Thursday, November 28, 2019

Turkey Week: Preaching To The Blue Choir

Cook Political Report editor Dave Wasserman lays out a grim  a highly likely 2020 scenario, one where Donald Trump loses the popular vote by a whopping five million or more and still wins the electoral college easily.

The nation's two most populous states, California and Texas, are at the heart of Democrats' geography problem.

Both behemoths are growing more diverse at a much faster rate than the nation — owing to booming Asian and Latino populations — and are trending toward Democrats. Yet neither blue California nor red Texas would play a pivotal role in a close 2020 election, potentially rendering millions of additional Democratic votes useless.

Over the past four years for which census estimates are available, California's population of nonwhite voting-age citizens has exploded by 1,585,499, while its number of white voting-age citizens has declined by a net 162,715. The Golden State's GOP is in free fall: In May 2018, the state's Republican registrants fell to third place behind "no party preference" voters for the first time. In 2016, Clinton stretched Barack Obama's 2012 margin from 3 million to 4.2 million votes. But padding that margin by another 1.2 million votes wouldn't yield the 2020 Democratic nominee a single additional Electoral vote.

Over the same time period, Texas has added a net 1,188,514 nonwhite voting-age citizens and just 200,002 white voting-age citizens. Texas' economic boom has attracted a diverse, highly professional workforce to burgeoning urban centers of Dallas, Houston, Austin and San Antonio and shifted the state's politics leftward — especially as GOP votes have begun to "max out" in stagnant rural areas. In 2016, Clinton cut Obama's 2012 deficit from 1.2 million to just over 800,000. But again, even cutting Trump's margin by 800,000 wouldn't yield the 2020 Democratic nominee a single additional Electoral vote.

Democrats' potential inefficiencies aren't limited to California and Texas: The list of the nation's top 15 fastest-diversifying states also includes the sizable yet safely blue states of New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Maryland, Washington and Oregon.
Meanwhile, demographic transformation isn't nearly as rapid in the narrow band of states that are best-positioned to decide the Electoral College — a factor that seriously aids Trump.

In 2016, Trump's victory hinged on three Great Lakes states he won by less than a point: Michigan (0.2 percent), Pennsylvania (0.7 percent) and Wisconsin (0.8 percent). All three of these aging, relatively white states have some of the nation's highest shares of white voters without college degrees — a group trending away from Democrats over the long term
. And the nonwhite share of the eligible electorate in each of the three has increased at only a quarter to a half of the rate it has surged in California, Texas and Nevada.

Democrats eagerly point out that they swept Senate and governors' races in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin in 2018. And they flipped two seats in Michigan and four in Pennsylvania on their way to taking back the House.

But Trump could lose Michigan and Pennsylvania and still win the Electoral College, so long as he carries every other place he won in 2016. And Wisconsin didn't provide as clear a verdict in 2018. Even with favorable turnout in a "blue wave," Democrats won Wisconsin's governor's race only by a point and failed to gain a House seat. If enough Trump voters who sat out 2018 — particularly white working-class men — return to the polls in 2020, the Badger State could easily stay red.

There are a lot of scenarios that could happen in 2020, but the most likely ones keep coming back to Wisconsin as the sole state that decides the presidency.  Running up the score in California and Texas isn't going to help Dems one bit when it comes to beating Trump.

And if Trump holds Florida and NC, he can lose PA and MI and still win if he keeps Wisconsin and Arizona, and should a 269-269 split occur -- again, not impossible -- the GOP wins because they have more state House delegations.

However, we can trade Arizona for Wisconsin.

Like I said, lot of scenarios.

Turkey Week: Bye Bye Bibi

If you want to know what America will look like in a few months after articles of impeachment are approved by the House, take a look at this week in Israel at the response by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to his indictments on bribery.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was struggling to both stoke and contain a popular backlash against prosecutors as some of his supporters distanced themselves from the bellicose rhetoric he has employed since being indicted last week on bribery and fraud charges.
The divisions were on display Tuesday night at a raucous pro-Netanyahu rally in Tel Aviv. Angry supporters reportedly chanted “Die Leftist” and “Arrest the Investigators” and carried signs reading “Cops — Or Criminals?”

Speakers railed against the attorney general and prosecutors — who have been given security details in recent days — parroting the prime minister’s portrayal of the indictments as a “coup” attempt by an unaccountable deep state and a biased media. One protester attempted to grab the microphone of an on-air journalist as another spat on him.
But, following a day of speculation about his plans, Netanyahu failed to make an appearance at the gathering as discomfort over his scorched-earth response to the indictments grew. Few senior officials of his Likud party — who have been markedly silent in recent days — attended the rally, many citing scheduling conflicts when pressed by journalists.

Others, while supporting Netanyahu, have criticized the attacks on law enforcement as misguided and corrosive. Culture Minister Miri Regev, one of the senior officials who did speak under the banner reading “Safeguarding the Country, Stopping the Coup,” beseeched the crowd to tone it down.

“We can’t let our feeling of disappointment hurt the rule of law,” Regev said, according to reports. “We in Likud uphold the law, and we want the law to protect us.”

Her appeal to take down some of the more offensive banners, some naming and picturing the lead attorneys in the case, was probably derived from the same sensitivities that kept most senior Likud leaders away — a fear that the constant attacks on state institutions could turn into violence.

Since the 1995 assassination of Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, any hint of political incitement, particularly against individuals, invokes the high emotions of that period. Many in Israel, including Rabin’s family, recall the fiery opposition to Rabin’s peace plan with the Palestinians and some draw a direct line between the fierce criticism and the fatal shot.

According to Israeli media reports, Likud officials cautioned Netanyahu and his proxies to back off the incendiary rhetoric, warning that a war on law enforcement would come back to hurt the party politically.

Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, who oversaw the three-year investigation into the prime minister’s dealings with wealthy business executives, decried the attacks on his office at a gathering of prosecutors Tuesday.

“I hear threats, I hear lies, I hear baseless slander; it’s shocking,” Mandelblit said, defending the state prosecution’s role of protecting Israel from crime and government corruption, human rights violations and abuse of power. “The fact that [the lead prosecutors] now have bodyguards solely because they carried out their duties is inconceivable.”

Likudniks are smart enough to realize that Netanyahu is definitely heading for a violent uprising in order to have the window to secure power for himself, and they are backing away as quickly as they can.  Without their support, Netanyahu isn't going to be able to hold on much longer.  He's played his cards and he's waiting to see everyone else's hand.

The problem is in the American version of this screenplay, Trump holds multiple rallies and openly calls for somebody to "do something" about the Democrats who impeached him, and to "do something" about the Democratic voters who put them in charge of the House.

And then things get ugly and violent very, very quickly.
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