Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Last Call For Golden State Blues

As John Nichols reminds us, the only thing more dysfunctional than the Party of Trump at the national level is the Party of Trump in California, and Trump may finish them off for a second generation.

Fifty years ago, California was a reasonably Republican state—with a Republican named Reagan on his way to being elected governor, two Republican senators representing the state in Washington, and the pieces in place to back the GOP nominees in the next six presidential elections. Republicans did not always win California, but they had the upper hand.From 1952 to 1988, only one Democratic presidential candidate won the state—and that was Lyndon Johnson in the Democratic landslide year of 1964. 
As recently as 1988, Californians voted for Republican George H.W. Bush for president and Republican Pete Wilson for the US Senate. But that was the end of it. California has not voted for a Republican for the presidencyor for the Senate since that year. 
This year, the California GOP looks to be headed for disaster in the presidential race, with some recent polls showing Donald Trump gainingless than one-third of the vote. And that’s not the worst of it. The GOP won’t even have a Senate candidate on the ballot.

Yep, that's right.  Sen. Barbara Boxer's replacement will be a Democrat, because Republicans are so pathetic in the state they couldn't even finish second in the state's primary.  And let's not forget what started the end of the decline for the GOP in California: immigration.

Two decades ago, Republican Governor Wilson championed California Proposition 187, a 1994 ballot initiative designed to discriminate against undocumented immigrants. The initiative’s proposed restrictions on access to education, healthcare, and social services were draconian, and unconstitutional—as the federal courts eventually determined. 
The Republican push for the measure proved to be political folly in a state with a growing Hispanic population and a substantial Asian-American community. The Proposition 187 fight identified California Republicans with anti-immigrant policies, while Wilson’s veto of legislation that sought to prohibit employment discrimination based on sexual orientation fostered additional concerns about the party’s intolerance in a state with a large and active LGBT community. 
Wilson was certainly not the sole source of the California GOP’s image problems. But when he left office in 1998, Wilson’s tenure was recalled by The Washington Post as an era of “divisive politics” in which the California governor and his party “championed voter propositions to end affirmative action, social services for illegal aliens and bilingual education.”

Demographics crushed the Republicans in the state, and the rest of the union is headed California's way.  The fact that Republicans are toast in the most populous state in the country should have clued them in years ago, but then again, these are Republicans we're talking about.  They've lost the state since Clinton and will probably not win the state again in my lifetime.

Mitch The Turtle Meets Don The Con

Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell is watching GOP presumptive nominee Donald Trump destroy the Republican's Senate control in real time, and he's scrambling to try to put The Donald's racist toothpaste (whitening formula!) back in the tube.

At an event promoting his memoir Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said it was “stupid” for Donald Trump to single out a judge’s Mexican heritage and said the Republican presidential candidate should apologize and “get on script.” 
He did not, though, back away from supporting the New York real estate magnate.
Instead, McConnell criticized Trump for statements the Republican presidential candidate has made about Gonzalo Curiel, the federal judge presiding over a court case involving his defunct real-estate training program, Trump University. 
“I worry about these gratuitous shots at a variety of Americans,” McConnell said in a discussion of his book, “The Long Game,” at the American Enterprise Institute, a conservative Washington policy group. “Basically, we’re writing off Hispanic Americans.” 
Trump has said that Curiel is biased against him because Trump has proposed to build a wall at the Mexican border to curb illegal immigration. Although Curiel’s parents are from Mexico, he was born in Indiana and is known for his tough approach to Mexican drug cartels. 
“Even if you thought that was appropriate in any way, which I don’t,” McConnell said of Trump’s singling out of Curiel’s Mexican heritage, “it’s stupid to do that.” 
McConnell and many prominent Republicans have criticized Trump’s remarks but continue to back him. Trump should apologize and “get on script,” McConnell said. 
“It’s time for him to look like a serious candidate for president,” he said. “This could be a winnable race.”

And by "get on script" he's saying "please use the more acceptable racist dog whistle terms for Hispanic voters rather than your overt foghorns, you're killing us in the polls."

It seems Sen. McConnell has discovered that Donald Trump may in fact have coattails of negative length, and are suprised that after a couple decades of treating (non-Cuban) Hispanic immigrants like an infestation that people are less likely to vote for the guy who wants to deport millions and build a giant wall to keep "them" out.

The real problem is that Trump is just saying out loud what the GOP has been implying for years, and there's a lot of increasingly uncomfortable Republican voters who are finding out that there's not a whole lot you can do to avoid being labeled a racist when you've nominated an unapologetic racist nationalist popular with white supremacist groups as your party's standard-bearer.

Oh and Mitch: you wrote off "Hispanic Americans" a long time ago.  Pay attention.

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The Last Days Of Bern-peii

With Clinton taking California and New Jersey, Bernie Sanders is now over and done, and he knows it.

Senator Bernie Sanders plans to lay off at least half of his campaign staff Wednesday as his battered presidential bid continues despite Hillary Clinton’s being declared the presumptive Democratic nominee, two people close to the campaign said Tuesday.

Many of those being laid off are advance staff members who often help with campaign logistics, as well as field staff members who have been working to garner votes for the senator, according to a campaign official and a former campaign staff member, both of whom spoke on condition of anonymity. Some campaign workers may move into jobs at Mr. Sanders’s Senate office, but others will be terminated, they said.

Word of the layoffs came on a night that Mrs. Clinton declared that she had captured the majority of pledged delegates needed to capture the Democratic nomination, despite a spirited fight from Mr. Sanders, who has showed no signs of ending his campaign.

Mr. Sanders insists that he is prepared to challenge Mrs. Clinton at the Democratic National Convention in July, holding out hope that his lobbying of superdelegates — party officials and state leaders who cast their final votes at the convention — will siphon support from Mrs. Clinton as he makes his case that he is a stronger candidate against Donald J. Trump, the presumptive Republican nominee.

Mr. Sanders’s spokesman, Michael Briggs, said Tuesday that Mr. Sanders planned to travel to his home in Vermont on Wednesday and then head to Washington on Thursday. Campaign aides say he plans to hold rallies in Washington, which holds the last nominating contest on June 14.

And as a reminder, the continued sour grapes coming from the defeated Sanders camp comes from Sanders himself.

There’s no strategist pulling the strings, and no collection of burn-it-all-down aides egging him on. At the heart of the rage against Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party, the campaign aides closest to him say, is Bernie Sanders.

It was the Vermont senator who personally rewrote his campaign manager’s shorter statement after the chaos at the Nevada state party convention and blamed the political establishment for inciting the violence.

He was the one who made the choice to go after Democratic National Committee chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz after his wife read him a transcript of her blasting him on television.

He chose the knife fight over calling Clinton unqualified, which aides blame for pulling the bottom out of any hopes they had of winning in New York and their last real chance of turning a losing primary run around.

And when Jimmy Kimmel’s producers asked Sanders’ campaign for a question to ask Donald Trump, Sanders himself wrote the one challenging the Republican nominee to a debate.

There are many divisions within the Sanders campaign—between the dead-enders and the work-it-out crowds, between the younger aides who think he got off message while the consultants got rich and obsessed with Beltway-style superdelegate math, and between the more experienced staffers who think the kids got way too high on their sense of the difference between a movement and an actual campaign.

But more than any of them, Sanders is himself filled with resentment, on edge, feeling like he gets no respect -- all while holding on in his head to the enticing but remote chance that Clinton may be indicted before the convention.

That's it.  Sanders's message of real progressive change to pull the country left to help the working class is now "I hope the FBI indicts Hillary." And it came from Sanders himself.

It's all he has left now, and it's an unfortunate end to his legacy.  Maybe he can turn it around and support Hillary, but the fact that there's major questions about whether or not he will is everything you need to know.


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