Saturday, February 27, 2016

MITCH McCONNELL: ANY WAY THE WIND BLOWS

The New York Times story "Inside the Republican Party’s Desperate Mission to Stop Donald Trump" is fun to read, because it's clear that the entire Republican Establishment remains frozen like a deer in headlights, unable to react effectively to the demagogic fraud who's about to run away with the party's presidential nomination.

But I think some people are reading too much into this:
... the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, has laid out a plan that would have lawmakers break with Mr. Trump explicitly in a general election.

... Mr. McConnell has begun preparing senators for the prospect of a Trump nomination, assuring them that, if it threatened to harm them in the general election, they could run negative ads about Mr. Trump to create space between him and Republican senators seeking re-election. Mr. McConnell has raised the possibility of treating Mr. Trump’s loss as a given and describing a Republican Senate to voters as a necessary check on a President Hillary Clinton, according to senators at the lunches.

He has reminded colleagues of his own 1996 re-election campaign, when he won comfortably amid President Bill Clinton’s easy re-election. Of Mr. Trump, Mr. McConnell has said, “We’ll drop him like a hot rock,” according to his colleagues.
Kevin Drum responds:
Mitch McConnell is the ultimate transactional politician. He never bothers with fancy justifications for what he wants to do; he just tells reporters that his goal is stop x or push y because it's what he wants, and that's that. It's almost refreshing in a way.

So if he's seriously suggesting that Republicans in significant numbers might break with Trump and hand the election to Hillary Clinton, he's probably serious. He doesn't play 11-dimensional chess. I've been frankly dubious about all the promises I've heard from conservatives about abandoning Trump even if he wins the nomination, and I still am. I think most of them will eventually invent some reason to "reluctantly" pull the lever for him thanks to their existential horror of a Hillary Clinton presidency. But who knows? If McConnell is up for it, maybe it's a more serious possibility than I think.
Do you think that's what McConnell is doing? Threatening to throw the presidential election to save his Senate colleagues' phony-baloney jobs?

Nahhh. He's going to put a wet finger in the wind and determine how Trump is doing. If Trump's getting clobbered in the polls, Senate Republicans will run away from him. If he's doing okay, he'll be their best friend. Whatever.

Unless Trump puts David Duke on the ticket, I think the polls all the way are going to predict the usual 52%-48% American presidential election, and I think it's possible Trump will be on the winning end of that. So McConnell and his Senate colleagues probably won't have to go for this. But it's a Plan B.

11 comments:

Pragmatic Idealist said...

No doubt you are right that McConnell will go with the wind but I think this is significant. The GOP always predicts a resounding victory because they believe this helps get their voters to the polls. To even be talking about a Plan B indicates that a significant group thinks Plan B will be necessary.

Victor said...

Mitch, being a slick - but sick - political animal - a turtle, in fact - has pulled his head out of his own ass-shell, and is waiting to see which way the wind blows and what the near future holds.

If Trump looks solid for the general, well then, since a turtle has no fingers, his paw-claws will read the prevailing winds, which will tell him to stick with the bastard.

And if not, then he'll go to Plan B, which means doing whatever it take to keep the Senate, and his own phony-balogna job, as Senate Majority Leader.

As thd old saying goes, politics is all local.
And there's nothing more local, than your own job!
To me, it's as simple as that.

Feud Turgidson said...

1) If Mitch were to lead a charge to Dump Trump NOW, the GOP risks alienating the 1/3 > 2/5 of its primary voter pool for the general. That would
A) render HRC a mortal lock,
B) likely retstore the Ds to control of the Senate (under Murray not Schumer?), &
C) cast the House in disarray so the Good Witch of West might as well be Speaker.
2) Ds winning every p-cycle and Rs kicking butt in between may seem a long-term thing on differences in party ids, but no.
New voters in the 18-32 demo are volatile; if they come in, as for Sandcastles, they make a big splash, lots of noise, but they tend not to sustain, even thru a cycle (with exceptions: 1960; 1968 maybe RFK hadn't been murdered; 2008 for Obama).
Who knows about BHO's coattails? Those who tried & succeded were in blue states, & coward Ds generally declined to put it to the test in purple states.
But (i) new voters get older & moult into
(ii) reliable middle-aged voters into
(iii) oldsters who got nuthin' better.
Thru each moult, they emerge as increasingly more reliable voters, and - despite halfass cliches and there's only one even arguable single data set extracted, stretched and repurposed into clear cling wrap from Reagan's 1984 campaign - also more reliable voters for whoever they supported when they first voted.
(3) The reason why the turtle commited so hard after the 2008 election to the idea of destroying Obama FAST, to prevent a 2-term O'presidency, IS historically based.
When FDR won in 1932, it 'hopey changey' on speed but led to an FDR coalition that could only be interrupted by a RINO like Ike. FDR won in 1944 when everyone could see he was dying; his memory and Truman's pledge to Carry On for FDR won in 1948 despite Harry's deep anti-charisma (Truman could make Reid seem slick.).
From when JFK was murdered, the the arc of the 1964 presidential election set: LBJ dressed his own agenda with JFK's mantle and apirational political speechifying to gain the most remarkable & timely national mandate since FDR, so we got desegration, CRA, VRA & other Great Society programs and initiatives. And DESPITE LBJ's descent into depression over Vietnam, despite assassinations of MLK & then RFK, despite the debacle of a DNC convention in Chicago, such were the pulls of JFK/LBJ New Left loyalties HHH stilll was ALMOST pulled it off.
Similar effects from Bill Clinton's presidency have been apparent from the wildly contrasting electorate that showed in altenate each 2 years from 1992.
So: fearing how freaking ABLE and COMPETENT the highly CHARISMATIC Obama might turn out to be, Mitch knew One Thing: beat down Obama now, or Rs will suffer for presidential cycles to come.
(4) IMO we're full half-circle from peak Reagan. It's beyond arguable as 'smart' D politics to run on Obama's legacy; hedging on this has been Sandal's biggest misstep, while the anti-charismatic HRC's best move, not just to better Bernie but no matter who survives the RNC's crash off the cliffs - and note: the single biggest vulnerability of Trump in the coming campaign and especially the debates is his anti-Obama birtherism and general white nationalist level white supremacist racism.
(5) But the other O-effect is, I don't think this pattern of cycling the D advantage in presidential years then the R advantage in non-p years will sustain much longer; I expect we'll see this more clearly in 2018.
AGE is the biggest predictor of voting reliabilty. So quite apart from the long steady inevitable incline in latinae vote participation, the same oldsters who watch O'Reilly & Fox fervently and vote R reliably are being replaced by 'new' oldersters who've beem watching Oprah, Seinfeld, Shandling, Letterman, Ellen, Stewart, Colbert & Fallon, and see at least one Af-Am often male on daytime MSM show & see the rise of hispanic media & the increasing presence of latinae on Anglo trad network and cable news shows.
Effectively, Obama is the new FDR.

Victor said...

Fred,
Now, outside of Steve himself, I really look forward to your comments!
And also too - @unknown's.
And, also three - the great @aimai's.

Ten Bears said...

Yes Feud, history, if there is a history, will record Obama on par with FDR or LBJ.

If the white-dogs expirate on their own vomit... OK.

Redhand said...

McConnell has clearly shown that the only thing he's interested in if keeping his job and clinging to power, the Constitution be damned. There is no other way to read his unconstitutional opposition to even entertaining an Obama SCOTUS nominee. (Way to damage our fundamental governmental institutions, you Asshole).

This is a time when McConnell should be above partisanship in realizing that Trump, if elected, poses an even graver threat to those institutions. For God sake, Trump is now even attacking freedom of the press under the guise of reforming our "defamation type laws." [Has there ever been a more overt fascist in our national political life?]

But, the problem with the Human Turtle is that he will play along if he can keep his job, no matter what. He's that much of a feckless, shout-sighted scumbag.

I don't think it's to early top start ringing the alarm bells about an attempted fascist coup in this country, and I'm not one normally given to conspiracy theories.

sdhays said...

It occurs to me that the way to box McConnell in is for the Democratic 1% to secretly fund a super PAC which then helps organize and fund third-party/independent Trump supporters in every election they can. Then those Republicans can choose between sending part of their voters to the arms of a third party candidate by attacking Trump or alienating independents by embracing him (or just looking totally feckless by demonstrating that they really have no idea what they should do). Trump supporters are just the kind of people who would be willing to vote for the more-Trump candidate if offered one. If those third party candidates can peel off a percent or two from the Republican, a bunch of down-ticket elections become landslides for the Democrats.

It would be a fitting use of Citizens' United, as much as it makes me vomit. But I doubt the Democrats have the rat-fvckers capable of pulling it off. Maybe Trump will encourage it naturally?

Ernest Lamonica said...

Your total negativity is getting very annoying Steve. Almost Andrea Mitchell level annoying. You dont mention Republicans already saying they will vote for Hillary? Max Boot, Kagan, Todd Whitman? Its the beginning of a flood of GOP- Hillary we will read about. And hear about. I bet Lindsey Graham will jump hip. LOTS MORE ALSO. In voting booths you know GOP'ers will pull Hillary switch.

Steve M. said...

They won't if it's 52%-48% either way in late October.

biz5th said...

Trump's core is immigration and racism, and everything else seems negotiable, so who knows what his general election campaign will look like? I can easily see him deciding that Obamacare isn't so bad, Planned Parenthood has a vital role in providing constitutionally protected abortions, Social Security should be expanded, and a $15 minimum wage ain't such a bad idea.

He's already said he will be a different candidate in the general election, and I think his supporters will be fine with just about anything as long as they get the racism and immigrant-hate.

How would Clinton run against that? How would McConnell and a Republican congress run with it?

Ten Bears said...

Some of us have been ringing those bells for quite some time now, Red. Everyone is so full of themselves that nobody listens.

History only repeats to those paying attention.