Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Last Call For America Gets That Poll-Axed Look, Con't

Public Policy Polling's latest national poll has some very interesting findings on guns, Donald Trump, the Mueller investigation and more.

PPP’s newest national poll finds that Americans like the high school students leading protests against gun violence across the country a whole lot more than they like the NRA. The high school students receive a positive 56/34 favorability rating for their efforts, while the NRA is upside down with 39% of voters seeing it favorably and 44% negatively. 
There’s 87% support for background checks for all gun buyers, compared to only 8% of voters who are opposed to that. That policy has the backing of 89% of Democrats and 85% of Republicans and independents. It’s hard to find anything 87% of Americans agree on- in fact on this same poll we found that only 81% think the sky is blue with 11% disputing that notion. 
We also found 64/26 support for a ban on assault weapons, again with bipartisan agreement. Democrats (78/15), independents (61/25), and Republicans (49/40) are all in agreement. In general 60% of voters say they want stronger gun laws to 32% who are opposed. 
One new gun proposal voters don’t like though is giving them to teachers. Only 35% of voters think that’s a good idea, to 53% who say it’s a bad one.

Even Republicans want to ban assault weapons.  And yet, Congress will never touch this with the NRA GOP in charge.  So how are Republicans faring heading into November?

Not well.

Democrats continue to have a solid advantage on the generic Congressional ballot, leading 50-39. That edge grows to 55-39 among voters who say they’re ‘very excited’ to vote this year. Democrats lead by 14 points at 44-30 among independents. 
One piece of the Democratic advantage is that Republican Congressional leaders are extremely unpopular. Only 23% approve of the job Paul Ryan is doing to 58% who disapprove. He is only narrowly popular with Trump voters (44/39) and almost universally disliked by Clinton voters (6/76). Mitch McConnell is even worse off, with only 12% of voters approving of him to 62% who disapprove. He has similar numbers to Ryan with Clinton voters (7/69) but in contrast to Ryan is strongly disliked even by Trump voters (21/54). In 2010 Republicans used Nancy Pelosi’s unpopularity to great effect- Democrats may be able to do the same thing with Ryan and McConnell this time around. 
Another thing causing Republicans trouble is that the tax bill isn’t doing them any favors. Only 31% of voters say they support it to 40% who are opposed. Continuing with that 31% figure, only 31% of voters think the tax plan is actually going to help their family’s finances with 33% saying they think it will actually hurt, and 29% saying they think it will not have any impact. 57% think the tax plan will mostly help the rich to 29% who think the middle class will be the biggest beneficiaries.

The extremely unpopular Donald Trump isn't helping them either, his approval rating is stuck at 39%.  But speaking of 39% as a specific poll result...

So 46% of Americans believe Trump colluded with the Russians, but 39% would want Trump to remain president even if Mueller dropped conclusive evidence that collusion happened. A quarter of Americans in fact want Mueller fired. 37% of people believe the entire Russian collusion issue is fake news anyway.

When people say Mueller will not save us, I'm inclined to believe them if 2 out of 5 people think Trump should stay in office no matter what illegality he has done. Again, the true solution is Democratic domination of the 2018 elections at both the state and federal level.

Counting Out The Trump Census

It looks like the Trump regime is following through on threats to add a citizenship question to the 2020 US Census form, something guaranteed to hurt blue states with large undocumented populations from getting accurate numbers, so much so that it may cost them tens of billions of dollars over ten years and even entire congressional districts as a result.

And that's exactly what Republicans want to do.

California AG Xavier Becerra takes to the op-ed page of the San Francisco Chronicle to make his case against the question.

The size of your child’s kindergarten class. Homeland security funds for your community. Natural disaster preparation. Highway and mass transit resources. Health care and emergency room services.

Vital services such as these would be jeopardized and our voice in government diminished if the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2020 count resulted in an undercount. Beyond its constitutional role in redistricting, a proper count conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau shapes our everyday lives. If the bureau is ill-prepared for the job or a count is faulty, every state, every neighborhood, faces the risk of losing its fair share of federal funding for its people and its taxpayers.

Every 10 years, the bureau must count each person in our country — whether citizen or noncitizen — “once, only once, and in the right place.”

The Trump administration is threatening to derail the integrity of the census by seeking to add a question relating to citizenship to the 2020 census questionnaire. Innocuous at first blush, its effect would be truly insidious. It would discourage noncitizens and their citizen family members from responding to the census, resulting in a less accurate population count.

Including a citizenship question on the 2020 census is not just a bad idea — it is illegal.

The Constitution requires the government to conduct an “actual enumeration” of the total population, regardless of citizenship status. And since 1790, the census has counted citizens and noncitizens alike.

The census has a specific constitutional purpose: to provide an accurate count of all residents, which then allows for proper allotment of congressional representatives to the states. The Census Bureau has a long history of working to ensure the most accurate count of the U.S. population in a nonpartisan manner, based on scientific principles.

Since the last census in 2010, the public servants at the Census Bureau have been planning and fine-tuning the 2020 census. This work includes painstaking determinations of which questions to ask on the census and how to ask them.

In December, the U.S. Department of Justice formally asked the bureau to include a question on citizenship in the 2020 census. By March 31, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross must decide whether to add this question.

This request is an extraordinary attempt by the Trump administration to hijack the 2020 census for political purposes. Since the first day of his presidential campaign and through his first year in office, President Trump has targeted immigrants: vilifying them and attempting to exclude them from the country. Think travel bans, repeal of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, ramped up Immigration and Customs Enforcement raids that tear parents away from their children. Immigrants and their loved ones understandably are, and will be, concerned about how data collected in the 2020 Census will be used.

California, with its large immigrant communities, would be disproportionately harmed by depressed participation in the 2020 census. An undercount would threaten at least one of California’s seats in the House of Representatives (and, by extension, an elector in the electoral college.) It would deprive California and its cities and counties of their fair share of billions of dollars in federal funds

Again, the Trump regime knows full well what the goal is, and Trump has wanted to personally punish the states that defied him by not voting for him ever since he took office.  I would expect this question will go to the courts and soon.

Russian To Judgment, Con't

The Trump/Russia collusion is now becoming the Trump/Russian reality, as today the Washington Post is reporting that an associate of former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort was in contact with both Russian intelligence and the Trump campaign during the 2016 contest.

The FBI has found that a business associate of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort had ongoing ties to Russian intelligence, including during the 2016 campaign when Manafort and his deputy, Rick Gates, were in touch with the associate, according to new court filings. 
The documents, filed late Tuesday by prosecutors for special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, also allege that Gates had said he knew the associate was a former officer with the Russian military intelligence service
The allegations underscore Mueller’s interest in Manafort and Gates, who continued to interact with business associates in Ukraine even as they helped lead Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. 
Manafort, 68, has pleaded not guilty to conspiracy, money laundering, and tax and bank fraud charges related to his lobbying work for a Russian-friendly political party in Ukraine and former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych.

Gates, 45, who was deputy campaign manager for Trump and had earlier worked with Manafort in Ukraine, pleaded guilty last month to conspiracy and lying to the FBI in a cooperation deal with Mueller’s probe.

It's hard to overstate how huge this is.  Gates is cooperating with Mueller, and if he's confirming that both he and Manafort were knowingly working with a former Russian intelligence agent while actively running the Trump campaign, then the story goes from "There's no smoking gun connecting Trump's campaign to Russia" to "Just how much was Manafort working with the GRU?"

Obviously Trump knew this Washington Post story was coming, which would explain why he hates the paper's parent company Amazon and CEO Jeff Bezos so much. Axios's Jon Swan:

What we're hearing: Trump has talked about changing Amazon’s tax treatment because he’s worried about mom-and-pop retailers being put out of business. 
  • A source who’s spoken to POTUS: “He’s wondered aloud if there may be any way to go after Amazon with antitrust or competition law." 
  • Trump’s deep-seated antipathy toward Amazon surfaces when discussing tax policy and antitrust cases. The president would love to clip CEO Jeff Bezos’ wings. But he doesn’t have a plan to make that happen. 
Behind the president's thinking: Trump's wealthy friends tell him Amazon is destroying their businesses. His real estate buddies tell him — and he agrees — that Amazon is killing shopping malls and brick-and-mortar retailers. 
  • Trump tells people Amazon has gotten a free ride from taxpayers and cushy treatment from the U.S. Postal Service. 
  • “The whole post office thing, that's very much a perception he has,” another source said. “It's been explained to him in multiple meetings that his perception is inaccurate and that the post office actually makes a ton of money from Amazon." 
  • Axios' Ina Fried notes: The Postal Service actually added delivery on Sunday in some cities because Amazon made it worthwhile. 
  • Trump also pays close attention to the Amazon founder's ownership of The Washington Post, which the president views as Bezos’ political weapon.

Believe me when I say it's that last part that makes the difference and explains why Trump doesn't give a damn about what Facebook, Wal-Mart, or Google are up to.

The larger point remains however: Paul Manafort and Rick Gates were in contact with Russian intelligence during the time they were running the Trump campaign.  The implications of this are enormous.


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