Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Last Call For The Blue Wave Rises, Con't

With two weeks to go, it's becoming a question of how big the bloodbath in the House is going to be for the GOP.  Dave Wasserman at Cook Political Report:

Two weeks out, district-level polls reflect a House battleground gradually polarizing along the lines of the 2016 presidential race. Democrats are maintaining leads over GOP opponents in upscale, Clinton-won "Whole Foods suburbs" of Chicago, Denver, Kansas City, Minneapolis and Northern Virginia. But Republicans' numbers continue to improve in Trump-won districts in places like rural Minnesota, Upstate New York and Downstate Illinois.

A new NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows Democrats enjoy a four-point lead in midterm election interest, narrower than their ten points average lead for the first nine months of the year. It's likely that cultural flash points like the Kavanaugh confirmation fight and the "migrant caravan" are better-suited to rallying and awakening the Trump base than tax cuts, which mostly fell flat for Republicans in this year's special elections.

However, Democrats' staggering success in third quarter fundraising reports injects some last-minute uncertainty. An astounding 112 Democrats outraised GOP opponents in Republican-held seats between July and September. Of the 93 GOP incumbents who were outraised, 20 are currently in our Likely Republican column and 23 in Solid Republican. Democrats' late dominance in the air wars could produce several Election Night surprises.

Today, we're changing ratings in ten districts, including eight where Democrats' position has improved. Democrats now have a clear advantage in 17 GOP-held seats and Republicans have an advantage in two Democratic-held seats. If the 30 Toss Ups were to break evenly between the parties (15 seats apiece), Democrats would score a net gain of 29 seats, six more than the 23 they need to retake the majority.

And history tells us that toss-ups don't break evenly, but that a vast majority go to one side.  Cook's prediction of 29 is conservative, I personally think Dems can take 24 of those 30 tossups, plus 10 or 12 more of the GOP leaners in those surprise wins.  That would give Dems close to a 2010-style wave win of 50 or so pickups.

But again, that all depends on turnout.  If Republicans show up and we don't, all this crumbles to dust.  And we have to show up in numbers that not only beat systemic GOP voter suppression efforts, but historical midterm apathy and the Trump fear card rallying his toxic, hateful base.

Vote like your country depends on it, because it does.

Trump Cards, Con't

Because at this point one side is celebrating violence against journalists, covering up the murder of a Saudi dissident, and planting IEDs in George Soros's mailbox.

The explosive device found in a mailbox at the home of George Soros, the billionaire philanthropist, on Monday afternoon was relatively small, a senior law enforcement official said on Tuesday.

The device was “proactively denotated” by bomb squad technicians from the Westchester County Police Department.

The bomber’s motive remained unclear. Mr. Soros is a favorite target of right-wing groups. He was not home at the time.

The investigation has been taken over by the New York offices of the F.B.I. and the federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms, said the senior law enforcement official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is open.

Federal and state law enforcement officials responded to the scene in Katonah, N.Y., a hamlet in the upscale town of Bedford in northern Westchester County, after the Bedford Police Department received a call about a suspicious package at about 3:45 p.m.

“An employee of the residence opened the package, revealing what appeared to be an explosive device,” the police said in a statement. “The employee placed the package in a wooded area and called the Bedford police.”

Later that day Donald Trump's latest rally lowlight while stumping for Ted Cruz in Texas was to declare himself a "nationalist" in opposition to "globalists" like Soros.

President Donald Trump declared himself a "nationalist" during his rally here on Monday night, officially tagging himself with the label that has long defined his populist rhetoric and protectionist policies. 
"A globalist is a person that wants the globe to do well, frankly not caring about the country so much. You know, we can't have that," Trump said, prompting boos from the crowd. 
"You know what I am, I'm a nationalist," he added, as the crowd erupted in "USA! USA!" chants. "Use that word.
The comment marked the first time Trump has directly associated himself with the political ideology, which has long defined his outlook and the protectionist trade policies he has implemented in an effort to boost domestic manufacturing. 
The remark came during a nearly hour-and-a-half-long rally in the arena that is home to the Houston Rockets, where the President rallied his base in this deeply red state 15 days before the midterms, stoking fears about illegal immigration, painting Democrats as criminal accomplices and basking in the glory of his accomplishments.

Keep in mind that when Trump and his friends uses the term "globalist", it means "eeeeevil Jewish cabal" the same way "inner city" means "poor black and criminal".  "Nationalist" here means the preceding term "white" is implied.  They are playing the fear card as often and as heavily as they can, and frankly it's working.

President Trump on Monday sharply intensified a Republican campaign to frame the midterm elections as a battle over immigration and race, issuing a dark and factually baseless warning that “unknown Middle Easterners” were marching toward the American border with Mexico.

The unsubstantiated charge marked an escalation of Mr. Trump’s efforts to stoke fears about foreigners and crime ahead of the Nov. 6 vote, as he did to great effect in the presidential race. Mr. Trump and other Republicans are insistently seeking to tie Democrats to unfettered immigration and violent crime, and in some instances this summer and fall they have attacked minority candidates in nakedly racial terms.

Mr. Trump is now railing daily in speeches and on Twitter against the migrant caravan moving north through Central America, and on Monday called it a national emergency. The caravan has dominated conservative talk radio and Fox News, where there has also been loose speculation about a link to terrorism. The apparently groundless inclusion of “unknown Middle Easterners” to the caravan echoes Mr. Trump’s longstanding practice of amplifying fears about Islamic militants on the campaign trail.

“That is an assault on our country and in that caravan you have some very bad people and we can’t let that happen to our country,” the president said at a rally in Houston on Monday night. Mr. Trump suggested without any proof that the opposition was involved in instigating the caravan. “I think the Democrats had something to do with it,” he said.

Scary brown horde, criminal black thugs, evil Jewish conspiracy, and only Donald Trump can save you, white America!

This is just a taste of the absolute racism and deadly violence coming in the next two years, guys.  If you think it's scary now, and it most certainly is, the next 24 months are going to be the darkest time in American history since the Civil War.

It may also be the bloodiest.

It's Mueller Time, Con't

The Mueller investigation definitely has Roger Stone in its sights, the question is simply how much trouble is Stone in as we now know Stone has been the subject of both grand jury testimony and of FBI forensic data investigation.

In recent weeks, a grand jury in Washington has listened to more than a dozen hours of testimony and FBI technicians have pored over gigabytes of electronic messages as part of the special counsel’s quest to solve one burning mystery: Did longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone — or any other associate of the president — have advance knowledge of WikiLeaks’ plans to release hacked Democratic emails in 2016?

While outwardly quiet for the last month, Robert S. Mueller III’s investigators have been aggressively pursuing leads behind the scenes about whether Stone was in communication with the online group, whose disclosures of emails believed to have been hacked by Russian operatives disrupted the 2016 presidential campaign, according to people familiar with the special counsel probe.

Stone, who boasted during the race that he was in touch with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, has said since that his past comments were exaggerated or misunderstood. Both he and WikiLeaks have adamantly denied they were in contact.

However, prosecutors are closely examining both public comments and alleged private assertions that Stone made in 2016 suggesting he had a way to reach Assange, the people said.

Last month, Randy Credico, a onetime Stone friend, told the grand jury that the Trump loyalist confided during the 2016 campaign that he had a secret back channel to WikiLeaks, according to a person familiar with the matter.

In a series of interviews with The Washington Post, Stone said his only connection to the group was through Credico, a liberal comedian who had hosted Assange on his New York radio program in 2016.

The special counsel’s prosecutors have also zeroed in on Stone’s relationship with conservative journalist and conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi, examining whether he served as a conduit between Stone and Assange, according to another person familiar with their interest. Corsi appeared before Mueller’s grand jury last month, and FBI agents have recently been seeking to interview Corsi’s associates, according to the person.

In addition, investigators have scrutinized Stone’s communications with Trump campaign officials about WikiLeaks, according to people familiar with the probe.

One apparent line of inquiry: whether Stone lied to Congress about his alleged contacts with WikiLeaks during the presidential race, according to the people.

The question of whether Trump associates were in contact with WikiLeaks is at the heart of Mueller’s inquiry. According to charges filed by the special counsel in July, Russian military intelligence officers used an online persona called Guccifer 2.0 to distribute hacked Democratic emails through WikiLeaks. The Russian operatives also used Guccifer 2.0’s Twitter account to send messages to Stone, who has said the exchanges were benign.

Stone remains the link between WikiLeaks and its Russian intelligence backers and the Trump campaign and the grand jury testimony, plus the investigation into Stone's associates tells me very clearly that Stone is facing his time in the barrel after the election.

Maybe sooner?

Of course, if the GOP keeps Congress...maybe never.


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