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How Strong Will Hillary's Coattails Be?

Tuesday, October 25, 2016 14:14
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(Before It's News)

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Another way to ask that question might be something like, “Will Trump's Negative Coattails Sink The GOP 2 Weeks From Today?” In a report Sunday for the NY Times, Alexander Burns and Amy Chozick emphasized that Hillary was in Charlotte that day urging black voters to “punish Republican officeholders for supporting Trump… going beyond seeking simply a victory over Mr. Trump, asking voters to strengthen her hand in Congress and repudiate not just Mr. Trump but also Republicans who have accommodated or endorsed him.” She asked her supporters to replace Richard Burr with Deborah Ross and the day before she was in Pennsylvania asking voters to defeat Pat Toomey and elect Katie McGinty. A few weeks earlier she was in Haverford, PA with progressive congressional candidate– and old friend– Mary Ellen Balchunis helping her in a campaign against garden variety Republican Pat Meehan, despite Pelosi's and the DCCC's attempt to sabotage Balchunis' campaign after she eviscerated their Wall Street-friendly conservaDem in the primary 74-26%, humiliating Steve Israel, Ben Ray Lujan and Pelosi.

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In Charlotte she excoriated Burr for being too cowardly to stand up to Trump and Trumpism. “Unlike her opponent, Deborah has never been afraid to stand up to Donald Trump. She knows that people of courage and principles need to come together to reject this dangerous and divisive agenda.”

It is a sign of the extraordinarily lopsided nature of the presidential race that, even in a Republican-controlled state like North Carolina, Mrs. Clinton is in a position to exhort voters to hand control of the Senate to Democrats. Though she is still not broadly popular, Mrs. Clinton has cast her candidacy– and now, perhaps, her party– as a safe harbor for voters across the political mainstream who find Mr. Trump intolerable.

…For Republicans, blunting Mrs. Clinton’s ability to carry other Democrats into office has become the overriding imperative in the final weeks of the 2016 race. With Mr. Trump so diminished as a competitor for Mrs. Clinton, Republicans say they will now ask voters in newly explicit terms to elect a divided government rather than giving Mrs. Clinton unchecked power.

…In addition to trailing by a wide margin in national polls, Mr. Trump has fallen well behind Mrs. Clinton in states that are likely to determine control of the Senate, including North Carolina, Nevada, Pennsylvania, Florida and New Hampshire, and also in suburban areas around the country that are critical to the Republicans’ House majority.

Goal ThermometerYou may be reading that Texas is now a toss-up state, but that doesn't mean Clinton has a real chance to run the state. She's ahead in South Texas but Trump is still way ahead in west Texas and beating her comfortably in North Texas and East Texas. Where Trump is failing is in central Texas. He's weaker than he should be in the Republican suburbs that normally give the GOP huge statewide majorities and in the district where that can actually turn a House race blue– TX-21, which includes suburbs south of Austin (Travis County) and north of San Antonio (Bexar County)– the DCCC is completely unprepared. Fortunately, the stung and well-organized grassroots campaign Tom Wakely has mounted is paying off– for Hillary and for himself. The DCCC– visionless as usual– could never imagine defeating powerful reactionary Lamar Smith, the Science Committee Chairman who denigrates Science and who worships at the alter of Donald Trump. Smith was the first congressional committee chairman to endorse Trump and the first member of Congress to contribute money to Trump. Although in recent days he's tried hemming and hawing when confronted by voters about why he's still backing Trump– claiming he's “not getting involved in presidential politics”– Smith is widely seen in TX-21 as a Trump surrogate and it's looking more and more likely that– even with a single return call from the clueless DCCC– Wakely (a Berniecrat who defeated a more conservative Democrat in the primary) can, with Hillary's help and Trump's weight around Smith's neck, defeat a key GOP chairman… more than the DCCC is even trying anywhere in the entire country. (You can help Wakley's campaign, as well as Balchunis'– by tapping on the thermometer on the right.)


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Bexar County, Sunday afternoon


A few minutes ago, very accurate polling came out from Democracy Corps, showing Hillary not just winning, but winning big across the country in the suburbs– and that includes the big suburban areas the GOP has counted on near New York, San Antonio/Austin, San Diego and Las Vegas. As you know, that;s exactly where Blue America is working to bring it home for progressives the DCCC has shown little-to-no interest in. The chart below shows Hillary's overall numbers. Even better, among suburanites, she's up over Trump 54-36%. That's going to be enough to bring home wins– if they can get their messages out– for DuWayne Gregory, Tom Wakely, Doug Applegate and Ruben Kihuen, ending the disgraceful careers of, respectively, Peter King, Lamar Smith, Darrell Issa and Cresent Hardy. How would you like to see that November 8th?

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John Pitney wrote an interesting column for USA Today, also Sunday, with some bearing on this– basically about how the GOP contention that they'd be able to “control” or even “check” Trump, were he to win is just fantasy. And that's a danger most Americans probably don't want to gamble with.

Although an unusual number of Republican lawmakers have come out against him, most have not. Several who called on him to drop out of the race have since said that they will vote for him anyway. Why are so many siding with a candidate who is so unfit? High on the list of probable motives is fear of a challenge in a future GOP primary. In recent years, some high-profile Republicans have either lost to a hard-line conservative (for instance, former House majority leader Eric Cantor of Virginia) or endured an unexpectedly tough battle (Sen. Thad Cochran of Mississippi). Trump supporters are vocal and zealous, so it is not hard to picture them working to oust Republicans disloyal to their man.

If GOP lawmakers are cowering before candidate Trump, how could they stand up to President Trump? In addition to his wealth and political base, he would wield the vast power of the executive branch. There is little doubt that he'd use it to punish those who displease him. After House Speaker Paul Ryan said he'd no longer defend his bad behavior, Trump hinted at a leadership purge, saying, “I would think that Ryan wouldn't be there.”

…The feebleness of congressional oversight has been problem even under a more-or-less normal person such as Barack Obama. It would be a disaster under a fanatically secretive person such as Trump. He won’t release his tax returns, and he makes his campaign aides sign non-disclosure agreements. The mind boggles at the information that his administration would withhold from Congress and the American people.

Congress has always been at a disadvantage in checking the president’s power over foreign policy and national security. On hundreds of occasions, presidents have used military force overseas without congressional approval. In 1973, Congress tried to curb such activities by passing the War Powers Act. Numerous military actions over the past 43 years suggest that this measure is not effective.

The law requires the president to seek congressional authorization within 60 days of starting military action. This requirement does not limit the president’s power to launch a nuclear attack– a process that would take less than an hour. Since the bombing of Hiroshima, a dozen chief executives have held this power, with no real external check at all. Each of these 12 presidents made mistakes, and some of them did very bad things, but none was reckless enough to start a nuclear war. That is why we are alive today.

Trump probably does not hope for Armageddon, and it seems unlikely that he would strike at a friendly nation. But it is all too plausible that his ignorance and rashness could start a crisis that escalates into a nuclear exchange. No one should vote for him in the hope that Congress could stay his hand– because it can’t.

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“When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross.” — Sinclair Lewis

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