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America's 2018 mid-term elections…


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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« on: December 28, 2017, 08:22:15 pm »


from the Los Angeles Times....

Let's not make 2018 a year of protest

“Taking the country back from Trump is as simple as turning out
opponents of his presidency in large enough numbers come November.”


By CONOR FRIEDERSDORF | 4:00AM PST — Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Demonstrators protest against US President Donald Trump and his administration's travel ban in Washington on January 30th. — Photograph: Zach Gibson/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.
Demonstrators protest against US President Donald Trump and his administration's travel ban in Washington on January 30th.
 — Photograph: Zach Gibson/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.


DISGUST WITH Donald Trump transformed 2017 into a year of protest. His critics gathered publicly in opposition to the inauguration; to march on behalf of women; to resist a travel ban that targeted Muslims; to insist on the importance of science; to express support for the rights of immigrants who are in the country illegally; and to decry America's withdrawal from the Paris climate accords. Many saw taking to the streets as the best way to express patriotic dissent. And showing up made it easier to organize an infrastructure for ongoing “resistance”.

The displays of opposition were an important civic statement in 2017. But prioritizing street protests in 2018 would be a grave error for Trump critics, as there are more effective and direct actions they can take to change the country's trajectory. Namely, they can work to dominate the 2018 mid-terms.

The new year will bring the most important off-year elections in many of our lifetimes. As is true every two years, the entire House will be up for re-election. A legislative body that Republicans control 239 seats to 193 seats could flip, thwarting President Trump's ability to advance his domestic agenda and allowing Democrats to investigate his corruption. Whether or not a high crime triggers impeachment may hang in the balance.

Often I am ambivalent about who controls Congress. I've supported and opposed presidents and legislators from both political parties, neither of which match my public policy preferences. And in state politics, I've always voted based on individual candidates, as I will this year.

But I am rooting for Democrats to take the House and Senate in the 2018 mid-terms. Beyond the greater oversight and accountability that divided government brings, a decisive defeat of the GOP is the only tool voters have to repudiate Trump, in particular his tendency to stoke animus against minority groups to gain power. For elites in a multi-ethnic polity, there is no more irresponsible course. Proving that it leads (eventually, at least) to electoral ruin could help quash the tactic for a generation, sparing the country more bigotry from the burgeoning forces who rallied under swastikas in Charlottesville, Virginia.


Protesters at Trump Plaza in West Palm Beach, Florida, in February. — Photograph: Jim Rassol/Sun-Sentinel.
Protesters at Trump Plaza in West Palm Beach, Florida, in February. — Photograph: Jim Rassol/Sun-Sentinel.

Another factor at work in my cheerleading for Team Democrat is that I live in California. Having lost the Golden State, Trump and his allies have repeatedly sought to punish its residents. They've been slow to appropriate disaster relief, included provisions in their failed healthcare bill that would've hit California hard, and disadvantaged the state in the tax bill. Too often, the 14 Republicans in California's House delegation have shown more loyalty to their partisan allies in Washington than to their Blue State constituents. Californians aren't benefitting from having the most House members of any state. If they insist on change, however, Californians could help themselves even as they flip Congress for the whole country.

Democrats, though, tend to have a hard time turning out voters in off-year elections. And all the unhappiness with Trump evident in opinion polls won't necessarily translate to the ballot box.

Seeking change through elections is hard, unheralded work. Registering voters, organizing phone trees, raising small donations and seeking permission to plant yard signs on front lawns isn't as glamorous as marching beneath pithy signs amid tens of thousands as cable news cameras roll. Unlike righteous posts on social media, there's no instant feedback. Some even regard it as woke to insist that America's existing political system is so corrupt that voting doesn't matter; only an egalitarian revolution will do the trick.

But if you want to save America's soul, Mark Lilla advised in The Once and Future Liberal, leftists and moderates have to participate in the system. “Workshops and university seminars will not do it,” he wrote. “Online mobilizing and flash mobs will not do it. Protesting, acting up and acting out will not do it. The age of movement politics is over, at least for now. We need no more marchers. We need more mayors. And governors and state legislators and members of Congress.”

Taking the country back from Trump is as simple as turning out opponents of his presidency in large enough numbers come November. Doing that work effectively is more important than any protest, rally, march or hashtag.


• Conor Friedersdorf is a contributing writer to Opinion at the Los Angeles Times, a staff writer at The Atlantic and founding editor of the Best of Journalism, a newsletter that curates exceptional nonfiction.

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-friedersdorf-vote-better-20171227-story.html
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Kiwithrottlejockey
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« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2018, 12:22:31 pm »


from the print edition of the Los Angeles Times....

It's long way to November, sure, but having said that …

A primer on why the political stakes are sky-high for mid-term election.

By  MARK Z. BARABAK | Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Democrats stand a good chance of winning a majority in the House and possibly the Senate too. History and an unpopular GOP president are in their favor. — Photograph: Mark Wilson/Getty Images.
Democrats stand a good chance of winning a majority in the House and possibly the Senate too. History and an unpopular GOP president are in their favor.
 — Photograph: Mark Wilson/Getty Images.


IT'S A NEW YEAR — happy! happy! — and being even-numbered that means elections across the country.

The political stakes, befitting the bigger-means-better Age of Trump, are considerably higher than usual.

For the first time in years, control of the House is seriously in play and, with it, the prospects for the latter half of Trump's presidential term, which could bolster his record for re-election in 2020 or prove a death march through a slough of subpoenas and congressional torment.

Control of the Senate is a longer shot for Democrats, but also within the realm of possibility — especially after last month's upset victory in Alabama.

Not least, there will be 36 gubernatorial races in 2018. In many states the winner will oversee the once-a-decade redrawing of congressional boundaries, which will go a considerable way toward determining control of the House, not just for one election cycle but well into the 2020s.

Let's start with the House.

OK. There are 435 seats. Each will be on the ballot for November 6th. To gain control, which they lost in 2010, Democrats need to win at least 24 seats held by Republicans.

What's the chance of that?

Right now it looks pretty darned good. Mid-term elections — so called because they fall at the mid-point of a president's four-year term — tend to be a referendum on the incumbent, and that favors the opposition party because angry or unhappy voters are typically more inclined to turn out than contented voters.

Hmm. Is that some kind of fake news?

Actually, there's plenty of history to support that assertion. Going back to 1862, the president's party has averaged a loss of 32 seats in mid-term elections. In modern times, the president's party has lost seats in 18 of the last 20 midterms, with an average loss of 33 seats.

Elections aren't based on history. What about the current environment?

That's also shaping up well for Democrats. Polls have found party voters expressing far more interest in the midterm than Republicans, which is usually a sign of increased turnout. Also, on the so-called generic ballot question — which party would you rather see control Congress? — Democrats are running significantly ahead of the GOP. That's another positive sign for them.

Finally, Democratic turnout in several special elections in 2017 ran considerably higher than expected — even in contests the party lost — which is another reason for Democratic optimism come November.

So that's it for Republican Speaker Paul D. Ryan?

Not necessarily. There's an old saying: (Fill in the blank) is a lifetime in politics. But we won't trot out that tired cliche. Suffice to say it's a long way to November.

Anything to watch in the meantime?

There's a special election in late March to fill a vacant House seat in southwestern Pennsylvania. It's strongly pro-Trump country — he carried the district by nearly 20 percentage points — but after the shocker in Alabama, Democrats believe they may have a chance at another upset. If so, you'll start hearing the W-word with increased frequency.

“W” as in Wawa?

No, that's a chain of East Coast convenience stores. “W” as in wave.

How about the Senate?

There are 34 seats at stake in November, or just over a third of the 100-member body. Republicans will hold a 51-49 advantage once Democrat Doug Jones is sworn in on Wednesday as Alabama's new senator. That means Democrats need a gain of just two seats to take control.

So they have an even better shot at a Senate majority than winning control of the House?

Actually, no.

Huh?

Of the 34 seats, Democrats will have to defend 26, compared with just eight for Republicans. And of those 26, 10 are in states that Trump carried in 2016. So to prevail, Democrats will have to hold onto every seat they have, plus two held by independents who vote with the party. Then they need to pick up at least two Republican-held seats. That's a pretty tall order.

Indeed.

Their best shot appears to be in Arizona, where GOP Senator Jeff Flake is stepping down, and Nevada, where Republican Dean Heller has the distinction of being the only Republican senator up for election in 2018 in a state won by Hillary Clinton. But in a wave year, other states could come into play.

And those governors' races?

There will 36 guber-natorial elections across the country, in big states such as California, Texas, New York and Florida. Obviously, the winner will matter a lot to the folks living in those three dozen states. But the results will also have national import, owing to redistricting.

Do tell.

Every 10 years, after the latest census, the 435 House seats are reapportioned to reflect population changes across the country. In most states, it is then up to legislators to draw new congressional districts lines, subject to guber-natorial veto.

The way those lines are drawn can go a long way toward determining which party wins each seat.

After the 2010 census, the Republicans used their upper hand in state houses to diminish Democratic strength across the country, allowing the GOP to keep a firm grip on the House throughout the decade.

In 2016, for instance, Republicans won 50.6% of the congressional vote nationwide but 55.4% of House seats, or 21 “extra” seats, according to an analysis by the Brookings Institution.

When does the next census take place?

In 2020.

That's a lifetime in politics!

Please.


__________________________________________________________________________

• Mark Z. Barabak covers state and national politics for the Los Angeles Times, based in San Francisco. A reporter for nearly 40 years, Barabak has covered campaigns and elections in 49 of the 50 states, including all or part of the last 10 presidential campaigns and dozens of mayoral, gubernatorial and U.S. Senate contests. He also reported from the White House and Capitol Hill during the George H.W. Bush and Clinton administrations.

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« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2018, 12:22:45 pm »


from the print edition of the Los Angeles Times....

Texas Democrats' reason to hope

A Latina lesbian ex-sheriff is running for governor. And even if she loses, her party may win.

By MOLLY HENNESSY-FISKE | Tuesday, January 02, 2018

Guadalupe “Lupe” Valdez was an unlikely winner as Dallas County sheriff in 2004. Democrats hope she can beat long odds again in the guber-natorial race. — Photograph: Louis DeLuca/Dallas Morning News.
Guadalupe “Lupe” Valdez was an unlikely winner as Dallas County sheriff in 2004. Democrats hope she can beat long odds again in the guber-natorial race.
 — Photograph: Louis DeLuca/Dallas Morning News.


DALLAS — Guadalupe “Lupe” Valdez was making the rounds in jeans and a purple blouse on a recent Sunday at Norma's Cafe, a popular diner packed with a diverse mix of Texans.

“Hey, sheriff!” exclaimed a Latino in a Dallas Cowboys jersey, and Valdez was soon at his side, grinning.

“I was afraid people wouldn't recognize me without the uniform,” she said.

The week before, Valdez — the state's first openly gay and first Latina sheriff, with almost four terms under her belt as Dallas County's top cop — announced she was resigning to run for governor. In a crowded Democratic primary, she's the front-runner with the potential to boost party voter registration and turnout long-term, especially among Latinos. Though Valdez is unlikely to beat Republican Greg Abbott, a popular governor in a red state with $50 million to spend, she could benefit from a backlash against President Trump, mobilizing Latino voters.

“We're giving people hope,” Valdez said. “A lot of people have written off Texas.”

Valdez, 70, is no stranger to adversity. She grew up in San Antonio, the youngest of eight children in a Mexican American family, migrating with her parents to work the fields. She waited tables to put herself through Southern Nazarene University, then joined the Women's Army Corps. She was not openly gay at the time, but had friends who were gay or were spotted at gay bars and dishonorably discharged as a result.

She came out later in life, in stages: living more openly in the 1990s, attending a gay-friendly church, working for the federal government and worrying less about the career implications as she rose through the ranks, becoming a senior agent with the Department of Homeland Security in 2002.

When she retired and ran for sheriff in 2004, she was out of the closet, but even with the voter turnout boost of a presidential election she was a long shot.

“She ran for sheriff in a county that did not have a single countywide official that was a Democrat and hadn't for 20 years. She ran against an incumbent sheriff. She did not have any experience running for office. Few people, if any, gave her any chance of winning,” said Texas Democratic Party Chairman Gilberto Hinojosa.

Valdez won by a slim margin, 51% to 49%. But her win helped set the stage for a larger victory, attracting Democratic candidates who swept into office in 2006. Two years later, Valdez's margin of victory widened, 55% to 45%. Last year, she was re-elected by the widest margin yet, 59% to 37%. As Dallas' population grew and diversified, one of the keys to those victories was turning out minority voters, she said.

Valdez, who announced last month that she was resigning as sheriff to run for governor, said her campaign would be focused on economic issues that concern blue-collar families and the elderly, those who worked their way up like she did, subsisting at times on peanut butter and jelly, making sure they paid the rent, cleaned up for church and prayed over their meals the way she and others did at Norma's.

“She understands what those folks are going through, what they need, what their families are all about,” Hinojosa said. “The only reason Texas is not a blue state is because the huge Latino population in this state has not turned out the way it should and the way it has in states like California.”

Wendy Davis, the Democrat who ran against Abbott in 2014, lost by more than 20 percentage points, a setback for Democrats statewide. She had risen to national prominence as a state legislator filibustering for abortion rights.

“One hope that Democrats have for Lupe Valdez is that she increases voter registration and turnout among Latinos and she shifts the percentage of the Latino vote won by Democrats from the 55[%] to 65% range, where it's been recently in Texas, to the 65[%] to 75% range, where it's been in places like California,” said Mark Jones, a political science professor at Rice University in Houston.

Democrats now have two paths to relevance in Texas, Jones said: Peel off moderate, white Republican voters or mobilize their base, especially Latinos.

Andrew White, 45, a Houston entrepreneur and son of the late Democratic Governor Mark White, represents the first path. Valdez represents the second.

Valdez, though openly gay, is “not defined by her sexual orientation” the way Davis was defined by her stand on abortion, Jones said: “She's not Harvey Milk.” Her girlfriend, a Dallas chiropractor, doesn't plan to make many appearances on the campaign trail. Where Davis looked like a model, Valdez said, she looks like a “grandma”.

Texas Republican Party Chairman James Dickey believes Valdez's record on “sanctuary” cities and other issues makes her unpalatable to Texas moderates. He noted that when liberal Democrat Leticia Van de Putte ran for lieutenant governor in 2014 against conservative fellow state Senator Dan Patrick, a Tea Party stalwart, she lost by a wide margin, 39% to 58%.

“There was a limited appeal as far as identity, and at the same time a massive disconnect on values, issues and principles,” Dickey said. “No moderate of any race who looks at Lupe's track record would consider her a moderate.”

Dickey also doesn't expect Valdez to benefit from a Trump backlash at the polls. “I will be shocked if we do not have a statewide candidate this election that wins straight up a majority of the Hispanic vote, because it's our issues that resonate with all Texans,” he said.

Former Dallas County Republican Party Chairman Jonathan Neerman disagreed.

“Traditional Latino Republican voters could abandon the party because of Trump and vote Democrat, or the sleeping giant could awaken and new Latino voters could vote Democrat,” Neerman said.

In that way, Valdez would lay the groundwork for another Democrat to stage a successful campaign for governor in 2022, Jones said, such as San Antonio congressman Joaquin Castro or his twin brother, former U.S. Housing secretary and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro.

Democrat Tony Sanchez managed to dramatically boost Latino turnout when he ran for governor against Republican Rick Perry in 2002, Jones said, but the party missed the chance to capitalize on that four years later.

“What Lupe Valdez is going to try to do is engage the Latino community that 2018 is a stepping-stone,” Jones said. “The key for Democrats will be that the Valdez candidacy is not a one-off, that it sets things up for another candidate in 2022.”


__________________________________________________________________________

• Molly Hennessy-Fiske is a staff writer for the Los Angeles Times, where she has spent a decade covering foreign, national, metro and business news, including reporting rotations in Afghanistan, Egypt, Iraq and Lebanon. She won an Overseas Press Club award in 2015, a Dart award from Columbia University in 2014, was a finalist for the Livingston Awards and Casey Medal and won state awards for her work in California, Florida, New York and North Carolina. She completed a Thomson Reuters fellowship in Lebanon in 2006 and a Pew fellowship reporting from Mexico in 2004. She has reported for newspapers in Boston, Miami, Raleigh, Schenectady, Syracuse, Washington and West Palm Beach. Hennessy-Fiske grew up in Upstate New York before attending Harvard College, graduating with a bachelor's degree in social studies in 1999. She is currently Middle East bureau chief.

http://enewspaper.latimes.com/infinity/article_popover_share.aspx?guid=759ac7dc-e65f-4177-ab2a-5f1599541d17
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« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2018, 12:23:32 pm »


Wouldn't that be hilarious eh? A lesbian latino Governor of Texas.

Those mentally-defective bible-bashing, gun-toting WHITIE Texas Baptists will be frothing at the mouth if she wins.

I hope she does win. Just to piss them off!!

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« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2018, 05:39:58 pm »

hahaha you're echo chamber for morons
but in here there's just one stupid white clown

you

lmao Grin
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« Reply #5 on: January 05, 2018, 11:31:16 pm »

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« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2018, 06:51:49 pm »


from The Washington Post....

The ‘value divide’ between Democrats and Republicans
is getting bigger and bigger


Voters tend to think the worst of their opponents across the political aisle.

By EUGENE SCOTT | 7:00AM EDT — Sunday, March 18, 2018

Democrat supporters celebrate Conor Lamb's special election win on March 13th in Pennsylvania. — Photograph: Associated Press.
Democrat supporters celebrate Conor Lamb's special election win on March 13th in Pennsylvania. — Photograph: Associated Press.

IN THE Trump era, Americans may be more polarized now than ever. But while Americans have always known they don't all share the same politics, more of them are now questioning whether their political opponents even share their same values.

According to the most recent Pew Research Center data, among those who approve of the job that Donald Trump is doing as president, 51 percent say that people who feel differently about the president probably do not share many of their other values and goals.

And among those who disapprove of Trump's job performance, 56 percent say that people who approve of the president probably do not share their other values and goals.

This is a vastly different response from the last time this question was asked in 2017. In July, nearly 59 percent of Democrats and nearly 56 percent of Republicans said that while members of the other party felt differently about politics, they probably shared many of their same values and goals.

But perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that there are fewer widespread perceptions of common ground. Past data from the Pew Research Center shows that the top priorities of Democrats and Republicans are indeed different.

According to a January 2017 survey, the five leading policy priorities for Republicans are:


  • Terrorism
  • The economy
  • Jobs
  • Health costs
  • The military

But the same survey shows the top five policy priorities for Democrats are:

  • Education
  • Environment
  • Terrorism
  • Poor people
  • Race relations

But one thing to consider is what people are looking at when they're assessing their political opponents's values. John Sides, a political-science professor at George Washington University who specializes in public opinion, voting and American elections, wrote about this for The Washington Post:

Quote
Our internal pictures of the opposite party are terribly inaccurate. When asked about the groups historically associated with each party, we think these groups make up a vastly larger fraction of each party than they really do. In other words, we think each party is essentially a huge bundle of stereotypes — and this tendency is particularly pronounced when we’re characterizing the opposite party.

Unfortunately, we have very caricatured notions of who the parties are. And the more we exaggerate the differences in the social bases of each party, the more tribal partisanship becomes.

A 2016 Pew Research Center survey showed just how differently people see their political opposites. And much of that perception is negative.

Nearly half of Republicans polled in that survey said Democrats are lazy, immoral and dishonest. The overwhelming majority of Democrats said Republicans are close-minded. Large percentages of those on the left said those on the right are dishonest and immoral. And about a third of both Democrats and Republicans said they think members of the other party are unintelligent.

When a large majority in a group believe that people who don't share their political values are unintelligent, it can be really difficult, if not impossible, to find common ground.

We pay lots of attention to the lack of bipartisanship in Congress, but this data shows that the inability to get on the same page is a deeply rooted problem. Lawmakers may find it challenging to work with their colleagues across the aisle when each side represents people who think so little of the other side when it comes to making America as great as possible for everyone.


__________________________________________________________________________

• Eugene Scott writes about identity politics for The Fix at The Washington Post. He was previously a breaking news reporter at CNN Politics.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: Why women could sway the 2018 mid-terms

 • Once-safe Republican districts suddenly in play as Democrats expand the map

 • Republicans aren't in denial. They know they're in trouble.

 • ‘Denial ain't just a river in Egypt’: Republicans fret over Pennsylvania setback


https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/03/18/americans-generally-dont-think-their-political-opponents-share-their-values
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« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2018, 06:53:08 pm »


Excellent news, eh?

Americans hate each other so much that their country is going to keep on becoming more and more disfunctional.

And that will speed up the downfall of the United States of America.

Yep....EXCELLENT NEWS for the rest of the world.

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« Reply #8 on: March 20, 2018, 03:53:42 am »

whatever floats your leaky boat

when trump drains the swamp and after he drowns all the stupid criminal deep state commies i will laugh my arse off


But the same survey shows the top five policy priorities for Democrats are:

Education = kids brainwashed by pc commie stupid teachers
Environment = a fake tax on air, a rip off where the rothschilds make a fortune robbing the world
Terrorism     = Obama created and armed isis and screwed up the military,obama personally took part in drone strikes on afghan wedding parties
Poor people = democrats created plenty of poor people because they are too stupid to run the economy
Race relations = obama and the democrats stirred up division between blacks and whites trying to get poor exploited race baited  black people to vote for them.

there is a war between the corrupt out of control cia and trump admin
the cia has totally infiltrated the democratic party soon they will get destroyed

i trust the trump and the military's plan to clean out the swamp scum
keep an eye on the news and watch the fun. Grin

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« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2018, 04:24:15 am »


The only place Trump is headed for is to jail....following his bent & crooked sons, his bent daughter and his crooked jewish son-in-law.

The instant the 46th President of the USA is sworn in, the Feds will slap the handcuffs on Donald J. Trump and haul his sorry arse off to jail, then to court.

However, by then, the orange idiot will have done the good thing and fucked-up the USA permanently, turning them into a has-been power.


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« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2018, 05:33:32 pm »


Hahaha.....the Republicans are continuing to lose elections in “Trump country”.

Bring on the mid-term elections.




from The Washington Post....

Democrats just won another big race in Wisconsin
 — and Republicans are panicking


Here's what the Democrats' win in a Wisconsin Supreme Court race tells us about November.

By AMBER PHILLIPS | 9:41AM EDT — Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Wisconsin candidate Judge Rebecca Dallet greets supporters as they watch returns on election night at Good City Brewing in Milwaukee. — Photograph: Rick Wood/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel/Associated Press.
Wisconsin candidate Judge Rebecca Dallet greets supporters as they watch returns on election night at Good City Brewing in Milwaukee.
 — Photograph: Rick Wood/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel/Associated Press.


“WE ARE at risk of a blue wave in Wisconsin.” That's none other than the governor of Wisconsin, a Republican, warning his party on Tuesday night that things could go badly for them in just a few months — including his own re-election.



The evidence Governor Scott Walker has to back up that prediction is pretty solid: On Tuesday, Democrats won a statewide election for a state Supreme Court seat by more than 11 points. That comes after Wisconsin Democrats won a special election for a state Senate seat in January in historically Republican territory.

Walker was already ringing the alarm bells after that first loss in January. He figured it would serve as a lesson for Republicans not to get complacent after so many years of Republicans dominating this state.

Now that he has lost another race, this one statewide with a candidate he was all in for, Walker is outright hitting the panic button for his party. Here are tweets he fired off Tuesday night:






Some of this is clearly a messaging strategy. Walker is attempting to leverage these losses to spring his party into action: Donate, knock on doors and, most important, be as motivated as Democrats clearly are to show up and vote.

But Walker's actions elsewhere revealed how suddenly he is truly concerned about Democrats: After January's loss, he tried to pause two other special elections, which would leave the seats vacant for a year. The GOP-controlled state legislature even tried to pass a bill banning special elections in the state after April in an election year. The courts overruled Walker's attempts to halt them, and Walker is under a court order to hold those elections in June.

Democrats, conversely, are pretty amped up after Tuesday's win. Rebecca Dallet's victory was the first open Supreme Court race that a progressive has won since 1995. Democrats erased a similar decades-long drought by winning January's state Senate seat.

“If Walker thought a small little Senate district up in the northwestern part of the state going Democratic for first time [in decades] was a wake-up call,” said Wisconsin Democratic operative Scot Ross, “this would be a Category 8 hurricane.”

These Supreme Court elections are technically non-partisan, which makes this statewide race an imperfect comparison to November's governor and Senate races. (Walker is trying to win a third term in November, and Tammy Baldwin, a Democrat, is one of our top most vulnerable incumbents in Senate races.)

But both sides made very clear who was their favorite potential justice. Walker backed his candidate, Michael Screnock, with GOP party money, by some estimates making up 40 percent of total fundraising for him. The National Rifle Association sent mailers for Screnock. A manufacturing association spent nearly $1 million on ads for him.

Meanwhile, Joe Biden made a robo-call for Dallet. The National Democratic Redistricting Committee, headed by Eric H. Holder Jr., President Barack Obama's former attorney general, also spent money in this race.

And Dallet's win wasn't just a warning to Republicans. Her win shifts the court from a 5-2 conservative majority to 4-3, and it gives Democrats the possibility of overtaking the majority in time for the court to chime in on any GOP-drawn electoral maps after the 2020 Census. The U.S. Supreme Court is deciding on whether Wisconsin's state legislative districts are unconstitutionally partisan in favor of Republicans.

For all of Walker's alarm-bell-ringing, Republicans close to him say he's not reading too much into losing this seat. There is plenty of data that shows Democrats winning judicial races in the spring and Republicans going on to have a good November.

Plus, the Wisconsin Republican Party is one of the most organized and effective state parties in the nation. It can arguably claim to have won Donald Trump the presidency in November.

But across the nation, Republicans are on the receiving end of warning signs that their party could be in for a terrible election year. And right now, Wisconsin is no different.


__________________________________________________________________________

• Amber Phillips writes about politics for The Fix at The Washington Post. She was previously the one-woman D.C. bureau for the Las Vegas Sun and has reported from Boston and Taiwan.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: What Democrats need to win the House

 • Wisconsin Republicans put Trump over the top. Now they're trying to prove it wasn't a fluke.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-fix/wp/2018/04/04/democrats-just-won-another-big-race-in-wisconsin-and-republicans-are-panicking
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« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2018, 07:37:34 pm »


from The Washington Post....

McConnell sounds alarm over mid-terms: ‘We don't know
whether it's going to be a Category 3, 4 or 5’


The top Senate Republican also offered an argument for keeping the Senate
in Republican hands, should the GOP lose the House.


By SEAN SULLIVAN | 12:41PM EDT — Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Republican-Kentucky) talks during a news conference at the Capitol on March 6th. — Photograph: J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Republican-Kentucky) talks during a news conference at the Capitol on March 6th.
 — Photograph: J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press.


SENATE MAJORITY LEADER Mitch McConnell (Republican-Kentucky) is predicting a difficult mid-term election year for his party, likening it this week to a severe storm.

“This is going to be a challenging election year,” McConnell said in a Tuesday interview with the Kentucky Today editorial board. “We know the wind is going to be in our face. We don't know whether it's going to be a Category 3, 4 or 5.”

The interview marked some of the bluntest comments this year by the top Senate Republican, who is defending a 51-49 majority in November. McConnell raised the possibility that Republicans will lose their House majority. In doing so, he offered a potential argument Republican Senate candidates could use on the campaign trail.

“I'm hoping we can hold the Senate,” he said, “and the principal reason for that, even if we were to lose the House and be stymied legislatively, we could still approve appointments, which is a huge part of what we do.”

McConnell's remarks came as other prominent Republicans have been issuing warnings about the mid-terms. After a Wisconsin Supreme Court win by Democrats on Tuesday, Republican Governor Scott Walker warned of a “#BlueWave” in a post on Twitter.

The Republican leader has been warning about the difficult climate for months. “We go into this clear-eyed that this is going to be quite a challenging election,” he told The New York Times in February.

McConnell has frequently said that the Senate is in “the personnel business,” referring to its power to confirm executive branch nominees and federal judges. Last year, McConnell said the “single biggest issue in bringing Republicans home” in the 2016 election “was the Supreme Court.” That year, McConnell refused to fill a Supreme Court vacancy until after the election, making it an issue for voters to decide on in the campaign.

While recent special elections have shown there is a lot of energy in the Democratic Party, largely because of anger with President Trump, winning back control of the Senate will not be easy for the minority party. Democrats are defending seats in 10 seats in states Trump won in 2016. These include West Virginia and North Dakota, where Trump won by a wide margin.

For many conservative activists, judicial nominees are an important issue, giving McConnell's emerging pitch on behalf of Republican Senate candidates some potential to energize them. At the same time, McConnell is battling against criticism from some on the right that he has not been an effective leader. Even Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, whom McConnell helped recruit to run for the Senate, would not commit to supporting him as leader if he is elected.

“I think it's a little premature to say who I would and wouldn't vote for,” Hawley said in a recent interview with The Washington Post.


__________________________________________________________________________

• Sean Sullivan covers national politics for The Washington Post. Before joining The Post in the summer of 2012, he was the editor of Hotline On Call, National Journal Hotline's politics blog. He has also worked for NHK, Japan's public broadcaster, and ABC News. Sullivan is a graduate of Hamilton College, where he received a degree in philosophy.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: Will President Trump be a drag on Republicans running in 2018?

 • Uncertainty about McCain's future fuels GOP questions about Senate seat


https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2018/04/04/mcconnell-sounds-alarm-over-midterms-we-dont-know-whether-its-going-to-be-a-category-3-4-or-5
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« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2018, 08:15:10 pm »


Yep....it's hugely entertaining watching those Republicans running around like headless chooks in Trump territory, panicking.

The mid-term elections later this year are going to be a real hoot!!




from The Washington Post....

The Republicans' panic about their big Wisconsin loss is revealing

The angrier party is the one that wins. We know which party that is right now.

By PAUL WALDMAN | 1:36PM EDT — Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Photograph: Ralph Freso/Getty Images.
Photograph: Ralph Freso/Getty Images.

YESTERDAY there was an election for a seat on the Wisconsin Supreme Court (and yes, it's insane that we choose judges this way, a system used almost nowhere else in the world). The election was won rather easily by the liberal candidate, Rebecca Dallet.

In response, Governor Scott Walker (Republican) issued a call to arms for Republicans in his state and around the country:




This idea that politicians win by sharing “our positive story with voters” is a common part of our collective mythology about how campaigns work. But it's utterly, completely wrong.

I'm pretty sure nobody understands that fact better than Walker. Because there may be no governor in the United States who has worked harder to rig the game in his party's favor than he has. As soon as he got elected, Walker began a long war on unions in the state, knowing they are one of the cornerstones of Democratic power. He signed a voter ID law that successfully disenfranchised thousands of voters. He rewrote the state's campaign finance laws to decrease transparency and enhance corporate influence. And he presided over one of the most aggressive gerrymanders of state legislative districts anywhere in the country, which has allowed Republicans to retain large majorities in the legislature even when they get fewer votes than Democrats.

In other words, Walker doesn't seem to believe that sharing his positive story with voters is enough to win elections. And on that, he's completely right.

For better or worse — usually, but not always, for worse — fear and anger are much more powerful determinants of election outcomes than which party has the more compelling positive story to tell. The reason the opposition party almost always picks up seats in midterm elections is that they're the ones who are mad, so they're the ones who turn out to vote.

It happens in general elections, too. Every once in a while you get a candidate like Barack Obama running on hope, but even in 2008, his win was fed in no small part by anger at President George W. Bush. And it's a little rich for Walker to claim that Democrats are driven by anger and hatred, when the leader of his party got elected by saying Mexicans are rapists and by promising to build a wall on our border, ban Muslims from entering the country and throw his opponent in jail.

But let's say the Republican Party decided that Walker is right, and they just need to share their positive story this fall. What would they say?

Well, they'd say they cut taxes. And … um … yeah … they cut taxes.

That gets to a key weakness of the GOP's “positive story.” As the party of small government, their positive story is pretty thin. They've had complete control of government for nearly 15 months, and what have they done besides that tax cut? They tried and failed to repeal the Affordable Care Act. They repealed some Obama-era regulations. They haven't reformed the immigration system, though they did manage to pass a budget. They increased military spending.

But that's pretty much it, and Republicans have decided they aren't going to be doing any more major legislation between now and the election. The only big things they want to do are things they know the public would freak out about, like privatizing Medicare, so they aren't going to try. It doesn't add up to much of a positive story to tell, even if you think that a positive story is what they need to prevent that blue wave.

Don't get me wrong; I'm not saying that parties don't need to tell voters what they want to accomplish. We're seeing that with the Democrats that have been having such success in special and off-year elections since 2016: They've talked plenty about what they want to do in office. But they've also counted on anger at President Trump to get their voters excited and mobilized. As the party of government, they have a much more substantial agenda to offer. But it's only in years such as this one, when their voters have reason to be mad, that they can really capitalize.

But we're going to keep getting told this tale about how the positive story is what matters. After every loss in the last year or so, Republicans have repeated some variation of: “We just didn't do a good enough job explaining how great our policies are.” If only they had been able to make people understand how the tax cut has transformed everyone's lives for the better, they would have won in a rout. I can promise you, if there is indeed a blue wave this November, Republicans are certain to keep saying that it was a failure of communication, not of their (or Trump's) policies or ideas.

The sad truth is that we're caught in a cycle of reaction and counter-reaction that shows no sign of abating. Bill Clinton got elected and then Republicans got mad and took back Congress, then George W. Bush got elected and Democrats got mad and took back Congress, then Obama got elected and Republicans got mad and took back Congress, then Trump got elected and Democrats got mad and are probably going to take back Congress, or at least the House.

But if the GOP wants to follow Walker's advice and keep telling their positive story, they should go right ahead and see how it works out for them.


__________________________________________________________________________

• Paul Waldman is a contributor to The Plum Line blog at The Washington Post, and a senior writer at The American Prospect.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/04/04/the-republicans-panic-about-their-big-wisconsin-loss-is-revealing
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« Reply #13 on: April 06, 2018, 04:27:16 pm »



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« Reply #14 on: July 19, 2018, 12:28:24 am »


from The Washington Post…

Former FBI director Comey urges votes for Democrats this fall

In a tweet, the former Republican argued that Republicans have not provided an adequate check on the president.

By JOHN WAGNER | 7:22AM EDT — Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Former FBI director James B. Comey testifies before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., on June 8, 2017. — Photograph: J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press.
Former FBI director James B. Comey testifies before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., on June 8, 2017.
 — Photograph: J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press.


JAMES B. COMEY, the FBI director fired last year by President Trump, is urging voters to support Democrats in this year's congressional elections.

Comey, until recently a Republican, argued on Twitter on Tuesday night that the GOP, which controls both chambers of Congress, has failed to provide an adequate check on Trump.

“All who believe in this country's values must vote for Democrats this fall,” he wrote. “Policy differences don't matter right now. History has its eyes on us.”




Trump and Comey publicly sparred in recent months as Comey conducted a publicity tour for his book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies and Leadership, a 304-page tell-all that describes Trump's presidency as a “forest fire” and portrays the president as an ego-driven congenital liar.

Trump responded by calling Comey an “untruthful slime ball” and praising his decision to dismiss him in May 2017 in an act that has been under scrutiny by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

Comey was highly critical of Trump's performance earlier this week during a joint news conference with Russian President Vladi­mir Putin at their summit in Helsinki.

At the news conference, Trump appeared to side with Putin over the U.S. intelligence community, which has concluded that Russia interfered the U.S. election in 2016.

“This was the day an American president stood on foreign soil next to a murderous lying thug and refused to back his own country,” Comey wrote afterward. “Patriots need to stand up and reject the behavior of this president.”

A Republican for most of his adult life, Comey recently said he now considers himself an independent.


__________________________________________________________________________

John Wagner is a national reporter who leads The Washington Post's new breaking political news team. He previously covered the Trump White House. During the 2016 presidential election, Wagner focused on the Democratic campaigns of Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Martin O'Malley. He earlier chronicled Maryland government for more than a decade, a stretch that included O’Malley's eight years as governor and part of the tenure of his Republican predecessor, Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. He came to The Post from The News & Observer in Raleigh, North Carolina, where he served as the paper's Washington correspondent, covering the 2004 presidential bid of Senator John Edwards and the final years in office of Senator Jesse Helms.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/former-fbi-director-comey-urges-votes-for-democrats-this-fall/2018/07/18/7c2b7d1c-8a77-11e8-8aea-86e88ae760d8_story.html
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« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2018, 01:56:13 am »

i like a good soap

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« Reply #16 on: July 22, 2018, 09:06:04 pm »


from The New York Times…

There Is a Revolution on the Left. Democrats Are Bracing.

After victories by progressive candidates in New York, Pennsylvania, Michigan and Maryland,
young liberals are trying to remake the party into a ferocious opposition force.


By ALEXANDER BURNS | Saturday, July 21, 2018

Abdul El-Sayed, a liberal candidate for governor of Michigan, worked the crowd at a barbecue in Milford. He is part of a wave of young politicians redefining the left in the Democratic Party. — Photograph: Anthony Lanzilote/for The New York Times.
Abdul El-Sayed, a liberal candidate for governor of Michigan, worked the crowd at a barbecue in Milford. He is part of a wave
of young politicians redefining the left in the Democratic Party. — Photograph: Anthony Lanzilote/for The New York Times.


DETROIT — For Rachel Conner, the 2018 election season has been a moment of revelation.

A 27-year-old social worker, Ms. Conner voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 primaries, spurning the more liberal Bernie Sanders, whom many of her peers backed. But Ms. Conner changed course in this year's campaign for governor, after concluding that Democrats could only win with more daring messages on issues like public health and immigration.

And so on a recent Wednesday, she enlisted two other young women to volunteer for Abdul El-Sayed, a 33-year-old advocate of single-payer health care running an uphill race in Michigan to become the country's first Muslim governor.

“They need to wake up and pay attention to what people actually want,” Ms. Conner said of Democratic leaders. “There are so many progressive policies that have widespread support that mainstream Democrats are not picking up on, or putting that stuff down and saying, ‘That wouldn't really work’.”

Voters like Ms. Conner may not represent a controlling faction in the Democratic Party, at least not yet. But they are increasingly rattling primary elections around the country, and they promise to grow as a disruptive force in national elections as younger voters reject the traditional boundary lines of Democratic politics.

Energized to take on President Trump, these voters are also seeking to remake their own party as a ferocious — and ferociously liberal — opposition force. And many appear as focused on forcing progressive policies into the mid-term debate as they are on defeating Republicans.

The impact of these activists in the 2018 election has been limited but revealing: Only about a sixth of Democratic congressional nominees so far have a formal affiliation with one of several important insurgent groups. Fifty-three of the 305 candidates have been endorsed by the Justice Democrats, the Working Families Party, the Progressive Change Campaign and Our Revolution, organizations that have helped propel challenges to Democratic incumbents.


Campaign volunteers for Mr. El-Sayed gathered for an organizing event at Always Brewing Coffee in Detroit. — Photograph: Anthony Lanzilote/for The New York Times.
Campaign volunteers for Mr. El-Sayed gathered for an organizing event at Always Brewing Coffee in Detroit.
 — Photograph: Anthony Lanzilote/for The New York Times.


But the voters who make up the ascending coalition on the left have had an outsize effect on the national political conversation, driving the Democrats' internal policy debates and putting pressure on party leaders unseen in previous campaigns.

Mark Brewer, a former long-time chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party, said “progressive energy” was rippling across the state. But Mr. Brewer, who backs Gretchen Whitmer, a former State Senate leader and the Democratic front-runner for governor, said Michigan Democrats were an ideologically diverse bunch and the party could not expect to win simply by running far to the left.

“There are a lot of moderate and even conservative Democrats in Michigan,” Mr. Brewer cautioned. “It's always been a challenge for Democrats to hold that coalition together in the general election.”

Progressive activists have already upended one major election in Michigan, derailing a former federal prosecutor, Pat Miles, who was running for attorney general with the support of organized labor, by endorsing another lawyer, Dana Nessel, who litigated against Michigan's gay marriage ban, at a party convention.

In more solidly Democratic parts of the country, younger progressives have battered entrenched political leaders, ousting veteran state legislators in Pennsylvania and Maryland and rejecting, in upstate New York, a congressional candidate recruited by the national party.

In Maryland, Democrats passed over several respected local officials to select Ben Jealous, a former N.A.A.C.P. president and an ally of Mr. Sanders who backs single-payer health care, as their nominee for governor. And in a climactic upset in New York last month, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a 28-year-old Democratic socialist, felled Representative Joseph Crowley, the fourth-ranking Democrat in the House.

With about two months left in primary season, a handful of races remain where restive liberals could flout the Democratic establishment, demolishing archaic party machinery or pressuring Democrats in moderate areas to tack left. Beyond Mr. El-Sayed, there are also insurgents contesting primaries for governor in Florida and New York, for Senate in Delaware and for a smattering of House seats in states including Kansas, Massachusetts and Missouri.


The pressure from a new generation of confrontational progressives has put Democrats at the precipice of a sweeping transition away from the centrist and consensus-oriented liberalism of past party leaders. — Photograph: Anthony Lanzilote/for The New York Times.
The pressure from a new generation of confrontational progressives has put Democrats at the precipice of
a sweeping transition away from the centrist and consensus-oriented liberalism of past party leaders.
 — Photograph: Anthony Lanzilote/for The New York Times.


The pressure from a new generation of confrontational progressives has put Democrats at the precipice of a sweeping transition, away from not only the centrist ethos of the Bill Clinton years but also, perhaps, from the consensus-oriented liberalism of Barack Obama. Less than a decade ago, Mr. Obama's spokesman, Robert Gibbs, derided the “professional left” for making what he suggested were preposterous demands — like pressing for “Canadian health care.”

That attitude now appears obsolete, on matters well beyond health policy. Corey Johnson, the progressive speaker of the New York City Council, who supported Mr. Crowley over Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, urged Democrats to recognize the intensity of “anger, fear and disappointment from people in our own party,” especially those new to the political process.

“They're young, and a lot of them are folks that weren't around or weren’t engaged when Obama ran for the first time,” Mr. Johnson, 36, said. “So this is their moment of: Let's take our country back.”

In a source of relief to Democratic officials, the millennial-infused left has left a lighter mark in moderate areas where Republicans are defending their congressional majorities, and where bluntly left-wing candidates could struggle to win. In House races, Democrats have mainly picked nominees well to the left of center, but to the right of Mr. Sanders and Ms. Ocasio-Cortez.

Across most of the approximately 60 Republican-held districts that Democrats are contesting, primary voters have chosen candidates who seem to embody change — many of them women and minorities — but who have not necessarily endorsed positions like single-payer health care and abolishing the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency.

Some national Democrats remain skeptical that voters are focused on specific policy demands of the kind Mr. El-Sayed and Ms. Ocasio-Cortez have championed. Former Governor Martin O'Malley of Maryland, a left-of-center Democrat who ran for president in 2016, suggested the party wants “new leaders and fresh ideas” more than hard-left ideology.

“Sometimes that may be filled by a leader who calls herself a Democratic socialist, and sometimes it's not,” said Mr. O’Malley, reflecting on the political convulsion that touched his home state. “Sometimes it's with a young person. Sometimes it's with a retiree. Sometimes it's with a vet.”


Democrats in Maryland passed over several respected local officials to select another admired leader, Ben Jealous, a former N.A.A.C.P. president who backs single-payer health care, as their nominee for governor. — Photograph: Marian Carrasquero/The New York Times.
Democrats in Maryland passed over several respected local officials to select another admired leader, Ben
Jealous, a former N.A.A.C.P. president who backs single-payer health care, as their nominee for governor.
 — Photograph: Marian Carrasquero/The New York Times.


Several crucial Democratic victories since 2016 have also come with avowedly moderate standard-bearers, such as Senator Doug Jones of Alabama and Representative Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania, who won grueling special elections. And unlike hard-liners on the right, Democratic activists have not contested Senate primaries in conservative-leaning states where the majority is at stake, allowing centrists to run unimpeded in Arizona and Tennessee.

Yet among Democratic stalwarts, there is a sometimes-rueful recognition that a cultural gulf separates them from the party's next generation, much of which inhabits a world of freewheeling social media and countercultural podcasts that are wholly unfamiliar to older Democrats.

Evan Nowlin, a writer and barista supporting Mr. El-Sayed, said he had been motivated to volunteer by a podcast hosted by The Intercept, a left-leaning news site that has intensively covered challenges to the Democratic establishment.

Mr. Nowlin, a soft-spoken 26-year-old who supported Mr. Sanders in 2016, said the traditional Democratic leadership had plainly failed to inspire the country. “I think they're generally spineless,” he said.

In some instances, the party's rebels may be too brazen even for some of the candidates they have supported. The gradations of Democratic revolution were on display at an event in Brooklyn on Tuesday celebrating the Working Families Party: Cynthia Nixon, the actor running in a September primary against Governor Andrew M. Cuomo of New York, a more moderate Democrat, drew cheers hailing Ms. Ocasio-Cortez and her fellow Democratic socialists.

But Mr. Jealous, the Maryland nominee for governor, who is supported by Working Families and addressed the event, was warier of the socialist label. After embracing Ms. Nixon on stage but not quite endorsing her, Mr. Jealous chuckled at a question about the resurrection of Democratic socialism as a political identity.

“I'm a venture capitalist,” he said, noting his work as an investor. “I'm kind of like the last person to ask.”


From right, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Senator Bernie Sanders and James Thompson, a Kansas House candidate, at a campaign event for Mr. Thompson in Wichita on Friday. — Photograph: Hilary Swift/for The New York Times.
From right, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Senator Bernie Sanders and James Thompson, a Kansas House candidate,
at a campaign event for Mr. Thompson in Wichita on Friday. — Photograph: Hilary Swift/for The New York Times.


In Michigan, however, Mr. El-Sayed is counting on a mood of ideological ambition to decide his primary: He remains an underdog, facing a well-funded rival in Ms. Whitmer, who is backed by powerful labor unions like the United Auto Workers. She has led in recent polls, while a third candidate, Shri Thanedar, a wealthy wild card, has complicated the race.

Aiming to build momentum, Mr. El-Sayed will campaign later this month with Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, to whom he linked himself in generation and political outlook. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez also campaigned in Kansas Friday for liberal House candidates and was slated for an event over the weekend for a primary challenger to a Democratic incumbent in Missouri, William Lacy Clay.

“The rise of somebody like Alexandria seems kind of obvious to somebody in our generation,” Mr. El-Sayed said in an interview, casting the moment in grand terms: “The machine, whether it is on the right or on the left, has assented to this broken system of corporate politics, and I think people are real frustrated about that.”

That mind-set unnerves Democratic veterans like Mr. Brewer, the former party chairman, in a state where they have long struggled to overcome a Republican machine aligned with the business community. Mr. Trump's slim victory there exposed divisions between the national Democratic Party and many of the white union members on whose votes Michigan Democrats rely, underscoring Democrats' tenuous position in 2018.

But within deep-blue precincts where Democratic insurgency appears strongest, talk of accommodating the center is in short supply.

In Massachusetts, where several incumbent House Democrats are facing feisty challenges, Michelle Wu, a 33-year-old member of the Boston City Council, said voters are demanding leaders who share their intense alarm about economic and racial inequality. Defying the local machine, she recently endorsed Ayanna Pressley, a fellow council member, in a primary against Representative Michael Capuano, a long-serving liberal.

“People want to believe we can take our own future into our hands,” Ms. Wu said.


__________________________________________________________________________

Alexander Burns is a national political correspondent for The New York Times, covering elections and political power across the country. Mr. Burns was one of the lead reporters covering Donald Trump's presidential campaign in 2016, after coming to The N.Y. Times in 2015 as a political correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times, Mr. Burns was a reporter and editor at Politico, where he covered the 2012 presidential election. Mr. Burns is a graduate of Harvard College, where he edited the Harvard Political Review.

• A version of this article appears in The New York Times on Sunday, July 22, 2018 of the New York print edition with the headline: “Democrats Brace As Storm Brews Far to Their Left”.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • Trying to Flip the House, ZIP Code by ZIP Code

 • From New York to the Heartland: Ocasio-Cortez Debuts on National Campaign Stage

 • Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Emerges as a Political Star

 • As Trump Consolidates Power, Democrats Confront a Rebellion in Their Ranks

 • 4 Takeaways From Tuesday’s Primary Elections


https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/21/us/politics/democratic-party-midterms.html
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« Reply #17 on: July 30, 2018, 09:04:15 pm »


from The New York Times…

G.O.P. Faces Another Mid-term Threat as Trump Plays the Shutdown Card

In a tweet, the president said he would be willing to shut down the government
if Democrats do not give him money for his border wall.


By SHERYL GAY STOLBERG | 9:43PM EDT — Sunday, July 29, 2018

President Trump viewing border wall prototypes in San Diego in March. He renewed his threat to shut down the government if Congress does not fund his wall. — Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times.
President Trump viewing border wall prototypes in San Diego in March. He renewed his threat to shut down the government if Congress does not fund his wall.
 — Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times.


WASHINGTON D.C. — Congressional Republicans, already facing a difficult election landscape, confronted a prospect on Sunday they had worked feverishly to avoid: a threat by President Trump to shut down the government over funding for a border wall.

“I would be willing to ‘shut down’ government if the Democrats do not give us the votes for Border Security, which includes the Wall!” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. “Must get rid of Lottery, Catch & Release etc. and finally go to system of Immigration based on MERIT! We need great people coming into our Country!”

Last week, Republican leaders thought they had reached a deal with Mr. Trump to delay a confrontation on funding for the wall until after the November mid-term elections, according to a person familiar with their discussion.

But Mr. Trump's shutdown threat, in which he also demanded several pieces of a comprehensive immigration overhaul that is stalled in Congress, has opened the door to a politically bruising spending fight as the fiscal year ends in September.

With the election coming just weeks later, the party can ill afford a disruption that voters — already disgusted by Washington dysfunction — may hold the president accountable for.

A shutdown would also distract from Senate Republicans' main business in September: their push to confirm Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.

“We're going to have a challenging midterm anyway, and I don't see how putting the attention on shutting down the government when you control the government is going to help you,” Representative Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma, said in an interview.


Senator Mitch McConnell said he was confident that a shutdown would be avoided. — Photograph: Erin Schaff/for The New York Times.
Senator Mitch McConnell said he was confident that a shutdown would be avoided.
 — Photograph: Erin Schaff/for The New York Times.


Representative Steve Stivers of Ohio, the chairman of the committee charged with electing Republicans to the House, insisted that a shutdown was unlikely.

“I don't think we're going to shut down the government,” Mr. Stivers said on the ABC News program “This Week”. “You know, I think we're going to make sure we keep the government open, but we're going to get better policies on immigration.”

Democrats and Republicans have in fact made unusual progress on the 12 appropriations measures necessary to keep the government operating. Current funding for the government expires on September 30.

Mr. Trump's shutdown threat on Sunday was part of a flurry of tweets in which he attacked favorite targets like the “Robert Mueller Rigged Witch Hunt” (“an illegal Scam!”) and the news media (“driven insane by their Trump Derangement Syndrome”).

From the very beginning of his term, Mr. Trump has seemed to court a shutdown over the wall, despite the deep objections of much of his staff and Republicans in Congress. Each time congressional leaders have reached a broad bipartisan agreement on spending, he has expressed anger that it does not include money for the wall and threatened to torpedo the deal.

He tweeted in the spring of 2017 that perhaps what the country needed was a “good shutdown” over that issue, among others. The Twitter post set off a scramble at the White House, where the president's aides had been trying to portray a new comprehensive spending deal as a victory.

Then, earlier this year, as Congress approved a catchall spending bill that had no wall funding, Mr. Trump briefly threatened a veto before signing it. But he said he would never sign such an omnibus bill again. His base was enraged at the time, with some core supporters saying Mr. Trump had essentially ceded the mid-term elections by failing to insist on the wall funding.


The House speaker, Paul D. Ryan, had said on Thursday that Mr. Trump was willing to wait until after the mid-term elections for his wall funding. — Photograph: Erin Schaff/for The New York Times.
The House speaker, Paul D. Ryan, had said on Thursday that Mr. Trump was willing to wait until after
the mid-term elections for his wall funding. — Photograph: Erin Schaff/for The New York Times.


Republican leaders met with the president last week at the White House to talk about funding for the federal government. They emerged thinking they had a deal to delay the wall funding debate, and Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, suggested as much on Friday in a radio interview on WHAS in Louisville.

When asked if the inevitable battle between Republicans and Democrats over the wall would wait until after the mid-term elections, Mr. McConnell said, “Probably, and that's something we do have a disagreement on.”

Asked if he feared a government shutdown, Mr. McConnell was emphatic. “No, that's not going to happen,” he said.

The House speaker, Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, said Mr. Trump was willing to wait for his wall funding. “As far as the wall is concerned, we've gotten some wall funding already underway,” he told reporters on Thursday before the House left for its August recess.

“I think it's not a question of if, it's a question of when,” he added. “And the president's willing to be patient to make sure that we get what we need so that we can get that done, because border security's extremely important.”

Mr. Trump campaigned on a vow to build a “big, beautiful wall” at the nation's southern border, and 19 months into his presidency, he is clearly frustrated at the lack of movement on his signature issue. Congress passed a measure in March that included $1.6 billion for more than 90 miles of barriers along the border with Mexico, but that sum is far short of the $25 billion the president would need to fulfill his campaign promise.

In his tweet on Sunday, Mr. Trump spotlighted Congress's failure to address one of the most intractable issues in Washington: immigration policy. The president has long demanded legislation that would include the White House's “four pillars”: a path to citizenship for the young unauthorized immigrants known as Dreamers; an end to the so-called visa lottery, which aims to bring people from under-represented nations to the United States; deep cuts in legal immigration; and funding for the wall.


“We're going to have a challenging mid-term anyway, and I don't see how putting the attention on shutting down the government when you control the government is going to help you,” said Representative Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma. — Photograph: J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press.
“We're going to have a challenging mid-term anyway, and I don't see how putting the attention on shutting
down the government when you control the government is going to help you,” said Representative
Tom Cole, Republican of Oklahoma. — Photograph: J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press.


Both the House and the Senate rejected immigration bills this year that included the president's four pillars. The Senate measure failed by a wide margin — an outcome that a spokesman for the Democratic leader, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, recalled on Sunday in an acid response to the president's tweet.

“The bill he's describing only got 39 votes in the Senate floor,” said the spokesman, Matt House. “He should learn from his mistakes.”

A spokesman for Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the House Democratic leader, was equally caustic. “President Trump should stay on the golf course and stay out of the appropriations process,” said the spokesman, Drew Hammill. “Democrats are committed to keeping government open.”

Mr. McConnell shares that commitment. He said in the radio interview that the Senate was “on the way to passing at least nine of the 12” spending bills needed to keep the government open, and would probably wrap the remaining measures into a small catchall bill known as a “minibus.”

He even gave credit to Mr. Schumer and the Democrats, noting that the two parties “reached an agreement earlier this year about how much we are going to spend, this year and next year, and we're sticking to it and have had a very cooperative period here.”

Mr. Ryan said much the same when he addressed reporters on Thursday, noting that unlike in years past, lawmakers have “a very good chance” of getting the majority of their appropriations bills done by the end of September.

“We walked the president through our strategy for appropriations before the fiscal year,” Mr. Ryan said. “He agreed with our strategy. So we think we have a unified strategy to make sure that we can get as many appropriation bills done as possible.”


__________________________________________________________________________

Julie Hirschfeld Davis contributed reporting to this story.

Sheryl Gay Stolberg is a congressional correspondent. In 21 years at The New York Times, she has been a science correspondent, national correspondent, political features reporter and White House correspondent. Previously, she worked for the Los Angeles Times. Ms. Stolberg joined The N.Y. Times in 1997 to cover science and health policy, and spent five years writing extensively on bioethics issues, including cloning, the death of a gene therapy patient, stem cell research and an experimental artificial heart. She switched to government in 2002, first covering Congress and then the White House during the presidencies of George W. Bush and Barack Obama. She has has profiled dozens of prominent figures in Washington, politics and culture — including Supreme Court justices, a Broadway producer, a C.I.A. agent and presidential candidates. She was a lead author of The Times's 2012 Long Run series of biographical profiles of that year's Republican presidential contenders, including Newt Gingrich, Jon Huntsman, Michele Bachmann and Mitt Romney. In her most recent role as mid-Atlantic bureau chief, she focused on America's cities, notably Baltimore, covering issues of race and policing surrounding the death of Freddie Gray. She returned to Capitol Hill to cover Congress in August 2017. At the Los Angeles Times, Ms. Stolberg shared in two Pulitzer Prizes won by that newspaper's Metro staff, for coverage of the 1992 riots that followed the acquittal of four police officers in the beating of Rodney King, and the devastating 1994 Northridge earthquake. At The New York Times, she shared in a 2009 Gerald Loeb Award for financial journalism, for coverage of President George W. Bush's role in the mortgage meltdown, as part of a 2008 series, The Reckoning. She has longstanding interests in women's issues and gay rights, topics on which she has written frequently. She is the proud mother of two daughters, and loves stories that involve politics, art, culture and history.

• A version of this article appears in The New York Times on Monday, July 30, 2018, on Page A1 of the New York print edition with the headline: “President Plays Shutdown Card, Flustering G.O.P.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/29/us/politics/trump-shutdown-republicans-midterms.html
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« Reply #18 on: August 05, 2018, 10:55:52 pm »


from The Washington Post…

Trump's worst political nightmare? Democrats with subpoena power.

A Democratic takeover of either congressional chamber could quickly set off investigations
into the president’s personal finances, not to mention his administration's policy decisions.


By MIKE DeBONIS | 12:23PM EDT — Saturday, August 04, 2018

Representative Elijah Cummings (Maryland), ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, speaks while aides hold up posters of people who have entered guilty pleas in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election during a Capitol Hill hearing on July 12. — Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Reuters.
Representative Elijah Cummings (Maryland), ranking Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, speaks while aides hold up posters
of people who have entered guilty pleas in the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election during a Capitol Hill hearing on July 12.
 — Photograph: Joshua Roberts/Reuters.


A DEMOCRATIC TAKEOVER of either chamber of Congress stands to set off investigations into President Trump and his personal finances, members of his family, and senior administration officials, an onslaught that raises the stakes for the mid-term elections.

While some Democrats have pressed for Trump's impeachment, what would be certain is that Democratic committee chairs would swamp Trump and his deputies with subpoenas, document requests and public hearings that would bog down his administration and distract from his agenda ahead of the 2020 elections.

Already, congressional Democrats have amassed dozens of oversight requests targeting the White House, various Cabinet departments and private entities with business ties to Trump and his family.

So far those requests have mostly been ignored by the Republican majorities in the House and Senate. But if Democrats seize committee gavels, they would regain a plethora of tools to probe Trump over the next two years.

“Everything gets investigated,” said Thomas M. Davis III, the Republican former chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, discussing the implications for Trump. “You spend half your time answering subpoenas, digging up documents and having your people appear before these committees…. Frankly, your legacy is ruined at that point.”

Davis lost his gavel after the 2006 mid-terms, and Democrats spent the next two years hammering at President George W. Bush — using their power to elevate a national debate over the Iraq War while also shedding light on other mis-steps, such as the firings of U.S. attorneys and the use of private email servers by White House political staffers.

Four years later, Republicans turned the tables when they took control of the House after the 2010 midterms. They fired investigative salvos at President Barack Obama, taking aim at the Internal Revenue Service's scrutiny of conservative non-profit groups, a failed Justice Department operation that resulted in the death of a Border Patrol agent and the deadly attack on U.S. installations in Benghazi, Libya, among other controversies.

Some non-partisan political forecasters now favor Democrats to flip the 23 seats necessary to win a House majority, citing fundraising, special-election results and national polling. There is a much narrower chance Democrats capture the Senate, due to an electoral map that heavily favors the GOP.

The risks of Democratic oversight for Trump and his administration stand apart from the more loaded question of impeachment — a possibility that both Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (Democrat-New York) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Democrat-California) have sought to down play despite broad support for it among Democratic voters.

Some outside Trump advisers have mused in recent days that losing the House would be a political disaster but saw a silver lining in the possibility that Democrats would veer left next year and be a foil for Trump, according to two Republicans familiar with those discussions who were not authorized to speak publicly.

Those who served in the last GOP administration that dealt with a Democratic congressional majority said Trump and his allies would be making a mistake to minimize the consequences.

“There is a never-ending stream of outrage,” said Scott Jennings, a Republican political consultant who served in the final three years of the Bush White House. “The only difference is, now all of their outrage is directed at Twitter. But when you give somebody a gavel, they can actually hurt you.”

Jennings, who was among those investigated over the private email servers, predicted “investigatory paralysis” for the Trump administration if Democrats retake either chamber: “It will bog officials and staffers from the most senior levels of government to the lower levels,” he said. “Their mission would be to stop the EPA or any other regulatory agency from just functioning, basically, until they can regain power.”

Democrats are openly indicating that they will aggressively investigate Trump in a way that his own party hasn't if they ultimately secure subpoena power. The investigative requests Democrats have already made over the past 18 months are a likely template for those efforts.

Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee, for instance, released a 38-page summary in April of their attempts to probe Trump and his administration — including dozens of letters, legislative maneuvers and court filings. Few of those have generated any substantive response, the report conceded, but “these oversight efforts help lay the predicate for action by the committee if the Democrats retake the House majority in the fall.”

Representative Elijah E. Cummings (Maryland), the ranking Democrat on the House Oversight Committee — the panel with the broadest investigative jurisdiction in Congress — was careful not to presume Democrats would regain control. But he said in an interview it was difficult not to contemplate the possibilities that would come with not only subpoena power, but also a much larger staff and investigative budget.

“You dream every day what you would do if you were in the majority,” he said.

Since Trump took office, Oversight Committee Republicans have blocked more than 50 Democratic subpoena requests ranging from documents pertaining to the administration’s health-care policies to information on the government's use of chartered airplanes to a demand for testimony from former Trump strategist Stephen K. Bannon.

Cummings acknowledged that his committee would take a close look at Trump and his administration, “exposing it where I believe that it is harmful to our country,” he said, but would also scrutinize policy issues such as prescription drug prices, postal reform and preparations for the 2020 Census.

“I want to actually use the hearings and the investigations to do something,” he said. “I'm not looking for any shows, like theater. I'm looking to try to resolve problems. So we'll be looking at the Trump administration, but I don't want people to get confused.”

Mindful of not appearing presumptuous about November's results, both Cummings and a senior Democratic leadership aide said there has not yet been any effort in the House to develop a coordinated oversight agenda ready to deploy if Democrats regain the majority.

Unlike the partisan congressional probes into Bush and Obama, which focused mainly on alleged missteps by subordinates, Democrats are primed to put the president himself in the investigative crosshairs in a manner not seen since the public learned of Bill Clinton's Oval Office trysts.

For one, Democrats would be able to inspect Trump's federal income tax returns for the first time — a trove that they have long demanded but Republicans have shown no interest in obtaining. Under federal law, any tax return can be examined by the chairman of any of the three congressional tax committees.

Other information regarding Trump's personal finances and business dealings could also be subject to Democrats' prying eyes. They could include rosters of hotel clients and members of Trump golf and social clubs, as well as details of real estate deals that his companies have participated in. Some information is already in government hands, such as monthly cash reports on Trump's Washington hotel, which is operated in the federally owned Old Post Office under a lease with the General Services Administration.

Democrats on the House Financial Services Committee have repeatedly sought records pertaining to Trump's business dealings.

Last year, they called on the panel's Republican majority to issue subpoenas to Deutsche Bank seeking copies of documents “related to any internal reviews of the personal accounts of the President and his family” — including records pertaining to hundreds of millions of dollars in loans to both the Trump Organization and companies affiliated with Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner.

The Democratic leadership aide said that a likely oversight priority would be to shed light on the Trump administration's efforts to undo policies enacted under the Obama administration, including the Affordable Care Act, the Dodd-Frank financial reform law and various civil rights policies.

Democrats on virtually every House and Senate committee have pressed the Trump administration for answers on various controversies. The top Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee, Representative Bennie Thompson (Democrat-Mississippi.) has made repeated requests for information on the response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico last year, as well as Trump's controversial border policies.

Four Democratic senators on Thursday requested a Pentagon investigation into whether the White House improperly offered tours of Air Force One to members of Trump's private Mar-a-Lago Club in Florida.


__________________________________________________________________________

Robert Costa and Jonathan O’Connell contributed to this report.

Mike DeBonis covers Congress, with a focus on the House of Representatives, for The Washington Post. He previously covered D.C. politics and government from 2007 to 2015. He was educated at Georgetown University, gaining an A.B. degree, majoring in Russian in 2004.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/trumps-worst-political-nightmare-democrats-with-subpoena-power/2018/08/04/86f7fc6e-9726-11e8-810c-5fa705927d54_story.html
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« Reply #19 on: August 25, 2018, 06:45:54 pm »


from The New York Times…

Kremlin Sources Go Quiet, Leaving C.I.A. in the Dark
About Putin's Plans for Mid-terms


The spy agency does not believe its Russia informants have been killed, but sources
have gone largely dormant amid heightened scrutiny and rising threats.


By JULIAN E. BARNES and MATTHEW ROSENBERG | Friday, August 24, 2018

Vital C.I.A. informants in or close to the Kremlin have largely gone silent ahead of November's mid-term elections, American officials said. — Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images.
Vital C.I.A. informants in or close to the Kremlin have largely gone silent ahead of November's mid-term elections, American officials said.
 — Photograph: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images.


WASHINGTON D.C. — In 2016, American intelligence agencies delivered urgent and explicit warnings about Russia's intentions to try to tip the American presidential election — and a detailed assessment of the operation afterward — thanks in large part to informants close to President Vladimir V. Putin and in the Kremlin who provided crucial details.

But two years later, the vital Kremlin informants have largely gone silent, leaving the C.I.A. and other spy agencies in the dark about precisely what Mr. Putin's intentions are for November's mid-term elections, according to American officials familiar with the intelligence.

The officials do not believe the sources have been compromised or killed. Instead, they have concluded they have gone to ground amid more aggressive counter-intelligence by Moscow, including efforts to kill spies, like the poisoning in March in Britain of a former Russian intelligence officer that utilized a rare Russian-made nerve agent.

Current and former officials also said the expulsion of American intelligence officers from Moscow has hurt collection efforts. And officials also raised the possibility that the outing of an F.B.I. informant under scrutiny by the House intelligence committee — an examination encouraged by President Trump — has had a chilling effect on intelligence collection.

Technology companies and political campaigns in recent weeks have detected a plethora of political interference efforts originating overseas, including hacks of Republican think tanks and fake liberal grass-roots organizations created on Facebook. Senior intelligence officials, including Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, have warned that Russians are intent on subverting American democratic institutions.

But American intelligence agencies have not been able to say precisely what are Mr. Putin's intentions: He could be trying to tilt the mid-term elections, simply sow chaos or generally undermine trust in the democratic process.

The officials, seeking to protect methods of collection from Russia, would not provide details about lost sources, but acknowledged the degradation in the information collected from Russia. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to reveal classified information. A spokesman for the C.I.A. declined to comment.

To determine what the Russian government is up to, the United States employs multiple forms of intelligence, including intercepted communications and penetrated computer networks.

The United States continues to intercept Russian communication, and the flow of that intelligence remains strong, said current and former officials. And Russian informants could still meet their C.I.A. handlers outside Russia, further from Moscow's counter-intelligence apparatus.

But people inside or close to the Kremlin remain critical to divining whether there is a strategy behind seemingly scattershot efforts to undermine American institutions.

Spies and informants overseas also give American intelligence agencies early warning about influence campaigns, interference operations or other attempts to compromise the United States. That information, in turn, can improve the ability of domestic agencies, like the Department of Homeland Security and the F.B.I., to quickly identify and attempt to stop those efforts.


Emergency crews investigate the site where Sergei Skripal and his daughter were found poisoned in Britain. C.I.A. informants in Russia are believed to be underground, fearing aggressive campaigns by Moscow to hunt spies. — Photograph: Ben Stansall/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.
Emergency crews investigate the site where Sergei Skripal and his daughter were found poisoned in Britain. C.I.A. informants in Russia are believed
to be underground, fearing aggressive campaigns by Moscow to hunt spies. — Photograph: Ben Stansall/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.


Because clandestine meetings can take months to set up and complete, a lengthy lag can pass before the C.I.A. realizes a key source has gone silent, according to former officials. It is rare for the agency to discover immediately that informants have eroded or are running scared. Only after several missed meetings might C.I.A. officers and analysts conclude that a source has decided it is too dangerous to pass information.

In 2016, American intelligence officials began to realize the scope of Russia's efforts when they gathered intelligence suggesting that Moscow wanted to use Trump campaign officials, wittingly or not, to help sow chaos. John O. Brennan, the former director of the C.I.A., testified before the House Intelligence Committee in May 2017 about a tense period a year earlier when he came to believe that Mr. Putin was trying to steer the outcome toward a victory for Mr. Trump.

Mr. Brennan described the broad outlines of the intelligence in his congressional testimony, and his disclosures backed up the accounts of the information provided by the current and former officials. “I was convinced in the summer that the Russians were trying to interfere in the election. And they were very aggressive,” Mr. Brennan told lawmakers.

This year, Mr. Coats issued a series of warnings saying the Russian government, and Mr. Putin in particular, is intent on undermining American democratic systems.

At an appearance this month at the White House, Mr. Coats said intelligence agencies “continue to see a pervasive messaging campaign by Russia to try and weaken and divide the United States.” He added that those efforts “cover issues relevant to the elections.”

But officials said there has been no concrete intelligence pointing to Mr. Putin ordering his own intelligence units to wade into the election to push for a certain outcome, beyond a broad chaos campaign to undermine faith in American democracy. Intelligence agencies do not believe Mr. Putin has changed his strategy; instead, officials believe they simply do not have the same level of access to information from the Kremlin's inner circle.

Intelligence collection appears to have suffered after Russia expelled officials from American diplomatic outposts there in retaliation for the United States removing 60 Russian officials this year, said John Sipher, a 28-year veteran of the C.I.A. who served in Moscow in the 1990s and later ran the agency's Russia program.

The C.I.A.'s Moscow presence, according to former officers, was always small, at least in light of the importance of the target, the difficulty of spycraft and the amount of counter-intelligence the Russians dedicated to thwarting American spies.

“The Russians kicked out a whole bunch of our people,” Mr. Sipher said. “Our station in Moscow is probably really small now and they are under incredible surveillance.”

Mr. Putin has also said he is intent on killing so-called traitors, comments he made just ahead of the high-profile assassination attempt of the former Russian intelligence officer, Sergei V. Skripal.

“The Russians are very focused and upset,” Mr. Sipher said. “They have shown they are willing to kill sources.”


Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, issued warnings in recent weeks that Russia is intent on undermining American democratic systems. — Photograph: Erin Schaff/for The New York Times.
Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, issued warnings in recent weeks that Russia is intent on undermining American democratic systems.
 — Photograph: Erin Schaff/for The New York Times.


Informants close to Putin are very rare, according to current and former officials. The United States, in recent years, has had only a few, and at times been reliant on only one or two for the most important insights on Mr. Putin, according to former officials. If those people go silent for their own protection, it can make it very hard for the agency to look inside Moscow.

The United States still should have a clear view of Mr. Putin's strategies and intention to interfere in Democratic elections, said Michael Carpenter, a Russia expert and former Obama administration official. He pointed to fake social media accounts created as part of Russian intelligence operations that have drummed up support for white nationalists and the Black Lives Matter movement, and have supported far right, far left and pro-Russian candidates in the United States and in Europe.

“Clearly Russia is playing both sides of controversial issues precisely to sow chaos. But that said it is not just chaos, there are certain candidates Russia prefers to see in office,” said Mr. Carpenter, now at the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement. “The Russians are trying to support anti-establishment and pro-Russian candidates, not just in the U.S. but everywhere.”

Still, there is little doubt about the crucial nature of informants, said Seth G. Jones, who leads the trans-national threats project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a policy research organization.

“It is essential to have sources coming from inside the government. It was during the Cold War and it is today,” Mr. Jones said. “There are multiple ways to collect intelligence against your adversary, in this case the Russian government. But sources can provide you things you might not otherwise get, like documents, intelligence assessments.”

Sources can provide photographs of Russian documents and intelligence that are hard to intercept electronically, and that can help the United States figure out what Russia is targeting, not just with its election meddling but with its attempts to infiltrate financial systems, the power grid and other critical infrastructure, Mr. Jones said.

The full reasons the sources have gone silent are not known. But current and former officials also said the exposure of sources inside the United States has also complicated matters.

This year, the identity of an F.B.I. informant, Stefan Halper, became public after House lawmakers sought information on him and the White House allowed the information to be shared. Mr. Halper, an American academic based in Britain, had been sent to talk to Trump campaign advisers who were under F.B.I. scrutiny for their ties to Russia.

Current American officials said there is no direct evidence that the exposure of Mr. Halper has been cited by overseas informants as a source of concern.

But the officials said that some allies have cited the exposure of the informant and other intelligence leaks in curbing some of the intelligence they share. And former spies believe that, long-term, the exposure will hurt overseas collection.

“Publicizing sources is really bad for the business,” Mr. Sipher said. “The only thing we can offer people is that we will do anything in our power to protect them. And anything that wears away at that trust, hurts.”


__________________________________________________________________________

Adam Goldman contributed reporting to this story.

Julian E. Barnes is a national security reporter for The New York Times covering the intelligence agencies. Before joining The N.Y. Times Washington bureau in 2018, he wrote about security matters for The Wall Street Journal, based in Brussels and Washington. He has more than 17 years experience covering U.S. national security, the military and related matters for The Journal, the Los Angles Times and U.S. News & World Report.

Matthew Rosenberg covers intelligence and national security for The New York Times in Washington. He previously spent 15 years as a foreign correspondent in Asia, Africa and the Middle East, and was expelled from Afghanistan in 2014 because of his reporting. In Afghanistan, Mr. Rosenberg's reporting exposed how the C.I.A. had made monthly cash drops at the office of President Hamid Karzai for more than a decade and provided a rare detailed account of an attack by Afghan soldiers on American troops.  He also dubbed the country's first international boxing match the “Squabble in Kabul” (like the fight, the name has not gone down in the annals of boxing history). In between trips to the front lines and stints in the press boxes of Afghan sporting events, Mr. Rosenberg managed to slip in a few fly fishing trips to the mountains in northeastern Afghanistan. There, he was thoroughly outdone by Afghan kids who used bamboo sticks for poles and hooked fish after fish. Mr. Rosenberg previously worked for The Wall Street Journal and The Associated Press. He has won the George Polk Award for military reporting and was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in international reporting as part of a team of New York Times reporters covering the Islamic State. Mr. Rosenberg was born in New York and graduated from McGill University in Montreal.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • White House Orders Broader Access to Files About F.B.I. Informant

 • Sergei Skripal Was Retired, but Still in the Spy Game. Is That Why He Was Poisoned?


https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/24/us/politics/cia-russia-midterm-elections.html
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« Reply #20 on: August 27, 2018, 04:16:07 pm »

putin will leave it to the democratic party to fuck everything up Grin
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« Reply #21 on: August 28, 2018, 07:19:52 pm »


from The New York Times…

The End of Impunity

What Democrats can do with subpoena power.

By MICHELLE GOLDBERG | Monday, August 27, 2018

President Trump in the Oval Office on Monday. The culture of impunity is less a result of his political skill than of one-party rule, Michelle Goldberg writes. — Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times.
President Trump in the Oval Office on Monday. The culture of impunity is less a result of his political skill
than of one-party rule, Michelle Goldberg writes. — Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times.


ONE OF THE unofficial slogans of the Trump era — besides “grab 'em by the you-know-what” and Rudy Giuliani’s recent “truth isn't truth”— is “nothing matters” (sometimes preceded by a nihilistic “lol”).

Donald Trump flouts the Constitution, raking in money from supplicants who curry favor with him by patronizing his gaudy hotels. Congress is silent. The president's commerce secretary, Wilbur Ross, was accused of effectively stealing more than $120 million in various schemes — Forbes described him as possibly one of the “biggest grifters in American history.” It barely registered in the headlines. ProPublica reported that a trio of random Trump cronies with neither military nor government experience is secretly running the Veterans Affairs Department out of Mar-a-Lago. Republicans have made no plans for hearings. The president's former lawyer testified that Trump directed him to commit felonies to cover up alleged affairs in advance of the election. The shock lasted about 48 hours.

This culture of impunity is less a result of Trump's political skill — he's deeply unpopular — than of one-party rule. The majority of voters want a check on this administration, but the Republican Party doesn't care; it's beholden to a minority that delights in the helplessness of fellow citizens. If Democrats take the House in the November mid-terms — which the model of the statistics website FiveThirtyEight gives them about a 70 percent chance of doing — that helplessness ends. Contrary to Republican claims, there are no Democratic plans for imminent impeachment proceedings. But there will be subpoenas, hearings and investigations. Things that haven't mattered for the past 19 months suddenly will.

On Sunday, Axios reported that Republicans are circulating a spreadsheet of investigations that House Democrats could undertake should they take control of the chamber. It was compiled by cataloging Democratic requests for documents and interviews that Republicans previously ignored, and it doesn't necessarily tell Republicans much about Democratic priorities. Still, Republicans are right to be worried.

Democrats who are likely to head key committees say they aren't planning revenge; it's important to them to show that they can govern. Elijah Cummings, the ranking Democrat on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, wants to make sure Democrats emphasize bread-and-butter issues like the rise in prescription drug prices. “One thing I'm not looking for is retribution,” he told me. “I'm just trying to get to regular order, I swear to God.”

But regular order entails a level of accountability that the Trump administration has never faced. Adam Schiff, who is poised to lead the House Intelligence Committee if Democrats win a majority, plans to renew the committee's investigation into Russia's role in the 2016 election. (He insists that for Democrats, the investigation never stopped.) Schiff said he'll look at the work being done by Robert Mueller, the special counsel, and by the Senate Intelligence Committee, and figure out where the gaps might be. “One that I would put as very important is the issue of whether the Russians were laundering money through the Trump Organization,” he said.

If Democrats prevail in November, his committee won't be the only one examining Trump's finances. Under a rarely used 1924 law passed after the Teapot Dome scandal, leaders of three congressional committees — the House Ways and Means Committee, the Senate Finance Committee and the Joint Committee on Taxation — can each demand to see the president's tax returns. “You're not going to find out whether this president put the United States in jeopardy because of his financial dealings unless you get his tax returns,” said Bill Pascrell, a New Jersey Democrat who sits on the Ways and Means Committee and has made obtaining Trump's tax returns a signature issue.

Earlier this month, after the ProPublica revelation that Mar-a-Lago members were dictating Veterans Affairs policy, the House Democrats Julia Brownley and Annie Kuster wrote a letter calling for an investigation by the department's inspector general. “Taxpayers want to know that their tax dollars are going to high-quality care for our nation's heroes, not to line the pockets or egos of President Trump's billionaire boys club,” Brownley said at the time. In a Democratic House, Brownley and Kuster would be in line to run key Veterans Affairs subcommittees, where they'll be in a position to demand answers. “The goal, obviously, will be to get to the truth,” said Brownley.

Cummings, meanwhile, said he plans a two-lane process, combining attention to national issues that transcend Trump with scrutiny of the administration. “We are in a fight for the soul of our democracy,” he said. “So I understand that for me to effectively do that second lane that I just talked about — voting rights and all those good things, prescription drugs — I need to have the democracy intact.” The Trump administration, he said, needs to be exposed, which might mean hearings into the way Trump is profiting off the presidency, or on abuses of the security clearance process. “What we're going to have to do is try to create a new but appropriate sense of what is normal,” Cummings said.

Over the last 19 months, we've heard the phrase “This is not normal” a lot. If Democrats lose in November, it will remain an impotent mantra of the resistance. If they win, it becomes an accusation backed by subpoena power.


__________________________________________________________________________

Michelle Goldberg became an Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times in 2017. She is the author of three books: Kingdom Coming: The Rise of Christian Nationalism, The Means of Reproduction: Sex, Power, and the Future of the World and The Goddess Pose: The Audacious Life of Indra Devi, the Woman Who Helped Bring Yoga to the West. Her first book was a finalist for the Helen Bernstein Award for Excellence in Journalism, and her second won the Ernesta Drinker Ballard Book Prize and the J. Anthony Lukas Work-In-Progress Award. Previously she was a columnist at Slate. A frequent commentator on radio and television, Goldberg's work has appeared in The New Yorker, Newsweek, The Nation, The New Republic, The Guardian and many other publications, and she's reported from countries including India, Iraq, Egypt, Uganda, Nicaragua and Argentina. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and children.

• A version of this article appears in The New York Times on Tuesday, August 28, 2018, on Page A23 of the New York print edition with the headline: “The End of Impunity”.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/08/27/opinion/trump-democrats-midterms-house-oversight.html
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« Reply #22 on: August 29, 2018, 02:33:03 pm »

another slow news day for dumb lefty wankers

what shall we talk about today

oh i know trump this trump that

nothing about obama being a dumb black cunt
or hillary and bills rapes and cover ups

so its just more brain numbing bullshit conspiracy theories about trump
hahaha

put your pussy hats on and stfu
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« Reply #23 on: September 16, 2018, 10:20:39 pm »


from The New York Times…

The Economy Is Humming, but Trump Is Tweeting.
Republicans Are Worried.


The president and the healthy economy have become countervailing forces, with his
self-inflicted wounds obscuring the Republican message, and buoying Democrats.


By JONATHAN MARTIN and ALEXANDER BURNS | Saturday, September 15, 2018

A series of controversies over the summer has driven President Trump's approval rating below 40 percent and kept Republicans from being able to campaign on a message of economic success. — Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times.
A series of controversies over the summer has driven President Trump's approval rating below 40 percent and kept Republicans from being
able to campaign on a message of economic success. — Photograph: Doug Mills/The New York Times.


WASHINGTON D.C. — As Democrats enter the fall mid-term campaign with palpable confidence about reclaiming the House and perhaps even the Senate, tensions are rising between the White House and congressional Republicans over who is to blame for political difficulties facing the party, with President Trump's advisers pointing to the high number of G.O.P. retirements and lawmakers placing the blame squarely on the president's divisive style.

Yet Republican leaders do agree on one surprising element in the battle for Congress: They cannot rely on the booming economy to win over undecided voters.

To the dismay of party leaders, the healthy economy and Mr. Trump have become countervailing forces. The decline in unemployment and soaring gross domestic product, along with the tax overhaul Republicans argue is fueling the growth, have been obscured by the president's inflammatory moves on immigration, Vladimir V. Putin and other fronts, party leaders say.

These self-inflicted wounds since early summer have helped push Mr. Trump's approval ratings below 40 percent and the fortunes of his party down with them.

“This is very much a referendum on the president,” Representative Tom Cole, an Oklahoma Republican, said of the November election. “If we had to fight this campaign on what we accomplished in Congress and on the state of the economy, I think we'd almost certainly keep our majority.”

Glen Bolger, a leading Republican pollster working on several top races this year, was even blunter: “People think the economy is doing well, but that's not what they're voting on — they're voting on the chaos of the guy in the White House.”

Democrats still face challenges of their own, namely the unpopularity of Representative Nancy Pelosi, the House Democratic leader, and the party's tilt left on issues like immigration, both of which could chill support from some otherwise persuadable voters. And the threat of a Democratic majority impeaching the president, which Mr. Trump is eager to raise, could rouse some of his supporters who otherwise may not show up in a year when he's not on the ballot.

Even so, Mr. Bolger and many other prominent Republicans now believe they are likely to lose the House, where they have a 23-seat majority and as many as 60 seats are being fiercely contested by Democrats. The party is preparing to shift advertising money away from some of their most beleaguered incumbents toward a set of races in somewhat more favorable territory. In the narrowly divided Senate, both parties see eight or nine seats, most of them held by Democrats, on a knife's edge.

And instead of attempting to highlight positive economic news like the 3.9 percent unemployment rate, Republicans have turned to a scorched-earth campaign against the Democrats in a bid to save their House majority and salvage their one-seat edge in the Senate.

Republican electioneering groups, including the Congressional Leadership Fund “super PAC” and the National Republican Congressional Committee, have spent millions in recent weeks attacking Democratic candidates in intensely personal terms. The committees, along with some Republican candidates, have blasted one Democratic hopeful in New York for rap lyrics he once wrote; branded another, in Pennsylvania, as a “trust fund baby” and “tax dodger”; and aired commercials featuring veterans in wheelchairs to sow doubts about the patriotism of some Democratic nominees.

The Republican lurch away from economic issues amounts to a bet on the politics of Trump-style cultural division as a means of driving up conservative turnout and disqualifying some Democratic candidates among more moderate voters.

Party leaders say the individual attacks are only the first step in a broader campaign to shift the mid-terms away from the Trump focus and toward the implications of Democratic majorities in Congress.


Speaker Paul D. Ryan is one of 40 House Republicans who chose not to run again this year. — Photograph: Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press.
Speaker Paul D. Ryan is one of 40 House Republicans who chose not to run again this year. — Photograph: Jacquelyn Martin/Associated Press.

Laying out the strategy in an interview this week in his Capitol office, Representative Kevin McCarthy, the would-be successor to Speaker Paul D. Ryan, warned that if Democrats took power they would swiftly impeach the president, stymie immigration enforcement and seek to enact universal health care.

“It's just going to be chaos,” said Mr. McCarthy, trying to repurpose the sense of tumult that voters do not like about Mr. Trump's administration.

Mr. McCarthy acknowledged House Republicans would suffer losses but predicted they would keep a narrow majority so long as Mr. Trump's approval rating rebounded. He even settled on a specific threshold, saying Mr. Trump's approval rating had to be above 43 percent to hold on to the House — even though, historically, the party out of power usually dominates mid-term elections when a president's approval rating is markedly under 50 percent.

“It's week by week of where the weather is at — and it's ever changing,” Mr. McCarthy said of the political environment. “Let's just hope it's a sunny day on Election Day.”

Yet there are already clouds forming over the Republican-controlled capital, visible in the growing anger between the Trump White House and those in the party aligned with congressional Republicans.

After a summer in which the administration implemented a policy of separating migrant children from their parents, the president sided with Mr. Putin over American intelligence services, and then he showed little sympathy following the death of Senator John McCain, Republican strategists say Mr. Trump is alienating a sizable bloc of moderate and Republican-leaning voters who favor right-of-center economic policies but recoil from the president.

“There's 15 percent of the electorate that's happy with the direction of the country but angry with the president,” said Corry Bliss, who runs the Congressional Leadership Fund.

But this sort of talk infuriates Mr. Trump's aides, and one senior White House official swiped back at Mr. Bliss, accusing him of attempting to lay the groundwork for deflecting blame for the loss of the House majority. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to be candid about the party's predicament, said the Republicans were facing deep losses because of the 40 House Republicans who chose not to run again — a list, the official pointedly noted, that includes Mr. Ryan himself.

Yet the intra-party finger-pointing goes beyond the skirmishing between the White House and Congress.

Republican strategists affiliated with the Congressional Leadership Fund, the House super PAC, are privately voicing exasperation with the National Republican Congressional Committee for not raising more money, and for being unwilling so far to begin a triage that would transfer resources toward their most viable incumbents. For example, the committee still has $8 million committed to two lawmakers, Representative Barbara Comstock of Virginia and Keith Rothfus of Pennsylvania, who many in the party do not think can win.

And still other party officials have grown frustrated with the Congressional Leadership Fund for what they describe as a tepid effort to defend open seats where incumbent Republicans are retiring. The group is currently spending advertising money in less than a third of the 15 most heavily contested open seats, these Republicans said, putting pressure on other G.O.P. committees to make up the difference in about 10 others.

Republican officials say privately that the performance of the economy under Mr. Trump has not been a major motivating factor for pro-Trump voters. For some Americans on the right, it may even be contributing to the mood of political apathy that has so alarmed G.O.P. leaders, since voters who are optimistic rarely vote with the intensity of those who are angry or afraid.


Democrats see a path to a Senate majority that runs through solidly conservative states like Texas, where Representative Beto O'Rourke is challenging Senator Ted Cruz. — Photograph: Tamir Kalifa/for The New York Times.
Democrats see a path to a Senate majority that runs through solidly conservative states like Texas, where Representative Beto O'Rourke
is challenging Senator Ted Cruz. — Photograph: Tamir Kalifa/for The New York Times.


America First Action, a political committee aligned with Mr. Trump, conducted a series of focus groups over the summer and concluded the party had a severe voter-turnout problem, brought on in part by contentment about the economy and a refusal by Republicans to believe that Democrats could actually win the mid-term elections.

Conservative-leaning voters in the study routinely dismissed the possibility of a Democratic wave election, with some describing the prospect as “fake news,” said an official familiar with the research, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the data was not intended to be disclosed. Breaking that attitude of complacency is now the Republicans' top priority, far more than wooing moderates with gentler messaging about economic growth.

So Republicans are turning toward more hard-edge tactics. Incumbents who were widely seen as holding safe seats have ordered up opposition research to try to hurt their Democratic rivals. America Rising, a Republican firm that specializes in finding damaging information on Democrats, is working on three times as many House races as it did in 2016, according to an official with the group.

At a meeting of House Republicans on Thursday, Representative Steve Stivers of Ohio, the N.R.C.C. chair, sought to scare incumbents by running a slide show featuring the excuses losing candidates typically offer up before they lose. (Included in the litany: “I don't need to run negative ads; my constituents know me; my district is different.”)

A party official said lawmakers had chipped in $1.2 million for the House campaign committee after the appeal.

Among top Democrats, optimism has soared since Labor Day. Mr. Trump has handed them fodder via his Twitter provocations, and reports of deep internal divisions in his administration have added to a sense of a chaotic presidency — hijacking the news cycle.

Party leaders have closely tracked their leads in several public polls: During a meeting of congressional Democratic leaders on Wednesday evening, a top aide to Ms. Pelosi walked the group through a list of five recent polls that found voters nationally favoring Democratic congressional candidates over Republicans by double-digit margins.

Officials with the main House Democratic super PAC, the House Majority PAC, said their polling in August showed 17 incumbent Republicans trailing and six tied — nearly enough to recapture the majority without even factoring in the open seats the G.O.P. is defending. Strikingly, when the group this month surveyed some of the same districts where Republicans had unleashed a barrage of negative ads, it found that Democratic candidates had slipped only a little and that the races remained within the polling margin of error.

In the Senate, a mood of highly guarded hopefulness has spread among Democrats, who see a path to a majority that runs through a mix of right-leaning and solidly conservative states. By this point in the cycle, some in the party had feared that several incumbents would be headed to certain defeat, and once-inviting takeover opportunities would have slipped off the map, including in Tennessee and Texas. But both of those states remain competitive and a group of rust belt Senate Democrats, like Sherrod Brown of Ohio, seem secure.

“Despite the difficulty of the map's geography, if there's a big wave I think our odds are very, very good,” Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, said in an interview, adding that when “you're feeling the wave in September it rarely changes much by November.”

And the main reason Democrats are sensing a wave is obvious to party veterans.

“He won't allow himself to get credit for the economy,” said James Carville, the Democratic strategist, referring to President Trump. Mr. Carville, who fashioned Bill Clinton's “It's the economy, stupid” mantra in 1992, continued: “He's made himself bigger than the economy. Every conversation starts and ends with Trump.”


__________________________________________________________________________

Jonathan Martin is a national political correspondent for The New York Times. Before joining The Times, he had served as senior political writer for Politico since its inception in 2007. He began covering politics for National Journal's political publication, The Hotline, and then reported on party politics and the aftermath of the 2006 mid-term elections for National Review magazine.  Mr. Martin is a co-author of The New York Times best seller The End of the Line: Romney vs. Obama: The 34 Days That Decided the Election (December 2012), the fourth and final e-book in Politico's 2012 series on the race for the presidency. His work has been published in The New Republic, National Journal, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal. He has appeared frequently on television and radio as a political analyst and commentator, including on CNN, ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, MSNBC and NPR. Originally from Arlington, Virginia, Mr. Martin graduated from Hampden-Sydney College.

Alexander Burns is a political reporter for The New York Times on the National desk, covering elections and the dynamics of political power across the country. He was one of the lead reporters covering Donald Trump's presidential campaign in 2016, after coming to The Times in 2015 as a political correspondent for the Metro desk. Mr. Burns was a reporter and editor at Politico before joining The N.Y. Times, covering the 2012 presidential election and the Republican Party's struggle to define itself during the Obama presidency. He is a graduate of Harvard College, where he edited the Harvard Political Review.

• A version of this article appears in The New York Times on Sunday, September 16, 2018, on Page A1 of the New York print edition with the headline: “Chaos May Offset Economy's Surge, Costing the G.O.P.”.

__________________________________________________________________________

Related to this topic:

 • As a New Hurricane Roars In, Trump Quarrels Over the Last One

 • It Wasn't Me: Pence, Pompeo and a Parade of Administration Officials Deny Writing Op-Ed

 • Democrats Embrace Liberal Insurgents, Demanding New Face for Party

 • A Scorched-Earth Strategy in Ohio


https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/15/us/politics/trump-republicans-midterms.html
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« Reply #24 on: September 21, 2018, 12:20:52 am »

if the us people want higher taxes and open borders they can vote dems
are they silly enough to do that?
we will soon find out
my bet is a lot of dems will secretly vote trump because they like having a job and more money Grin

i cant wait for the fake polls to come out saying the blue wave
it might get washed away by the red tide
« Last Edit: September 21, 2018, 12:28:59 am by Im2Sexy4MyPants » Report Spam   Logged

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