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For the past 6-9 months, we’ve heard predictions that Democrats would retake the majority in the House and possibly in the Senate, too. According to James Freeman’s latest column, that’s looking less likely.

According to Freeman’s column, “Mr. Trump remains underwater on the general question of his handling of the presidency, with a majority in virtually every poll expressing disapproval. But he is showing increasing strength on the issue of the economy, which just happens to be the issue that frequently decides elections. This week, the Economist/YouGov survey shows him ten points above water, with 49% approving of his handling of the economy compared to only 39% who disapprove.”

As more people notice bigger monthly paychecks and as people feel the effects of cheaper electric bills, Trump’s approval rating will strengthen. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, though. The latest Star Tribune-Minnesota Poll isn’t great news for the DFL:

Minnesotans are more narrowly divided on whether they are likely to vote for a Democrat or a Republican in November’s congressional elections than the rest of the country. A new Star Tribune Minnesota Poll found that 47 percent are now inclined to vote for a Democrat, while 45 percent said they’ll probably vote for a Republican — a statistical tie given the poll’s 3.5 percentage point margin of error.

That’s great news for the MnGOP. This will help them hold the seats they currently have while giving them a shot at flipping Tim Walz’s seat in Southern Minnesota.

I’d be surprised if Democrats weren’t counting on flipping MN-3 and MN-2 while holding MN-1. If the DCCC’s dream isn’t realized, that’s a major blow to them retaking the House.

Why should 2018 be any different? When lawmakers enacted the Reagan tax cuts in 1981, Republicans blundered by agreeing to delay the implementation of many provisions. Without the immediate pro-growth boost, the U.S. economy shrank by nearly 2% in 1982 and voters registered their displeasure.

This notion that the party that holds the White House loses seats is statistically accurate but it isn’t automatic. Patterns are patterns until they aren’t anymore.

Ninety-five percent of Democrats and the same percentage of Republicans said they’re inclined to vote for candidates from their own parties. Among independents, 43 percent said they lean Democratic and an identical percentage said they’re more likely to vote for Republicans.

Based on the fact that the Minnesota Poll consistently oversamples Democrats, I’d argue that the DFL ought to be worried. This isn’t good news for the DFL.

If the economy keeps improving nationally, that will help Republicans across the nation. Additionally, the RNC has pulverized the DNC in terms of fundraising and organizing:

Perez started off his tenure with some lofty goals and inspiring promises. In addition to funding the Democrats’ national efforts for the midterms, the new chairman recognized that their state-level organization was in disrepair. He pledged an additional ten million dollar fund specifically allocated for state parties to rebuild and staff up for the 2018 battles. Thus far, however, Vice reports that it simply hasn’t happened. In fact, not only have they not sent ten million dollars to the state parties, they don’t even have ten million on hand.

It’s still a long ways off and momentum can shift at least 20 times between now and Election Day. Still, the fundraising numbers and the popularity of the Trump/GOP tax cuts are things Republicans can feel good about heading into 2018.

Finally, the Schumer Shutdown is hurting Democrats. While they’re fighting for illegal immigrants, Republicans are blistering them with criticisms. This video is mild compared to some of the McConnell speeches:

This is the most recent year that Democrats insist that they’ll retake the House. While it’s their best opportunity to retake it, that isn’t the same as saying they’re guaranteed to win.

Americans should view the negotiations between the Trump administration and the Democrats like a hostage negotiation. After all, Sen. Schumer is holding the U.S. military, the border patrol and the CHIP program hostage. By filibustering the CR Friday night, Sen. Schumer and his shills have held hostage the paychecks for our military, border patrol and first responders. With their actions, Democrats have earned the wrath of patriots from across the political spectrum. In addition to holding these paychecks hostage, the Democrats’ filibuster has left 9,000,000 vulnerable children more vulnerable by not voting to reauthorize CHIP for the next 6 years.

If you add the 2,000,000+ people serving in the military to the 9,000,000 vulnerable children, that’s quite the hostage taking.

If Democrats think this isn’t firing up the GOP base, they’re kidding themselves. If Democrats think that their filibuster isn’t turning off independents, they’re kidding themselves. Ronna Romney-McDaniel, the chair of the RNC, said essentially the same thing in this op-ed:

Last night, Senate Democrats shut down the United States government. They recklessly chose to jeopardize paychecks for our troops and border patrolmen to appease their far-left base. In triggering a totally unnecessary, easily avoidable shutdown, they put at stake the health insurance of nine million vulnerable children and a number of other critical programs, including veteran services and opioid treatment programs.

Part of the Democrats’ talking points is to say that Republicans control the White House, the House and the Senate. it’s true that they control the White House and the House of Representatives. They don’t control the Senate.

Republicans did their job and offered a solution to keep the government running, but they couldn’t stop the shutdown from happening on their own. Appropriations bills require 60 Senate votes to pass. With only 51 Republican senators, this means Democratic votes are necessary to secure funding.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and his Democratic colleagues own this shutdown. The American people are very well aware that the Schumer shutdown rests squarely on his party’s shoulders. Their hypocrisy is on full display, as the same Democrats who once warned of the consequences of a shutdown eagerly embraced it this go around.

It’s worth noting that Republicans hold a majority in the Senate, which is useful in determining which bills get committee hearings. That simple majority is meaningless, though, when attempting to pass simple funding bills.

Democrats have used the filibuster to insist that President Trump sign a bill that includes amnesty for 700,000 illegal immigrants and millions of their relatives through chain migration. Fighting to protect illegal immigrants while not protecting vulnerable children is what despots do. The Democrats’ actions don’t rise to the level of what third-world dictators do but the Democrats’ actions are disgusting.

Many constituents of the Democrats rely on the government-funded programs that are being handicapped by the shutdown. Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.) put nearly 83,000 children’s health care at risk with her vote. Sen. Bob Casey (D-Penn.) did the same for more than 342,000 children, Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) for nearly 45,000 children, and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) for 66,000 children. Their constituents are going to demand answers.

Good luck explaining that away.

Sen. Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor last night:

This paragraph especially jumped out at me:

None of my colleagues on the other side of the aisle can point to a single thing in it that they oppose. That is why a bipartisan majority voted for it last night. It would have passed smoothly and been sent on for the president’s signature. Except that the Democratic Leader took the extraordinary step of filibustering this bipartisan bill and initiating his very own government shutdown.

If Democrats want to continue filibustering this funding bill, they have that right. Senate rules permit it. Just because it’s legal doesn’t mean it’s smart, though. Democrats shouldn’t think that this isn’t turning off independents. Democrats shouldn’t think that this isn’t firing up the GOP base.

The Democrats’ foolish decision is doing both those things. Hell hath no fury like a bunch of voters who’ve gotten ignored by elitist Democrats who protect lawbreakers but don’t protect our troops and our most vulnerable.

Hillary Clinton should leave the national stage for her own good. After reading this article, I question whether Hillary deals with reality anymore. According to the article, “Democrat Hillary Clinton claimed Wednesday that the Republican Party was ‘imploding.'” It isn’t that I think she’s losing her mind. It’s that I think she isn’t that interested in the truth.

This article suggests that Hillary isn’t telling the truth, saying “The Republican National Committee broke a fundraising record and raised more than $100 million during the first nine months of 2017, fueled by small-dollar donors at the center of a grassroots movement. In a statement released by RNC Chairman Ronna McDaniel, the “record-breaking fundraising has been fueled by grassroots enthusiasm for President Trump and the Republican Party,” McClatchy reported.” Meanwhile, “The Democratic National Committee, meanwhile, had raised $46.3 million through the end of August, the Free Beacon reported.”

Not to be outdone, MSNBC jumped on the theme:

Reporter Kasie Hunt agreed with Joe Scarborough that Jeff Flake’s speech “will be remembered years from now”, saying “I think that’s right, Joe. I mean, I think this was — I think this was a day — my head was spinning by the end of the day.” Later, she said that Sen. Flake’s “words were incredibly serious.” She also threw in the opinion that Sen. Flake “was extremely well-liked.” At that point, Scarborough said that “This shows the insanity that has overtaken the Republican Party.”

Actually, Joe, what’s exposed is how little you’ve listened to the American people. Small-dollar donations to the RNC are pouring in. Republicans control both ends of Pennsylvania Ave and tons of governorships. Further, the GOP completely controls both houses of state legislatures in 30+ states. If that’s the definition of insanity, then the American people are voting for insanity all across the nation. HINT: That’s what elitism looks like.

Anyone that thinks that Tim Walz’s recent statements will help him get elected is kidding himself. Rep. Walz is a con artist. Those of us in Minnesota know that about Rep. Walz. According to this article, Rep. Walz said “The DNC wanted the message to be the ACA [Affordable Care Act] is working fine and don’t talk about the warts. I said I can’t do that because it’s failing my constituents in a lot of ways.”

Rep. Walz’s statement is transparent in that he’s a) voted for the ACA, b) criticized the AHCA and c) criticized the Senate Republicans’ health care bill. The thing is that Rep. Walz hasn’t lifted a finger to propose a solution that would fix the ACA. It’s one thing to whine about bills. It’s another thing to fix bills that are “failing my constituents in a lot of ways.” This is typical Democrat do-nothing complaining that don’t offer solutions.

I don’t know why Rep. Walz would make a statement like this while he’s running for governor. Saying that the ACA is failing his constituents in a lot of ways is a shortcut to alienating a huge part of the DFL primary voters. RNC Chairwoman Ronna Romney-McDaniel criticized Democrats obstruction in this video:

Here’s what she said:

It’s unfortunate because people are suffering across the country. Let’s look at the evolution of this, they passed 30,000 pages of legislation without reading it. They said you could keep your doctor. They said you can keep your healthcare plan. They said it was going to be affordable, and none of that has been true. And now, premiums have doubled across the country, you have insurers pulling out of marketplaces. People are suffering and Democrats are sitting on their hands when they created this problem. Republicans are working together. We have reached out to them, we want them involved in the process. It is unfortunate they have obstructed every step of the way and they are not putting the American people first.

Tim Walz fits that description perfectly. He voted to create this crisis, then voted multiple times against fixing the problem. Here’s the video of Rep. Walz whining about the ACA without offering a solution to fixing it:

I can’t picture a way for Walz to win the DFL gubernatorial primary. Until now, he’d been predicted to be the DFL frontrunner. I’ve got to think that his criticisms of the ACA will hurt him with primary voters.

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When this election is over, what will be the fallout from news consumers on Fox News? Which personalities and hosts will be looking for new jobs? Will Megyn Kelly jump ship for a network job or a show on CNN? One thing that likely won’t change is that Bill O’Reilly will still have his show. His “I’m just a simple man” schtick still resonates with his viewer, most of whom seem to have the intelligence of eighth graders.

O’Reilly’s talking point Wednesday night is a shining example of O’Reilly’s ignorance:

O’Reilly’s statements aren’t the statements of a well-educated man. They’re the statements of a man who hasn’t studied reality. Let’s compare O’Reilly’s statements with Karl Rove’s statements. (I’m not a fan of Rove but he’s smarter about this stuff than O’Reilly.)

The most important information from Rove’s WSJ article is when he writes “Mr. Trump’s sweeping victory was impressive. But, as Henry Olsen of the Ethics and Public Policy Center pointed out at National Review, it was also expected.” I’d quibble that it wasn’t totally expected. Trump’s victory exceeded expectations. Still, Trump is trailing the OTT (Other Than Trump) delegates.

That didn’t matter to O’Reilly, who said “Simply put, Trump is so far ahead that Ted Cruz and John Kasich or any other Republican phantom simply does not have the constituency to take the nomination away from Trump. Any back room dealings will be quickly exposed and will doom the Republican Party.”

That’s something only an idiot who hasn’t studied the convention would say. First, if Trump doesn’t win on the first ballot, he’ll face a major uprising from delegates in the Bible Belt states, the Rust Belt states and the Midwest. That’s because Trump’s gotten spineless lately. Trump wants to change the GOP platform on abortion. What’s worse is that Trump “thinks transgendered people should be able to use whatever restroom they’d like to use.”

Changing the GOP platform on abortion requires an uphill fight that Trump wouldn’t win. With the delegates attending the convention, Trump’s position on the bathroom issue resembles a suicide mission. While many northeastern delegates would continue faithfully supporting Trump, he’d be the person losing his constituency attending the convention.

O’Reilly’s Talking Points is wrong because he didn’t pay attention to the details. That’s because he’s an impatient, big-picture guy. Compare that with Rove’s column:

According to the National Association of Secretaries of State, by the time Republicans gather in Cleveland on July 18, the deadline for Mr. Trump to be listed on the ballot as an independent will already have passed in 12 states with a combined 166 Electoral College votes.

There’s those pesky little details inserting themselves into the conversation again. By the time the convention ends, it would be clear that a Trump third party run was his attempt to hand the presidency to Hillary Clinton.

Some of Fox News’ anchors haven’t indulged in drinking the Trump Kool-Aid. Unfortunately for them, not enough of them have refrained from drinking that toxic drink.

Last night, during Special Report’s first segment of the All Star Panel, Bret Baier spoke to the complexities of the delegate selection process. While some states’ rules are complex, most are exceptionally straightforward.

Moe Lane’s post explain the true complexities of West Virginia’s delegate election system. With few exceptions, though, the delegate election process is pretty straightforward. To people who’ve participated in the process, in fact, it’s pretty routine. Honestly, it doesn’t require years of study to figure it out.

What’s upsetting to me is the dishonesty Trump is using in portraying the system as being run by DC insiders and Wall Street fat cats. Recently, he’s hinted that that’s who runs the delegate selection process. It’s time to tell that filthy liar to either tell the truth or to shut up. He’s even had the audacity to ask people how that’s worked out for them.

The truth is that Donald Trump has been part of the problem for a very long time. During the first GOP presidential debate, Trump bragged that he’d bought politicians with campaign contributions so that they’d do whatever he told them to do:

In 2006, Donald Trump contributed to the DCCC and the DSCC. In 2010, thanks in part to Trump’s campaign contributions, Democrats that Trump supported passed universal health care. Prior to his becoming a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination, Trump enthusiastically supported universal health care.

To the people who got kicked off the policies that they were satisfied with but weren’t allowed to keep, how’s that working out? The next time you hear Donald Trump, think of how much better your life would be if he hadn’t contributed to Democrats.

Donald Trump isn’t part of the solution. He’s been part of the problem for 20+ years. For him to now put himself forward as the solution to Washington cronyism is beyond laughable. I can’t wait until after the California primary. If Trump hasn’t secured the nomination, expect the super PACs to hit Trump hard on this subject.

Further, Sen. Cruz’s campaign will hit Trump hard for his shifting views on abortion and transgender ‘rights’.

Finally, expect a bloodbath this November if Trump is the nominee. The #NeverTrump movement might not be as potent as the TEA Party was in 2009-10 but it’s still awfully potent. Voting for a northeast liberal who contributed to Democrats isn’t something that principled conservatives will do.

Donald Trump isn’t an idiot but he’s definitely ignorant. Yesterday, Trump criticized RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and the RNC for Colorado’s caucus system.

What’s apparent is that Donald Trump doesn’t pay attention to details. It’s apparent because he said “It’s a disgrace for the party. And Reince Priebus should be ashamed of himself. He should be ashamed of himself because he knows what’s going on.” That statement is exceptionally telling.

First, it’s telling because it’s clear that he doesn’t understand the concept of federalism. Having attended Minnesota’s precinct caucuses, their county conventions and other conventions, I’ve yet to hear of a time when the RNC dictated how we ran our conventions. It’s blindingly apparent that Trump doesn’t understand that each state has its own rules.

Perhaps more importantly, it’s clear that Trump wouldn’t know a strict constructionist judge if he met one. It’s apparent that Trump thinks that the federal government should make most of the decisions. Limited government conservatives cringe when they hear a politician who thinks that Washington needs more authority. Trump also said this:

It should go to a vote in Colorado like other places. … The best way to do it would be just a vote, should be a vote of the people. That’s the way it should be done. The delegate situation is a very unjust way of doing things.

Spoken like a man who prefers mob rule. Truer words were never spoken than these:

Asked if he would call for Priebus to step down should he become the nominee, Trump responded, “I haven’t given that any thought.”

The notion that Mr. Trump gives anything a thought is laughable. He’s the quintessential non-thinker. He’s the poster child of what happens when people don’t think things through.

I wrote this article to highlight how untalented Donald Trump’s spokespeople are. The article also highlighted how dishonest Trump’s allies are. As deceptive as Barry Bennett, Katrina Pierson, David Wohl and Ed Brookover are, though, they’re amateurs compared with Roger Stone.

If you’ve been hiding under a rock, Stone is Trump’s thug. He’s Trump’s chief intimidator. (I initially wrote about Stone’s thuggishness in this article.)

Apparently, Stone realizes that he’s in big trouble if something happens to the delegates for the Republican National Convention. Appearing on Stefan Molyneux’s program, Stone issued a threat, saying ” I have warned the public, I have warned Trump supporters, of what I believe is ‘The Big Steal’. One of two things will happen here, Stefan. Either Trump will have 1,237 votes, in which case the Party will try to throw out some of those delegates in a naked attempt to steal this from Donald Trump or he will be just short of 1,237, in which case many of his own delegates, or I should say people in his delegates’ seats, will abandon him on the second ballot. So the fix is in.”

That’s definitely intended to tell Trump’s supporters that the Republican National Committee, aka the RNC, working in concert with the “GOP Establishment,” will attempt to “steal” Trump’s nomination away from him. Then Stone added this:

Join us in the Forest City. We’re going to have protests, demonstrations. We will disclose the hotels and the room numbers of those delegates who are directly involved in the steal. If you’re from Pennsylvania, we’ll tell you who the culprits are. We urge you to visit their hotel and find them.

It’s pretty apparent that Stone wrote this article to insist that his statements weren’t advocating violence. In fact, he’s blaming CNN for deceptively editing out something exculpatory. I’d love hearing the podcast for Mr. Molyneux’s show that day. I want to know whether that would exonerate Stone or whether it would show that he’s trying to weasel out of threatening delegates. I’m betting it’s the latter.

Less than a month ago, Mr. Trump was talking trash, saying that he’d pay the legal fees for his supporters who laid a beating on protesters at his events. It was clear that Trump was a full-fledged thug, albeit a rich thug. Stone was his consigliere for the better part of twenty years. I won’t buy it that Trump kept that parasite around for his charming personality. Trump kept him on Trump’s payroll to have him do his dirty work.

Trump’s schtick is getting old. Trump’s thuggishness is preventing him from closing the deal with the American people. That’s why Trump won’t be the GOP presidential nominee.

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For about 2 weeks, Donald Trump has complained that Sen. Cruz is stealing the election. For almost 2 weeks, Trump’s complaints have been without merit. Trump’s latest complaint is about how Cruz’s campaign is outmaneuvering Trump’s campaign for second ballot delegates. Trump insists that this is outright theft. It isn’t.

Years ago, delegates weren’t bound to that state’s winner. Then the RNC passed a rule saying delegates were bound for the first ballot. At no point did the RNC say that delegates were committed to a specific candidate multiple ballots. That’s foolish on its face unless the RNC wanted a presidential nominee who won a plurality of delegates.

What Trump’s complaint is about is his campaign team’s ineptitude. Trump’s run a cult of personality campaign. In Iowa, for instance, Trump promised to have 1,681 precinct chairs in place before Thanksgiving. A month later, when they held their first training meeting, fewer than 100 people attended. Not surprisingly, Trump finished second despite the DMR poll showing him leading by a healthy margin. Simply put, Trump tried running his campaign on the cheap. As a result, he lost momentum and delegates.

In the email obtained by CNN, Sam Stone from the Cairn Consulting firm contacted Republican precinct committee members in Arizona’s 10th legislative district and invited them to join Cruz.

“National delegates are required to pay their own way to Cleveland, but for those non-Trump supporters who are interested in doing so, the Cruz campaign is organizing a delegate slate at our state party convention to elect people who would be willing to support Sen. Cruz on a second ballot,” he wrote. “Being part of the slate will dramatically increase your chances of attending the national convention.”

Stone explained the effort: “As you know, the state convention will select our delegates to the national convention. At the convention, these delegates are bound to vote for Donald Trump on the first ballot. However, it looks increasingly unlikely that Trump will earn the 1,237 delegates needed to win on the first ballot, and after the first ballot most delegates, including those from Arizona, will be free to vote for the candidate of their choice.”

That’s an accurate statement. Further, to change that rule now would introduce chaos into the process intended to create order. I’ve stated it before but I’ll repeat it again. There are 2 options for people. One option is to follow the rules that were laid out in advance of the convention. The other option is to introduce anarchy into the process. It’s one thing to make a minor tweak to convention rules. That’s happened before. It’s another if the rules are dramatically changed.

Trump essentially wants the rules rewritten to help him win. On one level, that’s understandable. This is the ultimate competition. I’d be worried if candidates didn’t compete to win. That being said, the rules are there to maintain a level playing field so everyone can compete without worrying about a strongman stealing the election.

Trump talks about stealing the nomination. That’s a bit of verbal subterfuge. The nomination isn’t anyone’s until they reach 1,237 delegates. The nominee isn’t the candidate with the biggest plurality. The nominee is the candidate who wins a majority of delegates.

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Steve Kornacki did his best to (somewhat) subtly accuse Republican presidential candidates as hating Hispanics in this interview:

The big takeaway from this interview is Kellyanne Conway’s statement that “Republicans aren’t afraid of running against Bill and Hillary.” Simply put, there’s more fear amongst Beltway Republicans and GOP consultants than there is with heartland governors.

At this point, Hillary will have a difficult time running as an agent of change or as the candidate of youthful vigor. Hillary has been a fixture in DC for a quarter century. She might’ve been young when she arrived but she isn’t anymore. Fair or unfair, the reality is that she can’t play the agent-of-change-card at this point. She’s reached her sell-by date.

Of course, that’s irrelevant to MSNBC. They’re fixating on Rep. Steve King and Hispanic voters. It’s predictable but it’s a fool’s errand. When the Republican National Convention is held in July, 2016, there’s a distinct possibility that the ticket will be Scott Walker as the nominee and either Marco Rubio or Susana Martinez is his running mate. It’s virtually guaranteed that Martinez, Rubio, Brian Sandoval, Mia Love and Tim Scott will deliver primetime speeches at the convention.

People won’t think “Ohmigod. Republicans are the party of Steve King. I can’t vote for Scott Walker.” Democrats will do everything to paint Republicans as the party that hates Hispanics. That’ll be a difficult task when each night, Republicans will feature a Susana Martinez or a Marco Rubio or a Brian Sandoval, who will likely be in the middle of a fight to unseat Harry Reid at that point.

The excitement in that building will be the buzz. The applause will be frequent, the emotions will be high.

If you want to know what the Republican National Convention will look like, just watch the speeches delivered by Ted Cruz, Rick Perry and Scott Walker. The enthusiasm during those speeches was noticeable and raucous.

Meanwhile, at the Democrats’ convention, the atmosphere won’t be electric. People will be able to contain their energy. The contrast between the two conventions will be stark. That contrast won’t put the Democrats in a positive light.

In the movie Rocky 3, Apollo Creed told Rocky that “When we fought, I trained hard but I didn’t have that look in my eyes. You had it and you won.”

I didn’t say that because I love the movie. I mention it because it’s a lesson between complacency and enthusiasm. There’s no question that, in 2016, the Democrats will work hard. There’s little question that Democrats will be a little complacent, too. If Republicans nominate one of their rising star governors, there’s no question that the 2016 Republican National Convention will be a great launching pad to a GOP victory.