November 29, 2018

Hyde-Smith Wins in Mississippi

Republican U.S. Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith returns to Washington as a solidly loyal supporter of President Donald Trump after he stumped for her in a divisive Mississippi runoff... Hyde-Smith on Tuesday defeated Democrat Mike Espy, a former congressman and former U.S. agriculture secretary."

AP News

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From the Left

The left is divided between feeling optimistic about the stronger-than-expected performance of Democratic candidate Espy, and pessimistic that Hyde-Smith’s many controversies didn't deter enough voters in the end.

The optimists argue that “it was an underwhelming victory. Hyde-Smith won by only about 8 percentage points in a state where Republicans normally clobber Democrats by twice that margin — the other Mississippi Republican senator, Roger Wicker, won by about 20 percentage points earlier this month. Donald Trump won the state by almost 18 points in 2016."


“While some on the left might still be discouraged by Tuesday’s loss, the results are reason to believe that a Democratic candidate who can continue to motivate the left’s base while winning over some Republican voters could eventually turn one of the country’s reddest states blue."

Washington Post

“The mere fact of a competitive Senate election between an African-American Democrat and a female Republican is a sign of civic progress that defies stereotypes and marks progress toward rebuking some of the ugliest aspects of our shared history."


The pessimists, however, point out that “she secured the victory just weeks removed from the infamous reference to ‘public hangings.’ She won on the strength of racial polarization at the ballot, after embracing Confederate symbols and history, and after local news reports revealed she’d [sent her daughter] to a private school designed to resist racial integration...

“Espy’s defeat is the final moment in a series of demoralizations of black voters in the South. While the politics of Espy, Gillum, Abrams, and Jealous are substantially different from one another, they did represent the chance to accomplish something historic, and to finally reach a breakthrough point for the dream of racial political equality. After a century and change of waiting, the tantalizing defeat on the brink of success is especially bitter.”

The Atlantic

"Hyde-Smith, ultimately, was not Roy Moore, a man accused of being a sexual predator. She was more run-of-the-mill: a white person ignorant of the blood in the soil and the sins of those who came before her. For most voters, this was entirely forgivable."

The Guardian

Regarding the Cadillac tax, “high-premium employer-based plans raise the cost of health care for everyone by encouraging the overconsumption of expensive services. This means that even Medicare and Medicaid face higher prices. Quite aside from its benefits for the health-care market, the Cadillac tax would also have the effect of expanding the tax base and making the tax code more efficient. It would raise revenues by about $15 billion a year… Rather than killing or delaying the Cadillac tax, Democrats should be trying to make it operational. The tax would raise revenue, lower costs, increase the efficiency of the tax code and give the Obamacare individual market its best chance at success.”
Karl W. Smith, Bloomberg

“The two issues with which he is most often associated, support for a balanced budget and opposition to free trade, put him at odds with both of our major political parties. An old-fashioned, soft-spoken Southerner, he nevertheless held views on so-called ‘social issues’ that would be to the left of the mainstream of the Republican Party, both then and now. He was a fervent supporter of the Vietnam POW/MIA movement in the late '80s and early '90s, but he was not in any sense a hawk. Never mind 2003. Perot opposed the first war in Iraq in 1990… Perot's death should be mourned by all Americans who regret the fact that it is no longer possible to make reasoned, non-ideological arguments about questions of public import, and by the devolution of our political life into mindless partisan squabbling.”
Matthew Walther, The Week

From the Right

The right defends Hyde-Smith against allegations of racism, and is optimistic about the increased GOP majority in the Senate.

From the Right

The right defends Hyde-Smith against allegations of racism, and is optimistic about the increased GOP majority in the Senate.

“The Cindy Hyde-Smith ‘public hanging’ controversy has been particularly dumb, but par for the course in the current environment... This has been obvious all along, but it’s even more obvious with the full version of the video clip, where she also offers to fight a circle saw for Hutchinson — and, again, not because she relishes the prospect of fighting circle saws."

National Review

Hyde-Smith invoked public hangings as an example of something terrible. She used the expression to say how much regard she had for Hutchinson. Her line works as a compliment of Hutchinson precisely because she’s willing (she says) to do, on his invitation, something she abhors...

“Clever little ‘gotchas’ that can land one in big trouble in the swamp of political correctness and identity politics tend not to work in the real world of electoral politics. Gaffes normally have to be obvious to the common ear. Innocuous comments that can be characterized by academics into microaggressions or dog-whistles won’t cut it.”

Power Line Blog

Many point out that “Espy was fired from his position as Agriculture Secretary pursuant to a 39-count corruption indictment... Espy also [received $750,000 for] a lucrative lobbying gig on behalf of third-world war criminal Laurent Gbagbo. These little foibles got far less coverage than did Hyde-Smith’s 2014 visit to a state historical site where she briefly donned a Confederate kepi."

American Spectator

While the margin may have been narrower than expected, “the end result is a 53 to 47 Republican majority in the Senate, which is a taller order for Democrats in 2020 than they expected. From this early perspective, Democrats have a shot at flipping control of the Senate, but not a great one. If Trump wins reelection, they’ll need to win four seats; if Trump loses, they only need three."

National Review

“The added cushion not only means that it will be easier for McConnell to get nominees confirmed, it also means that Trump and his team can have more leeway to nominate more conservative judges... If Trump fills all of the current vacancies, nearly one in four federal judges will have been appointed by Trump... This could have a transformative effect on the judicial branch."

Washington Examiner

“If Joe Biden can win his way through the primaries, he’s almost lab-engineered to beat Trump. He doesn’t cause Republican panic, he has the potential to connect with white working-class voters in a way that Hillary couldn’t in 2016, and he has a potential to connect better with black voters than Hillary did… if Biden emerges from [this] crucible, Trump will face a very different challenge than he faced in 2016.”
David French, National Review

“NBC and MSNBC embraced Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts in the first debate of Democratic presidential candidates Wednesday night, treating her like the star of the show. The debate led off with Warren, who had a huge popularity advantage from the start… NBC anchor Savannah Guthrie started it off sounding more like Warren’s press secretary. ‘You have many plans – free college, free child care, government health care, cancelation of student debt, new taxes, new regulations, the breakup of major corporations,’ Guthrie said, before teeing up an economy question. Guthrie even used Warren’s plan to break up tech companies as the foundation for a question for Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey… the round-robin final comments also ended with Warren, as Maddow asked her for the ‘final, final statement.’ That let NBC bookend the entire debate with Warren and Warren.”
Dan Gainor, Fox News

President Trump should be happy. As much as Warren is articulate, obviously intelligent, and energetically supported by Democrats, she would also be far easier to defeat than Joe Biden… Considering Trump's economy, the president is well placed to defeat Warren.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

A libertarian's take

“The fans who avidly followed the men’s tournament certainly weren’t doing anything wrong. And it’s hard to argue that each of them had a moral obligation to be exactly as interested in women’s soccer. Even if we could stop them from watching the men more than the women, should we?…

“It’s tempting to answer that the fan choices aren’t innocent, they’re sexist. But since we can’t peek into their hearts, to say that definitively, we’d have to assume that men’s greater speed, strength and endurance definitely make nodifference to the sport’s quality. Fair enough, but then why do fans prefer to watch Megan Rapinoe play instead of the sedentary elderly who could presumably use some exercise? Alternatively, maybe pay should be equalized precisely because biology is unfair. But that seems to be an argument for curbing the pay of all top-level athletes, who have to hit the genetic lottery just to get on the field. It might be easier to focus on the distributions across society at large, rather than every individual industry, especially when fundamental biology is in play.”
Megan McArdle, Washington Post

On the bright side...

You can preorder an Alexa-enabled Big Mouth Billy Bass for $40.

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