Category Archives: GOP

The Republican Civil War — Alabama Edition

The next seven days is one of those weeks that happen from time to time when there are a lot of events competing for the attention of political wonks — the German elections, the “long conference” at the Supreme Court, perhaps a vote on the latest Republican effort to repeal Obamacare, perhaps even more news on the Russian involvement in the 2016 elections and the Trump campaign’s connections to those illegal acts.  The most significant event, however, might be the Republican runoff in the Alabama Senate special election.

Over the years, a recurring topic on this blog has been the internal divisions in the Republican party (and to a lesser degree the divisions in the Democratic party).  The run-off in Alabama pits a conservative “Establishment” candidate (interim Senator Luther Strange) against the Tea Party/Trumpist candidate (State Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore).    It is not possible to describe all of the wacky things that Justice Moore has done over the year that violated his oath of office (some of which got him removed from office the first time).  A Senator Moore would actually make Ted Cruz and Rand Paul look normal.

While Trump — perhaps seeing a need to at least pretend to work with the Republicans in D.C. — is supporting Senator Strange, but Breitbart and other parts of the Trump machine are supporting Justice Moore.  Current polls are showing Justice Moore with a comfortable (but not necessarily safe given how difficult it is to predict turnout) lead. Continue Reading...

Also posted in Elections, Senate | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on The Republican Civil War — Alabama Edition

Voter Fraud and the Missouri Senate Race

Earlier this month, the law on voting where you reside appears to have caught an unlikely person in an election law violation — Missouri’s Attorney General — and presumptive Republican Senate candidate — Josh Hawley.  To understand what happened, a little local background is in order.

The main campus of the University of Missouri is in Columbia — thirty miles away from the state capitol in Jefferson City.  Before becoming Attorney General, Hawley was a law professor at the University of Missouri.  Aside from his full time job, like some law professors, Hawley offered his assistance on cases that he thought deserved his assistance.  One of those cases involved aiding the religious owners of Hobby Lobby in their effort to deny birth control coverage to their female employees.  This case gave Hawley connections to ultra-conservative donors in Washington, and also was a selling point as he went around Missouri speaking to local Republicans in rural counties.   These two advantages allowed him to pull an upset last year in the Republican primary over the “establishment” conservative candidate in the Republican primary, and the Trump landslide helped him win the general election.

After the election is where the fun begins.  First, among the changes that flowed from the 2016 election, the new Republican governor appointed the state representative who represented part of Columbia and the surrounding area to an administration positions.  Before becoming Attorney General,  Hawley and his family lived in this district.   The Governor set the special election to fill this seat for this August (one of the available election dates under state law). Continue Reading...

Also posted in Elections, Senate | Tagged , , | Comments Off on Voter Fraud and the Missouri Senate Race

Healthcare: What’s Next?

As you’ve certainly heard, the Senate tax-cut-for-the-wealthy-at-the-expense-of-the-sick has met it’s death. Yes, Mitch will hold a “Repeal Only” bill next week, but that’s not going anywhere either. You may wonder why that vote is being held, and the answer is rather simple: Donald Trump is intellectually impaired. The White House has put a lot of pressure on Mitch to hold said vote because first, while #NotMyCheeto cannot name all 52 GOP senators, he holds out some hope that he can corral people to vote for it, and second, because he views the vote along the lines of a “loyalty” vote. He wants that opportunity to take names on who is “fir ‘im, and agin ‘im”. Also, Mitch would rather be a loser than a quitter.

So what’s left? Basically the option that cost John Boehner the speakership: bipartisanship. The other option would be for #NotMyCheeto to cease the insurance company payments, and dismantle the individual mandate via Executive Order, which would throw 32 million people off the roles of Exchange-based insurance as well as Medicaid as soon as the insurance companies could get new rate levels through the state insurance commissioners. While Trumpkin couldn’t care less, since his criminal family isn’t affected, and there’s no impact on Russians, the House and Senate DO care because the full house and a third of the Senate is up for re-election next year, and voters never forget who took something from them.

At the White House yesterday, Trumpkin said: “We’re not going to own it. I’m not going to own it. I can tell you the Republicans are not going to own it. We’ll let Obamacare fail, and then the Democrats are going to come to us.” Idiot. Continue Reading...

Also posted in Healthcare | 1 Comment

The Week in Review

There is an old saying that a week is a lifetime in politics.  In most weeks, there is a lot happening either behind the scenes or at lower levels (e.g., committee hearings and markups on bills that nobody is watching).  It is the rare week, however, that so much is taking place front and center competing for the attention of the American public.

The big story of the week was the non-vote on and the collapse of the Republican effort at major health care reform — the so-called Affordable Health Care Act (a name that in itself was an attack on the bill that it was trying to “repeal and replace,” the Affordable Care Act.   There are several significant aspects to this non-event.

First, despite their efforts, Donald Trump and Paul Ryan could not get the sizable Republican majority in the House to pass a bill (forget the exact details of the last version of the bill, they could not get a majority behind any version) on one of the top Republican priorities of the past seven years.  While Trump may have been a great negotiator, it is very easy to reach a two-sided deal.  (Of course, it’s possible that Trump’s belief in his negotiating skill may be one of his great delusions.  He may have just been offering the right deal at the right time and actually have been taken to the cleaners in his business negotiations.)When you have three or more sides to a deal, however, it becomes very difficult to keep everybody on board.  This problem is particularly true in politics — when one faction thinks that a bill is too conservative and the other faction thinks that the bill is too liberal, there really isn’t any change that could make both sides happy.  At that point, it’s not really about negotiating but selling. Continue Reading...

Also posted in Donald Trump, House of Representatives, Judicial, Politics, Public Health, Russia | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The Week in Review

Easier Said than Done

While November was disappointing, the Democrats did gain seats in the Senate.  As a result, the Republicans only hold a 52-48 majority.  If three Republican Senators vote no on any confirmation or bill, it fails.  We are already seeing signs that the next two years could get very interesting — even if the Democrats are more responsible in using the filibuster than Republicans were.

Right now, the Republicans want to repeal the Affordable Care Act.  The Republicans have never been able to exactly what they don’t like about the Affordable Care Act other than that it was passed by a Democratic President and a Democratic Congress.   For seven years, the Republicans have been asserting the need to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.  While the Republicans have been relatively unified on their desire to repeal the Affordable Care Act, they have never been able to reach a consensus on how to replace it.

Continue Reading...

Also posted in Donald Trump, House of Representatives, Senate | Tagged | Comments Off on Easier Said than Done

The Republican Leaning Voter

VotingBoothImage_0In theory, this election should pose a significant dilemma for the Republican or the Republican-leaning voter.  A plurality of the Republican party has foisted on the voters of America someone who is unfit for any office.  If voters voted for the candidate who was closest to their position, Trump would be struggling to break 25% and would be potentially looking at losing every state.  Instead he is looking at getting around 75-80% of the vote from Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (those who identify as independents but vote Republican in most races).  There are multiple reasons for Trump’s ability to hold onto most Republican voters (which explain why the Republican Party is not yet at the point of splitting).

The first and most significant is party loyalty.  Especially among those who opt to vote in the primaries, there is an investment in the party and its future.  Participating in a primary is an implicit agreement with other members of your party that, as a group, you will put together a ticket — top to bottom — that will represent the party in the elections.  The exact platform that the party will pursue in office will depend on the mix of candidates.  If other factions do well in the primaries, that platform may not suit your faction’s wishes perfectly, but you will live with that and try to do better in the next cycle of primaries.  It takes a dramatic change in the types of candidates who get elected (and typically several cycles) for a person to came to the conclusion that their party is no longer the party that they originally joined and that, on the issues that matter most to them, their policy preferences have no place in that party.

Continue Reading...

Also posted in Donald Trump, Elections, Hillary Clinton | Tagged , , , , | Comments Off on The Republican Leaning Voter

What If (the Republicans Try to Dump Trump)?

Heading into tonight’s debate, the Republican Party is very uneasy.  Even before Friday, things were not going well in Trump land — a poor debate performance, his taxes, his connections to Russia, his record of disgraceful behavior towards women, minorities, and the disabled.  Then came Friday’s latest revelation that Trump is an even bigger cad than we thought.  As Donald Trump continues to implode, the question is what options exist for the Republican establishment to salvage the election.  The problem for the Republican establishment comes in two forms — the political and the legal.

The political problem is the fourteen million people who voted for Trump in the primary (and some additional like-minded people who did not vote in the primary).  While some of these voters might now think that Trump has finally stepped over the line, many of them still support Trump or would be upset if the Republican leadership tried some form of coup to replace Trump.  If eight or nine million Trump supporters declined to support the rest of the Republican ticket (about 5% of the vote nationally), that could make a difference in several races.  On the other hand, Trump — like Todd Akin in 2012 — could become a lead weight pulling down the rest of the party.  From the point of view of the Republican establishment, the best strategy may be quietly shifting resources to states with key Senate, House, and Governor’s races (particularly as Trump lacks a coherent strategy to begin with) and pretending that Trump does not exist.

Continue Reading...

Also posted in Donald Trump, Elections, RNC | Tagged , , | Comments Off on What If (the Republicans Try to Dump Trump)?

The Republican Ticket

Given who was willing to accept a spot on the Republican ticket, Donald Trump (after much back and forth) did the somewhat mature thing and named Governor Mike Pence of Indiana as his running mate.  This pick pretty much ends the chance that Trump will face any type of substantial open rebellion at the convention as the Republicans decide to take whatever lumps they will get in the fall.  However, there are several significant problems with this ticket.

Also posted in Donald Trump, Elections | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Vice-Presidential Selection — Republicans

In the old days, the presidential nomination was often unsettled until balloting began at the convention.  Under those rules, the winning candidate typically announced his preferred running mate on the morning of the last day of the convention.  Since 1984, with each party having a presumptive nominee heading into convention, the norm has been to name the preferred running mate before the convention, most often in the week before the convention.  Based on that history, Trump should name his VP pick sometime next week.

Right now, Trump’s pick may come down to who is willing to accept the nomination that is a viable pick.  Every time the press speculates on a candidate who might actually improve Trump’s chances, that candidate withdraws their name from consideration (most recently Bob Corker and Jodi Ernst).

Continue Reading...

Also posted in Cleveland, Donald Trump | Tagged , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Vice-Presidential Selection — Republicans

GOP convention preparations to finally start tomorrow after 2 week delay

We’ve discussed in the past the issues with holding a convention in an arena with a successful basketball team. Well, with the Cleveland Cavaliers getting the NBA finals to a 6th game, being held tonight in Cleveland, the RNC will not get the keys to the Quicken Loans Arena until tomorrow morning, leaving just 4 weeks to prepare the arena before the GOP convention starts on July 18. Of course, the RNC has known about this possibility ever since Cleveland made the bid, but it wasn’t until Monday night’s upset win by the Cavaliers over the Golden State Warriors in Game 5 that the worst case scenario had come to past. (Actually 2nd worst – if the Cavs had had home-court advantage, the RNC might not have had access until Monday).

Basketball fans, of course, know that the Democrats faced no such concerns in Philadelphia.

Also posted in Cleveland, RNC | Tagged | Comments Off on GOP convention preparations to finally start tomorrow after 2 week delay