Thursday, August 23, 2018

What might Trump do?

Both the Manafort and the Cohen convictions are bad for Trump. I was too optimistic in suggesting Mueller might lose out completely on Manafort, due to his own screw up--his key witness, Gates, who had been offered almost complete freedom, undermined the theory that Manafort was a master criminal who deserves to spend decades in prison. Gates bragged to the jury that if anyone is a mastermind, it is him. Self-refuting, in a way.

Andrew McCarthy has a nice, judicious presentation as always: Congress can impeach basically for anything they want; Mueller is probably providing them with some ammunition. If McCarthy were advising Congress (I'm paraphrasing), he would say the campaign finance laws are rarely enforced with any real toughness, and the worst one can say about Trump-Manafort (so far) is that Trump was foolish to hire Manafort to a high-profile position in a presidential campaign. We know that Trump has made other foolish hiring decisions. I'm still impressed that Trump sheds a light, advertently and inadvertently, on problems in Washington, and the rogue federal prosecutor is one of those problems. I think open borders is nuts, and Trump deserves support for at least starting a debate about that, as well as for various appointments and executive decisions. It almost goes without saying now that there isn't some secret Trump who is crazy, or a traitor; if anything there is a Trump, much less visible than tweeting Trump, who is a cool voice of common sense in the Washington swamp.

I guess Dems have no hope of impeaching Trump unless they win a majority of the House in November. RCP shows close to a tie, with Reuters a bit closer to a tie.

Present House: 235 R, 193 D, 7 vacancies.
RCP projection: 193, 199, 43 (about 10%) toss ups.
Of the 43 toss ups, 41 are now R, only 2 are now D. That shows the shifting tide.
Going a bit beyond toss-ups, to seats that are possible turnovers:
3 now D, 1 leaning GOP, 2 toss ups
70 now R, 7 lean Dem, 41 toss ups.
There is tremendous party loyalty--the parties are probably more ideological, less likely to drift into some kind of centre, all the time. Very few seats are showing an actual shift from one party to the other.
If the 1 now D, leaning GOP, actually goes GOP, but all 43 toss ups go D, it will be 242 D, 193 R. If the 7 now R, leaning D, actually go D, but all 43 toss ups go R, it is 236 R, 199 D. If the tossups go 50/50, say 22 D, 21 R, it is D 221, R 214. R's have to do slightly better than 50/50 on the tossups to win a majority.

Kaus and Coulter keep saying Trump should double down on immigration--the signature issue of his campaign, and a proven vote-getter. Among the people who are able to get in front of him, flatter him and distract him are apparently mainstream Republicans who are for open borders. They are prepared to see Republicans nationally go down, either because open borders is their number one issue, and they can count on Dems to deliver that; or they are safe in their own state/district, partly thanks to donations from the corporations who want open borders; or (like Paul Ryan) they already have the golden parachute prepared to get a lot of money on K street lobbying for global corporations. The Washington swamp.

Like Scott Adams, I'm at least curious as to whether Trump will continue with some kind of outreach to African Americans--for decades the most loyally Democratic voters. Prison reform seems to be part of such an effort. It might not hurt Trump to reinforce the message that sometimes the justice system delivers injustice? Maybe pointing specifically to rogue prosecutors, maybe not?

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