing his job, according to new NBC/Marist polls. In those states plus Pennsylvania, a large plurality of voters say he has not kept his campaign promise to bring back manufacturing jobs, and they want to see Democrats take back Congress in 2018.

He said his organization would focus on the “blue wall” in 2018 – traditionally Democratic states such as Wisconsin and Michigan that went narrowly for Trump – and that it would, in a sense, come home to its members.

It sounds like some of Trump’s white working-class supporters are beginning to bail, and there is no reason to think they will support Republican midterm candidates, who clearly support Wall St. more than workers. But many may stay at home on election day, unless otherwise inspired. The challenge for Democratic candidates in 2018 is to make it clear to disillusioned Trump voters that they will fight for fair trade, a major infrastructure investment and other programs that benefit working families..


Tomasky: Hurricane Harvey Spotlights GOP Hypocrisy on Federal Spending

At The Daily Beast Michael Tomasky has some choice words for Republican hypocrisy on federal spending. “You could say calling Texas politicians hypocrites because they voted against Hurricane Sandy aid but presumably want every federal dollar they can get their hands on now is shooting fish in a barrel,” Tomasky writes. “That, of course, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it. Some fish end up in barrels for a reason.”

However, Tomasky adds, “The flood victims are people and they’re Americans, and we should support them getting the federal aid they need, because we believe in the government doing this kind of thing irrespective of who the people are.” Helping Texas get through this disaster is part of our patriotic obligation and also a matter of simple human decency. But that doesn’t mean ted Cruz and other Republican politicians get a free ride on their double standard when it comes to helping people of other states when they experienced natural disaster, nor their monumental hypocrisy about government spending in general, as Tomasky points out:

We should have a discussion about hypocrisy on this question that’s a lot broader than disaster relief. How much federal money do those government-haters down in Texas get, anyway? How many federal dollars go to its many excellent research hospitals? How many federal highway dollars? How much federal money sustains Texas agriculture and livestock? How many senior centers and convention centers and community centers were built with federal money? It’s an awfully big state!

It can be hard to find answers to these questions because no single clearinghouse exists to provide, which is something I’ve long argued some rich liberal ought to fund (read this piece I wrote on the topic in the journal I edit). But I did find this on scientific research funding at higher-education institutions in Texas. The total amount was $4.52 billion in 2014, 45 percent of which came from the feds (20 percent private, 19 percent state, 16 percent from the institutions themselves). Here, if you’re interested, is a documentprepared by some outfit in Texas called the Legislative Budget Board that summarizes the federal money Texas receives in every area from human services to homeland security and everything else. Even if you do no more than browse through the table of contents, you’ll see the staggering extent to which the state, like any state, simply could not function without the federal dollars it gets. Federal funds across the board pay for one-third of everything the state of Texas does.

Democrats and liberals need to do a much better job of getting in the faces of Texas Republicans, and the ones from all the other deep-red states, and calling them on this. Suppose the next time a gun nut shoots up a movie theater in a red state, Democrats muse about withholding federal crime victim assistance money to that state? They shouldn’t do it, of course. But they should make citizens aware of the contradiction that the government-haters live every day of their lives.

Further, notes Tomasky:

Let’s get out of the false narrative that there’s either rugged self-reliance (laudable, American!) or government dependence (weak, foreign!) and nothing in between. In real life, virtually everything is in between. Everybody—yes, everybody—needs the federal government. Even the richest Texas oilman, needs police protection, a fire department, good roads to drive on, clean water to drink and air to breathe, someone to clear take-off and landing for their private planes, and 50 other services that only government can provide and only tax dollars can pay for. I’d happily acknowledge that yes, sometimes government does get in the way, provided they’d acknowledge this obvious truth.

As Tomasky concludes, “So let’s save Houston. But while we do it, let’s remind Texas what it owes Washington.” And let’s do a better job of reminding voters that the same Republicans who trash federal government spending can often be found feeding on it in their home states.


Lux: What Does It Mean to Be a Democrat?

The following article by Democratic strategist Mike Lux, author of The Progressive Revolution: How the Best in America Came to Be, is cross-posted from HuffPo:

The events of the last week have reminded all people of good will how important it is to elect a president who is thoughtful, even-tempered, and unalterably opposed to hate groups and hateful rhetoric. In times of violence and hate, we need a president who will stand up strongly for what is right and work hard to heal the hatred and bigotry in this country, not inflame it. Sadly, my Democratic Party allowed Trump to win the presidency because he had a far clearer message than we did. Now more than ever, we know that our failure allowed the worst person we could have elected to win, and for our country to be a decent place to live it is urgent that we start winning elections again.

But to do it, we have to answer an important question: what is a Democrat, anyway?

If you follow politics, you know that Democrats craft their message the way members of Congress make legislation: with committees making compromises and coalitions bickering over word choices. It’s like the old adage of legislation as “sausage making.” The difference is that while “sausage making” sometimes produces good legislation, it never produces good messaging. The latest example is the rollout of the big new slogan Congressional leaders recently announced: “A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future.” Besides not being very exciting, the whole frame implies tinkering, that the system is fine but we can do just a little bit better.

The problem with this is that most Americans today believe this country is seriously off-track, and are hungry for a powerful message of change. To find a path back and win, Democrats need to tell a big, compelling story, based on our values, of who we are, what we will do, and why we are Democrats in the first place.  What voters need to hear from any Democrat running for office is the answer to one central question: Why are you a Democrat? The Democratic Party has lost nearly a thousand state, local, and federal seats in the last decade, and is at one of its lowest points of political power in almost 90 years. Why are you putting the (D) next to your name?

As Democrats chart a path back and push through the current internal struggles, we all must answer this question: why are we Democrats?

I think we need to begin by going back to our roots, rediscovering our identity as the party of the people, not the well-off and powerful. We can start answering that identity question by looking at our party’s history as the oldest continuous political party in the world— it was founded in the first decade of our country’s existence. Doing that is tricky because our party, just like our country, was founded by deeply imperfect people, including racists, slaveowners, and people who countenanced the killing of the indigenous people already living here. We should not forget or forgive these sins, or sweep them under history’s carpet. But I do not believe we are well served by throwing away everything our ancestors did or believed in creating the United States of America. However flawed The Democratic Party’s founders were as people, their aspirational beliefs about equality and democracy laid the foundation for the country we live in today.

The Democratic Party, from its beginning days at the founding of our nation’s history, has always had as its foundational idea that the government should be of, by, and for the people.  Unlike Alexander Hamilton, who viewed democracy as a “great beast” and wanted the government to partner with big New York banks to run the country, and John Adams, who feared the idea of expanding the vote to non-property owners because someday people might want to expand the vote to “even women and slaves,” the founders of the Democratic Party, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, wanted the big banks to have less power and working people to have more power. They wanted to expand democracy so that the government would be more responsive to everyday working people. The name, “Democratic” Party, represented that idea and identity.  Democrats from the very beginning fought for more, rather than less, people getting the right to vote; more people getting a good public education; and more power for small businesses, farmers and workers instead of more power for the big banks.

That history still guides who we are today. To me, there are five reasons to be a Democrat:

First, we are Democrats because we take seriously the big idea in Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, which began by dedicating our new nation to the aspirational concept that all people are created equal. That means all of us should have the opportunity to have our liberty and pursue our happiness, that we should all be treated fairly in our courts of law, that we each should be able to get a good education and a legitimate chance to make a success of ourselves, that we should all be judged, as Martin Luther King said, “by the content of our character, not the color of our skin.” The irony is that even though Jefferson was a slaveowner, the power of that foundational idea has driven progressive reformers ever since to abolish slavery and secure equal rights for all our citizens.

Third, we are Democrats because we want to fight for the many, not the few. We know that when economic and political power gets too concentrated in a few very wealthy hands, the middle class, and our democracy, will break down. We know that huge corporate cartels with near-monopoly power distort markets, squeeze workers, jack up prices, evade rules everyone else has to live by, hurt small businesses and innovative entrepreneurship, and get sweetheart deals from government. We want to put more power into the hands of working people, communities, and consumers, and less into the hands of big business and the wealthy. That’s why Democrats fight for strong anti-trust enforcement, breaking up the too-big-to-fail banks, closing corporate loopholes, and having the wealthy pay their fair share of taxes.

Fourth, as the party of the people, we value compassion and community. We want a government that invests in our people and fights for working folks, children, and senior citizens. We fight for people to have good jobs with good wages and benefits. Democrats have always advocated for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, VA care, strong labor unions, affordable college education, great public schools, and a higher minimum wage.  We know that compassion is not only the right thing to do, it pays off in the long run. Immigrants we welcome to the American community make huge contributions to building a stronger country and economy. Getting poor kids enough food and a good education pays off tenfold when they become productive adults. Giving people the security of health coverage allows them to take the risk of starting new businesses that generate good jobs.

Finally, Democrats understand what “freedom” really means. We know that people want freedom in the pursuit of their happiness; they want a chance at the American Dream. They want a good education growing up and a good job and decent place to live as they enter adulthood. They want the freedom to drink clean water and breathe clean air. They want a future without the specter of climate change hanging over their heads. Women need the freedom to control their own bodies and destinies. People don’t want to be burdened down by overwhelming debt. They want the freedom to be able to negotiate a decent wage with their employer. They want the freedom to start their own small business without worrying that huge corporations are going to make it impossible for them to innovate or compete.

This is what it means to be a Democrat.

The Democratic Party’s problems will not be solved by a new slogan. Our credibility and our very identity as a party has been badly eroded over the last few decades. Most voters don’t see us as the party of the people, in large part because too many Democrats forgot where we came from and lost their way. Clinton and Obama won by promising hope and change for people who worked hard and played by the rules, and they did a lot of good things. But when Wall Street bankers who crashed the economy got bailouts, bonuses and get-out-of-jail-free cards, while millions of workers lost their jobs, people turned away from us. And we have paid the price, losing over 1,000 offices up and down the ballot since 2009.

Our message and identity problems will be only solved when we go back to our roots: Democrats began as the champion of workers and farmers and small businesses. Our founders promoted aspirational ideas like equality, fraternity, the freedom to pursue happiness as each of us defined it, and building a more perfect union.  If we embrace those historic values, and fight for them, rather than just mouth the words, we will start winning elections again.


Galston: Trump’s Charlottesville response falls flat with public, working-class base

The following article by William A. Galston, Ezra K. Zilkha Chair and Senior Fellow – Governance Studies at Brookings and author of  Public Matters: Politics, Policy, and Religion in the 21st Century, is cross-posted from Brookings:

An NPR/PBS News Hour/Marist poll released on August 16contained bad news for President Trump. Only 31 percent of registered voters believe that his response to the events in Charlottesville, Virginia, was strong enough, compared to 51 percent who think that it was not.

A CBS News poll released the next day continued the drumbeat, with a new twist: the more the president reacts, the deeper the hole he is digging for himself. Among respondents surveyed before Mr. Trump’s impromptu news conference on Tuesday, 35 percent approved of his response and 52 percent disapproved, a negative margin of 17 points. Among those surveyed after the news conference, approval fell slightly, disapproval rose sharply, and his negative margin widened to 25 points.

In both surveys, reaction to the president divided along partisan lines, with a majority of Republicans supporting the president and majorities of Democrats and Independents opposed. But there was a surprise that should give the rally-the-base strategists in the White House pause: although 59 percent of Republican respondents in the NPR/PBS/Marist poll felt that that Mr. Trump’s Charlottesville response was strong enough, just 32 percent of white working-class voters—the linchpin of Mr. Trump’s upset victory last November—agreed.

READ MORE


Cohn: Data Suggests Dems Can Win Back a Share of Obama-Trump Voters

Regarding the impact of Obama-Trump voters in 2016, Nate Cohn writes at The Upshot:

The story of the 2016 presidential election is simple. Donald J. Trump made huge gains among white voters without a college degree. His gains were large enough to cancel out considerable losses among well-educated white voters and a decade of demographic shifts.

There are questions and details still up for debate: whether Democrats can win back these voters, and how to think about and frame the decline in black turnout. But postelection surveys, pre-election surveys, voter file data and the actual results all support the main story: The voters who switched from President Obama to Mr. Trump were decisive.

Cohn cites a study which “found that 9.2 percent of Obama voters flipped to support Mr. Trump — a hair lower than the estimates from other surveys.” But Cohn emphasizes that the Obama-Trump voters were critically-important in key states, noting that Clinton “lost primarily because of the narrow but deep swing among white working-class voters who were overrepresented in decisive battleground states.” Further, “Just 74 percent of white Obama voters with a high school diploma or less backed Mrs. Clinton,” according to the Democracy Fund Voter Study Group. “Similarly,” notes Cohn, “the Cooperative Congressional Election Study found that Mrs. Clinton won just 78 percent of white Obama voters without a bachelor’s degree. The figure was even lower in the key Rust Belt battlegrounds.”

Cohn adds that “Strong evidence suggests a lot of these voters will lean Republican for the foreseeable future, and certainly will lean toward Mr. Trump. But Democrats can still win a meaningful and potentially decisive share of these voters, many of whom probably voted Democratic down-ballot in 2016.”

Cohn concludes that “it does seem likely that at least a portion of the Obama-Trump vote can be lured back to the Democrats — especially against traditional Republican candidates who emphasize small government, free markets and social conservatism…Whether that means it should be the crux of the Democrats’ path to power is another question. But it will most likely be a part of it, and will probably need to be for Democrats to secure parts of the Rust Belt that continue to play an outsize role in American elections.”

And what keeps getting overlooked in many media discusssions of Democratic prospects for winning back white working-class voters is that it doesn’t have to be a majority, or even a plurality of this large constituency — just a bigger share in key states.


Creamer: Are There Really ‘Two Sides’ When It Comes To Political Violence In The U.S.?

The following article by Democratic strategist Robert Creamer, author of Stand Up Straight: How Progressives Can Win, is cross-posted from HuffPo:

Three days after the violence in Charlottesville, Donald Trump doubled down on his shocking accusation that when it came to political violence in the United States, there were “two sides.” In fact, he argued that the media simply ignored the “Alt-Left” and left-wing political violence in general.

The notion that there is any moral or empirical equivalency between the political violence of the right and the left in the United States is simply wrong. It is wrong empirically. And just as importantly, it is wrong because when it comes to the use of violence, there is a massive difference in values between the left and the right.

First, consider the facts.

The violence in Charlottesville was precipitated by a crowd led by self-proclaimed Neo-Nazis and members of the Ku Klux Klan – two organizations whose histories are steeped in the most extreme forms of political violence.

Trump’s assertion that it included many “good people” ignores the fact that the crowd was chanting the Nazi slogan “blood and soil” and “the Jews will not replace us.” It would not take but a second for any “good people” who joined the crowd to realize they were in the wrong place and leave.


Teixeira: How Vulnerable is Trump?

The following article by Ruy Teixeira, author of The Optimistic Leftist: Why the 21st Century Will Be Better Than You Think and other works, is cross-posted from his blog, “The Optimistic Leftist”:

Some have argued that the emotional bond between Trump and his supporters is so strong that it’s nearly impossible to break.

I don’t believe this is true for a couple of reasons. First, Trump is attached to the GOP and the GOP is remarkably out of touch with the voters who supported Trump. This is a non-trivial problem, as Ron Brownstein explains in The Atlantic.

The Senate Republican health-care bill has been repeatedly crushed in a slow-motion collision between the party’s historic ideology and the interests of its modern electoral coalition. Yet congressional Republicans appear determined to plow right through the wreckage.

Even as the Senate’s latest effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act collapsed on Tuesday, the House Republican leadership released a 10-year federal-budget blueprint that points them toward a similar confrontation, between their dominant small-government dogma and the economic needs of their increasingly blue-collar and older white base.

The Urban Institute found that 80 percent of those who would lose coverage under the Senate repeal-and-replace bill were non-college educated, 70 percent worked full-time and 60 percent were white. Rural areas would be particularly hard hit by the Medicaid cuts and so on. Candidate Trump of course said he would do none of this stuff but that went out the window once he started dealing with Congressional Republicans and their libertarian proclivities.

This matters. Brownstein notes that Trump’s approval ratings among white noncollege women is now 19 points lower than his vote support among this group back in November. Will all of these voters abandon him? No, but if a serious chunk does it will hurt both him and the GOP.

But isn’t it true that Trump’s overall support has been rock-steady? On net, aren’t his voters sticking with him? This is a myth. It is certainly true that he retains most of this support. But that’s different from all. Brendan Nyhan points out in a New York Times Upshot column that the seeming stability in Trump’s approval rating among GOP partisans may be an illusion. This is because Republican identifiers who disapprove of Trump may cease identifying as Republicans, thereby propping up his numbers among that group. But he’s still losing support.

A new Ipsos poll finds that one in eight Trump supporters from last November now say they aren’t sure they’d do it again after the last six months. We don’t know of course whether these voters would actually follow through on their sentiments. But it is not a good sign, either for Trump or the GOP.

People are reluctant, understandably so, to believe in Trump’s vulnerability. People will not soon forget the night of November 8, 2016 when nothing turned out like it was supposed to. But if his supporters have a fear of falling downward economically, what happens if they conclude he can’t stop the fall, much less lift them up? He will be punished like all politicians. It is just a matter of when and how much.


Creamer: Congress Should Curb Trump’s Nuclear First Strike Capability

The following article by Democratic strategist Robert Creamer, author of Stand Up Straight: How Progressives Can Win, is cross-posted from HuffPo:

Donald Trump actually threatened North Korea with a nuclear attack if their egomaniacal leader continued to “threaten” the United States.

The idea that the United States of America would seriously consider launching a nuclear war over a verbal taunt is simply unthinkable.

But remember, this is the same Donald Trump who last year is reported to have asked why, if we have nuclear weapons, we shouldn’t use them.

Last January, Senator Edward Markey and Representative Ted Lieu introduced legislation that would forbid the president to launch a nuclear first strike without a Congressional declaration of war.

It’s time for Congress to enact that legislation.

No one questions that to give deterrence credibility, the president should have authority to retaliate immediately if our country is attacked by nuclear weapons. But a first strike is a different matter altogether.

The Constitution gives the Congress the ability to declare war. A nuclear attack is the most extreme attack on another country imaginable. If the Congress does not have the authority to declare war in those circumstances, the Constitution is meaningless.