Patterico's Pontifications

1/29/2020

The GOP Position: We Have a King

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 9:44 pm



Radley Balko (yes, that Radley Balko) makes a great point:

In short, the GOP truly is that the President is above the law. That he is a king.

Reports tonight are that the GOP believes it has the votes to prevent any witnesses from testifying and to acquit Trump posthaste.

I tuned in to this impeachment for five minutes tonight — five!— and I was instantly enraged. The contempt that the GOP senators have for a very well reasoned and indeed devastating impeachment case makes me wild with anger.

I am seriously considering voting for whoever the Democrat is in the general election. Even if it’s Elizabeth Warren. Even if it’s Bernie Sanders. (But I hope it’s Joe Biden, and I will vote for him in the California primary.)

I am deeply frightened and repelled by the extent of the powers that the GOP wants to grant to a U.S. president. And I am beyond frightened and repelled by the nature of the person to whom they want to grant those powers. In 2016, I had the impression that, as bad as he is, the structure of our government and Constitution might serve to rein him in, if he tried to do anything truly awful.

I no longer have any such faith. The only option is to throw him out of office. Him and every single person in elected office in Washington D.C. who supports him.

I want the GOP (electorally) burned to the ground. And I’m spitting mad — mad enough that I am seriously considering casting my first (albeit totally meaningless and ineffective!) vote for a Democrat for president.

What other choice do I have?

UPDATE: In the clear light of the morning, my immediate anger has … not passed, exactly, but its hard edges have softened a bit. For now. The sickening thought of an entire federal government run by one party, the way my state is, is unbearable. I am politically more at a loss than ever.

I still might vote for a Democrat but as much as I despise what these Senators are doing, I want Republicans to stay in control of at least the Senate, to minimize the damage. I still can’t bear the thought of four more years of Trump. It’s just too dangerous.

Trump Reelection Campaign Drawing New, Big Dollar Donors

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:50 pm



[guest post by Dana]

The Washington Post published a report informing readers that during the impeachment season, Trump is attracting both new donors and donors who have never given money to a campaign, as well as voters who sat out the last election:

Dan Costa, who runs four apparel companies in Northern California, was never a major political donor. But last year, he made a large contribution to the GOP for the first time: $37,500 in hopes of four more years of President Trump.

“That’s a big investment for anybody,” said Costa, whose only other contribution to a presidential candidate was $1,000 to Mitt Romney in 2012. “It’s like insurance that is going to help save the country. . . . It’s for me and my grandkids and the next generations.”

[…]

Their ranks include investors in a South Florida hot yoga studio, a Ni­ger­ian American real estate developer in Dallas and the head of a trucking business in Los Angeles. They have been joined by veteran GOP donors who have returned to the fold after sitting out Trump’s 2016 campaign.

[…]

Trump is now also supported by a more traditional source of party money: longtime GOP donors who shunned him during his 2016 campaign. By and large, those wealthy establishment donors have fallen in line behind Trump’s reelection, said Lisa Spies, a longtime Republican fundraiser.

The report goes on to note that the new wave of contributors are giving anything but chump change:

Trump’s vaunted political money machine is helping drive record sums to the Republican National Committee, and not just from the same donors who supported him in 2016. Enticed by exclusive gatherings and ecstatic about the president’s tax cuts, an eclectic new crop of donors is going all in, giving five and six figures to support his reelection.

The Washington Post identified at least 220 big donors to Trump’s reelection who are either new to major political giving or sat out the last presidential general election. Together, they have deluged pro-Trump fundraising committees with more than $21 million — a cash infusion that suggests a newfound enthusiasm for the president among supporters capable of writing large checks.

Motivating donors is the healthy economy, Trump’s tax cuts and efforts at deregulation.

Note: Since Trump’s election, more than 1.6 million new donors have contributed to the Republican Party, in both large and small amounts, party officials said.

Though doubtful that it was intentional, the report reveals the diversity of Trump’s big donors, including Nigerian-Americans, Hispanics, and Chinese-Americans.

While there are those opining that Trump’s reelection looks like a long-shot, one has to wonder if a Trump loss really will be a slam-dunk, given his considerable war chest of more than $100 million headed into the 2020 election year:

And if you think this election will favor Trump, ask yourself this question: When was the last time his approval rating was above 45 percent and his disapproval was below 45 percent? Answer: not since his inauguration. Simply put, this fact does not bode well for this incumbent — no matter how strong the economy or his campaign’s success in turning out his voters. Trump is not a majority president. It’s unlikely he can be a majority candidate.

Interestngly, the NRSC reported today that the impeachment hearing has “fired up Trump’s base” and become and is a “net negative for Democrats in key states”:

NRSC surveys conducted in January in battleground states, including Arizona, Colorado, Maine, and North Carolina, show that 62% of voters agree that Congress should be focusing on top issues like health care costs, trade deals, and keeping the economy on track instead of trying to remove Donald Trump from office. This includes 63% of independents and 61% of women.

Furthermore, 58% agree that Democrats should let voters decide for themselves in next November’s elections instead of trying to impeach Trump and remove him from office, including 59% of independents and 55% of women.

In Maine, which has given the collective media a nosebleed as they attempt to put Susan Collins in a box, 59% of voters agree Congress should focus on top issues instead of impeachment and 55% agree that we should let voters decide in November.

Perhaps most telling, a whopping 62% of independents in Maine say that we should focus on other issues instead of impeachment, and 58% of independents think we should let the voters decide at the ballot box in November.

And these numbers aren’t unique to Maine. We’ve seen similar numbers in Colorado, North Carolina, Arizona, and other battleground states. Across the board, voters recognize this for what it is: a partisan sideshow. 68% say that impeachment “is all about politics” and that “Democrats should be more concerned about addressing issues of the day like the cost of health care, fair trade deals and keeping the economy on track.”

However, here’s what recent Fox News polling found:

A Fox News poll released Sunday found that voters think the Senate already has enough evidence to render its verdict — 48 percent to 44 percent who say senators should subpoena witnesses. But by a margin of 6 percentage points, they think the evidence points to guilt and removal from office…Two polls last week found that 51 percent of Americans want the Senate to convict and oust Trump, whose approval rating in the Fox News poll is 45 percent, 54 percent disapproval…the party with a Senate majority is taking his side — 84 percent of Republicans told the Fox News pollsters that Trump shouldn’t be convicted and removed, versus 81 percent of Democrats who said he should be; independents wanted Trump removed by a 19-point margin, 53 percent to 34 percent.

Meanwhile, Trump seems to be feeling pretty confident today:

(Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.)

–Dana

Impeachment: What Comes Next

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:50 am



As Republicans squirm and look desperately for a way around John Bolton testifying, some are grabbing hold of the notion that Trump would just be able to block his testimony.

That is a joke. If the Senate votes to hear from John Bolton, there is not a federal judge in the country who will act or vote to stop him from testifying.

I predict we’ll soon see something more realistic. As Bolton’s testimony looks more inevitable, look for GOP hacks to favor a closed-door deposition, citing the Clinton impeachment as precedent. Then there will be a nationwide debate about whether Bolton should testify in public or behind closed doors. The same people who decried the closed doors in the House depositions (never mind that the witnesses later testified publicly) will advocate permanent closed doors for Bolton.

So watch for that.

Meanwhile, there are also discussions about a Bolton-for-Hunter-Biden trade.

I’m not so sure that’s a bad trade for Dems.

The reported contents of John Bolton’s book actually torpedo several arguments raised by many of the President’s defenders, like: there is no firsthand knowledge of Trump’s ordering the quid pro quo; or Trump was really concerned about cost-sharing and/or corruption generally, and not focused on the Bidens personally. Bolton will blow up those arguments with the same relish that he formerly ordered other countries to be blown up.

Meanwhile, what does Hunter Biden bring to the table?

Possibly a real focus on the validity of the arguments citing him. The assumption is that such a focus would be good for Trump. I’m not so sure.

Let’s start with the actual facts. This is Biden’s rapid response guy, but when I watched the video I noted that it largely if not entirely comported with my understanding of the relevant facts:

In short, the Hunter Biden argument is bullshit. Now, how do the Republicans expect to use the Hunter Biden argument to show Trump’s demands to Zelensky were legit? Well, as a technical matter Hunter Biden can’t show that, because the relevant question is what Trump thought, not what Hunter Biden says now. And we all know that Trump thought whatever he was told on Fox News. But those are technical arguments. What would we really learn from Hunter Biden? I think the GOP dream is like the plan of the South Park Underpants Gnomes (UPDATE: Paul Montagu had this idea first):

Phase 1: Collect underpants
Phase 2: ?
Phase 3: Profit!

But the GOP version is:

Phase 1: Call Hunter Biden
Phase 2: ?
Phase 3: Not guilty!

So what does the question mark represent? In the GOP fantasy, it’s hours of these questions on repeat:

Q. DIDN’T YOU COLLECT THOUSANDS, PERHAPS MILLIONS, PERHAPS TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS FROM BURISMA?

A: YES.

Q. IS IT NOT TRUE THAT THIS IS RANK CORRUPTION OF THE HIGHEST ORDER AND THAT DONALD TRUMP WAS TOTALLY RIGHT TO WANT TO INVESTIGATE IT?

A. NOW THAT YOU MENTION IT, YOU’RE RIGHT, OF COURSE.

But the reality is that, after the 12th invocation of the thousands, or millions, or quintillions of dollars Biden took, there will be further analysis of just what the hell this has to do with anything. And the more the facts are explored, the more the public will begin to realize certain facts:

  • Shokin, the Ukranian prosecutor whom Biden sought to have ousted, was actually dirty
  • Some Republican Senators supported Biden’s actions in ousting Shokin
  • Any Burisma investigation related to events that happened years before Hunter Biden joined the board
  • Biden’s actions were official U.S. policy and supported by most of the world
  • Biden’s actions likely would have made Burisma more likely to be investigated
  • The GOP argument is bullshit

The GOP Underpants Gnomes plan can still work, but the question mark in Phase 2 does not stand for “damning testimony emerges of the rightness of Donald Trump’s actions” but rather for “Republican Senators vote not guilty no matter what the evidence is.” Which means Trump will be fine — for now. But how will this end up looking come November?

Anyway, that’s what I say to expect. As usual, hound me in a few days when I turn out to have been wrong about everything.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]


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