Monday, December 21, 2015

Making Mitch McConnell a One Term Senate Majority Leader

Again, Trump is the best thing to ever happen to the Democrats. McConnell failed to make Obama a one term President as he had hoped to do, but it looks like he quite possibly will be a one term majority leader.

Even prior to Trump, the Senate GOP had an uphill climb to hold onto the Senate-this time unlike in 2014 they are defending 24 seats to just 10 for the Dems and many of these in Democratic or swing districts. Then again, the Democratic party does a lot better in presidential rather than off year elections.

But Trump or Cruz really are making things tough for McConnell. He's certainly concerned.

"According to a report from the Washington Post, McConnell attended a meeting earlier this month with GOP bigwigs in DC aimed at finding a suitable alternative in the event there is a brokered convention in Cleveland. According to that story, McConnell stayed mostly quiet during the dinner, but his very presence speaks to his calculus and his recognition that a certain kind of nominee could be a great detractor from his power."

"The threat of a Trump candidacy to the Senate majority isn't hypothetical, the party has been preparing for it. The Washington Post obtained an NRSC internal memo earlier this month that explicitly prepped candidates for how to run their campaign if Trump is at the top of the ticket."

"A year after winning a Senate majority, McConnell has overseen the passage of a major highway bill that stalled in the Senate for years. He's worked on trade and helped guide a landmark education reform bill to a bipartisan 85 to 12 vote."

"We have an extraordinarily strong record of accomplishment for our 2016 class to run on. We have been able to get through bills that have languished for years," said Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME). "McConnell is key to it. He has pushed the committee chairman to get their work done."

"I worry about the top of the ticket affecting every race," Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said. McCain is up for re-election in 2016 in Arizona – a state where nearly 11 percent of the voters are Latino– a group Trump has openly disparaged with comments about how immigrants are rapists or generally bad people."

"You hope the American people would examine what we in the Senate have done no matter what, but it is always obvious that top of the ticket does affect elections. Life isn't fair," McCain said.

I don't know that I agree it's unfair. I agree McConnell has been pretty reasonable since Obama won again. He wanted to take down the President but once he failed his interests were not in the dysfunction we continued to see from the Boehner House-which now is dong better under Paul Ryan.

But have no doubt, McConnell, Boehner-and Ryan as well-created the monster of Trump-Cruz. They played to the base for years and now they are reaping what they've sown.

"A recent poll showed both Trump and Cruz would lose to Hillary Clinton in a general election match up. The candidates don't have as much of an appeal for voters in the middle as someone like Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) or former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush might and even Republican senators agree that is a problem."

"For the most part, the quality of the candidate and the quality of the execution of their campaign is going to influence not only Senate races, but gubernatorial races, too," said Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) who ran in 2014 and won largely by tying former Sen. Kay Hagen (D) to Obama's unpopular coattails in the swing state."

"Whoever wins the nomination has to have the ability to appeal to the center of the country, which is up for grabs. They have to do a really good job of understanding that it is not just about getting the party faithful," Tillis said.

But in 2009 through 2012 that was what the GOP was doing-just appealing to the faithful. Now that faithful won't be denied. With 71 percent in Iowa supporting Trump or Cruz it's hard to see how the Establishment can deal with this.

Meanwhile, in NH there are too many Establishment candidates to catch Trump. He is a rela threat to the party:

"In Trump as nominee, the Republican Party would face a threat to unity on several fronts. His victory would represent a triumph of an insurgent movement, or impulse, within the party. Historically speaking, this is exactly the kind of intra-party victory that guarantees political civil war."

"The most striking examples of party fissure in American politics have come when a party breaks with a long pattern of accommodating different factions, and moves decisively toward one side. It has happened with the Democrats twice, both over civil rights. The party had long embraced the cause of civil rights in the North, while welcoming segregationists—and white supremacists—from across the South. In 1948, the party’s embrace of a stronger civil rights plank led Southern delegations to walk out of the convention. That year, South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond led a National States Rights Democratic Party—the “Dixiecrats” —that won four Southern states. Had President Truman not (barely) defeated Tom Dewey in Ohio and California, the Electoral College would have been deadlocked—and the choice thrown into the House of Representatives, with Southern segregationists holding the balance of power. Twenty years later, Alabama Gov. George Wallace led a similar anti-civil rights third party movement that won five Southern states. A relatively small shift of voters in California would have deadlocked that election and thrown it to the House of Representatives."

"In two other cases, a dramatic shift in intra-party power led to significant defections on the losing side. In 1964, when Republican conservatives succeeded in nominating a divisive champion of their cause in Barry Goldwater, liberal Republicans (there were such things back then) like New York Gov. Rockefeller, Michigan Gov. (George) Romney, and others refused to endorse the nominee. More shockingly, The New York Herald-Tribune, the semi-official voice of the GOP establishment, endorsed Lyndon Johnson—the first Democrat it had supported, ever. With his party split, Goldwater went down in flames. Eight years later, when a deeply divided Democratic Party nominated anti-war hero George McGovern, George Meany led the AFL-CIO to a position of neutrality between McGovern and Nixon—the first time labor had refused to back a Democrat for President. Prominent Democrats like former Texas Governor John Connally openly backed Nixon, while countless others, disempowered by the emergence of “new Democrats”, simply sat on their hands. The divided Democrats lost in a landslide."

Read more:

Regarding the New York Herald-Tribune supporting LBJ, you wonder what the Wall Street Journal does is Trump or Cruz are the nominee? There are some GOPers who think Trump is worse than Hillary:

"Would a Trump nomination be another example of such a power shift? Yes, although not a shift in an ideological sense. It would represent a more radical kind of shift, with power moving from party officials and office-holders to deeply alienated voters and to their media tribunes. (Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Mark Levin, Ann Coulter, and Laura Ingraham have not exactly endorsed Trump, but they have been vocal in defending him and in assailing those who have branded Trump unacceptable.) It would undermine the thesis of a highly influential book, “The Party Decides,” which argues that the preferences of party insiders is still critical to the outcome of a nomination contest. This possibility, in turn, has provoked strong feelings about Trump from some “old school” Republicans. Says one self-described “structural, sycophantic Republican” who has been involved at high levels of GOP campaigns for decades. “Hillary would be bad for the country—he’d be worse.”

Read more:

P.S. Saturday Night Live had a great satire of the GOP primary where Trump calls Jeb a loser and says he pees sitting down.


  1. When my ex-sister-in-law told me on Saturday that if Trump is her party's nominee she probably wouldn't vote at all, I nodded in a knowing and approving manner -- silently letting her know that I thought that was a perfectly rational response. :D

  2. Yes, I'm sure there will be a lot of that. This is going to be a truly historic election I believe, one way or the other