Okay, so how many of the 53 percent of voters who say they want a Republican Congress to thwart Clinton’s policy agenda have any idea what that policy agenda IS? Just wonderin’.
But those same polls [suggesting a Clinton lead] don’t suggest doom and gloom for down-ballot Republicans just yet. And in fact, there’s real reason for GOP optimism that Trump won’t ruin their year completely. …
For one, the so-called generic ballot — i.e., whether people prefer a generic Democrat for Congress or a generic Republican — still only favors Democrats by a small margin: 3 points in both the Post-ABC poll and NBC News-Wall Street Journal poll, among likely voters. That same Democratic edge on the generic ballot is actually down from 6 points in last week’s NBC-WSJ poll.
Put plainly, these generic ballots are unremarkable and don’t suggest a big Democratic wave ahead.
Part of the reason Trump’s woes might not have filtered downballot could be that a strong majority of people don’t really associate Republicans with their party’s presidential nominee. And many people also appear to dislike Clinton enough that they like the idea of a Congress that could keep her in check.
The Post-ABC poll includes a question about whether people think Trump represents the “core values” of the Republican Party, and a strong majority of likely voters say he doesn’t — 57 percent overall.
The number includes a whopping 62 percent of independents. Just 27 percent of them think Trump does represent the GOP.
And the NBC-WSJ poll might be even more encouraging for Republicans, because it suggests a path forward for them. The poll asked whether registered voters would be more likely to support a congressional Republican who would be a check and balance on Clinton and Democrats, and 53 percent said they would. Just 40 percent preferred a congressional Democrat who would help Clinton pass her agenda.
— And now, some legitimately good news for Republicans, Aaron Blake, Washington Post, this morning
Of all the asinine comments by major political pundits about the presidential campaign during the last one and a half years, one that rates among the silliest is a recent claim by Paul Krugman on his Twitter feed pronouncing himself vindicated for his aggressive defense of Clinton as the only Democrat who could win the general election.
Why the claim of vindication? Well, because no candidate other than Clinton would have had a campaign team deft enough to recognize that Trump could be baited into a meltdown during the first debate by reciting his awful treatment of 1990s-era Miss Universe Alicia Machado because she gained weight during her reign, a meltdown that spiraled for about a week afterward. And that was what began the turning of the tide away from what appeared to be momentum for Trump and (apparently) triggered the release of the Access Hollywood Boys-on-the-Bus videotape. See?
Because the only possible way that a Democratic nominee could defeat—at all, but especially soundly defeat—Donald J. Trump was that. It couldn’t have happened instead based on, say, on a progressive platform pushed by Bernie Sanders in the primaries, or one that would have been advanced by Elizabeth Warren or Sherrod Brown, one or the other who likely would be the Dem nominee had she or he run. That is, on a progressive agenda that is broadly popular among the dominant swath of the public that wants significant change, and much of it among pretty much everyone else who isn’t in the basket of deplorables.
Or, hell, even a platform chosen by Joe Biden, who currently is far more progressive than he had been at any earlier time in his career, had he been the nominee.
That, of course, presumes—surely accurately—that each of these candidates would have run, and run aggressively and constantly, on their progressive platform. A platform that argues for significant structural change in the power of mega corporations and the very wealthy vis-à-vis everyone whose interests are not the same as those of mega corporations and the very wealthy.
I chuckle every time Krugman or some other big pre-convention Clinton backer angrily notes that Clinton is running on the most progressive party platform ever. As if Clinton has actually campaigned on this, other than to mention it in passing when the last Trump outrage falls from constant view and his poll numbers begin to rise, or hers begin to drop because of some new email-related something-or-other.
I’ve thought countless times since the convention how lucky Clinton is to have a party platform to run on that was largely forced through by Sanders. But that has presumed that eventually she actually would begin to run on it. No. I mean actually campaign on it. It’s specifics. Godot may arrive, but he hasn’t really yet.
But if he does, it should be in the form of asking this: What part of Clinton’s agenda is it, exactly, that all those voters want a Republican Congress to halt? And what part of the Republican Congress’s agenda do those voters want Clinton to comprise on and agree to?
Ah. It must be re-deregulation of the finance industry that they want. And immense cuts in taxes for Donald Trump, his heirs, mega corporations, CEOs of mega-corporations, and the insurance that Citizens United will never be overturned, and that the Supreme Court and the lower federal courts will continue to be steady-as-she-goes unapologetic proxies for mega-corporate America; Clinton’s agenda includes some very specific legislation on campaign financing, some of proposals which I did not know of until I read yesterday’s NYT editorial listing them.
Or maybe it’s the stuff about handing federal lands and environmental and energy policy to the likes of the Koch brothers. And control of the SEC by the Mercers and the Ricketts. The Kochs don’t support Trump, but they sure as hell fund the rest of the Republican Party. And Harold Hamm, Forrest Lucas, the Mercers and the Ricketts fund Trump—bigly—as well as the Republican Congress.
For starters. There’s also the healthcare-insurance public option.
Every one of those proposals by Clinton is supported by a majority of the public, some by wide margins. And every one of the Republican Congress’s proposals are opposed by a majority of the public, most by very wide margins. Yet Clinton’s campaign focuses so little on this that, according to that poll, 53 percent said they want a Republican Congress, to keep Clinton from enacting these policies, and just 40 percent preferred a congressional Democrat who would help Clinton pass her agenda.
I’ve wondered—and wondered, and wondered—for many weeks now why Clinton continues to allow the misconception to persist that Trump’s general election campaign is not funded in part by billionaires and has no ties to the finance industry. I actually had expected her to mention at one or another of the debates that Trump is funded extensively not only by two oil-and-gas billionaires, Hamm and Lucas, but even more so, apparently, by two finance-industry-titan families: the Mercers and the Ricketts.
When she didn’t, and didn’t mention the Mercers and the Ricketts even when campaigning in Toledo, Ohio, I presumed it was because she was concerned about angering some of her Wall Street donors. But in light of the leaks of the transcripts of her paid Wall Street speeches, I think there was something more. I think she knew or suspected that these had been hacked, and she didn’t want to provoke their release.
So now, to borrow from Trump, she’s been unshackled. She can detail to the public the reports that the Mercers in particular, but other billionaire donors as well, including the fossil fuel ones, are directly dictating policy proposals to Trump.
And that the Heritage Foundation—the far-right policy arm of none other than Congressional Republicans, the very ones whom the public wants to write laws, rather than seeing Clinton’s administration do so—in fact has written a fiscal and regulatory policy agenda for Trump that curiously mirrors the policy agenda of Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell. Neither of whom is exactly popular.
In my opinion, there isn’t much in Clinton’s paid speeches—at least from the articles I’ve read about them—that are really a problem, other than that she said that Wall Street folks should help craft the laws to reign in Wall Street, since they know better than anyone else how Wall street works. Well, not better than Warren. And not better than some other law and business professors. And not better than former Wall Street folk who left in disgust. But, okay; that was three years ago, in a paid speech.
What is seriously problematic, in my opinion, though, is the hacked email discussion about how to go about trying to persuade an angry, adamant Hillary Clinton that Bill Clinton should cancel his paid speech to Morgan Stanley scheduled for a few days after Hillary Clinton was scheduled to announce her candidacy.
The hero in that incident, as in several others, was campaign manager Robby Mook, who appears to be the only actual modern-era progressive in Clinton’s entire inner circle. He’s a millennial, but so are a (precious) few others. But only Mook appears to be a circa 2016-style progressive.
Trump likes to say that if it weren’t for the conspiratorial news media, he would be beating Clinton by 15%. But that misses, well, a few points, but this one in particular: that the news media and the Clinton campaign seem to have conspired to keep from the public the most critical fact of all. Which is that Clinton’s progressive policy agenda is the agenda that a majority of the public wants.
And that the Republican Party’s, so much of it actually adopted by Trump, with a steroid cocktail thrown in, is precisely the opposite of what that very majority wants.
Krugman’s Times column today is largely about the striking similarities between Trump’s depiction of the current state of this country and Ryan’s warnings in a speech last week about this country’s future if Clinton wins. But the similarities are more in style than in substance. Krugman writes:
But for what it’s worth, consider the portrait of America Mr. Ryan painted last week, in a speech to the College Republicans. For it was, in its own way, as out of touch with reality as the ranting of Donald Trump (whom Mr. Ryan never mentioned).
Now, to be fair, Mr. Ryan claimed to be describing the future — what will happen if Hillary Clinton wins — rather than the present. But Mrs. Clinton is essentially proposing a center-left agenda, an extension of the policies President Obama was able to implement in his first two years, and it’s pretty clear that Mr. Ryan’s remarks were intended as a picture of what all such policies do.
According to him, it’s very grim. There will, he said, be “a gloom and grayness to things,” ruled by a “cold and unfeeling bureaucracy.” We will become a place “where passion — the very stuff of life itself — is extinguished.” And this is the kind of America Mrs. Clinton “will stop at nothing to have.”
So, DSCC and DCCC, why not take this ball and run with it? Why not take that little clip and juxtapose it with parts of the Dem Party platform and pieces of Clinton’s proposals, such as those on campaign finance reform? And follow that with a summary of, say, Ryan’s budget’s Greatest Hits?
Clinton, of course, could do this, too. Robby Mook, can you try to persuade the candidate to start campaigning on this, now that the sexual assault and voyeurism admissions and allegations are becoming old news?
I said here after the second debate that I myself believe that Clinton is very much a changed person now in her support of genuinely progressive structural-power changes. I still believe that. But she already has my vote.
Democrats lie, all the time.
It don’t matter how left of Reagan Hillary goes.
She and the DNC are not what they seem.
Won’t find out til after the voting.
Why I am voting GOP down ticket.
DNC corruption needs thwarted.
She is no different than she was in 1964, only now her machine is transferring the mushroom cloud to Trump………..
As Obama attacks the Houthi who shot up a UAE blockader……..
pretty sure i agree with you about all this. but just for laughs this is how it looks from here:
to the “average” voter “check and balance’ (with no details) is more salient than the details would be even if Hillary shouted them from the rooftops.
and that “gray government world without passion” is another of those mystic chords touched by the better angels of our nature (sic: they’ve got a point and if they weren’t the people building a hell on earth it would be worth looking at government bureaucracy, not even mentioning the influence of big money, and work very hard to see that people have less reason to be afraid.
and: i have very serious doubts that Hillary intends any real “progressive” agenda. i don’t think free day care and college tuition is going to make a real difference in the lives of 90% of the poor. i could be wrong on the specifics, but have no optimism whatsoever about the general trend.
Examples of the “gray government world without passion” presumably include Social Security and Medicare.
I’m also wondering how all those Scandinavians, Germans and Dutch manage to wake up every morning and face their gray world of not having to worry about going bankrupt if they get seriously ill.
Oh, and while France and Italy do have reputations for grayness, on cloudy days, they do regain their passion when the sun comes out.
Who the hell does Ryan think is going to NOT CRACK UP LAUGHING AT THIS STUFF?
probably i did not make clear that these things reach deeply into the fears of the people. they have nothing to do with what you think of as reality.
they are far more powerful. but if you have had any experience dealing directly with government bureaucracy… or, say, judges… you ought to be able to get a feeling of what they are afraid of, or find annoying and more salient to them than the rather abstract (to them) benefits of government.
and most of them don’t understand social security any more than my congressman, senators, and last six presidents. not to say my former friends at “social security works.”
One day you will realize how polarized this country is. Not just in terms of votes, but in terms of information.
The vast majority of Rep voters have never heard Bernie Sanders speak. They did not watch any single part of the Dem convention. They have no idea what the Dem platform is about.
Cause they do not want to know. What they know about those things is what Rush, Breitbart and Fox has told them.
The only thing a Dem campaign can do to Rep voters is to discourage them against voting for the Rep nominee. And that can only be done by using the info that Rep voters get from their sources.(ie the bus tape). Anything else is a waste of time and money.
In terms of the policies you want shouted from the rooftops, there are not any Dem voters who do not know the Dem platform. There are some who think Clinton will not pursue it, but then:
“I think that Hillary Clinton is sincere in a number of areas. In other areas I think she is gonna have to be pushed, and that’s fine. That’s called the democratic process.
Right now, you have a majority of Republicans—of Republicans—who believe we should raise taxes on the wealthy. Do I think Clinton is prepared to do that? Yeah. Do I think she is prepared to do away with loopholes to get rid of outrageous tax breaks for large multinational corporations? Yeah, I do. Do I think she is serious about climate change, and that we can push her even further? Yeah, I do. Do I think that under Clinton we will raise the minimum wage? Yeah, I do. I’m not quite sure it will be 15 bucks an hour, but it will bring millions of people out of poverty.
Through the work of millions of people, we created a Democratic platform which is far and away the most progressive platform in the history of the United States of America for any political party. Our job the day after the election—and hopefully after Clinton is elected—is to make sure that that platform is implemented.”
“….reciting his awful treatment of 1990s-era Miss Universe Alicia Machado….”
There was no such “recitation.” They just made up stuff.
It was on videotape, Warren. Every single statement. And Trump did not deny it, either that debate or afterward. Instead, he restated all of it and said he was justified in saying it. Beginning in those early-morning-hours tweets a couple of days after the debate.
I have no idea why you don’t know this, Warren. It was THE BIG STORY for a week.
I assume you are talking about a Man-Date, because this election is over. Both sides know that it is over. What do you think all of Trump’s ‘rigged election’ bullshit is about? So, your point seems to be that Clinton should use the campaign or the rest of it, to ‘teach’ the electorate about public policy. I must say that there is no evidence what so ever that this ever works. It is a nice idea but most likely futile. U.S. politics today is almost purely tribal. In many indigenous cultures, the word for human being is the same word as the name of their tribe. All ‘others’ are something less than human. THis regrettably seems to be a deep part of human nature. I don’t think we can change that. What we need to do is to use demographics to defeat them. There is no alternative.
Do you seriously believe that candidates for president shouldn’t campaign by telling the public what their own policy proposals are, and what, by contrast, their opponents are? What their own goals are, not just through legislation but also through court appointments and agency-head appointments, and what their opponents are–cuz that would be trying to educate the public about public policy?
Wow. I mean … wow.
You know what, SW? Clinton had been slightly ahead in Ohio in the two weeks or so after the Dem convention, and then in the next month slipped down to about five points behind Trump. That reversed itself with the leak of part of Trump’s 1995 tax returns and all the discussion in the media not only about Trump’s yuge business losses butt also about types of tax breaks he was able to take. The tax returns aren’t even mentioned anymore as a reason for Trump’s sinking poll numbers, but it was what started it. And it was as much a factor in Trump’s meltdown in the first debate as the Miss Universe thing was.
Remember “That makes me smart”?
Two days after the leak of the tax return, and two or three days before the first debate, Clinton gave a speech on economic policy to a packed house of 1,100 in Toledo–Toledo normally being a strong Dem town but this year was leaning Trump. The speech got some actual attention in the media, and certainly in the local Toledo news media. The highest point for Clinton in polls of Ohio in the last two months or more came in polls taken in the two or three days after that speech. She was up by a few points then. She’s now only even there.
Your premise has been Clinton’s premise throughout the general election campaign, with the two exceptions being her convention speech and that Toledo speech and rally. It’s what’s kept her from really pulling ahead, until the Trump tapes and sexual assault allegations. But it’s also what’s been keeping the Democrats from not running the table in the Senate races and very possibly not winning the Senate.
There seems to be no way to pry loose from the Democratic Party and the Clintons and their circle the religiously-held belief that fiscal and regulatory policy is too complex for the hoi polloi to understand and care about. And it’s why were it not for the sex tapes and allegations, the presidential election would be close.
I think this is all wasted effort unless the Dems take back the House. I assume that Hillary will win and that the Dems will get at least 50 Senate seats with Kaine providing a simple majority. There are not 32 competitive House seats available thanks to gerrymandering, so the only way that Dems get control of the House is if Republicans do not show up. Clearly they will show up if they think it is necessary to control a Democratic president no matter what the agenda–in our polarized society by definition the the Democratic position is godless communism or at least socialism. Bottom line Hillary attacking Trump while toning down any “progressive” views is the best plan to retake the House. At this point it looks like she is going to win the presidency without overwhelming support from the young and left and that means she will feel little obligation to pursue their agenda. And to be honest as liberal as I am I do not agree with some of the more “progressive” parts of her platform. Free college tuition for children of families making $125,000 or less per year? I agree that something needs to be done to make college more affordable to more people and without being saddled with a lifetime of debt, but families who make $100K a year can certainly afford to pay something toward their children’s tuition at least in most of the country. I would much rather my tax dollars went to shoring up social security and medicare or paying for food stamps or increasing the earned income tax credit or rebuilding crumbling infrastructure or subsidizing health care for poor people then paying all the tuition for lower upper class kids. While we do not hear much about the national debt right now, it will be front and center come November 9, 2016 when the GOP will start explaining why it will oppose anything that Hillary proposes.
It is worse than that. As depressing as the gridlock will be, nothing will be as bad on November 9, 2016 as the Green Lanterns telling us how Clinton is going to sell out the progressive platform.
” U.S. politics today is almost purely tribal.”
“It was on videotape, Warren.”
“…the insurance [sic] that Citizens United will never be overturned…”
You would rather the Supremes had done as they did in King v. Burwell, and just rewrite the law to your liking? The LAW includes corporations in the definition of person:
TITLE 52. VOTING AND ELECTIONS
Chapter 301—Federal Election Campaigns
Subchapter 1—Disclosure of Federal Campaign Funds
§ 30101. Definitions
When used in this Act:
(11) The term “person” includes an individual, partnership,
committee, association, corporation, labor organization, or any other
organization or group of persons, but such term does not include the
Federal Government or any authority of the Federal Government.