Saturday, August 22, 2020

Last Call For Worst-Case Scenarios, Con't

Rob Shapiro at Washington Monthly games out an interesting, if not oddly specific scenario for November: Biden wins, and Trump agrees to go quietly only under a full pardon, or he'll tell his followers to start up that Second Civil War.

Let’s start with what we know about the president’s core message. We know that his website offers no new proposals for his second term on taxes, healthcare, energy, agriculture, education, or even on how to beat the pandemic. When the pandemic, and his mismanagement of it, drove down jobs and growth, his message has shifted to the claims that widespread mail-in voting is part of a rigged election, and the only way he can lose is through mail-in ballot fraud. This new message has become as central to his 2020 campaign as anti-immigration was in 2016.

Trump’s attacks on the electoral process this year started with the suggestion that the election should be delayed, because widespread mail-in balloting based on the pandemic, as he put it, would be a “catastrophic disaster” leading to fraudulent results. Perhaps he thought he could delay the election until a time when he could point to the pandemic receding. Alas for that plan, Republican leaders from Mitch McConnell down rejected the trial balloon out-of-hand. Even so, the controversy generated wide publicity for his claim that a fair election would be impossible with largescale mail-in voting.

To be clear, that claim has no basis in fact. As the Brennan Center for Justice reported recently, extensive research shows that mail-in ballot fraud is very rare; and a National Academy of Sciences study found that universal mail-in voting has no discernible effect on each party’s share of the turnout or the election’s results. But for Trump’s strategy, the salient fact is that Democrats are much more likely than Republicans to vote by mail, by a margin of 72 percent to 22 percent, according to a recent Monmouth University survey.

The current centerpiece of Trump’s attacks on mail-in voting is his public push to block funding for the U.S. Postal Service and enact new policies that will delay deliveries of mail-in ballots to state election officials.

By normal political standards, this war on mail delivery is remarkable on several counts. First, 91 percent of Americans view the USPS favorably for its prompt reliable delivery of their mail. Second, his high-profile attacks have given Democrats a strong incentive to organize their voters to request and mail-in their ballots early. Finally, instead of declaring war, his newly installed postmaster general, Louis DeJoy, could have found discrete and hard-to-trace ways to weaken the USPS’s capacity to deliver tens of millions of mail-in ballots on time.

DeJoy may be taking such steps anyway. He announced this week that he would suspend the policy changes until after the election. Whether he really is or not, the headline-grabbing dispute has further publicized and reinforced the president’s core message that any election with high levels of mail-in balloting is rigged.

The third piece of this messaging addresses what Trump may do about a rigged election.: By his own statements, Trump may not accept the election result if he loses—and implicitly, neither should his supporters. He made the same threat in 2016, near the close of his third debate with Hillary Clinton. But if Trump had lost in 2016, whatever he said about it would have had little if any consequences. The threat has different implications this time, because now he is the president.

For example, if loses narrowly, he could direct his attorney general to sue to overturn the results in a few states, based on the Justice Department’s findings of mail-in ballot fraud. We do not know what would happen next. Americans typically see a narrow loss as a loss, however, and while Trump’s messaging has prepared his more fervent supporters to protest such an outcome, that type of public pressure usually does not affect judges.

We also cannot know what Trump will do if he loses badly. Based on game theory, he does have one course left that might take the sting out of his defeat: After spending months preparing his supporters for the prospect that Democrats will steal the presidency, Trump’s representatives could tell Biden’s camp that unless the president-elect agrees to some concessions, the sitting president will publicly reject the results as a fraud and call on his followers to take mass action in the streets.

In Trump’s view, this could be his ultimate deal. He agrees to accept the election results and retire peacefully, but only if Biden and Democratic congressional leaders agree to shelve future investigations and forgo federal prosecutions of him and his family and associates—and call on state prosecutors and attorneys general to do the same.

It's plausible, the problem with this is Biden already pledged not to pardon Trump back in May.The second problem is Trump will do this anyway if he loses. Remember, it's not if Trump will spend the rest of his life in a New York penitentiary, it's when his sentencing starts after his convictions on tax fraud and racketeering.

Trump will do absolutely anything to avoid prison. He knows he will die there. Keep that in mind as you go forward in 2020.

Householder Of Cards, Con't

As Ohio Republicans are reeling from the indictment of now former State House Speaker Larry Householder on bribery and fraud charges related to taking millions from an energy company in order to pass legislation worth billions to the energy industry in the state, with former GOP Gov. John Kasich openly endorsing Joe Biden at the DNC, and the state's job market now locked in double digit unemployment, the state party is desperately trying to stay afloat and keep their total control of the levers of power, something that is no longer assured in November.

Complications pummeled Ohio Republicans this week as they sought to put up a united front headed into the GOP’s national convention.

One of their best-known politicians threw his support behind Democrat Joe Biden, their Republican state attorney general challenged the Trump administration, and President Donald Trump himself took on an iconic Ohio company in an area of the state where loyalties to job security ran higher than loyalties to party four years ago.

With early voting set to begin in less than seven weeks, Democrats are enthused about their possibilities in a state crucial to Trump, one he carried by 8 points over Hillary Clinton in 2016. It’s a striking turnaround for a party that just last year was wondering if the one-time swing state — with 18 electoral votes — had moved out of its reach.
Since Trump faced Clinton, Democrats have seen progress in the 2018 midterm and 2019 local elections, including in key suburban areas. Trump’s call Wednesday to boycott the Akron-based Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, while inaccurately claiming the company had announced a ban of Make America Great Again hats, gives the party new material as it tries to return struggling blue-collar workers to the fold.

Jane Timkin, the Republican Party chair who ousted an ally of former Gov. John Kasich from that job, was dismissive of Kasich’s speech endorsing Biden at the Democratic National Convention and expects Trump’s momentum to build.

“I feel pretty good,” she told The Associated Press. “The president has a 95% approval rating among Republicans and, aside from folks like John Kasich, who was a never-Trumper, I think the rest of the party is very united and excited about re-electing President Trump.”

A June 28 Quinnipiac University poll placed the figure at 92% among Ohio registered voters, with 93% of Democrats favoring Biden and independents divided 44% for Trump and 40% for Biden.

Kyle Kondik — an analyst at the University of Virginia Center for Politics who wrote “The Bellwether,” a 2016 book about Ohio presidential politics — said it remains to be seen whether Kasich will sway fellow Republicans. Kasich carried Ohio over Trump in 2016′s Republican presidential primary, but his campaign soon ran out of steam.

“I think Kasich represents a lot of his friends and neighbors (in suburban Columbus) who probably feel the same way he does,” Kondik said. “They’ve just seen enough.”

Kondik also said it’s too soon to predict whether Trump’s Wednesday assault on Goodyear, an integral part of Akron’s “Rubber Capital” history, will cost him among the northeast Ohio auto industry voters who backed him in 2016. Four years ago, a single remark by Clinton — that the transition to clean energy meant “we’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business” — damaged her performance in eastern Ohio’s coal country, where she had been running well.

Even Akron’s most famous native, LeBron James, jumped on Trump’s Goodyear comments: “Unbelievable brand and unbelievable history,” he said at the NBA’s pandemic home in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, a Democrat from Youngstown, helped lead a rally in Akron the next day, joined by local and union officials and a crowd of workers holding up such signs as “It will be a Goodyear without Trump.” With working families struggling during the coronavirus pandemic-pounded economy, Ryan said: “We have enough challenges.”

“I’ve never seen anything like this,” said Bill Conner, a United Steelworkers union local official in Akron, saying Trump’s boycott call could hurt “an American company, American workers.”

We'll see if it makes a difference.  Ohio is definitely a Midwestern state with more in common with Indiana and Kentucky than Michigan, Pennsylvania, or Wisconsin.  It's a red state and that probably won't change in November.

But it might.

Some Trumps Just Want To Watch The Blue States Burn

According to the chief of staff of former Homeland Security head Kirstjen Nielsen, Donald Trump indeed wanted FEMA to cut off all emergency funding for California wildfires because the state didn't vote for him in 2016, and when Nielsen refused, she was forced to resign.

President Donald Trump wanted to shut off emergency relief for California amid devastating wildfires because it was a blue state, and he tried to deliberately separate families to deter immigration, according to a scathing account given by a former administration official on Monday.

In a new ad by the group Republican Voters Against Trump, Miles Taylor, former chief of staff to former Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen, said Trump was “actively doing damage to our security,” recounting a number of episodes that he said revealed Trump’s inability to lead. Taylor said Trump wanted to expand family separation at the border, withhold emergency funding because of partisan grudges and neglect pressing national security issues for the sake of his political objectives.

Taylor endorsed Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, in the ad, saying he felt that the former vice president would protect the country despite their partisan differences. He also wrote in an op-ed in The Washington Post that Trump tried to use the Department of Homeland Security to fulfill a political agenda, including shutting down the California-Mexico border. Taylor is among the most senior former members of the Trump administration to back Biden.

The White House denounced Taylor’s remarks, pointing out that during his tenure in the administration, from 2017 to 2019, he never publicly voiced concerns.

“This individual is another creature of the D.C. Swamp who never understood the importance of the President’s agenda or why the American people elected him and clearly just wants to cash-in,” White House spokesperson Judd Deere said in a statement to POLITICO. “President Trump has an unprecedented number of accomplishments in spite of government bureaucrats who are only out for themselves, not the forgotten men and women of this country.”

In the ad, Taylor alleges that Trump asked for funding to be pulled from the Federal Emergency Management Agency during catastrophic wildfires that caused millions of dollars in damage in California, because the state was not part of his political base.

“He told us to stop giving money to people whose houses had burned down because he was so rageful that people in the state of California didn’t support him,” Taylor said.

Trump tweeted in January 2019 that California should stop receiving FEMA money until “they get their act together” on proper forest management. He also blasted the state’s governor, Gavin Newsom, in November and threatened to cut off future funding unless the state adopted measures to curb forest fires.

Taylor also alleged that Trump tried to separate families of immigrants in order to deter them from illegally entering the country. Under the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, hundreds of families were separated when parents were held in detention for illegally crossing the border. The administration officially reversed course on separating children from their parents after a fierce outcry, but Taylor alleges that Trump tried to reinstitute the practice in order to scare immigrants.

Taylor said in his op-ed that Trump became “visibly furious” when Nielsen refused. Nielsen left her post in April of last year.

So yes, everything I suspected that happened with FEMA and California during the early Trump years was correct.  Donald Trump ordered his cabinet to hurt Clinton states like California because not enough of the 40 million Americans who lived there were loyal enough to him.

So they deserved to suffer and die. He doesn't want to punish the Obama coalition of voters.

He wants to kill us.

This is still the case today.

Trump is a monster.

It's About Suppression, Con't

Donald Trump couldn't have been happier in 2016 when his Russian friends and GOP allies were able to suppress the black vote that carried Barack Obama to victory in 2008 and 2012, and Trump thought it meant it was a sign that Black voters secretly liked him but were too afraid to say it, because Trump is a monster, a moron, and a clinical narcissist.

In a private meeting inside Trump Tower days before his inauguration, Donald Trump told a group of civil rights leaders something most Republicans wouldn’t dare publicly acknowledge: lower turnout among Black voters did, in fact, benefit him in the 2016 presidential election.

"Many Blacks didn’t go out to vote for Hillary ‘cause they liked me. That was almost as good as getting the vote, you know, and it was great,” the president-elect said, according to an audio recording of the meeting shared with POLITICO.

Three-and-a-half years later, those comments take on new weight, as Democrats and Republicans battle over restrictions on voting amid an historic pandemic.

Trump has repeatedly alleged, without evidence, that expanding mail-in voting will lead to massive fraud, and Republicans have filed lawsuits against a number of states attempting to do so. Higher voter turnout tends to benefit Democrats — low turnout among Black voters in key states is one of the reasons Hillary Clinton lost to Trump in 2016. And voting rights activists have warned that GOP efforts to limit access to absentee ballots could keep many from voting this fall, particularly Black people, seniors and others at high risk from Covid-19.

The coronavirus pandemic was not on anyone’s radar on Jan. 16, 2017, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, when Trump hosted the meeting with leaders from the Drum Major Institute, a voting rights group founded by King and fellow civil rights leader Harry Wachtel. But voting access was. The meeting was requested to lobby Trump on a proposal to put photo identification on Social Security cards to combat voter ID laws.

Attendees included Martin Luther King III, William Wachtel, James Forbes, Johnny Mack and Scott Rechler. Former Atlanta Mayor Andrew Young briefly spoke to Trump by phone during the meeting.

Wachtel’s then-chief of staff Tootsie Warhol provided the audio to POLITICO this week. The lawyer-turned-activist attended the sit-down and surreptitiously recorded it from his iPhone. Born Teddy Mukamal, he said his motivation for sharing the recording now is that he is in the process of reinventing himself as Warhol, an artist and activist, since leaving his law firm in November.

Warhol has filed with the Federal Election Commission to run for president in 2020, though he described his independent campaign as a new way to engage voters and said he hopes former Vice President Joe Biden wins the November election.

He told POLITICO, “The first thing that I can never forget was how when you walked in, (Trump) name-drops all these Black celebrities and tries to give the illusion that they’re his friends.”

Inside Trump Tower, Trump told the group that he had “so many” Black friends who “are so incredible, and everyone knows that.” At the top of the meeting, he showed off NBA Hall of Famer Shaquille O’Neal’s sneaker, world heavyweight champion Mike Tyson’s belt and Sugar Ray Leonard’s boxing glove. (He also flaunted Tom Brady’s Super Bowl helmet and his own chair from “The Apprentice.”)

And during the 45-minute meeting, Trump asked the attendees if they were “surprised that Hillary lost so badly” and boasted that he won 11 percent of the Black vote in 2016. Trump lost the national popular vote by nearly 3 million and only won 8 percent of Black voters, according to exit polls, 81 percentage points behind Clinton. Mitt Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee, and John McCain, the 2008 GOP standard-bearer, won 6 percent and 4 percent of Black voters, respectively.

Note that the meeting to help increase the voting base through a national voter ID program through Social Security never went anywhere, because the point of Voter IDs isn't to protect the integrity of voting, it's to stop poor people, college students, and the elderly from voting at all, and it disproportionately affects Black people.

A national voter ID program, you see, would solve the problem that voter ID laws create artificially.

And we can't have that.

Trump of course was too stupid to know, or too egotistical to care.

Still is today.
Related Posts with Thumbnails