SENATE TO HOUSE, GET OVER IT … ALABAMA SUPREME COURT HAD A ROUGH WEEK … GOP SENATORS COMING TO TERMS … TRUMP IS THE GUY OUR FOUNDING FATHERS FEARED … SANDERS BEAT GARY HART’S ’84 RECORD IN NH … HISPANDERING … BUDDING BROMANCE … and other news of the week.
Daily Savings Time this weekend — gain an hour of sunshine, lose an hour of sleep. I’ll take sunshine.
Joyce Rubenstein and the Capstone Team (John Rogers, Alan MacLeod, Will Stone, Diane Rogers, Erik Oksala and Kayla Baca)
SENATE TO HOUSE … GET OVER IT! Politico: “The Senate has a message for the House: We already agreed we’re not cutting spending this year, get over it. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that the upper chamber plans to soon begin writing spending bills based on a bipartisan budget agreement reached in December that would boost spending this year by $30 billion. House conservatives are pushing their leaders to abandon that deal, which would greatly complicate the push by McConnell and Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) to pass as many of the 12 annual spending bills as possible this year ahead of the November elections. McConnell’s decision means that the House will have to accept the terms of the 2015 budget agreement or start work on spending bills with a lower overall funding cap — a move that all but ensures another round of messy negotiations later this year over how to keep the government funded.”
SENATE PASSES SWEEPING ANTI-DRUG BILL NYTs “Responding to a drug crisis that has contributed to more American deaths than car crashes, the Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly passed a broad drug treatment and prevention bill, the largest of its kind since a law in 2008 that mandated insurance coverage for addiction treatment. The bill, which passed 94 to 1, is a boon for Republican senators in swing states, which have been hit particularly hard by the drug crisis. Senators Rob Portman of Ohio and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, both Republicans, spent weeks promoting the measure on the floor after seeing opioid-related crime and addiction soar in their states. … ‘This is a strong signal that the United States Congress now gets this issue,’ Mr. Portman said in a news conference after the vote.”
SENATE GETS GOING ON SZUBIN NOM AP ‘All that had to happen was for the committee chairman to win his primary.’ “The Senate Banking Committee on Thursday approved the long-stalled nomination of Adam Szubin to a key Treasury Department post responsible for leading the battle against terrorism and financial crimes. The committee’s chairman, Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Ala., had delayed action on Szubin’s and all other nominations before his panel, stubbornly refusing to act until winning his re-election primary last week.”
MORE NOMINATIONS SASC unanimously clears Eric Fanning as secretary of the Army, who would be the first openly gay secretary of a U.S. military branch. (The Hill)
WHAT COULD”VE BEEN A BIG NAIL IN THE COFFIN OF SOUTHERN DEMOCRATS The Fix: “Kentucky voters … determine[d] the fate of one of the last Democratic bulwarks in the south: the Kentucky statehouse. Kentucky Democrats [were] hanging on to their nearly century-long control of the House by a thread after several of their lawmakers defected from Democrat to Republican this fall. Others took jobs offered to them by Kentucky’s new Republican governor. Tuesday’s four special elections determined control of the chamber … and whether the House approves Gov. Matt Bevin’s proposed $650 million budget cuts and/or tries to stop him from dismantling Obamacare in the state. WHAT WAS AT STAKE Kentucky is the Democrats’ last stronghold of electoral hope in the south. The state is now better described as one of the last to realign with the United States’ decades-old North-South political reality that Republicans rule down south and Democrats up north. HUGE NIGHT FOR KENTUCKY DEMOCRATS … “the party ran to victories in three out of four special elections, strengthening its hold on the state House of Representatives and setting back Republican efforts for a historic takeover,” the Kentucky Courier-Journal reports. … [Some] Democrats called the resounding win a repudiation of Gov. Matt Bevin’s policies, which they say are too extreme. The three Democratic victories mean the party will hold a 53-47 margin in the House and look to be assured of continuing its 95-year hold on the chamber through at least the end of the year.”
JUST INTERESTING During President Obama’s tenure, Republicans clinched more and more control of statehouse and governor’s mansions to the point where The Fix’s Chris Cillizza writes they have “an absolute stranglehold” on governor’s seats (64%). After the November 2014 midterms, Republicans control 69 out of 99 partisan chambers. (Even though the 99th, Nebraska’s, is technically nonpartisan, in practice, Republicans dominate it.)
BAD WEEK FOR ALABAMA SUPREME COURT The Atlantic: ON FRIDAY “The Alabama Supreme Court … issued a one-sentence order admitting that “Erm, um, well, urm, okay, fine! Whatever! We really don’t have the authority to overrule the U.S. Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage opinion in Obergefell v. Hodges. Are you people happy now? ON MONDAY in a different but related matter, the U.S. Supreme Court piled on by in effect issuing what I’ll call a Writ of ‘Duh’ in a same-sex adoption case. The Court summarily reversed the Alabama court, without hearing argument or full briefing. Monday’s unsigned per curiam decision was unanimous. Though some justices almost certainly still object to the Obergefell decision, none of them was willing to be identified with the state court’s ham-fisted attempt to punish an adoptive parent caught in an ugly same-sex divorce and custody battle.”
@CAPSTONENP GAO Report on Littoral Combat Ship Defects … who is paying. See Capstone CEO, John Rogers comments @journalsentinel
Click here for Article
NEVERMIND NYTs: “Michael Bloomberg announced on Bloomberg View that he will not be running for president.”
THE TRUMPSTER’S TUESDAY WashPost: “Trump’s easy victories in the Michigan and Mississippi primaries – plus Hawaii’s caucuses – suggest the intensified GOP establishment assault on Trump’s character and record has not wounded his campaign quite as badly as thought. At least not yet.”
GOP SENATORS COMING TO TERMS WITH CRUZ Politico: “It’s come to this for Senate Republicans: The man who’s ripped them as part of the Washington ‘cartel’ and dismissed their leader as a liar and a Democrat is starting to win their ever-so-grudging support for president. The endorsement of Ted Cruz by conservative Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) Thursday is the first sign that at least a handful of GOP senators are prepared to hold their noses and get behind the Texas senator, given an alternative they see as even more noxious and politically damaging: Donald Trump.” -“Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who less than two months ago likened a choice between Trump and Cruz to being shot or poisoned, has decided he can actually live with Cruz.”
@mmurraypolitcs “the delegate math: Why Florida and Ohio are so important to Trump – in order to avoid contested convention
ONE OF THE GREATEST UPSETS IN MODERN POLITICAL HISTORY WashPost: “The biggest story … is the Vermont senator’s stunning victory in Michigan’s Democratic primary [on Tuesday]. The polls were embarrassingly wrong. Hillary Clinton led by 21.4 points in the RealClearPolitics average of Michigan polls. She was up by double digits in each of the 15 surveys released so far this year, including an eye-popping 37 points in a clearly shoddy Mitchell Research survey conducted this past weekend.
Sanders wound up winning by 2 points, 50% – 48% percent. He prevailed by about 20,000 votes of more than 1.1 million cast. NATE, NOT YOU TOO FiveThirtyEight’s Nate Silver, who yesterday pegged Clinton’s chances of winning Michigan at 99%, describes this as “one of the greatest upsets in modern political history.” He says Sanders broke Gary Hart’s 1984 record in New Hampshire for “greatest upset vs. final polling average.” MISSISSIPPI To be sure: Clinton demolished Sanders in Mississippi, which actually means that the front-runner got more delegates than her challenger. But the Wolverine State is significant because it shows Sanders can win a big, diverse state. And several upcoming contests in the Midwest have electorates that look a lot like Michigan’s. This means Clinton will need to expend a lot more time and money on the nominating fight than she hoped.
The six likeliest explanations for what happened:
1. A message of economic populism, particularly protectionism, is much more potent in the Rust Belt than we understood.
2. Sanders is more popular among African Americans in the North than the South.
3. Clinton supporters were complacent and/or crossed over to vote against Trump.
4. The Clinton campaign took Michigan for granted.
5. An unexpectedly large number of independents voted in the Democratic primary, and Sanders won them overwhelmingly. The Detroit Free Press attributes Sanders’s win to record turnout: “More than 2.2 million votes were cast in the Democratic and Republican primaries, well above the record 1.9 million counted in 1972 … Turnout in the state [also] surged well past numbers from recent years, causing precincts across the state to run out of ballots completely.”
6. Michigan’s pollsters are particularly awful.(too many robo-polls which means they did not reach people who do not have landlines. Sanders tends to do better with younger voters, that means they were underrepresented.
HILLARY STILL FAVORED TO WIN, BUT … the two biggest primaries next week. New CNN/ORC polls, out this morning, show Clinton up 63-33 in Ohio and 61-34 in Florida. Quinnipiac polls, also out today, show Clinton up 30 points in the Sunshine State 9 points in the Buckeye State. (That said, Sanders supporters have reason to be dubious of polls…)
THE HILTER-IFICATION OF DONALD TRUMP The Fix: “f there’s one comparison you never make, it’s comparing someone to Adolph Hitler. … But in an election season that has broken a lot of the boundaries that used to dictate what could and couldn’t be said in presidential politics, that particular trope just won’t go away. Trump had already been drawing comparisons to Hitler and had to defend himself after failing to disavow former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke.A nd some even saw a Nazi comparison at a Trump rally later on Saturday in Orlando … when Trump asked his supporters to raise their right hands and swear to vote for him.” (SEE PICTURE).
TRUMP MAULS MEDIA: ‘I DO HATE THEM’ USAToday “[R]eporters … are grouped in pens, to which Trump directs the attention of his raucous crowds with comments like, ‘What slime!’ … It’s like working the refs … the hope is that a complaint now will yield more favorable treatment (or coverage) in the future.”
: “We have been increasingly concerned with some of the rhetoric aimed at reporters covering the presidential race and urge all candidates seeking the White House to conduct their campaigns in a manner that respects the robust back-and-forth between politicians and the press that is critical to a thriving democracy.”
– Carol Lee, president of the White House Correspondents’ Association
TRUMP IS THE GUY OUR FOUNDING FATHERS FEARED Michael Gerson “… in a dangerous world, fear is natural. Cynically exploiting fear is an art. And Trump is a Rembrandt of demagoguery. But this does not release citizens from all responsibility. The theory that voters, like customers, are always right has little to do with the American form of government. The founders had little patience for “pure democracy,” which they found particularly vulnerable to demagogues.
… Trump is the guy your Founding Fathers warned you about. “The question is not ‘Why Trump now?’ ” argues constitutional scholar Matthew J. Franck, “but rather ‘Why not a Trump before now?’ Perhaps some residual self-respect on the part of primary voters has driven them, up to now, to seek experience, knowledge of public policy, character, and responsibility in their candidates. The Trump phenomenon suggests that in a significant proportion of the (nominally) Republican electorate, this self-respect has decayed considerably.”
With the theory of a presidential nominee as a wrecking ball, we have reached the culmination of the founders’ fears: Democracy is producing a genuine threat to the American form of self-government. Trump imagines leadership as pure act, freed from reflection and restraint. He has expressed disdain for religious and ethnic minorities. He has proposed restrictions on press freedom and threatened political enemies with retribution. He offers himself as the embodiment of the national will, driven by an intuitive vision of greatness. None of this is hidden. (Click for full OpEd)
#HISPANDERING spiking over 4,000%^ during #DemDebate between Clinton and Sanders. The term — refers to “political pandering by elected officials or candidates seeking to win over Hispanic voters.” The first usage … comes from July 2001, in a newsletter sent out by the conservative site the Federalist.” (The Fix)
HILLARY’S FIREWALL … NOT WHAT YOU THINK The Fix: “Much has been written about how black voters are Clinton’s “firewall.” But in primaries, women have been delivering her important wins, too — women of all races. IN THESE FIVE STATES Clinton is beating Sanders by far among all groups of women for whom we have detailed information. Her biggest leads are with women of color. In fact, she’s winning nearly 9 in 10 black female voters, and she won more than 7 in 10 Texas Latinas. But in key contests, white women also are turning out strongly for Clinton — in a way that makes it very difficult for Sanders to win. Women, after all, are a majority of the electorate just about everywhere.” Take a look at the chart below culled from exit poll data posted by CNN. (Unfortunately, exit polls have gathered enough information about Latina voting in just one state thus far: Texas.)
Clinton 58% 93%
Sanders 39% 5%
Clinton 65% 86%
Sanders 34% 14%
Clinton 60% 89%
Sanders 40% 11%
Clinton 63% 86% 72%
Sanders 35% 13% 27%
Clinton 64% 85%
Sanders 36% 15%
PRACTICAL DEBATE ADVICE TO WOMEN (from Ruth Sherman, a political communications consultant and coach and former faculty member at the Yale University Women’s Campaign School.)
(Comment by Joyce: Yes, this was actually written in 2016.)
1. Recognize that different standards do exist Be the most prepared and knowledgeable on that stage.
2. Do advance work to protect your appearance. Most podiums are built for 6-foot-tall men.
3. Be Firm – especially with men on stage Demonstrate the ability to keep up with, stand up to and if necessary correct other candidates. Women must demonstrate the ability to operate as the alpha, or an alpha among alphas.
4. But not too firm … culturally, women are expected to nurture, to caretake, to soothe and to assist, to be a helpmate or carry water. So, women on a debate stage have to exhibit some evidence of a kind of compassionate or caring leadership.
5. Focus on your tone. Be very mindful of vocal tones. Try to stay on the low end of your natural range and avoid upward arcs and the like. … Don’t try to be “like a man” or anything that to voters may signal masculinity such as excessively aggressive, loud or combative. This can get perilous for men too, but for women it can quickly become an affirmation of stereotypes about women’s emotional variability or offend some voters’ sense of appropriate behavior. This can trigger the idea that a female candidate is “masculine” — or worse, a certain b-word comes to mind.
6. Emphasize commonality and personality Show some pizzazz. Self-deprecating humor is particularly effective in reasonable doses because it can bring levity to long, serious discussions and demonstrate that, although the candidate is serious enough to do the job, they don’t take themselves too seriously. For female candidates, showing that you don’t take yourself too seriously can convey the idea that they are competent but fun and counteract the aforementioned b-word perception.
BUDDING ‘BROMANCE’ between President Obama and Canada’s Justin Trudeau. Thursday night’s state dinner — the first for a Canadian prime minister in nearly two decades — had the air of a family reunion. eearlier in the day, President Obama said that the U.S. and Canada were more closely aligned than ever and promoted his close bond with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
NANCY REAGAN the influential and stylish wife of the 40th president of the United States who unabashedly put Ronald Reagan at the center of her life but became a political figure in her own right, died on Sunday at her home. She was 94. RIP