Keith Olbermann: “It has long been anticipated that the runaway train quality of the Trump campaign would eventually claim as its collateral damage all or most of the GOP and its leaders… To the Republican leaders I ask again, when will you disavow this anti-democratic demagogue? When will you defund him? When will you deny him? Conway, Sessions, Giuliani, Palin, Chris Christie, Mike Pence, Corey Lewandowski, Roger Stone… These people are done in this country's politics. Who's next? Paul Ryan? Mitch McConnell? Who else will this madman Trump take down?”
Do you know what Nikki Haley, Sam Brownback, Mary Fallin, Butch Otter, Rick Snyder, Doug Ducey, Scott Walker, Matt Mead, Nathan Deal, Pete Ricketts and Dennis Daugaard and even Chris Christie all have in common? Well, they are all Republican governors– respectively of South Carolina, Kansas, Oklahoma, Idaho, Michigan, Arizona, Wisconsin, Wyoming, Georgia, Nebraska, South Dakota and New Jersey– who have contradicted Trump's assertions that the presidential election would be rigged. Nikki Haley: “This election is not rigged, and it's irresponsible to say that it is. Faith in the democratic process is one of America's greatest strengths, and it's more important than the outcome of any election.” Maryland's, Massachusetts' and Ohio's GOP governors, Larry Hogan, Charlie Baker and John Kasich, have already washed their hands of Trump and Trumpism entirely (as did, Thursday night, former RNC chairman and Maryland ex-Lt. Governor Michael Steele, publicly stating that Trump had “captured that racist underbelly, that frustration, that angry underbelly of American life and gave voice to that… I was damn near puking during the debates.”) There have been reports that even Sheldon Adelson– who has given Trump SuperPACs $25 million– is fed up with the bungling incompetence of Trump and his campaign.
Yesterday former GOP congressman and current GOP MSNBC propagandist, Joe Scarborough, told the Washington Post that “The Republican Party must reform or die. Because if it stays on its current course, George W. Bush’s fear may be proven right. He may be the last Republican ever elected to the White House.” Ryan, of course, is hoping he'll be the next Republican president– that he and McConnell will be able to obstruct everything Hillary attempts to do in her first term so that Ryan can offer himself as an alternative in 2020. And although Ryan hasn't withdrawn his endorsement of Trump, Trump and his minions are now constantly accusing Ryan of undermining the campaign. They seem to have settled on him– as well as the media– as the excuse for the historic landslide Trump is going to suffer 2 weeks from Tuesday.
There is open speculation that a defeated Trump will work with Ryan haters like Steve Bannon and the other kooks billionaire hedge fund sociopath Robert Mercer embedded in his campaign, to deny Ryan another term as Speaker. Sean Hannity is campaigning for one of the House's craziest members, Louie Gohmert (TX) to replace Ryan. Others would prefer someone superficially saner, like Jim Jordan (OH). Ryan has become a hated figure among Trumpists nationwide.
Only 40 percent of Republicans now hold a positive view of Ryan (R-Wis.), according to the poll, down from 54 percent 10 days ago.
Among Trump supporters, just 28 percent still like Ryan, down from 48 percent. About 6 in 10 Trump supporters disliked the speaker in the latest poll. Four in 10 Republicans disliked him in last week’s poll.
Among all voters, Ryan favorability rating has sunk to negative 20, the lowest rating recorded in a YouGov/Economist poll for the GOP leader since he became speaker of the House one year ago.
Yesterday Judd Legum reported that far right North Carolina extremist Mark Meadows, who Hannity also said would be a good replacement for Ryan, is openly braying about a move to oust Ryan as Speaker.
Meadows revealed that this was more than speculation. There is a real effort underway to replace Ryan, according to Meadows, and it’s “picking up some steam.”
“A lot of the people who believe so desperately that we need to put Donald Trump in the White House– they question the loyalty of the speaker,” Meadows said.
He added that there “will be real discussions after November 8 on who our leadership will be and what that will look like going forward.” Meadows said that, since Ryan announced he would no longer defend Trump, he’s been flooded with calls about why Ryan is “not supporting the nominee.”
He also said he was “flattered that Sean Hannity would mention me as a possible speaker replacement.”
Ryan needs 218 votes to win the Speakership election in 3 weeks, right after the election, when the Democrats will either have enough votes to defeat him and replace him with Pelosi in January or, more likely, have 15-20 more seats, making it much tougher for Ryan to win the 218 he needs in the closed GOP conference in 3 weeks. Many of his allies are being targeted for defeat by Democrats, rather than lunatic fringe Republicans like Gohmert and Meadows from blood-red, lunatic fringe constituencies. There is increasing speculation that Ryan is on the verge of resigning as Speaker right after the election.
Ultimate Villager, Charlie Cook, penned a column for the National Review that puts Ryan's woes in the context of the Republican civil war ripping the party to shreds right now. Trump's defeat is a foregone conclusion to him and he points out that Republicans had better “contemplate the consequences of handing over their party’s car keys to the tea-party movement and watching as the quintessential tea partier, Donald Trump, drove the car over a cliff.” He sees them losing the Senate, and a minimum of 15 House seats, not to mention governorships and state legislative seats. He's not a bold guy but he boldly predicts that “the question to be decided on Election Night is how far over 300 electoral votes” Hillary will go. “How many normally Republican states will turn blue on Nov. 8? Arguably Republicans could have nominated a potted plant and do better than they will in 17 days.”
And what about the tea party, the Freedom Caucus in the House, and other Trumpeteers with no political philosophy except resentment? Will they slink off into the night and allow the rest of the GOP to begin repairing the party of Lincoln and Reagan, or will they continue to sabotage it for another two or four years? Nobody knows at this point.
In 2018, Republicans theoretically have a chance to put their party back on track. Midterm elections, with 40 percent fewer voters, feature an electorate that is generally older, whiter, more conservative, and more Republican. We also know that midterm elections are usually unkind to the party in the White House. In only three midterm elections in the last century has the party holding the White House not lost seats: in 1934, Franklin Roosevelt’s first midterm election, when Americans were not finished kicking the daylights out of Herbert Hoover’s party; in 1998, when voters punished the GOP for trying to impeach President Clinton despite a strong economy; and in 2002, when voters were not about to vote against their commander in chief in the aftermath of 9/11. The GOP should have an edge in the Senate in 2018. The seats to be contested belong to lawmakers who won in 2012, when President Obama was reelected; Democrats have 25 seats at risk, to just eight for the GOP.
Then there is the economy. As was aptly pointed out in last Friday’s Wall Street Journal, the current, albeit anemic, economic recovery began 88 months ago in June 2009, making it the fourth-longest period of growth since 1854. While economic expansions are said not to die of old age, something has to kill them, and I suspect they grow frail with age, particularly when they’re as sluggish as this one and the world economy is in even worse shape. On top of that, interest rates are already at rock bottom, the Federal Reserve Board has few arrows in its quiver, and a dysfunctional political process in Washington is unlikely to respond quickly and boldly with stimulus. No matter who wins, the odds of a recession over the next four years are pretty good, something obviously bad for the country but giving Republicans an opportunity to bounce back– but only if they right a party apparatus that is currently listing at about 45 degrees.
When I talk to smart Republican leaders and strategists, they have a very good idea of what their party’s problems are, and they know what needs to be done. But my colleague Amy Walter recently reminded us of a great line by former House Speaker John Boehner: A leader without followers is simply a man taking a walk. Republican leaders are faced with a party in which about half of its members believe that compromise is a four-letter word and hold some pretty exotic views of what this country is and where it is headed– views that are very different from where the country actually is and where it is going.
Meanwhile, Trump signaled his fans in Ohio on Thursday that they shouldn't vote for Republican incumbent Rob Portman. He told a local NBC affiliate there that “We have a couple of cases where people who aren’t supporting me. They are losing and I’m winning states, and you’ve seen that, that’s all over the place. So, you know, I was very disappointed in Rob, but he is free to do whatever he has to do… We are actually up substantially in Ohio. We have tremendous support from the people. We’re doing fantastically well in Ohio.” Typical Trumpist delusion. The two most recent polls of Ohio voters (by Suffolk and by Quinnipiac) show Trump and Hillary tied at 45% each, while the two most recent Ohio Senate polls, also by Suffolk and Quinnipiac, show Portman devastating Democratic hack politician Ted Strickland, the former by 15 points and the latter by 13 points. But none of that will mean anything to Trump fans. If he decides to really screw with Portman, he can probably make his race a lot closer. Don't think for one moment that the Republican Party hasn't earned every torment Trump is bringing– and will bring– them.
I hope you liked the post above. This video below has virtually nothing to do with it. I just thought you might enjoy it as much as I did; and… what a way to start the day! You know “Weird Al,” right? Weird Al Yankovic? He had some fun with Hillary and the execrable Donald. With apologies to Mark Meadows:
“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” — Sinclair Lewis