More gruel
Democrats continue their winning streak

Democrats continue their winning streak

Special elections for state legislative seats in Florida and New Hampshire Tuesday night continued Democrats’ winning streak. Annette Taddeo defeated Republican State Representative Jose Felix Diaz for Florida’s solidly Republican Senate District 40. This west-Miami district is interesting for being a traditional Republican stronghold, but intensely anti-Trump. Rubio won here by 3 points in 2016 while Trump lost. Taddeo successfully tarred her opponent as a Trump loyalist.

Kari Lerner’s win in New Hampshire rode a very different dynamic to the same result. No one was watching this race for a solidly Republican seat, so I can’t tell you much about Lerner. What I can tell you is that Trump won this district by a wide margin, thanks in large part to Republicans’ 2-1 advantage here. If anyone knows the area and can comment, I’d love to hear your feedback. So would just about everyone in political media. This race was not on the radar, as it should not have been competitive. In state and federal special elections so far this year, Republicans have failed to take a single seat from Democrats.

In a related story, we were having dinner last night here in suburban Chicago when a Democratic candidate for State Representative came by collecting petitions to get on the ballot. This is interesting because I’ve never seen it happen before. DuPage County has been governed by Republicans since it was founded in the 19th century, but the inner suburbs are changing fast. It is rare to see even a token Democrat on our state assembly ballots. Obama won here twice (the first Democrat to carry the county), and Clinton won in a blowout. The delta between local Republicans and Donald Trump stretched to thirty or forty points in some precincts. Democrats have noticed and they are fielding a serious collection of state and local candidates. There’s blood in the water.

One last note, Alabama’s crazy uncle, Roy Moore, won the Republican primary for the US Senate last night. This is being touted as a rejection of Trump, but that’s a misreading. Moore won on the strength of being a kind of uber-Trump, an even loonier, more openly racist version of our nightmare president. Here’s an important thing to remember as we go into next year’s races, 25 years ago Roy Moore was still a Democrat and Elizabeth Warren was still a Republican. It was segregationist dead-enders like Moore who turned the Republican Party into the monster we see today. Neo-Confederates like Moore are slowly destroying the GOP, and they are close to taking the entire American project down with them.


  1. Continuing the discussion of the Trump Tax Plan, I saw a couple columns which to me fully encapsulates the problem, with the R’s approach. The links are:

    The first article by Krugman, has a graph in it showing the ratio of national debt to GDP from 1965 to 2017. This is interesting in that it shows a steadily declining ratio until the mid 70’s when there was a slight increase in the ratio followed by a resumption of the decrease. If this graph was extended back to 1945, it would show that the national debt peaked at approximately 105% of GDP at the end of 1945 and WWII. Thereupon it started to decline to the levels seen in 1981 and the mid 1970’s.

    Following the Reagan tax cuts, the ratio increased to approximately 65% of GDP in the early and mid 1990’s. With the Clinton Tax Increase, the ratio declined to approximately 55% in 2001. Then the Bush II tax cuts kicked in and the ratio increased to approximately 65% in 2009. Due to the financial crisis of 2008 it then ballooned to approximately 105+% in approximately 2015. It has now began a decline. So far the decline would appear to be noise, but nevertheless the projections are good. If the Trump tax plan is not implemented a, we practice reasonable budgetary control and there is no a major economic recession or war, I would expect the ratio to decline fairly rapidly as it did following WWII. During most of that time the US still ran a small annual deficit.

    I know the conservatives, focus on the steep increase from 2009 to approximately 2012, but we were in the Great Recession following the Financial Crisis of 2008. This was actually not a recession but a depression when extraordinary financial measures were required. If those measures had not been taken the crisis would have been far worse. Let us also remember that perhaps the biggest causative factor of the Financial Crisis was lack of accountability and regulation of the financial sector. Accountability was virtually nonexistent during the later portion of the Bush II administration.

    The interesting thing is that in the 36 years from WWII to 1981, during which time the ratio declined rapidly, the economy boomed. We implemented the space program. We fought the Vietnam War and the Korean War. We built the interstate highway system and in general did great things as a nation. I know that the marginal tax rates were very high and this period was part of the global recovery from WWII. Even so during the period from 1981 to the present when the Boomers were at the peak of their productivity we’ve had a generally increasing debt ratio and our nation’s quality of life has declined. I think there is a relationship between these factors and our lack of fiscal discipline as a nation.

    I personnally do not have a problem with small deficits, even during boom periods. As long as the economy is managed well and we invest in the nation’s infrastructure and education, things will be OK. The debt ratio will generally decline. However, that means we must exercise reasonable fiscal discipline. Programs must be paid for. That means that the wealthy must pay an increased portion of the tax burden. The middle and the working classes cannot handle a significantly greater tax burden. The wealthy can. Their tax rates are at very low levels compared to the long term historical norm.

    1. I might add that in June the debt ratio was 75% per the second article. If we continue the present fiscal discipline, the US can expect the ratio to continue to decline. We need the flexibility to handle any crisis that might arise such as another economic collapse or heaven forbid a major war.

      We can make investments in the nation such as health care, education, and infrastructure, but they should be financed by current revenues or judicious issuance of bonds. That would mean higher taxation for everyone and an increased share of taxes on the wealthy, but I believe the nation would be much better off and there would be less dissatisfaction with the government, if the people could see something for their taxes.

  2. The NY Times has this feature called “Partisan writing you shouldn’t miss” that curates opinion and analysis from Right, Left, and Center. Today’s feature covered people’s opinions on the tax bill:

    What’s interesting is that they all seem negative — even people from the right complaining that the details are too vague to be able to promise relief for middle class and an awareness across the board that the ‘pass-through entity’ tax rate is essentially a giant loophole written specifically for rich people and 45’s business in particular (his family company has over 50 pass-through entities).

    Of course NY Times may have a bias even in their curation. But this amount of negative analysis maybe, hopefully, means they aren’t going to make the public swallow this easily.

    1. That mirrors everything I have heard and read from political and economic analysts. The paucity of detail is undoubtedly there for “cover”, which doesn’t allow definitive “scoring” by anyone with any accuracy. In my opinion, this is on purpose. The old “run it up the flagpole” before you make too many enemies or generate legitimate opposition.

      The real problem for the Republicans is that their entire magnificent Tax Reform Plan was predicated upon prior achievements that didn’t materialize: passage of the 20% Border Tax (DOA); and cutting $1T from health care funding, especially Medicaid. Now they are in the unenviable position of having boasted about a grandiose Reaganesque Tax Reform Redux, and are running into the inevitable buzz-saw of fiscal and political reality. The Freedom Caucus will surely balk at adding $5T to the federal deficit without more offsets via cuts, and there is zero interest in cutting anything that benefits their donor base which means the cuts would have to be generated from their voter base…two different animals…Mid-terms are coming and special election results thus far have favored Democrats, as Chris’ post describes.

      The rock and a hard place is one of Republicans own making. They won big – very big – made a lot of promises – sold their party out to Donald Trump who has been no help to moving “their” agenda forward – and now they are staring at legislative project #3 in all its glory. I think they are in trouble and it is really unfortunate for the American people and economy that they have screwed up an opportunity to make important changes in our tax structure that could have wide-ranging, long-term impact if it weren’t so self-serving. The steady, slow growth, long bull market principally benefited those at the top at the expense of the “rest” of America.

      Trickle down has not happened and given what I have read of the “outline” of their big tax reform, it isn’t going to happen. Instead of demonstrating their competence and legislative capability and pragmatic economic solutions, they’ve doubled down on more of the same old “reward the donor base” philosophy. I have zero sympathy for them; I have lots of empathy for the majority of the American people. Yet, mid-terms loom, choices will exist (where not hopelessly gerrymandered), and people need to use the power of the ballot to send a message. The Democratic alternative may not be exciting but history documents the fact that Democrats are better managers of the economy than Republicans when they are in power…they suck at messaging their achievements.

    2. I totally identified with the logical explanation of comparative Bruce Bartlett contribution, in which he concludes:

      “There are good arguments for a proper tax reform even if it won’t raise GDP growth. It may improve economic efficiency, administration and fairness. But getting from here to there requires heavy lifting that this Republican Congress has yet to demonstrate.”

      The problem is not that tax reform isn’t needed, it’s that its process, assumptions and goals are tainted.

      1. The right dislikes the CBO scores because the scores do not support what the R’s want to believe, namely that tax cuts for the wealthy lead to huge revenue increases. Furthermore for the ACA repeal effort the CBO scores tell them that people will loose insurance. That’s not what the R’s want to hear. As Krugman and others have pointed out the CBO scores regarding health care coverage and costs for the ACA were more or less accurate, if one allows for the fact that SCOTUS allowed many of the states not to implement Medicaid expansion. On the other hand when the ACA was developed, the D’s got numerous CBO scores and then modified the act when the CBO score indicated that changes were required to achieve the desired result.

        The R’s have attempted numerous times to either do away with the CBO or to modify their directives so that the tax cuts would be scored the way the R’s want them to be, i.e. with a lot of “dynamic scoring”. The R’s consider that to be gospel because it came from Reagan. “Dynamic scoring” did not work then and it has not worked since. A tax cut for the wealthy still leads to revenue decreases and increased deficits.

      2. It appears I had already posted the above reply. Sorry to be repetitious.

        However, regarding the tax plan, the LA Times had an interesting comparison of how the proposed increase in the standard deduction will actually affect the taxes of the average American. It turns out that there will be limited effect and for many families actually increase their taxes. The link is:

        This is in line with my comment earlier that for most people their taxes will be approximately the same. That is despite the rhetoric. More and more this “tax reform” is proving to be a standard major tax reduction for the wealthy. There will be a concomitant increase in the deficit and pressures to reduce spending in other areas such as infrastructure and programs that really benefit average Americans.

        This is nothing more than the R’s standard line of BS. I hope that Americans are wise enough after 36 years of this BS that they will reject it, but sadly I fear not.

        I keep thinking back to when Reagan was elected and took office in 1981, that Reagan has a big challenge, he must increase defense spending and reduce the deficit simultaneously without increasing taxes. Rather he chose to increase defense spending tremendously and decrease taxes, by adopting the trickle down economics that tax reductions for the wealthy will result in huge revenue increases or voodoo economics as George H.W, Bush called it. Despite numerous tax increases (mostly affecting the middle class) during Reagan’s administration because the hoped for boom in revenue did not occur, this concept is still with us.

  3. For those of you who have experienced flooding as a result of Hurricane Harvey, or know of others who have, there will be a hearing this Monday, Oct. 2, at 10 am at the University of Houston Hilton, to discuss unmet needs and funding sources.

    Leadership of the TX House of Representatives Legislative Budget Board will coordinate the public hearing. It will be live streamed and archived.…/s…/html/C0302017100210001.htm.

    Speaker Joe Straus provided these interim charges: “Examine the use of federal funds by state agencies responding to the effects of Hurricane Harvey and identify opportunities to maximize the use of federal funds to reduce the impact of future natural disasters. Also identify the need for state resources to respond to Hurricane Harvey relief and recovery efforts, as well as opportunities for state investment in infrastructure projects that will reduce the impact of future natural disasters.”

    It would be helpful to contact members of the House Appropriations Committee as they will need to vote for this. (512) 463-1091. You will find a list of all committee members here:…

    It is also important that local officials and local MoL be made aware of and encouraged to attend the hearing.

    Handouts and presentations from the hearing will be made available to the public at:…/advanced-sear…/search-results/…

    One never knows what can be achieved until we try.

    1. The man did support President Obama for reelection in ’12, so you could look at it like that, though Hefner himself identified as an Independent near the end of his life.

      When all’s said and done, he was like any other human being, a mixed bag. He’ll always be most well known for Playboy, whatever your opinion on that, and also gave to many charitable causes, supported legalizing gay marriage and animal preservation, and apparently was a strong defender of the First Amendment.

      Regardless, the man’s dead now and he deserves to rest in peace.

  4. Re: Puerto Rico Response, Specifically the USNS Comfort

    I’ve been following the response the last few days. Of course it is sickening. The Comfort was ordered to deploy yesterday. Based on diaries from KOS linked below, the ship’s operating procedure is to provision and deploy within 5 days of receiving an order to deploy. It is planning on departing Newark on Friday, 4 days after being ordered to deploy.

    Contrast this the Obama’s response to the Haiti earthquake. The earthquake occurred on January 12, 2010. The Comfort was ordered to deploy on January 13, the following day. It was undergoing repairs at the time. Four days later it left Chesapeake Bay, fully provisioned and staffed. Hilary tweeted on Sunday that the USNS Comfort should be deployed. The Hurricane struck Puerto Rico on Wednesday last week.

    I also recall that following the earthquake in Indonesia, the USNS Mercy (Pacific fleet hospital ship) was dispatched.

    What was the dotard doing this weekend. He was tweeting about football players and how great his response to Maria was.

    The links are:!)

    1. My grandson is on a navy ship, the Kearsarge that originally was stationed in the US Virgin islands following the hurricane that tore that group of islands up. This ship is like a floating city. They can desalinate millions of gallons of seawater into potable water. They have been moved to Puerto Rico to lend help. Given that over 40% of the island is without potable water and power restoration is exceptionally limited, that must be quite a challenge. I’m looking forward to talking with him about this. But, I’m glad they’re there.

      1. I Googled the USS Kearsarge; it is an amphibious assault ship, which is actually an aircraft carrier to support marine assaults. The US assault ships are more or less equivalent to the aircraft carriers that most nations have. The US has 11 and that is in addition to the big carriers. So yes it is a small city.

        My partner came up with an interesting thought regarding Puerto Rico yesterday; she probably heard it on NPR. Apparently some woman indicated that if something was not done regarding Puerto Rico, that there would be massive immigration to the US Mainland. The Puerto Ricans have full rights to travel to the US Mainland, since they are US Citizens. Suddenly the response became a high priority. Most Puerto Ricans are not of white extraction. I doubt this is a coincidence.

        President Clinton made FEMA a cabinet level agency and it became quite effective. Then under Bush II it became part of DHS, and its importance and budget was deemphasized. Obama then re emphasized its importance. I suspect that Trump is now de-emphasizing it. I do know that there have been proposals to reduce its budget. It seems to me this is another case where the R’s cut essential budgets and de-staff departments. Then the American people pay the price.

      2. The outmigration from Puerto Rico might be much worse than that. Puerto Rico is deeply in debt already, mostly from trying to suburbanize, which is expensive. There’s no way for them to declare bankruptcy, and upkeep on all that infrastructure gives them a negative cash flow, so they can’t default. As people leave (and they were even before this enormous disaster) the tax base gets smaller and the relative burdens of both the debts and the upkeep grow, forcing more people to leave. Potentially the entire population could be forced to leave by the pathologies of finance.

  5. Chris – let us know if the Democratic candidate seeking signatures to qualify for office is successful. If he was soliciting signatures in a restaurant, he was working! Sometimes, that is enough to get on a ballot even if it’s not sufficient to win.

    All of the info I’m hearing through Indivisible and other liberal/progressive organizations indicate that there is tremendous interest and willingness by many newbies to seek office. They’re fired up! The reality of running against the polished machine of the Republican Party (including the Tea Party where they are most active …like in our area) will offer many lessons. We have a lot of catching up to do.

    I’m on the steering committee for a candidate in a local race who is running against an incumbent Tea Party candidate. It’s been interesting to get involved at the grassroots level in Democratic circles. I continue to be impressed with the many young women (30-45ish) who are engaging for the first time in political activism. The power of social media is pretty amazing for this old-timer.

  6. In re New Hampshire:

    My best friend at work is from near the area where the election took place. The specific district at issue represents some of the more affluent suburbs of Manchester in the south of the state. They are very much the New Hampshire stereotype of virulently anti-tax Boston commuters. Hence why it normally is a Republican lock.

    The Manchester area is also ground zero for the opioid epidemic in the state, as it is closest to the main distribution and production centers of fentanyl in middle Massachusetts. To put it in perspective: my coworker (who is in his early 30s) graduated in a high school class of 56. Over 20 of them are already dead.

    1. Shiro, twenty deaths (assuming to fentanyl?) is a staggering number. I am so very sorry to learn this. It would be interesting to know if Kari Lerner offered a more sensitive ear to the opioid problem or if she found other avenues to gain voter trust.

      I’m sure local analysts will study the outcome of the race and publish their conclusions. Please share with us if you see something that seems logical to you.

  7. It’s worthy of note how Democrats have been consistently outperforming the polls and what that might mean for ’18. Whereas FiveThirtyEight has Dems up only a little less than seven points nationally, their record on the ground has been much higher, around mid double-digits. Special elections are always low turnout affairs of course, but it’s also no secret that it’s Republicans who thrive in those conditions, not Democrats.

    Trump’s base will always stick with him no matter what, but this could be precisely the same dynamic that bedeviled President Obama. His voters would turn out for him, but they just wouldn’t do the same for down-ballot Democrats, and the same could apply, and perhaps even more profoundly, for Trump. His voters outright disdain and even despise what they view as ‘establishment’ Republicans.

    This is a trend that’s shown itself in special election after special election, and while the call of a midterm itself is likely to mitigate that to some extent, one can’t help but wonder what the results may be if what we’re seeing now carries over into Election Night.

    1. There is another factor in play regarding voter turnout. Unless Republicans are successful in their tax reform effort, their traditional base along with Independents and disgruntled Democrats, are going to take a long, hard look at what the GOP has actually achieved with their governing efforts. The lack of concrete results in the areas important to the base may not be enough to make them “vote” Democrat, but it might be enough to make them “stay home”.

      1. Tax “reform” success could hurt them too, since it’s likely to be a big break for the very wealthy and for corporations, and quite possibly a net negative for everybody else. In order to make the huge breaks they want for the ultrawealthy, they’ve been considering a number of “reforms” that will increase taxes on other groups – border adjustment (mostly working class, but kind of everybody), mortgage deduction removal (affecting the upper end of the middle class well up into the 1%), and the state tax deduction removal (same, but with a big state variance). What they get passed may well turn even more voters against them.

        Some of these reforms make some sense economically (border adjustment and mortgage deduction) but that’s not why the Republicans are considering them. They just want more money for the wealthy.

      2. I have been keeping an eye on this “tax reform” package. One immutable law of the US political system – at least since 1981 – is that whenever the Republicans adjust taxes the wealthy end up benefiting tremendously and that the working and middle classes end up suffering. Additionally, the federal deficit increases substantially. The Republicans have always been able to sell their tax cuts for the wealthy by one saying that the big tax cut will cause the economy to boom and the increased revenue will more than make up for the tax cut and secondly by giving a small tax reduction to the lower income or something similar and hyping that. Their typical hype is to say that the middle and working classes will benefit tremendously. So far they have generally been successful.

        They are attempting to use the same tactics this time around. Trump used both of those talking points in his speech introducing the plan yesterday. The doubling of the standard deduction this time around is intended to do that. Most likely the average person will end up paying essentially the same amount or more in taxes. But most people do not really do a projection to find out how their taxes will change. Trump also really hyped the idea that the economy would boom. The Republicans already are planning on a 1.5 trillion dollar deficit increase by the CBO over 10 years, with the idea that the booming economy would more than wipe that out. Fortunately for us, the CBO has never really been willing to go along with their ideas of dynamic scoring.

        Recent history has shown that these substantial revenue increases due to tax reductions for the wealthy never occur. Rather generally speaking these tax reductions for the wealthy seem to depress economic growth. I do not fully understand that, but to me that seems to be the case. Maybe Creigh or Economist can comment on this?

        I have not yet had time to review this “tax reform” plan. But I intend to write to my congresswomen (they are all women) and strongly indicate to them that in my opinion the “tax reform” plan must be scored by the CBO as revenue neutral or provide a net tax cut for the working and middle classes. Any tax increases should fall on the wealthy. I know that a snowball has a greater chance of lasting in hell than that occurring.

        We need to watch this closely because the R’s will attempt to use their same old tactics. Also they are probably going to attempt to include an ACA modification or repeal as part of the “tax reform”.

      3. There is little belief on the right for the CBO scoring. Not being an economist or CPA, I certainly can’t attest to their accuracy; however, both parties utilize their reports – touting them when they like the outcome, dissing them when they don’t.

        Once again, Republicans have so tarnished the integrity and quality of this government entity that their base no longer accepts their findings as valid.

      4. The right dislikes the CBO scores because the scores do not support what the R’s want to believe, namely that tax cuts for the wealthy lead to huge revenue increases. Furthermore for the ACA repeal effort the CBO scores tell them that people will loose insurance. That’s not what the R’s want to hear. As Krugman and others have pointed out the CBO scores regarding health care coverage and costs for the ACA were more or less accurate, if one allows for the fact that SCOTUS allowed many of the states not to implement Medicaid expansion. On the other hand when the ACA was developed, the D’s got numerous CBO scores and then modified the act when the CBO score indicated that changes were required to achieve the desired result.

        The R’s have attempted numerous times to either do away with the CBO or to modify their directives so that the tax cuts would be scored the way the R’s want them to be, i.e. with a lot of “dynamic scoring”. The R’s consider that to be gospel because it came from Reagan. “Dynamic scoring” did not work then and it has not worked since. A tax cut for the wealthy still leads to revenue decreases and increased deficits.

      5. Here is a summary of the process the GOP plans to use to ram this tax plan through Congress with no Dem votes. Reconciliation once more. Also note that they have included the option to incorporate repeal and replace of the ACA in their Tax Resolution instructions. Can’t get it through legislatively? Sneak it by. Per Politico, they expect the Resolution instructions to pass easily. I’m not sure what that means in terms of actual implementation or whether they are casting as wide a net as possible, including the ACA repeal to sweeten the deal.

      6. Center for Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) analysis of Budget Resolution Impact. Most detailed yet with more to come, for certain.

        “The $1.5 trillion in tax cuts over ten years would not be offset; instead, they would be deficit-financed. That, in turn, would intensify pressure for substantial budget cuts down the road in programs ranging from health care and education to transportation and scientific research, with likely adverse consequences for lower- and middle-income families as well as for long-term growth.”

        My oh my, how priorities have changed for the GOP…Deficits? What deficits? We’re going to grow the economy, don’t you see?j

  8. If I am going to have ANY hope for the Dems to have what it takes to combat this regressive nightmare, at least in the short term, I want to see maximum effort in this Alabama Senate race. I completely understand that the odds favor the GOP here, and this is an “uphill, both ways, in a blizard” kind of trek. I don’t care. If ever there was an opportunity to draw a contrast between what you stand for, and what the regressive religious bigots stand for, this is it, in neon letters bigger and brighter and gaudier than those “TRUMP” signs. The pundits are saying Moore is this year’s Tod Akin. Moore makes Akin look reasonable in contrast (and I think Akin is a hard core RWNJ). Don’t blow this Dems. You MUST fight the good fight here, even if Moore wins this next round. You have a quality candidate. Back him with the level of support he deserves.

    1. Though I completely agree with your assessment of the religious fanatic, I disagree with the idea of wasting resources on fighting in Alabama. That state is as close to a 3rd world theocracy as there is in the U.S. (Texas would be worse except for their oil revenues). I think that spending money on ads replaying recordings of the fanatic after he gets the Senate seat may have more value in other fights across the country that might be winnable.

    2. I hear what you’re saying, but give your suggestion some thought. In order to win in Alabama, Jones would need around roughly 35% of the white vote, which means he’d have to fight Moore to basically a draw among Strange voters. Given how viciously ‘independent’ Alabamans are, too much support from national Democrats could have exactly the same effect that McConnell had for Republican primary voters. You can practically see the ads blasting Jones as a Pelosi stooge already.

      Does that mean they shouldn’t send in resources? No, but any outside help has to be carefully managed.

    3. I would imagine the DNC is pretty cash-starved at the moment. People (like myself) are doing our best to donate directly to candidates and causes vs handing over money to the DNC.

      I agree we need a presence but I think that strategic deployment of resources – both financial and on the ground- need to be thoughtfully done. There are races where we can make pick ups and these will require great planning and utilization of resources.

      Besides, I am kind of intrigued with the thought of the GOP having to deal with a Senator Moore….

      1. “Besides, I am kind of intrigued with the thought of the GOP having to deal with a Senator Moore….”

        I’m not.

        We’re really in Alien Vs. Predator territory here: where we get so-called ‘moderate Republicans’, we get brinkmanship, obstruction, and dysfunction. Where we get ‘the base Republicans’, we get people who are around specifically to throw us over the edge — they serve no other purpose or ideology.

        The dissolution of the GOP is not in any way a victory for Democrats or comeuppance to hated Republicans (like McConnell) — it’s another lockstep march firmy toward the right. There was an article I read years and years ago and didn’t even think I’d remember, that went over the collapse of the leftists before (and chartering the coming of) Clinton, and ended with a sentence I didn’t realize would resonate so much: “It seemed Americans had hit their limits on the left. History hasn’t yet shown what their limits are on the right.”

        So far it’s looking like there isn’t one.

        Moore isn’t punishment to McConnell and certainly not an undermining of 45, he’s another fascist with no respect for the rule of law or tolerance of other people brought in by the forces that put 45 in power.

        It seems every time some monster gets elected by the Republicans, people say “Well now they’ll get a good look at what the Republicans are really all about and will find it distasteful.” Instead, when the monster fails, the base takes a step to the right and tries again. The collapse of the Republican rank-and-file isn’t a boon to Democrats, it’s a boon to even bigger and meaner monsters.

      2. EJ

        That’s a fantastic point, Aaron, and very well made.

        When a party gets as weak as the Republicans, there stops being such a thing as a moderate. It’s all just different flavours of extremist calling one another cucks.

      3. Aaron. You may be correct.

        I have heard many many times people talk about the pendulum swinging back to the left. What people fail to address is the top of the pendulum, the focal point, keeps moving further to the right every time the bottom of the pendulum moves right.

      4. Everything has its limits, Aaron. Even if people’s tolerance/apathy towards Republicans can seem without limit at times, people are fighting back every day, with Republicans losing special election after special election as a result. So-called ‘Millennials’, the most tolerant generation that this country has ever produced, is bigger in number than any that has ever come before it and one which rejects Trump and the GOP by record numbers.

        None of that is reason for overconfidence, but by all counts, Republicans have reached their high water mark. What we have to make sure is that they don’t take the rest of us down with them before our fight is done.

      5. The GOP has one last big goal: Tax Reform. Finding $5T in cuts to finance their plan is a heavy lift….but the six men (yes, only 6, all men) have brought it out from the closet and finally put it out there. And, they plan to pass it using Reconciliation, not Regular Order….They may even tuck in a repeal/replace health component in there…Given that the $1T in Medicaid cuts is gone; and the 20% Border Tax didn’t materialize; and the repeal (so far) of the ACA hasn’t happened….and Congress has just approved $700B for Defense, nothing for Infrastructure, only a down payment for Harvey, nothing for CHIP, and the list goes on….I’m real excited about the Tax Reform plan. The offsets are predicated on “growth” derived from cuts for corporate interests and the wealthy. If I recall correctly, isn’t this “trickle down economics”?

    4. “I completely understand that the odds favor the GOP here, and this is an “uphill, both ways, in a blizard” kind of trek. I don’t care. If ever there was an opportunity to draw a contrast between what you stand for, and what the regressive religious bigots stand for, this is it, in neon letters bigger and brighter and gaudier than those “TRUMP” signs.”

      The only poll I could find that was Moore vs. Jones was +22 Moore. Mathematically, I simply assume Moore is now part of the Senate.

      My thoughts regarding letting him win follow my thoughts around Chris Ladd’s suggestion that the Cassidy-Graham bill should be passed:

      Letting pain happen doesn’t create negative conditioning, it only causes pain. Too many of these people ARE in power due to the center and the left of the United States shrugging and saying, “Well wait until they see this guy in action, then they’ll come back to us.” ‘They’ don’t, they just replace the guy with a bigger monster.

      Democrats are unlikely to win, but they should try not because of the chances, but because it’s the right thing to do.

      1. When you have people like Steve Bannon openly campaigning for a candidate like Moore, and he wins – decisively – that is cause for alarm.
        I was sorry to learn today that Republican Senator Bob Corker plans to retire…another of the more moderate members of the GOP bites the dust. Serving in office is not very satisfying these days. I’m afraid we’re going to lose a number of quality members from both parties.

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