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The Wrongologist

Geopolitics, Power and Political Economy

Tuesday Night: Just a Skirmish in the War

The Daily Escape:

People Power Beer, Kent Falls Brewing Co. – November 6, 2018 iPhone photo by Wrongo

Turnout worked for both parties on Election Day. It was basically a good news election for Democrats, who took back control of the House. They also picked up seven governors’ mansions, and gained control of seven state houses, bringing their total from seven to 14. Now, Republicans hold all three power bases—House, Senate, governor—in 21 states, down from 26. Thirteen states have divided control, down from 17.

Importantly, Democrats won the governorships in three states that helped elect Trump in 2016: Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. They also won the US Senate races in those states.

But, the mid-terms also proved that Trump’s win in 2016 wasn’t a fluke. The GOP won what it had to in Florida, Texas and most likely, in Georgia. They also took three Democratic Senate seats that were up in the very red states of Indiana, Missouri, and North Dakota, giving them a comfortable majority in the Senate.

Two loathsome Republicans lost governor’s races: Kris Kobach in Kansas, and Scott Walker in Minnesota.

The repellent Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), lost in Orange County, CA. Elsewhere in notable House races, Republican Dave Brat an equally repellent Republican, fell to a new face, Amy Spanberger in Virginia.

Two longer-term thoughts: State-level Democrats can now build on this base, and do even better in the 2020 races to help gain more control over redistricting in 2021. Doubling states under Democratic control yesterday makes that closer to a reality.

Second, we also learned that in today’s America, it is very, very difficult to change anybody’s mind, despite spending billions of dollars. About the best you can do is drive the turnout of your own party. Changing demographics will flip some seats, egregious behavior may sometimes be penalized, but not in all cases. States which are 50/50 can switch leaders.

Finally, for those who woke up this morning unhappy with the Dem’s results, Wrongo has little patience with that viewpoint. A win is a win. Going forward, the GOP and Trump will not be passing any more legislative horrors. For at least this term, Social Security and Medicare are safe. The ACA will remain. There will be no more tax cuts for corporations and the rich.

Last night, Wrongo heard a few pundits saying that the Democrats shouldn’t investigate Trump, because it would be divisive. And, that Democrats shouldn’t simply obstruct Republican legislative initiatives because that too, would be divisive. Funny how Republicans investigated Benghazi for 7 years, and spent the entirety of Obama’s presidency obstructing everything, and somehow that wasn’t divisive at all.

The bigger picture is that Democrats have slammed the brakes on Trumpism. Over the next year, a few truths are going to come out, either via Mueller, or from the House.

Then, we can decide what kind of nation we want to be: Will we be willing to hold people accountable for voter suppression and for their efforts to divide races and religions?

Here’s a comment that Wrongo found on another blog: (emphasis by Wrongo)

Here in my county, turnout was 61.5%, an incredible number. And while we did see a slightly larger level of support than usual for Democratic candidates, it was matched, and often exceeded, by GOP turnout…. So many new volunteers and so many people canvassing for the first time. We have to find a way to keep these people interested, involved, and motivated. But sometimes it can be a hard sell when you have to try and convince someone that all those months of hard work to move the needle a couple of percentage points…should be considered a WIN, especially when the difference is….Losing 65%-35% instead of 70%-30%…

We should remember that Obama didn’t keep his highly successful volunteer group together. It’s a huge challenge for Dems in red states.

We’re in a very long game. It’s all about the application of people power to better ideas and better candidates. You can’t let losing sadden or depress you, this fight is for the soul of America, and it’s worth it.

Soon, the Democrats will have to remove the dinosaurs who currently run the DNC. That internal fight should happen sooner, rather than later. Keeping Nancy Pelosi as the face of the Democrats is the best possible outcome for Trump 2020.

The balance has to be between someone like Pelosi who has been there before, and can hammer the House into a functioning opposition, and others who will still be calling to “abolish ICE” two years from now. The Dems have to avoid a Tea Party moment.

The Dems did reasonably well in the mid-terms. They also got much younger.

Now, they have to find younger leadership. And a better message.

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Sunday Cartoon Blogging – December 4, 2016

Quite the week. Trump makes Cabinet appointments, he tweets about taking citizenship away from US flag burners exercising freedom of speech, he takes a call from the president of Taiwan, and gets a formal protest from China.

That wasn’t all. You missed it, but Congress passed HR 5732, the “Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act”. The bill sets the stage for the implementation of a no-fly zone (NFZ) over Syria. It requires the administration to submit to the appropriate congressional committees a report:

That assesses the potential effectiveness, risks and operational requirements of the establishment and maintenance of a no-fly zone over part of all of Syria.

These Congressional chicken hawks may not realize that NFZs are a form of limited war. Politicians are usually the first to forget that limited wars only stay limited by mutual agreement. The military will tell you to never declare an NFZ unless you are entirely willing to fight a real air and ground war to enforce it. In the case of Syria, a No-Fly Zone would require the destruction of Syrian aircraft and missile systems from Day 1, probably leading to the death of Russians shortly thereafter. We could have a shooting war with Russia by the end of the first week.

Syria has over 130 air defense systems. A dozen or so are in the Aleppo area. Syria also has over 4,000 air defense artillery pieces and a few thousand portable infrared-guided missile systems. Russia has also located its advanced S-400 anti-aircraft missiles into Syria to protect their bases in Latakia Province. Those missile systems effectively give Russia control over Syria’s airspace, and for the US to impose a no-fly zone would require an air battle with Russia, which would all but guarantee the loss of a large number of US warplanes.

Over the last 25 years, there has been an evolving political infatuation with two pillars of “political airpower”: airstrikes and no-fly zones. Did we get the results our politicians promised?

Onward to cartoons. Trump goes to Indiana, gives Carrier tax breaks:

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It was great political theater, but it is a standard “socialize the losses” GOP play: tax breaks for jobs. The taxes earned from keeping the jobs never pay the cost of the tax credits.

Paul Krugman had a good observation:

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Fidel Castro dies:

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Free speech isn’t well understood by the Orange Overlord:

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Nancy Pelosi is reelected as Minority Leader. Many are pleased:

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Mitt wants work, will say anything:

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Trump still has lots of posts to fill. Word is that former vice presidential candidate and Tina Fey impersonator Sarah Palin is on the list of possible Cabinet appointments.

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Sunday Cartoon Blogging – November 20, 2016

“My dream is of a place and a time where America will once again be seen as the last best hope of earth”Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln believed that America should be a model for the world. He felt that the best way to achieve that was to end the divisiveness, to make America a land of hope and freedom for all. He had the courage to confront the political and cultural divisions caused by slavery, and he forced America to choose between allowing statutory inequality for some, and freedom for all.

If that was what Donald Trump meant by making America great again, he might have gotten Wrongo’s vote. Sadly, his flurry of recent cabinet appointments seem to indicate his idea of a great America leads him in a completely different direction. He’s announced Mike Flynn as his National Security Advisor, Jeff Sessions as his Attorney General and Rep. Mike Pompeo of Kansas as his director of Central Intelligence.

You will see millions of words written about their qualifications, so no need to guild those lilies here.

All three will be seen by those who gave Clinton 1.3 million more votes than Trump as mind-bogglingly disastrous choices. You be the judge of whether this is the type of swamp-draining Trump voters expected.

Nobody enters the White House well-prepared, but this is what’s coming:

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Not all promises will be kept in a Trump administration:

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Promises are made to be broken, particularly when Paul Ryan wants to be helpful:

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Ryan and Trump met to talk things out. Trump was happy with the meeting:

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DJT won’t stop tweeting. That could lead to mercifully short State of the Union addresses:

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The Dems appear to be re-electing their loser team. Who thinks that leads to anything good?

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Chuck Schumer has been re-elected Senate Minority Leader. Nancy Pelosi will most likely be re-elected Minority Leader in the House. Yet, she totally missed the reality of what happened in the 2016 election. Here is her analysis of the election results: (emphasis by the Wrongologist)

We cannot be taking the full responsibility for what happened in the election…As far as we are concerned, the problem was more with the communication than it was with our policy…I believe the Comey letter was a foul deed…It was the wrong thing to do.

Not her fault? We hear all the time that elections have consequences. It’s time for the consequences to rain down on Pelosi, among other Democrats.

Democrats gained only six House seats in the 2016 elections, meaning that they will remain in the minority for the fourth consecutive Congress under Pelosi’s leadership. And the 30 or so Democratic Congresspersons who are now fighting Pelosi want to break the party’s seniority rule, which guarantees senior leadership posts go to the longest-serving members.

This election proved that the Democrats have no bench of young politicos who can carry the party in 2018 and beyond. The question is: Who will be the face of Democratic opposition? Shouldn’t it be someone most of America can relate to?

You know, someone who isn’t an elderly rich San Franciscan.

Unlike the House GOP, where committee leadership depends on the Party’s decisions, House Democrats assign committee leadership by seniority. The result is that the ranking committee Democrats stay in the jobs long enough to get very old. For example, Pelosi is 76. The Judiciary Committee’s John Conyers is 87. Sandy Levin, on the Ways and Means Committee, is 85.

Nobody is saying that these are bad people, but the average age for ranking Democratic members is 68, compared to 60 for House Republicans.

It’s time for new ideas and younger blood to run the Democratic leadership.

She’s gotta go.

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