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Monmouth University’s latest polling suggests that the big blue wave threatening the Republicans’ majorities in the US House and US Senate isn’t as threatened as before. When asked “Do you approve or disapprove of the job Donald Trump is doing as president?”, 42% said that they approved while 50% disapproved. Last month, those that approved was only 32% while 56% disapproved. A 16-point drop in a month is gigantic.

In another troubling sign for Democrats, people polled were asked which party they’d vote for if the “election for House of Representatives were held today”, “47% of registered voters say they would vote for or lean toward voting for the Democratic candidate in their district compared to 45% who would support the Republican. This marks a dramatic shift from last month, when Democrats held a 15 point advantage on the generic ballot (51% to 36%).”

In the running for understatement of the year, Patrick Murray, director of the independent Monmouth University Polling Institute, said “Democrats who counted on riding public hostility toward the tax bill to retake the House may have to rethink that strategy.” That ties directly into this poll question:

The trend definitely favors Republicans. A month ago, President Trump’s approval-disapprove rating was -24. This month, it’s -8. A month ago, Republicans trailed Democrats by 15 points on the generic ballot question. Today, Republicans trail Democrats by 2 points.

If this trend continues, and it’s anyone’s guess on whether it continues, Republicans will hold their majority in the House. If President Trump maintains his popularity rating, Republicans will pick up seats in the Senate, most likely in the 4-6 seat range.

One of the Democrats’ talking points is that Republicans face an election with the wind in their face. I’m a contrarian in that I think Republicans face this election with a gentle summer breeze in their face. If that’s how Republicans weather the storm that the Democrats threw at them the past year, I’d suggest that they’re in great shape.

Electrolux, St. Cloud’s fifth biggest employer, just announced that it’s leaving Minnesota, saying in a statement that “Electrolux announced Tuesday they are planning to close their plant here in St. Cloud. The freezer maker says production is expected to continue through the end of 2019. Electrolux spokeswoman Eloise Hale says they have about 900 employees in St. Cloud. She says all impacted employees will be eligible for jobs elsewhere in the company.”

King Banaian commented that “The unemployment rate is quite low. A 17-year low is correct. So there’s a very tight labor market. Our employers keep saying to us in our surveys that finding qualified workers is one of the most serious issues.” That’s the good news. The bad news is that Minnesota keeps losing high-quality employers and employees each year. The outmigration of wealth from Minnesota is devastating. It isn’t just retirees fleeing for warmer climates, either.

According to Minnesota’s State Demographer, people of all age groups are leaving. It’s the chief reason why Minnesota will lose a congressional district after the next census.

Under Gov. Dayton’s ‘leadership’, the Twin Cities have done well while the rest of the state has regressed. Gov. Dayton’s anti-wealth policies, coupled with Minnesota’s oppressive regulations, are driving businesses away while making Minnesota less competitive with other states.

St. Cloud Area Chamber of Commerce President Teresa Bohnen says it’s good news that the community has two years to prepare for the job losses. And, she says the local Workforce Center will start working with those workers that are affected as soon as possible.

We have the jobs in St. Cloud, that’s the great news. And, we’ve already been approached by Senator Smith’s office this afternoon to talk about what they can do to help us. So we’re hoping for grant money, workforce grants, those kinds of things to get us help to get these people retrained and into new jobs as soon as possible.

Sen. Smith’s former boss, Gov. Dayton, is part of the problem. The DFL’s economic policies aren’t pro-growth. The regulations strangle investment.

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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President Trump’s first SOTU speech was one for the ages. At times, it was heart-wrenching. At other times, it was jubilant. At still other times, it was sensible. At all times, it was the Democrats’ worst nightmare. The speech lasted 81 minutes. It drew 110 rounds of applause. Optically, it was a terrible night for Democrats.

Early in the speech, President Trump talked about Hispanic and African-American unemployment, saying “Unemployment claims have hit a 45-year low. African-American unemployment stands at the lowest rate ever recorded, and Hispanic American unemployment has also reached the lowest levels in history.” The Congressional Black Caucus not only didn’t applaud. The CBC didn’t register a response:

When people started chanting “USA, USA, USA”, here’s how Rep. Luis Gutierrez reacted:

When President Trump spoke about noncontroversial things like working hard and unifying the nation, here’s how Nancy Pelosi responded:

Mixed into the 110 rounds of applause were lines like this:

So to every citizen watching at home tonight — no matter where you have been, or where you come from, this is your time. If you work hard, if you believe in yourself, if you believe in America, then you can dream anything, you can be anything, and together, we can achieve anything.

Meanwhile, Democrats virtually spent the entire night sitting on their hands. The optics really told the story Tuesday night. Republicans applauded President Trump’s accomplishments. They were the optimistic people in the room. Democrats looked like they’d eaten a bag of lemons. They looked like sourpusses the entire night:

The most heart-wrenching part of the speech came when President Trump spoke about 2 couples whose daughters were friends. Here’s that story:

Here tonight are two fathers and two mothers: Evelyn Rodriguez, Freddy Cuevas, Elizabeth Alvarado, and Robert Mickens. Their two teenage daughters — Kayla Cuevas and Nisa Mickens — were close friends on Long Island. But in September 2016, on the eve of Nisa’s 16th Birthday, neither of them came home. These two precious girls were brutally murdered while walking together in their hometown. Six members of the savage gang MS-13 have been charged with Kayla and Nisa’s murders. Many of these gang members took advantage of glaring loopholes in our laws to enter the country as unaccompanied alien minors ?- and wound up in Kayla and Nisa’s high school.

Evelyn, Elizabeth, Freddy, and Robert: Tonight, everyone in this chamber is praying for you. Everyone in America is grieving for you. And 320 million hearts are breaking for you. We cannot imagine the depth of your sorrow, but we can make sure that other families never have to endure this pain.

Trump is right. This shouldn’t ever happen in the United States. Period. Trump is also right in saying that, across the nation, parents’ hearts were breaking with those parents.

This was especially powerful in pushing Democrats into a ‘can’t-win corner’ on immigration. How can Democrats say no to building the wall or ending chain migration or the visa lottery at this point? I suspect that Democrats will try resisting. That’s what they’ve been about since Trump took office.

Potentially, President Trump’s SOTU speech is a game-changer:

According to that survey, the results of which were announced on-air on CNN, 48 percent of respondents said they had a “very positive” reaction to the speech — Trump’s first since taking office. Only 22 percent said they had a “somewhat positive” reaction to the speech, while 29 percent reacted negatively.

The results of that poll came less than two hours after Trump finished delivering his speech, in which he touted the tax cuts and regulatory rollbacks of his first year in office and outlined his ambitions to revitalize the nation’s infrastructure and take on immigration reform.

Sixty-two percent of respondents said that the policies outlined by the president on Tuesday would move the country in the right direction, according to the CNN/SSRS poll. By comparison, 35 percent said they would move it in the wrong direction.

Those aren’t good numbers for Democrats. They’re terrible statistics for Democrats. This won’t cheer up Democrats, either:

This poll isn’t good news, either:

Prior to Tuesday night, Republicans had gained a bunch of momentum. After Tuesday night, Republicans had a ton of momentum going into this new year. If Democrats think they can steamroll the Republicans, they’d better rethink their strategy. Fast.

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Last Monday, Sen. Chuck Schumer had a day from hell. I don’t feel sorry for him. He deserved everything he got — and then some. This week has the potential for being worse for Sen. Schumer. Bill McGurn’s column lays out Sen. Schumer’s nightmare scenario, saying “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?'”

Clearly, Democrats prefer having the issue so they can beat Republicans with it. They don’t want a solution, partially for campaign purposes, partially to keep the steady stream of new voters flowing in. Democrats need those new voters because they’re alienating blue collar workers seemingly on a daily basis. (That’s why Ms. Pelosi’s dream of being speaker again is a pipe dream.)

Mr. McGurn introduced another irony into the column by saying “But if Mr. Schumer allows the Democratic zeal for resistance to take the form of rejecting every Trump offer for compromise, Mr. Schumer may well pull off another miracle by making Donald Trump look like the reasonable one in Washington. … Alas for poor Mr. Schumer, his tragedy is to have reached the top at precisely the worst moment, caught between a Republican president who can’t stop demeaning him and a Democratic Party that seems determined to ensure he remains a minority leader.”

Let’s be clear. President Trump has painted Sen. Schumer into a corner strategically. If Sen. Schumer makes a deal with President Trump on immigration, the division within the Democratic Party will grow. If Sen. Schumer doesn’t make a deal with President Trump on immigration, Sen. Schumer will look like an obstructionist. It likely also means Sen. Schumer will be the minority leader through at least 2024.

Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor today to tout President Trump’s accomplishments:

When President Trump gives his first State of the Union address, he’ll say that the state of our union is strong. Though Democrats, especially the ones boycotting the tone-setting speech, will disagree with that, President Trump will be right. The economy is the best it’s been in years. Our enemies, especially ISIS, are in a weakened state. The Trump/GOP tax cuts are working better than expected. Deregulation is unleashing small businesses so they can do what they do best, which is create jobs through innovation and creativity.

With all that being said, the state of part of our union is weaker than it’s been in years. That part of the union is the part that’s constantly resisting, constantly rejecting, constantly heckling. That part of the union is often referred to as the Democratic Party. They’re still the party that doesn’t have original ideas. They’re still the people who think everyone that disagrees with them is a racist, homophobe or Islamophobe. Today’s Democratic Party can’t just disagree with people. Today’s Democratic Party is filled with people who have to think that people they disagree with are evil. That’s what this Pelosi diatribe is about:

I’m predicting that President Trump will be the biggest winner Tuesday night, mostly because his policies are sensible and the American people agree with him on border security, ending chain migration and cutting taxes. When the Trump/GOP tax plan passed, its approval rating was in the mid-twenties. Now, it’s in the mid-forties. When people start noticing that their taxes are actually less, they’ll be happy. At that point, people won’t buy the Democrats’ doom-and-gloom talking points.

Mercedes Schlapp is a White House communications director. In this interview, she sounded an upbeat, optimistic tone:

President Obama talked about hope and change, then he underdelivered. President Trump hasn’t overpromised and underdelivered. He’s delivered. Jobs are being created. Wages are going up dramatically. Consumer confidence is soaring.

Finally, economic forecasts just aren’t complete without a healthy dose of Art Laffer to boost the spirits. Check this out and feel better:

If that doesn’t make your heart sing, you’re part of the union that isn’t strong.

Only a Democrat could think about something as crazy as the Contraception Equity Act. It all started when TPM ran this article, in which they wrote “On Monday night, moments after the Senate voted overwhelmingly to end the government shutdown, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) quietly put forward the nomination of former pharmaceutical executive Alex Azar to lead the Department of Health and Human Services. While his confirmation is likely to sail through the Senate on Wednesday, Democratic lawmakers and women’s health advocates are sounding the alarm about Azar’s statements on reproductive rights, religious rights, and the intersection of the two.”

That’s just the start of their complaint. Next, they wrote that “Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) asked Azar to comment on the strategic plan HHS released in October that endorsed so-called fetal personhood, asserting that it was an “unconstitutional definition of persons as beginning at conception, which has no basis in science.” Azar responded by endorsing the controversial change in HHS’ stated mission. ‘The mission of HHS is to enhance the health and well-being of all Americans, and this includes the unborn,’ he wrote.”

Thanks to this article, DFL gubernatorial candidate Erin Murphy announced “This is why my Contraception Equity Act is important. In Minnesota, a woman’s decision making about contraception must remain with her and not her boss.” This is political grandstanding. There’s no chance this legislation will get a hearing, much less a vote. Murphy knows this. That isn’t her concern. She’s submitting the bill to attract more women to caucus for her.

Someone should explain this to Rep. Murphy:

Susan Rice’s NYTimes op-ed is a collection of whiny complaints. Among her litany of complaints, one complaint stood out. It’s actually worth examining.

In the op-ed, Rice said “The same policy stagnation afflicts our ability to confront the most pressing threats to our security, from North Korea to the risk of terrorists acquiring weapons of mass destruction, from pandemic disease to Russian aggression. Our ability to counter such outside menaces is increasingly undermined by our collective failure to work together. Indeed, the most significant, long-term threat to our security may be our domestic political polarization.”

Let’s ask ourselves where the political polarization is coming from. Let’s start at the beginning of the Trump administration. When massive numbers of Democrats boycott President Trump’s inauguration, which party is sowing seeds of political polarization? It isn’t Republicans. When every Democrat votes against making even the slightest change to Obamacare, who is the agent of political polarization? It isn’t Republicans. When Democrats vote unanimously against tax cuts that are putting money in families’ pockets and energizing the US economy, who’s sewing seeds of political polarization? It isn’t Republicans. When President Trump puts together a thoughtful immigration plan that give a little (too much?) on DACA amnesty in exchange for funding of the Wall and ending chain migration and the diversity visa lottery programs and Democrats criticize it within minutes of its presentation, who’s sewing seeds of political polarization? It isn’t the Republicans.

It’s foolish to argue that Republicans don’t contribute to the political polarization. There’s a difference, though, between contributing to a negative situation and agitating for political polarization. The Democrats’ resistance movement is based solely on political polarization.

After Ms. Rice’s opening tirade, she gets into an Alice-in-Wonderland argument:

Similarly, the Iranians know that our resolve to prevent them from acquiring a nuclear weapon may crumble under partisan pressure. China is pursuing its economic and strategic ambitions in Asia unconstrained by an America so divided that we jettisoned the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement we negotiated, while its signatories reap its rewards without us.

First, it wasn’t the Trump administration that negotiated a treaty so bad that they wouldn’t let the Senate vote on it. That treaty didn’t prevent the Iranians from getting a nuclear weapon. It sped up the timetable for them getting a nuclear weapon. Then after speeding up that timetable, the US president shipped $150,000,000,000 to Iran, which it then quickly used to fund Hezbollah’s terrorist activities. Talk about brilliant.

Next, China is getting confronted by the Trump administration. The results haven’t always been what we’ve wanted but they’re confronting them. The Obama administration’s policy of leading from behind didn’t work. Period.

Rice’s op-ed is titled “We Have Met the Enemy, and He Is Us”. If you define Us as the Obama administration, I agree.

There’s no doubt that Sen. Karin Housley is a strong advocate for seniors, especially those living in elder care facilities. Last week’s hearing on elder care abuse proved how passionate Sen. Housley is about the issue. Rather than speak like a politician spewing policy, Sen. Housley sounded like a relative looking for justice for a parent who’d gotten abused. She also sounded like a skilled litigator trying to get to the bottom of this crisis.

During the hearing, Sen. Housley said “How long did the Minnesota Department of Health know this was going on and cover it up? I have to say it’s been disappointing to learn what’s been happening for the last I don’t know how many years.”

Daniel Pollock, the acting commissioner of the state Department of Health, replied “We openly acknowledge that in recent years the Office of Health Facility Complaints really has not met the reasonable and appropriate expectations of Minnesotans when it comes to investigating maltreatment complaints in a timely way.”

TRANSLATION: I admit that we didn’t give a damn because our pay isn’t tied to our performance.

This weekend, Sen. Housley stopped past WCCO studios to be interviewed by Esme Murphy:

The part that stung Esme was when she said “The economy though — U.S. News and World Report named us the third best state in the country — 2017 the blistering pace of construction in the Twin Cities in recent years is one sign of an economy firing on all cylinders. Don’t they deserve credit for that?” Sen. Housley replied “There’s still a lot of room for improvement. You know, you go up to the Iron Range and those people are suffering up there. They need jobs up there and they really need to have their voices heard.”

Sen. Housley is an impressive candidate and an impressive legislator. She isn’t the type of legislator that’ll let bureaucrats off the hook. When they come before her committee, they’d better be prepared and they’d better tell the truth from start to finish.

By comparison, I can’t see Tina Smith being much more than Sen. Schumer’s shill. That isn’t to say that Smith isn’t smart. I’m just saying that she’s like most Democrats in that they do what they’re told.

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Tom Hauser’s tweet is the first to break the news that Lori Swanson isn’t running for governor. Instead, she’s running for re-election to be Minnesota’s Attorney General. Hauser’s tweet simply states “JUST IN: MN Attorney General Lori Swanson announces she will run for re-election as AG rather than run for governor.”

I’m betting that this will start the speculation of whether this means Tim Pawlenty is getting into the gubernatorial race.

In Swanson’s announcement, she said “I appreciate the support of the many people who have encouraged me to run for Governor. I signed up with my fellow Minnesotans for a four-year term as Attorney General. While I am complimented that recent polls show me in a leadership position if I were to run for Governor, the work of the Attorney General’s Office is at a critical juncture for the next two months. I must focus all my energy and attention on that work.”

Did Lori Swanson decide not to run because she heard TPaw is running? This isn’t an endorsement of TPaw. It’s the perception amongst the chattering classes that TPaw is unbeatable. That’s still an untested theory that might never get proven or disproven.

Here’s Hauser’s tweet announcing Swanson’s decision:


Let the speculation begin.