Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Dems *NOT* In Disarray…

David Leonhardt, in the NYTimes, “Democrats Are Running a Smart, Populist Campaign”:

Stacey Abrams and Conor Lamb are supposed to represent opposite poles of the Trump-era Democratic Party. She is the new progressive heroine — the first black woman to win a major-party nomination for governor, who will need a surge of liberal turnout to win Georgia. He is the new centrist hero — the white former Marine who flipped a Western Pennsylvania congressional district with support from gun-loving, abortion-opposing Trump voters.

But when you spend a little time listening to both Abrams and Lamb, you notice something that doesn’t fit the storyline: They sound a lot alike.

They emphasize the same issues, and talk about them in similar ways. They don’t come across as avatars of some Bernie-vs.-Hillary battle for the party’s soul. They come across as ideological soul mates, both upbeat populists who focus on health care, education, upward mobility and the dignity of work…

The lesson here isn’t just about these two candidates. Dozens of other Democratic candidates also sound like Abrams and Lamb. The lesson is that Democrats are more united than many people realize — and are running a pretty smart midterm campaign.

Yes, there are some tensions on the political left. But these tensions — over Obama-style incrementalism vs. Bernie-style purism, over the wisdom of talking about impeachment, over whether to woo or write off the white working class — are most intense among people who write and tweet about politics. Among Democrats running for office, the tensions are somewhere between mild and nonexistent…

None of this means that Abrams will win in November — she’s an underdog — or that the Democrats will take back the House. Trump’s approval numbers, while weak, have risen slightly, and the midterm campaign has a long way to go.

So far, though, the Democrats are defying the clichés about their division and disarray. They’re giving themselves a good chance to win.



Schadenfreude Open Thread: On Below D-List!

*This* is the most significant BE BEST youth outreach the Oval Office Occupancy can come up with?

Kirk raises millions of dollars from Republican donors for his group Turning Point USA — an organization that fights liberalism (Kirk prefers the label “socialist”) on university campuses. Owens, 29, who works with Kirk at TPUSA and like him is a diehard Trumpist, caught the President’s eye recently when Kanye West tweeted “I love the way Candace Owens thinks.”

Behind the scenes: Kirk told me he and Owens talked to Trump about “black America, Kanye West, and the intersection of culture and politics,” and the “incredible progress being made for black America by President Trump and also historic pardon yesterday.”…

Charlie Kirk, of course, is the Wile E. Coyote Supergeenius responsible for Talking Points USA. Candace Owens, well…

Ten months ago, the 26-year-old posted her first politically themed video to YouTube, a reenactment of “coming out” as conservative to her parents. In November, amid allegations of racial bias, the conservative campus advocacy group Turning Point USA hired Owens, who is black, as its director of urban engagement. Last month, Kanye West tweeted his approval of Owens’ thoughts. Last week, President Trump tweeted that Owens was part of a group of “very smart ‘thinkers’” and that she is “having a big impact on politics.” And this week, Owens mingled with Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump at the dedication of the new US embassy in Jerusalem.

Yet Owens, suddenly a new face of the American right, was less than two years ago the CEO of an online publication that frequently mocked then-candidate Trump, including conducting a mock “investigation” into his penis size. (The story determined that it was likely very small.) And in a 2015 column for the site lambasting conservative Republicans, Owens wrote that it was “good news” that the “Republican Tea Party … will eventually die off (peacefully in their sleep, we hope).”

Indeed, the speed with which Owens has gone from running a frequently anti-Trump, anti-conservative website to being one of the president’s most prominent new supporters illustrates the wild land grab still going on for influence in the pro-Trump ecosystem….


 
Hey, Repubs — You can have Charlie and Candace. We’ll keep standing with Emma Gonzalez and David Hogg.



Thursday Morning Open Thread: *ALL* The Shade

It’s a real book — and already an Amazon best-seller, even though it won’t be released until mid-October. Just in time for the midterms!

In other news:


 
And finally…

*Aricept



Wednesday Morning Open Thread: Good Work, Georgia Dems!

Fresh faces with compelling life stories prevailed in Democratic primaries across several southern states Tuesday, beating candidates with deeper political pedigrees and more governing experience in several key races…

Voters in Kentucky nominated Amy McGrath, the first Marine woman to fly an F-18 fighter jet, for a key House seat in Lexington over the candidate favored by party leaders, a two-term mayor who ran on a promise to bring “adult supervision” to Washington.

In Texas, Democrats nominated two lesbian candidate with military or law enforcement backgrounds, one Latina and the other Filipina, for key races. And Georgia voters gave former State House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams a shot to become the first black, female governor in the country…

From beloved (okay, indefatigable) commentor Raven:

And this one is especially sweet, she’s an old friend and wasn’t given much of a chance: It’s almost unheard of to beat a sitting judge, but public defender Lisa Lott ousted newly appointed Superior Court Judge Regina Quick, and it wasn’t even that close, 55–45.


 
Meanwhile, the other party’s Dear Leader on a hot mic…



Tuesday Morning Open Thread: Keep Fighting (It’s Worth It)

The first planks of the “A Better Deal” platform, released last year, focused on the party’s economic agenda. Now, with questions about pay-to-play politics swirling around President Trump and his current and former aides, Democrats introduced new anti-corruption proposals Monday billed as “A Better Deal for Our Democracy.”

“Instead of delivering on his promise to drain the swamp, President Trump has become the swamp,” said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) during a rollout event on the Capitol steps.

While the new agenda was only sketched out in broad terms Monday, it includes proposals that would eliminate loopholes that allow lobbyists and lawmakers to buy and sell influence without the public’s knowledge, allow big donors to influence the political process through unreported donations and to improve elections by eliminating partisan gerrymandering and implementing automatic voter registration.

The message, the Democrats said: Elect us in November to “clean up the chaos and corruption in Washington.”…

Several of the Democrats who spoke Monday attempted to connect the corruption allegations to a Republican governing agenda that has delivered outsize tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans and dismantled financial and environmental regulations that aimed to protect average taxpayers.

Democrats are also preparing to highlight an apparent atmosphere of rule-bending, if not rule-breaking, in the Trump administration. Several Trump Cabinet members — including Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson, as well as former Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price and former Veterans Affairs secretary David Shulkin — have been subject to official investigations of questionable spending on travel and other expenses….



Open Thread: Popular, Yet Divisive, Culture

Don’t read the replies, of course, if you wanna keep your mood good.

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The replies / to&fro *here*, on the other hand, are a godsdamned joy:



Monday Morning Open Thread: The Best Revenge Is A Life Well Lived