Late Night Open Thread: Nice “Work” If You Can Get It…

Jon Chait, NYMag, “Why Are Republican Small Donors So Easy to Swindle?”:

Republicans have long complained, usually in private, that their fundraising apparatus is overrun with fraudsters. National Review’s Jim Geraghty has a column, “The Right’s Grifter Problem,” saying what many of them have been whispering. Many of President Trump’s most publicly strident loyalists are in the business of raising money for political projects that spend virtually all their funds on operating expenses…

Grifters go where the marks are:

A former pro football player who serves on the National Rifle Association board was paid $400,000 by the group in recent years for public outreach and firearms training. Another board member, a writer in New Mexico, collected more than $28,000 for articles in NRA publications. Yet another board member sold ammunition from his private company to the NRA for an undisclosed sum.

The NRA, which has been rocked by allegations of exorbitant spending by top executives, also directed money in recent years that went to board members — the very people tasked with overseeing the organization’s finances.

In all, 18 members of the NRA’s 76-member board, who are not paid as directors, collected money from the group during the past three years, according to tax filings, state charitable reports and NRA correspondence reviewed by The Washington Post.

The payments received by about one-quarter of board members, the extent of which has not previously been reported, deepen questions about the rigor of the board’s oversight as it steered the country’s largest and most powerful gun rights group, according to tax experts and some longtime members…

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Saturday Morning Open Thread: “Electability”


The Washington Post‘s Alexandra Petri is a national treasure:

The 2020 election is lurching toward us like a malfunctioning robot, and I think we must ask ourselves: Can we risk nominating a man for president?…

Male presidential candidates are noted for their inexplicable and sudden desires to do irrational things, such as assassinate Alexander Hamilton, create the Bull Moose Party or be John Edwards. And once they’re in office, this behavior continues. Sometimes, for no reason, a man will decide to throw himself a Teapot Dome Scandal or a Bay of Pigs, or decide to do things to the Philippines that we have yet to adequately reckon with as a country.

Not all men are Jacksons or McKinleys or even the fellows responsible for keeping Jackson’s loathsome visage on our twenties. But having to battle the presumption that they are will waste voters’ energy — energy better spent being genuinely excited by a candidate!…

… When Americans look to the person in charge of their government, they should not just think of everything in the past that has gone wrong. There will be another time to attempt the noble trial of seeing whether this country can handle a 45th man as president, after Grover Cleveland twice and — Warren G. Harding! I mean, honestly, Warren G. Harding!…

Also, Josh Marshall dares to dream — “The Alternative Scenario: Trump Loses and It’s Not Even Close”:

Start with the most obvious fact: President Trump is the most consistently unpopular President in at least a century. He has not had a net positive approval rating for his entire presidency and has durably had approval ratings in the low 40s, sometimes dipping down into the 30s.The consistency of his unpopularity rather than its depth is what sets him apart. Other presidents have been that low and even gone on to win reelection. None has been that low for his entire presidency. That suggests a strong ceiling he cannot get above. For any other President we’d recognize this as a massive reelection warning sign. It’s really no different or shouldn’t be any different with President Trump.

The intensity of opposition is even more telling. Polls routinely show that well over 50% of voters say they will definitely not vote for him for reelection. A Quinnipiac poll from a week ago found that Trump had a 41% approval rating while 57% disapproved of him. More significantly 54% said they would “definitely” not vote to reelect him. A January Marist poll had the number of definite nos at 57%.

Could people change their minds? Of course. But this is a measure of the steepness of the climb. Trump needs to get all the undecideds and then peel off a significant number who say there’s no way they’d ever vote for him. That’s hard.

These are again, massive warning signs for reelection defeat.

Of course we know from bitter experience that a Republican President can lose the popular vote by a significant margin and still be elected President. But they can’t lose by that much. Maybe it’s 2 or 3 percentage points max to lose the popular vote and win the electoral college. But not more than that…

Personally, even I don’t really buy it. I assume it will be a tight race and the winner of Wisconsin will be the next President. But sometimes it makes sense to step back and look at data, albeit imperfect, which is separate from our hopes and fears. It’s like what pilots are trained to do in stormy weather or difficult flying conditions: ignore what you feel or see and just watch the instruments. The best summary is this. If you look at these numbers and set aside the name Trump and all the aura – negative and positive – that surrounds him, you would say the electoral beatdown scenario is significantly more likely than even a narrow victory for the President…








Late Night Clown Shoes Open Thread: To the… MARS, Alice!

They could have blamed it on jet lag (or TBH on having to behave like some approximation of a grown-up for a whole three days in a row), but that would’ve implied their Dear Leader was susceptible to the weaknesses of mere mortals…

At a meeting of the NASA Advisory Council last week, William H. Gerstenmaier, NASA’s associate administrator for human exploration and operations, said that it was unlikely that appropriators in Congress would agree to provide all the money needed for a 2024 moon landing, and that the agency would likely have to cut the budgets for other areas of the space agency.

Hours after the tweet was sent, a White House official attempted to clarify Mr. Trump’s meaning, saying that the administration’s space goals were unchanged. The official added that by seeking additional resources for a journey to the moon within the next five years, the Trump administration intended to accelerate a crewed American visit to Mars…








Election 2020 Open Thread: Redshirt Demands Dramatic Death Scene

Never say never, in this debased world, but I personally estimate Steve Bullock’s chances of becoming our next President as roughly equal to my own — and I ain’t running. Histrionic proclamations from his devoted staff won’t improving his chances, IMO. But his public tantrum gives ‘conservative’ media guys another chance to bring out their favorite Dems in disarray! talking points…

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez is largely unmoved by these complaints.

In an interview with CNN Thursday here in Atlanta, Perez subtly knocked the candidates who have yet to meet the grassroots fundraising threshold and are publicly complaining.
“I think everybody has to be proficient,” he said when asked about complaints about the threshold. “If you want to be President of the United States, you have to develop a proficiency at grassroots fundraising.”

The three candidates at risk of missing the debates are Miramar, Florida, Mayor Wayne Messam, whose campaign has struggled to get any traction; Rep. Seth Moulton, who announced his campaign in late April and has yet to qualify on either threshold, and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, who has currently not qualified for the debates by either committee standard and whose team is the angriest about the possible snub.

Bullock got into the race in mid-May, relatively late compared to other 2020 contenders. The governor has told CNN that he launched late because, as the governor of Montana, he had to oversee his state’s legislative session, which happens every two years. Bullock did that and the body passed Medicaid expansion. His advisers now believe that the DNC rules are punishing a candidate who stayed at work instead of running for President….

You did your job, Gov. Bullock. Waddya want, a cookie? Would neglecting your current responsibilities have made you a better contender for such a sought-after promotion?

And here I didn’t think it was possible for me to wholeheartedly approve of anything Tom Perez says.

Sidebar — I’m beginning to wonder whether Seth Moulton is hoping to be recruited by his natural allies in the anyone-but-Trump ‘sensible Republican’ demographic:

The one candidate who is not antagonistic of the DNC despite finding himself on the verge of missing the first debate is [Seth] Moulton, who has publicly admitted he is likely to miss the event.

“No, I’m not going to make the first debate, but I knew that getting in so late,” the congressman told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt in an interview this week. “But I think that’s OK, that there’s, this first debate’s going to have 20 people. Folks are barely going to get a chance to speak. This is a long campaign. And it’s not going to be decided by the Democratic National Committee in their debates. It’s going to get decided by the American people. And that’s where the response to my campaign has been so positive so far.”…








Late Night Clown Car Open Thread: The Grievance Brothers on D-Day

And, of course, Hucksterbee is just a cornpone, low-rent version of the GOP’s Grievance-Grifter-in-Chief… pampered, fleshy men working their public resentments and private terrors that they will never measure up...


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