Saturday, April 25, 2020

The Blue Wave Rises, Con't

Even as little as six weeks ago, the notion that Democrats had any serious chance of winning the Senate back given Doug Jones near-guaranteed impending loss and how Dems lost seats even in a midterm wave year like 2018, would have been laughed off the politics page of any news website.

President Trump’s erratic handling of the coronavirus outbreak, the worsening economy and a cascade of ominous public and private polling have Republicans increasingly nervous that they are at risk of losing the presidency and the Senate if Mr. Trump does not put the nation on a radically improved course.

The scale of the G.O.P.’s challenge has crystallized in the last week. With 26 million Americans now having filed for unemployment benefits, Mr. Trump’s standing in states that he carried in 2016 looks increasingly wobbly: New surveys show him trailing significantly in battleground states like Michigan and Pennsylvania, and he is even narrowly behind in must-win Florida.

Democrats raised substantially more money than Republicans did in the first quarter in the most pivotal congressional races, according to recent campaign finance reports. And while Mr. Trump is well ahead in money compared with the presumptive Democratic nominee, Joseph R. Biden Jr., Democratic donors are only beginning to focus on the general election, and several super PACs plan to spend heavily on behalf of him and the party.

Perhaps most significantly, Mr. Trump’s single best advantage as an incumbent — his access to the bully pulpit — has effectively become a platform for self-sabotage.

His daily news briefings on the coronavirus outbreak are inflicting grave damage on his political standing, Republicans believe, and his recent remarks about combating the virus with sunlight and disinfectant were a breaking point for a number of senior party officials.

On Friday evening, Mr. Trump conducted only a short briefing and took no questions, a format that a senior administration official said was being discussed as the best option for the president going forward.

Glen Bolger, a longtime Republican pollster, said the landscape for his party had become far grimmer compared with the pre-virus plan to run almost singularly around the country’s prosperity.

“With the economy in free-fall, Republicans face a very challenging environment and it’s a total shift from where we were a few months ago,” Mr. Bolger said. “Democrats are angry, and now we have the foundation of the campaign yanked out from underneath us.”

Mr. Trump’s advisers and allies have often blamed external events for his most self-destructive acts, such as his repeated outbursts during the two-year investigation into his campaign’s dealings with Russia. Now, there is no such explanation — and, so far, there have been exceedingly few successful interventions regarding Mr. Trump’s behavior at the podium.

Representative Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma, said the president had to change his tone and offer more than a campaign of grievance.

“You got to have some hope to sell people,” Mr. Cole said. “But Trump usually sells anger, division and ‘we’re the victim.’”

Thom Tillis (NC) , Susan Collins (ME), and Cory Gardner (CO) are pretty much done.  Joni Ernst (IA) and Martha McSally (AZ) are in dire straits.  Those five alone would give the Dems 51 even with a Doug Jones loss in Alabama, and none of that takes into account Lindsey Graham (SC), Kelly Ayotte (GA), and Steve Daines (MT) all drawing serious challenges.

And then there's Mitch here in Kentucky.

Suddenly, the firewall is crumbling.

Deportation Nation, Con't

Trump's "emergency" coronoavirus green card executive order making it tougher to legally immigrate and ending family immigration was always part of the plan, and now Herrenvolk Purity Officer Stephen Miller is running with the concept into the endgame, not even bothering to hide the fact anymore.

Trump senior policy adviser Stephen Miller told White House supporters in a private call this week that the president’s new executive order curbing immigration will usher the kind of broader long-term changes to American society he has advocated for years, even though the 60-day measures were publicly characterized as a “pause” during the coronavirus pandemic.

Miller, the chief architect of the president’s immigration agenda and one of his longest-serving and most trusted advisers, spoke to a group of Trump surrogates Thursday in an off-the-record call about the new executive order, which had been signed the night before. Though the White House had seen the move as something that would resonate with Trump’s political base, the administration instead was facing criticism from immigration hard-liners who were disappointed that the order does not apply to temporary foreigner workers despite Trump pitching it as helping to protect jobs for Americans.

Miller told the group that subsequent measures were under consideration that would restrict guest worker programs, but the “the most important thing is to turn off the faucet of new immigrant labor,” he said, according to a recording obtained by The Washington Post. Miller indicated that the strategy was part of a long-term vision and was not seen only as a stopgap.

“As a numerical proposition, when you suspend the entry of a new immigrant from abroad, you're also reducing immigration further because the chains of follow-on migration that are disrupted,” said Miller, one of the executive order’s main authors. “So the benefit to American workers compounds with time.”

Miller declined to comment Friday. A White House spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Trump administration has been trying for years to scrap the family-based U.S. immigration model, which Miller and other restrictionists call “chain migration.” Instead, the White House favors a more restrictive system based on job skills and U.S. labor market demands.

Though Trump described his order this week as a temporary “pause,” he also said it is an open-ended move that will remain in place until he decides the U.S. labor market has sufficiently improved once the coronavirus crisis subsides. He said he would reevaluate after 60 days and could extend the immigration restrictions to help Americans find jobs when states reopen their economies.

Understand that it will never be reinstated under Trump.  If anything, legal immigration will be effectively ended for 99% of cases.

The other side of the equation is finding a way to resume mass deportations that were happening before COVID-19 hit, and that involves making "getting ICE virus test kits" the priority.

U.S. immigration officials say they plan to begin testing some foreign nationals for the coronavirus before deporting them from the United States.

ICE said it will acquire approximately 2,000 tests a month from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to screen detainees with final orders of removal who are in its custody.

But given the nationwide shortages of testing kits, “the agency likely won’t have enough to test all aliens scheduled for future removals and will prioritize testing based on evolving operational considerations.”

ICE did not say what those considerations were.

But the change comes after a visit by a team from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to Guatemala, where officials last week announced they were indefinitely suspending deportations from the United States after more than 70 deportees on two recent ICE flights had tested positive for COVID-19. Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei said it would not allow deportations from the United States unless ICE begins testing migrants before they are deported.
The Trump administration, which has been pressuring Latin America and Caribbean governments to take back their nationals, immediately deployed the CDC to “review and validate the COVID-19 tests performed on those arriving from ICE Air flights.”

CDC Spokesman Scott Pauley said the agency has “conveyed the results of the review to colleagues in the Ministry of Health and continues to work with them on various aspects of the COVID-19 response.”

Pauley did not provide any additional information on what those results were and said he had no other information available at the moment.

Carlos Sandoval, spokesperson for the Guatemalan president’s office, told the Miami Herald that the CDC did indeed confirm “that there were deportees on those flights who were infected.” Guatemalan health officials were told by the CDC that there were 26 cases of COVID-19 on the two flights that arrived on April 13 carrying a total of 182 Guatemalan deportees. In a national address, President Giammattei had indicated that the CDC’s validation of its testing involved randomly selecting deportees who had tested positive for COVID-19.

Sandoval said there are currently 84 deportees who have tested positive for novel coronavirus, and who did not get it in Guatemala.

The CDC and the Trump administration have been accused of exporting the virus that causes the deadly COVID-19 respiratory disease to vulnerable and poor countries like Guatemala and Haiti, which face a collapse of their already weak health systems with the spreading pandemic.

So ICE has a real problem, even if you are the kind of Trump regime monster looking to find a way to deport thousands of people who may be infected with a deadly virus during a pandemic.  A massive, widespread pandemic rampaging through ICE detention camps means those "scheduled for future removals" cannot be "removed".

Of course, it could very well mean that they perish in the facilities, but given that the regime hasn't exactly seen any real blowback having hundreds of thousands of detainees in cages anyway, having thousands of dead detainees probably doesn't present itself as a problem to these bastards anyhow.

The point is that mass deportations or even mass casualties in ICE facilities aren't going to be noticed with the rest of us trying to make it through this nightmare ourselves.
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