Happy National Emergency Day!

We all know that there’s no national emergency on the southern US border. We all also know that this will not stop the President in declaring a national emergency this morning. The devil will, of course, be in the details. Specifically we’ll need to see not what the President actually says this morning, though that is likely to be hyperbolic and factually incorrect, but what the actual declaration says. Because the drafting of it was surely a fight between the President’s senior policy advisor Stephen Miller, who has a bachelors degree in what is generally reported as political science, and the actual attorneys at the Department of Justice’s Office of Legal Counsel and the White House Counsel’s Office who are trying to mitigate potential damage by keeping the declaration as close to constitutional (constitutionally adjacent?) as possible.

Here’s the live feed:

I leave you with the timeless wisdom of Vice President Pence regarding what the President is going to do today:

Expect the crazy to go the whole day…

Open thread!

Friday Morning Open Thread: Come One, Come All…

Given the status of the current Oval Office Occupant, you can’t blame every possible Democrat for dreaming big. From the Washington Post, “‘Off the rails’”:

Headed for another defeat on his signature promise to make Mexico pay for a southern border wall, the president was frustrated after a briefing by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and others on details of the final deal to avoid a shutdown, according to officials involved in the discussions. Trump threatened not to sign the legislation, the officials said, putting the government on the brink of another damaging shutdown.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was on the phone with Trump at least three times during the course of the nerve-racking day, pressing him to stay the course and asserting that Democrats had actually lost the spending fight, two people familiar with the conversations said.

“We thought he was good to go all morning, and then suddenly it’s like everything is off the rails,” said one senior Republican aide…

Though White House officials insisted Thursday that Trump was acting in a defiant and assertive way, few Republicans, including the president’s closest allies, were pleased with the ending: $1.375 billion for fencing and other expenditures, plus an emergency gambit that many conservatives view as an executive overreach.

Yet for Trump, the negotiations were never really about figuring out how to win. They were about figuring out how to lose — and how to cast his ultimate defeat as victory instead.

“Zero chance you could spin this as a win for Republicans,” Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), head of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said earlier in the week. He called the bipartisan deal “a total capitulation” and added, “Bluntly, it was a waste of three weeks.”…
Read more

Interesting Read: Iowa Does Not Look Like America the Democratic Party

Nor does New Hampshire. Philip Bump, in the Washington Post:

There’s a pretty obvious reason that white men make up the vast majority of Republicans elected to the House of Representatives in 2018 but only about 4 in 10 Democrats: The Democratic Party has a lot fewer white members than the GOP. Pew Research Center data indicates that, in 2017, about 83 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning voters were white, compared with 59 percent of Democratic and Democratic-leaning voters. In fact, the Republican Party is more heavily white now than the Democratic Party was in 1997 — by a fairly wide margin.

This data about the composition of each party allows us to run an interesting experiment. Which states have a racial composition that’s most like one party or the other? (Below, any non-Hispanic racial group excludes any Hispanic members.) To figure that out, we compare the density of each racial group to the density of each party. The closer the size of each group is to either party, the smaller the bar showing the deviation from that party…

It is February 2019, less than a year until the Iowa caucuses. As is the norm, Iowa will be the first state to weigh in on the Democratic Party’s presidential nominees next year, according to the primary-tracking website Frontloading HQ. It will be followed, as usual, by New Hampshire (barring some weirdness from New York that the link in the preceding sentence explains).

Why is that important? Because Iowa and New Hampshire have populations that look a lot more like the Republican Party than the Democratic Party. Of the 50 states, Iowa is 39th most like the Democratic Party. New Hampshire is the 44th most like the Democrats. New Hampshire is also the 13th most like the Republican Party in terms of racial composition — and Iowa is the third most similar to the GOP in the country, following only Wyoming and North Dakota.

In other words, the first two states to weigh in on who should be the Democratic nominee — undoubtedly helping narrow down the field of contenders — are states that are more likely to resemble the GOP racially…

Full tables at the link. Yet more reasons why the current cavalcade of primaries is harmful to everyone except a handful of hotel / restaurant profiteers — and the GOP.

Klobuchar Takes on Big Tech

Finally got an opportunity to watch Amy Klobuchar’s campaign launch speech yesterday. I thought it was a pretty good speech overall, and if she wanted to convey grit and toughness by talking for 25 minutes in a howling blizzard, mission accomplished. I was shivering all the way down here in Florida:

One thing that struck me about the speech was Klobuchar’s focus on Big Tech. The Post noticed that too:

Klobuchar’s decision to make privacy and Internet connectivity a central focus of her campaign could elevate tech policy issues during the Democratic primary. By touting these issues during her first major speech as a 2020 contender, Klobuchar is making a big bet that privacy and other digital concerns are increasingly important to American voters.

It’s especially striking since tech policy is not generally an issue that drives voters’ feet to the polls. In a survey about voter priorities ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, Gallup listed health care, the economy and immigration as the top concerns among voters. Technology wasn’t even included in the 12 issues on the list. Yet if Klobuchar shows Democratic voters — especially key demographics like millennials — are paying attention, other politicians may start to prioritize issues like privacy and net neutrality in campaigns.

I also saw a GMA clip from yesterday of Klobuchar talking to George Stephanopoulos, and she elaborated a bit on her approach to Big Tech when asked what she specifically brings to the 2020 race:

“I don’t think anyone is talking enough about the challenges of our day, like digital disruption and the changes it’s making to the workforce and the need for privacy laws. No one’s willing to take on the tech companies, and I am.”

Klobuchar was on Maddow last night, and she talked about the Russians using technology to fuck with our elections in refreshingly clear terms. She, Mark Warner and John McCain sponsored the sorely needed Honest Ads Act to bring online political advertising regulation in line with print, TV and radio ads.

Maddow asked about the reports from disgruntled employees. I thought Klobuchar handled that pretty well. She owned up that she could be “too tough” and push people “too hard” sometimes but also pointed out that there are people who’ve been with her for many years, including those who went on to work for President Obama and then returned to staff her office after his terms were up.

Maddow also asked about how Klobuchar is handling what Maddow characterized as the unusual circumstance of a run of negative press, and Klobuchar pointed out that she’d dealt with that before as a DA and senator and said she’s plenty tough enough to weather a presidential run. From what I’ve seen so far, I believe her.

I haven’t ruled out supporting any declared candidates for the Democratic nomination — except Gabbard, who is a kook and thankfully going nowhere. I don’t know who’s gonna catch fire in the primary or who has what it takes to win the general.

But I’m glad Elizabeth Warren is in the race elevating economic issues, and I’m happy Klobuchar is bringing workforce dislocation, online manipulation, data and privacy issues to the fore. I think people care about the issue more than the polling suggests. If they don’t, they damn well should.

Open thread!

Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Creative Numbers

I have no idea what the Bernistas are doing, and after the last time (remember the sequinned granny panties?) I’m not gonna go looking, either.

Speaking of creative numbers, intrepid Canandian reporter Daniel Dale checked out the Liar-in-Chief’s El Paso rally…

Anyone who’s actually got a twitter account, feel free to share this: