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This afternoon, the world got a lesson in the difference between #TheResistance and how real people react. For 18+ months, the left has objected to everything that President Trump has said. If he said up, #TheResistance had to say down out of spite. If President Trump said East-West, #TheResistance reflexively said North-South.

Being part of #TheResistance is simple. It doesn’t require thinking. It just requires saying the opposite of what President Trump says. It only requires a vocabulary and a thesaurus. Today, the world caught a glimpse into how thinking people operate when Kim Kardashian met with President Trump to talk about something substantive — prison reform.

I don’t know whether this meeting will create momentum for legislation. What I’m certain of, though, is that Kardashian saw that President Trump isn’t like the person that the media portrays him to be. Unlike #TheResistance, President Trump is willing to listen to ideas that aren’t on his ideological checklist. (That’s mostly because he isn’t an ideology-driven politician.)

As President Trump sounds more reasonable and he demonstrates a willingness to listen, the more difficulty #TheResistance will have portraying him as evil or uncaring. The equation is simple. The more strident that #TheResistance becomes, the more reasonable President Trump looks. Another benefit to that dynamic is the sight of steam billowing off the Democrats’ foreheads whenever President Trump beats them by being reasonable.

To the Democrats’ dismay, Republicans look positively reasonable and willing to listen. All of Sen. Schumer’s diatribes and Adam Schiff’s mindless rants haven’t done a thing to prevent President Trump from keeping his campaign promises.

For months, perhaps years, it’s been obvious that the energy in the Democratic Party has been in the ‘Bernie Sanders wing’ of the party. One thing that showed up bigtime in last night’s Democratic Party primaries was the ‘Bernie Sanders wing’ of the party. In “Nebraska, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee wanted former Rep. Brad Ashford as its nominee for an Omaha-based seat. But Tuesday night ended with liberal Kara Eastman, a social worker, proclaimed the winner by more than 1,000 votes.”

The voters said that Ashford wasn’t radical enough for their liking.

In Pennsylvania, Greg Edwards, who lost the primary to Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli, and winner Susan Wild, summed things up perfectly when he said “That’s where the momentum is. If you try and run a Republican-lite or a Democrat-lite candidate, it suppresses the Democratic vote.” Also in Pennsylvania, another moderate candidate, Rachel Reddick, “lost to ‘proud progressive’ Scott Wallace. The self-funding millionaire drenched the airwaves with TV ads that attacked Reddick for recently being a registered Republican.”

So much for Democrats recruiting candidates like Conor Lamb that “fit their districts.”

This isn’t good news for the blue wave theorists in the media:

Eastman’s victory had liberals feeling emboldened. The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, a liberal group, said Tuesday night that Eastman’s win should teach Democrats that “the way to inspire voters in 2018 is to campaign on a bold progressive agenda of Medicare for All, higher wages for workers, and other economic populist ideas that help working families and challenge corporate power.”

Progressives mix together with moderates like oil mixes with water. The question most likely to be asked after these primaries is whether Democrats will unite behind these candidates or will they stay home. With a message like this, Kara Eastman won’t win in November:

Seriously? Health care, raising the minimum wage and “debt-free education”? In Nebraska, she’s gonna run on those? I can’t picture those issues playing well in Nebraska.

Last week, Sen. Kamala Harris pretended to be a legitimate presidential contender in 2020. Unfortunately for Sen. Harris, she looked more like a scold than a serious policymaker. While questioning Gina Haspel during Haspel’s confirmation to become the next CIA Director, Sen. Harris initially asked “One question I’ve not heard you answer is, do you believe the previous interrogation techniques were immoral?” When “Haspel began with a response about the tactics’ legality,” Sen. Harris interrupted, saying “I’m not asking do you believe they were legal, I’m asking do you believe they were immoral.”

Rather than backing down or throwing her fellow agents under the bus, Haspel stood her ground. Before she did that, unfortunately, Haspel had to endure an ill-informed lecture from Harris. Sen. Harris lectured Haspel about how the person they’ll vote for or against will inform our allies “about our values.” Sen. Harris also talked about “what we prioritize as our moral authority.”

Frankly, if that’s what’s important to Sen. Harris, then she’s disqualified to ever being commander-in-chief. Period. Long before Sen. Harris became California’s Attorney General, Gina Haspel was a successful CIA interrogator who prevented multiple terrorist attacks by gaining important information from terrorists. In the days following 9/11, when most Americans were certain that there’d be more terrorist attacks, President Bush made the right decision that preventing future attacks no matter what it took was his highest priority.

The vast majority of people agree with that decision. Moral preening doesn’t have a place in that conversation. Leadership mattered. Making the right decisions on the fly was required. President Bush provided both at a time of crisis. Sen. Harris hasn’t provided either quality:

The good news is that neither Sen. Harris or Sen. McCain will prevent Gina Haspel from becoming the first female DCI. She will be confirmed, though by a fairly tight margin.

That’s unfortunate because, in terms of qualifications, she’s the most qualified candidate in decades and it isn’t all that close. Gina Haspel will become one of the best DCIs. She won’t exceed Mike Pompeo but she’ll surpass John Brennan. Then again, a worn-out trench coat would be more qualified than John Brennan.

Amber Athey’s article certainly is welcome news for President Trump and Kellyanne Conway. While the media is yapping endlessly about the difficult week President Trump has had, only Athey noticed that “A poll taken on April 22, 2018 had Trump’s approval rating among black men at 11 percent, while the same poll on April 29, 2018 pegged the approval rating at 22 percent. It should be noted that Reuters only sampled slightly under 200 black males each week and slightly under 3,000 people overall. Trump experienced a similar jump in approval among black people overall, spiking from 8.9 percent on April 22 to 16.5 percent on April 29.”

If President Trump’s poll numbers keep improving, Republicans’ chances of holding onto the House increase significantly. The Senate is another matter, since I’ve never thought that their majority was in danger this cycle. In fact, I think the national forecasters (Cook Political Report, Chuck Todd’s Top Ten List) are off by a significant amount with the Senate.

Salena Zito often reminds us just how often the pundits don’t understand today’s voters. Her upcoming book, which she outlines in this article, is essential reading for people trying to understand Trump voters and the political change that’s happening. First, let’s plug Salena’s book:

My new book, “The Great Revolt: Inside the Populist Coalition Reshaping American Politics” (Crown Forum), co-written by Brad Todd, is a road trip into the lives of Rust Belt voters who switched their states’ allegiances in the presidential elections from 2012 to 2016.

Next, let’s dig into Salena’s observations, starting with this:

WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — Ed Harry is sitting in the booth at the back end of D’s Diner in Plains Township, Luzerne County. Up front, the place is filled with customers at a chrome lunch counter as waitresses busily fill coffee cups, take orders and greet regulars with a familiar, “The usual?” For most of his life Harry (inset) has done two things: voted Democrat and lead union workers.

Later, Salena writes:

“My party, the party that was supposed to be the party of the working guy, the guy I stood up for and worked for all of my career, was no longer part of this new ascending Democratic coalition. Blue-collar America essentially had the door shut in its face,” Harry says.

A shift is happening and it isn’t just about Trump’s personality. Salena notes that “They aren’t asking why people in the Rust Belt counties who voted for former President Barack Obama twice suddenly switched to Trump. But they should. Because Trump was not the cause of this movement, he was the result of it. In order to fully appreciate his rise to the White House, you need focus on the people who put him there.”

The truth that nobody’s admitted yet is that President Trump is a great politician. He’s got something else going for him in that he’s doing his utmost to keep the promises he made on the campaign trail. President Trump promised to appoint conservative judges. Thus far, he’s kept that promise. President Trump promised to cut taxes and regulation. Thus far, he’s succeeded beyond Republicans’ wildest hopes. He failed on repealing Obamacare only because John McCain acted like a Democrat. That isn’t President Trump’s fault. That’s 100% Sen. McCain’s fault.

How badly are pundits misreading Trump voters? This bad:

KENOSHA, Wis. — Amy Maurer is a very striking woman, her blond hair cut short in the kind of dramatic fashion you’d see in the pages of Vogue or on a Paris runway. Sitting in the conference room of TG3 Electronics, Chief Financial Officer Maurer (inset) is both in command and at ease, surrounded by the keyboards her company manufactures.

Maurer, 43, is the married, educated, suburban mom whom experts missed in the 2016 election — and still don’t get today. As a gun owner and strong defender of the Second Amendment, she based her vote entirely on the Supreme Court vacancy and who would fill it.

The Clinton campaign tried hard to win over voters like Maurer with ads highlighting Trump’s most misogynistic remarks, casting him as an unhinged troglodyte no self-respecting woman could support. “They believed, I think, that the social pressure from either friends or professional peers would be too much. That we would cave because of his behavior. Well, they misunderstood where the emphasis of our vote was. They thought, ‘Feminist, right? Successful, kids in the home, married, college-educated .?.?. Oh, they cannot vote for Trump, they just cannot.'” She smiles broadly. “They were wrong.”

Democrats are still in denial about Trump. They still can’t believe that he ‘stole’ the Democrats’ voters. The truth is, like President Trump’s rising support with African-Americans, people think that the Democratic Party left them rather than the other way around.

PS- That’s why their resistance movement will fail miserably.

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A good barometer of how good President Trump’s speech was last night is Kamala Harris’ BS-filled statement after President Trump’s State of the Union, aka SOTU, speech.

In her statement, Sen. Harris stated “While I am always willing to work with my colleagues across the aisle, the president’s call for bipartisanship and unity rings hollow. You cannot reject bipartisan plans to improve health care and protect Dreamers or sow hate and division — and then turn around the next day and say you want to work together.”

Last night, Democrats either sat on their hands, booed and hissed or walked out altogether. Yesterday, I wrote this post about what would make for Sen. Schumer’s nightmare scenario. The centerpiece of that post was a quote from Bill McGurn’s WSJ article:

What if Mr. Trump looked up at the gallery full of Dreamers during his address and said, “I have offered a good-faith compromise that would not only resolve your place in America but open to you the precious gift of American citizenship. All I ask is that Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi meet me halfway?”

That didn’t happen. Instead, Democrats sat like sourpusses virtually the entire speech. During a speech that lasted 81 minutes and that elicited 110 rounds of applause, Democrats sat. Occasionally, they wore their sourpuss faces. After the speech, Tim Kaine took to Twitter and said:

The thing that Sen. Kaine apparently hasn’t figured out is that elections have consequences. This isn’t a situation where both sides start on equal footing. While you work together, though, one side starts with the advantage of having won the election. That advantage is bigger when the people that won the election have the strong backing of the American people. When it comes to immigration, President Trump is where the American people are.

The Democrats haven’t noticed that, in addition to wanting DACA recipients staying, the American people want the wall built and chain migration ended. If Senate Democrats don’t wise up fast, they’re heading for an historic beating. 2018 won’t be kind to them.

Of all of the polling last night, this poll should frighten Democrats the most:

A full 72% of independents that watched the speech last night approved of President Trump’s speech. The other thing from that poll that should frighten Democrats is that more than 9-in-10 Republicans approve, too.

PS- That doesn’t sound like a blue wave to me.

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While Democrats and Palestinians criticize President Trump’s decision to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, other nations are announcing that they’re moving their embassies to Jerusalem.

First, “Guatemala courageously decided it would follow the United States’ lead and move its embassy to Jerusalem.” Next, “the Walla news [reported that] Romania and Slovakia are planning to make such a move. Paraguay and Togo are reportedly also considering such a move.”

This is a big deal politically in that Democrats have started criticizing President Trump’s decision. For instance, Bernie Sanders said “There’s a reason why all past US administrations have not made this move, and why leaders around the world have warned Trump against it: It would undermine the prospects for an Israeli-Palestinian peace agreement and severely, perhaps irreparably, damage our ability to broker it.”

Dianne Feinstein’s letter said this:

The future of Jerusalem is an issue that should be decided by Israel and the Palestinians, not unilaterally by the United States.

That sentence was contained in this letter:

While Democrats criticized President Trump’s decision, world leaders sided with President Trump. That’s what leadership does. Leadership molds consensus. It doesn’t conform to consensus. President Obama led from behind. President Trump just leads. Period.

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It’s long past time to pose some uncomfortable questions to Democrats. This weekend, President Trump and Comrade Bernie Sanders had a Twitter fight that started with Sen. Sanders saying “Doesn’t it tell us a lot about Republican priorities when the tax breaks for corporations are permanent, while the tax breaks for working families expire at the end of 8 years?”

Let’s look at this from a purely logical perspective. Since Republicans wrote the bill, it’s safe to assume that they wanted to cut taxes for the middle class. That’s obvious because they dropped the marginal tax rates for every income group. Extending this thinking further, it’s fair to argue that the middle class tax cuts weren’t made permanent because of the Senate’s budget rules, not because the Republicans don’t like middle class tax cuts?

It isn’t difficult to make the case that the middle class tax cuts would’ve been made permanent had a dozen Democrats voted with Republicans for the bill. Because Democrats emphatically said no to tax cuts, the middle class tax cuts weren’t made permanent.

Whose fault is that, Bernie?

From there, things went downhill fast:

What we could do with $1.5 trillion:
-Make college tuition-free
-Provide universal preschool
-Repair our crumbling infrastructure
-Fund CHIP for 107 years
-Rebuild Puerto Rico

What an elitist! What people think that everyone needs a degree from a 4-year college? Elitists. President Trump prefers a different approach. He sees the importance of high school grads going to trade schools. He knows that graduates from trade schools will be needed to rebuild this nation’s infrastructure, help the U.S. become energy dominant and add value to the economy.

It’s painfully obvious that Sen. Sanders doesn’t understand how the economy works. He apparently thinks that forcing companies to pay high marginal tax rates will build the economy. We tried that the last 8 years. It failed, with economic growth being virtually stagnant. The Trump Boom is already growing the economy at a robust rate. This Christmas season has been better than expected:

Fueled by high consumer confidence and a robust job market, U.S. retail sales in the holiday period rose at their best pace since 2011, according to Mastercard SpendingPulse, which tracks both online and in-store spending. Sales, excluding automobiles, rose 4.9% from Nov. 1 through Christmas Eve, compared with a 3.7% gain in the same period last year, according to the Mastercard Inc. MA 0.21% unit, which tracks all forms of payment. E-commerce continued to drive the gains, rising 18.1%.

“It started with a bang in the week leading up to Black Friday,” said Sarah Quinlan, a senior vice president of marketing insights at Mastercard. She added that retailers benefited this year from Christmas Day falling on a Monday, giving shoppers a full weekend to scoop up last-minute purchases. Dec. 23 ranked next to Black Friday in terms of spending, according to Mastercard. “Overall, this year was a big win for retail,” Ms. Quinlan said.

The question Republicans should constantly ask is ‘why didn’t Democrats join with us to make middle class tax cuts permanent?’ They had their chance. Democrats blew it.

It’s apparent that Democrats don’t understand that their unanimous vote against the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act has painted them into a political corner. Let’s start with by examining the difficult position Sen. Manchin painted himself into.

Sen. Manchin said “he’s repeatedly tried to find areas to reach across the aisle and vote with Republicans for Mr. Trump’s agenda, but said he couldn’t do it this time. ‘There’s some good in this bill. I acknowledge that,’ Mr. Manchin said on West Virginia talk radio, after host Hoppy Kercheval pointed to the tax cuts he said the state’s middle class residents stood to gain.” Why do I think that Sen. Manchin’s constituents will hold it against him for voting against their tax cuts? Why shouldn’t West Virginians, aka Mountaineers, hold it against Sen. Manchin for voting with Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren on the tax cuts?

Later, Sen. Manchin complained that “the bills seemed too skewed toward business, pointing to the permanent nature of corporate tax cuts, compared to the planned expiration of the reductions in the individual rate.” First, I’m reminded of President Reagan’s saying that you can’t be pro-jobs and hate the employer. Apparently, Sen. Manchin didn’t learn that lesson. Next, Sen. Manchin is whining about the Senate’s rules, which he’s repeatedly voted to approve. If the Senate’s rules weren’t so screwed up, the individual tax cuts could’ve been made permanent.

Sen. Manchin’s excuses sound like ‘the dog ate my homework’ excuses than legitimate excuses.

By contrast, Patrick Morrisey, Sen. Manchin’s likely opponent, will be able to vote for eliminating coal industry-hating regulations, great judges and never vote with Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren out of party loyalty. Hint: Anyone that thinks Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren plays well with coal miners should view this video:

Hillary lost West Virginia by 40+ points. What should frighten Sen. Manchin is that it wouldn’t surprise me if Hillary is more well liked than Sanders or Warren.

At a town-hall meeting in Missouri last week, Sen. Claire McCaskill framed her vote against the bill as disappointment that the plan favored corporations. She argued the bill betrayed the principles Mr. Trump had originally proposed. “This isn’t Trump’s bill,” she said at the event in suburban St. Louis. “Trump campaigned on the bill being about you.” But one resident told the St. Louis Public Radio before the event that he didn’t understand her opposition to the bill and hoped she’d explain it more. “I’m having a hard time finding a way that it does not benefit the people of Missouri,” said Dennis Hugo, a 32-year-old, self-described Libertarian.

Finally, there’s this:

In Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly, another Democrat, told his voters he met with Mr. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence over the tax bill. “From the beginning of this year’s tax reform effort, I’ve been willing to partner with Republicans, Democrats, and President Trump and his administration,” he wrote in an op-ed in the Indianapolis Star. “Despite this common ground, the bill produced by Sen. Mitch McConnell and Speaker Paul Ryan was the complete opposite of what the president and I had discussed,” Mr. Donnelly added.

In North Dakota Sen. Heidi Heitkamp, who said last month she was open to voting for the bill, said that the $1.5 trillion in additional deficits piled up by the tax cuts swayed her to vote against it. But some voters in her state don’t see that as a reasonable opposition.

Sen. Heitkamp is gonna have a ton of difficulty peddling that excuse. There wasn’t a tax cut package that wasn’t going to pile up deficits according to the CBO’s scoring. That’s actually the least of Sen. Heitkamp’s worries. She, along with Sen. Donnelly, Sen. Tester, Sen. Baldwin, Sen. Casey and Sen. Brown, voted against significantly reducing the estate tax on farmers’ estates. The full expensing of equipment isn’t insignificant to farmers, either.

In DC, the spin will be that this helps corporations, not working people. In Indiana, Montana and North Dakota, big farms are incorporated. Saying that the Democrats’ messaging doesn’t exactly fit those states is understatement.

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Ed Rogers’ article lays out the 2018 campaign perfectly, saying “The Democrats’ last effort at having something positive to offer voters was a comical failure. Does anyone even remember when House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) launched her “A Better Deal” campaign in July? Despite efforts to refresh the platform’s website, it appears that Pelosi has essentially abandoned it altogether. The word “fizzle” doesn’t even begin to capture its non-performance.” The Democrats don’t have a policy agenda. At this point, they’re the political party of identity politics. Period.

By comparison, Republicans have a positive message to run on. According to Ed Rogers’ article, “President Trump and Republicans in Congress have made a positive impact on the economy. Forecasts for the months ahead look good, consumer confidence is up, the repeal of net neutrality will return capitalism to the Internet, stock market advances are contributing to the ‘wealth effect,’ businesses see that the war on regulation has only just begun and, with tax reform on the brink, chief executives and entrepreneurs throughout the country know that an all-around pro-business vibe has taken hold in Washington.”

Other than getting the US economy heading in the right direction and repealing a ton of counterproductive regulations, Republicans haven’t done much. It’s clear that Democrats want to return to the failed policies of the past 8 years. If you ask the average person if they’d prefer more money in their checks or less, they’ll take more. If you asked those people if they’d like having more opportunities at good paying jobs or less, I’m betting that they’ll take more opportunities.

Lately, Democrats have started hinting that the tax cuts won’t guarantee more good paying jobs. I’d turn that around on them and say that the only guarantee we had during the Obama administration was a guarantee of less economic growth and fewer opportunities for upward mobility. The facts speak for themselves. They aren’t pretty.

Newt Gingrich lays things out perfectly in this op-ed:

Writing a good bill is only step one. Communicating the bill effectively, despite falsehoods and distortions in fake news, is the vital second step – and it requires serious commitment. If Republicans reach every person who is helped by this bill, they will win decisively in 2018.

The Democrats who do not vote for this bill will have to explain why they are against reduced taxes, lower unemployment, a simpler tax code and more American job creation. Winning the argument over the tax bill may be the most crucial step toward victory in 2018.

Rogers is right about this:

While the process associated with the tax bill’s formation has not been particularly flattering or well communicated, none of that will matter if it produces a lift to the economy. Voters care about job growth, better wages and feeling economic momentum, not how tax law is formulated.

In the end, people want a strong economy and more money in their paychecks.

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Lately, Sen. Schumer has made a habit of saying that Republicans will rue the day the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passes. It isn’t that he actually believes this. It’s that he’s trying to spin a major loss for Senate Democrats into a smaller loss. Seriously, only Bernie Sanders is stupid enough to think that the bill won’t create jobs and get the economy running better.

Sen. Schumer issued a statement that said “Under this bill, the working class, middle class and upper middle class get skewered, while the rich and wealthy corporations make out like bandits. It is just the opposite of what America needs — and Republicans will rue the day they pass this.”

It’s important to remember that that’s coming from a man who tried protecting Sen. Franken by recommending a do-nothing ethics committee investigation. Anyone that’s willing to protect a pervert like Franken isn’t a person whose opinion I’d value. Marco Rubio, a person whose political instincts I value, though not always his policies, has changed his vote from no to yes on the bill.

Implicit in Schumer’s statement is Sen. Schumer’s admission that the bill will pass. That’s a victory for Republicans and the American people. Since President Trump was elected, the economy has surged. GDP is higher. Consumer confidence is soaring. Unemployment is at a 17-year low. Regulations that’ve been cut by this Congress and this administration have taken government’s boot off the economy’s throat. People’s 401(k)s are getting richer.

For all of Sen. Schumer’s whining, people are better off now than they were a year ago. Despite President Obama’s BS, the economy isn’t stronger because the Trump built off the blueprint that President Obama put in place. It’s flourishing because President Trump tore President Obama’s blueprint down, then rebuilt it from scratch. GDP for Q1 2017 was 1.7%. Q3 of 2017 is dramatically different, with GDP up at 3.3% with an asterisk. (That asterisk is that it would’ve been higher if not for 5 major hurricanes hitting the Gulf Coast in a single month.)

This is fantastic news:

House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California said Friday that the chamber would vote on the plan Tuesday, with the Senate vote to follow shortly thereafter.

Expect there to be a lavish bill signing ceremony at the White House either Wednesday or Thursday. Sen. Schumer’s spin won’t change the fact that the middle class will see more in their paychecks after the start of the new year.

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