Opinion | Trump’s Nightmare Opponents – Amy Klobuchar and Sherrod Brown – By David Leonhardt – The New York Times

By David Leonhardt
Opinion Columnist

Feb. 10, 2019, 1090

Senator Amy Klobuchar announced her presidential candidacy on Sunday in Minneapolis.CreditCreditStephen Maturen/Getty Images

A few weeks ago, the pollsters at Monmouth University asked Democrats across the country to choose between two different kinds of nominees. One was a candidate whom the voter agreed with on most issues but who might struggle to beat President Trump. The other was the reverse — a strong candidate with different views from those of the person being polled.

It was a rout. About 56 percent preferred the more electable candidate, compared with 33 percent who picked the more ideologically in-sync candidate. The gap was even larger among women and liberal Democrats. Patrick Murray, who runs the Monmouth poll, points out that this pattern isn’t normal. In previous campaigns, voters cared more about ideology than electability.

I think there are two main reasons for the switch. The first, of course, is the awfulness of the Trump presidency. But the less obvious reason is important too: The differences among most of the leading Democratic presidential candidates just aren’t very big right now.”

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Opinion | Family Ties at the Supreme Court – By Linda Greenhouse – The New York Times

Ginni Thomas at the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2017. She recently met with President Trump to discuss why transgender people shouldn’t serve in the military.

By Linda Greenhouse
Contributing Opinion Writer

Jan. 31, 2019, 231 c

“Let Ginni be Ginni.

That was my first thought upon seeing the headline in The Times this past weekend: “Trump Meets With Hard-Right Group Led by Ginni Thomas.” Ginni Thomas — or Virginia Lamp, as I knew her years ago when she was a smart lawyer-lobbyist working for the United States Chamber of Commerce against passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act — is married to the Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas.

These days, she is also an activist on the far-right fringe of the Republican Party. In recent months, she has denounced the student survivors of the Parkland, Fla., school shooting who are campaigning for gun control as “dangerous to the survival of our nation” (in a later deleted Facebook post). In a speech bestowing an award on Sean Hannity, the Fox News personality, she warned fellow conservatives against being “complicit as the left moves its forces across the country.” According to the Times account of last week’s White House meeting, to which she brought fellow members of a group called Groundswell, the topics discussed included why women and transgender people should not be permitted to serve in the military and how same-sex marriage is damaging the country.

It hardly needs saying that modern families are complicated. A few administrations ago, it was tempting to conclude that presidential siblings had an unusual proclivity for getting into embarrassing scrapes. The day when wives of powerful men were expected to do little more than serve tea and look decorative has, thankfully, passed. “We have our separate professional lives,” Ms. Thomas said during the 2000 presidential election stalemate, when asked about her work for the Heritage Foundation compiling résumés for a potential Bush administration while the Supreme Court was deciding the outcome of the election. (She said her effort was bipartisan.)

But while my feminist sensibilities make me wary of suggesting that Ginni Thomas should not be completely free to embrace her causes and live her life, there’s something troublesome about the unbounded nature of her public advocacy, at least for those of us who still care about the Supreme Court. It’s hard to think of a more delicate moment for the court, pressed at every turn by an administration that seems to regard it as a wholly owned subsidiary of the White House and that has driven the normally reticent chief justice to declare, “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges.” Chief Justice John Roberts did not say “justices.” He didn’t have to. The question now is whether his colleagues on the bench — his own and all the others — will show him to be right, or sadly naïve.”

Lovely piece by Linda Greenhouse. Here is my favorit comment as far as I read them:

ChristineMcM
Massachusetts

“It’s hard to think of a more delicate moment for the court, pressed at every turn by an administration that seems to regard it as a wholly owned subsidiary of the White House and that has driven the normally reticent chief justice to declare, “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges.”” Yes, Ginni Thomas seems to have only broken laws of good taste, but consider that within the growing body of evidence that “norms-busting” is threatening our social fabric. Civility and propriety have gone missing in our politics, media, and culture. I’m beginning to wonder if America as we knew it before Mr. Trump foisted himself 24/7 on our national consciousness will ever return? My problem with Ginni Thomas is the double standard that Congress and media consensus seems to apply to behavior that gets condoned in Republicans who would never allow the same if done by Democrats. Ms. Greenhouse says, let “Ginni be Ginni.” But when this opinionated lawyer-lobbyist throws herself at the White House, espousing religious and judicial views she has no business pushing, I think the American public deserve to know why. Because of her husband, Ginni grabs access to the president none of us have, despite our own strong views on the subject of civil liberties for all. Maybe she broke no rules in the strictest legal sense, but she sure has broken the boundaries of fairness.

Pete Buttigieg- Mayor of South Bend- Ind.- Joins Democratic 2020 Race – By Alexander Burns – The New York Times

By Alexander Burns
Jan. 23, 2019

“Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Ind., announced on Wednesday that he was entering the Democratic presidential primary, embarking on a long-shot campaign that may test the appeal of a youthful, Midwestern profile over more traditional qualifications for the presidency.

In an email to potential supporters, Mr. Buttigieg (he pronounces it BOOT-edge-edge) said he was forming an exploratory committee and cast himself as a candidate of the future, stressing his generational identity and calling for policies “untethered to the politics of the past” on issues like climate and economic opportunity.

“What will America look like in 2054, when I reach the age of the current president?” Mr. Buttigieg said. “How will we look back on 2020?”

[Follow the Democratic presidential field with our new candidate tracker]

He also released an introductory video.

Pete Buttigieg

@PeteButtigieg
I launched a presidential exploratory committee because it is a season for boldness and it is time to focus on the future. Are you ready to walk away from the politics of the past?

Join the team at http://www.peteforamerica.com .

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A veteran of the war in Afghanistan, Mr. Buttigieg was a consultant at McKinsey before entering politics.

Biden’s Paid Speech Buoyed the G.O.P. in Midwest Battleground – By Alexander Burns – The New York Times

.By Alexander Burns
Jan. 23, 2019, 214

“Joseph R. Biden Jr. swept into Benton Harbor, Mich., three weeks before the November elections, in the midst of his quest to reclaim the Midwest for Democrats. He took the stage at Lake Michigan College as Representative Fred Upton, a long-serving Republican from the area, faced the toughest race of his career.

But Mr. Biden was not there to denounce Mr. Upton. Instead, he was collecting $200,000 from the Economic Club of Southwestern Michigan to address a Republican-leaning audience, according to a speaking contract obtained by The New York Times and interviews with organizers. The group, a business-minded civic organization, is supported in part by an Upton family foundation.

Mr. Biden stunned Democrats and elated Republicans by praising Mr. Upton while the lawmaker looked on from the audience. Alluding to Mr. Upton’s support for a landmark medical-research law, Mr. Biden called him a champion in the fight against cancer — and “one of the finest guys I’ve ever worked with.”

Mr. Biden’s remarks, coming amid a wide-ranging discourse on American politics, quickly appeared in Republican advertising. The local Democratic Party pleaded with Mr. Biden to repair what it saw as a damaging error, to no avail. On Nov. 6, Mr. Upton defeated his Democratic challenger by four and a half percentage points.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | Pending Approval
Before weighing in, I asked google, what is Fred Upton’s positon on Climate Change. It turns out he is a Koch brothers hand.
From ThinkgProgress.org, “A prominent critic of the Climate Solutions Caucus was not impressed with Upton’s decision to join the panel. “Upton, a well-oiled favorite of the Koch brothers, has a long record of abusing his leadership positions on the House Energy Committee to deny the existence of climate change, promote Arctic drilling, and to vote against light bulb efficiency regulations that he originally supported,” said R.L. Miller, co-founder of Climate Hawks Vote, a grassroots-funded group that supports candidates and elected officials whom it identifies as making climate change a top priority.

Miller noted that her group endorsed Upton’s Democratic challenger, Paul Clements, in Upton’s reelection bid in 2014. “The only thing we want to do with Fred Upton is this: vote him out,” Miller said.”
Joe Biden was my very first choice for President in 2020, but this news in unacceptable. Global Warming and overpopulation are repulsive problems that must be addressed before it is too late. My old friend Joe justs doesn’t get it. He smiles at Al Gore, but doesn’t understand a word that great leader has said. Thank you for your serviced Joe, and have a good retirement.

Opinion | Borderline Insanity – By The Editorial – BoardThe New York Times

By The Editorial Board
The editorial board represents the opinions of the board, its editor and the publisher. It is separate from the newsroom and the Op-Ed section.

Jan. 7, 2019, 1955 c
Image
CreditCreditGiulia Sagramola

“As the government shutdown over President Trump’s demand for border-wall funding moves through week three, the administration is looking to cut a deal with Democrats by emphasizing the deepening humanitarian crisis at the border — a crisis caused in large part by this administration’s inhumane policies, political grandstanding and managerial incompetence.

In a letter Sunday to lawmakers, the White House laid out its latest proposal for addressing the border tumult. The administration called for more immigration and Border Patrol agents, more detention beds and, of course, $5.7 billion to build 234 new miles of border wall. The White House also demanded an additional $800 million for “urgent humanitarian needs,” such as medical support, transportation and temporary facilities for processing and housing detainees.

Translation: Mr. Trump’s mass incarceration of migrant families is overwhelming an already burdened system that, without a giant injection of taxpayer dollars, will continue to collapse, leading to ever more human suffering.

The situation is an especially rich example of the Trump Doctrine: Break something, then demand credit — and in this case a lot of money — for promising to fix it.”

Opinion | The People vs. Donald J. Trump – By David Leonhardt – The New York Times

By David Leonhardt
Opinion Columnist, Jan. 5, 2019, 2433 comments
Credit
Mike McQuade, photograph by Damon Winter/The New York Times

“The presidential oath of office contains 35 words and one core promise: to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” Since virtually the moment Donald J. Trump took that oath two years ago, he has been violating it.

He has repeatedly put his own interests above those of the country. He has used the presidency to promote his businesses. He has accepted financial gifts from foreign countries. He has lied to the American people about his relationship with a hostile foreign government. He has tolerated cabinet officials who use their position to enrich themselves.

To shield himself from accountability for all of this — and for his unscrupulous presidential campaign — he has set out to undermine the American system of checks and balances. He has called for the prosecution of his political enemies and the protection of his allies. He has attempted to obstruct justice. He has tried to shake the public’s confidence in one democratic institution after another, including the press, federal law enforcement and the federal judiciary.

The unrelenting chaos that Trump creates can sometimes obscure the big picture. But the big picture is simple: The United States has never had a president as demonstrably unfit for the office as Trump. And it’s becoming clear that 2019 is likely to be dominated by a single question: What are we going to do about it?”

“, , , , ,Consider the following descriptions of Trump: “terribly unfit;” “erratic;” “reckless;” “impetuous;” “unstable;” “a pathological liar;” “dangerous to a democracy;” a concern to “anyone who cares about our nation.” Every one of these descriptions comes from a Republican member of Congress or of Trump’s own administration.

They know. They know he is unfit for office. They do not need to be persuaded of the truth. They need to be persuaded to act on it.

Democrats won’t persuade them by impeaching Trump. Doing so would probably rally the president’s supporters. It would shift the focus from Trump’s behavior toward a group of Democratic leaders whom Republicans are never going to like. A smarter approach is a series of sober-minded hearings to highlight Trump’s misconduct. Democrats should focus on easily understandable issues most likely to bother Trump’s supporters, like corruption.

If this approach works at all — or if Mueller’s findings shift opinion, or if a separate problem arises, like the economy — Trump’s Republican allies will find themselves in a very difficult spot. At his current approval rating of about 40 percent, Republicans were thumped in the midterms. Were his rating to fall further, a significant number of congressional Republicans would be facing long re-election odds in 2020.”

Opinion | White Identity Politics Aren’t Going Anywhere – By Thomas B. Edsall – The New York Times

How should Democrats understand — and confront — them?

By Thomas B. Edsall
Mr. Edsall contributes a weekly column from Washington, D.C. on politics, demographics and inequality.

Dec. 20, 2018, .137

Image
Voters at Merry Acres Middle School in Albany, Ga. on Nov. 6, 2018CreditCreditRuth Fremson/The New York Times

“For 50 years Republicans have battered the Democratic coalition, wielding the so-called southern strategy — built on racism and overlaid with opposition to immigration — to win control of the White House and one or both chambers of Congress.

At the same time, Democrats have struggled to piece together a coalition strong enough to deliver an Election Day majority. In the 1950s, the Democratic coalition was 87 percent white and 13 percent minority, according to the American National Election Studies; it is now 59 percent white and 41 percent minority, according to Pew Research.

As the Democratic Party has evolved from an overwhelmingly white party to a party with a huge minority base, the dominant strategic problem has become the tenuous balance between the priorities of its now equally indispensable white and minority wings.

President Trump has aggressively exploited Democratic vulnerabilities as no previous Republican candidate had dared to do. The frontal attack Trump has engineered — in part by stigmatizing “political correctness” — has had a dual effect, throwing Democrats back on their heels while simultaneously whetting their appetite for a fight.

“. . . In other words, pro-immigration, pro-diversity Democrats face clear obstacles breaking the Republican hold on white voters — and a challenge in repelling Trump’s race-and-immigration-focused offensive. Still, the accumulating insights on how and where Republicans have successfully worked these levers may help demonstrate — as President Barack Obama, President Bill Clinton and the results of this year’s midterm elections prove — that these obstacles are not insuperable and that they can be overcome.”

Opinion | The Midwest’s Sore Losers -By David Leonhardt – The New York Times

By David Leonhardt
Opinion Columnist, Dec. 4, 2018

Image
Opponents of a Republican-submitted measure to undermine Wisconsin’s incoming Democratic governor protested outside the state capitol in Madison, Wis., on Monday.CreditCreditJohn Hart/Wisconsin State Journal, via Associated Press

“The Republican Party continues to show an alarming disrespect for democracy. It’s evident right now in Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio and Missouri, and I’ll get to the details in a moment.

But I first want to emphasize that I’m not talking about normal right-versus-left policy disagreements here. I happen to disagree with the Republican Party’s position on tax policy, for example. But there is nothing inherently anti-democratic about its position. The same goes for much of the rest of the Republican agenda: restricting abortion, passing pro-gun laws, reducing immigration, cutting health care programs and so on.

What’s happening in those four states right now is different. It is an anti-democratic power grab. It is qualitatively different from the usual lawmaking that occurs during so-called lame-duck sessions, just after an election.”

Opinion | Donald Trump’s Dimming Prospects – By Thomas B. Edsall – The New York Times

By Thomas B. Edsall
Mr. Edsall contributes a weekly column from Washington, D.C. on politics, demographics and inequality.,  Nov. 29, 2018, 301


Supporters of Kyrsten Sinema, the Democratic Senate candidate in Arizona, await election results in Phoenix on Nov. 6. Ms. Sinema won.
Credit
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

“Now that the midterm elections have been digested — and looked at up, down and sideways — some patterns that might dim President Trump’s re-election prospects have begun to emerge.

Catalist, a for-profit data firm founded in 2006 by the Democratic campaign strategists Harold Ickes and Laura Quinn, has become a go-to source of voter and donor information for liberal and progressive organizations.

During and after the 2018 elections, the firm conducted a study of the electorate to determine favorable and unfavorable developments important to its clients.

Catalist found that between 2014 and 2018 white voters aged 18 to 44 shifted sharply in favor of the Democrats. In 2014, whites 18 to 29 supported Democrat candidates by one percentage point; in 2018, these young white voters backed Democrats by 26 points, a substantial 25-point swing.”

Hillary Clinton Says Europe Must ‘Get a Handle’ on Migration to Thwart Populism – Matt Stevens- Megan Specia and Patrick Kingsley -The New York Times

By
Nov. 22, 2018, 375

“Europe’s leaders need to send a much stronger message that they will no longer offer “refuge and support” to migrants if they want to curb the right-wing populism spreading across the Continent, Hillary Clinton warned in an interview published Thursday.

Mrs. Clinton said that while the decision of some nations to welcome migrants was admirable, it had opened the door to political turmoil, the rise of the right and Britain’s decision to withdraw from the European Union.

“I think Europe needs to get a handle on migration because that is what lit the flame,” Mrs. Clinton said in the interview with The Guardian, which was conducted before the United States midterm elections this month.

“I admire the very generous and compassionate approaches that were taken particularly by leaders like Angela Merkel, but I think it is fair to say Europe has done its part, and must send a very clear message — ‘we are not going to be able to continue provide refuge and support’ — because if we don’t deal with the migration issue it will continue to roil the body politic,” she said.”

David Lindsay Jr.
Hamden, CT | Pending Approval
Here are the top comments at the NYT which I endorsed:
Frankster
Paris
Times Pick

I absolutely cannot understand that a simple factual observation by Hillary Clinton provokes this controversy. The Democratic Party lost the election by pretending that this issue didn’t exist. The Democrats lost contact with their electorate and remember, the United States is, still, a democracy. Those who do not want to restrict this kind of immigration all go to the same parties but that does not make their views a majority view.

JP commented 7 hours ago

JP
MorroBay

I am no big fan of Hillary’s, but she’s absolutely right on this one. Europe is absolutely not able to handle refugees in these numbers, nor from ME countries. They’re full up, resources are getting tight, government services are strained, and their cultures are not going to change at such a rapid pace. Merkel made a huge miscalculation, as elites in government will typically do, living in their security bubbles and upper social stratum. Things are changing folks, the planet is overpopulated, resource depletion is upon us, and the world’s leaders need to take note. Birth control, fixing failed ME and Central American states, cleaning up pollution, and preserving our remaining important resources must become paramount if we’re going to survive. Unfettered capitalism, rampant depletion of nonrenewables, and dumping toxins into the ground, air and water for short term profit must be reined in. We are headed for authoritarian rule and back to survival of the fittest unless we change course, and the sooner the better.

Lloyd Sullivan commented 6 hours ago

Lloyd Sullivan
Henderson, NV
Times Pick

Hillary has gotten it wrong for much of her political career, but she got this one right and, amazingly, she didn’t opt for the politically correct line. There are 7 billion people on the planet, going on 8 billion. Many of the places where these people live offer a marginal existence at the very best. This a truly terrible fact of life, but it is a fact. No one in the First World can blame the inhabitants of these parts of the Third World for seeking a better life. Were we in their shoes we would do the same. But humanity is finally beginning to understand that the planet’s resources are finite. Immigrants flooding across borders away from scare resources to countries with more, or better-managed, resources, are the result and the flood is unsustainable. Populists know this, fear this and it drives their rhetoric. Unfortunately, their rhetoric on the subject of immigration is not groundless. Their ranks will only continue to grow as immigrant numbers rise.

T.R.Devlin commented 7 hours ago

T.R.Devlin
Geneva

Her comments are common sense; treating migrants whether refugees or economic migrants humanely, is essential.But given the demographic imbalances between Europe and Africa and the Middle East, the issue of migration needs to be handled collectively and intelligently if it is not to cause further political turmoil in Europe.

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