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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

“President Donald Trump’s latest offer of a deal to resolve the government shutdown was an inept playing of a weak hand,” Robert Kuttner argues in “Why Trump Will Lose The Government Shutdown Fight” at HuffPo.”It was never in the cards for Democrats to agree to Trump’s $5.7 billion wall demand in exchange for just three years of protection for the Dreamers plus temporary reprieves for some other immigrants…Trump obviously knew this when he made the offer. He is still betting that the public will accept his argument that a physical wall is needed to protect Americans from an invasion of refugees and an inflow of illegal drugs. But public opinion isn’t buying it…I continue to believe that the final deal will include a DACA agreement in exchange for some increased funding for border security that will include some stretch of physical barrier that Trump can call a wall. He has already back-pedaled on his demand for a literal concrete wall. In the endgame, he can term a mix of electronic surveillance and some actual barriers a “wall,” and declare victory.”

At salon.com, Heather Digby Parton writes, “As the New York Times reported in its massive exposé of the Trump family business going back to the 1960s, Trump was a millionaire before he was out of diapers — and his repeated failures in business were all because of his lack of business acumen. Researchers discovered that had voters known about this, it would have changed the minds of a meaningful percentage of those who voted for Trump. Perceptions of Trump’s business acumen, which are fairly high among voters of both parties, are also subject to a significant shift. When they find out that his daddy bailed him out his whole life, Republicans reduce their admiration for his skills by 9 points and Democrats by 6. These are small differences, but considering how close the election was in 2016, it’s something worth thinking about for 2020…The Democrats can’t give in or this will be the only way he “negotiates” for the rest of his term. That would be a disaster. So, if he refuses to declare his bogus emergency and save face with Ann Coulter, it’s going to be up to Mitch McConnell to bring him the bad news. Ultimately McConnell can call a vote and override Trump’s veto if necessary to get the government open again. So far, McConnell’s been AWOL on the whole thing, but he may have to step up to get the Greatest Negotiator the World Has Ever Known out of his jam — just like Trump’s daddy always did.

Sen. Jon Tester shows how Dems can frame the shutdown. If Trump delivers a SOTU address, Tester would be a strong choice to respond for Dems:

So how wil Democrats handle Trump’s end the shutdown proposal, when it is submitted to congress this week? Stephen Collinson reports at CNN Politics: “Democrats will counter that the House has voted to reopen the government multiple times already but the Senate has refused to take up any measure Trump won’t sign…The House Democratic leadership plans its own vote on a new plan this week to add an extra $1 billion for border security not including the wall. Like Trump’s plan, it is unlikely to end the shutdown but will help rebut claims they are weak on the border…As each chamber takes up dueling measures to end the shutdown and the President continues posturing, it will look yet again like Washington is playing its political games and ignoring shutdown victims.” As Speaker Pelosi responded, “”@realDonaldTrump, 800,000 Americans are going without pay. Re-open the government, let workers get their paychecks and then we can discuss how we can come together to protect the border. #EndTheShutdown,” the California Democrat tweeted.”

A commenter, “Stephen C,” responding to Ruy Teixeira’s “is Trump Losing White Workers?” at TDS, writes, “I would love to see stories of Trump voters who’ve now reached their limit: instead of liberals complaining about Trump which tends to push Trump supporters back in line, we need to gently light up the exit path, from a distance.” It’s a really good idea, a worthy project for major TV networks, perhaps as a special report. A series of interviews with disaffected Trump voters might also provide good audio for radio — the leading daytime news source for working people.

Daniel Politi’s post, “Pence Likens Trump and His Offer to End Shutdown to Martin Luther King” at slate.com notes that, during an interview with CBS News on Sunday, “At one point in the interview, host Margaret Brennan asked the vice-president why Democrats weren’t included in the process to come up with the proposal that Trump put forward Saturday to end the longest government shutdown in history. After spouting his talking points, Pence quoted the civil rights leader. “One of my favorite quotes from Dr. King was, ‘Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy.’ You think of how he changed America,” the vice president said. “He inspired us to change through the legislative process to become a more perfect union. That’s exactly what President Trump is calling on the Congress to do. Come to the table in a spirit of good faith.” Pence does that with a straight face. He has been widely-ridiculed on the left as Trump’s empty suit boot-licker, not without reason. But I hope Dems do some serious thinking about what happens to that image if he assumes the presidency, which is not all that unlikely and could happen quite quickly. In that event, Democrats would lose ovdernight whatever edge they get from unhappy Republican moderates and other voters who are fed up with Trump’s general nastiness and boorish behavior, but not so much his politics.

For those who have been seething over Mitch McConnell’s betrayal of democracy, Charles Pierce has a blistering, share-worthy take-down at Esquire, entitled “There Is No More Loathsome Creature Walking Our Political Landscape Than Mitch McConnell. Yes, that includes the jumped-up real-estate crook in the White House.” Among Pierce’s observations: “There simply is no more loathsome creature walking the political landscape than the Majority Leader of the United States Senate. You have to go back to McCarthy or McCarran to find a Senate leader who did so much damage to democratic norms and principles…Trump is bad enough, but he’s just a jumped-up real-estate crook who’s in over his head. McConnell is a career politician who knows full well what he’s doing to democratic government and is doing it anyway because it gives him power, and it gives the rest of us a wingnut federal judiciary for the next 30 years…He doesn’t have the essential patriotism god gave a snail. He pledges allegiance to his donors, and they get what they want. He’s selling out his country, and he’s doing it in real-time and out in the open. This is worse than McCarthy or McCarran ever were. Mitch McConnell is the the thief of the nation’s soul.”

Andrew Prokop explores the pros and cons of Democrats pursuing impeachment at Vox, and concludes that “In the end, while Democrats may have a host of disagreements on impeachment, the real decision-makers on whether Trump may one day be convicted and removed from office are Senate Republicans…The bar for convicting an impeached president is high — the votes of 67 senators, two-thirds of the chamber, would be necessary…Since Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has a 53-47 majority, that means that even if all 47 Democrats voted to convict Trump — including moderates like West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin — they would need another 20 Republicans votes to make it happen…That’s grown tougher to imagine after two years of Trump exerting his dominance over the GOP Senate caucus. With a few exceptions, the vast majority of Republican senators try desperately to avoid high-profile spats with the president. They have to face primary voters, and fear that attacks from Trump could sink their careers…It’s hard to envision this changing without one of two things: an utter collapse in Trump’s popularity (well below his current 40 percent overall approval and his 89 percent approval with Republicans) that would make the party expect a total wipeout in 2020; or some indisputable, incredibly damning evidence of an extremely serious crime. (Even that might not do it.)”

Both NBC and ABC web pages have-round up reports on various Democratic presidential candidates participation in MLK holiday events marking Dr. King’s 90th birthday across the nation. You may also want to check out John Blake’s in-depth report, “A new Supreme Court is poised to take a chunk out of MLK’s legacy” at CNN.

2 comments on “Political Strategy Notes

  1. Candace on

    Well said by Jon Tester. I dont think he needed the Christmas movie music in the background though.

    I really like Charles Pierce and I might as well mention Jennifer Rubin and William Rivers Pitt.

  2. Rod Watkins on

    For the life of me I can’t understand why the Democratic Caucus isn’t using the most potent weapon they have against the wall…that it’s simply un-American. In 1987 Reagan said; “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.” What made those words so powerful is that he wasn’t just referring to the physical wall in East Germany, but the political walls between people and governments. Walls are what the other guys do, not America. That’s stronger than it being a waste of $5.7 billion or any other argument they can make.


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