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Dear Lefty Media: Democrats Are Still Unpopular In The Suburbs…

Why is it that every time the Democrats suffer a defeat, the media rushes to their aid, giving us the “it’s merely a flesh wound!” prognosis, and telling us here’s how the GOP is actually going to have its clocked cleaned any minute now. Any minute.

So it is with this well-written, well-researched, and wrong piece from Politico Magazine, titled: “The GOP’s Suburban Nightmare.”

Giving credit where it’s due, this writer does his homework in attempting to craft a convincing argument that Trump’s poor(er than Reagan) showing in suburban America is a sign of the impending doom of the GOP — even as early as the 2018 midterms.

It’s a good piece from the perspective of: it’s readable, engaging, has lots of interesting information, etc. It’s a fun read. It’s just wrong.

And here’s how I know.

It uses Atlanta and the Ossoff/Handel race as its jumping off point, making the fast argument that Trump only barely beat Hillary Clinton in the suburbs during the 2016 election. 49% to her 45%, the article says. Then it says this:

Karen Handel’s Georgia special-election victory Tuesday enabled the GOP to kick the can down the road, but not for long. The same Atlanta suburbs that once produced Republicans like Newt Gingrich voted for Clinton in November. They followed up a few months later by nearly sending a 30-year-old, first-time Democratic candidate to Congress. Republicans may be gloating now, but it’s an ominous sign for the 2018 midterm elections, when control of the House is likely to hinge on roughly two or three dozen suburban districts currently held by the GOP.

“Nearly.” I’m from Atlanta and we have a saying in the South: almost only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades…..

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Political Roundup for June 13th, 2017…RRH Elections

Trump: Apparently it wasn’t the Russians who unleashed an army of social media bots to boost Trump’s 2016 candidacy on Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms. It was billionaire Robert Mercer who spearheaded the efforts weaponize social media by using fake accounts to spread stories and narratives to influence real people.

Merkley: According to a CNN profile Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley (D) is considering a run for President in 2020. Merkley was the only US Senator to endorse fellow Senator Bernie Sanders in 2016….

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More knocks on Trump from a RedState Conservative…

….by Jay Caruso @ Red State…

……’Now that he is President, I am not all that concerned he’s a Republican as the party is simply not reason enough for me to give him a pass whenever he does something stupid. I am going to judge him on the merits. What’s interesting is the criticism I (along with many others in the conservative movement) get for doing so. As if holding Trump to higher standards than Democrats hold their office-holders is something for which I should be ashamed. I always thought we should be better than them. To be fair, some Republicans and conservatives reflexively harp on Donald Trump simply because they don’t like him. Streiff wrote about Jennifer Rubin, a Paris agreement critic until Donald Trump withdrew from the same agreement. She hasn’t stop railing about it since it happened and refuses to acknowledge her flip-flop on the issue and so that sort of criticism isn’t helpful because it’s rooted in a knee-jerk mentality that leaves reason at the door.

That said, much of the criticism Trump receives from me and other like-minded conservatives is fair. The pushback I often receive strikes me as odd because it doesn’t counter the criticism but instead deflects from the criticism.

For example, I receive emails, Facebook messages, and tweets telling me, “You just want to harm Donald Trump!” or “You just want to see him go down!” The accusation is rubbish. President Trump hurts himself and does so, often. The firing of James Comey is a perfect example of how Trump creates problems for himself and creates an environment where he spends days rationalizing his behavior instead of working with Congressional leaders on legislation. Trump defenders say he had every right to fire Comey as he serves at the pleasure of the president. That’s true. But he handled the situation with the gravitas of Bill O’Reilly, yelling, “We’ll do it live!” at production staff on the set of ‘Inside Edition.’ Trump’s timing was unfortunate, he concocted a bogus reason for doing so, and after his team repeated the bogus reason for nearly two days, he threw them all under the bus by telling Lester Holt he was going to fire Comey regardless of what Rod Rosenstein had to say.

That some conservatives were defending Trump for the Comey mess because it made Democrats angry is ridiculous.’….

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Political Roundup for June 1, 2017…Trump 2020?…RRH Elections…

Presidential/National

Trump/Clinton:  President Donald Trump (R-Twitter) continues to enjoy mocking “Crooked Hillary Clinton” over her unwillingness to take responsibility for losing the presidency to all people, President Trump.  His comments come after Hillary recently had a venting session where she blamed everyone but herself.  I am surprised Trump is not goading her to run again.

Trump/Fundraising:  Trump Victory, the joint fundraising effort between the RNC and Trump presidential campaign, will be holding a $35,000 a guest fundraiser in Washington, D.C. on June 28.  This is the first joint fundraiser since Trump became president.

Bloomberg:  Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) thinks Trump has a 55% chance of winning reelection.  Bloomberg, who endorsed Clinton over Trump last year, thinks the Democrats don’t have a coherent strategy to defeat Trump just like Clinton lacked a convincing strategy on why she should win other than she is a woman and Trump is bad.

Biden:  Former Vice President Joe Biden (D-Wilmington/Scranton) is setting up a political action committee.  Some are seeing this as a means to run for President in 2020 when Biden will be in his late 70s.  Like Hillary, someone needs to tell Joe that the Democrats need new blood that was not alive when the Korean War was fought!

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Healthcare Repeal would screw Texas (And other Southwestern states) BIG Time….

And isn’t that Ted Cruz’s State?

(And the other state’s mostly Republican territory?)

The guy sitting on the Senate Republican Healthcare re-write team?

Percentage of people without health insurance coverage by state before the ACA, according to the United States Census Bureau (2009). Lighter states how high rates on insured, darker ones show lower coverage rates.

Everything is bigger in Texas and that includes the numbers of people without comprehensive health insurance. Whether it’s total numbers or highest percentage of uninsured, the Lone Star State stands with the worst of them. And if republicans in Washington, DC, have anything to say about it, Texas will likely keep that lead and remain the undisputed king of the uninsured, by kicking as many people as possible off whatever health insurance they’ve managed to find in droves, and pricing those who need it the most out of the market and right into an early grave:

It’s unclear whether the latest version of Speaker Paul Ryan’s American Health Care Act will garner enough support from moderate Republicans to pass the House. But what’s certain is the measure could have a major impact on Texas as a new amendment would allow states to opt out of key Obamacare regulations governing how much insurers can charge people with pre-existing conditions and the services they must offer. … But critics, already concerned over previous findings that the American Health Care Act would result in millions of low-income Americans dropping coverage, worry the changes could mean states like Texas return to pre-ACA days when people with pre-existing conditions suffered…..

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Political Roundup for May 3, 2017…RRH Elections….

Election Results from Last Night:  In SC-5, State House Speaker Pro Tempore Tommy Pope and former State Representative Ralph Norman will square off in a runoff for the Republican nomination to face Democratic nominee former Goldman Sachs banker Archie Parnell in June.  In Cincinnati, Mayor John Cranley (D-Moderate) and challenger Yvette Simpson (D-Bold Progressive) will advance to the general election. For the SC State House, Bryant (R) won in LD-48 while Brawley (D) and Hill (D) advance to a runoff in LD-70.

As we are still trying to figure out what alternative universe President Trump is from based on his take of the Civil War, it is time for today’s roundup:

President/National

SEC:  Jay Clayton was confirmed by the Senate to lead the Securities and Exchange Commission by a 61-37 vote.

Filibuster:  Senate Republicans have shot down President Trump’s push for a crisis to eliminate the Senate filibuster completely.

Jackson:  The Atlantic looks at how Democrats have lost their ties to arguably their founder former President Andrew Jackson (Scots Irish) and how President Trump understands some of the tenants of Jacksonian Democracy.

Clinton:  Former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton (DLC?) has climbed out of her Westchester County hole once again and ranting about the election being stolen by the FBI and Russians….

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RRH Elections/Decision Desk HQ GA-6 Poll: Ossoff (D) leads Handel (R) 39-15

Ossoff leads at 39%; Handel leads crowded race for 2nd spot; Republicans combined narrowly top 50%

Five days ahead of the closely-watched first round of the special election to fill the US House seat formerly held by HHS Secretary Tom Price (R), a new poll from RRH Elections shows Democratic front-runner Jon Ossoff well ahead of the field, leading his nearest challenger 39-15. Overall Ossoff is well short of the 50% mark needed to win outright, though he hits that mark among those who have already voted. Four Republicans, former Secretary of State Karen Handel (R), Johns Creek councilman Bob Gray (R), and former State Sens. Dan Moody (R) and Judson Hill (R), are all bunched tightly together in a race to advance with Ossoff, with Handel narrowly leading Gray for the second runoff spot 15-12. The six most prominent Republicans combined lead the two most prominent Democrats combined by a margin of 51-43. The survey of 321 Likely Voters was conducted from April 5-10, 2017 using both an IVR automated phone survey (220 voters) and an online survey (101 voters) and has a margin of error of 5%. All survey design and data analysis is the responsibility of RRH Elections; funding was provided by the generous contributions of our readers and co-sponsorship by Decision Desk HQ. For comments or questions on the poll, please email us at redracinghorses@yahoo.com

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The opioid overdose epidemic hypocrisy of Donald Trump…Daily Kos…

As both a former drug researcher, and former user, I am not in denial about the rising number of overdose deaths in the U.S. To sit and watch the Orange Killer in the oval office hold a “listening session” using the families of overdose victims and tearful recovering addicts as a front for his public relations scam made me want to puke. His announcement at the end of March that he is launching “The President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis,” flies in the face of his attempts to get rid of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in collusion with Republicans in the House and Senate—which would have dropped the addiction treatment mandate covering 1.3 million Americans.

Mother Jones has been on his case like white on rice. In “Remember When Trump Said He Cared About the Opioid Crisis? Fast Forward to Now” they point out:

The purpose of the commission, which will report to Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, is to write a report by October of this year on the status of the epidemic and make recommendations for the future, after which it will cease to exist. The Surgeon General’s office under President Obama published a very similar report last November. Trump has yet to appoint a “drug czar”, or director of the Office of Drug Control Policy, which is charged with evaluating and overseeing federal anti-drug efforts.

Meanwhile, Trump has repeatedly proposed taking resources away from the programs that could stop the epidemic. For example:

  • The president’s proposed 2017 budget would cut $100 million from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s mental health block grants, which help provide substance abuse services across the country.
  • His proposed 2018 budget would cut 16.2 percent of funding from the Department of Health and Human Services, the umbrella agency that funds things like SAMHSA and other mental health and substance abuse programs.
  • The 2018 budget claims it would include a “$500 million increase above 2016 enacted levels to expand opioid misuse prevention efforts and to increase access to treatment and recovery services.” When pressed by Rep. Katherine Clark (D-Mass.), HHS Secretary Tom Price admitted that this $500 million is reference to funding from the 21st Century Cures Act, which Congress enacted under Obama signed into law late last year.
  • Though it didn’t ultimately pass, Trump was hard-set on repealing the Affordable Care Act, which would have left nearly 3 million Americans without often life-saving addiction treatment.

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Czar Vladimir Putin- Part 2…Red State….

Yesterday, I posited the idea that Vladimir Putin aspires to the glory days of the Russian empire before the collapse of the Romanov dynasty and the rise of Communism.  Specifically, there are parallels between Putin and Czar Nicholas I who ruled the country from 1825 to 1852.

In fact, Putin rules over Russia like a czar of days gone by with near total control.  He has embraced and elevated the Russian Orthodox Church and pushes many of their agenda items.  He is a secretive and self-disciplined geopolitical tactician who no doubt draws on his experience as a judo black belt.  Like many of the czars, he also presides over a cult of personality that appears somewhat comical to Westerners (the iconic picture of him bare-chested on the back of a horse).

Yet this macho nationalism that he resonates is exactly what many Russians craved after the chaos of the breakup of the Soviet Union.  As such, Putin now views himself as the bearer of a special morality and a special feeling of justice with Russia and the Russian people above everyone else.  He is certain about Russia’s historical mission and that mission is empire.  And the best way to assert that mission is through demonization of the spiritless West.

Initially, Putin secured his power through a network of cronies from his hometown of St. Petersburg.  That has expanded since to exacting obedience from the Russian security forces.  Objectively, Russia is a weakened power after 75 years of the failed Communist experiment, the rampant corruption during the collapse of the Soviet Union, and some missteps by Putin himself.  He realistically knows this, but also realizes that he can count on the reluctance of many to challenge his ideas and actions thus making him appear stronger than he actually is which is why he sports approval ratings above 80%.  He casts himself as first and foremost concerned about stability.  But the irony is that his veneer of domestic stability is predicated upon international instability…..

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Political Roundup for April 4, 2017…Another Obamacare Try…RRH Elections…

Obamacare:  After threatening to make Republicans live with Obamacare and potentially entertaining Democratic offers after his high stakes negotiation tactics failed, President Trump (Art of the Deal) and House conservatives are mulling another attempt at repealing parts of Obamcare and replacing them with watered down versions.  It is not clear if the third largest party in the House, the House Freedom Caucus, will provide support to the minority government of Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Janesville) or cause parliamentary chaos, their usual tactic.

More Obamacare:  After golfing with the President, Senator Rand Paul (R-Libertarian) articulated something resembling a repeal and partial replace of Obamacare.  Basically Paul is trying to maintain optics of being against new entitlements by keeping the subsidy regime in place instead of creating a tax credit entitlement regime.  It really sounds like third largest party in the House and their Senate fellow travelers are looking at caving under “yuge” pressure from the Trumpian hordes.

Judiciary:  The Trump administration is scouring the countryside looking for young conservative lawyers in their late 30s early 40s to appoint to the federal judiciary.  Yours truly is not one of them, but I would not mind serving as a Bankruptcy Court judge.

Kaisch:  Ohio Governor John Kaisch (R-Weaverland) does not plan on running against President Trump in 2020, but he is spending a lot of time contrasting himself to Trump.  John Weaver is keeping himself fed apparently by stroking Kaisch’s enormous ego.  Talk about someone who could get me to actively support Trump in a primary….

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Trump thinks he can make a Trump/Ryancare deal with Schumer and McConnell?

 By Joan McCarter  @ Daily Kos….
WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 23:  U.S. President Donald Trump (R) hosts a reception for House and Senate Republican and Democratic leaders in the State Dining Room of the White House January 23, 2017 in Washington, DC.  Attending were Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) (L) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).  (Photo by Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty Images)

Popular vote loser Donald Trump was in a buoyant mood Tuesday at a White House reception for the Senate. He was so pleased that “A lot of people showed up” that he was optimistic and generous, promising that there would be a “deal” on Trumpcare, “very quickly.”

“A lot of people showed up,” Trump said of the crowd, which included more than half the Senate and their spouses. “People we weren’t expecting. I know that we are all going to make a deal on health care. That’s such an easy one.”

He added, “I have no doubt that’s going to happen very quickly.”

Never mind that massive, catastrophic collapse of his premiere legislative effort and the thing he’d been promising to do “day one” for the whole of the presidential campaign—repeal Obamacare. But hey, it’s just “such an easy one.” Because they all showed up to his party, apparently, and he had “some very special friends in the room,” a “shockingly … bipartisan” crowd. He even happily greeted the man he had called “Fake Tears Chuck Schumer”—whose great-grandmother died in the Holocaust—for opposing his Muslim ban. “I think we are going to have some very good relationships—right, Chuck?” he called out Tuesday night. “I see Chuck. Hello, Chuck.”

“Nobody ever told me that politics was going to be so much fun,” said the man whose campaign is under investigation by the FBI for potential treason and who has the lowest approval rating of any new president since polling began. Fun times.

For the record, a deal is not going to happen…..

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Never Trust Anyone Who Asks You To ‘Take One For The Team’…

by Jim Jamitis @ Red State.

As someone who used to have high hopes for what Vice President Mike Pence might do for the conservative movement and who never got on board the Trump train, I wasn’t thrilled that Pence enthusiastically became Trump’s running mate. I had mixed feelings.

Part of me said that it’s good someone like Pence would have Trump’s ear, but another part wondered whether I had been wrong about Pence from the beginning. How could a solid ideological conservative submit to a guy like Trump?

Some of the anecdotes reported in the wake of the AHCA failure make me think Pence is just another Washington insider driven by politics instead of principle. Politico Magazine describes how the Freedom Caucus and their policy concerns were treated by the White House.

They hoped for a meeting with Trump and an opportunity to negotiate some major policy changes directly with him. Instead, they found themselves hauled into the less-than-inspiring Executive Office Building for a pep rally with Vice President Mike Pence, chief of staff Reince Priebus, Bannon, and other members of Trump’s inner circle—but not the president himself. (As an aside, it’s impossible to ignore the failure of Pence, Price and Mulvaney, three former conservative darlings while in the Congress, to sell more of their ideological brethren on this bill.)

It’s impossible to ignore the failure because for the Freedom Caucus it was probably impossible to ignore the the defection of these men to the cult of Trump. They had abandoned their principled roots for a seat at the table of power….

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GWB White House lawyer: ‘FBI uncovering evidence of treason. There is no other word for it’

 By Jen Hayden   @ Dily Kos….
Screenshot of George W. Bush ethics attorney Richard Painter on ABCNews talking about the Trump Transition.

And given Breitbart’s role in all of this, what a coincidence that key Breitbart players are now playing key roles in the White House:

Breitbart, which has drawn criticism for pursuing a white nationalist agenda, was formerly led by Stephen Bannon, who became chief executive officer of Trump’s election campaign last August and now serves as Trump’s strategic adviser in the White House. The news site’s former national security editor, Sebastian Gorka, was a national security adviser to Trump’s campaign and presidential transition team. He now works as a key Trump counterterrorism adviser.

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Trump and Ryan could lose Trumpcare battle—and still destroy Obamacare

 By Egberto Willies   @  Daily Kos

The Trumpcare bill, which seeks to replace the Affordable Care Act, seems to be hanging by a thread. Public opinion polls now show Obamacare above water and Trumpcare under water. Gambling types would surely bet that the bill—in just about every form—will fail. But that would be nothing more than a short-term gain, and it is important that progressives understand that—right now.

Rejoicing in this likely upcoming win is a fool’s errand. Why? Because for many Americans, specifically those who are not on Medicaid, Obamacare is a financial strain. I am self-employed, and I’m paying about $1,200 a month with a family deductible of $12,000. My plan is an HMO. But in past years a program like this would be considered a “catastrophic” plan. I would have to spend $26,400 before the insurance kicks in. To be fair, the doctor fees are an affordable $40.00 to $100.00, and labs and medicine are discounted.

I understand these costs intellectually, in the context of the corrupt health care system that we have. I understand that the drug companies, the hospitals, and the insurance companies are businesses with shareholders. They all want to show growth, regardless of whether they provide more value or services. That growth consists of an unwarranted increase in health care costs across the board.

University of Houston professor Seth Chandler wrote a piece titled “Republican Stalemate Will Test Whether Obamacare Is Indeed Collapsing” that pointed out a reality about Obamacare. He predicts that we are headed for a stalemate—and progressives should not consider that a win….

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Trump budget director: Feeding elderly and children has to end, it’s not ‘showing any results’…Daily Kos

WASHINGTON, DC - FEBRUARY 27:  White House Budget Director Mick Mulvaney speaks during a White House daily briefing at the James Brady Press Briefing Room February 27, 2017 at the White House in Washington, DC. Mulvaney answers questions regarding the budget proposal from the Trump Administration.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Mick Mulvaney has a pretty fucking warped view of compassion. 

White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told the White House press corps Thursday that popular vote loser Donald Trump’s budget cuts Meals on Wheels and after-school nutrition programs because those programs “aren’t showing any results.”

We can’t do that anymore. We can’t spend money on programs just because they sound good. Meals on Wheels sounds great. […] I can’t defend that anymore. We cannot defend that anymore. $20 trillion in debt. We’re going to spend money, we’re going to spend a lot of money but we’re not going to spend it on programs that show they deliver the promises we made to people.

As for the school children:

They’re supposed to help kids who don’t get fed at home get fed so they do better in school. Guess what? There’s no evidence they’re actually doing that. There’s no evidence they’re helping results, helping kids do better in school, which is what — when we took your money from you to say, we’re going to spend them on after-school program, we justified it by saying these kids will do better in school and get jobs. We have no proof that’s helping.

Goddammit old people and school children! Get out there and get jobs so we know that feeding you is worth our money.

No, Mulvaney says, the “compassionate” thing to do is for tax payers, to “go to them and say, look, we’re not going to ask you for your hard-earned money anymore. Single mom of two in Detroit, give us your money. We’re not going to do that anymore unless they can guarantee that money will be used in a proper function.” That, he says, “is about as compassionate as you can get.”

Because, really, wouldn’t we all rather fund a few more destroyers than see our neighbors not starve?

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Steve Bannon under active criminal investigation for… get this… residency fraud.?

 By DiesIrae   @ Daily Kos

Bannon_Trump_Signing_Big_Boy.JPG

[Changed image – original was a distraction. This is always appropriate for any Bannon story.]

Courtesy of O’Harrow and Boburg at the Washington Post. Trump’s chief strategist Steve Bannon, a white nationalist who has repeatedly pushed false claims of massive voter fraud by minorities voting in jurisdictions where they do not actually live, is now the subject of an active criminal investigation in Florida, centering on Bannon’s “residency” and “qualifi[cations] to vote in the state”:

The Post learned that state prosecutors in Miami have an active investigation into Bannon’s assertions that he was a Florida resident and qualified to vote in the state from 2014 to 2016. In late August, investigators subpoenaed Bannon’s lease of a Coconut Grove home and other documents. They also contacted the landlords of that home and another that Bannon leased nearby, and sought information from a gardener and handyman who worked at one of the homes, according to documents and interviews.

The problem for Mr. Bannon is that it seems he may have actually been living in California (or possibly in Washington, or New York, but definitely not Florida):

[Bannon] owned a house and condo in Southern California, where he had entertainment and consulting businesses, a driver’s license and a checking account. He claimed Florida as his residence, registering to vote in Miami and telling authorities he lived at the same address as his third ex-wife….

He did not get a Florida driver’s license or register a car in the state. He never voted in Florida, and neighbors near two homes he leased in Miami said they never saw him. His rent and utility bills were sent to his business manager in California.

Even if the Florida investigation comes up empty, the story might not be over. There is significant speculation, previously reported in an August 2016 Guardian story (and re-upped by the Post article) that he may have been trying to avoid California taxes.

Dear Attorney General Becerra: this seems worth taking a look at, doesn’t it?

Note….

But proving wrongdoing in Bannon’s case could be difficult because state law does not clearly define residency, according to an official who spoke on the condition of anonymity….

Source…

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