Thursday Morning Open Thread: “Make This Fight Your Fight”

Some people are gonna be disappointed she didn’t call the other candidate in the 2016 Dem primaries out, but that’s not Sen. Warren’s style.

(I was originally gonna post Maddow’s latest interview with Sen. Warren, but FYWP isn’t cooperating.)

Apart from continuing to fight all the good fights, what’s on the agenda for the day?

And a reminder, because I’m allergy-addled and cranky, from Mr. Charles P. Pierce — “Why Trump Won”:

[O]ne of the more interesting sidelights of what certainly will be a deluge of post-mortems regarding the 2016 presidential campaign is the widely held notion that Hillary Rodham Clinton was gifted with a uniquely easy opponent. This idea is central to the narrative that holds that HRC’s campaign was a uniquely bad one, and she a uniquely bad candidate. She couldn’t even beat a reality-show star who doesn’t know North Korea from East Hampton. True, there were a number of things that HRC and her campaign did badly, but they did get three million more votes than did Trump, which counts for something…

Consider this: Whatever you may think of how he won the presidency, and we’ll get to that in a minute, Trump took on a Republican field composed of what was alleged to be the best that party had to offer, the deepest part of its allegedly deep bench, and he utterly destroyed it. Scott Walker, popular scourge of middle-school history teachers, never even made it to the starting gate. Rand Paul, brogressive libertarian heartthrob, was reduced to invisibility. Chris Christie was demolished as a national political figure. Marco Rubio—The Republican Savior, according to Time—is still wandering the political landscape looking, as Abraham Lincoln said of General Hooker after Chancellorsville, like a duck that’s been hit on the head. And, when he finally got around to it, he took the heart out of Tailgunner Ted Cruz in Indiana, alleging on the morning of the primary that Cruz’s father hobnobbed in New Orleans with Lee Harvey Oswald.

That Trump never paid a price in the eyes of his voters for that kind of meretricious goonery is the best evidence there is that, in 2016, anyway, he was in every sense a formidable political force. And, let it not be forgotten that he brought with him a Republican Senate, a Republican House, and massive gains out in the states as well.

Moreover, and I owe a hat tip to Scott Lemieux here, it’s likely in retrospect that Trump’s plan of action, while unconventional in the extreme and relentlessly eccentric, also was based in a kind of mad logic. There really was a big slice of the electorate, concentrated in states that were vital in the Electoral College, that was uniquely susceptible to Trump’s appeal. He and his people spotted it and campaigned accordingly.

The myth of Trump’s vulnerability has two sources, I think. The first is the apparently irresistible impulse in some quarters to score some sort of final victory over the Clinton family… The other is the reluctance of Republicans—and of the elite political classes at large—to accept the reality that Trump is merely a cruder manifestation of the political prion disease that has afflicted conservatism and the Republican Party since it first ate the monkeybrains 35 years ago. It was all leading to someone like Trump, and something like last year’s election.

So many people had been driven away from the voting booths — deliberately or not — and so many other people at both ends of the political spectrum had allowed themselves the luxury of believing that their votes were tickets to an entertaining spectacle… that all it took was a few million rubles’ worth of monkey-mischief and the deliberate collusion of the FBI to hand the Oval Office over the Donald Effing Trump. But none of the guilty parties, least of all in Our Major Media, are willing to accept their share of the blame; ergo, it must be That Woman’s fault. Mom should’ve made us not drink a mixture of bleach and ammonia, what a horrible failure she is for assuming that telling us it was poison & we’d regret it later would be enough to deter us!

That’s not how it works, fellas. You’re (putative) grownups now, and you have to take responsibility for your own failures. And, no, those of us with better sense are not gonna ‘get over it’ any time in the immediate future, nor make the mistake of trusting you further than we can see you.



Shows for Bros

You know who I wouldn’t want to trade jobs with right now? DNC chair Tom Perez. The first big test of his leadership is apparently gonna be how successfully he channels the Bern. Will he succeed? Does it make sense to pursue this strategy out of the gate? Fuckifino.

Perez and Sanders are doing a roadshow in red and purple states to gin up enthusiasm for rebuilding the party and taking on Trump. It’s officially called the “Come Together and Fight Back” tour. There’s an account of the first rally in Maine in the Portland Herald Press. A couple of quotes:

Perez: “The mission of the new DNC is not simply to elect the president of the United States. It is to elect Democrats from the school board to the Senate.”

Sanders: “Our job is to radically transform the Democratic Party . . . into a 50-state party and a party that does not continue to ignore half of the states in our country. Our job is to create a democratic party, a grassroots party where decisions are made up from the bottom on up, not from the top on down.”

As a neoliberal shill in the pocket of Big Democrat, I am immune to Sanders’ appeal. But I’m not the roadshow’s intended audience. The Democrats don’t have to coddle me to ensure I turn up to vote, but the Sandersites are more loosely affiliated. I’m trying to temper my reaction to the aspects of the roadshow I find irritating accordingly.

In that spirit, I will note that we’ve complained for years about the party’s too-narrow focus on federal offices (though we’ve quibbled over what the DNC’s proper role is in state party affairs). I agree with what Perez says above, and Sanders’ statement basically amounts to the same thing, with extra finger-wagging and pointing.

I’m going to trust that Perez knows what he’s doing and have faith that this roadshow is just the opening salvo, with different forms of outreach targeting women, minorities, etc., and robust voter suppression countermeasures to follow. Because dog knows, we can’t afford to fuck this up by fighting the last war.



Late Night Update: There Will Be A Runoff in Georgia

Per CNN:

Republicans were served another reminder of President Donald Trump’s unpopularity Tuesday as Democrat Jon Ossoff nearly captured a House seat in a region that for decades has been a conservative stronghold, with the Democrat ultimately falling just short of the percent needed to avoid a runoff.

CNN projects that Ossoff will miss the 50% he needed to win outright. He and the other top vote-getter — Republican candidate Karen Handel — will now face off on their own in June.

The hotly contested race carried major implications as a gauge of the President’s popularity — and Trump himself seemed to grasp the high stakes, playing a direct role in its closing days.

Democrats saw it as an opportunity to drive a wedge between Trump and congressional Republicans fearful that he could drag down the party in the 2018 midterms — while also delivering a psychic boost to an energized progressive base.

They nearly pulled it off. And two months later, Ossoff will get a second shot in a one-on-one runoff with Handel albeit an uphill climb now that the Republican vote in a reliably GOP district will be consolidated behind one candidate…

“There is no doubt that this is already a victory for the ages,” Ossoff told supporters late Tuesday night. “That no matter what the outcome is tonight — whether we take it all or whether we fight on — we have survived the odds. We have shattered expectations. We are changing the world. And your voices are going to ring out across this state and across this country.”

Even after Ossoff left the stage, many supporters stuck around, chanting, “Flip the Sixth!”…

The near-death experience for Republicans — on the heels of one a week earlier in Kansas, where Democrats nearly flipped a deep-red district — could still have the effect of leading GOP lawmakers in competitive states and districts to seek distance from the President, making it even more difficult for Trump to advance his agenda on Capitol Hill.

In Tuesday’s results, Democrats saw more evidence of a playing field for the 2018 midterm elections that has drastically expanded — and given the party’s 10 senators up for re-election in states that Trump won some breathing room…

That’s a hopeful thought:



Friday Morning Open Thread: She Persists

… And she hopes we can, too.

What’s on the agenda as we wait for the latest Trumpstuntin’ dung doc drop?
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Speaking of persisting…



Wednesday Evening Open Thread: Nancy SMIRK!

The Trumpcare blame game is getting worse, with Heritage Action blaming the moderate Tuesday Group for the lack of progress in last night’s talks and House GOP leadership blaming the conservative Freedom Caucus. But everyone seems to agree on one thing: Congress should give the talks a break and go on recess rather than meeting again today…

There had been tentative plans for more talks today between Vice President Mike Pence and Hill Republicans, but there’s now a growing sense that another meeting before recess would be a waste of time.

Remember, it’s not bragging if you’ve actually done it.

Apart from schadenfreude, what’s on the agenda for the evening?



Open Thread: Nuclear Justice

(Matt Davies via GoComics.com)
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Good for the Democrats — they should keep fighting the Gorsuch charade, no matter how sad it makes the Media Village Idiots. Per the Washington Post:

Senate Democrats secured enough votes to filibuster the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday, increasing the likelihood that Republicans will change the rules of the U.S. Senate to ensure his confirmation later this week.

Democratic opposition to Gorsuch has been building for days, and four more senators announced on Monday that they would vote against him and support a filibuster of his nomination. That gave Democrats the requisite 41 votes to put up a roadblock and compel President Trump and Senate Republicans to either withdraw Gorsuch’s nomination or change Senate procedure.

With Trump and Republicans vowing that Gorsuch will be confirmed despite any filibuster, a change in how the Senate does business — the so-called nuclear option — is expected by Friday…

The outcome of the panel’s vote was never in doubt — Republicans hold a majority of seats on the committee and Gorsuch was approved on a party-line vote. But the testy hearing foreshadowed what is likely to be a combative week over the merits of President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee and the way both parties have behaved during years of feuding over the makeup of the federal court system.

Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), Christopher A. Coons (D-Del.) and Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) indicated on Monday that they would oppose Gorsuch and vote against cloture — or the motion to end a filibuster that is required to hold a final up-or-down confirmation vote.

During an hours-long committee hearing, Leahy, the longest-serving member on the panel, criticized Gorsuch’s answers during his marathon confirmation hearing as “excruciatingly evasive.” He said that a GOP move to end filibusters of Supreme Court nominees would damage the Senate but argued that he had to vote his conscience, even if it pushes Republicans to change the rules.

“I cannot vote solely to protect an institution when the rights of hard-working Americans are at risk,” he said, “because I fear that the Senate I would be defending no longer exists.”

The longer the spotlight shines on Gorsuch, the more threadbare his lying professions of absolute innocent impartiality show. The Repubs have been trying to turn the Supreme Court into their rubber stamp since at least the days of Richard ‘Mediocre people are entitled to a little representation too’ Nixon; if they insist on being rabid partisans, we can at least deny them the pleasure of hiding behind hypocrisy when they do.



Open Thread: Best April Fool Prank in… Well, Forever

Per the Hollywood Reporter:

The actor tweeted that he will be running for a seat in Congress before posting another tweet hours later indicating that it was just a joke.

Actor George Takei, best known for his role as Mr. Sulu on the original Star Trek television series, got in on the April Fools’ Day action early, posting on Twitter late Friday night Pacific Time (but after midnight on the East Coast) that he was running for Congress…

This news from io9 sounds very cool, also:

George Takei’s recounts of his time at a Japanese-American internment camp have been put to page and brought to the stage. Now, he’s signed a book detail with IDW Publishing to create a graphic novel about what it was like for those imprisoned because of their heritage.

According to a press release, the graphic novel will dive into President Roosevelt’s unconscionable Executive Order 9066, which authorized the internment of over 100,000 people, most of them American citizens, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. Takei was 5 years old when he was taken to a camp, and the graphic novel will dive into his story and show how his experiences helped him become who he is today.

Takei has been extremely vocal about violations of civil liberties in the United States, especially in the wake of President Donald Trump’s violent rhetoric and thinly veiled threats against, among many others, Mexican Americans and Muslim Americans. Takei made headlines in 2015 when he left a seat open for Trump during the Broadway run of Allegiance, the musical also based on his life story. Trump never took him up on his offer…