Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Last Call For The Blue Wave Rises, Con't

Republicans are making drowning noises at Team WIN THE MORNING 2.0 as they come to terms with the fact that anyone not named Trump is going to be destroyed by him over the next 12 months.

A growing number of Republicans are privately warning of increasing fears of a total wipeout in 2020: House, Senate, and White House.

Why it matters: All of this is unfolding while the economy still looks strong, and before public impeachment proceedings have officially begun.

House Republicans in swing districts are retiring at a very fast pace, especially in the suburbs of Texas and elsewhere. (Republicans talk grimly of the "Texodus.") Rep. Greg Walden — the top Republican on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and the only Republican in Oregon's congressional delegation — yesterday shocked the party by becoming the 19th GOP House member to not seek re-election. 
The Republican Senate majority, once considered relatively safe, suddenly looks in serious jeopardy. Democrats are raising more money, and polling better, than Republican incumbents in battleground after battleground
President Trump trails every major Democratic candidate nationally and in swing states — and his favorable ratings remain well under 50%.

The biggest recent change is Republicans' increasingly precarious hold on the Senate.
National Journal's Josh Kraushaar writes in his "Against the Grain" column that "the pathway for a narrow Democratic takeover of the upper chamber is looking clearer than ever": "If Trump doesn’t win a second term, Democrats only need to net three seats to win back the majority."

Scott Reed, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce senior political strategist, tells me that third-quarter fundraising reports showing three Republican senators being out-raised by Democratic challengers (in Arizona, Iowa and Maine) "are a three-alarm fire."

Those three pickups could very well be Arizona, NC, and Maine.  Colorado's Cory Gardner losing would make four and be countered by Doug Jones losing to Jeff Sessions in Alabama, who is looking to get his old seat back.  But the way things are going?  Sessions might not get through the primary.

Joni Ernst is in trouble in Iowa, and Georgia has two Senate elections this year with a special election and a regular one.  And then there's Mitch.

Gary Peters is vulnerable in Michigan, but in a wave year like I foresee in 2020, it's going to be a lot of fun to watch Dems get the Senate back.  Pick up 4 seats? Five?  Six is not out of the question.

Could be 2008 all over again.

All Your Base, Con't

Donald Trump's base hasn't wavered an inch in the last two months, and his hard-core supporters continue to keep his approval rating at about 40%, which is about where the number of Americans who will support Trump through Armageddon itself remains unchanged.

Even as support for his impeachment grows, President Donald Trump continues to be backed by a seemingly unshakable core of supporters who deny he has done anything wrong and agree that he is the target of a political "lynching," a new USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll finds.

Americans are split in the survey about whether Trump should be convicted by the Senate in an impeachment trial and removed from office: 46% in favor and 47% against. Having close to half of registered voters support his eviction from the White House is politically perilous territory for any president, of course.

Despite damaging new testimony, however, 30% to 40% of those surveyed remain solidly on Trump’s side. That is a significant asset for the president as the House of Representatives prepares to vote Thursday to affirm the formal impeachment investigation.

“Let’s look at the economy, wages, unemployment, foreign affairs, tariffs and other things like that,” said Steven Kay, 67, of Riverside County, California, a retiree and a Republican who was among those surveyed. “His rhetoric might be a little much, but he is making good policy.” 
William Skelskey, 84, a Republican and retired real-estate agent from Mission Viejo, California, blamed Democrats' "negativity" for Trump's troubles and called him "one of the top three presidents since Washington and Reagan."

The president’s solid core of supporters don’t comprise a majority of the electorate, but they do provide a political foundation that energizes him – witness his speeches that stretch an hour and longer at raucous rallies – and helps limit defections from other GOP officials.

In the poll, nearly four in 10 say his phone call pressuring the Ukrainian president to meddle in U.S. politics is itself an impeachable offense. But another 31% say there was nothing wrong with the conversation, echoing Trump’s insistence that it was "perfect." Thirty-seven percent say the House should stop investigating the president and his administration entirely.

“It seems like the inquiry is a tremendous waste of time and money,” said George Roma, 55, a small business owner from central Florida and a Republican. “I’m baffled why they continue to do this for three years.”

They will never care about his criminality, they are overwhelmingly white Boomers and Silent Generation , and they see Trump as the last bastion of America's 400-year white supremacy streak.  If he goes down, America might actually progress towards equality again.

And yet, Trump has shown that with enough third-party nonsense, Russian help, and last minute surprises, he can win a second term with 47% of the vote.

Ukraine In The Membrane, Con't

Depositions of executive agency personnel involved in the Trump Ukraine scandal continue this week, and up today is National Security Council Ukraine expert, Lt. Col Alexander Vindman, who will offer the first testimony of someone actually on the now fateful July 25 phone call between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

A White House national security official who is a decorated Iraq war veteran plans to tell House impeachment investigators on Tuesday that he heard President Trump appeal to Ukraine’s president to investigate one of his leading political rivals, a request the aide considered so damaging to American interests that he reported it to a superior.

Lt. Col. Alexander S. Vindman of the Army, the top Ukraine expert on the National Security Council, twice registered internal objections about how Mr. Trump and his inner circle were treating Ukraine, out of what he called a “sense of duty,” he plans to tell the inquiry, according to a draft of his opening statement obtained by The New York Times.

He will be the first White House official to testify who listened in on the July 25 telephone call between Mr. Trump and President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine that is at the center of the impeachment inquiry, in which Mr. Trump asked Mr. Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr.

“I did not think it was proper to demand that a foreign government investigate a U.S. citizen, and I was worried about the implications for the U.S. government’s support of Ukraine,” Colonel Vindman said in his statement. “I realized that if Ukraine pursued an investigation into the Bidens and Burisma it would likely be interpreted as a partisan play which would undoubtedly result in Ukraine losing the bipartisan support it has thus far maintained.”

Burisma Holdings is an energy company on whose board Mr. Biden’s son served while his father was vice president.

“This would all undermine U.S. national security,” Colonel Vindman added, referring to Mr. Trump’s comments in the call.

The colonel, a Ukrainian-American immigrant who received a Purple Heart after being wounded in Iraq by a roadside bomb and whose statement is full of references to duty and patriotism, could be a more difficult witness to dismiss than his civilian counterparts.

“I am a patriot,” Colonel Vindman plans to tell the investigators, “and it is my sacred duty and honor to advance and defend our country irrespective of party or politics.”

He was to be interviewed privately on Tuesday by the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight and Reform Committees, in defiance of a White House edict not to cooperate with the impeachment inquiry.

The colonel, who is represented by Michael Volkov, a former federal prosecutor, declined to comment for this article.

In his testimony, Colonel Vindman plans to say that he is not the whistle-blower who initially reported Mr. Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine. But he will provide an account that corroborates and fleshes out crucial elements in that complaint, which prompted Democrats to open their impeachment investigation

Vindman essentially turning states' evidence here on Trump means two things: one, White House employees are now openly defying Trump, and two, as I said yesterday John Bolton's mustache's eventual testimony can't be far behind.  If one of his former NSC experts is talking to House Democrats, and Bolton remains in talks for his own deposition, I suspect the White House is sweating bullets right now.

Still, today's testimony could be the most damaging yet.  Vindman was on the call directly.  His prepared statement says he reported the concerns about the call to his superiors twice.  It's going to be bad.

Stay tuned.


Related Posts with Thumbnails