Background checks alone don’t significantly reduce gun violence. [German Lopez] https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2019/1/9/18171909/universal-background-checks-hr-8-gun-violence-democrats
State Sen. Kevin de León of Los Angeles, who failed to unseat Dianne Feinstein in November, is considering running for chair of the state Democratic Party. https://timesofsandiego.com/politics/2019/01/06/after-loss-to-feinstein-de-leon-may-seek-california-democratic-party-chair/
Our political divisions aren’t red versus blue, but fixed versus fluid. Republicans are wary of change, Democrats embrace it. [Ezra Klein/Vox]
Discussed in this article but only partly explained: Why Republicans are so much more likely to believe lies and bullshit. The Republicans are the party of climate change skeptics, anti-vaxxers, and birtherism. Some Democrats believe crazy things too, but the Republicans made Fox News their favorite channel and elected an idiot conspiracy theorist as President.
Uncle Joe’s platform: “Biden offers true back-to-basics economic populism…. focused on workers and students rather than the poorest of the poor, and careful to avoid any hint of middle-class tax hikes or racial divisiveness.”
Republicans changed the political rules. Democrats need to stop playing the old game. “The Republicans are behaving like a party that believes it will never be held accountable for anything they’re doing, and so far they haven’t been..”
How did Democrats lose the 2016 election? “The candidates, campaigns, and conditions that led to America’s worst person becoming president.”
Common wisdom is that the Democrats lost because they ran a flawed candidate. But Hillary Clinton was hugely popular before the election began. She was the most admired woman in the world.
And not just the right – also, moderate, older Democrats.
I love her. Moderate, older Democrats are destroying the party. Moderate, older Democrats cost the party the two houses of Congress, the judiciary, two thirds of the states, and they’re on their way to losing the courts. If the moderate, older Democrats have their way, the Democratic Party will be a powerless third party, sitting at the kiddie table with the Libertarians and the Greens. Time for change.
Democrats’ failure to take the Senate could tie the party’s hands through 2022; even a Democratic President in 2020 won’t be able to pass much legislation or get judicial appointments past the Republican roadblock. [Dylan Matthews/Vox]
If you’re eligible to vote in the US you need to get out and do it. Otherwise, you’re not allowed to enjoy any of the vintage ads and retro photos I post here. I’ve got some great ones queued for Thanksgiving – don’t miss out!
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)
I’m a Clinton supporter, as you know. But what may not be entirely clear is that I don’t just support her because the alternative is Trump.
That is a sufficient reason to support Clinton. That is a sufficient reason to support anyone. If the Democrats were running a chimpanzee against Trump, I’d support the chimpanzee.
And yet there’s more to it with me and Clinton. I think she’ll be a good president. Or, to be more precise, I think she has the POTENTIAL to be a good president. Maybe even one of our greatest Presidents, on a caliber with the Roosevelts and Harry S. Truman.
I got in a conversation with a Clinton-hater the other day, who declared that she is the most paranoid Presidential candidate since Richard Nixon, and her administration would quickly, like Nixon’s second term, become paralyzed by scandals of her own invention.
Since then, I’ve surprised myself to find I agree with my friend. She IS paranoid. Justifiably so, given her career of being dogged by Republicans who make up lies about her and spread them to millions of willing supporters. Republicans lied that she’s a closet lesbian, they lied that she murdered Vince Foster, they lied that she made money on insider real estate deals in Arkansas (in fact the Clintons LOST money). They lied that she faked being sick during the first Benghazi hearings, and they are lying now that she is faking being essentially healthy other than pneumonia that she’ll get over. Republicans lie that she has somehow coopted three Republican prosecutors who have cleared her of wrongdoing that would get anybody else thrown in prison. Etc. etc. etc. I’m sure there’s a list somewhere of all the Republican lies about Hillary Clinton.
And yet paranoia would be Clinton’s undoing. Even if it is justified.
There’s an old joke that goes: Are you paranoid if they really ARE out to get you? That’s supposed to be a rhetorical question, with the answer: No. Paranoia, according to the premise of the joke, is the DELUSION of persecution. No delusion, no paranoia.
But the reality is you can be both paranoid and persecuted. And that’s Clinton’s problem.
Given what a complete asshole Trump is, Clinton should be doing a lot better.
Jeremy Stahl, Slate:
Rudy Giuliani got a lot of grief on Monday for having supposedly forgotten about the Sept. 11 attacks that took place when he was mayor of New York City and formed a not insignificant portion of the basis for his national political career.
During a speech introducing Donald Trump’s vice presidential nominee Mike Pence in Youngstown, Ohio, Giuliani said: “Under those eight years, before Obama came along, we didn’t have any successful radical Islamic terrorist attack in the United States. They all started when [Hillary] Clinton and Obama got into office.”
This led to some hyperventilating on Twitter from outlets saying that Giuliani was ignoring 9/11 (something Giuliani is normally not accused of doing).
This whole story has been a series of embarrassments. Several media outlets, including CNN, inaccurately reported that Giuliani said the US had never been attacked by Islamic fanatics before Obama, which would be an absurd thing to say. But Giuliani doesn’t seem to have said that.
What Giuliani seems to have actually said was that the US wasn’t successfully attacked in eight years prior to Obama taking office. Which is technically untrue — 9/11 was about eight months short of eight years.
But the real problem is that Giuliani is promulgating the bullshit Republican narrative, also promoted by Jeb Bush during the primary, that somehow 9/11 doesn’t count against Bush or the Republicans, while the attacks on American soil since 9/11 completely discredit Obama and the Democrats.
She was just ducking questions from reporters, like she does, says Lisa Lerer at the AP — who was there and who’s unwillingly become prime evidence in the Clinton/seizure conspiracy theory.
Eric Lichtblau, The New York Times:
WASHINGTON — A new batch of State Department emails released Tuesday showed the close and sometimes overlapping interests between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department when Hillary Clinton served as secretary of state.
The documents raised new questions about whether the charitable foundation worked to reward its donors with access and influence at the State Department, a charge that Mrs. Clinton has faced in the past and has always denied.
In one email exchange, for instance, an executive at the Clinton Foundation in 2009 sought to put a billionaire donor in touch with the United States ambassador to Lebanon because of the donor’s interests there.
These allegations are enormous, pointing to potential criminal activity on the part of the Clintons. Or activity that should be criminal — but, sadly, US election laws have legalized bribery.
In a normal election, this would be the most important issue and would prove fatal to the Clinton campaign. However, this is no normal election — to put it mildly — and I’m currently expecting a blowout victory for Clinton. And this election is so crazy that I expect I will actually be happy about that victory.
Scalzi weighs in: Clinton and the Convention and Where We Go From Here
Great points, and my title for this post is a paraphrase from him. Trump and the Republicans were unable to “even handle a four-day self-advertisement,” Scalzi notes. All the GOP had to do was put a parade of luminaries on stage who would all praise and endorse Trump and attack the Democrats. Instead, they had a line-up of reality TV freaks, D-list celebrities, and has-beens (Scott Baio? Chachi Loves Donnie?). One of their headliners — Ted Cruz — pointedly failed to endorse Trump, which Trump’s campaign was shocked, shocked to discover, even though they had approved his speech in advance.
By contrast, the Democratic convention got off to a pratfall, but then operated like clockwork. As Scalzi notes: That doesn’t prove Clinton will make a good president, but at least she and her team could run a successful convention.
Scalzi errs by labeling Trump supporters as crazies, bigots and haters. They’re not. They’re desperate — and rightly so. Hillary Clinton is the culmination of 30 years of American leaders’ failure to serve the American people. I’ll vote for her — and do it hopefully — because the alternative is crazy incompetence. Or maybe I’ll just vote for the Libertarian ticket, not because I’m a libertarian, but because they’ve got two guys there who seem to have done a good job of running their states pretty well.
A person who is dying of cancer, and who has been failed by Western medicine may turn to alternative medicine not because they’re a believer, but because they don’t think they’ve got anything to lose.
Democrats are complacent about beating back the Sanders insurgency and gleefully watching the Republican Party tear itself apart. But the Sanders campaign wasn’t a freak led by a Washington maverick. It was an uprising of fed up voters, as the Trump campaign had been. The Democrats shouldn’t be complacent. They’re next.
If they had any brains, Beltway Dems and their clucky sycophants … would not be celebrating this week. They ought to be horrified to their marrow that the all-powerful Democratic Party ended up having to dig in for a furious rally to stave off a quirky Vermont socialist almost completely lacking big-dollar donors or institutional support. …
But to read the papers in the last two days is to imagine that we didn’t just spend a year witnessing the growth of a massive grassroots movement fueled by loathing of the party establishment….
The twin insurgencies of Trump and Sanders this year were equally a blistering referendum on Beltway politics. But the major-party leaders and the media mouthpieces they hang out with can’t see this, because … Washington culture is too far up its own backside to see much of anything at all.
[Matt Taibbi/Rolling Stone]
Bernie Sanders Meets President Obama and Pledges to Work to Defeat Donald Trump [Alan Rappeport and Julie Hirschfeld Davis – The New York Times]
Sanders wants to do what’s right for America. Trump must be spanked and sent to bed without supper in order to get anything else done
TIME asked the campaign of Bernie Sanders, Clinton’s Democratic rival in the New York primary Tuesday, if he also likes to feel the condiment burn. “His bold ideas are his hot sauce,” responded spokesman Michael Briggs.
Asked if Bernie Sanders also eats hot sauce, a spokesman said, "His bold ideas are his hot sauce." It burns, yo. https://t.co/MvQH1Il3O1
— michaelscherer (@michaelscherer) April 18, 2016
Ted Cruz knows he can’t win the primary, but he’s got a good shot at the nomination if the Republican National Convention can’t decide on Trump on the first ballot. And he’s got a good shot at making that happen.
As a Democrat, I like Cruz as the GOP candidate. He has all of Trump’s problems without Trump’s charisma and appeal to working people.
I see a good chance that Trump and Cruz might unite. The name-calling and dirty politics would be forgotten. These men are pros, they know it just goes with the game.
On the other hand, I don’t see either Trump or Cruz settling for the vice presidency.
‘Bathroom law’ puts North Carolina governor in crossfire of GOP civil war [James Hohmann – The Washington Post]
The bathroom law isn’t just unfair to trans people. It’s ridiculous, and its supporters are insane. Trans people aren’t preying on children or anybody else in women’s bathrooms. It doesn’t happen. It’s an imaginary threat.
And that’s why I’m a Democrat. The Democrats are wrong but the Republicans are fucking nuts.
At least that’s the impression I get skimming the news. I take it with a grain of salt.
It’s not surprising. Trump has been playing Russian roulette. A guy playing Russian roulette might get lucky for a while and dazzle onlookers. But eventually he’s going to blow his own head off if he keeps going.
I’m trying to remind myself that it’s better for America – and the world – if Trump is stopped sooner rather than later. Part of me wants him to take the Republican nomination, which would open the door for the Democrats to win the White House and sweep all the way down the ballot, including both houses of Congress and state houses.
Not that I love the Democrats much. But they’re better than the GOP. It’s a step in the right direction.