Opinion | Senate Republicans Are Bathed in Shame – By Frank Bruni – The New York Times

By 

Opinion Columnist

Credit…Illustration by Ben Wiseman; Photograph by Drew Angerer/Getty Image

“The impeachment trial of Donald John Trump began on Thursday when John Roberts, the chief justice of the Supreme Court, directed all of the senators to stand and raise their right hands. Ever since I can’t get two questions out of my head.

The first: How in God’s name — and it was in God’s name — can the Republicans who have already decided to acquit President Trump take a solemn oath to administer “impartial justice”? They’re partial to the core, unabashedly so, as their united march toward a foregone conclusion shows. A mind-meld this ironclad isn’t a reflection of facts. It’s a triumph of factionalism.

The majority of the party’s senators have said outright or clearly signaled that they have no intention of finding the president guilty and removing him from office. Yapping lap dogs like Lindsey Graham and obedient manservants like Mitch McConnell have gone further, mocking the whole impeachment process.

So the oath they took: How does that work? Did they cross the fingers on their left hands? Do they reason that American politics has reached a nadir of such fundamental hypocrisy and overweening partisanship that no one regards that pledge as anything but window dressing?”

Opinion | The Media Is Broken – by David Brooks – The New York Times

“Events don’t seem to be driving politics. Increasingly, sociology is.

Do you want to predict how a certain region is going to vote in the 2020 presidential race? Discover who settled the region in the 17th and 18th centuries. If the settlers were from the East Anglia section of Britain, then that region is probably going Democratic. If the settlers were from the north of Britain, that region is very likely to vote for Donald Trump.

Do you want to predict how a state is going to vote? Find out how that state voted in the 1896 presidential election. As Washington University political scientists Gary Miller and Norman Schofield have observed, 22 out of the 23 states that voted Democratic in 1896 had turned Republican by 2000. Similarly, 17 of the 22 states that voted Republican in 1896 had turned Democratic by 2000. The parties have flipped regions.

Do you want to predict how an individual is going to vote? Ask a simple question: Is she urban or rural?

Geographic and psycho-sociological patterns now overshadow events in driving political loyalties and national electoral outcomes. Demography is destiny.

There’s a more precise way to put this. An event is really two things. It’s the event itself and then it’s the process by which we make meaning of the event. As Aldous Huxley put it, “Experience is not what happens to you, it’s what you do with what happens to you.”

When a whole country sees events through a similar lens, then you don’t have to think a lot about the process people use to make meaning. It’s similar across the land. But when people in different regions and subcultures have nonoverlapping lenses, the process by which people make sense of events is more important than the event itself.

For reasons I don’t understand, we’ve had an epistemic explosion over the past few decades. Different American regions and subcultures now see reality through nonoverlapping lenses. They make meaning in radically different ways. Psycho-social categories have hardened.”

David Linday: Everything is great about this op-ed piece except it’s title, which misses completely. I sense that David Brooks here is explaining why the blue coastal areas fail to see the perspective of more conservative folks who are from redder, more rural, less urgan and coastal communities. Warren and Sanders might be shining stars, even saints, but that doesn’t mean that they appeal to everyone everywhere. Its geography and sociology, as Brooks argues effectively, that create important constituencies that should not be ignored by politcal operatives.

One Year From Election, Trump Trails Biden but Leads Warren in Battlegrounds – By Nate Cohn – The New York Times

By 

Despite low national approval ratings and the specter of impeachment, President Trump remains highly competitive in the battleground states likeliest to decide his re-election, according to a set of new surveys from The New York Times Upshot and Siena College.

How Trump fares among registered voters

Trumpvs. Biden Sanders Warren
Michigan (n=501)
Even
Sanders +2
Trump +6
Pennsylvania (661)
Biden +3
Sanders +1
Even
Wisconsin (651)
Biden +3
Sanders +2
Even
Florida (650)
Biden +2
Trump +1
Trump +4
Arizona (652)
Biden +5
Trump +1
Warren +2
North Carolina (651)
Trump +2
Trump +3
Trump +3
Based on a New York Times/Siena College poll of 3,766 registered voters from Oct. 13 to Oct. 26.

Across the six closest states that went Republican in 2016, he trails Joe Biden by an average of two points among registered voters but stays within the margin of error.

Mr. Trump leads Elizabeth Warren by two points among registered voters, the same margin as his win over Hillary Clinton in these states three years ago.

The results suggest that Ms. Warren, who has emerged as a front-runner for the Democratic nomination, might face a number of obstacles in her pursuit of the presidency. The poll supports concerns among some Democrats that her ideology and gender — including the fraught question of “likability” — could hobble her candidacy among a crucial sliver of the electorate. And not only does she underperform her rivals, but the poll also suggests that the race could be close enough for the difference to be decisive.”

Editorial | The Crisis of the Republican Party – The New York Times

” . . .  Yet Republicans will not be able to postpone a reckoning with Trumpism for much longer. The investigation by House Democrats appears likely to result in a vote for impeachment, despite efforts by the White House to obstruct the inquiry. That will force Senate Republicans to choose. Will they commit themselves and their party wholly to Mr. Trump, embracing even his most anti-democratic actions, or will they take the first step toward separating themselves from him and restoring confidence in the rule of law?

Thus far in office, Mr. Trump has acted against the national interest by maintaining his financial interests in his company and using the presidential podium to promote it; obstructed legitimate investigations into his conduct by the special counsel, Robert Mueller, and Congress; attacked the free press; given encouragement to white nationalists; established a de facto religious test for immigrants; undermined foreign alliances and emboldened American rivals; demanded personal loyalty from subordinates sworn to do their duty to the Constitution; and sent his personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, around the world to conduct what could most charitably be described as shadow foreign policy with Mr. Trump’s personal benefit as its lodestar.”

“. . . The Constitution’s framers envisioned America’s political leaders as bound by a devotion to country above all else. That’s why all elected officials take an oath to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. By protecting Donald Trump at all costs from all consequences, the Republicans risk violating that sacred oath.

Senator (Margaret Chase) Smith’s question once again hangs over the Republican Party: Surely they are not so desperate for short-term victory as to tolerate this behavior? We’ll soon find out.”

David Lindsay: I fully support this editorial. There were some fine comments, starting with these two”

NM
Times Pick

Republicans putting party before country began before Trump. It was evidenced in their treatment of President Obama for eight years. They obstructed him at every turn, going so far as to steal his Constitutional right to place a Supreme Court Justice. They refused to work with him on laudable goals like guaranteed healthcare, immigration reform, and keeping innocents safe from gun violence. Republicans made clear where their priorities stood, and it was not with responsible governance.

14 Replies5681 Recommended

 
 
Why Me commented October 19

Why Me
Anywhere But Here
Times Pick

Lindsay Graham should be forced to explain how this statement from his 1999 impeachment speech would not apply to Trump’s conduct: “You don’t even have to be convicted of a crime to lose your job in this constitutional republic if this body determines that your conduct as a public official is clearly out of bounds in your role. Impeachment is not about punishment. Impeachment is about cleansing the office. Impeachment is about restoring honor and integrity to the office.”

32 Replies4027 Recommended

Opinion | Trump Is Winning the Online War – The New York Times

By 

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

CreditCreditBryan Woolston/Reuters

“For all his negative poll numbers and impeachment-related liabilities, President Trump has a decisive advantage on one key election battleground: the digital campaign.

Under the management of Brad Parscale, the Trump re-election machine has devoted millions more than any individual Democrat to increasingly sophisticated microtargeting techniques.

The accompanying chart, compiled by the Wesleyan Media Project, describes the partisan gulf in political spending, through September 19, on Facebook and Google by leading presidential candidates: Trump’s $15.9 million is more than the $15.5 million spent by the top three Democratic candidates combined.

Trump Leads in Online Ads

Candidates’ advertising on Facebook and Google in 2019. President Trump eclipsed the combined totals of the three top-spending Democrats.”

Opinion | Elizabeth Warren Divides the Room – By Gail Collins and Bret Stephens – The New York Times

By Gail Collins and 

Ms. Collins and Mr. Stephens are opinion columnists. They converse every other week.

ImageElizabeth Warren is one of 12 candidates who will be participating in Tuesday’s Democratic debate.
CreditCreditKyle Grillot for The New York Times

Gail Collins: Bret, where should we start? Democratic debate? Impeachment? Mideast crisis? Rudy Giuliani? Actually, as a New Yorker I always figured that someday Rudy would do something even more outrageous than the time he called a news conference to announce he was separating from his wife before he told said spouse. But I did not imagine it would include sleazy Ukrainians and Joe Biden’s son.

But hey, it’s debate day. Let’s start with the Democrats. Who do you like tonight?

Bret Stephens: Well, if you don’t mind, I’d like to start with a certain Gail Collins, whose extraordinary history of older women in America, “No Stopping Us Now,” hits bookstores this week. Congratulations!

Gail: Thanks! You’ve made my day.

Bret: O.K. Now to the doleful stuff.

I know we don’t often discuss foreign affairs, but I feel sick about the way in which President Trump has betrayed our Kurdish allies. They lost thousands of soldiers to defeat the Islamic State, which made it possible to keep American casualties to a minimum in that fight. And now we’ve sold them out to a Turkish strongman who takes Americans hostage, locks up his political opponents by the thousands, makes common cause with Hamas, mutters anti-Semitic garbage, blackmails Europe, attempts to steal elections and builds a gigantic palace for himself.

It’s one of the lowest moments in American foreign policy. Which is to say, just another day in Trumpworld.

Nancy Pelosi’s Last Battle – By Robert Draper – The New York Times

“Four days before the election that would return the Democratic Party to a majority in the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi sat in a nearly empty restaurant on San Francisco’s Embarcadero late in the afternoon, drinking green tea and eating a chocolate sundae. “We have to be strategic in whatever we do,” the leader of the House Democrats said, considering the desire some in her party had to zealously investigate the Trump administration.

“In terms of subpoena power, you have to handle it with care,” Pelosi continued. “Yes, on the left there is a Pound of Flesh Club, and they just want to do to them what they did to us.” She shook her head emphatically. “That’s not who we are,” she said. “Go get somebody else if that’s who you want.”

Pelosi is nothing if not purposeful. The following day, rallying with Democratic candidates in a San Francisco park, she would wear an orange pantsuit, explaining to crowds that orange was “the color of gun-violence protection.” This afternoon she had booked a table at Delancey Street, a restaurant that was famous, she said, for employing ex-convicts: “Redemption,” she added emphatically, in case I might have missed the point.”

Opinion | The Obama Theory of Trump – by David Axelrod – The New York Times

“It was so obvious, I’m embarrassed I missed it.

Like most of the other talking heads on TV, I was haughtily dismissive of Donald Trump’s candidacy. “It’s apparently open mike day in the Republican campaign for president,” I tweeted last June, after Mr. Trump barged into a relatively placid Republican race with a rambling, riotous speech.

Even as he climbed to the top of polls, I confidently predicted that the outrageous Mr. Trump, as transfixing and ubiquitous as he was, was merely a summer fling. He would fade in the fall, when Republican voters got serious about making a long-term commitment.

Seven months later, Mr. Trump has broken just about every rule of conventional campaigning. Short on policy prescriptions and long on provocation, he has serially — and joyfully — insulted Mexicans, women, Muslims, P.O.W.s, people with disabilities and virtually all of his opponents. Yet a week before caucusing begins in Iowa, he still reigns supreme atop the Republican field.

What seemed impossible is now more than plausible: Donald J. Trump, the self-reverential deal maker, could pull off a hostile takeover of the Grand Old Party.”

Opinion | Let Trump Destroy Trump – by David Axelrod – The New York Times

“. . .  Plenty of attention has been paid to the historic shift in suburban areas Mr. Trump narrowly carried in 2016 but that broke decisively with his party last fall. That revolt was led by college-educated white women, who overwhelmingly turned against Republican candidates.

But what should be of even greater concern to Mr. Trump is the potential erosion among the non-college-educated white women he is counting on as a core constituency. Those women gave Mr. Trump a 27-point margin over Hillary Clinton in 2016. Yet in a recent Fox News poll, Mr. Trump was beating former Vice President Joe Biden by just four points in that group.”

“. . .  But while Mr. Trump’s thermonuclear politics may rally both his base and Democrats who slumbered in 2016, it is the paralyzing disorder and anxiety his bilious behavior creates that is a distressing turnoff to voters at the margins who will make the difference.

To win, the Democrats will have to turn Mr. Trump’s negative energy against him without embodying it themselves.”

Opinion | ‘Steve Bullock Is the Most Important Person on the Planet’ – By David Leonhardt – The New York Times

David Leonhardt

By 

Opinion Columnist

CreditCreditCharlie Neibergall/Associated Press

 

I love David Leonhardt. Whenever I feel I should work much harder at researching and writing an article, I discover I can just repost David Leonhardt, such as his piece today:
“Steve Bullock is the most important person on the planet,” Robert Frank, the economist and author, recently wrote to me in an email.

Bullock is the populist Democratic governor of Montana who’s running a lackluster campaign for president. But he’s so popular in Montana, despite its deep conservatism, that he is the only Democrat with any reasonable chance of beating the state’s incumbent Republican senator, Steve Daines, next year. That’s why Frank thinks Bullock is the most important person on the planet.

“The window of opportunity for effective action on the climate crisis is rapidly closing,” Frank wrote. “Absent robust measures to curb greenhouse gases, climate scientists forecast steadily more frequent and intense storms, droughts, flooding, and wildfires. Alone among major political parties worldwide, Republicans have refused even to admit the existence of climate change, much less enact meaningful legislation for dealing with it.” And seemingly the only way the United States will take meaningful climate action in the next couple years is if the Democrats control both Congress and the White House.”

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DL: Taking back the Senate is as impportant as winning the White House. That is why Beto O’Rourke is a misguided egotist. He could and should challenge John Cornyn in Texas for his Senate seat.