Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Last Call For The Blue Wave Rises, Con't

Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins is a key figure in this week's impeachment trial fight, and she's up against a number of Democratic challengers, the strongest is the state's Democratic House Speaker, Sara Gideon, in November.  Gideon still has to win the primary later this spring, but Collins will still be a tough foe with a huge war chest in play

Maine House Speaker Sara Gideon’s campaign said Tuesday it raised $3.5 million in the last three months of 2019 in her race against U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, though the challenger spent nearly that much over the period and trails the incumbent overall.

It brings Gideon to a total of $7.6 million raised since announcing her candidacy in June, and she has nearly $2.8 million on hand, her campaign said. That was only slightly more than it had after the third quarter of 2019, indicating near-equal spending and fundraising in late 2019.

Gideon, who is backed by Senate Democrats’ campaign arm and other national groups, is one of four Democrats running to unseat Collins. The Republican incumbent raised $8.5 million and had $7.1 million left at the end of 2019’s third quarter and is a top target of national Democrats. Collins has yet to release updated numbers in a race expected to be the most expensive in Maine history.

The House speaker has raised considerably more than other Democrats in the June primary race. Collins has yet to release fourth quarter numbers. Former Google executive Ross LaJeunesse, who jumped into the race in November, raised $600,000 for his bid, though more than half of that was his own money, Politico reported this month.

Lobbyist Betsy Sweet of Hallowell, a 2018 gubernatorial candidate backed by some progressive groups, and lawyer Bre Kidman of Saco haven’t released fundraising figures for the fourth quarter. Sweet raised $183,000 through the end of the third quarter. Kidman raised $14,000.

Green candidate Lisa Savage, a teacher and activist from Solon, raised just shy of $25,000 during the fourth quarter, according to a campaign finance report filed last week. Campaign finance reports for all candidates are due to the Federal Election Commission on Jan. 31.

It's good that Gideon is getting the money to fight.  Collins will certainly have access to tens of millions over the next ten months.  The Senate GOP is going to fight every inch along the way to keep Collins in her seat.  We have to get rid of Trump, but if we don't take the Senate back, Mitch and company will stop whoever wins the Democratic nomination cold.

You should help Sara Gideon out.

The Basic Math Of Trump's Base

I've lived in Kentucky now for 15 years, I grew up in western NC and lived there for 25 years, I've seen, met, worked with, went to school with (and have often been the only black face in a room of) people who gladly consider themselves hillbillies, rednecks, and countrified mountain good 'ol boys. 

My hometown is famous for NASCAR drivers, bootlegging moonshine, the actor who played Roscoe P. Coltrane on the Dukes of Hazzard and being far enough up in the Appalachians where people had the grace to not fight the Civil War there because it was a pain in the ass to get around.  The last time we had a Democrat in the House, Dr. Martin Luther King was still alive. Republican scold Patrick McHenry probably has that job for life.

The point of all this is Trump's base was Trump's base long before it was Trump's base, and CNN doing things like this guarantees it will remain Trump's base for years to come, as Washington Post writer Eugene Scott reports.

President Trump has long argued that CNN’s coverage of him is negative because the organization thinks little of him and his supporters. A recent segment on the cable network seems to be making that case for him.

During a panel discussion about Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s tiff with a NPR reporter over her Ukraine reporting, GOP strategist Rick Wilson went from questioning Trump’s foreign affairs intelligence to describing his supporters as uninformed “hillbillies.”

Wilson, a conservative who has long been critical of Trump, referred to the president’s base as “the credulous boomer rube demo” — a bloc of Americans who believe “Donald Trump is the smart one and y’all elitists are dumb.”

In mocking accents, Wilson and CNN contributor Wajahat Ali began imitating how the president’s supporters must criticize journalists and Trump critics as elitists because of their knowledge about foreign affairs and other political matters.

“You elitists with your geography and your maps and your spelling,” Ali said.

“Your math and your reading,” Wilson added.

All the while, Lemon laughed loudly.

Since early in the 2016 election, Trump has been the choice of white working class voters — particularly those who live in rural America. Despite Trump being a New Yorker with an Ivy League pedigree, these Americans have said he understands them in ways other politicians and the elite media do not.

As negative headlines about this administration continue to pile up, Trump’s support with those voters who sent him to the Oval Office remain strong. One of the reasons they continue to stick by him — despite critics’ claims that Trump has failed to keep the promises he made to rural Americans — is that the president and many of these voters share what they perceive as a common enemy: elite media and specifically, CNN. (Disclosure: This reporter worked at CNN.)

Two observations:

One, Scott isn't wrong.  The Trump outrage machine feeds on stuff like this and turns it into votes for Trump and his policies, no matter how racist, hateful, islamophobic, anti-Semitic, misogynist, and economically crippling they are.  The targeting of the press as "enemies of the people" is easy when CNN does things like this.  This segment will be burning up the MAGA base all the way to November.

Two, this is why I don't trust Never Trump republicans.  They curiously end up creating problems for Democratic candidates and making Trump stronger, and Rick Wilson is one of the worst of the bunch.  Never forget that he was Poppy Bush's point man in Florida, a Dick Cheney lackey when the Nameless One was Secretary of Defense, and worked on Rudy Giuliani's campaign for Mayor and then Senate.  The guy is a GOP lifer and gosh, look at the mess he started.

Trump's base aren't morons.  They're smart enough to go to the polls and to vote and they do so willingly, which is more than I can say for some folks on the left who snipe from social media all day but in the end never seem to get around to helping people register or to cast ballots.  They're not all stupid, they're not all racist, they're not all Muslim-haters or Jew-haters, they're not all bigots or sexual assaulters.

They're all people okay with a person in the White House who is all of those things, though. One who has managed to reinvent himself from New York millionaire to salt-of-the-earth defender of the rural voter.  Like I said, it's willingness on everyone's part who is engaged in Trumpism to be there.

Impeachment Reached, Con't

The Bolton's Mustache book bombshell continues to explode through Trump's plans to have the trial wrapped up by Friday, but it looks like the Republicans are going to win anywayw by forcing Democrats to make Hunter Biden into the new Clinton email server of 2020.

Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.), an influential conservative in the Senate, has spoken with several colleagues in recent days about possibly summoning just two witnesses to President Trump’s impeachment trial, with one called by Republicans and one by Democrats, according to three Republican officials.

Toomey has confided to GOP senators that proposing a “one-for-one” deal with Senate Democrats may be necessary at some point, particularly with pressure mounting for witnesses to be called, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private conversations. He has argued that such an arrangement could force Democrats to accept a Republican witness against their wishes or else risk having Republicans move ahead to acquit Trump, the officials said.
Toomey has spoken about his idea with Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) and others, the officials added.

Toomey’s office declined to comment Monday.

Separately, two Senate GOP aides, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to be frank, said Romney is in touch with Toomey and generally supportive of a witness deal that he believes is fair to the GOP but has not yet signed on to any specific plan.

The proposal also came up in private conversations at Monday’s closed Senate GOP lunch, according to the officials and a Senate aide briefed on the meeting.

Toomey, who is not up for reelection until 2022, is close to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). He is not close with the president or top aides in the White House.

McConnell, however, is so far discouraging Toomey’s suggestion from becoming the party’s position. Instead, he told Senate Republicans during Monday’s lunch to wait on any witness deal proposal until after Trump’s legal team is done making its defense on the Senate floor, underscoring a position he has held for weeks, the officials said.

The plan is still "no witnesses, acquittal on Friday."  But we're playing for November now in a post-acquittal period, and the cost for Bolton to testify is putting Hunter Biden in play as a legitimate scandal. Village outlets can't and won't say anymore than Biden has nothing to do with Ukraine if he testified under oath at Trump's impeachment trial in front of millions, no matter what Joe Biden has to say.

It's a stupid arrangement and there's no way Democrats will agree to it, so Collins and Romney and Murkowski will shrug and vote no, because it will be Democrats who refused the witness deal, not the GOP.  McConnell never wanted it to get this far, but in a lot of ways it's even better for the GOP, enough so that it makes me wonder if Bolton is in on this.

When his book does come out, if there's anything really awful in it (especially if it involves Russia, China, or Iran) you can bet Democrats will be blamed for not taking the deal to sacrifice Hunter Biden when they had the chance.

Whatever Bolton's game is, he'll never testify.  He'll never be deposed.  It'll never happen. Because if it does, Trump is done.  He still may be finished, but it'll happen in November.  If Bolton testifies this week, all bets are off.  That's why it can't happen.  The most likely outcome remains that the vote to allow witnesses falls short.  Collins and Romney say yes, that's only 49.  The vote fails.

GOP Rep. Mark Meadows made this clear yesterday afternoon.

In an interview with "CBS Evening News" anchor Norah O'Donnell, Congressman Mark Meadows said there would be repercussions if Republicans break with President Donald Trump on impeachment. O'Donnell sat down with impeachment defense surrogates Representatives Meadows, Doug Collins, Elise Stefanik and Debbie Lesko.

"Do you think Republican senators face political repercussions if they break with the president?" O'Donnell asked.

"Yeah, I do. I mean listen, I don't wanna speak for my Senate colleagues. But there are always political repercussions for every vote you take. There is no vote that is higher profile than this," Meadows said Monday.
Collins said the question "needs to be flipped."

"Where is a courageous Democrat who will actually look at the facts and vote in favor of not impeaching this president?" Collins asked.
"My question is: Where is a Democrat who will actually look at the facts and not simply follow behind Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff and Chuck Schumer, or their presidential candidates who are sitting in the jury pool, and follow them?"

O'Donnell also asked about Republican senators who may vote to call witnesses, and whether they would face political consequences for doing so.

"I think this witness question... is a very important one," Stefanik said. "Oftentimes, we're asked over 50% of the American people want the-- us to call witness. That doesn't just mean John Bolton. That means the whistleblower. That means Hunter Biden. And it really opens up challenges for the Democrats."

Mitch McConnell saw this coming a mile away.  He's already planned for it. 

The game was always rigged.  


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