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It’s becoming clear how Senate Democrats will attempt to defend vulnerable senators like Joe Manchin, Joe Donnelly and Jon Tester. After President Trump’s campaign rally in Elkhart, IN, Sen. Donnelly issued a statement that said “I don’t work for any president or any political party. I work for Hoosiers, and that will never change.” He added that President “Trump and Vice President Mike Pence were there ‘for politics’ and included statistics on his own voting record, saying he had voted with Trump 62% of the time and had 41 proposals become law since 2013.”

Manchin is trying the same defense in West Virginia, saying that he’s voted with President Trump 60% of the time.

The problem that Sen. Donnelly and Sen. Manchin have is that they both voted against President Trump’s most important pieces of legislation: the Trump-GOP tax cuts and the repeal of Obamacare. Nothing removes the stain of voting against those key pieces of President Trump’s economic plan. President Trump hit Sen. Donnelly hard during this riff:

That’s when Trump said this:

Democrats, like Sleepin’ Joe, say one thing when they’re in Elkhart and then they go to Washington and then they vote for the radical liberal agenda. It never, ever fails. You know, there’s about 12 of them. You think you have their vote. They talk a good game but they always raise their hand for the radical left, of Nancy Pelosi. Always.

Amongst bloggers who’ve been around long enough, that’s sometimes known as ‘Tom Daschle Disease.” There was a blog dedicated to highlighting South Dakota Tom’s statements vs. DC Tom’s statements. Classic. In 2004, that blog contributed mightily to getting John Thune elected. That blog helped defeat Tom Daschle, who was the Senate Majority Leader at the time.

President Trump isn’t a blogger but I’m betting that he’s capable of exposing Joe Donnelly’s 2 faces with ease. Donnelly made the mistake of acting like a moderate to get a ride to Indiana on Air Force One, then voting against President Trump’s signature legislation. Sen. Donnelly is about to find out that crossing President Trump has political consequences. Sen. Manchin’s about to find that out, too.

Apparently, the writer that wrote this article doesn’t believe in researching articles. Earlier this morning, I saw this article about the Democrats’ shrinking, virtually nonexistent, lead in the generic ballot question. According to the poll, the enthusiasm gap has virtually disappeared, too. But I digress.

The second paragraph in the Politico article says “It may be the cruelest irony of the Trump era. During an election season when the House seems to be a lost cause for Republicans and nearly every indicator suggests massive Democratic gains in November, the outlook for wresting the Senate away from the GOP remains grim.”

Based on generic ballot polling from last September, a blue wave looked possible, though that was a stretch, too. After the latest CNN poll, a blue wave in the House looks impossible. BTW, has anyone heard of a wave election where one party wins a ton of seats in the House but loses a bunch of seats in the Senate? Wave elections happen when the electorate gets into a ‘throw the bums out’ mindset. That’s when the right track-wrong track number is underwater.

This is wishful thinking:

Tester isn’t without his own showman’s instincts: Days after the president attacked him, the farmer-turned-senator appeared above-the-fold on newspaper front pages across his home state, photographed in a tractor cab as he prepared to put seed in the ground.

It’s better than curling up into the fetal position but hopping on a tractor won’t save Tester’s behind. Tester sabotaged a cabinet nominee with gossip and unverified information. He also voted against President Trump’s tax cuts. If those things don’t sink Sen. Tester, then he’s virtually invincible. I’m certain he isn’t invincible.

Now that 2018 shows signs of being the next Democratic wave year, it’s possible that once again Tester’s boat—and McCaskill’s, and Manchin’s, and all the rest—will be lifted. After all, in four of the five instances when the House changed control since World War II, the Senate has flipped along with it.

But there are crucial differences this year. Perhaps the biggest is that Trump has signaled his intent to leverage his popularity against Democratic Senate incumbents in the states where his approval ratings are strongest. His presidential travel schedule has closely overlapped the roster of states he carried in 2016. Trump could decide to try to zero in on Tester or another red-state Democrat with a disparaging nickname and a barrage of October tweets.

McCaskill recently fell behind in Missouri, which is hardly proof that there’s a rising tide lifting Democrats’ ships. Further, ignoring the races that are building in Ohio, Minnesota, Florida and Wisconsin is pretty foolish.

Rick Scott leads Democrat incumbent Bill Nelson by 4 points (44%-40%) and he can self-fund. Why this race wasn’t included in Politico’s article is inexplicable. Further, Scott is the popular governor of Florida, which means he’s both popular and has 100% name recognition in the state.

Call me crazy but I think it’s possible that this hit piece isn’t sloppy journalism. It isn’t a stretch to think it’s intentionally inaccurate.

Tonight, West Virginia Republicans took a major step towards replacing Joe Manchin in the US Senate by picking West Virginia State Attorney General Patrick Morrisey (not to be confused with HotAir blogger Ed Morrissey) to represent them in this fall’s general election.

Don Blankenship received the most coverage the last week of the race but it wasn’t enough. In an interview with Fox News, “Blankenship told Fox News that he thinks the ‘overhang’ of bad headlines about the Upper Big Branch explosion had the biggest impact.” It probably didn’t help that President Trump tweeted his support for either Morrisey or US Congressman Evan Jenkins, saying “To the great people of West Virginia we have, together, a really great chance to keep making a big difference. Problem is, Don Blankenship, currently running for Senate, can’t win the General Election in your State…No way! Remember Alabama. Vote Rep. Jenkins or A.G. Morrisey!”


This officially puts Sen. Manchin’s seat in danger of getting flipped. Manchin has tried portraying himself as a moderate. Unfortunately, he voted against repealing Obamacare and against the Trump/GOP tax cuts. It’s virtually impossible to portray yourself as a moderate when your votes on the 2 biggest agenda items are identical to Elizabeth Warren’s and Bernie Sanders’ votes.

David Avella’s op-ed provided some worthwhile insight on how to win going into this fall:

Accordingly, Patrick Morrisey in West Virginia, Mike Braun in Indiana, and Jim Renacci in Ohio each followed the Trump playbook and won the Republican Senate nominations in their states Tuesday. They understood that connecting with voters on the issues that mattered most in deciding how to cast their ballots was the key to victory. In West Virginia, Morrisey’s campaign pushed his support for lowering taxes, eliminating regulations put in place by President Obama and creating jobs.

Unlike the Obama coalition, which turned out to belong only to President Obama, it appears as though President Trump’s coalition is transferrable as long as the candidate promises to push President Trump’s agenda if elected.

This isn’t good news for Sen. Manchin:

GOPAC Election Fund polling found that 87 percent of Republican voters in West Virginia were less likely to vote for Manchin when they learn that he voted against President Trump’s tax cuts. This issue presents problems for Manchin with his own supporters, as 12 percent of Manchin voters are less likely to support him based on his tax vote.

Call me crazy but it sounds like there’s trouble ahead for Sen. Manchin. Finally, there’s this:

In Ohio, Renacci’s first ad promoted his experience, stating his business was responsible for creating 1,500 jobs.

In Indiana, Mike Braun talked about bringing jobs that were lost to foreign countries back to his state and touted his success at creating hundreds of jobs.

The question now becomes whether Republicans in the House and Senate use tonight’s results to win seats that nobody’s predicting as battleground districts or states. I’m betting the NRSC, the NRCC and organizations like GOPAC will help candidates run smart campaigns.

If that’s the case, predictions of a big blue wave might turn into this year’s version of Dewey defeats Truman.

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Minutes ago, Rand Paul announced that he’s voting yes to confirm Mike Pompeo as President Trump’s next Secretary of State.

Several Monday conversations with President Donald Trump, a meeting with CIA Director Mike Pompeo, and reassurances about Afghanistan led Sen. Rand Paul to announce Monday evening that he would vote to support Pompeo as the next Secretary of State. Paul recounted his decision process on Twitter as the Senate Foreign Relations Committee prepared to vote on the Pompeo confirmation. The senator spoke with President Trump several times during the day and met with Pompeo.

“After calling continuously for weeks for Director Pompeo to support President Trump’s belief that the Iraq war was a mistake, and that it is time to leave Afghanistan, today I received confirmation the Director Pompeo agrees with @realDonaldTrump,” wrote Paul.

That’s just part of the breaking news today:

Three Democrat senators declared their intention to break ranks with other Senate Democrats on the Foreign Relations Committee, ahead of the vote. Red state Sens. Heidi Heitkamp (ND), Joe Manchin (WV), and Joe Donnelly (IN) each face November re-election fights in states that went for Trump in 2016.

It isn’t coincidental that they’re all red state Democrats in for the fight of their political lives. This means all of the Democrats voting against confirming Director Pompeo are exposed as putting their membership in #Resistance ahead of being patriots.

Julie Kelly’s article for the Federalist demolishes the Democrats’ chanting point that it’s a matter of when, not if, Democrats retake the US House of Representatives.

Digging into recent polling reveals some glaring weaknesses for Democrats. These aren’t insignificant weaknesses. They’re game-changing weaknesses. For instance, Kelly reports that “there is no ‘enthusiasm gap’ for Democrats. In fact, Republicans now seem more motivated to vote in November: 86 percent of Republicans say they are absolutely or certain to vote this fall, compared to 81 percent of Democrats.”

That’s the first time I’ve read that this cycle. If that holds, Democrats won’t retake the House. On the Senate side, that might indicate a red wave of historic proportions. Prior to this, I’ve been predicting Republicans gaining 4-5 seats net in the Senate. If the enthusiasm gap disappears, Republicans might have a big red wave staring at them. Instead of just flipping seats in West Virginia, Missouri, North Dakota, Indiana and Montana, the GOP might flip Florida, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, too.

The bad news for Democrats continues:

While white college graduates favor Democrats by nine points, non-college whites prefer a Republican congressional candidate by nearly 30 points, devastating news about a core constituency of the Democratic Party going forward.

This sums my thoughts up precisely:

A slim majority also said gun violence has no effect on whether they will vote Republican or Democrat. So it looks like the nonstop media exploitation of the Parkland school shooting did not work for the Left.

I don’t see a wave, be it blue or red. There just isn’t an appetite for a major change. The economy is getting stronger, which usually leads to not rocking the boat at the voting booth.

When asked which Democrats in red states are in trouble, most political junkies will rattle off the names of Joe Manchin, Heidi Heitkamp, Claire McCaskill and Joe Donnelly. I’m not here to question any of those names. I’m here to remind people that this list isn’t comprehensive. This article reminds people that Tammy Baldwin has ‘earned’ a spot on that list, too.

As I’ve said in the past, the Marquette University poll is the gold standard in Wisconsin, just like the Des Moines Register poll is the gold standard in Iowa. If you want the low-down on the state of the races in Wisconsin, the Marquette poll is the most accurate.

According to the latest Marquette University poll , “a recent Marquette Law School poll of registered voters found Baldwin’s favorability rating dipped three points over the past year, from 40 to 37 percent, while her unfavorability rating climbed from 35 to 39 percent.” Simply put, incumbents with approval ratings under 40% rarely win re-election. That’s because people already know them. There’s little they can do to change people’s opinions, too.

That isn’t Sen. Baldwin’s opinion, though:

Baldwin responded to a question about her low popularity by asserting, “We’re a terribly polarized state, which I hate. When I started in political life running for office, people were ticket-splitters. There wasn’t the partisan polarization that we see,” claimed Baldwin.

Sen. Baldwin’s ticket-splitting statement starts about 3:30 into this video:

Twenty years ago, the Democratic Party hadn’t gone off the rails. People could consider splitting tickets. Now that Democrats are lunatic demagogues, nobody thinks about ticket-splitting. Sen. Baldwin faces a tough re-election campaign.

If Democrats cared about the US, we wouldn’t have to deal with Rep. Adam Schiff, (D-Calif.), leaking information about the House Intelligence Committee on a daily basis. If Democrats cared about the US, we wouldn’t have to deal with discredited former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe whining about Jeff Sessions firing him. If Democrats cared about the US, we wouldn’t have to deal with former FBI Director Jim Comey leaking confidential information to a professor.

Last week, Hillary Clinton, the Democrats’ presidential candidate in 2016, criticized the people living in blue collar states, saying “If you look at the map of the United States, there’s all that red in the middle where Trump won. I win the coast, I win, you know, Illinois and Minnesota, places like that. I won the places that represent two-thirds of America’s gross domestic product. So I won the places that are optimistic, diverse, dynamic, moving forward. And his whole campaign, ‘Make America Great Again,’ was looking backwards.”

The point is that presidents are supposed to represent the entire nation.

Trey Gowdy put it best in talking about McCabe:

Here’s that part of the transcript:

WALLACE: Now, Andrew McCabe, the former deputy FBI director who was fired late Friday night says the reason that he was fired was to undercut his credibility as a potential witness in the Mueller investigation. I want to put up some of Andrew McCabe’s statement: This attack on my credibility is one part of a larger effort not just to slander me personally, but to taint the FBI, law enforcement, and intelligence professionals, more generally. It is part of this administration’s ongoing war on the FBI and at the efforts of a special counsel’s investigation, which continue to this day.
Congressman, your response?
GOWDY: Oh, Andy McCabe has undercut his credibility all by himself. He didn’t need any help doing that. And I find it richly ironic that he is lamenting that those are attacking the FBI when he himself does the exact same thing. It was the FBI who said he made an unauthorized disclosure and then lied about it. That wasn’t President Trump. It wasn’t me. It wasn’t a crazy House Republicans. It was his own fell FBI agents that said he leaked and then lied about it. So, if he’s got credibility issues, he needs look no further than himself.

McCabe didn’t tell the truth. President Trump didn’t destroy his credibility. McCabe destroyed his credibility by being a partisan instead of being a law enforcement officer.

I’d love questioning Adam Schiff about what proof he has that the Trump administration gives a rip about the Mueller investigation. Thus far, I haven’t seen anything that’d indicate President Trump has done anything illegal. I’ve heard Rep. Schiff say he’s got proof that President Trump has acted illegally but I haven’t seen the proof. Thus far, the only logical conclusion to draw is that Democrats are using this fishing expedition exclusively for political gain.

I’d love questioning Sen. Manchin or Sen. Heitkamp why they voted against the tax cuts that’ve pushed the US economy into overdrive.

That’s the opposite of patriotism. That’s the definition of partisanship.

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The Common Sense Coalition’s amendment is pretty much a bait-and-switch con job piece of legislation. For starters, amnesty for DACA recipients is immediate. That isn’t surprising. Next, building President Trump’s wall isn’t a priority. On Pg. 51 of the amendment, we learn that $1,571,000,000,000 is appropriated to build President Trump’s wall in 2018. Further, $2,500,000,000,000 is available to be appropriated in each year starting in 2019 and going through 2027. Further, the legislative language states that “the amount specified in subsection (d) for each of fiscal years 2019-2027 shall not be available for such fiscal year unless (A) the Secretary submits to Congress, not later than 60 days before the start of such fiscal year a report setting forth a description of every planned expenditure…, (B) a description of the total number of miles of security fencing… etc.

In other words, they’re limiting the speed with which the wall can be built. Further. they’re making it possible for future Democratic administrations to kill the building of the wall.

Simply put, this bill has no chance of getting 6o votes. It doesn’t stand a chance of getting signed into law, either. Here’s a picture of most of the members of the Common Sense Coalition:

It’s worth noting that a significant percentage of these senators are either retiring or will be defeated this fall. Sen. Donnelly fits that description. Jeff Flake definitely fits that description. Joe Manchin is inching closer to fitting that description. Heidi Heitkamp definitely fits that description. Claire McCaskill and Bill Nelson fit that description. The senators from New Hampshire don’t exactly fit the description but they’re getting there. Bob Corker fits that description.

Simply put, most of the senators in the Common Sense Coalition won’t be in the Senate a year from now. That doesn’t mean they don’t have the right to vote. That’s their right until their replacement is sworn in, either after their retirement or their defeat. What it means, though, is that members of the Coalition don’t care about national security. They certainly aren’t interested in listening to the people. Thus far, they haven’t listened to the people.

This coalition isn’t made up of principled politicians. It’s made up of elitists who aren’t interested in listening to the people. Chuck Grassley is the senior senator from Iowa. He isn’t part of that Coalition. He’s just a politician who’s interested in doing the right thing, both for DACA recipients and for national security. He’s the chief author of a bill that’s been endorsed by President Trump. It’s the only bill that the Senate will debate that President Trump will sign or should sign. Listen to Sen. Grassley’s speech explaining why senators should vote for his legislation:

The text of Sen. Grassley’s bill, known as the Secure and Succeed Act, is significantly different than the CSC’s legislation. The biggest difference between the 2 bills is that the Grassley bill appropriates the money for the wall right away. In the section titled “Subtitle C—Border Security Enforcement Fund” the following appropriations are made:

The Secretary shall transfer, 8 from the Fund to the “U.S. Customs and Border 9 Protection—Procurement, Construction and Improvements” account, for the purpose described in 11 subsection (a)(1), $18,000,000,000, of which— 12 (A) $1,571,000,000 shall be transferred in 13 fiscal year 2018; 14 (B) $1,600,000,000 shall be transferred in fiscal year 2019; 16 (C) $1,842,000,000 shall be transferred in fiscal year 2020; (D) $2,019,000,000 shall be transferred in 19 fiscal year 2021; (E) $2,237,000,000 shall be transferred in fiscal year 2022; (F) $1,745,000,000 shall be transferred in fiscal year 2023; 177 (G) $1,746,000,000 shall be transferred in fiscal year 2024; (H) $1,776,000,000 shall be transferred in fiscal year 2025; (I) $1,746,000,000 shall be transferred in fiscal year 2026; and (J) $1,718,000,000 shall be transferred in fiscal year 2027.

Barring an act of Congress, the money for President Trump’s wall will be appropriated this year.

The Common Sense Coalition’s bill appropriates approximately $1,700,000,000,000 this year, then requires separate appropriations in the years following to build the wall. The Grassley bill appropriates the money immediately.

It’s worth noting that Democrats have the proverbial gun pointed at their heads. If Democrats don’t agree to President Trump’s conditions, DACA collapses and the recipients hold Democrats responsible. Remember this?

The chances for a repeat of that scene is high if Democrats don’t deliver.

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It’s safe to say that Democrats living in the Fever Swamp aren’t happy with certain Democrats. In fact, these Fever Swamp Democrats are threatening mutiny against Sens. Heitkamp, Donnelly, Manchin, McCaskill and Jones.

Some Fever Swamp Democrat with a screen name of e2247 was upset with those Democrats for how they voted, saying “Sure happy Jones beat Moore. As if that matters. Lucky we have McCaskill in there fighting for us — not. There was a report that Manchin was at the last minute whipping votes for the McConnell faction. Yay. Heitcamp [That’s spelled Heitkamp but whatever] never could be trusted to back the Dem’s. Reading names of Sen’s. voting yes went by fast — sure hope I didn’t make a mistake ;) sorry if I did.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Mitch McConnell is applying the heat to these Fever Swamp Democrats. Last night, Sen. McConnell delivered this speech on the Senate floor. Among the things he said that’ll sting Democrats is when he said “But what has their filibuster accomplished? The answer is simple – their very own government shutdown. Shutdown effects on the American people will come as no surprise. All week, as we have stood on the floor and begged our colleagues to come to their senses, Senate Republicans have described exactly what this will mean. For America’s men and women in uniform, shutting down the government means delayed pay. For the many thousands of civilian employees who support their missions, it means furloughs. And for the families of fallen heroes, it may well mean a freeze on survivor death benefits. For veterans who rely on our promise of care, shutting down the government means threatening their access to treatment. For so many Americans struggling with opioid addiction, the same is true. And thanks to the Democratic Leader’s decision to filibuster an extension of the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, low-income families will slip closer to losing health coverage for their kids. And in many states this is an emergency. I’m having trouble understanding which one of those outcomes my Democratic colleagues could possibly be proud of. Which one of them? I think our friends on the other side took some really bad advice.”

If this doesn’t end soon, it won’t end well for Democrats. Shutting down the government to protect DACA recipients is what the Fever Swamp Democrats insist on but it isn’t something that’ll play well with ordinary people. If Democrats think that not paying the military to force a showdown on DACA is a winner, God bless them. They’re handing election victories to tons of swing district and swing state Republicans because I’ll guarantee that this isn’t playing well for Democrats on Main Street. Watch Sen. McConnell’s inspired speech here:

Anyone that thinks that parents whose children have health insurance through S-CHIP will be happy with Sen. Schumer’s Shutdown is kidding themselves. Sen. Schumer’s insistence on including a DACA fix when there’s still a ton of time left is a major tactical error on his part.

If you want to laugh about this a bit, Kurt Schlichter’s column is must reading:

What a tragedy it would be if Democrats made good on their threat and decided DACA was so important that they must shut down the federal government over it. Please don’t! Why, I’d be heartbroken if the government did less and a bunch of foreigners didn’t get rewarded for ignoring our laws. I think this is just the right hill for the Democrats to choose to fight to the death on, and I encourage them to do so. Throw us right in that briar patch, because you are smart and savvy and there’s no way a big dummy like Trump could beat you and make you look like fools.
Again.

Fever Swamp Democrats never were that bright. Apparently, that affliction is spreading to DC Democrats, too.

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Salena Zito’s column asks a brilliant question. First, she made the observation that “Few focused on who wasn’t there and why they weren’t. Once again, the pundits were missing the little nuances of how much American politics really has changed, and what that may mean for future results. Once again, the pundits were missing the little nuances of how much American politics really has changed, and what that may mean for future results. Importantly, three people in states that went heavily for Trump in 2016, Indiana’s Sen. Joe Donnelly, West Virginia’s Sen. Joe Manchin, and Missouri’s Sen. Claire McCaskill, were all absent. Two less vulnerable incumbent Democrats Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Pennsylvania’s Sen. Bob Casey were also not there.”

Then she made a statement that said “They have made the bet to pick their donors in California and New York over their voters back home.” Democrats don’t have a message but they’re well-financed. Republicans stumbled early but they’ve put together a solid list of accomplishments. Meanwhile, the RNC has been kicking the DNC’s behind in fundraising ever since Ronna McDaniel took over.

None of these so-called ‘moderate’ Democrats voted for the Trump/GOP tax cuts. Then they weren’t anywhere to be found to negotiate a DACA fix. That begs this question: what identifies them as moderates?

If anyone of those senators get caught near Trump, all of those donors would ditch them in a minute. They’re basically asking McCaskill and Manchin and Donnelly to do an act of levitation. Win without doing the things your voters would like you to do.

The question is will the voters hold them accountable? They’re gambling they won’t be held accountable. They’re gambling that Trump is so polarizing that there are no Trump voters available to them on a positive scale. They’re thinking they’re going to have to obliterate their opponent, tear their opponent to shreds.

Yet think about the margins here. Trump won Indiana and Missouri by more than 18 points. He won North Dakota and West Virginia by 30-some points. He won Ohio by 9 points. It’s not like you only need a few Trump voters to stay home, they would need a lot of them, like a third of them, to stay home. And that is just not going to happen.

A quick look around the room speaks volumes:

Heitkamp, Manchin, Donnelly, McCaskill and Brown better hope that voters didn’t notice that they didn’t support any part of President Trump’s agenda. If they notice, that fivesome is history.

Michigan’s Sen. Debbie Stabenow’s statement about the tax cuts in Michigan is the perfect example of that risk. When tax reform passed late last year, Stabenow issued a statement that read:

“I’ve said from the beginning that we need tax reform that makes the tax system simpler, puts more money in your pocket, closes tax loopholes that send jobs overseas and supports small businesses and farms across Michigan. Unfortunately that isn’t at all what this republican bill does.”

Ten days later, Fiat Chrysler announced that they would invest more than $1 billion to modernize the company’s Warren Truck Plant in Detroit, adding 2,500 jobs and moving production of its Ram trucks from Mexico. They also announced they would be giving $2,000 bonuses to their hourly U.S. workers. The company credited the moves to the new tax law.

The Democrats have been on the wrong side of the tax cuts from the start. As these bonuses, pay raises and other positive announcements get factored in, how will Democrats defend their unanimous vote against the Trump/GOP tax cuts?

The pundits talk about how the President’s party usually does poorly in a new president’s first term. I certainly cant dispute that that’s the history. What’s disputable, though, is that that pattern will apply this time. I see information that indicates it might not.