August 16, 2018

Tuesday’s Primaries

We're officially on Insta! Did I throw on a blazer at 5 am for all you lovely people? You bet I did!

showed a diverse crop of candidates succeeding in Democratic primaries, while critics of President Trump faltered in Republican primaries. (FiveThirtyEight)

The left and the right agree that once again, Trump proved the GOP is now his party:

See past issues

The left is hopeful about a blue wave, while acknowledging that the path will be tricky.

“Eschewing a national strategy, Democrats are betting on a hodgepodge message winning the midterms. While Democrats are hoping for a blue wave to help take back the House of Representative in the fall, they have decided on a risky strategy that goes against the grain of how previous wave elections have been won... let individual candidates set their own agenda.”

New Republic

“Across the country, Democrats will rely on their energized base and a loose message centered on a core promise of lowering health care costs and building a case that Republicans are using the government for their own advancement, which candidates are adapting as they see fit. If they are going to have a ‘blue wave,’ Democrats say, it is going to come in varied hues.”

New York Times

Democrats are “committed to creating a Congress that actually looks like America... Republicans in recent years have deftly used the backlash to demographic change to gain and hold power. That doesn’t show any signs of changing. But a couple of big losses — in 2018 and 2020, say — might lead them to conclude that the strategy has played itself out.”

Washington Post

Regarding the deployment of an aircraft carrier and bombers, many note that the US “has a long history of provoking, instigating, or launching wars based on dubious, flimsy, or manufactured threats… The most egregious case was the U.S. invasion of Iraq, in 2003, which was based on bad intelligence that Baghdad had active weapons-of-mass-destruction programs. The repercussions are still playing out sixteen years (and more than four thousand American deaths) later… The sense of foreboding is tangible.”
Robin Wright, The New Yorker

Trump's “goal, it seems, is to put so much pressure on Tehran that it has no choice but to completely change its behavior — but he could end up leading the countries to the brink of war in the process… Now is typically the time when cooler heads prevail, but it’s unclear if there are cooler heads around… It’s hard to overstate how avoidable this situation was.”
Alex Ward, Vox

“In theory, there’s no reason why a bad businessman can’t go on to become a good president. But a commander-in-chief whose signature legislative achievement expanded tax loopholes that he himself describes as grossly unfair is pretty much a bad president, by definition.”
Eric Levitz, New York Magazine

The right is divided about its prospects in November.

The right is divided about its prospects in November.

“Democratic turnout [in Minnesota] swamped Republican turnout. In the governor’s race on the [Democratic] side, 547,664 votes were cast. In the Republican primary, only 296,213 votes were cast. That is a stunning disparity... To put it mildly, this does not bode well in an increasingly important swing state.”

Power Line

“The difference in enthusiasm may be enough to boost the Democrats in their bid to win control of the U.S. House of Representatives by a narrow margin. But it probably isn’t enough to make Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., leader of the Senate majority. And it probably won’t change in any appreciable way the GOP’s hold on governorships and state legislative chambers...

"Nonetheless,

Fox News

“Despite Mr. Trump’s growing popularity, Democrats can’t seem to accept that relying on a simple anti-Trump message — without one of their own — is as counter-productive now as it was during the 2016 campaign… Mr. Trump, a man [Democrats] despise… has not only survived — he’s thrived.”

Washington Times

“The broader context here is North Korea's crop crisis. If Kim hasn't got sanctions relief by August's end, a painful winter is coming… Absent Kim's commitment to suspend all ballistic missile tests, the U.S. should not support the provision of food supplies to the North Korean people. A North Korean long-range nuclear strike capability poses an existential threat to American society… Trump must not allow North Korea's coming suffering to dictate his decisions. Supporting North Korea with food will both prolong North Koreans' suffering under Kim and directly undercut U.S. interests.”
Tom Rogan, Washington Examiner

Some argue, “It stands to reason that if Kim is willing to starve his own people, deprive his economy of any growth, and pour billions of dollars into missile tech, he will, at some point, develop weapons America and its allies mastered decades ago. And short of an invasion or a diplomatic agreement, under the present circumstances, there is very little we can do to stop him… Taking a hardline approach—what many call the ‘big deal’—or only granting sanctions relief after full denuclearization and the end of Kim’s missile programs is completely impractical and something North Korea would never agree to… only a step-by-step process of disarming Pyongyang, where each side gets a benefit for making a concession, will work.”
Harry J. Kazianis, The American Conservative

Others posit that “the reason Kim is developing missiles that can strike Seattle or LA is that 28,000 U.S. troops are in South Korea… If we cannot persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons in return for a lifting of sanctions, perhaps we should pull U.S. forces off the peninsula and let China deal with the possible acquisition of their own nuclear weapons by Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan…

“After an exhausting two weeks [between North Korea, Iran, Venezuela, and others], one is tempted to ask: How many quarrels, clashes and conflicts can even a superpower manage at one time? And is it not the time for the United States, preoccupied with so many crises, to begin asking, ‘Why is this our problem?’”
Pat Buchanan, Townhall

Counterpoint: “after the War of 1812, President Madison… enacted the Tariff of 1816 to price British textiles out of competition, so Americans would build the new factories and capture the booming U.S. market. It worked. Tariffs [also] financed Mr. Lincoln’s War. The Tariff of 1890 bears the name of Ohio Congressman and future President William McKinley, who said that a foreign manufacturer ‘has no right or claim to equality with our own… He pays no taxes. He performs no civil duties’… [A tariff’s] purpose is not just to raise revenue but to make a nation economically independent of others, and to bring its citizens to rely upon each other rather than foreign entities.”
Patrick J. Buchanan, The American Conservative

A libertarian's take

“The scoop reflects poorly on Trump, who willfully misled the public for a decade in hopes of fraudulently representing himself as a man with a Midas touch. But he could not have succeeded without the assistance of many Americans, some mercenary, others over-credulous, who helped to spread the deceit and deception, generating countless newspaper articles, magazine stories, and TV segments that misinformed the public about the publicity hound’s record in business. New evidence of his staggering losses in that decade therefore provides an apt occasion to reflect on the media’s complicity in Trump’s brazen deceit and deception… Let [this] be a lesson for today’s tabloids, gossip columnists, over-credulous or mercenary journalists, and reality-television producers.”
Conor Friedersdorf, The Atlantic

On the bright side...

“Bears are doing it all this summer. They've been caught jumping into pools, sneaking sips of margaritas in hot tubs, and now they're going on liquor runs.”

Mashable

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