Archive for Congress

Inevitable GOP Grudge

About that cliché of elephants never forgetting, U.S. Republicans truly do not, ever. It happened with Nixon and we are still bearing the aftereffects. It’s about to happen again with Trump.

When Pres. Richard Nixon slithered out of the White House in disgrace, that was a not-to-be-forgotten humiliation, for the party more than for Tricky Dick.  That POTUS hopped about between amoral, immoral and criminal. He snuck away before the Senate could impeach him, and then his VP-becoming-President Gerald Ford pardoned him, so he never faced criminal trials and certainty of prison.

Years later, Nixon was re-imaged as a statesman. In fairness, as terrible as he was domestically and as much as he disdained democracy, our laws and the Constitution, he had foreign-policy credentials — much stronger than any Democratic President since FDR.

In those ways of escaping impeachment, get-out-of-jail-free cards, and rehabilitation, he fared much better than he deserved. Nonetheless, the GOP has never forgotten his disgraced exit.

I have no doubt that is why they so eagerly pursued Bill Clinton’s impeachment, constantly threatened Barack Obama with various legal actions, and did beyond their best to smear and bring bogus charges against Hillary Clinton. They don’t, can’t, won’t forget.

So here we are coming around the flee or take-it bend with Donald Trump. As has been the norm with post-WWII GOP Presidents, his appointees and staff are resigning or facing various charges. That won’t stop.

As it all closes in on this young presidency for an old man/boy, at some point he is likely to realize he’s cooked and facing either absconding or impeachment. I have predicted here that he is most likely to play his usual drama queen, quitting while saying the mean old media and Congress won’t let him do wonderful things and save the nation.

While it is possible he might stick it out and take impeachment, I don’t think that would give him the deniability he so often uses.

When he is forced from office one way or another, the GOP also will not forget. Already, they bait-and-switch with Dem miscreants. Of course Bill Clinton accepted fellatio in the White House, former Rep. Anthony Weiner is a pathetic sexter, and a handful of other Dems have run afoul of laws or social norms. They can’t or won’t consider the huge number of their party who are proven crooks, adulterers and worse. It’s key to pretend here.

The point is when Trump stomps away, that will be the real beginning of the newest GOP feud and grudge fest. They will live and act primarily to pay back Dems for anything that happened with their guys, regardless of how many Republicans joined in calling out and punishing Trump and his minions.

Personal responsibility is not a Republican hallmark.

Of course, for the nation, the big pity is that we have much to accomplish to fix problems and to advance us economically, socially and politically. When Republican office holders are as stupid, malicious and counterproductive as they were with Obama, much less gets done.

Still, let’s get on with it. Dump Trump, and accept that the GOP will play at revenge instead of cleaning their own house. As a group, they just don’t have a culture of advancing the nation.

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Non-Comical Comey

The WaPo The Fix column implying that unemployed guy James Comey wants to take down Donald Trump (a.k.a. the incidental POTUS) intrigues. One can suppose he’d have delusions of grandeur. But…delusions?

While the rest of Congress and all D.C. squealed and scrambled like Greek wannabes during pledge week, Comey took down the Dem Prez nominee Hillary Clinton (a.k.a. the coulda, shoulda been). Now he could easily do the same with 45.

My soft-sciences profs (anthropology, psychology, sociology) all said ascribing motives was the toughest and least exact part of the biz. We can be left wondering whether Comey wields his bolts from a platform of ego or self-righteousness or his Boy-Scout persona.

It makes no difference. If he can — and it sure looks likely —he shall dump Trump. Here’s a mid-level functionary who has already inscribed his own monument in history. He’s not through.

 

 

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Donny Fell Down and Broke His Crown

The tumbling, accelerating fall of Donald Trump has become inevitable. We are left pondering the timing and specifics.

I am wont to make the bold strokes, even if that leaves me prey later to the captious who would quibble on details. Let them.

You read it here and can blame me later (I don’t scrub my blogs and podcasts) if I get it wrong. Incidental President Donald J. Trump will resign.

The preponderance of the small has become the preponderance of the great. Russian election hacking, business debt and maybe even scandal videos rise and stink. The influence peddling and profiteering off the POTUS slot by him, his family and businesses are only getting worse, more obvious and undeniable. The incessant, impulsive and arrogant violation of the Constitution and laws has left a wide trail.

Forget the firing James Comey thing. That only highlights Trump’s dual handicaps of stupidity and ignorance. We, in fact even GOP supporters, could not longer look away from the Russian corruption and illegality matters as a result.

Trump’s tired ploy of screaming, “Fake news!” has run its course. As past and certainly future witnesses testify under oath, and in contrast to the various Trump types honestly, there will be no ore hiding.

Trump will quit, claiming that the mean old bugbears of:

  • The Constitution
  • Separation of Powers
  • Congressional Duty to Budget and Oversight

would not let him do what was right and necessary for the nation. (The ousted dictator’s lament.)

He’s also made his Pee Wee Herman I’m-rubber-you’re-glue shtick incredible. He got unbelievable mileage during the campaign with  (crooked Hillary, lyin’ Ted, little Marco, low-energy Jeb, and goofy Elizabeth Warren. He fantasized himself rubber, but the reality of being crooked and corrupt increasingly and inexorably stuck to him. He is thoroughly corrupt and crooked. Bye bye.

He’s 70, in terrible shape and may not live that much longer. Yet he is sure to go into his encrusted mausoleum with his last words being how he was sinless and wronged.

B.S.

 

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Old and Current U.S. Enemies

 

Our Congress is chockablock with Boomers. Alas, as one myself, I had anticipated and hoped that my folk would be smarter and more moral, a.k.a. more American, than the WWII crowd that thrust us into stupid, unnecessary wars, and whistled mindless tunes as federal and state governments took away the rights of millions.

Sure hasn’t happened. Boomer bozos like G.W. Bush and Bill Clinton were as bad as their parents’ generation.

A surprising constant has been the ever-shifting them in the us vs. them theater. Frankly, the WWI and WWII folk were more simpleminded and thus kept the enemies clearer. We grew up with the commies under the beds (fantastical and irrational) and vestiges of the Yellow Peril (horde of Asians imagined to be massing for invasion, the racist trope).

What could be simpler than ID’ing Soviets and various Asians as the other, each and all intent on destroying our noble and glorious nation? Surely our lives were superior to those of the other, nefarious groups eager to take our stuff and snuff out our lives.

Somehow Boomers’ parents and grandparents could overlook the likes of:

  • Jailing large numbers of Japanese-Americans and small groups of Italian- and German-Americans in concentration (euphemistically internment) camps
  • Draconian voting laws and shameful economic and educational policies for African Americans
  • Endless and meaningless wars in Asia, Africa and even parts of Europe

Having spent much of my young childhood as a bit player in the Occupation Army in Japan, I had a different view of the alleged Yellow Peril. A few native Japanese chums did have their own baggage, slandering Koreans and Chinese folk, but I came to learn that likely was from long-standing nationalistic and perceived racial vestiges.  For some, awareness of military behavior in those countries surely brought deflective criticism.

Binary Simplicity

Boomers did have a now surprisingly binary upbringing. Not only did we inherit the culture of pre-War movies, but we got the new world of TV and of course literature. There were black hats and white hats, villains and heroes, Allies and Axis armies — us vs. them. Many too bought into puerile lit that munged that binary culture with politics, specifically the likes of Ayn Rand’s addlepated novels. She was best at welding oppressive sexuality to economic theory.

Ah, but it was so clean and easy. You could know who the good and the bad guys were…and what behaviors and words showed you were in the former group.

In contrast, nuance is hard. For example, we really can’t plant Thomas Jefferson entirely at one end of the moral spectrum.  How comforting it must be to live as a religious fundamentalist or political camp-follower. Check your brain at the door and you can always know you are a good guy.

The few current dictators, like Kim Jong-un and Vladimir Putin at least simplify diplomacy in their realms. If Donald Trump had the powers he imagines, free of judicial oversight and with a totally compliant Congress, he could quickly turn our nation into a villain state as well.

I think I can well do without the racist Yellow-Peril and other simpleminded excuses to fear and hate.

 

 

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Trump Doctrine: Olly olly oxen free

Muse for a moment on candidate Donald Trump’s preemptive slurs. Every opponent from any party got a toxic nickname. The overused term irony is apt here. In particular, he repeatedly called his Dem foe corrupt Hillary.

Even before he became POTUS, Trump’s business and legal dealings, ploys and questionable activities made it far too plain who was corrupt here. Smearing another does not absolve him.

Suddenly, as attention-getting as DT’s admitted or accused sexual misdeeds, his stiffing partners and contractors, his blatant self-dealing and conflicts of interest may be the sins of his version of the best and brightest. His cabinet and lower lackeys one after another drop out, are forced out, or operate under clouds worthy of Joe Btfsplk.

Pic Note: From an Al Capp strip via wikipedia. Fair use.

Several dropped out when they were proven dishonorable and liars. A surprising number of candidates seemed to know trouble when it called and did not risk taking a DT job.

Free Passes

More intriguing are the hide-and-see crew. They may hear that kids’ call olly olly oxen free and return without fear of being tagged (or put on trial). The current administration, as you might expect of any corrupt regime, is not shy about giving minions a free pass.

Already called back to base has been Kellyanne Conway. The nominal senior adviser will not face any charges for her egregious shilling of DT’s daughter Ivanka’s clothing line on national TV. The WH Counsel’s Office gave the free pass, claiming her clear violation of federal law was inadvertent.

This indeed is one of the principal definitions of corrupt. Promoting products to benefit the POTUS or his family is illegal for good reason. Doing so is corrupt.

Most recently up in the shame docket is AG Jefferson Beauregard Sessions. In sworn oral and written testimony to Congress and the FBI, he averred that he had no contact with Russian government officials during DT’s campaign. In fact, we know now that he had multiple meetings with the Russian ambassador and likely several phone conversations with other officials. Now he claims that they didn’t discuss campaign matters.

Do Laws Matter?

Prima facie it appears he violated campaign law, committed perjury several times and perhaps was even treasonous. Can his pro-active (a.k.a. defensive in DT’s case) pardon, like President Gerald Ford’s of disgraced POTUS Richard Milhous Nixon, lag far behind?

Dems in Congress scream for Sessions to resign. Even some Republicans who have any moral and patriotic fibers in their personal covering left are muttering for Sessions to recuse himself from any discussion or action of investigation of DT’s Russian connections.

Here’s betting DT stonewalls this. He’ll claim Sessions is fine and should continue as is. Of course, the rational world then immediately wonders

  • What the hell happened in the election
  • How pervasive and powerful was Russian interference and influence
  • What does Donny hide-my-taxes owe to Russians
  • Was DT blackmailed by Russians
  • Did Sessions act as pimp for DT and Putin politically

If DT calls Sessions home free, that could be a serious error. With the corrupt appointees clinging to free base, all eyes will be on DT. How corrupt was and is he?

The game is afoot, but it’s not as simple as hide and seek.

 

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Conan v. Thumper, a Resist Lesson

Nearly a decade tutorial should be enough. D.C. Republicans channeled Conan the Barbarian, while in their turn, Dems played the well-socialized Thumper.

Here’s the obvious call — Congressional GOP’ers have far overplayed their hand. The Dems have played like UUs, respecting others. Democrats need to be ready to follow the Republican lead, tromping as well as smiling and caressing.

We heard the calumnies of Barack Obama as he campaigned for the POTUS spot and then held it. The incredible hypocrisy of yelling, “Unfair!,” while claiming Dems are trying to delegitimatize Trump’s Presidency goes beyond risible.

Too nasty v. too nice

Let us frame GOP obstructionism and deceit in cinematic terms. Recall Conan’s answer to his general to what is best in life, “Crush your enemies. See them driven before you. Hear the lamentations of their women.” This is precisely what the Republican Congress has been doing, continuing into the new administration. It’s scorched earth, regardless of how much it hurts the nation and its citizens.

In contrast, Dems have continued to play by the rules. They seem to be a bunch of UUs, They live out the Seven Principles and continue to hope and even expect Republicans will do likewise. After all, this is how Boomers were raised. In light of lessons from the WWII generation, religion, movies, TV and books, we learned about good and bad behavior, playing fair and civility. Dems are much more like Thumper from Bambi, whose catch-phrase was “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say nothing at all.”

It’s one-sided respect and fairness.

The GOP is likely to keep control of Congress through 2018. There’s a shot at 2020 or 2022 to flip Congress. The Dems are working hard at the state level, and the current administration’s certain failures to meet promises and goals will catch up. When those who stupidly believe that the media is dishonest and corrupt, not the GOP in D.C. have to accept reality once again, the current destructive bums will go.

That will not be another time for Dems to forgive and forget. Republicans have shown themselves too long in too many ways to be without fairness, graciousness or honor.

While I can’t believe Dems will ever behave as disgracefully as Republicans have, Resist cannot end with a Congress rife with Thumpers.

Dems don’t even need to threaten them with saying, “You’re only getting what you gave us.” There will surely be lamentations of their lawmakers. Yet, that will just be background music. Meanwhile resurgent Dems need to take charge thoroughly. Let the bad guys beg for compromise, which they never gave nor accepted. Then the Dems can consider it.

No more Thumpers.

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Self-Limiting D.C. Disease

I seem to insist on having a long neck. Even before Trump got his Electoral College threshold, I predicted a one-term or likely less Presidency. The pre-inauguration theater makes that all the more probable.

First, his bluster and fantasy aside, the plump, sedentary old man is a heart attack, stroke or aneurysm in the wings. Honestly, I dread the idea of Mickey Penny, a.k.a. Michael Pence the reactionary ideologue, taking over the top spot. Yet, none of us should be at all surprised if Trump topples today or tomorrow.

More to the point though, the POTUS-to-be is clearly determined to founder, sink and drown per law. He’s too old and rigid to stop being a mommy’s boy. The effects include whimpering that any criticism is unfair (“Make ’em stop!” Stomp foot.), and turning back on bluster.

Granted the Brits and subsequently us here in the U.S. of A. have fallen into the shout someone down instead of out-reasoning the debate opponent trap. That spread first to Ivies and private schools here and now permeates in a cage-match format. Donny-poo got locked into that. I’ll note again that saying the same thing at increasing volume many times does not make you right. Rather, it means you are loud and repetitive. Neither of those behaviors is a virtue in polite society.

Rather than see and recognize his limits, Trump instead pushes beyond them and insists the world is wrong to question him. That so far, even before taking office, appointing his son-in-law to WH office in defiance of the anti-nepotism statute and tradition, refusing to divest himself of businesses as is the law and tradition, and perhaps worst, stonewalling the clearly treasonous ties to and support from a hostile foreign power, i.e. Russia.

The latter may be the unavoidable crash. I expect him to lift sanctions on Russia, continue to do family biz with Russians and Russian companies, and to prove that he is as alleged the puppet of a foreign leader.

Most of Congress are boomers. They are deeply imbued with post-WWII ideals. Too much will be too much. The question is will Donny-jo’s body fail first or will his arrogant lawlessness do him in?

 

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Brash New World in New Year

Even though Duh-Duh-Donald is not yet POTUS, he does not know that. He creates foreign policy via phone, in person and by Twitter. He is both too ignorant to understand the basics of transition and too dumb to grasp the cause-and-effect of his words.

This might be the point for “God save America.”

As he has not yet taken office, I have been hunkered down. I just cannot stand it. In one way it is not fair to take Trump to task for what he and Congress have not yet done. In another, let us look at what he has.

Dumbing Way Down

Throughout the long election season and after, he made it too plain that he has no interest in knowledge, facts or history. He has not even sipped at the Pierian Spring. Instead, he claims without any evidence that he is smarter than all others and knows more.

That kind and level of magical thinking leads only to failure. It also frustrates those with a lot of learning, the deep drinkers.

What his Presidency portends and what he has been delivering is a dumbing of his office and America as represented by his administration. Our international partners and foes alike have been figuratively shaking their heads that such a stupid and ignorant person would head our government.

George W. Bush was bad enough. I thought he would be the dumbest President in my lifetime. True enough that he was willfully ignorant, apparently out of intellectual laziness. Unfortunately, the new, devolved edition appears not unwilling, rather unable, to learn and understand. No matter how often he says deeply stupid things like, “I’m rich. That proves I’m smart,” that will not make it true.

Saying something many times at increasing volume does not make you smart. It makes you repetitive and loud. Neither trait is a virtue.

Kicking Against the Goads

Alas, poor Donny-poo’s impulsive, puerile and emotional tweeting exacerbates his flaws. He lacks executive function and strikes out childishly. Let us stop to pity those who admire his unfiltered Twitter thumbing.

He insults many, domestic and foreign. He ensures enemies for himself and the nation. He seems incapable of admitting the many times he has been wrong, and of apologizing. Anyone raised well, anyone you could trust socially, and anyone mature would not communicate these ways.

Instead, he falls into the trust-your-gut and go-with-your-instincts mind. Rather replace mind with emotions.

He has already irritated and offended various powerful foreign leaders, save Russia’s Vladimir Putin. His playing the courtier in Moscow is its own issue and problem. Otherwise, we shall feel and face effects of his clumsiness with the others.

What the World Sees

Perhaps we should not cry doom and destruction yet. After all, world leaders made it very plain that W. Bush was a clod and ass. They thought ill of us for electing him and despised us after his two prolonged and bloody wars.

We rejoined the smart-nation club with the Obama administration.

Now we are back at the international dinner’s kiddy table. We have an immature, emotional, dumb President. We are to be pitied.

I suspect that our international peers, partners and foes:

  1. Will revel in schadenfreude at the mess we have gotten ourselves into with a stupid, emotional leader
  2. Will learn  to discount Trump’s puerile tweets, much as they do with Kim Jong-un’s bluster. “He doesn’t mean it or know what he’s saying (read, “America doesn’t…”)”
  3. Will accept that our nation has been degraded by promoting an incompetent POTUS, thus devaluing America

Other democratic nations have elected incompetent and nasty heads of state, and again, we did it recently with Bush 43. We likely shall never fully recover from the disgrace of Trump. Yet unless everyone in Congress and around him fails in their duty, we likely shall survive four years of his bungling. Then as usual, Dems and other adults will set to work righting the ship of state.

 

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Fat Finger of Blame, Dems

None of us has enough fingers to point for Hillary’s loss. The blame goes everywhere from her to DNC officials to gerrymandering to the FBI to disaffected white women to skewed media coverage and on and on and on.

Honest to God, I’m sick of each and every pundit and other BS artist who has the definitive “insight.”

Few point to the most apparent factor — sexism. There’s a palpable joke that this go-round American voters who went for for the African-American MAN in ’08 and ’12 did not vote for the (any color) WOMAN. Let me play Capt’n Obvious here.

What’s a Democrat to do? What are all the combined Democrats to do?

Not Like the Other

Since FDR’s time, we can see that Dems and Republicans treat these campaigns and voters differently. President-elect Donald J. Trump may not be a Republican in any real sense, yet his behavior suits the GOP. He’s an anti-democracy, anti-American, zero-sum-game scoundrel.

Opposed to this win-at-all-costs attitude, Dems do what they did in Obama’s terms, or Carter’s for that matter. Liberal/progressive types do not tend to play a zero-sum game and more important, they can be much more introspective as a group.

For the latter point, start thinking of the Republican autopsy after the 2012 election. The GOP’s G.O.P. (growth and opportunity project) detailed:

  1. Why the electorate reelected Obama
  2. What the GOP would have to do going forward to sync with changing national demographics

The party did none of the essential steps. They lucked out big time, this one last time.

While it is and will continue to be less essential, as it has been for nearly a century, white women elect the President. They are, for the moment, the largest voting bloc, and they tend to turn out. Praise or blame white women for what we get. Sure, this time, their hubbies, sons, and beaux polled more for Trump than the women, but a much smaller percentage of them cast ballots.

2016 almost surely is the last time demographics allow this.That should work strongly in Dems’ favor. There are more and more people of color annually, a trend that only accelerates. White folk just can’t stop dying either, so the more conservative, even reactionary voters are a dwindling party.

Moreover, there’s no way in hell Trump’s dumb doctrinaire band of bozos will be able to deliver on his pledges to return jobs (largely to now dead industries), to renegotiate defense and economic treaties, to build the fantasy 2,000-mile wall and on and on. Sure, he can start by blaming each failure on inherited conditions or China or terrorists or this or that. As the impotent lack of solutions pile in huge heaps, voters will not be please. They’ll finally see they were conned. Then it’s time for more elections.

Now What?

Yet expect the Dems to visit the oracles (and pollsters and academics), have myriad focus groups, and create their own postmortem. Unlike the Republican Pooh-Bahs though, they are far more likely to act on the consensus findings.

That’s a bit silly in a way. Putting on my sparkly pundit robe and cap, I see a narrow loss, with Hillary snagging up to 2 million more votes, the House losing a few seats to Dems, and the Senate damned close. They could continue to do more of the same and expect to win the next POTUS vote, or two or three.

On the other hand, the GOP skunked them in 2010 and 2012 with their REDMAP project that grabbed state-level control in the 32 states that do their own redistricting. Hence, the Republicans were smarter than Democrats here. They got to gerrymander, and gamed the hell of the system following the last Census. Dems have much to atone for here.

I predict here when the Dems get control on Congress again, both houses, they still won’t be the asses GOP legislators have been at state and Congressional levels. They won’t obstruct the President. I am sure Republican voters as well as pols will view this as a sign of weakness. Dems are not in the mold of Conan the Barbarian.

 

 

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Dems, what is best in life?

Apropos dialog from the 1982 flick Conan the Barbarian:

Mongol General: Conan! What is best in life?
Conan: Crush your enemies. See them driven before you. Hear the lamentations of their women.
Mongol General: That is good! That is good.

Consider the Democratic Party’s plight and tasks and think back to the 2012 Republican autopsy, a.k.a. the 100-page Growth and Opportunity Project report. Conan’s methods and goals fit with neither the Dem modus operandi nor with the GOP’s G.O.P. report. Don’t expect heads and machers of either party to change soon. There in lies the huge opportunity for lefties.

First be very aware that under the Trump campaign, both he and the party ignored the report. That called for being inclusive and considerate of the likes of Latinos and women. Ha!

Instead and likely to their long-term detriment, the GOP rode a national bronco bucking for change. They lost a little in the Senate and the House, but kept control of both as well as winning the White House. A sharp irony in that is that Trump/change supporters hated the establishment insiders but largely kept them in office. The do-nothing wastrels in Congress are headed back. Huh?

So, a non-Republican, non-conservative Donald Trump becomes POTUS. The GOP has a huge disincentive to really change for future elections, demographic trends, and a nation increasingly out of sync with both old-style Republicans and the current pseudo-populism of Trump.

Now the Dems take their turn at rending their garments and watering their Merlot with losers’ tears. They too are choosing new party functionaries and will certainly produce a report and plan.

Same. Same. Right? No, when it’s the Dems’ turn, expect:

  • Explicit acknowledgement of failure to counter the 2010-11 GOP REDMAP strategy to control the governorships and legislatures in the 32 states that directly control redistricting following the decennial Census. The GOP gerrymandered the crap out of America.
  • Belated plans to turn the tables for the 2020 Census.
  • A much less Conan attitude toward gerrymandering. Specifically the Dems’ nature would have them return a fairly proportioned set of electoral maps in those 32 states instead of a crush-you-enemy one as the GOP did.
  • A coordinated Party response to the resulting report, rather than the GOP’s circular-file one.
  • Cleaning house at the Democratic National Committee to broom out the incompetent insiders who scuttled Bernie Sanders and otherwise played dirty pool throughout the campaign.

High-speed catch-up

To use the phrase of the year, Republicans rigged the House in their gerrymandering effort. Dems will have to trifurcate. They need to do all necessary to replicate the GOP state-level successes. They simultaneously need snag a dozen or more House seats in the 2018 mid-terms. Meanwhile, a separate group has to ID several top-notch 2020 POTUS possibles.

Unfortunately for Dems, their counterparts were ahead of them in realizing the potential of the internet and social media. The lefties caught up and learned how to link those technologies with voter data to leapfrog. Fortunately for Dems, they tend to be smarter. I would look for rapid advances to outdo REDMAP in the next foru years. They may not totally dominate state governors, and they may only get a narrow majority in the House, but then again, they are not crush-your-enemy sorts.

They’ll have to focus and develop big and small strategies and tactics. I suspect they’ll be up for it.

Their other advantage that should emerge in the first year of the Age of Trump will almost surely be the combined patterns of history and crackpot plans of the administration. We know going back to at least Harding that Republican administrations tank the ecoomy or at least deliver weakened tangibles — job growth, GDP growth, debt levels and more.

The millions who deluded themselves that if only Trump and the GOP had control the economy would soar, are certain to turn on him and his state-level pols.

 

 

 

 

trails

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