Republicans are paying the Trump tax

Trump’s political strategy is failing. Given the relative strength of the economy, Republicans should be polling a LOT better than they have been. Ezra Klein compares present-day polls with past research done in the midterms in other elections, and finds a big gap. Obama in particular was significantly more popular with 10% employment than Republicans are at less than 4%.[Ezra Klein/Vox]

Trump’s dog

Trump Has Found His Roy Cohn in Matt Whitaker [Jonathan Chait/New York Magazine]

With Matt Whitaker, Trump has an attorney general that will allow Trump to place himself above the law and commit any crime with impunity.

The archconservative new acting attorney general has run for office and appears to see his future in Republican politics. As a candidate, he publicly declared that judges should be “people of faith” who had “a biblical view of justice.” In practical terms, he has interpreted the biblical view of justice the way most of his fellow Christian conservatives do: a combination of stern, Old Testament punishments meted out to Democrats combined with New Testament forgiveness toward any sin by a Republican.

Whitaker has publicly attacked the FBI for failing to indict Hillary Clinton for using a personal email. He defended Donald Trump Jr.’s decision to meet with a Russian operative promising dirt on Hillary Clinton. He opposed the appointment of a special counsel to investigate Russian election interference (“Hollow calls for independent prosecutors are just craven attempts to score cheap political points and serve the public in no measurable way.”) Whitaker has called on Rod Rosenstein to curb Mueller’s investigation, and specifically declared Trump’s finances (which include dealings with Russia) off-limits. He has urged Trump’s lawyers not to cooperate with Mueller’s “lynch mob”…

… having been installed in the Department of Justice, Whitaker has reportedly operated as a kind of White House spy to keep tabs on officials who might be suspiciously independent of Trump. Trump’s Chief of Staff John Kelly “has privately described [Whitaker] as the West Wing’s ‘eyes and ears”’ in a department the president has long considered at war with him”….

Don’t forget 2016

The Democrats should win but, as in 2016, what should happen may well not. “If the Republicans win, the question will be: how on earth can the Democrats prevent a second Trump term? If the Democrats win, take over Congress, and Robert Mueller’s expanding FBI investigation proceeds unhindered, the question will be: what might a desperate, sinking Trump do to save himself?” (The Guardian)

We have always been at war with Eastasia

Republicans really want you to think Kavanaugh wasn’t credibly accused of attempted rape. Two believable women accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault. A reasonable person might believe that’s not enough to deny him the Supreme Court nomination. But Republicans want you to believe there was never anything to the charges and that’s a damn lie.

Also, don’t ever forget that two dozen believable woman say the President — Kavanaugh’s top cheerleader — sexually assaulted them. (ThinkProgress)