Category Archives: #donaldtrump

Being smarter about Iran

It is always a mistake to read ZeroHedge before finishing your first cup of coffee. I made that mistake today and came across this article Jerusalem Post: U.S. Bombing Of Iran “Will Be Massive But Will Be Limited To A Specific Target”.

The article outlines all the ways that this approach to war with Iran would be folly and while I don’t necessarily agree with all the points made, the general point that massive force however strategically deployed will almost certainly produce results that the US and the rest of the world will not like one little bit. While you can bomb the Hell out of Iran, Iran has a number of retaliatory options rangine from the possibility of an EMP hit (they may have a rudimentary nuke) to closing the Strait of Hormuz to using Hezbollah sleeper cells in the US to hit critical infrastructure. While I have no doubt the US could beat Iran in a straight war, it would be long, bloody, politically suicidal for Trump and nasty for ordinary Americans.

Worse, it would be a strategic error. If the US leaves its current sanctions in place the Iranian economy will grind to something of a halt. Support for the current Iranian regime, already shakey, will decline. Yes, the current regime will continue with its provocations – I have no doubt it was Iranians who put holes in the sides of two tankers. But, so what?

Exciting as a hot war with Iran would be for assorted policy wonks, it would be an expensive exercise in futility compared to a longer term cold war with some clever extras.

First off, the Americans should make it very clear to the Iranians and the world that while they are committed to freedom of navigation, they are not interested in massive responses to minor incidents. If there is to be any response at all to the tanker mines (if that is what they were) it should be very local indeed. Find the boat in the video and sink it (or one very much like it – no need to be too picky).

Second, using US cyber assets – such as they are – it is time to see just how effectively infrastructure can be disrupted rather than destroyed. A sense of humour would be a huge asset here. Being able to cut into TV broadcasts is one thing, telling jokes at the Ayatollah’s expense is another.

Third, the Israelis did a very good business in the selective assasination of Iran’s nuclear scientists. A similar tactic against Iranian civil and military officials engaged in terrorism or attacks on shipping would be throughly demoralizing for the Iranian regime.

Fourth, use US, Arab, Iranian and Israeli inteligence assets to mount a serious campaign of exposure against the corruption of the clerics and Revolutionary Guard. There is a lot of evidence that a great deal of the wealth in Iran since the Islamic Revolution has flowed to these two groups. Expose that and conduct a campaign world wide to freeze and seize those assets.

Fifth, roll up Hezbollah and the Revolutionary Guard operating outside Iran. Again, this need not be a shock and awe operation. Just the relentless raiding of rocket storehouses, arms depots, command and control infrastructure where ever it is located. Yes, there will be some unexplained explosions in southern Lebannon and in Syria. But there may be raids in South America and in the US and Canada. This would have the double effect of blunting Iran’s capacity to attack outside its borders and would, consequently, improve the safety of various civilian populations.

Sixth, and this should be done in any event, get to work hardening and creating redundancies in key infrastructure. A few years ago someone, who was never caught, was shooting up transformers at remote electrical substations in the US. The fact is that the grid in the US remains open to cyber attack, EMP attack, a guy with a 50 cal sniper rifle and a Carrington Event: how quickly it can recover is a matter of preparation.

President Trump has suggested that the Iraq and Afghani wars were expensive wastes of time. A war with Iran would be much more expensive and just as much a waste of time. The US and its allies have plenty of tools to fight a cool war of attrition which would be relatively cheap, have clearly defined goals and which, over time, would neuter the hardliners in Iran.

If Trump wants more people to think he is indeed “a stable genius” he’ll resist the temptation to get into an overt shooting war with Iran. Instead, he and his allies will fight from the shadows and beat the Iranian hardliners without dropping a single, traceable, bomb. (There maybe some Hellfires here and there.)

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Could have

Joe Biden, at 78, is taking the last run.

He may very well win the Democratic nomination. Nate Silver thinks his numbers and support profile looks good.

Timing is, however, everything. Had Biden run last time he would likely have beaten Trump simply because he was not Hillary and no one actually hates him. But he didn’t.

We are in for a year of really nasty campaigning in the clown car which is the Democratic nomination. Biden, and the rest of them, will go negative early and often and The Donald will egg them all on. The poor person who emerges as the candidate will have been savaged by their own party. And every bit of it will be kept in the GOP oppo files.

I was somewhat sorry to see Biden come into the race. He has earned a graceful retirement and now he is going to be shredded by very nasty, very toxic, people who are not grateful for his service. He will almost certainly lose despite using a base pleasing lie (Charlotteville) to kick off his campaign.

He’s too white, too male and too old to satisfy the 2020 Democratic Party.

Which is a bit sad but also more than a little real.

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Over Reach

Nancy Pelosi and the MSM are breathlessly announcing the demise of the hated Trump. He caved on the shutdown/border showdown and now it is just a matter of time before he resigns, is impeached or neutered by the fearsome force which is the Democratically controlled House of Representatives. And even if he limps home to finish his term, there is just no way for him to get re-elected after this debacle. And Russia – Pelosi is more than happy to suggest Trump is Putin’s puppet.

I didn’t think much of Trump calling off the shutdown. No doubt he had his reasons and he is pushing the idea that it is a three week hiatus; but the fact is that Trump lost that round and losing is not something which Trump is very good at. I don’t hold out much hope that the Dems will suddenly see the light on the border in three weeks and vote the funds. Nor do I think that going the “Emergency” route is likely to work simply because there will be a judge somewhere who will enjoin the Emergency declaration.

Nope, Trump needs to do something which is immune to Congressional funding and which is a much less juicy judicial target. That something is, frankly, building the wall by Presidential fiat. The how is to use Department of Defence and Department of Homeland Security funds and get going. The “Wall” itself is a not particularly good idea – there are more sophisticated ways of controlling the Southern border – but it is a huge symbol of determination. It needs to get started and if that means an end run around Congress, Trump’s predecessor did that same sort of end run to get ObamaCare up and running.

However, the Wall per se is not going to be enough to turn it around for Trump. He actually needs to take the fight to the Democrats and to the deep state itself. The indictment of Roger Stone (for “crimes” which have nothing to do with Russian collusion but rather having to do with lying to Congress – a crime everyone from James Comey to Lisa Page and Andrew McCabe have committed from inside the FBI/DOJ) means it is time to start laying out the criminal conduct of the FBI/DOJ. It means it is time to re-open the question of Hillary’s emails and how the FBI entirely mishandled that case.

The Democrats are going to spend the next two years throwing muck at Trump. It will do Trump no good at all to sit on the evidence of ongoing Democratic Party/FBI/DOJ criminal actions.

At the same time, we will have the pleasure of watching the Democratic Party nominate a Presidential candidate. My clever middle son suggests that their best bet will be the sort of candidate who I would not vote for in a million years. (My older son is too busy gloating to give the matter much thought.) The list of potential Democratic Party Presidential nominees I would not vote for is very long indeed. But Sam’s point is well taken. If the Democrats want to beat Trump they can’t work on the basis that virtually any candidate can get the job done. After all, the most qualified (and entitled) candidate of her generation lost.

Trump is going to spend the next six months to a year shoring up his base as the cliche goes. But as he does that he is also going to be picking away at key Democratic Party support. A few points in the black community, a few more with Hispanics, done right Trump could be formidable.

This is particularly true if the Democrats have a real donnybrook of a nomination fight. In a field with Irish Hispanics, fake Indians and Jamaican East Indian gals who slept their way to the top, the entertainment potential is Huge. And there is nothing more vicious than an identity-driven, virtue signalling, fight on the left. Particularly when most of the contenders have come up in an environment in which any sort of accommodation or concession will be seen as betrayal. The Twitter brigades will be out in full force and there will be no need for Russian bots to thoroughly demoralize the many losing sides in the Democratic race.

Trump was certainly hurt by the shutdown/border retreat.

But, if you are going to shoot a lion you better be damned sure to kill the lion. Trump’s retreat was not a mortal blow, the question is whether it was a flesh wound or something more serious. We’ll see over the next few weeks and then the next year.

The hyenas in the Democratic Party and the MSM have, I suspect, once again over-reached.

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Shutdown

It appears that the US Government is “shut down” as of a couple of hours ago.

Oh Dear!

Because the US Government traditionally does its best work between Christmas Eve – which Trump has declared a day off for Federal Workers – and New Years.

Say what you will about Trump, and I say plenty, he is not an idiot. Right now he can have a “federal government shutdown” for twelve days and no one will notice.

I don’t think the wall or the big steel fence or whatever else Trump wants on the border is a brilliant idea. But it is a campaign promise and Trump needs to take steps to keep it.

For the moment, Trump puts the Democrat’s and the Republican’s feet to the fire with very little downside to Trump. And he can just keep going. The fact is that only about a quarter of federal employees are actually laid off in a “shutdown”. Bets are that most of them are not hugely significant to the function of the US.

We’ll see.

Winning…sort of

It is still early but according to the NYT’s site the Democrats have picked up 25 seats in the House and lost a few in the Senate.

It’s too bad about the House. There will be mischief afoot as dimwits like Adam Schiff and Maxine Waters gain gavels and start “investigations”. Trump may well be impeached.

It won’t matter.

While it would certainly have been wonderful for the Republicans to keep the majority in the House, it was not critical. The House of Representatives was, deliberately, created as the weakest branch of the Federal government. The Senate, elected for six years, advises and consents on Cabinet appointments and the judiciary. The House does not. The House does have the capacity to initiate spending bills, enact laws and conduct investigations; but it has no significant veto power over a President. Of course, the House can, and probably will, impeach the President or a sitting Justice of the Supreme Court; but the trial of the action takes place in the Senate. The Republicans, specifically the Trump Republicans, won the Senate. Right now 51 (plus a sure pickup in Mississippi’s runoff election in a couple of weeks) to 42. The likely end numbers will be around 55 to 45.

From a Presidential point of view, a friendly Senate matters a lot. You can make a deal with the House, you can appoint away the Dem majority – keep that UN ambassadorship open for a statesmanlike Democrat – and you can position candidates to take back the House in the next election which is only two years away. Senators sit for six years and are far more consequential than Representatives.

If you looked where Trump rallied you see a series of Senate wins – Florida, Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota, Tennessee and Texas. This was a calculation: re-enforce strength where it will matter for the rest of your Presidency.

I have no doubt Trump would have been delighted to have held the House, but he had to win the Senate. And he did.

The Blue Wave crashed against the breakwater of the Senate and, now, it’s done.

Onwards.

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Showing Up

Mid-Term Elections, Donald Trump, Brad ParscaleWith less than a day to Mid-Term election day polls are narrowing and pundits are coming up with all sorts of reasons why the Democrats will hold the House of Representatives. Most of the pundits – who are pretty universally Democrat-leaning – have conceded that the Republicans will hold the Senate but the House seems to offer the best chance for a Democratic victory. I wrote a month ago that I was not convinced that the House would swing Democrat and I ascribed that to the popularity of President Trump.

After a month of hectic campaigning, I see no reason to revise that thinking. In fact, if anything, the Republicans seem to have been galvanized by the Trump rallies, the Kavanaugh outrage and the poor people in the caravan(s) heading for America’s southern borders.

Early voting is up. Much higher than it usually is for mid-term elections. And in states where people are registered Democrats or Republicans, it appears more registered Republicans are voting early than Democrats.

2016 demonstrated that the polling model – generally and specifically – is badly broken. However, the question is whether the breakage is valanced in any way. The reason why polling is broken is that people are not as willing to answer their phones as they were twenty or even ten years ago and large numbers of people no longer have landlines. Their mobile is their only phone. And you cannot legally autodial cell phones. Ten years ago you could argue that the cell revolution skewed young and therefore young people were likely undersampled. In theory, young people were more likely to support Democrats thus the cell issue was valanced with Democratic Party support underreported.

To compensate for this, polling organizations overweight their samples to try and capture the missing Democratic support. It is a dark art and one which grows increasingly unreliable as more and more people become unreachable or unresponsive to pollsters.

The other huge change in the last decade is the waning of the influence of mass (and hugely liberal) media. Newspapers are in their death throes, network television is fighting for audience with cable and both are being sidelined by everything from Netflix to You-Tube to Facebook. Where people get their news and where they see advertising has profoundly changed.

A decade ago, in a tight race, a Party might make a strategic TV ad buy to haul its candidate across the finish line. Parties are still doing this but it is not at all obvious that races can be swung with a million dollar last-minute ad buy.

So how will the 50 or so House races which matter be decided?

I am pretty certain that many of these races will come down to which party gets out its vote, the good old-fashioned “ground game” with some information age bells and whistles.

Which is the reason I think the best indicator of tomorrow’s result is the surge in early registered Republican voting. The ground game begins long before the election and one of the key strategies is to get your identified voters to the polls as early as possible. The logic being that that reduces the amount of work which has to be done on election day. The Republicans spent a lot of time and a lot of money identifying their supporters in battleground states in the 2016 election. Those lists are fresh and available to candidates and campaigns.

E-Day tactics have not changed much in fifty years. A successful campaign will target its supporters who have not voted and get them to the polls. Phone calls and, even better, door knocks can make a huge difference in the final result. It is hard, not very glamorous, work.

But the Trump machine has done something no mid-term campaign in history has done: it has managed to get its activist core to register themselves as activists. This was the brilliance of the Trump rallies.

I very much doubt that a single mind was changed as Trump rocketed from hanger to hanger with Air Force One doing double duty as the world’s most exclusive stage prop. The rallies were all about affirmation, being part of something, knowing you were not alone. But they were also a brilliant way to collect GOTV data.

To go to a rally you had to register, online, for a ticket. Literally, tens of thousands of hard core Trump supporters registered. Over all I suspect well over a million people willingly gave up their emails and phone number for a chance to get a ticket to the Trumpaloza in their state. Which meant they self-identified as Trump Republicans. And it also gave individual campaigns lists of people who were likely to a) vote early, b) be willing to work on the GOTV effort, c) be ready, willing and able to knock on the doors for the E-Day effort.

Trump’s 2020 campaign manager, Brad Parscale, is data driven. But he also understands that data without action is pointless. The rallies with their registrations have given the Republicans an army in the battlefield states the likes of which the Republicans have never had before.

We’ll see on Tuesday if it is enough to add seats in the Senate and hold the House.

It will depend on who shows up.

Update: Tuesday Afternoon. Reading anecdotal reports on turnout. The general trend seems to be high turnouts – at or better than Presidential – in red areas. Low turnout reported in some blue areas. You have to read a lot of reports to get a decent picture and there will be confirmation bias all over the place; but those trends are what will be needed for a red wave.

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Trump: the 19th/early 20th Century redux

Donald Trump, RallyAnother day, another packed out Trump rally. Set against the backdrop of Air Force One Trump delivered another, very odd, Trumpian stemwinder to the good people of Columbia, MO. There was not a lot new in this speech. Just the by now familiar hits on the media, firmness on borders and a fair bit of chest thumping about how well it has all gone to date. The fans never tire of this.

I don’t think for a second that Trump pays a lot of attention to the campaign strategies of the past; but he has inadvertently recovered the idea of a President, of a candidate, speaking directly to the electors. Neil Postman wrote about the Lincoln/Douglas debates which were all day affairs and reported verbatim in the popular press. 90 years later, Truman got aboard a train and made a speech – very likely much the same speech – at hundreds of stations across America.

Trump is not Truman and he certainly isn’t Lincoln, but he has a very keen sense of what works in the America he actually knows.

For a lot of American Presidents, the ascension to office marks the last time they really deal with Americans face to face. All of a sudden they have the access to TV and to journalists and, somehow, the stump speech gets lost in the green room.

Teddy Roosevelt essentially invented the whistlestop tour and he invented the White House press corps. He did both because he wanted to be able to speak directly to Americans, his Americans. His cousin, FDR, skipped past a largely hostile press with his Fireside Chats. Both men understood the necessity of speaking to Americans without filters and without spin. But, as television took over, that became something of a lost art.

Until Trump.

Frankly, I think Trump’s rallies owe more to Professional Wrestling than to a careful analysis of his predecessors’ communications strategies. But here’s the thing, Professional Wrestling is a wildly popular entertainment in the US. The Sunday morning talks, not so much.

Trump is all about open access. He can’t climb on a helicopter without holding an impromptu press conference. He is unworried about the talking points. What he wants to do is connect.

I am very confident that the GOP will win the Senate next Tuesday. The Map, the polls and so on. I am also confident that the Trump Republicans have a very clear shot at winning the House. Yes, I have seen the polls and the Cook Report and all manner of Nate Silver stats; I don’t think they actually matter. I think Trump has connected at a visceral level with his American people.

The House races, in aggregate, are very much like the Popular Vote in a Presidential election. You can lose the popular vote, and I think the Republican will poll fewer votes than the Democrats for the House, but the distribution of the votes is what actually matters. A district here, a district there and super majorities for the Democrats in Districts they have won for forty years, and a Republican majority will emerge. It might be tight, or it might not. It is quite possible that the Republicans will increase their majority in the House. It will depend on specific districts, specific races, and Trump’s people know that.

Trump likes winning. He is doing 11 campaign rallies in five days because he thinks it might be enough to win.

I think he’s right.

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Compassion, Caravans and Common Sense

caravan, Honduras, Donald TrumpAt the moment, in the south of Mexico, there are about 5000 people walking, bussing and being given lifts so that they can reach the American border in time to create really brilliant pre-election footage of nasty white men acting on the orders of the Orange Ogre beating up, if not outright shooting, the veneer of women and children who act as the vanguard for the caravan.

This is pretty clearly an organized operation. The Hondurans did not all wake up a week ago and decide, spontanously, to march to America. Who funded the organization is an interesting question which will almost certainly not be answered before the human tide rolls in. And it actually doesn’t matter because the issue does not go away because it turns out that Soros or the Democratic National Committee provided the money.

Migration, mass or otherwise, is likely to be the dominant issue in the 21st century. And not just any sort of migration; the migration of desperately poor people to wealthier places. Whether they are sub-Saharan Africans, Middle Eastern Muslims or the masses of the Central American poor, the issue is going to remain the same: what do weathy nations owe the people of poorer nations, if anything.

Truth to tell, the US could let the entire caravan into the country, sort out the obvious criminals and other undesirables and let the rest stay without breaking a sweat. 5000 people is simply not enough to really matter in the grand scheme of the United States. (And this may very well be what Trump ends up doing as it has the best political optics assuming the caravan makes it to the US border.)

The trouble with that solution is that it would rather obviously create a huge incentive for more caravans to set out. While 5000 people would be a drop in the bucket, 50,000 would be a huge problem and 500,000 would be catastrophic. The dilemma is how to be compassionate without creating the conditions favouring more caravans.

Americans are tremendously generous people and they have a remarkable capacity to get things done quickly and effectively. One potentially reasonable solution would be to set up processing stations deep inside Mexico with accomodation, food and even cash incentives to bring the caravaners of the march and into a process which would treat their asylum claims seriously and legally. Logistically, setting up the first processing station a hundred miles ahead of the caravan would not be easy, but it would also not be the only station.

This sort of approach would require the permission and support of the Mexican government but that should be relatively easy to secure. It would also require a serious commitment on the part of the Trump administration to actually understand what is driving the migrants. Again, not impossible.

Politically, putting resources into a line of processing stations up to the American border designed to blunt the force of the caravan seems like a solution which all but the most partisan anti-Trumpers could get behind. It would also set the stage for the second element of a compassionate and common sense solution.

The way to stop caravans is to work towards eliminating the conditions from which they arise. The caravan’s organizers began the caravan in a desperately poor part of a violent and gang ridden very nearly failed state. Make Honduras Great Again sounds a bit facile but, if the US wants to reduce pressure on its borders, it needs successful states in Central and South America.

Sixty years of American foreign policy in Central and South America has not done a speck of good. (I suspect because of a combination of misguided support for assorted dictators and billions of dollars of exactly the wrong sort of foreign aid.) There are lots of good ways to improve conditions in Central and South America but they mainly involve private investment and a willingness to trade aggressively with those countries. Taking a second and a third look at the costs of the “war on drugs” would also be a good idea.

Previous administrations were largely unable to tackle these sorts of iniatives if only because they could not think much outside the “foreign aid/”stable” government” box. Trump does not even know there is such a box.

Making progress in Central and South America using a new model which combined private investment with trade and provided support to the governments as they dealt with their gang problems would take time. But it would also provide Trump with a political theme above and beyond “Keep America Great” for the 2020 election.

 

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The Coming Trump Majority

For assorted Establishment/elite commentators the fact that Trump is still President is as astonishing as it is annoying. The 25th Amendment, impeachment, Mueller or simply the complete breakdown of the Administration were all more likely than Trump having a week like he had last week. Trade deal, Kavanaugh confirmation, lowest unemployment in 60 or is it 70 years: this can’t be happening but it is.

There are less than 30 days until the mid-term elections for all of the House of Representatives and about a third of the Senate. The MSM, the Establishment commentators and “nice people” generally are talking up “the Blue Wave” where university educated suburban women will rise as one and toss the orange ogre onto the scrap heap of history where he so obviously belongs. Then, with a majority in the House of Representatives, the Democrats will be able to launch impeachment, conduct investigations and ensure the evil which is Trump will be sent to the Senate for a speedy impeachment trial and conviction. All will be right with the world.

The nice suburban ladies, the establishment media and right thinking people everywhere are, I am afraid, going to be in for a bit of a shock.

There is a chance that one or two Republican Senators may be defeated by Democrats, but there is a much better chance that those Republican Senate seats will hold and two or three sitting Democratic Senators will be defeated leaving the Senate at 53-56 Republicans and Trump entirely safe from conviction in a purely political impeachment.

The House is a tougher call. Hundreds of local races, lots of gerrymandering from both sides, polling all over the place with tiny sample sizes and often skewed questions. At the moment the Republicans hold 235 seats, the Democrats 193 seats and there are seven vacancies. That’s a margin of 43 seats so the “Blue Wave” has to take 22 to hold a tiny majority.

Conventional wisdom says that mid-term elections tend to result in a swing away from the sitting President’s party and that alone brings that 22 seat swing inside the realm of possibility. Add to that the President’s unpopularity…but wait, it turns out Trump is not particularly unpopular.

“The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Monday shows that 51% of Likely U.S. Voters approve of President Trump’s job performance. Forty-seven per cent (47%) disapprove.” link

(And for my lefty friends yelling, “But it is Rasmussen.” I note that Rasmussen was a whole lot closer to predicting Trump’s win over Hilly than virtually any other poll.)

However, politics is more than just day to day polling results. It is about momentum, engagement, enthusiasm and the “mood” of the electorate.

Kavanaugh was a huge win for Trump because Trump got the job done and because the Democrats were revealled as a bitter, nasty, bunch of people who were willing to stoop to anything to cling to some sort of power. Even Republican “never Trumpers” were forced to admit that Trump was infinitely better than the Dianne Feinsteins of this world. The nomination and hearings also confirmed that the Hollywood/media/Democratic party nexus was shrill, irrational and really very unpleasant. And, as a bonus, the underhandedness of the Democrats and Trump’s willingness to stand by his nominee cemented the Republican Party behind Trump and behind itself.

Kavanaugh also underlined the collapse of the audience and moral authority of traditional media. There was not even a hint of objectivity in the coverage: Ford just had be telling the truth and if you questioned that you were enabling rape. Which would be fine coming from the mouths of activists, but coming from news anchors and commentators it made millions of essentially open-minded people question why they were watching “this crap”.

Trump understands the collapse of the MSM and uses it ruthlessly. He mocks the media, he tweets over their heads and, perhaps most importantly, he holds rally after rally.

There has never been a President who has been willing to do three to five public events a week, week after week, targetted at the battleground states. No, Trump is not going to do a rally in New York City or LA. Why would he? There are no seats to be won in either city. But he is willing to go out into the red states and rouse the base. He’s relentless. And at every rally he brings home his message of tax cuts, low unemployment, jobs, the return of manufacturing, fair trade, doing right by veterans, restoring America’s place in the world.

The Democrats have nothing to compare: though Bill and Hilly are, apparently, going on a stadium tour with the cheapest seats $60 and the better seats $600. Trump is practising retail politics on a wholesale level and he is simply getting better and better at it.

All which leads me to think there is a better than even chance that Trump will, at least, hold the House. But there is also a very good chance that the generic polling is wrong and that the Trump led Republicans are going to do a lot better than a hold.

The fact is that there are not actually all that many college educated, white, suburban women and those that there are will not vote as a solid block. The travesty of the Kavanaugh hearings and the sheer cynicism of the Democratic Senators – not to mention the cheesy grandstanding of Booker and Harris and the liar Blumenthal – will have alienated more than a few of the suburban ladies. Especially women who have sons.

There are also a lot of non-college educated, non-white, non-suburban people who are actually doing well with Trump. Black unemployment is at an all-time low, Hispanic unemployment is also at an all-time low. These groups historically are in the Democratic Party’s pocket but that can change. If it does change, even a little, there are dozens of Congressional seats which come into play.

Trump likes to win. He has solid political advisors and they like to win. It has occured to the Republican leadership that they do a lot better with Trump’s support than when they oppose him. It has occured to dozens of Republican candidates that Trump’s endorsement moves votes.

For a growing number of Americans, Trump’s policies are beginning to make sense. They have more money in their pocket and their kids have better prospects.

Walking into the mid-term polling station a lot of voters will ask themselves if they want to vote to derail the Trump train or if they want to climb on board.

You’d have to give me odds, but I would not be at all surprised to see the Republican majority in the House get up to 250 seats and, in the Senate, to 56. But, realistically, if that happens it will not be a Republican majority, it will be a Trump majority.

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No News is No News

Just watched the 20 minute Chrystia Freeland “news” conference.

Apparently she’s promised “not to negotiate in public” which means she is unwilling to address any substantive questions at all.

This week’s talks have ended but they will be back at it Wednesday of next week.

Just one problem, which Freeland, of course, dodged, Trump has basically said that he is not moving on any of the key points and that he’d be just as happy to drop a 25% tariff on Canadian made cars. Kinda tough to negotiate around that.

Which means that, after a week of “intense” negotiations Freeland is going back to Canada with nothing except the fact that The Donald is planning on taking his bilateral agreement with Mexico and notifying Congress that it will be signed 90 days from now.

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