Saturday, November 10, 2018

Pyrrhic Victory

Friends, my latest article explores the double-edged sword that is the new, very slender Democratic majority in the House.  Enjoy, and thanks to Townhall for publishing it!


  1. Dr. Waddy: Read your article; you've argued well for an optimistic and reinvigorated outlook by conservatives. The prospects for Dem Bachannalia in the wake of their capture of the House are very promising. (Consider the insane violence of the Bacchanantes in their intoxicated revelry).

    I'm confident that 2018-2020 will prove to be a productive period leading to clear sailing by our courageous President in his second term.

  2. First, the Democratic majority is not going to end up that slim -- ending with somewhere between 32-35 more seats. That is better than the historical average of 29.

    Second, Dems are not the only ones that need legislative achievements -- Trump does as well. His base does not get revved up by lower level judges and the Cabinet. It gets revved up by SCOTUS appointments, and no one is planning to retire before 2020. So, Trump needs something, which means he needs to negotiate with the House. If he is smart, he will go to infrastructure, where there can be a bipartisan deal.

    If he wants a tax cut, he is going to have to agree to protections to health care and "entitlements." That probably means that a tax cut won't get done. He might run against the Dems on blocking a tax cut, while Dems will run on Trumpsters wanting to eliminate pre-existing conditions, and hurting Seniors.

    There seems to be a lot of Trumpsters banking on Dems going crazy for impeachment. That's not going to happen unless the Mueller report is very negative toward Trump. Rather, the Dems are going to investigate the Trump campaign on illegal campaign contributions, the Trump Foundation on illegal dealings and Trump's financials (to see if he has done anything illegally and to see where he gets his financing).

    Going for impeachment unless there is a slam dunk case will blow back on Dems.

    Plus, the findings from these committees don't have to be acted upon until Trump is defeated in 2020. Then, the new Dem AG can bring the charges against private citizen Trump, if the evidence warrants. And, if he pardons himself, NY State will go after him.

  3. As far is 2018, the Dems had a terrible map, and, yet, it looks like the worse that will happen is that Trumpsters will lead 53-47 (presuming the favored Sinema holds on in AZ, Nelson is unable to prevail in FL, and the runoff in MS goes to Trumpsters).

    In 2020, there is only one vulnerable Dem -- Doug Jones in AL. Jeff Sessions says he is going after his old seat. As a couple African American female friends that I have from AL say, "If you think the women who got Doug Jones in are going to roll over and let that cracker (Sessions) win, then you are sadly mistaken."

    By contrast, Collins (ME) is now toast in a bluer ME. Cory Gardner is very vulnerable in a bluer CO. Ernst in vulnerable in an IA where 3 of their 4 congressional seats are now Dem. There will be a special election in AZ to replace Kyl, and that's an opportunity for a Dem pickup.

    Then there is Cornyn in TX and Perdue in GA. Cornyn has to worry about two things -- women angry about his performance in the Kavanaugh hearings and Beto O'Rourke. O'Rourke now has a strong base -- and a strong performance behind him -- because of this race. The voting performance of millennials is key as the best predictor of whether or not someone is going to vote in an election is if they voted in the previous election. Cornyn still should be considered the favorite given the greater number of Trumpsters in the TX electorate, but the shifting demographics, female anger and the growing Dem millennial power in TX will make it tight.

    Then, there's GA. If Abrams does not win the governorship this year, she is poised to be the Dem favorite to go against Perdue. Given how Abrams did in a state that has the most blatant voter suppression regime in the nation, she is going to be able to make a very good case that she was cheated out of the governorship. In addition, Perdue has not distinguished himself in the Senate, given he is merely a reliable Trump vote. Abrams is Perdue's worst nightmare.

    BTW, one other long shot possibility is Pat Roberts in KS, if he doesn't retire. He had a tough race in 2014, and now Dems are energized in KS, having won the governorship.

    So, Dems could pick up as many as 6 seats and lose only 1. More likely, they will pick up 4, but a Dem VP breaks the tie.

    Of course, if the Dems don't have a good top of the ticket, all of this goes out the window -- though given how much Trump is melting down, and given his really stupid moves (going after African American female reporters and skipping the ceremony in France because of rain), it might not take the strong a ticket.

    Also, I know Trumpsters are savoring a fight against Hillary or Gillibrand or Booker or Harris or Sanders or Warren. It's not going to happen. Biden will be in the conversation, but smart Dems will want to move in a different direction and also not pick a candidate with baggage. It will be more likely to be someone like Amy Klobachar or Deval Patrick with VP possibilities of the Castro brothers, or Tim Ryan or Cheryl Bustos.

    In other words, Dems are MUCH happier and optimistic this coming Monday than they were last Monday.

  4. Rod: You are right in saying that Trump supporters are most interested in SCOTUS appointments but we've had reemphasized to us the importance of Federal District and Circuit Court of Appeals nominations over the last two years. The implacable bias of the Ninth Circuit is well known. District and Circuit Courts have repeatedly contradicted the fundamental findings of the Heller SCOTUS decision on individual gun owners rights. A Federal judge sitting in Hawaii blocks nationwide enforcement of an Executive order from the President.

    Appointments of law abiding judges have been prolific with this Senate and President and assuredly will will continue so apace in the next two years. Even were President Trump to be defeated in 2020 he will have made a profound change to the entirety of the Federal Judiciary and it may be enough to confound leftist rule by elite fiat for decades. Believe me,we rejoice at this probability; we are revved up by it and will be in 2020.

  5. Well said, Jack. Thoughtful conservatives certainly don't discount the importance of lower-level judicial appointments. Just ask the idle workers who would like to be building the Keystone pipeline right now... But Rod is right that un-thoughtful conservatives (always the majority) will require more than just judges to motivate them to vote in 2020. Pure tribal loyalty will go a long way for both sides, but much remains to be decided about the political contours of the race, including, as Rod points out, who the Dem nominee will be. Naturally, a steady moderate would be a better choice than a firebrand leftist. Who will actually win? I haven't the foggiest idea. My gut tells me, though, that the hard-left is very active and vocal these days. They won't go quietly in the primaries.

    As for the Senate in 2020, Rod, you struggle to paint a picture of certainty with respect to Democratic gains, but I would be far more agnostic at this stage. Lots of politics left to unfold between now and then. It's an interesting question whether ANY significant legislation will be passed between now and the next election. Infrastructure, maybe, but the problem is we're rather short on funds. A tax cut? Perhaps a tiny one. Some compromise on health care? Maybe. I don't see any of these things moving the political dial much. And will the Dems hold back on impeachment? They may, but I wonder if that would occasion a revolt on the hard-left...

  6. Dr. Waddy: Alexandra Occasional Cortex has already expressed reservations about Madame Pelosi. (I make no apology for my sarcasm on her to a faction which has exercised unbridled vicious excoriation of the side and the people which and who I support). This may presage much destructive hurly burly in the "ranks" of leftist predators who sense (in its most primitive form)an impending feeding frenzy. The next two years will be dramatic and the left must needs fear. We stand ready for them.

  7. Yes, it seems many Dems have reservations about the Madame Speaker to be, but few are prepared to challenge her. She seems destined to be re-enthroned. She will be a liability, yes, but I wonder if some of those nutty committee chairs -- Waters, Nadler, Schiff -- may ultimately cost the Dems more in political currency...

  8. Dr. Waddy: They are almost guaranteed to overreach. They always do.

  9. I wonder whether Mueller, in leveling what will surely be a bevy of charges against Trump, will also tacitly rebuke the Russia conspiracy theorists (like Schiff)... That would be a smart move on Mueller's part. Give with one hand and take with the other...

  10. Dr. Waddy: The real America knows the "Collusion with Russia" charges to be nonsense and simply an attack on the President. Other charges arising from Mueller's probe can be discredited for having gone beyond the scope of his investigation (ehh, "DUE process" - leftists?)and ought to be by President Trump and his supporters.

    1. Jack,

      I respectfully disagree that "real America" knows the collusion charges to be nonsense. The Mueller team has not finished its investigation, and likely has not finished with its indictments. So, any conclusions about the findings are speculation.

      In addition, your charge that Mueller has gone beyond the scope of his investigation is also speculative. One area of the investigation would be to determine what might be a motive for engaging with the Russians. A potential motive could be that the Trump Organization may be heavily financed by Russian interests. It is likely that if they are pursuing that theory, then uncovering Manafort's financial misdeeds would have likely come up. It is perfectly appropriate that if a crime is uncovered in an investigation, that the crime be adjudicated.

      So far, 191 charges have been levied against a number of individuals. Six people have pled guilty and one has been found guilty.

      By the way, the investigation is looking into any possible links with the Trump campaign and the Russian interference. I don't think when all is said and done, Trump will be shown to be directly linked. But, people associated with his campaign, such as Roger Stone, might very well be linked.

    2. The problem with this line of reasoning, Rod, is that NONE of the charges that have come out of the Mueller investigation are relevant to its core mission: to investigate charges of meaningful collusion between the Trump campaign and the Russian government. If this person lied, and that person cheated on his taxes, that's all well and good, but the same charges could equally well have wafted up from a special prosecutor doggedly pursuing, say, Christopher Steele, the DNC, and the Clinton campaign. All Mueller has proven so far, in my view, is that, if you squeeze people hard enough, something like a misdeed will usually surface. Time to test my theory on the Democrats? Matt Whitaker, are you reading this blog? Ha ha.

    3. Dr. Waddy, again, we don't know what the Mueller investigation knows. Maybe the charges, pleadings and convictions we have so far is all that there will be. Maybe there are a lot more things to come. Mueller's team has been remarkable in terms of how leakproof it has been.

    4. Hmm. I'm not sure how "leakproof" Mueller has been. It seems as though the media is very well-informed about his lines of inquiry, if not the actual fruits of his inquiries. But you're right -- we don't know precisely what Mueller's got. We also don't know if we will ever see what Mueller's got, because it will be up to Matt Whitaker (or the next Attorney General) to decide what to do with his report(s). If the AG decides not to publish them or share them with Congress, THEN we'll find out how "leakproof" Mueller's team is!

  11. I don't disagree, Jack, but I fear the "real America" comprises only around 40% of the electorate, with the rest made up by the "anti-America America" and the "dazed and confused America". We just have to hope that the last demographic grows weary of Trump-hating hysteria...

  12. Rod: I gladly respect your views too. Dr. Waddy has argued well in opposition in this line of argument and I'll simply say I agree with him. Dr. Waddy: I've long thought that if you were to catalog the views of all adult Americans on, say, ten key controversies, that six out of ten of them would express views mostly both conservative and qualifying them for "real Americahood". Many of them might well not see themselves as conservative, though. The percentage you cite above is congruent with some surveys I've seen though. 40% ain't too shabby as long as we stick together and make plausible appeals to the nominally uncommitted, including emphasizing the totalitarian convictions and plans of the left.

  13. I agree, Jack! In truth, our baseline vote these days is probably more like 45%, and that's a very good start in any election. Are most people "conservative", even if they don't know it? That largely depends on how you ask the questions. I will say this, though: even in these midterms most people didn't vote. The non-voters are, almost by definition, skeptical of government, and those people probably belong in the party of smaller government, i.e. the GOP. I've long thought that one of the winning issues for Republicans is and ought to be the tried-and-true "let's keep government in its place".