Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Sock it to me, baby!




At this point in the campaign season, you want to be scoring some wins to propel your Congressional candidates to victory in the upcoming midterm elections.  Instead, the GOP looks like the Arizona Cardinals.

What appeared to be an easy confirmation hearing for Brett Kavanaugh has turned into a three-ring circus, with at least three Republican Senators expressing their doubts about his moral fiber after his accuser made herself public and passed a polygraph test.  This was enough to make nearly all the women, who signed a letter of support for the Supreme Court nominee, get cold feet, or they didn't exist to begin with.  Kavanaugh's staunchest defender, Mark Judge, is a right-wing ideologue with a dubious past tracing back to his days with "Bart O'Kavanaugh" at the now infamous Georgetown prep school, where Christine Blasey Ford claims the two tried to rape her.   Even the White House needed a couple of days to determine how to approach this thorny dilemma, opting not to follow the lead of Donnie Jr.

Making matters worse, Paul Manafort decided it was better to cooperate with the FBI than spend the rest of his life in jail.  Doesn't seem that the former campaign chairman for Trump 2016 was very confident of a pardon coming through.  As it now stands, Trump can only wring his hands trying to guess what Manafort tells Mueller.   Same with fellow Republicans who can be potentially linked to the Kremlin.  Little doubt Manafort was the Russian access point to US politics.

All this makes Chris Collins' indictment over insider trading look like small potatoes.  Of course, this isn't stopping the GOP Representative from staying in the race, much to the chagrin of the Republican National Committee.  Chris may hold onto his seat, but it further tarnishes a party already suffering from numerous corruption charges.

Turning the death of Mollie Tibbetts into a political whipping post isn't working too well for Republicans either.  Her parents are furious and letting everyone know, yet Trump persists in drawing attention to her murder by an undocumented immigrant at campaign rallies.

The piece d'resistance is Trump's new round of tariffs, which essentially act as a consumer tax with the retail industry passing along his 10 per cent rate hike to the public.  Trump was unable to get what he wanted with China from the first round of tariffs, which devastated soybean farmers, so now he decides to make all Americans pay for them.

From day one, Republican leaders warned Trump about using tariffs but he did so anyway.  It's like telling your kid not to drive the fancy sports car in the garage while you are on vacation.  You knew Trump would do it.  The tariffs failed to unite Republicans around embattled Rick Saccone back in March, and it is doubtful it will help embattled Republicans in the midterms.  What began as a special election ploy has turned into an albatross around the GOP neck.

As Samantha Bee points out, there's no guarantee Democrats could successfully take back their shopping carts, let alone retake Congress.  The cards are definitely stacked against Democratic candidates with all the gerrymandering since the 2010 census, along with Voter ID laws, and notorious state policies that don't allow ex-convicts to regain their voting rights, also known as felony disenfranchisement.

John Oliver pointed out how bad the situation is in Florida, where 1.5 million former felons are unable to vote, largely thanks to Rick Scott, who personally oversees the matter.  I don't know which is worse that Florida has so many ex-convicts or that Rick actually sits on the board that reviews their appeals.

However, it seems the enthusiasm is much higher among Democrats than it is Republicans heading into the midterms, which doesn't bode well for the GOP.  Young candidates seem to be drawing in new voters, which might help offset the gerrymandered districts and defy the voter ID laws.  Nowhere is this more apparent than in Texas, where Beto O'Rourke has Ted Cruz crying for help.

Watching the Republicans try to pull their act together before the midterms is like the old episodes of Laugh-In.


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