Monday, October 29, 2018

Last Call For The GOP's Race To The Bottom, Con't

Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King doesn't apologize for his white nationalist views because he's simply reflecting the will of his white nationalist constituents.

Across the 4th District — a highly conservative swath of Iowa nearly 200 miles wide, mile upon mile of fertile farmland dotted with towns the length of a two-block Main Street — King has widespread support. 
“Steve’s Steve. He’s a local guy. He graduated from high school here. He comes in for breakfast on Sundays,” says Crawford County Supervisor Eric Skoog, who with his wife, Terri, owns what they believe to be the oldest continuously operating restaurant in Iowa. 
At the counter of Cronk’s, which has been open since 1929, Skoog says he disagrees with King on immigration and hasn’t been afraid to share his conflicting views. Skoog has worked hard to help local schools adjust to the influx of immigrant children in Denison, one place in the heavily white district where a major meatpacking plant has drawn a sizable Hispanic community. 
Still, Skoog said, “I don’t see him as racist. I don’t know. He’s just Steve.” Come November, he said, he’ll probably vote for him. 
Some in the district welcome King’s blunt talk. 
We’re getting pretty happy in this country about kicking the white guy. Only one group of people haven’t achieved minority status, and it’s white men,” says Steve Sorensen, a former truck driver, watching the World Series in a Hampton bar. “You can fire a white man every time you want. He’s got no recourse. Try that with anybody else.” 
Mindy Rainer also believes that others get government benefits more easily than she does, as a white woman. “There are people out there that are desperate as hell, and I’m one of them,” she says, sliding up to the bar at the restaurant in the town of Cherokee where she works. 
Rainer’s husband was injured on a job site 25 years ago, she said, and denied disability benefits because of bureaucratic hurdles. She has supported them both, but now her kidneys are failing and she fears that she won’t be able to work for the eight years until her husband can collect Social Security. 
Rainer recalled lining up to try to get help with her utility bills when she lived in South Carolina and becoming suspicious of the others in line, almost all of them African American. 
“What upset me more than anything was all them black babies were dressed up in the best clothes,” she said. “When their kids are wearing $150 tennis shoes, what do you think?” 
She sides with King when he talks about immigration. “Why should we feed others when we can’t feed ourselves?” she asked.

Steve King is just representing the views of rural Iowans who want a political party that puts white people first, particularly white men, because that's how it should be in America.  The difference is thanks to Donald Trump, it's perfectly okay to say that you want to vote for the guy running on the platform of "white advocacy", and not a single one of them thinks it's racist because there's a generation of white folk in America who believe they have been discriminated against since birth.

This is America, the party of whites versus the party of those people and Steve King is happily running as a proud member of the former.

The Blue Wave Rises, Con't

With eight days to go, new CBS polling finds that three Senate toss-up races are still very much toss-ups.

Tight contests dominate the Senate landscape: In Florida, incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and Republican Gov. Rick Scott are tied among likely voters, 46 percent to 46 percent including those who have cast ballots already. Scott, the sitting governor, gets positive marks from voters on his handling of the recent hurricane and benefits from Republicans reporting that they're more likely to vote than the Democrats who haven't already.

Nelson's support, meanwhile, is underpinned by voters who place health care atop their issues list. The Republicans have a favorable map in their effort to hold their Senate majority, and winning two or three of these states would probably put them in strong position to hold it. Democrats would probably need wins in all three to have a good shot at taking the Senate. 
Health care concerns have helped Democrat Kyrsten Sinema to a slight three-point advantage over Republican Martha McSally, 47 percent to 44 percent. Sinema does well with voters who say health care is a very important concern and is also helped by nine percent of Republicans who say they're backing her — it's hardly an overwhelming number, but it could be essential for a Democrat in a Republican-leaning state like Arizona
But Republican chances of holding on to their Senate majority – or even adding to it – are helped by the prospect of picking up a seat in Indiana, where Republican Mike Braun leads incumbent Democrat Joe Donnelly, 46 percent to 43 percent. In Indiana, where many voters say that agriculture plays a role in their economy, three-quarters of Republicans feel that new tariffs will ultimately lead to better trade deals for the U.S. 
President Trump appears to be a large factor in these states. In all of them, large majorities say their vote for Senate will be either to support or oppose the president.

All three of these races are within the margin of error, so effectively they are all tied, at least using CBS's likely polling model.  Of course, it depends on how accurate that likely polling model is compared to who actually turns out in both early voting and next Tuesday.

CBS is right however that Democrats need to win all three of these races, plus Nevada, to have any chance of taking the Senate.  I continue to have a bad feeling about Heitkamp in North Dakota, but Dems can still get to 51 if they run the rest of the table and Phil Breseden and/or Beto O'Rourke come through.

I will admit however that the odds of that are not exactly favoring the Dems. A 50-50 split may be the best we can hope for, but if we reach that point there could be some horse trading in the lame duck session.  That would give any one single senator a tremendous amount of power. It's happened before, and it ended up a minor disaster for the Dems when it did.

We'll see.

Trumpsona Non Grata, Or Steeling For A Fight

Thousands have signed on to a letter from a group of Jewish leaders in Pittsburgh to Donald Trump saying that he is no longer welcome by the city's Jewish community until he denounces white nationalism.

More than 16,000 people have signed an open letter to President Trump from the leaders of a Pittsburgh-based Jewish group who say the president will not be welcome in the city unless he denounces white nationalism and stops “targeting” minorities after a mass shooting Saturday at a local synagogue left 11 dead.

The letter, which was published and shared on Sunday, was written by 11 members of the Pittsburgh affiliate of Bend the Arc, a national organization for progressive Jews focused on social justice, following what is being called the deadliest attackon Jews in U.S. history. The shooting at Tree of Life synagogue also left several people injured, including law enforcement. As of early Monday morning, the letter had 16,533 signatures.

“For the past three years your words and your policies have emboldened a growing white nationalist movement,” the Jewish leaders wrote. “You yourself called the murderer evil, but yesterday’s violence is the direct culmination of your influence."

The letter continued: “Our Jewish community is not the only group you have targeted. You have also deliberately undermined the safety of people of color, Muslims, LGBTQ people, and people with disabilities. Yesterday’s massacre is not the first act of terror you incited against a minority group in our country.”

The White House did not respond to multiple requests for comment late Sunday night.
On Saturday, Trump strongly condemned the shooting as “pure evil,” adding that the “vile, hate-filled poison of anti-Semitism” and all other forms of prejudice must be rejected, The Washington Post reported. The president also announced he would be making a visit to Pittsburgh.
The news of the president’s possible travel plans did not sit well with Josh Friedman, who is one of the leaders of Bend the Arc’s Pittsburgh chapter.

My immediate reaction was he is not welcome here,” Friedman, who does not attend services at Tree of Life, told The Post in a Sunday phone interview. “I immediately wrote to the rest of our steering committee that he is not welcome, we have to make that clear.”

That's a pretty hefty condemnation of Trump, I can't think of a time where the person in the Oval Office was flat out told they were not welcome by a group representing a community that suffered a deadly tragedy like this.  There's no question that Saturday's slaughter at Tree of Life was an atni-Semitic hate crime of the most awful level.

Good for Bend The Arc for saying this:

Four boldfaced lines stand out from the rest of the letter’s 338 words.

“President Trump, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you fully denounce white nationalism.”

“President Trump, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you stop targeting and endangering all minorities.”

“President Trump, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you cease your assault on immigrants and refugees.”

“President Trump, you are not welcome in Pittsburgh until you commit yourself to compassionate, democratic policies that recognize the dignity of all of us.

I absolutely guarantee you though that Bend The Arc is going to be immediately attacked by Trump's anti-Semitic trolls and dismissed by the White House for having a political action PAC being funded in part by George Soros and that PAC being chaired by Soros's son, Alexander, and there's extremely good odds that Trump is not only going to visit Pittsburgh, but that the visit is going to be followed by (or be morphed into) a pro-Trump rally for Pennsylvania Republicans ahead of midterms next week.

It's going to be horrid, just like everything else the man does.  It's possible that somebody talks sense into Trump and he stays away, but given his narcissism, the state's importance to the GOP keeping the House, and his screaming inchoate base howling "How dare those people tell my President that he's not welcome" I give it an 80% of a Trump visit to Pittsburgh this week and 50% chance of that visit being part of a ghoulish rally, Halloween or no. Once again last night, Trump called the media the "true enemy of America" so it's going to be a bad week no matter where Trump goes.


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